Blogging: WTF Are They Talking About?

Adsense! SEO! Adsense! SEO! Adsense! SEO!

These are probably the two most common used terms during the 6th Philippine Blogging Summit ((iblog) held last April 16 and 17 at the Malcolm Theater of the UP College of Law in UP Diliman. It was my 2nd time to attend this summit, having endured the 5th summit last year at the same venue when this blog “Jazzrunner” was barely five months old.

Participants at the 6th iBlog Summit

Bloggers of all persuasions

A year and a half of blogging later i’m still groping about blogging’s idiosyncracies and i’m just beginning to understand its potential commercial value, not that i intend to earn money exclusively from it (wouldn’t be bad to do so, though), but the many possibilities that your blog could achieve like creating traffic so more people would come visit and still, maybe, just maybe earning from it, would be a bonus, for a start.

The most tricky part though is putting value into your blog that would get the attention of advertizers and that would attract traffic of readers. So now, they preach about SEO or Search engine optimization.  It’s the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site or blog from search engines via “natural” or un-paid search results, the theory being that the earlier (or higher) a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine.

Adsense! Didn’t add up to any sense (pun intended) when i first heard it, but it’s actually a product of Google wherein it’s a free program that enables website publishers, blogs including, to display relevant Google ads and earn from valid clicks and impressions. I’ve tried to apply with this program at Google but i’ve learned, through Jinoe, that having a wordpress blog, ads are not allowed here! Ha, so much for my ambition!

The summit itself is a valuable tool for bloggers especially the newbies who want to learn more about the different types of blogging. The program of the two-day seminar is as follows:

Day 1 (April 16, 2010)

9:00 – 9:15 Opening Ceremonies (National Anthem, Welcome Remarks by JJ Disini)

9:15 – 9:35 Blogging for Business: Tapping Bloggers to Generate Buzz (Janette Toral)
9:50 to 10:10 Advertising in Blogs (Abe Olandres)

10:25 – 10:50 BREAK

10:50 – 11:10 SPONSOR talk (Ivy Jean Vibar)
11:25 – 11:45 SEO & Blogging to Promote Your Business (Francis Gary Viray)

12:00 – 1:30 LUNCH / NETWORKING

1:30 – 1:50 Measuring Blog Buzz (Carlo Ople)
2:05 – 2:25 Legal Concerns in Blogging for Business (Emerson Bañez)

2:40 – 3:00 BREAK

3:00 – 3:20 Blogger and Advertiser: What is the Win-Win Relationship? (Diana Paterno)
3:35 – 3:50 Online Attraction Marketing (Manuel Viloria)


Day 2 (April 17, 2010)

8:45 Opening Ceremonies (National Anthem & Welcome)
9:00 – 9:20 Blogging 101 (Hannah Villasis)
9:35 – 9:55 Video Blogging 101 (Vince Golangco)
10:10 – 10:30 Photo Blogging 101 (Juned Sonido)

10:45 – 11:00 BREAK

11:00 – 11:20 Blog Policies (Emerson Bañez)

11:35 – 11:55 Blog on Mobile (Racquel R. Cagurangan)

12:10 – 1:20 LUNCH & NETWORKING

1:20 – 1:30 Performance (UP Concert Chorus)

1:30 – 2:15 Political, Online Commentary, Social Media, & Election Blogging 2010 (Marck Ronald Rimorin and Noemi Dado)
2:30 – 2:50 Launching Successful Blog Contests (Jinoe Gavan)

3:05 – 3:20 BREAK

3:20 – 3:40 Impact of Blogging to the Community (Joseph Gonzales)
3:55 – 4:15 SEO: A Must for Making Money Online (Marhgil Macuha)

4:30 RAFFLE, iBlog Video Contest Winner Announcement, & GROUP PHOTO

Emcees: Flowell Galindez and Atty. Michelle Dy (UP-ISP)

The second day was intended for those who have just started to create a blog and the topics discussed on that day were worth attending. Our very own JINOE GAVAN ( was also there on the 2nd day to discuss a very interesting topic, “Launching Successful Blog Contests.” He discussed why run a blog contest, how to conduct them, where to get your prizes, etc. It was a nice overview on the mechanics of running blog contests.

