Taking A Look At The Tagaytay To Nasugbu Route

Three long runs in a row and i think i’m getting back into the groove and enjoying what we refer to as the week-end long runs or the long, slow distance (LSD) runs. The craziness started 3 Saturdays ago at the ridiculous route called “Shotgun” where Team 90% and i had to run through hilly villages, scale up a monstrous mountain pass then traverse inside jungle trails then loop back to where we started that took me and my buddies 7 hours to finish covering 38 kms under the heat of the sun!

The following week, we contented ourselves to just running within the confines of Quezon City and completed 32k and again, we were drenched in sweat under searing heat!

Yesterday, our long run took a giant leap further as we ventured into an out of town trip, this time travelling into cooler territory as we arrived in Tagaytay City at about 4:30am. The weather wasn’t as cool as i had expected and the winds from Manila must have rubbed off its heat to Tagaytay although there were some burst of cool winds that blew into our faces during the few miles after our start.

We began our run from People’s Park, a reference point borrowed from the Tagaytay to Nasugbu (T2N) 50k Ultra Race which will be held next month and i’m not really sure if these long runs will eventually lead us to the actual race itself.

We’ll see.

The roads were silent and we witnessed the calm, the picturesque views and the dangers one should expect in running this route. Here goes:

L-R: Betty, Tonet, Leo, Sylvia, Mel, Elaine and me. (Absent: Chito)

Approaching the Tagaytay rotunda

Not too many vehicles that early morning

The one major splendor of running this route is the view of Taal Lake and its volcano at the break of dawn

A small shopping center that should be teeming with customers in a few hours time

It was too early for breakfast and we had to run first

Large housing projects mushrooming in the area

A closer look. Once occupancy starts, expect Tagaytay City's population to rise!

Just a lone biker to witness our run

Pollution-free road for the most part

The Summit Ridge Hotel

One of Tagaytay City's old-time hotels

Approaching Tagaytay's famous radar stations

Another view of Taal Lake

With Tonet taking a break

A farm view on our right

The empty road ahead. However, one has to watch out motorists over-taking cars at your back as they'll zoom past you about less than a meter away!

Approaching Nasugbu, Batangas at about the 9th km

A refreshing welcome

Inside Nasugbu territory

Local townfolks call this housing estate, "Sandara Park".

After completing another 32k run at the T2N route, a well deserved breakfast at Bag of Beans, back in Tagaytay

Team 90%: See you in our next long run!

Shoe Review: Reebok Realflex Transition

The Realflex Transition

BACKGROUNDER

LIGHTWEIGHT TRAINER:

  • Recommended for bio-mechanically efficient runners, heel to midfoot strikers who need a light, well-cushioned shoe for fast-paced training or racing.
  • Could be used as an everyday running shoe on paved roads, the track and simple dirt roads
  • Weight 6.5 oz.

Sometime ago in a blog post i did about Reebok, i rued that their running shoes were under-represented in the local running scene as most of their models were catered exclusively to aerobics, gym or basketball enthusiasts. Where were their “Premier” models like their Verona KFS,  Fusion 2, the Phoenix and Trinity models? I didn’t see them sold anywhere locally, even when most of them were rated by Runners World Magazine as its Editor’s Choice, Best Buy or Best Debut picks.

Instead, they came out with blazing marketing blitz on their Zigtech and Easy Tone model, which would later cause the US Federal Trade Commission to order the company to refund a hefty sum to buyers for false advertising on their Easy Tone model.

While the Easy Tone, a toning/walking shoe, that  purportedly provided extra tone and strength to leg and buttock muscles was viewed as a false claim by the FTC, the Zigtech on the other hand sold very well although real runners were still not convinced as to its worth as a true running shoe. However, it had its share of glowing reviews and many runners swear to its admirable performance and have used it in marathons and ultra races.

The Reebok Realflex comes in a time when minimalist shoes are the rage and runners would like to try everything that would allow them to run as naturally as their bodies would allow. While not a minimalist shoe per se, the Realflex Transition might be a transition shoe for minimalist running as it is lightweight, very flexible and and all-around trainer.

I was skeptical with this shoe right out of the box but my perception changed when i was able to run on it on varying distances, speed and terrain.

CONSTRUCTION:
  • Over-all, the Realflex Transition has minimalist construction, the upper is made of synthetic layers with breathable mesh and suede leather around the outer forefoot area and heel cup.
  • This is probably Reebok’s training shoe at the extreme lightweight end of the spectrum and the Realflex takes the minimalist concept as far as construction goes.
  • The shoes’ interior, from the heel to the midfoot area is well padded and the removable insole is thick and cushiony. The outsole is engineered with independent multi-directional “nodes” strategically positioned to give additional cushioning.
 FIT AND FEEL:
  • The Realflex has a nice, snug fit. It’s one of the most flexible shoes i have ever tested. I like the footing which is soft but firm and there are no irritation issues with the upper and even on the heel-counter which is somewhat high.
  • Like i mentioned earlier, the insoles are super thick which looks and feels like an orthotic and gives it a somewhat bouncy ride. Its lightness is palpable as you can immediately discern that this is made for tempo, intervals, fartleks, hill repetitions and racing.

PERFORMANCE:

I was amazed at the lightweight feeling and the cushioning was major, like somewhat of an over-kill. The responsiveness was robust, the upper is seemless and the shoe performed like a racing flat and it glided well on pavements as well as on dirt roads.

