Starting today, October 1, 2020, this blog site will be featuring “general information” on things that are happening within the environment, whether they are politics, social issues, economic issues, health and sports, and other current events and latest information. Hopefully, this will make this blog site relevant and on “real-time” situation reporting. I will be adding some information about fashion and entertainment, most specially on the movies that I watch on my Apple TV through You Tube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, and Apple Movies.
With this development, I will expect myself to be writing almost everyday and make myself busy. Thank you for following and reading this blog.
One of the training tips that my Coach had given me when I complained about my knee pains as a result of my long runs in the mountains is for me to try hiking into the mountains instead of doing my easy long runs there. However, he told me that I should carry a weighted backpack with me starting with 10-15 pounds for my first try or experience in hiking to the mountains. This workout of hiking with a weighted backpack should be done once a week.
This advice or tip was given to me way back last December 2019. It was good that I bought a North Face backpack which is made with thick material and does not have so many pockets or dividers inside it. I would use 2-liter bottles filled with water as the weight I would carry inside my backpack. Since then, I have been hiking with a weighted backpack once a week in going to the mountains for a hike of 3-4 hours and steadily progressed on making my backpack weight up to 25 pounds. Despite the fact that I would be enticed to run the downhills, I forced myself to be patient and slow on the downhills. On those hikes with weighted backpack for the past weeks and months, it gave me more strength on my legs and thus, I was able to finish my ultra trail races (local and international) since then up to the time Covid-19 Lockdown was imposed.
During the Lockdown period (past 4 months), I have been doing my daily runs in my Backyard Loop and I would be doing my hiking with a weighted backpack once a week. After I rested for one week of no running, I resumed my hiking with a weighted backpack yesterday with a reduced weight of 20 pounds. However, I did it in my Backyard Loop. After one mile, I started to perspire and after one hour, I was able to hike a distance of 3 miles.
It was good to be back hiking with my weighted backpack again and I am eager to go back to the mountain trails in the coming days and weeks.
Last Tuesday, I was able to run in 61 minutes (1:01 hours) covering a distance of 4 miles or 6.4 kilometers in my Backyard Loop. I started with an easy pace of 16-17 minutes per mile until I was able to increase it to 12-13 minutes per mile. I usually run one loop in my Backyard for 5:30 minutes on an easy pace but I could also finish it in 4:15 minutes in my tempo runs.
I still had my Army Physical Fitness Challenge later in the day which I passed, doing the exercises on the minimum/passing scores of 20 push-ups; 30 sit-ups; and 20-minute 2-mile run along the paved road in front of my compound. Later in the evening, I did my 2-minute forward plank challenge and 100 push-ups challenge.
Yesterday, Wednesday, I did a one-hour hike in my Backyard Loop carrying a backpack weighing 20 pounds of water which were contained in six 2-liter bottles. I was able to cover a distance of 3 miles in one hour. Later in the day, I was able to do my daily “Challenges”.
On the Covid-19 situation in the Philippines, there are now 143,749 total of confirmed cases where 4,444 cases were reported for the day. The following picture shows the latest update from the Department of Health:
The weather had improved for the past two days but it is still cloudy and overcast. The ground condition of the trail in my Backyard Loop has become softer due to the past rains but I am glad that the composition of the soil is more sandy than being a muddy one. My trail shoes had been appropriate with this kind of ground condition. Every step gave me more comfort to my old knees and joints.
When I was the Assistant Chief of Staff for Training and Education (G-8) for the whole Philippine Army in 1999 to 2000, I came up with a Command Directive that had been approved by the Commanding General of the Philippine Army for the strict implementation of the Army Physical Fitness Test where every personnel of the Command, to include all the Generals, to undergo the said test on a regular basis, for promotion, and other administrative movement to include application for schooling in the local and international training schools. Since its implementation, I was a witness of deaths of those who passed and failed in the said test, separation from the service, and non-promotion of officers and men of the Philippine Army. Because of this test, the Officers and Men of the Philippine Army were able to embrace the importance of a healthy body and mind. There had been studies made by the local medical practitioners on the validity of the Army Physical Fitness Test just to prove that the US Army Standards are not fitted to our local soldiers but after some adjustments of the standards, I personally still believe that the US Standards fit well to any person on earth. For one to be able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test Standards, one has to prepare and train for it.
To prove my point, I asked a soldier in his mid-40s who failed in his first APFT to report to me every day for daily workout of the 3 exercises involved in the test. I asked the soldier to start doing at least 20 reps of push-ups, 20 reps of sit-ups, and run, jog and walk the 2-mile run. On a daily basis, the soldier was asked to increase the reps by one repetition every day and ask the soldier to run, at least, one hour everyday at an easy effort. After a month, I conducted a PFT on the said soldier. He was surprised that he finally got a score of 90%. He passed the 70% minimum score by getting a 90% score after preparing for the test in one month. If that soldier who failed can improve within a month, it is possible that anybody who failed in the test could pass it with the proper training and preparation.
I know that the said Command Directive that I authored is still in place and being implemented right now by the Philippine Army. This is now one of the policies of the Philippine Army that is already institutionalized.
Now, after finishing an international and local Virtual Races during the period of 4 months of Lockdown due to Covid-19, I have been thinking of a running challenge or doing any physical challenge that will motivate me to do some exercises and running on a daily basis. I immediately thought of the APFT but to add challenge into it, I would do it on a daily basis, instead of the Quarterly Period (once in 3 months) which is the regular schedule for the conduct of the APFT in the Philippine Army.
So, on July 25, 2020, Saturday, I started my daily Army Physical Fitness Test Challenge In 30 Days. I have to make a video each of my daily APFT and have it uploaded in my You Tube Channel. Actually, I did the Video posted for my Day #1 on You Tube for a “teaser” on my APFT Challenge. On my first day, I did 21 reps of push-ups which is a passing score for my age; 29 reps on sit-ups (passed); and 28:13 minutes on the 2-mile run (failed!) in my Backyard Loop which is a single-track trail with lots of turns and uneven ground. The passing time/score for the 2-mile run for my age is 20 minutes.
The full instructions of the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and Standards/Minimum Score could be seen here.
I hope to update my You Tube Channel with a Video on this Challenge every 6 days.
Thank you for watching this “teaser” video on the said Challenge.
I am not sure if I had been given by my CTS Coach to do a Pyramid Running Workout for the past 3 years. I was surprised to see in my weekly schedule that I was scheduled for this running workout last Wednesday. However, I missed doing the said workout on the scheduled date because my body was not feeling well to do an interval running workout as I have been experiencing some pain on my right knee for the past days. Instead, I just did an easy run for about two hours in my Backyard Loop on Wednesday.
Yesterday, Thursday, I decided to do the Pyramid Running Workout. The workout goes this way: warm-up for 20 minutes and then run with a Rating of Perceived Effort (RPE) of 8-9 for 2 minutes and then slow down for the next two minutes. After the recovery run of 2 minutes, start again for an RPE of 8-9 for 3 minutes and then slow down for 2 minutes. This is repeated until your fast run will be done to four and then five minutes with each rest interval of 2 minutes. From 5 minutes, go down to 4 minutes, rest in between for two minutes, until you do your last run in 2 minutes. So, in summary, I ran 2-3-4-5-4-3-2 minutes with a two-minute recovery run in between those fast repetitions. After which, I made a cool-down run for another one hour with 20-minute strides of 6 repetitions on the last 20 minutes of my run. In the said workout, I was able to cover a distance of 7.15 miles in 1:57 hours. I did this workout in my Backyard Loop which consists of a single-track trail.
Ten years ago, I was doing this workout in an oval track and I became a faster road runner in the process.
I did not have any problems with my knees during the run and I had a wonderful feeling after the said workout.
After running for six weeks on MAF training, easy running using my Heart Rate Monitor, following the MAF Formula where my beats per minute range would be from 112 to 122 beats per minute must be maintained while I was on my running workout. As a review, Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Formula is 180 minus my age of of 68 plus 10 bpm being a runner of more than 65 years old and had never been “sidelined” from running due to injury. My MAF bpm is 122 and my range of MAF Beats Per Minute during my running workout should be 112 to 122. For the past 6 weeks, I was not supposed to breach the maximum bpm of 122 during my easy/recovery runs. However, with my training schedule being a CTS athlete for the past weeks, I have to follow my training schedule and workout as prescribed by my Coach. However, what I have observed was that I was not fatigued in my tempo runs and I could easily recover after a day of hard training.
After two days of not running due to the inclement weather in my Playground, I was fully rested during the weekend and I decided to have my first MAF Test today, June 29, 2020. After a short stretching exercises, I started my run with a warm-up for one mile where my Heart Rate steadily increased from 90 beats per minutes to 112 after my first loop in my Backyard. Before I finished my first mile, I was able to reach 119 beats per minute. Once I finished one mile, I went on on my First Mile for my MAF Test. I finished my first mile in 16:15 minutes where I had to walk for a few seconds after my bpm reached to 123 bpm on the last 400 meter of my first mile. After the first mile, I took a picture of my GPS Watch, take a sip of cold water, and walked a few meters until 30 seconds elapsed (this ritual was repeated every time I finish a mile) and started my 2nd mile. The following is the list of my time every mile:
1st Mile——16:15 minutes 4th Mile——14:37 minutes
2nd Mile—–15:28 minutes 5th Mile——14:35 minutes
3rd Mile——14:31 minutes
It was only on the first mile that I breached 122 bpm to 123bpm but it was able to bring it back after a few seconds of hiking. For the rest of the miles, I was able to maintain my average of bpm within 121-122. On my last mile, I was able to maintain the whole mile with an average bpm of 122.
Although my Backyard Loop is not the ideal venue or location for my MAF Test, I am still satisfied with the result of my test and how my body felt after the workout. My body was very relaxed and not so worn-out or fatigued. In my past MAF Tests few years back, I have been doing them on Oval Track, being faster than my time in my Backyard Loop. With the uneven ground, lots of turns, and single-track trail in my Backyard Loop, I expect that my time would be slower than running in an oval track. On the contrary, I think I am faster now as compared when I had my MAF Test in 2011.
After 4 weeks, I will be doing my second MAF Test with the hope that I will be able to lower the times as compared to the results today. I will continue to apply MAF training in my easy/recovery runs in the coming days and weeks. I know that I will be a better and smarter runner in the next months and years due to this training.
After finishing the 2020 Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon (BUTM) 106K Race in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia on March 15, 2020, the Philippines was put on strict Lockdown due to Covid-19 upon my arrival in Manila in the early morning of March 17, 2020. From the Manila International Airport, I immediately went directly to my Playground, driving my personal vehicle, in the Province of Bataan which is 110 kilometers away northwest of Metro Manila. This is the place where I spent those “Lockdown” period/days as imposed by the Government due to the pandemic brought about by Covid-19.
Having surrounded with hills and mountains in my Playground and with a “Backyard Loop” once I step out of the door of the house, I maintained my daily training with the hope that the races where I registered would still be held as scheduled.
A new ultra trail race of KOTM (King of the Mountains) series in the Cordillera Region, Pulag 100K Ultra Trail Race, would be in its first edition on April 18-19, 2020, was supposed to be my next race for the year. But because of the prevailing situation in the country, the Race Director deemed it to be cancelled for safety reasons. Despite this situation, I did a “virtual run” on the date of the event in my Backyard Loop where I finished 50K in 11 hours and some minutes!
For the month of May, I was supposed to go to California, USA and join the 2020 Western States 100-Mile Memorial Day Training Runs for the said weekend. I made already my accommodation reservation and I was glad I was not charged for it. Also, I was glad that my travel reservations were not scheduled before the Lockdown was imposed.
By the end of this June, I was supposed to go to Europe as I was accepted in a lottery to join the 2020 Mont Blanc Du Marathon 42K Race in Chamonix, France but it was cancelled by the Race Organizer/s. I guess, I opted to have my registration on a “roll-over” for the 2021 edition.
