The Rolling Hills of Tanay

One stretch of the zigzag road in Tanay, Rizal

This wasn’t my idea of a “break” I sorely needed. After 14 consecutive days of running (took the whole day off on the 15th), the thought of doing another 3-4 hour LSD yesterday, Sunday, was not going to be a pleasant one. Then along came Tanay, Rizal, a running haven which my group had finally agreed upon after some “vicious” deliberations on where to run this time, tired of the Ortigas-Ultra cycle we had been doing regularly.

The winding highway inside Tanay, its rolling hills, clean air, magnificent mountain vistas and the relative absence of traffic made us want to come back again to explore its charms at a leisurely pace. I was with Betty, Tonet and first-timers to Tanay, Leo, Sylvia, Alex and Elaine. For me, this was just going to be a leisurely, picture-taking pace and for the others, a hill training session (the hills here are treacherous!) but no matter what you call it, it’s going to be a sight-seeing run!

We all met at Masinag, near the entrance to Antipolo at about 4:00am and after buying some provisions of water and food, we headed off to Tanay for the one-hour drive. The early fog was breaking through the roads and we had to slow down until we reached the Sierra Madre Resort, our starting point which by then was still closed to customers. It was pretty cold outside so some of the ladies had to wear light jackets initially and just strip them off at our vehicle support once they were fully warmed-up.

After running for a few hundred meters, I had forgotten to switch on my garmin so I spent the next few minutes fumbling with the dials in pitch darkness to get it to initialize and finding the satellite signal that I had to resort to walking to sort things out. Our target distance, a 30 kms out and back route, starting at the Sierra Madre Resort and turn back after the 15km mark, the same route we did early last year with the Takbo.ph runners.

As always, the fastest among us, Sylvia was raging in front followed by hubby Leo, Elaine, Alex then Betty. Tonet and I were at the tail-end, content with our 7:30 snail pace while taking pictures of the view.

Along the route, I found no less than 4 running groups, most of whom I had the pleasure of running together in different long runs. And like myself, they were coming to grips with the steep hills and getting those mileages up in their own training.

Below are some of the pictures that we took.

Barring any storms or typhoons, this is a great time of year to be running the hills of Tanay. It was cool and overcast (perfect running weather), the roads were dry and the trees and flowers were in full bloom after some rains we had the past few days. I would highly recommend Tanay to anyone looking for a different venue with that rustic, scenic view.

There was just one thing that marred this particular Sunday run and that was the pollution. Not air pollution by any means but the noise polluted by those thundering motor bikes that zigzagged the course and there were hundreds of them! Those powerful BMWs, Ducatis, Harleys, Kawasakis and other smaller bikes were ringing in my ears for several hours. Happens that there was this new motor bike track being inaugurated at the outskirts of the main highway and many groups and clubs of riders were on hand to witness the event.

We ran a total of 30.45 kms in close to 5 hours, including picture stops, eating and walking breaks (there goes my “break”!) It’s a tough but satisfying trot through the mountain ranges, a perfect venue to venture outside of the neighborhood and conquer those steely hills.

Starting on the right foot: A low mountain looms during the early part of the run

Foggy crest right along our course

One trail leading to the inner mountains of the Sierra Madre

That's Tonet running along the road signs

Facing a mountain wall

Tonet poses at the middle. No riders yet this early

About to pass two runners, one wearing a run united shirt

As green as it can get

Large boulders to sit by

One odd view along the highway

It's all downhill from here

A view from the other side, starring Tonet

A small waterfall along the road

Meeting Dyep and Danica along the road

Then there's Aileen and Glo

Team aNR UP-Heartbreakers!

Finally, we see Alex and Sylvia on their way back

Elaine and Leo were not far behind

The lady in (dark) pink?

