Monday, May 31, 2010

Run for Vaughan 10K on a Manila Like Hot Sunday

I just ran the Vaughan 10K yesterday, the hottest day of the week (reminded me of the same hot weather we have in Manila). The race was to raise funds for Vaughan's future hospital. It's admirable how a small group of simple ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things and make life better for the whole community.The start area was at the Islamic Mosque in Jane Street, Vaughan and the organizers and volunteers appear to come from the very small Moslem community in this town of just over 200,000 people.

The beautiful structure from another angle.

The race started at 8:30 am with the temperature already around 23 degrees Celsius. We, numbering a few hundred, started running along the streets of residential areas close to the mosque. Water stations were strategically located almost every 1 and a half k, and young volunteers enthusiastically provided the drinks, some of them I noticed wearing bib numbers on their shirts for their 3k run at 10:00 am. It was a gorgeous day other than the heat, and I found myself early on having some breathing difficulty. (I always find an excuse finishing slow in a race, he he)

As always, I ended up at the back of the pack, and again took out my camera to take a picture of the faster runners on the right, one of them even pushing his child on a baby stroller.

The race route covered parts that are mostly huge farmlands north of the mosque, we had to turn around a loop 5k into the race and retrace the exact same route. At around 3 and a half k, had to take a picture of the runner leading the race who was running all alone, the 2nd placer about 400 meters behind. His form and physique reminded me of myself thirty years ago, that was when I was 60 pounds lighter , he he.

At the 5k turnaround still smiling and having a fun time, although suffering from the heat of the sun and the absence of any wind or cool breeze, so very like the warm weather in my homeland, the Philippines which I miss so much.

A barbecue at the end of the race , no wonder I can't get rid of the extra pounds despite my running.

With run club friend Ben who also ran the race. Other than my slow finishing time which is always a given, another blessed day of sunshine, beautiful scenery, smiling people, sweaty runners huffing and puffing all around me , picture taking, food, my kind of day.
My next race is the Alfie Shrubb 8k Classic on June 06, 2010 at Bowmanville, Ontario.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mississauga Half Marathon - My Sunday Long Run

Friday, May 14, I tried to change my race to 10k instead of a half due to my problematic left knee . Was told the 1ok was closed, so early Sunday morning, I was here (not even sure of completing the race) at the start line with thousands of other runners doing the half and the full marathon waiting anxiously, stretching, warming up before the start.

I ended up waiting just in front of the Runningroom store in Mississauga.

I was so happy to meet run club friends Grace and Julia who were both running the full marathon waiting in the same spot.

With Julia, my 5k clinic coach in 2007, who basically taught me how to run.

Let the celebration of life, good health, friendship, race begin!

This sight makes me love running more and more. Although only a small percentage of the adult population are runners, during a race, we (runners)own the roads.

Running events bring out the best in people of the community. These young people spent their Sunday helping runners by volunteering in the water stations. There was a hydration station at 2 kilometer intervals in this race and I noticed gels being handed out at the last few ks of the race.

I tried to keep my pace around 7 minutes per k at the first few kilometers and my heart rate at about 80% of my maximum heart rate. The day was just so beautiful though, the temperature perfect at around 14 Celsius and the surroundings so clean and scenic that my supposed race became more of a recreational slow sightseeing run. The funny thing was, I could have run faster if i wanted to because the knee never bothered me.

With 15ks to go, and with no pressure to finish fast, I still looked fresh and happy here.

Our heroes, the young volunteers who unselfishly give their time and energy for free to make life easier for runners and make this race a complete success. Hurray to all volunteers!

In the middle of the race I decided to stick with the 2:45 race bunny to make sure I beat the 3 hour barrier. I tried to run just slightly ahead of the group just to make sure I was always close and i was successfull until the last kilometer and a half, when I had to take walk breaks because of recurring cramps on my right leg muscle.

I had a good time running with this group, the pacer was encouraging, cheerful, consistent pace wise, and would tell people to slow down when the pace was getting too fast. The group finished a couple of minutes ahead of me.

