I am not…

1. A “real” runner. There is no such thing as a “real” runner, you are simply called a “runner” if you have finished any road race where you registered, period!

2. Your “personal coach”. I am your “guide” and try to “walk the talk” about running, so to speak.

3. Your “PR or advertiser”. I don’t advertise any road race except for the BDM 102/151 and PAU Races. Let the takbo.ph do it’s job. I don’t also advertise any particular brand of running shoes and apparel. I only write about what I am using and wearing during my training and races.

4. A perfect Race Organizer/Race Director. I still have to learn a lot by participating in international running events.

5. A “running expert” who completed formal studies in sports science, medicine, and physiology. But having completed such studies does not mean that you are an “expert’ in running even if you have not experienced finishing a marathon race. After almost 40 years of running, I am still learning from my experiences in my training and races. Lots of marathon and ultra distance finishes still don’t make me as a “running expert”.

6.  Against high cost of registration fees. Nobody is forcing you to join the races anyway. This is a democratic country. Pay your registration fees, run & enjoy the race, get your award/certificate/medal, and don’t “whine” about fees. Finishing a race is not for “bragging rights” or FB status purposes. Did anybody of you complain when you paid your registrations fees for your NYC Marathon or SC Hongkong/Singapore Marathon?

7. Against Race Organizers. There is a big difference between a “reponsible” Race Organizer from a “profit-oriented” one. But there is a big possibility that both could combine. “Responsible” Race Organizers are the ones who are seasoned runners who can relate to the hardships of a runner to finish the race. These ROs are the ones who can anticipate the needs of the runners and make sure that the last runner reaches the finish line. The “profit-oriented” ones, aside for obvious reasons, could be identified by their body-built—-they are fat, have protruding bellys and sometimes, old (like me!) and young alike, and you have not seen them run in a road race!  And if you see them run in road races, they are not for their personal PRs but they simply want to finish the race within the cut-off time. They could have been the most experienced ROs/RDs that the country could offer but they usually commit mistakes/lapses in every race that they conduct.

8. Against Corporate Sponsors. You can donate, in kind or in cash, or do some services if you want to sponsor or support my races. But please, don’t tell me what to do about my race.

9. For Awards and Recognition. You can have the distinction of being the most visited blog or recipient of a Blog Award or the most popular runner in the country and I think you deserve such recognition. I just want to simply go on with my advocacy to inform everybody that running is healthy and it is a way of life.

10. A politician or make my runs for political, social, and economic causes. You have a lot of government, semi-government and private entities whose job is to help solve poverty, give opportunities to other people and cure diseases. If you want to run because you want to construct a school or library, I don’t believe you! This is the job of the Departments of Education and Local Governments and they have the budget to implement it. This is the same to other causes and fund-raising benefits where your “cause” is the specific function of a particular Department of the government. 

11. Selective in my running blogs or topics. If there is something wrong about the race like deaths, casualties, cheating, and mistakes/lapses of Race Organizers/Race Directors, I will not hesitate to publish them in this blog as long as I am a participant in the said race in question. This is the best way to provide feedback and evaluate each race with the end-view of improving future races.

12. Lastly, I am not impressed on the quantity/number of runners joining our road races when the Race Organizer could not provide a good quality support services. I could not understand why there seems to be a “contest” on the number of participants in every road race. One says, they have 28,000 runners, another says that they are planning to have 110,000 runners. What is their objective? Is it to impress other countries, for the Guinnes World of Records, for profit, or for publication purposes? We should remember that our streets/roads are too narrow and runners compete with other vehicles for space. If what I’ve heard is correct, our main roads can only accommodate at least 8, 000 runners and if the ROs/RDs know this information, they should not push their luck in coming up with a bigger number of runners than the required volume/capacity of our roads.


Fargo Street & Los Angeles Pinoy Ultra Runners

Ben Gaetos aka “benwah” made a comment on this blog giving me encouraging words and tips on my preparations for my first 50K ultra trail run next Saturday in the Malibu Creek State Park. Benwah is an accomplished ultramarathon runner together with Carmela Layson and E-Rod aka “Habang Tumatakbo”, successfully finishing almost all the popular ultra trail runs in California. Lately, Carmela Layson won in her age category as Female Champion in the Mt Disappointment 80K/80M Trail Run last 09 August 2008 at the Angeles National Forest/San Gabriel Mountains where Jorge Pacheco (Champion of 2008 Badwater) won as the Champion in the 80-Mile race.

