Monday, July 28, 2008

Web Analytics Redux

You gotta love web analytics, how else can you track the most innocuous information? It's been more than a week now since I last post my comments on it. After that I've sorta check on it semi-regularly. Last night something caught my attention but haven't really given it much thought until I was running.

One of the more interesting data in web analytics are the traffic you get based on keywords/search engines. Prior to June this year (my pre-blog days), if you google 'Gene Ordanza', you'd hardly get any hits except for a couple of obscure tech list and some Linux-related web site. (If you saw the scene in 'Wanted' where the protagonist is googling his name, you get the idea). But checking some of my traffic source last night, I found out that people are googling 'Gene Ordanza'. Ha! If that ain't flattery then I'm wary! Today if you google me, you'd get my blog and Linked profile (which needs updating) on top of the list. Among other things, it tells me that people are curious enough to click my Linked profile for it to reach for it to reach top page. Hehe, I'm flattered of course, but uncertain what to make of it.

Which brings me to some unrelated point (something I've thought of while running). Some people are paranoid android when it comes to their online persona. Of course there are valid reason for it, you hold your privacy sacred for one, and for another, you're wary of those mythical online stalkers, or perhaps some people might hijack your name online. But generally though, if you're not that famous/rich/one heck of a character, it's probably more of an ego trip to think that people are into you for some weird, sinister reasons. I could be wrong of course, but one of the many things you get while running is smorgasbord of ideas, all fodder for blogging :-)

By the way, as of last night, my pageview is 570 (if you're considering Google Adsense, you'd definitely want to display it prominently on your blog). But actually, my visit stat (number of unique visitors per day) is only 295. Hehe, so much for easy money :-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Average Pinoy runner-blogger

You average Pinoy runner blogger is bourgeois :-) Readers, this post might seem a tactless and might not even be in good taste, and if it's in any way offensive, feel free to ping me and I'll drop this post (I might be clueless but I try not be a crass as well :-)

That said, here it is: I was reading a post called "Turning 36" from blogger DATC. Initially my impression on the comments section was that most Pinoy male runner are in their 30's (and older) and likely to be more married than single. (I could be off-mark of course, it could be that those male runners who's still in their 20's or younger are not into blogs).

But while running this morning, it got me thinking on similar note; what is an average Pinoy runner-blogger? Thinking of all the blogs I've read, I had a what seems to be a startling conclusion (which again could be off-mark). If you based it on Pinoy runner-blogger community, running seems to be a bourgeois sport. In countries like US, where vast majority of people are middle class this would be normal. In Philippines, this might have a negative connotation.

Consider this (something I've glean from various blogs and very much subjective):

- Almost all runner bloggers are working professionals. It is also quite common for them to be well off. The few who are unemployed can easily afford to be unemployed (by familial association they're also well-to-do). Perhaps I'm not looking hard enough, but you couldn't find any kanto boys who's blogging their running.

- Most runner (remember that these are just blog impressions and in no way accurate) are well-traveled lot. A popular theme among bloggers (after running) are places the they've traveled either abroad or the local touristy spot. And Boracay is so passé (joking :-))

- Shoes. Most runner purchase mid-range or high-end shoes, not because they're more slick or stylish (although, they're those things) but because you get more value for your money (try using inexpensive, low-price rubber shoes 3x a week, and see how far you'll get). And how is this so bourgeois? Well, in itself they're already expensive but relative to what an average worker earns? They're prohibitive (and we're not even talking about ipod, garmin and other shiny baubles here).

- They're generally tech-savvy (they're blogging :-)) Also, a person who blog is very likely to own a computer. Except for owning car, nothing says more about middle-class than having a computer and Internet access.

Think of it: If you're in any specialty shoe store and buying a basketball shoes, what are the odds that the salesperson also play basketball? If you're buying a running shoes, what are the odds that the salesperson is into running? Fair to say that some sport are masa and some are not?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Web Analytics

Two weeks ago I thought I'd setup web analytics for my blog. Like most new bloggers, I was curious to see if my blog is connecting. Google fan boy that I am, I used their web analytics service. It hasn't been integrated yet to but it's still a breeze to setup.

