Monday, August 27, 2012

I Shall Return

These three (3) famous words of Gen. MacArthur had brought me back to Tacloban City.  But with a different scenario of course.  I came back to join an ultramarathon (albeit, the relay division) organized by frontrunner aka Jonel Mendoza.
Revisiting UP Tacloban Campus

Decades ago, I came to Tacloban to take the UP College Admission Test (UP-CAT).  I passed the examination but sadly, I didn't make it to the quota at UP-Diliman for the BS Accountancy course.  I had the choice of pursuing the course but in Tacloban campus.  Though near my hometown (Catarman, Samar), i didn't know anyone there (in short, wala akong matitirhan!) unlike in Manila where I have a sister and her family.  So, my benefactor (aka big sis) decided to proceed in sending me to Manila but in a different school.  I became a Red Warrior instead!

Fast  forward to August 2012, hubby and I flew the first flight to Tacloban via Cebu Pacific.  The schedule of this race nicely coincided with the very long weekend - Monday is end of Ramadan and Tuesday is the Ninoy Aquino day.  Our first day in Tacloban was spent exploring the city (on foot!).

Then, we had fun at the pre-race briefing and carbo-loading party!  We met the famous BR (Bald Runner, veteran of ultra-marathon races in the Philippines).

Left my comb in Manila thus the wind-blown hair :)
The longest distance I ran before joining this race was a little over 21K.  But, I was confident that I could run  the 25K - my supposed part of the 50K relay that we registered for.  We met a lot of new faces during the pre-race briefing but by their looks, I knew they are already experienced runners.  C'mon, who would spend some fortune to fly to Tacloban to run 50K?? Of course, only serious runners!

Though confident with the 25K, I was actually in for some last minute surprises.  First, the 50K became 51K.  And worse, the first runner will run 30k while the second runner will run 21K.  What?? 30K?? But, I only prepared for 25K!  Hubby told to just think that the additional 5K will just be the usual route we jog every morning at our village!  Yeah, right ! But after running 25K?  That seems not right anymore.  He lets me choose either to run the longer route or run under the heat??  Well of course, I'd choose the 30K.  Who wants to run from 9 to 11AM??

So at exactly 3:30 AM I, armed with 2 energy gels, Rudy sunglasses, head flashlight and most importantly self-confidence, lined up at the starting line (Tacloban Convention Center) with around 200 others.

Unlike the previous races I joined in which the focus is on the finish, this one is more on the journey.  I immensely enjoyed the first 20K especially the sights in Palo and going to the San Juanico bridge.  I passed by the Macarthur Landing very early in the morning so I wasn't able to stop by to have my picture taken (and I also didn't carry camera nor cellphone anyway!)

I got really really tired at 25K mark.  See, I only prepared myself for the 25K!  So I did run-walk strategy.  It was really a struggle since the sun is now up and humidity is really high!  It took me 4 hours and 20 min (more or less) to reach my destination.
Gotta reach the turnaround point.

 It was really fun at the finish line.  Jonel, another celebrity at ultra marathons, announced the names of each runner who arrives at the finish line!
Finish line!  Already bathed while hubby looked exhausted :)

The prizes!
 The following day, before we leave Tacloban, we invaded the mansion of the Marcoses and acted royalty :))

Si Maganda at  si Malakas!

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