Once upon a time I signed up for the Salomon Trail Run 2013 and 2014 when it was still held in Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu which I never got to participate in for one reason or another. It was suppose to be my first jab at a major trail race. In hindsight, maybe it was good that I never got to run it then because, from what I heard, it was a very tough course wherein at least 50% of the runners were disqualified due to failure to finish before the cut-off time. At that time, my trail running experience was quite limited and I have no doubt that I would have been part of the disqualified group.
This year the Salomon X-Trail Run 2015 was held in Anvaya Cove Nature Club in Morong, Bataan and I signed up for the 24-km event. Even with a little more experience under my belt, some trail running "know-how" and necessary trail gear on hand, I still had my share of the jitters. The thought "What the hell am I doing!" crossed my mind a couple of times but there was no turning back now. This time I was up for the challenge.
I loved the 24-km course simply because it had a combination of everything. It's varying terrains involved open field running, mountain climbing, river crossings, dirt roads, rocky beach paths and some hiking. Overcoming various obstacles required a little bit of shuffling, skipping and "acrobatic" movements as well. An added bonus were the trail sections overlooking the cove which was quite scenic with breathtaking views of the sea and the rugged Bataan peninsula. The only time I really got in trouble was when my foot got caught in a branch and I pulled my right groin muscle which really bothered me until the finish line. The last 6-km rock beach and boulder obstacle was, in my opinion, the hardest part of the course traversing through sand and managing slippery moss-covered rocks and boulders.
A regular 24-km road race would normally take me about 2.20 to finish. For this trail race, however, I clocked in with a time of 3.32 with a little bit of energy left in my tank despite the 35 °C blazing heat. What was interesting is that my SUUNTO GPS WATCH registered 25-kms, a kilometer longer, which I didn't really mind since I would rather have the race route longer than shorter. It was a tough and demanding course but I believe that the preparation and training I did prior helped me considerably. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and a feeling of exhilaration having finally joined and completed a Salomon X-Trail Race. With all my pre-race jitters behind me, I'm so looking forward to running this race again next year.