These three Pinoy Ultramarathon runners living in the Los Angeles area will be running the famous Angeles Crest 100-Mile Endurance Trail Run which will be held on 13 September 2008. Continue reading “Fargo Street & Los Angeles Pinoy Ultra Runners”

Marathon & Beyond

On my first week here in the United States (last July 12-19), I visited the new Barnes & Noble Store at the new Americana Mall in Glendale and bought the magazine-book, “Marathon & Beyond”. It is being published bimonthly and I was able to buy the July/August issue which costs me $ 6.95+tax.

It was my first time to see such running magazine in a book form. It was worth buying. The articles are very informative for beginners and advance runners as they are focused to marathon and ultramarathon races.

I realized later that the magazine has a website at www.marathonandbeyond.com. At the website, the article about Ryan Hall’s Training and transformation into a Marathoner and ultimately becoming the top athlete in the US Olympic Marathon Team in the 2008 Beijing is offered free and I am highly recommending for the runners to read. There are other articles in the Editor’s Choice portion where lots of information, tips and experiences from marathon & ultramarathon runners could be easily accessed as a source of inspiration and motivation to other runners. These articles were published in the past copies of the said magazine-book.

Happy Reading & Happy Running!

“Think Time, Not Distance”

6:47 PM 11 August 2008 (Silverlake & Echo Parks)

The advise of elite runners in ultramarathon trail running is to think of the time of one’s duration to finish the distance but not the distance of the course. Since the terrain of the trail will be more challenging and the elevations will be higher, the pace from my ordinary road runs will be greatly reduced.

The duration of one’s time in trail running will include lots of brisk walking in steep uphill routes; slower pace on narrow trails good for one person; uneven road due to the presence of protruding roots and rocks along the way, the intense heat of the sun, and the time at stop-overs in food/drink & medical stations for replenishments. Continue reading ““Think Time, Not Distance””

Lessons Learned: 2008 The San Francisco Marathon

Evaluation of my Running After The 2008 San Francisco Marathon

After I finished the 2008 Pasig River Heritage Marathon last 24 February, barely four months of slowly building my base, I continued my running workouts without any plan of running a full marathon in the future but I saw to it that I have to improve my race times in the 10K to half-marathon race distances which were held almost every weekend in Metro Manila.

With my retirement from the service and plan to visit my family in the US after retirement in May of this year, I thought of running the San Francisco Marathon which was scheduled at least 10 weeks after my retirement. After sending an e-mail to my son of my decision to run the SFO Marathon on the 1st week of May, my training became more focused to experience my 2nd International marathon after my Fort Benning’s First Infantry Marathon in 1984. My registration to the said marathon encouraged my son and daughter to run also with me and they started preparing for the race. Continue reading “Lessons Learned: 2008 The San Francisco Marathon”

Day #2: P90X (Plyometrics)

Plyometrics are drills designed to connect strength with speed to produce power. It is also known as the “jump training”, this technique emerged in the Eastern Europe in the early 1970s. The word was coined by an American track coach, Fred Wilt, where the word derives from the Latin plyo + metrics, or “measurable increases”. Plyometric training relates to any activity that requires speed and strength, as it improves your ability to run faster, jump higher, and manuever in multidirectional sports. If your game involves a court, field, track, mat, pool, ring, rink, or mountain, Plyometrics can help.

The key to avoiding injury during any plyometric exercise is to ensure proper take-off and landing. This technique can best be achieved by leaping off the toes and landing softly and quietly on the balls of the feet. Wear a good shock absorbing rubber shoes and workout on a surface that provides plenty of cushion. However, if one has a chronic knee problems, this workout is not recommended. Continue reading “Day #2: P90X (Plyometrics)”

Day # 1: P90X & 10K Run

Day # 1: P90X—Chest & Back (06 August 2008)

After preparing for the tools (push-up grips; elastic band; 20-lb dumbbells; water; & towel) needed for my first day of exercises, I played the DVD that goes with the program on my laptop and followed the exercises being done by the demonstrators. The first day schedule is devoted to the CHEST AND BACK muscles. I started at 10:00 AM and supposed to finish the exercises in one (1) hour if I strictly follow the tempo of the demonstrators.

After almost 5 minutes of warm-up exercises and stretching of the shoulders, neck, and the arms, the following exercises were followed with the following number of repetitions I performed: Continue reading “Day # 1: P90X & 10K Run”

Recovery Run & P90X Fitness Test

9:12 AM 05 August 2008

We arrived in Los Angeles at 6:00 PM yesterday after a 6 1/2-hour from San Francisco. Although I slept in most part of the trip, I was still tired once we arrived in the house. After dinner, I had to take a shower and went to bed very early.

