Condura Skyway Marathon 2016

Another Condura Skyway Marathon in the books. – Photo by Jeff Lo of Pinoyfitness

Running the Condura Skyway Marathon is ALWAYS a challenge.  It’s a rolling course with really long stretches of climbs and descents. It’s been a tradition for me as I’ve been running Condura for the past 5 years and it never gets easy but I’m always loving the experience of running in the Skyway. 

Read About:

The Condura Tradition

It’s not just the medals, it’s the story behind the medals.

I’ve been joining the Condura Skyway since I started running over 5 years ago.  I felt it was graduation of sorts when I completed the full marathon last year so it took me a bit more time to decide in joining this year’s edition.  I  guess some traditions are worth keeping so I registered again but this time back to the 21K distance.  It was a different game plan this year though since I’ve been spending more time on trails lately.  I came up with an experiment of sorts on whether I can post a decent time even if I spend most of my weekends in the trails with short maintenance runs on weekdays.  Like I always say, each race is a different experience and let’s see how Condura Skyway Marathon 2016 turns out.

Race Route and Elevation Profile

Race Route is Powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports and Movescount.

Elevation Profile is Powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports and Movescount

The race starts at the Skyway exit at Alabang Zapote Road.  It goes on a long uphill stretch towards the first 5 kilometers heading to the Sucat area covering about 30 meters of elevation.  The race shifts to a rolling terrain over the next 3 kilometers.  The race then descends over the next 2.5 kilometers heading to the u-turn slot. After the u-turn, the climb resumes over the next 2.5 kilometers until km 13 before shifting back to the rolling terrain over the next 3 kilometers.  The last 5 kilometers is a descent to the Skyway Exit and a short climb going to the finish line at Spectrum.

The Race

5 years of Condura Skyway Marathon

I booked a room at Azumi Boutique Hotel the day before the race since I would want to have sufficient sleep the day before the race with a really early 3:30 AM gun start.  We had a shuttle service to the race venue and we got there by 3:00 AM enough time to warm up before the run.  The only different picture was that there were no wave flags where runners can assemble.  It turned out that you can opt to start on different waves so we ended up on the second wave of runners released.

With Jinoe and Adrian from Takbo.PH, Roselle of Runningdiva.PH and Marga from Team Endure – Photo by Jinoe Gavan.

I saw Jinoe and Adrian of Takbo.PH, Roselle and Marga of Team Endure at the starting line.  We ended chatting and barely noticing that it was already our gun start.  Yes, I was that relaxed for this one.  The game plan was go for a modified run-walk set and not to run lazy.  I’ve devised my own run walk set that have variety of run split depending on fatigue and terrain but reducing walking sets to just 20 seconds.  The starting line had a smoke effect as we passed by the starting line and it was time to go.

Can You Spot the Hidden Franckie??? – Photo by Running Jack Lens

The challenge on the first kilometer is that it’s a bit congested since this is the one lane exit road heading to the toll booth.  I started slow to properly warm up my muscle especially on the climb on the first kilometer.  I started to speed up a bit after the climb. The next two kilometers were moderate climbs on a one lane road so I took the outer side of the road except when I had to overtake.  I kept reminding myself to conserve my energy on the congested part and use it once the road widens after the toll booth.  Once in a while, I’d take few 20 seconds walk just to control my pace.  It was also a good day to run with the cool weather that gave us same rains and drizzles along the way.

With Fellow Runner and Condura Race organizer Pat Concepcion. – Photo by Jeff Lo of Pinoyfitness

After crossing the toll booth, the Skyway shifts to a steep climb over the next 2 kilometer heading to the Sucat Area.  I shifted to a 60 seconds run and 20 seconds walk to hurdle the climb. It really helped that my quads were ready for the burden of the climb with all the mountain climbing lately.  The good thing about the climbs in the Skyway is that it can be steep but it’s something that you can run.  It’s attitude building course at its finest.  I went on with the climbs at a controlled pace as I would want to keep that energy high when I hit the flats and descents.

With Running Photographer Jose Ramizares.

After the long climb, it was time to let go.  The Skyway shifts to a rolling terrain on the next 3 kilometers.  By this time, I’d go with long stretches of run especially on the descents to catch up on time while maintaining a steady effort on the climbs.  I also saw Roselle again who went on to become my virtual pacer during the race since we were running about the same pace.  I was able to have a better pace on this stretch and went on to speed up even more as it was a long descent heading to the u-turn slot 1t 10.5 kilometers.

With my Good Friend Inja after the race.

I always start counting down the race after the u-turn.  The next 2.5 kilometers had us climbing again so I was back to running 60 seconds and resting for 20 seconds to cover more distance without being idle.  It’s ok to run slow but not to run lazy.  This is the reason I keep the walking part to 20 seconds or at most 1 minute because walking is so comfortable after a long run.  If you don’t set a time limit on the walks, it’s tempting to just walk the remaining part.  I put in as much run as I could and then put on a brief recovery walk until I got to kilometer 16.

With Patrick Concepcion and Team Asics.

Starting Kilometer 16, gravity is now on my side as it’s mostly descents from this point on.  The problem was my calves were starting to get stiff.  I took time to stretch on the side of the road and also had some liniment to relax the muscle abit.  Running with stiff legs is like running with weights on it.  I still went on with the run walk sequence even with the heavy legs. It’s never easy running in the Skyway, there’s always a sting that comes with the elevation profile of the Skyway.

It’s never easy running the Skyway. – Photo by Lem So for Pinoyfitness

By kilometer 18, I felt a pain on my left foot. At first I thought it was sprain since I can feel the sting at each step but it turned out to be a sore nerve because of how I pronate when I hit my strides.  I was limping. It’s painful whether I run or walk anyway so I might as well run it.  It was also a good thing it was on the final descent already.  I took several run efforts with brief walks until I’ve covered the remaining kilometers in the Skyway en route to the finish.  I did have a decent time too.

Finished!!! – Photo by Reggie Cruz for Running Photographers

It’s another well organized run by Condura and Runrio. There were sufficient water station that had both water and Gatorade.  There were a lot of marshals all over the Skyway and a lot of them have liniments to help those like me with muscle pains.  Of course, I am also supporting Condura for the cause of the Hero Foundation.  It’s never an easy run but it’s always a worthwhile experience.  It was also nice to see running friends as I spend most of my time after the race to go around the village to meet friends.

Outfit of The Race

  • Singlet – Oakley with My Runs design by Breakout Design
  • Shorts, Calf Sleeves, Visor – Under Armour
  • Shoes – Asics Gel Nimbus
  • GPS Watch – Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
  • Socks – Features

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Testing Out Brooks Pure Grit 4

Brooks Pure Grit 1 was my very first trail running shoes. I had a lot of trail mileage and finished a lot of races with Pure Grit 1.  It was such a pleasure to test out Brooks Pure Grit 4, which now has a more compact design and improved traction with its 3D Hex lugs.

Read About:

Brooks Pure Grit 4

Having Fun with Brooks Pure Grit 1

When it comes to trails, the right shoes really help a lot especially once  the surface becomes technical or it becomes too steep.  I had a lot of trails conquered with the Brooks Pure Grit 1. Even years after, I still have it with me and it’s still good to go on the trails.  You can say that it has earned being called “grit” for its Durability.  I like the technology of Brooks for road and trails because it always had the runner in mind.  It’s like putting the runner’s DNA in every shoes giving you a better feel of the road and better support.

