3rd QCIM Half-Marathon

8 12 2011

Last year, I finished the 2nd QCIM Marathon in 4:30+ hours and I liked the very challenging route where runners would experience running inside the UP Complex, on the wide and rolling terrain of Commonwealth Avenue and within the La Mesa Dam Area. I did not have much training in preparation for this event as I wanted to experience running through the whole course. You can read my Race Report here.

As a QCIM “loyalist”, I really wanted to join the Full Marathon but due to my rest and recovery after joining the 1st Bakersfield Ultra Marathon Madness (BUMM) 32-Mile Trail Run in Bakersfield, California, I had “zero” training for the said distance. Instead, I decided to join the Half-Marathon event. I treated this race as part of my “base endurance” training in preparation for future events in the coming year. This is an event that would “kick start” my incoming season of running. (Note: If you noticed in my pictures that I was wearing a Running Visor, that could be a hint for a serious training to come!)

The race started at 4:30 AM and I focused on my plan to treat this event as a LSD run. I always remind myself at the starting line to stay relaxed as much as possible during the race. My first 5 kilometers were very relaxing as I joined most of the average runners at the back. I was averaging a pace of 7:00+ minutes per kilometer on those first 5 kilometers and I was having fun!

Sometimes I break some time-tested “lessons learned” in running. Whenever, I run the QCIM, I always use newly-bought running shoes and most of the time, these shoes are not categorized as running shoes on paved roads. Last year, I used the New Balance MT 101 trail running shoes and it passed the test on my feet and legs. No soreness, blisters and injury using a light, thin-soled, and almost “zero-drop” trail shoes. Last Sunday, I used the New Balance XC 700 which is considered as a Cross Country Running Shoes. It has some rounded-tipped “spikes” on its sole which one could feel as it is being used for the first time. However, after a few pounding on the ground, the feet would be used to the feeling and it would eventually disappear.

Relaxed and Having Some Fun!

From Km 6 up to the Finish Line, I gradually increased my pace within the 6:20 minutes to 6:50 minutes, average pace per kilometer. I barely took a glance on my GF 305 watch as I was running on how my body feels during the run. Basically, I was having fun and tried to be relaxed as much as possible. My first two swimming lessons had greatly contributed on my ability to run on a more relaxed manner! For the first time, I was surprised to experience the feeling of being relaxed throughout the run. No pressure, no competition, no whining, no “target” time to think of, no cursing on the lack of water cups on the Aid Stations and no “target/s” infront to overtake. The feeling was just like running as if I was alone in a trail and enjoying the views around!

Near The Finish Line

With such experience and relaxed running, I did not know that I was already approaching the Finish Line! Finally, I crossed the Finish Line with an official time of 2:20:50 hours. It could be my slowest Half-Marathon Race but the feeling of running relaxed and following/focusing my race plan was a great experience.

Another Finisher's Medal in Running

Thank you, RUNNEX, SMDC and Quezon City for a successful conduct of the 3rd QCIM Marathon.

Note: Thanks to LeStSky Runner and Pinoy Fitness for the Pictures they posted at Facebook!





The Running Sartorialist #2: @ LA “Rock & Roll” Half-Marathon

22 11 2011

Deena Kastor/Lady Champion





Lost

12 06 2010

June 12, 2010 112th Independence Day Celebration @ The Fort

My last road race in Metro Manila was the Century Tuna Half-Marathon on February 21, 2010 which was held at The Fort. However, I was able to finish a 50K Ultramarathon Road Race in Jeju Island, South Korea on March 27, 2010 and since then I stopped joining 10K, 15K and Half-Marathon Races. After the Jeju run, my running workouts were geared towards my preparation for the 34th MILO Marathon Elimination Race on July 4, 2010. As part of my training, I decided to join this Half-Marathon Race in order to break-in my running shoes (ASICS Gel-Tarther) and apparel (ASICS running shorts & singley) for the MILO Marathon. The cheap registration fee and my plan to test my race strategy for the next full marathon were also the reasons why I joined this race.

PID Half-Marathon Ads

I am a sucker for running events that celebrate historic events in our country plus its advocacy to end poverty ( the white “ONE” band that I am using on my right wrist is the world’s symbol for the advocacy to “make poverty a history”) which I am trying to adhere to with the small contributions I’ve been doing through my projects like “Donate A Shoe”; “Donate A Shirt”; and my Elite Team Bald Runner. In short, I just wanted a simple road race to assess my training and at the same time celebrate a historic event for the country.

