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Race Review – takbo.ph Runfest, July 25

Better late than never. =)

After being excessively involved in long-distance races, I thought that maybe it was about time for me to do a 5K effort in this race. I’ve checked my records and according to the archives, the last 5K race I joined in dates to last year – and I was assigned to Cebu at that time. This is one of the reasons why Caren and I signed up for the 5K category. It was a perfect chance to break the speed barrier. Come to think of it, after favoring long-distance runs, there may be a chance that I may get a new 5K personal record on this event.

What even prompted me to set a new target time was the fact that I became a volunteer photographer for this race, much like what the personnel at Photovendo do during road races. So in some sense, there was a certain degree of pressure to run the race quickly and arm the camera immediately to take pictures of fellow runners on their way to the finish line.

Unfortunately, Caren wasn’t available during this event even though she had previously signed up. So I ran for the both of us.

I ran the first half of the course with an average of 6:00 mpk (or even faster). Incredibly, my lungs were keeping up. If I kept up with this kind of momentum I will be able to attain a sub-30 finish with a smile on my face!

And true enough, my body played along until I reached the finish line. The GF 305 registered a time of 28:15. NEW 5K PR!!! =D

After doing a bit of stretching I immediately went near the finish line with camera in hand. There I started taking pictures of other runners giving their final push to the finish line. At that point I told myself that it felt great being a volunteer. It feels great to be able to pay everything forward to those who are starting their respective careers in running.

Thus, the spirit of volunteerism will be the subject of my next post.

Congratulations to all those responsible for the organization of the Runfest. I’m hoping that by next year there will be longer distances available.

For those who want to view their Runfest pictures, click on the following public sets on Facebook.
Set 1
Set 2
Set 3
Set 4
Set 5
Set 6
Don’t forget to cite your sources. =)

New Site Design!

Yes, I know I have been gone for quite some time. This is one of the many reasons for my hiatus – looking for a new theme for my journal.

Also include a new tagline for the website.🙂

So how do you like it? Leave a comment!

Race Review – 3rd Robinsons Fit and Fun Buddy Run, July 11

I’ll be summing up this post in one picture.

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Feels good when we do a 10K together at a very easy pace. =)

Race Review, Part 2: The 34th National MILO Marathon, July 4 – THE SCANDAL

Now for the more interesting part of this race review: the dark side.

1 – Lack of hydration.

In my previous post I mentioned about struggling to reach the finish line though I was about to get completely dried up. Thanks to a little push I was able to finish the course in one piece. There was no water on the approach to the finish line! I can accept that water stations at this point will be dry since it is a common passing point for 3K, 5K, and 10K runners. But the point here is, water will be VERY essential for those who did the longer distance categories and for those who endured the sun’s heat to the point that their skins are burned to a near crisp. These people, like myself, need the hydration at the approach to the finish line! Thank goodness there were support stations like those provided by Adination Alabang and takbo.ph – they did a real good job in providing the necessary aid to long-distance road warriors. Organizers can’t just dismiss the hydration issue even though there are people to support the half-marathoners and marathoners along the way. It’s still the organizer’s responsibility to make sure the runner’s needs are met.

As an example, one of takbo.ph’s regulars, Edwin, had to go back to the takbo.ph support station just to get a bottle of Pocari as he was making his way to finish his maiden 42K. Imagine, he had to run all the way to CCP just for this one. (Partida na yan, umabot pa siya sa 6-hour cut-off.)

Ever heard of the saying “Mas maganda na ang sobra kesa kulang”? This doesn’t apply to running events, particularly in hydration. Better to have more than ample stock of sports drinks/water/whatever hydration is necessary for runners to be at their best.

2 – Chaos at the baggage counters.

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Nope, this isn’t an auction. These are runners who are shoving in and out to retrieve their baggage and head home. After completing the race I immediately went to the baggage counter, and this was what I got – a barrage of frustrated, furious runners raising their bibs in the air. What’s wrong with this picture?

First of all, where’s the line? Kids, don’t you know how to form a line? This was taught in grade school (even in kindergarten, for crying out loud)! I don’t see any reason why you should push other race participants out of the way to get your things. Looking at on this picture, it is almost as similar to a mosh pit at a rock concert.

Second, those responsible for handling the baggage counter don’t know how to handle the crowd. What they did was they were holding the first bag that they see up in the air and they scream out the number in the hopes that the actual owner would be present. That’s totally wrong! Wouldn’t it be better if the runner just mentioned the bib number to baggage personnel and look for it? That’s the usual procedure in road races. It may take some time finding where the bag us, but at least it’s a surefire way of giving the bag back to its rightful owner, rather than just shouting it out to the crowd!

