The running kit of Thomas in last year’s (2019) HK4TUC did not change in this year’s edition except for his Hydration Vest and Shoes. Even for his nutrition and hydration, they had been the same but there are some things that we need to add.
Thomas decided not to use the Salomon S-Lab Sense 5-Liter Hydration Vest that he used in last year’s HK4TUC because it was already loose for him and wanted to use the one he always used in his trail and road ultras in the past which is the Mountain Hardwear Fuel 3-Liter Hydration Vest/Pack. If I remember right, I bought the same Hydration Vest three years ago at the Columbia Store in SM Megamall and it is still with me except that the zippers in the pockets are stuck and non-operational already. As I googled this item while writing this post, this particular model is no longer in the market and the brand had already stopped making them.
As compared to the Hydration Vests and Packs that the other runners used in this event, Thomas hydration pack/vest was very small in capacity but I was surprised that it was able to accommodate the Salomon Waterproof Jacket, his food, cellphone, a Windbreaker Jacket, Hydration bottles, handy water filtration unit, Headlights, and other miscellaneous things that Thomas needed in every trail leg. It is surprising to see the big back pocket with zipper could expand to accommodate everything. Since the hydration pack/vest has two mid-rib belts which are not stretchable, Thomas can tighten them to be always snugged on his body. Thomas did not use those Race Belts with pockets which is very popular among trail runners nowadays.
Thomas shirts during the event are our PAU Shirts By Bluprint (Imported Brand) but the Logo is printed locally. He used 3 PAU shirts (white, dark gray, & black) during the event and a shirt from Kalenji/Decathlon. He did not change his NIKE Running Shorts with PAU Logo Patch and RP Flag Patch throughout the event but he always change his underwear with the Decathlon’s Kalenji’s Under Shorts every time he starts a new trail leg. Throughout the event, he was consistently using the Injinji Socks and changed them every time he starts a new trail leg.
The day before the event, Rowell Campos brought us to Cam2Sports Store in Mongkok to buy a new pair of running shoes for Thomas. He was looking for an ALTRA Lone Peak 3.0 which he intends to use for the event. Thomas was lucky to find the remaining one pair of ALTRA Lone Peak 3.0 shoesavailable in the store which was ON SALE at 50% discount. This is the shoes that Thomas used for the 2 Trail Legs of the event (MacLehose & Wilson Trails). It was only in the Hong Kong and Lantau Trails that he used his old ALTRA Lone Peak 3.0 shoes. It was at the Hong Kong and Lantau Trails that Thomas started using his Compressport Compression Calf Sleeves. He did not use any shoe gaiters along the course.
As for his headlamp, Thomas was using a LedLenser Headlamp and another extra one which I could guess to be a regular Black Diamond Headlamp. He used his headlamp at the MacLehose, Wilson, and Hong Kong Trails. In his Lantau Trail, I gave him my Lupine Headlamp which he wore from the start until he reached the lighted portion of Mui Wo Road, near the Finish Line. The rechargeable battery was drained when Thomas gave it back to me. He could have used its High Beam which is 700 Lumens throughout his run/hike along the Lantau Trail. Thomas did not have any negative feedback on the use of his headlamps during those nights that he was on the trails.
As for his hydration needs, Thomas did not have any problem where to replenish his hydration needs, in terms of water or sports/cola drinks. He used his portable filtration unit in places where he can get water in streams in the mountains and in Public Comfort Rooms/Toilets’ faucets. He uses also his Octopus Card to get or buy what he wanted in those Vending Machines available in the vicinity of the Comfort Rooms in each Country Park Facility that he passes. There are also Free Source of Drinking Water which he observed as new additional structure within the vicinity of each Comfort Rooms/Toilets along the trail. And there are commercial establishments in the villages along the trail that Thomas can stop and order some hot food. Thomas can also stop to buy or order some solid foods in commercial establishments in the MTR Stations. There is always a 7-11 Store or Convenience Store in these MTR Stations. It is necessary that a runner in this race has some some Cash and Octopus Card with him during the event.
His food in his pack consisted of “Tikoy” (Rice Cake) from Bicol which we personally ordered for him, “Rice Cakes” (Chinese) from the 7-11 Store, Sky Flakes, Snickers, Yakult, Springs Gels, and Apples. All of these were packed inside the Hydration Pack of Thomas!
Thomas had been alternately using a Visor Cap (during day time) and a Running Cap (during nighttime) to cover his head. However, I have never seen him use any Buff/Neck Gaiter in all his runs in the past and in this event, to include last year’s HK4TUC.
Before he started the Lantau Trail, I gave him my GIRO Cycling Gloves which I know will give him warmth for his palms/fingers during the night and as he approaches the freezing winds of the Lantau Peak and Sunset Peak.
