Run United 1: Claiming of Race Packets at MOA

The long lines were a little bit daunting as i arrived at the Mall of Asia Activity Center at about half past noon yesterday to claim my RU1 Race Packet. The single line which snaked through more than half of the open area was about 150 meters long and at that moment, i was having second thoughts if i would still line-up and be among the crowd who would tough it out for the long wait!

Just as when i arrived…

One line and slowly moving

I saw co-bloggers of mine who i was with a few hours ago while attending Reebok’s new shoe line at the Glorietta in Makati huddled together as they were just waiting for a friend who was already lined up to get their packets for them. I asked other runners on how long they had been in line and said that they had been there for more than an hour already as the line was really moving at a snail’s pace.

The crowd gets bigger by the minute

The crowd by the time i left

Fortunately, i saw a good friend who was part of the organizing committee busy retrieving an entire running team’s individual packets and so i approached and asked him if he could just include my name on the team’s list. With a smirk on my friend’s face, he hesitantly agreed and in a few minutes, voila…my race envelope and a loot bag was already in my hands! Thanks buddy! You saved me an hour or two!

Race bib, visor, singlet and some small goodies

Had i thought of just returning today (Friday) or Saturday morning to retrieve the race packet, i know the more crowded it could get because of the week-end when many runners will be free from work or school!

So, two days to go and those running for this Sunday’s Run United 1 better get moving fast and claim their packets soon! The earlier, the better!

Here’s the details on how to claim your race envelopes:

Dear 2014 Run United 1 participants,

Please don’t forget to CLAIM YOUR RACE KITS for Run United 1. Strictly no claiming of race kits on race day, March 16.

Here are the details on how to claim your race kit:

• March 13-14 (Thursday-Friday) at the Music Hall, SM Mall of Asia from 10am-10pm
• March 15 (Saturday) at the Active Health Village (Block 16 Parking Lot), SM Mall of Asia grounds from 10am – 6pm only

What to bring:
• Print out of your confirmation email
• Valid IDs
• Signed waiver by the runner

If claiming someone else will claim for you, please make sure your representative has the following:
• Print out of confirmation email of the runner
• Signed waiver by the runner
• Letter of authorization
• Photocopy of the runners ID
• Photocopy of representative’s ID

Ready For KOTR?

I haven’t ran a step since last Sunday’s Rexona 21k Run and here i am again on stand-by, not sure if i’ll be in shape for tomorrow’s Adidas King of the Road 16.8km run at the BGC. Like many occasions in the past, with late night-outs and parties lately, i feel some form of passivity and laziness after weeks of training and racing that started with the Run United3 32k race two Sundays ago, the Rexona half last Sunday, as mentioned and as many long week-end runs prior to these.

This week of inactivity, may be the signal my body wanted to convey on myself to take it easy and rest so it could re-generate. Problem is, i hate long breaks and it hard to adjust back to your pre-break fitness level as i would have to build up again for a few more days. It’s so easy to get into a rut after exposing yourself with rigorous running, again and again.

Taking these into consideration, i think i’ll just have to take tomorrow’s race at an easy pace, a no-pressure run and enjoy the whole vibe of the race. There will be other races to look forward to and oh…the RU Philippine Marathon is just a month away! Pressure once more…

For now, i’ll just have to content myself with this quote from the great tennis legend, Arthur Ashe:

See you tomorrow!

RU3: A Quest For The Last Piece

On September 16, over 4,500 runners will congregate at the starting line at 28th Street and strut their wares up on still dark roads towards the finish line at Mall of Asia. I’ll be one of them, together with the 32k runners and followed shortly by the 21k’ers.

I’ll be running side by side with my buddies, hopefully in sync with them in less than 4 hours (fingers crossed) and get that last piece of the medal puzzle of the Run United Trilogy.

My RU3 32k bib, singlet and visor

Thanks to Alfred, the Running Atom for getting me registered during the last hours when the 32k slots were down to its last dozen. So now, i’m in the final stretch of this Afroman distance (32k) training and will be doing my final long run tomorrow, with Team 90% at UP.

After tomorrow’s run, we’ll be heading to Tonet’s home where she’ll prepare a simple breakfast of eggs, pande-manila bread and brewed coffee.

