Journal Of “Team Thomas” @ 2020 HK4TUC (Second Day)
Thomas started the 2nd Leg of the event at Wilson Trail at 16:25 Hours, which was 1:25 AM of January 26, 2020, Sunday Morning. Ahead of him was a 78-kilometer distance during a cold and rainy night. Thomas was feeling cold at the start but having eaten a lot of food and keeping himself on the move, he will surely regain his pace and tempo during the run. After Thomas left, we immediately fixed our things, packed the used clothes/attire of Thomas and threw the trash at the Trash Bins at the Starting Area. We immediately took the Taxi which was waiting for us to bring us back to the place where we are staying. As we arrived in our place, we immediately checked the Racemap Application to find out if Thomas was on the right track. We were glad that Thomas was on the right track and we immediately rested for the day at 3:00 AM on the second day. Last year, after 1-2 kilometers from the Starting point, Thomas got lost and we had a sleepless on the first night at that time when more additional “lost moments” had to be corrected.
I woke up at 8:00 AM on the second day and immediately checked on the tracker of Thomas and he was doing fine without any “lost moments” as compared to his experience last year. Our monitoring team advised Thomas to call us once he reaches the MTR Station at Lam Tin and once he crosses the Quarry Bay and reaches the MTR Station at Tai Koo on the Hongkong Island side. From these calls, we would be able to estimate the time we would meet Thomas at the Finish Line of the Wilson Trail Leg. But with the lagging time as depicted by Thomas tracker, we decided to give an ample buffer time to wait at the said place before Thomas arrives.
We arrived at the end of the Wilson Trail Leg at the Tai Tam Country Park in Stanley Gap Road at 5:00 PM with the hope that Thomas would be arriving in 30-45 minutes. In a few seconds, we witnessed the arrival of the 4th Runner Abimanyu from Singapore and since Thomas was ranked as the 8th or 9th runner as seen on the tracker, we prepared ourselves to wait for some more time in the said place.
The cold wind from the sea was blowing on our faces as we waited for Thomas but our Team was entertained by two Pinay runners who are working in Hongkong with their stories about the race and what they have prepared in terms of food for Thomas and to the rest of the Pinoy Runners. They even mentioned to me that Christian Villoria from Pangasinan, also a worker in Hongkong, is waiting at the Bus Station at Shek O Road for more food and drinks for the Pinoy Runners. We had a lot conversations with Tha Na and Josephine and they entertained us while waiting for Thomas. I decided later to hike the 1,000+ steps or the last 600 meters of the trail and tried to wait for the arrival of Thomas. Instead, the #5 Runner Chiang from South Korea came out from the vegetated portion of the trail and he was running at an easy pace going downhill. I greeted and congratulated and told him that he is only 500 meters to the end of the trail.
After almost 3 hours of waiting, the #9 Runner Karen from Hongkong, the leading Lady Runner of the event, arrived at the Finish Line and we knew that in a few minutes, Thomas will be arriving next. Finally, Thomas arrived at the Finish Line of the Wilson Trail Leg at exactly 8:00 PM of Sunday, January 26, 2020 with a time of 18:30 Hours to finish the whole Wilson Trail.
At 8:10 PM, we left immediately the end of Wilson Trail to the Shek O Road for Thomas to start the Hongkong Trail Third Leg. It took us a 22-minute ride on a Taxi to the Bus Stop at Shek O Road which is officially the Starting Area of the Hongkong Trail. Upon arrival, Thomas checked-in with Andre Blumberg and we set-up for the “pit stop” for Thomas. Thomas ate his dinner with the food we cooked for him and the food brought by Christian Villoria. Christian was there to meet us once we alighted from our Taxi ride. The NHK Japanese TV Network guys were also there to meet us with their Video Camera and Lights. They even interviewed Thomas while he was eating his dinner and focused their video camera on the food prepared for him. They were interested to see Fried Tuyo (fried salted sardines), Pork Adobo, and Sinigang Salmon Head (Sour Soup with Salmon Head) as Thomas food for dinner.
After eating, refilling his hydration vest with water and food, and changing his socks and attire, Thomas was ready to start the Hongkong Trail which has a distance of 50 kilometers. Before he left the starting point, Tomokazu “Tomo” Ihara, a sub-60 Finisher in last year’s HK4TUC and also a classmate of Thomas in last year’s event, advised Thomas that he is in the halfway (in terms of time elapsed) of the event and he needs to complete the remaining 120 kilometers in less than 24 hours to be able to be declared as a Finisher of the Event. Tomo said that it will be an easy task for Thomas to take the 7:00 AM Ferry trip to Lantau Island and be able to finish the Lantau Trail before the 60-hour cut-off time. Tomo was surprised to see how Thomas improved on his performance this time as compared to last year. In a conversation with Tomo, I told him about Thomas “lost moments” on the beaches of MacLehose Trail, lots of intersections at the Wilson Trail & mistake of going to the MacLehose Trail, and delays for looking the right MRT Platforms at the Lam Tin and Tai Koo Stations.
Thomas left the Shek O Road at 9:05 PM of Sunday, January 26, 2020 and we expect him to finish the Hongkong Trail in 8 hours or at 5:00 AM of Monday January 27, 2020.
