Sunday, July 10, 2011

Race Review: YAMAHA – Run for Heroes

The last Merrell Adventure Run in San Mateo Rizal last month was undoubtedly the most challenging race I’ve been through so far. But despite a few setbacks during my barefoot (crash-course) training period in addition to, of course, exhaustion from the race itself, I still finished the run undaunted, unharmed, and with a smile on my face. After a few weeks of rest, gradual training and more fine-tuning on my running form, I guess I could say I’m fit and ready to face another racing battle ahead.

Despite the uncooperative weather last week, I still managed to run almost every day, come rain, come shine. I visited for race schedules and picked the ones with courses I’m more familiar with which are mostly flat and paved. I guess one gruesome trail running experience is more than my feet can handle and I don’t plan on exposing myself to that kind of punishment again anytime soon.

My first race for this month was the YAMAHA – Run for Heroes which was held last July 3. I registered two days before the race and still luckily got a singlet that fits me. I’ve assessed myself and perceived that I can do a 10 kilometer race since the course would be mostly flat.

The venue for the YAMAHA – Run for Heroes was at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. I arrived at the assembly area at 5:10 in the morning and found the place already flooded with runners. As the voice-over was prompting the 21k runners to get ready, upbeat loud music was also being played that added to everybody’s excitement. As soon as I prepped myself up, I immediately took a few pictures of myself and the crowd before I deposited my bag at the baggage counter. I was glad to see familiar faces of some runners I met from past races and was excited to be acquainted with new ones as well.

As soon as the 21k runners set off, I and the rest of the 10k participants were prompted to position ourselves near the starting line to wait for the countdown to begin. Shortly before the gun start, I still managed to do some quick additional stretching despite the tight space in between the crowd. I made this particular run to be a test for me as I was eager to find out how my newfound running form would do in a 10k race like this one and if all the suggestions I’ve received from sixth time triathlon winner Jason Rubillard would work for me.

And we’re off! At an estimate, I crossed the starting line at 5:31am in a slow constant pace. As many runners went pass by me, I focused on my form and mid-foot landing. The first 5k was a breeze as I took pleasure running with more than a thousand others and just enjoyed the cool and fresh early Sunday morning along rows of BGC skyscrapers.

At the 6k mark, I started to notice the increase in pace of some runners within my pack. I felt a little bit uptight as I was starting to fall behind. So I also increased my speed, maintained my form as much as I could, and was able to catch up with the group. I guess this is the part where the “fun runners” are set apart from the competitive ones. I never considered myself as “competitive” but as much as I lean more on the “fun” part of running, there are times I couldn’t help but raise my game one notch higher. After all, it’s a race.

In the 8k mark, as much as I resisted slowing down for water, because it will eat more time, my exhaustion from the additional speed I exerted compelled me to. The few ounces of cold water coupled with a drench sponge to my forehead quickly recharged my energy. At the turn of the 9k stretch, almost everybody seemed to be at full speed ahead. As we approached the last kilometer leg of the race course we merged with the 5k category runners which made the path a little bit crowded. That’s where I felt a pinch of pain in my left foot arch making mid-foot landing a bit uncomfortable. I decided to slow down a bit and run on heel-strike form to rest the tension on my left foot arch. I was relieved by this and switched back to mid-foot landing again. According to my wristwatch, I crossed the finish line in 1hour and 1minute, but I’m still waiting for the official chip time to come out soon. 

The race culminated with a festive event where all finishers and their support groups were treated with fun activities and freebies. I took some time to drop by the booths, get freebies and shoot more pictures. 

One particular booth that captured my attention was of the Heroes Foundation which happens to be the beneficiary of the race. There, I was given a short orientation about the foundation by their friendly staff and I was moved by their thrust in helping underprivileged children orphaned by their fathers who have fought and died in combat. As a fundraising consultant, I immediately offered my services on how to improve the foundation’s way of raising funds and they gladly considered it.

Another special attraction that morning, of course, was the Yamaha motorcycle display pavilion where they featured their latest line of cool motorcycle models including the most raved about Yamaha Fino which was highlighted at the event. As the morning became a little warmer, many runners didn’t bother to finish the program and decided to go home. 

Three of the Fino models were eventually raffled off and were bagged by three lucky runners after more than twenty names that were pre-drawn were called. Apparently, those who were previously announced were not physically present that’s why their chances were forfeited.

But for those of us who stayed and endured a few hours of waiting but were not too lucky to win any prizes, we’re just happy to go home with sore feet, sweaty clothes, and the enthusiasm to run for the next scheduled race ahead. 

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