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2018 TNF Lavaredo 120K Experience (Part 7/Conclusion)

9 07 2018

2018 TNF Lavaredo 120K Experience (Part 7/Conclusion)

Recommendations To Next Pinoy Runners:

  1. National Flag of the Philippines: I have observed that there is NO National Flag of the Philippines displayed at the upper walls of the Ice Olympic Stadium despite the fact that there had been four (4) Filipino Runners who have finished the race or for the the fact that our country was always represented in this event for the past four (4) years. If there is a way, I will ask one of the future runners for this event to bring one flag of our country and I will buy one for this purpose. The flag should be given to the Race Director/Organizer to be displayed at the Expo and Start & Finish Area.
  2. Local Bus Schedule: It is highly advisable to know the schedule of the local Dolomiti Bus through their website or through the Schedule of Trips posted at the Town’s Bus Terminal. An iPhone or Google Application can be downloaded to one’s cellphone to find out their daily trip schedule and buy a ticket Online or simply go to the Bus Terminal to buy ones ticket at the counter.
  3. Visit Tri Cime Di Lavaredo: The bus that leaves to the popular destination in the Dolomites leaves the city early in the morning (usually 7:00 to 7:30 AM) to be able to return back to the city in the afternoon. Prepare 20 Euros for the Ticket to enter the Park at Tri Cime Di Lavaredo (separate from your Bus Ticket/Fare). It is highly recommended to visit this place if a runner has the time.

    Lavaredo’s Tri Cime (Photo From Facebook)

  4. Hotel Accommodation: I highly recommend the Dependance Hotel Corona, the place where I stayed, as Stefano, the Hotel’s Manager and its Staff are very friendly and accommodating. Most of the runners stayed in this Hotel. You only have to make your reservation ahead of time, preferably, once you are picked in the lottery and have paid your registration fee.
  5. Carry Some Rice From The Philippines: If ever I would go back to Cortina and run the Lavaredo, I would bring my Camping Cooking Gear and and maybe, 1-2 Kilos of Rice in my Check-In Luggage. I have observed that “Rice Balls” as my main source of Nutrition is very appropriate in this event. I can not live without Rice as part of my meal even if I brought with me lots of Lucky Me Instant Noodles to Italy. For 12 days of my stay in Italy, I was eating bread, pasta, spaghetti, and fruits but nothing beats Rice as my main source of Carbohydrate. I was able to reduce my weight despite my daily Breakfast Buffet at the Hotel to about 5 pounds which is maintained up to this day.
  6. Flight Carrier: I have been traveling to Europe, since last year, through Qatar Airways. The fare is cheap as compared to the other Airlines if you buy your tickets ahead of time. The trip to the Marco Polo International Airport in Venice, Italy would take a maximum of 22-23 hours with a stop-over at the Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar. The round-trip ticket costs me P 35,000.00 more or less. (Note: Do not depart from the Clark International Airport, it collects a Terminal Fee which is supposed to be FREE or had been paid once you buy your airline flight ticket fare).

    Qatar Airways

  7. Bus Transfer From Marco Polo Airport To Cortina & Back: There are so many Buses to choose from as posted in the Event’s Website. You can book and buy ticket through Online at Cortina Express; FLIX Bus; or ATVO. I booked and bought my ticket through FLIX Bus in going to Cortina but I ended riding the Cortina Express. On my way back from Cortina to Venice, I took the ATVO Bus. Always remember that there is only One Trip in the morning and One Trip in the late afternoon in going to Cortina; and the same trip from Cortina to Venice. I suggest that you should buy your tickets On Line as early as possible. Each Bus ticket (One Way) costs from 14-18 Euros.
  8. Tourist In Venice: If you intend to spend a day or two in Venice after the event and walk around at St Mark Square (San Marco Park), there is NO need to book for your Hotel accommodation within the vicinity of the said place. Simply, book a Hotel in Mestre, the railway and bus hub/terminal in Venice (about one hour travel to San Marco Park), and take the train to Santa Lucia (2.30 Euros) and from Santa Lucia Port, take the Public Boat to San Marco (about 6-7 Euros), and you can tour/walk (recovery) around the place and be back to your Hotel in the evening. Tickets are available in vending machines scattered in the Bus/Trail Stations and Sea Port Terminal. (Note: Looking for your Hotel Accommodation within the vicinity of St Mark Park is very hard and tricky. GPS signal is a failure if you are in between big buildings and structures in the Canals of Venice!)

    Train Station @ Mestre

    San Marco Square, Venice

    Venice Canal

  9. Food & Accommodation In Cortina: Because I have a Free Breakfast Buffet in the Hotel, I only eat one meal outside of the Hotel for my early Dinner which would cost me, at least, 6 Euros (Panini) or 9-11 Euros (Hamburger without French Fries) or 9-11 Euros (Whole 8-inch Pizza). Extra food intake would be some fruits (bought from the grocery); Instant Noodles I brought from Manila; 3-in-1 Instant Coffee and SkyFlakes from Manila.
  10. Shopping For Running Gear/s: You can buy some of the Mandatory Gear at the Expo after your Race Packet Pick-Up at the Ice Olympic Stadium. Always ask for discount from the Sales Person. I was able to buy my Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Pants with a 50% discount! After the event, there are sports brands and Sports Stores that are very popular in Europe but unknown in Asia and USA which are on Sale for 20% discount on most of their products. If you look closely on their material and quality of work, they are much better than the popular brands. I must admit, I bought some of these unpopular brands and be able to use them in my next year’s adventures in Europe.
  11. Engage With The Locals & Other Runners: I always make it a point to smile and start a conversation with the people at the Hotel while having my breakfast or while relaxing at the Lobby or at the Porch/Terrace of the Hotel. You may never know that the one beside you had travelled a lot of countries and had joined a lot of ultra trail ultras in the past. They are very good source of A-1 experiences in these events. During the race, it is nice also to talk to a runner which is the same pace with you in the course. It starts with a simple smile and a greetings or a positive remarks. It is already a bonus if they have a Facebook account. (They will gladly give you their FB account if you ask while giving yours to them). Always remember that you are not competing with your fellow runner BUT you are in the event to compete with the course/nature and most of all, to YOURSELF! So, enjoy the company of the other runners, get to know about the capabilities of your body (strengths & weaknesses) and have fun with your journey. (Note: I will devote a separate post for those persons I’ve met in Cortina in this blog)
  12. Training & Preparation: Trail runners who would try to participate in this kind of event must have the necessary ITRA points, which means, that a runner should have the experience to run in mountain trail events. I prepared for this event for 6 months through the Coaching Services of the CTS and I am satisfied of what my body is capable of. My old age is taking its toll to my overall performance as compared in my past running events where I have participated but I feel like I am healthier and more rested this time. As my Coach would say, the races that I’ve selected to join for this year are not the “EASY” ones but they are categorized as one of the hardest ones in the international ultra trail events and this is one of the reasons why such races are considered as part of the “Ultra Trail World Tour” Series. However, it would had been different if I’ve done these races when I was ten years younger. It is through perseverance, patience, discipline, and dedication that in the future, I will be able to finish these races.

