Quick Race Recap: KOTR 2013 Philippines

I haven’t seen a route so crowded as was in yesterday’s Adidas King of the Road (KOTR) 2013 race and from my viewpoint, the runners resembled like an end-less MRT train that chugged in their footsteps along the streets of Bonifacio Global City, Kalayaan Flyover then on to Buendia Ave. and back.

To be somewhere in the middle of the pack is a great vantage point of experiencing the enormity of this mega race and for somebody who prefers small, simple but well-organized races like this, a KOTR race is simply hard to pass up.

I was amazed seeing the huge number in a mass start and what should one expect if all the 8,000 + runners, about half which ran the 16.8 distance that started 30 minutes earlier would merge with the 10k runners near the finish line? A mass finish which luckily did not result into chaos, and a flawless finish for all, thanks to the fine race organization of the Proactive race organizers.

The start! KOTR 2013 Philippines

This morning, i would be running with Chito Carreon, who i have been training with for the past several years together with the rest of Team 90% who for some reason have opted to sit this race out. Chito was just going to take it easy, having done a 32k LSD the day before, so he would be practically just keeping step with me being the slower runner that i am.

Chito and i at the start

The first 2 kilometers was more of a dash than i would have expected, as runners were trying to avoid bumping each other, so Chito and i got away as soon as we could and settled into a more relaxed pace. While settling into our groove, we couldn’t help noticing the awesome cheering groups that the organizers have assembled and it was great to see the Fabulous Running Divas in their tutu outfits and the Ponkan Group cheering their lungs out to the appreciation of the runners.

Running up the Kalayaan flyover towards Buendia, i noticed the long line of runners as far as the eyes can see and that seem like an endless line . It was at this point that the leading Kenyan runners were on their way back and saw top Pinoy runner, Vertek Buenavista running in 4th position.

I had placed a bottle of Cobra Energy drink into my water belt but after just a few sips during the early part of the race, i noticed that it was missing when i tried to retrieve it at the 8th kilometer mark along Buendia. It might have slipped out of the small opening at the bottom of the holster’s pocket. Anyways, i still had my Booster Energy Shot as back-up.

With Chito (in blue) on our way back along Buendia Ave.

Now approaching the uphill part of the Kalayaan flyover, we made it up without much ado as we had tackled even more arduous ones during training runs at White Plains in Q.C. I could see a lot of runners now walking at this part probably preserving their strength for the last 3.8 kilometers or those who just ran out of gas.

Took the Booster Energy shot when i reached the crest.

I noticed that Chito was trying to rev up the pace during the last 3 kms and egged me on to do the same so i was like hanging-on to him for dear life and felt relieved every time we slowed down during water station breaks.

At the last 2 kms, we glanced down at our watches and still had a full 20 minutes to clock-in in sub-2 hours time so we made a go for it. We paced at about 6 mins/km and relished reeling-in a lot of runners who were also making their move to finish in under 2 hours.

We crossed together at the finish line in an unofficial time of 1:56 flat! Not a great finish time, but I was just satisfied with the outcome knowing that we could have done better had we not eased our pace somewhere along the 10th to 11th km.

The last kilometer

Hordes of runners about to cross the finish line

Crowd cheering on the runners

A dash to the finish 🙂

We did a high-five at the finish, got medal’d (is there such a word?) and proceeded immediately to the loot bag counters and got some freebies! We lined-up for some bread, hot dogs, ice cream and other goodies which were being offered in the tents!

Wearing the finely-crafted KOTR Finishers Medal

Got to meet some old friends too at the aNR tent and took some pictures with them..

With ultra runner friends

Beside the aNR tent

With Mailyn of Wyeth Phils

Baves, Nikkie, Chris and Cherryl

Fun group!

This is definitely one of the best race for 2013! Organization is tops with lots of ice-cold water, bananas, well-controlled traffic, cheering groups plus the medal was awesome!

T’was a great week-end!

