Allen’s Rice Cakes


Before Jason Koop wrote his book “Training Essentials For Ultrarunning” where he highly recommends Rice Cakes as one of the best solid food for ultrarunners, Dr Allen Lim, born in the Philippines and raised in the USA, Doctorate in Integrative Physiology; Director Of Sports Science for the Radioshack Pro Cycling Team and the Garmin Pro Cycling Team; and the only American scientist who had the unique distinction as the  Chef/Cook for the said teams in their 2010 & 2011 seasons for the Tour De France, is considered as the originator of the famous Allen’s Rice Cakes which are very popular to professional cyclists as their food during their daily races in the said Tour and during their training rides.

Dr Allen Lim (Picture From Velopress)

Copied from Dr Allen Lim’s book, “The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast And Flavorful Food For Athletes”, the following are the ingredients and procedure on how to prepare/cook the said cakes:

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked calrose rice or other medium-grain “sticky” rice or sushi rice

3 cups of water

8 ounces of bacon

2 tablespoons of liquid amino acids or low-sodium soy sauce

brown sugar

salt and grated parmesan (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Combine Rice and Water in a Rice Cooker
  2. While Rice is cooking, chop up bacon before frying, then fry in a medium saute pan. When crispy, drain off fat and soak up excess fat with paper towels.
  3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and then scramble on high heat in a saute pan. Don’t worry about overcooking the eggs as they will break up easily when mixed with rice.
  4. In a large bowl or in the rice cooker bowl, combine the cooked rice, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Add liquid amino acids or soy sauce and sugar to taste. After mixing, press into an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan to about 1 1/2-inch thickness. Top with more brown sugar, salt to taste, and grated parmesan, if desired.
  5. Cut and wrap individual cakes. Makes about 10 rice cakes in rectangle form. Individual cakes can be wrapped with aluminum foil or strap wrap.

Per Serving (1 cake): Energy: 225 calories; Fat: 8 grams; Sodium: 321 mg; Carbs: 30 grams; Fiber: 1 gram; Protein: 9 grams

Time of Preparation/Cooking: 30 minutes

How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon (Chapter 3)


Chapter 3: My Four Months Training With CTS

I am not trying to force-feed you with the training that I did with CTS as I want to share my story from the time that they accepted my application as one of their CTS athletes. I was just lucky that I was able to contact Jason Koop when he was advertising the publication of his book on Ultrarunning in May 2017 and asked him if CTS accepts a 65-year old runner.

After I applied on line on their Website, I was asked to answer (on line) a questionnaire, asking my personal data, experience and number of years of training, and if I had a recurring running injury. After a few days, one of their Senior Coaches contacted me through e-mail and gave me instructions on how to set up my Premium Training Peaks Platform by giving me my Signing-In data. I think it costs me $70.00 as full time payment for my subscription with Premium Training Peaks. Two of my GPS Watches (SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak and Garmin Forerunner) were linked to the said Training Site Platform. Everything (data) that my Coach need to know  about my daily workout are uploaded to the Training Peaks and you can not fake your effort on those data. The Senior Coach had briefed me about the terms being used on the description of each workout and the specific data that are incorporated in the workout. Above all, my workouts were given to me in the number of hours and minutes and not by the number of miles or kilometers that I have to run in each day. My Coach asked me what is my preferred REST Day for the week and I said, I would like it on Mondays.

My Coach would send me my training workout for two weeks and each day I should give my feedback how my body felt in terms of effort from EASY to Very HARD, the rank measurement is from 1 to 10 with Rank 1 as Very Easy and 10 as Very Hard. It is a also a “must” that you send a short message as how you felt during and after the workout. Your feedback description will be gauged in terms of your fitness condition, fatigue, and motivation.  However, your feedback will be matched with numerical data captured from your GPS Watch and as seen on Training Peaks. At the end of the week, you can easily see your totals in terms of the total number of hours and the total of miles/kilometers you covered from those hours.On those first days as CTS athlete, I would review the Book on Ultrarunning by Jason Koop making sure to know the description and details of each workout I was given to do.

It is worth mentioning that the Coach would prescribe in each daily workout the following description: (1) the number of hours and minutes of your total workout; (2) each workout is described from its warm-up period (in minutes), main workout (in hours and minutes, depending how long is the period), cool-down period (in Hours/minutes); and (3) the type of terrain where the Coach would suggest you to run, whether it is flat road, trail, or in a course with hilly or steep elevation. The Coach would suggest also your “Total Score Stress” (TSS) where Training Peak would refer it as Running Total Training Stress (rTSS). Depending on what type of workout, the Coach will designate an rTSS score for a specific workout (Easy Run, Endurance Run, Tempo Run, Hill Repeats or Interval). The higher the score, the more the stressful the run. Thus, your workout will be quantified in terms of training stress for a specific running workout. Once I upload my workout from my GPS watch, my rTSS for the workout will be immediately compared with the suggested rTSS from my Coach. Most of the time, my workout rTSS would not surpass or equal my Coach rTSS. But in my feedback, I felt that I am wasted as a result of the workout. Anyway, whether I can equal or not on the required rTTS, my personal observation was that I was running stronger every week.

