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    Friday, January 10, 2014

    Ang Puting Balat

    (repost from my old non-functional multiply blog)

    Bakit ganun, takot tayong mga Pinoy umitim? Ano bang masama kung ang kulay mo ay maging kayumanggi? Bakit ba ayaw niyong tanggapin na likas sa atin ang hindi maging  kulay porselana?

    Naiinis lang kasi ako sa mga taong pilit nagpaputi. Tipong subukan ang lahat ng bagay para lang lumiwanag ang kulay. Handang gumastos para lang sabihang maganda at titingalain ng lahat. Dahil siguro sa mga nakikita natin sa media at mga libro, pag sinabing maganda = maputi. Kulay daw ng kalinisan at kaselanan.

    Iniisip ko lang kung lahat ng Pinoy naging puti. Paano na kaya ang sakahan natin? Sino na ang magtatanim gayong ayaw mong maarawan at magkulay lupa ang iyong balat? Sino ang manguha ng isda at papalaot sa dagat sa katanghaliang tapat para manguha ng kanilang ikabubuhay?

    Hindi ko lang talaga lubos maisip bakit ang sama ng tingin nating Pilipino sa kulay kayumanggi. Di ko sinasabing masama ang puti pero sana tanggapin natin ang kulay ng ating lahi. Ay leche, hindi ko sinulat ito dahil negro ako o naiinis ako sa mga kumukutya sa kin, gusto ko lang ilabas kung ano ang aking masasabi sa isyung ito. Hay Pinoy, sobrang chinovela na yan...
    (isinulat ko ang akdang ito dahil sa mga lintik na ale sa jeep na alang pinag-usapan kungdi magpaganda. istorbo sa tulog)

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    Taklang Damulag 100-mile Endurance Race 2013

    Last year I asked BR if I can upgrade to the 100-miler when I finished the 50-miler race. He said "No, you're not yet ready". Boy, I'm glad I listened to his advice because the race is one of the toughest that I experienced. I finished the 21K, 50K and 50-miler; I already convinced myself that this year I'll try my luck with the 100-miler category. Plus I don't have any choice because it's part of the 2013 PAU grandslam of the year award (also the last leg of the series). As a recap, I've finished 3 100-miler++ races already this year and the fourth one would be extra challenging. Why? Here are the top 3 reasons:

    1. MENTAL game - who the hell would be sane enough to design a course where you have to climb the same mountain 4 times during the race?! It's "suya" overload for those who hate doing loops!

    2. CUT-OFF - the route is easy compared to the previous 100-milers. But the cut-off is unforgiving. 32 hours for a combined road and trail race?! That's ridiculous (Antique 100 had a 31 hour cut-off because it was 165 km. But that was a road race, not a "climb all you can" mix race!)

    3. SUPPORT - you have to strategize your supplies and refills along the way because there are limited number of aid stations. Also, when the night falls there will be less stores available and obviously there are no stores inside the trail.


    Before the race, I did 3 monster ultras already. I can still feel the effect on my body (i.e. body pains) and I know I'm not in my peak condition for this race. But I treated my previous races as "loading" to ensure I have a fighting chance come race day.

    3 weeks before the race, I finished the hard CM 50 race (race report to follow) which thrashed my quads and calves. After that, I decided to take a week of rest to recover because my right knee was aching (plus I enjoyed the party-party in Bora). 2 weeks before the race, I decided to do some ninja training where I did random distances everyday in preparation for the Milo finals. Last long run was done in Milo where I got a PR in the 21K distance (meaning I'm almost prepared for D-day). Then taper week arrived where I reduced my mileage and did my favorite part of the training: EAT!!!

    I didn't use anything new for the race except for some salt stick. I realized that during the previous races, I suffered from cramps because I zapped the sodium level in my body. Coach Titus also reminded me that I need the sodium to prevent cramps during the race. All the other gears were battle-tested already so I'm quite confident about them.

    Also, I plotted my timeline during the race. In order for me to finish it, I have to set mandatory target times for myself in all of the key aid stations. Here was my battle plan

    Aid station            distance                  time elapsed              time of day
    Nazareth               27                           3:30                          8:30 am
    Fernandez Hill       50                           7:00                          12:00 nn
    1st inner loop         63                           10:00                        3:00 pm
    2nd inner loop        76                           13:00                        6:00 pm
    SOCOM (halfway) 82                           14:00                        7:00 pm
    Nazareth                 109                         19:00                        12:00 am
    Fernandez Hill         132                          23:00                        4:00 am
    3rd inner loop           145                         26:00                        7:00 am
    4th inner loop            158                         29:00                        10:00 am
    Finish line                  164                          31:00                        12:00 nn

    The plan includes the pit stops and rests along the route (max 15 minutes in fernandez hill for the food and re-hydration). Also I asked sir Jovie if I can leave my bag and bring only my trekking pole + hydration bottles when I do my inner loops. That will save me time as I'll be travelling lighter when I climb the dreaded hills.

    MGM even had a planning session about the support and what to do during the race.

    Well, I guess I have a plan but I was not really prepared for what happened during race day...


    We left Manila at around 4 pm already. The original plan was 1 pm but unfortunately, there are some things that is out of my control(same thing happened in my WC story last month). Anyway, we were in convoy all the way to Fort Magsaysay. Upon arriving, I greeted the RD and Madam, picked my race kit, stuff myself with the overflowing food and drinks then listened to the race briefing. This years edition is star-studded; the race will be attended by my fellow aspiring grandslammers, some returning ultraman who vowed revenge in the race and a few first timers. Good luck to us! (by the way, sir Jovie mentioned that the weather should be cloudy during the race...)

    I was supposed to be asleep earlier that evening but i hardly did due to nonstop coughing during the night. I was worried because this means I might be sick during the race (damn it!). Fortunately, I had fallen asleep for 2 hours before waking up and preparing for the race.

    This year's edition also had a different starting/finish line too. It was moved from the kubo to the lobby of the transient home where we were staying. It was a huge relief because this means our rooms were accessible when we reach the midpoint plus it will be easier for us to get our supplies. We can even jump at the pool if we want to! :))

    After a short briefing from the RD, we were released from the starting line at around 4:50 in the morning. Oh and I found out that the route is 167 kms long! So much for planning huh :))

    Km 00-51

    As expected, the route at the start of the race was very dark. I decided to maintain a decent pace and follow the "run the downhills and walk the uphill" strategy. I also minimized the content of my backpack by limiting my hydration with my two bottles, leaving the bladder empty and bringing only a minimum amount of food. I will rely on my gels which I should take every 10K. It was somewhat effective because I was able to run and walk faster without much strain on my back.

    Baccao is still filled with stray dogs but it really didn't bother me because they were on the other side of the gate. I maintained my pace until we reached Palale (after 2 river crossings) where the aid station was moved somewhere in the uphills! The 2nd problem I had also started to occur here: I have an upset tummy :( I have to resist it from comung out because I might get dehydrated this early in the race. It was difficult as I was chasing the first target time in Nazareth.

    During the last 3 km before reaching Nazareth, the marupok boys had already reached me. I was enjoying the company of CJ and Otek before they arrived. We paced towards the cement road going to the aid station which I observed had X number of dogs barking in all direction! I imagined what will happen to us when we pass the same spot later during the night! Anyway, we sped up and replenished our supplies (thanks ate Juvy for the doughnuts!) before walking our way to the next spillway. I reached the aid station within my target time of 3:30 hours!

