Archive for May, 2007

Letter of Apology From Champion Management

May 31, 2007

I should check my spam box more often. This is what I found there!

Below is an open letter from SportsConnection, the company behind Champion brand, apologizing for the lack of organization during the Champion Run. I don’t know about you, but running brings so much positive energy into my life that I refuse to taint it with any unpleasant thoughts or harbour ill feelings towards anyone.

All I can say to the management of SportsConnections is this: please learn from your mistakes and make sure that in next year’s run (if there is any) you will: 1) have more water, 2) more marshalls, 3) start on time, 4) provide water at the end of the finish line, and 5) coordinate closely with your race organizer (When you put your name on it, it is your race. Its success or failure becomes yours too.) Peace—I have forgiven and forgotten! I don’t know about the rest.

To other runners of the Champion Race, feel free to post tactful comments and suggestions for SportsConnection to realize areas of improvement.

————————————————————————————————-

Warm Greetings!

On behalf of SportsConnection, we would like to thank everybody who joined the Champion Run. We appreciate your participation in our first run event.

We would like to take this opportunity to apologize to those who have been inconvenienced by lack of water in the hydration stations set up by Fort Striders, the group we commissioned to be our race organizer.

We have distributed (personally handed) to the runners more than 2,800 bottles of mineral water and soft drinks together with some snacks and the certificates.

Please note that as soon as our president, Adi delos Reyes, found out that the stations have run out of water, he immediately instructed our staff to go get more water for the runners.

The problems you mentioned (water and not enough marshals) were supposed to be taken cared of by the race organizer. It clearly states in the contract we signed with them that they will provide water in the hydration stations, take care of the race technical aspects as well as the sound system to which we have also heard several complaints. Their shortcomings had boomerang on SportsConnection especially our brand, Champion.

We do not mean to point fingers at anybody. We take responsibility for the problems in our event but have trusted that our race organizer would take care of these aspects.

Please be assured that we only want the best for the runners as well as the sport. It is our vision to help and support PSC athletes and Gawad Kalinga.

We hope that you understand SportsConnections’ side because we too have been a victim here. All these we have taken note of and we assure you that this will definitely not happen again.

Boycotting our future events and our products is most unfair. We appeal for your kind understanding.

Thank you.

15 Tips For Buying Running Shoes

May 30, 2007

Out with the old and in with the New. New Balance, that is.

A few days ago, I was still too enamored with my NB 807’s to even think of letting them go. I loved their fit and design. Deep inside though, I knew that our relationship had been slowly turning sour since last year. Around December, due to my constant abuse, I noticed small tears on its sides near the laces. In March, as I was staring at it lovingly, I suddenly became aware of how it had gotten older than its years. My love remained unconditional though. Decrepit and dirty as my shoes were, I could not find a suitable replacement despite the many many times I shopped and surfed for other shoes (well, mainly because my 807s have a B width while local New Balance stores only sell D width.)

Then, over the past weekend, heaven intervened (perhaps our relationship wasn’t good for either of us?) Heading towards the cinemas, I decided to pass by New Balance, Festival Mall to take a quick peek. Hallelujah, they were on sale! Before entering, I hesitated as I remembered my 807s, but I felt that it was the right time to move on and let them go. I thought the sale was a sign and God was whispering in my ear saying “Come in, child. It is time for you to buy new running shoes.” When God speaks, I certainly listen. So, I went on in and came out with a new sleek pair of 1222’s.

- My new running buddy -

– My new running buddy –

The following day, as I was reading my favorite running book, I learn that there must be a thumb-width gap between my toe and the shoe. You know that feeling when you just ran about 2k and realize you’ve forgotten to wear your underwear? Oh, you don’t, do you? Well, neither do I so let’s just get back to the story. Anyway, sirens were ringing in my ears. I knew the tips of my toes touched the end of the shoe. Oh god, I was cringeing at the thought of more blisters and more dead toenails. Immediately, I call New Balance and ask if I can get a bigger shoe size. I fly to the store and get the shoe that fits me perfectly well. End of story.

