Trails & Cows: 20K Run

27 06 2008

I had another trail run last Wednesday afternoon. Instead of going north, I took another direction which was going east and it was a nice run where I covered 10 kilometers one-way and another 10 kilometers on my way back from where I started.

The span of the whole trail was a combination of grass-covered soil ground; sand & gravel road; cement; and clayish-soil. I followed the road beside the irrigational canal which I believed been made way back when I was in my elementary grades. I have yet to find out the stretch of the whole irrigation canal but I was informed that the canal comes from Vintar Dam, which is another 12-14 kilometers away from Laoag City. Vintar is located northeast of Laoag City and it is the source of water that flows along the Bacarra River. The mini-dam in Vintar supplies the water that is needed to irrigate the farmlands in Laoag City. However, I believe that the irrigation canal which was built at the foot of the hills and low mountains that surrounds the city from the north was made also as repository of water coming from the hills/mountains during rainy season. I talked to one of the old guys residing in Barangay Dibua South and he told me that the irrigation canal was made during the time of former President Marcos when the Secretary of Public Works was Secretary Antonio Raquiza, a native resident of Ilocos Norte. I guess, that was between 1961-1964. Read the rest of this entry »





Easy 15K Run

8 06 2008

6:35 AM 07 June 2008 In Barangay Dibua, Laoag City

After running 26 kilometers last week and another 30 kilometers last Thursday, it seems everything becomes easy, not withstanding the early rise of the sun and my further exposure to the heat of the sun. My runner’s cap, sunglasses, and Nathan Water Belt had been very helpful in my long runs for the past weeks.

I made sure to eat some food (cereals & 2 pieces of banana) and drink a bottle of Propel before leaving the house as I decided to take another route for my 15K run. Instead of going south from the house of my sister and retracing my “nostalgic run” route, I set my eyes on the road that took me towards the north direction.

The road goes to the center of Barangay Dibua North until it reaches Barangay Sangil of Bacarra, the next town north of Laoag City. After running for 3 kilometers going north, the road leads to the direction towards the east and I was running parallel along the Bacarra River but I was nearer to a irrigation canal. My one-way direction ended at the road crossing with Bacarra Road (Laoag to Pagudpud Road) where my GF 305 registered 7.43 kilometers. I made my turn-around and retraced the road I had taken but I made an extra 200 meters towards the west direction before going back to the road leading to Barangay Dibua North.

About 2/3 of the road is paved with cement and the rest of the road is gravel/dirt road. The gravel road made my pace slower as I try to select where my foot would land  due to the presence of small stones/gravel along the way. But I had to regain and increase my pace whenever I reached the paved road. About half of the distance of 7.43 kilometers is shaded with trees on both sides of the road and the other half is exposed to the heat of the sun.

I had to increase my pace whenever I was running along the unshaded parts of my route and sip water when I was in the shaded areas. I did not have any stop-over/pit stops along the way. I saw to it that the water in my Nathan Water jug was enough for my 15K run. I took a sip of water at Km-6; Km-11; and Km-14.

I finished the run in 1:28: 36 hours and here were the data I gathered from my GF 305:

Distance—15.0 kms             Time—1:28:36 hrs

Average Pace—5:54 mins/km      Average Speed—10.2 kms/hr

Maximum Speed—13.0 kms/hr    Total Calories—1,106 cal

Average HR—151 bpm                  Maximum HR—163 bpm

Total Ascent—520 meters            Total Descent—503 meters

Runner’s Kit—Adidas shorts; white sando (cotton) from Fairways & Bluewater Golf; Penshoppe Runner’s Cap; & Maui Sunglass

Running Shoes—ASICS Gel-Cumulus 8

Music—Beatles One; Bee Gees (One Night Only:Live)

My sister told me that there is a running/mountain bike trail along the hills in Barangay Dibua and neighboring barangays that she came to know from doctors and social action workers who usually hike along these trails to reach the far-flung barangays located north & northwest of the city and the said trail end up at the Provincial Athletic Grounds or at the Mariano Marcos State University Campus. I hope to see this trail in the coming days.

