Monday, March 29, 2010

Shanghai China - Runners Paradise For A Street Run

(Click on picture to enlarge view)

I have in the past been to Shanghai China but have dedicated my visits more in playing golf rather than in running. However, when our company retreat and team building was scheduled for Shanghai China from 25-29th March 2010, I have promised myself to dedicate my early morning hours to running along the streets of Shanghai.

Weeks before the scheduled trip come through, I knew that the temperature will be between 5-8 degrees centigrade and will in itself a task to overcome. I therefore prepared and packed by cold running gears. I then visited the "Map Your Run" website to check on the possible routes to take considering the hotel we have booked ourselves during the stay.

On 26Mar10 the day after we arrived Shanghai, I woke up early at 5:00am. I immediately dressed up with my cold weather running gears, hydration belt and Gamin 310xt all set to make my initial run. At 5:42am I was off and running. For the first 5 minutes of the run it was like having a cold shock as the temperature then was at 2 degrees centigrade, God it was cold and it was penetrating not only my running apparel but all the way to my bones. I had then my apprehensions if I could continue with the run. Ten minutes into the run, I was beginning to feel the warming muscles and beginning to enjoy the scenery. It was then that I saw a number of runners also doing their early morning runs and the further I go the more I noticed that running in the streets on Shanghai is not an odd thing to do but is the usual thing to do. On other places abroad that I have done my usual morning run, I have to dedicate my running along the curbside and pedestrian alleys, however, in Shanghai it was a runners paradise as you can run safely using the BICYCLE LANE along the road. Although it is still street running, the pollution level is very low and clean, check on the pictures taken during the runs.

I have the following summary of figures for the three days I did my early morning runs in Shanghai;

I have used two different routes with one done twice and they appear on the Google Map as follows;

Shanghai is indeed a Runner's Paradise for a Street Run - Safe, Clean, and street friendly which surprisingly is still possible for a city of 22 million inhabitants. WIth the World Expo due to open on May 1, 2010 there will be a lot of visitors coming to Shanghai and I am sure there will be quite a number of runners of these visitors. The City of Shanghai has bigger package awaiting visitors who will try to run the streets of Shanghai. By then the weather condition will be a lot pleasant.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Green Miles - A Simple Running Event

This weekend two race events were held simultaneously, that of "Globe Run For Home" at Makati Central Business District and "The Green Miles" at MOA/Roxas Blvd. A month before the event I have decided to select the event that would be less participated by runners in view of either cheaper registration fee, lesser commercialism and media exposure.

Comparatively registration fee for Globe was P700 and P500 for The Green Miles. Globe being one of the biggest corporation in the country has all the advantage in financial support, commercial machinery and media exposure. For these reasons, I entered the 15K event of The Green Miles which was presented by UST batch 88.

I arrived MOA grounds and immediately felt the difference of a big and small event. The starting area, event grounds and logistical equipments were very basic and can not be compared to big races in the recent past. By 5:00am I already positioned myself at the holding area and was wondering how many participants the event will attract. I tried to see usual known faces to me but could not find any. My guess, they are all at the Globe Run For Home. Then out of no where, I was greeted by Patrick Concepcion (aka Running Shield) and not too long after I saw from a distance Jonel Mendoza (aka Bugobugo). Fifteen minutes before the race Piolo Pascual was called on the improvised stage for prayers and followed by the National Anthem. I was trying to size up the crowd at the starting area for the 15K and my best estimate is that there is no more than 500 participants for the 15K event. As the 10K, 5K and 3K event were to start after the 15K I did not see the crowd on these events but overall I would say the maximum for all events will not be more than 2000 participants.

At exactly 5:30am the 15K runners were released. It was only after the race had begun that I started to appreciate the simplicity and austerity of the event. The event has all the necessary components of a race event with sufficient hydration stations and marshals along the route. The best point that I would credit the event is the route at Roxas Boulevard. On this leg you cannot but help but notice the gigantic Sunday crowd at the Cultural Center Grounds who have improvised to use the drive way as an oval. The Roxas Bouvlevard boardwalk is a great sight to behold with families, friends, lovers and what have you doing their own exercise or just spending a nice Sunday morning with their love ones. At the junction of Aristocrat, there was an event being prepared, Dragon Boat Competition and Bike Race so the area was busy. With all of these happening in the boulevard the route was great and ideal. This is where I think the event excelled not of the route but by what is happening along the route.

The following is my running statistics for the event;

In the end what I can conclude is that the JOY and SATISFACTION of running is not reliant to the magnitude of an event but given the basic needs provided for a race event, i.e. Safety, Hydration, and Sanitation resultant CONTENTMENT and SATISFACTION is on how a runner personally dealt with his run in itself.

