The Day I Gave Ironman 70.3 A Tri

August 4, 2013. My first Ironman 70.3. Where do I even start with all the stories that I need to tell? With 1.9kms of swimming, 90kms of biking and 21kms of running, I went through so much I just don’t know how I’m going to put everything into words but I will try my best.

Registered last December 2, 2013

Registered last December 2, 2013

Weeks prior to race day I was an emotional wreck. IM was all that I could ever think about. When I found free time at work I scoured the internet for blogs and read articles just to help me get my mind into it. I assigned my mother to be my designated personal assistant for this race so we made sure to prepare everything logistics wise before the big day. On Saturday we packed all our stuff then headed to Mactan.

ready to go!

ready to go!

Thanks to the kindess of an old customer of ours who owns a retreat house very near Shangri-la who offered to let us stay in one of their rooms for the weekend. We checked in there first before heading to Shangri-la for the registration. Everything went smoothly from the race packet pick up to the body marking up to the bike check in.

body marked! this time dili na pentel pen. it's a tattoo! yeah!!

body marked! this time dili na pentel pen. it’s a tattoo! yeah!!

checked in!

checked in!

I was super thrilled to see one of my running idols The Bull Runner Jaymie Pizzaro. I couldn’t help but ask to have a picture taken with her. She’s super nice!

The Bull Runner and me

The Bull Runner and me

We wished each other luck for tomorrow then off I went to hang out with my mom at the lobby for a bit. We checked out the expo where I bought some souvenirs then stayed there till the race briefing, up to the Catholic mass. During the mass the priest, also a participant, reminded us to be “triathletes for Christ” and that if ever we get tired during the race all that we have to do is to pray, pray and pray.

During this time the weather took a turn for the worse. Rain poured the entire night which kept me wondering what’s going to happen if it didn’t stop up to the next day. I could hardly sleep. I kept praying for the rain to stop, I kept visualizing what to do at T1 & T2, and I kept visualizing my finish line moment. ☺ At 3:00am my mom and I were up and about. Rain was still pouring but I knew that I had to get to the venue as fast as I could. It was about 4:30 when the organizers issued a text message that the race was going to push through on time despite the bad weather condition. Rain or shine the race is on!

I took all my stuff at the transition area, prepped up my bike and asked a marshall to pump air into my tire. I chatted with some triathletes there and everyone was just so excited. The rain tried but hey, some drizzle wouldn’t dampen our spirits. We kept positive that things were going to turn around in an hour or so. And it DID! By the time we started warming up at the beach the sky cleared up a little. I felt surprisingly calm and I just enjoyed watching all the people who I was going to race with. This is my first time to join an international event and my first time to see THIS many people and celebrities in a triathlon. Speaking of celebrities, I’m so happy I got to have a picture with Papa Piolo near the swim start. Weeeee! Thank you Tanya Sy for this pic! :D And Thank you also for that sip of Gatorade which I really needed at that time. Hehe.. :D

OMG! It's Papa P!

OMG! It’s Papa P!

The swim started precisely on time with the pros, the Filipino elites and the CEO category going first at 6:25am followed by the 18 to 39 male and relay swimmers and lastly at 6:40, my wave, all female and the 40 above male. I was with Hannah Galo, Loriz Echavez and Tito Bong at the swim start and for some reason I lost all my nervousness. I just wanted to get it on. Hannah reminded me to follow the yellow buoy and to make sure that it was at my right at all times. We headed to the deep end of the water, treaded for a bit there then at gun start the last thing I heard was some guy saying “naku. Ma wa-washing machine tayo dito”

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He was right. There was no better description for the swim start. I got kicked in my right eye right at the start and had to adjust my goggles. I knew I had to move away from the crowd as fast as I could. There were scary swells throughout the swim course which made it difficult to breathe. I got kicked and bumped into so many times but I managed to stay calm and composed. I just kept on telling myself “ You are a swimmer. You will have a strong swim finish.”

41 minutes on the swim! yay!

41 minutes on the swim! yay!

At 7:20am I exited the water and jogged my way to T1. I heard Tito Bong’s friend Julie (or should I say Tita Julie? Hahahah :p kidding) shout my name so loudly along with some people saying Go go go! I kept jogging until my swim coach Marlon Galo yelled so loudly “Ate Mitch! Ni lapas naka sa imong bike!” LOL!!! OMG! Major bloopers moment. I went back got all my bike gear as fast as I could, ate my GU gel and composed myself. THIS IS IT mickiego. I knew I had to take extra precaution on the bike route because the roads were slippery due to the yestrday’s downpour.

at T1 after i found my bike. lol!

at T1 after i found my bike. lol!

Upon exiting Shangri-la the raods were very narrow. I took it very slow knowing that there were very many bikers infront, at my back and beside me. I waited till we got to the wider roads to start gaining speed and momentum. It felt so incredibly liberating to bike without the fear of jeepneys or cars suddenly stopping infront of you or having to worry about weaving through heavy traffic. Weeeeee! I was one happy biker throughout the first half of the bike route. Even the ascent towards the Marcelo Fernan bridge felt like a walk in the park. It was going to be a 90km ride so I tried my best to pace myself even if I felt very excited. The roads near the SM and pier area were awfully bumpy, I saw some bikers on the side of the road with flat tires and I just kept on praying that it wouldn’t happen to me.

I loved how all the people I’ve gotten acquainted with throughout my triathlons always cheered me on when we came across each other on the bike route. Special mention to Fiona Tudtud, loudest cheerer sa bike ever. Hahah :p thank you Fiona! I was forewarned about how the strong the winds were going to be in SRP and I did feel it hit me so hard on my last loop. My legs felt heavy from exhaustion already, the weather sort of looked worse and the wind came in all different directions. No matter how hard I pedaled I couldn’t get my pace higher than 18kph. It was the most awful feeling in the world. There were very few bikers left, the clouds were getting darker and I was feeling lonely. This time I kept singing songs of praise in my head and I kept on thinking about the priest’s reminder during the mass yesterday “Be a triathlete for Christ”.

