My Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore Anniversary

Today marks another milestone in the long, colorful history of running : Dec. 2, 2012 – Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).

I’m going nostalgic over it.  I ran 42.195KM in last year’s edition.  It was my first time to join a full marathon event abroad, and my first to cover such distance without the presence of any of my teammates.  I intended to run it that way, for I wanted to test my WILLPOWER so badly‘What the mind conceives, the body achieves’…on with it!  I registered as soon as SCMS started accepting runners for the 2011 ed.  I had my flights and hotel accommodation booked, as well.  I invested on this test.  I had to finish it no matter how crazy it sounded.  I posted it in Facebook, not for the bragging rights, but to challenge myself even more.  Failure was never an option. 

I have a way of working on and around my goals, but at that time, it wasn’t working.  If it wasn’t working in a certain area of my life, then I would have to compensate the need to accomplish something – running did it for me without fail.  I was certain to beat all doubts in my head. 

SCMS 2011 - From Orchard - East Coast Park - Raffles Blvd - Padang

SCMS 2011 – From Orchard – East Coast Park – Raffles Blvd – Padang

Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 – I spent only half of the day in the office.  I had a late afternoon flight to catch at NAIA Terminal 2, and a carbo-loading dinner waiting for me in Pasir Ris, SG.  The dinner was hosted by Ate Emma – whose friendship I cherish for two decades and counting. 

I checked-in at Concorde Hotel Orchard Road around 11PM.  Staying in my friends’ flat meant that they would also need to wake up at wee hours of the morning, so I opted to stay in a hotel near the START line (Ngee Ann City, Orchard). Five things about Concorde: spacious room, courteous staff, good food, location, and competitive rates.  Adrenaline and dopamine fueled my excitement.  I can’t wait to start the next fun-filled day with my long-time friends.

Concorde Hotel Orchard - my home away from home for two tonights

Concorde Hotel Orchard – my home away from home for two nights

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 – It was never too early to give myself a small reward for being gutsy enough to join SCMS.  It was a breakfast treat – the best strawberry pancakes via room service! 

Concorde Hotel Orchard serves one of the best strawberry pancakes in town.

Concorde Hotel Orchard serves one of the best strawberry pancakes in town.

Right on time, 10AM – my SG-based soul sister Atty. Cashmere fetched me from the hotel, and we headed straight to Marina Bay Sands (MBS) for the Race Entry Pack Collection (REPC).  With almost 60K runners, the REPC that morning was surprisingly hassle-free!  We still had time to do a little shopping before we met up with Renchie to lunch.  We were greeted with fine dining at Sky on 57, and the best aerial view of Metro Singapore at the SkyPark.

Bestfriends from Bukluran days! =)

Best friends from Bukluran days! =)

New form of liquid therapy. This sumptous soup is served with a shot of Johnny Walker Blue Label.  Superb! =)

New form of liquid therapy. This sumptuous soup is served with a shot of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Superb! =)

Kuya Renchie conquered his fear of heights! - MBS Skypark / View Deck

Kuya Renchie conquered his fear of heights! – MBS Skypark / View Deck

View from MBS - The Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer – view from the SkyPark

Esplanade on a cloudy day.

Esplanade on a cloudy day.

Another tourist coming to life...

Another tourist attraction coming to life…

The day didn’t end at MBS.  It started to rain again at 3PM, and I was thinking – here’s another epic run waiting to happen, a full marathon in the rain.  Cashmere probably noticed that I was beginning to feel the pressure.  The remedy:  we went to another shopping destination – Takashimaya, later to be joined by the lovely couple Kris and Jenny-Vi.  Good conversation over Korean food – we called it dinner!  Cashmere accompanied me back to the hotel.  She asked for my after-race (kikay) kit and promised to cheer for me at the Finish line.  At 8PM, it was ‘goodnight, Orchard’.