To Ian Alacar and his group congratulations even if the attendance is short of expectation the event was complete in its basic components.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tagaytay Highlands To Flamengo Resort Sta Maria Talisay

With no special or interesting road race scheduled for the 2nd weekend of March, it was again time to be innovative in my weekend run. I find it important once in a while to interject solo adventure runs either in metro Manila streets, nearby provincial roads or even trail runs which helps to rekindle my interest in running and enjoy the different sceneries along the road.

At 4:50am on Saturday 13Mar10 I started my run from Woodridge Yellowstone Condominium inside Tagaytay Highlands passing through the main gate of Highlands then to Tagaytay-Calamba Road, turning left to Tagaytay-Talisay Road. Half way along the Tagaytay-Talisay Road I took a little time out for some photo opportunity of the Taal Volcano and Lake. It was also at this time that daybreak was setting in. After about 5 minutes it was back to running until I reached Talisay-Laurel Road then turning right and after about a kilometer I arrived Flamengo Resort at barangay Sta Maria Talisay.

Details of run was registered on my Garmin 310XT withe the following details.

It was a great run and to complete the weekend adventure was an early morning dip at the Taal Lake. All refresh, I hope to be ready for another week of rigid work in the office.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Running - Dehydration And The Three Heat Illnesses

Have you been outdoors these last few days? It is HOT, terribly HOT! It is officially summertime and worst the El NiƱo has hit the country this year. Temperature has risen to a high of 36deg centigrade during mid afternoon and even 26-27deg centigrade early morning and 30-31deg centigrade just after sunset.

Running being already a part of our life and a way of living, we cannot just stop nor can we taper down our daily runs. However, we need to take care of our health which is our main and ultimate goal in running. For this reason, we need to know the different illnesses that can result from running (worst in racing) in hot weather condition. Only by knowing the different effects in our body will we be able to take prudent and preventive measures to avoid these heat related illnesses for us to continue running during the months from March to July.

DEHYDRATION is the most common heat related illness. An average person requires 8-10 glasses of water per day or about 300ml/day. A runner is required to drink fluid all day, not just during our workouts or races. He should not wait to drink fluid when he is thirsty. Thirsty is already a sign of dehydration. It is wise to drink 2-3 glasses (80ml) of fluid at least 30 minutes prior a workout or a race. Drink another 50ml of fluid just before start of activity. During the workout or race drink 50ml of water or sports drink every 15 minutes. If the activity will last more than 1 hour, it is best to take sports drink instead of water.

After a workout or a race it is of utmost importance to replace lost fluids during the activity. We need to take our weight before and after an activity. For every pound (lb) of weight loss during an activity we need to drink at least 650ml. Again sports drink is a better choice than water.

It is also prudent to AVOID coffee, soft drinks, tea and alcohol are substances that contribute to dehydration.

SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION are dark yellow urine, muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and lack of concentration.

Heat Related Illness
There are three primary heat related illnesses that are associated with running in hot weather. They are, in order of seriousness: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

HEAT CRAMPS – caused by dehydration and loss of minerals. Not a life threatening illness, but can be painful. The symptoms are cramping muscles. Stop running and drink a lot of sports drink immediately. Massage cramping muscles.

HEAT EXHAUSTION – is a more serious illness which could lead to heat stroke. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, goose bumps, extreme fatigue, weakness, weak and rapid pulse, heavy sweating, uncoordinated stride or vomiting. Stop running immediately and seek medical attention. Lie down with your feet elevated. Drink a lot of sports fluid and try to cool body with cold water or cold towel.

HEAT STROKE – extremely serious and can be fatal. If the symptoms of heat exhaustion are ignored, heat stroke is the resultant illness. On most cases, heat stroke is manifested by lack of sweating. The condition requires immediate medical attention. A runner suffering from heat stroke will be mentally incapacitated or unconscious. The runner should be moved on a cool place and his body cooled with towels soaked in cold water or ice until medical help arrives.

Know the above conditions so that you could take appropriate preventive measures running on hot weather condition and if and should such an illness befalls on you, know the actions to take. Have a safe summer running.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Run United - Hot Hot Hot

Run United 2010 sponsored by United Laboratories and organized by has been allover the media in the last month in their promotion for the run scheduled on 7Mar07. It was therefore expected that the race event would be participated by a lot of running enthusiast from all walks of life. Indeed when the race day came it was one of those well-attended race events. I do not have the exact the figures, but, it should be around the same number as that of the “Super Bods Run” just a fortnight.