Third – probably the biggest baggage handling issue of all – many bags were placed A FEW METERS OUTSIDE the baggage counter with no personnel to guard it. They were simply there, waiting to be grabbed by anyone. My backpack was so unfortunate to be part of this. Upon seeing my bag I immediately got it and checked the contents, hoping that my valuables would still be intact. Thank goodness nothing was lost. The good part was that no one stole my bag and I was able to leave the race site right away, but the bad part was that no one was keeping an eye over my belongings, including that of other bags. So much for security.

3 – CHEATERS.

Yes, you read it right. Some blogs have posted about 42K runners cheating on the race course by (1) not registering splits at KM26 and KM37 or (2) having a “support vehicle” carry you to some place near the finish line or (3) physically switching runners, just like in a relay! And yet these culprits manage to finish with really fast times, comparable to that of elite maratonhers, and get away with the finisher’s medal? There are many more people deserving of that medal – those who suffered from cramps during the run, those who were unfortunately injured during the run, those who busted their knees during the run, those who endured the heat of the sun and the humidity of the race course during the run, and those who have undergone 3 or 4 months of training before their participation in the race! Only those who have crossed the finish line without deliberately cutting the course can be called true marathoners, no matter how slow or fast they might get.

Have these runners no shame? And to think that some of them are part of a running club??? What kind of ethics does your club impart on you? I’m very sure that cheating is not part of it!

This post proudly bares it all, without fear or favor. Even the bib numbers are included. (Now I know who the “fatso” Jonel was referring to.) To the criminals involved in this sham: you should be ashamed of yourselves. You call yourselves runners? Heck, you’re not even worthy of running. The fact that you cheated in this race disbars you from being called as such. You’ve ruined the sanctity of the sport – completely. Have you no respect for those who really prepared for this event?

To those who did their respective exposes, well done. The running community deserves to know about this farce. Thanks to the beauty of the timing chip and Photovendo, now we’ll be able to see you really are. Now there’s justification why MILO decided to increase its registration fees – to increase the quality of a running event and to sift out wrongdoers like these.

To the MILO race organizers, find a way to chase after these people and forcibly take away their medals and certificates from them. They should be given to more noteworthy people. To other race organizers, you better take note of these individuals. Should they have the guts to join running events in the future, rip their registration forms, and throw them back their cash.

Tough luck, you cheaters, but you couldn’t get away with it. You just got NAILED.

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(image source: http://degreedirectory.org/cimages/multimages/2/cheater.jpg)

Would you still have the balls to come out in public?

Naku, mga ser, kapag nakita kayo ng mga hardcore at elite runners sa kalye sa mga susunod na araw, siguradong bugbog-sarado kayo sa kanila.

A final note…

In the last few days, there have been reports of casualties along the race course. One of them was a senior battling the full marathon. The other was a youngster trying to beat his 21K personal record, a kilometer short of the finish line. The latter is one of my officemate’s friends. Both fell under a heat stroke and met the Creator not long after. My heart goes out to you and may your souls rest in pace.

Sa mga mandaraya, mahiya naman kayo sa mga namatayan. At least they tried their best, habang nagpapakapetix kayo.

MILO is famed for distributing green singlets with the power statement “Kaya mo ‘yan!” printed at the back. I suggest that this be modified in the future to something like this: “Kaya mo ‘yan… Pero huwag ka mandaya!

Race Review, Part 1: The 34th National MILO Marathon, July 4 – THE GLORY

I first participated in a MILO running event last year when I was assigned back in Cebu, far away from the glory of takbo.ph. But even though I was located outside of Manila I ran with my fellow road warriors in spirit. It was in this race where I have set a new personal record of 2:17 for a 21K route, only later on to be beaten at the Globe Run For Home event 2 weeks after by a full minute. The 33rd National MILO Marathon was a fun experience and I was looking forward to do it again.

Which is why I joined it once more this year, only that now, I’ll be running in Manila along with some of my running cohorts. =)

I signed up for the 21K race category, given that I didn’t have that much training. When the race organizers posted the final race route several weeks after, it was then that I had second thoughts about selling my race bib so as I could enter the full marathon category – it was relatively a flat course that will concentrate on Roxas Boulevard and Macapagal Avenue. In the end, it was a good decision for me to stick to completing half a marathon, as you will see later on.