After running on these trails, maybe, next time I will try to run along the famous “sand dunes” of Laoag City and Paoay. Wish me luck! 





My Order Had Arrived

7 06 2008

After accidentally bumping into the book, “The Extra Mile” by Pamela Reed and reading it, I came up with a post in this blog about the said book and the feats the author had accomplished in the underground sports of ultramarathon. I was fascinated with her experiences, preparations, training and the ordeal she has to go through winning the Badwater Ultramarathon Race which is considered the “hardest ultramarathon race” in the world” for two consecutive years, 2002 & 2003, beating the best men in ultramarathon entire the world.

I’ve heard about Dean Karnazes, for the first time, in one of the early posts of QuickSilver Running in his blog and found out later that he (Dean) has a runner’s blog; website and a coach of Runner’s World Magazine. After checking and browsing his website, I found out that he had written a book which is entitled, “The Ultramarathon Man”. In Pam Reed’s book, she mentioned about Dean Karnazes as one of the competitors and  a “threat” to her in defending her championship at the Badwater Ultramarathon Race in 2003 but ultimately did not affect her resolve to defend her title as she emerged as the champion and winner for that year’s race. I hope to know the reason why Dean Karnasez was not able to dislodge Pam Reed as the defending champion in 2003 in his book.

Since then, for the past 2-3 months, I’ve been looking for the said book by Dean Karnazes in the different bookstores in Metro Manila but to no avail. I asked my wife to buy me one and send it through my niece who was scheduled to return to Manila after a brief visit in Los Angeles on June 3, last Tuesday.

I got a call from my niece last Thursday morning telling me that she had arrived safely in Manila an she had my book with her. I told her to just leave it in my quarters and I will be able to have it once I arrive in Manila from Laoag City.

I am looking forward to read this book and post a book review on this..soon!





“Nostalgic Run” #3: 30K Run

7 06 2008

5:13 AM 05 June 2008 In Laoag City

Finally, I decided to run the whole distance from my sister’s residence in Barangay Dibua South, Laoag City to Suba, Paoay, to be exact at the Golf Clubhouse of the Fort Ilocandia Golf Course which covers a distance of 15 kilometers and then back to where I started.

At 5:00 AM, the surrounding is already bright and the sun is about to appear on the horizon but the streets were still clear of any kinds of vehicle. Without any food to take and contented myself with a glassful of water, I started my run with a bottle of Propel on my hand and my Nathan Water belt full of water. I started my first kilometer with a slow run with a pace of 6:00 mins/km but after two kilometers, I’ve started to increase my pace up to 5:30 mins/km and never letting my pace reach or pass over 6:00 min/km. It was a comfortable pace with me as I take a sip of Propel from the bottle on my hand every time I finish 2 kilometers along the way. I saw to it to transfer the bottle from one hand to the other to give extra effort to both of my arms as I swing them.

Before reaching the Barangay Mangato Church and Seminary, I had to take a detour on a dirt/gravel road as the bridge is under construction. It slowed me down a bit as I had to go down to the small creek and had to choose a better landing of my feet due to the gravel and stones protruding unevenly on the ground, before and after the small bailey bridge which was temporarily constructed with a span of about 15 meters. As I passed the small bridge, I had to go through an ascending portion of that dirt road and finally reaching the asphalted road again. I was glad there were no vehicles passing along the said detour as dusts would fill the air, thus making my pace slower. From this point fronting the Mangato Church, the asphalted road starts to slowly ascend slightly and ends up to the 15-km mark.

Instead of stopping at the Golf Clubhouse, I went directly south towards the direction going to Paoay which is the 1st kilometer portion of the then famous North Start 10K Run and finished at the crossing of the road that goes to Suba Beach which is the road where a portion of the movie “4th of July” starring Tom Cruise was shot and taken. After finishing my first lap of 15 kms, I replenished and rehydrated myself with more water after finishing my one bottle of Propel. I bought some bottled water in a small sari-sari store in one of the houses near the crossing.

