Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's OctoberRun 2008!!!

"We all age -- but there is no excuse to feel old!!"

My friend Jorge Buenaventura shared this piece of wisdom with me today -- right at the finish line of the OctoberRun at Bonifacio Global City -- organized by The Fort Striders. He revealed that another friend, Dave de Leon, made a study of the performances of runners versus their age and showed that age is not a reason for not doing well -- even in runs. He also mentioned that since he took up running January of this year, he has never felt better in years!!! As such, he continues, there is no excuse to feel 48, 49 or 50!!!

I can believe this -- given the articles about running slowing down the aging process. Except that I probably got the short end of the stick when God handed out favors for runners -- he! he! No, it just means I need to train and train and train. And unfortunately, this week was a week without any training!!!

So, it was with a slight trepidation that I faced the starting line at today's race. The Fort Striders showed they knew their stuff when it comes to organizing races -- the course was well plotted, you had plenty of marshalls and water stations, and you have a great crowd of runners -- all conditions for a great run!!! It was up to the runner to do his best and finish. And that was my goal today -- finish, and hopefully, respectably.

Me, Dante and Ting, taking a few shots before heading into the starting pit.

Jorge, Dante, Ting and I making running newbie, Raymond Yap, feel at home before the start of his first 5K! Congratulations for finishing Raymond!!! Hope to see more of you in future races -- Mama Ting will make sure of this.

The 10K runners started off first, followed by 5K and 3K runners with a 5 minute gap per group. Dante, Ting and Ed were all running the 10K -- Dante decided it was time to move up -- after running only 5K races for so many months -- that left me as the only one in the 5K category!! Fortunately, Jorge was using this as one of his recovery runs from his 21K last Adidas KOTR -- as such, he was running in the 5K category. He also dragged along several members of his First Data family, including good friend Raymond Yap.

When our 5K turn came up, I started off strong. The route was familiar -- turning left into 5th Avenue and up the hill towards Essensa and making a u-turn at the corner before Bayani Road before heading back. The 10K runners would continue left until the Heritage Park before their return leg. I still felt strong at the u-turn but I got into a bit of mental trouble near the water station close to Essensa. So, I ended up with a short walk before reaching the water station. I grabbed a cup of water, gulp down the water before resuming my running.

This time, I kept focused and finished the rest of the race without any more stopping. I finished with an unofficial time of 34.03 -- disappointing since I've been breaking 34 minutes the last 2 race. I guess the lack of training was really evident. Now I'm worried for my New Balance race in Clark -- that will be my first 10K run. I have 3 more weeks -- I better buckle down and train!!

I don't have as many pictures this time. I brought my SLR with me but when I was about to start shooting, I found out that my daughter didn't return the SD Card that she borrowed last week. I ended up with a useless camera and settled for my phone camera. I took a few pictures before and after the race -- but it was disappointing not to be able to take my usual photo recording of the event.

Jorge in a tender moment with his son, Raymond, who also joined the 5K run.

After the race, I was able to see/meet familiar and new faces. I finally introduced myself to Jovie (Bald Runner) and Philip (Foreign Runner). I was fortunate also to be introduced to Lance Gokongwei and Fernando Zobel as they were having breakfast at Starbucks with friends Jajo Quintos and Nina Huang; they're all familiar faces in the running scene, this time running in the 10K race. I also said hi to Jay (Prometheus Commeth), Coach Rio and Alan Esguerra. Of course, without my usual camera ready, no pictures -- next time, hopefully.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Botak Paa-Bilisan Run

I was excited to wake up on Sunday, October 19, 2008. It's the Botak-Paa Bilisan run at Bonifacio Global City. I was excited because I felt that I was ready to run -- despite having spent 3 days at Subic attending the Microsoft CIO Summit. I had two training runs prior to the Subic trip and my last one was a comfortable run up to 40 minutes -- which was the longest I've run without stopping since returning to the running scene after my 1 1/2 months layoff.

