Archive for October, 2009

31
Oct
09

Subic International Marathon 2009’s “Prestige” (Part 1)

Subic International Marathon (SIM) dubs itself as “The most prestigious marathon in the Philippines.”   Many of you may have an idea on the events that transpired, and this is the story of my partake on its “prestige.”

Dawn

It was very early Saturday morning when we left Manila for Subic.  Yet again it was another adventure for the weekend warriors.  This would be the second International Marathon in the country for the month of October, and given the excellent event we had with QCIM we of course were expecting a great race.   After all it is an international marathon, “the most prestigious” one as advertised.

Sunrise as viewed from a rear window reflection during our stop at a gas station along NLEX

Pre-race

After settling in our pad for a few hours the moment we 42K runners were waiting for had arrived.  It would be my first sundown marathon, and saying I’m excited would be an understatement.   It was particularly special for a few of my friends as they attempt their marathon debut with this event.  At around 1PM we were off to the starting line, not just the 42K and 10K (Nike Human Race) runners but also our other friends who lovingly went with us for support.  Indeed despite being out of town we had a lot of supporters around us—an enviable trait that not many running groups enjoy.

Are we there yet?

From our pad we drove all the way to Floridablanca Exit where the starting line was, and it was a very long drive.   Knowing that the route we were taking would actually be our course it was exciting, but considering the time it took us while driving it, it was also very daunting.  I never realized that a 42K route would be that long had it not been a loop course!

Warning

Literally just a few hours before the race we saw that the water stations were few and haven’t received their water rations.  We had no idea how much water each one had—all we know was that there was too few for comfort.  At that stage I was more excited than alarmed, although the idea of a “dry” marathon was at the back of my mind.

Takbo.ph at the starting line of SIM, courtesy Timmy (Kenkoy Runner)

Checking in

There were quite a lot of marathon runners that day so SIM could proudly say that they were the most attended international marathon to date.  Of course our guest runners from Kenya are surely going to make a world-class race and how Filipinos would fare were still in question.  Not before long runners were called to check in and to our surprise we were asked to dip our right index finger in ink! I kind of had a feeling that we were being used for some political act.

Prepping up for the race

Some of the marathoners: Gab, Mar, Doc Topher, Carmel, James, Me, and Ian

The starting area (there was no line or any markers whatsoever)

Our dirty fingers, and no we didn’t vote already, we just checked in

Start

After all the subtle ceremonies, at 4:20PM the race started.  As a “tourist runner” I fondly brought out my trusty camera and snapped along shots as the race unfolded.  It was a very easy, relaxed, and happy run for me as I chat with fellow runner friends, some of whom I’ve not seen in a while.  Runners do have their reunions on races! As the race gradually progresses the crowd slowly disperses and the road starts to get wider.

The start of SIM 2009

Shutterbug

To those that aren’t running, they view running as something similar to what Usain Bolt does during his sprints, or when a thief runs when being chased by cops, so when they see us running leisurely they see us as walking.   I think this was the remark I got from one of the marshals when he saw me taking pictures while “running.”  I didn’t really process it at the time as I was busy taking pictures, but when I realize his point I checked my GF405 to confirm if I was walking—seven minute per kilometer—I don’t think I can “walk” that fast.

Anyhow I’ll let these pictures do the talking for me:

Off to a great start...

...while enjoying the sceneries...

...passing under bridges...

...cutting through mountains...

...wonderful sunset...

...gradually the sceneries are being taken away by darkness...

...with the sun finally setting...

...until the last decent picture I was able to take before total darkness

(Continued to Part 2)

29
Oct
09

QCIM Chronicles: A Pacer’s Story (Part 2)

Six hours was a pretty long time to run, and to run it at a consistent pace makes it more difficult.  This would be one of the longest races I’d have done, surpassed only by ultramarathons.

UP Diliman Campus

The good thing about running on major roads was that as long as there’s electricity there’s light so even if it was still dark when the marathon started you’re not running blind, especially with competitive and casual runners running side by side on very wide roads.  From Elliptical Road the road got considerably narrower entering University of the Philippines Diliman Campus but since the fast runners were already way ahead of us it was very spacious for us laggards.  Before we were able to leave UP for Commonwealth Ave. the leaders of the 21K leg were already entering the campus.  It’s always exciting to see the leaders of races—at that time we were simply “spectators.”

Competition

While running along Commonwealth Ave. I was startled by a very fast female runner that dashed very close on my right side, followed by another—they were the female leading pack of 21K, a Kenyan was leading chased closely by a Filipina.  Amazing!  It was competition happening right in front of my eyes!  Yet another spectator moment.  All we can do was just enjoy the show as our ordeal had barely just begun.

