Monday, December 12, 2011

Conquering THE ROCK

Joining the 2nd corregidor international half marathon was exciting to say the least. For those who know corregidor, it is one of the last strongholds of the US and Philippines forces during WWII.

Most of us learned about it during history class in high school. I actually love the sense of history this run gave me. For more info click HERE. I ran a 10k. I had no expectations of running fast whatsoever. I have heard that they have the steepest hills you can run. (it was actually like climbing up a mountain)

We woke up about 3am Dec 10. We had to catch a ferry going to the island at 5:30 am. The trip took about 1 1/2 hours. (it gave me an opportunity to take a nap on the boat). I surveyed most of the runners there and noticed they were very experienced runners by the way they were preparing for disembarkation.
Some had full on compression suits and were putting on several globs of sunscreen. By the way they looked (very lean and fit) and the gear they had on (very "runner"), you can tell they were serious.

It was humbling.

I was glad I was running only a 10k.

The 21k runners were the first up. All in all, I think the total runners for both events were about 387.

The 10k runners were so few, I had a chance to run in FRONT.  (I think most of the people were afraid to position in front.. maybe pressure to run faster?).. I checked later on and discovered we were 98 runners in total.

The start of the race went with a loud honking of the bull horn. I ran a faster pace at first because I knew I had to slow down when I got to the "killer" hills. I needed to gain more ground. About 100- 200 meters from the starting point, we were going to do a turn. This turn was going up an 45 degree uphill incline.

pretty hard to take a picture of yourself while going uphill!
This incline went for about another 1.5km!!! I tried running, well, for the most part, jogging.. but I was afraid I wouldn't last the rest of the 8km that I still had to go. --- at least most of the 10k runners did not attempt to run uphill too. I was not alone!!!

I took several shots of the ruins and the scenery while jogging.
used some artsy effects...

loved this part of the run. very relaxing!
I took opportunities when the roads got more even to run a bit. One thing about his run is you get to see a lot of sights. Like ruins (see above) from world war 2. At some point during my 3rd kilometer, I got into a conversation with a fellow runner. Her husband is a serious runner and left her (he was going for a fast time... I eventually found out that he was the first place finisher in the 10k at 49!)

So, Michelle (that's her name) was grumbling how it was so hard to take pictures when you are alone. Echoing her sentiment, I offered to take her picture if she would take mine. So I had a running/picture taking buddy from 3km onwards.

It was quite fun after that because we took turns taking each other pictures and babbling about our running experiences. (we both were recreational runners). I found the time and the kilometers went by quickly. We also found ourselves in some "jungle-like" conditions in one part of the race. Thankfully, no rain for that day or we would have been crawling over mud. (the day before saw a heavy downpour and flooding that I was worried we were going to swim our way to the island)

The sightseeing runners just had to take a picture with the antique gunnery

I think doing this run is the best ending to the year. I really enjoyed this most of all the runs I have attempted. WHY?

1. the route was challenging and yet enjoyable at the same time. You get to see history and nature and get fit too.

2. the limited number of runners made it extra special. As I was running towards the last 200m, I was cheered on by the volunteers and was actually all alone on the route. It made me feel like I was the FIRST one coming to the finish line. The announcers was calling out my bib # as I was running towards the finish and they even had a ribbon for me to cross! wow. unbelievable feeling!!! Made me feel like a winner all the waaayyy!~~~ (unlike other runs where participant number by the thousands, you get lost in the crowd coming in)

3. They handed me a rose and a medal.

We had a nice lunch (which was included in the race fee)-- my husband and friend said they could not taste the food from being so exhausted -- they ran 21k and were cramping so bad during the last half of the race. (most were hills). I was thankful I had a more enjoyable run and had time to even take pictures..! (but honestly, I could really feel the downhill on my knees)

We also took the tour after since our boat ferry back was at 5:30. The tour guide was a elderly white haired gentleman who amazed me with his encyclopedic knowledge of history. He even recited the farewell letter of the admiral who surrendered the island to the Japanese. It was like a Filipino David Attenborough and I was watching the history channel without the guy having a script. To think he looked about 70! WOWZER. If you are interested in doing the tour, click HERE

The pictures from the event are not yet available. I am excited to see the picture they took as I was crossing the finish line. (imagine me... arms up leaping over the ribbon... hehehe) will update this blog when it comes out.

Even with all the picture taking, I managed to finish 48th place out of 98 runners. Not bad eh? 1:34 mins. upper 50th percentile is not bad for one who has no training and was taking pictures.

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