Sunday, November 29, 2009

NB Power Run 09 - A Great Sunday Morning

After a long wait today is the day for my family run, New Balance Power Run 2009.

Waking up in the morning has never been a problem for me. But, with the family, I knew before hand that this shall be an issue so I told all that I shall wake them up at 4:15am for us to leave the house at 5:00am. True enough, it was an great effort to keep everyone on schedule but we did manage as planned.

Arriving at the Fort at 5:15am a big crowd was already gathered. It was just about the same time that the gym instructor from Slimmer’s World was conducting a warm up session in front of the activity stage. I could already smell something good about this event. Great layout for the stage, a good number of courtesy booths, great sound system, there were different finishing arc for 21k and 10k/5k events, starting line for all categories is on the same place. The fantastic thing of this event was the “crowd control”. You have marshals with sign boards indicating the category and guiding them to the starting chute by batches. Given the number of participants, numbering around 7000 (as per the MC) the organizer had full control of the crowd. There were a good number of portalets available at the ground area. The race started at 5:30 for the 21k, 5:45 for the 10k and 6:00 for the 5k events. Good time management.

Distance markers and directional signs were very prominent along the route. Water and hydration stations were more than sufficient and well positioned. The marshals were manning the intersections. I would like however to describe a scene at the junction of Lawton and the small road leading to American Cemetery wherein a woman riding a taxi made a scene by going down her taxi leaving its doors opened and walked a few steps in the direction of the marshals and shouted “hoy kami naman malalate na ako sa trabaho ko” there were other inaudible things I could not make out but I assume it was no good words. I actually did not know how to react or how to interpret what I just witnessed. I just smiled with lots of things in my mind and proceeded my way to McKinley area. I pity the woman for losing her temper.

Coming back from McKinley and to the 10k finish line was still smooth and orderly. Crossing the finish line was great, orderly, cordoned and well manned. The unexpected finisher’s medal was awaiting all finishers. There was hydration available at the finish line with banana as well. What could you say of this race event? Thanks you New Balance for the sponsorship, Extribe you did a wonderful organization of the race and to all the runners, we all had a great Sunday morning!

It is a great feeling that we now have race events that we could be proud of. There was the Timex and now the NB Power Run.

Now I have to report on my family run. I was feeling great that after a very long time my wife was joining me on a race. I had her awaken early, race number attached to her shirt, reached the Fort, did the warm-up with the Slimmer’s World instructor, introduced her to friend runners that we came across, and finally showed her the mustering area for the 5k run. I then proceeded my way to start ahead with the 10k run. At the 9km marker my daughter-in-law Pamela over took me. I crossed 10k finish line at 01h04m02s to my great surprise my wife, Hermie and son Dax were already awaiting me. Although I knew both were only to run 5km, I just could not believe that they were already there ahead of me. I later found out both “chicken-out” “showed-up but did not start” it was another “act of God” both have the same excuse that my granddaughter was crying before the start of the 5km run and they did not want to leave her with the yaya. It was a very lame excuse, but, what to do except accept it. The good thing is that Pamela finished the 10k in 01h03m00s and Dennis my 11year old finished the 5km in the region of 45 minutes, both of whom did great and I am proud.

Even if I had two family members that did not start and finish, it was still a great Sunday morning for the family.

God is good! ALL THE TIME.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Garmin 310XT - Thanksgiving Gift

Much has been reviewed and written about the Garmin 310XT since its debut middle of this year. As such, I shall not be dealing on the technical and functional aspect for the training device, rather I wish to share the circumstances I got one.

Sometime April this year I gifted myself of a Garmin Forerunner 405. I find the same to my satisfaction with all its technical capabilities. However, I felt disappointment after only three months not because it has mal-functioned or the device quit on me, but, it was outdated by a newer model, the 310XT. Had I known then that a new model was coming up I would have rather waited to save the cost.

