Archive for January, 2009


Nike Run Clinic Session 21

Yes I’m still keeping count of the number of sessions, and we’re more than halfway through the entire Clinic program.  If you’re wondering why my posts skip a session it’s because I usually am not able to join the Friday sessions of the clinic at BHS (traffic going to Fort Bonifacio on Friday nights are always crazy).

To those who just recently joined the Clinic (about half of all the attendees last night were newcomers) I recommend that you join all sessions whenever you can, especially that the Clinic is more than halfway into the program.

Like in the past few sessions Ultra was again packed, mainly because during Tuesdays the Clinic shares the facility with Team Bald Runner.  Like Nike, both Clinics have seen fast growth in terms of attendance over these past few weeks probably attesting on how fast this sport is gaining popularity.

Last night was a recovery session.  It started with the usual warm-up.  I was supposed to do 7-laps but in order to be able to join the drills I had to cut it to 6.  The drills involved ankling, high knees, butt kick, Russian march, grapevine, skipping, and another new routine that I forgot the name.  This was followed by a lap of easy run on the oval, and immediately succeeded by the second round of drills in turbo mode.  Another lap was done afterwards, followed by core exercises, and a new and improved stretching session was introduced.

Our core exercises closely resemble what I usually do in the gym: crunches, leg raises, etc.  One minor difficulty was that we don’t have mats (attention would-be sponsors) so we had to lie on the floor, thankfully it was padded to ease the pressure on our knees and elbows.  And because of that my singlet looked like I used it to mop the tracks (lesson learned: wear dark singlets).

The new stretching session, a.k.a. spa session, required us to form a pair: one being stretched and the other assisting.  In a way it really was like a day at the spa.  If you’re mad at your partner you may take this opportunity to get back at them, but then again you’d swap places afterwards so it’s better to be nice.  It’s one thing to stretch but having someone to help you do it is much better, like having a personal chiropractor.

The stretching session took a while so we experienced another lights out—just when we were trading places with my stretching partner, Chris.  I felt a bit sorry for their batch because they didn’t enjoy the luxury of time; nonetheless I hope I did a good job in doing my part.

Garmins are becoming a norm in the Clinic as I saw more people wearing it, especially the Coaches.  It’s hardly a fashion statement nor a gadget-fix—it’s almost a need.  And it’s nice to have some people to talk to about our gadget.

To summarize here’s the breakdown of our recovery session routines:

  • Warm-up: 6-laps (6x400M, 2.4K)
  • Easy Runs: 2×1-lap (2x400M, 0.8K)
  • Total Distance: 3.2K

Happy Run with My New GF

The Happy Run was my first regular race with my new GF—GF405 that is.

My new GF (405), watch out for my upcoming review

My new GF (405), watch out for my upcoming review

The race turnouts for all categories were very good but since it was handled by Coach Rio everything was in order, another well organized race from Runrio.  The weather was quite cooperative too, it didn’t rain and it was cooler than the past few days.

Start Happy

Start Happy

The race formally started 5:45AM with the 15K runners.  What’s unique about this race, aside from not having a 10K race, was the McKinley Hill route, a first for me.  This area in Fort Bonifacio was infamous for its steep climbs but alternately it also boasts some of the nicest view.  Indeed this section of the Happy Run made some runners not so happy since it was a real drainer.  In fact I recorded my slowest pace of the race upon leaving McKinley Hill: an appalling 7:51/km!  This was due to a 20M rise in elevation in just about 370M (GF405 data).  After enduring that it’s just another 2K to the finish.

Happy Run Elevation (GF405)

Happy Run 15K Route Elevation (GF405)

The Happy Run 15K Gradient/Elevation

The Happy Run 15K Route Gradient/Elevation

I already did a 16K (10 miles) race before but never a 15K so I could consider this as my 15K debut.  Coming into the race I was constantly thinking if I could better my 16K PR (1:27:37) since my 16K race was held on a very flat course, Roxas Blvd., while this one which was 1K shorter would be on challenging terrains of Fort Bonifacio with McKinley Hill part of the equation.  Apparently my constant participation in the Nike Run Clinic with some speed training is starting to pay off: my 15K time: 1:18:06 (GF405, unofficial).  That’s a new PR for me, an average of 5:14/km, and considering the distance and terrain I’m quite happy with it.  And not only did I manage to set a new 15K PR I was also able to break my previous 10K PR: it now stands at 51:14, about 2 minutes off the old PR (it was set on the uphill leaving Heritage Park so it was quite an effort).  With some more practice I may be able to break the 50 minute barrier for a 10K soon (one of the goals I’ve set for the year).

