Posted in 10k, 2014 bests, 21k, 3k, 5k, best moments, fun run

2014 Bests

I had an awesome, epic, unforgettable, fun year. The year 2014 was my most active year ever, I had 9 runs and my 1st mountain trekking adventure. This is a look back at the best moments, runs, and other stuff from last year.

*** BEST MOMENT ***

Based on the experience, how fun was it? was it memorable? the best is….  

Surviving 2 zombies Head-on (Outbreak Missions: Operation Stronghold)

running at high speed with very little time to react, I made a kamikazee dash towards 2 zombie guards (Mang Tomas zombie and a soldier zombie) and survived. Photo credit: spin.ph
running at high speed with very little time to react, I made a kamikazee dash towards 2 zombie guards (Mang Tomas zombie and a soldier zombie) and survived. Photo credit: spin.ph

Outbreak Missions is that fun run I’m always nervous at the start, it always reminds me to be cautious because if you reach the finish line without at least 1 life flag left, you don’t get a survivor dog tag (the run’s medal). The 1st kilometer always involve more than a dozen zombies standing in your way and the best tactic is to run as fast as you can and avoid them as best as you can. I got separated from my team and running at full speed until I reached an cramped area with 2 zombies ahead and runners scattered all over the place. I slowed down a bit, thinking I could run to the left (right is not a choice because it was barricaded by a steel gate), but I saw many runners already on the direction (as seen in the photo above) and I don’t wanna bump or hit anyone because we could trip and fall to the ground. So, I dashed like a bull, hoping that my speed and angle is enough to protect my life flags and it was. I survived with my 3 life flags intact while facing 2 zombies head-on, it was the most epic moment I had in any of my runs last year. It wasn’t the only awesome moment I had in Outbreak Missions, I also had a moment in the spotlight area where we had to avoid being spotted by doing Metal Gear-style stealth of hiding in the dark. As the spotlight hit me, a zombie came at me and I ran, tripped to the ground and remained there for a few seconds thinking the zombie will give me a break because I just fell, but he didn’t. With only seconds to react, I did a barrel roll on the ground, got up and ran. Unfortunately, another zombie was waiting and by the time I started to ran, he was able to grab a life flag from me. There was another awesome moment at the red light area, but I don’t wanna make this post longer than it should be and just say that I had a lot of memorable moments at Outbreak Missions: Operation Stronghold).

Honorable Mentions:  

FINISHING THE FIRST GUERILLA RACE, GR:SPRINT in NUVALI

The best feeling was testing and knowing your physical and mental limits. Finishing the very 1st Guerilla Race gave me that moment.
The best feeling was testing and knowing your physical and mental limits. Finishing the very 1st Guerilla Race gave me that moment. It was also the 1st time I experienced the so-called ‘Runner’s High’ when I was running towards the finish line, the environment and the warm, bright sun motivated me to run without feeling any exhaustion. Photo Credit: Guerilla Race FB page

FINISHING MY FIRST HALF-MARATHON at THE REXONA RUN TO YOUR BEAT 2014

I know I didn't run my best and the event did not meet my expectations, but it was my 1st half-marathon and it was memorable for that.
I know I didn’t run my best because of a knee injury after running at the Guerilla Race: Panther the week before and the event did not live up to my expectations, but it was my 1st half-marathon and it was memorable for that. Photo Credit: Running Photographers.

THAT MONKEY BAR OBSTACLE OF MEN’S HEALTH URBANATHLON & FESTIVAL

I conquered harder obstacles, but this one surprised me.
I conquered harder obstacles, but this one surprised me. The bars were slippery and my hands slipped several times. I even got a cramp while hanging which forced me to let go again. I had to do this 3-4 times before I finally got it right. The next morning, I’ve experienced numerous body pains from this obstacle, something I never had from my other obstacle runs. Photo Credit: Leadpack

*** BEST MEDAL ***

Based on design and overall quality and the best is….

MEN’S HEALTH URBANTHLON & FESTIVAL MEDAL (10k) I like bronze and the industrial design of this medal. It’s not too flashy nor too dull-looking, it just looks right and considering that MH: URB is one of my favorite runs made a proud medalist of the event.