Jason Koop (Center) & CTS Athletes (Picture From Facebook)

For the first two weeks of training workout, I was given a mix of Endurance Runs, Tempo Runs, and Recovery Runs from the duration of One Hour & Thirty Minutes to Two Hours. In the succeeding weeks, I was introduced with Hill Repeats. After three weeks, I was asked to conduct a “20-minute field test”. It is done by having a 15-minute warm-up run first and then I did my fastest 20-minute run along a flat paved road, and then had a cool-down for 30 minutes. The result of my “20-minute field test” determined my Average Pace for the Tempo Run. The Average Pace would be my target time whenever I do my Tempo Runs. Most of the succeeding weeks will be devoted to Tempo Runs and Hill Repeats! I was surprised that my Tempo Run’s Average Pace would be faster than my usual Tempo Pace. Before, I could not breach less than 9:00 minutes per mile pace with too much fatigue and pain to my legs and body after each workout. But after  3 weeks of CTS training, I was able to breach the 9:00-minute barrier and with more regular “test runs”, I was able to record a 8:09 minute per mile pace  and then lowered it to 7:30-minute pace. With my age and not-so-perfect running form and short legs, I could not believe how fast I could make those leg turn-overs whenever I do my tempo runs on a flat paved road. Since I was preparing for ultra trail runs in the future, I did not have a chance to run on the oval track. I guess, I could run faster if those “20-minute field test” runs were done on an oval track.

One month before the Javelina Jundred 100-Mile Endurance Race, I was given more time for my Endurance Runs on trails in my Playground and they would last from 4 hours to 6 hours. CTS would not allow their athletes to run more than 6 hours in their Endurance Runs for the basic reason that the runner could not recover in a span of one to two days. CTS wants their athletes to be fresh and feeling stronger after a day of recovery. The training concept on those four months was clear to me as it followed the training concept and principles written in the book of Jason Koop—-assessment of my body on the 1st two weeks, followed by fast runs through tempo runs and hill repeats, and then Endurance Runs on the last weeks leading to the target race.

Bottomline, with those 4 months leading to JJ100, I was not injured, my body was always fresh and recovered on Tuesdays, and felt becoming stronger during my Tuesday runs. 

In the next succeeding posts, we will go to the details of my daily workouts.

$ 2.00 Donation

   

How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon (Chapter 2)


Chapter 2: Consistency & Coaching Services 

Training Plans On The Internet & Professional Coaching Services

From the age of 45 years old to 64 years old, the range of Qualifying Time for Men’s is from 3:20 hours to 3:50 hours. And for the Women’s in the same range of age, it is 3:50 hours to 4:20 hours. Those qualifying times are very hard to attain if you are not consistent in your training. So, what should you do? You have two options: Download a Training Plan in the Internet or simply follow the suggested Training Plans at the back of every Running Book published and available in the market (that is one option). And the other option is subscribe to a Professional Coaching Service where you could apply with a considerable amount of monthly fee or a fee for the whole package deal of the Training Plan. In the number of years that I have been a runner, I have tried both and at the present I am under the supervision and coaching service of the CTS.

Let us talk first with the FIRST Option of getting a Training Plan in the Internet or in the back pages of Running Books. You can do that and most likely, you will not pay for anything or if you download those training plans with a fee, it is still very cheap and affordable. However, you should be consistent in following your training plan. Nobody will monitor you except yourself. As long as you follow the scheduled workouts and you attain your desired pace or speed to a certain distance, there is no problem. Most of these training plans consider your weekly mileage as the barometer of your weekly performance. You will realize that your training program will ask you to do more of your mileage to become faster. These training plans will not consider or measure your body condition after every workout and you have only your Strava or any Training Platform where you can download the data from your GPS Watch and see the basic distance, time of duration of your run, pace/speed. elevation, and your heart rate. Your watch might recommend also the number of recovery hours every workout but most of the time, such data is not always accurate.

If you are training on your own, you have to consider visiting the Jack Daniels’ VDOT Running Calculator. All you have to do is to input your Boston Marathon Qualifying Time and it will calculate your Race Pace for the Marathon; your Training Pace for each type of running workout, and Equivalent Pace/Speed for each Distance from 1,500 meters to Marathon Distance. If you can attain your Target Goal Time in 4-6 months, then you are very good and very consistent in your training. But remember, these training plans should be supplemented with better hydration, nutrition, strength training, recovery periods, and flexibility exercises. On this site, you can ask for a custom plan depending on the number of weeks you select as the duration of your training. An example is: You pay $100 for a Training Plan for 24 weeks based from your target goal time.

Ultrarunning Book By Jason Koop

When I applied for Professional Coaching Service with CTS, the book, “Training Essentials For Ultrarunning: How To Train Smarter, Race Faster, and Maximize Your Ultramarathon Performance” by Jason Koop was just published and available in the market in May 2016. I immediately bought the book and personally contacted Jason Koop through Direct Message on Facebook and asked him if I can qualify to apply for their Coaching Service even if I am about to reach the age of 65 years old. He replied positively and the next days and weeks, I was asked to answer some questionnaire about my running, set up my Premium Training Peaks, and I had my first telephone conversation with my designated Coach. So, in the middle of June 2016, I started my training geared towards a “smarter and faster” ultrarunner. If you happened to read the book of Jason Koop, you would find out how scientific is their approach to make you a long-lasting ultrarunner. And for the past 4 years that I have been a “CTS athlete”, they have valued to maintain my healthy condition as a runner so that I can enjoy running as long as I live.

