Happy New Year!
I just realized that my blog almost completely skipped 2011. I tell you its not because it was an uneventful year, actually its quite the opposite. Time, I guess it might be a factor since I have been very busy the whole year but laziness, well that would most likely be the more accurate reason. Is there anyone out there who writes for relaxation? Talk to me but I would most likely find you boring. (Sorry Noel and Kathy, hehehe.) So nevermind.
However, I am starting to regret not writing about the events that happened last year because after recently reading my New York Marathon post (still the best marathon there is!) I realized I remember almost nothing with my other marathons. Ok, nothing may be quite stretch but still I don’t remember every detail compared to my NYC marathon. Right now, my memory is not serving me well as I hope it would, which makes backtracking the past not only laborious but I am starting to doubt its accuracy as well.
(DISCLAIMER: This blog is for family and friends. Reading this blog entry might be misleading for people who do not know me. Mayabang ako pero yung pasimple lang and sa entry na to hindi pasimple magiging dating ng pagkayabang ko. So stop reading if you don’t know me. Hehehe)
24 half marathons, 2 local marathons- Milo and QCIM, 2 international marathons- Paris and Kuala Lumpur and 11 countries- Belgium,Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Vatican, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Kuala Lumpur and USA, I think that is what defined year 2011 for me. (sabi na kasing wag ng basahin eh. Hehe..)
Last year was definitely a marathon year for running and traveling. 4 marathons, imagine that! For someone who weighed almost 200 lbs. before, I am proud of myself. I know it may not be something of a challenge compared to Eugenator, who is currently training for BDM Ultra marathon (pero nakalog naman na malamang utak nun). Let’s start with the Paris Marathon 2011 since that was where my last blog entry ended.
Paris Marathon 2011
Marathon in Paris!!! Who would have thought I would be doing that?! New York was actually a lot more that I prayed for and yet I was blessed with another epic marathon. I tell you guys, we can never measure God’s greatness. So let us never try to measure Him up with our limited minds and measure His greatness I never did in Paris.
I actually ran Paris Marathon without proper training. I trained for 3 months before the marathon but since the race was part of a month long trip in Europe I ended up just doing a couple of 21km runs. One in Amsterdam, another one in Valencia and Venice and lastly in London. Each city has its own character but if I were to choose the best one, with the risk of being cheesy I would pick Venice. There is something about running in its claustrophobic alleys and century old wooden bridges but the best experience was accidentally running into St.Mark’s Square. Having the square on your own while the sun is slowly rising to hit the gilded mosaic facade of the St. Mark’s basilica and the bell tower was an experience even Hollywood has failed to portray. (I could go on and on about the run but I am here to talk about Paris so back to the topic.)
Like every other international race the Marathon experience starts with the marathon expo and this expo starts with a very, very long line. It took me almost an hour to get into the venue and almost 30 minutes more to get my race kit. With the huge amount of people and the vast expanse of the exposition hall its impossible not to get hyped about the race and over hyped I was, since I instinctively splurged on the Asics’ branded marathon memorabilia. Up to this day I am regretting those purchases, such a waste. Good thing was I had to leave early since it was race day the next day.
I have always thought that the Paris Marathon would include running under the Eiffle tower. Well it does not. We did pass by it though which makes it a little better. The race starts and ends right in front of the Arc de Triumph which was really great. I think it was the right choice since it was the most accessible one and almost all major roads in the city leads to that circle so you can never lost. The whole race was basically a running tour of the city. We passed by the louvre, notredame cathedral, the paris opera, a modern building by renzo piano (too lazy to google the name) and a lot more old buildings. Its was a loop course that traces the river seine, which seems endless during the race. There were a lot of people watching and cheering at some parts of the city but once we got to the parks it was just the pavement, trees and runners. The roads were not as wide as I hoped it to be so there a lot of human traffic as well. This race is not a PR breaker, there were too many elevation changes and cobbled streets can be a challenge after loosing its novelty.
Overall Paris has its own charms as a city which makes it great to run a marathon into but the marathon itself was a bit flat. A lot more people in the streets could have given the race more soul. I can compare it to the singapore marathon. Great city, bland marathon experience but who cares you are in Paris anyway!
Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2011
Around 2 months after I did Paris, I went to Kuala Lumpur. I treated this race as my peak for my Milo 2011 qualifiers. So I took it easy. Thank God for cebu pacific, air asia and tiger airways. These airlines made regional travelling (as well as over spending) a lot more doable. Next time you guys are here, try staying at Tune Hotels I think I paid only 600php per night. (Ang mura! Pero di pangsosyal yan ha attention kathy) but it was clean, it has a great shower and bed and near a monorail station that is all you will need anyway. It was my second time being there yet the only place I have been to previously was the Petronas towers. So this time, I went to Putrajaya, Genting highlands and Bukit Bintang. Ang ganda nung white bridge sa putrajaya. Best bridge I have seen so far, even better than the ones made by Calatrava. Sa bukit bintang naman best indoor mall for me was the Pavilion plus inside it is the trusted Food Republic which means I was basically there everyday.
Going back to the race, let me start with the expo again. The Kl Marathon expo was sponsored by timex. I remember because that is where I bought my extremely cheap timex tap watch. The expo area was I think the place where they hosted the commonwealth games because there were so many different stadiums clustered together (just consult google on this one). Unlike paris it was pretty easier to go through the entire process. I think I was in and out in less than an hour. Majority of the time I was just pondering upon purchasing the watch.
The race started in Merdeka square, Luneta’s counterpart. Actually it was quite impressive as well. Compared to Singapore this one has a lot more historical and cultural side. There were these lighted old moorish buildings which reminds you that you are in Malaysia I think Manila should start restoring and lighting our historical buildings as well. The race started very early in the morning. It was dark for more than an hour of running. Sometimes you even have to slow down your pace just to be sure that you are not going to trip into something. The race was a loop course circling most of KL so there were times that we had to run through expressways that were partially closed. It went through the CBD, little india which by the way has a porcelain tile roadway, some rich communities which remind me of forbes park but only with a lot more space and trees and less the walls and finally a lot of trees and hills especially near the end. The view however was nice since you get to see most of KL. The good thing was that the roads weren’t very crowded. Downside was they didn’t turn on the petronas lights early in the morning for that runners to see. Overall I liked this race a lot maybe because of the weather or the course or the people. This may sound crazy but I would rank it right beside Paris and since KL is less than half the cost of Paris, KL beats Paris.
Sorry, I have not done justice to both marathons.. Can’t remember anything else right now so I will just constantly add on this one.
Next: Milo 2011, Camsur 2011 and QCIM 2011 and USA runs… ang haba na masyado eh.. pahinga muna..