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.





Gerald Tabios: First Pinoy (New) Badwater 135-Mile Race Finisher

8 08 2014

Benjamin Gaetos opened the floodgates for Pinoy Ultra Runners to shine in the prestigious Badwater 135 Ultra Marathon Race which is considered as the “toughest ultra running race in the world” today. As history would place in its proper perspective and understanding, Benjamin Gaetos is already considered as the FIRST and LAST Pinoy Ultra Runner who finished the ORIGINAL Badwater 135 Ultra which starts in Badwater, California (hence, the name Badwater in the title of the race), 280 feet below sea level up to Mt Whitney’s Portal at an elevation of 8,360 feet above sea level in 44:08:07 hours where the cut-off time is 48 hours.

With the latest restrictions and policy from the newly designated Superintendent of the Death Valley Park, the conduct of endurance sports activity is being prohibited and held in abeyance before a thorough study is being published to review on the safety of participants in such events being held in the said area. However, such restriction did not prevent the Race Organizer to conduct the annual event for the ultra runners but instead of starting and passing through the extreme hot environment of the Death Valley Park, the event was held at the adjacent Owens Valley which is equally challenging as the original route with the prevailing summer heat and more gain in elevation. The New Badwater 135 course covers three mountain pass ascents for a total of over 17,000 feet (5,800 meters) of cumulative vertical ascent and 12, 700 feet (4,450 meters) of cumulative descent.

In this year’s New Badwater 135 route, two Filipinos, Gerald Tabios and Tomas Zaide have been qualified and invited by the Race Organizers to join the event. But for me to be more focused on my story, this article will be devoted as a tribute to Gerald Tabios as the FIRST Pinoy Ultra Runner to have finished the New Badwater 135 Ultra Marathon Race.

Route Of The New Badwater 135 Ultra Marathon

Route Of The New Badwater 135 Ultra Marathon

The First Peak For The Runners: Horseshoe Meadow At 9,000 Feet Above Sea Level (Photo Courtesy Of Michelle Barton)

The First Peak For The Runners: Horseshoe Meadows At 9,900 Feet Above Sea Level (Photo Courtesy Of Michelle Barton)

Intersection Of Heaven & Hell (Going To Panamint & Lone Pine)

Road Intersection To “Heaven & Hell” (Going To Cerro Gordo, Panamint  Springs & Back To Lone Pine And To The Finish Line @ Mt Whitney Portal)

I became aware of Gerald Tabios’ participation in the New Badwater 135 from a news story published in the On Line Edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Surprised that he has no account on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, I immediately browse his name at UltraSignUp and I was amazed with his ultra race portfolio/resume of his ultra finishes. He had finished a lot of 100-miler races in the Eastern part of the US, particularly in New York City and its suburbs and he placed  as a Champion in one of the 100K races in the area and a number of them where he finished in the top 3 podium finishes. Notable of these ultra running accomplishments were the following:

Champion in the 2014 Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 100K Ultra Race held in New Preston, Connecticut with a time of 9:46:03 hours

2nd Overall Champion in the 2013 Three Days At The Fair Running Event (48 Hours Timed Event) in Augusta, Georgia where he was able to run a distance of 143 miles.

Consistent and 3-Time Finisher of The Great New York City Running Exposition 100-Mile Race with a best time of 21:22:34 hours.

Since his family migrated in New York, USA in 2001, he had his taste of his first Marathon Race finish at the New York City Marathon and since then, he had been a “streaker” of this most popular and the World’s Biggest Marathon Race for the past nine (9) years! Even if he considers himself as a slow marathon runner, he prides himself with an impressive Marathon Finish time of 3:31:32 hours at the Central Park Marathon in New York City. Aside from his numerous ultra events that are listed in the UltraSignUp Website, he had finished a total of 25 Marathon Races.

I was impressed with his ultra race results as his age as an ultra runner is still at his prime of 44 years old. Gerald is still starting as an ultra runner for the past 2 years but he has made already a great impression to his peers and to myself as a hardcore ultra runner. I have no doubt then that he will finish the New Badwater 135 even if he is not exposed to hotter environment (as compared to the East Coast’s climate) and he had never set his foot in the extreme heat and gusty winds within the desert mountains of California.

