TNF 100 Race Report (Part 1)

Monday, 25 May 2009  |  Race Reports


Overall rating (10 highest): 8


  • Unique and different race experience.
  • Race started on time.
  • Marshals along the route.  Even one to lend a hand in a difficult climb.
  • Directional signs along the 10k trail.
  • Adequate water at stations.
  • Handsome singlets.


  • Bottleneck at the trail start. 
  • Lack of km markers along the route.


These days, it’s not about rolling out yet another predictable race, but offering runners a unique running experience.  The TNF 100 did just that and more for runners used to the city roads. 

A trail run is a completely different animal from a road race so the usual criteria for review does not apply.  It was also my first trail run experience so I don’t have a benchmark to compare it with.  Having said that, however, this race was more organized than other road races in the past as it provided water stations, signs, marshals and other basic requirements for a good race.  Add to the mix, the adrenaline rush that comes from running through rivers and trails and, for me, it was a near perfect run.  

For runners like me who are new to trail running and want to get their feet wet (literally!), the 10k was a good beginners trail run.  More experienced trail runners (or those who tried TNF last year) took the 20k which was much tougher than the 10k.  The 100k was more challenging for both organizers and runners alike due to the tornado and rains that wreaked havoc on the course the night before.  The organizers handled the matter professionally and almost cancelled the 10k/ 20k race to ensure runners’ safety.  Fortunately, the weather improved and a safe, successful race commenced. Overall, this was a great race.  Count me in for next year.


[Better Safe than Hurt]

The evening before the race, as I lay on our comfortable beds in Holiday Inn, Clark, Pampanga, I received an SMS message from Jay informing me that the race might not push through.  The starting line, he said, looked like a disaster area and the 100km runners were asked to stop to ensure their safety. 100km runners waited at the assembly area for over 2 hours with lactic acid building up in their legs.  A lot of ultra runners decided to DNF.  

Upon hearing the news, the first thing that came to mind for a first-time trail runner like me was: Better safe than injured…or hurt.  No race is worth risking my life for.

Good thing though that, by dinner time, we got news that, after a thorough evaluation by TNF and Finish Line, the race would be pushing through.  That was great news.  But, honestly, I was scared to death.  At first I was fearful of twisting an ankle or breaking a limb.  Now, I had to worry about tornadoes and floods.  Great.

[Couples for Trail Runs]

– Awaiting race start –
– So nervous before the race –

We arrived at the assembly area to see hundreds of 10k and 20k runners at the starting line.  This was a relatively small race so the atmosphere was more relaxed.  20k runners were off at exactly 5:30 and, after 10 minutes, our 10k race started as well.

Hubby and I ran together with two other couples for most of the course: Solemates’ Jun and Mariel and Techspec’s Taki and Charmaine.  Walang iwanan, we said, as we planned for this to be a fun, enjoyable run.  In fact, we took our cameras along for the adventure.

We ran through less than a kilometer of concrete roads before hitting the trails.  This could’ve served as a warm up as we were chatting and laughing all the way until the roads ended.

[And the Trails Begin]

By the time we hit the start of the trails, the laughter died down as we all waited for our turn to slide down the narrow, slippery path leading to the lahar grounds.  What have I gotten myself into, I thought.

– Waiting for our turn to start the trails –

– Running on lahar –

When my feet touched the lahar, it was soft and easy ground to run on, almost like running on the beach.  We ran at an easy pace, in one straight line, occasionally brushing off the grass that would strike our faces.  It was so much easier than I thought…and so much more fun!  There were times when I viewed the landscape around me in complete awe of my surroundings.

– We just had to stop for a photo op –

When we reached the river (which was not the rolling rivers I expected but shallow water that, at the most, reached the ankles) we first tiptoed like ballerinas (even the men) in a futile attempt to keep our shoes from getting soaked.  After many more little river crossings—and with wet shoes and socks to boot—we weren’t as careful and enjoyed the experience.

[Mud and More Mud]

As we went deeper into the trails, the ground was less lahar and more slippery, sticky mud.  Often, we had to slow down to a walk to avoid slipping and sliding.  This is where I was thankful for my Rucky Chucky trail shoes.  The traction on that shoe was impeccable and my husband said the same about his TNF Voza.  There was one climb up through a narrow trail and another one down where I felt like we were trekking instead of racing but the trail shoes allowed me to climb with ease; I rarely felt the need to hang on to something.


