Time had changed. Before, when I was a Commander of a Philippine Army in the field/combat areas, a reporter or a writer would meet me and conduct a personal interview about the present situation in my area of operation. The reporter would ask a lot of questions and “figure out” from your gestures, eye contact, and body language if you are sincere and truthful in your answers and reactions. Sometimes, after my initial personal meeting (“face to face”) with reporters, a simple telephone call and/or “long” SMS messages are enough to satisfy the requirements of the said reporter for his/her succeeding reports or stories.
Now, the process of getting an informaton is so very fast that you don’t need to meet a reporter or a writer in person. By simply receiving a SMS from one of the runner-bloggers that a reporter would be contacting me for an interview, I immediately followed the request without personally meeting the writer. I was surprised to know that I had to simply answer the questions the reporter had sent through my e-mail address and send my answers back to her through her e-mail address! No personal meetings but the purpose is satisfied and complied with.
I still wish that I should had met the reporter, “face to face”.
Anyway, to give justice to a “writing exercise” which I made for almost one day, I am going to post my answers to the questions sent to me (weeks ago!). This is a very long post and you have up to this weekend to read it. See you on this Sunday’s 42K “runabout”.
Note: Some of my answers to the following questions are my personal observations and opinion.
The following are my answers to your questions. I hope you will not be bored with my long answers as I want to be clear and understood without more clarifications from you.
I just wish from your end to emphasize and inform the public about the Team Bald Runner as my contribution towards the improvement of Athletics ( most especially in middle and long distance running events) in the country and hopefully, produce Olympic qualifiers in the future. This program/project was patterned after the Brooks-Hanson Distance Project; Project NIKE Oregon; Team Running USA; McMillan’s Marathon Performance of the USA and the Group Training of Kenyan & Ethopian Distance Runners. I just hope and pray that such awareness to the public about this Team would end up on the doorsteps and executive desks of Owners, Presidents and CEOs of big corporations and private institutions willing to provide sponsorship/financial support to the elite members of the team. It should be noted that the Elite Team Bald Runner members had been consistently winning in road races and endurance runs in Metro Manila & suburbs and in Cebu City since June 2008.
1) Why do you think running is becoming popular again in the Philippines?
Road racing had never left or stopped in the country and running had been active in the country through the different running clubs, through annual corporate sponsorships like Adidas, Yakult, MILO, and AFP-DND sponsored road races for the past years. The RunCPI group which is a confederation of Running Clubs within Metro Manila to include the AFP & PNP running groups and clubs in the neighboring provinces had been conducting their regular road racing competitions for the past years on a regular frequency.
MILO eliminaton races entire the country and the yearly Pasig River Heritage Marathon and the MILO National Finals Marathon had greatly contributed in the increase of runners in the country.
Another reason for the resurgence of running in the country is the attention it is getting from the media. There are media outfits, like ABS-CBN and other radio staton networks, which had been consistently holding and sponsoring 10K and lesser distance races annually in order to prime up awareness to the public in the conservation or protection of the environment.
Lastly, the people are simply shifting themselves to be physically fit and active and find ways to “sweat it out” in order for them to be healthy and relieve the “stress” out from the fast-paced life in Metro Manila. It could also be the result of the proliferation of more modern “gyms” as members would like to reduce weight and have a better body form through running.
2) What is your favorite route in Manila?
Before I retired from the military service, the 2-mile run route at the Philippine Army Parade Ground & Grandstand and the rolling terrain of the Libingan ng mga Bayani had been my favorite routes as they were accessible from my office and from my quarters. However, after my retirement and with the development of The Fort area, the roads within The Fort had been my favorite route for my long endurance runs to include Lawton Avenue, Bayani Road, C-5/Heritage Park, and McKinley Hill. For my speed runs, I am a constant runner at the ULTRA Oval Track for my “speed” trainng.
3) How much/often do you run?
