Shuttling between MOA and BGC for Run United

I was ready to go ballistic when I read this news:

We are also providing free shuttle service for all 21k finishers from MOA back to BGC starting 6:00AM until 9:30AM only. Shuttles will leave the designated pick-up point every 15 minutes.Designated pick-up point: OCEAN DRIVE (in between ECOM Bldg. and Blk 12) at the AM Mall of Asia complex. Drop-off point: In front of Riovana Store in Fort-BGC.Runners are recommended to plan their transportation in advance given that the 21k is a BGC to MOA route.

What?! Does this mean that there will be no transportation from MOA to BGC for the race start as promised? I was obviously pissed! Runrio is already getting a lot of flak about their rising registration costs (You can read the backlash here). I wanted to park at MOA where I can immediately drive home after a grueling 21K, not get crammed inside a bus with other tired runners!

Fortunately, as clarified via their hotline, there will be shuttles for the 21K runners from MOA to BGC but only from 230am to 330am. This means that you can still park your car at MOA and have the shuttle transport you to the starting line at BGC.

Update: Runrio’s site has been updated.

We are providing free shuttle services for all 21k runners from MOA to BGC starting at 230am. This service will be available at 15 minute intervals until the last trip scheduled at 330am. After 3:30am, the next shuttle service to BGC will only be available starting 630am, at 15 minute intervals, with last trip scheduled at 930am. No shuttle services will be provided after 930am.

 

Spirit of the Marathon

DVD cover of Spirit of the Marathon

I’ve watched a lot of films that deal with running.   Almost all were films that fictionalized and over-hyped Olympic track and field events.  Take, for example, the inaccuracies in Chariots of Fire, probably the most famous of running movies, having won four Academy Awards including Best Picture. In the film, Harold Abrahams loses in the 200 meters before his triumph in the 100 meters.  The film makers probably wanted to hype the drama and rouse the emotions of the viewers.  In reality, the order is reversed—Abrahams wins the 100 meters before losing in the 200 meters, a sequence which undoubtedly is less dramatic.

I don’t like movies that pose to be factual but that actually manipulate historical events to manipulate the viewers emotions.  Yes, it’s entertaining but I feel that the film makers are pulling my leg.

As an aside, if you want to watch a good fictional running movie, try and find Jericho Mile, a 1979 Emmy Award-winning TV movie directed by Michael Mann (yes, the guy who directed Heat, Ali, and Collateral).  At least that movie did not make any effort to masquerade itself as factual.

But if you want a film that will accurately depict the challenge and the personal triumph of marathon runners, then you won’t go wrong with the 2007 documentary Spirit of the Marathon.

This film chronicles the journey of five marathoners who are training for and participating in the 2005 Chicago Marathon.  Interspersed between their tales are the stories of notable marathoners like Abebe Bikila, Frank Shorter, Alberto Salazar, and Joan Benoit.   The one thing I like about this film is that it deals with the experiences of elite runners (particularly that of  American Deena Kastor, bronze medalist of the 1984 Olympic Marathon) as well as the average and neophyte runner.  For example, there is Lori O’Conner who is running her first marathon, and Jerry Meyers, a veteran marathoner who is also 70 years old.  So this is a movie not just about the triumphs of champion runners but also of us mortals who want to survive a 42-kilometer run just for personal bragging rights.  Or even just for the finisher’s T-shirt!

Overall, a good inspirational film to watch if you have your eyes set at conquering the marathon.

Running in the rain

Rain

People give me funny stares when I say that I enjoy running in the rain. They probably think I am so obsessed with running that I risk getting a cold or succumbing to pneumonia.  Actually, I don’t think the two (running the rain and getting sick) are related.   You get a cold because you are exposed to the virus.  It may be argued that getting wet reduces your immune system, but getting wet alone is insufficient to get sick—you still need to get hit with the virus.

Now yes, when it rains there are more people getting sick but that’s because people will choose stay indoors more, and indoors is where infectious diseases spread because of increased contact between individuals, less ventilation, and the fact that bacteria and viruses like wet, moist surroundings.  On a bright sunny day everybody goes outdoors, where it is warm and dry, where there is obviously more space, better ventilation, less physical contact with large numbers of other individuals.

