I joined the 36th National Milo Marathon in Cagayan de Oro last November 25, 2012 with the intention of improving my previous half-marathon best time of 2:13++. It was a time I established during the Run United Cagayan de Oro leg almost exactly one year ago. But even before I started running my third Milo race, I was having doubt if I could do a PR. Prior to this run, my training has been 99% LSD (long slow distance). I have been training with my wife, Malou, for one month in preparation for her first 21K which would happen exactly a week after this Milo Marathon.
Just like the two previous editions, the starting line of this year's Milo Marathon also gave me goosebumps. It might have been caused by the energy radiated by the runners eagerly waiting for the gun start. Or maybe the inspirational videos shown at the start and finish line. Or maybe it was simply because I am joining (again) the country's longest running foot race, a run so rich in tradition it has produced countless heroes and fabled tales of triumphs and defeats throughout the years.
There has been three major changes in this year's Milo Marathon in Cagayan de Oro City. First, the 21K gun start was moved to 4:30 AM, or 30 minutes earlier than last year's 5 AM. Second, it started and finished outside the Provincial Capitol Compound of Misamis Oriental. The previous years' start and finish were outside and inside the Pelaez Sports Complex, respectively. And finally, the race route turned right upon reaching the national highway. Meaning, instead of running west towards Opol, we headed east to Barangay Agusan.
The first half of my run started just fine. Utilizing the Galloway run-walk method at the start of the 2nd water station (about 4 kilometers), I reached the turning point in Agusan Bridge at 1:06. I figured out that if I could maintain my pace, I would finish at 2:12 or one minute faster than my PR. Or if I could manage to go faster then a sub 2:10 is a possibility.
Photo by official photographer Francis Manaloto
But as my second-half run progressed, I started to run slower. By the way, due to personal reasons, I didn't brought along power gels for this run. Instead, I relied on Snickers chocolate to keep hunger at bay. Maybe my body gotten so used to running slow pace during training that trying to speed up a bit was too taxing. It was at the last 5K when I realized that I could not do a PR anymore so I just focus on making the 2:30 finisher's medal cut-off.
I reached the the finish line at 2:20. Toinks! It was even slower than my last year's Milo run of 2:17. Anyway, I still feel good knowing I have made it way below the finisher's medal cut-off time. Maybe next year I could finally nail my target (hahaha!).
With fellow Malaybalay Runners
It was Malou who actually made a PR, finishing her 10K run at 1:02 (her previous best was 1:07). She ranked 11th among all female 10k runners. Ironically, the trainer got slower while the trainee got faster. Damn!
With my running wife
1. It was a typical Circle Productions (the Milo partner organizer in CDO) race. There are plenty of race marshals and hydration stations are spaced out every 2 kilometers. Race Director Francis Velasquez can be seen personally overseeing the route and encouraging the runners to keep going.
2. Loot bag was consist of Milo choco drinks (in can and tetra pack), Gatorade, Milo Adult and Nestea Ice Tea sachets, biscuits and a piece of banana.
3. The finisher's medal has the same design as last year but is smaller in size.
4. I love this year's Reebok singlet design, quality and fit.