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I’m sure many runners were bummed to hear that the New Balance Power Run Raising Hope had been postponed.  I’m also sure that even more runners were horrified upon seeing the images from the past weekend.

The wrath of Ondoy has left all of us either dumbfounded or devastated.  Or both.  I feel fortunate that my family and house have been spared this time but can’t help feel for my friends and other Filipinos who weren’t as fortunate.

Let us all do our share to make their lives a little bit better.

Here are some ways and contact numbers where we can extend a helping hand:

  • From The Bull Runner‘s site:  If you live in QC area, Second Wind is now accepting donations and will be sending these all to Ateneo.  You may drop them off at:      88 Maginhawa St.
                                             Teachers Village, QC
                                             Tel. No. 799.2089
  • From Bugobugo85:     TKO:  Takbo Kontra Ondoy
  • Click here for verified relief centers for Ondoy victims from GMAnews.tv.
  • ABS-CBN‘s Tropical Storm Ondoy:  How you can help.  Click here.
 
 

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1.  Is it the TRUTH?

I signed up the Friday before the race and even had to go to Secondwind after being told by the people at ROX that 21k registration had been closed. 

The Instructions part of the Rules and Regulations that was part of the race kit says that “race starts at exactly 5.00AM for the 21k…”  I was at the venue early for the 4:30 assembly time.  So when 5:00 o’clock struck and there was no sign that the race would start, I was waiting for the emcee to say something about the delay.  If he had said that the race would be delayed by 30 minutes, then people who wanted to go to the rest rooms would have known if they had enough time or not.  Fortunately, I saw the Running Ninja and learned that he heard it would start at 5:30.

I also carefully looked at the race route upon receiving the kit and studied the map.  I took a good look at it enough to be able to know my way come race day but to my surpise, I was directed by the race marshals to make a right to Venetia from Upper McKinley for the Finish Line.

What happened to number 18 of the route:  “go straight to the U-turn  at British Embassy” before turning left to Venetia then Finish???

It was my first race since the Globe run.  And although I have been consistent with my training for Milo in October, I really missed joining races!  So it was a little disappointing to join a 21k race that was not.  Entering McKinley I even took a bottle of the energy drink to hydrate myself for the last stage only to find out there was no more last stage.  I don’t have the gadget to measure the kilometers but I somehow knew the distance was short and when I heard from the Bald Runner that it was 3 km short, my gutfeeling was confirmed.

21k2.  Is it FAIR to all concerned?

I saw U-turn markers and arrow signs but I was also looking for kilometer markers.  Like I said, I somehow had an idea how long I had been running in the race especially that day but I can’t help but feel for the runners, especially first time 21 k runners, who may have been clueless without kilometer markers.   I personally did not see a single kilometer marker.

However, I think the organizers did an amazing job with the water aid station, well at least from the point of view of a 21k participant.  There were no foams but there were plastics with cold water at the Heritage Park so in addition to the cups of water and the bottles of energy drink, I’m sure 21k runners’ needs were met as far as hydration is concerned.

I also think the registration, race singlet and the 21k finisher’s medal were the best value 200 pesos can ever buy!

3.  Will it bring GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?

Group photo

Group photo

Aside from meeting the Running Ninja, I also saw and talked to the Running Diva.  We were both happy to be running that morning although quite anxious at the prospect of having to write a report later in the day.  I also saw Drum and Run blogger Caloy but I wasn’t able to introduce myself as he was talking to some other runners minutes before the starting gun was fired.  And after seeing the Bald Runner in quite a number of races now, I finally got the chance to talk to the hands-down most  recognizable face in the running world!  It was nice to have short but nice, relaxing and informative talks with other runners before, during and after the race so it was a very nice day for me!  Too bad I didn’t bring my camera…  

But thanks to Kitty for the photo session after the race and for the nice company later during breakfast and the nice chat at the supermarket after that.  Can’t wait to hang out with her and her friends again!

My second favorite part of the day (running is number one, of course!)

My second most favorite part of the day (running is number one, of course!)

4.  Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

ROTARun.09 was the first running event from the Rotary International District 3810.  It was a benefit run aimed to gather funds to aid in the RI District 3810’s projects for this year and the years to come.

