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!





Pinoy Elite Long Distance Runner

3 06 2014

Let me describe to you my observation and impression of a typical Pinoy Elite Long Distance Runner. First of all, I would like to define what I mean by a Pinoy Elite Long Distance Runner. He is a locally raised person with a raw talent and skill to be fast and strong in long distance running. He is considered as an Elite Runner if he can finish a 5K race/run (on the road or track) in less than 15 minutes; and he/she has a PR time in 10K run/race (on the road or track) in less than 32 minutes. If a long distance runner could not attain these PR times, then he/she is not considered as an elite runner.

A typical elite long distance runner is raised from a poor family, let me say, from a family who is residing in a barangay which is far from the center of population which is the municipality.  Most likely, their house is located in a mountainous area where one has to travel by foot to reach the basic services of the municipality. Since the primary education is free in the province and the head of the family has the desire to have his children take advantage of education, the children has to walk from the barangay to the center of the municipality in the early morning and walk again to go back to his house after classes. Those daily hikes up to the time he graduates from elementary would develop his endurance capability—physically and mentally.

The hiking will continue once he has the interest to enroll to the secondary school. As he goes up on the ladder of those four years of high school, he will be exposed to Physical Education, popularly known as P.E., one of the required Subjects every year in High School. Whether he is tall or not, he will be exposed to running as one of the “basics” in Physical Education classes. This is where he is discovered by the PE teacher that the “boy” from the far-flung barangay has the speed and endurance to finish a race, whether it is a 400-meter run or longer distance events.

Initially, he will be “coached” by the PE Teacher in the school and he will be given an instruction to do some training in preparation for the local running meet among the schools in the province. To make the story short, this “boy” will be a consistent winner in those annual/periodic meets or races among the schools in the province. Ultimately, he will be a part of a Team Delegation from their province for a much bigger Regional Athletic Meet. This is where he will be discovered by Coaches from the different Colleges and Universities located in Metro Manila. Once this “boy” graduates from High School, he is already ready for recruitment for a College/University Education Scholarship offer. As a result, he will be a member of the College or Varsity Team and will be able to contribute points in the annual competition among Colleges and Universities.

Due to strict and more disciplined way of coaching in College/University, the “boy” will become stronger and faster, gathering more skills and techniques, and most of all, will be exposed to other fast athletes coming from the other Colleges/Universities. Demanding Coaches will try to find the physical limits of these endurance athletes and at the same time making sure that their academic standings are also satisfactory. However, in my observation, most of these athletes recruited from the provinces have lower I.Q.s and most of them could hardly pass their academic requirements. If one is an “asset” or “top athlete” and has the potential to be included in the National Pool of Athletes, most likely his grades would be “manipulated” by his Coach or the Academic Staff. He finishes as an ordinary College Graduate but in reality, he has only acquired the skills and training to be a fast and strong long distance runner. It is very doubtful if he ever learned from the other Subjects offered as required in his curriculum while he was in College.

For those who are not fortunate enough to be discovered by College Coaches from Metro Manila and were not able to earn their way to a College education, their talent/skill in running would be discovered by relatives who are also passionate in long distance running. It could be a friend or a close relative who would influence this “boy” to be exposed to long distance running. From a simple training program copied from the Runner’s World Magazine, the relative/friend would give this training to the “boy” and most likely, it would result positively to his training. The “boy” would personally discover on how he would run faster and stronger through experience in his training. If he thinks he is ready for “fun runs” in the locality, he would join and find out if he can win the top prize with some cash to bring home. If he wins, then that is the start of more races for the local “boy”. This “local boy” would try to find out more “fun runs” with cash prize/s and dream to be living in a bigger city or Metro Manila for him to find a job and at the same time join weekly races.

Now, you have two distinct types of elite runners; a College-Graduate and a “Barangay” Runner. Most likely, the College Graduate runner will only run shorter distances like 3K and/or 5K and they do their training on the oval track. The “Barangay” Runner would be running the 10K and longer distance races and most of them are training/running on the roads and trails. Sometimes, their ambition in life is very simple. The College-Graduate would like to join the National Pool of Athletes and at the same time employed in an establishment that promotes sports. The “Barangay” Runner would like to be employed also in Service-related jobs but most of them would like to have a chance to be recruited in the Armed Services.

I had been exposed to both College Graduate and “Barangay” Runners. However, most of the College Graduate Runners that joined and left my Team started as “Barangay” Runners and transformed to run longer distance up to ultra marathon distances. Most of them now are with the Philippine Army and I am surprised that they don’t like to be included in the National Pool of Athletes. Some of the “Barangay” Runners who left my Team are still joining local races and ultra marathon races where they shine and always land on the podium finishes.

In the past, I have exposed some of my runners to International Competitions and most of them did fairly well. There were some problems and challenges that I have to deal with in bringing these athletes to international competition. But with the able support of some friends  from abroad and in the country and proceeds from ultra races that I have organized and directed, I was able to prove that these elite long distance runners can compete among the top ultra runners in Southeast Asia/Asia without any corporate brand as the Main Sponsor.

What made me to stop with this personal quest to bring our ultra runners to international competitions? The following reasons are very personal and I really don’t know what is the “other side of the coin” from the athletes’ point of view.

1. Loyalty-–Very simple word but very hard to follow and implement. It could be loyalty to the Country, Team, Association, or personal loyalty to the one who manages or coaches an elite runner. Loyalty is a very sacred commitment of a runner to the one who manages him. An elite runner who has a “big” dream could NOT have “two masters or more” at the same time! He must be able to FOCUS his mind and body to only ONE Master as the Master is the only one who could lead him to a right direction and future. (Note: I define a Master as the one who manages the elite athlete)

2. The “Master” Knows Best—The master knows what is best for the runner, period! A master should be a passionate long distance runner, too! Obviously, he would be able to understand the mind and actions of his elite runner. The body language of an elite runner shows whatever message that a master would like to know from him. Such body language could be seen from a constant communication between the master and the elite athlete. Above all, communication is the best tool and means to determine the overall attitude of his athlete.

3. Collaterals Are Not Included—I can support the training and other miscellaneous training expenses for an elite runner but I could not afford to extend the support to his family (either to his wife and children or relatives). An elite runner should be able to detach himself from his family during the peak of his training and he should be focused to excel on the event that he is preparing for. An elite runner could not maximize his training if his wife and family are with him always.

4. Think and Dream “BIG”—It is always the right formula for success and for media to get one’s attention when an athlete would first Win “BIG” (podium finisher or overall top ten) in a prestigious international ultra running event. In this age of social media through Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and blogs, a good performance of an athlete could be easily known on a “real-time” situation or immediately after an event. With the number of runners and ultra runners who have Social Media accounts, such exemplar deed could be viral and easily picked up by the media. And once the traditional media (TV, Radio and Newspapers) picks up ones outstanding deed, everything will follow. Who knows this will be the time that corporate brands will start supporting such elite athlete and not those local average ones who have yet to taste of landing on the podium finish or top ten overall award in international running events.

