Pictures Of The Week #22: Colors Of ARC

18 01 2014







Fear Of Darkness

2 04 2013

You always hear the usual greetings, “ Welcome to the Dark World of Ultra Running”, when you finish an ultra race. The way I understand the greetings or statement is that an ultra runner needs to run and finish the race at all cost with his/her strength within the prescribed cut-off time which can last till night time or till the next day. It also means that an ultra runner should also come into reality that running in darkness is part and parcel of being an ultra runner.

As I progressed from 50K distance to 100+kilometer distance races and in my personal experiences in my multi-day adventure runs, I learned to appreciate running at nighttime or in darkness. It came to a point that I have to train and run more kilometers in my training during nighttime. Slowly, I am starting to appreciate the meaning of the said greetings.

In the ultra races that I organize and direct, most especially on the 100-miler distances, like the BDM 160 and TD100, I observed that runners have the fear of darkness, moreso, when they have almost completed one half of the course. This is where I received information of runners of declaring themselves as DNF in the race.

Despite the completeness of lighting equipment of the runners, the fear of running in the darkness comes into their minds. What could be the reason why runners have the tendency to quit the race when darkness comes? If you ask me, I really don’t know why!

Some runners are afraid of dogs on the streets and trails during nighttime and I could understand their predicament. But based from stories from ultra runners, running in darkness alone saps the strength and mental fortitude of an ultra runner. Could it be that this observaton is only applicable to Pinoy ultra runners? I personally don’t believe so. I firmly believe that Pinoy ultra runners are brave to run in darkness.

So, how do we deal with the fear of darkness in ultra running?

In my experience as past military commander, darkness is always a friend of the troops. Soldiers move silently under the cover of darkness in order to “surprise” the enemy and ultimately, defeating them. Some runners also adopt such stealth tactics in ultra races when they put-off their headlights to “surprise” their targets as they get nearer and pass them. Always think that darkness is your constant ally during the run. Don’t believe on ghosts or vampires roaming around you waiting to strike you. There are no such things or creatures! If somebody appears in darkness and it is moving, most likely, it is a human being like you or an animal roaming around the place.

In this age of high technology, there are lighting equipment, i.e. headlamps and hand-held flashlights which have high and powerful illumination with lesser use of power/batteries. There are also batteries which can give extended period of constancy for the illumination needed for these headlamps. Get these “high-tech” headlamps and flashlights and use them in your night runs. It is advisable to use them during your training runs in order to find out for yourself if the advertised capabilities of these equipment are true or not. Never use “new” lighting equipment on race day. And bring extra batteries for your headlamps and flashlights. For better illumination on the course, use both your headlamp and hand-held flashlight. The headlamp is focused on the road/trail (where the feet are leading to) and the hand-held flashlight is directed on a wider-angle in front of you covering both sides of the road/trail.

Most of the time, fear of darkness is attributed or caused by human beings or animals you meet on the course of your run. In my experience, I usually wave my hand and start a conversation by greeting the individual with the usual “Good Evening” or saying, “We are in a middle of a “Fun Run” or “I am jogging to this place and I started from this place”. Always start the conversation and try to look them on their faces. But most of all, simply smile at them and show on your face that you are having fun and enjoying the run. As for stray dogs, simply walk and observe the movement of the dogs. Directing the light of your flashlight to the face of the barking dogs could also “stun” them temporarily.

Gaining 100% confidence running in darkness is through running the course on nighttime. If the course is not available or accessible, you can find a place that resembles the elevation or terrain of the course. Try running alone on this course using your headlamp and/or flashlight not once but as many as you can. Repetition of such workout during nighttime conditions the mind to be relaxed and focused.

Sometimes, having a “buddy” who trains with you could also give confidence and solve your problem of the fear of darkness. Get somebody who would be your pacer or somebody who have the same pace and strength as with you. But you must be always prepared for the “worst” scenario if your “buddy” declares himself as DNF. Get somebody as your “reserve” pacer or “buddy” or wait for another runner to pass you and stick with the said runner as you continue your run. Make that runner as your “point man” along the course.

If you are preparing for a 100K or 100-mile trail ultra marathon, running at nighttime should be your friend and ally.

Next topic…Fear Of Coldness…soon!

@Mt Ugo Trail Marathon

@Mt Ugo Trail Marathon (Photo Courtesy of Darkroom Running Photographers)

“Run For Peace” In Negros Island

11 10 2012

I have never run for any political advocacy and for the five years that I have been blogging and running, I have maintained the simplicity of my purpose. I simply wanted to inspire others to run; challenge their physical and mental limits; and promote adherence to a healthy lifestyle.

In a spur of the moment decision, I think I did something for the good of everybody in the name of PEACE & UNITY.

The story goes this way.

After I have conducted my final coordination with the Governor of Guimaras, the Honorable Felipe Hilan Nava, in the conduct of the 1st PAU National Championship 110/50, I have decided to have a side trip to Bacolod City. With a telephone conversation with the Philippine Army Brigade Commander who is responsible for the province of Negros Occidental and telling him of my plan to visit his place, my side trip was set even if the lead time is only 12 hours.

The Super Ferry Boat plying Iloilo City and Bacolod City is a very convenient and cheap way to travel as one would take only 2 hours. The fare is P 620.00, one way, but I was able to get a 20% discount for being a Senior Citizen.

At the Bacolod City Port, I was met by a Driver (MSgt Arnel), a Security Aide (Sgt   Julius), and a Van. I was brought immediately to the Headquarters of the Philippine Army’s Infantry Brigade in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental, a distance of about 25 kilometers southeast of Bacolod City.

The Commander and the Deputy Commander, who happened to have served under me when they were Captains, are now Colonels and about to be promoted to the One-Star General rank. They were waiting at the Commander’s Quarters where breakfast was prepared and served.

Both of my hosts are runners and sports enthusiasts. The Commander, Colonel Oscar Lactao, is the “Top Gun” of his Class in the Philippine Army, had scaled and peaked Mt Canlaon few weeks ago. The Deputy Commander, Colonel John Aying, had been a sprint runner and turned into a long distance runner because of my influence to him as he served directly under me for 5 years. These two Colonels are classmates in the Philippine Military Academy.