Happy Run route, courtesy Google

The Happy Run 15K route, courtesy Google Maps ©2009 Google – Imagery ©2009 DigitalGlobe, GeoEye

This race was also unique because now I’m running with a lot of my new friends from the running community which I oftentimes see along the race.  I used to join races knowing only my officemates but now I’m having trouble which group to mingle with (that’s how fast the running fever spreads).  Truly this Happy Run made me happy in a lot of ways!

With some happy runners

Together with some happy runners Patrick (left) and JanMike (FlatFoot Runner, right)

As for the “true” cause of the event, according to Drew Arellano the event generated P400,000.00 all of which goes to Bianca Gonzalez’s Help The Kids Learn Project benefitting the kids of Bagong Tanyag Elementary School Annex in Taguig.  And that was really a happy accomplishment to be proud of.

As for the race result it was happily fast, so fast that the official results list was out even before the day ended.  I’m so happy I picked this race!  Here are the official results (revised: January 29, 2009) courtesy of


Next Race: The Happy Run

The Happy Run is a charity run that will benefit the kids of Bagong Tanyag Elementary School Annex in Taguig. Through Bianca Gonzalez’s Help The Kids Learn Project and Congresswoman Lani Cayetano, The Happy Run hopes to help the school build much needed classrooms to help the kids of Taguig get the education they deserve and dream of by helping them build more classrooms and school facilities.

More information on this program can be found at

The Happy Run

With 3K, 5K and 15K races, The Happy Run is for all – from the weekend athelete getting his weekly dose of fitness; to the family spending quality time together by staying fit; to the hardcore runners who live to run.

With the absence of a 10K race I was torn between the 15K and 5K.  Before I registered I didn’t really felt like running a 15K, but a 5K is a bit too short—eventually I chose 15K since this would be my first 15K race (I already did a 16K race last year, but never had a 15K).  I don’t really know if I could beat my 16K pace on this course because of the challenging terrain and some minor injuries (plus the cold spell is gone), but since the course goes to a part of McKinley that I’ve never been to it should keep me going.

To all happy runners have a safe and fun run!  And don’t be late (a message for myself too). 🙂


Race Results: TNF Thrill of the Trail

The results are in!

You may also download the compiled results list here (PDF).

Congratulations to all finishers!


Nike Run Clinic Session 19

Like the previous session, last night’s session was jam packed!  For some reason the clinic just seemed to double its participants.  Running must really be getting popular!

Nike Running

As usual we started with a 5 lap easy warm-up run around the oval (2K) followed by the routines.  I arrived a bit late (a nasty habit) so together with some not-so-early-birds we were all grouped together for our own session of the drills.

The main set was 3 sets of 3 laps around the oval (3×3×400, 3.6K) with a 2 minute recovery between intervals and 400M recovery walk between sets.  This session was the Ultra debut of my GF405 so I was able to log our times:

Time Pace
(per km)
Set 01
Set 02
Set 03
3.6K 13:18 3:41 16.24

I had fun with my running mates even though the pace we were keeping wasn’t that easy.  This is one of the things I love about the clinic: having running buddies.  Surely anyone can run on their own but for the sake of improvement it’s much better to have a buddy (or more).  We, the “seniors” of the clinic (those that were present since day one) were starting to know each other so we were all like students in a classroom having chats while resting (sometimes too much that the coaches had to call a timeout) and even during our cool-down routines jokes were being thrown so we’re all laughing while we’re doing our core exercises and stretching.

The core routines were back after being missing-in-action for a few sessions due to lack of time, a.k.a. lights out.  We didn’t experience lights out during this session (even if we passed 9PM) so we were able to complete our core routines which were more challenging than before.  Of course stretching was still there, but due to the absence of our beloved tarpaulin mats our elbows and knees took the toll (thank goodness for the rubberized surface).  After the session was over, most of us looked like we wiped the floor with our shirts.  Even my knees hurt (not because of running).


TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience, Part 4 (Final)

Finally to conclude my series on The North Face Thrill of the Trail experience, here are my opinions about the race:

When is the next one?


  • The race was one of the most organized races (of any kind) I’ve seen.
  • The Marshals are everywhere, very friendly, accommodating, and informed so they’re not just fillers.
  • Route markers are placed along the trail so you’ll know if you’re still on the right trails.  There are even kilometer markers so you’d know your distance.
  • The difficulty and route of the trail was excellent.  Marshals kept giving precautions to runners on potentially dangerous tracks and ropes were placed where needed for additional safety.
  • The race participants were limited to protect the trail and make the race more manageable.
  • “No race number, no race” policy wasn’t strictly implemented (for forgetful ones like myself).
  • The prizes were generous (although the categories were limited).
  • The race was fun before, during, and after.  The sponsors gave some privilege/discount cards for their products along with some freebies.


  • Limited categories for prizes and having to wear (any) TNF product to be qualified to place, although TNF gave special prizes to the fastest woman on 10K even without the required TNF product.  This was the only thing I could think that isn’t good about the race, and it’s forgivable!

I didn’t win anything but I got to the stage!

Lessons Learned
Since trail running was a new experience for me I could only speculate on what to expect.  Now that it’s done I do have some lessons to share:

  • Don’t forget your race kit. Some races have “No race number, no race” policy so I was thankful this wasn’t the case.
  • Wear trail running shoes. Trail shoes are also good (only heavier and less “breathable”), but not running shoes!  Some of my friends learned this the hard way.  Running shoes are designed to handle tracks and even surfaces, not rough roads—it doesn’t provide the traction you need.
  • Wear “quarter” socks. Any comfortable socks may do but higher-cut socks may help protect your feet from the sharp blades of low grasses or any other low-lying objects.
  • Don’t forget to bring your food. This is basically for before and after the race since you may not know if food is readily available on the site you’d be going.
  • Bring your own hydration solution. It may be a hydration belt but I’d recommend a good hydration bag: it has much more capacity and you can carry a lot more items with you on the trail.  If properly adjusted it’s even more comfortable than some much lighter hydration belt.  Chances are water stations would be limited on trails.
  • Bring a cell phone. You’ll never know when you’d need assistance and chances are trail runs would be held in areas with cellular service coverage.
  • Bring some ID. It’s very helpful in case of emergency.
  • Know the place you’ll run. I didn’t expect Batulao to have Tagaytay weather so I didn’t bring my jacket.  Thankfully it was still within my tolerance level.
  • Know how you’d get there. I also didn’t expect that the Nasugbu-bound buses would take Coastal Road (I thought we’d be passing through South Luzon Expressway, but I was wrong!).
  • Bring along some company. It’s pretty nice to have someone to talk to while you run the trails—unless you’re in it for the win.  Besides, even if you chose to run alone it’s still nice to have some familiar face to chat with before and after the race.
  • Bring a camera (optional). If you don’t have one, bring a friend that has one!  If you or one of your friends is able to bring one I recommend you do.  It’s very nice to have some evidence of your adventures.  Just don’t forget to recharge and make sure you have enough free space.
  • GF405 loves the great outdoors! Too bad it does not handle trails of varying elevations well in computing linear distances.

This race was of course initiated by The North Face with the help of the Pinoy Ultra Runners (PUR).  Neville Manaois, Team Principal of PUR shared his perspective on this race, being the Race Director of the event.  He also answered why the 10K group started earlier than the 20K group.  I salute you guys!

I am a finisher!

Thank you as well to the nice Marshalls at the MPs, I wouldn’t have been officially in the race if it weren’t for you.  Special thanks to my running friends for lending me the camera and for the pictures.

