The adidas UltraBoost Uncaged

While I have several running shoes, I only have a select few that I would dare wear on race day. One of them is adidas with their Boost Technology.  I love the cushy feel of the Energy Boost, which they even upgraded when they launched the Ultra Boost Uncaged.  It gets a better hold on the fit with the upper prime knit. It has an even better support and lacing system.

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Adidas Ultra Boost Uncaged

Running on adidas BOOST technology.

I’ve always enjoyed running with adidas boost technology. For one, it’s the cushy bouncy feel that makes each stride a lot smoother and a return that’s more powerful.  It’s a lightweight, personal record beating and adrenaline-pumping race shoes.  It gets even better as adidas launches Ultra BOOST Uncaged. It’s a product of adidas continues research on the Boost technology and inputs from users and fans.  It gives you an adidas Primeknit upper that gives a better hold on the shoes, an even better support system and a more efficient lacing system.

It has now globally available starting June 29, 2016 with a retail price of Php8995.  The future of running has been uncaged!   UltraBOOST Uncaged is a shoe inspired by fans and perfected by the innovation experts of adidas Running. Among its new features are the new adidas Primeknit upper, an internal support system and unique tiered lacing system. UltraBOOST Uncaged is engineered for maximum performance.

Originally created as an evolution of the greatest running shoe ever, UltraBOOST Uncaged continues the performance legacy of its predecessor with each element designed to collectively deliver an unparalleled running experience. To transform the Uncaged look into a performance vehicle, adidas adapted an internal midfoot skeleton using technology developed for the world’s top track athletes, delivering highly technical support and comfort with a rebellious look. A re-engineered adidas Primeknit upper provides flexible breathability and natural movement through each stride to complement an adaptive knit collar. A new multi-tiered lacing system allows runners to personalize style and fit, while specially-designed flat laces offer enhanced comfort and stability.

Alongside its new innovations, UltraBOOST Uncaged also maintains its signature UltraBOOST features. A supportive heel counter showcases the iconic embossed UltraBOOST name and keeps the foot locked in place for additional stability; a full length BOOST midsole provides industry leading Energy Return and a Stretchweb Continental Rubber™ outsole flexes naturally for superior traction with every step.

In addition to providing running greatness, UltraBOOST Uncaged represents the commitment adidas has to its fans and athletes. After global trendsetters first modified UltraBOOST by cutting off its cage, adidas embraced the movement and invited partners to create their own stylized versions of the shoe. Following this collaborative approach and in line with its dedication to delivering only the best for the athlete, adidas created its latest running innovation – a sleek new silhouette with the performance benefits that separate UltraBOOST from every other running shoe.

“UltraBOOST Uncaged combines the performance and innovation standard of UltraBOOST with the unique flair of our passionately creative fan base.adidas is committed to making athletes better through innovation and UltraBOOST Uncaged is another prime example of that pledge being met with the input of runners from around the world, says Ben Herath, Vice President of Design for adidas Running.”

Join the adidas Energy Running movement by following @adidasrunning on Twitter and Instagram using #UltraBOOST.

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Incoming: Sofitel Manila Half Marathon 2016

Sometimes all the difference a struggling street kid need is a helping hand and a ray of hope.  We can be that helping hand by supporting the Sofitel Manila Half Marathon happening on August 21, 2016 at the CCP Open Fields with 5K, 10K and 21K categories to choose from.  The beneficiary of the run is Virlanie Foundation, who help street kids get over the hump of poverty with education and proper support. #SofitelHalfMarathon2016

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Sofitel Manila Half Marathon

Race Singlet and Finisher Shirt modeled by The Great Jared

Sofitel Manila Half Marathon is back on August 21, 2016 at the CCP Open Field.  It’s a run to promote wellness and a healthy lifestyle.  It’s also a run to support the Virlanie Foundation.  The Virlanie Foundation helps the young and less fortunate children in Manila.  Last year, with the help of 4,300 participants, Sofitel was able to raise P750,000 for the Virlanie foundation.  This is a run that can really make a difference to lives of street kids needing a boost of hope.

There will be 3 categories open to runners, which is the 5K, 10K and the half marathon distance. It starts at the CCP open fields, which is just beside Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, and brings you through a panoramic view of Manila Bay area.  The race would also want to encourage a green lifestyle by encouraging runners to bring water bottles for refilling at designated hydration stations, minimizing the use of paper cups.

It’s now on its fourth year and has been one of the most anticipated event in the running community.  Let’s all support Sofitel and the Virlanie foundation by joining Sofitel Manila Half Marathon.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: August 21, 2016
  • Venue: CCP Open Field
  • Gun Start
    • 5K – 5:00 AM
    • 10K – 4:40 AM
    • 21K – 4:00 AM

Fees and Inclusions

  • 5K – P750 (Inclusive of bib, timing tag, singlet and lootbag)
  • 10K – P850 (Inclusive of bib, timing tag, singlet and lootbag)
  • 21K – P950 (Inclusive of bib, timing tag, singlet finisher shirt, finisher medal and lootbag)

Registration

  • Online : via  Sofitel Manila Half Marathon Website (Starting June 27, 2016 until August 7, 2016)
  • In Store: (Starting July 13, 2016 and ending August 14, 2016)
    • Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
    • Runnr Store Bonifacio High Street
    • Runnr Trinoma
    • Timex Megamall
    • Toby’s Mall of Asia

Race Updates

Race Maps

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

World Vision Run 2016

10K World Vision Run

World Vision is an advocacy I am supporting.  I am a World Vision sponsor for several years now and I make it a point to join their run roo.  This year, it was another feel-good run for a really good cause.  Having the race venue at Blue Bay Walk gave us a faster access to Roxas Boulevard and its flyovers giving the race a hillier feel.  It was awesome seeing thousand of runners all united for the cause of World Vision. #WorldVisionRun2016

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World Vision Run

Post Race!