Hello Pure Grit 4!!!

The Brooks Pure Grit 4 looks compact and it has a nice colorway.  It still comes with the rounded heel for better hold on the ankle and the Navband for better fit and security of the shoes.  I always appreciated the Navband used by Brooks as it keeps the shoe in place even when the shoelaces gets loose. The difference lies on the use of 3D Hex lugs on the out sole designed for maximum grip and protection from rocks and debris.  Well, it’s one thing to look at it but it’s another thing to test it out.

We’re ready to hit the trails.

I got to test it out at the recon for Rizal Mountain Run, which had us navigating the different trails of San Mateo, Rizal.  It had the rolling terrain with long climbs and long descents at Casile New Road.  It had two river crossings at Bajo River. It had a really steep climb at PG. It had the paved roads at Pintong Bukawe.  It’s everything you could ask for to test out a trail shoe.

Exploring the trails of San Mateo, Rizal

The Brooks Pure Grit 4 had a lightweight and flexible feel with a weight of 10.1 ounces.  10.1 ounces is about mid range when it comes to trail shoes.  Minimalist shoes can go 7-8 ounces or even lower while some the heavier shoes could be more than 12 ounces.  You just have to play around the right amount of cushioning you need.  You would barely feel the weight of the Pure Grit 4 though as it feels comfortable and gives you a better feel of the road.  You tend to feel the weight of the shoe when your legs are fatigued. In this case, it was hardly a factor as it had the same level of comfort all throughout the hours we were on the trail.  The rounded heel also gives a better hold and alignment on the ankle reducing unnecessary pronation especially with the uneven surfaces, which could lead to sprains and injuries.

It had excellent traction on different surfaces.

When it comes to descents, I always get worried about my knees and toes.  The knees take the impact of the stride when it’s a descent and the toe gets pushed forward by the gravity.  This is where the cushioning becomes important.  Brooks Pure Grit 4 has an adaptive midfoot cushioning, which takes the impact on each stride reducing the stress on the knees.  Another unique feature is the toe guard at the outsole is gives added traction on the steep descents.  I am at times cautious on the descent but for this one I was able to go on the long stretch feeling properly supported by the cushioning.

Talk about a steep climb

We passed on different surfaces like dirt tracks, rocks and grasslands, which was not too technical so I didn’t have to worry about traction.  I got an appreciation of the traction of Brooks Pure Grit 4 when we had to go on a steep climb for about 2 kilometers after the river crossing.  Whenever the route becomes too steep, it becomes a more technical course.  The traction was tested at kilometer 8-10 (see steepness above).  With such steepness, I had to rely on the traction of my shoes.  It had several 3D Hex lugs on its outsole so even if it was steep, I didn’t slide nor slip on the climb.  The traction also proved steady on the river crossings.

I love river crossings. – Photo by Ronald Declarador

It’s not water resistant nor water proof but it’s good to go on rivers.  I am not a fan of waterproof shoes as it can only go on shallow waters.  I have a waterproof shoes and yes it didn’t really let water in. The problem was when the river got deeper, the water went inside the shoes and it did stay inside the shoes.  You just got to just enjoy the feeling of getting your feet wet since eventually the water would flow out of your shoes and things goes back to normal.  It didn’t take long to have the water out of the shoes during the climb.

Getting down and dirty and loving it.

The other thing I consider for a trail shoes was how it reacts on paved grounds.  Some trail races have a stretch of concrete and some shoes with good traction on trail are either too heavy on the concrete or too noisy.  Since the shoes keeps its lightweight feel and the 3D hex lugs is not too bulky, it reacts to concrete well too.  Brooks Pure Grit 4 is an excellent choice for trail running as it can keep you fast on different surfaces, protected on the steep climbs and ascents, and remains comfortable throughout.

Brooks Pure Grit 4 is available at Runnr Stores and Brooks Running Store.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 40 Comments

Let’s Talk About Coffee and Bikes at Maximus Athlete’s Shop Cafe

There’s a different taste and story with each cup of coffee. Maximus Athlete’s Shop Cafe gave me a better appreciation of how a coffee should be.  More than being among the few specialty coffee places in the Metro, Maximus is an athlete’s sanctuary with product and services that covers Cycling, Running, Training Technology and Nutrition.

Maximus Athlete’s Shop Cafe

Life is like a cup of coffee. It’s the bitter taste that keeps us awake.  I’ve always associated coffee with its bitter taste though at times you tend to forget that especially with how they load creams and sugar in coffee these days.  I’ve got a different picture of what a coffee should be at Maximus Athlete’s Shop Cafe.  The taste varies from each region. Ethiopia would have a fruity and citrus taste (So far this is my favorite).  Brazil would have a taste of dark chocolates with roasted almond.  Their very own blend of Spartacus, which is a combination of Brazil and Costa Rica, has a light chocolate taste.

Spartacus Blend

Maximus doesn’t just give you a cup of coffee, they let you experience the different flavors that coffee has to offer. Then there’s the various ways to prepare coffee from a simple pour over, to the espressos and the lattes, the cold brew and the slow drip.   Different ways, different coffee experience.  Of course, I’m no coffee expert but with every visit at Maximus, I learn something new about coffee.  They also have pasta, grilled sandwiches, cakes and pastries that goes so well with their coffee.  Try their coffee and you’ll surely know how a fine cup of coffee should taste.   It won’t cost you much too as the price range is around P100-P200.

Slow Drip Coffee

Bikes and a lot more

Specialized

Maximus redefines what a bike shop should be.  OUT with the cluttered look of most bike shop and IN with a more contemporary and relaxed look. There’s ample retail space that gives you enough room to move around while shopping for your fitness gear or availing their bike services.    It’s a sanctuary for athletes.  They can also hold events and launches in the coffee shop.  Having a cycling theme, their tables are designed with bike gear and wheel.

The place is conveniently located along Sparta Complex at 126 Pioneer Avenue, Mandaluyong City. I’m a bit excited in the developments in the Sparta complex as of now. You have an indoor football field, a crossfit gym, several retail hubs and now, Maximus.

Lynskey

Shopping for a bike? There’s the top of the line bikes from Specialized and those elegant-looking Linskey bikes.  How about an upgrade? They also have the latest bike accessories, wheel-set and a lot more.  Need extra care for your bike?  They offer bike fitting, bike spa and tune up services.

Maximus got your nutrition covered.

It’s also a athlete’s hub with established footwear brands like Newton and Brooks as well as accessories coming from Vamos, Fuel Belt, Spenco,  Swiftwick, SL3S and others.  They also have the latest technology sports gadgets with Suunto, Garmin, Stages Cycling and GoPro.  They also cover your nutrition needs with Enervon Carb Gel, Gu, Nuun, Bonk Breaker and E-gel.

Got to have your Oakleys.

I really liked the concept for Maximus that my first attempt at a business venture is with them.  My company, Francramon Enterprises Inc., will be handling the Oakley eyewear business at Maximus.  Oakley Eyewear is known for its high definition optics that gives you a clearer, sharper vision without distortion.  It has unrivaled impact protection as well as 100% UV Protection.

Me with my friend Gryf, who’ll be handling the distribution of GoPro and the owners of Maximus Andy and Sheryll Leuterio.

