December 18, 2012

Zoot Ultra Series 2012 Footwear Launch

Days just before X'mas, I was invited at the launch of the Zoot Footwear at Riovana BHS. The event was graced by other blogging friends and was hosted by Light 'N Up Marketing, Inc, a distribution company responsible for bringing high performance and high quality sports products to the Philippines. The discussion not only focused on footwear technology but also dealt on apparel and compression products. 

The three new models of Zoot footwear are the Ultra Kane 3.0, a trainer shoe with moderate stability and cushion ideal for high mileage training. The Ultra Kalani 3.0, a neutral shoe good for high mileage training and races. And the Ultra Kiawe, a racing flat with ultra fast response, ideal for elite and efficient runners.

New model of Zoot footwear on display at Riovana.
Auty Villarama of Light 'N Up explaining the Zoot product technology.
Celebrity endorsers of Zoot products, Magali, Anthony & Maricel.  
A closer look on a Zoot footwear.
Over-all, the launch was a success and I'm looking forward to wear a Zoot footwear and experience the new technology that their product boasts. Thank you again to Auty Villarama and Maggie Magdangal of Light 'N Up for inviting me to the event.

Here are some of the excerpts from the Zoot product launch.

Zoot Footwear Technology

What do we stand for?
  • Lighter - Runners want to feel light on their feet. Being light does not mean losing integrity.
  • Faster - Fast feels good. Fast looks good.
  • Cooler - Cool feet perform better. Cool feet last longer.
Zoot product focus on
  • Meaningful fit.
  • Meaningful feel.
  • Meaningful function.

Apparel Technology
  • Cleanfinish Waistband Construction. The cleanfinish waistband on our run shorts replace the traditional gartered finish found in most shorts. This soft, elastic finish allows for a comfortable fit unrestricted by drawstrings.
  • Flatlock Seam Construction. Comfort means forgetting you're wearing anything at all. Flatlock seams ensure next-to-skin comfort and help prevent chafing.
  • 360 degrees Reflectivity. Sometimes, heading out in daylight just isn't an option. On early morning or evening runs, Zoot's reflective accents help you stay safe.
  • Icefil Technology. Ultracell AC with Icefil combines xylitol and thermal radiation nano technology, reducing skin temperature up to 3 degrees centigrade and provides UPF 50+ sun protection.
Compression Technology
  • CRx - Graduated compression.
  • ZoneRx - Zone compression.
  • SynchroRx - Lightweight, moisture-wicking, odor-eliminating.

December 5, 2012

My CM50 Badass Experience

Vener F. Roldan reached the Miyamit Falls in 5h 30m, he's now heading to the peak.
It was in the early morning of Sunday when I was at Miyamit. I immediately called Xty and told her that I reached the waterfalls. The time is 6:30am. After a couple of picture taking and a refreshing short stay at the falls, I proceeded with my run. I still have a good 11.5km of climb before the summit, the turn around point of the CM 50milerace. That was Xty's first FB status during the race.

The run back to AS4 was arduous because of the uphill stretch from the waterfalls, I conserved my energy and mostly walked the route running only on the flat portions. The slippery trail added more difficulty on my footings. One by one I came across the other runners who were going down the falls including the lead runners from the 60km category. Macoy, Alex, Jose and Mia among them, they were fast. I climbed back to AS4 20mins after, and had a brief rest. After eating and rehydrating, Romy came back from the falls below and we prepared ourselves for the long climb to the summit. There were 14 runners ahead of us who are on their way up.

Coming To The Race.

A day before, on the afternoon of Saturday, Romy, Bennett and I headed to Clark for the race. We were billeted at the Clark Hostel, a stone throw away from the venue of the race. After a good early dinner at the Lomi Haus of Airport City, we went to have our needed rest. But, alas, it was just a good three and a half hour of sleep. Our call time was at 10pm. At 11pm we were lined up for the registration at the  Clark parade grounds together with other runners. As we waited for the 1:00am gun time, we killed the remaining moment by chatting with friends and other participants and by preparing our drop bags. Photo sessions took away the boredom of waiting for the race start too.