– Lovin’ my first trail run –

From 2k to around 8k, we ran on the trail and majority of that course we were able to run through at an easy pace. I’m sure if it hadn’t rained, it would’ve been an even faster running route.

[Back on the Road]

By around 8.5k, we hit the highway and made our way back to the finish.  It was here that hubby and I ran alongside each other and enjoyed the great experience we shared.  We crossed the finish line at 1 hour 31 mins.  Very slow time, but with all the amazing pictures we got, it doesn’t really matter.

Coming soon: TNF 100 Part 2 (a lot more photos)


Botak Paa-Tibayan 42k Race Report

Monday, 11 May 2009  |  Race Reports


Overall rating (10 highest): 5


  • Nice 10k course. Slightly different from Adidas KOTR and Condura which passed through the Buendia Flyover as we went straight through S&R instead of making a left back to the finish line.
  • Several choices for the singlet design.  Marathoners could opt to have their names printed on their singlets.
  • Gatorade at water stations.  Nice to see those green cups and Gatorade coolers along with the water.  No sign of baldes anywhere.
  • Water from the fire truck at the bottom of Buendia flyover.
  • Booths at the assembly area.


  • Lack of marshalls led to a lot of marathoners losing their way on the course.  I have a marathoner friend who finished his “marathon” in a 32k course!  He probably lost his way in Rockwell.
  • 21k/ 10k/ 5k started all at the same time at 6 a.m.  With this heat, race should’ve started earlier at 5:30 a.m. and at different schedules for each distance.
  • Lack of information on race packet.  No course map in the packet, which was intentionally done to prevent cheaters for starting midway through the race.  But, my question is: why should all runners be penalized for this?  Why can’t they have marshalls to protect the course?  And worse, no race start time information for 21k, 10k and 5k on the race pack.
  • Ran out of water at some water stations.  (I personally did not experience this.  It was reported by other runner friends.)
  • No directional signs and kilometer markers for 10k and 5k.  I heard there were a few kilometer markers for the longer distances.

This was the first marathon set up by the race organizers of Botak Paa-tibayan Road Races.  Some experienced runners raised concern—perhaps not publicly but among their inner circles—over the ability of the organizer to put up such a complex race with little experience in other shorter distances.  Was this why there was a small turnout—just a little over a thousand runners in my estimate—that showed up for the race?

For the marathon, the race was definitely not in the league of international races, perhaps not even matching up to recently held local races, such as Condura Race.  The lack of marshalls at the Rockwell portion was a major oversight that led to runners losing their way.  There is room for improvement in other areas as well: more directional signs and kilometer markers, more marshalls, and more water stations.

For shorter distances, the race was satisfactory.  The oversights—such as same race starts for all distances, late start time schedule, and lack of water at stations—did not become major issues due to the small number of runners.  One can only imagine what could’ve happened had there been over 5,000 runners who joined.

Overall, it was an average race with a lot of room for improvement. The race was well-promoted, but the actual event did not live up to the hype.  It was the first time for these race organizers to launch a full-blown marathon, so we hope that they apply their learnings in future races, specifically the upcoming Botak Paa-Tibayan 100k on June 10.

Congratulations is still in order for Botak Paa-bilisan!


To say that I was anxious about this race would be an understatement.  The day before the race, I was still wondering why I registered for 10k despite the pain in my foot and whether I should downgrade to 5k.  That night, I got a massage and when I stood up, all pain was gone.  Okay, 10k it was.  Sheesh, my first 10k in training or in a race in months!  

Hubby and I arrived at the assembly area with enough time for a warm up and double visits to the restroom.  By the time we entered the starting line area, it was only 3 minutes before gun start.  The race started at exactly 6 a.m.

For the first time, hubby and I paced each other throughout the race.  He has significantly improved the past few months, while I have basically transformed into a turtle.  We ran at an easy 6 to 6:30 pace wary of every single tingle in my body, each footstrike I made, and which portion of the cumbered road I was running on.  Yes, I was over analyzing but that’s what injuries can do to you.

