25 05 2011

I am not referring to Rock Bands.

These are strap bands that are very popular among athletes, most especially to runners.

For the past weeks, I could not run without using these bands. They are simply called PT Bands or Pro-Tec Bands, their brand name.

For the first two weeks, I’ve been using the PT Runner’s Knee Band on my left leg which is the one where I’ve been injured. However, instead of placing the front of the band beneath my knee cap, I place the “hard” part of the band behind my knee in order to relieve a mild pain on it.

Pro-Tec Knee Band

After two weeks, I was able to buy a Pro-Tec IT Band Strap which I use to strap my lower left quads. The said strap was able to relieve the pain on my lower quads whenever I over exert my left leg. This strap had been a good medical aid during my runs.

Pro-Tec IT Band

I’ve been putting some miles again on the road and trails by running and hiking and these two bands (Knee and IT) had been helpful in easing the pain  on my leg.

This is how it looks when they are strapped on my left leg.

My Left Leg With Straps!

I could be hard-headed again with my treatment and recovery but it makes me CRAZY & bored if I can’t run/walk at least once a day no matter what the distance is.

(Note: 1st & 2nd pictures were copied from the Pro-Tec Band’s website)

DNS @ 2011 Miwok 100

11 05 2011

DNS…In Running Protocol, it means “Did Not Start”! My running injury from my latest Adventure Run on my lower left quads which turned out later to be an injury on my left knee did not heal even if I rested for so many weeks. After my LSD trail run for more than 6 hours at the Wunderlich State Park in Redwood City, California 4 weeks before Race Day, it gave me an assessment that finishing a 100K ultra trail run with a total ascent of more than 10,000 feet will be an impossible feat to accomplish.

Despite such assessment on my part, I tried my best to remedy the situation by taking all the necessary treatment I could gather from the different running resources in the Internet, running books, magazines and personal journals of famous trail/marathon runners. I even went to the extent of soaking my legs regularly on warm water mixed with Epsom Salt; regular massages; and even taking Alaxan FR capsules. I am glad that my cross-training in the gym kept me busy from the lack of more prolonged time of running on the road. One week before Race Day, I made my decision to DNS the race.

Miwok 100K Guy & Logo

Instead of joining the race, I thought of offering my presence on Race Day as one of the Volunteers of the Race to the Race Director, Tia Bodington. After a brief exchange of e-mails with the RD, I was accepted as a Volunteer at the Starting/Assembly Area and at the Aid Station #1 which happen to be at the same location.

The motivation to do a volunteer work for Miwok 100 was due to the following as stated at the event’s WebsiteEight hours of volunteer work at Miwok fulfills the Western States 100 service requirement. Eight hours of volunteer work at the Miwok 100K also gets you an extra ticket in the following year’s entry lottery. Hopefully, my injury will heal soon so that I will prepare specifically for the next year’s edition of this race.

DNS…Did (A) Nice Spectating…by Volunteering!

As a Volunteer at the Starting Area/Aid Station #1 @ 7.1 Mile, I was able to witness every minute how the Race was managed by the Race Director.

I arrived at the Assembly Area at the same time with the arrival of the RD who was driving a U-Haul Truck at 3:45 AM last Saturday. Tia Bodington was alone. The beach of Marin Headlands was dark, cold and windy on the early morning and I was prepared for the weather. I immediately approached the RD and introduced myself. The two of us started to bring out the necessary things needed for the processing of the runners from the truck and I even shared my flashlight to her as she was trying to locate some traffic/reflectorized vests and other flashlights needed for the volunteers.

The U-Haul Truck was filled with containers filled with water, timing device, foods, and other stuffs needed for the race to include the “loot” for every finisher of the race which trail runners call “schwag”. I was smiling as I recall myself on the shoes of the RD whenever I start the races for the BDM and PAU Races.

