Last Sunday, I joined this 42km event in Nueva Vizcaya, the highlight of which was to summit Mt. Ugo. It was a refreshing change of pace from the usual weekend spent in Metro Manila.
If you would ask me, the 9 hour trip was worth it : everything is clean- the trails especially. It’s as if the farther you are from the Metro, the nearer you are to paradise.
This is the first time I have seen a tree like this in Luzon
This is the view from the starting line. Can you imagine how cold it is in the summit ?
Let's get ready to rumble
View from the trail at sunrise
What else can I say ?
Henry having a hard time accepting we have to pass this route twice. This is where we got lost earlier
The summit, finally! For a brief moment, the sun decided to show itself.
Finished! ... Excited for my next trail
This one is perfect. The route wasn’t so difficult, the trails are 90% runnable even when wet. For the aid stations, they contain exactly what a trail runner needs : softdrinks, natural spring water from the mountain itself, bread, chocolate, biscuits and electrolyte drinks.
Well, too bad .. bandits aren't allowed in this race. Maybe next time, they should register early
As with any adrenaline related activity, equipment and apparel are important. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the run as much if i had used any other shoe. This is my first time to use lightweight shoes in an actual race – and the thing is , I haven’t actually ran in this pair before. So imagine how happy I am when instead of giving me problems , it actually gave me my best trail run experience yet. The traction on this shoe is superb, even in wet trails! New Balance 101 is simply the best!
Trail shoes come and go. This one left a lasting impression on me - lightweight and sturdy.
About a month ago, the Company I work for decided to join Corporate Games Manila 2012 and I was part of the running team. So the interval training we did also helped in my performance for this race. I think running also on hilly roads while I was in Sydney (thanks cuz for letting me stay in your house) also helped strengthen my legs a bit for the 1KM assualt to the summit.
This morning, I ran 20k in the rain, by now I guess you know how refreshing that feels . Anyway, it has been a two week rest after QCIM –it seems that I have almost recovered from my injuries – this means that I could start increasing my mileage again, (finally)
Let's get ready to rumble ....
This is the third edition of the Quezon City International Marathon – I am happy to be a participant in all three events. I think this is the first time when it actually rained on this race. I had doubts at first if I can complete this edition since my left foot is still swollen from the trail run (CM50) which I joined the week before – imagine running the entire 42k with swollen feet. Finished this one in 5:27 – I had to since we were pacing for 5:30
This is the first edition of this trail race ( I joined the shorter 60km edition) , and boy was I glad to have joined it! If you would ask me, there are two races here that you should include in your bucket list : Bataan Death March and this one (in no particular order). I would describe this one as “masarap na masakit”. This is the first time that I injured my hamstring, finished with swollen feet and got lost many times. I reached the finish line way after cut-off. This is also the first time that I have experienced eating gourmet pasta in the middle of the race – ha! Ang sarrrrap! In a nutshell, the best local trail race that I have joined.
I like green.
.. and it never ends
More happy thoughts for the return trip.
Have you ever had a pair of shoes that you loved so much that you decided to buy another pair of it ?
I remembered my first Condura experience when I ran my first half-Mary in the Skyway last year – it was awesome! So, when this year’s edition of the said race was announced, I definitely had to register. You see, the half-mary last year was just that : half of the skyway, so I thought that it was a good idea that the Concepcion brothers included the full marathon event.
It has been a well documented observation in the running community that organizing races has turned into a profitable business with some organizers more interested in making a quick buck rather than satisfying their participants. That is the reason why starting this year, I am choosing the races that I join (and being a bandit with the rest, hehehe). I know that quality has an expensive price tag that goes with it ; so even if I had hesitations in joining this race due to the expensive registration fee , I still joined the 42K event and I’m glad that I did.
Fireworks lit up a seemingly cold and tense morning where the 42K runners were preparing for the end of the countdown that would start the event. This is a refreshing scene compared to the usual Sunday morning race start. Everybody was happy and excited to run!
