RUN DMD

I run…therefore I am


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A Tale of Two (16-km) Runs: Run4Life & Greentenial


one yummy read...

After two consecutive Sundays of driving to the far ends of the Metro, I find myself plopped in the bedroom devouring the last pages of ‘Kitchen Confidential’ (by the very acerbic and clever Anthony Bourdain so expect some tongue-in-cheek prose from hereon in).  Not that I’m slowing down.  Since last Sunday, Dave and I have been trying to pack in the miles along our newly hyperextended training route (around 8.3 kms from 4.4) but we still have to exceed my set goal of 50 kms per week.  So far, it’s just 36 kms since Sunday.  And the Nuvali 50km and Manila Marathon clocks are ticking fast.  I know I shouldn’t be making excuses but the erratic weather has been disturbing my sleeping patterns and my sensitive respiratory system, developing into a near flu last week.

Anyway, I was a lot better when I drove down South last May 15 upon the invitation of Kassy Pajarillo’s group, the Lifeline Foundation, to participate in the 2ndedition of Run4Life which aims to raise funds for their many causes – cancer patients, education, outreach programs.  Sorry, I’m a sucker for these part time social workers who really work their ass off in helping the less-fortunate of our brothers and sisters.  Perhaps, one reason I’ve stayed a Rotarian.

with Pojie and Ambow (real names witheld)

podium fantasies...hmmm

I woke up at 3 am, fetched a fellow runner, Carl Balagot along Marcos highway on our long sojourn to the South end.  That’s in East Gate, Alabang, Muntinlupa.  With me behind the wheels, we wiz by C5 and SLEX and were in the starting block by 5 am.  It’s a small group consisting of around 1,000 (a trickle of the running world which have all assembled at BGC to ogle over Dingdong Dantes and company) with around 300 of us shooting out of the starting line at 5:20 am.  Seeing a thin bunch of runners, I had visions of a podium finish (2nd, perhaps) swirling in my head.  It’s my first speed run after BDM 102 so I was quite fired up joining the front liners.  A little over the 1stkilometer, I started feeling difficulty with our pacing and breathing.

a fast start with Vicky & Jepoy

smiling under the heavy breathing and struggling...

The road was very leisurely and verdant circling around the rich enclaves of Alabang with minor hills or descents.  Soon enough veterans like Ton Concepcion, Jonel Mendoza and the gleamingly tanned Vicky Ras were running past me.  Around the Festival Mall area, the continuous running had deteriorated to jogs and walks.  It’s quite frustrating as I had barely passed the halfway point.

2 kms to go...

The final return featured a lot of short walks and sudden runs.  Since I was nursing a mild flu, my body was beading with sweat all over but they were cold and clammy, 2 adjectives in medical books to describe sweating when one is experiencing hypoglycemia and worse, a heart attack.  I knew I had to take it easy as this is the first time I’ve experienced this on my many races.

The road seemed to go on forever and all the motivation from my MP3 player and memories of BDM just won’t push me to fly to a rousing finish.  On our way home, Carl was also recalling his own not-so-impressive performance.  We could only point out one culprit – our lack of long runs during weekends.  Oh well, next time.

I'll be back...with a vengeance.

green gold!

The chance to redeem one self came only a week after.  Ron Provido, suddenly dangled free run entries for the Greentenial Run happening on May 22 at MOA area among Team Boring members.  And it’s the same distance – 16 kms, even if the maximum distance was the 21-km category.

long shadows ahead...

Another early morning drive and I’m at the Starting Line with Team Boring ready to take off and maybe correct last week’s anomaly.  My opening 2 kms had me pacing with Topher under a cool and slightly cloudy weather – so far, so good.  Later, I was sandwich between two Boring peeps – Doc Maya and Paolo maintaining a pace of 7 mins/ km.

one rousing jump shot from the powerpuff boys!

pounding the pavement with panache...

The breathing was still continuous but I’ve managed to adjust and keep up with our group.  Soon enough, the sun started coming out and spraying heat all over.  Water was all over – whether from a fire truck or the many stations so I hardly had any pangs of dryness and thirst.

one refreshing shot...

oasis in the desert? - more like shower from the sky...

In the final kilometers, Paolo kept up with the fast pace leaving me and Maya to conquer the last leg.  Later on, I went a little faster and left Maya behind.  The finish had me sprinting a bit with a jump shot on the final 200 meters.

one moment in time...

I felt I had finished at a faster time but the clock indicated 1:39 (while in Run4Life, it’s 1:38).  I turns out Run4Life is .4 kms short while Greentenial is .2 kms longer.  But I’m quite happy with my improvement even if it’s 1 minute longer.  The satisfaction of crossing that finish line, smiling and dashing like the Flash sure beats that (after-race) nagging feeling of barely running, panting, nearly collapsing finish.  Now got to rev up on my speed and burn more miles – the long races are just across the horizon.

The awesome pictures are courtesy of Carl Balagot, Leilani Seculles and the albums of Run4Life and Greentenial.

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Plunging In: My first Aquathlon.


I did it!