I had a little apprehension, though, since the Subic trip was tiring. I just hoped that my training depth will take me through. I was also a little worried as I seemed to have caught the early stage of a cold -- I was experiencing phlegm and coughing. But, I wanted to do this and nothing was going to stop me.

Mama Ting had my race package and we decided to meet up behind the NBC tent at around 5:30. When I arrived around the area, I saw that they had the open space near the NBC tent open for parking. I had just texted Ting that I was already in the area when she responded quickly that she was in the area as well. I took out my camera and walked towards the starting area and saw Ting coming out of her car. I put on my race bib and went around to take some pictures.

Mama Ting, early in at the parking lot, getting ready for the 10K race

It was sea of Orange and White -- a big crowd ready to run!
Running sisters, Jeanne and Jenine Ngo, friends of Ting

It was a sea of orange and white -- the Botak singlet was definitely shining brightly. Since I got my singlet only that day, I was wearing my Adidas black and yellow singlet. I guess, this would make me stand out when the various cameras start clicking!! he! he!

The race started a little after 6am -- all racers from the 3 categories (3K, 5K and 10K) doing a mass start. The usual navigating through slow runners and walkers happened. At the corner of 26th Street and 5th Avenue, the group split up -- the 5K and 10K runners turning left towards the McKinley Road area while the 3K runners continued forward.

Having ran the Adidas route previously, I immediately saw I was going to experience a different challenge. Right after turning left into 5th Avenue, you are presented an uphill climb all the way up until the Essensa Condominium. The Adidas run was relatively flatter -- I guess that's why I finished at a faster clip, despite walking a few meters. The challenge was to maintain focus until the u-turn -- the return path would definitely be a more downhill route. I'm glad this was the early part -- I guess it would be a challenge for the 10K runners as they will traverse the same route twice!!

Upon reaching the same corner of 26th Street and 5th Avenue, we then turned left and ran the same route of the 3K race. I was disappointed when I reached a water station near the Jollibee store near 32nd Street -- No more water!!! -- looks like the 3K runners consumed all the supply -- what's going to happen to the 10K runners?!? I was surprised to feel being parched -- I guess the heat and my early cold was making me dehydrated faster.

The rest of the way was mentally challenging -- I desperately wanted to finish this race without stopping. I went back to counting strides to maintain focus. Pretty soon, we were turning right into 11th Street at the back of Serendra -- almost there, I said to myself. I thought we were going to turn right immediately after Bonifacio High Street, but I was wrong -- we still had to run the stretch from 26th Street until the NBC Tent area. I sucked it in and continued without stopping. Pretty soon, I was at the corner and the Finish line was in sight -- and I did it!!! No stopping this time. In my excitement, I forgot all about my watch -- by the time I hit stop, it was already at 34.02. So, I estimate my time to be between 33.40 to 33.50. I think it would be slower than the Adidas run, but this time, there was no stopping and there was the uphill stretch. So, I'm happy!!

At the Finish Line -- finally got someone to take my picture!

The BayanTrade Runners -- 27 runners this time, a new record!! Unfortunately, Dante, their boss, is traveling in Europe.

I stayed on to take more pictures, including the finishes of Ting and Ed.

Ed doing a great finishing kick with his 10K run -- should be good PR

Ting coming in a few minutes later -- and fresh enough to do another 10K!

I caught another friend as he was finishing his 10K run -- Allan Esguerra. He was with us in the Finex Basketball tournament and the running bug has bitten him as well.

Allan finishing his own 10K run

There were a few interesting sidelights during the event -- We had our version of Captain America -- Capitan Pilipinas -- who wore a strange outfit without a flag cape; There were two celebrities who went up the stage to talk about the causes -- saving kids with nutrition and education -- Karen Davila of ABS-CBN and Miriam Quiambao of GMA7 (two rival TV stations); and a team of Star Wars Storm Troopers who finished the race in their costume!!

Capitan Pilipinas with his costume!!