After a few minutes, another runner/volunteer arrived with a casted/bandaged right wrist & hand. The guy, Charlie, was supposed to run the race also but he met an accident (slipped while running along rocky trail) on training and opted also as a volunteer for the race. The guy was given a reflectorized vest and a flashlight and he was asked by the RD to act as the Parking Attendant at the Authorized Parking Area for the Runners. In a few minutes, I was asked also by the RD to act as the Checkpoint at a point that is 200 yards from the Parking Area for the Runners. My job was to ask the drivers/passengers of each vehicle approaching the Assembly Area if they are runners or volunteers. If they are runners, I simply advised them to proceed to the “dirt” Parking Area. If they are volunteers or dropping their passengers for the race, I simply advised them to proceed to the paved Parking Area. Just imagine a Police/Military Personnel/Traffic Enforcer stopping your car/vehicle with a flashlight and the other hand signalling you to stop. Yes, that was my job as a volunteer for almost 2 hours!

As the lone personnel at the Checkpoint, I was able to see the faces of the runners! It is unfortunate that I was not able to glimpse on the faces of Anton Krupicka, Scott Jurek, and Geoff Roes! They opted to DNS, too!

At 5:30 AM, I was approached by Tia telling me that I was doing my job well and she informed me that my volunteer job was done. However, I asked her that I could still be of help in any of the Aid Stations or at the Finish Line as I wanted to see the Front Runners cross the Finish Line. She accepted my offer and I started to observe how the race would start.

Runners Crossing The Bridge To Rodeo Beach Lagoon

Tia Bodington, RD, Announcing To The Runners On Her Final Instructions

No Arch, No Lights, No Starting Line...Just Runners Who Want To Have Fun & Enjoy The Trails

The processing of runners was very simple. Each runner simply got his/her race bib from one of the volunteers and that’s it! Ten minutes before the scheduled start time at 5:40 AM, all the runners were led to the beach near the Rodeo Lagoon which is about 300 meters from the Assembly Area. There were no intricate START Arch/Tarpaulins; no sound system; no music; no lights; no invocation/prayer; and no singing of the National Anthem. The RD positioned herself on top of a little mound on the beach while the runners lined up before an invisible starting line listening to the final instructions from her. Tia’s final instructions were about RESPECT. If I can recall them right, she said something like—“Respect the trails”; “Respect the Volunteers & Marshals”; “Respect the other Runners”; “Respect the Race & the Distance”; “Respect your Goal”; and “Respect Yourself”. After a few seconds, the RD simply shouted “GO” and the runners started the race along the sands  of Rodeo Lagoon.

The Runners Were Off From The Starting Area

After the race had started, Rick Gaston and I were able to talk while the rest of the volunteers and spectators went back to the Assembly Area. This is where all the volunteers (to include myself) helped in loading the “drop bags” of the runners to be transported to the Finish Line which is about 3 kilometers away. After this job, I was able to engage more conversation with Tia and had a chance to give her a copy of the frontRunner Magazine. It was a good chance for me to have a picture with her.

Rick Gaston in Montrail & BR in TNF Skull Caps

With Tia Bodington, RD of Miwok 100 & Editor-In-Chief of Ultrarunning Magazine

U-Haul Truck & Drop Bags To Be Loaded

While waiting for the lead runners to pass at the Aid Station #1, I was introduced by Rick to Brett Rivers who is also an elite ultrarunner, got to talk to Mark Gilligan of UltraSignUp, and the rest of his ultrarunning friends whom I could not recall their names. Finally, I was able to back-up my e-mail messages to Matt for the possible inclusion of the BDM Races to UltraSignUp through a longer conversation and personal interaction. We had a longer discussion about the matter/issue when we had a chance to meet again at the Starbucks at Mill Valley.

With Mark Gilligan of Ultra SignUp

Shouting The Runner's Race Bib Number to Mark Gilligan

At the Aid Station #1, Rick and I became instant volunteers for Mark Gilligan’s Live Update in his Website by posting each runner’s split time. We were requested by Mark to shout to him the Race Bib Number of each of the runner approaching our place. It was a good chance to stretch my vocal chords! After the last runner had passed our station, I found out from Matt that there were 345 starters out of the 416 accepted/registered runners.

At Mile 7.1, Dave Mackey (Right) & Mike Wolfe (Center)

Nathan Yanko

Look At That Stride!!! Leading Runner Meghan Arbogast

Jean Pommier (Another Ultra Blogger) @

Kristin Moehl at the Middle

Pam Smith (Lady Champion of the Race)

Ian Sharman aka ELVIS, The King!