But from the Start of the Race, it showed some signs of “dangers” to come! All the runners (21K, 15K, 10K, & 5K) were mixed together in the coral which means that all the runners shall start at the same time. And it happened. Some group of runners started the race ahead without any command or the sound of a starting gun. Although the race started a few minutes late (5:36 AM), the rest of the runners just simply started running from the starting line without even hearing a countdown from the Emcee!

Team BR-Professionals BR's Friends Before The Race Start

Most of the Runners Had Crossed The Starting Line Before The Race Started

From the start, I was able to maintain my pace within the 5:15-5:40 minutes per kilometer average pace except at Km 3 & 4 where I was able to register a pace of 4:45 mpk. The race strategy was to be able to finish the first 10K in 55 minutes and slowly picking up the pace on the last 10K of the race and be able to finish the race in slightly above 1:45 hours. However, when I and the other 21K runners reached the 15K mark, we were lost! We tried to ask for assistance from the route marshal but they could not give us the correct directions. There were ignorant of the race route. They just simply told us to proceed to where the runners were going!

That was it! The runners were lost. I was lost, too! I was already out of focus and just simply wanted to finish the race! My companion and I went around the “bigger loop” at The Fort for two times before reaching the Finish Line. My GF 305 registered a distance of 18.2 kilometers!

Lost & Frustrated As I Reached The Finish Line

I got my Finisher’s Medal but I was not proud to wear it. After I changed my wet running apparel, I went nearer to the event stage to find out who is the Race Organizer/Director. I was not surprised to hear from the Emcee that the Race Organizer/Director was Mr Franco Atienza…again? Well, the “usual suspect” is confirmed to be responsible with “fucked-up” race routes in the past road races and the traces of lack of water cups and short length of water aid stations for a thousands of runners were still there despite the complaints from participating runners.

My GF 305 registered a time of 1:35:18 for the distance of 18.2K. It is not a fast time/PR but I know I can be faster if I did not relax and slowed my pace after I was lost. My running shoes and apparel were great and they passed the test. I am confident that they will help me in another successful marathon finish on July 4th.

TV Series "LOST" (Photo from Wikipedia)

Race Organizers/Directors who do not learn from their past mistakes and “lapses” should get LOST from conducting races that honor “heroes & patriots” of our country. This road race was supposed to be a “Gathering Of Patriots” not a “gathering of LOST runners”!!!





“Half-Naked” @ Century Tuna 21K Run

21 02 2010

The race started 12 minutes ahead of schedule and I liked it. I checked-in very early at the starting line thinking that I could meet some friends as I stayed at the middle portion of the runners. A number of runners greeted me and after a few seconds before the starting gun was fired, I moved at the front area talking to some of the elite runners.

At The Starting Area With My Singlet

As soon as the gun was fired, I removed my singlet and threw it to my staff at the sidelines and started my GF 305 as I passed the lined up carpet for the RFID Champion Chip tied on my right shoe lace. From the starting line, I was running “half-naked”. I started too quick so that I could not be bothered with the rest of the runners. Immediately, I was able to maintain an ample space where I could run at my pace without being crowded by other runners. It was still too dark that I could not identify the faces of those runners who would pass me and those who are on my sides.

"Half-Naked" Running @ Century Tuna 21K Run

At the first 5 kilometers, I could sense that I was running faster than 5:00 mins per km and tried to slow down to preserve my strength for the second half of the race. I tried to maintain my pace at 5:00 to 5:15 mpk but my pace would reach up to 5:30 mpk when I ran uphill and during my brief run at the Heritage Park. 

At Halfway, I was joined by Jonel & Junrox but Jonel went ahead of us as he increased his pace at Lawton Avenue. While inside the Heritage Park, Natz joined us up to near the Finish Line. The picture above was taken by one of the takbo.ph peeps. Thanks for the picture.

I started and finished the half-marathon race “half-naked” as what I promised to do in my previous post. Nobody cautioned me. Nobody from the road marshals tried to stop me. But I received a lot of cheers from bystanders and audience once I entered the Heritage Park. I also received favorable comments from my runner-friends as I met them along the route. Maybe it’s because I am totally different from the others or maybe, I looked “funny” as an old bald man running “half-naked”! hahaha! Other runners would ask me if I am the father of Derek Ramsey! Yes, you are right, dude! hehehe!

At The Finish Line

A Runner of takbo.ph accompanied me "half-naked" 200 meters from the Finish Line

 I finished the race in 1:47:51 hours (unofficial time) based from my GF 305. My average pace was 5:06 mpk and the distance registered at 21.1 kilometers. My finish time is a big improvement from my Cebu City Half-Marathon by almost 10 minutes.

