Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Men's Health Miracle Run Report

I've taken a longer time to post this report -- the jet lag, the catching up with work and also the dealing with a foot injury that has kept me in pain for most of the week. I've been ignoring a small throbbing pain in my left foot for the last few weeks but I guess when you ignore signals from your body, it comes back with a vengence to get your attention. I've also pushed myself a little too far by also playing basketball immediately after the 5K run last Sunday. The result was the worsening of the tendinitis of the left foot -- primarily the posterior tibial tendon -- which I needed to nurse this whole week with ice baths, creams and pain killers. I'm still not fully well and that probably means not running for awhile until it gets better. I guess I really have to listen to my body and pay attention. I do hope to get back to running soon.

After almost 3 weeks in the U.S., I touched down in Manila on Thursday, August 14, late in the evening on NW 01 from Los Angeles. I was fortunate to have landed just before a 4-day long weekend. It gave me the opportunity to acclimatize myself to Manila time again just before the Men's Health Miracle Run on Sunday, August 17. I thought I should be fairly in shape given the running I did around the roads and hills of Laguna Niguel, Orange County, where my sister lives. Somehow, it didn't quite translate as so. I tried putting in a run on Friday morning but I manage to eke out a 2Km run before feeling quite fatigued. I guess it's part of the jet lag. Still, I think I should be able to do well on the Sunday run.

The Men's Health Miracle Run is supposed to be a 10K run. If 1,000 runners join and ran 10K each, we would reach the target -- 10,000 km. Each finisher would mean a P200 donation to the GMA Kapuso Foundation. Okay -- so it's with the rival network, but, what the heck, it is for a good cause!! There were two options for joining -- the first is for a runner to complete the whole 10K course and the 2nd is for a tandem of 2 runners to complete 5K each. I chose to run the tandem race. This time, I was paired with Lauren, a member of the BayanTrade Running Club.

I woke up before 4:30am on Sunday -- due in part to jet lag. I was told the race would start at 6:00am but it was actually scheduled for 6:30am. I was at the Starting Line behind the NBC Tent before 5:30am. I was supposed to meet up with Lauren and Ting there to pick up my race packet since they registered me while I was still in the States.

I believe there were 2 other events scheduled that day -- one was Takbo Bayani and another race was supposed to be at U.P. - the Run for Your Life: Passed the Picture Based Health Warning Bill. As such, I noticed that there weren't a lot of runners compared to previous events at the Fort. Still, there was a festive atmosphere at the site.

Both Ting and Lauren were running late -- it was almost 5:45am when I caught up with them and got my race packet. The other BayanTrade runners started trickling in soon afterwards. Ting decided that it was time to make a comeback after the long hiatus because of her hip injury. She was given the green light by both her doctor and trainer. As a testament to her pent-up desire to run -- she decided it was time to run a full 10K!! That means that I was the only one left in the 5K corral!! he! he! Rico was also there to run the full 10K.

The race started fairly on time at around 6:30ish. The 1st runner of each tandem team was supposed to start with the 10K runners. The 2nd runner was supposed to wait at the holding area and start when the 1st runner completes the 5K. Unfortunately, the sun was now high above and it was getting hot. Lauren and the other Bayantrade tandem runners decided that we should just all run together and complete the 5K at the same time because it would have been really hot by the time they actually started their leg. Of course, that means we didn't follow the rules and as such we officially did not finish -- no actual finishing time. Oh well -- we all just wanted to run anyway.

The course was supposed to be fairly flat -- instead of passing through the hills around McKinley Hills and the Philippine Army Headquarters, it went through the International Schools area. But, somehow, the heat became a factor -- inspite of adequate Gatorade stations. I paced myself as best as I could but at the u-turn point at International School way, I knew it was going to be a difficult race for me. It was only through sheer mental control that I continued running without stopping. When I reached the finished line and stopped my watch, I was happy to have bettered my San Francisco Marathon 5K time -- I finished with 34:14.

My BayanTrade runmates were already at the finished line and that was when they told me that our race would not be counted because both runners in our tandem started at the same time. I also saw some familiar faces in the crowd -- Ellen Cayanan and her beau Bong Zandueta, as well as one of our co-Finex basketball players, Allan Esguerra, who also decided to run a race first before playing in the basketball game later.

I stuck around and waited for Rico and Ting to finish. Rico was the first one to appear less than 20 minutes later. He also felt the heat impacted on his performance -- he said he already went below 50 minutes for a 10K but this time it was not a new PR. We both waited for Ting and at around 15 minutes later, we spotted her on the home stretch. She was told she finished at around 1 hour 16 minutes -- pretty good for her first try at the 10K distance!

