Monday, November 1, 2010

25k LSD with

Wow, it's been like two months since my last blog post! A lot of things have been happening lately at work which have kept me busy. Unfortunately, it affected not only my blogging, but my workouts and runs as well.

My last long distance run was the 25k LSD at MoA with the folks, last September 19. This run was supposedly aligned with my marathon program for Singapore. I just read about the run at the forum and found out that my friend Jinoe (Mr. was joining, so I decided to participate as well. We did 4 loops of a simple 6.25k route.

Here's me and Jinoe at the early part of the run:

Good thing we had pit-stops at the 711 convenience store during every loop.

And of course, we wouldn't miss the group pictures after the run.

I had an "instant celebrity" moment when Jinoe mentioned me when he wrote about this 25k LSD on You may read that article here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fort Strider's Run: My First 16k

It was a last minute decision to run this race - I didn't even invite my usual running companions to join. The only reason I registered for this event was that it matches the 16k requirement on my marathon training program for September 12. Of course I tagged Eugene along.

Race Pros:
  • Registration center at Paranaque - After my practice run at Manila Memorial Park, had a 5-minute drive to Nelson Auto Repair Shop in front of Paranaque Medical Center to register. Yes, you read that right - an auto repair shop that accepts race registration.
  • Cheap Registration Fee - 300 pesos only with a free singlet! I didn't like the fit though, so I didn't wear it on the race day.
  • Manual barcode timing system but guess what? The results were released at the same day! Big wow!
  • Ample water stations (and Pocari Sweat stations too).
  • Hyper race marshalls cheering racers on. I love hyper race marshalls!

Now on to the cons:

  • Race Route map was released 2 days before the actual race day. When we arrived at the venue, we found out that they scrapped the initial released route and just used the usual Runrio map, modified a bit for 16k.
  • Late gunstart with no warm-up. Everyone was surprised when the gun fired to signal the race start without any heads-up whatsover.
  • The event name is FS marathon - why the hell are they using the word "marathon" for an event with only 16k as the farthest category?

My legs felt very heavy at the start but after a few kilometers, I felt the leg muscles loosening up. I was really grateful Eugene paced with me until the finish line. We did a steady pace of around 6 minutes per kilometer - just the right pace we're aiming for our upcoming SG marathon. We finished in 1 hour, 34 minutes and 46 seconds.

And since we didn't have our usual running photographers with us, we had to settle on only a few shots from my celphone camera. Here's a pic of the start/finish line before the 16k gunstart:

And here's a post-race picture of me and Eugene from the race village stage:

12 weeks to go before the BIG day. I need more training!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

UP ERG's Activate! Run and Pump it UP!

The University of the Philippines Engineering Radio Guild (UP ERG), my college organization, is celebrating its 75th anniversary. One of their activities is "Activate! Run and Pump it UP!", a race event held last August 29th at the UP campus. I was one of the first to register on this event, which was my 2nd race event in UP. Again, I opted to join the 10k category (plus 2 rounds at the academic oval for a total of 14.4k as part of my marathon training).

I would have to say, in the most unbiased way (hehe!), that the race singlet is one of the best as far as material quality and design are concerned. I remember being one of the first few people who saw the design, and gave the thumbs up for the black instead of the white version. The design was released a month before the actual event, and I doubted they'll be able to release the singlets on time due to their complicated side cut design. There was a slight delay on the delivery, but participants were able to claim their singlets a few days before race day. Whew!

One of the race freebies is the UP-ERG baller id. The color's orange, since it was sponsored by Enervon. Here's a pic (this is not my arm though):

Another race plus for me is we had new company, and hopefully, future regular running buddies. On pic below (from L-R): the "oldies" - me, BA, Dada, Nic and the "newbies" - Jing, Egay and Mike.

Here are the 10k runners wearing white (and yes, recycled) bibs...

... and the 5k runners, wearing their red (printed on paper and covered with plastic) bibs:

Maco is my orgmate from UP ERG. This is his first 10k run (and first running event too!).

Jing's, Egay's and Mike's first superposition shot! Weeee!

Aside from the recycled (and improvised) bibs, there are still a few more improvement areas for the race, in case UP ERG decides to do this again next year. Being an electronics organization, people were expecting them to make use of the RFID timing system, used during the Engineering Student Council's Eng'gfinity Run. I was quite alarmed at how the race marshalls (org members) were manually recording the racers' times; they were panicking! Another is that they should have double-checked the accuracy of the race route distance - the 10k was actually 10.7k! It was a challenging route nevertheless, and I enjoyed it a lot!

The race results are still not released as I write this, but I timed myself during the run so I have no problem. I clocked in at 1 hour, 4 minutes and 24 seconds, failing my sub-1 hour goal, but this was a 10.7km race anyway so I'd take it.