5. It’s All About Character and Reputation—Trust and Confidence between the Manager and the Elite Athlete is a must. These values are non-negotiable. The Manager is just a tool or a bridge for the elite runner to be exposed in international running events and the honor/prestige goes to the athlete himself and for the country as a whole. The athlete must be able to trust his Manager as the Manager would “move heaven and earth” to explore and use all the possible means to support the elite runner. In return, Honesty, Respect and Courtesy are the only things that matter for a Manager to receive from his elite runner.

In conclusion, no matter what you have done to expose our elite runners to international competitions, the cycle continues. People change. Loyalty changes from one person to another or from one institution to another. We look for shortcuts and easy ways to attain our goals and objectives. We don’t trust those “hands that feed us” and simply ignore them, and worse, try to bite them!

But worst of all, we try to make a living out of being an elite runner and by all means, be a coach and later as a Race Organizer and Director of a Running Event.

Yearly MILO Marathon

Yearly MILO Marathon (Photo From Google)

I might have stopped “looking and eyeing” for an elite long distance runner for ultra marathon races abroad but I am thinking positively that one or two of the corporate brands in the country will have the initiative to train, support, and finance a “loyal, intelligent and passionate” elite ultra runner to represent our country to the most prestigious ultra races in the world.





If You Want To Join And Finish A Trail Ultra

21 05 2014

On the day of my 62nd birthday, US Navy Admiral (Four-Star General) William H. McRaven, Ninth Commander of the US Special Operations Command and a US Navy Seal, delivered a Commencement Speech to almost 8,000 graduating students of the University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014. He is an alumnus of the said University and a product of the school’s ROTC Program.

The following is the complete text of his Commencement Address to the Graduating Class of 2014. http://www.utexas.edu/news/2014/05/16/admiral-mcraven-commencement-speech/

Having been a product of military training and some special operations training with the Philippine Army, I fully appreciate what the Admiral had gone through in his US Navy Seal’s Training.

However, for the benefit of my readers, I would like to relate the ten (10) lessons that the good Admiral had learned from his US Navy Seal training to the sports that I dearly loved at the moment and that I would like to be shared and experienced by other runners, which is Ultra Trail Running.

1. If you want to join and finish a trail ultra, start off by “making your bed”. Start with the “basics” of trail running. Go to the nearest mountain ranges or hilly parts in your place or community and find a trail when you can walk, jog, or run. Try to observe how your body would react to the uphills, downhills, flatter portions of the trail, rocky portions, muddy parts, uneven level of the trail, and the presence of obstacles along your path. Start training for the shorter distance, say 5K of pure trails until you can easily progress to longer distances. In trail races, it is better to start with the shorter distance events and slowly progressing to longer events in matter of months or years, and not of weeks. If you are totally new in trail running, I suggest you have to put in a lot of time running on the trails, like one year, before you are ambitious enough to finish a trail marathon distance (42K). As one has to progress to longer distances, one has to be aware of one’s hydration and nutrition strategy in order to keep ones energy and strength to finish the race. Make sure that you invest on your trail running needs like shoes and hydration system. Ask for some advise from the “experts and masters” of ultra trail running through their blogs or personal meetings/conversations with them. These trail runners are very much willing to share such information to you.

2. If you want to join and finish a trail ultra, find someone to “help you paddle”. It is better to train in trail running with somebody who has the same interest with you. It is either a friend or a group of avid/passionate trail runners. If you are new in a mountain, try to locate the Barangay Hall or the Barangay Captain and tell him about your purpose in going to the mountain or community. You can ask for the services of a Trail Guide within the Barangay who knows the “ins and outs” of the trail systems within the mountain. The services of a Trail Guide is invaluable as it will give you exact and accurate information about water sources and other salient information about the locality/mountain trail system in the area. If you are very serious in trail running and you have the goal to excel in this kind of sports, you can get an exclusive Coach for you who will guide you in your training. Get a Coach who is reliable and friendly. Aside from your Coach, start developing friendly relationships with your future Pacer/s and Support Crew if you intend to join 50-miler or 100K and above trail ultras.

3. If you want to join and finish a trail ultra, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers. Not because you have the physical strength, well-built body, healthy and fool-proof training, you can have the assurance to finish an ultra trail race event. There are things and factors to consider like the reliability and effectiveness of your running equipment; the prevailing weather; accidents along the course; nutrition; injuries and problems with ones feet and hydration strategy. Most of the faster and consistent podium finishers in ultra trail races are smaller (in height and body composition) people. Just look around you in the Starting Line of Ultra Trail Events, most likely, the smaller guys are the ones who dash froward as if the race is a 5K or 10K road race. These guys are usually the persons who have the tenacity to endure pain and fatigue.

4. If you want to join and finish a trail ultra, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward. I call these hardened ultra trail runners as “Dugyots” (Dirty Runners) and they don’t care if their shoes are wet and muddy. They don’t care if they slip and fall on their butts or fall on their faces if they slip along the trails. They don’t care of their unprotected legs are scratched by sharp blades of grasses or tripped by thorny branches of bushes along the trail. They don’t care if their shirts and shorts or compression tights are ripped off by some accidents along the trail. What is more disturbing to these runners when they don’t really care if they are bitten by leeches in the jungle and just allow the blood to flow out of the bites of these leeches. I know of some runners who pee on their running shorts or tights while running and they don’t really care what and how they smell after the race. In trail running, the dirtier you look as you cross the finish line, the better for your picture!

5. If you want to join and finish a trail ultra, don’t be afraid of the circuses. “Circuses” are translated to “DNFs” in ultra trail races. Even the elite runners have their DNFs. So, why would you be afraid to experience your first DNF? Even if you are properly prepared and trained to a certain ultra trail event, “shit happens”. There are things and factors that one don’t have a control or manage to have these things from happening. If you think that your body could no longer tolerate the pain or any incurring “issue” within your body system and it would jeopardize you for finishing the race, you have to decide immediately for you to DNF the race. There is no shame in a DNF and don’t be affected by what the other runners and friends would say in contrary to your decision. It is your body that you have to preserve and you and only you who would have the responsibility to take care of your body, not by other runners or your running friends. Just remember to use the DNF as your “weapon” in your future races.

