Anonymous Runner (Part 2)

KM 81

We saw our van parked by a dirt road at the foot of the bridge.  We parked the car behind them as Nick made us wear reflectorized sashes so we can be seen in the dark.  When we got out of the car, holy kamote!  It was sooo dusty.  We decided to turn over supporting duties at a better location.  So at this point Pat had all of his 10-member  support crew waiting for him at KM 81.

Crew # 2 stepped out of the van and waited because Pat was waaay late in his time.  Sheila told me, “ang pangit na ng itsura ni Pat”, which I thought to mean since it was dusty, and he was sweating, na hindi na gwapo si Pat. Boy, was I wrong! I learned later that she meant Pat was really pale when they left him at the start of the bridge pa lang but that they couldn’t obviously stop at the middle of the bridge so they waited at the end of it.

Irene was the one who saw him from afar.  Walking.  She couldn’t believe that it was Pat, seemingly holding on to dear life on the bridge rail.  She ran to him.  His eyes were closed and using the bridge rail as his only guide. By the time I saw Irene and Pat at the foot of the bridge,  I went to Pat’s right side as Irene was on his left and put my left arm around his waist.  I was whisper-shouting into his hear (amidst the noise  of the busy bridge), ‘what happened? Are you just sleepy?’

And then it happened.  He leaned his whole body weight on me.  It took me a moment to realize he was collapsing unto me.  I grabbed my right hand around the front of his waist to carry him while still walking and called to Nick and Dado and Beeps, “Nick! It’s dead weight.  I can’t carry him!” They were there in a split second and supported us to the van.  Someone removed one ice chest likod ng van so Pat can sit down.  Doc Pnx was on him with a  sphygmomanometer and Doc Apple was taking his heart rate in mere seconds.  Sheila and someone else were massaging his legs.  I think it was Aileen who gave him ammonia or white flower on a cotton ball to wake him up.  His eyes were still closed and he looked pale as heck! And he still was not speaking.  And when he did speak, it was to say with a shake of his , ‘hindi ko na to tatapusin. hindi ko na kaya.’

I stepped back in fear.  As everyone was working on him, I stepped back looking to gain a little bit of sane perspective of the situation. Crap! Think, Marga. Think.  I felt him collapse on me.  I saw his pale face maski it was dark.  He was cold to the touch.  But he was still walking.  Kaya pa ba niya? Do we push?  Or when we do push, will he be worse off in the end? We’re here to make him finish , but in this situation, is it the right thing to do? Man!  He can’t go out like this.  He can’t DNF at a point where he’d really feel the DNF as a failure. (As a runner, you know what this means.)  There’s giving up and there’s giving up.  Lord, help.  What do we do?

We see Team Boring’s crew park beside us waiting for Gab, Mar and Doc T.  Their crew came to see how they can assist Pat and I hear Bong B (who’s running his first 102 next week) say, “ Pat! Mag donate ka naman ng support crew mo sa amin next week!” which drew laughter to all who could hear him.  Even I smiled.

I saw Gab walk to his crew and I gave him a hug.   He looked really strong, this one.  And as if the angels told me what to do, I told Gab, ‘ Please talk to Pat.  He’s thinking of dnf-ing.  He’ll listen to a fellow ultramarathoner.’  Gab went to Pat.  ‘Ano ka ba, Pat?!.  Kaya mo yan! Maski lakarin mo. Aabot ka ng cut-off.  Kaya kami nag ultra dahil sa yo! Ano ka ba?”

I was softly crying at this point, praying Pat heard him and gets re-inspired by the same people he inspired before.

I saw Ronald next and told him the same thing, ‘please talk to him.  He’ll listen to you.’ Ronald goes to him and like a bother spoke to him in a firm but caring voice. ‘Hindi ka pwedeng huminto. Maski lakarin mo.  Marga, maski i-pace ninyo na siya. Kesa naman bumagsak na naman yan sa gitna ng daan. Bro, kaya mo yan! Lakad lang! Tapusin lang natin.”

I was crying na talaga.  I told Beeps, can you please call Mrs. BR to ask if we can pace Pat already?  Natatakot  tayong mag-collapse na naman siya.  We know its only KM 81 but we’re really worried.  Beeps called.  They said for safety we can shadow him rather than leapfrog.  But we cannot pace him.  He’d be disqualified.  We understood.

While all this was going on, Pat had his eyes open and the crew was feeding him.  Gutom talaga.

He stood up and stretched. And took stock of everything that was told to him.  He said, ‘1K.’  Which meant he didn’t want a pacer and he sure as hell wouldn’t want us shadowing him.  We’d leapfrog. That was a small miracle we thanked God for.  He’s getting back on his feet.  He’d walk until he’s digested his food.  But he was ok.  I looked to Doc Pnx asking with my eyes if he’s good to go.  She nodded.  Moments like these were everyone’s focused on one goal, you can actually talk to each other with your minds.  There will be many of these moments later on in this story.

Pat started to walk on the dirt road.  Doc Pnx ran after him to give him water.  I see them talking.  She walked back to us and said, ‘hanggang 102 nalang daw ang kaya niyang tapusin’.

We drove about 400 meters into a gas station and Crew 2 turned over to us everything.  We decided that we will push him until he can’t be pushed anymore.  But we had the goal of finishing 160km and by golly, we sure as well will try our darndest!

KM 81-86 was a walk struggle for Pat and for us.  Very conscious of the 2 .5 hours delay we have on our target time as well as the 11:30PM cut-off at the KM 102 marker, we were computing and re-computing at every km.  What pace he needs to run in so he can make it and all that.

It was at KM 86 that Doc Pnx and Nick told Pat that he needed to pick up his pace so he can make it by cut-off time . Doc Pnx was not allowing Pat to stop anymore.  We were rushing everything to him- water, water with electrolytes, chocolates, egg para lang hindi na siya mabigyan ng dahilan huminto sa van.  And at the rate of 1km per leap frog, stopping is no longer an option.  Nick told him he needed a 9 or better pace. Jog lang huwag lang maglakad ng matagal.  Lauren said, if he just shaves off 2 minutes at every kilometer, he can make it with time to spare.

KM 87

It was at KM 87 that he began his rally and Doc Pnx and Nick decided to not let him stop longer than necessary. Doc Pnx was an awesome motivator, literally dragging Pat when he was slacking. ‘Hindi na pwedeng huminto. Hindi pwede maglakad. ‘ Of all of us, Doc Pnx had the only credentials as far as a runner is concerned in pushing Pat this way.  Pat will listen to her in sheer fear or embarrassment . Whatever works. LOL.

She would run after him after force feeding him chocnut so he can wash it down with water. And for Pat force feeding was our game plan at this last stretch.  Our mistake of letting him be when he said he’s not hungry or does not want to eat earlier will not be repeated.  We know better now.  He metabolizes really fast so he needed to be fed every kilometre.

We were so ecstatic every time we would see him from afar gaining speed and not walking.  In the dead of the night, Lauren, Doc Pnx and I would scream our cheers to him. It was pure joy to see him running and seeing that determined look on his face after what we witnessed at KM 81.  Every kilometre became a celebration.  And he was passing some runners already.  And we knew he needed to see that he can still pass some of them to go on.  As we leap frogged, we’ll see runner x and runner y and we’d scream inside the van ecstatic with the fact that he really is gaining ground-literally!

At one point in a long straight stretch of the road, we saw at least 10 vehicles with their hazard lights on parked on the right side of the road.  Dado, Nick, Lau and I looked at each other and said, ‘it means he has at least 10 runners he can surpass!’  This realization made us girls scream again! We see a group of runners walking.  I see Gab saying in a booming voice looking up in the sky, “Come Holy Spirit!…” I see Coach Mar going strong like an ox! Grabe! When he said the Angels were with him, he was not joking.  He looked really strong.

It was my turn to run after Pat at KM 100 na yata yun, I’m not sure.  He said, “Papahinag muna ako ng sandali pag dating sa van.”  I said, “ Do you see that line of cars with their blinking lights?  That’s how near you are to the other runners.  You can’t let up now!” (In my head, patay ako kay Doc Pnx pag huminto ka.  That was our pact.  To not make Pat walk at all anymore.)

Lo and behold, he didn’t stop at all and continued running.

