18.5K of the 22K category, the Marshall asked me if I can still finish the race after having a bad case of cramps on my calves. Of course, it’s just 3.5 kilometers to go. Adversity is what makes #TNF100PH2015 among the toughest and challenging test of endurance for hardcore runners. I witnessed the difficulties of the 50K and 100K runners struggle with the altitude, terrain, heat and the unfamiliarity of the race course in our media rounds. Hats off to those who came to break all boundaries regardless of the finish as challenging your personal limits is a victory in itself. For me, I’m just glad to see myself back in the finish line after more than 2 weeks in sickbay. #TheNorthFace
The North Face 100
The North Face 100 is among the races I keep doing yearly having done the 22 kilometers in Baguio the last two years. I was back at the starting line for the 22K category at Nuvali this year. It was not easy though this time as I missed significant time from training. I had been battling coughs and colds for the past two weeks, which also had me missing a big race and all the trainings for the rest of the time. Up until the start of the race, I still am trying to find a way to manage the cough. It was a game time decision for me and in any case, I set my expectations very low for my performance because of the coughs. I had a better experience though as I joined the media team in covering the race on June 12, 2015 for the 50K and 100K categories.
The North Face remains one of the leading outdoor brands for five decades now. It has provided authentic, technically innovative outdoor gear and apparel for active lifestyle enthusiasts. TNF has been actively supporting top athletes as well as holding groundbreaking events like the TNF 100. TNF 100 was inspired by the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc race in Europe, a single stage mountain ultramarathon that takes place once a year in the Alps, of which the main sponsor is also The North Face and is hailed as the most challenging test of endurance for hardcore runners.
Like the UTMB which is widely regarded as the most difficult foot race in Europe, it is TNF’s mission to elevate the standards of the community and urge runners to defy their limits. Once more, TNF100 did exactly that as it hosted the Philippine-leg of the competition last June 12 to 13 at Nuvali, Tagaytay, and Batangas. TNF100 Philippines have grown from a 100 participants in 2008 to nearly 2,000 as it has come to be most highly anticipated trail running event that offers a truly unique experience and immensely challenging terrain. Over the years, TNF100 have had races in challenging and diverse terrains including ones in Clark, Batangas, Camsur, and Baguio, Benguet. This year, the route began and ended at Nuvali in Sta. Rosa Laguna, and encompassed the scenic trails of Tagaytay and Cavite all the way to Talisay, Batangas.
The event covered June 12 and 13 with the 50K and 100K participants doing the race at independence day and the 22K participants raced the next day. While the 100 kilometers and the 50 kilometers went on to go on breaking boundaries, I went with the media team to Tagaytay Highlands to go over some of the check points and at the same time cheer on the runners we met, we stayed the longest at the 30K mark of the 50K category (58K for the 100K category) where we witnessed the struggle as participants had to deal with the challenging incline while climbing with the aid of the rope. They also had to deal with the heat of the sun along the climb. We just went on cheering the participant and telling them that the aid station is nearby. Photos can be viewed at FrancRamon.com Facebook page.
We then had our lunch at Highlands Steakhouse with the magnificent view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano in front of us. We also got the chance to talk to the sports director of Tagaytay Highlands and got some insight of the rich trails in the area as it covers three provinces in Laguna, Cavite and Batangas. It’s quite exciting for a trail enthusiasts like me as Tagaytay Highlands can be a great source of events in runs and trails. It was also a tough terrain for participants as they had to navigate Tagaytay Highlands steep climbs. 100 kilometer runners even had to go until Talisay Batangas for the race route.
We started also hearing about large contingent of runners deciding to DNF in their respective distance. I have nothing but respect for them as its always a bold decision not to continue but at the same time, it’s a sign of courage to ensure your personal welfare in a race.
We made our way to Casile and tried a portion of the trail before exciting to the Canlubang Area to make our way to the finish line and catch some of the finishers.. We got some feedback on the course and most people says it’s a lot harder than the Baguio route. The trails were technical with a lot of rappel and steep climbs and the heat of the sun was also a major factor.
In the end, the toughest and most enduring runners stood out as they proved to be the very epitome of defying one’s limits. Recognizing what could be the most pivotal point of their trail running experience, the winners were awarded with medals and trophies as well as big cash prizes and TNF products to to equip them with the necessary resources they would need to continously defy their own limits and elevate the community in the process. Please check this site: http://www.thrillofthetrail.ph/ for more updates about the race.
TNF also took the chance to promote its latest innovation – the Ultra Trail 2 and the Ultra Cardiac by offering a special promotion for its participants who got 50% off their registration fees when they purchase any of the two shoes. With the Ultra Trail 2, tackle long runs spanning from road to trail with the protection of an ultralight, yet durable running shoe that’s designed with a glove-like fit and finished with Vibram soles for traction in rain and mud. It isn’t a surprise that it got awarded as Gear of the Year 2014 by Outside Magazine. On the other hand, the Ultra Cardiac will allow for smooth transition from road to trails during adventure races with its lightweight and flexible yet ultra protective quality. Crafted with a wide platform, this workhorse promises stability and aggressive traction especially when charging uphill with its grippy Vibram soles. Meanwhile, its ample midsole cushioning will pad your feet on your way down. The North Face is exclusively distributed in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia by the Primer Group of Companies.
And The Winners Are:
Race Route and Elevation Profile
Race starts at the fields and proceeds to Nuvali Boulevard before entering the trails with moderate inclines passing by a river at kilometer 3 and resuming the climb until the 5th kilometer with an elevation gain of about 90 meters. There is a short descent to Marcos House and a short climb after. The descent resumes at kilometer 6 and goes downhill until kilometer 10 with about 120 meters of elevation headed to the Nuvali roundabout. The race shifts to the other side of Nuvali Boulevard where it enters the trail which has moderate ascent of about 30 meters in the next 3 kilometers and then descends back for the next 4 kilometers. The route returns at the roundabout at kilometer 18 and goes on a slight incline at the last 3.5 kilometers to the finish line.
