Sierra Madre 51050 Race 21 km ...... Make that 26.15 kms

When I was invited to join the Sierra 51050 - 21km, it was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up.  In fact, I was so looking forward to this race and was quite excited to finally run it.  As early as 2000, I would already hear some incredible stories about Sierra Madre, Quezon  with its breath taking views, snake-winding roads and cool weather.  It is also a prominent playground for fast expensive cars and big motorcycle bikes which I saw a lot of during the race.  Some bikers even called out my name who I believe are friends of my brother Robie, an avid biker himself. 

Running The Sierra 51050 really lived to its name with its endless lung-busting hills which, at one point, would make a runner  question his “sanity" as to why he is doing this.  I tried to stay focused  and strong all the way especially during the 19th km mark when a spectator shouted at me “Sir PAT pang 6Th place" which motivated me to push even harder and hopefully finish in the top 3.  Unfortunately, a CRUCIAL misdirection from a Marshall caused me precious time.  Instead of him directing me towards the finish line he told me to go further straight and as I got to the next check point another Marshal told me again to go straight.  It was only when a motorcycle biker approached me and said, “Sir, lampas ka na" that I had to make my way back to the finish line but only after covering a distance of 26.15 KILOMETERS !!!!   Naturally, I was a quite disappointed in the error made not only by the Marshall but also myself.  There really is no one to blame and I will just use it as a learning experience; something to remember in future races.  Besides, I didn't mind doing a long run anyway and I still had a great time running the Sierra Madre which I hope to do again next year.

Congratulations to Abet Ocampo, Running Atom and Rundevous Group.  Thanks again and will see you guys next year. 

The Snake Route of Sierra Madre
Cambodian Vines
All set for the Hills
Good Friends Forever.  Rene V. and Rash P. 
The Lady Champions - 2nd placer Rhina S. and  1st placer Rash P. 

Saw this silly sign :-)

Running Tales # 6 : Running Wild

I have said before that I will run every chance I get, in any place, in any weather and in any time zone. That's how deep my passion for running goes. The only real tragedy when running would be if I no longer enjoyed myself.  I cannot deny, however, that my daily runs around my urban neighborhood has left me wanting.  In all my running years,  I feel like I have dodged enough vehicles, swerved around many pedestrians and  skipped over too many potholes as I make my way around the metro.  So just recently,  I decided to change things up a bit by taking trips out of the city and run ....into the woods.

Running in the "great outdoors" does provide an undeniable escape from what can be an otherwise stress-filled day.  It gives one the opportunity to trade-in the outside environment of cars and other city noises for fresh air and the sound of birds, bugs and trees rustling in the wind; to be running in mud or dirt instead of hard pavement; to be seeing clear blue skies instead of skyscrapers and dodging rocks and rivers instead of potholes and construction piles.  I find that the change of scenery and being closer to Mother Nature does provide a spiritual connection that is very grounding, healthy for the mind and benefits the soul. 

I wish we could have an oasis within the Metro, a naturally preserved park wherein one can just step into to run ( maybe even just walk or stroll ) and be transported into another world that is seemingly far away yet very close. And once we have rejuvenated our senses enough, we could just step out, ready to face reality and the challenges of the outside world.  Unfortunately, such a place does not exist nearby so for now, I will have to contend with taking hour long drives away from the Metro searching for an oasis to run. Unless of course I move to the "Boondoks", maybe grow my own food, raise chickens and goats, bathe in the river ----- and of course, run wild and free.  Actually, that's not such a bad idea after all.

Dick Beardsley " Star Struck "

I rarely get star struck but today was definitely an exception. 
I was recently given an opportunity to listen to and meet with Dick Beardsley who gave a talk at the Philippine Sports Commission.   

