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….





Rules & Regulations For The 7th Tagaytay To Nasugbu 50K Ultra Marathon Race

5 05 2014

Guidelines/Rules & Regulations For The 7th T2N (Tagaytay to Nasugbu) 50K Ultra Marathon Race (4:00 AM May 11, 2014)

Starting Line & Assembly Area

Starting Line & Assembly Area

1. This is a solo race. The race will start at 4:00 AM of Sunday, May 11, 2014 in front of the Picnic Grove (near the Development Academy of the Philippines) in Tagaytay City. The Finish Line of the race is at the PETRON Gas Station in Nasugbu, Batangas which is located One Kilometer before the Poblacion.

2. The route of the race will follow the Highway from Tagaytay City to Nasugbu, Batangas. Runners will have to turn LEFT upon reaching the SHELL Gas Station at the intersection of Nasugbu and the Highway that goes to Matabungkay Beach Resort. Runners will have to run at least 500 meters before they turn-around and finally proceed to reach the Finish Line.

3. Runners should bring with them their Registration Deposit Slip (BPI Deposit Slip) and submit it to the Secretariat/BR’s Staff before the start of the said race. Runners should be at the Assembly Area not later than 3:00 AM of May 11, 2014 for processing. All runners/starters shall be accounted at the Starting Area before the race will start.

4. Runners are allowed to have their Support Vehicle & Crew but they are NOT allowed to have Pacers. Due to the absence of any Aid Station along the course, runners may run on “self-support” or “self-contained” making sure that they have an appropriate hydration system with them.

5. Runners shall ALWAYS run or stay on the farthest LEFT side of the road facing the incoming traffic. Runners are advised to be extra vigilant on vehicles approaching on their FRONT and BACK. Vehicles overtaking other vehicles on your back have the tendency to get more space on the Left Lane of the Road. To be safe, run/stay on the farthest side of shoulder of the road.

6. Runners shall ALWAYS run or stay on the farthest LEFT Side of the road on SINGLE FILE. We will be strict on this and we will warn any runner violating this rule before we declare DNF or disqualification in the said race.

7. Support Vehicles must be able to “leap frog” their runners. It means that the Support Vehicle should be waiting for their runner at an appropriate distance ahead of the runner. Runners are NOT allowed to be “shadowed” by their Support Vehicle. Support Vehicle must cruise along the route at the prescribed Speed Limit of the Highway. Support Vehicles are NOT allowed to turn on their Hazard Lights while they are plying on the race course.

8. Support Vehicles must ALWAYS park on the farthest RIGHT SIDE of the road/highway when waiting for their runner/s. Support Vehicles parked on the LEFT SIDE of the road will be a ground for the runner to be Disqualified.

9. Runner are NOT allowed to get inside their Support Vehicle during the duration of the race. Support Crew can provide portable/collapsible chair for the runner outside the support vehicle which can be seen by other passing runners.

10. Runners’ Bib Number should be pinned and displayed in front of the runner’s apparel. Bandits will NOT be allowed to run this event.

11. Runners are highly encouraged to bring and wear with them their respective hydration system/belt during the race.

12. Cut-off time of the event is nine (9) hours.

Route Map & Elevation Profile

Route Map & Elevation Profile

13. Ipods, MP3s, and “wires” are NOT allowed. Runners should be attentive and vigilant with their surroundings.

14. Finishers within the prescribed cut-off time will receive a PAU Finisher’s Medal, Finisher’s Shirt, and Finisher’s Certificate (to be given later). Official result will be posted at http://www.baldrunner.com.

15. All runners must wear the following mandatory equipment/accessory: headlight and reflectorized vest or shirt with reflectorized strips. It will be still dark during the start of the race and these items are needed for the safety of each of the runner.

16. Corporate Logos are NOT allowed to be displayed on support vehicles. However, tarpaulins with the name of the running team/group is allowed to be displayed.

17. Maintain the Integrity of the Race. Runners are “deputized” to report any suspicion of cheating in the race. The RD has the authority to declare disqualification to any runner before, during and after the race.

18. Runners MUST be able to memorize their Race Bib Number. There will be Marshals who will be asking the runner’s bib number in the different Checkpoints along the route.

19. In case of emergency or report of a DNF, a runner/support crew can contact Cell Phone # 0918-965-9895 through call or text message stating the runner’s location and nature of emergency/cause of DNF.

