Category Archives: Running Life

It’s a Go!!!

It is official!!! I am running the Tokyo Marathon 2012!!!!

I received the notification this afternoon, thanks to Ice for informing me and asking me to check my mail.

Out of the 282,824 applicants, I have about 12 percent chance to get selected in the lottery. I really am bad in the game of chances. And I never get to win any cool stuff in rafles or even win in bingo. But this is really great. Just when it counts the most!!!
I can’t wait to buy a new pair of shoes for the event cause my 2 yr old lunars may not actually survive race day, some thermal clothing for winter and long hours of training.

So come February 26, 2012, with the finish time of about 5-5.5 hours, I will complete my first marathon, my first international event and probably the most expensive event I will ever join.

Let’s do this!!!! 行こう!!!

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After Work Addiction

Platform 2, Tamachi station
Waiting for the 21:06 train

So after a few months of planning and pushing myself to go to the gym after work, I finally did it. I usually run in Nishiarai along the Arakawa riverbank or do some routines in my room after work when I get to go home early (which hardly happens) from work. This morning, I went through the Tokyo morning rush hour with a large gym bag. Believe me, it wasn’t easy. I had to get off the train to make way for people exiting the train or else I’d be carried away by the current of people. I even opted to leave my bag in Ueno to make my morning commute easy.

The rest of the day at work was slow moving. I had an official project around 4pm and was praying to finish it before 6pm. Sadly I had to stay for another hour to confirm things with my officemates.

At exactly 7pm, I was already eating an energy bar and psyching myself for what I thought would be a gruesome evening. I changed and went to the training room which was full. I had never seen a gym that full before. I went to the track instead for my cardio workout, ran about 3km in less than 20 mins, out of breath and thirsty. I went back to the lockers to leave my phone and proceeded with my main goal for tonight. I just had one observation in my 45 minutes in the weights and machine area; people here are just damn polite. They would leave the machines to make way for those in line even though they are just catching a quick break. They would even say sorry if their set would take a long time. How come I never had that experience in my previous gym in Quezon city?

Then came the scary part… Shower time… Hmmmm. Let’s just say that I am not comfortable with people walking around the locker full naked and no doors in the shower cubicles. Hahaha…but this is something I had to do. I finished my shower and changed in less than 10 minutes, had my supplements and took the train home.

So here I am, looking for a new route home since my train to Kita Senju is so delayed.. but I feel good, never felt my body so alive. Must be the adrenaline but who cares, I need to do this more often.

And oh yeah, I lost 8lbs since I got back from my summer vacation. 🙂 I am somewhere along the Chiyoda line now.. until my next post, running_turtle wishes everyone a good night/day.

BER MONTHS….

Platform 2, Tamachi station
1815 to Nippori

Finally, the 3rd quarter of the year officially began last week. Aside from adding another year to my life on earth, it is my 10th month here in Japan (that was fast). Autumn is coming soon, and Christmas. 🙂 But before that, I just came back from a 10-day trip across SE Asia with my loved ones, registered for the Tokyo Marathon 2012, and managed to get through the busiest season in our company.

Now that I am finally registered for the marathon, I began training last week and I’m still having problems in motivating myself to go back into my running form physically and mentally. I added about 30lbs since I arrived Japan and nearing the obese section in the BMI index.

I started eating less and changed my eating habits and I believe it is working. I still need to buy a weighing scale to prove this. But according to my officemates, I look thinner compared before the summer vacation began. Honestly, I love eating… Plus the food here is really good. But even before then, when I was still running in Manila and even eons before that, I can practically eat anything without gaining weight. I guess this is part of ageing. I was alarmed when one day I was having a difficult time wearing my shoes and tying my shoelaces. Going up 5 floors would make me huff and puff. And if there was a point in your life when you felt stronger, body and mind functioning well as if anything is possible, you tend to get depressed for being too lazy to squeeze in a routine or two before the day ends.

So I am currently on the beginning stages in my pursuit of getting back what I lost a few months back and hoping I get picked at the lottery for the marathon. Yes! There is a lottery. The quota of 30k runners was met on the first day of registration and yearly around 300k hopeful marathoners apply. By October, the lottery results will be out but even if I won’t get picked, I have a target that by February 2012, I must be in my best form, and maybe run 42k on my own on race day.