After the event, Thomas and I discussed the things that we should improve on and the things we should learn from his experience this year. He told me that he slowed down significantly at the Hong Kong Trail due drowsiness that brought him “hallucination” moments and the cold/freezing winds during the night. The strong, cold and freezing winds at the Lantau Trail had also slowed him down that he had to stop and take a nap, only to be awaken that he was already lying on the floor in one of the Pagodas/Rest Huts along the trail.
After a thorough discussion, I recommended him some solutions for his problems and we will use them in next year’s Thomas participation in the 10th edition of the HK4TUC.
It was in the later part of December last year that the Onitsuka Tiger Page on Facebook appeared in my News Feed and I found out that the famous Japanese sneakers brand had re-created my first ASICS Running Shoes in the early 80s as their California 78 Model (and later as Ultimate 81 Model) which was their new model for the year-end season. The following day, I tried to recall where I stored those old Onitsuka Tiger sneakers that I bought few years ago in the US which had been with me for the past 15-20 years. I was able to bring out two pairs of them, one for trail running and another one is a complete replica/copy of the GT model that was very popular as cushioned running shoes of ASICS with the popular Red and Blue Logo of the brand. I found out that I had these two shoes repaired by stitching the sole with the uppers by a local shoe repair guy making them more durable in the coming years of use. I consider them as my Vintage Collection of Onitsuka Tiger Sneakers.
I tried using them in my casual wear for the next few days and they were still comfortable using them with some concerns if I use them for a longer period during the day, like driving and walking in the Shopping Malls. I observed that the cushion of the insoles are no longer the same when they were new and they seem to be in shorter size as I suspect that my shoe size had increased by half an inch for the past years that I have been running ultra trails and roads. So, I decided to look where I could find and buy the latest models of the said shoe brand in Metro Manila. However, to add more curiosity about the brand, I would join the Facebook Group of Onitsuka Tigers users in the Philippines. (Note: I will mention my observation about this group on the later part of this post).
In one of my stays in Metro Manila, I finally decided to visit the Brand Store of Onitsuka Tiger at the Shangrila Mall which is located at the 2nd Floor. On my first visit to the store, I was able to buy two pairs of their classic models: Red California 78 Model, a re-creation of my GMT shoes in the early 80s and their White Leather Mexico 66 with the Red and Blue Stripes Logo. These two models had a great and significant history in the world of running. You can “google” them if want to know more of the details, most specially if you are an average and competitive runner. The Onitsuka Tiger’s Mexico 66 Model became popular as the running shoes of Champions and Medalists in the Olympic Games 1968, 1972, and up to this date. (Note: NIKE would not be in the world of sneakers and running shoes without the Onitsuka Tiger and the rest is history).
By wearing these two classic shoes, I thought I was brought back to those years that I was starting to be a runner and being a competitive marathon runner in late 70s and early 80s. Although, I could only muster to have a best time of 17+minutes of 5K; 45-minute plus in 10K; 1:30+hours in half-marathon; and 3:30+hours of Marathon, I did not have any dream then of becoming a faster runner because of my work then in the military service. But at the back of my mind, I tried and failed to reach the qualifying times for my age in the prestigious Boston Marathon. The ASICS shoes and the Brand Logo of Red and Blue stripes were symbols of durability and comfort to all the runners then which I think up to these days are being maintained by the company.
It was in the first quarter of this year that I intently researched on the models of this brand which brought me to buy more of them. Oh, well, I bought more of their classic ones like the “Kill Bill” Yellow Leather Shoes (Mexico 66 Tai Chi) and the OT Shoes (Corsair) that was copied by NIKE which came up as the CORTEZ Model which is more popularly known as the NIKE Forrest Gump Running Shoes. I bought this OT model at the OT Brand Store in Causeway Bay, Hongkong last February 2019. (Note: Only to find out that this particular model shoes was available in the local market after two week from my trip to Hongkong).
Not being able to wait to make a trip to Japan this year, I decided to buy a Leather Shoes Made In Japan (Nippon Made) of Mexico 66 Model at the OT Shangrila Store before I left for the Boston Marathon last April. The price is more expensive than buying this particular model in Japan but I promised myself that this will be my last pair of OT. I have lost count in the number of pairs that I bought before I had this pair that is Made In Japan (Nippon Made). Most the shoes being sold in the local market areMade In Vietnam but they have the same comfort and durability that the brand is known for.
The leather Made In Japan shoes that I bought is already my favorite shoes for my casual wear most specially if I am wearing my Red Pants. I used it during my trip in USA & Italy and I found them very comfortable and classy. I will be using them again in my next trips to Europe and the United States.
I broke my promise not to buy anymore of these shoes after I purchased the OT Made In Japan. I think I bought two pairs again two weeks ago.
I have removed myself already from the OT Facebook Group so that I would not be tempted to buy again. It is also irritating to see some members posting their OT finds in “Ukay-Ukay” asking the members if they Legit or not and some are posting Fake ones For Sale.
