RUN DMD

I run…therefore I am


Leave a comment

Frontrunner Article #6: confessions of a REFORMED Road Addict


It is hard to understand addiction unless you have experienced it. 

Ken Hensley

  542873_309133635830303_100002010070333_684446_2118971948_n

576426_4328505525482_1094496118_nI’m a 48-year old runner who got into this despicable habit 5 years ago when age had taken over and my life had become too humdrum and a total blah.  I wanted to prove to the world that I can still be physically capable of doing things out of the ordinary even if my whole life revolved around movies, music and root canals.  The last time I sweated buckets and panted like my lungs were about to burst was in 3rd year high school, eons ago.  I travelled across the basketball court twice to follow that darn orange orb and I knew I was never going to be an athlete from that moment on. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So who was I kidding?   At my age, it seems so absurd but then dreams (and delusions) are what we make them to be.  The temptation of the asphalt eventually took over and I found myself (gasp!)  running.   I thought it would be just a momentary diversion from clinic routine but the more kilometers I burned, the more I wanted to conquer.  I knew it was no longer going to be healthy for me – I was losing my hard earned gym muscles and looking lanky, parched and dugyut & marupok plus I was getting stronger and faster.  Friends, if I ever found time to meet them, hardly recognized the pretty boy behind the sweat, mud and limatik bites.  Soon they started distancing themselves and treated me like a pariah to society and their tony gatherings. 552010_3630932808879_1140876786_3531933_224589835_n

It was a lonely existence on the road until I found myself in the circle of addicted brethrens called Runners Anonymous.  We were faceless souls clad in our muddy trainers and trying to wrestle with our obsession on the road.  During our weekly sessions, we shared our travails and tragedies in running (how to eliminate that limatik once it has entered our nether regions, etc.) but it would always climax on the road and us trotting reluctantly at first then suddenly bursting into something close to flying, like bats out of hell.  I tried to resist it but soon found myself sliding deeper into the hole I had dug myself into.  And there was no looking back.


The trails and mountains beckoned  and I was hooked like a limatik on a runner’s juicy calf.  I had advanced and taken my dependence into the next level.  When before I was already satisfied with my 21Ks and full marys, this time around, I was craving for more miles until I dropped unknowingly into the rabbit hole of ultramarathons.   I found cohesion and common footing with creatures who find no meaning in words like pain, cramps and uphells.  They just keep running until they reach the finish, in the absence of fun fare, trophy, shirt nor pictures.  Our supplier of this addiction was this pot-bellied guy who runs around shirtless and maps out our recon run where trails twist and hills thrive.  And we devoured everything that BoyP offered.27921_4328508805564_1656006467_n

Perhaps, my lowest point would have to be my plunge into the most evil of them all – ultra trail races.  Imagine hiking around a mountain on a late night in shivering temperature and the constant wind at our backs. We were like zombies feeling our way in the dark after 22 hours of racing in ever changing terrains and weather conditions.  And we were enjoying ourselves like hell.  I know.  It was that bad.  I feel like I’ve been dropped into the lowest level of inferno.  I’m even nauseated while encoding this most shameless episode in my life.  Now pass me the smelling salt, please?

Before this deadly habit could spiral out of control, redemption and hope suddenly came like lightning out of the blue.  Late last year, I was forced by circumstances to get off the road (still wondering why, watch out in the next issue).  It was I believe the most beautiful miracle to have come to my 5-year running history.  It was most life changing as I saw the demons of this addiction I can no longer escape from.  Now nature has done its work and I’ve been sober from the road for 4 months now.29633_4328503485431_1269788313_n

Life has been good and given me a new lease to a normal life.  I have let go of my road cravings and have turned to eating all sorts Ramen noodles during dinner since I need not wake up too early in the morning to lace up my shoes and take to the road and take off like a…turtle…sorry  that was wrong.  I’m still in my withdrawal period.  I shall overcome this.  Soon.

It was most difficult in the early period but soon enough, I got the hang of it.  I mean security guards have started acknowledging my presence and people were once again gravitating towards me like I really existed and not just a blob in their swanky universe.  Life can indeed be a party and I’m really enjoying myself to death.  But.  Lately, it’s been suffocating.  I still feel like I’m an outsider in this phoney urban jungle.  Any chance I can get out of this hollowed cage?

523575_10150798226535039_730485038_11334663_283015995_nHelp me.  I’m already having sleepless nights and if I ever doze off, I dream of trails, mountains and pissing along open spaces.  I know I will be able to fight off these demons – I just have to think of broken toe nails, frost bites and endless rising trails but then…images of being on top of Mt. Pulag, running with buddies (now my blocked off FB friends) at Kayapa at 12 midnight in the midst of rain and wind keep popping up.  I plead for understanding…should I get into Greco-Roman wrestling? Maybe Parkour or jujitsu.  Crocheting, then?  Can I just run now?  Please…

Photos taken at

Mt. Pulag, Pico de Loro, Porac, Pampanga & Tanay, Rizal            149403_309145152495818_100002010070333_684535_1550490870_n


Leave a comment

The Mapua Intramuros Run: A Run through History


 

10576971_1508536366050308_3420610096888939186_n

how to run with college students…

For some time now, this race had been spearheaded by Jossie Ng, the Mapua professor wife of one of my longtime Voltes Team mates, Chris. Many a time, I was invited to join but circumstances just didn’t allow me to (last year was our Ironman relay and the year before that, I was recovering from dengue). Finally, on its 5th edition, I was finally able to join the Mapua Run last Aug. 10.

