Green Is ‘Great’ Run: U.P. June 28, 2009

shoeI’ve been hoping to run a race where i could just relax a bit and not push myself to the limits.  Testing your progress race after race and the thought of another grueling run to best your PR was not just a pleasant one. I felt no need to run against the competition, nor dwell on the pacing but just to feel the groove of all runners around me.

That break came in yesterday’s GIG (Green Is Good) RUN ’09, organized by the University of the Philippines’ Mountaineers. I think this is just the race i needed. This 10k race on the shaded U.P. Campus which has been my training grounds made me want to run it at a more leisurely pace.

June and I arrive at the venue past 5am and met with Connie (June’s office-mate) and her boyfriend, Roel near the starting line. It was Connie’s first 5k race and she was very excited for it. Runners were now starting to arrive in droves while the organizers were announcing of the free porridge being served for the runners who wanted to fill-up their tummies before the race– a first in the history of local races. A runner or two who probably were immune to digestive disorders helped themselves, to their delight.

The race started at the front steps of Palma Hall and quickly stretched to the School of Economics Building before going the slight hill towards Malcolm Hall. I consciously took it easy and enjoyed the company of the other runners around me. I passed-up the first of several water stations as i coasted along Magsaysay Ave. which was downhill.

I took my first cup of water at the corner of Magsaysay Ave. before turning left at E. Jacinto Street. Here, the run was a bit cautious as we had to compete with cars moving their way on the right lane. This stretch was nearly flat until we entered EDSA Street as i maintained an even 6:30 pace even as the field thinned out. The running here was still relaxed as we were protected by the shades of trees under overcast skies, perfect weather for running. I still felt loose and easy, no reason to speed up as i had just set to myself to coast along.

The race route was a new one for me, having been used to running the regular race routes that always started in front of the U.P. Theater. This time it had more variety, a faster course and ran less of the usual academic oval route.

Like my usual races, i was starting to feel a little hurt coming on after km 7 when reaching the uphill towards the UP Police Station. Worse, the water station assigned past this area had ran out of their supplies so i told myself there’s only 2.5 kms. left anyway and you’re not suppose to suffer from severe dehydration with 2.5 kms left!

Going back the last 3kms., there was this young guy who kept sprinting past me and would suddenly stop on his tracks about 5 meters in front, then walk. After a minute or two, he would again sprint past, stop, then walk! This process would be repeated 6 times more that it got me a little bit irritated! Man, what was he doing? Was he running 100-meter interval repetitions then stop dead in front of my path like he was doing it on purpose. (Even if he wasn’t, these things always play into your mind when you’re tired).

When we were about to reach the last bend for the straight to the finish, he sprinted past by me the final time before we turned left to the finish. I knew he was going to sustain the sprint up to the finish line so the impish side of me thought of giving this guy a dose of his own medicine. I tucked myself about 2 steps behind him and at the last 30 meters, i dashed in full speed until i came elbow to elbow with him and when he realized the devious act i was to inflict, he tried to respond with all his might but no way was he going past through me so i held him off and crossed the finish chute less than a second in front of him.

I tried to suppress my evil grin and from one corner of my eye, i saw the rage on his face, a man pissed-off, the expression on his face, priceless! Man, if you’re reading this blog, i’m sorry–it’s just part of the craziness (and fun) of the sport!:-) I finished with a time of 1:03, another minute off from my previous 10k at the Runnex Anniversary race a month ago.

We hung around for some picture taking plus got a chance to speak with Manong Jovie (Bald Runner) who gave me some tips on his great dishes, Jaymie (The Bull Runner) with hubby Dennis, Karlo (Run and Drum) who flew in from Cebu City just so he could run this event but had to fly back the same day (addict!) and the raucous Takbo.ph running group.

It was a great day for all…and a great way to run for mother nature.

