Going Bananas: A Volunteer’s Perspective

Tessa Banana?

I would not have missed this race for anything. In the past two editions of The Condura Skyway Run, i ran both races, the 21k and 42k last year and i cherished the experience of running atop the skyway…cheering on each other, looking after your pace while struggling to get the remaining miles over with.

However, i had to miss last Sunday’s edition as i was still recovering from the recurring plantar fascitiis which is healing slowly and to risk running more would just aggravate the long, slow, healing process.

Handing out bananas to runners at an aid station isn’t exactly a fun, ideal alternative pursuit to running or cross-training (unless you eat the bananas yourself) but you sure appreciate being in the middle of the action and all this hoopla of assisting and cheering runners takes on another level.

So the first time i volunteered for takbo.ph’s Aid Station along Buendia Avenue at last Sunday’s Condura Skyway Marathon, it was everything i didn’t possibly expect. Plenty of good company with the old guards of takbo.ph, handing out bananas, cheering, taking their photos, clapping or shouting encouragements (“Go, teh, you can do it”, “Malapit na, teh”) and the young female runners goes giggling and found it a bit amusing after seeing a middle-aged guy addressing them as Teh (Ate or sister)! Lol!

Eat all you can!

It puts a little perspective to my own participation in running and i realize that this is the world i am part of and i am used to being cheered and encouraged at and not the other way around. You also get to notice, and not too often, that while the leading elite runners run a lot faster, we ordinary runners struggle just as mightily and hurt just as much as this Big Guns in our pursuit of a PR.

Nice to know that people thank you in return and some had recognized me as they ask why i am not running this race. “No training” is just what i reply. As i see the last of the runners pass by our station and headed for the finish line, i end my volunteerism as i wanted to catch up with my running friends who were now waiting for me at the finish line. I take a cab with Abby, my co-Team Leader at the aNR-UP who was also going to meet BFF Luis at the finish.

Running friends: L-R, Tonet, Aileen, Alex, Sylvia, Cecil, Betty and Dante

After the race

I meet my group after the race and all were satisfied with their time and the conduct of the race. All were unanimous in the excellent race organization… perfect race, delicious bananas!

For me, giving back to this sport is what it’s all about!

The takbo.ph volunteers

Thanks to Jinoe for the pictures!

Calibre 45 LSD Group: Bang! Bang!

There were two groups doing LSD (Long Slow Distance) runs  last Sunday and i wanted to join one of them. The first group was “Team Galloway”, initiated by Carina of takbo.ph who would be doing a 37km LSD run based on the Jeff Galloway training method. I witnessed Carina and her team do the Galloway run successfully during the 32k Rizal Day Run last December 29 and all did a sub-four hour run. This time, they would be attempting 37K with this program:

PROGRAM: 5:1 (5 mins run at 6:30 pace, 1 min walk) for 30km
4:1 (4 mins run at 6:00 pace, kung keri =), 1 min walk) for the remaining kms.
Note: Others may set their sustainable pace

Without batting an eyelash, i immediately signed up. I needed the mileage in preparation for the upcoming Condura Marathon. No sooner after i signified my intention to join, another invitation appeared (at the takbo.ph website)  from a second group led by Jet Paiso who will be doing another Galloway LSD with a longer distance of 45kms. They aptly called their group, “Calibre 45”. The calibre group were mostly takbo.ph runners training for the BDM 102 ultra run this coming March.

Now, i thought that this second group would be perfect for me because firstly, i would be running the full distance of the marathon and stretching the distance even further and secondly, their pace would be from 7:30 to 8:00 for the 5:1 ratio, a more comfortable pace for me than that of Carina’s Team Galloway group. It was in the morning of the run that i decided to join the Calibre group.

I tagged Betty and Tonette along with me, two of my regular running partners from our Runnex group who are still undecided to run Condura. The three of us met the rest of the group at McDonald’s, U.N. Avenue in Ermita at 3:00am.

Here are the highlights of the run:

—  Our Route: Start at KM O (Rizal Park) to Roxas Blvd then left to Buendia Ave up to Kalayaan Bridge going to The Fort (Taguig). From The Fort to C-5 Road northbound on the way to Libis going to Marikina and back.

—  Run started at 3:30am. Total Runners: 17

Tonette posing at KM 0

A short prayer before our LSD

Doc T, Mar and Emil

—  While the faster runners did their own fast pace, the slower ones ran the Galloway program

—  The distance from KM O to BHS at The Fort totaled 11kms. We had one stop over for some photo ops at the Petron Station, corner Buendia and Makati Ave. It was still pitch dark.

Our first stop, Petron Station, Buendia corner Makati Ave.

First Stop, Petron Buendia

—  We met some more runners at BHS who were either running the Bull Run 10k Race or with the Team Galloway LSD group

Our 2nd stop, Bonifacio High Street where we met another group of LSD'ers

No Bullrun for us this time

—  Did two stop-overs along C-5 Road on our way to Marikina, one at the Caltex Pasig footbridge and the other was the Shell station at the corner of Julia Vargas Street where we partook siopao, instant noodles, chocolates and whatever was available.

—  Sun was up when we were past Tiendesitas

Taking a pose at Libis, near Eastwood City

Entering Marikina City

Betty and Tonette, the two thorns among the roses near Ortigas Ave. Extension

—  Reach Marikina City near the front of SM Marikina which was 23 kms. Made our U-turn for the start of the final half.

At our turn-around bend just before reaching SM Marikina

—  Tonette left the group at KM25 (Blue Ridge) as she continued her run towards Katipunan Ave. to her home in Diliman. She must have completed 29kms.

—  Betty left the group at Julia Vargas (KM28) and continued her run home to Valle Verde. She did 29kms too.

—  Rest of the group rested at Shell-Pasig and re-stocked our hydration flasks. Mar sustained a minor injury and wisely discontinued his run.

On one of the gas stations at C5 on our way back

At the bridge overlooking the Pasig River

Arrived back at The Fort, just after the Bull Run race was finished. Claimed our medals from BR (Bald Runner) for finishing his December 30 Rizal Day 32K race. Long chit-chat with the Takbo.ph runners who were still at The Fort.

A quick pose but long chit-chat at the Fort on our way back

—  Continued our run from The Fort to Kalayaan Bridge towards Buendia. Made another stop near the Pacific Star Building for some rounds of Taho.

Back at Buendia with replenishment of taho courtesy of Rodel

—  Long stretch of walking along Buendia Ave. The 5:1 ratio (5 minutes run: 1 minute walk) became reversed, 5 minutes walk: 1 minute run.

Doc T (right) having a good time

The "galloway" plan in the reverse. It's now more walking than running

Nearing Osmena Highway

—  Reach the 40th KM mark at the corner of Buendia and Roxas Blvd.

—  Ran the last 5 kms back to KM O.

— Completed a total distance of 44.8kms – 45kms depending on whose Garmin you’re looking at

At the finish (KM 0). Total distance: 44.8 kms

It was a good run over-all with just minor aches associated after an LSD. I did a 5k recovery run the following day and also did 30 minutes of Tae-bo aerobics at a class in QMC.

Congrats to all who joined the run: Rodel, Chris, Wilnar, Gab, Junar, Betty, Tonette, Gian, Emil, Cyrus, Jonathan, Angel, Jet (for initiating this LSD), Doc T, Mar and Joen.

See you all at Condura!