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4 YEARS RUNNING…


condura 42.5

i. am. runner. hear me roar!

November 2012 marks the 4th Year of my Running career, if you can call it such. And since I turned 47 a month before that, let’s count the 47 ‘first’/’best’ moments in my 4 years of running….

ROAD

this is how it all started...

this is how it all started…

1.  First Run: Unicef Run 10kms (1:11:20), 23 November 2008

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struggling on my first run after the BDM 102…

2.  First 16KM run: Run for Life (1:38:46), 15 May 2011

3.  First 21KM run: Condura Run (2:27:21), 22 March 2009

4.  First 25KM run: NB PowerRun (2:32), 06 Nov 2011

5.  First Marathon: Condura Marathon (5:36:06), 07 February 2010

with Ian & Eric at the start...

with Ian & Eric at the start…

6.  First Ultramarathon: 1st PAU Tanay 50KM (8:39:26), 09 May 2010

7.  First 100KM Ultrarun: Bataan Death 102KM (17:28:29), 5-6 March 2011 #93 among 112 finishers/140 starters

We did it!!!

We did it!!!

8.  First 100Miles Ultrarun: Bataan Death March 160KM (26:51), 28-29 Jan 2012 #18 among 53 finishers/73 starters

9.  First Ultra Run outside the Metro/Rizal area: Pasuquin to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte 67KM (12:36), 29 July 2010

Spending an hour on the awesome Kapurpurawan Rocks (and still finishing the race)...

Spending an hour on the awesome Kapurpurawan Rocks (and still finishing the race)…

10.  First Ultra Run in Mindanao: CDO-Dahilayan 57KM (8:38), 09 July 2011 DSC01107

11.  First Ultra Run in Visayas: Tacloban’s ‘I Shall Return’ 57KM (7:12), 18 Aug 2012

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redemption after that MILO marathon DNS…

12.  First Aquathlon: Kain, Tulog, Takbo – KTT at Georgetown, Marikina, 30 April 2011

see my tri-mark...

see my tri-mark…

13.  Four Ultras (+ 1 Marathon) in 2 Months of 2011

18 June Nuvali Trail Run 57 kms. [54/180] 8:45

09 July CDO-Dahilayan Trail Run 57 kms [65/163] 8:38

16 July Fort Magsaysay to Aurora 60 kms. [40/101] 9:15 n

31 July 35th Milo Marathon 42.44 4:52:51

21 Aug Western Pangasinan 65 km [16/72] 9:05

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united we run with Bong, Dave & Wap…

14.  First FAT ASS Run: FAT ASS 2011 – 30 loops (2.2km) 66 kms at (11:58), January 2011

TRAIL

15.  First Trail Run: Mt. Pinatubo 50KM Ultrarun (9:10), 09 Oct 2010

16.  First Out-of-the-Country Run: Rimutaka 25KM Trail Run (4:00) New Zealand, 13 Nov. 2010

17.  First 100KM Trail ultrarun: King of the Mountain (27:49), 26-27 May 2012 #10 among 15 finishers/26 starters

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27++ hours later with partner Ronnel…

18.  First Mud Run & Longest 21KM Run: Merrell Adventure Run 21KM (4:22), 02 June 2012

pure fun with Che at the finish area...

pure muddy fun with Che at the finish area…

19.  First Ultra-Trail Run outside of the Country: Bimbler’s Bluff 50KM in Guilford, Connecticut (8:08), 13 October 2012

20.  Most Difficult Trail Run (with the Shortest Cut-off Time of 18 hours): Clark-Miyamit 50miles, 84 kms (17:12), Nov 25 2012, #16/32 Finishers/59 Starters

SETBACKS

21.  First DNF (Did not Finish): TNF 100 2012 (13:10 at Km. 56), 21-22 April 2012

heavenly sceneries and hellish climbs...

heavenly sceneries and hellish climbs…

22.  First DNS (Did not Start): Milo Marathon 2012 (Due to Dengue 2 days before)

23.  First time for an injury to appear on a Run: Bataan Death March 160KM 2012 (it’s ITBS at KM 42!)

24.  First major (and continuous) injury: BLISTERS (started at the Nuvali Trail into CDO-Dahilayan, Fort Magsaysay-Dahilayan & Western Pangasinan Ultraruns)aaaaaaa

