It’s our first time to do a trail race in Cavite which we never imagined would have hills, even mountains. And what we thought would be a short journey from Marikina took us over 3 hours. Well so much for assumptions.
The trail scene has changed quite significantly for the last few years that faces were no longer familiar. Fortunately, Van and I took in Jonel Mendoza and Lito Lopez on our way to Maragondon and was welcomed by RD Benedict Menesis, the same guy who guided us on the crucial.paths of the first edition of the Hardcore100 (2013) until he disappeared in the dark and we were left on our own devices.
Now back to 2017. It was a sparsely occupied gym of the public school where runners from all over the Metro have congregated, mostly unfamiliar yet pleasingly warm faces. Around 114 runners have signed up for the 42K edition and by 3 am we were released.
It was a good 2 kilometers of rolling road with a swinging bridge around the town before exiting finally on dirt trails. A few kilometers into the race, we made a sudden turn going down an endless path strewn with sharp rocks and pebbles. It was only then that I realized my headlamp was emitting a weak light. Add to the recipe my returning newbie skills with my new trekking pole and trail shoes I just bought 5 days ago and it was a disaster waiting to happen. And so it was one slippery turn after another. No major falls really but the struggle was real especially at the turn around tracing the same way going up. Many runners were awaiting for daylight to reveal so they can navigate more consistently and lessen their slips.
Before the brightness would take over, I had a nasty fall where I sprained my right pinkie with my trekking pole and it still hurts as I write this. The unexpected muscular strain resulted to cramping which was easily eased by the kind souls around me. More ordeals were in the offing. Some mild coughing had emanated coupled with activated gag reflexes as I felt my throat dry up. A few kilometers later, I felt acidity in my tummy and was near to vomiting all the solids I’ve consumed during the trip to Cavite. Memories of TNF 100 in 2013 came rushing in and I wanted to just quit. Then I felt my stomach croaking that I had to find me a dark corner and unload the extra food I’ve devoured for the last few hours.
Ten minutes later (KM 18), I was back to life – no more vomiting nor acidity nor fatigue, as if I had resurrected from the dead.
And just I like that it was time to rock and roll. Amidst cool breezy weather, the sun slowly revealed some of nature’s lovely rock formations, ragged cliff structures and thick verdant forest grounds. It was an easy rolling terrain entering minor hills, rivers and expansive fenced ranch areas. We saw one quarry site but in general, it’s obvious the local government is protecting them from illicit occupants and kaingeros. Soon, we were going up – nothing really challenging but it slowed the pace in general. But we weren’t complaining as the territory was covered with medium sized trees and the sceneries at every turn were picturesque.
As the angulation became sharper, we knew were nearing the peak (Mt. Bolboc) and the turn around. Many runners have deposited themselves in the peak area as they replenished their liquid and food supplies. We hardly stayed and began our downhill journey. Now was the perfect time to test our Saucony peregrines for some semi-technical descents and topography changes. And they didn’t disappoint. They were clawing and sticking on steep curves and slippery soil. And off we flew.
An hour or so later, the land flattened and we took on the road leading to the Bonifacio Monument, where Andres and his brothers were assassinated upon orders of Aguinaldo. A very technical climb on a hill gave us our third and last band. And then we were on the road back to the finish. No more challenges lay ahead so we gave our all in the final 5 kilometers, halting every now and then, then zooming on. We were able to go past some runners as the familiar town road soon took us to where we had began. We reached the finish at 7:28 ranking #s 52 and 53. Congratulations to Conquer led by Benedict Menesis for a satisfying and memorable race! Cheers!
Special thanks to the photographers who recorded our struggles and triumph – Shawn Michaels, John Eruel Oquino and SPDS group.