One of the training tips that my Coach had given me when I complained about my knee pains as a result of my long runs in the mountains is for me to try hiking into the mountains instead of doing my easy long runs there. However, he told me that I should carry a weighted backpack with me starting with 10-15 pounds for my first try or experience in hiking to the mountains. This workout of hiking with a weighted backpack should be done once a week.
This advice or tip was given to me way back last December 2019. It was good that I bought a North Face backpack which is made with thick material and does not have so many pockets or dividers inside it. I would use 2-liter bottles filled with water as the weight I would carry inside my backpack. Since then, I have been hiking with a weighted backpack once a week in going to the mountains for a hike of 3-4 hours and steadily progressed on making my backpack weight up to 25 pounds. Despite the fact that I would be enticed to run the downhills, I forced myself to be patient and slow on the downhills. On those hikes with weighted backpack for the past weeks and months, it gave me more strength on my legs and thus, I was able to finish my ultra trail races (local and international) since then up to the time Covid-19 Lockdown was imposed.
During the Lockdown period (past 4 months), I have been doing my daily runs in my Backyard Loop and I would be doing my hiking with a weighted backpack once a week. After I rested for one week of no running, I resumed my hiking with a weighted backpack yesterday with a reduced weight of 20 pounds. However, I did it in my Backyard Loop. After one mile, I started to perspire and after one hour, I was able to hike a distance of 3 miles.
It was good to be back hiking with my weighted backpack again and I am eager to go back to the mountain trails in the coming days and weeks.
Last Tuesday, I was able to run in 61 minutes (1:01 hours) covering a distance of 4 miles or 6.4 kilometers in my Backyard Loop. I started with an easy pace of 16-17 minutes per mile until I was able to increase it to 12-13 minutes per mile. I usually run one loop in my Backyard for 5:30 minutes on an easy pace but I could also finish it in 4:15 minutes in my tempo runs.
I still had my Army Physical Fitness Challenge later in the day which I passed, doing the exercises on the minimum/passing scores of 20 push-ups; 30 sit-ups; and 20-minute 2-mile run along the paved road in front of my compound. Later in the evening, I did my 2-minute forward plank challenge and 100 push-ups challenge.
Yesterday, Wednesday, I did a one-hour hike in my Backyard Loop carrying a backpack weighing 20 pounds of water which were contained in six 2-liter bottles. I was able to cover a distance of 3 miles in one hour. Later in the day, I was able to do my daily “Challenges”.
On the Covid-19 situation in the Philippines, there are now 143,749 total of confirmed cases where 4,444 cases were reported for the day. The following picture shows the latest update from the Department of Health:
The weather had improved for the past two days but it is still cloudy and overcast. The ground condition of the trail in my Backyard Loop has become softer due to the past rains but I am glad that the composition of the soil is more sandy than being a muddy one. My trail shoes had been appropriate with this kind of ground condition. Every step gave me more comfort to my old knees and joints.
I am not sure if I had been given by my CTS Coach to do a Pyramid Running Workout for the past 3 years. I was surprised to see in my weekly schedule that I was scheduled for this running workout last Wednesday. However, I missed doing the said workout on the scheduled date because my body was not feeling well to do an interval running workout as I have been experiencing some pain on my right knee for the past days. Instead, I just did an easy run for about two hours in my Backyard Loop on Wednesday.
Yesterday, Thursday, I decided to do the Pyramid Running Workout. The workout goes this way: warm-up for 20 minutes and then run with a Rating of Perceived Effort (RPE) of 8-9 for 2 minutes and then slow down for the next two minutes. After the recovery run of 2 minutes, start again for an RPE of 8-9 for 3 minutes and then slow down for 2 minutes. This is repeated until your fast run will be done to four and then five minutes with each rest interval of 2 minutes. From 5 minutes, go down to 4 minutes, rest in between for two minutes, until you do your last run in 2 minutes. So, in summary, I ran 2-3-4-5-4-3-2 minutes with a two-minute recovery run in between those fast repetitions. After which, I made a cool-down run for another one hour with 20-minute strides of 6 repetitions on the last 20 minutes of my run. In the said workout, I was able to cover a distance of 7.15 miles in 1:57 hours. I did this workout in my Backyard Loop which consists of a single-track trail.
Ten years ago, I was doing this workout in an oval track and I became a faster road runner in the process.
I did not have any problems with my knees during the run and I had a wonderful feeling after the said workout.
Hereunder is the Photo Video of my trip to Turkey to join/participate in the 2018 Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Trail Race which was held in October 2018. This training running event is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour Event. I have published a Race Report of this event in this blog.
This is a Photo Video that I posted on You Tube with the objective to document the past accomplishments of our local trail runners in international trail running event like the UTMB. This video will be also an instrument for others who will be inspired to join this event in the near future. Thank you for watching.
Two weeks ago, while browsing on the YouTube and trying to revive and locate my YouTube Channel which I created 5-6 years ago when I was staying for a vacation in the United States, I was able to come across this instructional video about Trail Running.
