Merrell Adventure Run 2011 | My 1st Trail Run Experience

Merrell Adventure Run
June 18, 2011 @ 5:00am
Timberland Heights, San Mateo, Rizal
5K / 10K / 21K
Assembly is at 5:00am for all categories. Race starts at 5:40 am (21K), 5:50 am (10K), and 6:00am (5K).

Merrell Adventure Run or MAR is the yearly off-road run organized and sponsored by Merrell Philippines. This year they once again challenged the adventurer in us on this one-of-a-kind off-road run. This is not a regular run on the road it’s time to feel a different kind of adrenaline high as you race through dirt trails, steep climbs, boulders, and a flowing river or river crossing, rock scrambling, and uphill & downhill trails in a new but equally challenging & breathtaking race course at Timberland Heights, San Mateo, Rizal.

Merrell Adventure Run is now on its 2nd year organized by Team Merrell Philippines (Thumbie Remigio was the contact person on the event) it was very well-organized, kudos to the organizers. It started from registration to giving out race kits. I really like the singlet single design and choice of fabric. They even give Php500.00 voucher for Merrell shoes. By the way, my dear friends if you are reading this and are planning to buy a new pair of Merrell Shoes this year I can give you mine as it will expire until September of this year haha. Just text, call or email me okay? haha.

Pre-run preparation:

There is not much preparation for me, it was Friday morning at 9am I woke up and played the regular basketball schedule with fellow Trenders (Folks working at TrendLabs Philippines) at Club650, Libis. Took hot shower after the 2 to 3 set of games and headed to the office at noon because I had work at 2pm until 11pm. I was able to get power naps, good for me. I used my lunch break to get sleep,  it wasn’t bad at all as I regained my energy about 50%. Before my shift ended, my running buddy a fellow Trender  contacted me saying that he couldn’t sleep, telling me that he will come with me going home because he is not quite sure how to go to the race venue. My apartment is just one ride away from the free shuttle service pick up venue set up by the organizers so I said yes. At the apartment, I told him that we have to rest for at least 1 or 2 hours of sleep because it was around 2 o’clock in the morning on my watch. Lights are all out and time to sleep, I was able to get enough sleep, I don’t know if my friend was able to have one but he is not moving so I hope he did haha.

Meanwhile, 3 Hours before the race…

My alarm clock rings and stoop up to take a lick, I was hearing a very similar sound on the rooftop, oh my, it was raining, I am thinking if the race be postponed if the weather gets worst. I took a shower and my friends wakes up already. We prepared our running gears, ate breakfast and hit the road. We took a cab going to Puregold San Mateo as there is no Jeepney yet at that time. Good thing we are still on time as we took the free ride going to Timberland Heights, it’s good to see that the bus chairs are in orange  which shows the color of the Merrell singlet or jersey haha. We arrived at the place and all are busy setting up. They provided portalets, organizer’s tent, free parking space for participants bringing their own car, event stage, sponsor’s tents (Merrell, Lighwater, Alaska and many more…), medic, refreshment station, etc. Alaska booth is giving away free milk, chocolate and hot coffee matching with hot pandesal with Alaska condensed milk as the dressing, yummy. I eat as much as my stomach can haha. Thank you Alaska for the breakfast. I took pictures here, there and everywhere.

This is it, time to race:

21K runners are all line up and it was 20 seconds left before the gun start, I rushed to take a picture leaving my friend behind haha then after that it was our turn we registered at the 10K event but I cannot see my friend so I had to look for him at we are giving a 15 minutes room for the élite runners before our gun start. I found my friend and convince him to go to the middle of the pack. I’m all set, my iPod touch LogYourRun apps are  ready and the count down begins 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and bang, runners are shouting and I am too. I had my hydration pack with me so I am pretty much sure that I will not dehydrate along the race. Good thing I can use some of my mountaineering gears on events such as this. I am wearing long sleeve dry fit trek shirt, quick dry short both from Lagalag merchandize, toe socks match with knee-high socks, Merrell shoes and spandex. Rain or shine I’m on the go.  Thanks to a fellow mountaineer who let me use her Camelbak back pack where I can use my hydration bladder. I had to go slow start because there is a fill up of runners in front of me. I overtake when there is enough window but I am very careful because it was raining and the trail was so wet and muddy. My leg gradually picked up my fastest running pace, in mountaineering I prefer be in the lead and on this trail run I mind my running pace, as we approach hills, they call this rolling run. I saw the big difference of wearing a trail shoes over an ordinary running shoes. Countless times I saw runners slipped, had their butts hit the dirt or mud, some took their shoes off and preferred to run barefoot, that’s when I realize that the Vibram technology that the Merrell shoes that I am wearing was not good at all but it is really great because I can still run fast as I want because of the grip of the sole. I heard runners talking about Vibram shoes and it was so true. As an experienced mountaineer,  I know how hard it is to climb up but this time it is different because you are not only climbing but you are actually running and climbing, there is no take fives here but if you feel like stopping for a while you can or catch your breath. I didn’t practice high altitude running so there are times that I really catches my breath that I ended up trekking instead of running.

When I feel like it is downhill again I am rejoicing because I like the pull of gravity, the key to downhill is small steps, open your running stride to cover more ground, relax, lean your body into the hill and let your foot lands behind your hips. Tip #1: When it is uphill, I always use the turtle curve principle, I created this principle and it was effectively for me when climbing upwards in a narrow mountain trail, it goes by bending like a hunchback then if you can reach the ground use your arms to pull your body up. It looks like your crawling but it keeps you going without having to catch your breath. Tip #2: I use the mountain bike principle, when I am running uphill I raise my legs higher just like putting your bike in a high gear, run in shorter steps and a bit high stride frequency keeping your body on the balls of your feet. These are the principles that I created for myself and hope somebody use it. If you are reading this and you are adventurer like me, try it and then let me know what do you think.

This adventure runs meets all of my expectations, dirt, steep climbs, river crossing, etc. Even though I got hydration pack carried on my back I still get water from designated water stations because  it was colder, they also provided sponges with cold water for runners to fight heat stroke, in some water stations there serve bananas, these are good source of potassium to avoid muscle and leg cramps. Speaking of leg cramps, I stopped running when I felt that my two legs are about to have it so I trek my 2 kilometers to the finish. When I am taking picture at the 2 kilometer post my friend showed up and we trek our way to the finish. We meet another runner on 21K that decided not to continue the race anymore because his shoe give up on him, the sole of his shoe peeled off. The good thing about this is that we enjoyed the nature and the trail and still on the race time frame.

At the finish line, we asked somebody to take us pictures to document this adventure event that we did and then claimed our adventure kit and refreshments, too bad we are not lucky to get a finishers medal because it was only given to first 20 finishers of 5Km, 10Km and all finishers of 21Km of the course before the 9:00am final cut-off time. Still the run was worth it. We waited for the free shuttle service and head home. I thanked God for making my adventure run a success and there is no harm done to me and to my friend. I am looking forward in joining trail runs as this is very rare here in the Philippines but I can predict a growth on this type of races in the future.

Wanted to see yours truly in action click the links below for more pictures:

Facebook Merrell Run Album 1

Facebook Merrell Run Album 2

About Kalongkong Hiker

I am Paolo Mercado for 20 years I've been riding a bike, walking a lot and running a lot. I am Kalongkong Hiker, a trail runner, mountaineer and a biker that can also write a blog of my travels, adventures and places that I visited through walking, running and biking. I write to encourage others to stay healthy and fit. #KeepOnRunning #ShareTheRoad #KalongkongHiker
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