    Carmichael Training System Coaching Services

Whether I have DNFd or had succeeded to finish this event, this is just a part of the process of becoming a better and healthy mountain trail runner (which I may never know would prepare me to a more challenging trail running event). I travel to other countries to experience their trail races and be able to enjoy life to the fullest! But in the end, it gives me the best satisfaction if I could share these information and tips to those who are planning to experience joining these trail races outside of the country in the future. As what I’ve been saying, “If BR can do it, you can do it, too!” The experience is really priceless!

Keep on running!!! Thank you for reading my 2018 TNF Lavaredo experience. God’s willing, I will be back to Lavaredo!

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2018 TNF Lavaredo 120K Experience (Part 6)

3 07 2018

2018 TNF Lavaredo 120K Experience (Part 6)

Post Evaluation: TNF 120K Ultra Trail Race

What Went Right?

  1. Clothing & Gear: I think I used the best clothing gear, from trail shoes to my headlamp lighting system. My “layering” of my upper garment was perfect with a sleeveless Uniqlo shirt inside my Red PAU short-sleeved shirt with my Patagonia “Houdini” Windbreaker Light Jacket. I feel warm with my MIUT Buff/neck Gaiters; Compressport Headband and Salomon Running Cap. I had Giro Cycling Gloves with my LEKI Carbon Trekking Poles. My Salomon Speedcross 4 was perfect for the trail in Lavaredo which I used for two months in my training leading to the event. I was using a Salomon EXO Twinskin Short (Red) which was light, comfortable, and provided me with warm feeling during the night run.
  2. Salomon 5L Sense Ultra Hydration Vest & Pulse Belt: My Salomon Vest carried all the Mandatory Gear and Nutrition Needs for the whole course/event as I opted not to have any Drop Bag at Km 66/Cimabanche Aid Station. My Salomon Pulse Belt was perfect for my Trekking Poles; additional nutrition (Skyflakes) and Cellphone.
  3. Training: My “mountain and hill repeats” were very effective for the uphills and downhill runs for short duration/distance along the course.
  4. Nutrition & Hydration: I only have 5 pieces of Power Gels for emergency situation; 6 pieces of KIND Power Bar; 4 packs of SkyFlakes Crackers (Condensada); NUUN tablets: and two pieces of empty Ziplock.
  5. Pacing & Average Speed During The Race: I have a lot of lessons learned from my early DNF at MIUT in Madeira, Portugal. I needed to be very light during the race and trained for heavy loads (3 Liters of Water + Food) in my daily long runs in my Playground. I was satisfied with my average speed/pacing during my run at the TNF Lavaredo until I was slowed down with dizziness and pain on my knees.

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 Liters

What Did I Do To Make It Right?

My frustration in MIUT last April gave me a lot of lesson learned and I was able to adjust things during my training. My early arrival in Cortina gave me the time to adjust with the weather and the altitude. However, I should have visited Tri Cime and other higher elevations of the course by Bus but with my lack of knowledge of the area, I was limited in trying to find the first and last few kilometers of the course. My CTS Coach John Fitzgerald sent me his last guidance with the gist/bottomline of focusing on the things that I could control during the race (nutrition, pacing, and mindset) with hiking with purpose and positive attitude. I learned a lot of variations on how to use the trekking poles during my training leading to this race. I really wanted to hike the uphills more efficiently with the trekking poles. I had more “push-ups” repetitions during my training days in order to make my shoulders stronger than what I had during MIUT.

Bringing lesser gels, bars, drink mix, and lighter mandatory gear (Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Jacket & Pants and Columbia Long-Sleeved Shirt) made my weight lighter during the run. I also carried lesser volume of water from the start to lighten my load but also carried an extra collapsible Salomon Foldable Bottle just in case I needed more water during the hotter part of the day.

After hiking the uphills, I would run at an easy pace on flatter and downhill portions of the course which gave me enough time to reach the First Cut-Off Time Checkpoint and put in more buffer time at the Check Point in Rifugio Di Auronzo.

Bring at least two empty Ziplocks in your pocket (easily accessible) for obvious reason.

Last Message Of My CTS Coach

What was NOT quite right during the race?

I opted to run the downhills on the early part of the course without using my trekking poles, most specially, on the seemingly flatter sections but they are actually gradual descents. I was thinking that I would be faster in running the downhills by not using the trekking poles but I was wrong. If only I have used my trekking poles on all the descents, I could have saved my quads and my knees from having pain even if I was slower by a few minutes. My old knees and legs need some cushioning when running the descents to preserve them for the last half of the course which has more descents.

I should have started to ingest my solid food on the start of the uphill climb from Lake Misurina to Rifugio Di Auronzo while on the move and not at the middle of the climb with a 3-5 minutes short stop and rest.

I should have NOT stayed so long at the Aid Station in Rifugio Di Auronzo and spent a lot of time sitting and talking with the Indonesian guy. I should have limited my stay there by simply eating the soup pasta, drinking my Coca Cola, and refilling my bottles while I was standing. I could have shaved at least 10-12 minutes of my stay here.

I really could not understand why I did not take the risk of taking some Aleve tablets to relieve the pain on my knees after the first switchback from Tri Cime/Peak of Lavaredo. I usually take these pain relievers on the middle of my race just to anticipate the pain on my knees which was very effective in solving the situation I am in in my past finishes.

At The Peak Of Lavaredo

What is the best-case scenario?