Before the end of May, I was able to request for the refund of my registration fee for the Eiger Ultra Trail Race 51K as the Race Organizers announced on the earlier part of May that this event is also cancelled. It was supposed to be my second time to visit the Jungfrau-Interlaken-Grindelwald Region in Switzerland.
So far, those are the four Trail Races/Events which are cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation. I was fortunate that I did not plan ahead and spend some money in advance for my travel arrangements.
I just want to review the things that I do when I am running in my training and races. Most of these things are known already by runners but sometimes they forget when fatigue and pain come into play at the middle of the run. I usually do these “tricks” to focus or bring back my mind into running as we tend to be distracted by some factors, whether they are external or internal to one’s body. So, these are the tricks that I do:
1. Strides: This trick is described as quick increase in pace or speed for a short distance or time followed with an interval of slow pace. Most of the time, the time elapsed during a particular stride should be the same period with the slow pace. I am usually asked by my Coach to do some “strides” during or at the end of my Warm-Ups and during my Cool Down. However, at the middle of my Races and training workouts, I usually apply these “strides”. Usually, I adopt the “30-second” duration of “strides” which I estimate 30 counts whenever my right of left foot hit the ground.
2. “30-30”-Second Run: Actually, this is the same with “strides” and it was popularized by Kilian Jornet’s technique in running trail events. The first 30 seconds consist fast run and the next 30-seconds in easy run. This cycle is repeated throughout the run or race. Just the same with the strides, I usually count my right or left feet landing/hitting the ground from count one to thirty on fast pace and then shift to an easy pace with the same number of counts. If one can do this consistently, a runner can run as far as he can. This is what I adopt in my running, whether I am on the trail or road. This is my favorite drill during my endurance trail runs and during my road runs.
3. “30-20-10”-Second Run: This drill run is done by doing first a 30-second easy run, then followed with a faster 20-second run, and finish with a 10-second “sprint” to complete the cycle. You can repeat this cycle drill as long as you want. I usually do this drill in 4-5 cycles in the middle of my workout. As you progress, a runner can increase the number of cycles at least one cycle per week until comfortable to do 8 cycles in a single running workout.
4. “Fartlek” Run: Simply look for an object far in front of your running path and then “sprint” towards the said object. Take an easy and relaxed run after the sprint and then repeat the sprint if you feel you have already rested/recovered. Repeat the process as long as you want. You can walk as your rest/recovery in between sprints. You can start with 4 repetitions in a single workout and then steady increasing the number of repetitions within the middle part of your running workout. This workout is done once or twice a week.
5. Counting Steps or Strides: In the middle of my runs, I usually count my strides, whether they are easy or fast, from one to 90. In my estimate, 90 strides is equivalent to one minute which in turn would estimate me running a stride rate of 180 steps per minute. I usually do this drill when I would force myself to jog or to have an easy run instead of walking on the downhills or flat roads.
Most of these tricks were taken from the experiences shared by other runners. Some were taken from running books and articles from running magazines with the proper studies made by Sports scientists and sports physiologists. You can adopt one trick or you can combine all of these tricks in a single workout. It is up for the runner to choose which one is fitted for their prevailing running condition and purpose or objective while running.
After I arrived from the United States to join the 123rd Boston Marathon this year, I immediately created a dirt, single track trail inside my Playground Lot which has a total area of about One Hectare. With the help of an assistant to cut/clear the path from weeds, roots, and protruding stones and rocks; and an engineer’s distance measuring cycle which I asked my friend, Rowell Ramos, to buy from Amazon, I was able to measure a distance of 400 meters for one loop. It is not as perfect as an Oval Track in shape but it suits the purpose of a single track trail path.
Since then, I’ve been running along this loop on a regular basis . I always change the direction of my run every time I finish One Mile, which is equivalent to 4 loops. Sometimes, I would change the direction of run after Two Miles or sometimes, I consider the elapsed time like changing the direction after running for 30 minutes. You can say that running in a loop is boring but I make sure to make some speed drills or “strides” in some of the sections. However, hearing my music playlist solves everything in terms of maintaining my pace, rhythm, and trying to be more focused on my leg speed/turn-over on the trail.
The loop is not completely a flat one. It has some minimal ascents and descents which are short in distance but I could play or vary my pace and speed depending on what type of workout that I would do for the day. During my easy runs, I would register an average speed of 3.5-3.8 miles per hour with an initial one or two loops of hiking as my warm-up. During my tempo runs, I would try to reach my average speed from 3.8-4.2 miles per hour after doing some drills and stretching exercises. Lately, I would combine easy running on the first half of my workout and then do a tempo run on the last half. If my workout calls for a two-hour run, I would run the first hour with an easy average speed of 3.5 miles per hour and then the last hour with a tempo average speed of 4.2 miles per hour. My last one mile (4 loops) would be my cool-down jog.
With this Playground Loop, I could do my runs anytime of the day. I could also run half-naked if the weather is hot or if I do my runs in the middle of the day. Most sections of the loop are covered with fruit trees (mangoes), coconuts, and ornamental plants and I don’t worry about the heat of the sun as I have a shade throughout the course. I also run during nighttime to test my headlamps if they are still working and trying to improve my pace and speed during night running. Most of all, I pre-position two water stations along the loop and take in some of my nutrition and hydration depending on the time or distance I have covered. I have been experimenting which one is more effective; taking in my food and hydration by the number of minutes or by the distance I have covered. Lately, I have concentrated my nutrition and hydration frequency by the number of miles I have covered. The alarm from my Garmin GPS Watch once I cover one mile, warns me to take in a bite of my food (rice cake, fruit, power bars, or biscuits) followed with 1/4 water from my 20 oz water bottle. And this practice is repeated every mile along the course. I have observed that I have maintained my speed through this method. However, in the end, I would still be lighter in weight by 2-3 pounds once I step into the weighing scale after my workout. Hopefully, I would be able to solve this situation in my future runs.
After months of running in this loop, I have observed that my Garmin GPS Watch would register a longer distance from what I have measured through the engineer’s distance cycle meter. I think the vegetation and the trees that cover the trail would impede the accurate reading of the GPS satellites with my Watch. The GPS distance would be longer by 30-50 meters depending on the time of the day and the prevailing weather. The GPS distance is longer in the later afternoon, evening, and when it is cloudy. Sometimes, my Strava distance would be shorter than what is registered in my Garmin GPS Watch.
When I prepared for an ultra trail event like the Cortina 48K Trail Race in Italy this summer, almost all my running workouts were done on this loop without my trekking poles but I would carry 20 pounds of frozen water in my hydration bottles with my hydration vest. Whether I would hike or jog during day or night, I would be slogging it out along this loop up to three hours or more. I could only count with my fingers on how many times did I peak and “double-traverse” Mt Roosevelt (highest mountain in my neighborhood) by slowly hiking up on the ascents and “power hiking” on the descents with 20 pounds of water and food in my vest and belt at the middle of the day. Combined with these hikes in the mountain and runs along my Playground Loop, I was able to finish the said race even though I was the last runner to arrive within the prescribed cut-off time of twelve hours.
Since I have been training alone in my runs, I feel safe and secured within the confines of my Playground Loop anytime of the day. I can do whatever I want. I could make a video of my runs. I could dance after my runs. I could shout. I could sing with my Playlist. I could think clearly while running. I could wear any running outfit that I like. And simply enjoy running alone in my Playground. At this time, my Playground Loop is still not ready to receive some visitors, even if they are my running friends. I will keep this place as sacred and private.
Shoe Review: Kalenji “Run Support” Running Shoes White & Black
It took for my Running Friend Jon Las Bruce of Decathlon to post a picture of the said running shoes (White Model) for me to be attracted to the shoes. Maybe it was because of the color White or maybe I need a reason to visit the Decathlon Store for the first time after months that this Sports Store (From France) has landed in the country. But most importantly, it was the price of the said shoes that really nailed the coffin, so to speak, to get a pair of this shoes. With a simple Private Message to JLB, he was able to reserve one pair for my size of 9.5 (US). Once I was in Manila, my priority was to get and buy the said shoes.
