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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Flight JP104 (My 1st Marathon Story: part 2 of 2)

This is part 2 of my 1st marathon story. Please click here for part 1. Thanks!

Everything changed the day I understood that if I was to become a runner, I would have to run with the body I had. - John Bingham, The Courage to Start

Having the above in mind, I accepted that only way I could finish my first marathon is to run to the best of my ability. For 3 months, I ran at night inside the Mall of Asia complex, at different weather conditions, to prepare myself to what the Smart Subic International Marathon has to offer. I adjusted my pace, nutrition, and sleeping habits according to the present body that I have, to push the wall and finish strong come race day, even if it would take me X number of hours. I read stories of fellow runners, and tried to learn from them.

Flight JP104 ready for boarding

Henry (with wife Mia) and I went to Subic as early as Friday afternoon to spend the rest of the day relaxing. Nicky, Rafa, Cesar, and Ven followed after, arriving late Friday night. We stayed in a house in Forest View. We brought along groceries for our stay until Sunday lunchtime.

I went to bed around 10 PM, and woke up around 9 AM. I can say I have a good night’s sleep. We all shared a hearty breakfast of pancakes and bread. Pasta and barbeque chicken lunch followed shortly.

Cabin crew, prepare for gate departure

Henry, Nicky, and I then prepared ourselves for our very first marathon. The race will start at 4PM, and I knew that I would be hungry by then. I brought with me a banana for my afternoon snack.

We left the house at 1:45 PM, and arrived in Remy Field at 2:10 PM. We board bus number 9, together with the Kenyan runners. While waiting for the bus to leave, I was drinking the water in my flasks to keep me hydrated, thinking that there would be enough water every 2.5 kilometers, as promised by the race organizers. We left Remy Field around 3 PM. The bus driver lost his way, leading us to as far as the airport. We arrived in Floridablanca Exit at 3:45 PM.

Upon arrival, I looked for the portable toilets and tents near the starting line, but I saw none of these. I am starting to feel annoyed with the organizers, because they promised me this, but immediately shrugged it off, trying to concentrate on the race. Basking in the beauty of Mother Nature, I took a leak and I pity the female runners who wished to pee as well before the run.

After a while, I finally saw my Takbo.ph friends and shared a couple of wishes and inspiration. Craig Logan then led us to a short prayer.

All the runners were advised to dip their index finger in a cup full of indelible ink, as a mark that all were present in the starting line. Invocation followed shortly. Sir Jovie aka Baldrunner led us to the recite the Runner’s Oath. At this moment, I knew that I transformed, that I became an athlete. I have meant every single word of that oath, taking seriously the promise of not cheating, that I will run the full distance.

Ready for take-off

At 4:22 PM, we took off. My flight plan was to run and take 1 minute walk breaks every 2.5 water station, at an average pace of 8:31 min/km. At this rate, I will comfortably finish at 6 hours.

Plan was working from KM 1 to 20. I was running within my aerobic heart rate. I knew that I would finish strong. I did not mind not seeing the kilometer markers the race organizers promised, and used the water stations as my marker instead. I also did not mind the runners who were overtaking me, thinking that I will overtake them at the latter stage of the route. In this stage, I prayed the rosary, marveled in God’s creation, thought of the people who made a mark in my life, and made new friends with people who recognized me through this blog.

Houston, we have a problem!

Approaching KM 22.5, I was looking forward to refilling at least 2 of my flasks with water. To my dismay, there is no water! I’m starting to panic, and while running, I texted Chona of Eventologist (forgot to save Adi delos Reyes’ number) and told her of the problem. I carried on, hoping that the problem was isolated, and that water is available in the next water stations.

To my full disappointment, water ran out too in KMs 25.0 and 27.5 (learned that other runners were not able to hydrate starting KM 10). I texted Chona again. I shouted to the people who were dismantling the water stations, and asked them where’s the water?? Do they expect the runners to stop and wait for water to arrive?

At this point, I started to feel some cramps, and had no choice but to slow down. I was still on target, but I need to switch to survival mode. Good thing, a fellow runner with a support vehicle generously shared to me his sports drink. Thanks comrade!

It was also along this route that I was running alone, with only the moon and the stars guiding my path. I prayed again. And in my prayer, I realized, that I am just but a tiny speck in the universe, and yet God loves me, that He is closely watching over me.

Feeling a bit afraid, God secured me, making me take my walk break with 3 police officers who also participated in the marathon at one point, and with Coach Mar aka Pojie at another point. It was a delight seeing them.

Water finally arrived via delivery van at KM 29, and I fully filled all my flasks.

Descent in preparation for landing

It was almost KM 30 (SCTEX exit) when I saw Bong Yu and Mary Genie and decided to join their walk, for I have lost hope with the organizers. I really felt cheated!

They promised ample supply of water, sports drink, lights, food provisions, portable toilets, kilometer markers, motivational markers. Over-promised, under-delivered!

