Milo Finals 2014 (21KM)
I got the bib for this run cheap (thanks Jenny Aggangan), after it was rescheduled a week, after an impending storm which hardly carried any rain or wind. Even if it was a Saturday (Dec. 13), the 4:30 am gun start assured us that we would be on our way home before 7 am. Since I failed to qualify in my last 2 attempts for the Milo finals, the 21KM slot was a chance to be part of this exciting race.
It was a relaxed pace for me in a race with hardly any expectations. I just wanted to enjoy an actual registered road race before the holidays come barging in and take me out of my training groove. But when I’d realized I had done a 52-minute run in the 10-KM leg, I knew it was time to focus and put my speed legs in motion, without causing any undue stress or cramping. Fortunately, nothing untoward happened and I hardly stopped or slowed down while being powered by my Ipod sounds.
By the time I reached the finish line, I couldn’t believe I registered at 1:56, which is really one of my fastest 21KM time.
And so the Christmas season came swooping in and the whole country partied every night like it’s 1999. So how was I able to balance my lifestyle with this perverted bacchanalia?
By doing lots of gym workouts, of course. Apart from my gym group workouts (I have tired out of lifting barbells and dumbbells alone), Van and I started doing a combo of core, upper and lower workouts, coupled with mean cardio and plyometrics routines. Welcome to the world of P90x and T25…
Back to the gym
We started with this compact workout on the last week of December. Our condo gym where my clinic is situated is an air conditioned space filled with 3 thread mills, all-in-one machines and numerous dumbbells and barbells. Fortunately, very few tenants go to the place so it was perfect for our compact routine, requiring usually some dumbbells and our old yoga mats.
We started with just P90x, choosing the 45 to 55-minute exercises, targeting specific or general body parts and requiring a lot of cardio-vascular and strengthening workouts. At the end of each exercise, we were drenched to the bone and our system shaken like hell. The workouts were not running specific but once in a while, we do some fast runs, core exercises, lots of plyometric jumpings and burpees. It was a nice reminder of our Milo Apex running school which still has to resume on April 2016.
After a few weeks, feeling perhaps more flexible and stronger, we incorporated Focus T25 with a 30-minute version of P90x. Our schedule covers Monday to Friday but we miss out a day or two, especially when we feel really beat up and the call of a massage seemed more sensible and exciting. A few weeks more and we felt a lot stronger in the core, the upper and lower body parts but would this really translate to an improved running form and resistance?
So every Sunday, we take to the trails in our lame attempt to bring back our trail legs and train for the Four Lakes 100KM. At first, it was a lot of huffing and puffing, balancing and difficulty to fly the down hills but a lot of persistence and we were enjoying the slippery earth, the hills and the fresh verdant environment.
More Tales from the Trail
So on the first part of 2016, we were usually slugging it out on the trails of San Mateo. My running buddy Dave guided us through his regular route starting from our village in Marikina, passing through Silangan, San Mateo into the trails, hills and hinterlands of Timberland and back. There are endless uphills, even while still on the road and the route is challenging but still very safe. For two weekends, Dave along with Chinky and Jing re-oriented us to their secret training ground and we were hooked. Finally, it’s trail training we can do regularly without travelling all the way to Cavite or Laguna. As Dave put it, “pareho lang naman di ba? Ba’t pa tayo lalayo?” or something to that effect.
Last Feb. 8, Sheila, Jenny & Jonas joined us in a relaxed LSD originating from the clinic leading into San Mateo where a wrong turn brought us to Timberland clubhouse, going down the wall into Silangan then back to the clinic via Fortune, Marikina. It was grueling since Jonas’ pace was quite furious but we were just glad to have survived it, even if Van and I were still thrashed even 2 days later.
The next week, trying to re-trace the route created by Dave, we chanced upon Chito, a veteran ultramarathoner, harking back to my BDM days. He was on his way to Wawa dam area and of course, we had to tag along. We passed through more hills, regular trail ways, endless down hills and a snaking river. 23 kilometers later, we reached Wawa dam with its colonies of makeshift thatched structures welcoming us with their assaulting videoke champ wannabes (‘All by myseeelf….’). It was unexpected, a bit difficult but had some of the best views of the Montalban mountains (including the twin peaks which Bernardo Carpio purportedly separated with his bare arms) & pristine river and a good chance to renew ties with an old friend.
In between workouts when I find the time to wake up early, I’d lace my trainers and run around the village next to ours. Our team is called Team Rancho and our route covers around 10 kilometers of ascents and descents. During the runs, we’d insert speed runs and up hill climbs just to get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing. At least, once a week, I meet up with Bon, Carlene, Dennis, Fatima and Rob – some of the best people to join on the road.
Luneta to Tagaytay 64KM
This is my first ultra road run in ages so it was but expected since I need to burn more miles with my impending 100KM race. The race started by 12 midnight at KM 0 by the Luneta Park traversing Roxas boulevard then makes a turn after 4 kilometers into the endless Aguinaldo highway passing Paranaque, Muntinlupa, Cavite then finally Tagaytay. Our bladders were filled with frozen 2 liters of Pocari sweat which was a sip away but later on was too vomit-inducing sweet. So Van and I had a blast running, walking and taking stops to eat every hour.
The weather was cool and with the sun out of the picture, it was the best opportunity to start burning the miles and overtake other runners. Along the road were rows of gaudy post lights which seemed abandoned after Christmas, honky tonk bars at every corner, unhospitable side walks (where false step can send one tumbling), smoke-belching trucks and tricycles. Morning finally came when we were already at Silang, Cavite and nearing Tagaytay. Walking and running, we had fun playing catch and outrunning some of these competitive runners who routinely look back to check out would-be overtakers and such.
By the time we made a turn towards the SVD compound (KM 50) where the sloping roads had us speeding up and down, a new found energy in a greener and cleaner environ enveloped us. It would take around 2 hours to finally reach the finish line (after 9 hours) just by the entrance of the old Palace in the Sky when the sun had come out gloriously. I was ranked 93 out of 375 runners. Thanks to Prince Production for this memorable run. Cheers!
Can’t wait for March to come marching in…Ooops! It’s already here!
Photos courtesy of Day Spotted, Dennis Centeno, David Buban & Frontrunner magazine