Happy Hour

September 29, 2009

Heroes in our midst

Filed under: Uncategorized — levyang @ 7:04 am

September 26, 2009 will forever live in infamy in our collective memories.  This was the day Metro Manila experienced its worst flooding in 40 years.  Practically, 80 percent of the roads were impassable and I’m sure now by now, through the help of facebook and the internet, all of you have seen the various images Typhoon Ondoy has left us with.  Yes, it was a tragedy.  But tragedies have this habit of bringing out the best in the Filipinos.  For this post, I would just like to salute two individuals for showing me what bravery and courage is all about:  Carol Ong and Rayzon Galdonez.

September 26 began quite innocently enough.  The Grade 3 pupils of San Agustin were going to have their Outreach program at Intramuros.  Having checked the PAGASA website the night before, I knew there was a storm that was going to hit land that day.  But then, when I woke up at around 5:30am, there were just intermittent showers.  Thus, Ellet and I woke up our son, Matthew, and prepared ourselves to go to Intramuros.  We arrived at the San Agustin Church at around 8am.  Soon, the school bus arrived bringing along Matthew’s schoolmates.  When the outreach program began, the rain began to pour more heavily and steadily as well.  In fact, it was enough to knock out the electricity and sound system at certain points during the program.  But, the show did and must go on.  The program ended at around 11am and this was when the ordeal began.  Most of the students rode on the school bus.  Our family brought our own vehicle.  Ms. Ong did as well.  On our way back home, we could already see that portions of Roxas Boulevard were already flooded but still passable.  It wasn’t until we reached Macapagal Boulevard intersecting EDSA ext. that traffic grounded to an absolute halt.  Our family decided right then to make a U-Turn while we still can and stay at MOA until the flooding subsides. Through SMS exchanges with Matt’s teacher, we were updated as to the status of the school bus as they made their way home that day.  Now, the stretch from Macapagal Boulevard to CSA Makati is about 2 to 3 kilometers.  Even with the usual traffic at the Taft Avenue interesection, one can reach the destination in 15 to 20 minutes.  However, September 26 is a different story altogether.  As it turned out, the CSA School Bus finally reached the school at around 9:45 pm.  It spent a total of 10-11 hours covering a 2-3 kilometer distance.  Remember Ms. Carol Ong?  Ah yes, the subject of this post, I almost forgot.  Picture this.  It was nearing lunch time already and there is this school bus with at least 40 9 year olds and their stomachs grumbling.  Well, instead of whiling her time at the mall like the Angs, Ms. Carol Ong parked her car somewhere dry and did what according to her “any parent will do given the situation.”  She bought take-out food and waded through waist-high waters to bring the food to the hungry schoolchildren.  Instead of signing off with her good deed for the day,  she then stayed on the bus and assisted the teachers in feeding the children and making sure that all of them were safe and comfortable.  Later, perhaps sensing that the school bus might not make it through the floods, Ms. Ong then hired a bigger bus to ferry the children. Hours passed and as the bus inched its way to the school, it did not take long before the children were hungry again.  By then, most of the food outlets on the streets were already closed.  It was practically Waterworld at EDSA.  But I guess when the going gets tough, Ms. Ong gets tougher.  Once again, she waded through the floods, knocked at a closed Jollibee outlet and forced management to open and prepare take-out dinner for the CSA students.  It wasn’t until the time that the bus had finally reached the school that Ms. Ong finally called it a day.  She only went back for her car the next day.

According to Ms. Ong, she did nothing extraordinary.  She did “what any parent would do given the situation.”  To a certain degree, she’s right.  What she did, the parents among us wouldn’t think twice and also do for OUR children.  But what separates Ms. Ong from you and me is that she went the extra mile.  Like the Angs, she had her own transportation and could have lounged around the mall with her son and nobody will have blamed her for that.  After all, looking after one’s safety and that of the child’s is the primary concern of every parent.  But Ms. Ong chose to make the 40 CSA students (and the 4 CSA teachers) her children as well and that has made all the difference in the world.

Rayzon Galdonez was a professional cyclist.  He is a fun-loving friend who can do different magic tricks and make impossible contortions of his body.  He is also a soldier of the Philippine Army.  Soldiers are quite busy nowadays since they are called upon to assist in the relief and rescue operation.  Rayzon is part of the group assigned to the relief and rescue operation in Cainta, Rizal, one of the hardest-hit areas of Typhoon Ondoy.  Part and parcel of his job as a soldier.  Nothing extraordinary about that.

Rayzon Galdonez hails from Marikina City.  His parents live there.  Only now, he has no way of knowing for sure if they are still alive.  He lost contact with them after Ondoy’s fury last Saturday.  And all this time, he is busy relieving and rescuing the people in Cainta while his heart and mind is somewhere in Marikina… Yup, all in a day’s job for a soldier.

I’m sure there are a lot more stories out there about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  Ms. Carol Ong and Rayzon Galdonez are just two shining examples of such heroes in our midst.



September 22, 2009

The DU at MOA

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 4:39 am

Sunday was the 3rd leg of the Powerade Duathlon series organized by Thumbie and Popo Remigio.  I was there for the first two legs, so I just had to be there to complete the threesome 🙂  Got my race pack the day before at Bike King so I didn’t have to be at the race venue before the sun rises.  My wife and I got to the race venue at around 6am and I noticed that the number of participants were not as big as before 😦  The course for the 3rd leg is pretty much the same as the one that was used for the 2nd leg.  First Run consisted of 2 loops of 3.5km each making a total of 7K.  The bike leg was 6 loops with each loop measuring around 5 kilometers and change. 2nd Run is just one loop measuring 3.5K.  The course was flat, race is going to be fast and furious 🙂

The usual suspects were there:  Robeno Javier, August Benedicto for the men while Monica Torres and Mirasol Abad for the women.  Was glad to see Makoy DU-ing his first DU along with Mrs. Olives 🙂  (In the multisport world, Hannah the erstwhile rock star and vocalist of the band Session Road will always be known as Javy’s wife) 🙂

I thought I should mention that when I did the 2nd leg of the Powerade Duathlon, I did an extra loop of the bike leg.  Although I’m Chinese and am supposed to be good at math, I never liked counting loops.  Thus, when my cyclometer read 26kms after doing 5 loops then, I did another loop to reach the mandated 30kms.  It’s all good in any case because at least now I have a benchmark for this race when we’re really doing 6 loops of the bike leg 🙂

First Run

Before the race, I saw ULTRA training buddies, Norman and Julian, and we agreed to pace each other for the first run 🙂  It was really kind of them to accommodate me considering that I’m racing without a watch again.  Kinda like taking the bar exams without a pen 🙂   The starting gun was fired before 7am and we were off.  Norman and Julian set a pretty good pace.  These guys kill me at the track so I was quite ecstatic just to be able to keep up with them off the bat 🙂  As for Javy  (my supposed pacer for the 2nd leg), while I missed him this race, he’s in another league altogether 🙂  I was just drafting behind Norman and Julian the whole way and they didn’t miss a beat even while partaking of liquid refreshments at the aid stations.  As for me, I did not bother to drink anymore after the first aid station lest I lose any more ground to these greyhounds 🙂  Pretty soon, we were at T1.  I asked Julian what our time was for the first run and he blurted out 33-something.  Nice 🙂

Bike Leg

After the Camsur debacle, I’ve taken Coach Jomak’s advice to heart.  No more of those mashing the smallest rear cog, except during trainings 🙂  I was worried though that I might go slower using the 3rd from the smallest cog but as it turned out, power output was pretty much the same 🙂  No, I don’t have a power meter on my bike.  Just describing how I felt 🙂  Faster spin with less effort.  Was hanging with teammate, Ernan, during the first 2 loops of the bike.  One good thing about biking multiple loops is that you’re bound to see them pros/elite athletes up close once they lap you.  Right about the 3rd or 4th loop, it was such a thrill to see the likes of Jeff Valdez and George Vilog up close as they passed me 🙂  Got to T2 with my timer at the bike showing 55 minutes and change.  I was really happy to maintain close to 35km/hr. for the duration of the bike leg 🙂

2nd Run

This is the part that spells either success or failure for me during races – the run off the bike.  At sprint distances such as this one, the book says that it should be threshold effort throughout from the get go.  But, I still have a loving wife and 4 kids who are in elementary school.  Bottom line, I still want to live a bit longer 🙂  Yeah, I know, I’m making excuses 🙂  I have to work on this a bit.  A good effort would be to maintain a pace below 5min/km.  Watch or no watch, I know I didn’t meet the standard by the time I crossed the finish.  The effort was similar to the run at the UP Law Triathlon which was a little over 5min/km pace.

Ellet informed me that she timed my whole race at 1:49:06.  As it turned out, it was a second off the official results which had me finishing at 1:49:07.  My official splits were:  33:53 for the first run; 56:51 for the bike; and 18:22 for the run.  I’m happy that my second run was an improvement from the 2nd leg where I posted a time of 19:11.  Still, a work in progress nonetheless.  But I take consolation in that it appears I’m moving in the right direction 🙂

Didn’t stay long for the awarding.  But I would like to send my biggest to cheers to the following:  Solid performances for the first timers like Makoy and Julian and even a podium finish for Mrs. Olives, Javy’s wife 🙂 Hats Off to August for placing 2nd overall (Men) and Monica for bagging first overall (Women).  High Fives to Kap for placing 2nd in his age group and Ernan for placing 3rd in his and also to Junie for topping her age group while Tina Reyes placed 2nd in her age group.  GO TEAM PMI!!!