I almost run everyday. Sometimes, do “doubles” (running in the morning and evening on the same day) at least twice a week. As I am preparing for the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race this coming Aprl 5, 2009, I’ve increased my weekly kilometers covered to a maximum of 127 klometers. However, I have to maintain at least 90-110 klometers per week in order to prepare for the said ultramarathon event.
4) What are your top 3 tips for beginner runners?
a) First, invest with the right/proper running shoes. Buy shoes from running specialty stores as their attendants are runners/athletes. They should be able to determine if you have a neutral, low-arched, high-arched or flat feet as such each condtion has an approprate type/model for your feet.
b) Second, learn and understand the basic principles of training in distance running—develop endurance in order to strengthen the leg muscles and aerobic capability of the body as the foundation of running; consistency in traning means that it is only through running where your performance will improve; patience is the key to an injury-free running career as there is no “miracle pill” to make one a faster and stronger runner, thus, it takes a lot of time (at least, one year) before he/she develops speed in running.
c) “Listen To Your Body”—If a novice runner starts at the age of 40 years old, he/she should consult first his/her physician and find out if his body could withstand endurance sports like running. If allowed by the physician, he/she should be able to “listen to his.her body”. If the body feels something wrong while running like shortness in breathing, pain on the joints/knees and leg muscles or dizziness, stop jogging/running and shift to walking or find time to rest.
5) What is the best way to start?
The best way to start is to look for a running club near your place and become a member. A running club will guide a novice on what to do from training to participation in weekend road races. The experienced members would be willing to help in a novice runner’s training through their scheduled training sessions. (Note: Membership with Team Bald Runner is open to the public and details of schedule of training are posted at www.teambaldrunner.wordpress.com)
If not accessible to running clubs, get or buy old issues of Runner’s World Magazine or Running Times Magazine in “Booksale” Stores or buy books about running. The Internet offers a lot of sites on running to include blogs of runners.
Read my earlier posts in my blog, www.baldrunner.com about my training, Lydiard Way of Running, Brad Hudson’s Adaptive & Progressive Running and “Speed” training.
6) How are you involved in the running scene in the Philippines?
I’ve been a long distance runner since I was a cadet in the Philippine Military Academy but learned “improper” training from my upperclassmen. Became a top runner of the Philippine Army when I was already a First Lieutenant (during the early 80’s) after reading “old issues” of Runner’s World Magazines and books about running.
I’ve been a member of the DND-AFP Running Team in the 80s which had been representing the country in International Corporate Long Distance Competition in Palo Alto, California but I was never included for the trip abroad due to my assignment in the field/combat areas.
I had finished at least 13 Marathon Races from the Manila International Marathon, PAL Marathon, Pasig River Heritage Marathon, MILO Marathons to include the 1st Infantry Marathon in Fort Benning, Georgia in 1984 and the 2008 San Francisco Marathon last August. In the past marathons, I had a PR of 3:30+ hours and a best 10K time of 38+ minutes. Lately, I’ve finished at least two (2) ultra marathon runs.
I led the Philippine Army Team as the Battalion Commander in the 1999 Annual Battalion Run to regain the Championship from the Phil Air Force Team. The team run covered a distance of 8 kilometers with 330 Officers and Enlisted Personnel running in unison and in proper formation and alignment. In 2000, the Philippine Army lost to the Philippine Air Force but I was able to regain the Championship trophy as the Coach and Manager for the Phil Army Team on the following year (2001).
In 2006, as a Major General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, I was designated as the Project Director and Chairman of the DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap For Marathon. Such program/project was created then by the Secretary of National Defense after the 2000 Olympic Games where the AFP would be the source of the elusive “first” Gold Medal in the Olympic Games in the following specific sports events—Marathon, Shooting, Boxing and Tae-Kwando. After one year of the program, it was the Marathon Project that was able to sustain its survival. Through my leadership in this project/program in Marathon, we were able to conduct five (5) Half-Marathon Races in Metro Manila and opened the races to the public. As I retired from the service in May 2008, the project/program ceased to exist because of lack of support and the absence of a passionate runner to assume the leadership.