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience Index:


TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience, Part 3

I’ve got so many stories to tell about this trail experience that a single post is not enough to contain it all!  Back to the trail: just as I mentioned before, being able to run with my friends was enough for me, then just passing by MP1 (Marshal Point 1) I was asked nicely by the Marshal what my race number was.  I think my face just light up that moment—I was, incredibly, back in the race!  Of course I memorized what my race number was: 0-2-0.  I even had a picture of it on my phone should it be needed as proof.  With all smiles I gladly replied “twenty!”  I just had to make sure to inform the succeeding Marshals in the following MPs of my number to be sure I was on the results list.

Enjoying the view…

As you may have noticed on the elevation chart (the one I posted with the race route) the trail was a gradual descent for the first half of the race.  The view was just spectacular; add the cool breeze and the rising sun—you can’t have it any better than that.

The right side was actually much steeper than it seems

The trail varied from being wide for those who wishes to really run the race, to being really narrow that only a single person may pass at a time.  I know there were some frustrated runners on these parts of the trail because they can’t overtake slowpokes like us who were just enjoying the sights (and taking pictures!).  I was carrying a camera all throughout the race, sometimes running sidewards and even backwards to take pictures of the sights, my friends, and of course myself (which was very difficult).

It’s difficult to take your own picture while you run, that’s for sure

My NB 811 in action

I really didn’t mind the lone water station on the trail since I had my own water supply and you don’t get dehydrated as fast because of the cool weather.  We were exerting almost normal effort on the trail, except for the steep climbs of course, so we didn’t really got exhausted like in a normal race.  It doesn’t mean that the trail was easy—it’s anything but a walk in the park!

Part of the route…

So you won’t go wrong!

My favorite part of the trail (and for me, the most difficult) was the part you see with the sudden dip and rise in altitude (it was really that steep!).  The ground was dry so it was pretty loose and sliding downwards was inevitable.  The Organizers placed (thankfully) a rope that we could grab on as guide and if ever we lost traction we wouldn’t slide too fast.  At the bottom of this area was a bridge crossing over a small river and then it’s uphill again, a four-wheel drive up (both feet and hands).

This was my favorite part of the trail!

This was how slippery it was…

I was already missing the trail when we saw the paved road (relatively) leading to Caleruega Church—the feeling of grass and ground below your feet was just irreplaceable.  I won’t trade these trails for rubberized tracks, that’s what I thought.  This road was the last stretch to the finish, and with the rising elevation the views of the mountains surrounding the area was even better.  I just love this area around Caleruega Church—it always reminds me of scenes from Cedie (an old animé I grew up with).

Spectacular view of the mountains…

Heading back to the finish there were lots of Marshals that guide us where to go.  Even if it was a trail run, I really felt that we’re really taken cared of.  It was one of the most organized races that I’ve joined so far—easily one of my current favorites.

Yosh! I’m a Finisher!

I was glad I joined this race.  Even if I didn’t have my race bib I was still able to be part of the race, and even got the freebies and certificate.  I finished with no injury despite the challenging trails, and didn’t felt any fatigue at all.

My NB 811’s AFTER picture.

The best part about finishing a race was being “licensed” to eat!  Because of our accommodation at Evercrest, my roomie and I had a complimentary breakfast.  I can’t say anything negative about the food at Evercrest because all that I’ve tried were really good (suddenly I’m a food critique).

My breakfast after the race.

The awarding ceremonies were held at El Patio, Evercrest’s in-house restaurant, where everyone had their well deserved breakfast.  The prizes were just envious—it’s a big bag full of TNF items!  The categories were top 3 finishers, male and female, for 10K and 20K.  It was already mentioned that only those wearing TNF products were qualified to win but TNF gave a special well-deserved prize to the fastest female for 10K (even without any TNF item).

I don’t think I’ve ever taken so much good memories from a race.  Being away from Manila, running on new surfaces, experiencing the great outdoors—everything was memorable.  Of course this race would not have been possible without the initiative of The North Face, the efforts of the Race Director Neville Manaois, Team Principal of Pinoy Ultra Runners, and the sponsors—thank you all very much and congratulations for having a successful great race!  I’m definitely looking forward the next event.  Keep it up!

Thank you TNF!

To all my fellow trail runners, especially to those having their trail debuts congratulations as well!  This was a wonderful start for the New Year!

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience Index:


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