051516: Nike Women Victory Tour Manila

This was the 3rd year in a row that I was joining the Nike We Run Manila. It was the 2nd time for it to be an all women race and the 1st for it to be an all women half marathon distance. Registration was done by buddy system again which meant you were required to sign up in pairs.

This was a point to point run that started at Blue Bay Walk in Pasay and ended at Island Cove in Cavite via Cavitex.

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Since everyone was required to wear the singlet as the bib number was printed onto it, I borrowed one of my girls’ headbands that had colorful spirals on the top to wear to make searching for pictures easier.
I had everything planned, except for the part where my headband falls into the portalet hole. 😦  (It reminded me of a time a runner dropped her car keys into the portalet to which she had to use a wire to pull it out. *Ewr* )

Okay, so I felt bad before the race, but had to move on. Could’ve been worse. 😦

As soon as the start pen was open at 3:30a.m., the girls were excited to rush to the front.

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As the crowd got bigger later on did they announce that those with black tags (Nike+ app users with a higher mileage) had the privilege to be up in front. Actually, I didn’t know as well. (Pretty obvious I didn’t read everything on their race manual, but I had a black tag because of the Nike+ app I’ve been using since I started running.)

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Too late. No one in front wanted to budge and give way plus I was perfectly fine where I was already.

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It took quite a long time of waiting. The only stretching done was the dancing of running man the hosts requested of the 4,000 runners.

 

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Happy that Dana was able to spot me in the crowd for a quick pix before going back to her paddler friends she was running with.

 

The hosts from the top of the starting arc did an hour of hosting to keep the girls entertained with music and dancing while most were busy taking selfies here and there. It was like a disco street party with all the green laser lights and loud music.

It was time to release the runners.

Iya Villana did the honor by waving the giant flag signaling the start of the half marathon.

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Iya Villana, ready to release the runners.

 

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The starting line was crowded.

Their arc design made the exit small and a lot of excited newbie runners were up in front. I can’t blame them as I was a newbie once and I stood in front along with the lead pack during my 1st race, too. 😀

After passing through the congested area, I was running freely at my own pace. Pacers in neon shirts were seen scattered all around and you had a choice to just tag along with any pacer you could keep up with.

After the u-turn in Roxas Blvd., around km2 (I think), I decided to try to tag along a pacer and his three pacees who was in front of me. I asked the girl running behind the pacer if they were running all the way to which she answered she didn’t know. She was huffing and puffing unlike the two girls on each side of the pacer. Later on did I realize that it was Kuya Kim who was pacing us. The pace seemed fine and sustainable so, I kept up with them. The girl who I had asked earlier disappeared somewhere before the flyover and it was just us 3 girls left.
Realizing I was behind them, Kuya Kim looks back and shows me a thumbs up asking if I was okay. Yeah, I was still okay. Maybe my face wasn’t convincing enough, but I was still okay.
Looking at my watch, we were running at a 5:30-5:35/k pace. It stayed the same even as we ran up the flyover. Aguy!

 

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Kuya Kim’s pacer group (Us 4).

Again, Kuya Kim checks on me with a thumbs up to which I nod and smile to. He said that our rest was at every other hydration station. This so much reminded me of Jerry, a member of Team Pukers whose strategy was just that. Okay, in my mind I thought there was a first time for everything so might as well try. Never mind the “Never try anything new on race day.”

I still managed to keep up.

Their hydration stop was a quick grab of 2 cups of water, one to drink and one to pour over the head. I kept going with them. Kuya Kim kept looking at his watch from time to time telling us we were still on target. I had no idea what their target was, but it seemed like they were going for a sub 2 21k.

My plan was just a 5:57 pace for a 2:05 finish. 😮

I kept looking at my watch, too. I also kept looking at all the cups filled with water on the tables of the hydration stations that we skipped. I had a feeling I could still go on, but I didn’t want to take the risk. That was when I decided it was time to let go. Yes, let go of the ambitious sub 2 finish and go back to my initial plan.

When we made a stop at a hydration station, I stayed behind a little longer and watched them go further and further away. That was around Km 9 already. I started following my 4:1 run: walk interval.

 


Great! At that pace, I did a sub 1 for the 10k! 55:57 according to my watch. 😮

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Girls, girls and more girls heading down the flyover in Roxas Blvd.

 

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Water shower before the toll gate to help cool down the runners down.

 

During the time I was running on my own, I wasn’t really alone. With 7km to go, additional pacers were spread along the way. They were there to cheer us on, to give us high 5’s and to tell us how long the distance we had left to run.

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Along  the Cavitex stretch, the pacers there paced struggling runners. It was like running TBRDM (The Bull Runner Dream Marathon) with Dream chasers minus the excessive food and massages. 😀 (Oh, but there were bananas, energy gels, water, Gatorade and sponges).

