Archive for September, 2009

26
Sep
09

NB Power Run is Postponed

According to Desi Arana of Smart Sports Marketing (one of the race sponsors) the NB Power Run to be held on Sunday will be postponed.   This is due to tropical storm “Ondoy” which is battering Metro Manila (under storm signal #1 as of press time).  According to another source from Smart the new date for the race would be on November 29, 2009.  For questions, call their office at 898-1933 or all NB and Planet Sports registration stores only.

As of 26 Sep 2009 05:13 GMT

As of 26 Sep 2009 05:13 GMT

25
Sep
09

A BMW inspired by Usain Bolt’s trainers?

Well, maybe.  Presenting the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics: a car that’s at par with Toyota Prius 2010 in terms of emission, lowest drag coefficient of any BMW car at 0.22, and killer looks that looks a bit like a trainer:

Doesnt it look like a trainer shoe?

Doesn't it look like a trainer shoe?

I know it has nothing to do with running but won’t you agree that this cool car is such an eye-candy?

Photos courtesy http://green.autoblog.com/gallery/bmw-vision-efficientdynamics-concept/.

25
Sep
09

Subic International Marathon 101

1of 3 international marathons being staged in the country this last quarter of the year and the only one outside Metro Manila is the Subic International Marathon (SIM).  One unique feature of this race is that the full marathon would be held on a Saturday afternoon, on October 24, 2009 at 4PM.  A sunset marathon? It starts at SCTEX Floridablanca Toll Plaza and ends at Remy Field, Subic Bay.  Side events are staged the following Sunday morning.

Sealed SIM race kit as I received it

0, zip, nada—no timing chips for this race though.  The race packet was virtually empty as it contained only the race bib and safety pins—no race route, no flyers, nothing!  At least the kit comes with a nice singlet though.

The front side of the SIM race singlet

Back view of the singlet

1of the most prestigious marathons in the Philippines as claimed by SIM, this is one local marathon one shouldn’t miss!  Despite the “manual” system of timing the uniqueness of running on a Saturday afternoon away from the hustles and bustles of the city plus a chance to run on the SCTEX itself makes this race its distinct from a “typical” marathon.  Subic here we come!

101: This is not a vanity number, I got it by mere coincidence (must be a sign of something good)

24
Sep
09

Fred Uytengsu for Children’s Hour

Alaska Milk Corporation CEO Fred Uytengsu is competing in another Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii—this time not for the win but for underprivileged Filipino children via Children’s Hour Philippines.

To help, please download the pledge form.  If you can’t pledge, you may give a token amount thru G-Cash.  Just text DONATE<space>Amount<space>4-digit PIN<space>CHILDRENSHOUR and send to 2882.  For more information, please call Vic at 894-1163, Bukay at 752-1180, and Ching Arguelles at 840-4500 or visit http://www.childrenshour.org.ph/.

21
Sep
09

Dilemma at 21K: My RotaRun Story

Around 4:30AM we arrived in front of Chinese International School, the vicinity of the assembly area of the race.  According to the race packet the 21K would start at 5AM but according to online sources it would be at 5:30AM.  The latter turned out to be closer to the actual but the confusion made us arrive in the assembly area early.  Unfortunately many still had a late start because the race actually started 5:22AM—eight minutes before 5:30AM as stated in online sources.

Even at 5AM it was still very dark—Christmas season is indeed here.  It was not until a few minutes later that it became light enough to see the road.  5:30AM was indeed a good time to start sub-marathon races at this time of the year—any time earlier and we’d be running in the dark.  It also made me wonder about the forthcoming QCIM which could start at 4:30AM.

5:22AM the race finally started.  From our starting line behind the International School we made our way to Campus Drive before heading back to McKinley Road—it’s probably best that we had this difficult leg early in the race while our feet were still fresh.  After turning around near the British Embassy you see the long line of runners and have an idea on where your friends are placed.

It wasn’t hot that morning but it was very, very humid.  I didn’t realize this at first until I saw that I gulped down more than half of my 500mL sports drink so early in the race.  Thankfully there were ample supplies of water along the route (more often than not I used to pour over my head to cool me down) and some cold drinks from the sponsor (I think it was vitamin-ized water).  I love the fact that the drinks from the sponsor was cold but I was a bit concerned because it contained L-Carnitine—usually mixed with drinks and claims to help burn fat.  As if we won’t lose enough fat during our 21K ordeal.

