On Nuts, Ruts, and a Whole Lotta Guts

Monday, 16 December 2013  |  Race Reports

This is a guest post by my teammate and friend Javy Olives on his recent trail ultramarathon, the Clark-Miyamit Falls Trail Ultramarathon 50miles.  

The crazy idea of diving headfirst into a Trail Ultramarathon, with 4 weeks to spare, was my fault. Completely. That much I admit.

When my ‘A’ race for the year, Enervon Activ 226 was cancelled due to the massive earthquake that hit Bohol in October, I started scouring online, looking for something to do. Another triathlon perhaps? Nahh…  An Ultramarathon? Hmmmm…Interesting. A TRAIL ULTRAMARATHON? Now we’re talkin’!

A few text messages later, I had gotten  both Drew & Andy on board. Woooohoooo! CM50 here we come!

CM50 is the Clark-Miyamit Falls Trail Ultra. It takes runners from Clark Airbase in Pampanga to the beautiful Miyamit Falls in Porac via Aeta trails. The course has over 4,000m in elevation gain…that’s like climbing Baguio 3 times. There were two distances – a 60k and a 50 mile.

The Plan

We had 4 weeks til raceday, and only a half-marathon base to show. And so Andy came up with a plan – a ‘mini’ weekday block, consisting of 1-2hr runs 3 days in a row, with lots of hill repeats and then back-to-back long runs on weekends. Quickly we had made the transition from Triathlete to Runner. The bikes got parked, never to be seen in the 4 weeks that followed.

Crash Course in Trail Running

Personally, I had only really done one real trail run, the Xterra Trail 22k in Timberland in 2010. I didn’t even own legit trail shoes. Weekends were then spent in Timberland trying to adapt best we could to the conditions and terrain we would face on race day.

With Majo Liao (2012 CM50 Champ) &  Aldean Lim (CM50 Champion and Course record holder) (Photo: Drew Arellano)

One Saturday, we did a 3hr run around the Blue and Green trails with Aldean Lim, who would eventually set a course record and win the 50mile race. That evening, we had decided to do another 3-4hr trail run the following day. And so the following morning, we began our run, led by Trail Master Gene Olvis & Dabobong delos Angeles. What we didn’t realize was we were in for an Adventure. The supposed 3-4hr run had turned into a 9hr expedition, from Timberland to Wawa Damn in Montalban, thru uninhabited mountains and rivers. Adding insult to injury was the fact that I wasn’t in trail shoes, and that both the soles of my shoes had fallen off 2hrs into the run! Until this day, most of the day remains a haze…but would prove to beneficial come race day. Weekend 1, CHECK!

Having Coffee 7hrs into the 9hr Adventure Run (Photo: Aldean Lim)

What was left of my shoes (Photo: Drew Arellano)

The following weekend, we did the same 3hr Trail run on saturday, but then decided to run on the road on Sunday. I texted Drew “Let’s run 42k.”. “Sure”, he replied. The 42k went by without much fanfare, and the legs felt great too. It was then when I started feeling pretty confident. 

4 City Marathon

Race Day

Guntime was at 1am on a Sunday morning, and so the plan was to try and rest most of the day Saturday, then drive straight to Clark Saturday evening late enough to catch the race briefing at midnight. Resting was close to impossible, and so with much anxiety, and 4 cups of coffee, we had made it to the starting line. As we lay in the grass of the Clark Parade grounds awaiting the start, I could not help but smile, as I would once again venture into the unknown. Unlike other races, we were completely on our own with regards to navigating the course. We were shown little orange markings which would be mark the right path. Simply put, if you are not seeing any more of these markings, you are lost, so backtrack until you find one, then proceed.

And We’re Off

The race began without any pomp. A hundred or so of us jogged ever so calmly into the darkness as the horn sounded off. The first 4km took us from the parade grounds to the entrance of the Sacobia river, thru paved roads. The next 5km proved a lot more difficult, as we we running on a riverbed, with rocks and ankle-deep water. Navigation was not easy, as markings were only visible every kilometer or so. We arrived in Aid Station 1 (AS1) as we exited the riverbed.

