Baptism of Fire in Ultrarunning

1st PAU 50K Run, Tanay, Rizal
Photos courtesy of Emil Ancheta aka Decipher

With the persistent but gentle prodding of Jonel aka BugoBugo85 plus the encouragement of some running friends like Sir Jovie aka Baldrunner, Francis, Mel, Gab, Luis aka GBM, Rodel aka Argonaut among others, what reasons do I have “not to” try ultra running? They saw dormant potentials that I never realized existed. If people believed that I could, then may be it was time to venture into something new.

And so, I decided to go for the 1st PAU 50K Run by informing Sir Jovie via text message to reserve a slot for me. I informed Coach John about it and I was allowed to run, on a condition, to treat it as a long slow distance (LSD).

For some reason, I didn’t have time to register nor claim my race packet personally as there were other commitments that needed to be done first. I requested instead Tere aka El Capitana to register me. That taken cared of, all I needed to do was wait for race day.

Days after I registered, Gab of Takbo.ph, told me that he would pace with me. My dilemma was whether I could maintain his pace considering his experience with ultra marathon running. But like Joseph aka Prince who paced with and never left me during the Run for Home race, he assured me that he would run with me from start to finish.

He also asked about my plans concerning support during the race. I answered, “None”. No plans at all. No support. Just wanted to run PAU. I just wanted to treat it just like any other race.” I quote Sir Jovie, “run it guerilla-type.” But he pointed out in one of our practice runs that having a support group would be beneficial as there were areas in Tanay, Rizal, where one couldn’t buy any drink or food along the route. I was hesitant to having a support for the simple reason that I was not used to it. In addition, I was too shy to ask persons who could volunteer to support me. Also, I was already satisfied with the four drop-off stations where I could leave my supplies. But in the end, I relented by sending a text message to Jet to include me in the group.

As agreed, the group met at SM Megamall’s grocery store. I arrived at the store half an hour earlier than the agreed time. Jet, Pojie, and Mac were already doing some grocery shopping. We left Ortigas at past 8PM and arrived at Aaron’s place in Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal at almost 10PM. After exchanging pleasantries with Aaron’s family, we called it a night. I couldn’t sleep since I was in a new place. When I finally dozed off for deep sleep it was already time to get up. At 3AM, I was awake already with no less than two or three-hour sleep. “This was like running Pasig International Marathon with not enough sleep again. Just hope I wouldn’t experience that painful cramps again,” my thoughts while preparing my stuff for the race.

It was like a reunion at the starting line upon seeing familiar faces of some of my running Takbo.ph friends. I knew some of them were surprised to see me in this race.

Runners at the starting line

The mood was festive. One could feel the excitement of everyone. I was a bit nervous about this race since I didn’t know what was in store for me or what would happen out there. Various thoughts played inside my mind. I even said to my leg muscles to cooperate and not to allow cramps to happen. I did appreciate what Mel, a BDM102 Finisher, told me, “I know you do run fast, but this time take it easy.” And the countdown began … “Five, four, three, two, one!” It signaled the start of the race. The first 13 to 15KM were mostly uphills. Anyhow, it was a indeed a nice experience to commune with nature while running even if the ascent after the turnaround point was just too difficult for a first timer in ultrarunning. It was my baptism of fire.

It was so hot that day that I couldn’t help but pray for dark clouds to appear and give us rain. After the turnaround point (KM35), miraculously, it did drizzle a little for a few minutes just enough to cool us down. God is truly with us!

While writing this post, I was at a loss for words to describe my running experience in Tanay. It was a great relief indeed to finally reach the finish line, after using the run-walk-run-strategy, with barely a minute left to beat the eight-hour cut-off time. I finished the 50K race in 7:59.14 (in hours).

I’m truly grateful to Rod, Mac, Aaron, Karen for their invaluable assistance ensuring that we’re properly hydrated, not hungry, and for going to that extra mile without asking for any reward. Thanks to Pojie and Prince for the shared jokes and laughter. Also, to Tere and Sir Jovie for facilitating my registration. To Marga and Pepsi for pacing with me toward the finish line. Many thanks to Aaron for welcoming us in your home so that we have a place to stay before race day. And to Gab for doing a superb job, for being a true blue runner, for pacing with me from start to end. Without you guys I couldn’t have done it.

My bad, how could I forget to mention Vic aka Hagibis in my recap?! Vic thank you so much for the ride from Ortigas to Aaron’s place. And congrats, too, for your strong finish.


Fellow runners who volunteered to support us–Rod, Edwin, Karen, and Mac

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My Ultrarunning Experience As Seen Through These Pictures


Traversing the zigzag roads


You need to get off from the road and give way to avoid the possibility of being hit by them


KM35, turnaround point … 15 kilometers more to go before reaching the finish line


Mel, BDM102 Finisher, on his way to the turnaround point at KM35



One of the water stations provided manned by Team Baldrunner elite runners


This is just a portion of the total race course as seen from afar


Our support vehicle with fellow runners who volunteered to support us during the race


Sierra Madre Hotel, the finish line


A different way of finishing a race

Finally, too relieved upon reaching the finish line

Pojie aka Forefoot Runner

Gab
Jet aka Jetaime



Receiving the trophy and finisher’s shirt from Race Director, Sir Jovie aka Baldrunner

Takboular, Pojie, Argo, Jayrulez, Prince, Flyingboar

As we’re headed home, I couldn’t help but felt awe at what we’ve achieved and was also amazed upon seeing the roads we ran earlier that day.