Early this week I received an e-mail message from Atty Jon Lacanlale of Team Clark inviting me to join their group for a mountain trail run in Porac, Pampanga. I was specifically mentioned in the invitation by the host of the event, Jerry Guiao, a BDM 102K veteran, to join the said run. I immediately confirmed my attendance to this trail run as my training ground is near the place. I was actually invited also for another run to the peak of Mt Arayat in Magalang, Pampanga on the day after the run in Porac. But, I begged off not to join the run to Mt Arayat as I have another commitment for another long run at the Subic Freeport on the following day with Team Bald Runner-Professionals.
The Team Clark was already waiting for me at the Porac Exit of SCTEX as arrived thereat at 5:00 AM. I was a part of a 4-vehicle convoy to a 2-3-kilometer distance from the SCTEX as we proceeded to the center of Barangay Sapang Uwak of Porac where the start of the run is located. After a short trip, we parked our vehicles and started to check and wear our respective hydration system.
Our run started at 5:40 AM and the visibility was already clear. The running group consisted of Atty Jon, Jerry, BR, and two elite runners of Team Bald Runner. The rest of the Team Clark served as our support crew. We started with slow jog, then to slow run until we reached the first uphill climb. The first uphill climb was so steep but we tried our best to slowly jog up to the crest but after a few meters, we were met again with another climb.
I could no longer count the number of uphill climbs we encountered during the run. I could say that this route is more challenging than the route that I considered as my training ground in the “Brown Mountain”. Admittedly, this place is more scenic and the air is cooler and more refreshing.
Jerry prepared for this run as he prepositioned our water station with a 5-gallon water container at the 5-Km mark a day before our run. With a cooler temperature early in the run, I only consumed one-half of the water in my Nathan Bottle and had it refilled in anticipation for more uphill climbs and hot temperature later in the day. As informed by Atty Jon in his invitation, our one-way trip of 10K with take us 2 hours and there is a side trip also to a waterfalls near the turn-around point. He was right as we reached the 5K point in one hour of run and brisk walking.
As if we were running a trail race, we have to brisk walk on steep uphill climbs and then run on the level parts and run faster on the downhill parts of the route. Atty Jon and I had a lot conversation while running as we exchanged tips in ultra trail running training and races. It seems we have the same insights and race strategy in ultra trail running and I am confident that he will make good in his next ultra races here and abroad.
After walking and running for almost 2 hours and after my GF 305 registered a distance of 10.5K, we turned left to a single-track trail which is covered with grass and wild plants. From this point, it was time to “bushswack” for a distance of 1.5 kilometers down to the waterfalls. Practically, we were walking along a cliff but the sound of the waterfalls made us more excited to reach the place.
I was amazed with the beauty of the waterfalls. After my picture was taken, I immediately removed my singlet, shoes, socks and my watch and submerged my core and legs into the cold water of the lagoon. The feeling was relaxing and soothing to my tired legs. We stayed in the area for about 30 minutes and prepared for our run back to where we started.
Our run back to the center of the barangay was a challenging one as the heat of the sun was on us. I had only half-filled water bottle for the next 5 kilometers and I made sure that my water was enough before reaching our water station. As I reached our water station, I was able to drink one-half liter to recover the loss of water due to perspiration.
After the 22-kilometer run in 4 hours and 20 minutes, we had our late breakfast with stewed native chicken and steamed rice wrapped/cooked with banana leaves, fresh ripe banana and ice-cooled Gatorade. The food was perfect for runners!
I was informed later by Jerry that the trail will be finally connected to Mt Pinatubo by next year. The construction of another 4-kilometer distance of dirt road from our turn-around point to the base of Mt Pinatubo will start before the end of the year. Atty Jon and I were already discussing for a possibility of a trail run from Brgy Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac to Brgy Sapang Uwak, Porac, Pampanga and back or vice-versa. This trail run experience will be exciting for ultra trail runners.
My sincerest thanks to Jerry as our host, Atty Jon and Team Clark for a wonderful and exciting trail run and visit to the beautiful waterfalls in the area. I promised to myself that I will be back to the place for more trail runs and relaxing moments at the lagoon of the waterfalls.
(Note: I am sorry I could not download the pictures sent by the members of Team Clark and have them posted in my blog. My laptop must have some problems. However, I hope Atty Jon would be able to post the remaining pictures in his blog).