The Subic International Marathon 2012 was by far the most challenging 42km route I did. I was here before in 2008 but just ran the 21km event, leaving me clueless about the remaining distance until the turn around points. (from km10 to km21). I came here expecting that the route will be challenging, but little did I know that the hills are unforgiving. It's just like a roller coaster ride from start to finish.
My family arrived in Subic in the afternoon of Saturday (a day before the race). We headed straight to Remy Field to claim my race packet courtesy of Maan Oriondo of eXtribe. There were number of participants inside the gym claiming their respective race packets and some other registering for the 3km and 5km events slated late that day. There was a large number of military aspiring individuals participating in the race, a signature campaign of the SIM. They came from the Police Academy and the Military Academy, and I believe they registered yet again the highest number of running contingent. After securing my official bib number, we went directly to the hotel for some rest and change-ups.
In running long distances, like a marathon, it is a necessity that a runner should stay horizontal and relaxed a day before the event. The best way is to sleep, read a book or watch movie. And hydrate too. But these practices are inevitable in foreign places since you have to explore new grounds, and being with the family, one of my objective is to get them around town. We visited the beach, the freeport exchange stores, and ate at a famous restaurant. Busy as it goes, I hardly hydrate myself, a big fault on my part. After our stroll we headed back to the hotel and prepared my things for tomorrow's race. At 9:00pm, it's a shut-eye for me and the entire family.
Our hotel was just a short jog away from the starting line, in less than ten minutes I was at the Remy Field Oval. It was past 4:15am and the race was about to start. Routinely, I was able to warm-up and stretch before the gunstart and also had a chance to chat with running friends from Manila. Shortly after 4:30am, we were sent off. I started in a moderate pace, feeling the ambiance of the winds of Subic. The starting line was at sea level and I don't want to exhaust my effort before the hills. The pace was not easy but I'm comfortable, maybe it's because of the different air around. I continued with this pace until the 5km mark, 28mins had passed. The route was evenly lit not until the uphill climb near the Subic Intl Airport and downhill from the place. The route was dark, and the only visible light were the lights from the fence of the airstrip and the glowing lights from the other side of the bay. I negotiated this portion safely and was about to get back on my lost time but another dark route was looming ahead. I stayed on my marathon pace at the flat portion, added effort on my climbs, and gained speed on the downhills.
My alarm woke me up at 3:00am. Surprisingly, I still managed to do some photo editing, posted it in fb and checked my status, all while sipping coffee, eating my pre-race meal and having a bath. Time went fast until I found myself cramming to get to the starting line. It was 4:12am when I left the kids and the wife (still sleeping) at the hotel. I found it advantageous if one marathoner will just jog from his sleep to the starting line. He will arrive at the site fresh. No stress, no hassles, no nothing.
Somewhere near the 6th km was the start of the hills. It went all throughout until the turn around point at Ocean Adventure and the Morong Gate sections. I was able to negotiate the steep climbs until I reached the 1st turn around point (1h58m) and the 2nd turn around point (2h20m). The flats from these sections gave me some respite as I relaxed my legs from the wear caused by the hills. I gathered my reserves and increased my pace as I reached the downhill grades of the route. The hydration stations every 1.50km helped a lot, fluids were overwhelming. It was on my way back when I appreciated the beauty of nature. Trees lined along the whole course, fruit bats hovering around, cold air dampening on my face, and even spring water emanating from the side of a hill. It was this scenery that delighted me most. I felt relaxed and comfortable, pain was off my mind.
I came to this race with a mind set to finish strong and I felt that I can achieve it from the first turn around point, since I'm still fresh when I reached it. I just maintained my target pace as I went back until I reached the finish line in 3h48m59s. The kids and the wife were at the finish line when I crossed it.
Getting back to Remy Field Oval was sweeter the second time around.
On my way to the finish line, inside the Remy Field Oval.
Shortly after crossing the finish line.
With the kids. Just the second time they showed up in all of my finish.
Portion of the route. Subic Intl. Airport and Subic Bay at the right.
All trees on both sides, all throughout the race course.