March 21, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Great Ocean Conveyor is like a giant underwater river

Great Ocean Conveyor is like a giant underwater river

That favourite clown fish with a short fin. Actually Nemo’s dad, Marlin travelled halfway around the world to get to Australia. He only managed to do that by getting on the the strong current of the great Ocean Conveyor which flows under the sea. It is very much like getting on a walkalator at the big airports. You can go faster and farther with less effort.



The first time I experienced that was in Chicago’s O’Hare airport. As I got on, I tried to compare how fast I was moving when I just stood still. Then I started walking and I was moving so much faster. I started imagining myself running a race on a walkalator.

We train hard to get us to the point where it is like running on a walkalator. Remember when you first started running and finishing a 10K was a dream and as you get better and stronger, you were suddenly dreaming of running the 10K in less than an hour, a few months later you are going for a sub 50. Well, suddenly you are running faster with less effort. It’s like running on a walkalator.

That is the sensation I feel when I start to improve and run faster. It’s like running on a walkalator.

Hope you find your walkalator and see your at the starting line.


Nip Guards

March 14, 2009 at 9:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Running was so simple. You put on your shorts, a shirt and a pair of running shoes and off you go. But somehow it slowly gets complicated. You learn there is a proper attire to running. Puruntong shorts are not recommended and proper running singlets not only look good but they also wick away the sweat. Socks are highly recommended for those with sweaty feet or to improve the fit of your running shoes. Ah yes, running shoes. Now you have to worry about wearing the proper pair of running shoes. Neutral, motion control, heavy or light runners, forefoot fit, arch supports, training flats, racing flats, track spikes, trail shoes… what else do you have to consider. I sometimes wonder how I manage to complicate my own life. I remember running with a pair of Grosby’s and graduated to a pair of Addidas Elan (made in the RP) whose mid sole was definitely not EVA or compression molded EVA. It had no wave plate, air sole, gel or any other fancy gadget and yet it served its purpose. I guess that was all my parents could afford. I secretly envied those runners with Addidas Marathon 80, Asics XcaliberGT or the latest Nike waffles. I eventually got a pair of Nike Atlanta and my all time favourite the Nike Terra T/C which had the compresion molded EVA which Nike patented as the Phylon.

I found a picture of my Nike Terra T/C

I found a picture of my Nike Terra T/C

The short shorts were really in vogue. I remember buying the Botak running shorts which were quite popular then. We would go all the way to the Botak Kamuning Office to get the latest running gear. I had racing shorts, training shorts, all around shorts (basketball & running dual purpose), I even had reversible shorts.

A white cotton undershirt (fruit of the loom which you could get for a pack of 6 in DAU) was my official running shirt. Today no serious runner would be wearing those cotton shirts which becomes see through with your nipples when you start to sweat. The alternative was to have those netted shirts which if could double as your punk rock outfit at night. Today you gotta have one of those Dryfit or coolmax shirt. Some call them technical running gear which again wicks away sweat to keep you dry.

Water has also became passe. You had to have the right sports drink to help you get to the finish line faster. Some were carbonated, others had added electrolytes (how come I don’t feel light after drinking them) others had low sodium or if you are weight conscious like my wife, you can check the level of LCarnitine in one serving.

Not only did you need to have the right drink, you also need to have the correct delivery system. Water bottles and camel back are slowly starting to become standard racing/training gear. If I were the marketing manager of Nathan I would organize a race and make sure that it was hot and had inadequate water supply. I would also set up a booth at the finish line with all the different types of water bottles and belts. I can imagine the people lining up to buys Nathans after the race.

Titanium? water belt.

Titanium? water belt.

Socks have also become complicated. You need to have the right mix of fibers to wick away the sweat and keep your feet cool and dry. Pure cotton or pure polyester are not recommended. Thorlos came up with that great add of a triathlete who ran with his socks because his support crew were late at the transition area. Other name brands like Nike, Asics and Adidas have started offering an array of coolMax, Drymax, runningmesh sock to fit all our needs. There is even one which fits your toes like gloves.

Socks which fit like a glove

Socks which fit like a glove

What use is all those gears if you can’t measure your performance to at least 2 decimal points? It started with waterproof Casio, Seiko watches then Timex upped the ante with their luminous watches. Then Polar popularized the heart rate monitors. Today you have the Garmins and Suuntos that have all those features plus GPS. I still remember our coaches measuring our track times with those round watches that must have been state of the art during the heyday of cinder tracks.

I remember using this in high school.

I remember using this in high school.