1. With a buffer time of 40+ minutes from Rifugio Di Auronzo, I should have maintained it up to the next Cut-Off Time Checkpoint in Cimabanche and gambled any remaining buffer time in every Checkpoint up to the last Cut-Off Time Checkpoint before the Finish Line.

2. I could have used my trekking poles more on the downhill/descents to save my knees/legs and be able to hike relentlessly with purpose up to the Finish Line. The time that made me faster to run or hike on the flatter and downhill sections without the trekking poles was nothing if I could have saved my legs and knees and be able to pass the Cut-Off Time Checkpoints.

3. From the start, one bottle of water/electrolyte mix (500 ml) is enough up to Km 33 to make my load lighter from midnight up to early morning due to the colder air/weather. One bottle filled with liquid in one bottle and another 1/2 bottle of liquid, totaling to 750 ml is needed from Km 33 up to the Aid Station in Rifugio Di Auronzo (Km 50). Carrying just the right amount of water on my vest could significantly reduce the weight I was carrying. Which translates to lighter load to my knees and legs.

What steps can you take to improve?

1. More strengthening exercises to my leg muscles. More push-ups and core exercises for my upper body.

2. More time to train for very LONG downhill running or hiking with the use of trekking poles. Downhill running/hiking distance should be at least 10 up to 20 kilometers straight down, whether they are steep and technical or not. (Note: Never stop using the trekking poles once they are deployed; in uphills, flats, and the downhills.)

3. More Mountain Downhill Repeats! Simply, the reverse of Hill/Mountain Repeats where one has to run or hike the downhill faster than going up to the mountain. This time, using my trekking poles!

4. Bring a lot of BUFF. One for the Ear Cover; one for the Mouth & Nose for the absorption of fluids due to “running nose”; and one for the neck. In addition, I can bring an extra BUFF to be looped on my wrist just in case I need a cloth to absorb some cold water from the streams to douse my head and neck during hotter part of the day.

5. If I have the time, I could have visited/recon by Bus or Car the highest peak or highest location along the course in order to acclimatize or take a brief hike.

The Intense Look @ The Dolomites

To be continued…





2018 TNF Lavaredo 120K Experience (Part 5)

2 07 2018

2018 TNF Lavaredo 120K Experience (Part 5)

Ride From Cimabanche to Cortina

After the Aid Station Marshal told me that I can no longer continue the race since I arrived at the Aid Station beyond the cut-off time of 1:30 PM of Saturday, I entered the Big Tent and ate some of the remaining food and drank some Ice Cold Coke. I was told to wait for the remaining runners on the road approaching the Aid Station before we could board the Bus waiting to bring us to Cortina. While waiting for the other runners, I brought out my dry long-sleeved Columbia Shirt from my Salomon Hydration Pack and removed my Patagonia Windbreaker and the rest of my upper clothing as they were wet from my perspiration. I was able to change my clothes and ready for the trip back to Cortina.

After about 40 minutes, all of the rest of the runners who were cut-off at the said station were accounted for. There were 3 ladies and 9 men, to include myself, and I have the impression that I am the oldest among the DNF runners.

The asphalted road from Cimabanche to Cortina seems to be a road that connects to all the mountains in the Dolomites. The road was not busy with traffic as I could not see or meet along the road big trucks and commercial buses. I could count with my fingers those private vehicles who were plying along this road. I slept for awhile until two of the younger runners (in their 40s) started talking to each other and they are Italians. They were comparing notes using the map on their Race Bibs on what went wrong with them. Although I could not understand what they were talking about, they were pointing on the descending portion from the Peak of Lavaredo to Landro as they talked to one another, the same section where I had my problem. I just smiled and tried to doze again.

After almost one hour, the Croatian/Polish lady was dropped in front of her Hotel which was along the highway, and 1.5 kilometers aways from Cortina. The bus finally stopped in front of the Olympic Ice Stadium and all of the remaining runners to include myself, alighted from the Bus. From there, I was limping while walking and carrying my things to reach my Hotel which about 650 meters from the Olympic Ice Stadium.

Sleep & Rest @ Hotel Cortina

I immediately had my hot shower and changed to my sleeping clothes. I ate whatever “left-over” food and fruits in the room and prepared instant noodles before I finally went to bed. At this time, it was already 5:00 PM of Saturday. I did not bother to check the Ultralive website about my personal data during the race and to those of the remaining Pinoy runners on the course. I was really tired and sleepy at this time.

View From My Room, The Morning After

I woke up at 6:30 AM of Sunday and I was happy that I was able to sleep more than 12 hours. I prepared a hot coffee and as I started to drink, I opened my Laptop to find out what happened to the rest of my Filipino friends. Since the cut-off time for the TNF Lavaredo is 5:00 AM of Sunday, I knew that the race was over already. I checked first on the LiveUltra page of Arwin and I was surprised that he DNFd somewhere in Km 90. I wonder what happened to him since I knew and was confident that he would be the one to finish the race with an impressive time because of what I’ve been reading and seeing on his training in Abu Dhabi, Dubai through his Facebook status. After looking at Arwin’s Page, I went to check if what happened to Rodel and I was surprised that he was able to finish the race in 29:23:10 hours. I was really happy that, at least, one of us in this year’s edition was able to finish the TNF Lavaredo 120K Ultra. I tried to review his time in every Cut-Off Time Checkpoint and I was impressed that he was able to make it in every checkpoint in a single digit number of minutes before the cut-off time in every checkpoint. I wonder what it was like for him to be catching up with the cut-off time in every checkpoint after the Cimabanche Aid Station (Km 66.9) and with those relentless uphill climbs on the second half of the course plus the cold weather during the second night.

Another View From My Room, The Morning After

Post-Race Meeting With Team Pilipinas

I have assumed that Arwin and Rodel had already left Cortina and took the Bus to their Accommodation place which is 20K from Cortina but after few minutes of browsing on Facebook and the results of the TNF Lavaredo on my Laptop, I received a Personal Message from Arwin asking me if we can meet at the Hotel to exchange notes and share our experiences with one another. Since I liked the idea of sharing ones experience with one another during the event, I asked them to proceed to the Hotel and I would wait for them at the Veranda/Main Porch of the Hotel overlooking the bridge and road leading to the town proper, the same place where we met and talked last Thursday.

