Running Nightmares

September 27, 2009 at 9:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

We all have our running dreams and hopes. But like everything else in life, if there is a Yin then there is a Yan, Good & Evil, Black & White. We all have our running nightmares and fears. Many of them are born from true life experiences and this is my top ten list and the stories behind them!

10) Being Chicked! – Losing is fine. But losing to my wife is downright scary. I’ve always been faster than her but in the Nike Real race I decided to pace her. But in the last 100 meters she went out fast and basically caught me by surprise. My humiliation was captured by Photovendo and I see it every morning before breakfast!

No space for a runner in this road!

No space for a runner in this road!

9) Mad Max!– Drivers from hell give me nightmares. I have learned to run on the left side of the road so I can see if the oncoming cars are too close. I’ve jumped to avoid those cars a couple of times. I also love running at night or early in the morning to avoid the sun and that is when we have many sleepy or drunk drivers. Some bike and motorcycles drivers are also dangerous. Please be safe and wear bright colored clothes and run against the traffic at all times.

Murphys law can strike anywhere!

Murphy's law can strike anywhere!

8) Murphy’s Law of Racing – Being late for a race, misplacing your numbers, taking a wrong turn in a race, wearing the wrong pair of shoes. Many things can go wrong and spoil your race experience. I remember lining up for the toilet in the Singapore marathon and the race had already started and there were still 20 people in front of me. It was a good thing they had a timing chip but I lost 6 minutes on the gun time. You just have to learn to relax when Murphy is in town!!!!

This is a model of the shoe I lost!!!

This is a model of the shoe I lost!!!

7) Alzheimer’s – I can’t find it? A senior moment or Alzheimers. Just imagine losing your brand new Garmin after saving money, drooling as you put the features of a Suunto, Polar and Garmin side by side in order to come up with a Solomon like decision. That would truly be a gut wrenching. In the eighties, it was difficult to find a decent pair of running shoes. My sister based in the US finally sent me abrand new pair of Nike’s. The latest model which I finally put on a test run in UP. When I got home I could not find the left shoe. I searched the car and even went back to UP. I was so angry with myself for misplacing the shoe!!!

6) JAW’s – Sharp Teeth! Anything with sharp teeth can make me run fast. You are slowly enjoying a nice easy run when you hear chains being dragged and turn to see a dog on the loose growling at you. I sometimes like it better when they bark so at least they give you notice. I’ve run away, thrown stones, kicked and parried dog attacks. In North America you may have to contend with cougars and bears.

5) Sahara – I don’t really run with a hydration belt. I like to run and loop back to the house to hydrate myself. I usually go for an hour without really needing to drink. But there are some days when it is really hot and I really need a drink. There have been some races where the organizers either ran out of water or ran out of cups in the middle of a race. Running for over an hour without hydration is like running in the desert. I sometimes wonder if a camel will suddenly pop out and save me!

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

4) Popsicles – It was my first trip to North America. I had been running for a while and one day my sister told me to put on some gloves before I run. I told her that I will eventually warm up. Less than five minutes into my run I am back in the house and I held up 10 frozen popsicles. All my fingers were frozen. I found out later that it was the coldest spring in the last 10 years. No wonder I almost froze to death. I now have utmost respect for the weather.

How to use a toilet for number 2

How to use a toilet for number 2

3) Number 2 – this has happened many times and I am twisting and walking funny as I try to coax my stomach to relax. I say a prayer with cold sweat rolling down my head and request divine providence to save me. In my dreams the urge for number 2 happens when I am too far to comfortably get to a toilet. This is truly a nightmare. Try to do your business before you run!

2) Illness or chronic injuries – This happens to all of us one time or another. We get the flu, our ITB is inflamed, Plantar fascitiis which either sidelines us or makes running a painful experience. We never want that to happen again. It is pure torture especially when you watch other people run and improve.

Wheelchair division for those who cant run!

Wheelchair division for those who can't run!

1) Career ending – I had a basketball game in the afternoon and it was a no bearing game and we were playing for pride. It was in the last two minutes of the game when I heard a crack as I twisted my knee. I crumpled down to the ground clutching my knee. That was the end of my first running career. I had improved leaps and bound in high school. I had a great debut taking third place in my very first UAAP college race. The torn ligament crushed me. I never really recovered and to this day I feel some slight discomfort on my right knee because of my ACL reconstruction. I still remember the dark days when I could not run or even walk. I thought I could never run again. I thought I would be a couch potato for the rest of my life. I thank God for giving me a second chance in running. I thank him every time I line up at the starting line, cross the finish line or crest a hill.

I am back on the roads and I hope to see you all at the starting line.


Office Running Boom

September 23, 2009 at 9:47 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
Graduation picture with BR. Salamat Po!!!

Graduation picture with BR. Salamat Po!!!

PAC APL finally joined the running boom. We offered to pay for the registration of any employee who wanted to toe the starting line in the Rotarun. Many employees took our offer and we had a good sized crowd in the race. We thank Bald Runner, Coach Salazar and the rest of team BR for conducting the free clinic that kickstarted running in the company.

Paparazzi Picture with Rovilson and Aaron

Paparazzi Picture with Rovilson and Aaron

Running Detours

September 15, 2009 at 6:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Every now and then, we face running roadblocks. We have a major school project or office deadline which takes up most of our time. An illness which forces us to take some time off. The stork brings us a baby. Whatever it is, we usually have to take some time off from running.

I like to think that those road blocks are nothing more than running detours. In a real detour, we have to take an alternate route, a longer route, a gravel or dirt road. In our running detour, we can either sit and wait or do alternate exercises like swimming, cycling or walking. It really depends on our road block or the reason why we stopped running. It is always best to be as active as possible so you do not lose too much fitness. I remember reading about Joan Benoit Samuelson story on her Olympic marathon triumph. She suffered a knee injury and was bedridden after her arthroscopic surgery 17 days before the Olympic marathon. She was so worried about losing fitness so the coaches attached a bike pedal in front of her and she was spinning it with her hands to maintain her cardiovascular fitness while she recuperated from the surgery. Well she won by over one minute over a very stellar field which included marathon legends like Grete Waitz, Rosa Mota and Ingrid Kristiansen.

Sometimes, it is better to just wait and rest as your body recuperates or till your projects are over. We really do not lose too much fitness if we take a few days off or even a week off. We may feel a bit sluggish when we start again but our fitness level does not go down to zero when we have a short break from running. But that does not mean we take off and carry on like nothing ever happened on the first day back. I take it easy for the first week by reducing my mileage and intensity. Always start with easy runs and gradually build up your mileage and intensity.

I usually have a test run where I do a short Tempo run to gauge my fitness level and I do another test after two weeks to confirm my fitness level. It’s like starting a car in the morning. You watch the temperature gauge and wait till it has warmed up a bit and the engine oil has spread and lubricated the engine before you fire away.

Well, I just got back from a little detour, my daughter is well and my sinusitis has gone away and I am slowly getting back to my training program.

See you all at the starting line.

Running with the Wind

September 11, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
photo from USA Today

photo from USA Today

Running is hard. Running against the wind makes it even harder. Since we live in the typhoon belt we will experience running against the wind in one of our races or maybe even just in training.

The basic strategy is to run behind someone when running against the wind. The person ahead of you would do all the work cutting throught the wind leaving you fresher as the race goes on. This is called drafting and is a well known fact with cyclists and race car drivers. In many big meets, the top runners would take it easy and wait till the last lap or even the last 100 meters to make a move. This commonly happens in big meets like the world championships or the Olympics. A 10,000 meter race ends up being two events a 9,600 meter jog and a 400 meter sprint. There are of course exceptions like John Ngugi taking off right from the start and demolishing a world class field in the 1988 Olympic 5,000 meter finals.

On the other hand, running with the wind behind you is a big plus. You can actually wear a loose tank top and use it like a sail to gather as much help from the wind. But most of our races are out and back so on a windy day you will be running against the wind as much as running with the wind. It actually evens out.

The biggest downside in drafting is you rely on the person in front to set the pace. If he/she is too fast than you risk some lactic acid build-up since you have to change your cadence and stride rate to match the pace of the other runner. If the runner is too slow then you are running sub optimal pace.

So if you happen to be running against the wind in your next race, try and look for someone to draft with. Someone who will give you enough cover like Coach Rio and his Afro hair. (Peace tayo Rio)

See you at the starting line and if it’s a windy day check the trees or look for a flag and check the direction of the wind and plan your race accordingly.

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