Mountain hiking, cycling, and cardio workouts only complements marathon training. A long distance training run is still necessary to complete the marathon preparation. I do 5 to 8-kilometer runs on Wednesday and Friday mornings, and 10 to 15-kilometer training runs on Sundays, but I know that I have to run a longer distance if I want to get a respectable PR. And the reason I don’t go beyond 15 kilometers is because I get bored running the same route over and over again. When I found out about the 34k category of Resolution Run, it got me interested, but also hesitant to join because I was also trying to save money. Then two things convinced me to join, the chance to finally run the full distance of Resolution Run’s Nuvali and Casile route (I joined Resolution Run 2015’s 20k category and only reached the Marcos Mansion and a small part of Casile) and to run 34 kilometers at the age of 34. So, it’s 34 kilometers for a 34 year old runner. That sounds nice.
The last time I joined a Runmania event was December 2015 (PNPA Uphill Challenge) and I’m not surprised that the race started late as usual (it was suppose to start at 3:30 am, we started at 4 am).
It was a cold morning and some parts of Nuvali are pitch-black. The organizer was able to properly lit some of the darkest parts of Nuvali, especially the road after Miriam College. They did it right compared to the organizer of the previous running event I joined last December (my first ultramarathon) who failed to provide proper lighting or safety markers in the dark areas of the race route.
The plan was to attempt a sub-4 hour 34k run and to keep the pace at 6 to 7 minutes per kilometer. This is to test my capability to maintain a consistent pace and the result is part of assessing myself to see if a Sub-5 hour marathon PR is doable. Nuvali main road has a lot of uphills, I was able to maintain the pace for 12 kilometers, and after that, the pace exceeds 7 minutes per kilometer, but also goes back to the target pace, depending on the terrain. The pace begins to shift to a crawl at the 24th kilometer when we start to ascend towards the Marcos Twin Mansion and Baranggay Casile.
I am very familiar with the Marcos Twin Mansion part of the route because I’ve run the route twice. It’s okay to conserve energy and walk (which I did), even some cyclists get off their bikes and walk this part of the road. What I wasn’t prepared for was the very steep uphill segments of Baranggay Casile. I started to feel cramps on my thigh and calf, so I really had to walk a lot and be careful in shifting my pace. I caught up with fellow runner, Rick Frias (whom I met at the 40th Milo Marathon) somewhere between the 26th and 27th kilometer who was also walking at the time.
I paced with Rick as we reached the 34k U-turn and veteran runner, Iliquim also joined us back to Nuvali. It started to get hot at the time and some aid stations ran out of supplies and started packing up. I also noticed that the race distance will exceed 34 kilometers based on my GPS watch and smartphone app’s reading and my experience running in the area.
By the time we passed the Nuvali Roundabout, it was more than 34 kilometers and because we already know that a sub-4 PR is out of reach, the motivation to run or at least jog our way to the finish line faded. We walked a lot, alternating with short jogging until we reached East Nature Avenue. I still have some gas and started running when I finally saw the finish line from the distance.
I finally crossed the finish line at 4 hours 41 minutes with a total distance of more than 37 kilometers. It was also good timing that I saw AHC Mentor Carly standing on the podium bagging 3rd place of the 8 km category. A congratulated her before entering the activity area to claim my entitlements and re-hydrate.
The run isn’t exactly the 34 kilometers for a 34-year old runner that I had in mind. More than 3 kilometers is too much of an extra distance, so where did the additional kilometers come from? I think the actual route had something to do with it. As seen in the photo below, the original route layout posted on facebook illustrates that the runners are suppose to run on the road going to Republic Wake Park and then back to Nuvali main road. But, the actual route had us going back to Miriam College instead, adding the extra 3 kilometers in the total distance.
The extra 3+ kilometers added challenge and it’s a good thing especially for those who joined the event as their marathon tune-up run and that is probably the reason why no one really complained about it.
I really enjoyed the run, sure the uphills of Casile was torture on the knees and food for the cramps, but I enjoyed the scenic views and fresh air. And I firmly believed that the challenge only made me stronger and physically prepared for my 3rd marathon on February 4.