A run up in the mountains sounds like a really good idea for a seasoned runner. It’s a glorious escape from the cityside and a chance to breathe some fresh air, enjoy the view from up above, and feel the wind brushing across your face.
That is what takbo.ph members did on April 26 at Montalban, Rizal. The event was hosted by Sir Rene, AKA Jazzrunner. A lot of people participated in this event, even though it was way out of the metro. Even I was surprised to know that Norio Tanaka, one of the finishers in the recently concluded Bataan 102 Ultramarathon, will be joining the party. Much kudos to you, sir, for gracing us with your presence. =)
From Commonwealth, the mountains in Montalban were about 30-45 minutes away. We left as early as 5AM so that we’ll be able to greet the sun when it rises. Fortunately, on the way there we were still able to catch it midway. Our run started at around 6AM.
The way up our destination is not as easy as it seemed. Again, it will be a stupid idea to underestimate the path, much like any other mountain trail. Though we had nothing but hydration belts and iPods strapped to our backs, the trail is quite difficult. Imagine battling continuous ascents roughly averaging 45 to 50 degrees. It was LITERALLY an uphill struggle. Even though we want to run our butts off to the peak, there were several moments when we had to walk. In addition, we had to brave through LOTS of muddy paths. It’s not just any kind of mud – it’s more of a clay type that will stick to your shoes and will be very hard to get off. If I remember correct, only a handful of us wore trail shoes. Good thing I decided to bring my Merrells for this effort. But the rest had their Nikes and New Balances soiled for the day. =(
I was one of those who were left in the tail. The usual baby steps strategy proved VERY useful on the way up so as to save my quads from further trouble. But when we were nearing the peak, there were already a handful who were waiting and screaming for us to hurry up, so we pushed to the top of the mountain in sprint mode. When we got to the top, it felt so invigorating. I may have been a human sweat machine at that point but I felt so relieved. =)
After spending nearly an hour at the peak, it was time for us to go down. Since we went uphill a while ago, heading down should be a cinch. But even going downhill was a problem since the inclines were that steep, and if you tried to run it, there’s no stopping you. Gravity is working at that point. So there was no choice but to walk it out – Eric even suggested walking backwards so that it wouldn’t be painful to the legs, and he’s right about it. When we reached flat portions, there was opportunity to run again.
We finished at around 9AM since there were lots of opportunities on the way down, thanks to Rodel. In the end, we got ourselves a view of the Wawa Dam (we didn’t take a bath in it since it was quite dirty), and ended up lots of cups of taho. =)
Will I be doing this again? Yes, indeed! This is my first attempt at a trail run and it feels good. =) If this is how the TNF works, then count me in next year. Scaling a mountain, whether with backpacks or not, should not be much of a hard ordeal if you’ve got the company of good friends with you. GO TEAM!!!
Here are some pics of what happened during that day:
Just before we go down, one more shot.
After completing the route.
I wasn’t able to run on the Sun Fest Fun Run last April 25. =(
I thought the program was to start at 9AM – for after all, it was stated in the program. So I went to Ayala Alabang at around 830AM to prepare myself for the race and to get good parking. But when I went to the starting line, it seemed as if everything was a ghost town. Not a single runner was there warming up or doing rounds on the race route. I asked the guards who were there at that time if they knew of any fun run that was going to take place. They also knew that it was 9AM. It was weird. Maybe I was too early or something. So I decided to warm up a bit by running the first few meters of the race route.
But when I went back, I saw on the sidewalk a spoiled race bib. That only meant that I completely missed the event. =( Darn! This was supposed to be my training run for the May 3 Southern Race! Oh well. In the end, I went home, but as a recompense, I did a 1.3K speed run on our village oval. At least nothing was wasted, and I was able to run somehow.
Moral of the story? Clarify with race organizers regarding the actual start time of the run, just to be sure. Never live on assumptions alone!
Race number 8 for the year, and my second shot at the 21K category. =)
Another 21K? Why not? I proved my limits during the Condura Skyway run and I have shown to the world that I can finish a half-marathon with a pretty decent time. That’s why I signed up for another 21K race this year – besides, there’s a finisher’s medal. Hehehe!
