Race Report: Salomon XTrail Run 12k

Saturday, 31 March 2012  |  Race Reports

Event: Salomon XTrail Run

Organizer: Race Mechanics
Date: March 31, 2012
Venue: Tagaytay Highlands

TBR Rating:


The 3rd Salomon Xtrail Run at Tagaytay Highlands was a record breaking event with the most number of participants at 1,000 runners. The weather was nippy yet comfortable for a trail run.

The course, both road and trail with majority on the trail, was a scenic and challenging route best for competitive trail runners or serious runners looking for an alternative to road racing. There were steep ascents and descents and some slippery and muddy portions where one had to slow down to a walk, but there were numerous opportunities to run freely through the trails.

– Elevation chart of Salomon Xtrail 12k on my Garmin –

The course was secure, well-officiated, and very organized. Ample hydration and directional signs were provided. The post-race event atmosphere was casual and fun.  Highly recommend this race!  Congratulations to Salomon for a fantastic event!


Time: 2:36:55
Distance: 12.43 km
Avg Pace: 12:38 min/km
Best Pace: 5:22 min/km

Yes, you read that right! It took us over 2 1/2 hours to cover 12km, but when you run (and walk) the trails with friends, time doesn’t really matter. We spent much of our time running through the wonderful trails of Tagaytay Highlands, grasping for vines or anyone’s hand when negotiating slippery slopes, gasping for breath when we climbed those awfully steep hills, or chatting and laughing about how slow we were going. Oh, we also cursed our good friend Neville Manaois who created the course, but forgave him as soon as we saw his rare smile at the finish line. (We love the guy no matter how much hell he gives us.) This Salomon Xtrail Run was all in good fun. A good break from the city roads and a perfect opportunity to celebrate running with friends. Now for the pictures:

– with Dr. Randy Molo, Hector and Mayen waiting for the 6am gun start for 12k –

– Waiting for the race to start. Thank you Lord for allowing the sun to rise already! –

– Check out that fog! And the road!  And the weather was perfect! Aaah, I loved this race atmosphere –

– More friends on the road! Nice bumping into Bobby Cruz and birthday girl Vima (Kulit Runner) –

– The road ends and we line up for the trails. This is what we came here for! –

– Hector Yuzon of Secondwind Running Store looked so at home in the trails –

– It was great seeing so many girls on the trails! –

– One must always stop and take photos on a trail run –

– Don’t be fooled by the smile. There were steep uphill climbs that left me panting. This was definitely a challenging course –

– Yes, that’s how steep it was! We hit the road on the last 3k of the route. We thought the race was almost over. Little did we know that the longest, steepest ascent I had ever encountered was waiting for us. We walked backwards, sideways, on grass…whatever worked to bring us closer to the finish ASAP! –

So we were walking ever so slowly on the last few kilometers of our 12k run. Who else but Coach Ige Lopez overtakes us as he runs—yes, runs!—up that hill to end his 24k run! He didn’t look as happy as we did though hah! –

– Runners walking towards the finish after the steep climb –

– Last kilometer to the finish was an absurdly steep descent! –

– Walking gives you a lot of time to come up with great photos for Facebook –

– with the man to blame for the aching calves, muddy shoes, and soaked shirts, Neville Manaois –

– with friends from ROX Rain and Macel –

– with TBR Dream Marathon finisher Edwin of Runner’s Runner in the same costume he wore during TBR Dream. Remind me to wear all red compression tights next time. This guy doesn’t seem to break a sweat whether it’s a tough marathon or trail run –

– with Ian of Salomon. Congrats Salomon XTrail for a great event! –

Win Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 24k Race Kits!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012  |  Race Announcements

Salomon Xtrail

Event: Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2012
Where: Tagaytay Highlands
When: March 31, 2012, Saturday

On March 31, 2012, Salomon will be hosting the Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas in Tagaytay Highlands.  Woohoo! I’m joining the 12k for this one!

The course includes 3 different categories, catering to all running levels—from beginners to elite athletes. All distances include a road-to-trail terrain, with 6km & 12km distances for beginners & intermediate trail runners. The 24km category will include vertical ascents, simulating a “mountain run” for which Salomon embodies, being a “Mountain sports company.”

The Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas event is a GREEN RUN event, meaning no plastic cups & bottles will be given away & used. All runners are encouraged to bring their own hydration belt/gear/bag.

Salomon was kind enough to share 3 more race kits for the 24k.  Are you free to join an impromptu trail run?  Here’s how to win a race kit!


1) LIKE Salomon Trail Running Pilipinas on Facebook. Click HERE

2) LIKE The Bull Runner Facebook page. Click HERE.  (I think I’ll be posting here more often than on my personal page where most of you are my friends)

3) FOLLOW The Bull Runner on Twitter. Click HERE.