20. Any infraction or violation of these guidelines/rules and regulations shall be dealt with accordingly and the RD shall immediately impose decision on such violation. The RD’s decision is FINAL.

21. It is the responsibility of the runner to inform his/her support crew and driver about the rules and regulations of this event/race.

22. The spirit of ultra running where runners are disciplined, honest, and caring /supportive to one another is highly encouraged. Remember to treat the other runners as your FRIENDS and SUPPORT to Finish the Race. The enemy lies within yourself and it is specifically located “in between your ears”.

PAU Finisher's Medal

PAU Finisher’s Medal

Good luck and See You at The Starting Line.

(Note: These Rules & Regulations Will Apply To The Runners Of The 1st Tagaytay To Naic 100K Ultra Run)  





“The Hay Is In The Barn”

1 05 2014

This is the statement that my Coach would send me after putting all the miles in my training program in preparation for the 2014 The North Face 100-Kilometer Trail Run which will be held this weekend. Since it was a new statement to me and have some varied personal interpretations about it, I would “google” it in order to find out what my Coach would like to tell me. And I was satisfied of the things that I would read on the Internet explaining what the statement is all about.

Basically, farmers (in countries with winter season) would put and store bundles of hay inside their barn in preparation for the winter to come so that their livestocks (cattles/horses) would have enough food when snow covers their farm. In the Philippines, our farmers don’t have barns or livestock covered structures where they could store rice straws/hay as food for their horses, cows and carabaos (water buffalos). Our farmers would simply bundle them and stack them on top of the other to form a pointed cone in the middle of their farm. But the intention is the same, for the livestock to have a reserve food during the dry season which sometimes result to drought.

"Hay In The Barn" Philippine Style

“Hay In The Barn” Philippines’ Style (Photo By Google)

In running. which is the same with the other endurance sports, the statement would mean that one has to appreciate the past months that one had prepared for the event and it is time to reduce the volume and intensity of training before Race Day. It simply means that one has to taper in final preparation for the Big Event, the end-goal of ones months of training. Putting more miles and more intensity to ones training at this point would no longer have an effect for a better performance during the event. If one is hard-headed not to observe the taper period, he/she is likely to be overtrained or not fully recovered and fresh a few days before Race Day.

My failure to finish in last year’s TNF Phil 100 was the reason why I would concentrate on mountain trail running. For the past 10 months, I’ve been almost running on the trails in my playground 5-6 days a week! Following a structured training program for trail running which is tailored to my age and history of my  running-related injuries, I would log in at least 240-260 miles (380-420 kilometers) every month with some speed training/tempo running on the trail once a week and a rest day on Mondays. This is where I would test my nutrition, apparel, shoes and running techniques.

My training program paid off as a result of my satisfactory finishes at the Clark-Miyamit 42K Trail Run and Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Trail Run last year. Last December, I finished only 110 Kilometers in the Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Endurance Run due to nutrition problems and in February of this year, I was able to reach Kilometer #60 in the H1 100-Mile Trail Run after being lost along the route and spent a lot of my energy trying to catch-up with the rest of the runners. These DNFs had also contributed in my mileage in preparation for the next events to come.

For the past two months, March and April, I was consistent with my training which involved more hiking and running to higher elevations except for at least two weeks where I would reduce my mileage and do more some stationary cycling inside the house. It was also in these two weeks that I had to see my orthopedic doctor for some tests and rehabilitation for my injured knee in the past. These two weeks gave me the much-needed rest and recovery to be stronger in my runs and hikes to higher elevations and peaks within the vicinity of my playground for the rest of my training period.

Two weeks before this weekend’s TNF 100, I have tapered my training and I am ready for the challenge stored for me to this yearly event. I don’t have any specific goal for this event but as I usually predict in my CM Trail Races, I would target again to be among the upper 50% of the Finishers. If there will be 200 Finishers in this year’s TNF 100, I wish that I would land among the top 100 runners.

Wish me luck!

 





1st Mt Natib 50K Trail Run (FKT)

25 04 2014

For the past nine (9) months, I have considered this trail route from Roosevelt National Park in Dinalupihan, Bataan up to the peak of Mt Natib as a personal obsession to explore an all-trail route as a part of my training playground. I can personally call this the Mt Natib’s North Trail Route.