The night before the race, I was with Pat, Pojie, Mac, Raff, and Ellen, and we went to Mhel’s place, located near the race circuit himself. Mhel has generously offered his house to anyone who wants to sleep in it (and eat as well!) before participating in the race. We had an immense carbo-loading session, as all of us were doing the half-marathon, including the host himself. After that… well, I’ll just keep the details to myself. No one must know about it. Trust me. =)
We woke up at 330AM on race day to get ourselves prepared after having four hours of sleep. After 30 minutes of preparations, we headed to the race site, which was around 15 minutes from Mhel’s place. On the way we passed along the race route. There were blaring speakers already and there were kilometer markers. In addition, race marshalls were at their positions and water stations were preparing their booths. This is what I like about Rio-sponsored events – nothing gets left out because everything is well-planned and organized. Kudos to you, Coach. =) At the race site we met some of the other members of takbo.ph, all who were running mixed categories, but around 75% of us are part of the 21K race.
The race started promptly at 5AM. It was time to attack Santa Rosa. For the first few kilometers I was feeling great. There’s nothing like fresh air to assist you in your jog. But just a little before the 5K mark I was feeling a tinge of pain on my left thigh, and I couldn’t run faster than my usual pace. I was planning to beat my personal record of 2:31. It looks like this will have to be scrapped because I can’t risk injuring myself further and I want to arrive at the finish line in one piece! I went back to my old target – sub 3:00. So I kept my pace as much as possible, stopping frequently in between kilometer markers to get some rest. But things got worse at the 14K mark – the pain was growing worse. Although I could still run, it feels as if I’m limping while running (if that makes sense). As a result, it was now time to bring in the run-and-go strategy – the same thing I did for the remainder of the Condura Skyway run. But when I was nearing the finish line, I gave it my all, and still was within target – I finished with an official time of 2:44. Not bad, but like many other things, it could have been better.
The major factor that contributed to my slowdown in the race was the fact that I’m not used to running over concrete paths. I read from a running site that as much as possible, avoid concrete while training. Asphalt provides more comfort to runners. Hence, this is why I do my training on asphalt-laden surfaces. Next time, I’ll include concrete roads as part of my running routes. Lesson learned indeed.
After the race, some of the takbo.ph members went back to Mhel’s house for breakfast, where we reaped the fruits of our labors. Some of us beat our PRs, some didn’t (like myself), but what matters is that we reached the finish line and once again, we have endured this obstacle. GO TEAM! =)
So, here’s my review of the race.
D (direction) – start from Paseo de Santa Rosa, then pass the road leading to South Luzon Medical Hospital, then enter Pramana Residences (very nice village, indeed). Exit the village then upon reaching the Greenfielf City toll plaza, make a u-turn, then go back all the way you came from, but veer right in order to head to the Greenfield Autopark, and to Mamplasan itself. Pass the curves and straightaways on the way to Mamplasan exit, then make another u-turn before you reach the toll plaza itself. From there, it’s all the way up to the finish line. I’ll rate the difficulty here as a medium since there’s not much asphalt to comfort your feet, and there are gradual inclines, especially after reaching the 16K mark.
R (registration) – you can register for the race via http://www.finishline.ph and pay using your credit card. That’s what I did. How cool is that? =)
U (uhaw) – a water station every 2K or so? If you dehydrate in this race, it’s your fault.
M (money) – though I wasn’t able to get the freebies in the end, my 500 bucks was spent well since I got a cool finisher’s medal and I had the glorious experience of running in the greens of Santa Rosa. It’s a good running place indeed.
S (safety) – LOTS of race marshalls and medical teams present. You wouldn’t get lost along the way and they’re really willing to help you out. Like any other race, runners are top priority for them.
