Upon reaching km50 : Wow I’ve just covered 50km in less than 7 hours, and I still have lots of energy left. This is going to be one bad ass race of mine!
Upon continuing the race from km50 after a long breakfast: My right knee hurts! I can’t bend my right knee! Immediately sent a text message to group mate Dhenz: Can I still finish the race within cut-off time if I just walk the remaining route?
The Street Party
Dhenz, Tina and I reached km0 post around 9:25pm. Upon reaching the area, I noticed the place was in very joyful fiesta-like atmosphere. We greeted fellow runners or “warriors” and had some photo-ops with other runners as well. As usual, the usual “KMO picture post” was never missed. (photos by Brandon Losario)
Jolibee was just a few meters away from km0 post and if you try to use their CR, you’ll know who would occupy that place most- the runners and not the customers As I was about to enter Jolibee to do my last pee, one of the customers tried to strike a conversation with me “Sir where’s the finish line?” When I told him the finish line would be in San Fernando Pampanga at km102, he replied “..that’s too far! I wish I could join you, my grandfather, a WWII soldier didn’t reached that far during the actual death march…”. I told him I’ll finish the race for his grandfather. He bowed his head, thanked me and wished me good luck.
On my way back to the km0 area, I noticed a different breed of runners. We were few yes, but the bond that sticks these “crazies” together was so different. The laughter, the conversations, photo-ops and several jokes flying around were so common. I was observing the facial reaction of one American runner; he looked so surprised as he scanned the area.
Program begins with a prayer led by Ronnie followed by singing of national anthems of USA and Philippines. I honestly thought it was BR’s practical joke when he mentioned the singing of Stars-Spangled Banner during CLP for this race, but was surprised that it did happen and he sang the American anthem! What followed was thunderous clap from fellow runners. This was followed by singing of National Anthem, and I noticed everyone was singing the national anthem, even hitting the high-notes, in perfect crescendo and tempo. It was surreal, but nice. Moments later, the race started and off we go!
The Race Begins
My group mates Tina, Dhenz and Glenn had a very “idealistic” pace plan. The plan was to reach km 50 in 7 hours at most, or less than that, and finish the race in sub 17 hours- if we’re all still together by that time.
We traversed the first 7 kilometers very conservatively. We walked all the uphills and maintained a 7-7:30min/km pace on flat road but ran 6:30min/km on downhills. I relied mostly on Dhenz as he got his Garmin to guide our pace. Rhoderick Guieb and Vener would soon join our team as we traversed the uphills in the first 7km of the race. As we traversed the road going to the mountain, I kept on adjusting my head lamp, checking the side road for some “creatures” that might be worth avoiding. The area was too warm even with trees around, I kept on looking at my handheld bottle as I notice I was sweating profusely and also drinking too much. I need to remind myself not to drink too much as the next stop would be on the 8th km.
As we exit the mountain area, our pace started to speed up. Dhenz must have considered me the most annoying runner that night as I kept on asking him of our pace. Glenn meanwhile would mysteriously disappeared from our pace from time to time but once we’re near our support van, he would just pop-up from our behind. The guy is full of surprises. Dhenz and I would just scratch our head wondering how the hell he did it. This would happen several times. Tina with her ipod would probably prefer to be running with her music, while Dhenz and I would trade stories every now and then. Its funny how majority of the runners would run side by side as they talked to their friends (me included), but once the marshal vehicle is near, we would remind ourselves to run in single column. We would joke around as Patt would outpace us and have to remind him of TNF race he’s going to join. Athan (SIM marathon last finisher, Rizal Day Run surprise runner) would receive some verbal threats from Dhenz and I as he would outrun us without even saying “hi” to us. It was suppose to be a joke with intention to add some fun for us. Indeed, running is boring especially in a very long race like this if you don’t have any companion running with you, unless you enjoy listening to your ipod more than human interaction.
Some “Misunderstanding” and Getting Bold
Dhenz and I would continue our run while chatting, eventually overtaking other runners and unknowingly leaving other team members behind. This wasn’t too much of a concern as we were trying to play “catch-up” of our target time but by km 15, an “issue” was raised that we were running too fast. It was not our intention to leave anyone behind, and I’m sorry to the party offended by our actions.
We were running comfortably until we stumbled upon Rodel and I thought the guy would never stop showing his upper body to us until we’re all tired of looking at it. We play a bit of concern to him and informed him that he might suffer later as the cold wind might do more harm to him than good.
We would also warn him of “preying” individuals who might chance upon him. Eventually, Dhenz would suddenly blurt “May karne, may karneng binebenta dito!” (e.g Meat, meat for sale here!). Rodel would eventually hurried his ass away from us.
An hour later, I was thinking of Rodel….And I would start complaining of heat… Then Dhenz would start complaining of heat too…. And then I started playing around the idea of running half-naked. I mentioned the idea to Dhenz. Dhenz seemed to love the idea. As we reached our support vehicle, we removed our shirt and ran our ass half-naked. It’s a good thing Rodel wasn’t around when we removed our shirts *laughs*
Upon Reaching km 50…
Dhenz and I continued our run until we reached km50 in 6hours and50 minutes. According to our plan, we have 45 minutes to spare to have our breakfast at this point. I maximized my time by immediately eating congee, drinking two cups of water and one hard-boiled egg. As the weather seemed to be nice that time of the day, I thought of maximizing it so I informed Dhenz that I would proceed ahead and wouldn’t wait for the support van to arrive. I started my walk while eating another serving of congee and then suddenly the support van arrived. I was just a few meters away from km50 so I went back and changed “evening” gear to “day” ones. I removed my CWX tights, changed into short shorts (but too lazy to remove my compression shorts) and wore my white Mizuno shirts.
Dhenz and Glen were about to start their run but I felt the need to do number 2 in the nearest bathroom. Unfortunately it is unavailable as somebody is already using it. As I cannot wait further to unload, I went to the next room which looks like an office and asked the attendant if I could use her office bathroom. Alas the attendant informed me that she just cleaned it and put zonrox into their CR and wouldn’t want my crap to ruin the smell of her newly cleaned possession. As I don’t want to waste my time arguing with her, I just decided to continue my run and play catch up with Dhenz and Glenn who are already 200 meters away from me. However, before I proceed, I asked for my mp3 player then did my usual stretching exercises. Few moments later, I started my “warm-up” walk, with intention to continue my run after 2 minutes. However, the moment I stepped on my right-foot as I tried to propel myself forward for the usual “push-off”, my right knee refuses to bend! When I tried to force it to bend, it became very painful. I tried not to panic and think happy thoughts and tried another set of stretching exercises. I slowly try to continue my run however, bending my right knee became very painful.
For the first time in my life, I felt so helpless and vulnerable….to be continued…