Thursday, March 14, 2019

Makedsang Trail Run 2019: My First Crack At A 50-Kilometer Race

My first attempt in running a 50-kilometer trail race was a roller-coaster. When a friend sent me an invitation for the inaugural Makedsang Trail Run, I wasn’t sure if I’m ready to take on the 50-kilometer course. I said I wasn’t ready for it so I declined. But he insisted so I said, okay, I’m going. A week later, I found myself standing at the starting line at 3:00 in the morning waiting for the race to start. And off we went.

Suffice it to say that it was the hardest and most difficult run I ever did. It took me 10 hours to finish the 50-kilometer course. I don’t know if that’s a good time or a bad time. The course was very technical. Steep uphills, steep downhills, river crossings, rock boulders, dirt roads with dust that’s inches deep, you name it, the course had it. Not only that, the heat was scorching. It’s hard to run with the unforgiving sun bearing down on you for hours at a time. And we got lost quite a good number of times. At one point, several of us were running back and forth at a river bed trying to find trail markers and ribbons. The run also involved a lot of bushwhacking.

It was a hard and difficult run but it was fun. I enjoyed it very much. As they say, if you want to be a trail runner, you should be willing to embrace the pain and the struggle of trying to reach the finish line. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 15-kilometer course or a 50-kilometer course, you will suffer through it. As a newbie in this sport, I learned a lot of lessons from the event. I need to learn how to maintain a pace that won’t burn me out. I was so tired that I stopped running and walked the last 10 kilometers or so to the finish line. I need to learn how to refuel and rehydrate while on the move. At one point, I ran out of water. Hunger and thirst took their toll. That was a huge mistake and a humbling experience.

Thank you Tuba and Camp 1 for a great experience. A million thanks to the organizers, the volunteers, the marshalls, the BFP, the PNP, and everyone involved in making the race a success. Congratulations to all the runners. It was great to be running alongside masters of the trail like Allison Tellias, Edu Losnong, and Jomar Buclay. You are a source of inspiration for newbie runners like me.

When I reached the finish line, I said “never again, I don’t want to go through that suffering again.” I take that statement back. I would definitely do it again. See ya in the trails.

Photo Credit: The Sleepy Owl/Jarlaw Virgino - Photo taken at the uphill climb towards the aid station in Camoag, if I remember the name of the place correctly. The view from this hill was amazing. It has sweeping views of Tuba and nearby towns in Pangasinan.