I normally don't write about the post-race happenings, but since we had our breakfast at Chocolate Kiss, I need to post some pics! I had the best tapsilog ever, with bottomless iced tea! And carrot cake for dessert too! Bottomline, I gained back the lost calories. LOL!

Here's a picture of us enjoying our breakfast while listening to "good" music:

We heard mass at the UP chapel afterwards, thankful again for another injury-free run.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm Running My First Full Marathon on December...

... and its in Singapore!

I and three running buddies - Eugene, Chrissie and Mils, have all signed-up for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon which will happen on December 5, 2010. Eugene and I will be doing the full marathon; the ladies will be doing a half-mary.

The decision was quite impulsive - I always had this dream of doing a full marathon somewhere else, somewhere special. I was very fortunate my running friends were game to the sudden idea; of course I wanted to have people to share the experience with.
  • May 20 - SCMS opened the registration for all race categories (42k/21k/10k)
  • June 2 - I was browsing the web and the idea of joining a full marathon came to mind (Inception level). I told my friends about it and we decided to register the next day.
  • June 3 - Eugene and I registered for 42.195km; Chrissie and Mils registered for 21.097km. We were ecstatic!
  • June 4 - Registration for the full marathon closed.
  • June 7 - Registration for the half marathon closed.
  • June 8 - Registration for the 10k category closed.

That's how lucky we were. Everything seemed meant to be. We also got last-minute flight promo fares from Philippine Airlines. Sweet.

Here's the proof (I advertently omitted some of the fields):

I'm now on the 3rd week of Runners World's 16-week marathon training program. Thanks to The Bull Runner for the training tip!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Booboo Alert! Run to Read No Show

I've heavily promoted the Run to Read race event. I've registered early for the 15k category, excited to get my hands on that cute, purple singlet. The race was scheduled for the 15th of August. All the while, I was highly anticipating running on this event. What's wrong then?

Schedule conflict! Me and some officemates booked a very cheap flight to Jakarta, Indonesia way, way before (I think it was last year). Our vacation date: August 11 to 19! Can you believe I seriously considered cancelling my vacation just to run on Run to Read? Talk about running addiction. Haha!

But since I share the same passion for both running and travelling, the trip did push through. Besides, I miss my travelmates (they're the same people I've been with in my Beijing trip last year).

Instead of posting the usual running pics, superposition and all, let me deviate from that for once and post some travel pictures here.

perfecting the art of a jumpshot
nice solo shot
Borobudur is a UNESCO heritage site
Brahma statue inside one of the Prambanan temples
I definitely had a blast! Next time, I'm going to combine running with travel. :) Find out how on my future posts!

Lazy-blogging the Rexona Run

I've been too lazy to blog lately; I've noticed a lot of running blogsites I'm following have no updates too. Must be the weather or something.

Almost a month has passed since the highly-anticipated Rexona Run. This was Coach Rio's first attempt to organize a race at the Mall of Asia grounds. New innovations were introduced: paperless registration - using iPad on registration centers, Runrio cards which can be used on future Runrio race registrations and D-tags replacing the plastic timing chips racers normally wear on their shoes.

I fought the urge to register for the 21k category on this event. I knew it was still too early for me to declare full recovery from my previous ankle injury so I just settled for 10k.

I enjoyed the race with only one complaint: There were a lot of walkers. I'm fine with people just walking on the race route, but if they're all lined-up and blocking the path of runners, it gets quite unnerving. I hope these people observe proper running etiquette and just stay at the right side of the road. And please, stop the cam-whoring sessions at the middle of the road; there's plenty of photo opportunities at the race village area anyway.

Oh well, that's too much ranting already. Since I'm lazy blogging, I'll just post a lot of pics. Haha!

Me and Rap at the 10k starting line (taken from my celphone camera - shaky hand i got)
Me and my sister (she did 3k again)
Me and William (he's also from HP and I think this was his first race) With the band
Superposition (missing Early and Tey)
Bumped into Char-char and her friend Kristine
Oh and by the way, I finished in 55 minutes and 15 seconds - top 4.4% of all 10k runners. Great, eh?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Race Event for the Runners by the Runners: Runfest

Me and my running friends were part of the early birds who registered for the Runfest last April. It was announced at an earlier date that only 3000 slots were available and lucky registrants would have their own personalized singlets, delivered right at their doorsteps! I opted to join the 5k race category (5k and 10k were the only two options).

My race kit arrived two weeks before the actual race day. I tried the singlet on and I was not that satisfied with its length (I got used to the perfect fit of Runrio singlets), that I ran to the nearest Alter Station and had the length adjusted. I also had the big "Universidad" logo removed from the lower left part of the singlet. After the alterations, I wore the singlet again, highly-contented.

