Greenfield City - 21km

Just an hour drive from Manila, the Greenfield City Race offered the runner some fresh air, cool breeze, lots of sunshine and lets not forget the pig out galore session afterwards with all the many food choices in the area.  I've run this race 3 times which was originally a night race when it first started.  It was equally fun running at night but it did cause quite a bit of traffic which upset a lot of motorists.  Good decision from the organizers to move it to a morning race. Hoping for more out of town races to come.

Mish Maravilla and little " Anika "
With the " Pink Couple "
My favorite Running Family - Logan Family
Running Friends

100,007.52 Kilometers

        " The most important thing i learned from Running is that there is only one runner in this race, and that is me . " - George Sheehan

Date Started Running : May 30,1980
Total Mileage as of Nov.18,2014.

Pinoy Fitness 21 km

I have to say, it sure feels great to be running back home in the tropics, to race in comfortably cool weather and meet up with old running buddies. The Pinoy Fitness 21 km race was just what I needed.  Set in the BGC area, the double loop course was perfect to monitor how fast or slow I was running.  It also felt really good to be able to run pain free again with almost zero discomfort on my left leg which was caused by an injury that plagued me for months. The road to recovery took awhile and hopefully,  I will be able to pick up my stride regain some speed back.

To Jeff Lo and the Pinoy Fitness family, congratulations for a great race and thank you for all your support. 

The Marathon

The Marathon isn’t about running; it’s about salvation. We spend so much of our lives doubting ourselves, thinking that we’re not good enough, not strong enough, not made of the right stuff. The Marathon is an opportunity for redemption. Opportunity, because the outcome is uncertain. Opportunity, because it is up to you, and only you, to make it happen.

There is no luck involved in finishing the Marathon. The ingredients required to tackle this formidable challenge are straightforward: commitment, sacrifice, grit, and tenacity. Plain and simple.
So you set about your training to prepare your body for the rigors of running 26.2 miles. You refuse to compromise, dedicating yourself wholeheartedly to the contest ahead, pouring everything you’ve got into it. But you know the Marathon will demand more. In the dark recesses of your mind a gloomy voice is saying, you can’t. You do your best to ignore this self-doubt, but the voice won’t go away.
The Marathon rattles you to the core. It deconstructs your very essence, stripping away all your protective shields and exposing your inner soul. When you are at your most vulnerable, the Marathon shows no mercy. The Marathon tells you that it will hurt you, that it will leave you demoralized and defeated, crushed and lifeless in a heap alongside the roadside. The Marathon tells you that you can’t. “Ha!” it torments you, “In your dreams…”
But you fight back and try your best. Poised courageously at that starting line, nervously awaiting the starting, you wonder what the day will hold in store. As the crowd surges forward, you put your head down and step into the abyss, knowing honestly in your heart of hearts that you either paid your dues or that you skimped along the way. There is no lying to yourself here, the Marathon sees right through excuses, shortcuts, and self-transgressions. The Marathon doesn’t just build character, it reveals it.
All goes well for the first half. But slowly, step-by-step, the pain mounts and the intensity of the endeavor amplifies. You remain steadfast, knowing that you did not skimp, that you did not take shortcuts, that every footstep was earned through months of rigorous preparation and hard work. Still, with each draining thrust forward, that little nagging inclination of self-doubt in the back of your mind progressively advances into your awareness.
Then, at mile 20, the voice looms louder than ever. It hurts so bad you want to stop. You must stop. But you don’t stop. This time, you ignore the voice, you tune out the naysayers who tell you that you’re not good enough, not strong enough, not made of the right stuff. You listen only to the passion within your heart and this burning desire tells you to keep moving forward, to continue putting one foot in front of the other to the best of your ability.
Courage comes in many forms. Today you will have the courage to keep trying and to not give up regardless of how dire things become. And dire they do become. At mile 26 you can barely see the course ahead, your vision falters as you teeter precariously on the verge of compete annihilation.
Then, suddenly, the finish line looms large before you. Tears stream down your face as you realize that you may accomplish your dream. Now, finally, after years of torment you can answer back to that nagging voice of uncertainty in your head with a resounding: OH, YES I CAN!
You burst across the finish line and all is forgotten. You are eternally liberated from that prison of self-doubt and limitations that has held you captive your entire life. You have learned more about yourself in the past 26.2-miles than you have previously ever known. You have freed yourself from those chains that bind. Even if you can’t walk for days, never have you been so free.
As they carry you away from the finish line, wrapped in a flimsy Mylar blanket, struggling to keep your head upright, you are at peace. That daunting adversary that has forever haunted you is now your liberator, your fondest ally. You have done what few will ever do, you have done what you thought you could never do, and it is the most glorious, unforgettable awakening ever. You are a Marathoner, and you will wear this distinction not on the medal they place around your neck, but deep inside your heart, for the rest of your god given years. Nothing can ever take this triumph away from you. The gift is yours, eternally. You are a Marathoner.
Dean Karnazes a runner and a writer


