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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chris Epic Relay

2 days, 2 vans, 10 superb runners, 4 outstanding support crew, 1 goal, 1 mission. This composed my last weekend: running 250 kms across SBMA, Bataan and Zambales. I joined the group "The Powerpuff Boys" composed of different runners from different backgrounds. More info about the group from this post of Luis.

Anyway, I'll summarize my fantastic weekend by days. Let me see if I can at least capture the highlights of the race:

Day 0:

- Met Jai, Mark and Brando in SM Megamall. Had carbo-loading in Avenetto, downing 3 heavy pasta over bottomless drinks. We ate like there is no tomorrow.
- We will meet Bryan and the rest in Subic already since they still have some appointments here in Manila. Luis and Roy were already there in the tavern while Mark and Bea will be joining us during raceday already.
- Had a stop-over at Petron Lakeshore to look for batteries, soap and shampoo. Decided not to buy them here as they were expensive. Ate Halo-halo instead for meryenda while Brando was criticizing (inokray) the music they played as laos (freaking sexbomb girls!!!). Started our way again to Subic
- Arrived at Subic earlier than expected. I already plotted the way to the tavern via Nokia Maps (the sweetest thing that happened in mobile history). Mark M. took his camera from the bag and started shooting some videos. I remembered how Subic got rich because of my traffic violation so I was extra careful driving!
- Went to the Inn already but Roy and Luis was not there. We left our stuff in the training room and went back to town. By the way, the location was really strategic as it is near the Runner Exchange Point(REP) #2 for tomorrow
- Withdrew some money and checked for things that we can buy in town. Looked at the local sport shops to check shoes and paraphernalias. Was tempted in buying the Nike Lunarlite (sobrang mura!!!) but decided to meet Bryan first at Boardwalk
- Met Bryan and the rest of the gang. They were already done with dinner already so we made some additional orders. Beep-beep is still wearing his barong as if he was a congressman. Promo girls from Marlboro and Philip Morris met with us but I guess they were turned-off due to Beep-beep's remark ("we don't smoke nor drink but we do womenize!"). That scared them off pronto
- Bryan explained the plans for tomorrow using the table condiments (ang lufet!!!). Had our first photoshoot as a team outside Gerry's grill
- Went back to the tavern to refresh and get ready. All the power sockets were occupied by things that need to be charged. Room was big; enough for at least 15 people. Everyone was excited and had a hard time sleeping. GBM was still posting on his blog while I'm catching up some small work. Technology will play a vital role in our game tomorrow.
- Slept at 1 - 2 am after charging my camera and laptop

