September 15, 2008

Gravity pull

Last Sunday run was another test for my strength. How can you negotiate a "mountain climb" with a difference in elevation of about hundreds of feet? Whoaa! That was the challenge laid by the MAC runners as they hosted the 7th Makiling Challenge at Los Banos, Laguna. The start and finish line was at the Baker Hall at the heart of UPLB.

The Baker Hall

The race started at past 6am with about 600 participants. The terrain is already ascending from the start line until it reaches the Palma bridge, which they call the bridge to nowhere, because you can't see the other end especially at nighttime, according to the residents. The route traversed dormitories and school buildings of the UPLB. As you go farther, the route ascends higher. The first 2.5km was already an acid test because you are already running uphill. There you will pass by the UPCO housing and the BSP gate. After reaching the turn around point of the 5km distance at the BSP rotunda, we entered the NAC gate. That was the start of the gruelling ascent. I can't run so I had to jog. After about a hundred meters I would slowly walk for another hundred meters. Jog and walk, jog and walk, as I negotiated the steep uphill climb.

When I was here about two years ago, our vehicle could hardly climb that route. I suppose the car would go back down because its really steep. The angle of inclination is close to vertical, if I may say.

It took me 30 minutes to reach the NCA housing, which is the highest point, located about 4km from the start line. From there, it was downhill with a slight ascent going to the NCA open theater, the turn around point of the 10km race. The view here is breath taking. There is a 360 degree view of the Laguna Bay and the surrounding towns. You can see the Crocodile and Talim islands. I had a chance to view the downside because we circled the theater as we turn around before heading back again to the route. The atmosphere here is so quiet as if you are close to the heavens.

I gained a little strength heading back because of the magnificent view. I forgot the fatigue I had as I greet the campers there. It is now 36mins as I peek at my Nike sportsband. Getting back again to NCA housing was an ordeal due to the steep climb. After I reached the NCA housing I briefly rested, recovered my strength and took water at the station. The next route will be going down. Time check: 47mins. As I begun to run downhill, I felt the adrenalin rush as I overtook other runners. I took small strides to keep myself balanced and to control my descent. That was a fast run. Gravitational effect is pulling me downhill as if I am being thrusted downwards. I had to slow down or otherwise I will be somewhere downstairs. Thankfully, I wear my pair of cushioned shoe, it helped a lot because the ball of my foot striked the ground first as I controlled my strides. To my surprise, it is more difficult to run downhill than running uphill because you have to control your speed.

After passing the BSP rotunda, there I gained my speed. I had to rush back to compensate the lost time. Thankfully the route is now sloping so my run was on tempo. I applied the Yasso 800's I was training the past week to see if I could handle it at this stretch. I passed by other runners as I negotiated the route back to the Baker hall. After crossing Palma bridge, I realized I do have more, so I thrusted allthroughout the finish line. The time: 1hr & 5mins.

Signing the grafitti

I can't believe I could do that. Challenging the hills of Mt. Makiling. So many lessons learned, so many experiences gathered. If I had a chance, I will be running again the MAC challenge next time and let gravity pull me once again.


  1. what a great recap, i'm quite familiar with the place because my younger brother studied at UPLB and use to have a coffee shop at Vega Center. The good thing about running is that we learned many lessons which we can apply in our daily living. Keep on running, God bless!

  2. Great race on a tough course! Familiarity with the course is truly an advantage but knowing what tactics to apply no matter what the terrain is can be just as important.

  3. Hey run unltd, congratulations! I've read a number of accounts on the Happy Feet e-mail. Definitely a tough course but you did it!

    Take care and hope to meet you in November!

  4. Korek ka jan, Bro. J. See you soon.

    Thanks PC, sound like a vet huh. Training really is an advantage.
    Talk soon.

    Thanks SFRunner, great to hear from you. I'll wait for your arrival. See you soon.