Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ultramarathon Training - Six Hours Runabout

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.


Sil said...

What a pity it would be to run the camino! So much to see, so much history, so much tradition, gorgeous countryside, three mountain ranges, 70 odd rivers to cross, about 250 villages and towns to pass through - each one with a church. Take time to explore, to marvel, to make friends. If you run you won't have time feel the souls of pilgrims past through the soles of your feet!

Bald Runner said...

wow! father, this is great!!! I really admire your passion in running and your plans for an ultramarathon feats in the future. keep on writing about your training and for sure more of our runners will be inspired to be physically fit, if not, test their body's endurance and limits. i hope one day we'll see each other. good luck, father!

Fr. Picx said...

Sil, I won't be running all the time, there is also time for meditative walking and time for running, and time to meet the other pilgrims in the Refugios.

Bald Runner, I often visit your blogs and some of your posts have been very helpful. I actually saw you at the start of the PIM and wanted to meet you but there wasn't time and opportunity. Good luck on your BDM, unfortunately I don't have the competitive spirit and support crew to join the race. I prefer to run alone and at my own pace.

Rev. Sandy Brown said...

I'd guess the challenge of run/walking the Camino (besides missing the long walking talks with other pilgrims) would be running with a 20 lb pack. I've heard of pilgrims who've run the Camino, but often they have a support team for their gear. I'll do the Camino again in 2011 on foot for the joy and spirit of the slow walk, but every pilgrim should do it his/her way.

Fr. Picx said...

Yes, Sandy, every pilgrim has to do it her/his own way. For many it is the slow walk, for others through biking (I don't know if anyone does it horseback riding). For me, it will be a combination of walking and running. Running has been for me a meditative/ contemplative activity - it puts me in a state of flow, an altered state of consciousness (ever heard of the ancient running monks - the Lung-gum pa?). The long walking breaks will ensure that I can keep on running day after day. A 13-pound pack is light enough for running. There will be days recovery days when I will do a lot of walking and less running. I can cover 40 kms in one day even with just brisk walking.

YULI said...

good day father! i met you earlier today after the misa del gallo. I'll keep an eye on your site, waiting for the photo you took this morning! happy Holidays! :)