Shoe Review: ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5

16 05 2014

In November 2013, it was a choice of buying an ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 and La Sportiva Vertical K and after reading some reviews and technical specifications, I opted to buy the La Sportiva Vertical K. The main thing that I considered without seeing yet the actual shoes is the WEIGHT. In their weight comparison, obviously, the La Sportiva Vertical is far lighter than the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5.

Brand New, Out Of The Box

Brand New, Out Of The Box

In last year’s recon runs and actual race in the TNF 100 (up to Km #53), I used the La Sportiva Helios and I was satisfied with its performance. I never had any incident of slipping on the declines of the trail route and it is a very light shoes. Having experienced an excellent performance of La Sportiva Helios on my preparation in last year’s TNF 100, I decided to have the La Sportiva Vertical K as my race shoe for this yea’s TNF 100 which is a bit lighter than the Helios. (Note: In the actual race of 2014 TNF 100, I used the old La Sportiva Helios instead of the Vertical K).

Last November 2013, after I bought my La Sportiva Vertical K, I’ve read and heard testimonies about the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 which are positive, as well as, negative feedback. I forgot all of these things as I got busy with my trail running training and switched/interchanged one trail shoes to another on a daily basis.

Two months ago, I decided to order a pair of ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 from a local distributor which I believed was “hand-carried” all the way from Singapore. I got a discounted price as a trail runner and a Race Director of local races. This shows that I don’t get a complimentary shoes for Shoe Review or Display on my workout so that my readers have the impression that I favor the use of a particular shoes.

After logging 250+ kilometers after two months of use and a chance to run them during rainy days, I have now a balanced shoe review on the said shoes. I will not be stating those technical specifications that anybody could read on the corporate website in this review. What is important is on how I could feel when I use it and my personal experience whenever I use them.

Wet Shoes After Workout!

Wet Shoes After Workout!

The “zero drop” thing was not noticeable when I run since I’ve been fond of using racing flats in my road runs, road races, and oval track workouts. I am basically a mid-foot strike runner and it was just natural for me not to notice the difference of the “zero drop” thing of the shoes.

The best feeling and experience of using the shoes is the wide toe box. My whole feet are relaxed and comfortable, thus, my toes are spread as if I am barefooted or using my “flip-flop” sandals. This a complete change from my experience of using ASICS, New Balance and ADIDAS shoes. However, my New Balance 101 Trail Shoes has the same “toe box” feeling with that of the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5.

The next best feeling and experience is the comfort and support cushioning of the shoes. From the heel portion up to the front end of the toe box, the support and cushion are perfect and I never had any pain, sore or burning sensation on my feet’s sole even on hot days. Whether I run them on rocks and other technical terrains (loose gravels and trails covered with leaves, twigs and branches), I could not feel these “bumps” on my feet. It has also a good protection when my feet would bump on roots or rocks on the front part of the shoes.

Of course, the RED color is something that is a plus for the shoes. For me, it connotes, speed, being hot, and full of strength!

The third best thing on the shoes are the lugs on the sole on a dry trail, most especially on the steep descending ones. The lugs can prevent you from sliding on powdery and dusty trails. However, it is a different story if the trail is wet and muddy.

On the negative side, the shoes is heavy as compared from my other trail shoes. Since I would sweat a lot in my trail running workouts, my sweat would flow on my legs and to my socks and ultimately, to the shoes! Almost in my runs, the socks and shoes would be wet and it would place an additional weight to my legs. I have also the habit to cool off my body by submerging my body to a pool of water on a creek or river along the route without removing my shoes. And once I continue to run, the shoes could hardly extract the water it absorbed. This will result for the shoes to attract dust/powder of soil dirt from the trail which makes the shoes to become heavier.

After my workout, I would “air-dry” the whole shoes and it would take forever (at least, 2 days/48 hours) to let the shoes to dry without exposing them direct to the sunlight. As compared to my La Sportiva and ASICS Trail Shoes, they would dry up overnight, and that’s 12 hours!

"Mud Trap"

“Mud Trap”

For three times, I’ve used the shoes on a wet and rainy environment. The lugs on the sole are considered as “mud traps”, the mud would stick to the lugs and they are hard to be removed as one continues to run. The additional mud and wetness of the shoes would put more extra effort for the legs to lift the shoes. You have the feeling that your legs are lifting an addition weight of one pound per shoe! What is worse when the mud is trapped on the lugs, you don’t have any assurance anymore from your shoes to help you or prevent you from slipping from the mud. If you are not careful, your butt will have the tendency “to kiss” the ground. Obviously, this will result for you to stall on your speed and simply be deliberate on your steps on the muddy trails. (Note: I think I remember right when one of the runners in last year’s Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Endurance Run complained that the shoes could not handle slippery mud on the trails).

Heavy When Wet

Heavy When Wet

The shoes could be lighter if they use lighter materials for the uppers; use a thinner material for the shoe laces and make them a little shorter; remove the “rudder” at the back of the shoes; and come up with more drainage holes for sweat and water that could be absorbed by the shoes. There is no point also of placing a cover for the velcro at the back portion of the heel, let the velcro be exposed. Reduce the number of lugs on the sole and make sure that they are more aggressive for muddy conditions.

Rainy Days Are Here Again!

Rainy Days Are Here Again!

The shoes is highly recommended for dry trails, thus, this shoes should be used during dry season/summer. After testing the shoes during the rainy days, I would not bet a good performance on a race where the predicted weather is wet and rainy.

As of the moment, the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 is now one of my alternate trail running shoes when my “playground” is dry but they are my favorite trekking/hiking shoes in my regular mountain peak bagging adventures.





Pictures Of The Week #22: Colors Of ARC

18 01 2014

RED

RED

GREEN

GREEN

GRAY

GRAY





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

Gymboss

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








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