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!

We Parteyy, When We’re Not Running

If you’ve ever met and talked to Jinoe Gavan, founder of Takbo.ph, then you’ve probably seen him smile. It happens often in the course of his stories on running, the races he has joined and organized, his upcoming training for several races slated in the provinces and when he talks about his “first baby”, the Takbo.ph website.

The website on running has left an indelible mark among runners, and has created a lot of following in its two years of existence. It gave runners a chance to interact with each other on a gut level and has formed a wide, deep friendship that has branched from running into other multi-sports like the Duathlon, Triathlon and Ultra-Marathons.

I’m proud to say that i was part of its initial membership, from a few dozen who interacted at the Forums to the present thousands (and still growing) who have relied on the site for the latest news, schedule of upcoming races, blog stories, latest running gadgets and everything else on running.

Recently, there was a cause to celebrate when Takbo.ph marked its 2nd anniversary by staging the Takbo.ph Runfest 5/10k races which was a rousing success. To top off this celebration, expecting mom, Queenie Gavan (Jinoe’s ex-GF, now wife), organized a Runfest get-together at the Joey Pepperoni Pasta Bar at The Fort last Friday that was well-attended by both the old guards and the newer members of Takbo.ph. It was a merging of old and new faces, a continuing generation that will still grow as long as the running boom continues to flourish.

On a daily basis, Jinoe still finds himself immersed in making the website grow, on top of his regular job and other running projects. His goal still stands, “to promote running” and as long as runners keep motivated and friendships prosper, Jinoe will continue to have that toothy smile.

Here are some pictures from last Friday’s party:

The early birds

Mostly "oldies" (Photo by Carlo S.)

The group at the rear portion

Young bloods at takbo.ph

Party hosts, Rodel and Marga

Rodel with the new bloods

Waiting for their food and drinks!

Great guys!

Super fast runner, Carly (L) and friend, Chang

Marga, Ziggy and Tin

Nice...

Celebrity Rodel signing on his pic

Little Big Race

With more than 2,000 runners gathered on 28th Street at The Fort ready to run the 1st Takbo.ph 5k, 10k Runfest, much of the buzz among the runners was their personalized singlet which was proudly worn during the race. With runners’ names and monickers imbedded on their singlets and race-bibs, it sure was a sea of blue and black runners invading the arches of the Fort. Previously unknown but familiar faces finally had names that you could call out to! As always, i’m really having problems on this singlet sizing as i thought getting a XXL size would already fit my 180 lb frame. It would not be so. Anyway…

There’s a lot to be said for this well-organized race and i was totally satisfied how this run turned out with water stations turning up almost every 1.5kms that you wouldn’t need to worry how far your next drink would be.

I treated this as a fun race but you just never know how you could hold back when runners beside you keep jostling and sprinting past you that you get pulled forward by the fast flow. I felt a little wasted after the first 2 kilometers trying to maintain a 5:00-5:30 min pace that i had to ease off after the first water station.

I continued running to a more comfortable 6:00 min pace and maintained it all throughout except when i had to walk during stops at the water stations and enjoy a little of those ice-cold Powerade sports drink being offered. I knew that if i continue doing walking breaks at these stations, i wouldn’t hit the sub-one hour finish time i hoped to achieve. True enough, the verdict was not as favorable as i finished in 1:01:48. But that’s ok. I didn’t want to push myself too much as i was still in training mode for the upcoming marathons, anyway.

L-R: Neil, Marga, Pat, Me, Wilnar, Rachel, Noelle, Carina, Que, Doc T

 

L-R: Rachel, Neil, moi, Gail, Marga, Lauren

With Nora, recent marathon finisher

Last huddle before the gun start

Post-race breakfast (with Mel, Ninang and Tita) at McDo!

Jinoe Gavan, organizer of this race seems to be learning the ropes fast, in staging this well-ran race! He, together with Doc Lyndon and Ian Alacar have now earned themselves the trust and respect of the running community after some false starts during the past Rotarun and San Mig run. Though small and limited in runners participation, the race organization was strong, a class-act and staged as though it was a mega race with bands, long lines of water tables and the over-all joyous atmosphere of a new and well-measured route!

Congrats to all!

Gallowalking The Trails With Team Boring

Well, i suppose you could call this run a “fun run” or a “trail fun run” that had us laughing for most of the 15k route. It was planned to be a send-off run for our dear Julie (hotlegsrunner) who is migrating to the land of milk and honey in a few days time. It was also to be her first trail run and we were celebrating this occasion.

Doc T, Rod (rod-runner), Jet (jetpaiso) , Mar (forefoot) and Vic who call themselves “Team Boring” (they all got bored during their trip to Bataan to run the BDM Ultra 102k, thus the monicker) were also on hand, as well as Tere (elcapitana) and Aaron of  Takbo.ph.  Last Saturday, we made the short drive from Jolibee Philcoa to the Green Hills Estate and from there walked and jogged towards the trail’s entrance which was 2 kilometers from the outpost.

