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Monday, February 11, 2013

My BDM 160 Story (sa wakas!!!)

(WARNING: this post is really-really long!!!)

It was a day of reckoning. Redemption at it's finest. It was a hard-fought battle with a bittersweet ending. Those were few of the words that I used to describe the moment I crossed the finish line. Finally, after a year of waiting, I was able to complete a dreaded unfinished business that haunted me for a while. It was a triumph that I would never forget.


Tambalang Beep-Beep at kampuger
I wasn't able to complete my race last year. I was devastated because I knew I prepared well for it but Murphy really know how to spoil it. I experienced the worst type of cramps at km 69, vomiting for almost 10 km before I finally had the guts to quit at km 79.

Wasak na wasak!
 The culprit: I wasn't eating, I was bloated with water, gatorade, cola, etc. but I didn't have any solid food in my stomach. This caused my body to burn my fats as fuel but at a very rapid rate causing it to cramp and eventually, in the verge of collapsing. My face looked like it was zapped away with life (lubog!) and my eyes were really deep due to the rapid weight loss. I reported my case to BR and went to km 102 to say sorry to madam and BR. After that I decided to go home already as I'm really exhausted but when I woke up the following morning, I felt the deep regret on what I did and why the hell did I quit :(

The last picture before I got really wasted and DNF'ed :(
I vowed to do my revenge next year by being stronger and better. I will be more prepared and take the time to finish the race. But while waiting, I need to release my frustrations...


DNF can make you insane. Insane enough to register to every known ultra available in the calendar. I was so frustrated that I decided to release them in each ultra event last year. I did the following events:

2nd Tanay ultramarathon
2nd Mayon 360
1st Bohol Ultramarathon
Four lakes 100K trail ultra
50K Taklang Damulag Ultra
57K Nuvali Trail Run
50K Tacloban Ultra
60K Fort Magsaysay - Dingalan Ultra
57K CDO Dahilayan Ultra
50K Guimaras Ultra
50K Pinatubo Trail Ultra
1st West Coast 200 km multiday ultra
50-miler Clark-Miyamit Trail
80K Taklang Damulag
6 hour fat-ass loops

It still amazes me how my body can endure such punishment with an ultra almost every week. Though I have to admit that my goal of doing such feat was to train and learn how to do my races properly. From having support crews, doing it alone on longgggg trails and even running on self-support, I was able to survive. Those lessons are valuable as it fed me with info that I will use to prepare for my comeback run.

Despite that, I still succumbed in my attempt to complete the Miyamit 50-miler :( But that never made me quit my dream. I rested and consulted with BR on what I need to do to be stronger and be back on shape by January 26. He gave me a program which I called the Overhaul program which I detailed in one of my blog post. It did help a lot and I know physically, I was ready to do BDM 160 again.

Pre-race Preparations

I started my logistic preparation the week before the race. I assembled my support crew comprised of ultramarathoners who pledged their support for me months before the race:
My Crew! (From L-R: Jo-en, Mommy Eve, Manager JJ, Jestoni and Ariel)

1. Jestoni - pacer (I was supposed to finish with him last year same with what we did in BDM 102 last 2011)
2. Joen - driver (he was my driver/support during the 2012 BDM 102)
3. Ariel Aquino - driver/pacer (he wants to observe how I will survive a 100-miler as he will do BDM 102 in March)
4. Mommy Eve - support crew (I need someone who is very good with organizing my logistics and a female touch for my crew)
5. Manager JJ - support/driver beyond 102 and a relief to my tired crew during the night

Briefing (with the petchay boys)
I'm already set with my gears except my shoes were mauled by my dog. Luckily, Irene brought me a new pair which I used to break-in during the last fat-ass. Besides that, I didn't use anything new during the race (oh, I almost forgot about the TPPB singlet :D). All of my stuff were well tested before race day! :D

I did my grocery during the week and brought the hydration stuff (gatorade, water, buko juice) to avoid cramming. I even asked mommy Eve to do the grocery for the food and nutrition as I don't want to stress myself too much. I had fresh buko juice prepared from the market (I found it very effective during the last WC 200 as it helped in my fast recovery). Also bought a couple of gels and Fluid recovery drink for emergency purpose.