I finished the race smiling, upright, raising both hands in the air (in thanksgiving and praise of God) in 2:45 and change beating more than 500 other runners. Don't ask me how many runners did the half marathon, he he.
My next race is the Vaughn 10k on May 30, 2010.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

2010 Sporting Life 10k in Pictures - a Yellow Story

Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and everything you do, yeah they were all yellow - Coldplay must have foreseen this yellow revolution.

Today, I just ran the Toronto Sporting Life 10K, the biggest race in Ontario, with close to 12 thousand other runners. In the background is the Toronto skyline with the famous CN Tower, once the tallest standing structure in the world.

A day before the race, I was just relaxing at home, resting my feet in preparation for tomorrow's race, when Yuki tapped me on the leg. She wanted a walk.

Put on my sandals and off we went out in this gorgeous, warm afternoon.

Yuki seemed to get attracted/distracted by what is happening in our neighborhood, just like what's happening in the home country.

Yuki's seemed to enjoy the sprouting yellow wild flowers everywhere. A yellow revolution in the offing.

Passed by my neighbor's yellow tulips and couldn't help snapping a picture.

I've been obsessed with yellow for a long time now, since the passing of our beloved President and hero, Cory. I think yellow will be good for the home country, a necessary and welcome change. The pink flower represents my favorite senatorial candidate, who in my opinion, not only is the hardest working member of the Senate, but also an accomplished runner, triathlete, mother and advocate of the rights of women and underprivileged.

Fresh, pure, untainted, honest, a gift from God - that is who our next leader should be.

How can I not think yellow, when these flowers are sprouting all over our place.

It's not a bad idea to include a pink flower with all our fresh, beautiful, bouquet of yellow flowers.

On the day of the race, the shuttle bus that took us to the start site was slowed down by traffic. Since there was a long line up to the portalets, and I had to go badly, I ended up joining mostly latecomers way back at the end of the pack.

Was hypnotically mesmerized by the yellow color again, passing by the yellow corral at the race start area, shortly before our time to start. This race had five different start times depending on your estimated time of finish, around five minutes interval for each corral.

And off we went( all 12 thousand more or less runners), running southward along Yonge Street (the longest street in North America) in downtown Toronto. Tried to get my rhythm and was on pace the 1st 3k (less than 6min. per k) for my goal to finish close to 1 hour.

Who looks like a turltle, runs like a turltle?

By the 5th k, checked my time at 31:38. Breaking the 1 hour barrier or even being close to it, I thought was no longer attainable when I started to have heavy legs. I was gradually running slower and was stopping to do recovery walks more often than I needed. Lessons learned, can't eat like there's no tomorrow on your holidays and not train properly and expect to do a PR relying solely on muscle memory. Rogers Centre, in the picture, is where the Raptors play their home games.

Knowing that my goals were all out of reach ( due mainly and only thru my own fault, that is, not training enough, and not dieting as I should have), I just ran the rest of the second half of the race leisurely, taking pictures here and there. This picture says it all, this was about 500 meters from the finish line. While slower runners like me were trying to make a dash to the finish line on the left) faster runners (on the right)who already finished and got their finisher medals were walking on the other side of the road.

If there is any consolation, slow as I was, I looked back, and there were a lot more runners behind me. Out of almost 12 thousand runners, my time was better than more than 1500! Yehey!

I thank the good Lord for this beautiful day, a race well run, free of any injury, and just sharing and celebrating all the good things that life offers with my fellow runners. To the food station I went for my bagel, banana and fruit juice. Hey man, this yellow color madness and obsession of mine keeps popping up in my head every now and then. Look at this man on the right in yellow t-shirt, he he.

Click! click! Had to get a hit, took a picture of this yellow plant.

Overall, a fulfilling weekend. Had a fix for my addiction to the color yellow - which I got more than enough of these 2 days and the other addiction, running - which, slow as I am, I know I could never be cured of.

My next race is the Mississauga half marathon on May 16, 2010