Although I didn’t commit to the pact with Jonel and Ronald of staying together that night, I didn’t oppose it as well. Deep down within me I wanted badly to complete this race. I may not be in the best shape possible, but I would not give up so easily. And I don’t want to let anybody down. My right knee came this far already, what’s another 33K?
The Right-Use Bros.
Apparently Jonel and Ronald weren’t spared by the downhill as well and coincidentally both of them managed to have their right knees damaged, thus the “right-use bros.”—brothers bonded by handicap, hehe. And so with the right knee equalizing factor these three crazies are off for another 33K of torture. At least I’m assured I won’t be left behind!
Here, There, and Back Again
Like last year my original plan of having a decent rest and dinner before doing a second loop was foiled but that’s a small price to pay since running alone in the dark wasn’t an option for me. But as I feared with lack of rest my body was badly demanding a break. Obviously I do not have much fat in store to burn so I was already burning muscles. I was walking but intermittently for a split second I was falling asleep. Jonel and Ronald gave me some break when we rested for a short time for me to take a quick nap, and it was quite helpful. Unfortunately my body still wasn’t satisfied so we had to take another longer break. I was on “cruise control” but I was in and out of consciousness and at one time almost hitting a tree. I was worried I might fall off a ravine and I was thankful that my buddies were generous to my needs. Thank you Jonel and Ronald! I’m sorry that I had to slow us down.
For most of the time I was just blindly following my buddies like a toy truck being pulled by a child. My mind was blank and was hardly thinking of anything. We sporadically were encountering fellow runners along the way and during which I snap out of it. The thought of gradually reaching that finish line was enough to keep me sane from boredom. It was a very long night, and we weren’t speaking of how long it was to the finish in kilometers, we were speaking in hours!
Surprisingly our second loop was much stronger than our first. I wouldn’t know if the nap had anything to do with it but all I know was that we were keeping the breaks to a minimum, and our pace was excellent considering our handicaps. Second wind? In the middle of the night? At least we were able to buy some of the time we lost during our earlier breaks—perhaps even gaining some had we not taken some rest.
You Give Me Fever
At some point during the last loop I really felt ill—I was perspiring profusely but at the same time feeling cold—and I don’t get cold that easily. I was thinking that if I was cold I wouldn’t be sweating a lot, and if I was sweating a lot I must’ve felt hot, so why was I experiencing both? I checked if I was having a fever but I wasn’t, and it felt like having one—and I haven’t had one since my elementary days. Thankfully I had my windbreaker with me to at least shield me from the cool winds of the mountains—I’d rather be hot and sweaty than sweaty and cold.
Sunlight, Oh Sunlight
The sun was painting the sky red while we were climbing the steep ascent near the US Embassy, and as sunlight gradually brightens the surroundings so do our determination to finish. We were still progressing slowly but surely to the finish, and by the time we get to the last few kilometers of the race we were witnessing the leaders of the 22K race, followed soon enough by the 11K runners. Sunday morning already.
It was such a great time to be heading back as we were greeted by not-so-serious runners as we head back, many saying “Congratulations” or “Just a little more” or some other nice words. Those ahead of us went through this segment alone and in the dark while we who were merely “walkers” were greeted like celebrities. Very nice timing indeed!
Coming into that very long homestretch of the finish line in Burnham Park was beyond words. Finally I can proudly say that I conquered TNF100 not just because of “luck” but honest, hard work. In fact the only “lucky” aspect of this race that I found was having buddies I can rely on and took care of me. Despite not being able to train due to my handicap, all my previous experiences add up to prepare me for this race, and that brought me to finish two hours ahead of my previous race record. New PR for TNF100 on a handicap? Now that is crazy!
Thank you Jonel and Ronald for the company and for pulling me into completion of this race! It was very easy to give up if you have all the pains but if you’re in the company of crazy injured guys it makes it easier to endure. Is this what “misery loves company” meant?
To all my friends who woke up early to see us cross the line, and to those that gave their support from both near and far, thank you very much! I really appreciate it, more than you can imagine.
To The North Face, the race and route directors, marshals, and staff, thank you for making this the most organized TNF100 so far! It was very challenging but we always felt “safe.” Keep it up guys!
To everyone who finished the race, cutoff or beyond, especially to my “kabsat” Jonel and Ronald who were both “avengers,” Congratulations! To those who weren’t as successful with their campaign, don’t give up and work hard for it should there be a next time. Hopefully there will be. See you next year?
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TNF100 2010 Chronicles: