“Read 100 Running Books A Year Challenge”

11 01 2015

The art and long tradition of reading books among the youth and among most of us is already lost and forgotten. We tend to be industrious in reading books during our academic and schooling days as they are requirement in our daily lessons as required by the Subjects being taught by our Professors/Teachers. We were also made to submit “Book Reports” as part of a literary exercise for us to be able to write and make some critical analysis on the message or concept or lessons learned taken from the book that we have read.

With the advent of the Internet; Social Media; and Laptops/Cellphones/Ipads, seldom that I would see persons in planes, buses, trains, cafes, and public parks reading a book or a magazine or a newspaper. What is worse than not seeing people around us not reading any book in such traditional places is that our public libraries are almost forgotten to have existed.

Let me ask these questions to those who have finished their college studies and now working as professionals?

1. When was the last time that you visited our Public Library or your Workplace Library, if there is any?

2. Can you mention to me the title of the latest book and the author that you have read and tell me how long did it take you to finish reading the said book?

When I was a Member of the Promotion Board of the Philippine Army and later, as the Chairman of the Promotion Board to the Rank of Colonel in the Philippine Army, I had only ONE question for each of the candidates during the Interview (Final Part of the Process)——“What is the latest book that you have read and tell the Promotion Board the Synopsis and Lessons Learned you gathered in it in 5 Minutes?” If the candidate can not answer the question, he is told to leave the room and has to wait for another Promotion Cycle which equivalent to One Year!

This is not to say that I am going to do this with the other runners that if you have not read any running-related book, you are not meant to be accepted as one of my “friends” on Facebook or would allow you to join in any of my ultra races. This is a Challenge where one has to be motivated to re-start the good habit of reading any book for that matter. I could not over emphasize the importance of reading a book as it has a lot of advantages and reasons for us to improve as a human being.

Last week, I started to create a Facebook Page Group which has the same name as the title of this post. Each member of the group has to post the picture of the book that they are presently reading with the tag as to what number of such book. Once they finished the book, the member can make a brief synopsis of the book and post it on the Page. Some members would post the picture of books which they highly recommend for the other members to read. To make the effort more challenging, the books that should be submitted or posted on the Page are running-related books or books that has some running in it or if the character or characters of the story are runners or had adopted running as one of their sports or hobbies. I also encourage hiking books and other inspirational stories that has running in it.

On my part, I have two books that I would finish within the week. I have just finished the book “Anatomy For Runners” and about to start the book, “The Running Revolution”.

Books #1 & #2: The Anatomy For Runner & The Running Revolution

Books #1 & #2: The Anatomy For Runner & The Running Revolution

If you have access to the Internet and be able to buy books through Amazon, you can buy them in Kindle format. If you have access to bookstores, you can also buy them on hardbound or paperback edition and you can establish your personal running library. In your visits to another country, try to visit their bookstores in their shopping malls as such books can be purchased with the same price printed on the cover jacket of such book. In the United States, most of the books offer some discounts.

My next post will be a brief book summary of the books that I have to finish reading within this week.

Happy reading!





My New Record Time (FKT) & “Hill Repeats” @ Taklang Damulag

4 01 2015

Three years ago on July 31, 2011, I made my Personal Record Time to reach the peak of the famous Hill Taklang Damulag from Fernandez Hill inside the “Molave Complex” of Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City. I was able to record a finish time of  52:37 minutes where the highest peak has an elevation of 409 meters with a route distance of 2.7 kilometers. I started to record my Garmin Forerunner 305 once I departed the marker at Fernandez Hill until I was able to touch the white-painted Cross on top of the peak of Taklang Damulag. My hike was only one-way as I was able to descend on the northeastern part of the hill towards Sitio Baccao.

In this post where I stated about my experience in this blog, I mentioned that that such distance as a race course is very short and the elevation of the mountain/hill is very low but if one thinks of running up and down to this mountain for four times in a single event, then you have a workout like you have hiked or run to the top and back in a high mountain.

A year after my hike from Fernandez Hill To the Peak of Hill Taklang Damulag, I invited some of my running friends to join a formal race which I called “FKT @ Taklang Damulag” which I consider as the FIRST Fastest Known Time (FKT) Trail Run In The Country which was attended by only five (5) runners. The Course Record for the Event was made by Dannin Arenzana with a time of 59:32 minutes! The following is the story about it:  http://baldrunner.com/?s=FKT+%40+Taklang+Damulag 

On the first day of this year’s Taklang Damulag 100-Mile & 50-Mile Endurance Runs which happened last December 13-14, 2014, I thought of having my training run by doing some “hill repeats” from Fernandez Hill Marker to the Peak of Taklang Damulag and back. On this day, I was scheduled to finish a distance of 10 miles or 16 kilometers.

I carried one hand-held bottle with the intention of making my refilling of water at the Fernandez Hill Complex where the Aid Station of the Race is located every time I finish one repetition of the hill repeat which is equivalent to one FKT (Fastest Known Time) route. I also used my ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 shoes for the traction I need for the downhill run back to the starting area.

TNF Hand-held Water Bottle & Ultimate Direction (SJ) Race Belt

TNF Hand-held Water Bottle & Ultimate Direction (SJ) Race Belt

I started slowly and tried to peak up my pace whenever there is a flat portion of the route. I continuously jog my way up along the trail as I passed the usual three (3) streams on the first kilometer of the route. The trail was slippery due to damp brought about by a light shower of rain the night before. It was no problem to my trail shoes. I was surprised that I was tirelessly going up along the trail and breathing heavily but I could not feel that I was getting tired. I felt fine and my HR Monitor showed that I was on the mid-130s of my Heart Rate. I said there is no way that my heart rate is too low despite the intensity of my pace.

