Posts Tagged ‘NLEX

10
Mar
10

2nd BDM Ultramarathon 102 (Part 3: First Half)

March 6, 2010, 9AM, our team met in a parking ground in BHS for Bataan.  Aside from the slow traffic that greeted us on our way to North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) everything was good and it had that “summer outing” feeling.  It was somehow, especially when many of us met in the resort we were staying in in Bataan.  Last time to familiarize everyone with the plan.

While we had several hours of time to rest I wasn’t able to get any despite being sleepy.  Then I had a headache (due to lack of sleep?) which was a bit worrisome considering it was just hours before the race.  Good thing our support was there to make sure everything was alright to the best they can, although I still had that headache until gunstart.

Together in our villa before leaving for +Km 00: Gab, Mar (The Forefoot Runner), Rod (Rod Runner), Doc ‘Topher, Me, Sam (The Running Ninja), and Tina

We arrived at +Km 00 in Mariveles quite early for pictures.  So early in fact that we got a little bored (too much flash is quite straining on the eyes).  Gradually the place got crowded with all the runners, their support crew, and vehicles.  Then the national anthem of USA and the Philippines were sung…  Bang! It was gunstart.  This is it!  The moment we have been waiting for for so long arrived in an instant.  It was 11:28PM.

At +Km 00 before most participants arrived, courtesy Brando Losaria

The first 3K was quite slow at more than 8 minutes per kilometer pace resulting in a much slower than our planned first 7K.  It was pretty fine then but it lead to some “misunderstanding” within our group by +Km 15 (we were off by just a few minutes, based on my GF405) as our differences in pace separated us unintentionally.  No one was intended to be left behind but as we all know things happen.  (I think it was my fault since I made the plan to set the pace at 6:30 during the downhill portion which apparently was too fast in an ultra.  For that I sincerely apologize to everyone concerned.)

Our team in the darkness of the road

Our journey towards +Km50 was anything but close to plan.  Our pace went from as slow as 12 minutes to below 7 minutes per kilometer, even going as fast as 14.7 kilometers per hour at some point (just over 4 minute per kilometer).  There goes the plan! At least it still holds true as far as support needs were concerned.

Humidity was a big surprise for us.  During both our test runs it was always cool early morning but during race day it was quite the opposite—hot and humid.  Along our route Sam (The Running Ninja) and I stumbled upon Rodel (The Argonaut) who was already running bare-chested.  I was convinced that it would get cooler as dawn approached, but when it didn’t we got tired of waiting and “followed suit.”  I’ll admit that running “half-naked” came across my mind before but was unable to because I get burned easily under the sun.  Its absence plus the weather factor pushed me into doing a “boldrunner” from before +Km 34 all the way to +Km 50.

Can’t get any cooler than this

It was just barely halfway and we were already far-fetched from plan.  For the record I was just six minutes ahead of projected earliest time of arrival at +Km 50, or about 35 minutes behind my test run record (which veterans say was too fast).  The next 52K should be interesting as the sun rises and heat things up!

+Km 00 – 50 route via GF405

2nd BDM Ultramarathon 102 Index:

  1. Background
  2. Ultra-SPF
  3. First Half
  4. Conclusion
31
Oct
09

Subic International Marathon 2009’s “Prestige” (Part 1)

Subic International Marathon (SIM) dubs itself as “The most prestigious marathon in the Philippines.”   Many of you may have an idea on the events that transpired, and this is the story of my partake on its “prestige.”

Dawn

It was very early Saturday morning when we left Manila for Subic.  Yet again it was another adventure for the weekend warriors.  This would be the second International Marathon in the country for the month of October, and given the excellent event we had with QCIM we of course were expecting a great race.   After all it is an international marathon, “the most prestigious” one as advertised.

Sunrise as viewed from a rear window reflection during our stop at a gas station along NLEX

Pre-race

After settling in our pad for a few hours the moment we 42K runners were waiting for had arrived.  It would be my first sundown marathon, and saying I’m excited would be an understatement.   It was particularly special for a few of my friends as they attempt their marathon debut with this event.  At around 1PM we were off to the starting line, not just the 42K and 10K (Nike Human Race) runners but also our other friends who lovingly went with us for support.  Indeed despite being out of town we had a lot of supporters around us—an enviable trait that not many running groups enjoy.

Are we there yet?

From our pad we drove all the way to Floridablanca Exit where the starting line was, and it was a very long drive.   Knowing that the route we were taking would actually be our course it was exciting, but considering the time it took us while driving it, it was also very daunting.  I never realized that a 42K route would be that long had it not been a loop course!

Warning

Literally just a few hours before the race we saw that the water stations were few and haven’t received their water rations.  We had no idea how much water each one had—all we know was that there was too few for comfort.  At that stage I was more excited than alarmed, although the idea of a “dry” marathon was at the back of my mind.

Takbo.ph at the starting line of SIM, courtesy Timmy (Kenkoy Runner)

Checking in

There were quite a lot of marathon runners that day so SIM could proudly say that they were the most attended international marathon to date.  Of course our guest runners from Kenya are surely going to make a world-class race and how Filipinos would fare were still in question.  Not before long runners were called to check in and to our surprise we were asked to dip our right index finger in ink! I kind of had a feeling that we were being used for some political act.

Prepping up for the race

Some of the marathoners: Gab, Mar, Doc Topher, Carmel, James, Me, and Ian

The starting area (there was no line or any markers whatsoever)

Our dirty fingers, and no we didn’t vote already, we just checked in

Start

After all the subtle ceremonies, at 4:20PM the race started.  As a “tourist runner” I fondly brought out my trusty camera and snapped along shots as the race unfolded.  It was a very easy, relaxed, and happy run for me as I chat with fellow runner friends, some of whom I’ve not seen in a while.  Runners do have their reunions on races! As the race gradually progresses the crowd slowly disperses and the road starts to get wider.

The start of SIM 2009

Shutterbug

To those that aren’t running, they view running as something similar to what Usain Bolt does during his sprints, or when a thief runs when being chased by cops, so when they see us running leisurely they see us as walking.   I think this was the remark I got from one of the marshals when he saw me taking pictures while “running.”  I didn’t really process it at the time as I was busy taking pictures, but when I realize his point I checked my GF405 to confirm if I was walking—seven minute per kilometer—I don’t think I can “walk” that fast.

Anyhow I’ll let these pictures do the talking for me:

Off to a great start...

...while enjoying the sceneries...

...passing under bridges...

...cutting through mountains...

...wonderful sunset...

...gradually the sceneries are being taken away by darkness...

...with the sun finally setting...

...until the last decent picture I was able to take before total darkness

(Continued to Part 2)




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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
– John “The Penguin Runner” Bingham
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