2 years ago, I ran my very 1st ultra.
It was L2Q (Laguna to Quezon) under Runmania which I considered and still consider as one of my toughest runs. So hard was it that it took me a year to even think of running an ultra again.
Okay, ignore the tutu. At that time, tutus were an “in” thing and it happened to be my 1st ultramarathon. Carry on. Carry on. 😂 Oh, take note they also used d-tags at the time.
Fast forward to 2016 when I got hooked to running ultramarathons — L2Q was included in Runmania’s event line-up.
L2Q (Route 3)? 😳
No way! 🙅🙅🙅
No way was I going to run that again even if they said there was a slight change in the route I thought to myself.
Then as fate would have it, my last ultra T2K (Tagaytay to Kawit) with Runmania got me a free racekit… to um, L2Q. 😖
Oh great! 😖
Oh well, with the cost of registration these days, it would be such a waste not to run it. Trying to look at the positive side of it, it was an opportunity for me to visit my hometown Lucban where the finish line was.
2 weeks prior to raceday, I caught a cold virus from one of my girls. 😷 A cold virus that eventually led to cough and slight asthma. Ugh! As much as I wanted to train, I couldn’t. The shortness of breath made it a struggle to complete even a short distance of 5km. Haaay… there goes my much needed mileage and here’s to relying on muscle memory… again. 💪💪💪
My VO2 max had dropped down 4 notches which also worried me as I feared it’d greatly affect my run, 😫 but the show must go on.
I went to the starting line with just one goal in mind which was to finish the race. Knowing how hard the route was, I never even aimed for a target time nor a new PR.
As we were sent off and my ultra friends went ahead of me, I stayed with my usual ultra plan of 5km easy warm-up, followed by 3:1 intervals (3 minutes run: 1 minute walk) up to finish (or I hoped). Half a GU sachet was taken in every 5kms and I tried to eat food they provided along the aid stations.
There weren’t that many dogs encountered, but the dark routes, fast moving trucks were ever present. There was also a portion where only one side of the road was passable as the other half was under construction which had us dodging vehicles as we shared that one lane.
Second half of the distance involved a lot of uphills. You know? Those twisty roller coaster swervy types Quezon province is known for. There was even a loooooong stretch that kept going up😫 and up😫 and up. 😫
I’m really no good with directions as I run without knowing where my exact location is during unfamiliar race routes. It took this picture that good friend Mark had posted for me to realize this was the Majayjay that left everyone talking.
I guess it made an impact to me as well as I realized had taken a video on the same spot as well. 😂 Yes, Majayjay was definitely Ma-HIGH-HIGH.
The last stretch always, always seem to be the longest. The sun was out already and I was getting drained by the minute. Wait, make that by the second. It sure made me wish I was solar powered and would found strength in the heat instead.
A tiny spot of shade meant rest, but with the mostly shadeless route we were tackling, rest rarely happened and it was just really better to keep on going. 😥
Several times did I get to catch up on some runners who I’d tag along and they’d encourage me to keep up. I’d try, but would be left behind a distance later. Soon, those whom I had overtaken kilometers from way back started overtaking me one by one including 3 females.
One female runner who I came across taking a rest on the side of the road jumped onto her feet as soon as she caught sight of me approaching and ran off. Apparently, I was told that she thought we were racing for the 3rd female rank. 😂😂😂 Good thing, I knew there were already several females who had gone ahead of us and wasn’t worth the push.
Running and walking under the heat of the scorching sun, it got me thinking — after my 2 last ultras that both ended up miserable due to lower back aches and wanting to DNF in both, 2 words popped into my mind.
I wanted this one to end up happy. I didn’t want another ultra where I’d feel miserable at the end not wanting to run another one after. 2 ultras in a row was enough. Just to be able to finish the whole route injury free, no aches and no slightest want of a DNF was my goal. Top of my goal list of course, was to be able to eat pancit Lucban after. 😬
From there on, “Happy Run” it was.
Upon reaching the town of Lucban and being on more familiar ground, I simply enjoyed the last few kilometers loving every moment of being back home. 😍
Upon seeing the finish line, I didn’t even bother to run.
I walked towards it, picked up the banner that lay on the ground and beamed my happiest smile to the photographer glad that it was finally all o-v-e-r. 😬
Oh, did I mention that after this run, I earned my grandslammer title having completed 5 ultras under Runmania? 👊👊👊👊👊 Too bad our grandslammer ring didn’t make it in time for me to show off on this blog post. Excuse my bragging rights. ✌️
With the race done, it was time for my ultimate goal of eating pancit. Happiness! 😁😁😁
Of course, I toured these guys around a bit as they turned into instant excursionists. 😂😂😂
On the trip back to Manila, we exchanged stories of the race, other race events, other runners, tips and so much moreZzz 😴💤💤💤.
How was the run?
I’d have to say it wasn’t an easy route as expected, but definitely was better than my 1st L2Q experience.
I think what made it more pleasant was how I managed to make this a happy run by not pushing myself too hard. Oooh, wow! I think I’m turning into a full pledged ultramarathoner who’s really not after time anymore, but the whole experience of it.
If you plan to join an ultramarathon under Run Mania, I’d definitely recommend you try this one. Forget the all downhill, easy routes (What? There is? 😂) because for me L2Q is THE one that tops off the list of their must run 50k ultras.
Try it and see for yourself and remember, try running happy sometime. 😌
Photo Credits: RUNtastic Photography • Roy Simon • Run Mania
Date: October 22-23
Overall Rank: 44/222 solo (within cut-off)
Female Rank: 8/?