The bike cut off was at 12:00 I knew I was still doing good with my time even my pace kept going slower. I just didn’t have the strength in me anymore to go faster I didn’t care that bikers from behind me were overtaking me one by one. I was going to finish this race at my own pace. I felt my spirits getting uplifted a little when I saw the students at the Talisay area cheering so loudly and happily for all the participants. When you are all spent already even little things start to matter. Thank you kids!
I entered the tunnel one last time and managed to pick up my pace there. Upon exiting the SRP I knew I will have to give it one last push. About 20kms to go to T2 and my quads were already hurting so much. I kept thinking about the steep incline at the bridge again and made a promise to myself. No matter what I will NOT DISMOUNT from my bike. NO way! So at the foot of the bridge, I took one swig of water, one deep breath, gathered all my strength and pedaled for my life. The onlookers cheered me on saying go go go! “Kaya na nimo miss! Gamay nalang!”

It was such an amazing feeling when I got to the top of the bridge knowing that I’d gotten through the most difficult hurdle. This is the home stretch, baby! :D woohoo! I picked up my speed again and somewhere along Big Foot there was this Singaporean guy who paced me for a bit. We made chika2x about the race and since he was the veteran IM’er he told me “Hey, you’re doing a great job. We’re almost there! Just a few KMs to go!” Thank you race bib number 1411 for the words of encouragement! ☺

With about 500m away from Shangri-la I was starting to feel anxious again. The 21km run was looming in front of me and I felt like I had exhausted all the energy I had left in the bike leg, my back and legs were aching and my hands were so numb from gripping the handlebars. Climbing up the last small hill, I suddenly heard the loudest of all cheers and saw the familiar faces of my girl friends. I went “OH MY GOD!!! Helllooooo!!!”

OOMMG! you're all here!!

OOMMG! you’re all here!!

They were bringing banners that said “GO MICKIE!!!” The Images Camera Club guys were there too with their own banner. And they cheered sooo loud.” I felt my heart swell with so much happiness. Just look at that happy face. That’s the face of someone who didn’t just go through a grueling 90km ride. Haha! :p

happy!

happy!

I even saw Mause Tan-Gaw there who I totally didn’t expect to go. She said, “Go Mickie! You’re almost done! Run nalang!” Yes, run nalang gyud. The worst part is over. I’m going to finish this race no matter what it takes. THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH friends!

full force gyud :)

full force gyud :)

I entered T2 together with second time IM’er and marathoner Pam Apuhin who asked me “mag sige pa ta ani mick??” hahaha! Mag sige pa ta ani kay ni enter naman gyud ta! LOL! So there I was looking for my bike rack again trying to make sure that I don’t miss it this time. But when I saw my rack it was already occupied by another bike. I went what?????!!! I was lucky there was a marshall around who assisted me. I left him to do the necessary moving of the bikes and trusted him to just put my bike back in for me. I left by bike gear and grabbed my running stuff including my lunch, a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I ate it while walking out of T2 but my stomach suddenly felt tight and queasy. I had to leave half of it on the side of the road and prayed that my stomach wouldn’t act up on the run leg.

Upon exiting Shangri-la again I saw my friends and my mom and heard Maureen say “Mick, ni kaon naka sa imong lunch?” I heard my mom say “Go chi! Love you! Go go go!” I checked my watch. It was about half past 11:00 and I just had about enough time to finish 21kms if I didn’t walk too much. It took a little time for me to recover because of my stomach. I was careful about not drinking too much from the stations for fear that it might worsen things so I jog-walked until I reached the 2km marker. My tummy started to settle down after a lot of burping (and farting! TMI I know! Hahahah!) so I proceeded to a slow jog pace and walked a bit when I felt tired.

thank you Johann Sisno for this pic :)

thank you Johann Sisno for this pic :)

It was fun seeing all the athletes at the point going back for their second loop while I was still doing my first. Many friends and acquaintances cheered me on all the way towards the last subdivision that we had to enter. When Hannah Galo over took me on her second loop she told me “keep going Ate Mitch, just keep going” I remember her telling me before during our simulation as much as possible do not stop jogging for the entire first half of the run. I entered the last subdivision and found that there was a huge party there for us. Lively music was playing, people cheering. I was re-energized somehow and I soon got my black band at the 6km marker. I made sure to hydrate well, I ate my GU, ate bananas, and gummy bears, drank Gatorade and doused myself with water at the hydration stations. I was so thankful that the support was consistent throughout the run course.

Back near Blue Coast, the onlookers told me, “Go mam!! 10kms to go!” Woaaah! 10kms still felt like an entire mountain to climb. So I continued on putting one foot infront of the other and took more walk breaks to relax my tired legs. At this point I started semi pacing with a guy who kept taking breaks because his legs were cramping up. I forgot to get his name but he kept on saying “po” to me. LOL. Do I look that old? We made chika2x for a while sometimes he’d over take me sometimes I’d over take him. I just kept on pushing till I finally went back for my orange band. Yessss!!!! At this point the marshall told me 6kms to go nalang mam! I checked my watch. A little to go before 2:00pm. If I picked up my speed I will finish way before the 3:10 cut off. Since I felt like I had enough time, I paused for a while to look at the breathtaking view in front of me. I sent a little prayer to God because at this point I know I am surely going to finish the race. I didn’t ask for Him to help me anymore. I knew I could do it on my own from here on out. This time I just THANKED Him. I thanked Him for the opportunity to join IM 70.3, for giving me a sound mind and body to do all this, for keeping me safe throughout the bike leg, and most importantly for giving me the most supportive set of family and friends who I was going to see again at the finish line.

