You Know You’re Addicted to Running When…

…you drive from Quezon City to Fort on a hot Friday payday afternoon just to run in McKinley Hill. Then you meet up with two friends and run around Bonifacio High Street five times to help them build up their endurance for a 5K run. Total number of kilometers logged? 13.5, five kilometers of which were run at 5:30min/km or faster. Then…

…you get up early in the morning the next day to run with your sister at the UP Academic Oval. You lace up an old pair of shoes because you need to let the previous day’s pair of shoes air out and recover. Both times…

…you encounter Coach Rio, who makes running seem so easy. You smile at each other every time your paths cross (he’s running clockwise while you’re running counterclockwise) and you end up wondering if you can keep pace with him. When you get home…

…you get a text message from Mr. F, asking if you’re free to run with a group of triathletes on Sunday afternoon. The only thing stopping you from saying yes is you’re doing make-up for your sister’s prenuptial photoshoot.

Yep, sounds like me. Sounds like my weekend. The only thing missing from it is a race on Sunday morning. Ü I can’t wait for Unilab Run United next Sunday!

Century Tuna Superbods Run: Go!
I certainly will be wearing more than this.

Si KIKO ni KIKAYRUNNER

I’m in a relationship, and it’s uncomplicated. He’s my running buddy, keeping track of how fast and far I run. In return, I’ve promised to take care of him and never beat him up.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Kiko:

Kiko, my Garmin
Garmin Forerunner 305

Yes, I finally went and got myself a Garmin. I get to map out my runs and compute my average pace only after the fact when I input my data into Log Your Run, but wanted to have this data on the fly to help me train better and pace myself. I’m a natural speedster, which is disastrous for longer runs because I burn out before the end.

Mr. F got himself a Garmin Forerunner 310XT from his friend Mark Tan at Navco, the distributor for Garmin here in the Philippines. When I mentioned that I was saving up for the GF305 and intended to purchase one later this year, Mr. F introduced me to Mark — and that’s how I hooked up with Kiko so quickly.

Garmin box contents
contents of the Garmin box

It’s not as low-priced as the Garmins I see being sold on the Takbo.ph forum, but buying mine from the distributor means better customer and product support. Well, that’s my mentality anyway. Ü

So far, Kiko’s been a lovable companion; straight out of the box I took him for a 2-kilometer run inside Fort so I could see how Kiko tracks distance and pace in real-time. A quick browse of my manual alerted me to additional functions, which I plan to look into in detail when my schedule frees up for training runs.

I’m in love!

Garmin units supplied by official distributor Navco are now available at SecondWind Running Stores, and will be available soon at R.O.X., Watch Republic, and The North Face. For more information, visit the Navco official website or email sales@navco.com.ph.

The Garmin showroom is at 2nd Floor JG Building, C. Raymundo Ave., Rosario, Pasig City.

Century Superbods Run: Rock Your (Super)Body

The Century Tuna Superbods Run holds some significance for me because ten months ago, I found myself submitting a video audition for Superbods 2009:

This year the audition process was way more athletic, requiring people to finish their chosen distance at the Superbods Run before going to the onsite go-see. But in a crowd of 11,344 race participants, one can really get lost in the multitude. Continue reading “Century Superbods Run: Rock Your (Super)Body”

One-Day Expo at Unilab for Run United

I was already at Ortigas Home Depot this morning, chilling at Starbucks and waiting for SecondWind to open its doors when my mom called. Excitedly, she told me, “I’m at Unilab and there’s gait analysis here!”

I’ll backtrack a little to explain. My mom and sister are both proudly Unilab employees, and today the company held an exclusive expo with Planet Sports at their fitness center. Featuring New Balance products at a staggering discount, Fitprint static analysis, and a gait analysis with a sports physician who also consults for SecondWind. (I’m sorry, doctor, I forgot your name!) In line with Run United on March 7, the company has really been pushing their employees to take up running and sign up.

So my mom called, and of course I went to the expo at Unilab instead. Hehe. First I got my foot measured for New Balance shoes (I’m a 7 1/2) then had a static analysis of my feet. I distribute weight evenly along my feet when standing, and my heel-to-toe motion is straight through when walking. But the gait analysis showed me what really happens when I run.

sticker markers for gait analysis
That is not my best angle.

I got stickered on three points for each leg — knee, calf, ankle — so that the good doctor could plot the points on the video captured of me running on a treadmill.

capturing my run
Ugh. I’m a heel-striker?

Upon analyzing my footage, the doctor determined my left leg is well-aligned through footstrike, mid-stride, and toe-off, with an almost-perfect straight line running through the points on my left leg. My right foot, however, turns outward when I run, so my heel, ankle, and calf twist to accommodate this. Upon toe-off, my leg rights itself.

