Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Come Walk The Trail With Me

This is the entrance to the trail we love to run on our Sunday LSD sessions. I'd rather run it with you my friend but because of my injury you'll have to walk this trail with me.

This is the first wooden bridge we're crossing, I like the sound of my feet pounding on that wooden floor during our runs.

To the right of the path is a smaller pond, farther away
is a bigger one called Too Good Pond(how it got it's name, I have no idea)

I like going on the right instead of the left only because it is more traveled, we get to see some runners from our run club coming back the opposite way from their long run.

I wish we brought some fishing gear and see if we could catch some for lunch, he he.

Another two way pathway, let's take the left.

This wooden bridge is almost covered by trees, look at the shade.

It's kind of getting hot, you could see the ground getting dry from the heat of the sun.

This is just a never ending, winding and long trail, that is much nicer to run than walk, but we have no choice today. I know my injury will be fully healed sometime soon, so we'd hit this trail with a vengeance.

It's good I brought a camera with us so we could take some pictures of the flora and fauna here. Maybe we could play this game of giving a name to some wild plants and flowers we discover . I name this yellow flowers peoplepowerville.
Sampagita like white wild flowers
Whew, it's getting hotter.

The shadow of the injured runner turned solitary walker

The path we won't be taking, looks like not too many take this route.

No brave soul here other than us because of the hot , humid and
sunny day.

Wild but gorgeous.

Didn't expect to find a wild rose here, but here it is in its magnificent glory, thorns and all.
God is the genius of all creation, the source of all things beautiful, pure and free.

The town of Markham takes care of this trail, and it does an awesome job of making it clean, pristine.

This snail was trying to migrate to the other side, I'd like to tell the creeper it's the same vegetation on the other side, you're just wasting your time, and it's getting hot, you might not make it. So like many Pinoys who try their luck out in other countries.

Leaves are so ordinary until you pay attention and see the beauty in them.
Isn't it so peacefull listening to the quiet sound of a flowing stream.
The water gives life to every creature close to it, plants and animals.
It's getting late, have to go back, I got to go to work and earn a living too.
But, before ending our walk, can't pass this up, this is just perfect, bud, flower or fruit?

And, this unique wild plant, is beautiful in its own right.

Not to be outdone, these blue wild flowers show off their beauty in the bright sun. Would like to walk some more but have to earn my living and go to work. Maybe next time we'll be able to cover more mileage and see more. I enjoyed your company, even though I have to dig into my 7th sense (my imaginative sense). I prefer the real thing, running side by side with you and in person ,listening and conversing rather than talking to myself.
Happy and safe running to everyone!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Injured Again, It Sucks!

Today is the start of our 6th week of the 18 week training program of my marathon clinic. I woke up early to join my training run partners, Nette and Sandra for a 16k LSD run at 7:00 am.

In our last Sunday's run, I stopped running after only 3 ks due to pain in my left calf muscle. I checked on the net what this injury was all about and found out that it was a calf muscle strain, an injury that can take from a week to 4 weeks to heal depending on the severity of the injury. I then applied RICE (rest,icing, compression, elevation), a treatment method I read on the internet for a week, which I think worked. I was still limping Monday and Tuesday but by Wednesday I was walking good, by Thursday and Friday brisk walked (with no pain at all) and yesterday the slow run/walk routine for around 30 minutes, again with no pain.

I got to our meeting place at around 6:55 am excited and looking forward to getting some much needed mileage. Sandra and Nette arrived almost at the same time around 7:00. I noticed that we were all wearing bright colored shirts, Sandra in red singlet, Nette in yellow green and myself in red, all set and attired for the day's hot temperature. Everybody was wearing a hydration belt with enough water/gatorade for the long run. I myself had 2 packets of gels in my pouch just in case.

We decided to hit the trails instead of the roads as they were both concerned about my leg. They said it would be better for my leg to run on softer surface, which was well and good for me. We set out on our way around 5 after 7, the day was warm, around 20 degrees Celsius, cloudy, no wind, just a perfect day to do a long run.

We brisk walked to the entrance of the trail for maybe 100 meters, and after synchronizing our Garmins, we went off on a slow run towards and into this beautiful trail. This trail has lots of trees, vegetation, wild flowering plants, wooden bridges, ponds, birds (I even saw one unique small bird colored orange, the first time I ever saw one, have to find out what bird it is). I always tell myself to bring a camera and take pictures but I always forget. I know that I should before the summer season is over. I have to take pictures of this trail next time and share them to everybody who loves to run in trails before it gets cold again and the beauty of the place disappears for some months during the colder season.

