By The Company We Keep

They’re a special breed of runners you either want to be with or you care little about, depending on your outlook on running. For sure, they’re fun to be around specially when all talk is about their latest conquest of their farthest run ever and these include jaunts of 102km or 160 km ultra races.

I was with these esteemed runners just after their grueling 160km BDM “fun run” a few weeks ago when Ultra-marathoner Paolo Osmeña, who successfully finished this race after his 2nd attempt treated his “team” to a sumptuous dinner and drinking binge to celebrate his conquest, acknowledging the support he had during his trying times during the race!  So it was interesting to see how Paolo was doing (still ecstatic, as i noticed) and how the rest of the guys were coping up with their recoveries.

But recovery it seems is out of their vocabulary as most of them were already geared to run the Condura Marathon the week after and many of them did! Hard to imagine why they can’t get enough of running 160 kms as their main course and savor another 42kms the week after for dessert!

It was good to be meeting for the first time George Dolores, a regular in the ultra running scene and Keisha Fule,  who i initially thought was a Kenyan until i saw her pictures on blogs and realized that she was one of the guys (sorry po). She may be all hard-as-nails on the roads and trails but she is genteel and humble in person, none of the brashness that you may associate with other top runners of her stature.

Anyways, we had a great time drinking and dining and i had to be the listener most of the time when they tried to out-do each other in reminiscing the happy,  funny and mostly torturous moments ever imagined in their race of a life-time!

Again, congrats to Paolo and the rest of the BDM160 finishers!

Here are some pictures of the gathering (there’s more in my FB page if you care to look at it) :

Early guests

Front Runner's Jonel Mendoza, host Paolo Osmena and Mel Severino

Me, Blas and Keisha

Our hostess, Angela Jacinto (r)

One of the country's Ultra-running patriarch, Jonel Mendoza

Late comer, Chito Carreon (standing) joins the group

Mel, George Dolores and Meljohn (Boypraning)

Keisha, at her fullest?

No satisfaction for Boypra (may take-home pa!)

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Run, Eat and Drink?

I was going to meet up with my group at the Meralco Compound in Ortigas Ave. at 5:30am yesterday morning so i had to wake up real early. It usually takes me about 50 mins to run from Anonas Street in Project 2 to Ortigas Avenue, a good 7km headway before our group run starts so i took off at 4:40am.

True to my estimation, i arrived at Meralco at 5:30am and saw some fast runners, Chris Iblan and Wilnar Iglesia of the Powerpuff Team doing their warm-up jog before i saw my group.

There were 6 of us yesterday, Dante, Tonet, speedsters Betty, Elaine, Sylvia and then there was me trying to figure out where i would fit. Sylvia, Betty and Elaine have been consistent with their training for the past few months and it would be a stretch for me to match them stride for stride. Clearly, i was out of favor here. Dante and Tonet have suffered from minor injuries lately so i would be sticking with them, instead.

We started off nice and easy and the weather was fine, cloudy but not warm. The 3 speedsters pushed a little ahead while the rest of us were not too far behind.

It was kind of a mixed-pace, sometimes fast, at times slow and we took to walk-breaks when an interesting topic came up, never striking any kind of consistency. To end our run, we did 5 100 meter fast stride-outs and ended with stretching exercises.

I ended up doing 15.5k in 2 hrs and felt very good. Thanks to my running buddies.

On another note, Last Sunday was ARC’s Raul Acuna’s birthday. Yoying, Raul’s wife planned a surprise party for him and enlisted some of his friends to just appear for lunch. Yoying then would fetch Raul from the airport where he attended an ultra- trail run in Cagayan De Oro and would bring him directly to the ARC store at Quirino Avenue while we where waiting there. But the couple arrived early than most of the visitors and you could just see Raul’s expression when one by one, friends arrived to greet him.

Lots of food and drinks were overflowing! Had to nurse a hang-over the following day. Ugh!

