Spending My Weekend at Speed 50-Mactan

January 28, 2017 was the 9th Bataan Death March 102 event’s day. Many of my running acquaintances including those whom I first met only at the beginning of 2016 at the event, Tagaytay to Nasugbu were marching to the beat of the drum of the BDM fever. T2N for many of these friends of mine was their first ultramarathon event and now they were 102 kilometers away from taking home the much coveted kilometer road marker designed trophy that would certify them as BDM Warriors. Me, I was in Cebu again and scratching off from my bucket list Mactan Island as one of my must run destinations. Four weeks ago I only brushed a portion of Mactan on what was then called Opon or Opong, one of the settlement areas given to Lapu-Lapu by King Humabon, when at the event, Cebu City Marathon I crossed Marcelo Fernan Bridge to reach Mactan and made a U-turn at a portion of the Manuel L. Quezon National Highway. This time in an out and back race event, Speed 50 – Mactan, I went around Mactan to get a better acquaintance with the island.

 

The event, Speed 50-Mactan held last January 28, 2017 was organized by Miles Multisport Cebu Company with Blue as Race Director. It was also the same outfit that organized the, Trans Cebu Ultramarathon in which I ran 55 kilometers in 2015 and in 2016 run under the 105 kilometers category but only made it as far as 67 kilometers. Until now I am still deciding if I should put TCU 105k behind me by taking it on once again this year or should I let it go for now to give myself a chance to see and run in other places and races. Speed 50 was also held in Tagaytay last December 3, 2016 but I just finish 117 kilometers the previous week in the event, Andres Bonifacio Day Ultramarathon and couldn’t participate. In Tagaytay Blue did not fare well as an organizer. Loads of issues rocked the event such as late gun start, running out of hydration at AS 2, awarding of wrong finisher shirt, running out of trophies for the finishers.

 

In Speed 50-Mactan 107 participants saw action. I noticed that there were only 3 who hailed from Manila. The other two aside from me were Willie and Shane both from Makati and my first time to meet them.  Most of the other participants were from the different parts of Cebu. The other participants came from Palawan, Bacolod, Ormoc, Tacloban, and Dapitan City. Two foreign participants from the countries of Germany and Canada also graced the occasion.

 

Speed 50 is the opposite of TCU where the latter espouses, “Slow is the new fast” because of the numerous steep rolling the route offers, which could only mean running it in slower pace for average participants. As against Speed 50’s “Speed is of the essence” which challenges participants to finish 50 kilometer distance in sub 8 hours. With my sub-8 hours finish at the event, Hero to hero Rizal Day Ultramarathon held last December 28, 2016, I saw no problem in accomplishing the task. I was hoping that I will maintain finishing 50k sub-8 so that I might have a better chance of finishing BDM102 before the 18 hours cut off at the finish line.

 

On Speed 50’s event day itself however, I was still feeling quite not fully recovered yet from the previous week’s 65 kilometers run at the event, Paoay Church to Vigan Cathedral (PC2VC) where I finished 10 hours and 44 minutes and ranked 13th from the 44 participants. And then there was the rain that went on in the evening of the gun start. I feared that the road might be flooded in and covered from view the potholes along the way. It did not help that I chose not to bring along my headlamp even though I had it with me when I arrived at the event venue. I deposited it to the baggage counter along with the hotel keys and change clothes. As if to further sow fear into my heart an hour before gun start a power transmission blew up at the height of torrid rain and plunged the whole area in total darkness brought about by the power outage. I was thinking my quest for a sub-8 was in peril since I would probably crawl my way to the finish line to avoid stepping on potholes and other obstacle along the way. Power was restored at about 30 minutes before the gun start and I was able to give a sigh of relief.

 

The gun start was given at 10:00 pm., about the same time the gun start was given for the BDM warriors at Mariveles, Bataan. As if they were running in a 10 kilometers distance race and were pitting for a podium finish, most of the participants sprinted away. I was carried along the melee and was easily puffing along after hardly covering a kilometer distance as I tried to chase the group of runners in front of me. I could not keep up that I began to lag behind them. The race route started at Lapu-Lapu City Hall located at Barangay Pusok along Manuel Quezon Highway near a Gaisano Mall. Thinking that Hotel California was near the starting area since it was also beside a Gaisano Mall I booked it as my accommodation. However, it turn out that its location was in Basak-Gisi-Agus Road, which is about 4 kilometers away from the event venue about 51 minutes walk or 22 minutes ride on a taxi cab if the road is clear from any traffic jam which was not so on the night of the event. I had to take a “habal-habal” or motorbike, which could easily ride through tiny gaps and corner of the road to get to the event venue.