For the first 6 months as a CTS Athlete, I subscribed to their Premium Plan with One Month Free with a monthly subscription of $300. You can click on their site if you want to know more of their Coaching Services. For the past 3 years, I downgraded to their Select level where I am paying a subscription of $185 per month with a yearly contract. But before last year, I was paying then $175 per month. I am not telling or suggesting you to apply also for a Professional Coaching Service as most of these more popular and credible (not “fly-by-night”) ones have the number of athletes  to attend to, are filled-up already. You are very lucky if you will be accepted as one of their CTS athletes but you may never know. You can try. I must accept that those first 4 months that I have trained with CTS, I became stronger ultrarunner but my “gut problem” due to heat was always my weakness. Slowly, I have progressed through the years with the help of my Coach on this problem. I can say that CTS accidentally helped me to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Carmichael Training System (CTS): Train Right

What is the difference between CTS and this Training Plans in the Internet? There are so many differences. First, CTS measures your training output by the time (number of hours) you put in to your weekly training schedule. Those Training Plans in the Internet measure your output by the number of miles/kilometers you run for the week. CTS monitors my daily workout through the Premium Training Peaks and I have once in two weeks telephone conversation for 30 minutes with my Coach. My Coach had never been changed since the time I started to be enrolled with their service. You could just imagine the relationship I have developed with my Coach for the past four years.

In the coming days, I will mention in my posts the details of my training workouts leading to the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race.

Thank you for reading.

Revisiting Maffetone’s Training Method (2020)


Sometime on the first week of August 2011, I have written on this blog about the Maffetone’s Training in Running and it was very effective then during my training days in preparation for my running races. For the whole month of August 2011, almost all my blogposts were devoted on my personal application of the MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) Test and the Carbohydrate’s “Two-Week Test”. You can revisit and review these posts by clicking the links. All of these posts were my personal experience and application of such training method after buying the Kindle Edition of the book, Dr. Phil Maffetone’s “The Big Book On Endurance Training and Racing” which I bought then at Amazon.com.

Book Of Dr Phil Maffetone

Fast Forward. Two weeks ago, I came across, by accident, a book by Stu Mittleman entitled “Slow Burn: Burn Fat By Exercising Slower” and I recalled my past posts about the Maffetone’s Training and reviewed them again together with the Kindle Edition of Dr Phil Maffetone’s Book. On the following day, I started applying the Stu Mittleman running method and after a few days, I realized that I have to go back to the Maffetone Training Method. And that is now what I have been doing for almost 3 weeks, as I am now on my third week.

I have been following the “180 Formula” which means that to come up with a Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF), my Hear Rate should be, 180 minus my age of 68 which is 112. But since I am more than 65 years old and had been regularly running (without any injuries) for the past years, I can add 10 beats per minute to 112, making my Maximum Heart Rate to 122 beats per minute using the MAF Method. I have been using my SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch as my Heart Rate Monitor.

For the past weeks, I have been diligently following the MAF Heart Rate in my easy and recovery runs where my HR Average ranges from 111 to 117 beats per minute. However, what is very unique in my application of the MAF is that I am using it in my daily runs within my Backyard Loop. My Backyard Loop is 95% single track trail with uneven ground with some feet of elevation which has a distance of 480 meters in one loop. As compared when I was doing the MAF in 2011, my runs were done on paved roads and my monthly MAF Tests were done in an Oval Track (Remy Field in Subic Freeport). I was running faster then because the conditions of the road and oval track were very ideal.

On my third week since Monday, I have been registering an Average of 112 to 117 beats per minute in my daily runs within my Backyard Loop with an Average Speed of 3.6 to 3.8 miles per hour. On the paved road, with the same average of HR, I could get an Average Speed of 4.6-5.0 miles per hour or faster.

I plan to conduct my first MAF Test using my Backyard Loop as the venue next week (4th week) instead of going to the Oval Track. Another option would be to conduct the MAF Test along the paved road where I could determine a distance of One Mile. We will see if I would be able to do two sets of MAF Tests next week, one for trail and another for the road.

If you are interested to learn more about the Maffetone Training Method, you can simply buy the book or go to the website of Dr Phil Maffetone as you can download the MAF Method for FREE. You can also get many information about everything about Nutrition and Training.

If you have a YouTube account, please visit and subscribe to my YouTube Channel as I will be posting Videos about my training using the Maffetone Method.

Thank you for reading this post. Have a good day!

 

Slow Burn: Burn Fat By Exercising Slower


It was accidental when I saw a post on Facebook of a certain runner with a quotation from a person with the name “Stu Mittleman“ that intrigued and caught my attention while I was drinking my hot coffee in one of the mornings last week. I immediately “googled” the name of Stu Mittleman and I was shocked to find out his feats and accomplishments in the world of Ultrarunning or Ultra Marathon.