Entering Subic was horrifying! No marshals! And the lane for runners (shoulder of the opposite lane for Manila-bound vehicles) was too narrow and too dark! The 3 of us can’t help but to watch over one another.

Approaching Total Gas Station was heaven! Takbo.ph crew was there, to provide us with some refreshments (complete with cheering posters! Now, that is what I call support! Effort!)

In our long march, a guy in white SUV with diplomatic plate stopped and offered us a ride. It was very tempting! But we don’t want to add insult to injury. As for me, I remembered Tita Padima, whom I am running for. We thanked the guy and bid him goodbye.

Final approach

Reaching the well-lighted SBMA, Mary Genie ran ahead of us for a strong finish. Bong Yu and I resolved to walk to the finish. We are strong, very very strong! But speaking for my self, my drive to finish strong is no longer there. I was very disappointed. I am optimistic for my first marathon. I wanted it to be very memorable, cherishing every single moment of anguish and victory, envisioning that I would cry at the finish line. But these were stolen away from me by the race organizers.

Entering Remy Field, my SFC and Takbo.ph friends welcomed us, and tried to push us for a strong finish. They really know how to cheer us up. Thank you dear friends! You made everything worthwhile!

Make Love Run 3

We were aiming to raise P10,000.00 for Tita Padima. As of this writing, we only have P2,500.00 pledges. May I appeal for your generosity to make love run for Tita Padima Suleik. No amount of love is too big or too small for a simple miracle to happen.

Photos courtesy of Prof Luis Arcangel, Atty Venice Bayongan, and Doc Marvin Opulencia.
Smile courtesy of SFC and Takbo.ph Friends.


Sam The Running Ninja October 27, 2009 at 11:28 AM  

Congrats Jet for finishing your first marathon. Some people would succumb to cheating, taking that very tempting bus ride, get to ambulance and get out near the finish line but you held you head up high and finished the race.

Kudos, I'm proud of you. The organizers may have cheated us, but we were able to finish it with our dignity intact.

There will more marathon.


Anonymous,  October 27, 2009 at 2:17 PM  

I agree with Natz's previous comment, organizers should really think twice, thrice, no, hundreds of times if they are serious in organizing an event and if they can deliver the goods. Worse things could have happened but great job in finishing, Jet!
Hope to see you in your next full marathon :-)

Neil October 27, 2009 at 4:51 PM  

Congrats Jet for not giving up! I cannot imagine being alone in that stretch of darkness along SCTEX. Kudos to our Takbo.ph family! They and your runners are the prestigious ones in this race.

Earl aka Jayrulezzz October 27, 2009 at 9:38 PM  

jet! congrats for your first full mary...i have your photo along sctx...di ka pa wasak...click my secret blog...lol

jetpaiso October 27, 2009 at 10:43 PM  

sam, thank you and congratulations on your 2nd marathon!

tukayo, maraming salamat! sana kasing bilis ko na kayo ni sam hehe

neil, yep, i praise and thank God for takbo.ph and my sfc family.

earl, hehehe di na sikreto yang blog mo ngayon! may picture pala ako sa sctex, akalain mo! tnx tnx!

Your best friend's mom,  October 28, 2009 at 1:36 AM  

Hey Jet, I really enjoyed reading your recount of your "memorable" 1st marathon. I'm proud of you, you made it! Here's to more kilometers run for the Lord and for worthy causes such as this. Make love run!

decipher,  October 28, 2009 at 3:42 PM  

Congrats sir Jet on your first full marathon!
i admire your courage.. i know how hard it was, saw a couple of runners on our drive back home.

thank you. you inspire me. =)

Anonymous,  October 28, 2009 at 4:43 PM  


Congratulations! We made it. By the way, I confirmed that my dad and your late grandfather are brothers. He even check out your site. That makes me your uncle! [Dapat nag mano ka sa akin when we met at the starting line, hehehe;)].

Will catch you again in one of the future runs. Keep on running Jet! Congrats again!


Gingerbreadman October 28, 2009 at 4:56 PM  

Congrats on the marathon finish Jet. Your resolve in spite of the horrific circumstances was admirable. You should be proud of yourself, because we are!

pepsi,  October 28, 2009 at 8:16 PM  

a triumph to finish it despite all the odds jet. congratulations!

Jet Paiso October 29, 2009 at 6:45 PM  

ate joy! thank you for your prayers! we did it! and i will continue to run as my expression of love to our brethren in need.

emil, thank you! you can also do it. can't wait for your 1st full marathon bro.

thanks uncle doctor! congrats too on your finish! hope i could run as fast as you are.

thanks luis! you're presence and that of tito caloy and rest of the takbo.ph gang did wonders to our weary spirits. thanks bro!

thanks pepsi for supporting us virgin marathoners!

Anonymous,  October 30, 2009 at 7:54 PM  

Mabuhay ka, Jet Paiso. Congratulations!

Jet Paiso October 31, 2009 at 3:35 PM  

salamat ka xty! hehehe see you and hubby vener in the coming races

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