"Thelma" look-alike? That's Betty who should have played the role of "Thelma's" mom:-)

Meeting Mila and her friend who were doing a 40k run

One of the route's breath-taking view

Riders begin to arrive in droves

A view at the 27th km mark

Finally back at the Sierra Madre Resort with Team CB and Team KTT

Rey, runner at left seems to have ran non-stop all his life

The Gas Station LSD Run

It was supposed to be a long run around the U.P. Campus where we probably would have to surge up “Hearthbreak Hill” many times and run around its fringes to cover the 21k-25k scheduled distance, but it was not supposed to be.

Who would want to run a distance of 25k just inside the confines of UP, anyway? That would be ultra boring. I was hoping that the course venue be modified to cover outside the peripherals of the campus so when Mar Marilag suggested that we venture from U.P. to Tiendesitas in Pasig and back, i felt a sigh of relief..like an escape from the shackles of the campus!

In front of U.P. Oblation, before the run

While still waiting for the others

By the time we all had gathered in front of the UP Oblation, it was already past 5:30am and noticed the dark cloudless sky. I figured that it was going to be a very hot morning. From the Oblation, we headed down University Avenue and turned left to C.P. Garcia. This road is going to be used in the early goings of the upcoming 2nd QCIM. 

The road from Katipunan Avenue to White Plains and down to Corinthian Hills is one long stretch of mostly cemented roads except when we climbed up the Katipunan Flyover as i felt some effort expended on the climb. This was to be one of the highlights of our run. I felt good all the way though and all the pit stops we had were made on gas stations!

The only thing that spoiled an otherwise good run was the time it took us to rest on these stations. The socializing took too long which may have saved us from running under the heat of the sun on the latter stages. It left us cold and already dry each time we re-started our run.

First stop, at the Shell station along Katipunan Avenue

Some felt bored while waiting for the others..Team Boring?

The climb up Katipunan flyover (Photo by Ronnie Provido)

2nd stop, Shell gas station along White Plains

Doc Toto and June Santiago

LEYa and Jj.

At the third Shell gas station along Julia Vargas coner C-5

On our way back to UP, our group started to disperse into smaller ones and we were now running in 3’s or 4’s up until Petron gas station past Merriam College where most of us re-grouped to take a much needed break.

Towards the last kilometers and a half, once we got inside the campus, June, who had been pacing with me the last 5k, and i maintained our 7:30 pace until we found that the others had already arrived and were jogging at the academic oval as we merged together. We suddenly found ourselves sprinting towards the Oblation and i found myself finishing rather strongly.

But after that sprint, i was like spent-up and within no time, was feeling exhausted and hungry as i was craving for food. Was sore throughout the day but felt exhilarated, nevertheless.

Still, it was a good run to do 21k in 2:45.

Back at UP after running 21k with the the Runnex hotshots!

A ‘Gallowalking’ Sunday

If there was ever a true believer and practitioner of the Jeff Galloway “Walk-Breaks” training method, that would be no other than Carina (Flying Boar), marathoner/ultra-runner and a batch-mate of mine during the first genesis of the Takbo.ph group. Her run to walk ratio of 5mins run, 1 minute walk have earned her her horde of followers, beginners and veterans alike who have experienced the value of the training method.

The Gallowalking group meet up last Sunday, with Carina in blue singlet

So last Sunday’s run was my first official long run after Camsur as we did this group “Gallowalk” run. There were about a dozen of us who congregated near ROX as we started a warm-up run around the BHS at exactly 5:30am while we waited for the others.

Carina seems to have set this all on tap, her sports watch making a beeping sound after every 5 minutes and claps her hands twice to indicate the start of the walk, then claps again after the 1 minute walk have lapsed, signalling that we have to start the run again. This routine came like clockwork during the duration of our run, never missing a beat although it took us longer to rest every time we stopped at a convenience store.

