What difference would it make in your life if you had an absolutely unshakable confidence in your ability to achieve anything you really put your mind to?
Have you ever had moments where you doubt yourself and your capability to actually accomplish things and entertained thoughts in your head saying you can’t do it, you’re not good enough, you’re weak, never strong enough, and you’re bound to fail? I have! Quite a lot of times! Well, almost all the time actually! But I am just glad that despite all the doubts, I often prove myself wrong. Photo below is a proof! Doubted I’d ever finish a 70km+ Mountain Marathon, and I did! 😀
Hello again friends, mumsh, veshies, fans (chars!), and oh, haters? It’s me again! It’s been quite a while as usual since my last race report entry. My bad! Life got in the way and struggled to get my writing mojo back. Soooo! What have I missed? A lot I guess. As much as I want to constantly write an entry here, my schedule is crazy and sometimes procrastination gets in the way. Yeah, Spank me! Okay, I am just excited to share my last ultra trail race experience. Long overdue actually. I have been wanting to blog about it after getting back from that out of town race but, yeah, I got lazy and busy. 😀
So back to the questions above, do I ever doubt myself? Certainly I did have doubts and a lot of demons in my head when I signed up for my last race, the Mt. Talinis Ultra Mountain Marathon 2019. It wasn’t really something that I and my team planned for long, it was a sudden decision through the persuasion and encouragement of RD Carlo Chiong who also served as our coach and mentor in preparing for the race. It was not in my plans just yet to increase race distances as I wanted to be more comfortable with 50kms first before going up a notch higher. But my training partner was too determined to run 50miles in Mapawa that I committed to her that I’d join her in trainings in preparation for the hell-ish Mapawa 50miles race. But because we were part of the organizing team, running the said race became impossible. Hence, the shift of race and venue! Pla decided to run in Mt. Talinis Mountain Ultra Marathon and encouraged me to register as well so we get our 70km race unlocked! It was a bit of a hard decision actually but I signed up a day after she did anyway. So, there! 70km trail running for me and my training buddy.
At first I was just cool about it, not excited, not threatened, steady lang. Until the days progressed, I felt like I was cramming with training, though I think we were just right on track training-wise. But still, nerves were starting to get the best of me as the final day approaches. The demons in my head were starting to creep in and there I was, beginning to get scared and actually entertained the thoughts of bailing out! It was my first 70km trail running race and I didn’t think I would be able to make it to the finish line on time. The intermediate cut-offs were intimidating me big time! I always get intimidated with intermediate cut-offs! Looks like I developed trauma with intermediate cut-off as my first ultra dnf was due to not
reaching the AS (Aid Station) before intermediate cut-off time, though that was my first and only DNF so far. But anyway, the training continued.
So, there I was getting all paranoid, wanting to just bail out, with all the doubts in my head. Thanks to my friends who were there showing their confidence in me, for actually telling me that I can do it, that I am strong, have become stronger, and that I am prepared judging from all the trainings I did to prepare for the big day. It all helped me to push through.
Off for the Race!
We flew from Cagayan de Oro to Dumaguete 3 days before the race so we have ample time to rest and get longer sleep before the race. I’m glad we did that as I was able to grab a LOT of sleep which I have been depriving myself with for the past few days. We are talking about having just 4-5 hours of sleep daily. So the 2-days earlier arrival was an opportunity to just rest and get a lot of sleep! and of course EAT!
So Finally it’s D-day! Putting all trainings and preparations to test! I was more excited than nervous surprisingly. It helps when you are running with friends who displays confidence and excitement! The courage and positive vibe around me was just contagious! And the pre-race photo opps with runner friends as always, we cannot miss that!Trust me, it helps calm the nerves as well 😀 .
Gunstart was at 11:00PM and there we were bravely toeing the line to conquer the trails of Mt. Talinis, and ourselves! We were running on pavement at the start of the race and I was pacing with my friends Pla and Juliet comfortably, until I was catching my breath realizing I wasn’t running in my own comfortable pace so I have to let go of the pace and went with the race at my own pace but still of course having in mind the first cutoff (28Km in 7hrs). Later at one minor aid station I caught up with Celso, was actually thankful because the next sections before going to Casaroro were dark and trail marks were a bit of a challenge. We got to the the 28th km of the race, and was excited hearing drumbeats, it sounded like the station was festive! We went a bit faster only to find out that the noise was actually coming from the protesters who blocked our way to Casaroro. So there! we were stranded for almost 3 hours as it took that long to appease those protesters and let us through. Imagine, we were no longer in race mode, adrenaline went low, it rained so we were on our windbreakers already. So reset muna! We went our way to the most technical part of the race. An 18km out and back route. Those steep climbs going to lake Nailig felt like going through a spartan race obstacle in the jungle! It took me almot 4 hours to complete that loop. I got out alive!
Stuck for 3 hours here. Waiting for the tension to subside. Ang dugyot ko na! hahahaha! 28kms down
Alone, I got out of Casaroro and went ahead for another loop to the Japanese Shrine and that dreaded 12km loop to pulang bato where I had to brave climbing one assault alone at almost 8PM! I was so ready to give up and go back as I was having a hard time finding the trail marks. Good thing another runner caught up with me and we attacked that assault together and team-worked to find the trail marks.
After that assault and a 4km rocky terrain downhill alone again in the dark, I think I can safely say that when you are in a race, you have no time to entertain your fears as you just have one thing in mind…to get to the finish line! After that dreaded loop was the last 8km road run to Valencia Plaza – the Finish Line! I caught up with Dan, that guy who paced with me on that uphill route and we made it to the finish line 10PM! That was quite a relief finally crossing that Finish Line and completing the race despite all the odds! It’s just weird getting there dark and with almost no sign of it as an FL except for the event’s arc. I got my medal, ate a little, rested for a while, and headed back to where we were staying – still in awe of what I just accomplished in 20 hours! Thankful to God for the strength and protection.
The race have so much to improve on from race kit claiming, race briefing, and even some of the foods in the AS (solid food), and drinks please! There’s no such thing as a perfectly organized race but we hope this is something our organizing teams and race directors will take constructively. 🙂