Cortina’s Hotel Corona

I immediately came out of my Hotel room and went to the Hotel’s Porch to wait for Arwin and Rodel. After about 15 minutes, as I was going to the Hotel’s Porch, I saw them from the road leading to the Hotel walking slowly. I could understand and relate what these two gentlemen were feeling at that time looking how slowly they walked towards me. I immediately asked them if they need to have a shower as I offered my Hotel Room to them just in case they needed it. But they declined as they wanted just to share some stories with me. Arwin told me that that he had temporarily cleaned himself while he stayed at the Olympic Ice Stadium after he was transported from where he DNFd. Rodel also declined as he told me that he was able to change to dry clothes already and would be much better for him to take a shower in their place.

Dependance Hotel Corona/My 2nd Floor Room

We sat and we started to share our own experiences. I told them what happened to me at the switchback descent from the Peak of Lavaredo to Landro——twice experiencing dizziness and severe pain on my left knee that caused my slow pace. Arwin, on the other hand, shared his experience and he told us that at the same section where I had some dizziness, he was able inhale a “cold air” that went inside his lungs and made him feel weak on the uphill climbs after Cimabanche. As he struggled at the uphill climb from Km 80 to Malga Travenanzes, he said, that he was feeling weak and lots of hikers/runners had passed him at this section to include Rodel. He finally DNFd at Km 90+ at Rifugio Col Gallina. Rodel told us that he had almost been cut-off from Cimabanche (Km 66.9) up to the last Checkpoint of the course. He could not believe that he was able to run, non-stop, from Malga Ra Stua (Km 76) to Plan De Loa for about 3-4 kilometers just to be able pass the checkpoint and then at the Peak of Col Del Bos (Km 92) to Rifugio Col Gallina (Km 94). He told us that he was praying “non-stop calling all the saints”, his parents and his relatives while he was running and hiking to these Checkpoints.

Breakfast With Team Pilipinas

We talked for almost one hour and half at the Porch until I asked the Manager of the Hotel if I can invite my friends for the Breakfast Buffet and I will be willing to pay for their bill. The Manager said, “You can invite them for Breakfast and it’s FREE for them!” Wow! I was surprised to hear such generous words from him! Stefano, may the Good Lord bless you always! So, we continued sharing our stories while we had our Breakfast Buffet on the morning of Sunday.

Hotel’s Breakfast Buffet

We stayed at the Hotel’s Restaurant sharing lots of stories and observations during the race until the Breakfast Buffet was closed at 10:00 AM.

We parted ways later as I can see on the faces of Arwin and Rodel that they are about to doze. They left the Hotel and walked to the Bus Terminal which is just few meters away from the Hotel.

I really appreciate this kind of conversation and exchange of experiences among Filipino runners while joining an international running event abroad. These guys are real people who are very graceful in defeat and humble in victory.

I told them that I had posted already a Facebook status that says that I DNFd at the event stating directly the cause of my failure. I asked them also to do the same as most of our Facebook friends are eager to know our personal “drama” in the said event. I promised to these two gentlemen that I am going to document, through this blog, all the things that we experienced in this event and I told them that it will be a very detailed one which be used as a guide for future local Pinoy runners and other interested runners around the world.

Even if I was not able to finish this race, just a short glimpse and description of what I went through, would be able to provide a part of the puzzle of what makes TNF Lavaredo a race to experience and what makes the Dolomites as one of the best mountain scenery destinations worth visiting.

Recovery Walk @ Cortina

I went to bed once I got into my room after breakfast. I was able to sleep until after noon time and woke up at about 2:00 PM.

I decided to have my recovery walk in the afternoon to the Town Center, shop for some souvenirs and look for a place for my early dinner. As I left the Hotel, I met some of the runners, some who DNF also and some who finished the Ultra and shorter races. They were leaving the Hotel for the Bus Terminal and enrollee to their respective countries. I will post a separate blog for these runners whom I met during this event.

World War II US Military Jeep @ The Bus Terminal

As I was walking along the main road of the center of the town, I saw Hayden Hawks, the Champion of this year’s TNF Lavaredo 120K at the Event’s Arc. We had a picture and a brief conversation as he told me, after telling him my name and my country, that he has an Uncle who is a Filipino, married to his Auntie from Utah, USA. He asked me if there are Ultra Running Events in the Philippines and I told him that I am the Race Organizer/Director of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race. He told me that he had not yet visited the Philippines and he might consider visiting the country in the near future.

Meeting With Champion Hayden Hawks

Before dinner, I was able to really go around the town, getting inside the Cortina Church to pray which I found out to be a Minor Basilica, checking where the Bus terminal is located, looking for Sports Stores where I could buy some souvenirs, and just simply sitting on those benches along the main road of the town while looking at the people walking around. This was the time that I could also see a lot of runners wearing their Finisher’s Vest/Gilets as they are also doing their recovery walks. I felt envious with these runners wearing their Vests/Gilets and I really respect them for what they had done, whether they finished the TNF Lavaredo 120K or the shorter Cortina Trail 48K, they really conquered the Dolomites!

Inside The Cortina Basilica

As I was sitting on one of the benches, I saw Tess Geddes, a Filipino Ultrarunner who is now the Race Organizer and Director of the Grand To Grand Ultra Marathon Race in Utah, USA. She joined the shorter Cortina Trail 48K and we shared some stories while we were sitting on the bench. After about 30 minutes of conversation, we parted ways as I was trying to look for some running attire which I saw being used by some runners during the event.

Sitting Along The Cortina’s Main Street

Meeting With Grand2 Grand Ultra’s Tess Geddes

As most of the restaurants in Cortina opens at 6:30 PM for dinner, I tried to walk around some places farther from the town center as I waited for the opening of the eating places. Finally, I was able to find a restaurant that offers a fine dining cuisine and I rewarded myself with my last dinner in Cortina. The best steak in town!

Best Steak In Town

I continued my celebration in my Hotel Room with two bottles of local beer before going to bed on my last night in Cortina.

To be continued…





2018 TNF Lavaredo 120K Experience (Part 4)

30 06 2018

2018 TNF Lavaredo 120K Experience (Part 4)

@ Federavecchia (Km 33.5)/First Cut-Off Time Checkpoint

Reaching this First Cut-Off Time Checkpoint at Federavecchia within 6:30 hours was my primary concern and target just to redeem myself from my frustration on my previous performance at the MIUT in Madeira, Portugal on the last week of April this year. I was happy and excited that I was able to build-up a buffer time of 32 minutes. With my age of 66 years old, I could be the happiest person among the runners that reached the said Aid Station.

