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2009 New Balance Power Run Raising Hope

Monday, 30 November 2009  |  Race Reports

Organizer: New Balance/ ExTribe
Overall rating (10 highest): 7

THUMBS UP:

  • Challenging race course. I despised the almost 4km McKinley “trek”, but then again, it’s what made finishing the race all the more fulfilling.
  • Very well organized race
  • Accurate and sufficient number of kilometer markers
  • Uniformed marshals along the route
  • Hydration stations had long tables with cold water bottles or 100Plus
  • Bananas provided at the finish
  • More than enough portalets at the race start
  • Excellent choice of host for post-race event with Tessa Prieto. (Can’t say the same for the male host who kept on reiterating he was not a runner. Why not choose a host who can relate with the audience?)
  • Free NB socks after the race
  • Different finish lines for 21k and other distances was unique and well-planned
  • Booths (including gait analysis) and shopping after the race

BETTER JOB NEXT TIME:

  • Messy race redemption. Race packets were not available for all runners at the advised redemption dates. (Best scenario: provide race packets upon registration)
  • Race start lacked fanfare. I detest long shows and warm ups before a race, but a countdown with great music could’ve helped to drum up excitement. This race start was…yawn…dull.
  • Water stations for 21k could’ve been more frequent, let’s say, at every 1.5 km
  • Bottled water at stations. High wastage of water. (Best scenario: long tables with filled water cups as in Timex)
  • Same medals provided for all distances. Half marathoners could’ve been given distinct medals
  • Turnaround bands were too tight. Wearing the bands on one’s wrist could’ve impeded blood circulation. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but seriously it was too tight for comfort
  • Some marshals chatting it up instead of doing their job. I told NB a few days before the race that if there was one minor item that would make a significant difference in the event it would be in the enthusiasm of marshals/race volunteers. Having energetic and happy marshals can boost a runner’s morale no matter how exhausted. During the race, at around Km 19/20, there were marshals who were chatting with each other in a circle rather than leading runners towards a certain direction or cheering them on.

The New Balance Power Run 2009 was a well-organized race as expected from most races staged by ExTribe. The highlight of the race was the challenging 21k course which toured runners around Bonifacio Global City, including the much dreaded McKinley Hill portion. It was this tough course that set the race apart from all other races. Other aspects of the race were average with flaws being very minor.

A couple of years ago, this New Balance race would’ve ranked high among other smaller running events. But, at this point in the game where race organizers continue to raise the bar in staging world-class races like the recently held Timex Run, New Balance must think of innovative ways to make the New Balance Power Run not just good but excellent if they want to stand out from the clutter.

Congratulations to New Balance and ExTribe for a well-organized race!

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Nerves Nerves

I was fortunate enough to receive apparel and running shoes from Anton Gonzales and Bing Buenaventura of New Balance for the race. The items I received were top-notch, but I still had some anxiety over wearing my barely-tested New Balance 801s for a half marathon. (I know, they’re racing flats, but I found the 1225s too heavy for me.) Prior to the race, I had only road tested it for a 5k tempo run in the rain (yes, I got my brand new shoes soaked!) and despite the fairly good test results, my paranoid self just worried over the fact that I was setting myself up for injury a mere week away from the Singapore Marathon.

“Chillax Pace”

After adjusting the tightness of my shoe and tying and retying my laces a hundred times over at the 21k assembly area, the race started and I was off. I ran alongside Atty. Raymund, my pace buddy at my accidental QCIM Marathon a few weeks back.

The night before the race, I chanced upon Raymund’s facebook status: “Chillax pace for New Balance” and so I wondered if we would be able to pace each other. My coach-friend Alvin had advised me to do a 6 min/km pace all the way.

“What’s our chillax pace?” I asked Raymund. I don’t recall getting a direct answer, but I do remember seeing a “5:30″ on my Garmin as we ran past Market! Market! in the break of dawn. Gasp, so much for Chillax!

Steady till 10k

Raymund and I ran side by side averaging a pleasant 6 min/km for the first half of the race. As we neared Heritage, he started falling behind due to a bad knee. So, I found a new pace buddy in Chris Martin (sorry Gwyneth!) when I switched on my ipod and heard Cold Play motivating me to plod on further.

The Dreaded McKinley Hill

Shortly after 15k, the course took us inside McKinley Hill. As one enters the enclave by running briskly downhill, there’s much anxiety over the same hill which must be climbed up to exit. I dreaded that portion, but little did I know that there was much to be feared ahead.

The course inside McKinley was gut-wrenching and lung-busting. I studied the map the night before, but it didn’t seem as long and tough as it did on paper! The steep uphills completely took the energy out of me especially after running over 15km and striving to maintain 6 min/km.

