I did not finish this race and I declared myself as Did Not Finish at Km 55. But as I promised in my past post where I mentioned my purpose in joining the race, I am here to make a Race Report and officially make a journal of what transpired before, during and after the race.
Start of Training & Preparation
I’ve never joined a TNF100 Phil event for the past five years but I have sponsored and sent my Elite Team Bald Runner to join the yearly event. Except for last year which was the first TNF 100 in Benguet-Baguio area, my elite runners had won the Team as well as the Individual Championship Awards.
Now, it is my turn to join this race as part of my preparation and training for another event. And since February of this year, I started to build-up my mileage and I enjoyed my “peak bagging” activities but these runs were less than the half-marathon distances.
The following significant races or runs were part of the mileage build-up for this race:
- Bandit 50K Trail Run In Simi Valley, California on February 16, 2013 where I finished in 8:07+ hours
- 2013 BDM 102: Ran the first 50K in 8:20+ hours as the 50K Cut-Off Marshal.
- Siquijor 75K Run last March 2013 where I was able to register a time of 13:23+ hours
- Mt Ugo Trail 42K Marathon where I finished the race in 8:23+ hours
I was logging at least 10-12 kilometers every day and I had my trail runs on weekends that would last up to 6 hours.
For the months of March and April (2 weeks), I went up to Baguio City for five (5) times to recon the race route with ultra running friends. These recon activities were purely hiking in nature and some picture taking on what will be expected along the race route. On these recon hikes, I was able to test my nutrition, hydration, apparel, and race strategy depending on the terrain of a certain portion of the route.
Except for the portion where past runners would call the “mossy area” and the downhill route from Barangay Alang to the Bridal Veil or Aid Station #5 (AS5), I had already a familiarity of what to expect once I will be in the race. This part or portion of the course covers an estimated distance of 20 kilometers. The remaining 80 kilometers were part of my recon hikes on those days and weekends that I went up to Baguio City.
In the middle of March and two weeks before the Mt Ugo 42K Trail Marathon, I had a tripping accident which happened after running 14 kilometers of trails in the mountain of Bataan. It was already in the early evening and I was using my old headlight. I was already running on a paved road when I accidentally tripped a water hose laid across the road which was covered with a wood. I was not able to retain my balance and my right knee hit the ground first, my right arm was used to prevent my upper body from dropping to the ground but my arm collapsed and my head went crushing on the cemented road. I had 3 scrape wounds on my right knee and at least 3 scrape abrasions on the right side of my head.
I was able to recover immediately from the fall and tried to stand with the help of one of my elite runners who was with me in the run. We had to take a break by dropping by one of the “sari-sari” stores at the foot of the mountain and took a Coca-Cola drink and some biscuits as food. After 10 minutes of rest, together with my elite runner, we continued our run for the last 6 kilometers until we reached our training base camp.
On the following day, I could barely walked because of the infection brought by the wounds. For almost 2 weeks prior to the Mt Ugo Trail Marathon, I did not have any running workouts. However, I still managed to join the race in Kayapa, Nueva Ecija despite my lack of specific preparation for the race and the presence of pain on my right knee as a result of the tripping accident.
Another Tripping Accident!
I really could not explain. Am I really getting old or something up above is telling me to stop running or am I simply hard-headed and crazy? Another tripping accident happened again barely one week to go before Race Day for the 2013 TNF 100. It happened during a night run where I was testing my new Headlight and new HOKA shoes. My right foot stepped on a shallow hole and my shoes front end hit the edge of the hole and it took away my balance. The healing wounds on my first tripping accident were the ones that hit the ground but I was able to use my right hand to prevent my whole upper body to hit the pavement. Yes, there was blood again on my legs and I was limping when I reached my place.
I still managed to have my last recon hike, one week before race day, despite my limp on my right leg. The last recon hike would cover the first 30K of the race on a Saturday and the last 25K on the following day, Sunday.
Since I am not confident on my running capability for the race because of the lack of long runs, tempo runs, and speed runs due to injuries brought about my tripping accidents, my target for the race was to try my best to finish within the cut-off time of 30 hours by following these time targets: (Note: Please refer to my previous post on the location of these places I am going to mention here. Thanks.)
Start To AS3 (Ampucao)—-Finish In 6 Hours
AS3 To AS5 (Camp 1/Bridal Veil)—-Finish In 6 Hours
AS5 To Cabuyao—-Finish In 9 Hours
Cabuyao To Camp 6—-Finish In 3 Hours
Camp 6 To Finish—-5-6 Hours
My estimates were based from the recon hikes that I’ve conducted. Except for the portion, AS3 To AS5, I know where I could run and jog and be able to shave off some of my time of running.
In my recon hikes, I had at least 12 hours of getting lost on the first 30K of the course and I knew that if I could run at least 5 kilometers every hour, I could reach Ampucao in 6 Hours. From Bridal Veil to Cabuyao, it took me almost 8 hours on pure hiking with rests. From Cabuyao To Camp 6, it took me 2:45 Hours during the day and I am confident to jog on the flatter trails with 3+ Hours as time to finish the portion. My recon hike from Camp 6 to the Finish Line (without those additional mileage inside the Camp John Hay Area) took me almost 4 Hours.