At the Pantoll Aid Station (Mile #20 & 41)

Rick brought me to Pantoll Aid Station to observe and spectate to the runners passing. The top runners just passed the area when we were looking for a parking space. It was nice to observe the other fast runners on how they re-supply themselves with their hydration packs; how and what they eat at the Aid Station; and how lively the cheerers to the incoming runners.

Don't Try To Imitate This Guy!

The Legendary Ultrarunner Scott Mills @ 59 Years Old (Ranked #49)

Cheering The Runners at The Old Mine Trail

Later, I positioned myself about 30 meters along the trail before runners would reach the Aid Station. The trail is called Old Mine Trail. As the runners would approach my position, I would shout encouraging words while clapping my hands. The words, “Looking Good”; “Good Job”; “You Can Make It” and other positive ones shouted to the approaching runners would boost the runners to jog at a faster pace. As a response, the runners would say, “Thank you for being here” with a smile on their faces!

This is where I was able to meet Geraline Harvey, a Filipina runner from Ontario, Canada who greeted me with the words “Kumusta kayo?” After a few seconds, Carmela Layson and her group approached me as I was cheering them! At last, Carmela and I met in person. Actually, if ever I decided to push through with this race, it was my strategy in this race to stick to her all the way to the finish line. Carmela had been a veteran of Miwok 100! If ever I would have a chance to run in this race in the future, my race strategy would remain the same, I’ll stick on her tail. Carmela had been an active contributor of my Project Donate-A-Shoe! (Congrats, Carmela & Geraline for a successful finish!)

With Carmela and Friends at the Old Mine Trail

With Geraline of Ontario, Canada

Finish Line @ YMCA Point Bonita

From this point, it was time to go to the Finish Area and try to help the other volunteers. I was able to meet Jorge and Rich (with ages in their late 20s) who are also ultra runners planning to earn their entry through the lottery for next year’s edition of the race. There was another lady runner who was supposed to run but due to stress fracture on her legs, she opted also to volunteer. We helped in organizing the different “schwag” for the runners and preparing for the BBQ Party venue after the race for all the finishers. It was worth the fun and time to be working and volunteering with the rest of the other senior and younger ultra runners.

Helping This Lady Runner Who Became One of the Volunteers For The Schwag

Finisher's Shirts & Fleece Vests & Beers in White Boxes

Finisher's Commemorative Plates

At 1:30 PM when the lead runner was a few miles away from the Finish Area, all the schwag were properly organized and packed. The job was done and the next job for me was to watch each of the lead runners cross the Finish Line. The plan was to wait for the arrival of Ian Sharman who was running the whole race as ELVIS before leaving San Francisco in order to catch up with the Pacquiao-Mosley Boxing Fight in Las Vegas!

Champion Dave Mackey Approaching The Finish Line

Hal Koerner At The Last Turn Before The Finish Line

ELVIS Approaching The Finish Line

While waiting for ELVIS to cross the finish line, I was able to talk to the Front Runners/Top Finishers of the Race. It was nice talking to these wonderful guys in ultra trail running which ended with a brief pose with them.

Congratulating & Talking To Dave Mackey & Mike Wolfe

A Pose With The Champion Dave Mackey & Mike Wolfe, 1st Runner-Up

Hal Koerner, Champion of 2009 & 2007 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run

Talking To Dakota Jones, 4th Placer in the 2011 Miwok 100

A Pose With The Kid

Talking With The ELVIS in Ultrarunning

Ian Sharman Finished in 10th Place & Bound For Comrades Ultramarathon This Month

After about 10 hours of volunteer work at the 2011 Miwok 100K Ultra Trail Race, I really enjoyed and had fun for being a part of the race as one of the volunteers. As an spectator, I was able to interact with the top runners in ultra trail running in the United States which I could not have a chance to do such if I finished the race in 15-16 hours. For sure, they are already sleeping in their houses as I cross the Finish Line!

Before I left the Finish Line area, I talked and thanked Tia for being a part of the Volunteer Group for the event and told her about my early departure to catch a flight to watch the Pacquiao-Mosley Fight in Las Vegas. In return, she thanked me also for being a part of the Volunteer Group for the event . She assured me also that I will be coming back to run the 2012 Miwok 100!

The results of the 2011 Miwok 100 are published here.

