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Race Report: 25th Jungfrau Marathon Race

21 09 2017

Race Report: 25th Edition Of Jungfrau Marathon Race

I did not know about the existence of this event not until I bought a New Zealand Trail Running Magazine at the Auckland International Airport on my way back to Manila after finishing the 2017 Tarawera 100K Ultra Marathon Race. The registration period was scheduled to be opened on the day of my arrival in Manila which was in the middle of February this year. I immediately signed in on the very first day of registration period and I was surprised that there were 800+ runners who have registered already!

I was accepted immediately as there was no lottery and the registration would be closed once the number of registered runners would reach to 5,000 runners. After 3 days, the registration was closed and it appeared in the entry list that I am the only runner from the Philippines to be registered and accepted for this year’s edition which happens to be its 25th edition. Having been not so lucky to be accepted for the CCC of the UTMB Races, I found this race to be an opportunity for me to visit, for the first time, the Europe Continent!

After a month, I registered also for the 80th edition of the Mt Fuji Mountain Race (which I saw an article also in the same New Zealand Trail Magazine I bought at the Auckland International Airport) which only takes only the first 50 registered runners from other countries. The reason why I registered in this race was also an opportunity to visit Japan for the first time!

Research & Planning

I found out that a Pinoy Runner had finished in last year’s edition of the event and I was able to read a news article on Cebu Daily News Online Edition about the feat of Dr. Yong Larrazabal, a low-key Pinoy Marathoner who goes to international cities to join marathon races and a fast runner at that. He was able to finish the race in less than five hours, having been a consistent sub-4-hour finisher in flatter marathon races. Through Messenger, I sent him some questions on how he was able to reach Interlaken, Switzerland coming from Manila. He told me that his point of entry in Switzerland was in Zurich and drove a car to Interlaken. That was all, I did not ask him about the details of the race as every information related to the event is on the English version of the Event’s Website, to include the Route Map, Elevation Profile, Cut-Off Times, and Aid Stations. From their Website, any runner would conclude that this is a well-organized marathon race. The only problems that a runner would solve would be his/her travel/trip arrangements; accommodation; and availability of money…and be healthy and prepared to finish the event.

Jungfrau Marathon Route

Jungfrau Marathon Route

Jungfrau Marathon Elevation Profile

Jungfrau Marathon Elevation Profile

Training & Preparation

On the last quarter of last year (2016), I decided to enjoy my retirement and be more focused to joining international running events in countries/continents where I’ve never been to. This was the reason why I decided to join the Tarawera 100 Ultra in Rotoura, New Zealand, a reason to visit New Zealand for the first time! After I was accepted at the Mt Fuji Mountain Race, I immediately made a scheduled plan where I would be joining these international race up to the 3rd quarter of 2017. I will still be joining local races but they will be considered as my training and evaluation races to find out if I am improving or not or if I am making good with my training and not “slacking” on my fitness condition. I maybe old at 65 years old but I know I could still find out some potentials on where and how my body strength is still capable of doing.

I decided to get the services of a Professional Coach on Ultrarunning and I started my training in the middle of June of this year. The first two weeks were more on developing my endurance but with better recovery as compared from my previous training schedules. I started to be exposed on quality training with more elevation and intensity on the 3 weeks of training leading to the Mt Fuji Mountain Race through “hill repeats” and tempo runs in my Playground. I have observed that I was getting stronger on my uphill runs and climbs and I am beginning to love faster running in some sections of my route. I may have been short of the time allocated in one of the checkpoints at the Mt Fuji Mountain Race, thus, I declared myself as DNF but I have observed a great improvement in my running on uphills and climbs! I am still in awe and surprised how I was able to continuously run an elevation gain of 4,000 feet for a distance of 10 kilometers in 1 hour & 30 minutes. Before, I would be hiking already after covering a distance of 3-4 kilometers. I knew that my preparation and training for the Mt Fuji Mountain Race was short from being perfect. But I considered my first race after being Coached by a Professional as a part of my training for my future races.

My training for the Jungfrau Marathon was very specific on the 4 weeks after the Mt Fuji Mountain Race, leading to the first weekend of September. I was again exposed to more “hill repeats” and “tempo runs” which were done on steep climbs in my Playground. And in one of my 20-minute tempo runs on a rolling terrain, I have observed that I was getting faster on my pace per mile for few seconds, little increments of improvement, but this is a good result of my training. On my peak training, I would go to Kennon Road (Zigzag Road to Baguio City) and run continuously the last 17 kilometers before reaching Baguio City which I covered in 2.5 hours. Aside from that, I spent my weekend back-to-back runs in Mt Tapulao, Palauig, Zambales and Mt Roosevelt where I would be running under the rain and cold temperature of Mt Tapulao. On my taper week towards the race, I had my one-hour recovery runs each day and fully-charged sleeps every night (7-8 hours of sleep).

Travel Arrangements

I attempted to apply a Shengen Visa with the French Embassy but I was asked to apply, instead to the Swiss Embassy since I will be staying more days in Switzerland. Since I did not bring any Passbook of my Bank accounts when I applied for the Swiss Visa (I only submitted a Bank Certificate), I was asked to submit a Bank Statement for the last 6 months. Unfortunately, my Bank could only issue me my 3 months of Bank Statement and I have to request to their Main Office and wait for 1 week for the said documents. Instead of waiting for one to two weeks, I went to AFPSLAI to get whatever the Swiss Embassy would require in order to tell them that I am capable of paying my trip and stay in Switzerland. In less than 15 minutes, I was able to get a Bank Statement for the past 15 years in only ONE page!