I think this could be one of the best instructional videos on trail running. Attached is a video entitled, “Better Trail Running Instructional Video”. I hope you will like this and be motivated always to hit the trails every day.
Thank you for watching this video. Happy Father’s Day!
It was an accident or spur of the moment when I decided to register for the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race after I DNF at the 2017 Javelina Jundred 100-Mile Endurance. I was mentally and physically devastated when I was driving from Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona to Los Angeles, California on October 29, 2017 after the event. It was supposed to be my first 100-mile race with the CTS Coaching Service which I started to enroll in the middle of June 2017. I was too confident that after 4 months of training under my CTS Coach, I would be able to finish the Javelina Jundred. However, at Mile 38, I started to have a “stomach problem” and that I had to “throw-up” my ingested food and the fluids that I have taken few meters after I left the last Aid Station. It took me 34 minutes to finish Mile 38 and walked all the way to the end of the 2nd loop at the elapsed time of 10:42+ hours. I rested in my tent for almost 16 minutes to recover and find out if I can still take in some fluids and food. However, my body took a lot of beating due to the heat of the day. I decided to DNF with the elapsed time of 10:56+ hours at 42 miles with another one hour of buffer time to rest some more. But on hindsight, while I was thinking on my way back to Los Angeles, I should have slept and spent the whole one hour for my body to recover and just in time for the heat of the day to cool off as it was already early in the evening.
Reviewing my data on Training Peaks during the said event, I had 4 Peak Performances and an Average Pace of 14-15 minutes per mile which I consider to be above average from my past performance considering that it was too hot that time. My recurring problem with my gut due to the heat really zapped my body physically and mentally. As a consolation, I would think also that the elapsed period (4 months) that I was with CTS Coaching Service was not enough for me to moulded as an ultrarunner at the age of 65 years old. I talked to my Coach and I told him what really happened and he gave me advises and suggestions on how to manage my nutrition problem. He suggested for me to take some rest the following week and do some easy runs for my recovery.
The day after I arrived in Los Angeles, I don’t know what came into my mind when I tried to browse for any race to be held within the Los Angeles area in the coming days and weeks. Surprisingly, I came across the Revel Canyon City Marathon Race which is to be held on November 4, 2017, six days after I DNF at the Javelina Jundred, and I registered with the aim to finish the race. I immediately called and informed my friend, Rowell Ramos, to monitor me during the race and if he has the time, meet me at the Finish Line. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon was never in my mind to be my goal when I registered in this race. I just wanted to run and finish a race!
And the rest is history. I have to photo grab the data which I retrieved from Training Peaks where you can see the Ten (10) Peak Performances that I did in the said Marathon Race which are self-explanatory.
Will I ever go back to Phoenix, Arizona, USA to finish this race? Why not?
Unfortunately, the Revel Canyon City Marathon Race that I joined was the last edition of the said race. It is now being held in Big Bear, California. This year, I am registered to join this year’s edition with the hope that the Covid19 restrictions will be lifted soon.
There are two things that you would think with this story. Is the CTS Coaching Service where I have enrolled and subscribed was the main reason why I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon? Or Was it the Downhill Elevation of the Revel Marathon Course contributed to my faster time for an Old Runner with the age of 65? Neither of the two were the main reasons why I started my journey to the Boston Marathon. It is the “Man In The Arena”!
As I was browsing on my past posts/stories in this blog yesterday, I came across with this “insight” which I have written on February 14, 2014 (Valentine’s Day) and never was able to publish it in this blog. I was wondering what could be the reason why I was not able to post this as this post answers the BIG “WHY” I have been to ultramarathon and thus, creating an iconic Ultramarathon Event in the country which is the “Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race”. And this is my insight as an ultra marathoner (road and trail) and a Race Director and Organizer of Ultra Running Events which up to now is still true and applicable up to the present.
It is almost SIX years when I started to float the idea of conducting an ultra marathon race in the country and in this year of 2014, it will be the 6th edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race. On hindsight, I have been thinking why I organized this kind of road running event and slowly made it as something to be proud of among runners in the country.
It all started when I saw a website of a marathon event that is named after the Bataan Death March which is being held in the desert of White Sands, New Mexico, USA. I saw this website when I was still in the active service in 1999. After a year, I implemented the same concept of the race among the units of the Philippine Army and made it as a Team Competition to include the US Army & Marines contingent based in the country. Although the race covered only 25 kilometers of the Bataan Death March Route, it became a success even if we did not ask for any Registration Fees from the Team Participants. It was simply sponsored by the Philippine Army, through my Office as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Training and Education, G-8. In simple terms, I was the Chief Trainor & Educator of the Philippine Army nationwide!
If I can still remember it right, I only gave Trophies to the Top Three Teams and there were NO Finisher’s Medals and Finisher’s T-Shirts. Our office and my staff gave packed lunch to all the participants and we parted ways as happy competitors and runners. In the same manner, our civilian guest runners were just treated with the said packed lunch at the finish area.
Sadly, when I got transferred to Mindanao for a Combat Commander position, my BDM efforts just died and forgotten.
