I Believe I Can

I have not given much thought to the big event until the last 2 days.

I have never felt such an excitement over something I have prepared for.

And so it happens.

March 6, 2010

House to house pick.up. By the Rod.Runner.

Waited for Vic at McDonald’s Munoz.

Headed to Dok Topher’s house for a hearty breakfast.

Packed and re.arranged our things.

Headed then to Villa Imperial at KM 17 in Bataan.

We eat and sleep at most of the remaining hours before the event. Well, we laughed a lot. My stomach was filled with gas by the time we are to go.

Team Boring at the Starting Line.
The brave, the bold and the boring ultra runner wannabees with our boring support crew.
That’s Gab, Topher, Rod, Mar, Cindy, Vic and Marky.

We’re about an hour and a half early at the starting line. We spent it over some pictures and motionless – non-talking tambay.

I have no jitters. Not a worry. Was just patiently waiting for the run to start. Little did I know – that this will be the run of my lifetime.

The Plan

During meetings with my team, they have agreed on everything I say. That’s because I usually do the talking. They would change the topic when they got bored. And I do change the topic too, when they bore me. Quitch!

For the first 8 kilometers, we agreed to take it slow and walk only, for an hour and a half.
The next 42 kilometers in 6 hours and 30 minutes. We do plan to wait for each other at KM 50, and proceed right away to the next 40 kms. We have loads of drinks and food. We’ve carried enough to sustain us.
The next 40 kilometes in 8 hours. So that by KM 90, we can all half-celebrate and go on all-together for the last 12 kms.
The last 12 kms in 2 hours. If ever we’d have to shift gear here, it wont be that much hard. Ample time. We think.

The Reality

As planned, we did walk the first 8 kms. We even beat the 1:30 target by a few minutes. Nice. Good start.

Then, we started to run easy until the 10th km where our most trusted support awaits us.

Loaded and still fresh, we headed on to the next 10kms.

We’re just arms, and from time to time, some few glances away from each other. It was a boring quite-humid night. I thought it’d be a cold Bataan, but I was wrong. Many amongst us have taken off their singlets/shirts and decided to run half.naked. Still, we managed to maintain a good pace. Or so we thought.

After the 20th Km, we decided to ask our support team to wait for us in every 5 kms, instead of the original plan every 10k. The heat of the run is starting to take its bite. Slowly, the team is moving fast. Except me.

I started with a painful right stomach. Sustained the pace as much as I could. Until the rest gained their speed. I was trailing my own team by 2 to 3 kms. In the dark of night, when Im in my loneliness, I was never alone. There were just a lot to see and someone to feel. But what I usually do in my long runs is what I did just the same. I prayed.

Running is meditation to me. And what better time to pray than when you are left alone.

Timer on, I was at KM 40 with 11 hours and 16 minutes left before cut.off. Good enough.
@KM 42 with 10:48. @ KM 45 with 10:26…and this is where I was able to catch up with JET. Now, Im not alone, I said to myself. But he was already in pain.

@KM 48 with 9:58 left. Now Im late with my own plan. I should be at KM 50 by the 8th hour. Dang.
@KM 51 with 9:16. too early…too much time. with a walk pace as fast as rod.runner, we still can make a lot of good progress. So I thought.

The heat started to bite. I reached KM 58 with 7:40 left. I should be at KM 62 by this time. Now Im so late.

With 7 hours and 9 minutes left, I was at KM 61. @KM 69 with 5:44. Still, ample time. Again, I thought so.

This distance was my longest ever. I have done 7 full marathons. But not one distance beyond it. Im not worried. Im thankful. I was giving thanks and praise to God for such gift of strength. Im fine and Im not even tired … yet.

By KM 70, I have 5:30:25 left. 32 kms more to go with so much time. I intend to just beat the clock and stick to my original plan. Finish within 18 hours. @KM 73 I was left withh 5:05. Cool!

I was continuosly moving even under the scorching heat. I managed to just ignore the heat and focus more on moving as much as I could so as not to waste more precious time. I am way beyond my target and I know it.

By the time I reached KM 80, with only 3:37:42 left, I was so happy. So much so that I was continuosly praying and giving thanks and praise to GOD. I even passed by two stores to buy myself some ice-cold softdrinks, and some chewing gums. Again, little did I know, that such little things would save me big time.

@Km 82, i still have 03:21:30 left. Gab called. They are jsut 2 kms ahead of me. That’s some relief. But i was so thirsty. I agreed to our support team to just go ahead and wait for the guys ahead of me . There were 3 of them. I was entrusted then to the care of Tin, and Marvin.

This was also the hottest part of the day. I can ignore the pain from the heat of the sun, but not the thirst.

Then my trainings flash before my mind. I am a 3PM runner. I’ve spent about 2 months running at this time. And i’ve done it in good speed. Why should I be bothered now? So I go on.