    I can't contain my upset stomach already. I decided to have a short break in one of the houses and unload before I can't control it anymore. That was a relief and I was able to run again. At that point, papi and judge laron has reached me. I tried to pace with them all the way to the Sta.rosa-laur highway (km 35) and back to the barangay after the U-turn in the highway. I was conserving my energy here because the sun was already up and the heat was rising. I did some power walks and tried to do some jog every once in a while just to save some time.

    After Alorma trail, I was back trekking the notorious Bataan Road. It was scorching hot. Good thing I took one of my mogu-mogu supplies along the way as it gave me some emergency energy! When I reached the Cordero dam intersection I noticed that the trail was dry and very runnable. It was tricky though because some of the trees block the way and if you're not careful you might stumble! I saw the pesky helicopter again which means I'm near Fernandez hill so I tried to speed up a little.

    After 7 hours, I was able to reach km 51. Still within the target time :D

    The first inner loop (Km 51-km 64)

    Before continuing my journey, I asked for some hot noodles with malunggay leaves. I also asked tuto for some cold softdrinks because I was already toasted with the heat. By the way, some of the leadpack were resting here, I guess they realize that it was too hot to continue trekking the mountain :)). As planned, I left my backpack and took only 2 gels, my hydration bottles and a trekking pole. I have to walk the 3 km, any running during this time can cause cramps or severe dehydration because of the heat.

    As expected, my heart rate began to rise the moment we started ascending the mountain. The steep gradient is not helping us at all so we have to slow down and sometimes stop to catch our breathe before we continued. I timed myself during the ascend and it took me around 50 minutes just to reach the outpost at the peak. I felt weak and dizzy so I rested for a while at the station. I refilled my bottles and poured some water over my head to lower my core temperature.

    The descent was not bad either. Since the trail was dry, the steep descent was manageable (loose soil but not that slippery). I reached Alfred and Simon here as we were very careful making our way down the trail. I remembered last year when I was with Dindo in the same spot and Yob came dashing like a crazy guy without any care down the slope! I can't do that because I still value my life :))

    We thought we got lost on the way to Baccao. For some reason, the markers from the last river crossing were missing and the next one was found far from the river. We got confused that we traced back to the last marker while the Alfred continued and checked if it was the right way. We were relieved when they found one though I know I've lost some crucial minutes during the confusion.

    Upon reaching Baccao, I reached for my drop bag and drank my coconut juice for hydration. I gulped down a gel and tried running the trail going to Cordero dam. I was surprised that the trail here was cleaner compared to last year where the talahibs were covering the trail and you can't pass without having them kiss your face! Oh and Wilnar came from behind saying it was his last loop! #(%)$%% lucky guy! :))

    I was faster on my way back to Fernandez hill coming from Baccao because I ran the short 2++ km trail going back. Saw the helicopter again and this time I was able to reach the aid station at around 2:50 pm meaning I saved 10 minutes from my target time :D

    2nd Inner Loop (km 65-km 77)

    I was really hoping that I'll be faster during the 2nd loop since I am now familiar with the course. But the sun will still not cooperate. Compared last year, our 2nd loop was cooler because it was cloudy. This year, the clouds were so scarce thus it was still hot. Time was ticking so after I ate some liempo (pampalakas!) and gulped some softdrinks, I left Fernandez hill at around 3:10 (I almost forgot my headlamp).

    The uphill was still punishing and it seems I can't even gain any momentum. Still happy with the decision of carrying only my hydration bottle and trekking pole because I feel lighter going up Mt. Taklang Damulag. After 40 minutes, I was able to reach the peak tired and catching my breathe. I douse myself with water and refilled my bottle before I started my way down the mountain.

    The trip downhill was faster but I observed that the trails were already damaged because of the number of people who passed through it today. I still can't find the right technique of going down but I was careful not to slip or injure myself in the process. I was able to reach the Baccao aid station at around 4:45 and noticed that the sun has already started to set. I didn't stay for too long at the aid station because I don't darkness to reach me at the trails.

    On the way to Cordero dam, I was a bit faster and reached TLC during the last 2 km going to Fernandez Hills. It was dark already when we got out of the trail (passed by the helicopter for the 3rd time) and I feel tired on my way back to aid station. I caugh up with DBB while he was about to leave the aid station where I arrived at around 5:45.

    I found out that all the food were dropped in Fernandez Hill and there is no dinner waiting for us at SOCOM. So I asked Fifi to prepare me some sandwiches before I head my way back to the starting line and complete the first half of the race.

    SOCOM (km 78-83)

    It was really dark when I left Fernandez Hills. I had my headlamp ready as I walked alone the long Bataan Road. It was the same eerie feeling I had last year but this time I still have 83++ km to finish. I was hoping to catch a few more runners along the way or at least wished someone would catch up from the back so I won't get bored. Alas, I was still alone walking/running towards the last aid station.

    Last 2 kms when I met Pupa (formerly known as Uud) who was going for his 2nd outer loop already. I'll try to catch with him once I reload and ate at km 83. I reached the midpoint at around 7 pm which is within my target time. I was already wasted so I asked May if she can prepare my food while I take a rest. I found out that DBB was also sleeping upstairs in our room so I decided that after I had my dinner, I too shall have a 5-10 minutes powernap.

    Good thing the marupoks had brought some adobo + rice. May was spoon-feeding me already as I was disoriented during that time. I changed my shirt and socks (damn my new pair has a hole already :(() before I tried to get some sleep (I wasn't able to catch some either).

    After resting, I reloaded my bag and refreshed my stock before I went on to my 2nd loop at around 7:40 in the evening. I also took my painkiller here already to help me survive the race.

    2nd Outer Loop (km 84 - km 111)

    I didn't have any pacer so I was on my own during the night (as if I have a choice :))). It was really dark and reality sunk in that I was going to repeat the same darn course. I heard the hallucination and stories of the previous runners of this race on their experience while running the cold and dark route going to Nazareth.

    Dogs were abundant. As early as Baccao, they were scattered everywhere. Mosquitoes too. It's my 2nd time to do a trail run at night and I have some pretty interesting experience. I was alone most of the time because I was walking/jogging to conserve energy. I was also mindful of the time because I want to reach my goal on the next aid station. But the darkness was really testing my patience, my mind was already playing tricks on me. Pagod + dark route + eerie sound = creepy experience.

    Anyway, I reached boyP and Dr. Pitot on my to Palale. A short chat before I decided to leave the lovebirds alone and tried to look for the next set of runners. Arrived at Palale aid station at hmmmm, I forgot since my watch was dead. By the way, I was palpitating on my way to the aid station. I can't run. I can't take any more gels as they have caffeine. I thought I was doomed but I know I can recover. So I lay down at the grassy area while waiting for boyp. I did rummage through the dropbag of MGM and got myself a mountain dew (I need more sugar) and ate my pizza before I got up and continued with my journey.

    I swear that was the longest 12 km of my life. The darkness made it seems to be longer plus the images I draw out of my imagination made it worse. I swear that I had goosebumps when I was passing thru the seedling area and heard some strange noises. That pumped me up to run towards the cemented part of the route (last 6k) faster than I should be. I also saw a pair of yellow eyes which I believed belongs to a couple of owls as they flew away when I approached them. Talk about a creepy trail experience!

    At the last 4K, CJ Miles was able to reach me. And I'm glad he did because Nazareth had a lot of dogs roaming free on its street! I thought those dogs from Antique moved to Fort Magsaysay because BR added an extra challenge :)). We were spared from dog bites and arrived at the aid station there at around 1 am in the morning (off by 1 hour from my target time).

