Archive for July, 2009

29
Jul
09

Get Ready for the Kenny’s Open ’09 Urbanite Run

The next race to feature a disposable timing chip is due to arrive on August 15, 2009 via the Kenny’s Open ’09 Urbanite Run.  This is another race organized by Finishline so expectations are naturally high, especially with the timing chips and the interesting results it generates.

This race is set apart from the norm by being the held on a Saturday night.  It is also a fund raising run for the benefit of Hands On Manila Foundation, Inc. and 57:75 Movement so you know that it’s worthwhile.

Easy and Fast Registration

If all registration processes were like this one’s it would be a delight!  By far registration for this race is one of the most convenient with numerous Kenny Rogers branch to choose from and virtually no lines!  I registered on KR Megamall branch and it was pretty quick—a banner was placed for quick recognition and the staff manning the process was really helpful and informed so it was a hassle-free experience.

Registration costs P600 which would make this the costliest “typical” race so far in the Philippines but as stated earlier part of it goes to charity.  For the P600, P200 goes to the aforementioned institutions, P200 goes to the race dues, and the remaining P200 returns to you as a food stub so when you think about it, it’s not that expensive.  You get to enjoy a night run, eat good food, and be able to help the fund-raising—I’d say a pretty good combo.

Notes and Reminders

The “Eat” stub can be used from July 15 to October 15, 2009 so there’s no need to rush in using it.  It’s accepted at all Kenny Rogers Roasters branch including the Kenny’s Roast & Grill restaurant at the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell.

The “Donate” stub should be brought on the night of the race where it should be dropped at designated drop-boxes.  What happens if bearers fail to do so is unspecified but I think this process would just be for visual representation of how much funds we would generate.

Make sure to arrive at the assembly area by 7:00PM especially if you have vehicles to park (since it’s on a Saturday night).  Gun start for the races are as follows:

15K: 8:00PM
10K: 8:45PM
5K: 9:00PM

Don’t lose your claim stub as it contains your registration information needed for a quick claiming process.  Race kits may be claimed in front of Nike Park in Bonifacio High Street on August 13 to 14, 2009, from 3:30PM to 11:00PM.  The race kit includes the following:

  • Official race number
  • Route map
  • Singlet
  • Disposable timing chip

Baggage deposit service is available from 7:00PM to 2:00AM.

If you plan on joining this race register now to avoid the “last minute crowd.”  It would also be better for both the runners and organizers if we all have time to spare and not wait for the deadline, especially that the race kits are not immediately distributed.  You may download the registration form here courtesy of Kenny Rogers Roasters Online.

All I can say it that all things are going smoothly so far with this race, and if everything goes as the organizers planned, this may be one of the best races of the year.  If you have further enquiries about this race you may contact Vince Mendoza at (+63 2) 703 1736.

29
Jul
09

Yet Another Round of Road Trip: Ortigas – BHS via EDSA

Last night was supposedly my speed run session at Ultra, but the urge to meet my running buddies got the best of me and just decided to do an easy run.  I was also a bit concerned with my calves aching a little (most likely due to the cramps I got from swimming last Sunday) and my still present plantar fasciitis so a long easy run should be good for recovery.

With the typical rush hour comes heavy traffic.  Still having a runner’s high from my weekend road run I decided to just run from the office all the way to BHS, this time via EDSA since there’s a much higher probability that I’d get there faster via foot than via any vehicle.

Running on roads does have its sets of perils.  Aside from the obvious, what I didn’t plan for was the really muddy road en route to BGC.  It was raining periodically throughout the day and as a result, thick, heavy, mud!  I was really sorry to see my Kayano looking like it went through some heavy trails, but then again this experience adds spice to an otherwise “regular” run.

Arriving at BHS I soon saw the Running Diva already doing her laps and soon after some of my running buddies along with some new “recruits.”  BHS is just a little over 5K from Ortigas so I was a little short of target.  I decided to join my friends in their laps around BHS to complete my target right after being spared of my backpack (thanks Rico for accommodating my load!).  I was carrying my office backpack all throughout this run and being able shed of a few kilograms weight was a relief!  Carrying extra weight while running can be thought of as training, but then this was just circumstantial and given the choice of course I would’ve preferred otherwise.

My weeknight run route: Ortigas - BHS via EDSA

My weeknight run route: Ortigas - BHS via EDSA

In the end I was able to do my training and “socialize” with my friends at the same time.  It really is just a matter of prioritizing and time management (a.k.a. how addicted you are to running).  Total distance for a weeknight run: 12.91K.

28
Jul
09

Ruined by the Rain, Saved by the Rain: My Wet Weekend

As mentioned in me previous post I was very bored and agitated last Sunday because I wasn’t able to do my early morning long run due to the rain.  It was raining at 4:30AM and until 5:30AM there was no sign of it stopping so I had to cancel it.  It would be very difficult to warm up early in the morning when it’s cool and you’re getting wet.  You also shouldn’t stretch with cold muscles and with those odds reluctant as I was I had to just sleep it off.