A few meters into the finish of the swim component, I was taking in more water than what I should be squirting out in every stroke. I was gasping for air as other guys from my wave were coming out of the pool barely unscathed and ready to hit the pavement. What the Hefner am I doing here? (instead of staying in the mansion and cuddling with my bunnies)

This was probably my most indelible moment 2 Sundays ago when I literally plunged into my first Aquathlon. The date was the same as the ScholaRun, a race around Marikina which I’ve helped to promote. But the KTT (kain. tulog. takbo.) – organized event was just to good to pass up – it’s located at Georgetown (a good 5-minute drive from our home), the dreaded swim portion is a measly 400 meters and the group led by the husband/wife, Cris/Bave, organized it for budding swimmers like me with an enticing registration fee (P350) plus a stylish finisher shirt and a free breakfast.

Now who can resist such a temptation? Maybe the non-swimming runner but I’ve been doing the pool laps quite regularly, albeit for a short period of time. So who knows…

with Ayette (CB) and Maya (Boring)

Though many of the faces were quite familiar already (with Team CB helping in the race supervision and people from Kamote Runners, Six:30, Boring, etc. fielding contenders which ballooned to almost 90), an Aquathlon is a whole different animal. Contenders huddled around in various forms of undress (I forgot my swimming shorts so I had to contend with a skimpier one reminiscent of Ricky Belmonte and Jestonie Alarcon), waiting for their wave or listening to instructions with arms clasped together while watching other participants struggle or whiz along the snaking course. That’s 25 meters times 8 laps then another round to complete the 400-meter distance.

the deep breath before the plunge!

mind set: just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

I have the fortunate home advantage having joined the simulation swim-run on the same route a week before. So when I joined the final wave, I was 10 lbs heavier of confidence and swagger – I was going to let these guys swallow my bubbles (that’s the aquatic equivalent of “eat my dust, dude”). Once the dash started, I found myself with the lead pack (but opkors). Two laps later, I started feeling the weight (of my body and ego) then little by little, they overtook me (which slowed me down even more).

head is way tooo high (still learning...)

By the time I finished the first circuit, I was starting to get worn out but still struggled and exerted myself. The last few laps felt like sloshing on molasses but I eventually finished it (13:32, 30 secs faster than during the simulation) but I knew I was already trashed when I was fitting in my running socks and shoes. Starting the run, I felt like I just finished 20 kilometers non-stop. My legs were gelatinous but the bullheadedness persisted so I just kept putting one foot ahead of the other.

nearing a heal strike - fail...

it's my turn...

just keep running...

I can smell the finish line...

It was a nice slightly overcast weather so there was hardly any solar heat beating on my back and I was passing through familiar route and even seeing some familiar faces of the community. After taking my 5th and final string, I was off to a nice and medium pace finish – not the glorious dash I had in my mind but with everyone welcoming me with claps and cheers, it felt magnificent. My final time – 32:48 (with a run time of 19:16) – 28th among 52 contenders. Not bad for a first Aquathlon.

almost there...

one more step...

weeeee!

I just have to say that the event was ably organized by KTT with other friend runners manning the different corners and turns, the atmosphere was family-oriented and fun and most memorable. Soon enough, I know I’m going to take on this animal again (that’s the aquathlon) and feel the triumph of surviving the grueling ordeal. So, any invites out there?

'til then...(sa uulitin)


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The (secret) road to Monterrey


the few, the brave and the bored...

Finally, I get to share our (Dave’s and I) secret training ground before the BDM 102km. This route is actually not too covert among the Marikina/Rizal runners and even got a page in Frontrunner magazine as written by Ray Abenojar, another co-Mariqueno and high schoolmate. It’s also the first time that we invited some members of Team Boring on our little route – a short 6 kms up and another 6 kms down.  We assembled by 5:15 am last Saturday as Topher, Bong, McCoy and Ina joined me and Dave on our LSD run. Ronnie & Cindy chose to stay at our house as the challenge and the distance seems too much for them.

the struggle begins....

We began with a short walk about a kilometer going to my high school, Marist (part of our regular path, a good 4.4 kms) and from there when the seminaries start appearing, the road began to steep up going to Meteor Homes, still a part of Marikina. The road with its minimal public vehicles (mostly coming from Sta. Barbara, San Mateo) continue to go up until it reaches a deep valley to give way to a river crossed by a bridge. We had to slow down a bit lest we fumble all the way down, it was that steep. Welcome to San Mateo, Rizal.

marikina - san mateo border...

hills and more hills...

From thereon in, the road begins to rise making a sharp curve to the left and entering Monterrey Village. There would be short spans of flats but the terrain continues to go up, some by up to 60 degrees. We try to keep in mind certain tips on running uphill, slightly tilting the body forward, pacing regularly and swaying the arms more incessantly. After two more ascents, we reach a long plateau where the turn around was supposed to happen, near the entrance of the Sta. Barbara Villas.

Unfortunately, our two gofers McCoy & Bong kept trudging forward and up, up, up. I finally caught up with McCoy who finally found some sense to stop and wait for the group. Bong meanwhile had sped down towards Sta. Barbara town proper before he was finally restrained by McCoy. A few minutes later, we congregated with Topher, Dave and Ina finally reaching a little beyond the turning point.