The owners of Maximus is Andy and Sheryll Leuterio.  Coach Andy has been my coach for more than 5 years now and he’s one of the most passionate person I know being a top triathlete and a really good motivator of a coach.  If it weren’t for Coach Andy, I would probably still be a couch potato until now but thanks to his guidance, I’ve managed to tick off a lot of items in my bucket list as an athlete.  Coach Andy’s wife, Sheryll has really brightened up the place and really made a comfortable setting for Maximus.  I can say you’re in good hands with them because of their passion in the fitness lifestyle and the love of their coffee.

Maximus is now on its soft opening phase and is open from 10 am to 8 pm Monday to Saturdays. The grand opening would be on February 12, 2016.  Do visit the place and have a wonderful coffee experience.

Follow Maximus Athlete’s Shop Cafe

  • Facebook: Maximus Athlete’s Shop Cafe
  • Instagram: @maximusathletesshopcafe
  • Visit them at Maximus Athlete’s Shop Cafe, Sparta Complex, 126 Pioneer Avenue, Mandaluyong City

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Incoming: Pinoyfitness Sub 1 – 10K Challenge 2016

Sub 1 or Nothing at All!!! Pinoyfitness Sub 1 10K Challenge is back on its fourth year.  Chase that elusive Sub 1 medal and tick off a running bucket list or if 10K under an hour is already a habit then go for a new personal record. Register now and beat the clock to immortalize your 10K with a sub 1 medal.

 

Pinoyfitness Sub 1 10K Challenge

Eyes on the Prize

What’s in a Sub 1 Medal?  It’s intricately made and finely crafted to represent the effort you did not only in the race but the months preparing for it and a lifestyle of excellence.  It’s not a walk in the park though it’s also not an impossible dream either.  It’s something any runner can do with the right amount of preparation and motivation.  If you’re a sub 1 virgin, now is the time to prepare for it, chase it and grab the milestone on race day, which is March 20, 2016. Online registration has opened and in-store registration begins on January 28-31, 2016 for early bird rates and February 1, 2016 for regular rates.

Pinoyfitness would create the ideal race conditions for a good finish.  There would be enough leg room to run and the roads of Bonifacio Global City (BGC) would be an excellent course for this one.  BGC has its share of inclines, descents and flats to give all your leg muscle a good workout while you chase your time.  If running fast is not yet your expertise, join the walker Fun Wave and just have fun. Running alongside the speedsters would definitely inspire you to chase the Sub 1 goal in the future.  So register early and train early as you’ll need all the upcoming weeks to build on speed and endurance.

Race Details

 

Date and Venue:

  • Date: March 20, 2016
  • Venue: Bonifacio Global City

Fees and Inclusions:

  • Sub 1 Wave – P850 | P750 (Early Bird till Jan 31)
  • Fun Wave – P750 | P650 (Early Bird Till Jan 31)
    • Inclusive of Race bib, Singlet, & Finisher’s Shirt.
    • Sub 1 Wave registrants who will make it to the cut-off will get an exclusive SUB1 10K Finisher’s Medal.
    • All Runners get P500 Discount on Regular Prices Brooks Shoes
    • Finisher Shirt sizes are First-Come-First-Served
  • Add P100 to avail of the Active Health Mentors Pack
    • Inclusive of SUB1 10K Challenge Program from Active Health Coach
    • Active Health CarbGel Sachet
    • Enervon Activ Multivitamin
    • Enervon HP 40g Recovery Drink

Registration

  • Online: Via Pinoyfitness
    • Note: P100 Fixed Delivery Charge or Choose to pick-up from Partner Stores for FREE starting Feb 2016
  • In Store:
    • Runnr (BHS, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center)
    • Toby’s (Shangrila, Glorietta 2, MOA)

Waves

  • Wave 1 – Brooks SUB1 10K Wave
  • Wave 2 – Enervon Activ SUB1 10K Wave (10 mins after Wave 1)
  • Wave 3 – Enervon HP SUB1 10K Wave (10 mins after Wave 2)
  • Wave 4 – Walker Fun Wave

Updates:

Registration Form

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#TaleOfTheTrail Casile / Bajo River / PG / Pintong Bukawe Trails (San Mateo, Rizal)

The Wonderful Views of San Mateo, Rizal – Photo by Rene Villarta

The trails in San Mateo is a roller coaster ride.  It has lung-busting ascents and has long adrenaline-pumping descents.  The beauty of the trail is that at its peak, you get a view of the mountains and at times, even a sea of clouds.  At the bottom of the trail, you get the rivers to admire. It would have your eyes feasted, your heart-rate beating faster and your legs getting stronger.

Read About:

#TaleOfTheTrail

I was so excited when I got invited to join the Recon of Rizal Mountain Run because it will be another trail adventure for me. I also see the race as something newbies, experienced trail runners and even elite runners can learn from.  The meet up was at 4:30 am at UP Diliman, where we had several 4×4 bringing us to the start of the recon.  The 4×4 ride was an adventure on its own as we got shaken all throughout the ride as we passed through the rough roads.  The plan was to do a 13 kilometer run, which was a reverse loop of the actual run. From Casile New Road, we would be making our way to the start area in Sandugo Basekamp.  They planned a rolling course with moderate ascents and descents for us.

The Map and Elevation

Map is powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports and Movescount

Elevation Profile is Powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports and Movescount

The trek starts at Casile New Road with a slight rolling terrain on the first kilometer.  The trail follows Casile New Road and shifts on a long ascent of about 120 meters on the second kilometer.  The trail goes on a long descent in the next 4 and a half kilometer worth about 300 meters of elevation.  There’s about a kilometers worth of descent to Bajo River and another half a kilometer exploring two rivers before starting the PG climb at kilometer 8.  The steep climb at PG covers about 350 meters of elevation spread out over 2 kilometers.  The trek then shifts to the road with more than 2 kilometers of rolling terrain heading to Pintong Bukawe.

Trekking San Mateo Rizal Trail

Starting on dirt roads

The trail started at Casile New Road, which had rugged fire trails used by the local community here.  You get a mix of dirt roads, rocks and grasslands across the trail.  The trails are not technical but the ascent can be a challenge.  The plan was to do the Casile New Road until Pintong Bukawe covering about 12-13 kilometers.   The good part about the recon is that we had a chilly weather throughout.

The lovely Trail Masters Majo and Iris.

We got started on fire trails, which had moderate ascent and descents. Majo and Iris led the pace so that means we’re moving at a faster pace.  It was a good thing we had rest stops to hydrate as the 4×4 was shadowing us on the trail.  There were peeks of the mountains along the trail as well as rock formations.

Rock Formations along the trail.

The second kilometer was a crawlfest as we had about 120 meters worth of elevation to deal with.  It was a challenge but we kept this part at walking pace and would rest shortly on flatter parts of the climb.  Despite the tough climb, it was nice to see the surrounding mountain ranges in the area.  I’m learning a lot here on how to manage my energy on the climbs here.

You just got to admire the beauty around you.

After the climb in the second kilometer, the course goes on a descent. It was an exhilarating ride downhill.  I went with the faster group since when it comes to group runs, it’s the last runner who gets the shortest rest #TrueStory.  We got treated to one of  the best sites of the trail here with the vantage point of the mountains and clouds that surrounds it.

Selfie Spot.

The next 4 and a half kilometers was a really wild and long descents with a few climbs in between.  I’m not a daredevil when it comes to downhill terrains. Since this is on wide roads and the steepness was just fine, I went with the group at a fast pace.  It’s like unleashing the kid in me as I went carefree on the drops.  The only rest we had on that stretch were the climbs, the stops when the 4×4 is in the area and of course, the photo-opportunities.

