Race Report: 2014 TNF 100 Trail Run (Part 3)

9 05 2014

AS #9 To AS #10 (Camp 6 To Loakan Airport)

As I started to leave the populated community of Camp 6 and following the TNF Markers in between houses in the area, I was with a group of 5 runners who crossed the hanging bridge that connects Kennon Road to the next uphill climb towards Fort Gregorio Del Pilar or PMA Grounds. As we leave the last house in Camp 6, we were faced with a steep trail on the side of the mountain overlloking Kennon Road and Mt Cabuyao. As we went higher on the trail, we could see the lights of the other runners coming down from AS #8 as these runners were able to pass the Checkpoint within the prescribed cut-off time at 1:00 AM.

It was already 2:00 AM of Sunday when I left AS #9 with 4 other runners. I was asked to lead the assault on the mountain but I did it for a few steps and asked for the younger runners behind me to lead the group. At first, I was able to keep up with the pace but as we moved higher in elevation, I can feel that I was breathing heavily. I rested for awhile and let the other 3 runners to go ahead with their pace. The technique that I used in going up to Mt Santo Tomas was put to use again—counting 10-20 steps then rest for 5 seconds and then repeat the cycle again! With due patience and consistency, I reached a wide dirt road which is flat but I know that this is just a transition for a steeper approach to the grounds of PMA.

At one point along the steep section before reaching the perimeter of PMA, I was overtaken by three (3) big guys and I was amazed on their pace in going up along the slope. I thought to myself that they could be regular mountaineers and very strong on their legs. Even if they were power hiking, they were really fast for my pace.

Before I approached the perimeter grounds of PMA, Michael Lafuente, one of last year’s TNF 100 finishers and one of my training partners in last year’s TNF, joined me due to weak batteries of his headlight. We had to share some stories with each other about the TNF 100 last year and our training experiences and recon runs in preparation for the event. It was nice sharing the trails with him from Camp 6 to the Loakan Airport.

This Race Report would not be complete and accurate if I don’t mention what I did on the last 100 meters before reaching AS #10. I asked Michael and Danin, my training partner, to guard the trail for incoming runners so that I can “take my crap” beside a water source which is popularly known to Michael and some of our training partners last year. I could no longer tolerate the pain in my stomach that I need to release whatever wastes in my large intestines! I asked them to put off their lights; warn me of the presence of any incoming runner; and waited for me to whatever I need to do to relieve the pain in my stomach. In a few seconds, the job is done and the free-flowing water source was very convenient to clean everything, including the washing of my hands! What a relief! While I was washing my hands, a runner arrived at the place where Michael & Danin were waiting and Michael asked permission to go ahead with the runner.

We reached AS #10 with strong spirits to finish the race. Michael stopped by the Aid Station and I went ahead of the other runners who were resting, eating, and being checked by the Medical Staff. It was already 5:30 AM and it is already daybreak. A support crew of one of my training partners gave me some cola and Gatorade drinks. I also brought out from my backpack the sliced Korean Pear inside a plastic bag and held it with my right hand as I started to run. As I started with my run, a support crew shouted to me that I am already on my last 7 kilometers of the course!

AS #10 To The Finish Line

I knew that at this point that I can already “smell the barn” and try to run all the way to the finish line. Just follow the TNF markers hanging beside the fence of the airstrip, cross the airstrip of the Loakan Airport and then proceed on the streets of the houses near the vicinity of BEPZA and I will be in Barangay Scout Barrio, and ultimately enter the premises of Camp John Hay.

While running along the airport road, I started to eat the slices of Korean Pear that I brought out from my backpack and was able to consume it before I crossed the airstrip of the Loakan Airport. It was so easy and visible to follow the TNF Markers placed along the streets as I left the premises of the Airport. I noticed that a younger runner was tailing me as I entered a populated area. I could see also two runners in front of me walking up on an uphill road. The younger runner on my back had easily overtaken me because he had a faster pace. Once he passed me, I brought one of my Gu Gels and ingested it for my last 6K to the Finish Line. The younger runner who had overtaken me had come back and I was meeting him along the road. I asked him why he was coming back and he told me that there are no markings that he can see along the road. I told him to return back to his former direction as we were on the right road to the Finish Line. He believed me as I pointed out to him the markers ahead of us. He went ahead of me but I was able to overtake the two runners who were walking on the uphill road.

The last GU Gel that I have ingested had given me the much energy to run continuously as I passed the “three big guys” that passed me before I reached the PMA Perimeter/Grounds. From a distance I could see a group of runners who were walking along the trail and found out later that it was the group of Baguio Ultra Runners to include my friends, Jonel Mendoza, Nick Pasiken, Carlo Gonzales, and Ryan Jucutan. Instead of passing them, I joined them in their hike for the last 5 Kilometers before the Finish Line. By my personal estimation, if not for my decision to join them in their hike, I could have finished the race in 27:30+ hours. Our hike was delayed and was made slower when our group was able to meet the group of 22K runners which had started at 6:00 AM. We had to wait and stand beside the trail for the 22K runners to pass us. Well, what is 45 minutes or one hour of delay for the finish if you are with “loyal friends”  in the ultra running community and be able to share some good stories with them and their experiences during the race.

"I Can Smell The Barn!" @ Camp John Hay

“I Can Smell The Barn!” @ Camp John Hay

At the last 200 meters before the Finish Line, we have agreed the order of finish among us. Carlo Gonzales was first and I followed him because the two of us considered this run as our “redemption run” for having declared ourselves as DNF in last year’s race. The other three runners were behind us as they had been regular finishers in this event since it was held in Baguio City. We started to run towards the Finish Line and we knew that we will be met by a crowd of spectators!

I crossed the finish line at 28:16:31 hours and I was awarded my first TNF 100 Finisher’s Medal as soon as I crossed the Finish Line. Officially, I was ranked as #107 out of 195 finishers from the almost 400 starters of the race. I may not had been successful in attaining what I have aimed for in this race, upper 50% of the finishers, but what is a few percent over the 50% (I am within the upper 54.8% of the finishers) if I was able to finish the race successfully without any injuries or any “issues”.

Official Result of the TNF 100K: http://www.thrillofthetrail.ph/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/TNF-100-2014-Overall-100k.pdf

Let me thank the Almighty Lord for giving me the strength to have this kind of ability at the age of 62. I may not be fast but with guidance and protection from Him, I was able to finish the race in healthy and safe conditions.

Let me thank also the Team Bald Runner for providing me the support in every key Aid Station along the route. They were instrumental in preparing what I needed every time I need resupply of my hydration and nutrition requirements.

I would also thank the younger runners for making them as my targets during the race. I am doubly happy when I see them resting in a place and then suddenly resuming their trek to the uphill climbs when they see me coming to their direction.

The Race Marshals, Medical Team, and Volunteers in the Aid Stations were very invaluable for the success of the race. I would like to thank them through this post/Race Report, although I know that I was the only runner who would usually say “Thank You…For Being Here” to them during the conduct of the race!

My appreciation goes also to my orthopedic doctor at the Philippine Army Medical Center in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig for seeing to it that a Retired General of the Philippine Army would be accorded free rehabilitation and physical therapy on his knees. He made sure that I would buy the prescribed VIARTRIL-S (Glucosamine Sulfate, 1,500 mg) Powder For Oral Solution which I took once I wake up in the morning for the past 3-4 months. It is a very expensive powder solution in a small sachet but with my Senior Citizen’s 20% discount, I was able to save some of my money.

I am not a “sponsored” athlete/ultra runner but it is worth mentioning the things that I’ve used during the race. Here is the list:

Trail Shoes—-La Sportiva Helios

Socks—-DRYMAX Trail Socks

Gaiters—-Dirty Girl Gaiters

Calf Sleeves—-COMPRESSPORTS ULTRA (Black)

Running Shorts—-PATAGONIA Trail Shorts

Anti-Chafing—-Body Glide

Belt Bag (For Cell Phone)—-NATHAN Belt Bag

Upper Shirt—-PAU Long-Sleeved Shirt By “A Simple White Shirt”

Nipple Protection—-Johnson & Johnson Band-Aid

Hydration Vest & Pack—-Ultimate Direction Anton Krupicka Signature Series (Small)

Hydration Bottles—-Simple Hydration Bottles

Watches—-GARMIN 310XT & TIMEX Expedition

Bandana—-BUFF

Head Bandana—-Mountain Hardwear

Running Cap—-The North Face Flite Series

Light Jacket—-UNIQLO Windbreaker with Hood

Body Oil—-Johnsons & Johnsons Baby Oil (Applied to exposed parts of the body before the start of the race to keep the body warm)

Gloves—-Specialized Cycling Gloves

Headlight—-Black Diamond’s Polar Headlamp

Flashlight—-FENIX Handheld Flashlight

NUTRITION/Hydration (Aside From Water):

12 pieces of GU Gels (regular) of 4 different flavors

Corn In A Cob (2 pieces)

Small Potatoes Boiled In Salted Water

Slices of Fried SPAM; Boiled Eggs; and Steamed Rice (Ampucao)

One Can of Century Tuna Paella

One Liter of RC Cola

One 12-oz bottle of Mountain Dew

Half-Bottle of Gatorade

Two Bottles of Coca-Cola (8-oz)

Chuckies & Bananas @ Aid Stations

Hot Noodles (2 cups)

Chinese Hopia (Sweet Bread)

Medicines/Drugs:

2 Capsules of Pharmaton (Multi-Vitamins & Minerals)

2 Capsules of Immodium (Anti-Diarrhea)

4 tablets of ALEVE (2 tablets every 12 hours as Pain Reliever to my Knees)

Advise; Suggestions; & Lessons Learned: 

1. Knowledge Of The Course—-It is not enough to know the technical description of the course. Seeing the elevation profile and the location of the Aid Stations/Checkpoints on the Course Map is not enough to have a full appreciation of the course. A runner must be able to recon the course if he/she wants to develop confidence to finish the course. Undoubtedly, this is the hardest TNF 100 course in Asia, harder than those TNF 50-Mile courses in the United States. Since I have a knowledge of the course during my recon runs and actual race last year, I was confident and ready on what to expect in every phase (in between Aid Stations) of the course.

2. Services of An Exemplar and Reputable Ultra Running Coach—-Get the services of a consistent Champion in all the Ultra Races that he joined in the past years (maybe for the past 10-15 years!) Some of his feats are still standing Course Records in 100-Mile Races. You might say that it is expensive to be paying such kind of ultra running coach but you will find out later that the investment is all worth it. Do not get a Coach who is an Average or Back of the Pack Ultra Runner, you are just wasting your time and money with him/her! “Get the BEST  TEACHER and YOU SHOULD DO THE REST”!

3. Specificity Of Training—-This is the “most abused” advise from Coaches, Podium Finishers, and Trail Running Friends. If the race course is in the mountains, go to the mountains for your training, period! There is where you test your gears and hydration/nutrition plan. This is where you test and evaluate your running skills, running form, tactics, and techniques. You have to concentrate more on what is best for you on your food intake during your long runs/hike in the mountains.

4. Follow A Structured Training Program—-Obviously, the Coach will ask you what particular event you are preparing for. Tell him your target and intermediate goals and he will give you a training program that is suited for your age and running history. Follow the program and be serious of attaining your goals. Don’t get the impression that the training program is good for a few weeks or one months before the race day. You can not “cram” or “fake” your training for a rigorous 100K ultra trail run even if you are a fast marathon runner. In the Philippines, TNF 100 Registration Period opens two months before Race Day. Do not start your training once you have registered if you have just shifted from road running to trail running. You can finish it but not with an impressive finish time.

5. Taper Properly—-Two weeks before the Race, I was already tapering my training mileage. One week before the race, I was getting more rest and sleep. I was also eating what I usually eat during my regular days of training leading to the Race Day. By tapering properly, my body was able to rest and recover from the stress that I put into it for the past months of going to the mountains. I was fully rested, recovered and relaxed when I toed the line at the Starting Area. And the rest is history!

Lastly, if you have plans of joining the next year’s edition of the TNF 100 Trail Run, you have to start your training NOW!

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

Crossing The Finish Line

Crossing The Finish Line





Race Report: 2014 TNF 100K Trail Run (Part 2)

8 05 2014

@ AS #5/Bridal Veil Falls, Camp 1, Kennon Road

It took me 2 hours and 25 minutes to reach AS #5, a distance of 12 Kilometers from AS #4 in Barangay Alang. As soon as I reached the paved road of Kennon Road, I was approached by Race Marshals to get my Race Bib number and instructed me to drop by the Aid Station for drinks and food. As I passed by the Aid Station, I saw some of the runners who arrived earlier and those who passed me on the downhill route from Barangay Alang. They were eating, refilling their hydration systems, checking their Drop Bags, some were changing to drier apparel and shoes, and some had taken their bath/shower at the nearby public toilet/shower room beside the road.

Arriving At AS #5, Bridal Veil, Camp #1

Arriving At AS #5, Bridal Veil, Camp #1

I asked my support crew to provide me with ice cold-soaked towelette which I could put on my head and nape as I was affected with the intense heat of the sun. I could feel the fatigue on my body due to the heat. I wanted to bring down the heat of my body at a faster rate by drinking ice-cold water and by rubbing my legs and arms with the ice-cold soaked towelette. It took me some minutes to do this “ice cold towel” rubbing routine to my exposed body parts. As soon as I felt my body temperature had stabilized, I asked for some solid food. I was able to ingest the whole can of Century Tuna Paella, 4 pieces of Vienna Sausage, and One Cup of Hot Chicken Noodle. I was able to drink half liter of ice-cold RC Cola while ingesting these solid foods.  My plan to change my shoes and running apparel did not push through. I decided to continue the run without changing any of my running kit. While eating, I soaked my running cap, Buff Bandana, and my Mountain Hardwear Mini-Bandana in my ice chest so that when I am ready to use them again, they would give me some cold feeling to my body.

Exhausted Due To Heat But Still Strong & Determined To Finish

Exhausted Due To Heat But Still Strong & Determined To Finish

AS #5 To AS #6 ( Camp 1 To Barangay Tabaan)

After 30 minutes of rest/recovery at AS #5, I resumed my race and had my Mandatory Equipment Check-Up by the Race Marshals before leaving the Checkpoint at AS #5. Even with a “buffer” time of 3 hours before the prescribed cut-off time in the Checkpoint/AS #5, I knew that the next part of the course will be the hardest part of the route with the peak of Mt Santo Tomas as the next target. Last year, I had only 30 minutes as a “buffer” time when I crossed the Hanging Bridge of the Bridal Veil Falls and after hiking 2-3 kilometers, I declared myself as DNF. Since I did a lot of recon hikes on this part of the course, I was confident that I can retrace my way and recall the trails/roads up to the peak of Mt Santo Tomas. I estimated to reach the peak in 6 1/2 hours.

For this year, once I crossed the Hanging Bridge of the Bridal Veil Falls with much time as a “buffer”, I knew I would be able to cross the Finish Line with an impressive time. As soon as I reached the first creek/stream of the route, I saw a lot of runners resting and some had submerged their bodies to the cold water to cool off their warm bodies. I just stopped to dip my cap and my bandana and acknowledged the greetings of the runners whom I passed by. I continued my climb leaving the other runners behind. However, at some points, I would be overtaken by younger and stronger runners. I let them pass as I stepped aside from the trail.

Preparing To Cross The Hanging Bridge @ Bridal Veil Falls

Preparing To Cross The Hanging Bridge @ Bridal Veil Falls (Photo By Juvy Pagtalunan)

After climbing the first uphill/ascent of the route and reaching the wide Barangay Road that leads to Andolor, I met two old couple who were watching me and the other runners. After greeting them in the local dialect, the old lady made some hand signs and verbal response to me. I immediately understood the message that she wanted me to do. She was telling me in the local dialect and hand signal that I need to close my mouth while exerting more effort in scaling those uphill climbs, thus, making me effortless and stronger in climbing. I said, Wow! I immediately recalled what I read in Scott Jurek’s book! According to a Chinese saying as stated in the book, “the nose is for breathing while the mouth is for eating”!