The rains ensued intermittently throughout the day.  I still wasn’t giving up on the idea of a long run (with a desperate option of doing it on a treadmill!) until I came up with an idea.  It was a cool afternoon, very cloudy and drizzly, so I had the idea of pursuing my planned long run.  My “running bag” was still packed and with some minor adjustments to what I brought I was out of the house running by 3:30PM—my first time to do an afternoon run!  The rain that ruined my plan actually saves the day!

Running on Sunday afternoons aren’t as easy as mornings since you encounter a lot of people on the streets, especially on markets and churches.  Since you are not in the race and not in a controlled environment you have to be very cautious—and prepared to do a sudden stop!

Missing the Road

It had been a long time since I last ran solo on an open road and I missed it (except for the pollution of course).  Once again I was running on Commonwealth Ave. heading towards Katipunan Ave. where various options arise on where to go to.  For this run I opted to end near Marikina riverbanks—the Santolan Station of the LRT Line-2 to be exact.  10.37K.  But that’s just the start.

Gloomy day at Marikina riverbanks

Gloomy day at Marikina riverbanks

Commonwealth Market - Santolan LRT-2 Station

But Wait!  There’s More!

It was very peculiar for me to end a run on a train station.  It wasn’t actually intentional as I was originally aiming for the Makati Aquatic Sports Arena (MASA) as my end point, but due to time constraints I had to take the train.  It wasn’t exactly the shortest way to get there but it’s definitely the most convenient and arguably the faster way.

Upon arriving at Guadalupe Station of MRT (second train ride) the rain started to pour.  For there I ran towards MASA, a mere 1.62K away, under the pouring rain so by the time I got to MASA I was soaking wet.  I’m going to get wet anyway.  Total run this Sunday afternoon: 11.99K.

Guadalupe Station MRT-3 - MASA

Guadalupe Station MRT-3 - MASA

The MASA

The Makati Aquatic Sports Arena is one of the nicest public swimming pools in the Metro and it is Olympic-sized.  It’s very clean and the depth is nice.  Swim suit policies are strictly observed.  Entrance fees goes as little as P50 for Makati residents (may require proof of address) and P150 for the rest of us.

The pool of MASA

The pool of MASA

So that was the big picture.  The game plan was to swim in MASA for some cross-training and I just insisted on inserting a run before it.  A desperate runner always finds a way to run.  I may have been derailed off my original plans but if you keep an open mind those sudden changes may be the ones to save the day!  So in the end it was a very nice weekend for me, and I hope for yours as well.

26
Jul
09

Nostalgia: How Running Has Evolved

It was a lousy weekend. There was no race, I wasn’t able to join my friends’ long run outside the Metro, and even my long run got cancelled due to the rain.  Yeah I love the rain—I love it when it pours during your run.  When it’s 4:30AM it’s a different story.

While I’m savoring the misery of a run-less weekend I just got the urge to review “old” running documents on my desktop—from pictures,  to race routes and results, and eventually I found the takbo.ph yearbook.  It’s funny because it’s only a few months old to date, but reading it again feels like a blast in the past—I feel like I’m reading a yearbook from my high school days!  Definitely the running scene last year was way different than today.

Yearbook_2008_r1e2_hi-res-1

I started running August last year so for the most part the running scene of 2008 was a mystery to me.  Reading the yearbook I was introduced to what was happening before I started, a.k.a. what I missed list.  Then I realized that some races new to me had already planted its seed early that year like PSE Bull Run, GIG Run, Condura Run, etc.  One that intrigued me was the Full Moon run of January, 2008—did they really ran under the full moon?  Then I noticed the 94K Weekend (April), one of the ultramarathons that captured my imagination—one of those that fueled me to dream of an ultramarathon and eventually realize it.  It still lingers on my head the stories I’ve read about this ultra and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) which made me want to join Subic International Marathon (SIM) just to get a glimpse of that experience (SIM’s full marathon route is said to pass through SCTEX).  There was also the Condura Run—one of the, if not the, largest race of 2009.  As per Patrick Concepcion’s (Running Shield) account they had 2,000 runners in 2008—a pretty good turnout that seemed diminutive if you compare it with this year’s massive attendance.

What was really interesting was reading other runners’ goals and resolutions.  Reading about their accomplishments before it happened was nice and it’s also a good time for review of how you’re doing with yours.  Many of these runners I know personally and I know most of these were already accomplished or in the works.  As for me one is just a matter of time (international race via SIM and SCSM) and another a matter of more serious training (breaking the 20 minute barrier for a 5K run which currently stands at about 23 minutes).

Lastly about Jinoe Gavan’s (takbo.ph founder) questions:

What if more runners know even more runners?
What if more runners share their experiences?
What if more runners encourage one another?
What if more runners run together?

…I think now we already know the answers and living it.

25
Jul
09

Run for Home Race Results, Criticisms, and Commendations

Have you seen your race results?  Perhaps one of the best innovations that this race contributed to the Philippine running scene was its adaptation of globally competitive race results due to the usage of the timing chips.  Although it took a little longer than runners expected, the informative race result was never seen before in the country—complete with interesting facts that makes for a fascinating read.  Before, runners are just given a list of runners’ official time with some basic info and ranking, and now we get much more information than we’re used to.  Exclusively local runners didn’t realize what they were missing until Run for Home showed them what runners on other side of the world enjoy.  As the saying goes, “you can’t crave for something you don’t know,” and with what this race had shown the archetype of races had just been heaved higher—way above the previous norm.  Had this result been furnished earlier, my “fair” rating for this race would’ve been “good” since it really improved the overall experience of the race (by the time of the next race the organizers should’ve improved on this aspect).

