I was one of the runners/bloggers who participated and accepted the challenge of the first mountain run in Tagaytay Highlands last March 31, 2012. To tell you the truth, it was a mixture of a good and bad decisions, funny and tough moments but over all another great running experience!
Here’s my story: 😀
I went out of the office by 8pm, Friday night. With the 2:30am call time at R.O.X. on Saturday in my mind, I have to run, fly or teleport from Makati to Cavite as fast as I can, to prepare my running gears and to have a little rest. Unfortunately, the Friday night traffic was so unforgiving that I arrived at home by 10:30PM. (Bad Decision#1: Not bringing my running gears at work and risked being stranded on a Friday night traffic)
I immediately prepared my things: my running shorts, Salomon hydration bottle, NB race belt, old NB running shoes and my new Thorlos knee socks. (Watch out for a separate review!) I was looking for my Nathan singlet but I could not find it so I decided to wear my ANR Ayala Triads Tech Shirt. I went online and noticed that most of my fellow runners were still awake, so I told myself… ok, walang tulugan, patas ang laban. LOL.
I arrived at ROX by 2am. Run Proud Ed was the first one there followed by Team USB Jojo, Jazz Runner Rene, Sweet Life Amanda, Jovial Christine, Supladong Jared and ang mahal naming lahat Primer Laira. The old Nathan Team was reunited and we’re off to go! The bus left ROX by 2:45am. 😀
(Good Decision #1: Joining the service provided by Salomon! ) I slept at the bus during the whole travel time of almost 2 hours I think. We arrived at Tagaytay Highlands maybe past 4am. We prepared ourselves for the biggest mountain challenge run and waited for our respective gun starts. Jovial Christine and I were contemplating on exchanging categories, I was at 6K, and she’s at 24K. I was so tempted to run the 24K category. Unfortunately, the organizers did not allow us. (Bad decision #2: Signing Up for 6K category instead of 24K 😦 )
The 24K gun start was 5:30am, 6am for 12K and 630am for 6K. It was actually a long hours of waiting considering the 2am call time at ROX, but anyway, the location is on a mountain so what do we expect. The race started and we’re off to the biggest mountain trail run of the year!
I was supposed to run with Sweetlife Amanda but due to the extreme down hills at the start of the course, I was not able to control my pace so I immediately lost her at the beginning. I also thought that I have to be in front of the pack at the start of the trail because I know that it will be very difficult to run once we’re inside the trail. Your speed will depend on the speed of the runner in front of you, you can’t overtake and you cant run continuously on trails because it will be very unsafe for you and the runners in front and back of you. Most of the runners that morning walked the trails and we were just like walking in one line, others stop and let others pass them over. (Bad Decision #3: Not bringing my camera! I could’ve taken a lot of pictures on that trail!)
(Tough moment #1: The uphills of that mountain trail!!! ) For a moment I thought I was going to die. Haha. Something I never thought on my first 42K race. (And this was just at 3 of 6K!) There was just a part when I had difficulty in breathing, maybe because of the elevation and the temperature. I don’t know, never climbed a mountain before! (Good Decision #2: Not signing up for 24K! haha 😀 )
The trail part of the race was difficult and I heard a lot of runners saying “Oh my God” along the course. My only advantage with them is that I already test the course. There was no more “gulat” factor every time I see an uphill or downhill. I was mentally prepared for the challenge and it was a good thing. (Funny Moment #1: Animals on the course!!!) We came a cross a carabao, a horse and dogs along the course. Sayang wala man lang triceratops. LOL
When I came out of the trail, I saw the Kulitrunner: Mam Vimz who just celebrated her birthday and doing a birthday trail run together with Mr. CruiseControl, Bobby Cruz. We decided to run/walk together up to the finishline. We took a shower at the Tagaytay Country Club, have our breakfast courtesy of Salomon Team and waited for our fellow bloggers who ran the 24K category. 😀
One by one the 24K finishers came and they have their own stories to tell on how difficult and challenging the 24K category was. I got jealous. I felt like I missed the opportunity given to me to have that experience. I told myself that it would’ve been a better blog story if I also ran the 24K category. But again I was not prepared for it, I have no trail shoes yet, I’m not familiar with mountain runs, my hydration gear is not complete. And also, it’s not the distance that should define a runner or a story. It should be the heart and the passion that you give in whatever race that you’re in. 😀
Positive Comments: Very Challenging Race Course, Unique Singlet Design, Free Sunvisor & Cap, On time gun start, Organized Baggage Counter, Race Results the next day, Free breakfast, Shuttle Service Provided
Negative Comments: Singlet Sizing too small (pano naman kaming big boned.haha)-, No official Photographer? ( It would have been nice, if there were photographers on the trails), Shower fee too pricey.
Salomon Xtrail Run Pilipinas will definitely be on my list of the most challenging and unforgettable running events that I have joined. Thank you very much to Ms. Laira Legaspi of Primer and Ms. Janice Tanada of Salomon Pilipinas for this experience. 😀