 

Runners proceeded towards the direction going to Mactan Export Processing Zone 1 passing by Mactan Marina Mall and the Mactan Airport Road. I thought I was once again at the tail end of the lines of runners since ahead of me the crowd of runners I was chasing had thinned out. It was only upon reaching the first aid station at the 5th kilometer at Barangay Buaya that I realized there were still other runners behind me. Aid Stations for this event were spaced from each other in roughly 5 kilometers apart. Once I found myself adjusted to the activity and any of the previous difficulty I was feeling dissipated I was able to run faster. We headed to Punta Engaño Road, which veered from the Quezon National Highway for our first U-turn. Punta Engaño, whose translation means “deception point” because the area seemed to resemble Cebu’s port. It was believed that a lot of ships trading with Cebu were misled to think they were heading for Cebu port but was actually passing along the bay where Lapu-Lapu’s men could easily launch a raid attacks on the ships for its cargoes and men. On the way to the U-turn, runners pass by the Mactan Shrine, which commemorates the Battle of Mactan that happened in April 1521 that led to the defeat and eventual death of Ferdinand Magellan. Inside it contains the 20 meters high bronze statue of Lapu-Lapu. A few meters away, the Magellan’s Monument, which was erected in 1866 by the Spanish Colonial Government. The finisher trophy of this event carried the Magellan’s Monument design. The road was uphill here but I run it anyway until I was overtaking Willie and Shane who told me earlier they took the first 50 kilometers of BDM in 7 hours. Also in our earlier conversation Willie was commenting a bit negatively about his friends who were running weekly in run events. I haven’t told him I did the same thing. Another runner, the 55-year old James, a former surgeon whom I had spoken with later during the run found it similarly crazy that I had already figured in around 30 plus marathons. I haven’t told him yet of my 40 plus ultramarathon runs. James plans to run in Athens, the Alps, and in New York. Not quite as crazy as I was doing. It wasn’t the first time that I sensed that some fellow runners look upon those who run in events weeks after weeks in a somewhat negative fashion although they say it as a joke. How much more by those who doesn’t run at all? They seem to think this spending spree on running and exposure to future injuries as a stunt. I’m kind of reminded of Rolf Potts the author of the book, Vagabonding, who also felt the lifestyle he and other people like him chose to pursue was way too self indulgent and foolish. Potts was espousing a vagabonding lifestyle which entailed travelling for an extended period of time. Potts wrote, “Vagabonding is, was, and always will be a private undertaking and its goal is to improve your life not in relation to your neighbors but in relation to yourself.” People react negatively maybe because, “they might take your growing freedom as a subtle criticism of their own way of life. Because your fresh worldview might appear to call their own values into question or at least force them to consider those values into a new light.”

 

After the U-turn, which marked the 10th kilometers of the race I was again retracing the path going back to the Quezon National Highway. For some time now I was very much curious at what can Mactan offers by way of attraction since I had not seen much from the area near the airport and from my hotel. It turned out that various swimming and diving resorts lines up the eastern and southern portion of Mactan and all of which could easily be reach by Public Utility Vehicles plying the road I was walking at most of the time I was in Mactan trying to kill time before boarding the plane back to Manila.

 

Once again I was passing by the Mactan Shrine. Historian Dr. Gerona wrote that in spite of being given land for settlements, one of which was Mandaue or Mandawili, which Lapu-Lapu was able to develop into agricultural cultivations that further enriched the trade port of Cebu. The other land given to him, Opon was unproductive and may have forced Lapu-Lapu’s hand to plundering ships. The name Opon and Mactan was probably not the names given by Lapu-Lapu to the land where he built his community. Opon, whose variation Opol has a meaning “to block a river or pass with tree” while Opang means, “to create enemies or quarrel with others”. On the other hand, Mactan or Magahat means, “to kill or injure with the purpose of plunder”. We have now a very clear picture of what was Cilapulapu or Lapu-Lapu was meant to Humabon.

