Things That Went Right During The Zamboanga 50K Run

1 10 2015

Since it is the first PAU-sponsored event in Zamboanga City and being the one who suggested this event to be conducted, I have to join this race as one of the participants. It is also a part of my “evaluation runs” to test if my training program is working and to determine some feedback on the improvements of my speed, endurance, and nutrition. Lastly, it is also a way of sharing my experience to my readers, hoping that one day they will be a part of this race.

The following are the things that went right (nothing went wrong) during my race:

  1. Nutrition & Hydration——It is the most important thing that one have to plan and have a strategy to be strictly followed. Although there are Aid Stations along the route, I was not well-informed on the details and what kind of drinks and food that are available in the race. Although, I have a general idea of what to expect in those Aid Stations. So, I brought my own “mini-nutrition pack” stashed in my Ultimate Direction (UD) Belt. I had 2 Packs of Clif Bloks (one pack in the UD Belt & one pack in my shorts front pocket); one Meal Bar (in my UD Belt); and two (2) GU Gels stashed in my shorts back pockets. I have also a CarboPro mix (with water) in my Simple Hydration Bottle and 2 Packs of it in my other Simple Hydration Bottle and in a tiny 3-oz bottle (without liquid). I brought with me two (2) Simple Hydration Bottles where one of it is filled with CarboPro Mix without water and the other one with water mixed with CarboPro. Both bottles were clipped with my UD Belt and placed on the back of my waist. A reserve CarboPro powder was inside a 3-oz bottle which is stashed in one of the pockets of my UD Belt.

My Nutrition & Hydration Strategy went this way: Eat 3 pieces of Clif Bloks every hour or when I feel hungry; sip my Carbo Pro mix every time my GPS watch makes a “beep” sound which tells me that I just finished one mile which is approximately equivalent to 14-16 minutes; drink at least 16-oz of cold water in each of the Aid Stations; eat something solid and fruits in the Aid Stations; take one Succeed S-Cap Capsule every 1.5 hours; and then mix the remaining CarboPro mix with Gatorade Drinks. The routine was repetitive and boring but it was the key for having successfully finished the race without any issues or problems.

CarboPro Powder Mix

CarboPro Powder Mix

2. Run Light——I did not use a hydration vest in this race and I only used my UD Belt where I stashed my IPhone and my food/mix powder. I was practically running with one Simple Hydration Bottle with liquid in it entire the race. I would have been lighter if I did not bring my Clif Protein Bar and two (2) GU Gel Packs but these food were my “reserves” just in case of any “bonking” during the race. I was using my Hoka One One Huaka which is more of Road Shoe but it is the lightest shoes that I can use for this race. No need for Calf Sleeves; Arm Sleeves; or Gaiters for this run.

3. Metronome——For the past months, whether it is a trail run workout or speed workout on the flat paved roads, I would use the Metronome Application stored/downloaded in my iPhone. This is the very reason why I had my IPhone with me with only one earbud on either on my right or left ear during the race. Metronome Application is now available Free for download and it is very useful in my making sure I was consistent in my running cadence. My Metronome is set at 180 steps per minute and the “tick-tock” sound could be easily followed every time I step each foot on the ground. Since my steps are short, quick and fast, I could easily keep in step with the beat. In the early 70s whenever I join Marathon Races, I’ve been using a metronome which was installed in earlier models of TIMEX/CASIO Running watches where there was no need for earphones. The continuous beat would remind or motivate you to keep up with your cadence during the run. Try it in your training runs and you will be surprised on how fast you can keep up with your pace. Additionally, it will generate constant reminder and at the same time distract the pain and suffering you are experiencing during the run. Whether I am the in the ascending or descending parts of the route, the metronome reminded me to maintain my cadence even if I was power hiking on the ascents.

The Actual Metronome

The Actual Metronome

4. Heart Rate Monitor——As soon as I reached the first peak of the course (Km #7), my HR reached its highest Average Record of 163 beats per minute (bpm) which happens to be my Maximum Heart Rate as shown by my Suunto Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch. I made a quick stop and rest at AS 1 by drinking some water and eating a suman (rice cake). It was a quick stop just to lower my HR and after about a minute, I continued the race by walking and only started to jog again when my HR was lowered to 150 bpm. Throughout the race, I was monitoring HR every mile and I was satisfied that I was able to maintain an average of 150 beats per minute and would not exceed my Maximum Heart Rate of 163 bpm in the steep ascents. Through my HR Monitor, I did not feel any tiring moments even when I was hiking up the “Gulod de Medyo” area.

5. Electrolytes & Salt Tablets——Aside from the CarboPro mix, I used one tablet of GU Electrolyte Tablet every bottle of mixed drinks and constantly orally had taken Succeed S-Caps Capsule every 1.5 hours throughout the race. While my drink mix maintain the continuous replenishment of electrolyte loss through excessive sweating, the S-Cap Capsules made me pee regularly and try to give some feedback on the color of my urine if I am dehydrated or not. This combination of Electrolyte Tablets and S-Caps had been very effective to me in my training for the past 2 months.

6. Quick & Short Stops In The Aid Station——Except for the “turn-around” points where I refilled my bottles (with the CarboPro & Electrolyte Tablet inside) with Gatorade, ate some foods, and drink at least one bottle of 16-oz mineral water and some Cola drinks, where I would spend at least 3 minutes, the rest of the Aid Stations were short and quick to pick-up some bottled water to drink and then leave to continue the race. I think I spent not more than 2 minutes in these remaining Aid Stations during the race. I ate my Clif Bloks and then drinking my CarboPro mix while I was hiking the ascents.

7. No “Selfies” & Unnecessary Picture Taking——Taking some pictures with ones camera or IPhone is very cumbersome and very irritating sometimes as you have to bring out and bring in your camera to your race belt’s pocket or hydration pocket. If it is wrapped with Ziploc or some plastic pouch, the opening and closing of this protection from being wet and damped would entail some unnecessary movements that result to being not focused to the main task of running efficiently. Even if it takes a few seconds to “point and shout” ones camera, if these seconds are totaled or accumulated, it would add up to more minutes of delay on the course. Since there are members of the Running Photographers in the race, I just let them, as the experts with better cameras, take my pictures and just wait for them to post their pictures on Facebook.

