The early morning was humid, I felt the heat as soon as I stepped out of my place. It was 3:00am. Rain had visited our roofs on the past days of the week and mostly occurred from midnight to early morning but it seems no rain will be falling on this day. I am hoping for a drizzle as I get myself to the famous luneta for the 33rd Milo Elimination Race, I guess this will be a different way to run this premiere running event of the country.
I arrived at the site an hour before race start and kept myself busy with friends chatting and reminiscing the previous milo races that we've had. A video of the previous milo marathon race was shown on a big screen to entertain runners and boost their confidence for this race. At 4:00am the organizers announced the call time and the participants entered the corral. With a few minutes before race time we were sent off.
I started with a relaxed pace and tucked behind Sir Jovie and the hardcore group, I find his start pace good enough from the last marathons that we ran together. Approaching the u.s. embassy I slowly crawled ahead and feel the increase in my pace. In just a few minutes my pace mate Rod appeared from behind and we started cruising along with our projected pace.
Some 30mins before the race I saw Jay, the Greek Prometheus Cometh arrived with a lady. I called him but he didn't hear me due to the sound from the loud speakers as he checked-in to the race. After about 30mins of getting jogs and stretches, I rested for a while, relaxed and once more reviewed my race strategies. Later inside the corral I managed to locate him and we talked regarding the race. His plan is to maintain his pace allthroughout and increase some if he could feel the urge. Given that, I told him that I'll stay behind since I usually start easy and off he went as the gun was fired.
Jay is ahead.
Rod and I continued our relaxed pace together with other runners left and right of us. Stories were told once again since the last time we met was during the 32nd milo finals. We kept on chatting as we go along, this strategy brought us farther during the last two editions and we expect that this time will be the same.
At one stretch of roxas boulevard a lady appeared from the median island with somewhat of a hydration supply in hand. I recognized her as the lady who came along with Jay before the race started and without hesitation, I shouted "Jay is ahead" twice. After hearing me the lady and his companion immediately rushed back to the other side of the road to maybe reach Jay in no time.
Before reaching the first turn around point at airport road I saw Jay on his way back, he's a few hundred meters ahead of me and is running well. Rod and I caught him up before the edsa flyover and went ahead of him. This was the first time I knew my pace was at 5:15 mpk, thanks Jay for the info. Maintaining a slightly above pace I continued cruising along buendia avenue until the makati cental business district. It's difficult for me to leave Jay behind but his race is different from mine.
Jay is behind.
Upon reaching malugay I saw again the lady who emerged from the median island somewhere at roxas boulevard. I said "Jay is behind", and saw the comfort in her eyes. Maybe there will be no more dilly dally on her part. I was still strong at this point as Rod and I soldiered the remaining stretch of buendia avenue. Upon reaching the kalayaan flyover I consumed my first gel, it was a good 01h30m had passed at this point in time. Jay is not far away behind us as I climbed the road leading to fort bonifacio, he'll catch up on us in a little while.
Hi Mrs. Jay.
At the corner of 5th avenue and 26th street, the lady now with a camera on hand, is shooting on us straight forward. Maybe Jay is inches away from us. As I drew closer to her I politely said "hi mrs. jay nacino", and she beamed a smile. I felt the appreciation and the fatigue somewhat went away. I felt a decrease in our pace at this point since this was mainly an uphill ride until mckinley road. Upon reaching bayani road Jay caught us up and went ahead after the second turning point, he was running strong. Time check: 02h00m, second gel down.
Rod fell behind and I maintained my position with the man possessed. Jay and I ran along through the third turn around point at c5 road and back. Suddenly the rain poured after we reached lawton avenue on our way back, this scenario brought us back to the last elims and finals editions. This is the reality in racing the milo way. At 02h30m we were at essensa but the man with me seems unperturbed. Jay continued to strut his butt without fading away. I am not surprised because I am a witness in his preparations. We reached again the lady at the fort, took a little breather and continued the chase of time, at this moment we were at the 5:07 mpk pace. I can't believe why I am running this fast as Jay and I reached km30, it's because of a dream I know. Because of the man I'm running with, he's on a mission. As we exited fort bonifacio we saw the t2 running support (thanks harry for the pics) and not farther away is the takbo.ph group. The cheers from them lifted our spirit and the bottled water was the coldest I have had, many thanks guys.
05m07s pace at km 30
We continued until the kalayaan flyover on our way back until Jay eventually broke ahead. I stayed behind him and ran my pace until he went way ahead. I wasn't prepared to match his energy and toughness because I'm not in his level. I could still see him cruising along until he disappeared from my sight, that was at the buendia avenue and osmena highway junction, maybe after 03h10m of running. My story of Jay halted there as we went on our own. I soldiered the rest of buendia avenue in solitude, marked those ahead of me and took them one by one, I'm still good enough. The billboard with the huge message was still there, I continued to talk to Him. I felt more stronger because I am getting closer to the other takbo.ph group support. The place was lively and I am overwhelmed as I passed by them. Thank you Gene for the personalized stuff and to all the other volunteers. You're all heroes.
I collected my reserves for the dreaded roxas boulevard take over, the last stretch where most of the runners fear. Same with the previous milo races I had, the rajah sulayman park was again a witness of my walk-run-walk-run ordeal. Here's the place wherein the toughest buckles, but after this place lies the prize. After this 3km stretch lies the gold, and if you're brave enough, it is yours. I hope Jay survived this experience. I exited buendia avenue at 03h18m and with an average pace of 8:00mpk at this stretch I finished the race.
finishing the race
After crossing the finish line xty told me that Jay went ahead. She got his pic and told me that she only heard "whooah" from him. I supposed he just changed and collected himself. This was a grueling run, considering the pacing we've had. After my 20mins of finishing, a grinning Jay finally showed up with the lady in him. After 42km of running, 5 precious times of seeing her on the race, I finally knew the angel of 407, she was Mrs. Angel Nacino.
The story never ends here.
with jay at the finish line
everybody got an angel
More photos here.
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