1st Cut-Off Time Checkpoint @ Km 33.5 in 6.5 Hours/Average Speed: 6.26 KPH

I immediately brought out my almost empty Salomon Bottle, drank the remaining liquid and had it filled up with water, dropped one tablet of NUUN, and placed it back on the vest. Brought out an empty Ziplock bag from my vest and immediately filled it with apple bite cuts and dried apricot and immediately left the Aid Station. It took me less than 2 minutes to do all these things. But as soon as I left the Aid Station, I was facing a straight steep uphill climb.

I started to eat what I took from the Aid Station while I was hiking up the uphill climb which is an asphalted road that can accommodate three runners abreast with each other. The uphill climb consisted of more switchbacks and it lasted for about 2.5 kilometers. It took me two times to eat the fruit bites from the ziplock and they provided me the much needed energy to reach the peak of the third climb of the course and was able to reach Plan Maccetto which is almost Km 39 from the Start. From this point, I started to run on a single track trail which was a soft ground with with lots of small grass around. Even if this place is still considered in a higher elevation, my “running nose” and numbing hands had stopped and the temperature was becoming warmer to my body. After about 3 kilometers of running downhill, I finally reached the edge of a body of water which is called the Lake Misurina!

Tip: You can master the art of filling the Aid Station’s food with an empty Ziplock Bag. It will save you some time, instead of standing while eating your food at the Aid Station. Keep moving while you are eating and hydrating.

Lake Misurina

Lake Misurina is a beautiful lake with very clear water. I was tempted to take a “selfie” and picture of the lake & the surrounding mountains but I promised myself not to bring out my cellphone during the course of my run. The three of us Pinoy runners had talked about not having pictures along the course since it will delay our run/hike from Aid Station/Checkpoint to the next one. Knowing that there are Professional Photographers along the course in different strategic locations, there was no need for “selfies” or picture-taking on the scenery. It was another 1.2 to 2 kilometers run on a wide dirt road surrounding the Lake before I reached a Lady Marshal who was holding a Time Scanner. She tagged me and I asked her how far was the next Cut-Off Time Checkpoint and she replied “10 kilometers”. But looking on the map/elevation profile on my Race Bib, it indicates a distance of only 7 kilometers! I wonder which is one telling the truth, the Lady Marshal or the Map printed on the Race Bib?

@Lake Misurina/Average Speed: 3.81 KPH

After I exited from the periphery of Lake Misurina, I was now following an asphalted road that was going up to the mountain but the runners were directed to run along the dirt path/trail beside the paved road as shown and depicted by the trail markings. It was doing an alternate hike on the paved road and then going back to the dirt track beside the road and back again to the paved road at this point using my trekking poles. I was able to pass by an Asian guy and I started to have a conversation with him. He told me that he is from Hongkong and he was busy looking at his cellphone. Thinking that he was checking on our route through his cellphone, I asked him about the actual distance (while hiking uphill) to the next Aid Station and he answered “I don’t know!” That’s it! That stopped my conversation with him and I just tread on with my fast hiking.

Tip: The main reason why a cellphone is an important mandatory gear is that for communication purposes to the Race Organizer in cases of emergency and not for photography!

Rifuego Di Auronzo

From the paved road, I veered right from the highway and followed a single-track trail that seemed to be going flat and downhill but it was a short one. Looking up ahead of me, I could see from the distance, the iconic Rifuego Di Auronzo where the famous 3-rock mountain formation is located! The Tri Cime mountain formation is the LOGO of the TNF Lavaredo! By looking at the next Aid Station at the Tri Cime, I had a mixed feeling of delight and sadness as I need a lot of strength to reach the highest point of the course. The single track trail was a relentless uphill climb which is about 2-3 kilometers of steep winding uphill assault. As I was about to crest the last “false” peak, I stopped and ate two packs of Skyflakes Condensada and followed it with a Clif Power Gel. I was able to regain my strength after that and I was able to reach the Aid Station and Cut-Off Time Checkpoint at Rifugio Di Auronzo in 10:23 hours! I was able to accumulate a buffer time of almost one hour at this point.

It was an awesome sight to see the Tri Cime in Lavaredo, Dolomites and I became in love with the place! But before I could absorb what I was seeing and feeling at that moment in a place so beautiful to be at, I need to refill my bottles and ate some pasta soup with powdered cheese at the Aid Station. I was seated beside an Indonesian runner and we had a short conversation. The Indonesian happened to be in the same hotel where I was staying and he arrived later than me in Cortina. He is 54 years old and he looks like he is from their uniformed services. I think I was able to spend at least 15-20 minutes in this Aid Station. Finally, The Indonesian and I left the Aid Station at the same time. However, he was stronger and faster than me in hiking with his trekking poles.

Tip: Never, never, never stay at the Aid Station for more than 5 minutes if you need to eat and rest thereat.Never have the temptation to sit!

It was a flat downhill wide dirt road from the Aid Station which is about one and half kilometer and we had at least 3 kilometers more of uphill climb to reach the peak of the Lavaredo Mountain which is the highest point of the course. I could still keep in step with the Indonesian guy on the first 1.5 kilometers but when we turned left for the steep uphill climb, he made a considerable distance from me but I could still see him from afar. I think I was able to reach the highest point in almost one hour from the Aid Station. I think it was at this point where I was able to meet the Official Photographers of the Event. It was also at this point that at least 3 local runners, coming from behind me, tapped my shoulders and cheered me & congratulated me for reaching the said place!

Peak of Lavaredo Mountain

Finally, I reached the peak of the Lavaredo Mountain where I could see the North side face of the Tri Cime! As I hiked the first few meters going downhill, I was excited and happy to have reached at this point. Since my Garmin GPS Watch had been connected with my USB Charger, I could not see what was my actual distance at this point but on the Map/Elevation Profile as reference, it could be at Km 51.

