Archive for April, 2009

30
Apr
09

RunningPinoy’s MRT Tour Wins Y-Trip DIY Tour Competition: Last Night at R.O.X.

Most of those who were in R.O.X. last night probably didn’t realize that there were two simultaneous sessions that happened: Running Aid 2009 (Part 1) by the Pinoy Ultra Runners held at the ground floor, and Backpacking Pilipinas 5: The Beach in You by Youth Trip Philippines (YTRiP) held at the Core Room (3rd floor).

Undoubtedly the most attended session of the Running Aid series was held last night.  The topics covered How to train: The structured program by Dr. Paolo Punsalan, Pinoy Ultra Runners’ Orthopedic Doctor; and Core Training for Runners by husband and wife team of Al and Joie “Ligaya” Viado, Pinoy Ultra Runners’ Fitness Instructors.  Indeed this was one of the most interesting and informative session of the series, especially the actual demonstration of the core routines.

Running Aid: 2009

Running Aid: 2009

Two stories above was the fifth installment of Backpacking Pilipinas.  This talk was a summer special entitled The Beach in You which also tackled responsible travelling (or backpacking) and how we could lessen our impact on nature, particularly on coastal ecosystems.  This session truly was an eye-opener since most of us don’t really realize how much impact we have on the environment.

Backpacking Pilipinas 5: The Beach in You

Backpacking Pilipinas 5: The Beach in You

A few months ago Youth Trip Philippines (YTRiP) held a Do-It-Yourself tour itinerary competition which was all about alternative means of touring.  Fortunately my first EDSA LSD (North Ave. to Mall of Asia) got picked as one of two winners.  The prizes: a JanSport backpack, a copy of the premiere issue of Roam magazine, a gift certificate from Rafa’s Deli+Café, free entrance to the Metropolitan Museum (at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex), and another free tour I’ve yet confirmed.  Aren’t the best things in life free?

Truly it was a jam-packed night for me at R.O.X. last night.  There were a lot of things I wasn’t able to do because the Backpacking session and awarding ended late (store closing time late) but it was a very educational and eye-opening night overall.  Thank you to Pinoy Ultra Runners for having a great event for us runners and thank you as well to YTRiP for a very interesting eye-opener and for my prize!  Special thanks also to all the sponsors that made these events possible.

27
Apr
09

Weekend at the Trails of Montalban

It was an interesting weekend for me together with the guys of takbo.ph for our first trail adventure.  Rene (JazzRunner) was kind enough to give us a tour of the trails of Montalban and experience firsthand the magnificent sights and breath-taking trails of this wonderful place.  This event was also made possible with the help of Mar (Forefoot Runner).

Km 34: Our starting point

Km 34: Our starting point

It was originally intended as an LSD on the country-side but none of us knew what was waiting for us (except possibly for Rene).  When we arrived at our starting point we immediately got an idea that it was going to be a trail run, but later on we found out that it will no longer be a run but more of a walk—trail run sans run—trail walking?  Unlike a typical trail run route the course was a continuous ascent to the top—there were very few flat areas along the course that would accommodate running comfortably and the angle of ascent at times is too steep to make running practical.  Those factors together with the astonishing sights—walking became the most pleasurable and preferred mode of travel.

With views like these who can’t resist to stop?

With views like these who can’t resist to stop?

Some areas are really steep even walking is difficult (a record-breaking pace don’t you think?)

Some areas are really steep even walking is difficult (a record-breaking pace don’t you think?)

This was for the most part the type of trails we had

This was for the most part the type of trails we had

Pic Stop, this was a new term we developed while “running” this route.  It refers to having a stop to take pictures or have our pictures taken, possibly because of a good view, to have time for some people to catch up, but sometimes just to have a reason to stop walking.  Apparently pic stops make good motivations for people to hurry and catch up (to be included in a group shot).

Rains from the past few days made the trails muddy.  Everyone was hauling mud on their shoes regardless of the type of shoe but it seemed like trail running shoes picked up the most.  Before you know it your shoes are heavy and uneven because of the accumulated mud, and by the time we got to the top everyone’s shoes were “browned.”

My “brown” Supernova

My “brown” Supernova

Putik!

Putik!