6. If you want to join and finish a trail ultra, sometime you have to slide down the obstacle head first. There are times that you have to take the “risk” in ultra trail race that you have trained for. It is either on your Race Strategy or on the skills that you have acquired and learned in your training for you to have an edge over your competitors. You know what your body is capable of when something or a challenge is in front of you, it could be a steep uphill climb, or a steep descending part of the course or a very technical trail where one has to be careful in every step, it could be a river/stream crossing, or some kind of rock climbing, or the need to rappel up or down to a mountain peak. However, don’t take the “risk” of joining and expecting to finish an ultra trail event if you don’t have the training/preparation, you’ll be wasting your money and time on this event. Do not take the “risk” also of introducing some thing “new” during the race, most especially on your equipment, nutrition, and apparel.

7. If you want to join and finish a trail ultra, don’t back down from the sharks. What is best in Ultra Running is the attitude of the runners. Runners would help one another in times when one is in need of food, water, or medical attention. But if everything is ideal and equal among runners, each one of the runners are competing with each other! Whether you like or not, you have “friends” or personalities whom you want to beat, pass, or finish faster than them. In your mind, these are your “sharks” in your races—they are your friends but at the same time your competitors! This is true also in Race Directing/Race Organizing. There are “sharks” going around you but if they become offensive to you, you must give them the “worst and hardest shock” of their lives!

8. If you want to join and finish a trail ultra, you must be your very best in the darkest moment. As they say, ultras are exercise of problem solving and adjustments. Pain, Fatigue, Loss of Appetite, and Dehydration are the most common “issues” to ones body in Ultra Running. But the worst “issue” is Hard-headedness! Each of these “issues” has solution and if you apply such solution, you will be at your Best once you comeback to the race. A brief rest or sleep (if you have enough “buffer” time) is the best solution to these “issues”.

9. If you want to join and finish a trail ultra, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud. As they say, it is the “brain” that takes over when the body is already weak. The fight to finish the race is within the confines of the space between your two ears. This is where your “running mantra” would come in and you should express loudly for you to hear it. Some would use their iPods and MP3s/headphones to hear music; some would “pep talk” themselves with phrases or mantra which are repeated endlessly; some would count their steps; some would pray loudly; some would sing loudly which would make them on a happy mood; or some would think of their inspiration. Hope and Think Positively!

10. If you want to join and finish a trail ultra, don’t ever, ever ring the bell. There is ONLY ONE BELL in my Ultra Races and I, being the Race Director, is the one holding it and the ONLY ONE that is authorized to ring it. At the Starting Line, when it rings, it tells you “Good Luck & Have Fun”. And once I see you approaching the Finish Line, I have to ring the bell that tells you, “Good Job and Congratulations”!

Good Luck and See You In Your Next Ultra Trail Race!

Bald Runner @ Mt Susongdalaga (Playground Charlie)

Bald Runner @ Mt Susongdalaga (Playground Charlie)





Official Result: 1st Tagaytay To Naic 100K Ultra Marathon Race (T2N100K)

13 05 2014

1st Tagaytay To Naic 100K Ultra Marathon Race (Road)

1:00 AM May 11, 2014

Starting Line: Picnic Grove, Tagaytay City

Finish Line: Municipal Plaza, Barangay Poblacion, Naic, Cavite

Number Of Starters: 35

Number Of Finishers: 27

PAU LOGO

PAU LOGO

RANK NAME TIME (HRS)
1 Alfred Delos Reyes (Champion, Course Record) 13:25:01
2 Eric Cruz (1st Runner-Up, Overall) 13:48:31
3 Simon Pavel Miranda (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) 14:09:32
4 Aldrin Pallera 15:30:45
5 Michael Dauz 15:58:18
6 Laurencio Ogerio 16:12:01
7 Irrol Novenario 16:25:30
8 Lurvin Ocampo 16:27:28
9 Erwin Tolentino 16:44:40
10 Archie Tiu Gascon 16:45:50
11 Bing Baltazar Brillo 16:49:50
12 Benedict Meneses 17:02:34
13 Allan Sabado 17:30:16
14 Loradel Hanopol (Champion, Female) 17:32:57
15 Mel Severino 17:41:25
16 Herbert Puyat 17:53:27
17 Mary Grace Lao (1st Runner-Up, Female) 17:59:08
18 Jerome Paulo Castro 19:18:18
19 Inocencio Rosario, Jr 19:20:18
20 Carlos Sadalsund 19:20:19
21 Isabelo Estacion 19:20:30
22 Nap Ocampo 19:41:40
23 Merlito Mallari 20:21:25
24 Laurice Rogel (2nd Runner-Up, Female) 20:21:26
25 Ciriaco Manalansan 20:21:27
26 Joseph Balbino 20:21:28
27 Mark Capistrano 20:22:07

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

Pictures By Epoy Poblete: https://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.d.poblete/media_set?set=a.605950859501111.1073741851.100002586082721&type=1





Official Result: 7th Tagaytay To Nasugbu 50K Ultra Marathon Race (T2N50)

12 05 2014

4:00 AM – 1:00 PM May 11, 2014

Starting Area: Picnic Grove, Tagaytay City

Finish Line: PETRON Gasoline Station, Nasugbu, Batangas

Number Of Starters: 118

Number Of Finishers: 113

Cut-Off Time: 9 Hours

This Is Where Ultra Marathon Running Addiction Starts!

This Is Where Ultra Marathon Running Addiction Starts!