It felt really odd being on the road again after being on trails the whole summer.  This was one of the reasons why I opted for a 10K distance instead of the usual half marathons I join.  After being away on paved grounds for so long, It felt like my first race once again.  I was jittery and slowly adjusting to a road mindset.  I guess it’s much more demanding when it comes to road runs as the pace is much faster.  It’s adjustment time for me so the feel-good mood of World Vision Run would really be a great venue for my return on road runs.

Race Route

Race Map powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports

The race starts at Blue Bay Walk and immediately heads to Roxas Boulevard going to Baclaran Side with the first flyover at the first 500 meter mark.  The race heads to Baclaran side until NAIA road with a u-turn at 2.8 kilometers and heads back to the other side of Roxas.  The second Flyover is midway the fifth kilometer.  The route heads to Luneta side with another flyover approaching the 7th kilometer. The u-turn slot is in front of V-Sotto at kilometer 7.5 before heading back to the last flyover and the road back to Blue Bay Walk.

The Race

With Team U.

The 10K distance had a 5:00 am gun start so was in the venue around 4:30 am, where I was able to see the send off of the 21 kilometer runners.  I wanted to be early as I wanted to have sufficient warm up and stretching since this would be my first time on a road race once again after more than 3 months away.  Joined the pre-race ceremonies and at 5:00 am, it was a GO!!!

With Trail Idol Jose Ramizares.

I started at a fast pace just to try if I can sustain a pace.  The first flyover was up at the first 500 meters of the race so I run half the flyover and then walk until the peak before running again.  I made sure that my legs would be properly warmed up before I start with the run walk set.  I saw Roselle (Running Diva) running at a very nice rhythm. I paced with her for a while until I switched to my run-walk set as I didn’t feel I have the endurance to sustain a fast pace.

The mental challenge on a fast 10K is sustaining that effort.  I was able to sustain a sub 7 minute / kilometer pace in the first 3 kilometers. I then decided that I’d run out of gas at this pace so  moved back my pace to 7:30 minute per kilometers by doing run walk sets. I would go at a a fast pace for a count of 100 – 120 and then walk for 20-30 seconds.  I kept reminding myself to continue the effort and not to run lazy.

Met Justin and Jay Em of Color Manila approaching the 5K mark.

I met Justin and Jay Em of Color Manila around the 5th kilometer as we were descending the EDSA flyover to Roxas Boulevard.  I joined their pace and at the foot of the flyover, I had to stop awhile to appreciate the large delegation of 5K runners approaching.  While we had a lot of leg room at the other side of Roxas, it started to congest here.  On the other hand, even with a bit of congestion, it was nice to see the large support base for World Vision.

It was a challenge to run here as you had to swerve over a group of runners to maintain the forward momentum.  It was a managed pace from here on. I ran when there’s leg room and rest a bit when it’s congested.  I finally got my rhythm back and as the kilometers moved on, the runners became more spread out.  We had to tackle the flyover in Buendia approaching the 7th kilometer.  I ran a stretch of the flyover and walked until the top of the flyover before running my way down to the flyover and take the u-turn at V-Sotto at around 7.5 kilometers into the race.

Finishing up!!! – Photo by Lem So

It was the last 2.5 kilometers into the race. One last climb and a few more effort to go.  The Roxas course is known to be a fast and flat course but with 4 flyovers on the 10K routes, it had a very hilly feel. I love eating hills for breakfast anyway.  I ran half of the climb again then walk ’til the peak and ran on the descent.  It became even more crowded here as this was the u-turn slot for the 3K distance.  I stayed at the side of the road, which had more leg room to run and went on one last push to the finish line.

To the finish line!!! – Photo by Lem So.

I went on the road back to Blue Bay Walk, which was several hundred meters away from the finish line.  I then went on a final run to survive my first road race in the past 3 months with a time of 1:15 or 7:30 minutes / kilometer pace.  Not too fast but not too slow either.  I guess I’ll get better on my next road run.  I spent some time after the race to enjoy the post race festivities and met some running friends before calling it a day.

Outfit Of The Race

Photo by Lem So.

  • Top: adidas Climachill with #TaleOfTheTrail design by Breakout Design
  • Shorts and Visor: Under Armour
  • Shoes: Saucony Guide 7
  • Socks: Nike
  • GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
  • Eyewear: Oakley Radarlock Path

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

Incoming: Pinoyfitness Kasama Run with Michaela

Running is more fun when done in a group.  Pinoy Fitness Kasama Run celebrates the friendship, the bond and the brotherhood developed in running in a feel-good run that’s gonna bring all the fun and memories into the run. Whether you’re running 3K, 5K, 10K, 16K or even join the special sub 1 10K, everybody will be a part of a bigger “Samahan” in Pinoy Fitness on August 14, 2016 at the Blue Bay Walk in Pasay City.

#PFKasamaRun

Samahan nyo ako.

My first ever run was 6 years ago. It was a 3K run, which was upon an invite of a friend since their logistics company was partnering with the run. I took that invite and it changed my life.  From struggling crossing the 3K distance to a lifestyle of running.  That journey won’t be possible without the people you meet running.  I had team mates and team sessions that pushed me to the next level. I had mentors to make me better.  I had friends who shared in my passion.  I had met a lot of people through running and each one of them made me realize that this is a lifestyle I choose to take.

