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I Dreamed, I Survived, I Conquered

May 23, 2010


Last January during a run for Tita Cory, Jaymie introduced me to her plan to organize a marathon race for newbies. She described the event with excitement that was contagious that I was immediately sold to the idea of running my 1st marathon during her Dream Marathon event.

As soon as the registration opened, I signed up myself and hubby. I remembered how shocked Noy was when he found out what I did. He eventually became up for the challenge.

It was an uphill climb training for the marathon. Work schedule did not permit regular run days. I injured myself during the last Mizuno Infinity Run. Personally, I think the will to train for my first ever full mary was not there. I began to doubt myself. Negative thoughts kept pulling me down. But I knew that I was no quitter. So with or without training I had to at least try to finish. I did my usual pick-me-up strategy…I went shopping! I bought myself 2XU compression tights (c/o my brother Edge), supply of hammergels, visors for hubby and I.

Days passed and before I knew it…it was already the 20th of May. And of all days, I found myself catching a cold with mild fever and a very bad stiff neck. Was God giving me a sign or rather signs that I shouldn’t pursue the marathon? I felt desolated…confused. Should I still pursue my dream of running a full marathon?

Sick 😦

May 21.

I woke up feeling dazed from all the drugs I took the night before. Drank them all as soon as I got home from work which was about 1130pm the night before. And yes, as a dedicated workaholic, I still attended the meeting even if I didn’t feel well. Just like running, it gives me my own personal high 🙂 As I was preparing for work, I felt uneasy. My cold had transformed into a persistent cough. I decided to work from home and get some rest, hoping that by evening my condition would improve. I promised hubby that if I still did not feel well, I will not join the race but will still be there as his support crew. Noy laughed it off. He knew there was no way I would be missing this race.

Hubby, Tito Jombet and I decided to stay in Sta. Rosa the night before the race. We got ourselves to El Cielito Inn and tried to get some rest 7pm onwards. It was hopeless. Our body clocks simply did not adjust to our schedule. We got ourselves ready for the 2am race gunstart. Amazingly, I felt a whole lot better. Sure, my stiff neck was there but my cold-transformed-into-cough was gone. I told myself this is a good sign.

We arrived in the site half past 1am. The anticipation in the air was contagious. Everyone was excited. We were one loud bunch exchanging good lucks and inspirational quotes. I was so happy to see my family was there to support us. Marga, Nao, Carly, Pio, Argo, Timmy, Tere, Chelly, Cess were there. I found my way to join Yan and Jet who has volunteered to pace Yan, myself and hubby. Thank you Lord for showering us with such wonderful friends.


The gun went off at exactly 2am. Jet told us to conserve our energy thus we will start with a 3:1 Galloway (Run/Walk) strategy. I was so excited to be finally experiencing running a full marathon that at times I was running faster than our agreed pace. As soon as we went pass Solenad en-route to the first loop, I slowed down to be with the group.

The route was deserted but well-lit in some areas. Yan and Noy lighted our path with their headlamps. We were a happy, chatty, contented group. Noy has to go to the little boy’s room by the bushes while we (the girls) used the 1st portalet we passed by. I was amazed that the portalet has toilet paper. Thank you Jaymie!

Jet and I were running ahead of Noy and Yan. We traded stories about anything under the sun from his dog, to the weather, my kids, our training runs etc. Time went by so quickly.

Before turning right to towards the bird sanctuary, Jet told me to go ahead as he wanted to Noy and Yan to hydrate. I went on ahead. Little did I know that the path towards the bird sanctuary was along a trail that was pitch black in some areas. I opted not to use the headlamp Noy gave me as I felt I was already lugging too much gear. It was good that the TBR organizers had thought of placing fog lights to brighten some areas of the trail pathway.

The group was just a few meters behind me as I can still hear them happily chatting. By the time I got back to the main route, I had lost them. I waited for about 2 minutes before deciding to just run off ahead. I saw Lorie and Ayette (Ate), the Padua sisters running together. I wish my own sister was there as well to cheer me on.

Since I have decided to run ahead, I adjusted my Garmin to do a 4:1 interval. I tuned into my iPod and started singing or at least tried to sing songs from Glee, Timbaland, Keri Hilson, BEP.

After making passing the major turnaround, on my way back, I saw the group this time with my running buddy Tracy. Tracy’s my former running buddy, a stronger one to boot. She has finished her 1st FM during the last ConduraRun finishing in an amazing 5hrs 20mins. Tracy decided to run with me. Just like old times, we chatted and chatted, ran and ran. Before we know it, we were back in Solenad for loop 2.