Running Around “The Ring”

10 05 2011

My running injury did not heal for the race I’ve been preparing for this year. Instead of forcing the issue to run the race and be able to finish the prescribed finish time of 16:30 hours for the Miwok 100K Ultra Trail Race at the Marin Headlands in San Francisco, California last Saturday, I have opted to watch how Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley “run around” the boxing ring at the MGM’s Grand Garden Arena.

Congratulations to Congressman Manny Pacquiao for another impressive show and for “entertaining” the whole world through boxing!

At The MGM Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Nordic Running?

3 05 2011

Raul and Perkins of A Runner’s Circle in Manila asked me to watch the movie on DVD entitled “Running America”, when I visited the store before the Mayon 360 50-Mile Run. They lend to me the DVD of the said film and returned it after I saw the entire film. The film “Running America” is about the documentation of the Trans-Continental Run Across the United States of America by two famous ultramarathon runners, Charlie Engle and Marshall Ulrich, which was held sometime before the US Presidential Election in 2008 with Marshall Ulrich finishing the run by himself.

What impressed me about the film is the portion where Marshall Ulrich was gracefully using the use of trekking poles while he was running. Actually, it was my first time to see a runner using the trekking poles while he is in the act of running on a paved road. I usually see the use of such poles when I watch downhill slalom, biathlon and other cross-country ski sports events on the TV. Lately, I saw some runners at the UTMB (Mont Blanc Ultra Marathon) using such trekking poles as part of their equipment to finish the race. Films on UTMB with runners using and carrying trekking poles could be seen at You Tube.

In the Philippines, I saw only two (2) ultra runners who had been using these trekking poles on a trail run. The first one was Doc Punzalan of Pinoy Ultra Runners (PUR) in 2008 when I joined his group for my first trail run to Mount Pinatubo. The second guy whom I observed to be using these poles was Jerome Cartailler during my second run to the same area, Mt Pinatubo in July 2010. I saw these guys how they used such trekking poles while they brisked/power walked along the rocky portions of the trail and when they balanced themselves in crossing the river and other water crossings. I was not surprised that these good ultra runners had the appreciation to use these poles. Doc Punzalan had experienced running the UTMB and Jerome is from France, one the countries where the UTMB course would pass.

Jerome Cartailler Using His Trekking Poles To Mt Pinatubo

After those observations (years ago), I’ve tried to look for those trekking poles in the local market and it was at ROX where I found a pair that costs about P 6,000 (?). I was surprised to see the price and opted just to hold them. And I forgot all those trekking poles!

I know that most of the Pinoy mountain trekkers/hikers know the value of these poles and to some of the TNF 100 trail run participants. However, I have yet to see one of them using these trekking poles in action.

But, running with trekking poles on paved roads? It is something that is unthinkable and out of the norm. But I was intrigued when I saw that part of the film where Marshall Ulrich was using these poles on the paved roads across America. So, I made some research on the Internet.

I was able to find out the following through some research on the Internet:

1. Nordic walking which was known before as “ski walking” using ski poles was a good off-season workout for elite Finland/Scandinavian ski athletes to maintain their consistency in their sports. Ski coaches concluded that the use of trekking/ski poles during summer contributed to the success of world-class ski athletes. Ski athletes would train the whole year round using the trekking poles.

One of the Pictures Taken From The Internet On Nordic Walking

2. The use of trekking poles on power walking or running would lessen the impact of the feet on the ground as the weight of the body would be supported by the trekking poles. This form of running/walking is suggested as cross-training for those athletes who are recovering from knee injury or those who are under leg-injury rehabilitation.

3. There are lots of instructional films on the Internet/You Tube on Nordic Walking/Running. All you have to do is google the word “Nordic Walking”.

4. There are a Sports Federations for Nordic Walking in the United States and other European countries which had been in existence for the past 10-14 years.

5. There is a Marathon (42K) Race on Nordic Walking at the Portland Marathon which is on its 5th edition this year. Rules and Regulations are posted in their website. In Europe, there are already existing Nordic Walking Championship Events.

6. There are blogs and websites about Nordic Walking/Running. You can check one of them at

7. Almost all the ultra trail races in Europe allow the use of trekking poles. In the most prestigious UMTB, most of the runners have in their packs a pair of folded trekking poles.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been using a pair of LEKI Titanium Trekking Poles during my regular power walking and I even went to the extent of running with them for 3 hours along the rocky Calico Hills Trail of the Red Rock Canyon Park in Las Vegas, Nevada.