In a nutshell, proper training/preparation where one has to test his apparel, hydration system, nutrition & hydration strategy and positive mental attitude is the key to a successful finish in an ultra running event. Although, running is an experiment of one, I hope my experience will guide you or test the above mentioned factors if you can adopt them or incorporate them in your running style or manner of finishing an ultra running event/race.


Round Trip Ticket (Cebu Pacific)——P 1,200.00 (Promo Fare/Sponsored By ZRC)

Hotel Accommodation & Meal——P 4,000.00 (2 Days)

Gratuitous Expenses (Tips)—-P 500.00

Total Expenses——P 5,700.00

My Running Kit (Picture By Running Photographers @ Km #17)

My Running Kit (Picture By Running Photographers @ Km #17)

Even if I am not an sponsored athlete, I would mention the things that I’ve used during the event:

Running Shorts & Shirt——ASICS

Running Shoes——Hoka One One Huaka

Runner’s Cap & Compression Shorts——Under Armour


Buff/Neck Sleeves——BUFF

GPS Watch——SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak

Hydration Bottles——Simple Hydration Bottles

Race Belt & Pouch——Ultimate Direction


Nutrition——CarboPro Powder Mix; Succeed S-Caps; GU Electrolyte Tablets; Clif Bloks; Water & Gatorade (@Aid Station); Rice Cake (Suman), Boiled Banana, Ripe Bananas, Watermelon, & Hotdog Sandwich (@Aid Station)

My training continues…Go out and run!

Race Report: 1st Zamboanga City Mountain 50K Ultra Marathon Race

29 09 2015

History of the Race

Last January of this year, I was invited by the Zamboanga Runners Club (ZRC) to conduct a Running Lecture and Clinic to its members in Zamboanga City During my stay in the city, Derick Rhodz, one of the ultra runners in this Club, invited me for a short run in his “playground” which is basically on the mountain range just north of the City Proper (Pasonanca Park and beyond). It was an “out and back” route with a distance of 7 kilometers but I was impressed with the scenery of the City Proper, the Santa Cruz Islands, the sea and the rest of the mountain once I reached the first peak of the route. For the said short distance, my GPS watch registered a total elevation gain of 1,600+ feet and I was impressed. I suggested to Derick and the rest of the ZRC members that they should conduct an ultra running event in those mountain range that will showcase the City as an ultra running destination. I gave them the challenge and after seven months, the race event became a reality. And I prepared myself to join this race.

Event's Ads & Logo

Event’s Ads & Logo

Race Briefing

The Race Briefing was conducted with a Dinner the day before the race at the Starting Area—-Palmeras De Zamboanga Hotel. It was attended by runners coming from Metro Manila/Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with a total of 63 registered runners. As presented in the Race Briefing, the route is an “out and back” with a mixed concrete and wide “dirt and rocky” road that goes up to the mountain and its ridges. There are directional signs in key intersections and turning points and there is no way that any runner would be lost along the way as most of these points are manned by Marshals. There are five (5) Aid Stations where four (4) them would be used or passed by the runners on their way back to the Finish Line. In a span of 50 kilometers, one will be “serviced” or supported by a total of nine (9) Aid Stations. These Aid Stations will be manned by some of the members of the ZRC and their friends who served as volunteers for the event. The Finish Area is the same as the Start Area and it was a big comfort for the runners who came from other provinces who stayed in the said hotel. If a runner is not a local in the place, there was no problem with regards to accommodation, transport to the start/finish area, and other amenities that a runner needs before and after the race.

Race Proper

As announced, the Assembly Time was at 4:00 AM and the parking area of the hotel was already full of runners and vehicles of the volunteers. It was only at 4:30 AM when I came out of my room to proceed to the Starting Area. There was already excitement among the runners and more photo-ops were taken by the Running Photographers who came all the way from Manila to render pictorial coverage of the whole event and to all the runners. Running Photographers had been posting all their pictures for FREE at their Facebook Page.

Zambo 50K 01

After a Prayer for the event and singing of the National Anthem, the President of the ZRC made the countdown from 10 to GO! and we were off at exactly 5:00 AM of Sunday, September 20, 2015. As soon as the runners left the Starting Line, I started to walk briskly and then after about 15 meters, I started to jog and made my warm-up run. I had a chance to jog with Evan Lu aka “Smiley Foods” of Cotabato City but he decided to stop and walked briskly. I finally caught up with a group of five lady runners and I was able to run with them for the next kilometer. It was a paved and flat road on the first 1.5 kilometers and we had an easy pace. It was still dark but the street lights were able to illuminate the road and there was no problem of being tripped on the road.

On the start of the ascent (after 1.5 kilometers), only one lady runner out of the five remained to be running with me, pacing with me on my brisk walking, power hiking and jogging on the winding ascending road towards the first peak of the route. The lady runner happens to be a PNP Lady Officer and she was very consistent in her pace. After one hour and ten minutes, we were able to reach Aid Station #1 (AS 1) which is located in front of the Dulian Elementary School in Barangay Dulian, Zamboanga City. When I checked on my GPS Watch, the distance had already registered a total elevation gain of 1,600+ feet. I was impressed on the drinks and foods available at the Aid Station, as it is well-stocked and full of crushed ice and local rice delicacies (suman & biko). I drank one 12-oz bottle of ice cold water and ate one piece of biko and immediately left the Aid Station.

Race Event's Elevation Profile (SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak)

Race Event’s Elevation Profile (SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak)

From the AS 1, it was a brief descent for about 200 meters and then it was another start of an ascending part of the route which has a distance of 3 kilometers of mixed paved road and dirt road until I reached the 2nd Aid Station in Sitio Carlos. The Aid Station is also well-stocked with food and cold drinks. Again, I asked from the volunteers one bottle of ice cold water and immediately left the Aid Station. After coming out of the Aid Station, it was the start of a single-track trail which has some mud and flowing stream of water. Although it was a short distance I made sure I would be deliberate in my footing as I was using my Hoka One One Huaka which has a sole without lugs. The descending road led us to the bottom side of one hill which has a stream of water and the next part would be a long ascending trail where the peak is manned by a combined forces of PNP and Philippine Marines. From the position of the military personnel, it was again a descending road but it was a brief one as we were faced again with steep ascending road full of rocks. My footing again would be deliberate as one could be easily tripped by the protruding rocks. As I got higher in elevation, I was able to meet the first two runners (lead pack) who just came from AS 4. Even if the trail was full of rocks, the trail was covered with tall trees and we were all running inside a forest. This is the coolest part of the route as one could feel the fresh air around.

