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1st Week of Training: Mt Fuji Mountain Race

21 06 2017

June 12-18, 2017

After I have finished the  4th & last Marathon Race of the BR’s Quad Marathon, I did not run for two days, Tuesday & Wednesday, to give rest to my tired body. I simply ate and slept for these two days with some stretching to my legs and body. These two days officially started my training for the Mt Fuji Mountain Race which will be held on July 28, 2017.

Starting on this week, I started to shift/change my training using the time duration of my workout as my goal/objective for every workout, instead of planning to run a certain distance. For the past training cycles, I have been concentrating on the number of miles I have covered every week and it is worth a try to be counting on the number of hours as the priority data for my workouts. Mileage will be secondary data to be considered and recorded.

On Thursday, I had a one hour recovery run on a flat paved road with an Average Pace of 12:09 minutes per mile. My GPS Watch registered a distance of 5.02 miles. It was a very relaxing pace where I would be running and talking with one of my former elite athletes with Team Bald Runner who happens to be a runner-soldier of the Philippine Army. I thought it was an easy and relaxing one hour run but the data in my GPS Watch registered otherwise. It appeared that I was exerting so much effort on the last half of my workout.

On Friday, I made sure to have a slower and more relaxing one hour recovery run where I registered a distance of 4.95 miles and with a slower Average Pace of 12:23 minutes per mile but the workout was done on the streets surrounding Fort Bonifacio with lots of rolling hills. The total elevation gain was 1,816 feet and was able to register an Average BPM of 132. I guess, I was too fast in this workout as a result of my deep-tissue massage the night before this workout.

On Saturday, the schedule was to run 1:30:00 hours on the trails. I had my run in my backyard/Playground’s Loop #1 which is an “out and back” route up to the distance where my GPS Watch registered a time of 46 minutes! This was my first trail run since I’ve finished my Quad Marathons. I call this workout as an “Endurance Run” which I am training for as my regular pace in all my trail running races/events. Having said that, these Endurance Runs will be the “bread and butter” in all my weekly workouts. I was able to finish a distance of 6.43 miles with an Average Pace of 14:14 minutes per mile. The total elevation gain is 2,011 feet with an elevation loss of 1,880 feet. My Average BPM is 150 with a Maximum of 161. I think I was running with a faster pace considering that the course has lots of steep hills.

loop-11.jpg

Saturday Run @ Backyard’s Loop #1

In the afternoon of Saturday, I had some strengthening exercises which I finished in 30 minutes which are geared towards my core!

On Sunday, I was invited by a friend to recon the proposed course of a new trail route where the event will be held later this year. It was supposed to be a 2-3-hour trail run but we finished the run in 5:05:07 hours covering a distance of 10.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 7,336 feet  and a elevation loss of 7,247 feet. We were running the first half of the course until we hiked towards the peak of Mt Mapait which has an elevation of 1,137 feet and power hiked the last half of the course. Due to the exposed nature of the trail from the heat of the sun, we were exhausted and had to make a lot of stops on flowing streams to cool off our bodies. The Average Pace in this workout was 28:26 minutes per mile (to include rests) with an Average BPM of 129.

Palayan 42.jpg

Sunday’s Recon Run & Hike In Palayan City/Fort Magsaysay

For four days, I was able to register 8 hours and 39 minutes duration of run, covering a distance of 27.1 miles. The total elevation gain is 11,176 feet. Which means that for every mile that I covered, I was able to get an elevation of 412 feet!

Week #1 Summary:

Number Of Hours: 8:39 hours

Distance: 27.1 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 11,176 feet

Elevation Gain Per Mile: 412 feet

This is just the beginning of my training cycle and I am happy that I am having fun without any “niggles” or extreme pain on my legs or body. I am hoping that I will be stronger and faster next week!

Lace up and go run!

 

 

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Trekking Poles (2016)

30 08 2016

I have discovered the use of trekking poles in my readings in the Internet about 5 years ago where it was used to aid older people in their walking and hiking on the road and on the trails. As we know, these trekking poles or first popularly known as ski poles which were always being seen in every event in the Winter Olympics and other skiing sports in temperate countries. Some writers would say that the origin of these trekking poles came from the European countries where trekkers, hikers, and trail runners (during the Summer Season and drier months) would use them for balance as well as to preserve their leg strengths for the long haul and also aid them in steep ascents and descents.

For the past few years, almost in all the European Trail Running Events as well as Ultra Trail Running Events you would see almost all the participants carrying with them trekking poles during the race. I would have the impression that the routes of these events have very steep ascents and descents that one would need these trekking poles.

When I first used these trekking poles on the paved road, I received some laughs and negative comments from cyclists who would pass me along the road to the point that they would ask me where is the SNOW and my SKI? But a few months after such incident, I would see Marshall Ullrich using these trekking poles on his successful USA Trans-Continental Run few years ago. If only these cyclists would see the video and read the book of this famous ultra runner, they would be convinced that trekking poles are also used in ultra running.

Trekking Poles Adventure Runs

Using Trekking Poles In My Adventure Runs

Lately, I’ve seen that some of the Ultra Trail Running Events in the United States have already allowed the use of these trekking poles as compared when it was then a “no-no” for runners to use these poles. Some would say that one is having an undue advantage from the other runners who would not use these poles. Some would say that it is a form of cheating in ultra trail races. But whatever it is worth, I have a personal experience in using these trekking poles on the road and on the trails.

Let me first give some suggestions on the use of trekking poles with the following enumerated observations:

1. Do not use trekking poles for the first time in a trail running race without having used them extensively in your training. It follows the over-used advice in racing of not using something new during race day.

2. If the trail running event is a marathon distance or 50K, do not bother to bring or use these trekking poles if the total elevation gain is less than 3,000 feet or in a relatively flat course.

3. If the number of runners is more than 300 runners where the course is 100% single-track trail with less than a marathon distance (42K), don’t bother to use trekking poles as it will slow you down, slow down the runners behind you, or you might hurt somebody else in front or behind you. Use good judgement in using trekking poles on a single-trail trail, most specially in a most populated trail running event.

4. It is highly recommended to buy those trekking poles which could be folded in 3 parts as they could be easily stashed and held by the hands as if one is holding a baton while running. Since they are light, their weight is insignificant and they could be easily brought back to their intended lengths in a few seconds. There are hydration packs that have strings or elastic bands that could hold these poles or stashed/held by the pack while they are folded. Make some practice in removing or stashing the poles to and from the hydration pack during your training runs.

5. If you carry the trekking poles with your hands, while running, on its expanded length, make sure that there is no one behind you as you might poke the tip of the trekking pole to the runner while swinging your arms. If there is somebody behind you, make sure you don’t excessively swing your arms to the point that you might hit the runner behind you. You can have the option to carry the trekking poles with only one hand and be able to control that arm from excessive swinging or you can simply fold the poles and stashed them in your hydration pack or hold them with your hands.

Michael Wardian Trekking Poles

Michael Wardian At San Diego 100 Carrying Trekking Poles

6. If you intend to use the trekking poles with their extended length and if you are a slow runner or if you intend to power hike the first half of a 100K or 100-mile run, I suggest you start behind the runners and not mingle with the faster runners behind the starting line. However, if you are a fast runner and intend to be in the podium finish, you can have you folded trekking poles stashed with your hydration pack or just simply hold them with your hands.

7. In my experience of using trekking poles and seeing the faster runners using effectively these poles, I highly recommended buying a longer length from the suggested size or length that is based on your height. Three years ago, I bought a Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z-Poles with the length of 120 cms and I found it to be useful in my training runs as well as in my races. Last year, I bought another Black Diamond Ultra Distance Carbon Z-Poles with the length of 110 cms thinking that they are lighter and which are specifically recommended for my height. But I would find them to be the same weight with my 120-cm poles and I found them a little short for my height. In my ultra races in Hongkong, I found out that most of the trail runners have longer trekking poles than what their recommended size for their height and I tried one of my friends’ trekking poles which are 130-cm in size and I found them to be more adapted to my hiking/running style. Hopefully, I would be able to buy them soon!

Having stated my experiences and observation in the use trekking poles in running events, the following are their advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

1. If used in 50-milers, 100Ks and 100-milers and other longer trail runs, these poles will preserve ones leg power and strength for the long haul.
In a technical route and with lots of stream/water crossings, the poles with provide an extra “leg” for balance and stability for the body, instead, of falling or injuring oneself along the route.
2. For safety and protection from wild animals and “creatures” along the route. The poles can be used to ward off snakes and other creatures in the forest/mountain that have the tendency to attack you. I once used my poles to “whack” or strike on the head of an attacking and barking dog in one of the populated areas in the mountains. My swing with the poles to the dog was so strong that it tumbled down as if the dog was knocked out by a baseball bat!
3. For contigency purposes, the poles can be used as a support to ease the pain or body imbalance just in case one has rolled an ankle, or in cases when a runner is injured. In cases of extreme accidents where there is fracture to the runner, I guess, these poles could be used as emergency splints!
4. I’ve seen a runner during the Translantau 100K where he was holding a very long trekking pole and I’ve seen him using the poles as “pole vault” as he jumped along the sides of a single-track trail while overtaking a group six runners on a single file! He did it while we were descending on the said trail. The runner was so fast that I was not able to see his back even if I was able to pass these six runners after him.
5. In this year’s Translantau 100, the winds on the second night was too strong that my body would not be able to stand on my own. But having my trekking poles as extra “anchor” to the ground as I was ascending on the last two mountains of the course, I would have stopped or crawled along the slope up to the peak of the mountain avoiding to be knocked down by the strong winds with almost zero visibility due to thick fog. I was glad that I had my trekking poles with me while trying to keep my sight on the couple of runner in front of me.

Translantau 100 Trekking Pole

2016 TransLantau 100K With Trekking Poles

6. One time when I first joined the TNF Philippines 100, the trail was blocked by two water buffalos/carabaos and I with the rest of the runners behind me could hardly drive them away from the trail. By using the trekking poles as extension of my arms and raising them into the air, the carabaos thought that I was a BIG figure to contend with and slowly I was able to drive them away from the trail. But that incident and delay wasted a lot of my time and I eventually DNFd after one kilometre away from the place of incident. The trail was supposed to be the start of an ascending trail route towards Mt Santo Tomas which considered as the most challenging part of the course.

Disadvantages:

1. Obviously, it is an additional gear to be carried by the runner which means additional weight. Even if the trekking poles has a total weight of 280 grams, carrying it or holding it on a 50-mile, 100K or 100-mile or within a duration of 30 hours would be taxing to the body and you may end up carrying a total of about ten kilos or 5 pounds on the course. Additionally, it will delay you for some seconds in unfolding and folding them while you are running. If you add these few seconds within the distance of 100 miles, they will add up to minutes of maybe half an hour! Without proper training and technique on how to effectively use these trekking poles would mean a delay in finishing ones race.
2. In my three-year successive finishes of the Clark Miyamit 50-Mile Run (CM50), I have never used my trekking poles. I was then 61 years old when I had my first finish in this race and I would outpace and pass younger and stronger runners on my way up to the highest elevation of the course which happens to be the turning point of the race back to the Start/Finish Line. Simply put, if you have the proper training and preparation, there is no need to use those trekking poles in a 50-mile race. If you are less than 50 years old and I see you using a trekking pole while we are competing in the same race, my smile to you would mean that you are a “weak & newbie” trail runner!
3. In some of the international races, they allow runners to carry trekking poles but if the route is a “single-track” trail, they advise you not to use them, most specially if you have runners in front or behind you who are one or two steps away from you. There are also ultra races that require the runners not to use their trekking poles at the first 20-25 miles as most of the runners are running near to each other. Make sure that to ask from the Race Organizer/Face Director if the use of trekking poles are allowed in the race if their use is not stated in its rules and regulations.
4. Do not use trekking poles for the first time in a race you are going to compete. You will be saving the strength of your legs but your shoulder and arms muscles will take a lot of beating that you might no longer move your arms during the later part of the race or after the race.

At my present age of 64 years old, the trekking poles are my “necessities” and mandatory gear in my training and future races. I will be using them more often as I have already bought the proper size for me.

Trekking Poles

Training With Trekking Poles Has Started

I have one year to train with them in preparation for my plan to join the @CCC in Chamonix, France next year, hoping that I will be in the race after the lottery.

Go out and run!





Blogging Reboot (2016)

15 08 2016

Starting with this post I am back again with my blogging.

Thinking back almost nine (9) years ago, I started this blog to document or journalize my daily running activities; write Race Reports in my running events (whether I am a participant or a Race Director); try to remember and document my previous running experiences; and re-post whatever running resources or information I have read in the books that I’ve purchased and read and what I’ve read in the Internet. Sometimes, I would post my personal opinion on what has transpired in the running world, whether it is within the local or in the country and in the international arena.

So, I am going back to what I know about blogging——sharing and letting my readers know what is happening to me in my running workouts, activities, and adventures. From time to time, I would also share things that are important or worth knowing in the field of running (specially on ultra running).

However, this blog will remain as the main source of information on the Ultra Races that I organise and direct.

I will not be competing with my Facebook account but in essence this blog will be “What is on my mind…about running”.

Now, it is time to go out and run!

Trail Running In Kayapa, Benguet, Philippines

Trail Running In Kayapa, Benguet, Philippines





1st Week Of Training (December 8-14, 2014)

17 12 2014

Monday/December 8:

Rest

Tuesday/December 9 @ Roosevelt National Park: 

Time Of Start: 4:30 PM

Distance: 6.8 Miles

Time/Duration: 2:24+ Hours

Average Speed: 2.4 Miles Per Hour

Total Ascent: 1,323 Feet

Highest Elevation: 1,170 Feet

http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/651295445

Comments:

1. Started late in the afternoon and it became dark where I had to use my headlight on the 2nd half of the run. My run became slower when it was dark already.

2. It was slightly raining and I had to use my Eddie Bauer Waterproof Jacket with Hood during the duration of the run.

3. Brought two (2) bottles of 20 oz. each capacity; 4 pieces of GU Gels; 3 pieces of Power Bars; one piece of Honey Stinger Chews; Pocket Camera; iPhone; and Thermal Blanket. I purposely brought all these items in my pack to put more weight and have my body accustomed to the food/nutrition needs and required/mandatory items that I will carry with me during the race.

4. I used my INOV-8 X-Talon Trail Shoe and it was responsive on the wet condition of the trail and rocks along the route.

5. How I wished I could go higher in elevation in the mountain but due to the thick growth of grasses along the trail which need to be cleaned and cut, I decided to turn-around at 1,150 feet elevation.

6. The Eddie Bauer Jacket which I bought 5 years ago was very effective in preventing the rain from getting inside my body. However, my body sweat made the lining of the jacket to be damp and wet which made the Jacket to be heavier as I finished my run.

Running Under The Rain

Running Under The Rain

7. My legs and knees started to become painful as I descended on the downhill portions of the route as I went back to where I started. I have observed that my leg muscles became tighter as I went downhill but I persevered by taking shorter strides and lighter with my footing along the trail.

8. I had a “deep-tissue” massage after my dinner and the soreness and pain disappeared as I went to bed.

Wednesday/December 10:

Rest. I am scheduled to have a 6-mile run but I decided to have a rest after being late to my place of training after a trip to another venue of one of my races where I am the Race Organizer/Race Director.

Instead, I did some body squats and lunges to find out if I still have pain and soreness to my legs. The “deep-tissue” massage the night before “fixed” my issues about my legs. I slept early in the night…eight hours of sleep!

Thursday/December 11 @ Roosevelt National Park:

Time Of Start: 8:00 AM

Distance: 7.37 Miles

Time/Duration: 2:24+ Hours

Average Speed: 3.1 Miles Per Hour

Total Ascent: 1,670 Feet

Highest Elevation: 1,575 Feet

http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/651295455

Comments:

1. The run was done in the morning and the weather was with clear sky and slightly cold weather in the mountain. My water/hydration system was the same with that of the Tuesday Run, consuming 40 oz. of water during the run. I added two (2) pieces of VFuel Gels in my pack and I was able to ingest one piece of Gel on my second half of the run.

2. I felt lighter without the Jacket and I was comfortable with my pack with the same content that I had during the Tuesday Run.

3. I used my ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 Shoes and they are responsive to the trail and rocks.

4. The highest elevation of 1,575 feet was reached at 3.1 Mile but I decided to have my turn-around at this point due to the thick bushes and grasses along the unused trail towards the peak of the mountain. In my estimate there is a need to clean the trail for a distance of about 2 miles until I reach the peak of the mountain. If the highest elevation of this mountain will reach 2,100+ feet in less than 6-Mile distance, this could be my ideal training ground for my TransLantau 100 Race.

At The Turn-Around Point

At The Turn-Around Point

5. The massage that I got last Tuesday evening and Full Rest Day on Wednesday gave me a better performance for today. I did not feel any pain or soreness or tightness on my leg muscles and knees on my downhill runs back to Starting Area. It resulted to a faster Average Speed in my workout.

Friday/December 12:

Rest. I had a trip to Fort Magsaysay to attend a Coordinating Conference regarding my race thereat to be held on the weekend.

Taklang Damulag

Taklang Damulag

Saturday/December 13 @ Hill Taklang Damulag, Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City:

Time Of Start: 7:23 AM

Distance: 10.30 Miles

Time: 3:32:52 Hours

Average Pace: 20:41 minutes per mile

Average Speed: 3.1 miles per hour

Elevation Gain: 2,800 Feet

Highest Elevation: 1,255 Feet

http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/651295464

Comments:

1. While supervising my race as the Race Director, I thought of running the course from Fernandez Hill View Deck to the Peak of Taklang Damulag (Hill) trying to find out how many “hill repeats” that I can do until I am tired. However, my training program called for a 10-mile run and any distance after that would be a bonus.

2. The weather was cooler in the early part of the morning but it became hotter on my third climb to the peak. I was carrying my TNF Hand-held Bottle which is just enough for my hydration need for one trip.

3. I had to rest for about 2-3 minutes just enough to make refill on my water bottle and eat something, most specially before I started my third climb.

4. I used my ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 which was very responsive on the slippery trail and rocks along the route. However, the shoes became heavier as it became wet/damp from the sweat going to my socks and full body.

5. I did not have any problems or soreness on my legs during the duration of the run. If only not for the heat of the sun, I could have attempted a 4th climb to the peak.

6. I will make a point to visit Fort Magsaysay at least once a month and try to break my personal record on how many times I could climb the peak of Taklang Damulag in one day or 12 hours!

7. I was averaging 1:11+ hours per “hill repeat” which is a big improvement on my performance in climbing the hill two years ago.

Sunday/December 14 @ Hill Taklang Damulag, Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City

Time Of Start: 6:56 AM

Distance: 6.69 Miles

Time: 2:20:57 Hours

Average Pace: 21:04 minutes per mile

Average Speed: 2.9 miles per hour

Elevation Gain: 1,814 Feet

Highest Peak: 1,255 Feet

http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/651295472

Comments:

1. I felt I was not wasted from yesterday’s triple trip to Taklang Damulag. For today, I did two “hill repeats” which I expected to have a distance of 7 miles but my running effort was satisfactory.

2. I used my INOV-8 X-Talon Trail Shoes and they were very light and was able to have a very nice leg turn-over during the duration of the workout. I might be slower this time but I feel strong to finish another repeat after completing my scheduled distance for the day.

3. Just the same with yesterday’s run, I was using my TNF Hand-held bottle. I had my breakfast before I started the run and it gave me the energy throughout the workout.

3X "Hill Repeats" @ Taklang Damulag

3X “Hill Repeats” @ Taklang Damulag

Summary:

Total Distance: 31.16 Miles or 49.85 Kilometers

Total Time: 10:30 Hours

Total Ascent: 7,607 Feet (152.14 Feet Elevation Gain Per Kilometer)

 





Cut-Off Times (Part 2)

14 10 2014

I made a post about the cut-off times of running events in my post in this blog on May 17, 2011. Until this time, I don’t see any reason why Race Organizers/Directors had to impose cut-off times in their events. For the Marathon Races where most of the city roads are closed from vehicular traffic, six (6) hours is a decent time as a cut-off time in order to relieve the riding public of the inconvenience it would bring if the race is extended up to nine or ten or twelve hours. But on second thought, the cut-off time being imposed is not for the safety of the runners of the event but for the convenience of everybody.

In my post, I made mention of some of the popular ultra races in the world with their prescribed cut-off times.  It is obvious that Road Ultras have a shorter cut-off times than those mountain trail races, except for the Badwater Ultra Marathon Race. UTMB’s 166K has a cut-off time of 46 hours; Hardrock 100 which is dubbed as the hardest mountain trail ultra in the USA has a cut-off time of 48 hours; Barkley Marathon has a cut-off time of 60 hours where each loop of 20 miles has a cut-off time of 12 hours; and the most prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race has a cut-off time of 30 hours.

Each of these ultra races has their reason why the Race Organizer/RD have to impose cut-off times. Moreover, there are intermediate cut-off time in every checkpoint along the route which forces the runner to meet such times, or else, he/she would be disqualified. Such intermediate cut-off times are being strictly enforced as race marshals would strip each runner of their race bib or tag and advised not to be allowed to continue the race.

I would surmise also that such cut-off times are being imposed by the Bureau of Parks and Wildlife which manages or administers safety in these wilderness parks as one of the conditions for the issuance of event permits.

Without any reference on these cut-off times, I would conclude that the Race Directors, who are former ultra runners during their prime age, would be able to “test run” the course by themselves and come up with an arbitrary cut-off time based from their personal capability or finish time results. Or maybe, they invited some of their ultra friends to “test run” the course and get the “mean/average” time of the finishers.

When I thought of organizing the Bataan Death March 102 Ultra Marathon Race, it was a challenge for me to come up with a decent cut-off time for the whole race. After conducting some “50K test runs” with my ultra running friends, I was able to come up with the 18-hour cut-off time, where an average well-trained marathon runner would be able to finish a distance of 50K in 9 hours, which way beyond the 6-hour cut-off time for a marathon (42K) race. This is the reason why one of the qualifications of a BDM 102 participant is a Marathon Finisher.

As for the BDM 160, I just added another 9 hours and another 3 hours for the remaining distance of 58 kilometers where I considered the heat and humidity in the country as the main challenge to finish this event.

When I thought of coming with the first trail ultra marathon race in the country, I would conduct by myself a “test run” on the course by dividing the whole distance of 162 kilometers into two parts. Thus, I came up with 32 hours as the cut-off time for the 1st Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Endurance Race which was maintained for the past 3 years/editions.

As I ran through roads and trails in the country, I made sure that I would “test run” any course/route that I would like to be transformed into an ultra running event for the runners.

I never changed on how I would come up with the “cut-off” time for my races. I would “test run” the course and whatever time I would register as my finish time, such time will be considered as the official cut-off time for the ultra event. Considering my present age to run through the course, I think it would be fair that my finish time will be the target time for the younger runners.

It should be noted that Intermediate Cut-Off Time is the time that a runner would leave the Checkpoint.

So, what is my message in this post? It simply means that a well-trained ultra runner could easily finish my ultra races within the prescribed cut-off times. These cut-off times (intermediate and whole course) will be one’s measurement or gauge if proper training and preparation had been made prior to the event. If one could not meet such cut-off times, it simply means that one lacks the proper training for the event.

At The Finish Line: "Test Run" For The 1st ANTELOOP 100K Trail Run

At The Finish Line: “Test Run” For The 1st ANTELOOP 100K Trail Run

Let us stop bragging ourselves to have finished a race even if you have finished way beyond the cut-off time. Let us stop giving any “finisher’s loot” for these kind of finishers. A TRUE & OFFICIAL FINISHER is one who finishes the race within the prescribed cut-off time for the event.

Good luck and see you in my future ultra races.

 





EDSA, Traffic, Solutions, Incentives, Etc.

29 09 2014

Few weeks ago, I was able to read the Opinion Editorial in one of the daily newspapers. I don’t usually read the newspapers but with a brief stop to eat my breakfast in one of the Fastfood Restos along the NLEX, I got a free issue of the newspaper. What caught my attention in the newspapers is the Editorial about EDSA and the problem of traffic in the metropolis.

Few days ago, there is another “news” whose video became viral in the Internet which showed a fat guy in lavander-colored shirt slapping a MMDA traffic enforcer. I am not sure what made the guy got out from his car and showed outrage towards the traffic enforcer. I have the impression that it was a result of the traffic situation in the metropolis.

The bottomline and the BIGGER Picture in the Opinion Editorial and the “slapping” incident is the fact that for the past years and administrations, there is NO SOLUTION that is good in easing up the daily traffic in EDSA in particular and in Metro Manila in general. Not even the MMDA or the Office of the President could think of an idea and/or implement a measure that would sove the problem of traffic in Metro Manila.

(Note: I hope most of the people would have understood the SONA if the President should have included in his speech on how he woud solve the problem of traffic at EDSA, not about DREAMS and HOPES for the future!)

The volume of traffic had been growing in an unprecedented manner while the number of roads and mobility access have not increased and improved. Not even with the introduction of the Light Railway Transport (LRT/MRT) and increase in the number of traffic enforcers had improved the traffic condition of the city.

What could be the problem? What could be the solution?

If you observe, there are lots of transport buses and jeeps plying within EDSA and other main streets in the city. This is to include the Provincial Buses going and coming from the Northern & Southern Provinces. Maybe, reducing the number of buses and jeeps in the city would ease up the traffic in the city.

Do you still remember those “LOVE BUS” before? Why don’t we bring back those LOVE BUS and adhere to its time-tested system of having only ONE transport system for the BUSES in the city, not what we see as a “free for all” transport franchises for any corporate that has the capability to acquire a fleet of buses here and abroad. I would not deal on the details as I want to suggest an overall concept with regards of reducing the number of buses in the city. Simply put, stick to ONE transport company, private or government-controlled, with the best and excellent transport service to the public. (Note: It is worthy to note what the TransMilenio in Bogota, Colombia had solved the traffic congestion of in the said city since December 2000.)

TransMilenio Bus (Photo From Colombia Travel Blog By Marcela)

You might be wondering why I am trying to analyze the traffic situation in Metro Manila and trying to suggest some solutions to this perpetual problem of ours. It’s because there are solutions to be considered from the point of view from a runner/hiker/athlete and from me who gathered ideas from other sources.

Of course, as an athlete/runner/hiker, I would suggest that people would go back to what we would naturally do during the Early Ages—walk, jog, or run to reach from Point A to Point B. Let us not argue about the pros and cons about this suggestions. In the end, this suggestion has more advantages than disadvantages.

If you can’t walk, jog, or run and would like to have a faster time to reach Point B from Point A, you can ride on a bicycle. Of course, riding on a bicycle has also pros and cons but I am sure it has more advantages. (Note: It is worthy to note also what Mayor Enrique Penalosa of Bogota, Colombia had introduced like the Ciclovia and the First “Car-Free” Day to the world in 2001)

Ciclovia In Bogota On Sundays (Photo Taken From The Oil Drum: Local)

Have you heard about the carpool system that other countries use to ease up the volume of traffic in their streets? This system is applicable to corporate offices as well as government offices. One person in one office can share a ride for another 3-4 persons employed in the same office, provided they come from same origin or the person who drives can pick-up the remaining passengers where the route passes towards their destination.

Another option is for anybody or for you to try riding the bus/jeepney/UV Express in going to your office and going back to your home, at least, 1-2 times a week and leaving your car in your house.

These abovementioned suggestions are only effective if coupled with discipline, positive attitude, and commitment. But they are far more effective if we have some rewards or incentives if we commit ourselves to such suggestions. This is where leadership and management level would enter and be part of the soultion to our traffic problems.

Yes, incentives or rewards are the “carrot” that we need. The government could easily enact laws, ordinances, decrees, and rules and regulation but such “stick” woud not be effective if it is not implimented or enforced strictly.

A person who goes to his office by walking/jogging or running should receive some incentives from the management. It could be some cash enough to motivate him to maintain his running. Maybe, the cost of a brand-new running shoes can be collected by him every 3 months; a weekly registration fee for 10K to half-marathon race of his choice; or additional support for nutrition and hydration which is given on a monthly basis; or a new running kit (apparel) every 3 months!

For the cyclists, the same incentive as the runner is appropriate. It could be cash incentive or anything that he could use for his safety while riding his bicycle.

For the carpooler, he could be given some incentive in terms of additional allowance for the gasoline; repairs; and maintenance servicing of his personal vehicle. Better yet if the management could provide an all-expense trip for a family weekend vacation in any part of the country.

If you take the bus or public transport instead of your personal car, the management should double your daily fare and receive the incentive at the end of every two weeks. If you spend P50 a day for your fare, the management should be able to give you P100 as your daily incentive or maybe more.

You might ask me where will management get the money for the incentives. Well, I would assume that personnel would be healthier if they are more active by adhering to my suggestions. The management will be saving money for the medical and hospitalization of their employees, to include payments for medical and dental insurances. So, in effect, the management will be “front-loading” their savings for the medical expenses for their personnel in the form of incentives. It is easier to say than done but it is possible.

Now, it is for the government and private developers to come up with the needed infrastructure in order to impliment safety in running, walking, and cycling from Point A to Point B.

What could be more revealing is the fact that Colombia won 8 Olympic Medals in the latest London Olympics with Gold and Bronze Medals in BMX Cycling; Silver Medals in Road Cycling and Women’s Triple Jump and other individual sports. I wonder if there is a direct connection with how Bogota, Colombia solved its traffic problems and the encouragement for the people to have access to paved roads which are transformed into parks during the week.

Just maybe, this is a good model for us to emulate if we want to encourage more of our citizen to engage in endurance sports.

As they say, “you may never know”. What is needed is for us to TRY.





“The Hay Is In The Barn”

1 05 2014

This is the statement that my Coach would send me after putting all the miles in my training program in preparation for the 2014 The North Face 100-Kilometer Trail Run which will be held this weekend. Since it was a new statement to me and have some varied personal interpretations about it, I would “google” it in order to find out what my Coach would like to tell me. And I was satisfied of the things that I would read on the Internet explaining what the statement is all about.

Basically, farmers (in countries with winter season) would put and store bundles of hay inside their barn in preparation for the winter to come so that their livestocks (cattles/horses) would have enough food when snow covers their farm. In the Philippines, our farmers don’t have barns or livestock covered structures where they could store rice straws/hay as food for their horses, cows and carabaos (water buffalos). Our farmers would simply bundle them and stack them on top of the other to form a pointed cone in the middle of their farm. But the intention is the same, for the livestock to have a reserve food during the dry season which sometimes result to drought.

"Hay In The Barn" Philippine Style

“Hay In The Barn” Philippines’ Style (Photo By Google)

In running. which is the same with the other endurance sports, the statement would mean that one has to appreciate the past months that one had prepared for the event and it is time to reduce the volume and intensity of training before Race Day. It simply means that one has to taper in final preparation for the Big Event, the end-goal of ones months of training. Putting more miles and more intensity to ones training at this point would no longer have an effect for a better performance during the event. If one is hard-headed not to observe the taper period, he/she is likely to be overtrained or not fully recovered and fresh a few days before Race Day.

My failure to finish in last year’s TNF Phil 100 was the reason why I would concentrate on mountain trail running. For the past 10 months, I’ve been almost running on the trails in my playground 5-6 days a week! Following a structured training program for trail running which is tailored to my age and history of my  running-related injuries, I would log in at least 240-260 miles (380-420 kilometers) every month with some speed training/tempo running on the trail once a week and a rest day on Mondays. This is where I would test my nutrition, apparel, shoes and running techniques.

My training program paid off as a result of my satisfactory finishes at the Clark-Miyamit 42K Trail Run and Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Trail Run last year. Last December, I finished only 110 Kilometers in the Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Endurance Run due to nutrition problems and in February of this year, I was able to reach Kilometer #60 in the H1 100-Mile Trail Run after being lost along the route and spent a lot of my energy trying to catch-up with the rest of the runners. These DNFs had also contributed in my mileage in preparation for the next events to come.

For the past two months, March and April, I was consistent with my training which involved more hiking and running to higher elevations except for at least two weeks where I would reduce my mileage and do more some stationary cycling inside the house. It was also in these two weeks that I had to see my orthopedic doctor for some tests and rehabilitation for my injured knee in the past. These two weeks gave me the much-needed rest and recovery to be stronger in my runs and hikes to higher elevations and peaks within the vicinity of my playground for the rest of my training period.

Two weeks before this weekend’s TNF 100, I have tapered my training and I am ready for the challenge stored for me to this yearly event. I don’t have any specific goal for this event but as I usually predict in my CM Trail Races, I would target again to be among the upper 50% of the Finishers. If there will be 200 Finishers in this year’s TNF 100, I wish that I would land among the top 100 runners.

Wish me luck!

 








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