Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tagaytay Highlands - 25.92 Km Of Trail Biking

Learning to BIKE is just as learning to WALK, once you have learned, it is known and remembered FOREVER. So the say……..

The last time I have ridden a bike was still sometime 1993 when then I and my son DAX got hooked to mountain biking. But, that was 17 long  years ago. So when I and the family opted to spend a weekend with some balikbayan relatives, we decided to take our balikbayan relatives to a 26km trail biking at Tagaytay Highlands. We usually take our visitors to the Taal Volcano, however, due to the present probable eruption of Taal Volcano, all tourist attraction in the area has been closed.

I booked for 6 riders inclusive of bikes and safety helmets and the package has compulsory “guide” who shall ride with the group guide to provide not only his local knowledge of the route but his expertise in mountain biking. Then there is also a “safety officer” (uniformed security guard) who will travel with the group on a motorcycle as a safety person and a sweeper for anyone who is lagging behind or wants to quit.

The following were with the group, me, my son DAX, my daughter-in-law PAMELA, our balikbayan relatives BERNIE CARPIO, his son BERNARD CARPIO and my nephew RYAN DE CASTRO.

We checked in at Tagaytay Highlands Sports Center at 8:30am on 26Jun10. We were introduced to EMIL our guide who immediately provided us with our bikes and safety helmets. We then were given 10 minutes to ride around and get used to the shifting gears. We were all gather after and a comprehensive briefing on procedures, safety, trail route was conducted. Before ending the briefing we were provided the opportunity to ask questions and clear matters in our mind. Lastly, we were checked if we have provided ourselves with the necessary hydration fluids. Having all done these, the guide EMIL asked that we offer a short prayer before proceeding with the bike trail.

At 9:09 we started our bike trail from the Tagaytay Highlands Sport Center using the cemented roads on a descent for about a kilometer distance. My mind was saying “what is it this simple?” Before we could get any further and be comfortable of the situation, EMIL stopped at a ravine and should as that we now have to start using the trail which I could not hardly identify if there was such a trail as what I can only see is the deep ravine and landslide effects that has eaten what was use to be a trail. A last minute check on the bike was conducted.

The trill and excitement started. Lifting and carrying you bikes over landslide areas, mud, water, rocks, more mud and more mud. I can not describe the trill and the route and have instead taken pictures and share the same to you.

At about 5km distance BERNIE CARPIO was already winded and I asked Bernie if he can still continue and opted instead if the security could bring him to BISTRO SARATOGA where we could ask a pick up for him. One down and five remaining.

At about 8km distance RYAN DE CASTRO was already “walking in muddy water” head down and dragging his bike. By then the security/sweeper motorcycle was back with us and we have to ask EMIL to bring as well RYAN to Bistro Saratoga. Two down and four remaining.

At about 11km EMIL told me that we will stop at a sari-sari store were we can purchase cold drinks. This was welcome notice and I gladly confirm our approval of the same. We were then back again on cemented barrio road. We took about 15 minutes rest and drinks before proceeding. What I thought then would be the easier part of the tour in as much that we were on cemented roads was actually the hardest part. We started to assent for a distance of 700 meters to a height of about 500 meters. It was a very stiff rise that there was no alternative by walk with your bike reaching to a point that you were just like crawling and dragging your bike. It almost burst my lungs open. Then it was again a downhill ride.

At about 15km we were at back at the Batino Gate of Tagaytay Highlands at the junction of Bistro Saratoga were we met up with the BERNIE and RYAN who earlier quit the ride who by then were already being picked up by our friends to be brought to our place. It was during this meeting that we also saw the mother of BERNARD who was concern of her son’s condition that she insisted that we leave behind BERNARD and proceed without him. How do you argue with a mother? Three down and three remaining.

From then on it was basically downhill ride on mostly cemented roads leading our path all the way to FLAMENGO RESORT which was in Talisay. At about 21km distance we reached the National Road at Talisay which required of us to ride on the main road and flow with the main traffic. At 25.92km distance mark we finally reached our destination, Flamengo Resort.

My daughter-in-law PAM finished with a lot to spare and DAX, my son more or less coasted to finish. But in the the end there were three to finish PAM, DAX and me. An hour after finishing we were rejoined by all of our guests and family at the Flamengo Resort for a great lunch and a thousand tales to tell and joke about.