It is my plan to buy another pair of Made In Japan (Nippon Made) among its Classic Models if ever I will have a chance to visit Japan again, maybe by next year. Wearing this brand, aside from its comfort and durability, this brand looks classy on whatever I wear in my casual clothes. And also remember those days that I was a young, faster, and stronger runner. Wow!
Since the time I started running and buying running shoes, I always think and have the impression that “cheap shoes are low in quality and it is a waste of money spending on them”. This is the reason why I concentrated on using ASICS Shoes (Made In Japan, then) and New Balance (Made In USA, then, too!) during my early days as a road runner/marathon runner. Obviously, these brands then were the most expensive ones.
Since I started blogging, I’ve used different brands of running shoes and it was Joe Matias of “A Runners Circle” (ARC) Specialty Running Store in Los Angeles, California that gave me the ONLY Complimentary Shoes in my entire running career when the HOKA ONE ONE was initially introduced in the market. I am proud to say that I was the FIRST Local Runner in the Philippines to have used the said shoes 4-5 years ago. I was able to try their first models of their Bondi B and Stinson EVO. I never had a chance to review these shoes as I found them to be perfect shoes in my LSD on the paved roads due to its maximal cushioning. Up to this time, I always use these shoes in my training on paved roads.
Out of curiosity, I started to browse on the website of Merrell Shoes and I found their models very interesting and was able to read feedbacks/reviews of each model from its users which is a mixture of pros and cons on the on its fit, comfort, and durability. My interest in this brand of shoes led me to visit their distribution stores in Metro Manila. I am surprised that their stores have stocks on those shoes and models that I’ve seen in their website. In short, I bought my first Merrell Shoes which is the “All Out Rush”.
The All Out Rush (AOR) is categorized as a Cushioned Trail Shoes and I got the red one. I am not particularly interested with its specifications and material components because I just wanted an alternate training shoes for my trail running workouts.
I immediately used it in my trail running workouts. For the past one month & half and for almost 100 miles of trails in my “playground”, I am satisfied with it. The fit was perfect whether I use a thin or thick running socks or whether I tie the shoe laces tightly or loosely. But I prefer them (shoe laces) to be tied tightly so that the shoes is tightly snugged on my feet.
I have observed that these shoes don’t have any insole but I still find them to be comfortable. At first, I could feel the lugs of the sole of the shoes on my feet during my downhill running but as I used them, my feet became accustomed to the feeling as if there is a “massaging” feeling on my sole. But when I use a thicker pair of trail running socks, the feeling is completely gone. Actually, I have the same experience on the first few miles while using my Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 (SG) Shoes with its more aggressive studs on its sole.
I’ve been using it in my daily trail runs and have it sun-dried every time I removed them from my feet after my runs. I have never washed them and I am excited to wear them with the dirt and dust on their uppers every time I go for my trail running workout. I don’t smell any “nasty” odor from the shoes due to its “Breathable mesh lining treated with M-Select™ FRESH odor control”, whatever that description means but it is really true!
I find the shoes weight lighter than my Hoka One One Shoes which is 9.3 ounces per shoe, a standard weight for a cushioned trail shoes. I find the weight of a trail shoe and its cushioning as the two most important factors to consider in selecting a trail shoes for ultras and shorter distances.
I wonder what material the outsole is made of but it is not Vibram. I find it surprising that I don’t see any “wear & tear” signs on them after using them for almost 100 miles in the mountains over hardened trails, rocks, sandy lahar-like soil, and paved roads. The sole studs don’t have any signs of being deformed or shaved-off from its original appearance. As compared with my other trail shoes, like Hoka One One, Salomon, New Balance, ASICS, Adidas, and Altra, with almost 100 miles of usage, I could already see some signs of shaving-off of their outer soles (usually on the outer side portions) due to “wear and tear”. The outsole studs are not pointed or look aggressive as they are in circular forms but I find them very effective in my downhill running over loose soil and steep hardened trails.
You can buy two pairs of these shoes for the price of a “high-end” trail shoes being used by European elite mountain trail runners. But surprisingly, if you buy the shoes in the local market or in local Merrell Stores, they are much cheaper than what is posted as their price in their website.
Bottomline? Will I highly recommend these pair of trail shoes for you? Of course! You will get your money’s worth with this pair of shoes. If you are a compulsive runner-shopper, there is no need for you to order On Line/through Internet and wait for the delivery of your order. You simply go to the Malls and most likely, all the Sports Stores have Merrell Shoes in them. However, if you want more choices on their different models, the best way is to visit one of the Merrell Stores which are located in all the big malls in Metro Manila. (Note: The Staff/Sales Personnel in these stores are NOT trail runners or mountaineers, so be patient to just hear their usual “sales talk” while you are trying to walk or fit with the shoes!)
On my part, in a span of six weeks, I’ve already bought three (3) pairs of MERRELL Shoes to include the “All Out Rush”. Simply said, this is to inform my readers that I am NOT an Ambassador or Sponsored Runner/Blogger of this Shoe Company.
