Fated to run the All-Women Ultramarathon

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Friday, March 14, 2014


Dr. Luisa Tan
Contributor

YOU may call it fate, destiny, serendipity or luck, but Roselyn Yu, Junjie Caber, Mai Ugalino and I were given the last four slots for the All-Women Ultramarathon.

The challenge was not only to bring our running forms back from a long period of hiatus but to train in just eight weeks. It was two years after our full marathon, (except for Mai who finished the Cebu City Marathon last Jan. 12).

To get in shape, we would meet at IT park every Sunday to do our LSDs and had our short runs and leg strengthening exercises on weekdays.

Since I would usually lag behind during our practice runs, I felt hopeless and anxious about not making it to the finish line. But my dear friend, Roselyn, always assured me, that we would finish the race together no matter what. Walang iwanan!

The All-Women Ultramarathon was totally beyond my expectations! From the marshalls who kept us safe during the run, to the running clubs who manned the water stations from km 4.7 to the very end, and to the rest of the volunteers, thank you! Everyone treated us like queens and princesses, attended to our needs and encouraged us.

So, even if initially we were one of the last six runners among the pack, the cheers that we heard along the way kept us going. There was no pressure as we did a three-minute run and one-minute walk. We walked the uphill of Marco Polo, and enjoyed the sights and breeze at Cansaga and the Marcelo Fernan Bridges. It was perfect weather and NO SPFs needed.

Among our favorites in the water/aid stations, were the cold watermelon slices, bananas and subzero water and Gatorades and the unlimited Omega and efficascent after the 31-kilometer turning point which temporarily relieved our aching muscles till the next station.

We managed to smile and pose for every photo opportunity, greeted our fellow runners, cheered for the elite runners who were way ahead of us and thanked everyone who sacrificed their sleeping hours to be with us.

My brother, who supported us along with my husband Charles, couldn’t help but comment when he met us near McDo going to the old bridge, “Mura man ka og wala mag dagan ug layo ‘te, fresh man gihapon ka ug nawong!”

And I told him directly, “Lingaaaaw kaayo ko, dong!”

After reaching the 42-km mark, our aging bodies started to tire and we needed more “haplas” each time we reached a station.

The sight of my husband at the other side of the road kept me smiling. (Wala ra ba gyud laing nagsugo nako to join this in the first place) but the soles of my feet were already burning and it seemed my feet got heavier after every stride.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 15, 2014.

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