With much suffering and a whole lot of sweat and determination, I managed to have my pace hover around 5:50 and only slowed down to 6:05 as I was trudging out of McKinley. Woah, I couldn’t believe I came out of that portion alive.

Race Mode

By Km 20, I wanted to increase the pace but for some reason, my legs would not cooperate. All things changed by the last kilometer. I channeled my inner bull and targeted a lady runner ahead of me. Heck, I even pretended she was in first place to motivate me even more! I went on full sprint and outpaced her making me first in my delusional TBR world. Then, I found myself with two male runners on each side, and together we ran full sprint ahead towards the finish. We shook hands at the finish, laughed off all the pain we endured, and parted ways.

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– Sprint to the finish -

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– Last long run before Singapore…DONE without pain nor injury. Wooohoo! -

According to my Garmin, I finished my last long run before Singapore Marathon at 2:06:35 with an average pace of 5:55 min/km for 21.4 km.

Curse you, McKinley! Had you not been there, I would’ve grabbed a new PR! But, then again, it was McKinley Hill that will keep this race forever etched in my running memory.

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– with Bing of New Balance -

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- with Fides (my daughter’s 1st teacher who finished her first 3k…Congrats Teacher Fides!) and Leonard -

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– Jamike Lopa and Francis Macatulad present Planet Sports President Anton Gonzales with an iamNinoy shirt making him an honorary member of iamNinoy Runners Group -

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– iamNinoy Steercom: Francis, Jamike, Jim, myself, Mayi with Francis’ kids.  We missed you Rapa, Jake, and Drew! -

To learn more about iamNinoy Runners or to join the group, click here.

Secondwind Christmas Registry

Friday, 27 November 2009  |  News + Promos

SecondWind_GiftRegistry

Registration at Secondwind Running Store is now open, not for a race, but for Christmas gifts! Even better, right?

Secondwind Running Store introduces its CHRISTMAS REGISTRY! Sign up now and choose from a wide selection of running shoes, apparels and accessories.

Mechanics:

- Go to your nearest Secondwind branch and choose running products.

- Provide a list of gift choices, as well as the name and contact information of the people (Santa) you expect to receive the gifts from.

- Team Secondwind will notify your chosen Santa and present them with your Christmas list

- Your Santa can now visit any of Secondwind stores to view and purchase the items in your Christmas list

For inquiries, contact: mktg@secondwindrunningstore.com

Now for the important question: Who wants to be my Santa?  Ew, that doesn’t sound too good.

Secondwind Quezon City
88 Maginhawa St., Teachers Village. Q.C,
Telephone: 7992089

Secondwind Pasig City
E-Prime Area, Unit03A,  Ortigas Home Depot,
#1Dona Julia Vargas Ave., Barangay Ugong. Pasig City
Telephone: 9140283

Shoes I Wear When I am NOT Running

Friday, 27 November 2009  |  Gear + Gadgets

There’s all this talk about choosing the right shoe for running. But, what do you wear when you’re NOT running? Most runners don’t realize that their everyday shoe plays a big part in the health of their feet and overall running performance.

I’m a big believer in barefoot running. (I think I’ve said that here more than a handful of times.) Barefoot runners prophesize that keeping your feet free from all the support and cushioning from shoes will actually strengthen the tiny muscles in your feet and make it stronger. Some run barefoot all the way, while others advise runners to practice this only once or twice a week.

While I haven’t mustered up the courage to run with my naked feet on the road nor grass (still waiting for my Vibrams, hubby!), I’ve at least gone as close to barefoot as I possibly can when it comes to my everyday shoes.

For the past months, I’ve favored wearing these three pairs of shoes that I hope will strengthen my floppy, flat-feet:

Nike Free 5.0

The Nike Frees are designed to simulate barefoot running by allowing the feet full range of motion.  For running, one is advised to gradually break in the shoe and cover short distances first.

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- My first pair of Nike Free 5.0. This pair made its way to TBR Mag Oct-Dec issue. See Nutrition section -

At this point in my training, I use no other shoe than my ever reliable Nike Lunar Glides for  running.  I’ve ran as much as 2km in my Nike Frees (and thoroughly enjoyed the new, barely-there feeling), but running in longer distance in the Nike Frees will have to wait till after Singapore.
However, the Nike Frees have been put to good use in my home.  These are the first shoes I pull out on dress-down days to the grocery, picking up the kids, casual meetings, and even for traveling (they went with me to Oregon to visit their birthplace!)
It’s the most comfortable shoe I’ve had. It has a sockliner that just wraps around your foot and fits snugly like glove.  It’s light, durable, and easily washable.
I’m flat footed and there is definitely no arch support in there, but I haven’t felt any pain nor injury.
Check out this link for all the colors they have.  It’s like a candy store for Nike Free lovers like me:

At this point in my training, I use no other shoe than my ever reliable Nike Lunar Glides for  running.  I’ve ran as much as 2km in my Nike Frees (and thoroughly enjoyed the new, barely-there feeling), but running in longer distance in the Nike Frees will have to wait till after Singapore.