Journal Of “Team Thomas” @ 2020 HK4TUC (First Day)
This year’s event is the 9th edition which is usually held on the Chinese Lunar New Year with the runner completing the famous Four Trails in Hongkong starting at the finish of MacLehose Trail in Tuen Mun, then to Wilson Trail, Hongkong Trail and last is the Lantau Trail. Each trail route should be finished in the reverse direction with a cut-off time of 60 hours. There is a cut-off time of 18 hours to complete the MacLehose Trail and each runner would be able to start the Lantau Trail, 4th trail and last, before the 55th Hour as the Cut-Off Time. A runner is considered Finisher if he/she completes the Challenge within the 60 hours cut-off time by January 27, 2020 at 9:00 PM and complying with the rules. Each runner should cover the Challenge without any outside support while they along the trail. It is only after each trail or before starting another that a runner could be given an outside support. A runner who fails to finish within 60 hours may continue with the Challenge and will be recognized as Survivor if they complete the Challenge within the cut-off time of 72 hours, which is Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 9:00 AM.
The Team Thomas was the first to arrive at the starting line at 6:30 AM of Saturday, January 25, 2020 which is the day of the Chinese New Year. The Team was the first to be interviewed by NHK, the National TV Network of Japan, which will be covering the whole event. The Reporter have interviewed Thomas and myself, asking, what would be our respective roles during the event. After almost one hour, the runners and their respective Logistic Team arrived in the area. It was the usual the “meet and greet” among the those who finished and survived the previous editions and the incoming participants. Each runner was issued a “Tracker” and an Official “Mugshot” was taken from each runner. The briefing started at 8:30 AM and the usual Group Picture of the Participants was taken.
There are 33 participants of this event for the 9th edition consisting of runners coming from different countries who applied and had been invited to join this event. At exactly 9:00 AM yesterday, the event started.
Thomas started at the back of the pack on the first few meters of the course. Aside from the Team Thomas usual members of the Logistics Team from the Philippines, he was cheered by his eldest sister, Marina & nephew John who came all the way from Toronto, Canada, purposely to watch the start the event with Thomas and niece Carol who works here in Hongkong. Thomas sister and nephew came to Hongkong for the first time! After 30 minutes that the runners had left the area, we went back to our respective Hotel to monitor the progress of Thomas tracker and position through the Racemap application.
With Thomas experience last year and our Recon Runs, I am confident that Thomas would be able to finish the MacLehose Trail without any problems or “lost” moments. I did not set a time for Thomas to finish the 100K distance but as long as he can improve his last year’s time of 17:40 hours, which was 20 minutes before the cut-off time of 18 hours, he will be fine and on target to finish or survive the Challenge. I did not ask Thomas if he can finish it within the 60-hour cut-off time but I encouraged him to finish as a Survivor.
Last year, there were 3 Finishers and 6 Survivors. So far, after 8 editions, there are only 9 Finishers of this Challenge, to include, the Race Director/Organizer, Andre Blumberg. The locals in Hongkong call those who finished and survived this Challenge as “Heroes of Hongkong”. Thomas failure to start the last trail, Lantau, was the “fire” that inspired him to prepare and train for this 9th edition. We came back to Hongkong last August 2019 to recon the Lantau Trail for two consecutive days.
After a slow start from behind the pack, Thomas finished the first 30 kilometers in 3:30 hours and he progressed to number 3 and then to #4. He was ranked at #4 as he reached 50K in 6:53 hours. We were informed by the Race Organizer that the trackers will be refreshed or reset every 10 minutes. As we observed from the movements of the Trackers on Racemap, we are having a delay of at least 15 minutes from the “real-time” location and time of each runner. Compared from our experience in monitoring Thomas last year, this year’s tracker’s performance was not good. Practically, the trackers were not giving us the “exact and real-time” location and time of the runners. There might be some problems with the Satellite transmission for the trackers in some stages of the course or the rain during the late afternoon and during the evening might have some effect to the transmission. Whatever was the problem with the trackers, our Team was able to adjust with the expected time of arrival of Thomas at the Sai Kung Country Park which is the finish area of the MacLehose Trail.
Our Team expected and calculated that Thomas would be able to finish the first trail in less than 15 hours and we were at the finish line at least 1.5 hours before the said time. The first runner from Japan, Takashi, reached the finish line at 13:50 hours and we tried to locate Thomas at this time. Thomas had still 8 kilometers to the finish line when the first runner arrived. Calculating the distance and pace of Thomas, we expected Thomas to arrive in one hour and ranked as the 4th Finisher. Surprisingly, another runner arrived as the 4th runner with few minutes ahead of Thomas.
Finally, Thomas arrived at the Sai Kung Country Park in 15:04 Hours and I immediately met him as soon as he reached the finish line. I escorted him to where our Logistics was located and did what was needed to be done to him. He changed his clothes/attire, charged his cellphone with a Power Bank, and then ate the food we had prepared for him. In 7-8 minutes, we were in a Taxi on our way to Nam Chung Public Toilet as the starting line of the Wilson Trail. It took us 45 minutes for the trip and it was raining. Thomas was able to sleep inside the Taxi during the duration of the trip. Thomas did not have any issues when he arrived at the Finish Line of the First Trail. He was still strong and happy that he improved his time from last year’s time.
We arrived at the Starting Line of Wilson Trail at 16:00 Hours. Immediately, set-up the remaining food that we brought and let Thomas eat again. After repacking his hydration vest with food and water, Thomas left the Start of the Wilson at 16:25 Hours. Thomas was feeling cold because of the rain and encouraged him to eat some more. We gave him some fruits and rice packs and he left the area strong and determined to finish the race.