ABS-CBN News Personality Karen Davila asking for support for World Vision and aid to the children.

GMA7 Personality and former beauty queen Miriam Quiambao giving her congratulations and asking for support for kids' causes as well. She actually ran the 3K race.

It was Star Wars at the races -- a group of Storm Troopers completed their run and attracted a crowd!

We didn't have breakfast today as Ting wanted to continue training for her 25K. No worries as I ended having my favorite Chinese breakfast at Gloria Maris in Greenhills -- congee and dimsum. A reward for this run -- ha! ha!

Unfortunately, I'm now nursing my cold -- which worsened after pushing myself -- but, I'm sure I'll bounce back soon. It's just the cumulative effect of long nights and the run. Ain't no spring chicken anymore -- he! he! Next week, Mama Ting has us registered for the OctoberRUN Festival. And, I've decided to register for the New Balance 10K Run at Clark on Nov. 16 -- as such, I have to start training for the higher mileage!! Wish me luck!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Running at the Adidas KOTR

It's a Saturday!! I'm running today and it feels so weird. My Saturdays are normally golf days but today is one of the biggest running event of the year -- the Adidas King of the Road race. I would have wanted this to be my graduation race -- to move up from 5Ks to a 10K at least -- but, the 1 1/2 months layoff just derailed the plan. Instead, this has become another one of my back-to-form runs. But, whatever the outcome, it was fantastic imbibing the atmosphere of a really well-organized event.

Mama Ting has been prodding all of us to stay in the running circuit and she, as usual, took care of all the registration logistics -- otherwise, it might have been another golf day or worst, a stay-at-home day!! We agreed to meet at The Fort at around 5:30am since the race will start at 6am. By the time I arrived at around 5:25, the place was already alive with all sorts of people and the parking lots near Bonifacio High Street were already packing up. I tried going past Bonifacio High Street to get to the parking lot at the Fort but saw a huge traffic jam, so I had to go through a longer route to the destination. It was only later that I discovered that I almost turned into the start lane -- that's why it was packed!! Also, the 21K racers were off at 5:30am -- that's why I was being waved away from the race route!!

The starting area was already crowded by the time I got there. The race announcer said more than 5,000 runners joined!!

My son is on a retreat this weekend. As such, he took my point-and-shoot camera with him. I had to bring my larger Nikon D40 with me -- I brought it down after parking to get some pre-race shots but soon found out I was running out of time, so I decided to shoot a few shots and return the camera to car. On the way, I passed through the portalets and guess who I saw -- Nora, the Golden Girl!! I introduced myself and she was surprised to hear her name called but she shouted my name in surprise after!!! But, I needed to run to the car so I said I'll catch her at the race area.

When I got back into the holding area, I was able to hook up with Mama Ting and Dante. Good thing I saw Nora standing on the left side of the area where we were, so we hooked up again and had a few pictures taken with her camera. Unfortunately, my camera was already in the car -- sorry Nora, I'll have to rely on your camera for our picture.

Pretty soon, the 10K race was off and we were ready to run our 5K race. Since I ran the Takbo - Breast Friends race last week at ULTRA, I had had no time to train -- not a single run!!! So, I came into this race with no major expectations except to try and finish.

The course was fairly flat. Unlike the 10K and 21K race which brought the runners out of The Fort area into the Makati CBD, we stayed inside Bonifacio Global City. As in any mass start, the first few meters was an obstacle course were we had to swerve around slower runners and walkers. Mama Ting and Dante led the way through the crowd and I bumped into Nora a few meters out near Serendra. I started strong and kept the pace until S&R.

At this point, Nora came abreast and asked what my pace was. I said I didn't know!! he! he! I was just running to finish so no goals -- besides, I didn't have the gear to do this!! (Mama Ting is excited about her new Garmin, she'll be waiting for Dante to bring this back in his next trip!! Maybe I should do the same thing.).

