Running about in Metro Manila’s Roads: Cramming for RU2

Time flies when you’re having fun, and also when you’re quite busy.  Being a one man team at work made me forgot all about the rest of the world and before I noticed it, it was just a week before it’s time for my first 32K of the year, Run United 2 (due this Sunday!).

Long time no see, BGC

32K is no joke.  You have to be at a certain physical level if you want to finish it in a decent time in decent condition.  While a personal best is the last thing on my mind now, one thing is clear: I have to insert at least one long run before the race.  This would give me an idea on how I may perform on Sunday.

I didn’t really have the luxury of time so I just decided to run at least 21K after office (basically a Saturday morning).  The route?  Well, the roads of Metro Manila!  I didn’t actually had a clear plan as to where as long as the distance and time is there.  Originally my plan was to start in UP-AyalaLand Technohub and end in SM Mall of Asia area, but everything else is open to changes.

Starting line

The first change I had was from running along East Ave. to Kalayaan Ave.  It is not a Sunday morning so road traffic is heavier, and so is air pollution so I had to avoid major roads as much as possible.  Then in was to Kamuning Rd., K-G St. (parallel to EDSA), and eventually exiting to EDSA via K-10th St.  Just after Nepa Q-Mart I once again left EDSA for Montreal St. which exits to Annapolis St. leading me to Araneta Center.

Ahhh, EDSA

Inevitably, I was back along EDSA, entering from Gen. McArthur Ave.  There wasn’t really a nearby parallel road that I’m familiar with in the area so it was all EDSA all the way to Ortigas Ave.  Unfortunately, you really have to take the pedestrian overpass in front of EDSA Shrine if you want to get across as the pedestrian crossing lane was already in the middle of Robinson’s Galleria (as I found out the hard way).  Since I’m already midway between EDSA and ADB Ave., the latter was the obvious choice.

EDSA People Power Monument, along EDSA

Running along ADB Ave. gave me a bit of nostalgia as it was my former running ground back when I was based in Ortigas Center.  The route that I’m taking (ADB Ave. – San Miguel Ave. – Sheridan) was my former route to BGC.  The difference though was that I always ran it after office (at night) and now, I’m doing it in broad daylight.  But for a change I decided to turn right on Reliance (where I’ve not ran before) eventually leading back to EDSA.

Ortigas Center

Saturday morning really isn’t the best time to run along EDSA.  I was able to run along EDSA before (and a few more times after), but it was never on a Saturday morning!  As I crossed the bridge over Pasig River I decided I just had enough of the smog and turned left to J.P. Rizal Extension—major change of plan, BGC it is!

From J.P. Rizal Extension it was right to Lawton Ave. and straight to 8th Ave. where fellow joggers abound.  Entering BGC felt like home!

There’s something “new” in the skyline 🙂

As arriving in BHS area became imminent, I realized that I still have time to spend.  If you’re in BGC and want to eat hills for breakfast, the obvious choice was to go to McKinley Hill!  So from BHS (via 7th Ave.) I went to McKinley Parkway, Rizal Drive, Old Lawton Ave., and out through Lawton Ave. (a different “Lawton” from the previous ones mentioned :D).

The gates of Manila American Cemetery & Memorial

I felt like forever since I last ran in McKinley Hill, and really do miss it.  Most of the construction works in the area are done so you wouldn’t be bathing in dust as you pass through.  And since my “finish line” was set for BHS and I wanted to include C.P. Garcia Ave. (C5) in my route, I did just that and returned to BGC via C5.  Inevitably I passed through the latest (and most controversial) mall in the area, SM Aura.

A small replica of the tower of Venice Piazza, located in McKinley Hill
This area looks like little Italy.  Most of the construction is done, but I noticed that the sidewalks here still is not that accessible.

I don’t really like how this structure looked, but I do appreciate the changes this mall brought to the area.  I used to run on the bridge going up to Market! Market! area, but now that the mall is around, the service road is now passable.  It just leads you though “underground.”

Where the service road leads…

And then there’s a pleasant “surprise.”  SM Aura had actually build a stairway on the side of the mall so from “down below” you can go back up to the street level of 26th St.—how convenient!

SM Aura’s “secret” passageway 🙂
View upstairs
View of the mall from the other side: kind of looked like a ship

The final routes of this “cramming” long run was 26th St., 9th Ave., and finally through Terra 28th.  It was so fun when I arrived in Terra 28th as the sprinklers were turned on!  It was like I was on a race with showers on the route!  It was really a fun way to end this long run.  And without really looking at my GPS device (Endomondo on iPhone5) I managed to complete my goal, racking up a total of 21.35K.

Terra 28th: my finish line 😀
My route via Endomondo

To everyone running Run United 2 on Sunday, good luck! 😀

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