All good things must come to end.
Every end is a new beginning.
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

As I go through some quotes about things coming to an end as we enter the last month of 2009, I can’t help but (once again) feel nostalgic. I will definitely remember this year as I ran my first full marathon.  And then three more.  But more importantly, I’ve met a lot of interesting people through this blog. So when the New Balance Run was moved to the last Sunday of November and so far I haven’t signed up (don’t know if I will) for any race in December, it hit me for the very first time that I was at the homestretch of this busy yet productive year.

Photo grabbed from http://www.baldrunner.com

Junrox back from Japan

I got to the race area at least 30 minutes before start time so when I saw Anton, a former student, we decided to run part of the BHS block for our warm up and then made our way near the start arch where I met now regular race buddy Junrox.   He just came from a business trip in Japan and was lacking mileage prior to race day.  That was according to him.

Catching up with Junrox, reading the markers

For after the “horn,” or whatever start signal it was, was sounded,  Tigerboy didn’t show any sign of  “lack in training.”  I didn’t think I was remiss when it comes to putting in the kilometers regularly but I was chasing him for the first half of the race, sometimes even falling behind as much as 10 meters.

Aid stations were taken care of by the organizers although I felt that instead of bottled waters, cups should have been used to save water.  I particularly liked the road markers with “amusing” lines.  Kilometer 5 marker made me smile with “Running, the original friend with benefits.”  And even as I was trying my best to keep up with Junrox after 8 kilometers of running, I still had time to appreciate “XOXO Running.”  Then when I finally caught up, km 13 read, “Running will meet you anytime” (or something like that).

Turning points

I love those turn around points because they were opportunities to see friends who may have been running ahead or behind you and those points were the only chance for you to cheer or receive cheers from them or just say hi or call out their name as a sign of support. (But what’s with the tight turn around bands???)

I never thought that turning into and entering McKinley Hill would be the X factor of the race for me.  X because I’ve never run “around” it and, as I would learn painfully that morning, the experience from previously running “portions” of the 50 hectare project home to condos, international schools and a couple of embassies provided little help.  I think I should seriously consider doing a hill training now.   Although I saw some runners doing some walk breaks especially in the more hilly parts, I decided not to for fear of not being able to run anymore later.

The final turn

But surprisingly, I was still feeling strong even after that killer leg, and so I went on with the 5minpkm pace heading near the finish.  I did a mental note of the map (a big mistake since a friend later told me that I should have checked the “revised” map!) and accelerated a little thinking that the final turn before the finish was near the NBC tent.  But when I saw that the runners in front of me were directed to the Serendra area, I thought I could not go further anymore!  But somehow I was able to maintain the speed and gain some more as I made the “real” final turn to the finish line.

Accidents and finish lines

Relieved to finish this challenging race. Thanks Jovie-san for the photo!

I later learned from Junrox that the Bald Runner was taking photos near the finish line.  I wish I had seen him and talked to him about how I was in black after reading his post about the horrifying incident in the south.  As I crossed the finish line, I also paid tribute to the victims of the four powerful typhoons that hit the country in a span of about  a month, the first of which caused the postponement of this race.

It was a tough race to say the least but in the end, isn’t that what we need sometimes to push harder, go beyond 100 percent, be the best we want to be?  It reminded me of a line from a recent post by the The Bull Runner:  the tougher the challenge, the more rewarding it feels in the end.

Download race results at the New Balance website.

Good luck to all Pinoy runners in Singapore!!!

And one more final quote from Orson Welles:

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

Thanks SPEX runners for the breakfast! Yes, that's Kitty, Urbanathlon Women's 10K 2nd placer the week before

Photo op with the most famous Afro in the running world!

After the race with students at a group study complete with Christmas decor. Good luck on the test this Sunday!

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