Posts Tagged ‘RunHikers

31
Dec
09

2009 Favorite Running Moments: In Pictures

Running has taken me to places I never imagined I’ll go to and for my first full year of running the year broke all previous records not only in terms of distance covered, and pictures taken!  2009 toll: about 20 gigabytes worth of pictures and videos, around 11,500 files.  Among these, here are some of my favorites:

January

Transition: from Bench Pedometer watch to Garmin Forerunner 405

TNF Thrill of the Trail: my first trail run and magazine appearance, Side Trip Magazine April-June 2009 edition

Happy Run: First 15K

February

EDSA: First LSD

LSD with takbo.ph

First winter run (Ohio, USA)

March

Condura Run: First 21K

April

Trail run at Montalban with takbo.ph

May

Takbo.ph goes climbing to Mt. Maculot

TNF100: First ultramarathon (100K)

June

Debut climb of the RunHikers at Pico de Loro

Back on trails with Men’s Health All Terrain

Back at ultra via Botak100 (as a pacer)

July

First Marathon via Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations

August

Repeat of Manila-Tagaytay ultramarathon long run (56K)

Ninoy Aquino Day Run

September

Mommy Milkshake

October

Reaching out through Angel Brigade

Pacer duty at QCIM

First sundown marathon via SIM

November

Chillax pacing during Timex Run

Running in Ilocos

December

Running in Singapore

2009 was a splendid year indeed for me, and hopefully yours as well.  Let us make 2010 a better year for everyone and be the change we want to be.  Happy New Year everyone!

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.

17
Jun
09

Freedom Climb Chronicles (Part 3: Day Two, The Summit of Pico de Loro)

4AM: Time to get up.  The day of the assault to the summit has come.  It was a first time for me and a few in our group to reach Pico de Loro’s beak, I mean peak, and despite seeing the pictures there’s nothing better than actually being there.  Excited?  Yes!  (But still sleepy)

Begin the assault

Begin the assault

Welcome!

Welcome!

5AM: The assault begins!  The sun still hasn’t risen up but it is definitely starting to light up the sky.  The trails were barely visible at that time but it was gradually getting brighter.  Gab and his group would be staying at camp and cook breakfast for us (thank you guys!) so we were able to leave a lot of things and trek light. This was very beneficial for us since the ascent got much more difficult and steep.  Along the way we passed by the last campsite before summit where numerous groups were camped and also met a lot of fellow hikers as well.  It was an endless exchange of greetings.

At the last camping area before the summit

At the last camping area before the summit

Finally, the moment of truth.  The most challenging part of this adventure was getting to the summit itself.  There’s nothing to hold onto on these parts but grass!  Add to that the very steep gradients and wind!   At this point if you’re scared of heights there’s only one direction you should look: up!

Endless Fog

Endless Fog

6AM: After amassing strength to conquering the final leg the summit was upon us.  It wasn’t a very big area so not very many people would fit.  We were glad to be the first to arrive but unfortunately we were deprived of the legendary panorama—the clouds were so thick the visibility was very short.

The RunHikers at the summit of Pico de Loro (myself behind the camera)

The RunHikers at the summit of Pico de Loro (myself behind the camera)

While waiting for the sky to clear up

While waiting for the sky to clear up

With our event shirt on

With our event shirt on (Pepsi behind camera)

After staying at the summit for about an hour with no signs of the sky clearing up anytime soon we decided to head back down.  On our way down we encountered all the other hikers coming up to the summit for the flag raising ceremonies of the Freedom Climb event.  We were so excited to reach the summit that we forgot our flags at base camp.  We also didn’t expect the ceremonies to be that late (it was past 7AM when we crossed trails with the people heading the event) so it was unfortunate that we didn’t get to be with the actual ceremonies.

This was the best view we got of the other peak

This was the best view we got of the other peak

Low visibility: these fellows were just a few meters away from us

Low visibility: these fellows were just a few meters away from us

Time to head back to camp

Time to head back to camp

Pic stop en route (Mar behind the camera)

Pic stop en route (Mar behind the camera)

Upon arriving at our base camp breakfast was waiting for us—how sweet!  We didn’t really have long time to spare so after eating we packed all our things and started to scale down before 10AM.  Like our earlier descent we met more hikers on our way down but surprisingly enough this batch looked like they were going to the mall as some were wearing short shorts and slippers and some even brought along their little kids.

