(I jokingly said to the other runners that this run for me is called FAT ABS Run while showing them my tummy which had grown in shape/size and expanded due to the absence of any running activity for the past one month.)
This is a classic example of a run with fun and a chance to enjoy the company of other runners in a very relaxed atmosphere. The history of FAT ASS runs around the world had been fully described by Atty Jon Lacanlale in his blog and through his initiative, he was able to introduce the first edition last year. It was too late already to join this event last year when I decided to bring the whole Elite Team Bald Runner to Cebu City for the City’s first Marathon Race.
When Atty Lacanlale announced in his blog about the 2nd edition of FAT ASS, I immediately applied for the 12-hour event and officially endorsed the said event to those who will be joining the Bataan Death March (BDM) Ultramarathon Race. True enough, the event’s applicants grew in numbers.
I arrived at the Clark Air Base Parade Ground at 5:30 AM last Saturday and immediately proceeded at the Starting & Assembly Area. I was surprised to see that some parts within the Area had been transformed to a Camping Ground where I saw a lot of individual and “two-some” Camping Tents used by the runners. I would assume that these runners spent their Friday night at the Parade Ground.
Atty Jon, Don and the rest of the Team Clark were there to assist the participants in their registration. The race’s processing of participants was so simple and additional instructions were presented by Atty Lacanlale. We were warned that the run will start at 6:20 AM.
We were instructed to run along the paved path/road around the parade ground where each loop would cover a distance of 2.2 kilometers. Each runner would simply write the time as shown on the official clock once he/she completes a loop on the tabulation where the list of runners are posted. It is mandatory for each runner to make an entry on the tabulation every time he/she finishes a loop. In between each loop, a runner could do anything he likes. He could walk, rest, sit, sleep, eat, go to anywhere else, take a shower, or make a side trip inside the base. The overall atmosphere of the running event was very relaxed and exciting.
With less than a hundred of runners combined from the 24-hour; first wave of the 12-hour and 6-hour runners, the race/run started with a jovial and very relaxed mood. After completing one loop, I immediately made an assessment of the runners joining this event. First observation is that there are serious runners who joined to make sure that the official record made last year will be broken; second, most of the runners who were there are participants in the BDM 160 & BDM 102 Ultra Races who are building-up their mileages and putting more time on their feet; third, runners who are there for the fun of it and the experience. I guess, I belong to the third group of runners.
Having been on treatment and rehabilitation on my latest calf muscle injury for the past month, I treated this run as my “comeback” run and my formal start of training for the year. Initially, I planned to test the possibility of evaluating what an ultra runner would experience if he/she maintains an average pace of 10 minutes per kilometer for the duration of a 12-hour running event. This is one way of validating the degree of difficulty or comfortability of a runner and/or the possibility of a runner to meet or qualify to finish the BDM 160 within the cut-off time of 28 hours. I used myself as the subject of the experiment even if I am still recovering from an injury which is a good way to control my urge to run at a faster pace.
I made some simple mathematical computations on this matter. If a runner consistently run an average pace of 10 minutes per kilometer, he could finish 6 kilometers per hour. By multiplying 28 hours with 6 kms/hour, it has a result of 168 kilometers which is more than the 160 kilometers needed to complete the race. To be exact/accurate, a runner that could maintain this average pace of 10 mins/km, would reach the finish line in 27 hours and 39 minutes!
However, 10 minutes is too long and too much time to finish one kilometer! Maybe, a runner could make some adjustments on this pace. He/She could run continuously for 8 minutes and walk the remaining 2 minutes and repeat the process 160 times. Or run continuously for 48 minutes and then walk for 12 minutes in order to cover a distance of 6 kilometers! The combination of running/jogging and walking are endless but what is important is for the runner to be crossing the finish line within the cut-off time of 28 hours for a 160-Km Road Race.
I finished my first loop of 2.2 kilometers in 18:45 minutes based from my GF 305. It is very slow but I feel comfortable. The air was cold that I did not perspire for the next 3 loops but ended up urinating and going to the bathroom every time I finished a loop! Despite the walking breaks towards the tabulation to encode my time; relaxing breaks devoted to drinking of water & eating some food; and for those “pee” breaks to the nearest bathroom, I was able to run 3 loops with at least few minutes to spare before making one hour of elapsed time. Conservatively, I could run 6.6 kilometers for one hour which is more than the distance I have planned for!
But things changed after the sun was already heating up the whole place. I started to perspire and my visit to the bathroom to pee started to become at a ratio of 2 loops for every pee break. For every loop that I finished, I forced myself to brisk walk for 2 minutes before I start my run again. This was repeated from Loop 4 to Loop 10. I continuously hydrated myself with water and sports drinks making sure that my renal system is working properly where I take my pee breaks every after 2 loops. I drank 350 mL of water per loop and on the next loop would be a sports drinks—Gatorade or Powerade. Every after running for 3 loops, I would drink one bottle of Ensure Plus (350 calories per bottle) and eat one sandwich with Cheez Whiz spread. After my 10th Loop, I’ve observed that I could maintain an average pace of 8:45 to 9:30 minutes per kilometer and I was able to maintain an average of 3 loops per hour or 6.6 Kilometers per hour. It is a faster pace than what I planned for but my legs were still strong despite from not running for the past month!