From (r) June, Connie, Darryl and me

At the start, from (r) June, Connie, Darryl and me

Roel pinning Nicole's race bib, her first 5k race

Roel pinning Nicole's race bib, her first 5k race

With the Takbo.ph runners

With the Takbo.ph runners

Posing up before the race

Posing up before the race

With Marga(licious) of Takbo.ph

With Marga(licious) of Takbo.ph

With Karlo and Marga

With Karlo and Marga

June with cousin, Bobbi and her hubby

June with cousin, Bobbi and her hubby

Lovebirds, Myra and Rodel

Lovebirds, Myra and Rodel

The Christmas Trees And Trails Of Pintong Bocaue, San Mateo, Rizal

View from Pintong Bocaue

View from Pintong Bocaue

Pintong Bocaue in Sitio Maraat, San Mateo Rizal lies near the boundary of San Juan, Antipolo with views of the vast Sierra Madre mountain range. What makes Pintong Bocaue so distinctive is the presence of Pine trees lined up on both sides of the street from Sitio Maraat all the way to the western entrance of Timberland Heights.

The pine trees are reminiscent with those of Baguio City only that the trees here in Maraat are short, dwarf-like and much younger than their counterparts in the original city of pines. Running partner June and I started our run from the El Dorado Commissary, an over-priced food store cum restaurant where many mountain bikers hang-out during their treks on the numerous trails situated in the area.

The El Dorado Commissary Store

The El Dorado Commissary Store

We ran through the short pine tree-lined main road and from there worked our way into the different trails, passing several stands of flowering bouganvillas and calachuchis, acacia trees and mountain vines. The air was a bit foggy with low clouds covering the tips of the mountains. The trails were wet and soggy so we had to abandon some of them in favor of the drier footing of the main road. With the recent typhoon that hit most of Luzon, this is probably not a great time to be running on trails.

Starting the run on the wet road

Starting the run on the wet road

Running past dwarf pine trees

Running past dwarf pine trees

June, on the foggy street ahead

June, on the foggy street ahead

"Christmas trees" on the sides

"Christmas trees" on the sides

Entering a trail

Entering a trail

Threading thru soggy ground

Threading thru soggy ground

Going inside the trail

Going inside the trail

30 minutes into the run

30 minutes into the run

Into a wooded area

Into a wooded area

Slowing down while passing a wet area

Slowing down while passing a wet area

June is way out front

June is way out front

Paved trail going to Timberland west

Paved trail going to Timberland west

5k into the run

5k into the run

Wet and windy

Wet and windy

The road was all to ourselves

The road was all to ourselves

Nice greenery

Nice greenery

The view on our right

The view on our right

June with school children who had to walk for 4kms to reach school. We would meet them again on our way back as their classes have been suspended due to the storm

June with school children who had to walk for 4kms to reach school. We would meet them again on our way back as their classes have been suspended due to the storm

Our turn-around point. This trail head was the entrance to Timberland but because of the muddy terrain, we cancelled our run here for next time

Our turn-around point. This trail head is the entrance to Timberland but because of the muddy terrain, we canceled our run here for next time

Heading back

Heading back

The long and winding road

The long and winding road

Wind and drizzle

Wind and drizzle

Taking in the view

Taking in the view

Another scene

Another scene

Running past the scenery

Running past the scenery

Looking at a trail on my right

Looking at a trail on my right

The trail i was looking at

The trail i was looking at

Entering the trail

Entering the trail

Running on soft ground

Running on soft ground

Emerging from the forest

Emerging from the forest

This farm-resort offers not "bed and breakfast" but "trails and breakfast!"

This farm-resort offers not "bed and breakfast" but "trails and breakfast!"

So we check-out the resort

So we check-out the resort

Welcome sign of the Pestano's Ecological Sanctuary

Welcome sign of the Pestano's Ecological Sanctuary

Entrance to the Pestano sanctuary

Entrance to the Pestano sanctuary

Enough of the trails. It was time for us to eat!

Enough of the trails. It was time for us to eat!

An enjoyable run inspite of the wet terrain, capped off with a hefty breakfast of eggs with onions, spam, fried rice and piping hot coffee. Thanks to June!

The Trails Of Aquarry – Ciudad Real

Ciudad Real offers a little bit of everything for the wearied city runner: car-less, pollution-free cemented roads, spectacular views of valleys and rivers, rolling terrain, thick forestry and a chance to run its virgin trails.

Numerous trails snake through Ciudada Real, so depending how far you want to run on it, you can do a long 18 kilometer run on the north side trail that passes from a stud farm to Pagrel and back via Carmel Farms which i featured earlier in my article, “Running Trails of Ciudad Real,” https://jazzrunner.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/running-the-trails-of-ciudad-real/ to a short 10km out and back trail which we call the Aquarry Trail.