More “User’s Report” on other Merrell Shoes to follow.
I was expecting that the 2014 edition of this race was to be conducted for the benefit of the victims of Typhoon Yolanda but instead, it was cancelled and the Race Organizer opted to donate a part of their budget for the recovery and rehabilitation of the people of Samar and Leyte.
Many of the runners were frustrated to hear this news and I was one of them.
And my ultra running friends were not also happy about the news. For the past editions/years, the Condura Skyway Marathon had been always and became the post-recovery run for all the participants of my Bataan Death March 160K Ultra Marathon Race as both races are one week apart.
But runners would not have to wait any longer for the good news about the next edition of the Marathon Race. In a few weeks after the actual schedule of the event, the Race Organizer had announced that the 2015 event will be for the benefit of the HERO Foundation. Being a part and former soldier, I was happy to know that this event will benefit the families who were left behind by our fallen heroes who died fighting against the enemies of the State and threats to our peaceful way of life.
Exactly one week before Race Day, elements of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police encountered in a firefight agains the separatist groups in Mindanao, MILF and BIFF, resulting in the death of forty-four (44) and the wounding of others. This incident became a national issue where the public called for an immediate action for the arrest, apprehension or killing of those who are involved in this dastardly act against our troops.
Thus, in the minds of all the runners, this Marathon Race had become an instant “platform” for them to sympathize with the “Fallen SAF 44 Heroes” and for a united call for the government to give justice where it is due.
Training and Preparation
I did not have any specific training program leading to this race except for the my training program which is in preparation for me for the Trans Lantau 100K Trail Run which will be held in the middle of March of this year. Such training program was so specific that my mileages should be done in the mountains. But with my trips to the different provinces since the start of the New Year, in order to coordinate with my Ultra Races for this year where I am the Organizer and Race Director, my training runs were solely on paved and flat dirt roads.
Instead of having more vertical climbs/gains in my training, I opted to improve on my speed by doing tempo runs on the road and flat dirt roads. I had also the chance to have my rest and recovery in-between runs for a more extended period. And trips outside Metro Manila to Aurora and Albay Provinces became my tapering period a few days before Race Day.
I have also prepared my mind on this race and think of it as a Long Steady Distance (LSD) weekend run with a faster speed while my HR monitor will not breach more than 162 beats per minute.
Since all my runs for the past two years were devoted to trails and with a hoard of new trail shoes in my “trail running arsenal”, I have to choose the lightest shoes for this race and had to try them for a couple of times in my tempo runs. The choices were between the INOV-8 Roclite; SALOMON’s LAB Sense 3; or ALTRA’s Superior 2.0. I selected the Salomon LAB Sense 3 as it is the lightest among the three!
In order to arrest my sweat from reaching my feet and shoes, I prepared my Headsweat (for my head), Buff (for my neck), Long-sleeved PAU Shirt for my body), and Compresport Calf Sleeves, and Drymax Socks.
Race and Nutrition Strategy
Being an “old-school” marathon runner, I consider Marathon Running as a Speed Endurance Event where walking is integrated while drinking my two cups of water as I leave in every Water Station. In-between those Water Stations, one has to run and jog as fast as possible!
Knowing what my body is capable of as an “experienced and old” marathon runner, I opted to use the “negative split” way of racing this event. If I had prepared properly for this race, I had opted to use the “even pace” strategy where my race pace at the beginning is maintained throughout the race. My experience in ultra running and consistent advise from my Coach dictate that my pace at the beginning should be slow and progressing to a faster pace towards the last half of the race up to the Finish Line.
On nutrition, I had a full meal rich in fats and carbohydrates one a half hours before the start of the race; snacks of carbohydrates 30 minutes before the race; one Gel every hour; drink water every Aid Station; last Gel to ingest was a GU Roctane; and a reserve of Stinger Waffle as my “reserve solid” food just in case of emergency.
I’ve been away from the road running crowd for the past two years and it was the members ultra running community and my readers in this blog who approached and greeted me as I joined my co-runners in Wave I. It took us 30 minutes to wait from the time the Wave A runners were released from the Starting Line. Those 30 minutes were devoted to talk to some of the ultra runners within my Wave Group and review in my mind my race & nutrition strategy. As we got nearer to the Starting Line, I had my simple prayer to myself and thought of my Officers and Men who died under my Command during my stint and tour as a Military Officer and lastly, to those of the PNP SAF 44 soldiers.
My slow jog on the first 400 meters was the most memorable part of this race as I saluted every time I would approach a SAF member holding a framed picture of the Fallen SAF 44 who was standing in attention on the left side of the road. Yes, it was a slow jog but saluting 44 times is the best that I could do to honor these men who unselfishly offered their lives in the name of peace and safety for the citizenry and our country.
