Alternating Shoes

If it were not for the prohibitive cost, we runners would have around five, six or even more pairs of running shoes in our shoe racks which we would use alternately on our daily runs. Depending on one’s status in life, those who can afford to buy do so, more than what is really necessary–like buying several pop CDs on the market.

However, there are due advantages in having more than one running shoe and i believe that low to moderate mileage runners should have at least two or more shoes to wear on alternate days.

The benefits of rotating the use of two or more running shoes are manifold:

  • to avoid dependence of a particular shoe on a certain amount of support, cushioning and ride that when this model is phased-out, you could easily adjust to other brands and models, as well.
  • it lessens the wear-down of your shoe by maintaining its cushioning and support thereby, helping prevent injury.
  • a better ride and specific use for a particular training plan like when i do tempo runs or track intervals, i use light training or racing shoes than i would when using my heavier stability/cushion shoe for LSDs and trail shoes for off-road running.
  • give them time to dry-out after running in the rain thereby facilitating the decompression of the midsole foam to its original form.

Most importantly, i always alternate them to prolong their life, minimize the wear on the outsole which makes them last longer and run those extra miles more. I have some shoes which are more than a year old that have not even breached 400 kilometers and continue to use them without any “major-major” injury.:-)

One should discard the shoe depending on how often and how far you run.  If you can feel some brittleness in the cushion, sponginess of the support system, when the white part of the outsole is already showing and have logged more than 700 kilometers on it, it’s time to reward yourself with a new one!

An Alternative Track to ULTRA

I nudged myself up early this morning to join Betty and Tonette on our regular Thursday run at Ortigas. Hadn’t run since our LSD last Sunday and i’m feeling guilty about it. As always, by the time i reach Mercury Drug along Meralco Ave, i’m all drenched in sweat as i get a head-start of 6kms before we all finally get to run together.   

We chose one of our favorite routes–that is inside the MERALCO compound where they have a 2.5 km loop with mild inclines, a small community of joggers and almost no vehicles to contend with. However, this morning was going to be different as Betty gave a heads-up of a dirt track that was just inside the vicinity which is hidden from the usual loop. As Tonette confirmed that there really is a track located at the back exit of the gym, we all decided to check it out.   

The Meralco Dirt Track oval. Betty giving it a test run

The Capitol Medical Center in the foreground

Betty and i were surprised to see the dirt track and the only way to access this is by entering the main Gym and walking through the back exit. Though the track itself is of dirt and rough sand, it is very well maintained and the sand seemed to absorb the water very well despite the continuous rains in the area. However, this is not your regular 400 meter standard track oval found at other Sports centers but is merely around 250 meters in circumference.   

Aside from the three of us, there were no more than five other joggers who were using the track. The surface was soft and is conducive to fast running. Betty and i did a series of 3 x 1km at around 6:00min/pace and around a dozen 150 meter sprints. I really felt good all throughout the run although Tonette had to take it easy because of a bum knee. Betty likes to kick butt and she sure kicked mine as she was smoking around the track as if there was no tomorrow! 🙂

It was a great run and the fun didn’t end there as it continued through Betty’s breakfast table where we had gourmet coffee with bread and corned beef hash! Thanks, Tita!  

This is now going to be a good alternative to our early morning, once-a-week runs at the Ultra since the latter is now off-limits from 4am–9am until December. Nice running—nice start of the day!  

The track's south side

Trees surrounded the oval

A view from the other end

The Meralco Fitness Gym

Going on her own

Low Batt!

I was planning to do a 25-30km long run last Sunday to come as close or even duplicate our 30k LSD run the week before at Tanay, Rizal but after a lackluster low-mileage the days following that treacherous hill run, it was a struggle just to finish half of  it. 

Was looking forward in getting together with my usual training partners, Mel, Betty and Tonette but last Sunday, we had Jun-jun of Runnex and two of Mel’s friends, Dave and Doc Toto as company. 

L-R: Jun-jun, Tonette, Doc Toto, Dave, Betty and Mel

Starting our run at 4:15am from Shell, C-5, we all felt just fine after the first 10 kms, but you just never know if you’re going to sustain this feeling towards the rest of your schedule run. The weather was fine and while running at the Fort, we came upon two races running simultaneously, the Run To Read Race and the China Bank Run. 