Jinoe Gavan discussing blog contests

Running bloggers all

I would have to buy a dot com for my wordpress blog if i want to have ads on it. At any rate, ads or none, i’m just happy to continue promoting running and pursue in sharing my experiences in this sport. This is what i aimed at for this blog in the first place, anyway. Hope i made sense!

Till next topic!

Sports Science Initiatives (SSI): A Review

Last Friday, i had the opportunity in attending the 2010 Sports Science Initiative (SSI), a two-day seminar series on Sports Nutrition, Sports Injury Management, strength and Conditioning, Sports Psychology and Perspective in Sports Science held at the Medicine Hall of the University of Sto. Tomas.  

Our group, (Runnex) had paid for eight slots for its members but only four of us were able to attend. I’ve had just the vaguest idea about sports science but this seminar has opened many doors of knowledge for me, particularly on how to achieve peak performance, what food to eat, what to drink, recovering techniques from exercise, food choices, dynamic vs. static stretching and a deep-well of information on the causes, prevention and treatment of sports injuries.  

The speakers are a veritable who’s who in the field of sports like  well-known Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Jose Raul Canlas, Medical Director of the Moro Lorenzo Sports Complex who had the audience wince in shock and amazement every time he showed videos of athletes in action when they tumbled down, breaking their limbs in pain and agony! Some of the videos were so bizarre that one showed a basketball player had part of his bone pop-out from out of his leg after a very bad fall! However, there were more to his lectures than these gruesome occurrences and his treatments and knowledge are as up to date with the world’s best practitioners.  

The participants at the SSI Seminar

Most who attended were Sports Coaches, Athletes, Fitness Coaches, Athletic Trainers, Conditioning Coaches, PE Teachers, Physical Therapists, etc.

Another stellar authority who spoke is Hercules Callanta,  currently the Dean of the College of Human Kinetics , University of the Philippines – Diliman. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist by the NSCA. He has over two decades of sports performance and strength and conditioning experience in handling different clientelle. He talked about a sound strength and conditioning program which included Assessment and Needs Analysis, Periodization on which he tackled Power Training, Speed Training, Peaking and Recovery.  

Other notable speakers who were present to share their views were Josephine Joy Reyes, who talked about the UST experience in nurturing their Sports Science programs, Dr. Julian Montano on Sports Psychology and Mr. Nino Cinco on Sports Nutrition.  

It was an eye-opener for first time attendees like me and it was just great listening to the lectures of up-to-date scientific reviews and the science of training. Great too was the talk of Nino Cinco, a former marathoner, ultramarathoner and triathlete who gave runners and triathletes his experience in conditioning and nutrition.  

There will be another SSI Seminar to be held on May 28-29 at the University of San Carlos in Cebu. Athletes and coaches should not miss this opportunity.  

Participants on the first day having a photo ops. On my right is Dr. Jose Raul Canlas

From left: Rudy Fernandez (Runnex Chair), Dr. Jose Raul Canlas, Hercules Callanta, Myself, Technogym Officer and Nino Cinco

My Greenfield Sundown Race

Last night was my second time to join a night race, the Greenfield City Sunset Run held at Sta. Rosa, Laguna and it was fraught with both excitement (running on a new course) and chaos (having to run side by side with vehicles). While the first night race i joined, the Urbanite Run held last year started way after the onset of darkness, last night’s (or yesterday afternoon) race started even before sundown when the heat of the sun was just starting to recede and traffic within the vicinity was starting to grow.

