It was a steady first fifty kilometers. Our goal is to be at the Km50 in about seven hours or so. It was dark and nippy. Mark, Jerry, and I stayed together. We took turns in leading the way… sometimes encouraging other runners to join us especially on the really dark parts. Jerry is a very good timer and pacer; very disciplined. I really have to give it to him. Mark and I really just followed his lead. I really enjoyed the whole stretch despite early signs of knee pain. I took my pain reliever and something for the tummy at Km 10. I also had some dysmenorrheal symptoms. Of all times, why am I having all this kinds of discomforts now?
It became apparent at Km 35 that we will be able to reach Km50 right on target. I started feeling better from then on but it was getting hot. It was about that time that the idea of doing a Paula Radcliffe crossed my mind. Since it’s really dark, I guess no one would even dare pore over me in that attire. So without so much fanfare, I went like this from Km41 to Km 50.
I was walking ahead of Jerry and Mark at around Km 45 when I heard a runner trying to make small talk. I can’t remember what we talked about but I clearly remember part of what he said… “sa style mong yan malalaspag ka”. I just looked at him and told him “ok lang po ako. ang balak lang po namin ay makarating sa Km 50 in seven hours or more”. I stopped and retraced my steps back to where Jerry and Mark was. Jerry told me “ok ka lang maglakad, huwag mo kaming antayin para hindi sayang oras mo”. I did not say anything. I just stayed with them from then on. I don’t know why but I kinda felt the sarcasm in that man’s voice. It’s my first time to see him in any race. He was one those guys wearing the singlet that looked like a camouflage. Oh well, that’s your opinion. I’ll do my thing the best way I know how, wether you approve of it or not.
We reached Km50 at around 060530H. We decided to stay a bit to change, eat and do some personal necessities. I was still feeling good. I reinforced the plasters of my feet, changed into new pair of socks and shoes then donned a singlet. It’s already daybreak so there is no way I would run in my Paula Radcliffe attire hehehe
I left ahead of Jerry and Mark because I am already getting cold. I still ran with the boys until Km53. I told them to just go ahead and I will try to catch up with them if I still can.
Words are not enough to thank the two of you for that first leg. Blood compact it is, brothers! I will gladly do it again in our next races.
I was generally on my own after this. With the rate I am going, I am sure that I have enough time to cover the remaining distance even if I walk a little longer. I was trying to conserve my energy. Being alone is also a welcome respite. I had time to just reflect and pray. There is not much that I can remember during this time. It was just run-walk. No issues or whatever. I was still able to say hello to some very kind runners and supporters.
The pain in my left knee became evident at Km63. It was so painful I had to stop several times before I saw my support crew. I was on the verge of crying when I remember this converasation I had with a friend :
Tere: I am getting really nervous. Friend: It’s just 102. Don’t die. Tere: I am not going to die, but is it ok if I emote? Friend: No. That is worst than dying. With that statement ringing in my ears, i suppressed the urge to cry.
I started complaining to my support crew that my knee is giving up on me. I then started to request for some massage and if they can somehow stay close by.
I saw Mark at the vicinity of Km64… We are both ready to give up. We tried to encourage each other but in my heart I felt that if we stay together we might just decide to finally throw in the towel and declare a DNF.
I wasn’t able to contain my emotions when i saw JJ and Joen on my next stop. I really didn’t expect to see them there. You can see from the way i hugged him that I don’t want to let go anymore. At that point it was all downhill… I wanted to stop.
I was in so much pain. I was whining; I didn’t even want to take anything. My crew is now trying to encourage me… but at that time I didn’t even want to listen to it. It was all garbage to me. I left them without saying a word then i cried. I was so desolate. Every part of my body is screaming of pain. Not even the thought of finishing the race lifted my spirit. I felt I was dying…
I reached Km70 before 0800H. It means I have eight hours to cover the last 32Kms. I was trying to convince myself that I can do it even if I walk all the way to the finish line. But that was easier said than done… The following photos will tell you how I struggled.
I can’t remember how many times I asked my support crew how far I am from the finish line. What’s funny was that they told me several times not to mind the kilometer markers since it was not accurate. They always say its 74, 76, 78 instead of 72, 74, 76. I just nod when they tell me that. But at the back of my mind I was like “sino niloko nyo?”
I was painfully walking when another runner caught up with me. He asked where my companions are referring to Jerry and Mark. I tried to mumble a reply. He asked my name and he told me his.. The next thing I knew he was extending his hand for a handshake… I took it without saying a word. In normal circumstances I would have made a witty remark, compliment him with that formality but I was not under normal circumstances.
It was in Km74 when I began to throw tantrums at Maridol since she was forcing me to eat and drink. I know she has all the good intentions and it was what I really need, but I just can’t tolerate it anymore. I so wanted to tell her “eh di ikaw nalang kumain”, but I don’t even have the strength to speak. My toes are also beginning to irritate me. They are throbbing like hell. The thought of dying toenails should be the least of my worries, but when you are so tired and weary, little nuisance like that are magnified. Titanium Runner was even trying to make fun out of it by telling me to just offer mass for those little toes.
I promised my friends that I will make them proud of me in this race. I know they will understand if i decide to do a DNF, but I don’t think I can live with it. I tried to compose myself at Km 76; though I was still not in my element I tried to imagine wonderful things rather than focus on all my pains. My mind went as far as you know where…
Bruno Mars provided relief beginning Km78. I was now able to laugh at Grenade and feel the beat of Marry You.
I started running slowly, stopping after every song. It went for a while until it became two songs then three then four… I am getting my groove back. Let’s go back to road, baby!