After the PNOC made some testing and exploration up to the peak of Mt Natib in the ’80s in order to discover geothermal energy source in the Bataan Natural Park, the government left a dirt road and some gravel road from the Roman Highway in Orani, Bataan up to Barangay Tala and then further up to the base camp (Camp 06) before the final assault to the peak of Mt Natib. Through the years, the road from the highway to Barangay Tala was paved/cemented as part of the development in the area. What was left was a 7-kilometer trail/dirt road from the trailhead to the peak of Mt Natib. This is the traditional and well-known route for hikers and mountaineers who would like to camp and visit the peak of the said mountain. I personally call it the South Approach to Mt Natib.

I’ve used this traditional route for two times: first, when I went to peak bag Mt Natib with escorts from the Philippine Army; and second, when I brought some of my ultra running friends to conduct an “Operation Linis” to collect the trashes left by visitors and campers at the peak of the mountain and the trail that leads to it. It was a successful event wherein I tied up the effort with the Philippine Army operating in the area.

Fast forward. After two years since my last visit to the mountain, I’ve started to concentrate more of my running workouts/training in trail running. It was in July last year (2013) when I started trying to explore the possibility of coming up with a trail route coming from my first playground area from the North Approach going to the peak of Mt Natib. And it was only in November of last year that I was able to trace the trail that connects to the place called “Binutas”, considered as the Gateway To Natib.

The distance is measured, through my Garmin Watch, as 20.7 kilometers from the place I started my trek up to Binutas, from an elevation of 40 MASL to 900 MASL , with a Total Elevation Gain of 8,000 feet. From Binutas up to the peak of Mt Natib has a distance of 5 Kilometers with a Total Elevation Gain of 1,500 feet.

I would make the trail course from the trailhead up to “Binutas” as my long trek on weekends (at least, once a month) and named this course as my “Playground Bravo”. With a “pit stop” in my friend’s place, Weeler Orogo, on my way up to “Binutas” and then going down to where I’ve started, I would register 11-12 hours workout in the mountain. I would bring my lunch and some bite foods in my pack and would have our resupply of water at Weeler’s place and at Barangay Mabiga.

I came up with an Event Page on Facebook about a trail running event which I dubbed as the “Playground BRAVO” 50K Trail Run (1st Mt Natib 50K Trail Run) but I made sure that only those who are well-seasoned trail runners are accepted to join the event. The final requirement to join this race was my personal knowledge on the capability of the participant. I really did not care if I had ONLY ONE participant for the event. What was important was the fact that a proof that this trail route is doable and find out whatever feedback (positive or negative) I could gather from the participants.

My Ever Loyal "Usual Suspects" In My Races

My Ever Loyal “Usual Suspects” In My Races

Four runners registered for the event with a registration fee of P 900.00 for each runner. I came up with three (3) water resupply points, to include an Aid Station at “Binutas” where Jollibee packed lunch was available to the runners with Soda, Gatorade, Ice Candies (Joy-Joy), Ensaymada, Hard Boiled Eggs, and Rice Cake.

Aid Station (Vehicle) @ "Binutas"

Aid Station (Vehicle) @ “Binutas”

After serving the participants with coffee and full breakfast, the race started at exactly 5:30 AM with four (4) participants, 3 males and 1 female.

To ensure safety and confidence to the runners, I provided a “pacer/guide” for the leading runner/s and a “safety marshal” for the last runner. I also gave specific instructions to the runners to be extra careful and deliberate in their footing and trekking on the final assault and descent to and from the peak of Mt Natib as there will be “rappelling” portions to be done on the rocks towards the peak.

As the race progressed through the day, the first 3 runners with the “guide/pacer” arrived at the “Binutas” area in 6:00 hours, to include a 40-minute “pit stop” at Weeler Orogo’s place as the group waited for the last runner. The last runner with the safety marshal arrived after two hours and I advised the runner not to proceed to the peak anymore. For the safety of the runner, I declared the runner as DNF.

Three Runners With Guide Arriving @ "Binutas"

Three Runners With Guide Arriving @ “Binutas”

After nine (9) hours, the three (3) runners with their guide arrived at “Binutas” after coming from the peak of Mt Natib. They were still strong and determined to finish the race. Their last 20 kilometers were all downhill with about 3-4 kilometers of uphill and I would expect them to be arriving at the Finish Area at nighttime!