During his popularity in Ultra Marathon, he set world records in single stage and multi-day running events. He even set a Official Record in Running Across America during his days. But what got my focus and interest in him is his book which he had written and entitled: “Slow Burn: Burn Fat By Exercising Slower”. I immediately browsed on Amazon about the availability of the said book and after reading its Sample feature, I bought its Kindle Edition for $6.99 and read every chapter of the book.

Title Of The Book and Its Authors

Since last week, I have been applying his training principle and techniques in my Long Runs, Tempo Runs, and Recovery Runs. His training principle is anchored on ones Heart Rate as expressed in Beats Per Minute (bpm). His Upper Limit of Heart Rate is computed as 220-Age X 0.85 and the Lower Limit of Heart Rate is computed as 220-Age X 0.70. Your Easy/Recovery Runs should be below your Lower Limit of HR; Endurance Runs should be in between the Lower and Higher Limits; and Speed/Interval/Anaerobic Runs should be above your Upper Limit.

At my age of 68, my Upper Limit is 130 bpm and my Lower Limit is 107 bpm. However, I have adjusted my Lower Limit to 112 bpm and my Upper Limit to 125 bpm after I have been following this principle for the duration of one week. For a typical one hour running workout, I would jog for the first 20 minutes within my Lower Limit of bpm; next 20 minutes is done in between my Lower and Upper Limits of bpm; and the last 20 minutes will be within the Lower Limit of bpm. One can adjust the period of time for each phase of the workout by shortening the first and last 20 minutes to come up with a longer duration for the 2nd phase of workout.

As a result by following this training principle and technique, my recovery in between my daily workouts were faster and my runs were more relaxing and comfortable. My breathing is easier, most specially, if I am running outside my backyard using my Buff as my mask. I could also focus more on listening to my body and have the pleasure of looking around my environment most specially when I am running along the highway.

On the nutrition side, I would start my runs without any fluid and food intake in the mornings and could last up to 2-3 hours without food intake and with regular intake of water every 15-20 minutes during the run. The fats stored in my body would be the source of my energy throughout the workout. However, once I finish my workout, I would immediately have my food consisting of lesser carbohydrates but more on protein and fats. I think my waist size had reduced from Size 29 to Size 28 because of diligently following Stu’s training principle/technique!

I am highly recommending this book for those who love and passionate on ultramarathon races and timed/endurance events. This is also good for those who would like to start in walking, jogging, and running to improve one’s health and immune system.

Thank you for reading and please subscribe to this blog for more stories and updates!

Cover Of The Book

 

“Read 100 Running Books A Year Challenge”


The art and long tradition of reading books among the youth and among most of us is already lost and forgotten. We tend to be industrious in reading books during our academic and schooling days as they are requirement in our daily lessons as required by the Subjects being taught by our Professors/Teachers. We were also made to submit “Book Reports” as part of a literary exercise for us to be able to write and make some critical analysis on the message or concept or lessons learned taken from the book that we have read.

With the advent of the Internet; Social Media; and Laptops/Cellphones/Ipads, seldom that I would see persons in planes, buses, trains, cafes, and public parks reading a book or a magazine or a newspaper. What is worse than not seeing people around us not reading any book in such traditional places is that our public libraries are almost forgotten to have existed.

Let me ask these questions to those who have finished their college studies and now working as professionals?

1. When was the last time that you visited our Public Library or your Workplace Library, if there is any?

2. Can you mention to me the title of the latest book and the author that you have read and tell me how long did it take you to finish reading the said book?

When I was a Member of the Promotion Board of the Philippine Army and later, as the Chairman of the Promotion Board to the Rank of Colonel in the Philippine Army, I had only ONE question for each of the candidates during the Interview (Final Part of the Process)——“What is the latest book that you have read and tell the Promotion Board the Synopsis and Lessons Learned you gathered in it in 5 Minutes?” If the candidate can not answer the question, he is told to leave the room and has to wait for another Promotion Cycle which equivalent to One Year!

This is not to say that I am going to do this with the other runners that if you have not read any running-related book, you are not meant to be accepted as one of my “friends” on Facebook or would allow you to join in any of my ultra races. This is a Challenge where one has to be motivated to re-start the good habit of reading any book for that matter. I could not over emphasize the importance of reading a book as it has a lot of advantages and reasons for us to improve as a human being.

Last week, I started to create a Facebook Page Group which has the same name as the title of this post. Each member of the group has to post the picture of the book that they are presently reading with the tag as to what number of such book. Once they finished the book, the member can make a brief synopsis of the book and post it on the Page. Some members would post the picture of books which they highly recommend for the other members to read. To make the effort more challenging, the books that should be submitted or posted on the Page are running-related books or books that has some running in it or if the character or characters of the story are runners or had adopted running as one of their sports or hobbies. I also encourage hiking books and other inspirational stories that has running in it.

On my part, I have two books that I would finish within the week. I have just finished the book “Anatomy For Runners” and about to start the book, “The Running Revolution”.

