Photo Of The Week: Shower Of The Day

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The guy must have just stepped out from the shower to join the running festivities of the UP Mountaineers Club’s Gig run last month at the UP Campus.

Photo by June Santiago.

(If you have other interesting/unusual running photos you would like featured, you can e-mail them to the jazzrunner at runnerjazz@yahoo.com and leave a comment with the details.)

Thanks!

Green Is ‘Great’ Run: U.P. June 28, 2009

shoeI’ve been hoping to run a race where i could just relax a bit and not push myself to the limits.  Testing your progress race after race and the thought of another grueling run to best your PR was not just a pleasant one. I felt no need to run against the competition, nor dwell on the pacing but just to feel the groove of all runners around me.

That break came in yesterday’s GIG (Green Is Good) RUN ’09, organized by the University of the Philippines’ Mountaineers. I think this is just the race i needed. This 10k race on the shaded U.P. Campus which has been my training grounds made me want to run it at a more leisurely pace.

June and I arrive at the venue past 5am and met with Connie (June’s office-mate) and her boyfriend, Roel near the starting line. It was Connie’s first 5k race and she was very excited for it. Runners were now starting to arrive in droves while the organizers were announcing of the free porridge being served for the runners who wanted to fill-up their tummies before the race– a first in the history of local races. A runner or two who probably were immune to digestive disorders helped themselves, to their delight.

The race started at the front steps of Palma Hall and quickly stretched to the School of Economics Building before going the slight hill towards Malcolm Hall. I consciously took it easy and enjoyed the company of the other runners around me. I passed-up the first of several water stations as i coasted along Magsaysay Ave. which was downhill.

I took my first cup of water at the corner of Magsaysay Ave. before turning left at E. Jacinto Street. Here, the run was a bit cautious as we had to compete with cars moving their way on the right lane. This stretch was nearly flat until we entered EDSA Street as i maintained an even 6:30 pace even as the field thinned out. The running here was still relaxed as we were protected by the shades of trees under overcast skies, perfect weather for running. I still felt loose and easy, no reason to speed up as i had just set to myself to coast along.

The race route was a new one for me, having been used to running the regular race routes that always started in front of the U.P. Theater. This time it had more variety, a faster course and ran less of the usual academic oval route.

Like my usual races, i was starting to feel a little hurt coming on after km 7 when reaching the uphill towards the UP Police Station. Worse, the water station assigned past this area had ran out of their supplies so i told myself there’s only 2.5 kms. left anyway and you’re not suppose to suffer from severe dehydration with 2.5 kms left!

Going back the last 3kms., there was this young guy who kept sprinting past me and would suddenly stop on his tracks about 5 meters in front, then walk. After a minute or two, he would again sprint past, stop, then walk! This process would be repeated 6 times more that it got me a little bit irritated! Man, what was he doing? Was he running 100-meter interval repetitions then stop dead in front of my path like he was doing it on purpose. (Even if he wasn’t, these things always play into your mind when you’re tired).

When we were about to reach the last bend for the straight to the finish, he sprinted past by me the final time before we turned left to the finish. I knew he was going to sustain the sprint up to the finish line so the impish side of me thought of giving this guy a dose of his own medicine. I tucked myself about 2 steps behind him and at the last 30 meters, i dashed in full speed until i came elbow to elbow with him and when he realized the devious act i was to inflict, he tried to respond with all his might but no way was he going past through me so i held him off and crossed the finish chute less than a second in front of him.

I tried to suppress my evil grin and from one corner of my eye, i saw the rage on his face, a man pissed-off, the expression on his face, priceless! Man, if you’re reading this blog, i’m sorry–it’s just part of the craziness (and fun) of the sport!:-) I finished with a time of 1:03, another minute off from my previous 10k at the Runnex Anniversary race a month ago.

We hung around for some picture taking plus got a chance to speak with Manong Jovie (Bald Runner) who gave me some tips on his great dishes, Jaymie (The Bull Runner) with hubby Dennis, Karlo (Run and Drum) who flew in from Cebu City just so he could run this event but had to fly back the same day (addict!) and the raucous Takbo.ph running group.

It was a great day for all…and a great way to run for mother nature.

From (r) June, Connie, Darryl and me

At the start, from (r) June, Connie, Darryl and me

Roel pinning Nicole's race bib, her first 5k race

Roel pinning Nicole's race bib, her first 5k race

With the Takbo.ph runners

With the Takbo.ph runners

Posing up before the race

Posing up before the race

With Marga(licious) of Takbo.ph

With Marga(licious) of Takbo.ph

With Karlo and Marga

With Karlo and Marga

June with cousin, Bobbi and her hubby

June with cousin, Bobbi and her hubby

Lovebirds, Myra and Rodel

Lovebirds, Myra and Rodel

If Green Is Good, Run Is Better

shoebeltThe GIG Run, a run to raise awareness on the need to protect and reforestate the Ipo Watershed is one advocacy race i would surely want to join. A clean environment is still the essence of our existence with the preservation of our nature. Breathing in fresh, unpolluted air is essential, while our forests provide protection againts harmful carbon dioxide, helps minimize floods in low lying areas and provides a habitat for fauna and other living objects.

As runners, our forests provides an area for recreation, a place to run, to camp on or just to appreciate and be one with nature. Running in the shades of trees and unspoiled mountain sides is a thankful and almost spiritual experience. To hear your own breath in the silence of nature, appreciate the scent of beauty and enjoy the fruits of creation is priceless. Without a doubt, this experience, together with keeping our bodies healthy thru running enhance an escape from the stress of our everyday lives.

Yet, we continue to bear witness to the destruction of these forests thru cutting of trees and continous land development. This is most obvious during our various trail runs outside the metropolis as we ran the various hills of stagnant subdivision areas, we see cracks of asphalt and cement deteriorating in what was probably a once forested area.

Grass creeping out from the undeveloped roads of abandoned subdivisions

Grass creeping out from undeveloped roads of abandoned subdivisions

Deforestation

Deforestation

Slash and burn farming (kaingin) should stop!

Slash and burn farming (kaingin) should stop!

Signs of neglect are obvious in many parts of these areas; rotting machines abandoned; the cracks on asphalts where grass creeps out between its cracks and brown smokestacks, probably to burn wood and sell its coal. We all should do our share in protecting the environment and we should do it now. Former US Vice-President Al Gore notes that time is of the essence since a diminishing period of time exists for us to protect our wilderness areas before they collapse. Otherwise, he says, we may reach the point where clusters of grass and trees are encased in bubble of protection, like those animals in our zoos. Let’s give our next generation of runners a breathable earth to enjoy their sport.