Gotta love the view from the top.

It was a long descent and at same parts, I was pacing with Majo, Iris, Jeff of Pinoyfitness, Adrian of Takbo.PH and in some areas was pacing with Ronald of Ahon.  The other runners were Jael, Cookie and Rene and Jun.  I felt braver on the descent after doing this long stretch of downhills. I think the longer you are in the trail, the more comfortable you get.

Running is Fun with Jeff Lo of Pinoyfitness and Ronald of Ahon. Photo by Leonard Reyes

What I like about this stretch is that it was not pure downhill, there were stretches that you had to slow down because of some short climbs.  It sorts of helps you balance the effort throughout the trail.  I had to do some terrain and elevation management as I went on to cruise on the descents and recover on the inclines.

Easy way or the hard way??? Photo from Rene Villarta

At kilometer 6.5, we had to regroup as we were given the option of going on a moderate climb or go downhill to the Bajo River and have climb the steep PG trail since I requested to do a river crossing.  I said, let’s do the river and just think about the consequence later.  Deep in my mind, I knew that it was choosing the harder option but I’m sure we’ll find a way to surpass that part… I hope.

I love Rivers – Photo by Jeff Lo

It was another sweet descent going to the river for the next kilometer.  The river was maybe knee to waist deep but had strong currents.  There were stones which you can step on at some part but for the rest you just got to get wet.  I love rivers and being wet is just the fun side of the trails.  We had to cross two rivers before we could get to the climb part.

Another River to Cross

At about kilometer 8, it was time to climb again and this wasn’t an easy climb.  If you could see in the elevation profile, it’s almost a straight line upwards covering 350 meters of elevation over the next two kilometers.  Climbing is one of my weak points. This is the point where I got to realize to “be careful what you wish for”.  I started the climb with the lead pack but I had to pull back since I had to catch my breath from time to time.

Exhausted

I was climbing solo in the middle of the lead pack and the next group of runners.  It was exhausting to climb as every time you see an end to the climb, you’ll get the next set of climbs once you reach that area.  Yes, there is such a thing as forever.  Since I was on solo mode at this point, I then had to add mental toughness.  I figured just to take the climb 100 to 200 steps at a time before I take 30 seconds to rest.  Little by little, I was covering the 2 kilometers worth of climbs.  I have to say that I am slowly increasing my climbing resistance.

When times are hard, enjoy the views.

I am now about to reach the end of the climb, half hoping that I didn’t take a wrong turn. There were two major forks towards the top of the climb.  The first one, I asked a local who was going down. He told me that the two roads would lead to the same direction but the one he took was shorter but steeper and he didn’t see any of my fellow runners.  I took the easier but longer route.  I met another local to confirm that they did pass by the same route.  The second had a wide road and a trail option. I went on with the wide road and in the middle of the road I got a confirmation that the road would intersect with the trail.  Before I got off the wider road, I had to contend with dogs ganging up on me. One was about to attack me so I picked up a stone and through it near the dog just to scare it. I took the moment the dog backed away for me to proceed.

I was out of the trails and into the Pintong Bukawe part.  It was a good thing I saw the group of 4 x 4 vehicles and Aldean as I exited the trail area. Aldean told me to just follow the road and at the end of the road would be the Sandugo Basekamp.  I thought it was just a short road so I was proceeding cautiously for fear of missing the Basekamp.  About a kilometer of walking, I asked directions again and they told me that it was still more than a kilometer away.  I started to run again and finally reached the Basekamp. That was a really great adventure!!!

Loved the #TaleOfTheTrail Join the Race by clicking on the Rizal Mountain Run Icon above for details.

Outfit of the Trail

  • Top: Berghaus with #TaleOfTheTrail Design by Breakout Design
  • Shorts: Nike
  • Shoes: Brooks Pure Grit 4
  • GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
  • Eyewear: Oakley
  • Calf Sleeves, Arms Sleeves, Cap, Hydration Bag – Under Armour
  • Gaiters – Ahon.PH
  • Socks – Features
  • Camera: GoPro Hero 3+

Categories: My Travels | Tags: , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Australia Harvest Oats is The Breakfast of Champions

Rugby has slowly rose to prominence in the Philippines through the help of the Philippine Volcanoes.  The Volcanoes has gone a long way in bringing the country pride in international meets.  Australia Harvest Oatmeal is what powers a champion team like the Volcanoes. It helps in the digestive process and improves overall colon health.

The Philippine Volcanoes

SEA Games Gold Winning Philippine Volcanoes

The Philippine Volcanoes has not only given the country international exposure when it comes to the sports of Rugby, it also has brought us prestigious medal.  Just recently, they dominated the Southeast Asia Games to give us a Gold Medal in Rugby.  The Philippine Volcanoes is here to stay and continue to bring honor to the country and promote their sport.  Another advocacy that they also promote is Colon Health by sticking to the right oats and diet that keep them healthy, strong and competitive.  Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) men’s team sticks to what is healthy, energy-packed, and good for the colon as the national Rugby Football team signs up for another round as Australia Harvest Oatmeal’s endorsers.

Australia Harvest Oatmeal uses the best oats variety from West Australia and packs peak levels of dietary fiber. Zero pollution, haven for growing the best nature-nurtured oats in the world—this is West Australia. Home to nature, the great outbacks, rugby. And Australia Harvest Oatmeal.

“Rugby is one of Australia’s favorite sports; it’s also one of the toughest. In a sport as physical as this, you need to keep your body strong and healthy to win. That’s why our team always starts the day with a bowl of Australia Harvest Oatmeal. It’s made with some of the best oats in the world,” says Team Captain Jake Letts.

 

Besides promoting healthy cholesterol levels and better heart health, eating oatmeal daily also promotes stronger body and better colon health due to its richness in fiber.  Fiber can really help improve the digestive cycle.   Studies show that having a healthy colon helps us work at our best throughout the day. A clean and healthy large intestine also makes us feel good on the inside plus it reduces the risk of colon cancer.

“It’s packed with energy and keeps us full all day long. Plus, it has all the fiber we need for the day. It keeps us fit and at the top of our game,” Letts remarks.

 

Australia Harvest Oatmeal Four Aus-some Variants

Australia Harvest Oatmeal comes in four variants. People on the go may simply add water to Australia Harvest Instant Oats, gulp it down, and get fit—anytime, anywhere!

All-time best seller is the Australia Harvest Quick Cooking Oats — chunky and enjoyable oatmeal that cooks fast. Perfect for health buffs who seek a fuller fill and better digestion.

The chunky and chewy variant, Australia Harvest Whole Rolled Oats is the oatmeal expert’s favorite! It has whole grains and full-packed with all of oats’ beneficial fiber and nutrients.

Last but not the least is the super fiber of oats — Australia Harvest Oat Bran. The outer covering of the oat grain Oat Bran contains the highest level of dietary fiber. It is also ideal for diabetics and people with hypertension.

Australia Harvest Oatmeal is available in all leading supermarkets nationwide, and is exclusively imported and distributed by Ideal Macaroni & Spaghetti Factory, Inc. Visit and like Australia Harvest Oatmeal’s Facebook page for updates, today.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 30 Comments

Incoming: Rizal Mountain Run

 

Rizal Mountain Run offers the scenic backdrop of the mountain ranges in San Mateo Rizal.  It gives you different surfaces that ranges from gravel or dirt roads, fire trails, river crossings and single track trails.  You’ll also get to hurdle long stretches of climbs and descents as you conquer your distance.   Rizal Mountain Run is a total trail experience offering a newbie friendly 15 kilometer distance, a mid-range distance of 30 kilometers and an Ultra distance of 50 kilometers all happening on February 28, 2016 at Basekamp, Brgy Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo Rizal.  It won’t come easy but once you cross the finish line, it will be worth it.