It seems trivial to wake up at 4 am, head out west into the walled city and just run 6KMs but running around Intramuros offered a whole new running experience and a different perspective in Philippine history. At 6 am, along with Mapuan students donning the official red & yellow shirts, we blasted off the starting line (and whispered to myself, “it’s Payasso time”). It’s my first time to take on a race under 10KMs so I knew I’ll be able to keep pushing myself into the finish. I just kept in mind that it’s only 3 rounds of the Academic Oval, in Payasso pace, of course.

1239373_1508536399383638_8985586548708587727_n

two deep breaths in, two breaths out…

10599461_1508536339383644_4302535692520463974_n

Notice our synchronized pace and foot fall…

10329124_1508536322716979_1119331532240243717_nVan set the pace early on so it was more controlled as we took on the cobblestone alleys of the walled community for two rounds. Running with our group was the whole family of Bon & Carlyn Aga, including 5 year-old Max and 2 year-old Tamara, being pushed by Bon in her stroller. Intramuros is a merry mix of colonial buildings, old churches, government offices, repurposed commercial establishments and colonies of informal settlers. Overall, it was weird fascinating experience to be running in a place that’s been around for centuries. There were instances when I was faltering and had to slow down a bit and in the last round, some episodes of coughing ensued but thankfully, I survived this one into a furious finish.

10590593_1508536426050302_4389505453704718582_n

the last 50 meters…

10574279_1508625079374770_3769094348783174907_n

walking around the walled city while awaiting for the rest of the gang to finish…

10561592_1508646546039290_359361913856996444_n

Team Jopher (that’s for Josie & Christopher Ng) volting in…

My time was 34:57 so at 6.9KMs (the route was extended due to some road blocks), it’s still within the 5mins/km pace I had targeted. The morning was capped with one of our Rancho Team mates, Fatima Mae Tiburcio placing 2nd in the 3KM category (Cha from Milo Apex was third and both were co-dentists). Our gracious hosts, Chris & Josie Ng prepared a sumptuous breakfast for the group. Later, we attended the Sunday services at the airconditioned and newly-refurbished Manila Cathedral and would have loved to move around and explore the sights but we were itching to get out of our sweaty running gears. Maybe next time…

10561574_1508637956040149_1346318935322609123_n

(L-R) Van, Cris, Barry, Carlyn, Bon, Rob, Mae, Mark, Cha…

Photography is courtesy of Red Knight (a.k.a. Emman Tiburcio) – salamuch!!!


Leave a comment

My 4th Milo Story:  The Art of Cramping to the Finish


 

 

Since the final week of April to early June of 2014, we’ve been training and working out like hell (via the Milo R2 Running School) with our eyes trained on the big day of 27 July 2014 – The 38th Milo Marathon, my 15th full marathon.  We peppered our training with biweekly Payasso speeds (a month before) and some official races (RU2 32KM, Soleus Nuvali Trail Run 50KM, etc.).

training on a rainy day...

training on a rainy day…

 

Days before, even in the face of restlessness due to tapering and decrease in physical activities, I was savoring 8-hour sleeps and eating quite prodigiously so I was confident I had the factors of a strong performance by my side.  Did I mention that the Manila Bay weather was the perfect nippy kind?  So at 3 am by the starting line, I was confident of nailing this race and qualify for the Milo Finals at 4:10 or faster.10553389_770105099718762_3013718194619994303_n

 

The starting line was brimming with hope (this year’s qualifying times have been increased by 10 minutes) and electrified as we set out around the reclaimed area into Roxas boulevard, leading towards KM0 (Rizal Monument) then heading towards the Uniwide area then back into Buendia Ave.  Van and I paced each other for a good 6 kilometers before he took off with me just a few meters away.  It would be this way until KM26.  At 54 minutes, I finished my first 10 kms. while reaching the 20th at 1:56, still within my sub-2 goal.  At KM25, I was struck down by mild crampping every now and then.  I just ignored it and kept on with my steps.

Now, how do I finish thee?

Now, how do I finish thee?

 

By the time we were rounding out the streets of the Global City, the inner thighs (adductor muscles) of both legs were hardening and becoming bothersome that I had to make stops for some liniment (?) sprays which hardly had any help.  Soon, I was already slowing down as runners from behind started overtaking me.  But I was still within my goal by KM30 (that’s the start of the Kalayaan flyover returning to Buendia Ave.) at 3 hours flat.

 

So that’s technically, 12 kms. to burn for 1:10 if I want to qualify for the finals, still within my possible limits if the contractions would diminish.  Unfortunately, the muscular twitching worsened by the time I entered Buendia, where I started my cycle of run/walk/stop.  Two capsules of Mefenamic Acid were of little help to diminish the burden and discomfort.  With the clock ticking, I soldiered on and not let all my preparation and training go to waste. 10353645_10204655792932863_5928639691568124344_n

 

10584038_734722416586350_6261485526216743198_n

Almost there, baby…

Upon finally reaching Roxas Blvd., I knew I won’t be able to reach my goal but I was also bent on not throwing it all away.  I’ve been caught in worse situations than this and have always pulled myself out of the muck.  Once I got to the MOA Arena area, the cramping grew more painful and the episodes longer, slowing me even further.  Finally, for what seemed like eternity, the final 800M of Ocean Drive came into view.  Photographers were strewn at every corner, recording our final surge into the finish.  Unfortunately for little old me, the most I could muster was a lame jog for every time I tried to push myself, the twitching would surface again like some creature from a 50s B-movie.

