I capped my “running” year when I crossed the 10K finish line of the Corregidor International Half-Marathon last December 10. As I mentioned last month, this was my last run for 2011 and I could not be more satisfied.
The 10K race was only a side event to the half-marathon. It was both challenging and fulfilling on my part; the race route was how exactly I imagined it would be: it was a challenging combo of uphills, downhills, mud-drenched forest trails, and curved roads. It was the most exciting race route of my 2-year running career. 😉 When I crossed the finish line, I really felt so happy. There wasn’t any feeling of discomfort nor stress which only told me I was super fine!
By the way, I intended to accompany this post with more pictures but unfortunately I lost my camera in Rizal Memorial Stadium on the afternoon of December 10, right after I came back to Manila from Corregidor. 😦
Anyway, along with my friends Aldrin and TJ, we traveled to Corregidor on a rainy Friday morning (December 9), because both of them were running 21K, so they didn’t want to travel at the wee hours of December 10, then run the half marathon right after. We were supposed to stay in Sea Calm Inn, a last-minute addition of Sun Cruises to the accommodation options, even though it was initially disapproved by the race organizers. I had qualms about it after reading a not-so-good blog post about it in 2010’s CIHM. By a stroke of good luck, on Wednesday afternoon, I got a message from Lhen of Sun Cruises, asking me if we want to transfer to Corregidor Inn (the “only” hotel on the island) because someone cancelled their reservation. We gladly took it, of course!
We arrived on the island around 2:30 p.m. and were so hungry. Now I want to tell you how we were kind of ripped off.
We checked in and ate lunch at the hotel’s restaurant. We did not avail of the P550 plated lunch and breakfast offer because we didn’t want to be tied to a set plate. When we got to the restaurant, the waiters told us that they were not offering anything from the menu that day; all they had was the plated lunch which costs P270. However, a cashier told us that they were actually accepting orders off the menu. Well, the waiters prevailed and stood by their set plates, and we were stuck with it. The food wasn’t bad and the serving size was okay. But here’s a small annoying part: when we paid the bill, we still had around 60 pesos of change, and that’s already less the tip even though they already had service charge. We waited for the change and the receipt which never came. We decided to walk around so I approached the cashier, and they were not aware of what I was saying. Long story short, they reprinted my receipt, and I saw the one of the guys who waited on us take the money out of his pocket and gave it to me. What was that?! The waiter’s name is Oscar. I don’t want to put him under a bad light but sir, it’s not just about the 60 bucks but what it represented; that’s not proper!
To make matters worse, when we walked to the South Beach/Lorcha Dock area, we saw McArthur’s Cafe and Inn which had relatively CHEAPER food than the hotel! Sure, it was your carinderia type, but no wonder most runners and guests flocked there! They also had more food selections! We really felt cheated but we just shrugged and considered it a lesson learned.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking and taking pictures then by nighttime we headed to the South Dock covered area again for the carbo-loading dinner. The cost of our dinner was included in the registration fee. The food was fine; we had carbonara pasta, rice, fish, pork, and puto. There was a short program hosted by May, a current contender in Survivor: Philippines. After that, they had the official torch-lighting ceremony headed by PNP’s Dandelion Bumahit, CIHM 2011’s top finisher.
We were up early and were at the starting line, still at the South Dock, by 7:00 a.m. Despite the gloomy weather the day before, we were thankful the sun came out. I felt that this race event was intimate in that no more than 500 runners were participating. After chit-chats, picture-taking, a little warm up exercises, runners started arriving from Manila. Less than an hour after, it’s race time!
For my part, the first 500 meters got me asking, “Why did I join this again?” already. I was aware of the hilly routes but you’ll never really feel it until you’re there traipsing it. Anyway, I got through them well, save for a few walking and hydration stops, and deliberate slowing down efforts because it was slippery. I can say we took most of the areas we covered in the adventure activity we did last September for our team-building, minus the underground tunnels. It was difficult but it was amazing.
By the 8th kilometer, when the route was mostly downhill as we were going back to where we started, I felt my thigh muscles cramping. It was the first time I felt it because the road was really steep, unlike the ones in McKinley Hill. On my last kilometer, I ran across Mr. Bumahit who already finished his 21K! He encouraged us to hang on as the finish line was so near. A little more than an hour and a half later from the gun start, there I was, crossing the finish line. I high-fived everyone I passed because I was so happy! Aside from the finisher’s medal, they gave female finishers a rose each, so that’s very sweet. I lingered a little and waited for my friends to finish their 21K. I didn’t really realize I was waiting for them under the sun, so a big part of my skin tone now was from that exposure, not necessarily the race. 🙂 Anyway, it was really fun.
When my two boys were done, we claimed our race freebies, ate lunch (way waaay better than the previous night’s, just saying), cleaned ourselves up, then prepared to head back to Manila. I just had to say that those who chose to setup their tents were so cool. I would like to try that some time.
Overall, my Corregidor race experience was great. It was well organized – not perfect, but great – and I am looking forward to joining again in 2012! Hopefully I have had the guts to level up! It would be cool to conquer Corregidor again.