Oh, and I also observed a few little slimy snails creeping on the dry sandy/pebbly pathway from some wet vegetation on one side trying to cross to the other side. A thought entered my mind, these are very like many of my Pinoy countrymates who try to migrate to other countries to look for greener pastures when sometimes our country could offer the same or better oppurtunities for them.

Like all other long runs with my two lady runner friends, I was having an enjoyable time just talking about running and life in general in this lazy beatiful morning, and I felt great with no pain the first kilometer. Nette even asked me how I was doing and I said I felt fine, the leg was holding well.

At exactly 1.57 ks into our run, I just suddenly felt another shooting pain in the same area of my left calf muscle and I had to stop and tell the girls. I asked them to go on with their run while I stopped, massaged and stretched the left calf muscle. I reinjured it again and it sucks! I walked back to my car and drove home feeling low and dejected.

Right now, I am icing the left leg again and contemplating on what to do next. It seems that whenever I am making progress in my running, feeling stronger, more confident, aiming for longer distances, and knowing that my best is just around the corner, something like this happens. I am so frustrated I do not know what to do.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From 5K Runners To Ultramarathoners

I was browsing on the internet my past race results when I came across one of my more memorable runs, a 5k race, the Whitby 5000 of July 2007. It was the graduation run for the Markham Runningroom Learn to Run and 5k clinics. I was from the 5k clinic, while my runner friends Francois, Sylvia, Sonia, Greg and Jason were from the Learn to Run. Another friend, Eileen was from the 5k Women Only clinic. I was quite surprised to see our individual finishing times with Francois, Sonia and Sylvia finishing in 28 minutes and change, while most of us followed within a minute or two behind. It was particularly amusing to know that Greg beat me by only 25 seconds and I crossed the finish line 45 seconds faster than Eileen.

After running this race, we all then moved up to the 10k clinic where we were very fortunate to have one of the best running clinic instructors in the Markham Runningroom in the person of Isaac, who in his early 60s had completed more than 15 marathons and just recently an ultramarathon. It was in this clinic that I met Nav, another new runner and Nette, my training run buddy. For around 5 months of sun, heat, rain, snow, hale, cold most of us ran together in Isaac's clinic, my clinic mates showing improvement in their speed and endurance as the days went by while, I struggled to keep up, always trying to belong and be as fast and strong.

Fast forward to today, Francois and Nav both have ran races as long as half marathons but are more into triathlons (they've completed a few). Sylvia, Sonia, and Jason have likewise done as far as half marathons. Nette and I did one 30 miler in addition to shorter races and are both running our first marathon in September.

If I mentioned earlier that my friends Eileen, Greg and I were so close in our Whitby 5000 finishing times, look at where they are now. On Saturday, June 20, 2009 Eileen and Greg finished their first ultramarathon at the Niagara 50k Ultramarathon Race together with our mentor, friend and former 10k clinic teacher, Isaac. Both of them were also the only ones from our batch of 2007 to have completed full marathons. So, from 5k runners to ultramarathoners.

I am happy for Eileen and Greg for this great achievement. I am extremely proud of them too, like all of us in our run club. At the same time I am a little envious :).

We're into the 5th week of our marathon training program but I am nursing a minor (I hope it's nothing serious) calf muscle strain. Have been icing and babying it for the last few days. I am gonna give the leg a try tomorrow evening on an 8k group tempo run. The total mileage we're supposed to do this week is 46k, but with this injury, have no choice but to reduce the mileage and slow down. What else can I do?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Underwear 10k Run, Anyone?

As much as I am hooked to running, I have to confess that I have another addiction, reading running blogs. The few precious hours I have before or after work or the days I'm off work and not running, I would rather be facing a computer and reading about the experiences, training, races, inner feelings of other runner bloggers. It gives me a special feeling of being part of a tight group of people, like a fraternity that breaths the same, feels the same and aspires for the same hopes and dreams whether it be a PR, running a dream race, getting faster times, running longer, trying trails or road running, dealing with a running injury, cross training, diet and nutrition and just about anything to do with fitness and the sport.