The trail route became more challenging due to the presence of rocks which were eroded as part of the widening and improvement of the trail few years ago. A simple mistake of stepping on these rocks would make someone trip or fall on the ground due to imbalance of one’s footing. One has to be careful to land each foot due to the unevenness of the single-track trail. I knew that I would be able to reach the first Rest Station which is a concrete “waiting station” after making a sharp left turn/switchback and I was still maintaining my jog.

After a few minutes, I was able to reach the Second Rest Station and I readied myself for the start of the steepest portion of the trail. Two years ago, there was a Bamboo Hand Rail standing and supported by two bamboo posts where one could hold as you plant your feet higher and higher towards the peak. All I could see was old wooden cross along the trail and it warns me that I was only 300 meters away from the peak of the Hill. Slowly, the steep part of the trail became lesser in incline and I know that I was about to reach the marker telling all the hikers that the Peak of the Hill is very near.

Nice View of Mt Arayat & Central Plains Of Luzon

Nice View of Mt Arayat & Central Plains Of Luzon

Finally, one has to get his satisfaction of reaching the peak of the mountain when you see a pathway made of rocks. These pathway of rocks leads to the Concrete White Cross on the Peak of the Hill. As soon as I reached the White Cross, I had to touch/tap it and I was on my way back to the trail where I came from and back to the Fernandez Hill Complex. I glanced on my Garmin Watch and it registered a time of 31:32 minutes!!!

I was excited to find out how fast I was even if I did not recall what was my recorded time on my first timed ascent to this hill 3 years ago. I knew that I was faster than my first attempt. So happy about my performance, I tried to stay focused on my run back to my starting area. I took time to avoid those rocks and not to be very aggressive on the downhill run. My ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 was very responsive and I did not have any slip or slide on the damp surface of the trail and on the rocks. I did not hike or stopped along the way except when I had to slowly approach and cross the three streams along the route. I was very attentive to my footing and I could not afford to break my ankles or trip my foot or fall on the ground due to some mistakes.

Beyond The Peak Of Taklang Damulag

Beyond The Peak Of Taklang Damulag

I still had water in my hand-held water bottle as I got nearer to the finish line. It was still cold in the early morning when I started my run but I would take some sip of water as soon I started sweating during my uphill climb to the peak of the hill. Once I reached the flatter sections of the trail, I would sip again some water from my bottle and this ritual was repeated every 5 minutes until I reached the starting line. After I crossed my imaginary finish line at the Fernandez Hill, I glanced at my Garmin Forerunner Watch and it registered a time of 1:11+ hours! Not bad!

I think I was able to rest for about 2-3 minutes by refilling my hand-held water bottle and by walking to the location of the Water Hydration Point at the Aid Station located at the View Deck of Fernandez Hill and back to the starting line. It was time to go back again to the Peak for my 2nd Repeat.

My Official Time For My First FKT/Hill Repeat

My Official Time For My First FKT/Hill Repeat

Prior to my start of my first run to the peak, a group of soldiers from the Special Forces Regiment were dropped by a 6 X 6 Military Truck by about 400 meters ahead of my starting area and they were ahead of me by almost 15 minutes. On my last 500 meters before reaching the Peak of the Hill, I was able to pass them one by one. They were carrying their backpacks, some carpentry tools and digging tools, too! Aside from the soldiers who are stationed at the Peak of the Hill, I have also those soldiers whom I have passed along the trail as my witnesses for my run towards the Peak.

I just took my time and maintained my jogging for my second repeat of my climb to the peak of Taklang Damulag. The soldiers stationed at the peak of the hill were surprised to see me back to their location as I immediately proceeded back to the starting line after I tapped the White Concrete Cross. Once again, I was very slow and focused to my footing as I descended from the hill and I was bale to avoid those rocks scattered on some portions of the trail.

My ritual once I arrived at the Fernandez Hill area was the same—walk to the View Deck; refill my water bottles; and walk again back to the starting line. I was already on my third repeat back to the peak of the hill as the sun was coming out from the clouds. It was starting to get hot as I was running on my first kilometer of my third ascent to the hill. I had to drink more water from my hydration bottle as I progressed to the peak of the hill. Five hundred meters from the peak, I started to meet those soldiers who have finished their job/task as they descended back to Fernandez Hill. They greeted me and surprised that I was back again towards to the peak of the hill. I just thanked them for their greetings and smiled at them as I continued my jogging.

The White Concrete Cross @ The Peak Of Taklang Damulag

The White Concrete Cross @ The Peak Of Taklang Damulag

For the third time, I made a tap to the concrete white cross and asked one of the soldiers for some water to douse my head and face as I could feel already the heat of the sun. It was already 11:00 AM. I took a sit on a chair while the soldier got me a half liter of water. I immediately doused the water on my head and on my buff and it gave me some comfort and relaxed feeling. After saying “Thank You” to the soldier, I was back on the trail back to the starting line.

One kilometer away from the starting line, I started to meet the first two runners of the 50-mile race and then the third runner on my last 500 meters. I had to side-step and stand still on the side of the single-track trail as I wait for the runner to pass me. I would greet and cheer them as they continue their climb.

I was thinking of doing my fourth repeat to the peak while I was on my last 200 meters to the starting line at the Fernandez Hill. I finally decided to take some time to rest and then eat some solid food at the Aid Station before I would decide to continue or not for my 4th and last climb for the day.

After I ate my lunch, I looked back on my watch and found out that I was able to run a total of 10+ miles and my programmed schedule for the day was already attained and complied. So, I finally decided to end my run for the day and made already a plan to do another “hill repeats” on the following day.

