October 9, 2016
After diligently doing the recon for this race a few weeks ago, I was looking forward to this very special trail run. Finally, the big day came and I have lots to say about it. Read on to share this Deadman’s 300 V3.0 experience with me.
I prepared for this race by running the Run United Philippine Marathon the week before. I ran with my friends on their first marathon and it was fulfilling to see them check off 42 kilometers from their goals. It’s funny because most of the runners I was supposed to pace were faster than me lol. It also marked my first takpoop experience where I had to relieve myself in the portalets along the route. And to cap things off, I ran the last two kilometers with just my socks because my shoes caused me to cramp. Painful, but a finish is a finish.
I don’t know why I keep punishing myself by doing consecutive long distance races, but this RUPM is very important because it’s my marathon anniversary run and I was with friends who finished their 1st 42. Though for now, no more long distance road runs for me. And goodbye especially to the MoA-BGC route!
So anyway, it was early Saturday morning and I was lining up in the Medical City clinic to get my medical certificate (I hate this process). Boy P is strict with this “NO MED CERT, NO RUN” rule and I’m a well-behaved runner so I followed the requirements to the dot. After claiming my med cert, I went home and packed my things because I’ll be spending the night near the race venue. Fortunately, Montalban is not that far from where I live. After waiting for a friend who will support the team, we made our way to the Rock Resort in San Isidro.
A long jeepney and a bumpy tricycle ride later, we arrived outside the resort where it was still drizzling. We went into the rented room and found our trail friends already settled down and waiting for dinner time! After dinner, I immediately set up my sleeping bag and went to sleep. It was still early but I had 50 kilometers to run and I need all the energy I can get.
Race Kit Claiming
I woke up at a quarter to 1. Race bib claiming will commence in a bit so I had to fix my things. After packing my sleeping bag, I changed into my race gear and tried to empty my bowels unsuccessfully. My stomach always disobeys right before a big race so I had no choice but to ready myself for emergency evacuations later.
At the registration area, there were so many people. Old and new faces welcomed me and once more, I felt the rush of adrenaline. After claiming my race kit, we took some pictures and readied ourselves for the gunstart. We wished the other runners goodluck and I did some last minute rubdown with baby oil (Thanks Mamarielle and Lady for the suggestion). I also changed into my freshly made croptop because the #CroptopChallenge is currently trending.
Finally, Boy P called the runners to the gate and with a countdown to 3:00am, my third ultramarathon started.
Start to Macaingalan
I was one of the last runners to exit the gate because I was still busy setting up my Strava. With no GPS signal getting detected, I gave up and started the run. Holding my bike light in one hand, I ventured into the night, leaving behind the 30km runners and supporters.
The start of the route was an uphill concrete road. I brisk-walked through the first few kilometers until the concrete gave way to a rocky trail. It was a good thing that despite the rain, there weren’t so much puddles yet. After a while, we passed sitio Toyang and from here, I can remember the route from the recon. It was still dark and the cool air felt nice. I caught up with veterans Darell, John, and Jeff at this point.
I was conserving my energy and alternating between running and walking until we reached the first aid station in Macaingalan. First 10 kilometers done.
Macaingalan to Mt. Lubog Dayhike
The aid station had my favorite cassava cake in it so I took a few blocks and wolfed them down with soft drinks. Bahala na yung tiyan ko mamaya. After a few moments of rest, John, Jeff, and I set off for the next part. We ran through the kepyas climb again and got closer to sitio Lubog. It was at this point that the trail got muddier and muddier. There were some points where I was ankle-deep in slushy mud.
It was here that I felt the drawbacks of my weight. Where John and Jeff could easily glide through the mud, I got stuck. My shoes got heavier and heavier as they collected more mud samples from the tracks. Here, we said goodbye to John, who spearheaded into the darkness never to be seen again.
We reached the 2nd aid station in Lubog where some marshals greeted us with lots of food and water. I didn’t stay long because I had a mountain to climb. Jeff and I started the ascent to Mt. Lubog, along with Maria, who will end up being the female champ later. The trail up Mt. Lubog was still a bit familiar to me, only it was waaaaaaaay more muddy. It was definitely not runnable, with rocks jutting out of the ground. We slowly and surely made our way up, meeting the lead pack already on their way down, until we reached the rocky parts that signified that we were near the summit.
We emerged onto the Simbahang Bato and I was wowed by the view. The mountain ranges and lush green forests were so beautiful, good thing there was a clearing this morning. I took my time and had some pictures with the marshals and runners at the top before starting the descent.