The following is the Official Result of the 1st Mt Natib 50K Trail Run:

RANK       RACE BIB #               NAME                                             TIME (Hours)

1                      160             Ronnel Go (Champion)                              13:44:45

2                        1                Graciano Santos (1st Runner-Up)        13:45:23

3                        8                Jon Borbon (2nd Runner-Up)               13:52:50

Aside from the “forest” section of the course which is 2-3 kilometers before reaching “Binutas” where the participants encountered sharp blade of grasses, thick vegetation along the trail and thorny vines and plants on each side of the trail, the trail could be runnable or could be negotiated with faster hiking speed.

The finishers told me that they hiked the whole course except for the downhill portions on their way back to the finish line. They were fully satisfied that they have finished a very challenging trail course. One of the runners had also strongly suggested that I could submit the course as a UTMB qualifier. However, unanimously, all the tree runners would like to return to do another race event on the same course for them to improve their finish times. But they suggested that trail course is not really for “first-timer” trail runners.

Included in their post-race dinner/buffet is a Finisher’s T-Shirt and Podium Trophy for each of the Finishers.

Personally, I consider the trail event as a success even with only 4 starters with 3 as finishers. I was able to prove that with a seasoned trail runner, the North Trail to the peak of Mt Natib is doable and runnable. I would be happy if I will have at least ten (10) runners for the next edition of this event.

Officially, this is the First Edition of the Mt Natib 50K Trail Run! Congratulations to all the Finishers!

Pictures: https://www.facebook.com/baldrunner/media_set?set=a.10203065381649124.1073741930.1043179758&type=3





Downhill Running

24 04 2014

For an old runner like me and had a history of running-related injury on my knees, I need to be extra careful and very deliberate on my steps when I am faced with a steep downhill part of the course. This contributed much in my ability to run slower in my races. How I wish I would turn back the clock when I did not have any fear and took advantage of those downhill parts of the course to gain more speed and regain the time that I have lost in the ascending parts of the route.

Easy Pace In Downhill Running

Easy Pace In Downhill Running

I could see my elite trail runners and training partners to be “flying” on the air and spreading their gait to the maximum in order to gain more distance in every step they make on the downhill. I could see that they just simply “float”; bend their upper body forward; swing their hands farther and stretch their legs with a wider stance as their feet barely touch the ground.  Only young and fast runners could do this kind of running downhill.

Easy On The Old Knees

Easy On The Old Knees

Downhill running was my “weakness” and one of the main reasons why I did not finish in last year’s TNF 100-Kilometer Trail Run. Aside from the knee injury I had which was not yet fully healed prior to the race, I was surprised to be running within the part of the course which I was not able to recon or practice on it. The  11-12 kilometer distance of the Barangay Alang part of the course is a steep road consisting of paved/cemented road and hard dirt road. The steepness of the road gave some pain on my knees that I was forced to simply hike/walk throughout the distance. Coupled with the heat of the sun that went directly hitting the runners, I was sweating profusely and I was on the verge of being dehydrated. Simply put, this part of the course just simply put the “nails to my coffin”, so to speak, in order for me to be over exhausted and weak. Even if I was able to refuel, rest and re-hydrate myself at the Aid Station on the halfway mark of the course, I was able to spend so much of my time and I was already thinking of ending the race.

2013 TNF 100 Picture @ Barangay Alang Route

2013 TNF 100 Picture @ Barangay Alang Route

I tried to continue the race but after hiking for 500 meters, my knees and quads were not cooperating. It was time to preserve the weak body and prepare to recover as I decided to DNF in the race.

Running Form Will Do The Trick!

Running Form Will Do The Trick!

Aside from training for the downhill running along the trails for the past 11 months, I made sure to have a taste of running downhill on a cemented road in my playground, just like the road at Barangay Alang. Eleven months ago when I started training for my ultra trail runs, I discovered this place which is a part of my Playground “Bravo” 50K Trail Run course and I promised myself to train for hill repeats in this place in order for me to be properly prepared for the Alang portion of the TNF 100 course.

