Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!

Tomorrow will be the first day of 2009!!! When you look back at it, 2008 went by fairly quickly. It was a turbulent year --- so many challenges came upon us -- many of these challenges sprouted from excessive greed, religious intolerance and the mind-boggling audacity of politicians to fool the populace. We lost trust in the many institutions that were supposed to be the bastion of stability and protection. We pray that as 2009 comes in, saner heads will prevail and calm will be restored -- we all need it and we all need the hope that things will be brighter next year.

But there are bright spots!! One of them being the sport of running. Whatever the motivation, 2008 saw a tremendous resurgence in running -- as a means for fitness, as a serious sport and as an avenue for sponsors to demonstrate their wares. Month in and month out, week in and week out, we saw races being organized and we saw more and more people joining the ranks of runners.

It was a good year for me. I am grateful that I actually joined the thousands who took the plunge and started running. I'm taking advantage of this last post for 2008 to list down all the blessings that I've gotten from becoming a runner:
  • I started blogging -- Never in my wildest dream did I see myself blogging. What started out as a simple attempt to chronicle my steps and missteps in achieving fitness became a work of love that I began sharing with friends and, later on, with new friends who shared a common love -- running. It rekindled a long lost and repressed love for writing. Of course, blogging is also a commitment -- to update on time -- and I'm a bit behind this obligation. That's probably an entry in my New Year's Resolution, which will come after this segment.

  • I've rekindled and strengthened old friendships -- Running has allowed me to renew friendships with a number of people I've long lost touched with. They have become part and parcel of my life again through pictures in my blog. But, most of all, I've come to know my running buddies in different and stronger ways. Week in and week out, it was fun running with "Running Ma's" team!! While we knew each other through our professional lives, running together has allowed us to become much closer.

  • I've met new friends -- Friends who share the same passion and frustrations. Each person has a unique story to tell and individual goals. Some are elite athletes with extreme passions. Some are ordinary folks like me with simple goals and struggle like me to achieve our goals. Many have decided to also write their stories in blogs. Some have become celebrities and have gotten national and international attention. Some are my neighbors and some are far away. All have bonded together with a common love -- the love of running and of meeting fellow runners.

  • I became committed to fitness -- While I admit I'm far from being fit, I've also come a long way from my old ways. Now, fitness is becoming part of the lifestyle -- not just an obligation. It's still a challenge staying on track but I'm hooked and I want to continue on this road as long as I can.

  • And, the best part of all, my blood chemistry is now normal!!! While I did admit I'm far from being fit, the initial indication of its return is how the results of key blood elements are now within normal ranges. The usual suspects include cholesterol, triglycerides and uric acid. These have always been problem areas for me -- and that's why I hate going for my executive check-ups, aside from being poked up and down!!! But, this year, with a number of friends in trouble physically or dying early, it was a wake up call -- I had to go for my executive check-up. While I still hated the procedures, I was pleasantly surprised at the results. I hope that I can sustain this pattern -- it's still a challenge considering my "unhealthy" diet but I will surely try.
2009 will be a whole new year and a new point in my road to fitness. As I close 2008, I would like to set some goals for the next year. I remember early on in 2008, as I was talking with a couple of friends, including Jorge, I set my goal in a vague way -- to be the fittest I've ever been at 50. Jorge was the one who said that goals should be measurable and I honestly didn't know what to measure. Now, I'll set down some measurable goals for 2009:
  • Reach 190lbs and maintain my weight within plus or minus 2 lbs of this target

  • Run my first sub-30 minute 5K

  • Run my first sub-60 minute 10K

  • Run my first 21K

  • Maintain normal readings for my blood chemistry in 2009's Executive Check-up
The only thing I won't do is put a time measure on these goals -- they will all be accomplished in 2009. I'm confident I can do it within the year but I'm not confident I can push myself hard enough to commit to time goals.

So, as I wind down the festivities over the last few days of the holidays, I'm looking forward to restarting the training programs to complete the goals above. Sometime in 2009, these goals will now have a time measure. But, until then, I will take it one step, one kilometer at a time.

Here's wishing everyone a Happy, Safe and Healthy 2009. The New Year will present numerous challenges, especially on the economic front. But, let us all maintain our health and fitness to cope with all the stress we are about to experience. With fitness and health, we can overcome what is thrown our way. Besides, running will generate the endorphins which can help us feel better and give us a sense of well being. We'll need all the help we can get -- so, let's all go out and run!!! See you all at the races in 2009!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I know, I know -- I have been delinquent in updating my blog. The holidays and technical glitches with my camera have prevented me from keeping my blog up-to-date with my running exploits -- especially the last two 10K races in U.P. Mea Culpa! Will try to get the updates up in the next few days.