Total Mileage, Time, & Vertical Gain Of My 3X Hill Repeats @ Taklang Damulag

Total Mileage, Time, & Vertical Gain Of My 3X Hill Repeats @ Taklang Damulag

I know that this “crazy” effort that I’ve done is spreading from one soldier and Officer to another in Fort Magsaysay and by this time, it is already well-known for the entire Philippine Army. I consider this feat as a record for me (62 years old) and as a Retired Major General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. And I will be coming back to improve this record in the coming years, whether it will be the fastest time for the climb to the peak and back to Fernandez Hill or for the number of times that I could do on the “hill repeats” in one day/setting.

Who knows, this could be the birth of another challenging trail running event in Taklang Damulag—-“Taklang Damulag FKT Challenge” (6 Hours & 12 Hours Timed Event) where the one with the most number of “hill repeats” wins the event.

3X "Hill Repeats" @ Taklang Damulag

3X “Hill Repeats” @ Taklang Damulag

The following link is the detailed record of the data of my run:http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/651295464

Taklang Damulag will forever be a symbol and something to treasure in one’s life in the Philippine Army. 





The 53 Runner’s Commandments By Joe Kelly

23 12 2014

The 53 Runner’s Commandments
by Joe Kelly

1. Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
2. Walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.
3. Don’t make running your life. Make it part of your life.
4. During group training runs, don’t let anyone run alone.
5. Keep promises, especially ones made to yourself.
6. When doing group runs, start on time no matter who’s missing.
7. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
8. Keep a quarter in your pocket. One day you’ll need to call for a ride.
9. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
10. All runners are equal, some are just faster than others.
11. Keep in mind that the later in the day it gets, the more likely it is that you won’t run.
12. For a change of pace, get driven out and then run back.
13. If it was easy, everybody would be a runner.
14. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
15. Getting out of shape is much easier than getting into shape.
16. A bad day of running still beats a good day at work.
17. Talk like a runner. “Singlets” are worn on warm days. “Tank tops” are worn to the beach.
18. Don’t talk about your running injuries. People don’t want to hear about your sore knee or black toe.
19. Don’t always run alone.
20. Don’t always run with people.
21. Approach running as if the quality of your life depended on it.
22. No matter how slow you run it is still faster than someone sitting on a couch.
23. Keep in mind that the harder you run during training, the luckier you’ll get during racing.
24. Races aren’t just for those who can run fast.
25. There are no shortcuts to running excellence.
26. The best runs sometimes come on days when you didn’t feel like running.
27. Be modest after a race, especially if you have reason to brag.
28. If you say, “Let’s run this race together,” then you must stay with that person no matter how slow.
29. Think twice before agreeing to run with someone during a race.
30. There is nothing boring about running. There are, however, boring people who run.
31. Look at hills as opportunities to pass people.
32. Distance running is like cod liver oil. At first it makes you feel awful, then it makes you feel better.
33. Never throw away the instructions to your running watch.
34. Don’t try to outrun dogs.
35. Don’t trust runners who show up at races claiming to be tired, out of share, or not feeling well.
36. Don’t wait for perfect weather. If you do, you won’t run very often.
37. When tempted to stop being a runner, make a list of the reasons you started.
38. Never run alongside very old or very young racers. They get all of the applause.
39. Without goals, training has no purpose.
40. During training runs, let the slowest runner in the group set the pace.
41. The first year in a new age group offers the best opportunity for trophies.
42. Go for broke, but be prepared to be broken.
43. Spend more time running on the roads than sitting on the couch.
44. Make progress in your training, but progress at your own rate.
45. “Winning” means different things to different people.
46. Unless you make your living as a runner, don’t take running too seriously.
47. Runners who never fail are runners who never try anything great.
48. Never tell a runner that he or she doesn’t look good in tights.
49. Never confuse the Ben-Gay tube with the toothpaste tube.
50. Never apologize for doing the best you can.
51. Preventing running injuries is easier than curing them.
52. Running is simple. Don’t make it complicated.
53. Running is always enjoyable. Sometimes, though, the joy doesn’t come until the end of the run.





Seven Years

11 12 2014

It’s been seven years that I’ve been blogging and I am still running in the mountains at the age of 62. And I am still happy doing this kind of ritual, telling my stories about my runs and hikes, and sharing such stories to everybody.

Seven Years = Seven Candles

Seven Years = Seven Candles (Photo From Google)

As I enter my eight year of blogging, there are more things to share to everybody with regards to running, hiking, and anything about adventures in the outdoors, whether within the country or abroad. As long as I am healthy and able, I will be running on the trails and hiking to the peak of mountains if time and schedule would allow me.

For the year 2015, I will pursue my plan to hike the Historic General Aguinaldo Trail across the island of Luzon; hike the Historic General Funston Trail; and experience again, at least, one adventure run (multi-day stage) for the year. I am also thinking of doing some “segment hike” through Fastpacking on some portions of the Pacific Crest Trail in California, USA and this activity will be posted on this blog.

Starting this week, I have resumed my training after two weeks of rest and recovery (no running!) in preparation to my participation in the Trans Lantau 100K Trail Run in Hongkong on March 13-14, 2015. I will post my daily training in this blog so that I can have a journal/diary for my weekly runs. I have plans also of joining selected mountain ultra trail races to be held abroad which will be dependent on the result of my preparatory races and training.

In addition as the Race Director of Ultra Road and Trail Events scheduled for the year 2015, I will conduct some weekend Trail Running Clinics for those new runners who would like to shift on trail running and/or trail hiking. Announcement and publication of this plan will be made on this blog and on Facebook. These Running Clinics will have limited slots.

Lastly, I would like to express my personal thanks and appreciation to the 5,027 subscribers of this blog.

Keep on running!

Bataan Death March Ultra Races: My Legacy As An Ultra Runner

Bataan Death March Ultra Races: My Legacy As Blogger And Ultra Runner

 

 

 





Race Report: 2014 Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Trail Run (Last Part)

5 12 2014

Race Report: 2014 Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Trail Run (Last Part)

What Went Wrong?

