Hike & Run To Mt Baldy (2016)

24 08 2016

Almost every time I visit and stay in Los Angeles, California, I always make a schedule to trek to the peak of Mt Baldy. I have read a lot of blogs and FB status of running friends in Los Angeles that they would go and hike up to the peak of the said mountain. One of my ultra running friends, Benjamin Gaetos, is a regular visitor of this place and one time, I asked him for directions in going to Mt Baldy. And he generously stated the directions and the things to be required to be able to park ones vehicle near the trailhead. This was 4-5 years ago. From then, I was a regular visitor/hiker to Mt Baldy (Mt San Antonio).

Coming from Downtown, Los Angeles, I would drive to Highway 2 North and enter Highway 134 until it merges to Highway 210 East going to Pasadena up to Azusa/La Verne area. I have to exit at Baseline Road, turn Left at the Stop Light/Intersection and then drive towards Padua Street. At Padua Street, turn Right until I would reach the Mt Baldy Road. Turn right at Mt Baldy Road and go north, passing through the big lawns and nice houses in Claremont, until I would reach Manker Flats. A few yards (along the paved road) above Manker Flats, there is a road on the left with Portalets and within the said vicinity is where anybody could park their personal vehicle. The trailhead is the start of the road called “Mt San Antonio (Baldy) Falls Road”.

San Antonio Falls Trailhead

San Antonio Falls Trailhead (BR’s Photo)

Trailhead

Trailhead With Four (4) Portalets (BR’s Photo)

However, one has to display an “Adventure Pass” on Dashboard of the Vehicle to be able to park in this hiking destination. The “Adventure Pass” can be bought in any of the REI Stores in Los Angeles and some of the Outdoor Stores in the area. It costs $35 which is valid for One Year. One-time Day Pass is also available for the price of $5.

Parking Trailhead

Parking Area (Side Of The Road). Adventure Pass Needed (BR’s Photo)

On my first hike, I would follow the “Fire/Dirt Road” going up to the mountain from the trailhead by following where the Ski Lift would end. At the end of the Ski Lift which has commercial establishments and Public Toilet, I would turn left on another Dirt Road that would lead me to the Devil’s Backbone Trail, Mt Harwood, and to the peak of Mt Baldy. Round Trip distance would be 14 miles and it would take me almost 8 hours for the first time that I hiked to the peak.

Commercial Establishments

Ski Lift Commercial Establishment/Water Refilling Station (BR’s Photo)

But later on, on my yearly visits, I would be introduced by running friends on some of the shorter distance and steeper trails towards to the peak of the mountain.

For this year’s visit, it will be my 5th visit to “peak bag” the mountain. And I could make it with my 6th “peak bag” before I would leave Los Angeles for Manila.

Rowell Ramos, an ultrarunner from Los Angeles, invited me to join their group, for my 5th hike to the said mountain. For Rowell and his friends, it is their “bread & butter” as they would peak bag the mountain almost every week. Rowell would sometimes hike alone by starting early in the morning and then before 10:00 AM, he is done with his hike.

2016 Mt Baldy 14

Very Steep Trail & Impossible To Run Or Jog

I joined Rowell, Peachy Poso, and Rico Bagayawa on this hike which was done on the first Saturday of August 2016. We met and assembled at Manker Flats at 6:00 AM and we started to hike as soon as possible. We took the steepest trail leading to Mt Baldy where we veered left after hiking along the Mt Antonio Falls Road for about a mile. But before going to the said mountain, we “peak bagged” Mt Harwood first which is one mile away from Mt Baldy. This “new” trail experience was very challenging as I have to stop along the way for me to adjust slowly to a higher elevation. For the past weeks before this hike, I’ve been running on the road and never had the chance to accumulate vertical distance in preparation for this hike. However, slowly along the way, I was able to adjust my breathing as I positioned myself at the back of the group.

