My Second Wind by Eric Rivas

FlatFoot’s Note: Last November 1, 2009, Eric, my officemate and friend, successfully and proudly finished the “2009 ING New York City Marathon.” He is among the 42,000 runners who mustered enough courage and determination to run in one of the most celebrated and toughest marathons in the world. Here, he chronicles his triumph that will leave us inspired and determined to finish our own marathon. To Eric, many congratulations once again and thank you for agreeing to have your story be published in this blog. Cheers and Happy Running to more marathons and, perhaps, another round of NYCM!
——————–
My Second Wind   

 42 @ 40       

A hundred meters or so from the bright blue arch, I almost burst into tears as I choked on my emotions. But my body was too tired so I had to do without the drama. My legs would get whatever strength I had left for the purpose of bringing me across the finish line and when I did, raising my arms would burn whatever few calories I had left in my system.       

I was spent. But I was happy. Extremely happy. For there I was in beautiful Central Park in the middle of autumn. I had completed the New York City Marathon in less than five and a half hours and no one can keep me from claiming my prize, the finisher’s medal.       

What started out as a simple game of chance, a minor gamble if you will, has paid off big time. Early 2009, Valee and I were planning to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in New York. We decided to do it in November so I can also celebrate my big ‘four-oh’ in style. Two of my very good friends (and bros), Jam Mariquit & Jay Tambunting, were joining the 40th running of the NYC Marathon around the same time and the suggestion for me to run with them was hatched. I had been running for about a year but never going beyond 5kms (or roughly 3 miles). Running a full marathon (42.195 kilometers) was just not in my to-do-before-I-die list. Or so I thought.       

To join the run, one had to participate in a lottery. What the heck, I had nothing to lose. I thought back then that I probably wouldn’t get chosen anyway. My application was sent second week of April. A month later, the running gods would smile upon me and I was accepted. Out of the 58 applicants from the Philippines, 52 were accepted. I dreaded getting the congratulatory email, but welcomed the challenge (I had no choice!) set before me. First order of business, find a running coach and commence training.       

The Preparation       

What followed were weeks of active training, doing drills, perfecting my form, strengthening the core, building endurance and participating in organized runs. Twice a week, I would don my running shoes and head off to the track in ULTRA or the perimeter of High Street. Investments were made on gear and supplements. New friends were won in the running community. Sundays were reserved for long runs around the Fort and the villages straddling it. There are days I just wanted to give up and get a massage instead but the discipline was slowly growing within me and I started looking forward to pushing my physical boundaries. One perk was the continued weight loss despite the endless binges. For the most part, getting started was more than half the battle and looking back, I can honestly say that those days spent in training gave me great joy.       

Pre-race ‘Jitters’       

Four and a half months later (and more than 10 pounds lighter), I was filled with so much hope going into New York that I can finish this race. I had never done the full distance during training and the farthest ‘long run’ I have done was 32kms. But I knew I was ready. I had a week to overcome jet lag and acclimatize. It was just too cold in NY and I got tired of converting Fahrenheit to Celsius watching the weather forecasts. Bottom-line, we runners from warm, sunny Manila would be freezing our asses off come race day. One pre-race highlight was the Expo. It was like Disneyland for runners. A mecca for fun-runners, weekend warriors and sub-elite runners alike. Anything and everything related to running was there. If you couldn’t find it in the Expo, it probably doesn’t exist. After claiming my race kit and getting a souvenir shirt, I was ready for one last condition run prior to the marathon. Central Park beckoned.       

Running ‘Saints’ From All Nations       

The night before the run, we attended the Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral. It was packed. My guess was that a lot of the would-be-marathoners were there with their friends and families. The priest’s sermon centered on the celebration of All Saints’ Day and he talked about how in the book of revelation, 144,000 saints from all corners of the world would converge and stand with Jesus. We had runners from all corners of the world in attendance and it was more than enough reason to celebrate. A special blessing before the run would be nice, I thought to myself.       

The wish would be granted as the priest called on all the runners to come to the sanctuary for the final blessing. People started to flood the aisles and it didn’t take long before the altar was crowded with runners in every shape and form. It gave me goose bumps as I imagined myself in medieval times gathering with other soldiers before the bishop for a final sprinkling of holy water prior to going into battle. Reality was way better so I snapped out of my fantasy and marveled at the moment unfolding before my eyes. Then as a final word, the priest cited my guiding verse from the second book of Timothy. Wow.       