With My LEKI Titanium Trekking Poles

Easy Effort On Nordic Walking

I could say that the use of trekking poles on technical trails would lessen the impact of my feet on the ground, making my knees less sore and painful after my run on the trails. With regards to running on the paved roads with the trekking poles, I am confident that I can already run with the same ease and grace like Marshall Ulrich! (Note: It is purely coincidental that I bought LEKI trekking poles, the same trekking pole brand that Marshall Ulrich used in all his adventure runs to include his feat in “Running America”)

Running and/or walking with trekking poles is a great cross-training activity for me as an old and under rehab average competitive runner.

With my present exposure and training with the trekking poles, I am thinking of allowing their use in the incoming PAU’s Pinatubo 100 to all the participants.

I will be glad to know about your comments on this.

On Rehab

17 04 2011

For the past one week, I’ve been regularly going to the Gym to strengthen my knees, quadriceps and calf muscles. In short, I’ve been trying to to cure my injury which I incurred during my “West To East” Run. The problem lies on my left leg which I think had been my more dominant running leg in my workouts and road/trail races.

Since I’ve finished my latest adventure run, I rested and recovered for about 16 days without any run or physical activity. My daily activities were geared to my rest by doing some light stretching exercises, walking, and browsing on the Internet. I did not have any massages but I concentrated more on my intake of natural foods rich in carbohydrates, proteins and fats. However, every two days, I have to take one capsule of Alaxan FR.

After 16 days of no running, I decided to go to the gym and start trying to bring back some “action” to my legs. After 16 days of no activity, I’ve observed that my leg muscles were soft and tender. I missed those times that my legs were full of “lumps” or “rocks” of hard muscles.

I have been doing lots stationary cycling/biking maintaining an rpm of not less than 100; doing also fast rpm on elliptical machines of at least 120 rpm; and lastly, on the rowing machine trying to maintain at least 22-24 strokes per minute. All these exercises are done with an elapsed time of at least 30 minutes. I hope these exercises will result to something better for my running legs.

The core and upper body muscle routine is still there but the emphasis in my gym works are now concentrated to my legs.

To top it all, I’ve been drinking Ensure as my nutrition drinks. Lots of water intake during gym workouts.

We will see in the coming days what would be the result of my gym workouts. I hope my legs will be better.

“West To East”: Evidence

28 03 2011

On of my readers asked me if I am using a Sunscreen Lotion during my run. Unfortunately, I did not bring my 10.8 Fluid Ounce plastic bottle of Hawaiian Tropic SPF 50 Plus Sunscreen Lotion. I had some bad experiences when I use such lotion. At one time during my practice runs, the sunscreen lotion I applied on my head, forehead and face got mixed with my sweat and some got into my eyes. You could just imagine the pain that it brought to my eyes that I was temporarily blind during the run. I had to look for water and soap to rinse my face and head in order to remove the sunscreen lotion and then washed my eyes with clean water. Another experience happened again when I was playing golf. A mixture of perspiration and sunscreen lotion got into my eyes after driving  the golf ball from the tee mound. From there, I was distracted from my game and end up going home.

"Stripes" of a Long Distance Runner

The “stripes” I got from the heat of the sun will be finally gone in a few days with the help of lotion and the powers of Papaya Soap!

I really do not know the effects of the sunlight on my skin as I grow older and as I continue running under the heat of the sun. I would end up like the skin of my friend Wayne Plymale or Jeff Galloway but it would be a honor to have a skin like them. One of these days, I will try to see Mang Victor Ting’s skin to find out what is in store for my skin in the future.

The burned skin on my legs due to the heat of the sun are already peeling off and I have some patches of white dead skin combined with my actual dark brown colored skin. I hope these burned skin will peel off soon faster!

Left Lower Quads Have Swollen After The 4th Day

My swollen left lower quads had gone back to its normal state/size and condition. After 6 days of rest and recovery, the swelling and pain are gone! I had to apply daily dose of Ice Bag Treatment (20-30 minutes), elevation with my legs when I sleep, one Alaxan FR every day, complete diet and constant hydration, and lots of Salonpas Patches before going to bed!  No massage and stretching had been done yet to my leg muscles. (The picture above was taken on the night after I completed my adventure run!)

