Archive for August, 2009

26
Aug
09

Botak Paa-tibayan: The 10-Mile Perspective

The recently completed Botak Paa-tibayan at UP Diliman could be described as an offshoot race from Botak 100 last June 28, 2009 when it was originally set but was deferred due to the Influenza A scare.  A lot of schools suspended classes then which were some of the “target audience” of the race.  Botak was aiming to discover “grassroots” talents particularly with this race so in order to accommodate participants from schools the race was rescheduled.

As expected the changes with this race was not limited to the schedule—the routes also changed.  The original 10-mile route was supposed to go through Commonwealth Ave. along with Botak 100’s route but since that route would be a management nightmare and impractical it was re-routed to the confines of UP Diliman—three loops of a more than 5K course.

Botak 10-Miler Route (3 laps)

Botak 10-Miler Route (3 laps)

Initially I was very disappointed with the route changes as I was excited to run along Commonwealth Ave. in a race.  It was the foremost reason why I joined the race originally and picked the distance.  I was basically running a totally different race than what I signed up for—different date, different route—only the name and time remained the same.  I only started feeling better when I saw how well the race was handled.

One of the most common concerns I have on races were “clueless” race marshals, and thankfully that was not the case with this race—the marshals know what they were doing so they knew how to properly guide the runners and not are not just fillers.

The hydration solution was excellent and I could say easily one of the best.  Since the race route was a loop each station would be passed several times but for the duration of the race I never saw the cups, sports drinks, or water run out.

As for the route it was just a little short of 10 miles (linear GPS measurement) but considering the terrain the difference would be negligible.  Considering the difficulty of having an exact distance within UP, it was as close as it get.

It is always pleasant to run within UP Diliman

It is always pleasant to run within UP Diliman

Pros:

  • Very well organized
  • Punctual
  • Helpful and knowledgeable race marshals
  • Good route difficulty
  • For the rehabilitation of UP oval track
  • Excellent post-race amenities with plenty of giveaways

Cons:

  • Race ended up being a totally different one because of the number changes
  • Route was a little dull because of the many loops

Overall I ended up contented with the way the race turned out.  Although it wasn’t the race I originally expected, the way it was organized made it worthwhile. I started running feeling a little “obliged” since I’m running a totally different race but because I had no issues during the race that probably pushed me unconsciously to a new 10-mile PR (with this race being only my second 10-miler).  With an unexpectedly good race and just a handful issues that were reasonable I can say that it was a Very Good race.  Truly Botak continued the good streak they re-started from Botak 100, and I hope they continue coming up with good races like this.

25
Aug
09

Bozzone and Bentley: The Rulers of Ironman 70.3 Philippines

The inaugural race that is Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines last August 23, 2009 held in Pili, Camarines Sur (CamSur) saw two world champions competing: the reigning 70.3 champion Terenzo Bozzone (New Zealand) and Ironman Hawaii World Champion Chris “Macca” McCormack, with the former ruling from a come-from-behind victory (03:51:25) and the latter settling for second (03:52:18)—a testament to world-class level of competition this race brought on our shores.  Cameron Brown settled for third place (03:52:31).  The women’s category was anything but a walk in the park either as eleven-time Ironman Champion of the Hawaii Ironman Championship Lisa Bentley (Canada) won the competition (04:24:29) followed by Gina Kehr (04:26:11) and Charlotte Paul (04:31:26).

Lisa Bentley and Terenzo Bozzone are the first champions of Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines (Credit: Ironman Philippines)

Lisa Bentley and Terenzo Bozzone are the champions of the first Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines (Credit: Ironman Philippines)

The Champions

Terenzo Bozzone is a professional triathlete from New Zealand.  After finishing school he focused on multisport and won the 2001 & 2002 Junior Men’s Elite Duathlon World Championship and the 2002 & 2003 Junior Men’s Elite Triathlon World Championship.  In 2008 Bozzone won the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida setting a new course record of 3:40:10.

Lisa Bentley is one of the most successful Ironman athletes of all time with 11 wins despite never having won an Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.  She is known as an excellent runner and often comes from behind off the bike to win.  Diagnosed in her 20’s with Cystic Fibrosis Lisa has become a role model for much broader audience.

Ironman 70.3

An Ironman 70.3, also known as a Half Ironman, is one of a series of middle-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) consisting of a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run.  70.3 is the total distance in miles.  The whole and each part of the event is half the Ironman distance.  The length of the 70.3 event encourages a meeting of Olympic distance/short course triathletes and Ironman/long course triathletes.  Like the Ironman, the bike section is non-drafting.  Since 2006 an annual Ironman World Championships 70.3 has been held at Clearwater, Florida, USA during the month of November.  Some Ironman 70.3 events also act as qualifiers for the full Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, and it includes the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines.

Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines

Murphy Reinschreiber, Managing Director Asia Pacific World Triathlon Corporation credits Fred Uytengsu, CEO of Alaska Milk Corporation, with finally bringing the Ironman to the Philippines with the holding of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 at the CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC).

Reinschreiber said after seeing Uytengsu’s passion, awarding the Ironman brand to the race was an easy decision to make.

“Our group is very selective at where we put our races,” he said.  “But then we meet a guy like Fred.  We see a venue like CamSur and a person like Governor LRay Villafuerte who is really very eager for it to happen…  So the decision to hold the race here becomes a very easy decision.”

The WTC official said the Cobra Ironman 70.3 is easily the biggest event in the WTC calendar in Asia this year.

“Ironman racing is different from other sports,” said Reinschreiber.  “It’s more than just winning.  It’s the experience of competing as athletes.  They are here to experience the local venue.  They are here to meet the other participants.  They are here to experience the whole race.”

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22
Aug
09

A Year Into Running: The Secret to an Ultramarathon

When it comes to running, the last thing on my mind was an ultramarathon—I had an idea how far a marathon is by looking at the route taken by the Milo Marathon which is “just” about 42K, but an ultra, especially 100K, was unimaginable.  In fact the first time I’ve heard of the term “ultramarathon” was when I heard the stories of the Pinoy Ultra Runners—I was like a child being told a fairy tale that I didn’t know for the first time—my eyes were probably gleaming while a dream was being shaped—a dream I didn’t realize I can accomplish before my first running anniversary.  How was it possible for a mere mortal to go from zero to an ultramarathon in less than a year?  Endurance.

Everyone has their own endurance level.  Unless you’ve won the genetic lottery a normal person should train himself to be able to endure very long distances.  Of course improving your endurance doesn’t come overnight—it is built one day at a time, like races are completed one step at a time.  The best way to achieve this endurance believe it or not is really simple—long runs.  Endurance training doesn’t really focus much on the speed but more on the time you give to your run.  Long Slow Distance (LSD) runs are best because for starters it is slow so anyone can do it at their own pace, but the key here is the long part—normally it is long distance but of course the distance you cover is also relative to how long the time you give for each run.  Like I’ve mentioned earlier the focus here is not speed so naturally the longer (time-wise) you run regardless of your speed, the longer the distance you cover.

Best Time to Start

I was very lucky when I started doing my long runs because I started during the one of the coolest months of the year, February (2009).  The later sunrises and earlier sunsets plus the much lower temperature mean more opportunity to run (although less sunlight).  I started doing my long runs (LSDs) not really to train for an ultra since I had no plans to do one then, but instead to improve my endurance to be able to run longer.  By the end of 2008 my longest run was at 16K (10mi) and I was aiming for my first half-marathon which is anything but short.  LSDs, how seemingly less effort you put into it, when done regularly would benefit everyone regardless of the distance you want to train for.  Best of all you don’t have to do it several times a week—an LSD a week is enough so better dedicate good amount of time for each.  If you train from December to February you may start as late as 7AM but in any case you should avoid running beyond 9AM outdoors.  During other months it’s better have the least exposure time with the sun so you must start as early as possible, and if the absence of sunlight isn’t an issue for you running at night also works.

Routes

Like I mentioned earlier the LSDs I had were not originally intended for ultramarathon training.  These routes were made because I really find it boring to run at the same place many times, add a sense of adventure to my runs, and seek new places.  Admittedly I wouldn’t have been encouraged to do these without my Garmin Forerunner 405 to track my time and distance (among others).  Tracking the distance you covered and time is important in doing LSDs because you need to track your progress and you may use many sites on the web to measure the distances of the routes you want to cover.  I encourage you to measure the distance of your route first so that you may approximate how long you’d take to finish it (and adjust your course accordingly).

Without further adieu here are some of my notable LSDs:

February 01, 2009: North Ave. to SM Mall of Asia via EDSA

North Ave. - SM Mall of Asia

Also known as my “MRT Tour” this one started from the Northern tip of the MRT, running along EDSA, until reaching the SM Mall of Asia compound and includes the bayside path to complete the target distance of at least 21K.

Actual distance: 21.11K.

February 08, 2009: Boni Ave. to Global City

More or less a simulation of typical 21K route within Global City that includes a pass through McKinley Hill and Heritage and finishing at Bonifacio High Street (BHS).

Actual distance: 21.70K.

March 15, 2009: Commonwealth Run

After about a month of being away from the Philippines I returned to doing LSDs and that time closer to home: Commonwealth Market to Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) returning back and ending in Regalado Ave.—the northernmost route I’ve done to date.  Who would’ve known that I covered half of the route of the Quezon City International Marathon with this route? This also served as my last run before completing my first 21K later on, the Condura Run.

