I run…therefore I am

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muSic for the fEEt

I’ve always said that I’m powered by good songs when I’m down, frying inside and basically ready to call it quits.  Music, played at the right moment, can easily transport me to another world where eagerness and positivity lord it over pessimism and pain.  This is still a work in progress as I will be updating this with new tracks every now and then.  This is also the first time I’m embedding audio files so I just hope this works…

joy in music while on the run

Adrenalizers – songs which get me flying and gliding, ideally played at the starting line but since I’m concern that the power of my MP3 player might not reach the last 10 kms. (the most crucial in the race), I tend to play this more when the sun’s high up and scorching me or when I’m feeling alone, isolated, bored or desperate.

1.  Come Dancing by The Kinks.  This song has been tried and tested on so many runs, I can listen to this every hour and still get moving.  First experienced it during the final kilometers of the Pinatubo 50-km run and haven’t looked back.

2.  Modern Love – David Bowie.  Whenever I hear the first strums of the string instruments and the drums, I remember the video showing the thin white duke on stage with his band decked in their formal white suits then I’m transported back to the early 1980s – my formative years in music appreciation.

...puts my trust in God and man...

3.  My life will suck without you – Kelly Clarkson.  The fast guitar riffs are so infectious, one can’t help but stomp the asphalt road and get going.

4.  Friday – Glee Cast.  A better and more upbeat version of Rebecca Black’s infamous song – this can get me jumping, just like during the MIM & T2N.

fun, fun, fun...

5.  New Power Generation, part II – Prince & NPG.  One of Prince’s more upbeat number with his newly formed New Power Generation band for the movie ‘Grafitti Bridge’ (supposed to be a sequel of ‘Purple Rain’).  The little guy wrote and directed it so expectedly it bombed but the music lives on.  In 1991, a cousin from the States presented me a music tape of this album so I guess it’s quite memorable.  Yes, I’m a Prince fanatic ever since I saw ‘Purple Rain’ at Remar theater (Cubao) before it disappeared the next day in 1984.

...lay down your funky weapons, come join us on the floor...

6.  Dancing with Myself – Billy Idol.  The drums will get one stomping while imagining you’re Billy on top of a building – naked and dancing like it’s the end of the world.

7.  Let’s Kill Tonight – Panic at the Disco.  Introduced to me by my patient/goddaughter, Iya Parungao, this song is full on bass and rhythm plus a very hooky refrain.  Goth & punk in one serving.

that's me in the maroon jacket

8.  Santo – Ely Buendia.  Can’t complete this list without one from Ely (and maybe the e-heads), a demigod in my book.  From his first and only solo album after they disbanded.

...kung kasalanan ito, ayoko ko na maging santo...

9.  Grendaizer opening theme.  Short but bursting with energy.  Not my favorite robot show but the Voltes 5 theme has been so overplayed, it no longer has that nostalgic effect on me, but this one still has the sting.

10.  Hey Soul Sister – Train.  Relatively new but definitely a real stimulant when every muscle is complaining and the mind & body is about to bonk.

like a virgin, you're Madonna...

Ethereal, Soaring – songs which put me in the ‘zone’ without making me too restless.  Songs are relatively slower than adrenalizers but definitely very interesting.  Ideal for really long runs during the walking part.  The list will be expanded later.  pramis.

1.  Cambodia – Kim Wilde  Don’t mind the so 80’s video (high hair, heroine writhing and squirming on the ground like a loose anaconda) but listen to the exotic strings and instruments and one gets transported to an exotic and lovely place.  It worked for me during the final 10 kms of the BDM 102 this year.

2.  Left of Center – Suzanne Vega.  From the soundtrack of the 80’s movie, Pretty in Pink, this song is moving and haunting.  It’s classified as part of the New Wave movement but has stood the test of time, at least in my book.  It also helps that it didn’t get that popular here so it’s never overplayed on these 80’s-themed parties/radio shows.

in the outskirts, and in the fringes...

3.  Lion King – opening theme.  It’s soaring and pushes one to keep running.  Plus one can always imagine gliding over the Serengeti as the mammals and birds scamper towards that Pride Rock where Simba, the lion cub, will be presented.

4.  Janie’s got a gun – Aerosmith.   This song just pulls you in some kind dark, film-noirish crime scene with the mysterious percussion sounds and Steven Tyler’s wailing in the background.  And one keeps just wondering ‘what did her daddy do?’

