Archive for November, 2008

30
Nov
08

Running Log: 32nd National Milo Marathon: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

This was actually my first “marathon” and even though I didn’t run the full 42.192K this was the first event I joined with a full marathon distance.  This was the largest running event I’ve joined thus far, and I have quite some reactions: good, bad, and ugly.

The Good

The race route couldn’t be better: it was virtually a straight line, flat almost like a treadmill, the weather was nice, and it involved running on a flyover (which I really love).  It was quite an “easy” course.  The race started on time, I think it was actually ahead of time, so it was quite professional in terms of punctuality.  And there are certificates to finishers and I think there are even medals to all 42K finishers.

The Bad

Chaos!  There was so many participants that it was virtually impossible to set a new PR if you’re stuck behind the mob, I mean crowd.  Not only the first 2.5K of the route (the 90,000++ 5K runners’ halfway mark) very slow, you’re challenged by non-runners that basically have no idea about “running etiquettes” so you, a knowing runner, have to adjust your run so you won’t step on any of them, although in my case I was the one being stepped on because of evading runners that are too busy taking pictures to look where they’re going.  This was also the scenario upon returning to the finish line: it was like a stampede was about to take place since all runners (regardless of distance ran) merge in this narrow space leading to the finish line.

And there’s the helpers’ issue: there’s a lot of “helpers” in the race in terms of number but sadly they’re no help at all!  I arrived at the venue a few minutes before the 10K started and asked a few from the organizers where the baggage counter was, but none was able to tell me where!  So after a few minutes of running around I finally found it, but then when I asked the people there where the portalets were, as expected they have no idea.  Since it was quite early the park toilets were still closed, fortunately I found a pay-toilet at the back of the Quirino Grandstand (after searching some more) and thankfully they didn’t charge me because I didn’t have any money with me that time.  To cut the story short, I started my run late so I was at the back of the 5K pack.

The Ugly

Naturally in races such as this there are hydration/water stations.  I was a bit dismayed that Nestlé, the brand owner of Milo, didn’t even provide runners with their sports drink, only water, but I was more surprised to see what was beside the water station: a big Maynilad Water truck!  (Tap water, anyone?)  This again was another reason why you should have your own hydration belt and fluid.

But wait there’s more!  Back at the Baggage Counter: I don’t know why they had so many people there but only one or two were actually getting the bags, the rest won’t even look at you.  Before I left I was appalled by what I saw: the people manning the counter were throwing people’s bags all over like sacks of potatoes!  They really stuck to their policy of only admitting clothes.  It’s a good thing I didn’t bring my laptop.  Sadly when I claimed my bag it looked like someone stepped on it as it was quite dirty.

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Right after the race

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A Milo hot-air balloon that I never really saw lift off ground

In fairness to the organizers they probably aren’t aware of what their people are doing.  For first timers like myself I was very disappointed since Milo Marathon has been around much longer than me—they should have a lot of experience handling events as big as this.  Well I was right: this race was about the experience—no race I’ve joined so far could compare to this one because of its massive scale: running with 90,000++ (mostly inexperienced) 5K runners in front of you (not to mention the 4,000++ 10K runners ahead of them), running sideways, sudden stops, being stepped on by “unconcerned runners,” seeing someone trip because they were not looking where they were going, lots and lots of students forced to join by their P.E. teachers, … I could go on and on.

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A very nice artwork on a wall in Luneta

Too bad my old PR still stands.  I may have to wait until next year to have a new one since my next races are 5K (Nokia) and 16K (Yakult 10-Miler) consecutively.  Yes, the course was conducive to setting new PRs but unfortunately I was in a bad “position” to do so.  There are always good races, and there are bad ones.  At least I had a free gulp of iced Milo in the end!

28
Nov
08

Nike Run Clinic Session 04

This was my first Nike Run Clinic session at Bonifacio High Street and unfortunately I got there quite late.  It was my first time to go for a run session on a Friday so I actually forgot about it until before 7PM!  By that time, being a Friday and a payday, traffic was really heavy so I got there a bit over 8PM.

I saw several runners already doing laps around High Street when I got there so I asked Coach Rio if I can still “catch up.”  Apparently several of my classmates also got stuck on traffic so many arrived late also.  Thankfully I was able to join but unfortunately I wasn’t able to do all the activities.  I was only able to do a tempo run of 6-laps around High Street.