Run United may not be cheap in its registration fee, but in my vocabulary it has delivered your money’s worth in all aspect of the race. Coach Rio has more or less championed race organization of this magnitude. Further, whatever short fall he has learned on his last race has done corrective action and improve on the issue. For Run United one outstanding improvement is that you have more than ample supply of bananas for all the 21k participants, which was practically on all hydration station. The previous long queue to collect your finisher’s medal and loot bags are a thing of the past. Dedicated stations for the different race categories in the collection of loot bags were provided. United Laboratories being big corporations were very generous in their giveaways as well as their overall budget for the race event. With more than enough funding and with a competent race organizer is equal to a successful race event. Congratulation gentlemen.

For my 21km output its was for 01h43m21s and burning 2040 calories. Details as per my Garmin 310xt as follows;

Great as the race maybe, I have two suggestions, which I hope Coach Rio and his team would consider.

Run United is the first race that we have held on the country’s official summer time. On normal days, it is not until the 4th kilometer mark does l I start sweating, however, yesterday was HOT really HOT. I was just reaching the 2km mark and I feel like taking a bath in my own sweat. It even got worst when the sun started to shine. When I crossed the finish line I felt drained and needed 30 minutes to recover before being able to do anything. There were more than enough hydration stations, but, I think during summer time please consider to run start the race on an earlier time maybe 4:45 for races of 21k and above category. Just only during summer time. I cannot but help wondering how my dear friends who run the BDM 102 also of yesterday managed particularly on their case, but that’s another story.

For the last two races, Coach Rio has used the same route at Fort Bonifacio. It is a good route, but maybe next time lets try another route just for variety purposes and new trill for the running enthusiasts.

Two minor suggestions, which I hope, will be taken in good light. Thank you to United Laboratories for sharing their finances to the running community and to Coach Rio and his team for a great work and effort. Congratulations.

Friday, March 5, 2010

2nd BDM 102 - Carbo Loading And Race Orientation

(Click on image for enlarge view)

10:30am on 4Mar10 I received a phone call from Gen.Jovinal Narcise aka BALD RUNNER inviting me to attend on the same day at 6pm the CARBO LOADING PARTY and RACE ORIENTATION for the 2nd BDM-102. The race event is scheduled for Saturday 6Mar10. I am a firm believer of the advocacy of BR particularly for the BDM-102, however, due to my age and condition it is quite impossible for me to participate on an Ultra Marathon. The next best thing is to support the race and what better way than be part of the Carbo Loading and the Race Orientation itself for all the participants.

The invitation was for a start at 6pm and I was surprised that when I arrived at about 6:30pm the venue, Officer Clubhouse at Camp Aguinaldo at its PATIO function room was already full and jam packed. This was a good sign that all participants were on time and showed their support and interest for the pre-race event.

At exactly 7pm with most of the guests having completed already their dinner, BR started his RACE ORIENTATION. The facts, figures, information and details were meticulously been prepared by BR in a comprehensive manner that I find it has answered any doubts or questions in the minds of the participants.

There will be 145 runners to answer the starting gun on Saturday 6Mar10 on or before 2400 hrs. The cut off time has been set at 18 hours for the 102 kilometer distance. These men and women are a special breed of people in my vocabulary. I wish them well and hope that all will finish the race.

The Race Orientation was completed at about 8pm with all participants fully briefed on the race rules and regulations. I am sharing the following pictures taken during the event and please feel free to grab what interest you.

See you guys on March 11, 2009 during the Award Ceremony Night which will also be held at The Officers Clubhouse of Camp Aguinaldo Patio function room.

(Click on image for enlarge view)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Anatomy Of A Running Shoes

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Running shoes are the most important piece of equipment that a runners has. They help prevent injury and they may help the running gait be more efficient. There is no best running shoe. Every runner is different; every brand of running shoes is different; each model of running shoe is different - the challenge is to match the features of each runner to the features of a particular brand and model of running shoe.

Basically, the difference between a running shoe and those made for aerobics and basketball is LATERAL STABILITY. Running shoes are designed for forward motion and to absorb shock. Those other athletic shoes are designed to keep the ankle from rolling.

Having said the above, it is then best to understand and know the four sections of a running shoe that make it complete.

The UPPERS of the shoe may be made of leather or, for the lighter shoes, a synthetic which is lighter, washable and breathable (to reduce heat from the foot). Another component of the upper is the tongue of the shoe, which should be padded in order to cushion the top of the foot against lace pressure. At the back of the shoe, the ankle collar should also be padded to prevent rubbing and irritation of the Achilles tendon.

