Sunday, January 30, 2011

Xterra Philippines - Pang Rave Run!

The last time I joined a mountain trail run was last June 13, 2009 which was the 3rd ALL TERRA KING OF THE MOUNTAIN which done at Timberland Heights San Mateo Rizal. When I was scanning for running events for January 2011 what got my attention immediately was the flyer of XTERRA Philippines “PANG RAVE RUN” which was offering a 21k and 10k trail run at the Midlands Compound of Tagaytay Highlands.

No double thoughts and I had myself, son DAX and daughter-in-law PAM registered for the 10k trail event. Another plus factor in entering the event was that the venue was within our weekend residence.

I have not done any trail practices nor have I done even just hill runs at that as most of my daily run is just at BGC which is a fairly flat terrain. For these reasons I had my apprehensions and doubts, but as they say the more you have doubts the more anticipated and exciting is run expectation.

At 6:00am we arrived at the venue and was surprised that a good volume of cars were already parked from Bistro Saratoga all the way to Batino Gate of the compound. The 21k runners were already on the trail as they were flagged off at 5:30am. Majority of runners on trail runs are from the different crowd as that of the crowd from road races. However, It was great to see BARDS the “BananaRunning” whose blog postings I regularly read. Lately I have not seen her on road race events as often as in the past where she was visible always. Coach Rio was as well at the races and did the 10k category. What surprised me most was to see Kenyan runners on trail run event. Maybe they are just all over the place and practically making use of the event as an add-on training with incentives as there is no doubt that they would land the top positions for each category.

At 6:30am the 10k trail run was flagged off, it is not as many as on road races but the number is quite substantial and was even more than my previous mountain trail run experience. I do not know how best to describe the event except with the name “PANG RAVE RUN” the name used by XTERRA definitely sums the whole experience to the letter. It was tough! Really touch with steep climbs! Tougher than the Timberland route which was my last experience. It was well organized and the crowd was very different. As in any trail run particularly before reaching mountain peak, you wish to quit but how could you as you still need to go back to the starting point so there is no choice but continue. With all the twist and turn my Garmin 310XT recorded a total distance of 10.54k and limped to finish the event in 01h39m09s.

My muscles still ache as I write this blog. I have a very different fulfillment within me from the experience. But, I do not think I will do it next week or month but allow healing from my aching muscles I WILL DO (Mountain) TRAIL RUN AGAIN. It was my PANG RAVE RUN!

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Dinagyang Run - Sen. Efrain Trenas Boulevard at Boardwalk Iloilo

I have long registered and set my mind in running the Greentennial Run (this race event I think has the longest registration period locally) scheduled for 23Jan11. However, with a sudden twist in my work calendar requiring my presence in Iloilo on 24Jan11, I took the opportunity to have my family join me for a weekend in Iloilo City and witness the Dinagyang Festival from 22-23rd January.

While the main purpose of the trip was the business meeting which was still on a Monday and the side events is that of the Dinagyan Festival, incorporating my daily workout run in the schedule was a must. When packing for the trip, part of the essential items for packing were my running gears.

This is not my first trip to Iloilo for almost every month I am required to attend to a board meeting in one of the universities in the city. As in the past, I normally take my workout at the Sports Center were all you need is P10.00 usage fee and you can use the oval for your workout which is quite popular with the locals. However, with the Dinagyan Festival on Sunday the oval was closed as it was to be used by ABS-CBN for their ASAP live coverage. There was no alternative but use the streets which in my past experience was not a exciting and inviting due to pollution and safety issues.  

Hoping to find an alternative venue, the SENATOR EFRAIN TRENAS BOULEVARD at the BOARDWALK was suggested to me. As we were staying at Hotel Del Rio the place was just across a river or about a 0.7 kilometer from the hotel. I left the hotel at 5:15am and after about 5 minutes was already at the venue. God the place was an idea venue to do your run/jog/walk or whatever mobile exercise you want to do. End to end is 1.1kilometer stretch or a loop of 1.2kilometers. It is just like a boardwalk closed to vehicular traffic and mainly used for run/walking exercise. It is clean free of litters and free of pollution with fresh air conducive to a healthy run. I made four lops which is already a good 8.8kilometer and with the travel to/from the hotel, the actual run totaled 10.2kilometers which I covered in 01h14m15s.