Going back to Shangri-la all that I pictured on my head was my finish line moment. I couldn’t wait to hold the banner above me because I was going to do it even if I’m not too confident about showing my armpits like that. LOL! I couldn’t wait to have that medal around my neck and to see my friends again. I kept my slow jog-walk pace for the next few minutes till another marshall on a bike came across us. “How many kms to go?” I asked. “Less than 2kms” she said. Haaay I’m super near. The banner near BE Resorts that said “CONGRATULATIONS IRONMAN, YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!” gave me the final push that I needed to go on.

By this time a lot of people who have finished the race cheered me on and showed me their medals. “You can do it!!!” They said. Going inside Shangri-la I saw my friends again. Mick 150m nalang! I’m like huh? I’m sure layo pa! haha :p I told them go to the finish line I’ll see you there.

almost there!

almost there!

I saw Tim & Yves of Team Convergys who gave me high fives and told me shower first pang last before you go to the finish line.

hello team cvg!

hello team cvg!

I felt a wave of nostalgia when I reached the area where Tito Bong and I stayed last year to take pictures of the participants. We were one of those who cheered for just about anyone entering the area. Back then we were mere spectators now we’re one of the participants. What a difference a year makes. A huge wave of emotions suddenly overwhelmed me and I started to feel all choked up. Months of hard work, of waking up early every weekend, of almost not having any form of social life because of training, of working out almost any chance I get, they’re all finally going to pay off when I cross the line. As I was running, people all over cheered me on. “You can do it, IRONWOMAN! GO GO GO! Few meters to go!” Familiar and unfamiliar faces smiled at me and clapped for me giving me the push to go all the way. I was so touched by it all I just knew won’t be able to hold myself back anymore.

yeaaaaaaahhhh!

yeaaaaaaahhhh!

And when I finally stepped on the podium, a huge wave of relief, of happiness, of exhaustion came over me all at once. I made the sign of the cross and sent a prayer of thanks to the heavens. I AM A 70.3 COBRA IRONMAN FINISHER. I held up the banner above me, saw my brother in front and tried to smile through my quivering lips.

PROUD!

PROUD!

love this pic!

love this pic!

Going down the podium I couldn’t hold it in anymore.

cry baby mickiego. haha!

cry baby mickiego. haha!

I bawled like a baby as one of the organizers put the medal around my neck. I heard people all over me “Giver her water first” then somebody doused me with water from the back. So many things were going on at once I still couldn’t stop crying!

looking fugly but feeling happy.

looking fugly but feeling happy.

When I saw Tito Bong (who finished way before me! Woohoo!) I said “omg Bong. Why am I crying??” He only told me “Bai, unsa man ka? There’s no crying in triathlons!” hahahah! :p I’ am now an official graduate of Coach K’s training program. Thank you for planting the seed in me Bonggo. You deserve a pat on the back even despite all the NO CLEAR moments during training. LOL! To more triathlons soon!

Coach K's graduate

Coach K’s graduate

When I saw my mom and friends another round of crying began and I guess na emotional pud sila so well, we had our little crying fest right there. Waaaaaah! Are we crazy or what?

sige pa ta hilak ani??

sige pa ta hilak ani??

Thank you girls for coming out for me today. Despite the heavy rain, the traffic, and your busy schedules. Thank you for the super touching messages your wrote for me too. I’m one lucky girl ☺ I truly am ☺

i can feel the love :D

i can feel the love :D

I saw one of my idols Noelle De Guzman aka Kikay Runner too ☺ So happy I got to have a picture with her!

Kikay Runner and me!

Kikay Runner and me!


Whew. IM 70.3 is DONE. Official time 8 hours and 3 minutes. Just a few minutes off my target sub 8 finish but still, I’m very happy to finish within cut off. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. Finishing a 70.3 is a true test of the mind, body and spirit. In the end, when your body has ran out of energy it will just be your will and determination that will carry you through to the finish line. Today God made me a half IronWOman. Today He also made me realize that hey, my heart is made of Iron as well. Strong, brave and resilient.

you are mine!

you are mine!

For my THANK YOUs:

1.) My mom = for being my personal assistant and driver, for taking care of logistics and basically for taking care of me over the weekend.
2.) Papa = for always watching over me, making sure that I am safe and injury-free through all my trainings and races.
3.) Dich = for giving me money to buy souvenirs at the IM store. Hehe :D
4.) James = for the support and for my photos.
5.) The friendships = for coming out for me today. For showing me all the love and support ☺ for the prayers, the well-wishes.
6.) Tim Abellana & Fiona Tudtud = for assisting me at the bike check in this morning.
7.) For the cheerers (Fiona, Tim, Yves, Merly, Juliet, Pam, The SHUFA girls Dudin, Wow, The TTB guys Bernard, Rowena, Brian)
8.) Lindon the cyclist = for coaching me well and for cheering so loudly at the bridge
9.) Hannah Galo = for the fun training sessions and for the cheers too
10.) Jason Yap = for sharing your triathlon training plan with me, for all the tips, and for seeing me at the finish line. :)
11.) All the marshalls, organizers and medics = for taking care of all of us during the race.
12.) To all the photographers = for giving us tangible memories of this special day. :) special shout outs to my friends from the Images Camera Club Erwin Lim, Dan Ong, Ryan Go, Rolando Pascua, Michael Jo, Kurt Fick; to Reynan Opada, John Domingo and all the shutterbugs on the road who took my pic. THANK YOU!
13.) To Tiny, Karina and Doc Wyben = for cheering for me so loudly on the long lonely roads of SRP.
14.) The people of my hometown = for cooperating with the traffic rules and being patient about not being able to pass through the major high ways today.
15.) To all my friends who prayed for me, who wished me well through FB, through text, etc. THANK YOU :D