2016 Mt Baldy 18

Brief Rests & Stops To Adjust The Body To Higher Elevation

We started to meet the gusty winds from Mt Harwood but the wind temperature was not too cold that I would be able not to use my Windbreaker/Jacket. After a brief stop at the peak of Mt Harwood, we immediately proceeded to Mt Baldy. I was telling to the group that the same intensity of the wind was the same wind that stopped the race in this year’s TransLantau 100 in Hongkong. After a short descent from Mt Harwood, we were on our final assault to the peak of Mt Baldy. After 30 minutes of relentless hike, we finally reached the marker of San Antonio or popularly known as “Mt Baldy”.

2016 Mt Baldy 17

Short Downhill Run From Mt Harwood

It is self-explanatory that the mountain is called as such because it is devoid of any kind of vegetation, except for a few shrubs on the side of the mountain. From a distance, you can see see its peak as whitish in color.

I think we stayed at the peak for about 30 minutes, taking some of our pictures and talking to some of the other hikers who happen to be friends of Peachy Poso. I was able to eat my energy bar and drink some of my water.

2016 Mt Baldy 16

Final Assault To The Peak Of Mt Baldy

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Finally, At The Peak of Mt Baldy (Rico, Rowell, Peachy, & BR)

We were trying to locate where Mt Baden-Powell was located in relation to Mt Baldy as the 2016 Angeles Crest 100-Mile Endurance Run was being held on that day that we were in Mt Baldy. I was supposed to be in that race but because of lack of training, I opted not to join the said race.

From the peak, we descended via the Devil’s Backbone Trail all the way to the Ski Lift Commercial Area. Since it was all descending trail, we took advantage to run and jog until we reached the commercial establishment. We had some water refill on the public faucet and ate some Empanada brought by Rowell Ramos. After a brief rest, Rowell and Peachy had to continue their trek to the Triple T Peaks which is another 10 miles before reaching the trailhead while Rico and I had to return to the Mt Baldy Falls Road Trailhead which has a distance of 3.5 miles from the Ski Lift Commercial Center.

2016 Mt Baldy 13

Descending Run From Mt Baldy

2016 Mt Baldy 12

Running Along The Devil’s Backbone Trail (Do not look at your sides!)

Rico and I were done before noon time and we parted ways. I was able to hike and run a distance of 10.4 miles with a total elevation of 4,937 feet. The details of my hike & run could be seen here—https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1291507392.

2016 Mt Baldy 15

Filipino Empanada As Trail Food

I promised to be back to this mountain for another solo hike and run before leaving for Manila.

If you happen to be in Los Angeles and would like to hike a mountain, Mount San Antonio (Mt Baldy) is a must!

(Note: Pictures and Empanada Were Provided By Rowell Ramos)





Why I Hate “Selfies” In Running Events

17 08 2016

In my early years of joining running events, which is about 40 years ago, runners then were not particular with their pictures before, during, and after finishing a race. What was important to them was to finish the race, get their Certificate of Finish and hoping that the race result will be published in the daily newspapers. It was only the Top Male & Female picture that would be featured in the next day’s newspapers, if the race is a Marathon distance. It was only the Marathon Races that award Finisher’s Medal to the runners!

Now that we are in the Age of the Internet and Social Media, the tendency is that you need an evidence that you are participating in a running event by posting a picture of yourself in the Internet/Social Media showing that you are really in the said event. Added to this is a “bragging right” to your friends that you are really a legitimate endurance athlete. No evidence, no “bragging rights”! And the more your pictures is being SHARED and have LIKES, the better for you that your feat is being recognized.

Let me define what I mean by “selfies” or a “selfie” picture. “Selfies” are those pictures taken by ones digital camera or cellphone’s camera where you click the shutter button by yourself with your face or body and the surroundings as a product/result in the said picture. Sometimes, I can consider “selfie” pictures when I see runners stopping by the trail or road to take a picture of the scenery or the surroundings. I don’t consider “selfie” pictures taken by official photographers as well as pictures taken by the support crew or pacer of a runner.

