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No Gadgets, Faster Run

30 09 2013

This is one of those days that I have decided to leave my GPS Watch/Garmin Forerunner 305 from my starting place. I just brought my hydration vest and two 20 oz. bottles with me where one bottle is filled with water and the other one is filled with First Endurance EFS Mix.

I selected the first trail course which I discovered in my “playground” and has a distance  of 6.2 kilometers. It ends in a small hut on top of a hill which is near a steel antenna. I usually have my first “pit stop” in this place during my long runs. From this point, I would go back to where I started to complete a distance of 12.4 kilometers. Basically, it is an “out and back” course where the first half is an uphill/ascending to a higher elevation and the second half is descending to the place where I started.

I took off knowing what was the time of the day when I left the starting line. It was 3:20 PM. I comfortably started with a short brisk walk as the first few meters were steep incline for about 60 meters. After I was over with the steep road, I started to jog until I reached a stream to cross. From the other side of the stream, I started to jog continuously and I started to breath heavily. Then I started to perspire profusely and that is the signal that I have to take a sip on my energy mix and then with my water. I would estimate that I’ve been running for almost 22-25 minutes.

Before I would approach the last two kilometers to the hut & antenna where I would enter into the last gate of a fence, I would take another sip of my energy mix and water and continue to attack the ascending portions of the hills ahead.

I usually reach the hut/antenna in 1:20 hours during my regular running workouts in the area. Once I reached the turn-around point, I took again a sip of my hydration bottles and then simply walk around the hut for about 30 seconds and I am back again on the trail expecting to be faster on the downhill sections of the route.

I try my best to practice my downhill running technique, keep my balance and make quick decisions on where to land my feet considering that the trail is uneven and sometimes muddy and slippery.

Since I’ve been running on this course for weeks and months already, I would know what to expect to most of the sections of the route. I even know how many more kilometers I would have to run and cover before I finally reach the stream that I’ve crossed. After crossing the stream, only one kilometer remains before the finish line. I usually stop and clean my legs and shoes from the flowing water of the stream. But for this time, I just crossed the stream and did not mind soaking my tired legs or washing my legs and shoes to clean them from the mud.

No Stopping On This Stream

No Stopping On This Stream

Finally, I reached my finish line and immediately went inside the place where I am staying and looked for my watch. It was 5:30 in the afternoon. It means that it took me 2:10 hours to cover the distance of 12.4 kilometers. I was able to improve my time by 20 minutes!

This is the result of my run on the said course in one of my regular runs—-http://connect.garmin.com/activity/380093984

Lace up, go out of the door and run!

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Race Report: Clark-Miyamit 42K Trail Marathon

27 09 2013

Just like in my participation to the Pagsanjan To Majayjay 50K Road Ultra last September 1, Clark-Miyamit 42K Trail Marathon was not a part of my training as an intermediate race in preparation for my target race but knowing that all the known fast trail runners and “hardcore” ultra runners that I know of are going in the event, I finally decided to join the said event barely one week before the scheduled date.

CM42 Logo

CM42 Logo

The Race Director, Atty Jonnifer Lacanlale was kind enough to accept my request to join the event together with one of my elite runners, Danin Arenzana, who happens to have won in last year’s CM60K Trail Run. Danin had been my training partner for the past 3 months in my training ground and running after him during the race served as my target-competitor to force me to keep on moving relentlessly from start to finish.

Due to my numerous visits to the Miyamit Falls and recon runs previous to this event, I was confident of finishing this race better than those times that I had visited and trained in this place.

Clark-Miyamit 42K Elevation Profile (Courtesy of Rey jimenez)

Clark-Miyamit 42K Elevation Profile (Courtesy of Rey jimenez)

I was prepared to arrive at the starting area at 3:30 AM last Sunday, September 22, 2013 but due to a text message from Jonel Mendoza of frontrunner Magazine that the race start time will be delayed for a hour due to the inclement weather in the area and some problems with the transport of the volunteers/marshals to the peak of the mountain, I took my time to travel and prepare the things/logistics  I will be needing in the race.

