Hiking With A Weighted Backpack


One of the training tips that my Coach had given me when I complained about my knee pains as a result of my long runs in the mountains is for me to try hiking into the mountains instead of doing my easy long runs there. However, he told me that I should carry a weighted backpack with me starting with 10-15 pounds for my first try or experience in hiking to the mountains. This workout of hiking with a weighted backpack should be done once a week.

This advice or tip was given to me way back last December 2019. It was good that I bought a North Face backpack which is made with thick material and does not have so many pockets or dividers inside it. I would use 2-liter bottles filled with water as the weight I would carry inside my backpack. Since then, I have been hiking with a weighted backpack once a week in going to the mountains for a hike of 3-4 hours and steadily progressed on making my backpack weight up to 25 pounds. Despite the fact that I would be enticed to run the downhills, I forced myself to be patient and slow on the downhills. On those hikes with weighted backpack for the past weeks and months, it gave me more strength on my legs and thus, I was able to finish my ultra trail races (local and international) since then up to the time Covid-19 Lockdown was imposed.

During the Lockdown period (past 4 months), I have been doing my daily runs in my Backyard Loop and I would be doing my hiking with a weighted backpack once a week. After I rested for one week of no running, I resumed my hiking with a weighted backpack yesterday with a reduced weight of 20 pounds. However, I did it in my Backyard Loop. After one mile, I started to perspire and after one hour, I was able to hike a distance of 3 miles.

Hiking With A Weighted Backpack

It was good to be back hiking with my weighted backpack again and I am eager to go back to the mountain trails in the coming days and weeks.

Thank you for reading!

 

Running Diary: August 11 & 12, 2020


Last Tuesday, I was able to run in 61 minutes (1:01 hours) covering a distance of 4 miles or 6.4 kilometers in my Backyard Loop. I started with an easy pace of 16-17 minutes per mile until I was able to increase it to 12-13 minutes per mile. I usually run one loop in my Backyard for 5:30 minutes on an easy pace but I could also finish it in 4:15 minutes in my tempo runs.

I still had my Army Physical Fitness Challenge later in the day which I passed, doing the exercises on the minimum/passing scores of 20 push-ups; 30 sit-ups; and 20-minute 2-mile run along the paved road in front of my compound. Later in the evening, I did my 2-minute forward plank challenge and 100 push-ups challenge.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I did a one-hour hike in my Backyard Loop carrying a backpack weighing 20 pounds of water which were contained in six 2-liter bottles. I was able to cover a distance of 3 miles in one hour. Later in the day, I was able to do my daily “Challenges”.

On the Covid-19 situation in the Philippines, there are now 143,749 total of confirmed cases where 4,444 cases were reported for the day. The following picture shows the latest update from the Department of Health:

Total Tally Of Covid-19 Cases In The Philippines (August 12, 2020)

The weather had improved for the past two days but it is still cloudy and overcast. The ground condition of the trail in my Backyard Loop has become softer due to the past rains but I am glad that the composition of the soil is more sandy than being a muddy one. My trail shoes had been appropriate with this kind of ground condition. Every step gave me more comfort to my old knees and joints.

Thank you for reading and have a good day!

Running Diary: August 9, 2020


Today is Sunday and it had been raining the whole day and night in my Playground. I just found out that there is a Typhoon on the west side of the island of Luzon where more rains are expected for the next coming days. I did not run today.

Instead, I have been reading the news through the Internet and these were the significant information.

  • Today is the 75th anniversary of the Bombing of Nagasaki, Japan where an estimate of 74,000 people died in the said dropping of the second Atomic Bomb which ended the World War II after Japan surrendered to the Allies unconditionally on August 14, 1945. The nuclear radiation brought about by the explosion of the bomb resulted to more thousands of deaths in the weeks, months, and years to come.
  • Department of Health (DOH) reported 3,109 additional Covid-19 cases making the total cases count to 129,913. Metro Manila accounted for the most new cases with 1,700 cases. This increase in cases was made despite the imposition of MECQ since August 3, 2020.
  • PhilHealth is still in the NEWS about its alleged corruption of funds as revealed during the Senate Investigation.
  • Run Rabbit Run 100-Mile Endurance Race is going to happen this coming September in Steamboat, Colorado. Most of the ultra elite runners in the US are registered in this race due to the fact that it has cash prizes to the podium finishers. I think a total amount of $17,000 of cash prize is ready for them.
  • Courtney Dauwalter, 2019 Female UTMB Champion, is at Mile 223 of the northbound Colorado Trail trying to break the FKT in the said trail. She has still 258 miles for her to complete the trail. She is in her 4th day and going into her 5th day. She is way ahead of the course record of 8 days.

