Monday, February 24, 2014

Race Review: Batangas to Laguna 53km experience


My legs and shoulders are still sore from yesterday's Ultra Marathon, but it's a good kind of soreness, the kind that showed that yes, I conquered the race and I finished within the cut-off time.

It was extremely difficult especially for the last part as the uphill was torturous!  (Just see the elevation map below!).  Never had I experienced an uphill climb this steep and long before.  Per and Janine (our support crew) even mentioned how hard it is for cars to go up here, what more for runners!

intense Elevation of Race

 I was trying to aim for an Ultra Marathon PR pace and was within my goal when the uphill hit me and that target was thrown out!  I then revised to lower my pace when the hills ended, which took forever at that time (in actuality it was 4km but 4km of uphill climb does seem FOREVER!!).

My average pace got slower by 20 freaking seconds in a span of just 4 kilometers... and that is basing on my average pace for 40km!  That was INSANE! 

But once the uphill ended, I tried to regain my speed with goal of trying to cut down average pace by 6-7 seconds.  I succeeded and finished with a  time of 8 hours, 21 minutes (with pace brought down to 9:28 from 9:34).  That was good and speed training Alvin and I did together helped me make the final push to the finish line.

happy to finish!

For this edition of Ultra Marathon (my first for the year), it was just supposed to be me running it and with my wife supporting it.  But then she invited Janine to be part of the support crew and Alvin on a whim (the day before the race) decided that he wanted to run it too!

So all four of us departed Manila at 11:30pm on a Saturday night and drove to South Super Hi-way, exited Calamba and kept going on the National Highway till we hit Sta.Cruz, Laguna where the starting line was.  We saw a lot of runners at a 7-11 convenience store and after asking for directions to San Luis Stadium, we found it at just 500 meters from the 7-11 store.  That was around 1:10am, enough time to do some last minute preparation for the 2:00am gun start.

There were about 400 runners for this race and as always, we started at the back part.  Support car will be stationed every 7km and I ran with a GU gel, a bottled water and Php 100 in cash.  At the beginning, Alvin and I ran together but after 10km or so, he sped off at his own pace (I think my pace was making him sleepy! Hahaha).

I meet Janine/ Per every 7-8km and after I re-fueled at the car, they would drive off to look for Alvin.  This would continue until 49km after which they would go and wait for me at the finish line. 

Having the race start at 2am meant that we would run in the dark most of the time.  Good thing all runners have their own headlamps on for this race.  There were also water stations every 10km or so here, with a bonus ice-cream handed out at the 40- 41km mark (and right before the hilly climb).

All in all it was a good race.  There were ample signs and marshals especially for crucial turning points, which were helpful for runners and support vehicles.

The finish line was at Macban town, which was unique due to the geothermal plant residing within (there were a lot of big pipes integrated within the town). 

I got a ranked finisher trophy (Rank # 229), a finisher medal, a finisher shirt and post race meal.

Awesome finisher trophy!

We also bought some pre-ordered Yema cakes, which were delicious!!!!

After which was a Pinoy lunch celebration (bulalo, sisig, tuna belly) at Rose and Grace in Batangas (near South Super Hi-way Exit), where Alvin treated all of us there!  Thanks 'Vin!  Just thinking about that place is making me hungry again!  Definitely going back to it next time!!!!

Congrats again to RunMania for another awesome race.

Thanks to our wonderful and ever-patient support crew (Per and Janine) and please forgive me for my grumpiness!  Haha!

Thanks to Alvin for all the long runs and speedwork that we did to prepare for this race.

And a big Thanks to God for keeping us all safe and protected during this race (and injury-free for me and Alvin). 



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