Based on my Garmin watch, I finished the Run United 2 with a time of around 2:06. That’s a new 21K personal record for me. I beat my previous record by 8 minutes.
Here are a couple of photos that I had taken at the Merrell Adventure Run, held at Timberland Heights, San Mateo. The heavy rains turned the trails into slippery muck. Runners sloshed and tumbled through kilometers and kilometers of mud and mire. Caked in swamp-red sludge, my shoes were unrecognizable after the run.
Weekends are my LSD—long slow distance—days. That’s when I log my longest run of the week. Last week I did 17.5 kilometers. I wanted to do 20 kilometers yesterday. LSD runs are supposed to be the bedrock of any marathon training schedule.
But yesterday, everything went bad. I usually do my running in the morning, but I woke up at 5:30 am hungry and I was hesitant to eat before running. If I ate my usual breakfast, that meant I would hit the road at about 7:00 am. I calculated a 2.5 hour run so I would still be running when the sun began scorching the pavement. Moreover, my Garmin watch was out-of-whack, suffering again from that irritating “reverse-charge” syndrome. I opted to move my LSD run to later in the afternoon, figuring that the temperature would be cooler.
At 3:00 am, clouds hovered in the sky, threatening rain. A downpour during an LSD run would be glorious! I strapped on my hydration belt and began my run. All I had was one banana as my on-the-run fuel and one 200ml bottle.
And no, it didn’t rain. I know it rained elsewhere and as a result the air was humid and sticky. There was no wind to cool me down. I began to feel my body temperature rise. I welcomed the brief gust of air when cars would pass me by but it wasn’t enough. At first I downed water by the mouthful, but at the 10K point I started to conserve water. The thought that constantly entered my mind was the James Franco character is 127 hours. My heart rate was elevated, not at cardiac-arrest level, but I was surprised that even at a comfortable pace my heart rate was close to maximum level (you know, that “220-minus-age” level). I was running slow and I planned to pick up the pace in the latter half, but I ended up slowing down. By the time I hit 12K my water bottle was empty. I blanked my mind, trying to disassociate myself from that heavy, sluggish feeling. My legs were still strong, my breathing was far from laboured, but my body temperature was feverish. I was thirsty, my mouth dry. I had a throbbing headache. At the 16K point, mentally drained, I gave up, frustrated with myself, and walked the rest of the way home.
At home I gulped down glasses of water. I have never been this parched after a run. I still felt feverish and the cold shower helped alleviate it. I didn’t have any sports drinks but I had a few sachets of hydration salts so I mixed those with water instead. I began to feel weak and sleepy. With about three electric fans blasting at me, I closed my eyes, lay down on my bed, and tried to cool down. I began to feel muscle cramps and had to periodically sit up to stretch.
So what happened?
I figured I must’ve suffered from heat exhaustion. The weakness, nausea, cramps are consistent with the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion happens when your body isn’t able to cool itself properly. The body doesn’t cool itself by just sweating. It’s the evaporation of that sweat that cools the body. High humidity can prevent that sweat from evaporating. It was a good idea that I stopped running—I could have ended up with a heat stroke!
Lessons learned: in a hot, humid day, bring adequate water bottles and constantly hydrate yourself!
Eventking was the organizer of the Natgeo Earth Day Run, a run severely criticized by many, including myself. Natgeo Earth Day run was also the run that was featured in many news articles and social media sites for its disregard of the environment. I have several posts about the Natgeo incident in case you want to read more about it.
So naturally many runners are warning those who had joined Eventking’s latest run—the Merrell Adventure Run (MAR). In Pinoyfitness, for example, one commenter wrote:
Goodluck sa mga nagregister. Event King did a really bad job on the NatGeo run.
Ok, maybe they did a really lousy job with Natgeo, but I understand that they also organized the most excellent Condura Skyway Marathon. Too bad Eventking botched Natgeo—I was ready to believe that they could give Runrio a run for its money!
But should runners really be worried that Eventking is handling MAR?
In my opinion, runners have nothing to worry about provided they adequately prepare for the event. Aside from the PR disaster involving the cup-littering incident, the one major flaw of Natgeo was the shortage of hydration stations. This was a situation that did not happen in Condura so there must have been a disconnect between Fox International Channels, Natgeo, and Eventking. Nonetheless, even if Eventking screws up again with the hydration station, forewarned is forearmed—ALL RUNNERS SHOULD BRING ADEQUATE HYDRATION!
This is my first trail run and it is better to be prepared. My hydration belt only carries one flask so I should purchase a new hydration belt that contains three flasks. My experience with mountain bike trails is that it tends to get humid, and it’s best I shouldn’t totally rely on hydration stations. I will fill these flasks with water spiked with Oral Rehydration Salts—I find Gatorade too sweet for my taste. I should also arm myself with a basic first aid kit—like a few Band-Aids and an anti-bacterial cream.
They say “once bitten, twice shy.” But the fact that Eventking was involved in a poorly-organized run should not stop me from experiencing a unique trail run!
I stumbled upon Jazzrunner’s post on the Merrell Adventure Run route, and I have to say I am really looking forward to this one. This will be my first ever trail run!
I also read the article from Philippine Star, saying that the route will include 5 consecutive mud pits and a 200-meter river traverse. I expect to end this run exhausted, filthy, and caked in mud. I have no illusions of breaking a PR here. My thighs and calves will probably be sore and I would probably have scratches on my arms and legs. I should probably bring a first-aid kit in my car!
