It has been roughly almost two weeks since my visit to Baguio City for the 2013 Panagbenga a season of blooming flower festival, but still have yet to write an article about it. Missing to do a long slow distance (LSD) the other weekend, I made up for it last Sunday.
Meanwhile, the day before my long run, a fellow runner sent me this text message: Are you back? My reply was, “Yep,” and even added, “It’s BDM (acronym for Bataan Death March) weekend now.” We exchanged a little friendly banter of doing the LSD there. Half jokingly, half seriously, she prodded me to inquire if we could sign up at the event and run a fifty to seventy-kilometer distance para daw payat kaagad (so as to lose weight instantly). Given the time, I knew it would be impossible to register. This event is organized under strict adherence to BDM rules including registration requirements. I replied, “Huwag na. Done na tayo doon. Beauty rest na muna. (Let’s not. We’re done with it. It’s better to have a beauty rest.) Running around Rockwell or going to another place is OK with me.”
In the end, we agreed to do LSD somewhere in the south, in the scenic trail she told me where she and her running buddy, now a dive instructor at a resort in the Visayas, used to train. A bowl of lugaw or arroz caldo (porridge or congee with chicken topped with hard-boiled egg) at Aling Pina’s Lugawan (canteen) in Silang, Cavite was the prime motivator to do this run.
We left at past 4 AM on Sunday morning and drove straight up to Santa Rosa, Laguna. We arrived in the village, an upscale residential area close to a golf course at almost half past five. As there are sari-sari stores along the way, I only brought enough money with me for any hydration or food need. Sari-sari means variety or a different mix of whatever or mini grocery.
It was still dark with patchy drizzle at times. The long path was almost deserted; the only living creatures in sight were us. The road was lit only by the headlights of a passing car or motorbike, the silence broken only by the noise of the engine and our incessant chatter. We started to walk the course to warm up our rather still sleepy legs, going up a sloping pavement with the first few kilometers relatively less steep than the others. Watching the pre-dawn glow of bluish-gray, purple, pink and orange burst into yellow sunlight, revealing the beauty of Mother Nature at its best. Fantastic sight!
The route is more a trail for bikers than for runners. Judging the way some locals eyed us, I think it was pretty uncommon for them to see female runners taking the same route the bikers would pass later. Anyway, for two hours, not taking water or energy drink, this little detour didn’t bother us, as we were enjoying the sights, taking in a deep breath and loving the wind as it brings the smell of flowers, soil, grass, trees and the feel of the fresh dew on the grass. The good training base in ultra distance running had helped us a lot. We did a combination of slow running, walking.
When I was still a young girl, I was bitten by a dog once. Consequently, I get scared of either stray dogs or the unleashed ones. I learned a few techniques through watching Dog Whisperer episodes on National Geographic channel and tried to apply the Cesar Millan way, ha ha. It helped me muster the courage not to get scared when some of them are barking at us as we walked by. So every time we saw one, even if it’s not barking at us, we stopped running from time to time, walked a bit then resumed a jogging pace.
On our way back, the sky suddenly became overcast with heavy rain clouds, later the rain started to pour, which made running more pleasant. After a few minutes, the rain let up, then just as suddenly the sun shone again. Nearing the place from where we started, we stopped to rest and quenched our thirst with fresh buko juice (coconut water) at Mang Vic’s buko stall. To top it off, much to our delight, Mang Vic gave us free freshly cut pineapple slices.
Overall, we did the LSD for six hours, covering the areas of Santa Rosa in Laguna, Silang in Cavite, and a portion of Tagaytay with a distance of approximately 48 kilometers. For lunch, we treated ourselves to a great tasting crispy fried shrimps plus a bowl of beef bone marrow/shank soup, a cup of rice each and fresh mango shakes. On our drive back home, we grabbed breads to go and a cup of coffee later, the perfect end to our trip.
I would like to thank this lady adventurer, hard-core ultra marathon runner, and trail seeker, who remains grounded despite all the experience and achievement, Ivy aka the Running Contessa (Italian countess), for the invite, photos, and for bringing me to a good route to run at early morning. Until next time!