March 13, 2010

How Far Can You Go: The 2010 BDM 102km Ultramarathon Race (Part 2)

Way to go.

After a brief loading, stretches and replacements at km50, Erick and I continued our run towards the second half of the route. This time we are monitoring our pace and exact distance from Erick's garmin as we maintained an easy pace of 6:30mpk. But the roads leading to Orani is quite narrow and busy, we have to run on the graveled surface to avoid being sideswiped by vehicles especially the huge buses. This kind of road situation continued until km82 heading to Lubao, Pampanga. We crissed-cross the highway just to find a suitable running surface thus making me more cautious with my foot landing.

Suddenly after km54, I felt a slight discomfort in my right knee, which Erick suspected it to be a case of runner's knee, but I'm doubtful of it. After 50km+ of running with blister, this knee thing emerged and somewhat added to my worries. I am more concerned this time because at the back of my mind, the worst is approaching. I stayed calm and felt the knee stride after stride, I have been in this situations for so many times. I could still run for a short period of time then walk to rest for a while; I told Erick that my situation is already a liability and egged him to go ahead. At km60, the time was 08:17am, we pitstopped and refilled our resources as I told Erick to go ahead which he politely obliged.

with Eric at the roads in Abucay
Challenging one's self.

After km60 I employed the galloway method since the knee was bothering me, the blisters were just lemon compared to what the knee brings. Every pitstop became shorter at 5km intervals. I carried-on until I reached the next time station at km65, time check was 09:02am, the sun was brightly up. My rhythm was still good and the enthusiasm was just the same. After sometime, I exited the old Bataan highway and headed towards Gapan-Olongapo Road, the busiest of all, here I was running at the roadside to keep myself safe from the speeding vehicles. I passed by Layac junction and reached the Bataan-Pampanga boundary. It was 10:08am when I was at km70.

beneath the Bataan-Pampanga boundary marker

After a brief pitstop at km73, I glanced on Dennis, walking behind me, and waited for him. Together we journeyed the next 10km of the route. He was concerned about his knee, and so am I, so we resolved on doing a 10mpk walk. He's terribly fast even in his walk and sometimes I had to jog just to catch-up on him. This long route was where the ordeal had begun for most of the participants. Many were already walking. The elements played a major role. After crossing km82, the wind suddenly halted. We were under the scorching heat of the sun, at 41 degrees as I found out later. It was 12:10pm, and the heat was punishing us. A group of bikers, maybe hundreds of them passed us, when suddenly I felt I was being light-headed. I could sense my vision getting blurred, and the bikers doubled. I could feel I'm about to collapse anytime soon, the worst feeling I've had in years. Fear struck on me.

I submitted myself to my support crew for verification, this time I'm more of feeling nauseous. I doused myself with cold water with sponges all over. I urged Dennis, who was with me to go ahead, as I would prefer to have a rest. I started to whistle, calling on the wind to blow again, and so it did. The wind arrived and cooled me down as I sat under the shade of a young mango tree. One by one my friends and runners from behind reached us and checked on me. Slowly, I felt better, and continued on my goal.

with Dennis at the stretch heading to Lubao
On my own.

My walks were so small from the start until I found my rhythm and increased my pace. I soldiered the remaining distance until I reached km90 at 2:39pm. Xty was surprised when a call from the bdm ambulance reached her. It was me at the other end checking on them where they were, because they did not find the detour after km91, in Guagua. I had to find a way to reach them since my fluids were drained and my phone was left at the vehicle. The bdm ambulance was the last resolve and the crew were generous enough to lend some help. After a while, somewhere at km92, Xty received a call from JunC, inquiring my whereabouts. Jay had finished, I supposed.

During the opening of the secondwind running store in Ortigas, Jay and I were invited to do a run from the first store to their new branch. Along the route we were chatting of some future plans, when I divulged my intention of joining the 2010 bdm. He was surprised when he heard my plan and even kidded, "ano namang nakain mo at sasali ka dun?" I told him it's because the challenge was there. A worthy try is looming. And we ended our run that way. After two weeks, I received a call from Jay asking me if I already signed-up for bataan. I thought it was the corregidor race that he was saying. He added that he already signed-up for the 2010 bdm that caught me by surprise. Just days ago it was just I who showed the intentions, and by this time it was him who's egging me to. After two days I made myself in too, he was 123rd on the list, me at 126th; and the rest was history.

Little by little I inched myself closer to the finish line. The sun at this time was cooperating but the wind was still hot. I could feel the excitement from every support vehicle that I passed by, the smiles and the encouragement from everyone was overflowing. The last 7km of the route was the most exciting, it was 3:26pm. I felt stronger, wanting to run, but the luxury of walking to the finish line weighed more. The bdm markers slowly receded as I got closer to the old train station. I'm just about to finish one of the toughest race on earth.

somewhere in Bacolor

At the last bend, I saw the glory that was the finish line. The bdm banner dangling atop waiting for me to reach her. I continued my slow journey, in the middle of the cheering, smiling and lively people that lined each side of the narrow passage until I crossed the finish line. I had finished the race, I overcame the challenge, with all my best on that day. It was 04:35pm.

crossing the finish line

receiving my award from the race director

More pics at the multiply site here.


  1. congratulations sir veneer, for yet again reaching another milestone!

  2. I remember that mixed-up conversation of Corregidor and Bataan! Believe it or not it was also Atty. Jon and Don who had egged me on to join after a round of beers! Congratulations for finishing this one. Am sure you will be running stronger again!

  3. Sir Galing mo! Isa kang tunay na IDOL!!! Congratulations to your wife Xty as well!

  4. Wilson - Thanks. You're getting better and better too, congratulations on your hongkong success.

    Jay - Nakuha pala sa beer huh! Thanks bro, and for all the support that you shared. Congratulations too.

    Rodel - Maraming salamat. You ran the bdm very well, but I noticed that my walking is just the same with your speed, kaya tuloy lalo ako ginanahan sa paglakad (LOL). Congratulations too.

  5. Reading the part 2 of your story brought back a lot of memories. As I've always said, the finish line is like an icing on the cake - sweeter.

    Congratulations! Rest well.

  6. Idol Vener congrats! hope your knee gets better see you on the road... Sundaywarrior

  7. mabuhay ka vener. i never doubted in your talent. so, see you next year ultramarathoner!


  8. Jon - Tama ka, sarap ng feeling, let's blow-out the candle. Thanks again.

    Chito - It's getting better and better, actually the pain disappeared after km72, I only took it slowly. Congrats too.

    Jonel - Thank you very much. Yours was a stellar performance. Congratulations, the hardcore way.

  9. Congratulations fantatic on what you did. it was nice to see you also in the BDM awarding!!!.regards and see you in the future races - patrick concepcion

  10. Nice account, Vener...Indeed, a willing spirit can never be put down by mere pains of the body.

    Saludo ako sayo, Bro!

  11. congrats IDOL Vener !!! :)

    --- Marky_mark---

  12. Patrick - Thanks, it's good to see you too during the awarding. See you again.

    Pojie - Thanks to you and congratulations too for finishing this daunting task. See you again.

    Mark - Maraming salamat. Kelan ulit tayo tatakbo rito sa so. triangle?

  13. Inspirational! One of the best race reports I've ever read. Congrats on finishing, what I believe is the most difficult ultramarathon race in the country. Relax muna Vener, rest enough and recover.

  14. Bong - Thank you. Dahil sa haba ng bdm route, napahaba rin ang kwento, I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. You're right, I'm taking it slowly and might shy away from long distance running for the time being. Regards to you.