Tag Archives: Arnold Villarube

360 Fitness Club Boot Camp Race… from Hell!

I was supposed to do some sprinting and hurdling workouts this afternoon. But it turned out that the guys from 360 Fitness Club had reserved the place from 3pm to 7pm. Since I got to the stadium a little past 2pm, I only had a good 30 minutes to do some quick hurdle drills.

Be a fan of 360 Fitness Club

I was quite pissed off at the ignorant PSC lady whom I talked to yesterday. She failed to inform me of the Boot Camp Race!

Photo from completethecircuit.com

But then again, I had to make the most out of my unfortunate circumstances. I did around 7 reps over 4 junior hurdles, five-stepping my way in between. I focused on form, particularly my errant trail arm. It was a good workout, like I always say, despite my week-long lay-off. Although my legs felt quite sluggish, my technique remained top-of-the-line.

I was just about to leave Ultra when I bumped into my college block mate Pat Cortez, one of the part owners of the innovative fitness club. Since I just had enough cash in my wallet to meet the Php 350 race fee, I signed up! I don’t usually join recreational running events, but the Boot Camp Race was more than just running. The kettle bell and the TRX stations piqued my interest.

Visit the Philippine Kettleclub website

And I also saw some familiar faces in Carlo Dizon (a former track teammate) and his bro Pao, some national athletes like 800m run national record holder John Lozada and decathlete Arnold Villarube, and my newfound blogger friend Dhenz of Running Pinoy fame.

Read Pinoymiler’s Legends Series: King of Pinoy Half Mile (John Lozada)

Read Running Pinoy’s account of the Boot Camp

If I only knew that I’d have to run a friggin’ 300 to 400m AROUND the track in between stations, I wouldn’t have heeded Pat’s advice to sign up for the Level 3 (Advanced) variation! Although circuit training have been a part of my training routine for the better part of the decade, I was a newbie when it came to lifting kettle bells or using the TRX! To make matters worse, I hardly sprint beyond 200m nowadays, since I’m at the competition phase of the track season.

I had to go through a literal hell of lactic acid just to complete the following stations, thanks to the excruciatingly long strolls around the oval.

  1. Station 1: 35 push ups
  2. Station 2: Stadium steps (3 rounds back-and-forth)
  3. Station 3: Kettle bell lifts (25 reps)
  4. Station 4: Step-ups (40 reps both legs)
  5. Station 5: Elevated ladders (3 rounds, but I did 4 or 5, thanks to the marshals!)
  6. Station 6: The so-called Maze (3 rounds)
  7. Station 7: TRX Station – Modified reverse row (25 reps)
  8. Station 8: TRX Station – Push ups with crunch

Aside from those accursed kettle bells, the stations weren’t all that difficult. I actually had fun doing the stadium steps and the TRX stations. I said it before and I’ll say it again, the wretched runs in between ruined KILLED me ten times over.

Instead of maintaining a steady pace during those BLOODY runs, I modified my pace to fit my currently inadequate endurance level. I walked a good 10m to 20m (sometimes longer!) before and after each station. I then shifted into a slow jog all the way into 70% sprinting effort during the latter parts of the Boot Camp from hell!

As I made my way out of the last station, I accidentally tripped over one of the metal supports for the pole vault mats. In a split second an image of a broken arm flashed in my mind! I cushioned the fall by landing on the track on my behind. Thank heavens nothing bad happened!

View pictures of my arm operation (warning: bloody pics galore)

I was a dead man walking after the 6th station. I asked myself, “why in the hell did I pay Php350 bucks to experience pain?” Frankly, I wasn’t concerned about the time (although I tried my utmost not to finish behind the lone powerfully built female who joined the level 3 race. I was a triumphant, thank heavens). Being inherently competitive, it was surprising how uninterested I was in my time for the course.  Never had the cliche “Run against yourself” been so relevant!

Perhaps I’ve lost a good measure of my competitive fire during the years I spend retired from the sport.

Nevertheless, the experience was a refreshing change from my usual routine.  Despite my crappy time, I was quite proud to be one of the finishers. The circuit course was well-designed – tailor-made to give this newbie one hell of an ass-whipping!

GREAT WORKOUT!

