Monday, October 26, 2009
waiting at the end of 42 kilometers
Last weekend, the fiancee and I drove up to Subic for their 2nd International Marathon. For the record, he's the one running. It's one of his things-to-do before he gets married. My presence is purely for moral support, and the possibility of needing to be the one driving home after the race.
The race starts at 4PM at the Floridablanca Tollbooth. A convoy of buses will be deployed at 2PM to bring the runners there, who'll be assembling at the Remy Field track oval (which is also where the finish line is). We take photos at the start/finish arc. I survey the area, looking for possible places to park myself and the camera for that money shot of my man crossing the finish line (or approaching it). By 2pm he's off and I return to the hotel to get some rest before returning to the field.
We estimate that he'd finish around 4hrs 30mins, hopefully earlier. He made me promise to be there early, by like 6pm, just to be sure - in case by some unfortunate event he gets injured or gives up. I know him though, over his dead body would he give up. He's just not the give-up kind of guy.
Being a good girl keeping her promise, I walk over at 6pm to start waiting on the bleachers. Over the PA system, the host announces that they're expecting the Kenyans to finish in the next 30 minutes. Okay, that's inhumanely fast. By the time this happens, the crowd amasses on the track. Within the next hour, more bionic runners make their way through the finish line.
8PM. Okay, that's nearly 4 hours. Still no sign. I'm anxious and excited. Yeah, call me a stage-bride-to-be. I think of how he made sure he wore red so my near-sightedness wouldn't impair my camera-clicking reflexes. Sweet. I imagine him crossing and in some dramatic moment, we hug or what-not (so MTV, but whatever). I start thinking of how sweaty and sticky he'll be, but I decided that I won't care. And then, the hosts announces that 3 runners have called it quits out of exhaustion. I feel a slight tinge of panic, but I knew that he's not going to give up. He'd walk through the finish line if he had to. He'd NEED to finish.
I spot a friend of ours entering the track oval. He's a stronger runner, but I get my hopes up thinking that my guy isn't far behind. A few more minutes and finishers later, I still don't see him. I'm running out of playlists on my iPod. I've warded off a number of guys trying to hit on me. I'm starting to wonder about what could've happened. This cannot be right.
Approaching 9PM. He's been gone for almost 5 hours. A series of finishers cross the line - some barely jogging, some just walking. He's not one of them. Something is wrong. God forbid his left knee gives (it's been operated on three times for an ACL). I check my phone. Nothing. I start wondering if my contact details were placed in the emergency numbers needed in the application form. He would've placed me as the person to contact, right? But since nothing's happening with my phone (save for my sister updating me about Philippine Fashion Week), the sirens in my brain begin to wail.
I fight the urge to run to the organizer's booth. I may miss him, if he does cross while I'm gone. So I stand, now by the track itself, with the huge D80+battery grip perched and ready to take his photo - more than that, to give him a smile and cheer. A live concert begins on the field, and the music helps lift my spirit for a bit. But then I return to anxiety now overtaking excitement. I hate feeling that there's something wrong, and yet helpless (or clueless) on what can be done about it.
It's just like time to play tricks on you, especially when you're waiting for something. It's like it intentionally goes slower. At past 9:30pm, I spot him. He's fine! He's running! He hasn't broken a leg or anything! I cheer and woot, snapping his photo. I'm sure he's disappointed about finishing over 5 hours. But I don't care. He finished his first marathon in one piece. He won't be in a wheelchair at our wedding. I meet him at the other end of the finish line to carry his race freebies and walk beside him as he drinks his Gatorade.
I can't describe how immensely proud I am of him. Like yeah, I'm marrying this man.
On a side note, I learn that the "something wrong" was that the water stations ran out of water (talk about not living up to their name). So hello dehydration and goodbye keeping a good pace. My big thank-you hugs to those support teams and fellow runners who were kind enough to share their water.
dezphaire strapped in @ 3:40 PM
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