4) Once you do all three, post a comment below saying: “I wanna run Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas!” with the following info:

– Complete name that matches a valid ID
– your facebook / twitter name (for me to confirm you did nos. 1 to 3)

5) First three commenters who follow the contest rules CORRECTLY win one (1) 24k race kit each to Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas.  Double entries will lead to automatic disqualification.

May the best runner win!


UPDATE: Congratulations to: mark lactaoen, Goldy de la Cruz, and Mrkc Sigue for winning 1 Salomon XTrail Race Kit each!  You may claim your race kit at the Runner’s Runner booth in 3/F ROX tomorrow.  Please bring a valid ID to claim.  See you on Saturday 🙂

TBR DM Story: Team Rock and Road

Tuesday, 27 March 2012  |  Bullish Insights

TBR Dream Marathon launches with registration in September, officially begins training in October, and culminates in March for race day. We’re together for 22-weeks of talks and clinics. It is inevitable that deep friendships and strong bonds are formed from our runners. They sign up as strangers and are bonded for life after they cross the finish. It’s a gift from joining TBR Dream, probably just as significant as the 42km finishers’ medal.

Here’s a story written by Allan Gregor Bulos, Bib #079 about his team: Team Rock and Road.


I have never written anything in my life. But something about my experience at the TBR Dream Marathon 2012 made me feel that I had to write. This is a story, no a journey of love, life, laughter and most of all friendship.

This is Team Rock and Road…

Allan Gregor Bulos (Bib# 079), Elvin Pastorfide (Bib# 17,Pacer), Goldy Dela Cruz (Bib# 159), Jonard Aries Gamboa (Bib# 210), Kristine Joy Cerame (Bib# 107), Riz Damaso (Bib# 141), Rosemarie Beltran (Bib# 063), Marie Joyce Negepatan (Bib# 365), Christopher Sta. Cruz (Bib# 517)

We are a small group of Runners/Mountain Climbers. Out of that small group, 7 first time marathoners (Me, Jonard and Joy – The Lovers, Joyce – Ms. Shy Ako, Riz – Ms. Estuar Legs, Goldy – The Female Mamaw & Chris – The Joker), 1 who’s looking for running her second marathon (Rose – The Experienced one), and a willing pacer (Master Elvin) ran The Bull Runner Dream Marathon last March 18. (I would often think of these monikers in my head when we were out running or just hanging around together,hehehe).

– The ever growing Pinoy Fitness Family –

Six months ago, we barely knew each other. We were just casual acquaintances over Facebook and members of the Pinoy Fitness Forum. We would occasionally talk with each other within a thread even though we haven’t really me each other. We technically registered separately for the TBR Dream Marathon. When the registration started, I signed up for myself. At the time of registration, some of us were already running since 2010 and some of us started just on 2011 including me (I started joining Fun Runs last May 2011). Luckily, all of us made the list, not knowing what will happen in the next few months.

Some of us, knew each other longer that the others. I only knew Joy, Jonard, Joyce, Elvin & Chris. Joyce only knew Rose, Goldy, Chris and Me. Rose only knew Joyce. And so on and so forth(I even remember clearly when I was trying to introduce Joyce to Joy and Jonard but being the shy person she was, was reluctant to do so, hehe).


– Joyce, Mr. Yakult (Gabe Mercado), Me and Rose –

The seed of the group was planted last November 30, after a run event at Ultra. The most of us, bound together by the love of running and the dwelling curiosity on Mountain Climbing, got together.

– Joyce and Joy (Magkakilala na sila dito, hehe) –

– With Jc,one of the members of the Team –

Then, the serious training for the Marathon came. We planned long runs together through UP & Nuvali. We sacrificed time and “alone” times for the event. We would change our schedules so that all of us could run on the same route. We would pace each other during races. We would look out for each other for posts in the TBR page. Luckily, we all managed to get slots on all of the Shuttle Services to and from Nuvali (I even remembered when we just got from mountain climbing that the sign-up sheet was posted, that we registered through the cellphone of Jonard), we even managed to get slots for the Gatorade test. It was one for all, and all for one!

– At UP just after the Holidays –

– Valentine’s Day LSD with other TBRDM Batchmates –

– LSD at Shotgun (Rodriguez, Rizal), that’s me crawling, hehe –

– We managed to get slots for the Nuvali Shuttle –

– At the Gatorade Sweat Test –

– With The Bull Runner herself (photo credits to Mark Tibo-oc & Luzel Franco) –

The Day before the race, we carbo loaded in an eat all you can restaurant. We talked about our planned race paces. We agreed that we would run with our own pace then would meet up at the finish buffet. Then we headed to the hotel where we have reserved for the event. We even had a film viewing of “One More Chance” starring John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo (current favorite film of the group, hehe), just to get our mind off what we will do the next day.