I am still on a rest and recovery mode but many things are already playing in my mind about ultra running (and marathon races) here and abroad. See you on the roads and trails soon!

For those who have recovered already from the BDM Races, I hope to see you at the 1st Mt Mayon 360 Degrees 50-Mile Endurance Run. This is the first PAU-sanctioned road race for the year. If you want to earn your points for the most coveted “PAU Runner of the Year” (PROY) Award, you have to join this run! See you in Legazpi City this coming weekend!

“West To East”: 6th Day/Fort Magsaysay & Mountain Pass

25 03 2011

10:30 AM March 20, 2011/Santa Rosa to Laur, Nueva Ecija

The last time that I passed along the Santa Rosa to Fort Magsayay Road was in the mid-part of 2004 when I was a Brigade Commander of the 702nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division with my Headquarters located in Barangay Calaanan, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija. The road was not yet paved/asphalted as most of it was a narrow dirt road. This road is the most direct route to Fort Magsaysay from the Maharlika Highway in Santa Rosa and I take this route as a short cut to avoid the traffic of vehicles in Cabanatuan City. The road has a distance of 20 kilometers where both sides are open with rice fields and dry lands which were planted with mango trees as you approach to the military reservation of Fort Magsaysay.

Looking Forward To The East

Fort Magsaysay is the biggest military camp in the country which consists of hundreds of thousands of hectares from the eastern portions of Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija up to the seashore of the Pacific Ocean. The area is so vast that the military could not guard the reservation from informal settlers; kaingin farmers; and other kinds of squatters. Even if various types of military training are being conducted in these areas ranging from artillery fires, tank manuevers and combat fires, military exercises with other allied armed forces in Asia and the USA, and other kinds of special operations, those unscrupulous illegal settlers are still there to claim a portion of the military reservation. It is sad that the military reservation is now shrinking.

I am Starting To Sweat Few Kms From Start

When I was the Camp Commander of Camp Aguinaldo, I had a chance to play a round of golf with the Speaker of the House of the Representatives then and he asked me what is my solution for the unabated military adventurism of young officers to topple whoever is in power in the government. I told him that my idea is not a solution but it is a firm message that AFP Officers and Soldiers who are involved in this kind of military adventurism should be punished severely. I told the politician that it is about time to establish a State Penitentiary (outside Metro Manila) with a Military Prison Facility at the middle part of the Fort Magsaysay Reservation Area! And let these prisoners develop the area as homestead where they can produce and cultivate food and herd some domesticated animals and be away and out of reach from the media. The politician liked my idea and it ended there.

The Color of my Shirt is Becoming Darker

I expected that today’s run will be the most challenging stage due to the hotter temperature of Nueva Ecija and the looming hills/mountains that I am going to traverse as I progress towards my destination. I was informed by some of the officers assigned in Fort Magsaysay that there is already a short cut route from Fort Magsaysay that goes all the way to Laur, Nueva Ecija that traverses the mountains east of Fort Magsaysay. And the road has an estimated distance of 64 kilometers from Fort Magsaysay to the town of Dingalan, Aurora.

Ahhh...Brgy Liwayway, The Heat, The Clouds and The Mountains

The flat, wide and hot road from Santa Rosa to Fort Magsaysay was already a challenge as I started my run at 10:30 AM. From where I started, I estimated that I still have at least 81 Kilometers to my destination and covering one-half of the distance was already enough for my day’s run. I started my run from where I stopped the previous night. I was still using the Adidas Tech Fit Compression Shorts and with my Gray NIKE Compression Shirt. I decided not to use my arm sleeves as I would like to see my perspiration simply dry up from my skin while I was running. I prepared for my Ice Bandana to cool off my neck and nape and my Buff to cover my face. The ritual for hydration was still there and my strategy for my pacing but every time that I have my pit stop, I have to pour cold water on my head making my running cap wet/damp while running. This was the first time that I did such ritual of pouring cold water on my head and nape every time I take a sip of water from my support vehicle. Since I did not bring sponge, this ritual gave me a refresh feeling every two kilometers.

Nice Mango Orchard On My Left & Still Looking Good

 The pain on my knee/left quads was tolerable and I have to make some adjustments with my footwork. The ASICS Gel- LyteRacer DS was very nice and comfortable to my feet as they are light with the much-needed cushion. I decided to use this shoe throughout the run after my bad experience with my Adidas Adizero Mana on my 4th day leg.