June and i arrived at the Paseo de Sta. Rosa at about 4:00pm after almost 2 hours of travelling from Quezon City. Traffic was moving for vehicles travelling to the south but the gridlock started to appear while approaching Greenfield City and it took us another 30 minutes before we could park in front of the commercial center. Good thing we left early to anticipate the long travel time it would take to reach the venue.

We met up with our group of Betty, Tonette, Mel and his wife, Yhet and other hoards of friends. The mood was festive amidst the humid and dusty conditions as we jogged for several laps around the grassy part of the square.

Before the start of the race

Our group: Betty, June, Mel and Tonette waiting to start

We started the 21k race at about 5:30pm, running in mostly cemented roads inside the Greenfield City Parkway, past a hotel and 2  hospitals until we crossed the main thoroughfare of the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Highway leading to a vast, mostly undeveloped subdivision area with open spaces and wide cemented streets.

The route is flat and fast and in some portions of the highway, huge speakers were set-up to provide music and energize runners. BDM finisher Mel, who did the pacing chores for us led our group during the first kilometers into a fast clip, way too fast for all of us as we ran an average of 6:00 min/km and hit the 5k mark in exactly 30 minutes! We sort of panicked as none of us has run a 30 minute 5k going into a 21k race! Mel, now used to our invectives and other forms of verbal abuse whenever he leads us too fast, tried to slow the group down into a manageable 6:30-7:00 min/km pace as we still had 2/3 of the distance to hurdle!

After the first turn-around mark at 7.5 kms, we sort of drifted away from each other as we were now in our own paces with Mel, who now couldn’t control himself and have to run ahead while i followed at 120 meters behind, then Betty, June and Tonette trailing our group. I was running with James (journeyingjames) but he too had to cut loose and sped away.  At the 15km mark, we were back inside Greenfield City and were directed to a new highway and entered a residential park called PRAMANA, an upscale residential subdivision. It was like being led into a “runng tour” of the premises with tree-lined streets and newly built houses. I didn’t mind much of the surroundings as i was more concentrated on my breathing and sagging running form.

Soon, we reached the second and final turn-around bend at about 18kms. At this point we were now competing for road space with  motorists who were driving againts us as we had to dodge them by running in the middle of the road or taking the dirt-trail edges of the streets to avoid being hit! Their headlights provided our lights as it was pitch dark around the area. It was like a run for survival as we had to get away from the area fast and avoid smoke, gas fumes and other pollution that affected most of us.

I was very tired and almost exhausted at this point as water have ran out at the last 2kms. I was now struggling and paying for the fast paced running we did during the first 5 kilometers. Good thing i was now inside the parkway where vehicles were at a minimal. The last kilometer was probably the longest kilometer i have ever ran as i was nearing exhaustion and the road seemed endless. At the final straight, i trudged to the finish, blinded by the strong flood light that was hitting my face as i crossed the finish line with a number of runners.

Walking at the finishers area afterward, my arms tingling and my legs cramping from exhaustion and dehydration, i was both elated and dissapointed. I was hoping to achieve a sub-2:20 but finished with a time of 2:21:36, almost the same time i did at last Sunday’s 21k Earth Run.

There are many instances when, despite our best efforts and thinking that we had achieved a PR, our bodies have limitations and restrictions to drown our ambitions. It might not be a perfect race but nevertheless, it is the thought that we gave it all our best that remind us why we all love the sport. Our sheer determination has pulled us through and with this, we are all winners!

Here are some of our pictures at the race:

Before the race with Carina, Yhet, Mel and Roselle

Tonette in the middle with lipstick, blush-ons and all, ready to face battle!

At the start

With James (journeyingjames)

June, crossing the finish line

With Madz, Roselle and Chris

See you at the races!

Viva Vigan Heritage Run: May 2, 2010

I still can’t forget the Ilocos Norte adventure runs we had when McCoy, Wilnar, Dhentz  and I travelled to Laoag City in Ilocos Norte to join the Run Ahead, Laoag City Raise the Roof Run last November 29, 2009. Aside from the race in Laoag City itself (laoag-city), we had a whirlwind tour of the province with adventure runs at the beaches of Blue Lagoon (pagudpud), Saud (saud), and the Sand Dunes of La Paz (la-paz), courtesy of our gracious hosts, Faivo and Babette Bartolome. It was a very well-organized race, one worth returning to.