Read About:

Rizal Mountain Run

One of the selfie spots along the trail.

I am a work in progress when it comes to trails.  I love the experience of reaching a summit, the mental challenge of a long climb, the adrenaline rush of a steep descent, the fun in crossing rivers and the ability to adjust on different surfaces.   I was able to join the recon for the upcoming Rizal Mountain Rain and I am starting to learn more on how to manage my legs and lung power in tougher trail situations.  I got more confident on the descents, patient on the long climb and more strategic in the varying trail conditions. Rizal Mountain Run would give you a lot of experience in the trails.

Love River Crossing – They do have a lot here.

Let’s start with the descents and elevation.  They are offering a rolling course and offers a variety of climbs and descents.  There are areas which are moderate climbs and there are areas, which are lung-busting and mentally challenging.  They also have sweet descents that would unleash the kid in you as you run carefree downwards and there are suicide descents that would keep your shoe traction to the test and your heartbeat raising with the steepness.   You’ll have a variety of surfaces here from dirt roads, fire trails,single track trails and river crossings.  It remains a challenge on how to navigate the rugged and uneven terrains of the trail.

There are magnificent views all around you.

When you’re not too busy looking up on a climb or watching your step, slow down and stop. There’s the beauty of nature all around you.  You’ll have a lot of magnificent views of the nearby mountain, the rivers and a lot more.  Check out Recon Video from Pinoyfitness,com below.

The Rizal Mountain Run is organized by Trail and Ultra Royalty with most of the team composed of regular trail and ultra podium finishers and regular outdoor enthusiasts.  All trails lead to the Basekamp in Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal on February 28, 2016.  Register now and have the trail experience that will make you stronger and more appreciative of the beauty of nature.

The Rizal Mountain Run Experience Starts Here.

Race Details

Let’s Run!!!

Date and Venue:

  • February 28, 2016, Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal (Google Maps)
  • Assembly Time: 1 am
  • Pre Race Briefing: 2 am
  • Start Time / Cut off
    • 50K – 3 am to 5 pm (13 hours cutoff with intermediate cutoff 9 hours at km 34)
    • 30K – 5:30 am to 1:30 pm (8 hours cutoff)
    • 15K – 6 am to 11 am (5 hours)

Distance, Fees and Course Description

  • 50 Kilometers

    • Fee and Inclusions: P 2,000 (Inclusive of Official Event Shirt, 1 Raffle Entry and Other Items from Sponsors, All Finishers will receive medals)
    • Course Description: This is the full loop from Basekamp in Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal. Do not underestimate this route: gravel or dirt roads, fire trails, river crossings and single tracks. You’ll be going over Mt. Purro to reach Sitio Calawis and Sitio Apia, Antipolo, Rizal. Runners then have to cross two rivers to reach the remote village of Sitio Malasya, Barangay Puray, Montalban, Rizal. Runners will then run the trails to Sitio Wawa, Barangay Puray, Montalban, Rizal. Runners will then go up to Mt. Parawagan, running on trails following the contours of the Marikina River to reach Barangay Casile, finally going back to Basekamp in Pintong Bukawe. These are trails used primarily by locals to travel from one barangay to their farmlands and neighboring areas.
    • Pre Qualification: 50k (At least 21k Trail Run with 1000m gain)—All qualifying races must be verifiable on or via web source and had been done within the 2015 Season (1 January 2015 to 20 February 2016) or prior to the closing date of the registration.
    • Elevation Profile:
      • Elevation gain: 2,635 meters or 8,695 feet
      • Elevation loss: 2,635 meters 8,695 feet
    • Aid Stations:
      • At the Start/Finish Line.
      • Aid Station 1 (AS1) – located at Brgy. Calawis, 9kms from Start/Finish line.
      • Aid Station 2 (AS2) – at Sitio Malasya or KM17 (after river crossing).
      • Aid Station 3 (AS3) – at the Puray junction going to Sitio Wawa (Ate Elvies House) or KM28.
      • Aid Station 4 (AS4) – at Jenny’s Store at Sitio Wawa or KM34.
      • Aidstation 5 (AS5) – at Acacia tree (the junction going up Parawagan and going to the trails to Casile) or KM37 (water station only).
      • Aid Station 6 (AS6) – at Sitio Casile junction or KM44.
    • Mandatory Gear:
      • Fully-charged and operational mobile phone
      • Headlamp or flashlights (torches) with at least 8 hours charge
      • Water carrier (bladder, hand-held bottles, etc.) with volume of at least 1,000mL
      • Reusable water cups
      • Whistle
      • Poncho or Rain Jacket
  • 30 Kilometers

    • Fee and Inclusions: P 1,500 (Inclusive of Official Event Shirt, 1 Raffle Entry and Other Items from Sponsors, All Finishers will receive medals)
    • Course Description: These trails change depending on the weather. When it is hot, expect loose soil, scree, and low-volume rivers. When it is rainy, expect slippery trails, mud, big-volume rivers, and more mud. There is a good mix of wide fire roads, single tracks, foot paths, and ruts. Expect the trails to go either up or down, flats are not too common, but still they are runnable. Lots of flora and fauna are to be seen along the trails. Be sure to look out for that resident hawk! No shortage of views here. Rizal may not be as grand as the places up North, but San Mateo, Rodriguez, and Antipolo provide some pretty good visuals. Considering that this is just an hour’s drive from the metro, what more can one ask for?Lastly, have you heard of “Palikpik Buwaya” and “Devil’s Down”? If not, I’m sure you won’t forget these. Not to mention “PG”, Parawagan, and Casile.
    • Elevation Profile:
      • Elevation gain: 1,600 meters or 5,250 feet
      • Elevation loss: 1,600 meters 5,250 feet
    • Aid Stations:
      • At the Start/Finish Line.
      • Aid Station 1 (AS1) – at Sitio Casile junction or KM6.
      • Aid Station 2 (AS2) – at Acacia tree (the junction going up Parawagan) or KM12.
      • Aid Station 3 (AS3) – at Acacia tree (the junction going down from Parawagan) or KM18.
      • Aid Station 4 (AS4) – Sitio Casile Road or KM25.
    • Mandatory Gear:
      • Fully-charged and operational mobile phone
      • Water carrier (bladder, hand-held bottles, etc.) with volume of at least 1,000mL
      • Reusable water cups
      • Whistle
  • 15 Kilometers

    • Fee and Inclusions: P 1,000 (Inclusive of Official Event Shirt, 1 Raffle Entry and Other Items from Sponsors, All Finishers will receive medals)
    • Mandatory Gear:
      • Fully-charged and operational mobile phone
      • Water carrier (bladder, hand-held bottles, etc.) with volume of at least 1,000mL
      • Reusable water cups
      • Whistle

Race Shirt and Medal

Registration

  • Online via Rizal Mountain Run.com
  • Payment Instruction will be sent via email
  • Deadline of Registration will be sent via email
  • The registration fee is non-refundable and non-transferable in case of race cancellation or postponement due to FORCE MAJEURE (meaning unforeseeable circumstances) or factors beyond the control of the race organizers.
  • Registration fee is not convertible to any distances.
  • The registration fee does not cover transportation costs in case the runner DNFed, discontinues or stops for whatever reason during the race in any part of the course or anywhere near it. Transport will cost a minimum of P500 which shall be charged to the account of the runner.