After the race, we went for our usual post-race breakfast. This time we decided to go to UCC Coffee Shop. I was able to hand over Ting's Aquajogger belt which she ordered actually for all of us via the Internet but only the first 2 belts arrived in time for me to bring home. But, I guess, now that she is well enough to run the 10K, she actually doesn't need the aquabelt anymore!! I also gave Rico and Ting their own San Francisco Marathon souvenir caps. We're talking about running with the same caps in the next race. Should be a good photo-op!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Green for Life Run

As early as now, we are posting January 25, 2009, as our target date to host the 1st Green For Life Run -- a project of the Lasallian Institute for the Environment (L.I.F.E.) and the 1 Million Trees Project.

La Salle is known for its Green color -- we believe it is the color of LIFE!! We also believe that protecting the environment is extremely important -- to save our planet, our country and provide a place of hope to live in for the next generations. That's the reason why L.I.F.E. was formed and why De La Salle Philippines has championed the 1 Million Trees project as a priority and flagship project. 1 Million Trees aims to plant 1 Million Trees by 2011 -- 2011 being the centennial anniversary of the Lasallian Brothers in the Philippines and DLSU as an institute.

What better way to generate awareness in environmental concerns than to organize the First Green For Live Run!!

For La Salle -- Green is our Color -- but Green is also the color of the Environment!! We hope everyone -- whether Lasallian or not -- will take up the cudgels and run in our Green For Life run!! We look forward to seeing you at the run and help start a movement for the protection of our planet. Green for Life!! Animo La Salle! Animo All!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Best Weekend for the Gang

With all of us participating in different races this first weekend of August, it takes Run Ma to glue all the accounts together -- and what a weekend it was. Article written by Ting Pascual - our Run Ma.

The start of August 2008, considered by some to be a ghost month seems to have started well for the Running group of Run Ma. It was a weekend of firsts and new PR (personal records) for everyone. Of course, as I write did, I did nothing more than watch again from the sidelines, sigh…

August 2 was a big day for Rico. He did the Olympic distance triathlon event at Subic. Olympic distance is 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run. Timing was not so good for Rico since he injured his thigh and shoulder from a bike accident the weekend before the big day. Nonetheless, he ended the event with a new PR of 2:56:42!!! He placed 23/71 runners while Fernando Zobel was 24th. Rico who normally goes up the podium for most tri events with age group 46 to 50 was complaining since the age group at Subic was 40 to 29. He should have ended a podium finisher if it was the usual age group.

On August 3, the group was split into 3 run events – Fun Run in support of autism at Fort Bonifacio, the Milo Marathon at Manila and the SF Marathon at SF, USA. Dante participated in the Fort run and did broke his PR of 0:29:03 for a 5k run to finish at 0:25:14!!! What a run!!! Time to move up to 10k Dante! Dante said the rain and the flat terrain helped make this major improvement in his 5k performance.

Dante and Bayantrade Running Gang

On the same day, August 3, the gang was surprised to learn that Ed participated in the Milo Marathon. Not for the 10k event but for the full marathon. He prepared for 5 weeks only! Very aggressive considering he has not even participated in any half marathon event. He attempted to register twice for a half marathon but this distance seems to be elusive and he was not able to do both so he decided to move on to a full marathon. His determination and training paid off, he completed the 42k distance in an official time of 5:02:52! What a feat for a first time marathoner.

Ed's First Time Full Marathon Experience!!

Too bad, the rain was too strong for Run Ma to take any photos of Dante nor Ed. (Photos of Dante from Bayantrade Gang were given after article was submitted. Moy also sent me additional photos of Ed later.) Rain was very welcome though as it helped improve the time of both runners as you can see from the results.

At San Francisco, Johnny sent an SMS message to Run Ma to complain about how cold it was during the SF Marathon event. Full documentation of the event is on his blog with matching photos. What an experience for Johnny to be able to participate in a run abroad. Another PR set!!! From Johnny’s 0:37:41 best 5k time to 0:34:19 and he was not even ready for the super cold weather during the run.

What a good weekend for everyone. Results would have made any mom proud!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Running Cool - that's the San Francisco Marathon - Part II

One of the things I was looking forward to when I decided to run at the San Francisco Marathon is to also experience how technology helps with race event management. All the runners in this race were given a disposal RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Chip Strip – called the D-Tag. The name comes from the D-shape it makes after proper installation on your shoe laces.

The D-Tag must be placed along the shoe-lace

With this D-Tag strip, each racer in the Marathon and Half-Marathon actually gets a more accurate reading of his/her race time – the time doesn’t start until you actually cross the start line and stops when you cross the finish line – unlike our mass starts where everyone, whether you’re in front or in the back, has the same start time. I thought the 5K runners will have the same experience but I discovered that for the 5K runners, it was a mass same time start although individual finishes were chip-based. The other advantage of the D-Tag strip is that official results can be posted on the same day as the race!!!