All i want is the last piece!

Here’s hoping that all of you too are gearing towards a good run tomorrow and the rest of the week. Let’s all taper well to make sure the legs are well rested and rarin’ to go come RU3 race day!


Dragging You Out Of Bed..To Run!

The alarm sounded off on my cellphone at exactly 3:45 early this morning and i’m supposed to get up already. But i was still groggy, very light-headed and wanted to sleep more as i had come home late from a race launching held last night at BHS. I had promised Betty to join the group run at Meralco so i forced myself to sit up but that was all i could do. I was like brain dead, legs couldn’t move and all i wanted to do was lie down again, get back to sleep because that’s what normal people do, right?

With eyes almost closed, i texted Betty and told her that i was suffering from “tamaditis” so i’ll have to pass-up the run.

I went back to bed but felt a little guilty and my thoughts were these:

Betty has arrived and is doing her warm-up jog. Leo is probably chasing Sylvia again who is as usual, doing her 5 min/km warm-up at the Maligno Road. Chito is once more doing his unique horse-like leg kick to rev and warm-up the muscles for his usual 25k short run. Ninang Tonet is probably whining again for all the reasons you could imagine (bum stomach, noisy neighbors which made her awake all night, plantar fasciitis in the knee, etc.) Mel is now on his 6th show-off move to impress us of his running form. Elaine is now probably on her 4th 200-meter uphill sprint.

And here i am, in the warmth of my bed, curling beneath my blanket, imagining that it’s raining outside just to come up with an excuse and make me feel less guilty. Just as i was about to reach my second wind into dreamland, my phone suddenly buzzes, the shrill sound of an incoming text message. It was Betty. She had read my excuse. And i was expecting the worst:

“WAKE UP YOU LAZY, #@&x<!!. No excuses! Come here asap, now na!

Ftw! Being training buddies for a long time, that’s how we jolt each other out of bed, she and the rest of the team. It was about 4:30am by then, a full 45 minutes since the first alarm so being the kind-hearted and ever loyal friend that i am, i hurriedly did my morning ritual, changed to my running gear and proceeded to the Meralco compound in Ortigas.

Good to see Chito just arriving the same time that i did. So we started together slowly and played  catch up with the rest of the group as they were already on their way to White Plains for the dreaded hills. We found each other and merged just near the Saranggaya entrance and the group was complete.

The hill runs this morning was a bit of a tough one. We did about 4×250 meter on those steepest uphill streets and we were all really gasping for breath after each ascend. All the 8 streets inside go uphill so we took on the four up and the alternating streets we jogged downhill.

While the rest may have ran a total of 13kms, Chito and i were content just to do 10k this morning so after the uphill sessions, we went straight to Jolibee Greenmeadows to fill up our hydration bottles and jogged back to Meralco.

Betty (L) and Tonet


We ended with some stretching exercises led by Betty who has become the self-appointed stretching guru!

We’re nearing some of the most important races starting this month and to sustain my motivation to keep on training will surely depend on how your training partners push and encourage you for each success!

Thanks to my running buddies and sleep tormentors for the push!

A Week Before Race Day: Here’s What To Do

To those running the 36th Milo marathon and 21k distances for the first time, good luck on your race this coming July 29th! Milo is reputed to be the biggest and most prestigious foot race in the country and i’m sure many first time runners will aim to achieve a respectable time and hopefully qualify for the finals this December.

Many i know are beginning to feel antsy just a week away from this race and probably are feeling the butterflies hanging in their tummies. This is normal and it may be good as you’re taking the upcoming effort seriously and bodes well for the outcome. However, too much anxiety may also do the reverse for you and may result to sleepless nights coming into the race.  What’s to do then? By taking care of last- minute training preparations.

I’ve prepared some simple guide to do for the week before the race and this comes with my own and many other veteran runners’ experiences to keep you calm and focused.

