Shoulders Relaxed

5:00 PM Thursday May 27, 2010 @ “Brown” Mountain 15K 1:58:07 hrs (Adidas Osweego)

This was the first time that my elite athletes brought me to the periphery of BM. The elites usually do their runs to this mountain for their one hour to 1 1/2-hour workouts. We started our run at 5:00 PM. After a slow run for about 500 meters, we had our first uphill climb for about 200 meters of gravel road that ended to a left turn of about 10 meters of flat before another uphill climb of 100 meters. This pattern was repeated for about three times and I started to perspire. We started to experience a level road trail when we reached the 3K point. It was a hard slow uphill run but I kept on remembering to take short strides; lifting my knees higher; swing my arms more; and above all, keep my shoulders relaxed. For every 3-4 minutes during the run, I had to be reminded and always aware with my running form with my shoulders relaxed.

The gravel road slowly turned to a trail road with dust and I was comfortable with my Adidas Osweego which is lighter than the ASICS training shoes that I’ve been using in my road runs. We ran more uphill climbs along one-track trail with tall cogon grasses on both sides. There are also wild plants that keep on brushing on our legs as we trekked uphill. On this portion of the trail, the seven runners in us were lined up on a single file as we went upward towards the mountain.

More Mountains (at the Background) To Explore

As we went deeper to the vegetated part on the side of the mountain, a herd of cattles would immediately approach us and the elites would think that they were going to attack us. We had to run faster and tried to evade the cattles. I was laughing when I saw one of my elites removed his shirt and was seen running naked as his shirt was colored red. As we ran, I realized that I was also wearing a red Mizuno running shirt! Later, I told them that these cattles would approach us thinking that we were there to feed them and I laughed with my theory!

After running for 7K, we saw a hut at the side of the mountain and a family of Aeta resides in it. We stopped for awhile and talked to the family. After a few seconds, we resumed our run towards another uphill trail until we reached a place where my GF 305 registered a distance of 7.5K. It was already getting dark and we decided to turn-around to our starting line.

On our way back for another 7.5K to the starting line, it was a race to beat the coming of darkness on those single-track trails. Actually, it was already dark when we still had 3K more to go and we had to slow down because the trail was uneven. Once again, on the downhill run, I alternately took longer strides and shorter strides depending on the steepness of the trail but I always maintain my shoulders relaxed. It was almost 7:00 in the evening when we reached our starting area.

On our way up to the mountain, I averaged a pace of 7:40 mins/km while our fastest average pace in going down was 6:08 mins/km. These numbers would indicate a very slow pace but I am sure this visit to the BM will make me a faster and stronger runner in my incoming road and trail races.

Always remember to run with your shoulders relaxed. Let them drop and swing your arms naturally!


Running Lectures (Accenture & SIL)

Accenture @ Robinsons Cybergate: April 20, 2010 (7:00-9:00 PM)

A group of almost 50 participants attended my running lecture and I was surprised to see a big crowd of “newbie” runners willing to gain information on the proper way to train and participate in weekend road races. It is unfortunate that this company was so strict on its security protocol—no laptop of visitors to the building and no camera/picture shoot from my personal camera during the event.

Runner & Lecturer

After 2 1/2 hours of lecture and demonstration of stretching exercises and correct form of running, we had a brief open forum where I was able to answer the questions of the participants. I was informed during the dinner tendered to us after the lecture that their company was able to muster 350 runners to participate in one of the weekend road races at The Fort.

Group Picture After The Lecture

I would like to thank Bernadette San Miguel, Ilo Trinidad and to the rest of the organizers of the Accenture Running Club for the hospitality and warm reception they have given to our team.

Dinner After The Lecture

SIL @ Mandaluyong on May 12, 2010 (12:00 NN-1:30 PM)

This is the second time that I did this kind of arrangement for my running lecture—lunch meeting/lecture. I did this kind of lecture-meeting with the Officers & Staff of G-7, Philippine Army through the invitation of Colonel Dan Lucero who heads the office. A group of about15 officers were at the Office’s Mess Hall as the participants of my lecture. I delivered an improntu lecture while we were eating our lunch. After we finished our luch, it was time for the Open Forum. Since this lecture-meeting, I’ve been receiving positive feedbacks about their improvements in their weekend road races.

Through the invitation of Joey Carreon whom I met at the ULTRA Oval Track a few days before this activity, I had the same lecture format at the company where he is working. While having lunch with the rest of the Heads and Staff of SIL, I was able to lecture them on the General Principles of Training of Running; Tips on Running; and the Do’s & Dont’s for a “Newbie” Runner. The lecture was not complete without answering the questions and concerns of the participants. In my estimate, there were at least 20 participants during the lunch-meeting/lecture. The lecture-lunch was finished at exactly 1:30 PM just in time for everybody to be back in their respective offices/cubicles.

I was surprised to learn that there is an outfit called SIL which is located at the 2nd Floor of Metrobank Building at the corner of Julia Varga and San Miguel Streets. This company had been continously discovering the different native/ethnic dialects in the country and the whole world! And they are translating important books to every dialect. The heads and staff are multi-nationals and I was able to talk to a retired US AirForce Officer/Pilot who had a chance to rub elbows with the AFP leaderships and there was this Chinese-Canadian who was also attentive during the lecture.

Through these running lectures & clinics, I was able to meet a lot of people and with the hope that more of our countrymen will be motivated to walk, jog, and run towards adherence to an active healthy lifestyle.

Joey Carreon & SIL Runners @ Natures Valley Run

(Note: The picture above was taken from Joey Carreon’s Facebook’s Photo Album)

New Playground

I personally named this place as the “Brown Mountain” (BM) for purposes of describing my running workouts. This is my “new” playground for my hill workouts and mountain trail runs.

Trail Running Towards "Brown" Mountain

From this point, my GF 305 registered a distance of 6.5K from the place where I started with the rest of my elite runners. I was already gasping for air to breath and about to surrender when I reached this point on my first time to run this trail. But the elite runners kept on pushing me as they paced me throughout the run. This particular place has an elevation of 700+ meters!

A Nice 8.5K Trail Towards The Mountain & Endless Trails

After turning at 8.5K mark, I had another almost 6.5K downhill trail towards the Starting area. You might have observed that I am using a racing flat shoes (Adidas Adizero Mana) on this trail run. Well, I am trying to experiment if my old legs’ feet cartilages, muscles, and knees could withstand the impact on the soft & hard trails of this mountain! So far, for two running workouts up to BM, my legs and knees are fine.

My "Guides", Escorts & Pacers!

These elite runners had been doing their workouts here for the past weeks and months in preparation for the 34th MILO Marathon Manila Elimination and this coming September’s CAMSUR Marathon.

A Clear Spring @ 8.3K Mark/Point

This is where we usually turn-around and the farthest our feet could reach (so far!) along an endless trail from the “Brown Mountain” to the other adjacent mountains. There are signs that this spring is being visited by wild pig/boar and deer. I’ve observed that the trail at the side of the BM (Brown Mountain) is covered with dried leaves that give additional cushion to the impact of my feet to the ground. Some parts of the trail are one-track carved on the side of the forested areas by water rushing from the top of the mountain due to rains.

We found some time to drink the water on this spring, wash and pour the cold water on our faces, nape, head, legs and arms. The water was so refreshing! The Aeta family that lives nearby the place said that there are more of these kind of springs along the endless trail and their water are potable. What can I say, this could be a nice playground for mountain trail runners and “serious” runners!

Planning On Your 1st Marathon Race?

 While browsing on my earlier posts about the Arthur Lydiard Training System in Marathon Running, I found out that the link I made about the said training system is nowhere to be found. I tried to Google “Arthur Lydiard” and I was able to locate everything about the training, speeches, books written, and the training philosophy of the guy.

In the course of going back to the “basics” of marathon running through the writings and speeches of Mr Arthur Lydiard, I came upon the following article which I copied from which I am going to post in my blog so that it will stay permanently on this site for reference purposes.

Enjoy reading the said article.

When Should I Run My First Marathon?

This is a question posed by many new runners. It seems like such a straightforward question. Unfortunately, the answer is not as straightforward and, honestly, not what most beginning runners want to hear.

First, there is the question of what your goals in running are and may be in the future. Very few people run a marathon in their first few years of running and go on to reach their ultimate racing potential. Second, age is a factor. There are countless stories of people running marathons in their teenage years, just to not keep improving beyond their early 20s. Considering the fact that many marathoners don’t reach their peak until their mid 30s, this doesn’t seem to be ideal. Finally, there is previous exercise levels. Someone who never got off the couch before taking up running is going to take longer to become prepared for a marathon than someone who came from an athletic background, especially if that athletic background was in endurance sports.

As I stated, the first question is of your goals. If you are not interested in trying to reach your racing potential and instead “just want to finish” a marathon, that is quite different than if you want to race marathons or other distances and want to try to reach your potential. People who reach their full potential tend to build up to the marathon. They start with shorter races, like 5k and 10k, develop a good ability in those distances, then build up to 10 mile and half marathon type races, eventually possibly even working up to 25k, 30k, or 20 mile races. Once they have reached a high level in the shorter distances, they step up to the marathon. For many runners, their first marathon may come 10 or more years after they began running. Personally, my first marathon came after I had been running for nearly 12.5 years. On the other hand, not everyone has goals like these. I still think it is a wise idea for anyone, regardless of goals, to build up to the marathon. I would love to say that nobody should run a marathon on less than 3 years of running but I know a lot of people don’t want to accept that. What I will say, and some people don’t even like this, is that you are not ready to run a marathon unless you have been consistently running for at least a year and have been building up for a marathon for at least 6 months.

Age is a much debated factor. Some people will tell you that a person should never run a marathon before the age of 25. Others will give stories about themselves or people they know who ran a marathon at 16 or 17 years old. Personally, I fall more toward the first group, although I won’t give a definite age. To put it simply, I think a teenager has more to lose than gain by running a marathon. You have your whole life ahead of you to run marathons and you will be better prepared to run marathons if you wait a few more years. As I said above, if you want to race marathons and push for your full potential, by all means, take your time. Many elite marathoners don’t run their first until they are in their late 20s or even early 30s. Even if you don’t want to race, your body will be more ready to handle the stress a marathon puts on it if you give it more time training. Also, you shouldn’t look past the mental aspect. As a teenager, you are still mentally and physically maturing. The longer you give that mental and physical maturity to develop, the better your first marathon experience will be.

Finally, the experience factor. A lot of experienced marathoners take heat on this topic, in large part because of training groups that advertise that a person can go from inactive to running a marathon in 6 months. Sorry to inform you but the large majority of people who try this do not come out of it without a bad experience in the closing miles. Sure, maybe they say it was the accomplishment of a lifetime but ask them how the last few miles felt. I’ve heard many torture stories. Marathoning doesn’t have to hurt that badly if you give yourself adequate time for training. My suggestion is to not even think about running a marathon on less than a year of consistent running. I would love to say more but I know most people will just ignore my suggestions if I do. You need to give your body time to adapt to the stresses of running. Going from 0 to 26.2 in even a year’s time is a tall order for anyone. Doing so in 6 months time is playing with fire. Once again, if your goal is racing or trying to become the fastest you can become, consider taking much longer.

In the end, only you can decide what time is right for you to do your first marathon. I stated my feelings on it here and I hope you will consider what I have to say. Weigh all the advice you are given, who it is coming from, what they stand to gain or lose by your following their advice, and make an informed decision.

Tuesday May 25, 2010

AM: ULTRA/5.6K @ 29 mins/Average Pace: 5:08 mpk (Adidas Adizero Mana)

It was a hot day as I decided to start the week with a short run at the ULTRA/Philsport Oval Track at 8:00 AM of this day. I purposely had the day before, Monday, as my rest day after running back-to-back last Saturday & Sunday. I ran 10.1 K in the morning of Saturday at the MOA-PICC-Cultural Center-MOA Route and another 10.2K run in the evening at the The Fort. Last Sunday, I was about to run in the morning at the MOA Grounds but instead, I just stayed on the sidelines to watch the San Mig Coffee Run. However, at 7:30 PM, I returned to the MOA Complex to run another 12.1K before the start of the Call Center’s Night Fun Run.

I really needed those easy long runs on weekends for my endurance in order to back up my body strength in preparation for my speed runs during the week.

On this day, even if it was too hot, I did my usual warm-up run  for 4 laps at Lane #8. My GF 305 registered a distance of 2.33K with a time of 11:50 minutes; average pace of 5:04 mpk. After a brief water break, I did 2 X 400 at Lane #1 with an interval rest of  1 minute. My first rep was timed at 1:43 mins with an average pace of 4:08 mpk. My 2nd rep was timed at 1:41 mins with an average pace of 4:00 mpk. I could hardly breath after doing two reps because of the heat of the sun. It was too hot that I had to take water break in-between my speed reps. Finally, I decided to stop my 400 meter runs and ended doing an easy run for another 4 laps at Lane #8. I had a time of 12:49 minutes and my legs became heavier as I ended my last 2 laps.

PM: ULTRA/8.8K @ 44 mins/Average Pace: 5:00 mpk (Adidas Adizero Mana)

I joined the BR Speed Training at the ULTRA Oval Track at 6:30 PM with the rest of my elite athletes and the Professionals. I ran the usual 4 laps at the outer lane of the oval track as my warm-up before I did my stretching exercises, brief drills, and core workout. After my water break, I did 4 X 1,600 with an interval rest recovery of 2-3 minutes. The following were the data taken from the GF 305:

1st rep: 7:46 mins; average pace of 4:42 mpk

2nd rep: 7:45 mins; average pace of 4:38 mpk

3rd rep: 7:45 mins; average pace of 4:39 mpk

4th rep: 8:10 mins; average pace of 4:50 mpk

I finished my workout with another easy and relaxing 4 laps at the oval track for my cool down run/jog before doing my post stretching exercises. My body and legs are in shape as I did not feel any pain or issues during my workout. The only problem was the heat and humidity plus the number of runners & walkers using the Oval Track during Tuesday evenings. How I wish the Coaches teaching and supervising the different running clinics at the Oval Track should teach their students on the proper use/etiquette to be observed while running or walking at the oval track. 

After the workout, it was nice to hear the stories and experiences of the Team BR Professionals who participated in the latest “The Bull Runner Dream Marathon” held in the early morning of Saturday. You did great, guys! It was nice also to congratulate Mari Javier of Team BR Professionals who got the Champion Award for the RUNNEX 1oK Run held last Sunday morning at the UP Campus and another Champion Award for the Call Center’s 10K Night Fun Run held in the evening of the same day at the MOA Complex.

The BR Speed Training Staff & Elites are really proud of you! Congratulations!!!

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” In Running

When I was in the military service, this was my “Bible” and had read this book for a hundred times. This compilation of essays written by Sun Tzu (a Chinese General & Philosopher) was translated by Samuel B Griffith in 1960 and they were written more than 2,400 years ago. It is considered as the oldest writings on the conduct of warfare. In all my military trainings, from a young officer to the generalship, the treatise in this book had been repeatedly discussed and explained to us. Being a former Commander of different units in the Philippine Army, from the squad-level (leading 9-men team) up to a Division-size Command (with almost 10,000 soldiers under me), the “treatise” of this book had been very effective in leadership; winning the “hearts & minds” of the people and at the same time in subduing the enemy.

The Book: Sun Tzu: The Art Of War

Lately, there had been books that were published in adopting the different treatise of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”  in relation to Business and Politics but I have yet to read these books.

I have the assumption that some selected “treatise” of the book, “Sun Tzu: The Art Of War” are very useful to all the runners. My favorite passage in this book is the following:

“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.

When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal.

If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.”

Translating these passages into running, it would be like this:

“Know the race route and train yourself properly; in a hundred races you will always finish the race.

When you are ignorant of the race route but you trained yourself properly, your chances of finishing the race or DNF are equal.

If ignorant both of the race route and proper training, you are certain that in every race you are DNF.”

On a grand scale, of which could be directed and understood by our Sports leaders and authorities in our quest for Sports Excellence and our First Olympic Gold Medal, my favorite passage of Sun Tzu’s “The Art Of War” would be very relevant and appropriate. I guess, there is no need for further explanation on this.

It is no wonder that the Chinese today are on top of the Olympic Medal Standing in the latest 2008 Summer Olympic Games!

ASICS Gel-Tarther

 This is my new racing shoes which is reserved for the MILO Marathon Elimination to be held this coming July 4, 2010. We will see what this “new toy” will do to my next marathon race.

I bought this racing shoes in an ASICS Store in Jeju Island (South Korea) last March 2010. I bought it at a cheaper price than the suggested price posted at the shoes’ website ( when the sales lady gave a 10% discount after I’ve showed her my website/blog in their store’s computer! The lady could hardly speak and understand English but when he saw my face in my blogsite, she got the message that I am a dedicated runner.

ASICS Gel Tarther

Since I am a “die-hard” ASICS runner, my shoe review for this item would be very favorable just like the ASICS Gel-Hyper Speed 3 that I’ve been using in my latest marathon races & 50K run in Jeju Island. In the ASICS Store where I bought this item, these racing shoes have a separate section in the store which is labeled as “Marathon Racing Shoes”. This model is the 3rd ranking lighest racing shoes for ASICS! If I remember right, the ASICS Racing Shoe with inscription “Japan” at the back portion of the heel counter of the shoe is the lightest among these Marathon Racing Shoes on display.

Call Centers’ Night Fun Run @ MOA

I am starting to love (again!) the lighted roads of MOA since I am trying my best to build-up my mileage for my next marathon race (MILO Marathon Elimination on July 4). I started my run at 7:30 PM along the 5.5-Km loop which I expanded to 6.5-Km loop on my second lap around the MOA Complex. However, after running for 12 kilometers, I ended my workout to greet my elite runners who were registered to run in a road race which was scheduled to start at 9:00 PM. After talking to my elite athletes, I had the time to observe what was going on at the Start/Finish & Assembly Areas of this Fun Run.

The “fun run” which is sponsored by all the Call Centers has all the “works”—loud music from a sound system; lots of booths with free products for the runners; booths for pictorials; powerful lighting systems; a rock band; photograhers; big tarpaulins of sponsors; lots of race officials & marshals; start & finish arc; video camera team that goes from one group to another group of runners to conduct interviews; cash prizes for the top winners and above all, the presence of “newbie” runners and the Kenyans!

The fun started when the registration was conducted “on site” few hours before the scheduled start of the race. The second “funny” thing is that a runner has to pay Five Hundred Pesos for a 10K race; Three Hundred Pesos for the 3K Race; and Four Hundred For the 5K Race. The participants who are employees of Call Centers had lower rates, a difference of One Hundred Pesos from the Non-Call Center participants. Since I’ve finished my 12K run before the race started, I opted to save my money and instead be at the sidelines to cheer for my elite runners and at the same time observe the conduct of the event.

It was no longer funny when the start of the race was delayed from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The reason was that more runners are still registering at the booths and the race organizer had to wait until everybody had registered. Finally, the 10K race started first at 10:15 PM and after 15 minutes, the 5K runners were released. After another 10 minutes, the 3K runners which consisted of the biggest bulk of runners were off on the road. In my estimate, there were less than a 100 runners in the 10K distance; 150+ in the 5K; and almost 300 for the 3K run.

After 10 minutes that the 3K runners were released, the fastest among the 3K runners started to approach the Finish Line. I was surprised to hear from the RACE Officials asking the approaching runner “what is the race distance is he competing with?” What? I said to myself, this Race Official does not know how to distinguish the color-coded bibs given by them to their runners? WTF??? Personally, I also could hardly distinguish the color dark-green from the dark-blue color during nighttime even if the streets are lighted. (Blue bibs were for the 10K runners while the green bibs were for the 3K runners)

Well, one thing leads to another. This is a fun run where the route was not fully explained. The runners were told by the Race Organizer just to follow the directional signs and get directions from the road marshals along the route. I am sorry to say that many of the leading runners of the 10K race were lost! In the end, I even acted as a “volunteer” in reminding the 10K finishers to enter their respective “chute” so that their time will be registered.  

Due to some of the technical problems encountered during the race, the awarding of winners was delayed. It was already 12 midnight when the Race Organizers finally awarded the winners. My elite Team Bald Runner members were able to place #4 in the 10K race; 1st, 3rd & 4th in the 5K race; and 4th in the 3K distance. This was their second race for the day and 3rd race for the weekend!!!

For sure, I will be going back to MOA Complex for more of my endurance runs in the evenings!

The Running Priests & Adventure Runs

I’ve been trying to browse the Internet if there are “documents” or “daily accounts” available to back up the running experiences of Fr Robert Reyes and his running mates in their “adventure runs” throughout the country in the past.

In one of my meetings with the Race Organizers/Directors at the PATAFA Office, Mr Ben Alacar, father of ultrarunner Ian Alacar. mentioned that he was among the runners that accompanied Fr Reyes’ ultra runs in the country. I was surprised when he told me that it took them 8 days to run from Laoag City to Manila in 1998. WhenI asked him about their daily accounts/documentations, he told me that the GOMBURZA group which Fr Reyes led, was the repository of these running accounts.

Anyway, I still persisted to browse the Internet and I was able to find this link of a document written by Fr Robert Reyes which is worth reading about the running priest’s story. In the said article, I found out that he did the following:  

“I have run and biked in Europe, the United States, Australia, China and now Hong Kong. I ran across the Philippines in three phases from 1996 to 1998 (1996, from Cotabato City to Cagayan de Oro; 1997, Across Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Negros and Panay; 1998: from Laoag to Manila and Sorsogon to Manila).”

Among the runner-bloggers, we have also Fr Amado Picardal who is presently based in Davao City. His blog is a repository of his daily running adventures in the South/Mindanao which is worth reading because he features his training/preparation, nutrition, and all the details about his runs with the appropriate pictures. His personal story and beginnings in running is featured in the latest edition/copy (3rd) of the FrontRunner Magazine.

I have yet to find out who was that Candidate For President in the past elections (in the 80s or 90s) who did his campaign throughout the country by running from one town to another with only one support vehicle! I hope he did not cheat in his running adventures during those times! Although this running-candidate for President did not win, I really do not know if he was able to get votes after the ballots had been canvassed then by the COMELEC. (Note: If somebody among my readers know the name of this candidate, it is worth meeting this guy for an interview!)

Going back to Fr Reyes & Fr Picardal, these running priests are also “cycling priests” and their “feats” had been admirable. I salute them for their cycling and running achievements! But personally, I don’t buy or use running as a means “to create awareness on political and economic issues” confronting our country and people.

In my analysis, these priests could easily plan for these “adventure runs” because they have an “in-place” organization that supports them along the route they take. Every town has a church and a priest or priests in them. Sometimes, every city has a cathedral, group of priests and a seminary. These in-place facilities are easily accessible to these priests as their “pit stops” and “transient homes” for them during their adventure runs. They are really blessed!

If I have a plan and means to do what these famous “running & cycling” priests have done in the past, it would be best for me to stop in every capital city of every province to lecture to elementary and high school children about running and I might also include colleges and universities, too! But my planning would take longer as I need proper coordination as to where I will have my “rest over night” during my adventure run. I have yet to look for some sponsors for my future adventure runs! Wish me luck!

No More Laoag MILO Elimination Race

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Mr Andrew Neri of MILO/Nestle Phils with the following message:

“Due to the recent change in the political environment, we’d like to inform everyone that we will be transferring the 34th National MILO® Marathon Laoag Elimination race to Dagupan slated on July 11, 2010.”

Being a native of Laoag City, I was surprised to receive such information. Although, I don’t have plans to join this MILO Elimination Race in Laoag City, I am “intrigued” with the reason stated why MILO had to transfer the race from Laoag City to Dagupan City.

As a result of the May 10 elections, former Senator Imee Marcos won over the incumbent Governor Michael Keon for the Governor of Ilocos Norte. I could only surmise that the change in the leadership of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte has made some changes in the “organizational” preparations for the said race. With the limited time between the assumption of the new provincial administration and the date of the event, the organizers of the race do not want to compromise the preparation and conduct of the race with another coordination with the new administration.

However, in my own experience in attending this Laoag Elimination Race two years ago, I found out that there was a dismal turnout on the number of runners for the 21K elimination race. Despite the fact that you have a Governor who was a former Director of the Project Gintong Alay, POC Chairman, and PATAFA President, I could only see few runners (less than 30) who competed for the half-marathon distance. I guess, this could be the actual reason why MILO has to transfer the venue to Dagupan City.

This is a good chance for the people of Pangasinan to shine in long distance running.