The nodes provided great traction and when cruising up hills, it provided some extra bounce which helped to push me up on the inclines. The Realflex performance was solid but then, i would like to put it more on its paces like on technical trails and see how it performs. The slugs are pretty aggressive but because of its soft, flexible built, i have some doubts as to its durability and longevity.

CONCLUSION:

My initial impression of the Realflex Transition is overwhelmingly positive. The slight stability bars along the edges provided some control and the outsole package of the shoe were just fine. The shoes’ interiors are comfortable and well-padded. It is also quite light thanks to its minimalist composite materials of the upper.

It’s nice to see Reebok make conventional running shoes once in a while even if the Realflex main features are borrowed from concepts of minimalist shoes. However, i would like to think that Adidas (the owners of Reebok) would still want to develop newer innovations on their own brand and would rather spend a bigger allocation of funds for their shoes’ development to enhance a better, lighter and mainstream shoes for serious runners. I venture that Reebok would still be concentrating more on shoes geared towards a wider scope of athletes and cross-trainers for their avid users which for many, is still a good thing.

My thanks to Reebok, Philippines and to local Reebok ambassador, Blas Tiangco for letting me try-out this shoe.

TNF100k Baguio Champ Iker Karrera: His Views On Running

It was a privileged to see in the flesh, world famous Spanish ultra-trail running icon, Iker Karrera visit our shores and give lectures on trail running, running gears and to run the gruelling North Face 100Km Trail Run in Baguio City which he eventually won in a little over 12 hours. He and Edu Martinell , another top Spanish Trail Runner & International Social Media Manager arrived in Manila on Monday, April 16.

Trail running great, Iker Karrera

These two trail running greats kicked off their Philippine visit with an early morning trip to Tagaytay Highlands on Tuesday, April 17. Iker and Edu ran part of the very arduous trails of Tagaytay Highlands together with a good number of friends from Salomon Philippines and some media. In the evening, the  two guests spent time with some members of Manila’s running community via a meet and greet session at the Bonifacio High Street Activity Grounds, just across the R.O.X. Store.

Iker with Salomon Philippines Brand Manager Janice Tanada. Emcee Boy Ramos (extreme left)

The following morning, Wednesday, April 18, I was able to attend an exclusive by-invitation only Salomon XR-Mission Shoe Launch and Press Conference also held at the ROX Store in Bonifacio High Street. Together with media and runner bloggers, we were privileged to see the latest road-to-trail running shoe from Salomon, the Salomon XR-Mission. In addition, it was great to listen from these two trail running superstars how Salomon has equipped them to become the top trail runners in the world.

With Edu Martinell (L) and Iker (R)

Here’s a portion of the media interview with Iker Karerra:

Dream Trail Run or Race:

There are many, more than I could ever run (within the duration) of my life. The world is full of beautiful mountains and I would like to run at all!

How can you describe your ordinary training week?

It depends on the season of the year. In Winter, I run less.

I do other activities like nordic skiing and biking. More or less I try to train 6 days a week. Sometimes, I have active rest days–not too many hours a day.During weekends, I run or ski from 8 to 10 hours.

Spring and Summer seasons have better weather. There is no snow in the Pyrenees! This marks the start of the racing season. The workouts are much longer, more intense. Active rest days are still present. On weekends, training volume increases. But this depends on my work, after i have organized my week.

What are your goals for 2012?

To run better and have less physical injuries (Not that i have many injuries but,….). Also to enjoy running more. The results come if I’m training well and if i am enjoying the mountains.

For hard mountain races like UTMB, what are your tactics?

Train very hard and prepare all the details of the race as much as posible. Anticipate the weather condition, your necessary food, clothing, etc. Try to read the race ahead. Be mentally flexible in making decisions. Have someone you can trust to follow during the race, who will give you support throughout the event.

For us living in the lowland, it is quite hard to achieve good mountain running techniques. It is possible to get strong for the uphills but  the downhill part is hard. When reading about this topic you can see that there are two different approaches; either you do some long and hard quad burning downhills now and then to let the legs get used to it or you can develop a smooth technique with a fast turn over and short strides.

What is your opinion on this?

It depends on theslope, the type of terrain– if they are grass, loose stones, rocks, tree roots, if the way is straight or curvy, wet or dry. There isn´t ONE technique- one that fits all. Also depends on your technique, your physique– if you are big or small, heavy or light…. Always looks for maximum energy efficiency with minimal physical effort.

How do you train for good uphill/downhill technique?

I have been running in the mountains, uphill and downhill, since I was a child. I haven´t worked too much on the specific technique. It comes naturally.

What can you improve?

Everything can be improved.

2011 was the year of your big breakthrough, how did this come about?

I want to think of it as the consecuence of years of hard work& training in the mountains. Also because things went well with good results during the Major Races.

During UTMB last year, Kilian Jornet increased the speed on the last section and took the first place 8 minutes ahead of you. Was it a team order to let Kilian win or was he just too strong?

Kilian won because he was the stronger athlete. He was stronger during the whole race.

Is it your turn to win UTMB this year?

At the moment, I´m not thinking about that yet. I will just train well, try to make good races before the UTMB, and to be at the begining of the UTMB in the best physical condition as possible.

They call you here a Legend. Do you consider yourself as one?

Me, una leyenda? No, no, no..! (laughs)

Salomon XR-Mission (Women's)

Salomon XR-Mission (Men's)

The Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon: June 24, 2012

To all the triathlon enthusiasts out there,  here’s something to look forward to. Alaska Milk is now hosting the Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon Series Philippines on June 24 at Subic Bay.

