Condura Run 2010: FlatFoot’s Continuing Cramps Debacle

Five 21K races, five cases of leg cramps! That is the sorry and sad tale that yours truly has experienced in each of his 21K races. A little refresher:

  • QCIM – cramps at KM 20 (21K debut)
  • Adidas KOTR – cramps at KM 18
  • Timex Run – Cramps at KM 18
  • Philstar Run – Cramps at KM 17
  • Condura Run – Cramps at about KM 18

A five-for-five batting average is good for most sports, but not in a case like this. Time and again, I’ve been humbled – and embarrassed – by cramps. One minute, I’m running a pretty good pace; the next minute, I’m wobbling and agonizing in pain. I can’t seem to complete a 21K without yielding to cramps. The frustration just keeps building up.

I was running at a comfortable and good pace. At the 16K marker, I had it at 1 hour 33 minutes. I felt I was on-course to finish within 2hours 5 minutes. Then, at about the KM 18 mark, cramps suddenly got in the way and it completely caught me off-guard. My previous cramps started with a bit of a ‘warning’ – some muscle tightening and fatigue. This time around, it just happened!

My leg cramps at the recently concluded Condura Run 2010 was the bitterest pill to swallow – physically and emotionally – as I trained well and hard for it (or so I thought?!). Physically, it was so painful that it seemed I didn’t train at all. Emotionally, it left a psychological trauma that bothered me for so many days. “Why, oh why?” was the only question I had.

As frustrating and depressing as it is, I know that I’m back to the drawing board. I need to go back and see what I did wrong in training. Already, I think Natz (i2runner) has a very good point – that I run ‘on-pace’ in my long runs. That is, instead of doing an LSD, I should train to run long within my 21K pace and not in a slow pace. He may be right as I can complete a 21K LSD without cramping.

And so, after feeling down a few days, my resolve is as strong as ever. I’m confident I can get this monkey off my back. Time to train again and time to train more wisely and effectively.

By the way, FlatFoot’s Better Late than Never Condura Run 2010 Review

OVERALL RATING

I’ll be using a scale of 1 to 5 defined as: 1-Poor, 2-Fair, 3-Good, 4-Very Good, 5-Excellent.

I would rate this run event as a 4.5/5 – Almost Excellent! Congratulations to Mr. Ton and Mr. Patrick Concepcion for staging a successful 2010 Condura Run. Here’s me wishing that we all get to run along Skyway again next year.

THE HIGHS

Organized race kit distribution. It wasn’t perfect but it was a remarkable improvement from last year’s race kit redemption mishaps. There were many tents manned by friendly and accommodating volunteers. The tents were also labeled accordingly to direct runners where to claim their kits.

The Skyway experience. It is the only running event that takes 21K and 42K runners to the Skyway.

Race started early and on time. With fireworks at that too! With the heat, I’m sure glad the race started that early.

Adequate water stations with abundant supply. Water and 100Plus sports drinks were properly segregated. There were also people handing out cups of water to make it easier for runners.

Finisher’s Medals for all distance categories. Most races only give medals to 21K or 42K finishers.

Safety and Security of runners were ensured. There were enough traffic aides and marshals along the race route.

Presence of KM markers. I don’t have a way of telling its accuracy, but it’s greatly welcome that the markers were there.

Runners helping runners. When I succumbed to cramps during the last 3 kms., there were some runners who asked if I was okay and some even offered to run with me and pace me to the finish. I wasn’t able to get their names but I owe them big time! Thank you!

Other positives: Many portalets in the start/finish area and some along the race route; Cold sponges; Water tanks to spray cool water to runners; Bananas being given to runners; Motivators and bands along the route; Nice commemorative T-Shirts; Philippine Star Condura Run supplement section; Lots of freebies (ice cream, beer, MH & WH back issues); Race results for 10K/21K/42K were released within 12 hours.

THE LOWS

Missing bar codes for 21K & 42K race bibs. It was highly commendable, though, that it was addressed immediately. The organizers sent information via email, blogs and SMS on what to do.

Unlit areas along Kalayaan flyover and Skyway. I almost tripped in a pothole along Kalayaan flyover.

