Sunday, October 25, 2009

Isang Taon Nang Tumatakbo!

Indeed,time flies when you are having fun. Today marks my first anniversary of running. After finishing a total of 23 races and missing 3,I would like to give my feet and legs a mark of excellence for bringing me to distances I've never thought I am capable of covering.

Furthermore, I would like also to congratulate myself for some positive things that happened since I started running:

1. Lose weight. - from 170lb to 158lb

2. Ran distances more than 10k - I've gone beyond 41k, ran two full marathons this year.

3. Met people who are really deep into running. - Thanks for the community. I've met people who are not just mere nodding acquaintances,they are now my friends and running buddies. (courtesy of Doc Marv Opulencia)

4. Invincibility from sickness - I almost did it. I fell sick once when I waded in the flood water during the great flood. I sustain a wound in the knee when i struck a blunt object. Afterwhich,I got a flu and a bad cold.

5. Influenced other people to run - Three of my friends are now running addicts after months of inducing them the good effect of running in my life,they finally gave in.

Paul,Doc Jun,Me and Patrick
Now that it's been a year and I love doing it more than eating. It clearly shows that the sport is really for me. Gotta Run!.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

QC International Marathon;42km - Checked!

I lost my running momentum at the onset of the two typhoons that ravaged our country. Our house and the car were not even spared.We were inundated waist deep. With or without training,I would join the Quezon City International Marathon.
Got no preparations at all. But I''ve been running strings of 10ks and 21km for almost a year. Worried? NO.

I was one of the earliest 42k runners who arrived at the starting line.I was elated when I saw Dr. Jun Kagaoan. He was my trusty running buddy during the milo marathon.While we wait for the gun to start and do the stretching exercise we,exchanged stories about our training and what we've been through after the Milo Marathon. This guy has improved a lot. He now carries an air of confidence common to a finisher. He even lose weight too.

As expected,the gun fired on time, I started slowly and plodded in comfortable pace. I have no intentions of beating my MILO 42k PR. My goal is to finish this race for 6 hours or more.

Kenyans running were a sight. They really have a great advantage over us because of thier physique:long-legged and narrow shoulders. They are genetically streamlined human beings, tailored-fit for running. I was still at the commonwealth exiting batasan hill when I saw a pack of Kenyans with their furious haste going back to the finish line.

At La Mesa Dam, I was with Doc Roy and we run the rest of the distance together. But the most ironic thing is that the place did not offer any water station. I was expecting there must be one or two but to my dismay there was none. I think it understandble.Litters and plastics are not allowed anyway in this area as this dam supplies potable water for the big part of the metro.
When we got out of Lamesa Dam Area, we already belong to the last 10 runners on the street.The good thing about being at the last group of runners is the privilege of being escorted by the marshalls,traffic enforcer and official pacers who consantly encouraged you to finish the race. At KM 30, I almost gave up and do a DNF but the thought of "my supporters" still throw their support in me despite of being slow made me to just go on.

So in the end, I finally did it. Together with Doc Roy, we ran the last few meters with gusto until we got our Finisher's medal.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Run for Home: One of the best...but my Run wasn't

All the ingredients of concocting an excellent race were already there. The 21km route from BHS to Kalayaan Flyover extending to Ayala Ave, comfortable singlet, enough water stations, and the application of champion chip to accurately track runners finish time. Indeed, it is one of a kind that will surely set a new trend and standard for future local races.

Starting Line

At the starting line,the place was teeming with exhiliration as you can see it in faces of serious runners gearing up for glory. I noticed more and more people were wearing running tights. It was the order of the day among people. Wearing my trusty New balance shoes and the new version of singlet I was really in the mood of breaking new PR. My last 21kM race was the Greenfield Run and I had a PR of 2:33.With the solid confidence I gained after finishing 33rd Milo Full Marathon, I have a strong feeling of bagging new PR. A 2:20 goal kept lingering in my mind for a week and I could almost taste it . I recovered so quickly from the previous marathon that I even ran 15km four days after. No more pain in my butt, calf muscles and spine. However, I've read one of running bloggers that never take long distance running or no running at all after a full marathon in two weeks because the body is still in recovery mode. But it's just me, I feel like running. addicts

The starter gun fired at exactly 5:00AM. I started so fast and pulled away from Patrick,my weekend running buddy, and tried to overtake as many runners as I can. Having paced with Migz and Bongz for a while, Migz told me to relax and take my time but I didn't budge. I even set a 60-minute foray when a stepped on 10km marker. I had a positive split!

