Today I finally did two things that I really wanted to do: Run along EDSA and do my first half-marathon—all this first day of February.
Inspired by Team Bald Runner’s runabout in EDSA (Pasay City to Monumento) and motivated by GF405 I finally amassed some guts to finally do it, even if I had to do it alone. I’m not exactly copying their feat—all I wanted was to run along the route of MRT, from North Ave. all the way to Pasay City, possibly even up to the Mall of Asia, and perhaps even make it to a full half-marathon distance. I decided to run on the South-bound side where there are less malls and Team Bald Runner used this side on their runabout so it’s tested. But unlike their team I started on North Ave. southward-bound.
Preparing for a runabout
Since I’d be running along a national road with no water stations and no support crew I had to be self-sufficient, like in trails. My hydration bag was perfect for this occasion—I was able to bring plenty of fluids, about 2 liters of water; bring along extra clothes, sports drink, some snacks, cellphone, wallet, and all other items I deemed necessary. The bag does get heavy after packing all these items in, most of it is due to the weight of the water, but it was very comfortable to wear so it was just like putting on a few extra pounds. I even brought along a camera to share this unique challenge to everyone.
Here are some special GF405 settings I used for this runabout:
- Auto Lap: ON; every 1K
- Auto Pause: ON; when stopped
I wanted to compare my data per kilometer so I’ve set an auto lap per kilometer. Auto pause was turned on when stopped because I’ll be encountering a lot of forced stops during this run: traffic lights, pedestrian traffic, taking pictures, etc.—I wanted to measure the actual time spent running and compare it with actual time consumed to get the total time for stops and rests.
Trailing the train
I started my runabout on North Ave. because it was much closer to me than Pasay. I started later than planned because of logistical problems but at 6:23AM I was on my way. Since this wasn’t a race I’ve no problem running on a relaxed pace—what mattered was the distance. I intend to trail MRTs route and find out exactly how long this train’s course is.
The sidewalks of EDSA along Quezon City were actually better than I expected: it was wide enough in and clean general. The only narrow areas were in Santolan and the not-so-clean part was in Cubao. It was pretty much a climb up until Cubao. MRT stations, 5: North Ave., Quezon Ave., GMA-Kamuning, Cubao, and Santolan.
San Juan City
The cleanest and widest sidewalks I found along EDSA were within San Juan, mostly because these areas are fronted by vendors of luxury cars and commercial establishments. It was a very nice section to run onto because it was a bit downhill and since it was a Sunday there’s not much parked cars in the area. No MRT stations here.
Sidewalks get narrower with a lot of obstructions. A lot of area looked like construction sites. MRT stations, 2: Ortigas, and Boni Ave.
This city has got the worst sidewalk along EDSA: the narrowest and darkest parts are here. One part just before entering Makati CBD was so narrow and was fenced to add difficulty that only a very thin person walking sideways can pass! The darkest part was below MRT Makati station—it actually took my eyes some time to adjust to the darkness when I entered the area. MRT stations, 4: Guadalupe, Buendia, Makati, and Magallanes.
The sidewalks of Pasay City are walkable; it was wide enough at some places but there are a lot of obstructions as well. For a place with so many pedestrians the sidewalks should be wider. MRT station: Taft Ave., end of the line.
Trailing MRT’s route wasn’t a walk in the park. EDSA’s terrain was quite interesting to say the least so you can’t say it’s an easy run (add to that so much obstructions and open canals along the way). There are interesting parts and there are long boring parts. It was interesting that it was like a tour: 5 cities in one run, each city having its own distinct character. It was not interesting on parts that I call the “deserts”—parts that have nothing to see but white walls, no shelter from the heat whatsoever, and because of the same white walls the heat of the sun bounces back at you. All of these “deserts” are found in Makati, also the land of half sidewalks.
Still need MoA (more)
After reaching MRTs end of the line at Pasay I found my mileage a bit short—only about 17.5K. Since I know I still have some juice in me I decided to continue and finally attempt a half-marathon (21K). I continued my relaxed-paced run towards Roxas Blvd. which formally marked the end of EDSA. I took a little break on a spot just before crossing the flyover. I wasn’t able to consume the bars that I brought so it was a good time to load up on some calories. After all I still am a few kilometers short.
I’m not sure what the road’s name is beyond this point but it leads to my next target: the country’s largest mall, SM Mall of Asia. It’s also a popular race destination so I know I can complete my shortcomings here.
Upon my approach to the mall I found that I’m still about 2K short! Thankfully Sunset Blvd. was now developed much like Manila’s old Baywalk so running alongside Manila Bay was more interesting. Here I also found some joggers and bikers alike so I wasn’t “alone” anymore!
I almost run out of interesting area when I finally finished my run—21.11K, 2:20:15 (running time), 6:39/km average pace. I made sure that I completed a full half-marathon distance since it was already there, and what a beautiful place it was to end this long run.
Garmin data and Google Maps of my route coming soon!