Wednesday, July 31, 2013


The recent races I joined were mostly trails.  Oh yes, I'm in love with trail running!!!

Trek the Hills
Baguio City, March 10, 2013

Right after my first marathon, hubby and I signed up for this race.  The registration and arrangement for transport and accommodation were all done by ADB Road and Trail Club with subsidized fee so how could we say no.

Hubby signed up for 32K while I settled for the shorter distance of 21K.  According to the race description, runners will be taken to marvel the breathtaking view of the city, the surrounding town out to South China Sea at the summit of Mt. Cabuyao and have a close encounter with two disc-shaped radars.  The race start and finish will be at the Burnham Lake Drive.

About 25 runners signed up from ADB.  A nice coaster bus was hired to transport us to Baguio on March 9. Wait, that's hubby's birthday!  Well, he chose not to announce it to the group to avoid being asked for some treat! We arrived in Baguio early enough to do some city tour (Botanical Garden, The Mansion and Mines View) and some souvenir shopping before we checked in at Royal Residences  Hubby and I had romantic birthday dinner at the student cafeteria costing him 200 bucks.  It was followed by a more romantic dessert at 7-11 where we had Ding-dong mixed nuts while watching the rain wetting the passers-by.

The following day, we arrived at Burnham Lake Drive with enough time to warm up and have coffee.  At exactly 4AM, 32K runners ran off and an hour later, we followed.  Indeed, we were able to view the city but it was not breathtaking, in fact, it made me breathless due to smoke-belching vehicles.  The route became really interesting when we started to climb the road to Mt. Cabuyao summit.  It was really hard going up, i was hating uphills!!!! Upon reaching the promised disc-shaped radar (only one for 21k), we took a U-turn and started the descent where it was pure bliss, I was loving downhills!!!

But happy times are over soon, it's back to the monstrous busy street of Baguio City.  You could play 'patintero' with some vehicles, i was not happy with the final route.  But alas when I saw I was nearing Burnham Park, i was back to being happy.  Finish line and another 21K finisher's medal for me!!!

SALOMON Xtrail Pilipinas
Sand Sweat and Sludge
Hamilo Coast, March 23, 2013

This was a road-to-trail challenge with distances 6K and 12K Road to Trail and a 24km Mountain Run.  Again, I settled for the lesser difficult distance, the 12K while hubby opted to join the 24km Mountain Run.  As the venue is not that far from our place, we decided not to check in at nearby Pico Sand Hotel despite the special rates being offered.  That meant however that we had to leave house very early.

salamon xtrail run 2013 photos and results

With a gun start for 24k of 5 AM, we left house before 2 AM as we estimated a 2-hour drive.  An hour after the 24k runners left, we, the 12k runners, started with our own challenging route.  We were greeted right away with uphills.  I was just glad that my earlier race in Baguio helped me on with this challenge.  However when the fun at the road ended, the struggle with the hilly terrain started!  It was really hard to climb up.  If this is what you call skyrunning then I am seriously not liking that sports.

We 'skyran' two (2) mountains and I thought the second mountain has no end!  Still, I was just glad to have finish it in 2 hours, 56 minutes and 3 seconds with the pace of 14.40 min/ km.  It was like I had walked the whole distance.  But truth is I crawled some parts of it!!!

Break All Boundaries
Baguio-Benguet, April 20-21

Please see the.
Running the peaks of Baguio and Benguet should land at the must-run list of thrill-seeking trail runners!  Not only the weather is conducive for running but the challenging mountains are surefire adventure.

 I joined the 22K category while hubby joined the 50K.  That's right, 50K!  First time to do ultra and he chose to do it in trails.  The 100K and 50K categories started on the dawn of April 20.  Cut-offs are strictly implemented so if you did not make it on a specific check-in point at a certain time, then you're out.

Hubby brought a cellular phone so he could text us his whereabouts.  We planned to shop along the export overruns store while we wait for him to finish.

The 50K race started at 4AM. I received hubby's first text at 1:12PM, he was at 30K point.  He seemed confident to be able to finish within the 18-hour cut-off because he put a smiley on that text.  Six hours to cut-off, I texted him asking his whereabouts.  That way, we would be able to plan dinner.  He didn't reply until a little more than three hours 'til cut-off, 6K to go.  So I gave him another hour to finish it.  But it was a trail so expectations are no good!!!

He did it at 16 hours 21 minutes and was gratified to see his girls waiting for him at the finish line.