TRAINING

25.  First Run on what would be our regular Training Route: SSS, Rancho, Monterey, La Milagrosa 13.2 kms. (1:40), 21 December 2010

26.  First Run after an injury prior to BDM 102KM under Coach Titus Salazar’s supervision (Right Hip Joint ‘injury’ sustained during the BDM Test Run: 2 km ULTRA, 22 January 2011 DSC00228

27.  First Yoga workout: Slimmer’s World, Pasig, 28 April 2011 DSC04144

28.  First MILO Apex work out: QC Circle, 02 Nov 2011 424995_339079976174770_1544295569_n

29.  First Timberland/Shotgun Run: 37 kms, 07 Nov 2011 7

30.  First Run with Team Boring (unofficial):  Mt. Pinatubo 50km Trail Run, 09 October 2010

31.  First Run with Team Kulit (unofficial):  Nuvali Trail Run 57KM, 18 June 2011

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Kulitan time…

32.  First Run with the Voltes Team: 8 kms, Rancho area, 12 March 2012

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Big Bert, Steve, Jaime & Mark….where’s Little John?

33.  First (and only) Mountain Run prior to TNF100: Pico de Loro, Cavite – 21KM (4 hours), 08 April 2012

34.  Longest LSD prior to BDM 102KM 2011 (aside from the Test Run): Tiendesitas-C5-Fort and back, 40KM (5:43), 15 Aug 2010

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with the fun members of Team 90%…

35.  Longest LSD prior to BDM 160KM 2012 (aside from the Test Run): Masinag-Timberland (shotgun x2)–Monterrey–Marikina, 60KM (10:30), 11 Dec 2011

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favorite stomping ground…

9 MARATHONS

36.  07 February 2010 Condura Marathon 5:36:06

37.  04 July 2010 Milo Marathon 5:49:05

38.  05 Dec 2010 Quezon City Int’l Marathon 5:12:09

39.  06 Feb 2011 CONDURA skyway run 5:03:34

40.  31 July 2011 35th Milo Marathon 4:52:51

41.  25 Sept 2011 Manila International Marathon 4:38

42.  04 Dec 2011 Quezon City International Marathon 4:42:27

43.  13 Oct 2012 Baltimore Marathon 4:17:38

44.  02 Dec 2012 Quezon City International Marathon 4:23:36

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MIM 2011 with the Borange army…

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QCIM 2010 with pacer Chinky…

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4:45 Pacer at QCIM 2012…

BEST TIMES

45.  Best 10KM time: :55 (Rexona Run 2012 Relay, 10.5KM)

*Best 16KM time: 1:29 (Adidas 2012 KOTR, 16.8Km)

46.  Best 21KM time: 2:01:55 (MILO Finals 2012)

*Best 32KM time: 3:10 (Run United 3 2012)

47.  Best 42KM time: 4:23:36 (QCIM 2012);4:17:38 (Baltimore Marathon 2012)

*Worst 42KM time: 5:49:05 (Milo Marathon 2010)

*Best 50KM time: 5:48 (Tagaytay-Nasugbu 2011)

carrr

goofing around with the Boringers…

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Run United 3, 32KM

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Milo Marathon 2010: The future looks bright, I gotta wear shades…

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My CM50 Story: Taking the Beast by the Horns


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The New York City Marathon overzealous shopper…

What effing Mileage?

3 weeks before the CM50-mile trail race, I was still in the States, reeling from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, replete with a 4-day blackout, fallen trees and long lines for gas (we back in the 70s?).  I came 2 weeks before quite conditioned for my Baltimore Marathon on the 3rd day and Bimblers Bluff 50-km trail run 10 days later.  From thereon in, I had done a couple of runs around my brother’s hilly New Jersey village but with the sudden onset of the early cold, the runs had dwindled from 2 a week to one to none.  The cold was just too much for me even at 10 in the morning even in my various permutations of cold running gears.  Plus, I think, I got too spoiled with my training team (the Voltes Team) in Marikina that in their absence, I had zero motivation to even put my trainers on and brave the cool breeze of Jersey.

Tina, Toto, Dennis & Cris...