It was a great experience to all of us and I think I shall do this adventure again in a very near future. 

I guess what they say was true….. you will never forget how to ride a bike once you have learned it is forever! 

Friday, June 25, 2010

The CamSur Marathon 2010 - Registered and Race Packet Issued

The CAMSUR MARATHON 2010 “Race To Rebuild The Nation” will be on September 26, 2010. With Coach Rio De la Cruz as Race Director and having partnered with the province of Camarines Sur under Governor LRay Villafuerte this event is something to look forward to. The former being a no nonsense race organizer who has a good track record of delivering good service to the running community and the latter being an energetic and action man provincial executive who has made CamSur Watersports Complex a world class venue and has put the place in the map of the world for sports enthusiasts and a tourist destination. With the reputation of both the gentlemen, this is a marriage made in heaven. Over and above the event is an IAAF recognized event making it a “world-class event”.

With the above reasons, I have calendared the date as well to be our family bonding time wherein I have entered myself and my daughter-in-law PAM for the 21km event and my wife HERMIE and sons DAX and DENNIS for the 5km event.

Yesterday with even more than 3 months before the event, I have received by delivery the race packet for all the family members. The packet consisted of the usual singlet (very good quality), race bib and the timing mechanism – the D-Tag.

I have in the past been blogging and wishing that this mechanism be used instead of the championship chip to be at par with practically all races abroad. Needless to say not only is the mechanism good but will bring down the COST. I am not sure if in the past there had been races that the D-Tag been used locally, but, I am very happy that Coach Rio has again stepped forward to improve the local race scenario.

I am posting herewith the D-Tag instructions flyer as issued by RUNRIO. The instruction is in English as well as Tagalog. Great! No excuse not to understand.

After coming back from my USA vacation, I saw Coach Rio at the Ultra during one of my daily runs and he provided to me where I could book my family at CamSur. For those of you who intend to join the CamSur Marathon 2010, the sports complex itself (CWC) are offering varied types of accommodations of one’s choice and budget needs. It was only after I have done my booking accommodations that I found out that the whole complex itself and all the facilities thereat at are owned by the provincial government (I have to remit 50% of my accommodation in advance payable to the provincial treasury of Camarines Sur). Please check here for accommodations

With three months more to go, I strongly suggest to the running community to join this event. See you at CamSur on September 26, 2010.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What Is Age Grading in Running?

Male by nature are of different strength than those of female. On the same law of nature, all men or women lose strength and slow down with AGE. While we see our local or even world class elite runners post their podium finishes, it makes us wonder if there would be a system that can be used to compare our own individual performance with those of different age and/or different sex for a specific distance.

Yes there is such a method and this was developed in 1989 by the WORLD ASSOCIATION of VETERAN ATHLETES or WAVA.

To understand completely the method, I wish to share a link posted by David Siconolfi of CompuScore Computer Services on his article “What is Age Grading?”

Having been enlightened by the above article, we can now use Age Grading Calculators which can be found in the internet. I would however wish to share the Age Grading Calculator posted by Runners World which is that of HOWARD GRUBB based on the 2006 Age Grading Tables developed by World Masters Athletics (WMA). Try the using the AGE GRADING CALCULATOR

Should you wish to find out how your last performance was compared to World Record in percentage output be or should you wish to find out your adjusted finish time for your age, try playing with the calculator. You will be surprise of the results! Locally even MILO Marathon for this year 2010 will be adapting AGE QUALIFYING TIMES to make the playing field even.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

San Diego Rock & Roll Half Marathon 2010

San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon and Half Marathon was the main highlight for my 2010 vacation. I originally registered for the full marathon, however, when April came I was advised by my doctors to go on easy on my running considering I already have three stents in my heart and that I am not getting any younger. After much consideration, I opted to prolong my remaining running life and concentrate from hereon half marathon distances the most.

On 04Jun10 at 3pm the family left Moreno Valley for San Diego which is only about an hour and a half drive. It was decided after check-in the hotel to devote the remainder of the day in shopping and schedule the race packet collection the following day.