Books #1 & #2: The Anatomy For Runner & The Running Revolution
Books #1 & #2: The Anatomy For Runner & The Running Revolution

If you have access to the Internet and be able to buy books through Amazon, you can buy them in Kindle format. If you have access to bookstores, you can also buy them on hardbound or paperback edition and you can establish your personal running library. In your visits to another country, try to visit their bookstores in their shopping malls as such books can be purchased with the same price printed on the cover jacket of such book. In the United States, most of the books offer some discounts.

My next post will be a brief book summary of the books that I have to finish reading within this week.

Happy reading!

General Aguinaldo Trail: Hike & Survey (Part #3)


General Aguinaldo Trail: Hike & Survey (Part #3)

I decided not to stay long in my “Base of Operations” in Salcedo, Ilocos Sur and instead, went directly to Cervantes, Ilocos Sur via the Bitalag-Bessang Pass-Cervantes Road aboard my private vehicle. There will be some more days to be scheduled for me to hike the first segment of the of the route, which is the Candon-Galimuyod-Salcedo- Gregorio del Pilar-Mt Tirad Pass-Quirino-Cervantes Route. This leg has a distance of 73 Kilometers.

I am surprised that the Bitalag-Cervantes Road is fully paved. On the day that I took my road survey, I was surprised that the PNP were stationed and visible in the Poblacion of Towns and Barangay Centers along the route. I had to briefly stop to talk to the uniformed men when I was already in the mountainous part of the route. I asked them why there is a lot of route security elements along the road. They answered me that they were tasked to secure the road up to Cervantes because a VIP and his entourage is going to pass the road and they will be there for the whole day.

Bitalag-Bessang Pass-Cervantes Road
Bitalag-Bessang Pass-Cervantes Road

As I reached the peak of the mountain range at the Battle of Bessang Pass Shrine, I could see a group of soldiers from the Philippine Army and took time to stop my vehicle, talk to them and to ask them about their unit’s headquarters and the reason why they are in the area for the task as route security. From the information I gathered, there is an on-going periodic Conference/Meeting among the Regional Directors of all the Government Offices in Region 1 and the meeting is happening in the Poblacion of Cervantes. I also found out that their Battalion Headquarters is located in one of the Barangays of Cervantes situated between the towns of Quirino and Cervantes.

The Battle Of Bessang Pass Shrine
The Battle Of Bessang Pass Shrine

The scenic view of the route from the peak of Bessang Pass and the view of the Cordillera mountains on the east are simply very beautiful and amazing as one would go down on a zigzag road towards the plains of Cervantes. One could see a lot of pine trees beside the road and the mountains seem to be undisturbed by illegal loggers and “charcoal making” industry. The same observation can be gleaned on the Ilocos Sur side of the mountain except for the additional residences/houses that I’ve seen to be added since the time I last passed the area almost 20 years ago. The distance from the Battle of Bessang Pass Shrine to Poblacion Cervantes is 18 Kilometers.

Church In The Poblacion Of Cervantes
Church In The Poblacion Of Cervantes

Once I reached the Poblacion of Cervantes, I could hardly see a Parking Space on the roads surrounding the Municipal Hall and Public Market. I was luckily to park my vehicle near a road that leads to the Church. I went for a walk towards the Municipal Hall and I could see that a Program and Public Meeting/Consultation was being held with all the Heads of the Government’s Regional Offices taking their turns to speak before the Crowd and answering the concerns of the different “leaders” and Barangay Representatives of the Locals. There was no point of trying to locate one of my friends on Facebook who happens to be the Municipal Secretary of Cervantes and for me to pay a courtesy cal to the Municipal Mayor. I was trying to drive through the Cordilleras and orient myself as fast as I could and there was no way for me to wait until the proceedings would end late in the afternoon.

The Only Incomplete Portion Of The Quirino-Cervantes Road
The Only Incomplete Portion Of The Quirino-Cervantes Road

Instead, I talked to two ladies who were selling fried bananas on the street and asked for directions in going to Quirino, Ilocos Sur and the the road that goes to Sagada-Bontoc, Mountain Province. On a crossroad/intersection being manned by 3 personnel of the PNP, I asked them about the directions to take in going to Mountain Province and they gave me a detailed description of the route and warned me on the “new” bridge that I need to cross towards the Cordilleras. Cervantes appears to be the Crossroad to travelers going to Ilocos Sur, Abra (via Qurino), Mountain Province and Benguet. It is the Gateway to the Cordilleras from the Ilocos Region/Northern Luzon Provinces.

Coming from one of the Ilocos Provinces, I would save at least 4 to 5 hours to reach Sagada, Bontoc, and the Banaue Rice Terraces, instead of passing the traditional Naguilian, La Union to Baguio and then to Halsema Highway to reach such places. I wonder on whose Presidential Administration that this road was finally paved and realized but it is concluded that such places in the mountains would be easily accessible to the lowlanders for progress and better economy.

