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Race Report: 2017 MILO Half-Marathon Qualifying Race/Tarlac City

25 08 2017

2017 MILO Half-Marathon (21K) Qualifying Race In Tarlac City/August 13, 2017

I was supposed to have an scheduled 5-hour LSD/Hike in the mountain trails on this day but I asked my Coach if I could join and qualify for the MILO Marathon Race to be held this coming December 2017 in a Half-Marathon Race to be held on a Sunday. My Coach gave his approval with the condition that I have the option to continue my hike later in the afternoon to complete the 5-hour LSD/Hike for the day. However, after the race, I decided to completely rest.

My OnLine Registration 10 days before the race did not push through as the Local Race Organizer could not open the e-mail that I sent to them. However, I was given the assurance that I would be allowed to join the race as long as I will be early at the Race Packet Pick-Up Booth on Race Day. Two hours before the start of the race, I was already at the site making some effort to be included in the list of qualifiers for the race. The local race organizer was very helpful to arrange with the MILO staff/personnel coming from Manila to have me included in the 21K race after accomplishing my registration form and submitting the required Medical/Doctor’s Certificate and MILO Pack.

Thirty minutes before the start of the race, I was already at the Runner’s Corral and behind all the runners as some runners would request for Photo-Ops with me. In between those requests, I would do some quick stretching on my legs and arms. Some runners whom I’ve known and joined in some of my PAU/BR’s Events’ Races would greet me and wish them luck in the race, in return.

The race started at exactly 4:30 AM after a short program—Singing of the National Anthem; A Prayer; A Greetings to all the Runners; and a Good Video on the Reminders for the Runners For Us to have an organized and problem-free race. As soon as the Starting Gun went-off, I started to brisk walk and positioned myself at the back of the pack. As soon as the road became more spacious for me, I started to run and tried to keep pace with those runners on my sides and on my front.

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Focused & Determined To Qualify

I really wanted to run this race while observing my effort as based from my breathing and how high were my knees while I was running. The harder I could breath and the higher my knees are would indicate that I was forcing my pace really hard and with more speed. However, based from my training, I made my first 20 minutes of my run as my warm-up run which is I think within the Range of 6-7 effort with 10 as the Maximum Effort. After 20 minutes had lapsed, I started to have my tempo run which would last for 10 minutes (Effort Rate at 8-9) and then recover for 2-3 minutes at a Range of 6-7 effort. This kind of tempo run was repeated all throughout the race until I reached the turn-around point at 10.5K. I was surprised that my time was below one hour!

On my way back to the Finish Line, I started to run faster and tried 5-minute “strides” with 2-minute “recovery” run and then later reduced to 40-second “strides” with 20-second “recovery” run. I was happy that my time was sub-1:55-hour when I reached the 20-Km mark but suddenly, I felt a “cramping” sensation on my right calf that prevented me from maintaining my pace and be able to finish the race in less than 2 hours. The more I would keep my pace, the cramps would become more severe and painful that I could hardly lift my right leg. I decided to run slowly and walked later for a few meters and waited until the muscle/calf tightening was over. On the last kilometer to the finish line, I had my slowest pace in the race that almost all of the runners that I’ve passed in the last 2 kilometers had overtaken me.

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Easy Pace On The Last 200 Meters To The Finish Line

No worries. I finished the race in 2:00:33 hours which is almost 15 minutes faster than my qualifying time for the age of 65-69 years old. Oh, well, my name is not listed in the published list of qualifiers in the MILO Tarlac City Leg but I know this will be corrected soon by the Race Organizer.

As a point of comparison and analysis of my performance in this race, I tried to look for my split times in last March’s Los Angeles Marathon where I registered a split time of 2:04:30 hours at Km 20 point and comparing it with my split time now of 1:54:++hours, it is clear that I’ve improved in my pace and speed for about 10 minutes for the said distance. Hopefully and at last, I will be able to attain my dream to try and find a race for me to qualify for the Boston Marathon. God willing!

On a personal note, this is the only race (for the past years) where I did not use a compression socks or calf sleeves. I’ve been running ultras with calf sleeves/compression socks and I never experienced any cramps on my calves and I personally believe that I should have used them on this race. With this experience, whether it will be a short race or an ultra running event, I will be using these compression socks and/or calf sleeves in my future races!

I will be happy to visit Cebu City this coming December 2017 to join in the 2017 MILO Marathon Finals.

Nutrition: One Power/Energy Bar Before The Race; One GU Gel on the last 4K; Water In Every Aid Station

Runner’s Kit: BROOKS Koi (Launch 4); Surge Socks; BROOKS Racer’s Shorts; Outdoor Avenues Track & Field Shorts; PAU Shirt; Garmin Forerunner 310XT; Trail Asia Buff; Adidas Adizero Cap.

(Note: I am a CTS Athlete)

 

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2nd Week Of Training: Mt Fuji Mountain Race

30 06 2017

June 19-25, 2017

June 19, Monday, was a well-deserved REST Day for me after my weekend “back-to-back” training runs which culminated in a 10.5 mile recon run in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija & Fort Magsaysay. The heat of the sun on those exposed single-track trail put a lot of exhaustion and fatigue to my body system. I usually have a complete rest on this day by eating and having more time to sleep on Sunday and Monday evenings.

This week will be my first full week of training from Monday up to Sunday. On Tuesday, the training schedule was for me to do a 1:30-hour Endurance Run on a trail and I selected my Backyard’s Loop #2 Trail as my course. This course is what I fondly called as the “Brown Mountain” course which is a wide-dirt road and eventually turns into a single-track trail to the foot/peak of Mt Quadrante and Mt Tambong/Mt Maniwalan. I was able to cover a distance of 7.17 miles for 1:31+hours with an average speed of 12:42 minutes per mile. I observed that my run was very comfortable because of the cooler air as I started my run very early in the morning, before the sun rises.

On Wednesday, I had my first “hill repeats” or Interval Training workout. The total time for this workout, to include the warm-up run; hill repeats & rest between interval; and the cool-down run, would result to 1:30 hours. I did my “hill repeats” in a place where the housing subdivision was discontinued and the place was all mine in the early morning as there were no people in the area. It was my first time to feel the shortness of breath and the feeling of being dizzy as if I am going to have a “heart stroke” after I did my 4th repetition. I have to adjust my pace but I tried my best to push harder as I reach the highest elevation/end of my hill repeats in every repetition. I have to bring up my knees higher; swing my arms faster and wider; and breath as hard as I can. The total distance that I covered was 6.78 miles but I felt that I was able to force my heart and lungs to a higher level of exertion than I had before!

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Endurance Runs @ Backyard’s Loop #2 (Mt Tambo/Maniwalan At The Background)

On Thursday, I had my Recovery Run/Easy Run for one hour where I covered a distance of 5.20 miles. This was done on a paved road where the first half was slightly going uphill and then back to where I started.

On Friday, it was another 1:30-hour Endurance Run which I decided to have at the same course that I did last Tuesday (at my Backyard’s Loop #2). The same as of Tuesday’s run, I have to run up to the mountain for 45-46 minutes and then turn-around towards the starting line for the second-half of my workout. To my surprise, I was ahead or faster by 2:30 minutes when I reached the turn-around point during my run last Tuesday and I just continued my run for more elevation gain for the rest of my time before turning around for my last 45 minutes back to where I started. I was able to cover a distance of 7.63 miles on this workout!

On Saturday, I had my second “hill repeats” session, the same session/workout that I had last Wednesday but the total number of hours for this workout is 2:30 hours. Since it was the schedule of one of my PAU races (Mariveles To Bagac 50K Ultra Run), I have to think of a way where I can insert my training workout while I am supervising this race. Instead of “hill repeats” of going up the hill and then back down the hill, I improvised my “hill repeats” by continuously going up towards the peak or highest point of the course. So, I brought my vehicle to the highest point of the course, parked it, and then I started my warm-up run by going down the mountain for 40 minutes on an easy pace. From the point where I made my turn-around, I returned up to the mountain doing my “hill repeats”. After 1:20 hours, I continued my run and tried to catch up with the runners of my race. After 2:30 hours I was able to cover a distance of 13 miles. Since the road was not as steep as my “hill repeats” on Wednesday, I felt I did not push too hard and felt that I was still strong after the desired number of hours of my workout for the day had elapsed.