Race Day       

It would be an early start at 5:30 as we boarded the bus that would bring us to the starting line. We had a few hours more before gun start so after coffee and a bagel, it was time to find our spot inside the runners’ tent and catch a nap. We would then share stories with other runners as we waited for the call to proceed to the designated corral. As expected, it was freezing and the wind chill added to the ‘suffering’. Excitement was building and before we knew it, the starting gun (or cannon more like it) signaled the start of the first wave of runners… then the second wave… and finally, our group, the third and final wave.       

Enjoying It

The run was just surreal. Going through the five boroughs of NY with thousands of other runners and thousands more on the sidelines cheering you on, it was simply thrilling. My end-goal was simple; to finish the race. This was broken down further into bite-sized strategies so I don’t feel overwhelmed;        

  1. Dedicate the first 10 kilometers to my wife, Valee – something that proved relatively simple and joyful as I savored and loved the experience. A lot like our ten years’ worth of togetherness and married bliss.
  2. Dedicate kilometers 11 to 20 to Raine, our 8 year old daughter – again quite enjoyable with moments of minor discomfort as my muscles started to show signs of tiring. She’s a good kid, I thought to myself and as my muscles strained, I recalled the challenges Valee and I went through as first time parents.
  3. Dedicate kilometers 21 – 30 to our 14 month old son, Raco – whew, this is the part where things started getting complicated (perhaps a preview of things to come with my energetic and strong-willed boy?). Call of nature, fatigue, wind chill, cramps in my upper thighs and side stitches. This can’t be happening to me. I had barely gone past the halfway point. Luckily, Valee was waiting just after the 27km mark and she was a sight for sore eyes (and aching muscles!). After giving her a kiss, I get a boost and I was off to the last stage.
  4. Final 12 kilometers would be my run time with God – I whispered, “Lord, this is it, just You and me”. I was certain He’d bring me home, but this turned out to be the most difficult portion of the run. Constant cramps in my thighs, bloating from too much fluid intake, my body salt depleted, and exhaustion creeping in. Every mile marker seemed farther and farther away. Walk, run, stop, stretch, run, walk, stop, stretch… Are we there yet?!!

Entering Central Park

And then finally, it was over…       

Running the Race       

The back of my race shirt bore the text from 2 Timothy 4 verse 7, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”. Runners behind me may have read the verse but all I needed was one (out of the more than forty two thousand who participated) to acknowledge it and my goal to be His messenger would be complete. A young lady came from behind and ran alongside of me and uttered four simple words, “I like your shirt.”. I smiled at her. Mission accomplished.       

From what I observed, people who joined the marathon ran for different reasons. Some dedicated the run to departed loved ones while others to promote or support a cause. There were those who came in silly costumes and those who proudly wore the colors of their country’s flag. I also saw men and women who conquered their disabilities and to them goes my utmost admiration. As for myself, the actual run was the crowning glory to the weeks and months of preparation I had committed to realizing this goal. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and it wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for;          

–          the torment of bringing my heart close to bursting during speed workouts         

–          the difficulty of waking up ridiculously early on Sunday mornings         

–          the misery of going up the flight of steps when I do stairs training         

–          the agony of the last crunch doing sit-ups for my core         

–          the exhaustion and dehydration while doing long runs    

But it wasn’t all pain and suffering. I could always count on my loving wife and supportive family and friends to provide the encouragement and cheer. There were others who trained with me and helped make the experience lighter. There was also a coach who gave me guidance and pushed me when I doubted myself. The pre and post run carbo-loads were always a treat. The physical transformation and the feeling of being healthy were just priceless.      

Twelve months ago, the notion of finishing a marathon would have been unthinkable. And I can’t help but reflect on this Christian journey I find myself on with the goal of reaching heaven as my finish line. I realize now that God has set for me a mission that is not impossible. But there is a need to prepare and train hard for it; to love people in our lives with all our heart, to make sacrifices when things seem to go beyond our control, to look up to Him and persevere as difficulties challenge us, to be prepared to get hurt for reasons we may not immediately understand, to carry on in times of spiritual dryness and to fix our eyes on the reward that awaits those who choose to run the race.      

