Tag Archives: John Lozada

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!


Glory Days

The ageless Emerson Obiena uploaded an old photo to his Facebook account a while back. Judging from the designs of the Philippine team uniform, I figured that the picture was taken sometime during the early to mid-1990’s.

Photo from Emerson Obiena

Coach Emer’s subtitles confirmed my hypothesis. The bespectacled Filipino-Chinese athlete on the left is non-other than Coach Emer himself, the founder of the Philippine Pole Vault Club and a many-time international campaigner for the Philippines. On the rightmost side of the photo is Bruce Ventura, the Philippine national record holder for the shot put at 15.83m. Then Senator Joey Lina is at the center, beside the spunky-looking Edward Lasquette, the pole vault national record holder at 5.00m.

Obiena is the only holdover from that by-gone era. In his late 30’s, the father of two is still the best Filipino pole vaulter. Coach Emer is a two-time SEA Games Pole Vault silver medalist (1993 and 1999). He has a personal best of 4.95m, set during the 1999 National Open.

Obiena’s 4.93m clearance (Taipei, 2008)

The Herculean Bruce Ventura won silver in the shot during the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore. The Filipino-American Lasquette, who set the now 18-year old Philippine record in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, is a three-time SEA Games champion (1991, 1993 and 1995).

Filipino SEA Games Medalists since 1991

During the early years of my track days, I could barely find write-ups about the Gintong Alay days. I was fortunate to stumble upon an old book, Philippine Sports Greats, which featured a lengthy piece on the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics High Jump bronze medalist, Simeon Toribio. Articles about the resurgence of Philippine athletics during the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s are also hard to come by. Looking for actual clips of those storied races online is an impossibility! And don’t expect our sensationalist TV networks to air replays of past Philippine track & field campaigns.

Hence, I had to make do with meager competition results available in the world wide web, taking pride in the fact that a handful of my compatriots had distinguished themselves in international competition. Yell Carreon’s insightful interviews with Hector Begeo and John Lozada and Zytrexx’s nostalgic historical piece on Toribio and Miguel White are rare informative examples.

It’s quite unfortunate how Filipinos today hardly even remember the sporting heroes of our past. Aside from big names like Lydia de Vega-Mercado and Elma Muros-Posadas, most of our local athletics greats have been almost forgotten by the very people – the very country – they fought so hard for.

If archived footage or even detailed write-ups somehow find its way into the mainstream, perhaps a new generation of Filipino athletes – not just track & field athletes – will be inspired by those feats of greatness to do better than their forebears. Indeed, Filipino sports has so much more to offer.

Video credit:


Tuesday Night Lights (12 October 2010)

The revival of the PATAFA Weekly Relays had infused new energy into my comeback effort. All of sudden, my Han Solo routine didn’t seem pointless anymore. Even if I’m still rusty, in light of my temporary retirement, every training day seems to bring me one step closer to athletic ideal.

Last Tuesday’s track training was one of the best – if not the best – session this season. I was able to hitch a ride with my office mate right up to the Ultra gate. I got to the stadium a little before 6. As I made my way down the driveway, I saw the track bursting with much activity. The Women’s national football team was using the field; hence, the track was (almost) totally bathed in artificial daylight. Since Christmas season means longer nights in my side of the world, this was a blessing for this working athlete!

As soon as I got dressed, I went to my usual spot – the 110m starting line. I saw familiar faces in the likes of former national team decathlete Obet Fresnido and 800m national record holder John Lozada – my former coach, Fidel Gallenero’s contemporaries in the old GTK army of the late 90’s and early oughts.

Read: “Fidel Gallenero”

Read Pinoymiler’s article on Lozada: “King of Pinoy Half Mile”

Coach Obet, Coach John and Co. are now personal coaches  to a group of 13 or so runners. Talking to those guys surely got me into the track & field groove. It brought fond memories of how Coach Toto whipped me into shape five years ago.

I took advantage of the hurdles and the Tuesday Night Lights to do some much-needed technical hurdles training. After a few rounds of hurdle walk-overs, side-clearing and 5-step hurdle clearances, I was sweating profusely. Before I knew it, a good 45 minutes had passed and the track became crowded with hordes of running enthusiasts!

Focus was key since I was attempting to three-step over junior hurdles for the first time in almost three years. At first, the noises of the football players and the collective noises of the multitude of joggers were distracting. Moreover, it took quite some time for my eyes to adjust to the glare of the flood lights.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the moment. During my hiatus, I never thought that I’d end up competing again.

Before each rep, I visualized the movements  as I listened to pump-up music. I closed my eyes as I inhaled the crisp nighttime air, blocking myself from the world around me. Strangely, replaying Liu Xiang’s Athens 2004 gold medal win in my head almost always finds it way before each race. As I assumed the crouch start position, I kept saying to myself that “I am Liu Xiang,” only to correct it by saying “I’m Joboy Quintos – the best hurdler in the world. The best damn hurdler in the world.”

And it worked! Despite a momentary break in momentum approaching the 1st hurdle, my clearance was aggressive. The sprint-in-between was even better than last week’s session (when I cleared youth hurdles). After clearing the second and the last hurdle, I gave a monstrous dash to the imaginary finish line, emulating Colin Jackson’s famous dip.

I pumped my right fist (guts pose!) in jubilation as I walked back. What a night. What a night indeed.

Track workout:

Hurdle walkovers


5-step hurdle clearance

3×1 hurdle starts (junior height)

1×2 hurdle starts (junior height)

2x150m sprints (all out)

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