 

Upon exiting Punta Engaño Road we turned right to Quezon National Highway heading toward Barangay Maribago. The 15th kilometer Aid Station offered beer and barbecue among other goodies. I did not drink beer as I was still not quite sure of the benefit of beer in running. Since I started running I had drank less beer. After a quick hydration I resumed running once again but this time I kind of slowed down as I began to feel exhausted. Willie and Shane once again made their appearance and took the lead from me. I am no longer worried though, of being among the last runners because I have seen on my way back from the U-turn that there were others way behind me. I noticed that there were a lot of Korean Nationals in Mactan. There were also Korean establishments especially near the resort areas but not as many as those I saw in Angeles City. We passed by a few of the Koreans who were still up along the route. The next Aid Station was at the 20th kilometers along Barangay Marigondon. The road that intersected with the Quezon National Highway to the right leads to another series of beach resorts. Our race route was to the left towards Maximo Patalinghug Jr. Avenue where Basak and my hotel accommodation were located. It was just a couple of hours ago that this road was overflowing with vehicles now only puddles of water and exposed pavements to run on. The race route was heading towards the other end of Quezon National Road in Barangay Pusok were the race started. But Just before touching base with Quezon Nation Highway a U-turn awaited us.

 

The U-turn also served as the 25th kilometer Aid Station. At this AS resting were Willie and Shane. I wanted to take this as an opportunity to get ahead of them once again so I quickly spring back to the road and resumed my campaign now retracing our way back to the starting area. At about 300 meters I was doing intervals of walking and running. I was soon catching up with the 55 year old James and his two Cebu Road Rhythm Teammates. At first I thought I caught one of their teammate cheating when suddenly another runner joined the group of James after I thought I saw him coming out of the other side of their support vehicle. I was not really sure if this fourth runner were with them all along for I haven’t noticed him earlier. So, from then on I was keeping a close watch of the 4 runners to see further proof that they were cheating.

 

At 30th kilometers near Mactan Newtown Condominium another Aid Station awaited the runners. While hydrating I espied a couple bearing white paper cups emerging out from a corner hidden from my sight inside the property of Mactan Newtown. I guess this place could probably be the only other place where a Starbucks could be found aside from the ones in inside the Airport Road and Airport itself. From this AS runners soon turned right and once again running the Punta Engaño Road. Just before the U-turn another runner a female one joined James. I had not seen her earlier tagging the group of James. I was pretty sure now there was something fishy going on. However, after the U-turn I had a chance to speak with James and learned from him that his teammates where just pacing him and were not participants of the event as they failed to register in the race. With only 8 more kilometers to go James expressed his decision not to anymore tire himself further. He said that he would just walk the rest of the way. He believed that even with him walking he could still achieve a sub 7 finish. I was tempted to follow his lead and continue with our conversation. But the thought of possibly finishing sub 7 was more inviting for me so I bade James fare well and proceeded to run passing once again and for the last time the Mactan Shrine.

 

Said to be overwhelmed by military temper and wounded pride, on April 27, 1521 Ferdinand Magellan with sixty well-armed men who all lacking in battle experience along with Humabon and native men boarding 30 balanghai, they arrived at what came to be called the Magellan Bay. About 1,500 of Lapu-Lapu’s men from Opong and Buaya were already waiting and keeping eyes on the approaching fleet. Magellan’s ship docked about 8 kilometers away off shore and proceeded to approach the shore via smaller boats. Humabon and his men were told to stay put and watch the attack. Magellan’s musketeers and crossbowmen fired upon the shore but with the distance of about 60 yards they inflicted minimal damage and casualties. Magellan’s men succeeded their landfall and started burning houses at the nearby coastal settlements. Little did Magellan know the natives were actually luring them to a close range combat for which the Spaniards were absolutely unprepared to engage with. When the natives finally engaged the attacking forces, the former aimed their attack at the vulnerable portion of the Spaniards, which were at the exposed legs not covered with armor. One poison arrow utilized by the natives hit Magellan’s right leg. Magellan’s men began retreating hastily leaving Magellan with only 6 to 8 of his most loyal soldiers. There were different accounts on how exactly Magellan met his death but what basically occurred was that Magellan was soon identified by the natives and focused their attack on him. Weakened by his wound he was easily exposed to lance attack from the natives who soon gang up on him. Magellan was possibly hacked to death by his assailants. Magellan died in the area of Punta Engaño, which was at some point known as Punta Pangusan which means, “nose eaten by leprosy”.