Target time wasn’t really that important to me. As long as I’m able to reach the finish line in under 2 hours and 30 minutes (which is the cut-off time for 21K runners in order to receive the much-coveted MILO finisher’s medal) then I will be happy. As I said, the course is relatively flat, but there is the issue of running over 2 flyovers – one across the World Trade Center and the other across Heritage Hotel EDSA. Screw the PR, just finish the race. This was the agreement reached between Doc Marvs, Team Logan, Mark, and myself.

Our overall strategy was to implement a Galloway approach, with a 6:1 ratio and a pace of 6:30mpk. Thankfully, it did work – and our legs were strong enough to run the twin bridges of Roxas Boulevard. For the first half of the course, we seem to be having fun and we were in all smiles. We even got to heckle along the way.

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While I was running along Macapagal Avenue, I met up with the Adination Alabang chapter support group, spearheaded by Nao. There I asked for a quick shot of water that should last me until I got past EDSA Extension. Thanks for the help, guys. =)

The hardship starts from KM12.5 onwards. By the time I got across Dampa Macapagal Avenue, the thirst was starting to kick in, for the sun was in full effect and it was drying me up gradually. The subsequent water stations in this location had no stock of hydration, so there was no choice but to continue running until Sofitel, in the hopes that there would be even just one full cup of water available. Finally, upon the approach to V. Sotto on the way to the Aliw Theater, I got myself a couple of water cups – one for the body and one to pour above my head. So refreshing.

And then – an unexpected surprise.

Caren was running along CCP along with her cousin, Adeline. She was training her for her first 5K event on July 18th. She called my attention and I was happy to see her! That provided the emotional fuel I needed to finish the race. I stopped for a few minutes and gave her a kiss, for I was that thankful that she’s there to support me. She told me to keep on going, and that I did. After waving goodbye I resumed the run, then passed by the takbo.ph support station, full of spirit and energy. I let out a “happy scream” here before reaching them. =)

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(Thank you, Gail, for this picture!)

I made a quick stop then got myself a bottle of Pocari. My mistake here was that I consumed all of it in one sitting, giving me a bloated feeling later on.

I made the final cross at the World Trade Center flyover, with my energy reserves still intact.

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But after passing CCP, I was nearing absolute exhaustion. The heat of the sun was slowly getting into me and my only hope was to reach a water station for me to splash all over myself. There was no more water available 2.5K to the finish line! And my thirst was kicking by the second! There came times in the final stretch of the race when I had to have a major walk break since I didn’t want to push myself. However, given the fact that there were only a few minutes left before the cut-off, I had no choice. Starting from the walls of the US Embassy until the finish line I pulled it all off, making sure to keep within a “somewhat comfortable pace” for a strong finish. (As an aside, I was witness to a small riot in front of the US Embassy while I was running, c/o some protesters wanting to eradicate the VFA. That was creepy.)

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Finally, I crossed the finish line, with the GF 305 registering a total distance of 20.97KM, and a total elapsed time of 2:27:20. I’m so happy that I made it to the cut-off. However, the marshalls told me that there were no more medals for the 21K runners since they had ran out of it! Man, what a letdown. They better make sure to have that medal delivered to my residence within the next few days. =z

After chugging a bottle and a half of Gatorade and cooling down, I drove my way to the takbo.ph support station to pay them forward. It feels good to help other runners finish the race. The next time around I’ll try to be part of the running core’s support group and cheer fellow road warriors to the finish.

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Thanks loads, guys, much appreciated.

There’s something in this race which made it hard – and that’s the humidity and the blistering heat. Apparently, Mother Nature didn’t want to rain on MILO’s parade – literally speaking – so she made the sun shine at its best. Darn it, where’s the rain when you need it the most? Moreover, isn’t it the rainy season right now? If you were to ask me, thank goodness I didn’t change my mind on running the 42K route. Yes, sticking to my original decision was right. But I take my hat off and I admirably salute all those who were to legitimately complete the full marathon despite the sun’s rage.

Wait, legitimately? Is there an issue here? Oh yes, there is.

This will be covered in part 2 of the review. Stay tuned.

(Probably) The Other Reason Why I’m Running

As a drummer, I have to admit one of my greatest frustrations – the double bass pedal.