Not all received the finisher’s medals. From the Condura Run website, it is said that there was “an attempt to take the box containing several medals.” As such, if you registered on or before Jan. 24 and you didn’t receive the finisher’s medal, just send an email to: secretariat@condura.com

See you all at next year’s Condura Run. Cheers and Happy Running!

A Busy February

A busy February running month awaits all of us. Several big runs are scheduled every weekend of February. The kind of ‘big runs’ that are much anticipated with the hype and the well-known corporate sponsors. I sure am excited and raring to go!

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The Condura Run 2010 – Run For the Dolphins 

Condura Run 2010

When: February 7, 2010, Sunday 

Where: Fort Bonifacio 

Distance: 3K/5K/10K/21K/42K; 21K & 42K will run through Skyway 

Status: Registered (21K)  

I’ve been looking forward to this race since last year. I wallowed in the hospital as the first race to run through the Skyway was being held. I fervently hoped for another opportunity to run through Skyway. And thanks to Condura, I’ll get to run there for the first time.  

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The North Face (TNF) Thrill of the Trail – Nuvali 

 

When: February 14, 2010, Sunday 

Where: Nuvali, Laguna 

Distance: 11K/22K/11K Couples 

Status: Registered (11K couples run with Suzanne, my wife) 

It is officially our Valentine’s Day date. The first race where we’ll run side by side up to the finish. It will be my third trail run and Suzanne’s first. 

I enjoy trail runs. I enjoy the scenery and the fresh air. I don’t worry about setting a PR; I don’t even mind the time. When I joined last year’s TNF Thrill of the Trail at Nasugbu, Batangas, I was even carrying a digital camera to capture every moment of my first trail run. This year will not be an exception – we’ll be on a chillax and picture-taking pace.  

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Century Superbods Run 2010 (RunRio Trilogy Leg 1) 

 

When: February 21, 2010, Sunday 

Where: Fort Bonifacio 

Distance: 3K/5K/10K/21K 

Status: Not Registered Yet (Will register for 21K) 

If there’s a 21K category, I’ll most likely join that race. It’s my favorite distance category nowadays. I figure it will help me a lot in my weight-loss goal. Plus, I need to consistently log miles as I start preparing for a full marathon this year. 

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There you have it. Some great runs we can look forward to. Good luck and Happy Running!

Race Review: Timex Run

I have to admit that we (me and my wife) had second thoughts in joining this race, primarily because of the expensive registration fee. But the 21K race distance, being my favorite now, enticed me to join. My wife, on the other hand, didn’t need much convincing when she learned that Piolo Pascual would also be running the 10K (Thank you Piolo!).

Was it worth it? A definite and resounding YES! Here’s why:

THE HIGHS

Race started early and on time. The early race start was perfect for the weather we have now – sun is usually shining about 6 am and it’s usually hot and humid.

Adequate hydration stations with abundant supply. First, water and 100Plus sports drinks were properly segregated. Second, queuing was prevented because long tables were used and were accessible from both sides (especially the stations along Buendia).

Finisher’s medals for 21K runners. It really is a motivating reward for any runner to receive a finisher’s medal. Just 1 tiny bit of request – I hope that the race event and distance were also embedded in the medal (I don’t mind the RunRio logo, but I wish the name and distance of the race event were also visible – like the medals at QCIM).

Organized distribution of goodies/freebies. There were separate tents for the distribution of loot bags and free drinks – one each for 3K, 5K, 10K and 21K. This really lessened, if not eliminated, the long lines. In previous races, I sometimes don’t bother getting the goodies/freebies because of the long lines. This time, I was able to stay around longer and enjoy the post-race festivities.

Lots of goodies/freebies after the race. Upon finishing, I was given a towel. Then, the loot bag contained the following – RunRio finisher’s dri-fit shirt, 100Plus, bottled water and Nature Valley bar.

Quick release of official race times. Results were released within 24 hours.

Other positives: Animated race map before gun start (bigger screen next time?), Many Portalets, Use of Timing Chips, Presence of marshals, Directional signs and KM markers and Bananas for 21K runners.

THE LOWS

I couldn’t really think of anything major.

MY 21K RUN: STRIKE THREE

Oh no, not again?! Cramps at KM 18! Crap!

