As the final leg approaches I thought me and rest Team L.O.S.T. Trail Runners will miss the last leg but “God is Good All the Time” that we can pulled up and finished the last leg of Nature’s Trail Discovery Run organized by PIMCO Sporting Events together with Viking Philippines, Team Norphil and this race is accredited by PTRA (Philippine Trail Running Association of the Philippines). From team of 12 during 2nL we are reduced to 7 trail runners and 1 guest. She is our photographer of the day. Other who couldn’t make it toe the last leg had other commitments prior to this. In fact, the day before the race we joined first in the 2nd Team Building activity of Consumer Department at work so our legs are kinda used already and don’t have enough time to recovery, though we managed to grab some decent sleep but not participating in social night and had to rest earlier.
Me and Jep managed to arranged our work schedule so that we can race in this final leg, we had to asked our team mates to cover our shift and had no other choice but to split our rest days and that’s a good thing about our team. Thanks to my Kilo team mates for supporting us all the way to the finals. The 2nd problem that we had to take care of is the transportation, we ran out of slot for the shuttle service as we normally reserve just like last first 2 legs and this time we are on our own, good thing we had car pool and Jep’s Isuzu Trooper is enough for the 7 of us to fit in and Sir Joelle is offering 2 more from his ride.
Our meet up this time is at RBC Tower 2 Lobby at 2am. I stayed at our sleeping quarters with Dingdong while Jep will take calls first and then will get power naps. Everything is following according to our plan even though there are some sit backs but still we had that energy to finish the race and we are all healthy that day. Jep drove us all the way to Daranak Falls and prep. There we met Maynard, Iris, Maki and the rest of our running buddies. I joined Maynard and Maki for a couple of minutes dynamic stretching and then line up for the gun start. Gun start supposedly start at 5:30am but there is a 15 minute delay. The sound system of the organizer is not loud enough and we can’t even understand or hear what the emcee/host is trying to say. Runners at the back is yelling and shouting that they didn’t know the program is started and that we are now signing the National Anthem, they realized it when everybody is singing it and standing straight right hand on the chest.
Without Josh my usual trail running buddy “The Swoosh Runner” on this last leg because it’s his Grand mother‘s birthday I had to asked my new and younger running buddy Maki friends of Maynard and Iris to pace me and good thing he’s not into PR and it is his first time to run on a trail. At gun start, I have all the legs to run the uphill road at about 1.5 kilometers but early on I struggled because I am catching my breath already because I tried to catch up on Maki’s pacing and my running pace is way too slow for him. I had to adjust so that I could catch up with him until he noticed that I am already walking.
He waited for me and then started to coach me and he started with the breathing and then he emphasized the quick steps or slow jog race pace and we had to conserve our energy because this is a 21K trail run and expect the expected. Me I had a slight idea of the race course, the 340 steps at the grotto, the dark side of the Calinawan Cave if you forgot to bring a head lamp, the rocky river crossings and of course me and my team’s love of mountaineering. This time I didn’t bother to bring my camera with me and my intention to finished at decent 2:45:00 minutes or lower but that is not achievable knowing that this is a pure mountain run and cannot be compared to the first 2 race routes. They really put an effort that all 21K runners experience a killer mountain trail because of its sharp rocks and edges. I got a minor bruise in my left arm when I landed on a sharp edge of a boulder. To see the real view of the mountain trail you may visit Jazzrunner’s blog here. Hope you enjoy it!
On Jazzrunner’s blog he mentioned that it is about 1600 MASL but I will not agree because I know that it is just around 500 to 600 MASL and I compared it to Mt. Daguldol including the terrain going up and down minus the sharp rocks. A or call him Ed Grij has a Pro Tek watch that can measure altitude and measured it around 600 to 650MASL he is our founder and team leader of L.O.S.T. and it is his first time to join a trail race though he initiated many major climbs for the group. We are actually group of mountaineers just doing a plain climbing and hiking activities before I finally introduced trail running to the group and agreed to finish this trilogy in exchange of joining Run United Trilogy of RunRio. 🙂
Going back to the race, at the glimpse of the first dirt route I was already rejoicing because I can now put my training in Timberland Heights into play and it’s time to check if what I did is enough or I under train. The first dirt route leads to the first ever bridge crossing where if you look left or right you’ll see great back ground of the mountain ranges and the river.
See photo below that I grabbed from Jazzrunner’s blog:
The view from the bridge (Photo by Jeffrey Ubalde)
Then after this bridge crossing its rolling uphills going to Calinawan Cave and everybody is over whelmed about going inside. Here I bring out my head lamp from my race belts pocket and light it up I had to stay at the back of Maki (my younger running buddy) so that we both see what’s ahead of us. I enjoyed the view of the cave but I got worried because it’s kinda dead cave already. 😦 When everybody is after the yellow or greenish straw/rope with mini lights on that I don’t think last long enough runners in front of us came back to tell us that it’s the end of the line and we need to get back, we saw earlier that there is another way but way smaller to walk through so I shouted “We are on the right way, trust me” so they did listened until we see a woman at the very near going out of the cave. While inside by the way one runner in front of my didn’t had a flashlight missed a stalactite and bump into it even though I shouted earlier watch his head I even shouted “over head, over head”. Toinks! That runner is holding his head saying “ouch” and reminding others to be careful.
