Category Archives: Moro

Thinking Things Over (21 January 2012)

I was supposed to train in Ultra last Saturday, but it turned out that the entire venue was unable for public use the entire day. Not wanting to let the day go to waste, I went to Moro to do some sprints. It was a fortuitous turn of events as my former team was also training in the same venue.

It was a welcome sight to see familiar faces (although this number is steadily dwindling). I had a good chat with Coach Igor Quodala prior to starting my workout. The University track & field grassroots program has grown by leaps and bounds, apparently. Since I had an ABL game scheduled the next day, I opted for a light workout. I did a few reps of hurdle walkovers, the first time I worked over the hurdles in 2012.

I’ve been hounded yet again by thoughts of retirement the past few months. Under the circumstances, I just could not see the point of pursuing my far-flung athletics dreams. In a sense, I was in limbo. One part of me wants to keep the dream alive while the other yearns for something bigger than hurdling. Nevertheless, hanging up my spikes is out of the question. The past couple of years has been enlightening, reinforcing the fact that the good old athletics training routine is an excellent way to get fit – competitive aspirations aside.

But then again, the scheme of things tend to nudge one’s decisions to a particular direction.

During the rest phase of my 4x60m sprinting workout, my former college coach remarked “Jobs, puwede pa (You still have it).” For someone who trains alone and struggles to mix and match what scant athletics knowledge, this was a heartwarming compliment. Come to think of it, I’ve put so much work in this season’s GPP. At least I’ve seemed to regain some measure of my old strength.

For the nth time, let me say that I’m not retiring yet. As for the question of hurdling, I still have time to think things over.

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Fresh Air! (18 January 2012)

In the past two weeks, Moro has been devoid of its usual denizens. At night, when I usually train, the badminton and basketball courts seemed like eerie graveyards. The cavernous expanse of the indoor gym was dimly lit. Aside from a handful of PT patients, employees and the ever so diligent jogger/former Ateneo President Fr. Ben Nebres, Moro was practically deserted.

Hence, I kept the training sessions mercifully short. I could not last more than an hour and a half in those circumstances anyway! The speed endurance routine I’ve been doing left little room for boredom. Somehow, all the panting and lactic acid had blocked off the monotony.

Thankfully, I trained with a former high school teammate a couple of days back. It was refreshing to actually talk to someone real for a change. I’ve had enough quality time with my imaginary training buddies! Having a friend nearby takes a lot of the weight off my back. I’ve been training alone for so long that I’ve almost forgotten how it feels to have teammates.

Then it hit me. I know quite a lot of people, former track athletes at that, willing to hit the track to stay in shape or compete again. I am not that alone after all. Who knows? Maybe in a few months’ time, an informal club could take root.

Stoked! (4 January 2012)

I’ve been feeling down the past few days. I opted to rest and stay home on Tuesday night, instead of going to Ultra for my weekly hurdles workout. Last night, I was dead set on doing the same, laid back routine. I’ve already eaten dinner and was comfortably perched in front of the boob tube, watching the Powerade – Rain or Shine PBA semifinals.

I’ve told myself many times that I should have taken my childhood basketball lessons seriously. Who knows what could have happened, had I started early and channeled much passion into the hoops game. But past is past. It’s too late to be a competitive pro baller. And I’m way too short. If I didn’t suck at high school basketball, I wouldn’t have shifted to track.

Nevertheless, watching that game gave me a much needed jolt. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was only 8:00 PM. There was ample time to do speed endurance workouts. For a split second, I hesitated. I turned on the TV and went for a quick shower.

A few minutes later, I was off to the track. I stayed at the track for around one hour. The crisp, night air was invigorating. I was particularly proud of the last rep. I wasn’t all that tired, but I was feeling lazy. I wanted to just stop and go home. I slapped some sense into myself and put on my game face. All throughout the last 200m sprint, I imagined myself running the last leg of the 4x400m relay, shadowing one of the Borlee brothers. At the imaginary homestretch of the fantasy race, I took the outer lanes as I successfully passed a non-existent competitor. I summoned the last vestiges of strength to reach the invisible tape signifying the finish line.

Despite subjecting myself to the most difficult workout I’ve had in the nascent 2012 season, I felt alive with exhilaration after the lung-busting, 7x200m sprint, 200m jog workout. I was breathing heavily and sweating profusely; it was the first time I did something that intense in recent memory.

