Category Archives: PAU 50K

On Foot from Tagaytay to Nasugbu, Batangas: 4th PAU 50K Ultramarathon, November 14

My aim for this year was to only complete Runrio Trilogy. And look where it brought me, not only one ultramarathon race, but three.

How did I make it possible? Oh well, there were key persons who influenced and never stopped egging me on to try one. I was the skeptic. But somehow their confidence in me gave me the courage to venture into ultra distance running.

Trying out the 50K race sometime in May, I would say, was never part of my plan, but some sort of a personal challenge to conquer fear of running beyond the 42K distance.

After I finished my first ultramarathon, I’ve come to realize that indeed it was possible as long as you put your heart to it. Even if training would never be that easy.  And where goals or reasons why run that distance, in the first place, were put to test.

Ultra distance running can be daunting with its physical and mental challenge.  I couldn’t agree more. The formula that worked for me every time when in a race was a personal mantra, “You’ve done 42K, a full marathon, what’s 8K added to it as warm up.  Reach the finish line!” Funny.  Strange.  Yet worked for me.

If you asked of my thoughts while running an ultramarathon, well, sometimes there were none.  Sometimes they were just random thoughts like “I prayed”, “I recalled experiences in the past, both good and bad”, “I enjoyed the view”, “I admired Mother Nature”, “I pondered on my experiences as a runner”, “I don’t know”, “Not sure.” And the list would go on and on.

Running an ultramarathon wouldn’t be easy but the reward, as you reached the finish line, ah, would be cherished forever.

Going back to my story, the Tagaytay-Nasugbu race, I opted to do it this time on my own sans any volunteer crew. The only support I had then was the drop bags I left with the race marshals at KM20 and KM40 aid stations. Since I hardly use hydration belt or fuel belt, I had only a bottle of water, hand held, and some GU gels, to last me until KM20.  One of the best things running an ultramarathon is, even when done guerilla running, support will always be there.

How I tackled the race? The only strategy I could think of then was to run the first thirty or so kilometers within the range of six to six thirty pace per kilometer.  I crossed my fingers.

I was doing alright but I got sidetrack with a series of kidney break and looked for a place to relieve myself. It was a good thing there were hotels and inns along the way.

The route wasn’t as difficult as Tanay, Rizal (my first 50K ultramarathon in May). Quite the exact opposite in terms of terrain, most of it was downhill. Plus, the weather that day cooperated.

As I reached Nasugbu, I couldn’t help but smile and felt like one of the brave persons in history as I saw the welcome arch with the inscription, “Maligayang Pagdating sa Lalawigan ng Magigiting” (Welcome to the Province of the Brave).

Within the twenty or so kilometers, it was here where I had to slow down and paced with Aaron or Aron, a member of Team Boring of  Aaron is a strong and fast runner. He was one of the finishers in the recently held PAU 70K Ultramarathon in Ilocos Norte.  I paced with him until he told me to run ahead.

I was somewhat confident I could finish the race within six or so hours, but as I was about to run past another runner, my attention was caught when he suddenly called me by my moniker, so I decided to slow down and chatted with him for a while. During our conversation, he made mention of some blog names, known in running community such as The Bullrunner, Jazzrunner, Baldrunner, among others. I learned he drew inspiration to run his first ultramarathon, the 4th PAU, also from blogs that he read and followed. I paced with Macky until at the bend, across Shell Gasoline Station in Nasugbu.  I ran ahead, supposed to hydrate, but opted to run the rest of the kilometers instead.

Running Diva, during the last two hundred meters, on her way to the finish line. Many thanks to Vener aka Run Unlimited for the photo below.

Did I reach my goals? My answer would be a YES and NO.

I failed to run the first 32K within the pace I set for myself. I didn’t finish within the number of hours I also set for myself, but I reached the finish line within the cut off time. I finished my third ultramarathon this year, beyond what I dreamed of.

I’ve met  friends along the way, thankful to those who followed this blog, and glad to have paced with fellow runners whose goal was same as mine: “to reach the finish line”. I was not able to use my drop bags in any of the aid stations.

Many thanks to Joy of Team Boring for the photo below (receiving the mug trophy at the finish line with Sir Jovie aka Baldrunner, PAU Race Director). Joy finished her first marathon at the recently held New York Marathon. Straight from the airport, she headed for Tagaytay to support to fellow runners and teammates of Team Boring.

Of course, I couldn’t have done it alone. Either guerilla running or with support crew, fellow runners, family, and friends would always be there.

Many, many thanks to the following persons who made it possible for me to reach the finish line. To the hotel staff who prepared my-so-early-requested-breakfast; to Chelly and Team CB for the bread with peanut butter; to Cindy of Team Boring for keeping my stuff safe and for checking in on me during the race; to Macky for the Omega pain killer and hydration, Aaron and Mar aka Forefoot Runner for accompanying me; to I Love Kamote Team for their cheers; support crew of other runners for handing out water in cups; to the children along the way who gave me water and high fives; to Sir Jovie aka Baldrunner and Team Baldrunner for the cheer and support and magic drink; to Pao for your support; Team Boring for the ride back to Manila, and to those whose names I failed to mention here.  Again, thank you so much!

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, 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 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


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

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.