Manila International Marathon (MIM) – 25 September 2011
I was in the middle of Macapagal Avenue, just 8KM to the finish line when my calves were attacked by the big bad wolf = cramps. I was shamelessly talking to my feet – yes, it was my bratty self talking, “kasi naman, ano klase mga paa kayo…dinala nyo ko ng ganito kalayo tapos dito nyo ko ititirik?! “C’mon feet, make me the happiest person today, please…”
Call it Divine Intervention, the sharp pain disappeared from both calves, and I was able to jog to KM39.
KM39 mark, I began walking. A weird thing hit me, mentally. It was even worse than the cramps…I never thought the idea of stopping would ever cross my mind. It did. I was asking myself whether to walk all the way to the finish, or why am I doing this in the first place? I could hear my pacer Jigger telling me to run, “takbo na Ann, kayang-kaya mo pa, sprint”, but I was not listening. It was a part of me which I never thought existed, until KM39 of my first full marathon. My legs were literally numb. It was scary and disorienting.
After almost a KM of hitting that mental wall, a surge of energy jolted me back to reality. People on a truck in the other lane were handling me bottled water…I got one and poured the water on my face, and I cooled down a bit. I saw a number of under nourished kids crossing the street. Something I knew all along surfaced – that I was to draw strength from a charity program (HAPAG-ASA) which my friends would be supporting, provided that I finish my first full marathon (they pledged to help, just finish the marathon alive…hehehe). I was back in the marathon. I was pacing to the finish line once again. “C’mon, Ann! Run! Run! Run!”
300m to finish line, I was so happy to see Dhes, our cheer leader. Ed was still somewhere in the area, while Jigs running by my side fulfilling his pacer duty. Darwin was ready with a camera. God sent me angels! I was smiling for all the right reasons. I was ecstatic – yeah, 42.195km and now the finish line! We made it! =)
My angels did spoil me up to a certain extent, before-during-after the marathon – Jigs and Ed paced me during longer runs while I was training. In the actual marathon, Jigs even allowed me to take a snack break, Bacchus break, a bladder break in a posh hotel. Darwin made sure that I stayed injury-free, and volunteered to become my official photographer. Friends like Dhes were all out with cheers and prayers.
The race organizer screw up big time, but the good things were so much greater than the negatives. I received more than I prayed for.
I would never ever regret the day when my bitchy, rebellious self decided to alter the medication program –I flushed all my maintenance medicine in the toilet, threw away the oxygen-in-cans. Time to start a journey to wellness, minus those medication drugs – I couldn’t take it anymore. I am forever thankful for that morning when I first laced up my shoes to run. I never thought I would love to run for as long as I can.
I met myself again along the road leading to the finish line – that part of me with a classic sense of determination. It was so re-assuring that life is going to be fine. From training to completing the marathon, I passed a decade’s worth of cardiac tests, blood chemistry analyses, and ultra sound screenings. Finally, I am healed. =)