Wednesday, December 29, 2010

DOPMH Medics: The Year in Review

We started the year by giving what a boy wants during summer...
...and sought shade in the gigantic umbrellas...
...while Manobo tribesman dance in the Naliyagan.
We head to the government center...
...and greet a leader with a new mandate.
We upstaged CARAGA...
...when we won CPSP.
We ran a half marathon in Cebu...
...and proved a point.
We danced the Waka-Waka...
...ran our first 5k...
...struggled through a 10k...
...proudly wore our badge of honor...
... stare in awe at an 11-year old talent...
...and added the word Fun to Run.
We headed to Butuan...
...tasted our 2nd gold...
...all for a friend who left so soon.
We offered them drinks...
...gave them food...
...showed them Santa...
..asked them how they were...
...assured them of our help...
...and head home with a smile on our hearts.
Good job this year, Medics!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Running: 34th National Milo Marathon Butuan Elimination Race Review

Kudos to the organizers of the 34th National Milo Marathon Butuan Elimination. 

3.5/5 stars.

  • Very well organized race without the hoopla
  • On time gunstart (for the 21k)
  • Lots of water and Gatorade 
  • Support crew (ambulance, police) in full view
  • Kilometer markers
  • Abusive drivers on the National Highway
  • No bananas, water sprinklers
  • No music, festivity-like atmosphere along route
  • Water and Gatorade on plastic wrappers, not cups
35, 36...37. My friend and relative, Cheche Pastor Plaza (the running nurse in OR scrubs), counted the total number of 21k runners. Wow, so few runners here! I looked around. Very few indeed. Of the 37, I was the only one in sandals and toe socks being gawked at by fellow 5k, 10k and 21k runners alike. Is this guy, kidding? They seem to say. Of the 37, only 1 was in compression tights and the rest? Well, they were wearing very short split shorts! These were competitive runners and we were mixed in with them!

With the RTC runners
L-R: Nemesio, my dad, Cheche, James and Ronnie
I was running today with Elvin Pastor, also a friend of mine, a cousin of Cheche, who I ran with in the Milo Cebu Elimination last Sept finishing in a blistering 2:04 for his first 21k. This time around, the plan was to pace Cheche all throughout her first half mary and finish within the cut-off time of 2 hours 30 minutes.

The gun started without warning and all 30+ runners were off to fast pace. I was still trying to start the timer on my Garmin when the frontrunners were already 50 meters ahead. Sick pace, I muttered. Spectators stared at us, maybe they were wondering why we were running so slow, if you consider 6:00 mpk slow. We were tempted to race but prudence and a calm head made us linger back to the planned pace. At 6:45 to 7:00 minutes per kilometer, we expected to finish within 2:30.

We unfolded our DOPMH Medics banner. We promised to run today for Dr. Luna, a fellow doctor of DOPMH, who succumbed to heart failure 2 weeks back. This is for you, Tatay, as we fondly call him.

We realized we were at the back of the pack, the nearest participant, a 50-something runner in an all-black attire, a good 30 meters ahead of us. We purposely stayed back of "oldie in blackie" as we had the same pace.

Water and Gatorade were aplenty but the only downside was that they were in plastic wrappers. Drinking from them was like a leap of faith-- Is it hygienic? Safe? Or would you rather be dehydrated?

With Elvin at the Butuan City Police HQ
At the 6k mark, oldie in blackie was slowing down a bit on the inclines so we overtook him and never looked back. 

Cheche, meanwhile, this being her first half mary, was starting to breathe and plod heavily, so I cracked up some jokes with Elvin just to keep her spirits up. I even tried to sing "My Way" and April Boy's "Di ko kayang tanggapin..." but the lyrics were lost on me. Thankfully, nobody was close enough to hear me, "... and did it my way!" It would have been bam, bam! Yikes!

We met the frontrunners at the 8k mark and they were not a happy lot. We tried talking to them, even encouraging them, "Bai, ayos ka!" or "Bai, layo pa ang turning point?" but it seemed that our merry running was confusing them. There they were running until their lungs burst out and there we were laughing our hearts out. The Visayan lingo "dili ma-drawing ilang nawng" suited them perfectly. 

One station had Bon Jovi's "In These Arms" in full blast so I sang along and mimicked striking a guitar to the amusement of the waterboys, medics and spectators. I don't know but I just felt... lightheaded and happy today. There was a slight tinge in my right knee where my ITB (Iliotibial band) was but I realized that when I run with my foot pointed straight, not toed out, the pain disappeared. 

