Nathan Ridge Run – Tagaytay Highlands (20 Nov 2011)

I have been in the Tagaytay Highlands for several times.  As far as running is concerned, we  tried joining a couple of Mizuno Races held in this place.  But this Nathan Ridge Run, our third,  was the most difficult.  I have been running for several years and have done three marathons but I suffered most pain after this Nathan Ridge Run.  At this time that I am writing this, I am doubting if I am injured, but of course, I am praying that I am not as I have to be ready and fit for my fourth marathon next month.   

my youngest child in his 5k

This new route was very challenging, mostly uphill and steep.  I think mountainous should be the perfect description.  Then, for every ascent, the uncontrollable rolling down hill followed.  It was very hard to fight the pull of gravity.  I lost balance in several instances so I tried running sidewise.  But  because of the perfect climate and the camaraderie of other runners, I still enjoyed the race.

scenic Tagaytay Highlands

I would like to commend the organizer for asking all  runners to bring water containers  because no plastic cups will be provided.  Thanks to Nathan for giving each runner hand-held water container.  This is the only race with no trash along the along the road.  We were hydrated well but the road was very clean before and after the race.

running to the finish line

with my friend, Carrie Cordero

my 2nd child about to finish 21k in 2hours

Right after the race, we were treated to a breakfast.  A simple yet perfect one.

Free breakfast

with Benson and his friend

with LANDBANK Runners


Run United 3 – my 32k race

The Run United 3- 32k race coincided with my scheduled 32K long run in preparation for my full marathon this December.  It was held in MOA but we covered four cities namely Makati, Pasay, Paranaque and Manila.

I love the route except for the noisy buses and motorists along Buendia Avenue specifically from the corner of Roxas Boulevard up to Taft Avenue.  Those drivers felt bad being trapped in the traffic jam but their never ending blowing of horns irritated me. They showed no respect for runners so I cannot avoid comparing them with the good and patient motorists in the Bonifacio Global City.

Thank God, the marshals calmly handled the situation for the runners to go through the race.  I was also worried about my son as the situation was not normal but since I cannot do anything to help him, I just whispered a prayer for him.  It was only when we reached Bautista Street along Buendia Avenue when I truly felt relieved of the noise and carbon expelled by diesel buses and jeepneys.

This was also the point I started enjoying myself and my run.  Before the turn- around after Makati Avenue, I saw several friends like Roselle, Bro J, Baby James and Nora. I also saw several LANDBANK runners like Benson, Ted, Greg, Janette, Dennis, Jong, Ronald and Abante.

In our way from Makati to Roxas Boulevard, the noise and the vehicles were reduced.  It was quite good compared when the time we passed through it the first time.  When we reached Roxas Boulevard, we turned left going to Paranaque passing through the Edsa Flyover.  Our turn-around point was somewhere near the Coastal Mall.  At that point, the sun started to appear and it was beginning to be hot.

At around 19km or 20Km after the Edsa Flyover, I catched up with Nora and we began running together.  She mentioned that her cousin will pace her starting the 22KM.  But unfortunately, he did not show up.  She asked me to run ahead but I stayed with her.  I told her we will finish the race side by side.

It was getting hotter but I have no doubt that we can finish the race together.  We stopped at every water station to hydrate ourselves despite the absence of gatorade.  We continued running up to Luneta, the turn-aound spot in Manila.  On our way back to MOA, we stopped in front of the Philippine Navy headquarters and bought buko juice.  Wilbert joined us, too.

When we reached Macapagal Boulevard, there was a sensation on my legs so I tried to look for the aid station to ask for liniment.  But, there was none.  I stretched a bit and on our last 2km I started walking while Nora was running.  She cannot walked as it was painful for her to walk. I cannot run as it might trigger the pain in my legs.  At any rate, we were still together.

What a relief, when we saw the finish line and of course, when I saw my husband with the camera.  Nora and I finished the race together within our target time.

finishing our 32K together

After the race, I joined the Happy Feet (HF) guys for short chat and picture taking.  I thanked Roselle (Running Diva) for generously sharing some of her stuff to HF peeps.  My daughter and I benefited and we cannot thank her enough.

