Stay Calm…Don’t Panic!

You have been running and hiking for almost 6 hours along the mountain trails and then suddenly you made a wrong turn to a trail that is not a part of the course and then after running for about 400-500 meters or a few minutes from the turn, you realize that you are lost. You begin to panic and feel frustrated. You make a decision and you seem to be confused. In reality, you don’t know what to do!

Such situation always happen in a training run in the mountains which could be easily corrected and solved by other runners within the group. It is also a situation that happens in mountain or ultra trail races.

I always say that it is a normal occurrence when a runner gets lost on a trail during a race and there is no need to complain to the Race Director/Organizer, most specially in ultra distances. In truth, the runner himself/herself should be blamed for his mistake of being lost on the trail.

In my experience as a trail runner, I have followed “common sense” practices for me not to get lost along the trail and if ever I would be lost, there are also suggested things that should be done.

The following are the “preventive measures” to avoid being lost on the trails and suggestions to correct the situation:

1. Don’t attempt to go alone on a trail that you are not familiar with. Register in the Barangay Hall and get a “guide” if you are new to the place.

2. Run with a group and make sure that somebody in the group is familiar with the trails in the area.

3. Inform your family, relatives, and friends about your activity and always make sure that you bring your cell phone with you.

4. You should orient yourself in the place by knowing where are the North, South, East & West directions. Look around and find structures or key terrain features (hill peaks, mountain peaks, forested areas, grassy areas, water falls, creeks, rivers, sea shore, fences, highway or main roads) in relation to the directions. In short, you should know basic orienteering & map reading.

5. If you are in a training run with a group, make sure that you can keep up with the pace with the runner in front of you. Keeping pace with the runner in front of you means that you could see his/her back every turn of the trail.

6. If ever you don’t see the back of the runner in front of you, you can start shouting at the said runner to warn him that you are lost or tell him to slow down. Don’t be ashamed to shout the guy in front of you or to the rest of the group. It would be a smart idea to always bring a whistle in your trail runs.

7. If you are in a middle of a pack and you took a wrong turn and notice that you are lost, you have to re-trace you way back to the exact point or place where you made the wrong turn. Stay calm and don’t panic. Take a deep breath, rest, hydrate and take some food while waiting for the other runners who are running way behind you.

8. If you can not wait for the other runners behind you to arrive, observe your surroundings and try to find out the right trail by looking on the marks of soles of running shoes on the trail. If you can’t see any marks of shoes because the trail is covered with grass, follow such trail for a few meters and you might be surprised that it could be the trail that would lead you to the rest of the runners.

9. In an “out and back” and “loop” courses, find time to observe your surroundings on the first half of the course even if it will make you slower in your pace. Find time to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors and try to absorb them to your mind. On your way back to where you have started, the things that you observed on the first half will come in handy if in case you think you are lost on the trails.

10. If you are joining an ultra trail race, it is highly recommended to conduct a recon of the course by simply walking/hiking through it. Take some pictures of places where there are turns or physical and/or natural features which you can see along the route like streams, rivers, waterfalls, bridges, unusual plants/trees, grasslands, big rocks, rock formations, huts/houses, uphill & downhill sections of the course and most importantly, establish your own “marker” every 10K of the route.

Take Note Of Waterfalls, Whether They Are Small Or Not, Along The Trails
Take Note Of Waterfalls, Whether They Are Small Or Not, Along The Trails

11. In a well-marked trail race or run, shit happens. Surprisingly, markers or ribbons are altered or stolen by locals or people within the neighborhood, mostly by kids who make fun or play with them. Sometimes, there are also (front) runners who would remove them as part of their “collection of souvenirs”. There are instances also that markers are improperly placed along the route. The worst scenario is when these markers become wet due to rains or inclement weather that the color becomes the same with the surroundings, most especially during nighttime.

12. If there is a website of the ultra trail event, study the details posted and confirm/validate them in your recon/walk-through along the course. Some runners would laminate the data of the trail course printed on a piece of paper and had it handy in their pockets or in their hydration vest.

13. If you don’t have the luxury of time to conduct your recon, look for blogs of finishers of this race and you will find a lot of information that would help you to familiarize yourself with the course and event.

14. If you have friends who have finished this race, try to talk to them or contact them through e-mail or through the Social Media platforms. Ultra runners are very helpful to “newbies” when it comes to getting their experiences in finishing the race.