But, let me just take the opportunity to greet everyone -- all my friends and my newfound friends in running -- a very Merry Christmas! May your celebrations be filled with joy and meaning. Let us be thankful for all the blessings we were given this year. Take care and God bless!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Good Luck to All Singapore Marathon Participants!

Here's wishing the best of luck to all those running in the Singapore Marathon!!! Wish I could be there to experience this great event!! The good thing about this is that you can pig-out after your run with all the great food in the city-state!!
Some of my favorites:

Soup Place -- The best Hainanese Chicken place -- plenty of branches around the city, although the one I go to is the place behind the original Raffles Hotel (small, quaint place).

No Signboard Restaurant -- Great Chilli Crab!!! - there's a branch at the Esplanade at Raffles Avenue

But there are so many other great stuff to eat -- as long as you're willing to be adventurous, you'd be rewarded with great smells and tastes!!! I'm so inggit!!!

Good luck and, above all, Enjoy!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I remember the days
You keep me company
We celebrate life
We celebrate victories
We celebrate friendships

I also remember the days
You keep me company
You consoled me from failures
You consoled me from heartaches
You consoled me from betrayals

I remember the days
When the more I imbibe
The merrier I get

I also remember the days
When the more I imbibe
The more miserable I get

Through thick and thin
You've been there
Through ups and down
You've been there

Now, I must say adieu
For my body can no longer stand you
Oh for the chance to still savor the froth
Of your maltiness and pilsen breath

But alas, I must say adieu
For with you, I must suffer
Each bottle equates to painful gout

Adieu my friend, Adieu
Adieu Pale Pilsen and San Mig Light
Adieu Cervesa -- Adieu BEER!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Balance Power Race 2008 -- results

Ting just send us copies of the unofficial results of the New Balance Power Race 2008. You should be able to review it at the Extribe website I'm not sure why they still labeled it "unofficial".

Anyway, I was a little surprised with my time -- I was expecting around 1 hour 18 minutes. I ended up with 1:16:46!!! I was originally targeting a 1:15 run but I'm happy -- the hilly portions of the run really took its toll. I guess I needed more workouts in Baguio!! Too bad it's so far away. This just means I really need more hills training.

Ting and her alagas also posted respectable times:

Allan (Serge) Esguerra - 1:00:45 for his 10K run
Rico Ibana - 2:27:08 - 25K
Ed Francisco - 2:29:54 - 25K
Ting Pascual - 2:58:03 -- her first 25K!!!

It was a great weekend. I'm just down with strained knees and hamstrings. Hope to bounce back later this week for some training runs. No racing this weekend -- too many commitments. I guess it's a good time to recover from my first 10K.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Towards my 1st 10k - part 4 -- More pictures of the NB Power Race 2008

I took the opportunity to also capture pictures of runner/bloggers and other friends that I know or recognized during the finish.

My friend and fellow I.T. practicioner, Adi Cruz, also ran the 10K race but stuck around at the finish line waiting for his daughter to finish her 25K run!! I understand she had completed her full marathon during the last Milo Marathon. One of these days!! he! he!

Jay Nacino, a.k.a. Prometheus Commeth, had a strong finish with his 25K

Bald Runner was one of the early finishers!! Definitely my idol -- his accomplishments as a runner are definitely to aspire for.

I recognized Ibanrunner from pictures in his blog. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to meet up with him. Looked like a good finish too.

Bull Runner (Jaymie), Coach Rio and Doray coming in as a group. Rio's hair, as it swayed with the wind, was definitely a sight!! I was so focused on Rio and Doray, I missed out Jaymie just behind them. I wasn't able to get a good shot of Jaymie until she was passing me by already -- sorry!!

There's Dindo - aka RunningDatCom -- with his patented head gear finishing another great 25K run.

Towards my 1st 10K - part 3 - Sights Around the NB Power Race 2008

After running my first 10K, I stayed around to catch my running buddies with my camera. Ting, Ed and Rico were all running the 25K. Fortunately for them, I would be at the Finished Line recording the event. Unfortunately for me -- no other pictures for my own 10K!! he! he!

Waiting At the Finish Line

Allan and Essh with me at the Finish Line
Jason Yuvienco and his lovely girl friend -- Jason works for SAS. It was a surprise for both of us seeing each other at the race!!

Post-race Activities

Post-race cool down and stretching activities c/o Fitness First

Post-recovery Stretching Services provided by UERM Physical Therapists

You can have your feet checked to determined appropriate shoe model -- service provided by New Balance

Run Buddies and their Finishes

Rico Ibana was the first to arrive -- and he looked like he was till ready to run another round.

