At one point while traversing semi-vertical assault on all fours, I was sipping water from my hydration bag trying to squeeze out the water to the very very last drop, I held on to big roots that I never knew existed while my other foot was struggling to land on a stable boulder – I started asking myself, “what the f am I doing here?” I began questioning my existence, cursing every rock and dirt as I wanted to cry in desperation. No short cuts, no easy way, I have to bear all the pains and hardship to reach the peak and do the same routine to finish line. I closed my eyes and asked God what I did to deserve this punishment. Then I remembered, I asked for this, I wanted this, I will FINISH this no matter what. So I prayed for strength and I accepted my fate with open arms.
Tarak Ridge with 1130 MASL at the peak is only a part of Mount Mariveles which is by the way a DORMANT volcano. I have visited Mt Arayat at 1030 MASL but I found out that this has the most punishing trail ever. Tarak is name that is a cross between ‘Tabak’ (hunting knife) and ‘Tarik’ (steep). Reaching the peak gave me an overlooking view of Corregidor Island and Cavite. I had a chance to wave to my friends over at Corregidor Marathon – let me know if you saw me!
We started the race at 5:30 AM. It was dark and I regret forgetting my head lamp! Good thing I was following runners with headlamp hehe. First part was just an easy run around the perimeter of Alasasin Elementary School heading of to the highway – easy peasy! After crossing the highway, it led us to rocky trails and that point is the start of eternity. I was running at easy pace until 3KM reaching Nanay Cording’s store. I was offered a local kakanin which I devoured with much gusto because the last meal I had was around 6pm the night before. Rocky and sharp grassland trails greeted me as I started getting a brighter scenery. There was a time that I wanted to close my eyes as I went to the trails. The view was breathtaking as I filled my lungs with the fresh air. I wanted to take photos as much as I can but I have a time to chase. I reached Paniquian Falls at 10KM point and this is the start of the fate I have chosen.
I got to experience semi vertical climbs, hopping over big logs and tree trunks while bumping my toes to wide and hard roots and boulders. As I move up there were lots of unstable rocks and almost lost my grip at one point. One should have a good training of squats as you have to extend your legs most of the time. FInally I reached Tarak Ridge and lost track of time and distance and just went to the flow of runners. I felt overwhelmed realizing that I was at the top of the world and all I can see is beauty of God’s creation. I wanted to stay there but WALANG forever and I have to hurry to make it to the finish line. So I bid the views goodbye and started going down. The descend is also as hard as getting to the top. I had to be very slow and careful as one mistake will lead me to broken bones and painful wounds. I was very very thirsty and started getting dizzy. I was already on the verge of giving up and cry but I realized nothing will happen if I give up. I need to endure to finish what I started.
To be continued…