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A First Official Trail Run

My first few batch of trail running experiences were during my childhood years in our province in Masbate, back in the early 90s. That was when the "Atom" hasn't been oriented yet by his first running mentor. Some of these were chasing for the horses, playing hide and seek with the buffaloes, pigs, chicken, and racing for my life against a mad cow (literally)! And one of the memorable trail experience that I had was when we were trading for some goods in exchange of a hybrid and untamed goat. Me and my younger cousin agreed on a bet on whoever loses in catching the choiced goat, he'll be the one to leash the goat going home. Weak and feeble as I am, I lost the bet! So on our way home, going down the mountain where we bartered our product, we didn't realize that the goat would race us downwards, where I ended up being pulled downhill while holding firm to its leash. If it's not for a rock half-buried on the ground that solidly hit my head, the goat would've pulled me straight to the very foot of the mountain where the streams are waiting for me to be washed down!

with MinnieRunner, Juvy, Mina, and Vicky

Having proven my trail track on the farm (lol), I've decided to take the adventure challenge of Merrell at Wawa Dam. MinnieRunner and her cousins Irish and Mina also opted to join or were actually forced to join since we don't have any other companion for the said race. We also tried to search for a place for an overnight stay near the venue, but was unlucky to find one. Fortunately, we've met some Angels from Agatep a few weeks before the event who warm-heartedly sponsored our ride going to and from the venue, and secured us a spot of VIP table together with the media, and some breakfast goodies before the race. All for an exchange of just waking up as early as 1:30 AM for us to be able to catch the ride.

Talking to MinnieRunner: "Madz, mananalo ako!"

The four of us are running our first time adventure trail run at a place where we haven't been yet. So few days before the event and even during the race itself, I can't help but to get worry about my all-girl companions, the injuries or accidents that might happen on the race, and how the race would turn out for us. But not giving them any hint of my worries, I just prayed and hoped that there won't be any accidents or injuries along the way, and no one would get lost among us.

The worker ants

Good heaven heard my prayers, except for the last one -- not getting lost on the trail. Well I guess that can't be helped since the marker ribbons where incorrectly placed (or as I have heard, there was an excess ribbon) which led us to the wrong route. I was following the lead packs of elite runners before we got lost, and on my count, I was on the fourth to fifth place until we lost our way. At the last marker, since we can't find any other succeeding ribbons nor directional markers within about 230 degree radius, and the Carabao marshalls are of no help in leading us to the right way, the lead runners decided to just go straight and downwards the hill leading to a dried up water stream. After around a few hundred meters of traversing straight the dried stream, we were able to catch up with the 3k racers going up the mountain where the other 5k runners are also looking for the right track.

So, where're the Marshalls and the markers?

Getting more confused about the route, I was like a stressed ant running back and forth for a few meters from some point of origin towards the groups of other 5k runners just to find the right way. When I finally found the directional markers for the 5k, It was then that I lost track of the lead runners who've been guiding us. So I decided to just follow the correct route that I found where a bunch of other 5k runners are already leading the way. But getting stressed with the wasted 15-20 minutes time from the lost route, I can't help but to look for some other ways to be able to overtake the bottlenecks along the single file of tracks. I also risked taking other longer route circling a bottleneck on one of the uphill single tracks.

Tired and stressed black and white ant, respectively

No runners yet at the Mahogany Park

Being lost was stressful and at the same time very much mind and physically challenging. And one of the route that I enjoyed were the jumps beside the cliffs, rappelling from the rocks, and the mahogany park where the fallen leaves added up to the challenge of getting a good balance while running downwards. It has definitely tested my balance, speed, strength, and agility that my lower back ended up aching for three days after the run. It was really fun nevertheless!

River crossing makes me want to dive in the waters

The last part of the adventure challenge was when I thought that I already have to dash for the finish line, but turns out, we still need to complete another kilometer of rock tumbling that has put me on my lowest energy level upon reaching the finish line.

It's not just trail running, it's also rock running!

The last kilometer of challenge

Sadly as it turned out, I was not able to catch up with the cut-off time of 1:10 for 5k category. Say it again, one hour and 10 minutes for a 5k race! I would really like to complain, but judging by the look of the organizer, he already seems much stressed with the complaints of a lot of 5k runners who got lost. It was really disappointing, much more upon knowing that I placed 7th overall, but the medal reward is still too far from my reach!

After the race with Ms. Nicole of Agatep

My girls who conquered the trails.

Race Profile:
Distance: 5 km. Trail Run
Official Time: 01:12:16
Official Ranking: 7th out of 83 overall 5k runners

Race Info:
When: Apr. 17, 2010.
Where: Wawa Dam, Montalban, Rizal
Event: Merrell Adventure Run 2010

Me at the finish line! Say "where?"

Give me my medal, please?

You may download the Official race results here.
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Mizuno Infinity Run

After a week of having graced my first 15k run, I was back again on the road for another 9.375 miles. So in just a span of one week, I am already off to breaking my first 15k PR.

Mizuno Infinity run would've been my first run for 2010, and I might have just ran the 10k for this event if it weren't re-scheduled from January 10, 2010. So the re-scheduling has been a good leap for my preparation runs for the upcoming TBR Dream Marathon.

As compared to the previous 15k run I had a week before, my heart is much calmer this time. I know it is just my second time running a 15k distance but it seems that my body has already accustomed with the race distance. It was unlike my first time runs and my come back runs where my heart pumps so much that it makes me nervous even a few days before the race starts.

Getting darker and darker from the weekly runs.

As the race starts, I was off without much hurry and without my adrenaline pumping out that have previously led me into a sudden burst of speed from the starting line up to a few meters ahead. Having some photovendo shots on my previous race also helped me realize that I couldn't maintain the proper running form for a longer period. That has been evident on the Globe run for Home where I thought that I was only striking the balls of my feet on the ground, but the photos shows that I did some heel-striking when I was already speeding some few hundred meters away from the finish line.

So from the start and until I ended the whole race, my mind is set on maintaining the proper running form. It is not because I want to look good, and not even for the sake of JUST following what's right in running. It is because I know that in the long run, improper foot landing leads to greater injury, if not now, maybe when I get older. And I don't want that to happen since I want to keep on running, even when I'm already in my 70s and 80s of age.

One of Running Atom's fans, lol!

Upon finishing the race, I was amazed that I was able to beat my previous 15k PR, and what's more surprising is that I was not as exhausted as I was at the Globe run for Home.

Irish and officemate Jen pausing under the Mizuno swelas

The famous Sir Rene who keeps on inspiring us.

 I like the Mizuno finisher's shirt's cooling effect.

Race Profile:
Distance: 15 km.
Official Time: 01:15:18
Official Ranking: 58th out of 891 overall 15k runners

Race Info:
When: Apr. 11, 2010.
Where: Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Event: Mizuno Infinity Run 2010

You may download the official race results here.
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Earth Day at Session Road

 Session Rd. was closed for Earth Day

Earth Day has been actively campaigned in the U.S. thirty years ago, but it seems that here in the Philippines, the importance of Earth day and nature campaigns has just started a few years back. I think one of the things that caught the attention of almost all of the Filipinos about the consequences of environmental degradation was the flooding caused by heavy storms such as the tropical depression 'Ondoy' (Ketsana). And after this devastating event, earth and nature-related campaigns began to circulate in the attention and ears of every Citizen.

Save Mother Earth

As part of the observance for the awareness about our mother Earth, different campaigns have emerged to fully spread the inspiration and appreciation of our only planet. It comes from Earth Hour which just started in 2007 and being observed every last Saturday of March from 8:30 PM - 9:30 PM; Earth Week which started since 1988 and is celebrated from April 16 and culminates on April 22 - the celebration of Earth Day.

This same day, was my Dad's last day of being with us - his family. His spiritual body left on April 16, and his physical body peacefully went back to it's soil form as the celebration of Earth Day begins - April 22.

This day have been so memorable to me in every way! It was also then when I realized the saying "some leaves fall, for the new leaf to grow."

An artistic way of recycling

Check out the following photos I have taken while walking at the Session Road, Baguio City as the road was closed from the traffic for the whole day. People of all ages took part in expressing their love for mother earth by sketching, drawing, writing, playing musics, and even displaying their proud art from recycled materials along the stretch of the Session Road in both lanes.

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Kalawakang walang hanggan,
Kalawakan (C)AAVedarozaga
kalawakang 'di lumilisan;
Parang langit ang kapangyarihang,
natatanaw sa dalampasigan.

Sa dilim ng gabi'y,
liwanag ang iyong taglay;
Sa paggising ng umaga'y,
pag-asa ang naka-alalay.

O ano'ng hiwaga ang nadarama!
sa kagandahan mong kahanga-hanga;
Tunay at walang hanggang ligaya,
sa iyo, nadama't nagsimula.

Background: 02Sep1997 @ 0430p, my first impromptu poem at school during our Filipino subject as a fulfillment for the requirements.
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Running "Homewards" - A First Time

A day after my first 3k race at the BDO Race for Life where I topped the BDO Friend category, I've laced up my running shoe for another challenge, a new race distance challenge for my feet. This is all for the preparation for my upcoming Dream Marathon on May 22, 2010.

Having completed a total of sixteen (16) 10K's, three (3) 5K's, and one (1) 3K race distances ever since I got back into running on August 2008, I thought it's already time for me to take my running career a step higher. With the encouragement of some of our running-blogger friends, and office mates, I finally decided to increase my mileage instead of staying put on 10K races. So, the Globe Run for Home was my first 15 kilometer (9.375 miles) race, my first attempt also to conquer my "fear" with distance ever since I cramped and failed on my first half-marathon attempt on February 2000.

Running Homewards

The registration option of Globe also did a good job in encouraging me to opt for the 15k distance category. I chose to register by buying a Globe Tattoo Broadband stick which costs Php 895.00, which in return, I automatically get registered into the race for FREE. The original registration fee without the Globe broadband stick however, is just Php 700.00.

Going about the race as best as I could remember (that was already four weeks past), the experience of this first time is superb. It did another kind of runner's high to me during the race and upon reaching the finish line. So let me itemize some of my race experience highlights that are still stored in my memory lane.

Singlet - For the first time of those running shirts that I have collected so far, I think this is the only race (yet) that used recyclable pet bottles to create this beautiful, dri-fit shirt. I can't even believe that someone was able to think of a way on how to give these pet bottles a long-term re-usability purpose.

Three pet bottles for a singlet.

Marshals - For the first time also in a running event, the Marshals that flocked the starting lines are big bodied Johnny Bravos, wearing maong pants in pink t-shirts with two to three big pink balloons on each of their backs. That's cute right? However, I think the marshals thought that they were still in the front doors of the night bars with the way they talked to the runners. Or maybe they have succeeded in bulking up their bodies for intimidation purposes.

Hold it right there runner!

Race Route - For the first time also in my running life, it was another great first experience on this first 15K that I have ran in Makati CBD (Central Business District), with the starting line along Ayala Ave., just a few meters away from Makati Ave. I was awed when we entered the underway of a hotel that's supposed to be the drive way of cars going to the parking lot of the said building. The Buendia flyover was a plus for the route. Aside from the McKinley Hills, this is my favorite 1.5 kilometer spot in my races at the Fort since it gives me a feeling of being on top of the traffic and vehicles of EDSA. You may check out the full race route here.

Wet Stations - Another first time in my running life that I experienced the cooling effect of a cold sponge in my face and my back. It has definitely helped in taking off the heat of my "engine" from the 7th kilometer up to the finish line. Hydra stations are also well enough even with the El Niño already drying up our water reservoirs. It helped me conserve my own 500ml quencher up to the last three to four kilometers of the route.

Photovendo helps in determining our running form during a race

Technology - Well, of course, this is another first in the technology of running. Runners get to experience a live update on their facebook account as they cross the starting and finish line with the aid of the timing chip. Though my facebook account did not get it's live update, I still applaud this kind of technology innovation in this running event. It really is a first, and deserves a big thumb's up! Oh, and I heard there was also a live stream of the event that was broadcasted somewhere (web or TV?)!

Timing chip provides good and accurate race information.

So those are my firsts among the first in my first attempt for the 15K distance. There are still a lot of things that I could salute about, such as the PhotoVendo, distance and kilometer markers, the overflowing Powerade, and of course, the main beneficiary of the event - the Habitat for Humanity. Although even I still don't have our own house to dwell with, I am happy that somehow, in a little way, I was able to impart and contribute to those people who really needs more help with housing problems - those people who are more than in need than me!

with Kassy's friends

Race Profile:
Distance: 15 km.
Official Time: 01:17:52
Official Ranking: 19th out of 733 overall 15k runners

Race Info:
When: Mar. 21, 2010.
Where: Ayala Triangle/Makati CBD
Event: Globe Run for Home 2010

You may now download the official race results.

 Kawawa naman si Manong
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Sa Isang Kainan

Taong Gutom: ahmm... ate, pa-order naman po two rice.
Serbidora: ilang rice po?
Taong Gutom (nagtataka!): dalawa.

Serbidora: Ano po'ng ulam?
Taong Gutom: half order sa ampalaya.
Serbidora: ilang order po ng ampalaya?
Taong Gutom (lalong nagutom): kalahati.
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National Geographic and Climate Change

The populace of running has tremendously increased and still continues to do so up to this time. Running has become a fitness trend as well as a way of life, if not for all, but for many people. People of all walks, age, affiliation and status have been hooked in this new kind of “golf”. These made event organizers, companies, foundations, non-profit and non-government organizations attracts the heart of runners to support a lot of purpose – from a fund-raising event, product launching, marketing and advertisement, and for the cause of their beneficiaries if any.

When I regained my interest in running way back in 2008, I and my colleagues participated on an event that has benefited a TV network’s foundation which has also been helping a lot of people. Just after a few months, we are again on the same kind of event, which was to benefit the “Tahanang Walang Hagdanan”. Then we joined next some promotional campaigns such as the “run don’t ride” campaign of the Land Transportation Office (LTO); a campaign for an honest 2010 elections; recycling campaign; and so on. Thus, most of our runs have a special purpose not only for our own fitness but also for the beneficiaries of the event, or for the good cause of the campaign being launched.

Getting well hooked with running, I just suddenly realized that we’ve been joining a lot of races with or without a beneficiary. We’re already addicted, and we’re not stopping.

So when I get to know about the Earth day run event of National geographic channel, I was not particularly impressed or concerned about where the proceeds would go to. I just know that I might join this event for the sake of running, keeping on-track with my running schedules, beating my PR, all for my own personal reasons.

But last March 19, 2010, during our NatGeo chat with some bloggers, runners, and Mr. Jude Torcuato, Fox International Channel’s Territory Director, and Mr. Illac Angelo Diaz, Executive Director and Founder of MyShelter Foundation, my perspective about joining a running event has been filled with more passion, but this time, it’s for the cause.

So what or who will be the beneficiaries of this event? It will be all of us, from the urban poor community in Taguig City, and to climate vulnerable communities around the world. It will be our move to make an impact on the global problem of climate change. As Sir Illac said, the idea is very ambitious, but it is possible. It seems impossible, but it is actually possible. Through DAtE (Design Against the Elements), this unique and one of a kind global campaign will become possible.

After the NatGeo chat, I made up my mind. I have surrendered our Company event/outing which is also scheduled on the same date (Apr. 18, 2010), and opted to join this running cause instead. So to my readers, I hope you could also join this noble cause. You don’t need to be a runner to be able to join this event. Whoever you are, and whatever you may be, we can all be a part to mitigate the effects of the natural disasters brought and worsened by climate change.

You may also join this event through online registration.
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