Monday, November 28, 2011

Running Tagaytay Highlands: EPIC!

Nathan Ridge Run's tagline: We'll REDEFINE road races. They didn't disappoint.

Last November 20, I and a few (suicidal) Team Alpha1 members joined what could be our most memorable race for the year - Nathan Ridge Run, at Tagaytay Highlands. As the day's designated driver (LOL!), I picked-up Coyote, FFS and Rocky at Speedygiant's Paranaque residence, where they stayed for the night. We left for the long drive around 3am in the morning.

We were greeted by race marshals at the Highlands gate, with our race bibs as entrance passes to this exclusive destination.

"Welcome Runners" banner

One of the marshals handed us a map to the location of the starting line. My navigators ensured we were on the right path by following closely the directions on the map.

The controversial map.

We arrived at Midlands, quite surprised that we were the first one to arrive. Not a single soul was in sight (shudders...). I parked my car at this very dark and creepy parking lot. Martin was even joking of a man sitting at a far bench, looking at us. Someone got scared, but I won't divulge who.

A security guard on a motorcycle arrived (whew!) and told us we were on the wrong location. The starting line of the race is at the Highlands, not Midlands. We showed him our map and he pointed us to the correct location. It turned out that the map is one directing to a church for the Del Rosario-Tan wedding which happened October 22! We were laughing our asses off upon realizing what a big booboo we had.

On top of this series of comedic events, the race kits of Eugene and Maddy were in my car, and they should be presenting their race bibs at the gate to be able to enter, so we had to drive all the way back to the gate. It was already 4:20am and we lost all the free time we should have had been enjoying before the race start.

Finally we have arrived at Highlands! The buses carrying most of the runners were now arriving. I parked my car at the designated area, and we had to walk an uphill path going to the clubhouse, where the start arc is located.

FFS, Coyote, Maddy, Eugenator, Rocky, Deemen - the suicidal bunch

Team pic with the very pink Sweet Life Runner

We had a few minutes to prepare (and for some photo ops). The 21k runners were asked to assemble at the starting line, with some words of warning from the race director that what we joined in is no ordinary race. And with that, we were off!

I thought that Martin, Rocky and I could run the race together. I was wrong! The start of the race was already an uphill (or uphell, as they say), and it was so difficult to pace with another runner given we have different running styles in this type of terrain. We got separated very early in the race.

Enough of the rants. I now present to you a set of pictures highlighting my Nathan Ridge Run experience:

The crazy fog during an uphill (running) battle

I love their kilometer markers but I only had the chance to take a pic of the 7km marker.
It's an additional effort to stop and take a picture with my trembling hands. :p

Look at the background downhill path!

Guys, this is no camera trick!

Met Aldrin, who was running the same pace as I am. We ran-walked-talked until the finish line.
Merry Christmas colors!

Even walking was a struggle at the final kilometer of the race! I can't even force a smile!

After 2 hours and 43 minutes, it was all over. The grueling race was worth it - I managed to finish it injury-free!

My hardest-to-earn 21k medal (so far)

Team Picture!

21k finishers and proud!

What else comes after the hardships of a long run? A well-deserved post-race breakfast of course! We went to Leslie's Tagaytay for bulalo, sisig and crispy pata! Calories lost, calories gained. Haha!

Hungry boars.

The big question is, with the Nathan Ridge Run becoming an annual event, will I give it another try next year? Right now, the answer is no, even though it's one of my favorite races for the year. What I'm feeling right now is that it's sort of a once-in-a-lifetime race experience. It's fun yet traumatic. But we'll see. It would be a good target to set a new PR on this race, kinda lets you assess if you're getting stronger on hills.

Hard-earned medal.

Runner 0318 helped redefine a road race.


  1. astig! parang gusto ko i-try next year. congrats! =)

  2. I propose a new blog title haha hats off to all finishers! -purplealpha1-

  3. Congratulations Deemen :)
    Sayang hindi na ako natuloy tumakbo because of office works. Such a memorable race talaga yan! :)

  4. Gaile, you should! very challenging route!
    Kathy, 21k ka dito next year, ok?
    Atom, sayang nga! kaya pala di kita nakita dun sa race, i was expecting you to be there dahil isa ka sa nag-test run dun. :)

  5. Don't be so quick to squelch the idea that you won't be reprising this next year. It'll call to you once again. Pustahan tayo! =) --Maddy