Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Survived 10K @ Merrell Adventure Run 2012

June 2, 2012 is a date I will never forget. It was my first 10K run, my first trail run and my first Merrell Adventure Run... and this run was beyond all my expectations!!!

I registered for the 2012 Merrell Adventure Run for several reasons... primary of all was because it was on a Saturday (I rarely run on Sundays because of my church commitments), and it was going to be held in San Mateo, which was fairly close to my residence. Plus factor was that several members of our PEx Running Club were joining. And, I wanted to experience a trail run.

I was thinking of doing just 5k, but a couple of my friends encouraged me to signup for the 10k... and so I did~ I started adding mileage to my runs... from 5k to 6.6k, 8k up to 10k... but I wasn't prepared for muddy trails, or hills, or streams.

There was a storm brewing a couple of days before our Merrell Adventure Run 2012. Tropical storm Ambo brought rains all over the eastern side of Luzon. It rained hard the night before our run and we were awaiting news whether Merrell would cancel the event. The rains stopped in the early morning, so I decided to gear up and prepare for my first trail run. Mel took me to the site, at Timberland Heights, San Mateo, Rizal. There I met up with other PEx runners. We posed for the cameras while we did some stretching :)

Gunstart for 10k runners was set at 6:10am. The 21k runners were off at 6:00am, 10 minutes ahead of us. There were around 400 of us who dared run the 10k route... countdown, and we were off running... over stones, grass and mud.

The trail was very muddy and slippery, I tried to be as careful as I can, fearing that a slip or fall would cause me injury. But I enjoyed crossing the streams, with caution though, and choosing steady rocks as footholds.

There were steep hills to climb, which were very tiring to the legs. I was glad I brought a pair of gloves, which protected my hands when I had to hang on to the ropes, or to bushes and limbs of trees. I was also thankful for the stick which my friends lent me, which kept me from slipping a million times... I just slipped and fell like a hundred times... exajjj ~

I hadn't brought any hydration so I just had to rely on the water stations Merrell provided along the way... which was used by runners not just to quench thirst but also to wash off the mud from our hands, arms and legs. :)

Halfway at the 5km mark, I looked at my watch and realized I've been on the trail for two hours already... something that I did not expect. I told Mel the I'd probably finish in about two hours or so... road running is so so different from trail running. I got held up by queues in crossing the streams and holding on to ropes to climb the steep hillside, and crawling through the drain tunnels and mudpits which Merrell put along the way for added adventure.

After going through the drain pipes, I even queued for the water hose to rinse the mud off my hands, arms and legs... took about 15 minutes to get my turn~ After rinsing the mud off, further down the trail, I slipped and fell again... and again, several times... so much for wasting my time at the queue just to rinse off :)

Finally, the trail became less muddy and more stony, but still hilly... and I could hear the music up ahead... the end was near! And finally, I crossed the finish line... at 4 hours and 4 minutes.
Photo courtesy of Michael P. Santos

Thanks to PEx Running Club members who were there to cheer and support us.

Thanks also to the six:30 barneys who cheered me near the end of the trail. And, of course, my husband Mel, who patiently waited for me at the finish line. I was tired, muddy and very hungry... I wasn't able to enjoy the water trucks that showered the muddy runners, ran out of hotdogs and chicken nuggets... but was able to drink lots of cool milk and had some hot coffee though. I got my finisher's kit, a Merrell sling backpack with a 10k finisher's shirt that was a bit too large for me, and some other small items in the bag.

That was some adventure... my first 10k trail run with Merrell... and I survived!

(Thanks to Cuteeh Cath, Jobert, Run Adobo King and others for the photos)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Wensha Spa Experience

Mel took the day off and we had no plans. I didn't want to see his day go to waste, so I thought of things that can be done or places that we can go to for just a day... not too far and something relaxing. A spa seemed like a good idea... and there was one nearby, Wensha Spa.