The estate, once sequestered by the former Marcos regime and now back with the Araneta’s was an undiscovered gem until me and running friend, June Santiago decided to explore the trails a year ago. I had to recommend this trail to Julie and the group because of its proximity to Metro Manila and it’s an easy-moderate trail. I made sure that the group would enjoy the route at a leisurely pace so they could take in its beauty without much huffing and puffing associated with a trail race. So all of us “Gallowalked” (run and walk) the trails.

We ran the route passing several rows of Ipil-Ipil and Mango trees and the aromatic Cadena De Amor plant. The trail also boasts a large naturally occurring strand of wild orchids and other exotic plants. Other than the fauna, we also encountered the usual grazing cows that seemed to like the presence of Julie who was feeding them with grass.

It was a perfect time to run on these trails–just before the onset of La Nina. Although it rained slightly the night before, the trails were in perfect shape except for a couple of short muddy stretches.

It was an enjoyable adventure, Gallowalking and all, capped off with a sumptuous lunch of grilled chicken and roasted pork spare ribs at Kenny Rogers.

Bon Voyage, Julie!:-)

Breakfast at Jolibee, Philcoa before our run

At the entrance gate of the trail while waiting for the others

L-R, Doc T, Mar, me, Aaron, Vic

With the whole group: Mar, Jet, Vic, Me, Rod, Tere, Aaron, Julie, Doc T

Mar gearing up as he leads the start of the trail run

Julie, taking her first running steps on a trail

No swerving, please:-)

Bored of running!

Taking it easy

Ultra T!

Julie completing her first 2k! 13k to go, Jules!

How could he extend his arms so straight?

Vic in one of his sexy post!

Showering him with love!

Stretching on one another!

Taking aim of the uphill ahead

Almost there, Julie!

Julie feeding her pets!

One of my favorite pics

One more obstacle lie ahead

El Capitana pushing the pace

Journey to the meadows

Nice place to take it easy

Rod on a hunt for pests and snakes?

Mar and Aaron atop the boulders

Another river crossing

Tere enjoying the scenery

Nice pose, Hotlegs Runner!

We'll try to run the trail at the right side which we haven't done yet and see where it'll take us.

Post run brunch at Kenny Rogers

42Kms Worth Of Memories

What makes a marathon finish memorable? There should be a dozen different answers from runners who have finished one. It may be experiencing a new challenging route that you dreamt of conquering one day. It may be the support you got with your running group that made the run easier, more exciting and more fun. Or it may be achieving your one main goal, to be able to finish your first marathon.

For me, it’s a combination of all the above, when you feel that your body and mind have worked alternatively or in tandem no matter how difficult or painful the experience was and feeling the exhilaration once you cross the finish line.

The Condura Skyway Marathon just gave me reason to celebrate again! It’s good to be back on the fray, completing my first marathon run in 17 years and my 5th marathon finish over-all.

It was a long hard climb, two years after deciding to make a comeback to running last 2008 although i wasn’t sure i would be able to sustain the motivation. We all know too well that half the battle of training isn’t the running itself, that it’s finding the resolve to run each day and it takes a lot of commitment, goal setting and having a training plan to carry out such a formidable task.

When i was at the starting line yesterday at the Condura race, i didn’t have a race plan. Feeling like a beginner again, my goal was just to finish below six hours and run the best way i can. My stomach was having double-knots and the pre-race nerves was getting into me since last Saturday. I could not really shake out the fear that i felt and that was the fear of “failure” even if i came fully prepared. I was logging at around 70-80 kms a week and running distances of 34 to 45 kms on my Sunday long runs.

So, at the very last minute before the gun fired-off, i decided to join a group of runners from takbo.ph who were doing the Galloway method of running for 5 minutes at an average pace of 6:30/km then fast walking for 1 minute, the 5:1 run-walk ratio. It was tolerable running it the first 3 kilometers but i couldn’t keep up with the fast run segments as we were sometimes going at a 6:00 minute/km pace. I knew that if i stayed with them, i could not have kept up with the pace and still have any energy left for the middle stages. Much worse, i would have had great difficulty finishing the race if i stayed on so i cut loose at the 4th km and ran my own pace thereafter.

The silent, eerie stretch of highway and the mixture of urban and rural vantage points atop the Skyway will make you forget your feet are pounding on hard cement. A good 15 to 20 kms of the Skyway was used for the route and i felt some kind of drudgery, running on one, very long, endless highway. The marching bands stationed along the Skyway who were supposed to play during the rush of runners who passed by them, didn’t help alleviate the boredom as they were just sitting and looking more tired and sleepy than we runners were. Some of the runners even coaxed them to play but it just fell on deaf ears.