Happy Feet Peeps

Chevrolet NB Power Run

My Chevrolet NB Power Run last 06 Nov 2011 was a different experience as we ran in the dark while raining.  We were also made to cross the flooded area of BGC. I  never thought I can survive this one.

I woke up at a cold and rainy Sunday morning, so I asked my son to check if the race will push through.  When he said yes, I took a bath and prepared myself.  We left our place at 4:24am and on the duration of our travel to BGC, I covered myself with shawl.  We reached the venue around 4:50am but at the time the race already started and runners were already running.

My son and I immediately got down leaving my husband to park our vehicle.  Because of the rush, I forgot to remove my eyeglasses and I even missed to bring my hydration belt.  We went to the starting line to ensure our timing chips will be activated.  We passed through it while all the runners were already far away.

As I turned right at the corner, I saw our cousin Emy waiting for her husband.  I stopped to wait for her but she asked me to proceed.  So I ran alone and I thanked God that I have my eyeglasses on because without that, I doubt if I can clearly see my path.  The rain continued pouring but never did I feel cold.

running in the rain

That race perfectly matched my scheduled long run that weekend in preparation for my fourth full marathon next month.  I decided to run cautiously to avoid any incident that will cause harm or injury.   I simply enjoyed my run.  I even conquered the Kalayaan-Buendia Bridge running through and through.

For the first 80% of the race, I never walked.  I jogged and slowly ran. I also found time to have a brief chat with fellow runners like Rico V and another one from pharma company.  But when I crossed the 21km mark, I felt sensation in my legs.  At that point, I decided to walk to avoid any muscle cramp.

On the 24 km mark, I saw my husband and my son waiting for me.  My son finished strong at 2 hours and 20 minutes while I struggled to finish within the cut-off time of 3 hours and 45 minutes.  My husband convinced me to run for the last 1 kilometer but I answered him that I cannot do it due to persistent pain in my legs, instead we ran and walked together.

approaching the Finish Line

As we approached the finish line, I felt stronger especially when I saw that I still have several minutes before cut-off.

Camsur Marathon 2011

My husband and I joined the 21,000 registered runners in the Camsur Marathon last 25 September 2011.  It was an event we conquered with pure determination and mental strength considering that our preparation was derailed by diversified and unexpected circumstances emerging in my career.

Let me account my personal and positive experiences pertaining to my third full marathon:

On Saturday morning, we took Cebu Pacific in going to Legaspi City.  We traveled in less than an hour and before our final descent  we were treated with beautiful view of perfect cone of Mayon Volcano.  It was a welcome sight and another affirmation of the beauty of our country.   I felt so happy that I finally saw it.

with Mayon Volcano as background

From the airport, we were fetched by Suyin’s aunt.  They provided us transport in going to CWC.  Along the way, we enjoyed the scenery and of course the chikahan. We traveled for an hour and a half  before reaching our destination.  Since we came ahead of check-in time, we had our buffet lunch within the resort.   After lunch, we stayed in our cabana 33 while waiting for a friend who is the LBP Regional Head in Bicol  to visit us.  When he arrived, we watched the Jordan and Philippines basketball semis-match.  Right after, we went to Naga for dinner but we stopped by the Basilica for a short visit.  We dined at the Red Platter where food preparation was superb but of course we cannot indulge for we have to be light on the following day. We ended the day by strolling around the wakeboarding area.

wake boarding even at night

The following day,  we woke up around 2:30 am.  After saying a short prayer, we did our usual pre-race rituals.  Since there was no provision for hot drinking water or coffee in our room, we just ate bread and drank cold water for breakfast.  Then, we checked our hydration belts, GUs, pastries and bars . Before getting out and walking to the starting line, my husband took our photos.

getting ready…

one more shot before getting out

At the starting line, I set my Garmin so we can do the Galloway.  This gave me confidence to finish and to recover fast.  We also met there our cousin and her husband who will also be running their 42K.  It will be the first full marathon for our cousin but her husband, a judge, just finished T2N a week  ago. They looked both prepared and very strong.

Before the gun start, runners were treated with exciting fireworks and aerial coverage of the event.  Everyone was excited and enthusiastic.  Our cousin joined us in the middle of the pack while her husband set up to run ahead.

