02 March 2011

BDM160K Race Report


Just like my first 100 miler (GNW100) last November 2010, I don't know where to begin my story. Among my races, this is the most dramatic on account of what happened during the last 5K of the race. More on this in a while.

Personally though, the huge difference between GNW100 and BDM160 is in terms of goal. In GNW100, it was merely to finish within the cut-off time and experience a 100 mile race. In BDM160, the disparity is huge, i.e., to make it to top three (something which I did not hide).

MY CREW, PACER & SUPPORTERS

Crew & Pacer - from left to right- Bert, Noel, me, Shower, Boyet
I normally reserve this part at the bottom but this time it has to take a center stage. A huge, huge shout out to my crew - Shower, Bert and Boyet. Very patient and supportive. Tried and tested. Above all, having faith in me when I had bad patches during the race was something I would never forget. To my pacer - Noel who wanted to run BDM160 but wisely decided instead to pace me due to health reason. Although there was a part I dropped him when Gene and I were chasing each other like crazies :)


Bert and Boyet

Atty. Romulo L. Aguila, Jr. (Regional Director of BIR Region III) and Atty. Deo Villar (also of BIR) for their support. Thank you. They were my law schoolmates.

My wife Lanie who provided me the moral support and gels, 36 all in all (to last for 18 hours. So go figure :) Expensive but convenient choice for fuel. I did not consume them all as I felt like gagging towards the end of the race. Geez, I could use them up to 10 hours but after that I think I'd die of eating them :) 

My teammates - Albert, Red, Precy, Bles, Rinna, and others for the coolers, blinker and moral support. They came out to see us at 102K post and Mabalacat area. Thanks folks.

Special gigantic shout out to Rick Gaston (http://365ultra.blogspot.com/) for his invaluable advise as usual. He was the one who talked sense into me when I wanted to race the Rogin-E Last Man Standing a week before BDM160. If I did, perhaps I would have perfomed miserably. Sorry, your prediction did not materialize.

Friends - Don, Isko, and others. Vincent of Clark Road Runners for his well wish.

RD Baldrunner - for putting up this historical race and his words of encouragement during the race when he saw me walking because of severe cramps. Now that is a hallmark of a good Race Director!

My pacer, Noel also an ultrarunner

TRAINING

My training for BDM160 was very transparent as I basically wrote the gist of it in this blog. On hindsight, I now agree with Rick Gaston that to do well in a long distance race, the runner has to incorporate both volume and speed. One of the goals then was to reach 100 miles of training per week which I successfully did 2 weeks before BDM160. Prior to that, I had been running at least 100K per week. Notwithstanding, how I wished I had another 2 extra weeks of training before the race to solidify everything.

TAPER

Nothing significant during tapering period except I focused on recovery while maintaining my fitness for the race up ahead. One of things I was thankful for was I came into the BDM160 healthy despite having done my first 100 miler a little over 3 months ago and the intense training load preceding the race. The need to be healthy cannot be underestimated when running a 100 miler. Anything less than 100% will not cut it and any lingering soreness or unaddressed pain or injury  will be magnified by the inherent difficulty of the race and could possibly cause a DNF. Don said it perfectly post race, "no chink in the armor". Two of the possible mistakes I did during the taper is 1) soft massage the night before the race and 2) eating (carbo-loading) more than my body needed the day preceding BDM160. More on these later.

PLAN & MENTAL ATTITUDE

I did not hide the fact that I wanted to race and aim for the best. Rick Gaston, Don and some of my close friends knew my plan. My observation (which I capitalized on) is that if there was the best time to win a major ultra, it would be this BDM160. The basis is that among the local  participants, I was the only runner who had the distinct advantage of having finished a 100 miler. I figured this experience and the facts that I had run the course twice (2009 and 2010 BDM102) and good training would be the perfect recipe. Another observation is that the ultrarunners here are becoming and will become stronger and more competitive. Sooner or later, they will outpace the veterans or not-so-old-runners like me :) and this was proven true by a dark horse winning the BDM160 in sub-20 hours. My prediction has come sooner than I thought.

