Running The Trails Of Nuvali

The notion of trails conjures up jaunts in old-growth, secluded forests that goes through wild sceneries of rolling terrain alongside gently flowing rivers and cascading waterfalls. Except…i was running right smack on the waters of a flowing river, this time! 

Last Sunday, having been invited by Ann Tajonera, Assistant Brand Manager of New Balance, Planet Sports, Inc., i had the pleasure of joining 22 other trail runners try-out a 15km trail in the Nuvali Headlands in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, parts of which will be used during the New Balance- Trail Adventure Run this coming June 20th. It was also an opportunity to practice in its truest form the art of Chi Running (CR) and no less than certified instructor Lit Onrubia was on hand to lead the charges, giving tips during the run and between rest breaks. 

This particular trail was mapped-out by Neville Manaois of Second Wind. The first half of the route featured mostly single track paths and weaves through rolling, open view sceneries. The trails offer excellent footing, a pleasant scenery although it could be hot in the open except that we had perfect weather during the early morning run. 

The second-half of the trail was more scenic, running through light forest, wider tracks but not too technical. However, all that changed when we were led into a deep, sharp descent towards a ridge and a river channel of lush wilderness. The river run was going to be the highlight of this trail. We were only able to run some shallow stretches of water as we were reduced to threading the waters which at some sections were knee deep high. It was slippery on the rocks and one false move, we were down on our knees on the water! For starters, these were some of the pictures taken:

Lit Onrubia giving instructions before the run

Neville Manaois giving a short briefing of the trail

Start of the run at about 5:00am

On one of the course's uphills

Sprinting runners behind me

Lit giving instructions on how to attack the downhills...

...and the uphills

More tips on running form

Our first water break after 3 kms

Off we go again

Running on a single track

Time out for a picture!

The wide, open plains of Nuvali

Past grazing cows on the left

One more briefing before we head for the river

At the 10k mark

Another hole to get through

Ann's all too excited to reach the river

Final assault of the river

Finally reaching the river's embankment

Lit giving tips on river running

Getting our feet wet!

Threading on the slippery rocks. Neville (in red) doing a balancing act

Deep inside the levee. I'm way back still taking shots

A stop at a cascading waterfalls

We were all wet at this point

We all sank ankle high, sometimes knee deep

Poor trail shoe!

A deep ravine on the right side

The group on our way back to Manila

I was just content in threading the river trail very slowly as i ran/walked most of the route shooting away pictures. Runners were passing me but i didn’t mind. I was able to reach a female runner ahead of me and we decided to run the last kilometer together. 

Finally, we saw the finish area as we gently jogged the end of our run. Hallelujah! I learned a tremendous deal on this particular trail run and i thank Lit for the invaluable tips. Foremost among the various techniques Lit imparted are: 

–  Be loose on the “downhills.” Posture your body on a sitting-like position and focus on a faster cadence, keeping your feet soft, light and nimble while keeping shoulders relaxed. Drive down hard if you want. 

–  Focus on maintaining “effort” level and not pace. 

–  Take it easy on single tracks, but go fast on wider lanes. 

–  Let your arms do the work on uphills and lift-up your head. 

–  When running through rivers, attack the shallow parts without minding if your shoes get wet. If tiny stones and sand get the insides of your shoe, don’t hesitate to stop and remove them to avoid blisters. 

–  If racing on trails, shoot corners/bends. It means sprint past the corners when runners behind you can’t see you and you should be able to increase the distance between you and the runners following you. 

Over-all, it was another fun trail run that should be experienced by all trail enthusiasts!