Journal Of “Team Thomas/PAU” @ 9th HK4TUC (Preparatory Stage)
January 22, 2020 (Wednesday)——Team Thomas/PAU departed Manila aboard Cathay Pacific at 8:00 AM and despite the delay of 30 minutes for our departure, we arrived at the Hongkong International Airport at 10:30 AM. After changing our money to Hongkong Dollars, buying our SIM Card with Unlimited Data, and loading some money to our Octopus Cards, we took the Airport Bus to our Hotel. After lunch, we settled and rested the remaining part of the day.
January 23, 2020(Thursday)——Thomas and I woke up early in the morning and prepared for our Recon Run at the MacLehose Trail. We took the MTR and Bus until we reached Sai Kung. From Sai Kung, we took the Green Taxi up to the start of the Section 2 of MacLehose Trail. We made sure all the parts and intersections in the said Section were carefully studied and marked by Thomas. This was the part where Thomas spent a lot of time looking for the trail, most specially on the beach sections of the course. With all those stops to eat and hydrate, picture taking, and talking to some people along the way, we finished our Recon Run in three hours.
In one of the Rest Pavilions along the trail, we met Johse from South Africa as he was on his second day hiking the MacLehose Trail, carrying his tent and food provisions for six days in his big backpack. He was resting when we started talking to him. He intends to finish hiking the MacLehose Trail by Tuesday as he takes his time enjoying the scenery and resting along the way. He had been taking a lot of pictures with his camera whenever he was resting for the day and night.
At the 2nd village that we reached, Sai Wan Beach Village, we stopped at the first eatery establishment for water, Coke, and Pocari Sweat. The place did not have any food to offer but it was good that we carried with us a piece Tikoy from Camarines Norte. That would served as our lunch during the hike. As we hiked farther from the business establishment, we reached the Campsite/Beach and we appreciated the beauty of the sea and sand. We took some pictures in this place. According to Thomas, he did not know which way to go once he reached this section as it was already nighttime. We took time to see some markers for him to know which way to go this time.
As we moved further, I was able to see the Sun Dial and took some pictures of it. After which we reached the Sai Wan Stargazing Site. The place is very beautiful and we took some pictures on the said place. Thomas will no longer see these markers and places once he passes during the HK4TUC as it will be nighttime.
As we entered the Tai Long Village, Thomas pointed to me the place where he bought some food and soft drinks. Near the said place, an old man in half-naked attire was eating his lunch. As he glanced at me, he asked me if I am a Catholic and what country I come from. I said, “Yes, I am a Catholic and I am from the Philippines”. He immediately stopped his lunch and asked me to follow him as he went into an uphill stairs until he was leading me to an Old Small Church. He said that St Mary’s statue is inside the Church and it is 120 years old and the church was constructed 60 years ago. He said that every weekend/Sunday, a lot of Filipino, mostly Filipino Ladies would visit and hear mass in the said Church. His name is Philippe and he maintains the cleanliness of the church and its surrounding. He said that he is cutting the grasses to prepare the church for the weekend’s mass and visit of devotees. He said that he is 78 years old! I took some “selfies’ with Philippe and Thomas, the Altar with Mama Mary and the Church. When Philippe left us to continue his lunch, Thomas and I offered some prayers to Mama Mary. I hope and pray that a miracle will happen to Thomas this weekend’s run!
Two kilometers before reaching Pak Tam Au, the end point of Stage 2 of the MacLehose Trail, I heard some fast footsteps behind me as I was jogging fast to reach the Rest Room. I did not bother to look behind me as I was focused to maintain my pace. On the last kilometer of the section, I asked Thomas to take some pictures of me while running. With the brief stop that I had to talk to Thomas and hand him over my phone, the guy behind passed me and I was surprised to see him as we did not see him along the trail. After the picture taking, he was ahead of me and reached the Rest Room first.
After he got out from the Rest Room, I asked him the direction going to Sai Kung and that started our conversation. I forgot to get his name but according to him, he finished the Vibram HK 100 five years ago and never came back to improve his time because of knee problems. Instead, he hikes carrying his camera. While waiting for the Bus To Sai Kung to arrive, he told us that he purposely hiked along the Section 2 and reached a place to take some pictures of a plant’s flower that blossoms onlyat the start of the Lunar Year. It is only this part of the year that the flowers bloom and they bloom in downward position. He showed to us the pictures that he took from the said flowers and they are beautiful. The flowers have some white and red color combination. We were amazed by the beauty of the flowers to the point that we forgot to ask his name and the name of the plant. We suspect that he had to veer off from the trail route and reached some peaks just to locate and take some pictures this plant.
We boarded the Bus to Sai Kung and had our late lunch in one of the Noodle Shops before taking the Mini-Bus that would take us to the MRT Station.
January 24, 2020 (Friday)——Due to incidents of being lost at the Wilson Trail for so many times, Thomas was not able to catch up with the last trip at the MRT Lam Tin Station for him to cross the Quarry Bay enroute to Hongkong Island for the last leg of the Wilson Trail before reaching Stanley Gap Road. Once the MRT opened on the 3rd day, Thomas spent so much time inside the MRT trying to figure out what Platform was he going to take. He had to ask the locals for directions where to take the MRT up to MRT Tai Koo Station before reaching the Wilson Trail at the Hongkong Island side.