On Sunday, the goal was to practice running and hiking on a higher elevation gain for 4 hours which is a good equivalent of “double-traverse” to my Backyard’s Loop #3 (Mt Roosevelt Traverse). It was also a workout to train for my hydration and nutritional needs in longer runs with more elevation gain. I was in the company of PAU runners who just finished in the previous day’s 50K run! We had some rests and “pit stops” along the route but we were able to make it in 5 hours for a total distance of 13.3 miles. It was nice to be back on this course which I missed for the past 4 weeks. We had some delays on our uphill climb due to the growing tall grasses and plants that partly cover the trail. On our way back for our 2nd traverse, the sun was already hot as most of the trail is exposed to the sun. We slowed down due to the heat and I had to submerge myself to a flowing stream, 3 miles before the finish line! We ingested some solid foods and soda drinks at the turn-around point (Mile 6.6).

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At The Peak Of Mt Roosevelt With PAU Runners

Everyday, I have to force myself to sleep 8-9 hours every night and after my “hill repeats” sessions, I had to take a nap in the afternoon for some rest. My nutrition intake for the week consists of ordinary Filipino foods and fruits.

The following are the totals for this week:

Total Duration (Time): 13:40 Hours

Total Distance: 52.8 Miles/84.48 Kilometers

Total Elevation Gain: 21,795 Feet

Elevation Gain Per Mile: 412.78 Feet

Lace up and go run!





Race Report: 2016 Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Ultra Trail Run (CM50)

4 12 2016

Race Report: 2016 Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Ultra Trail Run

The goal to attain for this race is simply to finish my fourth (4th) consecutive finish in this race. I admit I did not train well/properly for this race as compared to my previous editions. I considered this race as part of my training for next year’s Tarawera 100K in Rotuora, New Zealand where most of my training runs on the previous months were on the paved roads except for those trails runs I had in Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan last Octoder. My longest run for this race was the “back-to-back” Subic Marathon 42K on a Saturday and then a 10K run the following day which was held two weeks before this race. And since that weekend, I never had a chance to run/hike the necessary vertical distance needed for this event. In short, I did not have “consistency” in my training.

As usual, I only appear at the starting area two-three hours before the Start/Gun Start for my Race Packet Pick-Up and Mandatory Gear Check-Up. I don’t usually go to the usual Race Briefing and scheduled Race Packet Pick-Up. After my Mandatory Gear-Check-Up, I was back to my vehicle and tried to sleep for the remaining hours before the Gun Start. One hour before the Gun Start, I ate my last meal before the race with my extra “Jason Koop’s Rice Balls” with a CarboPro Drinks. I knew that this meal will last me for the next 2 hours after the race had started.

Fifteen minutes before the race started, I was at the Starting Arc and it was time to see some of the international runners and the “usual suspects” in trail running in the country. I could see new faces and younger runners among the crowd. Some would greet me and ask for group picture with me and I would also greet those runners whom I would see in other running events. After the usual “Start Briefing” of the RD, it was time to switch on my headlamp and GPS Watch!

Pak!!! The Gun Start had sounded and I was at the upper one-third of the runners. It was a fast start on the first mile and I think I was having a speed of 5.5 miles per hour and I tried to slow down! It is always the case in my previous two editions that I ended gasping for breath by the time I reached the trailhead towards the river. It was good it was a downhill that I was able to recover and slowed down with my pace.

Running along the river full of lahar was effortless as there were no water to wet our shoes for the first 5 kilometres. But on the first chance that my shoes was immersed on the river for the first time, I could sense that not much of the lahar went inside my shoes. The shoe gaiter that I was wearing was preventing those powdery lahar sand from entering my shoes! I was using a New Balance RC1400V4 which is a Racing Flat and I was happy that my shoes was very light even if it was wet and I could also feel that it would dry up quicker than my usual trail shoes. The only drawback is that if the trail is muddy and sticky, I need to be careful and slow with my footing!

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With George Dolores At The Peak Of Mt Miyamit (Turn-Around Point)

At the Aid Station #1 (Km #7), I had my water refilled in my handheld bottle. By the way, I was using two handheld water bottles, one bottle is half-filled with water and the other one on my right was empty with only CarboPro Powder Mix in it. I knew that I could survive a half-filled water bottle in between Aid Stations except for the distance between AS4 and to the Peak of Mt Miyamit and back to AS4 which has a total distance of 20 kilometres. This is where I would start to fill up my bottle with a CarboPro mix and carry two bottles filled with water and powder mix. If I still lack the necessary water along this segment, I brought my Life Straw and “hope and pray” that a stream of water is still present flowing along this segment of the route where I can refill my water bottle. Every year, I would do this ritual along this segment of the route!

From Aid Station #1, I knew already what to expect——more sand/lahar filled dirt roads/trails; cemented stair; lots of steep descents and ascents; flat trails at the edge of sugar cane plantation; crossing the wide Pasig-Potrero River; the tunnel at the SCTEX; and then to Barangay Sapang Uwak. At the Pasig-Potrero River, there was not much of the flowing water but there was a very short river crossing where the depth is almost to my waist and the current was too strong that one has to grab a rope that was tied across the said river. Before reaching the Aid Station #2, I brought out a pack of my “Jason Koop’s” Rice Ball where one plastic pack container is filled with at least 3-piece equivalent of such balls and I had to eat it all for my first food intake on the race. I finished the water on my handheld bottle on my left palm as I approached the next Aid Station. It was still dark and did not spend much time in the Aid Station.

Since it was downhill from the AS2, I tried to run and maintain my pace all the way up to the center of Barangay Sapang Uwak. I did not have any problems with my Headlight as I have programmed the illumination rate or burning time to reach up to 15 hours of continuous lighting. Finally, a marshal signalled me to enter a detour part of the course which the first time it was introduced in this year’s edition. Instead of running uphill towards the Barangay Hall where the next Aid Station was located along a paved road, the RD deemed it necessary to avoid the cemented road. It was a good move to maintain the name of the event as an ultra trail run but….it made the course harder this time!

I call this “detour” as the “Stairway To Heaven” because after you pass this section, your curses and calls for all the Saints to help you while trekking on this trail, you will finally say that the Aid Station #3 as “Heaven” once you reach it. In the darkness of the night, I could feel that the distance of the detour is about 3-4 miles but in reality, it is only 2 kilometres of rolling terrain and with steep ascents that look like you are already “kissing” the ground. It was good there were diggings on the ground that resemble as stairs on this steep slope of the mountain. On the way back, one has to be very careful in going down on this slope that a misstep might bring you rolling down out of the newly built trail. I have to roll down the straps of my handheld bottles to my wrists and make use of my hands to grab anything on the ground for stability and balance.

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New Balance Racing Flats

From AS3, I hiked and tried to recover from the exhaustion I felt after reaching this part of the route. I just covered a distance of 24 kilometres and I felt that my energy was completely zapped at this point. How could it be? I still have 63 kilometers to go and I felt like I was about to quit. It was good it was still dark and cold. The breeze of the air; fresh air to breath and the presence of the fog gave me the strength to push myself. While hiking, I did a lot of deep-breathing and I just thought that with the fresh air that I was breathing, I would regain my strength! That was what I did until I met the first runner from 60K race! I was amazed by these runners who were about to go back to where we started and it was still dark as compared to the previous editions that I could comfortably and clearly see the faces of those leading runners. I would have thought that there will be course record to be broken again.