RACE RESULTS HEREhttp://race.proactive.ph/Adidas-King-of-the-Road-2013

(Thanks to Photo-Ops, John D. Photography and the Running Photographers for my grabbing some of their pictures!)

Race Report: Merrell Adventure Run 2013

The local folk song, “Planting Rice Is Never Fun” has never been so apt in describing the farmers’ hardships and sacrifice while toiling their lands to plant rice and other crops for our staple food and that of their sustenance. The lyrics…

Planting rice is never fun,
Bending over ’til the set of sun.
Cannot sit, cannot stand,
Plant the seedlings all by hand.

I’m sure many runners at yesterday’s MERRELL Adventure Trail Run got a glimpse of this experience, although just fleetingly and without even bending to plant anything.

I was giddy and apprehensive at first when we approached this tiny rice field after a race marshal informed us that we had about 5kms to go on our 21k run. No inkling whatsoever that another major obstacle was just a few meters ahead. Seeing the runners wade through this slimiest of mud, clenching their shoes on one hand and using the other for balance, we got the drift that if you wore them on, the shoes would get stuck under it and would be hard to retrieve them.

So while wading on just about 20 meters of this paddy that’s knee deep, felt like a quick-sand and very muddy, me and the others got to experience a very yucky feeling while stepping on some bulge on the soft ground that’s very slippery and slimy…you get to trash underneath on Carabao’s poop that lies together with the mounds of mud under it!

When we emerged from this “obstacle”, the stench on all of us was very revolting as we all smelled like “carabao shit”, from head to toe! No water was immediately made available when we landed on dry ground so we just used the grass to wipe-off the mud clinging to our toes, calves, hands and knees. This may well be Merrell’s version of the X-Terra Race, “Putik Pare” (Mud Run) and what better term could you call this but the “Pooh-Pooh, Pare”!

This was actually the second of two muddy obstacles, the first which came after the 8th km mark when we had to crawl for about 15 meters beneath a chicken wire and sharp bamboo twigs dangling in our heads  where the crowd got backed-up to wait for their turn.

To sum up the race, here’s  some observations/notes which i took during the race:

  • The 21k race route was awesome… great scenery, trails galore, river crossings, mountain ranges
  • Though views were beautiful, the course itself was very difficult! Lots of uphills (so lots of walking), some of the downhill parts were very steep and slippery as i saw a lot of runners slide down, tumble and roll from side to side with some injuries
  • Though not frequent, water supplies were adequate and they served really ice-cold water with cubes of ice that you can place in your hydration back pack.
  • Race Marshals were adequate and were in crucial junctions to guide the runners
  • Mud-pit crawl area should have been placed on a wider road. The area was too narrow, only 3 rows of runners could be accommodated so there was a huge back up at the entrance
  • It was so nerve-wracking that the last kilometer was all uphill and we had to stop-and-go several times before hitting the finish line. A marvelous moment though when you reach the top!
  • Race Director Thumbie Remigio was hands-on, observing the conduct of the race at many points along the course, even taking pictures while at it. Good job, Thumbie!
  • Thanks to lady Runner #97 for the push at the back to get me over the rice paddy.
  • At the turn-around point at the end of the river crossings, there was a woman half submerged in water singing religious songs on the top of her lungs which the race marshals fondly described as a “Shokoy” (half-human, half mammal)! LOL!
  • The bamboo barricade obstacles was absolutely ——! A nuisance rather than an obstacle. 🙂
  • Showers with soap were adequately provided near the finish area but had to spend another hour or so at our bathroom at home to scrub and scrape out all residual slime in my body
  • Bread, eggs, bananas and water bottles were also given to all runners

This is probably one of the best trail runs ever organized and obviously, a lot of preparation had gone into it. After those grueling uphills and downhills, stumblings and tumblings, continuous river crossings, mud crawls, the pooh-pooh walk and the last insane crawl to the finish, i finally made it to the finish in about 4 1/2 hours!

A very satisfying event and a great memory to bring home! Congrats to the Merrell people and to RD Thumbie Remigio!