The next 20km was a combination of some very technical trails, with some rope climbing, and mostly rolling terrain. After 3hrs of running, we had reached AS3. It was still dark as we began the mountain assault. The next stage featured a mountain assault – close to 1,000 meters elevation gained over 10km over rough terrain. The next 2 hours was a mix of power hiking, scrambling and very little running. As we reached the top, the sun began to rise, and for the first time that day, I started to marvel at the beauty that surrounded us.


From AS4, it was a technical 1.5km descent to Miyamit Falls. It was there where I really appreciated the grip and protection the Berghaus Vapour Claw provided. I was confident and surefooted, even over moist and mossy rocks and boulders. We reached the turnaround point after about 5 and a half hours. We were not in any rush, so we took a dip in the pool, and took photos and videos, as each of us carried a GoPro.

My trusty Bergaus Vapour Claw

 After appreciating the view, and the chilly cold water of the falls, we proceeded to head back home. By this time the sun was shining brightly, and so visibility was no longer a problem when navigating and finding your footing. After climbing back up to AS4, we proceed to run the 10km downhill to AS3, and had to stop many times to take pictures and goof around. 

At the chilly and beautiful Miyamit Falls

Appreciating the beautiful views at the peak

7 hours into the race, and we were back in AS3, having already surpassed the marathon distance mark. We were in uncharted territory. The volunteers in AS3 were so fired up when we got there, it felt like we were rockstars. They pumped us up so much we took off at a sub 5min/km, which didn’t last so long. We then ran thru the same route, but this time in daylight. At around the 50km mark, we had caught 2 runners, putting us into 4th and 5th place respectively. I was starting to fade, but Drew was feeling good, so we decided to go at our own pace.

WU salute on top of a tractor (Photo: Drew Arellano)

Running Empty

A few kilometers later, I had gone off-course and lost my way. I did not realize that I had missed a turn until a few kilometers later, and took quite a while getting my bearings, and finding my way back. 9 hours into the race and I was running empty – literally and figuratively. I had emptied out my Camelbak, and my energy was at an all-time low. Mentally however, I knew I was going to finish, come what may.


I hobbled into AS1, sat down, and tried to gather myself. I attempted to eat some bread, but I could not swallow it. All I could take was Coke, and so I just started downing glass after glass. As I left the last aid station, tackling the last 9km, I started to feel a little better. Rain started to pour down, making it cooler, but also more difficult. The 5km through the now ankle deep Sacobia river was tricky. Heavy & wet shoes. Slippery rocks. Tired feet.

Home Sweet Home

Exiting the Sacobia river felt really good, as I knew that all I had I had left to traverse was 4km of paved roads. A little over 11hrs later, I had reached the finish line. Very tired, yet very fulfilled. I was met at the finish line by Drew, my wife Hannah, and my training buddies Levy & Elmer. I had accomplished what I set out on doing. The icing on the cake was finishing 7th overall, and Drew grabbing 3rd overall. 

Headstand at the CM50 Finish (Photo: Hannah Olives)

with Levy, Drew & Elmer (Photo: Hannah Olives)

I have had my fair share of dark times in races, especially in 2 of the 3 Full Ironmans I have completed, but I can confidently say, that without a doubt, this is the most difficult thing I have ever done. I always have and always will have respect for the Ultramarathon.

Would I do it again? HELL YEAH.


Javy Olives picked up running immediately after a paparazzi photo showed him in his gluttonous best in YES! Magazine. 40 pounds lighter, this runner/triathlete turned endurance junkie has completed 1 Ultramarathon, 3 Full Ironmans, 8 70.3’s & 6 marathons (3 of them an Ironman). Recently, he has been going off-road and dabbling in other Ultra-Endurance events.


Tuesday, 3 December 2013  |  Race Reports

Bah! Humbug! I could’ve said this over and over again last Sunday, acting like Scrooge on the first day of December, as I scrolled over all the Instagram photos of friends, like Drew Arellano and Hector Yuzon of Secondwind, who joined the Nike We Run MNL over at Marikina City that afternoon.