‘Till next year guys! :)

Cebu City Marathon 2013: A 42Km Running Adventure

I still find it surreal that exactly 1 year ago I ran my first half marathon at the 2012 staging of the Cebu City Marathon (read story here ). When the running bug bit me it bit me hard and so my year 2012 was filled with so many running adventures. I’ve learned to love it and have made it a big part of my fitness regimen.  The CCM will always be special to me so I have made a pact with myself that as long as there will be a CCM and as long as my body will allow it i will run this race. It will be my offering to Sto. Niño on the month of his feast.

I came into this year’s CCM with very minimal preparation. Having been injured with a left hamstring strain in October and November I knew I had zero chances of making good time for the race. So I said to myself, bahala na. I’ll just enjoy it, i’ll just embrace the journey, and just make sure I’ll finish in one piece. The longest that I ran prior to this marathon was only a 27km road run which i finished in a little over 4 hrs. Under prepared is definitely an UNDER statement. But the weekend of the race came and I felt more excited than nervous. That Friday I picked up my race pack, feasted on a carbohydrate-rich meal composed of pizza and pasta fr Sbarro, and bought all my race nutrition needs namely 4 GU Power Gel in Tri Berry and 2 Cloud 9 bars.

ccm-prep

Come race day I woke up at 2:30am, took a quickie shower, had my customary pre-race meal of 2 slices of wheat bread w/ peanut butter, geared up, then headed to the race venue. I.T Park was alive and kicking at 3:45am. I took the time to stretch then checked in at exactly 7 minutes before gun start.

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With seconds to go before the 4:00am start fireworks erupted, a loud applause came from the runners and we were off. This is it! my second full marathon! I made the sign of the cross then started my watch. I planned on fellowing the same race plan that Coach Philip Dueñas designed for me for my 1st marathon in Bohol last September. However I knew deep inside that I will find it difficult to stick to it because I’ve had zero training in the past months. So I said, hantod sa ma kaya lang, I will follow the race plan.

I felt pretty good all throughout the first few kms. From Lahug, Salinas, Gorordo, Escario, Mango, Fuente and Jones I went on a very slow and steady pace. But I got really excited as I was about to enter the SRP tunnel. I don’t know why this is always the part that gets to me. I guess because this is the ONLY time that it is opened to runners. I just had to take a quick snap as I entered it.

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Upon entering the tunnel I heard loud Sinulog music playing and a few meters of running I came upon these very perky group of dancers.

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They gladly obliged to a quick photo op while I chugged down a glass of cold Pocari Sweat. I don’t care how disgusting the name of this drink is. It is actually my second favorite after the purple Gatorade. I was so happy there was so much Pocari during the entire race.

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Inside the tunnel there was also a table with juicy watermelons. Little did I know that this race was going to be a food fest. I was to realize that fact soon enough. LOL!

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Upon exiting out of the SRP tunnel the sky started turning pink and orange on my left side. The waters were calm, the wind was still, and the world was just quiet. I always love having breathtaking moments like this during a race. If only I could capture in a photograph how beautiful that particular moment was. I just wanted to take it all in. :)

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The Cebu City Marathon is indeed one big street party. A few meters ahead a live band was playing and at this time I still remember that they were playing Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me. I couldn’t help but sing along for a bit. Good job ladies!

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The sun decided to come out early on during the race. I was hoping that it was going to be a cloudy day but it was not meant to be. Thank goodness the volunteers of the Chinese Fire Brigade were out in full force. Many of us runners took advantage of the free cold shower from our friendly Chinese firemen volunteers. To sia very much to you guys!

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Just a few kms towards the halfway mark, I finally caught up with my running buddy Coach K. Yes, that famous guy who challenged me to run my first half marathon in last year’s CCM and who’s been a constant running buddy ever since. The first thing I asked him to do was to take my picture. lol!

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After almost 3 hrs of running the Talisay City Hall finally came into view. That only means one thing. That the turning point is VERY VERY NEAR. Hooray!

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I got a bit worried when I saw my watch go past 3 hrs. How come I still haven’t ran past the 21km marker?? Ana ko ka hinayan? haha! :p Soon enough I saw the next marker saying 22kms. At this point I read my cellphone and came upon a message from my co-worker Elaine “Aja Mickie! You can do it!” Thank you so much Laine!

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A few meters more and we finally reached the end of the SRP. The second of 2 U Turns for the 42 km runners. Of course I just had to have my photo op here. :) Notice the harsh shadows on the picture? It’s because the sun had to started to shine with a vengeance by this time. I knew that this was going to be the most difficult part of the race. Running agains the bright blinding sunshine and running under the sweltering heat. It was going to be a mind game from this point on. I decided to change the race plan. Run when I can and walk when I feel tired. Basta ma abot lang gyud sa finish line.

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If there was something unique about this race, it’s the volunteer stations of the different running clubs in Cebu. The support of the running clubs was just so overwhelming. You just know there’s nothing but sincerity and kindness. Imagine waking up early just to set up, to spend your own money to give food to fellow runners, cheering them on and encouraging them to go on with the race. Grabe kaayo full force gyud ang mga running clubs. I’m ever so grateful to them.

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There was the UNGO Ug Dagan volunteer station that offered me a nice liniment spray on my legs.

