I walk funny. I was walking this was since Sunday. Why? Because I ran 53K in Nuvali. Here is my story…
More than a month ago, I twisted my ankle while running. It is no longer painful but it was still swollen when I registered for the 50K Nuvali Trail Challenge. The FrontRunner Nuvali Trail Challenge was my 1st ultra marathon last year. I enjoyed the experience so I decided to do it again this year. But with my left ankle still bigger than my right ankle, I had doubts of finishing it this year. I had no enough training as well so before the race even started, I already was thinking of downgrading to the 25K race instead.
“You’re crazy!” One comment I got from a colleague when I showed him my bib for the race. It was a little crazy yes as I was not trained for it. What I did to prepare was to think about my motto when I joined the same race the year before which was – Yabang at kapal ng mukha.
Yabang at kapal ng mukha was all I had when I went to Nuvali for the race. I ate a lot hence I was heavier than usual. I had this ankle support for my left ankle. It rained the night before so the trail was muddy and slippery. When the race started, I started running with the group. The mud caking on my shoes made it difficult to run. The slippery trail was also difficult to manage. While running, I was really careful as there is a very high risk of getting injured. The chances of twisting my still swollen ankle was so high. There is of course the risk of aggravating my injured ankle by running a very long distance.
“I will not complete the race this year.” Those were my thoughts while walking in the New Zealand part of the route. I was thinking of completing the first loop then quitting there. I was a hundred percent sure of quitting at kilometer 25. Then the thought of being a loser came to me. Iris who never gave up on a 10K race with an injured knee would surely say LOSER to me. I also remembered Daphne’s blog on quitting the race.
It doesn’t help that I was running alone. I don’t have a friend to talk to. Neither was I in the mood to make new friends under the heat of the sun while running. The conditions made me grumpy so the tendency to quit was even stronger. I decided to check on my left ankle when I finish my 1st loop and decide whether I would finish the race or not. There was also a plan for us to have lunch in Tagaytay after the race so it was also a consideration to quit. If I continue with the race, I was pretty sure I’d meet the cut off but it will surely take me a long time to finish.
I finished my 1st loop in a little more than 4 hours. I was doing good. My ankle was actually doing well so I decided to walk another 20K to finish the race. It would be embarrassing to quit the race at that point so I moved on. I changed my shirt, my socks and my cap then went on my way to finish the race. My feet were already blistered that time and I was hoping that changing my socks would help. Well it didn’t.
While walking, I was able to overtake some runners. I think I counted around a dozen of them that I overtook. I walked and walked and walked. Nibbling the trail mix I prepared and sipping water and electrolyte drinks along the way. I was starting to feel the blisters on my feet. I dropped my speed to below 12 minutes per kilometer. I was able to maintain below 10 minutes per kilometer earlier. The heat of the sun was just hard.
I was on the last 10K when my friend called to check on me. I was tired, I was dirty, I smelt terrible and I was hungry so I think I whined. I told him that I was not happy for the additional distance given as a “bonus” by the organizer. I was thinking of not taking the extra 3K “freebie” and would argue with the organizer, Jonel on the finish line. I was shouting and a couple of runners overtook me. “Dude, I have no one to talk to!” Those were really just my issue at that moment.
When I got to the point where there is a route to the finish line and the extra 3K, I took the 3K as I thought it was required. I walked til I finished. I was surprised to see some runners I overtook already in the finish line. They never overtook me on the route but they were already there. What on earth happened? Oh well maybe they took the shorter route to the finish line. I think I wasn’t the only one who thought about not taking the freebie which I still took after all.
Looking at the race results (I was the 95th finisher) there seem to be a lot of runners who did not take the extra 3K. Is there something wrong with this? I am not sure as the medal only says 50K so technically they finished 50K. Was I stupid for taking the extra 3K I am not sure either as those who finished ahead of me surely took that 3K (well most of them at least). Why did the marshal in that part of the route missing before cut off?
These questions need to be answered by the organizer. I finished 53K. I may have done it just a little before cut off but hey I did it. Some runners may have finished ahead of me but they did not finish the route. I did not quit as planned and I am happy with that decision as well.
Last night, while limping to our planning dinner, I was wearing my finishers shirt. I showed off my 50K (53K strictly speaking) finishers shirt. One of the bosses tapped me on the back saying “Wow! 50K high respect for you, Kit.” “Oh it was a slow walk,” I replied. “Yeah but I have never done that,” he replied. Coming from a man who finished a marathon in 3 hours 18 minutes, it was a great compliment indeed. He could be faster but hey, I can do it longer.