In my quest to finally complete and graduate Runrio Trilogy, leg 2 proved to be quite challenging as I ran the race with my heaviest weight yet. I usually weigh around 67 to 69 kilos (147 – 152 lbs.) and I’m very comfortable with that weight range since it doesn’t pose any problems while running and I don’t get injuries after a race. After the previous night’s shift at the office, I only had very little sleep (3+ hours) and when I stepped on the scale, my weight on race day is 75.1 kilos (165 lbs). Add to that my pre-race jitters which make me feel like I need to poop (and I think I did twice that day) and I already have a lot of insecurities.
I arrived at SM Mall of Asia around 12 midnight, the weather was windy, cold, and some raindrops, it feels like there’s a storm coming. A good running buddy of mine, Odip was there. He wanted to run, but since he wasn’t able to join leg 1 and not qualified to complete the trilogy, and just decided to hang out and see some running friends. He offered to take my baggage to his car, so I don’t have to line up at the baggage counter. He also introduced me to some of his acquaintances from Team Rundom Warriors. Before the race, he let me use his brand new Xioami Huami Amazfit Stratos GPS running watch that I recommended to him (instead of a Garmin). Of course, I couldn’t say no and I plan to buy an Amazfit watch too, so it was the perfect opportunity to test run the product.
The race started at 2 am (the earliest gun start of my recent races). Because the weather is quite good (none of that torturous humidity of ASICS Relay a week ago), I moved at my usual pace of 5:30 to 6 minutes per kilometers. I had to take a leak at the first portalet I saw (the one near GSIS in Diokno blvd.) and my first drink at the aid station in Macapagal blvd. I was able to hold a decent pace for the first 10 kilometers by reaching it at 58 minutes. I moved at a relaxed pace and to be in optimum condition, I drink a cup of Gatorade and then water at every station. My extra weight finally takes its toll when I reached the Kalayaan flyover. Going up is an exhausting experience and I feel like my stamina is depleting rapidly. I had to slowdown and walk a lot even on the flat parts of the flyover. I only ran when the flyover goes downhill. Since the route is restricted only to the entry point of BGC via the flyover, we had to pass through three U turns. First U turn at the end of the flyover then go back up (and down) again to take another U-turn just a few hundred meters away from the flyover entry point. Then go back to Kalayaan flyover again (this time at the opposite lane) all the way to the end for the last U turn back to the finish line. After the dizzying Kalayaan flyover route, I was able to relax and let the music on my Sony mp3 player dictate my pace. Although it was slower at 6:30 to 7 minutes per kilometer because of fatigue, I’m at ease.
The last 6 kilometers was the most excruciating experience. Crossing the road back to the area near World Trade Center and CCP Complex can be stressful because the runners had to sprint against the road vehicles (both parties want to cross the road first, but the marshals were able to handle the situation just fine). I started to feel a sting on my crotch area, chaffing made its presence known. At that point I was alternating between walking and slow jog (compared to walking and stopping only when I reach an aid station to re-hydrate). The hardest part was running on Macapagal blvd (after passing World Trade Center) and back to Mall of Asia. When I try to run or jog, it was only because my heart was pushing me to do it, but my body couldn’t keep up any more. I feel so tired that I just wanna sit down for a moment and rest. But, I didn’t because if I stop, I will lose momentum. My heart is dragging my body. And then, approaching Diokno blvd (GSIS street), one of my favorite power song, Van Halen’s Jump played and it gave me a much needed temporary boost. Then I slowed down again in the last 2 kilometers.
When I saw the Finish Line timer at 03:23, I think I still have a shot to finish this at 3:30 or less. So, I still gave it a push, short bursts of run, walk, repeat. Last 300 meters, me and the other runners around me (I think there’s 7 or 8 of us) slowed down a bit to make sure that the photographers get a decent shot of us in action (like pretending we’re not tired or about to pass out).
And I finally finished the race in … dum dum dum…. 3 hours and 30 minutes, well 3:29 for the chip time. I’m very satisfied with the Sub 3.5 finish because despite weighing 75 kilos, I was able to finish the race with a decent time.
I wasn’t able to take photos of the winners of the Barkada Run and Buddy Run categories because I was taking a dump at the time (and it felt good). But, I was able to catch the winners of the major categories.
I enjoyed leg 2 of Runrio Trilogy. It was challenging, but finishing the race with my heaviest weight ever without any major problems or injuries after the run feels like sweet victory. The event is well-handled, but I heard that some 32k runners weren’t able to get medals because they ran out. This is a recurring problem in some running events and should be dealt with fairly. Looking forward and very excited for Leg 3 on September, the final race and to finally become a graduate of Runrio Trilogy Class of 2018.
