Thursday, July 15, 2010

Running: The death of a Runner

Death marred the running community these past few weeks. Remus and Alexander, smitten by the running virus that has spread sporadically throughout the archipelago, died in separate hospitals after joining separate events in running-- an activity that ironically promotes health and wellness.

Remus ran the 34th National Milo Marathon 21k Manila elimination race last July 4 (click  
here for story as related by his father) and Alexander ran the Energizer Night Race in Cebu last July 10 (story here).

I was touched by the stories behind their runs, more so because I am a runner and a physician and the organizer's lapses especially by the medical personnel, as claimed by their families, could have been prevented if not for prompt and proper medical response.

I can relate very well to Remus because we are of the same age and have similar running mileage. At the peak of his career, he left behind a wife and 2 children. The anguish felt by Remus' father as he related his story can be felt in the old adage that no father should bury his son.

I have almost been a statistic myself when I ran my first 21k last May in the 3rd Jonas Cortes Mandaue City Run suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion as the organizers failed to provide adequate water in the water stations and of the very late gun starts (separate story 

Of special concern is with the so-called runners, weekend warriors here in Cebu, who join races each weekend without the benefit of proper training in between. They are a statistic waiting to happen.

I am also concerned with fly-by-night race organizers-- promoters of running events hoping to cash in on the runners by organizing fun runs without proper logistics and support.

To organizers, the runner's safety and hydration should always be in mind.

Remus' and Alexander's stories led me to rethink my running goals this year.

Since I started running last January, I have always made it a point to run for my family. Due to genetics, I have an underlying medical condition which is now under control due to cardio exercise, maintenance medications and proper diet.

But the running boom in the 7,107 beautiful islands of the Philippines, has inspired me to run a little bit competitively against myself. I have now sought to improve my 5ks, 10ks and 21k (I am joining the Cebu elims for the 34th National Milo Marathon 21k on Sept. 5-- my second half marathon and the full marathon next year.).

But where does recreational running end and competitive running begin?

For me, when you no longer enjoy the scenery, the isolation and the rhythm of your movement when running and instead you seek continuous improvements in running time, distance and endurance while becoming disappointed with your performance, running becomes unhealthy. The body has a way of saying NO and each one of us should be able to detect those signals, not neglect them.

We must remember that we run for ourselves and for our families waiting for us at home, not for podium and Facebook bragging rights.

We should be fit to run, not run to be fit. 3-4x running a week is quite alright. Always take it easy and enjoy it as it should be.

Tonight after a day off from running, I'll run again and think of these guys. Strangers to me but connected like brothers by a common bond.

To Remus and Alexander: Keep on running and see you on the other end, my friends.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Running: Low tide

Just as I ended my 4th week of training for the 34th National Milo Marathon 21k in Cebu on September 5, enjoying my third consecutive month of running longer distances than 10 km on weekends and having my best 5k and 10k practice runs last week, I hit a bit of a snag.

Yesterday's supposed 7 x 400 speed runs was limited to 4 x 400 as I limped in the short 3-km run. My right lateral shins froze and emitted excruciating pain signals telling me to stop. At first, walking relieved some of the pressure, as well as, a bit of a massage but a resumption of the activity in the 1.2-km stretch of road leading to the Provincial Capitol only lead to more pain.

Had to stop and ponder. God, I was old!

5 high school runners, probably preparing for some school meet, sprinted past me and a friend who was tagging along. How I envied them.

Last night, while copiously pouring amounts of Omega Pain Killer down my shins making my room smell like eucalyptus and menthol, I did some some stretching and core exercises and mentally planned about making a base run today, 6.5k.

This morning I woke up feeling better. Right leg a little tight but movable. Time to run.

Then again, just as I was charging my GF 405 in the USB port of my laptop in the clinic I accidentally scratched the watch face of my GPS watch against the glassy side of the table. Double ouch! 

And it's only been 3 months old.

The dent is very noticeable on the lower right hand corner.

Maybe 405 is telling me to give it a break. I have neglected GF 305 for the last couple of months now.

It's just remarkable how I can no longer run without one nowadays. Vanity aside, I'm a stickler for time and distance and gone now are the days when I would drive along first around my planned route and check the odometer reading.

Back to training this afternoon. See you on the road, runners!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The British GP: No English tea party tonight

Australian Mark Webber is all smiles today as he stacked up his 3rd win of the season by winning the 2010 FIA Formula 1 British Grand Prix.

Set in the small village of Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England, Webber's pace in the RB6 proved too much for the hometown hero, Lewis Hamilton, who struggled to keep pace with the runaway leader of the pack. Hamilton finished 2nd for McLaren.

Different story for teammate Sebastian Vettel. The German who qualified 1st or P1 yesterday in the Australian's 'borrowed' nosecone was overtaken on the first corner by Webber and had an early tire puncture that relegated him to the back of the grid. However, his classic maneuvers, especially one over Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes, climbing back up the top earned praises from fans. He finished 7th.

In the 5.8-km, 52-lap, 306-km race distance, Nico Rosberg of Mercedes made a shut out of the podium to 4th place finisher Jenson Button of McLaren. No English tea party today, eh?

Technically demanding in the sense that the oldest tract that used to be an airfield-- prewar period-- Silverstone has been revised to add more excitement to an already fast-speed circuit in an area known for weather changes in the blink of an eye. Think 2008.

Fernando Alonso's struggles continue to hound him and Ferrari as the double World Champion failed to capitalize on his P3 Qualifying by having a poor start, a drive-through penalty for cutting a corner and a puncture. The Spaniard finished out of the top 10.

We move to Round # 11 of Germany's Hockenheim circuit. Fans await Germany's most successful driver to date-- 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher. They'll hope he delivers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Britsh GP Qualifying: What's up with these guys?

Webber is furious at P2 while teammate Vettel takes pole using the Australian's revised nosecone; Fernando is P3, consistent as usual while Hamilton struggles in home soil.

Massa showed brilliance in Q1 and Q2 but faltered in Q3 where it matters most; if Schumacher was a turtle then Jenson was a snail.

Round 10. The British GP commences tonight in Silverstone's remodeled fast speed circuit (7pm, Star Sports, Philippines).

Fireworks display? On track, I'm sure.