Now, out of my good heart, I’ve decided to compile running shoe tips to save you from committing the same stupid silly mistakes I did:

Running Shoe Tips:

  1. Buy new running shoes every 3 to 6 months regardless of its use. Your shoe will lose its shock absorbing qualities in about 80 to 1000 kilometers of running.
  2. Do your research. Search for the best running shoes online, read reviews about a particular shoe you’ve been eyeing, and ask your running friends about what they recommend. (Although a shoe may not fit as well on you as it does for a friend.)
  3. Choose a running shoe based on your needs: do you need stability? or motion control? or cushioning? (perhaps a drink before you go insane with all these choices?) If you are unsure, select a more stable shoe rather than a more cushioned one.
  4. Evaluate the wear on the sole of your old shoe and ask your shoe dealer what brand or model they would recommend that would last better and longer for you.
  5. Do not buy lightweight shoes for training; these should only be used for races.
  6. Consider buying two pairs of shoes if you expect to get one wet and dirty under the rain. Buy the 2nd pair only after you’ve tested the first…and when you know you’ve got the extra money.
  7. When buying shoes, make sure you leave a gap as wide as your thumb between your big toe and the end of the shoe. You should be able to wiggle your toes up there. Remember: your feet expand while running.
  8. Make sure the shape of your foot (long and narrow or short and wide) matches the shape of the shoe.
  9. If one foot is larger than the other, fit the shoe on the larger foot.
  10. Shop for shoes in the afternoon or evening when your feet are bigger than it was in the morning.
  11. Bring your favorite socks.
  12. Run inside the store if you must. Just don’t bump into the glass door.
  13. You don’t have to buy the top-of-the-line shoe but do not buy the cheapest non-running shoe either.
  14. Wait for a sale. Running shoes can burn a hole in your pocket. Be patient and eventually your favorite shoe store will have to place some of its stocks on sale. (Now this is one tip I followed!)
  15. After buying the shoe, use them for walking first. It is not advisable to train in them immediately. Ditto for races.

Oh, are you wondering how my 807’s reacted to my new 1222’s? They took it well. I told them they would never be replaced in my heart. First love never dies, right? Naah, maybe that holds true only in the shoe world.

NB shoes

– the old and the new happily co-exist –

Reference: Gloria Averbuch, New York Road Runners Complete Book of Running and Fitness, 4th Edition, New York, Random House, 2004

 

Witnessing The Masters 10k Run

May 28, 2007

During my solo run/frog hunt yesterday, I went up against a sea of runners who were part of the Masters, Executive, and Corporate 10k Run. I secretly wished I could have joined the race (since I ran almost the same distance during training), but I quickly realized that this was the one race I was glad I didn’t qualify for—women are required to be over 35 years old. Well, I only have a few more years…gulp.

The race drew 80 runners and was organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP).

Masters1

Masters3
– I had to take this. I liked her running skirt –

Masters2

LIST OF WINNERS:
Men
1st Place – Rogelio Adenig 38:31
2nd Place – Joseph Rosete 39.28
3rd Place – Edgardo Pedregosa 39.55
Women
1st Place – Daisy Castillan 51:55
2nd Place – Rizzo Tangan 53:41
3rd Place – Doray Ellis 53:56
Men’s Executive
1st Place – Graciano Santos 45:58
2nd Place – Danilo Burdeos 45:59
3rd Place – Mark Ellis 46:50
Women’s Executive
1st Place – Doray Ellis 53:56
2nd Place – Ruby Dawn Allas 1:09:20
3rd Place – Chay Saputil 1:13:56
Male Residents
1st Place – Jose Mari Banzon 47:03
Female Residents
1st Place – Susan Lafferty 56:31

Source: The Philippine Star (May 28, 2007)

The Hunt For Dead Frogs

May 27, 2007

“The sound of frogs croaking brings good luck!” That’s what my mother-in-law happily told me last night as we listened to the orchestra of more than a dozen bullfrogs screaming out their ribbits in her frontyard. Ironically, I learned this morning that if there is any creature on this earth that needs luck the most, it would be the poor bullfrog himself.

I ran solo in Ayala Alabang at 5:30 this morning. After a little over a month of running with Coach B and Annie four times a week, I welcomed the thought of running on my own again. I missed the silence, the clarity of thought, the freedom, the effortlessness, and last but not the least, the ipod (with newly uploaded old hed kandi music to boot!) Let me tell you though, I did have my apprehensions: Would I be able to run the distance without dying of boredom? (I think I had told myself all the funny anecdotes I knew!) and would I be able to motivate myself to “Bull run, run, run!” whenever I feel like I want to walk, walk, walk?

Before I could think any further, I tightened my laces and ran at a comfortable pace. Ooooh, I loved it. The day was perfect: the sun’s rays were kind this morning, the roads were clear, and my music selection was excellent. Yeah, this is the reason why I started running in the first place, I thought. With a smile on my face I continued to run when—WHOOPS—my state of runner’s euphoria was rudely disrupted as I skipped over a dead bullfrog! It was lying on the road with its insides spilling out of its tummy. I jumped over the poor frog only to discover its close cousin butchered to death in the same manner. Eeeew, it was a dreadful sight. Instantly, I remembered my mother-in-law’s words the night before and laughed at the thought of bad luck killing the bearer of good tidings. Thus, my run became a “hunt for the dead frogs.”

