I have been stalling writing for quite a while but I gotta write about this. After all, this has been my best performance as a runner. Oops! I can’t believe I just called myself a runner. I mean, I’ve just had three legit runs so far. I must be in such a hurry to shed that label ‘mountaineer’ off my skin, mustn’t I? I mean, with all the issues plaguing the cyber mountaineering community of the country, who would want to be identified with mountaineers? This time around, you say one thing about a mountaineering event; it’s an instant hot potato. You drop a line about a climber’s death; you’re on the hot seat. You accidentally drop a wrapper of Choc-nut on the trail; you’re the headline of The Climbers’ Daily. To hell with all these fuss in this chaotic hiking community where everybody is ‘great’! Let’s just run!
Last Sunday (October 16), I took part in the Columbia Trailmasters 10K fun run. The trail run was set on the gently rolling terrain of Nuvali in Sta Rosa, Laguna. There were four categories in the event: the Elite Men’s 60K, Open Mixed 40K, the Open Men’s 40K and the 10K fun run. The course involved runs on concrete, mud, stream and a little obstacle course. More than 300 individuals took part in the 10K event. And I finished 22nd (19th among all males) or I outran 94% of the runners in my category.
But that finish involved a lot of training and dedication! After my first run (this year), I regularly jogged around the UP Diliman academic oval (a 2.2-km elliptical road in the campus) at night. From my home in Mandaluyong I head to UP alone after work then I jog with a few other joggers. I usually finish 5 rounds (11k) in a little less than an hour. The acad oval is probably the best place to jog in the metro. The whole oval is canopied in thick acacia shade. And there’s an inner joggers’/bikers’ lane. The air is fresh and the people are sane. I don’t have a car so I leave my change of clothes and other stuff to the kind security personnel of either the Main Library or the UP Theater.
Apart from my jogs, I climb (mostly day hikes) almost three times a month. I also regularly went to the gym on the second floor of my apartment building during the rainy months. I hogged the treadmills. And from time to time I would swim in the tiny pool in our building. Yep, never had such an active and healthy lifestyle before! The trade-off: I had to keep a distance from some of my drinking buddies. But it’s good to know that, you will always find friends who don’t smoke or drink. And them friends I found in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
All five of my companions during the trail run are from Cavite. The night before the event, Kevin, Jed Pol, Christian (Chris), Buyco and I had to have a meeting at Chris’s place (where I spent the night). Then at 2:30 I had to take my sleeping pill. When the alarm went off at 4:00, I was still groggy and a bit spaced out but I had to take a quick shower because the other three and Buyco’s girlfriend would arrive at Chris’s place at 4:30 (our assembly). And in Chris’s The North Face Edition Ford Escape, we headed for Nuvali.
All of us were satisfied with our times except for Kevin (I think), who couldn’t keep up with Buyco. Buyco was almost always with me on the trail and he finished three persons and a few seconds behind me. Buyco and Kevin were training partners. Jed keeps his weight in check by playing basketball. The three of them are very active in climbing too. And Chris, hooked to his newly-completed mountain bike, has been all over the peripheries of Dasma biking roads and trails. All of us influence each other’s lifestyles one way or another. We were all heavy drinkers before. Jed was a smoker but he quit smoking and drinking altogether. When I met Jed Pol in November last year, he was a blob of bouncing fat mass. But I was surprised when he told me last Sunday that the large-size singlet was big for him. Chris, no longer eats anything that walks on the ground. I’m not sure what he calls himself but I heard something like ‘fishtarian’. I guess what I’m trying to say here is, I feel good being in the company of these goal-oriented individuals. And it feels good to see results. You start reaching new heights and breaking personal records.
The result I got from the Columbia Trailmasters was a reversal of my previous run. Last June 18, in the Merrell Adventure Run in San Mateo, Rizal, I finished 63rd or before 49% of the runners in my category (21K). I suffered from cramps on both calves that time which, luckily, I didn’t experience last weekend. The same thing happened during my first run last April 16. It was a 17K skyrun over the mysticMt Napulauan in Ifugao. My right calf got cramped when I was closing in on the summit! The event was organized by The Philippine Skyrunning Association.
And the three of us (Kevin, Buyco and I) are training hard for the first international Skyrace in the country—the Pilipinas Akyathlon. This 33K out-and-back sky run is set on November 26 in Mt Ugo in Itogon, Benguet. This event is also organized by The Philippine Skyrunning Association in cooperation with the local government of Itogon, Benguet.
Yes a lot of things have changed. I will still climb, but I am more focused now on trailrunning. The cool thing about trail running is that it’s a no-frills recreation. You don’t have to plant trees and pick up trash on trails. You don’t have to prove anything and you don’t have to be always worried not to violate some set of principles, codes and guidelines. You simply have to get wild, dutty and sweaty while enjoying Mother Nature. You become healthier and you also meet new friends. Plus you get those cool singlets as your personal progress report.
Run the Trails!