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Then I chanced upon my Alien classmate and ultra marathoner Mam Sheila. I said “mam sheila! layo-a pa uy!” She went, Layo pa bitaw Mick. Kaon sa! Naa’y roasted calf, puso, ice cream, bananas, chocolate. And so I helped myself to some roasted calf and ice cream. That ice cream was exactly what I needed at that moment. Sugar to boost my energy and the coldness to avoid possible heat stroke and dehydration. Thank you Ungo runners!! :D

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There was also the Team Boyek runners who were mostly buddies with Coach K. So grabe kayo sila naka cheer when we ran past them. In this photo Coach K’s buddies were asking him to do the “Opa BONGman style” and Coach K went “mick ikaw sad! i’m like noooooo! ikaw lang Bonggo! lol! funny pic here. Thank you to M.V Enriquez for this pic :)

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One of the sons of a Team Boyek runner was also suuuper kind to spray liniment oil on my legs. So buotan this kid! Thank you suuuuuuuper much! (photo credits: R.Chan)

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Coach K and I left the Team Boyek station in such high spirits that we didn’t mind running through the next few kms. The heat was getting pretty bad but still bearable. The soles of my feet were starting to feel really sore. We’ve been running for about 4 hours now. We had to stop to take picture breaks and walk breaks every now and then to keep our sanity.

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Coach K went bai ikaw ra lagi permi picture bai. ako nasad kuno

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Later on we chanced upon the Ungo runners again. I think they’ve started to pack up and the few of them left were giving away what’s left of their supplies. Here runner and photographer J.Domingo took some snaps of us runners.

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Thank you so much J.Domingo for these pics :D (Look at Coach K’s hair here. Na afro ug kalit. LOL!!!)

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Aside from the ice cold sponges, cold water, and ice cubes that I literally put down through the back of my shirt to keep me cool, it was the shower from the firetruck that kept me from feeling weak due to heat exhaustion. The heat at the SRP was so unforgiving I seriously couldn’t have survived it without these showers.

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Pretty soon the 31kms marker came into view. 11kms to go. The finish line still feels like an entire lifetime away and my entire body is starting to feel so worn out. I said, gamay nalang gyud mickiego. We’ll get there. Just put 1 foot in front of the other and smile. :D

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I knew full well that there’s a cut off a the tunnel. All runners MUST get through it before 10:00am. Coach K and I were already nearing the tunnel at around 9:48 so I asked him picture me sa here!

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Inside, I said Bonggo, we need to take advantage of the shade. Lets run the entire stretch of the tunnel ha. Then we heard a race marshall yell at us saying “FASTER! FASTER!” i’m like huh?? pwede dili mo mag buot sa among pace?? Later on another race marshall approached us and said “Congratulations!! You’re the last 2 runners to make it!” OMG! That means the other runners behind us had to be picked up in a bus and were not to finish the race anymore. YIKES!

Going out of the tunnel we caught up with some of the runners before us. They said, pwede na ta mag walkathon. No cut off naman! LOL! I was just so relieved to finally make it out of the SRP. About 9kms to go nalaaaaaaang! I think one of the most difficult parts of the race was when we had to run through all the people in Sto Nino church and the entire downtown area. Thank goodness for the race marshalls who were escorting us and for our fellow runners who helped us navigate through the speeding jeepneys. At Jones Avenue I saw this motivational sign right above the RUNNR volunteer station :) Thank you Raffy & the rest of the RUNNR team!

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As I made it up towards Fuente Osmeña circle I came upon another running group volunteer station. There was this girl with a big thumbs up sign that said “YOU CAN DO IT!” She said, duol na kaayo mo!!! GO GO GO! last 4kms nalang!! It was also at this point when I read a motivational text message fr my friend Mimi that said “Go Mickie!!!” Thank you Mims!!

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After seeing the 4kms sign I knew I had no choice but to give up my goal of finishing under 7hrs. No way in the world will I be able to PR this race. At the Bohol Marathon last September I clocked in at 6hrs 55 mins. I really hoped I could have performed better. This IS my home court after all. OH well.. At the end of the day it’s not really about PR-ing or not anymore. It’s about finishing the race with every ounce of energy left in you. It’s about keeping a positive attitude despite the pain that’s going through your entire body. It’s about trying to stay calm and collected under the sweltering heat of the sun. It’s about determination and commitment to finish what you have started.

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So here I am at the last 1km mark. Whew!!!! I’m going to make it to the finish line. I run-walked the entire Lahug stretch with Coach K feeling giddy with excitement. As I entered IT Park again so many runners cheered on us it made my heart just swell with so much pride and happiness. To top it all off, photographer R.Opada was there with his big lens. I said to myself, YESS! I am getting myself a very nice picture. :D Thank you so much for this Reynan!! I think i just might have this printed and framed.

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Running towards the finish line I saw some familiar faces cheering on us. Triathlete and ultramarathoner P.Baltazar yelled “Go Mickie!!!” and took this photo on his cellphone.

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Notice Coach K a few steps behind me looking like he’s about to sprint the last few meters. And sprint he did with his tongue wagging like a dog. (Zookie is that you?!) OMG. I keep laughing when I see this picture. Great capture here P.Baltazar!

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So finally after 7 hours & 10 minutes of running I crossed the finish line of the Cebu City Marathon 2013. I am mighty proud of myself for having put behind 42kms behind me and proving to myself once again that I am tough enough for this.

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After claiming my finisher shirt I had a nice little photo op with Mam Twinkle Ignacio the ultramarathoner who’s famous for her outrageous costumes during races. Nice to meet you mam!