At 4:30 AM, I arrived at the assembly area and got processed where I was able to sign some papers and got my race bib. It was raining and the temperature was cold and refreshing. I was able to talk to some of the runners and it was some sort of reunion among ultra runners and trail runners. They jokingly told me that I was so serious to say in my blog that I will be on a Race Mode, thus, I will not have any time to talk or “socialize” to any of the runners during the race. I just smiled to them and wished them good luck and have fun during the race.

All the runners were called under the Start/Finish Arc for the final briefing by the Race Director 15 minutes before the start time. There were some pointers and warnings issued by the RD for the runners to know due to the weather condition of the day. I positioned myself at the back of the runners while listening to the briefing. At exactly 5:30 AM, the race started and I was with Jonel as the two of us were last runners to leave the Starting Line.

Final Briefing By RD Jon Lacanlale

Final Briefing By RD Jon Lacanlale

Still Dry & Looking Fresh @ The Starting Area

Still Dry & Looking Fresh @ The Starting Area

The Gun Was Fired And We Were Off!

The Gun Was Fired And We Were Off!

My race strategy was to position myself at the back of the pack at the start and then slowly pick-up the pace as the race progresses. The first two kilometers were made as my warm-up period with a slow and easy jog as this part of the course is flat and slightly going down. Most of the runners picked-up their pace immediately on the 1-2 kilometers of the route. As soon as I hit the first uphill of the course, I was already sweating, though I was hiking briskly.

On this very challenging trail race, I always see to it that I “brisk-walk” or power hike the uphills and once I reach the top, I force myself to jog and run on the flat and downhill parts of the course. This drill is being repeated from start to finish. However, if the uphill is not too steep, I would attempt to jog over it by taking small gaits/steps but with faster cadence. In order to be consistent in this, I would briskly pump my arms, over swing them and breath faster. Of course, I would do this in my training runs and comfortably apply this in my races.

Jonel & I Were The Last Runners To Leave The RD

Jonel & I Were The Last Runners To Leave The RD

At the back of my mind, I would like to register a “negative split” of my time in this race by being slower on the first half and then going faster on the last half of the race. Obviously, that will happen because the first half is an uphill climb to Mt Miyamit/turn-around point  which has an elevation of about 1,150 meters above sea level and then the last half will all be generally downhill. But such conditioning to the mind did not happen because of the weather condition that brought about with those slippery, muddy, and water-soaked trails.

On the second half or downhill part of the course, the trail was so slippery that most of the runners would look for the sides of the trail where they would land their feet without falling on their butts or worse, on their faces. The muddy condition of the ground had also slowed down most of the runners. But all these were part of the challenge and I really enjoyed running on these muddy, slippery, loose, and water-covered trails.

Runner Falling On His Butt To The Ground Due To Muddy & Slippery Trail

Runner Falling On His Butt To The Ground Due To Muddy & Slippery Trail (Picture Courtesy of CJ “Miles” Escandor)

After the Km #10/AS 3 as I was going up to the peak/turn-around point, I was trying to count the number of runners that I would meet in order to find out my ranking among the runners. It was fun to see these faster runners as they go back to the finish line. I would not be surprised to see these top runners as they see me going up to the turn-around point. But I could see in their faces how surprised they are when they see me as I get nearer to the turn-around point! They are also surprised that they have a few meters gap from me from their backs! As I reached the turn-around point, I was able to count 47 runners that I met along the way which makes me as the 49th runner (Danin was the 48th runner).

A Part Of The Easier Sections Of The Course

A Part Of The Easier Sections Of The Course

Everything that happened in this race was so fast, except when I was going up from the checkpoint at the foot of Miyamit Falls up to the Aid Station #3. I practically walked this uphill stretch of about a mile/1.5 kilometers and it took me 31 minutes! I was not sure if I was exhausted or needed some “sugar” to my body system. I took this opportune time to eat more solid foods (hard-boiled eggs with salt) and take in a GU Gel.