The descent was faster because I was literally slipping down and just grabbing trees to stop my fall. I enjoy the downhill, so I overtook some more-careful runners and saw some of my friends on their way up. Soon, I was back at the aid station refilling my hydration because it was going to be a long trek to Matulid Falls.
3 km from Macaingalan to Lubog + 3km Mt. Lubog out and back = 6 kilometers. 16 total kilometers done.
Lubog to Matulid Falls out and back
The trail here is still familiar because of the recon. After the initial mudfest with rolling hills, we emerged onto the river. This is still my favorite part because I got to remove the mud from my shoes. I took my time and swam for a bit in the cool water. I saw Maria, Pao, Kevs, and some more runners along the way and I greeted them as they passed. After cleaning my socks and shoes from the pebbles that got in, I continued my long walk.
Every river crossing was refreshing. I splashed around like a child with every chance. The good thing about having done the recon is that I can focus on having fun without worrying if I get lost. The trail was actually well-marked. Aside from the pink ribbons, there were also caution tapes strung up on visible areas. I don’t think anyone would get lost as long as they paid attention.
Another aid station welcomed me and I saw Dong and macho Jeff. Sarap buhay ng marshal, nakatambay lang hehehe. I drank some iced tea that they offered and continued on. At this point I knew that I was near the beautiful Matulid falls. There was this unfortunate thing with my tummy, so long story short, I had to do an emergency evacuation. I hiked a distance away from the river and far from the other runners’ eyes and did my business. I left a cairn on the spot so no one will step on it mistakenly. RIP, poop.
Anyway, some more splashes and I reached the farthest turnaround point: Matulid falls!
Idol Xands was there to welcome me along with Pao and Maria, who was already on her way back. I took some time to admire the majestic falls and also swim around in the deep basin. Then I washed my gear again and had some photos.
After that, I bid the people at Matulid farewell and made my way back. We took the lumberjack trail back to Lubog and once again, I enjoyed hiking up the river. Unfortunately, I slipped on a rock and sliced open my knee and hand. Fortunately, my kneecap took the hit and aside from a laceration, my legs were still working properly. After washing the blood away in the river, I continued the trek up up up to the familiar muddy trail and back again to Lubog.
Back at the Lubog aid station, I ate plates of pancit and blocks of cassava cake again. This was the most food I’ve ever consumed on a trail run. The food was fit for a feast! Thank you for the birthday feeding program, Boy P! After filling my stomach up, I started the final leg of the run.
14km Matulid Falls out and back. 30 total kilometers done!
Deadman’s Trail plus Lukutan Turnaround
I trudged through the muddy trail back to the Macaingalan-Balagbag junction. It was almost noon and the sun was already high up. Good thing it was still cloudy so it wasn’t too hot. The trail was also significantly less muddy so that was good. The trail was also runnable up until we reached the Deadman’s Trail junction.
Deadman’s trail was still quite challenging. It was an uphill-downhill affair, but the views were beautiful. I could see Mt. Balagbag and Mt. Lubog and other mountains of the Sierra Madre range. I was also pacing with some trail friends who I didn’t get the names of. They were a lively bunch so they kept my spirits up during the hard ascents.
At the viewdeck, there was another aid station with Cheribels and her daughter waiting for us. The other Marupok marshals also ecouraged us and told us that it was only 12 more kilometers! I just smiled at them because deep down I didn’t believe them. LOL. So I continued the descent down to the Cantunan at the baranggay and made my way to the turnaround at the Lukutan bridge. It was sad because the U-turn was after a descent. That meant that going back, it was a long hike up. On the return, I stopped and bought some refreshments from the Cantunan as well as talked to the locals there. After being refreshed by the soft drinks, I ascended the junction and got myself ready for the unknown.
8km Lubog to Deadman’s Viewdeck + 4km Lukutan Turnaround out and back = 12 kilometers. 42 kilometers done.
Tinabasan Trail to Finish
This was the part of the trail that I haven’t been to before. So this experience was entirely new and genuine. Just when I thought it would be a breezy 8-kilometer run back down to the starting line, what welcomed me was tons of hills! The trail was full of bamboo at first, with sloped terrain that looked just a bit dangerous. One wrong step and you would be the dead man that this trail was named after.
When that was done, I was treated to the talahib hill repeats. Up and down and up and down through steep ascents and super steep descents made me want to just stop and go to sleep. But I was so close to the finish, I could feel it! I wondered how on earth Boy P could think of a trail like this because the steepness was almost vertical! If only I was invulnerable I would have just rolled down the hills to save time. After some more hills, we were treated to the last river of the route. Here, I caught up to Pao and Darell as they were enjoying the waters. Some other runners were also taking advantage of the river and were cleaning their gear. According to the marshals, it was a mere 4 kilometers to go before the finish. Pao and Darell set off to the finish and after a few minutes, I followed.
