Reminiscing BDM Ultramarathons 

Recently, Facebook reminded me of one of the longest runs that I have ever joined in my entire life, the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon. And you know what? I never really thought about it being a pivotal point in my life until now. 
You see, I recall that I joined for so many reasons. And I wrote about it in this blog why I joined the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon. But now I am also challenging my notions of memory and why did I truly join?
I guess, one of the things and biggest reasons why I joined is because I wanted to overcome a fear that I had all my life. It was the fear of not being able to overcome anything. It was the fear of failure. It was the fear of so many things. It was the fear of not believing in myself. Fear drove me to train properly for that race event but at that time, the body of knowledge for ultrarunning even in the internet was just sparse. So as funny as it sounds, majority of us during those days were trained to run a full marathon and that was it. None of us logged more than a full marathon of training runs. So imagine the shock of our lives and of our bodies when we jumped from 42 kilometers of running to 102 kilometers of running on the road for 18 hours. 
As happy as I am remembering those times that I did the BDM102 race events and getting hopelessly addicted to long distance running and walking, I learned a lot about myself over the years of active ultrarunning than I did when I was doing it for health reasons. Ultrarunning is a passion and is beyond doing it for health reasons sake. In fact, I would say that the longer one stays in this sport, it will actually shorten your life span in the long run given that the body also needs time to rest, heal and recovery from all those kilometers. 
But if there is one thing that I truly learned from it? It is that I should never give up on my goals. Reaching for a goal is never going to be easy. Like the BDM102, I had to train for it for a year or more. Actually, I think I prepared for two years for my first event because during the first edition, I really wanted to join but knew that I was not ready for it yet. But even after having laced up for race day, I still felt the fear. I also felt the excitement. I also felt the challenges of the race route from the heat of the noonday sun and the challenges of becoming a roadkill in pitch darkness in open highways. Each kilometer beyond the marathon distance meant pain for my legs,  my feet starting to swell beyond recognition and my skin burning and experiencing all the things that a newbie runner experiences such as blisters, chaffing and more. But deep in my gut, I fought the desire to give up. Because running the race was not just about finishing it. Finishing the race meant that I was winning a battle from within that goes beyond the race distance. This is what I think every fellow BDMer feels at the finish line and more so as the years go by and life brings a box of chocolate laid with bitter memories and truffles of adversity. No, it’s not all about the sweetness of accomplishing the distance. It is how one can keep moving forward and trying to make sense of how we can inpire others to do the same. 

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