Monday, August 30, 2010

Crocs goes barefoot. Almost barefoot

I went to R.O.X (BHS) last Saturday to register for the October Running Festival.  Unfortunately, the personnel manning the registration won't be available until 5pm.  I came in around 4pm.  Much to my dismay, I went back home sobbing ... well not exactly

I decided to take Edsa on my way home.  I glimpsed on a billboard and was surprised on what I saw.  Crocs has a product named ABF which is short for Almost BareFoot.  Almost BareFoot?  Wow!  A flip flops made for me!  Isn't that cool?

I guess the barefoot revolution is indeed coming.  I am expecting it to roll out by next year *fingers crossed*
What does it look like?  Here are some grabbed snaps from Crocs website

The ABF Flip Men's comes in 5 colors (Navy, Black, White, Espresso, and Red) while the Flip Women's are available in 6 (Sky, Bubble Gum, Parrot Green, Espresso, Black, and Cranberry)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Long run on Sundays (LSD)

My weekly program requires a long run every Sundays, at least 15km.  Same goes with my running buddy Jake as he is preparing for his marathon run this December

So instead of the usual route in UP we decided to take on Taguig.  At least a change in scenery, if there's any, and difficulty in terms of the road elevation.  I indulged on changing our venue because I have a personal grudge against Bayani Road.  I want to conquer its hilly parts.  This will also prepare me for another 16k race scheduled on September 12, as I intend to set a new PR

The route starts/ends in BHS/ROX and we traverse through 5th Ave/Lawton.  We will cover both McKinley and Bayani Rd.  The pace will be set at 7 minutes per kilometer with scheduled breaks/walk of 1 minute every 3 kilometers.  If you are interested to join, just give me a buzz.  We run at 5am

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Runrio Leg 3 Run United 2

As they say in the '80s, "mainit-init at greaseless pa"

It is now official, Unilab will sponsor Rio's Leg 3 Afroman Challenge
Registration starts next month (September).  Gonna go for 15k

United Run (early this March) was actually my first official race
Imho, it IS the BEST race event compared to the others I've attended
Which is why I am so excited to register for this event

Monday, August 23, 2010

Don't Wear the Event's Singlet

Since I started running last March, there were only 2 occassions (Buddy Run and Takbo Runfest) that I wore the race t-shirt.  For the rest of my runs, it was always my tried-and-tested drifit shirt.  There were several reasons behind it.  Singlet did not looked good on.  It was too small for my frame (someone registered for me).  I do not like the material.  I do not like the color.  I was not comfortable because of the fit.  Lately those reasons has evolved to: (1) easier to sift through event pictures especially when there is no PhotoVendo and (2) my arms won't get chafed

Oddly enough I found in the interweb that we should not wear the race t-shirt because there are superstitions associated with wearing it during the race and it makes you a rookie.  Does this answer the question as to why runners (on international events) doesn't wear the event's singlet?  I also noticed that our pinoy elite runners does the same as well

When I google'd for additional information, I bumped into a list of t-shirt etiquette and most of them are outright funny.  Here's the "somewhat edited and re-arranged" version:

1. A shirt cannot be worn unless the wearer has participated in the event. There is an exception, "significant others" and volunteers are exempt
  • If possible, runners should buy "significant others" T-shirts which can be worn without regard to running the race. Keep in mind, they support your "running Jones" more than you think. They also have ways of punishing you that you can't even imagine. Or maybe you can
  • Volunteers have full T-shirt rights and all privileges pertaining thereto. Remember, you can always volunteer for a race and get a shirt. I encourage this as your civic duty to be a member of the running community. Races don't happen without volunteers, folks
  • No souvenir shirts: therefore, friends or anyone else not associated with the race may not wear a race shirt. If your mom thinks that your Boston shirt is lovely, tell her to QUALIFY for Boston herself, & send in her application early for next year, so she can earn her own shirt
2. Any race t-shirt, less than a marathon (42k) distance, shouldn’t be worn to an ultramarathon (eg TNF 100) event. It simply doesn’t represent a high enough "cool factor" and sends a red flag regarding your rookiness. It's like taking a knife to a gunfight. It's probably best just to wear a generic name-brand athletic shirt, and go hide in a corner until race time

3. When you are returning to a race in which you have previously finished, then wear the shirt from the first year you completed the race (wear your KOTR 2008 singlet in this year's KOTR). Don’t short-change yourself by wearing the shirt from the year before. It doesn’t adequately display the feat of accomplishment or the consummate veteran status that you are due
  • During a race, the wearing of shirt from a previously completed year is acceptable. Wear the oldest T-shirt you have from that race. This is probably a good practice because you now have no excuse to drop out since you’ve done it before
4. Never wear a race event shirt for the (same) race you are about to do. Only rookies do this. It displays a total lack of integrity and might put the bad-heebee-jeebee-mojo on you for the race.