I’ve had a great workout!

Return to the Hill (27 June 2011)

I was supposed to train in Ultra last night, but it turned out that my Frisbee friends won’t be around. Since I need bright lights for a good hurdles workout (even if it’s just drills), I decided to scrap my plans and head out to Moro instead. I arrived at the Hill quite early, thanks to hassle-free MRT ride.  The night had not fully set in yet. Taking advantage of the natural light, I did my warm-up run around the good ole high school oval (and bumped into a few familiar face).

Coach Mick and Coach Igor were in Moro as well, supervising the sprint workouts of the college team. I’m old! I hardly know anyone in the team aside from the veterans and the coaches.

Training was great! I did lots of running drills to compensate for the times I neglected these exercises. Afterward, I did a few plyometric exercises, taking advantage of the space (I train at a cramped fitness gym, remember?). To cap the night, I sprinted 4x30m, resting for five minutes in between reps. The speed was still noticeable, even if I wasn’t wearing my sprinting spikes. Despite feeling a tad bit apprehensive about my recently strained right hamstring, I was able to go into full speed at the latter parts of sprint.

I just love doing speed work. It brings forth a unique adrenaline rush and a sense of exhilaration unique to athletics. As I always say after each high quality training session: great workout!

Back (20-23 June 2011)

I finally shook off illness and made the first steps towards the second half of the 2011 season.

On Monday, I headed out to the indoor track for my first track workout in weeks. The next day, l hit the gym despite feeling quite sore from the previous night’s. The last time I trained at the good ole indoor oval was more than a month ago. I’ve missed the place! Several familiar faces were there as well. While I was changing into my training clothes, I heard Coach Aris’ distinctive laugh emanate from the gym. When I went inside, I saw former teammate Bry Sutingco doing rehab exercises for his knee. It turned out that Zek Valera, my PPVC and college teammate, was also doing speed endurance work upstairs.

To cap the three-day training romp, I played some hoops with market colleagues on Wednesday. I was rusty of course, since the last basketball game I played was way back in February (we were bamboozled in our last ABL game, remember?). Nevertheless, it feels great to be physically active again. My hams did not act up, thanks to the rest and rehab program I followed.

Having successfully sprinted over ten, one-meter high barriers at the PNG has done wonders for my self-confidence. At first I was stumped, feeling down at the 1.6s differential from my lifetime best. Soon enough, I felt a sense of accomplishment. In a sense, I regained that swagger that I thought I have lost.

So much for the swagger! My legs are almost numb with soreness (well, I’m exaggerating of course) from the past days’ activities. I’ll be taking it easy today and enjoy the Friday!

Rebound (11 April 2011)

I slept for a good 7 hours the night before. My legs felt well-rested! However, there were ominous signs. While at the hospital visiting my dad (he’s halfway in his chemotherapy), I learned from Twitter that a huge fire had gutted the slums near my place. It was tragic, with hundreds of destitute families left homeless. Traffic was heavy as fire trucks from all over the Metro scampered to put out the blaze.

I was supposed to head straight to Moro as soon as I got home from the hospital. However, we had to carry our old refrigerator into my dad’s Elf truck (for transportation to Quezon province!). I was delayed yet again! The training window narrowed to a little more than one hour.

But still, I soldiered on! Juggling work, training and other commitments the past year, I’ve become well-versed in the art of quick workouts. Hell, I was dead set on redemption. Last Saturday’s session was just way too crappy. I did a few starts and intense, all-out sprints. I was satisfied at my leg speed. I was a little tense throughout the sprinting motion though, perhaps due to my eagerness to eke out one helluva great workout.

At the end of the short session, I still had quite a lot in my tank. Even if I wanted to push on for another hour, Moro’s closing time was fast approaching.

Starts (28 March 2011)

I must admit that I was feeling quite frustrated last Saturday. Because of the heat, I could hardly sprint, much less sprint explosively. Since I only get to train in Rizal once a week, I naturally felt bad at my inability to churn out a dashing performance. I had to modify my workout just to enable my tired self to get through the day.

Last night’s sprinting workout in Moro started slowly. I had flashbacks of last Saturday’s frustrating circumstances. I wanted to go home and rest my tired legs (my right hamstring felt tight). After a few good warm-up sprints, I was able to shrug off the urge to simply cut the workout short. It was a minor victory in itself.