Kilometer Post Towards Quirino (One Km From Poblacion Cervantes)
Kilometer Post Towards Quirino (One Km From Poblacion Cervantes)

Knowing that the General Aguinaldo Trail connects the towns of Quirino, formerly known as Angake/Angaki, and Cervantes, I went to the road that connects the two towns but after one kilometer from Cervantes, I stopped before a part of the road that needs to cross a stream of water on a river. After assessing the depth of the flowing water, which is too deep for my vehicle to cross, I decided to just take pictures of the place with the skyline of Mt Tirad as the background. I would see more of this route when I will actually hike the other side of the town of Gregorio del Pilar.

I went back to Cervantes and took the road that goes to Tadian, Mountain Province. The Poblacion of Cervantes is located on top of a hill and for one to leave the place, the road leaving the center of the town is a descending one until it flattens. After a few turns, I could see a long and newly-constructed bridge that connects the lower mountains to the higher ones over a wide banks of a river. I need to stop at the approach of the new bridge for a photo-ops.

The New Aluling Bridge
The New Aluling Bridge

After crossing the bridge, the road starts the ascending route towards the Cordilleras. I observed that few vehicles are plying the route and I only see delivery trucks for groceries and was not able to see any other private vehicle along the route until I reached an intersection where the other road leads to the barangays of the Municipality of Tadian, Mt Province and further up to the Halsema Highway that leads towards the province of Benguet and the City of Baguio.

I stopped by an intersection, took some pictures and talked to the locals who happens to be waiting for a ride and the owner of the store near the intersection. The old women who own the store was not aware and ignorant about the history that unfolded in their place but the middle-aged man who was sitting as if he was waiting for a ride, would start talking to me by answering my questions about General Aguinaldo’s presence in the area at the turn of the century. He would recall the stories from his old grandparents and parents about the presence of Katipuneros who passed their area. He confirmed that the road that goes to Tadian, Mountain Province is the same route that goes to Bontoc in the early days, popularly known then as the “Spanish Trail”.

The First Critical Intersection From Cervantes To Bontoc, Mt Province
The First Critical Intersection From Cervantes To Bontoc, Mt Province

To Be Continued.

Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)


The Pacific Crest Trail is commonly known by its abbreviation, PCT and it is often designated as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The trail system is located on the Western Portion of the contiguous USA Mainland and it passes through the States of California, Oregon, and Washington. The trail covers a distance of 2,663 miles or 4,286 kilometers from South to North or vice-versa. It is one of the three most popular trail systems in the United States, the other two of which are the Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail.

History on the creation of the trail states that the first proposal for the trail system connecting the States of California, Oregon, and Washington was made in 1926 which could be an exchange of mails and correspondence among early explorers in the area. The actual exploration started sometime in 1930 but there are no available evidence or journal to support this fact. However, in 1932, an oil magnate and explorer, Clinton C Clarke, started promoting the creation of the trail system as evidenced from his correspondence with John Muir and other explorer-environmentalist-outdoorsmen during those time.

Pacific Crest Trail Route
Pacific Crest Trail Route

In 1935, Clinton C Clarke organized and spearheaded the conduct of the first meeting among his friends and associates who believe in his vision and objectives. Thus, The Pacific Crest Trail System Conference was formed with the objective to formally establish the route/connect “all the dots”/establish a route map and to lobby or create awareness for the federal government of its existence and to protect the trail system. The Conference consisted of Clarke, the Boy Scouts of America, YMCA, John Muir, Ansel Adams (famous photographer-environmentalist), and other environmentalists. From 1935-1938, YMCA and the Boy Scouts of America did a splendid job of organizing a yearly “Boy Scout Relay” along the trail route where each of the team carried a Log/Journal. The objectives of the “Boy Scout Relays” were to provide an actual ground/activity to practice the skills of scouting; create awareness on the activities of the Boy Scouts; and as a proof that the trail concept of Clinton Clarke is doable. The dedication, passion and commitment of Clinton C Clarke to the Conference and its accomplishments earned him the title of “The Father Of The Pacific Crest Trail”.

In 1939, a year after, the Pacific Crest Trail system appeared on a federal government map for the first time. With the signing of the National Trails System Act by President Lyndon B Johnson in 1968, PCT was designated as one of the National Scenic Trails and protected by the federal government. The Pacific Crest Trail Conference became incorporated in 1977 and later merged with the Pacific Crest Trail Club in 1987.

The Pacific Crest Trail Conference changed its name as the Pacific Crest Trail Association which is the establishment that supervises, manages, and administers the Pacific Crest Trail. So, if you have plans of conducting a “thru-hiking” or “section hiking” along the PCT, it is best to visit their website for you to be guided in terms of permit, maps, schedules, and other details/announcements on the PCT. You can go to: www.pcta.org.

One Of The Trail Markings @ PCT
One Of The Trail Markings @ PCT

I became aware of the existence of the Pacific Crest Trail for the first time when I recon the route of the San Diego 100-Mile Endurance Run two years ago as some  portions of the first half of the ultra trail would course pass through the actual PCT. As I conquer and “peak bagged” some mountains in the San Gabriel Mountains and mountainous parts of Los Angeles area for the past 2 years, I’ve been seeing the PCT trail markings. However, I came through a published article about the exploits of Scott Williamson who was considered as the first “thru hiker” who did a “yo-yo” hike (South-North-South) on the PCT in a year and it gave me the resolve to read more about the people who were successful in their “thru-hikes” along the PCT!