    2nd Outer Loop (km 112 - 135)

    I was knocked down and drained when I reached Nazareth. I lay down again while I rested and re-fueled. I took a lot of time recovering because I still have a long way to go. CJ was having trouble here as well as I saw him vomiting from the acid build-up in his tummy. I asked him to rest for a while with Juvy and drink some hot soup to calm his stomach. I was losing time already so I decided to go ahead and continue walking towards the Sta. Rosa Road.

    I was trying to jog/run but unfortunately I wasn't able to maintain a pace. I pretty much relied on power walk and talking to myself so I won't get bored. When I reached the intersection, I asked for some choco milk and mogu-mogu which made me vomit after leaving the van :( I saw the headlamp of Papi from a distance so I tried to catch up with them. Unfortunately they were faster so I continued power walking during the night.

    Then it started to rain. Great. It was already cold plus it means the trail will be muddy and slippery too. Alorma turned into a rice paddy field where I had a hard time looking for a spot to step into without slipping. The mud was getting deep too making it more difficult to run the path going to the airstrip. I endured it because once I reach the Bataan road it would be concrete and runnable again.

    But it was only temporary because I have to enter another trail again on the way to Cordero dam. Same condition, it was raining, dark and slippery. Plus my headlamp is no good in the rainy condition (I had a hard time seeing where I was going). This condition caused me to hit my shin on a low branch and slip my butt off near the helicopter. Probably I was tired as well that's why I had a hard time coping in the narrow trail during the night.

    Finally, I reached Fernandez Hill again at around 5:15 am in the morning. It was chilly as the wind was strong and the rain wouldn't stop. This means trouble once I hit the trails again from the top of the mountain...

    Last 2 Inner Loops (km 136 - 161)

    I was so hungry and cold that time. I asked for some hot soup and prepared my stuff before I go up the mountain. I ditched the bag, brought 2 gels and got my water bottles ready. I also had a short chat with BR and found out he DNF'ed in Nazareth during his 2nd loop. I tried to get 5 minutes of nap but still sleep was evading me. I was planning to go up once there is sunlight but it might be too late and miss the cut-off. So I braved the cold winds and started my trek towards the mountain.

    During the first few kms I thought I was lost. I must be too tired to notice where I was going. I was wondering why the path was still not elevated though I was sure that I was going the right way. I saw some foot tracks on the ground so I'm sure that was the right way. Glad I didn't go back because time was already ticking :D

    Even when it was cold, the uphill was still punishing. Minus the heat of the sun, I can still feel my heartrate increase as I inched my way going up the hill. At the top, I drank some water and rested for a while (brought down my heartrate) before I started my way down. And I'm up for another challenge.

    Damn the trails! It was too slippery! The rain caused the ground to be loose and soft making it virtually impossible to run downhill. I took a lot of beating as I went down the trail. Plus I realized that I was wasting a lot of time and energy just to keep myself safe from tumbling down the hill. That caused my morale to plunge down :( I was so disappointed that I already set my mind to declare DNF once I get back to Fernandez Hill. Walking to Baccao, a few runner has passed me already. I feel so drained and terrible about the idea of quitting. Haist!

    But everything changed when Bob appeared from behind. He told me his experience going down the hill and how painful both his legs were. That made me think again. How come this guy who is virtually tired and in pain is still fighting to finish the race? I have no injury but I continue to mope around for a failure that is not yet sure. It was a push for me. I felt energy rushing through my veins again. I was able to run until we were out of the Baccao trails. Wow! It was indeed a miracle.

    I re-fueled at the aid station and gulped down one of my mogu-mogu. I was so hyped that I ran on our way to Cordero dam and Fernandez Hills. I was so relieved when I reached Fernandez Hill at around 8:10 and told BR that I was about to quit. He told me I can still finish the whole race even if I walked the last loop. I didn't stay too long and left the aid station to finish my last inner loop.

    Same banana. Hard on the uphill. Plus it was getting hot again. On my mind, I kept on repeating this is the last time that I will be climbing the darn mountain. So I just kept on going until I reached the peak one last time. Drink up then continued my way down. This time I practiced side stepping and really really slow trek going down the mountain. I don't care anymore if I was really slow because I have to be careful not to be injured while I'm going down. My plan is to run the rest of the trails and make up for the lost time during the vicious climb and trek downhill.

    The sun is beginning to beat me up again. I didn't let it push me around. I reached the Baccao aid station again to refill my bottles, douse myself with water and consume another gel. From there I power trekked going back to Cordero dam and Fernandez Hills. Suck the heat. Embrace the pain. I'm going to finish the race no matter what happens.

    Finally, I reached Fernandez hill for the last time at around 11:36 am. I still have 1:24 hours to go before the cut-off which is more than enough even if I power walked the rest of the distance.

    To the Finish Line (km 167)

    I didn't waste any more time so I asked JLB to give me some soup and a slice of watermelon. I consumed the soup, refilled my water, left my pole and ran the downhill while biting the watermelon. I was so dugyot but I don't care anymore. My legs were wasted and the weather isn't cooperating either. The temperature was like BDM (because we are in BATAAN road :))) so I just kept pushing forward. Run the downhill and power walk the rest of the distance.

    I was able to reach boyp and pitot while they were walking as if they were in a park. The soldiers were asking and congratulating me already for accomplishing such a feat. But I can't hear them. I'm too focused in finishing the race.

    When I reached the airstrip, I saw Papi and Bob running towards their last km. I wanted to run but I don't have any gas left. I just noticed my right shin was inflammed already and it was starting to act up. It was painful but I am near the finish.

    At last, I was walking the asphalt road inside the SOCOM facilities. I saw a couple of support crews waiting for us to finish. I was so happy until I realized that my journey was about to finish. All my efforts, the thought of DNF and the pain I endured caught up with me that when I saw the finish line I can't help but cry. I was covering my eyes but I really can't stop the tears from falling.

    After running/walking/crawling 31:40 hours, I finally finished one of the toughest trail ultra in the country today, Taklang Damulag 100-miler! (at the finish line, I lay down on my back watching at the sky while drying up my tears as I realized the craziness I have done for the past few months. Di ko na uulitin to)

    Obviously my timetable didn't work as I expected but it helped push myself in putting my race on track :D

    Also it marks the end of my journey to get that 2013 PAU Grandslam award! Sa wakas natapos ko rin!

    Thanks to MGM, Marupok and May for the support all throughout the race. You made my journey a little bit easier but I really appreciate it. Thank you sir Jovie for the introducing us this race which I thought was virtually impossible to finish by a common ultra runner like me ( I swear when sir Dick finished it last time, I really thought no one else can finish this). Thanks madam and your staff for taking care of us at Fernandez Hill where we were so wasted and haunted by the ghost of another DNF.

    It was a journey well-traveled by sheer passion and determination. It was an adventure that I am proud to have experienced in this lifetime.

    Until the next adventure :D (off-season na muna :)))

    Here are some pictures during the event:

    All pictures are owned by their respective photographers

    Monday, January 6, 2014

    Surviving a 100-miler 101: The quest for that first bakol!

    BDM Season na!

    So you decided to sign-up for a 100-miler race? That's great! Welcome to a crazier world of extreme ultrapeople! But there is a problem: this is your first race and you are totally clueless on what to do. A 100-mile/160 km race is not a big joke or your regular sunday fun run. It's HARD and very CHALLENGING. If you're not familiar with distances just look at the mere cut-off; it usually takes a whole day or more to finish meaning you are going to be in the route longer than your usual sleep hours.

