Virtual Training Run Report

Thursday, 2 August 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

I woke up in the dead of the night—or more like early morning—committed to making it in time for my 4:45 am run with my virtual running buddies spanning the globe: E-rod, Hitme, Ben, Renz, Marga, Steph, Gretchen, and TRF, and of course Coach B who agreed to accompany me for the run. Driving through South Superhighway at 4:30 am, I wondered if running this early was such a good idea. Thoughts of a headless man clad in a barong in the backseat or a white lady drifting by pervaded my mind. But, for the love of running and to honor my promise to my 8 virtual running buddies, I cranked up the radio volume, stepped on the gas, and prayed to God I would get to Alabang Country Club the soonest possible time.

We started warming up at exactly 4:55 am. As we did our usual active-dynamic routine, I was imagining the other runners in Manila closing in on their 5k even before the sun rose. Hitme would have Paula Radcliffe whispering in his ear. Shirtless Ben would probably have a shirt on this time lest he catch a cold before Sunday’s race. Renz would be running the streets of Makati quietly and swiftly. Marga would be running Paranaque with a smile on her face thinking of how many pancakes she’d down for breakfast. And, on the other side of the earth, I was guessing E-rod was conquering the Back Bay dirt trails with relaxing music as company while Steph and Gretchen, E-rod’s friends, and TRF from Kuala Lumpur were enjoying their runs in their own timezones as well. The thought that we were all running at the same time for the same reason—simply because we love to run—was just amazing and motivating.

As for my run, Coach B and I were compelled to run fast since I had to make it back home by 6:15 am to get my son ready for school (oh the life of a running mommy!) So, our target was to run 10k at the fastest possible time. Off we went in the dark rushing through the main roads where street lamps could light our way and keep us from getting killed by speeding cars. I had never ran this early before so my body took a while to warm up (literally) to the idea. I felt like a marshmallow held up by a stick! My legs wouldn’t follow and my arms swung awkwardly like a pendulum from my shoulder. After the 1st kilometer though, we picked up the pace and it was all good for me from then on. Oooh la la, our pace was fast…but I felt strong. Coach tells me that this was my practice run for Sunday. As long as I can sustain that pace all throughout, I could definitely break my PR. Break my PR?! He said the magic words. That kept me going strong until the end.

Aug 2 Nike Plus

We had to end the run at an unusual time of 48 mins at an odd distance of 9.33 km (Boooo! We didn’t have time for 10k) and a frustrating 499 calorie count (499! Just one more to hit the big 5! Forgive me, I can get obssesive at times) but it was a great run. The big surprise came when I saw my pace of 5’09/km. Nice. I hadn’t gone that fast before for such a distance so I’m thinking Sunday is going to be one exciting race for me.

I drove home under the light of the morning sun glad that I overcame my silly fears (Well, maybe not so silly. Hitme once ran with a white lady, you know?!) and wondering again about my 8 virtual running buddies. I hear that the others have posted reports on their blogs already. So, excuse me for a while as I hear from the new friends I have made in these two wonderful worlds of running and blogging.

Read other virtual runners’ reports here:

  1. E-rod
  2. Hitme
  3. Steph
  4. Ben
  5. The Running Freeman (TRF)

Virtual Training Run

Wednesday, 1 August 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

Virtual Training Run

You are cordially invited to join an international (well, sorta international) group of runners who shall lace up, run the same distance (somewhat) at the same time (okay, that’s one thing we’re sure of) wherever they may be in the world.

DATE: 2 August 2007, Thursday

TIME: 4:30 A.M. (Manila Time)

DISTANCE: 10 km/ 6 miles (or whatever you wish)

RUNNERS/ COURSE:

  1. E-Rod – Back Bay dirt trail, Newport Beach, USA
  2. HitMe – Quezon City, Philippines
  3. Photographer On The Run – Manila to Makati, Philippines
  4. o.O – Makati, Philippines
  5. Marga – Paranaque, Philippines**
  6. Steph – Balboa Park, San Diego California, USA**
  7. Gretchen – Sammamish River bike path, Seattle, USA**
  8. TRF – Kuala Lumpur***
  9. The Bull Runner (that’s me!) – Alabang, Philippines

Boy, oh boy, this is going to be fun! Will you come and join us?

* Thanks to E-Rod and Hitme for getting this started!