Five-thirty in the morning the following day, it was my turn to start my race.  Since hubby was still dead tired from the previous day race, I decided to walk alone from the hotel to the race site.  Race started on time and we tackled first some road inside Camp John Hay until we entered the trail route.

Trail running was really a lot more enjoyable than street running.  The route has it all - all-terrain indeed.  I'm really loving my Salomon road to trail shoes.

I was able to finish the race within the cut-off time.  Though i prefer to run alone in street running, it's helpful to have somebody to cheer you on in trails.  I've met and talked to many runners while tackling the trails.  We encouraged each other until we reached the finish line.

Next trail run deserves a full post - the Nuvali Valley Trail Run!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dream Marathon

New York City Marathon has always been my dream marathon. Two years ago, I was planning to join NYCM on the year that I will turn 40! The plan was to do at least a couple of full marathons before registering for NYCM.  But due to some unfortunate events - the Jaime episode and the shin splint mishap, I saw that my plan wouldn't be able to push through. So, after having done some rain check, I am now kicking in my NYCM plans to 2015!

I ran, however, another dream marathon - The Bull Runner Dream Marathon aka TBRDM.

TBRDM Dream Big Run Strong

TBRDM, as claimed by the organizers, is the first and only marathon exclusive for beginners in the entire world.  You should be running either your first or second marathon to qualify for registration.  Another unique feature of this is the race cut-off at nine hours.  You can actually walk the entire course and be called a marathoner.

The organizers, called TBR Dream Team, advocate the use of Jeff Galloway's run-walk method.  This worked for me, since it had been barely two months before race day did I recover from my injury.  Having said that there is such thing as stock knowledge when one reviews poorly for an examination, I have conveniently believed that my running muscles have stored enough knowledge on how to run long distance.

So, armed with few 5-10k and a couple of 15-21k training runs, I decided to proceed with my first ever marathon!

A medical certificate is required in order to get your race bib.  It was lucky that I was the 2nd or 3rd to get a medical certificate from my Ortho, so I did not have a hard time.  I was just told to have another X-ray of my tibia a week after the marathon.

With a carbo-loaded dinner buffet, plenty of freebies, running accessories and raffle prizes in store, and a host with no less than the very "kikay" triathlete, Tess Prieto, the send-off party was one-of-a-kind.

Come race day, one could feel the excitement among the soon-to-be marathoners.  No one will forget the words of the marathon training program director, Coach Jim Lafferty, a few seconds before the 2 AM gun time.  He said, "In a few hours from now, you will be saying what 99.99% of the entire world population cannot: I AM A MARATHONER!"

And the gun went off at exactly 2 AM!

My strategy was 2.30 min run and 1.00 min walk.  This seemed to have been effective, since I was able to finish the first half of the course still strong.  It was fun during the first half, especially when I heard the buzzing and vibrating of our timing watches at different intervals.  Another thing that set this race apart from other races was that we didn't compete with each other, instead we encouraged one another!  And the dream chasers, wow!  I could only say good things for them.  They really supported and motivated us along the very long way.

Everything was going well, until I reached 25K, where I began to feel the fatigue. The walks became longer.  It was a good thing hubby started to pace me at this point.  It was a proud moment when I passed by Maricel Laxa; I thought she would finish ahead of me. As I saw her and her hubby, Anthony sped off during the first half.

The hardest part was the last 7K or so.  With only a few ounces of energy left in me, exacerbated by the heat of the sun, I struggled to finally finish the race at more than 6 hours.  Not a decent time, but considering that I lacked training and I had just resurrected from a serious injury, I am a happy marathoner!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The FAB is back!

....and still fabulous, i know!  Thanks to my genius daughter, this blog has undergone a fanta-bulous orangey facelift.


So I did some hibernation.  And the cause was actually triggered by my English triathlon champ daughter when she referred me as legallyFABTrunner.  So I sulked in one corner, stopped running, quit blogging and got really FAT!!!

Of course, that's not true.  Well, at least the sulking and the quitting.  And especially on the getting FAT thing!

What actually happened was I got injured.  Oh yes, I mean....oh no!!!  It was shin splint and it was so freaking painful.  It took me almost three months to recover and I missed a lot of races which I signed up in advance.  Except of course for the Angkor Wat International Half-Marathon...

Angkor Wat

As early as September 12, 2012, I had myself and hubby registered to join the famous Angkor Wat International Half Marathon.  Who would not dream of running on Siem Reap along its famous temples, one of which is part of the World Heritage Site as declared by UNESCO?  I've arranged everything, from air transportation to hotel accommodation.