From this point, the advise of the old lady stayed in my mind and strictly observed throughout the race! I would strictly breath through my nose and always conscious that my mouth was always clipped! I tried to jog on the downhill parts of the route but it was temporary as I would face one uphill climb to another one. I had to power walk these climbs with the proper form and technique. Through the blogs of elite ultra trail runners, I was able to apply in my training some of their techniques in power hikes on uphill climbs. The first one is to use your hamstrings and gluteus (buttock) muscles in power climbs instead of the knees and quadriceps muscles. I have to bend my body from the waist as I push my body forward and make sure to land my foot on a flatter strike on the ground. By doing this, the hamstrings and gluteus muscles are forced to go in action on power hikes in uphill climbs. The second technique is to be able to constantly count your steps while power hiking or running. I would count from 1 up to 90 counts as my left foot strikes the ground and when I reach 90, I start again the cycle with 1 and so on. By counting your steps, you will be conscious on your pace and running form. Third technique is to find out one of your favorite ultra trail elite’s personal video on You Tube. Watch his video and try to recall/remember this video while you are in the race. This technique will inspire you to mimic his/her running form and the cadence of his feet even if you have short strides. Try these techniques and I am sure you will enjoy more on mountain trail running! Through these techniques, you don’t see me using my hands to push my knees in steep uphill climbs or had seen me using any trekking poles! But remember to always close your mouth and maximize the use of your nose in breathing! You will be surprised the heavenly feeling of breathing the purest air on earth!

All of a sudden I reached AS #6 which is situated at the Barangay Hall of Tabaan. I saw a lot of the faster runners resting and eating in the said place. Some of the runners suggested me to pick-up some foods and drinks and try to even up with the registration fee that we had paid to join this race. I stopped to pick some ripe bananas and chocolate drinks and I left the AS immediately.

TNF Phil 100 Elevation Profile

TNF Phil 100 Elevation Profile

AS #6 To AS #7 (Barangay Hall of Tabaan To Mt Santo Tomas)

After a few kilometers from the Barangay Hall, a group of runners passed me while I was power hiking. I was amazed how these runners would walk with such speed. I was able to briefly talk to George Javier, a mountaineer and ultra mountain runner based in Los Banos, Laguna, and a lady runner Del Guidaben who is also a fast hiker/ultra trail runner! At an intersection with a Waiting Shed, I decided to have a brief rest to eat what I’ve taken from the previous Aid Station. While eating, I would be greeted by those runners who stopped at the previous Aid Station as they passed my resting place. After 5 minutes, I was back on the road and continue with the race. I would never see the backs/shadows of George, Del, and the rest of the runners who passed me at the Waiting Shed.

More uphill climbs with more uphill hiking until I reached the Church of Andolor where Race Marshals and Medical Aid Personnel were stationed. The marshals advised me and the runners who were behind me that we can have a refill of our water bottles and we can also get some ice cubes from their supply. They warned us that the next 9 kilometers will be the steepest uphill/ascent of the course without any Race Marshal. I knew that the next part of the course will be the hardest to tackle as I need to rest/stop in every 20 steps on the steep inclines. The cycle had to be repeated until it became darker in the forest. It was still 6:30 PM but due to the thick foliage and cloudy sky/impending thunderstorm to come, the trail was already dark! It was time to bring out my Black Diamond Polar Headlight. In a few minutes, it started to drizzle and I immediately unpacked my light UNIQLO Windbreaker Jacket which I used in Mt Pulag during the H1 100-Mile Run and zippered it to cover my upper body. At this point, I still have 5 Kilometers more to go before I could reach the next Aid Station.

TNF Phil 100 Route Map

TNF Phil 100 Route Map

At some point after I wrapped myself with my Jacket, it began to rain lightly but as I go higher to the peak, I have observed that the rain became stronger. The trail was already flooded with water due to the rains and I had no other choice but to let my shoes and socks to be wet. The decision not to change to another shoes was favorable to me as I knew that my shoes would be drained easily from the absorbed water because the uppers are very porous with the materials used. Due to the strong rains, I found out that the water had seeped through my jacket. I started to feel some coldness in my body and my fingers had started to become numb. I remember what my Coach had advised me if ever I would be exposed to colder temperature during a trail race—keep on moving faster through hiking and/or moving or swinging the upper arms AND feed the body with more FOOD for the body to ingest. More food means more energy, and more energy means warmer  body. I took in one GU Gel and ate a lot of those small potatoes (as big as those quail eggs) which I had it boiled with salted water before it was packed and followed by eating slices of Korean Pear. It was part of my food resupply at AS #5 from my support crew. It was still raining hard when I reached the place which I call “The Cable Drop” Point. Race Marshals were positioned on this point  with their Camping Tent. From this point, I have to follow a steep descending zigzag trail until it would flatten for awhile and then followed with another uphill climb before an intersection. Another Race Marshals  with tent were positioned in this place and I was told to turn left, meaning, go for another uphill climb again.

Due to steepness of the climb, my movement slowed down but my body was still warm. To anticipate the lowering of my energy due to my slow movement, I brought out my thin plastic poncho from my pack and had to wear it. It was still raining but I am confident that my warm body will not go down to a colder temperature with the poncho that I was using. Finally, I reached AS #7 near the peak of Mt Santo Tomas. One of the Race Marshals approached me and handed me a thin red plastic bracelet. I saw some of the runners at the tent eating some food and being attended to by the medical aide. When I saw that there are bottles of Mountain Dew, I got one plastic bottle of Mountain Dew and drank 1/4 of it. I was told that the distance to the next Aid Station is 3 Kilometers—1.5 kilometers as rough road and the other half as cemented road.

I reached this point at 10:15 PM and it took me almost 8 1/2 hours to climb Mt Santo Tomas! If not for the rains and colder temperature, I could have reached the peak with a faster time. At least, I was still enjoying a “buffer” time of 2 1/2 hours, reducing my previous “buffer” time at AS #5 by one hour.

AS #7 To AS #8 (Mt Santo Tomas To Mt Cabuyao)

It was all downhill from AS #7 but the road was rough with rocks although I can have a choice of where there are no protruding rocks along the wide road. I kept on power hiking on those downhill portions. I brought out my packed boiled corn in a cob for more more energy even if the rains had stopped already. While hiking, I had to eat the corn and ingesting them with the bottle of Mountain Dew. I was full of energy once I stepped on the concrete part of the road leading to Mt Cabuyao after I finished eating the corn. I would try to jog on the downhill portions and power hike on the uphill until I would see a completely submerged part of the road with water. I would go to the edge of the road and try not to dampen my shoes again. After slight rolling terrain along the paved road, I could see already the lights of tents near Cabuyao Peak. Once I reached the Aid Station, I was met by a lady Race Marshal who is a foreigner and she noted my Race Number. She advised me and the other runners reaching the place to get and eat some rice porridge. Instead of stopping by the Aid Station, I continued my walk to the trail that leads to the next Checkpoint/Aid Station.

I reached this point at 11:15 PM and had a “buffer” time of 2:15 hours before the cut-off time of 1:00 AM for this Aid Station/Checkpoint.

But there was some itchy feeling on my upper left leg and buttocks that I tried to scratch with my fingers. Lo and behold, I was being attacked by leeches. I believe that the leeches attacked my left leg on my way down from the peak of Mt Santo Tomas. I removed the leech from my left side buttocks, then another one on my upper left leg and then two leeches were trying to suck some blood from my left knee as they tried to cling to the upper edge of my calf sleeve. Four leeches attacked my left leg! After removing the leeches from my leg, I just continued my walk not minding if the blood was flowing out from my wounds.

AS #8 To AS #9 (Mt Cabuyao To Camp 6)

This is the steepest downhill part of the race course which consists of very narrow trail where one side is a steep ravine. In my recon runs in this part of the trail during the day, it was a fast one running and hiking along this course but with a muddy and slippery trail brought about by the rains on the early evening and trekking this part on a nighttime, it’s a different story. No one would dare to jump or run on those very technical and narrow trail of the route. One mistake or slip along this trail would result to flying to the deepest ravine of the mountain. I was very deliberate on my footing and every step on the steep declines which my movement very slow. I started to get a warm feeling to my body and I took some time to remove my thin plastic poncho and brought it back to my backpack. I could still feel that my windbreaker jacket is still damp and wet but my body was warm due to continues body movements.