While we were having breakfast, I told them about my primary purpose for the visit—to soak my body in the hot spring water of the famous Mambukal Spring Resort which happens to be one kilometer away from the Headquarters. My secondary purpose for the visit is to request to the two senior officers for the road measurement of the route from San Carlos City to Bacolod City passing through the Don Salvador Benedicto Town. The two officers knew already what was in my mind when I asked them about the distance between these two cities. I told them that I missed doing these two things while I was the Division Commander in the area before I retired from the active military service—soaking my body at the Mambukal Resort & running an ultra distance in the area.

On My First Visit & Soaking At Mambukal Hot Spring

Anyway, I had 4 hours at the Mambukal (Mild) Hot Spring Pond and I enjoyed the water and the place. I had company of Balikbayans from Canada; foreigners from the Middle East; and from Southeast Asia. This place is very popular to the locals as well as from foreigners visiting Negros Island.

After 4 hours, I dropped by at the Headquarters of the Brigade and I was back in Bacolod City for my Super Ferry trip back to Iloilo City to catch up my flight back to Manila. I was completely relaxed as a result of my hot spring experience that I was able to sleep during the ferry trip.

In a few hours later, I was back in Manila.

A day after, I received a message from Colonel Aying telling me of the exact distance from San Carlos City to Bacolod City’s Provincial Capitol—it’s 87 Kilometers! I told him that I was asking for the distance up to the Old Bacolod Airport only which he replied that the distance would be shorter by 5-6 kilometers. And I said, it would be fine for me. I thought, 5-6 kilometers is just a “cool down” distance for an ultra runner. I was surprised with the immediate feedback.

After a week, I received a call and message from Colonel Lactao that he is officially inviting me to conduct a recon run and lead a group of runners from San Carlos City to Bacolod City as a part of a program to observe the Month For International Peace in the month of September and specifically stated that the event will be held on the 21st of September, in time for the 40th celebration of the Declaration of Martial Law. I immediately approved and accepted his invitation as he offered his outmost support for my accommodation and needs for the ultra run.

September As The Month For Peace

I immediately bought my round trip to Bacolod City the day after I received the invitation and started my training and preparation for the said run. I spent a lot of hours of swimming drills at the Philippine Army Swimming Pool reaching up to 2.5 hours and then another 1-2 hours of running at the Philippine Army Grandstand/Parade Ground Jogging Lane under the heat of the sun. I usually start my swimming drills at 9:00 AM and then go to running at 11:30 AM up to 1:30 PM. I did this routine for almost 3 weeks! I focused on my endurance to last for the distance of 87 kilometers and then hill workouts during weekends in my peak bagging activities. I knew I did not need so much speed on this run as I would be running with a group of pacers in a formation. This is the reason that you could see my legs to be almost black in color in my pictures for the actual run.

A lot of my running friends had observed that I am “burned” as seen from the color of my skin and had reduced to almost 136 pounds during the Guimaras PAU National Championship. But I did not mention anything about this run as I knew nobody would dare to spend a Friday with me running an 87 Kilometers in a very challenging terrain that crosses the Island of Negros from East to West. There will come a day that my ultra runners will have to experience this route in one of my future PAU Races.

From East To West (San Carlos City To Bacolod City)

As the days passed and the event getting nearer, I received specific and detailed planning instructions about my run in Negros. I have to finish the event in about 16 hours as depicted in a graph prepared by Colonels Lactao and Aying. It appears that this is a simultaneous run of THREE GROUPS; one group is coming from the North of Negros; one group is coming from the South; and one group (my group) is coming from the East and our group has the longest distance to run. The rest of the groups had to run 12-16 kilometers from a certain point and my group has the longest distance to run! As planned, all the groups would converge to the Pond/Capitol Grounds at exactly the same time (6:00 PM on D-Day) to offer a Torch of Peace to the Provincial Governor & Leaders of Peace Groups in the Area from each of the running groups. These 3 torches carried by each group will be made to light a Big Torch as a Symbol of Peace and Unity for the Island of Negros.

Schedule/Time Plan of my Run

What makes the event more meaningful is the reception of the schools and school children; the populace; and the local government units where the run would pass. Each of these institutions along the way had to commit themselves for peace in short program/ceremony in a brief stop in front of the municipal hall of every town that we passed.

Since my group will be running the farthest distance, the plan was to proceed to San Carlos City a day before D-Day and be able to start the run at exactly 2:00 AM on D-Day.

Knowing about the plan of the event, I instructed my host to prepare and make available the hydration and nutrition that I will be needing during the run—-boiled eggs, boiled bananas, Gatorade, Water and Coca-Cola/Mountain Dew. On my end, I prepared my running kit, equipment, and personal hydration mix and system. Additional nutrition consisting of Chocolate Bites (Cloud 9) and Butterscotch from Biscocho Haus will have to be personally procured at SM Bacolod City.

I prepared ASICS Gel-Tarther Racing Flats as my shoes; Drymax Socks; Salomon Running Shorts; Under Armour Compression Shirts (One Short Sleeve/White and One Long Sleeve/Red); Oakley Sunglass; Black Diamond Spot Headlight; 2XU Compression Calf Sleeves; “Sprint” Nathan Handheld Bottle; and ASICS Runner’s Cap. As for my electrolyte needs, I prepared 4 packs of my Succeed Amino Acid to be mixed with water.

After the Guimaras 110K PAU Nationals, for one week more to go, my preparations and strategy had been implemented and perfected. I made sure that I had enough sleep on every day of this last week prior to the event. Sometimes, my night sleep would average to 8-9 hours! I also did some “core exercises” and leg strengthening exercises at least twice a week. I knew my left knee pain will hold and would not bother me during the run, especially on the downhill part of the run, from Don Benedicto Salvador to Murcia. I was prepared to finish the run!

