February 24, 2008. This was D-Day for my first marathon. I was already awake at around 1:45AM preparing my things. I was excited at the same time anxious. But who wouldn’t, this was my first marathon, and 42K is the longest distance I’ll ever be running. We arrived at the Marikina River banks at around 3:30am. The area was already packed with many runners. I stayed beside my pace partner Glen. So my plan as a first time marathoner is to simply stick with a pace between 5:30 – 6:00 per kilometer. 4:00AM and the race began. I was with Glen, Joy, and Teddy and we were running at an even pace of 5:30/km. We didn’t mind some of the runners passing by. Glen said that we will soon overtake them at the half kilometer or so. The plan is to simply stick with the pace whatever it takes.
As we were about to enter Heritage, true to what Glen predicted, this young girl who was in the magazine was already walking. Then we overtook other runners inside the fort. As we passed by JP Rizal, we saw my parents providing supplies. They have prepared Gatorade in large quantities in a large ice bag. But to get those gatorade was really a relief. It was unfortunate though at around 24KM teddy had problems and was left behind. We also saw kuya Art having cramps at the 25th kilometer. But I'm confident they will be able to complete the race since they are really strong runners.
Everything seemed to be okay at this point. Not until we reached the 30KM mark. This was the time when I tightness in my knees. I told Glen that I’m getting knee pains but he told me not to mind it and just continue running. At kilometer 35 the pain began to increase, and all my feet are sore. I remember what Ben told me, that after the 30KM mark, it would be all heart. Yes it was so I kept on running. Not until we reached the 38th kilometer, I knew it would really be hard for me to continue so I stopped and walked. Maybe stopping was a bad idea, cause by that time, I felt the pain in my legs and it seems I could no longer run. So I walked and walked, and tried to run, but I was getting cramps in my calves. 4KM left and I needed to do something to cross that finish line. I walked and walked, and tried running again. Now as I was running, I felt the pain but I continued running. I thought that I might as well finish the race running than walking. Slowly I was nearing finish and I reached the finish line with a smile. I looked at the wide clock in the finish line as I crossed it. For my first marathon, I clocked 4 hours 5 minutes. I went to the recovery booth and my Fort Striders family congratulated me for finishing my first marathon and for remarkably finishing it with a decent time. I was so happy finishing it. I got my medal and it remarkable to achieve something very few people can achieve – to run 42KM. Its true what they say, whatever speed or time you finish the marathon, as long as you finish it, It is an achievement you will cherish forever. My legs are all sore right now and I can barely walk - so its recovery time. I’m targeting the Milo marathon and I’m planning to achieve a sub 4hours race time for it.