Pinoy Fitness has been there for you too for the last 7 years.  They’ve been encouraging people to take fitness as a lifestyle.  PF Kasama Run is a 7th Anniversary Celebration for Pinoy Fitness.  It’s also a celebration for love of running and appreciating people who was part of our journey.  The run is happening on August 14, 2016 at the Blue Bay Walk in Pasay City with 3K, 5K, 10K, 16K and a special category for those who still want to chase the sub 1 10K finish time.

Kasama ko si The Bull Runner at si Mr. Pinoyfitness

It’s gonna bring in a very nostalgic and feel-good environment that focuses on the fun and the camaraderie rather than the competitive nature of the race.  It’s run as you please with tight no-cut-offs, where you can cherish each step of the run.  It’s not only for experienced runners, it’s for newbie runners as well and everybody gets a functional medal (also a bottle opener) in the process.

Complete the medal with friends or even strangers.

The fun part with the medal is that there are 6 different prints that become puzzle pieces to form the medal above.  The medal would be randomly given across categories so you’ll have to interact to complete the above puzzle.  The first groups to complete it would be entitled to some treats. That would also be an excellent ways to find new set of friends in the race.  Aside from finding friends or even life partners, it’s also a run for a cause as PF Kasama Run will support MCares, a charity component of MICHAELA that gives assistance to different less fortunate communities around the country.  Register now as early birds gets a special PF Kasama Run bag tags.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: August 14, 2016
  • Venue: Blue Bay Walk, Pasay City

Fees and Inclusions

  • 3K – P600 (Inclusive of Race Bib with RFID, Singlet and Medal)
  • 6K – P700 (Inclusive of Race Bib with RFID, Singlet and Medal)
  • 10K – P800 (Inclusive of Race Bib with RFID, Singlet and Medal)
  • Special Sub 1 10K Wave (Inclusive of Race Bib with RFID, Singlet and Kasama Run Medal and runners who finish within 60 minutes get a PG sub1 medal)
  • 16K – P900 (Inclusive of Race Bib with RFID, Singlet, Medal and Finisher Shirt)

Registration

  • Online: Via Goorahna
    • Register between May 13 to June 30 to get a personalized race bib and Bag Tag.
  • In Store (June 30 to July 31, 12 noon to 8 pm, Thursday to Sunday)
    • Runnr (Bonifacio High Street, Alabang Town Center, Trinoma)
    • Toby’s (SM MOA, Shangri La, Glorietta 2)

Race Updates

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Incoming: Live Run Smile

We Filipinos are a happy bunch but what if that smile is deprived because of cleft lip or cleft palate.  1 out 500 patient have cleft palate and while they can function normally, they usually have a hard time blending with the society. Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation Philippines, Inc. (NCF Phils) brings back the smile to these patients and you can help too.  Join Live, Run, Smile happening on September 4, 2016 at Bonifacio Global City with 3K, 5K, 10K and 21K categories.  You get to LIVE a healthy lifestyle. You get to SMILE for the warmth of a good cause and you get to RUN with a group of passionate individuals.

NCF Phils

NCF Foundation goes beyond fixing cleft palate cases for their patients. They follow through with the patients and ensures that they have a better chance at life.   They bring back their smile and follows through with therapy and additional sessions. This gives them more comfort and confidence to give back and be a part of the society.  They also need help from the public.  Every little help you give can really go a long way whether its a small donation or sponsoring a procedure or even just joining a race, Live, Run, Smile.

A lot of us have grown to love running and at times, it has now become a lifestyle.  Live, Run, Smile is a good run for a cause that can really warm your heart with an excellent cause for cleft palate patients and give your legs a good healthy beating.  It’s also a perfect run for newbies with lower categories available and a really relaxed atmosphere for a run.  It’s also a perfect group run setting for families, friends and the whole gang as the more people joining the run, the more we can contribute to the cause of NCF Phils.  Together, we can bring a lot of smiles back.

The run will also boost the morale of cleft palate patient as we get to see them in the run and interact with them.  It will also increase the awareness for their special case and promote more consideration and acceptance to the society.  There’s so many ways to help. We can donate. We can support their projects and we can RUN and for sure, every stride you make will make a cleft palate patient smile.  Register Now.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: September 4, 2016
  • Venue: Bonifacio Global City

Fees and Inclusions

  • 3K – 550 (Inclusive of Race Bib, Singlet, Medal for top 100 finishers, Freebies, etc)
  • 5k – 650 (Inclusive of Race Bib, Singlet, Medal for top 100 finishers, Freebies, etc)
  • 10k – 850 (Inclusive of Finisher Shirt, Race Bib, Singlet, Medal, Freebies, etc.)
  • 21k – 950 (Inclusive of Finisher Shirt, Race Bib, Singlet, Bigger Medal, Freebies, etc.)

Registration

  • Via Bank Deposit
    • BPI Account:
      • Account Name: RUNDOM MEDIA ORGANIZATION INC.
      • Account#: 003193 3669 36
    • BDO Account:
      • Account Name: RUNDOM MEDIA ORGANIZATION INC.
      • Account#: 004020 1923 00
    • Fill up the registration form and send it together with the copy of your deposit slip to rundommedia@gmail.com with SUBJECT: “RUN4NCF” and wait for confirmation and advice for racekit pickup date/place.
  • Onsite registration (To be Announced Soon)
    • On-site registration will start on July 16, 2016 and will end on August 22, 2016.

Race Update:

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

#TaleOfTheTrail Mount Maculot (Cuenca, Batangas)

Mount Maculot Summit

Mount Maculot is a feel good climb. It has the lush green forest reserve and magnificent view of Taal lake from the Rockies and the summit. It gets extra exciting when you do the traverse as you go on a faster and more technical descent that includes rappelling through steep ravines.

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#TaleOfTheTrail

This is why I Love the trails!