Fast Forward. I arrived in Bacolod City on the early morning of the 20th September, Thursday and I had a breakfast with Colonels Lactao and Aying in their Advance Post Headquarters in Bacolod City. Final Briefing was conducted after the breakfast and everything was ready. I asked my hosts that I need another 3-4 hours of body soaking at the Mambukal Hot Springs before lunch and finally for our trip to San Carlos City. It was granted and I enjoyed every minute of relaxation in the said hot spring pool.

At exactly 2:00 PM, we departed the Brigade Headquarters for San Carlos City. Before we reached Don Salvador Benedicto, I was already sleeping. I was glad I did not see the detailed description of the route I was about to climb from San Carlos City to the town of Don Salvador Benedicto (but I knew it already as I passed on this route when I visited this place while I was in the active military service). At 4:00 PM, we were already at the Hotel/Pension House/Inn where I would rest and sleep before the start of the run.

Pose With My Host, Colonel John Aying, Infront of the City Hall of San Carlos

We were invited by one of the City Board Members (Board Member Renato Bustillo) for dinner and a tour of the city before we went back to the hotel at 9:00 PM. Wake up time was set at 1:00 AM and departure from the hotel was at 1:45 AM. The scheduled time for us had been strictly followed! At 1:50 AM, I was in front of the Catholic Seminary where a group of soldiers, CAFGU, police, and volunteers were waiting for me.

Final Briefing Before The Start of the Run At 2:00 AM

The group of soldiers and police who would be running with me in a group were divided into 3 groups. These three groups would conduct a relay run in every 5 kilometers which means that after a group would run for 5 kilometers, they would be replaced by another group who would run with me for another 5 kilometers, and the 3rd group would replace the 2nd group after 5 kilometers. This rotation of runners would be done repeatedly until about 2 kilometers from each town where the whole 3 groups would be running behind me.

One Of the Groups Pictures With My Runners

And I was running the whole distance without any replacement!

So, in every 5 kilometers, I have to replenish and refill my hydration bottle and grab one egg or one boiled banana, while walking, to feed myself. This was done religiously throughout the course of the event. We had to brisk walk on steep inclines and later resume our run on plain and downhill roads. But what made this more enjoyable and refreshing was the continuous “chanting” of the soldiers while running. Oh, I missed this part of running! I could run forever if there is somebody leading a chant where I could follow the chant. This is one of the secrets of running, you should be able to chant on your own to bring out your hidden strength in you. If you are not a soldier or never had an experience in military training, you will not appreciate what it takes to run with a military chant.

Running In Formation

The run started at exactly 2:00 PM in front of the Catholic Seminary where the 1st group of soldiers, police and volunteers were behind me after we had a simple prayer led by one of the officers of the Brigade. The group has formed as a platoon with a 3-man frontage where I was positioned at the middle. On my right was a soldier who was holding a flaming torch which is the symbol of peace being carried throughout the run and whole distance of the route. I was the one who was controlling the pace.

Rear Portion of the Run

The next group who would relieve the group who were running with me would ride in an Army truck to “leap-frog” to the next 5 kilometers and wait for the running group. The third group would be aboard in an Army truck which was positioned at the back of the running group. The soldiers, police and volunteers who would run with me had a chance to drink their water and eat their food once they are aboard the truck that would carry them to the next 5 kilometers. However, once we reach the last 2 kilometers before the Poblacion of a certain municipality. The 3 groups of runners would join me until we finish the run to the Municipal Hall or Municipal Hall’s Plaza.

With our fans during the run!

As we reached the Municipal Hall, the Municipal Mayor and his staff would run with us for almost 1 kilometer and stop for a simple program/ceremony. The Municipal Mayor would talk about bringing peace and unity for the municipality and for the whole province. The program usually takes about 30 minutes. In Don Salvador Benedicto, we were received by the Municipal Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and some of its Councilors and some speeches were made. The same program was made in the Municipality of Murcia with the presence of the Municipal Mayor, Vice-Mayor and its Councilors.

School Children Are Lined Up Along The Highway Cheering Us

What was so touching to see was the overwhelming support of the people along the way who would greet us and to wave us. What was most touching and memorable was the presence of school children lined up along the street/highway fronting the school with their flaglets raised and waving to us, shouting “PEACE” on top of their voices! It would had been more memorable if the “enemies” of the government and the Armed Force/Police were running with us! How I wished they were there along the highway observing what was happening and could have seen the reaction of the local people and the children. The teachers were out also from their classrooms with their school children waving their hands and shouting “PEACE”. They even had a picture pose taken with me and the group of runners.

A schedule or time plan was made for my run. My group and I had to reach the Provincial Capitol, the finish line for the run, in 16.5 hours from the time we started the run. This is to include the ceremonies/programs that we made in every municipality and those brief rests that we had in changing the running groups. We arrived in Don Salvador Benedicto one hour ahead of schedule but we did not waste any time to spend this buffer time to rest some more. Even if the course was already downhill towards the Municipality of Murcia, we still managed to maintain our running pace where the group was intact.

Program/Ceremony Was Held In Every Municpality (In Don Salvador Benedicto)

Program & Ceremony At The Murcia Municipal Hall

After the Program & Ceremony at the Municipality Plaza of Murcia, we still have 30 minutes as our buffer time for our time plan. However, we still maintained our jogging and chanting. On the last 5 Kilometers as we entered the Poblacion of Bacolod City, we re-formed our group and allowed the three groups to run with me until we reached the Provincial Capitol.

From Murcia To Bacolod City

It appeared that our group was ahead of schedule than the two groups who started their respective runs from the South and from the North. Our group had to wait for about 20-30 minutes from a block away from the supposed meeting place in order to monitor the coming of the other two running groups. Finally, three groups entered the big compound/Pond Area of the Provincial Capitol with my group entering from the East; one group entering the North Gate; and the last group entering the South Gate.

Finally Entering the Premises of the Provincial Pond/Capitol in Bacolod City

I had the privilege to give the symbolic torch of peace which our running group carried to the Provincial Governor. The rest of the torches were given by the PNP Provincial Director and the Head of Peace Advocacy Group in the province to the rest of the VIPs in the ceremony. The rite culminated with the three torches (held by the Provincial Governor and the VIPs) lighting a big torch at the center of the stage symbolizing peace and unity for the whole province of Negros Occidental. The rites were followed by a program where all the stakeholders of peace and unity for the whole province had a chance to deliver their respective message.