As I slowly hiked down this trail, I immediately felt that my stomach was having some trouble and I could feel that I need to go to the bathroom. But I could still manage the situation as I continued my hike. As I approached a vegetable garden of cauliflower, I slipped on a muddy part of the trail and my buttocks “kissed” the ground. I tried to use my left arm to prevent my body from hitting the ground but it was not enough to counter the momentum of my body and I had to roll-over and landed on the vegetable garden. I immediately stood up and there was a pain on my left wrist. I thought my left wrist was broken! I slowly rotated my palm and tried to stretch/bend my wrist repeatedly. I was glad that there was no wound on my wrist and by massaging my wrist while walking, the pain just simply disappeared. I could see some blood flowing from my left knee but there was no pain on it and I concluded that the blood was coming from the bites of the leeches. I was glad that my slip was not done on those narrow trail where one side is a deep ravine!

After I’ve recovered from the slip, other runners would pass me along the trail and I would gladly step aside from the trail when I notice that there are sounds of steps behind me. I know that these runners would give notice or inform whoever were the runners resting on the next Aid Station that I was already near the Aid Station. Such information from these faster runners would also be relayed or monitored by my support crew waiting for me. More or less, my support crew would know that I am fine and still active/moving along the trail.

I continued my power hike but I’ve noticed that headlight’s illumination was becoming weaker. I had to move at a faster pace to reach the Aid Station where my support crew was waiting and where my stock of new batteries are located. As I moved faster down the trail, I forgot to take some GU Gel and my body became weaker, too. I had to stop, took a sit on a strip of lumber on the side of the trail and ate one piece of Hopia and drank a little of Mountain Dew. I felt nauseated when I swallowed the Hopia but I did not panic. I had to take a deep breath and observed my feelings. When the nausea feeling disappeared, I took one GU Gel and one Imodium capsule for my stomach pain before I continued with my hike. Slowly but surely, the sound of the river became louder and the sounds of the vehicles passing along Camp 6 in Kennon Road were becoming louder and nearer!

Replacement Of Batteries & Inserting Packed Foods In My Backpack

Replacement Of Batteries & Inserting Packed Foods In My Backpack (More Blood Stains On My Left Knee Due To Leech Bites) Photo By Stephanie Hefti

I reached Camp 6 at 1:30 AM and asked for my stash of running kit placed inside a “tupperware” box from my support crew. I immediately changed the batteries of my Headlight. I also requested for a hot noodles and coke. While eating, I tried to clean the leeches’ bites with wet wipes and declined suggestions from the Race Marshals that the bites should be treated by their Medical Aide. I also asked for my packed foods (sliced Korean Pear + boiled small potatoes) and have them inserted inside my backpack. As I ate and rested, more runners would arrive at the Aid Station. After about 15-20 minutes of stay in the Aid Station, I was ready for the last steep uphill climb of the race route.

Eating My Hot Noodles With The Picture Of A Leech Bite

Eating My Hot Noodles With The Picture Of A Leech Bite (Photo By Stephanie Hefti)

To Be Continued…





Race Report: 2014 TNF 100K Trail Run (Part 1)

7 05 2014

Last Year’s DNF 100

I reached halfway of the course at AS5 with 30 minutes to spare before the cut-off time of 14 hours. After eating and resting, I continued the run but after hiking for about 2 kilometers, I declared myself as DNF due to knee pains and fatigue. The race was over for me and I needed some rests and tried to assess my running capabilities as I was about to reach the age of 61.

After one month of rest/recovery and some lackluster training, I tried to join a 100-mile trail run just to test myself how far I would go. I registered to the said race five months before the race and made the TNF 100 as part of my training/preparation. I failed again in this race due to heat exhaustion/fatigue; dehydration; and poor nutrition plan. I reached the halfway point of the race barely within the intermediate cut-off time. I was allowed to pass the Checkpoint and continue with the race but instead, I simply hiked up to the next checkpoint and I was the last runner on the course until I was finally declared DNFd at the next Checkpoint.

After one week of rest/no running, I entertained the idea of getting the services of a Ultra Running Coach. And I got one. After some exchanges of notes and messages, I was ready to start my training for the next year’s TNF 100 as he gave me a training program to start with. It was in the middle of June 2013 when I started a structured training plan which was 100% done on the trails.

Training

The training was based from my age, number of years of running, and previous running-related injury/injuries. Monday is my Rest Day and the rest of the days of the week were on trail running with at least, 500 meters of elevation gain/loss in every 10K distance (6 miles). I started to have a mileage of 80+kilometers for a week. And as I got stronger on the trails, I would reach up to 110-120 kilometers per week on my peak training program where I would reach to higher elevations and mountain peaks. I was made also to do some strengthening exercises for the leg muscles and core muscles which I do once or twice a week. Speed work on the trails was also done at least, once a week. In my long runs, I had to test the best nutrition that my body would respond. I tested for purely water in my training. I tested also for powdered mix preparation which could be diluted with water. I would also test for solid foods ingested during training. But what was critical was to test the use of Power Gels/GU Gels and how they give you the much-needed energy during training. I would also test my trails shoes comparing them as to their weight once they are damped with my sweat or being wet from submerging myself in creeks and streams. I would also test my shirts and shorts as to which one are prone to chafing on any part of my body.

For the training and preparation for this year’s TNF 100K Trail Run, my post, “The Hay Is In The Barn” explains everything to it, to include proper tapering before the race. Aside from reducing the number of mileage within two weeks before the race, I also put more time to sleep and rest on the last week before the event. I was averaging 9-10 hours of sleep, at least, 3 days before Race Day.

Race Day

On the early  morning of Saturday after I had my shower (2 hours before gun start), I ate a full meal of rice, noodles with pork (pandit canton), vegetables, chicken, and hard-boiled egg; had my hot coffee; and took some amount of water. After the meal, I made sure I rubbed a lot of Body Glide to my body parts which I expected to have some chafing. I took my time fixing my attire/running kit from head to foot. I made sure that my shoe laces are tight but  making the ride as comfortable as it can be. I decided to wear my La Sportiva Helios which had been my DNF shoes in my last year’s races because it is the lightest and the most responsive shoes on technical trails. My Patagonia Shorts are battle-tested in the CM42 & CM50 trail races. My white long-sleeved PAU Shirt by A Simple White Shirt had been with me in my long runs in my playground. Aside from the Buff Bandana on my neck, I have also a sweat bandana by Mountain Hardwear wrapped on my forehead which was covered by my TNF Running Cap. After having tried the Compressport Calf Sleeves in my training, I opted to use the Ultra Model for the race and I never had any cramps or signs of having some pains in my calves. They were also useful as “sweat traps” to prevent my socks and shoes from being wet and protection for leech bites on the forested sections of the route.

La Sportiva "Helios" Trail Shoes

La Sportiva “Helios” Trail Shoes

One and a half hours before the race start, I was already at the Starting Line for the Mandatory Gear Check. I was carrying a tightly packed UNIQLO Light Windbreaker Jacket inside the backpack of my Ultimate Direction’s Anton Krupicka Signature Series Hydration Vest with two bottles of Simple Hydration and seven packs of GU Gels stacked on the different small pockets of the hydration vest. I had also a thin plastic poncho which is packed tightly inside my backpack. I was carrying a Fenix handheld flashlight on my hand and a Black Diamond headlamp on my head. I got the whistle from my Salomon XT S-LAB Hydration Pack and have it tied to my UD Hydration Vest. After the race check-in, I returned to my vehicle and mentally reviewed my race and nutrition strategy. The Race Strategy was to arrive at the Intermediate Checkpoints with at least 2 hours as “buffer” time before the prescribed cut-off time and to pass as many runners along the way since I will be starting from the back of the pack. The nutrition strategy was to ingest one GEL every hour, alternating one flavor to another out of the five (5) flavors that I included in my pack. Eat solid foods and carry some food on Aid Stations where my support crew would be waiting. As I did in my training, two bottles of water would be enough for my hydration needs for at least 20 kilometers with an option to drink some more if there are sources of water along the route where I could refill.

Thirty minutes before gun start, I had to pee and took my first GU Gel. Composed and relaxed, I joined the rest of the runners and positioned myself at the back of the pack with the rest of the “usual suspects” in ultra marathon in the country.