My drop bags (there were two of them for the two different aid stations) were composed of food and drinks for my nutrition and gear. One of them had my extra shirt and a pair of shoes for replacement. I wore my trusty Chedie during the first 23km, from Clark to Sapang Uwak, since the route had river trekking. Chedie is a good, minimalist shoe that drains faster during river crossings enabling me to perform faster. Although she lacks cushioning (which is a must for ultras) she is so light that I can place my footing accurately even on technical trail. At the second part, it was Scarlett's turn, from Sapang Uwak to the peak and back to the finish line at Clark. She did well during the long run. Scarlett is a long distance performer with enough cushioning allowing me to run better on both trail and concrete pavement. She is light and efficient too.

It's Just Too Dark Out There.

After a short race briefing by the good RD, we were flagged-off at 1:00am of Sunday. 59 of us runners for the 50-mile race answered the gun time. I stayed at the middle of the pack and enjoyed my easy pace, a tested strategy of mine so as not to waste myself during the race. The route started from a concrete pavement before a short single-track trail that lead to the Sacobia river. The route from the first   trailhead was dark until the river, every runner relied on their headlamp just to navigate the wide river basin. There were blinkers installed just before we reached AS1, some 7km away from the starting line. It was 55 minutes on my watch when I reached the said aid station, after a sandwich and a gulp of soda, I continued on my run.
Shortly after, we were running on dirt road after a steep ascent at the Puning spa. This is where I came within Romy, who started fast, ran with him for a while and eventually left him behind. I ran mostly alone until Sitio Target and caught up with the group of Ronnel and Melvin after I climbed the concrete stair. I knew exactly how many steps are there at that stair, ask me. I lead the group as we traversed the single-track, up and down trail route further until Sitio Ebus, the location of AS2.

salamat ng madami sir for guiding me nung first 23 km! Nakaiwas sa matinding ligaw!
The route to the AS2 was treacherous, the single track trail stretches for kilometers that includes segments of an up and down terrain, there were sections that runners used rope to rappel going down. The entries after the river crossings were deceiving that many got lost. Since I was among those who did the recon run, I was comfortable that I won't get lost, which I did. Our group navigated the sugarcane plantations with ease and we reached AS2 after 2 hours. We ran a total of 14.75km from the start. After a short pitstop we proceeded and entered the Pasig-Potrero River, a vast 2km stretch of lahar-covered river bed. We missed the markers at this juncture and relied heavily on the lights ahead of us. As we approached the river crossing, I was surprised by the different landscape, the river crossing is now waist-deep as compared to the ankle-high crossing we did during the recon run. We managed to crossed it with the help of two locals manning the rope and headed again to another sugarcane plantation. The pace was still steady as I ran behind Majo and Meljohn, Ronnel and the others tailing behind us. We reached the dirt road by the SCTEX and crossed the two tunnels that lead us to Sapang Uwak. Sir Jovie was there at the exit of the tunnel cheering on us. We were at AS3 some 3hours and 15minutes after. This was km23.

The High Roads To Miyamit.

We had a great rest at AS3, I changed my shoes and ate my jollihotdog baon from my drop bag as I patiently waited for the other runners to come. After some 18minutes, I left the aid station and together with Melvin, we threaded the steep uphill towards Miyamit. I shared to Melvin some of the things that lie ahead of us, the elevation, the course and everything. I had been there, done that, during the recon run, Melvin just got excited after hearing those, tough man, eh! He then slowly left me behind as I had difficulty in doing the uphills, I mostly walked all of it. Simon and CJ passed me by eventually. I continued with my run as I reviewed my strategies for the last part of the race. I caught with Ronnel who is suffering from cramps, handed him one of my hydrites and stayed with him for a while. I left him behind just in time. Another tough guy.

It was at this long and winding uphill dirt road where Patrick caught me, we ran together as the dawn slowly breaks. We were witness of the scenic surrounding of Miyamit, the mighty mountains, the winding rivers below and the unending dirt road ahead of us. The roads are being widened perhaps to promote tourism for the Miyamit waterfalls. Local aetas' makeshift houses lined along the road although spaced far apart with each other. Patrick is a veteran of several mountain climbs and a podium finisher too. He's young, lean and fast. He trailed behind me at the first stage of the race after getting lost by almost 4km and disappeared in darkness after passing by me. I was surprised to see him at this juncture behind me, he said he got lost again. Getting lost for the second time took a lot of desire in him and he seemed to be disappointed. But his true wit and enthusiasm brought him through. We run together to Miyamit until we reached the AS4 shortly before 6:00am.

