I woke up at around 4:00 am, did my usual morning routine and at about 4:45, I was already walking on my way to the base camp where I would be running my first 20k trail run.
As initially planned, I would run this race on a slow, easy pace. (No thanks to my wet shoes)
After the gun went off at 5:30, we ran about a kilometer of road before we entered the trail proper. There was a long queue of people awaiting their turn to start from the slight downhill slope before we could enter the lahar-filled bottom of the Sacobia river.
During the first part of the race, I slowed down and grabbed my camera phone so that I could take pictures of the other runners while everyone was still “clean”. As I have always said before, at the end of any trail encounter, we would all have the same shoe color: muddy brown!
As we approached the first part of the river, I was happy with my shoes (I would’ve been happier if they were dry to begin with) because the water have not penetrated my Gore-Tex shoes. I was thinking how difficult it would be later on for those runners wearing regular (read: breathable) running shoes since I am sure that at this point, their feet would all be wet.
Some of the runners were cautious while most of them ran along the wet riverbed with gusto, as if playing in the flooded streets of Metro Manila! I thought to myself: “Now that’s the spirit”.
I rejoiced too soon: later, I have reached the part of the river that was about 6 inches deep and way higher than my shoes. You see, the thing about Gore-Tex shoes is that it is waterproof: it keeps the water out but once the water gets in …. tsk-tsk.
I took things slow from that point and even stopped before the wooden bridge and took pictures of it too. It was at this point that I saw HighAltitude running back to the finish line! (he is fast!)
As I was about to reach the highest point of the trail, I was surprised to see Ben Chan himself taking pictures of all the runners and at the same time praising us for our achievement; now talk about a real hands-on person. Good work Ben!
I ran the trail with so much delight (except for the muddy/slippery parts), it has been a couple of years since the last time I have been on the trail and it felt good.
As I was about to descend the first trail, I had a problem with the camera phone and it took me a good 2 to 3 minutes before I could make it work again. It was at this time I have noticed that I wasn’t anymore with the mid-pack of the runners : I was already alone: there was no one in front of me and no one behind me. I must’ve been taking it too easy.
So after getting a bottle of water from the aid station, I decided to run through the deeper parts of the river.
Later, I saw 2 groups of 2 people trekking /running through the river. (thank God I’m not alone anymore). I soon overtook them but later felt pain on my right big toe. Darn it, I knew if I continued running at race pace, (there was still around 5 km to go) I would end up with blisters on my feet. It was also at this point that I started feeling hungry and felt cramps on my right leg
In the end, I decided to run slowly and walk at times if just to reduce the pain on my feet. After all, I didn’t travel all the way to Clark to get trampled by a mammoth and get free blisters along the way
As I was about several hundred meters from the finish line, Isko gave me a power bar and a bottle of water; enough to give me a minor boost to at least jog thru the finish line.
The trail we passéd thru was an established trail as the path is wide unlike the path taken by the 100km trail runners where trails were created specifically for this race.
For me, there are two things that are important in a race : the safety of the runners and hydration. I give Coach Rio flying colors for this one.
Bolt and Isko
That’s about it … you see, I still have to wash my shoes
20 km, the north face 100, trail running