At exactly 4 o’clock , the countdown started…10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..and go! After a few steps, my recent conversation with one of my sons flashed back to me.  I can vividly remember when he asked me if I am ready for this full marathon and I answered him that I cannot say 100% because I missed some of my long and maintenance runs  but I am sure I can finish this one. He responded that I should just run my first 32K in warm up pace or I should walk if needed.  With that in mind, I ran with no pressure and in my own pace even at the dark.

Along the route, the people of Camsur, both young and old motivated us to run and finish the race.  With special and distinct tone of “Good Morning” recited by boys and girls queuing along the way, we cannot passed without responding. We also enjoyed their “high and low fives”.  The demonstration of hospitality of beautiful people of Camsur made our journey light and enjoyable.   They pushed us to conquer this difficult activity with ease.  They made us feel extraordinary citizens of the world.  I have no regrets pursuing this race despite very challenging course and extreme heat burning my skin.

the ultimate goal

After stopping at aid stations a couple of times, and an instance that my husband changed his socks in the waiting shed, we survived the race.  We ran side by side from start to 42K.   In several occasions, I urged him to proceed and leave me alone in my pace but he stayed with me.  He only obliged in the last 600 meters after we traversed the lagoon together.  It was also the time I found out that we already covered 42K  because this marathon is not 42.195k but 42.6k. At any rate, through this 2011 CAMSUR Marathon, we ran and sealed our 25 years of togetherness as husband and wife. I am proud of this achievement.

As I crossed the finish line, I got another surge of energy when I saw my husband and the crowd cheering and clapping for me.  This was further reinforced when I saw my finisher’s medal waiting to be hanged to my neck. I love this moment!  This made me  stronger as if I can run several kilometers more after crossing the finish line. My husband is likewise very proud.

my running partner for life holding his precious medal

the meek runner wearing her 3rd full marathon medal in front of our cabana

After a few hours of rest, the sad part of packing up and checking out came. However, we left Camsur with memorable and remarkable experience no one can take away.   Thank you Camsur!

waiting for service going to Naga Airport

Run 2 United (21 August 2011)

For the month of August, my run was limited to several short runs only as the weather condition was not cooperative.  My time to run was likewise reduced with my recent cross-posting from ADBS to ES.  As a good soldier, I have to follow order, prepare and equip myself at work while setting aside running for a while or until I can fully adjust in my new post.  This was further aggravated when I got sick as I was one of the victims of food poisoning in the office.

At any rate, I was able to participate in only one fun run of the bank which is a 5K course before I joined this Run 2 United.  With determination to run long, my husband and children went with me.  We conditioned ourselves that we will enjoy and finish the race.

The race was great will the usual trademarks of Coach Rio.  The marshals were adequate and strategically located especially in the main thoroughfares.  There were long tables for the hydration – water and powerade.  There were tents for the medics.  The ambulance was likewise available.  There were medals, finisher’s tshirts and loot bags for finishers.  I also saw some running friends.  The only negative comment I can mention is the technical problems when it comes to results.  As of this writing, my husband and I were not in the list of finishers.

courtesy of Raul, ARC Manila

21k finishers - me with my husband and son

my buns finished his 10k


Kawasan Falls Marathon (24 July 2011)

My husband and I joined the Kawasan Falls Marathon in Badian, Cebu.  It was a coastal, scenic, uphill and rolling paved course.  I immediately fell in love with the surrounding and environ.  The race was simple  with only 42K and 21K categories.  It was well-organized with full support and amenities for runners.

this is Badian going to Alegria

The people in the area lined up the road to watch the runners.  Some of them cheered for the runners too.

certified cheer leader?

The barangay officials manned the traffic and the hydration stations.  These stations were loaded with sufficient water and plastic cups.

care to drink?

I enjoyed the calming and peaceful view of the ocean while running with these locals from Cebu.

running with boys from Cebu

We were also treated with almost 1K of rough road going to the Kawasan Falls.