With future QCIM marathoner, Marga

With Takbo.ph runners at McKinley Hills

During the 11th kilometer and onwards, i started to feel spent up as we entered McKinley Hills. Running up those short hills became perfunctory and a bit uninspired. I was starting to do my own Gallo-walk version of 5:1 in the hope of saving some energy for the remaining kilometers of the run, but it was not to be.

Break time

Along 5th Ave.

Tessa Prieto-Valdez running in her usual tutu outfit

A light moment

It turned-out to be dreary, felt the energy levels soar down (like a mobile phone having three bars then suddenly drop to just 1) but ultimately content in getting in some mileage for the week. I, together with Betty, Tonette ended our run at 22kms with a time 0f 3:00 hours. Mel, Dave, Jun2 and Doc Toto continued for another 10k as they were training for the upcoming Pau Ultra 65k run.

That night was chillax time. Had some shots of brandy and had to taper too hoping to run again for another 5k the next day.

Running and drinking do mix, sometimes.

Cheers!

Long, Slow and Wet: The Rolling Hills of Tanay

My legs have now loosened up a bit as i write this. I couldn’t move a joint the day after the gruelling 30k run on that long, torturous rolling hills of Tanay last Sunday. I’ve run those hills several times in the past with running buddy June but those were distances of not more than 18-20kms. This time it was gut wrenching, and the last half of the run, from15 to 30k was a struggle as Tonette and myself were reduced to running up those hills 100 meters at a time, then walk the same distance and prepare for the next 100 meter run up! Pheww…  

  

This place has some of the best post card views around and though the hills were challenging, it gave us some breathers to take in the scene…deep forests, ravines, mountain ranges, a horse that talked back and the occasional sprints from the dogs who gave chase!  

We arrived late at the Sierra Madre Resort where we were supposed to start before 5am. Two kilometers before we arrived at the resort, we already met the runners coming towards us in several groups with their designated paces and there were about 60 of them with head-lamps and flashlights illuminating the dark highway. As soon as we found a space to park, the four of us, Betty, Tonette, Mel and me tried to play catch up with them.  

We started off nice and easy on the still dark route. All of us were together ’till about 5kms when Betty and Mel had some issues with the pace and decided to pull away leaving me and Tonette behind. They were on a 6:30/km pace as Tonette and i settled to a more comfortable average of 7:30/km pace, not pushing hard nor holding back at all. At about 7 kms, they completely disappeared in front of us. We were able to pass the tail-enders from about the 8th km mark onwards. 

At the 15k turn-around in Baras, we stopped for some refreshments, took pictures then headed back. Here, the challenge began when the route was more uphill which ranged from 300 meters to about 800 meters of continuous inclines. The rains started to pour at about 20km and that was a good 10 minutes of getting a cold shower, running shoes and gear all wet!

The last 7k was to be the toughest of all as we did the 100×100 meter formula of running uphills. Lucky to have seen Jairuz from the support group with their vehicle parked on the 25th km who gave us refreshments and a choco bar each to weather the last remaining kms. At this time, Tonette was getting her second wind as i tried to keep up with her until the finish.

We ended up doing the 30k run in 4:23!

Mel and Betty finished the run 15 minutes ahead of us and we were all ecstatic in finishing the run! Our thanks to our friends at Takbo.ph, Team Boring and the support group that assisted us during the run. Till the next LSD!

(Thanks to Jairuz and Marvin for some of the pics!)

Back to the rolling hills of Tanay. Tonette would discover its beauty

Almost perfect weather until rains soaked us wet two hours later

An isolated hut on the foothills

Approaching the support vehicles

Posing at the Garden Cottages

At the 14k mark

We were stopped here not knowing that this was the 15km turn-around already

At the turn-around mark at 15k

With runner from the 6:30 running group

Wet and wild

Approaching the 25th km mark

   

At the 29th km, 1 more to go and we're done!

We Parteyy, When We’re Not Running

If you’ve ever met and talked to Jinoe Gavan, founder of Takbo.ph, then you’ve probably seen him smile. It happens often in the course of his stories on running, the races he has joined and organized, his upcoming training for several races slated in the provinces and when he talks about his “first baby”, the Takbo.ph website.

The website on running has left an indelible mark among runners, and has created a lot of following in its two years of existence. It gave runners a chance to interact with each other on a gut level and has formed a wide, deep friendship that has branched from running into other multi-sports like the Duathlon, Triathlon and Ultra-Marathons.