I am supposed to be on my 15th day of my Army Physical Fitness Test but I was not able to do my 2-Mile Run because of the rain. However, I did my push-ups and sit-ups with passing scores.

In addition to this Challenge, I have been doing two Challenges: 100-Push-Ups Every Day Challenge and 2-Minute Forward Plank Every Day Challenge. These two Challenges will be discussed in detail in my next posts in this blog. These Challenges keep me busy while I am watching my favorite Netflix movies.

This is all for now and thank you for reading.

 

Running Diary: August 8, 2020/2nd MAF Test


I became lazy for the past days and I just stopped running since last July 30 and that makes 9 days of no running. Three days ago, I came up with a video on my You Tube Channel and the topic “What Happens To You After One Week Of No Running?”. Aside from my personal observations and feelings, I posted a survey question on Facebook about the same question. I got a lot of comments/answers from my friends and from the Public and those comments are mentioned in the said video/episode.

Starting today, I resumed my running and I decided to post my running workout for the day in my blog. This will be a daily routine for me in this blog. Actually, three days ago, I decided to have a run in my Backyard Loop to conduct my 2nd MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) Test for the month of July. However, on my 3rd mile, my Suunto Watch HR Monitor just stopped and stuck to 113 BPM as average and it could no longer go down even if I was already walking. In a few minutes, I found out that the HR Monitor Belt has no longer have a signal to my Watch. I just stopped and I was able to run and hike for 4 miles.

Today, I did a one mile easy jog as my warm-up with the thought that I am going to do my 2nd MAF Test. My HR Monitor was working and I started with 85 bpm and it registered 112 bpm as soon as I finished my warm-up of one mile. Since I have reached my lowest HR within my range of 112-122 bpm, I decided to start my MAF Test. After my first mile, my HR registered at 121 bpm with a time of 14:25 minutes. I rested for 30 seconds by walking and then I started my 2nd mile. I have slowed at the middle of the mile when my watch registered at 122 bpm and tried to maintain it until I finished the 2nd mile in 16:30 minutes. I rested again for 30 seconds before I started my 3rd mile. When I saw my bpm at 121, I started my 3rd mile and had my pace a little faster. I was able to maintain my average bpm at 122 until I finished my 3rd mile in 14:55 minutes. Having confident of my bpm at 122, I started my 4th mile after resting for 30 seconds. After finishing 2 loops of my Backyard Loop which is equivalent to 0.60 miles, my HR registered at 122 and I was on a “auto-mode” in my run. For the last loop, I was running through perceived effort and I was confident that I was not going more than my 122 BPM. When I finished my 4th mile, I saw my watch registered a time of 12:39 minutes and I was surprised that my time was so fast. But when I looked at my Average BPM, I saw that my HR registered at 123 bmp. I might have run at a faster pace when I was thinking that I was running easy on my perceived effort.

Because of this, I rested for one minute instead of 30 seconds just to be sure my HR will go down at 122 bpm. My rest for 1 minute brought down my average bpm to 122 and I started my 5th and last mile. My 5th mile registered with a time of 15:05 minutes. I just walked for another 300 meters before I did my stretching exercises. In summary, I was able to run a distance of 6.2 miles or 10 kilometers for 1:40+hours.

The rolling is the summary of my 2nd MAF Test (July 2020)

1st Mile—-14:25 minutes                  4th Mile—-12:39 minutes

2nd Mile—16:30 minutes                  5th Mile—-15:05 minutes

3rd Mile—-14:55 minutes

Tomorrow, we will find out if I have improved or not from my 1st MAF Test as we will be able to compare it and come up with an assessment. For the meantime, this is the video that I have posted on my You Tube Channel on what happens when you rest for one week with NO Running. Thanks for watching and please subscribe for more videos on running.

