August 29, 2010 – Ilocos Norte (Pasuquin to Pagudpud)
P2P 65 is the 2nd Ultramarathon race organized by PAU, the first one was PAU 50 in Tanay Rizal, a 50km race at the rolling terrains of Sierra Madre mountain, this race surprised us with a roller-coaster route that has a total elevation gain of 1,500m.. yes 1.5km total elevation gain mostly towards the last 20km. And now… a 65km (+5km) race up north at Ilocos region. The route traces the national road from Pasuquin to Pagudpud with side trips going to 3 key landmarks in the province of Ilocos Norte namely; Kapurpurawan Rocks, Burgos Lighthouse and Bangui Windmills.
I have to say I enjoyed and had so much fun running PAU events because of the scenery along the route, the people, the camaraderie amongst runners/support and surprises Baldrunner, PAU founder, would normally offer during the race day.
And lastly, since PAU race venues are out-of-town, it gives me an opportunity to tour around nice places I never visited in the past. Post race tours are equally fun and exciting (and educational too) to be honest.
10..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1.. GO !!!
As a general strategy, Alfred, Wilnar and I planned to run at a comfortable pace all throughout the race. That means; run as far as we can run at a relaxed pace with minimal walkbreaks in the 1st part, enjoy the scenery and take pictures/photo-ops, and walk if we have to towards the latter part. No specific target on distance, time and pace. We practically agreed we will run by feel for the whole duration of the race, though we thought of trying to maintain a pace of 10km/hr (6mins/km) or so in the initial salvo.
The race started at around 5am after a short briefing and simple ceremony.
First Part.. First 30km…
It turned out that the 1st 30km was the so called “1st part” in our plan . We were able to maintain 10km per hour consitstently. 1st 10km at 59:20, 2nd 10km at 1:00:09, and 3rd 10km at 1:00:37. Total of 3:00:06 for 30km. The time includes pit stops every 10kms and photo-ops along the way.
The first tourist attraction we passed by was the Burgos lighthouse, roughly at km#23. This lighthouse was built in 1892, we were told that the 17-meter tower is still functioning. This is the highest lighthouse in the country with a total height of 160 meters from sea level to the light beacon.
Next 10kms was totally a different story… km#30 started with a kick.. a trail road leading to Kapurpurawan Rocks. We were not able to pick-up our pace on the trail, the road was not just a trail but comes with big/sharp rocks that can put you out of balance, or worst, a sprained ankle. We practically walk more or less one-thirds of the 8km route, going in and out of “the rocks”. My garmin registered 4:30:47 @ km#40, thats 1:30:41 hours for the last 10km.
Maintaining a steady pace was becoming difficult for the trio at this point so we decided to do 4-mins run, 1-min walk…… then 3-mins run, 1-min walk… and more walkbreaks. It was a slow 20km run at 2:54:29 hrs (8:43 mins/km pace), including 10-15 mins pit stop/photo-ops at Bangui windmills. Top 3 ladies finishers overtook us at this part of the race.
The longest 5km run of my life…
7:25:16 hours @ 60km mark… my garmin was dead… with 5km to run (well, thats what we thought)… and most of all, the temperature now is on the rise. At this point, we decided then to run a bit faster especially on every downhill part knowing that in a shortwhile it will be over and done, perhaps in 42 mins. Well.. maybe not so fast !!! Last 5km seemed like forever. Relying on the road signs, the last 5km is not anywhere near 5km. We were running for almost an hour since km#60 and still no sign of beach resorts. As far as our eyes can see, still an endless road in front of us. Asking local folks made it more confusing when we ask how far is the saud beach resort.. “sir 5kms pa yan”… “mga 1km pa”… another guy on the motorbike said: “malayo pa kayo boy, mga 8km”… now I realized that a normal person cannot really give an estimate how long a km is. Enough… we then settled on what Jovie mentioned that the race will be 65km++, maybe 67km?
Now walking again… ran out of energy reserve… the speed-up we did earlier brought our fuel to empty zone… Just brisk walking our way to finishline as we believed then that nothing will change anyway, at least on the ranking, the distance vs runners behind us were like a km or so.
… Finishline …
Finally… after 1:20 hours from km#60 we saw the light at the end of the long long tunnel… crossed the finishline at around 8:45 hours, and surprisingly, 3 of us placed within top 20. 16th place for Alfred, me on the 17th, and Wilnar 19th. It was only then when we learned that the total distance is 70km. (Official Results from Baldrunner Website)
P2P 65 vs BDM 102
For this event, the 65km race ended with 5km extra for a total of 70km, and we only realized that after crossing the finishline. Interestingly, especially for the first timers of Ultra run, the total P2P 65 route is only 32km short of the famous BDM102 ultramarathon race. Im sure newbies to BDM102 are now thinking 102km race is not something out of reach after finishing this race, and perhaps their experience in finishing the ”70km” race will encourage them to register for the next edition of BDM come March of 2011.
Thanks to the following people: Alfred (el kyoshi) and Wilnar for the company and of course for pacing with me the whole time. Rey Jimenez /Jonel for taking care of our accomodations and logistics even at the last minute request. Camilla for sharing the support van with us and for the post race dinner. Jeffrey Avellanosa & friends /Alfred for the nice pictures on this post. Takbo.ph peeps (runners and supports) for roadside support and encouraging words. Fellow runners on the road for those words of encouragement. Jovie/Baldrunner for another exciting and successful event. And to all of those who in one way or another supported us in finishing the race…. and of course to God Almighty for another fullfilling and injury-free race…