My friend Inja’s new tour company, Wanderbee Travel and Tours organized this trip and I immediately signed up for it. It would be fun to go on a feel-good climb, which is a far cry from the competitive races and mountain runs lately. Mount Maculot is still a challenging one because it’s more of a direct assault kind of a climb. It’s still a climb worth 65o meters of elevation heading to the summit at around 930 MASL. It’s my first time to climb this one and I tried researching the elevation profile but I mostly got the height of Mount Maculot. So we’ll have to rely on the guard for proper pacing. Also, since I have a minor sprain in my left ankle, I’m gonna take it easy and just enjoy the hike. As an added precaution, I wrapped my ankle with muscle tape as added support.

The Route and Elevation

Powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports

It starts with a moderate climb for the first kilometer before shifting to a steep climb on the second on the way to the rockies with about 400 meters worth of elevation. There’s a short climb and descent at the rockies. It goes on a moderate climb for the next kilometer before shifting to another steep climb worth 250 meters of elevation for the last 500 meters to the summit. The trail goes on a technical descent for the next 1.5 kilometers in the traverse stretch heading to the grotto and the exit covering about 650 meters of elevation.

Trekking Mount Maculot

The Rockies gave you a view of the lush green Forest reserve and Taal Volcano.

It was an early start for all of us as we left Manila at around 4 am just to be at the starting point of the climb at around 6:00 am. The guide described the climb as a direct assault so I had no idea how long the climb would be as I normally would assess the climb based on the mileage in my watch. I just took two pointers the Rockies is at 700 meters and that the summit is around 950 meters. Anyway, it’s a beginner friendly climb so it won’t be too exhausting.

I’m starting to go minimal with my outfits doing away with the compression. I did bring my pole though since this would be a long climb.

We had two guides for the trek with one in the lead pack and the other one on the tail end. I joined the lead pack since in treks like this, it’s the last ones who gets the shortest rest on recovery breaks. The first 800 meters was a moderate ascent on paved grounds so it was a chill walking pace at this point. We had to wait for the rest before entering the trail area.

One of our recovery stops with the whole pack complete.

Once it hits the trail area, it immediately goes on a climb. It’s a bit technical with steep single tracks with large stones, tree trunks, twigs and bushes adding to the obstacles. The good part is that there are rest areas after each 50 or 100 meters of the climb. You can just exert your energy on the climbs as you’ll be able to rest on the stops while waiting for the rest. It’s really a nice trail for beginners as they get to climb and have enough rest at the same time.

The view gets better as you go higher.

So that’s the drill, climb a steep trail and rest at the stops. Despite the rest stops, the climb is not easy as you’ll have to be reactive on the varying terrain and some can really be slippery too. It really helped that I’m using my trekking pole as it did help cushion the steps for my sprained ankle and also also allowed my upper body to help on the climb. One of the reasons, I prefer to use poles is that it lessens fatigue on the legs with the upper body support.

I’m starting to get the hang using trekking poles on the climbs.

About a kilometer into the climb, the guide would tell us that we were about halfway through the climb. I checked on the altitude on watch and we were about 450 meters above sea level. That means that there we were about 250 meters more to the Rockies. I figured it would be better to monitor the altitude instead of the distance just to know how far to go yet.

Rappel Part of the Climb

Since the climb was steep, we didn’t need to cover a lot of distance to move up. There were areas wherein we had to rappel too because of the steepness. Every 100 meter stretch would cover around 20-30 meters of elevation. It was lung busting but since its cut into segments it becomes more manageable.

That’s Taal Lake.

What’s making the effort worth its while is the view of Taal Lake from each stops. They really have thick forest reserve here and you’d barely feel the heat because of the covered trails. We’ve finally hit the area before the camp site where we had our lunch. The initial plan was just to do the Rockies and didn’t include the summit. So I started asking people if they’d want to try the summit. There were already several in the group who wants to go to the summit but we’ll decide after we go to the Rockies.

We had to climb boulders of rock heading to the Rockies.

We were at the campsite at about 1.8 kilometers. The road to the Rockies had a steep descent with rope supports and climbing through large boulders of rocks. The descent was a bit difficult especially with some pain on the ankle especially when I landed the wrong way. The climb through the boulders of rocks was challenging as you had to find areas where you can hang on to and at the same time, be conscious on your surroundings as you might hit your head on some of the boulders. It’s a little bit of strategy here as you try to find ways to do the climb.

A Selfie with Taal Volcano.

It was an amazing view at the top of the Rockies. You had the lush green forest surrounding you, a view of Taal and it’s lake. There was a queue on some spots at the Rockies since it’s known as a photo area. We then headed at one side of the Rockies where you get to see by the edge of the cliff and enjoy the view. It’s a bit scary to be sitting on the edge of the cliff but knowing me, I wouldn’t dare miss an opportunity.

It’s the scary kind of fun being on an edge of a cliff with the beauty of nature surrounding you.

When it was my turn, I headed to the end of the cliff and sat there. It was a beautiful vantage point of the view yet it felt scary as one misstep could mean you falling down a cliff. It felt awkward at the start but once I was seated at the throne, I felt at peace with nature. It’s not everyday that you get humbled by the sheer beauty of nature. This angle had the Taal Volcano as part of its backdrop. Seeing Taal Volcano in Tagaytay is already amazing but seeing it much closer through the Rockies was even better.

I’m just a tiny speckle of the wonderful world we live in.

We shifted to the other side of the Rockies. While the other side showed Taal volcano, this one shows you Taal Lake and the rich forest reserve of Batangas. This was a much bigger rock formation and coming from a scary sit by the cliff, we were braver at this point. The formation was uneven but I was able to brave standing by the rock and just be a tiny speckle of the awesome view.

