Posts Tagged ‘Katipunan Ave.

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!

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!

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.

10
Apr
09

LSD: Commonwealth to BHS via Katipunan – C5

My first LSD on a weekday and on a double holiday (Maundy Thursday and Araw ng Kagitingan), this route is basically an alternate way for me from home to work, and also towards the place where I fell in love with running—Bonifacio Global City.  This is my first time to run this route so it adds to its sense of adventure.

My LSD route

My LSD route

I started across Commonwealth Market and ran along Commonwealth Ave., turned left towards Katipunan Ave., traced my way towards C5, and eventually reached Bonifacio Global City.

Panoramic view of Katipunan Ave.

Panoramic view of Katipunan Ave.

Commonwealth Ave. in general has good sidewalk spaces. Katipunan Ave. on the other hand varies, some areas have excellent sidewalks, some are uneven, some are wet with a lot of loose rocks, and some have occasional obstructions but in general is adequate.  C5 Pasig area has useless sidewalks—it looked like sidewalks were made for plants that nobody seemed to care for.  The only good sidewalks of C5 in Pasig were those around Tiendesitas and near Pasig River.  Across the river is Taguig City where sidewalks were surprisingly better.  It just gradually looses width until it virtually disappears as you near Fort Bonifacio.  It was only within the Global City where sidewalks are generous.  I hope that the proper authorities address this issue to encourage everyone to walk to a healthier lifestyle.

A section of Katipunan Ave.

A section of Katipunan Ave.

This was my pit stop before heading off to C5

This was my pit stop before heading off to C5

My thoughts exactly

My thoughts exactly

One of the elevated U-turns along C5

One of the elevated U-turns along C5

Bonifacio High Street was a good place to end this LSD.  It was where I started running so it’s always a pleasure for me to go there.  Being a Maundy Thursday, BHS was virtually empty—you get to see it in “maintenance mode,” most stores was closed, and there are hardly any people around—peace and quiet.

Km 20 for this LSD

Km 20 for this LSD

This is how a sidewalk should be

This is how a sidewalk should be

Km 23—the end for this LSD

Km 23—the end for this LSD

I surely wanted to run a bit longer but unfortunately I started later than planned so by the time I was in BHS it was too warm.  It’s already summer in the Philippines so prolonged sun exposure is a concern, so running later than 8AM is not advisable.  In the end I managed to complete 23K for this LSD.

BHS—a good place to end an LSD

BHS—a good place to end an LSD

Street markers—new installations around BHS

Street markers—new installations around BHS




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