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Immuvit MetaTrail Challenge

Just a week after the body-numbing, head-spinning Metafit workout of the 2nd leg, the hard-surrendering participants were put into yet another challenge of running-and-body-workout-combo-ala-Spartan-Tough-Mudder race designed by Coaches Jim Saret and Joseph Pagulayan. A conclusion event of the 2012 Immuvit Fearless Challenge series, this 3rd leg dubbed as No Turning Back was an almost combination of Legs 1 and 2 of obstacled trail running with a twist of a Metafit workout.

Chasing Flash and Batman prior to gun-start (DefinityManila)
The race was held at the vast lands of Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna with two distance categories of 8K and 16K in obstacled trail course which are further sub-divided in waves. Pre-race, the venue was already festive as a lot of the Participants have became friends and became much closer already from the constant mingling on the previous legs.

Getting more familiar and more at-ease already with obstacled trail running, I became more excited with the newer obstacles ahead which are the oil wall, the sand bag, and the much higher military wall. Then I was surprised when Coach Ian Alacar told us that there will also be 2 ice pools that we have to conquer. I remembered this was previously mentioned to us by Coach Joseph during our conversation with him at the 2nd leg but I haven't recalled him saying that it will be on the 3rd leg (or because I was still dizzy that time from the body-numbing metafit workout).

So without further ado, here's my own view of my 16K trail course along with its obstacles:

Fire Jump
Jump or be burned (WithoutLimits)
As our wave started at 6:40AM, the first obstacle just a few meters away from the starting line did not fail to give more excitement to the runners. But as compared to the 1st leg's fire jump, this one is relatively easier because the pavement is concrete flat that you wouldn't worry about your balance after the jump.

Oil Wall
About 100-meters away from the fire jump comes the 50-feet length of approximately 45 to 50-degrees angled oil wall - a tarpaulin-covered trail area, made more slippery by the oil that was spread throughout the smooth side of the tarpaulin. I heard that there were a lot who slid down for n-times. It was really a challenging obstacle specially if you can't use much the strength of your upper body and arms, as well as if your shoe doesn't have a better grip. I think the suspended pull-ups of the 2nd leg was a great training for this kind of obstacle.
Oil Wall (WithoutLimits)

There was about 3 or 4 kilometers of trail running after the oil wall. The trails of Nuvali which is more of grass lands always gives me the feeling of running endlessly. Thus it also always makes me aware of my hiding physical pains. I was already having a good lead and pace when I felt a strange pain on the inner-side of my right-knee which slowed me down. Stretching won't even ease the pain so I also started taking more caution on each of my stride and steps.

Tire Dump and Tire Skip
A small hill of tire dumps greeted us next, I was a bit limping already when I approached it so I chose to just jump on the lower side of the mound and landed on my left foot. I realized more about my being right-sided as I felt awkward landing first on left foot. After a few meters and a left turn comes a longer stretch of tire skip than the 1st leg.

Following these easier hurdles were another endless running under and inside the freshly-cut grass trails. Here I try not to stop from running as I waited for my right knee to get numb.

Log Hurdles
The set of log hurdles here are much higher, but not as stiff and strong compared to the log hurdles of the 1st leg. There were marshals manning at the higher ones to hold and assist both the logs and the runners. Still, after each of my jump I try to land on my left leg.

Sand Bag
Photo by Top-top Gaviola
As we got out from the trail, the next course was a run on concrete and flat roads -- while carrying a bag or two of sands. On the area where the sand bags are located, a streamer signage which read "stronger men carry two" boosted my pride to carry two bags which is 4 or 5-kilos heavy each. After picking up the bags and turning on the road, the pain on my right knee seemed to have shouted at me and that's when I realized that I totally forgot about the pain already. Too late to turn back and return the other bag, I continued to run not knowing again that the distance that we have to carry the bag was about a kilometer. It was a great relief when I finally made it to the sand's dumping point.

Garter Maze and River Crossing
Boulders on the river (RJKnight Runner)
The garter maze was for me a chance to relax as I just rolled under it and the river crossing was fun and enjoyable as the waters gave a cooling effect on my calves, knees, and legs, and sometimes even up to my chest whenever I get to a deeper part of the river.

The river crossing stretched to around 800-meters to 1-kilometer in distance which was more than enough to fill-up our shoes with sands and pebbles. Going out from the river, the next uphill routes became so exhausting as my body have already cooled down and lungs back to relaxed state. My calves also started to cramp as I climbed the hills.

Military Crawl and a Surprise Swamp
Prior to crawling under the muds, the lady marshal stationed at this obstacle carefully informed us to go towards the white tank ahead of us so as not to get lost. The crawl was easier than the 1st leg as the net was much higher. Then came the silent, stagnant, swallowing swamp which I thought was just below the knee deep but as I get farther, the waters slowly submerges me. Behind me was a mysterious-looking man slowly walking while fixing an earphone to his ear. Unsure if there was a man-hole or black-hole or whatever hole it would be, I swam dog-style (can't do it freestyle) through the murky waters beyond half-way just to be sure that I get safely on the other side. Some runners behind me followed!

