So there I was… seated in a bus bound to BGC along with other 21km runners. Around me were 21km runners, having fun chatting their friends while the rest are seriously watching the on-board LCD showing pirated copy of Ghost Rider 2-including me. We reached BGC after 20 minutes, the driver seemed clueless where to drop us off, he was getting instruction from another runner.
As I forgot to watch for the race, I checked the on-board clock and I realized that the race would start in 30 minutes. So I hurriedly went out, did some 10-15 minutes jogging, did some dynamic stretching and bought a small mineral water. I had my full-body massage hours earlier and so I felt like my leg muscles are very loose and ready to rumble. Ten minutes later, the race would formally start and I positioned myself in the middle. After some prayer, some chit chat by coach rio, showing on an MTV and gun-start by the boss of Unilab, off we went running.
My run was very consistent from the beginning, I didn’t push myself too hard as I want to practice a consistent breathing exercise. I had 3 gels with me and knowing that this is a Rio race, I can easily check km markers and take one every 6 km. The hydration was never a problem, the promised water/electrolyte every 1.5km is there. An exact opposite of what I had to endure during the 42km Condura Marathon where the absence of electrolyte when you needed them most pissed a lot of runners. The traffic was well managed, marshals were greeting us good morning and offered some encouraging words. Hydration stations were superb, water/electrolytes were served in long tables, cold and ready for pickup. Bananas were also given twice but I bypassed both as I had issues when eating bananas during race. Everything was perfect during my run, except on the last 6 km of the run. I noticed that my pace was considerably slower, because I was protecting my calves from cramps, runners I previously overtake were now running ahead of me and I thought, this is one of those race you just have to move on, enjoy and learn from. The same issue issue I had during Condura Marathon, hunted me down on this race as well. While I did stop on all water stations and took 2 caps of Powerade, my sweat rate was ridiculously high and I was not spared of cramps. I think I had cramps after the 15km mark. Worst was the last km where the cramps on my left calf was unusually painful (heck, I can still the pain as of this writing). I promised myself to buy another bottle of Hammergel Endurolytes so I don’t need to worry cramps anymore, just like the good ol’days.
I finished the race unofficially in 2h:20m, feeling like a beginner half-marathoner again. My best time for this race category is 1h:54m, something that I plan to improve this year.
After I crossed the line, I went straight to the massage area and I was given a nice back massage by some guy. There was also a place there where I soaked my tired feet in cold water. It was a welcome change from previous races where I don’t get to usually participate in post-race activities like these. On my way back to the parking area, there was also another mini-event race for small kids being hosted by that familiar running host (sorry, don’t know his name). If there’s something that you can easily notice in this race, this one is really family oriented. It was well planned and executed, from free bus shuttle service, the actual race event and post-race events – this was definitely worth the time and money.
On my way home while driving, I can’t help but think, if we can have races like this at affordable cost, I believe Unilab will be able to get more participants to join their races. Something I hope they should consider in the future.
I give this 4 Shuriken out of 5 (waahh may ganon na dito??!!)