As of this time, I have not yet received my Bank Statement from the local commercial bank which caters to my banking needs for the past 30 years! And come to think of it, this is the oldest bank of the Philippines!

I found out that the Swiss Embassy is very strict on trying to monitor my movements/trips within their country to the point that they would like to know where I will stay for the duration of my visit in their country. I just realized the reason why when I was finally in front of the Swiss Immigration Officer when I landed in Geneva, Switzerland. The Swiss Immigration do not require their visitors to submit or fill-up an Immigration Card. They simply check your visa and mark it with a stamp indicating your date of entry in the country!

I made reservation for my flight arrangements with the Travel Agency that had been very helpful to me for the past 17 years and I was booked with the Qatar Airways with a stop-over in Doha, Qatar for 2.5 hours. My hotel accommodations reservations were personally made by me through OnLine on booking.com. And used the Google to its fullest for the trip/land travel arrangements.

I did not ask for any sponsors or made any requests from my friends in the corporate and government offices or came up with a running event to raise funds in order to support my logistical needs for this event. Joining this event is a personal choice and endeavor and I don’t want anybody to have the burden in supporting me.

Even if I am the ONLY Filipino runner in this year’s edition of the event, there is no need to brag about it. This is the reason why I don’t wave or display the RP Flag whenever I finish an international running event. I am just an ordinary and private Filipino runner enjoying my retired life!

Race Proper

My hotel, Hotel Central Continental, is 50 meters away from the Interlaken West Train Station and about one kilometer away from the Starting Area of the Race and Das Zelt, the place where the Race Exposition and Race Packet Kit Claiming Area is located, is just on the Public Park adjacent to the Starting Area. After checking-in at my Hotel, I immediately went to the Race Packet Kit Claiming area where it is located and I was able to get my Race Bib, Drop Bag at the Finish Line Tag, Event’s Magazine, and an ASICS Hydration Pack (Black).

DCIM100GOPRO

Jungfrau Mountain @ Far Background With Snow

The 5,000 runners in this race were divided into 6 groups——Elite Runners & 1st Wave and 2nd Wave to the 6th Wave. The Elite Runner and 1st Wave would start at 8:30 AM and my group, which is the 6th and last group would start at 8:55 AM. Each group would be released every 5 minutes of which was done for the first time in this event.

I was on my way to the Starting Line when the 1st Wave was released at exactly 8:30 AM. I entered my corral when the 2nd Wave was released and I had enough time to position myself with the rest of the runners in my Wave. Every time a Wave was released we would move forward nearer to the Starting Line. It was time to check my AMIHAN Go Light Race Belt for my IPod Touch, gels, light jacket, and power bars and they were all properly stashed on my waist.

At exactly 8:55 AM, all the runners in my Wave which were easily identifiable by their race bib numbers beginning with the number 6 and myself started to jog and easily claimed my spot a few meters away from the Starting Line. The runners were not crowded at the start and I simply relaxed and imagined that my first 15-20 minutes were my warm-up runs during my training. After two miles, I started to increase my pace as the course would be flat and paved. As we left the center of the City of Interlaken, it started to drizzle and the announcement before the race started that it will be rainy and cold during the course was becoming a reality. It is even anticipated that it will be foggy and very cold once we will be reaching the last 15K towards the Finish Line.

Before reaching Mile 4, I was already passing the tail-end of those runners on Wave 5 and I was surprised. Such observation inspired me to maintain my pace and steadily move forward. There are portions of the flat sections which are wide dirt road with crushed gravel which you might think that the event is a trail running event. I have observed that I would pass some runners on the uphills but some of them would pass me on the downhill. It was a no big deal on my part since these runners would look like they are half younger than my age!

Jungfrau 00

On The First Two Miles Of The Course

I reached the 6.2 Mile Mark (10K) in 56:22 minutes in the town of Wilderswil where there was an Aid Station. I took one of my GU Gels and then took at least two cups of water as I was sweating a lot even if it was drizzling. I was too nervous that I might be cut-off in this Checkpoint, thus, I was running faster than what I have planned. The cut-off time here is 9:55 AM or one hour from our Wave 6 start. So, I have less than 4 minutes as cushion as I passed this checkpoint. Based from my recorded split, I was ranked #2,832. At Kilometer #15, where the cut-off time is 10:25 AM or 1:30 hour elapsed time, I was able to gain one minute as additional cushion time where I timed at 1:25:47 hours but my rank decreased to #3,031. It could be that I slowed down or the other runners who started slower are starting to pick-up their pace at this point.

After I passed the beautiful town of Lauterbrunnen and reached the checkpoint at Km #21, my time registered at 2:11:34 and my rank decreased to #3,244 and it was due to brief walking at the Aid Station to grab some water, take in some bananas and GU Gel. But I was able to gain another almost one minute as cushion from the cut-off time of 2:17:00. From Km #21 to Km #25, it was slight uphill at the start but once you cross a river, it is almost slight flat and downhill. However, after reaching Km #25 where I timed in in 2:40:23 hours and placed #3,279, it was now the start of a steep switchbacks which are more than 15 turns going up to the mountain. However, I was able to gain a total of cushion time here for almost 8 minutes! It was raining harder at this point and I was starting to feel the air to be thin and cold that my hands were starting to get numb. I brought out my Patagonia Light Jacket (Waterproof) from my AMIHAN Race “Go Lite” Belt and zippered it all the way to my chin to keep my body warm. I would hide my palms from the sleeves of my Jacket just to keep them warm!

