Category Archives: Reviews
I needed a break. The constant monotony of city life needed a change. I cringed at having to do another weekend long run on the same streets; and then from nowhere CM42 event page appeared! The allure of the trail, the country side, the fresh scent of nature jolted me into signing for it in a jiffy. Perfect distance, 22km of trail run instead of 23km Long Street run scheduled for that weekend. Made calls, got a hotel in Angeles city and off we were for the long drive to the event place.
Little did we know that the inclemental weather would make this trail event one of a kind. It will be the most memorable trail race for years to come. The gun start was moved an hour ahead, and it was for good reason. The pregnant clouds made the dawn look like night. Even in that damp weather with gushes of rain and wind now and then, one could sense the anticipation and sheer excitement among the participants. We were about to experience something unique.
Since it was my first trail run with no idea what was ahead, I wasn’t too sure of what I should wear or carry. The strong winds forced me to change from a singlet to a jersey. From the lessons learned in the T2N race, which had a similar topology but less steep, I came in double layered socks to prevent blisters. For shoes, I chose Merrell’s line of minimalist shoes designed for trails. This would help for better grip and better ground feel. For hydration, I chose a hydration belt. This would free my hands for better hand foot coordination in that treacherous terrain.
The first two kilometers were a mixture of gravel and concrete roads, giving way to steep climbing slopes with profiles ranging from big rocks, mud, and ground socked with rain sometimes calf high. With some places gnashed away with flowing torrents of water due to the falling rain, it was a spectacle to behold. Interspersed with occasional traditional Aeta huts, banana fields and steep side slopes, the howling winds and constant rain were perfect background vocals for our heavy breathing.
As we approached the final turn to the falls, the climb down was a mixture of algae induced slimy green rocks, overgrown paths, rivulets with only tree branches as bridges and finally a broken stair case to the Miyamit falls. The falls did not disappoint. The rains that had been pounding the area had turned the meek Miyamit falls into a majestic sight thundering down the rocks far below. A misstep and you could be crushed to your death in those big boulders beneath it. Indeed the climax of the whole 26km of trail run. This is something that should never be missed and made this trail so nostalgic.
Going back wasn’t any easy. If the climbs were steep, tasking the lungs, calves and hamstrings, naturally the run down the slopes would be worse. This time the quads and knees would be bearing the weight. A slip would easily break ones legs, hip, back or shoulder bones. One had to be extra careful. I did mention 26km of trail run. The original 22 turned out to be 26 because of the change in start line. This change in distance had its complications. 26km of trail run through that torturous terrain and bad weather is like doing a 32-35km road race. A real danger of running out of stored energy and hitting the wall among other things. Well that is trail run for you.
Trudging along towards the finish line, with the villages along the route now coming alive in the morning, I couldn’t help but admire and regal at the opportunity of doing this race. There were instances, I just wished the trail would go on and on due to its raw beauty, the simplicity of life around it and the once in a lifetime weather experience to support it. As I approached the finish line, I took a look at my legs and couldn’t differentiate the colour of my legs, white socks and red shoes. They were all covered in dark brown mud. A testament of an experience that lets one wonder if conspiracy theories actually have a way into ordinary people’s lives.
I could go on and on, but I must say many thanks to the indefatigable race director, Sir Jonnifer M. Lacanlale, his super supportive crew of volunteers, my Team Powerpuff friends and new friends I made for making this race a must do race for anyone who wants to try out real trail running. Argh! I just can’t get the hang of it…
The beauty about planning is that not all plans pan out as expected. First, I had a wedding to attend to, then forgot to buy my power gels, and finally slept at 11pm only to wake up at 2am! Follow that with a bloated stomach due to the rich foods served generously at the wedding and I immediately started wondering if I should really be doing this. At the start line, the elites from all over the provinces were already there. Nice to be running among the best, a runners dream.
I had done three 32K long runs as part of the training plan. Compared to Condura marathon, which was my first, the base race time going to the training program was lower, so at best I knew I could match my time, at least theoreticaly. Practically I was more conditioned when it came to core and had more training miles under my belt. This combined with the fact that it was my second marathon gave me the confidence to at least match my Condura or at best beat the elusive sub-3!
