I have been hanging around as a support for Ronnel Go aka Kampuger for 2 years now. He is whom I considered mentor when six:30 running group was just starting. I have seen his successes and his loss so I knew how it felt how it is to be on that road.
Puger’s attempt for that 160 finish last year was like an awakening for me: you have to know when to accept defeat. When he called Sir Jovie Narcise (RD/Bald Runner) that he’s calling it DNF, I felt sorry for the guy because I knew how he wanted it so badly. But there is a reason for that defeat–a sweet victory after a year.
Ronnel Go became not just great but victorious among his BDM160 brothers and sisters. I was not there, I was in Subic trying to survive: I will be doing BDM102 this March 2 and 3. I thought, no one can help you but yourself.
Since last year, I have sought advice from my idols, getting notes what to do and what should not be done. Beep Beep (Mark Rodica), the funny man himself told me strategy on covering the mileage from September last year that I failed to follow. Every media event, I sought the advice from runner-bloggers that have already ran BDM and told me to monitor my hydration and nutrition. I have read different sites on ultrarunning; cross-trained with swimming for my core; did Crossfit and circuit training. I tried alternatives whenever my schedule would fit and found out that the nearer The Day, the harder it was to train because of several reasons but I did not want to falter.
I will be running with Cyril Magajes (fellow six:30/Barney) who I ran with in T2N 50k last May 2012 and after that I have not ran any other ultramarathon. So I asked him, why is he running this? And I asked myself over and over again: why am I running this? What will I get from this experience? What am I trying to prove? These are the unanswered questions I have tried seeking.
Several reasons came across my mind: because I wanted to test my limits; I wanted to represent my group; I wanted to be proud of myself; I wanted to prove that I am worth the title my peers give me; I wanted to prove all the theories I learned in running; I wanted to give recognition to Ronnel; because I wanted to give proper respect to those who died for our freedom; because this will be my transition to multisport; because there is more to celebrating this life. Apparently, a lot of reasons came so I got more nervous.
Preparation of oneself is not enough and supplies and logistics were prepared. I have identified our support crew and our budget and found myself begging off parties, meet-ups with friends and spent more time at work. I did not want to ask for solicitation even if I could, I wanted to put it low profile. Not obviously my forte, because as a blogger, I am so used to oversharing. But this time I held myself from posting a lot of BDM related entries. Good thing my high school friends came home and we took a break in Boracay and the TBRDM Dream Chaser duties took me away from the pressure.
I found myself being the buzzer beater. I had my haircut at 1pm and Cyril already called that our service was headed to our place. This has always been my ritual in races that I considered important. When I got home, I left my key inside the house so when they got there we decided to go to Secondwind Greenhills to have our Rocktape application (shameless plug!).
Meeting place was at SM North at 4:30pm and we are still in Greenhills. I wanted to laugh because the control freak that I am, I was the first to break the rules. Finally we picked them up at 5pm and off we went to Bataan.
Everything was going too fast. We changed 2 kms away from the starting line, we were dropped by our crew and made some shots. We arrived when the National Anthem of US was sung, I really don’t know what else was announced until I heard the gunstart.
We were to meet the crew at Km7 and will have 3 kms breaks. I told Cy not to rush because this will be literally a LONG journey.
So this is how it felt going up this zigzag. Crazy! Everyone was walking, some are trying to outpace the others. I told myself not to be overwhelmed, we have to conserve our energy!
Saw the crew, yipee! Finally got out of that seemingly endless zigzag uphell. I had my first pee and Jenny told us we were 30 minutes behind our target time (16:00)! Wow. But I was determined to hold my theory, we will be back on track.
It’s the first turn. I kept on reminding ourselves to be in single file, I don’t want us to be disqualified just for that and we were ahead our time by 20 minutes!
We are still ahead of our target time and I was in high spirits! The long stretch was a bit challenging but nevertheless, the clear skies, the full moon and the sounds of Harlem Shake made me smile. I’m liking it.
We made it before our target. Oh sweet revenge, we are in one piece! And no signs of injury. We can eat, we still drink and we are able to talk with our crew! We had our early breakfast and off we continued.
This time, it is no longer counting the miles but counting down to 102!
I found myself feeling heavy with what I ate. I did not want to feel bloated and do a number 2 on the road. I remembered my T2N and I didn’t want my crew to go scouring for a clean toilet! I told Cyril to slow down the pace as I am starting to feel pain on my left side.
We are still on track for 15-20 minutes to get that silver medal. Our run-walk strategy is paying off and I was ecstatic that it’s still early morning. This is when the sun started to rage but the runners we were with and the groups we met were very much encouraging.