The "Usual Suspects" In The Country's Ultra Trail Running

The “Usual Suspects” In The Country’s Ultra Trail Running

At The Back With Ultra Friends

At The Back With Ultra Friends

Race Proper @ Camp John Hay To AS #3 (Ampucao)

At exactly 3:00 AM, the race started and I slowly moved forward to cross the START/FINISH arc by walking. Once I reached the paved road of Camp John Hay, I started to jog. My jog slowly became a run until I started passing some runners who would start hiking on some ascending parts of the first kilometer of the route. My run became faster on the descending roads and maintained my pace on those uphill ones. I remember last year that I was hiking on the first 2-3 kilometers of the route with a pair of trekking poles. But for this year, I was not using any trekking poles. In all my training runs for this year’s TNF, I never used my trekking poles. I tried to use them in H1 last February without any training and it gave me some problems with my pace. I just followed one of the “basics” in ultra, never use anything that you did not use during your training.

@The Back Of The Pack

@The Back Of The Pack

While running on the paved roads in front of Baguio Country Club and parts of South Drive, I have already passed a lot of runners and after hitting the trails of Camp John Hay, the group of runners in front and behind me had thinned out already. I had already my own space on the trail and I would have the freedom to dictate what pace I would be doing. The headlights in front of me would be my guide to determine how fast I would be running. I just took it easy to run the uphills and the downhills until we reached a populated area but we were still within the vicinity of Camp John Hay. Last year, I was overtaken by the lead runners of the 50K race which started one hour after our start time but for now, there was no way that the lead runners of the 50K would overtake me along the trails of the Camp. After one hour, I was already on the downhill approach towards the mining community of Itogon.

I was surprised to find out from my Garmin that my Average Speed was 7-8 kilometers per hour. At daybreak, after 2 1/2 hours after start time, I was already approaching AS #2 and I have run a distance of 20 kilometers at this point.  I did not stop at AS #2 and kept on running on the easy flat and ascending parts towards the mining companies in the area. After passing a Gate/Guard Outpost of a Mining Company, the route started to ascend and I tried to run slowly until I passed more runners who were hiking. As we left the Mining Company perimeter, it was the start of the first never-ending steep ascent towards Barangay Ampucao. More runners would step aside from the trail as I passed them. I had a refill of water for my bottles when one of the marshals told us that the flowing water coming out of the water pipe is potable and clean. After some uphill and downhill, I was already near the Ampucao Aid Station. I reached AS #3 (Ampucao) at 7:30 AM, 4:30 hours after Start and I was happy and surprised. I had 3 1/2 hours as “buffer” before the cut-off time and I was 2 hours faster than my last year’s arrival time in this place!

Sharing Happy Moments With The Younger & Faster Runners

Sharing Happy Moments With The Younger & Faster Runners @ Ampucao

AS #3 To AS #4 (Ampucao To Alang)

I immediately made a refill of water to my hydration bottles at the Aid Station and tried to glance what were the foods available. I saw some boiled bananas and boiled camotes and I did not attempt to pick up any of them. Instead, I approached my support crew and gave me hot noodle soup which I requested with two slices of fried Spam. I took my time to eat some solid foods after ingesting at least 3 GU Gels of different flavors for the past four hours in the race. After almost 30 minutes, I was done with my rest, eating, and hydrating myself with colder water. I was back on the road at 8:00 AM with a target time to reach Barangay Alang at 11:00 AM. Last year, I left Ampucao at 10:00 AM.

Ampucao to the “Mossy Forest” is mostly an uphill part of the course. The trail was too narrow and there are portions where there are too many rocks on the trail. I went up fast enough as I was confident with my training. I would slowly jogged on the flat portions and downhill sections of the course. Some trails are also enough for the cow’s feet to move within the place as this place is used as a ranch for cattles. This is also the part of the course with a breath-taking views of the Philex Mines, Baguio City, parts of Eastern Pangasinan and the San Manuel Hydro-Electric Dam, and the Mount Santo Tomas-Cabuyao mountain ranges, which is the other half of the race course! I did not have much time to stop and look around the views all around the place as I was focused to the very narrow and technical trail in front of me. I’ve been in this place for two times in my recon runs last year and it was enough to glance on spots where I would laugh and remember what my running friends had experienced in this place.

Before entering the “Mossy Forest”, I knew I had enough “buffer” time. It is a proof that my training is paying off and I was excited that my body was still strong. I had to overtake some more runners and sometimes allow the faster runners to pass me. And looking at the faces of those who would overtake, I am just happy that they look like they are half of my age! At this point, I was 2 hours ahead as compared with my time last year.

I purposely power hiked once I entered the “Mossy Forest” in order to take time for my body to rest after the uphill climb. I started to eat a sliced Korean Pear which I took from my support crew at the Ampucao Aid Station. The sliced Korean Pear was placed in a plastic bag and soaked in some ice. Eating such cold, juicy and sweet Korean pear was heaven in my mouth! Eating this fruit after ingesting one GU Gel is something that I would recommend as a good nutrition to ultra runners! I would jogged on the wider parts of the trail in the mossy forest which are mostly downhill. There are steep portions where one has to be extra careful on ones footing on the ground. There are also two portions where a runner has to rappel with a rope to go down from a higher to a lower ground. I could remember also that once there will be some uphill climb after the rappelling sections and pass by a “house with a water hose”, it is a sign that in a few minutes, I will be reaching AS #4 in Barangay Alang.

A lady race marshal was waiting at the “hut with a water hose” and she told me that the Aid Station with food and drinks is very near. I asked the Lady Marshal of my ranking and she told me that I was #91. It gave me a boost to slowly jog and try my best to reach the Aid Station within the targeted time—11:00 AM. After a few minutes, I was out of the forest and I could see the Aid Station with runners eating, drinking and refilling their hydration systems. The Medical Personnel asked me if I need some massage on my legs and I said, No, it would be enough that I would just sit and have a taste of the food prepared at the race. I was disappointed to eat a rotten ripe banana (lakatan). I think I had to get another one and peeled it with the same result. Instead, I took two small packs of Chocolate Drinks (Chuckie) and consumed the drinks! I made sure also to drink a lot of water in the Aid Station and made a refill to my bottles in order to anticipate the hot temperature as I go down to Kennon Road (AS #5). I still have some solid food in my pack which I would eat as soon as I would leave the place. In about 15 minutes, I was already back on the race and I was ready to face my “waterloo” in my last year’s race—the 12K downhill run from Barangay Alang to Bridal Veil, Camp #1, Kennon Road which is popularly known by the locals as “Ligay” (Wheel).

AS #4 To AS #5 (Alang To Bridal Veil Falls)

After jogging for about one kilometer, I brought out the food which was handed to me at the Ampucao Aid Station by my Support Crew—boiled sweet corn! I had to eat the corn from the cob as I walked on the slight uphill climbs of the course. It was too convenient for me to bite a part of the corn from the cob and then chew the corn in my mouth while running downhill. I practiced this kind of eating some corn from the cob while running during my training. It takes some time to chew the corn but with a small amount of water sipped into the mouth, the corn could be easily ingested. After a few minutes, I was able to eat one piece of corn on a cob and jogging downhill was just so easy for me.

At the middle of the 12K route, there is a convenience store where I would see some runners starting to leave the place once they see me approaching the place. I guess, they are making me as their “reference point” that they need to hurry up or else they will get passed by a Senior Citizen. I decided to buy two bottles of Coke (they were not cold) for my personal consumption in this convenience store. After a few seconds, I noticed a younger, tall and dark runner who ordered one bottle of coke and I said to the lady owner of the store that she would deduct the payment from the change of my money. The young runner was surprised to know that I paid for his drinks and he thanked me. I asked him if he is a local runner (Ilocano) or a runner from the South in Tagalog dialect. He told me that he came from Indonesia to join this event. We started a conversation until we left the store and started running. He was behind me for a few minutes and only to find out later that he completely disappeared  from my sight. I guess, I was really faster this time in downhill running as compared in my last year’s experience. I would meet some locals in the area and race marshals preparing for their food/lunch and telling me that the next Aid Station is very near. I would say “Thank You” to them but I usually look at the horizon and the nearby mountains and compare where I am for me to gauge and estimate my elevation. As I can see that I am lower than the ridges of the nearby mountains, I can conclude that I am really getting nearer to the next Aid Station which is the Bridal Veil Falls at Camp #1 in Kennon Road.

