6:30 AM June 2, 2010 Wednesday 20.5K 4:30 hrs Elevation: 1,500 meters (Adidas Osweego)
This is the third time that we went up to BM for another trail run and for us to extend our exploration on how far the trails would lead us. However, the target was to reach a distance of 10 kilometers from our starting area and then back for a total distance of 20 kilometers. We started at 6:30 AM and all of us were prepared for food—steamed rice packed in banana leaves; hard-boiled eggs; more sardines & bread and lots of water. I brought my old Camelbak with a 2-liter bladder and the rest had their own light backpacks & hydration belts/bottle. We are all conservative runners as we didn’t bring any sports gel, sports drinks, or any sports bar for the said outing.
My Camelbak was too heavy plus my Canon Digital Camera was strapped on its cross-belt. It was hard running uphill with filled-up Camelbak at first but I became accustomed to it as we went nearer to the mountain. Our pace was slow but we gained our loss of speed on the downhill. Finally, we approached the nipa hut of the family whom we were planning to use as “guide”. It was timely that the man in his 60s on a horseback was about to leave towards the forested area of the mountain.
I’ll call the guy as “Django” and he led us along the trail riding his horse. Our runs became jogs and brisk walks as the trail became more technical due to the presence of rocks, fallen trees & branches, and steep inclinations. We crossed and passed by springs along the route and Django told us that the water is clean and potable. Django would be talking while he was leading us. He was proud pointing to fruit-bearing trees, pineapple plants, bananas and others along the way and he gave the approval for us to eat or pick any fruits of these trees whenever we come here for our trail runs.
As we passed along a wider spring, Django told me to look for an old marking with the letters “JT” on one of the rocks beside the flowing water. We stopped for awhile and tried to look for the said marking but we were unable to see them. Django would tell me later that the markings were there for many years and the story that there is a “hidden treasure” in those rocks and the story would be carried down from the elders who lived there to the younger ones. Django would tell me also that he had been hunting for buried treasure throughout his life but when I asked him if he found one, he said that he have not found one!
We reached the temporary hut of Django and he asked to stay thereat. We had been running & brisk walking for about 1 1/2 hours already and I took the lead to a trail which I believed to be a part of the established one. The trail led us to a higher elevation and it was very steep as we were stepping on loose soil and plants. As we reached the summit, I was surprised to see the end of the trail with trees cut and signs of the presence of “illegal logging” activity in the area. Since we were too tired to reach the peak, we decided to eat our food—steamed rice & hard-boiled eggs. The sardines were not eaten because nobody brought any spoon as our can opener! The sardines were given again to “Django” on our way back.
After our brief snacks & photo-ops, we returned to the established trail and started to jog & run. After 10 minutes, we reached another spring and I told the elites that I will be taking a shower! All of us started to remove our running shoes and shirts and enjoyed the cool water of the spring! The following pictures would describe how we enjoyed our brief rest at the said spring.
We cleaned and made the pool at the spring deeper by re-arranging the rocks so that we can use the pool in our next visits. After our rest & shower, it started to rain hard. We resumed our run as we turned around back to where we started while it was raining. The rains made the trail more slippery and my body started to feel cold. We had to run and jog to make our body warm & perspire until we reached the nipa hut of Django.
Django was already inside his hut and he was inviting us for a coffee break. But we declined as we were trying to reach the starting area as soon as possible. Instead, Django gave us a lot of banana flowers as part of his harvest. Each of the elites carried one and it served as our fresh vetable meal for dinner!
Elmer, one of the elite runners, would run ahead of us and stop whenever there is a duhat tree. He would pick its fruits and shared them to us. The fresh duhat fruits served as our food for the last 6K of our run. Finally, we reached our destination at 11:30 AM. We spent five (5) hours for our running adventure and we were able to run 20 kilometers. After shower and changing to dry clothes, we had our lunch and relaxed the whole afternoon. But the elites would again go out for their recovery run later in the afternoon.
What a day to spend when this day was considered a day when I have to avoid something out of my normal daily activities. But this is another story. Spending more time to run on this day in the mountain trails had finally erased my fears. June 2 is no longer a curse!
Lessons Learned During This Run and/or Observations:
1. Our mountains have a lot to offer—trails, spring water, lots of edible plants & fruit trees, and “hidden treasures (?)”.
2. There are still people who are involved in illegal logging in the heart of forested areas. Even if it was raining, we have observed that there are people who are cutting trees for charcoal purposes.
3. People in the mountain are friendly and generous, too! Django’s story about the legend of the “hidden treasure” was confirmed by other sources.
4. Running as a group enhances teamwork and better training.
5. Bringing solid foods in this kind of adventure run is better than ingesting sports gels & bars.
6. Running downhill when the steep trail is muddy and wet is dangerous!