Let me then tell you the reasons why I hate “selfies” in running events and they are the following:

  1. Runners taking “selfies” with another runner on the background or taking a “selfie” behind another runner don’t ask permission to take a picture of you as the background. Most of the time on these “selfies”, they would show that I was walking or having some “low/down moments” when these pictures are taken while the one taking the “selfie” is smiling or laughing happily behind my back or in front of me. Just imagine what the picture would depict if it is posted in the social media.
  2. It slows me and breaks my racing momentum in races. Ok, I admit that I am a very positive person and I don’t say “No” to the requests of other runners to have a “selfie” during a race. But for God’s sake, please don’t ask for a “selfie” with me at the peak of a mountain in a trail race if I am about to continue my run to proceed on the descending/downhill part of the course. As a rule, never ask another runner for a “selfie” during the race. Every runner has their goal to finish the race as fast as they can and that is the simple essence of race!
  3. “Selfies” or pictures taken at the Turn-Around Points in trail runs are also annoying as it delays the momentum of a runner. Simply have the Race Marshal on these points/locations to take note or write the Bib Number and time of arrival of the runner and don’t delay the runner from finishing the race. Just imagine if you are in a group of 4-6 runners in that turn-around point and each runner would wait for his/her turn for him to pose a picture showing that he/she actually reached or passed the said place!
  4. In the Aid Stations, Race Marshals and Volunteers should not take “selfies” with the runners while they are being helped with their food and while refilling their hydration bottles or packs. These requests for “selfies” would alter or disturb the runner’s focus on what he decides to do in the Aid Station at the fastest time possible. Once a runner’s focus is unnecessarily disturbed, his or her temper would spike most specially if his target time to reach that Aid Station/Checkpoint is not met. To be safe, never ask a “selfie” to those who are fast and runners who are focused to improve their finish time/s in a race. Moreso, if they are elite international runners or “good-looking” lady international runners.
  5. Let it be known that even if I am already 64 years old, I am still a competitive runner. Having said this, I have target pace, speed, and finish time in all the races that I join. I would be happy and contented to race with the younger runners in road and in trail races, whether they are non-ultra or ultra distance events. So, a simple delay for a “selfie” would be a reason for my targets to be altered, resulting to slow performance or sometimes, bad temper!
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I am already tired!

So, what is my advise on “selfies” or taking of pictures during the race?

  1. If you want to improve your PR in a certain race, leave your cellphone/camera behind. Aside from being a distraction (of taking selfies/pictures), carrying a cellphone or camera adds weight to your body.
  2. If you have a blog or planning to document your races and need to have some pictures of scenery or places along the race route, do a recon run along the route and you can have all the time to take pictures along the route. On race day, your only goal is to focus to finish the race without any distractions.
  3. If you are a fast runner, you have all the time to take your pictures but do not distract or interrupt other runners and request them to take your picture or ask them to have “selfies” with you. In one of my trail races, a runner in front of me suddenly stopped along a single-track descending part of the route and requested me to take a picture of him that I wanted to deny his request. But I just smiled and did the favour to take a picture of him…not once but three times!
  4. In international races, don’t be stoked to world-class/elite runners by asking them to have “selfies” with them during the race. You can have “selfies” with them during the Race Briefing (a day before the race) or after the Race. These international elite ultra runners are kind and easy to talk with as they would accommodate a “photo-ops” with them once you request them to have one. I never had any problem talking to these people before and after the race.
  5. In races where one of the mandatory gears is a cellphone, the cellphone is a gear that is very vital for your survival just in case of any emergency/accident or serious injury that will happen to you. Bringing out ones cellphone to take pictures of the scenery and “selfies” adds up to the extra time spent in the course, most specially if you are “cut-off time beater” like me. If you successfully finished the race within the prescribed cut-off time, you can register again for the next year’s edition if you intend to run it faster and have a chance to take selfies during the race.
  6. You must be warned also with runners who intentionally request you to have “selfie” with them must specially if you running ahead of them. This kind of runner will destroy or impede your momentum in the race and after taking a “selfie” and making some time to pack or stow your cellphone or camera in your pocket, the one who requested you to have a “selfie” with your will just leave you without even saying “thank you”. Just when you realised that you have been tricked by this runner for stopping, you would see him almost one hundred yards ahead of you with a blistering pace.