 

 

 

Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) Challenge In 30 Days


When I was the Assistant Chief of Staff for Training and Education (G-8) for the whole Philippine Army in 1999 to 2000, I came up with a Command Directive that had been approved by the Commanding General of the Philippine Army for the strict implementation of the Army Physical Fitness Test where every personnel of the Command, to include all the Generals, to undergo the said test on a regular basis, for promotion, and other administrative movement to include application for schooling in the local and international training schools. Since its implementation, I was a witness of deaths of those who passed and failed in the said test, separation from the service, and non-promotion of officers and men of the Philippine Army. Because of this test, the Officers and Men of the Philippine Army were able to embrace the importance of a healthy body and mind. There had been studies made by the local medical practitioners on the validity of the Army Physical Fitness Test just to prove that the US Army Standards are not fitted to our local soldiers but after some adjustments of the standards, I personally still believe that the US Standards fit well to any person on earth. For one to be able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test Standards, one has to prepare and train for it.

To prove my point, I asked a soldier in his mid-40s who failed in his first APFT to report to me every day for daily workout of the 3 exercises involved in the test. I asked the soldier to start doing at least 20 reps of push-ups, 20 reps of sit-ups, and run, jog and walk the 2-mile run. On a daily basis, the soldier was asked to increase the reps by one repetition every day and ask the soldier to run, at least, one hour everyday at an easy effort. After a month, I conducted a PFT on the said soldier. He was surprised that he finally got a score of 90%. He passed the 70% minimum score by getting a 90% score  after preparing for the test in one month. If that soldier who failed can improve within a month, it is possible that anybody who failed in the test could pass it with the proper training and preparation.

I know that the said Command Directive that I authored is still in place and being implemented right now by the Philippine Army. This is now one of the policies of the Philippine Army that is already institutionalized.

Now, after finishing an international and local Virtual Races during the period of 4 months of Lockdown due to Covid-19, I have been thinking of a running challenge or doing any physical challenge that will motivate me to do some exercises and running on a daily basis. I immediately thought of the APFT but to add challenge into it, I would do it on a daily basis, instead of the Quarterly Period (once in 3 months) which is the regular schedule for the conduct of the APFT in the Philippine Army.

So, on July 25, 2020, Saturday, I started my daily Army Physical Fitness Test Challenge In 30 Days. I have to make a video each of my daily APFT and have it uploaded in my You Tube Channel. Actually, I did the Video posted for my Day #1 on You Tube for a “teaser” on my APFT Challenge. On my first day, I did 21 reps of push-ups which is a passing score for my age; 29 reps on sit-ups (passed); and 28:13 minutes on the 2-mile run (failed!) in my Backyard Loop which is a single-track trail with lots of turns and uneven ground. The passing time/score for the 2-mile run for my age is 20 minutes.

The full instructions of the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and Standards/Minimum Score could be seen here.

I hope to update my You Tube Channel with a Video on this Challenge every 6 days.

Thank you for watching this “teaser” video on the said Challenge.

Video: The History Of The Bataan Death March 102K & 160K Ultramarathon Races


Nobody can deny the fact that the Bataan Death March (BDM) Ultramarathon Races started the rise of ultramarathon runners and races; to include Ultra Race Directors and Organizers, in the Philippines way back in 2009-2010. This is the story of its creation from me as the Race Organizer and Race Director. If there is a tagline that best describes about me, I guess, it could be that “I am the Father of the BDM Ultramarathon Races”, a running event that commemorates the  Original Bataan Death March in the Philippines!

This is my story…….

Thank you for watching. Please subscribe to my You Tube Channel for more stories on Ultramarathon Events in the Philippines and other Ultramarathon-related topics.

Interview: Gilbert Gray After 2020 LAVS 500 Finish


A day after Gilbert Gray finished the 2020 Last Annual Vol State 500K Road Run, I asked him to answer two questions only: (1) How much is the Registration Fee?, and (2) Being a “screwed” (without any support Crew/vehicle) runner, how did he manage his “logistics” along the route?

