January 25, 2010

Running Beyond: The Bataan Death March 50km Ultramarathon

The conquering of the bataan death march run had begun. Early morning of saturday, january 23, 2010, our group headed to mariveles, bataan for the reconnaissance run of the coming BDN102 ultra. This was the test run for the first half of the route, a 50km distance from mariveles to abucay in bataan. Heading north, we met the other groups in lakeshore and proceeded to bataan in a convoy of five vehicles. Tha travel too us about three and a half hours with pitstops at tabang, mexico and dinalupihan, before reaching our destination.

It was cold and breezy when I stepped out of our vehicle in mariveles, majority of the participants were already in the starting line, huddling. I jumped-in with them immediately as bald runner, the race director, delivered his pre-race speech. After some briefing and some photo-ops, we were sent out for the run.

The excitement begins.

"Start slowly, then back off. Because when it comes to 50-milers, pacing errors no longer penalize just your finishing time, but the possibility of finishing at all. Start of a full 30 seconds per mile slower than your prescribed pace. Hills, hills, hills! Whether your goal race is hilly or not, the more hills you do in training, the stronger you'll be and the better prepared for your ultra."

My first three kilometers was in easy mode, spent running alone and sometimes running with jun c. while jay was left behind. The next 4 to 7 kilometers were ascending, the summit about 240 meters high, I run relaxed incorporating walks most of the times. One cardinal rule in ultramarathon is to walk the uphills, no matter how steep. I stuck with my plan and covered the first seven in 50 minutes, feeling alright at all, until reaching our support crew.

The marathon pace.

"Middle distance workout. If the run is around 15 kilometers, you'll get an excellent workout, and you'll recover quickly from it. You can run this distance as a tempo run. Don't let your long runs drag on for hours. Keep your pace up. When doing your long runs, don't let your pace slow down to a shuffle."

I grabbed my hydration pack from our vehicle and proceeded with my run. I switched my pace to tempo in this rolling terrain battling the strong headwinds. The morning breeze is subsiding as the blinding sun got up on us. Jun c. and I ran side by side until the 14th marker. We continued our run exchanging leads from time to time. In between km 17 & 18, I caught up rod apolinario (rodrunner) and we ran together for one kilometer. This pace was a good training for jun c. who is in his last long run for his condura full marathon this february. We ran this route by the sea overlooking portion of manila bay, the busy ports of lamao and the oil refineries that lined the coastal bays of limay. At kilometer 28, jun c. completed his long run and I was left alone soldiering the remaining distance.

"Eat, drink and (try to) be merry. During the race, eat whatever worked for you during your training runs; cookies, raisins, figs, crackers, pretzels, energy bars, whatever. And drink continuously; eight ounces or so every fifteen minutes, including electrolyte-loaded sports drinks. Consider high-caffeine drinks such as mountain dew over the last miles."

Running alone, I employed my old strategies of enjoying the scenery and cheering with kids along the way, giving them high fives and exchanging greetings to avoid boredom, it works all the time. I stuffed myself with gels and hydrated regularly, I brought along raisins with me and the water from my hydration pack. At every support group location, I ate either boiled saba or eggs and hydrate with ice cold gatorade. Do not let hunger get ahead of you.

Beating the heat.

"Find a rhythm. One popular run/walk work pattern is to run 20 minutes, walk 5 minutes. Do this from the outset or after you've run the first 25 kilometers, or whatever pattern has worked best for you in your training. Some prefer a shorter mix of running 5 minutes, then walking one, believing that this is less stressful than the 20:5 pattern."

Somewhere in kilometer 35, I caught up with the group of isko and jeff of team hardcore, we ran side by side until I went ahead and caught up on totoy santos. We ran together exchanging stories until we caught up on another runner in ben saludario. The three of us pit stopped in our support vehicle and shared the food I brought along. We continued our journey under the searing heat of the sun. Walk breaks helped a lot in long distance running.