Elevation Profile (GARMIN GPS Watch)

Elevation Profile (GARMIN GPS Watch)

As I got higher and nearer to the AS 4, I would meet the faster runners which just had their turn-around thereat. At this point, I started to count the number of runners that I would meet before reaching AS 4 to find out what is my ranking in the race on the first 20K. Those rocks on the trail slowed me down on the descending parts of the trail as I did not want to take the risk of being tripped and hurt which may cause some delay or stops along the way. As I got a few meters nearer to AS 4, I was able to count 30 runners with one runner in front of me. I calculated that I could be the #32 runner to have arrived at AS 4.

The AS 4 is located in Zambales Elementary School in Sito Zambales and again, it was well-stocked with foods to include fresh fruits. I asked for some bites of ice cold watermelon and fresh bananas. I made a refill of Gatorade to my Simple Hydration Bottle after consuming my first bottle of fluid on the first 20K. I ate one biko (rice cake) before leaving the Aid Station. I was given a bracelet by the Marshal to indicate that I reached the first turn-around point.

@ The 1st Turn-Around Point

@ The 1st Turn-Around Point

From the Km #20 turn-around, I was simply retracing the road that I’ve taken in going to AS 4. Lots of long ascending and descending parts of the route but my Race Strategy would be simple and repetitive——power hike on the steep ascents; try to jog on gradual inclines; run along the flat and descending portions; and be consistent on my cadence while running or hiking. As I reached the peak where the soldiers are located, one of the Philippine Marines offered a fresh coconut water and I signaled him that I would like to drink from the fruit. I took a few sips of the coconut water and it was sweet, cold and refreshing. After descent and ascent along a single track trail, I was already getting nearer to AS 3. At AS 3, I asked for a bottle of ice cold water and one boiled banana. I talked to the Volunteer of the Aid Station who happens to be Dra. Maya Lim who was the Past President of the ZRC. After ingesting the boiled banana, I immediately left the Aid Station as I was hoping I could finish the race in 7 hours.

Very Significant Race Bracelets

Very Significant Race Bracelets

After about 500 meters from AS 3/Km #27, the Lady Runner who was pacing and slightly ahead of me suddenly stopped and told me that she is starting to have muscle cramps on her legs. I told her to do some stretching exercises on the affected area; drink some water; and keep on moving with slower pace. I passed her and maintained my pace. After running for about 2 kilometers, I was able to pass two runners before I entered the route going to what the locals call as the “Gulod De Medyo”. I was met by two marshals who were manning an intersection and they mentioned to me that I should turn left even if could still see the tarpaulin marker that has a green arrow pointing towards the left direction. The marshals were smiling at me as if they were trying to send me a message of what to expect on that road.

Rocky Dirt Road (Photo Courtesy Of Mon Quicho/Jen Eugen)

Rocky Dirt Road (Photo Courtesy Of Mon Quicho/Jen Eugen)

Unknowingly, this intersection was the start of the “Gulod De Medyo”, a 2.5- Kilometer distance which is purely an “assault”/very steep winding road towards another peak of a hill/mountain. At this point, I started to feel some cramps on my inner parts of my upper legs and groin area which caused my power hike speed to be slower. I alternately mixed walking forward and walking backwards towards the higher part of the road. This technique caused my cramping to disappear but the heat of the sun would force me to breath harder as I went up to the peak. This is the most brutal part of the course and I am sure that all the runners had to be forced to walk on this portion. A member of the Running Photographers suddenly came out of the bushes on the side of the road as I was on the steepest part of the hill and started to aim his camera on me. Instead of showing pain and heat exhaustion on my face, I tried very hard to smile for the camera!

"Gulod De Medyo"

“Gulod De Medyo”

Finally, I was able to reach AS 2 and the volunteers were very kind and helpful to give me what I needed. I ate a piece of fresh banana and refilled my bottle with water after I drank one 12-oz bottle of ice cold water. Somebody went after me after I left the Aid Station just to give me the “bracelet” to show that I dropped by/passed the said Aid Station. I had to turn right to an intersection and I was wondering where the road would lead me. It was a slight descending road towards the last turn-around point which is located to a lower elevation. I was already wondering on how will be running at this portion of the route in going to the Finish Line as it was about noontime already while the road was uphill. The heat of the sun was showing its fiercest glow to all the runners as most of the roads are not covered with tall trees anymore. I would continue to hydrate myself as I ran towards the turn-around point. One of the runners that I met along the way who happens to be one of the Officers of the Philippine Army’s unit assigned in the area offered a 1/2 bottle of Gatorade Drinks and I gladly received it from him. This is the beauty of ultra marathon where each of the runners would take each other to finish the race in view of the challenges the course would offer.

Still Smiling Despite The Heat

Still Smiling Despite The Heat

The 6-kilometer distance is mostly downhill that I had to maintain my momentum in running until I reached AS 5 at Barangay Tumanday (in front of the Chapel). The Aid Station is another well-stocked “pit stop” with lots of ice cold drinks and food. The volunteers offered me a hotdog sandwich which I accepted and ingested as fast as I could with some Gatorade drinks. In about 2-3 minutes, I was already back on the road and asked the remaining runners at the Aid Station to run with me. Two runners were immediately on their feet behind me and for the next kilometers, we were practically pacing each other from a distance. We had to alternately power hike and jog for the next 6 kilometers and stopping by a mini-Aid Station for some cold water to douse our heads and bodies.

As soon as we reached the highest peak before the finish line, it was all downhill for the next 7 kilometers towards the finish line. It seemed to be easy running with the gravity of the body but the steepness of the road gave more stress to my quadriceps, knees, and feet due a heavier of pounding on the paved road. The pain on my legs plus the heat of the sun had made most of the runners to basically “crawl” towards the Finish Line. It was on the last 7 kilometers that one have to test his/her mental toughness to be able to finish the race. The heat that was felt by my body was coming from the sun above and the hot paved road. It was time to hydrate more at the last Aid Station and refill my bottles with the hope that my fluids will last up to the Finish Line.