 

Just crossed the finished line here - frustrated and relieved in equal parts.

Just crossed the finished line here – frustrated and relieved in equal parts.

After 4 hours and 36 minutes, I finally reached the finish line and an hour later, after resting from pounding the pavement, all that cramping disappeared.  And my latest 42.195 saga ended, not in a spirit uplifting manner but still a memorable experience to ponder on, analyze and pick some lessons from.  In a week or two, I will have gather most, if not all facts, opinion and studies on cramping for at the end of the day, knowledge and the right information easily trumps out any physical ordeal that comes my way.  Cheers, everyone!

Our Milo marathon group, post race...

Our Milo marathon group, post race…

Photographs are by Photo-Ops, Jon Las Bruces, Running Photographers, Bon Aga and Adrian Aquino


Leave a comment

Back in the High Life – Races (Part II)


The last few months had been quite hectic, both in my personal and professional life but it was also during this period when I started running more races with the kilometers stretching into the Milo Marathon last month. Let’s look back at my races, both road & trail, pre-Milo Marathon…

Runs.

P1090600

Dawn breaks by Taal Lake…

Taal 360 25KM. This we took up upon the invitation of friends Joseph Baltazar and Bon Aga of Prince Productions, last May 24.  We took a banca from Talisay going towards Taal Island where the race had just started at exactly 7 am. We followed the final pack of runners going up the Taal peak which was really just another lake in the middle.  But we never got to reach it for soon enough, we saw the leadpackers going down and promptly followed them. We soon found ourselves by the shoreline where the route circled the circumference of the island, more or less.  The place would have been enchanting with its semi-pristine greenery, cobalt blue lake waters and the awesome volcano as the backdrop. P1090590

P1090621

Too much human intrusion in one of nature’s hideaway…

Except for the fact that human migration to the island had rendered it molested and trashed, both in the water and the land. It would have been a pleasure running by the beach sans the fish pens, all sorts of domesticated animals and more wastes all over. It was a challenge to be running around the man-made structures that Van even got caught in a net by the shore. More eyesores were the three soaring towers of an SMDC condominium jutting out of the Tagaytay summit. So wander no more why Taal Volcano was recently removed by the UNESCO from its list of heritage sites. That’s human greed at its finest, I’d say.

Anyway we just kept trudging in the face of scorching heat and unstable sandy terrain. Soon we started traversing the island as the ascents started towards more verdant surroundings. At one point, we found ourselves in a black desert planet. The terrain was rolling consisting of cogon areas, rocky façades, plantations and sparse trees – mildly difficult and scenic in parts.

P1090626P1090629

Four hours later, we reached the finish line and took our poses, medals and packed lunch. Total distance of our run was at 28 kms. Across the island we took in a more sumptuous lunch courtesy of the mayor of Talisay, a friend of Bon.10363700_1508928222659798_7279538895707261844_n

P1090657

Back to mainland with Bon and the rest of our group…

Run United 2, 32KM. It’s my longest road race since last year’s Run United Philippine Marathon so I had a mix of excitement and trepidation. At 4 AM, we started the race across the Rizal Monument (Km 0). There’s quite a heavy volume of runners but soon we were sparsely spaced out across the gaudily lit Roxas Boulevard (think Sputnik lights galore).

10338256_10152447748563288_994364035183643282_n

In the Zone along the boulevard of broken dream (& tacky lamp posts)…

10402907_740029422726330_8137707034780744256_n

fly me to the finish…

My first 16 kms up to the Cavitex U-turn had a jolly steady pace, powered by songs from my iPod mini. At some point I was shimmying (okay, I was dancing) across the boulevard taking in all the positive vibes of the morning. It would have been perfect to have kept such a constant pace and attitude but in the last 10 kms, a cocktail feeling of boredom, sleepiness, fatigue and restlessness came upon me. Soon enough, I was doing some stops and walking more.

No injuries or discomfort were experienced but I was slowing down, perhaps due to under training. Or probably because once daylight had set in, I had a picture of the enormity of the task I had to traverse ahead. After 3 hours and 11 minutes, I finally reached the Rizal obelisk, quite satisfied with my effort for the day.10363933_845346928826767_5528595440542338242_n

10474454_1490018247902120_2210320575669541774_n

Back shot with Tagumpay Bros…

World Vision Run 10KM. Subtitlted: Unveiling TB to the World. Now this was a challenge presented to our newly set-up team, the Tagumpay Bros – to run 10 km, sub-1 hour. That day at BGC, we showed up in our colorful, new and nicely fitting blue shirts. The last time I took on an official 10 km race was during Buddy Race last year and was ably paced by buddy Van to a 48-minute PR.

