Of Cardiac Hills, Trails and BJs

It was an auspicious run to start the New Year! When the 35 of us runners decided to tackle what is known as Cardiac Hill at Sta. Rosa, Laguna, little did i know that we would be running on trails, dirt roads, unrelenting hills and that we were sharing these trails with bikers.

While the trails, located just past South Forbes Golf City is originally a bike trail, it offered many runners who have not experienced running on trails the opportunity of hitting the off-road dirt paths, inner rural roads and experience the tranquility, beauty and fresh air of moving through nature.

Paseo de Sta. Rosa

Doc T, Emil and I arrived at the Paseo De Sta. Rosa at about 4:30am with our usual running group from takbo.ph. The drive from Quezon City was quick and snappy as the South Luzon Expressway was still deserted at this early hour. we had light breakfast first then prepared our hydration belts with Gatorade and water.

I had worn my red Nike Human race dry fit shirt in anticipation of things warming up and had to stack another bottled water in my belt bag, just in case. I brought some chocolates and a GU and was ready for the long haul.

At the start, Paseo De Sta. Rosa

Short briefing from Brian

While waiting for the arrival of others

The first 2 kilometers followed the road inside the South Forbes Golf City. I was with the group of Doc T, James and Rico at the tail end with our escorts, Chelly and RJ who were riding mountain bikes. James had to make an early pit stop so Doc T accompanied him to what looked like a clubhouse so i was left with Rico and the 2 bikers.There was some confusion on what route to take as the lead runners overshot the course instead of turning right on our way to Cardiac Hills.

Rico, with flashlight in tow tackling the hilly portion of South Forbes

Jon's friend

The hill was probably the high point on the course and it was about 300 meters of straight uphill which many of us walked half-way through. We were exhausted but exhilarated when we reached the top. We had our picture taken up there and it was all fun just to be able to make it there.

Atop Cardiac Hill

Cardiac rest!

Getting ready for some more running

Start of the trail

Earl, Lorie & Carly


Pineapple plantation

6th km trail

The techni-kulay runners!

Had any of you had a BJ while running? Before our run, Doc T mentioned that he would have a BJ when we reached a certain section of the trail. I knew he was kidding but when i half-seriously asked if there was a brothel somewhere on the route, he laughed saying that there was a nipa hut where we could stop and buy fresh BJ or  “Buco Juice”  (Coconut Juice).

At the BJ station, finally. Aleth and Emil

Rodel with his Coco-gato drink

When we continued running downhill towards the boondocks, we encountered children who had a mantra every time we passed by them. They would say “Good Morning!” Seems that the front runners would greet everybody the same and when it was our turn to pass by them, the children would automatically initiate the greeting! We would then acknowledge them.

By the 5th kilometer, we came about the first of the trails until we reached the nipa hut with an old man selling fresh BJs. There were heaps and heaps of the coconut fruits strewn in the ground and one has just to buy from the old man and he’ll crack it open for you with his bolo. The scene could not have been more humorous and the funny thing did not escape us when the old man was also selling Gatorade (placed inside an improvised cooler) on the side. Selling fresh BJ side by side with Gatorade? Amazing!

Mang BJ doing his thing

The future Mang BJ!

Near the 10km mark

Tackling the uphill

Doc Eire and Ellen in a manger

The rest follow suit

Dirt road at the 15k mark

Last trail stretch

Last stop over at Tagaytay highway

We finished our 20km run in about two and a half hours and we were back at Paseo De Sta. Rosa. The post-run activities were now familiar: the runners described their ordeals, round and rounds of more picture taking, munching on breakfast and the usual ribbing and cracking of jokes.

Enjoying breakfast at Jolibee

Not one runner seemed unhappy about anything. There were no complaints about the heat of the sun, no excuses about pains in the legs, just all good vibes. I felt the camaraderie of one another. Absent are the distractions that sometimes interfere with the enjoyment of running. It was just a bunch of runners, a scenic but challenging course, a tremendous day.

We even got a mini “loot bag” of chocolate pretzels! Thanks, Junrox!