My first Ultramarathon

1st Cebu Ultramarathon 50km

First of all, thanks to our support crew Andy, Mylen, and Mark. Only three of them but they managed to do everything for us!  There were parts of the race where I was running alone and then I’d see the support vechile, it gave me renewed energy.  Thank you, thank you very much.
The support vehicle looking good!
Andy & Mark before the start of the race
Mark & Mylen near Ayala Heights

Ungo Runners Support Crew
Secondly, thank you to the Ungo Runners Support Crew for
helping not just the Ungo runners but everybody passed by their aid stations. I know their faces but I don’t know their names. I knew only Coleen and Katol by name.  When one arrives at an Ungo Aid Station, you get greeted with an “all-you-can-eat-and-drink” spread.  Everything looked good, the drinks icy cold, and the encouragements and cheers just took away all the pain.

My friend Gifford was also there taking pictures, thanks ford!  He drove all the way up deep into the mountains to do this.

This pic was taken by Gifford at KM 16

My running buddies Edward Tan Ting and Richard Manila, who encouraged me and helped to monitor my training, thank you guys.  This is an experience that we’ll be sharing forever.  Finishing it was just icing on the cake.

The organizers, sponsors, marshalls, volunteers and all the people who made this happen for us we really appreciate it.

My wife Arlene who had infinite patience with me.  Thanks lab!

Motivations and encouragement from DailyMile friends kept me going during the hard parts of the training.

It’s so humbling to think that there’s so many people to thank.

The above Thank-You-Speech may sound corny and seem like I had a podium finish, that’s because in my mind I did.  I finished near the back of the pack (116th out of 162) but the feeling was like getting a Gold Medal.  This is not something that you can do or accomplish alone, the support, encouragement, and motivations are the things that keep you going during the times when you start questioning why you are doing something as crazy as this.

The race,

Twin Huarache Sandals

KM 0 – Felt the excitement at the starting line. Saw so many elite runners from all over the country. Bald Runner was there.  Richard was telling me who this guy and that guy was and what he/she has achieved and I knew we were in the presence of some serious athletes.  A lot of people were asking about the homemade Huarache Sandals Edward and I were going to use for the run.

Richard & I walking up the steeper inclines

KM 1 to 15 – 10 Kilometers of VERY STEEP downhill straight down from the starting line which I think is the culprit for the flare-up of my ITB later in the race.  Then 5 kilometers of walking uphill.  The grade was more than 25 percent and I realized  that walking up was faster than running/jogging and took lesser energy.  Only the very elite runners were running up this incline (Jonel Mendoza is included because he was jogging up this part).  So I just concentrated on relaxing and keeping my heart-rate down to conserve energy for the latter part of the race.

KM 20 – Felt the familiar twinge of the ITBS in my left knee. I was thinking “Oh no! Not here! Not now! Please wait until the km 40 or something, this is too early!”.  I tighten the ITB Stap that I had on to stop it from getting full-blown pain but there was no stopping it.  Doubts began to creep into my thoughts about finishing the race.

KM 25 – Before reaching the halfway mark, the ITB pain was becoming real.  I couldn’t run downhill anymore.  I could only run on the flats and uphill.  This was so discouraging because I knew the remainder of the course was mostly downhill.  Then I met my friend Katol at the Ungo Aid Station there.  They were having so much fun and their enthusiasm was contagious. They had this handwritten sign to encourage the runners – “Halfway there, di pa ka laspag, PROMISE!”, which meant “You’re halfway there, you are not tired, PROMISE!”.  Those words were somehow stucked in my head for the rest of the race and I would smile to myself thinking of it.

