36th MILO Marathon Manila Elims

Last year, I ran the MILO Marathon Manila Eliminations but I DNFd at Km 23 because of my injury on my left knee.

This year, I did not have plans or intention of joining the MILO Marathon Manila Eliminations as I was out of the country when the media launching activity was held. However, my friend, Jonel, informed me through FB that he was able to register me to run the Half-Marathon distance which I thought to be a nice event for me to see the runners and at the same time to be seen by new runners after I’ve been busy going to the mountains and enjoying the beauty of trail running and hiking to the peak of mountains.

It was also a chance to expose one of my elite runners whom I’ve been training/coaching for ultra trail runs in the province. Danin Arenzana had been with me for 3 years and he has been consistently training for mountain runs. In his debut race at the Mt Ugo Trail Marathon Race (42K) by Jonel of FrontRunner Magazine last April of this year, he placed First Runner-Up, competing with the fast runners of Baguio City. I registered him for the MILO Half-Marathon distance as a test run on flat and paved surface.

Danin Arenzana At The Center, 2nd Place Overall in the FR Mag’s Mt Ugo Trail (42K) Marathon

As I said, I joined this race to be seen by other runners and also try to look for Marcelo and give him whatever I could receive from friends which they committed to be given to him. After giving some advice to Danin and making sure that he is positioned infront of the starters, I positioned myself at the back of the pack and find out how my body would perform without any structured training program as a preparation for this race.

The day before this race, I finished a 10K race in Fort Magsaysay where I finished in 1:02:15 hours. The course was relatively flat but there are hills to overcome which made the course very challenging. (Note: I will make a separate Race Report on this run). While traveling to Manila, I could feel some pain in my knees but with some massage, full sleep/rest and “voodoo” drinks, I was ready for a half-marathon race the following day.

On Race Day, I was surprised to find out that it took me almost one minute to cross the starting line from the back of the pack. It showed how many runners had registered and started for this race. I was informed that the number of runners had reached to 38,000+ making it the most attended running event in Metro Manila/in the country so far. This makes the MILO Marathon to be consistently called as the “most prestigious running event in the country”.

Crazy Old Guy Wearing A Trail Running Attire In A Half-Marathon Race

Well, going back to my performance. I was too slow and I understand that my age is slowly catching up with what is in my mind. My mind would say that I am still fast and strong as if I am 40 years old but my legs and my breathing were saying the reality—that I am already slow and getting older! On the first 10K, I was averaging a pace of 6:15-6:30 minutes per kilometer but on the 2nd half of the race, I began to slow down and had to walk before and after drinking water at the aid stations. My last 5 kilometers were really painful as I would experience some cramps on my calves. I had to walk on the last kilometer of the race.  I would finish the race in 2:25+ hours. My slowest finish time so far for a half-marathon distance!

Walking @ 200 Meters Before The Finish Line

There are no alibis or complaints about my performance. I simply did not prepare for this race. At least, I was able to gauge the level of my running fitness with this race. Which means, I lack the endurance and speed to sustain a consistent pace for the distance. Damn those swimming laps which I’ve done as cross-training to lessen the pain on my knees, hoping that I could improve my swimming endurance coming from a zero and a non-swimmer for the past months and weeks. I guess, I am a land animal and not a runner trying to glide like a fish in the water.

It’s a blessing in disguise that my road races last weekend (10K & 21K) have started again my focused training in running with the hope of joining more road and trail races in the coming months. Running and hiking to the peak of the mountains will still be a part of the training. My knees are still in pain but some adjustments in my training will have to be done for me to be back in consistent training.

Danin, my elite athlete, surprisingly landed #9 overall in the Half-Marathon Race with a time of 1:30+ hours. He performed well and he has the potential to run faster as I advised him to restructure and make some adjustments in his training program. We will see him more in trail running events!