July 25, 2010 - Early birds we were in registering, and early birds we were again during the race day. We arrived before 5am, but there were already a lot of runners at the area. I regularly visit the forum and post comments there every now and then. I was excited to see a number of forum members in the vicinity, but didn't actually have the guts to approach anyone. The introvert Noel got the best of me. >.<

I was able to get a quick chat with the man who started it all, Jinoe Gavan, as busy as he was with the race preps. Jinoe was my batchmate way back from my Intel employment days, and I'm still in awe at how big his influence became on the Philippine running community, with a simple idea of introducing a catchy website - I didn't miss the opportunity of having our picture taken with the soon-to-be parents. Congratulations to ManokanRunner and ChicksNiManok!

The race program started 530am. What made the event even more special is the participation of online running celebrities. The program kicked-off with the national anthem performed by the Running Diva. The warm-up stretch was then led by none other than Kikayrunner herself, Noelle De Guzman.

10k runners were first to head-off at 6am and 5k runners, fifteen minutes after. It was cloudy and it looked like it was gonna rain anytime, but there's nothing a prayer from thousands of runners couldn't do; it became another rain-free event.

I ran on my normal pace now, and back to my old, competitive self. I've now put my recent injury behind me, and just wanted to run a good race. I can never say anything bad about the race route, with a lot of marshalls along the way cheering runners on, good traffic control, and overflowing water and Powerade at the hydration stations. Purrr-fect!

During the final kilometer stretch, there's this grandpa runner who ran beside me, and told me he wanted to pace with me. It turned out I was the one who followed his fast pace! He was one talkative lolo and his statements didn't help my ego either: "Ang bagal ko ngayon, nakainom ako kagabi," and "Usually tinatapos ko ang 5k route ng 22 minutes." Nevertheless, I was glad to pace with him, and it helped me realize I still have a lot of training to do to bring out my full running potential. I found out that lolo was just a bandit runner when he said he wouldn't run with me to the finish line.

I knew I had a good race time when I stepped on the finish line mat; there were still only a few runners at the race village. I noticed someone was at the first-aid station and was surprised to see a medic putting on a bandage on Noelle's wounded knee. I asked her what happened and she told me she fell during the race, but it's nothing serious. I then asked her what her 5k time was. "24 minutes," she replied. Talk about getting an injury and still finishing that strong. Woah!

We had our group pic taken after everyone finished. We were surprised to see our officemate Chaniel; he was the only one who ran 10k.

We had two of the most memorable superposition shots here. Patrick "Runningshield" Concepcion already expressed his interest before of having the superposition shot with us, and it materialized during this race. A big bonus, however, is when Coach Rio agreed to do the superposition too. And he did it perfectly!

The icing on the cake? With manual timing done, the race results were released the following day! Can you believe that? (ACE Hardware, can you read this?) My time was 26 minutes and 42 seconds (A personal best!). I placed 46th out of 1092 5k runners, which translates to me being on the top 5%. I'm on the first page of the race results! Yay!

I'm definitely looking forward to next year's anniversary run. Congratulations to the race organizers! Two thumbs up!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Race Marshalls Ruin an Almost-Perfect Eng'gfinity Engineering Centennial Run

The University of the Philippines Engineering Student Council (ESC), in celebration of 100 years of the College of Engineering existence, organized a running event entitled Eng'gfinity: The Engineering Centennial Run. Me and my HP running mates (and fellow UP graduates) immediately signed-up. We were all excited since this is the first running event we've participated in to be held at the UP campus.

July 18, 2010 - Race day. I woke up early since I knew it was gonna be a long drive from Paranaque to Quezon City. I picked up Mils and Dada from their condo unit in Mandaluyong around 430am. We arrived at UP Diliman 5am, just in time for us to get our race kits and put on our Eng'gfinity singlets. Here's our running group showing-off our bright orange tops:

Another thing that made us excited to join this race is that it boasts of being the first in the country to use the RFID tag (that's Radio-frequency Identification for techies and geeks, hehe!). Runrio will just be introducing the D-tag, a similar timing technology, on the upcoming Rexona Run this August. I heard the RFID reader program to be used for this race was developed by some fellow UP students. I bet in a few months' time they'll be rich.

Here's how the RFID tag looks like when worn. It's just a strip of paper with an embedded chip - a lot more environment-friendly than the usual plastic timing chip.

Gun-start was supposed to happen at 530am, but since there were still a lot of people claiming their race kits, it was delayed by 30 minutes. It didn't matter though because the weather was perfect. Me, together with the other 10k runners, were first off (accompanied by a light drizzle). I was targetting a sub-55 this time.