This race gave me so much confidence that I am back in road racing again after my injury last November 2009. Basing from the result of this race, I could already train for my next full marathon and try to qualify for the 2010 MILO National Marathon Finals. The previous Condura Marathon last February 7 was considered as a long run without so much speed-endurance and it prepared me for my “adventure run” from Manila to Baguio City. The objective in the MILO Marathon Eliminations is to be able to finish the race in 3:45 hours!

On the winners of the different races, the Elite Team Bald Runner did not win any place in the top 3 runners of the 21K Race. The race was won by Ed “Vertek” Buenavista and two Kenyan runners were ranked 2nd & 3rd Place. In the 10K Race, Alquin Bolivar & Frank Indapan of Team BR won 2nd & 3rd Place, respectively. In the 5K Race, Gerald Sabal & Jujet De Asis of Team BR won 1st & 2nd Place. In the ladies category, Cora Salcedo of Team BR won 3rd Place in the 3K Race.





Grab Your Pictures @ NB Power Run!

29 11 2009

21 K Start

21K Runners

Jollibee @ NB Power Race

Coach Rey Antoque @ 10K Finish

Coach Rio @ 10K

Anna Vargas (Tm BR), 2nd Place Women, 10K

Capt Amado aka Reinier6666

El Kyoshi

Bobbit Manzano

Junrox aka Tigerboy

George aka The Talkative Runner

Jonel aka Bugobugo85

Michelle Estuar

Jerry Karundeng aka High Altitude

Nolan Llanora

Luis aka Gingerbread

Jael Wency

Rayabe

Sam aka The Running Ninja

Margaret Jade

Ms Jaymie aka The Bull Runner

Jaymie aka The Bull Runner

Bobby Go

Dingdong

Ysmael

Col Oscar Lopez, PA

Jonas

Jayson

Neville Manaois of Pinoy Ultra Runners





i was “haile” during the rotarun but…

22 09 2009

ROTARun 21K @ McKinley Hill/ 5:30 AM 20 September 2009

Last Friday, I found out that the Berlin Marathon will be staged on the day that ROTARun will be held. What is significant about the Berlin Marathon is that this is where Haile Gebrselaisse broke the world’s record finish time in a Marathon Race in 2:03:59 hours last year. It is expected that he is going to improve his record in this race. This is also the first Marathon Race for the World’s Marathon Majors (Berlin, London, Chicago, New York, & Boston) for the year 2009-2010.

For my apparel for this race, I prepared my Red Adidas Running Shorts and my first time to use an Adidas Running Shoes since I started running and combined/matched it with the nice dark-blue ROTARun singlet that goes with the cheap registration fee of P 200.00. I was thinking that I could run well in this race after doing much of my tempo runs at the ULTRA Oval Track and hill training runs in Antipolo for the past days since the Eco Dash 21K Run. I was doing “double” runs (morning & evening runs) in preparation for this race to build-up more endurance and strength to my legs in anticipation to the dreaded uphill climbs at McKinley Hill.

My First Adidas Running Shoes (Ozweego)

My First Adidas Running Shoes (Ozweego)

One of the Few Singlets I Used in a Road Race

One of the Few Singlets I Used in a Road Race

In my meetings prior to the race with my Elite Team Bald Runner, I’ve always emphasized to them to study the route of the race and position our support staff on areas where assistance would be needed by the runners. The race strategy was to attack the hills and run faster on the downhill and plain areas. However, I was already apprehensive on the distance of the said route. I was thinking that the distance might not reach the desired 21K. The other thing that bothered on my mind was the expected traffic of runners for the lesser-distance events, which I call “side-events”, along the route as the 21K runners would run along the Lawton Avenue. I was thinking that Lawton Avenue will be filled again with the 10K & 15K runners as the 21K runners will be running towars the last 1-2 kilometers to the finish line. The last thing that bothered me was the length of the water stations to be fielded along the route.

I was not supposed to be bothered with the exact distance of the race, the length of water stations, and the traffic of runners along the route but being a runner, race organizer and director, I could see that there was something wrong as weeks before the conduct of the said race, the original race/event organizer withdrew (?) from the said event and the takbo.ph people led by Jinoe aka Manokan Express came to the rescue with Ian Alacar, a runner-friend, as the Race Director. With Ian Alacar at the helm of the event and the technical support of the PATAFA people, I was confident that this race will be a success. More updates about the race were posted at takbo.ph in order to guide the runners about parking areas and the final schedule of races and warning for runners to arrive in the assembly area earlier before the race starts.

My team and I arrived at the McKinley Hill area at 4:50 AM but there was a long line of vehicles entering the multi-level parking building as most of the free parking slots had been taken by other vehicles and the other streets were restricted for parking by other vehicles. It appeared that all the vehicles were forced and led to the said building to pay a parking fee! I directed my staff not to proceed to the parking area and instead look for a space for temporary parking near the assembly area and later transfer to the Bayani Road area once the 21K runners had left the Starting Area.