Anyway, back to running in the rain.  I enjoy it because it’s cool and refreshing.  The air feels pure.  I can run even if it is 10 in the morning.  As long as I’m dressed appropriately, it’s easier to run when it’s cool than when it’s hot.  There are outfits anyway that wick the water away.  My other essential piece of clothing is a cap with a brim that protects my eyes and face from the rain—it’s hard to run in a downpour where you have to squint to protect your eyes from the rain.  When it rains, the runs are almost effortless; under a scorching sun, the heat and humidity are energy leeches.  And running in the rain reminds me of my younger days when I used to play in the rain, and, with the mud and the sludge, you feel tougher that you braved and conquered the elements.  I really don’t mind if my shoes are soggy or if I feel the water seep inside.  The best feeling is that I accepted no excuse to go outside and pound the pavement.

So who cares if it’s a downpour?  Unless, of course, it’s a thunderstorm.  Or a rehash of Ondoy . . .

Running Dead


I am a confirmed Zombie addict. I have a collection of George Romero’s films, enjoyed Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, laughed my eyes out with Zombieland, and am currently following the hit series Walking Dead.  I’ve always imagined how it would be like in a Zombie Apocalypse.  Now, there is the unique running event that simulates a Zombie infestation, right in the heart of Filinvest , Alabang!   Zombies will attack on April 21 . . .

From Kikayrunner’s post:

What is the Current Situation?
An outbreak of unknown origin has been ongoing in Filinvest, Alabang, since November 2011. Human cases have been confirmed near Palms Country Club. Despite systematic efforts to control the infection, the outbreak is continuing, with the progressive zombification of most members of the Army-Navy South Tri team.

How is the Zombie Infection Spread?
It is almost always spread by a bite but can also be spread when a zombie’s saliva gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin. The primary sources of human infection worldwide are humans who have been transformed into zombies. Read “How can participants protect themselves” for more information.

How can Participants Protect Themselves?
Consider stepping up your speed and agility training.

On race day, April 21, at 5pm, participants of The Running Dead will be released in waves of 100.

  • Each and every participant will begin the race with Life ribbons/flags.
  • The participants will run a 7k on-and-offroad obstacle course of rugged flats, inclines and obstacles infested with zombies who are out to capture your Life flags.
  • Your objective is to finish the race with at least one Life flag intact to qualify for race honors and/or a special loot bag.
  • If you lose all your Life flags you are ineligible for place prizes.
  • Racers are not allowed to push, punch or taunt zombies; zombies are not allowed to touch or push a racer.
  • Marshals are on the course to enforce a no rough-housing rule.
  • All participants have free entrance to the Running Dead after party.

What Kinds of Zombies Are There?

  • Walkers set the tone of the course. They shuffle and moan and move slowly and only grab a flag if you’re very close.
  • Startlers hide near obstacles and grab flags at bottlenecks on the course.
  • Runners ensure that no one reaches the final stage with all flags intact.
  • Elite members of the national team will make sure that your finish line sprint leads to a personal best.

What Do Survivors Get?

  • 1st male & female: P10,000
  • 2nd male & female: P5,000
  • 3rd male & female: P3,000
  • All qualified finishers keep their brains and get a loot bag and shirt

Proceeds from the race will go to four (4) deserving graduates of the Super Tri Kids program run by Coach Ani de Leon. With so many young athlete hopefuls in any sport in this country, many fall through the cracks after their junior training status. The goal of this race is to keep these high-potential kids in training and progressing in the sport. (Hopefully they’ll end up eventually representing the country in international races as national athletes.)

For Updates on Reg Fee & Reg Sites: The Running Dead Facebook page and The Running Dead on Twitter

Linsanity!

I am amazed with this guy. Coming out of nowhere, he is taking the NBA by storm.  A Harvard graduate, undrafted coming out of college, he played briefly for the Golden State Warriors before moving to New York as their third-string point-guard (basically the backup of the backup).

Then, on February 4, 2012, he scored 25 points, hauled 5 rebounds, and dished out 7 assists—all career-highs—as the New York Knicks beat the New Jersey Nets.  In the subsequent game against the Utah Jazz, Lin made his first career start and had 28 points and eight assists.  In the next game against the Washington Wizards, Lin had 23 points and career-high 10 assists—his first double-double.  And, in an epic game against the LA Lakers, Lin scored an incredible 38 points, otuscoring superstar Kobe Bryant, who had 34 points.  He scored an “ordinary” 20 points in a narrow victory against the Timberwolves before amassing 27 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer, against the Toronto Raptors.

