The Running Angel

Just because I don't have wings, doesn't mean I can't fly.

Birthday Run: Bull Session in Nuvali

on 12/20/2014

It’s 2:00 am on December 20—the day before my birthday—when my alarm starts blaring, jolting me out of my deep sleep. I grudgingly drag myself out of bed, thinking, “Who the f*** wakes up at the crack of dawn and drives an hour out of the city, only to torture themselves by running for two and a half hours? Crazy runners, that’s who!”

Obviously, I am not in the best mood so early in the morning, but by the time we arrived in Nuvali, Laguna for the TBR Dream Marathon Bull Session at 4:00 am, I felt the excitement start creeping in, as it always does when I see other effin’ crazy runners like myself getting ready to race.

Roland and I weren’t able to attend the last three Bull Sessions held in Bonifacio Global City, but we made it a point to go to this one in Nuvali so we could get a preview of the racecourse. After a few warm-up exercises led by Coach Lit, we were divided into run-walk groups and then we were off!

We opted to join the 2:1 group (2-minute run, 1-minute walk). Though we’re accustomed to 3:1 or 4:1, we figured it would be better to run conservatively since we weren’t sure what pace the other runners in our group would take. It was very dark when we started so we didn’t really see much, but I enjoyed running with my batchmates. Unlike in an actual race, the feeling wasn’t competitive as people weren’t rushing ahead of each other. I felt one with the group as we ran together every two minutes, and fell into step every time the people in front yelled, “Walk!”

Eventually though, the group began to scatter as runners settled into their own paces. (And that was fine too, because I was starting to get annoyed with a runner who had her speakers on full blast. Not everyone wants to hear your playlist, gurl!) Roland and I settled into a steady rhythm, our feet moving one sure step in front of the other.

By 6:00 am, more than an hour after we had started, the sky grew lighter. The sun remained hidden in the clouds while the cool wind continued to dance around us. The view of our surroundings started to reveal itself—rolling hills, wide roads, green grass, tall weeds (a.k.a. talahib), and the occasional trees. I cannot remember the exact route, but I do remember passing a few villages and seeing signs that pointed toward Miriam College, Xavier School, and Republic Wake Park.

There were only two hydration stations on the course, as we had been aptly warned. Good thing the weather was cool so I didn’t feel the need to drink as much as I normally would. I took one GU gel (salted caramel flavor) which was a bit too sweet but gave me the kick I needed.

Toward the last hour, we switched down our pace to a 1-minute run: 30 second walk—it’s the first time we tried it and turns out, we were able to maintain our pace better than if we had stuck to 2:1. We eventually caught up with the 3:1 pace group (or maybe they had done an extra lap and caught up to us) just in time for a photo op! Woohoo!

Picture 1Photo from Instagram (@jaymiepizarro)

We finished 17km in 2 hours, 37 minutes. Pretty slow yes, but feeling good. They were serving Enervon HP—a high protein, chocolate-flavored recovery drink. So yummy and perfect post-run!


After doing some stretching exercises, it was time for a few more photo ops!


TBR coach and Runner’s World columnist, Lit Onrubia, reminds us not to indulge too much over the holidays. LOL!


With The Bull Runner and Runner’s World cover girl, Jaymie Pizarro, who said the weather is usually cooler on race day. I hope so!


With old and new AMCI members who are always up for a new adventure.


After a filling breakfast in Pancake House, we drove back to Manila and made it home safe and sound. I know this hashtag is so overused, but having freshly showered, feeling the slight soreness in my muscles, and knowing I had a great race to look forward to, I really did feel #BLESSED in every sense of the word. —A


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