Finally Entering the Fort Magsaysay Territory

The Fort's Cantonment Area Is Still Far From This Place

As I got nearer to the boundary of the Fort Magsaysay reservation, the road started to ascend but I knew it was runable but I opted to conserve my strength by brisk walking through the uphills and resume running on the downhill parts. As I reached the intersection of the road that goes to the Gate 1 (Main Gate) of Fort Magsaysay, trucks that carry US Armed Forces mobility assets and other equipment were still passing me and saw them entering the premises of the camp. I concluded that with the volume and number of trucks that passed me for the past two days, this military exercise would be involving a lot of troops and administrative personnel!

The Last Wide Truck To Pass Me & Approaching A New Crossroad!

 As I crossed the Bangad-Fort Magsaysay Road, I could see in front of me a newly constructed and newly-opened highway that goes way up to the mountains of Fort Magsaysay. The peak that I am going to reach was still vivid in my mind. It was the same “impact area” or location of our target when our basic infantry class had our hands-on firing of the 105-mm Howitzer Artillery pieces. Yes, those were the days when we were trained to request for an artillery fires by following some “structured” steps so that the one who is adjusting and pulling the trigger of the artillery piece would be able to land the artillery ammunition/rounds accurately to where the target is.

My Entry To The Newly-Opened Fort Magsaysay-Laur Shortcut Highway

Still Enjoying The Scenery of the Place

Still Counting On My Strides...Hydration Strategy Maintained

Quick Lunch At This Place

 After running at least 3 kilometers from the crossing/entrance of this new highway, I dropped by a roadside eatery, the only eatery before going up the peak of the mountain. It’s called Big Joe’s Eatery and I immediately asked for the viand available for lunch. They have Sinampalokan Na Manok which was the viand with a soup/broth for the day and I ordered two orders. The taste of a home-coke viand is heaven, moreso, if you are running a multi-day stage run!  They simply call the place “Tanawan” which is the common name they give to a place at the foot or mid-part of a mountain as you go to the peak. While I was eating, a white Lexus Car stopped at the place and the occupants also took their lunch thereat! What? These people could be locals, I thought. But when they were finished with their lunch, they asked how far is Santa Rosa is from the place. A-ha! They are also first-timers like me on this road!

Started Running Again After Lunch...The Mountain Pass Is On The Left Side of the Mountain!

 The road leading to the peak of the mountain was very challenging and the temperature of the day was so hot that I have to be supported every 500 meters. Definitely, this is the hardest leg of my adventure run. If the ascending portions are very challenging, the descending parts are much more challenging. I have to control my footsteps on the steep descending portions as I don’t want more pain and swelling of my left quads and knee. I took light and short strides on these downhill portions as I was careful with any untoward incident or issues on my leg muscles. I don’t want to do any foolish thing that may cause any untoward accident to happen with barely 50 kilometers away from my destination as I wanted to finish this adventure run. It could be funny to see me running on those descending portions as I could visualize myself to be running very erect with my back straight up as I control my footsteps/stride.

I Like The Heat From the Sun & The Road

Walking Backwards Along Steep Sections of the Road

I admit I walked on those steep ascending portions of the route that leads to the peak of the mountain. Sometimes, I tried to walk backwards just to relieve the pressure on my quads and knees as my calf muscles are the ones that are working and being stretched. There was no point on attempting to jog along these parts of the road. I feel much comfort that I was able to see a military detachment on top of the mountain where you can see Cabanatuan City on the west and the Sierra Madre Mountains on the east. Aside from providing security in the area, the military is also reforesting the place with young trees. There is also a road side eatery where food and refreshments are available and I could see some Nipa Huts which you could rent for P 50.00 per hour to enjoy the view of the place!

The View of Santa Rosa & Cabanatuan City On The Background

A Nipa Hut On Top of the Mountain

Aaahhh...Trying To Reach The Peak

 As I passed the peak of the mountain, I knew it will be a roller-coaster run/jog/walk up to the crossing on the old road/highway that goes to the small town of Laur, Nueva Ecija. The eastern side of the mountain is more developed and more populated as I could see some mango orchards and cultivated fields on the side of the mountain. There are also groups of houses (they call itself as “puroks”) which I assume are also illegal settlers. But most of all, I really wonder who owns those mango orchards whose trees are already bearing fruits that nearly touch the ground. I hope these mango orchards are under the administration of the military units stationed in Fort Magsaysay!

