Race Report: Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas 2012 – DNF

Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2012 Race Maps

Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2012 Race Maps

Josh “the swoosh runner” Tadena

The moment me and Josh “The Swoosh Runner” are waiting for has arrived. This is it, Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2012 is surreal.

He waited me at the office from 1am to 2am in the morning (opps sorry for the coming in late, I have to babysit first that’s why). Luckily, Jep also one of our running buddy at work saw Josh that day and offered us a ride going to R.O.X Taguig because it is on his way home.

He joined Nathan’s free race kit contest but was no luck to get one. He drove going to BGC where the bus shuttle for runners going to Tagaytay Highlands is waiting.

Thanks for the lift running buddy Jep and hope that you can join us with other races. Me, Josh and Jep already agreed to complete a trail run trilogy so watch out for that.

Before the race…

We arrived at R.O.X store but we cannot see any bus yet so we hang out around at BGC and took some pictures using Josh’s digital camera until race marshal arrived instructing us to go the other side of the street where the shuttle buses are located and parked.

Bus No. 2 is almost loaded up and we are so damn lucky today that it as 3 more seats available and knowing that we are at the end of the line nobody in front of us wanted to get in because they are still waiting for their friends so I hurriedly volunteered that me and Josh fill up the remaining 2 seats and will just wait for one more.

That is a smart move and I really don’t want to wait another bus to fill in and coming in late at the venue and miss the gun start knowing that it will take 2 hours or more to get to Tagaytay.

It’s a good decision to pay for the shuttle service instead of bringing a car or commute your ass way to the Highlands and my Php350.00 for the fee is worth my money for the back and forth trip for this event. I would say I am so overwhelmed with this convenience. You can actually sleep for an hour to 2 to have rest or power nap but me and Josh at keep on talking and having small talk with other runners.

The person left next to me seemed like a veteran in marathon as he was telling stories of his successful runs, his future ultramarathon runs and what got him into his obsession to try trail running including his disappointment of RunRio’s high-priced runs. He also mentioned the strict requirements in joining TNF 100K Run that will be held in Baguio City to Benguet.

We arrived at the venue at exactly 3:30 or 3:45AM I’m not sure haha, excited to get off and I didn’t get a chance to say good luck to the man sitting next to me and not even get his name stupid of me. Anyway, we got off the bus and a van was there to carry us to the Club House where the race starts.

When we arrived there the first thing that we looked for is a portalet because we need to pee already maybe because of the excitement, fun and good weather ahead of us for the said event.

I couldn’t tell how many times I need to go back and forth to the portalet station and Josh too. The weather is not freezing cold it is still in acceptable and we can’t actually feel the breeze yet.

We changed to our running outfit, Josh has the complete accessories from top to bottom, he is wearing newly purchased Salomon S-LAB inspired by the first Filipino Mountaineer who summited Mt. Everest Leo Oracion for his shoes matched with high socks, a short shorts with Nathan Belt, race bib holder and Spyder shades while me wears my favorite trekking outfit. Josh would say “Thanks to my sponsors” haha but he bought them all out of his own pocket. Great investment running buddy.

While me wears long sleeve dri-fit shirt made by Lagalag for mountaineers and I really like it, its soft, breathable and quickly dries your sweat, I matched with a Go-Green inspired quick dry short, I also wear cycling shorts to avoid chaffing of my legs, for my footwear I used Merrel.

A trekking shoes given by my former Kilo team mate Myk Trinidad at Trend Micro, matched with dri-fit 5 finger socks. For my hydration, a borrowed light pack from my fellow L.O.S.T Mountaineer Dingdong and I use my water bladder made from Sandugo. I brought some trail food with me (Jellies and raisin), an omega pain-killer to fight muscle cramps, alcohol and Salomon cap shade against the sun.

Before gun starts…

My personal mission in this race is not to only finish 24K Mountain run but to have a picture with Sir Leo Oracion – First Filipino Mountaineer who summit Mt. Everest, so my eyes are always on the lookout but not fortunate to see him in person that day. Luckily, we saw Coach Ige, me and Josh didn’t waste our time to strike a pose with him. I’m still not satisfied I want to see this man if not famous runners or bloggers that I am after the likes of jazzrunner, bullrunner, kamoterunner etc.

Josh and Coah Ige Lopez

Josh and His idol Coah Ige Lopez

Me with Coach Ige Lopez

Kalongkong Hiker with Coach Miguel Lopez

At the starting line, I saw Host of the Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2012 Paolo Abrera so I asked him to take a picture with me then I told him that we have the same name lol. 🙂  While we are waiting for the tick off, he remind us again on the race routes, water hydration stations, technicalities of the race, safety precautions, and I recall that he also mentioned that this event is a go-green and no cups along the race and in hydration stations will be given so you have to bring your own water bottle. He did mention or one of the race event manager about not to leave trace along the trail but see what I found out as tell you the rest of my race experience.

