Today, I am looking back to one of the finest days of my life. Who would have thought that I can finish my first marathon after having a pretty serious knee injury eight months prior?
I was originally part of the TBR Dream Marathon 2014 participants. I was in pretty good shape and training for both marathon and another corporate seven-a-side football league at the same time. However, I had to withdraw just 11 days before the race day because my father was seriously ill. I took a three-week leave of absence from work and training to take care of him. A few of my colleagues who also runs kept on insisting me to let one of them run the marathon on my behalf. I rejected their request simply because I am against bib switching. Apparently, my father passed away from a heart attack caused by pneumonia on February 17, 2014, a day after the TBR Dream Marathon was held.
On June 8 of the same year, I suffered a tear in both meniscus and MCL in my left knee after a tough football game. With a combination of personal tragedy, work-related stress, and an injury, I became really depressed but I didn’t stop there. To overcome those tough times, I took a week-long time off from work and attended physical therapy sessions for over three months.
I became more enthusiastic about my full recovery after being selected to run for the TBR Dream Marathon 2015 in August.
After being medically cleared, I started training in the first week of October based on the revised 2015 program with modifications such as additional core and weight training after maintenance runs. However, I had to let go of the other sport that I love which is football to further concentrate on my marathon training. I also attended all monthly Bull Sessions (practice runs) and a couple of Bull Circle (seminars).
While training, I met a few fellow participants who became my running buddies Mitzie, Mikael, RJ, Mers, Ed, Rain, and Arlene. It was our first taste to ran at in Nuvali in Santa Rosa, Laguna where the annual TBR Dream Marathon is being held.
For the past five months, I followed a strict regimen according to the training program by sleeping as early as I can, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, eating right, and most of all: NOT over-training. My confidence boosted specially that I was in the best shape of my life.
A day before the race day, I was pretty nervous and I couldn’t get additional sleep. So, I decided to take pictures of my running gear and played a record of my favorite band. I ended up taking an afternoon nap at 5:00 PM and waking up at 9:30 PM. I tipped the scales at 140 lbs even on the race day and left home at exactly 10:45 PM via service bus going to Nuvali.
THE MAIN EVENT:
The stage was set on February 22, 2015. The temperature in Sta. Rosa, Laguna was cool and breezy between 23-25 degrees Celsius.
All of the race participants arrived at the venue nervous and excited at the same time. Mingling and taking pictures of one another really helped to boost our confidence. Mitzie, Mikael, and I met took warmed up with dynamic stretching in approximately twenty minutes.
On the first 10 kilometers, we ran 1 minute and walking 1 minute alternately with a considerably lame pace of 9 minutes/km. From kilometers 11 to 32, we ran 2/1 interval (two-minute run-one-minute walk) with an average pace of not lower than 8 minutes/kilometer. The hydration tents and medical stations were alternately placed every 3 kilometers based on my recollection.
On the final 10 kilometers, we altered our strategy from 3/1 interval to 1.5/30 seconds with an average pace of 6.5 minutes/km. We never expected that cutting the intervals really helped us to achieve negative splits. Instead of playing music on my mobile phone which I usually do to increase momentum, I kept on trading stories with Mikael and Mitzie.
It’s really fun to meet TBR Dream Marathon finishers from the previous years helping out participants by setting up tents, providing first aid, and offering free food such as fruits, Chippy, and Cloud 9 chocolate. The camaraderie was all around the place. Because of the food, it helped me to keep my energy on a steady level and consumed fewer packs of GU Roctane within the entire race.
Approaching the 40th kilometer, both my right knee and ankle felt a lot of pressure and experienced mild pain. It’s all because of the knee support on my left knee that contributed to imbalanced blood flow. However, I shrugged off the pain off and kept on chit-chatting with Mitzie whilst running since we were about to achieve our personal milestone. All the pain was gone just less than 800 meters away from the finish line. I started striking funny poses showing sheer confidence in front of the photographers. I just let Mitzie finish ahead of me by 30 seconds.
Finally, I can see the finish line with a horde of people cheering and the race announcers were clearly mentioning my name right before crossing the finish line. It was an emotional moment for me when I raised the finish line ribbon and screaming my late father’s name.
On February 22, 2015, at exactly 7:42 in the morning, I, Arthur Doctolero has become a marathoner with an official chip time of 5:41:59. I swore to join at least one marathons a year and to eventually complete all six World Major Marathons. My running buddies finished strong and injury-free! It was also reported that all of the participants finished the race.
I highly recommend this race especially for those first time marathoners who are based in Mega Manila. I am very confident that you will enjoy the training more than you expected.