Come May 2, 2010, there will be another race up north in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, the Viva Vigan Heritage Run organized by the Metro Vigan Runners Club (Tarayem) and it will be a 3k, 5k, 10k and 15k run. The run co-incides with Vigan’s famous Binatbatan Festival of the Arts from April 30 to May 5, 2010. If you want to know how much it would cost you to register for the race, please read on their press release below:

Another summer spectacle unfolds in Vigan from April 30 to May 5, 2010- the Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts! The festival was crafted in 1993 as an effort to nurture the pride of Biguenos on their identity as residents of this unique and historic city. With the collaboration of the LGU and the private sector, it metamorphosed into one of the biggest and most colourful attraction in the North, drawing crowds from all over the Philippines and abroad, who come to celebrate a city festival in a setting replete with history and heritage, cultural treasures and reminiscences.

This year’s festival marks another milestone of the city of Vigan with the inclusion of the “1st Viva Vigan Heritage Run” which will be held on May 2, 2010 with a theme “A Run for a Clean and Honest Elections”. The event is sponsored by the city government of Vigan headed by Mayor Eva Marie S. Medina. This race is being organized by passionate runners from Vigan, TARAYEM (Metro Vigan Runners Club). Race categories: 3K, 5K, 10K, 15K

What to expect from this race?

  • Very affordable registration fees
  • On-line registration allowed
  • Accurate race distance
  • Kilometre markers
  • Directional signs
  • Road marshals (Police, Traffic aides, Barangay Tanods)
  • Clean in-house rest rooms situated every 3 km
  • Abundant water stations (every barangay)
  • Experience running on a cobblestones along the Heritage Village ( all race categories)
  • Running alongside a river that connects to the South China sea (15K category)
  • A glimpse of Baluarte ni Chavit (10K and 15K category)
  • Carbo-loading party on May 1, 2010, 6PM in front of Vigan city hall(local carbo-rich delicacies)
  • Souvenir shirts
  • Enjoy the weeklong Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts



“A Run for a Clean and Honest Elections”

5:00 AM, May 2, 2010

Vigan City Hall, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Race Organizer: TARAYEM (Metro Vigan Runners Club)

Objective: To create awareness on the health benefits of running and to promote and showcase the tourist spots of the City of Vigan through this road race.


3K Kiddie Run, (12 years old under)

  • Male
  • Female

5K Fun Run (13 years old to 18 years old)

  • Male
  • Female

10K Adventure Run (Open Category)

  • Male
  • Female

15K Le’ Tour de Vigan (Open Category)

  • Male
  • Female


3K Kiddie Run (Male, Female)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 1, 500.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 1, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 500.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: Medal

5K Fun Run (Male, Female)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 2, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 1, 500.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 1000.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: Medal

10K Adventure Run (Male, Female, Open Category)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 3, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 2, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 1000.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: PhP 400.00 each plus Medal

15K Le Tour de Vigan (Male, Female-Open Category)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 4, 500.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 3, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 2000.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: PhP 500.00 each plus Medal

Registration Fees:

3K: Free

5K: P30.00

10K: P50.00

15K: P80.00

Deadline of Registration: April 30, 2010

Registration areas: Vigan City Health Office Mon-Friday from 8AM to 4PM c/o Dr. Lymuel Pascua or Mr. Jessie Ancheta, Planet Sports General Merchandise, Plaza Maestro, Vigan City, Bantay Bread at Brgy. Boquig, Bantay, Ilocos Sur or download registration form and fax it to (077) 722-3838.