Having read so many good reviews of the 310XT, I asked my daughter Dawn who is a doctor in Moreno Valley CA to check availability and cost. At about the same time then, she was asking me to hand her down my old DSLR Camera a Sony Alpha 100 which I readily agreed. After a week or so she came back and told me the cost of the 310XT plus a heart rate monitor to go with it. Then she asked me how I would like to pay for the unit. This more or less made me feel down and disappointed as I was contemplating on a swap between my DSLR and the 310XT. I then just told her that the item was expensive so I have not decided to buy it at this time and will wait a while. I intentionally did not talk to her for a week so I think she got the message.

To cut the story short, I now have 310XT courtesy of my daughter Dawn and son-in-law Alex whom I would like to thank both for the “thanksgiving gift” sometimes the parents need to make “lambing” while I can easily afford one, but, a gift from a love one is very precious thing. Kaya nga tinawag “magulang” dapat magulang sa lahat ng bagay at di mag-papagulang sa mga anak. Joke only.

Anyways, the Sony DSLR Alpha 100 is my thanksgiving gift to both Alex and Dawn. I am so happy of my new toy. Thank you Alex and Dawn.

The Garmin Forerunner 405 is now for sale, any buyers out there?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Fit N Right Run 09" RFID - Failure In Data Gathering

Overhead Sensors instead of MAT Sensor (subject to many condition for error reading)

The RFID attached only with a staple wire to Race Bib (needs to be positioned 90deg)

Two days after the “Fit N Right Run 09” last Sunday 22Nov09, the race result for 3k/5k/10k were posted at

As this is the very first time the RFID system is being used locally I am very much eager to know how the system performed on its debut.

Basis results released there were only 408 results for 10k, 1173 results for 5k and 605 results for 3k. Total results gathered by the system were 2186 results ONLY. The figure is way below the total number of participants during the event. I do not have the exact figure, but, the crowd during the event was easily double the result provided. Meaning, so many runners were not timed.

It is but so obvious that the RFID failed to deliver the results in the data gathering. who is the time keeper provided the following explanations on their website; (POSTING WAS PULLED DOWN)

As of 0930 hrs 26Nov09 a request from Marianne Tapales of CEMG was made which we quote - We appreciate your comments especially about the rfid timing sytem. However, may we request you to pull down the copy pasted disclaimer from CEMG accepts the responsibility of the ups and downs during the race. For discrepancies in timing or if your name is not on the list, please send an email with your full name, bib number and contact details to
unquote .

I feel very disappointed not for the RFID system, but, the manner it was used. As I have posted prior to the race data gathering was on its way to failure with the following established scenario then;

- There was no accompanying written instructions with respect to RFID sensor which was attached to the race bib. Majority of the runners were not aware that the plastic strip attached to the race bib was a timing device.

- The shoe lace mount for an RFID with a mat sensor should have been used as with “D-tag” as this eliminates the different possibilities that Runningmate highlighted on their explanation. (running behind a tall runner, finished with your RFID mount not in the right position, etc...)

- Runningmate was correct in identifying that the finish line was a total CHAOS with no crowd control.

- However, I do not see the logic on the explanation of “manual timing”. RFID was being used there was no need for a “manual timing” and there was none provided for manual timing as evident that race bibs have no “pull-out tag or barcode” to detach as you cross the finish line. You do not take manual time visually as the runner cross the finish line, there are way too many runners crossing at the same time even if you have a perfect view.

- The RFID was only stapled on the race bib. It was so easy to get detached particularly with sweat and hydration fluids during the race.

Anyways this may only be a birth pain. The RFID System is good and well tested system abroad. As in any tools and technology, mastery in the usage is of utmost importance. Hopefully the next race that will utilize the RFID, the organizers will do a better job than what happened at the “Fit N Right Run 09”.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NB Power Run 09 - My Family Run

After two months of delay due to typhoon “ONDOY” the NEW BALANCE POWER RUN 09 will finally be held this coming Sunday 29Nov09 at the Bonifacio Global City.