5th Ave. I got an unexpected guest who paced with me.  I knew he was faster than me so I told him to go ahead anytime he felt like it.  It was his first 21K and I knew he could even break my 21K PR (he is a fellow takbo.ph member and is one of my DailyMile buddies so I have an idea how fast he is).   During this particular race I was not aiming for a new PR—I was doing this run as part of my training and assessment of my “raw” skill level—whether my relatively relaxed run would still lead to a sub-2 hour 21K.  All throughout the run I barred myself from looking at my current pace but I had to break that rule when he asked me what our pace (per kilometer) that time was—4:43.  That time I wished I could tell him that without me knowing it as well but that’s impossible and I didn’t want to be rude.  If there were some things I’ve learned about runners during races these were:

  • Many don’t wish to be disturbed (no talking, no socializing!)—they’re in their zone so don’t misinterpret it to be rude.  Plenty to time to socialize before and after the race.
  • Some don’t want to know how far it is to the finish—I feel positive knowing that I only have 1K to go to the finish while some hate to know that it is still 1K to go!
  • Some don’t want to know their current pace—knowing it brings forth some pressure.  Some would just like to relax and enjoy their run and be surprised on their finish time.

The latter would be my situation for this race, and since I found out I was running beyond my normal cruising speed I think that subliminally made me run slower.  Maybe next time I’ll put a tape over my GF405’s screen whenever I decided to run a relaxed race so I won’t know.

The loop cords that were given during the race were odd—too small to wear as a necklace, too lose as a bracelet!  I was afraid of losing one accidentally as I saw many of these lying around along the route so I placed it in my hydration belt.  There were five of these cords all along the 21K route and I virtually had to stop almost as many times just to secure it on my belt.  If I was aiming for a PR I would’ve been very angry.

By running the race loosely I was able to free myself of the time pressure.  Except for that time I knew of my current pace, I was running keeping my heart-rate low at a level where I consistently am able to breathe through my nose and at a speed I was comfortable.  Sometimes not knowing is better (as many GF users would attest).

RotaRun “21K” Route

RotaRun “21K” Route

Nearing McKinley Road I was hearing that we were just a few hundred meters to the finish.  At first I thought it was for everyone else but 21K since I knew it was too soon for 21K but when the signs directed us to McKinley Road I thought we’d still return to C5 before heading back.  When I saw the signs directing us towards the finish I asked a marshal if 21K also goes that way.  When it was confirmed I was really concerned that I may have skipped some routes of the race!  Did I really made some unintentional shortcuts?  Upon crossing the line I was asked if the distance for 21K was really short and that’s when I knew it really was.  Even without a Garmin I could tell that the 21K was way off the mark (I can feel it with the distance I ran and I can tell it with the time elapsed).  I crossed the 21K finish line with a gun-time of 1:34:36 (unofficial, self-timed)—had it been close to an actual 21K I would’ve been very proud.  Checking the GPS distance and compensating had it been an actual 21K I would’ve broken my old 21K PR (even at seven minutes per kilometer pace).

Another photo-op for takbo.ph gang

Another photo-op for takbo.ph gang, courtesy Carlo

Looking back at the race (from a 21K perspective) as a whole it was Good.  In fact the only issue I had with the race was the seriously short 21K (checkout my running logs to see the actual GPS distance).  While it was beneficial for PR purposes (Press Release) it does bring forth a dilemma.  That dilemma is: how do I log thee?  Indeed this was a “21K” race PR, but it was far from 21K.  Should my 21K PR retain itself since that was a valid 21K, or should I have a “21K Race” PR?

Special thanks to Marga for the “shuttle service,” Bong Y. for our “special arrangements,” and Carlo (Drum and Run) for the pictures.

16
Sep
09

QC, QCIM, October, and 2009

How does QC (Quezon City), QCIM (Quezon City International Marathon), October, and 2009 relate to each other?  Aside from the obvious relationship of QC and QCIM, the staging of the first QCIM on October, 2009 was not a coincidence (or was it?).

As most residents of Quezon City know we celebrate Quezon City Day every August 19th, the birth date of the late President Manuel L. Quezon (August 19, 1878) whom the city was named after.  So why was the QCIM not held last August and instead this October?  Quezon City was actually established on October 12, 1939 so this October, 2009 is the 70th anniversary of the city.  Isn’t an international event such as the QCIM a great way to celebrate this event?  Happy Anniversary QC!

Trivia

The Quezon Memorial Monument is 66 meters (217 feet) tall because it was President Manuel L. Quezon’s age when he died).  The three vertical pylons represent Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, and the three mourning angels that surmount it are actually holding sampaguita wreaths.

QCIM Update

Pacers for both full and half marathon distances are now published along with their corresponding finish times and approximate average pace on http://www.runnex.org/qcim2009/.  Expect this list to be updated as more volunteer pacers fill up some vacant slots.

