My First Road Race

My first experience in running was when I was a “plebe” (first year cadet) in the Philippine Military Academy during the summer of 1970. We had daily morning runs for almost two months in platoon formations. These daily runs as part of the military training made me strong and active but exhausted at the end of the day.

On the 1st semester of that year, I joined the running team (as most of the plebes without any “talents” in other sports) of my Company (“Charlie”) for a 10-K race on the month of November. The race starts at the VOA Gate along the Baguio City-PMA Road, going towards the end of the runway of Baguio Airport and then running practically along the runway towards the trail leading to the back of the PMA Chapel. This trail was the “killer” as it ascends abruptly towards the peak of a hill where the PMA Chapel is located. From the chapel, the road is going down up to the Parade Ground.

Looking on hindsight, the training and coaching advice/tips by our upperclassmen/seniors were all wrong and unscientific at that time. They did not allow us to drink water before the race and along the route because they told us that the water will make us heavier. Stretching exercises were limited to the “Army Dozen” exercises & “Jumping Jacks”. We did not talk about pacing, time splits, and PR best times. Even nutrition and food were not considered as long as the members eat lots of “boodlefights” every after practice runs. “Boodlefights” were practically a mixture of mashed sardines with steamed rice seasoned with salt and fresh hot chili.

On the race day, I placed # 15 among 120 runners. Our Company Marathon Team won the Championship.

Runners’ Fashion & Attire

As they say, “Everything is Perception”. For so many years that I’ve been to running and joining/competing in road races, I can judge the capability and degree of proficiency of a runner by his/her looks and the attire he/she is wearing, to include the running shoes.

My picture in the 1st City of Angels Half-Marathon Race shows an old, worn-out and determined runner to finish the race. My cap is a golfer’s cap which I bought as a souvenir when I played a round of golf at Fort Ilocandia Golf Course in Paoay, Ilocos Norte in 2002. I have two pieces of this cap which I always use for my practice runs, as well as, during race days, obviously, to cover my bald head and it absorbs the sweat from my head, making it as my dependable “coolant”! My shirt is a “muscle shirt” from Bench which I usually used as my workout shirt in the gym. It is stretchable and cool to the body even if it is wet from my body sweat and I bought two of this one in 2003. My running shorts is Speedo, it’s a loose swimming/running shorts, which I bought with my Bench shirts in 2003 with 30% discount. I have two sets of this shorts and I usually use this  in my gym workouts. My running shoes is an ASICS Tiger shoes which I’ve been using for the past four years. I think I bought this shoes On Sale at Big 5 Store in Glendale, California in December 2002. After the race, I retired this pair of shoes and bought a new one which is an upgraded model of ASICS Tiger. The watch I am wearing is a Casio “Sea Pathfinder” Titanium which is light and water proof. It has a stop watch and timer functions whose digital numbers could be seen without my “reading glasses”. This watch was given to me as a Christmas gift by my younger brother in 1999 and had its battery changed only once. I am still using this watch in my practice runs and races.

The “yellow thing” tied with my shoe laces is what they call “runners’ chip” which activates and registers to the time recorder/computer once it passes the starting and the finish lines. Simply put, it registers your actual time of running from start to finish. In this particular race, it was used for the runners free of charge but for bigger marathon races, each runner pays a fee for using such “chip”. These “chips” are collected by the race organizers after you finish the rack.

At present, my running attire and fashion sense show an old runner whose legs and heart are still strong to finish any road race where he could compete. I consider myself as an average runner.

1st City of Angels Half-Marathon (Los Angeles) 03 December 2006

City of Angels Half-Marathon (Los Angeles) 04 December 2006

This is a picture taken along the Hyperion/Los Feliz Bridge with my daughter on my right. We just passed by the 7-mile marker at this point. We finished the race in 2 hours & 14+ minutes. My daughter’s PR time for the said distance improved by almost 12 minutes. I was running a pace of 10:15 minutes per mile. I placed/ranked #1,878 out of 3,652 finishers.

How I wish I could race again this year in this event.

Runners’ Blog

Little did I know that the Internet is full of runners’ blogsites. Last night, while browsing on my past postings in my other blogsite, I noticed that some “visitors” clicked on my postings regarding my running practices in preparation for a sports activity. This gave me the idea to come up with my blogsite specifically for my running activities.

I have seen blogsites of new, young and old runners in the Philippines as well as in other countries. But, “The Bull Runner” inspired me to make this blog and through my recollections of my past running feats, I could share my insights and experiences for the past so many years that I had been running to other runners and “would-be” runners.

Life, in itself, is a marathon race.