As posted in my previous blog on 25Sep09 and 27Sep09, NB Power RUN 09 is a long awaited race for me personally. It took me more than two years to convince my wife to try running and due to my insistence, she finally said “yes”. I had her registered for the 5km category, but, as events lapsed it was not meant to be due to “ONDOY”. I tried to ask her to register on other races after then, but, her easy excuse was “maybe she was not meant to run as foretold by even nature”. She insisted to wait for the actual event day for the NB Power Run 09.

With four days to go, I am excited and hoping that no “Acts of God” will stop the event this Sunday. It will be a family run for us, my son Dax, my daughter-in-law Pamela, my youngest son Dennis and my wife Hermie.

By the way the original routes for the different categories have been changed and the following race route were posted;

An added incentive announced by the sponsors PARTICIPANTS WHO WEAR NEW BALANCE FOOTWARE WILL RECEIVE A PAIR OF NB RUNNING SOCKS. Make sure to cross the finish line in your New Balance shoes.

See you on Sunday 29Nov09 5:30am gun time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fit N Right Run Vs. Unfit and Wrong of the Race

The “Fit N Right” of the race

- The RIDF timing device for all 3/5/10k (awaiting posting of results)
- Loot Bag of generous samples of Del Monte products
- Marketing of the Race resulting to a good number of participants

The “Un-FIT and Wrong” of the Race

- Chaos at the starting line. No crowd control 3k/5k runners mingled with the 10k starters even if each category has a different starting time.

- Collection of race packets on race day causing delay. Race started 25 minutes LATE.

- Program prior to race. Runners came to run and not listen to MCs talk and say hellos, do their cute acts, etc. the most important person is the race director after he gives his instruction race should start immediately.

- There is nothing wrong with warm ups but do it 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the race and do not do it when runners are already at the starting line as there is no space to move.

- By rules, to start a race you need to warn runners, on this race there was a program still ongoing (booed and shouted by runners to stop and go on with the race), and without any warning the starting gun just sounded. There was no coordination between the starter and the MCs(who were even surprised that the race already started.

- There were no distance markers only directional markers.

- For the 10k participants water was only available for the first 5km, there was no water available after 5km. For the 5km runners as they also used the same route as the 10k participants, I doubt if they were able to have their share of hydration. By rules, there should always be a water station at the finish line NONE WAS AVAILABLE.

- No accompanying written instruction on the RFID on the race packet. On race day the MC keep on saying “do not remove the SINGLET from your race bib” referring to RFID sensors as “singlets”.

- Chaos at the finish line. No crowd control.

Issues awaiting actions from PATAFA

The race director prior to the race announced that a big plus factor of the event is PATAFA accreditation. It makes me wonder what checklist or requirement does PATAFA require from a race organizer to stamp their accreditation to a race event? If they have requirements, how come the race failed very miserably on so many aspects? In as much that accreditation was given by PATAFA to the said race, will PATAFA do a post-race report/analysis?

Calling PATAFA .............

Photos to share during the event

Mr. Andrew Neri of Milo Marathon Events and his beautiful wife (practising runners)

The Jazzrunner

The generous Loot Bag

The Samba drums

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dare to be FIT N RIGHT - Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID Timing Device - Strip adhesively attached to a harp plastic

RFID Plastic Strip - attached by two staple wires to race bib

I had my race packet collected by a messenger for the “Dare to be FIT ‘N RIGHT Fun Run 2009” (FNR 2009) scheduled for Sunday 22N0v09. I was not expecting anything special about this race as the event primarily covers the 3/5/10k distances which was even tagged by the organizers as “fun runs”.

When the race packet was handed to me, I was surprised that on the race bib was stapled a RFID .... Radio Frequency Identification. This means that the 10k (I do not know about the 3k and 5k) are provided with a “timing device” know as RFID.

