Archive for January, 2009



19
Jan
09

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience, Part 2

TNF Thrill of the Trail was held January 19, 2009 within the premises of Evercrest Golf Resort in KM 72, Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas.  It’s basically a loop around some very good and challenging trails, with the 20K having two laps of the approximately 10K loop.

TNF Trail Route and Elevation courtesy of GF405

TNF Trail Route and Elevation courtesy of my Garmin FR405.

 

Getting There
The starting area was very easy to find, it was along the highway and even public transport were very accessible so we had no problems of getting there.  It was actually my first time to go to the area, and my running mates and I decided just to use public transport so we can all be spared of driving (and getting lost).

There are Batangas-bound buses in Pasay, we took one that goes to Nasugbu, and 67 kilometers later we were there.  It was pretty cheap too, just P111 from Pasay to Evercrest.  Be wary of the time and day you travel as these buses use Coastal Road on the way to Batangas—we learned it the hard way so we lost quite some time to heavy traffic, nonetheless we arrived with enough sunlight to spare and enjoy the breath-taking sunset.

Nice sunset.

Accommodations
Evercrest Golf Resort gave discounts to TNF Trail participants who wanted to stay for the night.  I’m not sure how much the original price was but for me and my running mates it was worth it, the room was excellent: there were two beds (we had an extra one since there were three of us), hot and cold water on the faucet and shower, there was even a bathtub along with standard hotel room amenities, and the package included breakfast and massage for two.

Evercrest Golf Resort, our home for the night.

The view was excellent around the resort and we had time to goof around and took some pictures while there was still sunlight.  (For reasons of privacy I’d basically post only photos with permissions 🙂 )

Where are the ducks?

The weather in the resort was very similar to that of Tagaytay: cool and windy.  The sky was clear but it’s probably as cool, if not cooler, than the bus we rode.  This was quite unexpected but very pleasant to experience.

Running Forgetful
Having a race outside the Metro for the first time also meant bringing along a lot of stuff.  I kept reminding my running mates of things to bring, and guess what, I actually forgot one of the things I reminded them to bring—race bib.  I had some tendencies to forget this but this was actually the first time I actually forgot it!  I only realized it during dinner when I saw a fellow runner’s race bib.  I just thought, “oh no, this isn’t happening… I actually forgot my race bib.”

Running Support
I really intended to be a support to my running mates, especially that one of us is having a 10K debut.  I brought my hydration bag with me on the trail to provide space for any items they may want to bring along.  With my forgotten race bib I thought that I may not join the race and just be a full-pledged support crew for the team (although in this case my support was limited to taking in-race pictures).  I wasn’t really expecting to win anything on the race (especially that I’ve not a single TNF item with me) but I was sad of the possibility that I may not be included in the race results (and be on the DNA list).  Sigh.

My running gear.

Race Day
Having a room that’s about a stone’s throw away (literally) from the starting area was a convenience that we really enjoyed—we didn’t have to travel to get to the race, we were well rested, and best of all we don’t have to wake up that early!

One of the problems we had was the cold breeze: it’s one thing to have a low temperature but to have wind blowing at your face—that’s another! We didn’t expect it to be that cold and windy so I and one of my running mates didn’t bring any jacket.  We only had our regular running attire (shorts and singlet) for the race so it’s quite a challenge for us to even come out of our room.  Only our 10K debutante had warm clothes (and we’re supposed to be the pros at these).

The Start/Finish Line: it was really cold and windy.

We can’t do anything about the weather so we just ignored it.  I just wore my running attire like the usual sans race bib (I was wearing the event singlet so at least they’d know I’m “licensed” to run the trails) plus my hydration bag and off we go to the starting line.  We went to the assembly area just a few minutes before the start and just walked off the cold weather (that served as our warm up).  Apparently I wasn’t the only forgetful one in the race but that didn’t deter us from running, and I think the Organizers were aware of this issue as well so even if I’m not wearing my race bib nobody stopped me from joining the race.  Just being able to join my comrades in the trail was enough for me.  Besides, some other runners probably had their race bib under their sweats and jackets!

The TNF Trail Runners.

The race actually started at 5:59AM (based on GF405).  It was still dark then and curiously, the 10K runners were first off.  The sun was slowly rising as we progress the race so we actually saw sunrise during our trails, and during which we were on high elevation so the view was very good.  The cold weather was no longer an issue a few hundred meters into the race because of the effort exerted in running.  We were actually breaking sweat long before arriving at MP1!

Let’s Go!

More pictures and the continuation of my trail experience on my next post.