Lead runners emerged from the waterfalls still fresh and in high spirits as they eat and hydrate at the AS4. A further check from the marshals revealed that there were three runners who passed the aid station and made their way to the summit. They were Marcelo, Simon and Koi. Jerome and Mark resting. After a while Jael, Alden and Jon arrived in succession from the falls, I had a good conversation with them before I went down. Jael, who run shirtless from the very start still sported this style, ala Anton Krupicka. I guess he is Jael's favorite since he also wear a minimalist shoe.

I searched for my drop bag and deposited my headlamp and other gear before I head down to the waterfalls. Patrick went ahead of me after regaining his strength. The route down to the falls is a single-track trail with bushes on both sides. Way below, on the downhill, the surface was now covered with moss. It was evident from the route above as I noticed that the road was somewhat wet because of the rain. I had trouble negotiating my way down because of the glassy trail condition, there were times where Scarlett slipped, but the good thing is I was able to maintain my balance all the way. I reached the waterfalls unscathed, and once again enjoyed the marvel of the place.

The Rise To The Summit.

After securing my belongings from the drop bags, Romy and I began our climb to the summit. The route lead us to a single-track, bushy trail and into the forest. The weather was hot with the sun shining mightily but not until we reached the mossy forest. Here, the surrounding get colder and colder and it started to drizzle. It manifest that the summit had a different weather from the lowlands, I was awed by what I saw. The weather here is apparently the same from what I witnessed when I was at Mt. Ugo, months back; cold, drizzling and windy. I can't hardly see the surrounding mountains because of the thick fog, there's no way I can get a better photograph too.

After 2km from AS4, Marcelo came across us on his way back in his blazing pace. He can still managed to jump the crevices and obstacles  along the way, but I can see the fatigue in his face. I guess he was on his second wind as he ran the downhill portion back. Not for a long while, Simon emerged. He's still strong and agile, he told us that we were gifted with a good weather. According to him the weather during last year's race was far more different because of the intense heat even at the summit. He glanced at his watch after we inquired our location and told us that we still have a good 6km before the summit. We bid goodbye as he continued on his run back to the finish line. Koi, Mark, Alden, Jael, Jon, Jessie and the rest of the lead runners followed. The weather is still getting colder as we got near the summit.

We came across several mountain tops along the way but still no Isko nor Mark was there, the summit is still a long way to go. I always ask every runner that we came across, but, "it's just very near ahead", was their constant reply. Romy and I soldiered our way slowly to the summit, walked the uphills and jog the downhills, until we reached our destination. Total time elapsed, 8h36m, 2hours from AS4. We were 30mins late from my target. There Isko, Mark and a local patiently waiting for each and everyone of us. The visibility at the summit was almost zero, and the temperature was freezing cold. We have had our picture taken and stayed for a while, had my snack of my cheeseburger baon and had the privilege of removing the sands that entered my shoes. Shortly after, runners came in droves.

We did not waste our time at the summit and headed down towards AS4. It was 10:00am and there's a long way to go. I ran again with Patrick and left Romy behind, trailing us closely. We were met by some other runners heading to the peak as we went down, Daphne, Jonel and the rest. Bennet came across us somewhere in the middle of AS4 and the summit, I assumed he was the last runner. He told me that he had difficulties on his knees, he just wanted to reach the summit and dnf from there. Another tough guy, eh! We carried on and got back to AS4 after 1h35m from the summit. I again called Xty and relied to her the news.

Vener F. Roldan at the summit 8h 30m. now back @ Aid Station 4 in 10h 35m.
30k more..
Heading Back.

Patrick and I were eating at AS4 when Romy and Chips came. After a short rest, the four of us made our way towards AS3 in Sapang Uwak. Melvin who arrived ahead of us went ahead. We negotiated the steamy road towards Sapang Uwak under the intense heat of the sun. The four of us exchanged lead changes until we reached AS3. We had an ample rest there as we exchanged pleasantries among each other and the marshals manning the aid station. Two 60km runners were also there eating and resting. I changed on a new pair of socks and replaced my singlet with a fresh one from my drop bag. Eating after eating we filled our bladder to the max and prepared for the final assault.