The OUTERSOLE of the shoe is the treaded layer which is glued to the bottom of the midsole. It resists wear, provides traction, and absorbs shock. This is probably the most important layer for the ""street fighter"" or road runner. The outer sole usually consists of blown rubber, hard carbon rubber, or a combination. The blown rubber is the lightest, but is not durable as pure carbon. The stud or waffle outersoles are excellent for running on soft surfaces such as grass or dirt; they improve traction and stability. On the flip side, the ripple sole is better designed for running on asphalt or concrete surfaces.

The HEEL COUNTER is the inflexible material surrounding the heel. It must be made of a material that is both rigid and durable to support and stabilize the heel. Just look at any old shoes, and you will see the wear and breakdown of the inner heel counter, which, over a period of time, tends to lose its stiffness. That's why an external counter is typically placed between the midsole and the base of the heel counter. You will also see a wedge that adds height to the heel and enhances the shoe's ability to absorb shock and reduce strain. The advantage to the added heel height is that it will shorten the Achilles and Gastrocnemius-soleus muscle, reducing the strain upon those important posterior running structures. The downside is that the higher heel height may feel less stable, causing reduced flexibility in the tendon structure.

The MIDSOLE is located between the outersole and the upper. Many regard it as the most important part of the running shoe. It provides cushioning and shock absorption while concomitantly controlling excessive foot motion (pronation/supination).

The primary materials used in midsoles are ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyurethane (PU). EVA is a foam that is light and has good to excellent cushioning. The problem is that this material breaks down quickly. In fact, it can break down just sitting in a box in your closet. Compression-molded EVA is one answer, making it harder and more durable. PU is also a foam, usually denser, heavier, and more durable than EVA. PU will stand up longer, but you'll give up some of that precious cushioning in return.

Most shoes today are cushioned with gel, foam, or other manufacturer-specific materials that are designed within the midsole. This type of cushioning will extend the life of the midsole while simultaneously adding increased stability and shock absorption. This typically is where you will see the greatest quality difference between the various companies' shoes and their models. And this is where the technology wars are being waged.

Remember, shock absorption is related to how compressible the midsole material can be made. The more the material compresses, the more movement within the shoe is seen. The less the compression of the material, the better the shoe's motion control, but there is a trade off in shock absorption. In this case, the shoe may feel harder, and not as soft as the first case scenario.
From the four sections of a running shoes, comes the various components, and each component has a specific name it's referred to. Knowing what each part of your running shoe is called will help you understand what features certain shoes offer.

The collar of the shoe refers to the inside back portion that will provide you with comfort around the ankle. If this part is rubbing too much against your foot, blisters may result.

Dual-Density Midsole
A dual-density midsole is a type of shoe that has a firmer wedge of foam placed on the inner side of the shoe, right around the middle of the foot. This is going to be a feature that those who suffer from excessive pronation should look into.
The eyelets of the shoe are the holes that the laces are going to run though. Different shoes may use slightly different lace-up strategies, so be sure you consider this when trying various shoes on.

Heel Counter
Located in the heel, the heel counter conforms to your particular heel shape to offer greater support. Because the landing weight goes directly to your heel, it makes it extremely important that the heel is well supported.

Heel Tab
The part of the shoe that surrounds where the Achilles tendon will sit is called the heel tab. This will help to ensure that the heel stays in place during your run, preventing any slipping.

Perhaps one of the most important features of a running shoe, the midsole is the area that sits right in between the upper portion of the shoe and the outsole. It is what is going to provide the most protection against impact and is often filled with supportive cushioning such as air or gel. The primary reason why you need to keep track of how many miles you've worn your shoes is because this midsole will wear out over time, decreasing the protection against impact it offers you.

The outsole of the shoe is the outer casing and includes the portion that makes contact with the ground. It is important to provide traction during a run and maintain the shape of the shoe.

Quarter Panel
The quarter panel of the shoe is the portion that runs along the outside of the foot. Breathable fabric sometimes makes a portion of this, allowing air circulation around the foot.

The sockliner of the shoe is an insert that sits below the foot to help the shoe feel better while you're running and prevent any movement within the shoe. Included in the sockliner is also the tongue, which is the large portion that covers the top of the foot, reducing excess pressure from the laces.

Lastly, the term 'upper' is used to refer to the part of the shoe that surrounds the foot. Included in the upper would be the tongue, the quarter panel, the heel features, and the eyelets.

As in any general field of knowledge, you need not master the different parts of a running shoes nor you need to be an authority to such, but, when you understand the anatomy of a running shoe, there is a better chance that you will be able to make an informed decision when it comes time to purchasing the perfect shoe for you.