Doc Pnx was in needles and pins because it was 11:03 or something and we led her to believe that cut-off was 11:30 when it was 11:45 because gun start was late.  So she was pushing Pat to his limit because she really thought cut off at 102 was 11:30.  She couldn’t stand it that  the buffer was mere minutes.  So she was pushing Pat like crazy. Hahaha

KM 102

Because we were all stickler for rules, we didn’t turn into the left turn for the 102km marker.  The support van went around so we didn’t see Pat beat the cut off time and essentially his finish.

I see him sitting down where Team Boring was and Doc Pnx talking to him and I see Doc Pnx eyes wet with tears.  I sat beside Pat., and with a questioning glance, Doc Pnx shook her head and bowed her face.  In my head, Oh no, I think Pat just DNF’d. His first words to me were, “Sorry.  Alam ko disappointed kayo.  Pero hindi ko na kaya.  Promise.”  Me: “Pahinga ka muna.  Don’t think about it.”  Pat: “Hindi na talaga.  Ganito naramdaman ko sa Botak when I was rushed to the emergency room. Kilala ninyo ko, hindi ako quitter.  Pero …” Nick: “Pare, pahinga ka muna. Relaks lang” Gab: “ Mamaya ka na mag decide pare. Pahinga muna.” Pat: (shaking his head). Me: myHoff, hindi ka naman naming pipilitin kung hindi mo na kaya, kaya lang, ang lakas mon from 87-102 eh.  Marami kang nalampasan and you finished. Ngayon ka pa ba hihinto?” Sid: “pare, game. Masahihin muna kita. (as he lays down the black bag so Pat cay lie down)”

When you touched the side of his thighs, he would scream in pain.  Doc Pnx, Nick, Lau, Dado and I looked at each other to see what we can do, vacillating yet again between allowing him to stop and pushing him some more with just hand signals.

I said to Pat: “ myHoff, you can’t stop like this.  You just can’t.  You’ve done this 102km twice or thrice already right?  This should be more than 102km.  C’mon, you can give us another kilometre.  Maka 103km ka lang, ok na. If you still feel you can’t, then  I’ll shut up (I said this on the premise of how he rallied that last 15km strong and I said, ako lang anmana ng mag shut up, not any of the support crew. Hehe). He didn’t say anything.

And like a precious kitten, we moved him to the van not saying much so as not to mess up his thought process.  Maybe he was thinking of a come-back and he’s not just saying it. It was a long walk to the van, though.  He couldn’t  bend his knees.  Both knees. Tsk.Tsk.  We were half carrying him and as he tried to move into the van, I felt him shiver. We all forgot that he had his shirt off and he was having chills as his body temperature levelled down. Nakow!  Jacket please!  Since he couldn’t move fast enough to get into the van, we scrambled for anything to cover him with.  Body warmth was his first line of defense.  He got into the van.  We told him to sleep for at least20 minutes and we’d talk to him after and decide if he was to continue on.  After a few minutes, his whole body was having spasms.  He still was not talking. We covered him up at which point Doc Pnx said, “Ano, swero-han na kita?” said in half-jest.  Pat said in a very small but lucid voice, “Pag nag swero, DQ…” Lau and I shouted with joy because it meant he wasn’t DNF-ing.  Not yet at least…

As we silently closed the sliding doors of the van, you could see from the outside an exhausted warrior sleeping in the dark, using two (2) sarongs as blanket.  You can hear the faint sound of the soothing music of waterfalls and the ocean to aid in hastening his sleep.  The good healer sitting beside the warrior regularly checks his vital signs making sure the spasms that manifests itself every once in a while is just spasms and nothing more severe.

As we walked into the road, we saw the almost fallen soldiers recuperating in their own way – massages in the ambulance, dinner, music, resignation, a quiet jubilation.  At 12:40AM Sunday, February 27, 2011, the second to the last warrior left KM 102 and continued on to attempt to run 58 more  kilometres.

The last warrior left at almost 12:50AM struggling with every step, with a friend by his side and his carriage with his ladies in waiting patiently seeing him through the last kilometre he promised to run/walk for them.  That was the most joyful DNF anyone could have asked for.

KM 102-103

Poor Nick. He was soooo excited to pace Pat not just 10km as planned but 58 km if need be. But alas, the fates were not with him that fateful Sunday dawn…

Or maybe Fate was with Nick…laughing behind the clouds as it made Nick pace Pat at the bestest pace Nick can muster…

40 minutes to a kilometer…

Pat could barely walk and was just trying to do so, so as not to disappoint his Entoraj (we fondly call ourselves Pat’s entoraj). Excited Nick (I can’t stop laughing!) realizing this was going to be the longest kilometer of his life, gets 2 packs of chips from the van. Akala namin for Pat. Para sa kanya pala. Chika pace kung chika pace! hahahaha

Lauren, Doc Pnx, Dado and I were laughing so hard at the picture this 2 brought to the fore that Pat was getting annoyed already. He has no choice but to take in the ribbing because he was in too much pain. hahaha

At exactly KM 103, Pat said. Oh, 1 kilometer na. Nick asked again, ‘Oh, mag de declare na ka ba ng DNF?’ Pat said with no hurt in his eyes, ‘Oo. DNF na’

Funnier part: As Pat was getting into the van, I thought Nick had him and Nick though I had him and we both left him at the same time. Next thing you hear, “Hoy! Mahuhulog ako,” as we saw him slipping down the side of the van. I couldn’t help him in because I was laughing so hard.

*We called in a DNF for Patrick Winceth Alcomendas at KM 103 at 1:30AM.  Proudly and with Love.

Epilogue1: We proceeded to the hotel  where Doc Pnx quickly administered to run 2 bottles of dextrose on Pat for dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.  His body would still involuntarily go into spasms even when he was asleep.

The Nightmare of Botak 100 Still Hounds Pat.

In the morning, Crew 2 would run an ice bath for him which was the funniest thing in the world .  Doc Apple would take pictures of Pat inside the tub of ice as Sheila would count to 20 seconds.  He hated it. LOL.

Epilogue 2: I asked Pat if I could write about this whole experience and he said, ‘pwede bang Anonymous Runner na lang ako?’  Sabi ko, ‘Sure!’ Hence the title. Bow.

Pat's Entoraj

Advertisements

Anonymous Runner (Part 1)

As we silently closed the sliding doors of the van, you could see from the outside an exhausted warrior sleeping in the dark, using two (2) sarongs as blanket.  You can hear the faint sound of the soothing music of waterfalls and the ocean to aid in hastening his sleep.  The good healer sitting beside the warrior regularly checks his vital signs making sure the spasms that manifests itself every once in a while is just spasms and nothing more severe.

This is KM 102.

As each team re-groups and assesses the physical, emotional and mental health of their runner, you can feel exhaustion in the air.  You can feel the depleted energy all around.  But the atmosphere was still hopeful. Team Boring had their crew at a small square beside the chapel, eating, telling stories of their experiences.  Sid was massaging Gab. As in full on massage, ha? Not the  emergency cramp massage you get when you run.  Doc T with Doc Alpha was draining his blisters (take note, plural) with a syringe and I had to look away imagining the pain.  Talks of who DNF’d abound.  It was told in respect.  In surprise, but in respect.  Because every one of these warriors had their own story to tell, they respected the decision of their comrades to stop when they did.  No judgment.

But while there were no judgment , you can see there was the tug-of-war feeling of, ‘If he stopped, why do I think I can proceed? He’s the smarter one for stopping. Maybe I should too’  and of ‘ Wow. He stopped.  And I’m still okay to continue on.  Maybe I can really finish this.’   One of Team Boring’s support crew realized this early on and decided to not tell any of their runners that one of their own stopped at KM 69.  They knew this would demoralize the team and could give one a license to stop too (you know we still love you, runner  620 *wink.)

But I’m getting ahead of the story.  Let’s start from the very beginning.

January 2010. Matsuyama, Japan.

I get a YM from Pat that went something like this –

Pat: myhoffness, may gagawin ka sa March 5-6, 2011?
Me: Myhoff, grabe naman, kakabili ko lang ng 2010 calendar, 2011 na tinatanong mo.
Pat: may gagawin ka nga ng dates na yun?
Me: wala pa siyempre, diba? Im afraid to ask why
Pat: BDM 160 kasi yung weekend na yun and gusto ko sana itanong kung pwede kang maging support ko.
Me: Nakow! 14 months ang booking?! (tried to message something inane to give me sometime to think)
Me: (lunok) OK. I’ll be there.