Finally, I reached Aid Station #4 and knowing the names of the Volunteers and being ultrarunning friends, I was treated like a “king” where they would serve me everything that I needed. After making sure I mixed my CarboPro with water on my right handheld bottle, I was on my way to the peak/turn-around point which is 10K distance and then back to this AS4 for a total of 20 kilometres. I slowly hiked from the AS4 as it is uphill and then tried to jog on the descents and flat portions of this segment.

As I was passing on a sharp-curved and narrow single track trail, I outbalance myself and my leading foot landed on a cliff and my whole body just fell off the cliff. I was quick to make my handheld bottles as my anchor to whatever or thing that would prevent me from falling to the bottom of the cliff. I was able to stop my body from falling but I need to lift my body to a distance of about 4 feet to reach the level of the trail. Knowing that a runner was trailing me behind for about 10-15 meters, I just rested myself with my body flat on the cliff and tried to observe if there was any pain in my body (making sure I did not incur any wounds or fractures!) while waiting for the next runner to see me on the cliff. The runner stopped and he asked, “Sir, what happened?”. And I said. “I fell!!!” He immediately pointed the tips of his trekking poles to the direction of my hands and I was able to grab them. I was able to reach the level of the trail with the runner pulling his trekking poles towards him and I was okey. I thanked the runner and asked him to just go ahead of me as I would hike and try to feel if my body was okey to finish the race. I felt some numb pain on my right quads and my groin muscles were starting to have cramps! I slowed down and took some time to drink my CarboPro and take in some salt tablets while walking towards the turn-around point.

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LifeStraw a.k.a. Life Saver

It took me 3 hours to reach the peak after I left AS4 with all the fall, slow pace & cramping after the fall and a brief rest at the Peak. From here, I have 8 hours to reach and cross the Finish Line. I knew I could make it with more time to spare as long as I keep on moving. Halfway before reaching AS4, I was already in need of water as I usually drink a lot on this portion of the course plus the fact that the heat of the sun was starting to be felt inside the forested areas. I had to reach that stream of water and scoop some water into my handheld water bottle. Once I reached the stream, I have to walk upstream for about 3 meters and got some from the flowing water. It was time to use the Life Straw that was tucked inside one of my shorts’ pockets. I have to use the Life Straw twice to sip the water inside my hydration bottle. The said water gave me the necessary strength to bring my body to the AS4.

At the AS4, I took some time to rest; eat my rice balls and have my bottles refilled with water before going down to the Miyamit Falls. As compared to my previous finishes, I usually go down directly to the Falls once I reach the AS4. Not this time due to exhaustion and my accidental fall on a cliff. I usually calculate at least one hour to be spent in going down; resting at the Falls; and going back to AS4…and that has happened again in this year’s edition.

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Optional Pose At The Miyamit Falls

The volunteers manning the AS4 were kind enough help every runner passing or dropping by their station and they even go to the extent of giving more what was served on the table. Those “reserved” Coconut Water Drinks did wonders to my tired body that I was able to drink almost half of the bottle-pack! Thank you, guys!

From AS4, it was all downhill but the heat of the sun was on us, thus, preventing us to have a continuous run. It was a jog-walk-jog routine from this point and maintain a relentless forward motion making sure I would be able to cross the finish line within the prescribed cut-off time of 18 hours! It was a matter of time before we could reach AS3 which I call “Heaven”! At this point I joined 3 runners ( one male & two female) and I had a lengthy conversation with an ultra friend, Ariel Tuto Aquino who is also gunning for his 4th successive finish. In our calculation, we would be able to finish the race in 17 hours and some spare minutes.

At AS3, I just refilled my hydration bottles and drank some soda offered by a friend and then left the AS3 alone. It was a very deliberate hike in going down along the “Stairway To Heaven” and I was glad my NB Racing Flats had enough traction to hold me from sliding on those steep parts of the trail. However, I felt the sole portion of my feet were starting to cramp (first time to experience!) due to the very thin support on my forefoot. Once the cramps would appear, I would slow down with my pace and simply walk until the pain disappeared. Finally, I was at the cemented road inside Barangay Sapang Uwak and I continued to battle the exhaustion and pain until I saw some of the runners ahead of me having a rest/drinking ice cold drinks in one of the sari-sari stores in the barangay. I just continued with my jog as I knew I had a little “buffer” time for this race as I was thinking of those steep climbs before AS1 where I usually weaken in previous editions.

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Approaching AS2 Towards The Finish Line (Km #70)

Patience to alternately jog, run and hike was the smartest things to do from AS3 to AS2 even with the heat of the sun was upon us. It was just a matter of time before we ( I was trying to catch-up with two runners in front of me) would reach the AS2 which is actually 17 kilometers away from the Finish Line. In my estimate, I had only 30 minutes as a “buffer time” which I knew would be enough for me to cross the finish line. I did not spend much time at the AS2 after I refilled my bottles. It is time to attack those steep descents and ascents before reaching AS1. I really slowed down on these portions because my hike was too deliberate using my hands as anchor to prevent me from sliding and use them too in propelling myself to go up on the steep ascents. I guess, I lacked some training on these situations during those weeks and months before this event. I hope to be smarter next time.

Upon reaching the AS1, which is 7 kilometres to the finish line, I still have 1:15 minutes to tackle such distance and I was confident to cross the finish line before the 18th hour knowing that there is only one easy ascent at the trailhead before reaching the paved roads of Clark. Unfortunately, on the last one mile with 15 minutes to go, I sped up my pace and went straight on the intersection where I should have turned RIGHT. It was too late to realise that I was lost at this point. So, I simply finished (beyond the cut-off time) and reported to the staff at the Finish Line that I got lost. I was still awarded the Finisher’s Medal and the Finisher’s Trucker Cap without the Finisher’s Shirt.

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Approaching AS1 Towards The Finish Line (Looking worried!)

For sure, I will be back for my “graduation rites” next year in this event.

To be continued…

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Finisher’s Trucker Cap & 4th CM 50 Finisher’s Medal





Race Report: 1st MGM’s DaBoBong (DBB) 50K Mountain Trail Run (Bulacan)

27 10 2016

Since I finished the 2nd Zamboanga Mountain 50K Run, I did not run regularly for the next 3 weeks and then resumed my daily training two weeks prior to the conduct of this event. Most of my daily training consisted of road runs where I included “strides” and tempo runs within the middle of each running workout. I made some hill repeats per week and two weekends of long hikes in my mountain trail “playground” which lasted for 5-6 hours every workout. On those two weeks of training, I made it a point to have a full day rest on Mondays and two days rest before the event.

While on training, I was eyeing to join the shorter event which is 25K because I wanted to finish the race in 4 hours; go home to Manila early during the day; and my long runs prior to the race were less than 25K. However, while driving to Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT), Bulacan, I have finally decided to join the longer distance event which is 50K with the thought of going around the 25K-loop twice. Knowing how organized and loaded with logistics in all the MGM’s events that I’ve joined (I guess, I joined all of them!), I finally decided to join the 50K event as soon I checked-in at the Starting Area.

Sometimes, I need to challenge myself and take the risk as to how far I can go in terms of testing my physical and mental limits as a result of my limited period of training; test my gears/equipment; and test my nutrition and hydration strategies.

While it was still dark (2:45 AM) at the Caribbean Resort in Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT), Bulacan when we arrived, I could see lots of personal vehicles parked and runners wandering around inside the resort; preparing their gears; and taking their nap while waiting for the event to start. I could see the “usual suspects” or “addict” runners in trail running but I could not see lots of the faster ones. I was wondering if there is another trail running event being held for the weekend or it is a sign that most of them are still recovering from the trail event a week before this one.