Junggrau Route

At The Town Of Lauterbrunnen

Before reaching the next checkpoint at Km #30, I had the urge to pee and I decided to just approach one of the trees beside the road and took my time to unload my urine. This is where I had been overtaken or passed by 50 runners! But once I reached the checkpoint, my time was 3:39:57 hours and I was ranked #3,329! But I was able to gain a total cushion time of 13 minutes!

From Km #35, it was the start of the steep uphill climb to the peak of the mountain, it was still raining and the temperature was going down to freezing cold. This is where I remember my training in Kennon Road leading up to Baguio (17 kilometers) and my uphill climb in Mt Tapulao (14 kilometers) during a rainy and inclement weather! I started to hike strongly and then jog from time to time on those steep ascents and flat portions of the course. At checkpoint Km #38, my time was 5:12:18 hours and I was ranked #3,325, an improvement of 4 slots and have a cushion time of 15 minutes. At this point, it was already a “conga line” of runners on the steepest part of the course and it was raining, foggy, and with muddy single-track trail.

Jungfrau 01

It Was Freezing Cold

I got to make my move as the other runners in front of me were too slow in their hike towards the peak. I would start to jog, get out of the trail to pass the slower ones, one at a time, until I reached the peak of the mountain. The last one kilometer was downhill and I started to run, braving the cold wind, thick fog, rain, and thin air! Finally, I crossed the finish line together with some of the runners with an official time of 6:14:17 hours!

I was surprised to find out that I was able to pass 64 runners on the steepest part of the course even if it was cold, building up a cushion time of almost 16 minutes before the the cut-off time of 6:30 hours. However, as I reviewed the official result, I found out that the Race Organizer decided to adjust the course cut-off time to 7:00 hours! Maybe, it was due to the inclement weather during the race. I am glad the race was not stopped even when it was raining hard on the last few hours of the event.

Out of 95 starters on my Age Category of 65 years old and above, I placed/ranked #60. Out of the almost 5,000 runners, I was ranked #3,261.

The Marathon Race has an elevation gain of 8,406 feet and elevation loss of 3,386 feet.

Not bad for an old 65 years old runner from a tropical country finishing a marathon race in the Swiss Alps!

To be continued.

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4th & Last Day: Quad Marathons

13 06 2017

We were all excited that we have reached the Final Marathon for this event. Nobody was complaining about any aches, pain, “niggles”, or any injury from the runners. At least, all the runners had a chance to conduct a walk & drive-thru along the route during the day after the 3rd day Marathon. They would know what to expect and come up with their own “landmarks” with regards to distances and where exactly the locations of those rolling elevations on the course.

The runners would start at the LAOAG Sign Landmark which is located at the Laoag City Park and then goes to the Gilbert Bridge towards San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. Once the runners cross the bridge, they have to turn RIGHT on the first intersection where the road leads to the Laoag City International Airport. Once the runners reach the new “roundabout” in front of the Northwestern University, they have to turn LEFT and run along the Laoag-Suba-Paoay Road until they reach the Poblacion of Paoay, Ilocos Norte. From Paoay, the runners would run one loop of the street block where the Paoay Church is located and then turn-around and go back to the Starting Line.

Day 4 Before The Start

Group Picture Before The Start (Photo Courtesy of May Santos)

This running route is very memorable to me because it was my training playground for my first Marathon Race in the early 80s while I was assigned in Ilocos Norte as a young First Lieutenant of the Philippine Army. I would do my daily runs from Laoag City to the Suba Golf Driving Range (now, Plaza Del Norte) and then back to Laoag City for a good 20K LSD run. For my hill workouts, I would run along the road from the Golf Driving Range up to the beach where the famous Laoag Sand Dunes are located ( film shooting locations of the movies “Panday”, “Himala”, and the “4th of July” where Tom Cruise is the lead actor).

The course is relatively flat on the first 10K (6.2 miles) until the road goes uphill in front of the Plaza Del Norte and before the Golf Course which is only about 100 meters long. This is the famous Start Area of the yearly North Start 10K Run which was discontinued in the early 90s after almost 15 years of existence. This year, I have thought of reviving this event after I made a consultation/agreement with the then Race Organizer of the event who is in his 80s! From the peak of the uphill portion, it goes downhill for about 500 meters and then goes slightly up for a rolling elevation of about 1 kilometer. Once you see the view of the Paoay Lake on your left, everything goes downhill and flattens to the next 5-6 Kilometers up to the famous Paoay Church which is the turn-around point of the course. The runners take one loop of the street block around the Paoay Church and then goes back to the Starting Line.

The last Marathon Race started at 11:40 PM of Sunday, June 11, 2017 after some reminders and group pictures. I decided this time to be the “sweeper” again to make sure that everybody would be able to finish the race within the cut-off time of 6.5 hours. As we reached the Km 5 point, it rained for about 10-12 minutes and all of us were wet but it made our running environment cooler and made our body temperature lowered. The feeling of having your body perspiration mix with the cold rain is very refreshing!