The 5i50 Triathlon Series started just last year (2011) in the US by World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owners of Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races and the Philippine edition will be an Olympic-distance triathlon race (1.5k swim, 40k bike ride, 10k run) and is the first 5i50 distance triathlon sanctioned by WTC to be held in Southeast Asia.

The Jazzrunner was invited to its launching last week at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati and the affair was attended by luminaries in the world of sports, entertainment, media and other sports personalities particularly top foreign and upcoming local triathletes.

Those interested in joining the 5i50 Triathlon Series may register up until May 31, 2012. Registration fees are US$ 150.00 for individual and US$180.00 for relay which include 2XU Race Kit Bags, Finisher’s Medal, 2XU Finishers’ T-Shirt, Carbo-Load Dinner and Post-Race Lunch.

Here are the press details of the race:

Sunrise Events Inc. brings Century Tuna at Subic Bay

Philippine hospitality, ingenuity and its unbelievably beautiful scenery will once again be showcased before the world when Alaska Milk stages the Olympic-distance Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon Series Philippines on June 24 at scenic Subic Bay.

With proponents of the Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon

Alaska Milk Corporation (AMC) President and CEO Fred Uytengsu, through Sunrise Events, Inc. (SEI), introduces the Olympic-distance triathlon race (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) to local shores. This is the first 5i50 distance triathlon sanctioned by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) to be held in Southeast Asia.

“Our aim with this event is to encourage even more people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and embrace multisport training and racing. While we recognize that people may have an Ironman or Ironman 70.3 event as a ‘bucket list’ item, we also realize that you need to start somewhere and this event does exactly that. The distance is challenging for the novice triathlete and we hope to encourage many individuals to start with this distance,” said Uytengsu.

The two-time Ford Ironman World Championship finisher said he hopes to attract more participants in the sport by staging this shorter distance as well as holding relays with separate participants in the swim, bike and run legs of the race.

“We will have several categories in the relay division. We believe that by offering relays, we will end up getting full-fledged triathletes from this group as these participants will discover the joy and challenge of completing all three disciplines,” said Uytengsu.

The entire race will be within the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), a former US Naval base and one of two former major military bases of the United States in the Philippines.

“We are pleased that Subic Bay has agreed to be our host venue for 2012 until 2014. Although Subic Bay has been host to many multi sport events, we will make it our challenge to make the 5i50 another world class production,” said Uytengsu.

Participating triathletes can say they have swum in majestic Subic Bay where mighty battleships were once moored surrounded by breathtaking mountains.

These mountains too will pose another daunting challenge during the bike leg which will feature some vicious climbs.

And like the other run legs in triathlons run in the Philippine, the 10k run route will be lined with spectators, giving the athletes that extra boost from cheering crowds that will help them complete the 51.5 kilometer distance.

Title sponsor is Century Tuna, the leading tuna brand in the Philippines. Other sponsors are Alaska Milk, 2XU, David’s Salon, Gatorade, Intercare, Oakley, Timex, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and media partners Philippine Star and Multisport Magazine.

Team TBB of Alaska Milk

Interested parties may visit the Website http://www.5150philippines.com <http://www.5150philippines.com> for more details.

Vibram Five Fingers: A Natural Alternative

Vibram FiveFingers is Everybody’s VFF (Very Friendly Footwear)!

I have always been intrigued about the concept of barefoot running and the more i see runners wear those minimalist shoes or running with just their bare feet makes me want to try them out, specially the “barely there” running shoes.

I had always this notion that minimalist shoes is not for me… i, whose plantar fascia or heels have brought me some problems in the past will not be happy with it thinking that i might be less protected if i wear minimalist shoes like the Five Fingers.

At its core, friends who are enthusiasts of minimalist shoes believe in the contrary, that it results in a greater connection with your body and improved running mechanics. These shoes like the Vibram Five Fingers forces you to put more focus into your effort and ultimately allows for the most natural form of movement possible thereby resulting in fewer injuries.

Last Wednesday, Barefootwear, Inc., the company that distributes the VIBRAM FIVE FINGERS held a Brazilian-themed media launch of its 2012 Spring-Summer Collection at the Sky Lounge, Bonifacio Global City. I was fortunate enough to be invited by good friend Marga Uy Baula and the event gathered athletes, celebrities, Five Fingers fanatics and select health, sports and fashion media personalities.

Demonstrating the Capoeira by a Brazilian group during the launching

Long time Five Finger users, from members of our Philippine Dragon Boat Team to Ultimate Celebrity Sole Survivor-Comedian BETONG or Albert Sumaya related their experiences with this footwear, providing the versatility of this product. From Surfing, Ultramarathon running, strength training and rowing, these activities demonstrated the many benefits of the Vibram Five Fingers such as better flexibility, stronger muscles and improved posture, among others.

Many thanks to Barefootwear, Inc. for providing me one of their latest shoe in their 2012 Summer Collection, the Five Fingers Speed. It’s the first time that i’ve tried the brand on and it sure fits nicely! I haven’t run on them yet but will surely test run them very soon and give some initial feedback.

Here’s a sneak peak the VIBRAM Five Fingers 2012 Spring-Summer Collection together with their Press Release:

For more than 75 years, Vibram has been a trusted leader in performance and innovation in the realm of footwear.  Its revolutionary and visionary founder, Italian mountaineer Vitale Bramani, whose name the footwear now carries, foresaw the need for grip, traction and durability on performance shoes and developed the first rubber sole on a mountaineering boot.

