“Free…. To chase her aspirations and what makes her happy!”
This is the comment posted by my good friend Gladys Nuas under this epic shot, taken by my older brother Joseph on our way to our WET (Water Extreme Tubing) adventure last April 12.
Her remarks aptly put in black printed letters the screaming message I wanted to put across in this picture. And yes, this photo also perfectly froze the kind of high I was in after successfully setting a new PR (Personal Record) at the 5th Mayon 360 80-k ultra marathon a day before.
So, how did I accomplish this feat in the absence of a running companion and a support vehicle unlike in my first 50-mile run? (See related post at https://wanderingjouster.com/2014/04/10/mayon-360-2014-where-beauties-and-beasts-abound/.)
I, the Wandering Jouster, have prepared well the detailed chronicle of my second taste of this premier ultra marathon event in Bicol, my very own province.
Early morning of Saturday, April 11, made me wake up to my phone’s 2:30 am alarm. Having the hotel room all to myself since my sister and three sons were staying overnight with the other members of our “tribe” in Diwata Imacoto Beach in Oas, I was not constricted to make any kind of movement and noise as I prepare for the flag-off at 4:00 am. I was very calm while dressing up. I allotted 40 minutes to be at Penaranda Park before the gun start. I was unruffled because I would just walk a few meters from where we were billeted. Without a transportation problem, I was already all smiles at the break of dawn.
A second-timer in this race, I knew what would meet me at the assembly area. I did a quick sweep at the place which surprisingly was not as crowded as before. I saw familiar faces but I could not join them because we are not friends. Well, I am not complaining. Hehehe… Solitude, even in running an ultra marathon, is something I would surely derive gratification from.
I lined up to check in my number and saw Ruben “Fards” Fajardo, one of the 83neans standing nearby. I greeted him and exchanged a brief update about another 83nean runner, Ed Balcueva who was already transported to the 40-k marker. They would be running the two-man relay, which split the 80-k distance.
After I was officially listed, I found a spot where I did short warm-up exercises. Then, my kumare/friend Elvie, who would be documenting a priest/friend run and his brother, arrived. Again, the conversation was quick after I requested her to keep my mobile phone. A few minutes later, the emcee instructed all the runners to approach the start area for the invocation, singing of the national anthem and Albay Hymn. Having run last year, I already anticipated the flow of the programme. When the Race Director Jovie Narcise, aka Bald Runner, had a rundown of the “strict” race rules, I expected the turning on of headlights, then the countdown before firing that single shot which released all the runners in the three categories: 80-k solo, two-man relay and the four-man relay.