Paolo and Paolo. Who?

I’m on my personal mission to have a picture with Leo Oracion did not come true as he was not there at the event at all I think so I say that it was a failure but the good thing I saw some familiar faces during the race,  too bad I can’t ask them to take a picture with me because they are running and really determined to finish the course.

At the starting line…

At the starting line.

At exactly 5:30AM the gun starts and everybody is yelling while charging forward seems like everybody is all out today. I was like very happy too because this is it no more holding back. The first kilometers we run at paved cement downhill and then an uphill until we reached the single track route that I couldn’t see my running buddy anymore. There is a file of Runners ahead it’s like there’s a blockbuster movie in town. I can sense that it’s the start of a mud race.

Caution: Please slow down! Single Track Ahead!

Look who’s in front of me? Yep, it’s JazzRunner Sir Rene

During the race…

Meanwhile, earlier in this race I had to slow down and I couldn’t run at their speed because my stamina broke down a bit so I had to rest for a while removing my Salomon X-tee, cap and don’t mind if others get passed me including my running buddy I had to catch my breath first. Having not really ready for this race is taking its toll. 😦

I forget that I am a slow starter and I said to my self to take it slow and eventually I will pick up my pace as I really couldn’t go on head to head to runners at their speed. I had to pace my run until I saw everyone’s nightmare the uphill muddy trail is fast approaching. For me, I see redemption now I know that I have all the advantage going up faster and faster.

I easily ran pass whoever is in front of me but sometimes it’s hard to overtake in steep ravines as there is no alternate route to take so I had to walk with them and wait for a time have enough space to overtake. In situations that I am walking I used Josh’s camera to take pictures of the place, scenery, fellow runners and while waiting for the perfect time to run again as it is really hard to pass over in front.

We are running through mud and slippery land/dirt.

Through vegetation and grassland.

Through the eggplant plantation. You want talong?

I do hope that Josh remember my one and only tip to have a baby steps or mini steps ala ninja in uphill climbs. Ascent is one of the challenging part of trail running I remember sharing that to him during our one day training at UP Diliman to test run his brand new Salomon S-Lab trail shoes and simulate running through mud, dirt, branches of trees, mini uphills/downhills and pavement.

Surprisingly, he is ahead of me like 2 or 3 kilometers away (I assume) so I wasn’t able to see him run on trails and no matter what I do to catch on him I just couldn’t because I ran out of oxygen easily I had to do a brisk walk again and again. Finally, we met at the trail but he is going down while me still going up to the 12K mark.

Josh “The Swoosh Runner” Tadena

One of my favorite, climbing up using ropes. Cuwabongga dude!

Then I said to myself again, his training is paying off laughing not like me I did a one week training compare to his months running preparations and body conditioning. I guess I learned my lesson do not understand mountain run. Having not enough preparation is one of the things that I will never repeat again before race day or to my first full marathon. Yes I want to carry out a full marathon this year and I really want it so bad. 🙂

Enduring through the pavement running uphill.

Uphill climb again. Sierra Lago on my left.

The Lead of the pack are now going back strong to the finish.

I bet she’s the winner of 24K run in women’s group. She’s in the lead pack with no other women behind her. Go go-go for strong finish! It’s a girl power! 🙂

To sum up the race track or trail route is a combination of road running and trail run. We passed along residential houses as well were kids and some locals greets us “Good morning!”, that was nice of them, it’s very heart warming. Upon hearing their cheers I think I can go on and on and on it’s like a nitrous injected to my legs that I am so pumped up run as fast as I could to impress them but when they are not looking I had to stop and catch my breath haha.

We get passed the community road then after that is a highway where you can see the 2nd to the last hydration station. Hydration stations are sponsored by Gatorade. Thanks Gatorade Philippines for the powdered drinks. I really like it and recommend it as a hydration drink it is really quick in replenishing your lost liquid in the body. If you want the fastest way to hydrate choose only Gatorade.

Then the last hydration is set up near the chapel where runners are chilling out while some are taking shower by tossing water to their heads to cool down. This is the last station to fill up your water bottle. Good thing I have hydration pack so I can drink anytime I want when I feel like thirsty. Thanks to my kumpare (Dingdong Reyes) for lending me his Sideout’s Free Ride light trail pack.

Last hydration station at the chapel.

Runners cooling down at the last hydration station.

After a long pavement is the last ascent of the 12K mark at Sky Palace where you need to get a ribbon or lace before you can make a u turn and to declare that you really complete the race but getting is harder for others while it’s exciting for me. I could climb up easily on this last trail going upwards the only hindrance is the runners in front.

