Virtual Run No. 5 – A Horror Story

Thursday, 23 August 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

Can one DNF in a Virtual Training Run? If so then that was exactly what I did this morning.

I was in Alabang, my running ground, at exactly 4:30 am as agreed upon with my other Virtual Running buddies who were running at their own spots all around the world. I was so ready to run after missing two consecutive VR’s due to family duties and the bad weather.

Entering the village gates, I didn’t realize that the guards would be the last human beings I would see around the area until I parked my car at San Juanico Street. It would be a gross understatement to call the scene eerie, it was chilling, spine-tingling and downright frightening for an overly imaginative person like me. The entire village was asleep but I already had visions of vampires having just devoured all its inhabitants and leaving this village like a ghost town. The orange lights that illuminated the streets did nothing to appease my petrified soul. It just added to the whole spooky Halloween ambiance I found myself in. Oh, I smelled fear in the air and it was emanating from the nerves of only one petrified runner — ME!

Having driven all the way here and not wanting to disappoint my fellow running buddies, I conjured up the little courage I had left and parked my car across the dimly lit tennis courts. I remembered the carpenter that was found dead there last year, the crime left unsolved, and perhaps his soul still yearning for justice. What if he decided to pop up and ask me for help? Ack, I scrubbed that thought from my brain, yanked out my ipod, and jumped out of the car. I decided to brisk walk towards Madrigal Avenue, the main road where the guards were, while I fumbled with my entangled earphones. I desperately needed to hear music — or anything at all — just not the deafening silence on these streets! How could I possibly get my ipod to work when my hands were shaking in fright?! I stared at the empty road before me and knew instantly that I would not survive this run.

I ran back towards my car as fast as I could and headed back home. I spent more than half an hour driving to and from Alabang. Reaching my house at 5:05 am, I wasted no time in squeezing in a good run on my treadmill before I reported for work as Mommy. I ran 6 km for 35 min while watching Conan O’ Brien and HBO. It could’ve been better but I’m glad I still ran. Hitme said “a run is still a run even on a treadmill” and, after my treadmill run, I can still echo what Mary texted this a.m. “Ang sarap tumakbo!” (It feels great to run!)

Next week, can someone please remind me to bring a running buddy or meet up with Coach?

Reports from other Virtual Running buddies:

  1. E-rod
  2. Hitme
  3. Steph
  4. Ben
  5. Nora

Virtual Run No. 5

Wednesday, 22 August 2007  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

It’s time for Virtual Run No. 5! By now, you should know what this is all about. But, if you don’t, slap yourself on the head first, then do either of the following:

1) Go to my archives and read the past 4 weeks’ entries on Wednesday (VR Run Invites) and Thursdays (VR Run Reports).

2) Scroll down and read the brief definition.

3) Don’t read anything here and just make sure you run on Thursday (tomorrow) at 4:30 am Manila Time.

During the Virtual Run, a group of runners run “together” at the same time wherever they may be in the world. Anyone can join!

DATE: 23 August 2007, Thursday (Manila Time)
TIME: 4:30 A.M. (Manila Time)
DISTANCE: 10 km/ 6 miles (or whatever you wish)
RUNNERS/ COURSE: (I’ll update this as more people join up)

Previous runners have been:

  1. E-Rod – Newport Beach, USA
  2. HitMe – Quezon City, Philippines
  3. Banggi – Manila, Philippines
  4. Ben – Manila to Makati, Philippines
  5. Renz – Metro Manila, Philippines
  6. Marga – Parañaque, Philippines
  7. Caloy – Davao, Philippines
  8. TRF – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  9. Steph – San Diego, USA
  10. Gretchen – Truckee, USA
  11. Mary – Paranaque, Philippines
  12. Caloy – Davao, Philippines
  13. Chaia – Makati, Philippines
  14. Rick – San Francisco, USA
  15. Nora – England
  16. The Bull Runner – Parañaque, Philippines

Are you in?

Takbo Para Kay Ariel

Sunday, 19 August 2007  |  Race Reports

At the very last minute (Thursday to be exact), I asked my friend Mon to register me for the Takbo Para Kay Ariel, a small race for the benefit of 2nd Lieutenant Ariel Toledo who had been diagnosed with cancer. I felt that I needed a real pick-me-upper to get me out of the minor rut I found myself in last week, so I thought of joining this 10k instead of training all by my lonesome in Alabang.

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– This is what was parked in the Assembly Area. Sure way to beat your PR! –

At 6:00 a.m., I arrived at the assembly area in Villamor Airbase with the mindset that I was absolutely NOT going to race; I was going to run at a moderate pace and enjoy watching other runners huff and puff around me. I got the shock of my life when I learned that the 10k was called off. We were all running a 5k! Okay, what could I do then but employ Plan B…which was… uhm… to run as fast as I could.