I finished the 1st lap of 15 kms in 1:28:40 hours which made me happy (temporarily!). I improved my time to reach this point from my previous time last week with one minute and twenty seconds! Not bad!

After filling up the Propel bottle with water, I started again my second lap which was going back where I started. After two kilometers, the heat of the sun was already piercing on my skin and started to sweat profusely as I took a gulp or two of water from the Propel water. Instead of drinking water every two kilometers, I was forced to drink my water every kilometer along the way. At km 6, I had to refill (again!) my Nathan Water Bottle and Propel bottle with bottled water I bought in one of the stores along the way.

At km 11, I had to stop again in one of the stores as I need to put something in my stomach. I was really hungry! I ate two packs of Skyflakes and drank at least three (small) bottled water with it. I made sure that all my water bottles were filled with water from this point to my finish line as I conditioned my mind not to stop shuffling along the road until I reach the house of my sister. The last four kilometers were not the problem to me at this time but the heat of the sun that kept on burning my skin was my only concern. I haven’t felt any pain in any part of my body and my legs were still strong at this point. The other problem which I observed after resting for awhile was those painful little steps from rest up to the time I could bring back my “shuffling” gait. But once I was back on my “shuffling” style of running, I was back to business in running.

To give me more adrenaline and “power boost” to my shuffling, I had to make the sound of my music “louder” to my ears from my IPod Nano with Bon Jovi rendering those rock music. Sipping of water from my water bottle became a must every 400-500 meters. I had to count from 1 to 50 every time my left foot strikes the ground on the 4th step! The last 50 meters before the finish line is an ascending portion and had still the strength to increase my pace. I finished my 2nd lap of 15 kms in 1:52:18 hours. The heat of the sun really killed me this time but I was glad I didn’t have any pains or cramps on my leg muscles.

Next time, I have to start my long runs earlier and eat something before the run. But I am happy that I haven’t reached my “wall” with this 30K run. We’ll see what will happen if I attempt to run 33 kms next week.

San Francisco, Los Angeles, White Sands, here I come!

But the “bigger picture” is an “ultramarathon” experience in the future.

“Mira Quita.” (“We will see” in Chabacano).





“Si Mel, Si Mel, O Si Mel”

6 06 2008

The title of this post is an adaptation of the title of the song “Si Aida, Si Lorna, O Si Fe”. Instead of choosing one from the three different names of ladies, I am choosing only one name from three different ladies with the same name. Very easy to memorize and no way I will commit a mistake in saying the wrong name among the three ladies!

These are the names of my (lady) masseuse in Iloilo City’s Riviera Spa, Makati City’s Island Spa, and in Laoag City.

Last week, I asked my sister where is the best spa where I can get a good muscle massage. She told me that we have a tenant in one of our apartments who works as masseuse in one of the popular spas in Laoag City. So, I told my sister to request our tenant to have a “home service” massage for me. To my surprise, her name is Imelda and she is called as “Mel”. I smiled and recalled that I have now three different masseuse in three different parts of the country with the same names. What a coincidence!

Imelda or “Mel” in Laoag City is one of the “unique” masseuse I had encountered so far due to her heavier body form (malusog!) and stronger hand pressure. She sees to it that all the muscles, small & large, are made to be tender and soft. It was in her technique where I experienced my sides (from my armpit to my hips) being massaged thoroughly. But she does not have that “repertoire” of stretching my backbone and clicking all the joints of my extremities.

Melanie or “Mel” in Makati City had been my masseuse since I started to be assigned in Fort Bonifacio in 1990 and she had been working at the Olympia Reflexology Center. She is a petite woman with average body-built but with strong arms. She is very reliable and professional in her work. I consider her as the best masseuse among the three. She could stretch my backbone and make my joints “click”. Lastly, she could carry me through her legs and suspend me on “air” while stretching my arms.

Emelyn or “Mel” in Iloilo City’s Riviera Spa is the tallest among the three with a height of 5′ 5″ and has average body-built. She is the most top-rated masseuse in the said spa and she is good with her job. What I liked in her was her service of an extension of thirty minutes of the usual one-hour session of massage.  She uses this extension time to give extra massage to my running legs! To compensate such nice service and additional effort, she receives a “bigger” tip in her envelop.