We decided to go for their P680 promo, 6-hour stay which included use of hot & cold jacuzzis, steam & dry saunas, an hour of full body massage, buffet lunch, shabu-shabu & dimsum, and unlimited juice & iced tea. 

After running some errands, we proceeded to Wensha Spa in Antipolo and arrived at 11:00am. The receptionist informed us that the buffet lunch hours are from 11am to 2pm, and that the steam sauna will be turned on at 12nn, while the dry sauna at 4pm. He gave us slippers to use inside the spa and magnetic locker keys to wear on the wrist so we could leave our stuff in the lockers. We had a 6-hour stay period so we planned first how to spend our time there. Buffet lunch was first on our agenda, then we planned to use their jacuzzis and saunas, then go for the massage, and for merienda we'd have shabu-shabu & dimsum. Sounds good~ 

Items on the buffet lunch menu were corn-egg drop soup, pork, fish fillet, pinakbet, pancit canton and steamed rice... no left-overs please. I just had the fish, pinakbet and pancit... didn't want to overfill myself. Going to the spa for me means trying to live healthy, so no overeating here :)  But we enjoyed the food and the scenery. For dessert, there was ube & vanilla soft ice cream... yummy~

Males are separated from the females... so Mel & I decided to meet up for merienda at around 3pm, after we had our fill of using the jacuzzi & sauna and have had our massages. It was my first time at Wensha Spa, so I had to ask the attendants to guide me in the use of the facilities. They gave me a towel and a robe to put on. In the jacuzzi area, there were shower stalls, a cold jacuzzi pool and a hot jacuzzi pool, a steam sauna room and a dry sauna room. You have to be bare naked to use the jacuzzi pools, and just a towel wrap in the sauna. Good thing there was only one other lady there and she was waiting for the steam sauna to be turned on, so I had the hot jacuzzi pool all to myself. The attendant cautioned me to use the hot pool and sauna for 15 minutes at a time only, then cool myself off before going in again. There was a cooler filled with ice and a water dispenser in the jacuzzi room. I took showers in between dipping in the pool and going into the sauna, and drank lots of cold water. I loved the steam sauna... just a few minutes and I was perspiring all over... felt like I lost some weight there :)

At around 1:30pm, I felt I had my fill of the hot pool and steam sauna, so I went for the body massage. The massage rooms for ladies were two flights of stairs down from the jacuzzi room. There was a receptionist there and an attendant who led me to a room where there were two beds, which led me to the thought that it would be nice to have a girl friend with me next time I come here to Wensha. I chose ginger oil for my full body massage, and I told the masseuse to go light on me. The massage was relaxing and I felt some hard knots on my shoulders and back soften. I also enjoyed how she massaged my legs and feet... I ran that morning and my legs felt rejuvenated and ready to run again.

Time for merienda. Mel was already in the dining room when I went up. I got a vegetable siopao, pork siomai, and couple of other dimsum offered on the trays. We decided to have some shabu-shabu, so the waiter put a large pot of soup on the stove in front of us and turned it on. Mel got some beef strips, meatballs, cabbage leaves, corn and sotanghon, and when the soup started boiling, he put all the stuff in. We enjoyed the shabu-shabu while watching TV, an HBO move which we couldn't quite understand and just laughed at the goings-on.

We dressed and returned our slippers and locker keys at the reception, and paid our masseuse tips. We didn't use up all the 6 hours, but we felt all done, filled and satisfied. It was worth the P680 we paid... "sulit" is the appropriate word. However, Wensha Spa Antipolo just announced on their facebook page that their price will go up to P780 starting July 1, but they will be having 24 hours unlimited beer (I don't know if this is included in the package).

I hope to return and avail of their package before the price increases... maybe bring a friend with me too :)

Wensha Spa Antipolo
G/F Comoda Ville, 267-269 Sumulong Highway, Antipolo, Philippines
Phone: 6557377
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wensha-Spa-Antipolo/298579410182217