On the last 10 Kilometers to the Finish Line, I tried my best to run and jog all the way except for some delay on those steep downhill slippery parts of the route where I have to walk slowly. I maintained a steady pace and Ultra Runner Jon Borbon kept me company as he was tailing me throughout the said distance.

Wet, Dirty, & Tired But Still Smiling Towards The Finish Line (Picture By Photo Ops)

Wet, Dirty, & Tired But Still Smiling Towards The Finish Line (Picture By Photo Ops)

I finally reached the Finish Line with an Official Time of 7:57:58 hours with a rank of 36th runner among the 115 Finishers. The RD was at the Finish Line to award the Finisher’s Medal and congratulate me for finishing the race.

Finishing at 36th place was more than a success to me since I have targeted a conservative goal for this race to place on the top 50% of the runners. As a result, I landed among the upper 31% of the finishers!

I would attribute such accomplishment on the following:

1. Consistency—I have followed a structured training program for the past 3 months + one week leading to the race where I have completed a total distance of 1,627 Kilometers or 1,017 Miles. Since this mileage was done in 85-90% of mountain trails, I can roughly estimate my total workout for about 325 hours (1,627 kilometers X 12 minutes/kilometer).

2. Specificity of Training—As shown above, almost all my training was done in the mountain trails where my 61-year old body slowly adapted to the challenges of the environment. Speed was put behind and more focus was concentrated on endurance and proper footing/feet-landing techniques on different kinds or situations on the mountain trails. The more slippery or muddier the train is, the better for me!

3. Nutrition & Hydration—In my training, I have experimented on my nutrition and hydration, most specially on my weekend long runs. Such experimentation was applied during the race. For the race, I ate a simple breakfast of steamed rice + 2 pieces of hotdog + hot coffee, 45 minutes before start time. Some runners who greeted me at the Starting Line saw me eating this stuff. I took in some water with the food. Twenty (20) minutes before start time, I took in my first Espresso Love GU Gel. From the start up to the finish, I took this GU Gel every 40-45 minutes and hydrating with Perpetuem Mix and Water every 20 minutes in an alternate manner. At the turn-around point, I started eating my Hopia as my solid food. On my way from Miyamit Falls to the Finish Line, I was able to eat 2 pieces of hard-boiled eggs with salt. I have also six pieces of Butterscotch from Biscocho Haus of Iloilo City in my pack as my reserve food. At the end of the race, I was able to consume eight (8) GU Gels; 4 pieces of Hopia;  2 pieces of hard-boiled eggs; 40 oz. of Perpetuem Mix; and 40 oz of Water. This nutrition & hydration strategy was strictly followed to keep me from “bonking” and reacting to it and as a result, I was being proactive to the needs of my body during the race. It is like being attached with an Intra-Venous (IV) fluid where every drop of  fluid enters the body every second.

One Pack Of Hopia

Two Packs Of Hopia

4. Running Kit & Apparel—-My Patagonia Shorts kept my iPhone on its back pocket with 6 GU Gels (3 pieces on each side pocket). My Patagonia shirt was very light even if it was damp/wet the whole race. The Ultimate Direction AK Vest which I use in my training kept my 2 bottles  for hydration and food at the back pack; my tiny Nikon Camera on my right shoulder pocket; and two GU Gels on my left shoulder pockets which I used also to keep my trash during the run. I was wearing my favorite Giro Cycling Gloves which was very useful during the run (I guess, I need to post  a separate story for this!). Calf sleeves were used to protect my legs from the sharp leaves of wild grasses along the trails. I also used Gaiters to protect debris and other dirt from entering my shoes. I’ve chosen my ASICS Gel-Mt Fuji Racer Trail Shoes instead of Inov-8 Mudroc 290 due to its lightness and easy drainage of water entering the shoes and it gave me the much needed confidence to paddle through water-soaked, muddy, and slippery trails. My Under Armour running cap and Buff which were damp and wet were also useful in maintaining a lower body temperature on my head and nape.