    But how do you survive such a race? Is there a magic formula? Can I call a friend? Fear not as I have compiled some helpful tips on surviving these gruesome beasts. As a disclaimer, this is based on my actual experiences, observations and research during my races. If you find some of the items here which you totally disagree to, do let me know and probably I'll update this entry.


    - Mix your trainings with endurance, speed and acclimatization 
    - I have included a link to the training plan that sir Jovie gave me when I was preparing for my 2nd BDM 160 attempt. It summarizes the schedule, intensity and condition I used to build my fitness come race day
    - Acclimatization - simulate the race day condition during training. If it's hot, then run under the noon sun for at least 1 hour per X days. If it requires you to run on high grounds where the air is thin and it's very cold then visit a place to train at least once a month to get used to such conditions.
    - Train to walk. Power walking will save you during the race when you are tired or at a recovery state
    - Train with your arsenals. As much as possible use all of the things (clothes, shoes, nutrition) during your training. It will at least give you an idea if the stuff you brought is indeed effective for race day.
    - Prepare mentally. Mix loops in your training route. Hamster runs are effective to train yourself against boredom. At least 30 km of loops will do the trick
    - Taper the week before the race. Reduce running intensity and eat up before race day. Your body needs to be well-rested and energized by race day.
    - Run Alone. Run during the night. Most importantly, run without sleeping and drunk. You will reach a point during the race where you are so wasted that all those inner demons will be telling you to quit. 
    - It will be extremely helpful if you can at least recon the race route way before race day. Get those elevation profiles to know when to speed up/slow down. Memorize the critical junctions to avoid getting lost.
    - DO NOT RUN WITH AN INJURY! (well, I warned you already but if you can suck up the pain and that big chance of not finishing the race then just do it :D)


    - Be prepared for the expenses. The reg fee is already expensive but the logistic for the actual race will cost you more. Seriously even if you're going to do self-support, you still need the cash to survive the race
    - Put everything in a list. All of it. It will make yours and your support crews life easier (and reduce the risk of forgetting something too)
    - Choose your support crew wisely. They are critical in completing the race. As much as possible, get those who had experience in supporting ultras and those with useful skills during the race. For example, someone who knows how to apply first aid or massage can help during the later part of the race.
    - Create a checklist with things you need at each stop-over. This can help your crew prepare and save time looking for the stuff that you need. 
    - Bring cash during the race. You'll never know when you will be needing those extra funds.
    - Some have multiple support vehicles. I'm not recommending this but it will be helpful since your crew will be tired during the whole race. Having a separate crew during the other half of the race will matter but again it will cost you more.
    - Segregate everything that you will need in labeled containers. It can help the crew search for your things. I put my meds, gadgets and clothes in separate bags with labels so in-case I need something the crew knows where to find them.
    - Bring extra batteries! (you don't want to wallow in the darkness because your headlamp is dead :)))
    - Get those emergency contact numbers. In-case you encountered trouble during the race, you know who to call
    - Meet your crew before the race. Print your instructions in paper so they won't forget them. Also treat them with pansit :)) (this is optional)
    - Bring some wet wipes. You need to go to the bathroom sometime during that 30-hour race to dump.
    - Thank your support crew after the race. Come on, they are with you all throughout the race and the least you can do for them is to be grateful :)


    - This is case to case basis but I'll share what I used in my previous races. I'm a solid food fan and I need solid food to survive each ultra (boiled bananas, chocolates, chips, rice, ulam, etc.)
    - Carbohydrate is extremely important. You can get it from camote, rice and chocolates so bring plenty of them
    - Replenish sodium and electrolytes every 10 kms. Do not overhydrate!
    - My strategy before is EAT every 10 km and have a light snack in between. EAT meaning have a banana, sandwich or camote plus sports drink. Light snack is a choice between chips and chocolates (or anything I can consume which will not be too heavy on my tummy)
    - Eat something heavy when you reach the 50 km and 100 km mark. It will coincide with lunch and dinner time during the race. Food should be something salty and easy to digest (i.e. adobo, rice, fish) . Remember you need to walk this off as your body will be focused on digesting the food for a few kms. I won't recommend lechon because it can shoot up your blood pressure sky high! (I'm just kidding :D)
    - Softdrink is good but make sure you regulate your intake. The sugar from soda drinks can spike up your energy level but they have acids which can cause reflux if you had too many. I would recommend taking them at the later part of the race.
    - Fruits are good! But watch out for the fiber as it speeds up the "digestion" process :))
    - Gels are great but I only take them during emergency cases. I always have 1-2 in my pockets
    - Eat some soda crackers (Skyflakes) to reduce the acid in your tummy (I haven't found any medical entries for this yet but it worked for me during WC 200)
    - If you can avail some recovery drinks, take them during specific intervals during the race. I take the FLUID brand (avail in Secondwind/ARC for P145 per serving) at km 50 and 100. It helps in the muscle repairs and improvement of electrolyte intake but usually you take it after the race. It can help you recover those tired muscle during the critical time of the race
    - Oral Hydration Salts, never race without them :) (mix one at least every 30 kms or depending on the weather)
    - Painkillers should be taken with caution. Don't take them like peanuts or something :)). I only use them again for emergency cases but as much as possible I won't take them during the race. Also check if you have any allergic reactions with them. 
    - Bring a lot of petroleum jelly and lube those hot spots (inner thighs, armpit, etc.) on a regular basis during the race. A nasty case of chaffing can ruin your raceday plan.
    - Tandaan: Ang liempo pampalakas! :))
    - In-case of acid reflux, empty your stomach and drink some hot water/soup. Let it calm down then drink some anti-acid. You will recover after a while but until then eat only small amount of foods and drink water. 

    - DON'T BE LATE! Every minute will count
    - You can finish the race using any of the 3 strategies: (1) Run all you can while the weather is cool then slow down during the later part of the race (2) Slow start then build your momentum towards the finish (3) Even pacing all throughout the race
    - Be mindful of the intermediate cut-offs. Some of them might be too aggressive so plan your strategy very well. As much as possible, give at least 1 hour allowance on each so you will have enough time to rest or recover
    - Get a strong pacer. Someone who will never let you quit and wakes you up during those powernaps in the evening.
    - Be extremely careful during the night. You will be passing through barangays which have some bad elements such as muggers or dogs along the way. Remember, your life is more important during the race.
    - Be mindful of the traffic along the busy hi-way especially at night. You might be too wasted and ignore the incoming traffic while crossing the streets. Make sure your pacer assist you in getting your supplies from the support
    - Bring a light jacket in-case it rains. Chills can be a hassle during the cold night
    - Be blister ready. Cover those hotspots under your foot and bring the blister popping paraphernalia 
    - Stop asking how far till we reach the finish line. JUST RUN!
    - Whine all you want. Curse all you want. But never ever give up! (tantrums are normal during ultras)
    - If you're going to sleep, make sure you have someone to wake you up and it should be relatively short. I know we are only humans but you still have a race to cover. Better if you have coffee to keep you awake on the night run.
    - If it's too hot, make sure you douse yourself with water. Cold towel (towel dipped in ice water) can help bring your temperature down.
    - Find a pace partner during the first half of the race. This can remove the boredom and help push yourself during the race.
    - Prepare to be BORED. Most of the time you will be running alone! :))
    - Check the color of your wiwi. If it's too dark, drink some hydration salt. You might be prone to cramps already because this means you are in the verge of dehydration.
    - Speaking of cramps, bring some salt with you. Slow down and mix those salts with soda or sports drink then drink it up. You can still recover :)
    - Don't let those inner demons get you. They will haunt you during the race but a DNF will haunt you longer.
    - Make sure you still have enough strength when you reach the 100-km mark. Don't overexert your effort at the beginning of the race as it will cost you the remaining distance. Remember, the race starts the moment you leave the 100-km marker.
    - Hydrate and Eat. Don't wait until you are totally drained before refueling.
    - Know the rules and regulations by heart.
    - NEVER EVER CHEAT!!! (malaki ka na pre, alam mo na siguro yang pinasok mo)
    - Remember this is your race. Whatever you do will certainly affect its outcome. Don't blame anyone but yourself for any shortcomings. You have a support crew to help you but only you can finish the race. 
    - Invite your crew in your post-race celebration :)) Also thank GOD that you finished a very challenging race!
    - Create a blog entry about your adventure. Use it to inspire others and as a note on what to do on your next buckle quest.
    - And I quote "It's not a legit 100-miler if it doesn't have a buckle waiting for you at the finish line"