We get out the cave and here I got a little problem, it’s a wet grass and my New Balance Water Shoe doesn’t had a traction and it is too slippery for me so I had to really slow down until I reach the back of the river. At the river crossing it is my advantage so I didn’t bother hop into the boulders instead I ran through the water because my shoe dries quickly. My running buddy is always ahead of me and I trying my best to keep up even though my knees is about to give up. When we reach the 340 + steps going up to the Grotto I thought I am ready to go for it and will over take more runners but I was wrong I never did a stairs training so I struggled after doing 106 steps. I had to really stop and take a deep breath, shout and go. I grab a bottled water here and give it back to the race marshal I just watched my hands and pour the water into my head. It was hot already and I had to cool down by doing that. I look straight at the mountain and here I said to myself it’s really gonna be a mountain trail this time. By the looks of the race route, the only way is to go up and up and up again which my instinct is true.
I started to feel the rhythm and I can now go with Maki race pace but from time to time it will change because I had to stop and give way to the runners going down which other runners don’t know of. In mountaineering, hikers going down is giving priority or right of way and hikers going down will stop and give way to them. Trail runners or first time trail runners should know this courtesy so that all is happy and no harm done to others, just saying. On the way up, we get pass a village or community and some of them say it is still far to the U-turn and you need to summit another mountain, let’s see I said to myself. It’s impossible for me to run or jog going up so I had to do a fast walking and it is what I do during our climbs. I hate to say this but I’m not good in uphill climbing in fact I easily give up and really take time but this time Maki is here pushing me to my limits so to do this he had to stay at my back and that kind of pushes me to go up fast and continuously.
There are times that I really wanted to stop and take that usual 5 minutes break but I didn’t. During the last 2 kilometers I can now see a 10K U-turn and started to look forward in counting runners going down from 21K category. I am pretty much sure my count to runners in front of us is around 20 to 25 until we reach the 21K U-turn or summit but I was surprised on the unofficial results that I finished 57th and Maki 51st place. Now, I started to think that some runners might or really took a short cut and did not run the estimated 3 kilometer loop going to the right after the store at the last 2 hydration stations before you hit the final 1 kilometer going down to Daranak Falls the start and finish line of the trail race.
When we stop to drink water at the hydration station in front of the store where an ambulance is on stand-by waiting for the runner/s that got injured because of leg cramps. Earlier at the trail I remember this young or new to trail running of about 18 or 20’s of age really struggled in pain lying on the ground due to 2 leg cramps and he’s really in bad, bad shape. I told them to remove the rubber that they tied on his both legs and elevate them instead while relaxing so that oxygen blood will flow and end the leg cramps where the runner in front of me agreed. I don’t know if they did that as we continued running going down. Younger runners had difficulty in controlling leg cramps such as this compared to adults where they know how to control it just like what I am doing during the last 5 kilometer of the race. I got a muscle leg cramp to my right leg when I hop to avoid collision at the runner going up in front of me where he didn’t bother to stop and let me pass first. Argh! I hate this guy but I didn’t show any violent reactions because I understand more than him I just continued and tried to catch up with Maki again and that time he is like 5 minutes ahead of me.
I thought on the last 3 kilometer loop it’s gonna be a flat but to our surprise it is still an uphill/downhill part circling a Nipa Hut where locals built for their charcoal business. Speaking of that, I was worried when I saw that in the village earlier because of the smell and the aftermath of this charcoal business they are killing our mountains. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!
At the very last water station, me and Maki are both hungry good thing I had a bar of chocolate so we shared it but earlier I’ve been eating Jelly ace long sticks that Ralph gave me before the gun start and it really help me with my leg cramps I hope and 1 bottle of Powerade is not enough because I was expecting that Pocari Sweat will be available again and guess what all water at the station, no bananas, no first aid station at the final U-turn and no sports drink to fight cramps. 😦
At the last 1 kilometer, Maki said that we will push on running, I tried but both of my legs are about to give up and it locks up so I had to signal to him go ahead and meet me at the finish line. I walked up to reach the entrance going down to the falls and finish line. Thanked God I finished the final leg with minor leg cramps and a bruise in my left arm. After finishing, I immediately get my finishers kit and eat some bananas go down and swim at the river with Maki and Ralph.
It was cold as ice and I stayed in the water for like 30 to 40 minutes and did a cold compress which is very helpful but while I am doing that my leg cramped up simultaneously so I had to relax again at the water before I get out. I approach Ella “The Running Photographer” to have a picture with her and she is all smile pose for the photo with me. Thanks Teacher Ella, at that time she is the only one taking pictures aside from Jose “Manghusi”. Thanks to you guys!
I waited for my Team L.O.S.T. members to finish, washed up, waited for the ceremony and then pose for group pic, solo pic and bids goodbye to the place and to other running buddies that we meet and finished the race.
Until the next trail run again with PIMCO. Love-A-Tree 50K you’re going down haha. Watch out for it, I’m on the cover of 2013 Love-A-Tree International Ultramarathon! 🙂
- The Bull Runner’s Trails Running 101 From The Masters (kalongkong.wordpress.com)
- Race Report: Nature’s Trail Discovery Run Leg 2 still in Tanay (kalongkong.wordpress.com)
- Spotted: Kalongkong Hiker on PIMCO’s 2nd Love-a-TrEE International Trail Running Ultra Marathon 2013 Poster (kalongkong.wordpress.com)
- A Sneak Peek Of The Daranak Trails: Tanay Discovery Run (Leg 3) (kalongkong.wordpress.com)
- Pimco’s New Look & Link To My Blog’s Leg 1 Race Review (kalongkong.wordpress.com)
- Anya’s Ultramarathoning Awesomeness (running4thereason.com)
- Marvelous Monday: trail running (runservecook.wordpress.com)
- Altra Lone Peak Trail Running Shoe Review (highballblog.com)
- First Filipino to run around the world (rappler.com)
- Service Members take on All-Terrain Unit Competition (dvidshub.net)