Danin Arenzana Along Roxas Boulevard

It worthy to note also that my Elite Team Bald Runner/Philippine Army runners, Elmer Sabal and Gerald Sabal placed 2nd and 3rd Overall in the Marathon (42K) Elimination Race, respectively. Elmer finished in 2:45+ hours while Gerald finished in 2:46+ hours. I hope these runners will train some more to be able to win in the MILO Marathon FINALS in December. Danin will run again the Half-Marathon Race in the Finals, hoping to improve his time and ranking.

Congratulations to MILO Philippines and to Coach Rio De La Cruz (RUNRIO) for the successful conduct of this year’s Manila Elimination Race. You did a splendid job! No doubt, this running event will stay consistently as the “most prestigious running event in the country” in the years to come. Plus the fact that you have provided more running shoes to more students and potential runners around the country through your “Donate A Shoe” Program!

See you at the FINALS!

2009 Adidas KOTR Half-Marathon

2009 ADIDAS “King of the Road” Half-Marathon Race; 5:30 AM 25 October 2009

In last year’s edition of the ADIDAS “KOTR” Half-Marathon, I had a 13+K running workout on the day before the race. I was able to finish the race with a time of 1:48:55 hours. It was a fast time for me at that time and I was lucky to be wearing a Race Bib with the numbers “888”. Instead of wearing the nice blue singlet provided with the race kit, I was wearing my all-green Patagonia Trail Shorts & Shirt and started to wear my signature “Bandana” wrapped around my neck.

For this year, it was filled with more challenging feats in my running experience. On the day before the race, I joined my first early evening Marathon Race at the SMART 2nd Subic International Marathon along the SCTEX Highway. I was able to finish the race with a blistering pace at 3:58:09 hours. After having my dinner in Subic Freeport, I was on my way back to Manila, arriving in my place at almost 1:00 AM of Sunday.

With barely 3 hours of sleep, I was already prepraring for my next race which is the ADIDAS “King of the Road” Half-Marathon at The Fort. Thirty minutes before the start of the race, I was already inside the coral at the Starting Area. I was surprised to see runners who finished the Subic International Marathon who were raring to run the said race. Other runners from Subic had only 30 minutes of sleep as they went directly to the Starting Line at The Fort after coming from Subic. Hey, this is what I call “hardcore & crazy” runners like me!

I was undecided on what to do during the race. I thought that this race would be my recover run and try my best to finish the race. But on the other hand, I was thinking if I could do a multi-day stage run with barely 8-9 hours in between two runs. Running on the first day for 42 kilometers and then another 21 kilometers for the next and then another number of kilometers for the next day until I reach my destination. And that was what I did on this weekend of October. Who knows one of these days, I will start to run from Manila to Baguio City as my first personal multi-day stage run in my running experience & journey. And maybe after the 2nd BDM 102, I could run a farther distance with more days on the road.

In the true tradition of Mr Rudy Biscocho, after some problems and complaints with the claiming of Race Packets for the early registrants at the SM Megatrade and the announced Race Expo, the race started on time or I rather say earlier than the scheduled time! As the starting gun was fired, I immediately started to jog and then run at my comfortable pace. It could be the “rush of adrenaline” that I did not feel any soreness or pain on my legs during the first few kilometers of the race. I think I was fast on my first 10 kilometers that I was running with a pace of 5:30 minutes per kilometer!

However, on the second half of the race, my legs just went too heavy and I started to slow down. The feeling was like running the 1st BDM 102 on the last 10 kilometers before the Finish Line. I brought out all those “tricks” I could think of to maintain my pace and rythym. I even silently talked to my legs to keep on running and be able to finish the race. Then, I started to “shuffle” and swing my arms as fast as I could. I was thinking of finishing the race below 2 hours that I kept on looking on my GF 305 and trying to calculate my finish time. But my legs were not responding to what my brain was thinking of doing. I did not have any cramps or any “issues” during the race but it came to my mind that a half-marathon was a distance too far to be finished.