Off to the Summit

After our time at the summit, we went back to the camp site to decide whether we should go to the summit or not. I said that we were already here and we should just seize the moment and climb the summit. I rather have a hard time trekking the summit than wondering what if. Eventually, 9 of our group decided to go the summit and 5 went back. One guide went with them and one guide went with us.

Enjoying the climb!

The climb to the summit started with a moderate climb at the first kilometer of the climb with a single track dirt roads on a mossy forest trail. I was checking on the altitude and this time I was waiting til we reach 930 meters, which was around 250 meters from the Rockies. The last 500 meters became challenging with the trail getting steeper and more technical. It also rained for a while. We took it one effort at a time and had also some rest stops while waiting for the rest since we had to move as one group since we only had one guide with us. We were moving faster and had fewer rest stops compared to the first climb to the Rockies. It took us less than an hour to reach the summit.

The Summit

The summit even had a better view of Taal Volcano, Taal Lake and the surrounding forest. It always worth it reaching the summit. It’s a milestone and it’s a high when it comes to climbing. That’s the adventure in it as you get to experience the climb as a whole.

The view from the top.

We then had to decide whether to go back on the same route where it’s more predictable or take the traverse which was a mystery to us at this point. There was also someone in the traverse who had a bad case of cramps and we could hear his screams at the summit. Eventually, the adventurous side in us prevailed and we took the traverse. The traverse is just 1.5 kilometers on really challenging trails while going back would be 3.5 kilometers on easier trails.

This was one long rappel down.

We saw the one who got cramps in the trail about 100 meters from the summit. I joined the first group on the first descent as we didn’t want to crowd the area with the injured trekker. I immediately figured out that this would be a difficult trail as it started with a very steep and slippery descent. It had as grabbing through stones, trunks and steps just to have additional balance on the descent. We waited for the rest after the descent since we had to have the guide for the rappel part. The rappel part was even much steeper and had us navigating through the rope on a very long descent.

Deep into the forest with Inja and Rochelle.

After the long rappel, we shifted to technical trails that was a challenging to navigate. It continued on the steep descent on varying surfaces and uneven terrains. I guess that’s what happens when you cramp up 650 meters of elevation in just 1.5 kilometers of distance. You just have to be creative on trails like this and find the best way to move faster and safer. I suddenly saw our guide speeding past me and I asked why. He told me that there was another rappel part that he had to oversee us.

It’s like rappelling through a wall without a harness.

It was a tough one as it was a deep ravine with a rope. It was like rappelling through a wall without a harness. We had to really hang on to the rope, find some uneven rocks for added balance on the next step and don’t panic. Funny, how I stopped in the middle of the climb to hand the guide the camera so he can take the photo above. You’ll always find a way and the guide was also giving some pointers to some on where to step on the rappel part. This was the toughest part of the climb. There were a lot of monkeys on the trees after the descent. We were watching the monkeys plays.while we were waiting for the rest on the rappel.

At the Grotto

It was still technical surfaces after the rappel but glad the hardest one was over. After a while, we finally saw sunshine as we excited to the Grotto. After the Grotto, it was just going through steps and a short trail portion before the trail exit point. It’s also used as stations of the cross so you can actually count down the steps after you reach each station. That was a complete adventure from technical trails to steep ravines and cliffs and changing weather conditions. We took the harder way but it made the adventure much sweeter.

Outfit of the Trail

  • Top: Berghaus with #TaleOfTheTrail design by Breakout design
  • Shorts and hydration bag: Under Armour
  • Shoes: Salomon Speed Cross
  • GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
  • Trekking Pole: Black Diamond Distance Z Poles
  • Cap: Specialized
  • Eye wear: Oakley Racing Jacket

Categories: My Travels | Tags: , , , , , | 62 Comments

Salomon Speed Cross 3 Unleashes the Speed on the Trails

Blitzing the Casile Trails at San Mateo, Rizal with Salomon Speed Cross 3 – Photo by Del Villanueva

When it comes to trail shoes, Salomon is among the top brands.  I got to see that first hand when I got a Salomon Speed Cross 3 a few months ago.  Speed Cross lets you focus on the run with its supreme traction and adds comfort to your run with the Ortholite support. #TrailLove

Salomon Speed Cross 3

I won this pair at the Salomon Xtrail Launch.

I’ve been using Salomon Speed Cross 3 since mid April.  That’s over a hundred kilometers and about 6,000 meters of elevation gain.  It’s been a trail-centric summer so I was able to log a lot of trail time this year.  I actually won the shoe at the Salomon Xtrail launch and it was just in time for my summer trail activities.  I was able to test it in so many conditions already from the rocky roads of Casile, the unli-uphills of Camp John Hay Yellow Trails, the uneven dirt roads of Timberland, the limestone formations of Tangadan Falls in La Union, the technical climbs of Mount Sembrano and the vertical kilometers of Dalupirip, Itogon.

Enjoying the river trails at Dalupirip, Itogon, Benguet

Let’s start with the first thing I look for in a trail shoes and that’s traction.  It has large lugs on its outsole designed to give you maximum grip across all terrains.  Speed cross has ultimate grip in all conditions. When you have a grip that reliable, you won’t hesitate to breeze the descents. You’ll have the comfort of keeping up on the climbs even on technical trails.  One of the reason that it’s a speed shoes is that you can focus on the run since you are comfortable with the traction of your shoes.  Unlike the road, trail conditions vary and can become unpredictable.

Getting lost on the way to Tangadan Falls in La Union

The unpredictability of the trail is what makes it really exciting and challenging at the same time.  I don’t usually run long steep stretches but I gained more confidence running downhill with the reliable grip of the shoes.  I can focus my efforts on the climb even on technical trails since I have good traction on varying surface.

