The Bataan Death March (BDM) 160-km Ultra Marathon Race had its 4th edition last January 25-26, 2014.
Viewing the results at the Bald Runner website, I was happy to see a familiar name among the 50 finishers (out of 60 starters). Gia Estrella finished 13th overall with a time of 26 hours & 33 minutes. She was 4th among the female finishers.
|Gia with Bald Runner the BDM Race Director|
Immediately I emailed to congratulate her and in the course of our email exchanges, I got to have a glimpse of the things she did to prepare for the BDM and her strategies during the race.
Training for an ultra, there is really no substitute for hard work. One has to continually go for long runs weekend after weekend so as to develop the aerobic capacity and strength to handle the goal race distance. And for Gia, she joined a ton of half marathons, marathons and ultras within the 2-month period prior to BDM 160 (prior to this formal training period, she joined a marathon or an ultra almost every month in 2013):
•1st Cavinti Adventure Road and Trail Marathon 42K (November 30, 2013)
•6th Tagaytay to Nasugbu 50K (December 8, 2013)
•Molino Boulevard Run 21K (December 15, 2013)
•Cavite to Laguna 50K (December 29-30, 2013)
•1st Naic to Nasugbu 50K (January 12, 2014)
•7-11 Run 21K (January 19, 2014)
Joining races is also good as it is great for checking to see if one is fitness-wise. It is a good source of positive reinforcement as one gets to see if the time is improving. In the case of Gia, from a lowly 17th finish (female) at the 2013 Mayon 360, she graduated to a 3rd place finish (female) at the 6th T2N and a 2nd place finish (female) at the 1st edition of the Naic to Nasugbu Ultra. Come January 2014, Gia has improved her ultra running pace from 5.3 kms per hour (at Mayon 360) to 6.8 kms per hour (at Naic). I could just imagine that by January 25, Gia was primed ready for the race.
During the BDM 160 race, she got efficient support from her team which included Zaldy, her boyfriend, coach and fellow Team Leader of Ayala Triads. Zaldy crafted a plan which the runner and the crew followed in each of the kilometer of the race. Said plan includes hydration and nutrition strategy, as well as pacing strategy; when to change apparel depending on the weather conditions; when to clean your feet, socks and shoes to avoid blisters; and when to take a tactical rest. For Gia and Zaldy, these factors are all vital in an ultramarathon, especially with race distances of 80K and above.
|The luxury of coffee at night|
|Gia and Zaldy in the last 100 meters...|
|... of a 160-km journey|
Gia with her team : Bogart, Ahyie, Zaldy, Karlene, and CJ. Not in photo is Kit.
Asked to talk about her motivation in the training and running of the BDM 160, Gia waxed both eloquent and emotional – “I think my motivations are the people around me. They are the ones who believed that I can conquer it and supported me for this race. From my Ayala Triads family whose been there with me in trainings and races, my officemates at SB Corporation and my Team Kamote Runners family who are always been there to motivate me, giving words of encouragement and praying for my safety, my family who are very supportive with my “kabaliwan” and my daughter Fiona who is my source of inspiration. Of course Zaldy, who is always been there for me, from my 1st half marathon and now on my first 100-miler, he is very instrumental on what I have accomplished today.”
CONGRATULATIONS, Gia! An inspiring story of hard work and team work at our country’s premier ultra marathon.
|A silver buckle for the few and the brave|
Photos courtesy of Gia’s friends -- Karlene Sebastian, CJ Miles and Kit Elma.