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Course Map & Elevation Profile (From Facebook’s Event Page)

Few minutes before the start, the Race Director briefed us about the course/map; elevation profile; and the locations of the Aid Stations/Checkpoints/Marshals. However, the briefing did not specifically mention about the rivers to be crossed; the slippery rocks to be climbed/trekked and the numerous waterfalls to be climbed. From the description of the course, I expected that my shoes will be wet throughout the race so that I decided not to use gaiters and calf sleeves. Instead, I used my light Salomon S-LAB Trail Shoes and the thinnest Drymax socks. I took time to review the map course and asked for some clarifications as we have to pass a certain checkpoint for three times. We were advised that the Marshal in the said checkpoint will write a certain “mark” on our Race Bibs to show or indicate that we have passed the said checkpoint for three times. (Looking at my Race Bib after the event, I saw the numbers 1-2-3 written on my Bib). I made sure that I will not get lost during the race.

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Group Picture Before The 50K Start (Copied From Facebook)

The race started promptly at 4:00 AM for the 50K distance event. I took time to walk the first few meters while I turned on my PETZL Reactik+ Headlight. From the entrance of the Carribean Resort, we turned right into an asphalted road and after a flat portion, it was all uphill where I would hike and run trying to keep up with the pace of the other runners in front of me. But I have to maintain my pace with the thought that I would not like to “bonk” on the last half of the run.

For almost one hour and 45 minutes, I was running and hiking trying to focus on what my headlight’s beam was directed in front of me. I was quite bothered with the Nathan Handheld bottle that was strapped on my left palm that the water inside in it was getting out from its sipping valve as I swing my arms. To keep the water from being wasted, I had to drink the water regularly instead of just ignoring the leak. With this situation, I was always in need of water 2-3 kilometers away from the next Aid Station but I just relaxed with my predicament as I can easily scoop some water to drink on the rivers and waterfalls along the route, this is to include the free-flowing water from hoses in some of the houses in the area and man-made wells along the side of the road.

It was already daybreak when I reached the peak of the first “major” climb of the course and it was relatively downhill and flatter portions of the course. Some of the road was paved but most of it was wide smooth dirt road. I tried to increase my pace even if I would glance on my watch that I was having an average speed of 4.2 miles per hour. To me, this is already a big improvement and I was happy that my training (“strides”/hill repeats/tempo runs) is paying off and getting positive results on my numbers/data from my GPS Watch.

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NATHAN Hipster Waist Belt (Medium)

I was regularly ingesting 2 capsules of Salt Sticks every hour and made sure that I have at least two pieces of Coffee Candies inside my mouth. Every 2 hours, I would ingest those packs filled with “Jason Koop’s Bacon & Egg Rice Balls” which I copied from the Ultrarunning Book of Jason Koop. On the major climbs/ascents, I would ingest CLIF Energy Gels (Mocha) with water. All my nutritional needs were stashed inside the pockets of my NATHAN Hipster Waist Stretchable Belt (Size: Medium). I prepared 4 packs (each pack in a ZipLoc) of Jason Koop’s Rice Balls which is equivalent to eight (8) balls. At the Aid Stations, in total, I only ate 4-6 pieces of Jelly Ace, one piece of Hopia, drank two glasses of Ice Cold Coke, and ate 3 slices of native “Biko”/native rice cake. With this regular concern on my hydration and nutritional needs, I did not experience any “bonking” or any cramps on my legs during the run even if it was already hot on my last 10K to the Finish Line.

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Lots of River Crossing & River Running

For the 50K runners like me, we were treated with so many surprises! I was thinking that we just simply cross a lot of streams and rivers but in reality, we were practically running with and/or against the flow of the water! And these streams and rivers where we have to run have a lot of slippery rocks underneath the water which made my running and hiking unstable. And for the rivers, some are deep up to one’s breast (depending on your height) and most of them have strong current but the current would bring one to a shallower portion of the river.

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“Killer” (Small) Loop River Crossing For Two Times

For the lots of waterfalls? I thought the route would lead the runners to just simply pass the bottom of the falls but we were wrong! We had to climb the waterfalls and reach the source of the water because that is where the route was! I could not believe it! Aside from climbing these falls up to where the water is coming from, we have to descend from the falls, too! In doing these ascents and descents on raging waterfalls and on the sides of these waterfalls, the rocks where one has to hike were slippery and sometimes you have to take time to select a small notch or crevice on the rocks to place your shoes and fingers to propel you upwards. Practically, were crawling or “rock climbing” on a slippery waterfalls on our way “up or down”. As these waterfalls were inside a forested area, I had to switch on my headlight just to be sure and see where I would hold on those slippery rocks! I am just wondering how those women runners were able to pass through these parts of the route. I highly appreciate their strong will and courage to go through these challenging parts of the course. My snappy salute to you! This “loop” is the most significant part of the course as I have to slow down but I enjoyed the challenge while I was tailing the first women to win this course!

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One Of The Waterfalls (Photo By RT Hernandez)

The so-called “small loop” of the course is also challenging but not as hard as the first loop with those river running and waterfalls’ rock climbings. However, the “small loop” has the deepest river crossing and lots of steep uphill climbs but I tried to run the downhill and flatter sections and “power hike” those ascents. One has to go through this “small loop” for two times and this was where the heat of the sun would take its toll to most of the runners. I have to take time to dip my body to the rivers to cool off and drink lots of water on “small wells” along the route.

Finally, I was on my last 15K of the course before the Finish Line. One kilometre from the last Aid Station, a photographer was waiting and ready to take my pictures. I saw some water falling on the side of the road that I have to take time to have my “shower” to bring down my body temperature. The photographer asked for a “selfie” and I acceded to his request. He told me that the next Aid Station (last one) is already near.

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Last 12K To The Finish Line (Photo By Niche Sio Jensen)

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Cooling-Off (Photo By Niche Sio Jensen)

The wide trail ended on the banks of a wide river where I could see a rope. I took time to rest and look around and found out that there are markers/ribbons leading me towards a hanging bridge, not knowing that I have to go back to the same river after coming from the last Aid Station and now using the rope to cross the wide river! So, I was treated with “Biko”/native rice cake and ice-cold Coke at the last Aid Station. I engaged some conversation with the volunteers and I sensed that they don’t know me. I found out that this is the first time that we, “outsiders”, were the “first” to run on these trails as most of the forests and lands are not yet exploited by “squatters and illegal upland farmers”. They told me that I could still catch up with the 3 runners ahead of me but I was not sure about their information. I was glad that they provided me with with some positive thoughts!

The paved road from the Aid Station led me to the same river that I’ve crossed using the Hanging Bridge but I have to cross now the river with me holding the rope tied across the river. Next, the markers led me to a single-track trail going up to a mountain where the trail has a lot of slippery rocks and inside a forest. It took me some time to reach the peak and then the dirt and muddy road leading to the Poblacion of DRT, Bulacan. I have to run on the middle portion of this trail as both sides had been depressed and became muddy due to the tire tracks from a truck that goes up to the peak of the mountain. It was a mix of jogging and power hiking as the trail is rolling in terrain and once I was out of the forested area, I could see already the roofs of structures of the town of Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT), Bulacan. I know that once I hit the paved road, everything will be downhill to the Finish Line.

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Course Map By My SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak Watch

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Elevation Profile From My SUUNTO GPS Watch

I finished the race in 8:45:50 hours. The staff at the Finish Line was expecting me to finish later in the afternoon and they were surprised to see me approaching the resort’s gate/entrance earlier than they have expected.

As a word of advise, don’t bring your iPhone to this event. I did not bring my phone as I did not want to be distracted with the temptation of taking some pictures of the route and I made a good decision. The remaining salt tablets after the last river crossing got melted and the candies became sticky syrup but my rice balls were properly sealed in their ZipLoc that they were dry all the time. If you decide to bring your iPhone, make sure to use a hydration system that have pockets higher than your breast/chest and have them sealed in a waterproof plastic packs.

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Self-Explanatory

I highly recommend this event to those who are looking for nice scenery, “laid back” trail running event, well-organised/stocked Aid Stations and well-marked course, and very challenging course.

Congratulations to Dabobong Angeles and his Team for this successful event. Congratulations also to all the Finishers of the 50K & 25K events!





