November 5, 2012

The High Roads To CM50

I'm still sore today. Quads are kinda feeling tighter, I can't stand-up properly neither walk with ease. But hey, I just ran 22 something kilometers on the hills of Sapang Uwak to Miyamit and back. It's just a quarter of what I am doing in the next 20 days. How much more if I completed the 80km grueling race. The answers will be revealed after November 25. I hope to make it at the finish line.

Two days ago, Romy, Rene and I travelled to Pampanga to join the recon run for the upcoming CM50 Race and were met by the race director and good friend Jon Lacanlale at Clark Field. It was a pre-determined 42km recon run from the base camp to the peak and back, but it was changed to just half of the distance since the route to the peak is not yet cleared of bushes, making it impossible to traverse. But the good RD made sure that the route will be ready come race day. Instead we were allowed to hike the view deck as side trip. After a short briefing, we convoyed to the base camp in four vehicles, Ed Yonzon joined us at the toll gate later. 

After a brief talk, a short prayer and group hugs (photos), we started the run. It was 5am and the moon was bright, making it manageable to run even without the mandatory head lamps. The wind, colder. It was an uphill stretch from the start, (sorry but I can't show you the graphical representation, I have no device as such) until the view deck, some 9km away. The roads to Miyamit Falls are hilly, majority of which are ascending all the way. There are downhills too going to the peak but are a few; but on the way back, yes there are many. The views are magical, all throughout the route. The panorama is amazing. Everyone of us were treated to a 360-degree view at the view deck. One can see Mt. Arayat, Mt. Pinatubo, Miyamit Falls cascading in the heart of the mountain region and the lahar-decked rivers of Pampanga and Tarlac in all four corners. You can also hear the rushing waters from the Miyamit Falls, that is how serene the place is. You can see the rivers snake through the valleys and into the plains created by the eruption some two decades ago. The blue sky touches the green landscape everywhere you look at, the mountain hinterlands looked covered in green carpet.

From the view deck we went down to the trailhead and into the falls, less than 2km away. A single-track, downhill trail lead us to the heart of the jungle and into the magnificent beauty of the Miyamit Falls. The view at the foot of the cascading cool, snowy white waters is awesome. We had a good stay at the falls. Many swam and took photos. I consumed my time resting, eating and discussing the strategies we are about to do come race day with Romy, Jon and the rest. Soon after, we head back and hiked the trail from the falls. It took us more than 20 agonizing minutes to reach the clearing. The climb back was so difficult, I had to rest every now and then. Come race day, 10 more kilometers of undulating uphills and downhills are to be conquered to reach the peak, that is the turn around point.

Upon reaching the road, I made my slow run getting back to the base camp, it's about 9:30am and the sun's heat was baking us. I gathered my strength and slowly increased my pace, ran the downhills and sprinted on the flats, as if recovering my lost times. I'm a slow climber, but I can run really fast going down.

It took me more than an hour to reach the base camp including pit stopping for a cold drink at one of the sari-sari store at Sapang Uwak. There, I gulped on the sweetest Sparkle soda in Pampanga. Romy told me later he had one too. And Rene, believe it or not, three bottles. FTW! I had a dip in the stream near the base camp as I cooled down while waiting for the others to arrive. We have had a good chat during the wait. Come race day, we still have some 19km to run before the finish line, under the intense heat of the sun, that is.

After returning to the Clark Field the three of us had a sumptuous lunch of bulalo, pusong sisig, relyeno, lechon kawali and the coldest soda together with Jon, Bert, Benj and Francis. The other two groups came shortly but we left them for our travel back to Manila.

The morning after, Romy and I had a recovery run in UP Diliman. I did 18km that made my day, err my weekend rather. 

Here are the photos. Click on them for a bigger review. See you again at the starting line.

The sun rising behind us covering the horizon in golden hue.
Is that the Sacobia River snaking its way through? Mt. Arayat peaking in a far distant.
The green landscape is a good contrast to the blue skies. 
The undulating road leading to Miyamit Falls. Well graded this time around.
Killer hills but with killer views. Can you spot he view deck? 
Jessie and Romy running the hills upfront.
The road seems endless, what comes up must come down.
Jessie and Romy enjoying the panorama at the view deck.
A bird's eye view of the terrain where we came from. Shot from the view deck.
Me and my trusted go run in Miyamit Falls.


  1. Nice article Vener! Thank you for joining us last Saturday. It was a blast running with you and the rest of the group. The chit chat after the run and while waiting for the others to arrive was entertaining.

    See you this Sunday. Cheers!

    1. Thanks for bringing us too at your playground, it was helluva nice, hahaha. Cheers and see you around.

  2. Nice account of the run, Vener. The store owner should stock up already on Sparkle so it would be ice-cold come race day!:)

    1. Thanks Rene, and kilos of salt too, hahaha. Seriously that Sparkle soda was relieving, I feel I can still run the Sapang-Uwak to Clark section.

  3. Woww.. great recon run account and photos as usual Sir Vener.