My final activity during the Memorial Day weekend is a hike on Mount Makiling. I always marveled at the beauty of Mt Makiling every time I see it from afar and on the horizon of South Luzon Expressway. The first time I set foot on the mountain was last year when I joined Nuun Dirt School for trail runners and I always wanted to climb the mountain again and this time at a slower and easier pace. And since it’s still summer time, the mountain is almost free from the native blood addicts, the limatiks (leeches). For this hike, I asked my college mate, Gerlie, to accompany me since she is very familiar with the mountain and climbed it five times already. We agreed to meet up at Crossing Calamba at 6 am to take the jeepney from there to UP Los Baños. I arrived 15 minutes late though (I got proper sleep, but my mind and body probably still have some left over sensation from the exhausting ASICS Relay and the easy pace Run 4 Ur Life fun run of the previous days). We started the trek a few minutes before 8 am.
It was a really fine day, still have that summer heat, but beautifully transitioning from cloudy to sunny back and forth. And since it’s a Monday, there are barely any hikers that day. We are moving at a decent pace while exchanging stories about life, the universe, and random stuff.
We arrived at Agila Base around 9 am. I wasn’t able track the distance because my Soleus GPS watch is having a hard time connecting to a satellite, but my estimate is we walked around 5 kilometers in under 1.5 hours.
We took a quick break at Agila Base, I rest whilst Gerlie went to the nearby Sari Sari store to buy a 500 ml water to add to her 2 liter water pack (1 liter already consumed) and some bananas.
When heavy rains caused a land slide last year (I think it happened on November), Mount Makiling was temporarily closed. When it was re-opened this year, a new and longer trail was created for hikers to move around the dangerous area.
We caught up with a group of hikers resting on Station 22 and we took a break when they left. By this time the 900 ml of water I brought is almost depleted. Didn’t realize that I’m gonna be consuming a lot of water on this hike. I underestimated the heat. Station 16 to 18 is challenging, but the hardest part of the hike is up ahead. Except for one that sucked the area near my shin, we did not encounter any more limatiks (or snakes) along the way. We caught up again with the group of hikers who stopped because one of their peers got cramps. They let us through because it’s taking them quite a while.
After an exhausting climb (I can see steam coming out of my body), we finally reached Peak 2 passed 11:30 am (I remember looking at my watch and it’s 11:47 am). We took a long rest, savor the rewarding feeling, and eat. Too bad there’s no view deck at Peak 2.
The group of hikers finally arrived at the peak when we were about to pack up and descend. I offered the guy who got cramps my Relispray Plus to spray on the affected area and he accepted it. I even offered to take their photos so everyone can be in the frame. When going for mountain hikes, it’s good to be nice to everyone you meet along the way, smile, greet them, and give them good vibes. Since I ran out of water, I asked Girlie for a small amount before we start descending at noon time.
Going down the mountain is easier and faster, but the ground is a bit muddy because of the drizzle earlier, so we proceeded with caution. We met another group of hikers who were ascending, a bunch of youngsters, four girls and a guy (whom Girlie told me she saw at Agila Base resting earlier). I greeted them and told them to be careful along the way.
It took us more than 40 minutes to reach Station 22 because we had to move slowly through the slippery terrain (also spotted a limatik on the ground). I slipped once, but didn’t go down all the way like I did the first time I tried running down. After passing through Station 18 to 15 (where I also slipped again) the trail gets easier again. We ran out of water, but still had a good conversation and stories to tell as we move along to make pace seem faster. When we finally reached Agila Base again, we took a long rest and refueled with soda (and I also drank buko juice). The walk back to Station 1 is easier now, but we took our time during the walk, taking photos and just enjoying the soothing sights and sounds and the beautiful day.
We reached station 1 around 4 pm. We cleaned ourselves (didn’t bring extra shorts or underwear, just a shirt because I thought I would never get too sweaty and dirty. I’m an idiot) and ate at a Jollibee outside UP Gate before heading home.
It was a great day to hike Mount Makiling and summer time is ideal if you want to avoid the friendly neighborhood limatiks (just have to tolerate the hot weather). This concludes my 3-day Memorial Day weekend activities. The ASICS Relay was exhausting, but a blast; Run 4 Ur Life was a good run (even without sleep), and Mount Makiling Day Hike is therapy and I just want to climb the mystic mountain again. Thanks to Gerlie for accompanying me and making this hike happen. Next time, I plan to visit the mud springs and flat rocks, and someday maybe we’ll do the Makiling Traverse (MakTrav).