@Horseshoe Meadows Road

Gerald @ Horseshoe Meadows Road

As an old runner and firm believer of the Arthur Lydiard Way, I believe that there must be something in Gerald’s childhood that greatly contributed in his passion and craving for running events. He was born in Malaybalay City (Bukidnon) on September 12, 1969 but he did not have to walk on mountain trails in order to finish his elementary and high school education as the family house is only a “stone’s throw” to the schools. His interest in running started when he was in high school with his brothers, who happened to be running enthusiasts during the “running boom in the 80′s”, and they would tow him along in public parks and streets in their jogging practices. He could still remember when spending vacation in Manila that his brothers would bring him jogging around a big street block in Quezon City which happens to be where the ABS-CBN Compound is located along the Mother Ignacia Street.

Surprisingly, a local elite runner who hails from Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Ronilo Indapan became his running idol and inspiration. Ronilo Indapan had been a consistent MILO Marathon Finals Qualifier in the 1980′s and he was then the pride of Malaybalay in Long Distance Running as he was sent to Manila with “free trip and accommodation” to and from Manila to join the MILO Marathon Finals. He could be the father of one of my former elite runners who is now a soldier of the Philippine Army, got married to my Secretary/Staff and now living with two children.

Gerald @ Highway 136 Towards Panamint Springs

Gerald @ Highway 136 Towards Panamint Springs

With Ronilo Indapan, a local running hero in their place, as his role model and inspiration, and with his brothers’  interest in joining running events, he started to train and join the annual MILO 10K Runs in Cagayan De Oro City from 1994-1997; and progressed to a longer distance event by joining and finishing the The Tri-City International 25K Race in Cebu City in 1995 & 1996. He even mentioned that his brothers would buy him running tops/singlets and shorts made by BOTAK; and ADIDAS Jogging Pants and Sweaters!

Gerald was neither a high school nor a college athlete, he just simply love and have fun in running long distance events. He finished his college education with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan in Cagayan De Oro City.

Twelve years later after he migrated to the USA with lots of Marathon and Ultra Marathon Finishes and most specially when he finished as 2nd Overall Champion in the 2013 Three Days At The Fair 48-Hour Run, he decided to send a letter of request to the Race Organizer of Badwater 135 for him to be included in the List Of Qualified Participants in this year’s edition. And the rest is history.

Rest & Recover y For Gerald During The Race

Rest & Recovery For Gerald During The Race

However, his toughness as a 100-Miler and Ultra Podium Finisher is not enough for him to secure an easy race and finish at Badwater 135. With a 48-hour cut-off time to run a distance of 135 miles with extreme heat, gusty winds and additional gain in elevation as compared with the original Badwater route, the presence and time-clock precision of pacing and assistance from his Support Crew is equally half of the effort for an ultra runner to finish this brutal ultra running event. Gerald was ably assisted by the following members of his Support Crew dubbed as the “Team Tabios”—-his wife Donna; Kat Bermudez, a Registered Nurse in New York City; and his brother Glen Tabios, a UP Diliman Professor and Civil Engineering Chairman who flew all the way from Manila. It was unfortunate that friends and relatives of Gerald in New York City came up with a nice Uniform for everybody in the team with the word BADWATER printed on them and they could not wear them during the race as it violates one of the Rules and Regulations of the Race—the word “BADWATER” is a registered trademark of the Race Organizer and nobody is allowed to use it in any form by any of the participants. Violation of any rules or regulations of the event would mean an outright Disqualification from the race.