5. Gout Attack——Just when I finished my last long run in preparation for this event, I had a gout attack and the joint on my big toe was inflamed and sore. My first gout attack was in March 2008 and since that time my choice of food was limited to those with no uric acid. For the past 6 years and a half, I was on a diet and I was able to control my uric acid intake. However, for the month of October, I was not able to control my diet and craving for boiled peanuts & beans and native chicken & goat’s meat! Actually, on those days and weeks that my toe was inflamed, I forced myself to hike on the mountains. On race day, I was still feeling some pain on my toes but I was able to endure even if I was able to ingest my ALEVE tablets before the start of the race.

Very Accurate Depiction Of My Gout (Picture Taken From Google

Very Accurate Depiction Of My Gout (Picture Taken From Google)

What Went Right?

1. Lesser Mileage, Healthier Knees——I am scared to think that reality is setting in—I am getting older and I need to take care of my knees. With the lesser mileage on every week in my training, I was able to preserve the good condition of my knees. Plus, the addition of a recovery day aside from my usual Monday rest had also added the stability of my knees during the race. I did a lot of strengthening exercises which were focused on my legs and core muscles but most of these exercises were geared to strengthen the muscles surrounding my knees. I did these exercises at least three times a week. If you are wondering what are these exercises, they are very simple! I did body squats, lunges, 100-ups, push-ups; exercises that strengthen my hip flexor using an elastic band; and Pilates exercises that strengthen the core.

2. Taper Properly——This is the most violated training principle among the younger ultra runners whom I know. They think that tapering for one week is enough for them to have fresh legs and body ready to tackle this very challenging race. For the two to three months that I was focused on the training for this race, I had my longest run on the seventh week, which is three weeks before Race Day. My longest run was a 26-mile (42K) mountain trail run which lasted for 8-9 hours and I was able to finish strong and my knees were able to hold on with the course where I had my training. After this long run, I made a steady reduction of my mileage on the coming weeks leading to Race Day until I was running 4-5 miles on my last week and got rested and slept well two-three days before Race Day. This is one of the reasons why I decided to postpone the inaugural edition of the General Aguinaldo Historic Trail Run which I intended to join as one of the participants. This race was scheduled two weeks before the CM 50 Race Day. I was able to monitor the younger runners who joined a trail running event one week before Race Day and I had the observation that they did not perform well in this event. Some of these younger runners would tell me that they have not recovered well after the race they have joined 7 days ago.

3. Nutrition——This is the second time in a running race event that I used VESPA. I’ve used this before in my long runs and I find them effective and working well with my body system. At this time, it was more effective when I started using Udo’s Oil as part of my supplementary nutrition. I usually mix at least two spoonful of this oil once a day in one of my viands/food either in my lunch or dinner for the three weeks that I was on tapering mode. I could feel that I was gaining a little weight which I would thought will be a source of my stored energy in my body to be used during the race. I took one pack of VESPA after eating my meal before the race and for the next 4-5 hours I was full of energy, taking only two (2) pieces of GU Gel, and hydrating with water every 30 minutes. I was not feeling “thirsty” because I was putting a Dynamite Candy in my mouth every time I ingest a VESPA Pack. I suspect that my slow pace made my stored fats as the source of energy and not from the carbohydrates that are available in my body. After 4-4 1/2 hours, I would feel hungry and that’s the time that I would eat my PB & J sandwiches, take another VESPA pack + GU Gels + Dynamite Candy and continue with my run. For the whole duration of the race, I was able to consume 4 packs of VESPA. From AS4 on my way to the peak, I started mixing my 2 MILO Packs with 1 GU Gel in my water bottle which is equivalent to almost 300 calories and I would ingest the whole liquid mix in one bottle within one hour. This mixing of MILO Packs + GU Gel was repeatedly done all the way to the finish line. Last year, I used Perpetuem Powder mixed with water as my source of nutrition and some solid foods (sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, and boiled bananas).

More Carbohydrates @ AS3 (Photo Courtesy Of Team Ayala Triads)

More Carbohydrates @ AS3 (Photo Courtesy Rovelyn Dimaala Of Team Ayala Triads)

Because of the hotter condition of the day as compared to last year, I might have used the stored fats in my body faster than what I’ve experienced before and I felt weak and exhausted once I returned to AS4 after coming from the Peak/turn-around point. It was an “accident” that I impulsively asked for a Sprite Drink and such “sugar-rush” to my body jolted me to be on a faster mode in my pace from AS4 to the Falls and back to AS4! I suspect also that from this point, my body needed more carbohydrates to propel me all the way to the finish line. This is the reason why I had to ingest some rice and solid food and more Sprite Drinks at AS3 and every hour after this, I was already using my remaining Gels up to the Finish Line.

4. Knowledge of the Course——This is the only year that I was not able to run the CM42 race in preparation for the CM50. Also, I did not had any runs or visits or recon runs along the course. From the past CM42 and CM50 races that I joined and finished, I was able to know what to expect along the course, from the Start to every Aid Station up to the Peak and back to the Finish Line. I was confident on what to expect in every turn and particular place along the route. Such knowledge of the course made me more confident that I will be able to finish the course within the prescribed cut-off time of 18 hours.

5. Having Fun——With the lack of mileage, sickness/diarrhea , condition of my knees, gout attack, and of course, my age, I tried to condition my mind to have a better performance on this race. Such positive thinking pushed me to endure everything and reminded me about my race strategy to focus more on my nutrition and that I would be healthy & injury-free to finish the race. This reminded me of the practice or tip of which I adopted from my Coach——placing one piece of GU Gel inside my cycling gloves/one GU Gel in each glove! This practice would remind me that I need to take a Gel every time I would swing my arms while running. Once I use one Gel, I would replace it with another one from my Belt Pouch and place the litter in one of my shoulder pockets of my hydration pack. I was also having fun when I outrun the younger runners and sometimes would scare them when they see me that I am nearing them or about to overtake them. Counting my strides when fatigue and heat of the sun would be very hard to the body gave me more fun as I gained some distance getting nearer to each of the Aid Stations.