The view from the top was simply spectacular.  I never imagined that something like this could lie so close to Metro Manila.  It was like having a wonderful garden in your backyard without you knowing it.  On one side you get the magnificent view of the mountains and on the other the view of the city.

Panorama: View from the top

View from the top panorama (click for hi-res version)

Climbing up trails with a good set of company made this adventure fun, not to mention the higher probability of having your picture taken.  I think everyone in the group would agree that all the effort we spent climbing to the top was worth it!  You just have to be there to experience what we did because truly, words are not enough to fully describe the feeling that we had when we got there—it was almost like nobody wants to go down anymore!

View from the top

View from the top

The route to the top is about five and a half kilometers of climb with elevation from 31M in its base to 473M in the summit (GF405 data).  Taken into account the elevation, the total distance for this route is at least 11K from base to summit and back (5.5K going up and another 5.5K going down).

Montalban Trail Route

Montalban Trail Route (Ascent to the top)

Elevation chart (ascent)

Elevation chart (ascent)

Side trip to Wawa Dam

After going back from the trail we were encouraged by Rene to go to Wawa Dam which is only a few hundred meters away from where we parked.  It was indeed an interesting sight to see, too bad that we didn’t see its water on a clear state (possibly because of the rains as well) but still there were many people enjoying its waters.

Wawa Dam

Wawa Dam

Bridge leading to Wawa Dam (view upon return)

Bridge leading to Wawa Dam (view upon return)

23
Apr
09

Product Review: Garmin Forerunner® 405

The Garmin Forerunner® series are a collection of GPS-enabled sports watches made specifically to fit on our wrists for sporting activities like running and cycling.  The most popular on the collection are the 305 and 405 whose main difference is basically the form factor: 305s looks more sporty and bulky while the 405s are more tactful and compact.  Feature-wise both models have similar capabilities so it’s just up to your taste which one you’d prefer.  Click here to have a side-by-side comparison between 305 and 405, courtesy of Garmin.

Garmin Forerunner® 405

Garmin Forerunner® 405

First Glance

I picked a 405 primarily because of its discreet look—to the untrained eye it looks just like any regular digital watch so it’s easy to wear with anything, even in the office.  If you want something that screams “sporty” this watch is not for you.

Garmin Forerunner® 405, courtesy Garmin

Forerunner® 405, courtesy Garmin

Continue reading ‘Product Review: Garmin Forerunner® 405’

22
Apr
09

Night Run: Ortigas to BHS

It was another rainy run for me last night.  Like with my previous night run I had only a few hours to spare so I wasn’t able to be much more creative with my run last night.  At first I was a bit worried that the downpour might be too strong to run into but thankfully the rain stopped before I started my run, although there were slight drizzles along the way.  Because I started later than planned I decided to make a repeat of my previous night run but alter the route slightly: instead of following Julia Vargas Ave. to C5 I took a detour via Lanuza Ave. and instead of going to McKinley Hill I just followed Lawton Ave. until I completed a 10K course for that part of the route and headed back to BHS.

My night run: same destination as the previous one but via different route

My night run: same destination as the previous one but via (slightly) different route

Like I mentioned in my past post about night running there would be more potential dangers and rain would add more to this list.  Cautious as I was I still had some “accidents” along the way.  First along C5, about 5K into my run, my right foot fell onto one of the puddles of water near the elevated U-turn.  There was neither sidewalk nor any lights there so when a jeepney passed nearby I only have a gutter as space.  Unfortunately I lost my balance so I was running with a soaking wet right foot henceforth.  Then “disaster” struck again on Lawton Ave. on my way back to BHS.  Both my feet stepped on a huge water puddle!  I was running on the sidewalk when I noticed that it was water I’m about to step on, too late!  There wasn’t enough time for me to stop so my right foot went in first, and then my momentum carried me forward so my left foot was next.  I thought to myself that time, “now it’s even!”

I really enjoyed this run despite being wet all over (because of the drizzle and sweat).  I don’t think there was a dry spot on me last night but that run in the rain (make that drizzle) and at night made it more interesting.  After all I think only running addicts would dare do such things.

Total run length: 15.3K

22
Apr
09

Garmin Forerunner® 310XT Preview

The first Forerunner® that’s really not afraid of the water. This would be the next item in my target gadget list. I can’t wait to get my hands on it and get it in the water.