Personally, I had the feeling of nostalgia and happiness while running on this course because I could memorize every inch or meter of the road! It is that feeling of happiness that I am finally back on this course/route after 37 years that greatly contributed on my being a passionate runner up to this time. Except for the 2nd Day Marathon (Laoag-Sarrat-Piddig route which is the official MILO Half-Marathon route), I have never ran along the 1st Day and 3rd Day routes.

I have never told to the 7 runners how deeply happy and elated while I was running with them on this Quad Marathon along the route of the 4th Day Marathon. I only told them that this was my favorite route when I would run while I was assigned in the province. I never told them that I had been running with some of the runners then in the City and that I’ve been “coached” by a Project Gintong Alay athlete, who is a local resident of Laoag City, for the Marathon distance and personally massaged by him every after our LSD runs along this route. This local elite running athlete would become a Champion of some of the Marathon Races in Metro Manila but what made him very popular was the fact that he was able to break the the course record for a Half-Marathon Race in the country! So, for the six hours that I’ve been running this course, I would recall all those times and the persons that had been a part of my running life while I was in Ilocos Norte. I will tell more about the “stories” among and about the 7 runners in this event in my “Epilogue” of this event.

Day 4 Finish Pic

Group Picture After Finishing The Race (Photo Courtesy of May Santos)

The following is the result of the 4th and Last Day Marathon of this event:

RANK     NAME                TIME (Hrs)

  1. Dondon Talosig ——4:50:25
  2. Gibo Malvar ———- 4:51:03
  3. Rod Losabia ———- 5:10:12
  4. Tess Leono (F) ——- 5:22:48
  5. Rose Betonio (F) —- 5:34:06
  6. Kathleen Piñero (F)— 6:04:25
  7. Reese Rogel (F) —— 6:11:36
  8. Jovie Narcise/BR —— 6:11:49

After I have personally awarded the Finisher’s Medal and Shirt to everybody, we had our Group Picture and we congratulated each other for being the Official “Pioneers” of this event which is considered as the First Quad Marathons in the country.

Day 4 Finish Flag

Finishing The Quad Marathons Was In Time With The 119th Independence Day Celebration

What a historic way to celebrate our country’s Independence Day!

Congratulations to the Quad Marathons “Pioneers”!





3rd Day: Quad Marathons

11 06 2017

At 11:20 PM of Saturday, June 10, 2017, all the runners had to transfer to the LAOAG Landmark at the Laoag City Plaza for the assembly, briefing, and start of the third Marathon Race as the new START and FINISH areas for the 3rd and last Marathon.

3rd Day Briefing Start

Briefing Before The Start (Picture By Joaquin Bordado)

Upon the start of the race, the runners have to cross the one-kilometer long Gilbert Bridge as they move towards the south direction. The first town that they would reach is the Municipality of San Nicolas which is famous for their hand-made claypots. As the runners pass the San Nicolas Church, they have to turn left towards the San Nicolas-Dingras Highway and follow the said Highway going to the east direction, passing some Barangays of San Nicolas and Sarrat. It should be noted that this particular route is exactly parallel to the route on the 2nd Day. After 17 kilometers, the runners will reach the Poblacion of Dingras and the turn-around point is beside the Covered Court/Multi-Purpose Hall of the Municipality.

3rd Day Start

3rd Day Marathon Group Picture Before The Start (Picture By May Santos)

The race started at 11:35 PM and 10 minutes earlier than the 2nd day Marathon. It was somewhat cooler when the runners were running along the Gilbert Bridge but once we hit the populated area of Barangay Uno of San Nicolas, the air became warmer and humid. With the help of one of the runners of Team Kimat, Joaquin Bordado, he was requested to position himself at the intersection going to Dingras at the San Nicolas’ Claypot Marker as a Marshal to prevent the runners as well as their Support Vehicles to go towards the City of Batac.

The course have some rolling hills and also lined up with trees and other vegetated areas/rice fields. There are some portions where some road constructions and bridges are being widened and repaired. But the course is relatively flat. I was surprised to find out that there are Hotels and Resorts along the route. I was informed that the new River Mount Hotel and Resort has the best swimming pool in the province.

Aside from the resorts, along the route is where the Main Office of the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative is located, 4-5 kilometers away from Poblacion of Dingras. One can see also the bridge that connects Dingras and Sarrat (crossing the Laoag’s Padsan River) as an alternative route from those coming from the towns of Marcos and Nueva Era in going to Laoag City.

As I was approaching the turn-around point, I came to realize that the turn-around point should had been the PETRON Gas Station where my GPS Watch registered a distance of 13.1 miles. There was an extra 400-meter distance yet to be covered before I could reach the announced turn-around point. By this time, I was already the 7th runner to reach the place. In summary, the 2rd Day Marathon was longer by 800 meters!

3rd Day Turn Around Point

Turn-Around Point (21K) @ Poblacion Dingras (Picture By May Santos)

There seems to be a close competition among the top 3 runners! Since the Day 2 race, these runners had been putting off their headlights while they are on the run making sure that they could not be seen from afar from one another. I think somebody had leaked the information (which is supposed to be a surprise!) that I will be awarding the Overall Top 3 Podium Finishers for the whole event. I think these runners know the significance of being “Pioneers” and being the Top Podium Finishers of this new BR’s event.

