2013 CM50 Experience
I finished my first Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Trail Run (CM50) with a ranking of #28 among the 120+ starters and I am proud to have registered a finish time of 15:30:20 hours. I did not publish or post on this blog a Race Report about such accomplishment but I was able to post a Race Report of a shorter version of the event which was the Miyamit Falls 42K Trail Run. More or less, my Race Report on this short trail run (which is one-half of the CM50) covers those significant points that brought my successful finish in this event.
My success in my first CM50 can be summarized by the following factors or reasons:
1. I finally decided to get the services of a reliable mountain trail ultra Coach.
2. My training program was done consistently on mountain trails. Monday is my Rest Day. The rest of the days of the week were running days where recovery or hard/easy runs were strictly followed. My training started in the middle of June of last year, making it to five (5) months as my training/preparation for this event.
3. Hydration and Nutrition were tried and experimented during my long runs.
4. Core Workouts and Strengthening Exercises were done regularly, at least, three times a week.
5. I joined the Miyamit Falls 42K Trail Run and was able to conduct a recon to the peak of Mt Miyamit.
6. The weather during the race was cooler and the sky was overcast.
2014 CM50 Experience
I finally decided to join this year’s edition in the middle of September of this year as I had some time to rest and recover from trail running for almost six weeks. This “rest & recovery” period was devoted to mostly mountain hiking at an easy and relaxing pace.
I had to make some adjustments to my training due to my recurring knee injury. My knee injury would be the result of getting older and “wear and tear” due to running. This is the reason why I had to run consistently on the trails for a softer impact to the ground. And whenever I try to run on the pavement for my long runs, my knees would be sore and aching.
I told my running coach about my recurring knee injury and my plan not to join the Chimera 100 in Corona, California on November 15. Instead, I told him that I will be attempting my second consecutive finish in the CM50 with a better time without being injured leading to race day.
My coach advised me to take an extra day off for me to recover and rest before my weekend long runs so that my knees will be well-rested before my long runs on trails. After back-to-back long runs on weekends, I would take my usual Monday rest day. By doing this on my weekly runs, I was able to sustain healthy knees and kept them from any soreness or pain. However, my speed did not improve but I was able to bring back my endurance without thinking of my recurring knee problem/injury.
A few days before Race Day, I told my Coach that my knees are holding up and ready to take the beating from the incoming race. He advised me to take it easy and slow on the first half with my pace. And most importantly, take in my nutrition as early within the race and maintain my hydration strategy. The “real race” on this course will start from AS4 back to the Finish Line.
Having been a “repeater” in this race, I knew the “drill” on what to prepare and do on Race Day. My nutrition was the key for me to finish this race and I concentrated much on it. I had PB & J sandwiches, a can of Tuna Paella, Stingers, Gels, MILO Packs, Candies, and Vespa. I’ve been consistently using these nutrition items in my weekend runs and I was confident that they will give me the much-needed energy to finish the race.
I had my mandatory gears checked by the RD before I was able to get my Race Bib. After I wore my running attire and shoes, I was ready for the race. I took a meal of rice and corned beef 30 minutes before the race started, took one Gel, and drank one pack of Vespa. I went to the starting area and wished my friends “good luck”.
The race started at exactly 1:00 AM of Sunday, November 23 from the Clark Parade Ground and the runners were off towards the direction on the Main Road going to the Southern Portion of the Camp/Facility which was a former US Air Force Base. The first 3 Kilometers is along a paved wide road with a rolling profile elevation where one would be pulled by the other faster runners. I was able to maintain a slower pace on this part of the course. It was too early to be racing with the other runners. As I looked around, I would see familiar faces but I did not know whether they are with me in the distance category where I was competing. I guess, at this point, I was almost on the tail-end of the runners of the 50-milers and 60K runners.
After 3 kilometers, I started to reach the trailhead with a single-track downhill trail leading to the bank of a river. The bank of the river was a dry bed of lahar-sand and after a few meters, my feet had their first taste of the flowing water of the river which is mixed with lahar-sand. I could feel that my shoes had been absorbing a lot of sand through its upper mesh while I was crossing the river. The flowing water was very shallow but the current was very fast! The river is called Sacobia River and I will be coming back on this wide river on my way back to the Finish Line.