Tina, Toto, Dennis & Cris…

I actually had more luck whenever I’m in Manhattan (3 days in a week) since I see more of my kindred running spirits traversing through NY’s streets and avenues at any given time of the day.  Plus, I like to scrimp on my train/bus fares (to feast on my fave Falafel & Ramen dishes) so I move up and down Manhattan by foot in my newly acquired Asics Cumulus 14 trainers (20% off at Paragon or ½ of its local price).  I usually have my backpack with me so maybe that constituted my training run with a hydration pack.  When I had the time, I was able to skirt the Hudson river track and even ran the Westborough bridge but it’s mostly a run/walk around Manhattan with shopping bags in tow.Final_CM50_Logo

So when I arrived in Manila 9 days before the race, I knew I had no recourse but to double my effort & mileage while still battling jetlag and acclimatization.  So for 5 weekdays, I joined the Voltes Team for our regular 13-km walk/run around the nearby villages.  On the last day before the race, I even joined the Aquatic group exercise with my Milo Apex group.  So as you can see, I had no real expectations with CM50 when I ventured into Clark, Pampanga that night.  I had even considered backing out but balked when I realized I had coughed up P1800 for this.  Now would you blame if I left my CM50 fate to the Dark Knight?  Indeed, ‘Bahala na si Batman’.

And then we were off…

with our ever supportive Team Boring family...

with our ever supportive Team Boring family…

it's the deep breathe before the plunge...

it’s the deep breathe before the plunge…

this is it....

this is it, pancit….

At 1 am, the Clark Parade ground was dark and desolate as 59 runners armed with headlamps and a lot of guts started out for the unexpected adventure ahead (yep, even for those who had done the Recon runs).  The terrain was sloping but slowly ascends until it enters a village shrouded by ginormous mango trees.  It soon enters a trail going down into the dark beyond.  My pace was quite brisk as I’m pulled along by a sea of lead packers.  I see Jael’s exposed upper torso glistening in the night.

Soon we were trudging through a bleak desert land.  I feel water and sand enter my newly minted Asics trail shoes but I keep going, following the parade of lights moving across the lahar wasteland (Sacobia River area).  Finally, I came upon the Team Boring caravan of Bong, CJ & Kokoy.  Bong & CJ had done the Recons so I set my compass off and just go where the tide takes me.  Just how they can find their way in the dark is beyond me.  There were some blinkers on one crucial area but for the most part of the race, you let instinct and feel guide you through, avoiding major barriers or traps which could easily lead one to unwanted accidents.  Or you could just follow the bobbing light hundreds of meters in front of you and pray he’s not as lost as you.  It was a short stop to Aid Station 1 (KM 7) as we took in whatever solid food they had to offer – sandwiches, triangular cheeses, choco drinks, etc.dennis wufei cumal

Near the end of our lahar excursion, any trace of the lead packers disappears and we find ourselves searching for that red neon paint to lead us through.  Around 12 of us were covering a wide area of the expansive desert hunting for the elusive marker.  When we finally found it, we took a left turn, entered a soil and lahar trail and soon traversed a sugarcane plantation.  We got lost once but managed to return on track after a few minutes.  Soon it was the concrete stairs going up into more trails which featured some mean descents which required rapelling ropes.  Another river to conquer and more snaking trails going up and down.  And then we were on Aid Station 2 (KM 14).  The Achilles heel area was already chaffing so I put band aid strips on both feet before taking off.

Enduring the chaffing & bleeding up to KM14...

Enduring the chaffing & bleeding up to KM14…

Running in the Dark

entering the tunnel of no return...

entering the tunnel of no return…

The way was still dark but we can already make out the topography ahead.  Slight uphills which eased out when the river crossing came.  The current of the Pasig-Potrero river was ragingly strong so a rope was installed to keep us on our feet while slowly moving across.  So far the slopes were gentle, passing through cogon trails and two tunnels traversing the elevated SCTEX highway above.  Suddenly, it was one continuous plunge before going punishingly way up.  I’m imagining how we will be doing this on the way back.  Bong & Kokoy were paces ahead while CJ & I followed – the tandems would interchange every now and then but we still managed to regroup while resting and recovering.  We finally found our oasis in Aid Station 3 (KM 23) but with the endless uphills ahead, we knew it was going be difficult.  It was around 7:15 am (or 6:15 since we started) when we replenished and got our wits together.  Our initial aim of making it to the peak in 7 hours was definitely out of reach.  In here, we took a longer break and found what I knew would save me on this race – new socks which covered the Achilles heel area.  The bleeding wound easily took in the soft cushioning of my Under Armour black socks.