Cycling Gloves & INOV-8 X-Talon Trail Shoes (2013 CM50)

Cycling Gloves & INOV-8 X-Talon Trail Shoes (2013 CM50)

6. Evaluation Run——I did not join this race to earn some points for the UTMB and I don’t have any future plans of going to Chamonix, France to join such race. This race is an evaluation run for the training program that was given to me in preparation for this race. It is also an evaluation run to determine my strengths and weaknesses as I prepare for my future races in the next year to come. I have learned (again) a lot of lessons that I need to make some adjustments in my race tactics, strategy and nutrition needs. I have also personally evaluated that my knees are getting stronger if I give them the much needed rest and recovery. I have learned also that I could run in a slow pace for me to use my fats as the source of energy and I could easily switch to a faster pace mode if I consistently add more carbohydrates to my body system. Lastly, taper mode on the last three weeks leading to Race Day and getting a lot of rest and sleep on the last week made a lot of difference.

How Much Did I Spend?

Coaching Services——P 13,000.00
Training Expenses (Travel & Food + Supplements)——P 3,000.00
Nutrition & Hydration Needs (During The Race)——P 2,500.00
Registration Fee——P 2,500.00
Transportation Costs (Gasoline + Highway Toll Fees)——P 2,000.00
New Gear (Ultimate Direction Belt Pouch + SALOMON Cap)——P 2,500.00

TOTAL——P 25,500.00

Was The Event Finish Worth For The Expenses?

Of course, setting an Event Record in the history of this race as the Oldest Runner to have finished the course in two consecutive years within the cut-off time of 18 hours is more than enough to compensate for what I’ve spent financially in this event. I would not regret spending my spare time in the mountains and trails just to prepare for this event. In the course of my training, I was able to meet a lot of people and make friends with the people in the mountains and being able to learn of how these people live in the mountains and know their problems. In the race, I was able to meet new runners and find time to talk to the “usual suspects” in ultra running in the country whom I only meet in person during such events even if we regularly communicate through the social media. Some of them are participants in the race and some of them served as “volunteers and marshals” in the Aid Stations, turn-around point and in the Lahar Area. As you might have observed, I don’t show or brag my Finisher’s Medal or wear those Finisher’s Shirts as they are not important every time I finish a race. It is the experience and the journey in finishing the race that count most.

Hand-held Hydration Bottles (2013 CM50)

Hand-held Hydration Bottles (2013 CM50)

Future Plan On This Event

Definitely, I will be back for the 2015 edition and train harder as long as my knees and body are healthy and injury-free. I need to bring back my INOV-8 X-Talon Trail Shoes and my hand-held bottles which I used last year and try to train for more speed on the trails. I am not shifting to any kind of diet but I will have to be more disciplined and selective on my food, making sure that they are uric acid-free and won’t cause diarrhea.

Suggestions/Advise To “New” Runners For This Event

1. Know your Ideal Racing Weight—-If you think you are heavy and way above your BMI, you should reduce—with more calories to burn and lessen your intake of unnecessary foods. Such weight that you can shave off from your body will compensate for the hydration and foods/nutrition needs that you will carry on your vest or belt/pockets.

2. Start going to the Trails—-I mean, mountain trails! And start your training NOW! Start with some hiking in the mountains along dirt roads or single-track trails and feel how your body responds to the ground, elevation, and the scenery. If you have the time do your trail hiking on a daily basis, then do it! If not, make sure you hike on your weekends or off-duty days. Be patient on this as you make your progress from a 30-minute hike up to 8-9 hours of running/jogging/hiking in the mountains on your peak training period. Once you progress and adjusted to trail running, look for a place that has the same elevation profile with that of the race and do more of your training in the said place. If you can have access to the actual route, by all means, spend your weekend runs thereat. If you are afraid to go to the mountains, then you can do it with the “Philippine Army’s Scout Ranger” way! (Note: This will be discussed in my future post featuring one of my Ultra Running friends)

3. Be selective in your Races—-It is not on the quantity of races that you have finished that defines you as a good runner. It is the quality of your performance in finishing your selected races. If you have decided to join this race as your A-priority race, then start your training as early as possible, save some money for your registration fee and training costs, register early and abide by the race/RD’s requirements, and treat your other running races as your training and evaluation runs. Make sure that you have to make some space or period of recovery in between these running events so that you will come out stronger and smarter in the process. Not because you are still young and strong that you don’t need to taper and have more rest before the Race Day, it is always you and only you will be the one responsible for your success or unsuccessful finish in this race.

Eat While You Are At Rest (Photo By Rovelyn Dimaala)

Eat While You Are At Rest (Photo By Rovelyn Dimaala of Ayala TRIADS)

4. Nutrition is the Key—-In every race, I keep on learning about my nutritional needs. “Fat-Burning” and Carbohydrates as sources of my energy work well with me in ultras. But it took me a lot of time and experience to try what is best for me. It is also worth to know that I have to fully stop and take a rest if I need to ingest solid foods to my system. In the past, I would take in some solid foods while on the move but it gave me more problems like choking and coughing, most specially in high altitude races that I have joined in the past. However, I don’t have any problems ingesting my Gels as I have to suck them quickly and followed with a sip of water from my bottle. Once my taste for the Gel would become uncomfortable for me to swallow, I would start mixing them in my water with my powdered drinks like MILO Packs and just the same, they give me the much-needed calories for my body. As the experts would always advise, fuel up early in the race while your pace is slow and then progressively pick-up the pace while maintaining your food intake and hydration. It is easily said but it needs a lot of practice and discipline.