I started at the back of the Wave I and waited to make a move on the first uphill climb on the Skyway. I passed a lot of the slow and walking participants on this part. Knowing the whole course’ profile, the first 8-10K is a slightly uphill climb and it worked well with my slow pace as it served as my warm-up. On this first 10K of the course, I would maintain my slow speed of 4.6 miles per hour being aware of my running form; hydrating myself as I would reach the Water Station; and most of all talking to some of the runners and acknowledging their greetings as I passed them.
For about a minute or two, I was able to talk to a couple, Miguel and Cachelle, and kept my pace with theirs. I was happy to see them running together. As with Miguel, I did not see any signs of limping from his gait and strides as he fully recovered from an unfortunate accident while participating in one of my BDM “test runs” two years ago in the Pampanga area. Looking at them together, I knew they would be able to enjoy and finish the race. I will not be surprised to see this couple to be back running in my ultra races soon! I had to beg off from them as I wanted to continue with my own pace as knowing that they are enjoying and having fun with the race.
When I reached the 10-Km mark, I was already enjoying the windy and cool atmosphere of the early morning. I have increased my speed to 5 miles per hour and I was surprised that I was too comfortable with such pace. I ingested my first Gel once I reached my first 40 minutes while I was approaching a Water Station. Two cups of water were enough to bring the gel to my stomach and let it provide the much-needed energy to my machine!
At the 13-mile point, my speed had reached at 5.6 miles per hour and I never let that speed to decrease all the way to the Finish Line. At times, I would reach up to 6.0+ miles per hour on the downhill portions of the course. In my tempo run workouts, I could still run a 10K race with a time of 55+ minutes but forcing myself to this kind of speed in a marathon race without the necessary speed training will be courting for an injury that might jeopardize my training for and participation at the Trans Lantau 100K. There is no point to take a risk on this race.
I kept reminding myself that this race was part of my training for an ultra trail run in the middle of March.
And my rituals were repeated as I reached nearer to the Finish Line——ingested my Gels every hour after my first Gel at 40-minute mark from the start of the race; reached for two cups of water (only, No Gatorade for the whole race) in every Water Station; would pass other runners at the Water Stations by running up to farthest end of the table and walk quickly & briefly while drinking the water; making sure that my empty cups would land in those garbage bins provided by the Race Organizer; by just waving my hand or simply greeting back to those runners who call my attention or greet me; no unnecessary “chit-chat” to other runners on the last half of the course; by allowing other runners to pace with me or run along with me (without any conversation); and try to pick-up and increase my pace through some quick “surges” on the uphill portions and on the last 10K of the course (all downhill to the Finish Line).
It was still dark when I reached the Finish Line. I finished the race with an Official Time of 4:40:19 hours and ranked #569 out of 5,022 Finishers.
I did not realize that I could still run this fast considering my age of going to 63 years old in 3 months. Maybe with a more focused training in the Marathon distance, I still could run this fast and hopefully, could still have a shot to a Boston Marathon Qualifying Race, the proper and traditional way!
But on second thought, I will remain as a Trail Ultra Runner and consider the Condura Skyway Marathon as my ONLY yearly Road Marathon where I could be in touch with the marathon/road running community in the country.
1. Marathon Running is an Art and a Skill. Racing is about You and the Distance. Every runner needs Endurance and Speed to have a very successful finish. One has to compete with oneself and not with any other runner.
2. Marathon Racing is NOT a time to socialize. “Socializing” is done after the race. As compared to Ultra Running, Ultras are races where one has to “socialize” from the start up to the finish and beyond the race itself. Sometimes, Ultras’ “socializing” starts during training and preparation.
3. Proper Nutrition Strategy is the Key to a successful Marathon Finish coupled with proper Hydration technique. Gels are the best immediate source of nutrition in a Marathon Race. Eating a full meal few hours before the race and later, a light snacks few minutes before the race always worked positively in my races.
4. Racing Strategy is dependent on one’s training and preparation. If you are NOT fully-prepared and trained for the event, be contented to aim for a Finish without any injury, and not for any PR or best time for a Marathon Race.
5. No complaints and “whining” in a Marathon Race. Before Gels and Sports Drinks were invented, Marathon Races have ONLY Water as support for all the runners! Try to strive and train for the simplest and most basic way of running a marathon race.
6. Be LIGHT. Wear the lightest running kit and try also to run light with your body. It is not yet late to learn how to run light by using your forefoot or mid foot as you run by feel.
7. Taper Properly. Since the race is done from Midnight to the early morning, runners are practically sleepless on Friday night, considering that the trip to the event area is outside the Metro Manila. It is advisable to have a complete rest and sleep for at least 7-8 hours every night on the last week prior to Race Day.
8. Marathon Race should be a part of an Ultra Race training and preparation in order to improve one’s speed and endurance. I really did not have a focused and dedicated training for this race. This marathon race was part of my weekly ultra training program where it was to be a “back-to-back” long runs where each day would be a 12-mile run. Instead of two days of 12-mile a day run, I did it for one day/one workout with an excess of 2.2 miles. My average total weekly mileage for the past three weeks leading to this race was from 47-50 miles.