Getting ready to finish the race at Timberland – Photo by Jose Ramizares

Then let’s talk about comfort.  Salomon Speed Cross uses an ortholite foam as part of its insole.  I’m a fan of ortholite even on regular shoes.  It makes each step softer and more cushioned.  Trail runs are usually much longer though you barely would notice the time because of the scenic landscape.  What you’ll notice though is the drag of the numerous foot-strike you make in the trail.  Ortholite cushioning gives you a softer landing, minimizing the impact on the heels and the knee.  This makes you last longer on the trails, reducing muscle fatigue and discomfort.

Enjoying the wonderful view at Tenidi Hill at Bantik, Itogon, Benguet

I also like the quick lace and the lace pocket that comes in each Salomon shoes.  Lacing can really be critical on trails or even on runs. Loose laces can mean tripping or spraining your ankle.  Having your shoes securely laced can mean that you can go on the run without worrying about too much about tripping, over pronation or spraining your ankle especially on uneven surfaces. It holds the shoes securely in place to add a more balanced landing.

Enjoying the Rivers of Inigan, San Mateo, Rizal

River crossing is common in a lot of trails in the Philippines. Water entering shoes can at time cause blisters.  The good part about the speed cross that it’s water resistant and not water proof.  The difference is having a water-resistant shoe is that it limits water coming in but can also serve as a vent for water going out.  The problem with water proof shoes is that when water comes in, it stays in the shoes.  So, it’s a good shoes for river crossing. I usually am not worried with river crossings since the tropical climate has its way of drying your shoes quick. The mesh type material surrounding the shoes minimizes the debris entering the shoes avoiding irritations. The textile is also breathable, which allows some ventilation for the feet while wearing the shoes.

Enjoying the views at Mount Sembrano at Pililia, Rizal

When it comes to weight, it’s a bit on the heavy side at around 12 ounces. Some race shoes can go below 9 ounces.  It’s not a minimalist shoe but you have to bear the extra weight if you’d want more comfort. That added weight comes with the added cushion and foot bed that can reduce impact of each foot stride and give you a more secure landing.  It doesn’t feel heavy though with its compact design.  It’s not the fastest shoes on the road but you’ll make up for it for sure on those suicide descents you can breeze through or the steep inclines which you can ascend with more consistency since you have enough grip to keep you stable.

At my regular play ground, Yellow Trails, Camp John Hay.

The thing with trail shoes is that any trail shoes could work on most surfaces but if you want the level of comfort and confidence to blitz a trail, Salomon Speed Cross 3 is an excellent choice.  The all-around grip can really give you an advantage on technical and even wet trail conditions.  It’s a perfect shoes for the longer distance trails since the ortholite support can make each step a lot more cushioned and safer, reducing wear and tear.  Of course, with more cushion and comfort comes a little bit more weight, which you’d barely notice on the run.  Salomon Speed Cross 3 will definitely bring #TrailLove to each of your trail adventures.

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

Cordillera Mountain Run 2016

Cordillera Mountain Run was a key race for me.  It was a beautiful course with the mountains and Agno river enveloped by the clouds.  The climb felt endless but the scenic masterpiece around you made the struggle worth it.  It’s a character-defining race and I’m glad I was able to dig deep to survive this one. #CordilleraMountainRun #KeepItWild

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Cordillera Mountain Run

Cordillera was the reason why I was on trails all summer

I really enjoyed the run, the views and the brotherhood at last year’s Cordillera Mountain Run. Joining this one was an easy decision.  I shifted to a different training regimen this time by focusing on trail time and elevation gain.  I don’t have much climbing threshold so I need to focus on that.   It was a fun journey as it gave me a better appreciation of the trail and it helped me be stronger on the climbs. I also was able to do a recon of the route last month, which helped a lot in plotting my race strategy for this one.  It’s gonna be a tough one but it would surely be another epic experience.

Race Route and Elevation Profile

Race Route and Elevation is powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports

The race starts at the covered court in Dalupirip and heads to the hanging bridge and single track paved roads heading to the main road for the first two kilometers.  It goes through about 3 kilometers of rolling roads before heading to the river trails for the next kilometer going to the hanging bridge. It goes on a mix of dirt roads, rough roads and rocky paths by the river for the next 2.5 kilometers.  The trail then goes uphill for the next 2.5 kilometers worth 900 meters of elevation gain for the u-turn slot at the top of the hill.  The route then goes back using the same route.

The Race

Bib Claimed

I was in Dalupirip the day before the race as I was able to get a home stay around 4 kilometers away from the race venue.  I was able to attend the briefing the day before and I got to remember the task at hand, scale about 900 meters of elevation in the last 2.5 kilometers before the u-turn.  I’ve divided the race in manageable parts, 5 Kilometers of rolling roads, 3.5 kilometers of river trails and the 2.5 kilometers killer climb before the u-turn.  If I survive the climb then the rest of the race is routine.

Beautiful Dalipirip

Dalupirip was a beautiful site.  It had the Agno River, who flowed mightily below the mountain range.  It had both a lowland and high altitude view of the towering mountains.  It had the isolated laid back feel that keeps you more in touch with nature.  It had the exciting hanging bridges that’s can keep your heartbeat raising as you traverse them. It had the trail running community up for another round of challenge in the mountains of the Cordillera.

Race Day

The race started early at 4 AM with both the 21 Kilometers and 50 kilometers category starting at the same time. It was a good decision to start at 4 AM since it gets extra hot in Dalupirip in the morning. It was nice to start as a pack as you get to interact with others too.  I paced with Risha and Marky who were doing 21K and August and Doc Jason who were doing the 50K.  We started slow then we tried to speed up a bit heading to the hanging bridge on the first kilometer.  It’s always a challenge crossing hanging bridges, which was extra shaky because of the volume of runners crossing.  It then shifts to the single track paved roads heading to the main road.  The climbs were at brisk walk pace and the descents were at running pace.

