Urbanite Tales Part 3: I Should Have Worn Knee-High Socks!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I drove to Boni High Street brimming with hope that a sub-60 is still salvageable from my training-weary legs. If I just keep thinking of my Kenny Trilogy, IT can still happen. Even if I fell short, I would still feel good knowing I ran for others.

The usually late me was an hour early this time. A night race obviously goes well with my biorhythm. I picked up friend Cecille who was within 5k distance from race start. Cecille was my running buddy for fun races like Buddy Run and Men’s Health Trail which we did at picture-taking pace. For the Urbanite 10K, Cecille and female friend Tonie would run together and aim for better time, while I chase away my elusive personal goal.

We arrived at the fiesta carnival that was BHS. While Cecille was not so excited about the race on account of mild back pain, I was getting high as I see the huge crowds. I love race crowds, more so when they unexpectedly mill around clad in singlets in a posh gimmick place like BHS.
The plan was I would accompany Cecille to the race start area where she would meet Tonie. I would then do a 500 meter warm-up jog around BHS and meet up with Luis my unofficial pacer after. Luis and I would meet up with fellow PR seekers Sam, Gerard and Jan, would horse around the race corral imbibing all the positive vibe, and would all race together to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But fate had other plans.

Cecille and I could not locate Tonie at the designated meet-up place. In the sea of people, my tension rose as I craned my neck for her familiar face. We spent at least 20 minutes looking for her in vain. In the middle of my mounting concern, I got a text from pacer Luis that he was stuck in traffic. He would later tell that with a 25 minute waiting time at the parking slot, he managed only to enter the back of the race corral just minutes before race start. Unfortunately, he could not jostle himself to the front part where we ought to meet.

I do not exactly remember how I managed to search for an impromptu running buddy/group for Cecille among the takbo.ph people, gate-crash into and take a leak at the Texas Roadhouse CR, tie the chip into my shoe lace, and squeeze some sort of a warm-up in the remaining time before race start. I came across or saw a lot of good friends I wanted to chat with prior to the race, including Jan and Gerard, but I was too high-strung to chat.

Then the race started.

Cheered by a rowdy group of takbo.ph friends at the sidelines, I did my first 500 meters at 5:30 min/km. For a moment I felt more popular than Marc Nelson with all the "Go, Rico" chants. Haha. Thanks guys and gals. Never had I experienced such a fast start. I continued into the second kilometer at about 6min/km pace. For the first time I was running just behind my “Kuya” Lyndon. I wanted to talk to him before the race, but I had to content myself to just trailing him behind. Kept telling myself, “Hang on to Doc.” I did hang on until km3 when suddenly I felt crashing. Holy tornado it was the gel again. In my pre-race anxiety I stupidly gobbled my lone caffeine-infused chocolate GU reserved supposedly for my last 2 kilometers kick. Stupid me also forgot that caffeine actually makes me drowsy!

Like detergent powder hitting water, I slowly melted. Doc Lyndon surge ahead. Even the foxy lady runner in yellow I was clinging onto for added inspiration sped away. Kilometers 3-4 were the hardest for me as I trudged on with a weary mind and legs. There was a brewing battle in my mind: Why the hell are you doing this? Gerard would probably say because one should not take refuge on the next time. But he was racing somewhere out there and could not be found. Luis? I didn’t even know if he managed to start. The thought of DNF even crossed my mind. What? DNF on a 10K!? Did a quick goal review. Primary goal was to do sub-60. That was clearly off the charts given the circumstances. I could still shoot for a PR better than my 1:06:25, but my secondary goal was really to party and have fun. Were my friends actually right in choosing to party instead of PR? Should I have heeded the signs? Very tough route, race pack glitches, missing Tonie, unexpectedly late Luis, and unusually humid night?

I threw in the PR towel at km 5. I wanted this race – my race – to end on a high note. If I could not PR at 60, I would eke out all the fun I could get. So I waited for Cecille at the halfway mark. I was missing my pace group and she was missing her running buddy as well, so we might as well run together. Why did I not think about that earlier? I was so enamored with having a nice chip time and analysis, I forgot to think of the having fun part.