This interest on the PCT led me to read more stories and journal about the hikers at the PCTA Website, most specially on the blogs of those “thru-hikers” who are on the route and at the same time blogging about their activities/experiences and pictorials on the trail. At this time, I have three (3) published books which I’ve been reading for the past weeks. I am not saying that I am already an expert on the details of the Pacific Crest Trail but it is worth knowing the experiences of those who successfully finished their “thru-hikes”.

In One Of My Trail Running @ PCT
In One Of My Trail Running @ PCT

It brings me back to a surprise conversation encounter with the Former President Ferdinand E Marcos during one of his annual Holy Week stay in soon-to-be Malacanang of the North at Paoay Lake, Ilocos Norte in 1979 with the then Commander of the Presidential Security Command (PSC) and Director-General of the National Intelligence and Security Authority (NISA), General Fabian C. Ver. In my recollection, the brief conversation went this way:

General Ver: Sir, this is Lt Narcise, our NISA Station Commander in Ilocos Norte.

President Marcos: Lieutenant, from where are you?

Me: I am a native of Laoag City, Sir!

President Marcos: How is the CPP/NPA situation here?

Me: There is not much of activity except for sightings along the Ilocos Norte-Cagayan boundary, Sir. They don’ t have any mass base or reported training camps in the province, Sir.

President Marcos: Try to locate the “Guerrilla Trail Route” that goes from North to South in the province all the way from Pagudpud to Pangasinan. I am sure the insurgents are using that route in their movements.

Me: Yes, Sir!

End of Conversation

In the late-80s when the CPP/NPA established their mass base and training camps/s in the eastern mountainous parts in the province, they used this trail system in their movements from Cagayan and Kalinga-Apayao to the province of Ilocos Norte and back. The information about the presence of this “Guerrilla Trail Route” in Ilocos Norte was shared to the Scout Rangers of the Philippine Army in their Test Mission Operations which eventually led to the crushing and destruction of the CPP/NPA Provincial Committee and its armed personnel/component. With this debacle on the part of the insurgents, Ilocos Norte was never been attempted as a “refuge” or training base for them.

In 1995 when I was a Battalion Commander of the 60th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army where my area of operations would cover the province of Ilocos Norte, I deployed a platoon of soldiers to monitor the movements at the said trail system. In a few weeks, it resulted to a bloody armed encounter with the insurgents that cause to the death of three (4) insurgents and capture of numerous firearms and subversive documents. This armed encounter with the insurgents was recorded as the last armed fighting in the province up to the present. In a few months, the province was cleared and I was ordered to transfer my Battalion to the Province of Abra.

At present, it is my plan to revisit the Guerrilla Trail System in Ilocos Norte and formally establish a route map to be shared to everybody. I envision a trail system that would start at the northernmost part of Luzon in the province of Ilocos Norte to the its southernmost tip of the province of Sorsogon. It will be a daunting task and a grand undertaking for me to accomplish with the support of my ultra running friends and my former/active comrades in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

Initially, I will call this trail system as the “Luzon Ridge Trail” (LRT). The history and establishment of the famous and popular Pacific Crest Trail Association will be the template of this undertaking. The activities on the exploration of this “Luzon Ridge Trail” will be one of the topics of this blog in the days, weeks and months to come. The exploration will start this month in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

However, there is also a plan to start another trail system in Sta. Ana, Cagayan where the route will pass along the Sierra Madre Mountain Range all the way to the southern tip of the province Sorsogon. I might temporarily call this route as the “Pacific Coast Trail”.

This a dream, a plan, and an undertaking that is worth dying for. I can only envision that this undertaking will benefit the whole country.

Wish me luck!

Map Of Luzon, Philippines
Map Of Luzon, Philippines

Balke Test


After some researching on my running books and on the Internet, I found out that the evaluation run that my coach did to me prior to my speed training 4-5 years ago was the so-called “Balke Test”.

The Balke Test is a way to measure one’s VO2 Max. VO2 Max is the maximal rate at which oxygen can be brought in and used by the exercising muscle. It stands for ” Volume Of Oxygen Uptake” which is simply described as the body’s maximum capacity to transport and utilize oxygen while running. It is expressed in “milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute” If you have a higher number of VO2 Max, the better for you to run faster and more efficiently.

In order for a runner to undergo the Balke Test, he needs an oval track, a stopwatch and a calculator. The following are the steps in undergoing the test:

1. Go to an oval track. After a thorough warm-up, run as fast as you can for 15 minutes, covering a distance as much as possible. Be sure to run on the most inner lane of the oval track as it is measured as 400 meters.

2. Record the number of laps that you have covered plus the extra meters. Multiply the number of laps by 400 meters and then add the extra meters you covered after the last lap.

3. After having the number in meters, convert the number to meters per minutes by dividing it by 15. For example, if you covered 6 laps & one-half, multiply 6 laps by 400, then add 200. The distance covered in meters is 2,600 meters. Divide 2,600 meters by 15 minutes and the result is 173.3 meters per minutes.