  • Cramming on your training at the last week–we all know that this is counter-productive and pushing for more intensity on your last few runs will only result on more stress and exhaustion come race day. Proper tapering is key specially for those doing the marathon. Running during this week should be mostly EASY and should include some light cross-training and even walking for the last few days.
  • If you’re going to do some speed work, i suggest doing some short strides of 100 to 300 meters at 70% of full speed with a lot of easy running in between. It helps to maintain your form and leg turn-over that you developed during your training. But this should be done sparingly and with caution.
  • Nourish, hydrate and carbo-load. Loading with complex-carbohydrates 2-3 days before race day will provide you fuel on race day and will fend-off feelings of fatigue. Stay hydrated the week before, alternating water with sports and other nutritional drinks. Avoid drinking alcohol a few days before the race as it will just cause dehydration specially if the weather will be hot.
  • Many will be familiar with the Milo route already so try to make strategies for some segments of the race course like “this is where i’ll step-up the pace” or ‘ i’ll walk when i reach the uphill of this bridge and zoom past it on my way back” etc.
  • Try to run segments of the route for familiarity. Before i did the T2N 50K Ultra last May, me and my team-mates ran the first 32k in practice just to get the feel of it and strategize what parts of the route we would slow down and where we would pick-up the pace.
  • Prepare your gear 2 nights before race day. This will give you ample time to decide what to wear, what energy gels and bars to bring on the starting line. Don’t wear anything new on race day.
  • Seek the comfort of others, your teammates, runner friends who will be doing the same race. Run with them during the last few days and offer support and encouragement.
  • Try to have a good night’s sleep on Friday night as you may have trouble sleeping the night before the early Sunday morning race. Stay calm and relaxed. Watch some TV or read a book.
  • On the race itself, pace yourself! Hold back in the beginning (wag mang gigil!) and don’t get carried away by the others who are going out too fast! Go out on a slower pace than you plan to run the whole race. This will give you more chances of improving on the second half of the race thus increasing your chances of finishing strongly.

There are many other ways to prepare yourself and this is just some of what i have learned in the past.

Good luck to all MILO runners and i hope you sleep well the night before the race!

A More Fun To Run 2012!

January 1-9, was just able to squeeze-in 3 runs on these dates and i’m still reeling from the over-eating and drinking binges that capped the year-end that was 2011! My body is extremely heavy and the bulge in the middle has been more pronounced than ever. It’s the battle of the bulge, as always!

I’m still forcing myself to rise up when the usual 4am wake-up call alarms  on my cell phone  so that i could be at the Meralco Compound by 5:15 to be with my usual training buddies. But then sometimes, i doze off a little more just to compromise with my still sleepy body and when you finally get up the second time after the snooze, you realize an hour had past and decide to forgo the run completely. You then feel sorry for the rest of the day!

At the BGC with Chito and Mel

Yesterday, i finally was able to overcome this malaise and ventured out on a long run with Chito, Mel, Betty, Leo and Sylvia that took us into the peaceful confines of Dasmarinas Village in Makati. The wide roads are a nice playground for running. With the laid back elegance of  plush residential homes, colorful gardens, trees lined-up on both sides of the road with nary a dog that would bark at you when you run along, it is one running haven!

We completed a total of 25k in about 3:15 and it was good to be back running long and easy again.

One of the streets inside Dasmarinas Village

I was able to try out my new NB bottle waist pack and a hydration belt is one essential i can’t run without having lived with my old hydration pouch for most of my entire running life. It’s a lace-up holster with a 20 oz. water bottle and zip pockets. Does’t bounce and is firmly secured in your waist. Thanks to the Media Relations Team of Summit Media for this wonderful Christmas gift!

NB Bottle Waist Pack

Thinking still of what races to join this coming few weeks although i’m certainly going to run this Sunday’s Go Natural Run Half-Marathon which incidentally is extending their registration until January 13 at the Riovana Running stores and January 11 at other in-store registration sites.

I wasn’t able to join a lot of races during the first half of last year due to plantar fasciitis and hopefully will be able to compensate a little for 2012. Happy running!

Hoping For Grace…

I dread waking up in mornings not sure if i’ll be able to handle a run, knowing that an injury has not been healed completely. I know, i know… i rested for a couple of days already, well it’s been a week and i just can’t wait to get re-started and see if the Plantar Fascia has responded to the ice massage, stretching, doses of Vitamin I (Ibuprofen) and rest! I still feel that bit of slight twinge early mornings when i get up from bed, which is quite normal with this condition but warms up a little when i’m already up and about.