My Last Few Moments In The Run For Peace Event

Provincial Governor of Negros Occidental Receiving My Group’s Symbolic Torch of Peace & Unity. Mission Accomplished!

As for me, as soon as I was able to hand in my group’s torch, I was out of the Provincial Capitol Grounds and on my way to the Mambukal Hot Spring for Dinner; a Cold Bath and Hot Body Soaking in the Hot Spring Pond, in that order. The Body Soaking for 2 hours after dinner was heavenly!

I did not realize the gravity and importance of what I’ve done for the 87-Kilometer Run For Peace in Negros Occidental not until I was back in Manila about to have my night sleep, a day after the run!

I received a lot of feedback from text messages and calls wherein I was the “talk of the town”, so to speak, from the Provincial Governor, the VIPs, the Municipal Mayors and their Staffs, Officers and Men of the Philippine Army Brigade and the Philippine National Police down to the people of the Municipalities we have passed, about the feat that a 60-year old retired Major General of the AFP and a Senior Citizen at that, for having been able to run the said distance of 87 kilometers, from Don Salvador Benedicto to Bacolod City, for 16 ½ hours.

The only words that I could say to reply to these feedbacks was, “Thank You”. It was a good ride, an experience of a lifetime, and a wonderful journey with the men in uniform and peace in the Province of Negros Occidental. My special thanks go to Colonel Oscar Lactao, Brigade Commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, Colonel John Aying, and to the rest of their staff. These guys were the organizers of this event and they did a very splendid job. My salute and congratulations to you for an amazing success of the event!

May peace and unity come to every province in the whole country!

To the people of Negros Occidental, I will be back!

Guimaras 110K Run

23 03 2012

1:00 AM To 8:20 PM, March 20, 2012/Start & Finish @ The Provincial Capitol

On the last week of February, I made a trip to Guimaras Island purposely to visit the place, talk to the Provincial Governor, and recon the circumferential road with a plan to have it as a venue for the incoming PAU National Championships which I scheduled for September 15, 2012.

Despite my initial coordination with the Office of the Governor of Guimaras, my contact person informed me that Gov. Felipe Nava and his wife left for Manila for an important meeting the day before I arrived in the island. So, we had to make some adjustments for the initial coordination.

Provincial Board Member Roy Habana was our savior for the trip. He happens to be a former police officer and personally knows my Uncle-General of the former Philippine Constabulary who was also assigned in the Visayas Area. I explained the purpose of my visit in the island-province to Board Member Habana and he positively endorsed my plan to the Provincial Tourism Officer. After almost one hour of meeting with the Capitol’s Staff concerned on the preparation of my event, the good and very accommodating Board Member Roy invited us for a trip around the island with him as our driver!

For almost 3-4 hours trip on the road around the island, Board Member Roy was our “tourist guide” and host for our “impromtu” lunch prepared and coordinated by her wife in Buenavista, Guimaras (the busiest town of the island). It is in this recon trip that I started to appreciate and love the beauty of the different scenery around the island. Each town has a distinct characteristic of its own which I wanted to feel and see while I am actually running on the ground.

My initial impression of the place is that, this is a “paradise” for ultrarunners! No frills, no vehicular traffic, very nice scenery, challenging terrain of the route, nice people, air quality is very good and above all, a very peaceful environment. No restrictions on what side of the road you would like to run and I intend to allow the use of earphones for the race!

The purpose of my day trip to the island had been attained. Before I left the island, I promised to Board Member Roy that I’ll be back soon for me to actually run around the island. He was amazed! He told me that I will set the record and history for the island for the first runner to run around the island-province! I smiled at him and expressed my heartfelt thanks for the hospitality given during my stay.

Fast Forward. Almost after three weeks, I landed in the Iloilo Airport (again, for the 2nd time this year) with my support crew/security waiting for me. Visiting Iloilo City is not complete if I don’t have my lunch at the Mang Inasal Resto inside the SM Mall in the city, a practice or habit I developed when I was a Division Commander of the Philippine Army in this area. After lunch, I bought my nutritional and hydration needs at the SM Grocery. Top on the list are “Biscocho” & “Butterscotch” from Biscocho Haus; lots of Gardenia Loaf Bread & a bottle of Lily’s Peanut Butter; SMB Pale Pilsen in Cans; Mountain Dew; Nescafe Latte in Cans; Gatorade Powder Mix (I brought it with me); and Absolut Bottled Water. (Yes, I drink beer during my adventure runs!)

A boat ride (each boat is good for 50 passengers) from the city to the island of Guimaras followed after leaving the SM Mall. The fare is only Fifteen Pesos (P 15.00) per person and in 20-25 minutes, we were at the Jordan’s Port in the island. The boat ride was slower this time as compared on my first visit because of the rains, strong winds, and cloudy skies but the sea water is always calm in between Iloilo and Guimaras.

The generosity and hospitality of the Province is superb! Governor Nava prepared for my team’s free hotel accommodation and 50% discount on food for two days at the Raymen Beach Resort in Barangay Alubihod, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras plus the dedicated support vehicle, an Escapade Nissan Van (but I had to buy for the diesel/gas during the whole trip) ! The place, beach, water and amenities are great. Although it is far from the Provincial Capitol, my stay in this place was very relaxing!

As soon as the team was settled in the resort, I met my support crew/security and briefed them about the details of my adventure run. My run would start infront of the Provincial Capitol in Barangay San Miguel, Jordan at 1:00 AM the following day and the run will go on a counter-clockwise direction around the island. My team was advised to sleep immediately after the briefing with a dinner call at 7:30 PM and then sleep again; and then with a “wake-up” call at 12:00 Midnight before going to the Starting Line. My support vehicle would “leap-frog” every 2 kilometers with a motorbike-riding-in-tandem would be on my tail. This adventure run would follow an ala-military operations style of implementation so that it will come out with a successful result! There should be no point where mistakes/errors should be committed.

