By Jerome David J. Sison, MD
Dra. Jenefer Hernandez-Aguinaldo is a very busy OB-GYN. She juggles being a mother to Jerald and wife to Dr. Rey, her practice, and running marathons. Yes, that’s right! In fact, she has run marathons in Chicago, Melbourne, and Dubai to name a few, and just this month, she finished her 2nd Major Marathon in Berlin! She started running in 2011 finishing her first 3 km, and from then on, she quickly went up the level and completed her first marathon run in 2014. It seems there is no way but up for our Marathon Lady as she is determined to finish the World Marathon Majors. What better way to inspire us than to listen to the words of Dra. Jen herself:
My Journey Chasing The Stars: Berlin Marathon A World Record Breaking Day
- Jenefer Aguinaldo, MD
- Bib # 50148
- Finished time: 4:58:09
- World Record: 2:01:39
- Total # of Participants: 44,389
- Total # of Finishers: 40,775
- 13th Marathon
- 2nd Major
- September 16, 2018
If not for the Majors, Berlin Marathon is not included in my list of destinations. The World Marathon Majors is like the holy grail of long marathon runners around the world. This comprises six annual races in the cities of Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York. When you finished these six you will become a 6 Stars Major Marathon Finisher. To participate in these races, you have to be:
- A very fast runner;
- A lucky participant in a race registration lottery;
- A runner thru charity
- Tour thru official International Travel Partner (ITP)
I started this Majors journey back in 2016 when I joined the race registration lottery in Chicago. Fortunately, I got selected as one of the 50,000+ runners all over the world. I was so excited knowing that this would be my first Major marathon. I trained so hard; had to wake up early in the morning to run before going to the hospital and yes including weekends, where most of my long runs occurred. I have to eat right (as much as possible). Sure enough, when I did Chicago on October 9, 2016, I clocked in at 4:49:05, my personal best or PR (personal record). Then there is New York, which like Chicago, I joined via lottery. Unfortunately, I did not get in – twice. When the Berlin lottery came, it was very much the same with Chicago; I got in the 1st attempt. With the challenging schedule in the clinic, squeezing in training was a regular struggle. So I enrolled in a program that offers a training plan that will suit my busy schedule. Under Coach Leian Cruz of Cruz Control Multisport, we powered with 2 months of indoor training (treadmill), two weeks of several 10km and a 21km longest run. With a target time of “sub 5” in mind, I’m pumped up to conquer Berlin. To make this event even more challenging; 2 days before our flight, Mankhut / Ompong a super Typhoon gave me additional anxiety.
On race day at the starting line, I was filled with anxiety and excitement all over again. This is it! This is the time, where all of my hard work, sacrifices, and all of the early morning runs will have to pay off. The weather is to my advantage. It is colder! Pinoys are heat trained. Running in the cold climate is a plus. Standing at the starting line I already figured out the race plan in my mind to be executed by my legs and body. Fuelled with Ningxia Nitro, which I took every 8km, the 1st half ran smoothly at a steady pace of little less 7 min/km. I have been very cautious about maintaining this pace, especially after the 21km mark. Hydration station came at every 5km, this helped me pause every so often and was also key in maintaining the pace. At the 26km mark, my legs were starting to feel heavy. I took Etoricoxib to help me sustain the pace. At the 41st km, I told myself, it is almost over, down to the last stretch. This is the feeling that the longest kilometer is always the last one. I was fortunate enough to have met a “kababayan” runner. With the same goal of a sub 5 finish, we pushed each other to the finish line. We have done it! It was a sweet finish. We hit the finish line indeed before the 5th hour. During the race, news came out that a Kenyan, Eliud Kipchoge a Marathon Olympic Winner 2016 broke the world record in stunning 2:01:39. I shared the streets of Berlin with the world record holder! This added icing on my already fantastic cake.
Just recently, September 25, 2018, Tokyo rejection flooded my newsfeed. Around 300,000 entries rejected including mine!
I am aiming to complete the six Majors in my golden years –
5 more years to go with 4 more stars to chase!
Jenefer H. Aguinaldo, MD