Lactobacilli Shirota Strain!

My uncle mentioned in passing that he saw that there was a Yakult run in the papers. I love Yakult. And so I set out to find more.

Turns out that the main event was a 10-mile run and it was NOT going to be held at Bonifacio Global City. After several runs in BGC, I desperately wanted a change of atmosphere. At this point, I was only running 10k and I thought that 10 miles/16.8 km was still beyond my powers. I joined the 5km event  instead.

I was pleasantly surprised. For a 350 buck run, they had water stations every 1km. They had a singlet and they had a finisher’s singlet. Organization, though bare-bones, was top-notch.

I enjoyed this run because of the uncluttered feel to it. There was only one sponsor YAKULT and there were really no gimmicks. It was nice refreshing change from BGC. My only complaint were the parking robbers, errr, attendants of Star City. They were charging 50 bucks for parking ON A PUBLIC STREET! I wouldn’t have minded as much if they opened their parking lots and charged for the use of that. But they didn’t.

AFTERMATH:

5k PB. It was a nice route and this was my first 5k in a while. Should do more 5ks for speedwork.

Kinetic Shakespeare

I was able to catch Anton Juan’s Screen: Macbeth this weekend and I wasn’t expecting much. It’s Shakespeare… It’s Macbeth… Now where’d I put my pillow?

I was really expecting a snoozefest given that I had yet to see a decent staging of a period drama hereabouts. I’m happy to say that not only did I not yawn or take a nap during the 3 hour running time. I was wide awake and had a blast.

Macbeth is a classic tale of ambition. Director Anton Juan’s wink, wink, nudge, nudge  touches all over the production showing pictures of Asian dictators (including GMA), religious imagery (I’m guessing that it has something to do about the Catholic Church strong arming it’s anti-RH agenda) and shoes being thrown all over the place on Lady Macbeth’s first appearance (perhaps an allusion to the Imeldific one) nicely ties in its relevance to the lamentable state of the nation.

The production is nothing like anything I’ve seen before. The stage is a big X. The audience occupies the spaces in between. The theater itself is walled by huge white sheets where backdrops are shown by digital projector. Since the backdrops are computer generated, animation and video are used to further immerse the audience into the dark world of Macbeth-ian Scotland. The effect is eerie and sometimes disturbing.

The whole production is a kinetic feast for the senses. There is just so much going on. Actors come down from the ceiling. Witches chant in various dialects and Loud Drunken Merrymaking in shadow from  behind the screens.  Audience members have to constantly sit up and look around where the action is taking place. Looking back, I think this is why it was impossible to get bored. The kinetic nature of the production just swept the audience in.

The director knows when to pull back during pivotal scenes like Lady Macbeth’s “Out Damn Spot” monologue where dramaturgist Judy Ick does this as water is dripping down from the ceiling onto her face. It’s a powerful scene made more compelling with jaw-dropping staging. The battle scenes are taken out of classic period war movies like Braveheart and the Last Of The Mohicans making  use of “Bullet Time” to show how the tide of battle shifts from Macbeth to Macduff. I like the nods to cosplay when it came to the costume designs. The weapons looked like they came from a period anime series.

Great performances all around. Macbeth was played by Teroy Guzman. I’ve never heard of him before seeing him here. He has all the trappings of a veteran thespian, giving his Macbeth gravitas and torment. The surprise for me was Romnick Sarmenta, best remembered as a teen idol decades ago. Great delivery of lines and nailed the Scottish accent. Jamie Wilson was spot-on as Macduff. Gruff, Barbaric and dangerous. I thought Earl Ignacio was the weakest of the cast. Rhythm was off and it was distracting.

A lot of local theater productions are flights of fancy and candy coated entertainment. Screen: Macbeth is defiantly not one of these. It’s powerful. It’s compelling, It’s disturbing.  Akin to a  punch in the gut. In this age of runaway corruption, perhaps this is just what we need.

Run United 1 2011 aka RunRio showing off

Runrio is the country’s premiere running organizer. Period. No Erase.

If there’s one thing that Run United 1 was, it was a showcase for RunRio’s bells and whistle that makes their runs totally stand out. World-Class even.

I almost forgot to register for this run. I ended up signing up on the last day and thus got stuck with a really small singlet. Even if this was going to be held in BGC, it would be my first 10k in that area.

Any runner who joins a runrio event has high expectations. A runner expects to be spoiled from registration to after crossing the finish line. Run United 1 did not only not disappoint, it exceeded my expectations that I was still going oooooh and aaaaah weeks after the event.

During the run, hydration and kilometer markers were aplenty. They were playing the runrio song which I kinda zoned out on preferring my own sounds. It was at the finish line where, if you weren’t too tired, you’d notice some interesting things.

It was nice that the announcer had a live feed to the finish line. Announcer would be shouting off encouragement to runners crossing the finish line like “Runner 4989 making a mad dash to the finish” or “Runner 1501, you can do it. Let’s finish strong.”  I also couldn’t miss the throng of paparazzi positioned before and after the finish line. (More on this later) There are usually photographers stationed here but not this many.

Claiming the loot bags was easy. No lines whatsoever. Then, conveniently from the lot bag claim area to the Unilab areas,  there were a bunch of people in runrio uniforms lugging around iPads. They approached me and nicely asked if I wanted to know my finish time and place. Wow. Immediately after the race. Asked for my Bib number and there were my race stats on the iPad.

Unilab events are kinda expensive but with all the freebies, they really make up for it. I specially like the post race areas where they’ve got people checking cholesterol (dammit, shouldn’t have had that Krispy Kreme burger!), bone density, diets and more. One another side of the post-race area are tents where professionals can advise  runners on proper running form, cross training, training for longer distances, etc. It’s a really nice experience where participants are given the tools and motivation to run their next race.

So that was supposed to be it right? Wrong.

Turns out that runrio had a couple more tricks for participants.

The first surprise was the bazusports site. Posting times and place in age groups is not that different. But posting pictures and video of a runner crossing the finish line was AWESOME. My guess is that they took the runner’s finish time and found a way to sort the pictures taken by the paparazzi at the finish line. They correlated the finish time to the pictture’s time stamp. Not too difficult to do but it was really smart of runrio to implement this. For the video, they took 10-second “slices” of video then posted a link to the “slice” corresponding to the runner’s finish time. Again, pretty easy to automate on a computer but it was genius for them to go the extra mile and give it to the runners. <SLOW CLAP>

The second surprise was publishing results in runpix.com. It’s for people who just geek out to numbers and statistics. Wanna know how many people you passed and passed you in the last kilometer? Wanna know where you were when the first placer finished? Wanna know where you were struggling on the route when the average runner finished? Well, good news because now you can find out!

RunPix was actually depressing for me seeing how much faster I need to be to become average. But, on another note, it showed how conditioned the runners who join runrio events are. I finished behind 76% of the 10k runners. In others, I’d be somewhere in the middle.

In fairness, we really don’t need this many bells and whistles to have a good run. However, for the extra cost a runner pays for runrio events. It’s just nice to know that runners get these extra along with additional cost. There are other more expensive runs out there where the participant pays more for less. As a matter of fact, I wanted to join another 10k that had exactly the same route but backed out due to the cost. Pretty singlet though.

Oh yeah, goes without saying. But sign me up for Run United 2 and 3. Just hope they tweak the route a bit.

AFTERMATH:

First 10k after that semi-disastrous Condura run. Shave 3 minutes off my time there. Was happy crossing the finish line. The pictures are proof of that 😀