1:00 AM To 8:20 PM, March 20, 2012/Start & Finish @ The Provincial Capitol
On the last week of February, I made a trip to Guimaras Island purposely to visit the place, talk to the Provincial Governor, and recon the circumferential road with a plan to have it as a venue for the incoming PAU National Championships which I scheduled for September 15, 2012.
Despite my initial coordination with the Office of the Governor of Guimaras, my contact person informed me that Gov. Felipe Nava and his wife left for Manila for an important meeting the day before I arrived in the island. So, we had to make some adjustments for the initial coordination.
Provincial Board Member Roy Habana was our savior for the trip. He happens to be a former police officer and personally knows my Uncle-General of the former Philippine Constabulary who was also assigned in the Visayas Area. I explained the purpose of my visit in the island-province to Board Member Habana and he positively endorsed my plan to the Provincial Tourism Officer. After almost one hour of meeting with the Capitol’s Staff concerned on the preparation of my event, the good and very accommodating Board Member Roy invited us for a trip around the island with him as our driver!
For almost 3-4 hours trip on the road around the island, Board Member Roy was our “tourist guide” and host for our “impromtu” lunch prepared and coordinated by her wife in Buenavista, Guimaras (the busiest town of the island). It is in this recon trip that I started to appreciate and love the beauty of the different scenery around the island. Each town has a distinct characteristic of its own which I wanted to feel and see while I am actually running on the ground.
My initial impression of the place is that, this is a “paradise” for ultrarunners! No frills, no vehicular traffic, very nice scenery, challenging terrain of the route, nice people, air quality is very good and above all, a very peaceful environment. No restrictions on what side of the road you would like to run and I intend to allow the use of earphones for the race!
The purpose of my day trip to the island had been attained. Before I left the island, I promised to Board Member Roy that I’ll be back soon for me to actually run around the island. He was amazed! He told me that I will set the record and history for the island for the first runner to run around the island-province! I smiled at him and expressed my heartfelt thanks for the hospitality given during my stay.
Fast Forward. Almost after three weeks, I landed in the Iloilo Airport (again, for the 2nd time this year) with my support crew/security waiting for me. Visiting Iloilo City is not complete if I don’t have my lunch at the Mang Inasal Resto inside the SM Mall in the city, a practice or habit I developed when I was a Division Commander of the Philippine Army in this area. After lunch, I bought my nutritional and hydration needs at the SM Grocery. Top on the list are “Biscocho” & “Butterscotch” from Biscocho Haus; lots of Gardenia Loaf Bread & a bottle of Lily’s Peanut Butter; SMB Pale Pilsen in Cans; Mountain Dew; Nescafe Latte in Cans; Gatorade Powder Mix (I brought it with me); and Absolut Bottled Water. (Yes, I drink beer during my adventure runs!)
A boat ride (each boat is good for 50 passengers) from the city to the island of Guimaras followed after leaving the SM Mall. The fare is only Fifteen Pesos (P 15.00) per person and in 20-25 minutes, we were at the Jordan’s Port in the island. The boat ride was slower this time as compared on my first visit because of the rains, strong winds, and cloudy skies but the sea water is always calm in between Iloilo and Guimaras.
The generosity and hospitality of the Province is superb! Governor Nava prepared for my team’s free hotel accommodation and 50% discount on food for two days at the Raymen Beach Resort in Barangay Alubihod, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras plus the dedicated support vehicle, an Escapade Nissan Van (but I had to buy for the diesel/gas during the whole trip) ! The place, beach, water and amenities are great. Although it is far from the Provincial Capitol, my stay in this place was very relaxing!
As soon as the team was settled in the resort, I met my support crew/security and briefed them about the details of my adventure run. My run would start infront of the Provincial Capitol in Barangay San Miguel, Jordan at 1:00 AM the following day and the run will go on a counter-clockwise direction around the island. My team was advised to sleep immediately after the briefing with a dinner call at 7:30 PM and then sleep again; and then with a “wake-up” call at 12:00 Midnight before going to the Starting Line. My support vehicle would “leap-frog” every 2 kilometers with a motorbike-riding-in-tandem would be on my tail. This adventure run would follow an ala-military operations style of implementation so that it will come out with a successful result! There should be no point where mistakes/errors should be committed.