BR: How much is the Registration Fee?

Gilbert: The Registration Fee for the event is $506.31 and the Registration Period usually starts on August 1 through UltraSignUp website.

BR: How did you manage your “logistics” during your run since you were a “screwed” runner?

Gilbert: I carried with me a Credit Card and Debit Card which I used for my daily expenses on food and water/liquid intake. My Average Cost/Expenses per day was between $20 to $30, depending on how much food I was eating during the day, whether I would prefer a dine-in or take-out for my food. Aside from my Credit & Debit Cards, I had with me a total of $40 in $1.00 Bills for Soda/Vending Machines (which are very accessible during late nights or when the stores were not open). The $1 bills were useful in Laundromats/Laundry Shops where I would wash & dry my clothes/socks every two days of running/walking to get rid of the salt from sweat. I had also in my backpack extra snacks as back-up for my nutrition. I was able to cut down my expenses since I did not stay in hotels. This is my advise to those who are planning to join this race, the top 3 most important things to consider are: Proper Hydration; Proper Nutrition; and Good condition of your Feet throughout the race.

Those were the only questions that I have asked from Gilbert Gray which could give me and my readers a good assessment on how much can a runner would need to support his participation in this event. Maybe, on my next interview with Gilbert, I would ask him the “perks or loot” that go with the Registration Fee.

Gilbert Gray With Another Runner @ 2020 LAVS (Photo Taken From Facebook)
Gilbert Gray @ 2020 The Last Annual Vol State Road Race (Photo From LAVS Facebook Group)

I will update you on this next time. Thanks for reading.

Gilbert Gray: Finisher Of The 2020 “Last Annual Vol State” 500K Race (LAVS)


Gilbert Gray finishes the 2020 Last Annual Vol State 500K Race (LAVS 500) last week in 7 days, 19 hours, 40 minutes and 57 seconds which started on July 9, 2020 in Dorena Landing, Missouri, USA and with the Finish Line located in Castle Rock, Georgia. He finished this race without any support crew and  he registered for this race as Uncrewed or popularly known as “Screwed” runner. This is his second time to finish this race as a “screwed” runner where he improved his finish time by one day, from 204: 48+hours (or 8 days & 12 hours) in the 2015 Vol State Edition. In this year’s edition, out of the 66 runners who started the race, 49 runners finished the race and 17 runners declared as DNF.

The Last Annual Vol State 500K Road Run (LAVS 500K) is one of the road ultra races which is organized and directed by Lazarus Lake of Barkley Marathons, held during the summer months of July every year. One month before this race, another Ultra Race called The Last Annual Heart Of The South 500K Road Race (HOTS 500), was also held which is also organized and directed by Lazarus Lake. These road races usually traverse the State of Tennessee, USA from the western boundary with Missouri, USA or Arkansas, USA to the Northwest part of Georgia, USA. These two ultra races were held despite the Covid-19 situation in the USA. These two races had an identical number of starters which was 66 runners.

The LAVS 500K and HOTS 500K has a cut-off time of 10 days to finish where every runner has to inform the Race Director/Organizer on his/her location every 12 hours through SMS. Each runner does not carry any “tracker” along the way and there are support crew of the other runners who would update the location of the runners by posting pictures and videos on the Facebook Group Page of the event, this is to include the so-called “angels” along the route of the race. These “angels” are the ones that give voluntary aid or help to the runners in terms of allowing them to rest and eat in their front yard or in government/state facilities like Fire Stations and Parks.

Gilbert Gray, a Retired Airman in the US Air Force, lives in Maryland, USA and he is married to a Filipina Lady with two daughters. He now works with a US Airline Company. At 58 years old, he had finished a number of Ultra Races to include being the Overall Champion in one of the Ultra Races in Europe. He is a two-time BDM GrandSlam Awardee; Finisher of the Prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race; and a yearly Finisher of the JFK 50-Mile Race. You can see the Ultra Races that he finished here.