Sadly though, when I attempted to run my first marathon in the first ever Run United Philippine Marathon on October 28 (a day after my birthday!), I got my first ever injury!

I was hoping to recover before the Angkor Wat race, but despite seeing one (1) Orthopedic,  two (2) Physical Rehab specialists, and plenty of physical therapists to perform miracles on my injured tibia,  I was still limping (slightly) when we traveled to Siem Reap.  But that did not prevent me from joining the race!

I was able to join the runners and walkers from the starting line until I reached 3K where I decided to DNF (it was my second!).  Anyway, hubby went on with the race and I went back to the starting point straight to the medic area where I met also an injured runner (she said it was a nagging plantar fasciitis) and she ran also despite the possibility of recurrence.  Most runners are really stubborn, eh!

Better let the photos do the talking....

                                         Posing at the finish line before gun time.


                                          With Cambodia elites, such strong, sexy running legs.

Tagging along with the determined Aussies who planned to power walk the entire course.

 With Yuko Arimori, Japan's 1992 Summer Olympics silver medalist for marathon.

Hubby finished the race by running half of the course barefoot.

I will surely be back to finish this!  I am already planning for the full marathon debuting next year...

The 1st Angkor Empire Full Marathon 2014
TO Run for charity and Save the children in Cambodia.
EVENT DATE: 17 August 2014 ( Full Marathon , Half Marathon, 10K  and 3K)
VENUE: Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap of Cambodia

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Note

Legally FAB Runner's most awesome daughter with the brown highlights has just finished editing this blog's layout. It is now orange-themed, and though it is assured that she has always hated that color, coming up with something different wouldn't have hurt.

It is up to you, dear reader, to decide whether she has done a good job on it, or not.

Peace out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tough Trails

As if running is not taxing enough, I contemplated (and did!) trail running.  But wonders...I immensely enjoyed it with all the dirt (including carabao's poops), thorny cogons, killer uphils and an awesome nature feel of the place.

I'm talking about the Nature's Trail Discovery Run 2nL held at Tanay Adventure Camp, Tanay, Rizal.

It was  actually our first time to travel to Tanay.  Since we did not opt to camp at the site the night before the race, we left Sta. Rosa at a very early Sunday dawn (before 2AM!).  Armed with only a printed google map and my iphone GPS, we traveled from Sta. Rosa then C6 (our first time to pass this highway!) then the very long Manila East Road until we found the camp.  It actually took us a little less than 3-hour drive!

Race started on time with those running the 21k (including hubby) going off first.  After 15 minutes, the 10K runners (including moi) ran off.  We were greeted at once by a muddy downhill and uphill.  Picture this!

Well, that's only inside the camp.  Then off to the paved roads then un-paved roads.  I was actually not so challenged much and thought - so this is trail running!  I didn't know there are worse trails to come in a few minutes.

The challenge started with another muddy trail - downhills and uphills.  There was actually no way to avoid the muds so you just have to embrace them - yes, literally as I did on my way back.  It was such a relief when we did the river-crossing.  Afterall, my shoes (which I just borrowed from hubby!) became heavier and heavier every step of the way trail.  See....

When I reached the U-turn site way above the hill, I asked the marshall if I can rest for a while as I could really hear the strong beating of my heart.  I'm sure I exceeded my maximum allowable heart rate and could have a  cardiac arrest anytime !  After resting for about 5 minutes and watching some runners take turns in taking pictures, I decided to start the task at hand - running the muddy downhills.  Thinking about it, saying muddy was like cursing when I was doing the trail run (hehehe).

As mentioned earlier, I literally embraced the mud.  Oh yes, I did it when my one of my shoes got stuck in the mud and I got off balance.  Why did it get stuck?  Well, because the shoes are actually bigger than my feet size , maybe an inch bigger!  I was so muddy all over - my legs, shorts, shirt and my two hands!  Even my hydration bottle.  How can I drink now??  Glad there's a small house on the way back and I have to ask some water from their big drum using Pocari bottle as the tabo.  According to marshall, some runner borrowed the tabo and he didn't know where it was put back!

Finally, the finish line.  I was this dirrrttyyyyy!

So, will I sign up again for a trail run?  Your guess is as good as mine.

I just bought my first trail running shoes.  See you at Mt. Pinatubo trail run - I'm running 25K!