Actual distance: 22.32K.

April 09, 2009: Commonwealth Ave. to BHS via Kalayaan Ave. and C5

With the excitement I got from LSDs it’s almost automatic for me to have one whenever I am not running any races.  With the thought of doing my first ultra looming I also had to gradually step up my LSDs.

Actual distance: 23.03K.

April 12, 2009: Commonwealth Ave. to MoA via Quezon Ave., España Blvd., and Roxas Blvd.

One of the most picturesque routes and easily one of my favorites, it passes through the historic city of Manila.  Don’t take this route if you don’t have your camera and is not willing to stop to enjoy the sights.

Actual distance: 27.50K.

May 03, 2009: Manila to Tagaytay

To date my longest non-race run—so long I had my marathon and ultramarathon distance debut with this run!  With about 20 days to go before my first ultramarathon race, TNF100, it’s a must that I do a serious LSD to prepare my body for the grueling 100K.  I highly recommend this route to those planning to do their first ultramarathon.

Actual distance: 56.60K.

I actually had a repeat of this route last August 02, 2009 (but was a few meters shorter at 56.00K) with more friends adding to the community of ultra-runners.  I encourage ultra-runners-to-be to take this route because of its challenge (generally uphill) and distance which is even longer than some ultramarathon races.

Metro Manila routes for my first year of running

Metro Manila routes for my first year of running

For the past year I did a lot of LSDs covering nice distances and interesting routes both within and outside Metro Manila.  Recently though I’ve yet done a 20K+ route but despite that I still benefit from the endurance I gained with these LSDs (click here to see the complete list of my runs) and was even able to complete my first marathon, still within my first year of running.  As you may notice I wasn’t as consistent with my LSDs as I’ve wanted but it still works!  What’s important is the honest dedication and effort to practice, and in the end you reap what you sow.  You may not be planning for an ultramarathon but this “secret” is proven to help anyone willing to improve themselves.  As you can see training need not be imposing—all you need are some sense of adventure, an open mind, and a willing body.  Better yet grab along some crazy buddies with you to share the fun!  Just don’t forget to bring along your common sense on your exploit!

See you on the road, and have a safe run!

19
Aug
09

A Year Into Running: The Pre-Garmin Era

From a humble 5K start it’s inevitable that you’d seek “higher grounds.”  After disappointment of not being able to join a race because of a gadget requirement I was inspired when I saw the next race headed our way: the adidas King of the Road (KOTR).  Just imagining myself running atop Kalayaan flyover makes me ecstatic so without second thoughts I signed up for my first 10K, my second race ever.  Some think it’s a huge leap since I don’t really run other than in races but if you really put your heart into it, you can.  What’s more motivating was the singlet—it’s one of the best race singlets to date and it’s not any regular singlet—it’s by adidas!  What a way to really encourage you to be a “king of the road.”

The Online Community: Takbo.ph

Discovering takbo.ph was a real convenience—suddenly I have a directory of races I can join and even forums that could help me get tips.

My first picture with takbo.ph guys

My first picture with takbo.ph guys

Admittedly I didn’t want to join any online forums then because I was contented with getting the schedules—until takbo.ph announced they’d give away a shirt to a lucky newbie that would register and introduce himself.  A sucker for prizes like I am (and to prove how I’m so unlucky I don’t win in any raffles like these) I joined (and proven once again I’m right—I didn’t win the contest) thus starting my bond with takbo.ph.  Little did I know that it would grow to the scale it has now, and how it would be a part of my life, not just online or in running.

With the animated group known as takbo.ph, January 2009, UP Diliman

With the animated group known as takbo.ph, January 11, 2009, UP Diliman

The Birth of runningpinoy

I was really getting hooked on the running fever and as enthusiastic as I am with the new sport I love I wanted to share to fellow newbie runners my experiences hoping that in my little way I could be of help to the community—that was how the idea of blogging occurred.  Being a web developer myself I’m no stranger to the internet, although I had the dilemma on where to host my blog.  Being a digital artist as well I know how to work around digital media, but the one thing that I fall short of creativity was in giving names.  Sure I can set up a website, but what would I name it?

Do you still remember this header?

Do you still remember this header?

I was running out of time (literally) as I really wanted to setup everything before my birthday (November 7) and for some weird twist of fate I just landed on runningpinoy—it has the word running, I am a Pinoy, and its acronym is RP like Republic of the Philippines—perfect!  Best of all it’s not yet taken on blogger and wordpress so I can definitely use it.  To cut the chase I ended up working with wordpress using the template used by the old thebullrunner site (I told you I love that site!) but of course with a banner that I designed myself.  A few days after my birthday, on November 11, 2008 runningpinoy.wordpress.com was officially launched.  Thank you to all my early supporters!