15. You might also consider joining a friend who trains with you in an ultra race to be a participant of the event. Having a partner in training and in a race is more comforting than running alone.

16. Lastly, if you are not well-trained or prepared for an ultra trail race, don’t make an attempt. You will be wasting your hard-earned money and effort.

Keep on running!

Picture From Dennis Uy
Picture From Dennis Uy

Time vs Distance

How do you measure or quantify your running workouts? Is it by the time that had elapsed covering the period you started your run up to the time you stop or by the distance or the number of kilometers or miles that you have covered?

When I started to train for my first 10K road race, I followed the first training program that I could read and it recommended running and walking by the number of minutes and later by the hours. As I progressed to train for the full marathon distance, I became aware to count the number of kilometers every running workout that I finish for the day.

When I started to train and run in ultra distances, I became aware of both the time that my feet were on the ground and the distance I would be able to cover within such period of time. I would later determine the average of mileage or number of kilometers that I would be able to cover within an hour or two.

It appears that I could cover an average distance of 7-8 kilometers per hour in my easy long runs; cover 10 kilometers for 65 minutes in my tempo runs; and I could finish the same distance of 10K in flat 60 minutes in my progression runs. These workouts are all done on paved roads with an easy elevation profile.

Trail @ Mt Lukens, Los Angeles, California
Trail @ Mt Lukens, Los Angeles, California

However, when I run on the trails, it is an entirely different story and the outcome seems that I am slower. On the trails in my playground in Los Angeles, California, I could cover an average  distance of 7 kilometers in one hour because the ground is clean and my foot placement is even on the ground due to the absence of rocks or stones.

As compared with my running in my playground in the Philippines, I could cover an average distance of 6 kilometers in 70 minutes/1:10 hours due to river crossing, varying elevation profile, and technical single-track trail (uneven foot placement on the ground and muddy/wet grounds with grasses). On a regular basis, I’ve been running a trail route that covers a distance of 28 kilometers and I would be happy if I could finish the distance in 6 hours.

Typical Trail In My Playground In The Philippines
Typical Trail In My Playground In The Philippines

With this new training, I have been concentrating on my running workouts by counting the number of hours that I spent along the trails whether I am just hiking, crossing a river, resting for a taste of a fresh coconut juice or running those downhills along the route.

If you are training to become an ultra runner, whether on the road or trail, I highly suggest that you count the number of hours that your feet are on the ground rather than counting the number of kilometers that you have covered. For sure, you will be able to determine if you could finish your targeted ultra race within the prescribed cut-off time.

Good luck on your next ultra race and keep on running!

See The Difference!

During my stay with my family in Los Angeles, California, my “playground” for my trail running are the mountain trails of Griffith Park; Verdugo Mountains; Echo Mountain, and Mt Lukens Trails. My daily runs vary from 7 miles (11K) up to 15 miles (24K).

Typical Trail In My Playground In California
Typical Trail In My Playground In California
Clean Trails With Bench
Clean Trails With Bench

The trails are usually wide, clean and dusty. I usually meet hikers and daily cyclists on their mountain bikes on these mountain trails. The elevation varies and very challenging but you don’t have any problems of big rocks, river/stream crossing, or big stones paved along the trails. But because of the nature of the landscape which is considered as desert environment, the place is hot during their summer season and I usually bring a lot of water for my hydration needs. Seldom you could see any streams or rivers or any natural feature where there is free-flowing of water.

Photo Of My Legs On California Trails
Photo Of My Legs On California Trails

There is no advantage of using a specific trail shoes on these mountain trails. I have observed on most hikers/runners on these trails that they are using road running shoes. Sometimes, I use road shoes on these trails and they give me the much needed traction on these trails.

The picture above shows the accumulation of dust that would stick on the back of my legs after my daily workouts on these trails.

As compared to my “playground” in the Philippines, the trails are usually mixture of single-track and slightly wider ones that could accommodate our local wooden sled pulled by carabaos and sometimes, the popularly known “All-Terrain Vehicles” (ATV). The single trails are the results of carabao’s and cow’s established route to the hills and mountains where they could eat grass and some trails would lead to water sources where they could drink or submerged their bodies during hot weather. There are also trails that are established due to the movement or flow of water from the peak of the mountain or hill during the rainy season.

Seldom you could see a well-maintained and well-established trails where the ground is flat, clean and dusty. Single track trails are sometimes covered with grasses and most of them cut through in the middle of tall grasses or what we call “cogon” grasses on the sides of the mountains.