Classic "Happy Face Of A Strong Runner" Look Near AS #5

Classic “Happy Face Of A Strong Runner” Look Near AS #5

Some of the younger runners would overtake me but I maintained what I’ve trained for in downhill running which is appropriate and adjusted to my age and personal capabilities. I knew I was doing good in the race as compared to my past experience last year. I just needed some patience, focused concentration, and positive attitude for me to reach the halfway point without any problems, “issues” or injuries. I had to hydrate some more as the sun’s heat was already at its highest. As I glanced to my watch, I was surprised to see that it was 1:20 PM and I was almost one kilometer away to the Aid Station! I reached the Aid Station at 1:30 PM with 3 1/2 hours as “buffer” before the cut-off time. It is insane to think that I improved 3 hours faster time than in last year’s race!

To Be Continued….





5th Week Of Training (February 3-9, 2014)

17 02 2014

February 3, Monday: Rest Day

2-Hour Massage

February 4, Tuesday: @HPA Parade Ground (Paved & Dirt Roads) Start: 5:00 PM

Distance—13.21 Kilometers/8.25 Miles

Time—1:24:04 Hours

Average Pace—6:21 mins/km

Average Speed—9.4 ams/hour

Total Calories—905 cal

Total Ascent—492 meters

Total Descent—508 meters

Weather—Hot & Humid/Afternoon Run

Shoes—Hoka One One Stinson Evo

February 5, Wednesday: Indoor

40-Minute Stationary Cycling

February 6, Thursday: @HPA Parade Ground/Start: 7:40 AM

Distance—17.01 Kilometers/10.6 Miles

Time—1:55:00 Hours

Average Pace—6:45 mins/km

Average Speed—8.9 kilometers/hour

Total Calories—1,174 cal

Total Ascent—565 meters

Total Descent—559 meters

Weather—Hot & Humid

Shoes—Hoka One One Stinson Evo

February 7, Friday: @Mabalacat, Pampanga To San Fernando, Pampanga (Route of Manila to Baguio 250K Ultra Marathon Race)/Start: 9:55 AM

Distance—35.43 Kilometers/22 Miles (Road Run)

Time—6:25:49 Hours

Average Pace—10:52 mins/km

Average Speed—5.5 kilometers/hour

Total Calories—1,943 cal

Total Ascent—1,259 meters

Total Descent—1,263 meters

Weather—VERY Hot

Shoes—Hoka One One Stinson Evo

Comment: Slow Run with Walking Breaks/”Pit Stops” @ 7-11 Stores

February 8, Saturday: @ Mabalacat, Pampanga To Tarlac City (Route of Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra Marathon Race) /Start: 1:03 AM (Night Run)

Distance—32 Kilometers/20.15 Miles

Time—5:20:18 Hours

Average Pace—15:54 minutes/mile

Average Moving Pace—14:47 minutes/mile

Elevation Gain—168 feet

Elevation Loss—357 feet

Total Calories—1,644 cal

Weather—Cooler

Shoes—Hoka One One Bondi Speed

Comment: Slow & Easy Run. Tried some nutrition food/drinks to keep me alert during nighttime running

February 9, Sunday: @Baguio City

Rest Day/Race Director at the Finish Line of the 1st PAU Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra Marathon Race (3-Day Stage)

Total Weekly Mileage: 97.65 Kilometers/61 Miles

Total Weekly Time: 15:15 Hours

Comment: No trail runs for this week but took advantage of the Manila To Baguio 250K 3-Day Stage Ultra Run to put more endurance on my legs, heart and lungs. Runs for this week were more on “heat” training.

Finishing 35K On The 1st Day/Leg Of The Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra

Finishing 35K On The 1st Day/Leg Of The Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra





4th Week Of Training (January 27-February 2, 2014)

6 02 2014

January 27, Monday—Rest Day

2-Hour Massage

January 28, Tuesday: @HPA Parade Ground (Paved & Dirt Roads)/Start: 6:51 AM

Distance—-16.2 Kilometers/10 Miles

Time—-1:40:06 Hours

Average Pace—-6:10 mins/km

Average Speed—-9.7 kms/hour

Total Calories—-1,117 cal

Total Ascent—-518 meters/1,700 feet

Total Descent—-500 meters/1,640 feet

Weather—-Cooler on the 1st Half and Early Morning Sun’s Heat on the 2nd Half

Shoes—Hoka One One Stinson Evo

January 29, Wednesday: @Remy Field Oval Track/Start: 3:30 PM

Distance—13 Kilometers/8.1 Miles

Time—-1:14:16 Hours

Average Pace—-5:42 mins/km

Average Speed—-10.5 kms/hour

Total Calories—-883 cal

Total Ascent—-355 meters/1,164 feet

Total Descent—-361 meters/1,184 feet

Weather—-Sunny/Hot

Shoes—-ASICS Gel-Lyte Racer

Note: Speed Workout—Tried “1-2-3-2-1″ Speed Intervals (One Minute @ 5K Pace with One Minute Recovery Run; Two Minutes @ 10K Pace with Two Minutes Recovery Run; Three Minutes @ 21K Pace with Three Minutes Recovery Run; and then back to 2 minutes @ 10K pace then one minute @ 5K pace. Followed by 3 Reps of 800-meter Intervals with 800-meter recovery run after each repetition.

January 30, Thursday: @Pastolan Trails/Start: 10:37 AM

Distance—-21.13 Kilometers/13 Miles

Time—-3:37:20 Hours

Average Pace—-10:17 mins/km

Average Speed—-5.8 kms/hour

Total Calories—-1,077 cal

Total Ascent—-1,107 meters/3,631 feet

Total Descent—-1,098 meters/3,601 feet

Weather—-Sunny On The 1st Half; Windy & Cloudy/Overcast On The 2nd Half

Shoes—-ADIDAS Vigor Trail

Nutrition—-2 pcs of Hopia (Chinese Bread) + 20 oz of Gatorade + 60 oz of Water

January 31, Friday: @ Pastolan Trails/Playground “Alpha” Loop/Start: 9:40 AM

Distance—-26.21 Kilometers/16.4 Miles

Time—-5:29:53 Hours

Average Pace—-12:35 mins/km

Average Speed—-4.8 kms/hour

Total Calories—-1,254 cal

Total Ascent—-2,377 meters/7,796 feet

Total Descent—-2,300 meters/7,544 feet

Lowest Elevation—-42 meters/137 feet

Highest Elevation—-510 meters/1,673 feet

Weather—-Sunny/Hot & Windy

Shoes—-TNF “Single Track” Trail Shoes

Nutrition—-Steamed Rice, Hard-boiled Egg, Hotdog, 2 pcs of Hopia + One GU Gel on the last 5 Kilometers + 80 oz of water

February 1, Saturday: @Pastolan Trails (10.5K Route-Out & Back)/Start: 1:32 PM

(Note: @7:00 AM—-30-Minute Stationary Cycling)

Distance—-21.16 Kilometers/13 Miles

Time—-3:39:28 Hours

Average Pace—-10:22 mins/km

Average Speed—-5.8 kms/hour

Total Calories—-1,040 cal

Total Ascent—-1,079 meters/3,539 feet

Total Descent—-1,084 meters/3,555 feet

Lowest Elevation—-42 meters/137 feet

Highest Elevation—-390 meters/1,279 feet

Weather—-Cloudy/Overcast & Windy

Shoes—-ADIDAS Vigor Trail

Nutrition—-3 pcs of Hopia + 40 oz of Water + 1 GU Gel mixed with 20 oz of water

February 2, Sunday: @Bataan Death March Route (Km Post #50 – Km Post #83)/Paved Road/Start: 6:56 AM