Many runners that I met and overtook me would greet me and it gave me some boost to increase my pace but my speed was not improving as I gleaned the data in my watch. When I reached the last 2 kilometers of the route, I was already on “cruise control” and kept my feet moving and pounding on the ground, one foot infront at a time. Finally, I reached the Finish Line in 2:01:30 hours with an average pace of 5:45+ minutes per kilometer which was almost the same pace that I had during the Subic International Marathon!

It was a slow finish time as compared with my past half-marathon finish times but I was able to prove that I could run and survive in a multi-day stage running event. It could be a solo 100-Mile run or a straight 4-5 days run with complete rest in between each day.

My Picture After Finishing The Race

 There was nothing to complain in the conduct of the race. The basic needs of the runners were met and given by the Race Organizers. Lastly, the singlet was NICE. My congratulations to Mr Rudy Biscocho on the conduct of the race but he has to improve in the registration system/process for all the runners. Congratulations also to ADIDAS who is really consistent and dependable in conducting this famous race every year.

After a back to back road race in one weekend, I decided to have a 3-day rest & recovery period. The next run would be the Philippine International Marathon: Run For Pasig River.

See you at the Starting Line.

Half-Marathon @ 2:00:18 Hrs

Yes, I finished this race with a slow finish time but this is the hardest route so far for a half-marathon road race. I hope most of the runners who participated in this road race would attest to this observation.

The race started 10 minutes late due to some stretching exercises led by one of our lady soldiers who won in one of the past Milo Marathon races. From the Grandstand at Camp Aguinaldo (Start & Finish Area), the half-marathon runners started the run by leaving the Grandstand towards Gate 1 and turn right towards Boni Serrano Avenue which is downhill to Katipunan Road. From Katipunan Road, the runners had pass at White Plains and later to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church going to Ortigas Avenue. From the crossing, the runners had to go uphill towards Meralco and to EDSA. From EDSA, turn right at Boni Serrano Avenue towards Gate 1. That route consists of one loop and every half-marathon runner should go around for another loop and enter Gate 6 of Camp Aguinaldo. From Gate 6, the runners would have a brief tour of the housing facilities of AFP personnel, the Golf Driving Range, the Soldier’s Mall (SM), part of the Camp Aguinaldo Golf Course, the White House (official residence of the Chief of Staff, AFP), the St Ignatius Cathedral (which I had it air-con(ed) when I was the Camp Commander of Camp Aguinaldo), and later turning right towards the Grandstand/Finish Line.

In my GF 305, the distance registered 20.7 kms which is short by 400 meters. I slowed down on the last 3 kilometers due to hunger and the heat of the sun but my legs were still strong and could hardly felt any sign of getting cramps.

I was talking to this tall guy from India (I could hardly pronounce and remember his name) who served the Indian Armed Forces for 9 years in the Infantry and proudly said that he joined in a war with Bangladesh when he was in the active military service. He is a good runner and started so fast that I was able to overtake him at the uphill portion going to MERALCO at Ortigas Avenue. Colonel Oscar Lopez of the Philippine Army was listening to the Indian guy. Col Lopez owns a brand-new GF 405 & his 1st time to use it and it looks great and it seems better than my GF 305. It functions like an IPhone with the “touch” functions!

In my estimate, we had more civilian runners than the members of the military in both the half-marathon and 5-K race. I was at the middle of the pack together with the “friends of BaldRunner”. I saw Loonyrunner, Joms, Marga, Gabriela Calma, Runmd, datc, Segovia siblings, noel lopez, officers and men assigned at Headquarters Philippine Army, and at GHQ, Camp Aguinaldo and familiar faces whom I could not memorize their names.