“Selfies” are already a “norm” in most of the Social Media outlets and platforms and they are already part of being a runner and as an avid outdoor adventurer. But if you don’t have any time to beat, it is fun and self-satisfying because it creates memories to your activities or events.

With or without “selfies” running is still fun but don’t do it to me when I am racing.

Go out and run!

H1 Recon 02

Smiling But Actually Tired





Blogging Reboot (2016)

15 08 2016

Starting with this post I am back again with my blogging.

Thinking back almost nine (9) years ago, I started this blog to document or journalize my daily running activities; write Race Reports in my running events (whether I am a participant or a Race Director); try to remember and document my previous running experiences; and re-post whatever running resources or information I have read in the books that I’ve purchased and read and what I’ve read in the Internet. Sometimes, I would post my personal opinion on what has transpired in the running world, whether it is within the local or in the country and in the international arena.

So, I am going back to what I know about blogging——sharing and letting my readers know what is happening to me in my running workouts, activities, and adventures. From time to time, I would also share things that are important or worth knowing in the field of running (specially on ultra running).

However, this blog will remain as the main source of information on the Ultra Races that I organise and direct.

I will not be competing with my Facebook account but in essence this blog will be “What is on my mind…about running”.

Now, it is time to go out and run!

Trail Running In Kayapa, Benguet, Philippines

Trail Running In Kayapa, Benguet, Philippines





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!





Race Report: 2015 Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Ultra Trail Run (CM50)

25 11 2015

There are three (3) important things or information that I would like to report on this challenging ultra trail run here in the Philippines: First, I finished this race with a faster time as compared to my last year’s performance; Second, This is my third consecutive finish and I am on my way of getting the most coveted Baddest Ass Award for this event with two more editions to finish; and Third, I am still the Defending Oldest Finisher for three consecutive years for this Event.

Even if there is no specific award for the Oldest Finisher for this race, I am sure that I will be the First Senior Citizen to have coveted the Baddest Badass Award before the end of 2017. And maybe, it will mark my “retirement” from ultra trail running. Just maybe!

As compared to my last year’s five-month training preparation, I have a shorter training period for this year which are mostly done on the road, oval track, and hiking in the mountains on the first month of my 4-month training period. However, on the last six weeks/peak period, almost all my training long runs were done on the road, specifically on the road races that I have Race Directed since the middle of September. My Mt Batolusong 25K Trail Run participation was a test to validate my new nutrition strategy and narrow down the things that I need in a hot environment. However, I had more time to work on on my core and to rest/sleep as recovery for my running on the pavement.

Last year’s Race Report on my second time finish on this event was very detailed and it was divided into four (4) parts and I believe that this is now considered as the number one resource or reference material for those “newbies”/”first-timers” for the CM50-Mile Event. I will not go through to the detailed description of the course and the usual “section-by-section” narrative of my experience on this Race Report but rather state or tell those significant things that made me faster and more efficient in my finish this time. The following are the things that I’ve considered and applied during the race:

  1. Simplicity and Being Light—One week before the race, I’ve decided to use my two-year old New Balance MT  Minimus 1010v2 Trail Shoes which is very light (240 grams per shoe) and it proved to be the best shoes for this kind of trail running. Believe me, there was no grain of lahar that penetrated its upper mesh and therefore, its lightness did not change throughout the race. I did not use any Hydration Vest but I’ve used three (3) Simple Hydration Bottles with only one bottle filled with my nutrient mix (Carbo Pro) diluted with water; one bottle of Carbo Pro Powder only; and one empty bottle as my previsionary “Water Cup”. It was only from the AS4 to the Peak that the three (3) Simple Hydration Bottles were filled with Carbo Pro Mix and Water. On my way back to the Finish Line from AS3, I have one bottle filled with Carbo Pro mixed with water and one bottle filled with Water Only. Stashed in my UD Waist Belt Pockets are two (2) Clif Meal Bars & Whistle. I was not wearing a pair of Calf Sleeves.
  2. Familiarity of the Route—One month before Race Day, I went up to the “peak” and Miyamit Falls for a training run. It was on this run that I was able to “program” and plan for my hydration and nutrition requirements. I was able to register also my Average Pace on this part of the course in order for me to determine the “timeline” on each part of the course (from Km #24 to Km #56). I found out that I must be able to leave AS3 on my way to the Finish Line not later than 2:00 PM (13 hours elapsed time) so that I have enough “buffer time” before the cut-off time of 18 hours.
  3. Simple/Light Nutrition—-Eating a Full Meal (Rice & Meat “Adobo”/Beef Steak) before the Start of the Race (30 minutes before) with hydration (water + Carbo Pro), proved that I could last for the first 3 hours without any hydration or food intake. I took two (2) packs of Clif Bloks and One Meal Bar for the whole duration of the race. I would place a Coffee Candy in my mouth regularly in order to maintain a little sugar to my saliva. In every Aid Station, I would drink a lot of water and Coke/Sprite and ingest a number of watermelon bites. I never used the two (2) Sports Gels stashed in my gloves during the race. I did not have any Drop Bags, instead, I used a “FlipBelt” where I stashed my CarboPro Powder Mix and Clif Bloks.
  4. Heat Training & Hydration Strategy Training—One month before the Race Day, I’ve conditioned myself to start drinking my water after running 10 miles (16 kilometres) under the heat of the sun. Yes, I would carry a lot of water on my vest and waist during my training runs but I would finish my workout with only one-third being consumed. I suspect that my practice of ingesting Succeed Salt Capsules (it started last August this year) during my training runs had helped conditioned my body to take in a limited amount of water even if I was sweating profusely without having a “bonking” feeling/situation.
  5. Focused On Moving Forward—I did not spend a lot of time staying on the Checkpoints and Aid Stations. I guess, two minutes of stay was my longest and it could be when I asked one of my running friends to take a picture of me at the “Turn-around” Point at Km #40 and another picture taking at the Miyamit Falls’ Checkpoint. The rest of my brief stops in the Aid Stations were purely on refilling my hydration bottles and mixing my nutrition powder. Instead of stopping in sari-sari stores for ice cold sodas along the populated areas, I opted to take a “quick shower” in a place where the locals were washing their clothes and it made my core and body to be more relaxed.

There are also things that made me slow down during the run. First, I’ve experienced “muscle cramps” on the groin area of my legs along the section AS4 to the Peak that I needed to slow down and hiked on this section. I expected this to happen as I knew I lacked the necessary total elevation gain in my training. This experience never happened in my previous two editions. Second, The heat of the sun slowed me down on the section from the Miyamit Falls to AS4 that I spent almost one hour for a section that is ONE MILE long, instead of power hiking it for about 25 minutes during my recon run. And of course, I carried all my gear down to the Falls from AS4 and back. From AS4 to AS3, I “power hiked” alone on the trail and started running downhill when another runner from behind was trying to pass me.

Looking at my Suunto GPS Watch once I arrived at AS3, I began to be in a “panic” mode knowing that I was registering an Average Pace of 3.0 miles per hour. I knew that it will take me five (5) hours to reach the Finish Line from this point. So, I started to run, jog and power hike until I was able to pass runners who were either lost, simply walking, resting on the side of the trail, or those who would stop in each of the Aid Stations or Convenience Stores along the way.

