The Gas Station LSD Run

It was supposed to be a long run around the U.P. Campus where we probably would have to surge up “Hearthbreak Hill” many times and run around its fringes to cover the 21k-25k scheduled distance, but it was not supposed to be.

Who would want to run a distance of 25k just inside the confines of UP, anyway? That would be ultra boring. I was hoping that the course venue be modified to cover outside the peripherals of the campus so when Mar Marilag suggested that we venture from U.P. to Tiendesitas in Pasig and back, i felt a sigh of relief..like an escape from the shackles of the campus!

In front of U.P. Oblation, before the run

While still waiting for the others

By the time we all had gathered in front of the UP Oblation, it was already past 5:30am and noticed the dark cloudless sky. I figured that it was going to be a very hot morning. From the Oblation, we headed down University Avenue and turned left to C.P. Garcia. This road is going to be used in the early goings of the upcoming 2nd QCIM. 

The road from Katipunan Avenue to White Plains and down to Corinthian Hills is one long stretch of mostly cemented roads except when we climbed up the Katipunan Flyover as i felt some effort expended on the climb. This was to be one of the highlights of our run. I felt good all the way though and all the pit stops we had were made on gas stations!

The only thing that spoiled an otherwise good run was the time it took us to rest on these stations. The socializing took too long which may have saved us from running under the heat of the sun on the latter stages. It left us cold and already dry each time we re-started our run.

First stop, at the Shell station along Katipunan Avenue

Some felt bored while waiting for the others..Team Boring?

The climb up Katipunan flyover (Photo by Ronnie Provido)

2nd stop, Shell gas station along White Plains

Doc Toto and June Santiago

LEYa and Jj.

At the third Shell gas station along Julia Vargas coner C-5

On our way back to UP, our group started to disperse into smaller ones and we were now running in 3’s or 4’s up until Petron gas station past Merriam College where most of us re-grouped to take a much needed break.

Towards the last kilometers and a half, once we got inside the campus, June, who had been pacing with me the last 5k, and i maintained our 7:30 pace until we found that the others had already arrived and were jogging at the academic oval as we merged together. We suddenly found ourselves sprinting towards the Oblation and i found myself finishing rather strongly.

But after that sprint, i was like spent-up and within no time, was feeling exhausted and hungry as i was craving for food. Was sore throughout the day but felt exhilarated, nevertheless.

Still, it was a good run to do 21k in 2:45.

Back at UP after running 21k with the the Runnex hotshots!

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A ‘Gallowalking’ Sunday

If there was ever a true believer and practitioner of the Jeff Galloway “Walk-Breaks” training method, that would be no other than Carina (Flying Boar), marathoner/ultra-runner and a batch-mate of mine during the first genesis of the Takbo.ph group. Her run to walk ratio of 5mins run, 1 minute walk have earned her her horde of followers, beginners and veterans alike who have experienced the value of the training method.

The Gallowalking group meet up last Sunday, with Carina in blue singlet

So last Sunday’s run was my first official long run after Camsur as we did this group “Gallowalk” run. There were about a dozen of us who congregated near ROX as we started a warm-up run around the BHS at exactly 5:30am while we waited for the others.

Carina seems to have set this all on tap, her sports watch making a beeping sound after every 5 minutes and claps her hands twice to indicate the start of the walk, then claps again after the 1 minute walk have lapsed, signalling that we have to start the run again. This routine came like clockwork during the duration of our run, never missing a beat although it took us longer to rest every time we stopped at a convenience store.

We started off nice and easy on the still carless enclave of the Fort, all of us together until the 13th kilometer mark when some of the faster runners pushed a little ahead entering McKinley Hills but the rest of us stayed close behind. Generally, it was a very nice pace which varied from a 6:30/km to a moderate 7:30/km run, neither pushing terribly hard during the running pace and the recovery walk gave us some chance to ease up and refresh ourselves with our water and sports drinks.

Walking break along Lawton Avenue

On our way back from the boundary of SLEX toll way in Sucat. Carina leading the group

Early stages of the run when the sun was not visible yet

The group seemed to have thinned out on our way to Essensa when the heat just became unbearable, the 1 minute walk-rest became double as some of us seemed to wither. At 15Km, i began to struggle and felt out of synch from the rest of those who were ahead. Other runners at the back were also feeling the heat and had to walk for their own good. I never really felt any sort of energy anymore so i purposely slowed down until reaching Market-Market.

I told Carina i was going to end the run here. That said, it was just pointless for me to keep on going but at least, i put in time and some distance in my come-back LSD run. I ran a total of 18 kilometers. So Carina and the others went ahead to finish their scheduled 26k run.

