Thursday, July 29, 2010

Running: Giving back to a Runner

"I cried because I had no shoes,
until I met a man who had no feet."

Inspiring words. Never failed to hit me every time I take a look at my running shoes.

So I met this 40-something runner from the hospital who used to run sub-20 minute 5ks. With a slight tick in his left eye (owing to a facial palsy suffered a few years back) and a soft-spoken voice, he asked to join me in one of my runs here in the Provincial Capitol. Sure, I said in earnest. I could learn some things from him.

While waiting for my cousin who wanted to join us, we talked about running (his running, by the way). I learned that this lean old-timer was a champion in the local runs here particularly in the 100m, 200m, 1000m, 1500m and 5000m events. Wow!

But underneath his unassuming stance, his running shoes were a different matter. Tattered to bits, he was proud to say his flyers have won him those championship medals a few years back.

And there I was complaining about my current trainers when this guy had nothing but shoes almost looking like sandals.

I grabbed my 4-year old Nike Air running shoes, had them cleaned and gave them up this week. Make no mistake, these shoes had minimal running mileage in them whatsoever. I saw these back in '06 in the Nike Stadium of SM City Cebu, admired their design, took them home with me, played a variety of sports in them-- basketball, badminton, table tennis, even 'takyan' and wore them to the gym. It's first and only race was last February 14th. That day I ran my first 5k in Cebu organized by the Cebu Dental Society a month after I started running.

Time to give back to this runner then. He was ecstatic and thanked me profusely. His admiration for the shoes was endless (I just hope he won't wear them in church). And it is probably his first Nike runners. I added a pair of socks for good measure and my first running singlet in all its yellow army glory. :D

I'll never run sub-20-minute 5ks in my lifetime but those shoes will, I'm sure.

Let's keep on running and see you on the road, my friends!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The German GP: So what's in a code?

Double World Champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari snatched his 2nd Formula 1 Grand Prix victory of the season, his 23rd career win, by winning the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany.

But the victory was tarnished by alleged team orders coming from Ferrari in a coded message relayed to teammate Felipe Massa who was leading the race with the Spaniard not far behind.

Engineer Rob Smedley to Massa: "Fernando is faster than you. Can you understand that message?"

2 laps later at lap 49, Massa slowed down at the hairpin on turn 6 allowing a surging Alonso to race past the Brazilian.

Was it team orders?

In the literal sense, no. But what is NOT being relayed is quite a team order. So what gives?

Massa, starting on 3rd had a jump on both frontrunners Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull on P1 and Alonso on P2. The German, perhaps wary of the Alonso's pace in the F10, decided to veer right in an attempt to block Alonso. In so doing, Vettel left Massa a clear path towards turn 1. Realizing the mistake, Vettel tried to compensate by getting back to Massa, thereby, releasing Alonso who lined up with Massa into turn 1. Vettel was left to settle and dig in for 3rd until the fateful 'coded' radio message.

Will fans turn red against Ferrari? Most likely NOT. (They are already red, anyway.)

I am a Ferrari fan and Massa's magnanimous move to allow the Spaniard to score as many points as possible after 2 disastrous racing weekends was a highlight of a team spirit embedded in Ferrari.

It could have been the perfect win for the Brazilian who, exactly a year and day before, suffered a freak accident during the Qualifying session of the 2009 Hungarian GP. He could have ignored the message and interpret it otherwise but he chose an option in which personal glory will have to take a backseat for awhile in favor of a teammate who needed the points most. 

(Alonso stands 5th in the Driver's Championship title hunt behind the McLaren and Red Bull drivers while Massa is 8th.)

Give Ferrari a penalty, so says the FIA. Fine. But let the results stand much like Hamilton's overtaking maneuver of the Safety Car.

Moving on. Hungaroring is up next!