The only reason why I brought you Hulk!
I've booked our room in MC lodge. It is where we usually stay before any BDM races (it's located between km 7-8). This should give me ample time to get some sleep before the actual race but we all know how anxiety kicks hard during that time :))

We left Manila at around 5 pm and arrived at the Inn at around 8:30 pm. I was anxious as well because I get to see Irene for the first time since we became a couple! But I kept reminding myself that I have to rest because of the big race tomorrow. So I did say my hello and gave her some supplies before i went to my room and sleep (though anxiety at this point was so high that I had a hard time sleeping...)

To the starting line
2013 batch of BDM 160 participants (well some of us :D)
I wasn't able to get some good sleep so I decided to dress up as early as 2 am. I woke up my crew as well and asked them to prepare already as I don't want to be late at the gunstart. Before I left I checked if Irene was already awake and kissed her for good luck. I told her I'll wait for her at the starting line since she was still preparing :D.

At exactly 2:30 am, my crew were ready and we drove towards km 00. There were a number of support vehicles and runners there already when we arrived. I checked-in and had some short chit-chat with the other runners while waiting for gunstart. I also instructed my crew to leave 15 minutes before gunstart to get a good spot in km 7 else they will be stuck in traffic with the rest of the support vehicles. Right on the dot they left after taking some pictures and last instructions from me. Incidentally, that was also the time Irene arrived at the starting line and together we went to join the rest of the runners. A prayer, some final instructions then the national anthem before the RD sounded the horn at exactly 4 am... signifying the race had officially started!

Km 00-20

Breezing thru the first 2 km, I set my pace to 6:30 - 7:00 mpk max to conserve the much needed strength for the battle beyond 102. The cool temperature can really lure you to speed up but learning from my mistake before, I chose to maintain a relatively slow pace while watching runners passed me by. I applied the same and jogged/walked the km 3-7 steep part of the race (compared to last year where we were literally zooming the uphill). I religiously maintained the max 7:00 mpk pace thru the downhills and walked the uphills during the long rolling hilly section of this course. I had a chance to chat with some of my fellow runners to remove the boredom but I let them go ahead as I don't want to hinder them from their target pace.
This is somewhere km 18 (see those lights behind me, they are either some crazy runners or support vehicles :)))

Walked the uphills and ran the downhills, making sure that my quads will not get trashed before I reach km 102. I also monitored my heartrate to check if I'm going to fast; the faster the beat, the faster I might burn out. Thank God, I'm still on target. My crew also monitored my pacing as they knew I can easily get excited in every race that it ruins my plans early. So I decided to listen to them and ate whatever food they stuff in my mouth :))

Oh, I had a surprise at km 15 where my crew showed me a box full of paper stars. It came from Irene and her specific instructions were to open one star every 10K. Apparently, these stars contains random sweet messages and thoughts about our relationship... wow! it was really a morale booster! Though my crew always kid about it and screams "go go swagger boyfriend" or "his and hers". But seriously, that was a huge boost when I was already tired :))

Km 21-40


Km 21 (I think)
This was the last stretch of rolling hills within the Bataan area. I was still feeling strong at this point, and carefully maintained a cruise pace of 7 mpk. I passed by Limay already and I was not used to seeing it in a busy day. A lot of people asked where we were going and I'm no longer surprised with their reaction whenever I gave my polite answer. I'm an eating machine, munching on sandwiches, eggs and boiled banana. I downed a gel already for emergency purpose and replenished my anti-fatigue capsule. So far so good.

Good morning RD! (still strong at this point)

Bunot muna bago kumain ng sandwich!