Race number 7 for the year, and a comeback at the 5K category for me. =)
This race wasn’t supposed to be in my list of planned races for the year. Unfortunately, due to the Cebu re-assignment, I had to pitch this one in the list so that I’ll be able to run as much as I can before leaving. I only signed up for a 5K run since I have a half-marathon event the next day, and I don’t want to waste myself before this event (I’ll be writing my review on that half-marathon experience soon). In turn, this made me shift into a “chill run” pace, of which I ended up completing the 5K course in around 35 minutes. I could have been faster, given that I am very familiar with the race route itself, but I don’t want to sacrifice my quads.
takbo.ph members also participated here. Some of them couldn’t make it to the Greenfield City Run even the next day so they signed up for the 16K category. Among those who came short of completing a half-marathon were Bong, Timmy, Efren, Marvin, and Chelly. A few fellow runners also joined with me in the 5K event, like that of Carina and Josiah. Pat was feeling the need for intense speed so he went for the 3K category. It was merely a simple speed run for him. Note that since he’s practicing to become an ultra runner, 3K was a cinch for him. Chelly had a couple of blisters during the event, but Bong and Pat (they had already completed their run) came to the rescue, so she had a couple of people to pace with. But nevertheless, she crossed that finish line with a smile, after much support.
What made the race even more interesting – pleasing to the eye, even! – was the fact that the contestants of Miss Bikini Philippines 2009 were actually there, while dancing to the beats of “Jai Ho”. Can you spell EYE CANDY? =P Good thing that I was toting my camera during the run, so I was able to take some shots of them beautiful contestants, some of which I will be posting later on. Number 17 FTW, man! =P
In addition, there were a couple of highlights:
– 2 16K runners reached the finish line on their bare feet. They must have removed their shoes in the middle of the race because their shoes were already damaged or something, or they just really felt that they could perform better without their running shoes. Now that’s intense.
– A 5K runner did 20K! She got lost along the way and her mother was looking for her. She even reached up to the vicinity of the C5 stretch. As a result, she was the last person to complete the 5K category. But my kudos goes to her for breaking her limits and doing a half-marathon.
– “Zorro” was there. Nuff said. He did a 5K as well.
Here’s my review:
D (direction) – start from the back of NBC tent, then make a left to 26th Avenue, then left again to McKinley Parkway, then another left to 32nd, then once you reach McDonalds, left to Rizal Drive. From there, head on to Lawton Avenue. Make a u-turn just before you reach the American Cemetery, have a water break, then head back to the finish line. Very easy course indeed. If I didn’t have an event the next day I would try to break my personal record for this one (32 minutes).
R (registration) – if you live near the registration site (located at Caloocan), there would be no problem for you. But if you live somewhere far from the site, just like me, you can opt to pre-register by faxing your details and paying the necessary fees via a bank deposit. Just add an additional 40 bucks so that your bib will be delivered straight to your home. Thanks to this option, registration for the race wasn’t that hard at all.
U (uhaw) – lots of water stations. No need for you to bring your hydration belts.
M (money) – the race registration fee costs 150. I added 40 to have the race packet delivered to my home. Not bad at all. In the end you’ll get lost of freebies, plus a shirt.
S (safety) – there are not enough race-sponsored marshalls to conduct traffic (especially when you reach the Lawton area). If you want to cross the street, keep your eyes open for any vehicles that will come in your way. In addition, you can easily cheat on your race route because of the lack of these marshalls.
Our guests leading the exercise.
“Zorro” was feeling the fire.
While waiting for Chelly…
Sir Efren’s still missing…
There we go. Now we’re complete!
BACK: me, Sir Efren, Bong, Carina, Chelly, Cele (who didn’t participate, she was just dropping by), Pat, Rodel
FRONT: Marvin, Timmy, Josiah
As part of our training for the Greenfield City 21K run on April 19, Pojie has initiated an LSD which will go through the car-filled sections of Diosdado Macapagal Avenue. Starting point is at Bluewave Macapagal, then will head down south until we reach Uniwide Coastal, then we make a u-turn and go up north to where we came from. After that, head west to SMX and attack the Mall of Asia sea loop. Once completing the sea loop it will go back to Diosdado Macapagal Avenue again, then will pass by the Folk Arts Theater, PICC, and CCP. Once that’s done, we head back south to our starting point. In fact, we were so hyped up that we even managed to include a 250m uphill training session at the CCP driveway before finishing our run.
The original route was supposed to go further up north to Manila’s famed KM 0 (i.e. Luneta Park), then to Anda Circle in Intramuros, which will be our u-turn point before meeting up with Bluewave once again. Unfortunately, due to unavoidable commitments from some of the runners, we had to cut it short. In the end, our LSD garnered a distance of 15.3K instead of the original 20K. Here is a picture of the actual route we took.