Once again, I expected the trail to be an easy descent to the finish, but I was again treated to more and more mud and uphills across a construction and quarrying site. My newly cleaned shoes got buried in the mud once more and I gave up on ever seeing them clean again. We emerged on the familiar roads along Toyang and I rested for a bit with some soft drinks from a nearby sari-sari store. After downing a liter of RC Cola, I proceeded down the familiar concrete road.
After a few more minutes, I finally saw the resort. I was so happy to be back down. I saw some of the Marupok marshals waiting for runners. They saw me and signaled for me to turn into the front of the venue. There I saw Boy P and the other Marupoks waiting by the finish line.
And so, after more than half a day of running, walking, and hiking, I was done.
2km Tinabasan Trail to River + 6km River to Toyang to Finish = 8km. 50 kilometers done!
This experience wouldn’t be possible without the contributions and support of everyone.
Firstly, to the Big Guy for the safe run. Despite the not-too-agreeable weather, it was still a blessing to be able to run the trails without too much hassle. Thank you for keeping everyone safe and for a relatively injury-free run. AMDG.
Next, to my family for letting me go to these kinds of events where I always almost die, but still stay supportive of my kalokohan. Thank you.
To Team TUSU, especially to Lady for the accommodations, thanks for the support. It’s always good to see you all and to run with you guys, especially #HisAirness #BarefootJeff, and running photographer John. Mamarielle, Perlin, congratulations ladies. Master Mark, next time mag sick leave ka na haha.
To Powerhouse (Soon to be PUTA), Team GTR, Darell who makes pasyal-pasyal and then tuhog, Chill for the company to the venue and the chicken (Happy birthday!), Our manager/marshal Ms. Cheri and her cute daughter, Dave congrats on your first trail ultra. Of course, #TrailNur Faye. Congratulations to everyone and thank you for the lab.
To all the trail friends who I ran with, nice seeing you guys. You all are the reason why I go to these events. The community is very nice and it’s good to let go of everything else and just be trail-runners together for a while. JL man eto na yung blog post haha, Jhayson and Princess bes bawi lang tayo sa susunod, Ayang, Daryll, MJ pogi, Jomel, DM, Sugar and friends, Champ Maria, Khim and Rye my croptop buddies, Voltron for the sandals, and eveyone else who I forgot to mention but mingled with. Thank you and congratulations to us. It’s not easy running up mountains while everyone else is asleep, but we do it anyway.
And most of all, to the beerday boy, Boy P, and the rest of Team Marupok and all the locals and marshals who made this event possible. Kasing dami ng mura ko yung pasasalamat ko sa inyo. P500 ko naging 50km! Sobrang sulit diba? Basta open-minded lang. Nakatulong pa sa mga kabataan ng San Isidro. The route was tough and challenging, and the marshals always kept saying that it would be the last 4 kilometers so napapa-expect ako, but I wouldn’t give up this experience. This is by far the most bang-for-buck run I’ve ever attended. Pwede ba Marupok na lang palagi organizer? Haha! The cassava cake at the aid stations captured my heart. Everything was on point. So thank you for a job well done and I hope you continue this event for the benefit of others. Aabangan ko next nyong pasabog.
Race: Deadman’s 300 V3.0
Finish: 12:18:38 (30th Overall)
Food: [Self] Choco Mucho x5, Cloud 9 Salted Caramel x1, Cloud 9 Overload, H2O, Hydration Salt
[Aid Stations] H2O, Spaghetti, Bihon, Cassava Cake, Kakanin, Jelly Ace, Softdrinks
Gear: Conquer Race Vest, Naturehike Soft Flasks, Vamos Socks, Salomon Speedcross Pro, Simple Hydration
Overall, it was an excellent race. Complaints? Masyadong mura yung registration. Haha charot. For half a thousand pesos, I got what I expected and so much more. Cassava cake, pancit, spaghetti, jellyace, and so on. The route was well marked and went through beautiful and scenic parts of Rizal. The locals were friendly and motivating especially considering that we’re just passing through their homes. 0% reklamo! I can’t wait to run this again, or perhaps just be a marshal at Matulid falls. Haha, we’ll see.
Once again, I am reminded how much I love running and walking through the trails, I am feeling much better after a 50km trail run than after my 42km road marathon. My legs don’t hurt as much and I’m still walking straight. I can’t wait for the next one.
Run slow and hike long!