100 Kilometers To Remember

At the starting line in Tabuelan, Cebu
Starting line in Tabuelan, Cebu (photo by Reynan Opada)

Last night (Thursday), the G6 Runners had a simple get-together at Total Gas Station – Mandaue to plan for the group’s 2nd anniversary celebration this August. Nine of us who finished the gruesome Leg 3 of the CUC 100K Ultramarathon last July 27-28 attended the gathering. Seven out of those nine completed the CUC 100K trilogy, one finished Legs 2 and 3, while I am a newly-minted ‘centurion’ via Leg 3. And while the agenda of the meeting was really planning for the group’s 2nd year party, we can’t help but talk about our 100 kilometers experiences! And more!

At Km20, thumbs up!
Km20, thumbs up! (photo by John Domingo)

Running a 100 kilometer distance would be very difficult if there is no purpose to push you, no motivation to drive you, no passion to propel you, and no determination to make you finish what you’ve started. The very reason I attempted this thing considered by many as ‘madness’ is to celebrate GOD’s goodness and faithfulness in our lives before I will turn 34 years old. I chose running because it is the activity I enjoyed the most, it is the exercise that helped me lose 40 pounds, and it is the pastime where I can clear my mind and listen to HIS still, small voice. I chose 100 kilometers so that it will be long, cool, scenic, and relaxed (?)… or so I thought. Little did I know that my greatest challenge as a runner was up ahead of me!

I made my game plan as simple as possible — relax intervals of running and walking during the first 50km (Tabuelan to Balamban), aiming to get it in 8 hours, then walk the uphills, and relax intervals of running and walking again for the downhills in the second half (Balamban to the Family Park in Cebu City via Transcentral Highway), hoping to hit the century mark within 18 hours.

Km35 with a runner from General Santos City
Km35 with a runner from Gen. Santos City (photo by Joy Grimard)

As the event started at 6pm in July 27 with 204 runners, everything went well for me. I was praying and thanking GOD and singing songs in my head. Even the rain which started pouring at Km35 didn’t bother me, thanks to the disposable raincoat I bought 2 days before the race. The streets were well lit because of the many support vehicles of the different running groups, who also shared their nutrition and hydration even to non-teammates! I myself am a recipient to their unselfish act as they gave me water, energy drinks, softdrinks, bananas and liniment throughout the route!

I reached Km50 in Balamban after 7 hours 45 minutes, which is 15 minutes ahead of my planned 8 hours, and good enough to let me sleep for about 15 minutes when I saw a ‘lantay’ with roof at Km55! I rested again at Km60 water station, where there are falling rocks and landslides nearby, for about 10 minutes. It was almost halfway on my climb to the highest elevation of the route, which is 2,904 feet above sea level. As soon as I stood up, I felt some pain at the back of my left knee. I stretched it and continued walking the hills of the dreaded Brgy. Cansomoroy and it never bothered much. But when downhills came and I tried running, the pain became excruciating and I can’t fold my left knee! That’s when I decided to take a pain reliever.

Paced with Menchu Lyn in the last 5km
Paced with Menchu Lyn in the last 5km (photo by Joy Grimard)

The medicine relieved the severe discomfort for more than an hour and it started creeping back again. At Km70, my G6 Runners teammate Honeylet Cyd, who was supporting her boyfriend Mark Abol, gave me Arcoxia and it lasted for about 2 hours. I asked another pain reliever at the AMRO medic station in Busay, near Km90. It was disappointing to limp and walk and occasionally slow jog the downhills. It was heartbreaking that I got injured for the very first time during an event. It was regretting to think that I could have performed better.

Despite all of these, I was comforted and still managed to smile because somehow, it made me realize that there will be times when everything won’t go our way and we became impatient and discouraged but we can always cast all our burdens to GOD for HE cares for us, when all we have to do is be still and know that HE is GOD because nothing is impossible with HIM.

2km to go! (photo by Yaz Soon)
2km to go! (photo by Yaz Soon)

My wife Espie texted me that I got 1 hour 15 minutes before the cut-off time of 20 hours when I passed by Marco Polo Hotel, which is about 7 kilometers to go. I gathered myself and started running, giving it all that’s left of me. I caught up with Menchu Lyn of the Talisay City Runners Club (TCRC) and we paced each other until the entrance of Family Park, where I went ahead and never mind the pain I felt with my injury. I was having mixed emotions as I neared the finish line and saw my wife waiting for me. I cannot explain how I felt after my longest, hardest and most painful journey on foot ever! It was the sweetest and most humbling experience, and in the end, I am truly blessed!

100 kilometers, 19 hours 50 minutes 37 seconds, 140th male and 166th finisher overall! All glory to GOD!

Congratulations to all the winners, finishers and organizers, ThinkTank of Cebu Ultrarunners Club (CUC), for a successful event!

Thank you to the many people who have helped me throughout the race route — Honeylet Cyd, Sam Pilapil, and manong driver, Ermin Pepito and the Indie Runners support crew, Urasaki Akemi, Bo Shong, Lulu Valiente, Josephine Mejala, Geff Senica, Joy Grimard and the TCRC support crew, Bryan Joseph Rodica and the Sugbu Runners support crew, John Domingo, Jenny Valiente, Kevin & Aiza Camacho, our PhilAm Life friends who celebrated with us at the finish line, my G6 Runners teammates led by ‘el presidente’ Yaz Soon, all my family and friends who prayed for me, and of course, my wife Espie! Thank you, thank you, thank you very much and GOD bless all of you!

Whew! Finally! (photo by Dr. Willie Estepa)
Whew! Finally! (photo by Dr. Willie Estepa)
Race route & elevation profile (Source: www.dailymile.com)
Race route & elevation profile (Source: http://www.dailymile.com)
Having fun on the road! (photo by Joy Grimard)
Having fun on the road! (photo by Joy Grimard)

(Holy Bible references: 1 Peter 5:7, Psalms 46:10 & Luke 1:37)

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