However, the Nike Frees have been put to good use on non-running days.  These are the first shoes I pull out on dress-down days to the grocery, picking up the kids, casual meetings, and even for traveling (they went with me to Oregon to visit their birthplace!)

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– I was as giddy as a schoolgirl when I got this 2nd pair. Black and yellow always reminds me of Lance! -

I’m flat footed and there is definitely not enough arch support in there. But, that’s the way it should be when it comes to barefoot technology.  So far, I haven’t felt any pain nor injury.

My only problem with the shoe is that it gets dirty easily due to the material.  But, it’s easily washable.

Web: Nike store
Available at: Nike stores

Sanuk Sidewalk Surfers

“Sanük” in Thai means happiness and balance, and that’s exactly how I feel when I wear my Sanuks.  Harping on their “barefoot un-technology,” Sanuk says that they’re sandals (they don’t call them “shoes”) are like natural footbeds that allow your feet to bend naturally when you walk.

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- My White Sanuk Sidewalk Surfers. Due to abuse and overuse, they’re not as white anymore -

My Sanuks have much more thinner soles than the Nike Free; I almost feel the road I’m walking on. Yet, it is very light and comfortable. May I say that it looks cool, too.  I feel like a cool surfer runner dudette when I’m wearing them. Yeah right.

Web: http://www.sanuk.com/
Price: P2,490
Available at: R.O.X.

Fit Flop

Fit Flop sandals—”the shoe with the gym built in”—was engineered with barefoot technology in mind. They say it helps you imitate the gait of barefoot walking and gives your foot and legs (and butt!) a workout with each step. I first heard about it on Oprah and when I saw them at R.O.X. I just had to get my hands on them.

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– Just one of the many Fit Flop designs to choose from -

Walking in Fit Flop sandals is definitely a different experience. I use the wobbleboard and bozu at the gym to improve balance (an essential in running) and I have a somewhat similar experience when I’m wearing my Fit Flop sandals, of course, to a lesser degree.

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– Thick-soled but they say it’s still based on barefoot technology -

The sandals have excellent cushioning, they come in various designs and colors, and best of all, they can be worn with shorts, jeans, and casual dresses. They’re a bit on the bulky side, but surprisingly, they’re very light on the feet. Fit Flop sandals for men are available, too.

Click here for research behind Fit Flop which includes reducing Plantar Fasciitis pain (an injury I suffered from earlier this year.) How cool is that?!

Web: http://www.fitflop.com/
Price: P3,290
Available at: R.O.X.

Del Monte Fit ‘n Right

Thursday, 26 November 2009  |  Race Reports

Race: Del Monte Fit ‘N Right

Organizer: CEMG

Overall rating (10 highest): 3

THUMBS UP:

  • Use of RFID for timing
  • Fairly simple and incident-free run
  • Organized race pack in bag with free samples
  • Pre-race briefing from race organizer
  • Directional signs lining the route
  • Samples and freebies provided after the race
  • Booths after the race

BETTER JOB NEXT TIME:

  • Messy race packet redemption. (I redeemed mine at Bonifacio High Street only to find out it wasn’t available yet. I was told to return Friday evening.  Fortunately, it arrived earlier so I returned shortly and got to claim on Thursday.)
  • Assembly time of 4 a.m. too early for a 6 a.m. race start
  • Traffic!  Long lines to enter the area. Parking lots were closed so runners were forced to parallel park on the roads.
  • Late race start. Race start was scheduled for 6 a.m. but it was the pre-race “show” that began at this time. With runners crowded at the starting line, hosts were chatting away and a warm-up was introduced while runners were impatiently waiting to run (hence the heckling from the angry crowd.)
  • Late pre-race briefing began after 6 a.m.  After 6 a.m., while runners of all distances were already crowded at the assembly area, it was only then that the organizer announced different start times for distances and requested 3k and 5k runners to make way for 10k runners.  (I cannot count how many eyeballs rolled during this time.)
  • Surprise gun start. In the middle of the warm-up, the gun was suddenly fired and the race started with many runners unaware of what was going on.
  • Lack of marshals in a major intersection in front of SM Mall of Asia. Runners crossed the intersection and stopped vehicles on their own.
  • Converging of slower 3k/5k walkers with 10k runners.  By the 2nd loop, 10k runners had to weave through the traffic of walkers.
  • No kilometer markers.
  • Extremely long gift ribbons used for turnaround markers for runners (at least in perfect timing with the Holiday season)
  • Limited water at stations.
  • Long lines to claim freebies. Freebies were limited so not all runners were given.
  • Low-quality singlets that smelled of paint. (My 8-year old was the one who complained about the stench, not me!)