I had to immediately leave my staff after my race bib was pinned on my race singlet and proceeded to the starting area. After a brief warm-up jog and stretching exercises, I immediately positioned myself behind my elite team runners as the Program before the race started was going on. I noticed that I forgot my Oakley glasses in the car but I was glad I was able to instruct my staff/photographer to have it given to me at the Bayani Road. As I was shaking my legs and my arms to prepare for the start of the race, the starting gun went off and I went with the flow of the lead pack, trying to maintain a slower pace before slowly increasing it up to my race pace.

I was smiling while I was running my first kilometer because most of the runners were sprinting and passing on my sides. At the uphill portion going to the British Embassy, these “sprinters” started to slow down and I was still smiling as I passed them one by one. My mind was fixed on “attacking the hills” and trying to get faster on the downhill and plain areas. Most of the runners tried to keep up with my pace on the uphill portion from the McDonalds up to Lawton Avenue but I left them for good and slowly made my pace faster. I was prepared to run an average pace of 4:45 up to 4:55 mins per km, a slightly faster pace than the Eco Dash 21K pace of 5:00 mins per km, for this race as I knew this course as a fast one due to my familiarity of the route.

At Bayani Road With My "Pacers"

At Bayani Road With My "Pacers"

While I was running along the Lawton Avenue as I proceeded towards Gate 3 (Philippine Marines Area), all I knew was that I was running with a registered runner in the person of Major Eddie Radaza of the Philippine Army who is also a fast & competitive runner but in the end, he was my Pacer during the run. Aside from a constant sound of coughing on my back from another runner, I thought I was with only two runners—Major Radaza on my side and the “coughing” runner on my back! However, after I saw the pictures of me taken during the run, I was surprised to see that I was surrounded with 4-5 runners with no other runner/s trailing on our backs! I said, this is the same scenario that I saw last Sunday afternoon when I saw the LIVE Internet Telecast of the 2009 Berlin Marathon with Haile being surrounded with his Pacers from Km 1 to Km 30+, I felt like I was really “The Haile” being surrounded by Pacers and trying to break my PR for the 21K race! However, in the end, it turned out the other way around…I was their Pacer!

On My Way Back at Bayani Road With My "Pacers"

On My Way Back at Bayani Road With My "Pacers"

As I checked my GF 305 regularly, I would reached an average pace of 4:35 mpk and my slowest would be 5:12 mpk. Along Lawton Avenue, I maintained a pace of 4:38 mpk to 4:45 mpk and I was confident that I could improve my time for the 21K run. Running along Bayani Road and inside the Heritage Park was uneventful as I tried to increase my pace and give cheers to other runner-friends whom I met along the course. I really did not mind if I did not see any kilometer markings along the route as I was focused on maintaining my average pace.

As I was about to reach the crossing of Bayani Road and the new Gate 3 of Ft Bonifacio at the vicinity of St Michael’s Chapel, I glanced at my GF 305 and it registered a time of 1: 14+ minutes and I was surprised to see also that the distance I’ve covered was only 15+ kilometers. At this point, I knew already that the distance was short by so many kilometers and not meters! I really don’t know but I slowed down at this point even if I was already on the level/plain portion of Bayani Road going back to Lawton Avenue. My GF 305 registered my slowest average pace at 5:15 mpk at this point! But with the presence of my Pacers, I tried to increase the pace until we reached Lawton Avenue. As predicted, I had to weave around the slower 10K & 15K runners who filled almost the reserve lane for the runners as I ran along Lawton Avenue towards to the Finish Line. From here, everything was “cruise control” until we reached the entry to McKinley Hill where I dashed downhill and then towards the Finish Line.

My last 2 kilometers of the race was like Haile running his last 5 kilometers in the Berlin Marathon when he was running alone without his Pacers and his feeling that he could not break his world record after he realized that he was running too fast up to Km 30 where he broke the record by 11 seconds. Haile won the 2009 Berlin Marathon in 2:06:08 hours and his fourth straight win in a row. He won 50,000 Euros being the Champion and another 30,000 Euros for the time bonus for breaking the 30K World Record Time. I did not win any prize for the ROTARun but I felt I was “Haile” wearing his brand-sponsor Adidas (shorts & running shoes); aided by Pacers; and was trying to break my record PR for the 21K race…but…

My GF 305 registered a finish time of 1:27:58 hours with a distance of 17.85 kilometers. An average pace of 4:55 mpk, faster than my average pace of 5:00 mpk in the Eco Dash 21K, could have produced a better finish time for me for the distance. The course was short by 3K+ and I consider this as a “Mortal Sin” in road racing. I knew I could improve my average pace down to 4:45 mpk if only the race distance was accurate and I was sure of this because I was still strong after I reached the Finish Line! My speed & tempo runs as my preparations for this race were put to waste as I really prepared for this race.

