The Story of the 102 Kilometre Journey: Getting There

After having done quite a handful of short distance races, half mary’s and marathons, what comes next? So much has been said about the Bataan Death March (BDM 160 and BDM102) races, which happen in the first quarter of the year. And I have heard a lot of great experiences from the finishers. Back then, to be able to qualify for the race, you have to submit a letter of intent to the race director, Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovie Narcies, aka Bald Runner or BR with your short resume – read: marathon or ultramarathon races which you have recently joined. Simply put, these events were by invitation only. Interested participants were screened. If you qualify, you will get a notification via email.

That was early 2012. I got interested in joining BDM 102 (which is a qualifier for BDM 160). So, I gave it a shot. I wasn’t really positive that I’d qualify, but I wished hard enough that I’d get shortlisted. About a month after, there were posts in Facebook about them receiving the welcome email from the race director. I checked my email and I didn’t get one. More posts came in my news feed. I could feel a bit of frustration. But I still held on. Hoping…

The most anticipated and hoped for email arrived. I felt ecstatic. I felt I belonged. The first thing that came into my mind then was – “Training starts now.” The race ain’t happening until March 2013, but I had to be on track as early as I possibly can.

My training program included:

  • Two – hour heat training between 10 am and 2pm, at least thrice a week. I do this every other week.
  • Instead of getting a ride on my way to the office, I would walk to approximately 7 kilometers from Rosario, Pasig City where I live to BGC. I would then run my way back home after clocking out from work. I do this every other week also.
  • On Sundays, I do my mileage runs, building up on my mileage each week using the rule of 10, and dropping down the total mileage by 25% at the start of each month. Well, I’m not really good at keeping up with the rule of 10 and cutting it down by 25%! I would run whenever I can still see roads ahead.
  • The LSD routes I took on any given weekend included the lung-bursting and leg-cramping uphells.
  • I got myself used to the energy gels, and other various trail mixes, and emergency foods that I will use during the race.
  • Make sure that I have ample rest in best training days, taking into consideration proper nutrition as well.
  • Listen to my coaches. Thanks to Coach Bob Tolete for always giving me pieces of ultramarathon advice.
  • Prayers are a great tool.

In between these trainings, whenever I get the chance, I would also join the races. In fact, I did my first official trail run in October 2012 (3rd Mt. Pinatubo 50k Ultratrail Challenge).

My training was temporarily impeded when I caught a viral infection that got me hospitalised. But I resumed my training as soon as I got cleared by the doctors at The Medical City.

At the start of 2013, I continued with my training. But I started to feel the jitters. One factor may be was that I haven’t done any of the two test runs. I thought it was pretty normal.

I worked with Ok Ok Otek regarding the logistics and the support team. Thankfully, Otek, having done the BDM 102 the previous year, was very knowledgeable and provided me with the support I needed.

A week before the race, I even joined a half marathon in the barefoot category. What I considered as my taper run, turned out to be disaster. I had unimaginable blisters on both soles of my feet. And I got so worried. The following day, I went to a doctor for the treatment of my blisters. I asked the doctor if there’s a way to fast track the healing process, to which he answered “none”. Whew! I got a shot of anti – tetanus and I was prescribed with a 750mg of antibiotic which I will take twice a day for the next five days. The high dose of antibiotic did its wonders because a couple of days later, the blisters started to heal. By Friday, the blisters were gone. I’m all good, and I’m ready to RUN.


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