Brother Glen, Imported From The Philippines, Had Unlimited Water Spray & Cheers To Gerald

Brother Glen, Imported From The Philippines, Had Unlimited Water Spray & Cheers To Gerald

Practically, Gerald and the members of the Team Tabios are “first-timers” in the desert environment of California. Based from the FB Status of Kat Bermudez who happens to be the an ultra runner and wife of a PMA Graduate and former comrade-officer in the Philippine Army, the Team landed in San Francisco coming from New York City. Kat was always complaining about the lack of Parking Spaces in the Windy and By The Sea City of San Francisco! It was too late to suggest to her that the team should have landed in Los Angeles! However, during the event, I never heard Kat from complaining about where to park the Team’s Support Vehicle along the desert of California! It was Kat’s regular FB Status Feeds that gave much information and pictures of Gerald’s “real-time” situation during the race as she later became the Official Pacer of Gerald; Donna, due to her observation on how the elite runners are being supported in Gerald’s past ultra races, she became the overall “conductor of a symphony orchestra” for all the Support Team members to be “playing the same tune” so to speak, and bring Gerald to the finish line strong, safe, and without any injury. Glen, Donna, and Kat did a splendid job as their Principal Runner, Gerald did not have any bouts of cramping, GI issues of “throwing up” of ingested food; dizziness and hallucinations; chafing; blisters; or dehydration. Gerald followed his pace, ate and drank his nutrition and did not mind the pace of the other runners. With patience and determination, Gerald finished the 2014 Badwater 135-Mile Ultra Marathon Race in 44:40:40 hours ranking as #69 out of 97 starters.

Ultra Runner Kat Bermudez As The Pacer Of Gerald

Ultra Runner Kat Bermudez As The Pacer Of Gerald

I was expecting Gerald to relate to me a little “drama” if he ever encountered some nasty feelings or pain in any parts of his body or doubts in his mind about the challenges he has to face or had any complaints about the hot weather, gusty winds in the desert and those additional gains in elevation of the new route. He said that he did not have any “drama” or “issues” with his body and the environment during the race. It speaks well of his good training/preparation and firm resolve to finish the race.  If you closely observe his running attire and shoes, he did not change them except when he removed his gaiters and changed his wet socks. Would you believe that he used a New Balance 860 V3 shoes which he bought On Sale at Marshall’s for the price of $49.00 and with cotton socks from GAP? I wonder if Gerald has a bloodline to my own tribe which is the Ilocano!

Knowing that he had already recovered from this brutal course, I asked him about his training in preparation for this event. He humbly said that for the past year leading to the event, he was logging 40-50 miles a week where most of his weekday runs were his daily 6-mile runs from his home/apartment in Queens to this work in Manhattan, New York City. On weekends, he starts very early in the morning for his long runs but he makes sure to be back before mid-day and spend most of the remaining time of the day with his wife and kids, a boy and a girl (11 and 7 years old). He proudly said that he works as a Private Family Driver in Manhattan, New York City but remotely managing a small business that he owns in the Philippines. His humility would not show that his family, specially his father, grew up in a family of politicians and entrepreneur in their province.

Team TABIOS: Brother Glen; Wife Donna, & Ultra Runner Friend Kat

Team TABIOS: Brother Glen; Wife Donna, & Ultra Runner Friend Kat

Not even money or financial requirements for the event would hinder Gerald’s passion to the sports of ultra running. Gerald’s and his wife’s savings amounting to $3,000 financed his dream to finish the event and it covered for the Registration Fee for the Race ($1,050); RT Ticket for Gerald & Wife ($850); Support Vehicle/Van Rental ($600); Hotel Accommodation in Lone Pine, California For 5 Days ($550); and Food & Miscellaneous Needs ($400). His brother Glen and friend Kat shouldered their own RT plane tickets from Manila and New York City, respectively. Gerald’s relatives and friends residing in Los Angeles, California had also supported the team by lending those much-needed ice cooler/chest for his nutrition/hydration and cold towel/water spray.

Gerald was able to raise the amount of $1,200 for his charity through the US Fund for UNICEF which will ultimately be used in the rehabilitation/rebuiding of the damage structures brought about by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in Leyte and Samar. Gerald is a simple and humble guy with strong legs and a big heart!

When I asked him,  “What will be your next adventure in ultra running?” He answered, ” Sir, I hope to run a distance of 180 miles in the next year’s edition of the Three Days At The Fair in May 2015 in Augusta, New Jersey and be able to improve my 143-mile record this year.”

And then, I asked him again, “What keeps you on “going and going” like that Energizer Bunny in the TV Ads?” He replied, “Running is the simplest sports that I know which has only ONE RULE—Do not stop running until you cross the Finish Line!”