Aside from Jazzrunner’s post, pictures of the route are also available at Merrell’s FB page.
Registration ends May 16!
If you did, then you better check and you may have to register AGAIN .
Runrio posted the list of runners who had registered for Run United 2. I checked the list and, as I suspected, my name wasn’t there. So I travelled to Toby’s at SM Mall of Asia, showed them the card evidencing my pre-registration and payment, and proceeded to -re-enter my info. It’s irritating to say the least—not irritating to approach Claudine level—but irritating still. I asked the folks manning the Runrio station what had happened and they mentioned that the system got corrupted so customers have to re-input the information.
They were diligent to remind me to visit the Runrio expo on June 13, which is the exclusive date for the 21K runners, to get my race kit. I asked what happens if I couldn’t make it. They said that the expo runs from June 13 to 15 so I can drop by on any of those dates. I still feel it’s hard-selling and manipulative, like we are rodents being led by the Pied Piper. I wondered how the runners from outside Metro Manila feel, having the travel to fetch their race kit instead of it being delivered to their doorstep like before.
I really want to support Runrio. I really do. Amongst all the run organizers, Rio de la Cruz has the grandest vision—to put the Philippines in the list of renowned international running locales, in par probably with Boston, NY, London, Tokyo, and the like. An ambitious and noble endeavour indeed, and my hat’s off to him.
But it’s getting harder and harder to like what he does. There’s too much focus on celebrities, too much focus on his other business ventures, too much focus on himself. It is coming out that these Runrio-organized events are just a means to draw runners into his ventures.
And again my patience is being tested. Now, for me to fetch my Run United 2 race kit, I have to go to a @$%&@! run expo. And I have to go on June 13, a Wednesday, a work day, which means I have to travel all the way to Bonifacio Global City! And for what? To subject myself to the the sponsors’s barrage of sales promos, pamphlets, adverts.
This is supposed to be a runner’s event, not an event where runners are forcibly herded into an environment where companies can ply their wares. I feel I am being manipulated here. I paid for the kit. Why can’t I claim my kit on the day of my choosing? In the past, I had the option of having the run kit mailed to my home address. I felt that the additional mailing fee was worth it as I would avoid the cost and effort to fetch the race kit.
Update: From Runrio’s FB page: Hello everyone. There is no final advise yet on how kits can be claimed if you were unable to make it to the EXPO. But surely, RunRio will be providing an option for this to ensure everyone who registered to participate in this race can claim their kits and be there on race day.
Mention barefoot running and probably the first runner that would come to mind is the Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Bikila. He is known primarily for winning the 1960 Summer Olympics marathon barefoot.
I learned of Abebe Bikila when I was in high school, not from some history course, but from reading William Goldman’s book Marathon Man. In the book, the protagonist and aspiring marathon runner Babe Levy idolized Abebe Bikila and marveled on how Bikila was able to conquer the marathon barefoot. Levy gets involved with some government agency and some Nazis and eventually gets harrowingly tortured by some Nazi dentist. He escapes and eludes the captors by running barefoot, clad only in his pajamas.
And yes it was made into a classic movie in 1976 with Dustin Hoffman and Lawrence Olivier, with the now legendary dialogue of “Is it safe?”
What’s interesting about the Abebe Bikila story was that he wasn’t even supposed to be in the Olympics. He was only added in the Ethiopian roster in last-minute as a replacement for Wami Biratu, who had broken his ankle in a soccer match. And Bikila didn’t even plan to run barefoot. He only ran barefoot because the shoes supplied by Adidas didn’t fit properly! After winning the marathon, he was asked why he had run barefoot and Bikila answered: “I wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism.”
There is no shortage of runs that advocate a certain cause or runs that support a charity. This weekend we have the Run For Integrity, a run that is “aimed at FIGHTING CORRUPTION head on” (though I wonder how running can be used to fight corruption), and a SCHOlaRUN, a fun run activity organized by the St. Scholastica’s Academy Marikina Alumnae Association “to raise funds for financially-challenged but deserving scholar.”
I’ve always wondered about the “run for a cause” campaigns. I’d like to believe that race organizers truly donate money to their worthy cause. I’ve been in some alumni organizations and I would say that school organizations do as they have promised. These organizations are typically run by committees and they are pretty much transparent about where they get their finances and how the money is utilized. It wouldn’t hurt though for these organizations to publish the results. In fact, I urge them to do so. A lot of effort was put into getting people to participate and all it takes is one post in Facebook to report on the financial results.
But what about those runs that promote a certain advocacy, examples of which are the Run For Integrity event and, most recently, the Earth Day runs? I look at these more of marketing gimmicks that real advocacy runs. These “issues” are no-brainers. Who isn’t against corruption anyway? Who doesn’t want to preserve the environment? These are easy hits. And by the way, I joined the Natgeo run not because of their Earth Day cause, but simply because I wanted to run their route.
Of course we also have runs that support questionable advocacies. The “Save the Marikina Watershed” run, nicknamed the “Del Run” in reference to Mayor Del De Guzman, got a lot of flak for its seemingly political advocacy.
Now what I’d like to see are runs that advocate controversial and possible divisive topics. Can we have a run advocating the RH Bill, for example? Or conversely a pro-life run? Now those would be interesting events. I dare some organizer to organize such an event.