I still had coughs going into the race so i added some Strepsils and Fisherman’s friend to calm my throat whenever I feel like coughing. The day before I usually cough when I run but when I brisk walk, I can manage it better. The plan was to brisk walk the whole race. Of course, I’ll try to add some runs to assess if I can push further. At the race start, I positioned myself at the towards the end of the runners as I expected to go slow on this one. After the race reminders, we had our gunstart so I went on with a slow jog but had to stop several times to cough in the 500 meter road stretch before entering the trail. At the trail, I went at brisk walk pace and inserted 30 seconds run whenever I feel that I am slowing down. The kilometers were trickling in though I wasn’t going fast.
At kilometer 3, we crossed a river and funny that there were sand bags to step on. I always enjoy the river crossing so the sandbag felt like an overkill. Oh well, maybe it’s to ensure safety. After the river, there was a short and steep climb back to the main trail. It was followed by about 2 kilometers of moderate uphill trails. I bumped in to Vanessa who also climb Mt. Marami a few weeks ago and we were just walking this part while telling stories. The climb was tolerable though it was long. I like the part of the climb since I can just walk this part without worrying about my coughs.
By the 5th kilometer, the route went downward as it was approaching the u-turn at Marcos House and so went fast on this part. We took time to take our photos at the Marcos House as well as taking a drink at the water station. We also met Sir Rene here. We walked the part of the climb and it is where I noticed that we were nearing the tail end of the runners. I tried to run the descent and just like that, the cough was gone. I felt that the run was able to open up my lungs which finally pushed the cough out of my system. It was about 5 kilometers of descent so I went real fast to cover this part and started overtaking some runners.
After the fast descent, I was back into my old self and I started pushing myself one effort after another. The trail led us to the Canlubang route entering the roundabout in Nuvali and we then headed to the lower part of Nuvali Boulevard before entering the trail once again. I tried to go run walk at this point with a one minute run followed by a 30 seconds break and just like that I was inching my way to the course and moving fast. It was a moderate uphill climb in the next 3 kilometers but the goal was just to keep the run – walk sequence to cover more time. It was faster approaching the other side of the trails as there were a portion of roads and wider trails in the next 4 kilometers.
With zero mileage for the last two weeks, being able to run cough free felt liberating that I kept pushing myself. The Nuvali trails was the perfect venue as it had a nice surface and a tolerable terrain. I went out of the trails in Nuvali Boulevard at around 18 kilometer and headed to the roundabout. As I was approaching the next aid station, I had that familiar twinge in my right calves and the next thing I knew I was seated in the sidewalk writhing in pain. Since I was near the aid station, the medic was able to come to my aid immediately. And he asked me, if I can still continue with the remaining 3.5 kilometers. I said yes since I can walk that part already and there’s more than two hours before cutoff. My cramps was treated by relaxing it with ice and some liniment. After a while I was asked to stand up and started walking. There was still some pain but it’s tolerable. It’s been a while since I last had cramps but I did appreciate it this time because I knew that I’ve been pushing myself hard for the last 13.5 kilometers already.
When I got up, I noticed that I must have dis-aligned something in my hydration pack so I had one bottle of Gatorade filled for my last 3.5 kilometers. The medic told me that if the cramps would come back, I should just tell the marshal so they can contact them. It was a slow walk for me from hereon. I walk my way to the next part of the trail which was mostly flat except for a creek area where you had to climb up. I made sure that someone was either in front of me or behind me as I as if ever the cramps would come back at least someone is nearby. I just walked the last part and crossed the finished line at around 3:40+ and I was still able to get a medal as it was limited to a certain number of finishers. Not bad for all the odds I had to go through.
It’s just so good to be back in the finish line after all the time I’ve missed from training. It was a really great experience from covering the event to racing the 22 kilometer distance. It was also nice to use Ahon.PH gaiters, it can really keep the debris away from your shoes. Those debris can really cause a lot of inconvenience while running. Anyway, I’ll come up with a separate review for the gaiters. Anyway, I just want to congratulate everybody who joined and tried to break all their boundaries. You are all winners and let’s do this again next year.
TNF has held a wildly successful event that brought together the entire community of runners for a two day celebration of their unified passion for the sport and the great outdoors. The TNF100 2015 marks another significant milestone for the brand and the community as it paves the way for two important things. One of which is to showcase the breath-taking landscapes of the country to inspire everyone to go outside and explore and secondly, TNF had once again took part in raising awareness for the sport and elevating the community to a whole new level as it hosts a bigger and bolder race each year. The North Face 100 was made possible in partnership with NUVALI, SEDA Hotel Nuvali, AXN, Gatorade & Summit as it’s official hydration sponsors, the Primer Group of Companies, R.O.X., Department of Tourism, LGUs of Laguna, Cavite and Batangas, Tagaytay Highlands, Municipalities of Canlubang, Tagaytay and Talisay . Thanks also to our media partners Business Mirror, Business World, Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, MB Sports Digest, Speed Magazine, and Men’s Health.
Outfit of the Race
- Race Top: Berghaus #TaleofThTrail design by BreakoutPH
- Bottom, Visors and Socks: Under Armour
- GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 2S
- Shoes: Newton Boco AT
- Eyewear: Oakley Tour De France
- Calf Sleeves: Zensah
- Arm Sleeves: Nike
- Hydration Bag: Scott
- Camere: GoPro Hero 3+