Our Run 4 Ur Life 5k fun run was scheduled on May 27th, a day after ASICS Relay. Well, actually just a few hours after ASICS Relay because we finished that race before 12 mn and we took some time to rest and got caught in traffic (really bad traffic, like there’s a major vehicular accident that caused it). My plan to get at least an hour of sleep didn’t happen because we arrived in Alabang around 2 am and we are suppose to leave at 3 am. After parting ways with Juanepri, Nelson, and Marlon, I got to the office before 2:30 am. Some of my office mates are still sleeping and only saw Gab in the pantry. I rest for a few minutes and ate at a 7-Eleven store nearby. Everyone was up and ready when I got back to the office to prepare myself. We boarded the van at 3 am and everything seemed smooth sailing except for the fact that Ruby and Mich have not arrived yet. After contacting them, an agreement was made to wait for Ruby at the Caltex gas station near the 2md entrance to Northgate Cyberzone. Mich was still in South Station, but we had to leave without her since it’s already passed 3:30 am and gun start is at 4:45 am. The driver knows his way around and we arrived in CCP Complex at 4:20. We quickly made our way to the activity area and still made it for the warm-up exercise.
The race started at 4:30 am, 15 minutes earlier than advertised. Since most of my office mates are first time joiners in the running scene, I took the position of sweeper and will be pacing with whoever is at the tail end. All of us got separated early since the others wanted to run their own pace and I only saw Roxie and Marifel as the last runners in the group, so I paced with them. Sometimes, they catch up with Mark and Jek, and I switch to trail them. But, they don’t want to be the last runners of the group and they sped up and I’m left with Roxie and Marifel again.
The 3k and 5k fun run are advertised as obstacles runs with wind, fire, and water-themed obstacles. I got curious about it and I thought there will be fire jumps like the ones in Guerilla Race series but what I saw was underwhelming. I wasn’t able to take a photo of the supposedly first obstacle so I’ll just describe it. After the first kilometer, there is an area with colored powder scattered on the ground and fire extinguishers on the sidewalk with some marshals standing beside them. It’s obvious that this is the wind or air obstacle and even my tired brain calculated that the extinguishers will be used to generate air and scatter the colored powder. But, we passed by this section without anything happening. Maybe it was for later because it was still dark and I’m not sure fire extinguishers are the ideal way to spread the colored powder. I don’t have a PhD for Fire Extinguisher Science, but from what I’ve seen they discharge cold air and with thick fog-like effect (or maybe it depends on the type of extinguisher). Anyways, moving on. Marifel and Roxie are doing just fine. My advice to them is to just take it easy, no need to run, jogging will do and enjoy. Then we approached the 2nd obstacle, fire.
The Fire Performers don’t get in your way or attempt to block you like in a game of patintero. They’re not really obstacles, more like eye candy that lit up the dark road of Diokno Boulevard (the one along GSIS). Their performance is mesmerizing though. I’m like a moth attracted to the flames. There’s also a gay guy who lit his face with a mobile phone screen (or was it a flashlight) and screams to scare the crap out of the runners. Again, not an obstacle, but it’s funny.
A few hundred meters after the fire spectacle is supposedly the water or tsunami obstacle and here it is…
It can be considered as an obstacle if you don’t want to get wet. And no need to worry, the pressure is set to safe levels and won’t knock down the runners. A U-turn follows after the water obstacle and I think we are already halfway through. At some point along the route, Roxie spotted Mich (she made it, late start though). Then we pass by the color powder and fire extinguisher area and nothing happened. I guess they skipped the air obstacle then. Marifel and Roxie are moving just fine and will make it to the one hour cutoff time. Sometimes Marifel will lead that charge and Roxie is compelled to follow.
Last few hundred meters and everyone in our group seemed to have crossed the finish line. Marifel dashed first and then Roxie and finally me. I didn’t time this run with my Nike Run Club app because I’m on sweeper duty, but I check the time on my watch and it’s 45 minutes. Marifel and Roxie finished the run in 45 minutes. Not bad for newbies. We meet up with the others in the activity area.
So, about the event, it would’ve been fine without the so-called obstacles because the way they advertised it is misleading. They should’ve just called it surprises or elemental effects. Aside from the air-themed effect that didn’t happen (I didn’t see the other finishers covered with colored powder), what happened to the colored powder that should’ve been included in the race kit? I thought there will be a segment where everyone parties or dances with the colored powder thrown into the the air like Color Manila’s Color Festival. And what’s up with the earlier than advertised gun start? our run was suppose to start at 4:45 am, but it started early at 4:30 am. It’s better early than late, but what about those who were expecting it to start on time and decided to go to the event a bit later. Those are just my minor gripes about this running event, but all in all, it’s still a good fun run. My office mates loved the running and dancing, I had a relaxing run, and the organizer is very generous when it comes to the raffle. There are so many raffle prizes (like consumable products, Skechers shoes, myphone mobiles phones, and Sharp electric fans) and winners (including one of our own who won sports drinks gift bags). And it’s a run for a cause, for the benefit of Dialysis PH Support Group Inc. so you run and feel good for helping people. I recommended this running event because it is suited for first timers and I’m so glad that my office mates enjoyed their first running event together. I hope that the next Run 4 Ur Life is just as fun or even better.
EPILOGUE:I was waiting for my running pal, Odip to finish his 21k run at the event. Too bad we had to leave early and I never got the chance to see him. I went home with 26 hours of no sleep, but I still function well. I estimate that I still have 35% of energy left in me because I don’t feel sleepy. Two friends advised me to never do it again. Good advice.