– Hubby and I after the race –

We ran together through Bonifacio Global City, up the Buendia flyover, down towards Kalayaan, through the turnaround, up Buendia facing the scorching sun (where I think I got sunburned despite sunblock on my face), and straight to the finish side by side.  Hubby said I made him dizzy because I would spin around him once in a while in search of the perfect portion of road that was flat so that it wouldn’t hurt the knees.  He, on the other hand, was a great running buddy.  He would update me of the kilometers, remind me of our pace, and even followed my every whim, including the time I asked if we could outpace a woman who had the same outfit as I did;  I just didn’t enjoy running behind someone that reminded me of my lack of uniqueness in the world.

We ended the race holding hands (Kidding!  Got you there, didn’t I?) with an unofficial time of 1 hour, 2 minutes for 10.15km.  Our average pace was 6:11 min/km.

I’ve had better times, but again, this was a momentous occasion for me.  My first 10k since the injury (don’t count the Condura Half Marathon…haha) and with very minimal pain during the race.  

– Fast runners, Jerry and Mari –

– Jay (Prometheus Cometh) still running after the race ended –

– with Allyn and Ever Go and Ever’s sister, Anson. Nice uniforms! Belated happy birthday to another bullheaded runner, Allyn! –

We shared a great breakfast with the Solemates Jun and Mariel at Paul Calvin’s Deli with Jay (Prometheus Cometh) dropping by for a quick chat.  Among the topics, are we well enough to join TNF 100?  Ooooh, give me this week to decide!

– with Jun and Mariel (SoleMates) and hubby after a filling breakfast –

The Southern Run

Sunday, 3 May 2009  |  Race Reports


Overall rating (10 highest): 6


  • Great race atmosphere
  • Fast course – almost flat all the way for 5k, downhill portions for 10k
  • Low race entry fee of P150
  • Early race start to beat the heat: 5:30 a.m. for 10k, 5:35 a.m. for 5k
  • Clean comfort rooms at Alabang Town Center
  • Directional signs at major points
  • No singlet (If I had the choice, I would opt for lower race fee with the option of passing up the singlet as mentioned by Banana Running, so lack of singlets is a plus for me)
  • For a good cause – funds raised went to help SOS Children’s Village


  • Short 10k route (or did the 10k runners miss a turn?), 5k slightly above distance at 5.4km
  • Long lines for parking as there was only one entrance to the parking area
  • No kilometer markers
  • Water stations were few and far between.  Cups ran out for 10k.
  • Limited race registration centers – only at Alabang Town Center

Overall, the fun atmosphere and the simple, no frills manner in which the race was organized was good enough for me.  For a low race fee, we got our money’s worth while helping charity.  The minor flaws were just that…minor.  If a runner had little expectations and wanted to have a good Sunday run, then he didn’t come home disappointed.  Congratulations to organizers of The Southern Run!


I have to admit. I miss small, relaxed races such as the race I joined this morning, The Southern Run, at Cortes de Las Palmas, Alabang Town Center.  There was more room to breathe, more space to move, and a lot of friendly familiar faces at the assembly area.  The atmosphere was less tense or competitive, but more like a fun-filled get-together among running friends.


Slowly recovering from my injury and carrying an extra 5 lbs. on my body (which translates to 15 lbs. more impact on my knees as each pound is 3 lbs on your knees according to the experts…yikes!), I had no grand delusion of racing this one.  Plan was to run an easy 5k on a course that I knew like the back of my hand and missed like a long lost friend.  

I had done my homework the night before.  I replaced my decrepit Spenco insoles with brand new ones as ordered by my favorite PT.  I placed hot compress on my tight post-tib muscles.  And, I stretched my calves for 5 minutes before leaving the house.  Oh, I also said a short prayer in case any of my pre-race preparations was not enough to combat the injury.

We arrived in time for the race start with ample time to find friends in the small crowd.  When the gun was fired, I ran along with hubby and friends—Ben, Jun, Mariel, Dingdong, and Kim.  We ran out of Alabang Town Center heading towards Madrigal Ave.  By the time we entered Ayala Alabang, it was only Kim and I who ran alongside each other.  We talked about the proper running form to reduce impact on the knees (especially on concrete roads like Alabang) and next race goals.  Before we knew it, it was time to go our separate ways.  Kim’s parting words were: “Jaymie, remember, if you feel pain, just stop.”  and with that she made a right with the other 10k runners as I ran straight ahead with the 5k runners.