By the time we reached Commonwealth Market the leading pack for the marathon was already on their way back!  Of course this was the most exciting pack to see so us “spectators” can’t help but stop and just watch like we were in front of our TVs, only this was happening live in front of us.  A world-class level competition and we got front row seats.  Who says being slow at races meant being last?

World-class competition at the QCIM

Community

All along the route the community was also made aware and got involved with QCIM.  This actually made the race more festive and interesting which I thought was very nice.  By doing this QCIM successfully brought the sport closer to the masses and hopefully create more interest.  On the other hand I also do hope that the local government would provide the facilities for the sport.

The involvement of the community makes for a more lively race

Water(less)

Before we knew it we were back on my favorite part of the QCIM route, La Mesa Eco Park.  Not only because that the view here was spectacular, the cleanest air in the Metro is here.  The exciting part was that we finally got to pass through areas that were usually restricted to the public.  Ironically, there were no water station for the entirety of this section.  Luckily I was able to grab a bottle of water from a water station back in Fairview, but due to the rising temperature and the distance already covered it was also running out.  The water station at the Quirino Highway exit seemed promising, but alas, still no water.  Now we can really feel the heat.

Entering La Mesa Eco Park

Dangerous

From Quirino Highway the race passes in front of SM City Fairview, through Mindanao Ave. and eventually back to Commonwealth Ave.  By this time the roads were partially opened so it meant a slightly dangerous run for us at the back pack, not to mention unhealthy.  We were suddenly running side by side with buses and trucks, among others inhaling their fumes as they pass us by.  Thankfully conditions improved by the time we were in Commonwealth Ave. as there was a wide space between us and passing vehicles.

Courageous

I was virtually alone along Commonweath Ave. maintaining my pace for the six-hour finish and while I was cruising-along I stumbled upon a celebrity—Nene from the reality show Pinoy Big Brother.  Since it was practically just the two of us might as well have some conversation to help pass the time.  To my surprise she was actually very nice and I was very amazed at her feat—she’s never done any shorter races but instead just jumped off into a full marathon!  That for some could be considered “suicide” but for me I find it “courageous”—doing a marathon is not a walk in the park.  As much as I had wanted to stay, eventually I had run ahead of her to maintain my pace.  Duty calls.

The vastness of Commonwealth Ave.

Five hours into the race, around six kilometers to go

Grim Reaper

The downside of being a pacer near the end of the spectrum was the heartaches it causes.  Being an official race pacer I was virtually “married” to the time I signed up for.  The worst feeling I had during this duty was whenever I pass a runner—somehow it gives me a feeling of a heart break.  I am like the Grim Reaper of QCIM—whenever I pass by a runner somehow I felt like I killed his aspiration to finish within six hours.  Because of that I usually hold back to avoid overtaking runners but whenever I am a few minutes behind schedule, I had no choice but to keep up.  I was practically the personification of a six hour finish—if you spot me the six hours finish is near.  I had hoped that I’d be able to pull runners near the last parts of the races but sadly the most I see were already walkers.  On the good side though I was able to push those that are slacking—if I catch them they’d finish in more than six hours.  For the last 10 or so kilometers it was countless heartache for me, but it was a feeling that I had to endure if I was to reach my target time.

Finish

I was again alone at the last two kilometers of the race.  I kept looking at my GF405 to maintain my pace, and then I realized that I had assumed that the race would only be 42.195 kilometers long—what if the actual course was slightly longer? With this in mind I started to increase my pace and when I saw the digital clock on the finish line it was already a few seconds after six hours!  It was much faster than my GF405’s time which was based on gun time.  Naturally I’ve no choice but to haste and cross the line as soon as possible.

Final two kilometers along North Ave.

Since it was six hours after the race you won’t expect a lot of people at the finish line.  This was a new experience for me because the only time this had happened to me was during my finish at TNF100 (at 30 hours).  Fortunately there were some familiar faces there so I had a feeling of relief.  Vener (run unld.) was there to take my finish line picture and to my surprise the clock face facing the other side reads only six hours and nine seconds!  My GF405 was right after all!  Too bad, I was actually aiming to finish in 5:59:59 but due to the wrong clock face up front display that didn’t happen.  My actual finish time (gun time) was 5:59:48.