This is part 2 of my 3-part Memorial Day Weekend activities. The last activity is the Mount Makiling day hike and the story will be published some time next week.
ASICS Relay first launched in Singapore in 2015. This year, it has finally made its way to the Philippines and it’s one of the most fun running events I have ever joined. This is the first time I joined a relay race and the rule is simple, form a team of four runners, the first runner runs a specified distance and after the completion of the distance, the first runner tags the next runner in the team by passing the baton (in this race, it’s a snap band) to complete the same distance and then passes it to the next until all four runners complete the distance. There are 2 categories available, half-marathon and full marathon and I picked the full marathon to maximize the experience. My team which I named Rogue Rebels (because I want my moniker to be plural) consists of my two office mates, Nelson and Juanepri, and a neighborhood runner and short distance podium finisher Marlon.
Marlon and I meet up at the bus stop in Mayapa, Calamba and will meet Neslon at Starmall Alabang. Despite some slight difficulty in catching a bus to Mall of Asia in Ayala Makati (usual lack of buses and too many stranded passengers), the three of us arrived early at the event site. Juanepri had a business to attend to said he will make it before the gun start (and he better because he is the second runner in the line up). I immediately claimed our race kits so we can have a lot of spare time to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the activity area.
As the Team Leader I was assigned as the first runner by default and I’m very nervous because I feel like there’s a lot of weight on my shoulders and I have to perform well as the opener. The distance to complete is 10.5 kilometers, but the route is 5.25 kilometers and the runners will run the loop twice. The first part of the route was within SM by the Bay and it’s very cramped and hard to slip through the other runners. Add the body heat to the humid temperature and you have a hot and sweaty run. I feel dehydrated early in the race and had to drink at the first hydration station in J.W. Diokno Blvd. Although I sweat a lot more than the average person, in this run it feels like it was even amplified. I mean, I can run 6-8 kilometers without taking a sip and feel fine. In this run, I felt like I will pass out if I don’t slowdown to take a drink. I barely finished 5 kilometers in 30 minutes and it gets worst in the 2nd half. There’s now a lot of space between the runners and it helped lessen the heat, but my stamina is drained. I can’t even run my normal 5:30/km pace. I just kept going to survive and finish my run. I had a slight boost when the dancing LED mascots gave me high fives, after that I walked, then jog, then walk again longer than usual. I started jogging non-stop at the last 300 meters, but a lot of runners behind me started sprinting. I kept moving at a steady pace just to be safe and didn’t mind my finishing time. I just want to reach the transition area and pass the baton to Juanepri. He wasn’t on the front line, but was able to make his way through quickly. I was able to make my exit safely, exhausted, but glad that my run is over. Nelson spotted me and gave me a high five.
Now that I’ve got a lot of time in my hands, I decided to leave Nelson and walk around the activity area to get some drinks because I’m still dehydrated. A bottle of Pocari Sweat and Nature’s Spring water and a few minutes of rest later, I went to the sidelines near the finish line to watch the other runners. Nelson joined me and I also spotted a former office mate and runner Rodolfo David. He was supposed to run at the event but due to an injury, he gave his race kit to a friend.
I enjoyed watching the runners, their efforts can be seen in their faces and the way they run. Some we’re confused and almost entered the finish line instead of the transition area. I saw one runner being carried and escorted, poor guy probably collapsed from the heat. Another one fell right in front of us due to cramp. He was immediately assisted, got up, and continued his run. That’s the heart to finish.
I easily identified my running buddy and marathoner-in-the-making friend Diane. I know it’s her because of her attire and running form. Nelson and I saw Juanepri about to pass by his first loop. We called him by shouting his name, but he couldn’t hear us because he was listening to music. He was running in a slow but relaxed pace.
I told Nelson to be alert and ready in the transition area as Marlon is about to make his run and it won’t take as long as we did. I went to meet Juanepri and he said he almost had cramps and had to slow down. He stretched, re-hydrated, and rest whilst I went to the sidelines again to watch the runners. It didn’t take long for Marlon to finish his run, I wasn’t able to catch him in the first loop, but saw him as he finish the 2nd one. I went to the transition area again to meet him and it’s all down to our final runner Nelson to close the show (our show).
I easily spotted Nelson before finishing the first loop and gave him the good luck middle finger. I estimated that it will take him 35-40 minutes to finish the 2nd loop so I tried to look for Diane to congratulate her for finishing her run. She sent me a message informing me that she’s in the transition area but I wasn’t able to catch her there on time. I found out later that she left to eat hotdog and she was calling me on my phone but wasn’t able to answer. Based on my estimate, Nelson could be approaching soon, so I had to get near the finish line to take his photo.
