#TaleOfTheTrail Mount Alapaap (San Andres, Tanay, Rizal)

In awe of the Sea of Clouds

Mount Alapaap is a short 5 kilometer circuit but it does give you several climbs, steep drops and a really awesome view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. #TaleOfTheTrail

#TaleOfTheTrail

Funny how I’ve been keeping this streak of being on the trails on weekend.  Suddenly, there’s nothing scheduled for the weekend.  While I’m good to go for just an ordinary weekend at the city, I got an invite from Inja since Wanderbee Travel and Tours had a scheduled trip to Mount Alapaap.  Oh wait, Mount Alapaap also happens to be one of the race where I completely struggled on the climbs and that suicidal descent.  You can read more about it here:

That was one painful race but since I wanted my weekend dose of dirt, I’m good to go.  At the last minute, I joined Inja’s group with a meetup at 3 am in Quezon Ave and a hike that starts before 5 am. It also meant that I had to do the climb with barely any decent sleep.  The start area is in San Andres, Tanay, Rizal, which is several kilometers near the highway.

Trekking Mount Alapaap

The race here was just last February so the route, elevation is still fresh.  It starts with 1 km climb followed by a really steep rappel descent, another long climb to the second peak before heading down wards to complete the loop.   We started at 4:45 am so we had to use our headlamps because it was still dark.  It started with climbs unlimited, which is not my favorite way to start a hike.  My legs usually struggle on the climbs when it doesn’t feel warmed up yet.  I was in the middle part and a few meters away from the fast hikers.  I really wanted to take it easy since it’s a climb and I have high regards for the route based on the previous time I was here.

Halfway into the climb, I tried to hike faster and was able to catch the first group of Van, Bon and Limwell.  Going up, there was some areas overlooking the mountains with sea of clouds.  After several pit stops, we reached the first summit where we waited for the rest of the group.

I knew the next part was a long descent over a deep ravine in between the first and second summit.  How I wish they just made a zipline or hanging bridge across the two summits.  The descent was a really steep one and we had to use ropes to keep our balance.  We had a short break before heading down.

It was a long way down with ropes to help us over the steepness.  I’m glad that I had good traction in my shoes though there was a part where I slipped because of the loose soil.  It was a technical drop, which required more caution and courage.  It also felt endless as one steep descent led to another until we finally reached the lowest part, which is a bamboo infested forest.

The bamboo infested forest was another set of climbs leading to the next summit.  It was shorter than the previous climb but it was a lot steeper.  There were also railings on some parts, which can aid you on the climb.  We took the climb on several efforts plus the view was awesome for some photo-ops.  The good part about this stretch was that it was covered.

The climbs led us to the open trails where you can already see the summit.  We took a break at the store and had fresh buko.  This was also a nice vantage points for some photos with the views of the Sierra Madre Mountain range prominent already.

From the store, it was just about 200 to 300 meters of pure climbs heading to the area near Mag-Asawang Bato.  It was a short but tiring climb because of the elevation.  The area led to two rocky boulders, which was also a great spot for appreciating the mountains.

We took our turns taking photos over this large rock structure with the overlooking view of the mountains.  We had to wait for our turn going to the highest peak, which is Mag-Asawang Bato because the first group was still there.

After gazillion years of waiting, we finally had a chance to go to the highest point.  It was a short technical climb, where you have to hang on the boulders of rocks to go up.  Mag-asawang bato had the best view because of its altitude.

We took our turns at the top of the the rock, enjoying the splendid view.  You really just get awed whenever you see nature at this vantage point.  No wonder the previous group took forever leaving this spot. Ok, I’m being sarcastic there.

We went in batches at the top though went down too so others can have their chance.  The lower part of the rock was also a nice scenery.

We then made our way back to the rest of the circuit, which had a lot of scenic ridges as we descended down the trail.  It was getting hot already so we tried to speed up heading back to the bottom of the mountain.

Bathing in a Kawa

After the climb, we were able to bath in a Kawa at the nearby Mysawa area.  I was scared at first but after seeing the rest, I braved the experience.  It felt really good with the warm waters.  The winds made me want to stay in the Kawa longer as you’ll feel the contrast between the hot  water and the cool winds.  That was such a short and sweet adventure.  That’s all folks.