Well, aside from the short distance of the race as compared to what had been published, I have the following observations:

1) The Water Aid Station tables were still short in length—I was amazed with how long was the length of each of the Water Station seen during the Berlin Marathon last Sunday afternoon.

2) Long Period of Time to Award The Winners—I think it does not take so much time to get the results of the Top 10 runners in each Distance Race. I had to wait until the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner had been awarded and it took us up to almost 10:00 AM to leave the place. This is one of the reasons why I hate “side events” in a Road Race. If a race calls for a Marathon Race (42K), then don’t add a Half-Marathon, 15K, 10K, 5K or 3K in the same Race Event with the same route. Due to traffic of runners and the use of more water consumption, the awarding of winners will be longer also! Personally, I don’t mind if this is the decision of the Sponsors or the Race Event Manager and Race Organizer but as for me, this is a sign of “maximizing” the number of runners which is being translated to being “greedy” for more proceeds from the race and from the running community.

3) Nice Singlet & Cheap Registration Fees—I like the singlet that goes with the cheap registration fee of P 200.00. This is one of the few road races that I chose to wear the singlet that goes free with the registration fee. Surprisingly, the singlet did not give me any “chafing” problems on my upper arms, armpits, and nipples. I know the Race Organizer had to seek for Sponsors and Friends to finance the other needs for the race. As per experience as Race Organizer, the registration fee was enough to pay for the singlet and race bib and other minimal incidental expenses. The payment for the PR group, technical support (timer/clock & operators), marshals, support staff, permits, and medical support were not covered from the registration fees paid by the runners. I believe that the payment of such services had been shouldered by the members of the Rotary and their Sponsor-friends. What is important here was that the Race Organizers tried their best to pursue this event despite their limited time of “fine-tuning” the basics in road racing.

4) Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse—Would you believe that for a small and limited races like the BDM 102 and the 1st MASTERS 15K Run, I have to subject myself to actually measure the route of the race by conducting “test runs” and rehearsals with my staff on the conduct of the race, weeks and days before D-Day? Personal meetings/conferences, exchange of e-mails & SMS, and telephone calls are not enough to produce a perfect race. You need to bring all the people involved in a “walk-through” along the course and rehearsing what they are supposed to do during D-Day. It is easy to say and answer, “Yes” or “I’ll/We’ll Do It” or “I’ll inform him” or “I’ll Take Care Of It” or other words of assurance but what is important is to see how your staff and volunteers do their jobs during rehearsals. Proper rehearsals and repetitive actions of what to do will make an event to “near” Perfection.

5) Awards, Prizes, and “Freebies”—My Elite Team appreciates the prompt awarding of Awards and Cash Prizes during the Awarding Ceremony. At least, the winners were not made to wait for another day or report to the office of the Sponsors to claim their Prizes. I really appreciate the Finisher’s Medal given to all the 21K finishers.

6) Thieves, Again?—I have read a post of one of the runner-bloggers about incidents of theft on vehicles parked as the race was going-on. It really pisses me off to hear such incidents in road races. Despite the presence of security guards and policemen in paid-parking areas, there are still cases of thefts being reported. With this incident, I think the deployment of more security personnel to guard our parked cars will not completely solve this problem because we know and have proven that the thieves are also runners like us! So, let’s go back again why I hate “side-events” in road racing. These thieves pose as runners in the lesser distance events like 3K or 5K and after they finished their event/s they proceed to the parking areas as legit runners and then “target” the cars of the runners still running on the road. So, it is up for the Race Organizer to weigh the consequences of his race— more “side-events” with more “profit” but with bad reputation or no “side-events” with “break-even” or less profit but with good reputation.

7) Contingency Plan—Just like us as runners who have race strategy and contingency plans to survive up to the finish line and meet our objective for the road race, the Race Organizer/Race Director must have also a contingency plan in order to adjust to any problem or eventuality that arises on race day. Ian Alacar and Doc Lyndon of takbo.ph approached me during the time when the Awards were given to the Winners and they explained to me what went wrong few hours before the race started. They found out that the Heritage Park authorities did not allow them to use some of the roads which were intended for the race course, thereby resulting in the lack of distance of more than 3 kilometers. I did not understand the reason why the Heritage people would not allow the race to extend further to their farthest roads since in the past road races held inside the Park, runners would be allowed to run in these areas. The contingency plan should had been to extend the road race up to NAIA 3 Airport/ Camp Villamor even if the runners would fight it out with the traffic of vehicles outside the Camp. I think the road from Lawton Avenue to NAIA 3 Airport does not need any permit for the Race Organizer to extend the race along this road. Or maybe, let the runners run two loops along Bayani Road before proceeding to the Finish Line.