Okay, so all the full and half-marathon runners were off – the 5K and Progressive Marathon runners were the only ones left. The Progressive Marathon event is a novel idea – one can actually run the full-marathon distance (26.2 miles) over a period of weeks or months while finishing the last 3.1miles during the 5K run!! You keep track of your mileage in an Interval Sheet that you submit to the race organizers when you get your bib. And when you finish at the 5K run, you actually get a Progressive Marathon Finisher’s Medal!! 5K runners don’t get finisher medals.

Getting ready for the start of the 5K race

So, it was time for us to run. It was close to 7:45am. We were now inside the starting chute, which was a few meters away from the Marathon/Half-Marathon Start Line. I was still being followed by the TFC camera man -- additional footages for background! The weather warmed up a bit and I decided to take off my jacket and tie it around my waist. At a little past 7:50am, our race officially started.

The disadvantage of a mass start is that you get everyone at different paces, both running and walking, in front of you. Quite a number of walkers were side by side – trying to overtake them was an exercise in nimbleness and patience.

Quite a number of cause-base running/walking groups. This one supporting the fight against Parkinson's Disease

After rounding the first turn on our way towards the AT&T Park, the lanes opened up a bit and I was able to start a more regular pace. I felt good --while I don’t have the fancy timepieces that measures pacing, I thought I was doing okay. However, the slight warmth at the start disappeared and with the wind blowing, it started to get chilly again. I thought that as I ran, I would have warmed up – it actually didn’t happen and the cold became a factor in the run.

After the 1 Mile point, it started getting harder. I could feel my legs getting stiff and my shins started a slight ache. It was a major mental effort to keep running. Unfortunately, as I hit a water station, I actually had to start walking as I sipped the water. I trotted on again a few seconds after the walk. But, before reaching the turn at AT&T Park, I gave in and walked for a few seconds before forcing myself to run again at the turn.

After that turn, it was all mental – I started counting my pace tagged to the lamp posts – I count every step and reset the count every time I hit another post. I had to do this all the way until I saw the Finish Line. Mentally, it allowed me to keep on running as every post was a new beginning. It was good seeing Wayne at the Finishing Chute – it help spurred me on – finishing at a run.

At the Finish, we were given bananas, drinks, energy bars and other food goodies. That’s where Wayne and I had our post race picture. Wayne did tell me about his disappointing finish but I believe a strategic retreat is sometimes necessary for long term victory! Listening to your body helps prevent injuries and allow one to bounce back again.

Flashing the V-sign -- Finished a race on North American soil -- inspired by SFRunner

So, I checked the race website for the official results – and yep, it was already up. I did 34:19! Could have been better but what the heck – I’m a tourist runner this race – the time wasn’t as important as the experience. And what an experience this has been! And that is why we keep doing this!!

My official time for this race, posted on the website within the day!!!

Running Cool - that's the San Francisco Marathon - Part I

I keep asking the question -- Why do I do this? Today, I woke up at 3am -- I remember the days when 3am was when I got home! Thank God I'm still on Boston time -- that means 3am in San Francisco is 6am in Boston. When you look at it this way, it was not bad at all.

I wanted to be early at the race venue -- for one thing, I wasn't sure about the parking conditions and I wanted to get an assured slot somewhere, and 2nd, I wanted to catch Wayne (SFRunner) before he started off on his wave.

It was still dark and the lights at the Bay Bridge were still on. A cold start to race day!

The thing about San Francisco at 4:30am is that is it cold -- at least by my thin-blood standard! It was probably in the high 50s or low 60s ºF. I wore my black singlet with my number attached, a t-shirt over it and a jacket on top. I was planning on going back to my car before the 5K race started and strip down to the singlet. Of course, that never materialized -- more about that later.

At the Starting Line way before any of the runners queued up.

It was a long walk towards the starting line from the parking lot where I left my car -- a good slow warm-up. I was looking for Wayne but I didn't see him or couldn't recognize him in the crowd. An amazing sight appeared in front of me -- there was a row of Portalets on the sidewalk and you could see lines and lines of runners waiting to get in!!!

Portalet Queues -- These were busy before the start of the race!!

I knew Wayne was in Wave 3 so I decided to hang around that area to see if I could catch him. Fortunately, I saw a familiar silhouette -- I called out to Wayne and he turned and smiled. We met up with one of his friends, Greg, who is running his first marathon since surviving prostate cancer -- another runner’s moving story. We took a couple of pictures and then Wayne went back in to finish warming up before the start of his wave.

Wayne and his friend, Greg

Greg took our picture but his hands were a bit shaky!

I stayed behind to take pictures of the first few waves as they started their run. They organized the different waves based on your best marathon or half-marathon times. As such, the first wave was made up of the elite runners and so on and so forth. There were a total of 8 waves.