Last Sunday, running buddy June Santiago and i decided to explore these trails on the south side of the area which we had been eying to do for some time now. The trails have several things to offer. One, the scenery is quite breathtaking. You run through wide areas of wild vegetation and plantations in a never-ending trail of plateaus and valleys, isolated nipa huts and small riverbeds. As you get to run up the hills, you’ll see a wide assortment of crops planted by the locals like sweet potatoes, casava, corn and gabi. At the top of the valleys, you get to see sweeping forest views, with cries of wild birds keeping in step with you.

Start of the trails

Start of the trails

Getting inside the greenery

Getting inside the greenery

June now leads the way

June now leads the way

Passing thru some tuber plantations

Passing thru some tuber plantations

Two kilometers into the run

Two kilometers into the run

Going inside a forested area

Going inside a forested area

Running up valleys

Running up valleys

Corn crops lined up the trails

Corn crops lined up the trails

Getting a good shot of June while catching up

Getting a good shot of June while catching up

Reaching up the hill

Reaching up the hill

A farmer's shack in the middle of the valley

June stands at a farmer's shack in the middle of the valley

Sprinting to the top

Sprinting to the top

June rests to take in the view

June rests to take in the view

Taking in the sweeping vista

Taking in the sweeping vista

Continuing our run

Continuing our run

The sharp edges of the grass kept scraping our legs

The sharp edges of the grass kept scraping our legs

The trail to Aquarry

The trail to Aquarry

Watching out for rocks

Watching out for rocks

Downhill all the way

Downhill all the way

Another great going is the run down to Aquarry itself with doubletrack trails that goes downhill. It’s not a very difficult trail but you have to watch for rocks, overgrown roots and our number 1 nemesis, the cogon grass which scraped our skin constantly. Wearing tights should have been the best option in running these trails.

The stares of Water Buffalos kept us company

The stares of Water Buffalos kept us company

At the end of the trail is one reward you will never forget. Prepare to remove your shoes and soak your feet on a wild river running through rock formations. If there was such a mini Shangrila, this place should be one of them.

This is what we saw at the end of the trail

This is what we saw at the end of the trail

Aquarry River

Aquarry River

Our mini Shangrila

Our mini Shangrila

Nice cool rest

Nice cool rest

Awwwright!

Awwwright!

Crossing the river

Crossing the river

Hopping the boulders

Hopping the boulders

Getting around the river

Getting around the river

Kids assisting our every step

Kids assisting our every step

Kid with oversized trunks joining us

Kid with oversized trunks joining us

Hard crossing

Hard crossing

Aaaaarrgghhh!

Aaaaarrgghhh!

Good thing there weren't crossings like this at the Timberland race

Good thing there weren't crossings like this at the Timberland race

Almost there

Almost there

Children taking it easy

Children taking it easy

That's as far as we could go

That's as far as we could go

Strong current prevented us from going up further

Strong current prevented us from going up further

Though parts of the river is only knee deep, the strong current coming from the top will surely unbalance your footing so we threaded slowly. The scenery here is just awesome as we sat down on one of the rocks just to enjoy the view. The rocks are so slippery that i once slipped and almost fell on my back when we were traversing the river.

On our way back

On our way back

All uphill this time

All uphill this time

Major roadblock!

Major roadblock!

Not again!

Not again!

Running uphill

Running uphill

Homeward bound

Homeward bound

The main road, finally!

The main road, finally!

Stretching those weary muscles after the run

Stretching those weary muscles after the run

All told, the Aquarry Trail would surely quench any runner’s thirst for an adventure run: challenging trails, great views, thick fauna, fresh air and if you have the time, a refreshing dip in the water. For proximity, it’s only a 15 minute drive from the Quezon Memorial Circle.

Chubby People Live Longest (A Japan Study)

Here’s a health bulletin that has been hugging the health journals lately. I hope this would not give a false sense of security and instill complacency to our slightly overweight friends by foregoing in any physical activity.

Tokyo (June 20, 2009)– Health experts have long warned of the risk of obesity, but a new Japanese study warns that being very skinny is even more dangerous, and that slightly chubby people live longer.