Training for the Milo Marathon

First of all, here’s a disclaimer to all those who found this post through Google or Twitter.  If you were expecting some training plan or some words of advice from an experienced marathoner, you will be disappointed.  I am pushing 50 years of age.  I am hardly an elite runner.  I can hardly even describe myself as an experienced marathoner, having just completed only one marathon, with an ignoble time of 6:01.  But if you wanted some honest anecdotal rants and quips about running a marathon from a normal, middle-aged runner, then read on . . .

A few months ago, my goal was the 21K and all my training was geared towards that distance.  My plan then was simple—just run about 4 or 5 times a week, do one really long run, and insert a few kilometers of speed work.  Now my sights are fixed on the next big marathon: the 2012 Milo Marathon Metro Manila elimination leg.

Assuming the rules don’t change, the Milo Marathon elimination leg will pose an interesting challenge for me.  Gone are my ambitions to qualify for the finals.  My objective for this run is not only to finish, but to avoid the cut-off time of 6 hours and hopefully not get swept off the course.

My biggest change in my strategy is to have a more structured training plan.  As I mentioned above, my training plan was haphazard and carefree.  I ran whenever I felt like running and ran a distance of whatever I felt like covering.  Now I have set weekly goals with the objective of upping the mileage week-after-week.     Throughout the web I have read advice that I shouldn’t increase distance or weekly mileage by 10% a week.  I also read somewhere that you should take a break once in a while (say, every three to four weeks) and cut back on mileage.   With this, I plotted my training plan.  It isn’t too detailed—just a weekly distance goal and the distance of my longest run.  This week, for example, my goal is to cover 45 kilometers and my longest run will be 13 kilometers.  Next week, I hope to cover 48 kilometers with my longest run being 15 kilometers.   My peak will be around middle of July, where I hope to cover 73 kilometers in a week with my longest run being 37 kilometers.  Gulp!

 

 

Are running fees getting outrageous?

I went to Toby’s over a MOA to signup for the upcoming Run United 1. I learned that you could actually signup for the entire trilogy and the marathon and get a 10% discount.   I was more than surprised to find out that the cost of joining the marquee events—the Run United 1 21K, the Run United 2 21K, the Run United 3 32K, and the marathon—would cost P5,400, discount included!

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Learnings from my first marathon run


Now that I have finished my first marathon, it is time to look back, reflect on that experience, and find out what I should do differently to make my next marathon a less agonizing experience.

1) Build up mileage.  I’ve read here that a beginner marathon running aiming to finish and/or to break 4:30 has to handle 55 kilometers  a week.  I did some calculation: assuming I do 20K on a weekend, that means I have to do at least 35K within the week.  Hmm, 4 days of 10K is definitely doable.

2) Long slow distance runs.  Again, looking at the same source of information, my long slow distance runs should be 30 to 35 kilometers.  Gulp!  At a pace of  8:00/kilometer, that means I will be running in excess of 4 hours!  Now that is tough.  Not to mention damn boring.  If only we had more 32K races out there . . .

3) Start out slow.  I could comfortably maintain a 6:30/kilometer pace in a half-mary so, for my first marathon, I had figured that a 7:00/kilometer pace for a full marathon should be doable.  I was wrong.  I was depleted with about 20K left in the Condura Marathon, so for the next marathon I will have to hold back and run a 8:00/kilometer pace for the first 21K and then pick up the pace in the second half.

Condura Skyway Marathon: my first 42K

My Condura Skyway Marathon medal

I was lying down when I wrote this, my feet elevated to help with the blood flow, a bottle of 100Plus beside me. Standard recovery procedures called for stretching (done), rest (done), hydration (I’ve already guzzled copious amounts of sports drinks and water), and nutrition (6 stacks of banana pancakes). I wish I could do an ice bath, but in its absence a cold shower will have to do.

I just finished my first full marathon, and to sum it up it was surreal, tortuous, and humbling. A marathon is indeed a test of human endurance. I thought that a marathon was all about physical stamina. I learned that it is also about steel resolve and mental fortitude. Putting it bluntly, I made the classic rookie mistake, over-estimated myself, and paid for it dearly.