My mantras for this race were "I came here to race, not just to run", "Every second counts" and "Race management".

START

It was nice to see old faces and new ones. Lots of picture taking and despite the smiles and greetings left and right, one could actually feel the tension, nervousness, excitement and anxiety in the air and understandably so. I distinctly heard Joma Galauran (24th finisher) saying, "I am so nervous" while we were seated together. In contrast and strangely, I was not. I was nervous that I was NOT nervous. The adrenaline rush that I wanted coursing through my body was not just there. I even joked (again) to runners while they were taking pictures by saying - "Smile/laugh now because later in the race, you guys won't be able to do it". It is true.

FIRST 50K - the bane

They were about 4-6 of us in the lead pack and we must have ran it in 4:40 or a sub-16 hour pace. Too fast for a 100 miler. When you are in the zone, it does not feel like it. We ran a consistent pace and even ran the entire uphill course several kilometers from the start. My goal was to stay in the lead pack and when there was a runner who tried to break away like Albert S., Graciano S., Gene, Say Tan (or was it Wee Hian?), Wilnar, I made short surge and stayed with him.

Eventually, it was Wilnar and I who broke away as the lead pack with some runners several minutes away. We talked from time to time. Humble guy from the way he addressed an old runner :). He is a finisher of BDM102 and a triathlete in his own right. He wanted to join Fat Ass 2011 but could not because of Bull Run. I told him to go ahead  but he said he would stay with me as he did not want to get lost (I found this  to be misleading :) He ran behind me. Actually, he was drafting! There were some portions of the course (Bataan) where the wind was too strong and I knew drafting was a very smart move to do. There were several occasions when I tried to shake off Wilnar but he would not let go. As the result would have it, he won in an impressive way.

NOTA BENE:

This was the part where I violated some of the things I learned through the years. One is taking gels and electrolyte capsules not according to what my body was telling me or needed. It was the robotic or strict intake by time or schedule. Like 30 minutes = 1 gel or 1 e-caps per hour. This bloated my tummy and caused me to puke everything I had been taking for the past several hours. Apparently, my body was overloaded and not taking in enough fuel, fluids and electrolytes resulting to severe cramps in both my quads. This was something that never happened to me before even when I did GNW100  where the terrain was even more unforgiving and the weather was similar to ours at least in its 2010 edition. 

In my desire to finish first, I forgot to listen to what my body was telling me. A serious mistake which will never happen again. Next time, I will just enjoy the race, runners and competition with little regard to winning. I agree with Jonel M. - "We become wiser". Hey Jonel, take care and recover well buddy. I heard your condition was serious.   

55K to 154K


Due to severe cramps for 3 hours (from kms 60 to 85), my morale sagged. I could hardly run and when I did, cramps would recur and reduced me to a walking stick again. Very frustrating. This was when Gene Olvis and  Say Huat Tan (Singaporean) passed me with ease. I swear I was expecting all the runners would pass me by. Another runner  Wee Tech Hian, tried to pass but I would not let him. I told to myself, I let Gene and Say overtook me but this time no more passing as Wee Tech Hian tried to do so. This was when I recovered and ran as much as I could. This part was also difficult on account of poop incidents of at least 1 hour in total. Eating watermelon and milk might not be a good idea after all.

Approaching 102K, I got my second wind and was running faster now than I thought possible after all the bad patches earlier. I was already resigned to 4th place until an opportunity presented itself in the most unexpected way.