I took the risk of not knowing about the terrain in the “mossy forest” and the road from Barangay Alang to Camp 1/Bridal Veil due to the following reasons: (1) The trail inside the “mossy forest” was not yet available during those days when I had my recon hikes. The trail was newly cleaned few days before the race. (2) No available past runner/s or “guide” for the said part of the route join me in my attempted recon hike in the said place.
This part of the course proved to be my “waterloo” during the race but there are other more significant factors that simply sapped my strength during the race.
The bottomline of the Race Strategy was to run/jog the flatter sections, do power walking/hiking on the uphills, and keep the knees and quads from hurting on the downhills. I had to use my trekking poles to the maximum in order to be consistent on my pace.
Take a meal before the race and I did take a full breakfast meal of fried eggs, fried SPAM, and rice with coffee.
Eat while on power walking and never stop in-between AS just to eat. Ingest something that is solid every two hours. Eat while walking! At the AS, if you want to eat, make it fast and then take something to eat while on the road
Drink if you think you are sweating a lot. Drink while chewing your food. If there are sources of water along the route, drink 1/2 full of hydration bottle and then fill up your bottles before resuming the race. Drink alternately with Gatorade. Drink Gatorade by sips or in small amount. Never fill the water bottle to the rim.
I bought my Helios/La Sportiva Shoes while I was in the USA last February for the sake of trying this Italian running shoe brand. I used them in my peak bagging workouts while I was in Los Angeles and like them. I appreciated more of its capabilities when I used them in my recon hikes most especially on the Cabuyao To Camp 6 route. While the rest of group on the hike were tripping and sliding as we went downhill, I did not experience any misstep, sliding or tripping. The structure of the sole was simply amazing as they really “gripped” on the ground and the pavement. I immediately decided to choose these shoes for the race. Drymax socks were used instead of my Eddie Bauer socks.
In anticipation for moderate rain during race, I used my long-sleeved Patagonia baselayer which is colored dark green. (I had a light Poncho that weighs a garbage bag tucked in one of my hydration pockets, in case of rains.) The shirt is light and could easily dry up if it becomes wet with my perspiration or by the rain. I used a Salomon EXO compression tight shorts because of its high waist line and pockets. The compression feeling on its waist portion was perfect pressure applied on my core. It also served as an absorbent for my sweat from my upper body and prevented my feet and socks to be wet during the run. On top of the compression shorts, I used my black Patagonia Trail Shorts which have 5 pockets (two at the front; two at the back; and one zippered pocket on the right upper side behind the shorts). My cellphone (IPhone4) & reading glass were on my right front pocket; trail mix food was on my left front pocket; cereal, Gatorade powder and fruit bars were evenly distributed on the pockets behind my shorts.
Although I did not use my Salomon S LAB Hydration System during my recon hikes, I opted to use it because it has a whistle (mandatory equipment), string to tie my trekking poles, and lots of zippered pockets. My rain jacket was thinly folded inside the hydration compartment where the 1.5 liter bladder is supposed to be located. (I removed the 1.5 liter bladder and water hose to lessen the load and have more space for my trail food). My Nike reflectorized vest was thinly folded on the left zippered pocket while a light poncho was also folded on the right zippered pocket together with capsules of Pharmaton. Some trail foods were also stashed in the zippered back pocket of my hydration system. My lighting systems (old and new ones) from Black Diamond were stashed on the pockets of the hydration system.
I used calf sleeves from Zhensa for whatever it can do to my calf muscles, protect my exposed legs to small shrubs and sharp leaves of grasses, and absorb whatever sweat coming from my legs. I used some gaiters to prevent debris and small rocks from getting inside my shoes and they perfectly functioned well for the race.
I used also my favorite Buff placed on my neck to absorb my sweat coming from my head & used it to cover my nape from the heat of the sun and used an Under Armour Skull Cap on the early part of the race which fit well with the straps of my Black Diamond headlight. It also absorbed a lot of my sweat from my head. To anticipate the heat of the sun after I reached AS3, I switched to my Patagonia Legionnaires Cap.
I used the latest Black Diamond’s ICON Headlamp which I bought in the USA last February and I was satisfied with its performance. It has separate battery case that can accommodate 4 AA batteries. It has a long wire and heavier in weight but the illumination was perfect for night running. It brought so much confidence in me to run in the dark through its illumination and life/power expectancy from its batteries. The separate battery pack was perfectly stowed on the main compartment of my Salomon Hydration Pack. I have another old Black Diamond headlamp in my pack just in case of any contingency.
Lastly, I brought some strips of band-aids and antiseptic as my first -aid kit which was placed in the pocket where my poncho was located.
End of Part 1. Race Briefing & Race Proper to follow. Pictures To Be Inserted Later.