McCoy, bored of waiting...

with the San Mateo mountains at the back...

McCoy, Bong, Toto, Topher

The view from the top now overlooks the smoggy Ortigas landscape and Quezon City. As we made our descent towards the bridge, the sun began to creep out of the horizon.

And Bong goes down...

The plunge was a lot faster, naturally and less testy. We make an exit through another village (La Milagrosa) into Rancho Estate subdivision and finally heading to SSS Village where my mom had prepared a very sumptuous breakfast of sinangag, eggs and Lukban longganiza. Major, major Tere joined us later as we celebrated her ‘despedida’ for the States. T’was indeed another Borrring morning…

the day's reward...

from the top...


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Upcoming Plans for the next few months…


+ 58 kms....*gulp*

After a not-so-active 2 months, I’m planning to put my training program for the Bataan Death March 160km 2012 in high gear.  If you haven’t been following my logs, I’ve been doing other things outside of my long runs (the longest was 20 kms, I know, shoot me).  Recently, at our gym (Slimmer’s World), I’ve tried doing some yoga sessions and will definitely make this a part of my weekly routine.  This could be the solution to my minor aches muscle aches and stiffness most pronounced after long runs.  We shall see.

just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Of course, I’m doing some swimming at the Marikina Sports Center.  This newly resurrected skill would be finally put to test on May 8 when I join my first Aquathlon with Team Kain. Takbo. Tulog led by fellow Mariquenos Chris & Bave dela Cruz.  We did a simulation last Saturday and I’m quite satisfied that I was able to finish the whole swim routine at around 14 mins.  We shall see come Sunday.  Around 90 participants have signed  up so we were divided into different waves (groups).  I’m with the last wave of the male participants which starts at 8 am so I might still make an appearance (maybe just a 5 kms dash) at the SCHOLARunwhich happens on the same day just less than a kilometer away.  The idea of seeing Marikina (less pollution, less vehicles, wider roads/sidewalks) an alternative to running/sporting events is something I’m really keen on promoting.

Mariquenos, on the run....

The week after, I will be joining Lifeline Foundation’s 2nd edition of their Run4Life.  It’s just a 10 km run and the place is way down south in Alabang but this is one worthy run-for-a-cause I won’t mind waking up to at 3 am on May 15.  Besides, I heard the Westgate route is something worth traversing and experiencing.

Lifeline foundation really knows how to entice...

Whenever I would be available, I see myself finally doing the real long runs on Sundays leading up to my first 50 km Valley Trail Challenge which sees action on June 18.  I’m still combing the internet for that ideal trail shoes (I’m veering towards Salomon), buy and test run it soon.  With a 5 hour cut off time, this year’s Manila International Marathon (revived after many years) is also enticing in my goal to go sub-5 in my 5thMarathon.  My last Condura Skyway Marathon clocked in 5:02 so I’m hoping to improve on that.  So yes, most highly, probably, I’m registering for the MIM 2011.

my first trail run since the Crater run (Mt. Pinatubo)...

The run I’m most excited about is the CDO-Dahilayan Trail Ultramarathonwhich takes place on July 9.  I’ve bought the plane tickets and will be registering soon.  I have dentist friends (I met during my PGH externship program) at Cagayan de Oro so accommodations and transportation will be taken care of by Johnny & Danny.  I’ve traveled that road at least 4x and I know the elevation going to Bukidnon but it’s something new and the weather is cooler so I’m looking forward to this one.

I'm expecting this one to be challenging (and hopefully still fun)...

Finally, I conclude my July sked (besides the Takbo.Ph runfest) with the PAU (Philippine Association of Ultrarunners) 60km FortMagsaysay ultramarathon challengetracing a route from Nueva Ecija to Aurora provinces.  Many of my co-Team Boring members will be joining me so it’s going to be one hell of a street party spanning hopefully less than 12 hours.   This is another new road for me and I’m always energized to be treading new grounds.

this would be hard...

but with these peeps around, the run would be a breeze (and lotsa fun)!

So there you go.  So far, I’ve set my run sked for the first half of 2011.   I always need to have a goal on a monthly basis so registering for these challenging runs gives me direction for my training program.  Recently, my plans for the New York Marathon 2011 were dashed when I failed to get picked in their lottery so I’m concentrating on these local events.  Besides, I think finishing the BDM 102 is more than enough to make 2011 an eventful running year for me.


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Run 4 Life 2011


Last Friday, I was part of a group of bloggers gathered by fellow runner Kassy Pajarillo to promote Run4Life with 3km, 5km, 10km and 16km courses. The fees are quite reasonable and ALL proceeds would go to the Lifeline Foundation. Their projects include Satellite School programs, Patient of the Month (wherein they help 1 patient/month on his/her medical requirements), community library and youth soccer program (thus they have Phil as their poster boy). The group seem to be an honest and passionate lot so I highly encourage everyone to join Run4Life, one worthy endeavour for May….you may register online at:

http://www.ineedalifeline.org/run4life/