Tuesday, March 19, 2013

LIVING THE DREAM: My very first 80K Ultramarathon

The hangover hasn’t subsided. To this day, I am still thinking about that very memorable experience when I participated an ultramarathon a couple of days ago. Organized by Team Davao Runners last March 16-17, the TDR Ultramarathon is the very first long distance running event I joined after being hooked to the said sport. And somehow, unknowingly it made me realize that running a marathon indeed is an experience that’s difficult to translate into words.

Pre-run chat with Jonas and barefoot runner Maning Vismanos
Running a long, stiff and challenging 80 kilometers was never even part of my life’s diagram. It all just started with a 3 kilometer fun run in 2011 and now, I have completed one of the toughest foot races in a very strenuous route I have ever crossed. It was even special considering that I ran with the best ultra runners in the country.

I was having fun during the first 20 kilometers of the race
Although I finished it in a gradual 16 hours and 14 minutes, I am still proud to have made it with barely 1 foot from kilometer 65 all the way to the finish line. The uphill route in Diversion Road area had reactivated my previous ankle injury I succumbed while climbing Mt. Apo in 2009. To be honest, it’s really hard to run with the other foot aching.

With Jonas along Sasa Road 
I also used to grasp that running a marathon is not all about physicality. It is also about being mentally tough. The last 13 kilometers from Toril to Eden Nature Park (finish line) was one hell of a route. The steepness was harsh and the heat of the sun was unforgiving. And because my other LOGSAC buddy Jonas ran ahead of me, I could no longer solicit any other motivations other than my logistic crew Kaling, Jake and Pare Dockie Enot. The rest, I did, was pure personal motivation. I never thought of the remaining distance ahead and I don’t also thought of the distance I already ran. I just thought I was on the road to enjoy, to give excitement to myself amidst physical exhaustion and to give excitement to the people watching the race. What kept me fighting was the thought that when I get back home, there are people waiting for me.

When I crossed the finish line, I further appreciated the beauty of life. Certainly, a person who can drive himself further despite of the efforts getting painful and throbbing is the person who will eventually win. After the run I felt as if I won the championship, although I finished number 64 of the total 70 plus ultra finishers. The distance speaks of it all. Even the most successful athletes in the world like Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Manny Pacquaio and even Tiger Woods find it hard, or have not even tried the 80-kilometer run. I am glad I belong to this elite group of people who have completed an ultramarathon.

At the finish line
I would therefore like to thank the organizers for coming up with such an epic event. Also to the people who helped me with the run. Thanks Kaling, Jake, Pare Dockie Enot, veteran runner Manuel Vismanos for the pre-run insights, my running partner through the years Jonas Florencondia who made it to the finish line 30 minutes ahead of me, Hardi Joy Desuyo for the MP4 player, to my wife Michelle and daughter Majesta. Above all, to the source of my inner strength, the Almighty Father who never leave me throughout the whole course of the run.  

Rodel Manlangit Morales (a.k.a. Rodel Earl Philip Nickolson Manheaven Moore), thank you for the Skechers shoes.