Soleus Cross Country Challenge 2: First 12k, First Trail Run

After 6 months of road running, I finally joined my first trail run! I had actually been very excited for this because I missed the original first one I was supposed to join due to a scheduling conflict. So much anticipation led up to this wonderful day ahead.

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Start/Finish at the top of Mt Sinai, Pintong Bukawe, Rizal (Source: miccadj)

To be honest, road running has gotten a little boring for me. Most Manila races are in the Mall of Asia area and there’s just really nothing to see except for the occasional roadkill. Also, sooooo smelly while running :/

This was an out and back course meaning you run out, make a u-turn at the turnaround, and run back to the start/finish. The first portion of the trail was a muddy singletrack made slippery from who knows what rain. It was downhill all the way to the turnaround at the end of a hanging bridge.

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Bottle necking onto the single track (Source: miccadj)

The views were delightful and we caught the sunrise and a glimpse of some rare tropical island fog that enveloped the mountains in the early hours of the morning!

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Morning fog? In a tropical country? Amazing! (Source: miccadj)

As the course broadened out, the trail was very dry and loose rocks were everywhere! There were a few times that I almost rolled my ankle and once when I almost tripped but someone next to me caught my arm as I regained my balance! Thank you, kind sir!

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Heading towards the river and the hanging bridge turnaround (Source: miccadj)

I found that trail runners were generally friendlier more welcoming as I stood waiting for the start. So many people knew each other and I even met an ultrarunner named Mhey from Bulacan! She was accompanying someone else for the 21k and will be doing the UP* Diliman to UP Los Baños 80k ultra soon! I even shared high fives and congratulations with a few runners that I had finished together with! I think we were all very relieved to finish the last steep climb!

*UP = University of The Philippines

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Turnaround at the very end of the bridge! (Source: miccadj)

I carried a CamelBak Ultra 10 hydration vest because I wanted more pockets than was the CamelBak Circuit had to offer. Filled with about 1.5L of water because I didn’t want to carry something so heavy while running but had to refill it at the last aid station cause the weather got way too hot and I had to make I could make the final uphill climb.

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Time to head back! (Source: miccadj)

I really enjoyed running downhill cause I could go relatively faster but I definitely had to be more careful with the loose rocks and uneven ground. One of my fears was being alone on certain sections of the course. That didn’t happen until the last 1/4 part of the race and I’ve come to realize that I enjoyed the alone-ness. It was just me, the trail, my breathing, and the occasional tummy rumbling.

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At one point, I had lost the little group in front and behind me so I was fairly alone (Source: miccadj)

Data time! I had to use Strava on my phone this time cause my Fitbit GPS piggyback was not cutting it! Reception was very not good >.>

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All the way down and back up again (Source: miccadj Strava)

The descent was fun! The uphill was way less fun! Lol!

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The only way back is up! (Source: miccadj Strava)

I raced downhill but the uphill climbs were much slower for me. I basically walked it until the course evened out to flat. I didn’t stop anywhere though except for that very last aid station.

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Pace analysis (Source: miccadj Strava)

Km splits!

And yay I hit a PR for 400m? Must’ve been on the downhill.

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Splits (Source: miccadj Strava)

Mt Sinai is also known for the biking trails and this giant stone slab of the 10 Commandments. We’re like an extra Catholic country now. I saw this after the race cause it was still so dark when I headed up to the start/finish!

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Giant 10 Commandments Tablet! (Source: miccadj)

Shout out to my mom’s driver, Marcos for waking up early and bringing me to the race! My mom wouldn’t let me drive myself there cause it’s already outside of Metro Manila so yeaaa… Huhu thank you, Marcos for driving me especially since it was your rest day!

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Hardware (Source: miccadj)

I really really enjoyed this race, like I can’t stop talking about it. There’s just really something about being on the trails that can’t compare to the road. I’m so glad I decided to push through even if I didn’t get any sleep (again! :<) It feels so fulfilling that I think I’m gonna sign up for another one!



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