January 19-20, 2008. I drove all the way to Subic with some of my fraternity brods to participate in the Subic International Marathon. After a morning ocular with my thesis partner and some of our production crew at our various locations in Manila, I headed over to meet my brods in Katipunan before driving all the way to Subic in Zambales. It’s by far, the farthest drive I’ve had from Manila. It was quite a pleasant road trip, if you ask me. Never mind if I barely remember how to get to Subic. Following the road signs was enough. After almost three hours, we arrived in Subic Bay Freeport at around 8 in the evening.
Before having dinner, we spent an hour or so at the outlet stores looking at running shoes. It was half past nine in the evening when we decided to have dinner. We decided to cross the canal out of the Freeport and have a night out in Olongapo.
It wasn’t much of a night out. Hey, we were running early the next day so we decided to tame it. After having dinner and strolling and driving around Olongapo, we decided to go back to Subic and call it a night. We stayed at another brod’s place in Binictican Heights, a former residential area for American personnel when the area was still one of the Americans’ largest overseas military bases. Some other elder brods stayed with us too. We actually slept quite late already. The runners’ call time the next day was at 5 AM.
On Sunday, after just two to three hours of sleep, we were forced to get up and head over to the starting line of the Subic Marathon.
I was driving from Binictican Heights to the track oval where everyone was supposed to assemble. I was following two cars in front of me, one being driven by a brod, the other I didn’t really know but was definitely on its way to the marathon starting line too. Suddenly, the two vehicles in front of me swerved to the right as if to avoid something. It wasn’t soon enough that I realized there was an approaching motorcycle coming right at us. I don’t know if it was because I hadn’t had enough sleep but I really thought it was simply a vehicle in front of me running the same direction. In a split-second before we had a head-on collision, I made a realization of what was about to happen and quickly swerved to the right. It wasn’t a head-on collision, thank heavens. Instead, I smashed the car’s left side and amputated the my side mirror and shattered the glass into numerous pieces that came flying right at us inside the car (our windows were rolled down).
Shit, how was I going to explain it to my parents. I didn’t even inform them I had gone all the way to Subic. There was absolutely no sign that warned incoming vehicles that the road was now on counter-flow because of the marathon!! I was dead. I pulled over the side of the road and stared blankly at the wreck. I tried to laugh the incident off but I couldn’t. How the hell was I to explain to my parents that I smashed part of the car in Subic?! They didn’t even know I was there!
There are some things I could be thankful for. One, it wasn’t a head-on collision. Two, our windows were rolled down, so though the side mirror was smashed and amputated, the windows weren’t. Three, though the windows were rolled down and the pieces of glass and fiberglass flew in, none of them hit vital parts of our body. Four, the though some of the microscopic pieces of glass wounded my body, none of it entered my eyes.
Terribly worried and bothered as I was, we proceeded to the starting line. We were almost late for the race. The run started exactly the time when we reached the starting point.
It’s my first official long-run. Though, signing up for a five-kilometer run doesn’t seem long enough for some, it was for me just the right first-time experience. My other brods were running the ten-kilometer, twenty-one and the full marathon. My running partner and I were running at our own pace, enjoying the crisp morning air, and taking in the scenery. A few hundred meters into the run, however, we approached a fork in the road. I couldn’t understand what the man directing the runners where to go, was saying. I thought to myself, nakakahiya naman kung ‘yung mga bata ‘yung sundan namin. Instead of following the little school kids, we followed the police academy cadets who were chanting throughout their run.
It turned out to be a pleasant mistake as we ended up running the 10 kilometer route! Since we weren’t psyched to run ten kilometers, we couldn’t sustain our pace, so we slowed down and walked quite a number of times throughout the course. We reached the finish line after more than an hour and forty minutes. I don’t really know how runs are gauged to say if it was an okay time. It seemed okay to me.
After cooling down at the track oval for around an hour, we proceeded to have an early lunch at a steak house within the freeport. We drove around Subic for a while after lunch, before heading back to our brod’s quarters in Binictican Heights. After napping a bit, we spent a couple of hours watching boxing and sumo wrestling over some chips and beer before heading back home to Manila. All along, I was avoiding my parents’ phone calls as I didn’t know how to explain the car accident verbally.