5.  Silent Lucidity – Queensryche.  It’s a 90’s version of the opera rock (thus the word Queen is retained).  Most ideal when one is running the final kilometer which I still have to do (‘coz this song is usually embedded among my pile of songs.)  The final two minutes, if properly timed, will get you flying into the finish line.  It is indeed, ‘A round trip journey in your head…’


The Fall and Rise from Tagaytay to Nasugbu

The End. now let's rewind

I just popped (2) marble-sized blisters on my right foot.  The right knees seem to be clicking every now and then.  Otherwise, they are minimal casualties from yesterday’s 50 km. ultrarun from Tagaytay to Nasugbu.  Along with my partner David’s family, I am holed up in a beach resort in far-off Lian.  Dave and I did some short laps in their family pool and it seemed to have tremendously helped in relaxing the hardened leg muscles.  What can I say, I’m learning to recover faster from long runs.  I think.

a piece of heaven after a day's hellish ordeal...

I joined this run brimming with confidence (it’s supposed to be the easiest and fun route in PAU) and Team Boring’s weight on my shoulder.  After that #16 finish in the Western Pangasinan Ultramarathon last month, I’d been predicted to finish first in our team followed by Kokoy & Ceejay, that’s according to coach Mar Marilag.  It is also here where 23 runners from Boring will don our new team’s shirt in glorious kwek-kwek orange.

Orange you glad? with Yan, Dave, Wap & Joy

Painting the town Orange - with Sir Jovie!

Lofty expectations at the start...

The Tagaytay weather was cool without feeling nippy so at the start of the run, I found myself running just behind the likes of Totoy & Junrox – two certified halimaws.  I was in the Top 7 for the first 4 kms., traveling at a neck breaking pace of 5 or less.  I had no illusions of maintaining the status quo but maybe, somehow, I would be able to distance myself from other runners early on the race and just try to maintain that position into the finish – yep, just like in Western Pangasinan.

By the time we reached Taal Vista Hotel, a feeling of getting wasted and burned out started setting in.  Elton John put it more aptly, I was struggling “like a candle in the wind…”  So I had no other resort but to slow down as the rolling vistas and Taal volcano on the left come into view under the early rays of the sun.  This was when the other runners started assaulting from behind.  I stopped counting once I reached the Top 40s.  I guess I was going to be relegated to my former rankings in June this year – into the Top 70s.

huffing and puffing as the dawn breaks..

Once we entered the Nasugbu arch, I no longer had the vigor and strength to enjoy the glide down, even upon the prodding of Ambow (Allen Gaspar).  Days before, I had envisioned myself flying those down hills and outrunning every gremlin on the road.  Ah…just too much mind prepping and conditioning.

still smiling though the power is wearing out...

I still managed a minor dash on the endless descents until something worse happened – the stomach started growling.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t due to hunger.  It was most unexpected since I’ve downloaded enough at 1 am before we left Marikina.  So for the first time in my life, I bravely knocked at the first house I chanced upon and was promptly directed to their outhouse toilet replete with its own detachable door you need to carry to cover you from the outside.  The 7-minute break allowed the legs and feet a much needed respite as I sat on my borrowed throne, imagining how many runners have passed me by.  I left the house after responding to their ‘Success?’ queries with a 2 thumbs up.

feeling faster and (2-lbs) lighter...

Slightly reinvigorated, I started wielding more effort to regain lost ground.  The terrain was still descending and the cool winds would suddenly and unexpectedly propel me downwards.  I was expecting sharper drops where I could easily soar but this was a lot better than most ultras I’ve trudged.  You could say I was just ambling along and getting lost in the shuffle – I no longer have any battle plans left.  I saw two negative splitters (Jael & Jonel) who disappeared as soon as they materialized in front of me so I tried maintaining that same 6:30 pace which lasted for less than a kilometer before I started walking again.

just letting gravity take control...

Many times, I just targeted runners in front of me and tried outrunning them (and perhaps, increase my ranking) but for naught.  So I just kept moving forward while every now and then, someone would sneak from nowhere and soon fade away in the horizon.  I was no longer that eager to battle it out with the highly competitive mamaws.  I just want to get it over with.  The cramping was more palpable on both the calves and hamstrings while the feet was feeling the plantar fasciitis (left) and minor blistering (right).

the effect of carrying a hand bottle: a leaned back position (resulting to strained back and shoulders)

But I guess, I’m not the one to easily surrender and just mess up a run.  I’ve survived more grueling and longer ordeals on the road than this so I returned to my most reliable adrenalizer, stimulant & energizer – Music.  As the first strums of ‘Let’s Kill Tonight’ by Panic at the Disco blared on my MP3 player, I knew I had risen from my road trance.  There was still a good 15 kms. to go and I knew I had to make the move.  The Glee cast had me jumping and scuttling to ‘Friday’ and Ducksauce had me grooving to ‘Barbra Streisand’.  I still had my walk breaks in between but I was moving more swiftly and effortlessly.  Every 5 kms., I was reinforced with food or drinks either by the Buban vehicle or the support van manned by Boringer Carlo and Kokoy’s girlfriend, Ana.

dude, where's my drink?

the final 6 kms...after replenishing. This is it!