According to a 1995 psychological study on the effects of counterfactual thinking on the Olympics, athletes who won the bronze medal were significantly happier with their winning than those athletes who won the silver medal. The silver medalists were more frustrated because they had missed the gold medal, while the bronze medalists were simply happy to have received any honors at all (instead of no medal for fourth place). source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_medal
According to a 1995 psychological study on the effects of counterfactual thinking on the Olympics, athletes who won the bronze medal were significantly happier with their winning than those athletes who won the silver medal. The silver medalists were more frustrated because they had missed the gold medal, while the bronze medalists were simply happy to have received any honors at all (instead of no medal for fourth place). source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_medal

Honorable Mention:

AFFINITEA BROWN RACE 2014 MEDAL (5k)

Really digging this Philippine Sun-inspired medal. One of the best looking medal I ever had.
I just love the Philippine sun-inspired look and it’s gold, who doesn’t like gold?

xxx WORST MEDAL xxx

The medal looks nice, but the way it was made is disappointing...
It looks good on photo, but once you see it in its actuality, it looks flat, 2 dimensional, since the logo and markings are imprinted like a sticker instead of crafted or embedded. The way it was cut also looks like they were rushing to get this made.

No honorable mention, there is only one… The Rexona Run To Your Beat 2014 medal. What happened? the RTYB 2013 medal was one of the best looking fun run medals ever and one of the reason I chose RTYB 2014 as my 1st half-marathon because I was expecting a medal of the same quality as last year. This one looks cheap, the way it was cut seemed rush and the logos and markings are imprinted, like a cheap sticker. I was so disappointed by this, I was expecting high quality especially coming from the biggest running event organizer in the country and as my 1st half-marathon medal. One of the most proud achievements of a runner is a medal, the symbol or proof of achievement, to wear it with pride and a great addition to the collection. A medal that looks like it was made as a rushed order on someone’s garage for a cheap price will likely hang behind the best looking medals on the hanger.

*** BEST SINGLET ***

Based on design and quality, the best is…

Men’s Health Urbanathlon Race Shirt + Arm Sleeves

Almost all of my singlets look great (except for one), but this is my favorite because it looks like a varsity sports shirt and the arm sleeves are added bonus.

I like the shirt color and the excellent bonus, the black sleeves
I like the shirt color and the excellent bonus, the black sleeves

Honorable Mention:

Guerilla Race Warrior Singlet

IMG_20141011_160734_1~01
This is the 2nd edition of the Warrior category singlet from the 3rd leg. The 1st edition had white and red colors.

*** BEST EVENT LOCATION ***

Based on the environment and accessibility, the best is….

A beautiful Sunday morning at Nuvali.
A man-made lake, long straight roads, a bird-sanctuary, vast trails, uphill and downhill roads, wakeboarding park, Nuvali has it all for runners, cyclists, and weekend warriors.

NUVALI (Santa Rosa, Laguna) There’s no other running grounds in the south area that is as vast as Nuvali. Its clean environment and long straight roads with uphill and downhill segments, and vast trails is the best for walking, jogging, cycling, mountain biking, and trail running. Two of my favorite running events, the Outbreak Manila zombie run and the Guerilla Race: Sprint obstacle run made their inaugural events here. The 2014 Men’s Health Urbanathlon and Festival, my new favorite running event, also chose this location for their awesome run/trail/obstacle run. The place is also popular for its yearly Dirt Weekend off-road cycling event and The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, a running event for first time marathoners. The vicinity also has numerous restaurants and stores for shopping and other family events. Every time an interesting running event is held in Nuvali, I will most likely join in it. Looking forward to more kilometers on this place in 2015.

Honorable Mention:

FILINVEST CITY (Alabang, Muntinlupa City)

Although not as vast as Nuvali, Filinvest City is made up of a nice balance of road and trails. The environment is clean with some segments of the road surrounded by trees and the trails are nice too with a river and different levels of challenges for mountain bikers and trail runners. I ran more fun runs in Filinvest City than any other popular running locations. My very 1st fun run, the zombie apocalypse/adventure run, Outbreak Missions: The Narrows was held here. In 2014, I finished my first 10k here at the Color Manila: Glow Paint Edition color run. I also ran a 5k, the Energizer Night Race 2014, and a 10k obstacle run, The Guerilla Race: Panther. Since our office is just nearby, I also do training runs here once a week after my shift (and sometimes during my breaks). It’s very likely that I’ll have more fun runs and training runs here in 2015.

*** THE TOP 9 RUNNING EVENTS of 2014 ***

I participated in 9 fun runs this year. Here they are arranged from the least to my favorite running event of the year.