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For so long I have been amazed at other drummers playing powerful rock beats using two bass pedals with the greatest of ease, as if it was natural to them. I have tried using them a couple of times, but I can’t seem to get the coordination with my left foot and my arms. Most of the time I end up being pissed off because I can’t seem to get it right. However, I saw a website that allows a drummer to add double pedal effects using only a single foot pedal. The disadvantage to this is that there is some sort of foot switch involved that might annoy the drummer. So I had to scrap that idea. Come to think of it, if you’re going to use double bass in your tracks, might as well use two pedals instead of “cheating it” into a single one.

I asked one friend of mine a long time ago (who’s an expert in percussion, by the way) for some tips and tricks that he used to master the art of the double pedal. His answer was simple – try running.

I have been running for a very long time now and I have yet to see whether running does help an aspirant to master the double pedal. Unfortunately, I haven’t gone behind a real drum set for a long time now, and I feel that my skills are getting rusty. Hence, I need practice once again. Then I can test whether my friend’s tip is correct. If I think about it, maybe he is right in some sense, because leg coordination is also key in running. But that remains to be tested. Hopefully by the time I’m able to jam again, I can experiment on placing “additional kicks”.

So did I get into running because I want to sharpen my drumming skills? Far-fetched and odd, I have to agree. But that seems like a pretty viable answer. And if running does help hone your double bass skills, then I’m definitely running more. =)

Hopefully, with some persistence, I’ll be able to follow the footsteps of some of my drumming gods:

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Robert dela Cruz (of Skychurch and Queso);

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Andrea Vadrucci (a YouTube sensation);

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Raymond Herrera (originally from Fear Factory, now with Arkaea);

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Joey Jordison (of Slipknot);

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Mike Portnoy (of Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold); and

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Neil Peart (of Rush).

Hindi naman masama mangarap, ‘di ba. =)

I miss drumming already. Just to share, here’s me drumming 4 years ago.

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Race Review: Earth Run 2010, April 18

Two words to sum up this race: PACER DUTIES. =)

Might I also add – KNEE-HIGH SOCKS! This is my first race to debut in such apparel. Not only does it look good, but it also provides additional compression to my legs. So I can say goodbye to my cramps – hahaha! =P

Since I didn’t have any training prior to this race, I decided to take it slow for the meantime and simply finish it the best way I can. I wasn’t really aiming for any PR whatsoever since I knew from the very start that the race course was going to be hard.

I was originally planning to do a continuous run, around 6:45 to 7:00 mpk. But when Carina, Tere, and Julie tagged along – and upon hearing that Carina left her GF 305 – I volunteered to be their pacer. The game plan? A Galloway strategy with a 5:1 ratio, with a maximum pace of 7:00 mpk. This was going to be a chill run indeed. But as we were progressing along our run, I discovered that we could sustain a 6:30 mpk pace for around 5 minutes, so we decided to upgrade our pace. =)

Being that this was going to be a relaxed run, we decided to take it slow on the uphill paths, like the Kalayaan flyover ascents and the rolling hills at Bayani Road and at Heritage Park. To compensate for this, we would speed our butts off when the downhill path came, to the point that we were running to 5:30 mpk at most. Sometimes I would break the 5:1 ratio especially, when we were in the middle of a descent, until it smoothens out or until we get to an uphill struggle.

During the race, Carina, Tere, and I were focused on Julie. I knew later on that she was gunning for a new Pikermi PR. As such, we stayed by her side all the time and gave her all the motivation (not to mention the rest time) she needed to gun for a sub-2:30 finish. We followed this “blocking”, as Julie would call it, for the most part:

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Carina and I were in front, Tere and Julie were behind. (Thanks to Julie for this photo.)

I was happy to know that there were a few others who tagged along with us. Too bad we weren’t able to get a picture of them.

At the last 3K, we can sense that Julie was slowly getting weary and her energy reserves were nearly depleting. But nevertheless, we kept her motivated and focused on reaching her goal – in fact, to make our performance better, we decided to include some fartlek sessions! I was initially fearing that we might not make it to 2:30 because the last 500 meters of the route extended all the way until Serendra, but we somehow managed to speed ourselves. In the end, we finished at 2:27:40, as per the Garmin.

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Congrats, Julie, for beating your time. Next target – 2:25! =)

Caren also ran 5K in this race, and she has set a new record of 40 minutes. =) Congratulations, baby! =*

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Just a little more and we’ll be able to break the 35 minute barrier. =D

After this run, I have realized that I can actually become a pacer for life, since I have no plans on beating my records anymore. I know there is room for improvement, but I can put those aside for now. I want to help other people beat their records now. Maybe it’s about time that I pay it forward. =)

Here’s the route

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And my splits.

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