Sticky, Slippery & Muddy Trails Of The Philippines
Sticky, Slippery & Muddy Trails Of The Philippines
And Lots Of River/Stream Crossings
And Lots Of River/Stream Crossings
Worst Scenario....Landslides!
Worst Scenario….Landslides!
Muddy Trail
Muddy Trail

During the rainy season (June-October/November), these trails are muddy, slippery, and sticky. It is very appropriate to use trail shoes to prevent one from sliding forward or worse, falling on the ground with your butt.

Streams would suddenly become a river with a strong current during rainy season. It is necessary to run with a companion or bring a rope which can be tied from the point of entry to the river to the other side and used as a “bridge rail” where one could hold so that one will not be swept by the strong current of the water.

It is expected that the muddy soil on the trail would stick on the soles of one’s shoes and would cause you to slow down in running. The added weight of the mud on your shoes would replicate your workout in the gym where your legs would be lifting an addition weight of about 3 pounds. This is one of reasons why I love to run on sticky/muddy trails—it will slow you down but your legs will benefit added weight as if you are doing your strength training in the gym.

There are lots of water streams where one could cool-off their tired legs or simply a good source of water for hydration needs.

But during the dry season, expect these muddy trails to be as hard as an asphalt/paved road but the unevenness of the ground would be very much beneficial in strengthening the smallest up to biggest muscles, tendons, and ligaments of your legs.

Back Of My Legs After Running A Mountain Trail In The Philippines
Back Of My Legs After Running A Mountain Trail In The Philippines

Thanks to the streams/rivers that I have to cross as I would easily wash my legs before I finally end up with my daily workout.

Now, if you ask me, which one is better—-running in my “playground” in California or in the Philippines? Both are good and the variety of trails  works well with me. I would run on the trails in California with a faster time in covering a certain distance but definitely, running the trails in the Philippines would take me a much longer time in covering the same distance.

The most important thing in trail running is one’s ability to appreciate the outdoors, breath unpolluted air, enjoy the scenery and beauty of the surroundings, the challenge of unevenness of the trail, the variation of elevation, “engagement”/talking with the locals, and the joy of running with friends.

Keep on running!


Monday LSD @ “One Million March”

As I have announced in my previous post that I am joining the “One Million March” to Luneta Park, I arrived at the Starting Area in front of the Philippine Army Officers Clubhouse at 5:30 AM yesterday even if it was raining. I was joined by the Pascua Family with Retired Master Sargent Pascua from the Philippine Army and his son and daughter. The whole family was using minimalist sandals and Aumel, the son, finished 1st Runner-Up in the latest Fort Magsaysay To Dingalan, Aurora 65K Ultra Marathon Race.

BR With The Pascua Family @ The Starting Area
BR With The Pascua Family @ The Starting Area

We left the starting area at 6:10 AM. Walked for about 400 meters towards the Pedestrian Gate of Fort Bonifacio and as soon as we hit Lawton Avenue and posed for a group picture in front of the PA Tarpualin, we were on our way to Luneta Park

Posing In Front Of The Philippine Army Tarp
Posing In Front Of The Philippine Army Tarp

Graciano “Totoy” Santos, one of the “famous” ultra runners and member of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) was able to catch up with the group after 30 minutes of our run.

The group run through the Lawton Avenue on a westerly direction going to the Domestic Airport until we reached Roxas Boulevard. As soon as we reached the intersection of EDSA and Roxas Boulevard, we were met by Eric and Jessie. Eric is also a ultra marathoner who lives in Metro Manila while Jessie came all the way from General Santos City, South Cotabato (Mindanao). Jessie is an avid reader to this blog and he told me that he was inspired to be involved in running through the posts I’ve published in this blog.

Running Along Lawton Avenue
Running Along Lawton Avenue
In Front Of The Philippine Navy/PhilippineMarines' Headquarters
In Front Of The Philippine Navy/PhilippineMarines’ Headquarters
At The Vicinity Of Camp Villamor/Headquarters Philippine Air Force
At The Vicinity Of Camp Villamor/Headquarters Philippine Air Force
In Front of the NAIA #3 Airport
In Front of the NAIA #3 Airport
In Front of the Cultural Center Of The Philippines (CCP)
In Front of the Cultural Center Of The Philippines (CCP)

On the last 3 kilometers to Luneta Park, we were joined by more ultra runners: Mar Marilag, Benedict Meneses, and CJ Paran. These runners are finishers of the Bataan Death March Ultra Marathon Race and PAU members.