My finish line picture, courtesy Vener

The area near the finish line six hours into the race

Conclusion

In the end I had mixed feelings with being a pacer.  It was good because never before had I exercised so much control over my pace and patience for a very long time run.  It was bad that I felt awful passing several runners.  I didn’t know either if my decision to stick to the target pace and time regardless of other runners was right.  All I know was that it was easier to pace with specific persons than to be a pacer on a race.  I’m still willing to do it all over again though, and not just to get a free race.  Being a pacer is doing a public service to fellow runners, should they view me as the Grim Reaper or a chance to reach their target remains with their perspective.  As for me, it was a task successfully completed.  I sure hope though that that those that saw me beforehand were “pushed” into finishing their goals.  This has been the Grim Reaper, I mean, six-hour pacer, QCIM thank you for the opportunity.  Congratulations to all finishers!

Takbo.ph meets Nene of PBB

My proud QCIM finisher’s medal

29
Oct
09

Philippine International Marathon 2009: A Run for the Pasig River

The Philippine International Marathon 2009, a Run for the Pasig River to be held on November 08, 2009 is being managed by Gran Obra, Inc. under the supervision of Race Director Rudy Biscocho.

The event includes a marathon, marathon relay of 20 or 40 runners, 10K, 5K, and 3K races which have been approved and certified by the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) and will be carried out in accordance with the regulations and sanctions of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).  Water stations will be situated every 2 km from starting line to finish line according to the organizers.

Route

For everyone’s convenience I’ve rendered the text-based directional map into a visual one via Google Earth (unofficial):

Rough rendering of PIM Marathon Route (consult your race kit for the official route)

Registration

Registration fee for each individual runner is Php250 for all categories.  You may register for this race through the following:

Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig 3/F ELJ Building, Mother Ignacia Ave., Quezon City
ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. Head Office Mother Ignacia Ave., Quezon City (Guard House)
Izod Boutiques SM City North Edsa
SM Mall of Asia
The Podium
Trinoma
Ayala Center, Cebu
Robinsons Place, Manila
Gateway Mall
Van Heusen Boutiques SM Megamall
SM Southmall
Gateway Mall
Greenhills, The Shop
Shangri-La Mall
Gold’s Gym Glorietta, Makati
Alabang
Robinson’s Galeria, Ortigas
Wilsons Greenhills
R.O.X. Running Store Bonifacio High Street, The Fort, Taguig City
Second Wind 88 Maginhawa St., Teacher’s Village, Quezon City

Race Packets Claiming

  • Registrants from September 1-30, 2009 may start claiming their race packets from October 17, 2009 until November 4, 2009
  • Registrants from October 1-15, 2009 may start claiming their race packets from October 24, 2009 until November 4, 2009
  • Registrants from October 16-30, 2009 may start claiming their race packets from October 31, 2009 until November 4, 2009

Race packets may be claimed in the same outlet/registration center where they submitted their registration form.

All unclaimed race packets after designated dates will be turned over to the Kapit Bisig Head Office, Mother Ignacia Ave., Quezon City with telephone nos. 416-1911 or 415-2272 loc 3797 and may be claimed on November 6, 2009.

Reminders

Here are some reminders from the organizers:

Assembly:

Km 0, Roxas Blvd.

Starting time:

42K (including relay): 4:30AM
10K, 5K, 3K: 6:00AM

Cutoff Time:

42K (including relay): 5 hours
10K: 1 hour, 30 minutes
5K: 1 hour
3K: 30 minutes

Parking:

Vehicle parking is available at T.M. Kalaw and the South drive of Quirino Grandstand.

Restrooms:

Portalets are located at the assembly area and at the finish area at the Quirino Grandstand.

Check-in service:

42K: South wing of the Quirino Grandstand
10K, 5K, 3K: South wing of the Quirino Grandstand and at the start area on Roxas Blvd.

Only clothing will be accepted for check-in. No bottles, coolers, or other items. We assume no responsibility for the items checked-in.

Finishing:

Upon crossing the finish line, you will be video recorded, timed, and directed into a chute where the barcode tag on your number WILL BE REMOVED.  Move through the chute as quickly as possible but do not pass other runners or transfer to other chutes or your time and the other runners will be displaced.  Please do not talk to the timers while the race is in progress as distraction can result to errors.  Please exit as soon as you are able.  To facilitate your exit you may remove the bar code tag yourself while in the chute and hand them over to the tag puller at the end of your chute.  Once you have passed through the finish area, do not return.  Be courteous and make room for other runners.

27
Oct
09

Dare to be Fit ‘n Right: The Truth about Marathons

Being a blogger does have its benefits and one of it is being invited to product launches.  Last Friday night at Taste Asia in SM Mall of Asia bloggers of all sorts were gathered to the launch of Del Monte’s Fit ‘n Right, the juice drink with L-Carnitine, and also the fun run.