Nike Running Clinic

November, 2008.  Nike Philippines launched its running clinic at the PSC Arena (formerly Ultra).  It was the first free running clinic (as far as I know) initiated by a sports brand in the Philippines.  Finally mere mortals were able to have elite coaches to guide them!  This was my first opportunity to run outside of races and also socialize with fellow runners.  And in case you’re wondering Nike Running Clinic is still on-going, Tuesdays at PSC Arena (Ultra) and Fridays at Bonifacio High Street (BHS), 7PM onwards.

One Hundred Kilometers

One of my first proud accomplishments for 2008 was completing 100K of races.  From 5K I was able to reach 10mi (16K)—an achievement for a newbie runner myself but it just goes to show that if you can imagine it, you can.  Stop dreaming and start running!  And this was all in 2008, what I’d like to call the pre-Garmin era!

18
Aug
09

A Year Into Running: It Started With A Miracle

Sunday, August 17, 2008 marked the birth of the runner in me.  It was the first ever Miracle Run by Men’s Health Magazine (Philippines) and it was my first ever race.  I, together with several of my colleagues, decided to join this run for the benefit of GMA Kapuso Foundation so that in our own little way we could share some of our blessings and have fun at the same time.  Little that we know that that fun run would open the door to something that would change our lives forever—the world of running.

I can still remember the trouble I had on what to wear that day.  Naturally I didn’t have any clothes for running so I just grabbed whatever I had—basketball shorts I use at the gym, the most decent shoes I got I can use for running, badminton socks, bandana I got from our company’s previous summer outing, and the event shirt we got for the event.  Not a single sign of a runner.

Since we really intend to just have fun and “test the waters” we opted to join the 5K leg of the race (there was also a 10K leg).  None of us had practice nor training of any form at that time so a 5K distance very intimidating.  That’s an entire 5,000 meters!

The world as seen through a Lomo lens.
Courtesy Mitch Enriquez

Last year the 5K event was in the form of a relay (two members of a group running 5K each) so we planned who would be the first and second liners, and have a buddy during our runs.  That system worked surprisingly well for me and my buddy as despite conversing the entire 5K and having a “chillax” pace we finished the entire 5K in 33 minutes.  We even thought that had we taken the race a little seriously we would’ve finished in less than 30 minutes, but finishing our first race was already an accomplishment for us.  And of course before and after the race tons of pictures were taken.

After the race.
Courtesy Patrick Oliveros

The Great Divide

Back then I was clueless of when the next race would come about.  I didn’t even knew back then that takbo.ph existed (but just Googling around I was able to find thebullrunner and it’s still one of my favorite sites) so for the following few weeks we didn’t have any runs.  Back then runs and races were synonymous to us—there was neither group runs nor running clinics than that we knew of.  Despite the good momentum we gained the next race that we knew we could join was almost two months away: the adidas King of the Road.  The earliest race we could join was actually the Nike Human Race but disappointingly it required that you have their Sportsband to join (which was very expensive for a starting runner like me).  That was my first heartache as a runner—not being able to join a run because I’m not tech savvy enough (feels discriminating).  It was a good thing that the next one, from adidas, was worth the wait.

Breakfast bonding, no divides here.
Courtesy Leah Garcia

18
Aug
09

Kenny’s Open ’09 Urbanite Run Race Results

The results are finally out.  You may view the race result at http://www.kennys.com.ph/kour_result.php.

Here’s my result:

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Overall this was one of the nicest race results I’ve got. It’s not the best place I’ve had in a race but knowing that only 3% of runners are ahead of me in the entire field and I placed 13th in my division (Male 20-29) already makes me proud to brag about this non-PR race result.

17
Aug
09

The Trip Down Memory Lane: 1st Anniversary of Running

I can’t believe it, today is the first anniversary of my first ever run!  Time runs fast when you’re having fun.  I haven’t even completed my first anniversary special post!  I just want to greet my comrades that started with me during that “Miracle.”

Our first ever running group photo

Our first ever running group photo, taken August 17, 2008

Looking back there’s nothing then that speaks “runner” on my attire: basketball shorts, badminton socks, and some sporty-looking shoe that’s anything but a running shoe.  I even remember that during that first run I had some slight plantar fasciitis (before I even knew of the term I already had the injury) caused by a prior hip-hop dance lessons… we’ve come a long way since then.

This is just a quickie post so watch out for my special anniversary post real soon.  Until then, run safe!




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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
– John “The Penguin Runner” Bingham
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