At the Finish

I feel immense happiness in having been able to finish this marathon. Imagine the great joy in store for those who finish HIS …

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Race Review: RotaRun 09

We were all back to the dreaded and treacherous McKinley Hill route as the Rota Run 2009 was held there yesterday morning. This is one of my favorite race routes, no matter how daunting it can be. It also marked the first race that Takbo.ph managed and facilitated. Let’s now see how the race went.

THE HIGHS

Race started on time. As mentioned in my previous race review (eco dash), I always prefer that races start on time. This way, runners can calculate the time they need to warm-up and go to the starting line.

Adequate aid stations with abundant supply. I like the part where there are people handing out water and Vitwater to runners. This way, one does not have to completely walk or stop to get fluids. This also lessens the queuing at the aid stations. (Although, after reading Baldrunner’s blog about hydration stations, I have to recommend to organizers that they should have longer tables)

Safety and the presence of marshals. What more can you say if you see military people stationed at different sections of the route? I felt as if I had a bodyguard.

Presence of directional markers. One would not get lost due to the presence and visibility of directional markers telling runners whether to go straight, turn right or turn left. Plus, you have marshals ensuring that you go to the right direction.

McKinley Hill. The hills…those barbaric McKinley hills! One year of running and I still don’t have an answer to these hills. But I do enjoy running at McKinley and I make it a point to join races if it passes through McKinley.

Nice singlets. It may not be as good as the Kenny’s Urbanite singlets but it still has a great and comfortable feel.

Value for money. Nowadays, seldom do we see registration fees below Php 300. This is value for money at its best. For Php 200, you get a nice singlet, medals for 21K finishers, some freebies from sponsors and get to run in a safe, scenic and enjoyable race.

THE LOWS

No KM markers. I hope that KM markers become a standard during races. Runners without the aid of Garmins or Polars rely on the KM markers.

Not a 21K. Runners with Garmin watches have it at 18K. The 3K difference is really big, especially for those aiming for a PR or for those training for a full marathon. At the moment, I also don’t know the reason behind the distance disparity. We can only hope that there is an explanation for this.

Robbery at McKinley Parking. This is really a very unfortunate incident. We can only hope that the McKinley administration improve their surveillance and security procedures. And dare I say that the Php 50 parking fee is too much for – what – a short 2-3 hour stay? Yeah, Php 50 seems small but you don’t get value from their end. Put CCTV cameras there and beef up security and then we can agree that the Php 50 fee is reasonable (For example, SM megamall and MOA have those sensors to direct you where to park – red means a car is parked and green means you can park there. Plus, you see 2-3 security guards who tirelessly roam around using their motorbikes. Now, that’s a “sulit” Php 50 parking!)

MY 15K RUN

No doubt, this was a better 15K run than at Kenny’s in terms of time and overall experience. In fact, my only goal for the race was to eclipse the 1h 38m (chip time) I had set at Kenny’s.

For the first time in a long while, we arrived early. Got a good parking (2nd floor) and walked leisurely to the race grounds. I’ve had so many close calls where I thought I’d be late for a race. But not on this Rota Run morning (partly because I knew that parking would be difficult).

So, for a change, I had the chance to do some warm-ups and stretching. I did around 3 sets of sprints after a comfortable jog. I lined up at the start-finish area with around 5 minutes to spare.

My plan for this race is to take it easy while in McKinley and take advantage of the flat roads along Lawton Ave. I knew that I lacked hill training and pushing hard in the beginning would be stubborn on my part.

The race started on time and, immediately, we were greeted by a mild uphill run. I followed my plan and navigated the uphills slowly but easily. I let the momentum from the downhills carry over and use the added speed to run faster on the few flat roads of McKinley. Approaching Blue Leaf I slowed down again for the final long uphill leading to Lawton Ave.

It was like heaven at Lawton Ave. Finally, no more uphills! This is where I picked up the pace and made up for lost time. It was the first time for me to run almost the entire length of Lawton Ave, with the u-turn at gate 3. In previous races, the direction is usually to turn left at Bayani Road. It was pretty straightforward (some uphills, some downhills, some flats) along Bayani Road leading to the U-turn outside Heritage Park.

