Posts Tagged ‘Batulao

16
Mar
10

TNF100 Philippines 2010: Prep Up

This year one of the region’s toughest ultramarathon race is back, The North Face 100.  For its 2010 edition it would be held in the Philippines’ summer capital, Baguio City (1,500 meters above sea level).  TNF100 is not your “typical” trails—the higher elevation should pose a greater challenge.

TNF100 holds a special place in my heart for being my first ever ultra.  BDM may be my longest distance-wise and fastest ultramarathon so far but TNF100 still holds my most difficult and longest race time-wise.  It’s not surprising that it comes with a 30-hour cutoff.  (TNF50 has an extended 18-hour cutoff, 22K with 4.5, and 11K with 3)

Categories

Unlike previous editions wherein the 100K can be taken as solo or relay, TNF100 now boasts a new category: 50K solo.  This should open the doors to new ultra-trail runners who want to “test” the trails but aren’t up to take on the full challenge that is TNF100.  For beginners there are also 11K and 22K categories.

Registration

Registration is ongoing at The North Face branches, ROX, and Res-Toe-Run branches but you better hurry as slots are limited: 11K and 22K with 40 slots each per branch; 50K and 100K with 10 slots each per branch.  Registration fees for 100K and 50K solo are P2,000 and P500 for 11K and 22K.  Don’t forget your provisional receipt (for race kit claiming) and 20% discount coupon upon registration.

Preparation

For those who would be joining (or considering joining) their first TNF100 (or TNF50) I can only advice based on my previous TNF100 experience in Sacobia, Clark as I am not familiar with this year’s route myself.  I’ve only been to Baguio City once and I know for a fact that the elevation may take a toll to “lowlanders,” especially to those who don’t climb.  I was running for only about half a year when I finished my first ultra (with only a 21K race to boast), and I’ve only had two major training sessions that prepared me for it:

  1. Km 0 – 56 (Manila to Tagaytay)

    View from Km 0

    This ultramarathon distance long run was where I had my first marathon distance and my first ultramarathon distance.  It was crash-course training for TNF100 that served as my test of endurance as it was a 56K worth of gradual uphill.

  2. Mt. Maculot Traverse

    Team Maculet

    Not intended to be part of my training, this recreational climb doubled as such when we encountered “surprises” during our climb.  It was supposed to be an “easy” climb which turned into a very challenging traverse.

Unexpectedly another recent climb of ours now served as my altitude training:

  • Suggested Climb: Mt. Pulag [1, 2]

    First light at Mt. Pulag

    The tallest peak in Luzon at 2,922 masl, acclimatizing at this altitude would make Baguio City feel like a lowland.

For those doing their first trail run (participants of 11K and 22K), I suggest that you read about my first trail run in Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas—TNF Thrill of the Trail 2009 [1, 2, 3, 4].

Shopping

It is highly likely that the mandatory gears of last year’s events are still mandatory this year so you may want to start from there.  It is also most likely that the “self-sufficient” rule still applies, so when it comes to it you may want to shop for something like this (note that I wasn’t able to consume it all and ended up hauling a lot of it back to Manila!).

Hungry?

Recollection

If you still feel uneasy about TNF100 or want to find out what you may expect during race day, here’s my 2009 TNF100 story:

Sunrise during 2009 TNF100

Unlike road ultramarathons you can’t really make a detailed plan on trails unless you’re quite familiar with the terrain of the route.  All you can do is take into account what is known and prepare for possible scenarios you might encounter along the way.  As what we’ve learned last year being a seasoned ultramarathoner doesn’t guarantee success and inversely even newbies can finish.  Believe, and you can achieve!  Brace yourself folks for yet another experience of a lifetime!  Stay tuned for further updates.

02
Jan
10

2009: Year in Review (Part 1: Expense)

2009 was the year running went mainstream—a lot of people are doing it, even celebrities are endorsing it.  With its popularity explosion a lot of events were staged jumping into the bandwagon.  As with the law of supply and demand running became “in-demand” so naturally mean race fees skyrocketed to all-time highs.  Here are some of the net least and most expensive races for the year:

Most Expensive

3. Timex Run (21K)
Location: Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Overhead: Standard
Race Fee: Expensive

The most expensive race of 2009 (only entry #1 was more expensive in terms of registration fee) in terms of value for money.  It set the bar higher, not in terms of innovation, but in terms of prices.