At 00:45 AM, I was met by Board Member Roy Habana infront of the Provincial Capitol. Wow! I really admire this guy! I am not surprised why the people of Guimaras would elect him to his elective post every election year! My salute to this fine gentleman who is known from his unblemished and outstanding service in the Philippine National Police! We had a brief talk and he wished me good luck before I started my run. After offering a personal prayer for this run, I left the Starting Area at exactly 1:00 AM of March 20, 2012.
My run from the Provincial Capitol was generally downhill but there are also places where there are uphill climbs for the rest of the town of Jordan until I reached the boundary of Nueva Valencia, which is the next town. Nueva Valencia offers a mix of rolling hills just like Jordan but the southernmost part area in this town has a lot of places where it seems there is only the town of Nueva Valencia that covers the whole province! After covering a distance of 42K, I was still in the said town!
It was about sunrise when I saw a lone runner sprinting uphill doing his morning run in one of the last barangays of Nueva Valencia. He was the only runner whom I saw during my run. Nueva Valencia-Sibunag area has a lot fishponds and the scenery was simply refreshing to the eyes! Most of the Sibunag roads are under construction and there are sparse places where runners would encounter uphill climbs!
I would religiously follow my Gymboss setting of 3-minute run & 45-second brisk walk for the first 50 kilometers of my run and I did not feel any pain or imminent attack of cramps on my calves. I was fresh and still strong! Every 2 kilometers, I would eat 2 pieces of “biscocho” and 2 pieces of “butterscotch” with water or gatorade mix and the drill was repeated throughout my run. This is not an advertisement for Biscocho Haus of Iloilo City but that was my nutritional intake for the whole run. If you have tasted these two delicacies already, then you know already why it powers me up during this run!
Board Member Roy Habana linked up with me in the boundary of Sibunag & San Lorenzo for my breakfast/lunch in a roadside eatery/resto where I ate the best “native chicken” tinola in the region with lots of broth! I was simply feeling cold because of my damp running apparel brought about by the rain during the run but the hot broth/soup of the dish kept me warm and my leg muscles’ fresh! I think we stopped for 40 minutes for lunch as more interesting conversation cropped up with the good host-Board Member Roy. Well, he paid for our lunch, to include the police escorts’ meal! Being the Chairman of the Peace & Order of the Provincial Council, he made sure that I was properly escorted by the PNP in every municipality of the Province! Amazing! I did not get this kind of treatment & attention when I was still in the active military service!
As I resumed my run, Board Member Roy passed by on a muddy part of a road under construction and said that he will be going ahead and hope to see me finish at the Provincial Capitol.
I made a discovery that I could run stronger and my endurance last longer if I drink 2-3 cans of beer during my adventure runs. Drinking one can at a time should be spaced properly during such runs. One should not drink more than one can every pit stop! I usually start to drink beer after finishing the marathon distance of 42K (at least, one can to reward myself for finishing the marathon distance) and from there every 10K, I take a sip and once I finished my 2nd marathon distance (84-85K), I should have finished my 2nd can of beer. However, every 2-Kilometer “pit-stop”, I have to drink water or Gatorade and ingest “biscocho & butterscotch”! The 3rd can of beer is taken after finishing my run! It worked well with me.
However, there are times when I fell sleepy while taking my time to finish my 2nd can of beer. The solution is to bring out my Nescafe Latte or Espresso Blend in Cans to perk me up. Espresso Blend is better though because of its strong bitter taste!
As I approached the 90-Kilometer mark all the way to the Finish Line, it’s time to bring out the most powerful source of sugar/glucose—Mountain Dew!