We started off nice and easy on the still carless enclave of the Fort, all of us together until the 13th kilometer mark when some of the faster runners pushed a little ahead entering McKinley Hills but the rest of us stayed close behind. Generally, it was a very nice pace which varied from a 6:30/km to a moderate 7:30/km run, neither pushing terribly hard during the running pace and the recovery walk gave us some chance to ease up and refresh ourselves with our water and sports drinks.

Walking break along Lawton Avenue

On our way back from the boundary of SLEX toll way in Sucat. Carina leading the group

Early stages of the run when the sun was not visible yet

The group seemed to have thinned out on our way to Essensa when the heat just became unbearable, the 1 minute walk-rest became double as some of us seemed to wither. At 15Km, i began to struggle and felt out of synch from the rest of those who were ahead. Other runners at the back were also feeling the heat and had to walk for their own good. I never really felt any sort of energy anymore so i purposely slowed down until reaching Market-Market.

I told Carina i was going to end the run here. That said, it was just pointless for me to keep on going but at least, i put in time and some distance in my come-back LSD run. I ran a total of 18 kilometers. So Carina and the others went ahead to finish their scheduled 26k run.

At the Piazza, McKinley Hills

At this juncture, we had to take a longer break because of the scorching heat

Taking a break at the 7-11 at McKinley Hills

We had done about 16k at this time and we had to proceed to sun-baked Fort area

This week will mostly be easy runs but i’m going to push the pace again on Wednesday to see how everything goes. Hopefully, i would have regained some momentum in my training and get back to my pre-marathon fitness.

Low Batt!

I was planning to do a 25-30km long run last Sunday to come as close or even duplicate our 30k LSD run the week before at Tanay, Rizal but after a lackluster low-mileage the days following that treacherous hill run, it was a struggle just to finish half of  it. 

Was looking forward in getting together with my usual training partners, Mel, Betty and Tonette but last Sunday, we had Jun-jun of Runnex and two of Mel’s friends, Dave and Doc Toto as company. 

L-R: Jun-jun, Tonette, Doc Toto, Dave, Betty and Mel

Starting our run at 4:15am from Shell, C-5, we all felt just fine after the first 10 kms, but you just never know if you’re going to sustain this feeling towards the rest of your schedule run. The weather was fine and while running at the Fort, we came upon two races running simultaneously, the Run To Read Race and the China Bank Run. 

With future QCIM marathoner, Marga

With Takbo.ph runners at McKinley Hills

During the 11th kilometer and onwards, i started to feel spent up as we entered McKinley Hills. Running up those short hills became perfunctory and a bit uninspired. I was starting to do my own Gallo-walk version of 5:1 in the hope of saving some energy for the remaining kilometers of the run, but it was not to be.

Break time

Along 5th Ave.

Tessa Prieto-Valdez running in her usual tutu outfit

A light moment

It turned-out to be dreary, felt the energy levels soar down (like a mobile phone having three bars then suddenly drop to just 1) but ultimately content in getting in some mileage for the week. I, together with Betty, Tonette ended our run at 22kms with a time 0f 3:00 hours. Mel, Dave, Jun2 and Doc Toto continued for another 10k as they were training for the upcoming Pau Ultra 65k run.

That night was chillax time. Had some shots of brandy and had to taper too hoping to run again for another 5k the next day.

Running and drinking do mix, sometimes.

Cheers!

Long, Slow and Wet: The Rolling Hills of Tanay

My legs have now loosened up a bit as i write this. I couldn’t move a joint the day after the gruelling 30k run on that long, torturous rolling hills of Tanay last Sunday. I’ve run those hills several times in the past with running buddy June but those were distances of not more than 18-20kms. This time it was gut wrenching, and the last half of the run, from15 to 30k was a struggle as Tonette and myself were reduced to running up those hills 100 meters at a time, then walk the same distance and prepare for the next 100 meter run up! Pheww…  

  

This place has some of the best post card views around and though the hills were challenging, it gave us some breathers to take in the scene…deep forests, ravines, mountain ranges, a horse that talked back and the occasional sprints from the dogs who gave chase!  

