Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Bull Runner Dream Marathon 2013 Testimonial

I'm a marathon runner!

I am Thirdy Lopez, 27 years old. I have been working in the IT industry since I earned my degree in IT and I have been running in official run events since 2011. I first heard of the Bull Runner Dream Marathon, a unique 42km race exclusive for first and second time marathoners, when my friend (CJ aka run adobo king) had began his quest to become a marathoner on 2012. On March last year, my Pex Running Club (PRC) teammates cheered him on  his first marathon.  At that time, I didn't think I could do the same feat until September 2012 when I signed up for the 2013 batch. The same friend (CJ) helped me in accomplishing the registration procedures since I was then working onshore.

Training makes you a marathoner

By October 2012, the formal training for the marathon started. While my batch mates attended the first bull session (a long run headed by Coach Lit) for the 2013 batch, I was on my flight back to the US. I started training a week later. I followed the training plan, maintenance run on weekdays and long runs on weekends from October to December. During those months, East coast US had started to get colder. I would run the prescribed 60 to 90 minute run with a runny nose (‘coz it was really cold). I even had to get running gear for the cold weather (which I doubt I’ll be able to use in Manila). I admit as I missed a few training runs due to visits to New York, Philadelphia and other places in Delaware.

I arrived back to the country before the Christmas vacation began and I forego of the training prescribed scheduled at that time. Feasting was more important. But by end of December, I was back to following the plan. I was able to finally attend a bull session with the 3 hour run in Nuvali on January. I didn't know anybody who was there until I saw a running buddy, Nate, on the free shuttle to the venue and I paced with him for that run. We did a 3-1 Galloway pace (try attending a bull
sessions to understand what this is) and attempted to follow Coach Lit’s group. I learned new running techniques from this session. It was a glimpse of the learning experiences my batch mates have been enjoying in bull sessions. I continued training until I got sick after 60 minute run in Baguio at the last week of January. I guess my body gave up with all the training. Coach Lit later affirmed this suspicion when he told us training for a marathon requires us to take our body to its limits and then exceed them. Anyway, I was able to resume training a few days after my slight fever.  Then came our longest long run on the Condura Skyway Marathon weekend, we were assigned to run 30 kilometers. We were advised to run 21km at the race and the rest before or after the race. I planned to do the rest after the race but my friends distracted me and I fell asleep when I attempted to do it later in the day.  I resumed training nonetheless and started to taper training.

21 km running at Condura Skyway Marathon 

Taper week was great as training was easier than the weeks before but sad since I had to miss a few circuit training classes in the gym (so I won't injure myself). But I managed to pull it off. I was able to resist the temptation to attend that body weight circuit class or that suspension training class that routinely ends my weekday. On the week before the actual race, I tripped (and I felt something a little painful in my right ankle) during my supposed penultimate maintenance run and decided to relax the rest of the week to avoid further injury.

Pre-race jitters got to me

A day before the race, I started to prepare everything I needed on the race. I booked a hotel so I would be too stressed out before the race and I could relax the few hours before the gun start. It was around this time that I started to feel the jitters. I was an artist who was about to do his first concert. And in many ways, I was. My mind was all over the place. I packed too much stuff. I brought 2 shoes (I only need one), too much running paraphernalia and extra electronics so I would be comfortable pre-race and I wouldn't fail to bring something. On my way to Sta. Rosa, I realized I had too much luggage. I was carrying three bags (too much for an overnight stay). I was really feeling the pre-marathon jitters. I even called home when I thought I forgot my race bib when it was safely packed in one of my bags. In retrospect, I should have packed earlier so I wouldn't be bothered by pre-race jitters.

Luckily I arrived in the El Cielito Inn in one piece. Then, all I had to do was to catch a few ZZZs before it was time to head to Nuvali, the race venue. It was easy to fall asleep as I felt tired from all the panic and excitement earlier in the day. I awoke at 5pm to have dinner and watch TV shows to calm my nerves off. I also laid out the things I will bring and wear. I also met a fellow dream marathoner in the elevator and was able to hitch a ride to the race venue. (Thanks, Darius!)

Marathon Day, the day we have been waiting for

Then, it was 2 am and we were about to take our last steps to our goal, to become a TBRDM finisher. I planned to pace with Nathan on the first 10 km but I couldn't find him anywhere so as Jim Lafferty was prepping us with his “Later on the day while your friends and family are starting their Sunday weekend, you will be marathoners” speech, I faced the fact that I will be taking this journey on my own. I originally planned to run my first and last 5 km then do 3-1 Galloway in between but I followed fellow TBRDM batch mate Manny’s advice to take time and stick to a slow pace on the first half.(Thanks, Manny!) I ran and walked with the rest of the pack. I ran in decreasing pace as alumni Noah had advised me. (Thanks, Noah!) But I couldn’t contain myself when the road went downhill. I ran as fast as I could as gravity was working on my favor.