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#TaleOfTheTrail Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (Singapore)

Bukit Timah Hill is just 163.63 meters in elevation and its Singapore’s highest hill.  Don’t underestimate the hill as it’s a steep uphill challenge even if its just a short distance.  Also, take an up and down adventure at the nearby Dairy Farm loop and finish up by visiting the Hindhede Nature Park. #TaleOfTheTrail

Tale of The Trail

I’m easy to please just give me some dirt and an awesome view of nature and I’m good to go.  Even on short business trips, I try to squeeze in some quality time in the trails.  So far, I’ve been able to visit the following trails in Singapore.

The Southern Ridges is mostly road stretches but you get to feel the rolling terrain as you navigate over the southern part of Singapore.  MacRitchie Trail and Reservoir Park is a feel-good trail that takes you to dirt tracks and a scenic view at the Tree Top Walk.  With a day to spare in Singapore before our Board meeting, I was on the lookout for a new trail, which ended up as Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, which includes Singapore’s Highest Hill at 163.63 meters.  It’s hills for breakfast for me this time.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a few hundred meters away from Beauty World MRT Station or you can also take a cab to the area.  Going to Bukit Timah, I took a cab just to save time though I took the MRT on my way back after the climb.  From Upper Bukit Timah Road, enter Hindhede Drive for the start of the hike.

Trekking Bukit Timah Hill

It’s an uphill climb

The hike starts at the parking area and its an immediate climb on paved roads.  It’s a short and steep climb for about 900 meters heading to the next hut.  Even though I’ve been climbing a lot, I struggle on steep climbs especially when my legs are not yet warmed up.  I took a rest on the first hut as my quads and calves felt stiff.  I just needed to rest it a bit before pursuing the climb.

The next hut was a fork, one headed to a short road with an overlooking view and the other headed to Bukit Timah Hill.  I took the short road since I had time to spare for this one.  It was just about 200 meters to the end but it was a nice stretch to run up going there and run down going back.  I also needed the short run to keep my legs warm.  When I resumed the climb to Bukit Timah Hill, I then had to choose which route to take.

Easy or Hard?

One was just 150 meters but you had to take stairs to the summit and the other one is paved roads, with moderate ascent of about 540 meters to the summit.  The short route was the tougher one since it’s stairs and it’s a lot steeper.  The other route would be more relaxing since this would have a more gradual ascent.

Harder Route it is.

I opted for the harder route which is the stairs.  I had to stop several times to catch my breath but it’s just about 150 meters this is just a short struggle.  The end of the stairs immediately led to the summit.

163.63 meters

This was a short climb compared to my other climbs but I felt the work out.  This is Singapore’s Highest Hill and it’s nice to see.  If you want to work on your distance, try Mac Ritchie but if you want to work on your altitude, Bukit Timah is the place to go.  I’d like to try doing both in a day sometime.

Dairy Farm Loop

Since this was just 1.5 kilometers, I went to the Dairy Farm loop.  It’s just a 2-2.5 kilometer loop that gives you a heavily forested trail for your to appreciate.  It’s a TRAP though as the first half of the trail leads you several stair steps and paths going down.  That means you have to climb up the second part of the trail.  The loop gets you deeper to the reserve.

Stairs unlimited

The first part is easy as its going down but the second part is stairs unlimited.  There was also an option to exit at the lower part of the trail.  I took the path leading back to the summit, which is about a kilometers worth of climbing.   I had to conserve my energy on the stairs as it’s literally “breath-taking.”  There were upward path, steel stairs and dirt tracks with the forested area as the backdrop.

Jungle Loop

Towards the upper part of the loop, there was the regular route, which most people took and there was the Jungle Loop.  I took  the Jungle Loop since it was a dirt trail that also had streams.  I was thinking the Jungle Loop would be a shorter climb since it exits to the lower part of the main road.  I was wrong though as the Jungle Loop went downward before leading to another long climb of steps.  Oh well, I asked for this one so might as well go on with it.

After hitting the main road, I went back to the foot of Bukit Timah Hill.  There was a visitor center as well as an access to Hindhede National Park.  There were historical markers as well as key information about Bukit Timah at the Visitor Center, which you get to read as you rest after the climb.  After a short rest, I decided to check out what’s inside of Hindhede National Park.

Macaques

I was welcomed by Macaques upon entering. I also saw a monitor lizard run in front of me.  There were also other activities in the park such as a reflexology walk but the main part I enjoyed here was seeing the view of the Hindhede Quarry.

Hindhede Quarry

I exited to the lower part of the trail leading to the parking lot before I walk my way to the Beauty World MRT Station, which is just a few hundred meters away to end another edition of #TaleOfTheTrail

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Hoka One One Speed Goat 2 vs Speed Instinct 2 vs Evo Jawz

Speed Goat 2 vs Speed Instinct 2 vs Evo Jawz.  That’s my trail arsenal as of late and each one offers a unique way to experience the trails.  Check out my take on the different variants of Hoka One One trail running shoes.

