Posts Tagged ‘Trail


Top Five Dream Destination Races

I consider myself a “recreational runner” in the sense that I incorporate running into my lifestyle because aside from its health benefits, it’s fun!  I don’t do it as a profession, for prestige or bragging rights, or anything remotely in that direction.  As such, I do have a very long list of dream destination races around the world I would like to join in.  But if I have to trim my list to five items, here are the ones that would come on top of my mind as of the moment (in no particular order).

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Conquer your limits with 2013 Vaseline Men XTERRA Off-road Triathlon Series

(Press Release) After staging successful series of off-road action events last year, Vaseline Men, the fastest growing men’s skin care brand in the Philippines again challenges you to conquer your limits in the 2013 Vaseline Men XTERRA Off-road Triathlon Series.

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My First Race of the Year: Waldorf Trail Run

After that long hiatus, I finally got back to running!  And gladly my first race for the year was on the trails of Timberland Heights, San Mateo, Rizal via Waldorf Trail Run.

On our way to Timberland Heights

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Me and My GF’s First Running Anniversary

Exactly one year ago (January 18, 2009), my GF (405) and I had our first run together, on a perfect location, in a great race.  It was during The North Face Thrill of the Trail in Nasugbu, Batangas that we got to know each other well, and what an idyllic setting it was.

First Run

The trails were the perfect settings for our maiden race together because there aren’t many obstructions to obscure GPS signals, and as such I was able to get a pretty accurate elevation measure of the area.  Add that to the already accurate aerial distance measurement and you have a virtual 3D plot of your activity—something that I’ve never enjoyed before which my then barely-out-of-the-box Garmin Forerunner 405 gave me the pleasure of having.  Here was my first actual race readings from TNF Thrill of the Trail 2009:

My first GPS-tracked race: TNF Thrill of the Trail (2009); route and elevation information via GF405

That was the start of a great relationship, and so they say the rest was history.

Caring for your GFs

Not all runners were lucky to have a long withstanding bond with their Garmin Forerunners.  Here are some tips I can share:

Personally I follow this charge-cycle: As much as possible do not let the battery drain completely and when charging make sure to charge it fully—never do partial charging!  Batteries have a “point-of-no-return” and when your battery reaches this point it will never charge!  Full charging also helps reduce certain “memory” issues with batteries.

As much as possible keep your GFs dry.  For 405s it causes the bezel and buttons to temporarily malfunction but for 305s it causes internal corrosion.

More Tips
For more tips and guide on using your GF405 read my review here.

Warning: Fatal Software Issue

There is a serious flaw in GF405 software version 2.50 wherein your lap data will NOT be saved.  If suddenly you find your GF405’s memory is full during your run and your Auto Lap is turned ON it will keep notifying you that your lap memory is full.  The notification will keep popping up rendering the device practically unusable, until you STOP your activity.  This software version does NOT automatically delete old lap data so your current lap data have no room to be saved and thus would be lost forever—frustrating indeed.  The GPS routes though seem to be unaffected but it yields trivial distance/lap data ratio.  This event unfortunately happened to me during my Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, below are my kilometer splits:

Of course a marathon is 42.195K long but in the splits I only had barely 31K on file, the rest was gone, but the GPS route seems to be complete.  Viewing it on the player is more confusing as it displays a complete plot for 42K whereas it only has 31K worth of data (notice the details towards the end).

To avoid this trouble, make sure to delete your old lap data whenever your GF405 is warning you that your lap memory is almost full.  The Delete › Old Activities option conveniently deletes all activities that are older than a month permanently so make sure to save on your computer (via Garmin Training Center) or upload online (to Garmin Connect) your lap data first.

As of January, 2010 no new software updates have been released.

Nobody’s perfect and definitely everything that is man-made has its flaws, but regardless of its flaws I still am glad that I got a reliable partner whenever and wherever I run.  I do hope that this partnership continues for many more years and miles to come.  Miles.  Starting this year I’m also logging in miles!  This would definitely make things more interesting.


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:


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



LSD with

First winter run (Ohio, USA)


Condura Run: First 21K


Trail run at Montalban with

May goes climbing to Mt. Maculot

TNF100: First ultramarathon (100K)


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)


First Marathon via Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations


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

Ninoy Aquino Day Run


Mommy Milkshake


Reaching out through Angel Brigade

Pacer duty at QCIM

First sundown marathon via SIM


Chillax pacing during Timex Run

Running in Ilocos


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!


Product Review: Sandugo Tootega

One of the newest products from Sandugo, a local company known for its sandals, is the Tootega—a footwear somewhere in between sandals and shoes.  It offers the lightness of sandals and the protection offered by shoes.

First Glance

The Tootega comes is available in three colors: black, brown, and blue.  While it isn’t really as eye-catching as similar products on the market, its price makes it a very practical choice for those on a budget.  The craftsmanship of the product is good but could be much better, especially in the choice of materials.