Nelson finished faster than expected and he ran shirtless as I suggested (because I told him that some of the runners probably just took off their shirt just to show their abs. I told him to do the same and show his singular ab). Way to go Nelson.
It was one helluva night for all of us, we all had a hard time, but we had fun. ASICS Relay is the best run I had so far this year. It’s fun because it’s a team run and it’s very well presented. There are only a few gripes I have with this run and first is the race kit distribution. It was rescheduled from May 24 and 25 to May 25 and May 26 starting 12 noon to 8 pm. I decided to pick up our race kit on May 25 because I’m on leave that day and will be coming from our office in Alabang after my shift. I was there early and when it was time to pick up the race kits at exactly 12 noon, we were told that there was a delay with the arrival of the kits and pick up will be at 1 pm. This got me worried because we have ticket reservations to see Deadpool 2 in Ayala Mall Solenad in Nuvali at 3:30 pm and I might not make it on time. Some of the other runners got upset and that person in charge gave us options to wait until 3 pm (they said 1 pm earlier) for the race kits to arrive because it was on hold at customs. Or we can have it delivered. The race bibs are available, but the shirts and other stuff are not. So, I decided to just get the race bibs instead and still made it on time to see Deadpool 2. As compensation for those who wait that day, they offer free printing of names on their race shirts. Another one is the lack of photographers. There are some in the activity area, but I haven’t seen any official photos posted as of today (June 4) and there are no photographers along the route. If you’re a serious runner, photos are not that important, but let’s admit it, we do want to see a photo of ourselves running and it is a big deal for those who run for fun. Those are just minor flaws of the event, everything else is well done and organized. I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s event.
This run is part 1 of my busy Memorial Day weekend. A few hours after ASICS Relay is my 2nd run of the week, Run 4 Ur Life with my other office mates and that story is part 2 and to be posted soon.
Every once in a while, serious seasoned runners should take it easy, relax, and run for fun. PPCI Cares Run for a Cause 3 is once again handled by Aldenver Events (who is best known for the awesome obstacle race series Guerilla Race and Eggciting Adventure Family Fun Run) and for that reason I know it’s going to be a very good event.
Hours before the event, I wasn’t feeling well because of cough and sore throat and I was contemplating whether I should run or not. I woke up around 1 am, feeling okay, and finally decided to go. I had to leave home early because this is the first time I will run in McKinley West and I don’t know how to travel there via public transportation. I was able to board a bus going to Alabang around 3 am and then the bus from Alabang to Cubao before 4 am. I alighted at Magallanes because an office mate told me that I can ride a jeepney there. It’s too early and taking some time for the jeepneys to pass by, so I walked around a bit and finally spotted one. I asked the driver if he is passing by the Gate 3 terminal and he told me that he isn’t, but I can walk a few hundred meters from where he will stop. I walked towards the intersection going to the terminal and saw the Philippine Marine Corps. HQ to the left. Since I have a lot of time before the 5:15 am gun start, I decided to walk towards McKinley West which is 3+ kilometers away according to google maps. Some parts of the road is dark and someone was walking behind me and when I stopped to let him pass, he was walking so slow that I was able to overtake him. It was a long and slow walk and when I finally reached a point where I can take a right turn or straight ahead (with a sign that says McKinley straight ahead), I decided to turn right because I thought that’s where google maps is pointing me to go and I’m not very familiar with the place. I stopped to check the distance and the guy who was walking behind me asked if I know where the running event site is. I told him that it’s straight ahead and little did I know that I was going in the wrong direction and therefore led him to the wrong direction as well. It took a kilometer and a half when I finally realized that and when I asked a nice old man for directions and my idiocy is confirmed. I went back to where I came from and asked a guy who was setting up traffic cones where McKinley is just to be sure and he pointed the same direction that the old man did. I was looking behind me to see if the guy was still following me, but I don’t see him, it’s either he boarded a jeepney or took a shortcut if there was one. But, I was also expecting him to suddenly appear in front of me as I turn like GhostFace about to stab his victim. Too bad that didn’t happen.
It was already passed 5 am and I’m drenched with sweat when I finally found McKinley West. Since I’m not in my best condition I decided to downgrade the distance of my run from 15 kilometers to 10 kilometers.
For safety reasons, the race started late. The 15k run started at 5:30 am instead of 5:15 am and we followed at 5:45 am.
The first part of the route is around McKinley West before going out and towards the main road and then a left turn to the road where I got lost.
I was taking it easy on the pacing since the weather is hot and there are a lot of uphills along the route. My sore throat is a big annoyance because when it dries up it feels like I’m going to vomit. Breathing isn’t smooth and there are times that I had to walk when I start coughing. It’s not a comfortable run, but I’m doing my best to stay on track.
After the U turn from Bayani Road and Heritage Park, the next part of the route goes to McKinley Hill for another u-turn and then back to Mckinley West. At that point, I’m very tired and mostly walked a lot.
