Timberland Trails Revisited

timberlandIt has been a while since me and my training buddy, June set foot on a trail and that was way back 2 months ago. After that last run, it had been a grueling two months of getting my mileage up to 70+ kms a week as i plan (hope) to run the QCIM in 6 weeks and frankly, all this pounding in hard surfaces was getting my feet, legs and thighs all aching and sore. So running on the trails like dirt, sand and grass offered a welcome respite.

We took advantage of the long week-end, so last Saturday, we traveled down to San Mateo, Rizal, particularly to the Timberland Heights trails. This isn’t the first time we were running these trail as we previously had ran the same trails during the inaugural All Terra King of the Mountain 10k Trail Race last June of this year.

However, for this run last Saturday, we purposely did not re-trace the same race route we did at that race but took alternate paths that criss-crossed wooded trails over rolling terrain on dirt and macadam roads, a river and a maze of ravines. Low lying fruit-bearing trees were abundant along the route that we were able to bend the branches a bit to reach for guava and santol fruits and these would sustain us for the duration of our run.

The weather was moderately cool, cloudy, maybe over 70 degrees but it had slightly rained the day before so the trails were a bit slippery. After parking near the clubhouse, we started our run.

A view of Metro Manila

A view of Metro Manila

Start of the trail

Entrance of the trail

Of mists and mountains

Of mists and mountains

Trail was muddy as it rained the night before

Trail was muddy as it rained the night before

June follows my lead

June follows my lead

Inside the western portion of the trail

Inside the western portion of the trail

Following the macadam trail

Following the macadam trail

Slush and mud portions

Slush and mud portions

Past the isolated church

Past the isolated church

Little barrier

Little barrier

Up to the wilderness

Up to the wilderness

Threading through wild grass

Threading through wild grass and bamboo

More of hiking the single track trail

More of hiking the single track trail

Towards its inner sanctum

Towards its inner sanctum

Climbing up the slippery trail

Climbing up the slippery trail

View of the trail upwards

View of the trail upwards

June maneuvers on his way down

June maneuvers on his way down

Enjoying the stream

Enjoying the stream

Wish we had more time to dip our feet in the water

Wish we had more time to dip our feet in the water

June takes a closer view of the stream

June takes a closer view of the stream

Strong currents

Strong currents

We had pickings of ripe guavas along the trails.

We had pickings of ripe guavas along the trails.

Small creatures like this one form part of the trails

Small creatures like this one form part of the trails

Finding my way down

Finding my way down

On our way back

On our way back

Sign of our times

Sign of our times

The softer part of the trails

The softer part of the trails

Out of the woods

Out of the woods

Exiting the Maraat side of Timberland Heights

Exiting the Maarat side of Timberland Heights

The climb back

The climb back

The craters of Maarat

The craters of Maarat

To the top

To the top

The red wall

The red wall

Up to the top

Up to the top

Back to the Timberland Heights Clubhouse

Back to the Timberland Heights Clubhouse

The 11k run took about 2 and a half hours which included a lot of walking, eating and just stopping on our tracks to savor nature. It was nice to be back on the trails!

Safety Tips For Runners

Ron running the Globe Run For Home Race

Ron (#1881) running the Globe Run For Home Race

Here’s an article written and sent to me by Ron Delos Reyes, Producer and Host of the weekly motoring show, AUTOREVIEW and a long time runner. Ron has been in the broadcast media industry for more than 2 decades now and has also organized special events, marathon races, included. He is presently the communications and marketing head of the QCIM.  Ron wrote this article for Cruising Magazine, a sister publication of Manila Bulletin, last July.

RON ON THE RUN CRUISING JULY 14, 2009

By Ron de los Reyes

SAFETY TIPS FOR RUNNERS

I was invited recently by the organizers of the Botak Paatibayan Ultra Marathon race to talk about safety for runners during the pre-race fellowship and carbo-loading party at UP.  Carbo-loading is short for carbohydrate loading which is customary for runners a few days before a big long distance race. Runners normally burn a lot of carbohydrates during a race and thus, need to consume food like pasta, rice and even pizza and bread for added stamina. The race featured 100-km and 50-km events and was held in Quezon City and Marikina in late June.

I started by saying that with the increasing number of runners out on roads doing practice runs, training runs or LSDs (long slow distances), the probability of vehicular accidents also increases. We have to be alert at all times and ensure our safety as runners or pedestrians, motorists, riders and cyclists .