Just to refresh: QCIM 21K – cramps at KM 20. Adidas KOTR – cramps at KM 18.

This time around though, I have to admit that this was due to my own doing. It was an accident waiting to happen. It was a very busy Nov. 9-15 week that I had very little time to train – a very lethargic 12K and 8K runs on Wednesday and Friday respectively. More than the long work hours, it was the feeling of being tired and stressed that left me sluggish during those practice runs.

Most painful cramps

It was, perhaps, the most painful cramps I had ever experienced. It felt like my knees and ankles were being twisted. Furthermore, my thighs and calves were as hard as cement.

It started again with my right hamstring all the way down to the calf muscle. Then, at KM 19, my right thigh and calf followed. I had to walk, stop and stretch. It got a little better, but it just won’t go away. The walking and stretching breaks became longer. I was actually doing some intervals – but not the kind of intervals one should be doing: run, then walk & stretch…run, then walk & stretch.  Running continuously became unsustainable. It was embarrassing but it was the only way to relieve the pain.

Missed goals

Unfortunately, I failed to accomplish the goals I had set for this race. Considering the nature of the race route (lots of uphills), I had set 2 ‘conditional’ goals. First, encouraged by my KOTR time, I wanted to try for a sub-2h finish. If that fails, the second goal was to finish within 2h 10m.

But when I started having walking breaks and when the pain became intolerable, I knew that the impromptu goal was just to finish. I conceded that this wasn’t my day, this wasn’t my week. Having said all that, I am still very happy with my official finish time of 2h 11m 36s (chip time: 2h 10m 52s). I am very fortunate and thankful to have finished with a good and encouraging time. I am humbled yet again by this experience and I vow to address this perennial cramps problem.

OVERALL RATING

I’ll be using a scale of 1 to 5 defined as: 1-Poor, 2-Fair, 3-Good, 4-Very Good, 5-Excellent.

I would rate this run event as a 4.5/5 – Almost Excellent. (Well, if my wife and cousin were able to have their pictures taken with Piolo, then it would have been a perfect 5. Haha!)

Kidding aside, it was a very organized and festive race. I remember reading the The Bullrunner’s blog about the last call for the 2010 Condura Run wishes. It seems that Coach Rio translated a lot of those wishes into reality.

Congratulations to Coach Rio and to all his hardworking coaches and staff. There have been successive sub-par races and you broke that negative trend. May you sustain the momentum and continue to improve. Thank you and good luck!

My Back-to-Back 21K Weekends

At long last, I finally have a 21K tucked under my belt. And the past 2 weekends gave me the opportunity to run back-to-back 21Ks – the Quezon City International Marathon (QCIM) and the 2009 Adidas King of the Road (KOTR). I had planned to run my first 21K at the 2009 Condura Run, but dengue kept me out of it. I rued that missed opportunity last March – all the training and all the mileage being flushed down the drain. I vowed to come back and run a 21K before this year ends. It took a long time coming but it was well worth the wait.

At first, the plan was to run my first 21K at the Adidas KOTR. But as my training positively progressed, my mind started entertaining thoughts of doing it at QCIM. It got me excited, but at the same time, I was proceeding with caution – two injuries in 1 year of running can really alter the decision-making process. So many what ifs in my mind – What if I get injured? What if it’s too early? What if I don’t finish?

Then, my sister gave me a great idea – that is, run 21K at an easy, comfortable pace at QCIM and use that as a benchmark for the Adidas KOTR. It was a great plan that convinced me to sign-up for my first 21K at QCIM…and my first back-to-back 21K at Adidas KOTR the week after.

QUEZON CITY INTERNATIONAL MARATON (QCIM)

Running at the QCIM proved to be the perfect event to jump-start my foray into the 21K distance. It was one of the most anticipated races in October. It had the hype and the buzz, not to mention the “international” standing. It also offered a new route along the usually busy Commonwealth Avenue, La Mesa Eco Park and North Avenue.

My 21K QCIM Run

I felt no pressure. I was very, very excited. I had a good night’s sleep and woke up as the cell phone alarm rang (it has been a habit of mine to press the snooze button and sleep some more). I arrived at the venue around 4:30 am and was able to park easily at the QC City Hall. With the gun start still 30 minutes away, I casually walked towards the start area, went to the portalets, warmed-up and stretched for about 10 minutes.