My Run for Home results

You may get your individual race result from Globe’s website.

Criticisms and Commendations

Despite best efforts and intentions, a new system would always have some problems, and in this case some of the issues were wrong gender information (thus ruining the otherwise great result set) and missing results (which possibly could’ve been due to a system “bug” or incorrect use of the timing chip by the runner).  There were a lot of denigration thrown at the organizers but in fairness to them not all of it is their fault so if you had problems with your race results you may always inform the organizers your concerns and hopefully they can address your issues.

I know there were a lot of disparaging words about this race that circled the blogosphere and as it may seem like it’s “whining” and sometimes even a bit unreasonable but these are actually “unsolicited feedbacks” from the runners themselves.  Had it not been for these “whining” runners there may not have been a need for innovation in the local running scene and nobody would’ve initiated a feat like Run for Home did.  If nobody asked for better races, would a necessity to have one arise?  Finishline being a pioneer would of course have to endure all of these criticisms, like soldiers in the frontline on the battlefield.  And for being brave enough to be up front, I truly commend the people behind Finishline.  Being run by humans we accept that we have shortcomings and realizing these leads to improvement.

Some say that we should be thankful of what we have now because most of the things we enjoy didn’t exist even a few years back.  Given that fact we know that we are improving.  We improved not by knowing what we had—we improved by realizing what we lack.  If you were to improve your run, do you compare yourself to the poorer runner, or do you seek to be like the better one? In this case the poorer runner was the “old” standards and the better one would be the world-class standards.

Run for Home may not have turned out the way a lot of people had hoped but the lessons and experience gained with this race surely would lead the local running scene to better tracks and higher standards.  Let us keep supporting local races and let us keep giving organizers our “unsolicited feedbacks” so that they know if they’re on the right track.  Critique the problems but commend the accomplishments.

23
Jul
09

Thank You, PhotoVendo!

I would like to thank PhotoVendo for capturing a really nice photo of me during Run for Home:

My Run for Home photo courtesy PhotoVendo

Run for Home pictures are free for download for all registered runners, all you have to do is supply your bib number in the space provided from Globe’s website.  You may also view the very informative race results there while you’re at it.

See Also: Globe Run for Home 2010 photos from PhotoVendo and Runpix results

22
Jul
09

What is an Electronic Timing Chip?

Disposable electronic timing chips finally made its Philippine running debut during the Globe-Ayala Land Run for Home event by Finishline.  Although it ended up being a fancy accessory, a timing chip utilized properly does have huge advantages over manual time capturing processes.  For the said event the organizers picked the “chips” from ChampionChip, a Netherlands-based company.

The Chip

The chips that were used were disposable versions of radio-frequency identification (RFID) transponder made of waterproof glass capsules that contain a silicon chip and an energizing coil.  This coil is inactive until moved into a magnetic field generated by a send antenna in a mat (used to mark the start and finish lines of a race), thus not needing a need for a power supply like a battery.  The chip then transmits its unique identification number to a receive antenna in a mat.

ChampionChip used in Run for Home

Disposable ChampionChip used in Run for Home

In other countries one may simply buy a chip which can be used many times in different races, provided that the race uses the same standard as the chip (ChampionChip-branded chips are only compatible with ChampionChip timing systems).  For economic reasons, participants may also lease these chips for use during the race but of course this comes with the hassle of returning it afterwards.

The Mats

The mats are normally located at the start and finish lines but can also be located en route of the race.  Strategically placed, these mats may give individual runners their “lap times,” and of course prevent cheating.  These mats actually are the antennas connected to a nearby reader.  These mats “charge” the transponder which then emits its unique code.  Because each transponder must be energized before it emits its code, there can be a delay in the tags response to the mat.  The delay should be negligible and depends on the system used.

Gun Time and Net Time

Runners in races with huge attendance naturally incur delays in reaching the start time which of course affects their time.  Having a timing chip allows the exact “net time” of each runner to be calculated (by subtracting the delay) as compared with “manual” time capturing that is usually based on “gun time” (which ignores the delay incurred).  Locally, we can assume that races utilizing these chips would use “net time” but in other countries, particularly races using USA Track and Field rules, performance is based on “gun time.”

Forms and Factors

What runners have seen during the Run for Home was the traditional ChampionChip disposable transponder.  These transponders are not limited to such form factors as they may come in all sorts of shapes and forms.  It is also not limited to running.  See the chip used recently in Miami Marathon (courtesy karlo.org).

References

Some of the competing brands

Now that the genie is out of the bottle, we’ll all see if this technology would be adopted well in local races and if our sports regulators would set standards on its use.  While it may not be used to its potential during its debut it’s definitely a promising improvement to the local running scene.  Hopefully next time around we’d all get to see how these chips are really used.




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