It helped that the Philippines’ SEA Games basketball squad trained in Moro. I had a field day gawking at the skills of collegiate stars like RR Garcia and Nico Salva. Things could have been much better if there were a few pretty females around!

Once the tightness in my hams went away, I was able to focus on my starts. I kept things simple, since the basic technique has been solidly ingrained the past few years. I thought of only one thing – the quick first step, the massive explosion from rest to all-out speed. This is the first honest-to-goodness starts session I had this year; hence, I expect to improve much in the coming months.

My starting technique is the most glaring gap in my hurdling. In light of my limited time to train nowadays, I need every advantage I can get!

Great [Han Solo] Workout! (2 March 2011)

I had the worst of training sessions last Sunday (27 Feb).  I felt so sapped even at the warm-up. I scrapped the plyo’s workout and went straight into sprints. My Han Solo training routine had gotten into my head yet again. Times like these have been increasing in frequency. It takes quite a lot of willpower to shrug off the urge to simply go home and chill!

Fortunately, I felt no such external pangs during last Wednesday night’s workout. The fact that I was trying my new Adidas tights infused a new sense of wonder (yeah, call me shallow, but having new training stuff increases my competitive drive!). I was also well-rested; my legs were aching to sprint. Since I’m at the tail-end of GPP and just starting SPP, I haven’t been wearing my sprinting spikes, settling for my pair of running shoes. Since I don’t have training buddies, I easily get carried away, opting to scrap the designated pace for a more intense sprint.

I did the customary warm-up, dynamic stretches and running drills. And boy, did I feel supple. I am 100% healthy, with absolutely no pain or niggles in my legs. For my interval workout, I ran 2x4x50m, resting a mere 25m in between reps.  I hardly felt that I was sprinting on friggin’ running shoes and on a hard, regupol indoor track. I didn’t even miss my sprinting spikes as I powered down the track with each sprint. I might have gone over the designated 85% sprinting effort a few times, but hey, I’m entitled to speeding once in a while!

At the end of it all, I felt psyched! I was sweating profusely, breathing quite heavily. If I had teammates, I would have shouted a mean “great workout!” and pumped my fist, lifted up by the adrenaline high!

Although I prefer having a training group, working out by myself has its benefits. The training sessions are great moments for self-examination. Various thoughts keep racing on the field of my poignant mind. Despite the lazy urges, a firm re-affirmation of purpose follows.

Balancing Act (23 February 2011)

I left the office at precisely 5:00 PM yesterday. I caught the rush hour MRT surprisingly early. I arrived at the Trinoma station by 6:15 PM. The drive to Ateneo took just 30 minutes, due to the relatively light traffic. I was amazed at how the uncontrolled forces of Manila traffic cooperated in what was supposed to be a hectic night of training. I missed out on two consecutive days of training due to lack of sleep.

Yesterday, I wanted to try something new (for my work night routine) by combining a track workout with a quick gym session – all in one night. This might not be much for full-time athletes or student-athletes even, but for a passionate sprint hurdler with a friggin’ day job, this is a major innovation!

Since I lift weights at a friggin’ fitness gym, wide open spaces for sprints and plyo’s are impossible to find in the venue. And because I’m too stingy to cough out additional cash for a gym membership in my old collegiate training base in Ateneo, I have to make do with the fitness gym. But then again, the Celebrity Club and Ateneo are just a few minutes’ drive from each other – if traffic cooperates!

I did running drills and sprints for around 40 minutes at the Moro indoor track. I loved the feeling of actually sprinting on a running track (instead of making do with the roads near my home). I was at the gym by 8:00 PM, after a surprisingly hassle free 12-minute drive. Not wanting to stay up too late, I cut short the gym workout by 9:15 PM.

It was somewhat proud of my juggling act at the end of it all. Since I got home a little past 10:00 PM, it took quite some time for body to fully digest the recovery meal, and to shed off the effects of a potent endorphin high. Hence, I slept at around 1:00 AM and woke up around 5 hours later, two hours less than the bare minimum!

This is a work in progress. I’d have to take care of my recovery if I’m to find some measure of success in this balancing act.

Focus (13 December 2010)

For the first time in almost a week, I had an honest-to-goodness track workout. Right after work, I rushed to the Trinoma mall, where my car was parked. Thanks to the MRT and my brisk walking skills, it took a good hour and a half to get to Moro from my office in Makati.

