Condura: THE RACE That Almost Got Away

This post is a bit delayed, but as the saying goes, “better late than never.”   After all the negative things I had written about the registration booboo that saw me miss the boat for the 21k , I owe it to the organizers of the Condura Skyway Marathon to commend them for a job well done.  After all, this is, by far, the best race I have participated in.  

As intimated in a previous post, I joined the 16k event for a host of reasons.  However, I never did really explain why I decided to sign up only in the last few days of the registration period.   

The day that I signed up for the 16k event was the day that RunRio came out with the announcement that Run United will be held on 6 March 2011.  I had been waiting anxiously for a good 21k race and I felt that Run United was it – the race that would finally banish my 21k demons.  Thus, I signed up for the 16k event of the Condura to simulate my race pace for my 21k at Run United.  So there you have it – the  Condura 16k was meant to be a training run of sorts, nothing more.  Little did I know that I’d get so much more out of it.

Apart from the basics that you’d expect from a`good race – timing and distance accuracy, as well as adequate hydration – the Condura Skyway Marathon offered much more.  The race was very well-planned – down to the most minute of details.  From gun start times, race routes, traffic flow, spacing of hydration stations, to the mobile generators that provided much-needed lighting in the wee hours of the morning, it seems that Condura left no stone unturned in making the Condura Skyway Marathon the premier running event in the country. 

I guess with a team like RunRio behind the event, working on a sizeable budget at that (the reg fees weren’t exactly spare change), such good things are to be expected.  But for me, more than the perfect logistics, more than the exemplary handling of the event, more than the extraordinary fanfare, what made this race truly unforgettable was the way it brought out the best runner in me – that never say die attitude, that constant quest for excellence, which, in the vernacular is exemplified by the phrase “pwede pa,” as opposed to the mediocre “pwede na.”  And for this, I pay tribute to runner # 41470, whose name I came to know as Straad Clement Abalde when the official results were finally released.  

Straad and I were both in Wave C, which started some 4 minutes after the first wave of 16k runners set off into the direction of Amorsolo.   I didn’t see him until after kilometer 2, which was after we had already made our way to the Skyway.  I made the mistake of going too fast on my first kilometer (4:30), so I took it slow on the second (5:28).  Maybe the steep incline of the ramp leading to the Skyway contributed a number of seconds more to my 2nd k.  By the time I reached the Skyway, I had already caught up with most of the Wave A and Wave B runners. Likewise, most of those in Wave C who foolishly started the race fast like I did were already nowhere to be seen.  Then I saw Straad.  After 10 more minutes, he was still there.  Right there and then, I determined that Straad would make for a good pacer.  I told myself that for as long as he did not stray too far from my race pace, I should not let him get out of my sight. 

It seems that Straad had not done much hills training as I would almost always leave him behind on the uphill portions of the Skyway.  However, he would almost always come back strong from those inclines and overtake me as soon as the course turned flat or went on a downslope.  However, I was always never too far behind.  This pattern continued all the way to the Buendia Flyover when I thought I had lost him for good, only for him to pop out of nowhere and overtake me once more on the downslope.  As we made the turn on the final corner leading to the finish line, he was about three stridelengths ahead of me.  I quickened the pace a bit, but not too fast, seeing that the finish line was still about 300 meters away.  I had just overtaken him when this photo was taken:

That's me in Blue; Straad's the one in white shirt and white shoes.

True to form, Straad did not allow my lead to last long.  As soon as we reached the cobblestoned portion, he made a move and overtook me once again. 

Straad (in the white shirt and shoes) about to make his move

Just like in life, when you’ve gone a long way, feeling spent, it’s so easy to give up or just coast along.  But sometimes, just sometimes, you click into a higher gear.  In the last 70 meters, I launched into a sprint that saw me reclaim the lead for good. 

Sprinting towards the finish line

The end result – 1:23:13, which was good enough for 22nd place over-all.

I was three minutes off my target time (according to my Garmin I ran an extra 167 meters) but I was more than happy with the way I ran this race.  Straad, I know I already told you this as I  shook your hand shortly after crossing the finish line, but just the same, “thanks for pushing me, man.” 

For recreational runners like me, this is what running’s all about.

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10 Responses to “Condura: THE RACE That Almost Got Away”

  1. Nike Says:

    You look older and heavier. Puwede pa talaga. 🙂

  2. Consiglieri Says:

    Much older and heavier. Hehe.

  3. Julius Says:

    Now THAT is what you call a foot race. The sporting gesture of giving the competitor a pat on the back is commendable You’re absolutely right – for rec runners like us, this is what it’s all about. Great run, man. Aren’t you glad you Condura’d? 🙂

    • Consiglieri Says:

      Thanks Julius! Yup, good thing I didn’t pass up on Condura. Now if I can only get rid of this nasty cough so I can get back to my training. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by, man. Good luck on your BDM!

  4. prauthner Says:

    Well done, indeed! And here’s to more handshakes at the finish line!

  5. Asics Says:

    I’m also looking forward— to thanking you both for pushing me. 🙂

  6. Consiglieri Says:

    This is getting more interesting. I’ll let my legs do the talking. 🙂

  7. nikejunkie Says:

    Let’s…..Just Do It!

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