By 6:15 a.m. I found myself doing—do not laugh—morning exercises alongside Anton and all the other runners at the grandstand. After jumping jacks, stretches, and jumping jacks again, we lined up at the starting line and we were off by 6:30 a.m.

Wow, I got off to a way too quick start. I was panting by 0.3 km… how pathetic! Less than a half kilometer into the run, Lance Armstrong tells me that my pace was 4.37 min/km—a pace that I knew I could not maintain unless I hitched a ride on a tricycle on the way back. I slowed down a wee bit to 4.50 min/km and maintained this pace except for times when I climbed hills (ooh, these were challenging little hills that I will be cursing until I hit the sack tonight!) and when I tried to leave competition behind.

The entire time, I set my eyes on chasing down one woman before me. Let’s call her Dark Horse because she ran with her hair down donning an all black outfit (No no no, she didn’t look like a horse! Such evil minds!) I knew there were just a handful of us women in the front pack but I had no high hopes of making it as first (perhaps only in my dreams) so my sole mission was to have this woman eat my dust. After seemingly endless attempts to catch up with her, I finally succeed and leave her behind. Aah, the sweet taste of victory! Before I can even raise my arms up in triumph, she blows in with a vengeance. Gosh, I must have made her terribly mad. She runs at breakneck speed like a raging bull… er that’s me… so perhaps like a zipping zebra or charging cheetah or… you get the point. I never ever catch up with her again.

I reach the finish line a few steps behind Dark Horse at 32.55 min. A very reliable source tells me (okay, it’s just my Nike+) that the distance was not 5k but around 6.8 km! (I don’t have the exact distance because I forgot to end my workout.) I came in at 5th place in the Women’s Category.

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– Top 10 Men and Women. We all look so ecstatic, don’t you think? –

Before the awarding, I congratulate Dark Horse and learn that she has been running for 10 years. She says she’s much better at 42 kms. Oooh god, I won’t even go there. I learn too that she has a more approachable name, Daisy.

I leave the race with more than when I arrived. On one arm, I carry my prizes (a Petron bag and Unilever products) and, on the other, my free food (bread, water, banana, and a hard-boiled egg). I gained a few more running friends (Hi Odie, it was nice to meet you!) And, I carry a renewed sense of peace and calmness. I am not overly excited about my placing 5th nor am I glum about it. I was just happy to be running. Period.

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– Happy day for Happy Feet. All women won: Me 5th, Chaia 9th (not in pic), Roselle 17th (2nd from left). From Right: Anton, Ben, and his friend –

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– After the race, runners enjoy the free snacks –

From Hell To High Heaven

Friday, 17 August 2007  |  Bullish Insights

[ HELL: 16 Aug, 6 am to 6 pm ]

Hellish. Hellacious. Infernal. Whatever you want to call it, I just knew it was going to be a dreadful day. The numbers on the wall (er, scale) said it. I had gained a whopping 5 lbs. since my fainting incident 26 days ago. I was close to gaining back all the weight I lost through running! For the past month, I had stuffed myself silly with every salty meal that crossed my path—and that would mean quite an amount because I had intentionally stopped at every grocery to plunder their junkfood aisle—in an effort to increase my abnormally low blood pressure and avoid another fainting episode. As I stared at the scale over my protruding belly, I felt a little woozy about those horrible numbers and I thought “Has all my running been put to waste?”

Me and my bloated self sulked all throughout the stormy day. I had even missed my Virtual Run No. 4 earlier in the morning so I had nothing to pull some running inspiration from. I planned on running on my home treadmill but I could barely put my shoes on. “What for?” I thought.

For the first time since I started my love affair with running, I had serious doubts about him. With James Ingram playing in the background (okay, I’m kidding), I wondered if he could still give me what I needed from this relationship. Was I giving too much without getting back anything in return? Despite the pain from my broken heart, I pushed myself to overcome the disappointment and climbed unto the treadmill for the longest 5k of my life.

[ HEAVEN: 16 Aug, 6 pm onwards ]

The Mizuno Run Club was going to start at 7 pm. By 6 pm, I still couldn’t decide if I should drive all the way to Bonifacio High Street for what I thought would be a mere 3k run. At that point, I was still in a demoralized/lethargic state. “What the hell, I’ll go anyway. It beats watching the evening news.” I thought.

I arrive at the scene to see the same group of elite runners that were present last week. Where were the other beginners? It was just me, Tricia, my college friend and fellow H@ppy Feet member, and Mandy, a boxer/runner I met that evening who were relatively the only beginners present. Oh, did I mention we were the only women too?