I’m proud to say that i was part of its initial membership, from a few dozen who interacted at the Forums to the present thousands (and still growing) who have relied on the site for the latest news, schedule of upcoming races, blog stories, latest running gadgets and everything else on running.

Recently, there was a cause to celebrate when Takbo.ph marked its 2nd anniversary by staging the Takbo.ph Runfest 5/10k races which was a rousing success. To top off this celebration, expecting mom, Queenie Gavan (Jinoe’s ex-GF, now wife), organized a Runfest get-together at the Joey Pepperoni Pasta Bar at The Fort last Friday that was well-attended by both the old guards and the newer members of Takbo.ph. It was a merging of old and new faces, a continuing generation that will still grow as long as the running boom continues to flourish.

On a daily basis, Jinoe still finds himself immersed in making the website grow, on top of his regular job and other running projects. His goal still stands, “to promote running” and as long as runners keep motivated and friendships prosper, Jinoe will continue to have that toothy smile.

Here are some pictures from last Friday’s party:

The early birds

Mostly "oldies" (Photo by Carlo S.)

The group at the rear portion

Young bloods at takbo.ph

Party hosts, Rodel and Marga

Rodel with the new bloods

Waiting for their food and drinks!

Great guys!

Super fast runner, Carly (L) and friend, Chang

Marga, Ziggy and Tin

Nice...

Celebrity Rodel signing on his pic

Rexona Run: Finishing Rem’s Race

Remembrance for a runner

One of the principal marks why running is enduring is because of races like last Sunday’s Rexona Run. Coach Rio has become a great eminence as a Race Director, surviving lapses in his past races and now, the innovations he brings to the sport like the I-Pad registration, Registration ID and the D-Tag to name a few, have brought running to a higher level.

I had highly anticipated this race and i wanted to get an appraisal on my level of fitness by running another half-marathon. I had about 6 hours of sleep the night before which was enough considering i would be waking up at about 3:00am to meet up with my group later. So we arrived at the Mall Of Asia at about 4:45am. Betty, Mel, Tonette, myself and another running friend, Marsha used the remaining half-hour warming up, taking care of other business as everything was in place–an air of fun and tension greeted us 21k runners.

L-R: Marsha, Tonette, Betty and Mel

The group after the race

A few minutes before the start, a friend from Takbo.ph, Captain Tere approached me and Mel. She gave us a black armband and tied it into our biceps. Written on it were the words “Run 4 Rem”, a tribute to a runner who collapsed while running the 21k Milo race last month and died two days later. I don’t know Remus personally, but i’m sure he would have ran this race were he still alive today. The armband was a nice token of a tribute.

The start and finish area

When the gun was fired off at 5:15am, it took us nearly a minute to cross-over the starting line as we positioned at the very rear of the pack, then settled into our paces once we had passed the start line. The route itself was now familiar to us, having ran it 2 weeks prior although there were last minute changes as we were told that we couldn’t enter Pacific Avenue anymore (it’s the road where my 2 “Katipunera” friends had an argument with a guard who wouldn’t let us in initially).

With this advantage of knowing the route before hand, we settled into a comfortable pace and typical of Rio’s races, the water stations were plentiful and spaced at just 1.5km intervals so you never really worried when the next water station would be. The Powerade drink was cold and overflowing at each station.

With Betty and Marsha. The arm band has slid down my wrist.

With Darryl Panado who came in 33rd over-all

I had to occasionally adjust the armband as it was now sliding down my wrist as if i am constantly being reminded of Remus. I am not superstitious nor prone to believe in spectral occurrences but i really felt like a spirit was running with us looking at our pace and even hearing our breathing and wanting to say “you’re doing good, keep it up”!

The last 1.5 kms was the most difficult as we had to take the same U-turn along Seaside Blvd before heading to the finish. However, i felt a big pull during this time and at the last 100 meters, Marga of takbo.ph even ran with me up to the finish! I finished the half in 2:17:43 (chip time) and bested my time from my 2 previous half-marathons, the Earth Run and the Nuvali Greenfield Run where i did identical 2:21’s. A four-minute improvement and a big one for me! Mel, who paced Betty all throughout were not far behind and they checked-in at 2:19, a PR for Betty!

While getting our loot bags, i asked Mel what he thought about the race and he said one word, “Remus”. He said he felt a simmer of his presence, like somebody was watching our every move—exactly how i felt too. I wasn’t alone.

This day, we both felt his spirit and finished his race!

A bagfull of sachets!