Fast forward to:

January 2011 , Red Crab in Greenbelt 3

Pat hosted a dinner at Red Crab as an advanced appreciation dinner for his support crew and also as a way for the whole team to meet as one as not everyone knew everybody yet. ( We would like to thank Doc Sherwin and his wife, Elaine  for the very generous discount they gave for that evening.) There was me, Lauren, Doc Pinx.  We met for the first time Dado, Doc Apple, Sheila, Irene and Aileen.  As each of the girls came into the restaurant, I started laughing realizing Pat’s criteria for picking his support crew.  Kailangan maganda! That broke the ice for everyone.  We were all dumbfounded as well on why there were so many of us supporting just one runner.  We laughed about this a lot and even other runners wondered why there were so many of us. This was a running joke throughout. (There’s genius to Pat’s numbers in the crew. And we only realized this at the later km of the race.  You need your crew fresh at each turn so they are not as wasted as the runner that when runner says ‘ayoko na,’ the fresh crew can be in high spirits and say, ‘No!’ and mean it.  Whereas kung pareho kayong pagod, if runner says no more, because you’re also tired, you can agree na lang rin.)

This became our first meeting as well where we assigned two teams within the crew who would take on alternating shifts so one team is resting at any point in the race.  Each team would have a doctor, a driver, a feeder, a navigator, a time logger and any one of these members can double as the communications person and the photographer.  We assigned Aileen as one who would be in charge of the food and hydration of the 10 support crew members.  To make sure the crew is also taken cared of throughout the race.

February, Center for Aesthetic Studies, Bel-Air Makati

We had our final meeting after back and forth FB messages on February  in my office.  It was here that Nick and Beeps were added to the team, with Beeps as driver and Nick as navigator .  Aileen finalized the support crew’s food menu for 24 hours.  We worked on Pat’s target time of 24 hours to finish 160km.  We plotted the route and his target time per 5km.  We finalized the 6-hour shift per crew, where we divided the day into hours rather than kilometres.  Pat took care of the hotel the crew was staying in.  Irene knew of a friend at km 20 where they can have breakfast and rest.  The doctors will be preparing dextrose for Pat because of his BOTAK experience 2 years back just to be on the safe side. Better over-ready than not, we figure.  The girls promised to not bring too many things para magkasya everyone and the supplies in Dado’s van and Aileen’s car (lol).  And everything was set.

February 25, 10PM, EDSA Central

Most team members met up at EDSA Central and they were picking me Lau and Beeps at Munoz’ McDonalds.  Lau and I had a good laugh on Beep’s textbook reading material of ‘Office Share’.  When do you think you’ll read that at the course of the race, and why that book. J

Dado was driving the Starex with Nick navigating.  Pat, Lauren, Doc Pnx and I were at the back.  In Aileen’s car were Irene, Beeps, Sheila, and Doc Apple.

February 26, KM 0 2AM

We got to KM 0 at around 2AM and we already saw a couple of runners who travelled the same time we did.  Some of our friends travelled the day before so they can rest in Bataan.

We placed the Bataan Death March tarpaulin on the van and obsessive-compulsive Dado reminded us to make sure the tape is placed evenly. Doc Pinx ‘careered’ it tuloy. J We placed it on the bottom back of the van. We were so proud of our small accomplishment until we realized we couldn’t open the back because we covered the handle with the tarp. And what is a support crew if you can’t readily open the back for the supplies, right? FAIL! And because we did such an awesome job on the even-ness of the yellow tape, we didn’t want o remove it anymore.  So some genius decides to cut a slit on the handle of it.  FAIL turned funny SUCCESS.  (lol)

See that slit on the tarpaulin? Genius!

On the urging of Ronnel, Crew 1 (Beeps, Nick, Marga, Doc Pinx, Lauren) decides to go to KM 7 already so we can easily park.  It was Crew 2 ( Dado, Aileen, Doc Apple, Irene, Sheila) who would see Pat gun off (approximately 5:50AM).  They would then proceed to KM 20 to rest at a friends’ house and resume their supporting duties at 12NN.

KM 7

We see a bunch of cars parked and we made kapit bahay at Ronald’s support crew Carina and Pepsi and a couple of Ronald’s mountaineer friends.  They had a lutuan with butane, and already had a fire going with boiling water for coffee and instant noodles.  It was ‘brrrr’ cold J . But it was so much fun to see runner friends supporting another runner.  The mood was very festive at 6AM J

In the distance we hear the wang wang signifying the first runner coming.  And we see it’s one of our own Wilnar.  (Wilnar finished at a strong 17:35 and as we get updates from Earl his support crew, we are amazed at the speed he was doing it in! A-Mazing!)  Right beside him was an attorney. They were followed by a couple of Singaporean nationals.  We saw a couple of other runners and then we see a red shirt coming to us.  It’s Pat! Wow! That was fast.  (the first 7km is a tricky pure winding uphill that a saner runner would walk to conserve his legs). He didn’t need anything pa and he just said to meet him at KM 10.

KM 20 7:43AM

Pat was doing really well on time but we were over hydrating him.  Between lack of sleep and having his last meal as dinner, we made our first error as a support crew when we allowed him to drink too much water on this first leg.  He realized this as well as hunger set in and ate while walking at some parts of the course.

KM 34

He was making too many stops in this last 14 km.  We were keeping track of everything he ate and drank but we allowed him to skip eating at some parts when he had his momentum going.

KM 50

We tagged team with Crew 2 at KM 49-50.  Doc Pnx turned over to Doc Apple his BP and heart rate as well as telling Sheila, the resident physical therapist any pain Pat was feeling.  Lauren turned over the time log to Irene.  Nick turned over the food and hydration situation to Aileen and the navigation to Dado.  Beeps was continuing on to drive for the team as he was supposed to leave by 6PM to go back to Manila.  He was doing a 12-hour driving shift.

It was at KM 50 that we found out that Pat’s rank was #26 out of the 59 who started earlier.  We saw at this pitstop Mark Hernz and OJ. They were buddying it up in this race and we had some pretty nice shots of  these two  running.

We left Pat to the able hands of Crew 2 and I drove to KM 102 where our hotel was.  The moment Doc Pnx hit her head on the pillow, she was out. J Nick, Lau and I puttered around until we fell asleep as well.  We set our alarm to 5PM  (this was around 1:30) so we can go back to our support duties by 6PM.

I get a message from Carina at around 4PM asking where we were because they just passed Pat at KM 64 and Pat was already contemplating DNF-ing.  Nagising ako ng di-oras sa nerbiyos.  (as you can see, I’m easily excitable. lol) I texted Irene and asked how Pat was and she said he’s ok naman.  I’m thinking, what they hey, Pat? Why are you telling another support crew you want to stop when your own support crew is just one km away! After a short assessment, we figured it together with Crew # 2, Pat’s feeling dejected because Ronald is passing him by.  Don’t get me wrong.  These two are ultra-buddies from way back.  But because he was tired already, any reason to stop will make him want to stop talaga – pain here and there (hamstring & itb) , the heat, the dust, a couple of runners passing you on the road…In short, nag-iinarte lang. LOL.  But Carina and Pepsi aside from Crew # 2 of course, boosted his morale as he passed KM 66 and we got reports that he was running again. Yey!

KM61

Pat complained on feeling cramps on his quads. Shiela gave him a good massage and stretch until his muscles relaxed. He also changed his duct tape. How we wish we knew the exact measure of tape and how to wrap it on his foot because his hands were shaking while he was cutting the excess tape and we just stood there watching him and holding the roll of duct tape. We started being more conscious on his electrolyte and salt intake. As the van left him to leapfrog to the next 2km, we could see him walking with pain in his face.

KM63
We waited for him at KM63. He was taking a bit too long. Shiela rushed to Pat when she saw him from the distance. We sat him down at the kilometer marker as Shiela tried to locate which part of his left thigh was tense. This is the part where Pat started to hate Beeps. Beeps grabbed his left thigh and gave it a deep tissue massage which elicited shouts of “Aray! Masakit! Tama na!”. Beeps replied “Alam ko masakit” as he continued to massage Pat’s glutes. We squirmed together with Pat each time he let out a cry of pain. The girls tried to cheer him up while he was shouting. After some stretching Pat stood up and walked to the other side of the road. We saw him limping and so the crew went back to check on him. Beeps and Shiela gave him one last massage and set him off.

