Starting this week, I’ve been following this training program I found online for 100 km ultra which I think would prepare me for the BDM 102 km run in March.  Looking at the schedule, the glaring difference from the usual one I would use for a 42 km marathon training is that for the ultra, there are two consecutive, long runs–usually a 4 hour run (about 35 km) on a Saturday and a 3 hour run (about 30 km) on a Sunday.

So I did the calculations:  if I run at an average pace of 6:30 min per km, I would be able to complete the 35 km in less than four hours.  Easier said than done I know but knowing that my average pace was 5:20 minpkm in my last full, I was expecting a nice run.  I even brought along a camera for the first time.  I would follow the kilometer markers along the national highway and when I hit 17 or 18k somewhere near Greenfield City, I would turn around and run home.  At least that was the plan.

Sunrise from outside where I live in Sta. Rosa, a little past six

I started  a little past 6 am just as the sun was rising as it would be my first time to run along that highway.  I didn’t want to run in the dark and be in danger of being hit by the speeding jeepneys.  The weather was glorious with a bit of chill in the air.  It was after all a day after Christmas so I would say temperature was around low to mid 20’s when I started.

Nice day, nice runA few kilometers after running across the SLEX and along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road, I was impressed with the newly and evenly asphalted road and the space at the shoulder where runners can run safely.  I was running on the left side of the road so the only danger was when a speeding vehicle would overtake from behind me, which rarely happened.  I would stop running to take pictures and quickly buy drinks along the way but other than that, there were no more breaks.

Should I turn around or go straight to Tagaytay? It was a no-brainer.

I was at km 18 when I saw the road marker at the other side of the road, a countdown from Tagaytay.  It said 19 km to go.  I took a photo and thought for a while.  What if I just continue running towards Tagaytay and just take the jeepney on the way back?  Or, since the route was mostly uphill, just go as far as I could and run downhill from there?

The beauty of running alone is that only you make the decision and there is no room for debate should other people’s opinions not agree with yours.  Of course, you alone would have to suffer the consequences, too, if the decision you make doesn’t yield positive results.  But it was the day after Christmas and I was feeling good.  Worse comes to worst, a jeepney will take me back home.

The sun was up but since the air was still a bit cool, I didn't have any problem--nothing that I couldn't handle at least

So I went ahead with my run taking only breaks when I needed to buy sports drink or water from the stores along the road and to take photos.  I was hoping that my fresh-from-gorging-holiday-food body would be able to take me all the way to one of the highest points of the city and my finish line–Tagaytay Junction.

The smiles of the locals and the exhilarating view definitely kept me entertained and in high spirits all the way.  The cars coming from Tagaytay were all nice to give me space to run on the road but when I thought it was getting crowded, I would run on the grass or dirt road.  It was just a perfect, nice run I thought.

And the best part is, there are no buts.  After two gel shots, one granola bar, one gatorade, one bottle of tropicana and coke (there was no bottled water at a certain part of Tagaytay, all sold out I was told on Christmas day), I finally was at the famous viewing deck to see the Taal volcano and lake in all its glory.  Around three more kilometers and I would reach the junction.  Ah, downhill finally!

Time:  4 hrs 15 mins; distance covered:  at least 35 km

Bird house store

I have officially run from Sta. Rosa to Tagaytay!

Fresh fruits never fail to attract visitors and locals alike

With all the scenery, nice people, and the spontaneity of the run, I would say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

Taken at the viewing deck of the Tagaytay Econo Hotel

Finish line--the Tagaytay Junction

 After my second breakfast, I decided to walk back for three more kilometers and then took the jeepney back to Sta. Rosa–full and happy and with a great experience I can’t wait to tell all my friends!  🙂

Breakfast after SLR! 🙂

I dropped in the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Immaculate Heart Convent on my way back and said a little prayer for being able to enjoy the run.

One for the road--I have discovered that it is just a long run away 🙂