Hoka One One

Hoka One One has been my go-to trail shoes since last year with both the Speed Goat 1 and Speed Instinct 1, you can check my review on that here:

I then shifted to Hoka One One Speed Goat 2 last July and tried Speed Instinct 2 and Evo Jawz early this year.  That’s more than a year of using Hoka One One on the trails.  I’m not a fast runner but I love the trails and it has been my regular weekly habit on weekends.   The three shoes are different in built but they all give the usual cushy feel that Hoka is known for.

Speed Goat 2

Of the three shoes, it has the most mileage. Aside from having it the earliest, it also is the most flexible among the three.  It can go on technical trails and still feel soft even on fast trails or road surfaces.  It’s also the heaviest of the 3 shoes at 9.8 oz which is still light compared to other trail shoes.

Its a maximalist shoes so it goes to say that it has more cushioning and has less ground feel.  The cushioning gives you that sense of security especially to the knees when you attack the downhillls.  It takes time to get used to especially if you’re not used to maximalist shoes.  It has excellent traction with Vibram MegaGrip hi-traction outsole with multi-directional 5mm lugs.   It takes time to get used to especially if you’re not used to maximalist shoes.  On my first use of the shoes, I tend to pronate but once I got used to the maximalist feel, it felt like a natural fit.

It feels soft on the different surfaces, terrains and even on roads with its cushioned mid-sole so you’re good to go on technical trails and even on the roads.  It feels lightweight with a good fit despite its maximalist built.  The mesh is breathable, which gives the feet a cooler feel while also being a drain when ever you’re in river crossings and ponds.

It’s an excellent any day or any trail type of shoes as its durable and also can go on any trail surface whether your just hiking, training or racing.

Speed Instinct 2

Speed Instinct 2 is just a shade lighter than Speed Goat 2 at 9.5 ounces but its built for the fast trails.  It has a cushioned heel and more responsive forefoot to keep you comfortable even on downhills.  It has the multi-directional lugs to provide you with adequate traction.

With focus on a lightweight built and feel, it’s not as cushioned or have the traction of the Speed Goat 2 but it’s sufficient enough to keep you steady on the climbs.  When the trails are fast and not too technical, Speed Instinct 2 would have an advantage over Speed Goat 2 but on technical terrains, Speed Goat 2 would have a better traction.  It’s a fast shoes that can really give you a fast split and perfect for those who wants to blitz the trails.

Speed Instinct 2 is also good to go on the road.  It has good drains on river crossings and wet trails with a breathable mesh upper. The shoes also gives you a better ground feel to help you navigate technical trails.  It does not feel as maximalist as the Speed Goat 2 so it’s easier to adopt to the shoes.

It’s easy to love the Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2. It’s a much breathable version of the first Speed Instinct. It retains the cushioned, lightweight and multi-directional lugs features of the first edition. The traction is not as aggressive as the Speed Goat but it gives you a better ground feel and more stable foot landings even on roads.

Evo Jawz

Hoka One One Evo Jawz is the ultimate race shoes.  It’s the lightest weight of the 3 at 7.2 ounces.  It has shark-teeth like lugs in its Vibram® MegaGrip hi-traction outsole with 6mm lugs.  That’s superior traction on any surface.  It also has the best ground feel. It’s definitely an advantage when trails go technical.

At first, I was afraid to use it because I am used to more cushioned shoes but surprisingly, it felt cushioned even on the steep downhills. Evo Jawz gives you the best ground feel since its much lower to the ground than the two models but still has sufficient cushioning with a midsole wrap offering stability on the landings and protection.

It’s shark-teeth like multi-directional lugs gives you the courage to run on technical trails with its superior traction.  I felt comfortable even on the steep and technical downhill as I felt that I’m firmly planted to the ground because of the lugs.  It’s definitely an advantage as the trails goes more technical with the aggressive traction.  It helped me get past the steep and technical terrains of Mount Sembrano and Mount Batolusong and it also helped me on the technical descent in Sta Fe area of Mount Ulap.

The woven rip upper gives you a secure fit.  The fit is a bit of a pro and a con.  The fit and the lower ground feel gives you a better feel and reaction to the trail surfaces.  At the same time, it can also lead to blisters.  I usually pair it up with drymax socks and usually tape the toe area to avoid blisters. Except for my first time wearing the shoes, I’ve been blister free.