Distance—-32.40 Kilometers/20 Miles

Time—-4:42:19 Hours

Average Pace—-8:42 mins/km

Average Speed—-6.9 kms/hour

Total Calories—-1,862 cal

Total Ascent—-801 meters/2,627 feet

Total Descent—-818 meters/2,683 feet

Weather—-VERY HOT

Shoes—-Hoka One One Bondi Speed

Nutrition—-Fresh Fruits (Sliced Apples & Korean Pears); Hopia; and Gatorade Drinks

Note: Heat Training For 4 Hours

Total Distance For The Week: 130 Kilometers/81 Miles

Total Vertical Distance (Ascent): 6,237 Meters/20,457 feet

More Trails For This Week

More Trails For This Week





Master The Basics & Do It Every Day

8 01 2014

“Master the Basics and Do it Every Day” By Dr. Jason Ross

Note: While browsing on the Internet, I came to reach and read this article. I decided to have it posted in this blog and share it to my readers as a reference or reminder to those who are fond of writing or coming up with their respective New Year’s Resolutions for better healthy lifestyle and outlook in life. I hope my readers will like this article as a guide for their goals in life. Good luck!
I’m a huge fan of Dan John.  He’s a strength coach that has the ability to boil down the fluff and periphery to get to the important, central stuff.  Own the principles, not the methods.  Dan has many books, articles, videos, a lot for free,  all over the Internet.  I would suggest anyone interested in health and strength to take an hour or two and read his stuff and watch his videos.One of the things that has always stuck with me is Dan’s approach to the basics.  Don’t get crazy reaching for the top of the pyramid if your base is not there.
The other point comes from legendary coach Dan Gable who Dan often quotes.  “If it’s important, do it every day.” With that template, master the basics and if it’s important, do it every day, here is my list in no particular order.
1.  Drink water.  Half your body weight in ounces.  Sport drinks don’t count, tea doesn’t count.  Water.  If you drink coffee or pop add another 8 ounces of water.
2.  Don’t drink pop.
3.  Walk.  Try to get 15 minutes a day. Minimum.
4.  Get sunshine.  Have the actual suns rays touch your skin.
5. Get your Vitamin D levels checked twice a year.  Keep your level above 50.  1000 IU for every 25lb of body weight when supplementing.
6.  Lift weights.  Find something you like and do it 2x a week.  I don’t care if it kettle bells, cross fit, powerlifting, bodybuilding or what ever is next around the corner.  The more muscle mass you carry as you age, the more healthy you will be.  Guaranteed.  Carry something, push something, pick something off the floor, pull yourself up.  (colored dumbbells do not count though.)
7.  Floss.  There is a lot of evidence for the health of your gums and the health of your heart.
8.  Wear your seat belt.  ( I stole 7,8,9 from Dan John himself)
9.  Take fish oil.  3-5 grams a day.
10.  Get rid of polyunsaturated oils.  I think this is why most people that adapt a paleo or primal or low carb diet see such improvements.  Unhealthy oils destroy your body.
11.  Be grateful.  Make a mental list or a physical one.
12.  Breath well.  Inhale with the diaphragm.  Exhale.  The ribs should move, not your shoulders.
13.  Stretch the hip flexor and then pair it with a glute activation exercise.  Your lumbar spine will thank you.
14.  Get down on the floor on your back and get back up.  Several times a day.  No particular technique needed.  I’ve lost track of how many patients tell me they fear getting down on the floor for how hard it will be for them to get back up.  Don’t let that happen in the first place.  If you don’t make it a priority, it can be weeks before you have to actually do it.  Think about that for a second.
15.  Eat some vegetables.  Think Rainbow.
16.  Master the hip hinge.  Use it.  When you bend at the hips not the back, you save your back abuse.
17.  Read.  The person that doesn’t read and the person that doesn’t know how, not much difference.
18.  Roll the bottoms of your feet with golf balls.  A lot of fascial lines evolve or cross the bottoms of the feet.  Next time your tired at work or after work, take a few minutes to do this and feel your energy return.19.  Focus on getting some good fat in your diet.  MCT oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter, olive oil, fish oil, avocado, red palm oil, to name a few.20.  Drink Green Tea.  On top of the water you are going to drink.  It’s like amazing for you.

21.  Laugh.

22.  Sleep.  7-8 hours a night.  There is a lot out there these days about how to get by on less, but science doesn’t seem to support that.

23.  Your own personal physical/personal goal.  Find a way to work at it every day.  If you want to write, write at least one sentence.  If you want more mobile hips, do 5 min a day of hip mobility work.  Striving towards something you want every day, builds strength and character.  Lay some ground work every day, it’s the consistency that counts and makes real changes.

This is my list, I think it’s hard to argue with any of them.  What do you want to add?





Race Report: Clark-Miyamit 42K Trail Marathon

27 09 2013

Just like in my participation to the Pagsanjan To Majayjay 50K Road Ultra last September 1, Clark-Miyamit 42K Trail Marathon was not a part of my training as an intermediate race in preparation for my target race but knowing that all the known fast trail runners and “hardcore” ultra runners that I know of are going in the event, I finally decided to join the said event barely one week before the scheduled date.

CM42 Logo

CM42 Logo

The Race Director, Atty Jonnifer Lacanlale was kind enough to accept my request to join the event together with one of my elite runners, Danin Arenzana, who happens to have won in last year’s CM60K Trail Run. Danin had been my training partner for the past 3 months in my training ground and running after him during the race served as my target-competitor to force me to keep on moving relentlessly from start to finish.

Due to my numerous visits to the Miyamit Falls and recon runs previous to this event, I was confident of finishing this race better than those times that I had visited and trained in this place.

Clark-Miyamit 42K Elevation Profile (Courtesy of Rey jimenez)

Clark-Miyamit 42K Elevation Profile (Courtesy of Rey jimenez)

I was prepared to arrive at the starting area at 3:30 AM last Sunday, September 22, 2013 but due to a text message from Jonel Mendoza of frontrunner Magazine that the race start time will be delayed for a hour due to the inclement weather in the area and some problems with the transport of the volunteers/marshals to the peak of the mountain, I took my time to travel and prepare the things/logistics  I will be needing in the race.

At 4:30 AM, I arrived at the assembly area and got processed where I was able to sign some papers and got my race bib. It was raining and the temperature was cold and refreshing. I was able to talk to some of the runners and it was some sort of reunion among ultra runners and trail runners. They jokingly told me that I was so serious to say in my blog that I will be on a Race Mode, thus, I will not have any time to talk or “socialize” to any of the runners during the race. I just smiled to them and wished them good luck and have fun during the race.

All the runners were called under the Start/Finish Arc for the final briefing by the Race Director 15 minutes before the start time. There were some pointers and warnings issued by the RD for the runners to know due to the weather condition of the day. I positioned myself at the back of the runners while listening to the briefing. At exactly 5:30 AM, the race started and I was with Jonel as the two of us were last runners to leave the Starting Line.

Final Briefing By RD Jon Lacanlale

Final Briefing By RD Jon Lacanlale

Still Dry & Looking Fresh @ The Starting Area

Still Dry & Looking Fresh @ The Starting Area

The Gun Was Fired And We Were Off!

The Gun Was Fired And We Were Off!

My race strategy was to position myself at the back of the pack at the start and then slowly pick-up the pace as the race progresses. The first two kilometers were made as my warm-up period with a slow and easy jog as this part of the course is flat and slightly going down. Most of the runners picked-up their pace immediately on the 1-2 kilometers of the route. As soon as I hit the first uphill of the course, I was already sweating, though I was hiking briskly.

On this very challenging trail race, I always see to it that I “brisk-walk” or power hike the uphills and once I reach the top, I force myself to jog and run on the flat and downhill parts of the course. This drill is being repeated from start to finish. However, if the uphill is not too steep, I would attempt to jog over it by taking small gaits/steps but with faster cadence. In order to be consistent in this, I would briskly pump my arms, over swing them and breath faster. Of course, I would do this in my training runs and comfortably apply this in my races.

Jonel & I Were The Last Runners To Leave The RD

Jonel & I Were The Last Runners To Leave The RD

At the back of my mind, I would like to register a “negative split” of my time in this race by being slower on the first half and then going faster on the last half of the race. Obviously, that will happen because the first half is an uphill climb to Mt Miyamit/turn-around point  which has an elevation of about 1,150 meters above sea level and then the last half will all be generally downhill. But such conditioning to the mind did not happen because of the weather condition that brought about with those slippery, muddy, and water-soaked trails.