We all know the benefits of this sport we all love so to be able to continue to be fit, meet new friends, and help a cause along the way is a very rare opportunity I would always be glad to be a part of.

To RI District 3810, Takbo.ph main man Jinoe and to the rest of the team, congratulations for a job well done!  They say life is a learning experience and that experience is the best teacher. So I am sure more and more people and runners will support your future projects!

And congratulations, too, for passing the four-way test!  🙂

(Click here for the ROTARun results as published by Takbo.ph)

Well, many people will say YES to this question.  And according to running gurus and elite runners, it can make or break your running career.  Some say correct running form will help you run faster, others say it will help prevent injuries and still some others say it will prolong your running career.  I’ve read some commentaries that say amen to all of the above.

(From runningplanet.com)

(From runningplanet.com)

While there are still those who are skeptical and dismiss the hype on midfoot running as just a fad, I have decided to peruse reports and magazine articles.  I think I need all the help I can get being a rather newbie in this sport I have come to love.

There are of course running clinics and workshops you can attend for free.  But for those whose schedules don’t allow them to take advantage of these opportunities like me, we can always read and/or check with the experienced runners we know for tips.

I have also discovered that a lot of blog posts are dedicated to helping spread the word on the “correct” running form.

Following is an excerpt of an article from Running Times (which also includes some links I’m still checking out as of this writing):

Run Naturally

Here are several basic tenets of natural running form espoused by various technique gurus:

  •   A key to natural running form is high cadence with short strides, regardless of pace.
  •   Regardless of your running pace, run with a fast cadence of 180 to 190 steps per minute or higher.
  •   Instead of rolling through a stride and pushing off, lift your leg to begin a stride.
  •   Run with an upright posture and a slight forward lean.
  •   Strike the ground below your hips and not in front of them to reduce braking. (Wearing lightweight, low-to-the-ground shoes with minimal midsole cushioning helps reinforce this stride.)
  •   Strike the ground at the midfoot, not the heel or the toes — the actual impact area will vary based on body type — and allow your heel to naturally settle to the ground.
  •   When starting a new stride, develop the habit of picking up your leg instead of pushing off the ground.
  •   Use a compact and fluid arm swing, keeping your elbows bent at an acute angle and your hands close to your chest.
  •   Keep your head upright and steady and your eyes looking forward.
  •   Be “present in the moment” to allow yourself to concentrate on your stride but stay relaxed and don’t overanalyze. The more you adhere to good form, the quicker it will become second nature.
  •    Consider getting custom insoles to further your gait enhancement.
  •   Land at the midfoot and allow the heel to settle to the ground.

For those who haven’t discovered the Running Tips portion of Runner’s World where you can read all about running form, click here.

I’m sure you will agree that in everything we do, it pays to be educated.  Happy running!

The past week has been both educational and memorable for me.   I was assigned to Central Mindanao to cover issues about the conflict in the province of Maguindanao.  Most of my work was to interview people who have been displaced by the conflict between the government forces and the MILF. 

mosque

 

When friends found out I was going there, a friend from Davao warned me to never go out without military escort.  I knew he was exaggerating but even with the announcement on the suspension of military operations from both AFP and MILF, I was a little, well, anxious.

The first thing I asked the hotel receptionist upon arriving in Cotabato was where I could run.  I was upset, although not really surprised, to be told that it was not advisable for me to run outside the hotel!  What I thought at first to be inconceivable happened.

child3

I had an average of 2 or 3 hours of sleep every night and was observing self-imposed fasting (as some kind of respect to the Muslims I was with for most of the 5 days) so I had to accept the fact that there would be no physical activities for me for five, long days!  I was able to do some push ups and crunches here and there but no running for that period of time was unthinkable.

child4

While I talk about PR, VO2, DNF, LSD and ITBs and complain about my daily drudgery, the children in the conflict affected areas of Mindanao are hearing about IDPs, WFP, ICRC, MILF and CVO.  It definitely gave me another reason to believe that I am very lucky with my modest but happy life in Luzon.  I wish these children and all the other people in the evacuation camps get all the help they need and deserve.

Did I regret going to Mindanao?  Definitely not.  Especially now that I have a deeper understanding of the island and its beautiful people especially the ones from Maguindanao.

child1

Sukran, Mindanao!  Till we meet again  🙂

Now, where did I put my running shoes?…

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