“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.”- Navy Seal_s
Hello again friends from the blogosphere! I’m here again for another trail run race report. I know it’s been quite a while so I hope this is gonna be worth your time :). The last ultra trail run race I did was 4 months back – the Cordillera Mountain Ultra which was challenging for me at my level. Not a pro and fast trail runner, I am just your girl who wants to safely finish every race I sign up 🙂
So this blog post is all about the 2nd ultra race I did this year, the Muspo 50km by Hoka, the brain child of a good trail runner friend Philip. This is this year’s first 50km edition as his first race last January 2019 was just a full marathon (42km) which I missed because I was preparing for my CMU race. As usual it was a last minute decision to sign up for the race – last day of the early bird rate promo (May). Thankfully we went back to trail running 2 weeks after resting from our race in Cordillera, so I was still good – training wise.
I signed up with my teammate and friend Pla and we made plans for the trainings we will do to prepare after signing up. We are not pros, we are just your average trail runners who simply want to conquer ourselves in each race and finish injury free. So April to June was more running, and weekends were reserved for training in the trails, climbing hills, running downhills, taking on muddy terrains, under the heat of the sun with some boxing and gym workout occasionally for cross-training.
TO VALENCIA CITY (BUKIDNON)
We got to Valencia Bukidnon Friday night and race day is still Sunday (3:00AM) so we still have plenty of time to rest and just relax before race day. Took the bus around 4:00PM and got to Valencia Bukidnon past 7 in the evening, raining! We were starving so we dropped by the bus stop for a quick dinner before proceeding to our home for the night.
Sharing some Saturday – pre race day photos. Race kit claiming and race briefing.
I remember the first time I stepped into the gym. It was very intimidating because, 1. it was my first time to be at a gym for the longest time, 2. I felt like I was too fat and unfit to be there 3. I had no friends with me that I almost took a u-turn and just head home! I seriously had to brave up getting my ass inside that unfamiliar territory. Glad I did because it changed my life and brought me to where I am now. Thus, my Fitness journey began.
That day, that courage, that decision, changed my life. Fitness became a lifestyle. My social media feeds gradually changed too, mostly showing gym photos, workout routines, and progress photos. Later on my journey my family and friends started to notice the weightloss and the physical change. At first I loved the feeling of people noticing how fit I have become and later on, that transcended to the desire of inspiring women to take on this journey too because if I did it, certainly they can too.
As days, weeks, months progressed, I started getting messages from friends and even strangers asking about my fitness journey, the diet, the exercises, and then some gym inquiries. Most of them worry about not knowing what to do or how to start. All those questions led me to write this blog post with the hope to be of help at least.
Ready? Okay, here are 6 tips to start your own Fitness Journey.
1. Commit to Be READY – ready for what? Ready for Change that is! Be ready physically, emotionally, and most of all mentally! Actually, the hard part isn’t getting your body in shape. The hard part is getting your mind in shape. So be ready to commit to this journey. You see, if you are not fully committed to the process, chances are, you will stop and you won’t reach your goals.
2. Set Time, Plan ahead – understand that for this to become a lifestyle, you have to set time for working out. You know your schedule and your possible roadblocks, so plan ahead. Mark your calendars if you have to! Set for yourself a reminder and make sure to stick to that schedule, unless you REALLY have to skip it for something very important. Be mindful with the roadblocks though as letting other developments in your life cut into this, can easily put you off track. Make at least a month-long schedule for your workout routine. It doesn’t have to be everyday. A 3-times a week workout is fair enough for you to jump-start your fitness journey. Make that conscious effort to prioritize the habit of exercising regularly.
3. Change Your Mindset with Food – I exercise because I want to eat. I have heard this so many times, even from friends I work with. Nothing really wrong with it. We all have to eat, but careful with this mindset because if you are aiming to lose weight and get back into shape, this mindset might jeopardize your goal. While this might be true to some, the mindset to exercise so you can eat can lead you to eating more than you burn calories on your workout. Exercise is an actor while nutrition is the star of the show. Definitely no starving, just eat right and feed your body right. AND! Don’t be afraid to have your favorite foods every once in a while! I recommend, diet on weekdays and cheat days on weekends ;).
4. Set Realistic Expectations – Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your body. Key is knowing your body and PATIENCE! Set goals that are realistic and achievable according to your exercise routines/frequency and nutrition. Do not be too hard on yourself and never compare your goals and results to others or you are doomed to disappointment and failure. Patience is virtue so do not be alarmed if the weight does not come off as fast as you’d imagined them to be. Bear in mind that IF you are making adjustment on your diet and moving more, it’s impossible not to see some extra weight coming off as the days would progress. Track your progress only if you are consistent with #2 and #3.
5. Participate in Exercises or Sport that you Enjoy – oftentimes the reason why people throw in the towel so fast is because they are not enjoying the fitness activity that they do. Let’s face it, if exercising feels like a chore, you won’t last long and that’s when this fitness journey becomes just a fad for you, a seasonal thing. I suggest you participate in exercises and activities that you enjoy doing. Everything does not have to be very structured or should be done in the gym. You might be the sociable type of person and you enjoy doing activities with a group. In that case join an active running group, a zumba class with friends (or make friends while you’re on it), or an outdoor sport that you love. I personally love weights and strength training so my primary exercise is at the gym where lifting weights makes me happy! Weight training is a great way to tone your entire body from head to toe. Then later I learned to love running (road and trail) and started a club for road and trail runners alongwith some friends who enjoy the same sport. It’s a great cross-training. Cardio and Weights is a perfect combination so if you can have that type of fitness routine, it would be great!