4 Weeks After the Big One: Tohoku Earthquake March 11, 2011 (Part One: What the?!?)

(note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and does not represent the rest of the foreigners he was with or met after the tragedy)

March 11, 2011. Everthing was pretty much normal. I woke up late, dressed up for that day since it was a special occasion for me and Ice, ran to the train station and followed up on a delivery that I thought would be an epic fail because of the date formats in Japan and other countries. (instead of having it delivered on 11/03/11(Japan format of March 11, 2011) I thought it would be delivered on November 3, 2011. I spent the whole morning wondering if it would push through. Work was pretty much the same; support our office abroad and did my own designs. By that time, I have already forgotten about the strong quake we felt on March 9, 2011 near the 11th’s epicenter.

I was not too busy that day; chatting with Ice through skype when we felt the weak vibration. My boss and I were even smiling as if saying to just shrug it off. After 10secs or so, I began to feel nervous because the weak swaying did not stop and it seemed to be getting stronger. I informed Ice that an earthquake was happening that instant but still weak and long. The next few seconds made my knees weak. The office floor was violently shaking, CPUs toppling and the rumbling noise can be heard. By that time, I heard from the Japanese around me that something bad is happening. Japanese people are very used with the feeling of having earthquakes because of their geographic location. But remaining calm under these circumstances Is something very new to me. I was asked to hide under my table because the earthquake has not stopped. The rosary in one hand, my cellphone in the other, I was praying that everything would be ok and was already thinking that my family and friends would be really worried. It took about more than 2 minutes when it stopped. I’m not sure if that time frame includes the next 2 large aftershocks. People were calm in the office, and the earthquake drills we had proved to be effective. I wasn’t aware that I was trembling not until a Japanese friend told me on our way to the fire exit. My hands were shaking so hard that I can’t even dial on my phone. We spent a few minutes outside the building, chatting and nervously laughing when we noticed the dark smoke coming from Odaiba. There were still small aftershocks happening at that time but we are asked to return to the office since things seemed ok already. I have not sat for 10 minutes at my desk when another big aftershock happened. I was ready to duck under my table again but good thing it was a short one.

The next hours in the office were used to gather information where the epicenter hit; footages of the tsunami were already seen in tv thru the cellphones of my bosses. Tsunami warnings of about 10m height were issued at the north-eastern coast. I had no idea where Sendai or Miyagi-ken is but the thought of having a tsunami was scary.

By 7pm, we had not left the office since the railway systems stopped for safety purposes. We were given a packet of long flat brownies(about the size of a family size chocolate bar) and a 250ml bottle of water. After those were distributed, we went out to look for food. Surprisingly, there were alot of people in-queue at restaurants, 7-11 stores and groceries. People were starting to buy supplies and it was running out. But what struck me the most was that there were no signs of panic. People were polite and stayed in line. There was no rushing and no panic buying (buying more than what they cannot consume) then. It took us about 30 minutes to buy some crackers, a cup ramen and some water.
We were already geting anxious in the office because of the constant aftershocks we were feeling so we decided to go home and leave the office around 9pm. (to be continued..)

To see the number of earthquakes that happened since March 11, 2011 in Japan, please see this earthquake map.

I’m Back Nihon… Did you miss me?

It has been four months now since I arrived in Tokyo from Manila. As it is my second time to travel here, I really was not expecting much.

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(autumn 2010)

Three years ago, I was sent here by my company to undergo training in our main office. Our office then was in Shin-Yokohama. My apartment in Yokohama is about 15 mins walk to the office or a 4-minute ride to work by train. Things were different then. I can go sightseeing and buy stuff without worrying about cash. We even had a Japanese co-employee who treated us to different sight-seing places on weekends. We would seldom go to Tokyo because it was far but we had lots of fun in those times.

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(a small park in Roppongi 2010)

Now I am back. I now live in Tokyo, my office has also moved to Tokyo, I had to be careful with what I spend my money on cause right now, I am here as an employee and not as a trainee anymore. It would take me weeks to decide if there is something I wanted to buy. I’ve done a few sightseeing at my own expense, opted to have home-cooked food for dinner and lunch to save a bit more. In Manila, I hardly cook on weeknights for my lunchbox the next day. Pressure at work was more intense since I am a senior now. And responsibility towards my fellow Filipino workers also added to my daily stress. I fight my way through the crowd of people going to their destinations every morning. The famous rush hour scene of Tokyo wherein you see station employees pushing people into the trains is almost an everyday experience. Long commutes to and from the work, cold nights and tired nights. I have missed my stop several times on my way home too.