The sky cleared at the summit just when we were at base camp :(

The sky cleared at the summit just when we were at base camp 😦

The entire gang

The entire gang

Upon arriving at the jump off point our service was there but unfortunately it wasn’t the same RunHiker Mobile—it was a van.  Yes we all fit (barely like sardines inside the can) and it has air-conditioning but it’s not as charming as the previous one.  Before finally heading off for Manila we stopped by some eateries along the way for some “real” food.  A few of us were dropped off along the way so it was just the core RunHikers on the final stop.  Trekking being a physically-demanding activity it was just natural that we were hungry and stopped by a nearby bakeshop for deserts.  This was the end of our Pico de Loro adventure but this was not the end of our weekend activity.  What happened next was an entirely new chapter.

Notes to remember

Notes to remember

I would like to thank Mar and Gab for making this memorable climb such a wonderful experience for us especially the first timers.  Likewise, thank you to the hardcores: Cindy, Ayen, Ana, Joseph and Sir Gary for supporting us and making the adventure fun.  Thank you all for bearing with the lesser-experienced wanna-be mountaineers like myself!  I hope you enjoyed it as much as we do and hope to have more stories with you guys.  To my fellow RunHikers thank you for the company and it was always a pleasure to do anything with you guys.  This is definitely just the beginning of many more activities to come.  (Some photos on this series from first to current courtesy Rodel, “the Argonaut”)

RunHikers post-climb

RunHikers post-climb

The RunHikers

No longer are we just runners.  No longer are we just hikers.
We are the RunHikers!

16
Jun
09

Freedom Climb Chronicles (Part 2: Day One, Assault to Base Camp)

9:30AM at the jump off point of Pico de Loro: the group was complete and set for the climb.  A steep incline immediately greets us and although not that difficult it was a nice welcome.

The jump off point

The jump off point

Prepping to start trekking

Prepping to start trekking

Mar (The Forefoot Runner) and myself before starting the climb

Mar (The Forefoot Runner) and myself before starting the climb

The trails of Pico de Loro were very nice.  Despite being a very popular trekking destination it was so nice to see that it was very clean—I salute the people maintaining the place for keeping things in order and also the responsible trekkers as well for keeping their litter in place.   Of course not everyone shares the same passion for nature so it dismays me to tell you that the trails were not spared and were still vandalized by some graffitis at various points (trees, rocks, and some signages were the victims).

Starting the climb

Starting the climb

Another thing that I liked in these trails was clean flowing water.  Although most weren’t fit for drinking (due to some whitish discoloration) it was good enough in general for cleaning.  There were lots of streams along the way and the trail gradients were excellent for everyone: not very difficult for beginners but still have its fair share of challenges.

Nice horsey...

Nice horsey...

By about 10AM we were at our “planned” base camp.  This area boasts of a flowing clean potable water and spacious enough for several tents—an ideal space for camping.  Inadvertently we had to purge this plan because of “a” reason that although I detest a lot and want to exclaim I’ll just keep with the few members of the group.  With that irritating experience (which caused me to run back and forth, up and down some distance of the trail, alone) I’ve learned a few things about trekking:

  • Buddy system. No one should be left alone, and on the other hand don’t leave your group without telling anyone.
  • Speak up. You can always tell the group what’s in your head if you want to do something so your comrades aren’t left in the dark bewildering what you’re trying to accomplish.
  • Be a team-player. You’re part of the group, act as a member of the group.  No secret schemes for personal gratification.
  • Share. Not limited to food or tent space, share what you feel, know, and concerns.  You may be at the giving or receiving side of this equation but chances are you’ll have your share of both during your trek.
  • Respect. Respect for nature, your comrades, and yourself.

Although the above list could be merged in fewer items, I just like to iterate it as such for emphasis.  No plan is foolproof and outdoors it’s always nature’s call but these things make for a better “living standards.”

Goofing around at the “planned” base camp

Goofing around at the “planned” base camp

After some brief discussions with the heads of the group it was decided to move the base camp further up the trail near the waterfall.  This new base camp was closer to the summit and had much wider clearing but as a tradeoff the water supply in the area was, although clean, not potable.

Where to?

Where to?

It was noontime when we arrived at our new base camp.  Of course the first agenda was setting up a camp.  Afterwards the “masters of the kitchen trails” prepared and cooked our food while some were eating their packed lunch and some were dosing off.