The indoor track was almost deserted, save for two of my college batchmates. It was refreshing to see familiar faces. It relieves the monotony that tends to build up training solo.

Since I’m slated to run the 100m dash this Saturday, I kept the workout intense and straight-to-the point. I did three sprint starts and two all-out 150’s. On a positive note, there was marked improvement in my crouch starting technique. Instead of abruptly running erect out of the blocks, I was able to stay low for a good 30 meters. However, my sprinting form had some major quirks. Instead bringing my foot up as soon as it goes below the butt, it kicks all the way back – a no-no for a sprinter.

I wanted to do more drills last night. But I figured, such moves will be nothing but stopgap measures. Mental note to self: do more drills next season!

More importantly, I was able to resist the temptation of the bottle last night. This is a rare show of discipline on my part. Maybe I’m just pissed off that the story of this season has been incessant interruptions. Although I have two more Christmas parties scheduled this week, I’ll keep my alcohol intake limited to the bare minimum – or none at all.

Track workout:

Running drills

3x50m starts

2x150m sprints (100%)

Deficient (4 December 2010)

At first, I was euphoric seeing the first recorded clips of myself three stepping. It has been so long since I had someone to tape my training sessions. Well, that’s the major consequence of training alone. Thanks again to Paco Razon and Chert Chu!

Read “Return to Moro (4 December 2010)”

The lower quality clip from the link above was deceptive. The grainy pixels seemed to hide the glaring deficiencies in my hurdling technique and my utter lack of speed. When I watched the video clip below, my heart sank at the Herculean task of building my hurdling base from the ground up (again).

In certain aspects of my life, I am a perfectionist. Athletics and the hurdles are prime examples. I am intensely competitive.

Even though I was relatively cold when the aforesaid video was taken, the flaws in my form were evident. The starts was slow. I tend to wobble from side-to-side whilst sprinting (an evidence of sub-standard core strength). My trail arm flails to the side before clearing the hurdle. My hip action isn’t quick enough.

I shall take a break during Christmas vacation and resume my training as soon as 2011 starts. Fixing the aforesaid technical deficiencies will be high up on my athletics goal wall.

Video credit:

Paco Razon

Return to Moro (4 December 2010)

I originally planned on going to Rizal early this morning. But when I woke up at around 5:30AM, I was greeted by furious rain. I felt lazy all of a sudden. I wanted to stay in bed and sleep as long as I want. In the end, I ended up in the good ole Ateneo campus. After a short campus run, I did my dynamic stretching exercises in front of the good ole Blue Eagle Gym.

Afterward, I drove to the Moro indoor oval for my track workouts. My former college team was there as well, with Ultra closed to the general public (exclusive use for the national archers! Don’t they have their own archery field?). It has been so long since I saw the oval packed with so many tracksters!

For the first time in almost three years (I sound like a broken record uttering the aforesaid words), I did an honest-to-goodness sprint hurdling workout in Moro (thanks to Coach Mick!). In my junior year in college, I remember doing endless hurdling drills just to ingrain the correct technique. I’ve always considered Moro as the place where my hurdling dreams took root – and bore fruit.

Aside from a few adjustments at first, I was in my element throughout the entire training session. My body welcomed the hard feel of the regupol track. And those yellow and black hurdles – how badly have I missed them!

Special thanks to Paco Razon and Chert Chu for the videos!

Track workout:

5×3 junior hurdles (5 steps)

1×1 hurdle starts

1×2 hurdle starts

3×3 hurdle starts

3x100m sprints (all out)

Video credits:

Paco Razon

Chert Chu

Rising up (28 and 29 November 2010)

I had loads of fun the past two training days. Despite feeling a bit sore from the unforgiving 360 Fitness Club Boot Camp, I forced myself to go to Moro last Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t keen on doing anything too strenuous.

I ran around the Ateneo campus just to loosen up my legs. I look forward to these rare campus runs. Since I’m almost always nocturnal when it comes to training, basking under the sun’s warmth is a rare opportunity.

Read “Long Runs at the Hill”

Unfortunately, the overcast skies weren’t apt for me to wear my prescription shades! I did some light starts work afterward, just to polish some technical matters ahead of my first and last 100m dash race on the 11th of December.