I was using my ASICS Gel-Kayano 13 for the first time in a road race and it felt good despite a “mild attack” on my gout after eating a Protein PowerBar last Thursday on my 31K run. On this race, I became a model of New Balance (again!) using their new line of running shorts and T-shirts which are light and well-ventilated. I saw another civilian runner wearing the same T-shirt as mine and I smiled at him. At this point, we were going downhill from the 7th-Day Adventist Church towards Ortigas Avenue. I was surprised to see a Rustan’s Mini-Mart fronting the church where I saw a number of Porsche Sports Car parked with the owners looking at the runners passing by.

I was using my Nathan Water Belt and my Sennheiser MPX 70 earphone with my Ipod Nano listening to the songs of Bee Gees, Abba, and Barry White.

These two runners on my right were like Scout Rangers who ran together and finished together. They would overtake me but later I would overtake them at the water stations as they stopped to drink water. The curly-long haired guy would stop running & walked briskly while the other guy would wait for him. At this point, we were already going uphill at Ortigas Avenue. I left these guys on the last 3 kilometers of the course. MSgt Illut became my pacer on my second loop of the race and he was fast and strong. My thanks to MSgt Illut’s effort!

This is another view of running along Epifanio De los Santos Avenue (EDSA) on my last 4 kilometers of the race. It was unfortunate that there are some parts of EDSA that don’t have that “white paint” on the edge of the road. I had observed that such rubberized paint on the edge of the road (5-6 inches in width) added more comfort and bounce on my running shoes and I tried running consistently on the said line during the race. The next picture shows the white paint at the edge of the road. MSgt Ireneo Illut (the runner & pacer behind me) is presently assigned with the Philippine Army’s Special Service Unit administering our elite athletes assigned with the Phil Army.


Running along EDSA and going uphill towards Boni Serrano with all those smoke-belching vehicles was one of the hardest portions of the road race and we had to pass through this main road twice! It was a nice experience running uphill which could be hardly noticed if you are riding inside a vehicle or car. The smell of the gasoline and smoke from the vehicles would make each runner’s breathing hard and problematic.

This was my last dash towards the Finish Line! On my right hand is the bottle holder/strap that I bought last week at R.O.X., Bonifacio High Street. Aside from the water on my Nathan Water Jug, I used this bottle holder with a bottle of Propel on my last 5 kilometers and it served well for its purpose. I hope to get one more of this for my other hand. At the Finish Line, I was able to meet runners from Malaysia and Indonesia who finished the race and they said nice things about the race & the challenging route and proudly said that they are my daily readers/visitors to my blog. I met also Michelle of Mizuno whom I encouraged to start running. I told her also that she has a lot of fans here and abroad because of the “picture” I posted lately. 

To all the runners, thanks for running in this race despite our problem in our water supply. To all the winners and finishers, congratulations and more power to all of you. See you at the next Mizuno Rush Infinity 15K Run.

More Pictures @ 7th DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap Half-Marathon

09 March 2008 (6:00-8:00 AM)

The following were the other pictures taken during the conduct of the 7th DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap Half-Marathon:


Running along the road in between Market! Market! Shopping Mall and Serendra Condominiums at The Fort at vicinity Km # 8 Continue reading

1:47:16 Hours @ 7th DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap Half-Marathon

09 March 2008

That is my unofficial time of finish in this morning’s 7th DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap Half-Marathon which started at 6:00AM at the Grandstand of Villamor Air Base, the Headquarters of the Philippine Air Force. It was supposed to start at 5:30 AM but due to the presence of late registrants, we gave at least 30 minutes delay to accommodate more of the runners for the Half-Marathon Race. After the Opening Prayers and Warm-Up exercises, the Half-Marathon started at eactly 6:00 AM with almost 600 hundred runners. The 5K race started thirty minutes after the 21K race had left the starting area.


I was able to talk to “Totoy” Santos, MiracleCello, and other runners/bloggers at the starting area. I was surprised to see an unprecedented number of runners from the civilian sector to include some foreigners (no Kenyans this time). I’ve seen a lot of runners who ran the 2008 Pasig River Marathon two weeks ago and the Condura 10K Run last week. I consider them as the real weekend “warriors” on road racing/running. 