Who is Dick Beardsley?
He is an American long-distance runner best known for his close finish with Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon or better  known as “Duel in the Sun".  Beardsley is the only man to have ever run 13 consecutive personal bests in the marathon and is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the feat.  His finish time of 2:09:37 at the 1981 Grandma's Marathon stood as a course record for 33 years until it was broken in 2014.  

In November 1989, Beardsley nearly died in a farm mishap and required five months to recuperate.  He was also involved in three serious automobile accidents, each requiring hospitalization for back and neck injuries. While on a hike, he was hurt after falling down an embankment when the path collapsed and had to undergo three back operations in 1994 and knee surgery in 1995.
After each of his injuries, Beardsley was prescribed medication for the pain and over four years, developed an addiction to the medication. He was arrested September 30, 1996, for forging prescriptions and sentenced to five years probation and 460 hours of community service. Beardsley spent nine days in a psychiatric unit where he was prescribed methadone and eventually quit the drug as well through a course of out-patient treatments. His first day of chemical-free sobriety was February 12, 1997. 

In October 2007, Beardsley started the Dick Beardsley Foundation. The foundation's goals are to educate the general public about chemical dependency and to provide assistance to individuals suffering from chemical dependency who are unable to pay for a 12-step treatment program.  It also allows Beardsley to speak about his own experience in overcoming addiction.  In 2010, Beardsley was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame.

A truly amazing man not only for what he has achieved in the field of running but how he was able to overcome the personal tragedies that befell him and, at the same time, extend much needed help to others in the process. Mr. Beardsley is truly an inspiration to me. 

Jim Lafferty brought in Dick Bearsley to the Philippines.
Seat Mates kami  !
Mars C.
Dexter  / Mary Joy Tabal
Coach Salazar .... not Alberto Salazar :- )
A short film showing before the Start of the Program .
Dick Beardsley neck and neck against. Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon or better known as
 " Duel in the Sun ".

He even got to sign my " RunningShield " Diary Book.

Trail Running

Heading up to Baguio for the Pine Tree Race not only gave me a chance to revisit the city, hang with some old running friends, check out the sites and sample their delicious food.  It also gave me an opportunity to run some trails that the mountain city had to offer.   There was a time during my youth - my early running years - where I had easy access to run in the forest trails of Vancouver or the rice fields, farm lands and beaches down south.  For someone who had been running and training on roads for a good while, being able to do this again is a big perk for me. 

It has been said that trail running improves balance and agility.  The uneven terrain offers a tougher workout and also utilizes different muscles.  Aside from these added physical benefits, however, there is also a rush in running the trails that road running just can’t give you;  an all-natural running high in the great outdoors wherein one can simply soak up the essence of what nature has to offer and capture those special moments that get you most excited which could be as simple as taking in a mighty view.  Running, for me, is all about the adventure and trail running is an adventure of a different kind. Besides, getting down and dirty while running makes me feel way more "cooler" than I actually am. I'm definitely looking forward to doing more trail running in the future. 
Happy Trails everyone! 

Condura Skyway Marathon 2015

No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others.  At this point, there really isn't much more one can say except THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.
We are overwhelmed
by the outpouring of support you have shown us before, during and after which contributed greatly to the success of CSM Run for a Hero 2015.  Our depth of gratitude knows no bounds beginning with the 15,000 plus runners whose spirit and enthusiasm kept as going all these years. To our sponsors and partners, our CSM Team, our families, friends and colleagues who helped by not only making this event possible but also allowing us a venue to give back to our fellow brothers through the HERO FOUNDATION and the SAF/PNP and show our debt of gratitude to the soldiers and policemen who have paid the ultimate price for peace as well as for those who are blessed enough to return from the battlefield unscathed.  What greater way to honor them than to honor their children and families whom they have left behind thereby keeping their memory alive.

Many times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  That's why I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to my brother Ton Concepcion, who rekindled that flame within me by simply having a vision, made it into a reality and took me along for the ride. To him I am eternally grateful and forever proud.

So thank you once again and see you all next  year!