Studies show that the Philippines is ranked seventh among 10 ASEAN member- states in road safety and was also found to be the worst in accident data reporting in the 4th Global Road Safety Partnership ASEAN Seminar in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

The Automobile Association Philippines or AAP also noted that informal surveys show that many drivers are unfamiliar with road and traffic signs and are ignorant of traffic regulations.

While we don’t have figures on accidents involving runners (perhaps because runners are the most defensive and most alert users of the road), figures involving other road users are very alarming.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reported a total of 11,699 fatal and non-fatal road accidents in 2007. In Jan- Sept of 2008, the figure increased to 43,510 road accidents (almost four-fold) including fatal and non-fatal incidents and damages to property. A majority of these accidents were caused by human error.

On a world view, the World Health Organization estimates that road accidents will become the third leading cause of premature death for all ages by 2020, accounting for a staggering 1.3 million deaths every year.

This is not meant to scare you but to encourage you to be on your toes always, and if you drive a car yourself, always remember to drive defensively and with courtesy and consideration for other users of the road.

Now, as runners, we are also frequent road users and are always exposed to hazards and dangers on the road, especially when we train by ourselves. In organized races, at least, we have police and marshals that secure the routes taken by the runners.

To enhance our safety on the road, here are some tips or reminders:

– Run on the left side of the road facing traffic. You will be in a better position to anticipate and react to vehicles.

Run on the left side of the road

Run on the left side of the road

– Run on roads with wide shoulders. Use the sidewalks when vehicular traffic increases.

– Be cautious on blind curves where you will not be visible to approaching cars.

– Be aware of factors that affect motorist visibility – glaring sun, rain, fog. Run single file when running in a group – particularly in high traffic areas.

– Anticipate potentially dangerous situations and be ready to deal with them. Always make the first move to protect yourself. Do not expect cars to change their paths to avoid you.

– Obey traffic rules and signals. Runners, as pedestrians, are bound by traffic laws.

– Yield the right-of-way to vehicles at intersections. Drivers may not heed traffic signals or signs.

– Be alert at all times. Be wary of “runner’s high,” fatigue, or any other lapse of concentration.

– Avoid running alone in isolated areas – vary your route.

Get someone to run with you on dangerous routes

Get someone to run with you on dangerous routes

– Use your ears as well as your eyes – don’t wear headphones and refrain from using your cell phones – Wear reflective clothing at dawn, dusk, or nighttime and bright, visible clothing at all other times.

– While it’s nice to run under the rains, take extra caution, too, as your visibility and that of the motorists will also be reduced. Consider another form of exercise when adverse weather conditions make running dangerous.

Now, here are some additional tips when you train or join the races:

– Running under the sun, heat and humidity requires that you take special precautions. Minimizing fluid loss and heat is essential.

– Drink water whenever possible. Water is the vital ingredient in the prevention of heat injury. Thirst is not a reliable indicator to warn a runner of fluid loss. Your body loses a considerable amount of fluid before you feel thirsty.  – Just like our advise to motorists which is don’t drink (alcohol and drive), don’t drink and run.

Running is an enjoyable form of exercise and is good for both body and spirit. It becomes even more fun and fulfilling when our runs are accident-free.

RUN SAFE DEAR RUNNERS!

LSD: C-5 Road

Finding a new place to run can be at times tedious and frustrating, specially when you have covered almost all possible running routes there is to run in the city. Even the most unlikely places have been traveled: Quiapo, Juan Luna Street in Binondo, Rizal Avenue, Libingan Ng Mga Bayani (at night), McArthur Highway to Valenzuela, N. Domingo? Been there, ran that. Unless you have the time to travel outside of Metro Manila and breathe clean air, admire the sweeping views of mountain peaks, you would still want to pile up those miles in a convenient place near home and without spending much time travelling into a distant place to run.

When ultra runner Ronald Declamador proposed to do a long run that would start at the corner of Julia Vargas and C5 Road (Shell Gas Station) and go all the way to Fort Bonifacio (via C5) and back going to the Marikina Riverbanks and ending up in U.P., i immediately enlisted to join. Little did i know that we would be running the whole stretch of C5 Road, going all the way to the South Luzon Expressway and back, going further to Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City.

C5 Road is one enormous stretch of highway with combined techno-industrial, commercial and residential establishments lined-up along the route. It cuts through Paranaque, Taguig, Makati, Pasig and Quezon City and is probably the 2nd busiest artery (next to EDSA) where thousands of vehicles pass each day. It sometimes amazes me that some runners get to train and run on this busy beltway that one false maneuver from a sleepy truck driver could hit and trample you to pieces and send chunks of your body flying inside the grounds of Heritage Park!