KM155 to FINISH LINE

My crew, pacer and I stopped by a store to have some instant noodles. By this time, nothing tasted good except perhaps the noodles we ordered. It was getting colder as it was past right 12 midnight. The guys  by the store who were still up drinking informed us that 2 runners just came by 10 minutes ago. My crew, pacer and I stared at each other in surprise. 10 minutes was not that far. We knew the runners to be Gene and Say and deliberated on whether to chase or just let things as they were.  As soon as the noodles were served, the 5th place runner just passed us by. We were caught flat-footed. My pacer Noel hardly finished his noodles and he demanded me to stand up and run after him. We did. It fueled me to run once again and to forget Gene and Say. I even complained to the RD's staff on why he was being escorted by a motorcycle when the rules required a four-wheeled vehicle. I realized later on the person riding the motorcycle was one of the race staff. I did complain though.

So my pacer and I continued to run until we saw blinking lights atop the turn-around point (KM 155 or so). Could it be Gene and Say, 2nd and 3rd runners, respectively? My heart quickened and beckoned my crew and pacer to wait for me at the bottom. While my headlamp was turned off, I ran and snuck up behind them to their surprise. The runners and their crew were startled and struggled for control. Gene flew but Say remained and just uttered to me "You're a strong runner!" and did not give a chase.

I went after Gene and we ran to the finish line like it was a 5K sprint. My pacer tried to run beside me but could not keep up. Gene and I must have run in 3-3:30min/km pace which would not have been possible after having covered 155KM so far. Slowly, I built a gap from 100m to 400m and the rest is history. (Funny thing here is that my crew kept saying my gap was merely between 100m to 200m which made me ran faster even as I felt my heart was on a redline. Yeah, nice tactic! They were shouting "faster, faster!", "gap is only 100m!" while they were banging the side panel of our vehicle. At least, that made them alive again :).

As soon as I crossed the finish line, BR caught me panting and sweating like hell. I sprawled my battered body on the floor trying to catch my breath. It was over!

                              You could imagine I was having a seizure. Man, I was dead tired!

Still on the floor when Gene came in.

Until now, there is a tinge of guilt for sneaking up on Gene who is a good friend of mine. The only thing I could say  to him when he crossed the finish line was to apologize and said we were in a race.


I received the silver buckle, medal, trophy and a shirt from BR as 1st runner up or 2nd place overall in 20:52.


Cheers,
Jon (recovering for BDM102 this weekend)

17 comments:

  1. Fantastic effort Jon, it's amazing what you can do when the motivation is strong enough!

    Hope you are recovering well and enjoying a rest, you've earned it.

    Congratulations, Andy

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  2. congrats, my friend! you did great and we are proud of you. i know there are more drama to include in your story but you did your best to land as the 1st runner-up. you are now a part in this historical event in our history of running. stay strong! see you this saturday!

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  3. Great race report and well done, excellent recovery during the race and what a dramatic finish.

    Congratulations

    GaryB

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  4. as I said before, you are totally awesome :))

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  5. Congrats Atty Jon! you deserve it with the kind of training you've been doing.. - Chito

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  6. Congratulations Atty. Jon You are still one of the best in Philippine Ultrarunning....you were awesome!!! Joma Galauran

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  7. Congrats sir!

    I hope you could share as I would like to know what's the proper way of taking gel and e-cap (and what brand) in a race like this. Thanks!

    Sam

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  8. Congrats atty jon again! You've done it again!

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  9. congrats atty!

    SALUDO ako sayo!

    Recovery run for your BDM 160 is BDM 102 this sat! heheh...

    ang ADIK! heheh

    Junar "jj)

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  10. Thank you folks!

    Sam - there is no fixed rule on the intake of gels and e-caps. It depends on the runner's training, weight, weather, pace, distance, sweat rate, etc. So it pays to practice during training. The common notion (note: I did not say rule) though when one is racing is 2 gels per hour (some can take in 3-4 gels!) and 1 e-cap for 1-1 1/2 hours depending on the weather and pace. Cheers.