“Aray! Masakit! Tama Na!”

KM 65
We waited anxiously at KM 65. While waiting, we received a text message from Marga saying that Pat told Carina he was DNFing. The crew was surprised. Seeing him from the distance, the crew rushed to him checking on his condition. AS Marga instructed, we told Pat that Wilnar will be coming back to pace him after he finishes the race. This made him smile. The crew gave him some words of encouragement. “Kaya mo pa yan. Runner X is just 10mins ahead of you.” And so Pat set off again. Shiela told the crew his muscles were already relaxed at nagiinarte lang siya. So the crew cheered him as the vehicle passed by. We knew he was in back in the game at the next stopover when he asked what time he left KM50. He started to run again at this point checking his time every stop over. Nabuhayan din ang crew.

Crew #2 told us to take our time because they were okay pa to support Pat.  Instead of 6PM, we can take over mga 7PM or 8PM.  We took our time eating and prepping with me and Doc Pnx putting make-up on pa that Doc Pnx even said, “pag hindi pa naman niya natapos itong race na to!” LOL.  We passed by McDonalds and had sundaes and coffee  pa.  We wanted to run after Wilnar on McArthur Hi-Way but decided to just see the beginning of the route of McArthur Hi-Way then head back to Crew # 2.

 

To Be Continued…

Too Much For One Heart

A little girl  slowly removes the white  ribbon,  peaking through a small opening
of her box. Upon slightly seeing a stuff toy and a book inside,  she  immediately
closes it.  She lovingly re-ties the ribbon, making sure she ties it right.

A 5-year old boy removes the blue ribbon wrapped around a Zip Locked pack.
He’s disappointed that the pack did not open when he removed the ribbon;
turns it over and around and yet nothing.
We realize he didn’t know how to
open the zip lock.  And as we look around, the others were also dumbfounded.
We started helping them and showing them how to open and close the zip locked
plastic. And they oooh-ed and aaaaah-ed and laughed.  The 5-year old boy gingerly
pulled out one item after another, and his eyes shone in excitement and disbelief.
He says, “Wow! At may bag pa!” when he saw the folded knapsack, in utter disbelief
that this was all for him.

Another child refuses to open their box.  Waiting instead to open it at home and share
it with his brothers and sisters.

 

These are just some scenes from the first distribution of the Angelito’s Project of  Angel Brigade (AB) in Manila.

Tisha C. Bautista, managing director of Isdanco Foundation and founder of Angel Brigade, together with Marga Uy Baula, an AB volunteer shared  350 shoeboxes to  school children in Tondo, Manila.

Field of Dreams

The school is located in the rehabilitated area of Smokey Mountain, with a small placard sign that says Field of Dreams.

The school is made up of container vans stacked on top of each other, designed appropriately to be a real school.

Surrounded by the port area on one side and the Field of Dreams on the other, the PCF in its

School made up of Container Vans

newness and excited and passionate administrators, teachers, social workers, volunteers, and  sponsors (Coca-Cola, Sa Aklat Sisikat, & Angel Brigade to name a few) seems to be a beacon of hope amidst the obvious  needs  of the children.

The kids’ excitement upon seeing the LBC boxes in time for their Christmas Party was enough for us to get excited as well.

LBC Boxes

As we moved from one room to another, trying to get them excited by asking, “Alam niyo ba kung saan galing ang mga regalo na ito?”; we ourselves laughed when they answered, “Sa LBC!” “Kay Santa Claus”.  We happily explained that a child in their same age and gender lovingly prepared their box all the way from the United States of America.  Whether or not they understood the distance we meant or who the twin heart was who prepared their box, it mattered more to them that the boxes were bursting in the seams which meant that they themselves can give something to their brothers and sisters when they get home.

A gift of one child a thousand miles away has made at least 3 hearts a-flutter this Christmas.

This project would not have been possible without the sincere initiative of Ms. Susan Afan, who as early as September 2010 has been soliciting shoeboxes from SoCal.  Your initiative and your friends’ generosity have made so many children happy.  May you continue to be blessed with all that is good and holy. Other recipients of  the Angelitos  shoeboxes were: Kid Cancer Warriors  from CareWell,  Sacro Costato Mission in Montalban , QC Streetchildren,  children of  St. Michael Parish Taguig, Fr. Arnold Eramis.

I Wasn’t Prepared for the QCIM (Part 2)

I wasn’t prepared for…

…the video collage Carina prepared for me with the very appropriate Defying Gravity song from Glee but originally from the play Wicked. I know I did all those things in the video but I didn’t realize how many I did it to.  I forgot a lot of those already.  What I remember was the feeling of being able to help as a support or cheer crew and knowing that you have helped these runner friends.  It felt good then and it felt awesome watching it.

(http://www.vimeo.com/17354709)

…the Facebook well-wishes that made my wall look like Christmas and New Year all at the same time.

…getting tonsillitis 3 days before the race hence Doc T prescribing a very strong antibiotic.

…not knowing what to wear on race day. Timmy kept asking what I was going to wear so he can find me when he goes back for me.  Hindi ko nga rin alam.  I know I needed to wear a white top and a white cap so the heat wont get to me so much.  But I didn’t like my white top.  If I wear my takbo shirt again, it meant I needed to wear my black top too with the red cap, which would be bad because of the heat and this is all I wear every time! Maiba ka naman!

I wore the black shorts, black top with the black takbo singlet and the red cap.

…PatCon saying good morning to me near the baggage counter and asking how my tonsillitis was. Sweet!

…Doc Roy braiding my hair at Jollibee.

…the calm I was feeling before and pretty much throughout the race.

…the perfect weather. The sun would shine just to smile at us and show us the beauty of the route – La Mesa Ecopark was gorgeous in the heat – UP was magnificent when you look up and see the outline of the leaves in the sun.  But Mr. Sun would hide behind some clouds when he got to be too bright, always at the perfect moments.

…the patience and care of my pacers: Rod, McCoy & Marky. They went far and beyond the call of duty even when there was no duty to be called for to begin with.

McCoy was the most excited to pace me. He was the one who texted to GO GO GO when I said I wasn’t doing it na dapat. My Star Pacer-he paced me on my first 15km, my first 21km and he now was fulfilled his promise to pace me for my first 42km.  Mind you, this halimaw is runner in its truest sense.  He did a splendid job at T2N and he could have gunned for a good time for his first marathon—yes ladies and gents, QCIM was also his first marathon—but he opted to race at my pace, a pace he will do 100x better the next time he does it for himself.  And I will be there. J

Rod. My Rodalicious.  He was the one of PM’d me and encouraged me to still do it.  This guy has always been an inspiration to me.  BDM 102 and his tears of joy at the finish. Near in ages (I had to say it, Im sorry! lol), we have the same issues of hypertension and for whatever else reason, we took a liking to each other.  During the race, at every incline I’d walk, he’d hold my hand and short of pulling me, make sure I won’t fall behind in an uber walking pace.  Unfortunately, when he went ahead of us,  someone told him, he had to ride the ambulance already because he was the last runner.  When he said, no, I still have 3 runner friends back there.  They said, no, they already rode the ambulance.  Cut off na po. He seceded.  *sad*   It was unto his shoulders that I bawled at the finish.

Marky.  Ultramarathoner. I didn’t know Marky was going to pace me.  I knew he was running his first marathon too but to pace me was something that I did not know of.  But he was there, impatient with me but there (lol).  He was my pusher.  But no one can really push an exhausted runner. Sorry, Marky.  But you did awesome with me.  Thanks!

…the patience and care of my bike support: Ronald. Ultramarathoner. Ironman. When I ‘supported’ Ronald at BOTAK 100 years back, I did not know him. I did not know he was doing 100km while I did my 10km. My sister, Iris and I called him Yellow in the pictures because he was wearing a yellow top and that was all we knew of him. When he started his path to becoming an Ironman and was sputtering in the water as he didn’t know how to swim yet in November, I called it…I said, this guy will do awesome on his Ironman.  His swim will be fast.  I was there for his first Ironman and I couldn’t be happier to see him at the finish line.

