Pine Tree Marathon

I think I shall never see a poem as lovely as  a tree...  – Joyce Kilmer.

This was the theme of the Pine Tree Marathon, the final leg of Team Malaya's Cordillera Series.  I have always wanted to participate in a race in Baguio so, upon the prodding of some long time friends living in Baguio and with a free weekend to spare, I decided to head for the mountains and join this race.

Baguio is very well known for its winding roads and killer hills which is why I opted to run the 21 km event and not the full Marathon.  The Race Start and Finish was at Panagbenga Park located right in front of John Hay with the race route making it's way through Kennon Road up to to the Lions Head which was the turn around point.  The first half of the race was mostly downhill. Though you tend to pick up speed, it also was very jarring on the legs.  At the turnaround point we already knew what was in store for us, a winding and uphill battle back to the finish line.  It didn't take long before you feel your legs slowly giving in to fatigue and the high altitude and thin air was “lung busting."  I charged every hill, pushed myself hard on each turn and only walked during those occasions when dogs from nearby stores would give chase or to give way to incoming trucks that would be hurdling towards me (or else!)

Despite the challenges this race had to offer, I still felt really good when I crossed that finish line and even more so when it was later disclosed that I had officially come in at 2nd place ( I mean... who knew?!! Seriously?!!  )  I just had to wait a few more hours before the official awarding ceremony and was pleasantly surprised when they presented to the awardees a tradional Ifugao head gear, sash and wooden medal which was so in keeping with the traditions and heritage of Baguio. I must admit, finishing 2nd and getting an award is such a major ego boost for a 51 year old "foggie" like myself.  It just made a great weekend even more memorable.  As they say in Ilocano - "Pinakamayat ken pinakanaragsak nga weekend ko."  
"Best Weekend ever"!

***So it's Monday, day after the race, and my body is aching all over.  Major reality check for a 51 year-old runner who was on an all time high yesterday.   You may still have it old man but you ain't immortal !