The following is the result of the 3rd Day Marathon:

RANK      NAME              TIME (Hrs)

  1. Gibo Malvar ———— 4:45:44
  2. Dondon Talosig ——- 5:00:49
  3. Rod Losabia ———— 5:35:56
  4. Tess Leono (F) ——— 5:38:11
  5. Rose Betonio (F) —— 6:01:28
  6. Kathleen Piñero (F) –6:16:27
  7. Jovie Narcise/BR —— 6:17:43
  8. Reese Rogel (F) ——– 6:37:40

After the Awarding of Medals and Shirts, we had our usual group picture and it was time to recover again for the last and 4th Marathon Race. All the runners will be starting for the next/last race tonight!

3rd Day Finish Group Picture

Group Picture After Finishing The 3rd Marathon (Picture By May Santos)

 





2nd Day: Quad Marathons

10 06 2017

The second day Marathon Event started at 11:45 PM of June 9 (Friday) and expected to be finished at 6:15 AM of June 10 (Saturday). The route brings the runners to the eastern towns of Ilocos Norte. The runners would be able to pass the municipalities of Sarrat (first town after Laoag City) and the Poblacion of Piddig, Ilocos Norte (location of the turn-around point).

Day 2 Quad Marathons START

Day 2 Before The Start

The Municipality of Sarrat is noted to be the Birthplace of the Former President Ferdinand Marcos who ruled the Philippines for 20 years—8 years as a duly re-elected President and then another 12 years under Martial Law. The town has also a much-improved Public Park with an old Spanish Church. The Municipality of Piddig is also noted in history as the place in the country where the people revolted against the Spaniards because of a locally produced wine from sugar cane, called “Basi” in 1807. Up to the present, the place is still noted as the source of the Best Basi in the province.

The course is flat for the first 9 kilometers and then an uphill climb for about 200 meters at Km 10 which levels off until reaching Kilometer 19 which has another uphill terrain at the Poblacion (center) of Piddig..  The 21K turn-around point is the Solsona-Piddig Highway Kilometer Post #507. As compared with the first day route, this route has a cooler and windy environment because of big trees along the highway and the cooler winds coming from the mountain ranges located at the eastern part of the province of Ilocos Norte.

Day 2 Turn-Around

Day 2 Turn Around Point (21K)

Being the “sweeper” of the event, I could see who are the runners that are leading once they are on their way back to the Finish Line. Sometimes, if I see and feel that the last runner is lagging behind, I try to run in front or ahead of the runner so that he/she is forced to run faster to catch me.

Day 2 Quad Marathons

Day 2 Finish Line Group Picture

For this 2nd day Marathon, all the runners had improved on their finish times as shown below:

RANK          NAME              TIME (Hrs)

  1. Gibo Malvar ———– 4:51:58
  2. Dondon Talosig —— 4:58:36
  3. Rod Losabia ———– 5:20:23
  4. Tess Leono (F) ——– 5:46:26
  5. Rose Betonio (F) —– 5:50:16
  6. Kathlee Piñero (F) — 5:58:55
  7. Reese Rogel (F) ——- 6:17:49
  8. Jovie Narcise/BR —– 6:17:55

After the awarding of the Finisher’s Medals and Shirts, we had a group picture and breakfast from McDonalds Fastfood courtesy of one of the runners.

Day 2 McDonalds

Recovery Food & Drinks After Marathon #2

Tonight will be the third Marathon Event in a different course which will test (again) the determination and endurance of all the runners.

(Note: Pictures Courtesy of May Santos)





1st Day: Quad Marathons

10 06 2017

Seven of my ultra running friends registered for the First Edition of the BR’s Quad Marathons which is held on June 9-12, 2017 with start and finish in Laoag City (Ilocos Norte). A day prior to the start of the event, I decided to join the runners as a runner-participant and at the same time the “sweeper” for the event. However, at the back of my mind, I did not want anybody among from friends to DNF this event.

The four daily marathon events is scheduled to start at 1:00 AM every day but with only a handful of participants, I advised all the runners that we might start earlier as soon as all the runners are already at the Start Area. Except for one runner, the remaining seven runners stayed in our house for easier control and management.

Each of the marathon events has a cut-off time of 6 hours and 30 minutes. If a runner finishes a marathon event beyond the cut-off time, the runner is declared DNF and could not join the succeeding events. Every official finisher each day will receive a Finisher’s Medal and Shirt. If the participant completes or finishes the four Marathon Events, he/she will receive a Finisher’s Trophy and a Finisher’s Certificate.

1st Day Quad Marathons

Group Picture Before The Start Of The Race

The first marathon event started at 12:30 AM and the course covers the 21K distance from the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol in Laoag City to Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte and then back to the Starting Area. The route goes north along the Maharlika Highway passing the towns of Bacarra and Pasuquin. The turn-around point is at the Highway Kilometer Post #508 where a Marshal is located. The Marshal must take a picture of the runner once they reach the turn-around point before going back to the Starting Area for the Finish.

1st Day Quad Marathons 00

21K Turn-Around Point

For the logistics support of the runners, there are two roving Support Vehicles which could provide water, soft drinks, Gatorade, and bite foods for the runners. Usually, these support vehicles are located every 3 kilometers. In this edition, these support vehicles are also individual support vehicles of some of the runners.