    I think that should be more than enough. Again, this is based on my experiences and it might or might not work for you. At the end of the day, what matters most is you finished that darn race at whatever LEGAL cost :))

    Good luck on your quest for that first buckle!

    Nothing is sweeter than finishing your first bakol adventure :D

    P.S. Buckle hunting is a very addicting hobby. You have been warned!

    "Karga lang ng karga, kakarga din yan" - dbb
    "Wag kang mag-#1 sign kung pang-#55 finisher ka na" - dbb

    Tuesday, December 31, 2013

    2013 in a nutshell

    My 2013 was a blast. It was a fancy roller coaster ride full of ups and downs with some eye popping screams in the middle :)) But seriously, it contains a lot of new experience which I think had made an impact in my life. A lot of smiles, disappointments, happiness, gastos, friendships and relationships had painted the year which I survived.

    To summarize:

    - I chose to focus on trail running this year. I discovered a lot of new playgrounds, learned a lot of life lessons and became a better trail ultra runner for 2013. Bataan, Rizal, Balagbagan, Lonely Dead Tree, Andolor, etc. O, did I mention 60% of the time I ran them during a freaking storm? :))

    - Travel was also good this year. I was able to go and run in Batanes, Antique, Siquijor and Negros. Beautiful places which offer new challenges. Thanks to sports tourism, I was able to enjoy both travelling and running at the same time

    - New buddies and teams. MGM (guess what it means) which shares the same wavelength as me in terms of hobbies and philosophies.

    - Destroyed my 2 DNF's last 2012. I demolished the demons that haunted me for the year in BDM 160 and CM 50. I was back with a vengeance

    - Relationship was ok at the beginning of the year but I lost it. No regrets, I just used that extra time to be a better person and shifted my focus in training

    - GASTOS is up this year due to multiple reasons. But again I won't regret it as it is for an achievement in this lifetime

    - Earned 3 grandslams this year: BDM, TD and PAU. It was a very crazy idea that I won't be repeating ever again!

    - Updated my PR in all the distances (5K, 10K, 21K, 42K, 50K, 100K, 160K). Plus I finished my first 100-miler trail ultra! :D

    - Injured for the nth time. Tigas kasi ng ulo...

    - Discovered a lot of about breaking your limits and succeeding your inner demons. It is epic and you'll never know how it feels until you reach that point

    It is a very short list. Next year, I'm shifting on a different focus and insanity. I will continue mastering the trails and make my 2014 the year of the insane trail running. I will also be making some major decisions soon which will further define the year 2014.

    I'll stop thinking about it for now. In the meantime, I'll just sit back and relax as the new year passes by.

    Thank you to the people who made my 2013 a very significant and unforgettable year in my life.

    Cheers to 2014! :D

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

    1st West Coast 200 Single Stage Race

    Last year I finished the multi-stage and vowed NOT to do the single-stage. Guess what, I ate again my words! I did it for 3 major reasons:

    1. I love the freaking buckle - the big round buckle with the golden paniki is enough reason for you to think twice about not doing the event. I've touched it and for some reason, I can't get my mind off of it because of the fine details included in the design. 

    2. 2nd (or 3rd) leg of 2013 PAU grandslam awards - insane event. Yes, you have to do 200 kms after subjecting yourself in a gruesome 100-miler 20 days before. You want that award then get your ass off and run from Subic to Alaminos, Pangasinan

    3. Cut-off - 48 hours. That's very lax compared to the 100-miler cut-off I did this year. It's very lax assuming you won't get injured in the middle of the race. You need to do it before the RD decides to trim it down in the next edition :D


    I only had roughly 20 days to prepare for this race coming from a 100-miler in Antique. I didn't do any hardcore training in between since I can still feel the effect of the previous race. I did a couple of cross-training, trail runs and one race (DBB challenge) to keep myself in shape. I know I won't be 100% come race day so I have to be very careful not to injure myself nor over-train as it can result to a disaster during the actual race.

    For my support, I had Harry, May and Nikki join my crew. I did most of the briefing online, sending them my gameplan over google docs (thank you technology) and requesting a couple of key items that I will use on race day. 

    For my nutrition, I still choose solid foods, softdrinks and buko juice as they worked for me during the Antique event. Though I have to switch brand for my recovery drink since I can't find Fluid at the shops near our place and replace it with Recoverite (strawberry and citrus). I really don't like the taste but I need it to hasten my recovery during the race. Oh, the usual stuff as well like GU and Chomps for fuel just in-case I need it.

    Also I used a new set of compression shorts as I don't want my #($*#%$ chaffing experience in the Antique 100-miler last month. Bought it on sale in ROX though I never broke them in. I'm going to take that risk but I know it should be better compared to my previous shorts.

    By the way, did I mention that this is the first time that I experienced two successive sunsets during one race? ))


    We planned to leave Manila at around 6 pm. But due to unforeseen circumstances, we left at around 8 pm after a quick dinner in a japanese resto near the MRT. I had a room booked in one of the hotels in Subic (with a pageant title holder at the front desk) so we can have enough time to rest before the race. This is better compared to last year where we didn't have any room and forced to sleep with the mosquitoes outside the starting line :)) Had a quick check on the equipment before I took some shuteyes.

    We woke up at around 330 am. I saw a lot of familiar faces at the lobby while waiting for the rest of the crew to get ready. You can sense an aura of anxiety thru the smile of everyone (kabado lahat!). Of course, we didn't miss the chance to take a picture with the lovely hotel receptionist (where totoy was also PR).

    At the starting line, I found out that there were more than 30 runners who will do the single stage race. I even had a chance to touch the beautiful buckle again and even showed it to the multi-stage participants hoping that they will upgrade to one long journey! (alas i was unlucky). At exactly 4:45 am we gathered already inside the Remy Field for the race briefing and immediately the countdown followed after. 5:00 marked the start of our long journey to Lucap, Pangasinan!

    Km 00-50

    The route basically followed the one we did last year. Same route different challenge. After doing 2 rounds at the oval, we began our run towards the gate of Subic. I chose to take a slower pace this time as I need to conserve as much energy as I can for the rest of the race. But during the cold morning, I took the chance of covering some of the distance before the hot sun appears at the sky.