Now that I am retired, I have only two “Mels” to deal with (in Laoag City & Makati City) and hopefully have a chance to see “Mel” in Iloilo City if ever I will be invited to visit my former camp in Jamindan during the Division’s Foundation Anniversary next year.

Always remember, a runner can not “live” or improve his time without a good massage before and after a road race and during his training phase. But it is better to have somebody who is known to you and well-trained/professional to give you the much-needed massage.

Good luck and “treat”/pamper yourself with a nice and relaxing massage.

By the way, I always ask for the “Swedish Massage”.





Camp O’Donnel, Capas & HPA Jogging Lane

6 06 2008

Having been invited to attend the assumption of command of my brother as the Commander of the Light Armor Division of the Philippine Army, I broke my vow not to travel on on the second day of June. My brother Samie assumed Command of the only Armor unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at 2:30 PM last Monday, 02 June 2008 and I was there as one his guests and I was able to represent the rest of the Narcise family. The venue of the activity was at Camp O’Donnel, Capas, Tarlac, at the Headquarters of the Light Armor Division. There was a brief parade of the men and the armor assets/tanks of the unit and simple program for the formal turn-over of the command followed. The activity was presided by no less than the Commanding General of the Philippine Army who is a classmate of my brother at the Philippine Military Academy and a close friend of the family.

It was already nighttime when I reached Manila. After travelling from Laoag City early in the morning of Monday by car, I was already dead-tired when I reached my quarters in Fort Bonifacio.

June 2 passed by without any untoward incident happened and I planned to have an early morning run the following day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. I wasn’t able to wake up early and just let my body rest till I woke up at 9:00 AM. After a drinking my ginseng coffee and eating my cereals with low-fat milk and banana for breakfast, I decided to prepare for my tempo run at the Libingan.

As I approached the road to the National Cemetery, I found out that a retired military officer was being buried on that moment where the coffin/hearse was about to be marched by soldiers from the Gate to the burial site. I decided not to proceed to the Libingan and instead walked along the Libingan Road going north towards the Philippine Army Gymnasium and I thought of running along the HPA Jogging Lane.

Since it was almost 10:00 AM, I opted to run on the shaded portion with trees of the jogging lane and along the Parade Grounds’ Mural. I was surprised to see that they really improved the jogging lane by making it wider and paved it with asphalt with the proper white paint line on both borders of the lane.

I slowly jogged and set my GF 305 to measure the straight section of the jogging lane from one end/curve to the next curve. My GF 305 measured the distance to be 335 meters.

For the next 30-40 minutes, I made my interval training along this part of the jogging lane with one fast repetition followed with a recovery jog with the same distance. I did five repetitions and the following were the data taken from my GF 305:

1st Lap–1:19 mins    Average Pace–3:26 mins/km

2nd Lap–1:13 mins   Average Pace–3:39 mins/km

3rd Lap–1:21 mins    Average Pace–3:59 mins/km

4th Lap–1:27 mins    Average Pace–4:24 mins/km

5th Lap–1:23 mins    Average Pace–4:14 mins/km

My Heart Rate Monitor registered a reading of 154-168 beats per minute during the activity.

The HPA Jogging Lane had greatly improved with the presence of two (2) drinking water stations; wider lanes; newly-asphalted; and light posts along the lane. As I said in my previous post, anybody could visit and try the HPA Grandstand Jogging Lane anytime of the day up to 10:00 PM





“Donate Your Finisher’s T-Shirts”

3 06 2008

8:00 AM 31 May 2008 In Laoag City

I’ve been supporting the Gawad Kalinga Project here in Laoag City through my sister Rosie and husband/brother-in-law Roger since its start/implementation. They are the “prime movers” of Couples For Christ in the area. There are two Gawad Kalinga communities in the city–GK @ Barangay Talinga-an and GK @ Barangay Bacsil South. For the past years I’ve been supporting the GK @ Brgy Talinga-an where the Project Director is my brother-in-law and I’ve been a constant visitor to this place whenever I am in Laoag City.