And this time around, I took pictures before, during, and after our run. Among those who participated in the LSD were Pojie, Gab, Rod (who caught up with us in the middle of the run), and myself. Chelly, Jonas, and Doc T were supposed to come, but couldn’t make it due to circumstances beyond our control. Here they are!
Definitely it’s taper mode for all of us now, it was a tiring run (and dangerous one at that, for the fact that there were many cars and there’s lot of carbon dioxide emissions). But I’ll be running a 5K this Saturday at the SlimmeRUN event for warm-up purposes. =)
P.S. Gab, what’s with you and the number 3? =P
After being inspired by the Running Fatboy (aka Dennis), I came up with my own hate list about running. Many thanks to you, bro. =)
10 Aside from Gatorade, you’ll be spending on energy gels/beans, which don’t come really cheap.
09 You’re pressured to finish a road race in the fastest possible time so you’ll have something to brag about to your friends – only problem is, you may have the fastest time, but you’ll be so wasted after the race that you can barely walk.
08 Skin chaffing. Nuff said.
07 After running you don’t have enough energy to perform any other activity (like watching TV, surfing the net, or romancing your significant other). It’s off to the bed for you.
06 There’s lots of training plans about running, but which one is the best among all of them?
05 You think about it all the time, Pondering about running is good in itself, but it can get in the way of your work. For example, you’re deep in thought about which running route to tackle after dealing with the workday, or how long you should run.
04 Potential sunburn, especially if running on open environments during summertime!
03 You’re making yourself prone to vehicular accidents, especially if you do a long distance run or a runabout. Hence, that’s additional reflector gear for you.
02 It’s not really a cheap sport, as many people claim. Once you get hooked, you’ll be buying the Garmins/Suuntos, HRMs, road IDs, running apparel that suit you well, and a good pair of running shoes that you’ll have to replace often, especially if you favor running long distances.
01 Waking up very early to participate in a road race. Why bother getting up as early as 4AM on a weekend to pump yourself up when you could sleep it off until noon? Hehe! So bad of me.
In just a few weeks, I will be relocated to Cebu for a new work assignment. Yes, it’s a brand new opportunity to discover a new environment, to work with a new programming tool, to taste new delicacies that are not native to Manila, and to discover new running routes. Length of stay will vary from 4 to 6 months. It’s something to look forward to, right?
Only problem is, I’ll be far away from those I have known my whole life – friends, significant other, and all those who I run with. In addition, majority of the famed road races are here in Manila! I had plans to sign up for many of the runs come May, unfortunately, I have to put them on hold, even the Southern Race at the Alabang Town Center. This one is hanging in the balance. I’m not really sure if I’ll be able to run this one – but hopefully I would, as I’ve never got to run along the tree-laden roads of Ayala Alabang. As for the remaining runs in May, they’ll definitely have to be put on scrap, including the North Face 100, on which I was planning to do a 10K trail run. Great.
Nevertheless, I’ll still get the race number from Alabang. Heck, I registered for it anyway. This is also the reason why I filled up my April 18 and April 25 slots with races – as much as possible, while I’m still here in Manila, I’ll run as much as I can. The opportunity is there, I might as well take it. I just hope that there’s a running route in Cebu close to where I’ll live, or close to my workplace.
The only consolation for me when I get to Cebu is that I’ll be able to participate in the Milo Marathon on July 5, assuming that they have a 21K category. (I’ll be takbo.ph’s representative for the Milo Marathon in Cebu! Hahaha.) As for the other road races there, I’ll have to find them myself. Looks like one of my few missions during my stint there is to engage and be part of a running group similar to takbo.ph. I do hope I find one.
Sad news for me. I don’t want to go! =(
But, assuming that the project gets finished on time – I won’t count on this one – I might make it for the Subic International Marathon and do a 21K before the year ends – and I’ll be running with all of you again. That I am anticipating.
In any case, wish me luck in Cebu. I’ll see you guys when I get back. While I’m still here, let’s run together! And fellow forumers, we’re game for the videoke session/despedida on April 28. Hoping to see you all there! Let’s make my remaining days here a blast! =)