As the Commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, Philippine Army based in Camp Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz whose area of operation covers the islands of Panay, Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Island, Siquijor, Cebu and Bohol, I revived my training in running as I planned to run in the 2008 Pasig River Heritage Marathon. In March 2007, I started my blog as the Army Commander in Western Visayas and I “journalized” my Command’s activities from administrative to operational matters. This blog served as the source of information for reporters and media people on the “updates” of the Command as the Division Headquarters was not easily accessible to everybody. Jamindan, Capiz is 1 ½-hour drive from Roxas City and 3-hour drive from Iloilo City.
Having experienced the blog as a means to communicate through the Internet and after having browsed to The Bull Runner’s blog, I started my running blog in October 2007 as the Bald Runner and try to recall my past running experiences in the 80s and at the same time “journalize” my training for the 2008 Pasig River Heritage Marathon held in February of the same year. Aside from being a source of information on proper training in running, the blog evolved as a “means” to help others through the following programs/projects—Project Donate A Shoe; Project Donate A Shirt; “1,000-Km Club”, Charity Fund, Creation of Team Bald Runner, “Speed” Training, Corporate Running Clinic (Free), Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race, and soon, “Runabouts For Cause”
Project Donate A Shoe—After observing runners in road races with “old, tattered, worn-out, and dilapidated” running shoes, I started donating four (4) of my slightly “used” running shoes to the runners with such old shoes and came up with a post in my blog. A simple tarpaulin served as our “booth” where I accepted donations and at the same time a place where old shoes were changed with better running shoes. Donations and shoes given were fully documented with pictures and postings in my blog and as a gesture of thanks to the donors, I give them the “ONE” white wristband (from www.one.org) as a symbol that the donor supports the advocacy “to make poverty a history”. I order these wristbands from the USA. As of the latest updates, shoe donations are coming from running clubs in California, USA, a softball coach from the University of Pennsylvania, USA, running clubs in Nottingham & Nottinghamshire, England, members of Beta Sigma of the University of Sto. Tomas who are visiting doctors from the USA and from Corporate VIPs (like Fernando Zobel de Ayala who has the habit of removing his running shoes after the road race in our booth in two separate occassions), my running friends—DelQ, Ben Gaetos, & Carmela Layson from Los Angeles, California and other runner-bloggers in the USA and among the local runners in the country. The project had received almost 250 shoes and had distributed same number to the less-fortunate runners.
Project Donate A Shirt—I started donating my collection of race finisher’s t-shirts since the 80’s & 90’s to the families of two (2) Gawad Kalinga communites in Laoag City and since then I received almost 100 finisher’s t-shirts from runners abroad and from runner-bloggers in the country.
“1,000-Km Club”—It is a motivational tool for each runner to attain the goal of running 1,000 kilometers without prescribed duration and depending on their level of training or preparation for a road race or marathon. For every increment of accomplishing a distance of 100 kilometers, the runner would reward himsel/herself with anything. It could be a runner’s cap or anything that is needed for running. Once he/she completes 1,000 kilometers, it’s time to reward himself/herself with a new running shoes and I suggest for the runner to donate his/her “used” shoes to my Project Donate A Shoe. In addition, I award a “1,000-Km Club” Finisher’s T-Shirt to the runner.
Charity Fund—For every kilometer that I run, I put in 50 pesos for this fund which had supported various causes like the Kythe Foundation, Support to Elite Athletes, ABS-CBN Foundation’s Sagip Kapamilya, and other cause-oriented fund-raising activities.
Team Bald Runner—I organized an Elite Team for Long Distance Running since June 2008 as a “pool” for future National Athletes and ultimately, qualify for the Olympic Games. The members are trained by two (2) IAAF Level 4 Coaches who are adopting the latest and modern training method for distance runners. Part of my retirement pension is being used to support the training of this elite team to include their accommodation in Metro Manila and registration fees to road races. However, I opened it to the public by conducting “free” speed running clinics to interested runners since December 2008. By January 2009, I formalized the opening of membership from novice and competitve runners to the team and created a blog as its official site (www.teambaldrunner.wordpress.com).