Video courtesy of Garmin.

20
Apr
09

My Greenfield City Run Story

Greenfield City was an unknown place to me prior to this run.  All I know was that is was in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, and that’s about it, and this run became my introductory.  This run was also my first “regular” race outside Metro Manila—it’s usually trail runs that take me out of the city and this race was indeed an escape from the usual.

Greenfield City Run Route

Like what I mentioned on my earlier post, I wasn’t expecting to join this race because of its distance from home, but the free shuttle service allowed me to do just that.  There were two buses that would take the participants to the assembly area of the race scheduled to leave at 4AM and arrive in the area about 4:40AM.  I arrived at the pickup location 3:59AM just as one of the shuttle was about to leave.  A lady I assumed was with the organizers asked us if we (I together with some fellow runners) have our race bibs with us.  All we had were our shuttle passes and this lady told us that our race bibs can be claimed in the other shuttle so we were advised to take the other one instead, and so we did.

Unfortunately, the second shuttle left late, about 20 minutes later than scheduled, so as expected we arrived late.  By the time we got to the assembly area the 21K race had already started.  Unbeknown to us that our race bibs weren’t actually in the bus but was actually in the registration area itself in Sta. Rosa.  Had I know this I would’ve taken the first bus even if I had to stand for 40 minutes in the bus—I would’ve been spared of the hassle of starting late.  After disembarking the bus I still had to go trough all the trouble of going to the registration area and claim my race bib, have some restroom break, and deposit my bag at the baggage counter—all done hastily (and stressfully) that I was able to start at least 10 minutes after gun start of 21K.

It was pretty obvious when I started that I was screaming late—I was the only runner leaving the start area.  I was pretty much the lone runner for about 1K which was admittedly nice, for a change, but I was a bit worried of losing my way since it was still a bit dark that time and I may miss some directional signs (I don’t really look at the race route prior to any race).  Thankfully I didn’t lose my way and encountered my first co-runners after about 4 minutes and 1K of running.  Yes you read it right, 4 minutes—I was in such a hurry to find other runners that I didn’t notice my pace and reached my first kilometer in 4:11 followed by a 4:44 second kilometer.  This was a good pace if I was running 5K or 10K but I was running a 21K course so I had to slow down and save my energy, otherwise I may run out of juice early.

I had a very good pace for the first 14K maintaining an average pace between 5-6 minutes per kilometer but for the next 6K it slowed down to a low of 6:49 (at km 18) mostly due to the very long but gradual uphill in Laguna Technopark area.

Looking at my GF405 a 2-hour 21K was very much attainable so for the last kilometer I had to invoke every ounce of energy I still got to run as fast as I can—my fastest speed for the entire 21K at 16.3 km/h and finish at 2:00:02 (GF405 time).  Officially I clocked in at 2:09:23 so had I arrived on time it may have been my first official sub-2 hour 21K race.  Regardless of that this was still a new PR so I guess I have to do better on my next half marathon to finally break the 2 hour barrier.

As expected from Runrio the race was very well organized.  There were more than sufficient hydration stations that serve water and sports drink (and water-soaked sponge in some stations), the most accurate kilometer marker I’ve seen in a race (almost 100% GF405 GPS-certified), ample race marshals, a very good location for a race, and of course blazing fast results.  They even placed torches (sulo) alongside unlit roads as guide and illumination since it was still dark when the race started.  The best part about this race for me was receiving my finisher’s medal which I didn’t really expect, so it was a pleasant surprise for me.

Greenfield City Run 21K Finisher’s Medal

Greenfield City Run 21K Finisher’s Medal

Of course no race is perfect.  There was no loop cord given in the turn near Eton Overpass so if you were thinking of cheating you can very much get away with it in this area and cut 3K on your run.  There were also critical areas that lack directional signs but they made up for it by putting race marshals.

Overall this was one of the most organized races I’ve had this year.  There was also a loot bag with nice freebies from the sponsors, and free souvenir photo from PhotoVendo (which I wasn’t able to attend because of the very, very long queue).