That's the one under

My apologies to Betty and Tonette for not being able to run with you..specially Betty who’ll be running Hongkong in two weeks time. The spirit is willing but my foot says ouch!…so there.

So this morning, i woke up at 4:30am and it was still chilly. After much more musing of whether to run or not, i finally donned my shoes and gear, stretched those calf muscles and plantar fascia, headed out the gate and started to run very slowly… well jog is the right term. I tried not to be too conscious of my ailing foot although i did change my foot strike a bit, opting more to land on my midfoot so as not to put pressure on the heel where the pain usually occur (see illustration above).

For the first time, it was great not to feel any discomfort and running my route via Anonas, Xavierville Road, Katipunan Avenue then to CP Garcia and finally inside UP was a breeze although i could feel the exhaustion every time i ran those uphills, the effect of having lost some of my fitness during the interim. It was a good 5k, better than i expected and although the foot felt a little queasy, it was generally ok.

The Condura marathon is looming, and it’s just 3 weeks away! And i should come to terms whether it’ll still be wise for me to run the full mary or just sit tight and wait for this injury to completely heal. And the prospect of waiting is just sooo outrageously long!

To Condura or not?

No, it’s now too late for me to join the Black Nazarene procession!

Have mercy!

Philippine Road Running: Its Humble Beginnings

One of the pillars of the RUNNEX Running Club is 86 year-old Ruben “Direk” Trinidad who is the club’s de facto historian. Author of many books, he has single-handedly documented the rich history of the club from its inception in 1983 and still serves as advisor to the many activities of the group up to now. 

Rich in information about the birth of running in the Philippines, he has witnessed the slow growth of running until he got involved in the sport himself, running his first marathon at the Band-Aid Running Clinic in 1983 at the age of 60. He ran his last marathon during the early 90s at the age of 75. He now is content walking his dog, “Pom” at the Quezon Memorial Circle. He shares his story way back during the end of the Spanish-American war in the country. 

Direk Trinidad

When the Americans were victorious in their war against Spain in the Philippines in 1898, the Thomasites, the first group of American Teachers who established the American School System in 1900 were the ones who introduced Running in the country. Running then as a sport was hardly known in the Philippines until the coming of the Americans. Other sports that were introduced during this time were baseball, indoor baseball (softball), volleyball and basketball (which the girls enjoyed but was shunned by the men as they deemed it a “sissy” sport) as part of the PE and Sport curriculum. 

When the First Far Eastern Games (now the Asian Games) competition was held in Manila in 1913, Philippine Road Running was introduced. The first Filipinos who participated were Desquitado and Enerva who were 4th and 6th place, respectively in the 5-mile run. 

The first marathon in the Philippines covering the official distance of 42.195 kms. was held in 1967 and participated in by collegiate students from the towns of Rizal Province. The rules then at that time was very unusual in that the marathon was ran in four (4) installments– on the first day participants ran 10k in the morning and another 10k in the afternoon. On the second day, another 10k was ran in the morning and the remaining 12.195kms was ran in the afternoon! 

All four races were won by Benjamin Silva Netto with an aggregate time of 2hrs, 26 mins and 49 secs. Currently, Mr. Silva Netto is the Secretary General of the Philippine Track and Field Association (Patafa). 

The country’s first official “standard” marathon was held the following year in Roxas City during the 1968 National Track and Field Championships to choose the country’s marathon bet for the Mexico Olympics on the same year. Again, Ben Silva Netto won the race, topping a field of 27 other runners by clocking a time of 3:37:23 to become the First Filipino Marathon Champion. He then proceeded to the Mexico Olympiad and came in at 49th place among 82 other runners with a PR of 2:56:19, thus earning himself and the country the honor of being the First Filipino Marathoner in the Olympics. Among his well-known rivals in this marathon include Mamo Wolde (1st, 2:20:26); Derek Clayton (7th, 2:27:23), Kenny Moore (14th, 2:29:49) and Abebe Bikila (DNF, ran the race with a stress fracture). Eight years later, another great Filipino marathoner, Victor Idava would run the Montreal Olympics. 