RANK NAME TIME (HRS)
1 Lawrence Aninag (Champion, Overall) 5:01:35
2 Meliton Carag (1st Runner-Up, Overall) 5:16:40
3 Nina Ferando (2nd Runner-Up, Overall & Female Champion) 5:17:46
4 Rogelio Puzon 5:20:58
5 Sandy Alentajan 5:22:57
6 Fritz Adre Espinosa 5:27:33
7 Beda Abugan, Jr 5:32:10
8 Gia Estrella (1st Runner-Up, Female) 5:35:35
9 Raffy Estavillo 5:44:44
10 RJ Zamora 5:54:18
11 Adan Banday 5:56:36
12 Cholo Reynes 5:57:48
13 Cristopher Magdangal 5:58:09
14 Jonathan Bajaro 6:00:01
15 Rhina Sison (2nd Runner-Up, Female) 6:00:11
16 Oscar Velasco 6:01:11
17 Sean Andan 6:09:47
18 Jon Ogsimer 6:11:08
19 Earvin Joed Biason 6:13:15
20 Decerel Mendoza (F) 6:15:53
21 Jerdie Jurado 6:16:51
22 Manny Ydulzura 6:19:31
23 Adray Joseph Alvior 6:20:12
24 Frederick Tipon 6:20:45
25 Vicente Bubuan 6:21:49
26 Pamela Gatuz (F) 6:22:22
27 Allan Joseph Abenes 6:24:28
28 Tess Leono (F) 6:24:55
29 Gamaliel Tayao 6:25:34
30 Herbert Avila 6:34:31
31 Patrick James Ayo 6:35:08
32 Francis Panilla 6:35:09
33 Edrick Nicdao 6:35:59
34 Edwin Reyes 6:37:02
35 Janet Lozon Villanueva (F) 6:39:59
36 Allan Lanzon 6:42:51
37 Ivan Pena 6:42:52
38 Manny Ocampo 6:43:08
39 Joseph Pineda 6:44:38
40 Alex Araneta 6:46:18
41 Luz Tiuseco (F) 6:48:39
42 Karen Odessa Cabuyao (F) 6:48:47
43 Melcin Cruz 6:51:52
44 Daisy Visperas (F) 6:55:56
45 Rasette Pesuelo (F) 6:58:33
46 Sherwin Guansing 7:07:54
47 Rolan Cera 7:08:38
48 Joseph Nebrida 7:09:41
49 Jesus Anthony Dizon 7:12:07
50 Michael Manuel Tiuseco 7:14:28
51 Ellen Solosod (F) 7:15:27
52 Oliver Cavinta 7:16:25
53 Teresa Gangan (F) 7:17:31
54 Rodelyn Ventura (F) 7:19:25
55 Ruben Fajardo 7:21:12
56 Ernesto Badong 7:21:13
57 Soleil Navarro 7:23:18
58 Arwin Ng 7:23:19
59 Philip Gan 7:23:53
60 Ma. Cristina Aldaya (F) 7:27:22
61 Florencio Uy 7:29:52
62 Beni Steve Vilches 7:30:13
63 Victhor Tuazon 7:31:15
64 Leo Villarico 7:32:25
65 Efren Gregorio 7:34:02
66 Jeramy Blas 7:36:20
67 Mark Anthony Belaniso 7:37:34
68 Dhonabel Castillo (F) 7::40:02
69 Markchael Valdevieso 7:42:56
70 Melvin Tolentino 7:43:05
71 Kerwin Ng 7:43:31
72 Ruby Gan (F) 7:44:47
73 Kim Zamora 7:45:45
74 Paul La Rosa 7:48:54
75 Vangie Gregorio (F) 7:52:20
76 Gerly Santos (F) 7:52:21
77 Lourdes Maghuyop (F) 7:53:35
78 Mildred Tormes (F) 7:53:46
79 Stephenson Avanzado 7:53:53
80 Vincent Hilario 7:54:44
81 Alvin Jotojot 8:01:29
82 Disodado Reyes, Jr 8:01:33
83 Cherry Rose Betonio (F) 8:02:10
84 Cecilia Lalisan (F) 8:04:47
85 Ma. Naomi Mabasa (F) 8:07:06
86 Manuel Remandaban 8:07:39
87 Joey Genecera 8:08:43
88 Gloria Silvestre Tatad (F) 8:09:38
89 Vicente De Lima 8:10:04
90 Marl Dario 8:12:05
91 Georgianne Belaniso (F) 8:12:25
92 Mark Paunil 8:15:21
93 Orlando Fortiz 8:15:44
94 Bernardino Gangan 8:15:56
95 Gerardine Kun (F) 8:19:32
96 Guido Aleman 8:19:48
97 Peachy Tamayo (F) 8:21:05
98 Abigail Joy Castaneda (F) 8:21:15
99 Adam Radomes 8:21:16
100 Evelyn Ponce (F) 8:26:15
101 Lester Estrella 8:26:56
102 Nashir Caratao 8:27:35
103 Margie Reyes (F) 8:29:18
104 Maerxksol Ponce 8:29:19
105 Allenstein Co 8:29:29
106 Reiner Tatlonghari 8:34:48
107 Matthew Rodriguez 8:42:07
108 Elouise Jane Timbang (F) 8:42:15
109 Gladysma Jane Giron (F) 8:42:55
110 Joy Odronia (F) 8:42:56
111 Jose Mari Mercado 8:47:00
112 Lance Estrella 8:48:44
113 Leo Cadiz 8:50:51

Champion Lawrence Aninag, PMA Class 1995. Congratulations, Cavalier!

Champion Lawrence Aninag, PMA Class 1995. Congratulations, Cavalier!

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

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Race Report: 2014 TNF 100K Trail Run (Part 2)

8 05 2014

@ AS #5/Bridal Veil Falls, Camp 1, Kennon Road

It took me 2 hours and 25 minutes to reach AS #5, a distance of 12 Kilometers from AS #4 in Barangay Alang. As soon as I reached the paved road of Kennon Road, I was approached by Race Marshals to get my Race Bib number and instructed me to drop by the Aid Station for drinks and food. As I passed by the Aid Station, I saw some of the runners who arrived earlier and those who passed me on the downhill route from Barangay Alang. They were eating, refilling their hydration systems, checking their Drop Bags, some were changing to drier apparel and shoes, and some had taken their bath/shower at the nearby public toilet/shower room beside the road.

Arriving At AS #5, Bridal Veil, Camp #1

Arriving At AS #5, Bridal Veil, Camp #1

I asked my support crew to provide me with ice cold-soaked towelette which I could put on my head and nape as I was affected with the intense heat of the sun. I could feel the fatigue on my body due to the heat. I wanted to bring down the heat of my body at a faster rate by drinking ice-cold water and by rubbing my legs and arms with the ice-cold soaked towelette. It took me some minutes to do this “ice cold towel” rubbing routine to my exposed body parts. As soon as I felt my body temperature had stabilized, I asked for some solid food. I was able to ingest the whole can of Century Tuna Paella, 4 pieces of Vienna Sausage, and One Cup of Hot Chicken Noodle. I was able to drink half liter of ice-cold RC Cola while ingesting these solid foods.  My plan to change my shoes and running apparel did not push through. I decided to continue the run without changing any of my running kit. While eating, I soaked my running cap, Buff Bandana, and my Mountain Hardwear Mini-Bandana in my ice chest so that when I am ready to use them again, they would give me some cold feeling to my body.

Exhausted Due To Heat But Still Strong & Determined To Finish

Exhausted Due To Heat But Still Strong & Determined To Finish

AS #5 To AS #6 ( Camp 1 To Barangay Tabaan)

After 30 minutes of rest/recovery at AS #5, I resumed my race and had my Mandatory Equipment Check-Up by the Race Marshals before leaving the Checkpoint at AS #5. Even with a “buffer” time of 3 hours before the prescribed cut-off time in the Checkpoint/AS #5, I knew that the next part of the course will be the hardest part of the route with the peak of Mt Santo Tomas as the next target. Last year, I had only 30 minutes as a “buffer” time when I crossed the Hanging Bridge of the Bridal Veil Falls and after hiking 2-3 kilometers, I declared myself as DNF. Since I did a lot of recon hikes on this part of the course, I was confident that I can retrace my way and recall the trails/roads up to the peak of Mt Santo Tomas. I estimated to reach the peak in 6 1/2 hours.