Value for money: Acceptable

2. The North Face Thrill of the Trail (Trail Run)
Location: Batulao, Batangas
Overhead: Travel to Batangas
Race Fee: Standard

Trail runs normally are second liners in terms of expense since it’s normally held out of town and target participants are normally limited.

Value for money: Excellent

1. The North Face 100 (100K Ultramarathon)
Location: Sacobia, Clark
Overhead: Accommodations (optional), Travel to Clark, In-Race Supplies
Race Fee: Expensive

This comes as a no surprise as ultra-marathons are naturally the most expensive among running events, particularly if it’s multi-day (more than 24 hours cutoff).  The fact that you need to have food, first aid, night gears, etc. adds to the normally out of town costs.

Value for money: Excellent

Least Expensive

3. Kenny’s Open Urbanite Run (Night Run)
Location: Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Overhead: Standard
Race Fee: Expensive

Its price tag was one of the most expensive overall at P600 but P200 of which goes to charity, another P200 as food stub, netting just P200 for the race which utilized a disposable timing chip.

Value for money: Excellent

2. Mommy Milkshake (Fun Run)
Location: Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Overhead: Standard
Race Fee: Free

The lone free race for 2009, it can’t get any cheaper than that!  The generous goodie bag adds more value to this race.

Value for money: Excellent

1. Globe Run for Home (21K)
Location: Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Overhead: Standard
Race Fee: Standard

Standard race fees but in the form of prepaid mobile credits made this race practically free!  Disposable timing chips were also first introduced with this race making this the most value-packed race for the year!

Value for money: Excellent

01
Jul
09

runningpinoy’s 2009 Midyear Report

2009 is my first full year of running and with the first half completed its time to have a look back at some of my highlights for the first six months of the year.

January

The year started with “bi-polar” races: one was well praised and the other went in infamy.  Of course I’m referring to TNF Thrill of the Trail in Nasugbu, Batangas and PSE Bull Run in Bonifacio Global City, respectively.  While people can’t stop being enthusiastic about their wonderful experience with the trails of Batulao and the race overall (including myself), it was the complete opposite on the other side of the track—I’ve never heard of so much complaints about a race and it probably had the record of the longest queue at the finish.

Thrill of the Trail, Nasugbu, Batangas

The following weekend race was probably redemption for a lot of runners with the Happy Run—another RunRio event that was one of the most organized and fun race of the year thus far.

With some happy runners

It was also during this month that I acquired my Garmin 405—just a day before we were off for Batangas for the TNF Thrill of the Trails where it had an excellent stage for a debut.  Also having a debut on this race was my first trail shoes, New Balance 811.

Garmin Forerunner® 405

Garmin Forerunner® 405

February

February was the first month since I started running that I had zero races.  This was the first of two months that I was in Ohio, USA and in spite of being race-less I was not run-less: the below freezing temperature wasn’t enough to stop me from running outdoors—an experience that I suggest everyone try at least once in their lives.  While I was “chilling” on the other side of the world the race scene in the Philippines ensued the love month.  There wasn’t much high-profile races for this month making my craving for races more bearable.

My winter gear: a runner’s beanie, windbreaker with regular white cotton t-shirt, pair of gloves, thermal tights, cushioned socks, and trail running shoes

My winter gear: a runner’s beanie, windbreaker with regular white cotton t-shirt, pair of gloves, thermal tights, cushioned socks, and trail running shoes

Before leaving for the US I managed to have my first LSD (Long Slow Distance) run along one of the dreaded routes in the Metro—EDSA, from North Ave. all the way to the SM Mall of Asia grounds.

After finishing my EDSA LSD

After finishing my EDSA LSD

March

By the time race season was starting in the US due to the arrival of spring I was unfortunate enough to be packing my bags for home thereby missing the opportunity to participate in races stateside, but on the bright side I was back for one of the most anticipated races of the year—Condura Run.  This race was one of the rare opportunities to run on the SkyWay and was also my first half-marathon and first race medal.  Also first for this event was the Carbo-Loading Party of takbo.ph which they say was a first for a half-marathon race.