No Turning Back
Going straight towards the white tank that the marshal told us, we realized that we were still going the wrong way. We were lost, there was no way out towards the said tank but just a factory of some sort. We still tried to find other way towards it but the people on the factory told us that all there is to it are walls so we just have to go back. But hey, this race is supposed to be "No Turning Back"! Nevertheless, we have turn back to find our way again and near the edge of the swamp, we saw a marshal (was he a ghost? we didn't seen him on our way out) who realized that we got lost. He pointed us to turn right towards the trails.

Inside the trail with some cut tree branches, runners are scrambling again for another way out as there were no markers nor sign of the tracks of the runners who went ahead. The remains of the cut grasses gave us the hint of where we should go and there we found the right way. Going out from the trees, I saw the mysterious-looking man already leading the runners at a Y-intersection. Wow, he was a marshal after all but didn't bother to call us when he was just following us at the swamp.

Military Wall
The sight of the Military wall from afar seems like an empty billboard at NLEX. It was 3x higher than the 1st leg. I walked for a few meters towards it and started to take a momentum so I could initially climb higher but my already stiff back prevented me from grabbing the rope. I and the marshals all laughed at the same time when I fell back. I reached the top after the second try. Sliding down, I shifted my weight to my left as I landed below so as not to put much pound on my right leg.

Ice Pool
Frost-bite ala Cramp (Gab Spotted)
Here's my gladness when I saw the ice pool. My calves were still cramping and my right knee was more painful already so I thought that the ice pool would do great when it cooled my legs. But as I crawled towards the ice pool, my right toes suddenly cramped also which prevented me from moving. I forced myself towards the 1st pool of ice and as I went down, I felt so refreshed until my quads conspired with the rest of my legs, all cramping now. It was then that I realized that the cold pool was causing my leg muscles to contract tighter. Then I was already desperately trying and struggling to get out of the ice pool. At the second pool, my toes felt as if it got frost-bitten, and my legs became so heavy now that I was already literally dragging my lower body out. It was a wrong move staying longer at the pool!

Towards the Finish
Getting out from the second ice pool, I was already limping from the combined frost-bite and cramps of my quads and calves. My legs seems frozen as I was having hard-time lifting them up and striding properly. But then the sight and call of the finish line was already near. I was running towards it, at the shoulder of the road and each stride that I make was a counter-cramp punishment coupled with the knee-pain.

Pushing while in pain (DefinityManila)
I was just pushing and forcing my lower body until, my left calf knotted its muscles with excruciating pain. I stopped to massage and press it for a while before I proceeded to the final obstacle which was the fire jump once again. I got confused on how will I do the jump. What will I land first? The left leg which was already knotted in cramps? Or my right leg which is also cramping and with the knees aching? If I could only land on my arms then sprint towards the finish line upside down. :)

Not wanting to compromise my right knee, I just did a single-leg hop towards the fire jump and to the finish line. Oh how I missed my aNR-days!

The whole Immuvit Fearless Challenge experience was great, from Leg 1 to the final leg, it was really a test not just of one's running prowess but also of his whole body fitness. I am glad that in all these three legs, I was able to push myself. Comparing the trail obstacle of legs 1 and 3, it was the 1st leg which was harder for me, and where I also pushed my trail running speed further. But the 3rd leg was also challenging at the same time. I wasn't able to push my speed but the obstacles proved to have tested my will against the pains of my body. In contrast, it was the 2nd leg which I dreaded the most and which have pushed much much more further both my cardio fitness and my full body strength.

With these experiences, I am welcoming as early as now a much longer and more challenging Immuvit Fearless series next year. Let's do it the Spartan way! Who's with me? =)

You may also read my 1st and 2nd leg race report from the following links:
  • Leg 1: No Surrender - an obstacled trail course of 5K and 10K at La Mesa Nature Forest Reserve;
  • Leg 2: No Excuses - a Metafit workout that tested the whole fitness of the participants held at Quezon Memorial Circle;
Special thanks to WithoutLimits, ProActive, Pascual Lab, Outbound Communications, Coaches Jim Saret, Joseph Pagulayan, Ian Alacar, Definity, the Photographers, and to all the people behind this very successful event.

Race Profile:
Distance: 16 turned 18 km.
Official Time: 2:23:59
Official Rank: 21st
Total Obstacles: 12

Race Info:
When: October 6, 2012.
Where: Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
Event: Immuvit Fearless Trail Challenge Leg 2


  1. Congrats on your obstacle trail turned aquathlon Fearless Atom!!!

  2. Congratulations to you also Franc :) See you on more trail races. :)


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