For this year, once I crossed the Hanging Bridge of the Bridal Veil Falls with much time as a “buffer”, I knew I would be able to cross the Finish Line with an impressive time. As soon as I reached the first creek/stream of the route, I saw a lot of runners resting and some had submerged their bodies to the cold water to cool off their warm bodies. I just stopped to dip my cap and my bandana and acknowledged the greetings of the runners whom I passed by. I continued my climb leaving the other runners behind. However, at some points, I would be overtaken by younger and stronger runners. I let them pass as I stepped aside from the trail.

Preparing To Cross The Hanging Bridge @ Bridal Veil Falls

Preparing To Cross The Hanging Bridge @ Bridal Veil Falls (Photo By Juvy Pagtalunan)

After climbing the first uphill/ascent of the route and reaching the wide Barangay Road that leads to Andolor, I met two old couple who were watching me and the other runners. After greeting them in the local dialect, the old lady made some hand signs and verbal response to me. I immediately understood the message that she wanted me to do. She was telling me in the local dialect and hand signal that I need to close my mouth while exerting more effort in scaling those uphill climbs, thus, making me effortless and stronger in climbing. I said, Wow! I immediately recalled what I read in Scott Jurek’s book! According to a Chinese saying as stated in the book, “the nose is for breathing while the mouth is for eating”!

From this point, the advise of the old lady stayed in my mind and strictly observed throughout the race! I would strictly breath through my nose and always conscious that my mouth was always clipped! I tried to jog on the downhill parts of the route but it was temporary as I would face one uphill climb to another one. I had to power walk these climbs with the proper form and technique. Through the blogs of elite ultra trail runners, I was able to apply in my training some of their techniques in power hikes on uphill climbs. The first one is to use your hamstrings and gluteus (buttock) muscles in power climbs instead of the knees and quadriceps muscles. I have to bend my body from the waist as I push my body forward and make sure to land my foot on a flatter strike on the ground. By doing this, the hamstrings and gluteus muscles are forced to go in action on power hikes in uphill climbs. The second technique is to be able to constantly count your steps while power hiking or running. I would count from 1 up to 90 counts as my left foot strikes the ground and when I reach 90, I start again the cycle with 1 and so on. By counting your steps, you will be conscious on your pace and running form. Third technique is to find out one of your favorite ultra trail elite’s personal video on You Tube. Watch his video and try to recall/remember this video while you are in the race. This technique will inspire you to mimic his/her running form and the cadence of his feet even if you have short strides. Try these techniques and I am sure you will enjoy more on mountain trail running! Through these techniques, you don’t see me using my hands to push my knees in steep uphill climbs or had seen me using any trekking poles! But remember to always close your mouth and maximize the use of your nose in breathing! You will be surprised the heavenly feeling of breathing the purest air on earth!

All of a sudden I reached AS #6 which is situated at the Barangay Hall of Tabaan. I saw a lot of the faster runners resting and eating in the said place. Some of the runners suggested me to pick-up some foods and drinks and try to even up with the registration fee that we had paid to join this race. I stopped to pick some ripe bananas and chocolate drinks and I left the AS immediately.

TNF Phil 100 Elevation Profile

TNF Phil 100 Elevation Profile

AS #6 To AS #7 (Barangay Hall of Tabaan To Mt Santo Tomas)

After a few kilometers from the Barangay Hall, a group of runners passed me while I was power hiking. I was amazed how these runners would walk with such speed. I was able to briefly talk to George Javier, a mountaineer and ultra mountain runner based in Los Banos, Laguna, and a lady runner Del Guidaben who is also a fast hiker/ultra trail runner! At an intersection with a Waiting Shed, I decided to have a brief rest to eat what I’ve taken from the previous Aid Station. While eating, I would be greeted by those runners who stopped at the previous Aid Station as they passed my resting place. After 5 minutes, I was back on the road and continue with the race. I would never see the backs/shadows of George, Del, and the rest of the runners who passed me at the Waiting Shed.

More uphill climbs with more uphill hiking until I reached the Church of Andolor where Race Marshals and Medical Aid Personnel were stationed. The marshals advised me and the runners who were behind me that we can have a refill of our water bottles and we can also get some ice cubes from their supply. They warned us that the next 9 kilometers will be the steepest uphill/ascent of the course without any Race Marshal. I knew that the next part of the course will be the hardest to tackle as I need to rest/stop in every 20 steps on the steep inclines. The cycle had to be repeated until it became darker in the forest. It was still 6:30 PM but due to the thick foliage and cloudy sky/impending thunderstorm to come, the trail was already dark! It was time to bring out my Black Diamond Polar Headlight. In a few minutes, it started to drizzle and I immediately unpacked my light UNIQLO Windbreaker Jacket which I used in Mt Pulag during the H1 100-Mile Run and zippered it to cover my upper body. At this point, I still have 5 Kilometers more to go before I could reach the next Aid Station.

TNF Phil 100 Route Map

TNF Phil 100 Route Map

At some point after I wrapped myself with my Jacket, it began to rain lightly but as I go higher to the peak, I have observed that the rain became stronger. The trail was already flooded with water due to the rains and I had no other choice but to let my shoes and socks to be wet. The decision not to change to another shoes was favorable to me as I knew that my shoes would be drained easily from the absorbed water because the uppers are very porous with the materials used. Due to the strong rains, I found out that the water had seeped through my jacket. I started to feel some coldness in my body and my fingers had started to become numb. I remember what my Coach had advised me if ever I would be exposed to colder temperature during a trail race—keep on moving faster through hiking and/or moving or swinging the upper arms AND feed the body with more FOOD for the body to ingest. More food means more energy, and more energy means warmer  body. I took in one GU Gel and ate a lot of those small potatoes (as big as those quail eggs) which I had it boiled with salted water before it was packed and followed by eating slices of Korean Pear. It was part of my food resupply at AS #5 from my support crew. It was still raining hard when I reached the place which I call “The Cable Drop” Point. Race Marshals were positioned on this point  with their Camping Tent. From this point, I have to follow a steep descending zigzag trail until it would flatten for awhile and then followed with another uphill climb before an intersection. Another Race Marshals  with tent were positioned in this place and I was told to turn left, meaning, go for another uphill climb again.

Due to steepness of the climb, my movement slowed down but my body was still warm. To anticipate the lowering of my energy due to my slow movement, I brought out my thin plastic poncho from my pack and had to wear it. It was still raining but I am confident that my warm body will not go down to a colder temperature with the poncho that I was using. Finally, I reached AS #7 near the peak of Mt Santo Tomas. One of the Race Marshals approached me and handed me a thin red plastic bracelet. I saw some of the runners at the tent eating some food and being attended to by the medical aide. When I saw that there are bottles of Mountain Dew, I got one plastic bottle of Mountain Dew and drank 1/4 of it. I was told that the distance to the next Aid Station is 3 Kilometers—1.5 kilometers as rough road and the other half as cemented road.