Day 1 (June 12)
- Woke up at around 6:30 pm due to a call from Mayor. I need to respond!
- Went outside and noticed that the REP was already set-up. First set of runners were already arriving including "Will Run for Beer" (a.k.a. my team from HP). Took some action shots :D
- Had breakfast in Jollibee but prior to that, we bought some ice already. All coolers were filled with ice. On the way, we saw the last batch of runners released before our call-time
- Met a few groups in Jollibee. Most of them were running the later legs of the race. Had burger steak + soup for breakfast (Yummy!)
- Went back to the tavern to get ready. Van was already waiting for us when we got back. Wore the legendary pink singlet. Didn't wore my shoes yet as we will not be running yet.
- Had a few snapshots with the REP and as a carwasher. Used Mark M.'s sponge as props and washed my car plus the van in the REP. Will use the earnings for our toll fee.
- Assigned to Van #2 which will run legs #5-#10. Went on our way to the starting line which is the lighthouse in SBMA.
- Upon arrival, fixed the supplies for each van. Found the van of another team and guess what, they have 4 Kenyans!!!
- Went to the registration area to register. Since the first team is not done yet we decided to take some pictures at the stage. Feeling winner ang mga loko.
- Finished registration while Beep-beep is doing his ritual dance. Had a few more snapshots before we went to the starting line.
- Beep-beep was briefed together with the other runners for Leg#1. Thinking that they will be starting already, we were wrong as the Ponstan Cheer Dancers did a dance number to energize the runners.
- Race started at exactly 12 nn. Beep-beep was leading the pack (ahead of the Kenyan lady!). It was a start of their love story! We decided to go to the starting point already. At midpoint, we decided to buy lunch first in town before proceeding so we went back.
- Strange because we did not meet beep-beep along the way back. It was the Timex runner who was leading. Found Beep-beep at the far-end of the course. He was lost :( (sayang ang lead!!!).
- We had lunch in Jollibee. Bought lunch for the driver and dinner for the team. Got 15 Champ burgers for the team. We went back to the Pawikan Center
- On our way, we were able to met Brando and found out that the lead was significantly far from the first placer. We were able to close the gap and landed 2nd, overtaking RunnerSpeak. It was way too hot to run!!! We also noticed that the markers were not noticeable and the number of marshals were not enough!!! Also, the other teams were committing violations already.
- Arrived in Pawikan center. Chit-chat with the other runners who were waiting for their turn. Changed my lens to Telephoto to get finer action shots. Timex arrived first in the exchange point followed by our team. Mark Hernz started his run already while we are getting prepared to leave.
- Went ahead of Mark to do support. His leg was difficult because of the length of the uphill. Goats were abundant in the next REP so had to take a snapshot of them as well :D.
- Luis tried to close the gap already but were barraged with dogs! Grabe ang dami ng mga aso. Waited for him at the end of the leg and whoah, he overtook the Timex runner (great job luis). Jai started his leg and was doing a very fast pace.
- Maan was doing a fantastic job supporting Jai. She's like a slave waiting for Jai's orders. I started warming up as well as I will be the next runner.
- Met Kaye at the start of my next leg. She was doing leg 12 already which was the reverse of our route. Timex guy is also waiting for his turn already. Started my leg at around 6 pm already, running a very fast downhill. It was hot and humid! Damn dogs were chasing and growling at me! (stupid dogs ruined my freaking pace!!!)
- Route was short by around 1.1 km. Was surprised when I got to the REP at the turn of the curve. The support van was late since they were expecting the route to be a bit longer. Handed the baton to Totoy and he ran off as if he has firecrackers in his butt!
- It was already dark as we saw Totoy battle out the route. Man, this guy is a legend with a consistent pace conquering the uphills! The hills were quite long and steeper compared to that in Tanay plus the maddening darkness where snakes can attack made this a freaking hard route.
- Near the end of the route, we noticed a zigzagging light behind him. We thought it was another vehicle BUT no! It was the freaking Kenyan! It was suddenly a race to the top!
- Reaching the end of leg 10 gave us a breather. Passed the baton to Beep-beep as we saw him disappear towards the darkness. Heard from the support van that he had a great time having an "epic" chase with the Kenyan downhill. Had dinner while resting and catching our breaths! Champ's the best!
- Started our descend towards the next venue. We bought some ice already along the way as we tried to catch some sleep. Freaking van music are all classical love songs! (mga pang-casa!). Luis is still updating the race status thru his blackberry device :D.
- Arrived at pawikan center. Our van was stormed by little critters attracted to the light. Hanged my singlet outside the van to dry. Anxiously waiting for the news about the other team.
- Suddenly got the news that Brando was overtaken by a cyborg runner. Damn! How could that be???
- Started Mark H. leg at around 1115 am. It was really really dark and hot but we had a plan on how to support him.