People who are a little overweight at age 40 live six to seven years longer than very thin people, whose average life expectancy was shorter by some five years than that of obese people, the study found.

“We found skinny people run the highest risk,” said Shinichi Kuriyama, an associate professor at Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Medicine who worked on the long-term study of middle-aged and elderly people.

“We had expected thin people would show the shortest life expectancy but didn’t expect the difference to be this large,” he told AFP by telephone.

The study was conducted by a health ministry team led by Tohoku University professor Ichiro Tsuji and covered 50,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 over 12 years in the northern Japanese prefecture of Miyagi.

“There had been an argument that thin people’s lives are short because many of them are sick or smoke. But the difference was almost unchanged even when we eliminated these factors,” Kuriyama said.

Main reasons for the shorter lifespans of skinny people were believed to include their heightened vulnerability to diseases such as pneumonia and the fragility of their blood vessels, he said.

But Kuriyama warned he was not recommending people eat as much as they want.

“It’s better that thin people try to gain normal weight, but we doubt it’s good for people of normal physique to put on more fat,” he said.

The study divided people into four weight classes at age 40 according to their body mass index, or BMI, calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their squared height in metres.

The normal range is 18.5 to 25, with thinness defined as under 18.5. A BMI of 25 to 30 was classed as slightly overweight and an index above 30 as obese.

071607-fat-runners“Main reasons for the shorter lifespans of skinny people were believed to include their heightened vulnerability to diseases such as pneumonia and the fragility of their blood vessels…”

This statement begs the question, If those skinny people were engaged in vigorous sports like running in 10k races to marathons or triathlons, wouldn’t they be as fit (or fitter) to live longer than those chubby but sedentary people?

Though the study didn’t say if those involve in the experiment were engage in any form of physical activity or those thin persons were suffering from malnourishment, i have always thought that any person, regardless of their body type who engages in at least a moderate type of activity should get the same benefit of:

1.) reducing the risk of dying prematurely, thus, both should live longer,  2.) help control weight, and 3.) helps older adults become stronger and are better able to control the rigors of life’s stress.

So, what’s next for this Japanese Health Ministry Team? A 10-year, $15.5 million study that concludes  once and for all that eating French Fries is the best fuel in running an ultra-marathon?


Photo Of The Week: Super Electrolyte

Gatorade IV

“No other beverage rehydrates, replenishes and refuels active bodies like Gatorade. Inject it now and rest in peace tomorrow!”

Thanks to Janine for sending this photo.

(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 Pre-Race Rituals

Have you ever experienced when driving to a race venue, you suddenly ask yourself if you brought with you the Bib no. for the race or if you placed your watch on your bag since you noticed that you aren’t wearing it?

We have been faced with such dilemmas and nothing is more disconcerting when you realize you forgot bringing some of your race essentials when scurrying up to the race venue. A watch, a race belt or a GU might be dispensable when running short races. But how about forgetting your Bib no., running shoes or running shorts to discover this only upon arrival at the venue? So you also forgot to gargle and brush your teeth because you were running late? Yuk!

I think one should have a standard pre-race preparation for a worry-free travel to get you into racing mode. Having peace of mind sets aside doubts and jitters, knowing that you have all your ammunition at hand and lets you focus more on the race itself.

Here are my pre-race rituals to prepare me for the rigors of racing:

The Night Before the Race: These are the basics i do and for most runners, as well.

Set aside a small backpack. Inside: A clean T-shirt, extra shorts, singlet with bib already clipped on it. A towelette, slippers placed inside a plastic sheet, Gatorade, Cobra energy drink, bottled mineral water, band aides and some chocolates (choco-muchos, preferably).

Morning of the Race:

Wake up early. I live in Quezon City so i wake up at about 3:30am (or earlier) whether the race is in Manila, The Fort or in Q.C.

The usual rituals in the bathroom: empty your bowels, brush your teeth and if your bowels didn’t give you a hard time going thru your large intestines, it leaves you time to take a 10 minute shower to freshen the whole body.