I finally tapped a bit of my reserved energy when I finally saw the inflatable obstacles near the finish line. At first I almost neglected it as I walk towards the finish line (because the obstacles are optional for the leisure runners), but a marshal encouraged us to go for it. So, I mustered up whatever is left in the stamina tank and just climbed up the inflatable slide. And I’m glad I did because I had fun.
I took my time on the obstacles, I wanted to repeat it, but there’s some runners coming in so I moved towards the finish line. There’s no timing chip (because it’s a fun run where you can take as much time as you want to have fun, duh!), my GPS watch shows that I finished the whole race (including the obstacles) at 1 hour and 9 minutes. The time doesn’t matter though because what’s important is you have fun and I had a lot of that on the inflatable obstacles.
As expected, Aldenver Events delivered another solid fun run, it’s got a nice and challenging route for experienced runners, fun inflatable obstacles for everyone, and lots of freebies (talking about bang for your buck stuff here). I’m glad that I participated the event despite my condition at the time, it was worth it. Let’s see what they have in store for fun runners next year.
With the photo above and its caption pretty much explained the title of this article, let’s get it out of the way because this is the story of a girl (and it’s not about crying a river and drowning the whole world). Her name is Diane and she wanted to run her first half-marathon. Whilst browsing the internet, she stumbled upon my blog site which chronicles my running adventures and my first half-marathon run. She found me on facebook and I accepted the ‘friend request’ when I saw her profile photo is of her running (because I usually accept friend requests by runners even if I don’t know them personally). I received a personal message from her on February 9 asking me if I do coaching sessions. I said yes and she asked how much I charge for it. I told her that I don’t charge people who want to get into running and run with me, just snacks and drinks is enough. So we made a deal, food and drinks it is and since our chosen training grounds is SM Mall of Asia, she agreed to pay for my travel expenses and our sessions will be on Saturday mornings after my shift.
Our first meeting and training was set on February 17, unfortunately she was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and advised to rest for 3 to 5 days, so we rescheduled on February 24. Diane has a delicate immune system, according to her she had pneumonia twice in the past 5 years. She is very prone to tonsillitis which leads to bronchitis or asthma which lasts for a week or two. She takes a lot of medications like steroids and antibiotics and recently stopped smoking.
When I first met Diane she’s very cheerful and looked healthy for training. I planned to take it easy on her since it’s her first day of training and a slow 5k jog-walk then rest and another 5k will do. To my surprise, she was running a bit faster and longer than I expected and I scrapped the original plan and let the run go her way so I can assess her level. We ran 6.2 kilometers from SM By the Bay to CCP Complex and back before taking a break. Then we ran another 6.2 kilometers from SM By the Bay to Aseana City and back. The 2nd session is actually more than a minute faster than the first and based on my initial impression and assessment, she can run a half-marathon without problems and will likely finish it under 3 hours. She can run continuously at a steady pace and has the tendency to do random sprints when she’s fired up (which surprises me because I wasn’t expecting the sudden burst of speed).
Because I had a run on the first weekend of March, the next training session was scheduled on March 10. The week prior, she ran a 10k on a treadmill finishing it at 1 hour 4 minutes, which is faster than her personal best outdoor at 1 hour 7 minutes (Note that running on a treadmill and a controlled environment is different than outdoors with many factors that can slow you down). She also had right shoulder pain and cough and colds, but recovered before training day. We ran 10 kilometers continuously, she almost didn’t want to during the 6th kilometer, but she still pushed for it. That’s the reason why I admire her courage and motivation and impressed with her endurance. She also felt exhausted at the 9th kilometer, but still managed to finish a bit more than 10 kilometers at 1 hour and 11 minutes despite not being in her best fitness level.
I was scheduled to run a half-marathon on Sunday, Runrio Trilogy 2018 Leg 1 and found out that Diane is also running on the same event’s 10k category. So, I did not make a plan for a Saturday morning training session because it was the day before the event and told Diane to just rest and prepare for it. But, she still want to have a maintenance run before the event. The original plan was Thursday night, but I had an invitation to the ASICS Relay press conference on Wednesday morning and the lack of sleep before my graveyard shift at work affected the plan and we had to reschedule it on Friday night with at least one day of rest before Sunday. It was a slow and easy run covering 7.6 kilometers at 1 hour and 9 minutes. She performed well at Runrio Trilogy Leg 1, finishing her 10k run at 01:08:29 and with that I think she can finish a half-marathon under 2.5 hours if she can maintain a small drop in her pace. Our next training session was set on March 23, Friday night because I will attend Comiccon Asia on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, she got a Urinary Tract Infection days before and on Friday morning she confirmed the cancellation of our training to rest and recover. She was set to visit New Zealand on March 28 and I will spend the holy week with the family in Tarlac, so the next training session will be in April.