I’m leaving you with some of the pictures i took from the race. Other photos courtesy of Thumbie Remigio!

See you all at the PIMCO Run2Run Adventure Trail Run in Tanay, Rizal next Sunday, May 5! (https://jazzrunner.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/pimcos-run2run-trail-run-in-tanay-may-5-2013/)

For more updates on trail runs, follow me on TWITTER @ https://twitter.com/jazzrunner

RACE RESULTS are now out! Here is the link: http://www.strider.ph/

The views around us before the start

With friends and our clean apparels before the run

On an uphill double-track trail

The trek to the first river crossing begins

Threading in slowly as the rocks under the river are unstable and slippery

A river trail, literally with cassava plants watching the proceedings

The views can’t get any better to take pictures during rush hour

The first mud-pit obstacle (photo by Thumbie)

Long lines waiting

This is another river crossing

Slippery rocks really slowed the runners down

The heat was just overwhelming so it was on shades like this that we had time to rest

Friend June, enjoying the scenery

A long and winding dirt road

The rice paddy

Mud looks like soft cement

Pooh-pooh pare!

Time-out!

Getting out of the water was another obstacle

I lost my water bottle here

Good job leaving your Poo-pooh, Mr. C!

Bamboo barricades

An instant Vibram Five-Fingers minimalist shoes

Single-track trail descending to another river

Another shaded path

This lady (L) literally pushed my butt so i could emerge up from the rice paddy. Thanks, Mam! 🙂

The last 2kms was a grueling uphill climb. This is the last 500 meters

Over-took this lady who was struggling to ascent like all of us did.

Dang uphill!

Last 350 meters and counting. the “Moses tablets” is in the foreground

So near, yet so far!

No, that’s not a calf compression i’m wearing. It’s the sticking mud we all got from threading the rice paddy (photo by Manghusi Photoshop)

My Ultrasipre Surge Hydration pack, camera, shorts, all soaked in mud!

My previously immaculate white Adidas socks now soaked in dirt and grime. RIP!

The Mt. Pinatubo Eco-Trail Run: Weirdest Place I’ve Ever Ran!

We got lost going to the Nayong Filipino grounds at Clark, Pampanga, site of the start of the Columbia Mt. Pinatubo Eco-Trail Run last Saturday. The driver of our media bus got lost as we were already heading straight to Capas, Tarlac instead of Pampanga so imagine our dismay when the driver realized his mistake after several frantic calls with other bus drivers who were also bringing other runners to the site! so we turned back and when we arrived at Clark, we were still groping our way inside the former airbase.

By the time we finally arrived at Nayong Pilipino, the 25k runners, the distance i was to run had already been fired-off, a good 15 minutes ahead and now the 10k runners were about to be sent off! Wow, this is the second time i had been late at the start, the Rexona Run a few weeks ago being the first one but that was just about 5 minutes late! The runners in my group were still struggling to get their bibs and gears ready and as we proceeded to the starting line, the 10k runners were now sent running. Oh such pressure!

As we struggled at the tail-end of the 10k runners, i realized that i had forgotten to put water in my water flask and if this wasn’t still enough, i felt some growling noise in my stomach, not a good sign for somebody who was going to do a 25k run! The first 2.5kms was running like hell, a lot of things going into my mind as i knew i was far behind from the original 25k group and had nobody to run with the rest of the way.

Finally the first water station appeared, the growling in the tummy had gone away by then and i was finally able to take a few sips and fill up my water bottle. So now, it was time just to enjoy and concentrate on the race.

This race is dubbed the Eco-Trail Run but if you look at the course itself, it sure looks far-fetched from the ordinary forest trails we’re used to running. If this is a trail, then this should be the widest and biggest trail in the world! It’s like running in a wild-valley, almost similar to trekking in a moon-like surface with vast ash fields and rushing river streams.

I made a photo-blog of this run for you to see the place. Enjoy!

