August 1, 2012

My Return On The Circuit: The 36th Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations

After two years of not joining the Milo Marathon Manila Leg, I was back in the starting line of the 36th Milo Marathon last July 29, 2012. There were more than 38,000 runners who joined the event, 2,000 of whom answered the gun start of the 42km distance. My last participation was during the 2009 race and I found out that a lot had changed. Here are just some :
  1. Start/Finish line from Quirino Grandstand in Manila to the Mall Of Asia ground in Pasay City. There was a small deviation in the route because of the changes in the venue but, we were still brought to Baclaran and Fort Bonifacio via Roxas Blvd. and Buendia Ave. including the three flyovers.
  2. Registration center from a small corner table at Greenhills to in-store registration centers at malls. Registering before was quite exhausting since I have to wait in-line for the others to finish their turn. And it will take forever if a group registration went ahead of you. Whew! Now, I was able to register electronically in about 5mins, hassle-free.
  3. Qualification time from sub-4hour to age grouping. Before, all runners need just 3h59m59s to cross the finish line in order to qualify in the finals, favoring the younger runners to get it done. Presently, finishers are categorized as per age group that start at 3h44m59s for the 18-34 age group, you must be fast to achieve such feat. Today's format incline to older runners.
  4. Hydration; before there was gatorade, now 100 plus. I was expecting gatorade or powerade into this race but was surprised to see 100 plus at every hydration table, something that my system doesn't tolerate well.
  5. Carpeted finish line. During the Biscocho era we finish our race stepping on a carpet laid onto the finish line. It always feels good to end your run on a soft, bouncy underlying, something that I'm missing in years.
  6. Attendance. There are a lot of marathoners nowadays. Before, just the usual suspects were in the starting line with a little participation from the newbies. From the recent events there were a lot of people cheering on each runner lined along the stretch of Roxas Blvd. from CCP until the finish line, now there's just one who cheered upon me from the last bend at the CCP area. 
  7. Finisher's medal. From average size to huge. I repeat, it's huge.
The 32nd Milo Marathon was my second full marathon race and I was surprised to finish it in under 4 hours enabling me to qualify for the finals later that year. I had a repeat during the 33rd edition. Read my stories here, here and here. Those races inspired me to push my best in marathoning. 

Coming into this race, I am confident that I could push myself to finish within 4 hours, which I achieved, but my ultimate goal that is to qualify for the finals was put to a halt. See results here.

I thought I was too complacent with my run, given that I finished my two recent marathons (Subic & Condura) in under 3h50m. I thought my training was good enough to repeat those two finishes, but I was wrong. I slowed down in the last 8km, the section where I am most stronger, when my quads started to cramp. I am used to this sensation before but this was different, I can feel those muscles starting to get hard, which resulted to my frequent walks and stops. What I thought of the culprit, please read below:

Mileage: Before, I was averaging 75km to 80km per week of mileage during my training. At present, I'm relegated to just 20km spread along the five weekdays and a 20km to 30km long run on Sundays, which is not sufficient. It is a must that a runner training for a marathon should average at least 75km per week months before race day.

Speed: Yasso 800s was part of my training before, but not now. I was satisfied with just practicing my marathon pace. This part of my training had enabled me to cover the first 10km of the race until km 30 in fashion. I had average splits of 52mins between those three sections which was fair enough for me to finish in time until the disaster occurred from km 34. That ain't enough.

Core Strengthening: I incorporated some core training before to stabilise my posture. Although I use to lift weights and do some crunches occasionally, serious core exercises were scarce as of today. Tamad eh!

Nutrition: I did not follow my nutrition plans during my training days. Come race day, I was satisfied to just two spoonful of pasta before the race since I still felt full from the meal the night before. During the race I indulged on a sport drink that my system hardly tolerates in order to balance my hydration intakes. I was also about 2kg heavier weeks before the race. But this are just minor issues, I just thought that they affected my performance somehow.

All those mentioned above were just my interpretation of what had transpired. The real culprit here is myself and no other is to blame. There are still lot of milo marathon races to come and I'm sure I would be able to bounce back. Given the proper training and positive outlook, anyone can achieve this feat. Let us enjoy what we love most, that is to run. Here, I'm leaving you with some of my photos from the race.

Cheers and see you in the finals. I'm shooting the finalists from my viewfinder, that is.

Somewhere in Buendia Ave. courtesy of Sigue Correr Runners.
Near the finish line courtesy of Running Photographers.
Post race pic courtesy of Running Atom.


  1. amazing still, Vener! the come back is a good come back, somehow!. :)

    1. Thanks Mar. It's the experience that pulled me through, muscle memory (daw!). LOL

  2. Still a great finish Sir Vener, sub-4 is my 2-year long marathon finish. :)

  3. Sorry it did not go your way... always a next time though :)

    1. Yeah Philip, maybe next time. I'm missing those days when we are finishing this race seemingly easy, hahaha.