    I took my first break at km 10 with gatorade plus puto from the crew. I was still maintaining a good pace up to km 30 (San Marcelino) where I caught up with Simon who was also conserving. I noticed the temperature was rising already and the heat is becoming quite unbearable. I stopped over km 30 and had water poured over my head to cool down before running again to the next stop-over

    At km 40, the sun was already up and beating us with its heat. I started to slow down and did some brisk walking to prevent from overheating. I ate some bananas and mogu-mogu which became my life saver (i love the flavor and the chewy nata). At this point, I think I was near Robert Watson already and Bobby Go already overtook me. Still I remained focus and continue the thought of having lunch at km 50 already :))

    I reached km 50 around 11 am in the morning which is pretty much ahead of my 6:30 hours target time. Here I sat down to rest and eat lunch. I checked my condition, legs are still ok but I'm starting to get tired. I have 150 km to go so I have to recover by munching down the food and making sure I'm still hydrated.

    Km 50-100

    I left km 50 at around 11:30 am. I was brisk walking towards the town of Cabangan while looking for some runners who I can chat with during the race. I reached a couple of them in a carinderia where I asked for some hot soup to calm my stomach and neutralize the acid build-up (plus a short break to chat with my fellow runners).

    After the carinderia, we all left and tried to do a short jog. Then disaster came: my left leg was already cramping! Damn, it was too early! I really have to slow down and asked my crew to prepare some oral salts and give me some chips to replace the sodium in my body. I even asked another crew to massage my legs but still it's taking me some time to recover :(

    I was losing a lot of time already. Everytime I tried to run, the cramps attacked. I was thinking of giving up already but I told myself I still have time and I can recover. That gave me hope plus I promised Alain (who reached me at km 65)  that we can finish this race. I powered walk towards the town of Botolan where I again met Robert who apparently took a break before reaching the bridge. Rain was also falling that time which at least gave us a cooler weather. At around 4 pm, I reached the checkpoint in Botolan where I took a break to recover.

    As I was resting, BR asked for my condition. I mentioned that I was still conserving my energy and recovering from the pesky cramps. The rain was getting stronger here so I have to get up quickly and chase my target time at km 80. I changed my clothes here and tried to pace with the Marupok boys and Tin Ferrera.

    Damn cramps were still bugging me at this point. Then I remembered that Tin has coach Salazar as support. So at km 75, I asked him to massage my legs so I can recover. It took me 15 minutes and some silent screams when I he massaged my leg (I even cramped again during the session). But I'm glad he did that because I slowly felt that I can recover.

    I thought I will have no more problems during the race. Boy I was wrong. After reaching km 80, I vomited. I literally emptied my tummy! Again, quitting was looming over my head but I can't fail my crew. I made it this far to surrender. With that in mind, I checked my condition. My body didn't cramp and I'm not weakened with the incident. So I asked for some water and food then I continued the journey. It was already dark so I asked for my headlamp.

    It was so dark at this point of the race. But I was not complaining: last year, this section was scorching hot plus the hilly portion going to Masinloc. I was able to catch up with Reylynne and told her to pace up with me so she'll be safe through the night. I was tired and hungry but I need to recover. I asked the crew to prepare some hot noodles so I can counter the acid build up in my stomach. It was hard to find a store during that time but thank God they were able to get some.

    I reached the midpoint (km 100) at around 10:00 pm. After checking-in, I asked the crew that I will sleep for 30 minutes after I eat my dinner. May was already force feeding me because I lost my appetite already. I was still hopeful and I know I can finish within my target time...

    Km 101-150

    I had a very shallow sleep. Hardly because of the anxiety and endorphine in my body. I was getting distracted by the people passing by plus the mosquitoes kept on biting me. But I tried to rest because I need the energy to last for 100 more km!

    At around 10:30 pm, I wore my socks and shoes again then asked for some hot coffee. I took my painkiller (I'm desperate already) before I took off and continue the race. I know this part of the race would be a long dark hilly road minus the burning sun where I almost quit due to dehydration :))

    I can't run. The painkillers were in place but I'm still brisk walking. Plus I felt blisters forming under my foot. I took the chance and brisked-walk. I even reminded my crew about the critical junction in Masinloc where they need to turn right at the INC chapel when they reach the junction. I was banking in on my hope to survive the night and still reach the next checkpoint with enough strength to finish the race.

    The night was long and quiet. As I pass the town of Candeleria, it was so dark and quiet. I know some of my crews were already sleeping as they too were tired at this point of the race. I can't drink soda too because I was still recovering from the acid reflux earlier. No coffee either so the result: I was a walking zombie.

    Up to now, I still can't believe how I survived the boredom of that night. Probably because Harry was adamant at forcing me to continue running/walking so we can arrive earlier in Sta. Cruz. But at this rate, I know the sun will be up before we reach the town.

    Around km 130, I was able to catch up with Bong and Marupok support. At last, some company! I found out that they too tried to sleep and recover. They were also aiming to arrive in Infanta before the sun rises again. Take note, the sky was full of stars during the night. This is bad news for us :(

    I reached the town of Sta. Cruz(km 134) at around 6 am. I took a banyo break (literally knocking at the houses) to relieve myself. I continued walking towards the Zambales-Pangasinan border before my crew called me to rest and have some hot mami in one of the eateries along that road. The noodle was a good treat as I was getting bored with the food since I choked up. I was able to recover so I tried to run towards the checkpoint in Infanta. By the way, at this point the sun was shining again with a blue cloudless sky!

    I reached the checkpoint at around 8 am. I was supposed to sleep here but it was already hot so I asked for some food and changed my clothes. It was getting hotter so I left the townhall and started making my way towards Dasol.

    ($)$(%#%%#$ HOT!!! SO #(#)(#%#$ HOT!!! sorry for the profane words but that's how I can describe the weather during that time. I was literally getting baked under the sun. I have to buy some ice water and ice candy along the way to rub at my nape and neck just to cool down. Damn I thought I was dying during that time (they soaked me with water but after 2 minutes, I'm all dried up).

    I reached km 150 at around 11 am which means I would miss my target time in 160 of 30:00 hours :(

    Km 151-200

    As I continue to battle the scorching heat of the sun, I have to find my way to keep my core temperature down. Water from deepwells, softdrinks, ice candy and ice bags along the way helped me. It's also no use to run here as it will hasten my dehydration. Talk about doing a literal deathmarch!

    Upon reaching the town proper of Dasol (km 162), I asked the crew to prepare me some quick lunch already. I tried to run the downhills and uphills when the heat started to subside but unfortunately I have to stop again at a store because my crew was missing! They missed a turn and overtook me so I have no choice but to take a short break at the store. They apologized when the reached me though I told them that I really wanted to have some lunch.

    Remember the uphills that I was running all the way last year on the way to Mabini? I saw their full glory this time! It was a big ladder of punishing uphills which made me wonder how I was able to dash thru them. At this point, clouds were already forming and cooling the weather as expected. Though i was worried if it rains because my blisters were already big and my butt has a big chaffing at its cheeks :(( I still have no choice so I continued towards the town of Mabini.

    I had lunch at the junction with the most delicious giniling and soup in the whole wide universe! (of course i'm exaggerating because i was tired already). I realized that I only have less than 30 km left towards the finish line plus the route at this point would all be downhill. I decided to change my shoes already though I felt pain at the side of my feet because they were already inflamed and my shoes' toebox were narrow. I have to live throughout the pain and change my socks just to keep the pain at bay.

    I was able to run towards the town proper of Mabini (plus there was a double rainbow along the way) as darkness begins to creep in again. This is the 2nd time I witnessed sunset during this race so I believe I can be considered as hardcore :)) Before the ascend from Mabini, I took a stop-over with the Marupok boys and chatted with TLC. He even gave me a stick of barbecue which I gladly accepted plus a bar of snickers for good luck. I know we still have at least 18 km left in this race and I appreciate the small talks before we cover the remaining distance.