Less than a kilometer from the start, we turned right into a short trail leading us under a bridge to start our journey to the Pinatubo river bed

An ash trail of about a km long leading to the open river

The first water station, right before the main route. Drinking water, at last!

The main route now visible and ready to be conquered

This is it! A vast field of sand, streams and the mountains of Pinatubo

The runners kept on the left side which was drier and the route seem endless

Pockets of streams were ever-present during the earlier part of the route. The rivers would be flowing on the latter part

The “widest” trail in the world!

River streams begin to emerge after the 6 km mark

No matter which part you went, the sea of streaming water seem endless. Safest part was on the left side going towards the crater

Approaching a crease, one of several near the 9 km mark

Here, the streams seem to be the trail itself!

Approaching runners on their way back

Now more of a river trail, you can’t stop on your tracks because once you do, the sand below you would sink to about the height of your shoe so you have to keep moving

The waters here are about 3 to 5 inches deep. No dry part on sight

The feeling of running through the water is indescribable! You just have to push and wade along

Getting through between these mountains was a relief after seeing an open space view

He took my picture as i took his. Way to go, bro.

From Raiders of the Lost Ark!

Lady offered me an energy drink! Thanks, mam!

Ultrarunner Jhunbie Serna emerges with his wife tagging along

Time out to remove sand off the shoe

My own time-out

Thumbs up for a nice run, so far

Marie Joyce Negapatan

Gey Enriquez and her friend, Neil

A few meters from the turn-around point (12.5kms)

At the home stretch

Finished the 25k. No, that was not my time

My Fila Everest Volcro Trail shoe, part of the outsole detached from the midsole after it had endured so much water and rocks during the run.

Oh and also, if you ran this race and want to know your time results, check it out here   http://strider.ph/

My KOTR Blues

If you think you can get away with late night drinking sprees with colleagues, staying up until the wee hours of the morning watching videos, not running a step for 7 straight days then expecting at least to run a decent 16.8k race knowing that your 21k race the Sunday before can carry you over this race… man, you got it all screwed up!

This is what i experienced yesterday during the Adidas King of the Road (KOTR) 16.8 race at BGC and the feeling was like someone had just hammered the barrel of a baseball bat with one swift swing into my head! Hahah…I had a head-ache and my plantar was throbbing in pain for most part of the run.

When the gun start was fired, i tried to keep up with team-mate Betty who has been a pace-mate for many past races and told her to keep it easy as i hadn’t had any training for the last 7 days. She flew past anyway so i just had to hang on and i knew that i was not up to speed as i was already huffing and puffing for the first 3 kms which was unusual  for many of my past races.

Approaching the 4th km., i knew i couldn’t keep up with the pace which was not exactly a fast one, but i told her to go ahead so i could run a slower pace. She wouldn’t leave me and instead, tried still to encourage me to go on with her. Never thought that a week of sinful pleasures would make its toll and after a few more hundred meters, i insisted that she would have to go on without me so sensing that i was really struggling, she relented and took off  in a wink, like a thief in the night!

I heave a sigh of relief, ably just hanging on to a slow 7:30/km pace and for once, i was able to smile and acknowledge the other runners who were waiving from the other side. The pain on my heel had subsided a little bit while maintaining this pace.

Those runners who i was beating in past races were now slowly over-taking me but that was to be expected. The 100Plus energy drinks weren’t much help but the ample supply of bananas at the hydration stations were a boon to my sagging energy and kept me through the run. Nice to see cheering groups  stationed along the route and the presence of some fastfood mascots high-fiving runners provided some extra entertainment.

Photo by Mit Mercurio

Even Blas (the Titanium Runner) who could very well pass as a human mascot (because of his boundless energy) was cheering us runners!:-) Meanwhile, while i was limping back to the finish line, i saw Sylvia, another team-mate of mine doing her cool-down run along 5th Street, the 16.8 race barely a warm-up for her usual longer and fast training runs . I crossed the finished line in 2:02 and i wanted to drop dead at that very moment as it was one of the worst finish i’ve ever had.

