Salomon X-Trail Run 2015

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.

The Last few Kilometers under the Blazing Sun.

Thank you Arch Allan Jay Quesada for the Awesome Pictures !
Jelly Fish all over the beach

 Thanks Jose Ramizares for the beach picture
Boy Putik
STELLA P.  - My Sister from another mother 
Jayson T. we have nice teeth :-)
Dbb D. and  RPC :-)
Jose Ramizares 
The Gang
Sunset at Anvaya

DBB Uphill Challenge (Mt. Sembrano Mountain Run 2015)

DBB Uphill Challenge (Mt. Sembrano Mountain Run 2015)
located at Pililia Rizal is my first trail race for the year 2015.  I had planned on running the 30km event but having just ran the Guam Marathon last weekend, my legs haven’t quite fully recovered yet.  So I settled for the 15km event instead.
When they said it would be an “UPHILL CHALLENGE", they weren’t kidding around . The first 5kms alone was pure torture feeling the burn on my back and thighs. I was literally down on my hands and knees walking and crawling while making my way to the summit of Mt. Sembrano. Luckily I even found a wooden pole to help me climb up. 
Once there, I was greeted with a magnificent view where one can almost see the entire Laguna de Bay.  The air was crisp, a bit chilly and the wind unbelievably strong ( hence the windmills in the area ).  I had to be extra careful for fear that I would get push over the cliff.  Even if it was a race, sometimes you just can't help but stop for awhile and take it all in --- raw nature at it's best. It was AWESOME!  Often I would find myself  shouting with happiness; feeling like a child again as I crisscrossed on the grassy path. 

The run back to the finish was a bit taxing on the legs because of the steep grade and loose rocks. I still finished feeling quite refreshed and exhilarated despite my sore legs. It feels great to run in the "boondoks" again and even better to race in it.   Mt. Sembrano was a wonderful and unforgettable experience altogether.  
My congratulations to the organizers.
No Frills No Race bib 
but guess what my race number is !
Windmills of Pililia Rizal

Thanks Ronald D. for the pics and also for not showing my Bald spot :-)
Im 3 rd from the right ;-)
Literally on my hands and knees to reach the summit. 
Thanks Jerry Peralta for the pics

Thanks Jon B.

Horse on the hill
Malaya Thermal Power Plant

Race Organizer - Daphne Codilla
Im signing the waiver of Death. Ha ha
Trail Runner Fanatics - Thumbie R. 
Jerry P. And Raffy G.
Good friend May Santos

The oldies

Guam International Marathon 2015

The Guam International Marathon ( GIM ) has been on my bucket list of Marathon Races together with the North Pole and Vancouver Marathons.  For now, however, racing in Guam was the perfect venue to satisfy my need for some sun, warm weather and a "homey" and somewhat relaxed racing atmosphere.  Guam is a territory of the United States in the western Pacific Ocean and is the largest island in Micronesia.  I would imagine Guam to be like the former Clark and Subic Bases in the Philippines when the Americans were still in control but in a larger scale.  Because of it's proximity,  the 3-hour plane ride from Manila and 
2-hour time difference was not at all taxing on the body and quite stress free making it all the more convenient for runners coming from the Philippines like myself.  
The GIM is also certified by the International Association of Athletic Federation and the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races as an official qualifying event for the Boston Marathon. 

In lieu of the usual fireworks, the island race treated the runners with a traditional fire dance. Race start was at 3am and the route was quite scenic passing through a few coastal areas, Power Plants, shopping malls and establishments that Guam is quite known for.  The course was hilly but not very challenging. Rain drizzled on and off three times during the run.  The only drawback is that I found it quite HUMID!  So humid in fact that I needed to quench my thirst with water and an energy drink as early as the 5 km mark. It wasn't easy but all in all,  it was a good race.

I find that running marathons is a good way for me to indulge in what I love to do and allows me to reflect on life in general. This race in particular was a "run of gratitude" for personal battles that have worked in my favor thus far.  I know I still have a long road ahead and lots of obstacles yet to face but just like any Marathon, I've always got my eye on the Finish Line, God willing. 

@ Expo
Race Day
Fire Dance
Post Race Meal
Exploring Guam

Guam Highlights
My Bodyguard ... Guess who ?
King for a Day