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Gear Review: Merrell AllOut Fuse

Merrell AllOut Fuse

Introducing the Merrell AllOut Fuse

Buying a new pair of running shoes is a tricky affair. There is a bewildering variety of shoes to choose from. In the old days,  all you had to consider was color (uy ang ganda ng red!) and brand (parang mas seryoso ang dating ng Adidas kesa Nike). Now a shoe buyer also has to consider whether he needs traditional thick soled shoes divided along stability, neutral and cushioned; minimalist shoes that promise to get you more connected to the ground; or maximalist shoes that promise to keep you floating over the terrain.

I’ve always preferred minimalist shoes. It may not be a style that suits everyone, but it just works for me. So when my road runners began to show signs of falling apart, I started scouring the running blogs for a shoe that would be a worthy replacement. The blogs all hinted that the shoe I needed to buy was this: Merrell AllOut Fuse. Read more [+]

Selfie Run up Shotgun San Mateo

Shotgun San Mateo

Because selfies are very important in a run like this

Shotgun in San Mateo: Masochistic mountain bikers consider this the ultimate trophy in Metro Manila. It is 5 kilometers of almost relentless climbing that only gets more difficult with each turn. Last weekend I thought of doing a different challenge on Shotgun. Instead of biking all the way to top, I was gonna run it and see if I still had my mountain legs.

Shotgun is without doubt, the most punishing climb a mountain biker or runner can do near Metro Manila. The road is steep—definitely one of the steepest in the country. The Wall is a difficult climb, but Shotgun takes that difficulty to an even more sinister level.

Take the most difficult section of The Wall and multiply it three times and you get a good idea of what I’m talking about. Just when you thought you’d get a reprieve, just when you thought you’d get a chance to recover, the next twist in the road smacks you in the face with even more climbing. Such is the evil that is Shotgun. Read more [+]

Relief Efforts for Yolanda Victims by the Outdoor Community

Power Up Gym's Relief Operations for Yolanda Victims

Volunteers repack relief goods at Power Up Gym in Tandang Sora. The goods were directly transported to the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar. Photo grabbed from Power Up Climbing Gym’s FB page

I had a lot of stories lined up for the blog. But when Supertyphoon Yolanda slammed into the country, writing about biking, running, climbing and other activities I enjoyed just didn’t seem appropriate.

Amid the destruction and suffering wrought by this horrifying force of nature, it just didn’t seem right to post anything that suggested happiness. Against this backdrop of demolished houses, bloated corpses and wounded desperate human beings, stories about biking up and down a steep hill, or breaking a personal running record not only seemed trivial but also insensitive. Read more [+]

Biking and Running in UP Diliman

U.P. Diliman Biker

For running and biking, the U.P. Diliman campus is the best destination in Metro Manila

If New York City has its Central Park, Metro Manila has the UP Diliman campus. No disrespect to Luneta and the QC circle, but in terms of wide and green open spaces, the 493 hectare flagship campus of the State University is unmatched in Metro Manila. The campus is a gigantic garden with tree-lined avenues and wide grassy areas where all sorts of outdoor activities can be held. I am not sure if there’s a place that can compare to it in the Metro.

Bonifacio Global City may have lots of runnable and bikeable pavement, but its small trees hardly provide any shade. Luneta and Roxas Boulevard meanwhile have deteriorated a lot, as evidenced by the seemingly uncollectable trash along the baywalk. If you’re sick of breathing in the brown, oily halitosis of Metro Manila while running or biking, UP Diliman is the best place to go inside the Metro. Read more [+]

Trail Running in Daraitan

Barefoot Trail Runner in Daraitan in Nature's Trail Discovery Run 2013 (Leg 1)

Hardcore dude thinks shoes are optional for trail runs like this

Race Report: Nature’s Trail Discovery Run 2013 (Leg 1)

Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal is legendary for Manila mountain bikers who have a serious craving for pain. I’ve heard bikers compare Daraitan with Sta. Ines—that other brutal biking route in Tanay, with some saying that Daraitan was probably the more difficult of the two.