The course is relatively flat with a few elevation gains at Kilometers 4-5 and on the way back, Kilometers 37-38. However, on this particular night, it was hot and humid with no wind even during the early morning.

All of the 8 participants were able to finish the Marathon on the first day within the cut-off time. The following is the result:

RANK          NAME                  TIME (Hrs)

  1. Dondon Talosig ———- 5:03:40
  2. Rod Losabia ————— 5:12:17
  3. Gibo Malvar ————— 5:37:27
  4. Tess Leono (Female) — 5:37:29
  5. Rose Betonio (F) ——— 5:45:04
  6. Kathleen Piñero (F) —- 6:11:50
  7. Reese Rogel (F) ———– 6:26:52
  8. Jovie Narcise/BR ——— 6:26:54
1st Day Quad Finish

Group Picture After The Awarding Of Medals & Shirts

After the awarding of Medals and Shirts, we had some group pictures taken. After breakfast, we went to the beach for a swim and had some sight-seeing; and have some fun!

1st Day Quad Finish Beach

Having Fun After The 1st Marathon Event

We hope that we will be ready again for the 2nd Marathon Event before midnight!

(Note: Pictures Courtesy of May Santos)

 

 





Race Report: 11th Subic International Marathon & 10K Fun Run (2016)

17 11 2016

Race Report: 11th Subic International Marathon & 10K Fun Run (2016)

This is my third time to join this very challenging marathon race. If you can see the cover picture of this blog, it was during one the earlier editions of this race. The picture was taken at the point overlooking the Subic Airport and the Subic Bay. The second time I joined this event was when the route covered the Subic-Clark Expressway from Floridablanca Exit to Remy Field, Subic Freeport. Since then, I never had the urge or plan to join this event even if it is near my “playground”.

I decided to join this race a day before the race as part of my “back-to-back” weekend run in order to evaluate my training for the previous weeks which was concentrated on “hill repeats” and tempo runs. Knowing the Race Founder who happens to be a Retired General of the Philippine National Police and a Cavalier from the Philippine Military Academy, I was able to get slots/Race Bibs for the 42K Race which is held on the early evening of Saturday and a 10K Run Bib for the following morning of Sunday.

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Subic International Marathon Logo & Ads Poster

Marathon Race 42K (5:00 PM, Saturday, November 12, 2016)

A simple lapse on my part (maybe, it’s because I am getting older already) made me go back from Subic to where I left my iPods and Headphone as they are parts of my race goals and this lapse made me miss the Race Start by 10 minutes! Nevertheless, I knew that the Race Bib has a RFID and my Chip Time would start once I step on the RFID Mat placed on the Starting Line. General Samson Tucay, the Race Founder, was the one who handed me my Bib and wished me “Good Luck” as I left the Starting Area!

My race goal was to finish the race below 5 hours; attack aggressively the uphills by not walking; focused on maintaining my speed/pace; and regularly hydrating myself with water and regularly taking my Power Gels, Salt Sticks, and making sure that I have always some Coffee Candies in my mouth.

I consider this Marathon Race as the Toughest Marathon in the country because of its elevation profile. Two-thirds of the course are hilly (some consider them as mountainous!) and the dark surroundings slows most of the runners but the early evening breeze coming from the sea and the forest in the mountains is very refreshing. If I remember right, this is the very same running and bike route where “world champions” in triathlon were being trained under the tutelage of the famous Triathlon Coach Brett Sutton. Subic Freeport as a training ground was mentioned in the book of Chrissie Wellington and other Triathlon Olympic Champions. This was also my favourite road running playground when I prepare for my Marathon and Half Marathon Races in the past!

I was relaxed and composed when I left the Starting Line and maintained an easy pace with an effort range of 4-6 (from 1-10, where 10 is the most effort exerted) up to Km 5. At this point, I was able to pass two Aid Stations already where I had to take some sip of water that would wash down my saliva mixed with coffee candy. I started to switch on my headlight and EyeCatcher blinking lights strapped on my right and left wrists! It is also at this point where I had to pass the last runner that left the Starting Line 10 minutes ahead of me! As I start to get near the road intersection going to No Hands Beach, I overtook some male runners who were already walking. I started to pick up my pace as I was about to tackle the first uphill climb overlooking the Subic Airstrip and the Subic Bay. At the vicinity of the Airport’s Terminal, I would pass again some runners. At the second uphill climb near the APEC Executive Mansions, I would pass again a group of runners who were walking uphill. I never stopped on these uphill climbs making sure that I would be able to maintain my pace/speed.

The McDonald’s Quarter Pounder Hamburger which I ingested few minutes before I started the race gave me the power and strength to reach the “roller coaster” part of the course (Km 8-20) without having the feeling of getting weak. It was only after I reached the turn-around point (Mile #13) at the Ocean Adventure that I decided to ingest my first GU Gel, however, in every hour I would ingest at least two Salt Sticks while maintaining that my mouth and tongue have some coffee candies to play around. The GU Gel immediately kicked-in that I have to continuously attack the uphill climb up to the Subic’s Morong Gate and then back up to the Airport. I had my 2nd GU Gel on the last 8 kilometres to the Finish Line!