Showbiz denizens and runners gathered at the SunPIOLOGY Run 2012 in McKinley last Saturday, November 24. It was hot and dry yet the crowd gleefully waited for the Kapamilya stars, of course I’m not part of “that” crowd. I’ve come to join my first SunPIOLOGY and run my first ever 12km race at McKinley. It was my second time to run in that area, in which people call killer hills. Hills! I thought it’s more of a hump.
The race start at around 4:20pm, I was one of the front liners. As soon as Piolo’s gun fired I started sprinting going north and ascended the first hill going to C-5, descended to the first loop and up again going back to the assembly area and passed it towards Lawton Ave. I started 2nd and after 1km I fell back with 2 Kenyans, a Filipino, a white foreign guy and Matteo Guidicelli who is running with his pacer all ahead of me. Just before reaching Lawton avenue heading towards the second loop at km3 of the race I tried to catch up and actually managed to pass Matteo and even passed an army looking guy wearing a tri-suit who happened to be the first guy off the starting line. All looked good.
I came across the advertisement of this race through one of our friends in our running team. She posted it on our team page and so I had a chance to read through it. Three things caught my attention. First, the race was going to be held in Makati, a 10min walk from my house. Second, the race had a distance of 10km, my second favourite distance after the 5K. Third it was designed as a series involving 5 races of which the last one is the championship race where only a select will join depending on their average finish times over any of two of the four initial legs. With 3 weeks to go to my marathon race, the initial race would be a calibration race for my marathon. The subsequent ones would be geared towards calibrating myself for either my 5 or 10K training program I plan to start some time after the Marathon. I generally split my training programs in two periods. The first period of around 6 months focuses on the short disatnces and the second period on the longer distances. This way everything stays interesting for me all year round.
This was an event I had not planned to run. With four weeks to the completion of my twelve week training program for the MILO marathon run in December, this day was supposed to be my 26km long run. This week and the next would be the most difficult ones in my training program. 100km and 104km of total weekly mileage respectively! I had never crossed the 100km/wk mark in any training program. Memories of ITBS injury, sickness due to over training were all hovering above my head.
At the 8th week of my 12 week marathon training program, the whole week is composed of 5 days of easy runs of 15km each. This is normaly a good time for one to guage their fitness level. Having gauged my half marathon time some 3 weeks earlier and passed well, I was confident the 10K which is more anaerobic should go well to test how long I can hold on to a near max heart rate race. I was there early enough, and with short races, warm up consisiting of jogs at recovery pace and some 100m dashes are prerequsites of warming up the muscles. My target time was a sub-40. Anything above that would be a disaster for my targeted marathon time of 3:10hr.
At the start line, I met familiar faces, waved to some, wished others luck and also got some good luck responses. 10, 9, 8…off we went. The pace was high, by the first kilometer we were doing 3:20min/km, and by the third km, it was clear I would be in the top 3. Half way I checked my watch and it read 19:05min gone. Too fast! The inevitable +ve split was not for my liking. I should be crossing the 5km mark at 19:50s or so. By this time the gap between me and the 4th person, incidentally a lady was 1min, huge for short races! Mine and the guy in front was also 1min, and the 1st person was 3min ahead of me. Those gaps are almost impossible to close if you have ever tried running short distances. It is like being lapped 1 times in a track!
The Pink run is a yearly event organized to create awareness for Breast cancer here in the Philippines.
It is a condition that has become prevelant that it has now overtaken lung cancer as the number one cancer in the Philippines. Worse is that Philippines is now the number one country in Asia in terms of breast cancer affliction. See more in the link below.
So as an advocate of its reduction, this was an event I found prudent to participate in as my small way of contributing to its reduction. The longest distance being 15K.
So here I am. It’s been a while since I last ran an event shorter than 21k! Running ultramarathons and training for them made race distances shorter than 21k less attractive. But, as I already know and would be re-learning, even “short distance” races of 10K, 10miles or half marathons could help in ultrarunning – boost fitness, confidence, speed, etc.
I ran with Jael Wenceslao, a friend and ultrarunner as well.