Running Kit & Accessories
Running Shoes: Salomon S-LAB Sense 3 Ultra Trail Shoes
Sweat Absorbers: Headsweat and Buff
Shirt: PAU Long-Sleeved Shirt By A Perfect White Shirt
Shorts: Salomon Trail Running Shorts (Bermuda)
Calf Sleeves: Compressport
Socks: Drymax (Trail Running Socks)
Cycling Gloves: Specialized
Nutrition: 2 pcs of VFuel Gels (Fudge Brownie); one GU Gel (Salted Caramel); one GU Gel (Roctane); and 2 pcs of Stinger Waffle (Reserve)
Race Belt: Ultimate Direction SJ Signature Series
Watches/GPS: Garmin 310XT with HR Monitor and TIMEX Watch
Congratulations to Tonton and Raul Patrick Concepcion (Race Organizers); Rio Dela Cruz (Race Director); and to the rest of the Condura Skyway Marathon Team for this well-organized and international-standard marathon race which honors our “present day” heroes in the military and armed services and supports their dependents through the HERO Foundation.
Few months ago, I bought an ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 trail shoes and after using it on my trail running workouts and putting almost 300 kilometers as mileage, I came up with a Shoe Review which I posted here in this blog. I was satisfied with the shoes with their Zero Drop concept and wider toe box but not so much on its weight when it is wet with my sweat and during my river/creek crossing; its sole traction when running on muddy trails where the sole would gather a lot of mud that would make the shoe heavier to the running legs; and the long period of time for the wet shoes to dry up during its use or when it is being “air dried”.
I concluded in my shoe review that the trail shoes is not suited for the muddy trails in our mountains (Philippines) but best suited for dry trails, loose gravel, rocky and technical as long as the trail is dry! I am not surprised on this because the shoes was conceptualized on what is written on the shoebox of every ALTRA Shoes.
For about a week, I had been running on my new ALTRA Lone Peak 2.0 trail shoes. As soon as the shoes arrived, I immediately used it for my daily stretching and calisthenics. I immediately felt a big improvement on the cushioning of the shoes. This is a big improvement from the Lone Peak 1.5. The shoe lace is replaced with a flat and lighter material, a big improvement from the LP 1.5 heavier and rounded laces. The shoe tongue had been shortened for about half inch. The big ALTRA sign and mountain logo on the outer side had been removed, together with the “black net pattern” and white leather that you can see on the inner side of the shoes. What I don’t understand the reason why ALTRA placed a leather on the #3 and #4 holes for the shoe laces. It could be for aesthetic reason where small prints of the shoe model is written but it is not necessary to sew such where the laces should pass through. The rudder at the back/heel portion of the shoes is still there but it is shortened. The velcro (with cover) for the gaiter is still there. There is a new pattern of lugs on the sole but I still have some reservations on how it would work on muddy trails. The lugs have the same thickness with that of the LP 1.5.
The big improvement on the cushioning is due to a thicker sole, 3 mm thicker than the LP 1.5 and a thicker insole which is 5 mm. There is no change in the “Uppers” of the new LP 2.0 from its predecessor. It means that the new model has the same problem with its water retention, slower drying time and heavier weight when it is wet.
On the website of ALTRA, the Lone Peak 2.0 has a weight of 11.4 ounces while the Lone Peak 1.5 is 9.9 ounces for shoe size 9. It means that the latest model had sacrificed or made some trade off for its weight by adding more cushioning and comfort for the feet. So, this is the reason why I could hardly noticed the weight of the shoes because of the comfortable feeling every time my foot strikes the ground.
For almost 100 kilometers as mileage for this new trail shoes, I am satisfied with how it performed on my feet and on the trails. If you ask me why I did not order for the “Yellow Bus”? I have already my yellow La Sportiva Bushido and this is my first time to have a black colored trail shoes. So, the black “Ninja” shoes was ordered as part of my trail running arsenal.
With this kind of trail shoes, the challenge now for me is how to run faster with them on the uphills, downhills, rocky and technical trails, muddy trails, and when they are completely wet from my sweat and after creek and river crossings. With a new 5.6-kilometer loop of ascending and descending trails as my “testing” ground, I hope to compare this shoes with the other trail shoes in my tempo/progression runs.
I highly recommend the new ALTRA Lone Peak 2.0 as your training trail shoes and if you can manage to adapt on it as your racing trail shoes, then go ahead. Your feet will be happy to finish an ultra distance with them!
In November 2013, it was a choice of buying an ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 and La Sportiva Vertical K and after reading some reviews and technical specifications, I opted to buy the La Sportiva Vertical K. The main thing that I considered without seeing yet the actual shoes is the WEIGHT. In their weight comparison, obviously, the La Sportiva Vertical is far lighter than the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5.