Photo by Katol
Jonel Mendoza at the KM 25 Ungo Station (Photo by Katol)
Bloopers: Richard caught on camera asking for something to eat!  peace sir! 🙂

KM 31 – At this point I was seriously contemplating giving up and DNFing the race. Felt so frustrated and discouraged.  It seemed like everytime I looked up and right, I’d see the official ambulance parked there and the people inside looking at me ready to bolt out and catch me if I showed any sign of fainting!  Maybe they were following me because of the way I was hobbling and stopping every few hundred meters to stretch.
I felt I was going to walk almost 90% of the remaining distance and would not be able to meet the cut-off time of 9 hours.  It would be so hard to face everybody at the finish line if I quit.  I had to try and continue.  I decided then that I would only quit if I couldn’t walk anymore.  So I tried to dig deep and focused on placing one foot in front of the other.  I’d think happy thoughts so that I can ignore the pain whenever I land on my left foot.

KM 35 – Met Coleen and her crew near Ayala Heights. They had cookies, candies, M&M’s, Omega Pain Killer, icy cold water & gatorade.  There was also the inevitable photo-ops.

KM 41 – Just started the 7km downhill from Buak and the pain was becoming unbearable. No more running, just walk.

KM 42 – My wife Arlene was parked on the side of the road and I stopped to tell her of my problem. She said “If you still want to continue, why don’t you take 1 Alaxan (Ibuprofen) to relieve the pain?” OMG! Why didn’t I think of that? So she went and bought 1 Alaxan and I immediately took it.

KM 43 – After a few minutes of walking, I knew the Ibuprofen was taking effect.  I tried running a few steps and the pain was almost gone.  I was back running. And running fast!

KM 47 – Running and dodging the vehicle traffic on Gorordo avenue.  There were so many cars and people at that time (almost 2PM) and they were looking at me wondering what the heck was this guy doing running in the middle of the day!

KM 49 – I was already doing below 6min/km pace along Escario St. when Charles C. shouted encouragements to me from his car from across the street.  I was so close to the finish line and I could feel the excitement.

Finish time: 8:06’59”

KM 50 – Super feeling! I was so happy. All the training and the pain during the race was all worth it! Lots of photos being taken at the finish line (Including Boying M.). Boying and Chirstian congratulated me and so did a number of other familiar faces. Bro. Carlo was still there even though he finished more than an hour before me.  Jonel shook my hand and said “Welcome to the Club” which meant the group of ultramarathoners.  Everybody was looking at my sandals! haha

Accomplishing something like this is beyond words. It’s just so hard to describe. So many people to thank. Everyone in DailyMile who endlessly gave motivations and encouragements.

Jonel was right when he said that each participant will take home “memories to last you a lifetime!”

Gifford Perral –
Katol Villagante –
Dong Perez FB Photo Album –!/album.php?aid=250561&id=575343879&page=7


11 thoughts on “My first Ultramarathon

  1. Congratulations, Jacob! You are an inspiration to us all. Keep it up!By the way, you have an unusual way of tying up your huaraches. I'm trying to copy it. 🙂

  2. cob, i never thought that itb thing flared up again as you finished strong! how much more kung wa pa no? but regardless, i really admire you for going through it.and as i say to all those who finished last saturday's torture, i bow to you, ultramarathoner. someday, i will belong to that club but for now, barefooters lang sa ta..

  3. Thanks ab. The ITB flare up during the Ultra got me really confused. I really don't understand what causes it. Anyway, with the planned May 1 ultra by Jonel, we can all have something to look forward to and dream about… 🙂

  4. Congratulations for achieving a feat not all mere mortals try! Have you seen the faces of the tambays along Gorordo? I know they were thinking you guys are a bunch of crazies! But anyways, Congrats Ultraman Jacob.

  5. congrats sir, welcome to ultrarunning world! i was amazed how you finish the ultramarathon with that pair of huarache. sayang, i wasnt able to talk to you during the race. hmmm, thinking about trying it.

  6. @Earl – Thank you very much sir. Finishing the 50km was a truly remarkable experience for me, a lifetime of memories.. :)I'd recommend you try the huaraches sir for the "barefoot" feel, but "short and slow" during the transition just to be safe.Just read your blog, I wish you well on your training for the BDM!

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