I can’t believe that it’s been a year ago to this date that I got a chance to run a race in Manila for the very first time since my very first race, a 5k in 1997. It also became the last race of 2010 from a successful return to running or sporting life after injuries after injuries on my right knee from sprain to cartilage tears. That race happened to be the 2010 Adidas King of the Road (KOTR).
Exhausting my available PTO, I decided to travel for a 5-week vacation in
Philippines to attend my grandfather’s first death anniversary, visit some old friends and relatives, and take a shot of running a race in Manila.
A friend of mine recommended KOTR, and I asked my cousin to register my name for the half marathon. Unfortunately, due to very short runner quota (one of the smallest), I ended up running the 10k. I said to myself, it’s best to get into the race even though it’s a 10k than not. I think it ended up as a good thing.
Arrived in Manila a week before the race to get myself acclimatized with the weather and humidity, which I am not accustomed after living in the Washington, DC area for over 10 years.
Looking at my weather app on my phone, it registered that at that time it’s 85 degrees F (about 30C), but with the relative humidity it feels like its 95F (35C). Bad news for my account, and the events of the hilly Rockville 8k replayed on my head.
Once the race started, I was running at a pace that very much to my liking up until I am about to reach the 3rd mile, almost 5k, that I felt like I am having a fever. Looking at my heart rate monitor, it is showing that it is almost 100% of my max heart rate, which is never been that high that early. At first I may end up picking up someone’s heart rate, but once I separated myself by running on the side, it was mine. From a sub-9:00 min/mile pace, I was forced to run a minute or a minute and a half slower to reduce my heart rate to a tolerable level and lower my core temperature. The strategy worked, and decided to pick it up in the last two kilometers, which after the Kalayaan Flyover. However, my goal to setup a new PR on a 10k is not going to happen.
As I crossed the finished line, I said to myself, “if I can run a race in Manila, I can run anywhere in the world.” I was very humbled with the experience. When I met my cousin to rehydrate, I noticed my hands were shaking, and warned my cousin that if you see me that I am about to faint call for the meds to help out as it showed signs of heat stroke. Good thing, it didn’t end up that way.
Lots of lessons learned here that I was able to carry on succeeding races in 2011, which I employed speed training, registering for races to call it as “training races” such as the St. Patrick’s Day 8k and Clarendon Day run 10k. I also learned more when to hydrate during races, the proper use of energy gels (2010 is an energy gel free season), looking at splits, and working on my last 10k, 5k, and 400m. If running a race on a different country, it is wise to run 1.5 miles to 5 miles (max) on a race pace to get adjusted with running with local weather. Getting there a week before the race is not enough. Lastly, I also learned to respect Mother Nature even more.
I wish all the runners an early congratulations on this years KOTR. I wish I can be there to redeem myself. To all my Pinoy runners, regardless of level, you have my full respect. Trust me, if you can run races in Philippines on a time that you have posted, you can run races anywhere in the world and have a shot on establishing a new PR.
I finally got the chance to post my very first Clarendon Day 10k last September 21st. The race is an annual tradition in the Clarendon area of Arlington, VA to commemorate Clarendon Day (hence the name). This is also my very first race in the state of Virginia. The race is broken down into three main categories: the 5k run, 10k run, and kid’s dash. There is also another special event which is known as the double. The double is more of a chance given to runners who would like to compete in the 5k and 10k on the same day. The 5k race starts at 8:20 am with the 10k race to follow 40 minutes after. Thus for attempting a double, one runner should finish a 5k around 30 to 35 minutes (or roughly a 10minute/mile pace). Just in time to join the 10k.
The race itself is a very fast downhill and flat with a mild hill course along Wilson Boulevard from Claredon to Rosslyn then along Jefferson Davis Highway before going back to Rosslyn for the finish. The first two miles, which is almost a 200 feet downhill run, was very fast. I think I was able to run 2.0 miles in about 15 minutes or less. Once we reached Jefferson Davis Highway, everything is flat and easy. I never got the chance to register for this years Army 10-miler, but I still get to run past the Pentagon. As the saying goes, what comes down, must come up. I know it’s the opposite of the actual proverb, but the last 500 meters of the race is a mild climb to the finish.
This link provides the video of my finish: http://results.bazumedia.com/athlete/index/e/820944 This only race image I got from the race. Super thanks to Bazu Media.
The post race festivities is great, even though I didn’t get to experience the most of it, I was still able to get a piece of the Clarendon Day experience. Every runner in the event gets a chance for a drink at Whitlow’s, Mexicali Blues, and Ireland’s Four Courts Bars. The drink tags are found on every runners bib. One can get more if you get your coupon or drink tag from other runners. I gave up mine to experience the sights of the Clarendon Day Festival by checking out the food stations, especially that food truck that featured some tasty BBQ ribs.