@Rifugio Di Auronzo/Average Speed: 3.13 KPH

After hiking downhill for about 250 meters, I started to feel dizzy. The feeling was like I was drunk with Irish Whiskey and became sleepy! It was almost 10:00 AM (actual day time) and the weather was mild (but I was still wearing my Patagonia Windbreaker with the hood on my head). I panicked and I had to rest and lean on right side of the trail/dirt road. The left edge of the road is deep ravine. While resting and taking in some deep breath, I was tempted to bring out my cellphone and took the picture of the Tri Cime. After taking the picture and drinking some sip of my electrolytes, I resumed my hiking! However, after another 100 meters, I felt some dizziness again! Instead of stopping, I reduced my pace and went nearer to the right side of the trail just to anticipate that if I fell to the ground or pass out due to dizziness, I will not fall to the ravine. I became nervous as I hiked with the thought that I might pass out at this place and be air-lifted with a helicopter or just pass out to die while I am on this place of the earth. All of these things were in my mind, trying to figure out what could be the best to do in this kind of situation. I guess, a simple prayer did the trick and more deep breathing to remove the feeling of dizziness while I was hiking slowly towards the first switchback of the downhill course!

Tri Cime Of The Dolomites

Tip: If you think something is wrong with your body, STOP, take a rest, relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy the scenery. Re-assess yourself, PRAY and resume slowly.

The first switchback along this downhill course from the Tri Cime/Peak of Lavaredo is being guarded by Park Ranger or Polize (?) who were in Red Uniform. From this switchback, it was a steep, rocky and very technical single-track trail which is about 2-3 kilometers of more switchbacks. As I hiked and jogged this portion, I started to feel some pain on my left knee and my quads were already feeling to had been trashed. As I crossed a dry river bed on the bottom part of this trail, I could hardly lift my legs and my left knee pain became more painful. I tried to hike on the flatter section with my trekking poles to relieve the pain on my knees and rest my trashed quads.

My ONLY “Selfie” During The Event

I could feel already the warm air on the lower elevation of the course and I started to have some sweat/perspiration and tried to lessen my thoughts about my left knee pain. I did not remove my Patagonia Windbreaker and instead, just removed the hood from my head and I could still feel the cold breeze passing on my head.

Landro To Cimabanche

Finally, I was on the last 3 kilometers before the Aid Station/Cut-Off Time Checkpoint at Cimabanche (Km 66.9) and I started to do whatever “speed drills” and “strides” I did in my training in order to speed up my pace. The wide dirt road seemed to be flat but in reality, it is a gradual uphill climb up to the Checkpoint. I tried to do all my best to reach the Aid Station within the cut-off time in 12:30 hours but I was thinking already that my race was done once I reach at this point. My aching left knee could no longer withstand the next 53 kilometers of more challenging climbs and steep descents, thus, I could no longer accumulate some buffer time in every Checkpoint. I was envious of those local Italians who were cycling on this road with their nice jerseys and expensive Mountain Bikes, as they would pass or meet me along this road. I just entertained myself on looking on these young men and ladies biking on the said road.

The “sweepers” were able to reach and catch me on the last 50 meters before the Aid Station. One of the sweepers started a conversation with me after he saw on my Race Bib that I came from the Philippines. He told me that his wife is a Filipino and she is from Digos City, Davao Del Sur and they have some children (I forgot how many) and he showed me the pictures of his wife and children in his cellphone while we were jogging. He even asked with a “selfie” with me! Wow! These Italians are like Filipinos and they like/love Filipinos!

Cimabanche: The End Of The Line/Average Speed: 4.07 KPH

I missed the cut-off time by almost 13 minutes!

Tip: Listen to your body…always! Determine your limits and gracefully surrender in defeat. There will always be next time to redeem yourself. You can not fight against nature if you are already weak and injured. You will never win!

While we were in the bus going back to the Ice Olympic Stadium in Cortina, I counted the number of runners who DNFd in the Aid Station and I was able to count to 12 and I was the oldest, I think. I just smiled and one the ladies (from Croatia or Poland?) in the bus (who smiled and winked at me in one of the previous Aid Stations, I guess, in Rifugio Di Auronzo) was also there and she smiled at me, too before I was able to sleep during the ride!

To be continued…





Race Report: 2018 Old Spanish Trail (OST) 50K Trail Run

23 02 2018

I was registered to join the Four Lakes 100K Ultra Trail Race and I was ready and trained to finish this race within the cut-off time of 30 hours. I did finish this race two years ago with a time of 26+hours when the cut-off time was then 28 hours. Mentally and physically, I was prepared to finish this race as this was considered as one of my training races in preparation for the 2018 Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT) Race in Madeira, Portugal to be held in April 28, 2018.

In addition to finishing the BDM 102 Ultra in 15:20+hours three weeks earlier, the Four Lakes 100 Race would be a follow-up training race for me leading to the MIUT Race. In between these two races, I had my daily recovery runs and a Mountain Repeats workout in my favorite Mt Roosevelt’s Loop #3 in my Playground two weeks before race day.

Halfway towards Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, I received an information from one of my nieces that my Father died from his sleep in the morning of Friday, few hours before the start of the race. As I travel to the venue of the race, I called my brother and sisters and made some suggestion about the schedule of Viewing and Funeral for our Father as most of our plan, in case of his untimely death, had been finalized long before while he was still alive. The plan was immediately implemented hours after our Dad’s death and I just kept peace and silence to myself and focused mentally to finish race where I had registered.

The race promptly started at 3:00 AM of Saturday and I started the race at the back of the pack. Knowing that 100K is a very long race and that Four Lakes 100’s race route is new to myself and everybody, I thought of being conservative on the first half of the race with the intention/objective of arriving each Checkpoint/Aid Station within the prescribed cut-off time. My smart strategy for the first half is to conserve my legs’ energy by using my Trekking Poles on the first ascent of the course with the hope that I could still run on the descents of the 2nd half of the course.

I was happy to have reached the summit/peak of Mt Ugo earlier than the first time I joined this race. I would start to run on the descent from the peak of Mt Ugo and alternately, hike and jog until I reached the Domolpos Aid Station. I ate two pieces of local “Suman” and refilled my Hydration Bottles with water and electrolyte powdered mix which was enough to provide me the much energy to reach the first Checkpoint at Kayapa East Market. I took my time to eat some food and refill my bottles even if I still have 25 minutes of buffer time from the cut-off time of 8 hours.

