Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 2: Ateneo Law Blue Race

The process of registering for this run should have raised a few red flags for me. It required going to either the Ateneo Professional Schools in Rockwell or the Ateneo Lex office in the Loyola Heights campus. Rockwell was closer for me so I went there.

So, I get to the Rockwell campus in the morning and find the Ateneo Human Rights Center, which is where the registration should be, but I find just a single lady at her desk who could only tell me to wait for the students to be around, which would be at some undetermined time in the future. I then spend the next hour or two exploring the building, poking my head curiously into places I don't belong, and eventually wasting away the time on the internet-- until finally someone comes long and facilitates the registration.

Ateneo Law Blue Race
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Ateneo de Manila University

Distance: 5K / Time: 31:23 / Rank 28 of 104
A few days before the run I get a text message from the organizers saying that they had somehow lost the list of names associated with the numbers, and asked me to give my info. I replied as they ordered, and wished them a heartfelt best of luck. Losing the list of participant names is a big deal.

What pleased me most about this race was that the race route is pretty much just two loops of my usual jogging route when I was a dormer in Ateneo (though I would go all the way to the end of the high school road, to the Moro Lorenzo Sports Complex). It also gives me a chance to see what's changed in the past year since I've been there-- Ateneo never runs out of new things to construct. Also, being held in the Ateneo campus on an early Sunday morning meant that I wouldn't have the satisfaction of having traffic stopped for my sake.

The small pre-race crowd.

Tree-lined road in the Ateneo campus.

The distances for the race were 3K, 5K, and 7.5K. I have no idea why they would truncate it to a strange non-standard distance of 7.5K when they easily could have drawn a 10K distance with another loop or two within the campus.

One website said that they were expecting a maximum of 1000 runners, as though they were dampening expectations in case they ran out of singlets or whatever. The reality was that only 256 people actually participated, in all race categories. This was perhaps because of the inconvenient registration place, or maybe a lack of promotion, but I imagine the organizers would be disappointed with the turnout too.

The actual race results were not posted until 2.5 weeks later, and that only came after I personally emailed several organizers. They explained that their database was screwy since many registered on the race day itself. I'm a gracious participant and I say thanks, but another person blasted the organizers for the problems. When they finally posted the results on the Facebook page (with only bib numbers, not actual names) it came with an apology, and an appeal for understanding since the organizers were all full-time law students.

I hate to admit it but all that really says is that one can't expect competence from full-time Ateneo students of law.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week 1: Adobo Run After Dark

Faced with several weekends with nothing on my calendar, I embarked on an ambitious project: Five consecutive weekends of 5K fun runs, each in a different location.
The rationale:
  • I like to run
  • I need to exercise
  • I want to do something I can brag about
I've joined a couple of other fun runs in the past (five to be exact; and yes I keep count) so I'm familiar enough with the mechanics. I'd be happy enough if I could just beat my own personal record-- 28:12 at the 2006 Milo Marathon in Dumaguete-- and maybe finally manage to run a whole 5K without resorting to walking.
The first event on my itinerary was one I saw advertised at The Adobo Run After Dark.

Adobo Run After Dark
Saturday, October 30, 2010
McKinley Hill

Distance: 5K / Time: 33:20 / Rank 71 of 477
This one brought me to McKinley Hill, a route known for its steep roads, as well as for the fact that no one knows how to commute there. I've done this route before but that doesn't make the climb any less backbreaking.
The event was unusual in two notable ways: First, as you can tell from the name, it was held on a Saturday night instead of the usual early morning. Second, it was the night before Halloween, so participants were encouraged to come in costume. Just enough people came in costume to make their gimmick a success, I think. Tragically I forgot to bring my camera, but you can see the pictures at I was running alongside swimsuit guy for a while-- watching bystander reactions to that was a lot of fun.
This was organized by Adobo Magazine, which is apparently some kind of advertising company I have never heard of. After the race there was a loot bag with a free Adobo Magazine, refrigerator magnet, and some other stuff I can't remember at the moment. The tragedy here was that they only prepared 1000 loot bags even though there were far more participants than that, and each participant had a loot bag claim stub. Naturally the 10K runners, who ran farthest and arrived last, are the ones that end up getting nothing.
There was a loud after-party which I didn't really stick around for. It had live bands and supposedly unlimited beer which they jokingly (I hope) said would be thirst quenchers for the runners. I like beer as much as the next guy, but pumping alcohol into exhausted people in need of hydration sounds like the worst idea ever.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Check out the sandwich that I am eating this very moment:

The menu called it a Smoked Chicken Roast with Canadian Black Bacon. P128 at Earle's Delicatessen in Makati.

Smoked chicken roast, Canadian black bacon,
romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers,
white onions, honey mustard and cheese,
on French bread.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Music at McDonalds

So, I was at McDonalds at 7:15 AM today to get some breakfast. There was a guy sitting alone a table, probably in his 40s at least, having pancakes and reading his free newspaper.
He calls over to a guy behind the counter, gives a knowing look and points indistinctly towards the ceiling.
The employee behind the counter returns a puzzled expression. What?
"Music!", the guy says.
Employee's face is like, Really? He turns to a manager-looking person behind him and says something. Guy over there wants music. It's kind of early in the morning, McDonalds probably doesn't normally have their music at this time of the day. But how would I know, who notices that sort of stuff anyway.
Then they turn on the music.
I have no point to this story. Just thought it was weird.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Before and After: NLEX-C5 Interchange

Here's another stunning before-and-after find in Google Earth. This is located somewhere in northern Metro Manila, at the under construction interchange of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and C5 road.

Check it out in Google Maps. The map layer overlay still shows where the old roads used to be.

It's practically a whole village wiped out. The history of satellite imagery shows that a lot of the houses here have been existing since at least 2001. This must be one of those things I hear on the news about people causing a riot over their homes being demolished. Hard to blame them.