I woke up this morning after a good 7 hours worth of sleep. The soreness of the weekend debacle was all gone. I was pumped-up to head out to the gym. I didn’t have to wake up early since it was a holiday. I really do miss early morning training sessions! It reminded me of the days when I listened to Oasis’ “Morning Glory” (got this from Goal, the movie) before heading out to Rizal or Ultra back in my college days.

As always, the gym was devoid of attractive single ladies. It was more crowded than the night shift. It got even more packed when the young guns from the Ateneo High School Track Team arrived! I didn’t complain, though. I just love lifting with fellow track & field athletes (even if I hardly know the new faces of the AHS track squad!). It’s a refreshing change from the usual gym habitues I’m accustomed too.

All-in-all, the past two days were quite productive. It’s good to know that I’m still pretty much in shape, despite some real life hurdles. I’m all set for my 2010 season debut – and finale!

Video credit:

oasisinetofficial

Track workout (28 Nov 2010)

1km run

Running drills

3x50m starts

Gym/plyo workout (29 Nov 2010)

Core on swiss ball

Jerk

Shoulder press

Bicep curls/tricep kickback

Pikes

Deep squats

Plyometric step-ups

Sprints-Boozing Superset (19 and 20 October 2010)

I scrapped a planned training in Ultra last Tuesday, no thanks to Super Typhoon Juan. Even if I brought my trusty rain gear, the signs simply weren’t pointing to the right direction. My sister’s football practice got canceled. The frisbee guys scrapped their training session too. Also, I had been getting bad vibes from some work-related stuff!

Hence, I followed my sixth sense and decided to train inside the covered confines of Moro instead.

My legs were well-rested. I started off the workout with some quality 50m crouch starts. Hell, I actually felt fast sprinting on Moro’s hard regupol surface. It was a sensation I haven’t felt in the longest time. I did all out 200m sprints afterward. The first rep was quite intense! I was able to power my way through the sharp indoor curves. As I got off the bends, I felt my streaking body slingshot its way through the straight. It was a fulfilling sensation.

In the second rep, the aforesaid intensity was missing. I was exhausted after one try! I should have taken more time to recover.

Wednesday was rest day. I originally intended to drop by Mike’s beer-day bash in Makati and go home by 12 midnight. But the temptation of free booze and good company was too much to resist! Dammit. I got home by 3am! I haven’t been THAT drunk in months.

I know that alcohol, training and late nights don’t mix. This shall be my last boozing escapade!

Track workout:

Running drills

3x50m starts

2x200m sprints (all out)

New-found Energy (7 October 2010)

The revival of the PATAFA Weekly Relays, albeit in shortened form, has infused new-found energy into my training routine. For the first time in months, I’m actually training for an honest-to-goodness track & field meet.

I worked on my sprinting last night, focusing on explosiveness and my starting technique. My legs didn’t feel tired. Gone was my lazy demeanor so prevalent in the track sessions of the previous months. I still have much to learn regarding my starting technique. I’m still not satisfied with the way I explode off the (non-existent) starting blocks. Moreover, I need to unlearn the bad habit of rising up from the crouch too early – a testament to my sprint hurdling background. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed marked improvement. Even if I haven’t measured my starting ability against other athletes yet, I’m quite confident that I would give my 2007 quite a hard time at the 100m dash.

In the past months or so, a glaring deficiency in my sprinting form became apparent. My right arm (incidentally, my lead arm) swings too widely from the elbows – disproportionate to my left arm’s (trail arm) more orthodox movements. I never had major problems in sprinting form; this is the first time I’ve encountered this. Hence, I’ll be focusing more on running drills and be more conscious of how I sprint.

The centerpiece of the night’s workout were the all-out 150m sprints. My legs felt springy and fast that I was able to power my way around Moro’s sharp indoor curves. There were no minor muscle pains this time! I actually felt fast for a change.

The PATAFA Weekly Relays will start on 6 November. It gives me a good 29 days to prepare for my first race in almost three years. Since I’m not in tip-top hurdling shape yet, I plan on competing in the sprints first. I don’t want to rush things by racing ill-prepared. At this point in time, my skills are below-par.

Frankly, I don’t really care about who I’ll run against in the sprints. I just want to get this monkey off my back and announce to the world that “Hey, I’m friggin’ back!” I intend to sprint as fast possible, having as much fun as possible!

The same goes to the sprint hurdles. Only this time, I aim to sprint faster than ever!

Track workout:

Running drills

30m starts

150m sprints (all out)

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