I was scheduled to meet with someone to buy his Xbox 360 games on Sunday morning, so our fourth training session is on a Sunday morning. Diane never had a serious training run for more than 2 weeks since Runrio Trilogy Leg 1 and that made her slower than usual. It’s not her best form and she finished 6.7 kilometers at 52 minutes in the 1st session and 5.5 kilometers at 42 minutes in the 2nd session. I encouraged her to join Fire Run 2018 as her tune up run because an easy run on the 16k category is the ideal preparation so she can have a preview of what it feels like to go beyond 10 kilometers.
She offered me to join the run as well and I accepted it so I can assess her fitness at the time and she performed better and it didn’t surprise me this time.
On April 20, Friday night, we had our last short run in Bluebay Walk in preparation for NatGeo Run on Sunday. It’s a 5 kilometer run, but she still closed it a bit faster than usual at 34 minutes. After that, I told her that sleep is very important and she should rest and relax until race day.
NATGEO Earth Day RUN 2018
April 22. NatGeo Earth Day Run 2018. Diane’s first half-marathon. This is it, the culmination of five training sessions and a tune up race. I know Diane can do this, I know she can finish strong. I woke up late again and almost missed the last trip of the commuter van from Calamba to Alabang (because there are no more buses from 10:30 pm onward). Still made it a couple of hours early to SM Mall of Asia and had time to walk around the activity area and prepare. I don’t think much of anything else other than to make sure that Diane finish her first 21k run. We met up 16 minutes before the 3:30 am gun start. She’s warmed up and ready. We positioned ourselves as close as we can to the starting line, but since there are thousands of runners, we’re a bit far from it, but ahead of the middle of the pack.
The race started on time and it took us more than 2 minutes to cross the starting line. Diane is fired up, she was overtaking the crowd, swerving left and right, whilst I’m trying to keep up because I’m a very careful runner when it comes to crowded and cramped roads. I had my eyes locked on Diane and my other senses on the surroundings because I don’t want to lose sight of her especially when there’s too many runners all around you. Diane only slowed down to walk after 2 kilometers and started running again at a decent pace. It was a very hot and sweaty run especially in the first 3 kilometers and our water bottles deplete easily. Part of my strategy for this is to refill Diane’s water bottle when it’s near empty while she keeps going and I’ll catch up as fast as I can. We finally had some breathing room when we finally reached Roxas boulevard. She told me that she’s having some trouble with her pace because her mood is off and she feels a bit sleepy (lacking sleep due to the anticipation of the run earlier). She asked me to lead and she’ll follow my pace, I did, but there’s a time that she’s actually overtaking me because I was taking it easy on her. I like it when she’s giving effort and her pace is efficient enough, covering 10 kilometers at 1 hour and 12 minutes.
Some time between the 11th and 12th kilometer, we stopped because she had to take off her shoe when she felt something. And like a random encounter with a wild Pokemon appearing out of nowhere, a runner friend, John Paul Gentica spotted me. I know he was at the event and was near the front line of the starting area when he texted me (and I was suppose to give his long awaited Sungay 50k Ultramarathon trophy earlier). But, what I didn’t expect is us overtaking him in the first half of the race. I introduced him to Diane and he ran with us (I told him he can go ahead if he feels we’re slowing down because my priority is to pace with my runner and to make sure she finish this race). It’s good to have him with us because it pushed Diane to keep going and add more effort now that she has two pacers along for the ride (well, along for the run). The three of us are having a good chat while still moving at a decent pace. John Paul decided to go for a Sub 2.5 finish and he left us after kilometer 15. Diane is slowing down, so she asked that she run while listening to music. I agreed because music can help boost the pace and gave her the earphones.
When we finally reached CCP Complex and the last 3 kilometers of the race, I was surprised when Diane asked me to lead her to a 2.5 hour finish. When I checked my GPS watch the time was around 2 hours and 15 minutes, which means we have to finish 3 kilometers in 15 minutes or less. But, from what I’ve seen in Diane’s condition at that time and knowing that she never ran 5 minutes per kilometer before, it’s too risky, like dangerous to your health kind of risky. And I don’t want to be put in a scenario of a boxing coach who will throw the white towel when he sees his boxer is in critical danger. And unlike Rocky Balboa in Rocky 4, I will seriously throw the damn towel. So, I told her to just relax, we can finish this under 3 hours and even under 2:45, and that would be better than to get seriously injured or DNF (Did Not Finish). In the last 2 kilometers she started to feel pain on her shins (shin splints) and a moment later on the thighs. That is what I’m worried about and that is why I told her to go easy, walk if she has to. Jog-walk is what we did in the last kilometer and it’s very safe and effective. In the last 300 meters she started running again, she saw and waved at her father and family. She smiled and the sight of her loved ones gave her a second wind. Her father even ran behind her while recording her finishing run towards the finish line. I boosted my pace to run by her side, but there are runners that we had to overtake and I’m not exactly sure, but I think we stepped on the finish line side by side but with some runners in-between us.
