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Supporting the Titans

January 26, 2010

The Titans (Greek: Τιτάν – Ti-tan; plural: Τιτᾶνες – Ti-tânes), were a race of powerful deities that ruled during the legendary Golden Age. They are a race of godlike giants who were considered to be the personifications of the forces of nature. For me, the Titans are those who participant in Ultramarathons. They have power, guts and faith in themselves to enable them to cross the finish line.

Everything started with a text from Marga (aka margalicious). She invited me to be part of the support crew for Takbo.ph runners who will participate in the upcoming Bataan Death March 102k challenge. There will be a 50k test run from Mariveles, Bataan to somewhere out there. I was intrigued and I wanted to experienced how it was like to be part of a “moving” support team so I told her to count me in J I had my son’s driver prepare the van for a long drive.

Details of the trip

Meeting time: 2am

Venue: Mcdo Munoz

Support crew:

2 vans

Marga, Tere, Angel, Carina and myself (+ my driver Eric)

Runners:

1. Mar

2. Rod

3. Doc T

4. Rene

5. Dhentz

6. Abby

7. Sam

8. Athan

9. Joen

10. Totoy

11. Wency

Friday night

I felt guilty being away for a full day from the kids. Saturdays were meant for chilling with them at home or in the mall and cooking their fave lunch and a special dinner. However, there’s no way I could miss this opportunity to support my running family plus I knew I needed to get build mileage for my upcoming HM debut in Condura and there’s no better way to train than to be with the Titans. I decided to take Yno and Ben, my 2 older sons to watch a movie with Noy. We decided to catch Sherlock Holmes at 1050pm in Eastwood as Yno was already there with his friends. I prepared my stuff for the trip and proceeded to Eastwood.

The film ended at 110am. I realized that if I wanted to be in the meeting place on time, I had to grab my bags and leave as soon as we got home. However, I felt that I needed to shower 1st as it was going to be a LONG day. I took a shower, grabbed my gym and camera bags and rushed out of the compound. I realized that I had forgotten the pillow I was suppose to bring, a jacket which I can use as a blanket, water for the support crew and the food I prepared for the runners L I only had 2 bags of chips!

I arrived at the meeting place at 210am. Wow! Everyone was there. We organized the coolers and their bags and headed out of Manila. Must have taken us less than 8 minutes to prepare everything. Thought balloon: Wow! They are an excited bunch 🙂

The drive to Bataan was uneventful. We were in and out of sleep. I don’t think anyone had a decent slumber.

Mariveles, Bataan

I was surprised to find that the roads to Bataan were quite developed. I realized that the last time I was there was during our 2004 company summer outing.

We passed a spiral downhill road going to Bataan PEZA Zone in Mariveles. It reminded me of the road from Tagaytay Highlands to Midlands, steep and rolling. I was hoping the runners wouldn’t have to pass this road.

Finally, we arrived! 🙂 We got there an hour ahead of the scheduled 6am assembly time. Nice! It was freezing that morning. I stayed inside the van as I didn’t have a jacket. Even if I doubled my shirt, it was still too cold. It was a good thing Abby had an extra jacket. Lesson of the day: even if you’re rushing, stop and asses whether you have everything you need before leaving the house.

Runners started pouring in to join the BDM 50k test run. Sir Jovie (Baldrunner) arrived and started to orient the group. The support vehicles were to station themselves at km 7 and every 5kms after that. Carina was due to run 20k, strictly following her training program. Tere and I decided to run the 1st 7km taking this opportunity to gain mileage. The dreaded steep uphill climb will be part of the 1st 7km, dubbed by Baldrunner as the toughest part of the whole 50k. I thought to myself…”Great Gail, what have you gotten yourself into”? After a few photo opps, the event begins.

Running with Ultra Abby

Carina and Tere decided to follow their race pace while I walked/run with Abby. She decided to conserve her energy for the long haul. We chatted and enjoyed the scenery. I took pictures although lousy ones as the phone I brought along didn’t have a great camera. We were comparing ultramarathon runs with shopping. Girls can spend HOURS walking around the mall so why can’t they do the same during ultras? To think girls normally carry heavy bags when they shop and yet manage to stay in the mall for hours! I remembered shopping with my sister during the Christmas rush last year. We were in the mall for over 9 hours! I developed a major migraine after that. Noy almost had a heart attack when my bills came this month. Hahaha!