The goal was simple – finish the race. But I still wanted to “relatively” push myself so I’ll know my limits – not too fast and not too slow. Fortunately, there were designated pacers. I saw yellow balloons with the desired finish times. Right there and then, I did a quick math on what could be an achievable finish time – I thought of my 15K time at the Rota Run and I calculated various pace times. A sub-2 hour time was unrealistic. As such, I saw 2 possible finish times – 2h 15m or 2h 30m. I approached the guy who had the 2h 15m finish time and asked the pace he’ll be running. He said it’ll be around 6:43/km and I quickly decided to run with his pace. (In our brief conversation, I learned that he’s Patrick or vVinceth in Takbo.ph; We work in the same company, but in different divisions; When I got home, I also found out we’re friends in Facebook; Small world indeed!)

The run started on time in the midst of loud and motivating cheers – the perfect atmosphere on an early, dark and chilly morning. I got held back by the influx of runners weaving through the traffic. As the road started to clear, I looked around and caught up with Patrick’s pace group.

I religiously followed the pace set by Patrick. There were times when we were running faster, especially on a downhill but it was manageable. I did not pay much attention to the distance we were covering. I was having a great time and a great run. It was fun running at a new route – perhaps the only time you’ll see Commonwealth Avenue devoid of cars and traffic. Plus, we were all entertained by the drumbeat of cheers and encouragement that created a party and lively atmosphere.

Passing the 15K Mark

As we passed by the 15K marker, it was unchartered territory. I smiled and got more excited. Down to the last 6K. I was not tired; I felt strong. It was only a matter of time. All I had to do was to stay with the pace and drink fluids to keep myself hydrated. As we chip away from the last 6K, it was all going along just fine – or so I thought!

Last 1K

The last 1K provided a bit of a drama in my otherwise casual and straightforward run. Suddenly, I felt some tightening in my right hamstring. Then, as we made a u-turn along North Avenue leading to TriNoMa, I felt something brewing on my right hamstring down to my right calf – CRAMPS. I immediately drank half of the Gatorade that I brought along (By this time, I still had 2 flasks left from my hydration belt – I used the Nathan 4-flask hydration belt for this race – 1 flask with Gatorade and the other flask with water). I told Patrick that they can go ahead as I needed to slow down to mitigate the possibility of having full-blown cramps.

Slowing down made my hamstrings loosen up a bit. With renewed confidence, I caught up with the 2:15 pace group inside TriNoMa grounds. As we turned right to North Avenue, Patrick said that we are behind the finish time of 2h 15m. He asked if we can increase the pace to about 5:45 to 6:00. At first I was hesitant – I was fearful of cramps. Then again, it was down to the last 700 meters or so. What else can go wrong? I agreed and followed him. I still had enough energy when we increased the pace. Fortunately, my right leg was cooperating.

Then, as we turned right to QC Circle, cramps finally kicked-in. Ironically, it happened on my left calf. With about 200 meters to go, I slowed down and thanked Patrick for all the help and encouragement.

The Finish

With cramps slowing me down, the last 200 meters seemed like another 1K. But my eye was already on the finish line. I told myself – “I dare not walk now!” And there it was – after 2h, 17m I crossed the finish line with a throng of people cheering and congratulating every finisher. Finally, I told myself, finally! A plethora of emotions filled me as I crossed the finish line – I was very happy, I was overwhelmed, I was on a high, I was filled with a great sense of accomplishment.

I walked around and thanked Patrick again for helping me accomplish my goal. It was a one-a-kind experience to be able to run with a pacer. He surely kept me focused all throughout the race and encouraged me to run around the cramps I experienced.

ADIDAS KING OF THE ROAD (KOTR) 2009

After finishing at QCIM, my focus shifted to the Adidas King of the Road (KOTR) 2009 – my second 21K. This year’s KOTR featured races for 5K, 10K and 21K with awesome yellow singlets. It also marked the 10K debut of my wife and brother, as well as the 5K debut of my sister and cousin. We were all looking forward to this run. In fact, we were the first 5 registrants at Adidas Podium as soon as registration started. Talk about being excited!