After the final ascend at Bayani Rd.-Lawton Ave. intersection, I felt that I still had some energy left. With 1 final sip of Gatorade from my hydration bottle, I ran faster towards McKinley. And as I used the momentum for the final downhill run, I sprinted to the finish line.

And as I was sprinting to the finish, I was carefully looking at my time at above the finish line. I really wanted to know if I eclipsed my Kenny’s time. Lo and behold, I was surprised and very happy to see that my official time was 1h 22m 30s, a new PR for me for the 15K distance. Wow! This is a great bonus for me…something to boost my confidence that I’m progressing with my training, that I’m on the right track for my first 21K at QCIM and that I am on the way to making a full recovery from injuries.

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.

On a somehow short notice, Takbo.ph and Ian Alacar did a good job on getting this event together. Congratulations to the race organizers for a good job. With all your hard work and dedication to the running community, I am inspired and motivated to contribute on my own and, if possible, try to volunteer for the next Takbo.ph-organized run event.

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.

1st RUNniversary: Accidental 10K-er

August 17, 2009 marked the first year of my destiny with running. How time flies so fast. I didn’t even notice it until my friend reminded me when we were at the Kenny’s Urbanite Run. In effect, the Kenny’s event became my pre-anniversary 15K run.

A Flashback to August 17, 2008: The 2008 Men’s Health 10,000 KM Miracle Run 

It all started with email invites between me and my officemates. Back then, we probably had no idea what we were getting into. The obvious reason was that running was good for the health. It was a great start. Twelve of us eventually joined the run. We all had designated partners to run 5K each (race rules allowed 2 runners to run 5k each to complete 10K).

Excited for our very firts race Excited for our very first race

Epitome of a Rookie Runner. Back then, I felt like a college freshman. It was new territory. It was overwhelming. I did not know anything about running, except to set the treadmill speed between 9 to 12 kph. The only thing I wore that was related to running was the MH T-shirt. Other than that, you can immediately say that I was a rookie runner – basketball shorts, cross-trainers and a chronograph watch.

My Miracle Run. Come race day, I suddenly found myself without a partner as he couldn’t make it. It was 5 minutes before race start so I decided quickly to just run 10K. I didn’t know if it was the right thing to do. My mindset then was more of ‘bahala na’ as I was there anyway or I can always stop if anything went wrong. Even if I knew nothing about pacing then, I thought it best to run moderately during the first 5K and, hopefully, have enough left for the last 5K. It all didn’t go well as planned as I was very tired by the 7K or 8K mark. The only thing that kept me going was I wanted to finish regardless of the time. Fortunately, I made it! I finished my first 10K.

A blessing in disguise. Looking back it was a blessing in disguise. It was the kind of start that gave me the confidence, motivation and habit to continue running. I’d call it my destiny with running. My miracle run.

Mission Accomplished Mission Accomplished
Winners in our own right Winners in our own right

Special Thanks to Patrick Oliveros for the pictures.

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.

Time to run again!

After about 2 months, it’s about time I get back to running again. The last run event I joined was the RUNew on Feb. 22. Since then, I haven’t been running. First, I had the Quadriceps Tendinitis and was told to rest for 3-4 weeks. Then, on the weekend of the Condura Run, I had Dengue Fever. After a week in the hospital, I had to rest for another 2 weeks to regain strength.

It was a very tough 2 months. I missed a lot of running events, most especially the Condura Run. But looking back, I realize that it was a much needed rest. The injury is fully healed. I have regained the strength from the hospitalization.

Now, I am committed more than ever to resume running and get back on the right track. I guess, it’s “back to zero” for me. I was advised to take it easy for the first 2 weeks to get the muscles acquainted to running again. Other than that, I need to read some more on how to get back properly.

I would take this week as a “warm-up” week. Run easy — say 2k to 5K — at a slow pace. Then, I would attend the Nike clinic starting next week to seek advise on a proper program. Hopefully, everything falls into place and I get to join a run event sooner rather than later.

But first, I need to remind myself to bring my gym bag. This is my “boo-boo” for the second time this week. I must have gotten used to the “no running” schedule that I forgot to bring my running apparel again. I forgot it last Monday and I forgot it again today. Uh oh! It’s really stupidity at its best! Haha! This time around, I have set an alarm so I wouldn’t forget to prepare it tonight.

By the way, belated Happy Easter! As always, Happy Running!