Listening to Jazz music: On race mornings, i try to keep my mind off the race by playing some of my favorite jazz music. It reduces the feeling of anxiety, helps me feel more relaxed and gives me something to hum on during the race itself. These are among the jazz albums which are often cued on my cd player:

Pat Metheny - "Question And Answer"

Pat Metheny - "Question And Answer"

Keith Jarret"My Song"

Keith Jarret"My Song"

Kenny Wheeler - "Music For Large & Small Ensembles"

Kenny Wheeler - "Music For Large & Small Ensembles" (My all-time favorite jazz album)

Miles Davis - "Kind of Blue"

Miles Davis - "Kind of Blue"

Breakfast: I don’t take anything in the morning if races are from 5k to 21k. A glass of water is enough for me. Maybe a gel or a choco-mucho stocked in my waist belt just in case i get hungry during a 21k race.

If running a full marathon, i wake up earlier (about 2:00am) and eat pasta (spaghetti), two slices of whole wheat bread with jam or peanut butter, two bananas, water, then go back to sleep (if i could muster my brain back to sleep). During the marathon itself, i rely on the provisions given by my support group, running club or friends waiting from km 30 to km 35. Mostly, it’s bananas, choco bars and energy drinks that are provided. If somebody would hand me a can of beer, i would gladly accept it.

Wear all essentials.

Running Shoes: Before putting on my running shoes, i first remove the insoles and tap-out any debris that might have stuck inside the shoe (like small stones). On one occasion, i found an open safety pin tucked in the insoles and in one other, i found a one-peso coin between the sidings and the insole.  i do the same with the insoles and if all has been done, i’m ready to wear them.

Tapping out small sharp stones

Tapping out small sharp objects

We use Band Aid over here

We use Band Aid over here

Nip Guards (aka Band Aid) : My nipples are sensitive to chafing so i put on Band Aid on both nipples. Many old-time runners who share the same experience of abrasion say that once you get accustomed to wearing it, you are going to wear them every time you run.  I do so now. I position the band aid in such a way that i do not paste them flatly but put a space and create a gap directly from the nipple to protect the tip from chafing and prevent resistance from my singlet.

At the race venue:

— Short warm-up: Warm ups are slow jogs for 10 mins or less to loosen up the muscles. If i feel like it, i go to the rest room, take a leak at least once before the race.

— Stretching: After the warm up, i do some 5 minutes of gentle stretching to loosen up some more. I do simple stretching for the calf, thigh and hamstring muscles. Take sips of water.

— Check-In : I check-in 10 to 12 minutes before the designated start time and look for friends who i can chat with before the gun goes off.

Savoring The Killer Trails of Timberland, All-Terra KOM

trail posterI came, I Saw, I Savored! Savored may be a cheezy term in relation to Julius Caesar’s conquest over Pharnaces II in the battle of Zila but it may be true too to all runners who both conquered and savored yesterday’s All Terra – King of the Mountain 10k Trail race at Timberland Heights in San Mateo, Rizal. Missing out the TNF 21k trail race 3 weeks ago because of another race i attended on the same day, i didn’t miss this opportunity this time as Timberland heights just lies less than an hour from Quezon City.

While most runners came to race the trails, my purpose was more on discovering and appreciating the trail itself, as i aimed in experiencing the roughness and challenge as i was going to run here for the first time. However, the toughness and physical demands of the route, as i would later learn, was more than i had hoped for as they, for the most part, left me gasping for breath.

The 10k Trail Route

The 10k Trail Route

This mostly forest-enclosed trail will challenge even hardened trail runners. The steep inclines, wet and muddy terrain kept many to walk and exert great effort just to remain in balance while moving forward. However, along the route, we were rewarded with many scenic views of mountain vistas, fauna, a natural running stream and even an old chapel in the middle of the forest.

June, posing before the start of the race

June, posing before the start of the race

Posing near the start

Posing near the start

Warm up before the start

Warm up before the start

Final briefing by a race organizer

Final briefing by a race organizer

Seconds before the start. Seconwind's Hec Yuzon at left.

Seconds before the start. Seconwind's Hec Yuzon at left.

