Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nathan Ridge Run Route Recon - A Sweet Sweat Experience

Last week, a fellow runner, friend and the Brand Associate for Nathan Sports Philippines, Mariel Flores sent me a message thru Facebook, inviting me to join a group of runners and travel bloggers on a route recon in Tagaytay Highlands on October 8, 2011. I looked at my work schedule and found out that I have work, but I'm on a night shift and this will happen on an early morning so I said yes and I felt so excited about it.

Evening before the recon day it was raining hard. I was actually thinking of not joining anymore because I don't want to get sick but then early morning came and I got no advise for a cancellation so I still joined in. I came in the earliest at R.O.X. and then one by own those familiar faces and some not very familiar came in after.

We had a stopover to get some breakfast before we went to Tagaytay Highlands. As we reach the destination the climate is becoming cooler and cooler. The sight is covered with fog so we really don't have a clear view of the outside. When we reach the entrance gate, the fog became thicker and we can barely see so the Security Guard told us to put the Van in hazard mode.

Tagaytay Highlands is a very beautiful place that is just around 45 minutes drive from Metro Manila. A very scenic, breathtaking place that is so rich in nature's abundance of greens and browns. The breath of fresh air is indeed very relaxing and the quietness is so tranquil, a true ambiance of serenity. A sweet escape from the busy roads of the City. Not to mention the great architectural designs of the houses and buildings surrounding it. It's just so beautiful!

A photo before going on the challenge! (Photo by: Rene Villarta)

After a short briefing we are now ready to test the road, a recon of the route where runners of Nathan Ridge Run will pass by. We started at the Sports Club. The first few meters I was still at the lead pack but as we slowly progress through, the route is becoming stiffer and stiffer that it was really so hard to catch up with their speed so I decided to just run at my own pace. Just after 1K I wanna stop and ride the support vehicle but something inside me is saying "No!".

Backshot by Running Atom, as if I was really running. Nah! Mostly I walked...

The route is so challenging! McKinley killer hills should be ashamed of himself for his title. I rarely had a moment on a flat terrain, and it was super foggy with a very light rainshowers which I think is a good climate if you're gonna run a route like this one. I was the third to the last runner but I don't care. I was breathing so heavily and I feel that hard stretch on my leg muscles. My heart pounds like a Mason hitting on a hard rock and my lungs wants to collapse.

My "wasak" moment captured. Thanks Running Atom!
At around 2.5 Kilometers, Leila, the Marketing Assistant of Nathan Sports Philippines asked me if I can still run, or if I want to ride on the support vehicle. She opened the door of the Van. The sight of the inside seat was so very inviting that I wanna hop in and make myself comfortable, but no. I will finish this one until the end, that I promised myself.

The lead pack were kind enough to wait for me in a flat terrain for a couple of minutes but when I arrived they started running up a much challenging route, a much stiffer, more challenging route going to the Peak!

Up there is the Peak. Might look easy, but definitely NOT!

Looking from the sight where I am located I was literally looking up. My body wants to give up because I am so tired, but the thrill of trying out a route like that excited my mind, and so I gave in to my minds desire. The thought that it was just near ceases when we run up and up as if there's no end to it. The support vehicle's engine is growling hard, indication that it is also taking in much effort to go up the stretch of the route.

After some time I saw the Peak closer and it gave me a boost to get to it. As we come near the route becomes stiffer, so walking is a great way to do it. Nearing the destination my runner friends were cheering for us, the last runners. We dramatized as if we are to podium finish a race. They were laughing hard at me, and it was a stress reliever!

When you reach the Peak you can see the whole Tagaytay Highlands and believe me, it's more breathtaking to view from there than from below. The 3.5K run, or should I say hard walk, feels like I did a 16K LSD at Bonifacio High Street to Lawton, and worse. We had a few moments to rest, chat and ofcourse, take some beautiful photos!

Travel and Runner Bloggers took in the challenge!

After the run, we had a hearty lunch at the Sport Club. We had a nice conversation and sharing of ideas. Then we went out to try the Cable Car and the train. We were shouting and laughing so hard as if it was like we were in a high school field trip. Here are some of the photos I took using my iPhone.

The Cable Car. So slow so it's safe! ^_^

The train going down, suprisingly slow as well. ^_^

The Train after we unloaded.

The very elite Golf Course.

All I can say is that it is one of the most enjoyable trips I ever had and it was made even special because I was with my runner friends, and I get to meet new friends along as well. Thank you so much Mariel Flores and the rest of the Team Nathan Sports Philippines for letting me experience this event. It was a very happy and memorable experience that will indeed make my life sweeter!

For those of you who are Nature lovers, challenge seekers, risk takers or just grew tired of the usual Metro Manila races, I highly recommend Nathan Ridge Run to you!

I'll post the race details soon! Watch out for it!

Good Vibes everyone and Sweet Running! ^_^

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