Additionally, when I was assigned in Western Visayas, I also supported a Gawad Kalinga community in Jaro District of Iloilo City through Bishop Angelo Lagdameo by providing financial assistance. I also supported the “Feeding Program for The Poor Children” of Iloilo City through the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Jaro District. I also supported a school for the deaf and blind children in Kalibo, Aklan through Bishop Lazo and I’ve been receiving hand-written letters and pictures from these kids.

Upon my arrival in Laoag City early this week, I told my sister of my plan to donate the Finisher’s T-shirts that I’ve collected for the past months as a result of participating in road races in Metro Manila. I told her that most of the T-shirts are big enough for me and if I finally decide to use them for my sleeping attire or “house clothes”, they will finally be stored in my closet after being used for the first time and not knowing when to use them again. She knows that I have enough clothes to use and I sometimes give my slightly used clothes to my nephews. I told her that it will be better for the “less-fortunate” families in the GK communities in Laoag City to have my Finisher’s T-shirts and other athletic uniforms/attires that I used when I was still in the active military service. My sister and brother-in-law liked and appreciated my idea/plan.

Since I’ve been a constant visitor and supporter of the GK @ Brgy Talinga-an, I requested my brother-in-law to have my project be dedicated for the benefit of the residents and families of GK @ Brgy Bacsil South which I haven’t seen and visited. With a brief coordination with the Project Director of the GK community in Barangay Bacsil South, we were able to visit, talk and donate the finisher’s T-shirts to the residents.

Barangay Bacsil South is one of the “depressed” barangays in the city which is located at the boundaries with the municipalities of Sarrat and Vintar, adjacent towns northeast & directly east of Laoag City. It is located near the foot of the mountains that separate Sarrat, Vintar and Laoag City. In the early 80s, it was a “transit point” of the insurgents/NPA from Vintar and Sarrat and this was where one of my best police intelligence operatives was killed in a raid perpetrated by the NPA when I was assigned with the National Intelligence & Security Authority. The GK in this barangay was one of the original six (6) pilot GK Projects that the Couples For Christ established in the entire country. This GK community represented their project for the entire Northern Luzon. Most of the residents here were the beggars, blind, deaf and their families/relatives that we saw on the streets and corners of Poblacion Laoag City during the 90s. I am glad that they have their own houses and are now involved in the cultivation of vegetables, making of our popular sugar wine, “basi”, vinegar making, and small-scale poultry raising.

Here are some of the pictures taken during during the said activity.

This is the entry gate of the Gawad Kalinga Timpuyog located at Barangay Bacsil South which consists of 26 families.

This is the “On Your Mark” Run Finisher’s T-shirt  which I donated to this guy. Maybe his wife, standing beside him, will be the one who will use it.

This was the Large size 4th Global City/Anta Run Finisher’s T-shirt that I received which I donated to this resident of the GK Bacsil South.

The recipient of my Army Running Uniform is a deaf person residing in the said GK community. He looks happy receiving said items (singlet & shorts).

 Another resident received my Phil Army cotton athletic uniform (T-shirt & shorts) which I used when I was assigned as the Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army.

This is the Mizuno Infinity 15K Run Finisher’s T-shirt which is too big for me. I hope the recipient and other members of his family will be able to use it. Well, it will be a nice advertisement item for Mizuno in this part of the country whom most of the people are not aware what Mizuno is.

I promised to these residents that I will be coming back for more T-shirts to be distributed once I will be able to fix/inventory my things which I transfered from Fort Bonifacio to Laoag City. The Project Coordinator of GK Bacsil South, Mr Robert De Los Santos, was very happy about my pronouncements. Moreso, with the people of Gawad Kalinga Bacsil South.

Hey, how about you? If you have Finisher’s T-shirts which are just there in your closets/lockers and forgotten that you had received one, why don’t you also donate them to the residents of Gawad Kalinga villages/communities in your respective cities or provinces?

Always remember, share your blessings! Happy running! 








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