Waiver with Medical Attestation

  • The form for medical certificate required for this race will be sent via email after successfully registering online. The medical certificate must attest to the participant’s health and fitness to join the Rizal Mountain Run and must be signed by a duly licensed and practicing physician. The medical certificate must be submitted to claim race kit. Failure to fulfill this requirement will result in the participant’s disqualification and will not be allowed to run the course.

Getting There:

  • BaseKamp is the old Sandugo Factory located in a small barangay called Pintong Bukawe, in San Mateo, Rizal and part of Mt. Maarat. The place is nestled above 400 meters above sea level and an hour drive from Metro Manila thru Marcos Highway and located along Sapinit Road. Mt. Maarat is a regular training ground among trail runners, mountaineers, and mountain bikers. Basekamp itself has a mountain bike course and camping ground with full facilities.
  • By CAR:

    • From EDSA – turn towards Aurora Boulevard in Cubao going to Marcos Highway; or
    • From C5 – take a turn below the fly going to Marcos Highway
    • Take Marcos Highway going to Sierra Madre for 13km (30minutes from Marcos-Sumulong Highway junction)
    • Look for this arch and Turn left at Cabading Junction (13km from Marcos-Sumulong Highway junction) and go straight towards Heaven’s Gate Cemetery for 2.5 kilometers (10minutes)
    • After Heaven’s Gate Cemetery turn left and go towards Sapinit Road for 3 kilometers (10minutes)
    • If you see San Mateo Landfill junction on your right, go straight for 300meters and
  • By Public Transportation

    From Cubao

    • Take a Jeep in Cubao with a signboard that states it is going to (Cogeo Gate2 signboard)
    • Alight at the Cogeo Gate2 Jeepney Terminal (ride fare is 25 Pesos)
    • Take another Jeep in Cogeo Gate2 IN FRONT OF PUREGOLD with a signboard that states it is going to (Pintong Bukawe Signboard)
    • Tell the driver to stop at Sandugo Old Factory or BASEKAMP (ride fare is 35 Pesos)

    From LRT Santolan Station

    • Take a Jeep in with a signboard that states it is going to (Cogeo Gate2 signboard)
    • Alight at Cogeo Gate2 Jeepney Terminal (ride fare is 17 Pesos)
    • Take another Jeep in Cogeo Gate2 IN FRONT OF PUREGOLD with a signboard that states it is going to (Pintong Bukawe Signboard)
    • Tell the driver to stop at Sandugo Old Factory or BASEKAMP (ride fare is 35 Pesos)

    From Ligaya

    • Take a Jeep in with a signboard that states it is going to (Cogeo Gate2 signboard)
    • Alight at the Cogeo Gate2 Jeepney Terminal (ride fare is 16 Pesos)
    • Take another Jeep in Cogeo Gate2 IN FRONT OF PUREGOLD with a signboard that states it is going to (Pintong Bukawe Signboard)
    • Tell the driver to stop at Sandugo Old Factory or BASEKAMP (ride fare is 35 Pesos)

Race Updates

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Incoming: Run United 1 2016

It’s 2016 and fitness is among the resolutions we make.  The Run United Series is the main race trilogy that will help you progress as an athlete. It now comes with a crystallized singlet and finisher shirt design and a variant of last year’s interlocking medal. Your fitness journey resumes and it’s time to Register.  Run United 1 is happening on March 13, 2016 and online registration starts now. 

Run United 1

Singlet Design and Finisher Shirt for Run United 1.

Crystal Clear Goals.  That’s how we should plot our 2016 and the Run United 2016 Singlets and Finisher Shirt design reminds us just of that with a crystallized design.  The Run United trilogy would be your self defined journey as an athlete this year.  This could be your road to your first, second or nth marathon. This could also be a test of speed as you try to set new personal records in the different distance.  It’s your goal and it’s your journey.

Run United 1 Finisher Shirt side by side with RUPM and Run United 2 Singlets. – Photo by Rolly Pangilinan.

We got ushered in the 2016 Run United Season with Mornings with ActiveHealth led by Coach Rio Dela Cruz of Runrio and Lester Castillo of Unilab ActiveHealth.  We had some dynamic warm up exercises and drills and a 2 loop run (4.4 kilometer) at UP Academic Oval.  Mornings with ActiveHealth just got us with the upcoming race season.  What’s your race goal?  It’s time to plot them and then prepare for them.

Mornings With ActiveHealth – Photo by Rod Runner

There’ll be interlocking medals again, which is another variant of last year’s design.  There will be bundle packages (Half Marathon Perfectionist, Exceed Full Marathon and even a customized one).  There will be an optional add on of an ActiveHealth Kit for an additional PhP 100 only, which includes Customized Exceed Yourself Training Plan by Coach Ani de Leon-Brown, Personalized Race Bib, Race Belt (for 21k runners only) and FREE Sports Nutrition Solutions.  Active Health is an all-in-one solution so expect more surprises in the next two months.  For now, it’s time to secure those precious race slots and register.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • March 13, 2016, SM Mall of Asia

Distance and Fees

  • 5K – P750
  • 10K – P850
  • 21K – P950
    • Additional P150 will be charged for race kit delivery
    • ActiveHealth Singlet with Chaf-Redux Technology, Race Bib with B-tag for all runners
    • ActiveHealth Ventilation Bag and Drinks for all finishers
    • Finishers’ Medal, Finishers’ Shirt for 21K Finishers
    • Upsize for an ActiveHealth Kit for an additional PhP 100 only. Inclusive of the following:
      • Customized Exceed Yourself Training Plan by Coach Ani de Leon-Brown
      • Personalized Race Bib
      • Race Belt (for 21k runners only)
      • FREE Sports Nutrition Solutions
        • One (1) capsules of Enervon Activ – Daily for training to help built stamina
        • One (1) 40g pack of Enervon HP – After Work out for faster recovery
        • One (1) ActiveHealth Carbgel Banana flavor – during work out for sustained energy

Bundle Registration

  • HALF-MARATHON PERFECTIONIST (RU1:21km/RU2:21km/RUPM:21km) The authority in 21k distance who wants to exceed their previous half-marathon performance – P3,200.00
  • EXCEED FULL MARATHON (RU1: 21km/RU2: 32km/RU3: 42km) For progressive runners who level up a category higher every RU starting at 21km and eventually a 42km. – P3,700.00
  • CUSTOMIZED Runners may choose or mix and match from any of the categories per Run United series. Fee will be computed based on the chosen registration category.
    • Secure slot and one time registration
    • One time web admin fee
    • Customized race bib with runner’s name
    • Dedicated village lounge for the finishers kit claiming
    • Special assembly area at the starting line
    • Acknowledgment during the satellite stage program
    • Bundle cost is INCLUSIVE of P450 delivery & processing & one-time P50 web admin fees for online registrants using credit card.
    • Option to Upsize for an ActiveHealth Kit for an additional PhP 100 only. Inclusive of the following:
      • Customized Exceed Yourself Training Plan by Coach Ani de Leon-Brown
      • Personalized Race Bib
      • Race Belt (for 21k runners only)
      • FREE Sports Nutrition Solutions
        • One (1) capsules of Enervon Activ – Daily for training to help built stamina
        • One (1) 40g pack of Enervon HP – After Work out for faster recovery
        • One (1) ActiveHealth Carbgel Banana flavor – during work out for sustained energy