Running with friends at the SkyWay

Running with friends at the SkyWay

April

This was the month of LSDs for me as there were only a handful of races set.  Among these routes were Commonwealth Ave. to Bonifacio High Street via C5; Commonwealth Ave. to SM Mall of Asia via Quezon Ave., España Ave., and Roxas Blvd.; and my first LSD on trails in Montalban.

View from the summit of Montalban

View from the summit of Montalban

Arguably the highlight race of this month was the Greenfield City Run in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.  With its free shuttle service many runners were given chance to run outside Metro Manila and experience the fresh landscape of the rural areas.

Another finishers medal courtesy of Greenfield City Run

Another finisher’s medal courtesy of Greenfield City Run

May

May boasts the longest and one of the most difficult races in the country, The North Face 100 (or simply TNF100).  Many underestimated the trails of Sacobia, Clark before they even embarked on it so it was a shock for many, even seasoned ultramarathoners, on how difficult this race was this year resulting in only a select few proud finishers.  This was my first attempt at an ultramarathon and I am very proud to be one of the few finishers of this race.  It was also my longest distance-wise at 100K, and time-wise at 30 hours (raw time that includes eating, resting, and some dozing off).

Sunrise during TNF100

Sunrise during TNF100

May also sparked my return to trekking with our initial climb to the summit of Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas.  This became a “team-building” activity for me and my takbo.ph friends and because we had taken an unexpectedly difficult trail it also served as my training for TNF100 that followed two weeks after.

Having breakfast on the summit of Mt. Maculot

Having breakfast on the summit of Mt. Maculot

The month was ended by a rivalry of two high-profile races: The Earth Run at McKinley Hill and Microsoft’s IE8 Run at Bonifacio Global City.  It was a difficult time for runners on which “side” to choose but in the end The Earth Run came out with being more competitive and having more attendance.

Medal from the Earth Run

Medal from the Earth Run

June

The month kicked off with another high-profile and highly anticipated race, the Mizuno Infinity Run.  Coming from a popular footwear brand, this race has a good set of followers which were not disappointed with the race outcome as it became the first race to have a “Time Challenge.”  This year’s participants had their finish time recorded for next year’s race where they can challenge their previous record for a chance of a prize.

Kicking off June with Mizuno Infinity Run

Kicking off June with Mizuno Infinity Run

The second week of June was the Independence Week with the 12th of the month being the Independence Day of the Philippines.  For a change I left my running shoes home and put on my trail running shoes for the first Freedom Climb—40 summits nationwide simultaneously having flag raising ceremonies to commemorate the occasion.  It was the first official climb of our takbo.ph offshoot group, the RunHikers as a group, in Pico de Loro, Cavite.

On our way to Pico de Loro during Freedom Climb

On our way to Pico de Loro during Freedom Climb

If May brags of an ultra-trail race, June is not far with an ultra and trails.  More like a month-wide split of the TNF100, June had an ultramarathon road race: Botak 100, and two trail run (and bike) races: King of the Mountain (KOM) in Timberland and Men’s Health All Terrain in Sta. Elena, Laguna.

Sunrise over Sta. Elena, Laguna during Mens Health All Terrain

Sunrise over Sta. Elena, Laguna during Men’s Health All Terrain

The All Terrain race was a good race overall especially for introducing trail runs for beginners.  The race was well-organized flawed only by the fact that the trails were a little dull.  This was salvation for Men’s Health reputation from their abysmal past races.

Finally to close the first half of the year was Botak 100—the first ultramarathon road race in Mega Manila.  Despite Botak’s attempt to salvage their reputation from the last race that plagued them, it was “A” (H1N1) viral issue that hampers their efforts.  That issue led them to postpone the side events of this race to the dismay of some runners (myself included).  Fortunately enough the ultramarathon road race pulled their reputation forward that Botak could be proud to say that they “pulled it off.”  Surely there were still a lot of shortcomings but as an “active spectator” all these issues were negligible.  Welcome back, Botak!

Pacer at Botak 100

Pacer at Botak 100 (courtesy Marvin)

Truly it was a roller-coaster ride for the first half—events fell on either side of the poles.  From the best to the worst these races and other side events really made the first half of 2009 quite remarkable.  Now that the second half is about to begin, will it be able to outshine the half that was?  Or will the race organizers sit on their laurels and stop innovation?  I guess we’ll all find out soon enough.




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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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