Love seems to be going full bloom for Raul and Yoying and here’s wishing the couple the best of the years to come! Here are some pictures from the party:

Putok-batok special (according to Jet)!

Carbo-loading

The early birds with Raul , second from left

All eyes on the birthday boy!

Group pic

Of Presscons and Birthdays

I’ve been receiving invites to presscons and bloggers meets of upcoming races consistently for the past several weeks as schedules of races continue to file up our Sunday and even Saturday race calendar. Funny thing is, my e-mail inbox sometimes contain invitations to attend soft opening of business ventures, condominium launchings, launch of new products or restaurant openings and i wonder what my running blog has got to do with all these. 

Time permitting, i try to attend the launching of upcoming races as we bloggers usually get first hand information about these new races, blog about it and we often get complimentary race packets that comes with announcing these races. For race organizers, i must say that it’s one of the most ideal way of getting their races out in the running community as words spreads out very quickly when one reads a very interesting upcoming race in blogs or websites like the takbo.ph. 

So what goes on inside these press launches and bloggers meets? It’s nothing out of the ordinary, really. Most of the people you meet inside these affairs are the same set of bloggers you see regularly in races or previous launchings so it’s one big reunion of sorts. Once all the invited guests have arrived, food is immediately served, usually a buffet, before actual presentations start. When all had their fillings of food and drinks, the presentation formally begins and the race proponents or organizers are called to talk about the missions and visions of the race–what the race is all about. 

This is followed by the race directors’ presentation of all technical aspects and other pertinent details. A question and answer session ensues and when all issues are clarified, the meetings adjourns and more photo ops follow. Guests begin to leave with some  promotional gifts given by the race organizers (including the race packets) and every one goes home happy! 

The launching of the Greenfield Sundown race last week was a small gathering but a merry affair of regular bloggers. This reception was quite unique as the race organizers went out of their way to greet one blogger who happens to be celebrating her birthday the following day. They presented a small birthday cake to Vima Mendoza (kulitrunner) who was also expecting another baby due this month. Seems that this was a presscon cum birthday celebration!

Happy Birthday, Vimz! 

presentation of the Greenfield Sundown Race

All bloggers

Inside the Kebab Factory at the Fort

Divine, aka "The Running Diva" and Takbo.ph's First Lady, Queenie

With Vince Mendoza of Finishline, Head Organizer of the Greenfield Race

Birthday girl, Vimz Mendoza blowing her 24th (?) birthday cake as Jaymie and Jun looks on!

Greenfield singlet (Front)

A Greenfield Corp exec explaining the mechanicks of the race

Back of singlet

Of Running, Timing Chips and Facebook

Globe Run For Home 2010 Race Packet

Various local press releases describe running as the ‘new badminton’, which might seem a rather empty accolade, given that our endurance sport had seen its first heydays during the early 80s, long before the popularity of badminton. On balance, it’s fair comment.

At present, the current trend of running is at its peak. With two to three scheduled races on a given Sunday, i’m stumped on which race to join. On selecting my races, it still all boils down to who the race organizers/directors are, if the registration fees are reasonable (very rare these days), or if my running group is going to join the race. Often times, i’m swayed by joining if my group of friends are also joining–all for the camaraderie and support.

One race that stood out for me last year was the Globe Run For Home 2009, where i ran the 21k in 2:25. It was one of the most organized races, water and sports drinks were plentiful, portalets were laid out on parts of the route and my entry fee was practically free as the corresponding amount was converted into a text load on my Globe pre-paid account.

If my memory serves me right, it was also the first time that the “championchips” timing chips were introduced to track your moves and performance in different areas of the course and mainly to give an accurate finish time. Using these data, a performance analysis was also made available, giving a detailed assessment of each runner’s performance, his/her ranking vs. the total field of runners, your average speed during the race and split times at a particular point in the course.