Pacing with these guys.

We started to speed up on the main roads. We stayed steady on the climb and ran the descents.  You can feel the humidity already even this early which made the climbs more of a struggle.  It really helped that I’ve did my recon here a month ago so I know when to speed up and when to hold.  This was the time to speed up as its on paved grounds.  The surface shifted to river trails after 5 kilometers on the road, which was run-able so we maintained our pace here. There’s about a kilometer of river trails, which included the aid station before the hanging bridge.  The second hanging bridge was much sturdier having thin wooden planks supporting the steps.

After crossing the bridge, I started pulling down my pace as I want my heart rate relaxed before I start with the long climb.  I’m also conditioning my mind for the mental battle up ahead.  I kept saying to my mind that it’s ok to run slow, just not to run lazy.  I brought out my trekking pole, placed my head lamp in my bag and brought out my Oakleys.  I then went on to the river trails, which had a mix of dirt roads, rough roads and rocky paths.  It was run-able so I still tried to be quick on this stretch before slowing down a kilometer into the climb. I was starting to reserve my energy for the climb.

Climbing Time

There was water before the climb so I took the chance to take my carbgel for the energy boost.  I did a part of the climb during the recon and it was a difficult one.  The game plan was to climb a 100 meter at a time then rest and that was still too exhausting.    It’s really difficult to get your second wind once you can’t keep the heart rate from slowing down.  We (Me, Risha and Marky) took the chance for a few photos in the climb.  It was a really scenic climb as the view below was just a perfect symmetry of raw nature being majestic.

With Jonel and Alex

About 500 meters into the climb while I was resting, I met Jonel Mendoza, Frontrunner EIC, a trail master and organizer.  He’s been a veteran of so many races and when he was in front of me, I followed his pace.  It was steady, easy and consistent.  I paced with him for the rest of the climb.  Since I’ve also joined and also help promoted his races, there were so many talking points.  He was also more appreciative of the trails as he was trying to look for familiar trails in the area.  We were slowly and consistently inching our way to the long climb.  It was really great to look around as the the higher we get, the more awesome the views get.

The climb was endless but the views were great.

I was learning so much from Jonel on proper pacing and the trails.  That’s really a good way to spend your time while on the climb.  I just looked straight ahead instead of up as it would just make the climb feel longer.  I never thought that I would go through a climb as long and as steep as this without stopping since it’s among my weak points.  One climb led to another but we were able to sustain our pace and even pass some of the people on the climb.  I’m happy with my effort here.  It felt like forever but we’ve finally hit the u-turn. Jonel would be on his way to the 50K while I would be on my way back.  Surprisingly, I had a decent climbing time.

Camp Alpha

It was nice to see Camp Alpha peeps again.  We were just closely bundled on the climb that we were able to see each other at the turning point for the 21 kilometer runners (for me, Risha and Marky) and a short stop for the 50 kilometer runners (August and Doc Jason).  I stayed on top for a while to appreciate the views.  It was just a scenic masterpiece.

21 K U-turn slot.

It was the top of our climb.  I always consider finishing the hardest part of the race my finish line as the rest of the race would be routine.  We were about 1,100 meters above sea level and surrounded by mountain ranges with cloud formations sitting below us.  It made the climb worth it.

It was beautiful!!!

I then headed downward.  It was not an easy descent because of the steepness but it took about half the time going down compared to going up.  I tried to move fast on the descent yet remained cautious as the drops can really be dangerous.  It helped that I had the poles to keep me balanced as well as to reduce the impact on my knees.   It was a long and crazy descent but I finally reached the bottom.  I went on to the trail downwards though followed a group of runners who went on to the uphill trail instead of the river trail.  It was a bit longer and had additional elevation gain but it would also intersect with the main road so no big deal.

And it was hot.

We were on the last 6 kilometers of the race and it was really hot already.  I went back to the hanging bridge and had soft drinks and several cups of water at the aid station.  It really helped cool me down and replenished my energy reserves.  I went back to the river trail and brisked walk until I reached the road part and that’s 5 kilometers to go.  I decided to have another break this time buying hydration at the store.

The view from the road.

The road started with a long climb and I maintained a steady pace.  The heat was a challenge as it can really deplete energy fast so I made it a point to take a sip at my hydration bag every now and then.  The top of the climb had an overlooking view of the other side  of the mountain and Agno River below.  There were still several ascent here but it was tolerable considering the long climb at the mountain.  I just went at a steady pace as I moved from the main road to the single paved roads and the hanging bridge. I realized that I’ve used up every drop of hydration I have but the good thing was that I was just 1 kilometer away from the finish line so I just brisked walk my way to the finish line.

Mission Accomplished!!!

It was another great and epic race from Cordillera Conservation Trust. I’m happy with my effort in the race as I was consistent all throughout.  Hats off to all finishers. It was not an easy race but it’s the tough ones that we’d always treasure. ‘Til the next Cordillera Mountain Run.

Outfit of the Race

  • Top: Berghaus with #TaleOfTheTrail Design by Breakout Design
  • Shorts: Nike
  • GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
  • Cap and Hydration Bag: Under Armour
  • Shoes: Salomon Speed Cross
  • Trekking Pole: Black Diamond Distance Z Poles
  • Socks: Ahon.PH
  • Tape: Rocktape:
  • Eyewear: Oakley Radarlock Path

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

Incoming: Crayola Run

Life is full of colors. Crayola shares us the magic of colors through the Crayola Run. It’s the perfect run for kids, kid at heart and their family with friendly 500 meters, 3 kilometers and 5 kilometers distances to choose from. Let’s all have a colorful day on June 11, 2016 at Alabang Town Center.

