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.