I invited Betty and Tonette, two novice but very determined ‘halimaw’ (monster) runners who would like to include a long slow distance (LSD) run into their training for the full marathon at the QCIM this October. I know these two ladies have not ran a distance of more than 21k so this run would be a good baptism of fire to run beyond 21k and hopefully prepare them for the rigors of a full marathon.

Ronald invited his regular long run training partners so the nine of us (ronald,  rico, mye, tonette, betty, erick, chris and wilnar) were ready to tackle C5 Road.

Before our start at the Shell Gas station, C-5 cor Julia Vargas

Before our start at the Shell Gas station, C-5 cor Julia Vargas

We started at about 4:45am, running southbound towards Taguig. We ran up the Bagong Ilog Flyover Bridge that crosses the Pasig River from Pasig City to Makati City. It’s the only portion of our run that we get a picturesque view of the Pasig River.

Start of our run, 4:30am

Start of our run, 4:45am

Up Bagong Ilog Flyover Bridge

Up Bagong Ilog Flyover Bridge

After stopping at the Taguig Shell Station for some refreshments, we continued our run until we reached the Fort Interchange. The right side of this road is the entrance to Bayani Road, Fort Bonifacio which i thought was where we were heading but instead of going there, we went straight. In Taguig, we ran on the side streets perpendicular to C5 where we were relatively safe. After 10.6kms, we reach the SLEX Interchange and passed under a tunnel for our U-Turn back to C5 Road.

Reaching the Slex Interchange

Reaching the Slex Interchange

Nichols Tollway

Nichols Tollway

Crossing South Luzon Expressway

Crossing South Luzon Expressway

Just outside the Skyway Tollway (Service Road)

Just outside the Skyway Tollway (Service Road)

Making our U-turn back to C-5, southbound

Making our U-turn back to C-5, southbound

At the Kalayaan intersection overpass

At the Kalayaan intersection overpass

Back to Pasig area

Back to Pasig area

Ronald's group proceeding to U.P via Marikina River Banks

Ronald's group proceeding to U.P via Marikina River Banks

We stopped at all convenience stores to buy provisions of water, energy drinks and bars but it was the heat that slowed most of us. When we reached a Jolibee branch in Libis, Betty, Tonette and myself decided to continue our run ahead of them so we could avoid the heat. But instead of passing thru the Marikina River Banks, we took the Katipunan route instead in going to UP.

Betty and Tonette finished their run for a total distance of 29.7kms while i continued further to U.P. and ran a total of 31kms (walking the last kilometer to home). Ronald later told me that his group ran a total of 35-36kms passing by the Marikina River Banks. It was a nice run over-all and we plan to do this again, maybe at the QCIM route.

Our route, via Katipunan Avenue

Our route back, via Katipunan Avenue

(Pics courtesy of Ronald. Thanks, bro!)

Photo Of The Week: Sock It To Me!

urbanite socks3

More than a dozen takbo.ph runners made quite a stir when they appeared in colorful knee-length socks at the recent Urbanite Run at The Fort. The fashion statement elicited some attention but for some runners wearing it, it created discomfort (and some mild embarrassment) while on the run. When asked if they would run in them again, many said that this would be their first and last. Pressed further on why it would be their last, one of them blurted out, “because it sOcks!”:-)

Photo by McCoy Lontoc.

(If you have other interesting/unusual running photos you would like featured, you can e-mail them to the jazzrunner at runnerjazz@yahoo.com and leave a comment with the details.)

Thanks!

Why Are You So Tired At The End Of Each Work Day

Have you wondered why office staff is always dead tired by the end of the day and companies really require no further physical fitness programmes for their employees? The reason is that EVERYONE gets enough exercise by:  

1.        Jumping to conclusion
2.        Beating around the bush
3.        Running down the boss

busy-office.gif

 

4.        Going around in circles
5.        Dragging their feet
6.        Passing the buck

office_gossip-web1

7.        Climbing the ladder
8.        Wading through paperwork
9.        Pulling strings

feet up

10.       Throwing their weight around
11.        Stretching the truth
12.        Bending the rules
13.        Pushing their luck

NO WONDER THEY ARE ALL TIRED AT THE END OF A WORKING DAY!!