The course didn’t cover the entire block; it’s from Nike to ROX area only, a distance of about 800M totaling 4.8K.  This was followed by cool-down activities right there in front of the Nike shop.

I think the early participants were able to do some more tempo runs as there were two lists where we placed our names and time, I only wrote on one for the 6-lap run.  Too bad for me, I only got a half-session.

It’s quite interesting that when you run alone (since I’m late) you tend to be slower than the usual since you don’t have other runners to base your pace or push you to be faster, this is even though you thought you were running your normal pace.  My time for this 4.8K course is actually slower than my 5K typical time so I know I was really slow.   This is why I love our Ultra sessions: you run as a group (which were quite serious on sprints) so you tend to keep up with the group’s pace.

Well, half a session is better than none, but still incomplete.  I did enjoy my half-session: it gave me time to have some practice run before my 10K Milo Marathon on Sunday.  Now part of my Run Clinic program is getting there on time.

27
Nov
08

Race Route: 32nd National Milo Marathon Finals

Scanned copy of the race route from a newspaper courtesy of a friend:

milo-route-400x270

Click the image to download Hi-Res PDF copy of the route.

Sorry for the poor quality scan.  You may download the race route here.

26
Nov
08

Next Race: 32nd National Milo Marathon Finals

Just before November ends another great race is upon us, none other than “the country’s premier running event” (quote) the Milo Marathon.

This event indeed has bragging rights to say so because it probably is the most participated running event in the country.  I registered today myself and a friend (last day of registration) for the event and I was really surprised at my friend’s race number (running 5K): 82387!  Five digits!  And it seems like numbering is different for male and female because of the initial letter “F” in the number:

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My friend’s race number: I’ve never seen a race number with so many digits. Note the “F” in the number... can you imagine the total number of 5K runners?

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My race number for 10K: it’s very low relative to the count of 5K-ers but still, more than 4,000 participants? Wow!

For an event as big as this it’s not that orderly: no information about the route of the race was supplied, nor when and where the assembly is, so it’s a bit disappointing for first timers (for Milo Marathon at least) and very frustrating.  We just assumed that it’s going to start near the Rizal monument in Luneta, and that it would start at 6AM because that’s when races typically start.  Their website was a mess and I really can’t get decent information from it either.  For a first timer in this race I really feel left out (hope the organizers of the race realize this).

There were two types of “uniform” being given: shirts for 5K and singlets for 10K (perhaps the 42K as well).  I call it a “uniform” because unlike other races Milo requires everyone to wear the official shirt/singlet.

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The front of the Milo singlet, nothing much to say here...

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I love the “Kaya mo yan!” (You can do it!) label on the back of the singlet which the shirts also have

I joined this race not necessarily to set a new PR: I joined because I believe that this is a unique experience especially because of the huge volume of participants and not to mention that I’ve been hearing about this race all my life.  Before I was just a spectator, now I get to be part of it!

26
Nov
08

Yakult 10-Miler (3K/5K/16K)

When: Sunday, December 07, 2008 at 6:00AM
Where: CCP Complex Grounds

Registration Fee:
P250

Registration Area:
Ground Floor, Vasquez Madrigal Plaza Bldg.
51 Annapolis St. Greenhills, San Juan (behind Promenade)

Deadline of registration:
December 03, 2008

This is one of the last races before the year ends and is one of the few that includes a course longer than 10K.  A singlet is provided upon registration at the RACE office which is just behind the Promenade in Greenhills.

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I don’t know what they were thinking when they came up with these colors (Christmas perhaps?)

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...at least it looked a bit better from the back

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Hopefully it’s not required to wear this singlet.  If it’s the case, just think of Christmas but stay away from Christmas decors (you’re going to blend quite well in these).

The assembly area is at the CCP Complex Grounds and starts at 6:00AM.  The 3K fun run is open to kids 6 to 13 years old and the 5K and 16K is open to runners 14 years old and above (with Guardian’s consent for minors).

You can download the registration form here.

26
Nov
08

Nike Run Clinic Session 03

It was another great running session at the Ultra. I can’t really say it was more difficult although the activities were definitely more than the previous sessions.

The warm-up routine was longer: 2K (5-laps around the oval) followed by stretching exercises, butt kicks still included with new routines added.

The main activity (for our group) was 3 sets of 3x 200M run with 200M walking rest in between (a set consists of running 200M followed by walking 200M as rest, done 3 times in a row).   In between the sets was walking 1-lap around the oval (400M).