Ultra Runner In Action
Ultra Runners In Action

We reached our destination, Luneta Park’s Kilometer Post #0, in 1:50 hours for a distance of 13.5 kilometers. The time was 7:50 AM. The only time that we took some short walking breaks was when we had to cross major street intersections like Roxas Boulevard, EDSA, and Buendia Avenue.

Picture With Ultra & Non-Ultra Runners @ Luneta Park
Picture With Ultra & Non-Ultra Runners @ Luneta Park
With Ultra Runner & Blogger Father Picx Picardal
With Ultra Runner & Blogger Father Picx Picardal


As soon as we reached Km Post #0, we had some “photo-ops” with some celebrities and runners and sharing of stories with the rest of the group.

We stayed at Luneta until 9:35 AM and more people and marchers started to arrive at the Park. As we started to go back to where we started, we were met by more people going to the Park which forced us to just walk the first 1-2 kilometers of our run back to Fort Bonifacio.

Going Back To Fort Bonifacio
Going Back To Fort Bonifacio

It was only when we were approaching the Headquarters of the Philippine Navy that we started to run! Mar Marilag, CJ Paran, Benedict Meneses and Eric joined us but later went on their way to reach their offices and their final destinations.

Taking It Easy Back To The Starting Area
Taking It Easy Back To The Starting Area

Instead of re-tracing our route to the Park, we decided to turn left at EDSA and reached the Pasong Tamo Avenue where we had to turn right and be able to reach Lawton Avenue. CJ Paran who works at the Office of the City Mayor of Pasay was kind enough to escort us in his turf. At the corner of EDSA and Pasong Tamo, we took a brief break to drink some ice cold Coke for our last 3-Kilometer push to the Finish Line!

Back At Lawton Avenue
Back At Lawton Avenue

At 11:30 AM, we reached our Finish Line and congratulated ourselves for a successful and safe 27K LSD in the busy streets in Metro Manila. It was Graciano Santos’ recovery run after finishing a 50K Ultra Race the previous day and my recovery run also for running along the mountain trails with ultra friends in my “playground” for almost 9 hours the previous day.

A Pose In Front Of Fort Bonifacio/Headquarters Philippine Army
A Pose In Front Of Fort Bonifacio/Headquarters Philippine Army

The task has been done for the day—-To keep us counted for the “One Million March”! This event was created and organized through one of the Social Media platforms, Facebook, and as a Social Media user, this is my simple way to be a part and contribution to the objective of the event. Whether the event reached the targeted number of participants of the event or not, it has already sent a message that Social Media is very powerful tool in uniting the people from different sectors of the society in the country. The event was a success!

Congratulations, Gentlemen!
Congratulations, Gentlemen!

Keep on running!

Getting Even

This government institution and its people had humiliated my Alma Mater, the institution where I’ve worked for almost 38 years, and the organization where I am a member. Personally, I was humiliated also by this institution through one of their “investigations in aid of legislation” and it nearly cost the end of my professional career.


Now, as a retiree and a Senior Citizen, I am going to join this event tomorrow, Monday, as a show of support to the objective/s of this march.

I will be having my Long Slow Distance (LSD) Run from the Parking Area in front of the Philippine Army Officers Clubhouse at the Headquarters of the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio to Km Post #0 in Luneta Park. The run will start at 6:15 AM and hope to arrive in Luneta Park on or about 9:00 AM. After a short meeting and “photo-ops” with my ultra running friends and friends on Facebook for about 30-45 minutes, I will be going back to where I started by running.


If you have the time and plan to join the march, you are invited to join me in my run. If you can not make it at the Starting Place, it would be nice to meet you within the vicinity of Km Post #0 in front of the Rizal Monument, across Roxas Boulevard from 9:00-9:30 AM.

This is my way of getting even to these people. See you!

(Note: Pictures Copied From Facebook)

Blogging & Facebook

I have been reviewing my earlier posts in this blog and it appears that I was using this blog as my personal diary of my daily runs; running events where I participated and other activities related to my job before. However, it was after few years that started telling my readers about my job.

I also used this blog to repost articles that are related to running in any place of the world. I also mentioned top finishers of running events that would interest me and thought of sharing it to other people.