9.) MONOLITH FUN RUN (SM Mall of Asia; 27th April, 2014)

my 1st and only 3k run of 2014 wasn't exactly record-breaking.
Running solo on my 1st and only 3k run of 2014 wasn’t exactly record-breaking. Photo Credit: Red Knight

Monolith Fun Run is my 1st pure run-for-a-cause fun run. I call it ‘pure’ fun run because there are no gimmicks here, no zombies to stop you on your tracks and chase you, no obstacles, no colored powder to play along with, etc. I joined it because it’s a run for the rehabilitation of Tacloban after the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda and the registration price is good value, you get a nice singlet, a medal, and more (bottled water, Pocari Sweat, bread are given to finishers). I only registered for the 3K category because I don’t have that much money at the time (3k registration fee is only 400php). It’s an good fun run, it was well-organized and it was my 1st time running on SM Mall of Asia grounds. And because of the location, this is the 1st time I traveled via public transportation at around 3 am and luckily, I made it to the event with some minutes to spare. The run is notable for being my slowest 3K PR at 28 minutes (vs current 3k PR of 17 mins and 5k PR of 23 mins) because I just decided to just lay back and have a smooth run.

8.) AFFINITEA BROWN RACE 2014 (CCP Complex, Pasay; 14th December, 2014)

With Erl after crossing the finish line.
I was at the event with Erl, but I crossed finish line first with a more than 10 minute gap between us. Photo Credit: Running Photographers

Another pure fun run for a cause, this time for benefit of the mothers and children of Grace To Be Born foundation. Aside from running for a good cause, the event offers a medal that I really like based on design (see best medals above). Even though the registration price was a bit high (with a 650php registration fee for the 5k category, which I joined because it was December and I was a bit low on resources), it was worth it for the medal and the nice singlet, plus the event freebies like supplements, powdered milk, numerous photo booths, maynilad giveaways, and more. The event location was in CCP Complex, I had to once again carefully plan my travelling options. Choosing to ride 3 buses from Calamba to Alabang to Ayala to Mall of Asia. I took a 2.82 walk and jog from the vicinity near Mall of Asia to CCP Complex since I’m not familiar with the public transportation in that area, but I know the route by travelling on foot. I made it to the location with a few minutes before our gunstart, passed by Erl sometime before the 1km distance, and made a sub-30 minute 5k finish under a cold and slightly rainy weather condition. It was another well-organized race, no major disappointments with the event except for the weather, and it was a good, last fun run of 2014 for me especially when the sun came out on my way home.

7.) ENERGIZER NIGHT RACE 2014 (Filinvest City, Alabang; 6th September, 2014)

First time I ran with Erl, a former colleague, and her friends.
First time I ran with Erl, a former colleague, and her friends. Photo Credit: iFlick Photo Booth FB page

There are Run For A Cause the have an added twist to make it different from the rest, Energizer night Race is one example. Instead of the usual night runs, the event requires you to use a headlamp to navigate the darker areas of the race route and to look like fireflies on the road (which really does look awesome when viewed from a distance). I contacted a former colleague to know if she’s interested in joining this run (I found out that she started joining running events this year), she joined along with her friends and I ran along with them in the 5k category. The registration is a bit pricey at 700php for the 5k, but the race kit inclusion makes up for it, a nice singlet, a cap, a complimentary Schick razor, and the best item of them all, an Energizer dual mode headlamp. There is no finisher medal, just a participation certificate, but the headlamp alone is worth the price. The event is another one where I can’t seem to find any flaws, the marshals handled the route well and they picked a good location (Filinvest City is very accessible from SLEX and commute is very easy). I had fun and will join again next year as long as the location isn’t far from the south area.

6.) COLOR MANILA NITE: GLOW PAINT EDITION (Filinvest City, Alabang; 30th August, 2014)

The run was okay, the post-run party was better
With my collegemates, Enee and J.A. and their friends. The run was okay, the post-run party was better.