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I came home with the loveliest puso-shaped finisher’s medal and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Thank you CCM! Thank you once again to all the volunteers during the race. Congratulations to all the finishers and organizers! Job well done! :D

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PIT SENYOR STO NINO! Happy Fiesta Cebu City! :D

Summit Run For Pinoy Glory

July 7, 2012

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After the sprint triathlon last week I only had 1 run practice session with Coach JPD at the track oval and 1 gym session for weights. The rest of the days I was too busy doing other career things that took up most of my time. So coming into this race I knew that I wasn’t really in the best-est of conditions. Still, I targeted to make it to a sub 2:40 finish because a.) the race course was relatively flat all throughout and b.) well, I just wanted to prove to myself that (as my original coach, Coach K would say), IT CAN BE DONE!

At the first 5k, I paced with my fellow Coach JPD student and first time half-marathoner Cheska. We kept a pretty good pace and chit-chatted for a bit. We crossed the 5k marker at 37minutes and while Cheska chose to do a 3-minute walk break I proceeded to go on my comfortable pace. I focused on maintaining a good running form and kept my breathing in check at all times.

As I went past the 7km marker I picked it up a notch and hoped that I would reach the turning point by 1hr 15mins. Too bad my watch clocked in at 1:20 when I reached 10.5kms. gaaah! I caught up with Coach K at the 12km marker and asked him, “Bonggo, do you think I’ll make it?” He replied with “um.. I think you will but by a hairpin lang. GO GO GO!”

I grabbed my GU Power Gel, drank my Gatorade from my hydration belt then picked up my pace further. I think it was at km13 when Coach K caught up with me. We ran side by side for an entire stretch while I tried my hardest to sustain a faster pace to keep up with him. I think that was the reason why I was able to get a good momentum. We made another stop at a water station, Coach K showered me with cold water then told me “Go na Micks. Go get your P.R. Ako mag chill nako diri.” LOL!

By this time the sun had started to shine so bright. It was HOT and stuffy and the heat was starting to wear me out but I was determined to cross the finish line before 2.40. So I said, FOCUS lang mickiego. I kept on running on a good pace despite feeling pain on both my knees and behind my right leg. I made sure to drink Gatorade from my bottle from time to time I showered myself with water and drank 100 Plus from the water stations to keep myself sane despite the killer heat.

With 5kms to go my watch struck 2 hours. Shucks. I calculated in my head and realized that I will need to run the home stretch at 7 or 8 minutes per km. Sige lang, I told myself. I can do this. So I picked myself up and ran the last 5km with nothing but sheer willpower to beat my target time. By the time I ran past the 1km marker my watch read 2:33. Legs, you HAVE GOT TO ROTATE. Please don’t let me down now.

Approaching the finish line chute, a few meters before the finish line both my feet started to cramp up. I don’t even know how I managed to hobble and run at the same time but I read the timer and saw that I am definitely going to make it. 2 hours 37 minutes and 45 seconds. :D

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A new personal record that I struggled so hard to achieve. Too bad there was no medal waiting for me at the finish line. Lousy organizers told us we were to go back for it along with the finisher’s shirt at the end of the month. Boo! ☹

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I stretched and massaged my cramped up feet and legs while waiting for Coach K and Cheska to cross. Coach K crossed at 2:49

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while Cheska did at 3:02. Good job guys! Congratulations!!! :D

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Us three then proceeded to Pancake House for our celebratory meal and finished it off with a well-deserved Krispy Kreme. What a great race! Can’t wait to get my medal & finisher’s shirt soon!

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THANK YOU’s:

Coach K/DaBonggo/Tito Bong – for those crucial few kms that you paced with me. It gave me the momentum to push forward and onward. Also for the free ride to and from the venue.

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Cheska Geli – for pacing with me on the first 5km and well, also for being an awesome running classmate at the track oval. Haha!

Shasha & Francis Manglapus – for taking my pics at the finish line :)

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Coach JPD – for preparing me for this and for helping me get stronger. ☺

Sonshine Radio Half Marathon

July 22, 2012

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Hoo boy. I can’t believe I just ran my 10th half marathon this morning at the Sonshine Radio Marathon. That’s a total of 210 race kms since January of this year! Yeaah! ☺ The week prior to this race, I had 2 practice sessions with Coach JPD at the track oval that focused on form and speed work. However, I told myself I should just chill out and enjoy this run without expecting much since the race course involved some hills. I’ve ran this course I think 2 times in the past and it was always the Banawa hills that sucked the energy out of me. I told myself, well, bahala na whether I give myself a new p.r or not. As long as I’ll have fun, sweat out, and give myself a pretty good workout today.

I managed to run the first 5k in under 37minutes then ran at my comfortable pace on the next few kms. I wanted to focus on rotating my legs properly and in proper coordination with the swinging of my arms. I took short walk breaks on every water station to make sure I don’t tire myself out too easily. Before I knew it I was entering Banawa road and I was huffing and puffing my way through the first set of hills. I hit 1hr & 15mins at the first turning point a few meters after Paseo Arcenas. I grabbed some Pocari Sweat to keep myself hydrated. The sun had started to shine so hot and bright as I was making my way back up the hills. I made sure to keep my head down so that my visor can keep my face protected from the heat. I had stupidly forgotten to put on sunblock before I left the house this morning so I’m pretty sure my skin is several shades darker again. Ugh. I couldn’t help but take more walk breaks as I ran through the hills. Major major init na gyud DMD!

As I made my way towards V.Rama for the 2nd turning point I checked my watch and realized that if I wanted to make it to a sub 2.40 finish I had about a little over 1 hour to run 9kms. I still felt quite strong so I picked it up a notch. I made sure to pour water on my head and splash my face to keep the heat from getting to me. I also made sure to drink Gatorade from my hydration belt every now and then. Soon I found myself leaving the 8, 7, and 6kms to go markers. At 5kms to go I checked my watch again and it read 2 hrs 1min. Oh wow. I thought to myself I think I still have it in me to go faster. Let’s hunat na sa last 5kms mickiego. We can do this!