This commitment to safety continued in the brand’s quest for the perfect footwear in decades to come, and years of research and the production of millions of soles for the best shoes in the industry led Vibram to its next milestone. In 2005, Vibram introduced the next generation of innovative performance sole design: one that allows the foot to move and work naturally, as if barefoot: Vibram FiveFingers.

Vibram FiveFingers challenges the paradigm of conventional footwear. The thin, flexible, and deconstructed sole allows the foot to curl and flex as nature intended. The five toes are separate just like our feet! Because of these features, every step taken in FiveFingers is a lesson in texture, temperature, and biomechanics that can make us healthier and more connected to our bodies.

Unconventional Footwear with Benefits

A special kind of footwear that can be used for athletic and non-athletic use, Vibram FiveFingers is known for its corrective and therapeutic qualities that no ordinary shoes or sandals can give.

Vibram FiveFingers is different than any other footwear on the planet. Not only does it bring you closer to your environment, FiveFingers delivers a number of positive health benefits by leveraging all of the body’s natural biomechanics, so you can move as nature intended.  Here are five reasons to wear or train in Vibram FiveFingers:

1.       Strengthens Muscles in the Feet and Lower Legs – Wearing FiveFingers will stimulate and strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs, improve general foot health and reduce the risk of injury.

2.       Improves Range of Motion in Ankles, Feet and Toes – No longer ‘cast’ in a shoe, the foot and toes move more naturally.

3.       Stimulates Neural Function Important to Balance and Agility – When wearing Vibram FiveFingers, thousands of neurological receptors in the feet send valuable information to the brain, improving balance and agility.

4.       Eliminates Heel Lift to Align the Spine and Improve Posture – By lowering the heel, our body weight becomes evenly distributed across the footbed, promoting proper posture and spine alignment.

5.       Allows the Foot and Body to Move Naturally, Which Just FEELS GOOD.

When it first came out in 2005, its unconventional features were contested by its critics, debunking the many corrective and therapeutic qualities that conventional footwear are not known to offer.  Even its first users thought it uncanny to wear something that resembles their very own feet.  However, the unease turned to familiarity, and over the next few years, more and more people took to Vibram FiveFingers as an alternative to conventional shoes and sandals.  Soon enough, the unconventional footwear became not only a standard, but a highly recommended choice by the prestigious Time Magazine, which considered it one of the Best Inventions of 2007.

Love Your Feet: Vibram’s 2012 Collection

Explore the joys of natural movement in authentic footwear from the company that started the barefooting revolution. Its newest collection takes pride in the latest innovations that it has incorporated in its models, a tradition that it continued doing for almost 80 years.  In the Philippines, Vibram has found a growing market for its footwear for men and women of all ages, and it is launching its newest Spring/Summer 2012 offerings with much anticipation.  Like its previous models, all its latest products carry a unique patented Vibram TC-1 performance rubber, which delivers excellent “foot feel” without compromising abrasion resistance.  They are also are machine-washable and air-dry.

A fashionable take on the FiveFingers Classic, the Classic Fresca for women runners adds an element of style to the model that propelled the brand. Designed for barefoot balance and agility, it has a lightweight, stretch upper with a back pull-tab that allows you to cinch the topline for an adjustable, secure fit. A hook-and-loop closure holds the tab in place. Durable printing on the toes, sides and heel provides added protection and abrasion resistance. The Vibram performance outsole with serrated blade lug design provides flexibility, durability and optimum traction.  The Classic Fresca sole has a Polyurethane reinforced pocket on the big toe for added durability and protection, and a serrated blade lug design that provides flexibility and traction on wet surfaces.  It is available in grape/grey/white and grey/blue/white colors.

Unlike any running shoe on the market today, the FiveFingers Bikila was the first model designed specifically for a more natural, healthy and efficient forefoot strike. Built on an entirely new platform, the Bikila offers more plating protection, and distributes forefoot impact without compromising important ground feedback essential to a proper forefoot strike running form. Athletic padded collar and topline and a single hook-and-loop closure finish off this breakthrough design.

Bikila’s tread design for the soles offers more traction over a variety of surfaces, while its EVA arch follows the contour of the foot and reduces weight.  Among its features are a 4 mm anatomical pod outsole design that distributes forefoot impact forces without compromising important ground feedback essential to a proper forefoot strike running form, and 3 mm Dri-Lex covered polyurethane footbed for more plating protection and reduced packing over a sustained period of time. It is available in silver/black.

Following in the footsteps of the FiveFingers Bikila, the Bikila LS for women offers a closed speed lace system to accommodate a wider foot or higher instep. It shares the same revolutionary platform as the Bikila to provide superior plating protection and distributes forefoot impact without compromising essential ground feedback. The naturally breathable upper features an athletic padded collar and topline, and road-worthy, abrasion-resistant toe protection. It is available in red/grey black.

The first trail running-specific models, the Spyridon and Spyridon LS provide the perfect balance of “foot feel” and protection on rugged surfaces, as its soles have a stitched-in polyurethane insole that protects the skin and foot, and a molded nylon mesh in midsole that adds a “rock block” effect, dispersing impact over a wider area.  A minimalist Vibram rubber sole with an aggressive tread design provides sure-footed grip in all directions and a 3.5 mm rubber sole that maximizes impact protection from stones and debris, while better allowing proper barefoot dynamics. Naturally breathable upper with an adjustable hook-and-loop closure ensures a secure fit.  It is available in black/green for men and lilac/black/green for women.