I wish that I am in front leading them so that I can go on and on just like in a typical mountain climbing but it’s not it’s a race where lots of runners ahead of me so I had to take my time. Having said that now and then I had to sit down and wait for my turn and when it’s clear I climb up fast until a file up is ahead.

Sit down, sit down, you’re rocking the boat. 🙂

This is what I am telling you. A file up of runners on my way up. lol

It’s a sit in the park while waiting others to clear the trail.

Funny moment…

Here’s the funny part, I thought its a mission accomplished to complete a photo opt with the first Filipino Mountaineer reported to summit Mt. Everest and a 2 or 5 minute small talk with him it turned out that he is just a look a like.

When I saw him sitting down as if waiting for somebody I just pass him and then I think twice that’s a 2 minute window for me to take a picture so I didn’t hesitate to approach him and ask to have a picture with me and he told me it’s okay. I thanked him and then started a small talk then he told me that his knee hurts thus advising me to take a strong ascent going to the summit.

Thanks for the encouraging words Sir I am pretty good in ascents my only worry are runners in front of me that’s why I waited until the trail is clear. I am so happy I finally met him in person I said to myself. I really seized the moment and I thought that I really talked to Sir Leo Oracion but it turned out that he’s just a look a like. Tsk, tsk, a really  thought that was him haha.

Thanks to Facebook again I easily get his real name and he is Romano Jorge Cortez, a member of elite Philippine Skyrunning Team where Leo Oracion is also a member. Alright, that’s the funny part. Let’s move on haha.

Guess who’s with me from Philippine Skyrunning Team? Leo Oracion? Nah!

Check the picture below of Sir Romano and Sir Leo on their group picture in their Mt. Ugo Ultramarathon Trail Run that I grabbed in Facebook album. It’s up to you to judge why I thought I had the right guy haha.

Philippine Sky Running Team with Leo Oracion

Now you know! (Pacman’s famous line in one of his TV ads)

At the 12K turn around mark…

Finally, I reached the peak of the 12 kilometer turn around where race marshal handed me over a green pony tail and I asked him to take some pictures of the Sky Palace and the view from down below and my self-declared signature running pose.

The 12K mark U-turn at Sky Palace, Tagaytay Highlands

My signature pose, see the view down below, beautiful isn’t it?

I am with Elvin, a Pinoy Fitness member I think because he wears a Pinoy Fitness shirt in climbing the ascent and he took pictures of me with the ropes and rappelling down. I also met, Ruth Ann along the trail she is either in front of me or behind when we are trying to reach the summit.

Sir Elvin of Pinoy Fitness. Who’s leading this trail? Me!

This chick can run on trails. Go, go, go Ms. Ruth Ann!

At the peak, Green Eyes and his group are taking breaks by lying down. I didn’t do that instead I hurried going down after taking some pictures. At the last hydration station, I asked for tube ice and open my water bladder and fill it in so that my water is still cold when running and not to mind stopping in each hydration why wouldn’t I think of that at the first place haha, I guess adaptation is the key to this race to survive.

Sir Val a.k.a Green Eyes & his gang are resting, while Elvin taking pictures.

The sad reality, what happened to Leave No Trace principle? 

The run should be a green race but what happened along the trail route?

I am now all out heading back to finish my next 12K run when I notice something wrong on the road. Hey, look what I found? Are these for real? Some undisciplined runners left their trash or empty sachet of power gels, energy bars, candies and chocolates so I picked them up and keep it on my pockets.

What happened to the reminder of Do Not Leave Your Trace and as much as possible keep it on your pockets first and then trash it in a bin properly? To be honest I am mad to what I saw on the track that day because they are not only dumping trash but they are badly hurting our Mother Nature. So, this is the reality of organizing a trail run and this is a lesson we must all learn for future trail runs.

Before organizing an event like this, they must have a training clinics for 7 principles of LNT (Leave No Trace) as well or at least a beginner or new to trail running first checklist is to take time reading this principles. We will not only help save our Planet Earth we also enjoy running outdoors and the beauty of the nature.

Tsk! Tsk! Shame on you, whoever you are! This is a wake up call for you!

Empty sachet of power gels, energy bars, candies that I collected along the trail.

Hope you enjoyed reading my article and enticed you to join future trail races.

Note to self: I will reclaim myself next year and make sure to finish before the cut off period and other future trail races so Salomon Trail Run you are going down haha. 🙂


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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6 Responses to Race Report: Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas 2012 – DNF

  1. Pingback: #3 Trail Running 101 |

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  3. khanto says:

    downside of the event is trash. makalat.

    ayos si josh ah, fully equpped sa pagtakbo!

    grats sa running achievements!


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