The runner support was however, above par. There were adequate water stations not only at the Skyway but all throughout the route. The marshals were exemplary as they even handed out the water cups to the runners themselves. However, one sad note i experienced was when i saw some runners trying to revive two runners who collapsed past the 21k mark just before the turn-around bend at the Skyway but there was no roving ambulance on site! It was a scary moment. On my way back, i saw both sitting down on their own and somewhat revived.

At Buendia on to the Skyway

On my way back at 33 kms, i saw what seemed to be a transplanted banana plantation cum aide station at the middle of Buendia Avenue set up by Entrepreneur-runner Amado Castro and the takbo.ph group led by couple Jinoe and Queenie. The bananas were so plentiful that it could have fed the whole barangay of Pasong Tamo with still plenty to spare!

The last four kilometers was the most excruciating part of the run for me. After climbing up the grueling Buendia flyover on my way back to the Fort, i felt my body stiffen, my knees locked and couldn’t sway my arms as much as i wanted to. I haven’t drank water or Gatorade from my flask for the last 3 kms and didn’t feel like drinking at all although i knew i needed to. I realized then that i was crashing into the “Wall”. The only thing that was moving was my two feet which luckily were moving forward–but not by much. I began to feel a mild paralysis from my head down to my ankles. I knew that if i panicked, i might not be able to move my feet so i tried to stay calm.

I was still at Kalayaan Bridge, just about 250 meters away from 32nd Street, when i suddenly realized that i was at the exact spot where my running partners from Runnex, Betty and Tonette used to stop to walk and rest during our long Sunday runs. This time, they were not there to run with me (Betty had an urgent business call in HK while Tonnette had to attend to family matters). The 3 of us had paced each other, stop together when one felt like walking and each gave me their chocolate bars or bananas when i felt hungry. Now, i could barely move and not one of them was there to assuage me that everything would be fine. At this instant, i felt a little emotional and i was fighting back tears. I was getting frustrated because my body didn’t move as it should and i couldn’t think clearly.

In marathon running, you can program the brain for success or failure. It’s either the negative thoughts persists, like not being able to finish the race or you see the positive side that your hard work has brought to where you are now. I knew that my training was solid, carbo-loaded days before the race, that this run was just an ordinary Sunday long run and should treat it as such. I knew what to do and was able to focus on the physical and spiritual journey–the process–rather than a particular outcome. Slowly, i began to think of all the hard training i’ve done. Slowly too, my body began to move forward again. Clearly, my mind was taking over what my body could not do anymore.

There is such a thing as a second-wind. Just as i thought i would be trudging the last 3 kms to the finish, there is that sudden outburst of energy that’s just ready to be tapped from within when you need it the most. The last water station along the University Parkway was like heaven sent. I finally drank two cupfuls of the orange carbonated drink (i don’t usually drink them in races as it always upsets my stomach) and another cupful of water and it served like a jet-fuel that set me off to running form again. I realized then that all i needed was to hydrate myself which i avoided for the last 4 kms.

Near the finish, i was greeted by the hollers and shouts of encouragement of friends and running mates until i crossed the finish, just behind running friend, Doc Marvs who sensed that i was inching my way to overtake him and sprinted until he was clearly safe a few meters ahead.

At the finish

I finished with a time of 5:44 (5:42:43 Official Time) and just thankful i was able to cross the finish. I know that i can still improve on this, but that would not be so important at this time.

5:42:43 Official Time

So what now? In every experience like running a marathon, we always learn something about ourselves. We are always in the midst of an adventure, an inner challenge and learn to face fears and adversities that presents itself. On certain occasions, we push the edge of the envelope. Hopefully we become wiser, more confident and well-armed for the better.

Till the next great marathon!

Group pic

With Obet Alano, team mate from Runnex who also finished the 42k, his 12th, i think.

(Thanks to Brando and McCoy for the pics!)

Memorandum: To All Employee Runners

FOR:  All Employee Runners

Date:  January 29, 2010

EFFECTIVE January 29, 2010

DRESS CODE/PAY INCREASE:

1.  It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary. If we see you wearing Newton Running Shoes and using a Garmin 910XT or a Soleus 3.0 GPS watch, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a pay raise.

2. If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a pay raise.

3. If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a pay raise.

SICK DAYS/ABSENCES

We will no longer accept a doctor’s certificate as proof of sickness/injury due to running. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

HOLIDAY DAYS

1.  Filing of vacation or emergency leave to rest for a couple of days prior or after your running a marathon/ultramarathon will no longer be accepted.

2.  Requesting to work under-time to attend a carbo-loading party, catch a bus to run an out-of-town race, press/bloggers race launch or meeting with friends for a run prior to closing of office hours will no longer be allowed. Likewise, an employee who arrives a minute late will be considered absent that day.