So, we recon and rehearsed this part of the route and Thomas was able to recall and review the the route. I think we were able to hike about 5 miles tracing this route aside from our trips with the MRT Subway. To make my hike/recon more challenging, I carried a backpack with a weight of 20 pounds consisting of four (4) 2-liter bottles of water.
On our way back to the MTR Lam Tin Station, we saw an old local Chinese man about the age of 80s pushing his wife on a wheelchair on an uphill climb of about 200 meters long. I asked Thomas that we should help the old guy in pushing his wife. So, we did it and we alternated in pushing the wife until we reached their destination. Some of the old guys that saw our effort to help the old couple were cheering us for what we did. It was a good workout for me with the weighted backpack I was carrying.
On the second day here in Hongkong, Thomas and I were able to successfully recon the places where Thomas got lost and places where he spent so much time figuring it out which way to go. Thomas gave me the assurance that his confidence had been boosted with our Recon Runs for the past two days.
In a few hours, the whole Team will take a ride to the starting area for the event. Good luck and have fun, Thomas!
I just want to review the things that I do when I am running in my training and races. Most of these things are known already by runners but sometimes they forget when fatigue and pain come into play at the middle of the run. I usually do these “tricks” to focus or bring back my mind into running as we tend to be distracted by some factors, whether they are external or internal to one’s body. So, these are the tricks that I do:
1. Strides: This trick is described as quick increase in pace or speed for a short distance or time followed with an interval of slow pace. Most of the time, the time elapsed during a particular stride should be the same period with the slow pace. I am usually asked by my Coach to do some “strides” during or at the end of my Warm-Ups and during my Cool Down. However, at the middle of my Races and training workouts, I usually apply these “strides”. Usually, I adopt the “30-second” duration of “strides” which I estimate 30 counts whenever my right of left foot hit the ground.
2. “30-30”-Second Run: Actually, this is the same with “strides” and it was popularized by Kilian Jornet’s technique in running trail events. The first 30 seconds consist fast run and the next 30-seconds in easy run. This cycle is repeated throughout the run or race. Just the same with the strides, I usually count my right or left feet landing/hitting the ground from count one to thirty on fast pace and then shift to an easy pace with the same number of counts. If one can do this consistently, a runner can run as far as he can. This is what I adopt in my running, whether I am on the trail or road. This is my favorite drill during my endurance trail runs and during my road runs.
3. “30-20-10”-Second Run: This drill run is done by doing first a 30-second easy run, then followed with a faster 20-second run, and finish with a 10-second “sprint” to complete the cycle. You can repeat this cycle drill as long as you want. I usually do this drill in 4-5 cycles in the middle of my workout. As you progress, a runner can increase the number of cycles at least one cycle per week until comfortable to do 8 cycles in a single running workout.
4. “Fartlek” Run: Simply look for an object far in front of your running path and then “sprint” towards the said object. Take an easy and relaxed run after the sprint and then repeat the sprint if you feel you have already rested/recovered. Repeat the process as long as you want. You can walk as your rest/recovery in between sprints. You can start with 4 repetitions in a single workout and then steady increasing the number of repetitions within the middle part of your running workout. This workout is done once or twice a week.
5. Counting Steps or Strides: In the middle of my runs, I usually count my strides, whether they are easy or fast, from one to 90. In my estimate, 90 strides is equivalent to one minute which in turn would estimate me running a stride rate of 180 steps per minute. I usually do this drill when I would force myself to jog or to have an easy run instead of walking on the downhills or flat roads.
Most of these tricks were taken from the experiences shared by other runners. Some were taken from running books and articles from running magazines with the proper studies made by Sports scientists and sports physiologists. You can adopt one trick or you can combine all of these tricks in a single workout. It is up for the runner to choose which one is fitted for their prevailing running condition and purpose or objective while running.
I am a sucker with sunglasses! There was a time that I bought 3 dozens of sunglasses during my visit in the United States which I gave most to some of my running friends with the intention of giving them as a gift. These are cheap sunglasses that any runner can use in trail running or road races without the thought of being broken or lost along the route. In a sense, they are disposable! Up to this time, I am still using three pairs of these sunglasses alternately during my heat training workouts.
In my collection of sunglasses, they are categorized as either fashion or sports sunglasses. In my early days of running in the 80s, I would use the Sports Sunglasses of Ray-Ban until my favorite “Olympic Model” just vanished from the market. What I have now are the Classic Aviator, Classic Clubmaster, Classic Wayfarer, and the Classic Round Metal Classic but I only use them in my casual wear and local & foreign trips. I never use them in my Sports activities.
When it comes to running and hiking/outdoor activities, I would prefer to use my Oakleys. Actually, I have five (5) pairs of Sports Oakley Sunglasses and they are in different styles: Turbine; M2 Frame; Frogskins; Half Jacket; and Flak 2.0. Except for the Flak 2.0, the rest were assembled and bought in the United States.
For the past two months, I’ve been using the Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Polarized Sunglasses which I bought at Sunglass Haven in Metro Manila.This is the second most expensive Sports Sunglass in my collection and it is worth the price of more than Thirteen Thousand Pesos!