10479740_10201968922533976_1855826935334112014_n

A veritable speedy start in the first 500 meters…

I wasn’t expecting that much actually with this one (just finish an hour or less) but I was also eager to test my mettle on speed runs. Throughout the race, I just kept hammering on the pavement, huffing like there’s no tomorrow. A few moments, I slowed down a bit but hardly stopped. Soon, the finish line came into view but I kept moving on, not knowing who my co-runners in the 10 km category were (the 5-km have joined in by then).10477954_1527223650839580_2986209684472437616_n

10390251_10203020935136711_7193824323228587063_n

With longtime running companion Dave Buban…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The finish line indicated I clocked in at 49 minutes! I was #14 – not bad for a Sunday morning last June 20. As a bonus, co-Tagumpay Bros McCoy Lontoc placed 3rd and all the boys of the team finished within an hour.10409750_1490394767864468_5795522434163957897_n

1900394_10154009165075226_1440365264_oSoleus Nuvali Trail Run 50KM. It’s my first ultra trail race (again) since last year’s TNF100 and surprisingly, a pleasant over-all experience, even with mild cramping in the final kilometers. The last time I ran this part was in 2012 with Team Kulit such that by this time, many new structures have risen and sprawling development was all over the area. At 3 am, it was a dark start but runners with their headlamps were bunched together so most of the path was relatively lit. In a kilometer or so, we would be forming a line as the trail narrows and the elevation rose and fell mildly.Medal+Lanyard

10489866_755396587856280_7677583789993263742_n

 

10480131_755738011155471_8717029249744762910_n

I was still trying to rediscover my trail groove in the early portions of the race.  Soon enough, I was enjoying the sites and sceneries with the rising of the eastern sun.  We were moving across open terrains of cogon hills and snaking dirt paths.  Jogging gave way some hiking and walking when the going got tough.  It was a delight in seeing old trail friends after quite some time.  Of all my running friends, I feel closest to my ultra trail family and they were there in droves.

10446723_788320601231237_2507677598695280618_n

Well, hello trails! I. am. back.

10455359_729603650414568_7960994295009285815_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In between trails, wide roads of most developing communities broke the monotony of the greens. The sun was dancing in its full glory when I reached the turn-around point at KM25. I didn’t the do the customary heat training before but the long sleeve white tops were doing their job to prevent me from frying. The long ordeal of retracing back the same path was broken frequently by runners on the other side, struggling towards the midpoint. By lifting their sagging spirits, I myself was powered by their smiles and appreciation.

10407839_756247377771201_7129008168671443638_n

A cramping finish…

10469408_756010014461604_6419752210858204296_n

With fellow Milo R2 Apex classmates…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the return trip, around 8 kms into the finish, the cramps came out of nowhere, slowing me down when I needed to push myself. I countered the discomfort by doing some heel strike running. It helped me pick up the pace and soon I was overtaking some of the walkers. The last few hundred meters had me struggling as the hardness on the calves doubled so I had no glorious shots to boot. At 6:57, I finally reached the finish line in one piece though slightly fatigued and broken. And my return to the trails had begun…

Recovery lunch at Little Tokyo with Van, Alfred and Noemi...

Recovery lunch at Little Tokyo with Van, Alfred and Noemi…

The amazing shots are courtesy of Red Knight, Takbo.ph, Flat Ironman, Tara Trip Tayo, Prince Productions and Running Photographers

 


Leave a comment

Back in the High Life:  Trainings (Part 1)


 

The second quarter and part of the third had been quite hectic for me, both in personal and professional aspects.  Even then, I still had the energy and time to maintain, in my standard, an excellent fitness level.  And yes, I’d say that since I had my forced hiatus late last year, I’ve never felt stronger and at times thrashed from all my trainings and mileage since May.  Just check these out…

 

Milo R2 APEX Running School.  Of course, it’s nothing less than our Milo Apex Running School which we’ve attended since early May of 2014.  Every Monday and Wednesday, we would show up at the QC Memorial Circle and just blindly follow whatever our running and conditioning coaches would program us for that particular session.  That’s an exaggeration, of course, because before that, our coaches would bombard us on talks regarding nutrition, physiology, anatomy, and the basics on sports science and running.  I’ve been a MARSian since 2011 and have always attended their 3-month program leading into the Milo Marathons of July and December.  But this is the first time that I was able to complete almost all their sessions.

The 42KM Group.

The 42KM Group.

386748_10150402897696172_657011171_8749950_338991457_n

One of our overworked and overused contraptions – the Theraband.

 

And boy, did we feel the big difference.  This year’s program was considerably amped up and taken to a higher level.  Since the first session, the pacing was greater and more difficult, the repetitions of the workouts were more numerous and the exercises were so much challenging that we’d come home twice a week totally thrashed and pushed to our limits.  Soon enough our bodies adjusted to the biweekly ‘tortures’ such that we we’re already looking forward to the ordeals of that week which varied from yoga sessions, plyometrics, speed runs, 1-minute circuit workouts, TRX, aquatraining and more additional surprise workouts.

One of our Aquatraining sessions at the Amoranto pool.

One of our Aquatraining sessions at the Amoranto pool.

527323_364016993681068_1690341006_n

The wetter, the stronger…

 

Speed Run Sessions at the newly refurbished ULTRA track.

Speed Run Sessions at the newly refurbished ULTRA track.

It made a difference that Coaches Jim and Toni Saret were at the helm our sessions, visiting us once a week and supervising us closely, if not sadistically.  But hey, we went to the Circle to encounter pain and experience it at its purest form.  Upon entering the Memorial, I feel like a gladiator being sacrificed to some primitive brutal ritual.  Fortunately, no blood was shed and no body part was mangled.  But we did feel like warriors weeks after, coming out of battle, stronger and victorious.  Check out this video done by fellow MARRSian Caryl Aglian.  So, what did the fox say?