Registration and Delivery

  • Online via Runrio (January 22 – February 21) Runners have an option to have their race kits delivered or picked up. Plus P150 delivery & processing & P50 web admin fee
  • In Store (January 30 – February 29) Race Kits will be picked up at the registration site you selected when you registered from March 5 to 11, 2016
    • RUNNR Store BGC (B1 Bonifacio High St. The Fort, Taguig City)
    • Toby’s Robinsons Galleria (Level 3, Robinsons Galleria, EDSA cor Ortigas Ave. Quezon City)
    • RUNNR Store Trinoma (GF EDSA-North Ave. Terminal, Project 6, Quezon City)
    • Toby’s MOA (SM Mall of Asia, GF Entertainment Hall, Roxas Blvd, Manila)
  • Delivery
    • For online (credit card) registrants who chose delivery: complete race kit will be delivered on or before March 7, 2016. Singlet/Finishers’ shirt sizes will be available online on a first-come, first-serve basis.
    • For online (credit card) registrants who chose pick up: complete race kit will be given during the race kit claiming period of March 5 to 11, 2016 at the chosen store when you registered. Singlet sizes will be on a first-come, first-serve basis when you register online.
    • For in-store registrants: complete race kit will be given during the race kit claiming period of March 5 to 11, 2016 at the chosen store when you registered. Singlet sizes will be on a first-come, first-serve basis when you register online.

Race Updates

 

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Under Armour Goes CoolSwitch for their Spring/Summer Collection

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Under Armour brand.  Aside from the style, I love it for the technology. It is designed for comfort, performance and ready for different climate conditions.  For Spring and Summer, Under Armour brings in the CoolSwitch technology to keep your body cool and comfortable even as the temperature starts to go up.  Under Armour also brings in the latest Speedforms that will give you a faster and longer run.

Under Armour

Under Armour has been my partner in all my activities.

Under Armour has been my go-to brand when it comes to sports apparels and accessories.  I like the technology they put into their product. They puts premium on performance, comfort and safety.  It’s even climate designed as they have both technology for the cold weather and the warmer months. They are the leader in the innovation of high-performance sportswear apparel. When you buy an Under Armour brand, you’re equipping yourself with the technology to perform better. For the warmer months of Spring and Summer, they’re bringing in an unprecedented cooling technology cools you down to empower you to perform better and longer, which is the CoolSwitch technology.  It really makes a world of difference when you are performing with comfort, a technology that improves your body conditions and free on any blisters or inconveniences you get from chaffing.

Under Armour brings sporting professionals and aspiring athletes a step closer to ruling oneself. An unprecedented edge to the fitness world, Under Armour’s CoolSwitch technology is unveiled in the new Spring/Summer 2016 Collection, hitting stores in mid-February. With the tagline “You are the sum of all your training”, Under Armour’s Rule Yourself campaign represents athletes’ and fitness enthusiasts’ willpower to never give up, and the constant push to better themselves. Under Armour constantly researches and innovates its sportswear apparel technology to aid athletes to take that extra leap, steel their willpower and be the best they can be. With the pioneering CoolSwitch technology, an exciting and highly anticipated innovation in the new Spring/Summer 2016 Collection, you are guaranteed to have an edge over others to excel in your personal fitness journey.

Cool Switch Technology

UA CoolSwitch Compression shirt

CoolSwitch does exactly what its name states – it cools your body and skin when you start to heat up and sweat. The technology blends three unique active cooling agents, integrated for the first time ever in an apparel application, with each of these ingredients delivering a specific benefit over the course of a workout to help athletes stay cool.

UA Women CoolSwitch Capri Tights

The first ingredient serves to pull heat energy away from the skin, providing an instant cooling sensation, while the second is activated by sweat – as an athlete begins to sweat, it kicks in to supercharge the body’s natural cooling mechanism. On top of aesthetics purposes, the ‘crystal’ print that characterises CoolSwitch apparel also plays a functional role. The final ingredient is the same technology of that used in NASA spacesuits. In the process of changing phases from solid to liquid, this special material absorbs and stores heat energy within the binding agents in the ‘crystal’ print.

CoolSwitch Run Short Sleeve T-shirt

While each ingredient performs a specific function, it is the unique combination of these active ingredients that gives rise to Under Armour CoolSwitch’s unprecedented active cooling capability. As a result, during a workout, CoolSwitch wearers feel cooler, less physically taxed and their skin temperature stays lower, allowing them to exercise longer. With Under Armour’s CoolSwitch technology, it is a leap forward for athletes and fitness enthusiasts everywhere to maintain and further their fitness and wellness journey.

Speed Form Technology

As the sun starts to warm up the area, expect a lot more people to go outdoors and enjoy a good run.  When it comes to running shoes, they have the Speedform Technology.  Under Armour has updated its range of athletic footwear with new and improved designs for the popular UA SpeedForm® Apollo and UA SpeedForm Gemini styles. No matter your goals – to run fast, run long, or run strong, these new footwear designs will help you attain them. The UA SpeedForm® Apollo is your speed shoes perfect for blitzing the shorter distance with a lighter weight and a greater feel of the road.  The UA SpeedForm Gemini is your trusted distance shoes which gives you more comfort and cushioning for the longer run.

UA SpeedForm® Apollo 2, designed for you to run fast

 

The UA SpeedForm Apollo 2 features a perforated arch and tongue with ultrasonic seal for durable breathability, and utilises arch reinforcement construction on the medial side for a precise fit and foot guidance for a more efficient faster ride, making for swift and fast runs. The dual-layer midsole also combines Charged Cushioning and Micro G® for the ultimate blend of cushioned support and explosive responsiveness. Additionally, anatomically placed flex grooves aid the transition from heel to toe for the most efficient performance.

The UA SpeedForm Gemini 2, created for breaking new distances

The freshened UA SpeedForm Gemini 2 showcases a new ArchForm fit system for additional support and better fit and feel, and upgrades made to the mesh increases breathability. The full-length dual layer Charged Cushioning midsole also delivers superior impact protection, energy return and adaptive support, and is anatomically designed to deliver a superior heel to toe transition for runners looking to go the distance.

UA Streaker Tee

Streaker Tee

A new offering this season, the UA Streaker Tee consists of a moisture-wicking blend of spun polyester and elasterell, and is lightweight, anti-microbatic and comfortable. Its uniquely designed side seams reduce cling and chafing, and allows full stretch and recovery without absorbing sweat.

New Designs and New Lines

Committed to their aim of making all athletes better, Under Armour has also released new designs to the brand’s key ArmourVent™ and HeatGear® technology to provide ultra smoothness, enhanced ventilation and extreme comfort, as well as new designs for the UA Armour Bra. Updated design lines and trims have been made to Under Armour’s signature compression gear, where the new performance flex panel maximises mobility and relieves chafing and abrasion.

Under Armour’s Alter Ego line continues to ride on the superhero hype, with the upcoming releases of the Batman vs. Superman Collection and Captain America: Civil War Alter Ego Collection definitely pleasing fans of DC and Marvel characters. Feel invincible with the transformative power of film characters whilst donning Alter Ego training gear, to train with added conviction.