Press Launching: QCIM

It’s interesting but perhaps not unusual to have three (3) full marathons only weeks apart, starting with the Quezon City International Marathon (QCIM) on October 18, The SIM in Subic the week after and the Pasig Run For The River after another 2 weeks. After all, it comes at a time when the sport of running is gaining mass popularity, with not one but several races competing for runners each Sunday as more people are gearing towards this sport than ever before. So all those running “halimaws” (addicts) who can’t get enough running one marathon, here’s 3 we can run one after the other!

Perhaps, among the three marathons mentioned, it seems that QCIM is the most visible in terms of publicity as news articles on its staging have been appearing in the major newspapers and tabloids. And i sincerely wish that all three do succeed in getting the numbers for a strong staging.

Yesterday morning, the Q.C. government headed by Mayor Sonny Belmonte and the Executive Runners Club of the Philippines (Runnex) hosted the press launching of the QCIM at the Max Restaurant inside the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. About 100 media people representing print, TV and radio attended. I was with a host of bloggers representing the running community as with the race directors from Finishline, Vince and Rio.

Crowd at the Presscon

Crowd at the Presscon

QCIM’s Communications Head, Ron Delos Reyes (Autoreview) started the proceedings by welcoming the guests, giving an update of the race, the invitations he gave to foreign runners through PATAFA and mentioning the corporate sponsors. Rudy Fernandez and Art Disini, Runnex President and Chairman, respectively gave their own short speeches. Rudy cited the marathon’s role in sprucing up the city’s tourism potential and as an emerging global center for business and investment. Art tackled the event’s mission and vision which is to make QCIM as among Asia’s top marathons in the future.

For his part, Mayor Sonny Belmonte extolled the city’s previous leaders who laid the foundation of what the city is today and that the QCIM would be one of its catalyst.

Presidential Table

Presidential Table

Sen. Pia giving an inspirational talk

Sen. Pia giving an inspirational talk

The story of how Senator Pia Cayetano started her sports activities, her running in major marathons and triathlons all over the world has been told several times but never as compelling as she herself narrates her beginnings as a 15 year old who ran at the UP campus. She offers her past to present personal stories on how she got started– as a volleyball player in the Philippine team, running a marathon 3 weeks before her bar exams and competing in triathlons– always pushing herself to the limits. She’s always asked why she runs and would answer them back with the simple question, “Why not?”

With Art Disini, Runnex Chair, Sen. Pia Cayetano & Mayor Sonny Belmonte

With Art Disini, Runnex Chair, Sen. Pia Cayetano & Mayor Sonny Belmonte

Mayor on left with Dr. Doray Delarmente, Rudy Fernandez (Runnex Pres) and Betty Rosario (Runnex Vice Chairman)

Mayor on left with Dra. Doray Delarmente, Rudy Fernandez (Runnex Pres) and Betty Rosario (Runnex Vice Chairman)

Bloggers on our table, Sir Jovie (Baldrunner) and Marga (Runradio)

Bloggers on our table, Sir Jovie ( baldrunner ) and Marga ( The Changeling Child and Run Radio)

Bloggers Vener (Run Unlimited), Pojie (Forefoot runner) Doc Eric (ebdebelen)

Bloggers Vener (run unlimited ), Pojie (forefootrunner) Doc Eric (edebelenmd)

Coach Jojo Macalintal and Vince Mendoza of Finishline

Coach Jojo Macalintal and Vince Mendoza of Finishline

Sen Pia with Art Disini, Jun Cayetano, Ofie Templo, some Runnex members and Ron's team

Sen Pia with Art Disini, Jun Cayetano, Ofie Templo, some Runnex members and Ron's team

Atty. Romy Mendoza, Meriam and Direk Trinidad

Atty. Romy Mendoza, Meriam and Direk Ruben Trinidad

Runnex Pres. Rudy and Vice Chair Betty with the bloggers

Runnex Pres. Rudy and Vice Chair Betty with the bloggers

BR having an animated conversation with a friend as Marga watches the proceedings

BR having an animated conversation with a friend as Marga watches the proceedings

Vince Mendoza answering a query

Vince Mendoza answering a query

Finishline’s Vince Mendoza (Race Director) was fielded questions from time to time, often on previous incidents involving their races liked the recent fiasco on the race packets delivery before the Urbanite race. Lessons were learned and he promised to iron-out all potential problems for the QCIM.

Many were impressed on the prizes as QCIM has been poised to carve itself as having the richest purse among local races with the champions in both male and female divisions getting P300,000.00 each and P200,000.00 and P100,000.00 each for the 1st and 2nd runners-up, respectively.