Nov 2, 2014 (6am)

Thanks Tanya C. for the picture 

From the hotel we where brought to the Starting Line at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. I already got endless emails beforehand from the organizers informing us that this will be the coldest NYC marathon in history with temp hitting 5c (with a real feel of 0c) and extreme high winds blowing from the east. So windy in fact that when our bus briefly stopped on the bridge you can feel the pressure of the wind shaking the bus. Hard to imagine  what the blustery winds would do to the thousands of runners who would be crossing the bridge in a matter of hours. Needless to say the weather condition was extremely daunting. 

Alighting from the bus, the cold was EXCRUCIATING. It didn't matter that I was already  bundled from top to bottom with 4 layers of clothing  and a couple of trash bags over me with the hope of keeping warm, but to no avail.  I was shivering non-stop and my butt and feet were literally numb. Hard part is that we still had 2 hours of the bitter cold to endure until our wave officially starts.  I tried to pass the time by talking to this very pretty black lady beside me who was shivering just as much as me.

When my corral number was called through the PA system, I went to form my line and got ready.  The boom of the cannon sent the wave of runners hurdling forward over the bridge to the tune of "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra playing in the background.  If it wasn't freezing cold, I swear I could feel goosebumps forming with the sheer excitement of it all.

The marathon route was incredible with a course that makes it's way from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge passing through the 5 boroughs up to the finish line at Central Park.  The first hurdle to surpass was the bridge - spanning approximately 2 miles that connects Staten Island to Brooklyn. As expected, the cross-wind crossing the bridge was so severe that I found it difficult to keep my balance in several areas. The view, however, looking over from the bridge to the city was fantastic.

As we entered Brooklyn, the vibe changed immediately.  The entire city must have been out on the streets in full support cheering for the runners.  The crowds greeted us with wave upon wave of sound and positive energy, extending Hi-fives and Low-fives while others shouted your name or bib number.  At that moment I seriously felt like a rock star!

Almost every block had blaring music or a local band playing on the street and cheering zones.  I especially liked passing through Harlem where African Americans played rap music.  At one particular corner they played the song, "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi where I found myself singing along together with some fellow runners.  It was pure excitement and energy all the way. As usual,  tears flowed as I crossed the finish line.  Though we had planned to meet at the finish area with my brother Ton and cousin-in-law Marilen, I just had to beg off and get away from the cold and head for the warm confines of my hotel room.  It seems they too were thinking the same thing.  Although we were extremely tired with achy legs and sore feet, we were all on a high taking comfort in the fact that we just completed one of the bests marathons in the world.

Ton and Marilen Concepcion

To sum up, it was an AWESOME race. Marathons are never just about running after all. It's the additional festivities and fanfare that can truly define the experience among other things and the NYC Marathon delivered all that.

As I head back home to Manila, I am already thinking where to run my next marathon in 2015.  This time I'm definitely aiming for some place warmer .... for a change.