In last year’s recon runs and actual race in the TNF 100 (up to Km #53), I used the La Sportiva Helios and I was satisfied with its performance. I never had any incident of slipping on the declines of the trail route and it is a very light shoes. Having experienced an excellent performance of La Sportiva Helios on my preparation in last year’s TNF 100, I decided to have the La Sportiva Vertical K as my race shoe for this yea’s TNF 100 which is a bit lighter than the Helios. (Note: In the actual race of 2014 TNF 100, I used the old La Sportiva Helios instead of the Vertical K).
Last November 2013, after I bought my La Sportiva Vertical K, I’ve read and heard testimonies about the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 which are positive, as well as, negative feedback. I forgot all of these things as I got busy with my trail running training and switched/interchanged one trail shoes to another on a daily basis.
Two months ago, I decided to order a pair of ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 from a local distributor which I believed was “hand-carried” all the way from Singapore. I got a discounted price as a trail runner and a Race Director of local races. This shows that I don’t get a complimentary shoes for Shoe Review or Display on my workout so that my readers have the impression that I favor the use of a particular shoes.
After logging 250+ kilometers after two months of use and a chance to run them during rainy days, I have now a balanced shoe review on the said shoes. I will not be stating those technical specifications that anybody could read on the corporate website in this review. What is important is on how I could feel when I use it and my personal experience whenever I use them.
The “zero drop” thing was not noticeable when I run since I’ve been fond of using racing flats in my road runs, road races, and oval track workouts. I am basically a mid-foot strike runner and it was just natural for me not to notice the difference of the “zero drop” thing of the shoes.
The best feeling and experience of using the shoes is the wide toe box. My whole feet are relaxed and comfortable, thus, my toes are spread as if I am barefooted or using my “flip-flop” sandals. This a complete change from my experience of using ASICS, New Balance and ADIDAS shoes. However, my New Balance 101 Trail Shoes has the same “toe box” feeling with that of the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5.
The next best feeling and experience is the comfort and support cushioning of the shoes. From the heel portion up to the front end of the toe box, the support and cushion are perfect and I never had any pain, sore or burning sensation on my feet’s sole even on hot days. Whether I run them on rocks and other technical terrains (loose gravels and trails covered with leaves, twigs and branches), I could not feel these “bumps” on my feet. It has also a good protection when my feet would bump on roots or rocks on the front part of the shoes.
Of course, the RED color is something that is a plus for the shoes. For me, it connotes, speed, being hot, and full of strength!
The third best thing on the shoes are the lugs on the sole on a dry trail, most especially on the steep descending ones. The lugs can prevent you from sliding on powdery and dusty trails. However, it is a different story if the trail is wet and muddy.
On the negative side, the shoes is heavy as compared from my other trail shoes. Since I would sweat a lot in my trail running workouts, my sweat would flow on my legs and to my socks and ultimately, to the shoes! Almost in my runs, the socks and shoes would be wet and it would place an additional weight to my legs. I have also the habit to cool off my body by submerging my body to a pool of water on a creek or river along the route without removing my shoes. And once I continue to run, the shoes could hardly extract the water it absorbed. This will result for the shoes to attract dust/powder of soil dirt from the trail which makes the shoes to become heavier.
After my workout, I would “air-dry” the whole shoes and it would take forever (at least, 2 days/48 hours) to let the shoes to dry without exposing them direct to the sunlight. As compared to my La Sportiva and ASICS Trail Shoes, they would dry up overnight, and that’s 12 hours!
For three times, I’ve used the shoes on a wet and rainy environment. The lugs on the sole are considered as “mud traps”, the mud would stick to the lugs and they are hard to be removed as one continues to run. The additional mud and wetness of the shoes would put more extra effort for the legs to lift the shoes. You have the feeling that your legs are lifting an addition weight of one pound per shoe! What is worse when the mud is trapped on the lugs, you don’t have any assurance anymore from your shoes to help you or prevent you from slipping from the mud. If you are not careful, your butt will have the tendency “to kiss” the ground. Obviously, this will result for you to stall on your speed and simply be deliberate on your steps on the muddy trails. (Note: I think I remember right when one of the runners in last year’s Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Endurance Run complained that the shoes could not handle slippery mud on the trails).
The shoes could be lighter if they use lighter materials for the uppers; use a thinner material for the shoe laces and make them a little shorter; remove the “rudder” at the back of the shoes; and come up with more drainage holes for sweat and water that could be absorbed by the shoes. There is no point also of placing a cover for the velcro at the back portion of the heel, let the velcro be exposed. Reduce the number of lugs on the sole and make sure that they are more aggressive for muddy conditions.
The shoes is highly recommended for dry trails, thus, this shoes should be used during dry season/summer. After testing the shoes during the rainy days, I would not bet a good performance on a race where the predicted weather is wet and rainy.