Lastly, I still salute and commend Jinoe; Doc Lyndon & takpo.ph members and Ian Alacar for having the courage to accept the responsibility of conducting this race despite their limited time to adjust to some problems & concerns on the conduct of the race after the original Race Organizer left the said Project. I suggest that in your next project(s), feel free to send SMS, call, e-mail or invite me in your planning/”brainstorming” sessions and “test runs”/rehearsals so that I can input some of my suggestions. Don’t worry, my services is FREE!

To The Race Organizers, Good luck and Best Wishes on your future races!

P.S. Don’t forget to get your license and register your group with the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) as Race/Event Organizer.





Race Report: 2009 Condura Half-Marathon

22 03 2009

5:28 AM 22 March 2009 @ The Fort & Skyway

This is the most anticipated race of the year and the race organizers warned all the runners to arrive early at the assembly area on race day because of the heavy traffic brought about by the record number of registered runners. I had to go to bed early last night and I was soundly sleeping at 8:00 PM. I woke up at 3:45 AM and did my “drill of preparation” and I was out from my place before 4:30 AM. After a few minutes, I was already at The Fort and immediately did my warm-up jog until I was about to perspire, had my stretching exercises while greeting other people/runners who would pass by. I was surprised to see Patrick Concepcion aka The Running Shield, the Race Organizer doing also his jogging on the same place where I was having my stretching. We had a short conversation and personally congratulated him for a very successful race because of the positive response from the runners. I found out that the total number of runners reached up to 6,500+ with 1,200+ runners joining the half-marathon race. It was nice talking to him after so many months that I haven’t seen him in road races, however, we are always in contact with regular exchanges of SMS on matters pertaining about running.

I met George aka Fuerza Armada of NAMRIA and he was proud to introduce a dozen of runners who came all the way from Vigan, Ilocos Sur to participate in the said run. I introduced these runners to Patrick and he was happy and surprised that runners who came from a place which is 400 kilometers north of Metro Manila would join his run and support its noble cause. I wonder how many more of these runners who came all the way from Visayas and Mindanao. This is a gauge and indication of the present popularity of long distance running in the country. I am happy, too, because all of these runners admitted that they are regular readers and visitors of this blog. I am flattered when the runners I met along the way would call me “Idol”.

Five minutes before the start of the race, I entered the 21K corral and it was “jampacked” with a lot of runners that I tried to inch my way to the front of the runners. This is where I met the Hardcore Group & Team Bald Runner-Professional Group. It was nice to see Philip aka Foreign Runner (where have you been?), Jerry Karundeng aka High Altitude (with his luminous green shirt), Jonel aka Bugobugo85 (the “wingman”), Arman aka Pinoy Mafiosi, Mari of PLDT, Mark & Charlie, Jay Lee aka Fashion Guru, the Power Runners, and the Bataan 102 Warriors led by Atty Jeffrey Abenina & Jun Lapira aka David Goggins. I was in the company of Hardcore & Crazy Runners at the Starting Area and I consider them as the “coolest & most relaxed” runners before the start of a race.

In the true tradition of Rudy Biscocho’s road races, the race started not on time but it started two minutes before the announced start of the race. After the playing of the National Anthem & delivery of messages from the Race Organizers and Race Director, the race started without funfare and I was in the company of Jonel as we tried to look for our space on the first kilometer of the race.

Staying at the front of the corral before the starting gun is fired is a nice part of tactics in races because you can maintain your running space and average pace immediately. I conditioned myself to be slow on the first kilometer. From the starting area, the runners go all the way to Serendra and turned right at the 26th Avenue towards the old McDonalds. Before reaching the One McKinley Place Building, I was already about to have finished the first kilometer. The first kilometer was very slow but I was able to pass/overtake some of the runners.

Km #1 Split Time—5:16 minutes

I knew I was too slow on the first kilometer after looking at my watch. I wanted at least to have a pace not to exceed the 5:00-minute pace for the said race. I started to increase my pace as I passed the old McDonald and all the way to the Jollibee. Jonel and I were able to overtake more runners. As we got nearer to the Jollibee, we were able to catch up with Philip aka Foreign Runner. We were surprised to see Philip with an slower pace as he was our top runner during our speed training sessions three months ago. He is telling the truth afterall that he does have any training/running workouts for the past months. As we reached the area fronting the Shell Gasoline Station and about to enter the Kalayaan Flyover, we are ending the 2nd kilometer mark.