But the 10km mark along Ayala Ave spells discomfort. Just right after the Ayala U-turn, I tried to push harder but to no avail. I felt as if my legs were a pair of logs. My mind kept telling me not to overdo it or else I'm not going to make it. This time, I have lost my focus, the mind and the body no longer in sync. That was the beginning of my downfall. I got more worried when I saw Doc Topher running so fast, whom I outran along Kalayaan flyover just thirty minutes ago, was now catching up with me. I tried to pace with him but again the logs are pulling me to slow down. He pressed on and took my lead away away after a quick high five. I was out of my breath when he left.
The only way I could do was to maintain a comfortable pace and taking short walks on water stations. This helped me conserved my energy for more distance to cover. Upon returning to Kalayaan Flyover,I had a quick chat with Bryan,a newbie guy who was running 10k.
I resorted to walk on my way to the top and then run again on my descent. I glanced at my watch at 16km marker and found out I have already covered 1 hour and 55 minutes of the time. I just shooked my head in disbelief.The conservative 2:20 goal I kept on dreaming a week before has just vanished and now impossible to achieve.

I saw a lot of guys in the area who have already passed the Bayani U-turn greeting them running in opposite direction heading to the finish line. Sam, Carlo, Rodel, Bongz, Migz, Rico etc where already way way ahead of me. Sniff, sniff, these guys could do it in 2:20 or even less while me, assessing myself in this situation, will surely land in "kangkungan". He he.

And yes, I finally I saw the finish line on the horizon. As I ran toward, I still carry that wretched pace. I never had the thrill and the Banzai-charging look I possesed last Milo Marathon. It was a surge of defeat and surrender.

It's a bird ,it's a plane, no it's 2:38..

Surrender? No. I will do it again. The feeling of disappointment lasted only for a few minutes after I crossed the finish line. I've learned my lessons. I told my running buddy Patrick that it is time for more weekly LSD for more glories and victories are yet to come. I'm looking forward for the next two major races. Actually I am torn between two Marys,the provocative QCIM and the sexy SMARTSIM. I haven't decided yet but the mind thinks of marrying both of them on October. Half and Full respectively!.

Thanks argo,pepsi and carlo for the pix.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In The Tormenting Arms Of Full Mary

It is 90% mental and 10% physical.That how a runner friend of mine describes running a full marathon. It is no joke for a first timer like me to do one.After nine months of finishing 10,15 and 21km races,I finally convinced myself to succumb in loving arms of full mary.

July 5, 33rd MILO MARATHON; KM 0

At the starting line,I had a good chat with fellow 42k virgins like Marygenie,Natz,and Sam. I was as excited as they were.
Starter gun fired at exactly 4:30. I ran with Sam for the first two kilometers.Without having so much strategy in my mind,I maintained a pace between 6:30 to 7:00 hoping to beat the five-hour curfew. I don't hava a garmin that's why everytime I came in pace with someone who has,I tried to ask what speed we were running at so I can keep up with my target time.

The first 15km

I saw Pojie and Rod and paced with me for a while. After quick hellos and high fives,we parted. Upon exiting the Roxas Boulevard and entered Buendia, I met with the support group stationed at KM12,their constant cheering lifted my spirit up. I just felt I'm doing good!

Buendia to Kalayaan

Too many runners zooming past over me. I just maintained a comfortable pace but quite satisfied that I struggled for 1 hour and 30 minutes by the time I stepped on 15th km . I just broke my personal record at this distance. Just when I started to feel really thirsty,a biker paced with me for a while.He turned out to be Patrick(vVinceth),a ultramarathoner who volunteered to support the runners,offered me a gatorade.