The five of us, Romy, Patrick, Chips, Melvin and I left AS3 at about 2:00pm. We headed back to SCTEX until we made it to the sugarcane plantation. Chips faded away before we entered the tunnel and was left behind, maybe due to the intense heat of the sun toasting our back. The four of us continued, our pace getting stronger because of the cover from the sugarcanes. Reaching the Pasig-Potrero river and crossing it after, we were back to lahar fields, walking mostly the entire route. A sigh of relief greeted us when we arrived back at AS2 in Sitio Ebus. We had a good break there and continued our journey after eating, photo opps and replenishing our hydration gears.

Still Strong, Going Alone.

Not far from Sitio Ebus, Melvin and Patrick slowed down because of the steep traverse along the way. I continued my run, Romy trailing me behind, until we eventually left the two. The single track trail resulted to difficulties in my footing that slowed my pace, but I regained composure after I reached the last sugarcane plantation. For each and every turn, I looked for the three but it seems that they fall deeply behind me. I prodded along until I climbed back the two rope-assisted slope on my way back to Sitio Target. I kept shouting on them everytime I am at the top, but no one answered. Oh my, I am going to run all the way to the finish line, I thought. And so I did. I ran the last 11km alone, with Romy shadowing me from far behind from time to time.
The sun's ray is now turning into golden hues as I entered Sitio Target. People were outside their homes and into the roadside, a typical barrio scene whenever the sun is setting. Surprisingly I wasn't feeling any fatigue or discomfort during this time. For the longest time running, I am still strong and eager to finish early. I calculated my time for every step I made, that is to reach the finish line before dark set in. I can still feel the spring in my legs as I head to AS1. I could vividly recall what Jon told me during the recon run, "with your possessed strength, liliparin nyo lang yan pababa, pabalik sa finish line".

Pedz, the running atom, was excited to see me when I reached them at AS1. The crew immediately assisted me, someone prepared a sandwich with pineapple spread and handed it to me. Request granted. They asked me if I still wanted some more, I pointed at the canned sausages and without hesitation, one of the crew opened it and gave me some.

I could not ask for more when it comes to the support that these people shared among us runners. They came to the race without asking for anything in return. Hats-off to you guys, you were the true heroes. Everyone from the four aid stations rendered excellent service. In return, I never missed to say thank you to them whenever I leave their post.

Lost In The Trails.

Shortly after, Romy, Jepoy and I left AS4 and started our trek of the Sacobia river. Being the strongest among the three I went ahead and braved the lahar-surfaced river. Here I made to recite a set of the rosary, a thing I always do in my runs especially when I am alone. The sun is already setting at this point in time, it's about 5:00pm. I was already running for 16 long hours. As I got closer to the bank, I saw two locals heading into the trailhead, and asked them the way to Clark. The male pointed to me the way they are heading and assured me that it was the right way. Noticing that there were no markers, I still continued until I reached the small community of aetas by the road side. One of the locals pointed me the way leading to the gate of Clark but I hesitated to proceed. I told him I am looking for the trail that we entered the night before, but he insisted that it was the right way. He told me that was the shortest way to Clark and there's only one gate getting there. Assuring me that it was indeed the way we traversed during the night. But he did not convinced me since there were no markers that I found. He even told me that one of the runners ahead of me did followed that road that he was pointing.
I almost prodded to follow into his direction but my clearest mind directed me to backtrack instead. I had ran this long, there's no way I'm going to pull a fast one on this race. I haven't did cheat in all of my races, and will never do one. I ran back towards the river, flying over the trails to catch Romy and Jepoy, only to find them going into my lost direction too. I told them that we were lost and they  immediately turned back. I went ahead again and found the markers just some 300 meters from where I got lost. I followed the markers, this time smiling and with assurance that I did the right thing. After the trails I reached the house beside the road that we ran into during the early dawn. There, the man who pointed me the way to Clark earlier was smiling at me, saying "sabi ko sa'yo, dito ka rin lalabas." I answered back and said "magkukulang po kasi yung tinakbo ko kung di ako bumalik", he nodded, still smiling.

Strong Finish.

I traced back the legit paved route from there and ran the last stretch towards the finish line. I later realized that the paved route the local man was telling was different, and was a shortcut towards the Clark complex.

