01
Feb
09

My First 21K: Carbon-loading from MRT to MoA

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.

2 liters should be enough

Need for water: 2 liters should be enough

Some snacks I brought along

Some snacks I brought along

GF405 Settings

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.

I managed to get 3 meters GPS accuracy along Roxas Blvd.

I managed to get 3 meters GPS accuracy along Roxas Blvd.

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.

EDSA corner North Ave.

Start line: EDSA corner North Ave.

Quezon City

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.

North Ave. station

MRT starts here: North Ave. station

EDSA’s more pedestrian friendly than you’d expect

EDSA’s more pedestrian friendly than you’d expect

Don’t miss a chance to pass by New York

Don’t miss a chance to pass by New York

MRT (lower) meets LRT Line-2 (upper)

MRT (lower) meets LRT Line-2 (upper)

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.

this is how a sidewalk should be

Clean, clear, and wide: this is how a sidewalk should be

Even the bus stop is in order

Even the bus stop is in order

Eye candy

Eye candy

Mandaluyong City

Sidewalks get narrower with a lot of obstructions.  A lot of area looked like construction sites.  MRT stations, 2: Ortigas, and Boni Ave.

MRT’s bridge is one of the newest that crosses Pasig River

MRT’s bridge is one of the newest that crosses Pasig River

Pasig River with the skyline of Rockwell in the background

Pasig River with the skyline of Rockwell in the background

Makati City

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.

Below MRT Guadalupe station.  This sidewalk was only a person wide.

Exhibit A: Below MRT Guadalupe station. This sidewalk was only a person wide.

Disappearing sidewalk.  Futher ahead (the fenced area) was a half-person sidewalk.

Exhibit B: Disappearing sidewalk. Futher ahead (the fenced area) was a half-person sidewalk.

Elevated sidewalk that has no wheelchair access (too narrow anyway).

Exhibit C: Elevated sidewalk that has no wheelchair access (too narrow anyway).

Another 1-person-wide sidewalk.  I was actually stuck in this area for a while (overtaking not an option).

Exhibit D: Another 1-person-wide sidewalk. I was actually stuck in this area for a while (overtaking not an option).

On the other hand, only in Makati City was a park present along EDSA (below it to be precise).

On the other hand, only in Makati City was a park present along EDSA (below it to be precise).

Even the tracks of PNR were improved.

Even the tracks of PNR were improved.

Something like this exists below EDSA?

Something like this exists below EDSA?

Pasay City

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.

This was one of the kids that “escorted” me a good few meters in Pasay City.  Notice this kid’s natural running form (and he was running barefoot).

This was one of the kids that “escorted” me a good few meters in Pasay City. Notice this kid’s natural running form (and he was running barefoot).

MRT Taft Ave. station

End of the line: MRT Taft Ave. station

MRT meets LRT Line-1

MRT meets LRT Line-1

Pasay City

Footbridges in the sky: Pasay City

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.

That flyover in Roxas Blvd. marked the end of EDSA

That flyover in Roxas Blvd. marked the end of EDSA

This was my pit stop before proceeding to MoA

This was my pit stop before proceeding to MoA

Should I continue?

Should I continue?

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.

What I liked about road signs here are the distance indicators

What I liked about road signs here are the distance indicators

Approaching MoA

Approaching MoA

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.

Finally, 21.11K complete!

Finally, 21.11K complete!

So I can remember where my first 21K was completed

So I can remember where my first 21K was completed

Garmin data and Google Maps of my route coming soon!


10 Responses to “My First 21K: Carbon-loading from MRT to MoA”


  1. 1 i2runner
    2009-02-02 at 7:56 AM

    Congrats Dennis! I’ll have to say so far, this is the best topic in your blogs. Just by reading and looking at your pictures makes me feel running the 21K with you in the EDSA. Mabuhay sa Garmin for the forerunner, we can now run anywhere we want. Also, you should also post the Google earth map of your run to complete this blog. By the way, how’s EDSA’s air pollution in during your run, is it tolerable in the morning?

    > Thanks! Garmin Connect was down so I haven’t uploaded the data yet (to follow soon). Air pollution was very tolerable on EDSA on Sunday mornings since the volume of traffic was light. You just have to be conscious where to breathe from your mouth.

  2. 2009-02-02 at 8:40 AM

    great run recap! pollution gets worse as the number of cars, especially buses increase as you run. Its a great experience nontheless!

    > Thank you. During my run there were more buses than private vehicles, must be because it was still early. It was good that the MMDA initiated tree planting along EDSA to at least reduce air pollution.

  3. 2009-02-02 at 8:46 AM

    Congratulations on conquering EDSA. What you’ve done is truly amazing. A great start to February! Good luck on your other adventures. Happy Running!

    > Thanks! Next time I’ll take some crazy runners along elsewhere for some nice running tour!

  4. 2009-02-02 at 10:03 AM

    Wow. Congrats. Gusto ko rin yan. Hindi naman nakakatakot?

    > I was a bit concerned (not with road issues but petty street crimes) since I was alone so I opted to start when there was a bit of sunlight, even if I wanted to start much earlier, but when I started it was actually safe. I was more concerned with looking like a nutcase because I handled my camera all throughout the course and took pictures all over. Nonetheless I experienced no problem and managed to appereciate the value of sidewalks.

  5. 2009-02-02 at 11:15 AM

    Nice trip. Great photos. The Bay is a great place to end your long run.

    > Yes I agree! Such a good place to relax and you won’t feel out-of-place by the bay because there are a lot of runners there as well. And you have the convenience of the mall afterwards 🙂

  6. 6 Let
    2009-02-02 at 7:18 PM

    awesome! congratulations! my hubby and i would like to do that too, we should have run with you. keep it up. 🙂

    > Thanks! Next time when I plan to do it again I’ll invite you… some of my running friends also wanted to run on EDSA.

  7. 2009-02-03 at 2:29 PM

    Ang galing! Sometimes I wish I was a boy para I can do that kind of run too… Thanks for the detailed story and post 🙂

    > Ladies may experience some problems running along EDSA but the good news is that there are several 24-hour establishments along the way for nature’s call (mostly fastfood chains). Personally I only needed the toilet once during my run (since I’m a guy and I’m touring EDSA might as well try the urinals 🙂 ) and you won’t have any toilet problems when you reach MoA.

    You’re welcome and thanks for visiting!

  8. 8 lonerunner
    2009-02-04 at 9:04 PM

    Wow! Congrats sa “runabout” mo… parang gusto ko din yan kaso am worried sa safety kasi sa dami at bilis ng mga buses. 🙂

    > Thanks! In general there are ample sidewalk spaces along EDSA, although in some cases just wide enough for one person. On Sunday mornings there aren’t as many buses around so on areas with narrow or no sidewalks it’s still relatively safe.

  9. 2010-07-23 at 4:50 PM

    this is great!…nice run you have here. ^-^ (can’t find the exact word to describe, still archiving your post and read it all,i learned every post you have and i envy you to do such thing, thank you! ) Godbless!!!


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