 

 

stronger and faster...

stronger, faster, higher…

Payasso 2200.  This came in the middle of our training program.  Speed runs are what Milo Finals qualifying times are made of.  So when Payasso 2200 (based on Yasso 800 by Bart Yasso) came our way, we grabbed on it and joined the fast and the furious class under Professor Jon Las Bruces around the UP Academic Oval.  Fortunately, it was scheduled every Tuesday & Thursday, alternating with our Milo Apex’s Monday & Wednesday sessions.  Imagine how thrashed we were come Friday morning.

Trail and ultra runners of all shapes and sizes...

Trail and ultra runners of all shapes and sizes…

 

P1090846

Meet our mentor – Master Jon Las Bruces.

But we were desperately in need of high quality mileage, meaning running at a sub-5 pace for 2.2 kms.  Plus we enjoyed our after-run dinner and fresh fruit shakes along with the bonding and bantering with some of the simplest and good-natured runners around.  Everytime I need to keep flying without losing sight, I just remember our Payasso credo of ‘blocking the pain’ and I’m off.

 

P1090815

pure adrenaline…

P90X.  For the the times when the clinic hours would extend beyond 6 pm or when the rain just would let up, P90X was a safer alternative for us.  Though it’s safe to say that a third of Milo R2 and Payasso were done in the rain.   It’s monsoon season, afterall.  P90X is a 50-min workout which we follow on a tv screen at my condo gym.  It’s a total body exercise though each session would sometimes emphasize certain areas like the core, shoulders, legs, etc.  After finishing such, we feel less guilty for missing out on our outdoor activities for that night.


Leave a comment

The Lost Files Series: October – November 2012


[These writings were done during my October-November 2012 visit at the U.S. The draft just surfaced a few weeks ago when my brother Fred and his family visited us for our parents’ 50th Anniversary celebration.]

The Lost Files #1: And my First International Marathon goes for a PR

31004_4836342824570_730610316_n

this is it…

The plan was to do New York but after failing twice, I knew it was time to visit the East coast after 6 years and reconnect with family and friends. And perhaps, do my first international marathon. Chicago was the next option but a day before my visa arrived, applications closed promptly.
My to-be home base would be New Jersey so Baltimore figured in the picture easily. I was to arrive 3 days before the event so somehow I’d still be in my fittest running state, that is after battling sleepiness (never had a shut eye during the flight), jet lag and acclimatization (late fall had descended by mid October).

The day before the race, we went to the M & T Stadium to claim my bib and the race’s official lime long sleeve shirt. I also bought knee-length compression shorts only after experiencing near freezing temperature and incessant winds. Now I’m getting nervous. We stayed at my cousin Allan’s house in Virginia, just 30 minutes from Baltimore

starting cold and early...

starting cold and early…

552663_4836346744668_994788707_n

my jittery smile at the start…

My brother and I appeared at the starting line an hour before to take pictures and survey the scene. Around 5,000 runners in various get-ups and outfits were there, including differently-abled contenders in hand-pedalled go karts and various contraptions. I had 2 layers of upper and lower running gears but was stiff as a block of ice. I just needed to heat up inside, I told myself, and I can slowly get my stride in order. It’s been the same story – I go too fast at the start, try to find my pace and just take on the remaining kilometers with earnest gusto and eagerness.
So there I was among the lead-packers as we raced up the city’s marvelous ascending main avenue – a quirky mix of brick and modern structures. The crowd’s fevered and fervent spirit kept the runners electrified and moving. I tried to take in all that energy until I realized I was catching my breath around KM5. I tried to slow down and just enjoy the ride, hardly being able to shield my legs and feet from the numbing cold.

At that point, I felt I had put all my preparations and expenses to waste – it was time to throw the towel. And what was I to put in my FB status? So I kept trudging into the rolling streets of Baltimore, the city zoo and various parks and open spaces. I was still waiting for the heat to kick in but after KM20, I gave up and just go with the flow of marathoners. We navigated through offices and commercial temples, both new and restored along the picturesque Chesapeake Bay.
We started at 8 a.m. and even with the sun already up and glowing, it was still a cold shivering affair. Thank God for the crowd and high school bands interspersed along the city streets, cheering and pushing us with some invisible force to the finish. And easily transforming it into one memorable street party.

the final struggles...

the final struggles…

I surprised myself when I reach KM32 (Mile20) at around 3 hours. Suddenly visions of a finishing my first international marathon with a personal record (PR) started swirling in my head. The race map had shown Mile 16-22 (a good 1 hour) a steep ascent into the finish line and so I kept anticipating it, expecting to walk and slow down when the going got tough.

But it never came. They were mean ascents alright but nothing that could have pulled me down. Buoyed by blaring street music and positive vibes from the crowd who had lined up the main avenue descending to the finish line, I kept hammering the pavement and pulled myself to a glorious finish. And it’s all documented by my little brother Fred who had strategically positioned himself 200 meters from the finish line.

metal-biting moment

metal-biting moment

Now these are what marathon memories are made of. And yes it was a personal record (PR) at 4:17:36. You might also want to check out my Frontrunner article on the same subject. Check out this link.

The Lost Files #2: Bimbler’s was no Bluff

Eight days after my Baltimore Marathon triumph (t’was a PR of 4:17:36), I was back for my second race in the States. This time it’s a trail run and 8 kilometers longer that my marathon. So when my brother drove me to Guilford, Connecticut one chilly morning, he figured that I’d finish it in less than 6 hours, considering my latest full mary time. I was also hoping he would be right but at the back of my mind, I knew it was going to be one harrowing ride.