Finally, I finished the race with a time of 16:43:58 hours, faster than the time I had last year (17:50+), with a ranking of #87 among the 132 finishers within the cut-off time of 18 hours. I am still the Oldest Finisher of this race and I have the intention of defending this title for the next two years. Hopefully, I will get the most coveted Baddest Ass Award of this Event.

Crossing The Finish Line

Crossing The Finish Line With RD Jonnifer Lacanlale

Congratulations To All The Finishers and Thanks to RD Jonnifer Lacanlale and his staff/marshals/volunteers for a successful event.

The training for the next year’s edition will start next week. Keep on running!

 





Key Lessons On Ultrarunning From Ann Trason

2 10 2015

If you don’t know Ann Trason, then you are not an Ultrarunner. Before you type her name on Google, I would like to briefly mention that she was the Lady Champion of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run for 14 times after failing to finish the race on her first two attempts. She has also broken twenty (20) World Records On Ultrarunning during her career.

She is now a Running Coach of a Middle School in Berkeley, California; coach for a High School Track Team; a Race Director; and an On Line Ultrarunning Coach. She is also a columnist/writer for the Ultrarunning Magazine where this post was taken/copied. The following is the complete copy of the “Ask Ann” Column in the said magazine.

Ann Trason

Ann Trason

Dear Ann,
Now that you’re a coach, are there some, key lessons you pass down from your own coaches?
—Michael

Dear Michael,

I have always loved being a student of the sport—reading, asking questions, trying new things and learning what worked for me. I have been fortunate to have had several coaches who helped fill in gaps in the complex puzzle we call ultrarunning. Your question gets me thinking about the one who did the most to make me the runner and coach I am. Here are 17 lessons I learned from my favorite coach.

Consistency My coach made sure I would get out and do something every day, every week, every month, year after year. Sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little, occasionally fast, often very slow. Consistent training yields consistent racing.

Smile Happiness is infectious. She taught me that no matter how tough the day, there is always something to smile about. How can I mope about something going wrong when it makes such a great story to tell my friends?!

Passion I learned that a good coach must be as passionate as her runner. She made it obvious that she shared my passion for running.

Adaptability I always admired her instinctive ability to accept and instantly adapt as situations changed. We all have that ability buried inside us. I’ve worked hard to let it out.

Running is play, not work I have no idea how many miles I’ve run in my career. I can thank my coach for that. She viewed running as a chance to play. For her, there was no focus on checking the pace, tracking the miles, counting the hills. A good run was being out there having fun.

Positive attitude My coach never scolded me, never barked orders. She did give me a sly look occasionally when I did something wrong, but it was always to encourage me to do something better.

Relax let yourself run free. My coach had a naturally beautiful running form. Just watching her glide along, no tension, no unnecessary motion, made me a better runner.

Keep it simple My coach was always about simplicity. She was not into fancy gear. It was simple running.

Don’t overthink things She taught me to never overthink my running.

A steady trot is the fastest way to cover ground I’ve never been the fastest runner, nor the most talented. My coach helped me learn to run steady, mile after mile, never worrying about the other runners or the terrain ahead.

Enjoy the journey For my coach, it was always about the journey, not the destination.

Explore new places My coach made sure we searched for new trails, trotted across green meadows and bounded up hills just because they were there.

Stop to sniff the flowers My coach taught me to look around, smell the fresh air and feel the breeze blowing my hair. No matter how long or hard a run I had scheduled, there was always time to take in the unexpected view.

Get wet Every stream, every lake is a chance to refresh yourself with a quick dip.

Enjoy the moment There are times in life when we need to run long and hard. There are other times when the best thing to do is sit quietly at the edge of a meadow. In either case, enjoy the moment.

Passing the torch Seeing her love of running increased my desire to give back to the sport by mentoring and coaching others.

Unleash your potential There are times to hold back, but there comes the moment when you need to take off the leash and let yourself run free.