The race route was simple - from the starting line in front of the Engineering building, we move counter-clockwise around the acad oval, until the Biology Pavilion intersection where we turn right and run along the back of Palma Hall all the way to the College of Architecture. Runners would then head to the Oblation area and race a short stretch of the University Avenue, then make a U-turn back to the oval. Upon reaching the starting line, that marks 5km. 10k runners just need to do another loop to complete the course.

Now here's where the race got ruined for a lot of runners (and me, almost): during the first loop, instead of leading 10k runners to go straight ahead and head back to the starting line, the race marshalls directed runners to turn right at once at the Biology Pavilion intersection. That means missing 2.2km of the course! Runners who did not time themselves were misled that they had new personal bests. A fellow HP runner, Ronnel Go, placed third but honestly admitted to the race committee that he missed that 2.2km as well. As for me, I was also misled by the race marshalls. During my second loop however, realizing my time was too fast and that the route was somewhat short, instead of stepping on the finish line mat, i still did another loop at the acad oval, completing my 10k.

Another race gimmick is a real-time reporting of all runners' actual race time. You just have to be in close proximity to the RFID reader near the finish line computer terminal and voila, your race bib number, name and chip time appear in an instant. Mine was 54 minutes and 29 seconds. Target met!

After the race, we took the opportunity to do a cam-whore session near the UP Oblation.

Of course, the superposition shot:

And the jump shot!

Congratulations to ESC for this well-organized, successful event. To Eng'gfinity, and beyond!

A Race from a Different Perspective: AMG Fun Run and PGH Outreach

HP AMG, or Application Management Group, holds an annual fun run which started last year. All proceeds from the event go to a charitable institution. It's one of our company's ways to give back to the community; we're an IT company with a heart.

This blog is a two-part entry - the running event and the charity event.

PART 1: The Race Day
June 6, 2010 - Piazza Mall, McKinley Hills

The AMG Fun Run had three race categories - 3k, 6k and 9k. The route is fairly simple: from Piazza Mall, which is the starting point, runners head to the C-5 road intersection and do their first U-turn there. They then return back to Piazza Mall and continue on the opposite direction, this time heading to the U-turn slot at Lawton Avenue intersection. Once they get back to the Piazza, that completes the 3k route. The 6k and 9k participants just had to do 2 and 3 loops to complete their respective categories.

Surprisingly, as addicted as I am to running, I've decided not to run in this event. I wanted to experience the race on a different perspective, that is, the race marshall's point-of-view.

We arrived 3:30am at the venue to do the race preparations - set-up the race organizer's table and the sound system, prepare the drinks and granola bar giveaways, set-up the water stations as well as the race markers. Delegation of people on who would man particular areas was done. JM and I were assigned at the Lawton Avenue U-turn, with the task of handing out the race necklaces runners would wear, as proof they finished the lap.

Here's a photo of me with runners Dada, Rap and Mils, before we went to our designated spot. Yay to my first race marshall ID!

I brought my digicam with me and I decided to make my own version of Photovendo, taking pictures of runners as they make their U-turn. JM took my picture before participants began to arrive.

During the race, JM and I particularly enjoyed mocking participants who were walking the uphill path. It was a very challenging terrain. You could see the difficulty on the runner's faces on the photographs I took. Lucky me, I didn't run!

Everyone was praying for a rain-free event and thank God He heard our prayers. The race ended, the rewarding ceremony finished, we were able to pack-up, and most of the participants have already gone home before the heavy downpour at McKinley that day.

The event was a big success! Overall, we raised P85,000 which would surely go a mile for our planned charity event. Congratulations to the race organizers!

Part 2: The Charity Event
July 10, 2010 - Philippine General Hospital Pediatric Wards 9 and 11

All proceeds from the AMG Fun Run will go to our chosen institution which is the PGH Pediatric Wards 9 and 11.

During our work shift, we were preparing our giveaways for the kids - boxes containing toiletries and some toys. Here are a few of the volunteers during our packing session:

Most of us are working North America shift, so after our Friday work, with little or no sleep, we proceeded to PGH. We were briefed on how the program would go - visit Ward 9 first then mingle with the kids and their guardians. Hosts from Jollibee would then hold some games, then the Jollibee mascot would make his appearance while we are handing out food to everyone. Finally, we would donate the boxes of medical supplies to the hospital management (most are boxes of syringes which are a big hospital need). We'd do the same things all over again in Ward 11.

It was heart-breaking to see all those kids there in pain. One of the guardians cried when we approached her, telling the story of how she was the only one taking care of her niece, Angelica who had a liver problem. "May mga tao pa palang gusto lang tumulong, tulad nyo," she told us ("There are still people who are willing to help, like you"). Here are some pictures captured with two of the ward patients:

“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” The experience left me a heavy heart, but it also gave me such a fulfillment. Thank you AMG, for giving everyone the opportunity to give, even in our own little ways.