Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: FiveFingers Bikila

This was my reward shoe for finishing Condura 2011 42k. As a convert of natural (i.e. Newtons) and minimalist running (or shall I say near-minimalist since the true minimalist shoes have yet to arrive in full blast in Manila), I decided to go all the way, so to speak: barefoot running.

However, since my runs are on the road and you get to step on nasty stuff (like broken glass, nails, thumbtacks, dog poo, etc) I opted to get a pair of Vibrams to have at least some protection for my feet. As to the model to chose, it was a no-brainer that I should be getting the Bikila, specifically made for runners.

I started wearing them for short walks (yes, including malls so I'd often get that weird look when people see them). My kids had coined them as "gorilla feet" since they may have seen some similarities with the characters they see on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network, hehe. I eventually started running on them 4 weeks ago. Below is a timeline of my runs with them:

  • March 01. 400m jog.
  • March 02. 5k easy. 7:32/km average pace with km5 at 6:27. I was expecting some calf soreness the next day (similar to my Newton wear experience) but suprisingly there was none. I guess I've already adjusted to forefoot/midfoot strike.
  • March 09. 6km tempo run (including 1km warmup and 1km cooldown). Tempo km measured at 6:36, 6:26, 6:32, and 6:09.
  • March 12. 3.5km easy run. 7:13/km average pace.
  • March 16. 8km easy run. 56mins with last km at 6:36.
  • March 23. 5km treadmill tempo (including warmup and cooldown). tempo pace set to 5:40/km. Lung-busting workout!

Running with the Bikilas was quite a new experience. My feet were in close contact with the ground so every bit of road info was fed back instantly ---including lonely pebbles on the road (OUCH!!!). It was quite a lot of feedback so much so that when I woke up the next day after my March16 8km night run in Meralco, there was pain on my right foot (highly recognized when I try to move it in a overpronating motion). It may have been due to a pebble that I stepped on on that run. It was really painful that I had to stop running for 2 days.

Prior to that March16 run was an interval workout (10x400m) using my Adizero Adios. It was my first time to do intervals after a long while so maybe my feet needed more support because of the 2week layoff post-Condura. The 8km run that I had two days after the intervals (with minimal support from the Bikila) may have aggravated that pain on my right foot. I tried the Bikilas again on that treadmill 5k tempo the following week but the pain was emanating again from my right foot the next day. I may have to stop using my new Bikilas (or reduce the mileage when I run on it, probably 2-3k only) to help heal my right foot (running in the Newton Distancia Racers, with better ankle support, has made my runs less pain free for now). I hope to eventually use the Bikilas regularly (i.e. once or twice a week, and probably on easy runs only) once my right foot fully heals.

Add to that are blisters that I've noticed on the balls of my feet since I was using the Bikilas sockless. It might take sometime before my feet gets a little more acquainted with the sockless manner when I run with these babies.

Overall, despite that painful experience (too much, too soon), the Bikilas are still a good pair to run in. They really want to make you run faster, as evidenced by last week's 5:40/km tempo (man, that was the fastest 3k that I've ever ran!). I was even hoping of using them for my upcoming 10k race in Baguio on Apr10 but I may have to be conservative and wear my trusty Newtons. The Bikilas may have solved my recurring right shin splint and left-foot plantar fasciitis during the above runs so I'm really hoping to run in them again soon.

I was quite inspired by Din Cordero's 4:53 result on his maiden marathon (TBRDM 2011) wearing Bikilas for the race. I hope to do the same in one of my future marathons since the Bikilas deserve to be thoroughly tested in longer distances.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sub-Batman Anyone???

The NYC Half-Marathon just ended earlier, with Mo Farah, UK (1:00:23) and Caroline Rotich, Kenya (1:08) dominating the men's and women's event.

But take a look at this guy, finishing at 1:39?!?!?! WOW!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Will race for pinecones

After weeks of dilly-dallying on whether to proceed or not, the wife and I had finally booked our hotel for Baguio next month.

Of course, the inclusive dates of that 3-day, 2-night stay will be on the weekend of the Baguio21k race in which I have just (as in pahabol TODAY) registered for the 10k event (since registration closed last week for 21k). I hope the wife doesn't notice a trend that I suddenly suggest an outing here or there whenever an interesting race outside Manila pops up in the's race calendar. (wink)

I ran in Botak Baguio last year, finishing 10k in 1:09 after having introduced to a hilly (as in tama-na-ang-paakyat-ayaw-ko-na-po hilly), oxygen-reduced route. I hope to redeem myself in this year's edition by beating said time so I guess it's back to McKinley Hill and Bayani Road for weekend long runs (breathing through a straw?).


