Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It Started with a Wall... Men's Health Style

Oops, not this wall.

I meant the 8-foot high wall that is the last thing one had to do in order to cross the finish time for Men's Health Urbanathon Race.

Back in 2007 (was it that long ago?), it was that race that challenged this (not yet) RUNNING (but already) FATBOY to run it. Yes, joining a 10km race for the first time wasn't enough for this dude to wake up at 5:00am in the morning. He had to join one with an obstacle course!

But F$%^ me as I was super paranoid that time. I was semi-regretting it as figured I wasn't fit enough to finish it. Gym instructor back then had me do circuit training to build muscles and endurance and I went to the gym 3-4 time a week just for that.

Wife (back then she was my girlfriend) Per laughed at my paranoia but gave her commitment to support me by waiting for me at the finish line. She too had to wake up early that time (who knew it would continue to this day) but she won't run (didn't even cross her mind...Really!) and just be a spectator.

So onto the race: I had to run through car tires, climb at the back part of pick up trucks, crawl on the muddy ground and let's not forget the 8-foot wall that I had to climb over (TWICE!). And yes, there's the 10km distance to speak of as well. I was dirty, exhausted, sweaty and smelly but DAMN, that was a freakin' good experience.

Post-race I had body aches for the entire week! But I was hooked!!! (Urbanathon races come only once a year...but that led to me joining a lot of road races soon after).

For 2009, we joined it again. Note on the word WE. Yes, Per was eager to try it too. She wasn't a spectator anymore. For our experiences here, copy and paste link below:

As of 2010? Well, I just registered today over lunch at 360 Fitness Club, Strata 100, Ortigas Center.

For P500 fee, it includes the following:

Men's Health shirt
Bib Number
Men's Health August 2010 edition (Marc Nelson cover)

I think there will also be a free breakfast at the finish line.

So will I see you there? Will we run together? Will we get dirty together? Will we climb the wall together?

More information on this year's race, copy and paste on separate tab the link below

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vibram Five Fingers Philippines Launch

I was privileged to be invited as part of the media launch of this product at Rockwell.

As I got there early, I was lead to an area where they had me remove my shoes and socks and measure the size of my feet. After which, I get to choose the pair of Vibrams Five Fingers that I could try on: the usual brown color or the attention grabbing hot red! Guess what I chose? :)

Quite cool don't you think? VFFs CAN Be fashionable (as evidenced later on...)!

Fitting the Five Fingers takes some getting used to as I had to insert each toe to their respective toe pocket, making sure that they are all fully extended. But once I got used to it, it was quite easy to do so.

Walking on it felt like walking barefoot with some protection from things like gum, broken glass, cockroaches, and the like. But is it good enough for running long distance? (Read on faithful readers).

A lot of guests were trying on pairs of their own VFF's at the media launch.

Coffee, RFB's camera and the invitation to this event..

Now, to launch this product, we got a series of testimonials from some of the celebrity athletes and their uses of this product.

Lorraine Lapus (AKA surfer gal): For her, it is quite good for the flexibility needed in surfing the waves. Plus the fact that it protects her from cuts attained from hitting the corals in the sea. Protection also from those deadly sea urchins

Corey Wills (AKA Yoga Master): This dude was soooo into it and he really loved it. Even before this product reached the Philippines, he had already ordered two pairs in USA. Perfect for yoga for the flexibility too and he liked using it to go to the mall.

Jay Valencia (AKA Runner): He uses it for sprint training and for 5kms run. Also switches to this after running a road race for recovery.

Nico D’Haenen (AKA Kettlebeller?): Perfect for their Kettlebell club for the flexibility needed. To the point that he doesn't allow shoes in his gym but VFF's can be used there.

But the most interesting one (at least to me because of its application) is
Ronald Declarador (AKA 102km Death March Ultramarathoner): He used it for the Bataan Death March and shaved one hour from his time. For him, I think one of the issues of using this is that since it is like running barefooted, you will feel the heat of the sun on your feet as you run on the sidewalk. This doesn't happen with ordinary rubber shoes. Wearing this is also similar to doing a trail run in that you have to be aware of the ground you are stepping on. But that is a good thing as you become more careful in your running form as well. Friend of Ronald has been using this longer than he has and when guy visited sports doctor, doc was surprised that he developed muscles at the back of his leg, which seldom happens even to a runner. With this footwear, runners can become stronger when it comes to racing. And don't we all want to be faster and stronger in our runs?