At kilometer 10, I finally saw Kokoy’s shadow and gained on him.  We did Galloway for some 5 kms until I let him run ahead of me while I fended off the runner (Jason King Tan) behind us.  We saw Vicky Ras and Lao Ogerio a few meters ahead and I challenged Kokoy to ‘skewer’ (make tuhog-tuhog) them.  Unfortunately, they also saw us and started sprinting towards the towering Jolibee sign.  She later told us that they thought we were 2 female runners in orange which pushed them to defend her 2ndfemale rank.

Almost there...

Soon enough, I was sprinting and springing on the main street of Nasugbu town proper with Kokoy a few meters ahead.  I crossed the finish line a minute after him at 5:48 and ranked 41st out of 202 runners.  Not bad for a race which started on wrong footing.  And the best part was – I didn’t feel any major injury.  Maybe the distance wasn’t as great as Pangasinan’s so the blister isn’t that big.  But after MIM (Manila International Marathon) next Sunday, I will definitely be searching for better-fitting and appropriate shoes.  Oh, did I tell you that I reached the 42 km. mark at 4:32?  It might never be replicated again but who knows…

With Sir BR: one of the rare moments where I don't look dishevelled at the Finish Line.

The other runners arrived one after the other with Dave ranked 47thand the third from Team Boring.  But perhaps, the highlight of the day was the grand finish of Cindy (Master) on her first ultramarathon, welcomed by firecrackers and surrounded by an army of Boring runners in iridescent orange.  It was indeed a proud moment for Team Boring as we welcomed 2 new female members to our growing roster of 43.

Master Cindy with her Jedi orange army...

with 1st placer (F) Keshia, Kokoy, Dave & Wap: Boringers all?

Kaleidescope World: with Team Powerpuffers Beeps & Alfred (+Berns Ong before getting Boranged that day)

Orange Day for the Team Boring family

P.S.  Special thanks goes to Ate Myra Dabucon, a former co-member of the Christian Communities Program (CCP) at the University of the East for preparing and sponsoring our stay at the Lian, Batangas resort.  Even if she’s continents away – in Italy.  And of course, for the Buban family for taking me in during and after the run and that most superb bulalo lunch in Tagaytay.  Now I can get used to this.

My heartfelt thanks goes to Boringer Carlo Serrano, Paz Buban Team USB (Snail Runners), Keshia Fule , Jesus Roque, Team Hang Out Buddies, Mayor Alfaro and Maie Hernandez-Alvarez (Curious Runner) for the fantastic shots during the race!!!!  It was nice to see me both at my lowest and triumphant moments.

The final scene: with the Roques (Junrox & Jesus) + fellow Mariquenos (Jojo & Sonny)

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The long and short of my 35th Milo Marathon

The calm before the storm: Dave, Toto, Tina & mang Vic.

I know, I know.  This one is more than a month late.  I apologize as clinic work has been very hectic.  But my 2ndMilo marathon was too memorable and eventful a run to not merit space in this blog.  No narrative for this one but just the pertinent details last 31 July 2011.

with one of the ultrafast powerpuff boys, Beeps delos Santos...

Let the rains begin...

Team Kulit at the starting line (sans Chinx)

  1. Rains – it’s not my first time to run in the rain.  In fact, most of my rain runs, usually averaging 2.5 hours were most enjoyable and exhilarating.  So when we parked at MOA that drizzling morning, I was confident it would be my best marathon performance, definitely an improvement of my 5:02 PR.  Unfortunately, the rains coupled with bay winds were just beating too hard on the poor shivering runners.  Two hours later, with feet soaked continuously in rushing street floods, I just wanted to bolt out and take a warm shower and rest.

    wet, wet, wet...

  2. Blisters out, PF in – this is my first run, blister less after enduring those little gremlins for months.  You think those creatures would start re-emerging once the soles got soaked for hours, but no.  Instead, it’s plantar fasciitis which takes over during the duration of the run.  It’s not as bad as blister pressure  but having them and just learning how to manage them can really make a pleasant race into an agonizing nightmare.