We arrived late at the Sierra Madre Resort where we were supposed to start before 5am. Two kilometers before we arrived at the resort, we already met the runners coming towards us in several groups with their designated paces and there were about 60 of them with head-lamps and flashlights illuminating the dark highway. As soon as we found a space to park, the four of us, Betty, Tonette, Mel and me tried to play catch up with them.  

We started off nice and easy on the still dark route. All of us were together ’till about 5kms when Betty and Mel had some issues with the pace and decided to pull away leaving me and Tonette behind. They were on a 6:30/km pace as Tonette and i settled to a more comfortable average of 7:30/km pace, not pushing hard nor holding back at all. At about 7 kms, they completely disappeared in front of us. We were able to pass the tail-enders from about the 8th km mark onwards. 

At the 15k turn-around in Baras, we stopped for some refreshments, took pictures then headed back. Here, the challenge began when the route was more uphill which ranged from 300 meters to about 800 meters of continuous inclines. The rains started to pour at about 20km and that was a good 10 minutes of getting a cold shower, running shoes and gear all wet!

The last 7k was to be the toughest of all as we did the 100×100 meter formula of running uphills. Lucky to have seen Jairuz from the support group with their vehicle parked on the 25th km who gave us refreshments and a choco bar each to weather the last remaining kms. At this time, Tonette was getting her second wind as i tried to keep up with her until the finish.

We ended up doing the 30k run in 4:23!

Mel and Betty finished the run 15 minutes ahead of us and we were all ecstatic in finishing the run! Our thanks to our friends at Takbo.ph, Team Boring and the support group that assisted us during the run. Till the next LSD!

(Thanks to Jairuz and Marvin for some of the pics!)

Back to the rolling hills of Tanay. Tonette would discover its beauty

Almost perfect weather until rains soaked us wet two hours later

An isolated hut on the foothills

Approaching the support vehicles

Posing at the Garden Cottages

At the 14k mark

We were stopped here not knowing that this was the 15km turn-around already

At the turn-around mark at 15k

With runner from the 6:30 running group

Wet and wild

Approaching the 25th km mark

   

At the 29th km, 1 more to go and we're done!

Calibre 45 LSD Group: Bang! Bang!

There were two groups doing LSD (Long Slow Distance) runs  last Sunday and i wanted to join one of them. The first group was “Team Galloway”, initiated by Carina of takbo.ph who would be doing a 37km LSD run based on the Jeff Galloway training method. I witnessed Carina and her team do the Galloway run successfully during the 32k Rizal Day Run last December 29 and all did a sub-four hour run. This time, they would be attempting 37K with this program:

PROGRAM: 5:1 (5 mins run at 6:30 pace, 1 min walk) for 30km
4:1 (4 mins run at 6:00 pace, kung keri =), 1 min walk) for the remaining kms.
Note: Others may set their sustainable pace

Without batting an eyelash, i immediately signed up. I needed the mileage in preparation for the upcoming Condura Marathon. No sooner after i signified my intention to join, another invitation appeared (at the takbo.ph website)  from a second group led by Jet Paiso who will be doing another Galloway LSD with a longer distance of 45kms. They aptly called their group, “Calibre 45”. The calibre group were mostly takbo.ph runners training for the BDM 102 ultra run this coming March.

Now, i thought that this second group would be perfect for me because firstly, i would be running the full distance of the marathon and stretching the distance even further and secondly, their pace would be from 7:30 to 8:00 for the 5:1 ratio, a more comfortable pace for me than that of Carina’s Team Galloway group. It was in the morning of the run that i decided to join the Calibre group.

I tagged Betty and Tonette along with me, two of my regular running partners from our Runnex group who are still undecided to run Condura. The three of us met the rest of the group at McDonald’s, U.N. Avenue in Ermita at 3:00am.