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(Another park near Harajuku, Winter 2010)

I run too. I still do. There were times in last autumn where I would run around 9-10pm in the streets. It is quite difficult to run during winter but as soon the temperature rises, I am ready to go.

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(screenshot of my run map in Arakawa)

I have experienced one of the coldest winters in Tokyo. I am lucky to have Filipino companions here who knows “pakikisama”. I am not sure if the word camaraderie is sufficient enough to cover that word. I have good Japanese friends and bosses. I have also met a few new ones.

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(Arakawa Riverbank)

This oppurtunity here is something not everybody had been given a chance to experience. I am making use of this deployment to a foreign country where people are honest, safe streets everywhere, hi-tech things, and independence as a chance for me to grow and have peace of mind. Don’t get me wrong. Of cource I miss my family and friends back home.

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(Just outside my apartment)

It has been only 4 months and just the thought of me leaving this lovely place is breaking my heart. I still have 2 years and 8 months to go. And as they call this as the land of the rising sun, I face my future with the sun rising brightly ahead.

Japan Japan

It has been five months since I last updated my blog. Four months since I arrived in Tokyo and a week after the great Tohoku earthquake.
Within the weekend I’ll do my best in writing a new post about the experiences I had here and the recent (on-going aftershocks) earthquakes and life during a crisis outside your homeland and other concerns..

God bless you all and thanks to those who remembered and asked how I was the past days.

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Tokyo tower the night of the earthquake…

Could it be My Last?(ADIDAS KOTR 2010)

It has almost been a year since I started joining races here in Metro Manila. And I would like to thank Meay for inviting me last year to join the KOTR 2009. Although we don’t get to run together anymore, this yearly event is something I will always remember wherever I may go.
Go? Yep… A few months back, I posted that something is coming up. Now that I have seen the details in-print, and have already decided about it, I guess I’m free to tell what it is about. Turtle Runner is going to Japan. For how long? Minimum of 3 years… Would I like an extension if given the chance? We’ll see.
There is the possibility I may not be able to run this race because the date of my departure has not been finalized yet (maybe by the end of October). Whether I’m here in Manila or in Tokyo, I promised myself that I will still be covering the 21km distance I signed up for.
So, I have been back in my training for almost 2 weeks now. Trying real hard to juggle with the schedules of sayounara’s with friends, work and training. I am not attempting to beat my 2:30:00 target in the Condura race early this year but what matters most is that I enjoy this run with my friends, get that finisher’s medal and and be injury-free before my departure.
So, could it be my last race? Definitely not. Although there are limited races in Japan, and the costs are really high, I will still continue to train for my 42km and hopefully I’ll be able to do it in the Tokyo Marathon event, 2012 or 2013? Besides, the Philippines will always be the place where my heart is. Who knows, I might come home for the Condura 2011?!
I will surely miss running in Metro Manila. Around Eastwood, going to the Marikina Sports center, UP academic oval and the Green Meadows and White Plains road. I will surely miss my running buddies at work and the people I met at Takbo.PH and that person who first introduced me to road races. So this 21km is for all of you. I won’t say goodbye to anyone here yet. Hopefully this departure gets postponed til January.. hehe
See you on the 24th, Kings/Queens Of The Road!!!

watch out for me

Runs last May and June

I wasn’t able to update my blog site the past weeks for the race events I joined last May and June. I have been very busy with my work and some personal stuff that kept me from running the past weeks. So, I’ll try my best to remember the Kerygma Run, Nature Valley Run and the OCAI run.

Kerygma run: I ran the 5km event with my ex-officemate and friend/gym trainer from Fitness First. I left my place around 4:30am and met with my friend at MOA around 5am. When we were walking towards the site, it was only then that I remembered that I forgot to bring my race bib. Luckily, the people at the information booth were kind enough to replace my “lost” race number. We waited until the ceremonies began. There was a pre-run worship headed by Bro Bo’s Ministry and some pre-run warm-up exercises and stretching. We checked in the starting line and waited for the gun start. I told my friends that I would go ahead of them because I was in a hurry to finish the run because I need to be with my brother. I didn’t put much effort for this run because I have a 10km run the next day. It was weird though that my legs felt heavy and after the 3rd kilometer, I started having stomach cramps which made me stop for a while. I continued on, not thinking anymore of what my race time will be. I just wanted to finish it and meet my family. I crossed the finish line and the man claiming the race stubs for the 3km run took my stub. (what were we both thinking, hahaha) I finished the race around 27mins according to my ipod. After claiming my bag, rested for a bit and changed, I went straight to Makati to meet with my brother and officially said goodbye to him. I hope he will be able to finish what I had started and stopped more than 11 years ago.