    On the way to Alaminos, we climbed a short hill then ran a long downhill with incoming traffic. Blisters were already big and starts to annoy me when I walked. I convinced myself that I will be walking the rest of the race because of the annoying pain on each foot.

    That changed when out of nowhere a screaming TLC appeared on my back. He told me that there is another runner who was chasing us from behind. I cursed him for being so competitive even if I was running on race pace! It was a miracle on how I was able to sustain a pace until the town center of Alaminos. I was catching my breathe when I caught up with the Marupok support vehicle. I asked for a banana and some water before heading on my last 6k towards the finish line.

    Like a man possessed, I ran in my race pace. Damn it was good. The pain was gone and I can feel the sea breeze passing by my face. I felt strength from out of nowhere and asked my crew to stop for one last time so I can refill my water bottle and had a munch of food before I asked them to proceed to the finish line. I felt so strong as I was counting down the remaining distance.

    On my last 2 kms, I looked again at the sky. I closed my eyes and prayed to God. I thanked Him for the adventure of a lifetime, the protection He gave me and for the hope that He put in my heart. I raced my last few meters and at around 8:30 pm, I was able to complete the longest race in my running career to date! I finally conquered West Coast 200 single stage ultramarathon!

    Thank you to my crew: Harry, Nikki and ate May for sharing your time and patience with me all throughout the race. Thank you to the Marupok support crews: Ate Juvy, Kuya Jay, Mama Arnelli and Ate Shawie for the help during the race. Thank you sir Jovie and Mam Rowena for the challenge and pushing us beyond our limits. It helped us discover a lot about ourselves and gave us a ton of life lessons.

    Congrats to my batchmates who finished the race! And that concludes my 3rd leg for the PAU grandslam award this year. One more crazy leg to complete it!

    "Maintain focused on your goal. A lot of distractions and disappointments will head your way but as long as you keep your goal in sight, nothing should prevent you from obtaining it. Pain will always be part of your victory and let those scars tell the most awesome story you have in this lifetime..."

    (the following day we did some island hopping but that would be another story :D)

    Some pictures during the race:

    All photos are owned by their respective photographers. 

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Bawawaw! Antique 100-miler Run!

    HARD! It was a different breed of monster. It's not even 100-miles, it's 165 km (~103 miles). It was different from BDM 160, TD 160 and the rest of the other 100-milers here in the Philippines. And I damn finished it barely 28 minutes before the cut-off. Talk about challenge, right?

    How the hell did I do it? I'll try to put my experience in this blog so that runners who wish to join the event in the future can have an idea on what is in-store for them. Plus, it will help me remember the priceless experience to gain the #bawawaw  bakol :))


    As early as the Siquijor ultra last March, Sir Jovie mentioned that there will be the 1st ever PAU grandslam event later this year. It includes BDM 160, TD 100-miler, WC 200 Single Stage and a surprise 100-miler that he will reveal after he ran some part of the course. The only clue I got was the finish line will be in a famous tourist spot in the country. So I made a few guesses: Samal Island, Boracay and Bohol. I even included Malate because it's the diver's fave tourist spot in Manila :))

    Around April 2013, BR confirmed the venue for the mystery 100-miler; it will be done in the province of Antique with the finish line at Caticlan, Malay, Aklan (gateway to Boracay!). I was so excited because this means after the race we would party at the island of Boracay (though I'm not sure if we can still walk by that time). With that in mind, I already decided to be part of the maiden edition of this event :))


    Training started by June 2013. I switched my training to doing trails instead of roads as part of an experiment (to the mountains series). I still do run the pavements but only for speed and recovery sessions. I want to develop my other leg muscles and the different terrains offered by trail seems to be the right option. I cut down my speed training as well and focused on endurance which will be a big factor for the race. Oh I also had a chance to do crossfit as my cross-training recipe.

    I also asked Harry to be my lone support crew for this race. Even if it is not mandatory, I knew that it will be a bit bearable for me if I have at least a support crew. I also want to thank Ryan and Boogie who helped us find the support vehicle as well as Mang Bayani and Intsik for driving the galloper during raceday.

    Nutrition? I bought all the necessary supplies in Antique including bananas, lanzones (which I never tasted during the race), chips, bread, water, softdrink, eggs and gatorade. I also bought a big ice box since I anticipated it would be hot during race day and we would need lots of ice. I got some kamote too (yellow ones) but unfortunately we were not able to cook it :( I also had gels and Fluid recovery drink which I consumed at km 50 and 100 to help my muscle recover during the race.

    Gears? Hmmm, I used my red pure cadence 1.0 from brooks, tppb singlet, drymax trail socks and adidas shorts. I prepared my black dry-fit shirt and white ARC shirt as my spare shirts during the race. I also got my 2 Simple Hydration bottle which I alternatively fill with water and gatorade during my stops.

    Day 1 (Welcome to Antique and Gunstart)

    We arrived at the Iloilo International Airport at around 5:30 am. I didn't catch any sleep the night before because of anxiety and the flight was too early. From Iloilo, we rode a van going to San Jose, Antique which is approximately 96 kms away. I tried to sleep during the trip but unfortunately I was still wide awake due to the view and kwentuhan sessions.

    We stayed at a dorm/pensionne house in the city. I took a short nap before we bought the supplies, had dinner and supposedly catch some more sleep. #()$$(%%$% Gabotero (champion diver from Siquijor) switched the TV channel to PBO were the classic "Bikini Watch" was televised. There goes our sleep! :((

    Harry prepared the supplies in the vehicle at around 9 am. I asked the Marupok boys to put their stuff inside it before we headed to the starting line. It will be a cold start since it was raining hard before we left our inn. Well, I thought it will be favorable for us since the rain will ward off the dogs and prevent us from overheating :D

    When we arrived at the starting line, I got my bib, drank some gatorade and took a few pictures. It was still drizzling but knowing BR, the show must go on. After a short briefing, the countdown began and we were released at around 10:55 pm from the starting line.

    Km 00-50

    The cut-off time for the first 40 km was 6:30 hours. I set a target of 5 hours to give a 1:30 allowance for me to rest and recover plus I also set myself a 6:30 hours target time at 50 km. The first 10 km was dark and cold as the rain continued to pour as we leave the town of San Jose. Dogs were also abundant already, they were coming from different directions, some of them are in groups. I set the support to every 5K and requested to have the first stop-over at 10K since I knew I was still strong during that time. I paced with CJ Miles until km 10 then with Ernie until km 20 before I reach the Diver. There were turns at intersections, good thing the support vehicles were waiting for us at each or else we might got lost.

    By the way, there were rumors about aswang (ghouls) in Antique during the night. I was on high alert in-case I got picked up by a huge flying creature! (I don't want to be DQ'ed because I was forced to fly!!!)

    The rain poured heavily as I approach km 35. It was so hard that I asked for my light jacket to keep myself warm. Unfortunately, as if the weather was playing tricks with me, the rain stopped as soon as I was able to wear it. It was getting cold as I approached a few bridges along the way. Since we are the coast, the wind was also cold. It was not helping at all as I felt sleepy on my way to km 40. But I had to endure and around 5 hours, I was able to reach BR's support vehicle to check-in. I didn't stop there for long because I'm targeting 6:30 hours at km 50 to rest and change clothes. So I sped up a little to save time and fortunately reached the spot in 5:15 hours. There I asked for my recovery drink and changed my top. I was so sleepy during the time that I requested to get 10 minutes power nap to recover. After that, i continued my way to the next town.