She did it. She finished the race at 2 hours 41 minutes and 51 seconds (for her Personal Record, her chip time is 02:39:22), rank 1,198 (don’t know how many 21k runners this year, but in 2015 there are more than 6,000 runner in the 21k category).
As per my expectations, she finished under 2:45 and it’s just her first half-marathon and she’s not even in her best health and fitness level. Compare that to my first half-marathon which I finished at 02:51:31, she’s faster and has a lot of potential and definitely big improvement if she continues to run and train harder. I hope she does because she has the heart and will of a long distance runner. It will also be good for her health and immune system because running strengthens our immune system (in my case, I never had bronchitis or broncho-pneumonia for 7 years now since I started running). Based on my overall assessment from training day 1 to NatGeo Run, her biggest strengths are her perseverance and endurance even with current health conditions preventing her from reaching full potential. She is fit for to run more half-marathons and with more training and in good health she can definitely finish a half-marathon under 2.5 hours safely. She can definitely finish a full marathon and with time and more experience she can run and do well in ultramarathons.
For me, it’s mission accomplished as a pacer and running buddy. I’ve ran with first timers before, but this is the first full time job (from training to race day) and I’m very glad that everything turned out great. Thanks to Diane for the experience and the opportunity to join this year’s NatGeo Run.
As for this running event, it’s good that they managed to enforce the “no cups” policy for the environment successfully. I only encountered one or two stations that couldn’t keep up with the supply for the runners, but I didn’t experience any major problems with hydration. The bring your own water bottle policy should be enforced in other running events as well. The lack of cold sponges is understandable to avoid littering of sponges on the race route, but they should’ve thought of something to help cool the runners especially since it’s a summer time running event (the fire truck spraying water is okay, but there’s not enough water supply and it’s too much waste of water. why not something like a tub or huge pail of ice cold water that runners can splash their face with or dunk their face towels with?). The medal distribution is a mess, it’s a high volume run, thousands of runners on the route, it’s okay if medal claiming is in a booth inside the activity area. The queue near the finish line is taking too long and taking up too much space and it’s the reason why some runners can’t cross the finish line immediately. And the biggest issue is with the medals and finisher shirts. As seen in the top photo, why is the letter “R” missing in the word Finisher? who in quality control was dumb enough to miss this? why was this not noticed early in production? do they not know how to spell finisher? At least the 10k medal has the complete word, but another problem based on what I’ve read in the comments section of the FB page is that they ran out of 10k medals. And why do the finisher shirts don’t have 21k Finisher printed on them? there’s a lot of space on the back of the shirt. It’s not a big issue for me, but too bad for those who chose this event as their first half-marathon (like Diane). Since my bad experience from the my first NatGeo Run, I have no intentions to join any more this event and the only reason I joined this year is for Diane. I give props for the “no cups” policy, but I hope that next year’s run will be better (for the good of those who plan to join their first Earth Day Run or those who made this event their yearly tradition run).
PCCI gives back to the community with its 3rd Run for a Cause
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will hold another significant run for its members and the public. Dubbed as “PCCI Cares: 3rd Run for a Cause,” this third consecutive running event will happen on May 13, 2018 at McKinley Hill West in Taguig City. This year’s run is made as special as it coincides with the celebration of Mother’s Day.
The events aims to continue helping the community in different cause-oriented projects. Last year, PCCI helped the victims of Marawi siege. Other than giving back to the community, it intends to foster family camaraderie by providing fun obstacles for the whole family. The organization believes that through this run, they can spark and rekindle close family ties to participating members and public. Likewise, this run further promotes health and wellness in the business sector.
Sine the run coincides with the annual celebration of Mother’s Day, there will be an exciting surprise for mothers participating in then event. PCCI will also give tribute to mothers, who despite the struggles of motherhood, have maintained their confidence and composure in balancing work and family life.
This noteworthy run will feature three running categories – 5, 10, and 15-kilometer run with fun inflatables along the route. To join, you can visit http://www.gooranha.com and register. Interested participants can also sign-up at selected Chris Sports Branches. Registration fees are as follows: 5k – P650.00, 10k – P750.00, and 15k – P850.00. Participants of the race will receive singlet, race bib, finisher’s medal as well as freebies from our generous sponsors.
A special prize will also be given to the most number of participants coming from a member company of PCCI or from a running group. They will receive a cash prize worth P20,000.00.
For more details, please contact PCCI secretariat at (02)-846-8196 and look for Ms. Arlou Lovendino or Mr. Levin Prudent. You may also contact Ms. Nikka Ramos of Aldenver Marketing, Inc. at 0927-8484533. For updates and other important announcements regarding the run, please follow our facebook page: PCCI Run For A Cause and Aldenver Events.
Scenes for the Press Conference:
5 K – Php 650
10K – Php 750
15K – Php 850
Chris Sports branches:
– Uptown BGC
– Market Market
– SM BF Parañaque
– SM North Edsa