This was my 3rd FM this year and it was done outside Manila. As I've said in my previous entry, I prefer running outside the known routes here in the city and mix it with my travel bug. I'm also excited because it is my first time to go to Bicol (where my lola's hailed from) and create a great story.
Day 1: The Mad Dash to Naga
On the first day, I was almost late at the bus station! I was almost screwed-up because of the KOTR registration "phenomenon" on which I finished at around 5:30 pm. This should have been acceptable if only I brought my things already and I didn't have a car BUT no! Traffic was really terrible during that day and I ended up reaching my house at exactly 7:30 pm. Stuffing things into my bag without even checking if I left anything, I rushed to the bus station. Thank God for the MRT as I was able to reach the station in the nick of time!
Still panting from the mad dash I did to the station, I met my roommates Prince, Kian and Brando inside the bus. We have to travel in the evening to avoid the traffic, the heat of the sun and get some sleep during the evening. I hardly got some sleep because of the anxiety and the chair I got in the bus (every time the bus hits on the brakes, I was slipping down the chair). So much for the action-packed first day.
I should not be left behind!
Day 2: Exploring CWC and Naga
We arrived in Naga at around 5:30 am. We went to the Mcdonald's branch in the plaza to get some breakfast and wait for some our friends. From there, we went to the Golden Leaf Hotel and tried to get an early check-in but our rooms were still not available. So we left our stuff in the Hotel and went back to the bus station to get some tickets for our trip back home.
Golden leaf hotel!
After Prince made his signature move to the lady in the ticket counter, we went to CWC to catch up with team CB. At CWC, we has some photo-ops and had an occular of the 42K route. Finished the occular just before lunch, I bought a SIM from SMART with a free cool Team Pilipinas Jacket! We went back to the hotel, strategized for a bit, had dinner, attended the church then went to sleep early for the race. *Whew* the summed-up my 2nd day in Naga. Next stop: Race Day!
something like this but it's not the design!
Day 3: Race Day
D-day! I wore the Team PPB singlet as I want to set a new PR here and I believe on the "sapi" factor whenever I race with it (it rocks!). We left the hotel at exactly 2:30 am with the tricycle driver who fetched us from the station. He remembered our deal! :) Arrived at the starting line at exactly 3 am with a bunch of runners already preparing for gunstart. Brando lent me his GF (Garmin, not his girlfriend) for the race before we started. It was my first time to use it and like a caveman, I was intrigued on how it can be helpful during the race. I didn't know that it will be a huge factor later on...
Km 0- 10
The gunstart happened at exactly 4 am! Off to a good start with me running at a 5:30 pace. Thanks to the GF, I was able to check my initial pace (I was only hoping for a 6:00 pace but I got comfortable at 5:30). Passing thru some of the runners, I paced with Ely (Kulotski) and Angelo from km. 4-5 before I sped thru the intersection. It was still dark but the race organizer put up some lights along the path (thanks!). The course was rolling uphill and downhill but most of it is relatively flat. Kian already passed thru me at km. 7 and looking at the bunch of lead runners, it was the United Colors of Benetton!
The sun was already rising as we went back to the intersection. The 21K runners were already passing when I got back on the road. Still maintaining a 5:30 pace, I was bobbing along the sea of runners and greeted familiar runners on the road. I passed thru the first set of barangay with a cheerful set of locals and supporters who boosted our morale throughout the race. For some reason this resulted me to increase my pace to 5:00 but I decided to put it back to 5:30 as I don't want to be burned up.
On one of the stations, I gobbled up a powerbar. It got stuck on my throat!!! Damn, it was so uncomfortable that I was coughing during that leg. Drank some water to bring it down and off I go again with the race. The heat was already starting but I still feel good about it.
At km 21, I already consumed my first energy gel. Felt the kick immediately, I continue to pound thru the course. Passed by a slippery bridge, went to the next town (which was the turn-around point), saw Beep-beep (fellow PPB member) saying he's feeling side stitches and leg issues already and paced with "lolo Gil" (I was initially annoyed actually because whenever he passes thru the crowd he asked them to shout "Lolo, lolo" but I respecthim as he was old but he was still strong to finish the race). Sun was already up when I passed by the water truck which sprayed water to all runners.
At km 28, I was already experiencing a bad feeling already. For some reason, I feel dehydrated and exhausted so I decided to take a short walk break. After I rested (around 500 meters), I was re-energized when a nice old lady gave me ice-cold water and ice to cool me down. Probably its because of the heat which started the fatigue but I already took an energy gel at km 21. This was so strange but I don't want anything bad to happen so I really took a while walking (chipping down my pace to 11:00 mpk). I was to experience the worst...
It was the longest 10 km of this race. I was literally walking at the start of km 31 when I felt the cramps attacked. It was painful but I endured until I reach km. 33 (there were energy gels at that point) to gobble up my last energy gel. I felt a little refreshed so I tried to gain back my momentum (although I ended up with a 6:00-6:30 pace). The cramps were getting worst so I took some walk breaks every 500 meters to shake them off. What's worst is at km. 36-37, we have to passed thru a sharp uphill, just imagine the agony of running with cramps while doing uphills! (man, I love the hills but during that time, I swear I curse them!!!). The heat started to take its toll that I took a sponge splash on every water station. I'm conserving energy as well because I felt dizziness already. Shaken but not down, I pressed on to finish the race
Km 41-finish line
GF says I only have 1 km left to finish the race. I tried to speed-up and hit a 5 mpk pace but cramps were literally slowing me down. On the last 500 meters, I took the courage to sprint even with the cramps but alas, my photofinish didn't work (cramp really attacked me in the last 100 meters). Well, I did my best and ended up with a nice 4:17 finishing time :). I was feeling pain on my legs but that will be another story.
Shaken but not yet trembled!!!
Had a few snapshots with my friends, witnessed a runner collapse (which was helped by sir Rene and Prince), had a short lunch which I didn't enjoy and short talk with some colleagues, we decided to hit back the hotel at around lunch time. We were so exhausted that after we took showers we were sleeping like logs!
Woke up at around 4 pm, we went to a local bar to have some post race chats and dinner. Finally, authentic bicol express at last! Beep-beep joined us and shared a few stories as well. We went back to the hotel to check-out and left for Manila at around 9:30.
- The race was handled properly with lots of hydrations, abundance of bananas, separation of routes for the different race categories and pre-race preparations.
- The route, though it was relatively flat, was still challenging due to the oustanding heat of the sun! (this should have been known as the "Race against the sun" FM). Thanks to the awesome help of the locals for giving us support along the way :D
- I didn't experience the activities in CWC (watersports) as we were all tired after the race. I did promise to try them the next time I went there.
- I also wasn't able to go around Naga as well because of the time constraint. Next time, I'll make sure I'll give an ample time to tour around the city.
- Will I join this race again next year? Definitely I will look forward for this event again next year!
Thanks to team CB, Prince, Kian, Brando, Eagle, Beep-beep and to all whom I shared this great weekend with. Looking forward for my next adventure race! (hint: it is a race against a volcano!)
My next adventure!
* photo credit to Brando and the various sources in the internet :)
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