Re-Grouping For The 2nd aNR 5th Sunday Run

We are now just 3 weeks away from the 2nd Adidas 5th Sunday Run on May 29 at Eastwood City. Our Adidas Adination of Runners (aNR) group in U.P. is presently gearing up for this race and we’re all in high spirits. The group is in the midst of their speed session phase and in about a week from now, we’re be having our final line-up of runners for the 5k male and female relay and individual events.

Ronald Salgado (2nd from left) of UP, aNR getiing ready for the relay start during the 1st 5th Sunday Run

During the 1st 5th Sunday Run last January 30, 2011 at the Resorts World in Pasay, our group emerged as Champions in the both men and women relay teams, aside from bagging 1st and 2nd for the individual male 5k run while snatching 1st and 3rd place for the women 5k individual race.

For the May 29 event, there will be some slight changes on our line-up but we still expect it to be a “lean and mean” team that can still give the other aNR groups a run for their money.

The UP aNR group

Also, the UP aNR group will be sporting their new get-up which i hope will be ready before race day. It looks something like this:

Heartbreaker's?

We’ll be there in full force cheering and giving encouragement for our team.

Go, heartbreakers!:-)

Co-Team Leader KB Runner recieving his Adidas supply

See you May 29

Runners in Quezon City can still join the UP group by attending its Tuesday sessions, 6:30pm in front of Bahay ng Alumni Building, UP campus.

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.

Rites of Passage: Clinic Participants Finishes 10K

One of the sidelights of last Sunday’s Runnex Executive Race was the 10k graduation run of the participants of the Runnex Discover Running Clinic. After more than 10 weeks of training under the leadership of Coach Jojo Mac, the trainees’ endurance and skills were put into test. Majority of the participants were now going to run their first 10k, while a few who may have missed part of the clinic sessions would run 5k. 

Standing at the starting line after the Corporate Executives runners were fired off 10 minutes earlier, i felt a little concerned about my role for this graduation run but excited for these first time 10k runners i was going to pace. The day earlier, Danny Villavicencio, convener of the running clinic, assigned me to pace these newbies to finish their 10k at the same route where the Executive Run was being held. Aside from myself, the pacing chores will also be shared with Betty and Tonette. 

Although i was regularly promoting this running clinic through this blog, i rarely attended the Sunday clinics as i was either on out-of-town work related activities or was running some races elsewhere. I hardly knew any of the 72 participants although many recognized me through this blog. 

We started at a cautious pace of 8:00/km although Betty and Tonette’s group, who were leading the faster runners forged ahead in a 7:00-7:30/km clip. During my pacing with my group, i was bombarded with questions on running form, nutrition, speed drills and everything that pertained to running. It was a great feel interacting with them on a gut level and listening to their experiences gave a me a greater understanding of their concerns and aspirations. 

We reached the first loop (5k) in 44 minutes which wasn’t bad at all. Those few who had minimal training opted to finish the run, their first 5k race. The majority of us continued as i continuously gave some pep talks and motivation specially when some were taking walking breaks, which was just fine. 

A kilometer at the academic oval, another 2 kilometers at the newly paved rotunda and the slight incline going back, we finally reached back the academic oval. One kilometer to go! The group was now very ecstatic, their pace grew faster as we were near the finish. 

We were cheered wildly as we crossed the finish line as the runners punched the sky with their fists and all of them had smiles big enough to light up Abelardo Hall. Our time was 1:31:00. These newbie runners represented the essence of what drew them all to the starting line last Sunday. The quest for better health and self-esteem. A sense of a fulfillment and direction to achieve their dreams. 

Crossing the finish line with them transported me back when i also was discovering running. I too had this sense of fulfillment and pride when i finished my first 10k. There is pride in achievement but most thoughts and emotions are internal. They have all finished what they came to aspire for and deep inside, they were  all proud of their achievement.

They now plan to continue with their training and pursue a larger purpose, to finish the 42k marathon this December 5. 

Way to go, guys!

Running clinic participants

Doc & Dra. Jun Kagaoan (1073/1072), Race Organizers of the Vigan Run taking a pose with Betty

Trainees in high spirits, ready to tackle their first 10k

My pacing group. Ecstatic with 1 km before the finish!

Pulling them to the finish! (Photo By Blas Tiangco)

Part of the 10k finishers

Doc Pinky Benitez winning the Runnex Executive 10k race (Womens Div) with Christy Roldan coming a close second

Cristy and Pinky holding their trophies with Runnex' Art Disini and Rudy Fernandez

Runnex's (l-r), Ofie, Owens, Rose and Armie

Making Do With A Dirt Track

While contemplating on doing some interval runs on a rubberized oval track, i was wondering if there was even one that existed near my place in Quezon City. The nearest one i’ve been frequenting in the past is the Marikina Sports Center, about 10 kms away and i’m not even sure now if their track oval is still open to the public.

That Quezon City, a premier business, commercial and residential hub which prides itself as being a cosmopolitan city and was once the Philippines’ capital doesn’t have any decent rubberized track and field oval of its own is a travesty, a disservice to its athletes and to us ordinary runners who would want a decent place to train.

If Pasig has its Ultra Sports Complex, Marikina its Marikina Sports center, Manila its Rizal Memorial Complex and Makati its University of Makati track oval, then why doesn’t Quezon City have one? I’m not aware of any of the major schools having a decent track.

We all know that running fast repeats on a relatively fast and soft surface that gives stable footing like a rubberized track offers some unique training benefits by improving your speed without the added stress to your legs.

The dirt track

Dirt track oval

If the picture above seems familiar, but not quite familiar to those running outside of Quezon City, then let me tell you that this oval is located inside the University of the Philippines campus. This is not the popular 2.2km academic oval where majority of runners do their running but this is a 400 meter dirt track located at the back of the Alumni Center, used mainly by the school’s football team.

It’s not swank or anything like those of Ultra or Rizal Memorial but it can serve the purpose for those who want to inject some measured interval/speed runs in their training specially now that the surface is dry and firm. A few days ago, just to test the track, i did some speed runs consisting of 5 x 400 runs at faster than 5k pace and 6 x 200 meter sprints. Over-all the surface was good, fast but not too firm.

During the rainy season though, it’s quite impossible to run in here as it becomes a veritable obstacle course where water is ankle-deep and your shoes are practically covered with mud.

I wish that the school authorities or the government gives priority and allocate a budget to develop this track oval where not only UP students would benefit but also for health conscious residents of Quezon City so they can use it too for their workouts.

Taken before sunrise

Two friends playing badminton in the middle of the oval

Left side of the track

Photo Of The Week: Running Bugs

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Either bed bugs  caught by the running bug or some beetles that were roused from the comfort of acacia trees above them, these creatures dash off near the finish to complete their 2k fun run at the GIG run 2009 in UP.

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!