Fast Forward. Retirement and the Freedom to Run in any place and time of the day gave me a more focused attention to the Ultra Races that I’ve organized in the past. Of course, my being a Retired Major General of the Armed Services had also helped me in my coordination with the AFP, PNP, and the Local Governments. And whenever any of my ultra races is being concluded with all the finishers enjoying their triumph and victory, I always get a heart-warming feedback of “Congratulations For a Successful Event!” from the other runners, friends from Facebook, and from the thousands of followers of my blog.
It is a very humbling feeling when I get such feedback and it is already enough “compensation” for the preparation, coordination, risk, sleepless and tiring moments just to be able to monitor the safety of the runners and the progress of the race.
Personally, success to me in every race, is NOT in the number of registered runners. I would be happier if I have lesser in the number of runners whom I personally know and who would stick to follow my Race’s Rules & Regulations. Furthermore, I would be happiest when I hear stories among my runners on how they help each other in order to finish the race. These ultra runners whom I usually call “the usual suspects” are aware that the registration fee that they have paid to join the event is NOT enough to pay for my “Talent Fee” for seeing to it that they are safe and secured during the event.
But, most of the reasons for a Successful Event is attributed to the Competing Runner himself/herself. In ultra races, a runner can not “fake’ his performance backed with lackluster training and preparation. It takes a lot of pounding on the ground, discipline, determination, positive attitude, and critical problem solving if an ultra runner wants a decent finish in a race without any injury or “issues”. So, if a runner registers a Course Record Time for the event, it becomes a motivation for the others to work harder in their next training & preparation. Success for a runner is being able to overcome one’s inner demons, pain , suffering, and other personal challenges!
Success does not mean profit or money that a Race Organizer would earn from each event. Since I am not being backed up or sponsored by any Corporate Entity, a runner’s registration fee would be spent for the Podium Finisher’s Trophies, Finisher’s Medals, Finisher’s Shirts, Certificates, Race Bibs, Tarpaulins, Payment For Marshals & Event’s Staff, Ambulance/Medical Team Services, Planning & Coordination, Timing Services, Food For Runners at the Finish Line, and Travel Expenses. Sad to say, I am not being paid for being the Race Director!
To tell you the truth, I am getting richer from my “tax-free” monthly pension and “tax-free” interests of my investments and rentals to my properties. Even without organizing or directing ultra races, I will be happy and contended sitting on my rocking chair while listening my music from my Bose Sound System and scrolling/reading your Facebook status on my MacBook Air and Apple iPhone!
Success, therefore, to me in races is developing friendships and maintaining those friendship so that in every race, a runner would learn something for him/her to be a better person. Better would mean stronger, healthier, more matured, more friendly, and have a better outlook in life.
The highest level of success is when ones experience as a Runner and Race Director/Organizer is being shared to others and such experience becomes an inspiration to emulate. And this blog has that main objective to share my experience to everybody.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and have the motivation to challenge yourself to run and adhere the outdoors for the greater good of a healthy lifestyle. Please subscribe to this blog for more updates and stories. Thank you!
After finishing the 2020 Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon (BUTM) 106K Race in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia on March 15, 2020, the Philippines was put on strict Lockdown due to Covid-19 upon my arrival in Manila in the early morning of March 17, 2020. From the Manila International Airport, I immediately went directly to my Playground, driving my personal vehicle, in the Province of Bataan which is 110 kilometers away northwest of Metro Manila. This is the place where I spent those “Lockdown” period/days as imposed by the Government due to the pandemic brought about by Covid-19.
Having surrounded with hills and mountains in my Playground and with a “Backyard Loop” once I step out of the door of the house, I maintained my daily training with the hope that the races where I registered would still be held as scheduled.
A new ultra trail race of KOTM (King of the Mountains) series in the Cordillera Region, Pulag 100K Ultra Trail Race, would be in its first edition on April 18-19, 2020, was supposed to be my next race for the year. But because of the prevailing situation in the country, the Race Director deemed it to be cancelled for safety reasons. Despite this situation, I did a “virtual run” on the date of the event in my Backyard Loop where I finished 50K in 11 hours and some minutes!
For the month of May, I was supposed to go to California, USA and join the 2020 Western States 100-Mile Memorial Day Training Runs for the said weekend. I made already my accommodation reservation and I was glad I was not charged for it. Also, I was glad that my travel reservations were not scheduled before the Lockdown was imposed.
By the end of this June, I was supposed to go to Europe as I was accepted in a lottery to join the 2020 Mont Blanc Du Marathon 42K Race in Chamonix, France but it was cancelled by the Race Organizer/s. I guess, I opted to have my registration on a “roll-over” for the 2021 edition.
Before the end of May, I was able to request for the refund of my registration fee for the Eiger Ultra Trail Race 51K as the Race Organizers announced on the earlier part of May that this event is also cancelled. It was supposed to be my second time to visit the Jungfrau-Interlaken-Grindelwald Region in Switzerland.
So far, those are the four Trail Races/Events which are cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation. I was fortunate that I did not plan ahead and spend some money in advance for my travel arrangements.