This year’s edition of the race is going to be more visible in this hi-tech world. To make the results more timely, the timing chips that tracks your position along the course is now tied-up to your Facebook account and your finish time will automatically be posted in your FB account once you cross the finish line. Moreover, if your family and friends can’t be at the race venue to watch you live, they can watch a live streaming feed of the finish line by logging on to http://www.globe.com.ph/run. Pretty cool, huh?

If you have a Facebook account, just go to Globe’s Facebook account (Globe Ayala Land Run For Home) and click on “Go To Application” and install the Run For Home application on to your Facebook account. On race day, the timing chips will send newsfeed updates and race results to your profile.

It was a blast hearing all these innovations during their Blogger’s Night at the Shanghai Bistro at the Paseo Center in Makati last Tuesday. No less than 15 running bloggers were present to witness the presentation and it was great fun we had that night!

Run Bloggers Run

The crow at the Shanghai Bistro

Vince Mendoza of Finishline explaining the mechanics of the race

Coy Caballes, Social Media Manager of Globe Telecom

Bloggers Vener, Rod and Nora listen intently

Rico (Sheerwill) and Noelle (Kikayrunner)

Vener (Run Unlimited) and Roselle (The Running Diva)

With Nora (Life Begins At 50) who i'm meeting for the first time

L-R, Mariel (Solemates), Bards (Banana Running), Nora (Life Begins At 50), Vener (Run Unlimited), Jazzrunner, Noelle (Kikay Runner), Roselle (Running Diva), Que (Takbo.ph)

With the other bloggers

Biggest Loser Contest / Party

Firstly, congratulations to all contestants of the recently concluded 1st Biggest (Weight) Loser Challenge last Friday. Frankly, i was really in awe and at the same time envious when these participants showed their new body figures. Most were very lean and bubbly while some looked gaunt, like drug addicts trying to break from the habit:-).

However, this contest did inspire everyone–that no matter the sacrifice and self control these runners had to endure and with very little time given to lose those excess weight, all came out winners, each a victor who would reverse our doubts that nothing in this world is impossible. Most importantly, these gallant warriors have reminded us of that simple saying, “if there’s a will, there’s a way!”

I hope everyone who made the effort to lose those excess poundage will persevere to maintain (or lose more) on those new-found figures. Special mention goes to Marga who i had rooted for since the very start. Seeing her weight before, you couldn’t imagine that she’d be able to shrink a vein even if she was running regularly. But now, the transformation has been palpable. More than 18 lbs has dissolved in a matter of 41 days and with continuous healthy dieting and exercise, she could become the new sex-bomb! I said, “could!” Go girl!

Congratulations to Brian, our eventual winner who lost a whooping 34 lbs! Ditto to Allan who came in a very close second only losing to Brian by 1 percentage point!

Here’s hoping too that the 2nd BLC will be launched soon. Also, i wish the organizers would reduce (pun intended) the joining fee of P1,000.00 which i find too hefty, to maybe, P300-400 per entrant so more will be encouraged to join. I would have wanted to join this contest myself as i have ballooned to 180 lbs as of now, but like a newly bought pair of jeans, my physique has already plateaued and “pre-shrunked” so not much will be lost if ever i diet and continue with my running.

By the way, the Christmas party was a sizzler, probably the biggest get together yet for the Takbo.ph runners. Decent food, raffle prizes, (i won 2 gift certificates from Starbucks, thanks to Dyule), rousing fun games and the Milo give-away singlets, none of which fit my size, for crying out loud!

Here’s to a blessed Christmas season and continuous good health for the New Year ahead!

Happy running and reading to all!

(Thanks to Pio & Leandro for some of the pics!)

Group pic last night. Biggest gathering of takbo.ph members i had attended so far!

Brian, last Oct.30, 2009 at 200 lbs.

After a month and 11 days, Brian (L) last night at 166lbs. At right is second place biggest loser, Allan

Posing before dinner

With the good guys

Trying out my high tech, top of the line "SLR"

The cast!

Girl Power!

With Tim's group

Lining up for dinner

Rushing to pose

Thanks for the Milo caps