But jokingly he added, “It is your fault, Sir BR! When I started regularly reading your blog three years ago, it transformed me to be a “crazy runner” like you!”

We both laughed and I raised my hand and I gave him a snappy salute!

Well done and Congratulations, Gerald! You made our country proud among the toughest and strongest runners in the world!

Carry On, Warrior!

"Do not stop running until you cross the finish line."

“Do not stop running until you cross the finish line.”

(Note: Photos of Gerald Were Shared Through The Courtesy of Donna Tabios)

 

 





Raising The Bar

7 08 2014

Next year will be the 7th edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race (BDM 102) and I firmly believe that this running event opened the awareness of our local runners on the possibility to finish a running event more than the distance of a Marathon Race. Its historical significance and the experience of past finishers had lured a lot of new marathon runner-finishers for them to train and finish the race. And slowly it is becoming more prestigious that you can not call yourself as a “full-blooded” ultra marathoner among the local Filipino runners if you have not finished this race. Better yet, if you consider yourself as a Race Director/Organizer of a local ultra running event.

Almost yearly, the course record of the BDM 102 had been broken by what we consider as our “elite runners” and nothing happens after that for them to be exposed to other ultra running competitions abroad and find out how they would compare themselves to international runners. With the help of ultra running friends and former comrades in the military service, I was able to expose some of these elite runners in three instances but these were the notable results: (1) Alquin Bolivar, an active Philippine Army soldier set a National Record for 100K with a time of 9:04:23 hours and placed #6 among the fast ultra runners of Asia in an IAU-sanctioned Asian 100K Championship Road Race in Jeju, South Korea in 2010 and (2) Marcelo Bautista, a 9:45:59-hour finisher of BDM 102, who placed #15 in the 2013 Hongkong 100K Trail Ultra Race among 1,250 runners coming from different countries with a time of 12:08:42 hours making him a qualifier for the prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in California, USA.

Due to different factors and reasons of which I don’t have any control, I could no longer afford to send such “elite” athletes to international ultra running competition. If TNF Philippines could not even afford to send the Champion of its yearly TNF100 to any of the Southeast Asian TNF100 events, how much more for a “pensioner” like me who does not have any profit from having less than 100 runners in my regular ultra races.

There are potential “elite” ultra runners among us who would like to be exposed to international races but I have the observation and personal opinion that they lack two of the most important considerations or attitude which are very paramount for me aside from the fact that they lack the financial resources: Loyalty and Humility.

Loyalty? Do I need to define what is loyalty? Humility? Do I need to define this word also? If you are one of the local ultra runners who know me personally or had been reading my blog since the time I created this, you would know what I am talking about. If you are new in this blog and don’t know me personally, you can always “search” for my rants and random thoughts in my past posts.

So, if you have the influence or the capability to send our elite ultra runners to international competition, you can do also your share in this effort. If you are one of the “Big Shots” in the Government Service or in the Private Corporate World, you can be a great help to these potential elite runners making sure to test them of their “loyalty and humility”.

For those who have the time, money and resources to participate in international races and considered as our “elite” ultra runners, the whole local ultra running community will be behind you to cheer and pray for your safety in your travel and for a competitive resolve to be faster and stronger than the other runners.

This brings me to a more focused observation to our “elite” ultra runners who are competing (not participating) in an international ultra running event. It is assumed that if you are an “elite” ultra runner, you are supposed to compete with the best of the other international runners. There is no doubt that your sole purpose and focus in this race is to be able to finish the race as fast as you could within the confines of your skill, talent, training and mental fortitude. It is assumed also that you have figured out, through your training and preparation, the best race and nutrition strategy for such event. There is NO point of thinking that you are there to simply to FINISH the race event. The ultimate aim of an “elite” ultra runner is to be able to land and place as one of the podium finishers (top 3 or top 10), period!