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Shall Return

These three (3) famous words of Gen. MacArthur had brought me back to Tacloban City.  But with a different scenario of course.  I came back to join an ultramarathon (albeit, the relay division) organized by frontrunner aka Jonel Mendoza.
Revisiting UP Tacloban Campus

Decades ago, I came to Tacloban to take the UP College Admission Test (UP-CAT).  I passed the examination but sadly, I didn't make it to the quota at UP-Diliman for the BS Accountancy course.  I had the choice of pursuing the course but in Tacloban campus.  Though near my hometown (Catarman, Samar), i didn't know anyone there (in short, wala akong matitirhan!) unlike in Manila where I have a sister and her family.  So, my benefactor (aka big sis) decided to proceed in sending me to Manila but in a different school.  I became a Red Warrior instead!

Fast  forward to August 2012, hubby and I flew the first flight to Tacloban via Cebu Pacific.  The schedule of this race nicely coincided with the very long weekend - Monday is end of Ramadan and Tuesday is the Ninoy Aquino day.  Our first day in Tacloban was spent exploring the city (on foot!).

Then, we had fun at the pre-race briefing and carbo-loading party!  We met the famous BR (Bald Runner, veteran of ultra-marathon races in the Philippines).

Left my comb in Manila thus the wind-blown hair :)
The longest distance I ran before joining this race was a little over 21K.  But, I was confident that I could run  the 25K - my supposed part of the 50K relay that we registered for.  We met a lot of new faces during the pre-race briefing but by their looks, I knew they are already experienced runners.  C'mon, who would spend some fortune to fly to Tacloban to run 50K?? Of course, only serious runners!

Though confident with the 25K, I was actually in for some last minute surprises.  First, the 50K became 51K.  And worse, the first runner will run 30k while the second runner will run 21K.  What?? 30K?? But, I only prepared for 25K!  Hubby told to just think that the additional 5K will just be the usual route we jog every morning at our village!  Yeah, right ! But after running 25K?  That seems not right anymore.  He lets me choose either to run the longer route or run under the heat??  Well of course, I'd choose the 30K.  Who wants to run from 9 to 11AM??

So at exactly 3:30 AM I, armed with 2 energy gels, Rudy sunglasses, head flashlight and most importantly self-confidence, lined up at the starting line (Tacloban Convention Center) with around 200 others.

Unlike the previous races I joined in which the focus is on the finish, this one is more on the journey.  I immensely enjoyed the first 20K especially the sights in Palo and going to the San Juanico bridge.  I passed by the Macarthur Landing very early in the morning so I wasn't able to stop by to have my picture taken (and I also didn't carry camera nor cellphone anyway!)

I got really really tired at 25K mark.  See, I only prepared myself for the 25K!  So I did run-walk strategy.  It was really a struggle since the sun is now up and humidity is really high!  It took me 4 hours and 20 min (more or less) to reach my destination.
Gotta reach the turnaround point.

 It was really fun at the finish line.  Jonel, another celebrity at ultra marathons, announced the names of each runner who arrives at the finish line!
Finish line!  Already bathed while hubby looked exhausted :)

The prizes!
 The following day, before we leave Tacloban, we invaded the mansion of the Marcoses and acted royalty :))

Si Maganda at  si Malakas!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Manila Bay

A long time ago, when me and my family still live in the congested Manila, one of our favorite places to while away time especially on a weekend afternoon was the Manila Bay sidewalk - more popularly known as The Baywalk.

You will see an assortment of people at Baywalk - from businessman to vagrants to students.  One time, hubby and I decided to try jogging around the CCP Complex.   I was lazy then so I chose to bike with some of my officemates.  Hubby ran alone and after some few kilometers he stopped.  The stop was so sudden (we were ignorant then!) that he lost consciousness.  Gladly, after few seconds and a seemingly lifetime of nervousness, he came back to life.

 We just laughed about that experience.  Alas, we didn't pursue running then.  Too bad because we were a lot younger then and much stronger!  We are not yet that old now but not so much stronger anymore.  There's that nagging wish that we should have started this running earlier.  Shoulda.  Coulda.  Still, better late than never.

Almost three weeks ago, we joined a race called the Manila Bay Clean Up Run sponsored by the Manila Broadcasting Company.  It turned out to be a family affair since we also registered the girls and Tita Dhel for the 5K.  Hubby and I joined the 15K race.

The gun time was delayed for some few precious minutes due to some politicos who wanted to share some thoughts about the run ;)


It was really refreshing running along Manila Bay side - so breezy.  Some runners treated their pets for a nice run!

The medal is just okay - an addition to my growing collection courtesy of my running career.

The best part though was the breakfast at Aristocrat - Boneless chicken barbecue with Java rice.  AWESOME!!!