July 31, 2016 & August 7, 2016
If you told me 2 years ago that I’d be running 21 kilometers straight, I would have laughed at you. If you told me 1 year ago that I’d be running a marathon, I still would have laughed at you. If you told me 1 month ago that I’d be running long distances for two consecutive weeks, then yup, I’d still be laughing at you. But that’s what happens in life. The things we find absurd or impossible turn out to be quite achievable, if we just push ourselves a bit.
40th National Milo Marathon – Manila Qualifiers
I wanted to sign up for the Milo Marathon this year because of the sweet finisher shirt. Last year I ran 10km and only got a certificate, so I thought it was time to level up on the loot. The only hindrance was the requirement of a medical clearance to register. Because I didn’t want to spend much on a check up, I postponed my registration and forgot about it for a while. Fortunately, a friend of mine contacted me and told me that he has already registered, but will no longer be able to run. Jumping at the opportunity, I bought the kit from him. Problem solved! Now for the hard part: the training.
My style of “training” is to just get the mileage in, and go with whatever I’m feeling that day. I don’t really have much routines and just go by feel. So far I’ve been seeing some progress whenever I get the weeks to roll by without some sickness holding me back. But I have also been thinking of adding a strict routine to my sessions. Hmmm…
As the Marathon day approached, I ran and ran despite the lack of LSD’s (I ran mostly 5-10kms per session), and looked forward to beating my PR of 5:48:03. Of course my main objective was to have fun. I was looking forward to seeing my friends from the running community again. I treat race day as the reward for all my solo training days. On this day, everyone puts aside everything else they are and just come together as runners. It’s really cool to experience it that way.
42 kilometers on the road is still a heavy burden. It doesn’t get easier even if you think you’re getting better. But I’d like to think that my performance was faster this time around. And with the 6-hour cutoff, I was feeling the pressure. I started the run-walk-run method after the U-turn at BGC. There, I caught up with some friends and also got passed by others. I didn’t push myself too hard because I had something bigger to prepare for.
My goals for the run was to finish without injury and:
Get a sub-5 finish (sadnu)
- Get a new PR (achib)
- Finish within the cutoff (pak)
- Don’t die (ganern)
3 out of 4 ain’t bad. I finished together with my idols and even had my friend be the one to place the medal around my neck. What an awesome gesture! I finished with an official time of 05:22:59 and beat my previous PR by 00:26:11. Not bad, yay!
And with that, my second road marathon is finished. Until now I’m still contemplating whether I will run that distance on the road again. But if I am being paced by friends, then I most likely will. Not in the near future tho!
It felt great completing a marathon again. It was refreshing to know that I still had the capability to finish the distance. After that, I immediately started my recovery for the more challenging event that follows.
Interlude: Salomon Run The City
A few days before my next race, I attended the FREE city-trail running workshop organized by Salomon Philippines. There, two Salomon-sponsored athletes, sir Wilnar Iglesia and sir Andrew Chinalpan, taught us some stretching techniques and running uphill around the city.
After a quick 6km run, there was a raffle and fortunately, I won a pair of Salomon shorts! What a good way to start my Friday. This is the closest I’ll ever get to being sponsored by Salomon, but it is such a good brand and if I have the money, I’ll always look for their products. Thank you, Salomon PH!
DBB Mountain Rockstar 2016
The next challenge was this trail run. 50 kilometers of trails, traversing Mt. Batolusong and its peaks all the way to Mt. Cayabu and Maynoba. This was the reason why I took a conservative pace for Milo. Being injured before a trail ultramarathon is not something I’m looking forward to.
I was happy to see familiar faces at the assembly point. I’m a very social runner and a big reason why I joined the race was because a lot of my friends are also joining. Plus I wanted that finisher’s Pussy cap so badly. I conversed with my friends and met new ones as well. This helped take away the nervousness that I was feeling. This was only my 2nd ultramarathon and I was nowhere as prepared as my first one. Here’s to hoping muscle memory works!
When the route was first released to the runners, I was shocked at how complicated it was. And when we did a reconnaissance a few weeks ago, I had a hard time with just half the route! Add to that the stories my veteran trail runner friends told me about the run last year, I was very very very intimidated. I kept wondering what I had gotten myself into. But I was never one to back out on something I had already registered on. So I found myself at the starting line with about a hundred other runners, about to begin our Calvary.
