First off, a big congratulations to all the men and women behind the Condura Skyway Marathon. From the head honchos over at Condura (brothers Pat and Ton Concepcion), to the tireless Race Director (Coach Rio) and his crew, all the way down to the last marshall and aid station volunteer --- all of them contributed to churning out a marathon that this running-crazed metro of ours can be truly proud of. It seems that the team left no stone unturned in its drive to ensure that the event would be a spectacular success. This, coupled with the innate uniqueness of the Skyway route, are more than enough to make the Condura Skyway Marathon one of Southeast Asia's "must-run" marathons. It's right up there with the Cebu City Marathon, and surely deserves to be called the country's premiere running event. Hopefully, events like the CCM and the Condura Marathon would boost the country's stock as a preferred marathon destination in the region.
On a personal note, I am pleased to share that I was able to record a new personal best for the marathon distance. I did not meet my target time of 4 hours and 30 minutes, but I wasn't way off the mark either. I finished with a chip time of 4:35:46 - an improvement of almost 15 minutes from my previous PB of 4:50:04, set at CCM last month. Average pace was 6:27 mpk. My run had juuuust the right amount of suspense, too, as I hit Km 37 somewhere along Buendia with a time of exactly 4 hours. That left me with 30 minutes to complete the last five kilometers - very doable even for an average recreational runner like yours truly. I thought I could pull it off as I still felt strong at that stage, hydration and nutrition along the route was more than adequate, and the sun was neatly tucked behind thick clouds. And so, I gave it the old college try. As it turned out, a pace of 6 mpk was no longer sustainable, and I missed my goal by five minutes. No shame in all of this, however, because nobody that knew me when I was younger would have ever imagined that I would one day finish a marathon, let alone finish one with a time somewhere in the 4:30's range. Heck, it was the proverbial suntok sa buwan (punching at the moon), but somehow, I managed to do it by taking the Skyway. Statistics of my run here.
And for the record, the son never forgot.
Another saving grace was the fact that I continued my streak of bringing down my finish time, one marathon at a time. My finish times thus far are 5:42 (Condura, Feb '10), 5:20 (Milo, Jul '10), 5:18 (CamSur, Sept '10), 4:56 (Singapore, Dec '10), 4:50 (Cebu, Jan '11), and now, 4:35. It's obvious that my training for BDM 102 has allowed me to continuously improve. I don't think I've become faster, but I've definitely gotten stronger. Peaking at the right time? We'll see. My advice therefore to aspiring marathoners is this: The best marathon training is ultra distance training. : )
Now that my marathon streak is over (for now), I am back to being a newbie as I continue preparing for BDM 102. I'll be doing the second BDM test run on Saturday, from Km 50 in Abucay, Bataan to Km 102 in San Fernando, Pampanga. This 52k run will be my longest run ever before I tackle the real thing on March 5, and also doubles as only my second ultra distance run. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will be hot and humid on the day of the test run, as that will be the only way for the test run to simulate the conditions that I expect to face at BDM. May the next few weeks be fruitful and productive for me and for all BDMers, veterans and neophytes alike, 102 or 160. Showtime is just around the corner, my friends.