While still keeping a good running form, meaning fists closed (I made sure that I wasn’t doing the “witik” move on my left hand), arms swinging in coordination with the rotation of my legs, I ran with every bit of energy left in me. Maybe, JUST MAYBE I could have a fighting chance of p.r-ing today. I was still feeling pretty good all the way to the last 3kms and as I approached San Jose Dela Montaña, I sprinted all the way to the finish line. I let out a pretty loud “YES!!!” as I stepped on the red line and stopped my watch at 2hrs36mins & 32sec. :D

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On my last training session with Coach JPD he taught me all about “running economy”. He said it was what I needed to learn in order to shorten my time. I needed to get used to learning how to speed up when I needed to and recover just in time to be able to gather speed again. Running is both a mental and a physical game. You have to listen to your body and be able to tell whether you still have it in you to “hunat”. All these while at the same time sill making sure that you’re maintaining a good running form.

I caught myself by surprise when I realized that I could p.r today and I only realized it at the last 8 or 9kms already. This time I finished stronger compared to my last race 2 weeks ago where I had to deal with cramps and majorly painful legs afterwards. As I type this post I’m feeling tired in a general sense but there’s nothing extraordinarily painful at all. Well, my shoulders and back hurt a little bit just because I was trying so hard to improve on the coordination of my arm swinging. I felt so good about this race I couldn’t help but write down so many things about it. LOL!

Oh, shout out to my running buddy and the person who got me into running Coach K! Happy Birthdaaaaay!!! :D Thank you for breakfast and for the ride to and from the venue.

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Here’s to more races and finisher medals!

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I have a little over 2 weeks to prepare for my next race. This time it’s going to be the LONGEST I will ever run. 25kms at the University Run on August 19. Pag serious na gyud sa training mickiego!

Red Durano Sprint Triathlon Series Leg 3

July 1, 2012

What a way to kick off the new month! Today I joined the 3rd Leg of the Congressman Red Durano Triathlon Series in Danao City and finished the sprint triathlon distance of 750m swim – 20km bike – 5km run in 1hr & 46mins. AND, i placed 3rd in my age group. OHYEAAHHHBABY!!! :D so proud!!!

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It was my first time to swim in open, super wavy waters and it was freakin’ crazy difficult. Every time I breathed, waves of water would slap me in the face and I ended up drinking a LOT of salty seawater. ugh. DMD! I ended the swim part in about 20 to 22 minutes then proceeded to the transition area for the bike part.

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By then the sun had started to shine so bright and it was MAJOR init. I was also so thirsty the whole time but I forced myself to pedal faster without stopping for water. The roads were also a bit difficult to navigate because we had to contend with Ceres buses, jeeps, cars, tricycles, and lots of speeding motorcycles. Super scary but I managed to survive. I felt SO RELIEVED when I finally went back to the transition area to begin the run part. By then I had been racing for more than 1 hour so I made sure to take my GU Power Gel for energy.

During the run part we had to do 2 loops. On the first loop, for about 2.5kms, my legs refused to rotate. I was tired and a bit dehydrated so I went on a very slow but steady space. i tried not to walk so as not to destroy the momentum. At the start of the second loop I started to feel better especially after a race marshall showered me with cold water. I miraculously started getting stronger and managed to pick up my pace on the last 1km. When I finally crossed the finish line I was all smiles knowing that the race is over and that I finished strong. :)

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Whew! Triathlon-ing is a lot more fun than running so I hope I get to do more of this in the near future. In the mean time I know I have to train extra hard on all the discplines. Most esp biking & running. Plus, I need to practice swimming in open water more. I’m so proud of my podium finish medal! :) Goodjob Mickieeeeeeee!!!!!!

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THANK YOU’s:
- Abigail Lua & Peter Dy for being my triathlon classmates today!

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- Peter for pumping air into my tires and helping me w/ my bike and of course, for lunch! :D

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- Coach Marlon & Hannah Galo for your support

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- Dudin Villo kay ikaw nag galgal nako nga join ani. haha :p

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- Mam Missy Torralba for shouting my name and cheering me on

Hunat Sugbu Run

June 22, 2012

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This Hunat Sugbu 2 run is my second time to attempt back to back 21kms 1 week apart of each other. This time I didn’t pressure myself to make a new p.r because I knew I hadn’t trained enough and hadn’t earned enough mileage since last Sunday’s DYAB Kapamilya run. So I told myself I’ll just enjoy the race, give myself a nice workout and make sure I’ll get to add that incredibly pretty flower-shaped medal to my finisher medals collection.

The word “HUNAT”, as I understand it means to give it your all. In today’s race I really do think I tried to give it my all and to HUNAT. However, the race route was a bit difficult since we had to run through the punishing hills of Banawa. To make matters worse, after the first 21km turning point near Paseo Arcenas, the sun had started to shine so hot and bright. So hills + weary legs + heart pumping + extreme heat = torture. Luckily, I made it through by maintaining by jog pace but slowing down when the road got too steep.

On my way to Banawa also, I almost tripped on something hard on the ground. I don’t know what it was but I was damn lucky that another runner, a very nice lady who was running back, was there to “catch” me. She said “oh, be careful dear. i almost tripped there sad ganina.” thank you lady! :D i had no choice but to almost put my entire body weight on her. gaaah! i would have fallen flat on my face if it wasn’t for her. haha! lousy-ha gyud nimo mickiego!