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience Index:

18
Jan
09

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience, Part 1

It was truly an amazing race!  I just returned home from one of the best races I’ve ever had!  I have so many stories to share so please bear with me until I’ve compiled the pictures and completed writing about it.  I’ll share it here even if it takes on an installment basis. 🙂  For the mean time I’d like to share with you guys some information about this race held early this morning in the cold and breezy trails of Nasugbu, Batangas, courtesy of my new GF405 (I told you I had stories to tell):

TNF Trail Route and Elevation courtesy of GF405

TNF Trail Route and Elevation courtesy of my Garmin FR405.

For a more interactive information on this run, you may visit my Garmin Connect activities at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/1834519.

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience Index:

15
Jan
09

Air Max Burger Anyone?

Olle Hemmendorff together with 7 other creatives/designers/photographers/artists were commissioned by Nike to interpret 8 Nike Sportswear icons.  He chose Air Max 90, and according to him:

“In the tradition of material innovation of AM 90, I constructed a running shoe using the most powerful, most durable and most delicious material known to man: hamburger.”

Air Max 90 Burger

Air Max 90 Burger

I sure would love to have a bite at that burger!

14
Jan
09

Nike Run Clinic Session 17

It’s another great run session at the Ultra continuing where we left off from last week.

Nike Running

Warming up was a bit of a problem for some as the temperature was mild.  It takes a bit more time before our muscles get really warm and we perspired less, but this made running more pleasant.  Like past sessions, it started with a warm-up run, 5 laps or a total of 2K, followed by some routines and stretching.

The 42K group had 3×4×400M, or 3 sets of 4 laps each, a total of 4.8K while the 21K group where I belong had 3×3×400, or 3 sets of 3 laps each, a total of 3.6K.  Both groups had a 1 lap walk as rest in between sets.  The other groups had 3×3×300M or 2.7K.

My summary:
Warm up: 5×400M (2K, 10:00 est.)
Intervals: 3×3×400M (3.6K, 14:00 est.)
Total: 5.6K

There was a surprisingly huge turnout of people at the Ultra during the session, not all of them are run clinic participants though (Ultra is not exclusive to Nike Run Clinic).  Nonetheless, the coaches managed the crowd well and we got back to our respective groups for our program and continued our intervals.  I missed some familiar faces and I saw a lot of new ones.  The first time participants had a separate group so they still are “in the game.”

Sharing the tracks with so many people was very difficult but fortunately there were no collisions.  We had to run in a very tight pack, most of the time occupying only lane 1.  Imagine running at a pace of about 1:30 per lap with about 8 people all running on a single lane!  The group pacer had to constantly shout “Lane 1 Please!” to alert people to clear the lane as we approach.  These constant shouting actually worked to help us pass safely and also taught people some courtesy in using and sharing the tracks.  Despite the volume of people on the track, our group managed a time of 1:38-1:26 per lap, give or take a few seconds to each member’s time as we were constantly running on tight packs.

Like last week we ran short of time before we got to finish our final routines so we only managed to do stretching—sans core again.  Ultra has a “lights out” time of 9PM and since not everyone finishes their intervals at the same time, some finished their complete cool down routine, while some, like us, only had a portion.  I hope that Ultra gives us a bit of an extension next time since our program intensity would increase over the next sessions so we may need more time (2 hours is too short especially now that the number of participants is increasing).

I’m really enjoying these recent sessions: maybe because we are starting to get to know each other, and maybe because we are improving.  Maybe that’s also the reason that we find our 2 hour run session a bit short.

13
Jan
09

Race Update 03: TNF Thrill of the Trail

I just got my race kit for this race last night from R.O.X.  It includes a race bib, a singlet, and a course map with some race information.  You have to sign a waiver and pay the registration fee to complete the registration process.  The race starts and ends at Evercrest Golf Resort, KM 71, Nasugbu, Batangas.

TNF Thrill of the Trail Race Kit

TNF Thrill of the Trail Race Kit

Here’s some information included with the kit:

  • First aid and water will be available at the Start/Finish (base camp), Basketball court after MP02 (Caylaway Elementary School), and roving marshals along the trail.
  • Baggage deposit service will be available at the base camp from 5AM to 10AM.
  • Limited parking will be available inside the Evercrest compound; side roads within the vicinity map may be utilized however.
  • Locker/shower rooms will be available at the Evercrest resort for Php250.

Race Map

TNF Trail Map

TNF Trail Course Map

Course Description

Station # Location name Est. distance to
next point (km)
Course type
START Evercrest Driveway 0.5 Cemented road; flat
MP01 Evercrest Junction 2.1 Dirt road; flat
MP02 Caylaway Elementary School 2.1 Dirt road;
gradual descent
Aid Station Basketball court 1.3 Single tracks cutting across corn fields; trail will run on the rim of the ridge parallel to a river on the last 0.6K
MP03 Bridge-taas 0.3 Trail drops to a steep slope
MP04 10K Junction/
Loop
1.0 Trail at some point becomes double track as it wind its way
MP05 Summit Junction 2.3 The trail becomes a concrete road passing the Church of Caleruega; gradual climb
MP01/
20K Loop
Evercrest Junction 0.5 10K runners turn left to the finish line / base camp;
20K runners turn right for another duel with the trail

Based on the course description above, the 10K course would have a total estimated distance of 10.1K while the 20K course would only be 19.2K!  I guess we’ll just have to run the trail to find out the actual distance for sure.