Designed for an enhanced trail running experience, the new Spyridon LS offers a closed speed lace system to accommodate a wider foot or higher instep. The naturally breathable upper has an adjustable hook-and-loop closure for a secure fit, and a minimalist Vibram rubber sole with aggressive tread pattern allows proper barefoot dynamics and “foot feel,” while delivering protection on rugged surfaces.  It is available in military green/grey/black for men.

Celebrities Use Vibram FiveFingers, And So Can You!

In the Philippines, more and more popular figures in sports and the entertainment industry are now using Vibram FiveFingers as footwear of first choice.  They have attested to the comfort and durability of this uncanny but comfortable alternative to the conventional shoes and slippers that they have grown accustomed to.  Now, they are not only proudly wearing Vibram FiveFingers on their feet, they are also promoting it to people of active lifestyle like many of us.

Powerade strength and conditioning coach Julio Veloso thinks that using Vibram FiveFingers is transforming the way his players run while in the game.  “It definitely forces the body to engage the different muscles of the lower leg and foot more. These muscles, ligaments, and tendons basically have remained dormant when training in regular shoes. So I believe it helps improve balance, proprioception, and injury prevention,” he elaborated.  He introduced the footwear to his players over a year ago, and a better team performance was the result of months of use.

Powerade Tigers forward Ricky Calimag immediately noticed an improvement on his running.  “Para sa akin, naayos yung takbo ko.  Yung mga muscle na mahina naramdaman ko agad na sumakit e pero normal lang pala yun at ng tumagal lumakas na at hindi na sumakit (For me, my running improved.  At first, some muscles which I don’t frequently use felt that initial pain, but it turned out to be a normal reaction and later on, these muscles got stronger and did not pain me anymore),” he described.

Even popular comic television personality like Ultimate Celebrity Sole Survivor Betong or Albert Sumaya, Jr. said that it helped that he wore Vibram FiveFingers during his 36 days in the island.  “It is so lightweight, especially when I used it in Survivor Philippines Season 4. Wearing VFF made me more connected to nature and because of this I’ve learned to live a simple life and to survive the wilderness for 36 days. My feet can breathe every time I use VFF, and it is more fun walking and running using VFF.  I can definitely say that the soles of my feet are protected while wearing VFF, that’s why I’m the Ultimate ‘Sole’ Survivor,” said this reality show star. Like him, Vibram FiveFingers is as seasoned and time-tested.

Truly, Vibram FiveFingers is every runner’s VFF – very friendly footwear!

Vibram is available at SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, Trinoma, Planet Sports (Rockwell, Vmall Greenhills, Newport and Glorietta) Tobys (Mall of Asia and Shangrila), Runnr (BHS, Trinoma and Ayala Center Cebu), ROX BHS, Urban Athletics Greenbelt and Chimes Davao. For more information, call 845-3850, e-mail: marketing@barefootwearinc.com. Visit the website at: www.vibramfivefingers.ph.

Ensure To Endure Run 2012: May 20, 2012

Abbott Philippines, distributors of  a wide array of health care products, most of which have already become household names in the country like “Gain” and “Gain Plus”, “Grow”, “Cecon”, “Ensure”, “Klaricid OD”, “Erythrocin”, “Iberet”, “Pedialyte”, “Pediasure”, and “Isomil” is staging its first race in the country through its Ensure Nutrition milk.

Here are the details:

Ensure to Endure Run 2012

Ensure your strength and run for free* in the upcoming Ensure to Endure run happening on May 20, 2012 at the Bonifacio Global City.

15k Route

10k Route

5k Route

Coach Jim Saret’s FITFIL Fitness Boot Camp

The Fitness coach to various Philippine national sports teams, celebrities and trainer to the Biggest Loser Philippines, Coach Jim Saret has organized a Boot Camp, a  12-15 session fitness program running 3 times a week which is under his advocacy, the FITFIL (Fit Filipinos). The program will kick of in Cebu from May 15 to June 09, 2012 (T-Th) and in Bonifacio High Street in Taguig on June 25 to July 27 (M-W-F).

I first met Coach Jim during the Del Monte’s Dare To Be Fit launch at Mall of Asia three years ago where he gave lectures on Fast Intense Training (FIT), a workout strategy that is touted as one of the most effective way to burn fat. The FIT workout was demonstrated by fast bursts of intensive exercise that enables one to burn at least 400 calories in a span of only four minutes.

GEDC0069

What was amazing about the workout is that you continue to burn calories even when you’re done with it! Coach Jim went further by saying that you don’t have to be a gym buff to enjoy the workout and doesn’t require much space and equipment. It’s scientific, very visual, designed for non-athletes, with measurable results and it’s easy!

GEDC0077

One of the sample indoor workout conducted by Coach Jim with Blogger Rodel Cuaton (Argonaut) doing the exercise.

The forthcoming FitFil Fitness Boot Camp will feature exercise programs like TRX, boxing, yoga, pilates, circuit, P90x, and other newest workout techniques in one fitness camp. These cross training are essential to runners and can improve your fitness, prevent and rehabilitate injuries, promote recovery, and revive a stale routine.

Running alone makes you a fit runner. But your running fitness may not translate to other activities that use your muscles and joints in different ways.

This program interests me because the exercises offered targets areas that runners normally don’t pay attention to as adding these new ones will:

  • maintain muscle mass and builds core strength for good posture
  • increase flexibility work
  • increases range of motion which decreases injury risk
  • improves body alignment and
  • strengthens underused  muscles and keep your body and mind fresh so we can give a high quality effort on running days.

Participants will be able to design their own fitness goal target. Meet like-minded folks passionate in fitness and will provide motivation all throughout.