The race started about 50 meters past the guarded entrance gate as we quickly ascended into a moderate but long incline on a cemented road. Many runners had to walk past the 800 meter mark and i had to work my way through the field to keep up with running partner June Santiago but he was strong and kept pushing forward. Past the resort complex on our left, we started to enter the trail. The trail was soft and patches of stagnant water were present brought about by the rains that poured the morning before. I stopped to take photos of significant portions of the route while runners were careful to avoid the flooded part of the trail. Everyone was in good spirits, runners cajoling and teasing one another like kids until we reached the first water station two kilometers after the start.

Taking their time on the uphill near clubhouse

Taking their time on the uphill near the clubhouse

The trail starts here

The trail starts here

The trails were single to double tracks, passing through open fields with small mountains and valleys as backdrop. The route were very well-marked by sign directions although i wished they would have also placed kilometer marks along the trails. By the 4th kilometer, the hills became unrelenting and the ground unstable under our feet as we walked-up inclines.

The marshals were very nice and friendly, some giving encouragement, the others forewarning us about the type of surface we were going to thread on. The water stations were adequately stocked and well-placed and i was even wondering how they were able to set up tables atop a ridge. If you had expected a Gatorade station, the organizers would have been able to set one up but that would be asking for too much. I and with many of the other runners were equipped with energy drinks in our hydration belts.

I'm just at the back of the pack at this point

I'm just at the back of the pack at this point

Runners ahead

Runners ahead

Past an isolated warehouse

Past an isolated warehouse

Approaching a minor hurdle

Approaching a minor hurdle

Approaching an open space

Approaching an open space


Marshall on motorbike

Marshall on motorbike


Nette of Happy Feet/Takbo.ph. I hope i got your name right (?)

Let (http://itsmysocalledlife.wordpress.com/) of Happy Feet/Takbo.ph.

I was with a group of runners that i occasionally pass or get passed by when i stopped to take pictures.  Surprisingly, when i ran in step beside them and converse, they all knew who i was and they tell me enthusiastically that they keep tab with my blog, my trail runs and so on. Wow, that sure was music to my ears, better than hearing jazz on anyone’s I-Pod! I forget to ask the names of some while i was also able to ask others but later forgot them–probably because of the constant jarring and pounding of the brain while running! 🙂

One of more than ten hilly sections of the course

One of more than ten hilly sections of the course


Walking the incline in muddy conditions

Walking the incline in muddy conditions

Trail leading to forested area

Trail leading to forested area

The narrow pathways approaching the 6th kilometer were mostly uphills with overgrown grass shrubs scrapping our legs. We ran/walked most of the hills until we reached a gravel road at the edge of a cliff which was flat. We took a stab at running once again and i was fine, being able to catch some rhythm again. I overtook some runners until we reached the last uphill as we scrambled up to the crest. Here, i took my last photo of the runners and decided to run seriously the last 2 kilometers.

Chance to pose while catching her breath

Chance to pose while catching her breath

Nearing the crest

Nearing the crest

Good view of the wide vista

Good view of the wide vista

Markers for directions were all over the route

Markers for directions were all over the route

Going downhill

Going downhill

Long stretch in the open

Long stretch in the open

Muddy trail before us

Muddy trail before us

Enjoying the run

Enjoying the run


Skirting to the sides

Skirting to the sides

Crossing a stream. A sight to behold!

Crossing a stream. A sight to behold!

Just one at a time

Just one at a time

Dressed to run...in the forest

Dressed to run...in the forest


You go girl! Thumbs up before climbing the top of the hill

You go girl! Thumbs up before climbing the top of the hill

Now running on gravel

Now running on gravel

Last uphill, 2.5kms before the finish

Last uphill, 2.5kms before the finish

Posing for a member of Team baldrunner. The name "Salazar" emblazoned on his shirt. Must be the famed coach?

Posing for a member of Team baldrunner with the name "Salazar" emblazoned on his shirt. Must be the famed coach?

The Skywalker, Rainier 6666 taking it easy

A light moment for some of the runners

The last 2k was mostly flat and i was back at the cement road leading to the resort hotel as i sprinted back to the finish line. Yes! June, who said he came in about 10 minutes earlier lead me to the tent for some nice cold drinks.

Running in trails is peaceful, you only hear the breathing of the runners beside you or that of your own. There are no crowds that sometimes mock at you, there are no motorists that angrily blare their horns when caught in traffic and there are no jostling between runners while taking their cups of water. There is only decency in trail running. Maybe the forest gods have cast a spell on whoever runs through it. Here, we are given a doze of tranquility, fresh air and whatever else nature presents itself.