My complete enjoyment of this new passion of mine (reading running blogs) is somehow hampered by my being technically challenged in using the computer. Like for example just the simple act of giving a comment to some blogs,say the Baldrunner or Takboph., can't even do it. It won't allow me to. So, with my kids and wife tired of teaching me forever how to use the computer, I suffer alone and just be contented with reading some blogs that I really follow and not be able to comment on their posts.

This brings me to the subject of Jinoe's (of Takboph.) last post about the increasing number of weekend races in the Philippines and the question that he posed as to how many races a month does one run. I used to run a lot after I did my first race in 2007. Then, the injuries (none of them serious enough for me to stop running for a long stretch of time) followed, from knee,other joints, muscle pain to pain on my feet, IT band. Running too many races sometimes results in injuries because one tries to run the fastest he could and with much more intensity, specially when one is trying for a PR or even trying to win a race. Now, that I am a little wiser, I try to limit my races to one a month and only as part of my training for my main goal race for the year. And, it's only helped because now I remain injury free and could concentrate more on my marathon training.

This year in September, I am signed up to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront marathon. I just did a 30k race, the Around the Bay in Hamilton in March, one 5k race, the Legacy 5k in April and the Sporting Life 10k in May. I also signed up for the Acura Toronto 10 Miler, July 19, to be run in the Old Toronto Distillery area and along the lake (quite scenic and historical, heritage site old buildings and a nice view of the areas along Lake Ontario) and another 30k race , August 22, A Midsummer's Night Run also in Toronto which is one of a few races run in the evening in Ontario. By running these two races, I would be able to determine how well I am doing with my marathon training, and maybe help me make adjustments as to the ideal pace time I should adopt come the big day, the marathon.

Talking about motivation, I overheard one of the pillars of our running club, Jack , a fast 69 year old runner who is a Boston marathon veteran, while in a group run the Sunday before last, mention jokingly to another runner about a unique 10k race coming up in Toronto. I thought he said, for the race, he would borrow some "underwear" from his wife Alice (also a Boston finisher). :) What? My curiousity awakened, but just kept quiet. Got to check this out.

Turns out that there is a race called the North York General Hospital Underwear 5k walk and 10k Run scheduled on August 29,2009 on the streets of Toronto where participants (for fun) are encouraged to wear underwear attire ( was told by my runner friends who participated last year that runners may opt to wear the underwear on top of shorts and singlets, wheww , I thought it is strictly underwear only) and a lot of the more adventurous and I may say liberal (or liberated) runners did indeed wore their underwear only in last year's race. Just for fun, let me ask you this, would you or would you not participate in a race with your friends where the running attire required is for you to wear underwear only? If yes, why and if it's a no why not?

By the way, the money raised in this event goes to a very worthy cause, to fight cancers below the waist (like prostate, colorectal, cervical, ovarian, kidney, bladder, testicular and uterine).

And not to forget, please, please, I know that it's summer here in North America and it's always hot in the Philippines, don't get the idea that because we have this unique and fun one of a kind race here in our part of the world, that you could do your training run in this comfortable but skimpy running attire. I do not want anybody having a PR from being chased by the police. :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

The New Pride And Joy Of The Filipino Running Community

I just finished reading the initial race report of California based Pinoy ultramarathon runner Rick Gaston on the recently concluded San Diego 100 Mile (almost 4 full marathons) Endurance Run, one of the most difficult ultramarathon races in the world held at the Cuyamaca Mountains, San Diego, California, 12,300 ft. elevation gain, June 06-07. It gave me goosebumps just to know that he placed 6th with a time of 20:00:25 in this race where close to half the participants fail to cross the finish line as last year's race results show. I am still waiting with anticipation for this year's race results and Rick's complete race report and pictures.

There is no doubt in my mind now that Rick Gaston with this crowning achievement is arguably the new pride and joy of the Pinoy long distance running community. Anybody disagree? And he will only get better and better as his race times show. What's admirable about Rick is not only his achievements in long distance running, but also his generosity in helping new people just entering the sport by giving them sound advise and imparting to them practical knowledge he's learned from his long years of running experience on top of doing valuable assistance to long distance races either as volunteer, pacer or crew. Cheers to Rick!!

Now let's all go back to our own "little" training run programs. I'm into my 3rd week of my marathon clinic training program. Tonight is 6k easy, Wednesday 10k tempo, Thursday 6k easy, Saturday 6k easy and Sunday 13k "long distance" ( I hope Rick doesn't read this, ha ha ha, call 13 k long distance?) :)