5. Never wear a shirt from a run that you did not finish (DNF). To wear a race shirt is to say "I finished it"
  • A DNF’er may wear a race shirt IF the letters DNF are boldly written on the shirt in question

6. Always wear the race shirt of your last race at the current race’s pre-race briefing, if there's any. The more recent the race, the better. This is a good conversation starter. However, avoid the tendency to explain how that it was a training run for this, and this is just a training run for the next, etc. It just sounds like your rationalizing mediocre performances. Sometimes it’s best to live in the here and now

7. Your t-shirt should be kept clean, but dried blood stains are okay, especially if it is a trail race or a particularly tough event. If you're an ultrarunner, you can even leave in mud and grass stains, (and porcupine quills). Not washing-out the skunk scent is pushing the macho thing a bit too far, though

8. Never wear a T-shirt that vastly out-classes the event you're running (BDM 102 on a 10k event). It’s like taking a gun to a knife fight. Or like unleashing an atomic bomb among aboriginal natives. You get the idea.

9. Never wear a blatantly prestigious T-shirt downtown or at the mall among non-running ilk. People will just think you have a big head, which you do. You'll also get stupid questions, like, "how long was that marathon?" If it's a shirt to a 50 or 100-miler, they'll think it's a shirt for a cycling event or just think you're totally nuts, which (of course), you probably are

10. Never, ever, borrow a race finisher's shirt from another runner to wear to an event that you didn't run. If you do, remember that in Dante's Inferno, he wrote about a special Hell for characters such as you - right between Tax Collectors and Lawyers

11. The Bad Ben Guideline: All children or grandchildren of mine can wear hand-me-down race finisher's shirts for races that I've run in. When they are asked, "did you run in that 100-mile trail race?" They can proudly respond, "no, but my daddy (or grandad) did." If your progeny has put-up with you being an ultrarunner, they have said rights too. If you have completed an Ironman, your kids also have the same rights. They've put up with a lot of crap (or outright neglect) over the years, and deserve to wear them

12. The Bryner Guideline: Never wear a shirt that has more sponsors listed on it than people that ran in the event. (Are you listening, race directors?) A shirt with too many sponsorship logos on it is just plain ugly. If you're a race director, and have scored that many sponsors, how about sharing the wealth? By the way, you can let ANYONE wear this ugly shirt; non-finishers and distant relatives, alike. If you respect your friends, kids, spouse or mother, though, you won't let any of them wear it. It would serve well as bedding in your kid's gerbil cage.

13. Never wear a shirt that has any sponsors on it that you don't agree with. For instance, if you're a Vegan, you shouldn't wear a shirt that proudly advertises "Omaha Steaks" on it. If you wear this shirt, the "Karma Gremlins" will catch-up with you

14. The Spencer Guideline: If an event is cancelled at the last minute, but the event shirts were already given out, you can't wear the shirt unless you actually ran the race on that day. This means you will have to run your own unsupported event, through snow storms, hurricanes, or whatever lame excuse the Race Organizers came up with for cancelling said event. If you still want to wear the shirt, you have to mark it with a sharpie, "I didn't run this lousy event, and I'm all the better for it, thank you," across the front of it

15. This next one is a big one, and has something to do with the need for more good taste and asthetics in this sometimes ugly world. Never wear a shirt that is so old, thin, and threadbare that you can see the color of your nipples or chest hair through it. This seems to be just a "guy thing," especially and old-codger-runner-guy thing. Here's the test guys: if you're too scared to machine-wash your 1978 Tab Ten-Miler shirt for fear of it wafting down the drain as meer subatomic particles, then it's probably too transparent to wear in public. If you can (still) remember your great performance at that particular day and you want to save it for posterity, PLEASE have it framed so that you can keep it on the wall of your den or your "I love me" room, and (at least) out of public view. Better yet, have it sewn into a quilt. You can then sit on your couch and read back-copies of Runner's World, cuddled up with your "runner's binky," with a glass of warm milk.