Hey, wazzup wazzup?! It was a pleasant surprise to finally meet Unang Hirit host Drew Arellano who is a runner and aspiring triathlete himself. I slapped myself on the head for leaving my camera at home that day. (Drew, if you’re reading this, could you please just send me a photo with your autograph on it? You could also send me some handgel because I haven’t watched the hand that you shook last night. Haha.)

Before the run, the fellows at Mizuno happily lent me the Wave Creation 8 that they recommended for my normal/high arch foot. Boy oh boy, as I dipped my feet into this shoe, I thought it fit my feet perfectly well. It was snug but not too tight, it was light, and it looked like a kick-ass racing shoe. I’ve been a New Balance fan for the longest time and, quite honestly, with Mizuno’s knowledgeable salesmen and outstanding shoe (sure beat my wide, bulky, heavy NB 1222’s), I was being converted. I was eager to test this shoe’s performance during the run. (Nope, this is not a paid endorsement!)

Mizuno Wave Creation 8

– Mizuno Wave Creation 8. You shall be mine. –

Coach Ige Lopez announces our route plan in which I hear the magic words “5k” (Woohoo, it’s a bit longer than I expected!) and “walang iwanan” (No one gets left behind. Thank God because the elite runners run twice my speed) and then we’re off. At first, the three of us are such girls—we chat, we laugh, and even scream as we cross the street amid fast-paced cars in the dark of the night. Then, as the gap increases between us and the other runners, we stop talking and start ruuuunnniiing. Before I know it, around 15 minutes into the run, I am running at race pace (or faster) in an effort to keep up with the last male runners before me. I have no idea where Tricia and Mandy are. Finally, I run along with the male runners and I’m pleasantly surprised to discover it is Jujet de Asis, the 3rd fastest runner in the country. Little ol’ me running along with Jujet! Oh, I must’ve looked crazy smiling from ear to ear.

We’re back at Mizuno in around 30 minutes. That one run gives me the much needed inspiration I was yearning for all day. I feel fitter, stronger, and last but not the least, lighter. (Rightfully so after two 5k runs that day!) Of course, I think that my showbiz encounter and run with Jujet added to the excitement.

I chat briefly with Coach Ige before leaving and he gives me two important tips:

1) It’s better to run on asphalt than concrete which can be hard on the knees and feet. He tells me that Alabang’s roads are made of concrete so I better start searching for a new playground. Gulp.

2) After asking Coach Ige if I should focus on increasing my 10k speed or increasing my distance to prepare for an eventual marathon, he advises me to focus on distance. He says that by building endurance with long runs, the speed for shorter distances will naturally follow.

Back home, I make a pact with myself to forget those nightmarish numbers on the scale. I’ll just scrap the junk (so so difficult for me) and eat properly. In my mind, I imagine myself on white, puffy clouds back in the arms of my beloved running! I am happy again. Aw, pure heaven.

Virtual Run No. 4

Wednesday, 15 August 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

If you’ve been a regular reader of TBR, you must know by now that there’s always something special happening on Thursdays. What?! Nope, I don’t give out free training shoes (although I’m open to receiving ’em.) No, I don’t break my PR every Thursday either (how I wish!)

Every Thursday, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve joined a group of runners all over the world who have agreed to run a certain distance at the same time no matter where we are located in the world. It’s what we call our Virtual Training Run.

The Virtual Training Run is open to runners of every age, nationality, size, weight, or fitness level. So, you—yes you!—may just leave a note below to tell me that you’re running with us tomorrow and you’ll be a part of our growing Virtual Running group. C’mon, join us and we assure you that you’ll have a lot of fun!

DATE: 16 August 2007, Thursday (Manila Time)/ 15 August 2007, Wednesday (US Pacific Time)
TIME: 4:30 A.M. (Manila Time)/ 1:30 P.M. (US Pacific Time)
DISTANCE: 10 km/ 6 miles (or whatever you wish)
RUNNERS/ COURSE: (I’ll update this as more people join up)

  1. HitMe – Quezon City, Philippines
  2. Banggi – Manila, Philippines
  3. Ben – Manila to Makati, Philippines
  4. Renz – Metro Manila, Philippines
  5. Marga – Paranaque, Philippines
  6. TRF – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  7. Steph – San Diego, USA
  8. Gretchen – Truckee, USA
  9. E-Rod – Newport Beach, USA
  10. Jaymie – Alabang, Philippines

To Manila Runners, I hope we can run tomorrow despite the gloomy weather. Click here for PAGASA’s Real-Time weather forecast.

Once again, let us pray for Egay to leave us by tomorrow. After your prayer, chant this 20 times while lifting your arms up and down, eating a banana, and running in a small circle slightly below race pace (preferably when your boss is not looking):

Egay Egay, go away

Come again on a non-running day

Virtual Runners want to play.