I’m always game for Nike running events, but, for some reason, the timing is always off for me. This year, I couldn’t make it because of a conflict in schedule and, with the venue being on the other side of the world from my home, I couldn’t just escape from the kids and be back in an hour. I guess I’ll have to hope and pray that I make it to next year’s We Run MNL. If not, then perhaps I’ll find a way to fly off to Nike Women’s Marathon in SFO. (Dreams. Dreams.)

To all 14,000 runners who finished their 10k with their buddies, congratulations! (Ang dami ninyo! Hah!) To all those who didn’t make it, read more about it below and let’s just cross our fingers that we make it to next year’s event…


Nike enabled 14,000. Filipino runners today in the third edition of the Nike We Run Manila held at Marikina City. Bringing to life the Filipino spirit of unity, runners signed up in pairs to run 10km and stood in solidarity at the finish as a mark of respect to the recent events in Visayas region of Philippines.

We Run MNL 2013 flags off 14000 runners in Marikina City_1.jpg

In honouring the Filipino spirit of unity, or samahan spirit, the race was a testament to Filipinos who encourage each other regardless in times of adversity or ambition. “The Nike We Run Manila 2013 serves runners by offering them a unique platform to run alongside a global community of runners. This year, we fueled the samahan spirit by encouraging runners to sign up and run the race together with a buddy for their fellow kababayan” says Courtney Cole-Faso, Country Marketing Manager of Nike Philippines.

Nike We Run Manila is part of Nike’s global We Run series. Aimed at motivating and inspiring athletes around the world, more than 350,000 runners would have taken over 3 billion strides in We Run races in 26 cities by the end of 2013, motivated by Nike+ and Nike Running design innovations.

Nike’s We Run races range in distance from 5K to a full marathon, and capture the unique enthusiasm of each city. From Sao Paolo to Seoul to Singapore, each city will be moved to action through a series of unique experiences for runners. Tailored to each individual city, the We Run races will build on the aesthetic of each landscape through an interactive run course – http://werun.nikeinc.com/

On The Heels of a Dream: My First Ever 10K

Tuesday, 3 December 2013  |  Race Reports

On The Heels of a Dream is a weekly column by guest writer Obbie Suguitan who is currently training for his first marathon, The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, on February 16, 2014.

All through the long weekend training runs of the past 9 weeks, I’ve always finished in the last three – if not the absolute last. I attribute it to the sedentary lifestyle I had for over a decade prior to training, an extraordinarily bad diet, age, effects of smoking for more than a decade from 11 years ago, and the obesity that resulted from all these. My bad knees and poor endurance had me starting from a disadvantage instead of just from scratch. Fortunately, my friends could be relied upon to push me to do something I needed but not necessarily liked – train for a marathon.

Now, after a little bit over two months of faithful training and diet modification, I’ve worked my endurance up a tad and have logged on quite a bit of mileage. By my rough mathematical estimate, I’ve run approximately 150 kilometers in total. Knowing myself as I do, this is an astounding number. Even as I am constantly impressed by my batchmates, this figure is amazing for me. It begs, however, for me to take the next logical step. To participate in an official run.


So two Sundays ago, November 24, I ran in my first ever official organized run – the Sante Barley Domination Run 2013. On my running buddy Joanne’s urging – against my own instinct of self-preservation – I joined the 10K group instead. I didn’t go through the prescribed 3K or 5K so this was completely alien to me.

So I got to the location of the run at just the right time and was busy observing the proceedings and generally being tense. My wife and youngest son were with me but I was in a bit of a haze because it was a bit intimidating. I just kept repeating in my mind: run your own race – run your own race – relax the toes – relax the toes-relax the toes…

After the countdown spiel of someone who referred to himself as the ‘running host’ and the 10K group bunching together near the starting line, I just heard 5-4-3-2-1-Go! Then everyone was off. As the group stretched forward, I eventually had enough space to start my interval timer and begin a jog. Thank you very much to training, my body went into somewhat of an autopilot mode. The arms started swinging, the legs and feet went into the familiar motion that was trained in for the past two months – thankfully. The best counteraction to jitters is autopilot mode – stress cannot override training!