Km #2 Split Time—4:42 minutes

The uphill climb at the Kalayaan Flyover made me shift to my faster stride frequency with shorter stride length and lighter with my footstrike. At this time, the route was already wide for the runners and we are in the company with more of the Bataan 102 Boys. The rolling terrain of the Kalayaan Flyover made us run faster as the downhill part would force us to lengthen our strides. Before going down towards Buendia Blvd, we were able to complete 3 kilometers of the race.

Km #3 Split Time—4:42 minutes

As we reached Buendia, we maintained our pace but some of the runners would overtake us. We would make them as our “targets” to overtake along the way and just waiting for them to show signs of slowing down before we take the necessary action and increase our pace. I always remind Jonel of our average pace by shouting the time with the thought that I should not slow down and breach the 5:00-minute pace. As we reached the crossing of Buendia and Makati Avenue, it marked the end of Kilometer #4.

Km #4 Split Time—4:42 minutes

At this time, I became observant along the way. I was trying to recall if I have seen any Kilometer Markings along the side of the road from the time I left the Starting Area. I knew, the 10K turnaround is about to be reached after running for almost 20 minutes. While looking around for markers, I continouosly looked at my watch and tell to everybody the average pace. Suddenly, we reached the 10K turnaround and it signified that we were able to run a distance of 5 Kilometers. We were approaching RCBC Plaza at this point.

Km #5 Split Time—4:40 minutes

At the RCBC Plaza, I knew we are about to reach the Ayala Avenue Crossing and the slight downhill along Buendia had ended.  After passing the crossing, this part of Buendia was already flat and it was just a matter of time before we reached the entrance to the Skyway. The runners were directed by the Road Marshal to shift to the left side of Buendia after running for some time on the right side of the road. This was a warning to us that we are getting nearer to the Osmena Avenue/South Expressway and before turning left towards the approach towards the Skyway. 500 meters from the Railroad tracks marked the end of Kilometer 6.

Km #6 Split Time—4:36 minutes

After running for about 500 meters, we were led to a small street that would avoid us from running the elevated railroad tracks and we turned left. As we turned left, we could see the approach of the Skyway, which is the left side. I tried to increase my pace and prepared myself for the rolling terrain of the Skyway. After running for about 200 meters, I was running along the approach of the Skyway. It was a nice sight to see the straight direction of the Skyway. But it was a challenge to see a higher elevation along the route. The first 300 meters of the Skyway marked the end of Kilometer 7.

Km #7 Split Time—4:35 minutes

Running along the Skyway was an unforgettable experience being my first time to see it as I never used this elevated highway since it was contructed in the early 90’s. I concentrated looking at the runners far ahead of us and it was too wide for the 1,200 runners who participated in the half-marathon. There was that portion that went uphill and I thought it slowed me down. Water stations were abundant along the Skyway and the people manning them were helpful in extending their hands with the water cups to the passing runners. I was still at the Skyway at the end of Kilometer 8.

Km #8 Split Time—4:57 minutes

As I got nearer to the highest point of the Skyway, I knew I was getting slower. I tried to be light on my footstrike and saw to it that I would drink water in every water station. The end of Kilometer 9 would end at the point on top of the Magallanes Interchange/Flyover. This was the highest point of the Skyway. Jonel started to increase his pace and left me after the water station at the peak of the route.

Km #9 Split Time—5:02 minutes

At this point, the lead runners would be on their way back to where we entered the Skyway. Except for Eduardo “Vertek” Buenavista, the other 3 runners at the lead pack were members of the Elite Team Bald Runner. I had to cheer them as they met me along the way. I tried to increase my pace by lifting my knees some more from the ground as I had my sight at the turnaround point.

Km #10 Split Time—4:47 minutes

I took my GU Roctane at this point and drank water from the bottled wated stucked on my back with my compression shorts. I was the only one at the turnaround point and immediately got my string. As I was going back to Buendia, I would see the runners who were on my back and about to reach the turnaround point. This was where I started to hear shouts of “Bald Runner”, “BR”, “General”, “Sir Jovie” and “Mr Bald Runner” from the runners at my left side. Of course, I had to acknowledge these people by shouting something that would encourage them and sometimes, mentioning their names and giving them “high five” as I extend my hand to them. Guys, thanks for those greetings! I can not afford to be a “snub” to everybody. It was okey if I got slower by half of a second by doing all of these things! It was part of having fun running along the Skyway!