2nd star for the race :D


When I reached km 32 (the last junction going to km 32), I took sometime to greet BR and check my condition. I'm still ok but I'm sleepy! I asked the team to prepare coffee on my next pit stop while I picked another star from the basket :D. I also bought some hot taho, the sugar rush from the caramel gave me a short burst of energy.

Started getting hot already (plus a callboy at my back)

Nanawagan po kami sa nakakakilala sa bangkay na natagpuan...

The sun started to punish us with the heat as early as 7:30 am! Man, it was hot! There is a cool breeze blowing but the cloudless skies amplified the heat. At this point, I wasn't able to finish my coffee since it was hot and my crew already applied towel dipped in the cooler. It was refreshing though I know the heat continued to rise as I left this pit stop.

Upon reaching Orion, I already started slowing down and walked my way towards the next pit stop. I knew if I ran this part, i'll be zapped and probably be wasted before I reach the 102 marker.

Km 41-60

The Jestoni Pictorials (monkey)

At this time, the sun was already high and I did a lot of brisk walk. My core temperature continued to rise so my crew still applied the cold towel while a drank a lot of fluid. I even drank gatorade with salt to replenish the sodium lost due to sweating!
I swear it was really hottttt!!!

My thoughts at this time was to continue moving forward and take enough rest in km 50. I feel exhausted already though I was able to jog a good distance while combining it with brisk walking. A few runner's has passed me by, I don't mind it as I stick to my plan. Finally, after 6:30 hours of running/walking, I reached the km 50 marker in Abucay

Finally some lunch!

With my personal band...

My crew parked the car at the gas station where it is shady and cooler. Since it's almost noon, the sun was at full blast already. A few runners had reached this point already; some of them were hurrying up and didn't bother to stop long to rest and eat. Me, on the otherhand, took my time to eat some lunch, rest my legs and change my shirt. I told Mommy Eve to put my TPPB singlet where it can dry as I'll be wearing it again towards the finish line.

My support crew at km 50

With the RD at km 50
I munched on adobo and ma-ling while I drank some coke. It was refreshing indeed (even if Jestoni is completely messing around with his bongo drums :))). I was checking also the other runners and saw a few made their way already. I was glad that Irene was pretty near as well, that was a relief :)). After I changed, refilled and refreshed, I continued my journey.

Mystical healing power from Jestoni
Pinalayas dahil makulit...

It was terribly hot. I thought of settling down the food in my tummy before I started running again but since the heat was unbearable, I switched to power walking. I had a chance catching up with a few runners before my next stop, asking their condition and how was the race so far. I think I caught up with Benj, CJ and Jigs at this point though they chose to run a bit to prevent from getting too bored with the route.

I asked my crew to stop every 3 km (instead of every 5). I was worried as well because at this point I can feel some twitches in my thigh which might result to cramping. So I drank a lot of gatorade and took some endurolytes as I notice my shorts have a lot of salt already (you can use it as dip for green mangoes)! That's how hot it was!

Km 61-80

Approaching km 61 (microwave sa initttt)

I was already anxious to see the national hi-way again. I continued walking and doing short jogs as I feel the possibility of my right leg to cramp up. I didn't want that to happen so I patiently walked to shake the cramping away.
Replenishing my sodium and water

Funny thing, I passed by a funeral march on my way out of Hermosa. Traffic was horrible :))

I reached km 69 (near Nissan Dinalupihan) at around 2:30 pm. It was starting to get cloudy thus the heat is slowly becoming bearable. But I know I'm still in trouble as the twitching was worsening (My short was full of salt!!!). I had to switch to my back-up plan and take more endurolytes while gulping my painkillers. I also asked Joen to prepare the Amino that JJ gave me the other night, I took it when I was at km 75.

Don Jestoni

Waiting at km 65 (for some petchay)
By some miracle, the twitching stopped! I felt good so I tried to run for a good 2 km. I feel sweat on my forehead again which means I was able to recover :D. Though I still have strength left, I didn't ran all the way because I'm still conserving energy. I was also reminiscing about my sad fate last year during this stretch where I was vomiting and cramping from my legs up. Thank God, I was still ok!