Celebrity and Frisbee star Reema Chanco hosted that day's event.

From Vibram's Media Kit:

The year 2006 marked the barefoot revolution as Vibram finally unveiled VIBRAM FIVEFINGERS, a unique footwear design that mimics the feeling of being barefoot. It allowed people to experience the sensation and freedom of going barefoot with the protection and sure-footed grip of a Vibram sole. Made by abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric and Vibram TC-1 performance rubber weighing 5.3oz. each, Vibram Five Fingers immediately took the world by storm, catching especially the eyes and feet of athletes and sports aficionados. This led to being awarded as one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2007. To date, the barefoot revolution has invaded Europe, North America, Australia and very recently -- Asia.

Need more testimonials that this is an awesome product?

Check out the action stars below:

Thomas Jane of "The Punisher" movie.

Matthew McConaughey (seen here holding VFFs) of "Ghosts of Girlfriends...", nope that's not an action movie. Okay Matthew McConaughey of "How to lose a guy in...", nope not an action movie...well, maybe a little action but the wrong kind. Hmmmmm Matthew McConaughey of "Failure to Launch"?

That's it. I give up. Nevermind! We all know who he is. On to the next action star:

Channing Tatum of "GI Joe". FINALLY! Phew!

So to summarize: Vibram Five Fingers: used by sports athletes, used by action stars and one romantic comedy guy (but in his defense, he joins triathlons and is quite good at it), and even featured in TIME Magazine's Best Inventions. Back to basics via barefoot running/ walking.

If that doesn't get you interested, nothing will!

For more information (also on different model types, colors, prices), please visit their store at Powerplant Mall, Rockwell. You may also visit their website at

Big thanks to Mr. Kim Faner of Eventscape Manila for the invite and to Mr. Carlos Abad for bringing this product to the Philippines.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Longest Named Race EVER!!!!

Last Friday I went to ROX to look for Endurun race to register for it. Too bad, it wasn't there.

But as that window closes, another window opens.

This time for a race to be held at Mckinley Hills last Sunday. Race had three categories: 5km, 10km and 15km event. It was supposed to start at 5:30am but ended up at 6:00am. Luckily, it wasn't that hot yet when race started.

It was a very intimate race as only a few runners joined it.

My reasons for joining a race are as follows:
1) To burn, burn, BURN (calories and not my skin from the sun)
2) To try a new running style taught to me a few days ago
3) To run without the use of a heel cup (GULP!)
4) To finish strong and happy

So speedwork is off the table. No PRs for me. No racing. It's back to basics as I try to tweak my running form.

The course goes all over McKinley Hills and with that name alone, we know it's going to be a struggle for the hill portions of the race. Good job RFB on joining this race when flat race courses gave you a hard time already (See: Figaro 8km run from my previous blog entry). But what better way to try a running form than on one of the most challenging routes in Metro Manila. (When will I ever learn?????)

I was literally the 3rd to the last person as the race started but ignored that and focused on my running form. I made sure to stop at every water or sports drink station as morning was getting hot.

Route took us in various parts of Mckinley Hills, out to Lawton avenue and headed towards Heritage Park before going back to the Hills for the finish line.

Verdict: it felt great. Initially, there were some pain on my left foot but it disappeared as I kept running. I was able to overtake some runners too but still ended at the bottom % of finishers. But still a finisher! And one with a big smile on his face. Runner's high! So awesome!

Best of all, I didn't limp post-race (which usually happens to me). It was like I didn't run at all. That was a very good experience and one that I am happy for. Nevermind the very slow 7:23 pace I used here.

No photos as my running partner (wife) opted to sleep this one out.

But I'm happy with my Birthday Bib Number. This is the second time it has happened after last year's UP GIG run. So, do I expect this to be an annual thing?

As for the title of this entry, the name of the race is as follows:

HOPE FOR ECONOMIC LIBERTY AND PEACE, RUN FOR HELP, RUN FOR FREE EDUCATION. 13 Freaking words!!!! Can we say O-VER-KILL ?? But whatever floats your boats guys. At least, it's for a good cause or is it for good causes? ;)

Challenge to readers: Know of a race that has 14 or more words that can beat this one?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

4th Auto Review Run - Sept 25, 2010

For the Sept 24-25 weekend, Per and I initially wanted to join the Camsur Marathon (but for the shorter distanced events) but due to the expensive price of the plane tickets and lodging there, we decided to veto it.

So what now?

Good thing I got an invite from Ron De Los Reyes (Producer- Host of Auto Review) to attend the Press Conference and Sponsor's Briefing yesterday (Sept 15) at Bluewater Day Spa, Ortigas.

Man, I got to say they put out all the works for a runner at the presscon:

There were lots of food involved for carbo loading (pasta was one of the main dishes) and the best part of all was the 30-minute foot massage. Hmmmmmmm......massage....mmmmmmm.......

Anyway, going back to the race...

This is actually the 4th Auto Review Run (with the 1st event going all the way back to 2004! Who would have thought there were that much runners back then? - IGNORANT RFB).

Race falls on a Saturday (Perfect!) and has 3km, 5km and 10km event. Gun starts for 10km event at 5:50AM with 5km next at 6:05AM and 3km at 6:15am.

Singlets aren't available yet but it should be ready by next week. It isn't glow in the dark as previously mentioned but still looks awesome!

Target of 2,500 runners for this race and there might be some games at the finish line and mini car show care from the sponsors. Rudy Biscocho is the race's technical director and event be held at Fort Bonifacio (just near ROX Outdoor Store).

On a personal note, this would be my 2nd Auto Review Run after joining the event last year. It was unforgettable as it was the last (tune up) race before my first full marathon the following week. But loved it for the free Starbucks drinks they had at the finish line and the good organization of the race.

Here's a review of that race:

I was waaaaayyyy thinner back then!

So whether you are in Manila or in Camsur next weekend, let's all enjoy the races and have a great time!

Thanks again to Ron for the invitation..

PS Ron sent me an email on revision of some information:

"By the way, our singlets (the red ones) are already available at ROX, Toby's at Park Square and SM North-The Block and our office at 5
Agusan, Sta Mesa Hts Quezon City.

The singlets also carry a reflectorized strip at the back which is better than glow-in-the dark paint."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Figaro Fun Run 10k (Sept 4, 2010)

Triple Alarm Clocks? Check!
New songs for IPod? Check!
New running cap? Check!
Change of running clothes? Check!
Fully Charged Garmin device? Check!
Me Ready? UNCHECK!

If only these were the only requirements for a good road race, then everything else would be a piece of cake.

But the most important thing for the race wasn't there. And that was me being prepared physically for it. I may put some "smokes and mirrors" to convince myself that I was prepared by psyching myself with new stuffs but in the end, it is still 10km that I had to conquer with no exercise for a month now.

This running fatboy has turned into a couch "fatter" potato.

Luckily there were some things that worked to my favor that day:

No. 1 was the very nice weather. No heat from the sun. No burning rays to tire me more. That was a good day for running!

No. 2 was the relatively flat if not downhill sloping route. I even liked it that course was made up of two laps so I can estimate how much further I had to run the second time I entered the route.

No. 3 were the ample (and cold) water they had scattered all over the place.

No. 4 was the shorter than expected route. It should be 10km but each loop was just 4.2km making it into a total of 8.4km. A few months ago I would have complained vehemently about the missing kms. Even more so if I had a target long run that day and ended up running more by myself than in a group via a race. Not that day. That day I was just happy that it was over and done with. It was that hard for me. Still it begs the question: if the 10km is just 8.4km, and the 5km is just 4.2km, does this make the 3km route just 1km?

Aside from the shorter distance, race wasn't all that bad. We got finisher certificates, two pandesal and some drinks at the finish line. I wasn't able to bag a finisher shirt given my less than speedy performance so that was a little downer.

But I loved the photos taken at this race as evidenced below....

Best of all, this race was held on a Saturday, which is our favorite day of the week. And having a race fall on this day means we have a much longer Saturday than expected! Yay!

See yah!