The challenging but enjoyable part of the race started early on as we ran around the Fort area , claiming one ascent after another before we scaled the Kalayaan flyover towards Buendia – this part of the route was dark since the streets we traversed had no lamp posts on it.
The vertical path which was the Kalayaan flyover as well as the rest of the Makati area was well lit and lively with the presence of various bands along the route – I was particularly energized upon reaching the corner of Buendia and Pasong Tamo when the Philippine Army band played the theme song of the movie The Magnificent Seven – I felt like Yul Brynner riding his horse, hehehe!
Upon entering the skyway, I said to myself – “Finally!” and took the most challenging path of my asphalt loving career. The ambience on the skyway was cool, exciting and bright …. Did I say bright? I thought it was, but somebody turned off the lights! Running the skyway was reminiscent of running Lawton Avenue about an hour ago – dark!
When the sun finally rose, the view from up there was spectacular, it’s different when you’re running it compared to just driving through it.
When we reached the turn around point near the Bicutan exit, I felt a bit sad because this feeling of enlightenment is half-over. It didn’t also help that there were small specks of matter floating in the atmosphere which some runners have inhaled and worse – ingested.
Just as I thought that the challenging part was over comes the most difficult ascent of this race – Condura hill. Well, like what most runners did , I just simply walked this part and enjoyed the view, I even took some pictures while I was at it. The sun was already up at this time as I saw it took its toll on the band that was supposed to perform the lively music for us runners.
Then came the sign at the bottom of the skyway which read “Congratulations, you have conquered the skyway!”. At least now, I can say that I have completely conquered it compared to just half of it last year.
… and there it was , on my return trip I met the generous souls of Takbo.PH and Reinier Pacific. The banana I got from them gave me a boost that I was able to run up to Makati Avenue.
After the short lived energy burst, I jogged /walked until the finish line. I finished the race in 5:46. 12 minutes slower compared to my first marathon.
All in all, this was a fun race : very unique and challenging route , water trucks, long water/hydration tables, sponges , fire works and bands. Did I say it was a race? Oh, I thought it was a party .
Condura Village the day before the race
Along the Magallanes area
Blue skies ...
Another view of Condura Hill
Near the Bicutan Exit
I don’t usually bring an mp3 player, but it sure would’ve been nice to listen to this while running :
I didn’t think that I would be able to complete my 2nd attempt at a full marathon. The night before the run, I wasn’t feeling well – I had to take paracetamol before I slept. I also took another dose when I woke up at 2 am on the race day itself. In fact, I still was a bit hesitant to join the race when we reached the starting area at the KM 0 mark at the Quirino Grandstand.
The event, having one of the network giants as a major sponsor, started with a lot of fanfare (or should I say spot lights and cameras plus a noisy emcee). The mood in the starting line was fun, I especially enjoyed watching the performance of the Philippine Marines band.
True to the Biscocho tradition, the race started at 4:28 am ( 2 minutes before the scheduled gun-off). The three of us started a bit slow with Isko slowly picking up the pace to which Ian and I followed. We were going so fast that at around 5kms, I slowed my pace down to around 6 mpk. There was after all still 37 kms left to run.
The water stations didn’t run out of water – thank God I didn’t get dehydrated at my first attempt to run 42kms during the daytime.
As for the route, I doubt that anyone would get lost this year as there were directional signs and marshals along the entire route. Besides, If I get lost, all I had to do was to follow the scent of the river – after all, this race has Pasig written all over it.
I started walking around the Guadalupe area, I think my legs aren’t as strong as the other runners; it has been only 2 weeks after I have finished my first 42km. While I was walking / jogging near the Pioneer area, I saw Sir Jovie (aka The Baldrunner) walking … this came as a surprise to me because I know that he is a strong runner – I was later informed by his staff that he has an injury in his left leg – but as a true warrior, he still finished the entire 42km.
