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2nd Trek The TEC - Expansion of Lungs

I think this is the first time that I was able to post about my race account a few hours only after the event. I usually take more than a few days up to more than a few months before I could finally post my race adventures, but at this moment, I feel so compelled to share what just happened a while ago at the 2nd Trek the T.E.C (The Enterprise Center Bldg.) in Ayala, Makati.

Trek the TEC was born from the great tradition of the Empire State Building Run-up and Taipei 101 Tower Run. It was first held in the Country May of last year (2010).

Together with Allan and Sam, we represented the Diadora Philippines Running Team. Later on, Totoy ("Alamat ng Samat") also agreed to co-represent with us :)

It isn't my first time to join a vertical run, in fact, this is already my third, but was also the hardest among! The first was during the 3rd MH Phils Urbanathlon and Festival where one of the "obstacle course" incorporated was an 8 flights of vertical run (and another 8 going down). The second was a half-century category (25 floors up, 25 floors down) at the 1st BGC Vertical Run which culminated at the E-Services Bldg. in Bonifacio Global City.

Diadora Team with Totoy - Alamat ng Samat
Those two vertical runs I've joined above already seemed difficult, but upon finishing the 2nd edition of this year's Trek the TEC, I wished that I should've brought an extra pair of lungs (if it was even possible), or an oxygen tank!

An intimate race of only over a hundred participants, this vertical run proved to be the most challenging, hardest, and real vertical run in the Philippines. It actually targetted 500 runners to participate, but it seems that the challenge is enough to give a chill to the runners, or a lot of Filipino runners are still shy to embrace the two towers of The Enterprise Center.

Runners were dispatched in batches of 50, and a proximity card which we have to swipe at the finish line, identified through the bib number and lace color, helped with the timing and comparison of results for all the other batches. Allan (Running Free Manila), Totoy and I were on the first batch while Sam (The Running Ninja) was on the second batch.

As we head off towards the stairs, "balyahan" to the max occurred as faster runners tried to get a foot on to the flights. I tried my very best to run more relaxed in each step of twos but the stairs are really unforgiving. The air blowers were switched on but it seems not enough as I already started to walk starting from the 9th or 10th floor. I was already hanging on the hand rails while pushing my knees with my other hand. As I ascend more, it seems though that my lungs' air capacity has been restricted, my mouth was already as wide as a horse's as I try to inhale more oxygen.

Cheat rest before going down at Tower 1
There were a total of 90 floors to conquer, roughly equivalent to about 2,500 steps and I haven't been yet to its half but quitting is such an inviting word already, couple it with the signage "Quitter's Exit" at each Hydration/Aid stations. Reaching the 30th floor, I thought that finally I could already start to descend, but... there were still a few floors up before going down.

The descent after more than 35 floors were not easy either. If going up needs a lot of deep concentrations and physical endurance, the going down also needs strategy, knee strength, and most importantly, a lot of patience. The stairs going down for the same 35 floors feels like forever, and there's still another tower waiting to be conquered after the descent before finally reaching the finish line.

At the second tower, I never and wasn't able to run up anymore, but tried as consistently as possible to walk two stair steps at a time at a manageable speed. But did it really turned-out manageable? I did crawled for two sets of flights and only stopped because there were already runners in front of me and at my back. Don't want to let them see a CrawlingAtom!

Then at last, metal stairs towards the finish line at the roof deck greeted us. Though unlike with road races, I wasn't able to sprint the last few distance. At the finish arch, I even almost forgot to swipe my proximity card to record my finish time as all I can think of and all that my body wishes to do is to breathe in fresher more air which is abundant at the roof deck. The result of all those agony that seemed forever actually lasted only for 20 to 21 minutes, heck!

A tiring but refreshing finish at the roof deck
A few rounds of cool down walks put my lungs back into normal breathing, but my whole body is still shaking even after almost 20 minutes already of having been rested.

Loot bags? Oh they were abundant, and runners had the freshest kind of loot bag given with a freshly harvested petchay, farmed right atop the roof deck. There were also taro and papaya trees but has not bear fruits yet.

I wasn't able to run at the Nathan Ridge Run last week, blame it to the bosses! But the vertical run was such a hard and challenging race in just a very short span of time - a great candidate as one of my most challenging race for the year.

The vertical route

Race Profile:
Distance: 90 Floors (2,531 steps)
Official Time: 00:20:03
Official Ranking: 27th out of 83 Finishers

Race Info:
When: November 26, 2011.
Where: The Enterprise Center Bldg., Ayala, Makati
Event: 2nd Trek the T.E.C.

Tip of the Enterprise Center's Tower 1
Race results may be downloaded here.

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