Thursday, March 24, 2011

TBR Dream Marathon II: My First Marathon Experience

September 16, 2010. TBR Dream Marathon 2011 officially opened for registration. Only 400 participants could join and and there were many eager runners vying to complete their first or second marathon. I quickly texted my then fiance and broached the subject to him. Running 42k was out of our minds at that point as we were concentrated on the wedding preps that was then well underway (We were getting married first week of January 2011). I was surprised when he replied instantly and told me that if I want to do it, then it's a go. Oh my gas! The decision was left in my hands! I nervously filled up the online registration form and hit enter without blinking an eye. That was it. I had to endure 3 days of waiting to see if we got in. When the official list finally came out, I stared at our names in disbelief. This is really is it is it is it!

Why Do I Want to Run a Marathon?

I do not have a big story to tell. I am not supporting any charitable cause. I am not running for anybody who is sick or dying. I am not running to oppose or support any social or political issue. I am running only because I love to, and completing a marathon is like the ultimate sense of fulfillment of every runner (not minding ultramarathons!). If they can do it, I can do it too.

6 Months Training/Preparation

Coach Jim Lafferty created a 6-month training program (October 2010 to March 2011) for us newbies but it was difficult to follow it religiously. We were immersed both in our work and wedding preparations. But every chance we got, we went to UP to run. We ran long distance once a week to build endurance. By November, we were already able to complete a 25k distance. It definitely looked like we were getting our groove and will be ready by March.

Come December however, things changed. Our training schedule became more erratic as the wedding day neared. We had zero mileage on the last two weeks of December. My fiance had several Christmas parties that he had to attend, plus wedding suppliers started pressuring us with things they needed for our wedding.

It was not any better come January. We had our honeymoon right after the wedding and then our apartment was robbed. My husband caught a lingering flu and fever too. Training had to take a backseat. Thus, we had zero mileage for about 5 weeks straight.

It was only in February that training got back in full swing. At first, we tried 4.4k in UP and it was difficult as our legs tried to get used to it again. We were half-laughing and half-nervous about our predicament. We did not want to be the only ones to get a DNF beside our names. Did Not Finish. Uh-oh!

But from thereon, nothing stopped us anymore. All the Sunday mornings of February were spent running long distance in UP. We ran on an average of 3 hours every Sunday. We started with 15k until finally we were able to complete 30k (about 4 hours). We did one more 30k when we joined the last bull session in Nuvali. My calves stiffened and I worried about getting cramps during the marathon. But there was no turning back. In our minds, we just know we want to do this. And we will!

Day Before Marathon

March 19, we checked in at Technopark Hotel by 3PM. At around 5PM, we had our early carbo-loading dinner at Old Spaghetti House. Pasta and pizza! It felt like it was going to be our last meal before being executed! We also ordered food to go that we will eat when we wake up at 12AM.

By 7PM, we were back at our hotel room and retired for the night. I honestly thought I will not be able to sleep soundly because of too much anxiety, but I did. We woke up just a little before 12AM and started preparing for what would be the longest race of our lives ever.

Marathon Day

March 20, 1:30AM, we arrived at the race venue in Nuvali, Laguna. The rest of the world was still in deep slumber while we were already fully awake in our senses and raring to run. We did our routine warm-up and stretching, and lined up at the medical station to put Kinesio tape on my calves.  Coach Jim Lafferty was on the microphone giving pep talks to runners. Pain is temporary but fame is forever! YEAH! That was a good way to boost our spirits! In jest, he said the stronger gravitational pull of the supermoon was supposed to make us run faster, haha!

2AM, gunstart! The organizer, Ms. Jaymie Pizarro, led in cheering the runners as we set off to do battle. Our 42k route was two loops of 21k each. My strategy was to take it easy on the first loop so I can run faster on the second loop. My husband and I paced each other for the first two hours, after which I pulled away to go on my own pace.

Just after finishing my first loop at 2 hrs 56 min I felt pain building up on my left pinky toe. I knew it was an ensuing blister and if I do not stop at the nearest medic station, I know I will regret it. The 3 minutes of trying to reach the next medic station is a long time when you are in pain! Finally, when I got there, I had to wait because the medic was attending to another runner. I kept on glancing at my watch, worried about my time. But after a while, I just didn't care about the time anymore but just  to finish the run without any pain or injury.

The medic applied petroleum jelly on my swelling toe before wrapping it securely. After about 5 min, I was back on track. I started to gradually increase speed beginning the 25k mark. The sun was beginning to peep out from the clouds. I knew I was gaining speed already because I was being able to overtake several runners already upon reaching the 30k mark. I was thinking, hmm, there's 12k left. Maybe I can quit Galloway and run all the way? But my legs said no. They could not take it. It was Galloway all the way! Okay!

Finish Line

The last 2km was the longest! I was raring to see the finish line already. In my watch, I was running for more than 5 hours already and was feeling a burn on my left arch. My legs were super tired and aching. A few meters from the tape at the finish line, I heard my family shout my name and acknowledged them by raising a two thumbs up sign.

That was it! I CONQUERED 42K!


Dream come true! They say first time is the sweetest and I so want to savor that moment but my tired legs were getting in the way! My sister approached me after a few minutes and she was just who I needed! I was drained of energy and she carried for me my loot bag and 1 liter of Gatorade bottle.

Words cannot explain the feeling. I just felt really wonderful! I was in running heaven!

TBR Dream Marathon II

Why did I join TBR DM II and not some other marathon race? There were many things that set TBR apart. This was about to be my first marathon and I wanted it to be special. And true enough, TBR really made me feel special! First and foremost, the event was open only to first or second time marathoners. It was not designed to be a contest, hence, no cash prize or whatsoever to the winners. This alone was enough to make me think that I will be treated special.

Secondly, TBR DM II was limited to 400 participants. It made the event very intimate. Fellow participants clapped and cheered when I passed them by. Someone even offered me a lollipop which I politely turned down. It was not competition for us. We were united in one  dream, and that was to finish 42k. How many events can I join with this same objective?

TBR DM II was flanked by numerous supporters and volunteers. They were scattered in different key locations of the route and offered bananas, chips, gummy bears, and water. Water stations were provided every 1.5 to 2k. Medic stations were situated every 3k or so throughout the route. Coach Jim Lafferty himself rode on his motorbike every once in a while to cheer his runners. Indeed, we were really pampered, and I will never be able to experience that again.

Dream chasers made sure no one was left behind. Every participant will see it through the finish line no matter what time they finish. Cheerers had their own gimmicks complete with balloons, sound mobile, flags and banners.

Kudos to Jaymie the Bullrunner for spearheading such a wonderful event!

I know I still have many good years ahead of me. In the future, I hope to finish another marathon. But the TBR Dream Marathon II will forever be my first love. The first time I came, ran and conquered 42k.

I am newly married and there are other things I must attend to for the meantime before I join another marathon. But I promise myself, this will not be my last! For now, let me say, I am a full-fledged marathoner! =)

Some photos:

with Jaymie, the Bull Runner

with Coach Jim Lafferty

with Coach Rio

Team CORSAME!!! Thanks for the support!!! =)


  1. Woot! Congrats Rors! Congrats Team Corsame! I was supposed to make a banner but the booth closed early and the doggies were hard to control! :/

  2. ok lang noh! thanks for coming and tagging along the kulet doggies! haha!