I joined 50+ other ultrarunners in a run from Mandaue City to the Municipality of Catmon yesterday. Total distance would be around 50km.
Thoughts of not being able to do the distance never entered my mind days before the race. I even tapered on race week to reserve some energy and be fresh on the day of the race.
But I suffered through the latter part of the course. I was completely drained mentally and physically. All I wanted was for the race to end.
During the first 20km I maintained a 6:30 to 7min/km pace and had 2 minute walkbreaks every 4 kilometers. Everything was fine and I felt good about this plan. Eating a bite of Nature Valley bar every 2 kilometers which is what I usually do in my training runs and even during races. When I reached the outskirts of Danao which is 25km, I stopped eating the bars because HuaracheRod – Rodney Cabahug promised to have bananas at the Danao fishport and I was really looking forward to that. Indeed big and delicious bananas were there, plus ice cold water, plus the party atmosphere. Thanks Idol!
After Rodney’s aid station, Team Laspag, Danao City Runners, and Team Sousha also had another one set-up less than a kilometer away and we ate “Bas-uy” there. Thanks guys!
From then on I felt the effects of the heat of the sun. I was running with Edward and having a hard time keeping pace with him. I thought he was going too fast but when I checked, the pace was only 7:15/km. I tried to focus on my form, be relaxed and all that but when I checked my Heart rate, it was 155bpm at 6:45km/pace which is way higher than my usual 120+bpm at that pace.
Richard Manila on his bike caught up with us in Carmen and we had some laughs but I knew he was noticing I was not doing well. I could barely talk and keep a conversation. I didn’t have any appetite for the Nature Valley bars anymore but I tried to force myself to regularly eat small bites. At the 34-35th kilometer mark, I realized I had 3 opened Nature Valley bars in my pockets! I knew I was becoming disoriented then, and everytime I got out of the shade and ran under the sun I would feel a little bit dizzy.
So I stopped for a few minutes in the shade. I was looking at the place where the shade of the tree ended and the sun beating down on the road and I couldn’t imagine venturing out anymore. Edward was becoming concerned and told me to take off my hat because I may be overheating because of it. By the way, it was my first time in a long time to wear a hat instead of a visor. He also gave me his NeckSkirt to protect my ears and neck (because I forgot to bring mine, haha!)
I told Edward to go ahead. Change of strategy, I was going to walk for 30 minutes and see if I can recover. 30 minutes after, no recovery. So I walked again for another 30 minutes, but still no recovery. I was desperately looking for someplace to buy Gatorade or Coke but I only found a guy selling ice cream. So I bought a Pinipig and an ice drop. I spotted a low wooden garden fence along the side of the road and decided to savor the ice cream while sitting in the shade. When I sat on the fence, (believe it or not ) my weight broke the wood and I was sprawled unto the dirt! It took a lot of creativity to get back up because my legs and feet were locking up because of the sudden movement.
So from 34-42km it was just walking, walking, walking…
At km 41-42, Arlene (Shobe) Yu, Doc Willie and company caught up with me. This lifted up my spirits and I was able to jog-walk again. Shobe was going ahead of everybody else and I tried to follow her. She saw me following and called out encouragements like “7km nalang master!”, then “5km nalang master!”. She would walk whenever there was shade from trees, and jog under the heat of the sun to get to the next tree faster. Of course I was doing the same!
Doc Willie again caught up with us and made jokes, singing, and paced both of us to the finish line. When I got to the others at the finish line, all I wanted to do was find a place to just lie down and rest. It was a great relief to be able to finish.
I’m thinking that what led to the dehydration was a combination of the following:
- Over confidence and not preparing well enough
- Not eating right and hydrating enough on race week
- No breakfast for such a long distance
- Running a half marathon race at a fast pace a week before took it’s toll on my body
- Deciding to wear the hat on race day (such a basic mistake)
With a little over 2 months to go the Cebu Century Challenge, it’s time to re-evaluate my fitness level and reconsider my decision to join the race.