I was not in a hurry to reach the dreaded ascent at Amelong Labeng as I made up my mind not to stop or take a very long rest in one of the 3 waiting sheds along the said route. On my first finish in this race, I had a lot of rests and stops along this route that I had to engage in a very long conversation with some of the runners then, not knowing that they are participants in the shorter Old Spanish 50K Trail Run. For this year, I had to maintain my slow trek on this route using my trekking poles with some 5-10-second rests to catch up my breath. On the last waiting shed, I had to sit and ate some rice balls stashed in my Race Belt but I did not stay long as more runners were seen coming up to my direction.

Digging Deep @ Amelong Labeng (Photo By GlairoldRecella Photography)

Finally, I reached the Elementary School where I had to refill my bottles and make my Electrolyte Mix drink. As the heat of the sun was too hot when I was in this area, I had to douse my head, neck, arms and upper body with the cold flowing water coming from the faucet and it was refreshing and invigorating. I had to leave the place immediately as most of the runners were approaching my position. It was a repeat of my first finish when going up to the Tower Antenna at Amelong Labeng with the intense heat coming from the sun. I had to persevere and trust my training at this point where I would “power hike” with the aid of my trekking poles until I reached the peak of the mountain where the Tower Antennas are located. I started to run and jog on my way down to the Highway but along the way, I would here some mysterious sounds behind me as if somebody was trying to pass me but I could not see anybody. As I ran faster on the descents, such sound would never leave and then suddenly, I hear somebody calling my name “Ben” as the wind blows behind my back. I could not believe experiencing this as I don’t believe in “ghosts” or paranormal activity throughout my life. I knew I was neither dehydrated nor “bonking” on my nutrition needs at this moment. As I continued my running, I remember those stories we shared each other with my brother about our Father on the early portions of the race. We were both laughing about these stories while were were running. (Note: My brother was one of the runners of the OST 50K Trail Run). I felt guilty that here I was in the mountains running a race while my Dad was being prepared for viewing. At this point, I started to think and decide to shorten my race and be with my Dad.

Having Fun @ The Old Spanish Trail (Photo By GlairoldRecella Photography)

Two kilometers before reaching the 2nd Checkpoint in Castillo, I called the RD and requested him that I am going to downgrade to the OST 50K Race because of the “paramdam” I’ve experienced on top of Amelong Labeng. The RD approved my request. I reached Castillo in 12:15 hours which is almost 2 hours ahead of the cut-off time in this Checkpoint for the Four Lakes 100 Trail Run. From Castillo, the route is all descending 4+kilometers to the finish line.

I finished the OST 50K Trail Run in 13:08+hours without any pain in my legs and body.





Race Report: 2017 Miyamit Falls 42K Trail Run (4th Edition)

13 10 2017

Race Report: 2017 Miyamit Falls 42K Trail Run (4th Edition)

I was one of the “pioneers” of this trail race and I published a Race Report about it. That was four years ago and had been a trail runner for two years when this event was conducted.

I did not have any plans of joining this year’s edition but I thought of exposing my running buddy and training partner for a race, for the first time, which is very near my Playground. It was still within the Registration Period when I sent a message to the Race Director, Atty Jonnifer Lacanlale, of my intention to join in this year’s edition of the event with another runner. He gladly accommodated my request and I informed my training partner (aka Official Kodaker) that I have registered him to compete in a Trail Marathon.

Whatever my training for the day is the same training that we had to do and run together. For the past months and weeks since the middle of June of this year, my training partner was exposed to the training program/schedule that I got from my Professional Coaching Services. If the schedule calls for “hill repeats”, he would do so but with a faster speed/pace than me. If my schedule calls for a “tempo run repeats”, he would stay with me for the first repetition and ask him to just hold my camera and take pictures of me while doing my intense and hard “tempo repeats” in the mountain. If I do my “strides”, he would quicken his pace as he is always positioned behind me in my runs.

Knowing that he has the strength and speed for the race, I taught and advised him on tactics and race strategy during a race. I advised him to position himself on the 3rd or 4th guy from the front, with his eyes on the leading runner on the first half of the race. If he has still the strength and speed on the second half, that is the time to make a move. On a final advise, I told him not to talk or engage in any conversation with those guys in front of him or to anybody. He should be focused on getting in front by all means before reaching the finish line. However, if he can not keep up with the pace of the top runners, I advised him to conserve his energy on the first half (climb to the peak/turn-around) and then go as fast as he can on the downhill going to the Finish Line. And that was what he did! He finished #6 Overall and he was happy. And the Coach is happy, too!

Leo 02

Leo Taruc, My Training Partner & Kodaker (Photo By Glairold Recella)

Four years had passed when I joined the First Edition of this event and I finished #36 out of 115 finishers with a time of 7:58+hours then at the age of 61 years old and two years after I’ve transformed myself from a road runner to a trail runner. It is not bad to condition my mind that I would improve my time in this year’s edition. I announced on my Facebook Wall that I will try to improve my time in this event, even for some few minutes! I was wrong!

At exactly 5:30 AM of Sunday, October 1, the race started at the Alviera Recreational Center in Porac, Pampanga and the runners were combination of those doing the 42K and 26K distances. I call the 42K runners as the “bravest ones” in this event! As for me, running without “trekking poles”, is again my “bravest and dumbest” decision in this race! It should be noted that I finished the CM50 for four times without the aid of trekking poles because I was simply “hard-headed”! I guess, as I become older in this kind of sports of Trail Running, it is already a mandatory on my part to bring trekking poles with me if the event allows the runners to have them as a running gear.

From the Starting Line, I jogged and ran comfortably, making the flat and downhill sections going to Barangay Sapang Uwak (1.5 to 2 kilometers) as my “warm-up” run which is equivalent to my 20-minute of “warm-up” runs during my daily workouts. As I approached the center of the Barangay, I was still running comfortably as the road became steeper. I am glad that we took the original route where almost one kilometer of the steepest portion after the Barangay Hall had been cemented/paved. But the steepness of the road was still brutal to the runners’ legs! A Lady Runner would curse and shout the F-word as I passed her. I really don’t know if she was cursing me or cursing herself or cursing the road! There was no need to look back to see her face or engage in a conversation with her!

There was a lot of new faces in this event and most of them were my first time to see them. I saw some of the “usual suspects” and I know by their names and most of them are “loyalists” to this event. It was also a good observation that I saw a lot of runners wearing the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 but I was glad I was wearing a different shoes! The color of the my Speedgoat 2 does not match with the color of my Running Kit! Hahaha!

