RUN DMD

I run…therefore I am


Leave a comment

The Mt. Pulag Experience


with Cris, Totoy, Cecille, Melo & April at the gym…

Just a week after my trying experience at the TNF100, I returned to the mountains.  It was perhaps the sound move in healing one’s race frustrations – conquer more mountains to strengthen one’s uphill/downhill resolve.  This time it’s the highest peak of Luzon (and the 3rd in the Phils. after Mts. Apo and Kitanglad).  Together with friends from the gym (William, Cris, April, Totoy, Melo) and some new faces, our 18-member group under team leader/guide/organizer Deo Calumba, we departed at 9 pm from Manila and arrived at 2 am in freezing Baguio City.  After accounting for everything, we took a jeepney, on our way to the nearest site leading into the summit.

our ‘ride’ to Pulag…

stopover for our late lunch…

After a few stopovers (a yummy lunch and a DENR orientation), our jeep finally reached the starting point where we had another registration.  By now, I knew that we wouldn’t have the camping area for ourselves.  It was sort of an exodus of mountaineers, hikers & newbies of varying skills in conquering  a mountain, all taking the path going up the summit area.  I was fortunate to have hiked it up with a 56-year old biking veteran (Mr. Valdez) with his handy sound system blaring Beatles ditties along our 10-km sojourn.  The route covered cogon lined slopes, fern covered mossy forests and boulder strewn plains.  But the ascents hardly settled so it was a wonder I kept up with our almost non-stop pace. Now that’s how strong, resilient persistent and tough I would want to be, 10 years from now.

a pitcher-like plant, endemic in the area…

DENR starting point…

our team consisted of the both young & veteran climbers….

When we got to the camp area, tents of all sizes were already being set up so we chose a near flat plain for our group.  Soon our members began emerging from their mini-expeditions into a grass-covered world surrounded by planes of higher hills in the horizon.  Some were swearing from the punishing ordeal.  With a cool breeze and creeping fog closing in, one literally feels to be on top of the world (or Luzon island, at least).  We hardly noticed the setting sun as our giant tent rose from the ground and darkness set in.  Well, not really.  With scores of tents cramped in the limited flat area, it was more like tent city after a great devastation.

all bundled up for the coming night…

We partook of Deo’s delectable, piping hot Caldereta dish.  At almost 2,900 m above sea level, it was the most comforting sensation one could get his mouth into, in the midst of dropping temperature with some insane headwinds blowing out of nowhere.  Deo had planned out some kind of Social Hour after dinner but since everyone had never had real sleep for the last 24 hours, the tent was quiet by 730 pm.  Unfortunately, our neighbors had more exciting plans for the night.  Alcohol which was supposed to be banned from the peak were being freely passed around and shot by rowdy mountaineers as the night wore on.

darkness falls across the land…

But I hardly noticed them.  What kept me up during the night was the penetrating cold which worsened by the hour – in the face of my 5-layer armor [raincoat & windbreaker over a fleece sweat shirt, surfing and running long sleeved shirts].  Yep, I came prepared for 5-degree celcius temperature which felt below freezing with the occasional breeze entering our tent. The longest snooze I got was probably an hour before Deo woke us up at 3 am to start our assault to the peak to view the best sunrise this part of Benguet.

shiver me timbers…

After endless hemming and hewing, I joined Deo to reach the peak early and get a good space among the hordes of people.  We kept with his pace, overtaking some slow walkers who didn’t give a fig if they stopped the whole caravan.  It was a sight to see a procession of (head) lights streaming along the mountain wall into another.  Soon we were ascending way too steeply as we took the Dragon’s trail (instead of the Horse’s trail) in the final uphill into the highest point.  We took an ideal space as the sea of people kept coming up and crowding the place.

outside, day starts to dawn…

summit shot with the whole gang…

here comes the sun…

An hour later, our group was complete (save for Mommy Kim) as the sun slowly painted the sleeping world with streaks of yellow fully blooming into an orange kaleidescopic sky.  Time for some Facebook profile pic.  The cameras never stopped clicking with views of the sea of clouds, the further peaks in the background and some jumpshots to boot.  The feeling of being one with the heavens and being on cloud nine was enveloping the whole peak.

among the mini-bamboo shrubs…

peaking at Pulag…

the winding dragon’s trail…

breakfast awaits…

on the way to base camp…

Then it was time to go back to base camp and savour Deo’s freshly cooked corned beef.  After we packed up and the porters dismantled the tents, we were off on our downhill journey.  Together with Martin and Lynn, we were gliding on our descent which I’m already beginning to enjoy.  Going down, I realized how steep our uphill had been the day before.  Our jeepney was already waiting for us to travel back to the DENR office where we each got our certificate for conquering Pulag.  We had a late lunch of Deo’s Tuna spaghetti in a resto where we also showered and cleaned up from our 48-hour adventure.  We reached Baguio city by 7 am and took a hearty dinner at Max’s at SM.  It was another 5-hour trip to Manila wherein we hardly woke up.  Everyone was just dead beat from 3 nights of minimal sleeping and a lot of hiking.  But it was worth all the time and hardship to have explored and conquered Mt. Pulag.  More mountains, please!

we came, we camped, we conquered…

Backpackers United by Ambuklao Dam…

one reason why I will keep conquering trails & mountains…

Advertisements


1 Comment

Up Close with Iker Karrera


 

It was Team Boringer Jet Paiso who referred me to this media presentation at the R.O.X. a few days before the TNF100.  It was an opportunity to listen and mingle with Ultrarunning legend Iker Karrera from Spain.  Iker is part of Team Salomon and will be running the TNF100, Philippines edition.  I knew I had to be there since I hardly have any confidence with mountain trails.  Also, I’ve been searching for an ideal pair of trail shoes which Salomon is quite reputable of.