After arriving at our new base camp

After arriving at our new base camp

View from our base camp

View from our base camp

The group was basically a convergence of two groups: the hardcore mountaineering group of Gab and the RunHikers.  Despite some of us only getting acquainted for the first time this was never in anyway an issue and the group functioned as one and immediately bonded, especially during the non-stop “bonding activities” we had all afternoon which ensued all throughout the night.

Setting up camp

Setting up camp

As a casual day hiker I’m always impressed with the arsenals that my more experienced colleagues carry.  I’m even more impressed with the load they carry but what I’m most impressed about was their outstanding culinary skills!  With these guys gone are the days of boring camping foods of the usual canned goods or ready to eat meals.  Our menu for this day was the attestation of these dexterities: Carbonara Pasta, Teriyaki Chicken, Sinigang, and Adobo.  Note that these were not packed lunch but were prepared and cooked on site!  It’s like al-fresco dining on trails!

Chef Gab in action

Chef Gab in action

The darkness of night wasn’t able to slow us down and it was about 11PM when we decided to call it a day.  Even then chatting didn’t stop inside our individual tents.  Being a day hiker there was never a need for me to sleep inside a tent (we never got a chance to sleep during our Mt. Maculot adventure) so I’ll admit it was an interesting experience for me, although not a very cozy one (which would serve as my tent-buying guide).  It’s one of those scenarios where more height was a disadvantage.

Darkness falls but still we stay up

Darkness falls but still we stay up

Being in remote areas at night gives you a feeling of being closer to nature.  I first experienced this during my TNF100 ultra trail run and since then I’ve always liked the calmness it brings, especially seeing the much more starry skies of the mountains.  It was these skies that the ancients looked upon and believed to tell the future.  Tomorrow is part of the future, and tomorrow is where the real adventure begins.  Although tomorrow arrives in less than an hour, we can only dream what tomorrow may bring.  What’s in store for us tomorrow, I don’t think these stars would tell.

(To be continued)

14
Jun
09

Freedom Climb Chronicles (Part 1: The Birth of the RunHikers)

It was another one of those long weekends in the country with this year’s Philippine Independence Day, June 12, falling exactly on a Friday.  For the first time Filipino mountaineers stand united to create the first Freedom Climb—a flag-raising ceremony to be held atop 40 summits nationwide to commemorate the occasion.

6AM Baclaran, Parañaque City: the first meeting of the RunHikers—an offshoot group from the takbo.ph family composed of amateur and veteran hikers alike, as an official mountaineering group.  This group was unofficially formed during our first assault on Mt. Maculot summit last May 08, 2009.  The bonds that were formed by the team persisted long after the climb and inevitably lead to the group’s conception.  Coming up with a group name that incorporates both our passion for running and hiking was not an easy task, but since it was urgently needed for registration purposes for this event, Mar (The Forefoot Runner)—the mastermind of the group, had to pick one and RunHikers was derived.  Although the original cast of the group wasn’t all present for this climb, we were glad to have new members and another hardcore mountaineering group with us.

I was surprised to find out that we have our own ride for this event—it was an old baby bus that we could probably call our RunHiker Mobile.  There’s nothing fancy about it and we all fit so it was perfect.  I even thought that traveling like this is charming because we often travel so protected inside our vehicles that we don’t notice and feel the outside world.  Isn’t it nice to feel the wind blowing in your face?  By 7AM we were finally off for Cavite—Pico de Loro here we come!

The RunHiker Mobile

The RunHiker Mobile

All aboard!

All aboard!

Inside the RunHiker Mobile

Inside the RunHiker Mobile

Stopping over for some more food

Stopping over for some more food

At about 9AM we arrived near the starting point of the trails of Pico de Loro, but first we must first register with DENR and pay P20 to help fund in keeping the place as it is.  The mountains are free but of course when people start traversing it we need to have funds to help preserve its state so expect such measly fees when trekking.

At the DENR office

At the DENR office

The gang at the DENR office

The gang at the DENR office

The starting point of the trails, also called a jump off point, was about 750 meters away from the DENR office.  Pat (The Running Safety Pin), a fellow TNF100 finisher, offered me to run all the way to the jump off point.  Missing running badly I brashly (and expectedly) took the offer and right after getting a satellite lock on my GF405 we were off—746 meters in 3 minutes and 12 seconds (4:18 pace).   That’s the runner side of me talking.  After a few minutes our RunHiker Mobile arrived with the rest of the gang and this was where our Freedom Climb adventure began.

Run!

Run!

At the jump off point

Road in front of the jump off point (right)

(To be continued)




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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
– John “The Penguin Runner” Bingham
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