The Valley of (Sudden) Death: A DNFer’s Tale


After reading my partner in (ultra) crime Dennis the Runningpinoy’s very graphic account of what transpired last Saturday at the first-ever frontRUNNER Valley Trail Challenge held at Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, I have decided I cannot possibly come up with a better – if not more descriptive – blog post. By the way, have you read it? Get full details here.

The Close-up smile before the copious tears.

So now that you know, I, being the queen of stating the obvious (only sometimes, anyway) and at the risk of sounding more pitiful (uuuyyy, pa-damsel in distress effect pa kunyari!) would like to state for the record that I DNF’d – with only a few kilometers left to cover before the finish line! And even more painful than that, I dragged Dennis down the highway of shame with me. I tried as best as I could to push the pain on both knees away – mentally, at least – but sometimes, you REALLY have to listen to what your body is telling you. In my case, my body wasn’t just ‘telling’ me it was feeling some minor discomfort – it was screaming in pain and begging for respite. As much as I am a proud woman with a relatively high tolerance for physical pain  — Remember, this girl took a major plunge while MTB riding and suffered cuts, bruises, and what-not and had to be CT-scanned and X-rayed but was back on her feet doing hiphop in just three days and competing in a 5k race exactly a week after the accident. Yes, I’m a mutant like that. —  I also know when to throw in the towel and call it an unfinished race. Live and fight another day, right?

With Team UNGAS.
With Reebok Team Captain, Titanium Runner
With Dennis and birthday boy Totoy
With Paul aka Pageman (thank you for the plaster on my left knee!)

Dennis asked me several times, perhaps noticing the drastic drop in my pace and the limping which I could no longer hide, if I’m feeling okay and (still) in shape to see the 58k race to its very end. And I, of course, would only smile and say h*ll yeah.  Unfortunately, I can stretch my tolerance for pain so far. With less than 4kms to go, I found myself slumped on the trail, crying both in agonizing pain and utter frustration over what I consider to be another failure. My failure. Do you ever feel like you’re being too hard on yourself sometimes? I do, except that it’s more frequent with me. Sometimes I cannot even forgive myself for something as simple as spelling error or mismatched socks. It’s horrible, isn’t it?

Before gunstart.

Well, anyway, and this has to be said, Jonel Mendoza and frontRUNNER did a great job of putting this race together and despite DNF-ing, I’m still glad I participated. Overall, the combination of greens, paved road, mini river crossing, hills, and pebbled dirt road made the trail exciting and challenging at the same time. Even today, I ask myself how it came to be that I took on Mt. Pinatubo by the horns (so to speak) and actually finished second in the 50k race and fail in a major way in Nuvali which is not exactly as rugged and raw as the former. Not to say that I did everything perfect. In fact, as I was telling Pageman earlier on Facebook, except for the generous application of petroleum jelly on my feet, I did nearly everything wrong before and during the race itself: (1) zero sleep on Friday night, (2)ate only half a tuna sandwich for lunch and half serving of Pad Thai for dinner, (3) and during the race itself, my body was literally powered only by Pocari sweat, a minimal amount of water, and a bar of Nature Valley. Add all those elements together and voila! You have a dust-and-mud-covered girl, slumped on the dirt road, bawling her eyes out in pain — until finally being carried on a stretcher to the finish line area.

Oh yes, Siree, I took the ambulance ride of shame! *hides face* But I have the ability to bounce back so fast so don’t be surprised to see me pounding the road again soon. *shows face again*

But enough about me. We have 10,000 more blog posts to cover all that, so just sit tight ya? Dennis said some glowing stuff about the trail/route and I am in total agreement. Hard on the knees as some parts of it were (especially on my 32-year-old knees, demmit!), there truly were some exquisite slices of nature to see and experience that you cannot help but feel revitalized no matter the exhaustion. Dennis took some nice shots and I’m sharing it with you.

The hills are alive with the sound of my quiet tears (yes, drama queen!)
And it's still a looong way to go...
Bowed head, shoulders hunched over --- yep, I was already gone at this point.
Dennis the Runningpinoy
Vicky the Runningchimay --- ay hindi pala, mukha lang. hihihi.

And now that we got the pagpa-pa-cute out of the way, let’s talk shoes. Notice that steel grey + neon green beauty in some of my photos? That’s TERRA and she belongs to the Reebok ZigTech family. To those who have yet to get themselves familiarized with Reebok’s latest shoe performance technology, here’s all you need to know: Reebok ZigTech shoes are designed to conserve and return energy to the athlete for a soft and springy ride. And due to the sheer volume of cushioning in the ZigTech sole unit, training or running is much easier on the leg muscles, especially the shins and hamstrings. Now, runners out there, this you would know — shin splints are a common injury, but Reebok ZigTech running shoes give athletes a bounce and energy for longer training sessions with less strain on the muscles. And that’s how you get a pair that allows you to go further and faster with less fatigue, but without reducing the work your muscles are doing for a much more rewarding running sessions. But my Terra is, right now, the only one of its kind here and that’s because this line of offroadies is not due for release until 2012. How lucky am I?!? VERY. And she did perform well at the race, carrying my weight all the way to the 52nd kilometer without giving me a single blister. So yes, I would give her an A+ for cushioning.

Terrific TERRA

So you see, it wasn’t all bad for me last weekend. Looking back, I had more to be grateful for (shoes, friends, nature, running, and very important life lessons I mulled over while running) than to feel bad about at the Valley Trail Challenge.

Thank you God – YOU. ARE. AWESOME. BEYOND.WORDS.

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Author: mrsvickyaltaie

Mother to ZO. UltraRunner. Writer. Casual blogger. Yogi wannabe. Passionate about travel, nature, and fashion. Occasionally neurotic. Possibly, undiagnosed bipolar.

10 thoughts on “The Valley of (Sudden) Death: A DNFer’s Tale”

  1. to be candid about it, i am sorry to say that it boils down to one thing—-lack of proper training! it’s a general statement/phrase but it says it all. rest and recover, girl and you’ll be stronger on your next training/preparation!!! good luck!

    1. You are absolutely right, Sir Jovie! Training is really one of my biggest challenges – I hardly ever have time for it, that’s why. And I realize I really have to take training seriously if I am planning to do more ultras – which I am. Give me pointers when I see you next time, please.:) Have a great Thursday night, Sir Jovie!

  2. Great narrative! Great run! Great experience! All the inner pains and cryings during the most challenging moments of the run would count for nothing since YOU’VE ENJOYED IT ALL throughout the 50 + 7 km ordeal. Keep running!

    1. Thank you Carlo! Enjoyment would’ve been magnified if I actually finished the race. hihihi. But ya, there will be more races and I intend to finish strong in each of them.:)

  3. Damn straight, Chris!:) Live and fight another day, indeed. I am working on getting my form back – firm it up some more for good measure, and attack!:D

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