Corporate Running Clinics—Team Bald Runner and its Coaches offer a free lecture and practical exercises and demonstration on proper training in running, initially, in corporate offices and later to the local government level and schools. Its advocacy is to provide awareness to everybody on the benefits of running and encourage more people to run or engage in a physical actvity. This program started this month and had successfully conducted its first clinic with the Reinier Pacific International Shipping, Inc staff & employees. The 2nd clinic is scheduled to be conducted with a banking corporate institution on the 1st week of February. Other government-affiliated offices have also signified their intentions to invite the team for their respective running clubs’ members.
“Speed” Training With Elite Team Bald Runner’s Coaches—I introduced this program on the 1st week of December 2008 to the public and its training sessions are done at the ULTRA Oval Track on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 5:30PM-9:00PM and Saturdays at 6:00AM-8:00AM. Testimonies from students resulted to 100% improvements on their finish times on their latest road races.
1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race—One of Bald Runner’s advocacy is to promote ultramarathon races that commemorate or pay tribute to historical events in the country. This race will also raise funds to support the needs of the remaining survivors of the Bataan Death March and contribute also to the maintainance of the kilometer markings along the route. It also a bold effort to discover, train and develop ultramarathon runners of the country that would represent the country as an anticipation for the inclusion of the 100-Km Ultramarathon as one of the Sports Events in the coming 2012 London Olympics.
“Runabouts For Cause”—I will be announcing in my blog an invitation for a “42K Runabout In Metro Manila” to raise funds for the ABS-CBN Foundation’s Sagip Kalikasan for Pasig River. This run will serve as one of the “qualifying runs” for a participant to be included in the final list of runners for the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race (www.bataan102.com)
7) Favorite local races/ Why?
Any road race race organized by RACE, Inc of Mr Rudy Biscocho. The MILO Elimination and Finals Marathon Races, Adidas “King of the Road” Races, and Yakult 10-Mile Race are noted for their orderliness and safety for the runners; and foremost, Mr Biscocho’s long-time experience in road racing since in the early 80s.
Please add this short info:
Real name: Major General Jovenal D Narcise (Ret.) AFP (Two-Star General)
Your Run highlight or Why you took up running?
In my military career, winning the Championship in the 1999 AFP Annual Battalion Run Competition (an event in the AFP Olympics) as the Battalion Commander of the Philippine Army Team leading a group of 330 Officers and Enlisted Personnel in formation within a distance of 8 kilometers (fm UP Dilman to Camp Aguinaldo) was a great contribution to the sports supremacy of the Philippine Army.. The team defeated the Philippine Air Force Team as the defending champion.
Finishing my first Manila Marathon in 3:30+ hours and improving my Marathon time by 2 minutes on the next annual Marathon race. Likewise, finishing the MILO Finals Marathon last November 2008 in 3:48:32 hours at the age of 56 ½ years old is my latest highlight of my running since November 2007 when I renewed serious training in running after 7 years of non-competitive running.
As the Chief for Training & Education of the Philippine Army, I implemented the “Army Physical Fitness Test” for everybody and “walk the talk”, so to speak.
I run because it makes me more relaxed and healthy. I become more creative and think of new “ideas” while running. It maintains my discipline and competitive ways even after retirement from the military service.
How many years have you been running?
4 years in the Philippine Military Academy and stopped after our Graduation in 1975. Started training for Marathon in 1980 and consistently ran up to 2000. Stopped running since I was assigned as Commander in Combat/Sensitive Areas. Renewed running in November 2007. Total Years of Running is 25 years.
Employment: None & Full-time Runner
Leica, thank you for your indulgence and I hope I was able to answer your questions.
Sir Jovie aka Bald Runner