Ronald was my bike support and whether he liked it or not, he knew he had to see me finish (lol). He was in pain seeing me walk – hahaha.  He even made a halo halo promise if I made it at 1pm. Sorry, no halo halo for me. Hahaha.  He became the official photographer, carrier of all water and hydration and he did such a wonderful job.  Best job he did that day?  He called Neville the organizer when the marshalls, ambulance, motorbiked cops, MMDA’s, were calling me to ride the ambulance already as it was already cut-off and we wouldn’t stop.  He called Neville and made the concession that we should be at UP by 11AM  (we were at Litex at this time).

Bestest job everyone of them  did?  They had the patience to literally be bored to tears as they waited for my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, whatever numbered wind I’d have at nag-kibit balikat na lang nang hindi siya dumating Hahaha. Thank you. Thank you.

…for the number of people who shouted their Go Marga! to and from Commonwealth Avenue.  I had to hug a couple of them and literally shout their names as I was so happy to see them, Gail in particular were we both got teary-eyed.  Unfortunately my pacers made me stop hugging people as it was unnecessary energy to spend when I should be spending it on running. Fine! (lol)

… Bong and Rej of Team Boring to go back for me with cold water and Gatorade and see me to the finish.  Awesome!  These were guys I didn’t know, really. But they walked with me.  Incidentally, they also just finished their first marathon in QCIM, and  going back for me made it another ultramarathon for them. Crazy people! J Marami pong Salamat.

…Timmy, Raf, Sid, Rico, Emil & Erick to be additional bike support. Emil and Erick rode with us to the finish, keeping Ronald company-hehe.  Rico was great as he went back and forth ,bringing  back cold drinks to us with Let’s Goya chocolate for me J .  Seeing Timmy, Raf and Sid was simply refreshing in that heat.

…2 marshalls relieving my pacers their pacer duties at the Eco Park as they encouraged me to run uphill instead of simply walking them.  Bounce lang. Kaya yan.

… the non-water station after La Mesa Ecopark to the finish. Buti na lang my bike support were there.

…at least 10 officers (marshall, cop bike, cop car, MMDA) telling us throughout Eco Park to UP that we should ride na the ambulance as it was already cut-off. They told us this a little before 10AM and through out.  I said cut-off was 11:30.  Marami na daw kaming naaabala sa daan.  Marami na daw nagagalit.  Kami na daw ang last.  These were said  in authoritative voices with people in uniform.  Kinda scary.  I had to tell 2 ambulances beside me, sorry po, pero tatapusin ko to. Hanggang mamaya pa po kayo.  1 said, sigurado kayong ayaw niyong sumakay? Another said, sige po ma’am, takbo lang kayo, experience din po ito para sa amin.

Mga marshalls, mahirap po ang 42km, lakarin or takbuhin man.  Pag nagyayaya po kayong isakay kami sa ambulansya, napakadali pong mag- Oo dahil kami po ay pagod na, mainit, masakit na ang katawan, at oo, nahihiya rin po kami sa mga taong naabala, pero kailangan po naming tapusin eh.  Hindi ko po ma-e-explain pero kailangan ko pong tapusin.  So, next time po, alam ko po na trabaho ninyong i-ascertain kung may maitutulong kayo, pero, mas mainam na maitulong niyo ay ang i-encourage kami.  If you don’t see any dire emergency, we’d appreciate it if you could just encourage us and let us be, but let it not be that the first words out of you mouths be, Sakay na po.


My pacers had a good laugh when we had a good number of hagads as we crossed over to the other side of Commonwealth – 3 ambulances  with wang wangs (sorry, PNoy), 6 motorbikes stopping traffic, 6 more motorbikes behind the ambulance.  Hirits of, Wow, Celebrity. Saan mo pa ma-e experience to na hinahawi ang traffic pa ra sayo? Daig mo pa si PNoy!

McCoy telling me, takbo ka naman, para makita ng mga bus at jeep na hindi ka naglalakad. Tumatakbo naman ako tuwing may audience amidst the pain on soles of my feet.  I am embarrassed by all of these but know that the hagads had no choice but to protect us.

…to trudge on even after the cut-off. But McCoy was telling me, ngayon pa tayo hihinto? Maski walang ng ambulance sa likuran natin, tuloy tayo.  To Finish lang kasi ang goal. Wala na yang time na yan (*sniff).

…for my pacers not telling me the time or give me my cell phone so I won’t be distracted. I couldn’t tell you which kilometre we were at what time.

…me whining at the last 3km at CP Garcia that the soles of my feet were hot and in pain na.  Rej said, o sige, tigil na tayo.  Ayan na ang taxi, parahin na natin.  Sabi ko, I will use all my energies left and push you onto the oncoming traffic!

…not knowing where the turn-around point was at CP Garcia because at this point, there were no markers already.  Buti na lang Rej and Bong has finished the course and knew exactly where it was.  McCoy became my turn-around point like  a game at Christmas with person to turn-around in.

…Ronald telling me sige, sakay ka na ng bus. Tapos pagdating sa Finish, kuha ka ng medal ha?  Hindi ito ang unang beses na nagbike support ako at mangyari to.

…a whole entourage of friends at the curb in the last 900 meters. Teary eyed me. McCoy saying, hindi po to ang finish.  Sa Philcoa pa. Aagawan kita ng eksena sa pag-iyak!  I see Pio running beside me.

…another set of friends waiting for me at the last 400meters. I see two beautiful banners.  I hear people clapping.  I can’t see anymore.  My eyes were blurry.  I felt Jinoe placing the finishers medal around my neck.

McCoy saying, hindi pa ito ang Finish .  Sa Philcoa pa. Ngayon pa ba tayo ma-DNF? (akala mo naman at this point may organizers pa who cared about us. lol) Sprint to the finish Marga. C’Mon!  I ran and I knew everyone of them were running behind me.

I ran even if there was no path to run in because of the bottleneck of jeeps, buses, cabs towards Jolibee.

I know that there was not going to be a Finish Line for me.

I know that I will not step on the timing chip mat.

I know I will not see the Time of my Finish on the clock.

But as I sprinted to that non-existent Finish Line,
I also know that I have finished 42KM in 9 hours.

To a much better Finish Line anybody can ask for –

Into the arms of my friends who waited for me.

Some may say that that was an embarrassing run.  That they could walk the same route and finish way before 9hrs.  And that when you run a marathon, you run it,  not walk it.

But this was a perfect run for me. This was My Perfect Marathon.  Perfect Weather. Perfect Route. Perfect Pacers.  Perfect Support.  Perfect Finish.

I know I am not a marathoner in the athletic sort of way.  I will not break records.  I have no delusions of grandeur  about this.  I do have, though, my whole being put into a personal challenge, that I thought impossible, that I now have conquered.  The banner  said it all: Nothing is impossible.  The impossible just takes longer. (This made me laugh and cry at how apropo it was at that exact moment)

I know my place in the Running Community.  I am the lower bar you set your times against—and this is not a bad thing.  If Doc Pinx is our high bar (she finished 4:24 in SG) and Julie Hotlegs is our middle bar (she finished 5:19 in LV), I am the lower bar.

I love being that bar. If I  finish a marathon and people are inspired to say , ‘if Marga can do it, I can do it too,’ then my work here is done.

The other good thing about being the lower bar?  I have no way to go but up. *smiles*

I Wasn’t Prepared for the QCIM (Part 1)

I wasn’t prepared for

…my first marathon

Sure, I started training first week in April with the last full marathon race in sight for 2010.  It was a choice of QCIM and SCIM.  I would have wanted to do it in SG and share the race with my sister. But the thought of the intense humidity I experienced when I did 21km last year, made me opt to do it in QC.  Home turf and all that, right?

I was doing well in my training.  I needed the extra months to lose weight, hence the early start. I was at the ULTRA Mondays and Fridays.  It was a steady dose that escalates, of 2km warm up, dynamic/static stretching, drills, a choice of interval training, hill training, stairs training; 2km cool down, core exercises and stretching again.

Wednesdays were reserved for BHS, mostly for tempo runs.  These 3 days were with Coach John.  Then I do my long runs every Sunday—doing the Commonwealth route from Batasan to UP and back and at one point, La Mesa Eco Park.

This was also when I didn’t see much of my runner friends, which I thought to be very Ironic.

My training  was a rain or storm type of thing from April to August.  Everyone will be out of the ULTRA oval when it started raining and I would still be at it because running in the rain was the best thing ever!