and up we go...

here we go, guys…

If you noticed I have not complained of any tiredness or fatigue at this point.  It’s because any adjective before KM23 would just be superseded by the torture that lies ahead of us.  The sun had already blazed out early so we saw the endless ascents we were getting into.  By ascent, I mean 45 degrees and beyond.  Take a look at Simon Sandoval’s graph for better appreciation.

Simon Sandoval

do you see what I see?

Up & Up we go…

So there we were – climbing up one treacherously high slope then easing out a bit before taking on a more steep one.  The cycle kept repeating like some crazy spinning 45 vinyl record one is wont to take minor stops in between.  I would have stayed on a little longer but my convoy was already moving even before the breathing had normalized.  The matter with a continuous ascending road is that it slowly but continuously zaps one’s energy and quadriceps muscles that by the time you reached the highest peak, you don’t know if you’ll have the energy to go down.  Unless, you decide to free fall…

just like one endless nightmare...

just like one endless nightmare…

still 52 kms. to go but it was feat worth a picture...

still 52 kms. to go but there’s always time to preen & grin…

Well, it’s still not the peak yet at Aid Station 4 (KM 30) but one feels like he’s climb a mountain too many already.  We took in more solids and liquids the station has to offer before going down the Miyamit Falls, a colossal monument of solid rock from which fresh water rushed down to feed the cool pool below.  Before I could take off my belt bag, I had plunged right in to feel my weary body refreshed and strengthened.  It was a soothing feeling before realizing I had taken my celphone along for a swim.

sweet and short swim with bad Bong...

sweet and short swim with bad Bong…

good bye paradise...hello uphills

good bye paradise…hello uphells

A brief rest and cool bath were all it took to bring us back to life.  We knew the ascent would be our final ordeal to the peak but surprisingly I felt renewed strength and vigor.  Plus the climb wasn’t as insane after KM23 since they only reveal themselves little by little without overwhelming the weary runner.  And the cushioning feel of soft trail on my feet kept Kokoy and us assaulting the last few kilometers into the peak.  And the views kept getting better as the elevation rose – giant fern canopies, banana plantations, old growth trees and unusual floras only found in the higher areas.  The weather was a bit cool already but it just got better with the soft trickle of rain caressing our sunworn faces.  Until the fog came.

this is how high we've gone...so far.

this is how high we’ve gone…so far.

By this time, the trail had narrowed down though not treacherously, and one has awesome views of the verdant high mountains and lahar landscape on both sides.  The fog was slowly enveloping us and the cold was starting to creep in but I kept telling me self that I had gone through this in Connecticut so I was going to enjoy this.  I felt I was scaling the walls of some Irish coastline cliff.  It was that spectacular.  We finally reached the PEAK with Boringer MarkFer & Isko Lapira welcoming us like returning heroes.  We took in whatever supplement they can offer and let the feat sink in our minds for a few minutes.  Until we realized we have only 8 hours 50 minutes to reach the finish line.aldean p

The mad dash down…

At the start of this race, I’ve drilled in my little mind that the time going up should be shorter than the time descending since I would already be fatigued going down.  So at this time, thoughts of not making it to the finish within the 18-hour cut off time had swirled and swayed in my head.

“We’ll never make it….”  Remember that pessimistic lilliput Glum in the Gulliver’s Travel cartoon…”we’re doomed”

But my partner Kokoy had no time for my BS (though I never articulated it to him).  So we kept descending like there’s no tomorrow.  Behind us, Bong (making alalay with his knees) and CJ trying to catch up.  Fortunately, Koy was a master of the downhill run (a skill I’ve first loved since hitting the trails while also making alalay with the knees) and I was just happy to tag along.  Yes, there were the uphills still but with enough power walking we were able to burn the miles.  At certain points, I had to tell Koy to make alalay while I recovered but encouraged him to dash when the power had returned.  We had to get to the mother ship and leave Earth before the asteroid hits us to smithereens.