For the “middle-of-the pack”, their purpose and goal is to be able to pass or overtake as many runners as they can before they cross the finish line. These are the ultra runners who keep on coming back every year to improve their Personal Best or PR times for the event. They find satisfaction to beat a friend or an opponent or a training partner, whether their satisfaction is for bragging rights among other runners or silently praising himself/herself that he/she could improve some more. These are serious runners who always find ways and means for them to be faster, stronger and smarter ultra runners. They keep on improving with the end view of someday joining in one of the international ultra running events as part of their “bucket list” given with a well-balanced family and job/professional career. I can say in my opinion that these are the “Silver Medalists” in the past BDM 102 editions.

The “back-of-the pack” are mostly “whiners”, “fakers” in their training, pressured by their peers to join, old and aging runners who would like to put a tab on their “bucket list” before they fade away (that’s me!), non-believers to accept that they are little heavy in weight and very slow in running and ask a lot of unnecessary TLC in Aid Stations, those who don’t accept that they are injured in their training, and those who always have a laminated printed copy with them of their targeted split time in every kilometer post along the route in order to avoid being cut-off from the race. I call these runners as “hit or miss” ultra runners.

As more ultra running events, whether road or trail, are being organized in the country, there is a possibility of more runners being lured into joining ultra running events and you can easily distinguish them as the “elite”, “middle-of-the pack” or “back-of-the-pack” ultra runners. I just hope that their interest will not end once they finish the BDM 102. As for the elite runners, I am still confident that private individuals and/or corporate brands will be able to support and send them to prestigious international ultra running events, whether they are in Asia/Australia, Europe or in the USA/Canada, in the years to come.

If former President Marcos was able to invite past Boston Marathon Champions and Marathon Olympic Medalist in the past to be as special guest/runner and if MVP can bring a whole NBA Team to the country to play with our National Basketball Team or send our Basketball Team to play tune-up training games to a popular and former NBA Champion Team in the USA, I have the strong belief that our ultra runners will soon be running side by side with elite ultra runners worldwide or for these world’s elite runners to be running in our local ultra races.

I hope and pray that these things will happen before I finally fade away from ultra running as a “back-of-the-pack” runner!

Mountain Hiking, here I come!

Mt Whitney & PCT Within My Reach

Mt Whitney & PCT Are Within My Reach





Foam Rollers

31 07 2014

I am a “late comer” on the use of this item, most specially now that I’ve concentrated my running workouts on the mountain trails. How I wished I have this item as soon as it was available in the market.

For the past years since Foam Rollers were available in the market, I ignored them because I have my own staff/aide who had been giving me almost a daily massage. For a change, I decided to have a try using this foam roller.

I know that there are so many types of foam rollers in the market but I am more interested to have the “original” foam roller. So, I was able to buy one which I think the cheapest in the market.

It is very easy to use. The item has a booklet inside its package and the instructions on how to use are very easy to follow. Basically, you have to use the weight of your body to put pressure on your muscle to the roller foam. Whenever I feel a sore spot in the my muscle, I would spend more time to roll the foam on the said spot until I get a relief or the soreness is diminished.

After reading some posts on the Internet about its use and product review, I came up with the discovery and information that one should refrain from doing so much stretching on the IT Bands. You could “google” such topic on the Internet for more details. You could feel the pain or soreness of the IT Bands if you use the Foam Roller on them but because of the information, I try not to spend so much time “rolling” on my IT Bands.

I concentrate more in using the Foam Roller on my quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and gluteus muscles. Surprisingly, I am addicted in using it whether for my stretching routine or to relieve sore muscles in my legs. I usually use the Foam Roller at least twice a day; after a running workout and before going to bed at night. Thirty minutes per session will be a good and relaxing time for your legs!

It is highly recommended to use the Foam Roller with your Yoga Mat; a carpet; or on the floor. It is guaranteed that your muscles will be happy and relieved every time after your daily “foam rolling” sessions.

My RED Foam Roller

My RED Foam Roller

But wait, I have read somewhere that if the Foam Rollers are not available in the market or too expensive in ones budget, a piece of PVC pipe will be a good substitute. Although, I haven’t tried it, it would be nice to experiment on it.

Good luck and have fun in your daily runs!