578997_4884288903192_63899419_nJael Wenceslao, who had his share ultraruns in the States, helped me choose this run. My first choice was the Fire in the Mountain 50KM ultra but when he noticed the lead packers finishing within the early 6 hours, he knew it was one tough nut to crack. Bimbler’s Bluff had early 4-hour finishers so it was the wiser choice.

Or so I thought.

I learned my lesson from Baltimore so I showed up totally bundled up from head to toe. I’m the only visitor from the southern hemisphere so the outfit divide was quite obvious but what the hey…299434_4884284183074_1965776543_n
Around a hundred runners left the starting line and headed towards the forest. The route had some mean up hills but glorious down hills, as well. Early on the race, I started feeling the heat within as the molting began. First to go were the darn gloves followed by the bonnet then the jacket. After a fast start, I began to find my stride and let others outrun (and outchick) me. Quite frustrating really but I’m taking on this race 10 days on vacation mode and did I mention, 10 pounds heavier. 197618_4884282343028_283425629_n
But I never imagined it to be that bad. Let me count the ways:

a. Stone mines.  It was supposed to be just early fall but our trail had been littered with fallen leaves all over that one can hardly distinguish flat soil from strewn angular rocks. So a single wrong step could mean one nasty sprain. Those missteps just kept happening that I stopped counting. I never learned how my American counterparts were able to pass through those ‘mines’ like fairies flitting towards the summit. Suddenly, it was no longer fun anymore.

b. The cold. After a few kilometers, I had stripped to my compression pants with shorts and singlet over my long sleeve shirt but with the towering trees shading us from the sun, the cold breeze persisted. So while many of my co-runners were sweating in their shirts and tank tops, I was struggling mildly from the cold air and breath shortness.

c. Rudderless runner. I have always pride myself of having a good sense of direction and while all the wide route was well marked but their candy-striped red and white ribbons, I still got lost 4 times during the 50-km distance (losing a good 40 minutes). How did it happen? Probably, I got dependent on running behind a group that when left to my own devices, I suddenly felt rudderless and lost. Or when I got too immersed on the lovely autumn colors of the forest or my MP3 songs.

A single false glance or missed ribbon and I’m in alien territory. The longest time I wandered off was when I followed someone who himself was also lost. Anyway I just need to remember next time that in the States, trails and paths are intertwining and convoluted so the possibilities (to get lost) are endless.

553414_4884287783164_1324433037_n

how to survive my first ultra-trail run abroad…

After the last time I got lost, I knew there was no way I could redeem this trail run. The only goal by then (8 kilometers away) was to finish within the 10-hour cut-off time. And so I surged forward, albeit still tripping on the stone traps and shivering but already keeping a sharp eye on the those candy striped flags

Going back to the finish, I realized how steep and slightly technical our furious start had been that morning. It was a minor hill so into the finish, I was basically just free falling and enjoying the final kilometers of our adventure. I clocked in at 8:08:36 and #117 out of 136 runners. I had wanted to be ranked in the mid pack somewhere in the 70s but it was not to be . Maybe next time, I could do better…hmmm.

The Lost Notes #3:  MAROONed for 5 days

It’s been 16 hours since the blackout started here at my brother’s house in New Jersey courtesy of hurricane Sandy who devastated mostly the Eastern part of the U.S. mainland. In the many times I’ve visited the States, it’s my first time to experience such a major catastrophe. 3 days ago, I was in Manhattan for a few days and I had a blast (as always) enjoying the sights, pulse and people of New York City. Now we got news that waters at Battery Park have reached 13 ft. and the Hudson and East rivers have overflowed.

upside down look at life...

life from the upside…

534619_4915819291432_241270486_n

Days before, I did some morning runs along those scenic river paths. Now, I’d hate to imagine how the newly revived public spaces (former railroad tracks) look like now. One of their most anticipated celebrations might hardly take place, actually. But I sure hope that within 5 days, New York City can get back on its feet again or else, the NYC Marathon is bound to doom for 2012.

267658_4883949694712_1437378228_n

when the warm-up never led to the race…

Back in the home front, we were able finish our hearty dinner before the lights disappeared and continued with some much needed and unexpected family time – playing scrabble and hanging around sans the noise and disturbance of modern day gizmos. We had enough water and energy for my brother’s UPS (uninterruptible power supply) though we kept it at a minimum for who knows up to when this calamity would last. Even if clouds hovered above, the winds have dwindled and we even got to walk around the development to check out Sandy’s havoc. Here, it’s only 2 trees which toppled and no major harm to Mina house.

My training regimen has been in doldrums. Two weeks before, I did only 2 long runs after my 50K trail run while last week, it’s been down to one. It’s already Tuesday but I haven’t hit the pavement due to this storm. Since yesterday, I’ve been running up and down the stairs followed by some stretching and yoga poses just to keep the fitness level up.

It’s going to be a challenge but I need to rack up some serious mileage soon. I’m totally envious of my co-runners’ training runs in the Philippines as many of us are preparing for the C2C 200KM and the CM50miles. For me it’s CM50 a week after I arrive in Manila followed by the Quezon City International Marathon 2012, a week later. And I’m still weighed down by the same issues – jet lag, under training and acclimatization.