Iker on the spotlight…

 

Edu explains the merits of the Salomon XR mission as Iker looks on…

In front of mostly runner bloggers and media personalities was this tall, lanky Spaniard speaking in Catalan with Edu (the Salomon ambassador) doing the translation.  Of course, the guy grew up in the mountains where running up and down the hills was a lifestyle.  Someone told me that he planned to take the TNF100 Philippines under 10 hours (he finished it at 12:27 hours).  He also has a dietitician who monitors his food intake regularly.  The two Spaniards left early for Baguio where they will do a reconnaisance of most of the route.  Coach Ige Lopez (the face of Salomon here in the Philippines) joined them.

when I grow up, I want to be just like you…

So we were left with the various Salomon running products.  They have cool running shirts, shorts, arm/leg covers and of course, their shoes.  I hardly got to test them but they seem promising esp. their road to trail editions which can be quite flexible on whatever terrain one finds himself.  I also noticed the snug fit on the sides to prevent the feet from moving too much inside.  The Salomon XR Mission is described as “Light, flexible, unbelievably comfortable”.   “The XR Mission is a trail running shoe for people who want to take their training seriously and want lightweight and flexibility”.  So it’s highly probable this could be my next trail shoes.

I want this!

My first and only trail shoes are the Merrill Waterpro Ottawa which I’m quite satisfied with.  The sole is a bit minimalist so it really grips and molds with the terrain.  I like the Vibram sole but I’ve seen other trail shoes with more pronounced ‘spikes’ so I really have no comparison here.  Also, the laces keep untying even when locked twice.  I also feel that my feet keep ‘moving’ around so I opted to wear double socks during the TNF100.  I’m still feeling my way around trail shoes which are different from road shoes.  Definitely, trail shoes hardly cause any major injuries on my feet, so far.  No peeling blisters or even dead toenails.  But don’t take my word on this.  I’m still a trail running newbie but I’m striving to improve on it, especially with the King of the Mountain 100KM just looming in the horizon.

 

Yep, the trails await and I will be there…


1 Comment

Nature’s Trail Discovery Run


Last Sunday, I had the privilege of joining a bloggers’ preview of this year’s Nature’s Trail Discovery Run.  Tanay, Rizal is aiming to be the trail running capital of the Philippines so this is the 2nd in a trilogy of trail races in 2012 in this still pristine town.  The first one was in February (Love a Tree) and the 3rdoffering will be on Sept. 2, each covering a different 21KM route as the town has lots of interesting trails passing through caves, waterfalls and scenic mountainous regions.  The Nature’s Trail Discovery Run will take place on May 27 (Sunday) with categories both for 21KM & 10KM.

besides snagging this medal, 21KM runners may also win 3 Norphl trail shoes…

and off we go!

cave entrance…

Around 16 bloggers reached San Andres, Tanay by 7 am to trace at least parts of the 21KM route.  The hills around were still enveloped in fog as we ran across rivers and rice fields culminating in an underground cave at the mouth of the river.  After a kilometer of relatively flat terrain, the trail started to ascend without letting up.  I just had to concentrate on where my footing lands as I was getting aware of the shrinking lowlands.  I’m imagining the lead pack jockeying for positions in what seemed like a strip of cleared cogon tail come race day.

captivating views on the way up…

finally, on top…

going down with running atom…

Whew, we soon reached the summit of Mt. Bangkaan and waited for the rest of the contingent to park for our customary picture taking.  Going down was way faster especially if one is tailing the race director Alvin who was lithe and nimble.  Now, that’s what I aim to be if I’m going to take this trail running seriously.  We refilled our supplies before checking out another interesting part of the race.  We crossed a river, jumping from rock to rock in the hope of avoiding any moisture entering our trail shoes until we realized that we would be stepping on muddy/watery paths soon enough.  Oh well.

one yummy break..

roosting by the rooster…

A slight ascent into Mt. Anito soon revealed a gushing waterfalls as we reveled in its wondrous beauty.  Minutes later, everyone was enjoying its showers and posing for memorable shots courtesy of Jojo Paulino.  It was indeed one refreshing respite from the punishing sun.  We would have stayed longer but duty calls that we have more trails to conquer.  Though, this time it was less challenging, the route passed through grass-lined hills before finally descending back to the river into our waiting brunch.

Tanay high!

the boys of summer….

After resting, we headed into the Tanay Adventure Camp (a kilometer from Sierra Madre Hotel, the finish line of my first ultrarun, the PAU 50KM Tanay race) where we swam in their newly-constructed pool and continued with our eating binge into the afternoon.  It was indeed one memorable day with the PIMCO people.  Thanks to Jared (Mr. Supladong Irish runner) for leading the group and arranging the logistics.

down time…

The great photos are courtesy of Jojo Paulino and Ed Escueta.