Shoe Review: Saucony Triumph 6

I’ve been a Saucony shoe disciple since i first started running during the early 80’s and wrote about them on a previous blog (my-first-running-shoes/). As mentioned, i’ve been wearing three models alternately, the PROGRID TRIGON 5 which i wear solely for my long runs (LSD), the PROGRID RIDE which i use exclusively for races from the 10k up to marathon distances and the GRID SINISTER, which is more of a racing than a training flat which i use for short, fast-paced runs or on 5k race distances.
I’m partial to these shoes because of its reliability and perfect snug fit. Besides, they’re also durable (I’ve worn the old Jazz model for more than 1,000 kms) while the pillowy cushioning is constant and gives me a lot of stability too.
A few weeks ago, i finally received my birthday present from Vina, another gracious sister-in-law, a Saucony PROGRID TRIUMPH 6 which she purchased last December and was only able to bring it last month during her short stay here in Manila. She left it in my daughter’s dorm in Katipunan Avenue and i came to pick it up one morning.
I put it on right there and then and as expected, i immediately felt its snug fit. I took it out for a run around UP campus for about 30 minutes and it felt very light, the cushioning was perfect and it was responsive. I’ve since used it in a couple of short training runs and raced on it during the Mizuno Infinity 5k Race and last Sunday’s 21k Earth Day Run where i ran personal bests in both.
The best compliment i can pay to the Triumph 6 is its very easy transition from a training to a racing shoe as it felt very comfortable, secure and didn’t overheat nor experienced any irritation while racing in it. I wish Saucony would be made available locally again as it’s one of the more popular and well received shoe brands in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. 

Saucony Pro Grid Triumph 6


Category Type:  NEUTRAL+
Neutral + shoes provides increased cushioning for maximum shock absorption.

Features & Benefits:

  • Arch-Lock: Provides snug midfoot fit
  • Full-Length ProGrid: Absorbs impact, dissipates shock and provides a seamless transition from heel through forefoot
  • HRC Strobel Board: Increases cushioning and comfort
  • Impact Interface: Cushions and isolates heel impact
  • Lightweight mesh upper: Ventilation and breathability
  • SRC Impact Zone: Provides shock absorption and a smooth transition
  • XT-900 outsole: A carbon rubber outsole material that offers exceptional traction properties without sacrificing durability

  • Predecessor Product Type:  ProGrid Triumph 5
  • Shock Absorption: Heel and Forefoot|ProGrid|Forefoot|SRC|
  • Toebox Width: Wide
  • Shoe Construction: STROEBEL
  • Midsole Material: Compression Molded EVA|
  • Outsole Material: Carbon Rubber|
  • Upper Material: Mesh W/Synthetic Leather Trim|
  • Country of Origin: China

Robert Cheruiyot Wins Boston (2010) in 2:05:52!

April 19, 2010, 1:18PM

BOSTON– Kenya’s Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot won the 114th Boston Marathon on Monday, breaking the course record with a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 52 seconds. Ethiopia’s Teyba Erkesso took the women’s title, sprinting to the tape to win by three seconds in the third-closest women’s finish in event history.Cheruiyot was 82 seconds faster than the course record set in 2006 by four-time winner Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, who’s not related. The 2010 champions each earned $150,000 and a golden olive wreath from the city of Marathon, Greece; Cheruiyot gets an extra $25,000 for the course record.

Cheruiyot finished 91 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Tekeste Kebede, with defending champion Deriba Merga in third and Americans Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi rounding out the top five. It’s the first time two Americans have finished in the top five since ’06; no American has won the men’s race since Greg Meyer in 1983.

Hall, who finished third last year, fell out of the top 15 near the halfway point but sprinted through the final mile to challenge Merga for a spot on the podium. He missed by 2 seconds, but his time of 2:08:41 was the fastest for an American in Boston, six seconds faster than Bob Kempainen in 1994.

More than 26,000 runners left Hopkinton Monday morning with temperatures in the high 40s and a headwind of 13 mph. The air warmed slightly during the day — good running weather.