After running for 10 loops, I decided to eat for my early lunch. I prepared a Pancit Sotanghon Guisado with Chicken strips and Pork Adobo for the event as my solid Food source. I ate a lot and finished with some fresh fruits (sliced apple, banana, and water melon) and water. I forced myself to take a nap after my stomach was full on the grass portion beside the route. What is good about the venue is the presence of tall acacia and mahogany trees which provided enough shade for the runners who would opt to do some camping in the area. I think I was able to sleep and rest for one hour and a half!
When I woke up, the direction of the runners around the loop had changed into clockwise direction! The rule states that the direction of the run is changed every 6 hours. We started running the counter-clockwise direction from the start and when I woke up from my sleep, the runners just started to change the direction of the run into clockwise direction.
The runner’s lane at the Parade Ground looks deceiving. You might think at a glance that it is a plain or flat route but running on it for several loops would show a distinct description of it. If a runner is going north, it is slightly downhill! Which means that if you are running going south, you are going uphill. It follows also that during this time of the year, if you are running northwards, you are meeting the northwind breeze which refreshes your body and you could feel the breeze as the runner’s lane is mostly covered with tall trees. So, you would experience a different challenge as you rack-up those loops and at the same time feel the breeze of the cold air once you are running under those tall trees along the path. Very refreshing and at the same very challenging!
For my remaining time in the 12-hour event, I continuously ran and walked for 13 loops. On the 12th loop, I completely walked the whole loop and incorporated backward walking for about 800 meters. And on the last loop, I brisk walked and jogged on “barefoot” on mix grass and paved road for 2.2 kilometers. I ended my run even if I still have 30 minutes remaining in my time.
On the first half of my last 13 loops, I could still meet my goal of running at least 3 loops in one hour but later I became slower as it would take from 1:05 hours to 1:15 hours to complete one loop. But the cooler temperatute in the late afternoon would simply encourage and helped me to maintain my pace once again.
My injury last month is no longer bothering me but on the later part of my last 13 loops, there was a pain on the muscle behind my left knee which continuously appeared and felt whenever I would take my walking breaks after completing a loop. The pain is more pronounced when the course is going northward or “downhill”. Other runners who would pass me when I was walking noticed my “limp” and they would ask me if I was injured. I had to explain to them that there is pain in my leg muscle but once I get into my running mode, it simply disappears! So, on the remaining loops, I would maintain my jogging mode to complete the loop and then took shorter duration of walking breaks. Luckily, I brought my NIKE Calf Support (no longer sold in the market) which I bought two years ago and decided to use it on my left calf where I am always having a muscle tear. It helped me to control and manage anything that would happen again to my left calf and I am positive that it helped me a lot to run the distance.
Officially, I was able to complete 23 loops for the duration of the 12-hour event which could easily pass for an ultramarathon distance. However, based from my GF 305, I was able to cover a distance of 53.7 kilometers with a registered time with my feet on the ground for 8:10:++ hours. The data from the GF 305 shows that I was able to maintain an average pace of 6.6 kilometers per hour for the whole duration of my actual run & walking.
Running for almost 54 kilometers in distance & with accumulated time of 8:10:++ hours after a rest/recovery and rehabilitation for an injury for one month is a feat I’ve done which I am still trying to figure it out. By maintaining my food and hydration; race strategy for the achievable average pace; and the almost perfect ideal running environment (it was too hot near mid-day time!), I did not experience any muscle cramps, nausea, disorientation, dehydration, or any “issues” during the event.
With this personal running experience, I can conclude that an average competitive runner could finish the first BDM 160K Ultramarathon Race within the cut-off time of 28 hours and be able to receive the “first” Finisher’s Belt Buckle Award in the “first” 100-Mile Solo Road Race in the country!
Running Shoes/Apparel Used:
The North Face Sentinel—used it for 6 loops
ASICS Gel-Tarther—used it for 17 loops
Socks: One Pair of DryMax Socks
Running Shorts & Singlet: ASICS 2010 Air Gear
NIKE Runner’s Cap (Black)
Fort Ilocandia Golf Cap (White)
Oakley Glasses (Asian Fit)
2 Capsules of Saltstick
1 Capsule of Tylenol 500 mg.
Body Glide (Courtesy of Tin Ferrera)
Congratulations to Atty Jon, Don Ubaldo, and the members of the Team Clark for hosting this wonderful and memorable running event. This is what I like in a running event that is too simple and without any funfare. It is running in its best form and atmosphere with lots of fun and camaraderie with the other runners. And it’s FREE!
Congratulations to all the runners and finishers! I hope you have attained your respective goals in this running event.
See you in next year’s FAT ASS Run!
(Note: Photos Courtesy of Jeffrey Abenina, David Buban and Others)