** Added Aug 1, 3:14 pm Manila Time

*** Added Aug 2

Adidas Runner’s Check Up

Saturday, 14 July 2007  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

My feet and I got to know each other a little better today. Thanks to Adidas, I got a free runner’s check up with Kristine Warren, the head physiotherapist of the Moro Lorenzo Sports Clinic in Ateneo de Manila.

So, there I was, standing in the middle of the Ateneo Highschool parking lot under the pouring rain with my feet soaked in dirty rainwater (how many times should I remind myself to stop wearing flipflops now that it’s the rainy season?!) I was searching for the Moro Lorenzo Gym and—since that entire structure was not even conceptualized during my college days—I could not for the life of me find it! After calling a friend (who just tells me to go straight ahead), I see it before me. Now how could I miss that colossal thing?!

Moro Lorenzo

After a brief wait, I am welcomed by Kristine herself. She cordially ushers me into her cubicle, plops down a black rubber pad right outside the door, and asks me to run as naturally as I can over it—with my bare feet. Uh huh, I nod and then I nervously peep out her door to note the handful of male athletes who will be forced to watch my attempts at landing on that little mat properly while I try my best to curl and hide my hideous runner’s toes (which, as I’ve told you, were earlier submerged in rainwater. Cover your noses people!) After reminding myself that these men are practically a decade younger than me (so they could care less about a ditzy mommy) , I muster up the courage to run and successfully finish the simple test in three tries.

Kristine pulls up a chair and I sit beside her to watch my feet pop out on her monitor (much like what the Predator would view using his infrared vision.) In the case of my foot image, the red portion shows areas of high-pressure landing against the backdrop of my yellow footprint. The monitor also reveals how and where my feet land and the full movement of each foot as I run.

Kristine Warren

– Kristine and Joseph of the Moro Lorenzo Sports Clinic posing with my feet image! –

My first reaction was panic. Do I land the right way? The image portrayed me clearly as a heel-striker. No doubt about that. But, with all the opposing information available in books and the net, I wasn’t quite sure if it was good to be labelled as such. Kristine says there is no hard and fast rule to this one. Some coaches teach you to strike at the heel, others prefer mid-foot. Whatever works for you, she says. Images of Haile Gebrselassie, Adidas endorser and greatest runner of all time, landing on his fore foot—not his heels—flashback into my memory and I know Kristine is right. To each his own.

Next, Kristine reveals that I—ack I hate to admit this—sort of turn my knees inward while running, then my feet try to make up for it by moving laterally. What?! I didn’t know I was capable of such a complicated maneuver! Perhaps I should have been a flamenco dancer instead of a runner?

Kristine instantly makes me feel better though when she calls me a “lightweight” runner with narrow feet. (Now you know: the best way to boost the self esteem of a knock-kneed runner is to tell her that she’s lighter than she looks.) She further says that I put heavy pressure on my forefoot (oh, you should’ve seen all those tiny red spots right below my pinky toe and in the middle of the ball of my feet) so she knows exactly what shoe to recommend for me.

Kristine says I must focus on cushioning. (Cushioning. Cushioning. Cushioning. Remind me about this the next time I go shopping for shoes. Now I know why I’ve got more calluses than skin under my feet. Okay okay I’m exaggerating, but really I do have a lot.) For competition, I should get the Adizero CS which has climavite cushion. Meanwhile, I could choose between the AdiStar Cushion or Supernova Cushion for my training shoes.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve confirmed what I knew for the past few weeks: that my current running shoe isn’t compatible with my feet! Through the Adidas Runner’s Check Up, I learned that my shoe is way too wide at the front and lacks the cushioning my special feet deserve. Aaaah, that’s what I get for buying a shoe without ever having my feet assessed. Lesson learned, but money wasted.

So, to all you future running shoe shoppers out there, go for a feet evaluation before you open your wallets! The Adidas Runner’s Check Up travels all around the Metro offering free feet assessments to everyone.

Thanks to Odette Velarde for making all this possible! Yeah, impossible is nothing with Adidas, eh?

My Training Diary

Wednesday, 13 June 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

In running, or any other sport for that matter, a training diary can be an athlete’s best friend. Real friends don’t fool you; they don’t lie; and they encourage you to do the best you can. A training diary will do that and more for a runner. Provided of course that you religiously record important information about each run, your diary will allow you to track your progress (look Ma I can now run a 10k with ease!), motivate you to reach your goal, help you determine the cause of an injury, fatigue, or explain how in the hell you ran so fast on a particular training day.

