DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/14 March) – It was my first full marathon – the 2nd Davao International Marathon on March 10 – and it gave me both uncertainty and excitement. Uncertainty on how I’d perform with my advanced age alongside presumably more experienced runners, and excitement at the thought that it’s time to reap the fruit of having to wake up early four to five times a week for those morning runs.
Like when I first joined a half marathon in 2017, I prepared myself not just physically but also mentally. The mental preparation included telling myself that I could make it to the finish line and to adjust my pace depending on the terrain of the race route. Almost half of the route lies on slopes (Diversion Road), and overestimating your physical prowess could ruin the whole thing.
For the first 10 kilometers I ran a bit slower than my usual pace, not minding the others who sped past me. Mind you, it takes a lot of self-control to restrain oneself from trying to overtake anybody so as not to disrupt your plan. I just enjoyed the run and the cool breeze of the early dawn. But I often glanced at my wrist watch so I could adjust my speed depending on the distance I had covered so far.
As I turned toward the Diversion Road at least 15 participants ahead of me had stopped running and opted to walk up the slopes most of the way. I tested my legs by making a slow run up the first slope. No problem there. My lungs were fine too. But as a precaution I combined running and walking on the succeeding slopes until I reached the turnaround area.
On my way back, I ran at a modest speed. Upon reaching Sasa, however, I felt a slight pain in my fractured left leg, forcing me to combine running and walking for the next five kilometers or so. The other runners in sight did the same thing.
Last five kilometers, a sign ahead said. If I continued to slow down, I wouldn’t make it in less than six hours. So I took a deep breath and made a semi-sprint that by the time I reached the finish line I had overtaken around 20 other runners.
My performance wasn’t spectacular though, 5:47:59 (chip time) to place 152nd out of 285 finishers. Nonetheless, I had fun out there, guys.
(Body and Sole is H. Marcos C. Mordeno’s fitness and sports column. He played soccer and basketball during his student days, the latter even after leaving college until a highway crash that broke his left leg.)