You never know what you’re gonna get.
So last week, my TNF jigsaw pieces fit together perfectly and I walked out of ROX with a 10K race bib for TNF. Thanks to Vince&Coach Rio of Finishline.ph and TeamSaatchi.
When I got home, I started worrying again. My inner dialogue started with, “It’s a trail run, I’m a roadie.” Then I replayed everything I worried about before my first trail run.
LAHAR?! We left for Clark after lunch. While we were on our way, I saw one of BR’s comment. He was wishing me luck on my TNF 10K Lahar Run. *look sa sky, pause, look sa trail runner on my left* and asked, “We will be running sa lahar?” The answer, “Yeah, the white part in the map, that’s all lahar.”
For the remainder of the trip to Clark, I was trying to figure out the best way run the lahar. When we went to Pinatubo, it was very hard to walk on the area with lahar. Running will be challenging. I’ve been through mud. I understand mud. Lahar is something new to me. I asked the rest of the team and got valuable inputs. We heard it was raining at Clark and they said that this is actually good because the lahat will be packed and firmer to run on. I made peace with the route and imagined that it will just be like running on the beach.
THEPLAN. Before I fell asleep last night, I formulated my race strategy. Based on last year’s race, I knew that one of the difficult aspects of trail running is when you reach the single track parts of the trail where you cannot overtake the runner in front of you. Your speed will be dependent on how quickly the person in front of you will negotiate that segment. So my first race strategy was to run and try to pass as many runners as I can before we hit the trail. The second one was to run as much as possible and walk the parts I feel would be tricky.
THERACE. When we got to the starting line, I was happy to see a lot of running friends will also go the distance, endure the trail and test ther limits at Sacobia.
The 20K runners started before us and we cheered at the sidelines. Pretty soon, it was the 10K runners turn. Before we started, the organisers announced that due to bad weather, they had difficulty delivering water at some of the designated water stations. They encouraged runners to get water at the first available water station and to carry it with them during the race.
I was so glad I decided to bring my hydration belt with me. I usually don’t carry it for 10K runs but I wanted to play it safe. This is a trail run and I could get lost.
10 .. 9 .. 8 .. 7 .. 6 .. 5 .. 4 .. 3 .. 2 .. 1 .. Go!
I weaved my way around the runners. I tried to mark of one of the TeamSaatchi boys and trail behind him but he was too fast. I selected another mark and kept pace with them.
The first segment of the route was paved road. I decided to run a harder pace to execute race strategy 1. This worked out well. I was able to reach the bridge that will lead us to the lahar bed before the rest of the mob.
Lahar run. I took a few tentative steps and realised that as long as I watch where I was going, running on lahar wasn’t that tricky. The rain the previous day left the lahar packed and firm. Of course, the number of runners passing the route left the trail trampled. I would weave around and choose firm surface. Looking back, I think this was my favorite part of the route. It was beautiful. Parang I was running in one of the sets of a Panday movie. 🙂 Running on lahar was tricky but you can still speed up. I did end up walking when we reached the river. I didn’t want to push my luck.
After crossing the ankle deep river, we started our ascent. The route was well marked with buntings to guide runners but I opted to stick closely to the runner in front of me. Getting lost was not part of the plan. We only had one very steep ascent. Thanks to the runner in front of me for helping me on that last 2 steps. Champion ka bos!
We started with paved road, to lahar and now we went straight to mud. This sector was overlooking the lahar we just crossed. As much as I wanted to enjoy the view, my attention was focused on running on the slippery trail. Oh yes, I was gasping for air but I was still running. This is an great improvement from my first trail run.
On the trail, Faye (Annalene‘s daughter) passed me. She was a very strong runner and her pace was very consistent. I was only able to overtake her once but she regained the lead very quickly. Ohwell … i tried. I was very glad though that she was in front of me when we met the cow standing in the middle of the trail. I was wearing all black but I still veered off the trail and slowed down. I didn’t want to spook the cow with very pointy horns.
The trail started sloping down and I just enjoyed freewheeling down. I liked this part also. I was a bit careless but I had fun.
After about 50mins of running, we hit paved road again. I asked the marshalls at the aid station how far we have gone and I got the frustrating answer, “Malapit na, tulay na lang.” Telling me I was near the finish was not very helpful, I wanted to know how many more I had to go and telling me that I just need to cross the bridge was not helpful also. Hay! Just keep on running ….
I finally reached the bridge … it was a very long bridge. At lunch, all of us realised that crossing that bridge was probably the hardest part of the race. It was just one long stretch and you couldn’t immediately see its end. Plus the sun started to beat down on us at this point.
On the last km to the finish line, I just kept thinking, I’m a roadie. I’m on the road. I am fine. I checked behind me and didn’t see another female runner behind me. I tried to gain some ground on Faye. Hehe I’m kulit, try lang naman, but she was stronger.
It was a pleasant surprise to see CoachSalazar near the finish line.
THEEND. Official time 1:05:33. And guess what, I placed 7th again.
I joined this race and didn’t know what I was going to get. I’m pleased to say that just like a box of chocolate, I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a great route. Waiting and cheering for friends at the finish line was fun. After the race, we had plenty of water and oh my goodness, those green gatorade cups … they were filled with Gatorade today. Pink Gatorade!
Will I run it again? Oh yes! Will I run on lahar again? Yes! When will I do this again? Next year na lang please. hehe
It pays to come in 4th. I just have one question though. Why did the age category winners of the 20K receive a better prize than the top 3. TNF, why naman? If you wanted to give a nice prize to the age category winners, that’s wonderful. But it shouldn’t be nicer than the top 3, di ba?