I reached this point at 10:15 PM and it took me almost 8 1/2 hours to climb Mt Santo Tomas! If not for the rains and colder temperature, I could have reached the peak with a faster time. At least, I was still enjoying a “buffer” time of 2 1/2 hours, reducing my previous “buffer” time at AS #5 by one hour.

AS #7 To AS #8 (Mt Santo Tomas To Mt Cabuyao)

It was all downhill from AS #7 but the road was rough with rocks although I can have a choice of where there are no protruding rocks along the wide road. I kept on power hiking on those downhill portions. I brought out my packed boiled corn in a cob for more more energy even if the rains had stopped already. While hiking, I had to eat the corn and ingesting them with the bottle of Mountain Dew. I was full of energy once I stepped on the concrete part of the road leading to Mt Cabuyao after I finished eating the corn. I would try to jog on the downhill portions and power hike on the uphill until I would see a completely submerged part of the road with water. I would go to the edge of the road and try not to dampen my shoes again. After slight rolling terrain along the paved road, I could see already the lights of tents near Cabuyao Peak. Once I reached the Aid Station, I was met by a lady Race Marshal who is a foreigner and she noted my Race Number. She advised me and the other runners reaching the place to get and eat some rice porridge. Instead of stopping by the Aid Station, I continued my walk to the trail that leads to the next Checkpoint/Aid Station.

I reached this point at 11:15 PM and had a “buffer” time of 2:15 hours before the cut-off time of 1:00 AM for this Aid Station/Checkpoint.

But there was some itchy feeling on my upper left leg and buttocks that I tried to scratch with my fingers. Lo and behold, I was being attacked by leeches. I believe that the leeches attacked my left leg on my way down from the peak of Mt Santo Tomas. I removed the leech from my left side buttocks, then another one on my upper left leg and then two leeches were trying to suck some blood from my left knee as they tried to cling to the upper edge of my calf sleeve. Four leeches attacked my left leg! After removing the leeches from my leg, I just continued my walk not minding if the blood was flowing out from my wounds.

AS #8 To AS #9 (Mt Cabuyao To Camp 6)

This is the steepest downhill part of the race course which consists of very narrow trail where one side is a steep ravine. In my recon runs in this part of the trail during the day, it was a fast one running and hiking along this course but with a muddy and slippery trail brought about by the rains on the early evening and trekking this part on a nighttime, it’s a different story. No one would dare to jump or run on those very technical and narrow trail of the route. One mistake or slip along this trail would result to flying to the deepest ravine of the mountain. I was very deliberate on my footing and every step on the steep declines which my movement very slow. I started to get a warm feeling to my body and I took some time to remove my thin plastic poncho and brought it back to my backpack. I could still feel that my windbreaker jacket is still damp and wet but my body was warm due to continues body movements.

As I slowly hiked down this trail, I immediately felt that my stomach was having some trouble and I could feel that I need to go to the bathroom. But I could still manage the situation as I continued my hike. As I approached a vegetable garden of cauliflower, I slipped on a muddy part of the trail and my buttocks “kissed” the ground. I tried to use my left arm to prevent my body from hitting the ground but it was not enough to counter the momentum of my body and I had to roll-over and landed on the vegetable garden. I immediately stood up and there was a pain on my left wrist. I thought my left wrist was broken! I slowly rotated my palm and tried to stretch/bend my wrist repeatedly. I was glad that there was no wound on my wrist and by massaging my wrist while walking, the pain just simply disappeared. I could see some blood flowing from my left knee but there was no pain on it and I concluded that the blood was coming from the bites of the leeches. I was glad that my slip was not done on those narrow trail where one side is a deep ravine!

After I’ve recovered from the slip, other runners would pass me along the trail and I would gladly step aside from the trail when I notice that there are sounds of steps behind me. I know that these runners would give notice or inform whoever were the runners resting on the next Aid Station that I was already near the Aid Station. Such information from these faster runners would also be relayed or monitored by my support crew waiting for me. More or less, my support crew would know that I am fine and still active/moving along the trail.

I continued my power hike but I’ve noticed that headlight’s illumination was becoming weaker. I had to move at a faster pace to reach the Aid Station where my support crew was waiting and where my stock of new batteries are located. As I moved faster down the trail, I forgot to take some GU Gel and my body became weaker, too. I had to stop, took a sit on a strip of lumber on the side of the trail and ate one piece of Hopia and drank a little of Mountain Dew. I felt nauseated when I swallowed the Hopia but I did not panic. I had to take a deep breath and observed my feelings. When the nausea feeling disappeared, I took one GU Gel and one Imodium capsule for my stomach pain before I continued with my hike. Slowly but surely, the sound of the river became louder and the sounds of the vehicles passing along Camp 6 in Kennon Road were becoming louder and nearer!

Replacement Of Batteries & Inserting Packed Foods In My Backpack

Replacement Of Batteries & Inserting Packed Foods In My Backpack (More Blood Stains On My Left Knee Due To Leech Bites) Photo By Stephanie Hefti

I reached Camp 6 at 1:30 AM and asked for my stash of running kit placed inside a “tupperware” box from my support crew. I immediately changed the batteries of my Headlight. I also requested for a hot noodles and coke. While eating, I tried to clean the leeches’ bites with wet wipes and declined suggestions from the Race Marshals that the bites should be treated by their Medical Aide. I also asked for my packed foods (sliced Korean Pear + boiled small potatoes) and have them inserted inside my backpack. As I ate and rested, more runners would arrive at the Aid Station. After about 15-20 minutes of stay in the Aid Station, I was ready for the last steep uphill climb of the race route.

Eating My Hot Noodles With The Picture Of A Leech Bite

Eating My Hot Noodles With The Picture Of A Leech Bite (Photo By Stephanie Hefti)

To Be Continued…





Race Report: 2014 TNF 100K Trail Run (Part 1)

7 05 2014

Last Year’s DNF 100

I reached halfway of the course at AS5 with 30 minutes to spare before the cut-off time of 14 hours. After eating and resting, I continued the run but after hiking for about 2 kilometers, I declared myself as DNF due to knee pains and fatigue. The race was over for me and I needed some rests and tried to assess my running capabilities as I was about to reach the age of 61.

After one month of rest/recovery and some lackluster training, I tried to join a 100-mile trail run just to test myself how far I would go. I registered to the said race five months before the race and made the TNF 100 as part of my training/preparation. I failed again in this race due to heat exhaustion/fatigue; dehydration; and poor nutrition plan. I reached the halfway point of the race barely within the intermediate cut-off time. I was allowed to pass the Checkpoint and continue with the race but instead, I simply hiked up to the next checkpoint and I was the last runner on the course until I was finally declared DNFd at the next Checkpoint.

