About Me

My photo
I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

November 5, 2011

MTR 2011 : Mayon Trail “Run” to the Extreme

Clamber. Waddle. Crawl, & Trudge .  Action words I did not exactly expect to use for a write up having something to do with  my  passion for running.  But when it came to my recent adventure at the 21km Extreme Mayon Trail Run last October 22, 2011 in Legaspi City, I have to call a spade a spade.

Bicol Penguin's  envy  -  lead runners gliding seemingly on the surface
“Clamber – to climb with difficulty, especially on all fours.”  This I did  a lot at MTR’s first stage which involved  uphilll and downhill assaults on Lignon Hill (elevation:  155 meters above sea level).  Except in my case, the terrain did much of the ravaging on my cardiovascular faculties.  The  “kapit tuko” trail lived up to its name and left no choice for the runners but to go an all fours (“4X4” in hiking parlance) most of the time.
Clambering up kapit tuko trail
The hill gave way to the Yawa River and this is where I waddled literally to cross it.  “Waddle – to walk   with short steps that tilt the body from side to side.” The river is where I realized that I am a penguin indeed.     I like being wet, but what I don’t like is having my running shoes get resided on by sand and pebbles.  Not cool.  It makes running after the river crossing extremely  uncomfortable.  I should have followed the lead of another runner who took her time on the riverside to wash off the sand from her shoes and socks.  Or I should have googled enough months before the event to look for a pair of trail running shoes that can keep out sand during river crossings. (Send me an email if there is such an animal.  Or are Kswiss Mayon, Adidas George Washington,  and Asics Yawa still many dreams away?). Despite its aqua-inspired name, the trail running shoes I wore (Brooks Cascadia)  failed miserably in the MTR. So much so that I ditched it for a pair of North Face hiking sandals 4 kilometers into the race.

After the river crossing, I found myself  jogging and walking on the sandy soil of the Bongga Gulley.  This I  did  for more than 6 kilometers until I reached the Lava Wall, an imposing 5-storey high pride of nature that was formed from the 2006 Mayon eruption.  This is where the crawl started.  “Crawl – to advance slowly, feebly, and with frequent stops.”  You bet there were numerous stops as it took me 30 minutes to cross the 500 meters of lava rock.  500 meters in 30 mins.  Such a humbling experience but a tangible consolation I got is a picture and video of me showing off proudly the First Balfour flag with a natural wonder of the world as background.

I did not come a long and hard way not to have the FLAG with me!

This hunkering experience at the lava wall took its toll on me.  So much so that the rest of the trail run for me was almost exclusively devoted to a “trudge – to walk in a laborious, heavy-footed way.” Think of the naked scribe Geoffrey Chaucer  in the movie “A Knight’s Tale.” For each trudging step I take under the blazing heat of the Bicol sun, the hope of finishing the 21-km trail run within the cut off time   of 5 hours & 30 minutes slowly evaporated.  

And the organizers were not bashful when they said that they saved the beast for last.  Yup,  the last kilometer was a straight up    steep uphill single track trail with knee high steps .   Bad for my knees.  With grace from up above, I completed  the whole 21 kms (some say it is 22 kms)  and crossed the finish line in 6 hours & 30 minutes, a full hour beyond the cut off time.   This technically meant  I did not finish the MTR 2011.  Sure, the organizers  were considerate and generous enough to give me a finisher medal but in my book I DNF.  First time and hopefully the last.

For all the agony the MTR 2011 has given me, I find it a priceless and bountiful adventure worthy of a carpe diem.  Many reasons but to name a precious few:

Ø  My fellow Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983 runners (Bob, Ernie,  Ric & Ed) showed solidarity in waiting    for me at the finish line despite many hours of waiting.

Batch 83 Runners with Yves
In the MTR 2011, I got to share a half day’s worth of quality time with my friend, Mau, for I helped her conquer her fantasy run.

With Mau and Rommel of San Beda College Alabang
Me and my fellow 83neans got to meet  exciting fellow Bicolanos & Bicolanas who are passionate about running:  Yves, Missy, Rommel,  and  Mario .

With Runner's Circle top runner - Mario

   The MTR 2011 made me more humble and respectful.  I cannot hope to finish an extreme trail run   with not enough practice  and not enough sleep.     Respect the terrain.  It made me more passionate about running.

So, with this lesson learned, I commit myself to coming back next year for the MTR 2012.  Next year, I look forward to running again in Legaspi City with many more friends and classmates in the hope and focus of finishing the MTR 2012 within the cutoff time.  

In 2012, MTR  will be  Mayon Trail “Redemption” for me.

1 comment:

  1. congratulations on your first "baby" in your blog, vicboy! truly, your unique style of writing will give us readers/followers a new recipe to look forward to in the world of blogging...
    i am honored to have run with you in the 4th mtr, and i wish i could witness your redemption next year...hehehehe...good luck, my friend!