At 9:00 AM this morning, I decided to have my recovery run and start again a more challenging training for my first ultra marathon trail run within 19 days. It was supposed to do a “double” today with a 5K run in the morning and an 8K run later in the late afternoon but I felt good and comfortable to increase my pace and distance after running 3 kilometers and so I ended up running 13K in the morning. I did a faster 10K run and the remaining 3K were done in my simulated trail run pace. Continue reading “Recovery Run & P90X Fitness Test”

“Oh, I Love The Hills!” (2008 The San Francisco Marathon)

Recap of the 2008 The San Francisco Marathon (03 August 2008)

My children and I woke up at 5:00 AM and immediately started preparing for the race. We ate some “left-overs” from the previous night’s carbo-loading dinner from my wife’s relatives consisting of chicken barbecue, spaghetti, sotanghon guisado, fried chicken, and lots of rice cakes. At almost 6:00 AM, we were already at Mission Street brisk walking towards the Starting Line at The Embarcadero. However, we missed the mass start of the last wave of runners by almost 15 minutes. No problem with that because we had our ChronoTrack D-strip timing chip. So, at least ten (10) runners, to include the three of us, started the race with the last wave of runners at least 1 1/2 miles ahead of us. (We found out later that Dean Karnazes started the full Marathon race at least one hour late!)

By the way, somebody shouted “Bald Runner” when I just left the Starting Line and I just looked at him and tried to wave my hand to acknowledge him. Thanks for shouting my name! The race officials were surprised for hearing such words!

This picture was taken before we left our room at the hotel. My kids, being locals in the US, can withstand the low temperature in San Francisco by wearing singlets and I was wearing a full shirt.

As we approached Mile #2 (fronting the Fisherman’s Wharf) , we could see already the tail end of the last wave of runners and my son and I maintained our pace of 6:05 minutes per kilometer. My daughter was left behind us as she was trying to maintain her pace of 12 minutes per mile. As we had our first uphill at Mile #3 and we were already within the runners of the last wave. We started to overtake the slower runners and had a chance to stop to have our picture-taking with the San Francisco Bridge as the background. We also stopped for our first “pee” session at the Mile # 4. I guess, I was about to get my warm-up at Mile # 4 because of the ideal cool weather condition (52 degrees Fahrenheit), foggy surroundings and an overcast/cloudy sky. According to my kids, so far, this is the best weather condition that they had experienced for a marathon.

At Mile # 3 stop for a picture with the Golden Gate Bridge as the background. Note the foggy background  and cloudy skies.

A pose of my son, John Paul.

My son and I had to stop and drink water in every water station as we were carrying at least 3 GUs in each of our hands which were tied with a rubber band and secured on our wrists. We had to take each GU every four to five miles. When we see that there is a water station ahead of us (at least 50 meters ahead), we start taking our GU and drink water as we reached the water station. I did not bring with me my Nathan Water Belt as I knew that the water stations here were efficient. As soon we we left the water station before the Golden Gate Bridge, my son did not know that I barely stopped to drink water and I immediately resumed my run towards more hills along the way.

Once I reached the Golden Gate Bridge, I was already at the middle of the pack and had to overtake more runners with a very narrow space alloted for the runners. One lane of the bridge was dedicated for the incoming runners and another lane was for the outgoing runners from the Vista Point. The bridge has six lanes and two lanes were alloted for vehicles in each direction. In my estimate, the width of the one lane of the bridge is only good for 3 runners running side by side. With this situation, I had to make a quick move to overtake the runners once there was enough space where I could squeeze my body while I was running along the bridge. It was a nice sight to see a lot of runners infront of my lane and at the same time see the runners at the opposite lane. I tried to pick-up my pace when I left the Vista Point, the northern end of the bridge, towards the San Francisco side and I was about to pass Mile # 8. The lane in going back to San Francisco side of the bridge was not as full of runners than the other side and I took this advantage to increase my pace.

This was the sight of the runners while I was running along the Golden Gate Bridge towards the northern side, Vista Point.

This was taken after leaving the Vista Point and going back to the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Feeling the strong winds that blow on the bridge while running was a wonderful and memorable experience.