Although he comes regularly to the Philippines with his wife for a visit, the last time that we saw each other was in the 2014 edition of the Bryce 100-Mile Endurance Race in Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA, together with Paul Encarnacion, a Filipino Ultrarunner who also lives in Maryland, USA and multi-awarded 100-mile finisher. During his training for the 2013 edition of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race (WS100), he visited California to recon the route of the WS100 and then a day later, he joined me and other Pinoy Runners in the LA area in the 2013 edition of the Bandit 50K Ultra Trail Run where we finished at the same time.

Finishing The Bandit 50K Ultra Trail Run
Gilbert Gray With Badwater Ben Gaetos

Gilbert will always be a good friend of the local ultrarunners in the Philippines, most specially with the PAU runners. He is very kind, very helpful, and very simple and silent about his ultrarunning accomplishments. I just hope I would be able to meet him again in the future.

In our local races, PAU had also conducted its first 500K+ road race last June 2019 with the First Edition of the Manila To Pagudpud 580K Ultramarathon Race which had a cut-off time of 135 hours or 5 days and 15 hours. This race is officially considered as the longest road race in the country now. The result of this event could be seen here.

For additional reading about the the LAVS 500, you can read it here.

Pyramid Running Workout


I am not sure if I had been given by my CTS Coach to do a Pyramid Running Workout for the past 3 years. I was surprised to see in my weekly schedule that I was scheduled for this running workout last Wednesday. However, I missed doing the said workout on the scheduled date because my body was not feeling well to do an interval running workout as I have been experiencing some pain on my right knee for the past days. Instead, I just did an easy run for about two hours in my Backyard Loop on Wednesday.

Yesterday, Thursday, I decided to do the Pyramid Running Workout. The workout goes this way: warm-up for 20 minutes and then run with a Rating of Perceived Effort (RPE) of 8-9 for 2 minutes and then slow down for the next two minutes. After the recovery run of 2 minutes, start again for an RPE of 8-9 for 3 minutes and then slow down for 2 minutes. This is repeated until your fast run will be done to four and then five minutes with each rest interval of 2 minutes. From 5 minutes, go down to 4 minutes, rest in between for two minutes, until you do your last run in 2 minutes. So, in summary, I ran 2-3-4-5-4-3-2 minutes with a two-minute recovery run in between those fast repetitions. After which, I made a cool-down run for another one hour with 20-minute strides of 6 repetitions on the last 20 minutes of my run. In the said workout, I was able to cover a distance of 7.15 miles in 1:57 hours. I did this workout in my Backyard Loop which consists of a single-track trail.

Ten years ago, I was doing this workout in an oval track and I became a faster road runner in the process.

I did not have any problems with my knees during the run and I had a wonderful feeling after the said workout.

Taking Pictures of Flowers After Running

 

July 15, 2020: First Day Of The Great Maharlika Highway Virtual Run 3,517K


Two weeks ago, I have created a Facebook Group where interested persons or runners can join a virtual run/race which covers the distance of the Philippines’ Maharlika Highway’s 3,517 kilometers from Laoag City (Ilocos Norte, northern province of Luzon) down to the southern Mindanao City of Zamboanga. However, runners have the option to run in the reverse direction, from the Southern tip of the Highway up to the Northern City of Laoag. There is no required limit of distance or mileage that each runner can cover in a single day but I put up a Challenge that any runner can finish it in one year or in 365 days. As such, a runner should be able to run at least, 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles per day. For the slower or recreational runners, they have the option to finish the distance in 2 years or 730 days, with an average daily mileage of 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles a day.

Maharlika Highway 3,517K Poster On Facebook

To make the event more interesting, this event is FREE and anybody in the Social Media can join the said event by simply joining the Facebook Group Page that I have created. At this time, there are now 144 active members. Additionally, I have created an Event’s Club on Strava where anybody can post their Strava Data on the said Club and for their runs to be posted and each runner is ranked among the members of the Club. There are now more than 160 Strava Members who are part of this event.

I have only one objective in creating this virtual event—I just want people to be motivated to run each day during this present time as we deal with the Covid-19 situation that is happening worldwide.

Stay safe and stay healthy!