To make it challenging, I told him that we would be targeting a sub1:10hr finish. Luckily, he was game also. A sub 1:10 finish may seem pedestrian for 15k for speed demons, but for us ultrarunners, we’re just starting to warm up at that point! Additionally, I’m usually content with a 1:15 finish for this distance, 5min/km average would just abolut do it. A sub 1:10 finish would mean extra effort for me, not to mention the race route would be along Mckinley-Bayani, known for its steep hills and rolling terrain.
Jael and I met in front of the brick multisport store in Mckinley. Maris, my beloved girlfriend was with me and would be running 15k as well. Incidentally, Jael was with his wife who would be running 15k too! Full house! I planned on running without taking gels nor saltsticks as I deemed it too short.
The race started promptly at 5:30am. The first few kilometers was an easy 4:45/km for me with Jael right behind me. Soon enough, we were running side by side, keeping in step with each other. We clicked well kilometer after kilometer and I noticed that we were able to maintain a 4:39/km! Hydration stations were not many to slow runners down and not to far away to leave you thirsty – just far enough for a runner to chase the next for a much needed walk break. My breathing was not heavy but my legs felt the pace. There were times that I wanted to just walk, simply because I wasn’t used to racing this way. Seeing how Jael was determined to break the time we set out for ourselves, I strode with him as well, damned tbe the legs.
The final stretch to Mckinley hill was more or less 2km. We skipped the last hydration station and decided to just go for the finish. After a kilometer or so, I let Jael go, seeing that he still had some more “sprint energy” for the finish. Our splits – 43min for 10k, 1hr for 13k, made me tell myself that breaking 1:10 would be within reach anyway! There goes my complacent self…
I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:07:22 with the course being short by 200 meters as per my GPS watch reading. Jael would clear teh coure 22 seconds a head of me. That brought a lot of satisfaction to us as we hit our target times as planned. More excitment would follow when at the 25mins later I see my dear Maris approaching the finish line with a knowing smile. Ah yes, that was a PR smile for sure. Finishing with a time of 1:32:19, a new PR for her at this distance was a joy to watch. Not far behind comes in Jael’s wife, Cookie a few minutes after Maris. Nice.
Overall, this was a good tune up for next week’s RUPM where Jael and I would be running the marathon. True to our nature, we’ll be pacing and targeting new PRs again! Maris will be running the half marathon and I’m sure she’ll have a new 21k PR! Good luck to all of us and happy to support the breast cancer awareness in Philippines. I leave you with a photo of your’s truly…
The 26th of February 2012 was my last day in Philippines before I go for a two month business trip to Germany. My last race had been the Condura Skyway Marathon some three weeks back. Since then I had been letting my muscles and joints heal before I start any new program. Injuries taught me to be patient with my aging body. Also I wasn’t sure which program I should do because I know I need sufficient time to heal, taper and then ramp up for any training. Depending on the race I plan to run, the process would be longer or shorter. Looking at the race calendar, there wasn’t much on offer after end of April. There was only the tentative June date for the EPIC relay and then further on in July and August for the MILO and RUNRIO events.
This was a race I was anticipating with all my heart for various and mostly sentimental reasons. The story starts sometime in September of 2010. I had just completed my first half marathon at the inaugural REXONA run returning a decent 1:39hr time. Team Powerpuff boys had earlier been formed and they were in need of new recruits to help them fill the 25 required slots for the upcoming October fest run. A yearly race that has a category for team competition. Coach Ronnel, a good friend of mine and colleague at work invited me to join. I was more than elated to say the least. I like having purpose in anything I do. It is my way of remaining sane in this fast paced world. So competing once in a while makes sense to me, and when such opportunities present themselves I enjoy taking them. I know at my age, my biological limitations are all too glaring, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying a good race. Being first or last is neither here nor there for me, but the fact that I gave my best enriches me a lot.
I normally don’t write about my races, but I felt the urge to write about this one. August 21, 2011 was the race day. I had registered for the 10K category. I woke up at exactly 4am as I usually do with all my races. I took a cold shower as a ritual, made for myself a cup of hot coffee and had a piece of kamote kahoy (cassava) to go with it. The weather outside was cool and dry, perfect conditions for morning runs. I arrived at the GBC at around 5am with 30mins to spare as my race would start at 5:30am.