Sophocles (One of classical Athens’ three great tragic playwrights)
In any 42k event, it’s a common thing to see the ‘wall’ starting from 30 kms onward specially if you’re a newbie in this field, but how about seeing it so early at the first 4 kms of the race?
The Subic International Marathon 42k started just in time in Floridablanca toll exit in Pampanga at 4:30pm yesterday. After a brief program, this race which was my third 42k in just 3 weeks and it started with a bang!
I am with the Team HARDCORE from km1 to km3 headed by strong runners Arman, Isko, George and my buddies from Laguna Bert and Romy. At first, my pace was so relaxed and comfortable but as we reached km3, the downhill section of SCTEX, we gained some speed, and there I started to feel some acute pain in my left leg. Later today, I’ve found out that it’s a hamstrings injury.
Pain was unbearable so I decided to stop and evaluate the injury. At this point, I said to myself that If ever I DNF, PLEASE not at km 3! I traveled more than a hundred miles, spent a couple of bucks, carried my family with me and they’re waiting at the finish line and to surrender at a very short distance of km 3 was the worst I that could imagine, but the most logical answer was to quit, for every time I tried to run, I’m in deep pain. Three strides and I stopped, two more and I yelled vehemently.
“Lord, please give me the strength to run!” was my prayer.
At this point, galore of runners overtook me already and team Hardcore were already ahead of me by more than a kilometer. Likewise Bert, overtook me too. Fortunately, Romy, my long time ally and buddy, stayed with me during this entire race. He massaged my leg and encouraged me to continue.
I walked for 5 minutes and tried again to run, 3-5 steps but it’s really painful. At km 5, as I drank a cup of water and saw the tough route ahead of me, I bowed and asked God again to help me regain the strength of my feet to continue running. But out of the wind, I heard HIM said words like these, “You walk and I’ll give you the grace to finish this race.”
“Lord, please… not by walking for I’m a runner” as I objected. And I haven’t heard HIS voice again.
Prior to TKO 250, I do have a plan to walk a 50 kms, from Laguna to Naic Cavite. I already ran and biked twice this route and to accomplish my endurance dream for this place, walking is my long time goal. Unknown to me, that dream will be accomplished today only in different location.
I’m already walking 2 kms but the idea of walking another 37 kms was not acceptable. This was a race, not a walk in the park.
And so, I told Romy we will walk and our target was to do a 10 minute/km pace.
Reaching km 16, I could hear the siren of the ambulance and I knew that the last runner was already behind me to overtake me anytime. The idea of seeing myself at the bottom of this race was really humiliating. Me, an ultra-runner, member of team Hardcore, a devoted Christian….”Lord, why has Thou forsaken me? Why You have turned Your face against me?”
“Ronnie, you will see My strength in your frailties, My grace is sufficient for you” was HIS reply.
“But Lord, I have only one wish…PLEASE do not put me at the bottom or the last man to reach the finish line, because if that will happen, I’ll never blog or run again.”
That was a daring request, and I knew God honored it, for although I walked for 39 kms, I was never been at the bottom and I overtook majority of runners in the last 10 kms of that race. Many don’t believed my story that I walked, but that’s true and Romy was my witness. He stayed with me all throughout. What a fast ‘walked’ it was, because the grace of God was with me. I reached the finish line in 6 hours and 25 minutes, my worst ever in 42k but the sweetest…
“Lord, I’m so sorry for questioning You yesterday. I should never asked You WHY, but WHY NOT? In my frailties, I have seen Your power, and that’s enough for me to believe further….”
With Romy, Me, Bert and my daughter Darla…3 hours before the race in Remyfield Subic.
with Bert, SIM official, sir Adie and me.
Ready for lunch.
with Let Guieb and family…
oh my, im so surprised to see my ‘angel in white uniform’ Dr. Paiso. He will do a 42k too!
with Rhoderick Guieb, romy and ultra-runner Caloy Nobleza
with doc Paiso
with those powerful Kenyans
At km 30, my way of brisk walking!
with singer and one of my idols…Sir Leo Valdez!
wasted but triumphant!
this guy was with me til the end. Kudos to you, Romy!
Not only a marathoner, but a walkathoner!
with elite Ultra-runner, Atty. Jon Lacanlale!
Lord, again this race was for You, including those pains I suffered. You did not granted my request, but You have given me strength to persevere and the saving grace to finish it.
God be Praised forever!