At about 4 kilometers from the Finish Line, I saw a runner in front of me who was sitting on the road and asked him if he is alright or if he needs any help. The runner replied that he is okey and he was seen trying to change his shoes to a pair of sandals with straps. The runner behind me who is also from Manila asked also the runner if he needs any help but the runner simply said that he is ok and about to continue his run. This is another experience that promotes the beauty and the essence of ultra running where every runner looks for the welfare and condition of each runner who are sitting or lying on the side of the road.

Finally, At The Finish Line

Finally, At The Finish Line

Finally, I was on the last 200 meters before the entrance gate of the Hotel and I was hoping that the runner behind me would pass or get nearer to me for us to finish together. I guess, the runner behind me gave me the “courtesy” to finish and cross the finish line alone.

There were cheers and shouts of surprise when I entered the gate of the Hotel. The people at the Finish Line were informed that I was still on the last 4 kilometers of the route and they did not expect me to reach the Finish Line that fast. So, I was ranked as Finisher #17 out of the 62 Finishers with a time of 8:34:10 hours. I could be the oldest runner in this event but I showed to the younger runners that a Senior Citizen could outrun and outpace them.

Derick Rhodz and Oliver Tan, President of ZRC immediately awarded me my Finisher’s Medal and Shirt. The famous “Knickerbocker” of the Hotel was given to me as the best award for a tired ultra runner. I stayed for about one hour cheering for the incoming runners and talking to the lead pack about our experiences in the race before I finally went to my room for the much-needed shower and sleep.

Awarding of Trophies to the Podium Finishers were done after the last runner crossed the Finish Line with a Buffet Dinner served with Crispy Lechon Zamboanga Style and Ice Cold Beer!

Lechon For Recovery

Lechon For Recovery

Assessment of the Race

This is the most organized race where all the runners are well-supported in terms of logistics during the race and hospitality of the ZRC members before and after the race. The excellence in conducting the event is a reflection of the cooperation and unity among the Officers and members of the ZRC. Even if this event is dedicated to an advocacy, I would sense and feel that financial profit is far from the minds of the Race Organizer as the primary goal/objective of this event. This is an event that is a showcase of how peaceful Zamboanga City is. This is how an “old school” ultra running event should be organized and implemented. I have the impression that this race will continue through the years.

Congratulations to the Officers, Members of the Zamboanga Runners Club and Volunteers/Marshals of the Race for an excellent conduct of the race. For sure, I will be back for the next edition of this race whether it will a 100K or 50K distance.

My personal salute to all of you and the “Pioneers” of this Ultra Running Event!

(Note: Pictures Courtesy Of Running Photographers)

Official Results: 3rd ANTIQUE 100 & 50-Mile Endurance Runs

28 09 2015

ANTIQUE 100-Mile Finisher's Buckle

ANTIQUE 100-Mile Finisher’s Buckle

RANK            NAME                                     TIME (Hrs)

1. Rod Losabia (Overall Champion) ————24:42:27

2. Ariel Briones (1st Runner-Up, Overall) —— 26:55:36

3. Aldrin Pallera (2nd Runner-Up, Overall)——27:16:45

4. Bong Anastacio ————————————-28:22:46

5. Mylene Pura (Champion, Female/Course Record) ———— 28:22:48

6. Jon Borbon —————————————— 28:23:28

7. Ador Badong Sietereales ———————— 29:34:55

8. Gia Estrella (1st Runner-Up, Female) ———29:38:58

9. Jonathan Moleta ————————————29:57:04

10. Amor Gabriel —————————————29:57:06

11. Alvin Ceasar —————————————-31:28:50

12. Glenn Rosales ————————————-31:48:08

Twenty-One (21) Runners started the 100-mile race and 12 of them finished the race within the cut-off time of 32 hours. Finish Percentage Rate is 57%.

50-MILE Endurance Race

1. Belleza Boersma (Overall Champion)—————12:06:07
2. Che-che Magramo (1st Runner-Up, Overall)—— 13:54:21
3. John Paul Ledesma (2nd Runner-Up, Overall)——14:11:00
4. Boyet Rentoy ————————————————14:59:25

All the starters in this race were able to finish the race within the cut-off time of 15 hours.