At the 15-17th kilometer, I started to worry that I ran too fast in the downhill and it might affect me and I hit a wall earlier than expected. I didn't. I made it back to the 19th kilometer turn around where I found my team titan team mates cheering for me. I caught them on my walk break so they even had to ask if I was still fine. Of course, I was fine and I was even able to make it to the 21 km turn around point and met my team mates cheering me on again. (Thanks, Team Titans!) I then continued doing 3-1 Galloway not fighting gravity with more walk breaks at uphills and making up for more running with downhills. I reached 21 km at 2:55.

I looked forward to the 32 km, as most stories I read said they hit a wall at 32 km. I reached the 32 km at 4:38 and I was still doing fine. I started contacting my friends so they could meet me in the finish line and at kilometer 33 I found out that they are already there waiting for me.  For a few minutes there, I was deciding on ways to find new friends if they weren't able to meet me on the finish line. Luckily, I wasn't able come up with any ideas and I didn't have to. (Thanks, PRC friends: Cath, Lee, Yuri, KC, Gerard, Sein, Enrich, Dom and my special friend, Jessie). The road leading to 37 km had a lot of uphills so I found myself taking a lot of walk breaks. Then at kilometer 39, I felt pain in my left foot which I fought off by running slowly. It was around that time that a rainbow appeared in the streets of Nuvali and rain started falling, too. I attempted to take a picture of the rainbow but that caused my phone to stop working when it got wet with the rain. I continued slowly running the last 5 kilometers of the race never minding the pain in my left foot. I then saw Jackie (a 2012 TBRDM alumni) cheering and taking pictures. It was great to see her as it was just a year ago when we cheered her on her first marathon finish and now she’s doing the same for me. (Thanks, Lucky Jackie!)  Then, Ayala Triads TL Zaldy paced with me in the uphill at the last 4 kilometres. It was great to be guided and cheered by him as he would always do on Tuesdays at Ayala Triangle (Thanks, Sir Zaldy!). At the 41st kilometer marker, I found CJ who was late for his chaser duties. He paced with and took numerous pictures as I fought off the pain to stop and crawl to the finish line. CJ and I almost always run at the same pace in long distance race so it was great that this race wasn't an exception  (Thanks, CJ!) I stopped to clean myself up for my finish line photo moment (at prinaktis ko kaya yan due to’s advice [Thanks, 2timothy!]) at the Kikay Tent (Thanks, Kikay Tent!) I found my Pex Running Club friends and Ayala Triad team mates cheering me on as I saw the Garmin marker in the finish line.

It was such a great feeling to finally end this 42km journey and be the star of the road even for just seconds. I let the person in front of me (Congrats, runner 547!) have his moment before I raised my hands for a photo moment then stepped on the mat to grab the marathon banner and raised it over my head. I had to yank the banner out of Ate Banners hands since hinihila niya talaga palayo sa aken. CJ continued taking my photos as I claimed my medal and had pictures at the “I am a marathoner” signs. I then got my finisher’s kit and claimed my baggage. I had a hearty breakfast of sausages, yogurt and brown rice. Then, I met my PRC friends to have breakfast at Army Navy at Solenad. Bonus for new marathoners, you could eat anything after running 42 km. I had a hot dog sandwich, an ice cream sundae and tons of other treats later that day.

The Bull Runner Dream marathon is unlike any other marathon race

As I look back on this achievement, I must say it really is a great experience. The Bull Runner Team had made this marathon, a cherished memory. They gave us a training plan so we’ll become marathoners. They gave us guidance in bull circles and sessions. On race day, they took care of us like any race organizers and provided opportunities for alumni to help us in this endeavor  There was hydration every 1.5 kms. The race route was challenging. The addition of “care stations” that had chocolates, gummy bears and other small food items kept us strong as we ran our first or second marathon. The cheers from team mates and running friends towards the finish line were really special. This is really a unique race unlike any other marathon events. If you haven’t ran a marathon yet, I suggest you consider joining the next batch as they will ensure your first (or only) marathon will be something special and memorable.

Special thanks to Team Titans, Pex Running Club, Ayala Triads, TBRDM Alumni, TBRDM Chasers, TBRDM Team, Running Community friends and Jessie.

I did it!

I am a marathon runner!

Garmin Log:

Photo Credits: CJ, Cath, Jessie, Sein, Yuri, Philip BF, Jackie, Tong Photography, and PhotoVendo


cuteehcath said...

yey congrats :D

madmader said...

Good job! Thanks for sharing this. I'm thinking of doing this too, maybe next year. I want to do a half mary first this year.

madmader said...

Good job! Thanks for sharing this.

Thirdy Lopez said...

Go, mad mader! We'll be at the finish line to cheer for you!


the viewing deck said...

ang bangis naman, no wonder for international plans for future events :)

Boo said...

Congrats! Im planning to join the next batch too!

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