Run 2 Me was a character defining race. The unli-putik gave us the struggle on the climb and those heart-beat stopping moments on the slippery descent but that’s what make this a memorable one.
Run 2 Me
The first kilometer was uphell at its finest with the dark adding to the obstacle on the wet, extra muddy and technical surface. That first kilometer set the tone that this would be grind out race and you have to find your inner strength to outlast the mental and physical challenges of this race.
It’s my third time in Mount Ayaas. The first two times the climbs were tolerable with the first and last kilometer of the 5-kilometer climb being the tougher ones. Just add water and the trails changes into a totally different playground. Run 2 me was a mud-fest and the difficulty of the climb was probably multiplied by ten at this conditions. That’s the beauty of trail running, the experience is never the same.
The 10K distance started at 5 am and I thought that it should be ok since I can get pass the technical part before being able to see the overwhelming long climb. Well, I was wrong as the lack of visibility despite the headlamp made it a lot tougher. I had several missteps along the way and slipped several times. I’m just glad that the shark-teeth like traction of Evo Jawz was reliable in this type of trail condition.
The first kilometer felt like forever. I started with a slow and steady pace on the climb. I was able to sustain the pace without stopping for the first kilometer but I felt the struggle of each mud-filled stepped. The soft extra muddy surface added to the drag of the climb and made me add a few resting stops to catch my breath.
Km 1 was a mixed of muddy, rocky surfaces. It was a difficult climb and it made me re-think that the earlier option was just to sell Pinoy Trails share while the trail was ongoing but I’m here now so I must find the hidden strength to finish the race. We were out of the climb about a kilometer and a half into the race.
There’s a short flat and descending stretch before the climbs would resume. What I thought would be a respite was not as the mudfest continued and we had two cross several short wooden slippery bridges along the way. The drag was there in each step. I took this part to recover a bit as the climb would resume a few 100 meters after. I set my sights on the first hut along the way as my next resting stop followed by the store, mid-way into the climb. It was another muddy climb and you can feel that each step was a lot heavier compared to my previous climbs here.
I just had a few drinks at the aid station at the store and went on the next set of trails. There was a short downhill trail leading to the river, where I took the chance to clean my shoes and lessen the drag coming from the mud. I set my mindset that I have to gut-it-out until I reached the relay tower, which is about a kilometer from the aid station. It was pure uphill but knowing that I can rest at the relay station gave me a goal to look forward to.
I had a short rest at the relay station and proceeded to the last part of the climb. There was a short flat stretch along the bamboo invested area. This is among my favorite area as the bamboo gives a different feel of the trail. When the climb resumed, it was the steeper climbs so I had to be more conservative. I would go 20-30 steps on each set of climb and rest a few seconds before the next set.
When I was in the open part, I knew that there were several false peaks before the actual Mount Ayaas Peak so I had to take it a peak at a time. The views were overwhelming as always. I knew once I reached the peak that the race is over as it would be mostly downhill after that.
Mount Ayaas is my favorite peak in Wawa area as it shows you a panoramic view of the mountain ranges nearby. It was breathtaking at this peak and I had my usual photo-ops at this part before I went down.
I then proceeded on the second half of the race. It was less of a struggle despite the steep descent as I felt the lugs of the Evo Jawz kept me stable. I was already setting up for a faster descent when one of the runners approached me and told me that one of my friend was having a hard time and is already feeling light headed. It was Redg and I asked her if she was ok and she was not so I joined her on the way down at her pace. I kept looking back just to make sure she is still ok.
About a kilometer with Redg, I saw the marshals from Run Heya and told them that Redg was having a hard time so they joined her on the descent. I still kept within range to make sure she’s ok. It was a smooth descent heading into the aid station. After the aid station, I went ahead knowing that the Marshals are with Redg though I would alert all marshals I met to check on her when they meet her. The rest of the descent and the short climb went smoothly until the last kilometer.
The last kilometer was downhell at its finest. It was difficult navigating over a mix of boulders, mud tracks while the sun was up and adding to your exhaustion level. It was a mental battle hereon. One struggling step after another over the varying surfaces and I slowly descended the trail, which led to the bridge and the finish line. Unli-Putik + Unli-Climb = Wasak!
Happy Birthday Master Lao!