At 00:45 AM, I was met by Board Member Roy Habana infront of the Provincial Capitol. Wow! I really admire this guy! I am not surprised why the people of Guimaras would elect him to his elective post every election year! My salute to this fine gentleman who is known from his unblemished and outstanding service in the Philippine National Police! We had a brief talk and he wished me good luck before I started my run. After offering a personal prayer for this run, I left the Starting Area at exactly 1:00 AM of March 20, 2012.

My run from the Provincial Capitol was generally downhill but there are also places where there are uphill climbs for the rest of the town of Jordan until I reached the boundary of Nueva Valencia, which is the next town. Nueva Valencia offers a mix of rolling hills just like Jordan but the southernmost part area in this town has a lot of places where it seems there is only the town of Nueva Valencia that covers the whole province! After covering a distance of 42K, I was still in the said town!

It was about sunrise when I saw a lone runner sprinting uphill doing his morning run in one of the last barangays of Nueva Valencia. He was the only runner whom I saw during my run. Nueva Valencia-Sibunag area has a lot fishponds and the scenery was simply refreshing to the eyes! Most of the Sibunag roads are under construction and there are sparse places where runners would encounter uphill climbs!

I would religiously follow my Gymboss setting of 3-minute run & 45-second brisk walk for the first 50 kilometers of my run and I did not feel any pain or imminent attack of cramps on my calves. I was fresh and still strong! Every 2 kilometers, I would eat 2 pieces of “biscocho” and 2 pieces of “butterscotch” with water or gatorade mix and the drill was repeated throughout my run. This is not an advertisement for Biscocho Haus of Iloilo City but that was my nutritional intake for the whole run. If you have tasted these two delicacies already, then you know already why it powers me up during this run!

Board Member Roy Habana linked up with me in the boundary of Sibunag & San Lorenzo for my breakfast/lunch in a roadside eatery/resto where I ate the best “native chicken” tinola in the region with lots of broth! I was simply feeling cold because of my damp running apparel brought about by the rain during the run but the hot broth/soup of the dish kept me warm and my leg muscles’ fresh! I think we stopped for 40 minutes for lunch as more interesting conversation cropped up with the good host-Board Member Roy. Well, he paid for our lunch, to include the police escorts’ meal! Being the Chairman of the Peace & Order of the Provincial Council, he made sure that I was properly escorted by the PNP in every municipality of the Province! Amazing! I did not get this kind of treatment & attention when I was still in the active military service!

As I resumed my run, Board Member Roy passed by on a muddy part of a road under construction and said that he will be going ahead and hope to see me finish at the Provincial Capitol.

I made a discovery that I could run stronger and my endurance last longer if I drink 2-3 cans of beer during my adventure runs. Drinking one can at a time should be spaced properly during such runs. One should not drink more than one can every pit stop! I usually start to drink beer after finishing the marathon distance of 42K (at least, one can to reward myself for finishing the marathon distance) and from there every 10K, I take a sip and once I finished my 2nd marathon distance (84-85K), I should have finished my 2nd can of beer. However, every 2-Kilometer “pit-stop”, I have to drink water or Gatorade and ingest “biscocho & butterscotch”! The 3rd can of beer is taken after finishing my run! It worked well with me.

However, there are times when I fell sleepy while taking my time to finish my 2nd can of beer. The solution is to bring out my Nescafe Latte or Espresso Blend in Cans to perk me up. Espresso Blend is better though because of its strong bitter taste!

As I approached the 90-Kilometer mark all the way to the Finish Line, it’s time to bring out the most powerful source of sugar/glucose—Mountain Dew!

The strong headwinds and crosswinds of San Lorenzo almost zapped my strength on this run. The road is so flat that I was bent on increasing my pace but the wind was so strong that I spent so much force to maintain my short but quick strides. As usual, I was maintaining my Heart Rate of not going beyond 150 beats per minute for the whole duration of this run. There is no use to battle it out with the wind and I concentrated on following my Gymboss setting.

After the strong winds in San Lorenzo, here comes now the start of never-ending uphill climbs once I approached the town of Buenavista. Board Member Roy told me beforehand that there is only one uphill climb from San Lorenzo going to Buenavista, but he was wrong. I think I counted four (4) major uphill climbs before I reached the town!

Passing along the Poblacion of Buenavista was a blast! Board Member Roy, his wife and friends were on the roadside cheering and clapping their hands as I passed by! This town could be the busiest town in the island with lots of people/students leaving their schools; lots of people going and coming out of the public market; and vehicles/tricycles plying along the road.

I was scheduled to reach the finish line between 6:00 and 7:00 PM but the hills in Buenavista and Jordan prevented me from attaining it. It was getting darker already when I slowly ascended each of these hills that I had to brisk walk and took my time to breath the fresh air around. At this point, I was starting to feel the most awaited thing in endurance sports—pain, agony and suffering for an ultrarunner. I was already on my last 10 kilometer before the finish line and all the pains coming from all parts of my body were starting to appear. It is a warning that I need to take something solid in my stomach. I am lucky that we bought a lot of “biscocho & butterscotch”! Biscocho Haus’ products & Mountain Dew are the best food & hydration on this part of my run!

The last 10-kilometer distance in all my adventure runs is simply the hardest but the sweetest of them all. You can easily forget your first 10 kilometers in every ultrarunning race but the last 10 kilometers will always remain in your thoughts that gives a special signature or significance of the race/run that you have successfully finished! This is where you remember to recite and shout your favorite running mantra; this where the “demons and angels” of running will argue with each other; this is where “mind over body” would work; this is where you determine what you are made of; this where you remember your loved ones who are rooting for you to finish this race; this is where you think of your inspiration; this is where you curse yourself why you are doing this run/race; and lastly, this is where you separate yourself from being an ordinary “running boy or girl”! This is where you think that you are a brave “warrior” and nobody would defeat you in order to win your battle!

The last 10 kilometers were challenging part of the route indeed! My Garmin Forerunner 305 would prove that the Provincial Capitol sits on the peak of the highest hill in Jordan, Guimaras!  I finally reached the exact place where I started my run infront of the Provincial Capitol with a clock time of 8:20 PM of the same day which means that I finished my run in 19:20+ hours for a distance of 110 Kilometers.