It was raining during the 4am start of the race, everyone was fumbling and slipping around in the dark, with only our headlamps and torches to light the way. Even after having done a recon, the trail was a stranger in the dark and early on, I got lost with some runners a few times. It was really difficult and stressful until the sun started to rise and I began to see the trail and the view (I am not much of a night trekker). Have you tried running on oatmeal? Neither have I, but I bet it’s like running on the trails of Batolusong after the rain, only less delicious.
I have to admit, the route was very technical, especially the trail to Payagwan peak and the Mt. Natad traverse. There were times when I thought I was gonna slip, fall, and die. Fortunately, I only slipped and fell. The weather was especially uncooperative and gave us the slippery-est trails I’ve experienced. But aside from that, the views were beautiful and they kept me going. The view from the top of Mt. Cayabu and Maynoba were especially endearing.
So after all the literal blood, sweat, and tears I shed, I crossed the finish line! This is officially the longest run I’ve ever done! More than half a day out in the trails. Amazing, I never imagined that I would be capable of lasting this long. Feels great to surprise yourself with your capabilities. Plus my legs didn’t fall off, so that’s good. The only downside was that I was so haggard, I didn’t have time to take pictures of the view, so I apologize for I have nothing to show you guys for the run. But I’ll gladly climb with you to Mt. Batolusong and Mt. Maynoba and Cayabu if you want lol :)
After the finish, I was still in a kind of disbelief with what I just experienced. I didn’t recognize the faces congratulating me but I just kept saying thanks and smiling at all of them. Then the next thing I felt was this terrible chafing in my thighs and the pain from the wounds I sustained. Gathering my loot, I grabbed some food and hobbled to where my friends are to compose myself. It’s a good thing that we were still waiting for the other runners because once I sat down, I had a hard time getting back up. But after a few moments of rest, I was back to eating, and reliving the experience with my runner friends.
And so ends my most grueling trail run yet. I’d like to think that the Milo marathon the previous week helped my endurance to finish this. After all, every training and rest we do adds up until the big day. A strong finish is the most I asked for, and I did get that at the end of the day.
I am extending my heartfelt thanks to everyone for the support.
To the Big Guy for the safety, despite the uncooperative weather. Thank you for giving all of us the strength to endure and finish without injuries.
To Team TUSU for the support and the time, as always. From Milo Marathon to Mountain Rockstar, it’s always good to run with you. Until our next race! Especially to Lady, our transportation director, for handling all the logistics and refreshments. Happy birthday, Perlin! Thank you for the food.
To Jeka, Darell, Jhayson, Ayang, Summer, Momi Reg, Mam Gudy, Renson, RL, Rocketbong, Mcrio, Jan Rhen, Jaja, Active Pinas, and all the other trail friends for the support and the conversation. It’s always nice seeing you guys. Congratulations to all of us! See you on the road and trails.
To my fambam, for not panicking even if I was gone the whole day without texting. I didn’t know there wouldn’t be any mobile signal in the area, labyu.
To DBB and all the MGM peeps, the Marshalls, Dapdap, Sir Ahl, and everyone who made this event possible. Thank you for a very successful event. As always, you never fail to deliver a challenge. Looking forward to your next installments. Just this once, Rutangina nyo talaga!
Race: 40th National Milo Marathon – Manila Qualifiers
Food: [Self] Choco Mucho x5, Powerade
[Hydration Stations] H2O, Gatorade, Banana
Gear: Lagalag Lagok 1 Hydration Bag, Vamos Socks, Adidas Revenergy Boost
Race: DBB Mountain Rockstar 2016
Finish: 12:25:39 (25th Male, 28th Overall)
Food: [Self] Choco Mucho x5, Cloud 9 Salted Caramel x1, H2O, Cobra, Gatorade
[Aid Stations] H2O, Hopia, Jelly Ace, Cloud 9, Fit N Right, Softdrinks, Biko
Gear: Lagalag Lagok 1 Hydration Bag (with Basekamp 2L Bladder), Vamos Socks, Salomon X-Scream Citytrail Shoes, Reebok Cap
And that’s the story of my consecutive long distance races. It’s taken its toll on me, to be honest. I’ve lost weight and seem to be having a hard time getting it back. Plus the sleep deficit. But a few days of recovery and I’ll be back! Will I do this again? Probably, if the right circumstances present themselves, but for now, I’m taking a break. #OffSeason mode begins again!
Cheers to all the runners, train well and smart!