Core strengthening exercises was introduced after the main activity.  This includes exercises you normally do inside a gym for your core (abs, the obliques, and the back) so it of course included lying on your back and even lying on your front!  The “pavement” where these routines are done are similar to that of the track itself so it’s a bit soft (it’s rubberized I think) although it still is a bit dusty, but it’s basically “clean” and won’t kill you.  I even brought home some of these dirt that I didn’t notice were still on my knees.

Closing the session was the final stretching.  To summarize, all future sessions would be composed of warming-up, stretching, the main activity, core strengthening exercises, and final stretching.  From this point on the Tuesday and Friday sessions are going to be different so you MUST attend it both to get the best out of the program.  The level of difficulty is gradually increasing with each session so you’d miss a lot if you skip one.  And as usual Coach Rio was hyper and hands on; he really took care of everyone and I can also say the same for all our coaches who really guided us if we’re doing a routine wrong and correct us along the way.

The race bibs that were given on the first day were indeed used as IDs but it’s not required to participate, although it’s best that you wear it so that the coaches can easily identify you.  The attendance sheets were still weird (name, contact number, birth date, and email) and still open for everyone to see, and for legal purposes perhaps waivers were asked to be signed.

Yes, this was the race number from “The Human Race” held earlier this year.  It served as our “ID” which I think is ingenious!  I had to take a picture before it got “broken-in.”

Don’t lose this as this is the clinic’s official “ID.”

One tip I could give to everyone for future sessions is to bring sports (not energy) drinks.  Usually a 500mL bottle of sports drink is enough for me in my 10K runs but since the clinic involved sprinting I’d suggest bringing two (2) bottles, or bring a bottle of sports drink and another bottle of mineral (not distilled) water.  Based on what I picked up from the orientation it’s best to have a sports drink with a maximum of 6% Carbohydrates of your caloric needs for optimal absorption (look at the nutrition facts) but be cautious of this as some sports drinks try to “cheat” by making the serving size per bottle to 2 to halve the calories.

Overall I really enjoy these sessions and even though it’s tiring it’s really fun and gives us runners more time to socialize with each other.  I’m gradually meeting other runners that I normally only meet on forums and actual races.  Even if I’m buried under tons of work I really make an effort to attend a session even if I always arrive a bit late (it’s not easy to walk/run from Ortigas to Ultra, sidewalks seem to be optional around these areas).  And you feel you’re in good hands thanks to the coaches that made these sessions fun and safe for all of us.  Kudos to all the coaches!

I look forward to the next session on Friday, hope to see and meet you there!

Session Stats:

Warm-up: 400M (Light Run, 5-laps around the oval)
Main activity:

3×200M
3×200M
400M
(Run)
(Walk after sprints, completing 1-lap)
(Walk between sets, a.k.a. rest)
Cool-down: 400M (Walk)
Total Distance: 3.8K
6.8K
(Run)
(Run+Walk)
24
Nov
08

Nike Running Clinic Week 2

Tomorrow starts the second week of the running clinic and based on the clinic schedule, tomorrow night’s activities are going to be more serious (you ain’t seen anything yet):

November
24 Rest
25 Nike Run Session

Venue: Ultra, Pasig
Time: 7:00 PM
Program: 3KM Warm-up, Stretching, Drills
Main Set:

  • Beginners/Intermediate:
    • 3x (3x200M), 100M walk recovery between rep and 400M walk recovery between set.
  • Advanced:
    • 4x (3x200M), 100M walk recovery between rep and 400M walk recovery between set.
Cool Down: 800M Slow Jog or Walk, Core, Abs and Stretching

As you can see you should’ve taken this day as a rest period as it’s going to be another one of those sprinting sessions tomorrow.  If you’re planning to go to the gym tonight or tomorrow morning you may want to reconsider and save your strength for the clinic.  I just don’t know if we have to bring our race bibs from the last session as I totally forgot where I placed mine!  Oh well, this is just a reminder to those joining the session to find it now just in case it’s still needed, or at least try to recall your number (this is when blogging comes in handy, hehe).  And to those forgetful ones, for goodness sake bring along your running gears!  This is not a session inside the classroom!

I wonder what category I was placed…am I good enough to be advanced (which would be very surprising and could be detrimental to my health hehe) or a beginner as I really am in this sport.  Does anyone know how runners are categorized as such?




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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
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