Wednesday, May 23

First Bohol 50-Miler Ultramarathon 2012

After I join an ultra run in Cebu early this year,  I thought it would be nice to run on each province that belongs to my home region, Region 7. There are only 4 provinces anyway which will not be too difficult to complete, though I know having such race in my own home province is something that I do not see  will happen in the next few years. So when I see a post about Bohol Ultra run, I really want to  be part of the race. But that did not come easy though, I have to consider few things: the expenses, the time that I will be away, and the distance, it's going to be an 80 kilometer road run with 15 kilometer uphill on the last 30 kilometer part of the  course. With so much deliberation, me and my friends decided to join. 

I come to the starting line really excited. But  behind my excited face with endless smiles, honestly I am scared. This will be my first time to run this long on a  road, and I feel I am not on my best running shape at this time. Again and again, just when I am going to run an ultra for the nth  time I have  again my monthly period, and on it's heaviest day. I know most of you heard about  my story  about this  before and yes it happened again. I followed my usual routine, prepare the usual stuffs  that I should carry with me while running but just few minutes before the gun start, I can literally feel the heavy flow. I know on a normal situation I need to change right away otherwise I'll have stain but at this time with few seconds  left before the gun start, I just cannot. I just hope I can hang on til the next stop. This will be another modess moment race for me but despite that I still instill in my mind that my motto at this time will be 'no matter what the situation is, just enjoy the run and go with the flow.'

Go with flow here we come. After the gun start, as all the runners pass the starting line, I just take my own pace, until we reached the intersection just few meters from  the start, most of the people in front of me turn right, which I also did, until somebody from the crowd behind us shouted it should be the main road on the left,'s a wrong turn, now goes our go with the flow motto, make your own flow when one cannot see the flow anymore. From then on, I become conscious of what direction the runner in front of me will go,   to make sure that I will not make a wrong turn again. 

It was a great evening, the sky is clear and the stars are out but there is no moon. Thanks to the street lights and the lights of the support vehicles  to most of the runners plus my headlamp, it all help illuminates the road that give us enough light to see the road ahead of us. The first two hours, I was pacing with a runner that is running barefoot, literally he has no shoes. I like his pace and I just enjoy every minute of it. Many support vehicle knows him and every after few kilometers one vehicle is waiting for him as his supporters will hand him bottle of water. I keep with his pace, I feel safe running with someone on those dark parts of the street and especially on those houses with dogs that keeps on barking. But despite having no sun, it's just too humid, I am drenched on my own sweat, after more than 2 hours of running, I can now feel I really need to look for a toilet. Though it's still dark and I still cannot see the paint of red on my legs, I can feel it's really time for me to change. In a town like Panglao, there are  just  very few gasoline stations that I can use the toilet, houses are closed, it's the ungodly hour of the morning. When I saw one bakeshop open I asked, but they do not have rest room. Few steps after I saw a man sitting on the bench, with out hesitation, I asked. Thank goodness he is kind enough to offer his place. I finally changed the resume my running. I know I am now behind.

I continue running now most of the part alone. I can feel my legs now start aching, even if I already changed napkin, I can still feel the discomfort, but those are nothing compare to my fear every time I pass a house that has a barking dog at the side of the road. OMG, I can find ways to surpass all the challenges on this run but not the dogs. Several times, I have to wait for a runner coming just to have somebody with me while crossing a house with a barking dog. I know I wasted so much time on that but really, I thought I'd rather sacrifice my time than bitten by a dog. 

I was glad to I finally get out of Panglao area and soon about to cross the bridge towards the mainland of Bohol. It is still dark but the street lights of the city are close enough to each other that I can run even with my headlamp off. And I encounter the first aid station as well. There were just few  aid stations though, good thing I brought with me a much bigger hydration fuel with my food,  I had enough  to sustain my hydration and nutrition  before reaching the next aid station. As the day light breaks, I move further away from the city going to the several municipalities of the province. We are greeted by the beautiful scenery of the place, green trees, wild plants and flowers, old wooden and modern concrete houses, the coast line, the islets and  the mangroves, the hills and mountain tops. We share the road with cars and other vehicles but not as crowded as that of a city road race.

There is one thing I realized doing  this long distance road run though,  despite the beautiful scenery I find it challenging to entertain myself  running on a long  never ending flat road ahead,  flat as far as my eyes can see.  At some point I wish it will change to an uphill or downhill road,  or a curve to the left or to the right.  I always prefer variety of terrain. In moments like this it's where I bring out some of my food, when I started to get bored I bring out my spicy roasted peanut and boy bawang to keep myself busy.

Reaching the several aid stations is a big relief, I can replenish a cold water, have some solid food and go to the rest room and change sanitary napkin. Though towards the last part of the race, there were just few aid stations on a long distance apart. It's on that part that  I wish we have a support vehicle that will make sure we have enough supply of liquid and solid food too. When it rained, runners with support vehicle changed shoes to slippers, when it got so hot a support vehicle with buko readily opened for their runners really made things different. But at some point when I run out of supply of water, I have to ask water from a support vehicle parked waiting for their runners to arrive. On areas that has community and has stores, I drop by to buy cold water and other drinks, buy medicine and rice as my breakfast. It matters a lot to have solid food while running. I thank those support vehicles who are kind enough to offer their supply to runners like us who are self contained and rely the remaining supply on the aid stations and the sari-sari stores.

The last 30 kilometers is a combination of uphill  minor downhill and flat road. I welcome the uphill with excitement,  the road  covered with man-made forest  is really beautiful. I thank for the down pour of the rain, it cools me after several hours under the heat of the sun and I did not mind the heat of the sun  up to the finish line.  Towards the end I got blisters on my feet, my right ankle hurts, the chafe on my legs, on the garter of my tank top really hurt like hell. But this does not stop me from moving. I did not expect such difficulties to pop up but it happened and I am just grateful I am able to deal this difficulties and manage to finish cross the finish line with a smile. Seeing the magnificent view of the amazing chocolate hills is just a great feeling crossing the finish line with a time of 13:27:28:95 with a bonus of placing 8th on the Women's Category.  Touring the scenic streets of Bohol by foot is a great way to spend my weekend.

Hats off to all the runners, running long distance on a road is a challenge, I believe every participant who make it to the starting line is already a winner. Congratulations to the organizer for a successful event. Thank you so much to the volunteers and support crew on the aid stations, you have been a great help to each and every runner especially like us that do not have a support vehicle.  Thank you to Dr. Bon,  to his Mom  and the medical staffs for making sure our dear friend will be able to recover and be home in Panglao safe.

Next  race King of the Mountain 4 Lakes/Mt. Ugu 100.

Pictures: Bohol 50 Miler Ultra Marathon


1 comment:

  1. uy ma'am cheryl tumakbo ka pala rito. andito rin ako eh. hehe!
    -Del Alvarez (FB)