Sunday, May 19, 2019

Highest Point By Team Pinikpikan 50-Kilometer Road Run Post-Race Report

I learned a lot of lessons in this race. Probably the biggest realization is that preparing and training hard for an ultra doesn’t guarantee a strong finish on race day. Anything can happen and throw you off your game. I actually took the time to train for this race. In previous races, I only train and go for runs when I felt like running. There’s no cohesion at all. If I wake up and I feel like training, I’d go for a run. But if I wake up feeling lazy, then there’s no running for that day. But for HP, I ran and trained for a month. Woke up every single day and hauled myself to go for a short or long run depending on the week’s mileage target.

Then race day came. My only goal was to keep a conservative pace, maintain it without burning myself out, and cross the finish line in under 7 hours. If I can cross the finish line in under 7 hours, I’d be more than satisfied. I’d be happy. Ever since I started running, I never treated it as a competition. I run because I enjoy the process. I like the camaraderie among runners. And it’s my way of keeping my body fit and conditioned for upcoming hikes and climbs.

I felt great for the first 15 to 20 kilometers. My feet felt light. My breathing was good. I wasn’t getting tired that much. This race is going to be a breeze. Or so I thought. Then somewhere along one of the downhill sections in Caliking (or before Caliking, I’m not so sure of the geography here), I felt something twitch in my left knee. It didn’t hurt much so I was still able to run with it for a few kilometers. But the pain just got worse. I slowed down to a snail-paced jog. And then poof, out of nowhere, cramps started on the same left leg. This was my first time to experience leg cramps during a run.

And that was it. No more running or even jogging for me. Afraid that I might seriously injure the left leg if I keep running, I decided to walk and power-hike through the rest of the course. So for the last 20 to 25 kilometers, the ultramarathon turned into a walkathon. I became sort of a cheerleader for other runners passing me by. Finally crossed the finish line after 8 ½ hours. The 77th runner to do so out of 101 runners.

Finally, after eight and a half hours, we crossed the finish line. Photo credit: Sprite/Team Pinikpikan.
In a nutshell, it was a great race and a great experience with great people. A big thank you to Team Pinikpikan and everyone involved in the realization of this race. Congratulations to all my fellow runners. See you all again next year. Cheers.

A day after the race, I went to see a physician to have my left leg checked. Ayos naman, no injury or anything. Nabigla lang daw which I found weird and strange considering how I've been using the same leg to run for a month prior to the race. Anyway, the leg is fine. That's all that matters.