As I ran further, I saw more victims. They were ambushed in varying manners: a few were were squished in one area with guts leaking out, others were completely flattened, while the very unlucky few could no longer be identified. They could pass as black spots of paint on the road had I not possesed a discerning eye for dead frogs. At the end of my run, I had counted exactly 13 dead bullfrogs along the roads of Ayala Alabang. 13! Can you believe that?!

Frog
– 1 of the unlucky 13 squashed frogs along my route –

I had been so busy looking out for these frogs that, when I returned to the start of my route, I had timed in at 50 minutes and probably covered around 8k (more than enough for what should have been a light run!) No time for fatigue or boredom for me! It turns out that these frogs—croaking or not—can bring some luck (or more like distractive entertainment) after all!

6 Days to Register For Run For P.E.A.C.E.

May 25, 2007

I just registered for the Run For P.E.A.C.E., have you?

For the past week, I could simply not decide between the 5k or 10k due to the cacophony of voices yelling out their oh-so unsolicited advice. My legs were begging me to just go for 5k because I had abused them during the Champion Run. My laptop was telling me to run the 5k because, as iCal mentioned, I had a business trip to Batangas scheduled for June 9, the day before the race. My brain was telling me to sign up for 10k as it had intelligently concluded and I quote “the 10k would be highly achievable without undue stress to your body as intensive training shall prepare you for it.” Aaaah, decisions decisions.

This morning, I met Coach B, Annie, Mayi and Jamike for our usual run at Alabang. Annie and I ran for 1 hour covering around 10k at our usual pace taking our regular route. There was nothing unusual today, but my run was exhilarating. It was tiring (my legs were very stiff towards the end) yet it was pure bliss. Driving home from the run on an adrenaline high, I threw all rational thought to the wind and decided to join the 10k.

I dropped by NCRTS at Camp Bagong Diwa this morning to register for the run. Mr. John Familara, the affable Finance Officer of NCRTS, helped me out with registration and proudly spoke of the upcoming race. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the run will be carried out in 13 regions—from Baguio to Caraga—all at the same time with an estimated 3,000 participants in each race. Whoooaaa, incredible! For some reason, the thought of running alongside (well, in spirit) other Filipino runners across the country got me more excited for the race. As if I’m not excited enough eh?!

Route Map Run For Peace 10k

– Route Map For Run For P.E.A.C.E. –
(courtesy of Mon Domingo, H@ppy Feet Runners)

Run For PEACE (3k/5k/10k/15k/21k) will be held on June 10, 2007, Sunday, 5 a.m. at Global City, Fort Bonifacio.

Registration is on-going until May 31, 2007 at the National Capital Region Training School in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City. (I had no idea where this was, so just in case you’re as clueless as I was, here are the DIRECTIONS: Southbound on South Super Highway, exit Bicutan. Make a left towards the market. Straight ahead. You’ll see Camp Bagong Diwa on the right) Or, of course, you can register on site! Call Prof. Jove Usana at 531.3487 or 0919.690.1295 for more details.

Nike+ Spoof

May 24, 2007

Check out the Nike+ Ad…

Now, here’s a spoof. You have to see this. So hilarious!

Courtesy of Russel G. Mills

Massage For Runners

May 22, 2007

Did you know that you can significantly improve your runs while lying down? Yes, experts say that you can run better, faster, and longer if you lie down and…get a massage, that is. The benefits of a massage for runners are numerous:

  1. increases blood flow to your muscles (in simple language, it “heats” the blood just like a warm-up would do)
  2. soothes and relaxes your muscles
  3. relieves cramps and muscle tension
  4. improves flexibility which will result in more power and better performance
  5. prevents injury
  6. reduces tension (if you’re stressed about an upcoming race)
  7. lessens soreness (especially after a heavy training day or a race)
  8. aids in eliminating lactic acid build up
  9. makes you feel better (not as good as a tough run though!)

It comes as no surprise then that some experts recommend massage to be a regular part of a runner’s training schedule. At the NYC Marathon, they deploy 100 massage therapists to serve the 34,000 runners before and after the race. Wow. Here in the Philippines, we don’t even get water in our water stations (tsk tsk).