The next day, Nature Valley: I tried my best to sleep early that Saturday night after the Kerygma run to be prepared for the 10 km run in The Fort the next day. I woke up earlier than planned, ate breakfast and started preparing for my run. By 4:45am, I was already at The Fort. I met my other ex-officemate and her boyfriend and we waited together for the gun start. Right then, I was thinking that I hope I joined the 21-km event instead. (more punishment for myself, hahaha) At gun start, it took me about more than a minute to step on the carpet lining of the start line. The road was too congested with runners. I told my friends that I’ll go ahead because I wanted to break my 10km PR. It was too hot and humid at that time. I had to pour water on my head at every water station after the 5thkm. I even almost destroyed my earphones for running which was supposedly water-proof because of too much pouring of water. (i got ripped off by sennheiser, hahaha) I took a short walk break after my 7thkm because my left knee was aching. On km9, I was running my usual pace when suddenly the lady right in front of me abruptly stopped and tied her shoe laces. I almost bumped into her and cautioned her from stopping without any sign to other runners behind her. I was already feeling weak because of the heat and I was glad to see the last left turn of the race. I finished with 59:04 for my finish time and 57:53 for my chip time. I guess breaking the 54minute mark would still take me a long time to achieve. I waited for my friends near ROX and went straight to Rockwell for our post-run breakfast at Grams.

OCAI RUN: I was not able to run for 2 weeks or more before this event. I was having sleeping problems and would often wake up around 3-4 am and can’t get back to sleep again. At the end of the day, I was too tired to go to either to UP or Marikina to run even just for 3-5km. On the day before the race, I had to go to work to finish some projects and had dinner with my office mates before playing billiards and bowling with them. I had about 3hours of sleep. On race day, my friend (who got lost while looking for the race area in Ortigas) and I started the race 10minutes behind the gun start. We ran together until the corner of Julia Vargas and Meralco Ave. I wanted to go ahead and catch up with my 2 other friends who started the race on time. The route was new to me and it is a good thing there were marshals every corner of the street. I like the steepness of the road at St.Martin going to ULTRA. I was still running my usual pace until I got back at Julia Vargas. This time, I had to slow down because of the pain on my left knee. I can see my 2 friends about 300meters ahead of me but i can’t reach them because of the pain on my knee when running downhill. I caught up with them a few meters after Rodriguez Rd. From there, we talked and walked until the U-turn at Tiendesitas near Ortigas Ave. After a bit of heart to heart talk with them, I decided to go ahead so I can take their photos at the finish line. From Tiendesitas to Meralco Ave, I overtook some more runners and relaxed when I was already in Garnet Rd and ADB ave. I realized that it has been too long since I last went to Ortigas and for me it felt like a trip back at memory lane. I finished with 1hr, 17mins and 31 seconds. My time from my ipod was 1hr and 7mins and 15 seconds. I guess it was not a bad race time with a long walk break with my friends for about a kilometer. We lined up for our loot bags and chatted for a bit before heading to Eastwood for a great breakfast at Heaven and Eggs. I spent the rest of the day with my friends over 2 movies, a big lunch and coffee late in the evening.

Surprise Surprise!!!

Something big is coming up real soon. I can’t say much about it yet but it’s going to change a lot of things in my life. I am having mixed emotions about it right now, but things happen for a reason. I’ll post more about it when it becomes official..

Ending the Month of May with a Blast

Things became a bit crazy the past weeks. With all the workloads (means limited running at night), family stuff and the so-called quarter-life crisis bugging (is it a myth?) me, I wanted to end this month on a positive note.

Since my injury last March’s race, it took me about a month and a half before i wore my running shoes again. My first fun run after March was a run for my high school alma mater held at Quirino Grandstand. The Takbo para kay Inang Lupe event gave me the opportunity to run again and meet some of the people responsible for one of the best 4 years of my life again.

The next day, I ran bandit with my ex-officemates and long-time running mate since I started joining race events in Manila, in BHS for the Earth Run.

Since that day, I wanted to go back to my previous weeknight runs in UP and Marikina.
Running only 5-10km max, 3 times a week.

This coming weekend, I may not be able to break my PR but I’ll make sure that I’ll give my best at the Kerygma and Nature Valley events.
These 2 races are dedicated to my brother who has finally decided to enter the religious life this coming Saturday. Good luck to you bro. We will be praying for you always.