4. From that 173.3 meters per minute, the first 150 meters/minute is equivalent to 33.3 ml/kg/min.

5. The remaining 23.3 is then multiplied by 0.178 and added to the base of 33.3. So, going back to our example, 23.3 X 0.178 = 4.14. If the base 33.3 is added to 4.14, the result is 37.44 ml/kg/min or VO2Max.

This means that your current aerobic fitness is 37.44 and it serves as your baseline VO2Max.

In the books “Hansons Marathon Method” & “Jack Daniel’s Speed Training”, you can find chart that would recommend ones target pace in Interval Training, Tempo/Threshold Runs, and Easy Run.

You can apply the Balke Test again on the middle of your training in order to check your progress in terms of your pace and speed to cover a certain distance.

You can also refer additional information on the Balke Test and the recommended paces on your speed training by browsing on Google.

So, lace up, go out of the door and run!

Balke Test On The Oval Track
Balke Test On The Oval Track

(Source: Hansons Marathon Method by Like Humprey With Keith & Kevin Hanson)

Master The Basics & Do It Every Day


“Master the Basics and Do it Every Day” By Dr. Jason Ross

Note: While browsing on the Internet, I came to reach and read this article. I decided to have it posted in this blog and share it to my readers as a reference or reminder to those who are fond of writing or coming up with their respective New Year’s Resolutions for better healthy lifestyle and outlook in life. I hope my readers will like this article as a guide for their goals in life. Good luck!
I’m a huge fan of Dan John.  He’s a strength coach that has the ability to boil down the fluff and periphery to get to the important, central stuff.  Own the principles, not the methods.  Dan has many books, articles, videos, a lot for free,  all over the Internet.  I would suggest anyone interested in health and strength to take an hour or two and read his stuff and watch his videos.One of the things that has always stuck with me is Dan’s approach to the basics.  Don’t get crazy reaching for the top of the pyramid if your base is not there.
The other point comes from legendary coach Dan Gable who Dan often quotes.  “If it’s important, do it every day.” With that template, master the basics and if it’s important, do it every day, here is my list in no particular order.
1.  Drink water.  Half your body weight in ounces.  Sport drinks don’t count, tea doesn’t count.  Water.  If you drink coffee or pop add another 8 ounces of water.
2.  Don’t drink pop.
3.  Walk.  Try to get 15 minutes a day. Minimum.
4.  Get sunshine.  Have the actual suns rays touch your skin.
5. Get your Vitamin D levels checked twice a year.  Keep your level above 50.  1000 IU for every 25lb of body weight when supplementing.
6.  Lift weights.  Find something you like and do it 2x a week.  I don’t care if it kettle bells, cross fit, powerlifting, bodybuilding or what ever is next around the corner.  The more muscle mass you carry as you age, the more healthy you will be.  Guaranteed.  Carry something, push something, pick something off the floor, pull yourself up.  (colored dumbbells do not count though.)
7.  Floss.  There is a lot of evidence for the health of your gums and the health of your heart.
8.  Wear your seat belt.  ( I stole 7,8,9 from Dan John himself)
9.  Take fish oil.  3-5 grams a day.
10.  Get rid of polyunsaturated oils.  I think this is why most people that adapt a paleo or primal or low carb diet see such improvements.  Unhealthy oils destroy your body.
11.  Be grateful.  Make a mental list or a physical one.
12.  Breath well.  Inhale with the diaphragm.  Exhale.  The ribs should move, not your shoulders.
13.  Stretch the hip flexor and then pair it with a glute activation exercise.  Your lumbar spine will thank you.
14.  Get down on the floor on your back and get back up.  Several times a day.  No particular technique needed.  I’ve lost track of how many patients tell me they fear getting down on the floor for how hard it will be for them to get back up.  Don’t let that happen in the first place.  If you don’t make it a priority, it can be weeks before you have to actually do it.  Think about that for a second.
15.  Eat some vegetables.  Think Rainbow.
16.  Master the hip hinge.  Use it.  When you bend at the hips not the back, you save your back abuse.
17.  Read.  The person that doesn’t read and the person that doesn’t know how, not much difference.
18.  Roll the bottoms of your feet with golf balls.  A lot of fascial lines evolve or cross the bottoms of the feet.  Next time your tired at work or after work, take a few minutes to do this and feel your energy return.19.  Focus on getting some good fat in your diet.  MCT oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter, olive oil, fish oil, avocado, red palm oil, to name a few.20.  Drink Green Tea.  On top of the water you are going to drink.  It’s like amazing for you.

21.  Laugh.

22.  Sleep.  7-8 hours a night.  There is a lot out there these days about how to get by on less, but science doesn’t seem to support that.

23.  Your own personal physical/personal goal.  Find a way to work at it every day.  If you want to write, write at least one sentence.  If you want more mobile hips, do 5 min a day of hip mobility work.  Striving towards something you want every day, builds strength and character.  Lay some ground work every day, it’s the consistency that counts and makes real changes.

This is my list, I think it’s hard to argue with any of them.  What do you want to add?