My first few batch of trail running experiences were during my childhood years in our province in Masbate, back in the early 90s. That was when the "Atom" hasn't been oriented yet by his first running mentor. Some of these were chasing for the horses, playing hide and seek with the buffaloes, pigs, chicken, and racing for my life against a mad cow (literally)! And one of the memorable trail experience that I had was when we were trading for some goods in exchange of a hybrid and untamed goat. Me and my younger cousin agreed on a bet on whoever loses in catching the choiced goat, he'll be the one to leash the goat going home. Weak and feeble as I am, I lost the bet! So on our way home, going down the mountain where we bartered our product, we didn't realize that the goat would race us downwards, where I ended up being pulled downhill while holding firm to its leash. If it's not for a rock half-buried on the ground that solidly hit my head, the goat would've pulled me straight to the very foot of the mountain where the streams are waiting for me to be washed down!
Having proven my trail track on the farm (lol), I've decided to take the adventure challenge of Merrell at Wawa Dam. MinnieRunner and her cousins Irish and Mina also opted to join or were actually forced to join since we don't have any other companion for the said race. We also tried to search for a place for an overnight stay near the venue, but was unlucky to find one. Fortunately, we've met some Angels from Agatep a few weeks before the event who warm-heartedly sponsored our ride going to and from the venue, and secured us a spot of VIP table together with the media, and some breakfast goodies before the race. All for an exchange of just waking up as early as 1:30 AM for us to be able to catch the ride.
Talking to MinnieRunner: "Madz, mananalo ako!"
The four of us are running our first time adventure trail run at a place where we haven't been yet. So few days before the event and even during the race itself, I can't help but to get worry about my all-girl companions, the injuries or accidents that might happen on the race, and how the race would turn out for us. But not giving them any hint of my worries, I just prayed and hoped that there won't be any accidents or injuries along the way, and no one would get lost among us.
The worker ants
Good heaven heard my prayers, except for the last one -- not getting lost on the trail. Well I guess that can't be helped since the marker ribbons where incorrectly placed (or as I have heard, there was an excess ribbon) which led us to the wrong route. I was following the lead packs of elite runners before we got lost, and on my count, I was on the fourth to fifth place until we lost our way. At the last marker, since we can't find any other succeeding ribbons nor directional markers within about 230 degree radius, and the Carabao marshalls are of no help in leading us to the right way, the lead runners decided to just go straight and downwards the hill leading to a dried up water stream. After around a few hundred meters of traversing straight the dried stream, we were able to catch up with the 3k racers going up the mountain where the other 5k runners are also looking for the right track.
So, where're the Marshalls and the markers?
Getting more confused about the route, I was like a stressed ant running back and forth for a few meters from some point of origin towards the groups of other 5k runners just to find the right way. When I finally found the directional markers for the 5k, It was then that I lost track of the lead runners who've been guiding us. So I decided to just follow the correct route that I found where a bunch of other 5k runners are already leading the way. But getting stressed with the wasted 15-20 minutes time from the lost route, I can't help but to look for some other ways to be able to overtake the bottlenecks along the single file of tracks. I also risked taking other longer route circling a bottleneck on one of the uphill single tracks.
Tired and stressed black and white ant, respectively
No runners yet at the Mahogany Park
Being lost was stressful and at the same time very much mind and physically challenging. And one of the route that I enjoyed were the jumps beside the cliffs, rappelling from the rocks, and the mahogany park where the fallen leaves added up to the challenge of getting a good balance while running downwards. It has definitely tested my balance, speed, strength, and agility that my lower back ended up aching for three days after the run. It was really fun nevertheless!
River crossing makes me want to dive in the waters
The last part of the adventure challenge was when I thought that I already have to dash for the finish line, but turns out, we still need to complete another kilometer of rock tumbling that has put me on my lowest energy level upon reaching the finish line.
It's not just trail running, it's also rock running!
The last kilometer of challenge
Sadly as it turned out, I was not able to catch up with the cut-off time of 1:10 for 5k category. Say it again, one hour and 10 minutes for a 5k race! I would really like to complain, but judging by the look of the organizer, he already seems much stressed with the complaints of a lot of 5k runners who got lost. It was really disappointing, much more upon knowing that I placed 7th overall, but the medal reward is still too far from my reach!
After the race with Ms. Nicole of Agatep
My girls who conquered the trails.
Distance: 5 km. Trail Run
Official Time: 01:12:16
Official Ranking: 7th out of 83 overall 5k runners
When: Apr. 17, 2010.
Where: Wawa Dam, Montalban, Rizal
Event: Merrell Adventure Run 2010
Me at the finish line! Say "where?"
Give me my medal, please?
You may download the Official race results here.