For the past two months that I have been using the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Polarized Sunglass, I have observed that it is very light due to its lightweight O Matter™ stress-resistant frame which sits snugged on my nose and ears and I did not feel any movement of the whole sunglass in every step and stride I made during my runs and hikes. I did not have to make any adjustments on the sunglass once I used it from the box. I have observed that the lower portion of the lenses don’t touch the upper part of my cheeks as compared to my other sports sunglasses.
The design of the frame and the lenses are for lasting comfort and performance. The lenses don’t touch any part of my face that may cause irritation or marks to my skin. The shape and configuration of the lenses also allow some air to get inside the space between the lens and the eyes preventing the lens from getting any mist due to my warm face and perspiration. There are some sports sunglasses that have holes on the lenses to prevent such mist but in this particular model, there are none. The frame is also fitted fully well on my ears that I could not feel that I am wearing the said sunglass. The rubber stirrups are well designed not give pressure and marks on the skin above my ears.
The optics is high-tech as it is called “Prizm” which is a High Definition Optics that sharpens the vision and highlights the elements often not clear when using other lenses. Aside from seeing my surroundings in the outdoors clearer than other lenses, they are not tiring to the eyes. During day time, I use it while I am driving my car and I feel alert seeing the details of what I see in front of meand on my side and rear mirrors.
I am really amazed with the performance of this sports sunglasses as I used it for the first time in the The North Face Hongkong 50K Ultra Trail Race. It was hot and sunny day in the Wilson Trail during the event but my eyesight was very clear and refreshing that I did not have a chance to remove it during daytime. What I observed in the lenses was that my perspiration does not leave any mark once it is dried. My sweat just simply slide on the surface of the lens leaving no trace at all. During nighttime, I just simply clipped the sunglass on top of the visor of my cap and it stays snugged on my cap. I really appreciate the versatility of this sports sunglass.
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Polarized Sport Sunglass provided me with much comfort, clarity in my vision around me, protection from dust, elements and whatever things that would harm my eyesight, and I guess, it gives me good looks, of course! I highly recommend this product as a casual wear when you are exposed to sunlight, when you are driving, and when you are engaged in any outdoor sports. It is worth as an investment for a healthier and clearer vision and protection to your eyes.
Life expectancy is defined by Wikipedia as the statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age and other demographic factors including gender. Life expectancy is commonly confused with the average age an adult could expect to live. Life expectancy differs from maximum life span. Life expectancy is an average for all people in the population, including those who die shortly after birth, those who die in early adulthood, and those who live unimpeded until old age. Maximum lifespan, on the other hand, is an individual-specific concept—maximum lifespan is therefore an upper bound rather than an average.
Various factors contribute to an individual’s longevity. Significant factors in life expectancy include gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and crime rates. Japan has the longest life expectancy of 82.84 years in 2010 while Mozambique has 41.37 years in 2010. The rest of the list of life expectancies of each country can be searched on Wikipedia or Google.
The reason why I thought of writing in this blog about this topic is when I saw a Facebook post in one of the FB Groups where I am a member. This FB Group consists of Retired Officers and Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, of which I joined in the later part of 2019. In the said FB post, with the premise that the Life Expectancy of Filipinos is 68 years old, attached in the post is a List Of Retired Generals and Senior Officers who died before and after reaching the age of 68 years old. I was surprised that some of my Seniors, as well as, my Junior Officers had joined the List. May their Souls Rest In Peace! I am just sad that they did not enjoy their Retirement Benefits to the fullest.
As I am few months away, actually 4 months, from reaching the age of 68 years old. I feel good and happy that I am blessed to be healthy and active. However, as I “googled” the Life Expectancy of the Philippines, I found out the latest statistics/survey as seen in this picture that I grabbed:
It is indicated that the Life Expectancy of the Philippines was 68.73 years old in 2000 and had steadily been increasing through the years up to 71.28 years old for the current year 2020. It appears that I still have an additional 3+ years “bonus” to live to reach the age of 71 years old.
It is very easy to say that I can project myself to reach this age and still be standing, healthy and active. But there are things that could be done to ensure that I could reach this age. In my past experience, I could say that the following reasons or tips made me as healthy and active as of today:
Exercise everyday: My exercise consists of running or hiking on a daily basis for a minimum duration of one hour. 80-90% of my workouts are easy runs just to be able to perspire and let my heart do some cardio-vascular effort. I purposely hike with a weighted backpack once a week to strengthen my leg muscles, see the scenery/outdoors, and the best and quick way to perspire.
Eat Simple but Healthy Real Foods: Most of the time, I eat a cup of steamed rice and one viand that has soup, vegetable, and meat/fish/chicken, all in one soup bowl. I end up eating a bite of chocolate or any fresh fruits available. If there is a chance that I could eat fresh vegetable salad, I would gladly grab the opportunity.
Hydrate: I regularly drink water before, during and after my daily exercises. I even drink water regularly whenever I am reading some articles on the Internet, reading a book, or simply watching the Netflix. I make sure to take my body weight before and after my workout and closely monitor how much body liquid I have lost during the workout. I would immediately drink the equivalent weight that I have lost.
Sleep Eight (8) Hours Every Night: Whether I sleep late or not, I should be able to sleep 8 hours during nighttime. If I can not make it or lacking for one or two hours, I would take a nap after lunch during daytime.
Do Some Strength Training Exercises: Simple Dumbbell exercises with Light Weight; Leg Squats; Push-Ups; Sit-Ups; and Step-Ups are my main strengthening exercises which I do, at least, three times a week.