Well those are lessons learned. I’ve learned that if i ever feel even slightly under-trained, my body is telling me that you’ll suffer the consequences of being idle (and a bum) and those long nights surely had an effect on my muscles. Another important lesson is not to rely on your past performances as gauge to what you assume you can do as this can change abruptly once you do something drastic with your lifestyle. Consistency is the name of the game here.  Your body does not always adopt well to what it is not trained to do.

After the race, i got to hang-out with some of the regulars in my group, saw Jeff Paulino of L-Time Studio; Judith Staples of Soleus; Blas, the Titanium Runner, who brought some  Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and with the company of my Adidas Adination of Runners, UP Heartbreakers Team.

To sum it up…great organized race, bad performance! Hope to make it up at next year’s edition!

RACE RESULTS are now out! Check it here: http://race.proactive.ph/adidas-kotr-2012/

Here are some pictures of the race:

Derek, Mar and June

With Nic2 and Aileen

With the aNR Heartbreakers Team

Team Heartbreakers

Post-KOTR breakfast

Race Review: The OROFOLS Run 2012

Animo La Salle! This was the main chorus that echoed several times during the pre and post-race activities at last Sunday’s One Run. One Family. One La Salle Run (Orofols) at the Mall of Asia grounds. My daughter would have smirked at the constant harping of the emcees who kept gloating about a basketball game the night before wherein La Salle beat my daughter’s beloved Ateneo team.

But the run last Sunday was not entirely a La-Sallian affair although based on the number of students who ran the shorter races, i would think that majority of them were from this school but then, one wouldn’t know as the greater part were all wearing the Orofols singlet.

I didn’t expect this to be a well-attended race but when i arrived at the venue in MOA, a sea of runners in green and white jerseys were already scattered at the starting grounds and it was announced that a total of 8,000 runners had registered for this event.

There was no way i was going to run my 16k event here with all seriousness as my last run (or more of a walk) was the 10k Tanay Discovery Trail Run last May 27 which i did as a recovery run to that previous week’s T2N 50k Ultra marathon. So that’s 2 weeks of almost no running.

I was with Anna Bautista (The Meekrunner) at the starting line who was also coming off from a vacation abroad and was running this race as unprepared as i was and she was also doing the 16k! Good luck to us, i thought. We ran together for the first 4k talking about some juicy issues about ultra runs where she intends to do one in the near future. She had to slow down after the 4k mark so it was all myself pacing slowly in an all familiar route that i have run many times.

The race itself was basically orderly, there were enough marshals to guide you along the route which was mostly inside the MOA grounds. From there, it routed to Macapagal Avenue that leads to the old Film Center and Sofitel-Philippine Plaza and exits at the side of the CCP Theater for Roxas Blvd then to Buendia and back to MOA.

What’s nice about this run was the abundance of water stations which they had every 1.2kms and even if the heat was really swelling specially during the latter part of the race, you won’t worry getting dehydrated knowing there will be enough water at the next water stop. This was a well-planned, well-organized race!

I finished the run in a little more than 2 hrs, my slowest 16k so far (what should i expect with practically no runs prior to this) but i was satisfied logging the distance on a fairly easy effort.

Runners watching the awarding ceremonies

The 16k finishers’ shirt is of generous quality. I can’t get to fix my usb right now so i can’t post a picture of the shirt but it’s one the 16k runners will sure like.

The Race Results can be found here: http://strider.ph/

Congrats to the OROFOLS organizing team!

See you at the Run United 2 Race next Sunday

Race Results: Race For The Orphans

Rundezvous Events, Inc, organizers of the Race For The Orphans would like to thank and congratulate all runners who joined this morning’s  run at Camp Aguinaldo! We hope you all enjoyed yourselves and wished you achieved a Personal Best despite our shortcomings and simple staging of this race.

Some found the course a little bit challenging so we know how hard it must have been for runners, specially those running the route for the first time in tackling those gentle rolling hills.