Bloggers were treated to sumptuous but calorie-filled food…

…no worries I’m a runner remember?

As runners we have an upper hand when it comes to burning calories because running, particularly long distance ones, burn a lot of calories as compared with other sports—it is cheaper and easier too!  Of course this doesn’t come as easy as it sounds as you have to do it regularly and the results aren’t instant.  Not many of us though are able to run for prolonged periods of time (or are too lazy to do it).  How much calories does running burn?

The Marathon

I recently completed first back-to-back marathon: QCIM and SIM, my second and third marathon, respectively, and based on my Garmin Forerunner 405’s data, I burned 2,146 calories during QCIM for a six-hour run and 2,512 during SIM for about four and a half-hour run.  That’s about 558 calories per hour and less than 10 calories per minute (based on the latter).  And depending upon the intensity it can burn as little as 40 calories per kilometer run (note: running is NOT brisk walking).  Of course these figures are based on my biometrics and would vary between individuals based on age, gender, weight, etc.  If you don’t believe me here are my per kilometer splits for QCIM and SIM (the last entry on the lists would of course be less than one kilometer thus the little calorie burned).  Isn’t it amazing how efficient our bodies are? At that rate, could you imagine how long you need to run to burn that 143kcal can of soda?

How to get FIT

Coach Jim Saret, MSAT, PES, SAQ, CAPT, Fitness Consultant of the Philippine Olympic Committee and RP Smart Gilas among others, presented to bloggers a brief sample of the Fast Intense Training (FIT) workout which is characterized by fast bursts of intensive exercise that enables one to burn at least 400 calories in a span of only four minutes, and continues to do so even after the workout.  What’s interesting about this workout was that it doesn’t require much space and equipment, oftentimes using only your body weight, and you don’t even have to do it in a gym!

Coach Jim Saret introducing FIT workout

Coach Saret demonstrates some of the routines of the FIT workout

Coach Saret also gave very useful FIT workout for us runners.  Volunteering for this demo was Rodel “The Argonaut.”

As you can see in the video the workout was intense but fast!  In fact the entire workout only lasted 90 seconds to complete!  Now there’s no excuse that you don’t have time or can’t run long.  And you don’t even have to go to the gym.

But Wait!  There’s More!

The FIT workout demonstrates that it is possible to burn calories in a short amount of time with seemingly less effort, but for those who would like to maximize their calorie-burning potential science may have the answer.  It is popularly known these days as L-Carnitine, but what is it?

According to Del Monte, L-Carnitine is a natural substance that is occurring in the body but can be supplemented for optimal health.   It transports the fatty acids into the mitochondria, the “cell’s powerhouse” where they are burned into energy needed for a healthy heart, important body functions and physical activities.  Supplementary L-Carnitine contributes to optimal fat oxidation, and along with a proper diet and regular exercise, promotes healthy body weight.  Together with B Vitamins 1, 6, and 12, it can optimize metabolization of carbohydrates, protein, and fat into energy.  Simply put it allows your workout to burn more calories than the usual.  Could you imagine combining it with running? If you can, Del Monte provides you a venue for just that.

The Fun Run

Del Monte Fit ‘n Right continues its commitment in promoting a healthy lifestyle with the Dare to be Fit ‘n Right culmination fun run on November 22, 2009 in SM Mall of Asia.  The 3K/5K/10K Men and Women Open will benefit the victims of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng, among others, through the SM Foundation.  Here are some race updates.

For a registration fee of P300, runners can get their race packet with the Dare to Fit ‘n Right Fun Run singlet, race bib, Fit ‘n Right products, etc.  Interested participants can register at the following areas:

  • Dare to be Fit ‘n Right booths in Bonifacio High Street, Taguig
  • CEMG Office – 3A Vernida I Bldg., 120 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City
  • Selected SM Hypermarkets: Mall of Asia, Sucat, Pasig, and North EDSA

You may also register online via www.runningmate.ph/del_monte.

Registration will be from October 21 to November 16, 2009.  After successful registration, tear off and keep the RUNNER’S COPY of the form.  You will find your Runner’s Copy with two (2) stubs: RAFFLE TICKET and Race Packet CLAIM STUB.  Race packets can be claimed from November 16-20, 2009 at Bonifacio High Street or at CEMG.  Those who registered after November 16, 2009 can claim their race packets on November 20, 2009 only at CEMG.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place runners from each division will win P10,000, P5,000 and P3,000, respectively.  All registered runners will also automatically qualify for the raffle, where they can win a Lenovo laptop.