ASICS Mt Fuji Racer Trail Shoes

ASICS Mt Fuji Racer Trail Shoes

5. Rest, Recovery, Taper—-From Wednesday up to Friday before the race, I had full sleep during nighttime of not less than 8 hours per night. On Saturday night, I was able to sneak in at least 5 hours of sleep. During my training period, I have to fully rest (without any runs) on Mondays—it’s the day when I eat my favorite food, walk and watch a movie in the malls, and/or read some books. One day before the race, it was completely a rest day for me.

6. Knowledge of the Terrain and Be Able To Acclimatize with the Environment—-Having been to the route at least one month before the race with the same weather condition, I already knew what to expect and I even tried to locate for points/places along the route where I could slow down or speed up or where I would take in my nutrition. I was able to test and find out what would be my running apparel/kit for the race during my last recon run to the place. I was able to test also the amount of fluid and food I would need for the race proper, thus, it would lead to the next factor to consider as stated next to this.

7. Not Stopping At The Aid Stations—–It is enough to hear the cheers and greetings from the volunteers and then for me saying, “Thank you for being here for us” to them as I continue my run and pass every Aid Station along the route. It is either I slowed down with my run or simply hiked/walked as I reached the Aid Stations to greet the volunteers. For the Aid Station on the wider road, I would just wave my hand or give them a “thumb-up” sign to acknowledge their presence on the trails even with the rainy weather condition. The cooler atmosphere and rainy condition contributed for my body not to perspire so much and I was able to conserve my intake of hydration fluid. It was only at the place where the 4 X 4 vehicles were parked where I was able to ask for water refilling on my way back to the finish line.

8. Listening To My Body—My HR Monitor was my basis to get feedback why I would breath heavily during the run. I would see to it that I was maintaining an Average HR of not more than 150 beats per minute. There was only one instance where my Average HR reached to 152 bpm and I had to slow down with my power hike on a steep trail. I would feel some pain on my knees and quads on the second half of the race and that I would slow down and observe if such pain would disappear or not. Generally, I did not experience any severe pains/injury or muscle cramps in any parts of my body up to the end of the race.

Success and being able to reach one’s goal in any race is not developed and attained overnight or for a short time even if one has had finished harder and more challenging races in the past. It takes a lot of planning, attitude, determination, patience and handwork.

In short, this is in my own words is called, “discipline”!

Congratulations to RD Atty Jonnifer Lacanlale for a successful race and my special thanks to those volunteers who braved the inclement weather in the mountains to make sure the safety and well-being of all the runners on the night before the race as well as, after the last runner had crossed the finish line. Good job, guys!

Lace up, go out of the door and run!

(Note: For more details & data of my run, please check on this link: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/380094060)





New Route, New Challenge, New Ultra Events

26 09 2013

I was invited by JC Igos and the members of the Team Cavite Endurance Sports Enthusiasts (E.S.E.)  last month to run and recon a route for a road ultra marathon event in their province. We agreed on a scheduled date but due to my participation in last Sunday’s Clark Miyamit 42K Trail Marathon, I asked them to postpone the recon activity on a weekday.

Today, I was accompanied by Rico Laplana and Enrique Sundiang aka DaBull Runner to recon the route aboard my personal vehicle. I measured the route through my GF 305 GPS Watch as we started from the Petron Gasoline Station at the junction of the road going to the Poblacion of Naic, Cavite and the road going to Maragondon, Cavite. We went to the direction going to Maragondon, Cavite. After a few kilometers, we reached the junction road going to Puerto Azul and Caylabne Resort/Philippine Marines Tarnate’s Beach Training Camp. We took the left road going to Caylabne Resort/Philippine Marines’ Training Camp.

Starting Point @ Petron Gas Station In Naic, Cavite

Starting Point @ Petron Gas Station In Naic, Cavite

This part of the route is simply amazing and serene—-no traffic, no vehicles, and the road is surrounded by forest and thick vegetation with some water falls on the sides of the road. We passed by the DENR and trailhead in going to Pico De Loro. We were on a mountain road and the air around is so refreshing!