Of course, the freebies. Not much compared to the previous race I ran. However, the Clarendon Day Run gives away a free pair of flip-flops instead of the traditional t-shirt. I got some pretty good comments and likes when I posted the flip-flops on Facebook.
Overall, I enjoyed the race, which I originally intended to have it as a training run for my two upcoming fall half marathons, so I am really looking forward to running this event again.
It has been ten years since that tragic day that occurred in New York City, Arlington, VA, and Shanksville, PA, and I still vividly recall what I am doing that hot Tuesday morning.
As I get ready on my way to the Aquatic and Fitness Center in George Mason (University) for my morning workout and for Dr. Gertler’s Signals and Systems class at 1:00 pm at the Enterprise Building, my aunt was watching a morning show on TV and told me that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. I took a moment and checked out what was going on. All of sudden, another plane struck the other tower. My first reaction was, “what’s going on?” However, it didn’t hit me. Probably, I got used to the two failed coup d’et dat attempts to over throw then president (the late) Corazon Aquino in the late 80’s, and some of the bombings that occurred in the city while I was growing up in Philippines. In other words, I was able to quickly shrugged it off and proceeded to the gym before I miss my bus.
The Aquatic and Fitness Center is filled with people, but all of them aren’t working out. They are all glued in front of the TV watching the news. I, on the other hand, went to straight to the locker room, and dropped my belongings to start my workout. It is somewhat hysterical for me that I said to myself, “cool!, they’re all watching TV and I can use pretty much every equipment without someone bothering me.” Despite that, I still check out what’s going on in between workouts till it was announced that a plane crashed into the Pentagon. I said to myself, “this is serious.” I still continued my routine of lifting some weights, but I am checking out the news more and staying in front of the TV longer.
Until, the unimaginable occurred. The two towers of the World Trade Center, what was once the tallest building in the world, collapsed! Jim Vance of NBC-4 (local NBC affiliate) stating the words, “…what you’re seeing now is not a movie, these are not special effects… the two towers of the World Trade Center had collapsed.” When I saw those images during my rest, I instantly became one of those people glued into television as I say to myself, “please tell me that this is not happening…” Moments after, another announcement was made that a plane supposed to crash in Washington, DC slammed in a small town in Shanksville, PA. From there, I decided to end my workout and slowly, get myself ready to class.
On my way to the Enterprise building, students and some faculty members are talking about the tragedy, and some are emotional about it, and rumors of classes getting cancelled are looming. Even my classmates inside the room are talking about it. Dr. Gertler, waltzing slowly to the classroom, informed us that all classes for today are cancelled. So I decided to leave and head on to the Johnson Center (the main student center) to hangout with some of my buddies.
As I enter the Johnson Center (JC), the scene was very poignant. Students are camped out in front of a small TV screen at the University Press Center, and close to it is a sign that a grief counselor is available. All the talk out in JC is simply about the planes used as missiles by Al Qaeda, and the collapse of the World Trade Center. I hanged out in our usual spot with my buddy Yu-Ton, and after an hour I decided to go home.
My cell phone has rung a number of times from relatives and friends expressing their concerns since I live about 20 miles from the Pentagon. I felt so humbled about the phone calls. Even my emails are packed with concerns about our safety. I guess if Facebook is already the craze in 2001, I get wall messages like it’s my birthday.
A lot has happened in ten years, I graduated from college at George Mason after transferring schools from Don Bosco Technical College and Northern Virginia Community College. I also finished my graduate studies at George Mason, and given the opportunity to work for one of the biggest and prestigious consulting firms in the world.
Now, working for a very small consulting company, I still have never forgotten my own memory of the events of 9/11. Every person around the world have their own 9/11 memory. Quoting President Franklin Rosevelt’s speech after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December of 1941, “a day that will live in infamy.” 9/11 is the 21st century version of the Pearl Harbor. We remember those lives were lost, and the agony their loved ones have endured as they wake up every morning without their special someone. Ten years have passed, pain still remains… together, “we will never forget.”
Close friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc., have asked me for years on why I call myself as the Random Asian Guy. My answer has always been this, “if I let a stranger figure out my ethnicity, he/she will need up to five attempts to figure where am I really from.”
On a normal day, if someone asks me where I am from, I always let them take a stab. It is very rare that they will guess it right the first time. It’s usually the fourth or fifth attempt as they ran out of Asian countries to think off the bat.
The next part, their reaction. He/She will say, “no way!, you’re not!, you don’t look like a Filipino!” My response, “yes I am!” The look in their eyes filled with disbelief… priceless…
Thus, if you pick a random country in Asia, specifically East Asia, I will likely pass. It’s been proven on my travels or stop overs to Nagoya and Singapore as well as stops at Chinatown, Korea town, Vietnamese restaurants, Thai restaurants, etc. that locals speak to me in their native tongue.
I guess now you know why I call myself as “the Random Asian Guy.”