12
Jan
09

New Gears for New Year

It’s barely halfway into January but I decided to get some additional gears for running for the activities I planned for the year.  It’s one of the best times to buy as there are countless discount sales in various stores and malls—a lot of items aren’t really out of season—just to stimulate sales.

Meet the new gears

First thing I got was the mostly needed: a pair of trail shoes.  My timing was perfect—I got the pair that I like with the colors I love at 40% discount!  I got myself a pair of New Balance 811 (MTK811BK), colored black, and as I earlier stated 40% off the regular retail price.

New Balance 811

New Balance 811

I’ve been craving for a pair of New Balance for quite some time now and finally I got one.  Trail shoes are a new experience for me, and currently I’m putting it on a “break-in” test (so far it’s passing with flying colors on pavement, we’ll see how it fares on real trails on Sunday).  Here are some of its features, courtesy www.nbwebexpress.com:

  • Abzorb® EX heel provides durable cushioning and shock absorption
  • Abzorb® cushioning in the forefoot for exceptional shock absorption
  • C-CAP® midsole provides cushioning and support
  • AT Tread® all-terrain outsole combines a running and trail lug configuration for on- and off-road use
  • N-Durance® rubber compound for maximum outsole durability
  • Synthetic/Mesh upper provides lightweight comfort and support
  • Stability Shank embedded into midsole supports the arch and helps create a smoother gait
  • Shoe Weight: 357 grams (12.6 oz)

The next gear could be considered related to trail running: a light backpack for trails and road runs, a.k.a. runabouts (a term I got from Baldrunner).  I got a red Sandugo Pilot 10+5 (10% off the retail price, bladder not included but has a special discounted price when purchased with a bag) as recommended by a trekker friend.

Sandugo Pilot 10+5

Sandugo Pilot 10+5

Being “self-sufficient” on runabouts I plan on taking soon after I get my next gear (to be featured later when it arrives) is a feat I’d like to achieve.  Getting support on the road could be very difficult so it’s better to be prepared and have the essentials right in your back.  Of course nobody wants to run with a very big bag on their back.

It felt like Christmas again after I got these items which are now part of my new set of running gears.  I’m still eagerly waiting for one more to complete the set.  If you plan on expanding your gears now is a good time to check out the stores while there are still good items on sale.  However, after the euphoria is over, you just feel a bit sore, especially around your wallet!

11
Jan
09

Nike Run Clinic LSD

Earlier today Nike Run Clinic held its first LSD at UP Diliman.  This was the first opportunity we had the chance to do so since there are no races this weekend, and what’s good with this special session of the Run Clinic was that it was open to everyone, and even included free Rush Fitness Water and Hidden Spring Mineral Water.  Thank you sponsors!

I was delighted with this LSD because it gave me an opportunity to run not only with my Run Clinic classmates but also with my officemates and also some of my friends from takbo.ph.  Surely it was a very pleasant change of pace and venue and hopefully this happens again during free weekends.  And of course what I really liked about running in UP that you don’t get at Ultra or BHS (Bonifacio High Street) is having taho afterwards.

The LSD session started a few minutes after 6AM.  It was still dark at that time and you can hardly recognize fellow runners so we had to wait a little to have some more light (the street lights were turned off early despite still being dark).  We had all the freedom to choose our route but my running buddy and I chose to have an hour and a half run regardless of distance, in line with our goal of 21K race on March, hence we weren’t sure of our exact run distance (which was at least 10K).

Another thing I liked about this LSD was the presence of our Coaches which were patient enough to guide us in our stretching (we had special treatment because it was just my running buddy and I during our stretching).

Having a running buddy during an LSD is not required but is highly recommended.  Running on your own for more than an hour could be very dull, especially when you’re running in loops, and it’s probably better to have a running buddy than a music player.  Chatting with a buddy also keeps you aware of how deep your breathing is so you know if you should slow down your pace.  This was actually my longest run time-wise but I’d choose this anytime over any few-minute treadmill run because of this “human factor.”

One misconception others have about LSD was that it involves running really long distances so some are intimidated to join one—it’s not!  There’s an “S” there that stands for “slow.”  The “long” part was just a by-product of running slowly (on your comfortable pace) for quite some time.  It could also mean long time—however long or short you want to.

I enjoyed meeting all you guys today, you know who you are (too many to mention) and I hope to have more LSD sessions with you in the future!




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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
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