Hereunder are the summary of data taken from my two (2) GF 305:

Distance: 110 Kilometers

Time: 19:20:04 hours

Average HR: 135 beats per minute (bpm)

Maximum HR: 149 beats per minute (bpm)

Total Calories Spent: 5,066 cal

Total Ascent: 3,663 meters (12, 088 ft)

Total Descent: 3,653 meters (12,055 ft)

Running Kit:

Under Armour Compression Shirt

CW-X Compression Shorts

Drymax Socks

ASICS Gel-Tarther

Under Armour Runner’s Cap

Nathan “Sprint” Watter Bottle

Peltz Headlight

2 GF 305 Watches with Heart Monitor

Ice Bandana

Oakley Sunglasses


After a dinner of Fresh Fish Sinigang, Native Chicken Adobo, Pancit Canton and lots Guimaras Mangoes, I was already on my bed snoring loudly. After almost 9 hours of sleep, I was already on the salty waters of the beach soaking my tired legs for almost 30 minutes.

Before my team left the island, I had the chance to personally talk to Governor Nava about my run and my plan to hold the PAU National Championships in his province in the later part of the year. He appreciated my feat in running the whole island and he told me that I made a history in the island as the first and only person (and the only retired Major General of the AFP) to have run around the island in a single stage. He also appreciates my purpose of bringing “Sports Tourism” in the province.

A visit to Guimaras is not complete if you have not tasted and brought back home the sweetest mango in the world—Guimaras Mangoes! “Nothing Beats The Guimaras Mango”!!!

See you in Guimaras in September 2012!

Running Sartorialist #4: The Lady Ninja

10 01 2012

The Running Satorialist #3: The Caveman

3 12 2011

The Running Sartorialist

4 11 2011

This is not a joke but it is nice to start something new. Starting on my fifth year, I will be featuring pictures of me in my running attire and who knows other runners will be featured in this blog in their favorite “running kits”, too!

Very Loose and Relaxed Attire Good For 5K

Running Cap by ASICS

Sunglass by Oakley (Asian Fit)

White T-shirt From A Runner’s Circle (Los Angeles)

ADIDAS Soccer Shorts (without panty-liner, no pockets and very light!)

Running Socks by Drymax

Shoes: ASICS Gel-LyteRacer (Japan)

Watches: TIMEX With HR Monitor & Garmin Forerunner 305

You have to excuse me for being an amateur in my picture as this was taken from the self-timer of my old Canon IXUS Digital Camera with the backyard of our house in Los Angeles. I hope things will improve on the quality of the pictures to be published in the future posts.

Yes, this is a copycat of the popular “The Sartorialist” which is now considered as a multi-million dollar worth fashion blog in the Internet. I am not saying that this blog will be after the concept of showing pictures of runners with the ultimate purpose of raising some money. But who knows? This could be another option where one can raise funds to support our elite runners for international exposure. There is only one way to find out but to start and take the first step, so to speak!

Next time, the published pictures will just be pictures without any description. And there will be NO make-up or “photoshop” refinement of each picture. The more you are messed up with your sweat, the better!

If you can not make it with speed, finish your race and flaunt your nice running apparel!

Who will be the next model? You can  make a comment in this post if you are interested.

Good luck to those who will be joining the 2012 New York City Marathon this Sunday! Run Happy!

WC 200: 2nd Attempt (1st Day)

20 10 2011

9:30 AM September 21, 2011 to 4:00 AM September 22, 2011

One week after I was bitten by an astray dog in San Narciso, Zambales during my first attempt on this adventure run, I was back where I started at the Remy Field’s Oval Track inside the Subic Freeport. I started the run at 9:30 AM which is 30 minutes earlier than the targetted 10:00 AM start time. As I was about to enter the Oval Track, I met some triathletes, Melvin Fausto and two others on their bikes who just had their running workout at the Oval Track. I told them about my event to start a run from the Oval Track all the way to Pangasinan. These guys wished me good luck and shaked my hand before I finally started the run.

Wearing Colored Red Attire For Luck!

One Lap Around The Oval Track

After a brief photo-ops and one lap around the oval track, I was on my way for my second attempt to finish what I’ve started. Initially the sky was clear from clouds but I could feel a colder wind coming from the sea. I walked the first 2 kilometers until I reached the Kalaklan Gate & Bridge and turned left as I entered the Olongapo-Bugallon Highway. You would notice in my picture that I was wearing the red ARC (Los Angeles) shirt and red Zhensa calf sleeves. I thought this color would mean “luck” for me on this attempt. It was also my attempt to run with my Hoka One One Bondi B  (courtesy of Joe Matias of ARC) and find out its comfortability in road runs. I’ll make a separate shoe review on this pair of shoes later in my future posts.

Walking For The 1st 2 Kilometers

Still Wakling Towards The Kalaklan Gate @ Subic Base

I was already confident and familiar with the terrain from the Olongapo City Public Cemetery all the way to San Narciso, Zambales. I became faster this time as I limited my “pit stops” and shortened my time to rest and eat solid foods. I never attempted to update my blog or opened my laptop as I wanted to cover much more distance this time.

Running On the Left Side Of The Road

It started to rain after I left the town of Subic and as I was approaching the town of Castillejos, Zambales. I had to bring out my The North Face “Venture” Waterproof Jacket and used it to protect my body from the cold feeling brought about by a damp shirt on my body. I’ve observed that even if my shirt was wet from my own perspiration, I could still feel a comfortable temperature that is being maintained on my body using the TNF Waterproof Jacket. The body heat that is trapped by the jacket balances the cold feeling that is brought by the damp shirt to my body. The jacket gave me the much-needed comfort during the downpour of rain.

About To Have A "Pit Stop" Inside The Waiting Shed

Quicker "Pit Stops" This Time!

