Sunday, October 28

3rd Mt. Pinatubo Ultra Trail Challenge-Post Bday & Recovery Race

Since I become active in running for several years now, I always see to it that I will dedicate a run for my birthday, sometimes a week ahead or a week after the actual date.

This year, it was the TNF SG race that has become my birthday race, one of the many reasons why I pushed to finish the race despite my physical condition.

Since Pinatubo race has been post pone due to military exercises that falls on the first scheduled date, a week after my TNF100km race I thought it would be a good race for my recovery and post birthday run. I have been to this mountain twice and trekked exactly on the route of the race. I thought it would be a great experience if I will be able to run on this 'mars like place' on earth.    

o any further anymore. At this time, my wish of running the place has been granted. The route from Sta. Juliana, Tarlac is basically a few kilometer wide of river bed that has become one of the basin of tons of lahar/volcanic ashes from the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo year 1991. The shape and terrain of the river bed varies depending on the amount of water that will flow from the days rain fall. Most of time tourists and trekkers used a 4x4 vehicle from the resort in Sta. Juliana up to around 20km distance after where vehicles cannot g

The weather is perfect, cloudy most of the  day and no rain. But because it has not been raining the past days, the powdery lahar is just very soft, a real challenge on running. Adding to that are the pebbles, rocks and gravels that most of the time cannot be avoided of getting into my shoes. The endless river crossing is just manageable, the current of the knee high deep water is not so strong that I can cross it without any assistance from others. As I go further  I have to be very careful traversing  the boulders so as not to injure myself.

On my way to the first half of the course, I pass by two aid stations, I stop on the 2nd one, after running for more than 3 hours now I feel need to eat something solid, 2 boiled bananas, 1 sweet potato and soda, then move further. As I started traversing the boulder part at the river, I can feel my stomach starting to get upset. This is not a good sign. I know there is a toilet up on the summit but I feel  that is too far already but there is just no other place to do it. I managed to hold it, thank God. I was more happy to see the toilet than the turn around point itself.

Coming back was more challenging, as I move faster I can feel my stomach looking for another stop. Not on this terrain, it’s too exposed. After the downward slope is the flat with no covered areas at all, the bushes is just too far yet for this call of nature, without hesitation I just do it on the side of the river when I noticed no runners near either ahead or behind me. That was a big relief.

Traversing the dry river bed going back to the finish line seems like forever and with a hope that my stomach will not bother me any longer. More than the heat of the sun I noticed more the changes  on terrain on the same trail that I traversed early part of the day. There are more water now and I have to cross  several  rivers on my way back. The trail seems gone. At some instance I had to think where exactly is the trail.

More runners pass by me already, I know Majo has long been gone ahead of me, and I know there will be other female runners who will still pass by me, I am on my snail pace now. I just want this race to be done and checked on my list.

Mt. Pinatubo has always been one of my great climbs, how the terrain got formed out of the tons of lahar that affected so many communities is just amazing. Running this area is a dream come true and I thank BR’s group for a well organized race. The aid stations are of great help. I congratulate all the brave souls who conquered the trail, I salute all the winners for an awesome race.

RUFM will be the next adventure.

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