Sessions include exercise briefing, nutrition counseling provided by Nestle Wellness, and fitness lecture. They will also have games and raffle to add fun to the activity. Definitely, each training day will never be boring.

For those joining the program with weight loss in mind, the goal is to help you lose no less than 8 to 10 pounds in 4 to 5 weeks with maximal fat burning and fitness training. Biggest Loser Philippines former contestants Raffy, Hazel, Eric, JM, Winwin, and Leigh will also coach participants and share their experience in this 4 to 5 weeks program.

Participants who will pass the Fitness Test Challenge shall get a “FitFil Certificate”. This is the first scientifically-based fitness standard here in the Philippines.

The objective is to get all boot camp participants certified. So Let’s Get FIT, Philippines! 

CEBU Leg:

May 15 to June 9, 2012 (Tuesday and Thursday from 6 pm to 8 pm. On Saturdays from 6 am to 8 am) at The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu City

Manila Leg:
June 25 to July 27, 2012 (Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 6 pm to 8 pm) at Fort Bonifacio High Street (grounds), Taguig City

The Boot Camp will charge a minimum amount of  Eight hundred pesos (P800) for Cebu participants (early-bird participants). After May 1, the rate for the Cebu leg is (P1000).

For the Manila event, the fee is nine hundred pesos (P900).

For more information and registration, you can log on to: http://www.coachjimsaret.ph/2012/04/join-coach-jim-sarets-fitfil-fitness.html

Boot Camp is limited to 100 participants only! I’ll see you there!

The Shotgun Route: A Mountain and Trail Run Odyssey

Running 38.3 kilometers in scorching heat seems lunatic specially when it’s about 33 to 34 degrees at its peak out there at the Shotgun Run last Saturday. Crazy as it were, we actually did get to enjoy every minute of it and it seemed to be one enormous victory over the elements of running non-stop hills, undulating mountain roads and technical trails on a route that is known as the “Shotgun Route!”

I only heard about this route through friends on Facebook and they keep raving about its difficulty, the vastness of experiencing a road-hills-mountain and trail run, all pictured into one loop of pure exhilaration that it has become a favorite of many runners.

It was now time to discover it as well. Some members of our running team, Team 90% (don’t ask why it was called such) composed of Mel, Chito, Tonet, Betty, Sylvia, myself and an office mate of Sylvia’s set off in 2 cars and arrived at SSS Village in Marikina and parked the cars in front of an old running friend’s house, Dave Buban. Dave wasn’t running with us that morning and was just content in looking-out after the vehicles while we were out on our run.

I was a bit excited but a little concerned as to whether my plantar issues was going to plague and stop me again on my tracks. The good news is that the bum heel seem to heal very nicely after my disastrous Salomon Trail Run three weeks ago and thereafter, i was able to lodge 15-21k LSD runs with no pain at all.

When we arrived at Dave’s place, some runners were already there ahead of us. Ultra-runners Doc Toto Mina, Jael Wenceslao and Keisha Fule were waiting so we could all start together. We warmed-up with a few minutes of walking and when we were on a flat terrain, we were off running.

Our 5:30am start was rather late as the sun had risen just a few kilometers after we had started. We passed by a few private villages in Marikina, crawled under closed village gates and even got lost from the first group who were leading us by a few hundred meters. From Marikina we entered San Mateo, on its backdoor entrance going through continuous uphills and downhills and flourishes of trees that lined-up on most of the route.

SSS Village borders the hilly town of San Mateo

One of the hilly routes that we had to take

We finally arrived at the road leading to Timberland Heights. The welcome sign to Timberland was familiar to me although i was used to seeing this from the MAIN entrance coming from J.P. Rizal Road where many cyclists seem to be more familiar with. Another kilometer and we made a stop-over at Aling Tinay’s small eatery where our group partook Lugao with boiled eggs and boiled bananas that was to be one crucial nourishment break to survive the dreaded Shotgun Road and trails.

The start of the mountain pass (Shotgun) that climbs up to Timberland

Less than 2 kilometers is the 1st entrance to Timberland Heights, a dizzying uphill of a mountain about 3.5 kilometers long although there is another entrance which is the main one along C-6 Road all the way to Timberland Avenue and is a kilometer away on the north. We took the first entrance.

Just looking at the winding zigzag road going up that mountain, i couldn’t envision myself running those steep inclines. No way! All of us decided to walk those uphills except for Mel (our group’s master show-off) who seems to be reminding us who the King of the Mountain is!:-)

It was at this point when Chito told me that this was the notorious Shotgun Road they were raving about! Damn! A mini Kennon Road of sorts! Here are some pictures i took of the route:

An ordeal of a climb

No shame in walking! Even that mountain biker had to stop and rest.

L-R: Mel, Sylvia, Tita Betty, Ninang Tonet and Chito

This is the "shotgun" route!

We still had to scale up that green peak at the background

Ninang Tonet meets Doc-Romy who was on his way down

The top of the mountain was fascinating! There was a slight cool mountain breeze, breath-taking mountainscape and a picturesque view of Metro Manila. The only draw-back to this route is the constant passing of garbage dump trucks which utilizes this road to dump some of the metro’s garbage into the nearby San Mateo Sanitary dump site. It sometimes pollutes the fresh air that breezes along the canyon ridges.

After a few more climbs, we finally reached the start of the Timberland trails. I’m very familiar with these trails, having ran here several times both during training and trail races although this particular entrance is new to me. At an elevation twice that of Antipolo City, this serene and breezy mountain retreat affords a panoramic view from Laguna de Bay to Mount Arayat in the north.

