It’s been a while since i took a long run of more than 21k so yesterday presented the chance to do so. It was Labor Day here, a public holiday so what better way to make use of my free day than by getting those miles in and hang-out with the team! It was going to be a group run, so me and my team mates (Team 90%) would start of at the usual meeting place, McDonalds at Silver City, Tiendesitas.
A group run for us would always start early and as agreed, i’m dreading the 3:00am start which means getting up at about 1:45am, doing the usual morning routine while waiting for Leo and Sylvia to fetch me by 2:40am on our way to Tiende. We had planned a route all of us will be doing for the first time and that is to scale up the route going to Antipolo church and nail around 25-30kms.
So all 7 of us took off and began our run at about 3:15am and were headed out to C-5 towards Eastwood. All went out on a very fast clip, no slower than 5-6 mins/ km and figured if i was going to sustain this pace up until Antipolo, i was nowhere of getting the mileage as i was sure to bunk out even before reaching our destination.
So i cut loose, did a steady pace of 7:00-7:30 easy and i was so glad i did so. Immediately, i found them way ahead of me and with the still dark C-5 Road, i lost them when i reached Eastwood City.
I was now running alone with just the silent passing of a few cars and trucks as company and with the few dim lights that illuminated the road. I forgot to bring my headlamp nor any reflective material that would warn motorist of this lone runner invading their turf so i was extra careful, confining myself to the sidewalks that were relatively safe.
I felt a sense of liberation running alone as it’s one of those rare times when i get to contemplate, on unfamiliar territory with my mind set to reach Antipolo on my own. I reached Marcos Highway, passing by SM Marikina and one thing great about this stretch is the presence of bike lanes on the eastern side which kept me safe through out this highway.
I stopped by a vendor who was cooking pancakes for P5.00 a piece, got me one and later stopped by a 7-Eleven Store nearby for a Cobra Energy Drink to wash down the pancake. Burp! After a few more kilometers, i reached Masinag then would turn right to Sumulong Highway, the main road towards Antipolo Church and the dreaded uphills that leads to the church.
Surprisingly, the uphills were very manageable, slowly taking it one at a time except when they were long and steep that i had to take walk breaks for about a minute or two. Here, you get to share the road with cyclists making their way to and from Antipolo. Saw some cycling friends including ultramarathoner Romy Doctolero. I finally reached Antipolo Church in about 3:20 (hrs) which is exactly 21kms from Tiendesitas.
I tried to look for my teammates who were to visit the Church but they were nowhere to be found. Learned later that they arrived 20 minutes earlier and were at the back entrance of the church and most of them had changed to drier clothes which was probably the reason i didn’t get to see them. I would also learn that they would not continue their run anymore after the church visit and just drive back to Tiende on Leo’s SUV who asked his driver to pick them up at the church. They managed the one-way route of 21k.
After taking in a bowl of sotanghon soup with egg and re-filling my Camelbak hydration pack with water, i continued my run and re-traced the route i took, back to Sumulong and Marcos Highways. After a few uphill stretches, it was now all downhill going back to Masinag and before reaching SM Masinag, i saw couple Leo and Sylvia suddenly in their vehicle, stopped beside me and both surprised that i was still running!
The rest of the group had all gone home and since my bags were with the couple and they were on their way home, i decided to end the run, got in the car as they invited me to take breakfast in their home.
I was able to cover a distance of 32.64 kms. in almost 5 hrs, stops included.
This was definitely one of the best runs i had, one great experience of running to Antipolo all by myself and a great way to unwind with running friends. Thanks to Leo and Sylvia for the hearty breakfast and your never-ending hospitality!
Till next adventure run!