One month after running the Philippine International Marathon for the Pasig River, I have resumed serious training. This morning I went on a "runabout" which started at seven and finished at one in the afternoon - 6 hours of running/walking up and down the mountains of Langub and Magtuod. I carried a backpack which contained water bladder, extra clothes and running apparel, towel, jacket, ultra-mobile personal computer, and 3 bars of chocolate - it weighed 13 pounds. This is what I will be carrying when I do the solo-unsupported Trans-Mindanao ultra-run this March. I didn't have any breakfast or lunch (except the fluids and the chocolate), yet I didn't feel hungry or exhausted running in the mountains with the unbeable heat. The short walking breaks made it easy to run six hours. This will be the method I will be using when I run an average of 50 km a day for eight days from Iligan to Davao across the mountains of Bukidnon and Davao this March.
Tomorrow, I will wake up early and walk for a couple of hours. Then I will do a three-hour run on Thursday. I hope that during the Christmas break, which starts next week, I can do longer back-to-back "runabout" lasting 8-10 hours. I only have 3 months of training before the Trans-Mindanao ultra-run.
After finishing my marathon comeback, I asked myself what next? I know that I can run a faster marathon someday or I can run longer distances - the ultra-marathon. As I get older, I know I will slow down, but I can improve my endurance. But I do not want to compete in ultra-marathon races, I just want to do solo-unsupported ultra-runs that could last for days. So the idea of the Trans-Mindanao Ultra run became more exciting. But will just be the beginning. This week, while making plans for my Sabbatical, I have been thinking of doing the Camino de Santiago de Compostela after my Spirituality Course in Rome in June. The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage on foot which starts in St. John Pied de Port in France, crossing the Pyrenees mountains and traversing Northern Spain up to the tomb of St. James in Compostela. It is an 800 km journey which takes 30-35 days of walking. But instead of walking, I would like to run-walk it in 20 days, averaging 40 km a day. So I will be the running-pilgrim instead of the walking pilgrim.
So 2010, will be a year of ultra-running for me. Trans-Mindanao in March, Camino de Santiago in July. If everything goes well, I might even do a solo-unsupported run/walk from Davao to Aparri (via the Cordilleras) in September-October. Well, these are just plans which still have to be finalized by January. But if ever I want to do these, the best time will be during my Sabbatical. The next time I have my Sabbatical ten years later, I might be too old to do ultra-runs.