TBR Dream Marathon Route

The sun was already peeking. My support team was patiently waiting for us to pass by. I believe I get my energy from them. Just like how Monstropolis in Monsters Inc gets re-energized more by children’s laughter, that’s how I felt whenever I hear their cheers.

Tracy and I had to take a toilet break. Air-conditioned bathrooms would do the job. I freshened up, combed my hair, washed up and was ready to face the 2nd loop.

I saw Eric and wifey as I was leaving Solenad en-route to another crazy loop. I couldn’t believe that I had finished the 1st 21k without any issues at all! Except maybe for the challenging route. The route was relatively flat but had its share of difficulty. Steep uphills, trail paths were part of the challenge.

On the early part of the 2nd loop, I was still enjoying myself tremendously. It must be all the endorphins and adrenalin that was pumping in my bloodstream. I even had a chance to get my picture taken with Coach Rio.

A few kms before turning right to the Bird Sanctuary, the sun was up and it was showering us with its heat blaring rays. I now faced my 1st issue. I think we were approaching km30 when I felt that my right upper, inner arm was chafing. We signaled a roving medic (Yes, we had roving medics! Not just ambulances but medics on bikes! TBR thinks of everything!) who passed by us if they had any body glide or petroleum jelly. Unfortunately, they had none. But by the gift of God, a good samaritan approached us and offered his anti-chafing cream. I was relieved, thankful and will forever be grateful. Apparently, running a full marathon can strip one person of manners as I forgot to get his name or introduce myself. Good samaritan, whoever you are, thank you so much for your kind help.

Before turning right towards the bird sanctuary for the second time around, Tracy decided to take a rest. I ran on ahead. The route to the bird sanctuary was a welcomed rest from pavement running. The view from the gazebo (turnaround point) was amazing that I had to stop and admire nature. How I wish I brought my camera.

Back to the main route, I decided to stop my walk breaks. I believed I had only 10k left to run. It shouldn’t be too bad. I was wrong. The sun was up and it was angry. I can feel it creeping behind me and scourging my arms and back. It was draining my energy that I had to stop and walk at some points.

The Heat!

Finally I saw Tracy again and as she promised earlier, she will run the last stretch with me.

The last 8km was terrible as the heat was intolerable. Truth be told, I hate the heat. It melts me, melts my every will. This is the reason why I don’t think I can ever run an ultramarathon. I cannot endure the heat. My dream to finish in 5hrs 30mins was shattered. But it doesn’t matter. My purpose was to finish and finishing 34kms was already an achievement. It was time to take that 42km medal. It was time to finish this race, I told myself. I prayed to my Dad and Mom to push me, to wait for me by the finish line, to be my inspiration. But I had to say a disclaimer, they can wait for me by the finish line but they cannot take me with them. I still have kids and I’m too young to die. Just making sure they understood what I meant. 😀

38,39,40. The last 2kms! Oh my God! This is it. This is the longest 2kms I will ever run in my life! I wanted to sprint towards the finish line but I was weary and tired. Tracy and I decided to power walk the next km and run the last km. Then suddenly I felt a jabbing pain on my right ankle. Oh no…body do not do this to me!…was my reaction. I experimented to see if the pain will go away if I ran and miraculously, it did! Must be my Dad and Mom pushing me to finish strong.

Last km, I ran…well it was more of an easy jog. Tracy wanted leave me but I urged her to run with me during my last 500m.


Then there it was…The finish line! I was was close to tears. Oh the joy…but wait…my eyes looked at the time. Oh no! It read 5:59:49. I was determined to finish sub-6 hours. I gave it my all and sprinted towards the finish line. The crowd was cheering me on saying go, go, go, go. 5:59:55, 5:59:56, 5:59:57…and the rest was history. I never knew what time I finished. But I was certain it was 5:59:59…hoping it was indeed sub-6.

I was teary eyed. Hugs and congratulatory remarks were given by my friends. I felt so blessed to have finished my first full marathoner. Blessed to know that I am now a full pledge MARATHONER! Oh what joy! I said a little prayer to thank God and my parents for helping me through this experience. I said another prayer requesting that they also guide hubby and the rest of the runners to safely finish.

I stretched, chatted with friends, hanged out with Tito Jombet who, by the way, finished his first marathon in an astounding 4:07, while waiting for Noy. I wanted to be there when he crosses the finish line. I wanted to see the joy in his face and share that moment with him.

After 6 hrs and 50 so mins, Noy came running towards the finish line. I was happy to see he wasn’t in any pain. That was enough for me. It made my day whole.

I never would have thought that I would have the will and the courage to try to run a full marathon, let alone finish one. I am still amazed at what we have achieved.