Around 3 minutes into the run, I warmed up, got into a rhythm (slow but a rhythm nonetheless), and was starting to enjoy and get my bearing. As the distance was eaten up, with a guilty smile on my face, I started to see that some runners were slowing down and that I was passing some of them. Hmmm…was it possible? It was. It is. So through the darkness I trudged on – being passed by some runners and passing some.


It was more of the same for the next 40 minutes of me doing my prescribed run-walk-run, with a few bouts of calf tightening (or so I thought). So far I didn’t feel the need to stop nor take unscheduled walk breaks. Good. But I was tiring. Even with the training, this was mighty hard. However, nearing what looked like the toll plaza of the highway, I saw the U-turn marker! People were having their photos taken at the marker while I was just running my race without even a smile. Don’t get me wrong. I was having fun but not the ‘Ha-ha’ kind but the ‘I ‘m- doing-this-so-I-can-join-the-1%-marathon-finishers-by-Feb’ kind. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have fun doing something only a few are capable of.

Sante Barley Domination Run 2013


So, after running back the way I came, I passed a lot of runners in my distance group who were still working their way to the U-turn. Behind me! The sun had come up and the finish line archway was growing in size as I approached. Several meters before the actual finish line my wife and son were with me taking photos. Then, almost anti-climactically, I crossed the line and had a medal put upon my neck.

Finished. I didn’t dramatically run slo-mo across the tape, didn’t hear Chariots of Fire theme music, no close-up shots of sweat beads flying from my brow. Nothing. My wife was there. My son was there. I finished and had a medal. That was really enough – and the fact that this time I wasn’t even close to being last. Not that I’d mind anyway.


Unceremoniously, I cast a glance around for any familiar faces, but not having seen any, just walked on back to the car. To be completely honest about it, finishing that 10K was both a confidence builder AND somewhat of a rude awakening-cum-reality bite. At this point, thinking about myself doing four times the distance of what I ran this time is quite a long way off. Between now and then however, there remains two months more of training. I will continue the training, stand with my batchmates, pray, keep on doing what I have been, and have fun doing it. Hard work – yes. Needs commitment – yes. Impossible – no. 10K in the bag.

Photos courtesy of Photo-Ops

BGC Cycle: Anton’s 1st Bike Event…and 1st Crash (Part 1)

Monday, 2 December 2013  |  Race Reports

This is part of a series of posts under the Quaker Challenge. It’s about the quest that my kids and I have to achieve our Quaker Goal to swim, bike, and run more. Read about it HERE.

Anton and I joined BGC Cycle held last November 15-17, 2013.  It was a fantastic, well-organized event, but I’m posting about it only now as I limited my posts about running or events the past couple of weeks out of respect for those affected by Typhoon Yolanda.  As we help with rehab efforts, I’ll be getting back into posting about running again.


Back to BGC Cycle.  Anton signed up for the Junior Challenge held in the afternoon of Saturday, November 16 while I joined the 40k Community Ride the following day, Sunday, with friends (I’ll post about that separately).  It was Anton’s first bike ride and, since he enjoyed the bike portion the most in his first triathlon (I was hoping he’d love running more, but what can I do?  Ouch. My heart. LOL), he was looking forward to this event.

The BGC Cycle Junior Challenge was a 30 minute ride around a small loop near Bonifacio High Street.  It was for children from 10 to 12 years old.  As the kids stood at the starting line with their bikes, some of them looking pretty serious and strong, the organizers repeatedly reminded the kids that it was not a race, that they should just enjoy the ride.  I whispered the same to Anton and told him “Have fun!” before the gun went off.