16. By the way, if you don't know what terms like DNF, volunteer, or Significant Other are, then you shouldn't wear any race shirt until you know what they mean, and you shouldn’t have any meaningful relationships, either. You should probably become a hermit and/or New Age "Tantric" runner, sitting at home in the lotus position performing virtual marathons in your mind, while sniffing used GU packets, incense, and patchouli

Friday, August 20, 2010

Run to Read (Let's run to build libraries)

Run To Read Fun Run was designed to raise funds to build and restore libraries for less fortunate communities in various parts of the Philippines. The run will be composed of 4 major distance events; 3KM, 5KM, 10KM, 15KM and a 500-meter dash for kids and their moms or dads

Now who wouldn't support such a noble cause?  I guess the other 2,000+ runners felt the same way too

I immediately went out to BHS but the guy there told me to scram.  Well not exactly.  There was no more 15k race packets and said that it'll be best if I register to another site.  And so I went to All Terra in Libis.  Couldn't register as well, they only carry 5k race kits.  What a bummer!  I ended up in Reebok/Megamall, good thing they accepted my registration but I wasn't able to get my race bib and singlet.  I was told to come back by August 1.  Well, as long as I am registered then I have no problem

Another nice thing about this fun run is that there are five (5) singlet colors to choose from.  Which eventually became 6 as they introduced another color - lime green.  When the singlets were made available, I grabbed the RED one
This is my first 15k race and I've set a goal to finish it in 1 hour and 30 minutes.  I just need to cover every kilometer in 6 minutes or less.  And maintain this speed throughout the course of the race.  It should be doable. Not easy but doable.  To make it more realistic, I studied the locations of the water stations and planned which one I should get myself hydrated and minimize my downtime

Aug 15.  Race day.  Came in around 5:30am just 15 minutes away from gun start.  Immediately started with the usual dynamic stretching.  My idea is to do a quick run around BHS for a proper warmup.  But because the gun start is just a few minutes away I opted not to. 

Had a strong start.  But in the first few kilometers I knew that there was something wrong and I would be in trouble.  Here are some of the issues I encountered:
1 Distance markers.  There was none.  Not a single one.  For the whole 15 kilometers I did not found any.  I do not have a consistent stride rate as I tend to rest by slowing down everytime I feel tired.  So distance markers help me maintain my intended pace.  For any race, having distance markers is a big PLUS for me.  I am not asking to have one every kilometer but at least every 2-3 kilometers
2 Water stations.  I was surprised to see a water station just passed the first kilometer.  I guess they placed this for the lower distance runners.  Also, There is only 1 water station in Bayani Road where there are supposedly two of them.  A huge no no.  What happened to the other one?  And because there is only 1 water station, as expected it prematurely ran out of water.  Forcing the rest of the runners to climb out of Bayani without drinking and finally getting some in Lawton Ave
3 Elevation.  Too many of them.  Well I do not blame the organizers but rather I blame myself.  I was not ready with the number of inclines inside Bayani Road.  This was actually my first time to run here.  I guess this is the perfect time to integrate some hills training in my regular practice runs.
4 Race map.  It is not accurate.  The implied U-turn in Bayani is somewhere in Heritage Park.  When we got there it was moved to C5.  I know it is not that far but it just messes up with my mental image of the race map
5 9k U-turn.  There was a 9k u-turn inside bayani (near Heritage) where there were 2 marshalls who were giving away plastic loops.  I got confused with this arrangement.  Almost did a U-turn there.  Good thing I saw the other 15k skipping it.  Later I learned that it was intended for another race sponsored by a financial institution
6 Two races.  When I was traversing in Lawton Ave, I saw some runners turning right to McKinley hills.  I wanted to go ahead to 5th Ave because I know there was no route going there but I would feel bad if I end up knowing that I cheated.  I had to stop and ask the marshalls just to make sure that I am not cutting any corners
7 Marshalls.  A 10k runner got lost and went in to Bayani along with the other 15k runners.  He stopped and asked for directions but was given a wrong instructions.  He was being asked to ran along with us and take the 9k U-turn intended for the other race.  Good thing I was there and said otherwise.  Primarily the error was made by the person in-charge in the 10k loop along Lawton.  I suspect that the marshalls doesn't have the big picture of what was going on and got stationed with specific instructions and with very little details