The Bull Runner Dream Marathon is what every runner who wants to run a full marathon should experience. The support was fantastic. I mean roving medics, lights powered by gensets, unlimited fruits, chocolates in some stations, stations with ample Gatorade and water, ample marshals. This was one ORGANIZED race. The loot bags were packed with a lot of goodies! Raffle prizes galore. My Tito Jombet even won a pair of Nike shoes.

My rating for this race was an expected 10/10. My only comment: this should be done again next year so that others can experience it was well.

I am a marathoner

A friend asked me, how did you do it? I answered, I just ran…I ran with my heart and mind not with my legs.

Photo taken by Raymund Martelino (Thank you!)


From → Running

  1. Congratulations Gail!

    You did a fine job. Until the next marathon!

    • gailcons permalink

      thank you Raymund! 🙂 again, love the photo!

  2. congratulations marathoner gail! you’re awesome!

    • gailcons permalink

      JETTTT! salamat! what have you done to hubby? he’ll do BDM daw next year! tama ba yon? was that your influence? lol!

  3. Congratulations on your 1st Marathon, it must have been extra meaningful finishing with your husband. I was there pacing a friend, tama ka ang init pabalik hehe…we were literally taking a bath at the water stops just to keep us from overheating.

    • gailcons permalink

      Thank you! It was indeed unbearable! Tracy kept on bringing me sponges and ice. Your friend’s quite lucky to have you as a pacer 🙂

  4. marky_mark permalink

    Congrats Gail! 😀

  5. dream. believe. survive. STARSRUCK!

    Idol Gaileeeeee!!! what a nice picture!!! I hope someone captures my special moment when crossing my first FM finish line!

    congratulations! =)

    • gailcons permalink

      Julieeee! So now you don’t just want me to pace you? You also want me to run ahead, get the camera and take your photo? LOL! I would gladly do that if i’m there! Thanks dear! (Yes, got that from Starstruck! Hahaha!)

  6. congrats sister! you were very strong! the 2XU and the ensemble is awesome!

    • gailcons permalink

      wow! may ensemble pa talaga! i was so ready to japorm since i couldn’t perform ;p lol!

  7. Jombet permalink

    Congratulations again babe. I’m proud of you.

    • gailcons permalink

      Thanks Tito Jombet! So happy you were there for me. Love you! So proud of your 4:07 finish too! Mwahh!

  8. Nice Gail enjoy and savor the moment

  9. congrats Gail….

  10. jazzrunner permalink

    Gail, very nice recap and congratulations! Ultramarathon na ba sunod?:-)

    • gailcons permalink

      Sire rene salamat! Di ko kaya ng ultra. Si Noy gusto mag-sign up for BDM next year. Dapat talaga i-volunteer na yan sa VSO. Hahaha! Ingat po!

  11. congrats co-tbr marathoner! very nice story

    • gailcons permalink

      Thanks! Congratulations as well! We did it! 🙂

  12. Gail, congratulations. What you hve done is awesome.. Galing!!!

    Check my site as I have prepared a video for you guys!


    • gailcons permalink

      Argo! Thanks so much for being there! I saw your face while I was crossing the finish line. Gave me strength…to look good while you’re taking a photo of me. Lol! After the race, you looked so amazed at what we have accomplished! You remain my idol! 😉 Thanks again!

  13. edwin permalink

    congrats ….gail

  14. Good job Gail!

    All the hard work, training, mental preparation was all worth it in the end.

    Congrats! 🙂

    • gail permalink

      thanks gerard! yes such hard work to be a slacker! lol! j/k! it was really worth it! so happy!

  15. Congratulations, Gail! 🙂 Very proud of you!

    Woohoo! I love the finishline photo! Very strong! 😉
    (Di kita yung Hammergel stain on your shirt. No need to worry about japorm, because you can perform! :D)

    • gailcons permalink

      Tracyyyy! My run buddy 😉 Thanks for running with me. Pano pa yan, in order to follow your steps, I need to do 50k TNF. Don’t think I can do that! 18hrs…gosh!

      Yes, the hammergel stain! lol! was more concerned on how to remove that than beating my time. bwahaha! i should’ve mentioned also time i stopped to fix my hair less than a km to the finish line! hahaha! good fun!

      • Haha, oo nga pala, the hair, too! 🙂
        You can do the TNF 50! 🙂 Besides, it’s on trail; trees provide shade. 🙂 Or duathlons na lang tayo! Let’s leave the ultra to Noy. BDM naman sya. Hehe. 😀

        Congrats again! 🙂 Haha, may TBR dream marathon hangover din ako (as if finisher ako). You guys were inspiring kasi! 🙂

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Project Ultra « Gailcons's Blog
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