One of my goals for 2013 under the Health Area is:
- Do a 50 km Ultra Marathon
So I had to figure out which of the few Ultra Marathons in the Philippines would be most ideal for me in terms of logistics, cut-off time and preparations needed.
The one that stood out from the others was the T2N series, so-called as it was a Point to Point 50km Ultra Marathon Race that would start from Tagaytay and end in Nasugbu, Batangas. This was an Ultra Marathon that was nearest to go to and can be reached in just two hours from where I lived.
The cut-off time was very lenient too at 9 hours, requiring runners to run at an average pace of 10:30 per kilometer to be able to be part of the official finishers list for this race. With the event held on Philippine’s Labor Day (May 1, 2013), it was also a good time to run it given it’s a holiday here!
Part of the reason I wanted to do a second Ultra Marathon was to redeem myself somewhat from the 102k Bataan Death March race that I did with Alvin some months back. Although we finished the race and went through the entire course, we did not make it for the cut-off time and that was a downer for the two of us. I felt bad about it but afterwards, amazed as well at what I was able to accomplish. I realized that my prayer back then to God was to finish the course safe and sound and He was able to grant my prayer. Now, I know better and I was more specific in my prayers by adding that I finish this race safe and sound and within the cut-off time! Hehe.
I was confident when I registered for this race a few months ago. After all, it was half the distance of BDM and offered the same pace requirement to finish it. Of course, it was doable! It was like asking a Marathoner to complete a Half Marathon distance! But as the days and weeks progressed, my confidence started to waver and I was getting a little bit worried whether I could do it or not.
For one thing, I haven’t done any long runs worthy of this race! For a Marathon, there is a requirement to do at least one 32km before venturing into that race. That way, your legs would be used to running that long and it would also build your self-confidence in completing the Marathon as at the back of your mind you would think, “it’s just 10km more!”. Some people would run farther in their Marathon training, going as far as 37km so that when Marathon Day would come, they would think that it was just 5km more to get to the finish line.
For this 50km race, my farthest LSD (long, slow distance) was at 25km! And I was burned-out at the end, too exhausted from the run, from the Summer heat, and just moody after. Talk about confidence level dropping in a flash! If I had a hard time completing a 25km slow run, how am I going to go and do 25km more on the same day?
Whatever happened to my fitness level from the BDM Training and from the BDM race? Did it all just disappear overnight? Sadly, I had gotten lazy and ate a lot too. I was eating the same amount of food as when I was training hard so I was gaining weight!
With only two weeks to go, I had to think to myself, “Will I reach the finish line in time?” More important was the question, “Will I reach the finish line at all?”
I told Alvin one day that if I didn’t reach the finish line within the cut-off time, I definitely do not deserve to run anymore. Yes, confidence was at an all-time low. I felt weak and strained from running. The extra pounds did not boost my low confidence level.
There was one thing going for me at that time though and that was my determination. I got to admit that my determination during BDM training wasn’t the cut-off time but to complete the very long distance so that I could appreciate the history behind the course. This time, should everything fail me on the race (I hope nothing would though), I would will myself to reach the finish time within the cut-off time. It was all or nothing for me: gain personal glory as a runner and call myself an Ultra Marathoner or fail and realize that running may not be for me.
And then it was just one week to go before the big race! As a final help to my poor endurance level, Alvin instructed me to do three 20km runs for three consecutive days. There was no way out of this as this was the final straw to help me in the race and so I did it:
On April 23rd (Tuesday), I ran solo 20km and burned out at the last part!
On April 24th (Wednesday), I ran 20km with Alvin but we both had a hard time running it and were quite slow at the beginning. Good thing Alvin suggested we stop at McDonalds for some Iced Coffee to give energy to ourselves. That helped and we completed the 20km distance.
On April 25th (Thursday), I ran solo for first part before Alvin joined me mid-way and we completed the 20km distance (although we walked 2.5km at the last part).
After completing the three 20km runs, I felt so weak and tired that my immune system went down and I got some coughs and colds after. Instead of doing any additional running (I was supposed to do an easy 5km a few days after to loosen leg muscles), I opted to rest the entire time. I took lots of vitamin Cs, drank a lot of water and slept more.
With weakness in my body, a new question sprouted in my mind, “Will I be able to go to the Starting Line in a few days’ time?”
To Be Continued….
5th T2N 50km Race Experience (Part 2)
5th T2N 50km Race Experience (Part 3)