Mixed Emotions at the Power Run

I have mixed emotions after having finished the Power Run. There is some sense of satisfaction for having finished the race (and running more than the 15K distance) and a sense of disappointment on how confusing the race turned out to be.

The Race

I have been looking forward to this run event for 2 reasons. One, it was my first time to run at SM MOA grounds/vicinity. Two, it would have been a good opportunity to set a PR considering the flat roads. My goal was to eclipse the time I had set at the Happy Run; perhaps a 1h. 20 m. was a good target.

The race started on time and the weather cooperated. Fortunately, the sky was still dark when we started at exactly 6:00 am (at least on my watch). The weather also cooperated with the cool morning breeze. Prior to the run, I had thought the 6:00 am start time was a bit late. But not in this case. All throughout the run, we were fortunate to have very good weather with the sun choosing to stay behind the clouds.

Mostly flat roads. True enough, my friend was right when he said that it was a mostly flat race course. Aside from trying to set a PR, it was also a very good opportunity to run at a sustained pace (without having to slow down on uphills). I surprisingly found myself running at a pace of 5:20 to 5:3o (until an unfortunate situation happened). It was my best pace so far this year and credit goes to the Nike running clinic.

Hydration stations. In think there is a sufficient number of hydration stations along the race course. I did hear some complaints that water ran out towards the end but I cannot validate this yet. Somehow, I have learned my lesson from previous runs and I make it a point to bring my hydration belt in cases of water supply running out. I was also able to get a 500 mL Pocari Sweat from the first station (along Macapagal Ave.) that I was able to maximize it up the 8 km. mark. But a complaint that I can validate is the lack of water supply at the finish line (when it clearly says in the race map that there is an H2O station).

I also find it odd that the guy stationed at the ‘Aktivade’ tent was refusing to give out Aktivade drinks to runners when there was still sufficient supply. When I finished the run, I was looking for a water station as I had finished the liquids I brought from my hydration belt. I asked one runner where he got his Aktivade drink and if it was being given for finishers. He said yes and he pointed where I can get it. I went to the tent and asked, ‘Sir, dito po ba kumukuha nung Aktivade?’ The guy said (pointing at the coolers), ‘Ubos na po.’ I looked at the coolers and I did see that there were no more drinks in there. But at the side of the tent, I saw plenty of Aktivade bottles. I asked him again, ‘Sir, kahit yung hindi malamig okay lang.’ Surprisingly he just looked away and did not say anything. And then, a few minutes after, a group runners were also looking for drinks at the tent. They found the bottles at the side of the tent and started to get bottles of Aktivade. The guys stationed at the tent moved quickly and started to transfer the stacks of Aktivade bottles to the package area so that the runners swarming the tent couldn’t get any more bottles. Hmmm, what could be the rationale behind this?!

Series of Unfortunate Events. It all started on our way back to Seaside Blvd. The 15K runners were supposed to turn left at the first turn. But that did not happen. Without any marshall directing runners, most went straight ahead and went through different directions thereafter (more on this confusion in a while). I back got to the right direction and ran comfortably at a sustained pace.

Then another unfortunate thing happened. As I was running along Coral Way (near SMX Convention Center), a runner suddenly stopped in front of me to walk and drink. It caught me off-guard and I had to quickly evade him. I hopped to his left and as soon as my left foot hit the ground, I instantly felt a sting at the side of my left knee. I went t the side of the road and walked a bit to feel if it’s anything serious. After some knee bending and shaking, I didn’t feel anything and started to run again. But about 5 minutes after, I felt my right thigh tighten a bit signalling that I might have cramps. I had no choice but to reduce my pace to about 6:15 to 6:40. It took me about 10 minutes to increase my pace again but the fastest I got was 5:4o (up until the last 1-km. where I ran 5:15).

Then, after finishing the run, my right thigh finally succumbed to cramps. After some stretching, I was able to shake it off. Then as I was walking around, I was starting to feel a bit of pain on my left knee. A few more stretching relieved me of the pain but the pain came back when I got home. Fortunately, when I woke up this morning there was no more pain and I hope it stays that way.

15 + 1.5 K. With the confusion on the race route, I ran a total of 16.5 km. with an unofficial time of 1h 24m 50s (as seen from the timing device at the finish line). A bit disappointed because I missed the chance for an official 15K PR. Then again, I’m also happy to have ran 16K to build up mileage for the ultimate goal of 21K this March.

Where the confusion lies

Confusion Point

Confusion Point

Based from my observation, I think that the confusion centered on the way back to Seaside Blvd., specifically at the first turn. (Please refer to the green shaded circle from the picture above.) When 15K runners (me included) passed by this point, there was no marshall directing us to turn left. All 15K runners went straight (Please refer to the green arrows on how the 15K runners proceeded) and made a U-turn at the end of Seaside Blvd. After the U-turn, some 15K runners made a right turn to Macapagal Ave. Some 15K runners made a right turn towards the specified direction (green shaded area) after a marshall was suddenly stationed there. This explains why some 15K runners ran about 18K, and some about 16K, and some the registered distance of 15K.

I feel bad for the marshall who was suddenly stationed there. A lot of runners were asking him why he wasn’t there earlier. To his credit, he did apologize repeatedly for what happened.

Here’s my take on this episode. Right from the get-go, a race marshall should have been there. A good example is the route around PICC. There were race marshalls there that instructed runners to run another loop or to run back to SM MOA area. Without any marshall there and with 15K runners going straight (instead of turning left), one would certainly follow where the pack is going. Who knows, the route could have suddenly changed? And when in the process of running, runners are certainly dependent on marshalls to guide them in the proper direction.

On a personal note, I also take responsibility for missing the right route. I got hold of the route several days before the race and I was not able to carefully remember the right directions.

Moving Forward

Certainly, a lot of things need to be reviewed in order to have a better and organized race the next time around. Aside from this being my first run at SM MOA, it was also my first to join a race organized by MX Sports. I hope that they can learn from this experience and move forward and organize a better race next month (I think they have another scheduled race next month). While there are some unfortunate things that happened, there are also some good things such as the race starting on time and some good marshalls (some were not very helpful actually).

So, there you have it. An eventful Power Run. Lots more running this year and see you all next weekend at the RUNew. Happy Running!

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Flatfoot Runner. This is a very fair and relatively objective review and account of the race. I share the sentiment that things hopefully improve in future races.

    Thanks ricov. I think they have another race coming at MOA next month. That’ll be a good gauge to see how it improves.

  2. Hi Jan. Congratulations on the run. I’m sorry to hear about the things that happened. I read some of the comments on a couple of other blogs as well and they’re consistent with what you wrote.

    Over the last several years, I’ve weeded out some of the local races here in SF that are poorly organized. The problems have happened more than once.

    Anyway, good luck at the next run next weekend!

    Thanks Wayne. I am hoping though that the next few races organized at the same location (SM MOA) would be better since I enjoyed running there, specifically on the flat roads.

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