I managed to pull out a time of 1 hour and 36 minutes from this run.  I was off by 6 minutes from my target.  No biggie as I know I will do better next time.  Actually I am already planning on how am I going take on my next race this Sunday (16k).  Optimistically I should be able to cross the finish line in 96 minutes (maintaining a pace of 6'/km) but it will be great if I'll get it in 90 minutes or less.  I hope I'll catch lots of Zzzzz this time

Overall I had a great time.  If there will be another run next year, I will definitely participate and support their cause again

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shoes. Do we really need them?

Picked up an article in Men'sHealth (UK)

Man did not evolve with a pair of Nike Air Zooms on his feet. Our ancestors did not lace up before sprinting over the plains in search of a square meal. Yet for the last half century, conventional running science has told us to cushion our feet with the latest running shoes before we even think of heading to the common. The question is, do we really need them?

There are those who argue no, scorn these cushion comforts and tread the dust shoeless. In the 1960 Rome Olympics, Abebe Bikila, accepted as the greatest marathon runner of all time, won gold in a record-breaking time of 2:15:16, and did it without trainers. You probably won’t leave Bikila’s time biting the dust, but losing your running shoes may just see you run further and with greater efficiency than ever before. More running won’t do your health any harm either; studies have shown its benefits range from reduced risk of cancer to an improvement in your social life.

Even science has gone barefoot recently. New research from evolutionary biologists at Harvard University outlined the difference between those shod and those not. Study author Professor Daniel Lieberman explains, “By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than shod runners get when they heel-strike.”

When most people run, the heel of their foot hits the floor first. This collision is the equivalent of someone hitting your heel with a sledgehammer with up to three times your body weight, Lieberman says. Scientists believe that reducing your heel-striking by going bare leaves you less prone to everyday runners’ ailments, such as shin splints or joint pain
Read the rest of the story here

Friday, August 6, 2010

Common rookie mistakes and how you can avoid them

Too fast, too furious.  For every second you go out too fast in the first half of your race, you could lose as much as double that amount of time in the second half.  During my first 5k fun run, I went out too fast in the beginning of the race.  I was keeping up with the pace of the other runners.  Big mistake.  After the first 2 kilometers, I was breathing heavily and couldn't make another stride.  Felt like all of my stored energy was depleted.  What should you do?  Do not line up at the front.  Best you stay somewhere in the middle or at the tail end in the assembly area.  This way, you will be forced to slow down.  Or have the discipline to properly pace yourself in the first mile then picking up your speed after.

Nothing new on race day.  A running buddy of mine wore the event's singlet without trying them on his practice run.  What happened?  The singlet chafed the area under his arms.  This affected his 21k personal record.  What should you do?  Stick with your tried-and-tested running apparel and gear that you know are comfortable.  No to new singlet.  No to new running shorts.  No to new running socks.  No to new sports bra.  No to new running shoes.  No to new hydration belt.  No to new food/breakfast.  No to new sports drink.  Nothing new on race day.  I hope I made myself clear
Lining up in a race.  Find the right spot by knowing how fast you intend to finish the race.  Faster runner in front, slower in back.  Unfortunately our local road races do not post pace signs so you can properly line up in the assembly area.  This will help a lot so you don't start your run on a pace that is too fast for you (see: rookie mistake #1) or need to weave through a crowd of slower runners
For all distances, if you can run 5 mins/km or faster I suggest that you stay in front (or near)
This is where you rub elbows with the likes of Coach Rio, Cresenciano Sabal, Eduardo Buenavista, and other Pinoy elite athletes.  This is also the place where you'd be able to run alongside with the Kenyans
Using the rough guide below, if you see yourself running at this speed, I humbly suggest that you stay at the end or near the end.  This has two benefits: (1) you will not be forced to run at a pace faster than you intended, (2) safer road race as there will be fewer people who need to weave through other runners
  • 3k race: 15 mins/km or slower
  • 5k race: 12 mins/km or slower
  • 10k race: 11 mins/km or slower
  • 21k race: 10 mins/km or slower
  • 42k race: 9 mins/km or slower