Race Report: 2nd Zamboanga Mountain 50K Ultra Marathon Race

18 10 2016

Race Report: 2nd Zamboanga Mountain 50K Ultra Marathon Race/September 18, 2016

After I finished the first edition of this race last year, I promised to myself that I would join every edition of this race as long as I am still strong to run an ultra distance event. I would make this race as my evaluation run as part of my training for my future ultra races here and abroad.

Three months ago, I have started my training for this race but instead of doing it on the trails and places where there are considerable elevation gain and/or loss, I have to do my training on the paved streets. I have to follow the usual training program and daily mileage which I have followed for the past three years of ultra running training. However, these street running workouts had to last for about two months before I had to go back to trail running.

The only difference with my training this time as compared for the past 3 years, is my desire to be faster as I grow older. I placed more emphasis on the conduct of “strides” during my daily runs and do at least two times of “tempo” runs during the week. Weekends would be devoted to long runs up to 18 miles with a faster average pace.

On the third month, I did a lot of hikes in the mountains on weekends which would last up to 6-7 hours and on weekdays, I would do 8-9-mile runs on trails with an elevation gain/loss of at least 2,000 feet every workout. This is where I would train myself on my hydration and nutrition with only water as my fluid intake. I tapered for about two weeks which consisted of hikes and easy runs in my “playground”.

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The Mandatory START Group Picture

What is good with this race is that the Hotel (Palmeras De Zamboanga) where I stayed is the Starting and Finish Line of the event. I went out of my room 20 minutes before the start with enough time to greet and have “photo-ops” with the other runners. Before I went out of the Hotel, I was greeted with free sandwich and hot coffee at the end of the hallway and was able to take advantage of this offer as part of my stay in the hotel. I knew that the coffee and the sandwich would be enough for my food intake before I reach the first Aid Station at Km #8.

The race started promptly at 5:00 AM after a short prayer and 57 starters left the starting line. It was still dark when we were running along the street leading to the Pasonanca Park but the streetlights were enough to light up our way. Knowing that the first kilometre is flat, I made an easy pace and just followed the runners in front me. At Km #3, a runner started a conversation with me and I asked if my prevailing running pace would be maintained up to the finish line and replied him, “Yes”. And then asked permission if he would be allowed to pace with me during the duration of the race. And I said, “Yes”! We would be running side by side from this point up to the Finish Line. At that time, we were on a speed of 4 miles per hour as gleaned from my Suunto Watch.

It was my intention to maintain the said speed throughout the race. As I had predicted before the race, I have announced on Facebook that I intend to improve my ranking of #17 and finish time of 8:34+ hours from the result last year. Actually, my target goal was to finish the race below the 8-hour time and maintain the speed of 4 mph up to the Finish Line.

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Route Map & Description

We reached the 1st Aid Station (Km #7) without any problem and tried my best to run through those ascents without any brief walks or hikes. I took me less than 2 minutes to refill my bottles with ice cold water and eat some suman. From the Aid Station, we had to follow the paved road as the route became a “roller-coaster” and it started to be warm. After about 4-5 kilometers, we reached the 2nd Aid Station in front of an Elementary School. I had to refill my hydration bottle with ice-cold water, douse some ice-water on my head and face as the day was starting to be hot. I ate two ripe bananas and I was back on the way. From this Aid Station, it was the start of a single-track technical trail which has some rocks, mud, and flowing water.

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Course’ Elevation Profile

As I tried to speed up my pace on the descending portion of the trail which was muddy and slippery, I started to feel some “cramp” on my left calf and I asked the runners behind me to pass while trying to walk my way down the trail. I was still running downhill but I made sure to slow down my pace. I brought out some of salt tablets and ingest some and kept it to my mind to regularly ingest some every hour during the run. After a few seconds and minutes, I was able to regain my pace and it was just a matter of time before we would reach the first Turn-Around point which happens to be the Zambales Elementary School.

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Marvin Sicat, My Running Partner During The Race

At the start of a newly cemented road inside a thickly vegetated area in the course, we met the two leading runners. This is where I started to hike the ascending parts and run the flat portions and descending parts of the route and kept on drinking my water in my handheld bottle during my hikes. As we got nearer to the Turn-Around point, we had to meet those runners who just left the 3rd Aid Station at the Turn-Around Point which happens to be in a School. As I count the number of runner that I and my companion-runner would meet, I was ranked as #12 runner with my partner as #11.

In last year’s edition, I stayed in this Aid Station (Km #16) for a longer time as I tried to ingest more food and drink lots of water and craved for sweeter drinks. I even had more pictures taken with the other runners whom I was able to catch up in the said Aid Station. For this year, I was surprised to see a Zamboanga local runner who was still sitting and trying to cool off in the Aid Station when I arrived. “Chabby” is a very fast and strong ultrarunner and he beat me last year by almost one hour. I had to ask him his situation and he said that he was ok. But, I was brief in my stay by having my bottles refilled with water and then take in a mouthful of spicy noodles which gave me a little “jolt” and in less than 5 minutes, I was out of the Aid Station with my “partner” in tow.

It is a continuous uphill climb from the Aid Station and after about 1 kilometre, we started to meet the other runners behind us who were on their way to the Aid Station at Km #16. After passing the newly-paved road inside the thick forest, we were back again to the single-track trail before reaching the next Aid Station. Unknowingly, Chabby was few seconds behind us and we were together at the said Aid Station. However, he opted to stay behind as he changed his attire and wanted to rest for awhile. After refilling my bottles and eating some fruits, hard-boiled eggs, and rice delicacy, we were out of the Aid Station. The dreaded “Gulod De Medio” was already in my mind as I left the Aid Station! However, we passed another runner after about a kilometre away from the Aid Station. That makes me #11 and my partner as #10 as we battle the next ascent and the heat of the sun!

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Steepest Climb @ Gulod De Medyo

As my running “partner” and I were about to climb the “Gulod De Medio”, we saw a runner clad in black attire (with 2XU tights) in front of us within a distance of 20 meters. I made my pace faster with the intention to close the gap with between us with the runner in front of us. As we were in the steep ascent of the “Gulod De Medyo”, the runner saw us trying to get nearer to him but as soon as he reached the peak, he started to run faster! At the middle of the steep ascent, I started to slow down due to fatigue and the heat of the sun but I had to exert more effort but slowed my pace just to be able to reach the peak. I knew that as soon as I passed the peak, it was a gradual descent to the next Aid Station.

I took some Ice Cold Coke and native rice delicacy at the Aid Station and after refilling my water bottle, we left in a hurry! I knew that the course/route to the next Aid Station was a generally downhill. However, the heat of the sun was the one which prevented us from increasing our pace. At this point, it was our last 18 kilometres and in a matter of time, we would be able to reach the next Aid Station.

Finally, we reached the Aid Station and the lady volunteers were excited to see me that they asked me to have some pictures with them! Since I needed time to rest and ingest more food, I allowed them whatever pictures they could take while I was there. I guess, this is the Aid Station that I rested the longest time on the course because of the heat of the sun and the fact that the course will be uphill from this point to the next/last Aid Station. I ate drank a lot of Coke while ingesting two pieces of their local Suman with Latik which are bare (without any banana wrap). I thanked the lady volunteers for being there and for being able to serve us with the foods we needed. This one of the very reasons why I keep coming back in this race——very happy, very encouraging , and very helpful and beautiful lady volunteers!!!

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Fighting It Out With The Heat Of The Sun

I consider the next segment of the race as the hardest as one has to go uphill to the last Aid Station. It is not about the steepness of the segment but it is the continuous and gradual ascent that will force the runners to hike on the exposed portions of the road from the heat of the sun. This is where we could see again those who are trying to catch us from behind and from the distance we had made as a “buffer”, we can safely say that we will be able to maintain our rankings up to the finish line!