My collegemate, Enee invited me to join this event and since some of the guys are doing 10k, So I decided to make this run my first 10k and I trained for it. Another reason I joined the Glow Paint edition of Color Manila because I forego Color Manila Nite Run 2 in favor of Guerilla Race: Sprint. The CM series is not a run for a cause, it’s pure fun run, but is quite popular for being the premier color-themed fun run in the country. They have the day run with colored powders and a night run with glow sticks and neon lights. The glow paint edition is new, marketing a glow-in-the-dark paint gimmick that seem good on paper, but less than stellar in execution because. The first 1-3 kilometers of the run was quite fun, they shoot glow paint to the runners using water guns and there was a section where you can grab colored powder to play around with. The problem is that after the 3rd kilometer the run turns into a dark and unorganized mess. There are no more glow-paint or colored powder sections, just a run through a dark uphill that is quite dangerous because of some pot holes and few marshals to watch and guide runners. Anyone can cheat by skipping kilometers because the check points or U turns don’t give markers to specify that you passed by that area. It doesn’t matter anyway because Color Manila Runs do not have race chips to record race times and because the majority of the race route is dark and uninspiring, some people were probably compelled to shorten their run anyway. While the run was okay, the post-race party was better. It’s like a street party with glow paint and colored powder bursting all over the stage area, some were even fired by cosplayers on-stage. It was fun and even if you’re not into street parties, you will get carried away and enjoy it. Uninspiring race route segments and lack of marshals aside, another major disappointment was the activity area. It was the same location as the Energizer Night Race activity area, but on the part with soft ground and grass and because it rained hours before the race started, the area of the baggage counter, hydration, and medals (that’s right, the medals are in a claiming area, no one in the finish lines greets and put the medals on you) are muddy. So, we went home with with dirty shoes, but it was still a good event just because the post-race party saved it from becoming a total stinker. Color Manila runs, though a bit pricey (850php includes a cotton, dull-looking tank top, glow sticks that don’t glow bright or long enough, glow glasses made of glow sticks, medal) are good events for beginners, they offer stylish medals to all categories and can be fun for all ages. Just hoping that future events will be better.

5.) REXONA RUN TO YOUR BEAT 2014 (SM Mall of Asia; 26th October 2014)

1st Half-Marathon at Run To Your Beat 2014 with my officemate, Alvin.
1st Half-Marathon at Run To Your Beat 2014 with my officemate, Alvin.

Knowing that Run To Your Beat 2013 was one of the best running events last year being the first fun run with music all around the race route and having one of the best looking medal ever, I was so hyped by 2014’s event that I even anticipated it to be one of my best runs ever. That was pre-race expectations, post-race was underwhelming. The race route doesn’t have music speakers surrounding the race route, instead they have 3 music zones or tunnels with 3 different genres of music (EDM, Retro, and Hip Hop) and the medal look so cheap, the logos and markings are imprinted like a sticker instead of etched or embedded and the way it was cut seems like it was rushed. Still, it was a nice event, the music tunnels look awesome and it was well-organized with medics, marshals, hydration stations, and portalets strategically in place and they have banana stations and sponges for the runners. Also worth noting are the quality of the singlet and the finisher shirts, they’re excellent and the freebies were quite generous with different Unilever products, so the expensive registration price was justified. Overall, the running even was a mixed bag, the only reason for its significance was it being my first half-marathon.

4.) GUERILLA RACE: PANTHER (Filinvest City, Alabang; 18th October, 2014)

Finishing the race. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page
Finishing the race. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page

There’s a good feeling every time a runner finishes a race, there’s an epic-awesome-great feeling when a runner finishes an obstacle run. Guerilla Race offers the toughest challenges and tests your physical and mental limits. I was able to join the very first Guerilla Race, but I missed the 2nd leg. I was so happy when I found out that the 3rd leg will be held on Filinvest City, so I registered ASAP. I joined the Warrior category (10km + 18 obstacles) and it pushed me to my limits because the challenges were harder than before, but the finish was another memorable moment. Thanks to the event, I also got to see more of the Filinvest City trails which I now use as training grounds for trail running. This year, I’m looking forward to finishing all 3 legs of Guerilla Race to a achieve the ultimate goal, get the Trifecta medal.

3.) OUTBREAK MISSIONS: OPERATION STRONGHOLD (Intramuros, Manila; 5th April, 2014)

Our group on the zombie-infested wall of Intramuros, heading down the spotlight area where you must hide in the shadows and avoid detection.
Our group on the zombie-infested wall of Intramuros, heading down the spotlight area where you must hide in the shadows and avoid detection.