This year introduced to the local running scene the “Championship Chip” a timing device that you attach to your shoe lace which will provide you with your actual running time and with different analysis incorporated into the system. The technology has been used in about 4 or 5 races with satisfactory feedback. However, to this date the brand “Championship Chip” is locally covered by an organization wherein Coach Rio Dela Cruz and Vince Mendoza are behind.

Now enters a new competitive technology “Radio Frequency Identification” (RFID) which is widely used in the United States Marathons ( LA Marathon / Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon to name only two) but the RFID they are using falls under the brand name of “D-Tag” wherein the chips are embedded on a waterproof strip that you attach to your shoe lace forming a “D” figure thus the brand name of “D-Tag”.

For the FNR 2009, the paper strip containing the chip technology was adhesively attached to a hard plastic strip which was attached to the race bib by two staple wires. I do not wish to be unreceptive of this technology but only on the manner it is being used. I like only to highlight the disadvantage of the manner the system was deployed. First, the chip could easily “fall-off” and get lost in the process of a running event. There are only two staple wires holding the device to the race bib which as we all know, becomes less robust as you perspire and have the bib wet either by perspiration or hydration fluids. Second, it is inviting cheaters to do their thing. Third, the distance from the chest and the timing mat will be subject to possible error. All three of my apprehensions could have been easily addressed by either (a) using the same system as “D-Tag” attaching the timing strip on the shoes for better signal with the timing mat and discouraging possible cheaters or (b) having the timing strip EMBEDDED on the race bib, eliminating the risk of having the timing strip detached and getting lost as well as discouraging cheaters.

RFID Plastic Strip attached to Race Bib .... attached to Race Shirt

The RDID system is not a new technology. It has proven its worth and advantage particular in COST which makes it popular to race organizers. I have even used the same system on events I have participated in the States. It is now up to the FNR 2009 Race Organizers and their technical staff to prove their capability in using this “tool” to their advantage and ultimate benefit of the runner.

By the way, when I received the race packet there was no accompanying information sheet regarding the “plastic strip” attached to the race bib. This is already inviting “problem” as I doubt if ordinary runners are aware of what is the purpose of the same and how to ensure that the strip does not get detached from the race bib.

Anyways, for bringing this new technology to the local scene, I congratulate the race organizers and wish all the success of the timing device on tomorrows’ FNR 2009. We should get the outcome by tomorrow late morning.

See you at the starting line and DO NOT DETACH the RFID on your race bib!!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

TIMEX RUN - The Standard Future Local Races Need To Replicate

Coach Rio Dela Cruz is a known race organizer and manager with a long list of races under his belt. However, his past race accomplishments have obtained varied feedback/ratings from fair, good or great or even short of expectation. However as a rule of a thumb, races that are organized by Coach Rio are worth the money to participate in.

Today for the TIMEX RUN, Coach Rio Dela Cruz has surpassed his previous level of performance in terms as race organizer and race manager. I have only but praises in the manner the TIMEX RUN was done today. I have joined so many races in the past and have seen race events that were conducted either good or very good, but, the TIMEX RUN today will be “the standard of race event” that future races will be compared and critiqued.

Just before the race Coach Rio shared with the racing community that he is “tense” and “scared” with all the preparation and holding of the event. A person of his experience and stature should not be, but, I think he felt that way as he has put all his personal touch and effort to ensure the success of the event. All your effort paid off coach Rio! This race is nothing short of excellent and a standard comparative if not even better that those held abroad.

