Iah and I tried to amuse ourselves by teasing Jucel Laya, the fourth placer of the BDM 102 (Lake Dasher’s second runner) because he seems so stressed waiting for Loo their first runner. Jucel is actually Randy’s replacement. Randy had to back-out on the last minute because of injury; he’s fast mind you, he was able to overtake 5 runners despite starting last on the second leg, but as faith would have it nabangga sya ng jeep. He was limping and hurting but that didn’t stop him from finishing his leg. Our Nam got lost, but still managed to arrive at the second transition in SM Sta. Rosa on time. Actually, a number of runners got lost on the second leg, the route was just so congested and the signage of the Relay was a bit off. Even the motorcycle support of each runner is somewhat lost too.
I thought we had lots of time to spare so we stayed a bit at SM, Sta Rosa. Our next stop now is at Dona Jovita Resort where Tin and I will start our leg – 13km under the scorching heat of the sun. We also didn’t anticipate the traffic – the emotions in the van when we are trying to find other way to get to Calamba is unexplainable. We were so worried; we tried to laugh it off but deep inside the pressure are getting on my nerves. Apart from not reaching the area on time we are also worried about Jucel. The anxiety somewhat evaporated when we got the laugh of our lives with this:
Gerry: Ok ka na? Sabihin mo lang ha kung hindi mo kaya. Mamaya na tayo pumunta sa hospital pagkatapos mahaba pa naman oras.
Tin: Ipa-xerox natin ang tuhod nya?
Xerox?! It took us a while to recover from that one… Tin meant X-ray pero nice diba? Siguro kailangan naming magpa Xerox ng ulo after this hehehehe
The next laugh was courtesy of me… Tin asked me to pin her race bib, I did with no incident but after a few seconds Iah was again laughing… I pinned the bib upside down! I don’t know how that happened maybe I was really lost in thought. If I am going to write everything that happened to us from Sta. Rosa to Calamba… ewan ko nalang, baka hanggang bukas diko pa ito matapos. I might just write a book (ambisyosa)!
After 100 years we found our way, Mark was already at the transition area. The Lake Dashers lost 15minutes because Tin was not yet there when he arrived. The 3rd leg is the hottest, I was worried about Carlo – I was praying that he’s fine and also hoping that I will arrive at the transition area ahead of him. As if on cue the next time I look up – there’s Carlo, walking! We were cheering him up but all of a sudden he sat down. We panicked; he is being hampered by cramps! It was good that we passed him on time and had Edward, our support attend to him.
It took Carlo a while to reach the transition area from where we saw him so I had time to warm-up and attend to personal necessities. It’s now my turn… I promised Iah I will do my best to finish my leg within 2hours so he will not be so pressured to beat the cut-off. Silently though, I was aiming for a 1:30 finish.
I drenched myself with lots of water before I left the transition area. It was already a little past 12nn so it was really hot. I am not very familiar with the area but I know that I will be passing Camp Eldridge, Splash Mountain, and UP. With that in mind I vowed not to walk until such time that those landmarks are behind me. I don’t have a watch so I asked a bystander of the time he said 1225H. I then turned to Manong motor and asked him if he remembered the time when we took off. He said 1210H. I then requested if he can please remind me if it’s 1300H. That will be around 50minutes since I started so it will be the right time for me to take my “Gerber”. 1300H became my motivation, but then it seems so farfetched at that time… I can’t describe how hot it is; I tried to entertain myself with the scenery, the campaign materials, just about everything in sight. I was conscious of my hydration, I took liquids even if I’m not thirsty, doused myself even if my clothes are still wet. Since I also don’t know how long I already covered or how far am I to the transition, I silently targeted signposts, buildings, trees… I was talking to myself. I was imagining happy times… maybe this is how my friends who joined the BDM 102 felt. Now I can truly understand what they went through. I know the distance I covered is incomparable to what they covered but the feeling of running alone – difficult to translate into words.
Finally, Manong said – Ala una na. I slow jogged took “Gerber”, drank pocari, then buhos ng tubig. Fifty minutes had elapsed I still have forty minutes to go.
I guess i was already on the road for more than one hour when I realized that I didn’t passed any signage or banner that has that big arrow on it showing you where to go… with panic in my voice I blurted “ Manong, hindi po ba ako nawawala? bakit parang ang tagal ko ng tumatakbo wala pa akong nakikita?” he said no. Then another bystander asked Manong where I started and where I am going then he said “ay ang layo pa nun”. What!?
I am getting tired, but all of a sudden I felt a drizzle and the clouds is slowly covering the sun. Then I thought of Iah – this is his wish! Then I shouted “God loves us, Iah!” to Manong’s surprise. Then he said “sige lang basta may pakaliwa o pakanan diyan sa unahan, yun na yun.”
True enough I saw an arrow from a distance pointing to the left… I turned and there they are my cheering squad! I was so happy to finish but Iah was arguing with the Marshalls because they don’t want him to give his hydration needs to Manong motor kasi daw bawal… bawal? Eh kanina pa kami nagbibigay ng supplies. Naman! I took his bag and gave it to our support motorcycle then I told him to just go. I finished my leg in 1:37 giving Iah ample time to finish the last leg.
Iah ran in the rain. We were so glad that is the weather when he started. All of us prayed for that kind of weather, but I guess he out prayed us all.
We cheered Iah on our way to the finish line and stayed with him for a while. He was strong. He got what he wanted so there is no way he’s going to slow down. I guess the confrontation in the transition area fueled his adrenaline even more.
We finished Day one in 9:34. Out of 19 teams that participated only 14 was able to finish within the cut-off time of 10hours. We are part of those 14 teams; my team came in last but who cares? As what we’ve been saying, we are not ELITES. Tin said we are the only “commoners”. Indeed we are, but to be surrounded by these outstanding runners is more that what I wished for. To go this far is already an achievement. We felt like Champions! Jan’s team, the UPLB Mountaineers also made it to the cut-off. Congrats Lake Dashers Congrats Flash Forward Congrats UPLB Mountaineers.
We checked-in at our hotel before 1700H. We were also wishing for a sumptuous meal! We went to the complex before 1800H to watch the awarding and to have dinner. The meal was not bad but not good either so we decided to just order cup noodles. It was good only to find out that Iah’s is expired! Good thing he just took a sip…
All in all it was a dramatic Day one. It was fun rubbing elbows with the best of the bests!
We then decided that our teams will just pace each other tomorrow especially now that Jucel’s knee is getting worse. His team is actually telling him that its ok not to go on with the race, but warrior as he is he said he’ll go on and that he will take it slow.
With that settled we all went to bed…
See you tom!