Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Run United 3 2012 Culminates the Unilab Active Health Trilogy

At last! I finally completed this year’s Unilab Run United trilogy at the SM Mall of Asia last September 16, 2012; a running project that I failed to complete in my two years of attempt due to work-related concerns that got in the way of the schedules. But this year I succeeded in completing the runs which were six months in the making and which started last March where I ran 21k. This June, Leg two followed where I also finished another 21k distance and outran my previous 21k personal record where I made my first PR of 2 hours 5 minutes. And lastly, the “Afroman” distance of 32k where I finished in 3 hours 28 minutes. Indeed this journey is an epic one for me because I finished the trilogy strong, injury-free and on barefoot.

The only picture I got in RU1

Made a new PR of 2 hrs. 5min

50 yards from the finish line 32k

Leg 3, just like the other two, started in Bonifacio Global City. There were about three thousand runners registered in the 32k Afroman distance where we were all set to gun-start at 3 o’clock in the morning. The weather, as expected, was very wet and it was forecasted early to be rainy with thunder storms. But despite the condition, thousands of runners came swarming the streets of BGC full of enthusiasm, all fired-up to run the Afroman.

The crowd was considerably small because some who didn’t make it to register in the 32k settled to run in the 21k category. But still, the 32k and 21k categories hold the record as the biggest delegations in the Leg 3 amounting to 6,000 runners. Organizers had to cut the two distances in separate batches where 21k will be set off at 4:00am and the 32k at 3:00am to prevent over-crowding the race course.

3,000 runners gathered in the streets of BGC for the 32k run

As soon as the guns started, rain immediately poured. For many runners, this would be a tough run because, pretty soon, running shoes will hold water and it will add to the challenge. For barefoot runners, it was not a concern but wet roads make the soles a little tender. However, the past two legs of Run United taught me well so I came prepared.

At gun start, rain started to pour

A couple of weeks before the Leg 3, a friend of mine, Joey Cuerdo of Mojo Sandals, gave me a prototype transition footwear for barefoot runners which I designed. I called it the Forefooter, (for lack of official name). Basically, it’s an innovation of running sandals that is minimized to accommodate only the forefoot area which is essential in the running form of a barefoot runner. It is made from durable rubber soles with minimal tubular webbing.

The Forefooter by Mojo Sandals

In my past races where the Kalayaan flyover and Seaside road are noted to be “barefoot-killers” for their rough textured quality of asphalt, many barefoot runners cross these roads with extreme caution, an ultimate test of running technique and form. I’ve crossed these roads many times barefooted and I always came out uninjured, but it took too much of my time. To make the odds even, I slipped on the Forefooter in those areas to cut a shorter time for me. And it worked! After the crossings, I immediately slipped them in my pockets and transitioned back to barefoot running again.

Along Seaside road...

Shortly after the 21 kilometer mark, the rain poured harder along the stretch of Roxas Boulevard. On normal running days when it is not raining, at this distance, many runners would start to heat up from exhaustion. But the rain was quite refreshing for many of us. The last stretch of Seaside road was also tough for all of us but the sight of the Mall of Asia gave us encouragement because we knew the finish line was just a couple of kilometers away. At this time, my quads were already giving signs of fatigue so I made a couple of stops along the way to give myself some short stretchings. In my past races, it taught me to address these types of fatigue at an early stage where it is not yet worsening. In the last two kilometers to the finish line, I definitely didn’t want these early signs of cramps ruin my perfectly good running day, so a few seconds worth of stops didn’t matter.

Six months in the making... 

At the finish line, the much anticipated last piece of the trilogy medals was finally award to me and it felt great! Finally, the six-month running project in Run United has come to an end and it gave way to a prelude to a much greater pursuit this coming October -- the Unilab Philippine Marathon. Of course, the training starts now!

all set to do this...

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