I ran Madrigal Ave. and hit the turnaround alone.  I focused on my running form, landing on my midfoot, and staying positive without allowing the minimal ankle pain to take over me.  As most endurance athletes know—and as I’m learning more and more with all the trials I’m going through—the mind is a powerful thing when it comes to overcoming physical pain and surviving any kind of race—short or long, fun or competitive.  I had no plans of allowing minor pain to get in the way.  

Time flew as I ran through Madrigal Ave.  Soon, we made a right towards Mindanao Ave. moving closer towards the exit of Ayala Alabang.  I thought I heard someone call out my name, and when I glanced at the runner beside me, I was pleasantly surprised to see a familiar face.  It was Josh, a friend from college who I last saw…errr…a dozen years ago.  We ran the last few kilometers together catching up on things and pacing each other along the way.


I crossed the finish line at 34.29 mins covering 5.36km with an average pace of 6.26 min/km.  Slow, but I wasn’t complaining.  In fact, I was sort of rejoicing inside.  The funny thing about the injury is that I felt better after the race than when I had started.  Even as I type this, the pain has completely gone. 

The hubby had some good news too.  He finally hit sub-hour for his 10k!  I have a feeling the hubby and I will be racing each other soon.  That should be fun! Hah!


– Hey Photographer Ben, you’re being watched! –


– The hubby runs toward the finish –


– with good friends Mark, Dindo, Jun, Ben, Mariel, and Tiffin  –


– Mark, Greg Banzon of Sunkist Trihard with his brothers and team mate –


– Sir Ipe (Kinderdorf Leben), director of SOS Childrens Village –


– Another old college friend, JayGat, with Dindo –

We met up with my dearest running friends for breakfast at Pancake House as my early birthday treat.  Lots of great running conversation over pancakes, waffles, omelettes, and tapa.  What more could I ask for?


– birthday breakfast at Pancakes –

Greenfield City Run

Monday, 20 April 2009  |  Race Reports

The night before the race, I asked the hubby (who registered for 10k) to set his alarm as there was a very high probability that I would not wake up for this race.  Don’t get me wrong; I think this was a well-planned race that a lot of runners were looking forward to.  However, I was not one of them as I cancelled plans to race, a wise decision made to avoid aggravating this injury which I think is getting better already.

We arrived 10 minutes late at the assembly area in Greenfield City (I told you I wasn’t excited at all), so hubby jumped out of the car to the starting line while I found parking.  I yawned, grabbed some TBR Magazines to distribute, yawned again, then made my way to the assembly area.  It was like a little fiesta complete with food booths and tables, a bazaar, a 360-degree stage, Photovendo photo booth and city backdrop, and inflatable play area for the kids.  Of course, I caught sight of all the collaterals I had designed for the race from banners to kilometer markers; aaah the fruits of my labor all week (which explains why I had little time to blog.)

– Work of art, don’t you think? heehee –

– 2k runners await the start of the race –

While waiting for the hubby to arrive, I stayed on the sidelines with Jun watching the runners finish their own races, which was great material for a thesis or scientific research, I tell you.  It was almost like getting a glimpse into a runner’s soul for a split second.  Each one went through the same route and distance (5k/ 10k/ or 21k), but the experiences were completely different as seen on the expressions on their faces.  One runner (actually, there were more) shook his head in utter disappointment, while another raised his arms up in pure victory.  Other runners looked like they were about to collapse, while some looked like they just strolled in the park.  The one that stood out was the 21k runner in his compression pants, limping his way through the finish; I wanted to hug him and tell him “I feel your pain!”

– Runners make their way to the finish –

– Toto of Happy Feet is happy with his run –

– Kaye of Team David’s Salon and 1st Lady of Finish Line –

– Ate Virg in iamninoy finishes strong –

– 21k is nothing for Bataan Death March Ultra finisher Jonel –

I got to chat with a runner friend who was also injured yet ran the 10k.  Together, we expressed our frustrations and completely related with each other about injuries, cross training, and therapy, until she said one line “I don’t miss running at all!”  I paused, shook my head, and replied “Oh, I miss it badly.” 

In the middle of all that, the hubby apparently finished his 10k in a little over an hour.  I got to take photos of so many runners, except him, due to my endless chattering.  But, thankfully, Ben’s photovendo was able to fulfill my failed duties as a photographer-wife for that day.