Runners became a blur as the First Wave started their race

Around the 5th wave, I happened upon a few Filipinos and approached them. Surprise, surprise!! It turned out to be a TV crew from TFC -- The Filipino Channel -- ABS-CBN's connection to the rest of the world! My co-KAPAMILYA!!! They were covering a celebrity Filipina runner here in San Francisco. I was introduced to Rosemarie St. Pierre (I hope I got it correct). Turned out she's another success story in running. She is a teacher but used to be obese -- over 210 lbs -- when she started her journey in running. Today, she's 110 pounds and runs marathons!! The TFC crew was covering this for Adobo Nation, a television program focused on Overseas Filipinos with significant achievements.

The Running Success -- 210lbs to 110lbs due to running -- Rosemarie St. Pierre

When the host, Jaja Bolivar, found out I was from Manila, ABS-CBN at that, and heard that I came all the way here to run in the San Francisco Marathon, I became the object of a television interview!!! Imagine that, I had to come all the way to San Francisco to actually get on-cam!!

Adobo Nation host Jaja Bolivar with a me in a souvenir shot. If she looks familiar, she used to come out in Wazzup! Wazzup! on Studio 23.

The camera crew -- Chris and Benrose!! Galing, waking up to be around by 5am!

Soon, it was down to the last wave – wave number 8. Towards the end, with the bulk of the runners already off, there were still a number of stragglers who were being coaxed to start their run – they have to cross the starting line so that their times could actually starting recording. When the last runners were off, I saw a familiar figure – I called out BALD RUNNER!! – he turned around and waved!! He and his family were one of the last to actually start the San Francisco Marathon!! Unfortunately, that was my brief interaction with him and I didn't have my camera ready -- sorry, no pictures. I guess I’ll have to wait for him back in Manila to actually talk.

We were now in a one-hour break before the start of the 5K race. I’ll stop here. Will post the continuation later.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Touchdown - San Francisco -- and straight to the San Francisco Marathon Expo

After 5 days of brain microwaving sessions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, I'm now in San Francisco for some needed mental relaxation -- but sprinkled with our own brand of physical exertion -- running a race!! I guess we all have our masochistic sides!! he! he!

Anyway, my original plan was to check into my hotel first after leaving the airport before heading downtown to the Embarcadero to get my race packet. But, Northwest took quite some time to get my bags out. As such, after getting my rental from Thrifty, I decided to head straight to the Expo site -- I didn't want to lose the chance to get my race packet today and explore the Race Expo itself. I'm glad I did because I found out the Expo was closing at 5pm today and won't be open tomorrow, race day. Likewise, there was a huge traffic jam at the tail end of HW101 before turning into the Bay Bridge area.

Anyway, I finally got into the parking lot of the Expo before 4pm. It's my first time to attend a Marathon Expo and I was delighted to see the various booths selling all kinds of running gear. I went straight to the back to get my bib number and race packet. I understand that they have reached 20,000 runners already for tomorrow -- that's what I call WOW!!!

That's me in front of the SF Marathon Expo Entrance

The registration and race packet pick-up center was way, way in the back!!

A lot of people were still registering or picking up their bib numbers

Pretty organized -- get your bib number and then get your T-shirt and you're done!

Number 50563 -- that's me -- gray for the 5K

After getting my packet, I called up SFRunner and worked out arrangements to meet up front in 30 minutes. I used the time to explore the booths -- actually made a number of purchases as they were giving out nice discounts on many of the goodies. I couldn't resist getting a personalized bib number t-shirt for souvenir. Unfortunately, I'm saving my full shopping for my next destination -- Orange County where my sister lives. So, aside from the few souvenir purchases, I had to restrain myself from plucking up more bargains -- the shoes were really nice bargains -- but I had to discipline myself! Sigh!!

The Expo was pretty big with numerous booths -- running gear and other marathon events

Anyway, SFrunner and I finally met up at the front gate -- it was like two long lost brothers finally seeing each other. Wayne was gracious as a host -- he introduced me to the people at Metro Sports where he worked. Great people who were so welcoming when they greeted me.

SFRunner in the flesh!! Sorry, my camera hand was a little shaky!

Wayne and I proceeded to Victor's Pizza to have an early dinner. We both ordered pasta -- he needed his carbo for his full marathon but I knew I'll need all the help even for my 5K. We had a good time exchanging notes about running and racing and about the Philippines. Soon, it was time for me to head back to my hotel -- which is still quite a long way out in Burlingame.

Anyway, tomorrow is race day!! Exciting!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

More of Dante's Run at the Robinson's Buddy Run

All the buddy runners at the Starting Gate

Dante with his BayanTrade Runners

I wonder if Dante was negotiating to have a solo escort till the end!

And waiting for the actual start -- at least still fresh!