After the Condura Run, the Century Superbods Run was one of the races I was looking forward to because...
1. It will be the first time my fiance (coming home from the U.S.) will be seeing me participate in a race.
2. It is Coach Rio's first leg of his run Trilogy.
3. My running buddy, Carina, will pace me so I can PR in my 10K.
We were there at exactly 5am which is "supposedly" the assembly time for the 10K. Gun start, as posted in their site, was at 5:35am. Like everyone else, you need to be there early to stretch and warm up. Which I wasn't able to do much of because the gun start started 15 mins. earlier than advised.
As Carina and I inched our way into what we thought was the 10K crowd, we were surprised to see that we were amongst 5K runners!!! We started to look around for other runners with the familiar green race bib. We saw two guys and asked them what happened and they said that gun start was early. Panic-stricken, Carina gently reminded me that we're using a time chip so it doesn't really matter what time we start since time is recorded as soon as we step on the mat at the start and finish line. Ok fine. Still, minus points already for this race for starting early than what was told.
So there we were, the 10Kers running with the 5Kers. On our left side we could see numerous 10K runners speeding through. Ok, so we weren't alone after all. On the second corner, marshals were shouting. "10K! Go straight". We did and the 5K runners turned left. And finally, we were separated with 5K runners. Great.
Everything was a-ok from that point. I didn't feel so stressed anymore. That early gun start really threw me off. And I was worried my ankle injury would act up again coz I didn't warm up and stretch very well. But I quickly brushed it off. Nothing can be done. Just shut up and run.
And run I did. Pretty fast than my usual, I'd like to think. Carina pushed me hard. Fought hard to keep up with her. Yes, I am so gonna PR today! That was the goal. I was aiming for 1:05 this time. She had a Garmin so I just waited for her instructions. By kilometer 5, we were right on time. Just 5K more and it's done. "PR! PR! PR!", I was quietly cheering and motivating myself.
For the first time I wasn't listening to any music. I was concentrating more on listening to my breathing and listening to Carina motivate me. I noticed that there were a lot of hydration stations. Even if I never stopped to have any. I thought that was a plus for this race. *clap, clap, clap*!
When we got back on 32nd St. coming from British School Manila, there were some marshals by the corner of 32nd St. and 11th Ave., who were directing us to pass 11th Ave. back to Bonifacio High Street. I already had a feeling the route was wrong but wasn't so sure because I'm not really good with directions to start with. As we were slowly heading back to BHS, we were surprised to see hundreds of runners with the same green race bibs merging with us on 7th street. They had the same surprised look on their faces when they saw quite a number of us coming from another direction as if to say, "Where did you guys come from?!" That was the time I started cursing silently. Just to myself. @#$%^&*!!!! Goodbye PR, goodbye premium 600 bucks race fee! Hello, training run! Minus points again for the race.
So apparently, instead of us going to 11th Ave., we should've headed down 32nd street to Home Depot! I saw the marshals looking at us and they didn't say anything! And there weren't enough markers either. This is what happens when you mess up the gun start.
According to Carina's Garmin, we finished at 52 minutes and only did 7.8 Kilometers. 7 point freakin' 8. That would've been an absolutely superb time if we actually did 10K! (The next day, I was shocked to see the time discrepancy on the race results. It says we finished at 1:13:22! That is totally inaccurate!) Anyway, back to my story...
I wanted to scream and be angry but really fought hard to contain it all. From that point and even hours after, I was telling myself, "It's ok, it's ok". But it wasn't working. Find the silver lining, I also thought so I won't be so pissed. But I couldn't. The loot bags, giveaways, and all the power drinks, protein bars and canned tuna in the world wouldn't appease me.
For me, you cannot mess up gun starts and race routes! Ok, I am still affected. Obviously.
My friends who also ran 10K (their first time) told me their experience and that really pissed me off more. When they were heading towards the same direction (from British School approaching 32nd Street), at the intersection, there were some marshals standing there pointing everyone to go straight and back to BHS, my friends asked them,
Excuse me, saan po yung sa 10K? (Where is the way for 10K?)
Marshals: Ay, dito "nalang" po. ("Just" pass here instead) *pointing to go straight to BHS.
Nalang??? Nalang???!!! There is a "shortcut"? Un-freakin'-acceptable! What the...?! Minus points for the race again. Charge it to the marshals there.
No wonder so many got lost and we ended up following each other into the wrong route. I also remember looking down 32nd street and didn't see any other runners there so it felt right, at that time, to go straight.
Let me tell you readers that I am not one to whine and complain about a race. After each race I usually just lurk around the forums reading through every runner complain about the loot bags, the course, the disorganized this and that, etc. Each race has always been a fun experience for me. The glitches, I let slide. As long as I was able to run and finish. That said, I could never relate to complaints of others before about a race up until now, because I have never had a bad experience in any of the races I have joined since last year.
Like I said in my status on FB yesterday, I don't care how much food, loot bags, you give away after, if there's a finisher's medal or not, if there are enough water stations, etc. That's why I never complained before. But to mess up the gun start and race routes ('coz of under trained marshals and lack or markers) is inexcusable. This is a race. So of all the things to screw up, not those two, in my opinion.
We train 3 or 4 (even more for some) times a week for races such as this. Because we paid more also, so we expected more. To be honest, I could do without the freebies and other things. Ok yeah, there was a long line to get the goodies. So others were upset about this. But for me, I am reacting about what is important to me...TIME. For me, TIME IS GOLD.
Unfortunately, I do not know how to time travel. Therefore, I cannot correct what has been done. It is done. Finished. Finito. (all of a sudden i feel like Jesus dying on the cross). I will have to just charge this one to experience. Let me just say that I admire Coach Rio for the quick statement he posted on his blog and at our forum in Takbo. I think it takes a bigger man to own up to these shortcomings and an even bigger one to take the blame for ALL of it.
Personally, I don't think Coach Rio is to blame. I'm not sure who is to blame, to be honest with you. I just think they spread themselves to thin this time. Imagine having 11,000 plus runners from the original 8,000 that was expected? Wow.
I'd like to end this post on a positive note. Just because I don't enjoy being negative at all to tell you the truth. I just have to say my piece. Not only to rant but also with the hopes of others learning from this not-so-good experience. WE ALL must learn something from this. So, I am including this short open letter to one of the respected coaches here in Manila, Coach Rio.
Dear Coach Rio, If you are reading this, I just want to say that this will not stop me from participating in the races you organize. I still respect you as the fantastic runner that you are and thank you for organizing some of the best races here in our country (your Timex race was my first ever. Very memorable indeed!). I know that you will rise above this and learn from it. I trust and believe that your next leg will be so much better and will make up for the flaws of this last one. Because I know that as a runner, you will push yourself to do better next time. More power to you!
UPDATE: I found my silver lining! Thank you Rico (Sheerwill) for pointing it out to me: "That group breakfast (after the race) with you and your fiance and the rest of our friends, that was really the good part =)". Thank you, Rico!
More pics HERE. ♥.•:*¨*:•.♥