Shotgun in San Mateo, Rizal is a popular destination for runners and bikers. It is a 5-kilometer stretch of road that is known for its hellish slopes. To say that one is masochist for going there would be an understatement. LOL. When I joined Team aRUNkada on their anniversary LSD (long slow distance) run there, I knew what I signed up for but nothing could have ever prepared me for it.
The meet up was at Marikina Sports Center in the wee hours of the morning. It was still dark then. My original plan was that I would join those who would be riding the jeep to San Mateo, while a few others would start running right then and there. Then one convinced the other and so and so, and I ended up joining the group who would be running from Marikina Sports Center. The total distance from there to the 7-Eleven landmark in San Mateo is roughly 6 km.
When we got to the 7-Eleven store, we hydrated for a bit and continued on to our main destination: Shotgun. But before that, we had to run on a mostly-flat 2-km road until we reach the foot of the Shotgun road. Once we got started on those hills, what started out as an LSD became another kind of LSD: lakad sa daan. I tried my best to run but I felt my calves burn sooo much that it shouldn't be called "uphell" anymore but rather "up-inferno". Okay, that was corny but you get my drift, right? Kidding aside, it really was a difficult route! It was nothing like I experienced before. There was a point when I wanted nothing more than to sit on the sidewalk and just wait for the others to return. Half of me wanted to go on because I was already there and the other half wanted to cry like a baby. HAHA. The first half won the battle. So roughly 5 kilometres of distance, max 410 meters of elevation, and 1000 curse words (hahaha) later, I was there at the top.
It wasn't over yet. After taking some photos and resting for our bit, we then started on our journey back which was no easier than what we went through earlier. Of course, we were faster because we were going downhill. But whoever said that downhill runs are easy are either lying or have not yet experienced it. Yes, uphill runs are hard on the cardio part but downhill runs are harder on the body and there is an even higher risk of getting injured. You have to control how fast you are going and that can put a lot of stress on the shins and knees. In my case, it was on my knees.
When we finally reached our starting point at the foot of Shotgun, I was huffing and puffing, and my heart felt like it was going to burst. I was dusty and sweaty and sun-burned. Nevertheless, I was smiling like an idiot because of what I had accomplished that day. I conquered Shotgun!
Would I go back? Yes, definitely. Because I am secretly cuckoo and a self-declared masochist who considers pain as her kryptonite... I kid, I kid! But yes, I do plan to go back there some other time because the experience was definitely worth it. And it provided a very good venue for uphill, downhill, and heat training. I admit that it was difficult. Very very very, repeat 1000x, difficult. But hey, nothing fulfilling ever came easy, right? :)