Hikes | Travels | Food

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lovin McKinley Hill

In preparation for this thing I'm getting myself into next month, I am compelled to train more frequently. So last Friday, I deviated from my usual morning routine to run. Instead of waking up, bathing and dressing for work, I walked out of the house in my jersey and shorts without washing up. It was only a little past 4:30 am when I arrived at the office. I left my stuff and went outside to run. I felt thrilled at the idea because I've never ran this early using the route I had in mind.

I crossed an overpass and headed over to a road I don't remember seeing before. Since I was alone, I made a conscious effort to stay near the lighted areas where I can see security personnel. I avoided getting close to parked vehicles, dark construction areas and kept my guard up whenever I ran into other people. I was on "Don't strike me or I'll strike back harder" mode. Haha!

The cold fresh air instantly picked up my mood and I ran in an easy pace. Since not a lot of people were around, it was quiet and I found myself enjoying this solitary exercise. After a few minutes, I was already thinking of breakfast. Nah, that was a lie. I'd been thinking of food ever since I woke up. I was more concerned of what I'll eat after rather than running alone in the dark.

The route I devised suited me. I avoided food establishments which were major distractions. I was able to run on steep cemented roads and was able to reach until the C5 area. The route ended at 7 Eleven, where I got some dimsum, rice, banana and instant coffee (I've grown fond of this coffee from Malaysia which I don't see in groceries - forgot the name though). Wohooo, power breakfast!

I was able to fully utilize the hot shower at work so I was back at my desk - fresh and clean before anyone noticed. :P I think this is one routine I can squeeze into my schedule.

McKinley Hill is a township project by Megaworld Corporation (same group that brought us Eastwood City). It is a 50 hectare property surrounded by offices, restaurants, international schools and embassies (British, Qatar and Korean Embassy) and is a great place to run and eat! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The North Face CamSur

Why????!!! With my brain devoid of food  because I miscalculated my energy gel intake, I have forgotten the reason why I joined a 22 KM Trail run in Camarines Sur. I dragged myself and tried very hard to ignore the desire to sit down, relax and sleep on the trail until someone brings me a heaping glass of halo-halo and a bucket meal.

It was my 3rd hour on the trail and I felt hot, famished and craved for a cold bath. I was still approximately 14 Kilometers away from the finish line according to the race marshall I asked. Given my condition, I estimated another 2 gruelling hours of run and walk until I make it to the finish line.

A month ago, it seemed like a super fun idea to join this race organized byThe North Face. It’s a local trail running event held every year and is popular for its tough course.

It was my 3rd time to join an event from this particular organizer and I’ve anticipated challenging terrains and extremely hot weather. Despite being mentally prepared for what’s in store, my body failed to calibrate. (Note to self : must train more!) From positioning myself at the front of the pack on the first 2 hours, I fell to the bottom half as my endurance wore off.

Though I wish I performed better, I was just so happy that I was able to travel to CamSur and see wonderful views without having to worry about getting back as there were appropriate markers and marshalls positioned at the confusing parts. The water stations courtesy of the sponsor – 100 Plus of Asia Brewery were quite adequate.

Thank you Estan for this photo! Estan is an acquaintance from the Pinoy Travel Bloggers group and it was during this race where we met in person for the very first time.
 My most favorite part of the course was the trail leading to a secluded waterfalls which reminded me Tappiyah falls in Batad. We had to enter a mountain, cling to ropes and walk on the edge of ravines to get there. I loved every minute of it even if that was the most technical part. It reminded me so much of hiking, another activity which I enjoy more than running.

Photo from my friend - The Running Mistress

When we got out of the forest and into the hot, paved part of the course, I met other participants who were equally tired. We chatted and laughed away for several kilometers trying to overcome our weariness. Yay, I made new friends...Oh if only congeniality adds to  endurance and speed!

We also ran into the last guy for the 100 KM Division four kilometers away from the finish line. Their race started the previous morning at 4:00 AM! He had been on the trail for more than 24 hours with no adequate sleep. He said some of the locals who had homes along the trail fed him laing like no other the previous night (Now, that’s  when I got envious!). He even showed us the cross they gave him for protection which was pinned on his shirt. (I love you CamSur!). 

Eventually, we had to overtake him as we were all dying to cross the finish line to end our agony. The race organizers provided him an escort who had a radio and rode a motorbike so we knew he was in good hands.
When my new friends felt recharged, they bolted away and I was left on the trail again.

I spotted another new found friend sitting at the side of the road and we walked together until we caught glimpse of the finish line. There I saw the smile of one my best friends glaring from a distance. I can hear her cheering me on. Me and my new found friend used our remaining ounce of strength to run to the finish line together. My time was 5 hours 10 minutes. I ranked 96th out of 133 runners. It’s not my best but I felt fulfilled and overjoyed that I finished it. 
Smiling from a distance...Yayyyy, finally finished it with my new found friend! Thanks bffeee Jules for this photo and for waiting on me!
After devouring some food and taking a long, refreshing bath, I was again reminded of the reason why I submitted myself to such gruelling physical activity. More than the feat of completing an entire course, it’s the things I learn, the people I meet, the time I spend with amazing friends and the places I see that glorifies the experience. And being a foodie, it’s what I get to consume before, during and after the race that matters more than the distance I run!

Now I am back in Manila and contemplating on my next trail run. I feel that I feel that I am ready to torture myself again! Haha!

Hope to see you on the trail!

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