Nice Road, Fresh Air, Challenging Route, Shaded Road, & Green Scenery

Nice Road, Fresh Air, Challenging Route, Shaded Road, & Green Scenery

Junction Going To Kaybiang Tunnel/Nasugbu

Junction Going To Kaybiang Tunnel/Nasugbu

Uphill Road To Kaybiang Tunnel From The Junction

Uphill Road To Kaybiang Tunnel From The Junction

Then, we came into a tunnel where workers were busy installing lighting system into it. I was amazed by the engineering works done in this tunnel. It is more modern and wider/bigger in space than those tunnels in Corregidor, Subic or in Marin Headlands in San Francisco, California!

Kaybiang Tunnel

Kaybiang Tunnel

A Nice Place To Have A Picture

A Nice Place To Have A Picture

And after coming out from the tunnel, we were met with a beautiful scenic view of the South China Sea with Corregidor Island and the coasts of Cavite and Bataan! We can’t resist not to have a picture with the view of the sea as the background!

View After The Kaybiang Tunnel

View After The Kaybiang Tunnel

I was able to take some pictures of significant views along the route.

"King Of The Road"

“King Of The Road”

One Of The Waterfalls Along The Route

One Of The Waterfalls Along The Route

More scenic views of the mountain and the sea as we passed by the so-called “Boracay of Cavite”.

View Of The "Boracay Of Cavite"

View Of The “Boracay Of Cavite”

Another View Of The "Boracay Of Cavite"

Another View Of The “Boracay Of Cavite”

Simply Beautiful Scenery

Simply Beautiful Scenery

After some hilly, steep ascents and descents in the mountains that surrounds Pico de Loro, we came to a flatter portion of the route as we reached the entrance to Hamilo Coast Resort. After 3-4 kilometers of flat road, another steep inclines and declines would meet us as we got nearer to the Poblacion of Nasugbu, Batangas.

From the place where we started to measure the route (Petron Gas Station in Naic, Cavite) to the Plaza Roxas of Poblacion, Nasugbu, Batangas, the GF 305 GPS Watch registered a distance of 52.8 Kilometers. It registered also a Total Ascent of 1,250 meters and Total Descent of 1,220 meters.

Some fine adjustments on the location of the Starting Area and Finish Line will lessen the distance and come up with a 50K distance road ultra event.

Having measured and recon this route, I am already thinking the possibility of having the following ultra events in the said area:

1. 1st Naic To Nasugbu 50K Ultra Road Race

2. 1st Tagaytay To Naic 102K Ultra Road Race

I am really excited to actually run these routes in the future and come up with these two separate ultra events for everybody to experience.

My special thanks and appreciation to JC Igos, Rico Laplana, Enrique Sundiang aka DaBull and to the Team Cavite E.S.E. for sharing this route and for suggesting that the events shall be part of the yearly regular races of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU).

Keep on running!

(Note: Scheduled Dates for these Ultra Races will be posted on this blog’s 2014 Ultra Races’ PAGE)





Mountain People #1: Weeler Orogo

23 09 2013

I met Weeler Orogo in one of my mountain runs as the trail cuts through his property/farm. His farm registered a distance of 15 kilometers from the place I started my trail running workout. My running companion had a chance to talk with Weeler few days had passed and he was the one who gave directions on the exact trail route that goes all the way to Barangay Tala, Orani, Bataan which is the trailhead in going to Mt Natib.

House & Farm

House & Farm

In my conversation with Weeler, he told me that he is a native of Guinobatan, Albay and he came to the area of Bataan to follow his brother who worked for a businessman in the early 90s. One thing leads to another and eventually, he liked the place and decided to permanently stay in the province with his wife and children.

He said that he bought a 15-hectare area in the mountains which is his present location with the amount of P 18,000 in 1992 which is I think the purchase of the Declaration of Rights of the said land. He immediately started planting coconut, mango, kasoy trees when he acquired the land and cultivated the land with vegetables and root crops for his daily needs. I saw one of his mango trees cut into pieces ready for burning to be transformed to charcoal. I asked him why he has to cut his mango tree and he said that the trunk had been rotten and it is already unproductive.