The strong headwinds and crosswinds of San Lorenzo almost zapped my strength on this run. The road is so flat that I was bent on increasing my pace but the wind was so strong that I spent so much force to maintain my short but quick strides. As usual, I was maintaining my Heart Rate of not going beyond 150 beats per minute for the whole duration of this run. There is no use to battle it out with the wind and I concentrated on following my Gymboss setting.
After the strong winds in San Lorenzo, here comes now the start of never-ending uphill climbs once I approached the town of Buenavista. Board Member Roy told me beforehand that there is only one uphill climb from San Lorenzo going to Buenavista, but he was wrong. I think I counted four (4) major uphill climbs before I reached the town!
Passing along the Poblacion of Buenavista was a blast! Board Member Roy, his wife and friends were on the roadside cheering and clapping their hands as I passed by! This town could be the busiest town in the island with lots of people/students leaving their schools; lots of people going and coming out of the public market; and vehicles/tricycles plying along the road.
I was scheduled to reach the finish line between 6:00 and 7:00 PM but the hills in Buenavista and Jordan prevented me from attaining it. It was getting darker already when I slowly ascended each of these hills that I had to brisk walk and took my time to breath the fresh air around. At this point, I was starting to feel the most awaited thing in endurance sports—pain, agony and suffering for an ultrarunner. I was already on my last 10 kilometer before the finish line and all the pains coming from all parts of my body were starting to appear. It is a warning that I need to take something solid in my stomach. I am lucky that we bought a lot of “biscocho & butterscotch”! Biscocho Haus’ products & Mountain Dew are the best food & hydration on this part of my run!
The last 10-kilometer distance in all my adventure runs is simply the hardest but the sweetest of them all. You can easily forget your first 10 kilometers in every ultrarunning race but the last 10 kilometers will always remain in your thoughts that gives a special signature or significance of the race/run that you have successfully finished! This is where you remember to recite and shout your favorite running mantra; this where the “demons and angels” of running will argue with each other; this is where “mind over body” would work; this is where you determine what you are made of; this where you remember your loved ones who are rooting for you to finish this race; this is where you think of your inspiration; this is where you curse yourself why you are doing this run/race; and lastly, this is where you separate yourself from being an ordinary “running boy or girl”! This is where you think that you are a brave “warrior” and nobody would defeat you in order to win your battle!
The last 10 kilometers were challenging part of the route indeed! My Garmin Forerunner 305 would prove that the Provincial Capitol sits on the peak of the highest hill in Jordan, Guimaras! I finally reached the exact place where I started my run infront of the Provincial Capitol with a clock time of 8:20 PM of the same day which means that I finished my run in 19:20+ hours for a distance of 110 Kilometers.
Hereunder are the summary of data taken from my two (2) GF 305:
Distance: 110 Kilometers
Time: 19:20:04 hours
Average HR: 135 beats per minute (bpm)
Maximum HR: 149 beats per minute (bpm)
Total Calories Spent: 5,066 cal
Total Ascent: 3,663 meters (12, 088 ft)
Total Descent: 3,653 meters (12,055 ft)
Under Armour Compression Shirt
CW-X Compression Shorts
Under Armour Runner’s Cap
Nathan “Sprint” Watter Bottle
2 GF 305 Watches with Heart Monitor
After a dinner of Fresh Fish Sinigang, Native Chicken Adobo, Pancit Canton and lots Guimaras Mangoes, I was already on my bed snoring loudly. After almost 9 hours of sleep, I was already on the salty waters of the beach soaking my tired legs for almost 30 minutes.
Before my team left the island, I had the chance to personally talk to Governor Nava about my run and my plan to hold the PAU National Championships in his province in the later part of the year. He appreciated my feat in running the whole island and he told me that I made a history in the island as the first and only person (and the only retired Major General of the AFP) to have run around the island in a single stage. He also appreciates my purpose of bringing “Sports Tourism” in the province.
A visit to Guimaras is not complete if you have not tasted and brought back home the sweetest mango in the world—Guimaras Mangoes! “Nothing Beats The Guimaras Mango”!!!
See you in Guimaras in September 2012!