– Runners ham it up for the Photovendo cam –

Before leaving for breakfast with the Sole Mates’ Jun and Mariel, I was delighted to see my pace buddies Jay and Dindo once again.  It’s been so long since I haven’t run with them, and once again, I thought about how much I missed those long run days when the four of us—Jun, Jay, Dindo and I—would meet up after a race to add more mileage into our runs.  Hope to run with you again soon, guys!

– with Jay, hubby, Mariel, Jun and Dindo –

– with Patrick and Hannah. Nice meeting you both! –

Congratulations to Finish Line’s Rio and Vince for another successful event!

Pinay In Action 2009

Monday, 30 March 2009  |  Race Reports


Overall Rating (10 highest): 6

– Unique idea: an All Women’s Run…how great is that?!
– Race for kids: 1.6 km team run
– Abundant supply of free food, sports drinks, and mineral water
– Inspirational “women power” signs along the route
– raises awareness for women’s issue (breast cancer, cervical cancer, violence vs. women, etc)

– Directional signs were aplenty
– Race marshals were everywhere

– Heavy traffic upon entrance into SM parking lot
– Drinks were distributed right smack in the middle of the route while the 5k/ 10k were still running thus causing traffic
– Late start
– Long queues at the rest rooms

Congratulations to Pinay In Action for a fun race!  Until the next year!


I left my racing hat at home and donned my running mommy cap for the Pinay In Action race yesterday morning. The hubby registered for the 10k, while I signed up for 1.6km with Little Miss Bull Runner. The night before (as I had expected), Bull Runner Jr. decided to come along. Yahoo, it was another family running affair for us.

We arrived at SM Mall of Asia to find the 10k/5k runners behind the starting line awaiting the gun start.  Hubby fled to the assembly while the kiddos and I went on a wild search for a clean, queueless bathroom, which we pleasantly found at Bona’s Coffee away from the long lines at the race area.  Our yaya came along to assist—not with the kids—but with the distribution of TBR Magazines and display of the banner (talk about yaya-of-all-trades).


– a sea of pink runners –


Sen. Pia Cayetano, practices what she preaches about being a Pinay in Action –

Before we knew it, we were waiting for our 1.6km kiddie race to start along with a small group of parents and their children.  I was well-prepared for this run; I carried a camera in one hand with a bag around my shoulder to carry everything else a running mommy must have: mineral water, Sports Beans, towels, and of course, band aid!  When I looked around, good friends JunC was with his three daughters, while MarkP was with his little runner too.  My son was hyper and excited, but Little Miss Bull Runner who had been the brains of this race from the start was in a foul mood.  I repeatedly reminded her that this was her choice and that there was to be absolutely no carrying throughout the race.  She answered with a sleepy nod.  Then, the race began.


– One of the rare times I’m willing to stop during a race just for a photo op –

We ran intervals during the race—run, walk, run, walk, run, walk.  My son was being his usual self, teasing the little one by running ahead of her every so often.  My daughter, who is really a mini bull runner, would instantly speed up once she saw Kuya getting ahead.  But, after a few meters, it was obvious she was getting tired.  She even had a 2-minute crying session when I let go of her hand to take her photo (I wasn’t informed that she wanted us to hold hands throughout the run!)  Midway through the run, she slowed down to a walk and whispered to me “My tummy is getting ouchy.  I need to eat.” So, we relaxed and chatted while my son gobbled up some Sports Beans.  When we neared the finish, I told them, “like all runners, we should finish strong by running towards the finish line.”  We held hands, stopped and counted “3…2…1…Go!” and off we went to run the last few meters.


– Big and small bull runners running –


– We did it! –

Both of my kids ended the race with their faces beaming with pride. After a few high fives and hugs, we waited patiently for their Papa to finish his 10k.  My son was tasked to distribute TBR Magazines along with yaya, while Little Miss Bull Runner started whining and complaining about how long this was all taking (I guess the hubby must break 45 minutes to please the kids!)  Pretty soon, we headed off to McDonald’s with the Cruz family where the kids got their much awaited reward: Happy Meals with Monster vs. Aliens toys.


– Canine runner in pink too –


Wandersoles + Happy Feet = Happy Soles or Wanderfeet? –


– with the Parco Family and Loony Runner


– with the Cruz family –

Photos courtesy of Jun Cruz.  Thanks Jun!