September onwards was when I would renege on my training days because of a hodgepodge of reasons – work, tired, traffic, rain, hot, lazy, etc. which were all the lamest of lames, I know.  I didn’t know this was also the start of an emotional sadness that I didn’t know could happen to me, but it did and I wasn’t prepared for it as well.

So my 4-day running, with 1 day strength training and 1 day swimming-week turned into 2 day running, 1 day swim, to 1 day run, to 0-run in a week.  My long runs would stop at the 10th km or the 12th, or the 16th km.  It could never progress past that (when I stopped at 26km in August. ) and I was getting scared. Really scared.  I wasn’t in pain. I wasn’t. My brain would just shut off from running and I’d walk.  I tried running with  a group-the UP group that went to Tiendesitas and did 21km.  I think I did 10km there. I tried joining Carina & Raff and do the Galloway method at BHS and even that I failed in.

Tiendesitas Group Run

The eureka moment that I can run began when someone told me that running is primarily  a race in the mind. And arrogant me thought, if I conceive it in thought, I can do it.  I can run.  This was what I was banking on in every race I joined. If you’re reading this and  know me at all, you know my gorgeous body is not made like an athlete.  I already know it would take a lot of mind power to trudge on carrying a me.  So you can imagine my fear when my brain shuts off and decides to stop running, decides it can’t carry me.

Two weeks before the race, I decided a do a make or break run in UP.  It was a Tuesday and I told myself, if I can do 21km as my last long run, then I will run the race.  If not, then I won’t.  I did 8.8km, a strong 8.8km, but I stopped yet again.  Take note, I was not feeling any pain. My lungs were ok naman, my heart was ok too.  My legs and knees were fine. No physical hindrance to stop.  And yet I did.  I went to my car and changed and waited for a friend to finish running. The sadness that enveloped me was in a new level that I’ve ever experienced.  I texted a couple of people and essentially said I wasn’t gonna run on December 5.  The moment I texted it, I cried. This is not new to anyone that I’m a crybaby.  What was new was that I actually threw up. I thought it was just the feeling of light headedness from doing a strong 8.8km.  Then I realize it was my emotional reaction manifested physically. Oh dear God, help.

Wednesday morning in the office someone FB PM’d me and encouraged me to still do it even without a 32km long run.  I got excited yet again (it’s not difficult to get me excited as you can see) with the thought of my first marathon.  What if I don’t finish within the cut-off?  So what? A cut-off is simply an organizer’s cut-off, not a testament to a runner’s endurance.  What if I hit the wall early in the race that I pretty much walk the entire length of the race? You won’t be the first to do it.

What if I embarrass my friends, my pacers for finishing last yet again? (I’ll leave you to answer this question after you finish reading this)

Calling all that is good and holy, I prayed.

I will run it.  As unprepared as I was, I will run it.

angel brigade gratitude drive

It started with a conversation between two friends with the nagging sentiment of : My family woke up today just like any other day—with electricity, food, house intact , with loved ones safe.  Others woke up with nothing. That was September 28, 2009. Typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines in the gut and got the wind knocked out of everybody. Rich, poor, owners, employees, Tondo, Forbes….it did not matter. It hit and it hit hard. It was a moral imperative to do something…anything.  Not because we were spared, but because it was our responsibility.  Then the angels started working their magic.

Suddenly there was a huge space at the Fort that can accommodate any donations that you can give.  Donations came by the truckloads.  Volunteers walked, rode a bike, a car, the bus  to donate their precious time to pack these care items –  rice, instant noodles, carne norte, sardines, milk, sugar, clothes and so much more.  Suddenly military trucks and airplanes were volunteering  to send out these relief goods to the neediest.  Volunteers learned non-useful skills such as estimating how many bags can fit a 6-wheeler, a 10-wheeler or even a van.

Some ran to the Center. The regular TTH Runs in BHS ended with a packing session at the Angel Brigade Center. And when they did speed training, they sped up the packing at the Center to the point that they can efficiently pack (PR pack) 300 bags in less than an hour.  Takbo.ph  was Angel Brigade’s source of second wind when things got tougher, especially when Typhoon Pepeng hit us as well.  Yes, we had our own friends from takbo who was hit really bad and it will ALWAYS be a given that we take care of our OWN.  But to extend it to strangers in the far flung areas? That needed a PURE heart. And with a heart brimming with love, we gave and gave some more.  Different teams also joined in the giving.  People I did not think I will meet because of their mamaw statures in the running community, I met.  And all we had in common was the NEED to help.

Angel Brigade and takbo.ph went on to do more good things after—a very successful Medical Mission in Rizal,  the Feed and Give in Kalentong and the recent trek to Benguet.

At the core of it all is the spirit of volunteerism in each one of us.  This is the same spirit that will change our world—one helping hand, one step, one leap at a time.

Celebrate our One Year Anniversary with doing more.  Be one with us at Rockwell Mall with an Installation Exhibit and Silent Auction on September 20-26, 2010.  See you there!

The Nightmare that was the SMART Subic International Marathon

After a total of 12 hours of sleep since Monday, I woke up and prepared to leave for Subic.
We get to Subic around 8AM (thanks to Cindy and Gab for organizing our housing). Some moved about, I slept (hahaha) and by 11AM, had lunch and we started our Art class with teacher Carmen. We were making posters for our 42KM runners: Argo, Dhentz, Doc T, Doc Sherwin, Mar, James, EO, Gab, Mark H, Nao, Edu, Cess, Doc Art, Gerard, BongYu, Carmel, Rico, Jet, Doc Roy, Sam, Mary Genie, Wilnar, Chips, Chris, and Team Logan. Aside from their names, we had fun with tags such as:

“Are we there yet?”

“You can do it! Konti na lang!”

“Marry Me!”

“I wanna have you baby!”

“I want nobody, nobody but you!”

Hirap pala maging artist! Carmen was outlining the letters, I was simply pentel-penning it, Julie and Cherry were accessorizing it, si Cindy was in charge of the three-lettered names-hahaha-MAR, GAB, etc.; Si Cherry, ‘c’pecial ang work for Chips. Si Tracy, kina-career yung trabaho! She did GoW Argow in record time-hahahaha! Si Timmy, ang Quality checker. They made me stop doing art because they were re-doing everything I did, kasi chaka! Lol! Kaya I ended up pentel-penning na lang! Lol. We had fun doing this for our runners.

We left by 2:20PM. In our van: 42k runners – Mar, Doc T, Gab, Dhentz, Carmel, James; support team: me, Carmen, Tracy, Tim, Cindy. As we drive towards FloridaBlanca, you can feel the nervous tension in the van. Carmen and I were whispering to each other: OMG, this route looks looooong and scary. Hilly and windy. But we shouted out brave words to our runners: Ang ganda naman ng route. Very scenic. That’s when the nervous jokes and laughter came in the form of Doc Topher and James and Gab. Pinagtawanan na namin, kawawa naman eh. Hahaha.

We were at the start point before 3:30. And boy, was it hot! The Kenyans were there. We saw Team Hardcore. I love their uniforms talaga. And other takbo runners started trickling in: Nao, Mark H, Edu, Doc Art, Cess, Gerard, BongYu, Rico, Jet, Doc Sherwin, Sam, Mary Genie, Wilnar, Chris, Chips, the late Doc Roy (lol), and Team Logan (naku, did I miss anyone?)

Craig prayed with everyone in a circle. (Remember this part of the story). And they were off!

The Support Team stayed a bit to decide what we were to do next: buy stuff for dinner, water and Gatorade and ices chests for the runners, make more banners because we missed some runners, check up on the Nike Human Race Runners. Whew! All we knew was that we had to be back at KM 30 before 9PM.

On the way, we saw the runners and we stuck our heads out screaming for all of them! Their smiles and laughter were wonderful response to us.

I even saw my Bengay Guy smile at us! Naks! (Kailangan i-mention talaga? Oo! Walang pakialamanan, blog ko ito! Lol.)

On the way back, we saw Cherry and Lorie on an uphill. We stopped and Cindy in her sandalled glory, and Tim in his Trail shoes, paced the ladies to the finish. (Amazing!) Carmen, Tracy and I were left to do the mommy duties of grocery shopping and continue the art class. Which we did in record time, I must say. In the middle of it , we grabbed a quick hotdog and fries combo to make sure were okay. I ate dinner because I was of no use in the art class. Hahaha.

