January 15, 2017
Conquer T25 will always be a special run for me. Not only does it bring runners through the trails of the beautiful Tarak Ridge, it’s also the anniversary of my first trail run. So this was actually the run that started it all for my trailrunning days.
A year ago I was so nervous entering Alas-asin Elementary school, the starting line of the race. I knew no one and only made friends on the bus along the way. Now, I commuted to the venue with my consistent trail buddies.
I wasn’t as scared this year and my goal is to now get a PR despite being less than prepared. I relaxed myself and got some sleep as we waited for the race kit claiming. After that, it was some last minute preparations for the run. That meant me pooping all my intestines clean to avoid any unnecessary stops along the trail. Feeling refreshed, I listened to the race briefing again and then lined up with the others on the starting line. The race started and we set off.
At around a kilometer in, I felt the sides of my calves already cramping. This was already a familiar sensation to me because most of my runs always start with this feeling. But then the soreness was too much and so I just ran-jogged the way as familiar faces ran past me.
At Nanay Cording’s place, I stopped at the aid station and massaged my legs until the pain subsided. Then I set off again. Thankfully, the pain didn’t return and I was able to overtake most of the runners on the way to Paniquian falls. My favorite part was still the rock jumping and finding your own trail across the river. At the falls, I had my picture taken for documentation. I actually forgot that there was an aid station in the falls because I was in a rush to get back to the race. Because of this, I didn’t get to refill my hydration. But it was okay because I was still feeling fine. After that, it was the most exciting part of the race. This was a steep uphill all the way to the summit. No downhills until then. Catching up to Darell, we paced each other till we emerged from the canopy.
We got a Nikpik which meant the summit is near. We reached the summit and got our bagtags. A friendly group of hikers also gave me some chocnut. We proceeded to descend to the ridge and here I let Darell go ahead while I took some pictures and videos. It’s been a year since I was last here yet the beauty is still just as breathtaking. The winds were still as strong as before. I took some time just enjoying the breeze.
When I saw Dapdap going down the ridge, I knew it was time to go. She was with Cess, also a good friend of mine, who injured her knee while going descending. Dap was encouraging her to keep going and I tagged along with the two of them. It was the traditional route of Tarak all the way back to Alas-asin so I just enjoyed the descent with them. We joked around with the hikers who were ascending and also with the other runners. We passed Papaya river, then it was the long trail back to Nanay Cording.
It felt good pacing with these two strong women and we had lots of fun conversations. The kilometers just seemed to fly. At Nanay Cording’s place we had a small photoshoot before Dapdap sent me ahead.
There, it was just 3 kilometers left until the finish. I ran along the familiar trail until it gave way to concrete. Around the school and finally into the finish. It felt great. It was like reliving my first. Sir Jigs was there as always to congratulate me and hang the medal around my neck. Anniversary run complete!
I scored a PR despite the lack of training so that’s good to know. Of course this all wouldn’t be possible without everyone’s help.
To my family and to Papa G for the permission and conditions to let a great run like this happen.
To Darell, Dap, Cess, and all the other peeps along the trail who paced with me, thank you. Nice to see you guys always. Team TUSU, Team Bataan Transit, salamat sa pakikisama.
To all my trail friends old and new. You are all the reason why I look forward to trail events. You make these gatherings extra special. Thank you.
And of course to Sir Jigs and Conquer for organizing these event. Along with the local units and the WISAR and marshalls, you made this happen and I am always thankful.
Race: Conquer Ridge Runner Tarak Ridge 25km (T25)
Finish: 04:24:35 (Rank 28/182)
Food: [Self] Powerade, H2O, Cloud 9 Choco Fudge
[Aid Stations] H2O, Softdrinks, Kakanin
Gear: Amihan Crosswind, Vamos Socks, Salomon Speedcross Pro
I hope that this event will never stop having a yearly edition. Pwede na to maging panata. This is one of my favorite runs and it will always have a special place in my heart.
Every uphill will end, every downhill will serve.