If frustration had a face, I know mine would be its perfect definition. It was five in the afternoon and there I was on the verge of breaking down—only that, I was just too exhausted to shed a tear, too beat to even process all my raging thoughts.
Nothing’s more frustrating than not having anyone else but yourself to blame. Unfortunately, fault acknowledgment is by far one of my weakest attributes. Yeah, my dear Taylor Swift was right, it’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.
I failed. No matter what kind of mental math I do, I know Sol and I won’t be able to complete that MagMa Ultratrail run race within the given cutoff time. We are at KM47—five kilometers away from the finish line. So close, we can even hear the race director’s voice in the air.
“Kanus-a pa man ni mahuman,” I exasperatedly murmured, to which Sol tirelessly responded with: “Padayon lag lakaw diha.” She was already limping, complaining about a knee problem but still managed to keep going.
Believe me, our duo was the least I expected during the race. We only met last April after Calatrava’s Dau Trail Run (despondent souls who missed the last trip going back to Cebu in San Carlos City after the run) and now, we’ve paced each since we started early at 3am until the last few hours of the race. As Chiarra fondly puts it: “Wa gyud uroy mo nagbuwag sa?”
This then left me thinking: would I be able to finish the race without Sol in the picture? Won’t I be swayed to the dark side and hail a habal-habal going back to the event venue?
Quick Lookback: How I Ended Up Joining Running Events This Year
You see, we live in a world of fast turnovers, of virality, of things that escalate too quickly. Sometimes, in our earnest desire to keep pace and finish strong, we get lost and forget where we started, what initially inspired us to take the first step, who was there when no one believed, and why we do what we do.
I was no runner to begin with. Our softball coach back then would often reprimand me for being too lazy to run after the ball or even do simple baserunning. I just want to bat and do catch-and-throw without the running, if that’s possible. HAHA.
But well, the pandemic happened. As I’ve shared on my previous blog, I gained a lot of weight, which eventually resulted in severe back pain. Hence, the idea of doing a daily ten-thousand-step walk every afternoon was conceptualized.
After Typhoon Odette, long hikes were then organized, thanks to Belle and Jet. This then led to Chiarra joining the group (again, if we could have turned back time, we should have denied her access to the group chat, HAHA) and encouraging, if not scamming, us to join marathons
What started with a 50km fun run in Bogo City turned into a major endeavor in Calatrava, Bukidnon, Mt. Apo, and now, Danao City’s MagMa Trail Run. Such twists and turns in less than a year for someone who claims to hate running.
MagMa Trail Run 2022: An Experience of a Lifetime
Aside from Pamutan Trail Fest Ultra, MagMa Trail Run is one of the most anticipated events by trail runners in Cebu, especially post-pandemic. It’s like a gathering of all the ‘mamaws’ you’ve come across when hiking Spartan Trail or the notorious Babag Range.
The humble trail running event brings thrill seekers to Danao City’s enigmatic pilgrimage site of Mt. Manghilao and the panoramic rolling hills leading to the boundaries of Danao City, Carmen, and Tuburan, which is marked by a tree referred to by locals as Mago. Hence, the term MagMa (Mago and Mt. Manghilao).
The event was made open to several categories, including a 50km ultramarathon circuiting through renowned destinations. I know it was a crazy idea to register for an ultramarathon when I know I can’t accommodate training—not even 10,000 steps—on a daily basis. To say that the November and December calendars are compact is an understatement. But well, we do what we do with whatever little we can.
Sure, that MagMa trail run was taxing—and heartbreaking, if I were to be honest. But the experiences and insights gained were also irreplaceable. Getting lost on the first kilometer was truly one for the books. Being calmed by the alluring sunset while getting all frustrated by the seemingly endless ascents was definitely mind-blowing. I mean, how can you be angry and cool at the same time? But probably one of my favorite parts was receiving all those words of encouragement and affirmations from locals, Marshall, and fellow runners. The sense of camaraderie shared among participants is perhaps one of the reasons why we keep on joining these events, though we keep complaining about them. It’s truly fun—until it’s not. HAHA.
This Is Where It All Ends
There are so many things hovering around my head as Sol and I were trailing the pavements going back to the event venue. I guess, what they say about the last ten kilometers was right: it’s a total mental battle.
And while it’s tormenting, I’d like to believe that it’s an essential part of every runner’s journey. Because there’s a part of us that can only be found in solitude, in despair, in anger, in frustration, in defeat. Though that is not much celebrated, that part is precious. It is the place where grit is built. And grit—the courage and resolve to push through trying times, the strength in character—is worth it.
In our grand pursuit of meeting the goals we have set for ourselves, we oftentimes fail to take a moment to look back and see how far we’ve gone. What is 5km compared to the 47km that we have already covered? How am I dealing with my health compared to last year? In the context of this blog, how’s my content now compared to back when I published my first write-up?
And what was it again that you wanted from the start? Ah, to come home with no injuries and still report for duty the next day. These are but small wins, right?
Growth truly usually happens in the most difficult times. It’s totally challenging to make friends with ugly thoughts. But every moment—good or bad—is an irreplaceable part of our lives. And oddly enough, when the frustrations begin to weigh us down, the universe brings in different individuals in the ever-evolving story of our lives—some to inspire us to keep going (Jet), some to listen to our rants (Sol), some to celebrate every milestone (Rob, Kiki, and all of you out there), and some to add to our struggles (Chiarra) just to further strengthen our character.
Much has happened this year. And I guess, it’s time to conclude my own running journey here. It was fun while it lasted. As every runner says at the most daunting and exhausting time of the race, “This will be my last race. I will never join any running event again.”
For this year. HAHA.
As we flip to the year 2023, may we remain strong and faithful to the trails that we are bound to take. To my fellow weak shits, let’s try something crazier next year. Go for that marathon! Damay-damay na this! HAHA.
Yes, weak shits do run—and in some inexplicable cases, they even win. Look at politics. Jk. Who would have thought we’d still make it to the top 10 in the women’s category even if we finished beyond the cutoff time? HAHA.
Shoutout to the organizers of the MagMa Trail Run 2022. I now fully understand why Cebu’s finest trail runners look forward to every event that you spearhead. It was truly fun and challenging—and agonizing, knee-breaking, breathtaking, infuriating, and humbling at the same time. But still fun.
Thank you for allowing us to experience your trails. Visiting Mago once again brought so many nostalgic memories. Thank you for accommodating all our crazy antics and for motivating us from start to finish. Special thanks to the people assigned to the aid stations—that Domino’s Pizza was the best! And to the checkers assigned on the last stretch of the race, I’m forever grateful for allowing us to finish the run despite the obvious cutoff lapse.
See you in MagMa Trail Run 2023? Hmn.