NOW the RUNNING PART…

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 – My day started at 2AM.  A bit before 5AM, I was one with the crowd as we cheered at the START line.  No time pressure, I told myself,  finish it

SG has a relatively flat terrain and warm climate – same as Metro Manila…but humidity in SG was a major factor. I didn’t expect that level of humidity.  After KM5, I felt that my body fluids were gone.  At KM23, East Coast Park – I saw a number of runners down to their knees, agonizing in pain called cramps.  It was shocking.  At KM31, I thought it was the FINISH line for some distance categories, as the crowd was thick.  It wasn’t a finish line, it was the MEDICS area.  I passed by and saw a lot of people lying on stretchers.  They were so pale.  It gave me ‘The Chill’.

At KM32, I noticed edema (water) in my fingers.  All 10 were swollen already and started to numb.  I knew it was temporary, but I didn’t want to risk it – not being able to finish the marathon.  I didn’t fly all the way to SG to DNF (Did Not Finish – a term use in running.  It means ‘dropping out of the race’).  I had to lower my pride.  I knew at that moment, I wouldn’t be able to beat my time at MIM (Manila International Marathon).  I had to walk all the way to the FINISH line.  The good thing about it was, I had my cellphone-camera with me. 

The course wasn’t all pretty as I reached the FINISH line.  Runners dropping out of the race in pain, assisted by the paramedics and race marshalls – it was a common, disheartening scenario.  I continued to pray.  The race became my metaphor.  I set goals to achieve…then what?  I realized that I didn’t want to go through the rest of my life, not like this – ALONE!  Pride had no room at that moment.  I was confronted by my metaphor.  I knew there was something out there for me, which was more than running and chasing goals left and right.  I knew it all along. 

START Line - Ngee Ann City

START Line – Ngee Ann City

7KM na lang! =)

7KM na lang! =)

Scenic race route

Scenic race route: it was like touring SG by foot

Imposing view of Marina Bay Sands; runners trudging under the scorching heat of the sun

Imposing view of Marina Bay Sands; runners trudging under the scorching heat of the sun

My favorite shot during the race - an SCMS official photo

My favorite shot during the race – an SCMS official photo

Finish! =)

Finish! =)

One for the bucket list! =)

One for the bucket list! =)

After-race-treats! =)

After-race-treats! =)

Atty. Cashmere waited for me at the FINISH line.  She knew that I would have a tough time negotiating the impact of SG’s natural humidity.  She didn’t bother to tell me before hand; it might be quite discouraging.  She also knew I would get through it – come hell and high waters.  (Thank you, sis!  You’ve got faith in me! Thank you for supporting me all the way! It meant a lot.)

That same day at 5PM, I was already in Changi Airport, bound for Manila.  This was, indeed, one for the bucket list.

Wait, there’s more!  I managed to shop online for an original DVD as soon as the official SCMS announcement came out.  Addict! =)  This one is for my (future) children. 

Talk about drafting a personal history...

Talk about drafting a personal history…

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Minsan lamang ako mag-full marathon…

“Once, twice, thrice – gaano ba kadalas ang minsan?” – Hilda Koronel, Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? (1982)

Once…

Manila International Marathon – Sept 25, 2011

Twice…

Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore – December 4, 2011

Thrice…my love-run-crazy 3rd?  11 days to October 28. =) 

Photo grabbed from Runrio’s Official Website.
http://www.runrio.com

My Full Marathon Journey

Marathon – a long distance running event with an official distance of 42.195KM (26miles and 385yards), that is usually run as a road race; instituted in honor of a Greek soldier – Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens.  – Wikipedia

February 2011 – I vowed to finish my first full marathon (FM) in 2011.  I was feeling especially grateful because I was out of the woods already.  Each time I laced up my shoes to train, I was being reminded how closer I was to uniting my family and friends to re-affirm how blessed we are and we have so much to share.  It was truly inspiring – from a sickly soul to a marathoner, with people pledging to support a charitable institution for every kilometer I would cover.  The goal was huge, and announcing it to my favorite crowd made me shiver. I cried.  I was so addicted to life. 

In 2011, I completed two full marathons:  Manila International Marathon (MIM), Sept 25; and Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS), Dec 4.  

