More huffing and puffing at The North Face 100

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This year, I will be running less on the road and more along trails. There's no scientific reason behind the decision, it's just that I find trails more fun and less harsh on my knees compared to our city roads. 

I grew up in a town where most people walked or biked a few kilometers everyday. When I was a kid, weekends usually included cycling to our little farm or long walks at the beach. Walking muddy paths, in a way, gives me a nostalgic feeling. 

Yesterday, I got to run twenty-two kilometers at The North Face 100 Trail. That's one more item off The Improbable List

My TNF experience last year made me a bit hesitant to go for the next category. Aside from that, I had a traumatic experience of getting lost in the city during a mini trail warm up for my weight training class in UP Baguio about a decade ago. In a scale of 1 to I Asked My Ultimate Crush To Marry Me, going for the 22-km was as improbable as I'm Already Shopping For An Engagement Ring. 

But, well, I ran. 

This time, no earphones, no video, no selfies along the route, and minimal chatting up with cute runners along the trail. Big, big sacrifice. But, of course, it was hard to keep myself from cheering for the 50-km and 100-km runners we met along the way.

The hardest part of the route for me was the few meters on the uphill road. As we entered the yellow trail I heard a runner whine: "shit, this is the part I hate." In my mind I said: "man, this is the part I went up here for." Another hard part of the race was trying to keep my mind off the thought that I needed to be in Manila today to do work in Alabang, Quezon City and Makati. Ouch. Hello, legs.

I slipped somewhere because of a treacherous rock and got a minor (or so I hope) injury. Thanks to the lady who helped me get back up and for the quick pep talk: "Konti na lang, malapit na sa patag. Kayang-kaya na 'yan. (We're nearing the smooth parts. You can do it.)" That was a sweet thing to hear even though the GPS indicated that I needed to drag my left leg for around three more kilometers.

Now I have marks on my left knee: these ones from TNF, a few from snorkeling at a rocky beach in Occidental Mindoro, and an old scar from running on pavement when I was a kid. Weaklings do get some fun.

That was a bit slow but maybe not too shameful for a first 22-km. That was even better than the time I ate up for my first, and probably last, half-mary on the Skyway last February. 

I will be back at the TNF100 2014 and I will be faster. See you there next year. 

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