Oh, and I’m a heel-striker. Sigh. Gone are the illusions of being a midfoot striker. Oh well, I still can run pretty fast anyway. :P

Based on what I learned from these tests, I went for the New Balance WR1225, a medium-stability shoe with good cushioning. (According to Timmy, it’s the “Christmas shoe” since it’s 12/25. Get it? Ü) Since I’m increasing my mileage anyway this year, I’m gonna need a pair of shoes that’ll take that kind of punishment. I hope this fits the bill.

NB 1225: Pink
Of course, they’re pink.

I’m breaking them in during the next few weeks so that by March 7 at the Unilab Run United, they’ll be race-ready!

Super-sized Superbods Run

Century Superbods Run
Century Superbods Run

If Condura had about 8,500 registered runners plus some bandits, apparently the Century Superbods Run now can lay claim to being the biggest race event of 2010 (so far). There are now more than 10,000 people who have registered, and still more putting themselves on the waitlist.

I do believe it has something to do with the man named Derek. No, not Zoolander.

Derek Ramsey
Derek. Stop looking at me like that.

Continue reading “Super-sized Superbods Run”

Falling in Love with Running

When I started running, I already had a strong cardio and aerobic base to work from. Transitioning from my gym workouts to road running wasn’t much of a leap. But I know that for some people, it’s a big step lacing up their running shoes for the first time.

Given the season in which I’m writing this entry, I’m going to use elements of courtship as metaphors for starting to take up running. Ready? Here goes…

  • Find a mutual friend. If in courtship it’s easier to meet a prospective someone through friends in common, it’ll be easier to get into running if you have a friend who’s already into it. Your friend will introduce you two, help you find some common ground to start from. Maybe you could even go on group dates — I mean, run as a group. It’ll do wonders for your motivation if you have someone who encourages you to go for it.
  • Get all dressed up. Just as you want to make a good impression on a first date by stepping out in your best finery, you will also need to wear the good stuff for running. Have yourself fitted out with running-specific shoes that are suited for your feet and gait. If you know you sweat like an ice-cold Coke on a hot day, consider investing in one or two shirts with sweat-wicking properties. As for lower garments, look for shorts that will allow your legs to move freely without chafing in the crotch area. Yes, that’s important. Teehee.
  • Take it slow. You don’t expect the one you’re courting to be immediately comfortable with you — especially if you two have just gotten acquainted. Same thing with running: you can’t expect to take off and do 21K on your first day, much less continuously run for one kilometer. Such things take time. But…
  • Be persistent. Like the saying goes, “Kapag may tiyaga, may nilaga.” Serious suitors show up almost everyday, if not in person then via other means to make sure the one they are courting knows they’re around and gets used to them being around. In running, you’ve got to run regularly. Not necessarily for long kilometers at a time, but enough to get your legs used to the idea. You’ll find that when you don’t run, you miss it — just like a girl would miss her suitor when he doesn’t make himself felt.

Soon enough, you’ll find yourself falling for running, and running will love you back. You’ll run faster, go for longer, and start to look better, too (as the pounds drop off and your muscles tone up). You’ll see there’s no possible way you can live without running in your life. You’ll find yourself dreaming about a future with running, and preparing for it. And when that happens, that’s love and commitment right there.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Yihee!

Taytay Long Run: Love Sign
Love, love, love.

Condura Run 2010: Skyway Kikayway

Condura 2010: The KIKAYRUNNER!
Did you see me from behind?

Making the jump from 15K to 21K is no joke, as I learned from yesterday’s Condura Run.

A Good Beginning

I arrived at Fort just as the marathoners started their race. “That’ll be me in several months’ time,” I thought as I saw them race by. The moon, in its last quarter, was still out and the stars were still twinkling overhead when I checked in at the starting line. Saw a few of the Pace Partners jostling to get a good position for themselves. Since I was running alone, I was able to sidle almost all the way up to the first five rows of people. (I didn’t want to put myself right in front beside Coach Rio — I might get trampled!)

Fifteen seconds before gunstart, fireworks shot up into the sky, illuminating the darkness and giving an adrenaline jolt to us. “This is it!” I said. And off we went.

On the (Sky)Way

I thought it’d be a smooth course, but forgot to psych myself up for the two “hills” I’d have to conquer: Kalayaan and the Skyway. Going over Kalayaan was fine, except that it was pitch black due to no lights and I was paranoid on every step, afraid that my feet would go through a hole. I was unprepared going up the Skyway ramp, no matter how much I’d been warned about its steepness.

Once atop the Skyway, however, I found a good pace and really enjoyed having a rooftop view of Metro Manila. I would have taken photos, but I was on a roll and didn’t want to slow down. Wearing my hydration belt kept me running slower than my usual 4:47/km pace (my speed at 10K distances), which was fine because I didn’t want to burn out. In the belt, I had jellybeans and one bottle containing an energy drink to boost me on my last few kilometers.