We were blessed with a very cooperative weather this morning so we hope nobody got dehydrated and gave everybody a chance to savor the scenery. We really are so grateful to all our sponsors who have made this race possible, to the various running clubs who either ran the race or supported it by being volunteers… our heartfelt thanks!

The UNOFFICIAL race results are now available at www.runningmate.ph

All race time inquiries should be addressed to racetime@runningmate.ph so they can take up your concerns immediately.

We hope to see you again in Rundezvous Events’ future race, coming soon!

As TIMEX Goes By

It was great running the TIMEX Run 16k yesterday, almost identical to the festive mood i had running the 21k Go Natural Run the week before. Two back-to-back races organized by Run Rio and both were challenging and tough, although yesterday’s race required a bit more effort for me to run that i had nothing left of a finisher’s kick at the last straight before the finish.

There were a few odd things about yesterday’s run. For starters, there were already a sizable crowd of runners milling around the race area when i arrived at 4:00am. You don’t see that much crowd gathered as early as 4 when the first race, the 16k event starts at 5:10am. Maybe, the presence of heartthrob Piolo Pascual piqued many to come this early?

Secondly, Riovana was already buzzing with customers even before i arrived and you’d think that there was a post-Christmas sale going on inside as the store was nearly jam-packed! Thirdly, the run started going towards 5th Avenue instead of towards Serendra, a nice change of direction.

Early visitor at Riovana (Photo by Timex Sports)

Lastly, it was nice seeing the friendly Chinggay Andrada, professional fitness trainer of Pinoy Biggest Loser fame doing the warm-up exercises. I met her during one of Skechers’ shoe launching a few months back and she was just so warm, friendly and chummy that she immediately recognized me at the press tent during the awards ceremony yesterday.

Yesterday morning’s weather was pleasant, not so cool but not humid either. Piolo was up stage to fire the starting gun and as he went up the podium, shrieks and screams were heard, which was expected from the crowd. The starting line was abuzz with runners trying to shake off all stiffness in them. When the gun was fired, we were off and i settled of nicely and was with a bunch of runners who were trying to overtake the slower ones.  This was just a 16k race so i thought of revving it up a little bit too and go on with the flow.

Piolo firing off the 16k runners (Photo by Timex Sports)

I finally settled into a more relaxed rhythm and as the route was a familiar one, it was just my mind and body getting into sync while enjoying the festive aura surrounding me. I didn’t see Piolo along the route although i knew that he was running the shorter 10k distance with Coach Rio, i was still hoping that we would cross paths and get a glimpse of his running…form, cadence and all. He was trying to go below his standard 10k time of 47:53 something which i found out later that he was able too accomplish.

Before i knew it, we reached the turn-around mark along Buendia, just before reaching the corner of Ayala Avenue and at that instance i really felt awful already, struggling to keep pace with the runners i was pacing with. Before that, i even saw running buddy Betty who was in good form and ahead of me by a few hundred meters. Reaching the base of the Kalayaan bridge going back BGC, i was able to coast along the whole uphill span without stopping and those hill training at Meralco might have done a lot of good.

Cruising along Rizal Drive, i saw i sign that read last 2 kms and was skeptic at first because i knew that we were going to turn right when reaching 5th Avenue and that would be a few hundred meters more. Turns out that we would skip that part and turn left instead on the way to the finish.

I crossed the finish line, looked on top for the time and read 1:48. Not exactly a good time but one that i can live with.:-)

Note: Seems that i did a 1:50 according to the official race results which you can find here: http://runrio.com/2012/01/2012-timex-run-race-results/

Near the finish (Thanks to ARC and to Noel C for tagging)

It has been a great 2 weekends of running for me and the start of the year seems to be steps in the right direction. Big kudos to Gemma Pagsibigin of Timex for a great race and to Coach Rio for a job well done!

A quick glimpse on the press tent in pictures:

Lucky for you who won a Timex watch!:-)

Chinggay Andrada (2nd from left) with Gigi, Lara Parpan and Jaimie

Coach Rio and friends at the tent