Over-all, this race was one of the best organized races i have even been to. The route was challenging with some very nice scenery and i would recommend it to anyone who would want to enter this same route again.

I’m still savoring the experience as i write this.

Posing after the race. With Jonel (Bugo-bugo), Jonel's friend and Neville of Secondwind

Posing after the race. With Jonel (Bugo-bugo), Jonel's friend and Neville of Secondwind

With Vince Mendoza (r) of Finishline

With Vince Mendoza (r) of Finishline

Charmimg ladies who also conquered the trails, Josie & Carmen, friends of the Jazzrunner blog

Charming ladies who also conquered the trails, Josie & Carmen, friends of the Jazzrunner blog

June and speedster Totoy

June and speedster Totoy

Mud soaked shoes

Our mud soaked shoes


Kiss mark on the leg (?)

June with kiss mark on his leg (?)

The bike race after the 10k run

The bike race after the 10k run

Photo Of The Week: CW-X “Ventilator”

cwx ventilator

It’s supposed to reduce skin surface temperature, improving air circulation; and the patented Conditioning Web fabric support key muscle group and ligaments, improving efficiency for better over-all performance. But little did Pinoy Ultra-Marathoner Ronald Rei Declarador know that the US$ 100.00 CW-X Ventilator Tights is not tear-proof and got more ventilation than he asked for when a stray branch of a tree ripped it at last month’s TNF100 solo ultra-marathon run.

Talking about high-tech fabrics…

Thanks to Ronald for sending this photo.

(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!

Even The Sun Shines At The Mizuno Race

MizunoWhat’s it like to run under the sun again? It was a welcome respite at the Mizuno Infinity race yesterday after several days of pouring, intermittent rain. Though many of us managed to “swim” our way through our daily runs, i was hoping that the rains would cease for a while (at least to let us start the race with our running gear dry) and give us overcast skies and maybe drizzle just a little after we had all left the starting line. But drizzle it did not and instead, the sun was out an hour after the start of our 15k race.

We arrived early at the Fort and took our usual parking slot at the back of R.O.X. with a guard on duty, thankfully, wary of the string of cars being forced-open and robbed of valuables which have been a regular occurence during races. Running buddies June Santiago and I wanted to improve our 15k times from the RUNEW Race a few months ago while Darryl, who has the fastest time among the three of us, opted to run the 10k since he’s still recovering from a painful shinsplint injury for more than a month now.

The starting area was already bursting with runners when we checked-in, maybe about 2,000 runners for the combined 5k, 10k and 15k events. A huge pack of 15k runners were the first to be fired off, with the elite runners, as expected, blazing through the opening miles. June and i started off cautiously at about 6:30/min pace and found ourselves in the midpack of runners. The course took us to the Kalayaan flyover all the way down to Buendia Avenue, the same route as that of the Condura Skyway run and the Adidas KOTR race, only that this course cuts across Osmena Highway all the way to Filmore, Dian then turns around before reaching Bautista Street. I skipped many water stations as they were either too crowded or they ran out of cups, so with very little water taken, i couldn’t prepare myself for what was coming next.

By the turn-around mark, i was no longer running comfortably. I was struggling with a 6:45/min pace and the next couple of kilometers was a stop to every water station that i could find. I tried to concentrate and keep form (trying to mimic what i’ve learned at the Runnex running clinic). I kept my head up and eyes forward on the horizon and kept my body straight as possible. To my dismay, i was tired and only able to keep form a few minutes at a time. When you’re tired, you’re tired– so it’s so hard to maintain the right form as you just run along the best way you can.

The pace on our way up back to the Buendia flyover were slow for virtually everyone. I had expected this from myself. My legs felt hungover from running in the rain almost everyday starting from the 10k Runnex Anniversary race last May 24 until last Saturday, the day before the race. I had never run for 2 weeks straight and i knew i was getting what i deserved —rubbery legs.