What??? Another higher peak hidden?

My Reward For Reaching The Top of the Mountain!

Mountains At The Background Are My Destination

Roller-Coaster Run On The Eastern Side of the Mountain

Running Beside A Mango Orchard

I told to myself that I have to reach the crossing towards Laur before it becomes dark. With consistent pacing and following my hydration and nutrition strategy, I could see already in a distance the vehicles that are travelling along the Laur-Gabaldon Road and it gave me the satisfaction that I still have one more day to go before I finally reach my destination.

Too Much Salt From My Sweat Even Without Taking Any Salt Tablets

Another "Marin Headlands" Version In Laur, NE?

Tired & Exhausted But Still Having Fun!

Getting Nearer to the Crossing in the Old Highway

As soon as I reached the crossing, I found out that I was able to cover a distance of 41 Kilometers since I started my run from Santa Rosa but I wanted to reach the Km Post 0 that is located in the Poblacion of Laur. I instructed my support crew that I have to complete at least 42 kilometers and I need one more kilometer to run. So, while I was running along the Laur-Gabaldon Road, in a few meters, I saw a Km Post that says that there are 4 kilometers more to go before reaching the town of Laur. I decided to continue my run with my support vehicle providing me with the illumination I needed. The road was not busy and it was already dark. I comfortably maintained my strides with the objective of reaching Laur and be able to run a distance of 45 kilometers for the day. As we got nearer to Km Post 0, we were able to pass by a store that serves hot mami and I decided to stop and take some hot noodle soup.

Finally Arriving At The Crossing of the Old National Highway to Laur

Running In The Dark Towards Laur, NE

We actually want to ask some information from the locals about the nearest resort where we can stay overnight and the store was the best place where we can inquire about such information. As we were eating our noodle soup, I started the conversation with the owner and after some exchange of questions and answers, we decided to take a look at the said resort that the owner of the store had recommended. However, I still need to run and reach Km Post 0 of Laur, Nueva Ecija. I was surprised that the Km Post is only 150 meters away from the Store!

Eating Chicken Mami In Laur

 I stopped my run officially for the day on the said Km Post. I need to rest but the place where we are going to check-in for the night is still 18 kilometers away towards Gabaldon. It took us only few minutes to reach the place aboard our support vehicle. Although the place is not well lighted, we did not mind as we need a place where we can take a shower, wash some clothes, and sleep overnight. Unfortunately, there is no Wi-Fi Connection! However, I am sure that once there will be sunlight the following morning, the place will emerge as a beautiful place to rest and stay!

Last Kilometer Post For The Day...36-37K To Go!

I was able to cover a distance of 45 Kilometers from the Starting Point in Santa Rosa up to Laur, Nueva Ecija. This leg is the hardest day in my adventure run due to the hot temperature in Fort Magsaysay and its immediate environs and the challenge of the steep inclines going to the mountain pass. The steep descending portions were also a challenge on my part because of my swollen quads but I was comforted with the nice scenery that my eyes could see all around me. These places and scenery are priceless!

We stayed overnight in a resort which is called Stone 8 Resort which 5 kilometers away from the Poblacion of Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija.

Some of the data/information on this day’s run:

Weather: Very, very hot along the Santa Rosa-Fort Magsaysay-Mountain Pass Road.

Distance Covered For The Day: 45 Kilometers

Time of Actual Running: 8 hours

Average Pace: 4-5 Kilometers Per Hour

Running Apparel: Adidas Tech Fit Compression Shorts; NIKE Compression Shirt; Adidas Running Cap; NIKE Black Soccer Socks; Ice Bandana; Buff; Sunglasses by Ray-Ban & Oakley

Running Shoe: ASICS Gel-LyteRacer


Lunch @ Old Joe’s Eatery (good for 2 persons)—P 120.00

Hot Mami @ Laur (good for two persons)—P 46.00

Total Expenses For The Day—P 166.00

Total Number of Kilometers (After 6 Days)—252 Kilometers

To be continued…


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,038 other followers

%d bloggers like this: