Aug 25, 2010

Din: 500km

How far is 500 kilometers?

Assuming you are coming from the Rizal Monument which is Kilometer 0, I have listed below some well-known locations in the Philippines with estimated proximity to the 500 kilometer mark.

  • Batac, Ilocos Norte - Add approximately 30 kilometers to make it 500.
  • Tuguegarao, Cagayan - Add approximately 17 kilometers to make it 500.
  • Naga City - Add approximately 50 kilometers to make it 500.
  • Baguio City - Roundtrip and add approximately 20 kilometers more.

Why the sudden penchant for 500 kilometers? Well, today I have clocked 500 kilometers in my running odometer. This was the result of running 7 5K races, 6 10K races, 1 15K race and countless number of fartleks, tempo runs, interval runs, hill workouts and my favorite, long runs.

Here's the screenshot of the summary from my Endomondo account which I started using when I ran my first 5K race, RunRio Leg 1 Century Tuna.

I know I still have lots of room for improvement for my personal bests but I am taking my sweet time in achieving these. As of this time, I am enjoying the training and the progress I am seeing in my fitness level allowing me to join longer distances. Here's to more kilometers... and the honor of wearing the 1,000km Finisher's shirt from Bald Runner. =D

Aug 23, 2010

Din: Level Up

After running six 10k races, I thought it was time to move on to the next race category, the 15 or 16K. Well, as luck turned out, the next race in our calendar was the Run To Read Race with a 15K category. Perfect opportunity as well to run a longer distance than 10K at The Fort which included the infamous route to the Heritage Park. Time to test if my hill workouts were enough for me to survive the undulating paths of the Bayani Road.

Since I would be running a 15K race, I decided to use the Amphipod instead of my trusty handheld Nathan water bottle. Just in case, you can find my reviews of the Nathan here and the Amphipod here.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I take hydration quite seriously. I do not depend on the race organizers in providing me with enough hydration even if it is their responsibility. Again, I repeat, I do not put my safety in the hands of others. This is actually based on experiences from previous races that Carrie and I joined. To further elaborate, imagine a spectrum, on the right are organizers who really care for the runners' well-being and ensure that the runners can even swim on  the huge volume of water and sports drink available. On the left are organizers who, either because of cluelessness (or downright stupidity) or worst, irresponsibility, do not care about the runners' plight and only care for their own pockets resulting to stations without the water most especially for longer distances.

In the middle of this spectrum are the organizers hit by Murphy's law. To those who are unfamiliar with this law, it states that, "If something is bound to go wrong, it will."

In the case of the Run To Read Race, I could classify it in the middle of the spectrum, especially for those who ran the 15K race. Unfortunately, the water stations ran out of cups even if there were still ample amounts of water. This was actually still a good case for those who brought their own hydration kits. Bad for those who didn't. I was actually able to refill my Amphipod bottles twice thus I have enough water and Pocari drinks to sustain me until the end of the race. The moral of the story, believe in Murphy, bring your own bottle!

Gear Review: Amphipod Runlite 4 Hydration Belt

In my last post about the Nathan Quickdraw Plus, I mentioned that I started searching again for higher capacity hydration pack since I decided to take on longer distances already. This decision was actually motivated by my plan to join the 21K category of the Adidas King of the Road Race 2010 on October 24.

Besides handheld hydration bottles, the next kits I saw were the hydration belts. I thought before that these belts were overkill since I was only running 5K and 10K races. On the other hand, now that I am moving to the 15K marker and beyond, I have started looking into these belts again.

I was able to found 2 of the popular hydration belts locally. These are the Speed 4R from Nathan and the Helium 4-Bottle Belt from Fuel Belt. Unfortunately, these two belts did not appeal to my form and function standards. Don't get me wrong, these belts get the job done but I just don't find the "it" factor in these belts.

One day, Carrie showed me a picture of the Amphipod hydration belt and from then on, I knew I found my hydration belt.

Luckily I was able to find a local seller of the Amphipod. Here's his Multiply account for those who are also looking for one. What I bought was the Run Lite 4, the one pictured above. I already made sure that I have enough even up to when I decide to run my first marathon.

What endeared me to the Amphipod is the simplicity of its design via the quick-click access to the bottles and the versatility of the bottle locations depending on your needs and/or preferences.

I have used my Amphipod once in a 15K race and 3 times during training and I am all thumbs up for this product. Comfort and usability are all top-notched. The bottles themselves are all well-made and leak-free since my current configuration is the bottles are placed horizontally along the belt.

I do have some words of caution though which I listed below.

1. Make sure that you hear a click when you snap the bottle back to its holder. I read several stories in the Web that, for whatever reasons, they were not able to put the bottle back properly, the bottle popped off from its holder and got lost. With this in mind, I normally get my bottle during my walk breaks. I tried getting and or returning the bottle while I was running and it was a bit more challenging and admittedly more prone to error.

2.  Make sure that the cap of the bottle is fully closed when you return it to its holder. This is most applicable if your bottles are placed horizontally along the belt. When the cap is not properly closed, the liquid inside the bottle will leak when you run. Of course, this is not a design problem for the bottle but rather a user problem.

Aug 22, 2010

Gear Review: Nathan Quickdraw Plus

Ever since I started running, I immediately took the topic of hydration seriously having read through the dangers of dehydration and heat stroke. Even if I was joining 5K and 10K races before, I made sure that I understood the inherent risks of the sport and made sure that I brought with me my own hydration pack. Of course, race organizers are obliged to provide hydration to runners during races, some organizers took this seriously while the others were, if I might, irresponsible. On the other hand, it has been my policy ever since, even outside running, that I do not put my safety in the hands of others. I made sure that I can control what I can control.

With these thoughts in mind, I searched for the right hydration kit that suited my needs. After going to several sports shops, I found what I needed at the Toby's Sports branch in SM Megamall in the form of the Nathan Quickdraw Plus.

It is a 650ml handheld hydration bottle which is more than enough to hold a bottle of Gatorade or Pocari or just plain water. When you screw its cover, the fit is tight thus you are assured that whatever liquid is inside the bottle will not spill while you are running. When you open its cap by pulling up the yellow rubber stopper, you just need to apply a small amount of force and liquid will come out immediately to quench your thirst.

It takes getting use to though in carrying the hydration bottle while running since it is a bit heavy when fully filled. You can also hear the liquid sloshing inside the bottle while you are running. On the other hand, this is a small sacrifice to pay in ensuring proper hydration during races. By the way, a plus factor for this hydration bottle is the pocket where I am able to fit car keys, identification cards and paper bills.

This was my trusty water bottle that accompanied me in my 5K and 10K races and trainings. Unfortunately though, I needed to upgrade my hydration pack for the longer distances that I planned to cover thus my quest for my next hydration pack started again.

Din: Personal Victory

August 25 and September 1 will go down as two of the best milestones, Eureka moments if I may say, in my running history. I joined the Runfest last August 25 and the Rexona Run 2010 last September 1. In both of these events, I was able to run non-stop from stop to finish!

Well for some this might be a small thing but for me, it was a huge deal. When I started running, in order to cope with the training and increasing distance, I immediately implemented walk breaks based on the Galloway method. This actually made me "survive" my training program, get past the injuries I incurred and eventually made me a stronger and better runner eventually.

I didn't know what occurred in these 2 race events but I just felt great. I planned to have my walk breaks every mile (1.61 kilometers) but when I reached the first mile, I still felt strong and decided to push on. When I reached the 4th mile (almost 6.5 kilometers), I told myself, why not try running non-stop since I am already two-thirds the way. Well, the rest was history.

Even if my pace is still slow and still needs improvement, this milestone is a huge reinforcement that my training is working and it is making me a stronger and better runner. With this milestone, I decided to move on to the next level. Well, that deserves a separate story. =)

Aug 16, 2010

Carrie: Lifeline Foundation's Run 4 Life - UPDATE

As I have promised in my last post, I would like to give an update regarding my discussions with regarding what I deem to be a discrepancy in my race results. After several emails (4 emails from me and 2 emails from them and a lot of patience for waiting for about a month for an update) I have yet to receive any response from I have provided them with the necessary answers to their questions and likewise, gave them access to my Garmin online account for evaluation, I think it is best to say that I will not be hearing anything from them anymore. Why? Well, there are only a handful of theories I could think of and I have listed them below.
  • could not resolve their problem with my race results nor would they admit that maybe there was something wrong with the timing device that was on the race bib.
  • Maybe since I am not a seasoned runner, they ignored to give me an update after I have answered all of their questions. Again, their reasons were not transparent with me.
  • Maybe since they are an outsourced entity by Lifeline Foundation to conduct the race result of the event, may have thought that it is Lifeline Foundation's responsibility to act on my request. Unfortunately, even though I have included Lifeline Foundation in my emails, I have also not received any response or acknowledgement.
  • How do you suppose I feel about this? Actually, it would have been great if they provided me with an update, whether or not there was no problem with their system and the results would be the same or there was a problem but they could not change the results anymore. Either way, it is still an update and that is all what I want to receive to provide closure to this issue. As in every situation, transparency is always a critical key.
So the question now is, will I still continue running? HELL YES!!!! But I would not admit that I would be running for 01:26:12 for a 5km race. I have been joining races since January of this year and I can very much say that the longest time it took me to finish a 5km was at Pinay In Action with a time of 46:53s. Now I would be very happy if the result provided was for a 10km race which I intend to join and finish at Adidas KOTR on 24 October 2010.