Cheers!!! On to New Balance.

September 15, 2009

Whiterock 2009

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 6:30 am

It’s Rock and Roll time.

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September 14, 2009

Running Blind (Also Wet) at Eco Dash

Filed under: Races,Running — levyang @ 6:45 am

Incessant rains at the Metro this past week.  Still, I was looking forward to the Eco Dash, if only to escape the monotony of my usual long-run routes.  Got to the race venue at around 4:30am since the race pack stated that the half-marathon was supposed to begin at 5am.  But an announcement was made that the start of the race will be pushed to 5:30 given the inclement weather.  No worries.  It was a cold morning and the sun was not about to make any appearance that day.

At the starting line, I saw Gerard and Norman and we talked about the latest re: Whiterock.  Also saw quite a number of the Polo Tri peeps who were racing that morning.  I did notice however that there wasn’t the usual crowd of runners at the venue.  Perhaps on account of another race at MOA or maybe the rains discouraged some participants.  At any rate, I was still conversing with Gerard and Norman when the starting gun suddenly went off.  And off we go…

I don’t know if I had mentioned before that I do not wear my HRM anymore during trainings and/or races – and I found it liberating.  I’m no longer a slave to numbers and a gadget telling me whether I’m giving enough of an effort 🙂  Recently, the stopwatch I had been using this past year and a half got damaged.  So, I borrowed my son’s stopwatch.  Guess what happened next?  That watch too conked out.  The sporting gods must be telling me something….So, for the Eco Dash Run, I ran naked 🙂  Well, blind actually.  No HRM to tell me what zone I am in and no stopwatch to tell my time.  And as it turned out, the race did not have the usual kilometer markings to inform the runners about the distance covered at a particular point.  If the whole point about of ecology and saving Mother Earth is simplicity and going back to basics, it might as well apply to running as well 🙂

A few kilometers into the race, I found myself pacing with my former relay teammate at Whiterock, Dionne.  Actually, I didn’t realize it was her until we were making our way to Glorietta.  Too bad she got her Ipod with her, would have wanted to chat and catch up on what’s been happening with her since Whiterock.  I don’t know, I just tend to be wary of people who wear Ipods, it’s like flashing a “Do Not Disturb” sign to us friendly dudes 🙂  Uy, friendly daw o, hahaha….

Anyway, my plan for this race was to try to maintain proper running form and technique as taught by Coach Jomak.  So, I was consciously telling my body throughout the race to push the knee forward while trying to imagine a tiny hurdle in front of me so as to incorporate a bit of a skip in every stride.  Also, the rolling terrain at the Fort is all too familiar by now, so the plan was to conserve enough energy to attack the hills and coast during the downhill portions.  Yup, no shuffling this time 🙂

Well, I don’t know if I maintained the proper form but I was quite happy with the effort I gave at every incline 🙂  Weather was just perfect, even with the occasional downpour.  I won’t be surprised if a number of runners set a personal best at Eco Dash.  There were ample gatorade/water stations throughout the route.  Remember my initial observation about the low turnout for this race?  I’m glad I was wrong about that one when I saw a huge pack of 10 and 5K runners as I made my way back to the Fort and onto Bayani Road 🙂  It was quite a good turnout after all considering the weather.  I hope it banishes the myth that one gets sick running in the rain 🙂

Norman tapped my behind and zoomed past me just before the McKinley intersection.  I tried to psych him out by sprinting past him immediately 🙂  But Norman was running a strong and solid pace and soon enough, he was out of sight.  I decided to pick up the pace after the McKinley intersection and held whatever pace I was on till the finish 🙂  Didn’t see any big clock/timer on display at the finish, so it really was a blind run from the start 🙂 Thus, I don’t know what my finishing time was.  I was informed later on that there indeed was a timer at the right side of the finish line banner.  Oh well….

There wasn’t much of a queue for the Gatorade drink at the finish and I was thankful for that.  Didn’t bother to line up anymore for the freebies.  I was just so happy to run the entire distance again after the disappointing walk/stroll at Camsur.  Eco Dash Run was a no frills race that lived up to its billing.  Simple, back-to-basics run invigorated with a shower from the heavens.


September 2, 2009

Maroon Weekend

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 6:35 am

Nothing like 2 fun races to wash away the sting of that bitter bonking at Camsur 🙂  Last weekend, I joined the sprint triathlon races held at UP Los Banos on Saturday and UP Diliman on Sunday.  What can I say?  I am Levy Ang and I am a triathlon addict.