I realized two things as i reached the top of Buendia flyover. From my regular inclusion of hill training, i could now run up the Buendia incline without having to slow down and walk. Unfortunately, there’s still another slight incline at the Kalayaan flyover and there were still three kilometers before the finish. The second thing was that i was being passed by runners both to my left and right which indicated the i was moving slowly. But looking closely at them, i noticed that they were wearing either the blue or red plastic straw until i realized that these runners were running the shorter 5 and 10k runs so were running stronger and fresher than i was.

Runner friend Pojie Marilag, a regular forumer at the Takbo.ph site pulled up to me around km 13. He provided the spark i needed to get moving the last 2 kms. Sure enough at 14k, i felt a surge of strength and made a move to step up the pace. However, instead of turning left to the road towards the finish, the 15k runners were told to run straight instead towards Boni High Street and make a U-turn before going right and straight to the finish. A few meters before reaching the U-turn, what i dreaded the most  did happen. As like in my other races towards the finish, my left calf muscle started to cramp and i felt electric-like twinges going up and down the calf muscle. That was my breaking point. As i faltered down, i stopped at the side of the road to massage and stretch my calf as i see runners passing by me but the cramp wouldn’t go away. Digging deep, i tried not to think about the cramp. Instead, i willed my way forward to a jog 200 meters to the finish line.

Inspite of everything, my time of 1:35:33 was good enough to improve my previous 15k PR of 1:39:31 (at RUNEW) on one of my most unremarkable races to date. My friend June, cut-off almost 10 minutes off his previous best of 1:52 to 1:43 while Darryl, inspite of his running injury clocked a respectable 53 minutes, just a shade slower than his 52 mins best 10k time. Congrats, guys!

At the finish

At the finish. (Tnx to Marvin)

To sum up the experience, i think bad races do happen occassionally— we win some, we lose some. However, more often than not, we go out there and run to find out something about ourselves– to test our limits, to seek the camaraderie of other runners, the inner challenge and the adventure that goes with it. In our sport of running, sometimes effort and simply saying, “I did it!” take precedence over ticking digits on a plastic watch or the clock board hanging at the finish line. I will train more wisely and hopefully, emerge from all this a better runner.

With Darryl. Taking it easy after the run

With Darryl. Taking it easy after the run

Group pic with the Takbo.ph runners

Group pic with the Takbo.ph runners

Another group shot

Another group shot. Thanks to Edu for the pics

With Anna, (themeekrunner) and her running family

With Jun, Anna (themeekrunner) and Faye Bautista

If Green Is Good, Run Is Better

shoebeltThe GIG Run, a run to raise awareness on the need to protect and reforestate the Ipo Watershed is one advocacy race i would surely want to join. A clean environment is still the essence of our existence with the preservation of our nature. Breathing in fresh, unpolluted air is essential, while our forests provide protection againts harmful carbon dioxide, helps minimize floods in low lying areas and provides a habitat for fauna and other living objects.

As runners, our forests provides an area for recreation, a place to run, to camp on or just to appreciate and be one with nature. Running in the shades of trees and unspoiled mountain sides is a thankful and almost spiritual experience. To hear your own breath in the silence of nature, appreciate the scent of beauty and enjoy the fruits of creation is priceless. Without a doubt, this experience, together with keeping our bodies healthy thru running enhance an escape from the stress of our everyday lives.

Yet, we continue to bear witness to the destruction of these forests thru cutting of trees and continous land development. This is most obvious during our various trail runs outside the metropolis as we ran the various hills of stagnant subdivision areas, we see cracks of asphalt and cement deteriorating in what was probably a once forested area.

Grass creeping out from the undeveloped roads of abandoned subdivisions

Grass creeping out from undeveloped roads of abandoned subdivisions

Deforestation

Deforestation

Slash and burn farming (kaingin) should stop!

Slash and burn farming (kaingin) should stop!

Signs of neglect are obvious in many parts of these areas; rotting machines abandoned; the cracks on asphalts where grass creeps out between its cracks and brown smokestacks, probably to burn wood and sell its coal. We all should do our share in protecting the environment and we should do it now. Former US Vice-President Al Gore notes that time is of the essence since a diminishing period of time exists for us to protect our wilderness areas before they collapse. Otherwise, he says, we may reach the point where clusters of grass and trees are encased in bubble of protection, like those animals in our zoos. Let’s give our next generation of runners a breathable earth to enjoy their sport.