You guys know that I am so into strength/weights training because it brought me to this fitness level that I am in today. I never thought that putting in finishing a half marathon for this year in my bucket list could escalate like this that quick. My 21k or half marathon ambition was ticked off my bucket list then it led to another goal in the field of running. I shared about my first 21K trail marathon two months ago and I am not sure if I actually mentioned that the trail is a series composed of 3 legs scheduled 2 months apart each leg (21KM, 42KM, 50KM).
The 42K route
After completing the first leg (21km) last May, me and my team (RunFree CDO) made up our minds already to join the 2nd leg two months after. Having the Full Trail Marathon in mind, twice the hell-ish route we’ve experienced on the first leg, we did our best to prepare for it. We had our regular Sunday long runs taking routes which we thought would help us prepare for what’s to come on the race day, aside from our individual strength training at the gym or short weekdays run. And then! determined as we were to prepare for the marathon. we took our training a bit further by going farther! I meant literally farther from the city. We joined the Siargao International Marathon barely 3 weeks before the 2nd leg of the trail series. I’m actually glad we did because hard and technical as that Siargao route was, that definitely prepared our legs for the uphill climbs and downhill route at the trail.
Team RunFree CDO with Johanns (first placer in the women’s category) and Kenn
So finally, it was trail day! Being the first timer full trail marathoner as I was, I was honestly nervous before the gun. I looked around and realized probably I wasn’t the only one who felt high-strung. I knew these people prepared for this day but you know, nerves can get in the way. At the gun shot, I decided to take it slow, start slow because I know I have a long way to go. Of course keeping in mind the 12-hours cut-off time.
Ready or not, the race had to start!
at my 21st Kilometer…exhausted but we still have 21 more kilometers to finish!
That was definitely a very challenging trail. We started past 4AM so it was still a bit dark. The single-tracked muddy, slippery, and narrow trail path welcomed us as we made our entrance to the forest. I felt my headlamp’s light was not enough to light the path I was walking into. Thankfully I brought with me extra flashlight. I was thankful also to the company of my teammate Neil for staying with me for the most part of that trail. He wasn’t a newbie to trail running as he already ran the full marathon last year.
Check out video below to have a glimpse of what we went through during the trail/race.
There were number of technical downhills which I took very very carefully because downhills are my weakness, due to my right knee injury (self diagnosed 😀 :D). Apart from that, I have fear of heights, so looking from the top the downhill I have to conquer was nerve wracking! The unavoidable boulders and the oxygen draining peaks made the trail extra challenging! The hardest part of the race for me was when my right legs cramped while I was climbing one of the peaks. It was seriously painful but I know I cannot stop and end my race. I had to stretch my legs slowly while also also climbing the peak. Prayed all throughout the race to God for me to just finish it on or before the time. The cramps went away before I reached the peak. Thank God!
We just have to! We’ve been walking/running/climbing/crawling under the heat of the sun!
Each kilometer completed was a relief knowing that I am closer to the finish line each time my runkeeper application would give an update. I’ve endured running and climbing peaks under the heat of the sun and suffered from blisters pain on my last 10 kilometers. Although that was a hard trail, the beautiful view was a relief and a great reward especially the times where I reached the peak and get to see the beautiful scenery from where I was. It made all the effort so worth it! And oh! The cold streams we passed through were lifesavers! We indulged ourselves in dipping into the cold water for few minutes before proceeding.
The last 4 kilometers felt like forever! I was feeling the blisters pain in both feet already that I thought the easiest and fastest way to get it all over with is to run my last 4 kilometers which I did! hahaha! crazy but yes! after 10 hours and 40 minutes I got to the finish line in one piece! The prayer never stopped really. I arrived 6th (women’s cat).
It was a tough trail and I almost resigned to the thought of not going to the last leg! But as expected my teammates are as brave, persistent, and determined! so yes! that won’t be my last hell-ish trail marathon! We are going to finish strong with the Ultra Trail Marathon (50K).