And The It Rained But I Had to Push On

I never had a decent lunch this time as I ate some solid foods and tried to ingest some GU Gels in between my “pit stops”. In this manner, I was able to cover farther distance from my first attempt. As scheduled, I had again my decent dinner in the very same place where I had dinner in San Narciso, Zambales. This time, my crew and I stayed longer in the said “carinderia” and we had to engage them with some conversation. They were surprised to see us again for the second time and we told them about the dog bite incident. We later found out that the owner of the establishment is a retired Philippine Marines. Ultimately, they knew our purpose why we were there. However, we paid for our bill.

Second Time Around @ The Same Carinderia

A short conversion with the owner of the carinderia spread like a wildfire that every people along the route in the Poblacion of San Narciso knew that I was on my way to Iba, Zambales which is still 43 kilometers away by running through the night. I could hear the conversations among the people along the road and among the tricycle drivers waiting for passengers from arriving buses and pointing at me that I was running towards the capital town of the province. At this point, I was already on my 8th hour of running for the day.

Night Run In Action!

I brought out my headlight and my Surefire Flashlight and became wiser now from not using my Ipod during night run and for that matter, on this whole second attempt of this run! The highway was dark and I could only see some lights on the road in the center of each municipality. The road was silent and my support vehicle and crew were on my back “shadowing” me. There was no vehicle around except for the Victory Liner Buses that travel along the said Highway. I would observe that it’s the only Bus Transport Line that caters to the said route. I was already running on the right side of the road with my support vehicle on my back giving me more illumination on the road ahead of me.

Another Quick "Pit Stop"

My headlight served as my early warning light from incoming vehicles while my Surefire flashlight served as my weapon for barking dogs along the road, I have observed that the powerful illumunation from this special type of handheld flashlight is so strong that dogs would stop barking. I believe that this kind of flashlight is used among the police and military security forces to stun their targets through their stong and powerful illumination. So, for the whole stretch of the road, I was protected by this flashlight. However, from time to time, one of my escorts would come out from my support vehicle with a baseball bat just to be ready to use it if there is any brave dog who would attack me while I was running. Yes, I was well-armed and protected this time!

At The Cabangan, Zambales Arc Boundary

The next town was San Felipe after San Narciso, It was uneventful until I reached the Poblacion of Cabangan, Zambales. As I was about to take my “pit stop”, I was approached by one of the residents riding on his bike and a conversation started. I forgot to ask his name but I’ll just call him as “Cabangan Biker” (CB). Some portions of our conversation went this way: (Our converation was in Tagalog but I’ll have to translate it to English in this post)

Cabangan Biker (CB): It seems you are running through the night. Where did you start and where is your destination?

Bald Runner (BR): Yes, I’ve been running since 10:00 AM today and I started in Subic Base. I hope to reach Iba, Zambales before the day breaks.

CB: You are very strong! How old are you, Sir?

BR: I am already 59 years old. You are using a bike. Why are you still awake this time of the night?

CB: I have a small business which I own and operate. I am on my way home when I saw you running towards the Poblacion and I followed you and your support vehicle.

BR: You look very athletic. Do you run, too?

CB: I started running few months ago because a friend of mine invited me to run in one of the road races in Manila. I joined a 5K run and then a 10K run and lately, I just finished a half-marathon run in RunRio’s UNILAB Run. Now, we have a running club here among friends.

BR: That’s good! Congratulations on your first half-marathon finish!

CB: Our running club only join races in Manila when it is a Run Rio’s Event!

BR: Of course, you have to be selective in your races because it is very expensive on your part to be travelling from Cabangan, Zambales to Manila and back. Why do you like and prefer to run in Run Rio’s Events?

CB: Our group likes RunRio Events because there are more people/participants running the race. We find enjoyment if we see a lot of different people running along side with us. The more people to see, the better for us! However, I am a competitive cyclist and it is my favorite sports!

BR: So, you are a cyclist! Do you participate in cycling events, too? How often?

CB: We have cycling group/team here and we usually compete in Subic Cycling Events and to other provincial cycling events to include Duathlons!

BR: So you are very athletic and competitive also. That’s good! C’mon let’s eat!

While Talking To "CB" @ The Cabangan Public Plaza

The conversation went on as I consumed the hot noodles and boiled bananas prepared for me. I found out from CB, who is in his late 30s, that Cabangan Poblacion is the turn-around point for the cycling stage in the yearly White Rock 70.3 Triathlon. So, basically the route where I was running is the route of the White Rock 70.3 Triathlon. Very interesting!

After I finished with my “pit stop”, I resumed my run towards the next town—Botolan. CB was still looking at me as I left the Poblacion’s Public Park!

I could only see at least 10-15 meters ahead of me brought about by the light of my support vehicle and the rest on my sides was totally dark. From time to time , I had to check on my watch for my HR and I was surprised that I was having an average of 132 bpm during the run. I was running comfortably making sure to take a sip of water from my handheld Nathan “Sprint” bottle (bought from ARC Los Angeles). And everything was on “cruise control”. I would stop as I asked for my hydration bottle to be filled up with water. There are times also that I had to take some GU Gels every other hour. I was running an average of 6-7 kilometers per hour on this part of the route as I didn’t know if I was running uphill or downhill except when approaching on bridges. All the bridges on this part of the route have uphill approaches but as soon as you reach the end of the bridge, everything is downhill.

The distance and the road from Cabangan to Botolan took me sometime to cover it. It could be a half-marathon distance with lots of uphill and downhill on the last 6 kilometers from the town’s Poblacion. The best part of this route was that I could hear the sound of the strong waves coming from the beach on my left side and it became good “music” to my ears for almost 8-10 kilometers! The worse part is that on the last 3 kilometers from the Poblacion of Botolan, there is a road construction and widening of the road being done and the road was full of mud and loose soil. The feeling was that as if I was running on a trail for about 2 kilometers. I thought it was better to be running on muddy and damp ground rather than running on a dusty road. It was good also that there were only one or two vehicles that passed me along this part of the route.

Finally, I reached the Poblacion of Botolan and it was about 3:30 AM of September 22 and I was on the road for the past 17 hours! I did a slow run once I passed the Municipal Hall and started to walk and be ready for a short “pit stop”. After eating boiled banana and eggs, I felt sleepy and it started to rain. I decided to get inside the vehicle and look for a decent place where I could change to dry clothes and sleep for awhile. From this point, I still have 6 kilometers to go before reaching Iba, Zambales!

