Wednesday, May 7

TNF100 Grand Slam - Only my Own Version

Please do not tell TNF100 organizer or other ultra runners that I am a Grand Slammer or please do not call me such. For there isn't any grand slam thing in TNF100 series. This was only our creation when I was with few friends going down from Baguio when they realized that I did and finish the 3 races in 3 consecutive years.  Little did I know that I will be able to complete the same race for 3 consecutive years despite my struggle pushing myself every time I do it on the same trail. I am very sure there are a lot more ultra trail runners out there who run and finish the same race for 3 years just like I did. I am just thankful and grateful that I finished the 3 races within cut off time.

I am an avid fan of TNF races. From TNF Batulao being the first one, followed by Sacovia in Clark, in Baguio trails and so on. But I was only running the shortest distance then, 22km. I never thought of running the 100km at all. Infact, in Batulao, when few of my AMCI friends crossed the finish who braved to do the very first version of 100km distance traversing from Batulao to Talamitam with Evercrest as the basecamp, the start and finish line, I said to myself, "mga nagpapanata lang ang tatakbo ng ganon ka haba." Little did I know kakainin ko ang sinabi ko. TNF100 Camsur way back year 2011 was the  mother of all my ultra races. Just having run my very first full marathon in February of that year (Condura Marathon), my good friend Jun Cunanan after a month of convincing me to run 100km and not 50km,  he got my yes with the promise that he will take care of us. I was among the 4 newbie runners  that he convinced to run such distance with another friend without even running any full marathon yet. We were lucky Jun C. was there to guide us all through out the race sacrificing his own finish time. 

TNF100 2012 was held in Baguio traversing the grueling course in Benguet, I finished the last female (6th) ranked 51st among the 55 finishers of the 168 starters. TNF100 2013 I decided to do it again, and finished 7th again yet on a much longer time. TNF100 2014, I was not suppose to run this race anymore, I already had enough suffering on the same trail route yet my playful mind became restless thinking that I will not do it again. Until the last few days before the race I decided to give it a go. I am glad I did, I not only tested my limits for the 3rd time, but also got my PR on the same trail experiencing two extreme weather. 

All ultra races,  be it on the trail or on the road, entail so much patience, patience and patience. And because it is long, one needs to have endurance. On the trail, it entails more presence of mind as it has less access to the community and one will be all by oneself most of the time. So to avoid danger and risk, always treat each move with calculated risk. 

Being strong willed is also very vital and flexible too to adopt to whatever situation in the wilderness, can easily think of a way on how to survive on the extreme condition. It will never be an easy passage yet being positive will always help a lot in whatever condition that may happen along the trail. Think of happy thoughts, greet all runners that you will be running with, be cheerful to the support crew and photographers, it will help lessen the struggle. 

Mind setting is another thing. Just like in ultra road race, the same thing also in trail and it doesn't matter if it is a long or short but all the more if it is a long distance. I always have this attitude, "Hope for the best yet prepare for the worst." One thing that I learned in mountaineering which I adopted in running. Always look at the forecast, study the terrain and the weather condition. In the case of TNF100 this year, since it has been raining, before I set foot at the starting line, I already thought this is going to be be a wet and very cold race at some point of the day. My mental conditioning then, this will just be like climbing Mt. Halcon or running BDM102. The heat and the freezing cold will be a factor that will be a big part in my success or failure on the race. And true enough, it was extremely hot at day time and was extremely cold due to heavy rain and thunderstorm in the evening. Be ready with your gear as well. Prepare for both weather condition even if it is not required by the organizer.

On top of these all, one should also train hard for the race. Develop your endurance months before the race to make it to the finish line within cut off time.

Physical and mental toughness combined will make a successful finish. But crossing the finish line is as important as enjoying the race along the way as well. Appreciate nature that comes along, be grateful and thankful to people whom you share the trail with and all those who made  your race more meaningful and memorable one. And most of all give thanks to God Almighty for all the strength to do the race.

My advise to those who want to do ultra most especially the trail? Just love what you are doing, enjoy nature and have fun. It will motivate you to finish what you have started. 

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