What were the contributing factors that spelled excellent delivery of this race? Registration and delivery of race pack was a simple process with no extra fanfare but was easy and fast. The race has the “timing chip” for the competitive distances and a fnishers medal for the 21k. The layout and equipments used in the start/finish line are but only the best. The sound system was loud, crisp, and powerful. The MCs were informative as well as entertaining. The stage for the awarding ceremony was big. The courtesy booths within the activity area where well attended and manned. There was a clear system in collection of loot bags and water after the race. There were 24 portalets available for the general running public nicely laid-out. There were three (3) tents accepting depository of personal bags. There were a great number of “stationary marshals” as well as “roving marshals”. There were more than sufficient number of hydration stations along the route offering both water and 100 plus. The hydration tables were set up on the middle of the road to accommodate incoming and outgoing runners. The tables used for hydration were long as needed. There were even nice and beautiful ladies from Robinson Land giving cheers and water. The traffic flow was well controlled by the marshals. Even irritant motorist were being pacified. And finally on the finish line it was systematic with the added presence of the David Salon Girls to greet you as you enter the finish line. Lastly, there is even a courtesy tent to show the Manny Pacquiao fight. No doubt this is a well organized race that should be replicated in all other future races.

On the PIOLO PASCUAL fever of the TIMEX RUN, I was surprised that he completed the 10k in 47min54sec placing 21st in the male category, wow! he does have the legs and the lungs to go with the looks. He is not only good looking, but, an accomplished runner as well. I like in particular how he delivered the opening prayers prior to the race. I think he is in good company when he teamed with Coach Rio.

Congratulations TIMEX and most especially to Coach Rio for an excellent job! If this is a prelude to the RunRio Trilogy then we have only but great things to expect.

Sharing to all the following pictures;

VINCE MENDOZA givings instructions on the program sequence

COACH RIO, all smile even on tense situation.

COURTESY TENT for the Manny Pacquiao and Cotto Fight

STATIONARY MARSHALS getting their IDs and uniform

Posterior View of PIOLO PASCUAL and COACH RIO 10km in 47minutes GREAT!!!

Incoming 10K and outgoing 21k at the KALAYAAN BRIDGE

LONG TABLES and in the middle of the road for Hydration

Both INCOMING and OUTGOING RUNNERS can use the hydration table at the same time

DAVID SALON GIRLS at the Finish Line to welcome you.

Festive mode at the grounds after the race

twenty four (24) Portalets

And a Finisher's Medal for the 21k runners

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Triangular Equation Of A Race Event

TRIANGLE is one of the basic shapes of Geometry with three corners or VERTICES and three sides which are line segments. There are three basic types of a triangle, (a) equilateral- all sides have the same length (b) isosceles – two sides are equal (c) scalene – all sides and internal angles are different from one another.

There is no better way to explain the equation of a RUNNING EVENT but to associate the whole concept into a triangle. The RUNNING TRIANGLE is represented by the following;

THE SPONSOR – Base Of The Triangle
This is the most important part of the RUNNING EVENT TRIANGLE (RET). The idea to hold a running event emanates from the sponsor. The sponsor sets the goals, mission and vision (GMV) of the intended race event. It is also the sponsor that determines how grand or how austere will the event by formulating a working budget (WB) to attain the GMV. By this process, the area of the triangle is determined and will dictate in the end the scope of exposure or length of triangular side for the race organizer and that of the runner. On most cases the sponsor assumes the role of a Race Manager (RM) which is responsible for the overall financial operation, getting additional sub-sponsors, events promotions, logistical needs i.e. t-shirts, medals, give-aways etc. On certain cases matters is shared and/or designated/passed-on to the race organizer (RO)

It is also at this level that formulation of the business and commercial aspect of the race event is set. For tax shelter purposes normally a “charitable institution” is designated as recipient of funds as a charitable work. Have you ever wondered why all races have a charitable institution attach into the race?

THE RACE ORGANIZER – Side A Of The Triangle
Selection of a race organizer is a crucial task for the sponsor in as much that the race organizer is the operational and technical arm of the event. On some arrangements either due to financial or organizational capability of the sponsor, logistical task for t-shirts, media promotion, registration or other selected or determined scope may be designated by the sponsor (should they be also the RM) either singularly, selectively or collectively to the race organizer (RO). On certain cases the RO purely handles the technical aspect and actual operation of the race event.