Carlo-loading before a race.  I was told that I needed to take in a lot of additional carbs and calories the night before a race.  Since this advice came from a running buddy of mine, who has joined several races already, I religiously followed it.  In reality, if you are running 10km or less, there is no need to load up on carbs the day before the race.  Our body will most likely have enough stored energy without having to carbo-load.  BUT!  Do not skip breakfast.  You'd still need some energy to burn.  I normally eat my breakfast at least 2 hours prior a race.  My breakfast consists of a cereal bar, banana, and a chocolate drink.  Stay away from food that are rich in fat or fiber.  As these will give you stomach problems

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It will take more than willpower to finish a 21km race

Twenty one kilometers.  You might ask, how far is that?  To give you a rough estimate, it is from Monumento to Magallanes station.  A total of 14 stations in the MRT Line 3

I ran the distance last Sunday in MOA (Rexona Run).  It was my first 21km race.  Initially my plan was to cover every kilometer every 7 minutes.  If I'd be able to keep this speed, I will reach the finish line within 2hrs and 30minutes.  This is, of course, if I had covered enough mileage to prepare myself

Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to properly build my mileage.  Boo.  My last run was a week ago (Takbo Runfest) where I covered 10 kilometers

With no proper training, I headed to MOA.  Arrived at the event around 4:30am.  I took out my heart rate chest belt and sports drink then left my backpack at the baggage area.  Did my usual dynamic stretching like leg lifts and butt kicks.  Ten minutes before the gun time I proceeded to the assembly area and waited for the countdown to start

Strong start.  Focused on keeping a pace of 6 minutes every kilometer.  I felt really good about my speed and thought that I can probably do this.  If ever fatigue kicks in, I will adjust it by a minute and maintain a 7'/km pace.  Never had any problem with the first 10 kilometers.  I knew that I would be ok until the 11th kilometer. Because I had practice runs with this distance.

Unknown territory.  I should be fine, i thought.  Then it begun.  When I've reached the 13km marker, my feet felt heavier.  My arm swings became sluggish.  My breathing became shallower.  I instantly knew then that this was already beyond what my body experiences.  I already started talking to myself that there's only 8 kilometers left in the race

Mirage on a dessert.  Even before I reached the 14km marker, the distance has taken a toll on my body.  I had to stop running.  And begun walking.  My only cue to begin running again was when I'd see a water station.  I ran because I wanted to reach the water station as fast as I can.  I really needed a drink.  During the first half of the race, I was only drinking half a cup.  At this time I was chugging everything down my throat.

Feet hurts like hell.  I have been landing on the balls of my feet for 16 kilometers.  The jagged asphalt was making it worse.  It was so painful that I thought my feet was bleeding already.  This simply meant more walk and less run.  And stepping on a stone and a bottle just made it even unbearable.  I was only running whenever a photographer is present and immediately start walking again once I am no longer in their viewfinder

Two kilometers to go.  I checked my elapsed time and still had 20 minutes more before my goal time.  This translates that I only need to walk 1 kilometer for 10 minutes then I should be fine.  I was optimistic.  It will be difficult but doable.  I was occassionally running but only for a few meters.  In the last turn I can now see the finish line.  I told myself that, in the last 500 meters, I will run all the way

Cramps.  500 meters left.  I started to run.  It should be easy.  Then my left foot started to have cramps.  Why now?  Its because I have been doing walk/run in the last 5 kilometers that my leg muscles has cooled down.  I continued running thinking that it may go away but it persisted

Always finish strong.  The cramps forced me to walk again.  Luckily the pain went away.  Just to be safe I decided to run the remaining 50 meters.  Like I always say - "finish strong".  And also to be photographed running at the finish line.  I managed to set a personal record of 2 hours and 33 minutes

Do not try this at home.  I never felt so tired after a race or should I say wasted.  This one takes the cherry on top of the cake.  It will take more than sheer willpower to finish a 21km run.  Nothing replaces proper training.  This distance requires both physical and mental tenacity.  Another important thing, do not wait to be thirsty.  Drink up every 20 minutes

On my next 21km race, I will be ready
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