6. Be a Part of a Community – It’s undeniable that working out with friends or with a crowd makes exercise even more fun! Since you are just starting your fitness journey, being a part of a community is a good idea. A community can help you go through the phase of creating your “new normal”. Supportive peers and trainers will help you get through the early stages. One sample community is the Gowellph. This is Sun Life Financial Philippines‘ wellness community which advocates on helping Filipinos live healthier lives. Through Gowellph you will be able to participate in their community workouts, and receive monthly newsletters to inspire and educate you as a member to stay fit and healthy. So go ahead, check it out and sign up to be a member.
So there you go! I hope these tips will help you jumpstart that Fitness Journey you have probably been putting on hold for a long time already. I know that the starting point is the most difficult and the scariest, but don’t let that be your hindrance in improving your health and well-being. Make that decision to be fit and healthy right now and commit to it! Remember, you are doing this for YOU!
You guys know that I am so into strength/weights training because it brought me to this fitness level that I am in today. I never thought that putting in finishing a half marathon for this year in my bucket list could escalate like this that quick. My 21k or half marathon ambition was ticked off my bucket list then it led to another goal in the field of running. I shared about my first 21K trail marathon two months ago and I am not sure if I actually mentioned that the trail is a series composed of 3 legs scheduled 2 months apart each leg (21KM, 42KM, 50KM).
The 42K route
After completing the first leg (21km) last May, me and my team (RunFree CDO) made up our minds already to join the 2nd leg two months after. Having the Full Trail Marathon in mind, twice the hell-ish route we’ve experienced on the first leg, we did our best to prepare for it. We had our regular Sunday long runs taking routes which we thought would help us prepare for what’s to come on the race day, aside from our individual strength training at the gym or short weekdays run. And then! determined as we were to prepare for the marathon. we took our training a bit further by going farther! I meant literally farther from the city. We joined the Siargao International Marathon barely 3 weeks before the 2nd leg of the trail series. I’m actually glad we did because hard and technical as that Siargao route was, that definitely prepared our legs for the uphill climbs and downhill route at the trail.
Team RunFree CDO with Johanns (first placer in the women’s category) and Kenn
So finally, it was trail day! Being the first timer full trail marathoner as I was, I was honestly nervous before the gun. I looked around and realized probably I wasn’t the only one who felt high-strung. I knew these people prepared for this day but you know, nerves can get in the way. At the gun shot, I decided to take it slow, start slow because I know I have a long way to go. Of course keeping in mind the 12-hours cut-off time.
Ready or not, the race had to start!
at my 21st Kilometer…exhausted but we still have 21 more kilometers to finish!
That was definitely a very challenging trail. We started past 4AM so it was still a bit dark. The single-tracked muddy, slippery, and narrow trail path welcomed us as we made our entrance to the forest. I felt my headlamp’s light was not enough to light the path I was walking into. Thankfully I brought with me extra flashlight. I was thankful also to the company of my teammate Neil for staying with me for the most part of that trail. He wasn’t a newbie to trail running as he already ran the full marathon last year.
Check out video below to have a glimpse of what we went through during the trail/race.
There were number of technical downhills which I took very very carefully because downhills are my weakness, due to my right knee injury (self diagnosed 😀 :D). Apart from that, I have fear of heights, so looking from the top the downhill I have to conquer was nerve wracking! The unavoidable boulders and the oxygen draining peaks made the trail extra challenging! The hardest part of the race for me was when my right legs cramped while I was climbing one of the peaks. It was seriously painful but I know I cannot stop and end my race. I had to stretch my legs slowly while also also climbing the peak. Prayed all throughout the race to God for me to just finish it on or before the time. The cramps went away before I reached the peak. Thank God!
We just have to! We’ve been walking/running/climbing/crawling under the heat of the sun!
Each kilometer completed was a relief knowing that I am closer to the finish line each time my runkeeper application would give an update. I’ve endured running and climbing peaks under the heat of the sun and suffered from blisters pain on my last 10 kilometers. Although that was a hard trail, the beautiful view was a relief and a great reward especially the times where I reached the peak and get to see the beautiful scenery from where I was. It made all the effort so worth it! And oh! The cold streams we passed through were lifesavers! We indulged ourselves in dipping into the cold water for few minutes before proceeding.
The last 4 kilometers felt like forever! I was feeling the blisters pain in both feet already that I thought the easiest and fastest way to get it all over with is to run my last 4 kilometers which I did! hahaha! crazy but yes! after 10 hours and 40 minutes I got to the finish line in one piece! The prayer never stopped really. I arrived 6th (women’s cat).
It was a tough trail and I almost resigned to the thought of not going to the last leg! But as expected my teammates are as brave, persistent, and determined! so yes! that won’t be my last hell-ish trail marathon! We are going to finish strong with the Ultra Trail Marathon (50K).