Sunday, January 27, 2008


The UPLB Trantados Full Moon Run...AWWWOOOO!!!

“Buong Buwan Akong Tumakbo!”
Slogan sa Finisher Shirt ng
UPLB Trantados 20-km FullMoon Run
25 January 2008, 9PM-12MN
ICS Bar, UP Los Baños

What better way to fulfill my goals to be more active in races this year than to go back to where my triathlon career started (triathlon career talaga?! Hahahaha!) - THE UPLB TRANTADOS FULLMOON RUN!

Unang labas palang ng mga announcements nila sa egroups alam kong katarantaduhan na naman 'to! So masaya 'to! What else can you expect from the same group that requires non-beginners to wear costumes at their Beginner's Triathlons, came up with the 3-Pool Challenge, and boasts three internationall ranked triathletes among their members (and some of the cutest Pinoy triathletes around! As in wala kang itatapon!)?

I had a couple of minutes na lang to dress up and rush to the starting line, at the ICS Bar (owned by Trantados president Ian Castrilla) because of the horrendous zigzag of a construction site that is the SLEX (Thanks to fellow UP Mountaineers Bernice for driving and Coach Bernie for tagging along). No time to learn the route, no time to warm-up; which wasn't much of an issue, anyway, since I was just gonna treat this as a training long run. Sir Ian gave the signal and we're off!
Followed longtime Trantados crushie Ige because he promised to show me the route. He still had this Koreanovela leading man going on so it was fun following him for a while. That is until he decided to take on a really competitive pace as soon as we entered the UPLB Campus. The route also immediately turned uphill! It will also go downhill but only for a few meters, and then the gradient will increase immediately! I was already complaining loudly, “Ganito ba talaga dito?” Not knowing the route makes every uphill climb seem like it's gonna go on forever. Good thing the local runners were kind enough to reply to my whiny queries with an encouraging, “Konti lang 'yan tapos patag na ulit.” Though they were rarely right.

It was nice having some people running with you in the dark forests of Los Baños. Then I reached a turnaround. I don't know whether it was going to be the first turnaround (the marshals didn't know either, nor do they know at what distance marker they are) but at least they have cold ice tubig ready. I immediately sprinted downhill, bit the ice tubig and the water burst all over my face (hindi pa naman ako sanay nang napuputukan sa mukha!) at may mga tubig pang pumasok sa ilong ko. Next time talaga, titigil muna ako bago uminom ng ganyan!
The first scariest (yes, maraming scariest) part of the route was about to happen. There was this dark curve covered by trees so not even moonlight could penetrate. Good thing I had my headlamp with me. I tell you I was running so fast through that curve. When I emerged, I saw two ladies going up a hill. I asked them directions once I went past them and continued running uphill....Then i reached the turnaround. The same turnaround!

This time i really stopped and asked them for directions but they still didn't know. So i had to sprint downhill again, sprint past that scary dark curve again partly because I wanted to make up for lost time, and largely because I was so scared that moo-moos will come out and eat me!
Realizing I should've taken a right, instead of following the two ladies who were going left, I ran past some runners who were strolling...Hindi ba sila takot sa moo-moo?? Then a guy caught up with me. I looked back and asked, “Alam mo ba kung ano ang ruta?” He just mumbled. I figured he's one of those Korean students being trained by Trantados (in their quest to spread world peace?) so I asked again, “Do you know the route?” He goes, “No.” “OK, I don't know where I'm going also.” “OK, I will just follow you.” Kakaiba, 'di ba? He soon slowed down and I heard some screaming and biting and munching sound. Kinain yata ng moomoo.

I got myself out of the forest and found myself into the academic oval. There were some runners there that I could follow. And I remember this route from the beginner's triathlon years back. Then it was off the International Rice Research Institute daw. Again, I was just going where there were runners. I was running through a tree-lined path that is usually the bike route in Trantados races so I know this is gonna be looooong.... Finally, at the end of the road, some people were doing the turnaround. I was about 54 minutes into my run by now.

There, famed Trantados Edison Ticzon was manning the water station. He said if I were running the 20km, I had to make a right and run all the way out becayse this was just the 10-km run turnaround! I chatted for a while and took my time taking in some fluids. Then it was back to running again into the unknown.

Again it was a long stretch of road...that became a dirt road...that became a muddy dirt road...and more muddy dirt road with nothing but vast rice fields on either side, stretching out into the black mountains in the was full moon alright but it was cloudy so it was still darker...

Most of the time, I was running alone through this dark vista but I wasn't scared anymore. From afar you could see the blinking tail lights of the cars at the turnaround. It was a weird zen experience.

After 2 hours and 21 minutes I got back to ICS where cold beer, free mixed drink with fresh fruits, lechon and the rowdy fun company of the UPLB Trantados await! Walang marshals, walang markers, who cares?! May moo-moo, may mga Trantados, may sense of adventure ka at sense of humor, ayos ka na rito! Binigyan pa nila ako ng medal for “Best in Night Lampa” haha (At fourth daw ako sa age-group, nawala pa'ko niya, ha! Eldani, humanda ka next time! Hahahaha!)

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