Great Wall Marathon

Monday, 9 July 2007  |  Race Announcements

Anton wrote about the new 7 Wonders of The World on his blog and, not surprisingly, the Great Wall of China is still on that list. I haven’t been there myself, but if and when I do it will be sometime in May. Nope, not because it’s my birthday month nor is there any other special occassion to celebrate. It’s for a much more sublime and meaningful reason: The Great Wall Marathon! (What else did you think? This is a running blog remember?!)

The Great Wall Marathon is held every year on the 3rd Saturday of May. Runners can choose from a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon. Whatever one selects, this is by no means an easy course. The first half (9k) of the course takes runners through a portion of the wall’s 3,700 stone steps with frequent steep (uhm…very steep) ascents. (Ooh, I can almost feel the stinging pain in my legs!) After this, the course takes runners through the scenic local villages and rice fields of Tianjin province.

For the average human being, the Great Wall is a must see before they die. For runners, it is said that this is a MUST run. Runner’s World (Jan 2007 issue) included it in their top 10 list of marathons you should run in your lifetime. Lucky for us Filipinos, China is a hop, skip, and a run away. See you there one of these years! hah!

The next Great Wall Marathon is on May 17, 2008. Click here for more information.

More articles on the Great Wall Marathon:

Great Wall Marathon by John Lindsay
The Great Wall Marathon by Sean Fishpool (2001)

Video courtesy of Spreeker 

Are You Joining The Milo Marathon?

Monday, 9 July 2007  |  Race Announcements

Wake up guys! Today is the first day of registration for the Milo Manila Marathon on July 22 with the starting point at the Quirino Grandstand.

Choose from a 3k (and run with the kids), 5k, 10k or—as my Coach has selected—the 42k!

Bring a 300g wrapper of Milo to register. If let’s say it’s a 1kg wrapper than that would entitle three registrants to sign in. Registration is at Vasquez Madrigal Bldg. 51 Annapolis St. Greenhills (same as Adidas’ registration). It’s pretty convenient because they have a booth right outside the building. Registration ends on July 20. For more information, call Mr. Biscocho at 727.9987.

So, who’s signing up?

Lovin’ My Nike+

Sunday, 8 July 2007  |  Gear + Gadgets

Surprise surprise…guess who just got a Nike+ Kit!

Nike+

I’m afraid to tell you that I have succumbed to the Nike+ fever and I’ve decided to forego any plans of purchasing my Polar—at least temporarily until I am completely sure that this will be a permanent relationship with my new Nike+! Hey, so far, so good.

You all know that I was pining for the Polar RS 200 for what seemed like f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I wanted the HRM in the Polar badly. Very badly. To the point that I would always tell my hubby “How can I ever improve without knowing my training zone?” or “Do you know what Grete Waitz said about heart rate monitors?” or to go straight to the point “Can’t you buy me my Christmas gift in advance? I can’t wait till December.”

I had little or no interest at all in the Nike+ that—from what I read online—was changing the fitness landscape and getting more people across the globe hooked into running. Blah, I thought. It’s no good if there’s no HRM.

Then, it started happening. All things in the universe started conspiring to persuade me to buy the Nike+. First, I read about it in the papers. Then, I heard more from friends and Philmuggers who were raving about their own kits. Last but not the least, the one that got me seriously thinking was my brother’s SMS: “A guy I met while swimming at Ultra says Nike will eventually include an HRM with its kit.” Really? No way! Really now….hmmm….

I researched online and, true enough, people were talking about it. It was the blog of Brilliant Days that got me completely convinced as he wrote “I’ll eat this webpage if there isn’t a iPod-ready heart rate monitor from Nike within a year.”

So, I was off on a mission: to canvass prices and decide ASAP which one to purchase. Here are the results: (Please note—I included the ipod shuffle under the Polar because I still would need an MP3 player for my tunes. The Nike+ would allow for this through the nano.)

Price Chart

Now, if I had all the money in the world (or if I was married to the Prince of Brunei—wait a minute, was that a redundant statement right there?) I would get the Polar. It is still the best brand out there for these things. But, for little ol’ me who has mouths to feed, tuition fees to pay, and outfits to purchase (yup, that’s part of the household budget), I am pretty content with the Nike+—and extremely ecstatic about the P9,000 savings!

So, last Monday, I sold my ipod shuffle to Mon of H@ppy Feet Runners and instantly bought my Nike+ and ipod Nano. Fine, it doesn’t have an HRM yet, but I can wait. (Hitme says they should launch the HRM by October this year.) Now, I finally know the distance I’m running and the calories burned (and how much I can eat thereafter to make up for the deficit!) Oooh, I’m lovin’ the Nike+!

Adidas King of The Road

Sunday, 1 July 2007  |  Race Reports

Now that was a fine race. Let me rephrase that: it was one helluva race. This may just be rookie talk but truly for me it was the most well-organized and orderly of the mere five races I’ve joined so far. You gotta hand it to Adidas and RACE for taking care of us runners. From pre-registration (when will we ever stop talking about those red singlets?) to its start (aaaaw, did tears not well up in your eyes as you listened to the national anthem against the backdrop of a beautiful sunrise?) until its finish (or at least my own finish since I left before awarding started), I would say that almost everything was well-prepared for. The minor bumps along the road—long lines at the portalet and the wait at the baggage check-in—were exactly those: minor little flaws that I overlooked once I heard the oh so romantic and deep voice of that host!