The rain was so hard that I could hardly see the road while I was inside the vehicle. Moreso, it was harder to look for the names of the establishments on the sides of the road. It took us sometime to find a place as most of the resorts did not have a personnel to man their registration offices at 4:00 AM. Finally, we checked in to a new motel which has the amenities of a hotel. I guess, the name of the establishment is “Circles Inn” which is located in between Botolan and Iba, Zambales! I went immediately to bed once I changed to a drier clothes and my support crew just did that. We were all tired after 18+ hours on the road

The plan was to sleep for about 4 hours, take a bath, change to a new attire, have a decent meal, and we were ready to continue the journey for our second day! So far, everything went well and I was able to cover a distance of 73 kilometers!

Lessons learned:

1. I could run and walk as far as 73 kilometers in 18+ hours to include “pit stops”.

2. I could run on the run & bike legs of the White Rock 70.3 Triathlon Event and I am now familiar with it. It does not mean that I will try also to swim its swimming course at the Subic Bay in the future. But, who knows?

3. A simple conversation from the local residents creates a fast news to everybody along the road.

4. It is nice to engage to people along the road and find out more about the place and the people.

5. Local folks would like to run in Metro Manila (and Run Rio’s Event) for the fun of being part of a bigger crowd & running community.

6. All night running is very relaxing and silent. The cooler temperature made my Average HR to be in the lower 130′s and it kept me going without any muscle cramps or soreness on my legs.

7. And last, Surefire Flashlights are really good for barking/attacking dogs along the road!

To be continued.


16 08 2011

I’ve read somewhere in history books that the Spaniards that discovered the Philippines were able to describe in their accounts that the warrior-natives in those islands where they first landed were full of “black paint patterns” on their skin. This could be the first discovery of tattoos being adorned to the bodies of human and I believe that long before our country was discovered, our forefathers were already experts on this body art. If fully researched, Philippines could be the birthplace of the art of tattoo!

Fast forward. I was amazed seeing my BDM “veterans” and PAU runners (you know who you are!) to be sporting colorful tattoos on their bodies and I immediately liked the idea of having one and be able to experience what is like to be “body painted” with a needle.

It took me months to think on the “concept” of what to choose that would describe me as a person. I thought that there must a “story” that signifies whatever thing that I would like to be “inked” on my body. A simple one that describes everything about me!

A “Silver Two-Star” Rank Insignia of a Major General in the Army would be the best choice that signifies a lot of stories, memories, challenges and other facets in my life in the military service. I have yet to start writing my book about my life in the military.

Major General Rank Insignia

Aside from the significance of my last rank insignia before I retired from the military, the two stars on each on my shoulder will always remind me to start writing my book!

The implimentation of the plan started during my stay in Los Angeles and there was this famous Tattoo Shop near the neighborhood but it did not materialize.

El Clasico @ Echo Park, Los Angeles

After a month of stay back in the country, I finally decided to look for the shop of a tattoo artist at Tiendesitas which was highly recommended by one of my ultra runner friends. And last Sunday evening, I was “inked” for almost one hour!

"Silver Two-Star" Tattoo!!!

Now, I have all the reasons to wear my “muscle shirts” and singlets during my running workouts and races!

"Where are my "muscle shirts"???

And here is the “best tattoo artist” whom I highly recommend! You can get in touch with him here and here.

BR with Franklin Ibanez, Jr of Immortal Tattoo Shop

Getting a tattoo at the age of 59? It’s fun and a lifetime experience! Thanks to the people who pushed and influenced me to do this and to Frank Ibanez, Jr, the artist.

I am already thinking on my next “concept”!!!


29 07 2011

Even if my Garmin Forerunner 305 has Interval Workout
feature which up to now I don’t really even know how it is operated, I still
bought a Gymboss which I could easily clip on my running shorts or gym workout
pants or just simply place it on a table or any part of the room if I want to
use it.

While I was visiting the ARC Store in Manila last April, I
was trying to look for a pedometer or any gadget that would count my steps/cadence
while walking/hiking or running. Instead of looking for one, my eyes caught the
colorful Gymboss gadget displayed on one of the walls of the store. I
immediately lifted one of the units and tried to read the instructions on how
to use it.

Such visit in the said store ended buying a silver colored
Gymboss with a price of P 1,275.00. You might be surprised why I bought this
small gadget impulsively and without any hesitation.

An Exact Replica of my GYMBOSS

The main reason why I bought the Gymboss was to use it in my
“Tabata” workouts for push-ups, sit-ups, strengthening workouts (yoga and
pilates) and dumdbell exercises at home.

Anyone can easily operate the Gymboss by selecting the
times/periods involved in my Tabata workouts to include the time of the
exercise, time of rest in-between exercise, the number of frequency, and the
selection whether you prefer a beep sound or vibration mode for the start and
end of every interval.

To give you an example of what I’ve been doing in my Tabata
workouts—I set the Gymboss for a duration of 40 seconds for me to do any kind
of exercise (push-ups, sit-ups, yoga/pilates pose, or strengthening exercises
using the dumdbell or any weight machine) and then set one-half of the duration
of my exercise as my rest interval which is 20 seconds. As a minimum of set of
intervals, I set 20 times which take exactly 20 minutes to do one set or cycle
of my exercises. In between intervals, the Gymboss would beep to warn the user
that it is the end/start of an interval period.

For almost three months, I’ve been using the Gymboss
purposely for my Tabata workouts and later for my daily 10-minute squat workout.
But it can be used also for running and cycling.

In running, one can use it for speed interval workouts at
the oval track and also with the Jeff Galloway method of running where one
could set the period of running and walking on interval mode.

GYMBOSS For Jeff Galloway's Running Method

In cycling, the Gymboss can be used in interval workouts in
actual road cycling and on stationary bike if you want spinning workouts.

I highly recommend GYMBOSS to any endurance athlete.
Hopefully, ARC Manila has still stock available for everybody interested to own
this gadget.


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