It was a gorgeous day to run these trails as they were damp, dry and gave my feet and legs a respite from all the pounding we did at the earlier miles. It was starting to get hot and the only concern i had was we were running out of water and the next stop was about 4 kms more when we would emerge out of the trails.

The trails wound up through scenic gorges, lush foliage within a virgin forest although the surface began to be more technical as you enter deep into the woods. Knowing the trails by heart, i was able to skid out ahead of the group and after a few more kilometers, found my way out of the jungle passing by the Timberland Country Club and into the main gate where a small eatery often frequented by cyclists was situated. Took gulps of Gatorade, Cobra Energy drink and lots of water! Whew!

After about 10 minutes, the rest of the group arrived and we all enjoyed the break, taking in some bread, rice cakes and stacked-up more water into our hydration packs before we continued our journey back. We had already ran 24kms up to that point and there was another 14kms to complete the loop.

Here are some pictures of the trails:

The start of the trail to Timberland

Heat was staring to flare up at the start of our trail run

Thankful of the trees that kept us in shade for the most part of the trail run

The view at the opposite side of the trails

Mt. bikers shared the trails with us

Small rocks were all over the place

Mel leads the way

A haven for bikers too

A shaded portion

Keeping our steps at bay to avoid the small rocks

Final group pic before our run back to home base with 15 kms to go.

The trip back was one of the most arduous runs we ever had as we were basically being roasted under the sun. It was just 11:00am but the sun was above our heads so we constantly took walking breaks. At some hilly road, we stopped in front of a front yard and asked the house owner if we could pour ourselves water from a faucet that was situated just outside her doorstep. She might have thought that we were doing some sort of a post-Holy Week “penitencya” so she willingly let us in. We all doused our heads with ladle-full of water. And that was so refreshing!

At about 1:10pm, logging-in a total of 37 kms and temperatures hovering at about 34 degrees, we were now back inside SSS Village in Marikina, all dehydrated and here we were, back where we started but we couldn’t find Dave’s home! I was like a zombie moving aimlessly trying to figure out where the house was and then i realized that i lost sight of the group too! After a few minutes, i saw Betty calling me, waiving from a store and that they had found Dave’s home!

Total distance completed, 38.3 kms and run was finished at 1:30pm. I felt good except for the usual pain in the thighs and butt. And no pain on the plantar…Yebahh! The next day, i amazed myself by doing another 7kms recovery run near UP campus while i was playing the events on my head that transpired during our Shotgun run!

Though the Shotgun route was difficult as it was, i would like to believe that if you would have to do this route, you would also have to cover the relentless rolling hills of San Mateo, Rizal which are still untapped by many runners.

We are slated to do another long run of about 43kms on a new route Dave has discovered and dubbed the “Lost World”. I just hope we’ll be able to find our way back, alive and running!

A bird's eye view of the metropolis

Socks Matter Too: The ‘Thorlos’

Running socks, that is. We runners experience sweaty feet and the foul odor it emanates after every run but the right socks do play a role in eliminating fungus that leads to foot sweating or athletes foot. More than this, a good running sock will prevent blisters, provide breathability and protection for the feet.

There is one innovating company in Statesville, North Carolina, USA that designs and manufactures sock products for everything from hiking to tennis to running named THORLOS  which was recently introduced here in the country.

THORLOS might be the Rolls Royce of running socks as it is a sock company that pays attention to quality, detail, styling and engineering and yet still carries it all a tad beyond what is necessary.

The 30-year old, USA-made brand preferred by pro and amateur athletes carries over 35 types of socks for everything from running to hiking to tennis to golf and basketball – all characterized by their customized and scientifically structured pads with the ability to adjust to the needs and movements of each sport.

Thorlos®, is the originator of the activity-specific sock, is the first socks line to be granted the Seal of Acceptance by the American Podriatic Medical Association.

Recently, i was able to test run one of their sock models, the Coolmax Thin Cushion on a 15k run. They were very soft with a snug fit and didn’t bunch up and rub when my feet started to feel sweaty.

I particularly like the cushion pads located on the heels and forefoot which feels like cushions that protect those parts of the feet. I didn’t feel any over-heating inside and the ventilation seem to work. These socks really didn’t disappoint.

Here’s a more detailed description of the socks:

Thorlos is the one of the very few global pure socks brands in the Philippines, others are locally produced while other brands offer socks as side products only.

Thorlos is the brand of socks with the widest selection for all the popular sports and lifestyle activities.

Thorlos emphasizes education on the importance of FOOT-SHOE-SOCKS-FIT experience to draw maximum benefits, protection and comfort.

Thorlos is one of the few sports brands backed up by well-explained science and recipient of numerous awards and endorsements by scientific institutions, medical societies and athletic groups.

Thorlos socks cannot be faked and each and every pair was made using patented machines, yarns (particularly THOR-LON) and designs. No outsourcing was done hence all Thorlos socks around the world were made thru the strictest quality control of the company in North Carolina, USA.

Thorlos is the best socks brand in the market and it is a sound investment to own. It is not just for the athletes who demand performance or the upper class who’s willing to spend for quality products but for all those who want to be active while being protected in the activity/sport they choose.

In addition, Thorlos has been worn in the New York and Boston Marathons, two of the most prestigious running events in the world and has been the recipient of Runner’s World (US) Best Gear Award.

Exclusively distributed by Colerosh, Inc. in the Philippines, Thorlos® socks are available at Riovana stores at BGC, Regis Center-Katipunan, and soon at the SM Mall of Asia. They are also available at Rustan’s, ROX, Planet Sports, Tobys, RUNNR and The Athlete’s Foot.