As we neared the British School, I couldn't help myself and slowed down to a walk. After a few meters walking, I restarted running until I reached the corner of 26th Street right after Market! Market! I had to walk a few more meters before running again -- and kept on running until the finished line!! I was surprised to see that the official time was below 34 minutes -- probably a 33.43 finish!! Definitely better than expected!!

We took some pictures after the race near the Adidas Merchandise Tent -- Moi, wife of Ed Francisco, was around to observe the race for some future plans -- watch out for it.

Adidas had a merchandise tent besides the Awarding Stage. A number of products were available for sale but unfortunately (or fortunately) my wallet was in the car. There were rondallas (our version of drum and bugle corps) around to entertain the crowd.

I hooked with Dante and Mama Ting after and we visited the Adidas kiosk for awhile. I decided to get my camera to take more pictures. Afterwards, we decided to walk to Market! Market! to have our breakfast at Max. The rest of the Bayantrade runners joined us. It was a record for the BTG Milers -- 23 runners enter the race today!!

A very happy Dante treated his growing BTG Milers to a free breakfast!! Great way to promote wellness at The Bayantrade Group. Run and Eat for Free After!!

After a breakfast that included the tasty Max Friend Spring Chicken, Mama Ting and I walked back to the race area to check on Dave and Jorge who were both running their first 21K. We couldn't see them but ended up meeting Jay (Prometheus Cometh) and Dindo (RunningDatCom) as well as Coach Rio. Later on Ting sent me a text message from Dave -- both Jorge and Dave did quite well on their 21K although Dave was cramping up towards the last 3Km.

I got to meet up with Jay (Prometheus Commeth) and Dindo (RunningDATcom) and took a few pictures. We should be featured in each other's blogs soon!! he! he!

It was actually an inspiring day -- a surprisingly good run, finally meeting up with a number of the runner bloggers and just being part of the a great crowd at a great race!! Congratulations Rudy Biscocho and Adidas -- until the next run!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Takbo - Breast Friends 2008

Throughout my life, it has never failed to happen -- when you stop exercising for a long time, getting back is one of the hardest things to do. You hope somehow it will change as you grow older but it doesn't. As such, it was with sheer mental effort that I literally dragged myself out of bed at 4:30am on Sunday, October 5, to fulfill my promise to Mama Ting that I will run at the Takbo - Breast Friends 2008 run at the ULTRA!!

Believe me, there were several moments of weakness where I was tempted to call Ting and say "Sorry, can't make it today!" But, largely because of pride -- I completed dressing up and drove out of the house --- destination ULTRA!

Since it was early morning and Pasig was nearby, I wasn't in much of a hurry. But, my blood was boiling even before I reached the track and field oval!! To get to the ULTRA Track & Field oval, you traverse a narrow, one-way, single lane, snake-like road around the compound through the Brent school area. Just before reaching the entrance of the track and field oval, I was greeted by a PNP (our Philippine National Police) 6x6 truck trying to maneuver his large truck into a tiny parking space -- that took almost 3 minutes of waiting. Then, as I drove past the now parked truck, I was greeted by a taxicab turning around and heading in our direction!!! I shouted that it was a One Way Street! At this point, I was getting warmed up -- in a very negative sense -- temper was reaching boiling point. A few feet away, I discovered why the taxi was turning around. Right smack in the middle of the road were two other PNP Troop Carriers -- PARKED!!! They were deliberately blocking the road with no regard to anyone else who might be coming up the driveway!! My temper went beyond boiling point!! Fortunately, there was another person behind me who was equally pissed and started honking his horn and then moved forward to look for someone to take the vehicles away. He somehow succeeded and the two vehicles moved forward to find a more suitable parking area.

It was a pretty healthy crowd for the race. We estimated between 300 to 400 people, although, quite a number were from the PNP and schools around Quezon City.