As of the moment, the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 is now one of my alternate trail running shoes when my “playground” is dry but they are my favorite trekking/hiking shoes in my regular mountain peak bagging adventures.
February 6, Thursday: @HPA Parade Ground/Start: 7:40 AM
Distance—17.01 Kilometers/10.6 Miles
Average Pace—6:45 mins/km
Average Speed—8.9 kilometers/hour
Total Calories—1,174 cal
Total Ascent—565 meters
Total Descent—559 meters
Weather—Hot & Humid
Shoes—Hoka One One Stinson Evo
February 7, Friday: @Mabalacat, Pampanga To San Fernando, Pampanga (Route of Manila to Baguio 250K Ultra Marathon Race)/Start: 9:55 AM
Distance—35.43 Kilometers/22 Miles (Road Run)
Average Pace—10:52 mins/km
Average Speed—5.5 kilometers/hour
Total Calories—1,943 cal
Total Ascent—1,259 meters
Total Descent—1,263 meters
Shoes—Hoka One One Stinson Evo
Comment: Slow Run with Walking Breaks/”Pit Stops” @ 7-11 Stores
February 8, Saturday: @ Mabalacat, Pampanga To Tarlac City (Route of Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra Marathon Race) /Start: 1:03 AM (Night Run)
Distance—32 Kilometers/20.15 Miles
Average Pace—15:54 minutes/mile
Average Moving Pace—14:47 minutes/mile
Elevation Gain—168 feet
Elevation Loss—357 feet
Total Calories—1,644 cal
Shoes—Hoka One One Bondi Speed
Comment: Slow & Easy Run. Tried some nutrition food/drinks to keep me alert during nighttime running
February 9, Sunday: @Baguio City
Rest Day/Race Director at the Finish Line of the 1st PAU Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra Marathon Race (3-Day Stage)
Total Weekly Mileage: 97.65 Kilometers/61 Miles
Total Weekly Time: 15:15 Hours
Comment: No trail runs for this week but took advantage of the Manila To Baguio 250K 3-Day Stage Ultra Run to put more endurance on my legs, heart and lungs. Runs for this week were more on “heat” training.
January 28, Tuesday: @HPA Parade Ground (Paved & Dirt Roads)/Start: 6:51 AM
Distance—-16.2 Kilometers/10 Miles
Average Pace—-6:10 mins/km
Average Speed—-9.7 kms/hour
Total Calories—-1,117 cal
Total Ascent—-518 meters/1,700 feet
Total Descent—-500 meters/1,640 feet
Weather—-Cooler on the 1st Half and Early Morning Sun’s Heat on the 2nd Half
Shoes—Hoka One One Stinson Evo
January 29, Wednesday: @Remy Field Oval Track/Start: 3:30 PM
Distance—13 Kilometers/8.1 Miles
Average Pace—-5:42 mins/km
Average Speed—-10.5 kms/hour
Total Calories—-883 cal
Total Ascent—-355 meters/1,164 feet
Total Descent—-361 meters/1,184 feet
Shoes—-ASICS Gel-Lyte Racer
Note: Speed Workout—Tried “1-2-3-2-1” Speed Intervals (One Minute @ 5K Pace with One Minute Recovery Run; Two Minutes @ 10K Pace with Two Minutes Recovery Run; Three Minutes @ 21K Pace with Three Minutes Recovery Run; and then back to 2 minutes @ 10K pace then one minute @ 5K pace. Followed by 3 Reps of 800-meter Intervals with 800-meter recovery run after each repetition.
January 30, Thursday: @Pastolan Trails/Start: 10:37 AM
Distance—-21.13 Kilometers/13 Miles
Average Pace—-10:17 mins/km
Average Speed—-5.8 kms/hour
Total Calories—-1,077 cal
Total Ascent—-1,107 meters/3,631 feet
Total Descent—-1,098 meters/3,601 feet
Weather—-Sunny On The 1st Half; Windy & Cloudy/Overcast On The 2nd Half
Shoes—-ADIDAS Vigor Trail
Nutrition—-2 pcs of Hopia (Chinese Bread) + 20 oz of Gatorade + 60 oz of Water
January 31, Friday: @ Pastolan Trails/Playground “Alpha” Loop/Start: 9:40 AM
Distance—-26.21 Kilometers/16.4 Miles
Average Pace—-12:35 mins/km
Average Speed—-4.8 kms/hour
Total Calories—-1,254 cal
Total Ascent—-2,377 meters/7,796 feet
Total Descent—-2,300 meters/7,544 feet
Lowest Elevation—-42 meters/137 feet
Highest Elevation—-510 meters/1,673 feet
Weather—-Sunny/Hot & Windy
Shoes—-TNF “Single Track” Trail Shoes
Nutrition—-Steamed Rice, Hard-boiled Egg, Hotdog, 2 pcs of Hopia + One GU Gel on the last 5 Kilometers + 80 oz of water