I never had so many walk in a running event than what I had at Camaya Coast Aquathlon 2012 running the 10-k Extreme Trail and beach Run category of the event. If I said so before cross that one out, this one is it.
When I saw in the internet that this event had its date of changed, I thought, an opportunity just opened up for me. This would be a chance for me to see Camaya Coast Resort at Mariveles, Bataan. About more than two years ago we did a book on Bataan. We stayed for a week in Bataan to travel and shoot around the province. I reached Mariveles up to Porto but never seen its coast very close. The trail run was just a bonus for me to think access to the resort’s facilities and swimming at the beach was already “The” bonus for those joining this.
I had no idea that the Camaya Coast Aquathlon was actually an event organized by Skyrunning Association and endorsed by TRAP or Triathlon Association of the Philippines, to have triathletes of the country a chance to flex their muscles when there are not so many triathlon events being held not as many as the regular running events we have seen held weekly all year out. So, this means having signed up for this event, I was pitting against top triathletes and those who are aiming to be in the same shoes of these seasoned athletes. Some of the participants had actually done ultra-marathons, been at country’s premier triathlon competitions such as Cobra Ironman, Xterra, etc. They are member of elite groups such as Salomon, PLDT, Yellow Cab, Titan running groups. Even the lady who because she looks to be more senior than I, I mistook as plain housewife had just finished running, The North Face 100 a week from that Camaya Coast Run, running in the 50 k category. Everyone might have had already faced-off each other if not most of the time at least once. Then there I was all by my lonesome self hardly a serious runner and hardly knowing anyone without an inkling of the competition.
I couldn’t even dare compete in the confidence department. At first I was worried that I may had botched my application to this event and signed up by mistake at the 5 km Adventure Trail Run category instead of the 10 km Extreme Trail and Beach Run category. I thought that the 5k run was for weenies. Then during my interaction with a runner, she mentioned about a trail run with a swimming involved in the category. This got me into thinking whether the 10k run that I registered at would have me swimming the coast as well. I don’t know how to swim for God sake. I’ll be dead before I even get a chance to mary (marathon). Then at the distribution of the race bib and race category, I got the one with 5K category in it. But still thinking about 5k is too manageable for me. I approached the registration station and had my current category changed to the 10k one. I’ll deal with the drowning issue later. Now while I was having my category changed I asked the secretariat for clarification about the category I was meant to transfer into. Would it have me swimming even for just a couple of meters, I asked. Gladly, I received the news that there would not have any. So, 10 k it is. Coming fresh from the Skyathon Beach Run a week before, I thought to myself, this would just be another Skyathon beach run for me.
Gun start was at 8:30 a.m. the sun was already torturously beaming. Why the gun start of this run this late? To get to Mariveles from Manila, we were transported by Sun Cruise Ferry. The travel took about an hour and a half. We arrived at Camaya Coast at around 7:30 a.m. By the time we set out to run it finally dawn to me that this was no Boracay run all over again. Unlike in Boracay, I struggled with the sand of Camaya. There were no compact portion even close to the beach to run on much manageably. Then upon hitting the trail, it was a bit more like the Timberland, San Mateo with Merrell Adventure Run 2011 experience. But wait there’s more. Yes, there were more uphill trails than I had experience in Merrell run.
I was determined to finish good in this race which was the reason I did not start strong. I was planning to pace my run. But the terrain knew no such pace of mine. While everyone seem to have disappeared ahead of me, I began to feel the mountain conniving with the gravity to slow me down and kept me from reaching the summit. I was no longer running in most part of the race. Even in the path that was partly leveled, I was walking. The uphill had inundated my strength and determination. I don’t know if things were not coming along my way due to my missing the warm up exercises before the run or that my breakfast was since 5 hours earlier. Or that the time of the race which had the sun pressing down on us had diminished my strength. All I know it was much harder than I remember I had with Merrell Run. As a result, this race got me into thinking about the wisdom of my having signed up for 21k at Merrell Adventure Run 2012. To make matter a bit more interesting, the day after Merrell Adventure Run I am also signed up for another 21k run. But of course before I can tackle my presumptuous decision to signed up for a back to back 21 k run, I had to deal with Camaya first and it was not looking well for me. Is this how I will end my time on earth? On top of a mountain because I thought that 5 k run are for weenies. My outlook was grim and I haven’t even finished the one-third of the first 5k loop yet.
Upon my reaching the summit which was a turnabout of the race, the trail now begins to taper down. Just as what I did at the Merrell Adventure Run on similar feature of the trail, I launched myself plummeting like avalanche until the ground leveled again and my calves reminded me how much they were complaining. I walked until the next round of sloping down trail and then upon another sloping down path but this time much steeper than before, I slowed my descent for fear of slipping or losing footing and had me tumbling down. A Romanian runner passing me by asked me if I had seen his wife. I of course didn’t know or cared at the moment who his wife was, answered him that I hadn’t. It turned out his wife was the lady I earlier mentioned that ran at TNF 100 and she was ahead of me by almost an hour. She won the first prize in the women 10 k division of this race while her husband won third place at the Mini-Aquathlon division of the race. The one with a 5 k run and swimming involved and this guy told me we was just taking swimming lessons for about 4 weeks at the time of the race.
After another descent I already spotted the hotel and was soon making turn that will end my first 5K and on my way to my second loop. Somehow the effort didn’t seem to lessen because the trail was still difficult to negotiate. By my count of the 10 k runners I happened to cross path on their way to their first 5k loop, there seem to be a mere 5 runners behind me. The 10 k category had about 34 registrants.
I finished the race with an approximate time of 1:40:xx I finished Merrell Adventure Run 2011 slower by 7 minutes. Maybe I didn’t do much bad at all. Perhaps, I can actually try that TNF 100 in the future. I was told that a Japanese runner was the last to cross the finish line in 2012 TNF 100 with a time of 29 hours. I already spent 2 days in the mountain and lived to tell the tale.