By 8PM, we were ready to leave and that’s when Cindy got the call from Gab that they needed the water REALLY bad because the water station ran out. (TOINK!) James had a bad case of ITBS. (Sorry about that, James) We ran out like there was fire behind us! We needed to get to them, fast! All along we were praying, Lord naman, we just want an injury free race. Keep them safe please.

On the way, we opened our van window and stuck our heads out and shouted cheers to the runners. Cindy had to do some minor acrobatics to get to one window inside the van. Lol. We wanted to make sure we can at least throw some water bottles to the runners if need be. It was sooo dark, I can’t make out who was who. We saw Dennis!!! Yey! Go Dennis! (EO was behind him pala, we didn’t see him. Go EO! (late! lol)

We positioned ourselves before the tunnel after the tollgate by the Total gas station, where there was a bit of light. We laid out our banners so it will be easy to pick up when the runner passes by. Since we saw Dennis already, we kept his na. And if Dennis was ahead, we were pretty sure, Wilnar and Chris passed us already (for the unofficial record: Wilnar-3:39; Chris-4:12). Dhang! So tinago na naming banners nila.

Luis with McCoy and tito Caloy came asking for Michelle Logan’s number. Craig collapsed at KM 24 and was coughing out blood. (Insert expletives here!) It was a good thing Rico was behind him and took Justin into his care and asked looked for an ambulance. I was shaking trying to figure out how to get Michelle’s number. Shel! Shel has Michelle’s number! I called her, she dictated it to me. Luis called Michelle and told her which hospital to go to. Rico gave up his race for the Logans (Im crying again. I heart you, Rico!) and we were all praying that Craig be okay. He was the one who prayed for safety earlier on. (Craig is okay. He was in the ER with IV’s on him. Diagnosis: Severe dehydration. He is ok that he was even in the 21km starting point the next day cheering Michelle on. Spell resilience: LOGAN!)

We were hearing horror stories already at this point. No water at km 12. Pitch darkness. Runners throwing what they can to the organizers. Runners riding the bus and getting off and running again (I don’t blame them! But I am ever so proud of our runners who didn’t. Clap . Clap.). No marshalls.
I don’t remember the order of the runners who went to our station, but we saw:

Julius. Sobrang chill pace and no qualms, Orange Julius. He just waited for Ian and Isko (batting my eyelashes. lol) so he’d have someone to talk to in the the last kms. But he technically didn’t need anything from us. He’s a real one, this guy. Congratz!

Mark H woot! Bea texted me asking how he was. He was strong still when we saw him

Sam. Dhang. I was afraid for Sam. He literally passed out a few feet away from us and the support team carried him to our van. Gave him whatever we had. Ambulance asking if he needed them. We didn’t. We have it covered. But Sam was so out of it that he doesn’t remember those minutes from falling to the van

Doc T. This was one runner who didn’t need anything! He didn’t even slow down for us. He just said. Si Gab. Si Gab, pointing at the back. Whoa! I heart you, Doc Topher! You are there na!!!

Gab. Gab was so upset! He rested a bit. And asked in all humility for Cindy to pace him. Our Cindy was ready! (Im crying again! Anubeh!) Amazing, right?!

Edu. Edu also almost didn’t stop. He just saw the poster (Edu, Game ka na ba?) But he ran out of our station like a bat out of hell when he heard about Craig.

Argo. Our Classic Argo. He was teary eyed maybe from exhaustion or from being so touched we had his GoW Argow sign for him. Maybe after pitch darkness, he saw us as the light. Hahaha. (Dont worry, I had an Argo moment too in my own race. That’s another story) This guy is amazing!

Nao. Hali-NAO! Superwoman in the house! She didn’t want to stop but for sheer politeness, she stopped to say thank you for banner. Hahaha. We are so proud of you! Thanks for the thank you text message. Cindy read it to us, Sunday morning.

Gerard. After his 21km in QCIM, this guy did his first FM a week after in Subic. We barely recognized him-ang payat mo na! Lol. Great job, man!

Doc Art & Cess. I have to mention this two together. Their bond is amazing. Doc Art pushing Cess to her limits and all. Cess in sheer fright had a fever minutes before the race. But she was so strong, this girl! She had more in her at km 30 that we didn’t worry that she would finish. Her pacers were awesome! Pepsi, Carina, Earl! Woot!

Carmel. Poor Carmel. His first FM in the Philippines and he had to experience the worse of it. Tsk. Tsk. But he finished it! Yey! And his accented, “Pohthaneynamoh!” to the water station people when they didn’t have water for him is just funny now. Lol.

BongYu. This guys’ attitude is just awesome. Instead of bitching and moaning about the circumstances, he accepted it as is and decided to just finish the race.

MaryGenie. This little woman ran with Jet and BY and we’re proud of her finishing.

Jet. So proud of you. You can look back on this race as a hard fought one and one that you conquered.

Mar. Coach! Back to back? But of course! If anyone can, I know you can! So proud.

Doc Roy. How’s the massage? Hahaha. You and Mar were still upbeat despite the circumstances. Galing! Till the next one.

Doc Sherwin. We didn’t need to worry about this one. Just like OJ, this is an ultrmarathonman! But we are still very much proud of you, Doc S!

To the 42KM Finishers, you fought a damn difficult race, in the worst of circumstances! But in the end you conquered it. Not a lot of people can say that. You ran it with almost no water, in pitch darkness, no route markers, no marshals, volunteers who knew nothing, in a route that was new but overly difficult. You didn’t prepare for an adventure race, but you got one. And you FINISHED it. That is all that matters!

(To the race organizers: this does not in any way shape or form vindicate you or cleanse you from the GROSS mistakes and ill-preparedness of this race. What you did was horrible and dangerous! You could have killed someone in that race and you know it!)

This blog is simply a testament to the kind of runners we at takbo.ph are- resilient, never afraid, supportive, finishers to the end!

Urbanite’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidoseous

I sit here in front of the computer at 2:50AM at a complete loss for
words at what happened at the Urbanite tonight. I have always loved my
takbo family from the very beginning. I don’t know how to feel after
what they did tonight.


Finding out the route on a Monday for a Saturday race was numbing for me. And
realizing it was the dhang hillsssss at McKinley literally got me a 38.5
fever. I was scared! My 13.2km strong run the Sunday before didn’t mean
squat now. I did not train on hills! There were plenty of invites from
the group that I never joined (hindsight is indeed 20-20). I needed
to at least see what I was so afraid of and the only way to do it is to
run the dhang things. Tuesday, when Timmy and BongZ said they were
running, I joined. Buti na lang RJ promised to run at my pace which he
did splendidly. 🙂 I finished the 13km (we couldn’t enter the Cemetery)
in 2:20. I was no longer afraid after that. I resigned myself to walking
(I don’t walk in my races kasi mabagal na nga ako mashadow) at least 2
of the hills and allowed myself to walk those 2 hills on the actual run.

I found out on a Wednesday that I will have 3 talks on August 15.
Perfect! I was supposed to just sleep the whole day Saturday! But it’s
work. I have to do it. IN 3-inch HEELS!!!! That’s the clincher! Hay
naku….

Race Night. 7pm. As I saw the takbo peeps, I was greeted with a whole slew
of “Kaya mo yans” and hugs. I appreciated that because as I saw the
Start/Finish Line, I wanted to throw up. They made sure I had my phone
with me so they can call and see where they can start to pace me. They
were running their own race and yet will go back for me to pace me to
the finish. I didn’t get that… At Gun Off, we were off. On the turn, I
see McCoy running beside me, saying he’ll be pacing me. “Huh? From here
to finish?” He said “yes.” I didn’t get it… “Marga, water?” “Yes,
pls” and he would run ahead of me and get water/powerade from the
station. He even got a bottled water so we dont have to rely on water
stations, assuring me of being hyrdrated when I need it and just hold it
for me. “Huh?” He was just patiently at my left. Kawawa naman. I don’t
talk (or walk) in my races because I can’t. I don’t have the energy to
run and talk at the same time. He was just there!*kamot ulo* My arm
(what do you call that?) thingie that houses my mobile fone was chaffing
my arm. He got it from me and wore it (sa left leg nga lang kasi dun
lang kasya.lol) He was doing everything for me! I am dumbfounded until
now.