With all these advancements with science it’s much easier to be fit and Del Monte is pointing those who need it to the right direction.  Now the question is, would you take the challenge and Dare to be Fit ‘n Right?

26
Oct
09

A Jam-Packed Weekend: A Busy Week Ahead

With so many events happening I am having a difficult time catching up on my post.  For this week I hope to share with you the events that happened over the weekends:

Friday: The Dare to be Fit ‘n Right Fun Run Launch
It was an event for all types of bloggers in general but as a runner I did pickup some training alternatives.  Watch out for this post as it will include a video demonstration featuring my runner friend known simply as “The Argonaut.”

Saturday-Sunday: The Two-Day Coverage of the Subic International Marathon
Full coverage of SIM with actual race pictures for those who wants to run with me virtually along SCTEX.

Aside from these stories over the weekend I’d also be posting the continuation of my pacer’s story from QCIM, comparison between the international marathons, and reviews of each.

It would be an interesting week for me as I do my blog-a-thon to finish all these stories, and I do hope you enjoy reading about these updates.  Until then, gotta start typing!

23
Oct
09

QCIM Chronicles: A Pacer’s Story (Part 1)

A pacer is someone who sets the pace of a runner, or runners, to help them achieve their goal time.  His main responsibility is to finish as close as possible to his designated time so that those who avail of his services would achieve their target.  Having pacers are optional both for runners and races but QCIM went all out to make this international marathon a “finisher’s marathon”—one that does not set a cutoff time.  This is a story of a pacer—this is my story.

Origins

I never had prior experience of being an official pacer before, nor do I have a long marathon track record.  In fact QCIM was just my second marathon race, the first one during 33rd Milo Marathon Eliminations earlier this year.  And I never imagined being a pacer, especially for a marathon.

The rising costs of joining races were taking its toll on my budget, but despite that I was never deterred from joining.  When I first heard of QCIM I knew I want to run it, especially that I am a resident of Quezon City and it goes through the road I regularly pass, Commonwealth Ave.  When I heard that QCIM was employing volunteer pacers without hesitation I immediately signed up—I get to run the race that I want for free, and I get to be of service to my fellow runners.

Cutting costs doesn’t mean cutting races to join

Pace

Being a first time pacer wanting to do his duty properly I knew I had to pick a pace I’d be comfortable running for 42K.  Based on my lone marathon time of 4:47:XX I can sign up for a five hour finish—but that’s not my only consideration.  The weekend following QCIM the Subic International Marathon would be held passing along one of my dream route, SCTEX, which I dare not miss.  Why pick one when you can choose both?  Thus it was settled, a six-hour finish would be my goal—an “easy” pace suitable for beginners and those who don’t want to be spent.  I gave my commitment to the time when I realized that it was actually an 8:31/km pace—unchartered territory for me so it would definitely be a run for endurance.

During the bloggers’ launch where I officially signed up as a pacer

Prelude

Traffic flow was rerouted very early in the morning along Commonwealth Ave.  This spelled trouble for me as I was dependent on public buses which were rerouted far from the starting area in front of the City Hall.  Fortunately I was able to alight at the closest possible location near the assembly area, but unfortunately it was about one and a half kilometer away!  Because of the distance I had to cover and I was running out of lead time for our pacers’ meet I had no choice but to run—running late literally!  By the time I arrived at the assembly area I my sweat were already dripping—a forced warm-up you might say.

Runners eagerly awaiting the start of the race

Fly

There were numerous pacers for QCIM in various finish times for both 42K and 21K.  For runners to promptly notice us we wore a different singlet and for our finish times it was stuck onto balloons that we tied to our clothes.  If these balloons had helped us by reducing our weights or hindered us aerodynamically with drag I don’t know but one thing is for sure: kids want those balloons!

Fellow 42K pacers with our running partners (photo courtesy Marvin Opulencia)

The 21K pacers from takbo.ph with Sir Rene (JAZZRUNNER)

Race

Finally, the race that many (including myself) had been waiting for was about to start.  Five seconds before 4:30AM on my GF405 the race was started.  It was either Elliptical Road was very wide or the number of runners was less than anticipated as there was no overcrowding after crossing the starting gate.  This is it!  The start of the longest marathon race of my life was about to begin.  Six hours—that’s a pretty long time to be running.

A few minutes into the race, still at Elliptical Road

(Continued to Part 2)

22
Oct
09

Virtual 2009 Nike+ Human Race (Philippines)

From my Inbox:

Nike+
The day the world runs.
Every KM you run is converted to a Php10 donation
The Human Race 10K Ambassador Challenge Run the Nike+ Human Race 10K



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