Last 100 Meters To The Finish Line

Last 100 Meters To The Finish Line

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

Official Result: 1st Zamboanga City Mountain 50K Ultra Marathon Race

23 09 2015

Event's Ads & Logo

Event’s Ads & Logo

  1. Clifton Tomas
34 5:34:28 MALE CHAMPION
2.  Michael Dela Cruz 39 5:50:23 1st RUNNER-UP (male)
3.  Jovenel Toribio 35 6:11:13 2nd RUNNER-UP (male)
4.  Eugene Boquio 92 7:21:30
5.  Calaoa Einstein Jr. 36 7:22:40
6.  Calixto DeLeon 52 7:46:50
7.  Carlo Yap 48 7:59:56
8.  Dwigth Tadus 11 8:06:10
9.  Roderick Salih 101 8:06:26
10.  Ruby Comisas 103 8:07:43
11.  Elena Cuario 18 8:08:26 FEMALE  CHAMPION
12.  Jess Edmar Gurrea 3 8:08:27
13.  Richard Buco 5 8:08:35
14.  Clint Tompong 67 8:14:20
15.  Angielyn Samaniego 14 8:16:14 1st RUNNER-UP (female)
16.  Rey Timbreza 25 8:19:23
17.  Jovenal Narcise 41 8:34:10
18.  Beni Vilches 4 8:35:40
19.  Ernie Lagnason 104 8:42:18
20.  Mark Elloreg 63 8:57:43
21.  Analyn Casumpang 29 9:02:44 2nd RUNNER-UP (female)
22.  Vladimir Arcilla Hernandez 40 9:07:56
23.  Noriel De Guzman 16 9:14:56
24.  Alexer Resurrecion 100 9:17:32
25.  Oliver Angeles 24 9:17:33
26.  Ella Abarri 47 9:20:30
27.  Keenah Dalipe 12 9:20:45
28.  Noel Ade 55 9:36:06
29.  Benito Santos 58 9:44:54
30.  Al Vincent Francisco 17 9:52:44
31.  Jose Wee 61 9:54:34
32.  Mary Jo-Anne Lim 10 9:55:18
33.  Christine Alzate 21 9:55:19
34.  Jessibel Casamis 8 9:55:20
35.  Liza Chua 57 9:55:21
36.  Richter John Avila 6 9:58:01
37.  Jerome Ho 37 10:13:99
38.  Michael Tarroza 30 10:14:00
39.  Marianne Jade Alcantara 26 10:16:51
40.  Lito Mallari 32 10:22:27
41.  Victor Saavendra 22 10:23:04
42.  Owen Malinao 19 10:23:04
43.  Francis Parama 15 10:28:39
44.  Jayson Antonio 33 10:32:15
45.  Romel Espinosa 38 10:32:45
46.  Napoleon Rabanal II 102 10:51:23
47.  Carlos Rodrigo Balbon 7 10:51:24
48.  Jesus Hernandez 42 10:56:28
49.  Flor Casimiro 27 11:10:15
50.  Evan Lu 87 11:24:42
51.  Ivan Estoconing 23 11:30:36
52.  Monique Mondido 20 11:33:27
53.  Tony Wee 80 11:34:31
54.  Justin San Luis 9 11:42:34
55.  Edwina Daprosa 13 11:59:11
56.  Dexter Desales 1 11:59:59
57.  Linton Lim 31 12:04:47
58.  Ramon Faustino Quiocho 77 12:18:39
59.  Jenny Eugenio 99 12:18:40
60.  Aze Eustaquio 79 12:32:45
61.  Jerich Horrilleno 88 12:32:45
62.  Jaime Lu 28 12:59:29

Four Weeks

4 09 2015

I did not realize that I’ve been through with four weeks of my training since I’ve started for the 2015-16 Ultra Trail Running Season. I started my training on August 3, 2015 and the first day was a Rest Day with some stretching exercises.

I am still following a training schedule program which I’ve been using for the past two years with a little adjustment on my weekly training volume which I’ve increased within the range of 5-10 miles per week which are mostly done in my weekend LSDs. Before, I was doing an average of 50-55 miles per week but for the past weeks, I’ve have reached a peak of 66-67 miles per week. I feel okey, healthy, and pain-free from my knees and legs and had no bouts of leg cramps or “bonking”. I guess, there must a lot of good reasons why at my age of 63, my knees are still holding up and I could still hike some steep mountains.

Surprisingly, the bottle of Aleve that I bought lately have not been opened yet and for the past four months, I’ve never taken any pain-killer tablet in my races and trail running workouts.

My past failures to finish a 100-mile mountain trail run were caused by nutritional and hydration problems on my part. It took me two or more years to experiment what is good for my body. I really don’t have any problems with 50Ks, 50-milers, and 100K trail races with regards to nutrition but when I join 100-milers in higher elevations, my nutrition just put me down on the last 30 miles of the race. Following my experiences in the 100Ks that I’ve finished, I would only take in Energy Gels and Water and some solid foods offered at the Aid Stations and I would finish the course without any problem. I bought some nutrition books for endurance athletes and made some researches on the Internet. In addition, I was able to get some suggestions and advise from the Filipino veteran ultra runners residing in the United States. These suggestions from them confirms the studies and researches that I’ve read on books and on the Internet.

On this new training season, I’ve concentrated on my nutrition, not only before during, after my workout, but completely observed my daily nutritional intake to my body. I don’t count the calories of the food that I ingest but I make sure that I have Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, and Vegetables/Fruits in my 3 meals a day. Snacks in between meals would be anything, whether it is a fruit juice, milk, fruits, yogurt, or snack bars. I’ve never drink milk when I was in the military up to 2 months ago. Lately, by accident, I found out that Organic Fresh Milk does not give me stomach trouble caused by lactose intolerance. I’ve indulged myself in eating avocado as part of my meal or snacks and ate more foods rich in fats.

On my nutrition before my runs, I would have a breakfast of coffee, oatmeal or cereal with milk, avocado with milk & sugar, yogurt or fruit juice.

During my runs, I would hydrate every time my GPS watch would beep to indicate that I’ve covered a mile and have to strictly do the said “drill” every time I hear a beep. For my runs less than 8-9 miles, I would just drink water and ingest one 1 capsule of S’Cap every hour and after the workout. But for my LSDs on weekends which are more than 9 miles, I would carry with me a Tailwind Mixed with water in two bottles and purely Water in my 1.5-liter hydrapak on my backpack. I would alternately, drink Tailwind and water every other mile. I would also ingest 1 capsule of S’Caps every hour. At the turn-around or after finishing the first half of my run, I would eat any solid food I brought with me like, boiled potatoes, power bars, dried fruits, and some baby foods (fruit/vegetable).

I’ve stopped using Energy Gels in my runs since the start of this training but I still carry at least two packs just in case of emergency. I’ve have observed in my past races that Gels, after ingesting about 10 pieces, I would end up throwing up even if I use different flavors and flavors that I liked that didn’t give nauseated feeling in my past ultra runs.

My post-nutrition intake would be immediately after the workout——lots of water, one can of coke or one bottle of Ensure and a Power Bar. Once I arrive home, I would eat a complete meal. For the rest of the day, I would continuously hydrate myself with water, sometime consuming 1.5 gallons of water, and strictly adhering to my complete meals—carbohydrates, fats, protein, vegetable and fruits.

I have also incorporated “speed” workouts in my weekly program. Wednesday is usually my “speed” day where I do it on a flatter ground and paved road. This is the only time that I don’t go to the trails and mountains. Since there is no oval track near my place, I would go to a Public Park (Echo Lake Park) where the streets that surround it has a total loop distance of exactly one mile. I would do 1 mile X 5-6 repetitions or 2 miles X 3 repetitions with at least 5-6 minutes rest/jog intervals in between repetitions. In the mountains/trails, I usually do some “strides” or fast & quick leg-turn-overs on flatter portions within a distance of 50-100 meters just to give some “wake-up” drill to my tired leg muscles.