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My training log: from 5K to a full marathon

Many years ago, when I was in my teens, I recall seeing the route of the Milo Marathon.  The route snaked all over Metro Manila.  I remember it traversing Aurora (Or was it Quezon Avenue?), passing through Makati, and then running along the length of EDSA.  This was back in the day when there was no MRTs, there there were traffic signals instead of flyovers, and a drive from Makati to Quezon City would take minutes instead of hours.  I remember thinking back then that driving along that route was already a pain, so I couldn’t imagine running it!

So now here I am, on the verge of running my first marathon.  How did I get from struggling a 5K to enduring a 42K? Lots of running, that’s for sure.  Looking back at several of my training “logs”—a combination of Facebook statuses, tweets, and Runkeeper updates—it’s amazing how far I have gone!

August 18, 2009: “For the first time in almost two months, I am going to the gym.”  This was followed by “5k. 38 mins. Not bad methinks.”

August 21, 2009: “On the road, 5k is 39:10.”

August 31, 2009: “5K. 34 mins 40 seconds. That’s RUNNING. No WALKING. Slight pain in my knees for the first kilometer”

From that point I began to contemplate joining fun runs.  And on November 15, 2009, I joined the Ateneo-sponsored Sesqui Cross Country fun run, my first such “fun run” in over 20 years, partially because it was the 150th anniversary of my alma mater and also because I was familiar with the territory, having run the Cross-Country route several times when I was in college.

In December, probably because 5Ks were getting easier and posing less of a challenge, I decided to run a 10K.  By April, at the Greenfield City Sunset Run, I finally broke the 1 hour barrier  for a 10K.  To think that just a few months ago I couldn’t finish a 5K at that pace!

February 6: It was in the last year’s Condura that I decided to go beyond 10K, for no other reason than to maximize the experience of running atop the Skyway.   At that time, the 5K wouldn’t be up the Skyway and the 10K only covered a short distance.  I was tentative about it, doubting if I could finish a 16K.  At that time, finishing a 10K would be a struggle and I would experience slight knee pains especially during the last few kilometers.  But finish the 16K I did, and yes the knee pains plagued me in the last 2 kilometers that I had to slow down and walk a couple of times.

February 20, 2011: My knee pains continued and plagued me in Ateneo’s Pronation run, where pain in my right knee caused me to hobble for the final 4k.      My mistake?  Starting off way too fast.  I thought I could break 55-minutes.  I ended up with one of my worst 10K showings,  finishing at a personally disappointing 1:01.

February 27, 2011:  I joined the EDSA 10K  for two reasons (1) see if I can finish without any knee pain and (2) to see if I can finish under 60 minutes.  Knowing better than to start off fast, I ran at a more steady pace, which was a good thing since the route along Ortigas Avenue and along Greenmeadows, had uphill and downhill roads.  I finished pain-free with a time of 59:50.

March 27, 2011:  Globe Run For Home.  First time I ran a 10K with Vibram Five Finger minimalist shoes.  I ended up with one of my fastest 10K times.  With no pain!  I have run with Vibrams since then.

May 22, 2011:  Sometime in March, I decided to train for a half-marathon.  Many have commented that 10Ks were nothing compared to a 21K.  So I planned that the Brooks Go Happy 15K was a stepping-stone to that goal.  Surprisingly I finished in 1:28, which meant that I could sustain a 6-minute pace beyond 10K! This led me to believe I could run a 21K in around 2:06 to 2:10.

June 11, 2011: My first 21K was the Mizuno Infinity Run.  And that was a painful experience.  But I realized a few things about running a 21K, most of all to maintain your glycogen levels by consuming carbs (like energy gels) while running.

November 13, 2011:  Run United 3.  32K.

Last month, 21Ks are now my staple “long slow distance” (LSD) runs.  In my last 21K, the Go Natural Run, I was supposed to take it easy but ended up finishing with a PR time and still had fuel to spare!  I had practically no aches and pains.

So that’s pretty much my timeline leading to this Saturday’s Condura Skyway Marathon.   It took me 2 years, 4 months to come from a struggling 5K runner and end up as a full marathoner!