2017 Miyamit 42K Profile

Miyamit Falls 42K Elevation Profile (From Training Peaks)

I tried hard to reach the Miyamit Falls within two hours but I failed! I reached the falls at 2:28+hours and went back to AS3 where I filled my hydration bottle before proceeding to the Peak/Turn-around point which is another 10 kilometers! It took me another 2:30+ hours to reach the Peak/Turn-Around point. On my way back to AS3, I have to stop and eat my Pack Meal on a flowing stream where I have to sit on a rock and drink some water. I think I was able to rest for about 20 minutes just to regain my strength and rehydrate my tired body. I even went to extent of pouring cold water from the stream to my head and whole body to cool off and dip my legs to the flowing water. My decision to rest, re-hydrating, taking a dip to the cold water, and eating my packed meal gave me the strength to run all the way to the AS3. It took me another two hours to reach AS3 from the Peak/Turn-Around Point.

I knew already at this point that I could no longer improve my previous time of sub-8 hours! Instead, I took some time to talk with my friend, Joma Sison, who was manning the AS3, and eat some food served at the Aid Station and drank the Sprite soft drinks he reserved for me! Thank you, Joma for being there despite the inclement weather and slippery/muddy road! At this point, I was already raining and my feet would compete with the flowing water on the trail as I ran down towards Barangay Sapang Uwak. I have to stop and refill my hydration bottle for the next two Aid Stations and pour some water to my head and face! There are also sections of the trail that I would run through some deep and shallow muds. And that is part of the fun and challenge in trail running.

From the second to the last Aid Station to the Finish, I knew that my quads will be challenged on those steep downhill road towards Barangay Sapang Uwak and I was prepared for the beating! I continued to run and took some small successive steps on those steep portions of the road until I reached the flatter sections at the center of the Barangay. From the steel bridge, I knew that I have at least 1.5 kilometers to the Finish Line!

MF 42 06

Approaching The Finish Line! (Photo By Glairold Recella)

I finally crossed the Finish Line in 8:58:30 hours, which is One Hour slower than my previous time! My performance is still on passing grade, considering that the cut-off time for the event is 10 hours! Aside from the inclement weather; muddy and slippery condition of the trail; extended rests on the stream; and staying more time in the Aid Stations, I think my age is catching up on me! However, I am happy that I finished this race; served as one of my training runs for a longer race in the future; and being the Oldest Finisher in this Badass Trail Running Event!

I highly recommend this trail running event to everybody but there is a need for a race-specific training schedule and workout for this event. A 3-month trail running schedule/training preparation with lots of elevation gain and downhill running would best prepare anybody to finish this event within the prescribed cut-off time of 10 hours.

Congratulations to Atty Jonnifer Lacanlale and his Team for coming up on this yearly Badass Trail Running Event. It is one of the well-organized trail races that we have in the country today!

Running Gears:

The North Face Orange Shirt; The North Face Cap; The North Face Trail Shorts; AMIHAN Go Lite Race Belt; Taiwan’s Beast Hydration Bottle; The North Face Compression Socks; New Balance Vazee Summit Trail Shoes; Adidas Gloves; 2017 UTMB Buff; San Diego 100-Mile Endurance Run Buff; Miami Sunglass; and IPhone5

Nutrition: XO Coffee Candies; Cloud9 Chocolate; SkyFlakes Condensada; Goya Chocolate Pops; and Meal Pack





Podium Finishers: 70th Edition of the Mt Fuji Mountain Race (July 28, 2017)

31 07 2017

Repost From Japan Running News:

New Champs Crowned as Gorotani and Yoshizumi Win Fuji Mountain Race Titles

Celebrating its 70th running this year, the Fuji Mountain Race took place on Friday, July 28. As in past years, the first 10.8 km from Fujiyoshida City Hall at 770 m elevation to Umagaeshi at 1450 m was a gentle climb on paved roads. From Umageshi runners enter trails, and for the kilometer from Hanagoya at the 7th Station all the way to the 8th Station it becomes a very difficult 40-degree incline climb. After that runners pass through an area of rough volcanic rocks as they approach Mt. Fuji’s summit. Peaking out with a net elevation difference of 3000 m, the 21 km Summit Course continues to gain a reputation as Japan’s premier mountain race. Last year bad weather forced the race to be stopped at Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station, meaning that this year’s race would be the first time in two years that  runners would finish at the peak.

In this year’s 70th running, former Hakone Ekiden uphill Fifth Stage standout Shun Gorotani (Comody Iida) won in 2:31:34, an excellent time just 3:53 off the course record. In the women’s race, world-class Sky Running Vertical Kilometer runner Yuri Yoshizumi won in 3:01:17, the fastest women’s winning time since 1988. Both won in their first attempts at the Summit Course.

Men’s winner Gorotani is just 24. As part of Toyo University‘s ekiden team he ran the Hakone Ekiden twice, finishing an outstanding 3rd on the uphill Fifth Stage in 2016 behind stage winner Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin University). Gorotani now runs for the Comody Iida corporate ekiden team. Last year he won the Fuji Mountain Race 5th Station short course, breaking the course record by a wide margin. Having qualified for the Summit Course, Gorotani returned to live up to expectations with another superlative win. Taking control of the race early, Gorotani opened up a lead of 14 minutes over 2nd-placer Satoshi Kato, yet another runner-up finish for Kato. Gorotani was misdirected by course marshals very early in the race, but officials judged the error to have had no impact on his result.

Women’s winner Yoshizumi began running as an amateur after she began working full-time, winning the 2013 Hokkaido Marathon in a PB 2:37:56. Changing her focus to trail running in 2015, Yoshizumi won the 2016 Sky Running Japan Series’ Vertical Kilometer Series title. In December last year she won the Sky Running Asian Championships MSIG Lantau Vertical Kilometer, and in May this year she won the Vertical Kilometer World Circuit’s Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer against Europe’s best athletes. Outside of the Vertical Kilometer, she finished 13th in last year’s IAU Trail World Championships Trans Peneda Geres 85 km, competing at the world level from her home base in Osaka. Like Gorotani, she won the Fuji Mountain Race 5th Station Course last year before coming back to win the Summit Course this year, finishing 9th overall.

Source article:
http://dogsorcaravan.com/2017/07/28/fuji-mountain-race-2017-result/
translated by Brett Larner
all photos © 2017 Koichi Iwasa, DogsorCaravan, all rights reserved








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