Sad sight at km 75

Pampaganang star!
And then I passed by my DNF marker. KM 79, the marker near the funeral home. I clearly remembered how I was delirious at this point, how painful my cramps were and how low my morale was. I shed a tear and look at the heavens, thanking the Lord again for letting me pass strong away from my waterloo. It was a good boost of morale and after a while, I met again with my crew at km 80. I told them to measure the stops based on the odometer because I knew the white markers are longer at this point.

KM 81-102

I still feel good at this point that I was able to jog towards the bridge going to Lubao. I paced with a runner here and told him to conserve, rest and never stop beyond km 102. I continued power walking towards the construction and jogged to the Caltex station at the junction. I believe I saw the Team Boring Pips here where they were supporting CJ. Fatigue was creeping at this point and I was getting cranky. It was past 5 km already and my crew was nowhere in sight!

I was cursing as hell already because I felt pain in my foot and my water bottle was empty. I was finally able to caught up with them at km post 85; cranked up because of stopping too far away from the agreed distance. I said I'm sorry, I was just tired before I sat down and ate some bread with ma-ling. There was an annoying guy at this point, begging for some food and coins. We already gave him some but he kept on annnoying us until I asked my crew to shove him off (normally I'm not like that but unfortunately, I was too tired to think). I picked another star (wow!) and off I go to the next pit stop.
Halo-halo break at Razon!!!

After being chased by a group of dogs, almost being mauled down by a jeep and squeezing thru the crowd in Guagua, I reached km 90 at around 6-630 pm. I sat down and told my crew that I was really sleepy (legs were still ok). I can also feel blisters forming in both feet, it was bothersome but I can still resist the pain. Papi Jet also psyched me up that I'm not tired nor sleepy while I gobble up my halo-halo! It was a nice treat after doing 90 km!
What the hell did you do to my car?!

I continued my walk towards km 95. I felt the burning sensation of "balisawsaw" and it was really uncomfortable. BoyP paced with me for a few 1-2 km until I told him to go ahead. I was becoming impatient at this point because of the combined fatigue and sleepiness thus at km 95, I sat for a while to regain my sanity. I drank a lot of buko juice to flush down the balisawsaw feeling :)) before I did my walk for the last 7 km

Last Star before going to km 102 :D

Fortunately, a group of runners passed by when I got up. Bong, Jigz and Merwin were power walking so I asked them if I can join so I won't get bored with the remaining few kms towards the old railway station. We vowed not to run or overtake anyone until km 102 which was known as "Pitpit-itlog" (papi's pacer group during the last TD 100 where whoever destroys the vow will have his eggs crushed at km 102). Wes joined us shortly at km 98 and together we were like a big gang walking on the road.

After 15:30 hours, we were able to reach km 102. JJ was already there waiting for me and told me that he left Jestoni some instructions that as soon as I checked-in, we will leave km 102 immediately (which we did). Jestoni was my first pacer and I told him I was tired and hungry (whinings). After I learned that we have to walk 1-2 km more before my scheduled rest, I cranked up but I had no choice.

Km 103-120

I reached the Shell station along McArthur Hi-way after 15-20 minutes. There I met with the rest of my crew where I sat to have my dinner, change my clothes and hoped for a few minutes of sleep. JJ asked my condition, I told him my legs and body are still ok, no pain but I was really sleepy. I also asked them to check the blisters under my feet which was slowly becoming irritating. Ariel taped my feet up to add further protection and I wore the socks that JJ lent me.
My crew preparing me up for the longgggg night run

I tried to catch some sleep but I was distracted by the passing cars and mosquitoes. Jestoni was holding on a yoga mat but I really can't get some sleep. We had a few stop-over along MacArthur highway, eating some hot noodles but still I can't sleep (10-30 minutes). I got fed up and told Jestoni that we should get going already as we will get nowhere if I still try to sleep so we continued walking and running towards Angeles city.