Kalayaan Flyover climb to The Fort Strip

Few meters before the Kalayaan Flyover I gathered momentum for the ascent and recovered at the top to conserve my energy. At the fort strip I took short walks in every water and gatorade stations. I also had a short stop at the next support group composed of beautiful people just a few meters away from the end of kalayaan flyover.

Lawton Avenue

Just as the sun has started to come,a rain fell hard as if all the runners were praying for it. It was raining while the sun shines. Someone paced with me for a while and introduced himself. He was Bulakenyo, also a regular member of The rain abated when I passed the 2nd U-turn and headed to Bayani Road.

Bayani Road and C-5 U-Turn

Mary started pounding me.My energy was slowly giving up. I started to walk frequently. While walking,Rico and Migz passed over me and asked me if i'm doing good. I gave them the two-thumbs up. Migs offered me gatorade and after that they parted. I just can't pace with them.

Going Back

Under the heat of the sun, I headed back to kalayaan flyover.Lactic acid was already building up in the muscles. I started to feel wasted,my spine,legs and butt were already aching.
The sun came hard along Buendia Avenue. I came to point of giving up, the heat was drying up the remaining energy in me.I said to myself,there was no use of trying it hard since it is almost 8:45. I won't beat the 5 hour cut-off. Blisters in my toes were taking its toll. I was like a lone wolf in the desert,panting. Is this all I can offer? Am I doomed to take the taxi and go home with a wrecked ego?

The Motivator

At almost to point of giving up,one runner, a middle-aged man approached me and made a comment on my shoes. He tried to break some humor upon noticing my shoes is the same as his.He said our shoes should bring us to the finish line whatever it takes. We have the same shoes, same pace,same height and both first timer.We became running partners for the last 10km and develop some sort of strategy to run every kilomer then walk a few a meters then run again. We introduced ourselves to each other and exchanged running stories and experiences. He is Dr. Jun Kagaoan, a dentist. He came all the way from Vigan to join the full mary for the first time. He's 42 years old and running a 42km!. Oh man, this guy is 10 years older than me and I don't want to be left behind! This team-up driven away the anxiety and weariness. Indeed,having a buddy in times of suffering lessens the pain.In some ways,we both motivated each other. I could still remember the phrase he always utter: "Pain is temporary, quitting is forever"!.

The Last 5km assault

At 9:15 AM,it's good to see again the support stationed at Buendia. With their constant cheering, I felt like a celebrity and even managed to strike a respectable running poise for their cameras to capture.The support group made once again our run much easier under the heat of the sun as we exited Buendia and entered Roxas Blvd back to where we started.
More stories were exchanged between me and my running buddy as we tread the Roxas Blvd. By 9:30am, we have already accepted the fact that we were not elgible for medal or certificate but very eager to prove that we can still make it to the finish line. And by doing so,we can call ourselves marathoners. We even made a pact to run another marathon with vengeance.

The Finish Line,KM0

With ample energy left in our bodies, we scampered the last 200 meters like Japanese soldiers crying a banzai charge to victory. Though we were thirty minutes late,nothing is more exhilirating than being under a banner with all-caps F-I-N-I-S-H word on it. We forgot every tormenting circumstances we had earlier. All we know is we made it. All we know is we ran 42.195km nothing more,nothing less.And all we know we became marathoners for the rest of our lives.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Chili Pepper Side Dish, Anyone?