“I tried to show my talent,” said Cheruiyot, who gave Kenya its 18th men’s victory in 20 years.

This year, the men’s race was decided in the Newton Hills.

Merga surged ahead at the firehouse that marks the start of Heartbreak Hill, drawing Cheruiyot along with him while the rest of a lead pack of about a dozen fell behind. Among them was Abderrahim Gourmi, who had the fastest personal best in the field, and Keflezighi, the reigning New York City Marathon champion.

The two leaders ran the mile that includes Heartbreak Hill in a split of 4:37.

Merga and Cheruiyot ran shoulder-to-shoulder through parts of Newton and into Brookline. The Kenyan inched ahead at Coolidge Corner with about 2.5 miles left and pulled away.

Erkesso opened a lead of more than 90 seconds and held on, grabbing her side at one point as she slowed. Russia’s Tatyana Pushkareva smiled and waved at the TV cameras as she closed the gap, but she could not quite catch Erkesso on Boylston Street.

Erkesso won in 2:26:11. Defending champion Salina Kosgei was third, and Paige Higgins of Arizona was the top American woman in 13th.


Earth Run 2010: The Spirits Of Heritage Park

A quote on running: “16k runners on the left, 21k runners on the right!”

The quote above was made by a race official as i was about to cross the finish line in yesterday’s Earth Run 2010, a limited-frills race that got us all to visit again the dead inside Heritage Park. The silent dwellers might have gotten used to us runners, running inside their turf on a weekly basis. Inside this serene park, i discovered one of Mel’s eccentricities.

Running buddy and BDMer Mel Severino who has an aversion of running inside memorial parks refuses to drink any water served inside the premises believing that it may have been contaminated by spirits of the departed ones as he believes that you will dragging the dead with you and will make you feel heavier for the rest of your run! And he was dead serious about this when he dissuaded Tonette, (with whom he was pacing with) from drinking inside the park even if Tonette was almost dehydrated! Now, this is one superstitious belief i’ve heard the first time from a runner!

But getting back to the race. The race itself was good, not great, but worthy enough with positive merits and the weather yesterday morning turned out to be near perfect, mostly cloudy and dry–the sun didn’t come out a bit and some cold breeze was in fact experienced inside Heritage Park!

I started out a little conservatively at the start as i paced with June Santiago but after the turn-around bend at Paseo de Roxas towards Kalayaan Bridge, i was able to increase my pace and run just below 7 minute pace. Though water from the station were far between and limited, i managed to get some from the friendly marshalls who were handing out the cups of water themselves. Strangely, when i thought that sports drinks would not be available for this race, some of these aides offered an unheard of energy drink, named something like “i-energy” which tasted like__ __ __ potion! One sip and i had to spit the thing out and throw the whole cup away. I would later fill the effects of this drink a kilometer away from the finish when i thought of heading straight to the comfort room than crossing the finish line! I was successful in keeping my mind off it until after i crossed the finish.

The 21k distance was pretty accurate as runners compared in their Garmins and showed a distance of 21k to 21.1k. My time was 2:21:26, a modest improvement from my previous 21k times. Almost all from my group, including Tonette, Jun and Dante also finished with personal bests!

Tonette’s time was the most dramatic as she slashed off 30 minutes from her previous 21k best time, clocking in at 2:30! Has Mel’s warning not to drink the spirit-laced water inside Heritage Park lest she would run slower, rubbed on her or was this just plain co-incidence?  As silly as it seems, Mel’s imagined superstitious belief has now played in the mind of Tonette, the entertainment value has been so real that Mel’s now having a hard laugh!:-)

My Mizuno 5K: Back To Basics!

I’ve had a long streak of running middle to long distance races this past few years, from the 10k to the full marathon and even LSD runs of up to 50k. These long races builds endurance and improves any runners’ stamina and i love running in these distances. When i tried to register for last Sunday’s Mizuno Infinity Run for the 15k distance several weeks before in order to break the time i set on last 2009’s version of the race, the 15k category has already been sold out!