Runners would run along the streets inside Villamor Air Base for the first 1.5 kilometers before going out of the camp along Villamor Road leading the runners towards Fort Bonifacio area. I maintained an average pace of 5:15 minutes per kilometer for the first half of the race, drinking much water along the way in every two kilometers. I had to make my “pit (pee) stop” at Lawton Avenue before reaching Essensa in one of the big electric posts at Kilometer # 6. I was glad there were lots of bougainvilla plants to cover me..ha!ha!ha! I have to catch up with the other runners who left me with a good 50-meter distance, finally overtaking them at the uphill portion on the road beside Essensa.


Running alone at the vicinity Essensa, which was Kilometer # 6 with a pace of 5:13 minutes per kilometer.


Running with some of the participants at vicinity Market! Market on our way to the 10.5K turning-point and the sun was about to shine on us. 

I just maintained my pace all the way to the turning-point at the back of the S & R Store at the The Fort. I was really bit worried about the rising sun that runners could see once we are going back to the Market! Market! area. I thought it would bring more heat and discomfort to the runners but when we reached Lawton Avenue, the sunlight was already on our backs.


I had the chance to pick-up some runners along the way and join them to maintain and later increase my pace. These guys are really good and consistent with their pacing.


On my way back to the finish line at the vicinity Serendra.


Upon reaching the last 4-Km marker, I knew I could break two hours barrier to finish the race. I was accompanied from Essensa by MSgt Illut, a legend of the early marathon races in the ’70s, and Capt Ferdie Espejo, my “lead man” in making sure that the race is well-planned and well-organized, up to the finish line. Thank you, guys! You have done a wonderful job!


Finishing the Half-Marathon in 1:47:16 is my best PR time so far.

Congratulations to all the participants and finishers of the Half-Marathon & 5K Race! See you in the next road races.

The following were the data taken from my GF 305:

Total Distance—20.98 kms           Time—1:47:16 Hrs

Average Pace—5:15 mins/km      Average Speed—11.4 kms/hr

Maximum Speed—14.4 kms/hr   Total Calories—1,507 calories

Average HR—167 bpm                   Maximum HR—174 bpm

Total Ascent—592 meters             Total Descent—595 meters

D-1 Day: DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap Half-Marathon

08 March 2008

I arrived in Manila this morning confident that my officers, staff, and the different Special Service Unit representatives of the Major Services of the Armed Forces of the Phuilippnes have prepared the things that are needed in the conduct of the event. In my personal conversations with them, they assured me that there will be enough water stations along the way and water cups & water supply in every station.

As of this writing, we expect a total of 1,200 runners for the half-marathon and 5K run. Out of this, at least 500 runners will be running the half-marathon distance while an estimated of 700 runners will be running the 5K race. The Half-Marathon will start at 5:30 AM while the 5K race will start at 6:00 AM.

Water stations will be positioned at the start/finish line; at the turn-around point for the 5K run (near Bonifacio Naval Station, along Lawton Avenue); at vicinity Essensa, The Fort ; and at vicinity International School (near the 21K turn-around point). The Major Service Bands will be prepositioned at the vicinity of these water stations to provide music to the participants. The famous Philippine Marines Drum and Bugle Corps will display their marching drills while playing their musical instruments before the awarding ceremony.

In the Half-Marathon race, there will be medals awarded to the top five in each age category for the men and ladies and cash awards will be given to the top three overall of the men and ladies. In the 5K race, top three in the men & ladies overall will be awarded with cash prizes.

At the finish line, each finisher will receive their “Certificate of Achievement” and the packed breakfast food (boiled banana, hard-boiled egg, bottled water & pandesal).

I just finished signing 1,200 pieces of “Certificate of Achievement” for the finishers in tomorrow’s race.

My strategy? Stay relaxed and maintain a good running form and be able to finish the race in two hours and ten minutes (2:10:00).

Good luck and see you at the Starting Line.