From the turn-around point, I registered a time of 2:15 hours (in my Garmin Watch) and I was happy. Knowing that I might not be able to have a negative split due to fatigue or some kind of incoming muscle cramps, I was contented that I would finish the race in 4:40-4:50 hours. At Km 32, my Garmin Watch registered a time of 3:40+ and I kept trying to increase my pace trying to push myself for a faster pace but I felt that between Km 36-38, I slowed down due to some technical problems with my iPod’s music (I found out later that it was going on a Low Power Mode as my new AKG headset needs a stronger source of power). Instead of listening to my erratic music, I opted to count my steps and do my “strides” (40 seconds fast, 20 seconds recovery) all the way to the finish line. I registered a time of 4:54:30 hours with my Garmin GPS Watch. It was almost 10:00 PM in the evening and I had spent some time to speak to the Race Organizers after crossing the finish line and greet some of my Ultrarunners who joined the race!

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Nearing The Finish Line

 

10K Fun Run (6:00 AM, Sunday, November 13, 2016)

All I needed was to sleep at least 4 hours after the Marathon Race and then woke up early in the morning on the following day (Sunday) for the 6:00 AM Gun Start for the 10K Fun Run. I made sure to be early and I was at the starting line 20 minutes before the scheduled Start Time. I joined the Opening Program with a Prayer; Speech from the Race Organizer; and some Dance Calisthenics of which I enjoyed doing as part of my stretching exercises. If you think I did not have any sore muscles after the Marathon Race, you are wrong! I really needed those dance steps and jumping as my way of stretching my sore muscles!

The 10K and 7K runners were led to the Chute at the Oval Track where the Starting Line was located. I placed myself two meters behind the starting line and waited for the starting gun. I made my last wave to the Race Organizers and they acknowledge my presence before the Gun was fired.

Bang!!! I started to jog as I was able to find a space which was not crowded by the runners around me in about 20 meters. As I left the Remy Field Oval Track towards Rizal Street, I was already passing some runners and most of them were lady runners. The 10K route is the same first 5K of the Marathon Race and it was relatively flat. It was a matter of time before I would reach the turn-around point at Km 5.

At Km 4, a runner who is 10-15 years younger than me passed as I was approaching a bridge and he was the only one who passed me throughout the race. As I got nearer to the turn-around point, I started to count the number of runners whom I was meeting as they are on their way to the Finish Line. As I passed the turn-around point, I counted myself as the #64 and continued to run; tried to increase my pace and making sure that I would take a sip of water on those last Aid Stations towards the Finish Line. At this point, I was happy that I was registering 6.2 to 6.4 miles per hour as my speed. I was already sure that I would register a sub-one hour finish to this race.

Along the way back to the Finish Line, I was no longer sure if the runners I would be passing were the runners of 10K, 7K, or 5K. What was important in my mind was to be able to finish the race in less than one hour. As soon as I was running in front of the Subic Yatch Club Building (last 500 meters), I was already sure that I would be able to attain my goal.

Finally, I crossed the Finish Line in 58:30 minutes! I survived the race with only 6 pieces of Coffee Candies and sip of water in every Aid Station.

After my shower and eating my breakfast, I slept and rested the whole day. I am blessed and thankful to the Almighty Lord that I was able to finish my “Back-to-Back” weekend runs as part of my training for my incoming races.

Things That Helped Me Finish These Races:

  1. Three weeks of focused “Hill Repeats” and Tempo Runs leading to the event. Hill Repeats (on the middle of the week) are done at the middle of the workout at least once a week——The workout starts with an Easy Pace for one mile or 2K and then do “hill repeats” which would last for about 2-3 minutes from the bottom to the peak of the hill at 8-9 pace effort (where 1 is simply walking and 10 is my fastest pace). Jog easily in going back to the bottom of the hill. Do at least 8-10 repetitions. And then jog for 1 mile or 2K to end the workout. As for Tempo Runs, jog/run easily for the 1st mile, then at the middle of the run, do 10-minute tempo run (7-8 pace effort) with 5-minute recovery, do 2-3 repetitions of this 10-minute tempo runs, and then finish with 1 mile or 2K easy pace.
  2. Recovery Runs. In between these “Hill Repeats” and “Tempo Run” days, I would do recovery runs which has 5-8 pace effort which covers a total distance of 7-8 miles to include 10 repetitions of “strides” (40-second “burst” of fast pace and recovery for 20-second easy jog) before my last mile for the workout. These recovery runs are done on the trails.
  3. Long Runs. My longest run was the Rockstar MGM 50K Trail Run in Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan where I finished in 8:45+hours in a brutal and challenging course three weeks before this event. The succeeding weekends were done along the road for a distance of 20K. Before I hit my last mile in these long runs, I would do 10 repetitions of “strides”. However, in these road runs, I would do some “slower” tempo runs that would last for 30 minutes in every 10K. This is where I try my nutrition & hydration strategy and try my running gears to include my lighting system.
  4. No Cross-Training. For two sessions, I just did some selected Pilates poses to strengthen my core muscles. No strength training. No Gym workouts.
  5. Always remember that a Marathon Race or 10K Fun Run is a “speed-endurance” running event where a serious runner does not need to walk during the race. Actually, in Marathon Races and Fun Runs, I usually walk 1-2 meters before I pick up those cups filled with water in the Aid Stations and then walk again for about 3 meters away from the Aid Station while taking a sip of water. In the hilly portions of the course, I would not stop running and try to quicken my pace as if I was doing my “hill repeats” during my training. And that was my “secret” why I looked like I was a very strong runner during the event as what was seen by those runners whom I passed along the course. As gathered from my Garmin Watch and other GPS Watches from my friends who finished this event, the course has a total elevation gain of almost 1,500 feet!
  6. Race Light. Everybody would notice that I would use Running Shorts with an inseam of 2.5 inches in my latest races with “cropped” muscle shirt with holes. It is because I was able to reduce or shave off some grams from my running attire. Try to compare a “wet” cropped muscle shirt with holes from another “wet” full singlet or full race shirt (with sleeves) by holding them each with both hands or weighing them in a weight scale. You will find out how many grams you will be lighter during the run. No Buff or neck gaiters. No Calf Sleeves. No hydration bottle. I was using a Merrell Light Racing Shoes and Light Drymax Socks. I was wearing a Petzl Light which is 115 grams and a Headset which is about 30 grams, weights that are very negligible. Just do the math. If you can save at least 100 grams in your racing weight with 42,000+ jumps alternately with your feet, your legs will be lighter and the tendency for some muscle cramps to occur will be farfetched, assuming that you trained properly. Lastly, in a Marathon Race, leave your Cellphone behind!
  7. Hipster Belt. My Coffee Candies, Salt Sticks, GU Gels, and Power Bar were stashed in the pockets of my Hipster Belt. It became also as my “sweat absorbent” keeping my socks and shoes dry from my perspiration.
  8. Safety & Lighting Gears. The blinking wrist straps from EyeCatcher and PETZL Headlight is a “must” during a Marathon Race being held during nighttime.
  9. Music. Finally, I was able to finally search for and buy a very light, reliable, and of good quality headphone from AKG By Harman (Model: Y30). In the past, I would only use those cheap “ear-plug” headphones during my training runs but they could not stay steady in my ears and that was the reason why I don’t use any headphone in races. Music greatly helped me to motivate myself to keep on going and I would consider it as one of the factors that made me finished the race fresh and focused.
  10. Familiarity of the Course. Having trained and raced in this course for the past years, I knew what to expect ahead of me along the course even during nighttime. Even if it was not part of my plan this year to join this race, I am confident that I could easily make this race as part of my training workout. Having said this, I would make it a point to join this event every year as part of my mountain trail ultra training.
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Very Happy!!!

After I crossed the Finish Line at the Marathon Race, I was able to talk to General Sam Tucay and the rest of his staff. He lamented that he is not getting any profit from this event and its advocacy through the years even if it is already on its 11th edition. He was telling me that he is considering the idea of ending it as an annual event. On my part, I told him that he should not shelve the event and continue it as an annual event even if he considers it as not profitable. It will take some time to make his event as a popular marathon race as the years go by.

On my part, I did not tell him that I will be coming with this Race Report with an appeal to my ultra running friends and members of PAU to consider this event as part of their ultra running workout.

If you are a serious ultrarunner or training for a fast marathon race, you have to include this event as an evaluation or assessment race for your incoming A-races.





Obsession To Finish Times

1 12 2015

As a “newbie” in running, the number of minutes and hours that our feet on the ground, whether one is jogging, walking or running, is the measurement of our endurance. In our training journal, we take note on the time and distance we have finished for the day. To some of the average and elite runners, they consider time as the most important gauge for their daily workout as they can already estimate the distance they have finished. In short, in training, the time to cover a certain distance is our most important data in our training journal.

In racing, we try to compare our previous finish time with that of our recent finish time in the same distance and often, we brag and congratulate ourselves that we had a “PR” (Personal Record) or “PB” (Personal Best). That is fine and predictable to every runner. However, once we are already a “veteran” runner or marathoner, we tend to be soft and some sort of “lazy” to improve our performance by having the fastest “PR”/“PB” and the thinking is that we are more focused on the number of marathon races that we have finished as we grow older.

If you noticed in this blog’s ABOUT Page, I’ve been lazy updating the number of ultra races and marathon races that I’ve finished. If I have the time and motivation to update this Blog’s Page, I might include the list of my DNF Races. Personally, with my age of 63, I have already stopped counting the number of races, whether they are trails or roads, that I’ve finished.

A Facebook friend of mine came up with a Status about her observation on people who would ask for the Finish Time every time their friends would finish a Running Event and brags it on the Social Media. To some, it is an unethical and unacceptable practice of runners to ask another runner’s Finish Time if he/she brags about finishing a certain race, whether it is a road or trail. To most of the veteran runners, whether their times are slow or average or fast, they are proud to mention their Finish Time because to them, Finishing Race or Crossing the Finish Line in a healthy condition is the MOST important achievement as a result of their training.

What is the protocol or accepted norm about this situation? Is a runner obliged to mention his specific finish time in a running event if he/she post his/her accomplishment on Facebook or in the Social Media? To me, a runner must state his/her Finish Time because it’s a Race where one has to go against the Clock. That is the reason why there is a Clock displayed at the Finish Line!

So, whether one finishes a race locally or abroad, he/she is obliged to mention his/her Finish Time (because there is a Clock at the Finish Line) if he/she has the intention of bragging on the Social Media.

It's A Race When There Is A Clock @ The Finish Line (Photo By Dm Padilla)

It’s A Race When There Is A Clock @ The Finish Line (Photo By Dm Padilla)

 








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