Then it was the race day itself. It was a very festive atmosphere. Picture taking here and there, everyone giving pleasantries to each other, laughter in the air, everybody was loosening up. We even had a picture of the Pinoy Fitness Family near the starting line. After which Coach Jim, Neville, Jaymie made their remarks, encouragements then set us off.

– Just before the start (photo credits to Active Moments) –

( I can only tell the story of my race because I, along with Elvin, ran at our pace)

We were off…

We were running at the planned pace, attacking the up hills properly, rolling along the down hills to conserve energy. We were giving high five’s, greeting and growling as we passed each other.

– Me and Elvin at one of the Dream Chasers Zone (Photo credits to Yongsky) –

We ran first half of the Marathon in only 2:03:00. But I soon found out, the real race really was at the second half. We were maintaining a good pace right until the 28th km when I started to tire and slow down.

By the 35th km, I finally got my second wind that lasted for only 1km before side stitches attacked. So I just decided the last few km’s of the run and not worry about any target finish time.

– One of the numerous walk breaks –

– Wrong timing on an attempt for a jumpshot (photo credits to Aquiz) –

But by the 40th km or so, while passing the Second Wind Zone, a friend sprayed me with a mist of very cold water. It suddenly recharged my drained batteries that I ran the remaining distance at a pace of 5min/km. (Spoke with Elvin that I will try to run at a 5min/km pace, he said, “siga una ka na, hehe”)

– After 5:00:57 (5:00:50 based on chip time), I finished my first marathon (photo credits to Active Moments) –

After finally crossing the finish line at a time of 5:00:57, I let out a grunt then waited for Elvin.

– Elvin sprinting to the finish line –

Shortly after I vaguely heard the announcer say “Here’s a runner from Pinoy Fitness, ay pacer pala sya, nasaan na yung pinapace nya, nauna na? Pero ganun naman talaga ang trabaho ng pacer, to ensure the one being paced will finish” (Job well done indeed)

After which, we posted for some pictures, got the loot bags, deposited them at the baggage and, being the first of our group, headed back for the others.

– Rose finishing her second marathon –

We first came across Rose, she was looking strong, and based on the blog she wrote last time after she ran her first marathon, and she was enjoying The Bull Runner Dream Marathon more. (Well, who wouldn’t??)
Upon passing Rose, we assumed that, Goldy, Jonard, Joy, and Riz had already made the turn at the 38th km that we didn’t see them.

– Goldy, all smiles near the finish line –

– Joy and Jonard sprinting to the finish line, together, as always (photo credits to Active Moments) –

– Riz, with the matching “closed eyes para feel na feel” finish, hehe –

Next we came across Joyce. I personally was happy for her; she was still running strong without any sign of pain. She had a case of runner’s knee just weeks before the Marathon and she was beginning to doubt herself. Good job Joyce!

– Joyce, finishing her first marathon with smiles all by herself (photo credits to Active Moments) –

After she left us, we decided to wait for Chris, the last of us. We walked right up until the first Dream Chaser’s Tent and waited for him there. Upon seeing him, we could already tell that his legs were already wasted (He had cramps on the 26th km). But he was undoubtedly enjoying the run (He was even smiling and laughing). We decided to pace Chris up to the finish. Unfortunately, chaffing suddenly developed between my inner thighs because my shorts and sweat had already dried up. I told them to go ahead and we’ll just meet at the club house. While Chris and Elvin took the right turn at the 38th km, I walked to the clubhouse where the others were waiting.

– Elvin pacing Chris this time near the finish line –

After the event, we headed back to the Hotel for a quick shower then headed off to Goldy’s house for some well-deserved post run celebration.

Truthfully, this run made so many dreams possible, it may not be my fastest but it may be the best marathon I will ever run. And I would be lying if I will say that I will never run this far again. In fact, we are already picking out from the rest of our teammates who haven’t run a marathon yet for us to be their pacer/chaser. We will definitely look out for this event every year from now on.
Yes, the Marathon will definitely humble you, but it will also teach you a lesson or two. And all that pain, suffering, hard work, training, sleepless nights, hundreds of kilometers, carbo loading, scheduled sick leaves (hehe), anticipation for the new posts at the TBR Site, the planned practice routes and the time spent on wondering what to wear is so much worth it, especially when you have a group of friends surrounding you.

I speak for the team that we would like to thank The Bull Runner, Ms. Jaymie Pizarro and Coach Jim Lafferty for creating an event like no other. Coach Lit and Neville for the lessons and tips we have learned. And for the rest of the TBR Dream Team for making us Dream Big and for trusting in us that we can Run Strong.