Do Some Stretching Exercises/Yoga/Pilates: I usually concentrate my exercises with the strengthening of my Core Muscles through planks; some Yoga and Pilates poses. I usually do them as additional exercises during my Strengthening Exercise workouts.
Take A Crap Ever Day: This should be a daily habit for me. I can not go out to run or hike or get out of the house for some errands if I can not sit “on my throne” once I take my hot coffee in the morning. My mood for the day depends on this habit. Every thing is light/easy and positive if this is done early in the day.
Ignore Bad Vibes: There are lot of things to read on the Social Media that promotes Bad Vibes or things that are negative in nature. Most of the time, the sources of these negative stories and comments have nothing to do but spread such lies, inuendos, fake news, and information without any basis or evidence. These people are just happy to say bad things to other people and I really don’t understand what is in the mind of these people. There is only ONE Strategy to adopt in order to deal with these people: IGNORE!
Always Stay Positive: Because I ignore those Bad Vibes and negative comments, I always make it a point to think the positive way. What is important is that I know myself, I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I keep to myself my plans for the future. All my posts in Social Media are facts, my activities, and things that I like. Always staying positive leads to the next topic.
Don’t Stress Yourself and Simplify Things: For the past days, I have been reading the comments and exchange of comments among the members of a FB Group whose members are all AFP and PNP Retirees. The topic is about the delay in the availability the Monthly Pension for January 2020 in the ATMs. Some of the members are patient and understanding but most of them are angry of the situation. I just smile as I read the comments. In situations like this, I always say that “this is not yet the end of the world, why worry?” Politics? I don’t even dip my finger to politics. I really don’t care! As long as I receive my monthly pension, get my dividends to my investments & rentals to some properties and push through with my running activities, I really don’t care what is happening around. It is not yet the end of the world! How to simplify your life? Don’t mind the business of other people. Never dip your finger to the life or problem/s of other people. As they say, things happen for a reason! If something happens to you, deal with it. Don’t broadcast it on Social Media.
Plan Ahead: Last November 2019, I have already made my schedule for 2020 and beyond, hoping that I am still healthy and active by then. However, they are still categorized as “Secret”. Hahaha!
Enjoy What You Have: What else can I ask for? I am trying my best to control myself looking for places and running events where I could join in the future aside from those events where I have already registered. I am also controlling myself looking for things to be added in my collection of watches, pocket knives, business suits, and boots. I guess, I have to stop collecting them now and invest in precious metals that have the potential to increase in price in the future.
Drink and Eat Rich In Protein: As my muscles are shrinking as I grow older, I need to drink more fresh milk, soya milk, and eat more eggs! It is noteworthy to say that I don’t have any medication or maintenance medicine. Having said that, I could eat anything in moderation and make sure that I monitor my body weight regularly. I drink beer during occasions and social events but never I would allow myself to be drunk. Instead of paying for my medications (which there is none), I would spend for the service of a Professional Sports Coach to my Running as he closely monitors my training to include my Rests and Recovery. I think this is the best investment where my money is going as I am getting better, stronger, more active, and healthier.
Socialize From Time To Time: As I am writing this post, one of my classmates in the PMA just died due to heart attack. We were born in the same month of May and year (1952). He should be 68 years old this coming May. We were both long-distance runners when were cadets and he was a good rival in our cross-country events as he was a member of another Cadet Company. During our early career as Officers of the AFP, we would compete each other in our Annual PMA Alumni Athletic Meets and would saw him in weekend road races in Manila in the early 80s. I have been faster than him since we were cadets. The last time that saw him was in the middle of last year during a meeting with a group of Retired Generals of the AFP in Camp Aguinaldo and I personally warned him of his “heavy” weight, thus, encouraged him to bring back his running days through walking every day. I really don’t know if he followed my advise then. I might have socialized much with my runners for the past years but I would meet my classmates and contemporaries from time to time. Most of those Generals whom I have worked with and had worked under me are now the “bigwigs” in the present administration. I guess, it is about time to visit them one by one and say “Hello” to them! In essence, I have the young ones and the old ones as my friends. And that makes my life a better and a wonderful one.
Some of my subscribers to this blog have requested me to feature Gear Reviews on the Apparel/Running Kit that I am using in my races, running workouts and hikes. And so for this year 2020, I am featuring my first Gear Review whose brand name is not so popular as a Sports brand name and it is considered as a brand for Casual Wear. This is the UNIQLO brand which had been introduced in this country few years ago and had expanded in almost all the key cities in the country. This is a Japanese brand and it suits to us as Asians.
For this post, I am featuring the UNIQLO HeatTech Crew Neck Long-Sleeve Shirt which I bought few weeks ago purposely as a casual wear, an inside shirt, for my Business Suit/Coat which I intend to use during my International Flights outside the country. Actually, I bought three (3) pieces of this shirt. I got the Dark Green, Red, and Blue colors. Each has a tag price of P 790, a price which is very much cheaper than any of the long-sleeve shirts with a popular sports brand name.
It says in its item specification that the shirt is light and warm but not bulky. It has cropped sleeves and stay hidden under shirts or jacket, if used as an undershirt when wearing under a jacket, coat or another buttoned shirt. The comfort features include bio-warming, insulating, moisturizing, moisture-wicking, anti-static, anti-microbial and self-deodorizing. The material of the shirt is stretchy and has a shape-retaining material. I got size SMALL and it feels comfortable to my body as it is not fitted like a compression shirt.
