Back in Caliraya for a Back to Back

For two consecutive weekends I ran around the lake Caliraya, Laguna in two run events: Caliraya Marathon organized by Gerard Palacol of AX Fitness held on September 7, 2014; and the Caliraya 360 organized by Run Mania Promotion Philippines which was held September 14, 2014 where I ran in the 34k. Although the Caliraya Marathon was the farthest distance I ran between the two with my entry in the full mary category, I felt Caliraya Marathon was just a preview for the Caliraya 360. Caliraya Marathon gave us a taste of how to run along the road that connects Lumban, Caliraya and Cavinti which featured not just the view of the Caliraya lake but roads that were rolling with uphill and downhill.

Caliraya Marathon’s route started at the resort Aquatico Feliciano along Lumban-Caliraya-Cavinti Road at 4:00 am. The 46 full marathon runners ran downhill the darkly lit road until the 7th kilometers where we made u-turn and ran uphill. By the time we passed by Aquatico Feliciano again it was already daylight. We pushed on further ahead on what now predominantly flatter road meeting up with the iconic Caliraya dam and the Japanese Garden. Along the way were the recreational resorts lining up the road. At the 20th kilometers runners turned left to Caliraya Spring Golf and Marina Resort, a plush village in the making. About 10 kilometers was covered inside and since my distance with anyone running in front of me and at my rear it was almost a very lonely run if it weren’t for the bicycle riding marshall shadowing me. The open space of grasses and lots with yet to be filled with architectures kind of remind me of Fairview in Novaliches before the development like SM Fairview set in. Upon exiting this place we turned left to the main road and continued running. The sun was blazing hot all throughout of the run. I had to make some stops for rest and soda. Ambulances were busy whizzing by telling me that the heat might have been piling up its claim of runners. But I later learned that my fear was for naught. The U-turn was at the 3rd kilometers after the golf resort we runners had gotten out but in reality the distance seemed longer. I was almost enervated but it was timely that the U-turn with aid station finally popped up at the other end of the curved road and soon I had my energy revived again with the refreshments.

The return trip was an unexciting and downright boring 9 kilometers of retracing the route along the main road that seemed to have stretched longer than the last time we treaded on it. I met along the way Richard “Doer of Word” whom I ran along with until the last 2 kilometers where I raced ahead to improved my finish time. Before we parted ways being part of the Run Mania Promotion Philippines family, he told me of the up-coming Tagaytay to Nuvali to Sta. Rosa 50k run which will be held in November 2014. I was of course excited to join this event although I already signed up for the Sierra Madre 45k run and I was also contemplating of joining the Siege of Baler Marathon organized by Team Malaya. I finished Caliraya Marathon 38th with a time of 7:12:29. I can’t wait for the following week to see more of Caliraya.

With Caliraya 360 the promised of scenic tour of the Caliraya was basically fulfilled. Caliraya 360 on its 3rd year packed some 622 warm bodies of runners in the 34k category. This was in spite of the fact that it was raining brought about by monsoon or the typhoon Louise having passed by the Country. Pinoy Aspiring Runners or PAR was the most ostentatiously represented running team in the crowd with its huge contingent. At 4:30 am the runners were finally let go from the covered plaza fronting the Lumban Church and into Rizal Street. This was a reminiscence of last year’s Cavinti Adventure Marathon start where we were packed inside the covered plaza because it was raining. I remember gazing at the darkness and seeing the silhouette of the old Church of Cavinti looming beyond the shadows. Upon gun start we also spilled in along Rizal Street.

The Caliraya 360 participants proceeded to run along the national highway going to General Taino Street towards Pagsanjan where there was a junction to the right another Rizal Street while straight up the Pagsanjan-Cavinti Road. The runners took the Pagsanjan-Cavinti Road which was all uphill. Unlike last week I tried this time to run the uphill using smaller strides. I noticed I was moving much easier without strain on my feet than when I walked the uphill. I was also gaining on other runners one was a Rene Arroyo who told me this route was part of the Ana Kalang 60k Run also organized by Run Mania but this was still nothing compare with the other uphill portion of the Ana Kalang. Then he raced up and I never caught up with him again. I reached the Bumbungan Eco Park where the last year’s Prince Baltazar’s organized Cavinti Adventure Marathon had its finish line near the dam. After crossing the bridge near the Eco park another series of uphill along Lumban-Caliraya-Cavinti Road. To the right of the road was Lumot Mahipon Lake. This road met up with the 33rd kilometers u-turn of the previous week’s Caliraya Marathon. From here was a retracing of the Caliraya Marathon route going back to Aquatico Feliciano Resort. Along the way I spied on the route utilized by the year two Cavinti Adventure Marathon going to the trail portion of the race which was held the previous day, where a colleague of mine, Kathlyn also was a participant in the 42 k category and now running back to back in Caliraya 360 under the 34k category. She just recently took up running the full marathon (I think her third) after just being recently bitten by the running bug. After passing by Aquatico Feliciano Resort, it was still a very long way to go before the finish line. We ran downhill again for perhaps 9 or 10 kilometers until we reached the national highway. From the National Highway we ran towards Lumban Public Market and back to the Municipal Hall. I finished with a time of 5:17:42 with a rank of 401 out of 620.

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