Yep, I do intend to run far and long here without getting too adapted to these conditions so I won’t have a hard time reverting back to tropical mode in 2 weeks. Wish me luck…

 

P.S. New York City Marathon, after some push and pull between organizer and the mayor’s office, didn’t push through on November 2, 2012 but many of the registered runners still ran along Central Park’s 4-mile road 6 times just to complete the 26 kilometer distance, more or less. I was there to party with the runners who many still donned their NYCM bibs.

On November 25, 2012, I took on the first Clark-Miyamit 50-mile trail run and was able to finish it at 17:12 or 48 minutes before cut-off time. A week after that, I took on a pacer’s duty (4:45) for the QCIM 2012 but with a lot of push was able to finish my 9th full marathon at 4:23:36.


3 Comments

The First Quarter Run:  Why I KNEEded to make this Comeback


 

Hello World!  Now this is my first official blog entry since I crept under a rock and led hermit’s existence in the blogging world.  Now that was eons ago (actually a little over 7 months) when I had my last run before taking a rest from the road and trail (though not necessarily as you will discover later).  Basically, the entry timeline begins way before the first quarter of 2014.

Just a Recap.  So I had my knee operation (due to chondromalacia) on Oct. 10 last year.  But before that, I finished quite a slew of road runs and was in a constant training mode (meaning 3-weekday 11KM runs and a long run on Sundays).  On August 18 (two weeks after my 21KM run leg of the Ironman), I finished the Safeguard 2XU 21KM race in the midst of windy rains along Roxas Boulevard at 1:59.  Then on the 14 September, I trodded on the trails (later becoming muddy) of Filinvest in their Endurance Run where I completed 62KMs for 10 hours.  It was a 2.2KM loop that would have bored me to death if not for Team Kuliters Dave, Chinky, Sheila & Rey who joined me.  Two weeks later, Van & I conquered the Men’s Health Urbanathlon 21KM Run which was studded with some difficult obstacles.  We finished at an impossible 1:53 but I soon found out that we missed out one set of obstacles.  Moving on.

Neon yellow is the color of the day for the Kuliters...

Neon yellow is the color of the day for the Kuliters…

Safeguard 2XU with Vann...

Safeguard 2XU with Vann…

Memorable moments with Team Kulit...

Memorable moments with Team Kulit…

Finally, on October 6, six days after my 48th, I finished my 14th full marathon with a satisfactory time of 4:25.  Three days later, I went under the knife.  It was a fast recovery but it tested my patience and antsiness to run again.

biting on the Philippine flag near the RUPM finish line...

biting on the Philippine flag near the RUPM finish line…

A Life of Ease (or Living in Limbo).  So just like that, a life which breathed on trainings, uphills and hydration packs suddenly took an unexpected detour and made a screeching halt.  I’d sometimes wake up at 5:15 AM and just stare at the ceiling and ponder on obesity, inactivity and rising blood pressure.  But I also have to drill in my head the very words of my orthopedic surgeon:  No running or jogging, just walking while the left knee is still recovering from the operation.  No pressure on the joint or any acute knee bending beyond 135 degrees.

All my plans for the last quarter had to go down the drain – the Clark-Miyamit 50 Miles, Quezon City International Marathon, Milo Finals (just the 21KM), etc.  Perhaps, this was one of the lowest point (read:  depressing) in my so-called running career.  But I’m not the one to be dissuaded by this minor quibble.  I always try to make the most out of any sorry situation.  A few days of soul searching finally made me realize that this could be one of the most pleasurable phases of my life.  No more early morning training runs and even earlier rousing during Sunday mornings.  Meaning I could eat out into the late night, watch movies I’ve missed and splurge on sleep.

good food among great running friends...

good food among great running friends…

Team Kulit makes a clinic visit for some birthday surprise and knee update...

Team Kulit makes a clinic visit for some birthday surprise and knee update…

Did I mention that we love to get together and eat?

Did I mention that we love to get together and eat?

no running, no problem, just eat and be merry...

no running, no problem, just eat and be merry…

Team Kulit's Christmas get-together at Tio's...

Team Kulit’s Christmas get-together at Tio’s…

Plus more holiday parties (and bingeing) with the Minas...

Plus more holiday parties (and bingeing) with the Minas…

Longing for the road.  A few weeks of this soon had me getting more excited on my road comeback.  Unfortunately, my hiatus had to be stretched a bit more.  Before I started to bloat (the heaviest I got was 154 lbs.) and revert to my hypertensive persona, I focused on strengthening and several drills via my Milo Apex running school at QC Circle.  Under the helm of the Sarets, I joined our two-days-a-week exercises, even if a bit protracted and simplified than the rest of the group.  It was an ordeal not to join their runs at the end of the night but it would be foolish to push it either.

My road to recovery began with the Milo Apex Running School.

My road to recovery began with the Milo Apex Running School.

Cross trainings.  So with a little patience and controlled exuberance, I started digging myself out of the injury hole.  Strengthening was also coupled by routines on balance and flexibility via yoga, pilates, even zumba.  Upper body strengthening and some leg works minus the body weight I got from our pool exercises and laps across.  Near the end of November, I had started jogging to join our Milo cool down runs.  My orthopedic surgeon also gave me the go signal to start running again after clearing me of any damage or delay in the repair of the surgical area at the left knee.

some yoga stunts to stretch and strengthen the weak and semi-flexible areas...

some yoga stunts to stretch and strengthen the weak and semi-flexible areas…

On the road again.  On the first week of December, I joined my first 10KM run via Nike’s We Run in my favorite city of all, Marikina.  It was exhilarating even if I was panting like hell and had to do some walking in between the run phases.  Survived my first official run under 1 hour and was flying around the Marikina Sports Park oval where it concluded.