It’s Hoka One One’s best race shoes available with a traction that will keep you focus on the run and not on the surface.  It’s not an everyday trail shoes as I’d rather reserve Evo Jawz for more technical trails.  With a higher lugs, its not as comfortable as the Speed Instinct 2 or Speed Goat 2 on the road.  Overall, it’s a race shoes I would reserve for the tougher trail surfaces.

Time To Fly

I always go over the trail profile whenever I hit the trail.  Speed Goat 2 is always a safe choice for any trail surfaces. Speed Instinct 2 is a faster shoes on flatter and less technical surface. Evo Jawz would be an advantage on technical and muddy surfaces.  Of course, the shoe is just part of the arsenal but the skill of the runner is what matters in the trail field.

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Incoming: PHA Heart Run

Running is good for the Heart.  PHA Heart Run is even better as it comes with 1 year free accident insurance worth P100,000.  Participants also gets a chance to win raffle items while they run / walk their chosen distance that comes with a 1K advocacy walk and 5, 10 and 21K Runs on May 13, 2018.

PHA Run 2018

Run for a good cause and also be covered by an Insurance from Allianz.  PHA Heart Run offers both a feel good advocacy walk and runs.  Allianz PNB Life is giving a one-year free accident life insurance coverage worth Php100,000 to the participants of the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) Heart Run Powered by Allianz happening at the SM By The Bay on May 13, 2018.

Rei Abrazaldo, Brand Communications and Digital Director of Allianz PNB Life, made the announcement at a recent press conference held together with the PHA doctors and officers.

“Allianz is there to provide protection, (so) every participant gets a Php100,000 Free Personal Accident Life Insurance,” Abrazaldo said.

He further announced that the first place winners of the 21K leg of the race will receive an all-expense paid trip to Thailand to represent the country at the Allianz Ayudhya Run in November.

Allianz has supported the PHA and its advocacy in promoting healthy active lifestyle and in emphasizing that prevention is better than cure as more Filipinos suffer from cardiovascular diseases.

“Allianz globally builds partnerships with organizations that share our values, especially our belief in embracing new ideas and technologies that have a positive impact on peoples’ lives,” he explained referring to the partnership with the PHA.

Also present during the event were Dr. Olaf Kliesow, president and chief executive officer Allianz PNB Life; Gae Martinez, chief marketing officer, Allianz PNB Life; Dr. Jorge Sison, PHA president; Dr. Nannette Rey, vice president, PHA; Dr. Ronald Cuyco, board member, PHA; and Dr. Aurelia Leus, board member, PHA.

The PHA Heart Run is also sponsored by Watsons, Omron, Fitbit, Fitbar, and Eaton Mini Suites. Its media partners include the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Business World, Business Mirror, Philippine Graphic Magazine, Pilipino Mirror, Travelife Magazine, The Manila Times, Wheninmanila, and Multisports.ph.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: May 13, 2018
  • Venue: SM By the Bay Mall of Asia Complex

Fees ad Inclusions

  • 1Km Walk for the Heart – P800 (Inclusive of Advocacy Shirt)
  • 5Km – P650 (Inclusive of Race bib with RFID Shoetag, Race Shirt and Festival Activities)
  • 10Km – P750 (Inclusive of Race bib with RFID Shoetag, Race Shirt and Festival Activities)
  • 21Km – P1,200 ((Inclusive of Race bib with RFID Shoetag, Race Shirt, Finisher Medal, Finisher Shirt and Festival Activities)

Registration

  • Online via Goorhana until May 6, 2018
  • Onsite: Chris Sports at SM North Edsa, SM Megamall, Glorietta 3, Uptown Place Mall, SM Mall of Asia until May 6, 2018
  • Registration Inquiries (Contact Pep Squad Events at 02 804 2647 for availability of slots and race kits)
  • Race Day Onsite Registration starting 3 am before the race.

Race Updates

Race Maps

 

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Coaches Share Insights on Getting Ironman Ready

Less than a month away from the Country’s first full Distance Ironman, Coaches Andy Leuterio and Don Velasco shares some tips to be Ironman Ready.

Century Tuna Ironman Philippines

June 3rd will mark the first time a full-distance Ironman race will take place in the country. Century Tuna, a title sponsor for previous Ironman 70.3 events is all set to bring the toughest triathlon distance—3.86 km swim, 180.25 km bike, and run 42.2 km—to Subic Bay.

Since the event was announced last year, triathletes from all over the country have signed up and are currently in the thick of training, knowing the serious work it takes to finish the race. Being the grueling sport that it is, how then do you prepare for a full Ironman race?