Thanks for reading my longest Race Report! Keep on running and see you on the mountain trails!

See You Next Year!!!

See You Next Year!!!





Race Report: 2014 Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Trail Run (Part 2)

29 11 2014

2013 CM50 Experience

I finished my first Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Trail Run (CM50) with a ranking of #28 among the 120+ starters and I am proud to have registered a finish time of 15:30:20 hours. I did not publish or post on this blog a Race Report about such accomplishment but I was able to post a Race Report of a shorter version of the event which was the Miyamit Falls 42K Trail Run. More or less, my Race Report on this short trail run (which is one-half of the CM50) covers those significant points that brought my successful finish in this event.

My success in my first CM50 can be summarized by the following factors or reasons:

1. I finally decided to get the services of a reliable mountain trail ultra Coach.

2. My training program was done consistently on mountain trails. Monday is my Rest Day. The rest of the days of the week were running days where recovery or hard/easy runs were strictly followed. My training started in the middle of June of last year, making it to five (5) months as my training/preparation for this event.

3. Hydration and Nutrition were tried and experimented during my long runs.

4. Core Workouts and Strengthening Exercises were done regularly, at least, three times a week.

5. I joined the Miyamit Falls 42K Trail Run and was able to conduct a recon to the peak of Mt Miyamit.

6. The weather during the race was cooler and the sky was overcast.

CM50 Logo

CM50 Logo

2014 CM50 Experience

I finally decided to join this year’s edition in the middle of September of this year as I had some time to rest and recover from trail running for almost six weeks. This “rest & recovery” period was devoted to mostly mountain hiking at an easy and relaxing pace.

I had to make some adjustments to my training due to my recurring knee injury. My knee injury would be the result of getting older and “wear and tear” due to running. This is the reason why I had to run consistently on the trails for a softer impact to the ground. And whenever I try to run on the pavement for my long runs, my knees would be sore and aching.

I told my running coach about my recurring knee injury and my plan not to join the Chimera 100 in Corona, California on November 15. Instead, I told him that I will be attempting my second consecutive finish in the CM50 with a better time without being injured leading to race day.

My coach advised me to take an extra day off for me to recover and rest before my weekend long runs so that my knees will be well-rested before my long runs on trails. After back-to-back long runs on weekends, I would take my usual Monday rest day. By doing this on my weekly runs, I was able to sustain healthy knees and kept them from any soreness or pain. However, my speed did not improve but I was able to bring back my endurance without thinking of my recurring knee problem/injury.

A few days before Race Day, I told my Coach that my knees are holding up and ready to take the beating from the incoming race. He advised me to take it easy and slow on the first half with my pace. And most importantly, take in my nutrition as early within the race and maintain my hydration strategy. The “real race” on this course will start from AS4 back to the Finish Line.

Race Proper

Having been a “repeater” in this race, I knew the “drill” on what to prepare and do on Race Day. My nutrition was the key for me to finish this race and I concentrated much on it. I had PB & J sandwiches, a can of Tuna Paella, Stingers, Gels, MILO Packs, Candies, and Vespa. I’ve been consistently using these nutrition items in my weekend runs and I was confident that they will give me the much-needed energy to finish the race.

I had my mandatory gears checked by the RD before I was able to get my Race Bib. After I wore my running attire and shoes, I was ready for the race. I took a meal of rice and corned beef 30 minutes before the race started, took one Gel, and drank one pack of Vespa. I went to the starting area and wished my friends “good luck”.

CM50 & CM60K Start @ 1:00 AM of Sunday November 23, 2014 (Photo Courtesy Of AVAquino Photography)

CM50 & CM60K Start @ 1:00 AM of Sunday November 23, 2014 (Photo Courtesy Of AVAquino Photography)

The race started at exactly 1:00 AM of Sunday, November 23 from the Clark Parade Ground and the runners were off towards the direction on the Main Road going to the Southern Portion of the Camp/Facility which was a former US Air Force Base. The first 3 Kilometers is along a paved wide road with a rolling profile elevation where one would be pulled by the other faster runners. I was able to maintain a slower pace on this part of the course. It was too early to be racing with the other runners. As I looked around, I would see familiar faces but I did not know whether they are with me in the distance category where I was competing. I guess, at this point, I was almost on the tail-end of the runners of the 50-milers and 60K runners.

CM50 Course Map & Location of Aid Stations

CM50 Course Map & Location of Aid Stations

After 3 kilometers, I started to reach the trailhead with a single-track downhill trail leading to the bank of a river. The bank of the river was a dry bed of lahar-sand and after a few meters, my feet had their first taste of the flowing water of the river which is mixed with lahar-sand. I could feel that my shoes had been absorbing a lot of sand through its upper mesh while I was crossing the river. The flowing water was very shallow but the current was very fast! The river is called Sacobia River and I will be coming back on this wide river on my way back to the Finish Line.

I was using the same headlight that I used last year and it gave me the much needed illumination and it served me well during the race. The Icon Polar Headlight from Black Diamond is a heavy one on the head because it has 4 Double A Batteries as source of power. I don’t complain much on this because this lighting system is very reliable and long-lasting on its power.

The running period for a 4-kilometer of river-lahar with flowing water was so fast that I was seeing myself to be nearing the First Aid Station (Km #7) which was located before an ascending paved road towards a Spa & Wellness Resort. I did not stop at the 1st Aid Station! Once I reached the peak of the paved road by power walking/hiking, it was all downhill on a wide dirt road until it became another road with loose lahar-sand. It was so hard to run on the lahar-sand even if I was following the tracks of wheeled vehicles passing along this road. Because it was still dark, my sight was concentrated on the whitish-color of the lahar-sand as it was illuminated by my powerful headlight. It started to be boring and running to an endless sand!