Crayola Run

Crayola has always been the tool to introduce kids to the different colors.  It has been a huge part in their admiration of colors and the enhancement of their creativity.  Crayola takes that creativity to the next level in the Crayola Run.  It’s a fun run that’s meant to be enjoyed by kids with their friends, families and of course, the rest of the running community who have the zeal for running and having fun.

The route takes you from Alabang Town Center to portions of Daang hari with a 500 meter kids run for those 6 years old and below, 3 kilometers run for those 8 years old and below and 5 kilometers run, which is open for all.  So bring in the whole gang and family and enjoy the fun and the color in the run by registering in the Crayola Run.

Race Details

Date and Venue:

  • Date: June 11, 2016, 5 AM
  • Venue: Alabang Town Center
  • Assembly: Participants should in by 5:00am at the venue: Rustan’s Parking Lot. (back of ATC near
    Starbucks) Commerce Avenue
  • Gun Starts:
    • 5km runners – 5:30am;
    • 3km runners – 5:40am;
    • 500METERS dash – 5:45 am

Fees and Inclusions

  • 5km runners – P 600 (Bib, Singlet, Finisher Shirt, Finisher Medal & Loot Bag)
  • 3km runners – P 600 (Bib, Singlet, Finisher Shirt, Finisher Medal & Loot Bag)
  • 500METERS dash P 500 (Bib, Singlet, Finisher Shirt, Finisher Medal & Loot Bag)

Singlet

Finisher Shirt

Registration:

  • Onsite: Alabang Town Center Activity Center from May 27, 2016 to June 10, 2016

Updates:

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Train Like An Alpha at Alpha Strength

 

Fitness is needed for our day to day life.  We have chores. We have responsibilities. We have routines.  It helps a lot that we have the strength within to be go through our everyday hurdles easily.  Alpha Strength gives you a functional workout to create a better and strongest version of yourself.

Alpha Strength

I’ve been in the fitness community for the past 6 years. While I’ve spent most of the time running and biking, I have tried a lot of strengthening exercises and has in fact been part of my routine.  A strong core and body gives you more endurance and better capability to do more.  Even on non-training days, it’s a strenuous routine for me.  I have to walk up and down several flights of stairs at our apartment. I have to walk several blocks from my parking to the office and vice versa.  If I have to visit another area like the mall, I just go by feet even if its about 2-3 kilometers away.  The truth is even how technologically advance we are now, we should still make it a point to be fit and healthy.

I just discovered a new way to be fit tucked away at the Ground Floor of SPARTA Philippines, 126 Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong CityAlpha Strength is a gym that strongly believes that when a person is strong, everything becomes easy.  It’s a fitness hub that’s gonna make your day to day chores normally and pain-free.  In Alpha Strength, people begin with goals of getting fitter and healthier, optimizing performance and maximizing athletic capabilities. Strength is a never ending journey. You get physically stronger with better abs, legs and biceps.  The goal does not stop with physical strength and aesthetically designed physique,  it’s about creating a better version of oneself by thinking outside the box and finding their inner strength.

Becoming stronger is not easy; it will test you, it will disappoint, and just like life, it is not a walk in the park.  That’s why getting strong is worth it, and that’s what we are; we make people strong. In the four corners of Alpha Strength, we will prepare you for whatever life will throw at you. What we want you to be, is the best, strongest version of yourself. says Aaron Dela Cruz, Head Coach of Alpha Strength and Alpha Strike.

Be Alpha

Be Alpha is designed to fix your movement patterns by building your physical and mental strength as you go along.  The program works by addressing limitations in your movement while getting you closer to your fitness and health related goals.  The thing is we have some pains and difficulty because there are some incorrect movement patterns that are formed by sedentary lifestyle or a lot of time sitting.

Be Alpha program begins with an assessment of a person’s current health and capacity.  Limitations are then improved followed by measured increase in the intensity of the workouts.  Alpha Strength coaches empowers clients throughout the process, training the body and mind to build strength.

The Be Alpha program will be using mace bells, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and other tools to get their bodies moving the way the human body is designed to move.

Alpha 365

The Alpha 365 program aims to optimize strength, agility, coordination, speed, power and endurance.  It uses a very scientific approach of its program in helping members get the best performance out of their bodies.  The body needs stress and should learn to adopt to it.  This is the only way for the body and mind to get better.  Alpha 365 is designed to make the human body adopt to stress

In Alpha 365, the stressors work in two ways.  First is by progressively overloading the body to help it adopt and succeed in its goals within each mesocycle (a mesocycle represents a specific block or timeframe of training designed to accomplish a particular goal). The second is by employing various methods during the conditioning training to help members and athletes adopt to the three energy systems of the body functions: Glycolic or short burst of energy; Phosphagen, short-medium burst of energy and Oxidative or long use of energy.

The Alpha 365 program utilizes multi-joint compound movements and power lifting exercises thrice per week (squat, press and deadlift). Combined with weightlifting exercises done thrice a week (Snatch and Clean & Jerk), the program help develop people to maintain their fitness, as well as becoming competent in their field of sports.

Alpha 365 is all about holistic fitness. For cardiovascular health and endurance, the program employs finishers or conditioning exercises every day after finishing the strength work. With a science-based program that ensures a holistic approach to workouts and dedicated coaches who ensure that clients are on top performance level – the Alpha 365 program pushes people to become the best athletes they can be.

For inquiries / reservation, you may contact 09177943776 (Mobile / Viber / WhatsApp). Follow @alphastrengthph on Instagram and like Alpha Strength PH on Facebook

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