After about one week of running and testing the White Model in my training for the 2019 Boston Marathon which was two weeks before the event, I was surprised on its cushioning, fit for comfort, and lightweight of the shoes. The cushioning is better than the average feeling that I get from my other road shoes. The fit was perfect because the uppers are very light and there are holes or spaces that provide better ventilation for my feet as I can feel air would flow inside the shoes through these spaces. The upper mesh provided maximum comfort because it is stretchable and it has minimal seams. It feels also that I thought I was running with my lighter racing shoes as the shoes weighs 263+ grams for my size of 9.5.
Later, I found out that there is a Black version of the said shoes and I immediately contacted JLB of Decathlon to reserve one pair of the said color which I will get as soon as I visit Metro Manila. Who would be happy to have two pairs of this particular model of Kalenji Running Shoes when the price is equivalent to 1/3 of the price of the other popular brands of running shoes? Yes, I became a sucker for this particular shoe model of Kalenji. Cheap, durable, comfortable, light, with much cushion and a 2-year warranty of the shoes are enough reasons for me to have these shoes in my Running Arsenal. The price of One Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety Pesos for a pair is a stunner!
I am not much of a technical person for me to mention to you the materialsused in the composition of the uppers, sole, linings, shoe laces, width of the forefoot/toe box, and stack height (difference on the thickness of the heeland forefoot parts of the shoes). I have a feeling that the stack height of this particular model is 8-10 mm which is very good for my old feet. I had been bothered by my Achilles Tendinitis on my right foot when I run long distances on the road and I found out that the higher stack height would relieve the pain during my runs. That is one of bonuses or advantage of this shoes as compared to my other running shoes. The bottom line is that this Kalenji Running Shoes is a WINNER!
Wait! Before I forget, these shoes have also reflectorized strips on the back/heel portion and front of the uppers. The Kalenji Logo with a strip on the tongue of the shoes would glow when a light is being directed to the shoes, the same with reflectorized strips at the back of the shoes. With these strips, you can be visible during your night running and thus, gives safety for the user from incoming faster moving vehicles at your front or behind you.
Up to this date, I have already ran more than 200 Kilometers for each of these shoes. Sometimes, I would combine the shoes, White on my right /left feet and the other Black on the other feet while running in my Playground! Yes, I usually use them also in my Trail Loop in my Playground and they give me much comfort and support to my old knees! By doing this combination of colored shoes in my running workouts, I would give them what they deserve on equal basis. After almost five (5) months of running with these shoes, I could barely see any wear and tear on their soles as compared to my Hoka One One “road to trail” shoes. Lately, during my running “stunt” at this year’s MILO Marathon, I used the Black Model of this particular shoes when I finished the MILO Half-Marathon running with a suit and tie.
It is a regret on my part not being able to decide to buy the RED model of this shoes when I saw it in the Decathlon Store in Mongkok, Hongkong. Maybe, I would buy this particular shoes in the future but how I wish I could buy and try their KIPRUN Trail shoes, too!
I highly recommend this shoes for daily running workouts, as well as, in short distance races. They are my GO running shoes when I decide to hit the paved roads when I do my tempo runs in preparation for my ultra tail events.
(Note: Buying my first Black Kalenji “Run Support” Shoes was my first visit to a Decathlon Store in the Philippines and since then I have been going back to the same store at Tiendesitas, Pasig City and when I go abroad, the first thing that I would ask “Google” is the location of the Decathlon Store in the city! Since then, I would buy some of my running attire from Decathlon. They are very cheap and you can get the best quality in terms of durability and comfort. Wow! Thanks to Jon Las Bruce and to the rest of the running staff of the said store for their immediate assistance whenever I visit the place. Of course, I paid for these Kalenji Shoes and I never had thought of getting FREE items in the store for my reviews. And one more thing, all the Decathlon Stores have a customers lounge where one could sit and relax, and also enjoy their Free Wi-Fi. Whenever I visit Hongkong, the Decathlon Store in Mongkok is my favorite “meet-up” place for those Pinoy runners.)