After one week of rest/no running, I entertained the idea of getting the services of a Ultra Running Coach. And I got one. After some exchanges of notes and messages, I was ready to start my training for the next year’s TNF 100 as he gave me a training program to start with. It was in the middle of June 2013 when I started a structured training plan which was 100% done on the trails.

Training

The training was based from my age, number of years of running, and previous running-related injury/injuries. Monday is my Rest Day and the rest of the days of the week were on trail running with at least, 500 meters of elevation gain/loss in every 10K distance (6 miles). I started to have a mileage of 80+kilometers for a week. And as I got stronger on the trails, I would reach up to 110-120 kilometers per week on my peak training program where I would reach to higher elevations and mountain peaks. I was made also to do some strengthening exercises for the leg muscles and core muscles which I do once or twice a week. Speed work on the trails was also done at least, once a week. In my long runs, I had to test the best nutrition that my body would respond. I tested for purely water in my training. I tested also for powdered mix preparation which could be diluted with water. I would also test for solid foods ingested during training. But what was critical was to test the use of Power Gels/GU Gels and how they give you the much-needed energy during training. I would also test my trails shoes comparing them as to their weight once they are damped with my sweat or being wet from submerging myself in creeks and streams. I would also test my shirts and shorts as to which one are prone to chafing on any part of my body.

For the training and preparation for this year’s TNF 100K Trail Run, my post, “The Hay Is In The Barn” explains everything to it, to include proper tapering before the race. Aside from reducing the number of mileage within two weeks before the race, I also put more time to sleep and rest on the last week before the event. I was averaging 9-10 hours of sleep, at least, 3 days before Race Day.

Race Day

On the early  morning of Saturday after I had my shower (2 hours before gun start), I ate a full meal of rice, noodles with pork (pandit canton), vegetables, chicken, and hard-boiled egg; had my hot coffee; and took some amount of water. After the meal, I made sure I rubbed a lot of Body Glide to my body parts which I expected to have some chafing. I took my time fixing my attire/running kit from head to foot. I made sure that my shoe laces are tight but  making the ride as comfortable as it can be. I decided to wear my La Sportiva Helios which had been my DNF shoes in my last year’s races because it is the lightest and the most responsive shoes on technical trails. My Patagonia Shorts are battle-tested in the CM42 & CM50 trail races. My white long-sleeved PAU Shirt by A Simple White Shirt had been with me in my long runs in my playground. Aside from the Buff Bandana on my neck, I have also a sweat bandana by Mountain Hardwear wrapped on my forehead which was covered by my TNF Running Cap. After having tried the Compressport Calf Sleeves in my training, I opted to use the Ultra Model for the race and I never had any cramps or signs of having some pains in my calves. They were also useful as “sweat traps” to prevent my socks and shoes from being wet and protection for leech bites on the forested sections of the route.

La Sportiva "Helios" Trail Shoes

La Sportiva “Helios” Trail Shoes

One and a half hours before the race start, I was already at the Starting Line for the Mandatory Gear Check. I was carrying a tightly packed UNIQLO Light Windbreaker Jacket inside the backpack of my Ultimate Direction’s Anton Krupicka Signature Series Hydration Vest with two bottles of Simple Hydration and seven packs of GU Gels stacked on the different small pockets of the hydration vest. I had also a thin plastic poncho which is packed tightly inside my backpack. I was carrying a Fenix handheld flashlight on my hand and a Black Diamond headlamp on my head. I got the whistle from my Salomon XT S-LAB Hydration Pack and have it tied to my UD Hydration Vest. After the race check-in, I returned to my vehicle and mentally reviewed my race and nutrition strategy. The Race Strategy was to arrive at the Intermediate Checkpoints with at least 2 hours as “buffer” time before the prescribed cut-off time and to pass as many runners along the way since I will be starting from the back of the pack. The nutrition strategy was to ingest one GEL every hour, alternating one flavor to another out of the five (5) flavors that I included in my pack. Eat solid foods and carry some food on Aid Stations where my support crew would be waiting. As I did in my training, two bottles of water would be enough for my hydration needs for at least 20 kilometers with an option to drink some more if there are sources of water along the route where I could refill.

Thirty minutes before gun start, I had to pee and took my first GU Gel. Composed and relaxed, I joined the rest of the runners and positioned myself at the back of the pack with the rest of the “usual suspects” in ultra marathon in the country.

The "Usual Suspects" In The Country's Ultra Trail Running

The “Usual Suspects” In The Country’s Ultra Trail Running

At The Back With Ultra Friends

At The Back With Ultra Friends

Race Proper @ Camp John Hay To AS #3 (Ampucao)

At exactly 3:00 AM, the race started and I slowly moved forward to cross the START/FINISH arc by walking. Once I reached the paved road of Camp John Hay, I started to jog. My jog slowly became a run until I started passing some runners who would start hiking on some ascending parts of the first kilometer of the route. My run became faster on the descending roads and maintained my pace on those uphill ones. I remember last year that I was hiking on the first 2-3 kilometers of the route with a pair of trekking poles. But for this year, I was not using any trekking poles. In all my training runs for this year’s TNF, I never used my trekking poles. I tried to use them in H1 last February without any training and it gave me some problems with my pace. I just followed one of the “basics” in ultra, never use anything that you did not use during your training.

@The Back Of The Pack

@The Back Of The Pack

While running on the paved roads in front of Baguio Country Club and parts of South Drive, I have already passed a lot of runners and after hitting the trails of Camp John Hay, the group of runners in front and behind me had thinned out already. I had already my own space on the trail and I would have the freedom to dictate what pace I would be doing. The headlights in front of me would be my guide to determine how fast I would be running. I just took it easy to run the uphills and the downhills until we reached a populated area but we were still within the vicinity of Camp John Hay. Last year, I was overtaken by the lead runners of the 50K race which started one hour after our start time but for now, there was no way that the lead runners of the 50K would overtake me along the trails of the Camp. After one hour, I was already on the downhill approach towards the mining community of Itogon.

I was surprised to find out from my Garmin that my Average Speed was 7-8 kilometers per hour. At daybreak, after 2 1/2 hours after start time, I was already approaching AS #2 and I have run a distance of 20 kilometers at this point.  I did not stop at AS #2 and kept on running on the easy flat and ascending parts towards the mining companies in the area. After passing a Gate/Guard Outpost of a Mining Company, the route started to ascend and I tried to run slowly until I passed more runners who were hiking. As we left the Mining Company perimeter, it was the start of the first never-ending steep ascent towards Barangay Ampucao. More runners would step aside from the trail as I passed them. I had a refill of water for my bottles when one of the marshals told us that the flowing water coming out of the water pipe is potable and clean. After some uphill and downhill, I was already near the Ampucao Aid Station. I reached AS #3 (Ampucao) at 7:30 AM, 4:30 hours after Start and I was happy and surprised. I had 3 1/2 hours as “buffer” before the cut-off time and I was 2 hours faster than my last year’s arrival time in this place!