Drama at the KOTR Claiming Process

The race kit claiming process provided a lot of drama a week before the race. On Oct. 17-18, KOTR registered runners had to troop to SM Megatrade Hall 2 to claim their race kits and to participate at the Adidas Running Expo.

However, those who claimed their kits on Oct. 17 had a rough experience (rough being an understatement). The troubles have been well-documented – very long lines, very long waiting time, unavailable kits, wrong singlet sizes, insufficient food and a lackluster expo just to name a few.

If you logged-in at Takbo.ph during that time, you’d find deluge of comments on this particular topic. In fact, it generated one of the highest number of comments for a particular topic. Furthermore, I also noticed that the “Adidas Running Philippines” facebook page was inaccessible later in the afternoon. Runners were looking for answers and none were given.

As I read through each comment, each story, each ordeal, I was surprised at how it all progressed from bad to worse to worst. This is Adidas, I told myself! How could this happen? I can only sympathize to all runners who went through the hassle and inconvenience.

It was a complete turnaround the following day, Oct. 18 – a complete opposite! I already prepared myself for long lines and long waiting times. I did not even expect to partake of carbo-loaded food – I just wanted to claim the race kits. We (me, my brother & sister) arrived at 5:00 pm. To our surprise, there were no long lines. It was already our turn when we arrived at the booth. Then, we were able to claim the chicken steak by KFC. We were surely lucky!

A few days after, Adidas and Mr. Rudy Biscocho of RACE, posted a letter of apology. Then, their facebook page was re-activated.

My 21K Adidas KOTR Run

Like the QCIM weekend, I was very excited. The goal now was to improve on the 2h 17m time. The KOTR course was more challenging in terms of the many uphills, particularly Kalayaan flyover and Bayani Road. My mindset was to increase the pace in the flat roads and taper off for every uphill run. It has worked before and I was confident it would work again.

This time around, I did not get the chance to warm-up. We did not arrive early enough for me to do some warm-ups. As such, I just stretched for about 5 minutes while waiting for the race to start.

A few more minutes passed and off we go at exactly 5:30 am. I ran slowly content to let other runners pass me as I wanted to warm-up first. I picked up the pace upon turning right to Rizal Drive as I would eventually taper off approaching the ascend to Kalayaan flyover. After that first uphill run, I increased my pace along the flat roads of Kalayaan.

The downhill run exiting Kalayaan provided a very good momentum in my run along the flat roads of Buendia. This is where my race officially began – I made up for lost time and I ran at a consistent and moderate pace. I made sure to take advantage of this long, flat road. I figured it would be more difficult once we’re back at the Fort Bonifacio area. I was feeling very good and strong. I was focused. I was in ‘game-face’ mode (which was ironic considering what I had written in my blank bib – “Why So Serious? Smile…Have Fun”).

As I was heading back, I was welcomed by some of my friends who joined the 10K category. We exchanged high-fives and they also encouraged me to just go on and continue. It was a great feeling to receive motivating cheers. It also happened at a very good time as I was approaching the dreaded uphill to Kalayaan flyover – a long and steep uphill run that leads us back to Fort Bonifacio. As I saw other runners walk in that uphill portion, I just kept my head up, leaned forward and maintained short strides.

I felt relieved after that section of the flyover. It took me a while to shake off the heaviness from that uphill run. As soon as I felt okay, I began to increase my pace again. I was mindful of the fact that once we reach 5th avenue and Bayani Road, it would be quite a struggle – lots of uphills with the heat beginning to be a factor.

Once I turned right to 5th avenue, it was now a conscious effort to stay with the plan and with the course – taper off in an uphill run and ‘attack’ on the few flat roads along Lawton Avenue and Bayani Road. It was all going very well, until tragedy struck for a second time.

18K Mark

Guess what? It was CRAMPS again – starting with the right hamstring! This time, it came earlier at the 18K mark. At first it was manageable but I had to consciously manage the way I ran. I welcomed and enjoyed every downhill run as it enabled me to rest my legs. At the same time, I despised every uphill run as it triggered the cramps. I was very frustrated. How could it happen again?!