For more details about Thorlos® Socks and foot health, visit thorlosphilippines.com and www.facebook.com/thorlosphilippines, call Colerosh Inc. at 661-3022 and 640-4326 or email at rlm@colerosh.com.ph

Mayon 360 50 Mile Ultramarathon: The Legend of Darang Magayon

There is a legend to this world famous Mayon Volcano citing that the grounds where the volcano now stands is the grave of two lovers, those of Darang Magayon who lives on the volcano, and her lover, Panganoron who lives on the clouds, kissing her every time he passes by.

To those running (or planning to run) the Mayon Volcano 360, 50 Mile Ultramarathon this coming April 21, 2012, you will be running around a great legend of a love story which resembles the immortal love stories of Romeo and Juliet or Anthony and Cleopatra.

Here is the story:

A long time ago, there lived a young woman named Daragang Magayon. She had many suitors because of her beautiful face and fair skin. Her father, Rajah Makusog had consented to Magayon marrying someone. Afterall his daughter was already of right age, he says. But Magayon was quite picky as she said she would only marry someone whom she surely loved.

One day, while Magayon was bathing in the river, she suddenly slipped and fell into the deep part. She didn’t know how to swim and would have drowned if not for Panganoron who saw her fell. Panganoron, the brave son of Rajah Karilaya, was hunting that day when he heard the cries of Magayon. He hurriedly jumped into the water to save her.

Panganoron was smitten by Magayon’s beauty that he courted her and the woman also fell for the brave man who rescued her from drowning. Soon, the engagement of Magayon and Panganoron was announced all over the kingdom and the date for marriage was set.

However, Pagtuga, a suitor of Magayon heard the news and devised of a plan to stop the wedding. He kidnapped Magayon’s father, Rajah Makusog, and refused to let him go unless she agrees to marry him. Magayon loved her father very much and could do nothing but agree to Pagtuga’s conditions.

She went to Pagtuga’s place to give herself in exchange for her father. Panganoron heard of what Magayon did. He gathered all of his brave warriors and went after Pagtuga. 

A great battle happened between the two camps. Pagtuga was no match for Panganoron; he was killed by the great warrior. When Magayon saw that her sweetheart had killed her captor, she rushed to Panganoron. But before they could even get close to each other, a stray spear struck Magayon’s back. As Magayon fell down lifeless, Panganoron was also struck down with a machete by Pagtuga’s trusted warrior. Rajah Makusog saw what happened. The Rajah ensued the person who struck Panganoron and killed him. 

After the battle, the rajah took home Magayon and Panganoron’s lifeless bodies. He buried the lovers together in a grave he himself had dug. 

A few days after, the people noticed that the grave of the lovers had risen up. It grew high and turned into a huge land form with a shape of a cone. The people named the beautiful new land form Mayon after their beautiful princess Magayon. At times when the Mayon roared and shook, the people says it shows the love that Magayon ang Panganoron had for each other. 

Press Release:

The race around Mayon Volcano is back

The Province of Albay, home of Mayon Volcano, will be hosting its second edition of Mayon 360° Ultramarathon this coming April 21, 2012. This world-class race is an 80km ultramarathon around Mayon Volcano, also known internationally as “A 50-Mile Run around the World’s Most Perfect Coned Volcano”. It is the first ultramarathon event in the Bicol Region, wherein an ultramarathon means a running distance of more than the traditional marathon of 26miles (42.195 kms).

Mayon 360° Ultramarathon began its concept in the Junior Chamber International-Legazpi City Chapter and it was only through the partnership with Liga ng mga Barangay-Albay Chapter, Philippine Association of Ultrarunners and the leadership of Governor Joey Sarte Salceda that the project was funded and successfully implemented. The event was held in support of the various tourism programs of the Provincial Government of Albay and featured as one of the highlight events of the Magayon Festival celebration every month of April.

In its second edition, the event will be dubbed as MAGNOLIA PUREWATER MAYON 360° ALBAY ULTRAMARATHON. The change of event name reflects the entry of a major corporate sponsor – Magnolia Purewater, signifying that Magayon Festival events are gaining market traction!

Runners will be taken across the circumferential scenic mountain side of the Mayon Volcano, through the Pan-Philippine Highway, Sabluyun Road, Karangahan Blvd., and Tabaco-Legazpi Highway, crossing 7 municipalities, 3 cities and 77 barangays of the province of Albay.

Through the efforts of the local barangays, runners will be welcomed with aid stations every five kilometers of the race. Local folks along the route will showcase their local hospitality, tourist related info about their barangay, and provide much needed encouragement and support as the runners challenge themselves to finish. This same support at the grassroots barangay level, with close to 700 volunteers, helped the 1st edition of Mayon 360° Ultramarathon won the Philippine’s Best Sports Tourism Event, awarded by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP).

Magnolia Purewater Mayon 360° Albay Ultramarathon will be giving cash prizes of more than P230,000.00 with separate categories for local and international runners. The event is currently the cheapest ultramarathon in the country, with a registration fee of only 850 pesos. Said race is sanctioned by the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners  (PAU) as one its official races.

A pre-race briefing will be held on April 20, 2012 at 5:00PM at the Albay Provincial Capitol Building, where the participants will be treated to a carbo-loading party. The race, with a 15-hour cut-off, will start at 4:00AM on April 21, 2012 at the Peñaranda Park, Legazpi City. For more information, please visit Mayon360.com