Shoe Review: ALTRA Lone Peak 2.0

29 07 2014

Few months ago, I bought an ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 trail shoes and after using it on my trail running workouts and putting almost 300 kilometers as mileage, I came up with a Shoe Review which I posted here in this blog. I was satisfied with the shoes with their Zero Drop concept and wider toe box but not so much on its weight when it is wet with my sweat and during my river/creek crossing; its sole traction when running on muddy trails where the sole would gather a lot of mud that would make the shoe heavier to the running legs; and the long period of time for the wet shoes to dry up during its use or when it is being “air dried”.

I concluded in my shoe review that the trail shoes is not suited for the muddy trails in our mountains (Philippines) but best suited for dry trails, loose gravel, rocky and technical as long as the trail is dry! I am not surprised on this because the shoes was conceptualized on what is written on the shoebox of every ALTRA Shoes.

Wet & Soaked ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5

Wet & Soaked ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5

For about a week, I had been running on my new ALTRA Lone Peak 2.0 trail shoes. As soon as the shoes arrived, I immediately used it for my daily stretching and calisthenics. I immediately felt a big improvement on the cushioning of the shoes. This is a big improvement from the Lone Peak 1.5. The shoe lace is replaced with a flat and lighter material, a big improvement from the LP 1.5 heavier and rounded laces. The shoe tongue had been shortened for about half inch. The big ALTRA sign and mountain logo on the outer side had been removed, together with the “black net pattern” and white leather that you can see on the inner side of the shoes. What I don’t understand the reason why ALTRA placed a leather on the #3 and #4 holes for the shoe laces. It could be for aesthetic reason where small prints of the shoe model is written but it is not necessary to sew such where the laces should pass through. The rudder at the back/heel portion of the shoes is still there but it is shortened. The velcro (with cover) for the gaiter is still there. There is a new pattern of lugs on the sole but I still have some reservations on how it would work on muddy trails. The lugs have the same thickness with that of the LP 1.5.

Thicker Sole and Simple Shoe Logo

Thicker Sole and Simple Shoe Logo

The big improvement on the cushioning is due to a thicker sole, 3 mm thicker than the LP 1.5 and a thicker insole which is 5 mm. There is no change in the “Uppers” of the new LP 2.0 from its predecessor. It means that the new model has the same problem with its water retention, slower drying time and heavier weight when it is wet.

More Comfortable To The Feet

More Comfortable To The Feet

On the website of ALTRA, the Lone Peak 2.0 has a weight of 11.4 ounces while the Lone Peak 1.5 is 9.9 ounces for shoe size 9. It means that the latest model had sacrificed or made some trade off for its weight by adding more cushioning and comfort for the feet. So, this is the reason why I could hardly noticed the weight of the shoes because of the comfortable feeling every time my foot strikes the ground.

The Same "Uppers" With The Lone Peak 1.5

The Same “Uppers” With The Lone Peak 1.5

Lugs/Sole Print On The Trail

Lugs/Sole Print On The Trail

For almost 100 kilometers as mileage for this new trail shoes, I am satisfied with how it performed on my feet and on the trails. If you ask me why I did not order for the “Yellow Bus”? I have already my yellow La Sportiva Bushido and this is my first time to have a black colored trail shoes. So, the black “Ninja” shoes was ordered as part of my trail running arsenal.

With this kind of trail shoes, the challenge now for me is how to run faster with them on the uphills, downhills, rocky and technical trails, muddy trails, and when they are completely wet from my sweat and after creek and river crossings. With a new 5.6-kilometer loop of ascending and descending trails as my “testing” ground, I hope to compare this shoes with the other trail shoes in my tempo/progression runs.

I highly recommend the new ALTRA Lone Peak 2.0 as your training trail shoes and if you can manage to adapt on it as your racing trail shoes, then go ahead. Your feet will be happy to finish an ultra distance with them!





Trail Running By GoPro

10 06 2014





Trail Running Tips

28 05 2014

This post was taken from the Runner’s World Magazine’s article from Coach Jenny’s (Jenny Hadfield) Training Tips.

If you are new to trail running, the following tips are very easy to follow and understand. The list is a good reference and guide for serious trail runners.

Good luck and have fun on the trails.

The following is the link to the said article:

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/21-quick-trail-running-tips?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-RunnersWorld-_-Content-Training-_-TrailTips








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