After leaving the Golden Gate Bridge, I was already towards Mile # 10 and there was an uphill road (along Lincoln Street) where most of the runners started to walk but I just maintained my running form by shortening my strides and taking one step at a time. I knew that if the hill is high, the road after the peak is another easy downhill road and I can gain more speed in the process. I kept on silently saying to myself my mantra, “Oh, I love this hill”, whenever I approached the hills and I can overcome those hills comfortably. Later, it was all downhill towards Mile # 11.

After running along the 27th Street (Mile # 12), we entered the Golden Gate Park and the next six (6) miles were spent running on those snaky and rolling roads of the park. This was where I started to see and hear load music from speakers being played by disc jockeys  at least in every 500 meters. After entering the Golden Gate Park, the Half-Marathon runners had to take another route and got separated from the Full Marathon runners and our road became wider with lesser runners. Running along the said park was a sight to behold because of the manicured grass and gardens filled with ornamental plants. There were a lot of cheerers along the way saying, “Looking good” and shouting encouraging words. There was a continuous ringing of cowbells along the way at the park and most of the streets where we had to run.

Once I got out of the park, I was already hitting Mile # 19 and started to run along Haight Street which is a straight but rolling street with uphills and downhills.  The said street is 1 1/2 miles and I would overtake more runners, taking advantage of my non-stop running when I was faced with uphill parts of the road. When I reached Mile # 21 at Guerrero Street, I was happy that I haven’t felt any pains on my legs. At Mile # 22, where I expected to have some muscle cramps, I was still painless and without any problem but I started to slow down. It was already a warning for my body to take my last GU and drink electrolytes (Cytomax which is available in the water stations). So, at Mile # 23, I took my last GU and maintained my pace.

At Mile # 24, my son, John Paul came at my side and told him to keep his pace and gladly overtook me and he gained more distance from me. From this point, I maintained my 6:30 mins/km pace. From the AT & T Park (Home of the San Francisco Giants), I could see already the Finish Line and I just maintained my pace and finished surrounded by women finishers!

I finished the Full Marathon in 4:36:23 hours without any muscle cramps or any pains on my legs and without walking along the way. This was an improvement from my Pasig River Heritage Marathon last February of this year. I was able to improve my finish time by almost 13 minutes. If not for those photo-ops, “pee” & water drinking stops, and the traffic of runners in narrow parts of the route, I could still improve more my finish time even with those hills along the route.

This picture is for Bards aka Banana Running! Ha!Ha!Ha! While waiting for my daughter, my son and I ate a lot of bananas and potato chips with lots of water and Cytomax while sitting along the sidewalk.

John Paul finished the race in 4:34:02 hours.

Jovelle finished the Full Marathon in 5:41:28 hours, a new PR best for her!

While walking back to the hotel, almost all the people that we met along the way would say “Congratulations” or “Good job” to us and we have to smile and say “Thanks” while trying to walk without any limp.

The race was an unforgettable experience. My kids told me that they love the course and started planning to run the SF Marathon next year. Of course, I will be with them again!

For the complete results of the race, visit www.runsfm.com.

The following data were taken from my GF 305:

Distance—42.94 kms           Time—4:36:23 hrs

Average Pace—6:27 mins/km      Average Speed—9.3 kms/hr

Maximum Speed—15.4 kms/hr    Total Calories—3,145 cal

Average HR—152 bpm                  Maximum HR—168 bpm

Total Ascent—1,525 meters         Total Descent—1,568 meters

Running Kit—The North Face        Running Shoes—ASICS Gel-Kayano 13

Music—ABBA, Beatles, Bee Gees, Bob Marley, Foo Fighters, Debelah Morgan, Julio Iglesias, Barry Manilow & Michael Buble

Pictures @ The SFM Expo

The following pictures were taken on Saturday when we picked-up our race packets at the SF Marathon Expo:

These were the portalets aligned at the vicinity of the Starting Line and more of these were positioned in almost all water/medical stations along the routes of the Full Marathon and 2 routes of Half-Marathon.

Dean Karnazes, the Ultra Marathon Man, with my daughter, Jovelle before we reached the Marathon Expo.

Well, talking of coincidence? I have another photo-ops with the Dean K. He said to my daughter that I am crazy! Well, I think we are both crazy!!!

This is San Francisco Marathon’s version of their Project “Donate A Shoe”. Wow! The six (6) containers are 200-liter drums filled to the rim with donated used running shoes!

These are my race bib with my name printed in it and a strip (pasted above my name) of the ChronoTrack D-strip timing chip which is disposable; the map of San Francisco with the route of the course (yellow colored route) and a Finisher’s T-shirt.

My recap of the race will posted later today.