As with the Globe-Run For Home Race and the recent Kenny Rogers Urbanite Run, the QCIM will use the advance electronic timing chips (Champion-chips) in all categories that will record the participants’ performance and provide analysis on their run. Color-coded running singlets will also be used.

In The Heat of the (Urba)Nite

When feet pound the pavement into the silent night sky with glow-in-the-dark straws hanging around necks and wrists, you know you’re running in a unique race. I’m not sure if the race bibs illuminated as claimed (i was too pre-occupied with watching my steps in the dark), but the Kenny Rogers Urbanite Run presented a truly one of a kind race, a run with mostly safety trimmings in place for a night run.

The mood before and after the race was very festive. It was like strolling in a Carnival Fair during Christmas Season, sans the carnival rides of course, but with tents, booths, large stage and the thousands of people you would want to be with, all runners of all persuasions. The Takbo.ph runners had their own booth where we congregated and as always, the rituals of  fun, laughter, camaraderie and picture taking presented itself. Some members brought food and drinks although many didn’t want to take anything lest they upset their stomachs but it was a completely different scenario after the race.

Overtaken by the jolly festivities with live music blaring on stage, many runners realized that they had to forgo their usual warm-up stretching and jogs when the race announcer ordered them to proceed to the starting line as there were only a few minutes left before the start. I started to realize that in this kind of a festive mood, you don’t come here to run fast anymore. You come here to have fun.

The race started at about 8:18 with the 15k runners answering the starting gun first, fired by Kenny Rogers poster boy, TV host, Marc Nelson. Even if the race started long after sunset, the air was very humid and you could actually feel the ground radiate the heat that was accumulated during the day.

Remarkably, there were more than adequate water stations along the route but most of the water were so warm that you would prefer to pour this into your head than drink it as it was like luke-warm tea. There were no perimeter lighting that the organizers said would be placed every 50 meters along the route. Long portions of Bayani Road were pitch dark and the whole route inside Heritage Park had none of this lighting except for the lamp posts that shone in specks. Oh, the 4KM sign mark was illuminated, only because the marshal manning it trained his flashlight at the marker itself. He should be given an award.

Upon emerging from Heritage Park, the runners began to scatter as everyone was anticipating the long slope towards the top of Bayani Road. My steps were in sync with everyone else and climbing the slope, i noticed that i wasn’t slowing down. Good sign. The top of this stretch is where the the 10k runners did their turn-around so we merged with them and gave us limited elbow room as we ran back towards Lawton Avenue.

At the 12km mark, we all turned right to McKinley Hills. I kept my pace up to the turn-around bend near C-5 Road where i noticed that most of the runners were now slowing down or walking. It was a short but difficult uphill but that was OK because it forced me to swing my arms vigorously! The last uphill exiting McKinley was a pain on the butt to all. This last 150 meter stretch became a divide and conquer task for me as i broke the distance into chunks of 50 meters to a landmark and upon reaching that landmark, continued running and setting up another 50 meters and did the same with the last 50 meters until i was now back at Lawton Avenue. Pheww… these mind games do help!

Just after KM14, we crossed over the intersection and on 5th Avenue, if you had anything left, you could let the downhill slope pull you towards the finish. The finish area seemed like a tower bridge ready to embrace you back into its arms as i cruised along and dashed to the end.

Over-all, it was a good run for me but my time was more than five minutes off my previous 15k best, but that’s OK. It was the first time that i didn’t get that dreaded cramps on both my calves that occurs at the end part of my 15k races. The massage i had earlier that afternoon and the regular exaggerated breathing during the run as advised by a runner friend may have done the trick.

I’m now anticipating the chip time results and the data on how i fared against other runners. Nice to race at night…for a change. (thanks to shel, carlo, marga, armie, pepsi, pio for the pics.)

An hour early at the Takbo.ph booth

An hour early at the Takbo.ph booth

Start and Finish Area

Start and Finish Area

With classmates at the Runnex running clinic, Armie, Pio and Ebong

With classmates at the Runnex running clinic, Armie, Pio and Ebong

With part of Takbo.ph group

With part of Takbo.ph group

An hour before the race

An hour before the race

With a larger group

With a larger group

With QCIM banner at the back:-)

With QCIM banner at the back:-)

Food in their mouths

Food in their mouths

With the speedy group

With the speedy group

Scramble for the lechon-cebu brought over by carlo

Scramble for the lechon-cebu brought over by carlo

Nice run!

Nice run!