Coach Andy Leuterio of Alpha Training Systems and Ironman-certified coach Don Velasco took a break from training triathletes to share what it takes to get Ironman fit.

TRAIN SMART, NOT HARD

Withstanding the physical challenges that race day presents begins from the day you start training. Workouts need to planned and paced so that you won’t bog down come the big day.

  •  Train with discipline, but know your limits. Aspiring triathletes should train at least six days a week, says Coach Andy. Training gets tougher as the weeks go by but it doesn’t mean pushing your limits until you drop. He adds that there is room to be flexible with training based on your capacity to recover. Overtraining is a common mistake even among seasoned triathletes and it will hurt you come race day if you overdo it.
  • Adjust workouts according to your needs. Your training plan should be adjusted around your lifestyle. From the number of workouts down to when and where you do it, it’s important that it seamlessly fits your daily schedule. Taking training up a notch, scientific methods such as blood and metabolic testing can help coaches make specific changes to your routine to suit your needs, adds Coach Don.
  • Observe a balanced diet. Proper nutrition could spell the difference between running out of fuel mid-race and going steady as you cross the finish line. Meal preparation should be paired with workout planning to ensure that energy spent in training is efficiently replaced through meals.

 KNOW YOURSELF AND YOUR EQUIPMENT

The race requires you to swim for three hours, be on a bike for eight, and run for another six. This much activity exposes you to a higher risk of injuries. Investing in the right equipment helps keep your focus on the race which requires a lot of mental fortitude to deal with the terrain, heat, frustration, and fatigue.

  • Develop a strong mindset. “Mid-race, you’ll ask yourself why you’re doing this, why are you paying to suffer? But it’s not just about winning, it’s about your own personal goals. Don’t get caught up in the emotional banter,” shares Coach Don. Always remember why you started, it will help you power through during rough parts of training and the race.
  • Get the best bike fit. Get a bike that’s properly fitted to you to ensure that you’re comfortable as you ride for hours. Note also that it should not hinder your form—aerodynamics does help save energy as you glide at certain points.
  • Pick the right shoes. Wearing the wrong bike and running shoes can lead to injuries that also lead to long-term muscle pain. Getting the right shoe for your gait and wearing them in well before race day ensures you remain comfy as you notch the kilometers towards the finish line.

ANTICIPATE THE RACE, BUT DON’T OVERTHINK

Do all the workouts and keep your focus on the goal.  Remember to pace yourself and to allot time for recovery. Terrain and heat have brought down a lot of athletes, so always assess yourself and how you feel.

  • Simulate the race in training. “Simulation workouts usually happen once or twice during the build-up. Use these as milestones to keep you in check,” says Coach Don. “If you fail in the first one, learn from it and do better on the second one.” How you do in both workouts helps you gauge your race-readiness.
  • Aim for balance. “Spend the first part of your training on your weaker sport, like if you want to improve your running, focus most of your efforts on that while still doing workouts for the other two,” says Coach Andy. He notes that balance is key—better to be balanced than to be over-trained as your body might break down due to all the strain.
  • It’s all about you. During the race itself, take the time to do it your way—the race is about your personal progress as an athlete. “It’s a remarkable achievement to finish an Ironman considering all the things you have to juggle while training,” says Coach Andy.

In the end, finishing a full Ironman is all about you. It’s the culmination of all your efforts in training, the discipline in your meals, and your determination to get to the finish line. Enjoy the journey, savor the experience and take the time to be mentally and physically ready to hit the Ironman grind.

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TRI-Factor Brings A Triathlon Race for ALL

Triathlon has grown leaps and bounds over the past few years with more athletes adopting the swim, bike and run lifestyle.  TRI-Factor ushers in the next wave of growth with a triathlon event that’s friendly even to non-athletes who want to shift to the lifestyle. Come May 26-27, 2018, TRI-Factor would welcome both new and seasoned triathletes at Camsur Water Complex for a round of triathlon.

Triathlon

The growth of triathlon is the growth of fitness.  The advancement of triathlon in the Philippines started with the boom of running years back.  With running as an entry point and a lot of goals achieved, runners progressed into multisport athletes. Thousands of athletes started taking part in the various triathlon events in and out of the country.  It required 3 times the discipline and dedication because you had to train in all sports and even do brick workouts too.  Triathlon also has a step-ladder approach when it comes to training as you start with the shorter distances, then building up to the longer distances.  From a sport, it became a swim, bike and run lifestyle.