After reaching AS4, I somehow felt we were out of the rabbit hole.  Even with still some minor ascents, the way to the next aid station was simply a breeze (that is if you compare them to what we had gone through).  When torture is repeated for a certain period, the pain becomes negligible.  That’s the only explanation that comes to mind.  Since everything had become a blur of concrete, earth, rocks, pebbles and grass.  And Kokoy’s unstained calves as we made the final descent.

Tick, tock, tick, tock…

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what the *@%^#, RD Jon!

running atom

brutal beauty (as inspired by Daphne Codilla’s account)

By the time we reached AS3, we had lost CJ with only Bong diligently following us from the back.   Soon he recovered nicely and it was a trio conquering lahar plains, river crossings and steep cliffs.  It’s when sunlight unveils the true extent and breadth of the course that you curse the RD (Thank you, Atty. Jon Lacanlale) for leading you through one of the most mind boggling and difficult route in your life.  The line, “Did we really take on this efffing route?” was uttered more than twice.  And you thank the heavens that finally it’s the homestretch.

One can also appreciate the small markers along the wide landscape of rocks, lahar and water even from a distance.  And so we used it to guide us through the barren wasteland which surely looked more unattainable and challenging than it was in the darkness.  But you put your mind to it – and take on the same challenges you’ve prevailed upon on the way up – the shifting lahar sands, the randomly strew stones, the raging river and the steep hills.  There were times when we had to slow down to look for the markers for some hundred meters and wonder if we ever took on this or that route.  But it soon came to view and our apprehensions dissipated.  To get lost at the final leg with the clock ticking fast is just what we didn’t need at this time of the race.  We reached AS1 (manned by Team Ungas) with barely 1:45 to expend but we didn’t want to take our chances, with the waning daylight upon us.

entering Sapang Uwak (KM 7)...

entering Sapang Uwak (KM 7)…

run

the final push along lahar country…

Heaven is closer…

joseph Patrich Bonaobra

oh marker, oh marker, where art thou?

It was one crucial decision we took at this point since the last 7 kilometers wasn’t that close after all.  It was in fact a long arduous way passing through the endless laharland.  I then realized that this was the same entry way we had used when I did my Pinatubo 50km trail run in 2010.  At this time it was four of us again but with Chips Dayrit for the final push.  We were praying for CJ to be just a few leagues away for he was the guy who trained hardest for this race (in fact, he was just a few minutes away after answering nature’s call).  Dusk had set in when we finally found the exit from the lahar channel.  We were imagining and hoping that the runners behind us won’t have the difficulty of finding the markers in total darkness.

darkness falls across the land...

darkness falls across the land…

At this time, we knew we had nailed this little devil.  We went up some trails into the asphalt road by the village and entered the Clark complex.  We were already wondering what we would be doing the next day – perhaps, pamper ourselves and take the much needed rest.  Me – I was just longing for my Vanilla ice cream topped with fresh strawberries I’ve been imagining throughout this battle.  After what felt like eternity (again, “Did we really pass this way?”), the few lights of the parade grounds came into view and we were rushing like marauding pirates into the finish line.  I’ve been twirling my trekking pole for some time now so I had mastered it while checking in at 17:12:49, no. 16 out of 32 finishers from a group which started at 59.

17 hours & 12 seconds after...

Define exuberance…

too wasted for the medal presentation...

too wasted for the medal presentation…

finishers all:  mar, bong, chips, toto, kokoy & mccoy (60km 2nd placer) with RD Jon...

finishers all: mar, bong, chips, toto, kokoy & mccoy (60km 2nd placer) with RD Jon…

Now lemme have that Vanilla ice cream, please.

The memorable and awe inspiring photographs are courtesy of RD/Atty. Jon Lacanlale, Simon Sandoval, Joseph Patrich Bonaobra, Glairold Racella, Dennis Wufei Cumal, city watch Phl, Carmeli Ortega, Team Ungas, Managan Ta Bai, Aldean Philip Lim, Running Atom, CJ Paras & the Voltes Team.