42KM – MIM – 25 Sept 2011

SM Runners – Trail Run – Tagaytay Highlands

38 of 42KM – SCMS – 04 Dec 2011

FM – SCMS – 04 Dec 2011
Photo courtesy of Atty. Cashmer

It is true that I was hospitalized, Dec 11 due to electrolyte imbalance and elevated level of creatinine.  Root cause : over fatigue.

Few hours after I crossed the SCMS finish line at St. Andrews Padang in Singapore, I flew back to Manila.  For the rest of the week, I was reporting to work as if I did not run an FM.  I even played badminton.  Addict nga eh!  Adrenaline was able to sustain me for that duration.  

Dec 11, I woke up to prepare for the Milo Finals.  I was to participate in the half marathon category (21KM).  I couldn’t get up from bed.  I was almost paralyzed – an instant ticket to the Emergency Room of DGMC.  I received my first and last dose of Tramadol via intravenous injection.  Instant effect:  my condition went critical.  My body was fighting off the drug – palpitation, numbness, nausea, and skin – pale as dead.  The doctors were terribly worried, too.  It took about 15 minutes for my condition to stabilize.  I was receiving painful potassium supplement, diluted into the intravenous bottle; and blood samples were being taken 4x a day.  I stayed in the hospital for 4 days – days it took for my potassium level to normalize. 

The urologist and internist ruled out muscle necrosis.  My kidneys are functioning 100%.  The cardiopulmonologist confirmed that my heart is very much healthy.  The OB told me to get a LOVE life!  (Nice one, doc!)  Given 3 to 5 months of rest, I can go back to full marathon training – but no more back-to-back full marathon for me.  I was advised to train for one full marathon a year (only), and give myself at least 3 months to recover from an FM.

I’ve been jogging for several weeks now…in preparation for my third FM.  I have set some ‘checkpoints’ along the course to carefully gauge my readiness for it. Call it crazy, but I think I’ve become a runner by heart.  I’m going to brisk walk / jog / run until I grow old.  Like what I wrote after my first FM, it’s going to be Ann + Running = Forever.  I guess, this is it.  =)

Stroll (scroll) down memory lane:  =)

https://meowthmoments.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/an-open-letter-give-back-and-thanksgiving-my-first-full-marathon/

https://meowthmoments.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/ann-running-forever/

I go for the journey, not for the race

My second full marathon is just around the corner – mauuna sya kaysa sa Christmas!   

December 4, 2011:  another dream that I must fulfill = my first offshore full marathon = touring the prime districts of one of my favorite cities by foot = The Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).

I completed a long distance run of 32KM last week, which coincided with the Run United 3 Afroman Distance event.  While I was at it, I was practically re-tracing the route of my first full marathon (Manila International Marathon, 25 Sept 2011).  Running, once again, gave me an opportunity to reflect, count my blessings, be grateful, and come up with creative ways on how to become a blessing to others.  Buhay na buhay ang spirit, hindi lang katawang lupa.   

Looking back to that first full marathon experience – It’s one of those firsts which cannot be replicated – yun na yon, kung ano pa man yon.  I enjoyed every minute of it kahit alam kung may susunod pang ibang running events.  Hindi ako nagmadali, eto yung pakiramdam na kung pwede lang huminto saglit ang oras – ako lang, yung ibang level ng fulfillment na naramdaman ko noon, at syempre, ang aspalto.  Hindi halata na in love ako sa running.  =) 

Several times did friends ask how it must have felt reaching the finish line of a full marathon (42.195km).  To me, it was a mixed of raw emotions – (sobra) happy for a dream fulfilled, and (medyo) sad because I knew I would miss the journey – the weeks of preparation, the special petitions, the excitement, pep-talk by friends, consultation with the doctors (wala na talaga ako sakit!)…even my in denial hopeless romantic side was not spared, at madami pang iba. 

 The journey is something I can’t get enough of.  It’s a metaphor of life.  Nakaka-addict!  =)

Run United 3 - 13 Nov 2011 - Afroman Distance - 32KM

 

So happy to see the Finish Line

 

SCMS - 04 December 2011

 
 
 

Zone out?