I gave my kit to Van for the Nike We Run for I was just recovering, right?  But when an extra shirt comes along, who am I to refuse?

I gave my kit to Van for the Nike We Run for I was just recovering, right? But when an extra shirt comes along, who am I to refuse?

Second week of January found me at the island of Samar giving dental treatment to the devastated.  In between, I knew I had to do my runs (with Fatima Mae)...

Second week of January found me at the island of Samar giving dental treatment to the devastated. In between, I knew I had to do my runs (with Fatima Mae)…

Recovery at this point became accelerated as I religiously did 15KM runs every Sunday around UP Diliman.  By the start of 2014, I started running more regularly – that’s twice on weekdays and one long run on Sundays.  The 1.5-hour swim exercises/laps continued into April when I joined my first Aquathlon after 3 years.  I finished the Splash & Dash at 12:15 for the 400M swim and 17:10 for the 3K run.  Not bad, really.

getting my feet and body wet at the start of the 400KM swim...

getting my feet and body wet at the start of the 400KM swim…

a few meters into the Splash & Dash finish (where I threw up a little - acid reflux mode)

a few meters into the Splash & Dash finish (where I threw up a little – acid reflux mode)

I even tried joining our Rotary Sportsfest 400KM relay and 100KM dash (got the silver).

I even tried joining our Rotary Sportsfest 400KM relay and 100KM dash (got the silver).

Races & Phases.  Every month, I tried joining one race at least just so that I will be motivated to rev up my training and strengthening.  January saw me doing runs/walks for 8 hours to rack up 28.6 KMs during the Fat Ass at the Clark Complex in Pampanga.  February was a lot of long runs around UP Diliman but March finally gave me a taste of killer uphills and downhills when I joined the 16KM Wall to Shotgun at the Timberland area in San Mateo, Rizal.  It was tricky especially with the endless sharp ascents but I made up on the descents where I was flying though a bit more controlled.  By the time I crossed the finish line, I clocked a veritable 2:05:37.

the view was breathtaking, the hills took my breath literally...huff, huff.

the view was breathtaking, the hills took my breath literally…huff, huff.

I'm Alive!  (even if I almost died)...

I’m Alive! (even if I almost died)…

the final downhill dash with Van!

the final downhill dash with Van!

Volting in with Voltes Team mates Bonbon, Tina & Cris...

Volting in with Voltes Team mates Bonbon, Tina & Cris…

Once April rolled in, I was doing a lot of swimming, running and P90X workouts at the condo gym which greatly helped in my aquathlon that month.  On May 1, an unexpected invitation to run in a Rotaract-sponsored race saw me waking up early and tracing the Marikina river and back to finish the 10KM race at 51:08.  The trainings and cross-trainings seem to have helped tremendously.

Long shot with my long time running buddy, Dave Buban...

Long shot with my long time running buddy, Dave Buban…

I'm the King of the Hill!

I’m the King of the Hill!

Back on the trail with Team PP, Tagumpay Brothers & Team Kulit!

Back on the trail with Team PP, Tagumpay Brothers & Team Kulit!

Night swimming by the condo...waters were actually freezing cold.

Night swimming by the condo…waters were actually freezing cold.

at the start of the run with Fatima Mae...

at the start of the run with Fatima Mae…

Trying to look dashing while dashing to the finish...

Trying to look dashing while dashing to the finish…

Training Mode.  Now that the Milo Apex Running School has begun (last April 28),  I’m feeling a lot stronger now with the Milo Marathon in mind.  So every Monday & Wednesday nights, we’re doing the Milo routines at the QC Circle while every Wednesday and Friday mornings, we do our regular 10KM runs around the rolling village adjacent to ours.  Sundays are reserved for long runs unless I have an official race like last Sunday’s Brooks Run Happy 24K Trail Run at the Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal area.  It was a rollercoaster-like downhill leading into a rolling terrain which passes through 10 rivers and back.  The uphills we just walked up continuously until we were led into the resort’s series of obstacles followed by a succession of downhill rappelling (my fave even if I didn’t have any gloves on) culminating in an acutely angled climb to the finish.

I don't care...I love it!

I don’t care…I love it!

Merrell Happy!  Thanks to Ms. Connie (of Frontrunner) for the 2 Brooks Run Happy bibs!

Asics Happy! Thanks to Ms. Connie (of Frontrunner) for the 2 Brooks Run Happy bibs!

It’s my first official trail run and I’m quite proud of my 3:16 finish.  Will I be doing more of this trail/mountail races?  How far will I go upon my return to the winding trails and verdant paths?  It’s perhaps, the main reason how I overused these knees in the first place.  I really can’t tell.  For now, I’m just happy to back in my home turf (that would be the road, the trails and the blogging world).  Cheers!

Photography by Red Knight (Emman Tiburcio), Phiclique Mata Photography, Running Photographers, Run Cabanatuan, Photo Ops, Dyeptones, Edna Yao-Lim, Fatima Mae Tiburcio, David Buban, Maripaz Buban, Tina Marasigan & Dennis Centeno.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,772 other followers