Sharing Happy Moments With The Younger & Faster Runners

Sharing Happy Moments With The Younger & Faster Runners @ Ampucao

AS #3 To AS #4 (Ampucao To Alang)

I immediately made a refill of water to my hydration bottles at the Aid Station and tried to glance what were the foods available. I saw some boiled bananas and boiled camotes and I did not attempt to pick up any of them. Instead, I approached my support crew and gave me hot noodle soup which I requested with two slices of fried Spam. I took my time to eat some solid foods after ingesting at least 3 GU Gels of different flavors for the past four hours in the race. After almost 30 minutes, I was done with my rest, eating, and hydrating myself with colder water. I was back on the road at 8:00 AM with a target time to reach Barangay Alang at 11:00 AM. Last year, I left Ampucao at 10:00 AM.

Ampucao to the “Mossy Forest” is mostly an uphill part of the course. The trail was too narrow and there are portions where there are too many rocks on the trail. I went up fast enough as I was confident with my training. I would slowly jogged on the flat portions and downhill sections of the course. Some trails are also enough for the cow’s feet to move within the place as this place is used as a ranch for cattles. This is also the part of the course with a breath-taking views of the Philex Mines, Baguio City, parts of Eastern Pangasinan and the San Manuel Hydro-Electric Dam, and the Mount Santo Tomas-Cabuyao mountain ranges, which is the other half of the race course! I did not have much time to stop and look around the views all around the place as I was focused to the very narrow and technical trail in front of me. I’ve been in this place for two times in my recon runs last year and it was enough to glance on spots where I would laugh and remember what my running friends had experienced in this place.

Before entering the “Mossy Forest”, I knew I had enough “buffer” time. It is a proof that my training is paying off and I was excited that my body was still strong. I had to overtake some more runners and sometimes allow the faster runners to pass me. And looking at the faces of those who would overtake, I am just happy that they look like they are half of my age! At this point, I was 2 hours ahead as compared with my time last year.

I purposely power hiked once I entered the “Mossy Forest” in order to take time for my body to rest after the uphill climb. I started to eat a sliced Korean Pear which I took from my support crew at the Ampucao Aid Station. The sliced Korean Pear was placed in a plastic bag and soaked in some ice. Eating such cold, juicy and sweet Korean pear was heaven in my mouth! Eating this fruit after ingesting one GU Gel is something that I would recommend as a good nutrition to ultra runners! I would jogged on the wider parts of the trail in the mossy forest which are mostly downhill. There are steep portions where one has to be extra careful on ones footing on the ground. There are also two portions where a runner has to rappel with a rope to go down from a higher to a lower ground. I could remember also that once there will be some uphill climb after the rappelling sections and pass by a “house with a water hose”, it is a sign that in a few minutes, I will be reaching AS #4 in Barangay Alang.

A lady race marshal was waiting at the “hut with a water hose” and she told me that the Aid Station with food and drinks is very near. I asked the Lady Marshal of my ranking and she told me that I was #91. It gave me a boost to slowly jog and try my best to reach the Aid Station within the targeted time—11:00 AM. After a few minutes, I was out of the forest and I could see the Aid Station with runners eating, drinking and refilling their hydration systems. The Medical Personnel asked me if I need some massage on my legs and I said, No, it would be enough that I would just sit and have a taste of the food prepared at the race. I was disappointed to eat a rotten ripe banana (lakatan). I think I had to get another one and peeled it with the same result. Instead, I took two small packs of Chocolate Drinks (Chuckie) and consumed the drinks! I made sure also to drink a lot of water in the Aid Station and made a refill to my bottles in order to anticipate the hot temperature as I go down to Kennon Road (AS #5). I still have some solid food in my pack which I would eat as soon as I would leave the place. In about 15 minutes, I was already back on the race and I was ready to face my “waterloo” in my last year’s race—the 12K downhill run from Barangay Alang to Bridal Veil, Camp #1, Kennon Road which is popularly known by the locals as “Ligay” (Wheel).

AS #4 To AS #5 (Alang To Bridal Veil Falls)

After jogging for about one kilometer, I brought out the food which was handed to me at the Ampucao Aid Station by my Support Crew—boiled sweet corn! I had to eat the corn from the cob as I walked on the slight uphill climbs of the course. It was too convenient for me to bite a part of the corn from the cob and then chew the corn in my mouth while running downhill. I practiced this kind of eating some corn from the cob while running during my training. It takes some time to chew the corn but with a small amount of water sipped into the mouth, the corn could be easily ingested. After a few minutes, I was able to eat one piece of corn on a cob and jogging downhill was just so easy for me.

At the middle of the 12K route, there is a convenience store where I would see some runners starting to leave the place once they see me approaching the place. I guess, they are making me as their “reference point” that they need to hurry up or else they will get passed by a Senior Citizen. I decided to buy two bottles of Coke (they were not cold) for my personal consumption in this convenience store. After a few seconds, I noticed a younger, tall and dark runner who ordered one bottle of coke and I said to the lady owner of the store that she would deduct the payment from the change of my money. The young runner was surprised to know that I paid for his drinks and he thanked me. I asked him if he is a local runner (Ilocano) or a runner from the South in Tagalog dialect. He told me that he came from Indonesia to join this event. We started a conversation until we left the store and started running. He was behind me for a few minutes and only to find out later that he completely disappeared  from my sight. I guess, I was really faster this time in downhill running as compared in my last year’s experience. I would meet some locals in the area and race marshals preparing for their food/lunch and telling me that the next Aid Station is very near. I would say “Thank You” to them but I usually look at the horizon and the nearby mountains and compare where I am for me to gauge and estimate my elevation. As I can see that I am lower than the ridges of the nearby mountains, I can conclude that I am really getting nearer to the next Aid Station which is the Bridal Veil Falls at Camp #1 in Kennon Road.

Classic "Happy Face Of A Strong Runner" Look Near AS #5

Classic “Happy Face Of A Strong Runner” Look Near AS #5

Some of the younger runners would overtake me but I maintained what I’ve trained for in downhill running which is appropriate and adjusted to my age and personal capabilities. I knew I was doing good in the race as compared to my past experience last year. I just needed some patience, focused concentration, and positive attitude for me to reach the halfway point without any problems, “issues” or injuries. I had to hydrate some more as the sun’s heat was already at its highest. As I glanced to my watch, I was surprised to see that it was 1:20 PM and I was almost one kilometer away to the Aid Station! I reached the Aid Station at 1:30 PM with 3 1/2 hours as “buffer” before the cut-off time. It is insane to think that I improved 3 hours faster time than in last year’s race!

To Be Continued….








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