At the Piazza, McKinley Hills

At this juncture, we had to take a longer break because of the scorching heat

Taking a break at the 7-11 at McKinley Hills

We had done about 16k at this time and we had to proceed to sun-baked Fort area

This week will mostly be easy runs but i’m going to push the pace again on Wednesday to see how everything goes. Hopefully, i would have regained some momentum in my training and get back to my pre-marathon fitness.

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!

New MOA Route

Just the three of us this morning–Betty, Tonette and myself. We hied off to the Mall of Asia and arrived there at about 5:15am. With us was a photocopy of the Rexona 21k race course and our plan was to run the whole route as an LSD run. It was Betty and Tonette’s first time to run at the MOA-Macapagal Avenue grounds while i had sampled the place during the Del Monte Fit and Run 10k race late last year. I just love bringing them to places they haven’t ran yet!:-)

21k Rexona Route

Immediately, we fell at ease with the course. It was all flat, conducive to setting out a 21k PR if you like. The first 10.5k passed through several landmarks as we started nice and easy from Seaside Blvd, facing Manila Bay towards Macapagal Blvd then we turned left going to the old Film Center tomb(?), Hotel Sofitel, the Coconut Palace and out to Roxas Blvd in front of the Cultural Center of the Philippines then back again to the CCP grounds.

At the CCP

No, that incline is not part of the course

The last half of the route took us back to Macapagal Ave. as we ran the whole stretch southbound past NAIA Road, Uniwide Bldg until we reached the dead-end as we turned right to Pacifica Ave. After the turn-around point near the Manila Bay breakwater, we entered the Mandara Seaside Homes Subdivision where runners could peak at the still waters of the Bay. Towards the end, we all sprinted back to Seaside Blvd with the Sunday promenaders now crowding the baywalk.

Along Macapagal Ave.

Along Pacific Avenue

I saw a trail towards the breakwater and i couldn't resist, so i ran it!

Nearing the elevated guard house

Betty follows suit

At the breakwater

Tonette's moment of victory!

After the turn-around bend, we entered into this subdivision and will give us a short peek of the seafront homes

After the run at the MOA

Betty (L) hits the wall (concrete), literally!

We walked for about a few minutes to cool down and when we slumped into our seats in the car, exhaustion began to set-in and i was feeling sore all over. I’m still limping a bit now.

The distance recorded by Betty’s Garmin was 21.14 and that was a good run to do the distance in 2:29 (running time).

My Training For Camsur Marathon Begins

This week marks the start of my training for the CAMSUR International Marathon ( here)  on September 26, 2010. Last Sunday, Betty and i cut loose from our original group of 5 and persevered until we finished 32k in about 5 hours. As usual, the run started at the Shell Station, corner C-5 Road and Julia Vargas Avenue and proceeded to The Fort, at McKinley Hills where we were running side by side with the participants of the Lactacyd Womens Relay Run.

With regular training partners, Dante, Betty & Mel at our regular meeting place at the Shell Station, C-5

I’ve been on a long, consistent drab of just doing short runs and races. I felt i needed to do some endurance runs so the Camsur Marathon would be just the opportunity to get out of this rut, gert some long runs going and train for another 42k. However, i didn’t expect last Sunday’s run to be that long but i was really hungry for it and i felt just fine hanging on with the group. Tonette, Mel and Chito had to limit their runs to 25k as they were already tapering for this Sunday’s Milo Marathon eliminations. I didn’t register for Milo but will probably be there for another LSD run and try to pace another running buddy, Darryl on the last 10k of his marathon run.

Stopping at Freedom Park, EDSA with Betty, Mel, Dante and Chito

After Sunday’s 32k, Monday was a relaxed recovery run of 4k around the UP Campus to loosen up the still tight muscles. Tuesday was cross-training day and had a 50 minute aerobic-TAEBO workout.

Yesterday morning (Wednesday) i had this crazy idea of running from UP to Rizal Park (Luneta) and take a glimpse of President Noy Aquino’s inauguration at the Quirino grandstand then run back again to UP. But then, i thought it would be impractical doing that with hundreds of vehicles stalled in traffic and inhaling all those fumes while everything was on a standstill. Instead, i just opted to run near home, the Ateneo Campus, Katipunan Road, UP (again) then out in Quezon Memorial Circle and Quezon Avenue towards West Avenue. It’s a measured route i usually follow when i want to run 21k. So 21k it was and ran it under 3 hours.

This morning, i just finished a 9k recovery run at 7:30 pace and afterwards, headed to Batangas for some work to do. That’s it for today’s post. Later tonight, i’ll just chill out and read the rest of the March issue of Runner’s World and munch on some Marty’s Cracklin Vegetable chips while reading.

Later…

Breakfast in a resto at Tiendesitas