During the bloggers’ meet and launching of this race a week before, Ms. Jai Cortes of Mizuno offered me a complimentary 5k race packet which i gratefully accepted. But after running long distances for so long, the thought of joining a 5k race was not a pleasant one, not because it was a short race but because i would have to expend more speed and energy since this was going to be a short race.

This 5k race, to be run within the Fort Bonifacio area made me reminisce my first races when i was new to running during the 80s. However, it’s now more of a speed or tempo run but no matter what you call it, i wanted to get this done as quickly as i can. The 15k run started first then the 10k runners were off after 15 minutes. I was with a group of runners, Doc Marvs, Natz, Zinnia and Zinnia’s friend who were all bunched up waiting for our start to commence. Marvs and Natz later moved forward to the start so Zinnia, her friend and myself were left in the rear part of the 5k crowd.

Zinnia asked what pace i would be running so she could pace herself with me. I said i might be dragging her slow so i asked back what her expected finish time would be and she said not slower than 35 mins. Great, i thought, as that would be a tolerable 7 min. pace. Our race started at about 5:45am and we were quickly off. Zinnia and i worked our way through the crowd and i estimated that we were doing a 5:30/km pace.

After about 1.2 kms when we first turned right from 5th Avenue, our pace levelled off to 6:00/km pace but Ziniia was already about 40 meters ahead of me. Having to work my way through the field for the first km really slowed my pace and i was breathing heavily and went through 2kms in 11:30.  The run along Rizal Drive up to the back of St. Lukes Hospital was still fast and steady as it was all flat. Many of the runners who had sprinted during the first km have now been reduced to walking and this was the first time i’ve seen runners breathing heavily as i was. I was in good company!

I was increasing my speed gradually starting at the half-way point and i saw Zinnia in front who was about 100 meters away by now. I was starting to feel a little hurt after the 3rd kilometer and was tempted to slow down but thinking that there was just 2 kilometers left,  i sustained the pace as you’re expected to hurt in a 5 km race, anyway! Having gotten used to running longer distances lately, i forgot what it felt like running a fast 5k race!

The straight to the finish at 28th Street was a relief as runners tried to muster all their might to sprint and get a good finish. I crossed the finish in 28:50 (29:00 flat Official time). Done! Now i could hang around after the finish and get the free Dri-fit shirt and other freebies easily, which i did. I saw Zinnia who ran a good race and finished in about 27:30.

I’m running a couple of races this April which includes the 21k Earth Run on April 18, the Greenfield Sunset 21k Run in Sta. Rosa on April 24, the VSO Kabahagi Run the morning after and either the Vigan, Ilocos Norte 16K Heritage Run or the RUNEW 16k at Filinvest City, Alabang on May 2.

 It will be a very busy month of running and hope to see you in some of the races! group, a few minutes before the start

With Ebong and Marga

A chopper flies overhead

Pacing with Z

Waiting for the start

Lining up for t-shirts at the finish

The stage area

Mizuno's Contest: Guess how many pair of mizunos are inside this mini-cooper?

With the guys

With Alfred and Madz

Our Run To The Aquarry Trails (Part 2)

Last of two parts. From: (Part1/)

After that 8 kilometer stretch of mostly wide trails that started from the farm estate of the Araneta family clan taking us to the inner and obscure barangays comprising the town of San Jose Del Monte, the five of us decided to run the last 7 kilometer distance with a short stop-over at the Aquarry, a small riverbed oasis.

The single track trails to Aquarry was once shrouded with thick cogon grass on both sides as tall as we were. That was a year ago. Now, all those greeneries have vanished and what remains are black burnt grasses, a result of the intermittent wild grass fires that occur on various spots in the fields brought about by the El Nino heat.

Still, the scenery was amazing in itself, the provincial “country” feel was still evident, a vast sea of forest were in front of the horizon as water bufallos were feeding on what remained on the ground. The path leading to the Aquarry river was refreshingly panoramic as we threaded through rocks and grass that you really had to watch your steps.