My race certificate, bib, and finisher’s medal

My race certificate, bib, and finisher’s medal

As a newly-made tradition, every race doubles as an opportunity to again meet fellow runners from takbo.ph family (and with that of course comes a lot of picture-taking moments).  We were fortunate enough to be invited by runnermhel to his home to meet his family and have breakfast.  Thank you very much Mhel!  It was very nice to meet you and your family and we very much enjoyed your company (not to mention the feast). 😀

16
Apr
09

Night Run: Ortigas – McKinley Hill – BHS via C5

Summer in Metro Manila is anything but pleasing for running—it’s hot and humid.  Not only do you need to worry about your run you also have to think of protecting yourself from the sun so here comes running extra early, putting on sunblocks, wearing protective clothing like visors or caps, sunglasses, etc.  I personally don’t like putting on sunblocks because I tan very easily, so to make summer running simpler I decided to try running at night.

For my first night road run I decided to do it starting from the office towards BHS via C5—route that I took a few days ago.  Time for me was very limited for this run so I had to pick a route that would be both pleasing and would fit the time constraints so BHS was the perfect “target” for me.  I’ve never tried running on the road at night so it’s another adventure run for me.

Night run route

Night run route: Julia Vargas Ave. - C5 - McKinley Hill - BHS

Running at night poses a lot of potential dangers, primarily because it’s dark.  You can’t really see much at night so you have to be very wary of the surface you’re running onto.  A quick reflex and awareness of the surrounding environment is a need.  My first challenges were actually the trees that line up Julia Vargas Ave.—their branches lie low so you have to duck, a lot.  Along C5 you’d have to carefully watch where you step because there are a lot of wet slippery areas here, not to mention zigzagging through the obstacles keeping in mind that you’re running alongside a road filled with vehicles.

One of the most difficult parts of running at night was the crazy volume of vehicles on the road.  In fact traffic was very slow along C5 that my running pace was actually faster than that of the traffic (how many times do you get to overtake cars while running?).  Health-wise this too is dangerous—the level of smog was just unbearable.  Mind you, I was keeping my heart-rate and pace at a level that I don’t need to breathe through my mouth the whole time I was running J. Vargas Ave. and C5.

I originally planned on running C5 up until SLEX but the smog was just unbearable—a breath-taking route indeed, so when I arrived at Market! Market! I just had to enter Bonifacio Global City where this was no longer an issue.

Running within Global City felt like an oasis from the smog.  It’s always nice to run here, day or night, and chances are you’d bump into some fellow runners en route.  I just noticed that many traffic lights don’t work properly so once again it’s up to your judgment call when to cross the street.

Since my route was unintentionally cut short I had to find a route that would make up for it but at the same time keep it interesting so I decided to once again challenge McKinley Hill.  This area was where I made my fastest pace (03:04 min/km) because of the downhill and some of my slowest pace because of the uphill.  It’s always fun for me to challenge this area because I always feel like I have a score to settle here, hehe.

Because of my time constraints I headed off towards BHS after McKinley Hill but as expected I was a bit short of my target of at least 16K for this run I had to make one and a half outer loop run on BHS ending just across R.O.X. with a final distance of 16.51K.

Two sides of the road aren’t equal

Oftentimes when running along a road you have to pick which side is best for you to run.  Many would say counter-flow is best but for my experiences with roads so far I’d say it depends.  The two sides of the road often differ, sometimes worlds apart, like C5.  In the area that crosses the Pasig River, the south-bound sidewalk took me under the bridge so I had to climb a very high staircase just to get back to the bridge, whereas the north-bound sidewalk has direct access to the bridge.  As a recommendation, find a side you’re most familiar or feel more comfortable with.  If you’re running on a side with ample space to run it wouldn’t matter whether you’re run along or against traffic.  Just keep in mind that here in the Philippines pedestrians give way to motorists (not the other way around as it should be) so always watch out for those intersections.

Running at night surely is a different experience.  The good part is that you don’t have to worry about sunburn and the temperature tends to cool down as the night progress.  The bad part is that it’s much more dangerous to run at night due to the volume of people and vehicles on the road.  There are times that you’re running blind because an area is a bit dark, or if you’re running against traffic because of the headlights of incoming vehicles.  If you’re running along with traffic there’s also the risk of not being seen by fast moving vehicles especially if you don’t have those blinkers that bikers usually carry at night.  Then there’s also the ridiculous amount of smog.  I can’t really say that running at night is better or worse than running during daytime—it’s for me to know and for you to find out!




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