 

As I got out once again of the Punta Engaño Road and spilled the Quezon National Highway this time on the return trip to the Starting area for the finish, my thoughts turned to my other fellow runners running in the BDM. Unlike Magellan whose odds were against him when he faced up with Lapu-Lapu’s men, the BDM warriors enjoyed one of the odds working for them-the weather. Unlike in the other edition of BDM in which the unrelenting heat of the sun was a vicious opponent especially along the route between Dinalupihan, Bataan and San Fernando, Pampanga, in this year’s edition the sun was mum by the prevailing cold front sweeping the northern portion of the Luzon. As I was nearing the 45th kilometers and the last AS, I also imagined the glee of the BDM warriors who almost halfway through their journey. They would soon either be looking forward to the second part of the BDM series which is the 160 kilometer distance or like others who settled to put an end to the madness of joining run events and move on to other less extraneous endeavors. For my part the last 5 kilometers seemed still quite a distance to cover with my diminishing strength. I shuffled once again from running to walking to preserve enough strength for a possible dash to the finish line. I checked my watch and saw that I wouldn’t make it sub-7. But at least I made it sub-8 which was after all the whole point of this event. I decided to walk further. About 300 meters from the finish line I was still able to over take another runner. Upon sighting the finish area I removed my running goggles and made a dash for the finish tarp. Upon reaching the finish line I saw at the event clock that I made it 7 hours and 9 minutes. 9 freaking minutes short just as when I joined the Pinoy Fitness Sub 1 10k Challenge in July 2015 in Baguio City thereby missing getting a finisher medal for Sub 1. Although in the past I had done sub-1 in 10 kilometers, it seem I couldn’t repeat the feat since I started running marathon and ultras. I found out later that I rank 52nd out of 107 participants. 94 of these 107 participants were sub 8 finishers. James was escorted by his teammates to the finish line garnering a time of 7 hours and 31 minutes while Willie and Shane came with a time of 7:39 hours. Not quite the latter’s BDM’s first 50k finish. They did not actually finish BDM either and was probably looking forward for a return bout. Maybe in the next edition of BDM we’ll get to see each other again.

 

 

From T2N Take Two To The Falls Run in Bataan

After emerging victorious at TNF100 2016 with bruised knees, I set my eyes on conquering the 10th Tagaytay to Nasugbu held in May 8, 2016. I already ran in the Tagaytay to Nasugbu in 2014 when it still held two events in a year one in May and another in December. The one I happened to participate before was the 8th T2N, held in a much cooler month of December. This was the last time T2N was held twice in a year and in December. Finishing T2N then gave me a lot of confidence since this was my first time to run under the event of Bald Runner who is known to organized badass run events. Finishing the 10th T2N now when the temperature is searing hot would be a true test of mettle.

 

I thought having survived the hot temperature in the events Batoq 66 and Mayon 360 I would be quite formidable and invincible to the whim of the prevailing surge of temperature brought about by the El Niño. But what had embraced me in the 10th T2N almost brought me down to my knees. Speaking of knee, another thing that almost played a spoiler role in my quest was the bruised left knee I incurred at TNF100. My left knee had swollen and because of it I had difficulty bending my left leg. Thus hampering my walking and with a slightest touch my left knee exploded with pain. It seem that missing T2N was almost at hand and I was willing to accept it. After all my registration to T2N comes from offsetting my previous registration at 5th Fort Magsaysay to Dingalan 65k Ultramarathon an event from last year which was canceled due to typhoon. I planned before to have my registration transfer instead to Mariveles to Bagac the newest run event of BR but the scheduled initially coincided with Mayon 360 and so I decided to transfer the earlier registration to Tagaytay to Nasugbu. It seemed that I would be transferring once again my registration to another event or completely abandoned any thought of claiming offset. By Thursday however, the swelling had disappeared and I was even able to run a short distance though my left knee still hurts a bit.