The loose lahar-sand ultimately led us to a hardened wide dirt road with a high-walled fence on the right side of the road. Because it was still too dark to look around, I could sense that this is a populated village where 4 X 4 jeeps would park and where I would see children play along the road when I was on my way to the finish line in last year’s edition. I knew that after a few meters, I would be turning on a sharp right towards an uphill climb on a cemented stairs! Once I climbed on those stairs, I knew that after a few meters of winding trail, the next challenge will be a steep descent towards some trails of loose lahar-sand (again!).

CM 50-Mile Run Elevation Profile

CM 50-Mile Run Elevation Profile

Once I reached the steep descending trail, I saw a rope with some runners clinging on it while they were on their way down to the foot of the trail. It was my turn to use the rope in going down the trail and it was too easy for me to grasp the rope as I was using a cycling gloves. There were three (3) parts/portions of the rope towards the lowest level of the ground where each part is about 10 meters. I knew that after this descending part, another flowing river with lahar will be the next part of the course.

If there are parts with no marshals on this vast lahar-covered river, there are blinking lights and reflectorized strips that would indicate the correct direction of the course. It is very clear and easy to see those reflectorized strips on the right side of the trail on the first half of the course. There is no reason why a runner should be lost along the course. I guess, my headlight might have a very strong illumination that those reflectorized strips on the trail could be easily seen from afar. Last year, aside from my headlight, I was also using a handheld light which gave me more illumination to a specific direction/location while on the move.

Running on the river with lahar is a big problem for runners whether it is during the day or night. The first problem is that lahar-sand would enter ones shoes most specially when crossing the flowing river whether a runner is wearing a gaiter. The lahar-sand would accumulate in-between the insole and the socks and later on the space between the tips of the toes and the front tip of the inside part of the shoes. The second problem is for the runner to be careful in avoiding the rocks or if they choose to step on the rocks, they should land their foot lightly on them and avoid being “tripped” by them. The third problem, is the “heat” that comes out from the sand when the sun is hot. One should remember that these river-lahar crossing along the course are not covered and every runner is exposed to the heat of the sun, most specially on their way back to the Finish Line. Running on a lahar-sand environment should be a part of ones training if a runner would like to have a good finish time in this event.

After crossing the second river I knew I would be towards an uphill climb and starts running on the ridges of hills and edges of cultivated fields where most of them are sugar plantations. These part of the course is also exposed to the heat of the sun and the trail is loose and dusty! Since I was not particular with the exact time as to how long I’ve been running, I was surprised to see the Second Aid Station/AS2 (Km #16/17) before me! I passed the Aid Station without stopping and I knew I was about to reach the first “mini-tunnel” or “big culvert” of the SCTEX.

AS #2 @ Km #16/17 (Photo Taken From CM50 Facebook Page)

AS #2 @ Km #16/17 (Photo Taken From CM50 Facebook Page)

I was still using my headlight when I reached the second “mini-tunnel” which leads to the Security Checkpoint before reaching the steel bridge. As I reached the third Aid Station/AS3 (Km #23), the RD was there cheering the runners. The RD suggested us to drop by and I answered him that I will drop by on my way back to the Finish Line. I think I had to cover another 3-4 kilometers after passing the AS3 before I finally put off my headlight.

Two kilometers away from the Fourth Aid Station/AS4 (Km #32), I met the first runner of the CM 60K race and it was followed by the 2nd runner. Before reaching the AS4, I was able to meet the third runner of the CM 60K race. I have a “wild guess” that I could be at AS4 after running for the past five (5+) hours. The sun was about to rise from the east horizon!

So far, so good!

To be continued.





General Aguinaldo Trail: Hike & Survey (Part #1)

8 09 2014

General Aguinaldo Trail: Hike & Survey (Part #1)

For four (4) days, I went for a hike and survey to the historic General Aguinaldo Trail from Candon, Ilocos Sur to Lamut, Ifugao which covers an estimated total of almost 300 kilometers of trails and paved roads.

After studying the available maps and sketch of the posted route of General Emilio Aguinaldo, I decided to start the survey and hike at the intersection of Candon Highway with the road going to the towns of Galimuyod, Salcedo and Gregorio Del Pilar. The road intersection is in front of the Candon South Central Elementary School.

In Front Of The Candon City Hall

In Front Of The Candon City Hall

Intersection Candon Highway & Galimuyod-Salcedo Road

Intersection Candon Highway & Galimuyod-Salcedo Road

Another Entry Point To The Candon-Salcedo Road

Another Entry Point To The Candon-Salcedo Road

I’ve been running on the road from the said intersection in Candon to the Poblacion of Salcedo when I was a Battalion Commander where my Headquarters was located at a high elevated portion of the town which is about one kilometer away from the Municipal Hall. The distance from the Highway Intersection is exactly measured as 12 kilometers to the Poblacion of Salcedo.

Candon City Is Famous For Its "Calamay"

Candon City Is Famous For Its “Calamay”

When I was the Battalion Commander of the 60th Infantry Battalion, I would hike up to the peak of Mt Tirad almost every month and I have measured it to about 24 kilometers from my Headquarters, one way. I had to pass and cross the Buaya River for fifteen (15) times before I would reach the intersection road to Gregorio Del Pilar and Sigay, Ilocos Sur. Bringing with me 15 Scout Rangers who are fast hikers would complete my weekend trips to Mt Tirad.

My first step in my survey for the General Aguinaldo Trail was for a courtesy call to the City Mayor of Candon City (Ilocos Sur). The travel from Manila to Candon City is about 5 to 6-hour easy driving in a private vehicle. There are also commercial buses that would pass the city that go to northern destinations like, Vigan, Laoag, or Bangued, Abra. Candon City has also hotels and pension inns located along the Highway and at the Commercial Center of the City. My purpose in paying a courtesy call to the City Mayor of Candon is for him to be aware that his city will be the starting point of the General Aguinaldo Trail. Unluckily, I was not able to catch the presence of the City Mayor in his office after his meeting with his City Council.

