Dream Race List

August 24, 2009 at 10:21 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I started running in the early eighties when there was a running boom. We would gather around the latest copy of Runner’s World magazine and voraciously read the articles, swoon at the pictures of new running shoe models and secretly wish we could run some of the road races in the US.

I always had a list of races I wanted to run if I had all the time and money in the world. I remember the list well and I still give out the list of my dream runs. We had talked about this again with The Bullrunner one weekend and this is my list of dream road races.

Flesh uniforms of a all female centipede team running the Bay to Breakers

1) The Bay to Breakers is on top of my list. It is a tough race with a steep hill after the first mile. It is scenic with the race ending at the famous Golden Gate park. It is accesible to us since there are direct daily flights into San Francisco. The timing is good since it is held on May which is the Philippine school holiday season. It can be fun with lots of costumes, some nudity and a centipede division where 13 runners tied together compete in this division. It has history since it has started in 1912 and is one of the longest running road races in the world. I had the pleasure of doing this race in 1988.

Scenic Falmouth

2) The Falmouth Road Race held in a small town near Boston in the US east coast. This is a 7 mile run which winds down the coast right across Martha’s Vineyard, one of the favorite summer vacations spots of the Kennedy’s. You can imagine the view of this race based on the course description.

The Road Race Course
The course: The race is seven miles long and begins in front of the Woods Hole Community Center, near the drawbridge on Water Street.

• The course proceeds out of Woods Hole and takes a right onto Church Street, then winds around Nobska Lighthouse and continues along the winding, hilly, tree-lined road.
• At three miles the course emerges from the woods and continues for 1.5 miles along the beach, right next to the waters of Vineyard Sound.
• It then turns left onto Shore Street and, 400 yards later, right onto Clinton Avenue.
• At the end of Clinton Avenue it turns left onto Scranton Avenue, then 600 yards later right onto Robbins Road and the top of Falmouth Harbor.
• At the end of Robbins Road it turns right onto Falmouth Heights Road and continues until runners once again meet the ocean.
• At this point it turns left and heads up the hill and down the road to the finish line, near the Falmouth Heights Ball Field.

The first three miles are narrow, hilly, winding tree shaded roads, while the last four miles are open on the flat right next to Martha’s Vineyard Sound. A small steep hill lets you know that you are beginning the last half-mile of the race. Once you crest the hill it is “all downhill” to the finish.

This race also has a lot of history with Boston Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter as former winners or participants. I have not done this race and it is a serious race which attracts world class runners.

Highly coveted Peachtree Shirt

3) The third race on my list is the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia. This 10K race was somehow very prominent in the Eighties. It is one of the largest 10K races int he world with over 50,000 registered runners. You get to run up “cardiac hill” if you register early enough. They usually reach their quota in the first week of registration.

Boulder Starting Line

4) The Boulder Bolder is a 10K held in Boulder, Colorado. Many world class athletes live and train in or near Bolder, Colorado to take advantage of the high altitude of the town. So you can imagine running a race at high altitude and a hilly course (5,300 feet above sea level). I imagine this race to be scenic tiring and is definitely on my list of races I wish to run.

Scenic Paoay Lake

Scenic Paoay Lake

5) The fifth event in my list is in the Philippines. It was one of the oldest road races in the country but it has been discontinued. it is the North Star 10K which was held in Ilocos Norte at the end of the year. It used to attract a host of great local runners with a promise of a good payday for the runners and scenic route which passes by Paoay lake.

See you at the starting line. (I hope to see you at the starting line near Woods Hole Community Center).

Form is Important

August 20, 2009 at 8:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I remember watching golfers trying to improve their swing. They have videos of them striking a ball and they can see the mistakes in their form or they have a personal coach instructing them.

Swimming is another highly technical sport and it pays to have a coach watch and correct your stroke.

Running is also technical. People have different styles of running. Your optimal running form can be dictated by your body type, muscle strength, flexibility. Kenyan runners have that nice gazelle like stride and others have strong mechanical strides and their legs remind me of a train with levers moving forward pushing the wheels.

One thing that is really important is for runners to minimize bouncing. We should channel most of our energy to moving forward. Bouncing up and down does not really make us go faster.

Since we do not have mirrors or a coach to run with us I suggest you try and focus on an object 500 meters ahead. If the object you are focusing on is bouncing up and down while you run then you are bouncing too much. Try to shorten your stride and increase your cadence to reduce your bounce. Practice this while you run and working on having a smoother run with minimal bounce. You should be able to run faster as you put more energy into going forward and not into bouncing up and down.

I also try to watch my form when I run beside a building with a glassy facade. It’s like having a a mirror right beside me. Not for vanity but to improve my form so I can run faster.

See you at starting line with your smoother stride.

Shooting Stars

August 11, 2009 at 9:39 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Great running performances are like shooting stars. The speck of dust is waiting for the right time to enter out atmosphere and light up the sky. We the runners are always out there training and getting ready for our chance to shine. One day when the stars and the moon are in perfect alignment we go and run our PR’s. We get the mix right; enough mileage, right mix of speed training, the right taper, we wake up on the right side of the bed and we come up with our personal best. This obviously does not happen everyday but when it does we go out there like a comet or even a shooting star with our record breaking PR performances.

Great runners schedule their best performances like clockwork. The runners train and focus on a specific race timing their fitness for one big race. Just like the Perseid meteors which comes once a year with out fail, you can expect great focused runners to come up with their best performances in the big stage like the Olympics. A good example is the great Finnish runner Lasse Virren who was a 4 time Olympic gold medalist winning both the 10k and 5K in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics. But in between he was virtually anonymous. Lasse would spend the intervening years building his mileage endurance and intensity with the singular focus of having his best performance in the Olympics.

So take a cue from the Olympians and focus on a race for your chance to be the shooting star with your PR.

By the way, the Perseid Meteor Showers are set to appear in the next two evenings. If you want to catch a real shooting star check out the link and maybe go for an early morning run.

See you at the starting line Shooting Stars!

Thoughts on a rainy morning!

August 7, 2009 at 10:05 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

It’s 5:00 am in the morning and the street are wet and it is drizzling outside.

Can I leave my hydration pack when it is raining? I won’t overheat since I am watercooled and I can open my mouth and get fresh acid rain.

Do I wear my already wet pair of shoes or do I put on a dry pair and hope it stops raining?

Should I have a longer than normal warmup because of the rain?

Do I stick to my workout schedule or go for a slow lesiurely run instead and avoid possible injuries due to slippery footing?

Do I go run in the Treadmill instead?

Should I postpone my daily run and hope it’s not raining in the afternoon?

Maybe today is my cross training day?

The hardest part is the first step and guess what, I decided to run later in the evening.

See you at the starting line rain or shine.

ROAR!!!

August 4, 2009 at 11:59 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I witnessed the crowds as they bade farewell to Ninoy. I joined some rallies when I was in UP and went to streets for the famed EDSA revolution. I remember going up a wall to watch the marines all lined up in the empty lot at the corner of EDSA & Ortigas where Robinson Galleria now stand. But one thing I regret was not joining even one of the ROAR runs organized at that time.

After the death of Ninoy there were different creative mass protests asking President Marcos to step down. Since there was a running boom at that time they organized the ROAR (Run On for Aquino and Resignation). It was a series of runs where yellow cladded runners with banners and Ninoy shirts would pound the streets. I thought it was highly creative and allowed the runners to exercise their right to free speech without losing any mileage. Ingenious!!! What do you think?

See you at the starting line and please keep on ROARing when you go out for a run.

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