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  11. That was an awesome pace towards the end! Unbelievable, but it can happen when racing, and it did really happen to you!More importantly, this is historical, and you're way up there in history with your 1st runner-up finish! Congrats, Atty. Jon.
    Nolan

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  12. Some much information and a lot to comment on so pardon my post length reply.

    After 10 hours you wanted to gag on the gels? That sounds about right and I'm the same way unless you are Karl Meltzer but that guy is not human, he's a speedgoat. He can take subsist on gels. Milk is probably a bad idea:) However I've read on blogs that you guys also eat hard boiled eggs, Jollibee's and Arroz Caldo at races and seem to be fine. I guess it's what you get used to. One thing that has worked for me and is served at the aid stations here are sandwiches cut into four squares, they can be peanut butter and jelly or chicken/turkey with cheese. If i have crew I'll have them make me one placed in a ziplock bag so I can carry and eat as I run. My mouth gets very dry in the later stages of a long race so I don't eat the crust. I usually switch to sandwiches on the second half as I can't stand gels after 12 hours. I take my gels and electrolyte capsules on a set schedule however the schedule does change depending on how I'm feeling. The intensity and speed of your run probably also affected your stomach and ability to absorb nutrients. You were going harder and your body was working harder and more stressed. GNW100 was longer and in more unforgiving terrain but you were not racing to win. Your mind is like a dashboard, there are all this gauges and more show up as you gain more experience. You definitely should still race to win but just pay more attention to the signals your body gives you. Let me know if that works because I've never been in a position to fight for first :)

    Wilnar sounds like he's not only fast but smart!! Haha, drafting behind you when the wind was strongest, maybe something he learned in triathlon? The 4:40 on the first 50k did seem like a fast start for you. Some questions. Were you running your race or Wilnar's? Were you more focused about staying in front, having external developments dictate your race or running your own pace? I always focus on my own race but then again as mentioned I have never been in a position of fighting for 1st place either. Maybe to be a champion you have to go way beyond your own limits but the first 50k seems like a bad place to do it. I'm reminded of a saying I heard on the ultralist, you won't win it on the first miles but you can lose it.

    Freaking great job rallying those last miles. I enjoyed the story before and still enjoy it now. Never say die ey! You lying on the floor as Gene came in is a great picture. Has Gene forgiven you for turning your light off?:)

    Thanks for the shout outs Jon and really it was my pleasure to help out. I was living vicariously through the Facebook and Twitter updates while the race was going on. More success to your runs in the future. Maybe one day we could race together, wouldn't that be something!

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  13. Rick - Did I mention that the Razon's Halo Halo was freaking heavenly. It is not the usual one that we know of. This one is special. Man, I gulped the 500ml content in less than 2 minutes. Perhaps my body's craving for sugar.

    It is different when you are up on the front. I was both running my race and allowing some external fators to dictate my pace. Very hard to ignore these factors when aiming to win. One has to stay in the lead pack just so one will see and take stock of his competitors. It has always been like that. Eventually, the winner will break away for the kill. All stars aligned perfectly for Wilnar during the race.

    I think I could have maintained this pace with some variation up until 102km. My training was geared for that. The pace was to shake off anyone attempting to lead the pack.
    Unfortunately, it did not work this time as I failed to regulate properly my fuel and fluid intakes and listen to my body while racing. Rarely, we could do that when practicing anyway except maybe in a tune-up race. On the other hand, my bad patches allowed me to recover and save the energy to tackle the last portion of the course. It worked. So, it is not so bad after all. No regrets.

    I will seat beside and talk to Gene during the awarding rite on 09 March and hopefully, he will not kick my a@#. :)

    Absolutley! Come here and race or I can come there and do it. Either way, I will eat your dust in trail race! You are a monster trail runner! Thank you for dropping by sensei. Cheers.

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  14. Hi Jon, I enjoyed reading your post. But honestly, I'm expecting more detail on that hehe especially the race between you, Gene and Wilnar.

    Congratulation...

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  15. congrats kuya astig talaga....!!!!

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