 

On the day I was boarding the service van, I learned that Shiella the Shuttle service provider, was also running the 10th T2N. This was to be her first ultramarathon. She was converting the van into a support vehicle that would provide hydration at the 25th kilometers and the 46th kilometers. I was volunteering to act as support crew in the occasion I was not able to get a race bib for this event. However, the God of Running was generous with me, I got my race bib and was sure set to run T2N after all. This year the number of participants had shot up to 197. Many of the participants were probably running T2N as part of the requirement for running the 102k and 160k Bataan Death March. As a consequence of this sudden swelling of number of participants there weren’t enough Finisher Medals and Finisher shirts during the event and would have to be distributed later as I experienced in the 8th T2N when runners from the Milo National Marathon upon its postponement due to typhoon registered on site at T2N.

 

In this year’s T2N I saw more familiar faces than I had when I ran in the 8th T2N. This means many of my acquaintances will be running the BDM. Add this to last year’s finishers of BDM many of which were my running acquaintances. It is now becoming clear that most of the people I previously run with had already run the BDM. I am the only one that had been skirting the BDM. Should I feel any pressure? Among those who run in this year’s T2N were Peewee who is becoming a much stronger runner than the first time I knew him, Rob and Speedy Turtle who I ran with in Batoq 66 and Mayon 360. Tina the barefoot queen was also seeing action. So does mang Mando whom I ran with in 3rd Cavinti Trail run upgraded to ultramarathon. Another runners from Mayon 360 were Jhon of Team hero and Elmar another barefooted runner running this time with his five finger Vibram.

 

At gun start I tested the water whether my left leg can handle the task. I felt like there was a stopper lodged at my knee and could only extend it to a certain length. I was moving terribly slow. However after perhaps about two kilometers along Tagaytay-Calamba Road and then hitting the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Road, I forgot about what was hampering my left knee. I could run a bit faster though I chose not to tackle the uphill like I did in the 8th T2N. A new concern arose. This time my stomach was acting up and I was in need to take number 2. I tried to endure it for a moment and focus on trying to catch up with everyone I knew including my van mate Dana a finisher of BDM in spite of having run just a couple of 50k ultra. She was a moment ago just running along side of me before she sped away and was gone from my sight. Day light came quite quickly. I remember from my 8th T2N that when I was passing by Mendez and Alfonso the surrounding then was still dimly lit. Now the sun was already beaming when I was passing along Twin Lakes, which was probably around 18 kilometers.

 

One indication that I was probably at the last portion of the queue of runners was when I saw Elmar passed me by while I was tucking my reflectorized vest and headlamp inside my hydration vest. In two races I saw him, he usually finish last. Another indication was my not being able to catch a glimpse of Shiella our Van provider. One of my co-shuttle Van User told me she was ahead of us being paced by another van mate. Finally, I sighted a gas station lying along the left side of the road that I can use to dispense myself of my troubles. As a rule of BR runners cannot cross the right side of the road for whatever reason. Seeking for gas station, which normally has toilet lying on the left side of the road along Tagaytay-Nasugbu was not easy since at the left side of the road was usually lies ravine. Upon reaching the 25th kilometer along Batulao Sandari area the sun was already scorching. This would be the norm all through out the route. I kind of envy those with support vehicles since they have unlimited hydration and refreshments while on my part I contended myself with what was on my back and what I could buy along the route. Bottled water was the most difficult to come by along the stores lining up the road. While those selling coconuts were usually found at the right side of the road. I survived on soda, “ice-water” or premature frozen water and sometime from the generosity of the other support vehicles, which extended whatever they can from fruits, water to sponge bath. The traffic of the incoming vehicle was as it was before which was frequent and unforgiving that was why I usually ended up running along the shoulder of the road ala trail running. The heat had really dampened my stamina and so I could only do a lot of zombie like walking. I was not however, falling far behind for I could still see ahead of me runners, which I could have easily overtaken if the heat hadn’t taken a toll on me. But from a couple of support crew I had spoken with there weren’t many at may tail and I was not far from ending up like how I finished from the couple of BR events I participated with after the 8th T2N, which was usually near the last runner to cross the finish line before the cut off time. In the end I managed to prevail finishing the race with a time of eight hours and thirty minutes. I managed to finish with a rank of 167th out of 188 who finished the race.

A week after Tagaytay To Nasugbu on May 15, 2016, I was thinking that after TNF100 I had enough of trail running for a while. But the trail leading to Pasukulan Falls in Pag-Asa, Tala, Orani, Bataan was beckoning me. I was actually trying to set foothold in Bataan through running so that I can add Bataan among the provinces I was able to run in. Although previously I was able to run in Camaya Coast located in Mariveles, it was more of a beach and trail at the fringes of Bataan. I wanted to have a longer line of road from Mariveles in absence of what running at the 102 kilometers Bataan Death March Ultramarathon could provide. The event 1st Mountain View Road to Trail Run was just one of the way to induct me to the other portions of Bataan.

