March 11, 2011
I was the third woman to cross the KM 102 checkpoint in 17 hours and 34 minutes. The possibility of a podium finish got my brain pumped up, but it was also then that I made my first mistake.
The race plan called for a 30-minute nap and a (solid food) meal break, but then I decided to ditch the nap and meal break and forged ahead.
But ditching the rest and meal break slowed me down. At one point I went inside a Mc Donald’s restaurant in San Fernando to use the bathroom and found myself sleeping while sitting on the throne. It was only the pounding on the door by the restaurant staff that woke me. My crew told me to sleep for a bit and so we took a thirty-minute break and slept by the roadside in front of the Subaru showroom.
We started to keep moving again at 1:30 AM. Alternating walking and running my brother Alex who is a fireman paced me all the way to Tarlac. He would point to a tree or lamp post 200 meters ahead and we would run, then walk 100 meters.
When we reached Mabalacat it was almost sunrise and Eugene told me I wasn’t dead last because there were still two runners behind me. Eugene who was also monitoring my pace told me to keep running and cut my walk breaks to 30 seconds or else I won’t make it to cut-off.
And so my brother and I went on robot mode with a walk run ratio of two electric posts is to one (100 meters run: 50 meters walk). When reached the last junction before entering the road to the Capas National Shrine my brother and I ran faster. We had two hours and 45 minutes left, which meant we had to run all the way if we were to make it within the 30-hour cut-off.
At 2 hours 30 minutes to cut-off I still had 16KM to cover, but then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I could feel the heat bearing down on me and blisters which I never noticed in the last 144 KM’s made me feel like I was walking on hot coals. I stopped to remove the duct tape on my feet and changed shoes three times wasting thirty minutes in the process.
My brother and I resumed our run-walk routine, but when I reached Capas National Shrine (11 KM to finishline) I felt faint and woozy from the heat and simply lost the will to run and race the clock. I thanked my brother for pacing me and told him to rest in the car so I can walk the rest of the way.
In the end, I crossed the finishline in 31 hours 8 minutes and 5 seconds. Too slow for a buckle, but good enough for a finisher’s trophy and medal. Out of 59 starters, I was the 36th out of 38 souls who finished the country’s first 100-miler. Only 34 made it to the cut-off of 30 hours. Being the 3rdwoman, it would have been a podium finish, had I stuck to the game plan and not choke in the last 9 kilometers of the race.
For the first time after three years serious running I cried tears of pure and utter regret thinking how close I was to “greatness”, yet I let the chance slip through in the last 6 miles.
But then Eugene consoled me by saying that now we know I have what it takes to finish 100 miles and that I can be a real contender and most importantly, he’s truly proud of me. Looking back I think it’s funny how despite all the show of physical strength, tenacity and iron will, at the end of the day all we really need is for our loved ones to be proud of us even if we fall short of expectations.
As the Rolling Stones would say, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need”.