Ed Franicsco also had a strong finish. Later I found out he was still going to play basketball afterwards -- really a Superman Ed!!

Ting finally finished her first 25K!!! A great accomplishment!! Now my buddies have graduated to longer distances and have left me behind!! he! he!

High-powered IBM executive and New York Marathon finisher, Jajo Quintos, also had a strong finish for his 25K. He had a great smile at the finish sensing me at the camera!!

Finished Line Pictures for everyone!!! Great job everyone!!

Towards my 1st 10K - part 2 -- the NB Power Race 2008 - Clark Freeport Zone

It's Race Day -- November 16 -- and we're at Clark Freeport Zone. It's my first time to run in Clark and my first time to run a 10K distance. I feel all sorts of emotions -- I'm scared, I'm jubilant, I'm apprehensive and excited!!!

The night before, I was able to have dinner with Allan Esguerra and his lovely girlfriend, Essh. We had dinner at the Korean restaurant inside Mimosa. Food was good and the company was great!! I was supposed to have dinner with Wayne (sfrunner) and Gene Ordanza but they were invited by Tanya to visit Tarlac. So, I ended up seeing Wayne only on race day. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see Wayne the whole week he was here because of my planning conference in Baguio.

Having a nice Korean dinner with Allan and his girlfriend, Essh

Essh is such an interesting person with an equally interesting story about her. I was gonna write about her story but I'll refrain for awhile until I get some pictures from Allan and get her permission to post!!

I also had a nightcap with Jay (Prometheus Cometh) and his lovely wife Angel. In my hurry to pack for my Baguio trip, I forgot my hydration belt. Thankfully, Jay agreed to bring it along as he was also staying at the Holiday Inn. It was a good nightcap before retiring -- I needed the help to get to sleep.

Race day morning came and I woke up at 4:00am. By 5:00am I was at the registration area. Parking was starting to fill up. I brought by camera with me to try and capture pictures of the pre-race excitement. I took a few -- capturing many of the 25K runners who had to get their RFID tags. I saw Dindo (RunningDATC) and finally met up with Wayne and Gene. I also met a number of other runners/bloggers including Doray and Jinoe. Sorry, there were so many I didn't remember all the names.

The 25K runners lining for their RFID tags

With Wayne, Gene and Dindo before proceeding to the Starting Line

After taking a few more pictures, I gave up and decided to return my camera to my car -- I brought along my big SLR and didn't want to bring it with me while running. I think I'm gonna reward myself at Christmas with a new point-and-shoot camera so that I can bring it with while running!! he! he!

Pretty soon, we were all getting inside the starting area. The 25K runners were gonna start off ahead of the 10K runners. Start was a little late -- instead of 5:30am for 25K, they took off at around 5:45am and we started after a few minutes later.

I had conflicting views about the race route -- some said it was relatively flat but others said it would be a hilly challenge. We'd soon find out which one is right. Unfortunately, the hills prevailed. Immediately after the first 1.5K, we encountered our first hill. While the Baguio training helped, I knew I was in trouble when the 2nd hill came up. That was when I took my first walk break. It was a good thing it was after the 2.5K mark, where the water station was situated. The water helped and I restarted after the hill. At the 4K mark, we were presented with a long downhill stretch.

I kept on thinking that while the downhill was great in helping me recover, what goes down must come up!!! he! he! At the 5K turn, I got my water bottle and headed back up. This time, it was painful all the way -- I knew it was a 1Km uphill climb -- a sustained uphill climb!!! So, this was were I took my second walk-break. And it was only the 6K mark!!

Upon reaching the 7K marker, I restarted running -- it was a continuous challenge to stay running. I had probably one more walking break before reaching the 1.5K to go mark. This time, I just hardened my resolved and kept running until I reached the finished line. 10K run complete!! I time myself around 1 hour 18 minutes. I hope my official time will be around that mark as well.

The Finish Lines were well-organized. The 10K finish had 5 chutes based on the letter attached to your bib number. The 25K finish had the RFID transponders ready to capture the moment. Medals were given to all finishers.

I walked around to cool down and chatted with Wayne and some other members of Happy Feet for awhile. But, I knew my knee was going to suffer -- but I'm relieved I accomplished what I set out to do -- finished my first 10K.

Kudos to the organizers -- it was one of the best organized races I've joined!!! The course was challenging, the race markers were large and plentiful. Water stations were properly stationed at each 2.5K mark. The weather cooperated -- it was overcast and cool all throughout the race!! It was definitely a fantastic experience -- perfect for my first 10K.