Start of the grueling climb

Going uphill

Abby Ruling the Hills 🙂

Steep incline

Upon reaching km7, I told my driver to meet me in km10 instead. I wanted to make sure Abby had company before leaving her. It was a good thing we caught up with Carina and Tere and it was also a blessing that my driver drove to km12 instead of 10, a cool 2 extra kms 🙂 Upon reaching km12, I got my pair of shades, lent it to Abby and bid her, Carina and Tere adieu.

Inaccurate Markers

I needed to switch places with Marga as the lead vehicle. I proceeded to km 17 to provide support to lead runners. I passed by Ka Totoy, Doc T, Rod, Wilnar but none of them seemed to need anything. We then proceeded to km 22. However, we didn’t notice the km22 marker so we accidentally stopped at km 23 instead. I hanged out with the BR and his wife while waiting for the other runners. That was when I got a call from Marga. She said that Dhenz needed our help. He was in km 22. We backtracked a bit until we got to Petron where the km 22 marker was. Puzzled that I couldn’t see Dhenz anywhere, I decided to call him. He said that his Garmin was saying he was at km 23, which was odd. And that was when I concluded that the km markers were actually wrong! We drove towards kms 21 and that was when we found him. The markers were off my 2kms. Yikes! Dhenz was pretty ok. He just needed his refill of water.

At this stage, Marga wanted to switch. We will now be the sweeper instead of the lead vehicle. After servicing Sam and company, we proceeded back to km 22 to wait for the others. Finally, Carina and Abby arrives. I told them about the inaccurate markers, which didn’t surprise Carina as her Garmin registered 24km+. Abby went on ahead as we had to pick up Mar in km 20 as he experienced major cramps. We offered Jonathan/Athan a ride back as he already had blisters on his feet and shifted to wearing slippers. He politely declined. I remembered saying to myself, wow…this guys has guts and is probably crazy 🙂

Km 27 to km 37

We parked somewhere near the km27 marker. The view and ambiance around us in km27 reminded me so much of provincial life. There was a farmer tending to his carabao, the sound of people enjoying Saturday midday by indulging in karaoke, the smell of fried fish, people taking a bath outside their homes in their “daster” and “pambahay” clothes (house clothes). We enjoyed the cool breeze and the fact that the sun fortunately decided to hide behind forming clouds. We turned off our engine and listened to some BEP’s I’ve Got a Feeling and Meet Me Halfway plus other hiphop and R&B tunes. By the time my iPod played Patron Tequila, we all fell asleep. About 30 mins or so, DocT arrives to get his supplies. We again took a good 20mins nap. I realized that we’ve been in this spot for more than an hour already. I was worried that I haven’t seen Abby yet. Ultra Abby was not this slow. I had a feeling that she passed us already. This was confirmed when I saw Coach Roel with one of his students. They were way behind Abby.

We had to proceed to the next stop km30. Upon reaching km30, we finally saw Abby, she told us she was fine and to proceed to km 34.

Km34…37…40

In km34 (obviously:))

Km40

Dead cat by the km40 marker 🙂

Carina and I wanted to run with Abby during her last 10k.  I wanted to take pictures by the finish line so I decided to run km40-km45 only.  We had to pass through town so it was pollution galore as expected from the passing tricycles and jeepneys. People were staring at us and saying things like “Nakaw, naunahan na kayo ng kalaban nyo”…”Bilisan nyo”…”Takbo!” If they only knew where these runners came from…

Finish line

I went ahead to the finish line with our support van to take pictures. I was so proud of the finishers who were already there and who were slowly arriving. Even a local ice cream vendor was there to cheer on the runners 🙂 I made sure I used a telephoto lens so I can a photo of the finishers from afar.

Dhenz and Rod at km50

Here comes Abby! Abby was flanked by her posse Tere and Carina. Tere backtracked to meet Carina and Abby.

