Friday, October 21

Registration and Orientation Day

October 21, 2011, it's my older brother's birthday. I send my birthday greetings through email message since I do not have any means of calling him. Thanks to the free wi-fi that this lodge offer despite the fluctuating signal, it is already a big help to keep  us all in contact to our loved ones being away on this beautiful remote yet technologically updated place.

One day left before the race. Most of us feel the pain in the muscles of our legs. This is the effect from the training run that we did two days ago. Such a not good idea to do it few days before the race without enough time for recovery. We tried to put whatever ointment and oil available to the hope that it will ease the pain come race day.

This is our Registration and Orientation Day as well. The plan for the day is a breakfast meeting with the Benguet Officials after which we will proceed to Liwagu Hall for the Registration then come back for the Songs of Kinabalu Concert and attend the Orientation. The usual thing, we ate breakfast before leaving our lodge, a bus will pick us up today, not our usual routine of going to the park. It's a mini bus designated by the Sabah Tourism Board to the official Philippine delegates.

We did have a long table for breakfast at the restaurant right across the park, I did not really eat breakfast, I am still ok with the food that I ate before leaving the lodge, that in little way already save me little ringgit for the remaining days of my stay in Kinabalu. After the introduction, it was really the officials of Benguet and PSA that has a business dialogue, to have the Benguet officials a thorough understanding what they are suppose to expect on this trip which I guess is already clear on their minds before coming here. PSA just thank God that after several years of convincing them, this year they finally send officials to witness the event.

After the breakfast meeting, most of us decided to go ahead  to pick up of our race kits. We are not complete though, Auntie accompanied Kat to get a feel of the trail, she arrive late with Luke who really wants to reach the summit despite what happens, this is just his ultimate goal on this trip. Mayan, Erl and Jessie not around, only to find out they went ahead, do a trek on some of the trail near Liwagu Hall while waiting for the opening of the registration. Upon arrival at the hall,  registration tables are already set with personenl on each desginated pick up area for the three race categories. We meet other runners, and organizers, the famous Datuk is there, he is the man behind all the success of this event for several years now.

And we also meet the star athlete of this race, the winner last year and the fastest to ever run this race in 24 years,  Marco Gasperi, everybody's asking for a photograph of him. I do as well. After several minutes, the 3rd placer last year and the fastest runner in Nepal is there too, Sudip. Sounds funny, I haven't done this back in our place, even in my teen years when we are being brought to see the shows of the famous stars at home. This starts the festive atmosphere of the event, and meeting the runners who showed their skills the past years is just really a great honor.

After getting our race bibs we decided to go back to the restaurant for lunch. Some of our teammates are already there. Kat from her training climb is already there as well as Mayan, Erl and Jessie. Our plan is to take lunch., go back to our lodge, take a rest, go back to the park to witness the concert while waiting for the Orientation.

Most of our teammates decided to rest while I wanted to watch the concert together with Mayan and Erl, we walk again the highway to the park. We are already late from the concert but it's ok, we are just taking our time.

Upon entrance of there park, there are already other runners, you will know they are also part of the event, the green bag that they are carrying is what the organizers distributed to the runners. It's also there that we meet China and Olya, they are from Hongkong but from two diffirent countries. Upon reaching the concert ground, Nina and Mon are already there. I saw the Benguet officials as well. We settled on the seat near Nina and Mon, listen to the local Malaysian music played by local artists with local musical instruments. The concert ended with the participation of the audience by a dance, we joined, just when it was about to end, the rain drops. We are literally dancing under the rain. We take a refuge at the Gymnasium where the orientation will be held few hours more, but due to the heavy down pour of the rain, we decided to just stay inside. 

I am excited about the orientation, I do not know what to expect. I do not have any idea how big the race will be when it comes to participants, though this orientation will only be for the Women's Open and Veteran category. As the rain continue to pour the gymnasium is slowly filled up with runners. It's a huge one with chairs prepared for athletes. Datuk once again is there earlier making sure that the technical aspect of the orientation is ready before it will start. Some of the runners our dear PSA officials know, they had been doing the race for several years now. Our PSA uniform catch much attention from the crowed, PH is one of the biggest delegates on this event. 

The orientation started with a film showing,  what the participants to expect, how the route will be followed  by Datuk's rules in English and Bahasa. The orientation ended with meeting other participants and of course picture taking, we Filipinos love to do. Only then the ordeal of the race sink in to my mind. This will be a tough ordeal that all of us in Women's and Veteran's category will deal tomorrow morning.

After taking our dinner that take more than an hour before it was served and having to bring some extra food for dinner we proceed to our individual rooms. My roommates are already there, most of them already on the running attire for the following day. I feel like I need to move faster and finish what I need to prepare so that I can get enough sleep before the race starts. I fix first my hydration pack, I decided to bring my hydration pack, I let go of my first plan of racing with only a heap fuel, I feel so expose to danger having to bring just that, without enough space of the rest of my provisions for the race.

And having been able to used Kim;s hydration belt, I am already comfortable with the weight. I know this will not be any problem at all. After that I need to put on my running attire, but when I saw Cha put on some caty tape (?) just to ease the pain on her legs, I decided to put some as well. I asked her to help me put some on my back, and when Jules enter the room, she wanted the same as well. Imagine three ladies on compression pants lowered up to the knee just to put some tape, what a funny sight to look, kat keeps on laughing at us. But our thoughts were, if this will help us reach the summit without having to experience so much pain, then why not.

We ended the night having in mind that we are going to do the race the following day bringing our high spirits and with so much prayers. We will run with joy and make a strong finish no matter what happens.

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