On the second half or downhill part of the course, the trail was so slippery that most of the runners would look for the sides of the trail where they would land their feet without falling on their butts or worse, on their faces. The muddy condition of the ground had also slowed down most of the runners. But all these were part of the challenge and I really enjoyed running on these muddy, slippery, loose, and water-covered trails.

Runner Falling On His Butt To The Ground Due To Muddy & Slippery Trail

Runner Falling On His Butt To The Ground Due To Muddy & Slippery Trail (Picture Courtesy of CJ “Miles” Escandor)

After the Km #10/AS 3 as I was going up to the peak/turn-around point, I was trying to count the number of runners that I would meet in order to find out my ranking among the runners. It was fun to see these faster runners as they go back to the finish line. I would not be surprised to see these top runners as they see me going up to the turn-around point. But I could see in their faces how surprised they are when they see me as I get nearer to the turn-around point! They are also surprised that they have a few meters gap from me from their backs! As I reached the turn-around point, I was able to count 47 runners that I met along the way which makes me as the 49th runner (Danin was the 48th runner).

A Part Of The Easier Sections Of The Course

A Part Of The Easier Sections Of The Course

Everything that happened in this race was so fast, except when I was going up from the checkpoint at the foot of Miyamit Falls up to the Aid Station #3. I practically walked this uphill stretch of about a mile/1.5 kilometers and it took me 31 minutes! I was not sure if I was exhausted or needed some “sugar” to my body system. I took this opportune time to eat more solid foods (hard-boiled eggs with salt) and take in a GU Gel.

On the last 10 Kilometers to the Finish Line, I tried my best to run and jog all the way except for some delay on those steep downhill slippery parts of the route where I have to walk slowly. I maintained a steady pace and Ultra Runner Jon Borbon kept me company as he was tailing me throughout the said distance.

Wet, Dirty, & Tired But Still Smiling Towards The Finish Line (Picture By Photo Ops)

Wet, Dirty, & Tired But Still Smiling Towards The Finish Line (Picture By Photo Ops)

I finally reached the Finish Line with an Official Time of 7:57:58 hours with a rank of 36th runner among the 115 Finishers. The RD was at the Finish Line to award the Finisher’s Medal and congratulate me for finishing the race.

Finishing at 36th place was more than a success to me since I have targeted a conservative goal for this race to place on the top 50% of the runners. As a result, I landed among the upper 31% of the finishers!

I would attribute such accomplishment on the following:

1. Consistency—I have followed a structured training program for the past 3 months + one week leading to the race where I have completed a total distance of 1,627 Kilometers or 1,017 Miles. Since this mileage was done in 85-90% of mountain trails, I can roughly estimate my total workout for about 325 hours (1,627 kilometers X 12 minutes/kilometer).

2. Specificity of Training—As shown above, almost all my training was done in the mountain trails where my 61-year old body slowly adapted to the challenges of the environment. Speed was put behind and more focus was concentrated on endurance and proper footing/feet-landing techniques on different kinds or situations on the mountain trails. The more slippery or muddier the train is, the better for me!

3. Nutrition & Hydration—In my training, I have experimented on my nutrition and hydration, most specially on my weekend long runs. Such experimentation was applied during the race. For the race, I ate a simple breakfast of steamed rice + 2 pieces of hotdog + hot coffee, 45 minutes before start time. Some runners who greeted me at the Starting Line saw me eating this stuff. I took in some water with the food. Twenty (20) minutes before start time, I took in my first Espresso Love GU Gel. From the start up to the finish, I took this GU Gel every 40-45 minutes and hydrating with Perpetuem Mix and Water every 20 minutes in an alternate manner. At the turn-around point, I started eating my Hopia as my solid food. On my way from Miyamit Falls to the Finish Line, I was able to eat 2 pieces of hard-boiled eggs with salt. I have also six pieces of Butterscotch from Biscocho Haus of Iloilo City in my pack as my reserve food. At the end of the race, I was able to consume eight (8) GU Gels; 4 pieces of Hopia;  2 pieces of hard-boiled eggs; 40 oz. of Perpetuem Mix; and 40 oz of Water. This nutrition & hydration strategy was strictly followed to keep me from “bonking” and reacting to it and as a result, I was being proactive to the needs of my body during the race. It is like being attached with an Intra-Venous (IV) fluid where every drop of  fluid enters the body every second.

One Pack Of Hopia

Two Packs Of Hopia

4. Running Kit & Apparel—-My Patagonia Shorts kept my iPhone on its back pocket with 6 GU Gels (3 pieces on each side pocket). My Patagonia shirt was very light even if it was damp/wet the whole race. The Ultimate Direction AK Vest which I use in my training kept my 2 bottles  for hydration and food at the back pack; my tiny Nikon Camera on my right shoulder pocket; and two GU Gels on my left shoulder pockets which I used also to keep my trash during the run. I was wearing my favorite Giro Cycling Gloves which was very useful during the run (I guess, I need to post  a separate story for this!). Calf sleeves were used to protect my legs from the sharp leaves of wild grasses along the trails. I also used Gaiters to protect debris and other dirt from entering my shoes. I’ve chosen my ASICS Gel-Mt Fuji Racer Trail Shoes instead of Inov-8 Mudroc 290 due to its lightness and easy drainage of water entering the shoes and it gave me the much needed confidence to paddle through water-soaked, muddy, and slippery trails. My Under Armour running cap and Buff which were damp and wet were also useful in maintaining a lower body temperature on my head and nape.

ASICS Mt Fuji Racer Trail Shoes

ASICS Mt Fuji Racer Trail Shoes

5. Rest, Recovery, Taper—-From Wednesday up to Friday before the race, I had full sleep during nighttime of not less than 8 hours per night. On Saturday night, I was able to sneak in at least 5 hours of sleep. During my training period, I have to fully rest (without any runs) on Mondays—it’s the day when I eat my favorite food, walk and watch a movie in the malls, and/or read some books. One day before the race, it was completely a rest day for me.

6. Knowledge of the Terrain and Be Able To Acclimatize with the Environment—-Having been to the route at least one month before the race with the same weather condition, I already knew what to expect and I even tried to locate for points/places along the route where I could slow down or speed up or where I would take in my nutrition. I was able to test and find out what would be my running apparel/kit for the race during my last recon run to the place. I was able to test also the amount of fluid and food I would need for the race proper, thus, it would lead to the next factor to consider as stated next to this.

7. Not Stopping At The Aid Stations—–It is enough to hear the cheers and greetings from the volunteers and then for me saying, “Thank you for being here for us” to them as I continue my run and pass every Aid Station along the route. It is either I slowed down with my run or simply hiked/walked as I reached the Aid Stations to greet the volunteers. For the Aid Station on the wider road, I would just wave my hand or give them a “thumb-up” sign to acknowledge their presence on the trails even with the rainy weather condition. The cooler atmosphere and rainy condition contributed for my body not to perspire so much and I was able to conserve my intake of hydration fluid. It was only at the place where the 4 X 4 vehicles were parked where I was able to ask for water refilling on my way back to the finish line.

8. Listening To My Body—My HR Monitor was my basis to get feedback why I would breath heavily during the run. I would see to it that I was maintaining an Average HR of not more than 150 beats per minute. There was only one instance where my Average HR reached to 152 bpm and I had to slow down with my power hike on a steep trail. I would feel some pain on my knees and quads on the second half of the race and that I would slow down and observe if such pain would disappear or not. Generally, I did not experience any severe pains/injury or muscle cramps in any parts of my body up to the end of the race.

Success and being able to reach one’s goal in any race is not developed and attained overnight or for a short time even if one has had finished harder and more challenging races in the past. It takes a lot of planning, attitude, determination, patience and handwork.

In short, this is in my own words is called, “discipline”!

Congratulations to RD Atty Jonnifer Lacanlale for a successful race and my special thanks to those volunteers who braved the inclement weather in the mountains to make sure the safety and well-being of all the runners on the night before the race as well as, after the last runner had crossed the finish line. Good job, guys!

Lace up, go out of the door and run!

(Note: For more details & data of my run, please check on this link: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/380094060)








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