The Test

My Tootega got the ultimate test during the recent TNF100 Philippines held in Sacobia, Clark.  I got a pair to complement my trail running shoes, specifically for the numerous river-crossings along the trails.  While it was not my intention, the Tootega performed surprisingly well that I used it for the entirety of the 100K trail route.  Here are my thoughts on the product:


  • Excellent traction.  Tootegas have excellent traction on soil, mud, and surprisingly even on pavement.
  • Easy lacing.  Tootegas use a lacing system that is easy to tighten or loosen, like a crude version of TNF’s BOA.
  • Price.  Similar products are easily double the price of a pair of Tootega making this a very cheap alternative.


  • Design.  Not as eye-catching as similar products but not really an eye-sore.


  • Comfort.  Sandugo have been known for their comfortable sandals so it was a big disappointment that this wasn’t brought to the Tootega.  Tootegas are very rough—it’s not comfortable which was probably the biggest fault of this product. It also feels hot which could probably be attributed to the materials used.

Survival Tips

So how did I survive 100 kilometers on an uncomfortable pair of footwear?  An excellent pair of socks.  The soles of Tootegas are hard—any cheap sandals on the market could be softer, so a good pair of socks helps a lot in making this product “bearable.”  For the first 60K I was wearing a pair of Nike Run Fast socks which dries fast and was excellent for river-crossings.  This pair protected my feet for that duration but due to some unforeseen circumstances I was running without any socks for the next 30K.  This resulted in record-breaking number of blisters for my feet (which swelled after the race).  I had an opportunity to put on my Nike Pro Cushioning socks for the remaining 10K of the route and that made running with a Tootega more manageable.

Better Than Sandals

Trails present many hazards to your feet that sandals can’t protect you against.  My Tootega took the damage that the trails brought, instead of my feet.  While trail or trail running shoes can also offer the same level of protection (with much better comfort) Tootegas are much cheaper so the collateral damage is less.

Sandugo Tootega in action

My brown Sandugo Tootega in action


Sandugo Tootega are excellent if you’re looking for an affordable pair of trail shoes/sandals with excellent traction on most surfaces.  It’s for those that you could say are “hard-core” or those who like it “rough.”  If you’re looking for a comfortable ride then better look elsewhere.

Product Rating: Good


TNF100: The Chronicles of an Ultra Trail (Part 3) The Prequel

TNF100: The Chronicles of an Ultra Trail

Our TNF100 adventure started much earlier than the usual. We headed off to Clark, Pampanga Friday morning and by lunch time we were already at SM City Clark for final shopping and lunch. Traveling through North Expressway was really fast.

Walking on the elevated walkway towards SM City Clark

Walking on the elevated walkway towards SM City Clark

SM City Clark was huge! It’s very similar to US-style malls.

SM City Clark was huge! It’s very similar to US-style malls.

The mall is modern although it kind of remind me of airports abroad

The mall is modern although it kind of remind me of airports abroad

After a hearty lunch and some “liquid carbo-load” we were off to our home for the night, Eagle’s Inn. It was a pretty cheap, decent, and quiet place to stay in and it’s just a few meters from Holiday Inn where the final briefing was to take place. The people there were also very accommodating (Filipino hospitality) and they were willing to serve very early breakfast for us so it fits us perfectly.

Hey ho, it’s off to the Inn we go!

Hey ho, it’s off to the Inn we go!

Our home for the night, Eagle’s Inn

Our home for the night, Eagle’s Inn

Clark reminds me a lot of US because certain areas resemble sights seen in the US. It used to be a US-controlled facility so it’s not a coincidence to look as such.

Except for the electric posts you may say that this could be anywhere in the US

Except for the electric posts you may say that this could be anywhere in the US

Street signs (who’s Bong?)

Street signs (who’s Bong?)

See how this left turn (only) sign painted on the road differs widely from standard Philippine sign?

See how this left turn (only) sign painted on the road differs widely from standard Philippine sign?

6PM at the Molave Function Room of Holiday Inn, Clark the final race briefing was held along with our complimentary dinner from TNF. The updated race guidelines were mentioned and for the last time AS4 drop bags were collected for those who weren’t able to do so.

Holiday Inn, Clark, Pampanga

Holiday Inn, Clark, Pampanga

Our dinner menu consisted of a Caesar Salad, Grilled Chicken with Mhakni Sauce, Penne Pasta with Meat Sauce, Buttered Vegetables, Fruit Salad, and Iced Tea (Filipino-style). Simply recalling these makes me hungry.

Dinner menu

Dinner menu

Dinner! Yum!

Dinner! Yum!

It was a pretty short briefing. We returned back to our Inn soon afterwards to finalize our things and rest for the big day to follow. We had our breakfast by 1:30AM and we left for Expo Filipino by 2:30AM via a jeepney.

Chris, Pat, and I. Who would’ve known that it would be the three of us again in the end?

Chris, Pat, and I. Who would’ve known that it would be the three of us again in the end?

Our complete gang

Our complete gang

It was a quick trip for a very, very long day ahead—and before the base camp was fully set we were already goofing around the area. At that time we didn’t have any idea what great adventures lie ahead, all we had was the moment and the company good friends. But even if the outcome was still hidden as the dark road ahead of us, one thing was clear—the race was to begin with our first step. Where it leads to and how far, that’s something we will know shortly… and the countdown began, 3… 2… 1…

TNF100: The Chronicles of an Ultra Trail [ Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (The Prequel) ]

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