He has 9 children, 8 sons and one daughter. All the son’s names start with the letter “W”. I jokingly asked if one of them is named as “Wonka or Waldo” and he said he did not know such names exist. He has 33 grandchildren which include few grand grandchildren. He named his only daughter as “Coronacion”, the Crown of their family!

Talking With Weeler & His Wife

Talking With Weeler & His Wife

He is 73 years old and I would assume that he was in his early 50s when he decided to permanently stay in Bataan and bought his mountain property/farm. As part of my interview to evaluate mountain people’s knowledge on current events, I usually ask “Who is now the President of the Philippines?” Well, I got the right answer from him and his wife. They have a transistor radio inside their house made of bamboo and cogon grass as their roof!

Fresh Coconut From Weeler's Farm

Fresh Coconut From Weeler’s Farm

As we went further with our conversation, I found out that he was once a Barangay Councilman somewhere in Quezon Province in his younger years and has a cousin who was a Colonel in the Philippine Constabulary way back in the 60s/70s. He admitted that armed insurgents would drop and pass by his farm when they were still active in the province. However, he assured me that there are no longer armed insurgents in the area since a wide trail road reached his property as more neighboring lots had been sold/bought as pasture land and orchard for mangoes and coconuts.

Weeler Doing His Hobby

Weeler Doing His Hobby

Nowadays, his exercise is his hobby, making wooden mortars & pestle for his relatives. The mortars are made from acacia wood and they are heavy. I asked him to make one piece for me and he said affirmatively, subject to the availability of acacia wood. He was generous to share us his fresh coconuts and declined my offer to pay for them. He even went to the extent of asking the contact number of one of my boys so that he can immediately inform me if there is a wild boar’s meat from his hunting trips in the area!

Well, it was a nice feeling talking to such person who enjoys living in the mountains. For me, he is a rich man who enjoys his life to the fullest without any pressure or stress—-no bills to pay, no processed food to eat, zero crimes in his locality, no traffic, no pollution and above all, no politics & Facebook!

Keep on running!





Dogs & Snakes

22 09 2013

These are the two most popular potential “enemies” of ultra marathon runners in the country.

On the roads, the famous street dogs or what we fondly call as “askals” (Asong Kalye) are the number one “attackers” of runners. These dogs usually bark and run after you on daytime or nighttime. If you are not alert and don’t do some immediate measures to thwart their attack, most likely they will bite your legs.

I had been a victim of a dog bite when I was running at nighttime during one of my adventure runs in San Narciso, Zambales. I am glad I was using a calf sleeve that the bite did not puncture my calf muscle. It was a wound and scratch but I still need to have the dog bite treated immediately. I cancelled my run and went back to Manila for the much-needed medical attention on the next day.

On the mountain trails, the snakes are the most popular creature that you can see crossing your path or even meeting you head-on while one is running. They are even seen hibernating on the branches of big trees in the forest. As always, whenever I go on my daily trail runs, I always see a snake at least once a week or the most, two times a week crossing a few meters in front of me. However, my latest encounter was a snake that was coming head-on directly to my legs! I had to immediately jump from the trail and stopped. The snake’s body diameter could be at least 1 1/2 inches, about one meter long and it is colored black. I am not sure what kind of snake it was but I was glad it did not bite my leg.

Snake On Dog (Picture From Google)

Snake On Dog (Picture From Google)

Since the time I’ve been bitten by a dog, I stopped using my iPod and headphone. I became smarter in dealing with astray dogs along the streets that I have to stop, walk and try to avoid getting nearer to a dog few meters before the location of the dog. I also prepare to hold my water bottle and be able throw it to the dog if there is imminent act of attack or just simply pick up a stone on the side of the road.

Treatment on dog bites are very expensive but they are also readily available in hospitals and famous drugstores. You need injections for anti-rabies and anti-infection and such injections are being administered on scheduled dates or interval of days. There are also vaccines that would prevent one from being infected by rabies.

