I was checking the My Races page of this site and looking at the races I’ve participated in, I can’t help but wax nostalgic and go over through each race, trying to remember how I did, the people I ran with and checked some photos along the way.  I started joining races regularly since the Subic Marathon (10k) in 2008 but the very first race I joined was the 5k side event of the 2006 Milo Manila Eliminations.

Ai and I

It was Ai Tateyama, a Japanese colleague who asked me along with other teachers if we wanted to join the event.  All we had to do, she said, was fill out the forms and give her 100 pesos for the registration and the money to purchase the required Milo product.  She bought Milo, submitted the application forms and then handed us our race shirts and bibs later.

Before that, I had never run that distance, well, not for a race I think.  I remember participating in track and field try outs and contests in grade school, 100m, 200m, high jump and long jump, but no long distance races, and no more races or anything related to track and field for that matter when I entered high school.  I’m not sure what happened but track and field ceased to be a part of my life…

Running muscle memory

So the Milo 5k run 3 years ago brought back all the memories of competing and just running in general.  With no regular running buddies or team, I just did some running one week prior to race date.  Even if I was going to the gym since 2004, most of the running I did was for warm up, 10 minutes @ 7:00 pace.  I thought if I could run 5 kilometers on the treadmill, I would at least be able to finish the race.

We're a team of Filipino and Japanese teachers and volunteers doing our very first Milo race.

M-I-L-O! A group of Filipino and Japanese teachers and volunteers doing our very first Milo race.

So race day came.  The Japanese volunteers and the Filipino teachers met at kilometer zero 30 minutes before the race.  If you have participated in the Milo 5k run, you know how hard it is to start when you’re not in front of the pack!  Imagine 4,000 runners starting at the same time!  I remember trying to make my way through the crowd (many of whom stayed in front but decided to walk) but not spend too much energy just to be able to finally cross the starting line.

Two-way contest

I remember running very fast for my standard then and when I saw one of the fastest and most athletic Japanese runners in our group, Wakabayashi-san (runner#25771), a few hundred meters before the finish line, a race between the two of us ensued where one would take the lead alternately with the other until I went for it and crossed the finish line ahead of him.  We thanked and congratulated each other afterwards for a nice race to the finish.  We later learned that another Japanese in our group finished way ahead of us!  But I can still remember feeling competitive and wanting for more after the run.

I still join 5k races every now and then, the last one of which was the week before the Milo eliminations this year, a run for a cause sponsored by JAL.  Although my time 3 years ago is relatively slower than my time now, I still think that it was one of the most special races I’ve ever done.

Minutes after the race with Nihongo Center colleagues Frances, Jovy, Sam and Ai

Minutes after the race with Nihongo Center colleagues Frances, Jovy, Sam and Ai

After the race, I would have jogging sessions with Ai once or twice a week around the villages in Makati but the 2006 Milo run was to be our last race together.  She went back to Japan the following year.  The other Japanese who ran with us are also either back in Japan or are doing their posts abroad.

Sometimes it really pays to look back and cherish the wonderful times you’ve had, the fantastic friends you’ve made and hope that there will be more in the coming days.

Oh, if you’re wondering, I finished in 25:16, eight seconds ahead of Wakabayashi-san.  🙂

(This is the race result which I just saw a couple of days ago, more than 3 years after the actual race!)

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