TRI-Factor Philippines

Zwifting with Princess Legaspo

The fitness lifestyle makes us stronger and live better.  For people outside looking inside the world of triathlon, the sport can be intimidating.  TRI-Factor brings a friendlier distance for those who want to get their feet wet and venture into triathlon.

Miss Earth Air Michelle Gomez is also on her 45 days road to triathlon Journey for TRI-Factor

They have a freshmen distance of 200m swim-10 km bike-2 km run as well as a sprint distance of 740m swim-20km bike-5km run. They even have a kids triathlon of 100m swim-5km bike-1km run.  All these events happening on May 26, 2018.  They have the standard distance triathlon (individual and team relay – 1.5km swim-40km bike-10km run) and the long distance triathlon (individual and team relay – 1.5km swim-60km bike-15km run) on May 27, 2018.

“TRI-Factor is about building the eco-system of the sport of triathlon. It is about the inclusive and progressive nature of how we designed the race and about the people taking their first step into doing a triathlon,” said Elvin Ting, founder of TRI-Factor and managing director of the organizing Orange Room Pte. Ltd. “This race series have categories for all capabilities and ages, starting from the kids triathlon all the way up to the long distance triathlon.”

TRI-Factor not only creates a competitive environment for the experienced ones, they also create a venue for the new breed of triathletes to be a part of the swim, bike and run lifestyle.  The freshmen and sprint level can be a good entry point for newbies and work on the progression from there.  Kids can also adopt to the sport at an early age with a category on their own.  The race in CWC is the Philippine Leg of the Asian Championship for 2018. There would be also legs in Singapore, China, Thailand and Malaysia.

Time To Be Strong

Register NOW at TRI-Factor via their website https://trifactor.ph/#/. It’s your one-way ticket to a lifestyle of fitness.  It’s time to be strong and create your own triathlon story at CamSur Water Complex, Philippines on May 26-27, 2018.  CWC would also create the perfect festival style village with people cheering you on as you go on that life altering journey towards the finish line and a fresh new chapter to your life.

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Under Armour HOVR is Anytime, Anyday Fitness Shoes

Under Armour enters the cushioning wars with UA HOVR.  It’s equipped with its Energy Web and HOVR foam that not only reduce impact per foot landing but also generates an energy return on the next stride.  It also gives you a sock like feel with its knitted upper for a more comfortable run.  It is truly an any time, any day fitness shoes.

Under Armour HOVR

I’ve been drooling over the new Under Armour HOVR ever since they started teasing the new running shoes.  It’s an eye-candy that comes in flashy and bold colorways.  It’s an every day shoes that can go well with your gym workouts, your runs and even your regular work day walks.  I eventually got the UA HOVR Sonic in pure white colorways.  I’ve been in the running scene for the past 8 years and when it comes to colorways, I’ve seen shoes evolve from the dull colored shoes to the flashy neon shoes and now back to the plain but catchy shoes.  Yes, white is the new flashy for me.  It looks pristine and stands out in a world of colorful shoes.

The Look

White and some highlights of gold, that’s the colorway of my HOVR Sonic.  I would also go for the bolder colorways of HOVR like Red because it does stand out.  It’s no accident that running shoes has evolved to the flashier colors we see today.  It’s because of visibility especially at night.  That feature keeps you safe and visible to motorist when you are on the road at night. The HOVR is not only visible, reflectorized but is also an eye candy anytime you wear them.

The Fit

The knitted upper makes the shoes fit like a sock and also makes it really breathable.  With a compression-like fit, UA HOVR gives you a better feel of the road, eliminates drag and adds comfort to every stride.  It also feels lighter than its 9.6 oz weight because of the fit.  You can really go farther and longer focusing on the run because of the innate comfort.  The shoes is powered by HOVR foam and wrapped in an energy web that adds cushion to each foot strike and efficient with the energy returns.

The Feel

I’ve used the HOVR on regular days, on gym work-outs, on cycling and on runs.  That’s how flexible it can get.  While most running shoes tend to go lighter and reduce cushioning to the bare essentials, the HOVR works with a neutral foot strike and a cushioned built.  Cushioning is one of its strengths as you feel supported when you walk, when you run and when you work out.  The fit makes up for the added weight on the cushioning since it provides a zero gravity feel with less drag.  It also uses an ortholite insole that molds to the feet for customized cushion and feel.  It feels light on the run, cushioned on the walks, and flexible on the various gym work outs.

It’s a shoes perfect for newbies in the running as it would keep your knees protected even when you go through the growing up pains in running like heel striking, higher rates of impact and fatigue.  It’s also right for me now as I am now more used to the trails and whenever I am in the road, I tend to go back to those bad habits and it also reduces the impact of the harder paved surface.