From this point on, I had to drastically reduce my pace. I was trying my best to shake it off and hope that it’ll just go away. There were times when it was getting better, but it was quite painful most of the time. I still resisted the urge to walk. I just maintained a slow pace the rest of way.

This I can say – the last 3K was the longest 3K I had to run. It was another humbling experience like the one I had at the Men’s Health 15K All-Terrain race where I walked for the last 2 kilometers. The mind was willing but the legs were not. It was a test of mental toughness.

I had a sigh of relief when I made it through 26th Avenue (near Fort Strip). Only a few meters left to the finish line. Then, I had the surprise of my life on the final turn at 28th street leading to the finish. My eyes were focused at the finish line looking for the time for 21K. At first, I did not know where to look. But when the marshal directed me towards my lane, I had a wide smile on my face. It erased all the frustration and sadness I felt for the last 3 kilometers. I finished and I improved with a time of about 2h 1m. I was very happy. Deep inside, I was cheering. I looked up and thanked God (During the last 2 kilometers, I prayed and asked for strength to finish). Not only did he let me finish, but he also rewarded me with the gift of confidence.

Pick A Race, Any Race

Such is the case for all of the weekends of September, October and November. They are fully booked with races. We even have some opportunities to join back-to-back races (Saturday-Sunday races).

So, where will you be on the coming weekends? Let’s all plan ahead and pick a race. Here are my preferences (with the distance of choice):

  • 20 Sept. 2009 — Rota Run | McKinley Hill | 15K
  • 27 Sept. 2009 — New Balance Power Race 2009 | Fort Bonifacio | 10K
  • 03 Oct. 2009 — Run for CHILD | Fort Bonifacio | 5K
  • 04 Oct. 2009 — 5th OctoberRUN Festival | Fort Bonifacio | 5K
  • 10 Oct. 2009 — Race for Life 2009 | Fort Bonifacio | 15K
  • 11 Oct. 2009 — Still undecided – Milo National Finals or Celebrity Run |5K
  • 18 Oct. 2009 — QC International Marathon | QC Circle | 21K (debut)
  • 25 Oct. 2009 — Adidas KOTR 2009 | Fort Bonifacio | 21K
  • 30 Oct 2009 — Shake, Rattle & Run 2009 | Fort Bonifacio | 5K
  • 15 Nov. 2009 — Yes Run | UP Diliman | 10K
  • 22 Nov. 2009 — Botak Paa-Bilisan Road Race | 10K
  • 06 Dec. 2009 — Run Rio Trilogy | 21K

There you have it. Wheeew!!! It seems like sprinting from one weekend to another. I’m back in the groove now – call it my ‘second wind’ – and I’m inspired and motivated more than ever.

Postscripts:

Hoping for additional races. Based from last year’s races, we might see some additional races come November or December. Some notable races that I hope would be scheduled are the following: Men’s Health Urbanathlon, Unicef Walk on the Child’s Side and Yakult 10 Miler.

Sorry and sad to pass on Smart SIM. I would have wanted to join the Smart Subic International Marathon. I had an opportunity to do a practice run there (once) and I enjoyed it a lot. At first, I wanted to run my first 21K there. However, after careful consideration, we decided to pass up for this year’s event due to budget constraints. Hopefully, we can join the run at Subic next year. To my friends at Smart, I apologize that I won’t be able to join you there. I’m sure this will be a grand and wonderful event. Thanks for sending updates. I appreciate it. Good luck and happy running!

Race Review: Eco Dash Run

It’s the RAIN! It’s got to be the RAIN! That was some refreshing, cool and invigorating run.

Such was the tale of the Ayala Malls Eco-Dash Run. The rain poured…and it poured quite hard all throughout the race. The wind was blowing at all directions. But most, if not all, of the runners chatting at the finish line attest that the rain proved to be more of an asset than a liability.

THE HIGHS

The RAIN. It’s got to be the RAIN!

New race route. By now, the Kalayaan flyover route is a familiar territory to a lot of runners. This time around though, runners turned left to Paseo de Roxas, then left again to Makati Avenue, then around Landmark and Glorietta and back.

