5:30 AM June 20, 2010 @ Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna
The first reason why I joined this trail run was to have a glimpse of the “new” running playground outside Metro Manila. I heard about this trail running course last February 2010 when TNF sponsored a trail run on Valentine’s Day. I opted to register the 15K distance which is the longest distance available. Second reason is that it is a part of my preparation for the incoming MILO Marathon Eliminations on July 4th.
I drove all the way to Nuvali with some of my elite athletes who volunteered to pace me for the race and make this run as their workout. We arrived at the area one hour earlier from the scheduled time posted for the runners to be picked-up at Solenad area to the Starting Area. The waiting time was an opportunity to meet other runners, chat with them and pose for some photo-ops. I was happy to see a lot of junior and senior officers of the Philippine Army who had been consistently joining road races as they joined the 15K race. At 5:00 AM, two buses filled with 15K runners were transported to Montecito area which is about 4K away from the Assembly Area and at the same time the Finish Line.
At exactly 5:32 AM, the race started and I was at the mid-pack with the intention of trying to follow the faster runners ahead of me as this was my first time to run in the said area. The trail does not compare with the trails of “Brown Mountain” (BM) with regards to elevation and steepness of the trail. In short, the race is simply a trail run with going down towards a river for a one kilometer of running along its waters and rocks and finally climbing out into a slippery trail towards a leveled area. And the rest was a combination of a dirt road, winding single track trail with cogon grasses on both sides, and some loose soil coming from the erosion brought about by the land developments in the area.
The first 500 meters of the race was some sort of a warm-up run for me trying to size up the trail as the dirt road led us to a slippery and single track trail. Before I reached the 1 kilometer mark, I started to pick-up my pace by overtaking one runner one at a time. I saw to it that I pass each runner on parts of the trail that are inclined and I started saying the words, “On Your Left” or “On Your Right” to give a warning to the runner ahead of me of my desire to overtake him/her on his/her left or right side. But I guess, most of the runners do not know what I was talking about or they do not know what was my message to them. However, there are also runners who would know what I meant that they immediately give way for me to overtake them.
While on the river, I ran with my shoes completely submerged in the water. Practically, I was running with the flow of the river where I was able to pass some runners who opted to tip-toe on rocks on the side or banks of the river. As I went up along a steep trail from the river, I know that my legs and feet have survived those slippery rocks and loose soil on the river and I could feel that there is not much of sand that enetred my wet shoes.
I used my Adidas Adizero Mana, which is road racing flat shoes, for this trail run! It is light even when it is wet and the mud that sticks on its soles could be easily removed when I run. Sometimes, my feet tend to slide on muddy parts of the trail but I am glad that the slight tractions on its soles do not accumulate so much mud in them. I could say that this particular Adidas shoes had passed the test for my trail runs even when I do my runs at BM.
After the Km 4 point, everything was a slight rolling terrain and I was able to gain my speed. But trying to overtake some runners in a single-track trail who do not know what I meant by “On Your Left/Right” made me break my tempo if they do not give way for me. But I became patient with such runners that I have to overtake them when there is an ample space where I could squeeze in my body. It was repeated again and again as I overtook more runners on the second half of the course.
I was wearing very light running shoes and apparel without any hydration belt. I was wearing an Adidas running shorts; The North Face trail shirt; Eddie Bauer gray trail socks; and ingested one Hammer Sports Gel at Km 8 point. There was no problem with the Water Aid Stations as there were enough for everybody and the route marshals were so many as they were located in key parts of the trail. Ribbons, markers, and pointers were placed along the trails, too! There is no reason for any runner to be lost along the trail route!
I finished the 15K trail run in 1:30:12 hours (unofficial) based from my GF 305. After passing through the finish line, I was greeted by Neville Manaois, the Race Director, and I congratulated him for a nice route and organized race. I did not stay long as I proceeded to the shower facility to clean up myself before changing to my dry clothes.
This is my last tune-up race before the MILO Marathon Eliminations on July 4th and from here my daily routine will be geared towards tapering and mentally preparing myself for the race.
See you on July 4th!
(Note: This is my 1,000th post in this blog! My humble contribution to the 200 million posts at WordPress.)