Archive for September, 2009

Ondoy Afterthoughts + A Run for Ondoy Victims

Heartbreaking.

This is undeniably the right word to describe the tragedy that occurred over most of Luzon last weekend, 26-27 September. Almost every single province belonging to it fell victim to the massive, unforgiving floods brought about by tropical storm Ondoy (international codename Ketsana). The event was so irrevocably immense to the point that 25 provinces were declared in a state of calamity all in one day. This storm will forever be marked in the hearts and memories of many Filipinos as lives were lost, memorabilia swept away, and personal property severely – or even permanently – damaged, lessening the possibility of recovery by those who own it. The floods brought about by the storm picked no one – whether rich or poor, almost everyone was included in its warpath.

Almost every section of the metropolis was submerged in floodwater, while bringing along mud. Even the road that was once thought as flood-proof gave in to the fury of the flood. Vehicles were being carried away while others were completely swallowed as the flood raged. People were scrambling to higher ground and to safety, while trying to salvage whatever they can. People even braved and risked their lives moving through the floodwater to rescue others. Vehicular traffic on major thoroughfares stopped to let the flood cool itself down, but to no avail, leaving motorists and commuters stranded, with no choice but to go through water-ridden roads and find their way home on foot. Streets, roads, avenues, and practically every single portion of asphalt and concrete had flood reaching to as high as the neck. The scenes got worse and worse as the rain progressed. Municipalities were render non-passable to all forms of vehicles. Power was gradually being cut down, same with phone lines. What’s worse, villages sank.

As the storm moved out of the country, one cannot help but look at the aftermath. Many people died, while many remain missing. The number of families that were displaced would have probably reached an all-time high. Several parts of Metro Manila remain deep in floodwater. Majority of the roads are still covered in mud. Individuals are scrambling to get relief goods. People are now moving back to their residences, hoping to save at least even a small portion of their property that was consumed by the worst flooding in the history of Luzon. It has been so bad that almost everyone in my circle of close relations was affected one way or another, whether it be my relatives, my office colleagues, my former bandmates, and even the running community – and to the one reading this post, I’m sure pretty much the same happened to you.

It’s pleasing to know that even private groups and international superstars are pitching in to do their share to help those who had befallen to Ondoy. As of this writing, relief goods are continuously coming in from schools, universities, and even private organizations. Kind-hearted volunteers have been busy working around the clock, along with the military and the police, to help alleviate the situation as much as they can. Even those who get off from work early contribute as much as they can to help their fellowmen rise once again from the depth.

Though the situation may be heartbreaking, we Filipinos are known to be resilient. Things may look bleak as of the moment, but as time passes, we will stand up from the damage once again. We will rebuild everything piece by piece with patience, perseverance, and help from God. We can look at it another way – the country has been torn, ravaged, and disjoined by several external factors. Now our government is calling (or should that be has been previously calling) for unity so that the country may reach its full potential and glory once again. Instead of praying for unity to happen, maybe this is the chance and once-in-a-lifetime to prove that we can stand united.

We can only hope that everyone who has been directly affected by Ondoy will be kept safe from further harm, and will stabilize in the coming days.

In light of this tragedy, a road race has been initiated here in Cebu as a fundraiser for the victims of Ondoy. Here are the details:

Event: Run for Ondoy Victims
Date: 18 October 2009, 6AM
Location: P. Larrazabal Avenue, North Reclamation Area, Mandaue City, Cebu
Reg Fee: Php300 (or more from your heart)

I’m very sure that more charity events like these will be organized in the future, especially by the running community, to help those who are in need of aid and assistance. It is indeed a cause worth supporting. If I only had the time, logistics, and capacity, I myself would also want to organize a fundraiser in the form of a road race. This idea could definitely be used by the running community – indeed, through our legs we can contribute to betterment. Not only do we have helping hands, but helping legs, for that matter. =)


New Balance Power Race POSTPONED!

ATTENTION, FELLOW RUNNERS!

Due to severe weather conditions in Manila as of this writing, the race organizers, race directors, and race sponsors have officially announced that the New Balance Power Race will be postponed to a later date to protect the safety of the running community.

The new schedule for the said run will now be on November 29, 2009.

All those reading this post now, please spread the word!

(Credits go to Ellen aka kelcy33 of takbo.ph for the info.)


Race Review: ROTARun 2009, September 20

The night before the race I went into yet another emotional battle. I tried to keep myself calm as much as possible so that it wouldn’t affect me, but it was quite useless. Those tears were flowing and much pain had sunk into my system that… Oh, never mind. I’m sorry. I’m supposed to be doing a race review. Anyhow, I tried to get as much rest as I could since this race would be the day where I would try to get a new 21K personal record.

Come race day, the feelings in my heart were still there, but it was a brand new opportunity to live, so I might as well race my heart out so that I’ll get some endorphins into my system. I got out of bed and prepped up, making sure to arrive at the race site 30 minutes before gun start. It was another course that will be plying through McKinley Hill – the famed hilly stretch which gets most runners walking on the way to Lawton Avenue (including myself). With a little prayer I promised that I would be giving my best, no matter what the cost, because I really want a new record. My target time for this race was under 2:16. That would be just fine for me – I’m bringing down my personal bests one minute at a time.

My Garmin pace setting was set to alarm above 6:08 min/km and below 6:38 min/km. This is probably punishment for me, but what the heck, if I’m gunning for a new record then might as well push it to the limit. But setting those aforementioned paces did give me a lot of trouble, because once I was through walking the uphill leading to Lawton Avenue (yes, I really did, but at least I was able to run a fourth of it), my spirits started to go low after making the u-turn that will lead me to Fort Bonifacio Gate 3. Add to that, I had initial signs of side stitch after passing KM5 or KM6. But still I pushed myself to keep within my targeted pace. But upon reaching Bayani Road, the pain of the side stitch was starting to grow, so I had to stop running for a while and re-adjust the pace.I had no choice but to shift down to 6:30 km/min to 7:00 km/min. That way I should still be able to finish strong. This was also the time when one of my running buddies, Ellen, caught up with me. She was pacing Timmy as he was aiming for a 2:20 finish. From KM9 onwards, I decided to go along with Ellen and Timmy as we headed down to C5. So far, so good.

Later on we entered Heritage Park, where we did the remaining few kilomters of the 21K route. I encouraged Timmy to keep within pace as much as possible, same with Ellen. Before making the u-turn that will lead us out of the cemetery, I paced along with Vic, and that persisted until we left Heritage Park and ran the final sections to Lawton Avenue. Now running along a cemetery is quite a unique experience since everything was so peaceful, but then again, I didn’t like the feeling of running across mausoleums and tombstones because I fear that the spirits might stumble upon me all of a sudden. Quite freaky, but still, it was fun running there.

At the approach to KM15, the side stitch had made itself felt again, and I was forced to walk around half a kilometer until I got to the front of the entrance to the Army football field. Chugging on my final cup of water, I pushed myself to get to the finish line as soon as possible. While I was heading down McKinley Hill to get to the finish line I checked my Garmin – a few kilometers had to be done more before reaching the 21st. But Bong had told us who were just about to finish that the route was short. Oh well, at least I’ll be finishing the race with a relatively good time. I arrived at the finish line in 2 hours and 2 minutes, with 17.75K total distance covered.

So sad that the route was cut short. But then again, it was a good route, since I got to run across Heritage Park for the first time, and I got to practice running across the hills again, though I lacked practice. I was undertrained for this event, so to speak, but it was a wonderful long run nonetheless. I extend my congratulations to all those who finished the half-marathon. It’s another medal for us in the bag for us to marvel at in the future. I also salute to those who ran their 21K for the very first time – it’s a very big accomplishment, and I’m sure you’ve proven your limits. =)

But more importantly, I extend my congratulations to the takbo.ph people who organized this event – Doc Lyn, Jinoe, and Que. Indeed, though it was your first time to set up a race and though it may have cost you valuable hours of sleep, it was undoubtedly a success, and I hope that you’ll be able to give birth to more running events in the upcoming months. You guys rock! =D

So, did I beat my 21K PR? I would say no. The route was short, and I don’t want to cheat on myself. There will be another chance come the New Balance Power Race this week. =)

Here’s my review of the race:

D (direction) – start from the back of the Chinese International School, then make your way to Venetia Drive, go straight to Upper McKinley Road, then make a u-turn upon reaching the Britsh Embassy. Head up to Lawton Avenue then just before you reach Old Lawton Avenue, make a u-turn to head to Bonifacio Gate 3. Upon reaching said destination, make a right to Bayani Road down to C5, then make another u-turn, making sure to enter Heritage Park. Run the outer perimeter then head back to where you came from, attack Bayani Road, Lawton Avenue, then descend to McKinley Hill to end up at the finish line. Medium to difficult race route.

R (registration) – I got myself in during the Urbanite event. There were other places to register yourself for this race also, so I have no problems with this one.

U (uhaw) – there were water stations every 2K. No need for a hydration belt on this one.

M (money) – 200 bucks gives you the usual race bib plus a singlet and some freebies in the end. Good value for runners here.

S (safety) – race marshalls were scattered all across the race route. In fact, some members of the Army, special forces, and the PNP pitched in to make the running route safe. Thanks for your help, guys. =)

Some pics follow:

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(from Sir Pio) Why so serious? =P

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(also from Sir Pio) Rock and run, baby.

The organizers – thanks again for another good race:

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Doc Lyn;

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Jinoe; and

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Que. Good job to all. =)

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See you again soon, guys…

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And hope to eat with you again after the run. =)

Here’s the route
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And my split analysis. Very uneven splitting. =(
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Race Review: Ayala Malls Eco Dash, September 13

Another 10K effort for me on this one.

I woke up quite early for this race to do one thing: to check if the rain will be ruining the race for everyone. It had been continuously raining the previous night and I felt the same might happen on race day. Fortunately, the rain stopped itself around 20 minutes after I woke up. If it didn’t I would screw race day. Realizing that there were no more drops falling from the skies, I immediately got dressed, prepared my stuff, and headed to the race site.

However, along the way, the rain was starting to get strong again, but it wasn’t as strong as last night. What the hell, I might as well go there anyway. Besides, I’m sure many people will still be running the race. Upon arrival at the race, I saw the 21K runners already at the coral, waiting for gun start. However, it is unfortunate to know that the 21K race will be starting 30 minutes later than the published gun time. Booboo # 1 for the organizers, people. That means, when cascaded, all those running shorter distance will be starting late as well. For 10K runners like myself, that meant we would have to start by 6AM. Darn it.

A few minutes before our gun start, the rain was starting to pitch in, and it was quite cold! I had no choice but to get into jogging place and move myself a bit. Even though the rain was slowly setting in, there were even pre-stretching demonstrations done. That’s good in itself, but come on, it’s about to rain, and we’ve already done our stretching, all that’s left for us to do is to run before the rain gets any stronger – so I guess there’s no need for pre-stretching anymore. That’s booboo # 2.

Finally, gun start. A few meters after the starting line, an outburst of rain. It’s a good thing that I wore my training shoes instead of my racing shoes – I don’t want them to get ruined. But even though the rain was pouring, it was quite soothing to the body. It had a cooling sensation, urging me to run faster than expected. I was supposed to treat this race as a long run (hence, my pace zones were set to 6:30 to 7:00 a kilometer), but since the weather proved to be in our favor somehow, I put on my game face and ran at race pace. For the first 7 kilometers I was feeling great because the rain was keeping me company. There was no sun to keep me from reaching the finish. I had fears that the total drench in my socks would cause blisters on my foot – and all to that the fact that I didn’t put on that much petroleum jelly – but what the hell, I’ll run at race pace anyway!

Along the way I caught up with one of my running friends, Marvin. I asked him if we could finish this race in under 65 minutes. Good thing he was game for it. =) We were pacing together for the most part until the return to the Kalayaan flyover to cross the finish line. Before ascending that one, I grabbed all the air I could while sipping on a cup of orange Gatorade. The end result was me running the flyover at a REALLY slow pace (i.e. 7:00 a kilometer), though I had to walk a portion of it upon reaching the highest point. After that, I resumed my race pace and caught up with Marvin again at KM9. Even though there were 8 minutes left until the 65th minute, we still ran at race pace – heck, Marvin sprinted at the last 300 meters. The end result was us finishing the 10K in 63 minutes.

After reaching the finish line, I dropped on all fours and thanked the heavens for yet another good race. No cramps for me this time around because I did my post stretching! Hehehe! =P Also, after waiting for the rain to completely stop, I got my Nikon D3000 out and broke it in with some of the takbo.ph. Some pictures to be shown later.

It was a good run. If I keep this pace up, for sure I’ll be setting a new record at the ROTARun, which is due this Sunday. Good luck to all the racers joining this event – and myself!

Here’s my review of the race:

D (direction) – start from the back of the NBC Tent, make a left upon reaching Serendra, then make another left to access the Kalayaan Flyover. After completing the descent at said flyover, make a quick left to Paseo de Roxas, then another left at Makati Avenue. Go straight until you see the street leading to the Landmark entrance. Turn left, then encircle the Glorietta 3 loop. You’ll be ending at the Landmark entrance. After that, run all the way you came from. Medium diffculty for this course, made easier by the rain. =D

R (registration) – if you’re an avid Ayala mall shopper, registration should be easy for you on this one. =)

U (uhaw) – I have no problems with this one. There was more than ample supply of water AND Gatorade. The latter helped as lot, especially on the way back to the Kalayaan flyover.

M (money) – 300 bucks gets you a race bib. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a singlet also, which could have done better on the design aspect. But if you’re one of the unfortunate who run out while registering, 300 bucks would be WAY too much to pay for.

S (safety) – no doubt about it, racing along Makati with security helping you along the way is good for runners. This has been proven several times. There have been several Makati races recently and once again, volunteers from the Makati Police are there to assist all the road racers, despite the rain.

Here’s the 10K race route

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And a split analysis.

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As promised, here are some pictures.

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Those who represented takbo.ph in this race. =) GO TEAM!!!

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Me with the legendary Bald Runner.

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It’s Vicky’s turn!

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PR maniacs! L-R: Sam, Luis, Vicky, and Argo.

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My running twin, Steven. Seriously, I think we look alike. =P


NB 1064: The Upgrade to the NB 1063

I bought a couple of NB 1063s this year as I have found that this is the perfect shoe for me, given me weight and my running. Never have both pairs failed me, not even a single bit. If I only had the money I would buy a third pair, much like what my running buddy Jet did.

But I guess I have to put that third pair of 1063s on hold – for now.

Apparently, the ingenious folks at New Balance are in the process of improving the 1063. Dubbed as the 1064, this will be released by January 2010. Its main features will be a so-called glove fit and better crash pads. Wow, very useful for long  – VERY long, even – running adventures! This will probably hit the Philippines around a month after its release. Too early to tell, but let’s see what happens.

Here’s a picture of the NB 1064 grabbed off somewhere in the web…

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And a sneak peek of the new shoe.

I have a feeling it will be expensive, but it will be worth every single peso. But if it’s WAY TOO expensive, then get more the 1063s for the meantime. I’m sure its price will drop down upon release of the 1064.  Nevertheless, this is a cushioning shoe worth waiting for. =D


Where to Run (A Newbies Article For takbo.ph)

takbo.ph had recently launched its revamped website, with better eye-catching features and user-friendly navigation. One of the new sections that has been added to the site is a section for newbie runners.

I wanted to contribute to the running community – as such, I have brewed up an article for them, in the hopes that it will be very informative for those who want to try out this morale-boosting activity.

Enjoy reading!

Running gear – check. A small amount of money for whatever might happen – check. A well-hydrated body – check. Warmed-up muscles – check. A fiery soul filled with every intention to run – check.

Congratulations! Now you’re ready to hit the road. The only thing that’s needed now is the perfect place for you to get your legs moving. But before you sweat yourself out, it’s best that you be aware of some of the running surfaces you will be treading on in the course of your running journey.

• TRACK – commonly found in sporting coliseums, like that of the Rizal Memorial Stadium or the Moro Lorenzo at Ateneo de Manila University. Its impact on your feet would be like a cushion since its composition is mostly made out of rubber. As such, you would want to run on this all the time, but of course, like many other things in this world, too much running on track his its own disadvantage, which you will learn later.
• ASPHALT – yup, that black section of road you step that leaves tar pits in your shoes, if you’re unlucky, makes up a portion of the roads here in the metropolis. Unlike track, it’s not as soft as you would expect it to be, but shock is minimized somehow when you land on it.
• CONCRETE – animals step on it, vehicles roll over it, and yes, you’ll be running on it, too. Majority of most running routes that I know of and that you will run on are made of this type of surface. This is hardest running surface ever known to man, so don’t be surprised if your feet and legs start to feel a little discomfort early in your run. Don’t be disheartened – concrete surfaces will be your best friend, as will be seen later.
• TRAIL – with the growth of trail running, this is another surface to explore for runners who wish to try this out. Included in this surface are various types of soil, rocky uphill and downhill paths, and lots of mud puddles, if there’s rain along your way. Try this one out only with trail shoes. You don’t want your expensive running shoes to be soiled in the mud – it’s hard to wash them off, especially if they’ve been left to dry on your shoe for days.