Here are the highlights of the run:

—  Our Route: Start at KM O (Rizal Park) to Roxas Blvd then left to Buendia Ave up to Kalayaan Bridge going to The Fort (Taguig). From The Fort to C-5 Road northbound on the way to Libis going to Marikina and back.

—  Run started at 3:30am. Total Runners: 17

Tonette posing at KM 0

A short prayer before our LSD

Doc T, Mar and Emil

—  While the faster runners did their own fast pace, the slower ones ran the Galloway program

—  The distance from KM O to BHS at The Fort totaled 11kms. We had one stop over for some photo ops at the Petron Station, corner Buendia and Makati Ave. It was still pitch dark.

Our first stop, Petron Station, Buendia corner Makati Ave.

First Stop, Petron Buendia

—  We met some more runners at BHS who were either running the Bull Run 10k Race or with the Team Galloway LSD group

Our 2nd stop, Bonifacio High Street where we met another group of LSD'ers

No Bullrun for us this time

—  Did two stop-overs along C-5 Road on our way to Marikina, one at the Caltex Pasig footbridge and the other was the Shell station at the corner of Julia Vargas Street where we partook siopao, instant noodles, chocolates and whatever was available.

—  Sun was up when we were past Tiendesitas

Taking a pose at Libis, near Eastwood City

Entering Marikina City

Betty and Tonette, the two thorns among the roses near Ortigas Ave. Extension

—  Reach Marikina City near the front of SM Marikina which was 23 kms. Made our U-turn for the start of the final half.

At our turn-around bend just before reaching SM Marikina

—  Tonette left the group at KM25 (Blue Ridge) as she continued her run towards Katipunan Ave. to her home in Diliman. She must have completed 29kms.

—  Betty left the group at Julia Vargas (KM28) and continued her run home to Valle Verde. She did 29kms too.

—  Rest of the group rested at Shell-Pasig and re-stocked our hydration flasks. Mar sustained a minor injury and wisely discontinued his run.

On one of the gas stations at C5 on our way back

At the bridge overlooking the Pasig River

Arrived back at The Fort, just after the Bull Run race was finished. Claimed our medals from BR (Bald Runner) for finishing his December 30 Rizal Day 32K race. Long chit-chat with the Takbo.ph runners who were still at The Fort.

A quick pose but long chit-chat at the Fort on our way back

—  Continued our run from The Fort to Kalayaan Bridge towards Buendia. Made another stop near the Pacific Star Building for some rounds of Taho.

Back at Buendia with replenishment of taho courtesy of Rodel

—  Long stretch of walking along Buendia Ave. The 5:1 ratio (5 minutes run: 1 minute walk) became reversed, 5 minutes walk: 1 minute run.

Doc T (right) having a good time

The "galloway" plan in the reverse. It's now more walking than running

Nearing Osmena Highway

—  Reach the 40th KM mark at the corner of Buendia and Roxas Blvd.

—  Ran the last 5 kms back to KM O.

— Completed a total distance of 44.8kms – 45kms depending on whose Garmin you’re looking at

At the finish (KM 0). Total distance: 44.8 kms

It was a good run over-all with just minor aches associated after an LSD. I did a 5k recovery run the following day and also did 30 minutes of Tae-bo aerobics at a class in QMC.

Congrats to all who joined the run: Rodel, Chris, Wilnar, Gab, Junar, Betty, Tonette, Gian, Emil, Cyrus, Jonathan, Angel, Jet (for initiating this LSD), Doc T, Mar and Joen.

See you all at Condura!

“Pepeng” Threatens our LSD

P9063213Rains have been holding up for most of the time today but it would be a completely different scenario tomorrow and maybe Sunday.

I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. If rains and strong winds would result into PAGASA announcing a storm signal No. 2 for Metro Manila tonight, then we would have to postpone the familiarization run this Sunday. We shall know for sure by noon time tomorrow.

Meanwhile, i’ll do a 10k run early tomorrow morning, rain or shine.