Anyway, let's proceed to more positive thoughts. I arrived ahead of the gang -- they decided to park at Valle Verde Country Club across the street -- which was a good idea given the lack of parking spaces inside ULTRA. The crowd was already thick at the track area and football field. The announcers were already getting the crowd into the mood and a Fitness First person was getting ready to do the warm-ups. I found Dante and Ed among the crowd -- Dante had my bib number and my registration kit. After pinning on my bib, I decided to walk back to the car to drop off the kit and my t-shirt -- a good warm up to the start of the race.

A few minutes later we hooked up with Ting and Dick. Ed, Ting and Dick are in the 10K race while me and Dante are tackling the 5K run. A little while later I was surpised to see two familiar faces -- Ria and Emer -- cousins of my wife who have been running for some time already and are accomplished marathoners. Of course, we joked about getting my wife into the same sport -- I just told Ria to convinced her herself!!!

Pretty soon, it was time to start. The course is pretty tough -- you start at the track and field oval, head out through the narrow gate beside the basketball gym turning right at the gate into Capt. Javier, right at Meralco Ave, then right again at Julia Vargas, all the way to C5, right at C5 until Canley, right at Canley, all the way up the hill near motel row and right at Capt. Javier until reaching ULTRA again. One loop is 5K and two rounds are needed for the 10K racers. The hill at Canley Road will separate the serious runners from the neophytes and that makes this race a real tough one.

It was a mass start for all racers -- 3K, 5K and 10K. Given the narrow path out of ULTRA, we all slowed to a crawl. Upon entering the street, you had to maneuver around so many groups who ended up just walking -- 5 to 6 people abreast!!!

Coming from a month and a half layoff, my objective was just to finish. The early part of the race was pretty good. I was able to keep my pace all the way to the C5 turn. C5 was a little rough, as the sun was now high up and pollution was pretty bad. I tried to maintain composure but at the 15 minute mark, I gave in to the desire to stop and walk. I just didn't want to push myself too hard. From then on, I was running a bit and walking a bit.

Upon reaching the "cardiac hill," I decided to just walk up -- and it was difficult even if I was just walking. At the end of the hill, I resumed running until I reached the ULTRA entrance. I ended the race a little above 39 minutes on my personal timer.

I didn't bring my camera this time and just used my camera phone to take pictures. I had a chance to introduce myself to Coach Rio after the race. After that, Dante and I took the car to Valle Verde to meet up with Ting and Ed for breakfast.

Dante and I just had to take a picture evidencing our finish!!!

There's Coach Rio -- he was at the race shepherding his students throughout the run

I wasn't happy I didn't run all the way but I knew I had to take it slow again. I have a few more days to strengthen myself before hitting the Adidas King of the Road race on Saturday, Oct. 11. At least I'm back and I'm happy with that!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Still Alive --- Just Recuperating

It's been over a month since I've updated my blogsite -- nope, I've not abandoned the site or running but I've suffered physical ailments and injuries that have effectively sidelined me and set me back in my fitness drive.

But, I do aim to return to active running -- it's just taking much longer than I expected.

It's been frustrating dealing with the setbacks. I guess my body has just undergone too much stress in too short a time -- including the traveling that I had to make. I've had to deal with tendinitis, gout and some chest pains (which gave me quite a scare). Fortunately, none of these were too serious -- I just needed to give my body some breathing space.

I also had to space out my sports activities. Being active in a number of sports actually was good when I was younger -- now I have to schedule them properly to allow more recovery time -- I guess I really have to admit that age is not just in the mind -- ha! ha!

Well, Mama Ting has prodded me to get back so I'm going to join this Sunday's Takbo! Breast Friends 2008. Will slowly break in at a 5K -- this without any adequate training runs. The goal -- just to finish!!! This will hopefully start my trek back. Ting has also lined me up with the Adidas King of the Road run on October 11.

As in all of life's endeavors, one will hit walls, fall down or suffer defeats -- the important thing is getting back up and moving on -- that's what I'm doing and that's what we Archers will be doing. For all the Blue Eagles out there -- Congratulations and enjoy the one year bragging rights!!! We'll be back next year!! he! he!