Things That Went Right During The Zamboanga 50K Run

1 10 2015

Since it is the first PAU-sponsored event in Zamboanga City and being the one who suggested this event to be conducted, I have to join this race as one of the participants. It is also a part of my “evaluation runs” to test if my training program is working and to determine some feedback on the improvements of my speed, endurance, and nutrition. Lastly, it is also a way of sharing my experience to my readers, hoping that one day they will be a part of this race.

The following are the things that went right (nothing went wrong) during my race:

  1. Nutrition & Hydration——It is the most important thing that one have to plan and have a strategy to be strictly followed. Although there are Aid Stations along the route, I was not well-informed on the details and what kind of drinks and food that are available in the race. Although, I have a general idea of what to expect in those Aid Stations. So, I brought my own “mini-nutrition pack” stashed in my Ultimate Direction (UD) Belt. I had 2 Packs of Clif Bloks (one pack in the UD Belt & one pack in my shorts front pocket); one Meal Bar (in my UD Belt); and two (2) GU Gels stashed in my shorts back pockets. I have also a CarboPro mix (with water) in my Simple Hydration Bottle and 2 Packs of it in my other Simple Hydration Bottle and in a tiny 3-oz bottle (without liquid). I brought with me two (2) Simple Hydration Bottles where one of it is filled with CarboPro Mix without water and the other one with water mixed with CarboPro. Both bottles were clipped with my UD Belt and placed on the back of my waist. A reserve CarboPro powder was inside a 3-oz bottle which is stashed in one of the pockets of my UD Belt.

My Nutrition & Hydration Strategy went this way: Eat 3 pieces of Clif Bloks every hour or when I feel hungry; sip my Carbo Pro mix every time my GPS watch makes a “beep” sound which tells me that I just finished one mile which is approximately equivalent to 14-16 minutes; drink at least 16-oz of cold water in each of the Aid Stations; eat something solid and fruits in the Aid Stations; take one Succeed S-Cap Capsule every 1.5 hours; and then mix the remaining CarboPro mix with Gatorade Drinks. The routine was repetitive and boring but it was the key for having successfully finished the race without any issues or problems.

CarboPro Powder Mix

CarboPro Powder Mix

2. Run Light——I did not use a hydration vest in this race and I only used my UD Belt where I stashed my IPhone and my food/mix powder. I was practically running with one Simple Hydration Bottle with liquid in it entire the race. I would have been lighter if I did not bring my Clif Protein Bar and two (2) GU Gel Packs but these food were my “reserves” just in case of any “bonking” during the race. I was using my Hoka One One Huaka which is more of Road Shoe but it is the lightest shoes that I can use for this race. No need for Calf Sleeves; Arm Sleeves; or Gaiters for this run.

3. Metronome——For the past months, whether it is a trail run workout or speed workout on the flat paved roads, I would use the Metronome Application stored/downloaded in my iPhone. This is the very reason why I had my IPhone with me with only one earbud on either on my right or left ear during the race. Metronome Application is now available Free for download and it is very useful in my making sure I was consistent in my running cadence. My Metronome is set at 180 steps per minute and the “tick-tock” sound could be easily followed every time I step each foot on the ground. Since my steps are short, quick and fast, I could easily keep in step with the beat. In the early 70s whenever I join Marathon Races, I’ve been using a metronome which was installed in earlier models of TIMEX/CASIO Running watches where there was no need for earphones. The continuous beat would remind or motivate you to keep up with your cadence during the run. Try it in your training runs and you will be surprised on how fast you can keep up with your pace. Additionally, it will generate constant reminder and at the same time distract the pain and suffering you are experiencing during the run. Whether I am the in the ascending or descending parts of the route, the metronome reminded me to maintain my cadence even if I was power hiking on the ascents.