I had never been to Daraitan until I joined this year’s first leg of Nature’s Trail Disovery Run. But after running to and from Daraitan, I can safely say that Daraitan is the more difficult climb.

The dirt road from the river bed to the highway seemed to go on forever. The road grade is also something that could put Shotgun to shame. It was a great race and a feast for people whose idea of fun is generating gallons of lactic acid in their legs. Read more [+]

Music for Faster Runs and Rides

Music for Running or Riding

A wise man once said: What is life without music?

Let me qualify that, as whoever this erudite hombre is, he obviously never lived in a place where wannabe crooners occasionally inflict their alcohol-addled versions of Pusong Bato on their hapless neighbors.

What the existential hallmark card writer should have said is: What is life without good music? Almost all human activities are made better when these are accompanied by good music. Researchers from the University of Southern Queensland’s Department of Psychology have also found out that listening to up tempo music can actually make you faster! Apparently when you move in sync with music you like, you perform better.

Read more [+]

Minimalist Running

Minimalist shoes for manimalist running

It’s all about shaving soles and getting your foot as close to the ground as possible.
The minimalist Merrell Trail Glove vs the normal New Balance 810

There’s a militant movement that’s slowly taking over the world of running. Its committed acolytes, nearly all of whom radiate an aura of electrified righteous anger, are calling on runners to shed their high-tech thick-soled shoes and return to the purer embrace of barely-there foot gloves. The most puritanical of them even call for the complete abandonment of any artificial protection and go full monty on the feet.

I have to admit, I am somewhat of a convert. But first let’s talk about how I came to embrace this new sect in the religion of running. Read more [+]

Trail Running in the Sierra Madre

Tanay Trail Run 2013 Love a Tree

A trail runner enjoys the hills, streams and fields of Tanay

Dawn broke around six. By that time I had already been running for about an hour. Normally, I would have already covered at least 10 kilometers, but when I checked the GPS app on my phone, it said that I had covered a paltry 7 kilometers.

My goal of finishing the trail run in 3 hours now appeared impossible as my legs seemed ready to burst battery acid if I kept up this pace. With my race goal now completely out of reach, there was nothing left to do… but enjoy the scenery, take lots of photos, and have fun on the trail. Read more [+]

Uphill Run to Caliraya Lake

Starting line for the Caliraya Uphill Challenge Level 2 2013

Pavement pounders can’t wait to test themselves against Caliraya’s punishing uphill road.

The road to Caliraya Lake is a bikers’ playground. The twisty, moderately ascending pavement is perfect for motocyclists who want to improve their skills with the twisties. Cyclists meanwhile are sure to get a better workout here than on Antipolo’s traffic-choked Sumulong highway.

But for runners, the 3-4 kilometer climb to Caliraya Lake will count as serious punishment. For road runners who are more used to the flat roads and gentle slopes of BGC, it would definitely be a sufferfest.

Read more [+]

Running in Daranak and Calinawan

Nature's Trail Discovery Run Final Leg 2012

Nature’s Trail Discovery Run Final Leg 2012

Hands down, this is the best run I’ve ever participated in. Nature’s Trail Discovery Run in Tanay held last November 25 took its participants through beautiful mountain trails, through a cave, across a river, up a 600 meter high peak, down a postcard-perfect waterfalls, and dared us to test the limits of what we could achieve.

Initially, I had some doubts about whether I should sign up for the 21k trail run. I had done only one 21k before this, and it was over the relatively flat urban terrain of Fort Bonifacio. Running up steep rocky slopes sounded like a great deal of punishment, and someone told me that all the ascents and descents of a trail run added a few extra kilometers to the official 21k length of the course, so that it was actually going to be more than 21k. I was wondering if I should enlist in the shorter 10k race instead. Read more [+]