After receiving hydration from Team Bald Runner support staff (Thanks a lot!). I went on my way … I was able to run a bit on the downhill area of Pasig (thanks Coach Isko, I was able to apply our “downhill” run in this area).
When I reached the C5 area, I was happy to see that the Pasig Traffic enforcers themselves acted as barricades in order to secure the area where runners are supposed to run.
As I entered the Fort area, I started to feel hungry already. It was all psychological at this point. The heat of the sun, the feeling that my feet would burst from my running shoes and the longing for food.
Seeing the Takbo.ph people at the bottom of the Kalayaan flyover also helped me in the “psychological” department – at that point, even the slightest words of encouragement can go a long way. After all, there were still 10 kms left, I was thinking, I could easily cover that distance in less than an hour (that was if I haven’t covered 32kms already!).
It is true what they say about the last 4kms of a marathon – it will be the longest 4kms of your life!
I was able to finish this race in 5 hours 50 mins – not as good as my marathon finish 2 weeks ago but hey – in spite of my complaints while running it – I enjoyed it!
As I look back, I remember the first time I asked my sister to register me for a race. I eventually didn’t participate in the said 10k event because I was too lazy to wake up at 4am so that I could simply run. I quipped ”Why should I change my routine?”. I usually wake up at around 6:00am and do my 2.1km jog around The Fort area and more recently, around MOA. I even remember a female colleague telling me this: “Ano ba yan, papahirapan mo nalang sarili mo, magbabayad ka pa!”
I eventually joined my first race (which covered a distance of 10km) wearing my very old Nike cross trainers (the shoe’s sole had been replaced with locally available soles since the original air sole has already leaked).
… and here I am, 11 months and 3 running shoes after –> running my first ever full 42KM marathon.
What can I say? I didn’t even plan joining this event until 5 weeks ago. I was undertrained .
Thanks to the effort of ultra runner friend Isko who patiently trained me in such a short time, I was able to complete this run together with another running friend, Ian.
The concept of running SCTEX at night was very appealing to most of the people who participated in this event, after all, you can’t run along this route on a regular night (pun intended).
This could’ve been a next to perfect race except for the following:
• No water for four consecutive water stations – I think that the water stations were more than 2.5kms apart, so you could imagine how thirsty the other runners were when they came to our support vehicle (the white van with the team hardcore tarpaulin) asking if we had excess water /Gatorade/bananas/ hard-boiled eggs. We were able to help some of the runners since we have packed a little more than what we needed but our supplies were spread so thin that even we ran out of supplies and had to go thirsty and hungry ourselves. There were even times when some runners would approach me and ask me if they can have some of the contents of the Gatorade bottle I was carrying, I sympathized with them and gave them half of what I had – I really can’t stop expressing my disappointment on this aspect of the race. Where do they expect the runners to buy water in the middle of the SCTEX ?
• Lights – Although I came prepared because I have brought a headlamp with me – I experienced running through the darker parts of SCTEX since we returned the head lamp to the support vehicle after the Dinalupihan exit, not knowing that it was pitch black after that. We had to rely on the headlights used by the other support vehicles in order to find our way through the darkness.
In summary, I will never forget this race as this was my baptism of fire with a time of 5 hours, 34 minutes and 10 seconds. Too bad though that I and a lot of runners suffered from dehydration.
After the race, resident birthday boy and eponymous honorary member of NandN runners, Ian – treated us to a sumptuous feast at Aristocrat’s Restaurant.
We left Subic a little after midnight and arrived at BHS at around 2:30 am and slept in the parking area so that we can participate in the Adidas King Of The Road run which would start at 5:30 am. I participated in the 10k event (21k sounds tempting but I might injure myself in the process) – less than 9 hours after I finished my first marathon.
After what I have done, I hope I still have the stamina to join the Philippine International Marathon 42km 2 weeks from now
Adidas KOTR Finish Line
Jonel Mendoza and Jeff Abenina
Before The Run
GU .. Check! Shoe Laces .. Check
I'm getting ready getting ready .. oh boy what a day ...