Reaching the last Aid Station was a relief as from this point, it is the last 7 kilometres of the course which is all downhill. We did not stay long in the Aid Station after we refilled our hydration bottles and ate some bananas. I carried a “Sakto” Bottle of Coke and my Handheld Bottle filled with water and I was confident that my liquid/water was enough for me up to the Finish Line but I was wrong! My running partner had to share some of his water and the Race Organizer had to place another Aid Station in about 3-4 kilometres from the Finish Line because of the heat of the sun. The descending portions of the course was steep and some are still rough with gravel and small rocks but the concrete pavement was too much for my knees but my legs were surprisingly prepared for the beating and pounding of my feet. My strides were short but quick and I was able to increase my pace as I took advantage of the gravity. It was the heat of the sun that really gave some problems to my body. However, I was prepared for it as I brought a lot of salt tablets and “coffee” candies; and really focused on my hydration strategy. The Aid Station at the last 3-4 kilometres was very helpful to everybody and I was able to regain my strength and keep my pace up to the finish line.

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Lots Of Ice @ The Aid Stations & Emergency Aid Stations

On the last 1.5 kilometres to the Finish Line, my running partner begged off that he should stop and slow down for awhile because of leg cramps and I replied to him that we should finish together. But he started to walk while I was maintaining my running pace. I guess, he was very courteous and respectful enough to offer the 10th place to me as a guest and a Senior Citizen! At the Finish Line, I found out the complete name of my running-partner, Marvin Sicat, who happens to be a close friend of one of my “pioneer” runners in the Bataan Death March 102 Ultra Marathon Race.

Finally, I crossed the Finish Line in 8:04:30 hours even if my plan was to finish in sub-8 hours with a ranking of 10th finisher. I was able to improve my time for almost 30 minutes and my overall ranking by 7 slots and I attribute my improvement to my quick turn-around at the Aid Stations; having a running partner/“pacer”; training with more “strides” and tempo runs on paved roads on the first two months; and later on the last month prior to the race on my hikes to mountains with higher altitude. My focused nutrition and hydration were also followed where I had to drink water regularly, eat solid foods in the Aid Stations, ingest my salt tablets regularly every hour, and regularly placing some coffee candies in my mouth.

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Crossing The Finish Line

The Zamboanga Runner’s Club and their Race Sponsors did an outstanding job for this race to be a successful one. I highly recommended this race to all my readers to this blog, most specially to those who are ultra runners, local or foreigners. It is worth the trip to Zamboanga City. Next year, I will be back!

https://www.facebook.com/notes/zamboanga-runners-club-ph/2nd-50k-zamboanga-mountain-ultramarathon-official-results/1463020747052863

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Swags: Nice Finisher’s Shirt & Heavy Finisher’s Medal





DNF @ 2016 Hardcore 100-Mile Mountain Trail Run

24 05 2016

DNF (Did Not Finish) @ 2016 Hardcore 100-Mile Trail Run

I have a lot of DNFs in my previous attempts to finish a 100-mile mountain trail run here and abroad and many are wondering why I would just simply finish one of my ROAD 100-mile ultras in my races and earn those buckles that I have designed. One of the important reasons why I insist on finishing a 100-mile trail run is because I have already transformed myself as a mountain trail runner after the conduct of the 1st Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Endurance Run. Since then, I limited my exposure to road racing as well as training on paved roads.

Maybe, my old age is fast catching up on my body that I need to spend more time in the mountains. However, more effort is exerted on my muscular and respiratory systems while I am in the mountains but after every run or hike I feel energized and more relaxed. It could be due to the following: the nice sights & scenery of the place where I came from, the clean and unpolluted air that I inhaled, or the variety of the ground where my feet would land that makes me more agile and fast in thinking. And the list gets longer with so many more reasons…

Fast Forward…The Hardcore 100-Mile Mountain Trail Run is very close to my heart as I was a part of the RD’s team to recon and measure the route for the first time within the duration of three consecutive days. We started in Kayapa, reached the peak of Mt Pulag, spent two nights in Balite, and then exited on the trailhead in Ambaguio, Nueva Viscaya and later linked up with our Support Team along the Maharlika Highway in Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya. We braved to fight the rains, the heat of the sun and the challenges of the mountainous terrain in Benguet and Nueva Viscaya. And the rest is history.

I made my first attempt to join the race in 2014 and I got lost on the first 14 kilometres due to error in judgment and arrived in Babadak Aid Station (Km #62) beyond the cut-off time of 16 hours. I was totally exhausted upon arrival at Babadak Aid Station even though I was well-prepared for the said event as I tried to catch-up from the loss of time I made from the Start to Pangawan. As compared this year, my preparation in terms of mileage and vertical distance is not even one-half of the mileage in put into the race in 2014.

I did not have any intention of joining this year’s Hardcore 100 but after my TransLantau 100 “abbreviated” finish last March where I was awarded only 2 UTMB points instead of 3 points, I decided to join the Four Lakes 100 where I could earn 3 UTMB points. I finished the Four Lakes 100K with a time of 26:45+ hours and it gave me the boost to try my luck again for the Hardcore 100 after asking the RD if I can still join the race. Instead of joining the TNF 100, I opted to join this year’s H1 Recon Run/Hike for me to familiarise again the first half of the route. Practically, my training for the event started immediately after I finished the Four Lakes 100 and I knew that the allotted time between FL 100 and H1 was not enough to gain more vertical distance and mileages appropriate for the event. But the hard-headed attitude in me prevailed and I know that any runner would not need “luck” to finish this race.

You may think that I was too ambitious to join this event and brave enough to toe the line with the rest of the Starters at the Starting Line but there is no shame in me because I am already 64 years (with nothing to prove anymore) and I would be happy to count the number of younger runners whom I could pass along the way which is, one or the other, would boost my morale to continue the race. So, my objective in this race was to catch up any runner whom I would see in front of me even if they are mountains ahead of me as long as I can see them and at the same time be able to build-up some buffer time before those designated cut-off times in the different checkpoints along the route.

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Hardcore 100 Route Map & Elevation Profile

The Journey To DNF

The race started at exactly 12:01 AM Friday, May 20, 2016 at the Kayapa Elementary School’s Multi-Purpose Covered Court with 134 starters for the Hardcore 100. Having considered myself as the Oldest Runner among the participants, I positioned myself at the back of the pack and started walking. I think I walked on the first 200 meters because it was an uphill along the Highway until we entered the trailhead which was a short downhill where I started to run and jog. I practically jogged the flatter part of the course and brisk-walked on those uphill climbs. I knew that it was an 8-kilometer distance of uphill before we reached the short climb to the trail of the “Mossy Forest”. However, upon reaching Km 7, it started to rain and I had to bring out my Patagonia Water-Proof Jacket to prevent my body from getting cold and wet. I was happy to see that there is a Marshal manning the short climb up to the Mossy Forest as this was where I got lost in 2014. I tried to run inside the Mossy Forest and I was comfortable with my pace until I was knocked down with a branch of tree that fell down years ago across the trail. I resumed with my run until I reached Pangawan and I refilled my bottle with water. The RD and the rest of the volunteers were there cheering us and telling us our split time as we arrived at the Aid Station. My time was 3:02 hours for 14 kilometres and I was 32 minutes late/slower from the “time plan chart” that I prepared and carried with me. Instead of losing hope, I have to think positively and made my brisk walking faster on the next 3 kilometers of uphill climb to Dayap.

I think I was able to shave off some minutes of my delay from Pangawan to Dayap because of better footing on the ground even if it was raining. The road has a concrete tire track and the exposed ground is too hard to become a muddy one as it was not saturated with the rain. I took advantage to improve my pace after leaving Dayap. However, the road to Banao (newly-graded for widening and improvement) became very muddy as more parts of the trail became ankle-deep mud with water. There are even landslides, too where barely one-foot of track could be passable on the edge of the mountain cliff. This made my pace slower even if I had the aid of my trekking poles to prevent me from sliding and landing on my butt on the ground.