I’ve never been bitten by a snake but there are preventive measures to undertake. Expect snakes to be present in cooler and thick vegetation. Do not attempt to thread on thick vegetation without any trail. Always keep your feet on the cleared trail. Be alert when hiking/running on thickly shaded trails, most specially in forested areas or virgin forests. Be alert also for snake encounters on the early morning or early evening as these are the times when I usually encounter them in my “playground”. In case of snake bite, this could be helpful—http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-a-Snake-Bite

I may not be superstitious but I usually consider my encounters with snakes as my “lucky” moments. And most of the time, I regard the snakes as the “gods” that guard the mountains and the nature thereat. So, if I see a snake crossing or heading to my direction, I don’t have the intention of catching it or playing with it. These creatures deserve some respect from us.

Dogs are considered as the men’s/women’s best friends and snakes are mysterious and beautiful but when you are in the outdoors always stay alert and show some respect to these creatures.

Keep on running!





“Out And Back”

21 09 2013

I usually prefer to run an “out and back” route in trying to look for trail routes in the mountains. I start with a comfortable distance of 5K (or One Hour ) from the point where I start my run. With the use of my GF305 GPS watch, once the watch registers a distance of 5 kilometers (or one hour), I would immediately turn-around and go back to where I started. In total, I was able to run a distance of 10 kilometers or two hours of running & hiking.

If my training program would call for 11-12 kilometers for my daily runs, I would try to run one-half of the said distance and then immediately turn-around to go back to where I started. I would do this for a couple of weeks and try to average the amount of time I would finish the said distance.

Once I am comfortable running the “out and back” distance, I would increase the distance with a minimum total distance of 5 kilometers and do the cycle of making myself comfortable in running the distance in a couple of weeks. I would then register the average time that I would finish the distance and try to find out if I am getting faster as I am getting comfortable with the said distance.

@My First Turn-Around Point

@My First Turn-Around Point

My present 28K (17.5 Miles) “out and back” course where I would do my trail long runs had been traced and explored for months! It was only when I became comfortable; measured the distance; and got the average time I would finish the course that I posted on Facebook about my “Playground”.

It is in this 28K “out and back” course where I do my long runs; speed play/”fartlek”, tempo runs, and progression runs. It is also on this course where I experiment on my hydration and nutrition. This is also the place where I test and evaluate my running kits and stuffs.

This is also the same course where I would bring my ultra running friends who want to train with me in my “playground”.

If you need to look for a place to run, just follow an “out and back” course. Whether it is the time or distance which you will consider on your first half of the run, turning around and going back to where you started will guaranty you a successful running workout. Make sure to increase the distance and time of your running workout after you are comfortable with your first “out and back” course in about 2-3 weeks duration. This is how you should increase your total weekly mileage.

Keep on running!





Miyamit Run

20 09 2013

Are you joining this Sunday’s Clark-Miyamit 42K or 22K Trail Run? If you trained on the roads and not on the trails with the same elevation profile with that on the race course, I bet you will have a hard time catching your breath as you go up to the peak of Mt Miyamit and/or complete the course with more strength to reach the finish line. Moreso, if it will be your first time to visit the place on race day.

The course is basically an “up and down” course. Ultra trail runners usually call this kind of mountain running as “Fastest Known Time” or “FKT”. The faster you reach the peak of the mountain and then going back to where you started, the better and is the way to gauge your speed and strength in mountain trail running.

Start & Finish Area @ Ayala Construction Site

Start & Finish Area @ Ayala Construction Site

Last month, at the height of the latest typhoon that hit the area, I had a chance to run through the course for the nth time except for the last 4 kilometers before the peak of Mt Miyamit or turn-around point of the race course. My companions and I were not able to go through the trail due to thick vegetation that covered the trail and strong water on the streams that we have to cross.

We ran through the course for almost 34 kilometers in distance which took us 9 hours, to include our “pit stops” along the way and late lunch at the foot of Miyamit Falls. We also went to the View Deck for “photo-ops” and rest.