 

1st Mountain View Road to Trail was a 26 kilometers run event that started from St. Joseph Bakhita Parish Church. On the way runners passed by Vista Tala Resort and Recreational Park, which is located about 1.5 kilometers from the staring line. This was where the concrete road ended and the trail began with steep uphill, which the 36 participants tackled, some like Ricky Runner and Tatay Caesar strongly other like RDF and I leisurely. Along the route in front one had a command view of Mt. Natib with clouds hovering on top of the mountain. One could also espied at the rear portion of the route the majestic Mt. Arayat towering above the sea of clouds while Morong lies at the eastern portion with the sea feeding Subic’s coastline. Trekkers usually traverse the trail from Morong to Mt. Natib. At about 4 kilometers was AS1, which featured Binutas View Deck. After that it was mostly wooded and light foliaged area along the route until Pasukulan Falls. From the moment RDF and I touched the trail I was bit careful with my steps. Whereas before when I was first time running the trail I was usually running without much care at the ground I stepped upon, nowadays I was careful. This was since a couple of trail events when I noticed I easily trip and quite often on rough surface especially when I am already tired. Someone told me I had problem with proper balancing. I almost avoided trail run events because of these but I still dream of running some of Jonel Mendoza’s trail events and I still have to do my revenge run on Mt. Ugo before thinking of retiring from any trail running.

 

Mountain View was not actually one of the most difficult trail events though it has a fair share of challenging uphill and downhill that I was not spared from my usual fare of falling off my butt along the route. There were quite a number of river crossings with one dried that almost looks similar to the one that had me losing my way at Pico De Loro. Some were just a bit of a puddle of muck. I was seemingly off my elements when crossing two of the shallower rivers where I still managed to find my foot slipping off the rock or missing the rock completely and landing squarely on the water. At about 3 hours since gun start several runners had already passed us by returning from the fall. I had hoped since Ricky Runner and Tatay Ceasar had passed us by that the u-turn was just a little less than two kilometers away and the other runners were just having time swimming at the waters around the fall. So that we could level a bit the time between us by just making a quick stop at the U-turn. Finally we heard the unmistakable sound of water falling and voices of people probably taking a swim. We were nearing the U-turn of the race and it look like our target time of finishing the race before 12 noon was indeed achievable. But before we could finally reach Pasukulan we had to climb down a steep slope whose foothold had gotten so loose and powdery that one might easily slip all the way down. Aided by a lone vine I rappelled down. RDF who was in front of me disappeared to which I thought he just simply dashed off. When I reached where a marshal was waiting for the incoming runners, RDF was still nowhere to be found. I thought he might have gotten lost along the way, which was impossible for the path was straightforward. After a couple of photograph session with the falls at the background, I was settling down to take a rest when RDF appeared. It turned out he took a #2 somewhere. Some runners who had came in earlier and had just finished taking a bath at the cold waters of Pasukulan were getting ready to take the trail again. Among them was the Greeneye Runner whose troll hair or wig is the one that is actually green. After a couple of photo ops with them they left. RDF wanted to move closer down the water of the falls but I relented for I wanted to leave immediately. Then those three runners trailing behind us suddenly made their appearance. This was our cue to leave in spite the desire of RDF to take a dip on the water. The need to avoid finishing last was much stronger especially those who were trailing behind us were a married couple and a local runner who had gotten slow after we overtook him after AS 2. On the way back a couple of long steep uphill met us that had me huffing and puffing. But my TNF 100 experience was able to sustain our assault. Then mostly downhill to a more leveled path, which kind of made the rest of our trip less eventful. At AS1 the three runners behind us was almost closing in on us so once again we dashed off. Finally we were on the concrete downhill portion of the race. With a time of 6 hours and 30 minutes we finished the racecourse but not before the 3 runners we thought were the last runners behind us overtook us at the last 2 kilometers. We could not summon enough strength to catch up and therefore was not able to salvage our pride. However a hot Lomi meal after the race was almost enough to assuage our bittersweet finish.