Thursday, September 1, 2011

Race Review: Earth Run 2011

Earth Run 2011 is the third take of what started in 2009. This year, on its first leg in Manila, the run was held at a popular running route in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Co-presented by 2nd Avenue, the race is actually a series of three running events that will also happen in Davao and Cebu this coming October and December respectively. The Earth Run caravan is organized by AdEvents Manila for the benefit of Greenpeace, an international non-government organization well-known for its advocacy to take care of the environment.

Weeks before the race itself, Chris Sports, one of the sponsors of the run, organized a sport bloggers event in one of their branches in Glorietta, Makati City. I was fortunate enough to be invited in the said event and witness the unveiling of a new product that will surely capture the curiosity of the running community in the country. The On Running shoes made its Philippine debut in the racing circuit aiming to elevate the game of every athlete’s running experience, seasoned and beginners alike. As a token for all the members of online media present that day, we were given race kits for the Earth Run 2011 courtesy of Chris Sports.

The Manila leg of the Earth Run happened last August 28. A few days before, the weather was not so cooperative and it has been raining almost every day. Many who have registered was so anxious if the organizers will announce a postponement. Apparently, just a day before the race, an official notice came out that Earth Run will push through despite the weather condition.

At the BGC grounds, I was surprised and relieved that many came. Before the gun start, I felt a little uptight but challenged at the same time because it will be my first time to run on a wet pavement barefooted. For several months now, I’ve been running barefoot which brought my game experience to new heights. But, as I noticed and felt the wet asphalt, an ounce of uneasiness came in because I know that barefoot running on wet road will make the soles of the feet much tender. Nonetheless, I remained focused and determined to run without any shoes on.

The 10k runners set off at exactly 5:30am. As we gradually picked up pace, I started to accustom my running on the wet sensation. At first, I thought it was a good thing that the BGC routes were “barefoot” friendly. But as we climbed the Kalayaan flyover, assuming that it was also as paved, I discovered I spoke too soon. The whole stretch of the bridge is a “barefoot killer”! At beginning, the sharp and loose small pebbles were a bit tolerable so what I did was sprinted my way out of that obstacle as fast as I can to get to the smoother texture of Gil Puyat Avenue.

When I got to the u-turn slot going back, that was when I realized the mistake I’ve done and it’s too late. The short rush I made on the Kalayaan flyover a while ago made a substantial scuff on my soles and there was I about to cross that same bridge for the second time around exposing me to much agonizing strides with blisters and all. At the end of the bridge, I noticed several race photographers. Normally, whenever I come across one, I’d manage to smile and compose a good running form as I passed by their shots. But this time around, smiling was as difficult as the running itself, much more posing a good running form.

I also noticed that when you run barefoot on wet pavement, small pebbles tend to stick to the bottom of the feet much longer than on dry road. So when there’s a chance to encounter a puddle of water along the way, I made a short dip to wash off the sticking debris. Somehow, I was able to manage to keep a steady pace as I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1hr. 00min. 53sec. As I cooled down, I happened to bump into RBB 377, another brother in the “Barefoot Fraternity”. We took some pictures together, exchanged some notes, and laughed at our very much similar Kalayaan flyover experiences.

Back home, as I rested and recuperated from my recent battle scars, I shared my experience with friends in Barefoot Running Philippines FaceBook page. And that is where I learned the wisdom behind the “baby steps” technique in barefoot running the Kalayaan flyover. This profound statement was lifted from Barefoot Running Philippines' Facebook fan page.

“Take baby steps at the beginning of the race. Resist the temptation to start fast.
Keep in mind that you're going to cross the flyover not once, but twice.
If you're feeling friction, slow down. Lift your feet. Don't push off. Take shorter strides.
And oh yes. Don't put undue pressure upon yourself.”Mike, Barefoot Running Philippines
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