– Kids await the gun start –

BGC1 (440)
– Anton’s all set –

BGC1 (437)
– with my boy! Not sure who’s more nervous –

– Nice to see Vima (Kulitrunner) and Bee Yen (Kamote Runner) before the race start –

Since it was a looped course, it was perfect for family and friends to watch the kids fly by.  We would see Anton bike past us and I would hurriedly yell: “Go Anton!” while simultaneously attempting to take action shots. (Such is the life of a trikids mom!)  It was great to see him enjoying!

BGC1 (456)
– Anton passes us on the bike! –

Time flew fast and, before we knew it, the host announced that there was just 1 minute to go!  I was ready to congratulate my little boy and I patiently waited to see him.  As more and more kids biked past us, I noticed it was taking him too long to come in.  I looked at my hubby and he looked equally worried.  We waited, and waited, and waited.  Every second felt like an hour.  My imagination went wild with all the bad things that could’ve happened to my baby.  Seriously.

Within a few minutes, we saw Anton walking towards us escorted by a marshal holding his bike.  It was a huge relief to see him, but, when I saw the wounds on both knees and his arm, I freaked out.  “What happened?!!” I asked.  As the medics dressed his six (SIX! Waaah!) wounds, he recounted how he turned too fast on the curb, hit the edge of his tire on the sidewalk, flew off the bike and slid on his right side.

I wanted to hug my baby boy and forbid him from ever riding a bike again, but as I watched him tell his story with half a smirk on his face, I realized that he was completely fine.  No broken bones nor cracked helmet, no broken spirit either.  While I was a nervous wreck, this boy of mine seemed secretly proud of his battle scars.  In fact, he looked challenged to try even harder.

– Check out that smile! –

We had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen after the race and I asked him over pizza and pasta: “So, are you going to ride a bike again soon?”  He replied confidently “Yes.” probably thinking to himself: What kind of a question is that, Mom?

BGC1 (527)
– Nice seeing the Pangilinan Family at the finish! Here we are with top cyclist Robbie McEwen and Chris –

Thank you to the organizers especially the medics of BGC Cycle for caring for my son.  A doctor even met with us after to advice us on tetanus shots and appease the most worried member of the family, me! 

One Run Thanks our Sponsors and Friends

Thursday, 21 November 2013  |  Race Reports

ONE RUN: Run for the Victims of Typhoon Yolanda successfully raised P615,000 for Yolanda victims.  We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of our sponsors and friends.  Here goes our thank you list…

Thank you to Unilab Active Health for supporting One Run and managing the in kind donations for us, especially Zeny Mejias…


Thank you to Gatorade who sponsored our hydration even with only 3 days notice…


Thank you to Raymond Racaza of Run.ph for donating 100% of proceeds from sales of their limited edition Run.ph shirts which they sold on race day…

Thank you to Photo-Ops, our official photographers for One Run…(Click HERE for more run photos)


Thank you to Tin Ferrera of Simple Hydration who provided water, Jay Em of Proactive, and HDSI Medic Team who provided medical aid during the run.  Thank you to Bonifacio Global City for the support.

Thanks to friends who helped spread the word about One Run…

– with Kuya Kim Atienza who ran his first 15k at One Run after recovering from his illness –

Thank you to our volunteers, my personal friends, and Teammates from Unilab Active Health…Ton Gatmaitan, Mae Young, Bic Ferreria, Jake de Guzman, Ani de Leon, Drew Arellano, Adel Samson, Lester Castillo, and Ed Innocentes…




Thank you to our Bull Session 3 Volunteer Pacers



Thanks to friends Macel and Jun who worked behind the scenes and were willing to help organize the event at a moment’s notice…


And, last but not the least, thank to you to all the runners that donated and ran with us for One Run. One Run can and will change thousands of lives.


One Run was organized by The Bull Runner in cooperation with Unilab Active Health with the support of Gatorade. Thank you also to Bonifacio Global City, Run.ph, Simple Hydration, Proactive, Photo-Ops (our official photographer), HDSI Medic Team, Jun Cruz and Mike & Macel Janeo.