The 4x100m relay: Where Underdogs Thrive

Track & field is an individual sport. There is some measure of teamwork in the distance events, where packs of runners can stay together throughout the entire race (like Flying Finns of the olden days) or follow a designated pace maker for particular stretches. But in the end, an athlete’s result for a particular event is credited only to the effort of one. The team aspect of the relays sets it aside from the other disciplines. Passing the baton from one sprinter to the other makes for an exciting spectacle. The speed involved makes little room for error, where the slightest mistake in timing and release could spell the difference between triumph and defeat.

Perhaps that is why the relays are traditionally held at the latter parts of an athletics competition. It is a fitting finale to the showcase of speed, strength and endurance that is track & field.

It is in the explosive 4x100m relay where an underrated quartet can overcome a faster set of opponents through slick passing. Unlike its longer counterpart, the 4x400m relay, the underdog squad can overcome glaring differences in aggregate speed at the shorter race. Whereas in the longer relay, the most dominant force in the quarter-mile, the Americans, almost always reign supreme.

2008 Beijing Olympics

My favorite relay race of all is the 2008 Beijing Olympics 4x100m relay, where the indefatigable Nobuharo Asahara anchored the Japanese team to an unprecedented bronze (38.15s).

Japan has always been a consistent qualifier to the 400m relay finals (4th – 2004, 6th – 2000, 6th – 1992, 5th – 1932); it was about time the Japanese won something big on the Olympic athletics stage. This proves that Asians, with the proper combination of fortunate circumstances and great teamwork, can distinguish themselves in the elite sprinting ranks.

And yeah, need I say more about the Usain Bolt-led Jamaican relay world record?

2002 Busan Asian Games

Thailand’s 2002 Busan Asian Games 4x100m victory is another favorite. The smooth-passing of the Thais (38.82s) overcame the advantage of the Japanese team (38.90s) in terms of aggregate speed. It’s important to note that Thailand’s fastest sprinter at that time was Reeanchai “Ultraman” Seeharwong at 10.23s. The other members weren’t as impressive:

The Japanese, in contrast, had near 10-flat sprinters in Asahara (10.02) and Shingo Suetsugo (10.05s in 2002, 10.03s lifetime best). The other two members have faster personal bests than the Thais:

On paper, the Japanese squad was the favorite. However, an underrated Thai team overcame the stark differences in aggregate speed with their flawless baton exchanges.

2004 Athens Olympics

The formidable American quartet of Shawn Crawford (9.88 – 2004), Justin Gatlin (9.85s – 2004), Coby Miller (9.98s – 2002) and Maurice Greene (9.79s – 1999) lost to the British by a hair’s breadth, thanks to the former’s faulty baton passing – a fixture in American relay races. On paper, the Brits were a lot slower than the Americans.

With a generous splattering of Olympic gold medalists and former/current/future century dash record holders in the American lineup, the gold medal was theirs to lose. And they lost it by the infinitesimal of margins, with Lewis-Francis edging out the fast-finishing Greene, 38.07s to 38.08s.

Among the aforesaid underdog feats, the most impressive (Asian bias aside!) in terms of performance, glamor and glitter would have to be the Great Britain’s 2004 upset win. Whereas the 2008 Japanese relay quartet won bronze with both the American and British teams disqualified prior to the final, the 2004 British quartet overcame a loaded U.S. squad composed of 3 Olympic gold medalists and marquee names in sprinting.

A decent enough aggregate speed and slick baton passing is imperative for a world-beating relay team. Although the traditional sprinting powerhouse, the United States, is well-endowed with prolific sprinters, baton passing has been an eternal thorn since American sprinters are a diverse group of athletes, spread among a vast country. As Shawn Crawford said during an interview, practicing baton exchanges becomes a difficult in light of the varying schedules and locales.

A much smaller country like Britain, Japan and Thailand could muster more frequent training sessions. From what I’ve heard, the Thailand team practically lived together as a team. The Japanese team, similarly, are a tightly bonded lot, as exhibited by the emotional farewell they gave to their long-time ace sprinter, Asahara.

The current Philippine national record stands at 40.55s, set during the 2005 Manila Southeast Asian Games where Philippine 100m/200m dash record holder Ralph Soguilon (10.45s), Albert Salcedo, Long Jump record holder Henry Dagmil and decathlete Arnold Villarube won silver. If the Philippines can assemble a formidable array of mid- to low-10 second sprinters and perfect the baton exchange, surely, a sub-40 clocking is a possibility.

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