    Km 50-80

    The next cut-off time was 14 hours at km 80. By the way, up to this point, I noticed that the course was flat with only minimal rolling terrains (as in short uphill and downhill roads). The sun was starting to rise at this point but since it rained, the weather was still cool. I asked harry to prepare some coffee or something hot to drink because I want to perk up again. The cold drinks were not helping and it's really dragging me down. Plus I asked him to go back and support the Marupok boys as they might be hungry already.

    At km 55, they were able to score some coffee for me. After a while, CJ Miles arrived to where I was resting and I offered him some hot noodles. Great! I would have some company! As soon as the coffee kicked in, I told him that I will be going already and try to cover as much distance as I can. True enough I was able to run around 3 km before I started to do some power-walks. I was able to reach Caballo Rojo at around km 60 and asked his conditions as he was already limping. I told him that I'll go ahead and if he needs anything just ask my crew.

    At km 70, tamaditis was making it's debut. The course was still flat but boredom is slowly creeping in. I also noticed that my inner thighs has chaffing already and started to bother me. This is not good because it was still early. I asked Harry to apply some body glide and buy some petroleum jelly to prevent it from getting worse. Tsk, this won't make me quit!

    It took me 11:30 hours to reach km 80 (Tibiao bridge). I noticed my right foot was already swollen and tender at this point (first time to happen in all my ultras :(). Harry massaged it a bit and I loosened up my shoe laces to prevent it from getting worse. I took a 15 min rest for coffee and massage, I badly need it already. Too many challenges but I was still firm with my decision to get that bakol!!!

    Km 80-120

    The cut-off at km 100 was 18 hours while km 120 was 23 hours. I'm still positive to reach those checkpoints at an earlier time. Also, I told myself that I need to be in km 120 by 20 hours to have ample time for the remaining 40 km.

    It was tough. My condition worsen as the chaffing spread through my inner legs and the pain in my right foot is starting to annoy me. I'm still power-walking at this point and tried to reach my goal per checkpoint. I had late lunch in a resto near km 90 where I had some nilagang baka. But I lost my taste already and I feel nauseous when I started to eat. I have to force myself to eat because I need to replenish my energy. Plus the hot soup will warm my tummy and help me recover.

    By this time, the sun was already up and it was beginning to be really hot. We were like labadas (laundry) which after being soaked in the rain were left to dry under the sun :)) Sleepiness + the heat is not helping at all but I maintained my focus to finish this part of the race.

    I reached the town of Culasi (km 95) at around 3 pm. I was about to get bonked but Harry saved the day by giving me an ice-cold ice cream stick plus applying a thick amount of petroleum jelly around my thighs. They were also able to buy dinner already; we plan to eat at km 120.

    As soon as I reached km 105, I realized that I'm getting off target. If I want to be really sure of my finish time, I need to reach km 140 (Nabas) at around 11 pm. Since the pain from the chaffing was getting worse, I have to resort to an unconventional running attire; basketball shorts! I looked like T-Mac during that time but I was so desperate to finish the race. I was able to run again but for some reason y energy dropped as I approach km 115 where we had our dinner of liempo (pampalakas) and chicken.

    I reached km 120 at exactly 6:30 but I was zapped. Kaput. Pagod to the nth level. I felt so weak that I started to lose hope in finishing the race. That's the point I asked Harry to let me sleep again for 15 minutes at the waiting shed. Tsk, I really felt that I want to quit the race...

    Km 120-km 140

    After getting some sleep, I still feel weak. No energy :( I then decided to have the support switched to every 3K and see if a miracle would happen. I continued walking for 3 km, desperately asking God for strength and will power to finish. Then for some magical unknown reason, I felt my legs getting stronger again. I jogged to see if I had the energy already and I did it! I recovered for 5K running again as if I had fresh legs! But unfortunately it was only a short burst of energy. The chaffing continued to bother me and irritated me when I ran. Haist.

    Reaching the town Pandan (km 130) at around 9:30 pm gave me hope that I can really finish the race. Even if I walked fast I knew I can finish this within my target time. And when I saw the sign "CATICLAN" that gave me hope and I know I'm getting near the finish. I need to be at km 140 by 10:30 pm for a sure shot of finishing within the cut-off. So I continue to short jog until I reached the town of Nabas.

    By the way, if you think that the rain has stopped already someone up in heaven opened again the faucet! Damn, it was raining hard on my way to Nabas. I was wearing my green jacket while walking and shivering from the cold wind that accompanied the rain. A few trikes stopped to offer me a ride but I politely declined as it is grounds for DQ. It was also very dark and I really have no idea where I'm going but I continued moving forward. At this point the Marupok boys has reached me, finally some company on the last stretch of the race!

    Km 140 - Finish line

    BR warned us that the last 20 kms are all uphill. I didn't believe him at first but I was already anticipating. Boy, he was right! There were crazy shotgun like inclines with pitch black darkness! And to make matter worse, my chaffing was getting really painful. I was walking like a cowboy with legs with open to prevent my inner thighs from getting irritated. I was really hopeless so I decided to sit down and rest while I thought about what to do next :(

    Thank God, Boyp gave me a solution. He told me to put my headware in between my legs to prevent the skin from further irritation. It worked! I was able to run and walk normally again! That boosted my morale and I ran fast to catch up with the rest of the gang!

    I remembered in one of the steep inclines, Uud asked if we can have a short break because we were so tired. I obliged and we stayed at the side of the road to rest. And I saw the beautiful night sky full of stars! Wow! I was left speechless and silently I thank God for the giving us that opportunity to enjoy the night :) I feel a bit refreshed after though I swear my legs and blisters were killing me

    I know the route had bonus mileage but I didn't expect that it was more than 5 km! I was already panicking because time was running out! So I tried my best to run the downhills only to be bonked again after a few meters as I entered a very dark road towards Caticlan. I swear I thought I was lost since I can't even see any signs going to the city :(

    Last 2 kms, Uud had already left me while I refilled my drinking bottle. I continue to jog but the chaffing worsened so I have to brisk walk again. When I saw the "Welcome to Malay" arc, I was relieved because  was close to the finish line with barely an hour left in the race. The locals said that I need to enter a street somewhere to reach the finish line. So when I got to the alley, behold! Ahon galore again! I was already cursing because it was all uphills! Even the last 300 meters were uphells resembling those in pastulan.

    After 29:30 hours, I saw the finish line. I can't run and fatigue caught up with me. So I jogged and finally, crossed the line at 29:32 hours! I was relieved and dead tired that I can't even remember how BR gave me the buckle. Instead of changing my clothes I lied down at the grass and try to catch some sleep. Some classic finish if I may say!

    It was a remarkable race. Difficult but doable. Plus the swag is very very beautiful! I know the trip was really worth it because we went to Boracay after (which I will no longer include in this novel of a post! :)))

    There were a lot of learnings including things that I encountered for the first time. But Ultra is problem solving and keeping your focus on the goal. It was a mantra that I learned from my previous experience.

    Thanks Harry for supporting me in this race. Thank you Boogie for accomodating us in Antique. Thanks Ryan and your father for lending your support vehicle. Thank you Marupok boys, Yob and Bong for keeping me company during the last few km of the race. Thanks BR for sharing another crazy route with us. Thanks Madam for taking care of our place in Bora. And Thank You Dear God for never leaving me all throughout the race! :D

    With that I earned my 2nd buckle, the golden rabid dog of Antique! #bawawaw

    Here are a few pictures from the race (sorry kaunti lang talaga :()

    Proudly Pinoy!