At noon time today, I went out from my house for a two-hour hike into the hills and along the slopes of Mt Roosevelt (the highest elevation in my Playground which is almost 2,000 feet above sea level). As a part of my training, I was carrying a backpack with a weight of 24 pounds of water bottled in four 2-liter bottles and an additional frozen water in one 1-liter bottle. I was carrying also some trail foods and a cellphone.
Having started at noontime, the sun was hot and the sky was without clouds, I was surprised that I started to perspire after two kilometers of intense hiking on a continuous uphill terrain. I usually start to perspire after running for one kilometer. But with the heavy weight I was carrying, I thought I would perspire after hiking a few meters from the gate of my compound. The shirt was very comfortable as I started to perspire as I was going up to Mt Roosevelt as I passed the distance of two kilometers. Even if the color of my shirt was in dark green, the feeling of my skin from the shirt was not too hot but it was cooler than what I expected. It was only after I reached the peak of a hill where the base of an electric power tower is located that I felt that I was drenched with perspiration. I reached this peak in 1:05+hours and I decided to have this place as my turn-around point.
I decided to bring down my backpack and bring out the trail food and my cellphone at the base of this electric transmission tower for some rest, hydration and ingest my nutrition. My UNIQLO shirt was entirely wet from my perspiration but I have observed that the damp of my shirt provided me the coolness to my body. After a few minutes of eating, drinking and taking some “selfies” from my cellphone, I started my hike again and back to where I started.
Even if it was too hot while I was on my way back, I still feel that my body was so fresh and refreshed by the damp shirt. The wet shirt has a cooling effect to my body and I felt I was not perspiring while I was hiking on the downhill and uphill. I finally reached the gate of my compound after 2:17+ minutes. As I removed the shirt from my body, I have observed that the shirt did not retain much moisture and it was very light as compared to other moisture-wicking shirts from popular sports brand names where they are very heavy once they are drenched with my perspiration.
With the price of 790 Pesos, the shirt has eight (8) colors: White, Light Gray, Dark Gray, Black, Red, Dark Green, Blue, and Navy. I am planning to look for a white color for this Uniqlo shirt in my next visit to their store.
With its cheap price, comfortability, and lightness when wet, I am highly recommending this Uniqlo shirt for Ultra Runners, whether they are on the road or trails.
(Note: I am NOT a Sponsored User of UNIQLO Products)
Based from what I have been reading on Social Media and other written articles about running for the past days since the start of the year 2020, I have the following personal predictions about running in the local setting in the country as well as in International Running Events:
Running Events will steadily increase in numbers: With the positive results of the 30th ASEAN Games where the country became the Host and the Overall Champion in the Medal Tally Results, running as a basic sports will be embraced by the citizenry as a form of exercise; as an endurance sports; as a part of training for other sports discipline; and as a part of a healthy style of living. Almost all the weekends of the year will be filled with scheduled “fun runs”; long distance running events, such as half-marathon, marathon, and ultramarathon races. Short and Middle distance races like 5K and 10K races will always be there and it is predicted that more “newbies” will join such races.
Trail Running Events will increase throughout the country: As per my observation with the scheduled races at the Facebook Group “Trail Running In The Philippines” (TRIP), trail running events, whether they are short in distance or ultras, have increased in numbers and I think for 2020, more events will be staged in almost all the regions/provinces in the country where there are mountain trails. However, trail runners will tend to choose which one to join due to financial constraints or depending on what would be their goal in this selected sports. Some competitive trail runners will be joining the Local Trail Running Events with ITRA points for them to qualify in International Trail Running Events. With more of trail running events for this year, the “old” trail running events will have a decrease in participants not unless the same people who have finished the event will continuously support the said event.
MILO Marathon & MILO Regional Qualifying Races are still the Number ONE Running Events In The Country: Aside from its stature as the Most Prestigious Running Events In The Country, it rewards our Local Elite Runners with Cash Incentives and Travel Expenses support for the MILO Finals Marathon Race. MILO/NESTLE as a MultiNational/Foreign Corporation in the country had been promoting Running as a Sports for the longest time for the local populace. Nobody from our Local Business/Corporate Brands or Institutions had the courage to dig deep from their “pockets” to provide a constant and continuous goal to promote healthy lifestyle through running to the local populace. MILO Runners will also increase innumber despite the fact that schools are required to bring their students to join the shorter races. For the competitive and average runners, there will be an increase in the number of runners who would like to qualify for the MILO Finals as it is becoming a symbol status for runners to be a part of the said event. Qualified for the MILO Finals had been a “bragging rights” for the average and competitive runners in the country.
With more Running Events, Runners Will Remain With Slow Finish Times: With the advent of the Social Media, runners will be satisfied in joining and finishing the race event that they have joined. Pictures of runners with their Finisher’s Medal will be the usual post/status on Facebook without mentioning their Finish Time. Actually, this practice had been with us through the years and more “newbie” runners will follow this practice.
