Written on May 24th, 2013
The eve of the race has arrived!
On Wednesday, our host generously took us to her friend’s farm where there is a swimming pool for cooling off. While a bit rustic it was nice to sit in the cool water taking in the lovely view.
On Thursday morning Race Director Jonel Mendoza arrived early to head out and mark the final 35km of the race. I wasn’t up when he arrived but impatiently waited to meet him. After all if his wonderful help over email I wanted to meet the person who so generously answered all my questions. I also had a bit of nerves that were stuck in my chest that I felt could be relieved if I could just ask him some questions about the race.
In the afternoon it started raining and didn’t want to let up. It rained and rained, lightning and some of the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard included. We started to worry about Jonel and his team as it started to get dark and they hadn’t shown up, the rain still pouring. Finally around 6:30, drenched and freezing he showed up. They had had to stop in a waiting shed trying to stay dry and a local had offered him a poncho. He was soaked and confessed that he had been scared of getting hypothermia in the mountains. An indication of times to come during the race?
After a warm bath he was feeling much better and joined us for a delicious meal prepared by our hosts. Finally I had a chance to get to know him and ask him questions. Only one other participant had arrived to I listened to both of their stories, advice and tales of the route.
At 9:30 we headed to bed, later than I’d been up all week but feeling much better. I was right, my nerves were calmed after asking my questions and hearing about Jonel’s experience as an RD and also as a runner. He exuded such passion for the sport and giving his participants a great experience that I could finally relax. I slept well for my last long sleep before the race.
This morning I woke up excited for the final rest day. After our usual breakfast the participants started rolling in! Van after van was arriving and it was a bit dizzying getting introduced to everyone. Most if the runners know each other a bit from other races or are training partners and I was entertained by the fun and joking as they told stories about each other and running in the Philippines. I’ve never felt so welcomed to a race. It is great to talk about Canada as well and many of the athletes have dreams of racing in North America. I hope one day to be able to welcome people to a race at home after their kindness here.
Waiting around is nerve wracking but I’m keeping busy by visiting, reading, eating and making last minute changes to my drop bags. The briefing is at 3:00pm at the school although Jonel gave me my map early so that I can study it. It has just started raining again and I am hoping it doesn’t last as long today.
The Baltazars are preparing a feast for tonight for all of the particiants that are staying here to fuel up. They will be up earlier than us in the morning to prepare breakfast. It’s amazing how dedicated they are to making sure thy we are ready for the race!
Later on Friday
The rain is pelting. It’s so windy that the clouds are falling sideways. Everyone is huddled inside in groups chatting but no one is hearing each other because of the thunder and the sound of the rain on the tin roof. I’m hoping with all my might that it rains itself out tonight and tomorrow afternoon is clear, or at least not a flood. I’m sure the trails are a mess and I don’t want to be climbing a mountain with the wind and rain blowing me backwards – I’ve done that except with blizzarding snow on EEOR during the Four-turned-Three Peaks Challenge. At least we aren’t camping! How miserable that would be right now.
All there is left to do is get as good a sleep as possible and wait for my 2:30am alarm! Here goes nothing!