I don’t know who stole my magic.  I don’t write to complain, but rather confess – I am so uninspired.  I’m not keeping up with the marathon training.  Period. 

I don’t want to blame it on my new assignment at work.  I’m not blaming that feeling of longer-than-expected recovery from my first full marathon back in September.  Who am I to blame the weather? Not the weather. 

I don’t know.  I don’t have any valid excuses. 

When I was training for my first full marathon, I would run 3x a week and play badminton 3x a week.  I was to run not only for myself, but for a sponsored charity.  Now, badminton’s is so-not in the calendar, and I’m not running 4x a week, as planned.  Haysss…

I went for my tried-and-tested forms of therapy – music, spa, meditation, visual art, shopping, hanging out with friends…

All I could think of is…vacation in a far away place…away from it all! I know that I won’t be able to do so until February 2012.  Just my luck.    

With only 33 days left before the Singapore Marathon, I should be in the zone again by now. 

Ann + Running = Forever

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.  =)

 

jigs on pacer duty

 
ultramarathoners turned pacers: jigs and ed

Finish line!SM Runners

My full marathon checklist: hindi talaga ako excited!!! =)

Game na sa Sept 25.  Pre-marathon checklist:

 1.  Months of training – done

  2. Running shoes – check

  3. Race day outfit – check

  4. Race kit – check

  5. Garmin – check

  6. Energy gel and Jelly Beans – check

  7. Storm-free weather – check

  8. Carbo-loading – check

  9. SPA – check

 10. Bayview – check

  11. Pacers (Ed and Jigs) – check

  12. ‘Ruckus’ – check 

  13.  My heart, brain, soul – all for it! – check  (42.195km is no joke)

  14.  Prayers – check

Wala naman makakapagsabi na excited ako.  =)

 

AN OPEN LETTER: Give back and thanksgiving – my first full marathon

Dear Family and Friends,

 I hope this letter finds you well.

 I will run my first full marathon on June 26, 2011 at the Manila International Marathon.  A full marathon covers a standard distance of 42.195KM.  I have spent 16 weeks training for it, in the company of my fellow SM Runners.  I did my first half marathon, uphill runs, and trail runs with them; driving up to Baguio and Tagaytay. My pacers – those who will run alongside with me in the marathon:  Ed Escalante, Jigger Meneses, and Jayson Tan.   I must say that I owe them a lot for I would not have reached week 16 if it wasn’t for their support. 

 Why I want to run my first full marathon this year?

1.  Crossing the finish line is a huge gesture of thanksgiving and triumph for living through 33 years of a blessed life – something I owe my Creator and the people who touched my life.
2.  I have truly embraced my passions – one of which is RUNNING.
3.  Unite family and friends for a cause – this marathon is not about me stretching expectations of myself, but I want to do something good which is beyond me.   
 

You can help me make this event more special.  It’s not everyday I’m being given an opportunity to unite family and friends for a social cause – and I guess, this is one of the best times to do just that.  I want to make my full marathon an instrument to help people – to reach out to the community.  I have chosen a charity program called HAPAG-ASA – an integrated feeding program managed by The Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation.  Enclosed in this letter is a rationale of the said program.

Now, here’s the deal.  I will openly accept any amount you can whole-heartedly pledge for every kilometer that I can cover during the marathon.  Example: P2.00 for every kilometer.  If I finish the full 42KM, then your donation to HAPAG-ASA is, P84.00.  =)

Donations will be collected on week of June 27, or you may send me an email or text message so that I can give you my current account number.  All donations will be turned over to HAPAG-ASA under the name – SM RUNNERS AND FRIENDS.  I will be providing a report thereafter. 

Thank you so much for always sending me thoughts of strength through prayers. 

