It was a very tiring and grueling weekend for me as I faced my first ultramarathon—56.6K. The run started at Km 0 marker across Rizal Monument and ended at the Tagaytay Junction, a little over the Km 56 marker. It was also my first midnight run. I together with my running buddy Sean William started a minute before midnight.
The first 20K was uneventful. The elevation for the first 20K was relatively flat and very close to sea level. Gradually the elevation started to climb from here and by the time we got to Dasmariñas, Cavite we started to feel the ascent and our pace dropped considerably.
35K into the route we were feeling the effects of fatigue and signs of injuries are showing up for me and my buddy. It was a very good thing to have a partner on LSDs like this—both of you tend to pull and push each other to keep moving forward, regardless of the pace. I’ll admit that there were a few times that I seriously doubted myself if I can complete this run since it was mostly unchartered territory for me—it’s about 206% of my prior longest distance (which was “only” over 27K), not to mention an ultramarathon distance.
The last 20K was the longest 20K I’ve ever had. It was in Dasmariñas (36K) and it was where we encountered sunrise. It took us quite some time before we were able to cross the next town, Silang due to our injuries made their presence known. Together with the rising elevation we were unable to run at a pace we wanted, nonetheless slowly but surely we got to Silang.
Silang was where I had my first marathon distance (42.195K). At that point it was still about 14K to go and beyond that point was the start of our ultramarathon. Although it was anything but a race pace I was glad to be able to endure the distance thus far, and any steps further takes me to the ultramarathon distance—it was just a few months ago since I knew of ultra marathons and at that moment I was doing one. It was one of my dreams coming true.
Then came the long wait (while still moving of course). It was indeed a long and rising road. At that point it was difficult to think of the entire 56.6K so you just have to look forward to the next landmark—Tagaytay.
I was so glad to see the “Welcome Tagaytay” sign. It may sound cliché but I really felt “welcome” that time, it was a good sign of our progress and it felt like the “finish line” is near (which was still more than 10K). The last 10K seemed much longer than it was—impatience was killing us as we moved one step at a time.
The Km 50 marker was a very pleasant sight to see—just 6 more kilometers to go! I wish I could say that “before we knew it”—believe me when I say every foot of the last 20K, especially the last 10K, we felt along with fatigue and injuries that plagues us for the last few hours. Thankfully the mountain weather was good and so were the view. Too bad that Taal Volcano wasn’t visible from the road we’re taking.
Interestingly the distance marker for a popular fast-food chain near Tagaytay Junction proved to be added motivation for me. The smiling bee on the marker and the thought of food was very encouraging. Then the markers stopped. Then I realized I can see the huge sign of the fast-food chain and a few meters further was the Tagaytay Junction—the end of this LSD was literally on the horizon.
It was like getting on an oasis after weathering the desert when we got to the rotunda of the junction—the feeling was just overwhelming. So that was how it felt to finish an ultramarathon. It’s one of those experiences that you could say “for you to find out.”
We were so glad to finally conclude our LSD that we didn’t hesitate to go on the rotunda and have our pictures taken. Thinking back we weren’t sure if people are allowed on the rotunda but because of our “initiative” other people were also encouraged to do the same.
Of course after that ordeal what better way to reward yourself but with food. This was the part where you realize all the injuries you had—souvenirs of the ultramarathon. The question now is if this is how it felt to do a 56.6K, how does it feel to do a 100K?
All About Calories
This LSD alone cost me about 3,000 kcal (Garmin data), and of course for the duration of this run we have to continuously provide fuel for our bodies to continue, aside from sports drinks. For the entirety of this LSD I consumed:
- 3x 500ml mineral water
- 1x 500ml C2 iced tea (200 kcal)
- 1x 500ml Gatorade (437 kcal)
- 2x 500ml Pocari Sweat (260 kcal)
- 2pc banana (200 kcal)
- 170g Doublestuf Oreo (360 kcal)
As you can probably figure out my caloric deficiency was huge after the LSD so even if I ate afterwards it would still take me several meals (and snacks in between) to make for this gap. Is it still a wonder why running works well for those wanting to lose weight?
Two GFs are better than one
Unfortunately my GF405 wasn’t able to endure the LSD and before we were able to leave Silang my GF405 was dead. Fortunately Sean William was wearing his GF305 so even if was acting up it was still able to keep up with us until the end of the LSD.
New Gear: Energizer Headlamp
This LSD gave birth to the necessity of having a new gear: a headlamp. Like I’ve mentioned in my previous night runs about the perils of running in the dark, a headlamp helps a lot to see where you’re running, especially for this LSD where there were a lot of unlit places. I got myself an Energizer headlamp which is relatively cheap compared to other brands in the market. Among its nice features are:
- Bright lights which are also tilt-able
- Excellent light distribution, distance, and focus
- Comfortable: it has a soft foamy surface that doesn’t leave a mark on your forehead
- Uses dual LED which leads to longer battery life (50 hours single charge according to the label)
- Uses 3x AAA batteries (included with the package) so you have a variety of battery options
- Doubles as a tail light (using one red LED which doesn’t blink)
- Adjustable and stretchable headband
It was a last minute decision based on “dire needs” that lead me to this brand but I was fortunate that I got a good product. It could’ve been lighter though if it used only 2x AAA batteries (or smaller rechargeable proprietary batteries) but then the tradeoff with usage duration may not be worth the extra few grams. As a tail light it’s also good that it doesn’t need to have a red filter to work as one but on the down side it doesn’t blink.