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Cheat Sheet: Time Plan Reference For A 39-Hour Finish

Before reaching Banao, I was able to pass 8 runners and most of them did not have any trekking poles as they deliberately and slowly selected/chose the drier parts of the trail where they would avoid sliding on the muddy road. Even if the course profile on this part of the route is steeply going down, a runner would not dare to run a faster pace with the mud and slippery nature of the trail. So, instead of getting faster and improving one’s pace in this portion, I had to move slowly and deliberately instead of falling down and getting injured in the process. One false or mistake move on my part would mean a fracture or two on my ribs or bones. Better to be safe than landing in a hospital and giving a problem to the RD. One of the runners whom I passed just simply sat beside the trail wearing his raincoat and declared himself as DNF for having blurred vision! Before reaching Banao, the sun was already on the horizon, the rain had stopped and I could see signs from the cloud formation that the day will be a hot one!

As I looked at my watch, I was already delayed for almost one hour due to the muddy road (and slow start up to Pangawan) and decided to continue without dropping by at the Banao Aid Station. Knowing the different natural and free-flowing water sources along the trail, I was confident that I could easily refill my hydration bottles and bladder with water. It is a steep downhill run from the Banao Aid Station until you reach the bottom where one has to cross the 2nd Cable Hanging Bridge along the course. From the bottom, one has to go uphill again until one will be running along the edge of a mountain where on your left is a big & wide raging river. This is where you will pass the famous Sitio Happy, Kabayo where one will be running on the middle of a mini-rice terraces. Just be careful on your footing that you might land or fall down on the lower level rice terrace which has a height of at least 10-12 feet. There are more Cable Hanging Bridges to cross along this part of the course and be careful not to slip on those wooden planks. The course seem to be flat as the trail becomes flat as one has to run beside the raging river. Sometimes, you will run a flat trail with a narrow irrigation canal on your left side after passing the ABAT Elementary School until you reach a “meadow” where some houses are located. From the houses, it will be a deep descending part of small rocks on the trail where is a wooden fence on your right and a big trunk of fallen tree on the middle/left side of the trail. Take advantage of picking up your pace on these flat and descending parts of the course. After crossing the longest Cable Hanging Bridge in Kabayo, be ready for the next 7 kilometres of relentless climb up to the trail intersection/crossing of Napo-Tuyak which is still one kilometre away from the Aid Station/Checkpoint.

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The Longest Hanging Bridge Towards Napo-Tuyak

I started to slow down on the last 5 Kilometers to Napo-Tuyak because of the heat of the sun and the steep climb to the crossing/intersection before the Aid Station. It was only on the last 2 kilometres that I thought of ingesting some solid food and taking in my first Salt Tablets that I was able to recover some strength to beat the cut-off time in Napo-Tuyak by 2 minutes. The “pit stop” to eat and rest on the last 2 kilometres was costly that I squandered 20-25 minutes of my “buffer” time.

I was the #124th and last runner to arrive within the cut-off time of 11 hours at Napo-Tuyak (Km 45). How I wished there was an Ice Cold Coca-Cola drinks to greet me at the Aid Station but there was none. The newly-cooked Camote just arrived and I picked-up one or two pieces which were still hot to eat. I put them in my pocket and proceeded to the store where I could buy some Coke. After eating some solid foods and the newly-cooked camote with the Coke, I started my climb as the last runner to Grassland without any hope of arriving at the next Aid Station/Checkpoint within the cut-off time of 16 hours!

It is a consolation that it was my 4th time to trek on this very steep climb from Napo-Tuyak to Babadak no matter what time will I arrive at the next Checkpoint. There was still light as it was before sundown when I finally reached the Grassland. There is no need to bring out my Cellphone as I was here for so many times since started in trail running. From the Grassland, I was on a Hiking Mode to Babadak and hoping that I would be transported back immediately to Kayapa for my shower, tooth-brush, hot food and warm bed.

I missed the cut-off time of 16 hours in Babadak Aid Station/Checkpoint and I was declared “DNF” (Did Not Finish).

Things To Be Improved To Myself:

  1. Fighting With Age & Body Deterioration——I am so lucky and blessed that I’ve reached this age without any major illness or living a life while taking in some “preventive maintenance” drugs/medicines to buy more time in existence in this world. All I could do is to maintain my health/physique and continue what I love doing which is trail running and hiking up and down the mountains. I will be going back to Kayapa next year and finish this course and be declared as the “Oldest Finisher in this Event”.
  2. More Mileage, More Vertical Distance But More Rest——For one to successfully finish this race within the cut-off time of 40 hours, one needs the whole year to train and prepare for it. An average runner knows what is meant by periodization and one must follow this principle of training. For my age, I would strictly follow this principle and make the H1 as my A-1 Priority Race and consider the rest of the races of the year as part of my training and evaluation leading to this Main Event. The training cycle of 3-4 weeks will be observed as to give time for my body to rest and recover for the workouts I’ve put in to my body. Hopefully, I will be devoting more sleeping hours during the days and nights during my training period.
  3. Strengthening Exercises——My strengthening exercises and drills at the Gym for 4 weeks leading to the race complemented or substituted in some of my absences and missed trail running days in my weekly schedules. I did not feel any attacks of cramps or tightening of my muscles on my legs and arms except for some pain on my lower back which needs more “core exercises” during my climb from Napo-Tuyak to Grassland. I think those gym workouts which were concentrated on my leg muscles to include my butt muscles had greatly helped in my run and hike without any signs of any pain or developing any injury to my legs.
  4. Tool or Devise To Remind Me To Eat——I usually use the “beep” sound of my watch every time I complete one mile as a reminder for me to take in my liquid and food but most of the time, I would not hear the sound while on the run. There are times also that I become hard-headed not to drink or eat even if I hear the sound and focus more on what I see in front of me while running. I think I have to practice or train on this using my iPhone as a reminder device or use my iPod music, too! My faster pace between Banao to Kabayo and then to Napo-Tuyak contributed on my lack of concern on my nutrition to the point that I forgot that I had with me in my Hydration Pack lots of Clif Chews which could be eaten easily and gave me the needed energy just like when I ran the TransLantau 100. Age is catching so fast on my memory that I forgot also to take my Salt Sticks/Tablets on the early part of the race when the sun was out and I was sweating profusely and only to remember to take in some when I was about to be totally drained from my energy on the last 2 kilometers to Napo-Tuyak! Next year, this thing will never happen again! Can anybody suggest those “talking” Applications to be downloaded for my iPhone?
  5. Weather, Expect For The Worst——I’ve used my ALTRA Superior 2.0 in my successful runs for the Translantau 100 and Four Lakes 100 but it did not perform well on muddy and slippery trails of H1. Aside from not being aggressive on holding my feet from sliding on muddy trails, the insole kept on folding-up front inside my shoes! I thought that a lump of mud had accumulated inside my shoes that I had to dip my feet/shoes on every running water I could pass along the route just to remove the mud inside. I had some slips but I was glad I had trekking poles to balance myself. I think I have to go back to my Inov-8 Mudclaw or New Balance Trail Shoes with Vibram Soles if this event will be scheduled on this part of the year where I would anticipate some rains during the event. As with my Patagonia Jacket, it passed flying colours on what it is used for as a raincoat and warmer outfit to prevent me from the cold winds in the Grassland. I have used a The North Face Waterproof Jacket during my Recon Hike two weeks before the race as it rained from Napo-Tuyak to Grassland and it passed with flying colours, too!
  6. Trekking Poles——I used my almost 4-year old Black Diamond Trekking Poles which is 120 cm in length. I used them in my past TNF Races, Mt Ugo Marathon, Translantau 100s, Four Lakes 100, and CM50 editions and they are very useful. Now that I am becoming an expert on the use of trekking poles, I feel that I need a longer one in size for more stability. I will buy the same brand of trekking poles with 130 cm in length.
  7. Need For More Speed On The Trail——Hardcore 100 is a very unique mountain trail running event. One has to need some Speed or Faster Pace on the first half of the race and then maintain a comfortable jog-walk pace on the second half of the race. If you don’t have a “buffer time” of 3 hours upon reaching the Napo-Tuyak Aid Station/Checkpoint (Km 45), be ready to DNF at the Babadak Aid Station/Checkpoint (Km 62). If you are arrive at the Babadak Aid Station within the cut-off time of 16 hours in good condition, you have a 50-50 chance of finishing the race within the 40 hours cut-off time. In order to have a “buffer time” of 3 hours at Napo-Tuyak, I have to run an average pace of 5.6 kilometres per hour from the Starting Line up to Napo-Tuyak! Considering the total gain in elevation of about 13,000+ feet within the distance of 45 kilometres, the said pace is a very fast one for me. In my training, I could only manage to have my fastest average pace up to 4.9 kilometers per hour with a lower total gain in elevation by almost 3,000 feet. I have one year to improve my average pace appropriate for the first 45K of the course, hopefully! This will be the first thing that I will improve on in order to have a greater chance of finishing the race.
  8. More Recon & Visits To The Route—-Aside from doing more practice runs on the first 62 kilometres of the route (Start to Babadak), it is also a “must” to know and feel how it is like to run and hike from Napo-Tuyak back to Dayap (Km 102) during nighttime. From Dayap to the Finish Line is the “reverse” version of the Four Lakes 100 route but there is still challenge to it as one has to reach the peak of Mt Ugo before going to the Finish Line. Hopefully, I will be able to do my practice runs and hikes by segment or section on this part of the route when the body is already weak and exhausted. We will see!