The yellow hues turned into blue when I entered the Clark parade ground. A sound from a horn was reverberating into the thin air when I ran the last stretch and into the finish line. There Jon, the good RD was patiently waiting beneath the huge streamer dangling at the finish line. And into his outstretched arms he welcomed me as I crossed the finish line and wrapped the medal around my neck.

Vener F. Roldan is now a Certified Bad Ass Marathoner. He finished the Clark Miyamit 50 miles Ultra Trail Run in 16 hours 45 minutes. I am so proud of you, Dad.
I can stop worrying now...

After 16h42m I made it, finished 12th among the 59 starters. The hills of the Clark-Miyamit Falls 50Mile race were unforgiving that only the strong survived. Doing tough will make you tough as the saying goes, it just revealed that I can also do such. The experience is just overwhelming. There are 101 reasons why I will run again the CM50Mile Race, do you have yours? I earned the respect of being a certified badass ultra runner. Thus, I am leaving you with these quotes:
It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys. ~Emil Zatopek
Out of sufferings have emerged the strongest souls; the massive characters are seared with scars. ~Kahlil Gibrain
Photos courtesy of Jovie Narcise, Managan Ta Bai, Joseph Patrich Bonaobra, Running Atom and Team Ungas. 

December 3, 2012

13,000+ Runners At The Nike We Run Manila 2012

More than 13,000 runners of Nike We Run Race energizes the streets of Manila.

Filipino runners blaze trails in the 2012 race edition to advance global running movement. 
PHILIPPINES, 2 December 2012 – More than 13,000 runners took to the streets of the city of Pasay early this morning to run in the Nike We Run MNL 10K race. The annual event presented runners with the unique opportunity to be a part of the global We Run race movement, forging a new global community of 395,500 runners from 32 cities through Nike’s most connected race series with innovative Nike+ technology. 

Mia Constantino crossed the Nike We Run MNL 10K finish line first in the Under-24 female category, with a timing of 52 minutes and 29 seconds. Mia placed second in the 2011 edition of Nike We Run MNL 10K and she gleefully shares her experience this year as truly memorable. “I have finally gotten over the hump!” exclaimed Mia. Second place winner Clarisse Francesca Yeung who completed with a time of 55 minutes shared the same sentiments, and said, “I feel so proud to be part of this race which places Philippines on the map of this global running movement.” 

Leading the men’s under-24 category is Immanuel Camino, clocking in 33 minutes and 30 seconds. Immanuel has prepared well for this run – undergoing speed and long run trainings twice a day, every week. “I feel so happy and proud with this achievement. At last, I am coming home with an award!” shared Immanuel. “It is a great opportunity to be part of this race that gathers the Filipino youth. It feels so great to be part of this movement.” 

This year, runners gathered at the Mall of Asia grounds activity area for the race flag off at 5:30am and crossed the finish line at Seaside Boulevard set against the remarkable view of Manila Bay. Runners paced themselves along the urban commercial scenery past landmarks such as the SMX Convention Center, SM Bay City Arena and Belle Casino among others. 

At the Nike We Run MNL 10K Race Village located at the corner of Seaside Boulevard and Bayshore Avenue, runners connected with each other and celebrated their running achievements. All finishers received a Finisher’s Tee to commemorate their running achievement. Participants and supporters were treated to popular local music acts such as Never The Strangers, Chicosci and Sponge Cola, making the Nike We Run MNL 10K a celebration of music and running. 

“We are thrilled to bring the Nike We Run race back to the Philippines, and were overwhelmed with the tremendous support shown by its local running community. Witnessing a wave of more than 13,000 runners stretched across Seaside Boulevard is remarkable knowing that Filipinos, especially the youth, are committed to an active lifestyle. With our innovations and the Nike+ running community, we hope that the Filipino runners continue motivating and inspiring each other to be the best runners they can be,” shared Sanjay Gangopadhyay, Marketing Director of Nike South East Asia. 

Nike Philippines donated to the Foundation (AdAF) in partnership with the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF) for their We Can Be Anything education advocacy campaign for the Filipino youth. 

The Nike We Run race series is Nike’s most connected race series yet with innovative Nike+ technology. The race series kicked off on September 1 in Prague, Czech Republic, and will conclude on December 15 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Runners can also stay connected on the Nike Running Philippines Facebook community: or on Twitter via @NikePH.