Slow Finish Time Runners Will Compose Most Of The Runners In International Marathon Events: It is common in my observation that Slow Finish Runners (Sub-5-Hour & Sub-6-Hour Runners) in Marathon Races will consist most of our Runners who will be joining the World Marathon Majors Events. Their reason could be “Bragging Rights” to have joined these events as they would post their Finisher’s Medals on Facebook and other Social Media platforms. I could not understand why these average and slower runners are the luckiest persons in Race Lotteries in World Major Marathon Races. This prediction is the main reason why the Runners from the Philippines remain as one of the slowest finishers in Marathon Races as compared with other nations.
But More Average and Competitive Runners Will Try To Qualify For The Boston Marathon: It can not be denied that the Most Prestigious Marathon Race In The World is the Boston Marathon and its qualifying times had been faster than before and there is a number of minutes as buffer time if a runner just qualified for his time, to make sure that he is in for the race. Hopefully, more of our Local Elite Runners will be able to qualify for the said race. For those slower runners who are active in the Social Media, they will take the window of opportunity to get in to the event as Charity Runner/s as they have the money and influence to raise for the funds needed.
UTMB Races Will Remain As The Goal Of Local Trail Runners: Through the past years, the number of Pinoy Runner (Local and Foreign-based) Applicants for the UTMB Lotteries had been increasing and as a result, more Filipinos are joining the UTMB Races. The creation of Trail Running Events in the country with ITRA points had considerably increased the number of qualified Trail Runners for the UTMB. It is predicted that more Trail Running Organizers/Race Directors will advertise their races with ITRA Points as a “come-on” for those runners who plan to join the UTMB Races, as well, in other International Races. However, with financial and logistics constraints, there will still be qualified applicants to the UTMB Races who would not be able to join such events.
More “Copycat” Ultramarathon Races Will Be Created: There is a tendency of Local Ultra Race Director/s to copy or outdo other RDs Routes for Road Ultramarathon Events. What is worse is when they do a “Reverse” version of what other RD had adopted as his route in his events. This bad practice will continue showing disrespect to the other Race Director/Organizer. Some RDs will also conduct farther distances for their Ultra Events with the purpose to outdo the performance of other ultra athletes. With the popularity of “Fake News”, there will also be “Fake RDs and Fake ROs” who will spend money for advertisement, send Personal Messages to invite their FB Friends, promise Prizes, Raffles, and other Incentives for the Podium Winners, attract runners with Commercial Sponsors and give “Free Kits” to Runner-Influencers.
Ultramarathon Races and Popular Running “Trends” Will Continue To Be Copied By Local Race Organizers: I think I am the Race Director that started the famous “Beer Mile” in the country and since then, it was copied by others as a “fun run” and it did not prosper to come up with a some sort of National Course Record among the runners. A Fat Ass Road Run was introduced every January and it became popular for runners and I guess, there will no more of this event this year. I also introduced Fat Ass For Trail for a single edition and I was not able to get more participants that I have stop the concept. As the Backyard Ultra in the US is becoming popular, some Local Organizers had conducted their own version of this event. Hopefully, this event will thrive and grow within this year. As for the IAU concept of “loop runs” to establish Record Runs in 24 Hours and other Running Timed Events, these races are not palatable to the liking and taste of Local Runners as compared to other Asian Countries and if we have some races of this kind, I predict that we could not be able to compete and be at par with these countries.
More Ultra Race Organizers and Race Directors Will Be Dreaming That Running Events Are Lucrative Business: This is “self-explanatory”.
Lastly, there will always be a “Cheater” in Every Race!
For the third time, I was refused to join in one of the UTMB Races for the year 2020. I pre-registered for the CCC (101K) Race where my prevailing earned ITRA points for the past two years are qualified. After looking for the list of accepted/registered runners from the Philippines at the UTMB Website, I found out that there are 14 Runners for the UTMB (out of 50 applicants); 6 Runners for the TDS (out of 7 applicants); 4 Runners (out of 15 applicants); and 1 runner (out of 5 applicants) who will finally join the UTMB Races for this year. I am one of those 11 applicants who were not lucky enough to be included among the CCC participants.
In the formal notice that I have received from the UTMB Race Organizers which was sent to my e-mail address, they have stated that they have implemented an updated entry process for the year 2020. The bottomline is that I have to apply again for the year 2021 with a bigger chances to be included in the list of participants. There is also another option where I could join without going through the lottery if I can finish the 100-mile or 100-kilometer races in their UT Races in China (actually, 2 races in China), Spain, and Oman. Since these UT races are qualifiers for the longer UTMB race, they will not be part of my option as I want to join the CCC in the near future, if qualified and accepted. But for now, Chamonix is gone in my mind as I have to wait for the pre-registration for the 2021 UTMB Races this coming December 2020.
My plan for 2020 is to make CCC as my A-race and the rest of the trail races that I have scheduled and planning to join are part of my ITRA points accumulation; preparation/training for CCC; and a way to visit other places where I have never been. As they say, “If Plan A did not materialize, there are still remaining 25 letters in the Alphabet!”
As a teaser, I have already registered to three (3) International Trail Running Events for the year 2020 and these races will be revealed as my blogging progresses from day to day. Of course, there are also Local Trail Running Events that I am planning to join as part of my training/preparation for these International Events. My non-acceptance to the CCC Race had given me a lot of options to travel to other countries and places that I have never been before. Hopefully, Chamonix will be good for me in the year 2021, if I still have the strength at the age of 69 years old.
For those Pinoy Runners who are accepted for the 2020 UTMB Races, congratulations and wishing you the best of luck. Train properly. Enjoy the journey!