I've been running for almost nine months now, and so far, I've never experience any hindering injuries like what other people are prone to such as intense muscle pains, shin splits, tendonitis and the likes.
Long before I got addicted to running, I'm into spicy food all my life. I even treat chilli peppers as my side dish during my lunches and dinners. I drooled over peppers especially if it is red.
The good thing is pepper has its share of tremendous health benefits to mankind. This could be the reason why I can recover quickly after every long distance run.
The freakish feeling while eating a jalapeno, habenero or labuyo comes directly from the food’s odorless and flavorless substance known as capsaicin and is concentrated to the pepper’s seed and ribs. This warlike and mighty substance pricks your taste receptor cells which yell at your brain to release body's natural pain killer- the endorphins. Thus, no need for synthetic drugs to drive your muscle or joints pain away. Study claims a daily dose of hot peppers lets people breathe easier, feel less pain and even lower their body fat.
Let me enumerate some other surprising facts based on laboratory claims:
1. Prevents sinus infection
2. Provide gastric relief
3. Has a unique ability to provoke prostate cancer cell's self-destruction.
4. Block pro-inflammatory chain reactions in the blood
5. Reduce nerve fibre swelling in the brain.
Whoa!, it is suffice to say that pepper treatment is similar to those of Aleve,Advil, Alaxan, Tylenol and Chemotherapy rolled into one except - this little red and green veggies has no freaking side effects in improving human conditions.
So if you want it hot all the time, just like running keep practicing eating peppers and one day you’ll start craving and drooling for it.

Trail Run In My Own Land

My father died last May,this year. Although we never had a chance to have a real "father-son relationship" all throughout my formative years, he left us a vast farmland which eventually kicked-off my interest in farming.
49,749 square meters or roughly five hectares of land is enough to make my green thumb rise and say it's convincingly ok to be a farmer. Never been to farming before but the feeling of being with the plants and animals and the prospect of not getting hungry for the rest of my life is such an allure to me. So I went back to our province during the town fiesta last June 24 and started looking for the current tenant. I asked my Tiyo Ping to accompany me since he knew the guy and he happened to be one of his drinking buddies.But the man never mentioned about the land he tend for twenty years. We found him in far-flung barrio,sober.My tiyo introduced me to him as the son of owner of the land. I told him without batting an eyelash that I am now the owner of the land.From now on I will manage it and all the monthly proceedings should find its way to me in which he nodded over and concurred.Over a bottle of gin and beer we discussed the matter and it turned to be just fine. We left his house feeling tipsy and our faces red.
The land was situated in barrio of Aroyao in the town of San Miguel, Catanduanes and adjacent to a main road that leads to another town. The area also includes group of hills and a portion of a mountain replete with abaca and coconut. It can be reached by tricycle or by walking a good 10km distance starting from our house in the mainland. I just noticed that the road leading to that land is excellent for running and can be considered as a respectable route for cardio training. And hey,even the route going to the inner part of land would rival the trails used for races in Laguna. This keeps playing on my mind. I will invite my siblings to run with me going the place,everytime I'd pay a visit or whenever I'm in the province for a vacation. It is a going to be a trail run of my own making!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

There Must Be Reasons...

Reasons why I run

1. To be healthy - I'm a married man. I no longer own my body.My wife uses it all the time like what she does to her iPod... iRun,iEat,iWalk,iDrink,iNamamalengke,iLinis-bahay,iPlantsa,iLaundry,iLuto Ay naku..hirap pag nag asawa na..It pays to be healthy lalo na kapag buntis ang asawa and you are now expecting it very soon. Bawal magkasakit.

2. I just want to shed off the usual expectation that if you get married,the more chances of you of having a beer belly. In short,"mukhang tatay" or they usually comment : "tatay na tatay ka na pare!".

3. Running is less expensive than going to the gym. All you need is a safe road and a good pair of shoes that matches the shape of your feet.

4. I never excel in any kind of group sport like basketball,volleyball and badminton. In fact, i'd like to go solo all the time. I used to be a gymnast during my elementary days and even joined an inter-school competition in the our province. I've been quite popular among the kids in the neighborhood because of my unusual somersaults,backdives,jumping and diving. I used to consider being a Ninja as a career when I grew up. Well,I forgot everything about it when I reached high school. I just hate to impress the girls with those antics.
I found singing and playing guitar more appealing. During those days,before e-heads became a fad,I was the only one in the campus who carry a guitar on his back most of the time. Since then, I was known to be the guy who just know how to play the guitar. I overheard once: "Ah si Running Pepper,yung nasa Special Section, yung naggitara?..oo,kilala ko yun,magaling yun", one of may fans and who happened to be my bestfriend,said.

5. I think I'm into individual sports like gymnastics, boxing or martial arts. And the holiest of them all --Running!.