    The Thrill of Victory, the Agony of D' Feet...

  3. The accidental pacer – a marathon virgin, Rey (sorry forgot to get his complete name, even in the tally there’s just no Rey there) came out of nowhere when I greeted Rey Abenojar along the route at around 10 kms but he never left my side and in the process, pulling me at sometimes too fast a pace while hardly distancing from me when I would slow down to a near walk.  Did I look like some kind of marathon guru ready to dish out some secrets in surviving a 42 km. race?  Hardly.  In fact, it was him who helped me get through the wet ordeal in one piece.  The guy is a physical therapist so he guided me in relaxing and stretching when shoulder/back muscles have tightened and the arms fatigued.  You could say he was my Simon on my way to Golgotha.

    with unofficial pacer Rey...

  4. Indian Runners – my partner Dave and I planned to run togetherup to the finish.  Of course, this only happened in the first 8 kilometers before Rey entered the picture and whisked me away like eloping lovebirds.  Expectedly, Dave, acting like some jilted lover, chases and even overtakes us at the Buendia Ave. area.  At the BGC area, we catch up with him and run together.  At the return route in the latter part of Buendia, he pulls ahead and we chase after him.  I never caught up with my partner but I also never let him out of my sight even by 500 meters away.

    Chasing David...15kms into the finish

  5. The Finish – by this time, the rains have ceased, our bodies have dried up from the rain and sweat but the feet remained squishy and moist.  Coupled with my worsening PF, running the final 10 kms. was like wading through an ocean of mollases.  But seeing Dave disappear on the horizon, I had no choice but to sprint with whatever energy I have left and enduring all sort of leg pain all over.  It’s the most grueling finish I’ve done in recent memory but I still managed to set a new sub-5 PR.  So who’s to complain with 4:53?  I ain’t…

    struggling into the final 50 meters...almost there...

Finally, the finish line...whew!

with Boringers Ronnie, Dave & Aleth...

with some of the Kuliters....and my 'stormed' (binagyo) hairdo.

our ever expanding Boring family...

Thanks to Bave dela Cruz, Carlo Serrano and Runner’s Circle for capturing my Milo moments in living color…

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3 Ultraruns in 30 days

I know it’s not some feat of Karnazes (30 marathons in 30 days) or Ulrich (104 marathons in 52 days) proportion but this will do by my standard.

18 June 2011   [54/200] Nuvali Trail Run 

56.98 kms.       8:45:40                        9:13 mins/km

09 July 2011    [65/163] CDO-Dahilayan Trail Run

57 kms             8:38:38                        8:50 mins/km

16 July 2011    [40/109] Fort Magsaysay to Dingalan, Aurora

60 kms.            9:15:40                     8:40 mins/km

This 30-day period could have also included the Manila International Marathon on June 26 but that was cancelled due to some expected flooding from storm Falcon which never happened, of course, on that Sunday morning.  Any way, I included also the ranking on these runs just to give you some idea that I may be getting faster.  It was also on these 3 runs where I applied a new tactic (something new in my ultra-vocabulary really).  I sprinted (again, in my standard) into the first half of the race just to get a nice head start and practically walked to the finished line.  Of course, this new tact resulted with the emergence of my now epic blisters (and the story is still on-going as I write this with new sub-plots along the way).

the Nuvali trail run with fellow 'walker' Siosan Baysa - trails a-winding, blisters arising...

at the CDO-Dahilayan Trail Run with race organizer Francis Velasquez - dramatic ascents and blisters redux.

at the PAU 60 km run (Nueva Ecija - Aurora) with race director Sir Jovie - steep pitches, blister over new blister mode.

Anyway, clinic sked has been quite hectic along with a lot of training in between.  I just can’t think straight if I come home drained and tired but I promise to be more updated on my blog entries.  That is after I succeed in posting my Milo marathon story (also waaaaay too late, as well).

straightforward story telling and less of the drama (so unlike Karnazes)

Here’s a nice update:  just finished a book that isn’t available yet at National Bookstore (maybe at Fully Booked) – it’s Running on Empty by Marshall Ulrich.  It’s his account of his run from San Francisco to New York for 52 days at 57 years old.  Thanks to co-Boringer Mar Marilag ( for lending this book – Ulrich mailed him a signed copy (envy).  It is quite detailed on the ordeal he went through and also offers a lot of solution – whether physically, mentally or medically (he had a doctor among his crew).  So this could be my BIBLE come Bataan Death March 160km 2012.  Now I just need to get me a copy.