The Under Armour Spring/Summer 2016 Collection will be available at all Under Armour brand houses and shop-in-shops from February 2016.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Sta Fe Trail Run

There are no wasted  moments when it comes to Sta Fe Trail Run.  Each part of the trail will have your eyes feasted with the raw beauty of nature that includes a rich Pine Tree infested Forest, a ridge-view of the mountain ranges and the Ampucao Ridge.  That beauty comes with a struggle as you have to huff and puff your way to steep climbs and brave the descents, which would leave you stronger and satisfied as you cross the finish line.

Read About:

Sta Fe Trail Run

At the Ridge last December.

It’s staring to become a trail-centric first quarter for me.  First on the trail calendar is Sta Fe Trail Run at Itogon, Benguet.  I had a better grasp of the trail route as we did a trek here last December.  The area is one of the most scenic sites I’ve ever seen with the panoramic view of the mountains and the lush green surroundings.  That’s one of the reason I had to join the race again and would probably visit the area again in the future.  I opted for the 10K category which is an out and back from Ampucao Elementary School up until the Ampucao Ridge and back.  The 21K distance had their share of the road before they enter the Sta Fe Trail head and return to Ampucao via the Sta Fe / Mount Ulap / Ampucao Trail.  I made sure my legs were ready for the race as it’s gonna be a climbfest. Since the trail master Rene Villarta of Jazzrunner.com came along, I just had to show him the yellow trail of Camp John Hay, which served as an excellent warm up.

Exploring the Yellow Trails the day before the race.

Race Route and Elevation Profile

Race Route is powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports and Movescount

Elevation Profile is powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports and Movescount

The Race Starts at Ampucao Elementary School and heads to Philex Road before entering the trail head at Km. 1.  The next two kilometers is inside a pine tree forest with a total steep ascent of about 300 meters. The trail then enters the ridge for the next 1 kilometers with a rolling terrain.  The climb resumes at kilometer 4 with a 80 meter climb hitting the u-turn slot at the Ampucao Ridge.  The race then heads back to Ampucao Elementary School.

The Race

Since Ampucao is about 40 minutes away from Baguio, we left our home at around 4:30 am and arrived at the area at around 5 am.  It was freezing cold and it was a good thing I had a sleeved shirt and arm sleeves. It’s always a more relaxed feel at the start of trail races compared to road races. It was glad to meet friends, familiar faces and the rest of the trail running community.  We had enough time to get our kit. The race just had the right amount of participants so the trails won’t be too congested.  the 21K runners were sent off at around 5:30 am and it was our turn to be sent off at 5:45 am.  I was taking note of the time since Sunrise was about 6:30 am and I should be in the ridge area by then.

Operation: Chasing Sunrise

The first kilometer was on road so it was a chance to speed up but I decided to take it at a more relaxed pace as I want my heart rate steady when we hit the trails.  Since I was familiar with the route, the mindset was survive the first 3 kilometers of the race and the rest would be easy.  There’s a short cemented  but steeply inclined road heading to the trails.  The trails were a lot more slippery compared to my previous visit due to morning moisture so I had to keep it slow but consistent.  I paced myself in the climb part and would recover in the flatter areas.

Each step was just a visual delight.

The next two kilometers were on forested pine tree trails which had single track.  It was really great having the fresh scent of pine accentuated by the early morning dew.  There were certain areas giving you peeks of the mountains but the beauty of the area was the pine trees as they were all around you.  There were sections that had steep and slippery ascent so I had to trust the traction of my shoes as well as use some stones for additional balance.  There are also areas where the climb is moderate. This is where I try to speed up and recover.  Whenever I feel tired, I will just remind myself that things will be easier once I hit the ridge part of the race.

And the Sun is starting to rise.

I was at the ridge area around 45 minutes into the race, which is just in time for that wonderful view of sunrise.  When we did our trek here a few weeks ago, it was mid day so I was really looking forward to this.  It was my reward for enduring about 300 meters worth of climb.  The ridge area also had a more tolerable rolling terrain but what makes this area special is the panoramic views of the mountains.  You have the trail view in front of you, the mountains view on both sides and the view of the rich pine tree reserve below you.

Hello Mr. Sun.

The next kilometer was a rolling terrain. Coming from a long climb, the climbs here felt easy.  I tried to insert some runs on this stretch and would just slow down on some stretch that’s a bit technical.  It’s also a bit scary at some stretches as when you look down and it has deep ravines.  I kept my focus on my footing and the trail as any misstep could mean falling.  It was refreshing to run in this area with all the views that surrounds you. Even when the sun was up, it still felt cool as there was a cold breeze.

My Daily Dose of Sunlight.

At kilometer 4, the climb resumes.  The trail shifts to a more technical terrain with some rocks and rock formation in between.  Since it was slower moving here because of the technical surface, it didn’t feel as exhausting as the first climb.  It was also great seeing runners on their way back either cheering you on or greeting you, good morning.  Seeing runners on their way also meant, I am closing in on the u-turn slot.  I think I’m faster now at adopting to the different trail surfaces.

Halfway point at the Ampucao Ridge.

I was able to reach the ridge area, which  was the halfway mark.  The ridge was a bit slippery so for that time there were no photos at the ridge. It was a great thing I had a photo here on my last visit.  I then went on my way back, which should be easier compared to the climb at the first half.  The road from the ridge area was a bit technical so I was watching my step along the single track trail.  Once the surface is a lot more stable, I start to run again.

Good Thing, I was not wearing red.

I started to speed up on my way back. It was nice seeing cows along the route too.   I adjusted my strides depending on the steepness of the descent and the type of surface.  If it’s a bit steep, I try to be more careful.  I started meeting runners on the way back too and would also greet them good morning or tell them that the u-turn slot is near.  After a while I started to be more comfortable with my balance on the descents. There were also some ascents in the area so I just tried to endure them knowing that this is the way back.

Loving the trails.

I was counting down the remaining kilometers.  By the 7th kilometer, I was back in the Pine Tree forested trails and it was all down hill from there.  There were also trekkers along the route who were also courteous to greet me a good morning or try to step aside so as not to interrupt my downward momentum.  This is one thing I like about the trails, people aren’t always in a hurry to finish, they have time to greet each other and exchange pleasantries.  One of trekkers asked why I was alone and I just smiled.  By this time, we were all spread apart in the trail and somehow, I wanted to be a lone wolf as it’s all about competing with myself in the trail.

As I approached the end of the trail, the elevation goes steeper.  I would then be more cautious on the steeper part as the wet soil tends to be slippery.  I would also run with my strides outwards to add more balance.   I guess when it comes to steep descent. It’s as dragging as a steep climb. It’s just less tiring.  After hitting the end of the trail, I was one kilometer away from the finish line.  I did a run – walk on the ascending part of Philex Road before cruising in the road heading to the finish line.  I finished the race at 2:28, a few minutes within the cutoff.  There was a post race breakfast, which is one of the things I love with local races here.  There’s a community feel in it.  Great Job Frontrunner for the race.

With the Frontrunner Team and the Jazzrunner

Outfit of the Race

  • Shirt – Berghaus witH #TaleOfTheTrail design by Breakout Design
  • Shorts, Trucker Cap, Arms Sleeves, Calf Sleeves, Hydration Bag – Under Armour
  • Shoes – Newton Boco Sol
  • Eyewear – Oakley Racing Jacket
  • GPS Watch – Suunto Ambit 3 Sport
  • Socks – Ahon.PH

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments