Photo Of The Week: Running Bugs

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Either bed bugs  caught by the running bug or some beetles that were roused from the comfort of acacia trees above them, these creatures dash off near the finish to complete their 2k fun run at the GIG run 2009 in UP.

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Photo by June Santiago.

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(If you have other interesting/unusual running photos you would like featured, you can e-mail them to the jazzrunner at runnerjazz@yahoo.com and leave a comment with the details.)

Thanks!

My Personal Home Run

run4homeRunning a half-marathon isn’t as simple as it looks specially when you’re in pain during the last kilometers of the race. If it were, there wouldn’t be anything to complain about beyond what novelist and runner, Haruki Murakami wrote in his book, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you start to think, Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The hurt part is unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can’t stand anymore is up to the runner himself.”

Well, this also sums up  what i experienced in last Sunday’s Globe-Run For Home 21k race. It was a good, well organized race. But when cramps and spasms dawned on my body in the last 5 kilometers, it spoils all good vibes about the race and ends up like a nightmare while you tend to keep the suffering tolerable, find what’s best under the circumstances and deal with it the best way you can. Never mind that your target time is compromised, all i thought was to get this over with and finish the race as soon as possible.

When you have a race that starts exactly at 5:00am, think about the time you have to rise up, relieve yourself in the bathroom, take a shower and re-check what you have packed in your bag the night before. One thing i forgot to do last Saturday night was to slip in the timing chip on my shoe. The instructions given was a bit too vague. Foregoing it, i instead looped one end of the lace before pinning it to the left lace hole and looped another end going to the right side lace hole. It took me a good 20 minutes to get the chip properly looped so it wouldn’t dangle like a finishers’ medal.

I was running the first five kilometers faster than i should but it was controlled as the pace would vary from 6:30-7:00/km. The Kalayaan flyover to Buendia Avenue was already familiar to many runners but turning left to Ayala Avenue into the heart of the Makati Central Business District presented a new environment for the runners. There were crowds lining along Ayala Avenue with amusement etched in their faces.

The turn-around point near the corner of Ayala and EDSA marked the 8th km of our run. Thirteen kms to go. I was maintaining a pace at about 7:00/km and back to Buendia, i got my first taste of a canned 100 Plus Isotonic drink and opened up a pack of orange sports beans. Found nothing energizing about taking these drinks and energy beans. I’m about to climb up the Buendia flyover and i’m already feeling it. Not a good sign.

I reached the top of Buendia  flyover without stopping, as i did my own version of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk, like dragging and sliding my two feet forward. I get passed by younger and stronger runners but they turn-out to be 10k runners after they merged with us at their turn-around point somewhere in Buendia. They kept me up on my toes but i was sinking fast.

We were now back at The Fort and we’re lining up for a right turn to 5th Avenue on our way to Lawton Street. I was now starting to feel spasms just below my right ribcage and the pain was excruciating. I stopped to walk and did deep breathing and exhaled as hard as i could and it seemed to work. I started to run back slowly but at the 15th km mark, the inevitable happened. My left calf muscles which i had problems with before after running at every 15 km mark began to cramp and i could feel the spasm traveling up and down my calf and ankle.

I had to pull myself to the side to do some stretching for the calf muscle. I tried to bend over and give it a massage but it only exacerbated the pain so i reverted back to stretching. I slowly got back to a slow jog until i finally reached the turn-around bend at Bayani Road. Running back to Lawton Avenue, the worst nightmare that could probably happen to a runner did happen. My right calf muscle also began to cramp and that was the first time i experienced a cramp on my right leg! At the same time, the left cramp recurred and was having that painful side-stitch again! Now, what the —- is happening?

Finishline, where are you? I’ve been walking briskly for 2 minutes now starting from km 18. It’s a desperate move, one that i hope will conserve what little strength that i have left. I hope i will be able to run the last two kilometers, i tell myself. In my past races, i try to pick-up the pace and evaluate my running form in the closing kilometers which kept me focused to finish strong. Today, however, i thought i have lost all will. I tried to shout-out my frustration. As Murakami san would suggest, suffering would be up to the runner so i tried to mask the pain by thinking of the good memories of my running in the forests, mountains and dirt trails. It probably gave me a shot in the arm as the pain in my legs suddenly felt numb and i was now starting to break out of my walk.

A kilometer before the finish, a Caucasian runner, who seemed to have finished the race, shouts some words of encouragement. “You’re almost there, you can do it!” he yells at us. “Only a few steps ahead, you’re looking good!” I tried to look good, but i was feeling the worst inside, if he only knew.

When i crossed the finish line almost limping, i heaved a sigh of relief. I had run one of my worst race yet and i can only console myself that i finished without any serious injury. I finished the race in 2:25:17, just a few minutes slower from a previous 21k at the Condura Race.

Every long distance runner have and will experience pain. Murakami was right that pain is inevitable and if you hope that the pain will just go away, it probably won’t. Will power, determination and some imagination were the choices i had to do. Two of these are probably inherent to every runner. Imagination was the wild card that did the home run.

A group picture with the takbo.ph runners

A group picture with the takbo.ph runners

Good run for most of us

Good run for most of us

Wearing the new singlets

Wearing the new singlets

With former classmate, Ipe

With former classmate, Ipe

With the wacky group

With the wacky group

All for running

All for running (Thanks to Edu & Carlo)

QC I M

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BLUE-RIBBON 1st QUEZON CITY INTERNATIONAL MARATHON FAST SHAPING UP

Quezon City , ranked among the top 10 Asian Cities of the Future by the Financial Times Magazine of the UK and AsiaBIZ Strategy Ltd. of Singapore, reinforces this lofty world standing with the city’s inaugural holding of an international marathon on October 18, 2009.

For this project, the office of Mayor Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. is mobilizing the support of the citizenry, socio-civic groups and the many big companies and businesses which have made the city their home these past few years.

Envisioned to be the culminating activity of the city’s week-long 70th founding anniversary celebration this October, the First Quezon City International Marathon (QCIM) will be a multi-event footrace with the 42.195-kilometer full marathon as centerpiece event.  The race will start and finish at the newly spruced-up Quezon Memorial Circle People’s Park, and traverse the whole length of Commonwealth Avenue, parts of the newly-built Ayala Techno Park, the UP Campus and the La Mesa Eco-Park.

The other race events will cover distances of 21K, 10K and 5 kilometers within this relatively flat course.  Attractive prizes will be up for grabs for top-notch local and international runners.

Mayor Belmonte has appointed the Executive Runners Club of the Philippines (Runnex) as QCIM race manager with Entraineur/Finish Line as race organizer.  Runnex will be banking on its more than 25 years of race organization in holding the first Quezon City International Marathon. Currently, Runnex is holding a 10-month running clinic at UP Diliman every Sunday in preparation for the October race.

In addition, the QCIM satellite races especially are expected to be star-studded events. Major broadcast media stations based in Quezon City are invited to participate in the project and field in entries, particularly their showbiz talents.  The country’s top radio-TV stations headquartered in Quezon City include ABS-CBN, GMA 7, ABC5, IBC 13, RPN 9 and PTV 4.

Plans are likewise afoot to make the QCIM a family-friendly and runner-friendly finishers’ marathon.  Various runner and spectator attractions at the Quezon City Memorial Circle , a traditional runners’ haven, are being organized by the Quezon City Cultural & Tourism Affairs Office (CTAO) to make the QCIM not only a competitive event but also a festive occasion.

For further inquiries, contact 920-4206, 742-0283 or 742-3091 (telefax) or log on to www.runnex.org or finishline.ph.

Photo Of The Week: Shower Of The Day

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The guy must have just stepped out from the shower to join the running festivities of the UP Mountaineers Club’s Gig run last month at the UP Campus.

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Photo by June Santiago.

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(If you have other interesting/unusual running photos you would like featured, you can e-mail them to the jazzrunner at runnerjazz@yahoo.com and leave a comment with the details.)

Thanks!

LSD With A Difference

The weekly Long Slow Distance (LSD) run together with mileage buildup is the cornerstone of all marathon training programs. Being able to run for at least 2 to 4 hours at an easy, steady, conversational pace trains the body and the mind develop endurance to withstand the long haul of running 42.195 kilometers.

However, there’s more to it than running a slow, steady, even-paced tempo as you can vary these runs to break up the monotony and make it more challenging and interesting.

This is what I and 25 other would be October marathoners did when an LSD run was organized by the Takbo.ph runners last Juky 12 at the Fort. Last Sunday’s run was hatched partly to navigate next Sunday’s Globe-Run For Home 21k race route which traverses from the Fort to the Makati Central Business District and back. For others, it would serve as the beginning of another 16-week program of training for the 1st Quezon City International Marathon this coming October 18, 2009.

I was dropped off by a good friend at the corner of EDSA and Mckinley Road at about 4:30am and started my run from there towards our meeting place at the McDonalds, Net One Branch, the Fort. Since the agreed meet time was 5:00am, i still had enough time to run around BHS so when i arrived at McDonald’s, i had run an easy 4.5k warm-up already. By 5:10am, runners began to arrived and the group swelled to 26. While many from the Takbo.ph runners had also joined to Buddy Fit & Run nearby, the LSD group was large enough and all were raring to run.

Taken before the start of our LSD at McDonalds

Taken before the start of our LSD at McDonalds

From the Fort, we exited through Rizal Drive on our way to the Kalayaan Flyover towards Buendia Avenue. After the initial slow and tentative pace, the group broke up into 3 with the first group headed by Doc Lyndon, Gab, Mar and myself running at a pace of 7:00-7:15/km while the 2nd group were cruising along at 7:15-7:30 pace and the last group was taking it easy at a pace of about 7:45/km.

From Buendia Avenue, we turned left towards Ayala Avenue and the pace remained constant as we turned another left to Makati Ave. until we reached Buendia Ave, again. At the corner of Makati Ave. and Buendia, we rested and waited for the others as we took some water and other fuel drinks. When everybody arrived and re-grouped into one, the group took the opportunity to engage in their most passionate past time during long runs– the photo-ops! A dozen or more poses were executed…from the demure to the bizarre and outrageous jump-shots!

Raking a rest at the corner of Makati and Buendia Avenues

Taking a rest at the corner of Makati and Buendia Avenues

Instead of taking the route back to Ayala Avenue as was the Run For Home race course suggested, the group decided to run back Buendia Avenue going upwards the Buendia and Kalayaan flyovers. The pace picked-up during the uphill climb as runners were testing their individual abilities in tackling the 200 meter incline.

On our way back to the Fort, we chanced upon the participants of the Buddy Fit & Run race whom we cheered as we stopped to let them pass through. In reversal of roles, it was these participants, with digicams in tow, who took interest in us as they took our pictures, posing for them instead of the other way around.

Posing for the runners!

Posing for the runners!

A strange mix of addicts!

A strange mix of addicts!

After refueling with choco bars, raisins, energy bars and replenishing our hydration belts with more Gatorade, courtesy of takbo.ph member Neil, we proceeded to Lawton Avenue then towards Bayani Avenue past Heritage Park and turned around when we reached C-5 Road. It was during this stretch that we did some surges in pace, alternating the pacing chores of the lead runner. Since the heat was starting to rise, we just coasted along the flat surfaces while we sprinted up the hilly portions, to give variety to our run.

Along Lawton Road

Along Lawton Road

On the last 2 kilometers, we ran on a fast pace, leading back to the finish at McDonald’s, “emtying our tanks”, so to speak, giving a final “kick” to our long run. The group finished 20.3 kilometers in all and plus my 4.5km run at the start, i was able to log 24.8 kms in 3 hours of running time, an auspicious start to our quest for the Quezon City Marathon this October.

Inside McDo with Mar, Doc and Jinoe (standing)

Inside McDo with Mar, Doc Roy and Jinoe (standing)

Mar, in a happy mood

Mar, in a happy mood

Jinoe with birthday girl, Carmen

Jinoe with birthday girl, Carmen

(Seen through the lenses of Edu & Jet. Thanks, guys!)

Marathon Recovery: To Run Or Not To Run…?

You have logged hundreds of kilometers of training in the weeks prior to the marathon and by the same token, broke your marathon PR or just successfully completed your first full one in last Sunday’s Milo 42k elimination run. So what’s to do next?

How does one recover? Do we jog easily for a few minutes a day during the week after a marathon or does one rest completely and let the entire body heal by itself?

There are generally two schools of thought regarding how one should recover the week after a marathon. While both have its own merits, it’s still a multi-faceted approach that applies differently for everyone.

PASSIVE RECOVERY APPROACH: The first week should be easy– do nothing. While muscle strength and endurance will drop considerably after what the body has just been put through, the tissues of the body needs time to heal and by resting the body in full, tear and wear in muscle tissue repair themselves. With the right recovery diet and giving the right fuel your body needs, the immune system is recharged, helping the muscle cells recuperate more quickly.

ACTIVE RECOVERY APPROACH: Most would go for a short run. Many experts say a 20 to 30 minute jog a day or every other day provides gentle blood flow to sore areas which helps bring nutrients that heal into the muscles. It also assists in flushing out the waste products and damaged tissues that serves to reduce post-race soreness. Others attest that it’s a major psychological boost to keep moving rather than doing nothing mentally and physically. A satiation to the running addict in us.

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Speaking from personal experience, i’ve tried both approaches but the active recovery approach worked well for me. After my first full marathon (when the first running boom was blooming here in the 80′s), i went for the full rest, passive recovery approach and didn’t run for a full week. During this time, i nursed my aching joints and muscles that left me mentally and physically flat, a bit depressed. When i resumed my running after a week, i still felt sluggish and only got my bearings and felt like a runner again on the 2nd week of recovery.

By contrast, on my 2nd marathon finish and subsequent ones, in opting the active approach, i jogged the day after the marathon itself and did this (with some walking) every other day and fully resting on the other days. After just one week of this activity, i felt light, the muscle soreness were all gone and was ready to resume my regular running again. Many might not want to run (or jog) after a marathon, but short 30 minute jogs and walks on alternate days did the trick for me.

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There are other approaches to marathon recovery but of course, no two runners are the same so the best way to find out what’s best for you is to experiment, take the approach of what best suites you.

Together with re-loading on a balance of carbohydrates and protein foods, frequent massages, restoring your flexibility and mobility by constant stretching and doing cross-training in lieu of running for recovery, the right approach will make you more rested, fit and ready for another cycle of periodization training.

Here’s to a fast recovery!

Kenny’s Open ’09 Urbanite Run

kennyI attended last night’s Blogger’s launching of the Kenny’s Open ’09 Urbanite Run, a 5, 10 & 15K race that will  be held on the night of Saturday, August 15, 2009 to accommodate a total of 3,000 runners. This race is in partnership with Takbo.ph.

  1. To join the Kenny’s Open 2009 Urbanite Run, interested participants must purchase an Urbanite Run Ticket for P600 at any Kenny Roger’s Roasters branch or the new Kenny’s Roast and Grill restaurant at the Powerplant.

Registration will be from July 15 to August 11, 2009  thru designated registration sites.

Urbanite Run Tickets will entitle participants to this

Urbanite Run Tickets will entitle participants to this

  1. Eat: Bearers are entitled to an Urbanite meal from Kenny Rogers. Simply present the Urbanite Run Ticket at any Kenny Rogers branch to claim the Urbanite meal. Redemption period from July 15 to Aug. 15, 2009.
  2. Run: The Urbanite Run Ticket will serve as the runner’s registration voucher, to be attached to their registration form, if they register manually. See below for registration details.
  3. Donate: Serve as runner’s donation to Hands On Manila Foundation. On the day of the run, bearers are to drop the “Donate” portion of their Urbanite Run Tickets at the designated box on-site.
    1. Interested participants must go to the available Finishline Registration booths at the four (4) pre-identified marathons:
      1. i.      2nd GIG Run, UP Diliman
      2. ii.      Milo Manila Elimination, Luneta Grandstand
      3. iii.      Robinson’s Fit & Fun Wellness Buddy Ru, NBC Tent
      4. iv.      Globe Run For Home on July 19 at The Global City, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
    2. Interested participants may also register their details at Nike Park and Runnr and claim race materials on-site.
    3. Manual registration will also be available to last-minute participants on the night of the run – within 1hr before call time.

On the night of the run, participants must arrive at 8:00 pm. Assembly and gun start times of each division are as follows:

Distance

Assembly

Gun Start

5K

TBD

8:30PM (TBC)

10k

TBD

8:45PM (TBC)

15k

TBD

9:00PM (TBC)

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Glow in the dark wristbands and sleek jerseys will be given!  And it doesn’t stop there!  After crossing the finish line, runners will cap off the evening with entertainment and deliciously healthy eating! With the bang and percussion stylings of Tribo Manila thumping while you eat your favorite Kenny Rogers Roasters meals, you can chat around with friends and actually put up your feet for a real night to remember! And what’s more, there’s a lot in-store for runners who speed by the quickest: exciting cash prizes and cool consolation prizes will be given away.

The Kenny’s Open 2009 Urbanite Run is for the benefit of Hands-On Manila foundation.  Donations from the Urbanite Run fund “racing” will be given to championing nutrition for kids.

This is how the strting line will look at night

This is how the starting line will look at night