Selection of a race organizer is dependent on the WB. A class A-1 race organizer will demand a professional fee running in hundreds of thousand even to seven digit figure depending on the magnitude of the race event. Of course there with always be race organizer whose professional fee is cheap but the standard and delivery of service will as well be wanting or better categorize as “in doubt”.

The RO is the life and soul of a running event and on most cases will spell the success or failure of handling the race for start to finish. Accordingly, these people are the answerable to whatever complaint or shortfalls the race will deliver.

THE RUNNER – Side B Of The Triangle
The RUNNER completes the triangular side of the equation. The major contributory factor of the runner is its participation, eagerness and response to the event. However, the runner has its participation on the financial aspect of the event in form of “registration fee”. Abroad the registration fee is quite substantial, however, in the Philippines registration fee is on the average of P300 to a high of P500. The participatory of the runner locally could only relieve the sponsor for the cost of the “singlet” and the cost for the registration and issuance of a race bib. Obviously, the bulk of the expenses shall be on the operation budget of the Race Sponsor. With the coming of “timing chips” cost dictates that a portion of the registration need to be increased for this usage, however, bulk of the cost still will have to be funded by the sponsor for prestige purposes.

Going back to the triangle, the area of a triangle can be determined by the equation;

S=Area b=length of base h=height or altitude of the triangle which in a race event is;

Magnitude of Race Event = 1/2 commitment of the sponsor x length of the perpendicular unto Race Organizer and Runner.

In the end the SPONSOR is life and source of a Race Event ably supported on equated portions by the Race Organizer and Runners. One without the other will not create a racing event. And that with one side poorly contributing to the length of the side of the triangle will create an area or magnitude short of delivering a successful race event.

So next time you analyze and/or critique a race event, identify the people behind the triangle of a race event, mark their performance and contribution which shall guide you on which races to participate this coming 2010 race calendar.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Firefly Supernova -

Of lately, I have enjoyed running more and more along the busy streets of EDSA, C5, Greenhills, Fort Bonifacio and to whatever place my urge and trill for the day dictates me for a LSD run. On most cases, I do my LSD run early in the morning from 4:00am and ending it between 6:30am to 7:00am depending on the distance.

On these occasions, major concern is “SAFETY”. Foreigners have been wondering how drivers in metro Manila are able to weave themselves in the traffic with so many vehicles and to their amazement they notice very little accidents occur on the road. Given the same condition abroad, there would already be a pile up of cars due to changing of lanes. Foreigners have been wondering what are the “rules of the road” do the Filipino follow, so much so that they say if you could drive in metro Manila then you should be able to drive anywhere in the world. This is only to highlight the road condition in metro Manila.

As a runner, particularly on an early morning hours, “SAFETY” is a major concern, more so with Filipino drivers known to be particularly non-pedestrian friendly. Running in the streets needs experience and local knowledge of drivers mentality that I think I have now logged sufficient number of mileage to adjust when to use the roadside curb, when to use the pedestrian sidewalk, when to use the inner road, when to run facing the traffic, and when to run with the flow of the traffic. In all these conditions, you learn to weave yourself amongst cars, jeepneys, buses, tri-cycles and even sidewalk vendors.

A major factor to consider in running the streets is making yourself VISIBLE at all times as a safety measure. With this factor in consideration, I have bought myself via internet a “Firefly Supernova” by with the following packaging description;

Each piece cost $12.99 in which I got myself two pieces that I intend to attach to my hydration belt infront and at the back to insure 360 degrees visibility. The light has a visibility of over 1.5km, lifetime LED bulb (you have a selection of red or white), weights less than 1 ounce, dual mode either “flashing” or “steady”, waterproof up to 300 feet and a battery life of 250 hours in flashing mode which the battery can be replace by any watch type CR2032 batteries 2pcs. A simple twist of the housing operates the on/off of the bulb.

The “firefly supernova” is an added tool for the safety of a runner at night, but, again as in any endeavour running in the streets particularly in metro Manila requires experience and street smart mentality with the added tool, my calculative risk in the road is greatly reduced.