I was in awe as I saw the training schedule on hand... It was a 22K long run! I know for serious marathoners, this is no sweat, but for me, I haven't been able to run farther than 10K in my training sessions. And the 10% rule says you should only increase a maximum of 10% in distance per week. But if I do a 22K then this will totally break the 10% rule, and ill be doing a more than 100% increase in distance.
What kept me motivated in doing this long run though is the fact that the pace will be a little bit slower than my usual 10K pace. I've done a 4:50min per kilometer in my previous race, and they have planned to slow down the pace to 6:00min per kilometer. But again, a lot of runners are saying that there is a huge difference between running a 10K and running a half marathon.
In preparation for the long run, I asked my wife to allow me to buy the nike hyrdation pack which costs around P1300. I told her its very important for long runs. I also bought a sachet of Power Gel which I will definitely needing for fuel.
Now comes the moment of truth. I woke up 4:30 packed my amo, and head off to fort to meet up with the other runners. Unfortunately as I was walking toward the meeting place, they were already running. Glen called my name and said to join the pack. He said we are just doing a slow pace. The problem was, I was wearing a jacket, and was carrying a heavy water bottle filled with water. To my disappointment I had to start 1km ahead of them, so I thought that wouldn't be fair. Anyway as I was running along with them, before the 2K mark, I felt really uncomfortable so I stopped and let them leave me. I opened up the power Gel, swallowed everything, tied the jacket into my waist, and burst into running at 10K race pace in order to reach them. I was able to catch up with them at the bridge. So for the first loop I was only able to do 6Km while they were able to do 8KM. There were also some who gave up the first loop and no longer tried doing the next loop. On the second loop though, the pace began to speed up to 5:40min/km, and this wasn't intentional. It was kuya Melvin and Glen who was leading the pack, and they were the fastest from the group. But I knew my watch couldn't lie, it was 5:40. After the 2Km mark I saw my watch telling we are moving at a 5:20min/km pace, and I knew this is now crazy!!! And the worse part is, we are moving faster on uphill. I heard now from the platoon crying out "TAMA NA!!!". But the pack kept on going playing with seconds in the 5 minute scale. On the 13K mark, many gave up. Here I am still holding on to finishing the run. I was telling myself, how long can you hold on? Then we were able to reach the 16th kilometer mark. This time around almost everyone gave up and there were only 5 of us left namely me, Glen, Kuya Melvin, Kuya Art, and a fast member who I don't know the name. I was telling myself, I can do this.... On the 20th kilometer mark there were only 4 of us left now. It was me, Glen, Kuya Melvin and Kuya Art. Now I'm along the pack of the fastest fort striders... talk about being proud. But I was about to give up when we reached the 40 degree bridge that consumed most of my energy. I saw my pace slow down to 7min/km. I told them, "no more", but they insisted that I can do it. So I decided, alright, lets finish the run! We slowed down at a 7min/km pace as we run up the really steeeeeep bridge. But after reach the top I was fully recovered I felt the pain in my knees while pounding on the ground. I normally feel the pain when running at a slower pace, so now I insisted to run faster back to a 6min/km pace. They agreed and told me that Ill be the one to pace. They also told me not to try running at a 5min/km pace because they can no longer hold that kind of pace as well. So I speed up a bit at around 6min/km pace until we reached the end. Kuya Melvin congratulated me for doing my half marathon. Since I started 1KM ahead it was really more of 21KM while it was a 22KM for them.
I was assesing my knee today, and I noticed that the 21KM run did not gave me a bad injury as much as my 10K race pace runs. So I thought, this is a cool way to end a week to have a really really long run once a week for training. I'll be running for the Yakult 10miler (16KM) this sunday and if my knee heals just in time ill try pacing for 5:30min/km for that race.