- Stupid dogs are everywhere during the leg. Timex Van was following us suspiciously from behind. We're getting annoyed and angry already with them.
Day 2: (June 13, 2010)
- Luis started his leg with a full-blast. But he was stopped at around 500 meters from the REP.
- Darn race director told us that we were not reaching the cut-off. F*ck him! We were penalized by 1 hour AND the entire leg 17 was cancelled. We were so pissed off during that time.
- Fast forward to leg 18. Jai already started his leg with a vicious pace. We were still mesmerized with the freaking change in the rule.
- Around 12:45, I started my leg already. I opted not to be supported as it is a very short leg. I only asked for a bottle of gatorade and kiss from manong driver (joke!)
- The early part of the leg was so dark and creepy as I can hear the bats swooping down to get their prey. Almost got lost in the fork but was saved when a runner said that it was the wrong way.
- Passed by a few more runners uphill, sped down the highway going to the REP
- Mistakenly mistook a sign as the REP costing me almost all of my energy!!! :(
- Arrived at the REP and finished it within 28 mins (5.6K)
- Supported Totoy towards the way to the lighthouse. Side-stitches was already bothering him
- We made a wrong turn in the Reming Field area :( but we were able to cope up immediately.
- Arrived at the lighthouse exactly 2:15 in the morning!!! I have to argue with the race director but man he was so freaking cocky that he won't listen to what we were saying. We were so frustrated but agreed to finish the damn race.
- Beep-beep started his leg at 3 am in the morning. The race rules were again twisted with having all the teams start the last leg simultaneously at the lighthouse.
- Our van went to get more supply from a nearby Ministop. Also have to give manong his coffee as he was already sleepy.
- Two couples were making-out in the shop. Funny because the driver told us that it was a common site in that area during the evening. Almost told them to "get a room already".
- Went back to the tavern to freshen up. We were so damned exhausted! Bryan took the key so we have to devise a way to open our door (stupid tavern doesn't have duplicate keys). Using an MRT card, I was able to become a cat burglar and opened our door. Had some shut-eye prior to the next race already.
- We almost overslept! Went back to the van at 5 am and gave instructions to go to the next Van Exchange Point. We were all asleep in the van and was surprised that the driver went back to the lighthouse. Way to go!
- Drove fast to the next VEP in a farm in Zambales. Had photo-ops with the PNP - SAF team.
- Timex was leading, followed by SAF then a burst of energy from Bryan. I was telling Mark H., that we need to have a time of 15 mins at least to grab first place. He took it at 13 mins (Damn it!)
- It was getting hotter when Luis and Jai started their legs. Frequent sponge baths were done to prevent them from overheating. Maan has a new career: Manual Garmin! :D
- When it was my turn, I have to battle the unbearable heat. I was planning to do a consistent pace but the team informed me that Timex was near.
- Increased my pace and held it for the whole duration of the race. Was able to overtook the Timex runner at one of the turn. Built a small lead for the Totoy and probably secure a win.
- At the REP, was so dehydrated that I slumped at the van. But this was nothing as the game became interesting as we were able to catch up with Timex.
- But Timex have a very strong runner and overtook totoy. Although we have our next target: the police guys!
- We were such great sports as we offer the police runner some sponge bath and water as he was already walking. Totoy clinched the lead and was ready to finish the race.
- We crossed the finish line at around 10:45 am. It was such a great feeling!!!
- Had a few pictures taken and decided to go back to the tavern to freshen up and rest. The heat was really unbearable!
- Got a chance sleep for a few minutes but still I was exhausted. I decided to stay with my other team or else we might end up in an accident.
- Went back to the party to get some grubs. As I predicted, it was bottomless pansit!!!
- Won the best in uniform award. HP teams won both best dressed vans and best team name!
- Timex (for some f*ck*n reason was first place). 2nd and 3rd team winners were not announced!!! (boo)
- We were so damned frustrated that nobody cheered for Timex. They deserved this as they were not fair in the race.
- Everyone left the race spot except for me which planned to shop for chocolates and pasalubong in duty free
- Met with Jonjon and the rest of the gang in Pier One. Poured out the bitterness and frustrations with the team.
- Dinner in Meat Plus. Exhaustion was really-really kicking in!!!
- Arrived in Rap's place at around 10 pm. Due to exhaustion, I fell asleep immediately. They were making fun at me when I was talking in my sleep!
- Left for Manila the following day refreshed and ready to fight again!!! :)

The remarkable weekend taught me a lot of important lessons but the experience will never be erased in my heart. Running 250 km is a feat but a greater achievement is doing it with the best team which will do their best based on the books.

Will we join the next relay? Probably if the organizers will promise to improve it!


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