To any visitors in Iloilo City who wish to find a great place to run, I highly recommend the area as it is clean, well lighted, secured and with only fresh air to breath. To the local city officials my congratulations to you for giving your local citizens a great place for physical exercise.
Dinagyang Festival is another story, but in a nutshell it can be summed up as GREAT and WONDERFUL. Congratulations to Tribu PAN-AY who won the grand prize, they were just amazing. Now I have seen SINULOG and DINAGYANG both very distinct from one another. Which one is better? I will leave it hanging in the air to keep my Cebuano and Ilonggo readers at bay.

Meantime, anytime you are in Iloilo try running at the Senator Efrain Trenas Boulevard at the Boardwalk. You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The PSE Bull Run 2011 - Lost In Translation

After a long holiday season the start for the running events for the year 2011 begun today 09Jan11. Unlike in previous years that only a single run event has the bragging rights, this year three great events opened the running season. For the Visayas and Mindanao region, the CEBU MARATHON, which due to calendar conformity advanced the event so as it coincide with the SINULOG FESTIVAL. For the Luzon area you have the Subic International Marathon. For the Metro Manila we have the usual  BULL RUN of the Philippine Stock Exchange to signal the start for the trading/business season for 2011. That's only for the first days of the running season!

Last year I participated in both the CEBU MARATHON and SUBIC INTERNATIONAL MARATHON, however, as I have from previous years opened my running year with the BULL RUN, I decided to stay at home and do the BULL RUN 2011 “Takbo Para Sa Ekonomiya”.

Allow me to comment on the race event for this year and "TRANSLATE" the same with the present economic condition in the country;

-       Compared with previous years, this year’s “Takbo Para Sa Economiya” drew more participants. Translated to economy – business is more bullish on all sectors with more confidence in the present administration.

-       The running event started on time with very modest logistical hardwares in the starting/finsh line. Translated to economy – Present administration and other NGOCC have on track economic program to move the country onwards making use of the minimal or what financial capability the government has.

-       Water station although sufficient and well positioned was limited to only one tent per station instead of long watertable to avoid congestion to runners who want to hydrate themselves. Translated to economy – while there is sufficient programs and finance/capitalization to jump start the economy they are not well distributed so as to be readily available to (SME) Small and Medium Enterprises thus causing queue or congestion for financial loan packages.

-    Although directional signs were available on the race route there was no distance markers along the route. Translated to economy – As with the present economy there is no distance markers or fix definite plans laid out by the administration for the onward movement of the economy leaving institution guessing their actual position in their field of business.

-    The race route was great with the 16k and 10k going up until Buendia and Reposo, but, vehicules particularly in Buendia and Makati avenue were very impatient and feel inconvenienced that they keep on blaring their horns causing great noise and much irritation to runners. Translated to economy – While government and other institutions are willing to provide new direction for economic improvement of the country, there are much distraction coming from  opposition politicians, leftwing sector, communist and rebels that make noise to distract the good intentions of the government.

-       There were participants in the race due to their impatience and needs to overtake others used the pedestrian walkways instead of the road thus cutting distance from actual distance measured. Translated to economy – we see a number of businesses that in their desire to obtain immediate ROI and/or increase their earning are cutting/short changing their customers/clients instead of delivering quality services/products.

-       There were too many late starters during the race for each race category some maybe have overslept or were just late because of their nature. Translated in economy -  we do also have this same scenario in the business community with corporations and/or individuals just are late in starting.

-       The race made use of the RFID which is laudable considering the minimal entry fee of P450 however, there were not enough check points along the route to verify compliance. It was more on start and finish line only. Translated to economy – the government and its control agencies have very minimal check and control mechanism to ensure compliance to government regulatory policies.

As I write and find for similarities in his year’s BULL RUN (or for any running event) I tend to believe more that RUNNING as a sport is very identical to the economic conditions in our country.

I only pray that as the race was ‘bullish” in its outlook the same fever will usher a great running event for the year! Translated to economy – its about time we move forward with an economic growth that would be on the higher bracket of the countries in ASEAN if not in the whole of ASIA.

Hopefully there were none “lost in translation”.

Let’s run for our health and fitness. Let’s have the Philippines run for the economic improvement!

I completed my first race for the year in the 10k event in 01hour 11minute 02 seconds.