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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 :()

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