A Happy Run Indeed

 

True to its name, The 3K/5K/15K Happy Run was indeed a very Happy Run. There was a huge turnout for this run; in fact, registration was closed on Jan. 22 as it reached the maximum limit of 2,500 participants.

Start with a blast -- START HAPPY

Start with a blast -- START HAPPY

We arrived at the venue around 5:15am. Plenty of time to spare for the 15K start of 5:45am. In about 10 minutes, we were greeted by the happy voices of Drew Arellano and Bianca Gonzales, the event hosts. They successfully cheered and motivated all of us runners and they gave out final instructions. Then, at exactly 5:45 am, close to 700 runners (as Drew announced) for the 15K category started (5K and 3K started 5:55 am and 6:00 am respectively).

Off we go to tackle the challenging, tricky and punishing 15K route (NBC tent-5th Ave.-Lawton Ave.-Bayani Road-inside Heritage Park-entire stretch of McKinley Hill). I started slowly at a pace of 6:15 to warm-up a bit. Guided by the downward slope approaching Essensa, I was able to pick up my pace to about 4:50 before settling at a pace of 5:40 at Lawton Ave. Turning at Bayani Road, I maintained the same 5:40 pace except when there’s an opportunity to run faster on downhills.

 

Near the end of Bayani Road is one of my favorite routes and scenery, the Heritage Park. Runners were greeted with drumbeats of encouragement, as well as the lively music of the band. My run inside Heritage Park went smoothly, except on uphills where my pace dropped to about 6:10. As I exited the park, I was confident to know that I still had enough energy to finish the race. It seems that I had paced myself well enough.

But as I checked my time at the 10K mark, I found out that it was 57 minutes. ‘Here I go again,’ I said to myself. At the VSO run (with the same route), I clocked the same time at the 10K mark and eventually finished at 1h 31m as I was held back by the McKinley Hill route. I then became mindful that I may not be able to eclipse my previous time.

 

I decided to pick up the pace hoping that I can sustain it until the end. I really wanted to break my previous time. Going back, I ran along Bayani Road at a pace of 5:10 to 5:30 on flats, about 4:30 on downhills and 5:45 on uphills. When I reached Lawton, I ran at a sustained pace of 5:20.

 

Then came McKinley again. This is also one of my favorite routes despite its level of difficulty. I believe it gives a runner a great sense of accomplishment after finishing this route. Going back, the first part was quite good. I took advantage of the downhills and ran at a pace of 5:45 on uphills. But I felt my legs tiring before the U-turn. My pace dropped some more and I only recovered upon reaching a downhill stretch. Then, the final ascend was dreadful. It started near McDonald’s and ended at the intersection of McKinley & Lawton. My pace drastically dropped to about 7:20 during that uphill stretch. Upon reaching the flat roads of Lawton Ave., it took a while before I could pick up the pace. Fortunately, and I didn’t know at what point, I was able to shake off the heaviness on my legs. I began to increase my pace after Essensa and sustained it until the end. I crossed the finished line happy and contented that I eclipsed my previous time and finished with an official time of 1h 23m 03s, a PR for 15K.

Patrick, Running Pinoy, Me)

Mission Accomplished (L-R: Patrick, Running Pinoy, Me)

Ending Credits

It was a well-organized race, something that is expected for a run event organized by Coach Rio (RunRio). Even if there was huge turnout, you can still see the orderliness of the event. There were a lot of water stations that I was not able to finish one bottle from my hydration belt. The signages were also very visible to guide runners where to turn and proceed. I also liked the kilometer markers. This allowed me to check if the kilometer reading on my Nike+ Sportsband is close to the actual distance (fortunately, this time around, it was very close as my sportsband registered a total distance of 14.97 km.)

The Happy atmosphere was also evident all throughout the race. You see bands playing at major corners of the route. There was also the dragon dance to commemorate the Chinese New Year. You can really feel the festive mood of this event. At the end of the day, I am glad to have ran for a good cause.

Lastly, it was also a fitting birthday celebration for me to have participated in this run. This 15K run was a birthday gift for myself. Too bad though, I was not able to get a picture with Optimus Prime (Haha!).

 

Cheers and Happy Runninng! 

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