As a closing note in this post, I know that there are so many younger, stronger, and more experienced trail runners who have declared themselves as DNF in this race, to include our foreign friends/neigboring countries’ mountain trail runners who have finished other challenging races in other parts of the world and this Hardcore 100 event is something that we could be proud of. This international event could not be possible without the vision and advocacy of Jonel Mendoza and his Team to bring Sports Tourism in this part of the country and establish an added economy for the people of Kayapa and its environs. Let us support this event whether you are a trail runner or a volunteer and hopefully, the government and/or private entities will come into play and be aware of this event and come up with “projects” or establishments for better living conditions and accommodations for the people joining this event.

And for those local Pinoy Runners, Men & Women,  who took the Podium Finish Positions and up to the Top Ten Overall Ranking, they have proven that they could Break The Course Record in the previous year/s and even performed well within the standards of the world’s elite international trail runners. This outstanding performance of our Local Trail Runners shows and proves that we can compete among the top international elite trail runners in the world. I just hope that our local as well as our multi-national Outdoor Corporate Brands and Private Business Establishments, and of course, our Government will have the INITIATIVE and CONCERN to bring these outstanding trail runners to international competitions and exposure.

To those who experienced running in this event and about to join  this most challenging trail running event in the country, always remember, you came to join this event not to brag to have tried or finished it but you came here to prove that you can endure the most painful experience you can inflict on to yourself because of mountain trail running…thus, you will know more about yourself and what you are capable of from the strength of your mind and body.

Congratulations to those who endured the pain and victorious to have defeated the mountains and had successfully finished the race. To those who failed, we have one year to prepare, train, and save some money.

See you next year!





Race Report: KOTM’s Four Lakes 100K Mountain Trail Race (Part 2)

7 04 2016

In about one month, I will turn to a 64-year old mountain trail runner and I have accepted the reality that I am getting old and about to retire from ultra mountain trail running with the hope to leave some legacy to the next generation of runners, most especially to the local ultra runners. I also accepted the fact that I am becoming the “cut-off time chaser” in all my past international ultra races. But for the past months, I improved on my nutrition strategy; more rest and recovery in my training; and getting smarter during races. And because of these reasons, I became more confident to finish the ultra races that I intended or scheduled to join this year. I guess, I might not retire in the near future after all.

I was surprised with my performance in last month’s Translantau 100K in Hongkong even if I was stopped at Km 90 due to severe weather conditions in the mountains. If only the race was not stopped by the Race Organizer, I would have improved my previous finish time last year by one hour or more. Instead of earning 3 UTMB Points, all of us who were stopped along the course were considered as Official Finishers and were given 2 UTMB Points. Due to this setback to earn 9 UTMB Points in 3 Ultra Races, I decided to join the 2016 KOTM’s Four Lakes 100K (FL 100) Trail Run and earn 3 UTMB Points from it.

Here are the reasons why I did good in this race:

More Time To Recover & Rest—-The Translantau 90K that I’ve finished 2 weeks before the FL 100, became my “peak LSD” in preparation for the said race. And the last 50K LSD “heat training” that I did one week before the race was my taper run. Within those two weeks, I did two sessions of leg workouts and the rest were devoted to rest and more sleep. However, before the Translantau 100, I finished the Condura Skyway Marathon (42K) and my Fort Magsaysay To Dingalan 65K Ultra Marathon Race.

Total Elevation Gain——As a mountain trail runner, this is the most important factor to consider in one’s training and looking at the data gathered and recorded by my Suunto Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch, I was able to satisfy the suggested Total Elevation Gain that I have to attain within a certain distance. For example, if the 100K trail course has a total elevation gain of 15,000 feet, one must be able to train in a course that has at least, a total elevation gain of 1.500 feet within a distance of 10 Kilometers, 3,000 feet in 20 Kilometers, and so on. My playground offers a Total Elevation Gain of 2,100 feet within a distance of 8 kilometers and if I extend it to 22 kilometers, I would attain a total elevation gain of 4,250 feet! This explains why I have the endurance to go up to the peak of any mountain during races.

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Four Lakes 100 Elevation Profile From SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch

Nutrition & Hydration Strategy——Don’t wait till you feel you are hungry or thirsty that you start ingesting your food or drink your water/hydration mix. To be safe, once my GPS Watch beeps to register that I have completed ONE MILE (1.6 Kilometers), it usually reminds that I have to eat a bite food or drink my hydration mix. If I have an average speed of 3 miles per hour, then I would hear 3 beeps within the hour which means that I ingest any solid food and drink my water 3 times within the hour. Drinking and Eating are done while on the move which I usually do during my training runs.

Train Heavy, Race Light——I usually bring a lot of water during my training runs but in my races, I only carry enough water to sustain me in between the Aid Stations. But I carry my CarboPro mix packs which I programmed to sustain me for the whole course in my pack. For this race, I carried 12 packs (1 pack/serving in every two hours of running/hiking) but in the end, I only used 7 packs for the whole course. The pack that I carried during the which consisted of the mandatory kits and extra solid foods which was lighter in weight than the pack that I carry in my training runs.

Running Kit——The ASICS Running Shorts that I’ve been using in my ultra trail races since last year’s CM50 is becoming my favourite and my best running shorts so far. The ALTRA Superior 2.0 which I used in Translantau 100 is becoming my favourite choice for my 100K trail races, too! My Salomon 5-liter Advance Skin 3 Pack with its accessible pockets had been also helpful that I could easily reach for my bite foods and candies while on the move. My reliable PETZL Tikka XP which is very light gave me more confidence to run during nighttime.

Reduction of Stop Time in the Aid Stations——It would have been smarter not to stay long in the Aid Stations but I committed some mistakes in having unnecessary “long breaks” in between Aid Stations to sit and eat my food. My experience in the FL 100 taught me some lessons and with the hope to improve on them in my next races.

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SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak Data

Looking at the data that had been recorded by my SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch, I will have to improve on my average pace by eliminating some of the mistakes that I’ve committed in this race. I think I brought so many CarboPro Packs and bite foods in my pack. My lack of knowledge on the route from East Market Proper to Dayap made me slower during the race. I think I was also overdressed when the heat of the sun was at its strongest along this part of the route. Hopefully, I will be able to correct all these mistakes on my next race!

FL 100 Results

Ranked #109 Out Of 127 Finishers

I will be back to this race next year!








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