We’ve heard a lot of stories about Pinoy Trails Sierra Trail Adventure Race after the event but we’d also like to hear the trail stories straight from the runners experience. Here’s a recap from Poy Brillantes and the highs and lows he got to experience in the race.
After a long period of hiatus in running, I am now back! Running is not new to me. I’ve been running for 2 years and even joined and finished Ultramarathons. I also have been into mountaineering for 2 years now and when I discovered trail running, that is what all I wanted to do. That’s new to me. Well, this isn’t my first official trail running race (first is 3rd benguet Gold Rush – 21k Category) that took place just a week before Sierra Trail Adventure Race. So I was very excited! Since it was my first time to run in Rizal Mountains, and a route that i am never familiar with!
So the race began. Partly I and my team mates were at the backmost part of the starting point. I was very confident that I can finish the race within 3 hours! (Yea! That’s the spirit!). But I was wrong. The route was so challenging! At first, still within the vicinity of the venue at 10 cents to Heaven, I was following other runners who got lost (LOL). Yes! We got lost and found our way out when we got further instructions. I took the chance to pass over with the other runners during a long, muddy and slippery downhill. Until the first uphill almost killed me – cemented stairs! I was grateful that the uphill was just around 5-10 mins power hike and after that was a few meters road pavement. There, I managed to recover some energy that got lost in my body and had a chance to advance with others.
And the most awaited part came to reality – downhill! It unleashed my Adrenaline and the Killian Jornet skills. It will be a good opportunity to advance with others and, it will save much time before I reach the cut off. The trail became more slippery and mud was everywhere. It was one of the challenges that I encountered. The trail became very technical as we are heading to Laiban.
I was following other runners ahead of me. Unfortunately, we were running on the wrong trail. Yes! NALIGAW ULIT KAME! HAHA! It was almost a Kilometer uphill that on the wrong trail. Buti nalang may local na nagsabi na mali ang daan. So we did backtrail realizing that there are a lot of runners that are also tracking the same route as ours and we told them that it was a wrong direction. Good thing that we found the correct one after 30 mins of backtrailing, that consumed a lot of energy. I guess getting lost is also a part of the challenge. We continued until we reached a very steep Uphill for few meters but little by little, it felt like, “this is gonna take me forever”. It was a really hard climb for me since uphill has always been my struggle. Then we are rewarded of a very profound and amazing view of the sierra mountains and a bit of sea of clouds! It was really awesome and amazing that it seems that i never felt so tired! Fresh air, sunrise, it was just a package deal! A very scenic route. Oh, i’m deeply inlove with trail running!
Pulikat is Real
After some picture taking, I ran for few meters of downhill as we are heading to Laiban. Suddenly, I slipped and I had muscle cramps. The worst thing is, not just my one leg but both! (Aray!) It was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced in my running career! That cramps almost made me cry and think about declaring DNF. At the same time that it was hurting, I was waiting for some runners to come so I can ask some assistance. Good thing that my two team mates were behind me and assisted me as well as Sir Daniel, an H1 finisher gave me some salonpas to ease the pain (Still, I was lucky!).
The recovery from cramps took a few minutes so I rested for a while and drank lots of water to hydrate and to at least regain my energy. Afterwards, I continued running on a slow pace and pushed myself to the limit. Now, it was not only my physical strength that I am battling with, but my mental and emotional strength as well. I got relieved when I reached the small barrio of Laiban and a lot of river crossing refreshed me up! Total of 7 river crossings actually (yep! 7! Binilang ko). This time, I felt that my legs are gonna give up again because it was being relaxed by the cold water during the river crossings so I started walking then continued running until I felt that i can still run. I really thought that, “that’s just it” until we reached the finished line.
But I was wrong. The 5 kilometer uphill was waiting for us. It was no ordinary uphill and it was a cemented road. Diba? Literal na UP-HELL! It was a really long climb that took me for almost 45 minutes walking. Along the road I passed along other runners who are also facing the same challenge as I am. Even Seasoned runners, had a very hard time walking on that track. From there, my legs almost gave up, it’s just that my mind that won’t. I am now racing with my own capacity until i reached the main road that gave me tons of motivation to finish it. I ran for few meters and enjoyed the heat of the sun as it was almost 9 am until I reached the venue – the finish line. Can’t erase the smile on my face as I am running towards the FL, my very supportive team mates were shouting and cheering for me. Of course, it’s most makulit team – Team SPDS! And then I finished the race! I survived the longest 3 hours of my life!
So as i finished it. Anyone can do it as well. Just remember to always respect the distance as they have different characteristics and never underestimate the course. It’s also important to train Hard! You won’t notice it but you are improving! Keep pushing forward and always stay positive! You may fall 7 time, but stand up 8! Take a rest but don’t give up!
Thank you to team SPDS! (Susuka Pero Di Susuko!) And Thank you Pinoy trails for the very challenging route, it’s gonna be a memorable race to end the year, looking for another event hosted by yours, To Sir Franc Ramon for giving me the privilege to Register last Nov 29. Thanks sir! Above all, to God be the Glory. 🙂