I was able to come up with a running technique on this steep cemented road which is appropriate for my old knees. I just have to shorten my strides, bend my legs from the knees, come up with a faster leg turn-over, bend my upper body slightly forward, swing my arms with a faster tempo, relax my shoulders, maintain a midfoot strike on the ground and make sure my eyes are focused at least 3-5 meters on the ground in front of me. I can not suggest this technique to the other runners as this is what I had experimented for my style of running. I was able to manage the pain on my knees and preserve them by following on this technique.

Hopefully, I would be able to reach the halfway point of the TNF 100 Race course without any issues or problems. If I reach the halfway point with some time to spare, I know I would be able to finish the race.

Wish me luck!





Result: 2nd Playground “Alpha” 50K Trail Run

21 04 2014

2nd Playground ALPHA 50K Trail Ultra Run (“Two Antenna” Loop Course 50K Trail Run)

Pastolan, Hermosa, Bataan

5:00 AM March 30, 2014

Number Of Starters: 10

RANK RACE BIB # NAME TIME (HRS)
1 15 Jon Borbon (Champion) 10:37:23
2 9 Ed Yonzon (1st Runner-Up) 10:42:35
3 20 Dhannie Tan (2nd Runner-Up) 11:18:23
4 26 Brian Tan Seng 11:20:59
5 24 Bong Anastacio 11:32:14
6 17 Luzel Tibo-oc (Champion, Female) 14:14:41
7 19 Mark Anthony Tibo-oc 14:14:43

Pictures: https://www.facebook.com/baldrunner/media_set?set=a.10202951564603769.1073741919.1043179758&type=3

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

2nd Playground Alpha 50K Trail Run Champion: Jon Borbon

2nd Playground Alpha 50K Trail Run Champion: Jon Borbon





Benson: An Aeta Friend

21 04 2014

In one of my trail running adventures, I was able to meet Benson, an Aeta residing in a Resettlement who is trying to earn a living by making and transporting charcoal in the mountains of Bataan. I was on my way to discover trails within my backyard when I met him. I asked him to orient myself in the different trails in the mountains and he was glad to help me.

I met Benson while he was on his way back to his residence in the Aeta Resettlement. He was carrying two sacks of charcoal which heights are taller than him. I can not believe how he was able to carry those sacks of charcoal with his thin and short body. What impressed me more was that he was using a rubber sandal walking/hiking on those mountain trails. His hiking pace was faster than me and my companion. He was really fast despite the fact that he was using a rubber sandal and carrying those two sacks of charcoal which are heavier than his weight.

Benson With My Men

Benson With My Men

While we were in our pits stops and water resupply points, I find time to talk to him and was able to gather a lot of information about him. He is married to another lady Aeta who just gave birth to their first child two months ago. He burned his bamboo hut which he constructed in the Aeta Resettlement Area and he gave me a vague statement/answer on the reason why he burned his hut. Since he does not have a place of his own, his child and himself are staying in the hut of his mother-in-law.

We asked some directions from him on how we can explore the mountains in the area and we asked the presence of mountain trails within the area. He is willing to be our “guide” if we intend to explore the nearby mountains and he asked that we should be in his place/resettlement area before 6:00 AM.

In our pit stops, we shared our bottled water/drinks and bite foods. Upon reaching the resettlement area, he invited us to the hut of his mother-in-law and offered us a beehive full of pure honey. Instead, we offered him and the rest of the children in the hut with our Cloud 9 Chocolates and Pan De Sal (local bread). After about, 10 minutes of rest and changing his shirt, he offered his service to guide us to the road that leads to the main Highway.

Picture With Benson Before We Parted Ways

Picture With Benson Before We Parted Ways

After hiking for 3 kilometers, he pointed a paved road that leads to a subdivision and gave some instructions and information about the description of the paved road. I brought out some cash in my hydration belt and I gave my money but before I can hand him my money, he asked not to be given such cash. He said that the money we have will be used for our fare for our tricycle and jeepney ride in going back to where we started. However, I asked and begged him to get the money for the milk of his baby and he gladly accepted it.

From there, we left him as he walked back to the resettlement area. And for us, we still have 14 kilometers more of dirt and paved roads before we reached our final destination.

One of these days, I and my training partner will be going back to get the service of Benson as our guide to the mountains in the area.

I hope we can explore and measure another 30 kilometers along the mountain trails so that I can have a 100-mile mountain trail route in my playground.





Sacks Of Charcoal

15 04 2014

It has been awhile when I had my last post in this blog. I was too busy in the mountains where I could hardly get a good connection to the Internet. Aside from my trail running training, I’ve been busy preparing and directing my road and trail races which are scheduled for the past months.

