Race Review: Botak 10k Paa-Tibayan

RACE DAY. I woke up 5am as usual. This being my fourth funrun, I've somehow gotten used to waking up this early (and excited!) whenever it's race day. This is going to be extra special since it's my first ever 10km race and what a way to start it off by entering the Botak Paa-Tibayan.

I arrived around 5:30am and started stretching off thanks to some warm-up exercises courtesy of Coach Rio's videos. The office running gang was there, all of us running the 10k event. When I reached the starting gate, the 42k runners have already started. The 10k and 21k runners were up next. BE got so excited that he had to pee just minutes (and I mean 2 minutes) before the race. Hmmm, I wonder how (and where) he got relieved so fast.

The starting gun went off a little past 6am. Nahawa ata ako kay BE coz I felt like wanting to pee as well even though I've already relieved myself when I left the car for the Boni High CR. Arrrgghhh. Nakakasira ng diskarte 'to ah, I thought. Looking for a CR during the race will surely slow down my aim for a respectable 1hr 20mins.

Upon reaching Rizal Avenue, I remembered there was a Chowking resto just before we take a left up to the flyover. So, kinalimutan na ang hiya, I swerved to the left and opened the Chowking entrance. I asked the two nice ladies manning the counter where was the CR. As I walked near it, I was glad to see 1 or 2 fellow runners who've made the trip as well.

Ahhhhh….relief! Too bad I wasn't able to order that spicy beef wanton soup and siopao I always order for breakfast. Hehe.

So I'm back in the race, and at the next left turn, voila! There was the flyover to Buendia. It was such a lovely site that I had to stop thrice to take pictures of the swarm of runners trudging up the path.

As the flyover started descending to Buendia, I remembered LA who taught me to take full advantage of such descents. I accelerated and I think I overtook about 15-20 runners. Now, the long run at Buendia awaits.

I passed by the first water station just after the flyover. Too many runners ganging up on this station plus, I wasn't thirsty yet. This was something I've learned from my last race, Step-Up, when I had too much to drink of the sealed Summit mineral water bottles they gave us. I think I felt bloated from drinking too much water at that race. Sinulit masyado eh. Hehe.

I stopped at the second water station and drank about two plastic cups of water. As I went along, I was amazed to see the first batch of runners who've already made the U-turn at Malugay, coupled with about two 10-12 year olds running like mad as if their life depended on it. I believed these two children have already made a lot of money winning these events since the opportunity to win at their age class is huge.

BE, DB, AQ, and MP have made the U-turn as well. I recon they were about 10 minutes ahead of me.

At last! I finally saw the U-turn. I was on my way back to the finish line. But it was still a long way. One thing that boosted me was that buti nga ako pabalik na, yung mga 21k runners wala pang kalahati. Plus, Born To Be Wild started playing on my earphones. I think that's my power song.

The traffic was well controlled by the organizers and by MAPSA. On the way back, I heard a long car horn which I believed came from a disgusted, irate driver waiting for the MAPSA to allow them to pass.

"Kita mo ba yan??!?!" the MAPSA shouted to the driver while pointing to the runners. I couldn't stop myself from grinning sheepishly at the driver and trying hard not to stick out my tongue in a BELAT KAMI MUNA! statement.

I passed by the first water station that I intentionally missed earlier. I think this'll be my last gulp. So I swerved left and took…

Ooooohhhh…GATORADE! Ayos ah! Kaya pala dami tao sa water station na 'to kanina.

Like Popeye after eating a can of spinach, I increased my pace towards the flyover. I threw caution to the wind on the incline and kept a fast pace. And then, like a Ferrari at 4th gear going up a mountain, I stalled. Pfffftttt!

I committed the cardinal sin: I stopped….and walked. I wasn't able to anticipate the long incline of the flyover going back. Killer incline, grabeh! I think I walked for about 100-150meters until I saw that the incline had stopped to a level path. On I went.

As I descended the flyover, a Manila water tank truck had greeted the runners with a water shower. Haaay, sarap! Passing Fifth Avenue, I looked at my stopwatch and saw 43 minutes. Hey hey hey! I think I'm on to something here! Baka better than 1:30 ito ah, I thought.

So it was now the long road along S&R and Home Depot. Along the way, there was this guy (imagine Balot, but about 50lbs lighter) using me as a pacer. He would ran past me and then, once he's about 20 meters ahead, would walk until I pass him. Note that I was at a steady pace the whole time. Ang kulit eh! I think he did it about 4-5 times until about 200 meters from the finish line when I took LA's last rule: FINISH STRONG. So, I sprinted all the way to the finish. Iniwan ko na si Balot.

I looked up to see the official time and pressed my stopwatch: 1 HOUR and……(drum roll please)……9 MINUTES!

Huuuuuuwoooow! 69 minutes!!!! Grabeh! Ba't kaya ganun ano? On my practice runs my 5km would finish about 34minutes. So, if I were to estimate my 10k (plus a slow down in pace in the last 5k) I would finish at about 74-80minutes.

69 minutes. Now THAT's good for a first time 10k run.

Generally, I enjoyed the BOTAK 10k. The way they kept the traffic on hold, the water stations, and singlet were all good. What I didn't like was when they published the official times. I'm very certain that my time was 69 minutes but, when I downloaded the official results, my time was 65 minutes. I think they need to improve on this. Further, I heard the 5k route was bad due to no water stations were available. Tsk tsk, if it were true, now that's really bad.

My next race? It's probably going to be the AutoReview 10k at Mckinley Hill on May24 since my company's UP funrun moved from May31 to June7 (sayang sumabay sa Mizuno Run, same route pa naman sa BOTAK 10k). Hmmm, di pa pala ako registered sa AutoReview run so I'd better schedule it next week.

Btw, seeing the race schedules/details at takbo.ph made me wonder: ba't ang mahal ng registration fees? The Slimmerun and Step-Up were at P150/head only. Now, the price range has been P200-P350/head. I hope the race organizers would encourage more runners to join by lowering the fees.

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