Massage

I have a love-hate-love relationship with massages. I used to love them, then after a nightmarish experience with a masseuse I boycotted them for three years, and now that I’m into running I am completely utterly dependent on them. After a super heavy run, it’s a must for me to get a massage if I want to walk properly (and not look like I have a stick up my butt) the following morning. If I feel sluggish during the day, my masseuse will definitely be called upon that evening.

Last Friday, two nights before the Champion Race, I thought of treating my body to a massage (perhaps the best way to prepare it for the torture it was about to endure…some sort of yin & yang in the bullrunner’s world.) With my favorite masseuse unavailable, I bravely asked them to send me the strongest woman in the house. This was no time for a namby-pamby body rub; I wanted fierce and fiesty karate-chop-type of physical therapy.

Boy did I make a big mistake. When the masseuse (let’s call her Masseuse X to protect her identity) started massaging my legs, I felt pain, not relief! Masseuse X had power alright, but her strokes were quick, rough, and amateurish. Her fingers were pushing into my skin. She even pulled on my blister and my dead toenail—such monstrosity! Not once, not twice, but thrice I asked her to decrease the pressure, but she didn’t heed my request. Ack, I gritted my teeth thinking of the hundreds of seconds I had to endure under that pain.

Since I am writing now, you know that I did survive that horrifying experience. I went to the Champion Run with a rejuvenated body, but with bruises on my shins and arms because of the pounding. Lesson learned: Thou shalt not experiment with a new masseuse before a race. If possible, have husband serve as guinea pig first.

References:

Gloria Averbuch, New York Road Runners Complete Book of Running and Fitness, 4th Edition, New York, Random House, 2004

Claudia Piepenberg, Massage For Runners, How To Be Fit.com

Champion Run 2007

May 21, 2007

Yesterday was a big day for me. “Big” because it was my first 10k ever…hmmm perhaps I should’ve used the word “long”?

I arrived at the scene of the Champion Run at 5:30 a.m. giving me just enough time to do my warm-ups—some dynamic stretching techniques taught by Coach B followed by a quick run to the little girls’ room. That counts as a warm up, right? I bade my hubby and son goodbye (both came for moral support…ack, who am I kidding? I begged my hubby to come as my official photographer) then I slipped into the sea of runners impatiently waiting at the starting line right across Jollibee at The Fort.

Morning Stretch
– Runners stretch before the race –

The crowd that showed up on this sunny Sunday morning was an enthusiastic and happy lot—aren’t runners that way all the time? Most were men (well, a whole lot of them were PNP cadets) and I would say that majority of the registrants were serious runners who knew their stuff. Soon after the National Anthem, at around 6:10 a.m., we were off.

It was literally a mad rush to get out of the pack. Runners were scrambling to secure their own space, overtake the slower ones, or find and sustain a steady pace. I knew it was wrong for me to run like a bull at this point, so I kept my pace at around 65-70% effort with some bouts of power followed by short recovery periods every now and then. The first 5k of the course from the starting line till the end of Manila American Cemetery at the end of C5 road was relatively easy for me. I savoured the downhill runs and immensely enjoyed the idea of gravity doing all the work for me at that point. Passing by the water stations, I made a mental note to stop at one on the way back since it was located at the bottom of an uphill climb. At around 4.5k, I saw a couple of friends heading back already: Sen. Pia Cayetano, an accomplished triathlete who probably eats 10ks for breakfast, and Annie, my running group buddy who never seems to run out of energy (she can teach a spin class right after our 10k training runs!) Physically, I was still alright, but mentally I was getting a bit nervous about the thought of climbing up all the hills I had previously rolled down from.

Upon reaching the 10k turnaround, I felt like I still had a lot of energy left, but I needed water badly. I knew where the water stations were located so these became my goals—much like a dehydrated madman searching for water in a desert. I pushed myself hard and thought positive. When I saw hills, I reminded myself of our training runs in Cuenca Street in Ayala Alabang when I initially thought I couldn’t climb such a steep hill but surprised myself when I did so with ease. When I was tempted to walk, I reprimanded myself and said “No way you’re walking. Just run slowly until you recover.” With some patience and persistence, there it was…the next water station. Aaaah, at last! As I was about to line up for a glass, I was completely shocked to see (almost in slow motion, I tell you) one man pouring what was left of the water over his head. Just like a mirage, all the water was gone! Thirsty, tired runners were screaming “Tubig!” (“Water!”) repeatedly but no water came. OMG! When I reached the next water station, why was I not surprised that there was no water either? I was too thirsty to complain. Needless to say, I, and hundreds of other runners, ran the last 5k with nothing but willpower.