Adequate aid stations with abundant water & Gatorade supply. It helped that Gatorade drinks were in Gatorade cups and water was in white cups.

Security, safety and presence of marshals. The local police had it all under control. I saw this for myself when I was crossing the Makati Avenue-Ayala Avenue intersection. There were a lot of angry drivers. I even saw some drivers (mostly taxi drivers) going out of their vehicles to confront the police. Some were even giving us runners the dirty finger and shouting profanities. It can get quite scary but, like I said, it was kept under control.

Race delay for the better. This aspect can be a bit tricky as a late start time is usually a no-no for a run event. I must admit that, at first, I was not in favor of a delay in start time. It’s my pet peeve. I always want the race to start on time. But in hindsight, I realized that delaying the start times would benefit all the runners. It was better to delay it since running in the dark (still dark at 5:00-5:30 am) with the rain pouring can be dangerous. As such, I think the organizers made the right call on this matter.

THE LOWS

No KM markers. This is another one of my pet peeves for a race. I hope that this becomes a standard for all races being organized.

Not so nice singlets and race bibs. It looked more like a basketball jersey than a singlet.

The timing device at the finish line was not visible. I believe it was near the tent (right side if you are running towards the finish line) where the organizers are seated. It’s usually placed on the top and middle area of the start-finish line. And, if possible, it’s advisable to have separate timing devices for each of the distances.

MY 10K RUN

I did not know what to expect for this run as I lacked preparation. Prior to this race, I had been inactive from running for 5 days due to a big blister I got last Monday (Sept.7). I also ran in the rain that Monday morning. Unfortunately, I was wearing cotton socks and that caused the blister under the ball of my right foot. It completely bothered me and I even had difficulty walking. It was a blister that I cannot run with for the rest of the week.

It was comforting to know that by race day, the wound has somehow healed. I made sure to cover the wound properly with gauze and water-resistant tape.

It was already raining when the run started. As we turned left to 32nd street, the rain got harder and the wind blew stronger. This was also the time that I ran faster knowing that I will eventually taper off towards the ascend to Kalayaan flyover. I took advantage of the flat roads along the Makati leg of the race and ran at a consistent pace. There was no pain from the blisters. I was enjoying myself and a bit surprised that I can sustain the pace I was into. I was breathing well. I had a good and consistent stride. I was completely enjoying myself.

Then, misfortune struck. I felt some pain on my right foot as I was running up the flyover on the way back to the Fort. It was the blister. The bandage did not hold up due to my shoes and feet getting extremely wet. I knew better not to force the situation. I did not want to worsen the wound. I ran at moderate to slow pace from that point on.

I wasn’t wearing my Nike+ Sportsband so I was not able to log my time. I also couldn’t see my finish time as the timing device was being blocked by the tent and umbrellas. I’m hoping I got it under an hour.

SHOWER ANYONE?

After crossing the finish line, there was a Manila Water ‘water tank’ providing runners the opportunity to have a quick shower. Personally, I loved this. It was a cool and refreshing shower. The thing is, it was ironic to be wasting water when the run was all for advocating environmental responsibility and awareness. Well, just a thought bubble. I’m not complaining, just asking.

OVERALL RATING

I’ll be using a scale of 1 to 5 defined as: 1-Poor, 2-Fair, 3-Good, 4-Very Good, 5-Excellent.

I would rate this run event as a 3.5/5 – Almost Very Good.

The ‘lows’ that I mentioned were a contributing factor to the rating. Just the same, I congratulate the Ayala Malls for a good and organized race.

Race Review: The KRR Urbanite

The Kenny Rogers Roasters Urbanite Run was the most talked-about run event this August. Evidently, the concept of running at night created a lot of excitement and anticipation. This was my second night race; the first one being the 2008 Isuzu Shake, Rattle & Roll run. But the KRR Urbanite took running at night to another level. In a nutshell, here are my highs and lows for my 15K run.

THE HIGHS

Night race with a party atmosphere and a tough course. Organizing a night race is a unique idea in itself. Having a party and running at a tough course adds another dimension to it. The Isuzu night run can rightfully claim to be the first night run around the metro, but running 4 laps around BHS is clearly easy compared to running around Lawton Ave., Bayani Rd., Heritage Park and McKinley Hill.