The recognition of running as a sport followed with the homecoming of Silva Netto from the Mexico Olympiad. Thereafter, visits to the country were made by Drs. Jack Schaf and John Wagner, the principal creators and Marathon trainors of the Honolulu Marathon Clinic in the early 70s. Dr. Wagner, together with Dr. Aparicio “Perry” Mequi, then Dean of the UP Institute of Sports Physical Education and considered father of the Physical Education Curriculum in the country; Ben Silva Netto, the Olympian and Jose “Jun” Castro, Jr., a chess promoter and founder of the Filipinas International Third World Marathon organized the first running clinic at the Quezon Memorial Circle. Soon after, other running clinics were established at Roxas Blvd., Paranaque, Makati and Greenhills. 

The running boom started in the US when Frank Shorter won the Munich Olympic Marathon in 1972 although in the Philippines, the first running boom was actually felt during the early 80s.

U.P.’s Heartbreak Hill

U.P.'s "Heartbreak Hill"

If you’re a serious, regular runner at the University of the Philippines (UP) campus grounds, chances are you’ve run across this mini hill located along Juan Luna Street. Runners have fondly referred this incline as “Heartbreak Hill”, a slight reference to its famous, more daunting namesake in Boston, that’s part of the Boston Marathon route. 

While Boston’s Heartbreak Hill measures about 600 meters rising up to 88 feet, UP’s version measures a measly 100 meters but with a steeper grade that reaches up to 20 feet. It was my first introduction to hill running when i was just getting started during the early 80s and oh, how i hated it! 

The steep incline, even though short was a bane to us newbies then as we tend to struggle at half way and reduced to walking and catching our breaths when we reached the top. Up to now, i sometimes dread the prospect of having to run up this hill several times in a loop as it can zap the remaining energy left for the rest of your run. Well, familiarity breeds boredom too. 

On good days however, it’s a welcome respite for the majority of runners who cringe at the thought of running the loop of the dreary academic oval and would like variety of terrain incorporated into their running. 

Runners doing hill repetitions

If you ask several experts/coaches on how to run an uphill efficiently, chances are, you’re going to get different answers and perspective from each. That said, i’ve tried to incorporate techniques that had helped me tackle hills like those at Kalayaan Flyover, Bayani Road, McKinley Hills and some mountain trails i’ve encountered. Proper form is key and here are some tips that help me tackle the ascent:

— Leaning a bit forward to gravitate you up and get some momentum.

— Keeping the head up and the eyes fixed forward directly ahead. This is difficult for me to maintain as i tend to put my head down and just grit it out, specially when i’m tired.

— Taking short strides and using the forefoot more to lift my feet forward.

— Relaxing my body during the initial stages of the climb and when i reach about two-thirds up, i

— Use my upperbody more than my legs by pumping my arms vigorously (back and forth) to bring me upwards to the top.

— If you can’t see the top of the hill because it’s so steep, just walk it! (tip i got from Lit Onrubia)

At the top, i try to keep my momentum by moving slowly and jogging a few meters after, then resume my normal racing pace. On training runs, i definitely stop and walk when i reach the top! (It’s just the age factor here):-)

Of course, each could be adjusted accoring to the distance and elevation of the hill. Mostly when i start the initial steps up, i don’t strategize nor be conscious about how high and far i have to conquer it, i just rely on the proper form above and adjust accordingly.

Hill running develops strength, power and endurance that’s why it’s always assimilated as a key component in every runners’ training program. But the faster you run it, the sooner you get it done with.

Chi Running: This Sunday at U.P.

Mr. Lit Onrubia

Participants of the Sunday Runnex Discover Running Clinic are in for a treat when the Chi Running Method will be discussed and demonstrated this coming Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 7:45am after the customary group runs.

The topic will be discussed by the only certified Chi Running Instructor in the country, Mr. Lit Onrubia.

There are many positive aspects about Chi Running that all runners can use as i have written it here before (chi-running-with-mr-lit-onrubia) having attended its launching last January, 2010 at the Bonifacio High Street at The Fort.

Chi Running is basically a whole body approach to running form and with the help of self-visualization creates a balance state of mind and body. It utilizes core strength and the proper alignment of arms and legs, achieving a sense of “Chi”. When the balance and alignment is made, you slightly lean forward from your core, up– and let gravitation pull you forward.

Here’s a short demo on Chi Running:

The lecture is open to the public and will be held in front of Abelardo Hall, University of the Philippines.