Race Recap: Salomon X-Trail Run 2016

I had forgotten when I last ran the trails so when the opportunity to do so came, I quickly grabbed the opportunity.  Knowing the past editions of Salomon X-Trail, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy—and it really wasn’t as we all figured out.

The 32K participants awaiting their gun start

The first quarter of the year came by so fast I didn’t realize that I’ve not set myself to run long distance.  But I’m determined to run Salomon X-Trail Run nonetheless so I opted for the 12K.  You could say it’s for beginners, but I’m not really trying to prove anything here—I just wanted to run the trails without stressing myself about having enough training or making it within cutoff, etc.

We departed from Bonifacio High Street past midnight.  It was basically just hours after my shift at work so I had no sleep.  I tried to get some snooze along the way but of course it’s not the same as sleeping in your bed.  Nonetheless, we arrived in the starting area hours later in a good state.

Since we arrived early and my race would not start until a few hours later, I had plenty of time to relax and even watch the gun start of the 32K and 24K events.  I also got a sneak peek at the “surprise” that awaited us at the finish line that was hiding in the darkness of the night.

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

I started my race pretty easy with Roselle “Running Diva,” cruising at an easy 6:30/km pace on the flat asphalt roads on the first few kilometers of the route.  She told me to go ahead so I eventually ran ahead to take advantage of the relatively flat terrain.  And then the uphills started…

During the early stages of the 12K leg (can you see me? :D)
(Courtesy Salomon Philippines on Facebook)

The stream crossing was one of the interesting points along our 12K route.  For the first half, it was mostly uphill, with the path mostly only changing from wide and powdery dirt road to the narrow and a bit dusty towards the peak.  My shoes sometimes sink about an inch into the powdery dirt road so it eventually turned earth-colored!  Many of these dry dirt was shrugged off when we ran on the narrow trails, but it was at these parts were some of the grasses were burned so it got dusty at some sections.

The stream-crossing section of the route
This about sums up the entirety of the first half of the 12K route

Before I even reached the peak of our route (turn-around of the 12K), my shoes started falling apart.  On the way up, my left shoe lost its outsole.  This made it a bit painful to land on my left foot as there’s only a thin layer separating my sock and the ground.  And on the way back, it was mostly downhills so I was landing with hardly any cushion.  And as I reached the wide, powdery sections, the right shoe gave way as well.  I had to be very cautious on my landing as there were plenty of exposed rocks that could readily pierce my remaining layer of protection.  On the bright side though, my feet were balanced—even the blisters that I got which were two on both feet.

On the way back…I think I already lost the outsoles of both my shoes here
(Courtesy Salomon Philippines on Facebook)

I already knew what was waiting for us at the finish line but for those who were ahead of me didn’t, and were caught by surprise.  Most of them asked if they really had to crawl through the mud, and the answer was always yes!  Even I hesitated because I didn’t want to get mud all over me, but I was guaranteed to have some pictures taken as I do it so I complied.  Good thing that the net wasn’t that low so I was able to reduce getting dirt above the waist.

After going through the mud crawl and crossing the finish line
(Courtesy Salomon Philippines on Facebook)

I was expecting a nice shower after going through the muddy finish line, but there were only some containers with water where we could wash up.  We don’t really have anything to use to pour these water on ourselves so we ended up using our water bottles to wash ourselves.  It was anything but pleasant, but it would do.

My shoes after the race

Changing clothes was pretty interesting for me.  It was quite a windy day and our changing area being a tent, the “walls” kept getting blown so it was never totally closed.  I honestly didn’t know how I’d be able to change my clothes as anyone from the right angle can see anyone changing inside the tent.  I didn’t have much choice so I just went on in the hope that no one saw me buck naked!

Post-race activities included items for sale from sponsors, raffles and games, free food for finishers including ice-cold beers and energy drinks!  I think this was my first time to drink beer after a race!

Ice-cold beer after the race…

Overall, my Salomon X-Trail Run experience did not disappoint.  There were sufficient water and sports drinks along the route, the routes were clearly marked where applicable, and the post-race amenities were one of the most fun and generous I’ve ever encountered.  I may have run only a short distance of the race, but it was more than enough to fulfill my weekend.  Sure it’s not perfect, but it’s not enough for me not to look forward for next year’s event.

To all finishers, Congratulations!  You may view the race results here.

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