PAU Pow Pow, part II
Back to our run, we began ranking the returning runners and saying hi while receiving a lot of encouragements (‘malapit na pabalik’, ‘kaya n’yo yan’, etc.). Fortunately, we took in all their estimated distances toward the turning point (varying from 3-10 kms) to keep us going. Otherwise, we would never have imagined taking that rollercoaster route, up and down the hills and mountains in a road which doesn’t seem to have any end.
After over 6 hours, we finally reached the turning point (35 km). We tried to erase in our psyche the treacherous path we just survived from the resort, knowing in the back of our minds that we will be passing the same way again. This time, however, the numerous downhills will be uphills and this would be in the final stretch of the race we’ve been running for the last 7 hours.
Luckily, Dave and I have gotten used to the sun behind our backs (sans any cap, arm/leg/neck protection) but during this time when the legs and knees were just about to buckle down in the next step, you try to entertain and deviate your mind from gloom and surrender. You try to battle the demons and fears in your mind and always remember that a Higher power is leading and guiding you on life’s unpredictable highway. This is when you take running to a more spiritual level. When before and during the early part of the race, I can’t seem to shake off the feeling of death and biting the dust, I suddenly felt a resurgence of energy, purpose and calm in my system. Now, I knew we were going to finish these final kilometers, no matter how far, how endless…
It becomes a psychological game as we tried channeling all the positive energy and vibes over burning feet, aching muscles and weakened knees. We still managed to make a slow jog in certain parts, timing our breathing and steps in synch. During the steep ascents on angled roads, the best we could muster was a slow walk. In between, we were able to receive continuous supplies of water, salt and cola drinks from the roving motorclers deployed by Baldrunner.
Finally, we reached the finish line by 1:39 pm, shirtless, scorched and still ready to run a few more meters. The exhaustion we felt was minor considering the distance and time we’ve covered. We were the 2nd and 3rd to the last to finish a race which saw 12 runners quitting. Receiving my trophy from Baldrunner for my first Ultramarathon, no matter if it’s only 8 kms longer than a full one, is a proud moment for me.
I display the trophy in my clinic and patiently explain on end, the ordeal we went through on any curious patient. My facebook shout out said ‘Once in a while you do something crazy and just go for it. Today, along with Dave, Ian & Eric, we ran 50k of the Sierra Madre area. Under the sun’s biting heat, it was gruelling, tiring and yes, a bit insane. But here I am, practicing for PAU 65 KM. This can really get addicting…