When I first started running, 21k always seemed to be the milestone that I could never hope to reach. I started running 5k’s, gradually gaining the courage for 10k’s and even a 12k run, however, 21k always seems to be a far fetched dream. Can I do this? Do I have enough discipline to follow a training plan? What if I falter in the middle of the race and end up as the last one to finish? All these questions that could only be answered one way: With me giving 21k a try.
My first 21k was back in January during the Cebu Marathon 2017. Training was not as disciplined as I would have wanted it to be. Everything was a difficult then with me juggling gym, a full time job ( 6 PM – 3 AM ) and my training for the run. Still, I managed to finish the race with a time of 2 hours and 47 minutes, pretty decent for my first half marathon.
For my 2nd 21k, I was barely prepared. I wasn’t even sure if I could still register since it was 2 weeks before the race. This was for the Pinoy Fitness Sub 3 Challenge, where you’d have to run 21k within the cut-off time of 3 hours. I already earned my Sub1 medal, 10k in 1 hour, last year so I was aiming to earn another Sub for this year. For the entire month I didn’t really think I’d be able to enter the race, so every weekend or so I’d go out with my friends and drink up. Training? What training? This was the worst preparation for a race I ever had.
A friend of mine in Cebu managed to help out with registering for the race and it turned out that they still had a slot for Sub 3. I made a do or die decision and chose to enter the race. With 2 weeks still left, I tried my best to prepare, running when I could and trying my best to prep up for the race.
Here come’s race day. Nutrition and training are well out the window, and I also went out the night before with a few friends. I wasn’t able to buy any running gels and my confidence was as shaky as it could get. All I wanted was to finish the race even if it meant not being able to beat my first 21k time.
For the entire race, my focus was dead set on finishing and I kept my pace steady all throughout the entire 10k. I stopped at every Water Station and took my time recovering, I didn’t rest for more than a few seconds, I ran until I felt my legs were bleeding. I didn’t think I’d make the cut.
In the end, I’m still not sure what happened. I finished the race, earning my 2nd 21k and beating my personal time by 8 minutes. I came in 5th, realizing that the 3rd placer was only ahead of me by 4 minutes. I felt a little sad when I saw how close I came to earning that 21k trophy for the 3rd place but I was mostly happy since not only did I earn my medal, but I also made a new PR! This was with hardly any serious preparation at all, who knows what my time could have been if I took training seriously.
My next half marathon will probably be in Bohol sometime around August. This time, I’m not coming unprepared. This time would be different.