Go Abby and her entourage! 🙂

Ultra Abby at km50

Here comes Doc T! The Takbo runners and support crew who were present gave Doc T full support by gathering by the imaginary finish line forming 2 flanks so they can all cheer on DocT as he approaches to finish 🙂

Here comes Doc T

Dami fans 😉

BR and Ultra DocT

Post Test Run

We ended at around 3pm. Everybody was famished! We had taken no breakfast and lunch. We had to survive with whatever chips I brought along. Thankfully, there was a Jollibee nearby. After a hearty mid-afternoon lunch, we headed back to Manila.

I realized that being part of the support crew in an event like this was not easy. But it was definitely worth it. Seeing the smiles, hearing sighs of relief whenever runners see us, made me realized that this is something that I would want to do again and not expecting anything in return (I don’t think I will be doing an Ultra anyway…hahaha!)

To all the ultra runners out there, you guys are CRAZY and AMAZING!…. I am in awe…You guys are truly the TITANS!

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From → Running

20 Comments
  1. Must have been an awesmoe experience, can’t wait for MArch 6 🙂

    • gailcons permalink

      It was awesome! Definitely awesome…you guys are CRAZY to run a 102k…hahaha! You are running the BDM right?

  2. gail!!!! thank you for the super support! =D

    see you sa condura! suportahan taka… =D

    • gailcons permalink

      anytime rod! 🙂 thanks!

      • btw.. do you have a close up shot of the dead cat? nyahahahaha

      • gailcons permalink

        which one? yung road kill along the uphill climb or yung sa km40 marker? hahaha! both were gross and i only take pics of good looking boys and gals…naks! 🙂 hehe!

  3. hi gail, nice recap.

    as they say, “ultramarathon may be a crazy sport, but it’s definitely not for the crazy.” =)

    • gailcons permalink

      haha! i’m still inclined to say the titans were crazy. hahaha! 🙂 grabe…102k..WOW…

  4. Aren’t they amazing? Simply inspirational? Everybody was worried about Abby. I kept saying,”Si Abby? Don’t worry about her. She’s made for this and she has trained for this.” Naks! True enough, she outran plenty a-runner that day and she looked none the worse when she got to the finish line. A-mazing!

    I have plenty kwento about our van, but a-las I have little time and I want to do it justice. Suffice it to say, Angel was a Titan too in driving that van back and forth, making sure we got to everyone. He was spotting a particular runner, but hey, for driving the Titans, pagbigyan ko na. lol. Athan. Athan. Athan. For those who have not heard his training schedule, please ask him. Please. Please. Please!

    Good luck all. Keep safe!

    • gailcons permalink

      oh my! i forgot driver eric a titan too! LOL! 🙂 classic si athan…but what a spirit! would you believe he still joined team CB the next day!

  5. Hi Gail!

    I appreciate what you did. I hope to be of your service in one of your future races!

    Thanks a lot!
    Sam

    • gailcons permalink

      Don’t mention it Sam 🙂 That’s what family is all about and you’re my Takbo.ph family 😉

  6. We can’t thank you enough, Gail. What you sacrificed to support is the true Titanic.

    We appreciate every kind gesture. We hope to give-back the same passion for supporting fellow family runner.

    Thank you so much, and to the rest of the support crew.

    • gailcons permalink

      Looking forward to the text time coach 🙂 Good luck in the actual BDM 🙂

  7. topher permalink

    wow. . nice blog! . .

    it was nice experience too. . having you guys as FULL SUPPORT. . . very inspiring. . .

    MARAMIGN SALAMAT sa inyo!

    docT

    • gailcons permalink

      You were great DocT! You can still smile after that ordeal ha. Kung ako yon, diretso na ako sa van…bagsak! Haha! 🙂 Nice one!

  8. Gail I can’t thank you enough for the support you’ve given us! I really appreciate it! It was always a relief to see family whenever you run. (BTW I did saw that cat, road kill!)

  9. Glen permalink

    Gail salamat sa support ha! God bless u and ur family!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Supporting the Gods (of Craziness)…A BDM Supporter Recap « Gailcons's Blog

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