Remember that each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturday and Sunday.

COMPASSIONATE LEAVE

This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers who died because they were hit by a speeding truck while running or die of a heart attack while doing so. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangement.

In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.

STRETCHING

Stretching your muscles, doing contortions on any part of your body and performing other forms of exhibitionism will no longer be tolerated in the office premises. Likewise, running up and down the stairs of our office building should be stopped immediately. Our building is not a track and field oval nor is it a vertical run route.

TOILET USE

1.  Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet after you leave the office specially when changing to your running attire when you go for a run. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the cubicles.

2.  At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the cubicle door will open, and your picture will be taken whether you are caught with your shorts down or still fitting your jogging bras.

3.  After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the company notice board under the “Chronic Offenders” category.

4.  Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sanctioned under the company’s mental health policy.

LUNCH BREAK

1. Skinny people (those who habitually run marathons or ultra marathons) get 30 minutes for lunch, as they need to eat more so that they can look healthy.

2.  Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.

3.  Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that’s all the time needed to drink iced-green tea.

INTERNET ACCESS

1.  Access to internet sites will now be limited. If an employee is caught browsing running websites or blogs like Takbo.ph, Pinoy Fitness, i Run Far, Baldrunner, Runblogger, Running Shoes Guru, The Trail Running Blog, CoolRunning and most specially Jazzrunner–even on their personal laptops, tablets or cell-phones, they will be reprimanded for first offense and warned accordingly. Subsequent offenses will be suspension for up to a month, without salary.

2.  At any time an employee is caught uploading pictures or posting a status of his/her running exploits at Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, their employment will outright be terminated and all benefits due them will be forfeited!

Thank you for your loyalty to our company. Remember we are an employer of equal opportunity and we are here to provide a positive employment experience that cares for your physical well-being and promotes an active and healthy lifestyle.

Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations and irritations about PRs, running shoes, diet, LSD training, marathons, ultras, CLPs, cross-fit training, trail running, running bras, loot bags, etc. should be directed elsewhere!

Hoy, It’s My First Year of Blogging!

Before i make another move or another step to run, i am reminded that today marks the first year of my running blog, The Jazzrunner.

It was on January 13, 2009 when i wrote my first article and it was through the encouragement of my running buddy, June Santiago that i should document my return to running which started the year before (April, 2008) and write about our out-of-town running trips and trail runs. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of races and adventure running. Thank you, pre!

It was great discovering new places, specially trails that i wouldn’t imagined existed. The highs of running through dirt paths, mountain terrains, wildlife, fauna and all else that nature presented was the ultimate in my running experience and a great visual stimulant, to boot!

It’s been such an amazing year of blogging and i got to know so many great people with the same passion for running. And the runners that come and greet you, many of whom are total strangers is one of the highlights of being a blogger, being appreciated for sharing my running adventures that they too would want to experience someday.

To all who have visited my blog, read, made comments whether nice or nasty, my heartfelt thanks! I’m not sure what the figure means (64,697 visitors as of today) but whether the number of visitors are minuscule or not, i still feel gratified that it has inspired a number of people to run and join their very first races. The e-mails expressing their appreciation are touching and greatly cherished.

I’m not to forget my co-BLOGGERS for their support and encouragement. Ditto with my club mates at RUNNEX and Takbo.ph for the running activities we all covered together–it was great running with you.

Through pictures, here are some of the highlights that capped my first year on the blog. See you all again for the next year coming!

Tanay, Rizal

Angat Dam

Parawagan, Montalban

Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife

Marikina Riverbanks

Angono, Rizal

Backwoods of Angono

Binangonan, Rizal

Angono Petroglyphs in Binangonan, Rizal

Batangas City

First Takbo.ph LSD, March 2009

Baywalk, Roxas Boulevard

First Condura, at the Skyway

With the Bullrunner (Jaymie) and Runnex Chair, Art

At the 1st BDM 102 as a pacer

At The La Mesa Ecopark

Montalban mountain trail run with takbo.ph runners, April 2009

Ciudad Real, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan

All Terra race, Timberland Heights, San Mateo, Rizal

Trails of Aquarry, Bulacan

Christmas Trees of Pintong Bocaue, San Mateo, Rizal

Run For Home, July '09

Kenny Rogers Video Shoot, August '09

Urbanite Run!

Pamulaklakin trail, Subic Bay Freeport

June with Aeta children

At the race For Life with Rica and Donita

Press launching QCIM

LSD Run at C5!

Timberland Trails revisited

LSD - Commonwealth, September 09

QCIM - October 18, 09

Carbo Loading at Joey Pepperonni

Weigh-in BLC

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Corregidor Run, December 09

With BR at the Rizal day Run

Sta Rosa, Laguna trails