The team met at McDonald’s Buendia corner EDSA @ 1am. We hoped to be on the road by 2am to still have more time for rest before the gunstart.
It was a festive morning. We’re just having fun like we always do.
A few minutes were spent waiting for a little light from the sun. It was too dark to start on a trail and almost everybody has got no light. 🙂
And off we go…to a welcoming trail of soft soil. No more than 2kms, a big group took a wrong straight. We’re supposed to turn left. I did. They dont. They go straight.
The atmosphere was just quiet and serious. Very little chat, except with the Chito and Mel tandem. Some runners just do not know how to respect others. The mouth is there for a purpose. Some of them would just cut at full speed – without a word. Part of the trail is just not meant for 2.
The first loop was a good run. It was a bit hot but that was expected. After a meal break and a rest for 20 minutes, I walked.
See the following:
Yes, I must retire the shoes now. While it gave me a good ride again, the sole was just so battered by the stony trail. I even got 2 small blisters on my left toe. It was too hot. The road to KM 9.5 was just too long on the 2nd loop. I gambled and carried only 1 small bottled water. I ditched the hydration bag – it suddenly felt so heavy. My gamble paid off. I was lighter. But then I suffered and got dehydrated. All the water stations seemed so far. Thanks to one of the marshalls on bike. I asked for a small amount of water and was given.
When I finally reached KM 15.5 water station, I started to run. I was able to refill and drink lots of water. I even used some iced-cold water to pour on my head and neck and chest.
Then I got so thirsty again. And KM 22 is just too far. Thanks to the man below. He saved me.
When I first saw Robert with JOjo, I got nothing but picture.
But on the second loop, I was really looking for a water. And Robert was just at the right place. He even gave me a hammer gel. And a salonpas for my sore calf muscle. What a relief.
I picked up the pace for the 7kms. I was confident to beat the time. I was almost gliding at the stony trail.
Near the last stretch to the finish line…
…and the few meters to bliss!
The heat made the whole experience very challenging. I got thirsty but not tired.
The atmosphere at the finish line was just jubilant. Everybody was just happy for everybody.
I wanted an accurate report. To do that, I have to get the records from my support.
But then it’s haunting.
By haunting, I mean:
Why so? Let me recount the story.
25 FEBRUARY 2011
The Team picked me up at home. Lots of bags to bring. After getting through the traffic, we had lunch at Topher’s house. By mid afternoon, we’re at where we are last year.
After a couple more hours we are at Villa Imperial. Our choice of place to rest before the big event. The same spot where we are last year too. After the restless afternoon, some chat and dinner, we tried to sleep. I think I barely did. But then I was told I snored. Everybody tells the same story to everybody. LOL
26 FEBRUARY 2011
After an early breakfast, we headed to the starting line. As expected, it’s crowded. Full of smiling faces. Lots of familiar faces. The same family of ultrarunners plus some more brave new warriors. It was a happy morning. Filled with so much fun and excitement. After all, this is the 1st longest ultramarathon in the Philippines.
After the singing of the national anthems, the race started. Everybody was just all smiles. It was a pleasant morning for a gruelling day.
I intend to stick to my race plan of 6 kilometers per hour. But then the team moved faster than expected. Even the first 7K which we agreed to walk became a run/walk already. Took us only 48 minutes for the first 6 kilometers. And it was just a casual jog and never ending walk-conversation along the route.
>>> FIRST 50KMS <<<
There's was just really no struggle for me up to the Km 50 posts. I was able to catch up with the team already resting there @7 hours and 51 minutes. Still a better time compared to last year's.
When all’s ready, we proceeded. That’s after we agreed to walk the whole of the next 10 kilometers. It was too hot and it’s wise to walk. The “ROD WALK”.
>>> NEXT 52 KMS <<<
Vener captured the moment. And Team Ungas was just there too.
>>> THEN SOMETHING HAPPENED <<<
At about KM 66 to KM 70, I got a painful cramps on my lower thighs. Both leg. It was a minor one but it's not comfortable. So SID Apolinario, one the ultraboredsupport volunteered to give it some relief.
I also made the mistake of changing shoes at this point. I later regretted it.
Well, for all it’s worth, I was able to catch up on any lost time (and there was none! hic! ~ ) with this shoes.
When the sun disappeared and darkness covered the road, it is also the time I got to get the better of my strength. 🙂
I walked at near KM 90 alongside Jeff. At about the last 8 kilometers, I was just slowly racing alongside Atty Haide. I remember it well when she tagged me along to run the last 5 kilometers to KM 102. I left her and pushed myself at the last 3. Good for me.
But then another mistake.
#1 I stopped @102K, right at a time when I am all fired up and heated to run.
#2 I changed gear. I shouldn’t have. Yes, Im all sweat, but that’s because I’m in heat.
#3 I wasted too much time chatting around. Barely eating. Just throwing smiles at everybody.
Yes, it is a fact that I reached the KM 102 in 17:17. It is indeed a better time than my last year’s 102K finish. But it is not a wise decision to make. I got carried away.
I shouldn’t have stopped. I didn’t eat there anyway. I shouldn’t really have.(THIS, I will remember always – not to repeat next year)
So enter the DOOM. There goes my cold body. The chilly wind got the better of me. I was shaking. Walking and trying hard to run – but can’t. After about 3 kilometers, and finally noticing how I hated it, I stopped to rest. Oh Yeah. ANOTHER BIG BIG Mistake.
#1 I gave in to the cold.
#2 I gave in to the call of sleep.
There. As I lie down and rested in the car, cramps started creeping in. I was shouting in pain. Yes, that’s literally shouting. Not yelling – but shouting.
Then I’m lost. I might have fallen asleep. ANOTHER big big mistake. I could have just taken a nap. Just a nap!
Now I looked like a struggling warrior in battle.
See the difference in the stride?
I took another 15-minute nap before heading on to the last 25 kms. It was indeed very refreshing. The Jollibee Sopas from Capas still warm to my recall.
I ate at McDonald’s Capas. It was a “pre-munched” spaghetti. I gobbled it down as hard as I can. Then off to the heat of the day.
It was a gruelling run. The last 5 kilometers is where I felt everything. Tired. Sleepy. In Pain. Limping. It was also in the very last few meters to the finish line that I felt it all all-together.
It was a mixed emotion of everykind. I didn’t cry. I’m done with that. I was just so happy to have been able to complete the course. I might have come late. I may have missed the cut-off, but the experience is all worth it. Such an experience is a deep-well of treasure for me. I was able to conquer myself. I was able to cover the entire route where a lot did not. I was tested to be patient. I was tested to be persistent. I passed the test. I may have been declared an Unofficial Finisher, but I have this:
If I’m not proud of what I have, I must be very happy of the friends who waited. Till next year. The crusade for the buckle continues. Back-to-Back-to-Back. (Nonchalant Laugh). 🙂
All thanks and praise to God who was with me all the way. Saint Michael and another angel. 🙂 Glory!