When I saw the finish line ahead of me, I was ecstatic. I gave it my all and ran as fast as I could. Boy, did I miscalculate the length of that road because I certainly did not have the energy reserves (nor enough training) to run a sprint that long. With a dry throat and tired legs, I forgot about everything and just went for it. Before I knew it, I crossed the finish line.

Finish
– That’s me a few steps away from the finish line –

My goal: 1 hour. My time: 1:00:53. I was seconds shy of not reaching my time. But, sigh…I did it! Now, when’s the next 10k again?

With Anton
– My hubby (taking the pic) and son meet me at the finish line –

With Annie
– with Annie, my super strong running mate –

with Pia
– with Sen. Pia Cayetano, my boss/friend/running idol –

Army/Navy
– PNP cadets celebrating post-race camraderie –

3 runners
– Three runners relaxing after the race –

Happy Feet
– with the H@ppy Feet Runners (It was great to finally meet you guys! See you at the next run!) –

 

 

Death of a Loved One

May 18, 2007

This will be a short entry as I am inconsolable as I write this. Kindly say a prayer for the death of a beloved—my fourth toenail on my right foot.

Tombstone

His death came like a thief in the night. This morning, when I woke up for my early morning run, he was in the pink of health. As I slipped my socks past him, I sensed that something was not right. I checked my 2nd toe and, yes, I had wrapped it with micropore tape to protect it from blisters. So, what could be wrong? I was late so, with much hesitation, I put my shoes on and rushed out the door.

Being the last running session before the Champion Race, we kept it light and easy today. We ran around 7k at a comfortable pace before we called it a day. When I got home, I tossed my shoes and socks unto the hamper and got the shock of my life.

There he was—my badly bruised toenail gasping for his last breath and then fading away. He was gone.

The entire toenail is now black with bluish tints (must I get so graphic?) and it is slightly painful when touched. I doubt if it will trouble me during the race, but its sheer ugliness is bothersome for me. Oh, the sacrifices one must undertake as a runner!

As I type these words in grief, only one thought comes to mind: Will my feet still look good in Havaianas?

Yes, I am a Runaholic

May 17, 2007

I was about to finish a logo I was working on last night when a friend sent me a message about the 1st Philmug Nike+ Challenge. I hopped on over to the site and I wanted to join the race…even if it seemed like only men had signed up, and I’ll be joining midway, and uh oh aaah, I don’t even own a Nike+ Kit or a Nano—and I don’t plan on purchasing either one. Forget it. I’m sticking with my Polar Dream.

So, temporarily abandoning my work (oh, the temptations of the web for a work-at-home designer), I further explore Nike’s Running site. Oooh, very cool intro and I love their tagline too: “I am a runaholic.” It’s obvious I can relate, isn’t it? The website takes quite a while to load though—did they not take into consideration that runners are addicted to speed? While waiting for what seemed like forever, my son tells me to shut off the sound; he can’t watch Nick Jr. with all the noise.

I go window shopping online and discover sportsbras made the way I like them (plain and simple, please—none of the laces, double spag straps, or triangular holes for other runners to peek through while you’re running ahead of them.) I wonder which branches these are actually available in though since I haven’t spotted any of those in the shops I’ve visited lately, and believe me, I’ve been to quite a few the past month searching for apparel.

I browse through their shoes with little excitement because I am a staunch lover of New Balance running shoes. My old Nikes were always rushed to Mr. Quickie for large doses of rugby on their soles—to think I wasn’t even running then. My 2-year old New Balance pair has never needed a shoe doctor or any kind of special attention. Their tough and dependable.

The running stories are a delight to read. The natural high you get from running cannot be put into words, but what the three runners say does come close. Surprisingly, I’ve met two out of the three of them (one while I was still in the stock market and the other in college) and I’m sure they don’t remember me anymore, but I want to give them a virtual high five and say “Hey brother, I know what you’re talking about!” Haha.

Now for the exciting part. I visit Nike’s pace calculator which, after punching in your record time, will compute your pace—and not just that, but also your predicted finishing time for a race. So, rubbing my hands together, I plug in my personal record during the Global City Run and eagerly await the predicted results of my 10k for this coming sunday’s Champion run. Whoa, at a pace of 6:03, I should finish at 1 hr 30 sec. Hey, for a novice runner, I think I would be pretty happy finishing at 1.30—although 1 hour would sound a lot cooler!

Nike Pace Calculator

Will I be able to sustain my 6:03 pace on Sunday? Gulp, I have no idea. Let’s wait and see. 3 more days to go…