This race could’ve been called the Del Monte Late ‘n Wait race. For the almost 5,000 runners who registered for this race, there was a lot of waiting: one had to wait for the race packet to be delivered, wait to find parking, and worst of all, wait for the race to start amidst a tight crowd of eager runners. If you were parched after the race, you had to wait behind a long line of thirsty runners to grab a cup of water, too.

Thankfully, despite these mishaps, the course itself allowed for an enjoyable, flat and fast run, which allowed runners to grab great times.  The atmosphere was festive and fun, especially for beginners who didn’t have high expectations on the technicalities of the race.

I heard this will be an annual event for Del Monte. Hopefully, the race organizer will improve on the flaws and make the race “right” with runners next year.  Congratulations is still in order for Del Monte which campaigns for a healthier lifestyle for Filipinos!

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26k Plan

My plan:

5 to 6 a.m.: Pre-race – 10k, easy

6 to 7 a.m.: Race – 10k, 5:30 min/km

7 a.m. onwards: Post-race – 6k, 6 min/km

Hubby and I arrived at the SM Mall of Asia at 5:10 a.m. and, when I saw the long line of cars entering the area, I knew there was no way I could squeeze in a pre-race 10k.  As soon as we found parking, I jumped out the car, bid hubby goodbye, and ran easy.  I only hit 2k when I made the wrong decision to enter the starting area at 5:50 a.m. in preparation for the race to start.  I wasted 30 mins. waiting, which gave me enough time to think of Plan B…

Plan B

5 to 6 a.m.: Pre-race – 2k, easy

6 to 7 a.m.: Race – 10k, 5:30 min/km

7 a.m. onwards: Post-race – 14k, 6 min/km

The gun went off during the warm up, but I couldn’t complain; I was all psyched for a fast race. I switched my iPod shuffle on and went on full race mode through the flat roads of SM Mall of Asia course.

Race Mode

The nice thing about this race is that I wasn’t competing with anyone but myself. In the past, I would target other runners and cross them off my mental list one by one. Now, Singapore was on my mind (as it always is while training the past months) and I was focused solely on my own pace.  I would take a peek at my Garmin (yes, I’m back to Garmin) and manage a tiny grin as my pace ranged from 5:00 to 5:15 min/km without me feeling completely drained.  Fine, I didn’t stick to my Plan B pace, but I felt great and I couldn’t slow down.

DelMonte

- Going for my 2nd 5k loop. Thanks to Bald Runner for the photo! -

Strong, Happy Finish

I finished with an unofficial time of 51:20 mins with a pace of 5:08 min/km for my 10k run. Not a PR but a great time considering it’s been so long since I raced a 10k without worrying about injury.

DelMonte2

After chatting with Coach Jim Saret, meeting up with the hubby at the finish line, refueling with a Hammer Espresso gel, and refilling my amphipod with Gatorade, I took off on my own to run the balance 14k of my program.

Long, Slow Run

Since I was going to run the last 14k on my own around SM MOA, I searched for a safe, secure course within the area. I found a 1.2k loop and ran that over and over and over again.  The first 10km were serene and enjoyable; my introverted self found it completely invigorating.  But the last 4km were the opposite; it was painfully slow and challenging.

By the last kilometer, the sun decided to strengthen its rays over the entire street so I had to take cover as I started to feel like a sunbathing shrimp with my face burning up.  I changed my course and ran only under the shade.  Unfortunately, this passed the row of restaurants around SM where all the other runners, including Jinoe and the rest of the takbo.ph peeps, were savoring their meals while my empty stomach growled with each step.

Despite the temptation to give in and quit (something that was quite easy to do as the car was parked in the loop I ran), I managed to complete the 14km for a total of 26km that Sunday.  Surprisingly, I was more pleased with myself for finishing the last 14k than grabbing a great time during the race.  Truly, the tougher the challenge, the more rewarding it feels in the end.

I’m Still Alive…But My Laptop Isn’t

Tuesday, 24 November 2009  |  Bullish Insights

I wish I could tell you all about the disappointing Del Monte Fit ‘N Right race I joined last Sunday (and my not-so-disappointing 2nd best time for a 10k…51.20mins…woohooo!)  Or, the three pairs of shoes I use the most when I’m NOT running, or the Second Wind gift registry, or updates about the upcoming New Balance race, and so much more…

Unfortunately, I can’t.  My beloved laptop decided to shut down over the weekend. And, since then, life has been stressful with work left undone, blog posts unpublished, and uhm facebook accounts left unchecked.

For now, please be patient with me and entertain yourselves with old posts and controversial comments (heehee).  Please say a little prayer for my laptop so that I don’t have to shell out too much cash to resurrect it.  Hopefully, I’ll be back before the end of the week.