It’s an Any Time, Any Day Fitness Shoes

Fitness has evolved to not just focus in running.  It’s a bigger pie now.  You lift or do gym strengthening when you need core strength.  You bike when you need to build endurance at reduced impact.  You do cross-fit when you want to improve conditioning at a shorter time.  You run when you need to improve your cardiovascular system.  A lot of people are working their way to fitness through different means and that’s a good sign.

If I can pinpoint what I like best with the HOVR is its versatility.  I can wear it as a lifestyle shoes and still stand out.  I can wear it when I walk and still comfortable on the stride.  I can wear it when I’m in the gym on various gym work outs. Of course, anytime I feel going for a run, I’m ready with my HOVR since its an Any Time, Any Day fitness shoes.

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Cycling RAAMpage is a Race Across America Qualifier

With a growing breed of Endurance Athletes comes a cycling event that’s gonna be a qualifier for one of the world’s toughest cycling events in Race Across America.  Cycling RAAMpage is holding a 6, 12 and 24 hours time trial starting at the Villages in Clark Freeport Zone on July 28, 2018.

 

Cycling RAAMpage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amtzWqyojPI Race Across America is considered by many as the world’s most challenging bike events with a grueling format of non-stop cycling across 13 states.  We now have a chance to see more FIlipinos to take a shot at the event since Cycling RAAmpage happening on July 28, 2018 is a RAAM qualifier.  All athletes and cycling enthusiasts from Philippines and Asia are welcome through experience RAAM through RAAMpage, which is the first official Southeast Asia qualifier.  Registration and sign ups are now open and can be reached via https://www.cyclingraampage.com/. While it follows the time-trial format of Race Across America, RAAMpage will be having a 6, 12 and 24 hours category to cater cyclists of all levels.  Team David’s Salon, the team behind RAAMpage, wanted to ensure that all cycling enthusiasts will have the opportunity to experience RAAM on the level they are comfortable with. To qualify for RAAM, participants need to complete 612 kilometers for male solo and 563 kilometers for female sole in 24 hours.

“We are extremely excited that Race Across America has recognized our capability – both as athletes and hosts – to put up the first official qualifier in Southeast Asia.  We know that RAAM is on the bucket list of many cyclists and we are thrilled to be bringing that experience here and who knows – we may have race finishers who will actually join RAAM,” says Carmela Pearson, head of RAAMpage and herself a second place mixed relay finisher in Race Across America in 2017.

David Charlton, owner of Team David’s Salon believes that not only will RAAMpage be a great opportunity to showcase how the Philippines can organize world-class athletic events, he also knows that the Filipino Athlete is more than capable of taking on RAAM.  

“I myself was with Carmela and our awesome team of four and we actually placed in the world’s toughest bike Race!  Imagine when we open this experience to even more Filipino athletes,” says Charlton.

RAAMPage will be held on July 28, 2018 at The Villages in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga. 

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: July 28, 2018
  • Venue: The Villages, Clark Freeport Zone

Fees

Registration

Race Updates

Race Route

http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/2690709361

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Throne x Starburry at Comicon Asia 2018

While Comicon Asia 2018 had a mix of our favorite iconic characters in the pop culture, there were two notable names that I’ve got to meet at the event. One was NBA and CBA Legend Stephon Marbury and the other is Joshua Diamante of Throne Barbershop in Toronto, who’s also made his mark as a barber to some NBA players and some R&B Artists.

Throne X Starbury

With Rochelle Romero

Joshua Diamante is a true blue Pinoy and is one of the founder of Throne Barbershop in Toronto, Ontario.  Throne Barbershop has been the people’s shop that gets visit from all walks of life, different cities, and different countries.  Joshua is among the top barbers and has had a client list of NBA Players and R&B Artists.  He gave several haircuts during Comic Con Asia 2018 and one of the client that day was Eric Tai or Eruption.

Joshua Diamante styling Eric Tai’s hair.

One look at how he cuts and you’ll get to realize why he earned his premium rate at Throne.  He is very meticulous and he really checks which style would be perfect for you.  He was able to do several demonstrations during Comic Con. Barbershop has also gone premium in the Philippines but I do hope we get our own Throne Barbershop here.  Joshua was also among the movers that brought along the legend of Starbury.