Once or twice a week, I would go to a mountain which has an “up and down” route where I have measured on each way (2.5 miles up & 2.5 miles down). I would wear my hydration vest full of 2 water bottles and 1.5-liter of hydra pack on my back with solid foods. I would practice “power-hiking” on the UP portion of the course and never attempt to do any run or jog. I would register the time from the start up to the time I reach the peak of the mountain. I have observed that I had been improving my time to reach the peak every week. The 2.5-mile distance has a vertical distance of 1,280 feet and my best time so far is 43 minutes for the power hiking in the UP direction.

On the ridge of the mountain, I would continue jogging and hiking for about 2 to 3 miles. On my way back, I would start my fast “downhill run” on the measured portion where I had my “power-hiking” workout. My attitude here in the fast downhill run is a “go for broke” one! A fast and continuous downhill hill run for 2.5 miles would “thrash” my legs! I am surprised that my old knees can still withstand the hard pounding of my feet on the ground. Every week, I would improve on my time on this downhill run! My fastest time for the downhill run is 20 minutes!

Power Hiking and Fast Downhill Running made me register a faster pace and speed for my daily runs!

Two years ago when I shifted to trail running, I did not give any attention to the vertical distance (total ascent/descent) in my workouts but it was later last year that I have concentrated more on the vertical distance of the trails I’ve been into. However, since I’ve started this new training season, I made sure that my weekly totals on the vertical distance will not be lower than 6,000 feet.

On Mondays and Fridays, I would do some stretching and calisthenics/core strengthening exercises. I would also do “foam rolling” to my legs for about an hour with more concentration to my calves, hamstrings, quads, and butt muscles. I stopped my lap swimming for the past weeks and by the end of the 7th or 8th week, I would incorporate (stationary) cycling in my weekly workouts.

On my weekend LSDs, I don’t eat a heavy breakfast (ingesting only coffee) as I want to simulate how I would apply my nutrition and hydration strategy when I am about to reach my “bonking” period which is about 1-2 hours after the start of my run. This is where I would observe how my body would react to any food or fluids that I take in, whether it is water, Tailwind, S’Caps, solid foods (power bars/baby foods/power bars/dried fruits), electrolyte mix, or Clif Bloks. So far, my maximum LSD distance was 20 miles in 6 hours, carrying a heavy load of water in my hydration vest (2-20 oz of water bottle & 1.5-liter hydrapak on my backpack + solid foods). However, if I use my 2-16 oz Simple Hydration bottles (tucked in my race belt with power bars) and one hand-held 12 oz handheld water, that same distance of 20 miles is usually done in 5 hours or less!

On the technical aspect and the monitoring of my body’s feedback on my performance every workout, my Suunto Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch, had been very useful in monitoring my Heart Rate, VO2, Cadence, Calories Consumed/Burned, and Recovery Period. From these data, I would be able to know on what to do for my rest and recovery for the next workout. My daily workouts are properly recorded in a notebook/journal that I would religiously write every time I finish a workout, to include, what I feel before, during , and after the workout.

In summary, I attribute my faster and better performance in my 4 weeks of trail running due to the following: (1) Better nutrition before, during , and after every workout; (2) Constant hydration with water every mile with Tailwind every other mile; (3) Speed workouts on Wednesdays and incorporation of “strides” in my daily runs; (4) Adapting my body to ingest S’Caps/Salt Sticks during the run on hotter days without any negative reaction to my body; (5) More vertical distance and higher altitude hiking/downhill running would acclimatize my respiratory system; and (6) “Foam Rolling” & Stretching with Core Exercises twice a week.

I’ve been using my Hoka One One “Speedgoat” Trail Shoes for my LSDs and most of my daily runs while my Inov-8 Race Ultra 270 Trail Shoes and Hoka One One Challenger ATR would be used in my recovery and tempo runs.

Monthly Mileage (August 2015): 238.65 Miles or 381.84 Kilometers

Monthly Vertical Distance (August 2015): 41,605 feet

"Leave No Trace"

“Leave No Trace”

Robberies & Thieves In Running Events

25 08 2015

…And Also In Other Outdoor Sports & Activities

Whether you like it not, being robbed by somebody is a part of ones life. If you have not experienced being robbed, then you are an insignificant person. Try to remember your childhood days; your schooling years, from elementary to college/university days; at work; and your relationships with your own family, siblings, relatives and friends, and you will know what I really mean.

Robberies in Sports Events had been very rampant in the past years. And most of these robberies are done in cars/vehicles being parked in Parking Areas near the Venue of the activity. In running events in Metro Manila, there had been many reports of robberies for the past years and these incidents were not openly discussed by the Race Organizers to the Running Community. Whether you are parked in Bonifacio High Street, MOA, McKinley Complex or at the CCP Complex or Luneta Park, the cars of runners parked on designated parking lots are not safe from these thieves. There had been an instance when a trail running event outside Metro Manila with few runners was marred with reports of robbery of things left in cars of some of the runners/support staff of the event. Up to the present, I have not yet received any progress report or information as to what happened to these robbery reports in the past running events.

Lately, I just received a report from one of my runners that he and together with some of my running friends were victimized by these robbers in a running event that was held in one of the neighboring provinces from Metro Manila. Their car was parked in a designated parking lot for the runners in the said event and when they returned to the car to change their attire after finishing their race, they found out that their things were gone! I have yet to know the progress of the investigation being done by the local police in the area if they have already arrested or have identified probable suspects to this incident.

A Thief Trying To Open A Locked Car (Picture From Google)

A Thief Trying To Open A Locked Car (Picture From Google)

Why do we have such robberies in our running events? Why do thieves “disguise” themselves as legit runners and do their business of stealing one’s property left in their cars in running events? I think the answer is very simple, “It’s the economy, stupid!” The more we have running events and more runners, the more we have dumb runners who don’t think about “security” and become super excited to toe the line and be together with friends at the Starting Area! They eventually become the targets of these thieves in running events. Of course, everybody is excited to show to everybody their individual fashion statement in running——new shoes, new tights, new compression shirt, new compression socks/calf sleeves & arm sleeves, new GPS watch, iPhone 6 with BOSE earbuds, new Head Visor, and Oakley Sunglasses. Wow! That is an impeccable form of a runner ready to be posted on Facebook! Most often, this is the reason why we are very lax in terms of securing what we left behind in our respective vehicles when we run. In short, the more runners in running events, the more targets of opportunities for the thieves!