5 Things I Learned from my First Bike Out

Monday, 26 March 2012  |  Bullish Insights

To kick off the start of summer, I said yes to Patrick Joson’s invite for a Fondo Manila recon ride last Saturday.  It was to be my first bike ride outside of the secure village we’ve been training in the past weeks.  The only other time I ever rode out in the open was at Subic during last year’s Next Step Tri Camp.  Never again until last Saturday.

Here are 5 things I learned from that day:

1) Don’t look stupid. You’ll never know who’s watching.

It was my first bike out in cleats.  I thought we were going to be three or four in the group, but when I showed up at Starbucks Alabang, we numbered around 30.  30! And they all looked like pros.  Crap!

When everyone started to take off chatting and laughing, I was almost back in kindergarten replaying everything Pat had taught me about the basics: Step 1: pedal down, Step 2: two lock in, Step 3: pull pedal up…skate, skate, skate… (See the look of confusion on my face below)

Unbeknownst to me, it was oh no one but Richard Gutierrez on my left with perhaps this thought bubble in his head: “This girl is perfect for comic relief on Survivor!”


2) Ride like a school of fish…even if you feel like you’re drowning

A lot of people won’t believe me when I say this, but it’s the truth: I’m anti-social. I’m a solo flight kinda girl.  Don’t get me wrong. I like you! I like meeting people!  But, most of the time, I enjoy my independence, the solitude, and my time alone.


I learned from Pat that day that, to keep safe from vehicles, cyclists always ride as one, like a school of fish or a flock of birds.  And, if you’re lagging behind—which, in this case, I was—then you must always try your best to catch up.  Pedal away even if you’re tired, or out of breath, or dying of thirst because you still can’t let go of the handle bars to grab your bottle.

3) Biker dudes…or cycling dudes…or cyclists…whatever you call ’em are a friendly bunch.

Strangely, I always thought cyclists were a cliquish bunch.  They always biked in groups and always had shades on.  (Who would’ve known shades were used to shield them from the sun and dust and not to keep potential friends away?)


Most of the time, I kept to myself. Riding alone on the road even when the others biked in pairs. But, every now and then, a friendly biker would pass by and exchange a few words of encouragement or friendly chit chat. My next goal is to be able to chat while occasionally looking at the person I’m chatting with. Methinks it was quite impolite for me to talk to them with my eyes directed straight towards the road the entire time.

4) Saddle f&#@!! sores are a major bummer. I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy. Okay, maybe I would since it’s just extreme pain in one day that goes away the next.

I have never screamed so many curse words in my head in such a short period of time.  As we were climbing up the road (I think towards Amadeo. I have no clue really because I was going insane by this time), I could not think of anything else but the pain down there.  Saddle sores are a soft word for such awful, excruciating, hellish pain.  I would rename it to: saddle f&#@!! sores.

I used thick-padded bike shorts. I used petroleum jelly and a bit of Hammer Seat Saver.  But oh noooo, nothing was enough to prevent saddle sores that day.  Friends said I just need more saddle time.  If that’s what it takes to drive this problem away, then let’s do it.

5) Have fun.

Despite throwing in the towel at 30k to prevent brain hemorrhage from the pain of saddle sores, I enjoyed myself that day.  I checked the time as I was headed home: 8 am.  I spent two hours out on the road.  My mind instantly thought: I should’ve used those 2 hours for a 21k run instead… But, I caught myself and realized that it was all in great fun.  Looking forward to my next bike ride…hopefully with a new saddle!


Thank you to Peter Capocao and Patrick Joson for the photos.

The Bull Runner and Beyond

Sunday, 25 March 2012  |  Bullish Insights

This is to officially announce that, from this day forward, you may expect a couple of changes from TBR. (No, I’m not doing a Charice, although a bull tattoo on the ankle would be cool, wouldn’t it?)


What changes you ask?  Just two things:

1) Expect to read more about triathlon.  Someone must have drugged me last December when I signed up for Ironman 70.3 Cebu in August.  Now that it’s summer, my training officially goes full blast.  I’ll be writing a lot about my training for cycling and swimming from a wanna be triathlete’s perspective.  In other words, you’ll be hearing a lot about my dumb discoveries and answers to questions you were always embarrassed to ask.  Aren’t you glad I don’t really care what you guys or these coaches think of me?!

2) Expect to read more about trail running.  All this Xterra talk has awakened my urge to run the trails.  I enjoyed my first trail run at TNF in Clark way back in 2009 and just never got the chance to do it again.  I’m hoping to do Salomon at Tagaytay Highlands next week.  I’m not sure if I can squeeze a lot of trails into my triathlon training, but I really, really want to.  And, you know me, when I want something, I pretty much stop at nothing to get it.

So, there should be a lot of interesting stuff to read about all the silly things I get myself into.  It’s gonna be one exciting summer and I hope you join me for the ride!