Costume Tri

I’ve always thought what it would be like to race in my Spidey outfit.  Thanks to the Trantados team, I just found the perfect race to don my superhero costume.  This was a beginner’s race: 400m swim, 15K bike and 3K run.  Indeed, there were quite a number of participants tri-ing for the first time.  As for the supposed veterans like me, I’d like to think I’m also a beginner in a lot of ways.  I still get butterflies in my stomach at the beginning of each race; I still can’t get my nutrition down pat; I mash way too hard on the bike and run like a lug off of it.  But what I hope to have with me always is that beginner’s spirit of approaching each race/training day with a sense of wonder and excitement 🙂  And I believe last Saturday’s race at Los Banos helped me rediscover some of that fun 🙂

Was already in my spidey outfit even before the start of the swim as I got curious stares from my fellow participants 🙂  And as I learned later on, most of the other ‘veterans’ put on their costumes before they got on the bikes.  There was Ian Castilla as Batman, Omar as Darna.  Joker was also there together with Mr. Incredible.  It was hilarious 🙂  It wasn’t too difficult to swim in my Spiderman outfit.  Of course, I wasn’t wearing the mask then.  You know, I just might use Spidey as an alternative trisuit in some of my future races 🙂

Like Camsur, I especially liked the bike leg at Los Banos.  Lots of children were lined up at certain portions of the route.  However, instead of “Go, go Ironman” all I heard was “Go, Go, Spiderman”….Go figure 🙂  Ran the final 3K in 14:04 and was quite ecstatic about that.  Now, if only I can maintain such a pace in the longer races….

Pretty soon, the race was all over and I clocked at 53:53 by my watch.  Good times and good vibes all around.  Too bad, I was unable to join the other participants as they jogged around the oval in their costumes.  My calves cramped up after the race and it was just too sore to move.  Thanks to Ian and the Trantados team for such a fun, fun race.  See you guys again in October for the NAGT.

UP Law Invitational Triathlon

This race was a last minute decision when I learned that Junie, Kap and Potch were also joining.  But then, this is the first time a triathlon race was going to held at the Diliman campus and also the first time that I’ll do an official sprint distance triathlon (750m swim – 20K bike – 5K run).  Add the fact that I graduated from that other school in Katipunan, I was psyched 🙂

There were about 50 participants in this race.  Like Los Banos, lots of first timers also in this one.  I was particularly glad to see my former teacher, Bobby Guev, as one of the participants 🙂  Participants were divided into 4 waves.  Race finally began around 9am.

Maybe it’s because this was my third race in eight days, but I felt swimming in a crowd doesn’t bother me as much anymore 🙂  Yeah, I still get kicked in the face and my legs get pulled but I don’t mind.  2 and half years into triathlon, it’s only now that I can safely say that I feel comfortable swimming in a pack 🙂  So, if there are any newbies out there – remember this adage “patience is a virtue” 🙂

Got out of the swim in 15 minutes and change and commenced a looooonnnng run towards T1.

Bike route consisted of 8 loops around the oval.  One thing I hate about multiple loops is that I’m bound to lose count somewhere along the way.  This race was no different.  Sure enough, 20 minutes into the ride, I could no longer tell if I was on my third or fourth loop.  Good thing I have a speedometer on the bike and I just decided that once I hit 20kms, I’m going into T2.  There were lots of humps along the route and the road reserved for the race was a bit too tight for comfort.  I’m just glad there were no accidents during the race.  It was great to have Coach Jomak shout out advices to me during the race (i.e. keep it light, spin at 90 rpm). Yup, mashing during races will be a thing of the past from now on 🙂  It was almost 21kms when I got into T2.

I felt good as soon as I got out of T2.  Probably because it was my first time to race at UP 🙂  Just concentrated on maintaining good form and making larger strides.  Around the oblation area, I got passed by 2 or 3 army men.  The last army man was within sight up until the last kilometer and I tried to catch him and see if I could engage him in a sprint finish.  When I saw the red arrow pointing left from afar, I made a go for it.  I already caught him at the turn but then the thing is, instead of the finish line, what greeted me was another road leading towards the oval.  OOooops! Wrong mistake 🙂  Huffing and puffing, I let him go and eased my way to the finish.  Ran 5K in 25:12 by my watch (25:24 official).  Total time: 1:25:07.

Congratulations are in order for Kap and Junie for finishing first in their respective divisions 🙂  Their names are going to be etched in the Dean’s Cup as the first ever winners!!!  How cool is that?  Was glad to have finally met Rico Villanueva in person (Sheerwill).  Also glad to see the ultramarathoners (Neville, Hector and Jeremy) do a triathlon 🙂    Thank you very much to Eric Pasion (Passion Runner) for organizing a successful Dean’s Cup Invitational Triathlon and Fun Run.  I just hope the day will come when Ateneo will host its own triathlon race 🙂


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