14
Sep
09

Back on the Road: Traversing Metro Manila

It has been a long time since I was running on the road and since I had no race or group runs for the weekend I decided to do one of the routes I’ve long wanted to do: traverse Metro Manila from East to West.  Like my first road run along EDSA which followed MRT-3 this long run followed the route of LRT-2 closely except that I skipped the first station (Santolan) which was a bit off my route, and it didn’t follow the tracks to the service line but instead included the original LRT-1 route for some distance.

Background

This run was supposed to start early Sunday morning but early morning rains ruined my plans so I decided to use the rainy weather to my advantage and defer it for another afternoon run.  Unfortunately with this change of plan and time constraints I had to cut my route by a few kilometers from the original target of SM Mall of Asia to UP Manila.  Nonetheless it was slightly compensated by starting in Commonwealth Market instead of the original Ylanan Gate of UP Diliman.

The Route

2:58PM I started my long run adjacent to Commonwealth Ave.  This would be an exceptional time to start a run which was only made possible by the very cloudy weather.  I had a little difficulty starting this run because of strong winds that blew against me so you may think of it as a unique challenge.

To make this route more interesting I also included one of my newly discovered routes, Zuzuaregi, to get to Katipunan Ave. and from there it was straight towards Katipunan Station of LRT-2.

LRT-2 goes below ground towards Katipunan Ave.

Following LRT-2 via Aurora Blvd. was interesting but immediately I realized that it wasn’t easy—sidewalks were ample but the problem was the air quality.  It was very difficult to breathe along Aurora Blvd. because of the huge traffic that goes on this narrow road.  Then there was Cubao—people traffic was a concern so running was virtually impossible.

Crowded Aurora Blvd. below Cubao Station of LRT-2

Cubao is a highly developed urban area in Quezon City and with so many structures covering the road there’s hardly any sky in the area of Aurora Blvd. in front of Gateway Mall and as a consequence there’s no GPS signal in the area.  I was only able to restore my GPS signal after the Cubao Station of LRT-2.

A common sight in Aurora Blvd. are jeepneys known as “patok.” These jeepneys are not for the faint of heart.

After the crowd and traffic of Cubao Proper Aurora Blvd. which leads to…

…the infamous Balete Drive

Gilmore—the best place to buy gadgets in the Metro

After a few meters from Gilmore I enter San Juan where there are hardly any changes.  After San Juan I re-enter Quezon City where most of the changes in the route occurred.

One of the newest landmarks of Sta. Mesa (Quezon City) is the Mezza Residences (with a passing LRT-2 train below) which is one of the tallest residential buildings in the country…

…which is just across SM City Sta. Mesa (still in Quezon City), one of the oldest SM malls

Just after SM City Sta. Mesa is the border with the City of Manila.  Sta. Mesa, Manila is close to my heart as it was a second home for me for about 10 years.  Here Aurora Blvd. ends and continues to Ramon Magsaysay Blvd.  This segment of the route from Cubao brings back a lot of memories as I used to pass through here, riding a “patok,” everyday during my College days.

A typical LRT-2 train which looks a lot like those seen abroad

The new trains of PNR—looking a lot more like an LRT train

The very busy intersection of Nagtahan

Eventually I reached the very busy Recto Ave.  Even on a Sunday there are so many people here reminding you that indeed you are in the City of Manila—the densest city in the Metro.  To be honest I was afraid to run in this area because I might look like I was running away from something.

LRT-2 Recto Ave. Terminal Station

LRT-2 service tracks crosses the LRT-1 line

For some distance I was able to follow LRT-1 and amazingly my GF405 was able to track my location (to a certain extent) despite the limited GPS reception in the area.  Unless you ran on Rizal Ave. itself you’re basically running indoors in this area.  Finally after Carriedo Station (Quiapo) of LRT-1 I can see the sky again.

Finally a view of the sky

Crossing Pasig River (can you see how dirty the air was?)

The Post Office Building as seen from Pasig River

View from the front

The newly re-painted clock tower of Manila City Hall

From Manila City Hall it was the typical Roxas Blvd. route for me and like I mentioned earlier I ended this long run near UP Manila via Padre Faura, 23K in total distance, 1,400 calories burned.  Here’s the complete route:

My Route

It was more difficult than I expected (humidity, air pollution, very bad sidewalks, people and vehicle traffic) and I wasn’t able to maintain a decent speed throughout this route (“pic-stops” and walking)—but it was worth it! Despite gobbling up more dirty air than all my previous road runs I was able to revisit routes that I no longer pass through and my dream of “traversing” Metro Manila from East to West was now a reality.  Frankly I don’t think I’ll be doing a re-run of this route but for those who’d like to give it a try you have my full support! I hope you had a great weekend as well, 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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