Sincerely,

ANN

http://www.manilainternationalmarathon.com/racecourse.htm#42k

 

 

 

Another first in my list: the trail at Saratoga

Mizuno Highlands Fun Run Challenge
May 15, 2011
Bistro Saratoga, Tagaytay Midlands/Highlands

6AM - Chillax at the Start Line

Personal rating: worth all the risks = milestone run
First, I was loving the trail. It was 17min for me after KM3. Gruelling uphill road leading to the Pueblo and it was liberating downhill from KM7. It took 54min for me to reach the trail leading to KM10. I thought I would fall unconscious because of the grade of the trail + scorching heat of the sun. I saw a number of runners resting along the tree lane, and everyone else was walking.

It was a roller coaster run: fun – gruelling – liberating – gruelling – fun – fun – fun…tapos swimming at Cottage Grove, also in Tagaytay Highlands

The challenge: Punishing slopes, very intimidating ascends and descends between KM10 and 13, konti lang ang semento lahat halos lupa! How and why did I ever signup for a 15KM trail run, considering that it was my first trail run? Crazy! =)

Runners vs. Soil + Sun + Elevation

it's like a never-ending trail

Slow down...because it's too steep

soil, sun, and more soil, more sun

Plus factor: Out-of-town bonding with the SM Runners – convoy, roadtrip, overnight stay at the Cottage Grove in
Tagaytay Highlands, picture galore, swimming after the run, rewarding bulalo and tinapang bangus!

Extra thankful for: An injury-free run for everyone in the team.

Meowth space: Liberating solo drive with my (manual transmission car) Sofia, marveling at the breathtaking mountainous terrain while negotiating the steep, slippery slopes leading to Tagaytay Highlands. Love it! =)

Race result:  please checkout http://www.takbo.ph  or follow this link –  http://takbo.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1948:highlands-mizuno-fun-run-2011-results&catid=23&Itemid=100029

almost done! =)

fun at the finish line

Wacky SM Runners

Natapos namin =)

When running is bliss


 SS told me, “Watch your feet.  You never know where they’ll take you.” 

 I am forever grateful for that thought.  Whether it is between my feet and the pavement, or all-weather-all-terrain, it is never too soon to stop running.

 And when you think you can run fast?  Kinda’ get hold of the thought until you run in the mountains.  =)

 I paced quite moderately until I tried to ‘feel’ the hills of Baguio.   It was in Baguio where my lungs were beaten.  What used to be an efficient pair of lungs almost ran out of air even before my feet reached the 300meter mark.  It can only be the effect of high altitude and thin air.

 At 300 meters, I was watching my feet and listening to my body, trying not to make it obvious that I was literally gasping for air…Back at 200 meters, I was female runner #2…and at 300meters, now you decide, Ann do you want to make this harder, or let it slide, cut yourself some slack and enjoy the race?  I chose the latter.  I let go.  I stopped watching my feet.  I stopped glancing at my watch.  I started to enjoy the view and the climate – it was so serene.  I was not counting strides.  I was counting blessings, instead.  I’m a recreational runner.  I’m keeping it at that.  Halfway to the finish line, it was all downhill…I was even happier, only if I could roll down the hills injury-free just like they do in cartoons; I would have done just the same in a heartbeat.  

 The technical side of the race did not really matter to me as I was too happy in the ‘meowth zone’ over a few ‘very-first-times’ that could only happen in Baguio Feel the Hill run challenge (10 April 2011). 

            My first:       

  1. Out-of-town run with the SM Runners (with beautiful families and fabulous friends in tow)
  2. Uphill training for my (first) full marathon – Couldn’t have it any other way…
  3. To run in one of my favorite cities –Baguio!  With matching photo shoot with the locals
  4. Podium finish – Rank # 4 – 5KM Female Div – I did not expect that the organizers would award Rank 1 – 10.  
  5. Stay at the SM Vacation Homes – log cabin galore – love, love, love!
  6. Race Director Mr. Philip Pacle – was first to congratulate me at the finish line.

 Good thing that most of us (SM Runners) signed up for 5KM, considering that it was our first uphill run.  It may be relatively shorter in terms of distance, but it was the toughest course I’ve ever negotiated so far…and I enjoyed every second of it.  I think I’m going back for more!  =)

 Next road + trail run:  Mizuno at Tagaytay Highlands (15KM) with my favorite pack, the SM Runners.   =)