BongZ finished his race and called us when we were getting out of Heritage.
He said, he’ll pace me as we go into McKinley hills. I said, ok, thanks.
Will call you…But it took me sooo long to get to the bungad of
McKinley Hills that he was walking back to us na nga. 🙂 With Powerades.
*iling ng ulo*

As we were about to get out of the hills, we see Roselle and Gab walking
down to us. Another 2 pacers? Huwat?! I knew Roselle said she will if
she has the energy. But Gab? 🙂 And boy, did the Running Diva have
energy! She sang to me, to us the whole way back!!!! Kung Kaya mong
Isipin, Cadence Song, Tuwing Umuulan, Paraiso, Ice Ice Baby, Hawaii
Five-O. The guys were singing with her and I didn’t realize it, I was
running faster and didn’t mind the hills at all, “What Hills? lol.” The
Diva realized this as well so she really sang the whole time. Maski
imbento na lang with the rhythmic clapping. Amazing!

We see Marky and Dhentz at a corner ready to join me and the pacers.
Anubeh? Overwhelmed na ko. promise. I see Rod running back to us as
well. Wag niyo kong paiyakin!

“Konti na lang. Last 1k. last 600 meters” I see on my left waiting to join
us, a few meters before the turn to the Finish were Cherry, RJ and
Ross.OMG!

“Let’s make a V for Marga” “Sakto, 10 tayo. 5 on her left. 5 on her right.
She’ll be the tip”. Before the turn, they were forming. I didn’t want to
look baka maiyak no ko talaga, but I can hear them moving back. I see
the Finish Line and I did an exhilarating sprint to the Finish as they
were shouting for me, with me. I see 2:25 on the Timex and as I cross
the Finish Line, wala na sila sa likod ko. Ha?

And then I realize, they wanted to make sure that it was MY finish.*sniff*

But I could not have finished that 15km without them! Let’s be fair, I’d
have finished it. At a slower time perhaps and sooo exhausted I won’t be
able to move. But the quality of the Finish makes a huge difference.

And that was a strong and happy finish. I cannot thank you enough. I
loved you guys then, so what do I call this feeling I have for you now
that seems to be expounded a hundred times over? New-found respect for
the kind of people you are? Generous, selfless, men and women of your
word, entertaining,just plain NICE?

Supercalifragilisticexpialidoseous?

Tales at the Milo Support Station

Ang sarap pakinggan/basahin ang walang sawa ninyong pasasalamat sa pagsuporta namin sa inyo. Ang aming sagot mula sa puso: Wala pong anuman!

To witness and share in your triumphs is enough for us. I’m living vicariously through all of you. That is, until I get enough hutzpah to do something as crazy as this. lol.

To the Finalists: Wilnar, Natz, Vener, Jay (di ko kilala si Jay); to the old and new 42km Finishers: Rico, Bongyu, Ziggy, Aries, Dhentz, Doc Roy, Rod, Mar, EO, Chris, Mr. Robert Garcia, Sam, and Steven  (I hope I didn’t forget anyone); to the 21k Finishers: Ellen,Doc Lyndon, Ferdie, Carlo (all the way from Cebu), Argo, Doc Eric, BongZ, Timmy, Team Loagan: Craig, Michelle, Justin, Prince, David V, Ian, Eric A and Emilee A (if I forgot anyone, please add na lang po)—-all of you are such an inspiration to us. Cheers. Clink.

Now for the fun part.  Snippets of fun at the Aid Station on Buendia:

Pat texted by 4:20AM saying he was at the Buendia Station already. By this time, Iris and I were at Buendia/Makati Avenue. Got to Caltex before 4:30, saw red shirts all over, and we thought, “Wow, aga!” Ay, mali, Caltex Pump Boys pala. .

Pat texted saying he’s running after the runners on his bike after Gunning Off.  Gene arrived .Neil and Rachel came in their pick-up, Eire and Bryan in their Fortuner. We were strategizing how to cross the other side of the street to station the station (huh?), made googly-eyes to the men in uniform and yey, they allowed us to set-up. Chugging along the coolers, chairs, food, and all our bags, we crossed the street. Rachel took charge right away : set –up cooler her, trash here, other stash here….Done. Now picture time. Lol. Cherry and Julie arrives, then Shel. Picture ulit. At some point, Francis (Rico’s friend) came and we were set. At siyempre si Carly.  In the middle of things, dumaan din ang mga finishers-Cindy, Doc T, Edu, Vicky, Vic, Tim, Ferds, Neil, Prince. Siyempre the bikers: Julius, Ronald, RJ, & Neil. (again if I forgot anyone, it’s not my fault).

Our weapons: Water Spritzers, Choco Mucho, Banana, Piyaya, Polvoron (yup, we wanted to give this to the kaaways. Who? We don’t know. lol) Water, Gatorade, Vit Water, Powerade, Pompoms, Ice cold towels, Dry towels, Liniment, Alcohol, and of course, my BenGay.

(Please note that Mar and Rico were the men of the hour: preparing, coaching, etc. Thinking of the smallest details such as, stickers, represent takbo.ph well and not be mean to the runners who need aid, and of course the hand signals: 1 (pointy finger) for liquids-water, gatorade, etc; 2 (peace sign) for food; arms crossed means cuddle.)

Incoming! It’s Mar! Go Mar, Go! Clap. Clap. Go! Mar makes the number 1 sign and what do the wonderful people at the aid station do?  ‘Gave him the same sign, and shouts, “Number 1! Number 1!” A few seconds after he passed us, we looked at each other and realized,” Crap! He needed water!!!!” Oh nooooooo! We started laughing, but we all felt so Du-h! We let Mar down….*sniff. Pat to the rescue! As Pat wheels to us, he was signaling that Mar needed water. Hala, lagay ng water and Gatorade sa backpack ni Pat. And he was off! Whew! Possibly being banned from takbo.ph averted.

Si Rico! Clap. Clap. Clap. Go Rico! He was doing the hand signal for drinking water and saying Gatorade, Gatorade. Dhanggit! We were not ready. We had no water or Gatorade on hand. The cooler had something on top of it, hence taking us a few more seconds to open the dheng thing, and by this time, Rico was jogging in place patiently waiting for our clumsiness to subside…Go Rico!!! And off he went. Kahiya!

Anubah? What kind of Supporters are we?! We let down our Masters! Of all the people we needed to make ‘pakitang gilas’ to, we failed on both counts (shame. head bowed). LOL! Bawi. Bawi. We assigned spritzers, water, Gatorade, food, cameras. Hidden behind our backs so we wont inadvertently give our supplies to non takbo peeps.

In my head, it was okay to use the spritzer on non-takbo peeps because it was just water, right? But, nooo. Bryan told me he’d tell on me kay Rico. Ayan. Tinago ko tuloy.  But then I see him, a few minutes later, spritzing anything that moves—us, runners, aba, trigger-happy. Bryan actually has a shot where he’s spritzing someone straight at the runner’s ear. Pasalamat ka, di si BR or else, ma-blog ka! Lol.

Don’t pass our station walking because we will get you to run, or we will get you to run a wee bit faster.  It seems almost comical that the Aid Station had this power, but it’s not comical because we know the runners were just so tired, but because we were cheering them on, they had to move faster. Tsk. Tsk. We were too efficient, I think. Lol.

Some thought the Aid Station was the Finish Line. Oooops, sorry, we’re just an excitable bunch.

“Incoming Orange Sticker!”

“Incoming…ay mali…fuschia pala.

Spell!

P-I-N-K

Woohoo! Clap. Clap. Go Runners, Go.

And of course, my favorite part of the day was when my first BenGay  Botak ‘customer’ passed by on the turn-around and blows kisses to me. Itago na lang natin siya sa pangalang, Isko.  (Walang pakialamanan, blog ko to!) Peace!

We’ve joined the Bandwagon yadayadayada :)

Scene: TAKBO.PH Carboloading Party. March 20, The Pavilion, Greenhills

As the gracious hosts were playing the game of “Have You Never…?” as an ice breaker to the hodgepodge of runners – some 5k newbies, some 10k /21k  expert challengers to the ultramarathoners – the question “Have you never ran in the rain?” came up.

Vanessa asked, “Considered ba yung tumakbo ka dahil wala kang payong?”

‘Guess who said it?

  1. A Newbie
  2. The Expert Challenger
  3. An Ultrmarathoner

HARHARHAR!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.