Now among these surfaces, which one should you try first? If you can start your running endeavor on concrete surfaces, that would be better. Sure, it will be hard at first, but that’s only the beginning. Once your legs have been accustomed and have adapted to running on that hard surface you would love to curse on, attempting to break your limits on softer paths will be much, much easier. If you can do a long run on concrete ground, that would be a groundbreaking achievement for you. Once you try out a route that’s primarily made of asphalt, things will be a cinch. Hence, to this I say – concrete surfaces are your best friend.

In pretty much the same manner, if you concentrate on running on track surfaces all the time (or on asphalt), you’ll have a hard time adjusting to concrete. When I was starting out as a runner I would favor running routes that are composed of asphalt and nothing else. In the end, when I signed up for a race that was on concrete ground, I didn’t perform well, and I ended up being injured in the process.

Point here being is, if you can familiarize yourself with all types of running surfaces, then your legs wouldn’t have much of a problem adjusting itself. Don’t concentrate on just one – variety means everything.

Now, to talk about where you should run.

Imagine the world as a really big playground – there are a lot of roads on it that can take you anywhere and everywhere as long as you have the drive and determination to reach your destination. Where you should you run as a beginner? The answer is simple – RUN TO ANYWHERE YOU WANT, AS LONG AS YOU CAN REACH IT. Run to your neighbor’s house. Run to the church nearest you. Run to your significant other’s house, even. Go for it! No one will stop you except yourself.

However, remember to start out with smaller distances first. Don’t go long if you have no experience whatsoever, unless you want to injure yourself. Begin with a 3K effort, then move on to 5K if you feel confident that you can go beyond your limit. Jump to 10K if 5K isn’t enough. Still have that fire in you? Run a half-marathon. Move upwards until you reach that magic number – 42. Who knows, you might even go beyond 42K and do ultra running. But let’s leave that for now.

Your selection of running routes also matters. Here are some tips on how to choose your route:

• Choose a route that is free from pollution as much as possible. Remember, you need that oxygen so that it will circulate around your body. It would be best if there are trees and other types of vegetation on your running route. Not only do they provide the scenery, but they also do the job of absorbing the carbon dioxide coming from the cars that pass by them – not to mention yourself.
• Choose a route that is free from hostility. You don’t want to run near places where there’s full of muggers and other bad elements. Safety is your primary concern.
• If you can, choose to avoid running at national roads at all costs. There’s a chance that you might get run over, although you may have taken extra precaution. But if you have no other choice but to do this, be sure to run against traffic so that you’ll know if something’s about to come your way.
• Choose a route that has a convenience store nearby. In case your hydration belt runs out of fuel and you desperately need to hydrate, then the nearest convenience store would solve that problem for you. Make sure to have a small amount of money on hand for you to get your energy drink.
• Choose a route that can be visibly seen at night. This is especially helpful when you do a night run of your own. Ensure that the streetlights will light your path so that you won’t have to worry about wearing a headlamp and other reflective gear.

Once you’ve chosen your running spot, try it out. But don’t run on the same path for too long as it will get boring in the long run. Feel free to try out different roads and different destinations. Try running to the mall, to the airport, to your office, or to the nearest bank to withdraw your cash. Try discovering new routes that you can share to the running community – who knows, you might even get to know a friend or two. Like I said, the world is your playground and you can reach your destination as long as you know that you will reach it. Prioritize your safety, and you’re good to go.

A lot of websites allow you to map out your run for you to measure how far your destination will be. The one that I have found as the most useful is http://www.mapmyrun.com. This website allows you to plot your start and end points, while showing mile/kilometer markings along the way. If you don’t own a GPS device, then this site would help you a lot to determine how long your proposed route will be. The service is free, so why not try it out? The site also allows you to log your runs, and share your created running routes for other runners to try.

Now you know where to run on and where to run.

Only one thing left to do – HIT THE ROAD, BUCKY!

See you on your practice run, and at the starting line.

Check out the newbies section for more details. =)


Another Road Race For September 2009?

I say – WHY NOT? =D

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I’ll be present this coming Sunday, September 13, at the Ayala Malls Eco Dash Environment Run. I was thinking of doing a 21K on this race since the route was quite good (it’s similar to the Globe-Ayala Run For Home event), but since I’m doing back-to-back 21K races on the 20th and the 27th, having a third one would be quite suicidal for me.

I may be an addict, but I’m not THAT addicted – yet. =P

I’m doing 10K for this run. See you at the starting line, folks. =)