On 05Jun10 at 11am we left for San Diego International Convention Center where the race packet collection was designated by the race organizers. Arriving at the venue, it was like as easy as ABC and the procedure was so organize which again makes me envious of how they could do such orderliness which unfortunately we can not do in our local races. The expo exhibit was well participated by so many product makers in the running industry and any avid running enthusiast will have a field day just to go through and window shop on each booth of the exhibitors.

On race day 06Jun10, I was already awake at 4:00am and I have to ask my son-in-law ALEX to drive me to the starting point which was at 6th Street and Palm at Balboa Park. The place was only about a couple of miles from our hotel. The event was a point to point meaning the starting line will be different from the finishing line. There were about 50 corral assignments for different runners and mistakenly I was assigned to corral number 1 which is for the elite runners as my projected half marathon time was mistaken for a full marathon time. On this occasion, I could at least brag that I started with the elite runners.

At exactly 6:15am the starting gun was sounded and off goes more than 20,000 runners for both full and half marathon. For the 1st 8km the route was shared by both categories (Full and Half) thenafter both separated only to rejoin on same route at the 18km for the half and at the 39km for the full marathon. The route was great and the weather was equally warm and cooperative. The finish line was at the SEA WORLD which was very isolated and parking was restricted to all, but, a shuttle service and tramp/train was provided by the organizers for family members, others and participants to and from their place of parking of city proper itself.

How did I perform in my event? Well, these two photos will describe more or less the event for me in total.

After crossing the finish line there were more than ample freebees and recovery food and drinks available to the choosing of the runners.

The event culminates my running adventures for my 2010 USA vacation and I should be back to reality (Manila) on 13Jun10. I wish to take this opportunity to thank my son-in-law ALEX CORONEL for being patient to drive me during my vacation and particularly during my running adventures. Of course, to my daughter DAWN as well, you made me a proud father.

I do also thank Marvin Ruiz for our hotel accommodation in Palm Spring, Bernie and Roselyn Carpio and a happy graduation to their children Bernard and Lauren, Art and Lucy Laforteza of Long Beach, Tony and Malou Lareza of San Jose and their daughter Loubelle and Eric Bourdon, Louann/ Bryan Pilien, Noel and Carmina Torres of San Francisco, Winnie Monasterio and her daughters Sherry, Michelle and Bloom of Brea, Dave Snyder of Inland Empire Racewalkers of Riverside, the friends and office mates of Alex and Dawn. To all you guys thank you for taking time in receiving me and my family.

Thank you all.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

USATF Silver Medal - Awarded A Year After

We arrived Moreno Valley from Pismo Beach on 03Jun10 at about 6pm. Nothing much was expected during the day except unpack and pack for the scheduled departure for San Diego the following day.

To my great surprise I received a phone call from DAVE SNYDER, the Race Director for the INLAND EMPIRE RACEWALKERS who were the host club for the 2009 USATF 15k Race Walk Masters Regional Championship held at Riverside California last May 17, 2009. Complete details of participation then can be viewed in my last year's blog "2009 USATF 15k Race Walk Regional Champioship - A Personal Validation and Confirmation".

During the event then, I finished 2nd place, the event was a sanctioned event of UNITED STATES of AMERICA TRACK & FIELD (USATF) as such I should have received the silver medal for my age category then, but, the ruling then was that I was a non-US citizen as such my entry was as a guest category and I was not eligible for the USATF Medal. However, Dave Snyder informed me that the Federation has reviewed and corrected their ruling that “a foreign citizen if he finishes on a medal standing is eligible for the medal category he finished, however, the US citizen that finished next to him will also be entitled to the same medal category that the foreign citizen got”.

Dave Snyder wanted to present the USATF SILVER MEDAL for 2009 USATF 15k Race Walk Regional Championship Age Category 55-59 year old to me!

On Jun 4th at 10am Dave Snyder came personally to my daughter’s house at Moreno Valley to present to me the medal. It was an unexpected award. I now possess a United States of America Track  Field SILVER MEDAL (it is big and heavy).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pismo Beach - Something To Remember

On 02Jun10 we left San Jose and was supposed to head home at Moreno Valley, however, it was decided by the family to deviate and spend a night at Pismo Beach.

