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What Goes Up, Goes Down

My usual yuletide vacations in Baguio makes me reminisce the routes that I took during the early days of my running. From the famous jogging grounds of Burnham park, the Athletic bowl, South drive, Outlook drive, Teacher's Camp, Leonard Wood road, Loakan road, John Hay, and Queen of Peace. The terrains of these roads have already left a map on my varicose veins, and I always look up on these routes literally for the unfading challenge it puts on to me. I especially love the hills of Outlook drive going to Mines View, and Queen of Peace road going up to Dominican.

Aside from the vacation stays in Baguio, there are also races outside my hometown which brings back memories of these roads.

Bio-Killer Hills at the Biodiversity Run

During my previous race at UP Los Baños, Laguna for the Biodiversity Run that was held last Sep. 4, 2010, the more than 4.5 kilometers of continuous uphill and 5 kilometers continuous downhill race made my lung burst into surrender, knees pounded into pieces, and my shoe's sole open wide. I said "continuous" since the first half of the route consisted primarily of going up the hills of Mt. Makiling for around 4.7 kilometers until the U-turn, and a continuous 4.90 kilometers (approx.) downhill from the U-turn towards the finish line.

Finishing the first half for more than 44 minutes felt like I have never ever experienced running in my life. But the final half made me feel that I have greatly conquered a piece of Mt. Makiling, finishing it at around 20 minutes.

This race also made me bid goodbye to my Reebok Trail shoes which has been my companion on my first Marathon, and my first trail run. It was also during this race that I regretted all the chances that I missed and skipped to train on those lovely routes in Baguio. What went up, did really went down!

Time:  1:05:55 Rank:  16th out of 76 10k Finishers

Flood of Strides, for the Flood of Hopes

Three weeks after the bio-killer race, it was again time for another test of strength and will during the Thunderbird Resort's "Ondoy No More" fun run. Held at the highlands of the Sierra Madre range in Binangonan, Rizal, the tranquil valley did not also escape the routing maps on my varices and callous on the toes.

The race was for the raising of funds for the great typhoon "Ondoy" which devastated many lives and properties exactly a year ago from the race day, Sep. 26, 2010. The short 5 kilometer distance, majority consisting of uphills did not spare my quads and calves. It was also the first time that I raced my VFF Sprint (courtesy of BarefootWear Inc.). The straight uphill with an elevation of around 45 degrees gave my lungs an explosion and deep taste of the cool breeze of Binangonan. What goes up, can still get drowned!

Time:  0:25:33 Rank:  14th out of 174 5k Finishers

Vertical Challenge

November 27, 2010, just like last November 2009, my calendar for this month was again filled with races, with a lot of good options to choose from. This time, I took the challenge of joining the BGC's Vertical Marathon courtesy of Skechers. As the name suggests, it is a race going up the Mt. Everest, I mean... E-Services bldg. at the Bonifacio Global City.

I joined the half-century category, which would only cover 25 floors up and 25 floors down. The first nine floors consisted of the parking ramp, and the remaining 16 levels is a swirling stairs of the building's emergency exit.

Before the race even started, the nervousness I could feel was almost the same as when I had my very first fun run (called it "Marathon" that time). I haven't had any ladder trainings beforehand, nor enough preparation for such race category. So at the starting line, all I could think of is "I don't want to get knocked unconscious, rolling down the building towards the ambulance".

Thankfully, I still managed to race through the parking ramp and the stairs up to the 22nd floor until my lungs got almost deflated. My legs are burning, and so heavy as I reached the final step of the 25th floor. Going down wasn't easy either. My head was already spinning and I'm already seeing stars as I start to decent. The first four flights of stairs was like a roller coaster ride that I almost feel like puking. All these unease and lung-leg torture tandem happened in just a span of 0:13:11.77 (13 mins. 11.77 secs.). Sometimes, the route going up, might not be as easy as going down!

Vengeance or Surrender

The final race I had before the year ended was the rocking challenge at the scenic and historical island of Corregidor last December 19, 2010. It listed as the 2nd most expensive race I have joined for 2010 (next to my TBR Dream Marathon), but at the same time, it was also one of the most memorable race of-a-lifetime.

Like my usual races, my mind was set to finish the race with the best shot that I could give as much as possible. I was even positioned in front of the starting line while the Elite ones are on our back (bad lining-up I know). But just a few meters after the gun-start, I just settled to taking the run as a not-so-serious, picture-race mode.

This race then turned-out not as a vengeance, nor a surrender, but as an indulgence to the nature's beauty, a taste of history, and a good camaraderie. But still, unforgiving as it is, the trails, terrains, the seemingly unending uphill on the 10th kilometer and the killer hill on the 18th kilometer did not fail to challenge my will and strength. It was a "run-in-the-park" finishing at 2:23:09 (2 hrs. 23 mins. & 9 secs.). Laugh at the hardships, and enjoy the comforts, that's how you will learn to conquer the rock of your own life.


  1. Hi Running Atom...I just activated my blog LDS Runner and promised to keep it active from now on. You commented on my blog about the Cebu
    Temple some months back. There's an ultra marathon in Cebu scheduled on May 1. It is a 65 kilometer race from Toledo City to the capitol. You may want to schedule a trip to Cebu for this. By the way, I'll be presenting to RUNNR office in Manila next month so I decided to run the Condura Skyway Marathon...hope to see you there. LDS Runner

  2. Hi LDSRunner, yeap I remember your blog and the comment. Thanks din po for the invite but sadly wala pa po akong lakas ng loob na tumakbo ng Ultra distance eh, hehe...

    Condura Skyway Marathon, I'll be there too running the full, I hope we could see each other either before or after the run. :)

  3. @James yeap I did kaya hndi na ako tumakbo sa RWM :)

  4. You are one racing maniac man. More like the racing atom. Those are some incredible times. Racing in VFFs. Loved the pics. Just got me some lighter shoes for more speed (asics sky) but not dare yet attempting the whole minimalistic approach to running. Keep cracking!

  5. @Kenley, hehe... not really as racing maniac as you are. Asics Sky is definitely light as it's name implies. Would you be flying in the sky when you race it? :D
    VFFs are great, and I'm already loving it, you should try it Sir Kenley :)


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