Infinite Possibilities

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

 Sprinting to the finish line

Five pikermis in 5 weekends. The 2011 Mizuno Infinity Run 21K marked the last of my half-marathon series of run base building before I embark on my 10K series on speed. From our team Endure, only 3 of us are running the 21K. At least ten of my teammates are running the 5k as brand ambassadors.

Team ENDURE at Mizuno Infinity Run 5K

I looked at my Mizuno race with equal excitement and dread. Excitement because I hope to have the best race result here from within my 5 pikermi series, and dread because the weekly long rides and runs follow a cycle of muscle degradation and repair. I hope I recovered enough for this.

I was early for this race and started with everyone else. I tried my best to keep up with the crowd energy at the start, but it really takes me a long time to warm up. I think I got my groove only about 2kms into the race on the way to the Skyway. I slowly but surely attacked the uphill climb to Kalayaan flyover. Again, I only walked at water stations. So proud of myself for that. I tried to pick up pace a bit along the Buendia stretch. I tried to overcome the excess weight I still carry by engaging more my core and bigger muscles. I realize I tire less when I do this. 
I was speeding up a little, inspired by the elite runners already on their way back, when suddenly I saw a familiar face. Holy tornado, teammate Melvin was already on his way back! I shouted and waved at my teammate but Melvin was not only wearing earphones, he was clearly so focused. It is not the grunting focus that one sees when someone is trying to dig deep for strength and inspiration, it was a quiet focus. The guy was in the zone! Calm, open face, quiet with a purpose. After him I would see strong runners/triathletes Ige Lopez and Mark Ellis. Wow, my friend Melvin is even ahead of these strong athletes. Holy tornado indeed!

Melvin about to finish with a really good personal best

I was so fired up with my teammate's outstanding performance I sped more a bit till the Buendia turnaround. I would soon catch up with the husband and wife tandem of Bro J and better half. In the past four half-marys these two would often be ahead of me - because I was often late and because they are better trained than me! I was so glad I finally caught up with them. I was steadily running and they were on Galloway run-walk strategy. We would find ourselves within each other's view every so often for at least 5kms to Lawton Avenue. 

I also met sorely missed blogger Mesh with whom I share a surname, and how I wish I share her speed too. Mesh visibly slowed down to chat with me about Boston and Ironman, and she kinda pushed me to go beyond my usual speed.

I was still recovering from the uphill climb to Lawton Avenue when suddenly I saw Melvin again on the other side of the road. It was just about 1.5hrs into the race and the guy was already on his last two kms! Again, calm, collected face. Unbelievable! Few meters back was Ige Lopez and further back was Mark Ellis. Wow, my teammate was really pushing it.

Suddenly, I was fired up again by my teammate's efforts and I raced downhill towards McKinley. Alas, I lost momentum finding my way through Security Bank runners doing their corporate race. I only managed to escape them on the way down to Bayani Road.

Ah, Bayani Road, here we go again. Memories of Milo Marathon come flashing back. With my excess weight, I actually welcome more the inclines than the downhill, but I surged down just the same. Do your best effort at butt kick, I told myself. Sixteen kilometers into the race I made a time check: I have 40 minutes to complete 5K and hopefully do better than 2:40. Very doable at some other race, but I have an uphill climb back along Bayani Road to contend with. For the first time, I ran up Bayani Road the best way I could. I was huffing but I ran. I thought of my teammate again. Never settle. Run 100%. The possibilities for personal greatness is infinite.

Push yourself. Last 5 kilometers. I remember the best 5km stretch of my running life - back there in Clark in New Balance 25K Power Race. It was in that 5km stretch to the finish when I discovered I love running. I might not match my speed there, but I could match the effort I took there. And so I ran. And ran further. Push your limits. Believe.

In the last two kilometers I stepped further on my inner accelerator. One kilometer to the finish I came across teammate Ellen pacing her officemate. Here is another strong runner, Ellen. I said hi and continued my crusade. Five hundred meters to the finish line I remembered my run to the finish in the 2010 Cobra Ironman 70.3. Instanty I was transported back to Camsur, running the best 200-300 meters finishing kick I could muster. I was in the zone and my legs took a life of their own.

I crossed the Mizuno finish line 2:40:43. With Kalayaan flyover and Bayani Road, the Infinity Run was the toughest in my half-marathon series. If I count the fact that Greentennial Run was short by at least 500m, I had my best run time here in Mizuno. I am still far away from my overall 21K personal best of 2:28,  but I finish this race confident in the thought I am considerably a better runner, weight and fatigue notwithstanding. I hope to bring this confidence in infinite possibilities when I go back to Camsur in August.


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