The river now was mostly silent, as the water that caressed its banks had shrunk to trickles although there are still parts were the water was still moving gently. Though less than the grandeur that’s found in Daraitan (daraitan-part-1/ and ( daraitan-part-2/), the river rocks here are more accessible as you can hop over them to cross the river. It was getting hot as the sun was casting ash glow across the horizon as it raised slowly through the sky.

We had a company of picnic hikers sharing the river with us so we had to head back our way before the sun would take its toll on us. The last 3 kilometers were all downhill so we all increased our pace until we sprinted the last few hundred meters.

That said, i was hoping that the trail run didn’t put the first timers off. And i was pleased to hear that they all enjoyed the experience and would like to run on them again next time. We went out afterwards for a hearty breakfast at a McDonalds joint, had a couple cups of coffee and talked about where our next runs would be.

It was one adventurous morning!

Three wooden crosses at the courtyard

The two getting the hang of running in the trails

The road to Aquarry

Stretch pose?

On our way

A surprise awaits them

Finally, Aquarry River

The once rushing river, now reduced to a stream

In the middle of it all

A closer view

Taking time to rest

Mel guides Betty on where to step

Last pose before we left

“Aren’t We Just Supposed To Walk These Trails?” (Part 1)

I like to discover and run in new trails whenever i get the chance to do so and write all about the experience in this blog, with hope they’ll generate future converts, and for my own kicks.

For me, there is nothing more serene than running in cool, shaded deserted trails, paying attention to nothing but the scenery and your footing. It’s a complement to road running and a good break to all the hard pounding your legs have been used to. The tall buildings that shade your runs in the city on late mornings are now replaced by tall trees that gives continuous shade and fresh air. The hard asphalt and cement now becomes a soft bed of fallen leaves, grass or tree branches and instead of seeing airplanes and choppers fly by, it’s just the birds and butterflies that coasts along from tree to tree.

When June and I invited regular road running partners, Betty, Tonette and Mel for a trail run in SJDM, Bulacan last Friday, we didn’t know that this was going to be their initial foray into trails. The five of us were out there not to run fast but just to give our newbie trail runners the “feel” in running on uneven, soft surface, have a good time and explore the scenery. We ran through macadam paths, dirt roads, long trail inclines and walked across stretches of dried cogon grass and climb rocks on a river bed.

At the start of our trail run, I was baffled why Betty was hesitant on running and she seemed to be surprised why we were running. She then asked seriously why we were running the trails. As I asked, why not, she went further by asking, “aren’t trails just used for walking?” I was bit surprised! Was she thinking of Little Red Riding Hood who was cautiously walking through the trails lest a wolf finds her? It took me a few seconds before I could answer and I assured her that we can run on the trails as there is such a sport called trail running! We just all smiled at each other.

We all had so much fun running together in a new environment, especially with Betty, Tonette and Mel who experienced their first trail run and I was pleased that all of them gained a new perspective and appreciation about running in the woods and forests. (To be continued).

Getting set. L-R, Tonette, Mel, Betty, June

Start of our trail run

A kilometer into the run

Farmer and his carabaos meet Tonette

Betty with her oversized hat and waist pouch

First time trail runners

Green mangoes for the picking

Short break before we continued

Long way to go

Always on the look-out for dogs that would chase us

Coming out in the open

Getting ready for the uphill

Going for it

Reduced to a walk

Like an album cover

A continuous climb

Looking back to where we came from

Resting at the top

Entering a Baranggay

Trudging a deserted road

Praying that they be allowed to enter the monastery

Long uphill road ahead

One hell of a climb!

Igorot dance?

June by his lonesome

Betty and Mel follow suit

Statue of the Blessed Ninang!

Entering the chapel

A view inside the chapel

Prayers for new PRs and more out-of-town runs, i suppose