Km #11 Split Time—4:48 minutes

At Kilometer 12, I was still at the Skyway. More people would greet me from the incoming runners.

Km #12 Split Time—4:53 minutes

At Kilometer 13, I was still at the Skyway but the runners on the left side of the road were the slower ones already. I was going downhill and I knew I was going faster.

Km #13 Split Time—4:42 minutes

I tried to maintain my average pace as I have overtaken more of the runners while I was at the Skyway.

Km #14 Split Time—4:43 minutes

In about 500 meters, I knew I was about to end my first and only experience to run along the Skyway and I was back running along Buendia Avenue.

Km #15 Split Time—4:56 minutes

I tried to increase my average pace but fatigue was starting to creep to my legs but I knew I can still manage to maintain my pace towards the finish line. At this point, I could see more runners who were starting to walk and I encouraged them to jog all the way to the finish line.

Km #16 Split Time—4:51 minutes

Crossing the Ayala Avenue along Buendia was the start of a slight uphill and I knew my average pace will become slower. I tried to maintain my pace and at least, make my pace faster but the uphill climb was really a challenge. After passing the Makati Avenue marked the end of Kilometer 17.

Km #17 Split Time—5:02 minutes

The last uphill climb was the Kalayaan Flyover and I was in the company of the slower runners in the 10K race. I had to pass these runners and tried to run faster and avoided the crowd but the steep flyover would slow me down some more. Halfway along the Kalayaan Flyover marked the end of Kilometer 18.

Km #18 Split time—5:23 minutes

I tried to increase my pace as I passed the 10K runners who were still at the Kalayaan Flyover. It was already downhill towards the end of the Flyover and I could see the Shell Gasoline Station. Upon reaching the Shell Station, it marked the end of Kilometer 19.

Km #19 Split Time—4:55 minutes

It was a matter of time before reaching the Finish Line and I was confident that I would be able to improve my time from my past Half-Marathon Race at the Patakbo Sa Kabundukan last December. As I reached 26th Avenue, I knew it was an slight uphill climb towards Serendra. I knew I was feeling fatigued and I could already feel the effects of the sun. I had my last drink of water and tried to increase my pace at the end of Kilometer 20.

Km #20 Split Time—5:22 minutes

Near the Finish Line

Near the Finish Line

Trying to Squeeze With the Lesser Distance Runners

Trying to Squeeze With the Lesser Distance Runners

At this point, my time was at 1:38+ hours and I just cruised along knowing that I could break my last Half-Marathon time. The road marshals kept on signalling the 21K runners to enter the lane where the 10K runners were crowded but I insisted on running on the left lane. It brought a little disturbance and distraction to the faster runners along the 26th Avenue when the 21K runners were trying to compete for space on the said lane. It was a nice sight to see the digital clock at the Finish Line with the readings of 1:42+ hours as I got nearer to it.

Km #21 Split Time—4:58 minutes

I finally finished the Half-Marathon race, according to my GF 305, in 1:43:08 hours with an average pace of 4:53 minutes per kilometer. Not bad. I improved my time from my previous Half-Marathon time in the 2008 Patakbo Sa Kabundukan by 2:32 minutes. I might not be able to attain the average speed of 4:48 mins per kilometer as a result of my speed training but I am still satisfied with my time despite my preparations for the Bataan 102K.

The conduct of the race was outstanding and I consider this race as the biggest race so far for the past two years since running became a popular sports in the country. This is a proof that we are in the 2nd “boom” of running popularity in the country since in the late ’70s. Congratulations to Condura/Patrick & Ton Concepcion for their “vision” in promoting road races in the country. The efficiency and experience of Mr Rudy Biscocho as the Race Director was also contributory for the success of the race.

Overall Rating of the Race—98%

The Members of AGTARAY Running Club of Vigan, Ilocos Sur

The Members of AGTARAY Running Club of Vigan, Ilocos Sur

BR with Patrick Concepcion & Wife

BR with Patrick Concepcion & Wife

I was able to meet more runners as I delayed my departure from my parking area. The Bataan 102 “Warriors” would like to get their race packets from me & my staff after the Condura Run and I waited for them as they had another 7-8 kilometers of extended running workout. More people and runners would have their pictures taken and I was surprised that Patrick came back for some photo-ops with his wife. I took this opportunity to personally congratulate him for raising the “standards” in road racing in the country.

The Condura Run was something for the “books” of running in the country because of its unique route and the efficiency & experience of the Race Director and its staff. The 2009 Condura Run, so far, is the Best!  As for theparticipants, whether you are a fun runner or competitive one, congratulations to those who finished their respective race and to those who have attained their PRs in this road race!








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