I amused myself by observing runners from the water station. I wanted to help out but I was afraid I would lose sight of passing Cecille in the crowd. Eventually we met up and run together. Cecille is actually a fast newbie runner just needing to develop her endurance. We would run/walk together, but on downhills she would speed up to 5min/km while I gingerly run on hurting right heel. It was in the last 5K that I shouted "Go, Sam", watched in amusement at the glowing bangles dangling from someone's cap or race belt, chuckled at Jixee and Ritchie for wearing knee-high socks, and watched Joyce in her multi-colored tights zoom away to her spectacular 15k finish.

Tired Cecille actually got what she signed up for: a better 10K time and a photo opportunity with Marc Nelson. As for me, my fun lies in the thought that my friends got what they wanted. Doc Lyndon got his night race. Sam zoomed through 10K at 58min. Gerard had his at 61 minutes (totally awesome given the tough course and humidity). Luis’ speed was fast coming back as he clocked 60 minutes without any pain. Jan, we’ll paint the road sub-60 next time, ok? I was happy to indulge on my Urbanite Meal at the end and bring home a loot bag. I also went home with the comforting thought that my speed training - difficult it may be - would actually allow me to bring down my marathon training tempo pace to 6:30min/km from 7min/km.

While my time of 1:20 might have been my career worst, in a sense I did PR. It was a personal record for me not to be beaten by the series of unfortunate events. Frustated or irritated at times, maybe, but not irate. By sheer will I made my Kenny’s Urbanite Run a race to remember. And I shall remember the first one for its fiesta atmosphere and with thoughts of good food, great company, glow sticks and colored knee-high socks.
Sa kakahabol ko ng PR I decided not to wear colored knee-high socks. Kung si Ritchie naka podium finish at si Doc Marvin naka-PR on colored knee-high socks, next year ako rin. Mang Kenny and Ma'am Karen, kung kukunin ninyo akong endorser, I am willing to run with Kenny Rogers knee-high socks. Haha.

Let me end with a quote from good friend Doc Marvin (nuttybunny4):

ay nako... basta ako hapon plng nakatass na ang knee high socks ko! and i'm wearing all my similar socks to all the races i'm joining in the future!

I should have joined the league of Colored Socks!

Photos courtesty of Carlo and Marvin


Anonymous August 18, 2009 at 1:25 PM  

Hi brother, I also wanted to talk to you at the starting line because i know you are doing a sub 60. But the humidity prevented me to do so because i know i could not sustain the 6mpk pace. My mileage was low the last 2 weeks before the urbanite but all were tempo runs. I was hoping for a negative split and was on track til around 6-7km. The humidity caused my heart rate to shoot up hence had to slow down and even walk on every steep hills that i encountered. i was not frustrated at all. I enjoyed every km of the race. Thanks brother for supporting Urbanite. Til our next run.......ROTARUN 09


Jan August 18, 2009 at 1:28 PM  

Nice post Rico! It was indeed a tough 10k course. Just like you, I was on track until I faded on the 4k mark.

I know that our sub-60 10k will come soon!

Gerard August 18, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

Hey Rico,

There will always a next time. There's just times that you really got to give in, and try again. No hurt in retreating as long as you retaliate back and fight with a vengance!

:) the course just got the best of us!

I bet, in other circumstances, we would have broken that 60 minute barrier.

Sam The Running Ninja August 18, 2009 at 2:04 PM  

Nice post Rico,

Nice to see you had fun even if you didn't break the 60min barrier. Really the most important thing is to enjoy the race, PR is just a bonus. More training and sub 60min will be a piece of cake (lets do ROTA Run 10k? :)) . Hope to train with you someday at Army Oval.

The Running Ninja

Anonymous August 18, 2009 at 2:58 PM  

Hi Rico!

Great post! This is Ivan Arota from your friendly neighborhood. Remember? Met you first last year with my kids and dog, and then bumped into you again recently while doing our training runs around the neighborhood. I ran the 15k distance last Sat night and plan to do a recovery 3K run later this evening in our area around 7PM. Join me if you can!



trumanian August 18, 2009 at 4:16 PM  

nice post, rico. we share a similar story, tried sub-60 too but failed because of the last 3km challenge. we'll hit our targets soon. :)

Anonymous August 18, 2009 at 5:19 PM  

When i saw you casually walking with Cecille during the race, i knew you had put on hold your PR attempt. maybe next time, huh? See you around, Rico.:-)

jetpaiso August 18, 2009 at 6:26 PM  

its still congratulations to you rico, and advance congrats if ever you become KR's endorser =) handa mo na abs mo bro =)

Rico Villanueva August 19, 2009 at 12:19 AM  

Hi Kuya Lyndon. Haha. Nakita kita kaagad sa race corral but I was busy looking for my friend. Wanted to congratulate you for a great race in advance. I really wanted to do the Rotarun except that I already promised to do the Powerade duathlon with friends. I am sure Rotarun will be great as well.

