Urbanite Tales Part 1: Party at My Pace?

Monday, August 17, 2009

When the Kenny’s Urbanite Run was announced, I decided instantly it would have to be a race to remember for me. What better way than to pay tribute to a familiar brand like Kenny’s and a good friend like Doc Lyndon who helped conceptualize this race, than to break my by-now almost mythical sub-60minute 10K barrier. That there would be Champion Chip and Runpix to document a personal milestone was the icing on my running cake. So, on these information and intention, I sealed the personal deal to go for a 10K personal best. I thought I had a good deal, notwithstanding the fact that a great number of friends gamely decided to make this a fun run done at party pace.

The personal deal would soon become a small group objective. Tempo pacer Luis grinningly asked if I would be willing to submit myself to “The Gingerbreadman Pace Experience”. The negative split advocate that was me knew the Gingerbreadman is an avowed positive-splitter, and I had read how he brought newbie Carlo to dizzying 10K heights, pero sa ngalan ng pagkakaibigan ako’y sumang-ayon. Diyos ko, tama ba ang aking desisyon?

Friend Erick indicated he might be an official pacer for 10K at 6min/km. Perfect. I would have an official and unofficial pacer. I was fast getting spoiled I might expect this every race. Isama na natin si Pareng Garmin as third pacer. Pag naman nawala pa ako sa pace ewan ko na. Fellow sub-60 club aspirants Sam, Gerard and Jan would soon join the fray. Party at our pace! Splendid!

It was splendid only until the announcement of the race route. What I had in mind were the flat roads of the commercial district of Global City, and not McKinley Hills and Bayani Road. “Hello, hello” I asked myself. How do you expect to suddenly drop your pace from 7min/km marathon pace to a sub-60 10k pace on such roads? When I saw the 15K route entering the Heritage Park, I almost wanted to change distance, but my race has already become a group effort. People including myself were putting their heart and soul into this race. It would be demoralizing to extricate myself from it. In the end, I still believe it could be done. Hard, but it could be done.

In one month I crammed my speed training. I would soon write about my training travails, but for now, I would just say that while my training allowed me to run sub-60 tempos but my legs were deadbeat for days. I came into race night with 72hrs of recovery. For the pounding I subjected my legs, I was unsure if that would be enough. It took me longer to recover the previous weeks, so long I actually gained weight. My body was on a 50-50 state: half-tired, half-ready. I was on a tipping point, and my mind would influence the scale.

But my mind was already playing mind games on me. I was praying real hard that everything would turn out well on race day despite the earlier glitches. I worried not only for my performance, but also for the race itself. I so badly wanted this race to be a great race – for me and for others. To ease the mental stress, I concocted a tale – a trilogy actually – as I showered preparatory to race. The trilogy was so apt and powerful, it tipped the balance in my favor. I drove to the race excited and hopeful. Such was the power of the mind.


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