The Story of the 102 Kilometre Journey: The Challenge

Photo Credit: Ems Lafuente

Photo Credit: Ems Lafuente

Minutes ticked into hours as I covered each kilometre. We all agreed to take our breakfast at the 56th, as requested by Otek. As I approached the waiting shed, our support team had prepared the breakfast. Our resident therapist, Enrique massaged my stiffening quads as I was having breakfast. My appetite wasn’t in good shape and I could only have few spoonfuls of the chicken adobo. Pam and Rhina, though insisted that I should eat more since it’s been at least 8 hours or so since dinner the previous night, and we have a long way to go. Pam had to literally spoon feed me so I could eat more. I asked our crew if I could have a five long minutes for a nap. Despite being behind our timetable, they were kind enough to give in to my request.

I’m halfway through the race and I have about 10 hours left before cut off time. I got back taking the left side of the road with hopeful thoughts. As I took my spot, the first thing that came into my mind was “the race has just begun”.  I started slow trying my best not to add some more stress to my already tired calves and quads. In the next stop over, from compression tights, I changed into running shorts and compression socks.

Unknowingly, I was already treading the long stretch of endless asphalted road. Minutes turned into hours. The temperature was creeping up, and I could feel the burning sensation on my exposed skin. I can feel the dehydration, though tolerable – thanks to the heat training! Despite the light overcast, by midmorning, I could already feel the heat coming off from the cemented roads. Looking far ahead, the view is slightly distorted by what may seem as heat waves. At one point, I was craving for sugar. I called up Jim asking for a Pepsi. The only recollection I had was I was coming off a bridge. I could see Bert with a water bottle on one hand and a sponge in the other hand, Jim was holding a plastic pouch containing the soda. The team was on stand by if there’s anything I would need. After refilling my water bottle, I went on.

It was midday. Hardly there were any trees along the barren and dry road. I was in the middle of nowhere, and I ran out of water. Our support team was way ahead to catch up with Otek. I’m glad to chance upon Peachy’s support team. I had my Nathan Speed 2 refilled and had a little chat with Ate Olive and Erlie.

I soon found myself running through a web of people and vehicles. Looking through those dark sunglasses I was wearing, people stared at me with utter bewilderment. Later on, I caught up with my friend Tess Leono.

Photo Credit: Running Berto

Photo Credit: Running Berto

Since Otek was already way ahead of me, our support team had a hard time catching up with either of one of us. They would drive up to meet Otek, and drove back to provide my hydration and food. Then drove back again to Otek. It was a tedious and difficult job for them, but they did it just the same. It was a challenge they had to face and find a work around to ensure that we both receive the support we needed.

As the hours passed, hunger and exhaustion had built up with a very limited to no water supply. I was running empty under the scorching heat of the midday sun. I had to stretch my patience and wait for the support crew to get back to me. And this is one lesson I learned: Running teaches Patience.

I haven’t rendezvoused with our support crew for a considerable amount of time. And I’m just so blessed that a lot of support groups have been selfless to share their logistics to me, and I don’t even know some of them personally. I’d like to mention Papi Yob Red, who at that time, doesn’t know me, but whenever their group spotted me, he never failed to offer me food and water. One good thing about our support team is that, we had open communication. So, even if they’re not around, I felt supported, morally, assuring that they’ll get back to me.

After what seemed as forever, I met up with our support crew. With the exhaustion, I broke down into tears. I became so emotional. With the challenge the team faced, I have always been in their minds. As I sat down, Bert started pouring down cold water down my head and neck. Abet and Pam rubbed a sunblock to my already red-burned skin. Ate Bhie was peeling and slicing the apple for me. Rhina was feeding me with Jelly Ace. Jim was refilling my water bottles. Enrique was massaging my legs. After so much pampering, I took the other side of the road and went on my way. They had a catching up to do with Otek who may be heading to the finish line in an hour or two.

Photo Credits: Ems Lafuente

Photo Credits: Ems Lafuente

While the support team was unavailable, there were other support groups who offered me their runner’s water supply, and even cared to splash me some cold water. Benj, Ems and Ana – who were also supporting Mike, became my extended support team. They offered any help that I needed and fostered. Everytime they passed by me, they’d stop and sprinkle refreshing and energising cold water, even shared their food to me. Benj would always give me the push – “You’re looking good. Go! Go! Go!” It felt good even if I felt sore, physically and emotionally.

With all the challenges we went through, we remained focused and determined, bonded all the more as family.


One Response to The Story of the 102 Kilometre Journey: The Challenge

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