In my desire to look for trail routes within the vicinity of my “playground”, I had been exposed and had observed some of the local people in the area to be involved in charcoal making in the mountains. I almost meet a group of locals with their sleds being pulled by a carabao (water buffalo) stacked with sacks full of charcoal on a daily basis. Sometimes, I would pass by a place where two locals would be guarding a makeshift underground “oven” where they process or burn the woods cut in pieces and wait for these woods that would turn to charcoal.

I really don’t mind or give any interest or even stop to start a conversation with these people in the charcoal transport and processing “industry”. It is enough that I greet them while I am running or simply wave my hand just to show that I really don’t care about their trade. Anyway, they simply know me as a crazy trail runner in the mountains where they do their business.

Last week, in one of my adventure runs in the mountains trying to look for trails, I was surprised to see a band of charcoal “carriers” or persons who carry sacks of charcoal from the mountains to be brought to the populated community. Most of these carriers are our indigenous people called the “Aetas”. I met these band of Aetas resting in a shaded part of the mountain where there is a pipe with water freely flowing from it. Most of them were resting and some of them were taking their lunch as I can see some cooking pots near the sacks of charcoal.

The following pictures will show the number of sacks of charcoal resting on the rocks along the trail and you can imagine the number of trees being cut by these charcoal makers in the mountains in order to produce these sacks of charcoal:

Spring Water & Rest Area In The Mountains

Spring Water & Rest Area In The Mountains

Sacks Of Charcoal On Top Of Rocks

Sacks Of Charcoal On Top Of Rocks

Closer Look On The Sacks Of Charcoal

Closer Look On The Sacks Of Charcoal

I am not here to post these pictures and make any judgement or opinion on what I have seen and observed in the mountains. It is enough that you can see and conclude for yourself what is really happening on those hidden valleys and cliffs in the mountain ranges which you can see far away while you are in the comfort of an air-conditioned bus or driving your personal vehicle along the highway on your way to the province and from the city.

As usual, I had to greet the Aetas and went on to refresh myself by drinking the fresh and cold water freely flowing from the plastic pipe that was inserting in between two big rocks on the cliff. And then douse my head, face, nape and back with the flowing water.

After a few seconds, I waved my hands and told to the resting Aetas that I will be ahead of them in going to their resettlement. And I am glad they waved their hands and replied to my greetings.

My mountain trail running must go on and as I was nearing the trailhead near the Aeta Resettlement Area, I could see more mountains and more trails to explore in my next outing.

Trail running in the mountains reminds me how blessed I am and the rests of us living in the lowlands.





Result: 1st Playground “Alpha” 50K Trail Ultra

18 03 2014

***By Invitation Only

5:30 AM March 16, 2014

Pastolan Trails, Dinalupihan, Bataan

Number of Starters: 21

Number of Finishers: 17

@ The Start/Finish Area

@ The Start/Finish Area

 

RANK BIB # NAME TIME (HRS)
1 2 Wilnar Iglesia (Champion) 6:50:32
2 6 Raffy Gabotero (1st Runner-Up) 7:22:06
3 7 Bong Alindada (2nd Runner-Up) 7:57:10
4 1 Graciano Santos 9:23:42
5 14 Daphne Codilla (Champion, Female) 9:44:00
6 8 Jay Lamela 9:55:46
7 4 Venn Lamela 9:55:47
8 160 Ronnel Go 9:59:32
9 32 Marc Conrad Molina 10:00:11
10 311 Manny Ocampo 10:20:39
11 22 Michael Lafuente 10:33:01
12 10 Ryan Garcia 11:08:49
13 11 Roy Garcia 11:08:50
14 5 Lady Dianne Palongan (1st Runner-Up, F) 11:10:11
15 50 Januarius Padilla 12:40:10
16 30 Jonathan Moleta 13:17:26
17 42 Jon Ogsimer 14:21:44
Champion Wilnar Iglesia

Champion Wilnar Iglesia

Runners @ The Turn-Around Point (Km #25)

Runners @ The Turn-Around Point (Km #25)

Pictures:  https://www.facebook.com/baldrunner/media_set?set=a.10202845708757439.1073741898.1043179758&type=1

Congratulations To Everybody!








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