This blog’s posts slowly transformed to specific kind of running which is ultra marathon/ultra running when I started to think about the conduct of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race (BDM 102). This race leads to the creation of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) which is the National Sports Federation for Ultra Running in the Philippines, the 46th member country among the 76 member-nations under the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU).

The conduct of the first two editions of the BDM 102 gave rise to the conduct of ultra marathon races in the country and this blog became a platform to promote PAU Races. PAU, in turn, promoted awareness on ultrarunning events to interested runners from 50K, 60K, 80K, 100K, 160K distances and later to multi-stage ultra events.

More Race Directors/Organizers came into the picture, creating more choices to every runner and the rest is history.

This blog became an “all-around website” for PAU Races, as well as, races/events of the Bald Runner and I now seldom post about my daily runs and my personal thoughts about running.

With the advent of Facebook and other social media platforms, the more that I could not make a regular update with this blog.

Facebook became my “daily blog” where I make some sort of a diary with my regular runs and my thoughts about running. I even mix it up about my thoughts on politics and sports excellence program of the government. My “status” and comments on Facebook would generate an immediate feedback from my “friends”. And in the end, Facebook became my daily blog.

However, if there is something that I would like to be known to most of the ultra runners and “friends” about the details of my races and their results, I would make a link on my FB status so that they could read my post in my blog.

I would like to go back to my blogging days again on this site. I wish I could recall those adventure runs that I’ve done for the past months of this year and post them here. I will try my best to post them as I am preparing again for another adventure run in the near future. If this means a lesser exposure on Facebook or in any of the social media platforms, this blog will be updated on a regular basis.

This is now my commitment. Write and publish more posts on this blog and let those “good old times” be back and make this blog as my personal diary in running and repository of my personal thoughts on different issues and concerns that affect my daily life.

Keep on running!

(Note: This is my 1,430th post in this blog!)

Official Result: 3rd Fort Magsaysay To Dingalan 60K Ultra Run

3rd Fort Magsaysay To Dingalan 60K Ultra Marathon Race

4:00 AM August 4, 2013

Number of Starters: 32

Number Of Finishers: 31

Cut-Off Time: 12 Hours

1 Alfred Delos Reyes (Champion) 6:45:55
2 Aumelio Pascua (1st Runner-Up) 7:23:52
3 Meljohn Tezon (2nd Runner-Up) 7:42:37
4 Daphne Codilla (Champion, Female) 7:42:51
5 Joseph Pineda 7:51:21
6 Nicolas De Leon, Jr 7:51:30
7 Richelle Perez (1st Runner-Up, Female) 8:03:29
8 Beda Abugan 8:03:52
9 Mark Sigue 8:16:23
10 Rona Saludes (2nd Runner-Up, Female) 8:16:26
11 Hermie Saludes 8:17:26
12 May Maureen Baylosis (F) 8:34:19
13 Roy Garcia 8:39:34
14 Edrick Nicdao 8:45:41
15 Doodsie Mallari (F) 8:48:04
16 Benzon Cuycuyin 9:01:15
17 Fidelito Anastacio, Jr 9:11:32
18 Manny Ocampo 9:11:47
19 Joel Sison 9:31:00
20 Kristian Mark Ison 9:32:22
21 Adrian Aquino 9:51:30
22 Maria Vicenta Gado (F) 9:53:25
23 Ryann Sison 9:56:41
24 Kathleen Fresnido (F) 10:00:48
25 Januarius Padilla 10:00:49
26 Jonathan Moleta 10:04:38
27 Allenstein Co 10:19:21
28 Michael Dauz 10:27:26
29 Reiner Tatlonghari 10:35:43
30 Richard Loma 11:11:06
31 Jeffrey Yasol 11:11:07

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

Alfred Delos Reyes Leading The Race
Alfred Delos Reyes Leading The Race
Approaching The Town Of Gabaldon
Approaching The Town Of Gabaldon

Checkout The Following Links For Pictures:

Update: 3rd Fort Magsaysay To Dingalan 60K Ultra Run

Details of the Event are posted on the Facebook’s Event Page for the 3rd Edition of this Race. The start time of the race will be at 4:00 AM and the cut-off time is 12 Hours. The following is Facebook link.

Basic Rules and regulations are stated on the link below:

Past Results and Finishers on the 1st and 2nd editions are posted below.

Good luck to all the runners.

(Note: The Race is a GO even with only 20 runners! This is a RAIN or SHINE Event!)