I didn't realize Cheche was already in so much pain from her own ITB. Regretfully, after having lost so much time, she gave up, told us to run ahead as she rode the ambulance. It reminded me so much of my own humbling DNF. So Elvin and I were left to run the rest of the course which was relatively flat with four inclines that slowed you down. The Milo Marathon in Cebu was a race I would not care to remember. The weather was so unforgivable that day that not even water sprinklers could help dissipate the heat. But today, the sun was just right. Perfect for a half marathon.

In all its shining glory: My 2nd Milo 21k Finisher's Medal

Since we were the last 3 runners, me, Elvin and "oldie in blackie" a few kilometers back, an ambulance, a police escort and a mobile water station kept hovering over us, its driver asking, "Kaya pa po, sir?" Haha! Since we were running slow, they must have thought we were ready to give up! Well, not in this life partner.

My dad finishes his 2nd 5k. Not bad for a 66-year old. :)
Elvin and I felt like celebrity. We had police escorts and waterboys handing us Gatorade and water (in plastic, but of course!). Police motorbikes were in full sirens. Yipee! You will find something like this in Cebu if your name was Simon Losiaboi (where is the guy now, by the way?), we thought.

Lots of time, I told Elvin only to realize with a kilometer to go that we were actually 1 minute behind schedule. Arrghhh.... I miscalculated!

Cheche drags her ITBS-sticken L leg
So we picked up our pace, spread our banner once again, got a curious look on my sandals from spectators and halt traffic to a stop in Butuan City's major intersection. Good-looking runners passing through! Passing through! All  eyes were on us. Cameras clicked and we were greeted by applause as we crossed the finish line.

Time: 2:31:04. Man! I hope they will still give us our medals, I thought. 

But yes they did! 

My 4th half marathon in minimalist shoes while celebrating my 1000th kilometer in 10 months of running. Tripple whammy! Great day after all! 

Now off to the beach in Buenavista! 

How was your run today, runners?


Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday Winners

At 8 that morning, fight fans gathered around tv sets and hi-def screens. 3 hours later, Antonio "Tornado" Margarito, the naturally bigger man that day, quizzically looked at himself. Reduced to a tropical depression, the Mexican 3-time world champion, who climbed into the ring 15 pounds heavier than his opponent, his head covered in a white towel, stood tall and proud for his country after standing up, toe to toe, with the "midget" from the Pacific they call the "Pacman". His Mexican fans barely recognize their champion.

Why do they always look the same?
In the days leading to the fight, fighter and trainer made fun of Coach Roach, mimicking his Parkinson movements in a video uploaded in the internet (fighter and trainer have since apologized). But the 8-division champ, instead of inflicting punishment on his opponent, showed compassion in the latter part of the fight, his concerned look from fighter to referee seen by millions across the globe, silently pleading a stoppage to an already bruised and battered Mexican, reminiscent of his similar gesture in a fight against the bleeding David Diaz a lightweight (135 lbs) division ago.

Another victory for the Filipino people.

Later that evening, in the setting sun of Abu Dhabi, young German driver Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, gripped his steering wheel in preparation for the 5 red lights that would go out heralding the start of the race. This was the last race of the season, a race that would vindicate him. 3rd in the standings behind points leader and twice World Champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari in P3 and teammate Mark Webber in P5, the German needed to win Abu Dhabi and hope Alonso and Webber finish below 5th to secure the title. Not to mention the former World Champion Lewis Hamilton of McLaren in P2 who also needed to win.

But mid-race, Alonso and Webber were already down to 8th and 9th, their race ruined by a faulty team strategy of an early tire change. Vettel's engineer kept mouthing encouraging words to his ear. Hamilton and fellow teammate Jenson Button were hot on his heels. But as the final laps came to a close, Sebastian Vettel notched up his 5th win of the season and more importantly, the 2010 Driver's Title in his hands. Strong vindication indeed from fellow drivers and sportswriters who claimed he should have been helping Webber already in the last 3 races of the season.

Youngest Driver's Champion at 23. At the chequered flag, the German was unusually quiet, his words in a mixture of German and English barely audible on the team radio. He was sobbing. And for the first time, I knew it was a much deserved win (although I have been rooting for the Spanish guy). His first win with sister company Toro Rosso Ferrari in the wet tracks of Monza in 2008 was the turning point in his career. He was superb in the wet that day and he was impeccable in the dry today.

Qualifying hero... and now race day Hero.

What an end to 2010!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

On Sunday, where will you be?

Running icon
Where will you be tomorrow?

Just another day in other parts of the world, except if you're a runner training for a marathon in a few weeks time, a Manny Pacquiao fan, or an F1 nut.

I am all three so it'll be kinda hectic when the clock strikes 12.

First order of business: An LSD. I don't know what I'll actually be able to accomplish tomorrow what with my recent spat of a running-related injury, ITBS, the most serious and debilitating to date, but January 9th, 2011 couldn't come fast enough. I'm way behind training for my first full mary and I have pacer duties for the Milo 21k next week in Butuan. Hopefully no more DNFs next week. 

At the Cotto fight weigh-in ( Today,
Manny reportedly weigh in at 146, 2 lbs off
his intended weight.
Manny Pacquiao comes in starting at 8am. Gunning for his unprecedented 8th world title at the Super Welterweight division (154 lbs), the young pugilist will be squaring off with his biggest opponent to date, Antonio "Tornado" Margarito.

Traffic will come to a standstill and church pews will be empty as the Philippines will once again unite as one rooting for the greatest Filipino athlete of all time. 

I expect Manny to dance around the sluggish Margarito, evident in his last fight against unknown Garcia last May. Manny's speed will baffle the Mexican, his "zombie-like" footwork, as described by Trainer of the Year awardee Freddie Roach, will ultimately fail him. Manny in 8 or 9. And no I won't be going anywhere else but at home. Family day.

Finally at 8pm, the final round of the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship in the spanking Yas Marina Circuit of glitzy Abu Dhabi in the backdrop of a Ferrari theme park.

Alonso at the Yas Marina
4 contenders vie for the coveted Driver's Title.

Fernando Alonso, Scuderia Ferrari. The twice world champion, in his Ferrari debut, is leading the points tally. Considered by F1 writers and fellow drivers as currently the most talented driver to date, will the Spaniard bring home his third trophy or will his 8th Ferrari engine ultimately fail him in his quest?

Mark Webber, Red Bull Renault. In the twilight of his career in the quickest car of this generation, the Australian hopes to bring home the bacon for one final push come Sunday. Second Australian champion coming up?

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Renault. The Qualifying hero but often a race day zero. Young and hungry, but inconsistent, the German will become the youngest Driver's Champion at 23 should things go his way but will he crack under pressure?

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes. Already a champion of 2008, the young Brit is at the bottom of the standings 24 points adrift of points leader and former teammate, Alonso. He promises to be flat out and flying and already Practice 2 shows his MP has the pace. Now if only the 3 points leader would fall out of the top 5 as Lewis wins.

To sum it up: Formula 1, Running, and Manny Pacquiao. Indeed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Driver's Title: Simmering hot, down the wire

The most advanced car of this generation, the RB6.
After 6 seasons, Woking-based Red Bull Racing has captured the Formula 1 Constructor's Title from bigger manufacturers Ferrari and McLaren.

The Adrian Newey-designed RB6 is considered by many to be the quickest Formula 1 spec car to date.

But the Driver's title remain elusive. Although the Brazilian chequered flag went down on German Sebastian Vettel followed by teammate Mark Webber, Ferrari's Spanish driver and twice World Champion Fernando Alonso coming on third was a reality check.

Will Alonso be doing this in Abu Dhabi?
Still leading the championship race 8 points from Webber and 15 from Vettel, Alonso only needs to finish second to clinch his third Driver's Title or repeats his Brazilian GP performance of coming in third behind Vettel and Webber and still the title will be his.

Would Vettel give way to Webber to block an Alonso win? Don't think so. If I were Vettel, I would rather lose the title to Alonso than to teammate Webber. End of story. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Running: My Poison

3 long weeks of not being able to run long distances finally came to a halt today as, together with a group of friends, we ran our long slow distance (LSD) from the D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital in Patin-ay, Prosperidad to the foothills of Mt. Diwata in Lapag, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, where currently the Boy Scouts of the Philippines annual Provincial Jamboree was taking place.

Developed by the the iconic Agusan leader D.O. Plaza, Lapag boasts of a pool supplied by a natural source of spring water, its average water temperature roughly around 10-15 degrees Celsius! But reaching there, we had to traverse 2 km of rough terrain, not to mention unending uphills that had us runners panting and wheezing like an asthmatic on exacerbation. 10.1 km.

And another 10 going down. I had to forgo using my VFF Bikila this time to give my Achilles tendons a break but instead I wore my rusty old NB marshmallow shoes. My ITB (Iliotibial Band) flared up at this point while we were heading downhill but the pain was manageable. The slow pace made me experiment a couple of strides that was most convenient to this aging knees.

Like my friends in dailymile who are doing their own LSDs tomorrow, I sleep tonight with a smile on my face knowing that I have found my "poison" once again.

Total distance today: 20.29 km (16 km flat, 4 km trail)
Time: 2:39
Effort: Easy as pie!

See you on the road, runners!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Citigym Halloween Half Marathon: VFF and DNF

My wife was right after all. She told me the night before, "I think you're not going to finish your race in those shoes." Yes and No. I did not finish but it was not the shoes.

It started about 3 weeks ago while running a long one with my friend Gifford and a bunch of YYK runners preparing for the upcoming full marathon in January 2011, I hobbled in pain running and walking like Frankenstein as my right knee buckled up in km 10. Foregoing the planned 28k run to Danao, I cut my run short to 15k and took a cab home. I couldn't move my knee, much less squat in them. Walking downhill seemed to aggravate it.

Research later revealed I have suffered ITBS or Iliotibial Band Syndrome (Runner's World article). The causes are varied ranging from running in cambered roads, increased pace or mileage, incorrect shoes, shoes with worn out soles, etc. Unlike shin splints, ITBS virtually makes you stop running, the kind that makes DNFs. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Korean GP: He who ate Kimchi won

Alonso sprays Hamilton (YallaF1)
Mark Webber hands up no smile, Sebastian Vettel gives a wry smile, and Fernando Alonso could not wipe the smile off his face.

In an incident-packed inaugural Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix, the double World Champion took home the Kimchi as both Red Bull drivers failed to deliver much needed points in the run to the 2010 Driver's Championship.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DOPMH 10k 5k Fun Run: My own race report

It's time for Africa!

The day started with a deluge of torrential rain such as one common all year round here in Agusan. A search on online weather forecasts was not what I would like like to hear either. High chance of precipitation, thunderstorms from 5 am to 11am on Race Day.

Indeed it was. Rain splashed so hard on our roof a few hours before sunrise that I consigned myself we would be having one merry finisher's snacks in the hospital lobby mobbed by a hundred runners instead of a run.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Triple 10 Run vs the Weather

3 weeks or so ago, I suggested a running event as an opener to commemorate the hospital's 37th founding anniversary. My suggestion was met with enthusiasm by my fellow co-workers of the D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital.

Fast forward to today. In less than 72 hours, more than a hundred pair of running shoes will congregate on the hospital grounds (to the irritation of our recovering patients, I expect), dance the Zumba to the tune of Shakira's Waka Waka and pound the Maharlika National Highway.

The running event, which we entitled RUN FOR 37, will feature a 5k and 10k race distances-- 2 distances that have since been changed and added in less than a week. The 10k was downgraded from 12 for lack of a better road and a 2k fun walk category was added due to insistent public demand (demand from walkers, that is).

Although the event is exclusive to hospital staff and personnel, a few groups have joined per invitation. The Regional Trial Court Branch 6 and IBP Chapter of Agusan del Sur will make up around 20 runners or so to add to the 104 from the hospital staff.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Fernando, King of Singapore!"

Alonso during Qualifying

In its inaugural season back in 2008, Spanish driver Fernando Alonso of then Renault, drove his way from 15th place to the podium in the first ever night race of Asia and the world in the FIA Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix-- a win that was later revealed to be masterminded by fellow driver Nelson Piquet, Jr, who deliberately crashed his car on orders from Renault boss, the charismatic Italian Flavio Briatore. 

Since then, Alonso’s win was a bitter aftertaste better known as the “Crashgate Scandal” despite the latter’s 3rd place recovery in ‘09. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Italian GP: Hail Ferrari! Hail Alonso!

“Back in contention, baby!”

The tifosi, a rabid mixed-gender fanatic fans of Scuderia Ferrari, hollered and screamed as perineal favorite Spanish and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso took the checkered flag in Round 14 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in Monza, Italy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Milo Race Report: Running in the nick of time!

“Puera visita! Puera visita!”  The shrill sound of the ship’s bullhorn jolted me awake. It was a dream, one that I knew only too well. I couldn’t help but be amused by the analogy of my recent (mis)adventure of the 34th National Milo Marathon just held recently in Cebu on September 5th.

The bullhorn was replaced by a pacer who shouted “1 more minute!” as a fellow runner and I sprinted the busy intersection of P. del Rosario St. never mind the impatient jeepney drivers. All traffic came to a halt as eyes bore on us runners hoping to finish the race on time.