Run, Eat & Donate. The registration fee of Php 600 is high compared to the other run events, but there is value for money in it with the run, eat and donate concept. The run, of course, is a given. The meal is very filling. And most importantly, we get to contribute to Hands On Manila Foundation.

Nice Singlet. I like the simple design and comfortable feel of the singlet. It’s like wearing a Nike dri-fit or an Adidas clima-cool.

Adequate hydration stations with abundant supply. This one is a no-brainer. This is typical of any Finishline organized run event. Then, there is an abundant supply of Powerade and Viva water. I was even able to get a cold bottle of Powerade from the McKinley Hill hydration station. Furthermore, there seems to be no control in claiming Viva water after finishing the race. Initially I got 2 bottles. After roaming around the party area, I was given another bottle as I made my way back to the parking (it was given to me without me asking, great!).

Security, safety and the presence of marshals. Again, this is typical of Finishline. This being a night race, safety & security is a foremost concern. And the organizers did not disappoint. They have always coordinated well with the local government to ensure the safety of runners. One lane is allotted for runners with the traffic cones serving as the boundary. There were also marshals all throughout the route. Some had flashlights to guide runners in some of the dark areas of the route.

KM markers. I have no way of telling the accuracy of KM markers but I do trust that Finishline has always been very close, if not accurate, of the actual distance (based from the Garmin data from my friends). Without my Nike+ Sportsband (display problem) for a month now, the markers help me a lot in determining how I pace myself during a run.

Disposable Timing Chips. The detailed results from the Globe Run for Home showed the capabilities and usefulness of the disposable timing chips. As of this writing, the results aren’t available yet. I do hope that more and more races make use of these timing chips.

THE LOWS

The race kit claiming process. We (me, my wife and brother) are fortunate that we did not encounter any hassles in claiming our kits. But the mishaps have been well documented in blogs and forums. Some of the complaints include: Race kits not being available even if they registered early; Only 1 venue for race kit redemption; Late announcement that last-minute registrants will be able to claim their kits on Aug 14; Being asked to return on a Saturday morning.

I sympathize to those who had a bad experience in claiming their kits. We all hope that it will be better next race. Certainly, the complaints and suggestions posted in blogs and forums would help the sponsor and organizer in creating a better claiming process.

Irresponsible motorcycle drivers. For some unexplained reason, the traffic cones of Finishline and the marshals and police along the route did not persuade some irresponsible motorcycle drivers from driving inside the designated lane for runners. I saw this as I was running along Lawton Avenue. The police was even shouting at the driver to get out of the lane. The motorcycle driver only got out of the lane when some other runners also asked him to move out.

MY 15K RACE

Without any doubt, this is my best run in 5 months. I did not set a new 15K PR but I really felt very good during and after the run. I ran at a moderate and consistent pace all throughout, tapering off a bit during uphills. I walked approaching hydration stations but I made it a point not to walk on uphills.

I have always loved any race route that passes through Heritage Park and McKinley Hill, no matter how difficult it can be. The thrill and challenge just adds up to the excitement of running.

Inside Heritage Park, we were greeted by the refreshing and cool wind. As expected, it was dark with only a few lampposts giving us light. I overheard a group of runners scaring each other and having a good laugh.

Going down McKinley Hill, I had a flashback of what happened to me last February at the RUNew event where I ran too fast on a downhill that caused my quadriceps tendinitis injury. This time around I was careful no matter how tempted I was to accelerate on a downhill. And during uphills, I made sure to run wisely – small strides, look up, upper body slightly tilted forward (no slouching) and breathe faster but consistently. This is probably the first time that I got out of McKinley not completely wasted. I ran casually the rest of the way and finished with an official time of 1h 39m 27s (chip time: 1h 38m 38s). With this run, I am glad to know that endurance training has been successful. I do need to get back and train for more pace.

OVERALL RATING

I’ll be using a scale of 1 to 5 defined as: 1-Poor, 2-Fair, 3-Good, 4-Very Good, 5-Excellent.

I would rate this run event as a 4/5 – Very Good.

Thank you Kenny Rogers, Finishline and all the other sponsors for a wonderfully organized run event.