Thursday, March 10, 2011


I look at my laptop's clock and it reads 7:03pm. In 27mins, I'll be timing-out of the office and head for tonight's workout: a modest 5-7km easy run.

Running's very addictive. It has been my savior not only from elevated cholesterol levels or high scores on the weighing scale. More importantly, it relieves me of this fast-paced, busy thing called LIFE.

The fact that when I run, even just for a while, I get to forget all the stress in the office or worries about anything else. I am not a husband nor a Dad. I am not a son nor a brother. I am not an office employee.

For in that precious time, I am a runner. It's just me and the road before me, with only the sound of my footsteps, my breathe, and the beeping of my Garmin accompanying me on this night run.

I may, on the last kilometer of this planned easy run, let it all out and target a sub-6:00/km pace. Seeing at least a 5:59/km on tonight's run will be my biggest reward for the day apart from being induced by endorphins once again.

Then, as I drive back home and then lie in bed, I will look back into the mileage, although small, that I've logged for this day.

I will then tweet.

Another run completed. I felt great.

After that brief thought, I will get giddy again since tomorrow's Friday. Then it'll be Saturday. And then, on Sunday morning, at 6am, even with the invitation of a comfy bed on a relaxing morning, I will force myself to get up.

For on that morning, I run again.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Of Ultras

Ultramarathons have been slowly filling up the list-of-races webpage. With this year's BDM 102 and 160 editions just completed, ultramarathoners who may be "bitin" of the experience still have a lot of races this year to look forward to, namely:

April 02 - Mayon 360-degree 50-mile (80km) run (Albay)

April 30 - TNF 100k (Camsur)

May 01 - frontRunner's Labor Day Coast-to-Coast 50km Ultramarathon (Cebu)

Jun 10 - King of the Mountain 145mi (232km!!!!!) Baguio

Jun 11-12 - Chris Sports Epic Relay 250km(!!!!!!) (Subic)

Nov 11 - 240km(????!!!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!) Manila-to-Baguio 3-day Journey Run

I've read Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes and I can't help but admire how ultramarathoners like him manage to finish such mind-boggling-why-did-you-want-to-run-that type of race. Probably, just stepping onto the starting line on race day is a victory already in itself.

To all the brave souls who have tackled BDM102/160 and those who'll be racing in the upcoming races above, saludo ako sa inyo!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

RunRio 2010 Trilogy Awards Night

Ever since RunRio entered the realm of race-organizing, the standard as to how races should be oragnized has been on the uptrend. Even though the race fees are above average, people flocking to the reg-centers to sign-up for a RunRio-org'd race is proof that people are willing to spend for a race since they trust that the organizer will deliver which, in fact, they always do.

I was one of the 200+ invited runners to last night's RunRio Awards Night due to having finished the 21k-21k-32k RunRio Trilogy last year. It was amazing how RunRio would stage this night just to honor runners who loved going through the pain of all 74kms of last year. And, as how they treat their races, RunRio ran this party well...and hard!

Photobooth, sumptous buffet, open bar, and few showbiz personalities were in the event (Venus Raj and "halimaw" Bearwin Meilly). There was a dance performance by the Philippine All Stars that left us all stopping our RunRio conversations and just jaw-dropped because of the good-looking female dancers. ;-) Yes, YOU should've gone to that party. Hehehe...

Oh yeah, 6cyclemind was also there to perform the RunRio themesong "Running For Love" which, coincidentally, was carved at the back of the finisher's medal that we received. They performed while the AVP ran through pics from last year plus the updated website.

RunRio listed their upcoming races this year, including the trilogy (March, August, and Nov), KOTR (where's Rudy B?), and races outside of Metro Manila. The race that caught my fancy was that on December 04: Baguio. Yup, I might be signing up for that one.

As it was an awards night, the awardees were presented with a medal and a "bangis payabang pahambog porma" finisher's shirt. Unfortunately for me, the wifey had dibs on it already. Well, at least I still have the RunRio32k finisher's shirt ("I survived the 32k..." printed at the back).

There were also special awards given like the Senior Award (given to the oldest Trilogy finisher who was 70(!!!) years old who, btw, has a 2:25 21km average finish time), Juvenile Award (given to the youngest who was a 21 year old), Hyper-blogger award (BullRunner), etc.

As I didn't signup for this Sunday's first of the Trilogy races (still on petiks mode), I might not be accorded the same awards night invitation for 2011. But nevertheless, I'll still be looking at the race calendar for future RunRio races to join this year.

Good luck to all the runners joining RunRio1 and 102km BDM this weekend!

To Rio and the RunRio team, keep up the good work!