I was using the same headlight that I used last year and it gave me the much needed illumination and it served me well during the race. The Icon Polar Headlight from Black Diamond is a heavy one on the head because it has 4 Double A Batteries as source of power. I don’t complain much on this because this lighting system is very reliable and long-lasting on its power.
The running period for a 4-kilometer of river-lahar with flowing water was so fast that I was seeing myself to be nearing the First Aid Station (Km #7) which was located before an ascending paved road towards a Spa & Wellness Resort. I did not stop at the 1st Aid Station! Once I reached the peak of the paved road by power walking/hiking, it was all downhill on a wide dirt road until it became another road with loose lahar-sand. It was so hard to run on the lahar-sand even if I was following the tracks of wheeled vehicles passing along this road. Because it was still dark, my sight was concentrated on the whitish-color of the lahar-sand as it was illuminated by my powerful headlight. It started to be boring and running to an endless sand!
The loose lahar-sand ultimately led us to a hardened wide dirt road with a high-walled fence on the right side of the road. Because it was still too dark to look around, I could sense that this is a populated village where 4 X 4 jeeps would park and where I would see children play along the road when I was on my way to the finish line in last year’s edition. I knew that after a few meters, I would be turning on a sharp right towards an uphill climb on a cemented stairs! Once I climbed on those stairs, I knew that after a few meters of winding trail, the next challenge will be a steep descent towards some trails of loose lahar-sand (again!).
Once I reached the steep descending trail, I saw a rope with some runners clinging on it while they were on their way down to the foot of the trail. It was my turn to use the rope in going down the trail and it was too easy for me to grasp the rope as I was using a cycling gloves. There were three (3) parts/portions of the rope towards the lowest level of the ground where each part is about 10 meters. I knew that after this descending part, another flowing river with lahar will be the next part of the course.
If there are parts with no marshals on this vast lahar-covered river, there are blinking lights and reflectorized strips that would indicate the correct direction of the course. It is very clear and easy to see those reflectorized strips on the right side of the trail on the first half of the course. There is no reason why a runner should be lost along the course. I guess, my headlight might have a very strong illumination that those reflectorized strips on the trail could be easily seen from afar. Last year, aside from my headlight, I was also using a handheld light which gave me more illumination to a specific direction/location while on the move.
Running on the river with lahar is a big problem for runners whether it is during the day or night. The first problem is that lahar-sand would enter ones shoes most specially when crossing the flowing river whether a runner is wearing a gaiter. The lahar-sand would accumulate in-between the insole and the socks and later on the space between the tips of the toes and the front tip of the inside part of the shoes. The second problem is for the runner to be careful in avoiding the rocks or if they choose to step on the rocks, they should land their foot lightly on them and avoid being “tripped” by them. The third problem, is the “heat” that comes out from the sand when the sun is hot. One should remember that these river-lahar crossing along the course are not covered and every runner is exposed to the heat of the sun, most specially on their way back to the Finish Line. Running on a lahar-sand environment should be a part of ones training if a runner would like to have a good finish time in this event.
After crossing the second river I knew I would be towards an uphill climb and starts running on the ridges of hills and edges of cultivated fields where most of them are sugar plantations. These part of the course is also exposed to the heat of the sun and the trail is loose and dusty! Since I was not particular with the exact time as to how long I’ve been running, I was surprised to see the Second Aid Station/AS2 (Km #16/17) before me! I passed the Aid Station without stopping and I knew I was about to reach the first “mini-tunnel” or “big culvert” of the SCTEX.
I was still using my headlight when I reached the second “mini-tunnel” which leads to the Security Checkpoint before reaching the steel bridge. As I reached the third Aid Station/AS3 (Km #23), the RD was there cheering the runners. The RD suggested us to drop by and I answered him that I will drop by on my way back to the Finish Line. I think I had to cover another 3-4 kilometers after passing the AS3 before I finally put off my headlight.
Two kilometers away from the Fourth Aid Station/AS4 (Km #32), I met the first runner of the CM 60K race and it was followed by the 2nd runner. Before reaching the AS4, I was able to meet the third runner of the CM 60K race. I have a “wild guess” that I could be at AS4 after running for the past five (5+) hours. The sun was about to rise from the east horizon!
So far, so good!
To be continued.