The Manila Experience — 2010 Adidas King of the Road
I can’t believe that it’s been a year ago to this date that I got a chance to run a race in Manila for the very first time since my very first race, a 5k in 1997. It also became the last race of 2010 from a successful return to running or sporting life after injuries after injuries on my right knee from sprain to cartilage tears. That race happened to be the 2010 Adidas King of the Road (KOTR).
Exhausting my available PTO, I decided to travel for a 5-week vacation in
Philippines to attend my grandfather’s first death anniversary, visit some old friends and relatives, and take a shot of running a race in Manila.
A friend of mine recommended KOTR, and I asked my cousin to register my name for the half marathon. Unfortunately, due to very short runner quota (one of the smallest), I ended up running the 10k. I said to myself, it’s best to get into the race even though it’s a 10k than not. I think it ended up as a good thing.
Arrived in Manila a week before the race to get myself acclimatized with the weather and humidity, which I am not accustomed after living in the Washington, DC area for over 10 years.
Looking at my weather app on my phone, it registered that at that time it’s 85 degrees F (about 30C), but with the relative humidity it feels like its 95F (35C). Bad news for my account, and the events of the hilly Rockville 8k replayed on my head.
Once the race started, I was running at a pace that very much to my liking up until I am about to reach the 3rd mile, almost 5k, that I felt like I am having a fever. Looking at my heart rate monitor, it is showing that it is almost 100% of my max heart rate, which is never been that high that early. At first I may end up picking up someone’s heart rate, but once I separated myself by running on the side, it was mine. From a sub-9:00 min/mile pace, I was forced to run a minute or a minute and a half slower to reduce my heart rate to a tolerable level and lower my core temperature. The strategy worked, and decided to pick it up in the last two kilometers, which after the Kalayaan Flyover. However, my goal to setup a new PR on a 10k is not going to happen.
As I crossed the finished line, I said to myself, “if I can run a race in Manila, I can run anywhere in the world.” I was very humbled with the experience. When I met my cousin to rehydrate, I noticed my hands were shaking, and warned my cousin that if you see me that I am about to faint call for the meds to help out as it showed signs of heat stroke. Good thing, it didn’t end up that way.
Lots of lessons learned here that I was able to carry on succeeding races in 2011, which I employed speed training, registering for races to call it as “training races” such as the St. Patrick’s Day 8k and Clarendon Day run 10k. I also learned more when to hydrate during races, the proper use of energy gels (2010 is an energy gel free season), looking at splits, and working on my last 10k, 5k, and 400m. If running a race on a different country, it is wise to run 1.5 miles to 5 miles (max) on a race pace to get adjusted with running with local weather. Getting there a week before the race is not enough. Lastly, I also learned to respect Mother Nature even more.
I wish all the runners an early congratulations on this years KOTR. I wish I can be there to redeem myself. To all my Pinoy runners, regardless of level, you have my full respect. Trust me, if you can run races in Philippines on a time that you have posted, you can run races anywhere in the world and have a shot on establishing a new PR.