Pure adrenalin rush is how I describe the Outbreak Missions series. Just imagine facing zombies on the road with nothing but running skills to rely on. Let’s say you get pass a zombie or two and there’s more ahead waiting for you and the other two you just passed is still chasing you, that’s how intense a zombie run can be. It’s like playing a video game or being in a zombie apocalypse movie. And it’s not just running away from zombies, there are segments where you have to hide from spotlights to avoid zombie detection or stay within a red light to avoid zombie attacks. Oh, and the fun part of the red light segment, they turn off the light, so the zombies can finally attack you and force you to run like $hit just to survive. Also, due to the chaotic atmosphere of the run, the possibilities of getting injured is high, some runners have the tendency to shove whether intentional or accidental and slipping or tripping is very common. Even I tripped and fell in the spotlight segment, even had to do a barrel roll on the ground to avoid a zombie. One thing that the majority of participants didn’t like in the event was there was a lot of walking and line queuing during the run, dragging the action and excitement. I agree, there was a lot of downtime that our team finished the run at 2hr and 54 mins, and the course was only 5km. Aside from the dragging moments of the run, I enjoyed it so much like the previous 2 Outbreaks I participated in. I had so many epic moments that I love (and thankfully spin.ph was able to capture one of them; see ‘best moment’) and the thrill of surviving a zombie apocalypse never gets old. I also like the location, Intramuros, It’s spooky, but beautiful, and it’s nice to travel and run on a new (to me) and different running grounds. Unfortunately, it seems like zombie runs from Outbreak Manila (creator of Outbreak Missions) is currently on hiatus because of a reported incident involving a critically injured girl, possibly tripping and her head hitting the pavement. Nobody knows for sure what happened and I tried scouting the internet for any reports regarding the status of the girl or the story of what really happened, but it seems to be a very low profile case or one that is kept under the radar. Let’s just hope that everything turns well for both sides.

2.) MEN’S HEALTH URBANATHLON & FESTIVAL 2014 (Nuvali; 16th November, 2014) 

My signature left-handed 'Fight Fear' pose. Photo credit: Running Photographers.
My signature left-handed ‘Fight Fear’ pose. Photo credit: Running Photographers.

Men’s Health Urbanthlon & Festival has been around for years now and has an international presence. This is the 1st time I joined the series and it instantly became one of my favorite and can’t miss event every year. I love how they designed the race, 1st is the running part, then a trail run, and finally the obstacle course. I even got to see more of Nuvali and the trails (I like the small river path). The obstacles weren’t too hard, but can be challenging. The monkey bars I had to retry several times before I finally got it right because my hands always slipped and I even got a cramp on my leg while hanging midway, so I had to let go. When I finally got pass the monkey bars, the rest of the obstacles were easier and much more fun. Being a high profile event, there are a lot of sponsor freebies, the medal was also nice and I like the finisher shirt. Arm sleeves were also included to go with the racing shirt, so the 900php registration fee (for 10k category) was worth it. Looking forward to 2015’s event, I hope it’s still in Nuvali, there are still vast trails that weren’t explored.

1.) GUERILLA RACE: SPRINT (Nuvali; 23rd February, 2014)

Down and Dirty, the non-perverted way...
Down and Dirty, the non-perverted way!

The most memorable run and the best of 2014 is Guerilla Race for so many reasons. It was the very first Guerilla Race, it was the first time I mustered the courage to join such a challenging run, it was my first run in Nuvali, it was my first obstacle run, it was the first time I experienced the so-called ‘Runner’s High’ or ‘Second Wind,’ it was the first time I ran on trails, and it was my first running event in 2014. When I first heard about Guerilla Race on December 2013, I had doubts in joining this event because it was advertised as a military-style obstacle course and the Philippine version of The Spartan Race and I had a bad case of left foot Plantar Fasciatiis at the time. I also tried inviting a friend to join me since this is harder than the usual 5km race (with 12 obstacles), but the invitation was turned that, so I’ll be alone on this. In the end, after too many 2nd, 3rd, 4th thoughts, I decided to go for it… Thankfully, I did. No regrets. I love the location, the challenges (especially the mud crawl and the trenches), the weather, the race kit inclusion (singlet, finisher shirt, medal) and the overall experience. The 1st time I experienced a ‘Runner’s High’ was during the last few hundred meters towards the finish line, I just got off from the Trench area, the sun was shinning brightly at a beautiful angle and the warm sensation seemed to rejuvenate the body and take away the exhaustion. It was a great finish with a great feeling, on a great day. A great moment. And after that race, I’m an instant fan of the the Guerilla Race series. Too bad I missed the 2nd leg, but at least I was able to join the 3rd leg. In 2015, hopefully, I can complete all 3 legs and get the coveted Trifecta medal.

EPILOGUE:

The year 2014 for me was great, it was my most active lifestyle. I had 9 running events, my first mountain trekking and camping adventure, and also worth noting, the first time in 19 years I went to Enchanted Kingdom to enjoy the rides with my family. I did miss some running events that I regret, namely The Soleus Valley Trail Challenge and the 2nd leg of Guerilla Race, but at least the fun (with what I was able to join) outweighs the regrets (of those I missed). This year, 2015, I look forward to new challenges, more fun events, more memorable moments, and more fun.

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