Then there are all those running gears which you need to keep safe. Flashing LED lights, shoe pouches for keys, ipod or cellphone pouches, sun block…

Anti chafing has progress from vaseline, gels to body glide. My all time favourite anti chafing devise is the nip guard or band aid. Yes I need to cover my nipples during a long run or it will hurt for one whole week. Other runners have bleeding nipples.

This happens in real life

This happens in real life

Yes, our simple sport has slowly become complicated. I have not even gone into orthotics and running bras because of my ignorance about such matter. Well you can go with the flow or slowly try and go back to the basics of running.

A simple barefoot runner was also a back to back Olympic gold medalist

A simple barefoot runner was also a back to back Olympic gold medalist

See you at starting line.

Summer Running

March 11, 2009 at 6:28 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I grew up in the province and back then running in summer was a joy. Classes have ended and we could put away our furniture and explore the neighborhood. It was time to run; run to the beach or pool, run to our neighbors house, run away after stealing some fruits from the neighbors tree, run after the kite, run after the birds, run away from the bees. Running in summer was fun! I would run for the love of running.

We were based in Manila when I was a teenager. Running in summer was equivalent to make up class. It was where you started to make up for all the heartbreaks and defeats in the last track or cross country season. I remember failing to make the team when I was a freshman, running slower than the girls in my sophomore year and suffering the stigma of going from 1st to 3rd in the last 5 meters of the last mile race of my Junior year. Every year I was running to prove myself. I needed to run in summer to make sure I got better in time for the next season. Running in summer was confidence booster. Running in summer had a purpose. Running in summer was a must. I must admit that there were times when running in summer was a chore.

Later on as I started to work, running was a distraction. Running got in the way of my so called life. In fact everything got in the way. The family got in the way, running was a chore, going to mass was duty etc. Slowly I lost my way.

Today I am back to the important things in life. Religion, family, community and health (ergo running) are all back in my focus.

Today running in summer means the running addict in me has gotten stronger and stronger. I run all year round and its just a lot warmer in summer. Running in summer is fun once again. Running in summer means I’m healthy and happy. Finding the right balance and the keeping focused on the important things in life keep me running happy. Missing a run is no big deal anymore.

I imagine myself running with the joy and innocence of kids. Yes I want to run like them.

I hope you run in summer too. I hope you run for the right reasons. I hope you have found balance in life.

See you at the starting line

Warm ups

March 1, 2009 at 1:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Many people/coaches ask us to warm up before we start running. We all know that just like a car we perform better when we warm up. Running at top speed right after you get up from bed hurts and we cannot really maintain our performance. But if we gradually increase our activity and warm up properly we get to run better and easier.


What exactly happens when we warm up? This is what I got from Wiki. Our heart rate increases and we start pumping more blood through our system. Our capillaries dilate allowing greater volume of blood to flow. We release adrenaline in our system which boosts our performance. There is increased production of synovial fluids between the joints lessening the friction. (It’s like warming up the engine oil of cars) Our body warms up and there is greater metabolic activity for energy production. The warmer blood improves viscosity and travels faster through our system.

A proper warm up routine for me starts with a slow jog for 10 minutes or when I feel my heart rate has gone up and I have started to perspire. Then I go off to do a set of static stretch routine and I like to top it off with 4 or 5 striders that cover 50 to 100 meters just slightly faster than race pace. I try to do this 20 to 30 minutes before my race. If I warm up too early, I usually end up cold and cranky while waiting for the start.

We are all different and you should go and try different warm up schedules and find out what works for you. Stick to what works for you and make it a routine before a race. A regular start routine is usually a hallmark for succesful athletes. The regular routine is a signal for the body to be ready for serious racing. It is mental and physical preparation before a race.

I usually go for a proper warm up when I need to be running at race pace immediately after they fire the gun. That basically covers serious races that are 5Km or shorter. You should be close to your race pace from the start or you will never achieve a fast time. Longer races are more forgiving since you have a lot of runway to make up for the slow start.

For the 10K or longer races I can usually get away with a slow jog at the start of the race. In fact in almost all of my recent races I don’t really get to do a proper warm up. It’s driven mainly by my inability to wake up early enough to get a proper warm up. After the slow start I try to pick it up later on when my body has warmed up. Not really the best strategy but nowadays I take a more relaxed approach to racing.

If you are going for a PR then start on the right foot by arriving early and getting a proper warm up. Set yourself up for success by prompting your mind and body to be ready for the race by completing your warm up routine.

See you at the starting line or at the side roads warming up before the race.

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