Jan, it was great to bump into you pre-race kahit medyo hilo ako. On hindsight, I should have stuck with you till the race. Maybe we could have pushed each other. Anyway, it was really a tough course and weather condition. Maybe we are destined to break sub-60 in even grander fashion. Haha. See you around.

Hey Gerard, galing ng takbo mo ah given the circumstances. I actually saw you before the race but I was busy looking for a friend, and along McKinley while I was already on cruising pace. I wanted to shout cheers sana but I thought you seeing me relaxing might not actually do you no good.

Hey Sam, manlibre ka naman ng Kenny Roger's ribs. Hehe. I saw you in McKinley. You were on fire! Great job!

Rico Villanueva August 19, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

Hey neighbor Ivan! I'm pleasantly surprised you found me in cyberspace. You will probably find me here more often than early morning in our neighborhood. Haha. But it was good to see you again when I was doing my morning runs for Milo. I run more often at night, but one early morning weekend I might just see you again in our part of the city. I'm thinking of doing short hill training on our Guatemela. Some takbo.ph members residing within our vicinity are planning some runs in our area. Will let you know if ever it pushes through. See you around :-)

Hey Brian, sayang last 3kms na lang. But there will be other runs. At least now I know whom to recruit in our 10k pace next time. See you!

Hello Rene, mukhang yung 10K saga ko parang komiks - laging abangan ang susunod na kabanata. But I know I will nail it - just don't in what fashion. Waiting to be surprised myself. Good luck on the QCIM

Hey Jet, bigyan kita na chicken if ever maging endorser ako. Haha. I am working on the abs now. Need more chicken and ribs :-)

rachel August 19, 2009 at 7:50 AM  

Hey Mr. V.!

Yeah, you should've worn your knee high socks! Maybe that's your "magic feather" haha!

You did set a PR.. for a night race! Running conditions are different, so you can't compare this with your previous morning races.

By the way, if and when you become an endorser.. don't forget the muffins ha?!!

Marvin August 19, 2009 at 1:57 PM  

Hey the original Enrico Villanueva! a.k.a. 'younger long lost brother of Doc Lyndon'

Great story you got there sa Urbanite! ;) Paano naman nangyari at bidang bida ako sa blog mo? hehehe. :) thanks!

Do not worry, our elusive sub60 for 10k shall be achieved soon! :) sabay tayo! ;)

vimz August 19, 2009 at 5:19 PM  

hey rico. first of, thanks for putting a link to my blog here. second, nice blog you have here. thanks and good luck on your quest for the sub60. ;)

Rico Villanueva August 20, 2009 at 12:50 AM  

Hi Rachel, dapat talaga ng yellow socks ako at tumakbo at party pace. Next time hehe

Hey Marvin, naaliw lang ako sa comment on the takbo.ph forum on Urbanite uniform...tapos nakita ko pa yung mga photos...sakto! Next time PR naman tayo ng 10K hehe

Hi vimz, nice of you to drop by. I place the blog links so I can easily read the blogs I follow....See you around :-)

Nora, the golden girl August 22, 2009 at 8:43 PM  

How I wish I was there Rico! I could really feel how fun it was. Don't worry too much about your sub 60. THAT will come. In HIS time.

Rico Villanueva August 23, 2009 at 10:33 PM  

Hi Nora, you are right. In HIS time :-)
See you around!

Gingerbreadman August 24, 2009 at 12:30 AM  

Once again, my apologies for not making it on time buddy. I was right there, however I did not foresee us jostling for parking slots with the gimmick crowd. And there were so many people! Don't worry, we'll get it next time. I did a 25 minute 5k split in a futile attempt to look for you guys, I finally gave up and just ran the 2nd half chill pace on an unbelievably humid night in an unexpectedly tough course . We'll get em' next time! :P


Anonymous August 31, 2009 at 10:50 AM  

Sorry to hear you didn't reach your PR but you are so admirable for turning things around and making it a positive experience. kakaiba ka talaga brother! Congrats in advance to your sub60 PR!

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