It was almost too dark to read other people’s personalized bibs, but I amused myself by reading those of people I was at pace with, or was overtaking. “Prometheus” gave me my first laugh along Buendia, when I ran up beside him and said, “O Prometheus, give us fire!” He laughed.

At one point, a runner came up right beside me, looked intently at my face, then grinned and ran on ahead. Later on, I found out he was a Takbo.ph buddy who was checking to see if it was really me with the KIKAYRUNNER.com personalized bib. Ü

I was trying to keep runner “Marky” in my vicinity; he would speed up and overtake me, and then slow down, so at my constant speed I would then overtake him. He passed the turnaround point earlier than I did, but on our way back I felt my legs picking up speed until I finally overtook him and kept him behind me.

So there I was, crossing high over EDSA, when this huge rush of euphoria hit me. Hello, runner’s high! Better than drugs. (not that I’ve ever taken any…) It kept me going as we finally exited the Skyway and got back on Buendia.

Friends of Good Cheer

Then I encountered the Takbo.ph – Reinier Pacific aid station. From being alone, I suddenly was caught up in a parade-like atmosphere. Volunteers were waving bananas at me, the marching band was twirling flags and making noise, cameras were flashing — and then I heard someone say, “Go Noelle!”

Condura 2010: at the 13K mark
Joel joined me at the 13K mark (photo by Amado Castro, Jr.)

I looked to my right and saw Joel running beside me. He had been waiting at the station for 10 minutes, since we’d agreed he’d pace me to the finish. Boy, was I glad he was there to help set the pace. My legs and mind were slowing down due to fatigue, and Joel was quick to offer tips and conversation to help keep my mind from wandering.

Finishing Strong

We discussed strategy for overtaking this female runner who had overtaken us; sure, she was fast, but her legs were wobbly, she was bouncing upwards more than she was going forward. We would make our attack after the Kalayaan flyover climb. And so we did; I saw her Newtons on the pavement in front of me, then beside me, then finally behind me — and I was in 12th place!

Joel made me chug down my energy drink bottle as we came down the flyover. Then we started to push harder to beat the clock. I wanted to do the distance under two hours, but had given myself an allowance, since it was my first 21K anyway. Joel broke into a sprint on the last 50 meters; my legs were screaming “Bloody half-Mary!” as we turned the corner and saw the clock ticking 2:00:18 as we crossed the finish line.

So really, it was a surprise to me when I saw the official results and found I’d finished with a time of 1:59:37. Sub-2 finish by 23 seconds! Haha.

I collected a finisher’s medal and a loot bag right after the finish chute, which made me a pretty happy KikayRunner.

Spot the Takbo.ph Runners

After coming back from breakfast with Joel and the SMR, I stuck around to watch some of the marathoners finish. It was then I saw Sam the Running Ninja, DocT, and Abby cross the line some time after the 5-hour mark. Luis and Rodel had finished about an hour earlier.

I didn’t spot Julie at the race, but apparently she (and other girls also dressed in pink) saw me at the start. I later found out Vicky had finished her marathon in under 5 hours. Vicky, with no long-run training and only her determination. Vicky, who was definitely also wearing the same pink singlet as me!

As I was driving out of BHS, I saw a group of runners coming out of University Parkway. They were Timmy, Jet, Neil, and Rico who had come from the airport straight to pace with them to the finish. I rolled down my window and gave them a holler and a smile. They were still under the 6-hour cutoff.

Hey, if they can do it, I can too! Eventually…

Race in Review

  • Route: This was a toughie, with two ramps to climb up going either way. But still, come on: it’s the Skyway!
  • Hydration: Plenty of water stations, with very efficient cup-handling. If only they started offering the energy drinks during my outbound run, instead of when I was already inbound. It’s harder to replenish depleted glycogen in the muscles, rather than just having a steady stream of blood sugar to burn.
  • Package & Freebies: It was definitely a memorable experience being on the Skyway and getting a (heavy) medal for all my troubles. There were also a lot of freebies post-race, if I were so inclined to go around the booths collecting them. (I wasn’t.)I have one caveat: for the price I paid, I expected the race bibs to have the barcodes already printed on them (instead of me having to write my bib number on the stubs). At that price I was also expecting a timing chip. At least the organizer made up for it by publishing official results quickly for the 10K, 21K, and 42K. Still, I think a chip would have removed a majority of the complaints about having to queue at the finish chute for the officials to collect bib stubs.

    By the way, if you’re a 21K and 42K finisher and were not able to collect your medal, Condura has an announcement about what happened, and how to claim the medal due you.

Good race overall, despite a few snags. I give this race FOUR KIKAY PINKIE FINGERS out of FIVE. Ü