Mt Miyamit Elevation Profile (From CM42/22 Website)

Mt Miyamit Elevation Profile (From CM42/22 Website)

I was surprised that there are already “movements” and construction projects at Barangay Sapang Uwak, the trailhead of the road/trail going to Mt Miyamit. I had to park my vehicle at the Ayala Construction Headquarters where I was able to talk to the Security Guards and requested for my vehicle to park thereat. The construction area is just near the Porac Exit along the SCTEX.

The first kilometer is flat and downhill and as soon as we reached my usual parking area near the small bridge before reaching Sapang Uwak, we had to go through a checkpoint which is being controlled and administered by another company. I was received by a former Philippine Army Officer who is now the designated Officer-In-Charge of the Security Guards manning the said construction area. After a brief conversation, we continued our run to the center of the barangay. The OIC knows me personally as we had been together in one unit in the Philippine Army.

First & Last Kilometer Of The Course/Run

First & Last Kilometer Of The Course/Run

From the center and populated area of Barangay Sapang Uwak, we run, jogged and hike all the way to the View Deck; after some rest, photo-ops, and eating some snacks, we continued our run to the peak of Mt Miyamit hoping that we could reach the turn-around point which is 10 kilometers from the View Deck. We did not reach the turn-around point and we need about 4.5 kilometers more. We have to turn-around when we could no longer see any trail due to thick vegetation. From that point, we went to the Falls and had our brief lunch and photo-ops. After our lunch, we went back to where we started.

Patience Is The Key To Reach The Top

Patience Is The Key To Reach The Top

Top View Of The Route/Trail Taken From The View Deck

Top View Of The Route/Trail Taken From The View Deck

Where Is Danin? Be Careful With This Landslide

Where Is Danin? Be Careful With This Landslide

Huts Made Of Banana Leaves

Huts Made Of Banana Leaves

Slippery Part To & From Miyamit Falls

Slippery Part To & From Miyamit Falls

Trio Los Bandidos @ Miyamit Falls

Trio Los Bandidos @ Miyamit Falls

For the benefit of those who will be joining this Sunday’s 1st edition of the Clark-Miyamit Trail Marathon & 22K Trail Run who have not visited or recon the place/route, I have the following insights:

  1. Looking at the Elevation Profile, whether you are joining the 42K or 22K race, it is an “up and down” or “FKT” run/race.
  2. Depending on your training and preparation of this race, take it easy on the uphills and make-up for the slower time that you register on the first half by running stronger on the last half.
  3. Always think safety during your run. There are places where the ground is slippery along the course/trails. Take time to hike instead of running along these slippery portions of the trail.
  4. This event is NOT a Picnic or Hiking/Outing for you to socialize with other runners. This is a RACE. However, in case of emergency or accident where a runner is involved, find time to assist or help the victim.
  5. Runners have a bad practice of consuming the whole cut-off time to finish the race. If you can finish the race faster than the prescribed cut-off time, please do so with all your remaining effort. The marshals and volunteers would like to go home as early as possible also.
  6. The tribe/locals residing on this mountainous location are “notorious” in asking money, food, or anything from visitors in the area. Be aware and know what to do.
  7. Apply trail etiquette and the time-tested “Leave No Trace” doctrine in this event.
Still Fresh & Strong As We Approached The Finish Line

Still Fresh & Strong As We Approached The Finish Line

I will be joining this race and I will be on a Race Mode. It means that socializing with other runners will be limited at the start and finish areas only. I will not engage in a lengthy conversation with any runner if one decides to run side by side with me. My feet and pace will do the talking, the same strategy that I applied when I joined the Pagsanjan To Majayjay 50K Road Ultra Race last September 1, 2013.

This race will again be a test and evaluation for my new training. My modest goal is to finish within the upper 50% of the total runners without any injury or “issues” during the race.

Good luck to all the CM42K & 22K runners! By joining this trail race, you are already a winner to me!

Keep on running!








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