Last stretch of the paved road before turning right into the trails

I finally crossed the finish line within my target time.  We were so happy as my husband was able to complete the course without any pain or hassle..

i made it! another 21K done!

with my husband cum running partner

with janette and kenyan runners - 42K winners

so refreshing... i wanna stay

its time to thank the Lord for gift of life and strength

contents of my loot bag and my medal

this is where we stayed for a night

my reward!!!!

MBC Manila Bay Clean-up Run (17 July 2011)

LANDBANK has been into Manila Bay Clean-up for several years already. I am a regular participant and cleaner.  I wanted to share my time and energy in the noble cause of doing something for the mother earth.

For this year, the Manila Broadcasting Company, one of the partners of LANDBANK in the Manila Bay Clean-up Program sponsored a Fun Run, so it is but obvious that I will be joining the event.

On July 17,2011, I, together with 118 members of the LANDBANK Runners Club, joined the event.  Cholo, Ted and Loida helped me gather all the runners from head office and nearby branches.  I think 10 of us ran in the 21K while most of our members ran in the 5K and 3k categories.  It was an enjoyable run with friends and fellow Landbankers.  I also enjoyed the company of my son who stuck with me all through out the course.

At the finish line, I was so happy to see my NCR C family.  I felt like a winner as they patiently waited and cheered for me.   Thank you for showering me with your love. I will not forget you all.

with my ncr c family

with my husband and son


Valley Trail Challenge – 28.5KM (18Jun11)

Sometime in May, I registered my husband and I for the  25KM Valley Trail Challenge of the frontRUNNER Magazine.  I was excited to join this event because of two reasons.  First, I look forward to running in Nuvali again and second, I want to experience how to run in a race organized by Mr.  Jonel Mendoza.  He is known to be a hardcore runner and an ultramarathoner himself.

i love this race bib!

I tried to prepare and even had heat training a week before the race because this Valley Trail Challenge will be my longest trail run.  With that, I was confident that I can finish the race.  I also conditioned myself that I can finish strong, not with PR but with joy and personal satisfaction of conquering the trails.

When the big day came, as we gathered in the Evoliving Clubhouse, it was announced that 25 KM runners were given freebies in the form of additional miles or an additional 3.5KM to be exact.  Our cut-off time of 4 hours will likewise be extended to 5 hours, meaning to be considered official finisher, I have to finish the course up to 11am only.  There was no complaint heard from the crowd instead the runners accepted it with cheers and clapping.  I whispered a prayer to God for our safety and protection.

fresh and ready

At the starting line, I looked around and saw familiar faces.  When Jonel asked how many were first timers, almost half  of the crowd raised their hands.  Enthusiasm and eagerness filled the air.  The weather cooperated as there was no drop of rain unlike in Las Pinas where it was raining hard when we left our place.  Typhoon Egay spared Nuvali for us.

group pix at the starting line

warming up...

The race started on time. It was just a simple countdown led by Jonel and participated by all.  At the onset of the race, we were made to climb the hills before entering the path with newly cut “talahib”.  I found it quite hard starting and my husband even asked me “what’s wrong with you?  I told him I can’t  run fast climbing hills.  He asked me to improve otherwise, he will no longer proceed to run with me.  I told him to go ahead and run his pace.  But he stayed and ran with me.  As we went farther into the trails,  some “talahib” touched my face and arms.  Good thing, a day before, my brother advised me to wear long sleeves shirt to prepare for the sun.  So I used this as protection for “talahib” too.  In this trail, we experienced running in the long, rough and varied roads.  It was a combination of grasslands, open fields, outskirts of subdivisions, remote sitio, desert,construction area, canals, bridges, solar dryers, and small river.  There were instances we were made to run for more than 3 KM in the middle of an open field with direct sunlight above us.  I now realized how hard it is for the farmers, cows and carabaos to work in the field.

going to open field

few steps in the river

passing through the mini-tunnel

The hydration stations were set every 5 KM only but we were treated well whenever  we reached them. Some boy scouts  assisted and gave us glasses of water and Pocari Sweat.   They also gave encouraging remarks and sweet smiles. We were also provided with pails of cold water  for pouring and cooling our bodies. I found relief in such provisions especially after running for several hours in the extreme heat of the sun in a very challenging route.

can I see dirt?