Somewhere out there (no sense of direction at this point)

JJ running up for some coffee?
I virtually have no idea how far are we or where we are because my GPS watches were already drained. I do remember stopping somewhere after the San Fernando fly-over to eat and try to catch some sleep. It was supposed to be 20 mins but again, sleep had eluded me again. Though I already ate some hot noodles at least to recover and warm my tummy.

I've set our next goal to be the Angeles City Arc. We had to traverse the dark and dangerous McArthur highway while keeping an eye on incoming traffic. It was crazy! There were times that tricycle appeared from our backs and we had to move away from the road. I had a chance to at least run a few km but I bonked out because of palpitation (blame it to the coffee). We just resumed our long walk toward Angeles before I succumbed to fatigue or boredom.

We arrived at the arc at around 11:00 pm. I still have no idea how far we were but I guess we were progressing. Again, I chose to take a seat here and try to catch some sleep but it is still to no avail :( We just decided to continue our journey towards the town proper of Angeles city.

Km 121-140

Angeles City was still alive even though it was practically late already. It has a very rich night life coupled with the gimikans and clubs along the highway. At this point, Ariel was my pacer already. Jestoni was already tired and I believe he needed to rest. We weaved thru the crowd of people, went away against some bar girls and did a few conversation to fight the sleep. We weren't running, we were brisk walking as I was still recovering.

I swear I don't know where are we at this point :))
It was a sign of relief when we reached the arc of Mabalacat. This means we are practically near the Bamban bridge which is at km 131. Ariel was keeping me busy with his stories so I was awake all the time. I tried to jog but I was really tired and getting impatient. I really want to reach the bridge and march my way to Capas.

After Mabalacat town proper, I rested before going to the bridge. I also asked about Irene because I know the route was already dangerous. I was glad to know that they were ok and safely walking in the San Fernando area.

It was around 2 am in the morning already  so I'm estimated my finish time. I can't think properly at this point :)) so I tried to sleep again. At last, I snoozed for around 10-15 minutes. It was so good and refreshing!

I also asked JJ to prepare my ACT concoction because I was really getting bored and I wanted to run. After eating a lone banana, JJ gave me the bottle. I sipped some of it and immediately felt a burst of energy! It was gooooddddd. I tried to jog and it felt nice, so without hesitation I ran with 5:00 mpk pace! It was really surprising because I swear I was already wasted before I took the juice. I think I left Ariel trailing by around 1 km and the support vehicle was closely monitoring my progress. It was around 2 km when I decided to slow down and wait for him (he was cursing me for what I did :))). At least we were near the bridge when I decided to walk again.

I asked Ariel to run because I don't want to lose our momentum. We ran as we cross the bridge and covered at least 1-2 km before slowing down for the support vehicle. I have no idea how far is Capas from Bamban so I thought it should be near. We sped up for a few more meters until I realized that the Capas Market is nowhere in sight. It was also re-confirmed when I saw the sign "Puregold Capas 6 km.". It was still farrrrrrrr!!!

Km 141-155

After seeing that @($*$(#$% sign, I decided to slow down and eventually brisk walking. I was disappointed because it was still far :(( The road was really dark and cold which made me more impatient. I was already cursing the route (P#*$(#*$ Mcdo yan, malayo pa ba?!) because I really wanted to finish. What calmed me down was the thought that I will finish this within cut-off and I don't want to sacrifice what I accomplished so far because of my arrogance.

After a while, I finally saw the "welcome to capas" sign. It boosted up my morale only to find out that the junction is at least 1.5 km away. My jogging attempt failed and still I walked through the market place. It was such a mental game at this point.

Then I saw the big Mcdo sign from afar. It was huge! I was so happy that I didn't notice I was already crying. Crying because I was still amazed on how I was able to survive 140++ km and still walking towards the finish line. Crying because finally I'm about to finish the longest race of my life! I crashed down to my seat when I arrived at the support vehicle. I tried to eat some sandwich and drink some gatorade but I still can't help myself from crying. I was really happy and I told my crew that we will finish this as soon as we can!