I should probably mention that Ding Dong was a pacer as well. Maybe I should’ve ran alongside him for a much easier and enjoyable run. :p

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At the end of Cavitex, we turned left to the inner streets. I ran with Teresa, a foreigner who frequently raced locally as well.

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Turning left from Cavitex into the inner streets.

 
We passed by a small street that had lots of spectators lined up at the side watching us run. Some had brought out benches to sit on as they watched.  Who wouldn’t enjoy watching so many sweaty girls run by? 😀

Finally, Island Cove and it was an uphill on their bridge. *ugh*

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Uphill over the bridge of Island Cove.

 

The finish line was anticlimactic. After the bridge, there was still a long path that we had to run through which I thought would lead all the way to the pool area. Waiting friends and families lined up both sides of the barriers, mostly males. 😀

At last, the finish line which weirdly had 4 timing mats. The most I’d seen was two that made me unsure which one was the one that would record the time.

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The baby bump. 🙂

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I was excited to get my finisher’s item which turned out to be a necklace. Janelle and I were doubtful if that was it and we had to ask if that was really all we were getting along with a bottle of gatorade and water.

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Okay, so we were all kind of assuming there would be a special prize again for the 1st 100 runners to finish like last year where they received an extra Nike shirt on top of the finisher’s shirt. Too bad, there wasn’t any. #Assuming  #Hopeful. 😀

The baggage area was a bit of a disaster. I wanted to get my bag at once to be able to get my chocolate drink I had packed in it as my recovery drink. Funny but, I arrived ahead of my bag which I deposited at the starting line. I had to wait several minutes and was even asked to go look for my bag myself. Goodness! If I had bad intentions, I could’ve just grabbed any bag.
After trying to freshen up without a finishers shirt to change into, stretching and recovering, I went around to mingle with my runner friends.

 

We were instructed by these really good looking Nike crew hunks to proceed to the pool area for more recovery. I didn’t go, but based on the other runners who went there, the name wall which had all the runners’ names was there.

 

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There was a photo booth for a picture souvenir,

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a cold pool to soak up the achy tired legs into, although a friend of mine told me it wasn’t really cold and just had dry ice in it to give it the smokey look.


There was a re-fueling station where there was unli yogurt and fit bars,

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a physical therapy area where therapists would help stretch out the legs

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and also a Kikay area where the girls could have their hair styled into braids just like last year.

Shuttle buses were provided to take the finished runners back to Blue Wave. It was traffic!

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Honestly, I don’t know what Nike’s purpose was to have a buddy registration. If their intention was for buddies to bond and achieve something together, they should’ve required buddies to finish together like the Robinsons Buddy Run. It seemed more like Nike was making sure a single registration was times two already because of the buddy system.

Even so, it was great seeing girls have fun and some buddies actually finishing and sharing their triumph together.


It was also nice seeing all the supportive brothers, fathers, boyfriends or husbands supporting the girls for this one.

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Just hours after the event was over, complaints were posted all over social media. From the shuttle buses that weren’t enough to bring all the runners back, the disorganized lines of the runners who were going to ride the bus, those runners who were forced to commute back standing in public buses, some even hitching with fellow runners who they didn’t know, the necklaces that got tarnished after just one use,

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hydration that didn’t last for all the runners, the heat, the late gunstart, the smell of the route, the high registration fee in exchange of just a singlet and a necklace, the registration process, the kit claiming, the really high expectation of nice finishers loot after being asked the bra, shirt, shoe and legging size upon registration. #Assuming 😀

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Then there were the speculations that most of the budget must’ve gone to renting Island Cove, the rent of the buses as well as the payment for the model looking crew they obviously hired for the event. I think Nike was expecting many of the female runners to end up swimming in their bathing suits after the run and just enjoying the post race area. Most however, were too tired to do so. Being too tired, I heard there were those who took a dip in the pool without showering first.

The P2,700 a pair registration fee was worth it for those who attended the Nike Run Club the past few weeks prior to the race and was guided for their race.

From all the negative feedback, let’s just charge it to experience.

Okay, honestly I liked the route. It was a break from the usual MOA route. It wasn’t hard. The only thing that made it hard would be the heat and unshaded area, but if you’re used to the heat, this was actually okay.
It was also a good experience to be running with an all female crowd of runners where competition is tougher… not that I was competing.

As to if I’d ever join Nike again next year?
I think I’d have to rethink it twice or even thrice before doing so. With a registration fee that high, I would be getting a lot more in terms of freebies and mileage from running an ultramarathon instead.

 

 

*Photo credits:  Marielle Magramo, Dana de Guzman, Brigette Javier, Running Photographers, Active Pinas, Nike, Day Bern, Paksit Photos, Pinoy Fitness, Camp Big Falcon, EMSoquena Photography, Run Lipa, Rickpet Lens, Team Arunkada, Angelo Lagumbay, Clouie de Guzman, Jet Arbis and to others.

 

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Distance:
21k (21.20k on my watch)
Time: 2:06:46 (Unofficial)

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