Somewhere in kilometer 41, jay caught up on us from behind. After a brief stop in the support vehicle, the four of us continued. At the last 2 kilometer, I was slowly left behind with the three inching their way ahead of me. I was comfortable with my own pace at the moment and didn't mind to get to them, until I received a call from jun c. regarding the location of the finish line. A kilometer away to the finish, I called xty to rely my message that I'm that close enough. I ran with my phone on my ear, this was the time wherein I'm on my strongest self. She wished me luck and hanged up the phone as I continued to end my race.

At the end of the line, bald runner and jonel were there to congratulate me for conquering this 50km ultramarathoning world. I was headed to the traditional cold bathing in "tabo" proportion and doused a full of iced water over me as they welcomed me to the club.

Thanks to the company of joey, franz and jun c. who lend their time for us. And jay for accommodating me in his support group.

My first step towards the historical bataan death march 102, 2nd edition ultramarathon was conquered. The first half can be done, there's no way the other half can't be.

more photos here.
and the 50km route here.

January 11, 2010

Back-To-Back Weekend

After the long holiday season I was back in training for the upcoming 2nd Bataan Death March 102km Ultramarathon. I intentionally dropped my mileage for a couple of week to brace-up for an intense weekly training program. My stats indicate that january and february is at the peak of my training session, which includes back-to-back long, lung-busting runs on saturdays and sundays, aside from 3 weekday runs of 15km at the most. Every week suggests a hard, daunting task of 90 to 120 kilometer runs. It wasn't a pushover since it requires a lot of discipline, sacrifice and hardwork, including the mental toughness that is associated with such.

01-09-10, saturday
04h05m09, 36km

Last saturday I was able to run 36km that lead me to four different cities of manila. I started at home in quezon city and took the new manila route to san juan before heading to santolan road and ortigas area to reach pasig city. I made a loop at tiendesitas in pasig before going back to qc via ortigas avenue, white plains avenue and katipunan road. Upon reaching katipunan flyover, I made a right turn at santos dizon and headed to marikina riverbanks.

The riverbank is evident of the wrath that typhoon ondoy brought to the country at the last quarter of the previous year. Tons of mud covered parts of the jogging trail, pontoon bridges were damaged as well as the floating restaurant and other landmarks. I was contemplating about the ordeal that the residents have had during the flood as I ran atop the ridge of the east side of the riverbank. The ridge is about four stories high from the waterline, yet the river swelled and reached the community that lined the riverbank. Many people perished here, but it was a sight to see people rise again. The muds were turned into greens as the people went back to plant vegetables. I was delighted to see people watering plants, selling harvests, kids playing and others jogging and biking. Reminiscent of a natural pinoy way of life, rising up after falling down.

Upon reaching tumana bridge, I headed to balara via katipunan avenue extension and capitol hills and made myself to up diliman before heading home. The route was long and daunting, considering I was running alone during this lsd. But, it's good to be back, I was never bored and felt strong allthroughout the run and reached home satisfied. Click here to view my route.

01-10-10, sunday
03h05m48, 27km

Sunday came for another 3-hour long run to back-up my weekend schedule. Xty and I started from home early and headed to up diliman. The temperature was quite humid along the busy thoroughfares but went to favorable as we reached the playgrounds of up diliman. The two of us covered our favorite route before runners filled the acad oval. This was the second sunday in a row that upd was filled with runners for there is no scheduled race in manila. After 01h30m, xty was finished and I continued my running alone. After another 01h35m, I called it a day. A good 27km was added to my weekend back-to-back run. Went home tired but still managed to sneak a sunday church schedule and a family birthday party late in the afternoon.

It's a good jumpstart for a fruitful running year and my blogging as well. Happy new year everyone, see you on the roads.

January 5, 2010

Fronting in 2010

A new thing for runners by runners is happening this 2010. Visit any of the major bookstores, secondwind stores and other outlets nationwide.