@KM 87 with 02:03 left (yes, that’s 2 hours and 3 minutes ONLY!), started to panick. I even cried for at least 3 different times asking GOD for His help. That’s a pace of 8:12 per kilometer. I have to run another 15 after 87! Truly, GOD is an answering GOD.

I prayed for more strength for I have never run this long in my entire running life. I have never set foot on a distance like this. But then again, the trainings i’ve done played like music in my mind. The fact that some buddies, friends and my team waits at the finish line is enough to make me move on. And I do run for my family. Whiile I ahve not given deep thought on how my running can gloriy GOD, I do give GOD lot’s of credit for the gift of strength, strong will, and determination. In my panick mode, I was delivered.

Whispers started to sound so clear to my hearing. “relax…”…”relax…”

Moving forward with a renewed strength, I was at KM 95 with only 55 minutes left. This, I heard later on, gave lots of panick and worry to some friends. 7 kilometers in 55 minutes would require me a pace of 7:51 per kilometer. Whew! The marshall at the turn of the road was just amazed of my energy. Thank GOD.

@KM 99 with only 24 minutes left, I was walking calmly. By God’s loving grace and mercy I was able to beat the crunch time. With mouth opened due to thirst and too much gasping for air to breath, I continued my hard run. By KM 101 i was left with only 9 minutes. I guess this is it. This is where I should be at my strongest. This is where I needed every bit of leg strength and speed I could muster. I started chasing the runners ahead of me. I was able to overtake at least 3 or 4 more. And by the road turn to the finish line, I was so thankful to GOD that I was able to speed up and shout praises to HIM…

(Thanks to Carina for this LONE shot)

Teary-eyed, but unnoticed, I crossed the glorious Finish LINE by the 17:54:10 hour.

(Thanks to Gabriel Tuason for this picture)

All because I believe I can. Praise be to the LORD, God Almighty.

26 thoughts on “I Believe I Can

  1. very nice!!

    team boring survived!. . salamat ultraboring support crew (Vic, Cindy, Marky)

    Mar, Gab and Rod. . . . cheers!

    so boring blog!


  2. And what a finish it was! Finishing BDM 102 and ranked as Finisher 102! Meant to be or just mere coicidence? The song for you should be, “This is the Moment!”

    This is the moment, my final test
    Destiny beckoned, I never reckoned second best
    I won’t look down, I must not fall
    This is the moment, the sweetest moment of them all

    This is the moment, damn all the odds
    This day or never, I’ll sit forever with the gods
    When I look back, I will always recall
    Moment for moment, this was the moment, the greatest moment of them all

    Congratulations, Pojie!

  3. congrats bro! i was a bit worried when you slowed down. but when you texted me “Last 10k. Pray 4 me.” with 1hr30mins to spare… I know you’re still good.

    congrats ulit pare! till next race! go Team Boring!!!

  4. Congrats Coach ,

    Idol ka talaga . Hehehehe… Well , nagbunga na ung mga paghihirap nyo during preparation … Grabe…..

    Congrats din sa Pegasus mo… kahit retired na , nagpapakitang gilas pa din πŸ˜€

  5. mar, naluha ako..To God be the glory..when i run alone in the morning, that’s when i talk to the One above as well…you deserve to bask on your laurels..ULTRAMARATHONER!!! Thank you for sharing all your thoughts/learnings – running ang non-running..haylabshu!

    kaya nga fan ako ng team boring eh..san ba blog nila rod? aheheh..

    kung si doc roy, tumakbo, team boring din yan!

  6. Dear Podjie – You have been one of the guiding star of the group and your achievement at BDM is an inspiration to all. Congratulations and continue to take care of the group.

  7. coach, now ko lang nabasa to hehehe πŸ™‚

    congrats! πŸ™‚ words are not enough to encapsulate how proud i am of you. ibang level ito πŸ™‚ 102 πŸ™‚ tapos next year naman 145 ka! πŸ™‚ hehehe πŸ˜‰

    goodluck again coach! patrain naman ako! sana next year makasama ako sa beginners version ng bataan death march πŸ™‚

    ayot? APIR!

  8. We were really worried when you weren’t approaching when we expected you to be! That was really admirable to pull yourself for so long.


    Isa ka ring Boldrunner πŸ™‚

  9. Mr. Mar, great meeting you online and hopefully will soon face-to-face! Many thanks for sharing such an inspiring story. I’ll keep coming back to this one whenever I feel tired and my body’s telling me to stop when I’m running. Thanks again!

  10. Congratulations Forefoot Runner!

    We met on the road at the first 3 KM. =)

    Sa uulitin. =) Pahinga muna tayo nga maayos. See you at the Milo elims in July. -)

    1. See you at the Milo Elims too…BTW: Read your BDM blog…very touching. I didnt see any space for comment, so am writing it here. Reading through your story somehow get the creep on me…I could feel the emotion and the hardship…I am amazed.

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