I remembered Vicky’s story here when her knee gave out and she was vomiting and dehydrated. I told Cyril we have to slower down as my nerves are acting up then there’s still that left pain below my chest.
I was told later that Jenny mentioned to Cyril that we were off by an hour from our target time. I started to worry but I cannot withhold the heartburn sensation. Cy pushed me harder: run longer, walk faster. I could not but I have to…I need to.
The pain lingered and Cyril’s left knee started to throb as well and he asked if I can perform CPR. Apparently, he can feel that his heartbeat is slowing down, a tendency when he’s exhausted. Jenny said that we are back by 15 minutes! Wow…but I cried. I wanted to tell them if they could please give us the credit of reaching at this distance but I did not want to ruin this strong crew. I hated myself for the heartburn and I hated myself for ruining our plans.
This was perhaps where the most difficult part of our journey. I shouted at Cyril, I begged to our crew to dismiss our target time. “Not today Jenny, not today,” was all I can say. I shooed Cyril away because I knew despite the sharp pain in his left knee every time we walk along a rocky path, his spirit can take it and I remembered, we ran for our individual reasons. I let him go. He ran, I walked.
I was still walking. I could not see Cyril anywhere. I thought the crew would be almost close to the finish line to congratulate him. I blew it.
Apparently, Cy is 2 kms away from me and the crew suffered with juggling from him to me. I felt so humiliated. I was selfish to drag them down. I deserve this treatment: I am slow so I should suffer the consequences of my actions.
Support teams are lining up and they were congratulating us. Their cheers made me run for a good 200 meters and still limping.
Drew told me, “Allan, tignan mo. Ang daming nagmamahal sa’yo. Andito ka na. Kaya mo yan.” And my heart was crushed. This race is not just about me, but for everyone who tried to cover this distance. They still believe in you. I remembered my family is waiting for me at the finish line. I’m so sorry Cyril, I let go.
Different groups, most of them my inspiration and my idols were there, telling me I did it. I am actually doing it! By the last turn, I saw a familiar face, that reliable partner wearing that blue tech shirt, Cyril! And then my sister was cheering, and Dad was trying to capture my picture and the finish line was my Mom!
Sweet victory! It is not my intention to parade how a crybaby I am. I kept on crying when I hugged my sister and my Mom. I immediately looked for BR as this should be the tradition, I hugged him and thanked him for this opportunity. I saw Cyril and said all my sorry’s: for being a brat, for bossing around, for ruining our dream, for practically sandbagging our time. We got reunited with our crew and finally we had our picture!
|132||Cyril Paul Magajes||16:49:49|
|151||Allan Ray Enriquez||17:14:24|
Out of 202 finishers, we made it. This is one for the books.
Who would have known a loyal support can actually try it on his own? No, not on my own, but with a reliable friend, a remarkable crew, a lot of true friends and new-found friends and the strong faith to God Almighty: with Him nothing is impossible.
Cyril, this has got to be one hell of a roller coaster ride. But you have proven strong and undefeated. I salute you for sticking up to me at least at the very end. I still remembered how you look when I shooed you away, I’m so sorry I failed you. But thank you for this one heck of an adventure.
Drew, you did not fail me. You were my rock and you stood up as the leader of the crew. Thank you for always reminding me of my value and worth. Thank you.
Jenny, I tried. Every time I see you, I always thought how I will explain to six:30 that I failed them. That is why I tried to please you even if it meant begging for mercy. But thank you because you have proven to me why I am proud of our team and that I will always try hard to represent our group to the best of my capacity.
Atom, you have been one of my idols. I have followed your blog even before I became a fellow runner-blogger and I wanted to share that vision where we have a group of individuals sharing the passion. You are an example of a humble leader and follower and you always make it possible. Thank you.
Kyx and Daisy, I will always be your loyal third wheel. I have seen you started and stood out to become marathoners and now triathletes. I will always be a proud leader and I am thankful because whatever happened, you stood by my side. Thank you.
Ron and Memes, it took Fat Ass this year for you to finally join the team. And I am grateful of your unselfish desire to help in any way. You guys were a huge factor to make this race smooth and encourage us that we can actually finish this. Your belief became our strength. Thank you.
To Ronnel, thank you for everything. I will always be indebted to you.
To my family, I will always be proud of us and this is why I kept on doing this. I may not be great with a lot of things but I will strive to make you proud of me no matter what.
Why do I run? Because I want to be a testament of thanksgiving to what life has given me.
This is my Bataan Death March 102 story.
Pictures courtesy of Ronnel Go, Running Photographers, Jobert dela Victoria, Jojo Pauly, Drew Arellano, Team USB, Jenny Red and other friends in the running community.