What information do you put into your training diary? Below is a basic list I’ve made, but feel free to add (like “Who did I date the night before I broke my PR?”) or omit data as you wish:

  1. Date and Day
  2. Distance
  3. Time
  4. Calories
  5. Comments (e.g., weather, feelings—physical and emotional, new accesories used, etc.)
  6. Companions, if any
  7. Pulse
  8. Weight before the run
  9. Diet (You may opt to have a separate Food Diary, so you may simply note if you’ve been “Good” or “Bad”)
  10. Goals (i.e., lose 5 lbs., run a full marathon by December, zip up those tight jeans so I don’t have to wear my shirt untucked all the time)
  11. Training Program
  12. Races joined and your time

Now, what diary do you use? There are available books in the market that are designed as training diaries for runners. I saw this NYRR Road Runners Running & Fitness Log in A Different Bookstore, Bonifacio High Street last month. I was so tempted to buy it, but as you very well know, I am a frugal shopper so I decided otherwise.

NYRR Training Log

– New York Road Runners Running & Fitness Log 2007 by New York Road Runners (Available at A Different Bookstore and Amazon) –

There are a host of other running diaries available in Amazon, but I am unsure of their availability locally. You may ask your favorite bookstore to bring them in for you or for a kind soul to carry them home from the U.S. For now, just surf and drool…

2 Diaries

– LEFT: The Runner’s Training Diary: For Fitness Runners and Competitive Racers by Bob and Shelly-Lyn Florence Glover, Amazon. RIGHT: The Running Log by April Powers, Amazon –

If you’re a techie, my friend E-Rod recommends breakingthetape.com, an online diary for runners and other athletes. Google other online or PC/mac-based applications and you’ll discover several programs that can go beyond the role of a logbook. Some will provide you with high-tech looking charts and graphs that you’ll run the risk of turning into a analytical geek instead of an athletic runner.

And, still there are those lucky people who use the programs that came along with their Nike+, Polar, Garmin and any other HRM or sports accessory that will practically do everything for you. It won’t be long till I shall become one of them. It won’t be long. It won’t be long. It won’t be long. Hmmm…do you think chanting that over and over will help me get my Polar sooner?

As for my own training diary, the creative and resourceful side of me popped up once again to save the day. I got myself a simple orange notebook (King Jim because it has tiny lines at the top and bottom to guide alignment of columns) and plotted my way through a personalized logbook.

During the early days of my running, when I was just working my way up to running a full 30 minutes through the RW Beginners’ Program, this is how my journal looked:

My Diary - Old

In hindsight, the layout is simply confusing and crowded. Just looking at the five pages I have of that layout gets me more exhausted than all the runs I recorded on them.

So, I recently changed the layout into this simple grid pattern which I tap myself on the back for everytime I leaf through it. (No, I am not self-absorbed, I just like boosting my own confidence every now and then.) Just one look and I can determine how my training program is going and where adjustments should be made.

Training Diary - new

At this instant, I find it glaringly obvious—and perhaps you do too—that I should cross-train on Tuesdays and Thursdays…if only to make use of the wasted paper space on the right.

The Velveteen Treadmill

Friday, 11 May 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

Many runners use a treadmill to get a good workout. It is one of the most effective ways to burn those calories without having to confront the outdoor elements—the harsh heat of the sun, torrential downpours, strong winds, dogs with no rabies shots, muggers—you get the point? The information provided by most treadmills such as calorie count, distance, time, and heart rate is an added bonus to runners who track their runs. Personally, I find that it’s a great way to watch The Today Show or Oprah without turning into a couch potato.

When I got home from my 45-minute road run early this morning, I realized I hadn’t touched my treadmill in two weeks. Mind you, in treadmill time that is pretty long considering they just sit there all day waiting for someone to hop unto them. Poor treadmill, I thought, it had seen more productive days when it was all I knew in the early days of my running.

Treadmill

– my treadmill gathering dust this summer –

With our running group meeting regularly four times a week, I have absolutely no time for my treadmill nowadays. Don’t tell my treadmill but I’m pretty happy about not using him because I’m completely thrilled with my road runs. (By now you should be saying “Oh that’s why she entitled this ‘The Velveteen Treadmill!'”) My worry is, when the rainy season starts and school begins, will I have the patience to cover a 1-hour run on my treadmill? Without the scenery, the wind, the chatter, how will I survive?

Oh wait, I forgot, there is always Oprah.