Despite not being able to make a new p.r today at 2hrs & 45minutes, I’m still happy that I felt strong all throughout the race. Just several months ago the word 21km seemed so scary and daunting. I had all kinds of fears in my head about not being able to finish the race. Today after running my 8th half marathon I think I can safely say I have conquered my fear of long distance running. :)

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Thanks to my training sessions with Coach Philip Duenas and of course, thanks to my original “COACH” Coach K, aka DaBonggo for believing that “IT CAN BE DONE!” I am more convinced now that i will make it through a full marathon by January 2013. In the mean time I know i have to double my efforts at training and at losing weight.

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Congratulations to all the finishers! :) I love my flower-shaped medal!

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DYAB Kapamilya Run

June 17, 2012
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For my 7th 21km race I had only 1 goal in mind. And that is to finish in 2hrs & 40minutes (4 minutes faster than my Globe Run4Home race last March). It was the target time that I set for myself knowing that I have been working quite hard in training the past few weeks. As I tapered off in training last Thursday, Coach Philip Duenas gave me my race plan: 30minute run – 3 minute walk intervals. OR run for 5kms then walk for 500meters. So i told him, sige, I think that’s pretty doable.

Come race day I was quite anxious knowing that this will be the first time i’ll run without music. I couldn’t find my trusty i.pod shuffle anywhere. I always relied on the steady beat of music playing in my ears to keep me entertained while running. I also made sure to leave my compact camera so I wouldn’t get tempted to take pictures. I REALLY wanted to make a new p.r for myself today. So no i.pod & no camera to keep the boredom at bay. Yikes!

I found myself all by my lonesome at the starting line. My running partner Coach K a.k.a DaBonggo was nowhere to be found as he failed to wake up on time. He almost DNS’d (Did Not Start) if I hadn’t called him at the last minute. Lousy Bonggo! The gun fired at around 4:30am. I set my timer, made the sign of the cross then started with an easy jog pace. As I ran past the 17kms to go marker I realized that I was going too slow. I only managed to cover 4kms in 31 minutes. NOOO! So i said, I won’t go on a 3-minute walk break. No can do! I ditched the 30minute run-3min walk race plan and just continued on jogging. Coach Philip’s voice saying “rotate, rotate, rotate” kept ringing in my head so I tried to keep a good running form the whole time.

Going into the 12kms to go marker I was still feeling strong and confident. My legs weren’t complaining that much and I was SO THANKFUL that we were given a nice cloudy day to run. It would have been a totally different story had the sun been shining hot. At the 10kms to go marker, I downed my Strawberry-Banana flavored GU Power Gel which made me feel a bit more energized. I picked up my pace a notch this time and I ran strong and fast across the Cansaga Bridge down to Tayud, Consolacion. A huge wave of relief came over me when the race marshals finally gave me my first of two 21km turning point ribbons.

With 7kms to go I sped up a little as I prepared to cross Cansaga Bridge again. Here I stopped for a bit for Coach K. He gave me his car key so I can let his dog Zookie out of the car as soon as I crossed the finish line. This crazy dude forgot to open his car windows a bit and feared that Zookie might suffocate inside. Siaw2x ka talaga Bonggo! He told me “Micks, I want Zookie at the finish line ha!” OK FINE.

Upon reaching the 5kms to go marker I checked my watch and felt so worried. If I remember correctly it registered at 2hrs 3 mins. I knew I had to speed things up some more if I wanted to cross the finish line at 2:40. My legs still felt strong at this point so I said, let’s go mickieeeee! carry pa! I made a right turn towards Super Metro Mandaue, rotated and rotated and rotated my legs, swung my arms as Coach Philip taught me, and made sure to keep my breathing in check. I got my 2nd 21km turning point ribbon, ran past the 4kms to go marker and felt like flying through the home stretch of the race. With 2kms to go my watch said 2:19. 10mins for each km left. Yeah! I don’t know what transpired at the last 2kms but when i reached the last 1km marker I was surprised to see my watch. It was already 2:36. Shet! Where the heck did the time go? Can I run 1km in 4mins? Pwes. Suwayan nato.

So I picked up my legs, ran in long, fast strides, breathed in and breathed out. I knew I was pushing myself hard but it was a race against my target time and I didn’t want to lose the battle. As I approached the finish line chute I saw none other than mam Twinkle, the always beautifully costumed runner, in all her head dress glory. I wanted to overtake her but she was taking her own sweet time as fans and cheerers picked up their cameras to take pictures of her. Too bad I wasn’t really able to savor my finish line moment because Mam Twinkle stole my thunder. Boo! hahahah!!! :p Joke ra mam basin ma basahan ni! Anyway, OK ra kaayo kay I made it just 1 minute later than my target time.

So today I ran my 7th 21km race in 2 hours & 41 minutes. A new personal record that I am super duper proud of. :)

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Training really does pay off. I am more inspired than ever to keep going at this. I felt strong all the way from start to finish and that is the only thing that matters. Other than a slight pain on my right hamstring and soreness on the soles of my feet plus a small blister behind my toe, I had no other complaints at all. :) Well, I have chafing in different parts of my body but that’s because I seriously need to invest in better fitting (read: tighter) running clothes. Upon crossing the finish line, I made a beeline for Coach K’s car, let Zookie out and waited for him to arrive. It took him a while because of his 13 to 15 minute deficit but the wait was fun because Zookie gained so many fans just standing there.

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Soon Coach K arrived, Zookie smothered him with kisses,

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Then we had a huge celebratory meal at Dimsum Break.

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The meal was followed by a free sundae cone from one of the sponsors which Zookie gladly partook in.

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What a truly awesome run :) Congrats to all the podium finishers and to all the participants. And Thank You DYAB & ABS-CBN for hosting this run and for letting us help Typhoon Sendong victims in our own way.

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On to 21km no. 8 next Sunday! :)