My brother, in his bike, followed us after the Canlubang Elementary School to give us some energy bars and chocolates.  Our friend Dennis, also in his bike, followed us to take our pictures.  Their kindness encouraged us to go on until we reach our goal.  Thank you gentlemen for your selflessness and service.

focusing on my goal rather than on the heat of the sun

It was a very challenging and  fulfilling experience considering my age and background. I was fortunate that my husband was with me and supported me in this run.  However, as I crossed the finish line, I felt guilty because I went ahead of him.  I thought all along that he will be able to catch up because I knew him too well to be strong and faster than I am.  I never considered that his delay could be triggered by cramps since I was very much concentrated on reaching the 28.5 KM finish mark as soon as possible as I can feel burning sensation in my neck.   At any rate, we both finished within cut-off time.

in my last few steps before the finish line...

every runner's dream

This trail run was superb. The route was simple but very challenging.  Runners were taken cared of.  There were plenty of security guards and mashals monitoring our safety. Thank you, Mr.  Jonel Menoza.  You did a great job. Congratulations and we look forward to our next races with you! More power to frontRUNNER!

thank you frontRUNNER Mag!

After the race, I was able to wear my party shoes to proceed to Manila Hotel for baptismal lunch, then in the afternoon I was able to preside a meeting in our church.  Now, I am wondering…how did I do that …was it due to runner’s high? Maybe, but I want to acknowledge the Giver of all blessings – our Lord.

Thank you Lord for the gift of life, good health and strength.  Thank you for the gift of nature and trails too!

AKTV Run – 21km and still standing

My son Sam  and I joined the 21km AKTV Run organized by Runrio for the TV5. There were fireworks right before the opening.  Many friends and runners also joined the race.  I saw the Estrella couple – Baby and Bro J,  fellow Landbankers -Ted, Greg and Dennis at the starting line.  These three guys  ran their first half marathon.

For this race, I decided to use the Galloway’s 4-1, so I set my Garmin and religiously followed it with a very conservative time goal in mind.  This was another enjoyable run with no pressure on myself.  As the race progressed, we were treated very well.  The west side of Roxas Boulevard  was closed to motorists so runners can run safely.  The route was challenging but pleasurable. We were provided with water stations  after every 2.5KM.  After crossing the finish line, I got my medal and finisher’s tshirt with print –  21KM and still standing.  I made it, I hit my goal and I am still standing.  Thank you Lord God Almighty.

21KM done!

my son did a great job again!

with Baby Estrella

with Sam and Ted

Greentennial Run (16K) – May 22, 2011

We had no plan of joining any race that weekend because we got no helper yet and we have to prioritize household chores instead of going to races.  But when I received an invitation from James Rosca, one of the active Happy Feet members, I immediately signified my intention to grab the slot both for Jun and I.  James was so generous to consider and register us in the 16K category.

It was my first long run after my vacation and though I lack preparation, I was ready to go with an objective of just finishing the race. I was not even aware of route nor the exact location of the start/finish line.  On the morning of race day, I thought the race will be in MOA but when we passed through Aseana area, we noticed that runners for Greentennial were convening there. So, my husband dropped me off while he looked for the parking area.

I immediately texted James for his whereabout,  so I can see him and pick up our race kits.  The 21K runners were about to start when James appeared in front of me waving our race kits.  After taking them and thanking James, I walked back going through the parking area but I saw Dennis Matias.  He told me that he just left his backpack in the baggage area.  When I heard that, I requested him if we can put my kits in his bag instead of us carrying it while running. Dennis obliged without hesitation.  All things worked well for me.

In a little less than 5 minutes, my husband came and joined us in the starting coral for 16K.  We also met there Mon, Jess, Leia, James, etc. In a while, our race count down started and gun fired.

The route was new to me and the weather was the typical hot and humid.  We ran and enjoyed the race which was provided with strategically located water stations and water tanks with shower provision.  It was a good race and each finisher was given a finisher medal.  I even qualified to a finisher’s tshirt  allocated for the first 100 finishers per category and per gender.  Thank you Greentennial for such a good race.

my only picture in Greentennial Half Marathon