First Part- The Road to BDM
50 to 67 Kilometer: Catching Up
It was still dark as I went back on the road. I need to keep running. I have lost so much time already. I was just breezing through the darkness. I keep passing on runners, some of them I haven’t seen during the race while some have been my pace-mates at some point but I have overtaken somewhere before 50k. Some would be surprised I was actually behind them. Apparently, most of the runners did not stop or did not stay long at the 50-K marker while I took about 30 minutes for all my drills. The ranking didn’t really matter to me at that point. My goal is to finish within my personal target. I kept in mind what the marshall told me, “Kailangan makalayo ka bago uminit”. So, I kept pushing, maintaining a 6:00 to 6:30 pace with some pit stops for ice refill and Gatorade. My short-term target is to reach Hermosa where the road will converge again with the highway.
I was asking my support to go ahead and start doing the 4-kilometer break. They still stop every two to check on me. At this point, I can feel that my visitor has permanently left. (Answered prayers, I couldn’t imagine another 52k with her. I would probably collapse.)
This is the point also where my sister almost lost her wedding ring. Out of fear of me losing my support vehicle, she was ready to commute and follow soon as she finds it. Thank God! They found it under the mud, after asking one vehicle to move back.
For the 50th to 67th, I took Gatorade every 30 minutes, sips water regularly from my handheld to wet my tongue, took one gel, a bite of banana and half spoon of sweet camote.
70 to 80: Heat is on in LUBAO, Pampanga
A few kilometers, after the roads would converge, we were greeted by the welcome arc of Pampanga. First town was Lubao. The heat is on in Lubao! I have run this road so I am ready for everything. I guess when this route was designed – all the challenges an ultramarathon could have were spread over this town – Speedy buses, tricycle drivers, road construction, fumes from the buses and trucks, dust from the dried lahar, lack of shade or none at all, road construction – Name it, they’ve got it. The heat of the sun was punishing. My ice pack wouldn’t even reach a kilometer and it has melted.
By kilometer 70, I felt hungry again and I wanted to eat something solid and salty. I’ve asked my sister to bring rice and chicken adobo and have it prepared kilometer 50 onwards. That was a real quick breakfast! (I’m quite known to eat really slow.)
70 to 80 – I bite on Nature Valley bar, sip Gatorade every 30min, took half of Gel and sip on water. I didn’t drink that much water as I might bloat myself despite my body telling me it wants one. I only sip and took a really cold one every 2K. On the 80th, I took one salt cap. I also had one lollipop which I didn’t finish – to balance the sour taste of the food and gatorade I’ve ingested.
I took each stride by trying to alternate humming the beeping sound of the cadence gauge that I use during training; and by praying an Our Father and Glory Be every time I feel tired. I brisk walk as I approach my support vehicle on each stop. My next goal is to go past the area where there is road construction. This would lead us to the town of Guagua. I visualize each goal and pat myself on the shoulder as I reach them. (I don’t actually pat myself but I rejoice within. This is probably why in all my pictures, I was smiling.)
80-90 Kilometer: Traversing in Guagua
I saw the vehicle of the marshalls before the intersection in Lubao. Madame Rowena told me I was third female and gave me updates on my teammates. I didn’t realize the gap is that far with the three, I prayed that they meet the cutoff. I had about 20 kilometers left, by then, I am confident that I will make it. I just need to push for a better time. We are now in Guagua. My next goal is to reach the town plaza of Guagua where we are to make a left turn, then a right turn leading us back to the highway. After that, it will be a 10-kilometer of not-so-fun run.
For 80 to 90, I had the same hydration and nutrition as the previous 10K. Priority is on keeping my body temperature down. I always refill my handheld bottle with ice. The cold temperature touching my palm helps control any possibilities of overheating. My other hand always has a pack of ice packed in small plastic.
I reached Kilometer 91 and by then, Rhea substituted my sister Lala. Jobert. Mark and Lala went straight to the finish line.
91-101 – 10 kilometers Fun-Painful Run!
Slowly then, the pain reliever effect is gone. The pain is back and each leap was hurting. I shifted back to a high knee strike which makes the pain bearable. The problem with such running style is it wastes more energy. Omega pain killer works! (Not a paid advertisement hehe) It actually does a better job than all the more expensive pain reliever ointment and spray that I have. Yan would apply it on the knee each pit stop.
I ran and brisk walked the next kilometers with all my strength that is left. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, that was all I can utter in prayers.
I had the same hydration and nutrition plus Banana and coke and iodized salt at the last 5 kilometers.
At Kilometer 97, I finally uttered the word, “Grabe, nalakapagod”. My support crew had a good laugh, telling me, “Naman, 97k na ngayon mo lang na-realize”. I really was in pain then; I leaned by a tree and asked Yan to massage my knee and apply all the Omega in the world!
After the 101 kilometer marker, I saw the stretch of kilometer fence on the right side. Less than one kilometer to the finish line! I asked one local, is that the provincial capitol. “Yes” I raised my hands in thanksgiving. Fixed my hair, myself, sip water – This is it! I was about to turn right when Bob appeared and overtook me. I gave my water bottle to Frank and another marshall and waited for Bob to finish up so the finish line is prepared for my finish.
102 Kilometers: The Battle Ends
I couldn’t contain myself from laughing, I did it. I gave a high five to everyone on the short momentous 100 kilometer stretch that I tripped on the humps ten meters from the finish line. That could have been the highlight of my finish but I was trained to land with poise after tripping.
Grabbed the finish line banner, raised it up for the photo-ops. And that was the end! 102 Kilometers conquered!
I was expecting an emotional finish, it didn’t happen. Now, I am in tears as I write the longest race of my life “SO FAR”. (That wasn’t easy – running and writing this!)