Other sporting events and outdoor activities are not spared from these thieves. In the past, I’ve received reports of stealing/robbery incidents in Duathlon, Triathlon, MTB rides and even in Camping/Backpacking/Mountaineering events.

What should we do to solve or prevent these robberies from happening in our running events? I have the following suggestions/advise and I would like to entertain your comments if you have additional advise or suggestion to what I will mention in this post:

  1. Prevention Starts With Us, The Runners!——If you are using your car/vehicle in going to the running event, make sure that there is NOTHING seen inside the car from the outside. Hide your things in the trunk/baggage compartment! Better yet to hide your things in the compartment before you leave your house or place of residence. Thieves (among your co-runners) would observe your move in transferring your things from your car’s seats to your compartment if you do it in the designated parking area for the running event. Make sure also that you have parked your car in the designated parking area for the running event. If you have the luxury of a driver, let him stay in the car if you have “diamonds and gold bars” stashed in side your car. Remember that your Finisher’s Medal and Shirt purchasing costs would be cheaper than the salary of your driver per hour!

    Nothing Should Be Seen Inside Your Car (Picture From Google)

    Nothing Should Be Seen Inside Your Car (Picture From Google)

  2. Carpool——It is nice to see public transport vehicles, like Jeepneys, SUV Express and buses being used by running teams coming from other provinces and cities/suburbs around Metro Manila area. Since these transport vehicles have drivers, instruct these drivers to secure and look for the things of his passengers instead of going to the Start/Finish Area as an spectator. If you belong to a Running Team or group, it would be wise and practical to carpool to the venue of the running event, provided there is a driver to look for your things.
  3. Multi-Event vs. Single Event——There were suspicions in the past robbery incidents that these thieves are also legit runners but they join the shorter distance events, like 3K or 5K races. After they finished their race, they go back to the designated parking areas or any parking area with their running attire, race bib, finisher’s medal and shirt and then take the opportunity to do their acts to the cars of those who are running longer distances like, half-marathon or full marathon. If you are 4-hour finisher or more of a full marathon and these runner-thieves would finish their 5K race in 30 minutes, then they have enough time to select their targets and do their acts. In selecting a running event to join, one of the factors to consider if you want to eliminate the possibility of being robbed with your properties in your car is to select a single event race. However, this is not a 100% solution or prevention technique because the runner-thieves could also “drop or DNF” on the first few miles and then go back and have access to the parking areas while the rest of the runners are still out there on the road. Actually, these runner-thieves do not train to improve their endurance capability but they would rather train better on how fast they can open your car and run faster carrying their loot towards their vehicle. In road ultras, there are no cases of robberies because the runner’s car is used as support vehicle with a driver and support crew in it. As far as I can remember, I have not yet received any reports of robberies in road ultra marathon events in the country.
  4. Get A Driver/Personal Assistant——If the Parking Area of the event is not guarded, then get a designated Driver or a Personal Assistant to guard or stay in your car. Before you register to a running event, make sure to make the necessary planning as to who would be your driver/assistant. Better safe than sorry!
    Commute or “Walk Instead”——If you reside 3K radius distance from the Event Venue, you can walk or jog and make it as your warm-up exercise to get yourself to the Starting Area before the start of the race. Take the Bus, Taxi, or Uber in going to the Event Area. Sleep early the night before the race and wake up early making sure you have a buffer time for adjustments in case of some traffic delays.
  5. Belt Bag & Other Related Running Bag Accessories——I remember my ultra running friend, the late Cesar Abarrientos with regards to using such running bag accessories. He usually comes to a race (coming from his work) in his running attire with a “drop bag” used as a mini-backpack where his things are stashed. He would run with the said backpack throughout the race. What was good about it was that the bag that he was always using was the “drop bag” that I gave to all the “pioneer” participants of the 1st Edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race. At present, there are running shorts with multi-pockets, runner’s belts with pockets/slots, compression apparel with pockets, and even hand-held bottles with zippered pockets where one can stash his things during the run.
  6. Operational Security On Social Media——Most of the runners are in the Social Media for so many reasons. Obviously, the runner-thieves are also there to find out their probable targets. Without you knowing it, these thieves would be able to know your personal profile, your lifestyle, your race schedules, running times, and other “bits & pieces” about your daily life, to include the plate number, model and type of your personal vehicle. In a matter of time, even if it will take them years to follow your posts, there will be a time that you will regret what you had posted in your Social Media’s personal account. Believe me, they are out there lurking every move and status you post on your FB Wall. So, always think Operational Security, keep to yourself about your activities, plans and schedules!
  7. Race Organizer’s Security Responsibility——Do we still have a lot of “bouncers” with big muscles dressed in tight-fitting black T-shirts in our BIG Running Events? If so, then I suggest that Race Organizers would redeploy them to our Parking Areas and patrol in tandem or in addition to the thinly spread force of the Security Guards. They need to walk around at the Parking Areas and not just to stand at the Starting Line/Starting Arc as a “fence/wall” as if the runners are there to make a stampede before waiting for the Race to start. In big running events, additional marshals should be deployed to patrol the designated Parking Areas for the event to deter these thieves from doing their acts. They should be trained also to detect and make a quick profile to runners who just finished the race. They should know the signs and body language of a runner who just finished a race even if he/she is wearing a finisher’s medal and/or shirt. And they should be ready to ask questions to these runners as to what happened along the way or ask about the route just to test if they really joined the race.
  8. Simplify——Be simple. Do not brag. Do not announce to the world about your running achievements and plans, not unless, you are an elite and sponsored athlete of a big corporation or establishment.

    Not The Best Way To Steal A Bike (Picture From Google)

    Not The Best Way To Steal A Bike (Picture From Google)

Let this post serves as a wake-up call or warning to every runner, athlete, or outdoorsmen & women to be security-conscious and aware of their surroundings and their actions.

Los Angeles Trail #1: Griffith Park Trail #1 (“Merry-Go-Round” To Dante’s View/Peak & Back)

24 08 2015

Griffith Park is the Pride and Most Popular Outdoor Park of Los Angeles City. It is one of the world’s biggest city parks with a total area of 4,467 acres, about five times bigger than the size of the New York’s City Central Park, and considered as the biggest municipal park completely surrounded by urban areas.