Candon Hotel Along The National Highway

Candon Hotel Along The National Highway

My next visit from Candon City was towards the town of Salcedo where I’ve stayed for almost seven months in 1995 and where I’ve established my Command Post while my Battalion was in charge of the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Abra in our efforts to solve the insurgency situation in the area.

I was surprised to be entertained as a special guest at the Resort of the Former Mayor of the town, who happens to be the Municipal Mayor when I was posted in the area. For the two days that I’ve stayed in the Candon-Galimuyod-Salcedo-Gregorio del Pilar area, the Resort became as my “Base of Operations”.

My Adventure's "Base Of Operations"

My Adventure’s “Base Of Operations”

On my second day, I went for a hike from Salcedo to the town of Gregorio Del Pilar, the trailhead of Mt Tirad. I was surprised to see that there is already a paved road on the side of a mountain that connects the two municipalities. However, the road does not completely avoided the crosssing of the Buaya River. I was surprised that I had to cross the river for two times only instead of 15 times!

Salcedo-Dregorio Del Pilar Road

Salcedo-Gregorio Del Pilar Road

A View of The Buaya River From The Road

A View of The Buaya River From The Road

Along the way, I had a chance to talk to the people whose houses were located beside the route and where little convenience stores are located. I will post a separate story on these encounters and conversations with the local people.

From the intersection of Gregorio del Pilar and Sigay towns and after crossing the river for two times, a paved road which is 6 kilometers in distance would lead me to the Poblacion of Gregorio Del Pilar. The paved road is covered with trees and thick vegetation as I could see the peak of Mt Tirad getting closer. I have observed that the trail that I’ve been using during my hikes to the town 19 years ago was still being used by the farmers who would walk from one barangay to another and before reaching the Poblacion of Gregorio del Pilar.

Forest Along The Route

Forest Along The Route

Clean Water On Creeks Along The Route

Clean Water On Creeks Along The Route

In less than two hours of hiking and jogging from the Intersection of Sigay and Gregorio del Pilar, I was able to reach the Poblacion of Gregorio del Pilar. The place seems to be congested with buildings and houses. There is a newly-constructed Municipal Hall, a separate Rural Health Office/Clinic One-Storey Building, and the Municipal Plaza is now covered with roof which could be transformed into a basketball court and Assembly Area. The old Municipall Hall is still there and being used as additional offices.

Intersection Road For Gregorio Del Pilar and Sigay

Intersection Road For Gregorio Del Pilar and Sigay

Road Intersection For Sigay & Gregorio Del Pilar

Road Intersection For Sigay & Gregorio Del Pilar

The Municipal Mayor is a lady but unfortunately, she was not in the area but her staff in her office were very kind, courteous, and accommodating. I was able to make a very quick rapport with her secretary and the administrator of the Municipal’s Facebook account. The young and energetic Municipal Tourism Officer, Macario Burgos, was able to brief me about the tourism developments in the town. All the needed information about Mt Tirad and the Municipality were provided by Mr Burgos. He even gave me additional information about the General Aguinaldo Trail.

In Front Of The New Municipal Hall of Gregorio Del Pilar, Ilocos Sur

In Front Of The New Municipal Hall of Gregorio Del Pilar, Ilocos Sur

Macario Burgos, Municipal Tourism Officer Of Gregorio Del Pilar

Macario Burgos, Municipal Tourism Officer Of Gregorio Del Pilar

There is only one eatery/restaurant in the Poblacion and Mr Burgos was kind enough to accompany me and joined me for lunch. At the eatery, I was able to talk to more locals who would drop by to have their lunch. The Municipality had progressed due to tourism and agriculture since the mid-90s.

After lunch, I decided not to proceed to the peak of Mt Tirad having known the place and distance from the Poblacion when I was assigned in the area. I’ve found out that the Municipal Tourism has a registration area at the Trailhead at Barangay Mabatano and every hiker has to pay an Environmental Protection Fee of P 20.00. In my future thru-hike along the General Aguinaldo Trail, I will have to be back to this place and renew my experience in reaching the peak of Mt Tirad.

Getting back to my “Base of Operations” in Salcedo was uneventful and my staff and I had an easy jog and hike for the distance of 12 kilometers. We had more time to appreciate the beauty of the scenery and take more pictures on the things that we saw along the way.

The following picture gallery will explain more about my hike from Salcedo to Gregorio Del Pilar and back.

WELCOME Arch @ Gregorio Del Pilar's Poblacion

WELCOME Arch @ Gregorio Del Pilar’s Poblacion

River Intersection, Lagoon, Hanging Bridge, Beautiful Mountain & Hills, & Green Scenery

River Intersection, Lagoon, Hanging Bridge, Beautiful Mountain & Hills, & Green Scenery

River Crossing #1

River Crossing #1

River Crossing For Motorcycles @ P20 Each

River Crossing For Motorcycles @ P20 Each

River Crossing #2

River Crossing #2

Vulcanizing Shop On The Trail?

Vulcanizing Shop On The Trail?

The Reason Why There Is A Vulcanizing Shop!

The Reason Why There Is A Vulcanizing Shop!

Hanging Bridges Along Salcedo-Gregorio Del Pilar Road

One Of The Hanging Bridges Along Salcedo-Gregorio Del Pilar Road

Afternoon Snacks Before Reaching My Base Of Operations

Afternoon Snacks Before Reaching Back To My Base Of Operations

Muddy Trail During The Rainy Season

Muddy Trail During The Rainy Season

To be continued.








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