Too Early

– Err…next time, can someone please remind me not to come this early? –

So, anyway, there we were—Annie and I—impatiently waiting for the race to start as we stood just a few rows behind the starting line along with the sea of runners in red who were, needless to say, impatient as well. At exactly 6 a.m. the gun was fired and we were off. After making a right from the starting line towards Roxas Boulevard, I knew the route would be pretty simple. It would be straight, straight, straight, climb up and roll down the Buendia flyover, hit the 10k turnaround, climb up and roll down the Buendia flyeover, straight until you make a left back into the Quirino Grandstand. Soon after my brain had absorbed all that (which was just a few seconds, mind you!), Annie had skipped ahead…uhm…way ahead.

I ran at my own pace (around 75% effort if Coach B asked me) but, after a few minutes, doubts seeped into my brain if I could even keep this up. I had slept at 11:45 the night before (coming from a 10-hour road trip from Pangasinan) so I thought I could forgive myself for not breaking PR on this race. After all, I had a good excuse! Before these evil thoughts could get any further, I cleared my mind and focused on the race. Just enjoy it, I thought. If I get tired, I could always slow down. If I don’t break my PR, i’ll try again next time (although I would curse myself for weeks.) With that, I kept my pace steady, chatted with Renz, checked out the view in what was to me unfamiliar grounds, and relaxed. Surprisingly—and guys this is going to be dull and boring—but the entire run was smooth sailing for me. Why, even the Buendia flyover, which made me shudder when I saw it from afar, posed less of a challenge than I initially expected. As I climbed the hill, I could almost hear Coach B whispering “slow down, take shorter strides” and that’s exactly what I did. As always, rolling down freely with my arms outstretched was my favorite part. When I hit the 10k turnaround, I felt like I got my second wind with a sudden burst of energy pushing me further. So, off I went with the gusto of a runner who had just started a race. The last part of the 5k was quick as I remember it. I just ran, and ran, and ran and I loved it. Aaack, I so loved it! Before I knew it, it was over.

I checked the time and I was ecstatic: 56 minutes 27 seconds. I broke my PR. I shaved off a whopping 4 minutes! Wooohooo! “Yeah, I AM the Queen of the Road!” I exclaimed…to myself…silently…so no other runner would think I was crazy.

Runners at the Finish

– Runners make their way to the finish –

Queuing at The Finish

– All queued up at the Finish Line –

With Mars

– With Mars, a highschool batchmate I hadn’t seen since…uhm..highschool. See you at more races, Mars!

Before leaving, Hitme (and his macho driver) arrived bearing gifts. The best gift any runner could receive: a bundle of Runners World magazines! Truly, this man must be called “Running Santa” for his generosity, jolly disposition, and good choice of presents! Hitme, no, it’s not because of the tummy!

Runners World Magazines

– Hitme’s driver delivering my stash of Runners World Magazines! Doesn’t he look like Rudolph? –

Driving home from the race, Annie texts me announcing great news: she won first place for 10k in her age group! I couldn’t be happier for the bestest running buddy one could have! I could go on and on about Annie, but I’ll save that for another post. For now, I shall reluctantly but humbly pass on my crown to Annie as the official Adidas Queen of the Road for 10k. As if I ever had the title anyway!

With Annie

– With Annie, winner of her age group for 10k with a time of 47.43, and her friend Rose –

Winners of the Adidas King of The Road 21k:

Men’s Category: Eduardo Buenavista 1:07:28

Women’s Category: Jho-An Banayag 1:19:17

7 Days To Register For Adidas KOTR

Monday, 25 June 2007  |  Race Announcements

I registered for Adidas King of the Road 10k yesterday morning! If you haven’t signed up yet, drop by the RACE booth at the Vasquez Madrigal Building in Annapolis Street—quick. There is no deadline for registration, but slots may be filled up if you wait till race day. (See my List of Races for more info)

Oooh, the bold red singlet alone makes me jump up with excitement. It’s the first singlet that actually fits me (finally!) and, even better, it is actually wearable in a race—so unlike all my other singlets that have been unofficially tagged “pambahay” (house clothes).

Adidas KOTR

Adidas KOTR Singlet

– More views of the singlet that everyone is going gaga over. Mine is not for sale. On second thought, it is. Bidding starts at P10,000. –

Enclosed in the race packet is the route map with the start and finish line at the Quirino Grandstand.  That’s reason number two why I’m all revved up for this race. All my other races were at The Fort. I think I can run the roads of Fort Bonifacio backwards already, blindfolded, with my shoelaces tied together while eating a peanut butter sandwich! Okay, if I pulled that stunt over there, I’d definitely end up in the city morgue…but seriously races in that area can get a bit predictable even for race-crazy runaholics like me.

Adidas KOTR Route Map

The only thing that’s making me a bit queasy about this race is the thought of my business trip the day before. I’m going on an 8-hour round-trip to and from Pangasinan on the 30th. Gulp. Will I be able to rest well during the long drive? Will I feel strong enough when I wake up early for the race? Or, most importantly, will I even wake up? I’ll know the answers to those questions soon enough.

See you at the Adidas King of The Road on July 1! Who’s coming?