There are so many access roads/streets that lead to the park depending on your purpose of visit or activity. There is Greek Theater which is a popular venue for music concerts and stage plays; an 18-hole Golf Course & Driving Range; a Museum; The Griffith Observatory; The HOLLYWOOD Sign; a Horse Back Riding Facility; Carousel/”Merry-Go-Round”; Old Train & Railroad Museum; more than 50 miles of Fire Roads & Trails; and 20+ miles of paved roads for cycling. Griffith Park is the city’s “People’s Park” where its residents would enjoy the outdoor and its trails for free. The Fire Roads and Trails are strictly for hiking; running; and horse-back riding as MTBs or mountain trail cycling is not allowed.

The “Merry-Go-Round” Parking Lot #1 to Dante’s View/Peak Trail Route is my favorite trail running route which has a “one-way” distance of 4.5 miles, making it a total of 9 miles in going back to the Parking Lot retracing the route on the first half.

In order to go to Griffith Park and to experience running or hiking this trail route, one has to take the Golden State Freeway 5 North and Exit at Crystal Spring Drive (Exit 141B), turn Right at Crystal Spring Drive and after 1/4 mile turn left on the first intersection. The ascending paved road goes to the “Merry-Go-Round” Parking Lot #1. The toilet is located near the Merry-Go-Round facility.

“Merry-Go-Round” Parking Lot #1

I usually start from the place where I park my car. Across the paved road from the Parking Lot #1 are two fire roads; one that goes south and the other that goes east. I usually take the fire road that goes to the east (it’s called the Coolidge Trail) that has an abrupt ascent until it levels up for about 15 yards. Follow this fire road as it goes up immediately after a right turn. From this trail you would see on your left shoulder the Crystal Spring Road and the Golden State Freeway 5 and this will be the sight on your first mile with the uphill and winding trail ahead of you. The 2nd mile will be a gradual uphill climb where one will be passing a Golf Driving Range on your left. Do not turn left on the fire trail that goes back to Crystal Spring Road. One should be turning RIGHT on every trail intersection along this 2nd mile section. There is only way but UP to the peak of the hill.

Trailhead. Take the Trail On The Left (Coolidge Trail)

Trailhead. Take the Trail On The Left (Coolidge Trail)

Golf Academy's Driving Range

Golf Academy’s Driving Range

5-Way Trail Intersection

5-Way Trail Intersection

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill

At the 2.5-mile point, the route shall level off and one will encounter a 5-way trail intersection. I usually turn right from this point and go to a peak which is popularly known before as Beacon Hill. As I reached the peak, I would turn around and back to the 5-way intersection. I would continue my run by going to the fire road that goes up and there is only one fire road that leads you to a ascending direction. After about 50-60 meters of uphill climb, you will see a marker that says, “Joe Klass Water Stop”. The water fountain is located on a clearing on your right. Don’t pay attention to the bees that “guard” the said fountain, they are always there the whole year round. If you need to drink, just drink or refill your bottles and then immediately leave the place. Don’t mess up with those bees!

Signage Of The Joe Klass Water Source

Signage Of The Joe Klass Water Stop

The Water Fountain (Bees Are Not Visible In The Picture)

The Water Fountain (Bees Are Not Visible In The Picture)

Vista Del Valle Drive

Vista Del Valle Drive

Once you get out from the water fountain clearing, you will hit a paved road (it’s called Vista Del Valle Drive). After about 50 meters running on this paved road, you have covered already 3 miles! Follow this road and on your left is a paved flat area which is a popular site for photo-ops overlooking the city and sometimes, it is being used as a helipad or location for movie shootings. As you passed this flat paved area, you can see ahead of you two fire roads on your left: one that goes down and one that goes up. Go to the fire road that goes up! This fire road splits from Vista Del Valle Drive and it has a closed wooden hut beside the start of the trail.

Griffith Park Helipad Area

Griffith Park Helipad Area

Uphill Trail Beside The Hut

Uphill Trail Beside The Hut (Left Side Of The Hut)

After two or three turns, you will see a wooden bridge and a higher hill where the fire road is leading to. You are now approaching the dreaded Hogback Trail. This trail is too steep on some sections and make sure that you have a good traction on your trail running shoes. Before the last climb of this trail, you must have covered 4 miles. I always have the urge to drink a lot of water from my hydration bottle before the last climb. Once you finish the last climb on the Hogback Trail, there is a water source (a water fountain and a faucet) and you can make your water refill here.

Wooden Bridge & Hogback Trail

Wooden Bridge & Hogback Trail

From the water source, follow the fire road as it continuously go on a higher elevation (don’t turn left on the trail that goes down after the faucet/water source). In about 30 meters from the faucet, there is a three-way intersection, turn left on the fire road and in about 100 meters, you can now see some concrete tables and benches inside a corral on the Dante’s View/Peak and the Hollywood Sign can be seen on your right. The Dante’s View/Peak is usually the resting place of those who hike and jog. One could see the City, the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Sign and the trails/fire roads that snake within the perimeter of the park. But for me, I just get inside the corral and touch the biggest rock where the Survey Marker is located and immediately turn-around. The distance covered is 4.5 miles at this point!

Dante's View/Peak

Dante’s View/Peak

From the turn-around, I retrace my route as I go back to where I started, to include going to the peak of the Beacon Hill. One has to be very careful in going down along the Hogback Trail as there is great possibility that one makes a mistake of slipping from the trail which is purely a rock.

My Fastest Time to complete this trail running route is 2 hours. It has a total ascent of 1,857 feet and total descent of 1,837 feet. Dante’s Peak/View has an elevation of 1,608 feet above sea level. Allocate at least 3 hours for an average hiking with picture/hydration stops for this route.

A Runner’s Circle (ARC) Specialty Store is only 1 Mile away from the “Merry-Go-Round” Parking Lot. From the Parking Lot, turn right to Crystal Spring Road towards the Los Feliz Avenue Entrance to Griffith Park. Turn Left on Los Feliz Avenue and immediately after crossing the bridge, the ARC Store will be on your Right.

More trail routes to come within Griffith Park and other parts in the Los Angeles Area and its Suburbs in my future posts.


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