This decision later on I will appreciate for the duration of the vacation. We arrived at the Pismo Beach Lighthouse Hotel at about 2:30pm and this majestic view welcomed us from the balcony of our room-

What a scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and miles and miles of beach coast to run. This time, I had to excuse myself from whatever the family has planned to do in the afternoon and told them that I need to run at the beach front that afternoon as we will be only staying overnight and that early morning run will be too cold and the temperature then was at 20C and very inviting.

At about 4:11pm I was on my Pismo Beach Run. I told myself to just go as far as I can and head back. The sound of the water and the view along the coast run was more than enough to let me forget the time. Little did I know I was already 5.5km from where I started and there was still endless beach coast in front of me. It was then that I decided to head back to the hotel. As always, words will not be enough to do justice to the beauty of the place. Instead, I wish to share herewith pictures that I have taken during my beach run.

The Pismo Beach Run was also my final preparation for the San Diego Half Marathon which I was to participate on 06Jun10.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Embarcadero Run In San Francisco

It has been more than a week since my last blog posting and so many things had happen since then. The schedule had been so hectic that I had little time even for myself. However, it is now again time to write on the thing that had transpired since my crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The day after my crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge or June 1st 2010 to be exact was also the same day that we were to checkout from our hotel and depart San Francisco and head for San Jose to meet up with friends. Meantime, I have to take the opportunity for another run about in San Francisco area and what better place to do that than do the EMBARCADERO RUN.

As with the previous day, I started my run at ARGONAUT HOTEL which was conveniently located at Jefferson Street and just opposite the FISHERMAN’S WHARF going to Embarcadero street and all the way to ATT PARK which is the home of the San Francisco Giants passing along the way under the BAY BRIDGE and then returning back to the hotel. The distance was a good 10.53km and took me on a leisurely race walk mode in 01h16m46s on a very cold 11C morning.

Next stop will be Pismo Beach in central California.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Crossing The Golden Gate Bridge

One of the highlights of my US vacation this year is my dream to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. It was therefore a loving request of mine to my daughter DAWN to bring me to San Francisco for the Memorial weekend,

On 30May10, the family drove from Moreno Valley all the way to San Francisco using the scenic Interstate 1 for a leisurely drive of 9 hours to cover about 500 miles. We arrived at ARGONAUT HOTEL at about 7pm tired but excited. I personally selected our hotel, as it is very conveniently located at Jefferson Street along the FISHERMAN’S WHARF where I intend to start my run to Golden Gate Bridge.

After a very limited sleep, I was all excited to wake up at 4:00am on 31May10 and did all my usual morning rituals and make my last minute plans. The temperature outside was a moderate 13C and was a welcome sign for a good running weather condition. I was debating with myself if I will bring my usual OLYMPUS TOUCH 8000 but after much thinking I decided to use instead my Canon EOS 7D, a very bulky and heavy camera. I no alternative but to sacrifice the added weight to carry while running and in exchange for quality pictures. Lastly,I have to go through my notes and familiarize myself of the streets and turns to take of the selected route which was to take me all the way to destination.

At 5:47am I started my run. After just 2 kilometers I was beginning to experience the difficulty and inconvenience of the DSLR camera strapped in my back. It was also an alien feeling to stop every now and then to take pictures. It was then that I told myself to just enjoy the run and the scenery and take good photos during the run and forget about the time. The main goal was cross the bridge and enjoy the scenery and document the run in film.

With street notes and an improvised map, I successfully found myself at the entry gate for pedestrians who wish to cross the bridge. The feeling was great and I took the time to thank God of his blessings to be able to do this run. The scenery was clear of fog picture perfect in deed. When I reached the middle of the bridge I called by son-in-law ALEX and woke him up from the hotel just to tell him I was at the GOLDEN DATE BRIDGE. Afterwards, I called my son DAX who was in Manila. Upon reaching the opposite side of the bridge, I then decide to concentrate in running and race walking back to the hotel having already done most of my picture taking on the outbound route.

At about 9:10am I was back at Argonaut Hotel for a distance run of 18.01km which took me 02h38m49s and burning 1146Kcal.

It was a dream come true for me and I wish to thank my daughter DAWN for being generous and willing to his old mans wishes. I have crossed the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE.

I herewith provide linkage to pictures taken during the run. (I now do not regret the difficulty to run with DSLR camera in you back which has given me great pictures.

Linkage to Pictures