It’s probably the most anticipated and dreaded 5K run that I had. I never attempted to run around in forestry nor climb Peak 2 and other hilly parts of LB when I was in college. When the slopes of Makiling started to slow me down at the Makiling Challenge 7, all I could utter was “Makiling, how could you?!”
Because I had no one else to blame but myself for the agony I put myself into, I tried to pass the blame to one who couldn’t defend itself: the hills. For four years, you put me under mental torture, and now this?!
Looking back, I could only laugh at myself for loathing the hills while I ran. While OROFOLS was the shortest 5K I’ve had, Makiling Challenge 7 was the most difficult 5K I’ve had.
Net had to fight tooth and nail (ok, that’s an exaggeration) for the singlet swap we were promised. Because we are such brats, we had our singlets swapped in peace—we both had medium-sized singlets with the UP@100 logo.
We arrived in LB a few minutes before 6am, just when the emcee was gathering the runners for the short program. We had enough time to have our singlets swapped, change to our new singlet, take a bathroom break and some stretching.
The runners were being gathered at the start/finish line when I spotted a familiar face, a HIST1 classmate. A quick swoosh of a glance at the crowd and I saw another familiar face, a HIST2 classmate and former crush of one of my running buddies.
I was suddenly transported back to our freshie days. I used to sit with them in class, but I don’t even know their names. After the run, I couldn’t help but SMS my friend who fancied one of the runners (she claims she once “had” a crush on him). It’s been seven years, but I still remember that guy—he caught me staring at him in class, as I was examining how he—my friend’s crush—looked like. Haha!
The uphills were nearly fatal. Water, water, I wanted to beg. But the first water station was at the turn-around point at BSP. While other races provide potable water in bottles or plastic cups, this race is unique in aqua-speak. The organizers provided water in plastic bags. It’s much more portable than cups. I was able to bring two bags as I rolled downhill as long as I held them in an upright position.
Because it’s quite difficult for me to control my pace when I go downhill, I overtook a pair of running guys who happened to be buddies, because they were chatting as they did an easy pace downhill. Still holding on to my bag of potable water reserve, I dashed downwards.
“Dahan dahan,” one of them said as I went past them. A friendly remark, but I reserve my energy and don’t talk to strangers when I run.
My water was spilling so I let some of it pour to water the plants. “Sayang ang tubig. Ibigay mo na lang sa ‘min,” someone from behind me said. I think I just chuckled to avoid being rude. Then these guys who love to make small talk went past me. But another downhill made me run faster again and overtake the group.
“O, nagpasikat na naman,” one of them said. When you’re being tortured by uphills, being shoved to dash downhills and you hear unsolicited remarks from behind you, your happy hormones are being set aside by the cranky ones. I cursed silently. Can’t they keep their thoughts to themselves?
After a brush with an annoying group, I was glad that I saw a friend and college co-major as I continued running. I heard someone scream my name, and the next thing I knew I also let out a scream. We haven’t seen each other in two years.
Instead of running downwards, I slowed down and was torn between going down further or have some chit-chat with her. “Will catch up with you later,” she said. Right, I thought, and I resumed the run, anticipating the end of the agony and a reunion with fellow *secret*-majors.
In a nutshell
My SportBand reported that I finished the 5K in 36 minutes. What a shame! My first 5K performance was even better than this, but then again, this is an uphill race and I haven’t had training for weeks.
The best part of it is being back to LB. It felt so much like home. I missed the trees. The sun was up, but the trees provided shade that made the uphills bearable. The singlet looked neat. The water, I was hesitant to drink at first, but was like salvation once I drank it.
I’m partial to this run, as I love LB. I can’t seem to find something to hate or complain about it because it brought me back to the land of buko pies. Haha.