The Actual Metronome

The Actual Metronome

4. Heart Rate Monitor——As soon as I reached the first peak of the course (Km #7), my HR reached its highest Average Record of 163 beats per minute (bpm) which happens to be my Maximum Heart Rate as shown by my Suunto Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch. I made a quick stop and rest at AS 1 by drinking some water and eating a suman (rice cake). It was a quick stop just to lower my HR and after about a minute, I continued the race by walking and only started to jog again when my HR was lowered to 150 bpm. Throughout the race, I was monitoring HR every mile and I was satisfied that I was able to maintain an average of 150 beats per minute and would not exceed my Maximum Heart Rate of 163 bpm in the steep ascents. Through my HR Monitor, I did not feel any tiring moments even when I was hiking up the “Gulod de Medyo” area.

5. Electrolytes & Salt Tablets——Aside from the CarboPro mix, I used one tablet of GU Electrolyte Tablet every bottle of mixed drinks and constantly orally had taken Succeed S-Caps Capsule every 1.5 hours throughout the race. While my drink mix maintain the continuous replenishment of electrolyte loss through excessive sweating, the S-Cap Capsules made me pee regularly and try to give some feedback on the color of my urine if I am dehydrated or not. This combination of Electrolyte Tablets and S-Caps had been very effective to me in my training for the past 2 months.

6. Quick & Short Stops In The Aid Station——Except for the “turn-around” points where I refilled my bottles (with the CarboPro & Electrolyte Tablet inside) with Gatorade, ate some foods, and drink at least one bottle of 16-oz mineral water and some Cola drinks, where I would spend at least 3 minutes, the rest of the Aid Stations were short and quick to pick-up some bottled water to drink and then leave to continue the race. I think I spent not more than 2 minutes in these remaining Aid Stations during the race. I ate my Clif Bloks and then drinking my CarboPro mix while I was hiking the ascents.

7. No “Selfies” & Unnecessary Picture Taking——Taking some pictures with ones camera or IPhone is very cumbersome and very irritating sometimes as you have to bring out and bring in your camera to your race belt’s pocket or hydration pocket. If it is wrapped with Ziploc or some plastic pouch, the opening and closing of this protection from being wet and damped would entail some unnecessary movements that result to being not focused to the main task of running efficiently. Even if it takes a few seconds to “point and shout” ones camera, if these seconds are totaled or accumulated, it would add up to more minutes of delay on the course. Since there are members of the Running Photographers in the race, I just let them, as the experts with better cameras, take my pictures and just wait for them to post their pictures on Facebook.

In a nutshell, proper training/preparation where one has to test his apparel, hydration system, nutrition & hydration strategy and positive mental attitude is the key to a successful finish in an ultra running event. Although, running is an experiment of one, I hope my experience will guide you or test the above mentioned factors if you can adopt them or incorporate them in your running style or manner of finishing an ultra running event/race.

Expenses:

Round Trip Ticket (Cebu Pacific)——P 1,200.00 (Promo Fare/Sponsored By ZRC)

Hotel Accommodation & Meal——P 4,000.00 (2 Days)

Gratuitous Expenses (Tips)—-P 500.00

Total Expenses——P 5,700.00

My Running Kit (Picture By Running Photographers @ Km #17)

My Running Kit (Picture By Running Photographers @ Km #17)

Even if I am not an sponsored athlete, I would mention the things that I’ve used during the event:

Running Shorts & Shirt——ASICS

Running Shoes——Hoka One One Huaka

Runner’s Cap & Compression Shorts——Under Armour

Sunglasses——Oakley

Buff/Neck Sleeves——BUFF

GPS Watch——SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak

Hydration Bottles——Simple Hydration Bottles

Race Belt & Pouch——Ultimate Direction

Socks——DRYMAX

Nutrition——CarboPro Powder Mix; Succeed S-Caps; GU Electrolyte Tablets; Clif Bloks; Water & Gatorade (@Aid Station); Rice Cake (Suman), Boiled Banana, Ripe Bananas, Watermelon, & Hotdog Sandwich (@Aid Station)

My training continues…Go out and run!








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