After that break, I started our long walk towards the Capas National Shrine. It was cold and dark again as we approach the town from the junction. Jestoni became my pacer again and we started to sing a few classic Rey Valera songs to entertain ourselves while we marched thru the darkness :))

As dawn approaches, I saw the field cover with fog! It was a strange sight as if they were planted dry ice  But what gave me more hope was when I saw the needle-like pylon from afar. We are finally approaching our last 10 km!

Finally, the shrine gate! Last 10 km!

I don't remember what I said to Otek here, but thanks pare!
We were greeted by Otek and a few more support crews as we move along the gates. It gave me a nice feeling because I'm 10 km away from finishing this darn race. But I still have to battle 5 km of uphills! I asked  Jestoni that we will take it slowly as I want to run the last 5 km. I want a strong finish.

It was a hard 5K. Fatigue was already creeping in plus the pain from the blisters is getting annoying. I was already counting km posts to distract me from the pain. I even told Jestoni my nga-nga moment where I can see the support vehicle at the turn-around point exactly 1 km away! (ang layyyooo!)

To The Finishline!!!

Turn-around point!
At the turn-around point, I sat down to rest for a while before I ate a banana and drank some water. I also wore my TPPB singlet again and my sahara cap. I downed the remaining ACT concoction and again, I felt the energy entering my system. One more star from the basket to perk me up and off we went towards the finishline.

I was so wasted here already!

One last star before the 5K sprint! :))

We had a very fast pace. I even asked Jestoni to increase our pace as I feel my legs were already lighter. He was also amazed that I can do a fast pace as if I did not do 155 km already. It was truly a miracle from heaven!!!

Nakaka-ngiti pa after 155 km :))

One last dash to the finishline!

And if it wasn't enough, I've heard that Irene was quite nearby. I asked each runner we've met on how far she is and they told me she was really close to us. At last, at km 116 I saw her still strong running with her pacer. I decided to approach her and plant her a kiss before speeding up again to our destination. It boosted my morale very very high :D

When we were near the gates, Jestoni mentioned that he will leave me already to enjoy the moment. I thanked him and from there I sped up as I saw the huge pylon in front of me. I was crying again, this time it was because of the sense of happiness. I felt a huge thorn lifted from my chest and a huge accomplishment as my legs roll like it was a race for my life. I wasn't tired nor in pain, I was just happy to see how my hard work has finally paid off, how the frustrations had disappeared and how my hunger for the buckle be fulfilled.

One last push!

Approaching the shrine gate!
At last, after running/walking/crawling for 27:55 hours, I finally crossed that damn finish line! I couldn't believe it and I was actually being teased by the crowd to cry. I did take a moment to savor the victory and looked blankly at the buckle. The sweetest revenge was finally done and over with! :D

Kaunti na lang!!!

Ayan na!!!

Man I was a cry-baby!

Sa wakaaassss!!!

With one of my pacers, Jestoni!

I would like to thank my support crew: Joen, Mommy Eve and JJ for taking care of me and cheering me up thru the whole journey. My pacers: Jestoni and Ariel who never gave up on me and shared the last 58 km of the race. My Irene who was the greatest surprise and inspiration to finish the race (I love you!). My friends and supporters who believed in me and cheered me up all thru the race. And to the almighty God, who never abandoned me all throughout the race, protected me from harm and gave me the iron will to finish.

Sa wakas, natapos ko rin ang aking unang 100-miler na karera! Napaka-memorable niya talaga!

Congrats to all finishers of the 2013 BDM 100-miler race! Hope to see you again in future.

Credits to Tong Pascua, Paolo Navarette, Jobert Dela Victoria, Elaine Botabara and Che Bihag for the pictures

1 comment:

  1. "Jestoni" talaga si Beep-Beep sa buong blog entry? Hahaha. :D Congrats Ronnel! Sa wakas!


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