Stephon Marbury

We also got to see up close an NBA and CBA Legend in Stephon Marbury at Comic Con Asia.  Marbury was an offensive monster during his prime.  Also known as Starbury, he was a mercurial guard on the court that had a lot of offensive arsenals.  I was able to follow his exploits in the NBA since we were playing fantasy basketball during that time and he’d always be among our top picks because of his fantasy value.  Starbury have an impressive basketball resume from high school, college to an NBA All Star to a US National Team player.  After his stint with NBA, he took his talents to CBA and became a legend in China.  He’s a winner on all levels.

Starbury was a phenom on the court and a lot friendlier in person. It was nice to see a basketball legend up close and I’m happy to have a signed Georgia Tech Jersey.  He even made a round at Comic Con Asia to meet some of his fans.  Comic Con Asia 2018 also had a lot of cos-players, comic themed shops, food stalls, shows and a whole lot of gimmicks.  It was a great tie-up to introduce both the Throne and Starbury brand in the country.

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Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2018

Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2018 has gathered thousands of runners once again in celebration of Earth Day.  More than the run, it was the reminder to care for mother Earth that took center stage at this event.  It was a feel-good run with a good cause.

Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2018

Running on road especially on a big event hasn’t been a common playground for me lately.  I’ve been used to the scenic trails and the intimate runs that Nat Geo Earth Day run felt like a totally different experience.  I also came from a trail recon the day before so there’s a little bit of fatigue coming in but that’s just me.  I make the most of the weekends as I’ve been too occupied with the gazillion things I do on weekdays.  So, I really don’t mind doing back to backs.

Saturday on the trails and Sunday on the road

I’ve been supporting Nat Geo Run for years now because of the cause.  It’s not your usual PR course with the volume of runners but I don’t mind the traffic and the slower finisher times since it just mean, a lot of people are also supporting the cause.

With Active Pinas and Jerine of Brooks/Gu

The most exciting part of the race for me was practically making the race.  With 10,000 plus runners, it’s either you go early or you end up missing up on the parking slots.  With a gun start at 5 am, I woke up at 4 am.  I ended up taking a grab ride past 4:30 and missing the gun start a few minutes.  I rushed my way from the Grab Car to the starting line. I joined the second wave of 10K runners, which is about 5-10 minutes from the first gun start.

With Aliya Parcs and Rochelle Romero – Photo Lestsky Les

There were no disposable cups for the whole race, which is good move by the race organizers.  I was planning to just go-lite with just a water bottle but since I was running late, I opted to stuff all my things in my Amihan Hauler and just bring it along the race.  Amihan Hauler had less drag so I didn’t mind the additional weight.  There were about 5,000 runners in the 10K category so the race route was packed.

The Race

Photo by Reggie Cruz

While it was a packed race, there was still a lot of leg room for a good run.  Since I was about 10 minutes late, I tried to start faster than normal to try to catch up with the runners.  Starting fast without warm up equals shin splints for me. After a kilometer of running, I shifted to a run-walk sets.  I would go for a minute or two of  running and walk for 30 seconds.  I didn’t want to spoil myself with too much walking.  I also didn’t need to stop at the water station since I had a water bottle in my Amihan Hauler.

There were endless runners on the route so I just went on with my pace and try to run in the edges where there were fewer runners.  The route took us to Seaside Drive Diokno Boulevard, Macapagal Boulevard, CCP and Roxas Boulevard.  As we were heading to Roxas, most of the 21K runners were heading back.  I tried to come up with a run-walk routine by feel.  I would run when I felt fresh, walk to recover and run again.  The Roxas part was a bit crowded as we made our way to the u-turn at 6 kilometers into the race.

Photo by Reggie Cruz

On the way back, there were still a lot of runners heading to the u-turn slot.  I felt fatigue on the second part of the race but still made effort with some runs.  It was good that I was slowly on my way back.  With several effort, I was back at Seaside Boulevard for the last kilometer so I made a fun run walk sets heading to a crowded finish line.

The finish line was crowded as the runners had to queue for their medals.  I didn’t queue since I’m on the to-follow list on the medals.  No issues with me.  While I get that the organizer wanted to give the runners the medal at the finish line, the queue was not a good sight.  It might have been better to have the medals at the loot bag area because of the volume.  Another area for improvement would have been to do away with those banners at the finish line. They just ended up scattered everywhere though after doing another round at the event area after breakfast, it was all clean. Hindsight is 20/20 so this are more areas of improvement than criticisms.

The no cups at the hydration station was a really big step for road races.  Overall, it was a great experience at Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2018 and I hope the large turn out also lead to the resurgence of running especially to the new set of runners at the event.

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , | 18 Comments