So after two weeks, here are the raw numbers: I had a total of 166 visits and an average of 11.07 visit per day. Woot! Woot! Hehe, I'm shallow, I know :-)

So what does google analytics tell me about those 166 visits? Some of the data are quite interesting. (visits are not hits, remember raw 'hits' or stats are misleading, ie. objects in your blog like pictures/movies also generate separate hits but are all collated into a single web hit counter so visits are always less than raw hits).

- Most of my visitors are from Philippines, no surprise there. But quite number of them are from abroad. Some came from California (ie. Sacramento, SF, others... thanks SFrunner) and some from other Asean countries. But it was surprise to see that my blog reach as far as Euro even Czech Republic, Australia, and Russia. My own little space in the whole wide world of Internet and people finding it :-)

- 75.30% of my audience are returning visitor! Yahoo! Imagine that, people came back and I didn't bore them to death.

- Tech Profile: 50% of my visitors uses Window/Internet Explorer combo, no surprise there. But number of readers also uses Linux/Firefox setup, tech-savvy guys (slight emphasis on guys, since it's a pretty rare to find girls who's into Linux and other OS stuff). 11.45% uses Mac OSX/Safari combo (hehe, people with money to burn :-)) A small percentage uses Mac OSX/Firefox and other OS (ie. BSD, Unix). I used Fedora 8 so rock on!

- Some of the traffic I generate came from search engines. Apparently, if you google Baracuda Adidas, one of the hits you'd get is my blog.

Thank you dear readers, for a new blogger like myself, it's a blast to know that my blogging somehow connected with other people! And that it strike the right chord among different people (hehe, I'm over-reacting of course :-) but that's how I'd like think about it)

Yep, it's blast to blog things you're crazy about and I can't think a of better way to keep myself motivated. I hope you join me in my blog and together we can enjoy the wonderful world of running.

And to steal line from lonerunner, run on friends!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

One La Salle Run

This is mostly ranting, so reader beware.

The La Salle Run was held last Sunday at The Fort. The runners was estimated to be over 5000 strong, so it's by far the biggest run event I participated in for this year. As with other run events, there was Fiesta atmosphere at the area. Everyone happy and

Now, I have to tell you, a week prior to the event, I only had one run all throughout. I also had to go to two Olympic Village store to find a registration form (16K was sold out at the first store, and almost missed the last one at second store, that's how popular races are becoming). A few days before the event, I had a slight fever so my body's aching all over and my knees felt like jelly. And the weather was just sporadic the whole week, sunny half the day, rainy the other half. So all told, it kinda took away my enthusiasm and I wasn't as gung-ho or fervent to run last Sunday.

But like a real trooper, come race day I was there, pump and ready for action. Then right before the announcer can say "ready-get-set-go", it drizzled and pour. Hai, yai yay. But still, off I run. But the mood is now more downbeat, less spirited and none of the usual rah-rah of my previous runs.

The race organization for me was fine. Of course, some of the event details could be improved on like putting more marshall but since I was running in the middle of the pack, it wasn't a biggie for me, I just followed the runners ahead. This is my 4th race of the year, so expectation is something I've learned to tone-down.

Perhaps, the two real bummers for me was taking shelter during the downpour not so much because of the rain but because I was thinking of my running shoes and how I'll ruined it in this rain (already thrashed a good pair in my last MensHealth trail run, hate to see another one get wasted) Thinking of it now, that was just so lame :-( Then I also had to walk for quite a stretch. I wasn't prepared for the race and felt it early in the race.

By my watch, I clocked 1:43:23 for the 16K.

Also, suggestion to organizers/sponsors: Perhaps it might be better to give runner a small cup at the water station. Giving bottled water might seem generous and convenient but seeing runners throw bottled water still half-full after only a few drinks is just a waste.

Here's my obligatory pose at the Start/Finish line (the after-race-wet-look :-)) May not have enjoyed the greater part of the race but still felt like a He-man crossing the Finish line.

Next run - Milo Elimination (21K)

Trivia: Did you know that most security guards at The Fort (or those not on duty during races) participate in the run events?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Great pics from other bloggers/ Todo stuff before getting married

[Addendum: I've renamed the title for this post as this turn out to be a prequel to my post in 2nd July]

Last few days, a couple of great pictures was posted by some of the running bloggers. Awesome pics, and the kind that makes you wish

The first one was a great pic shared by sfrunner, the picture that says it all. This was way back when he was young lad in 70's, the picture reminds me of various essays of George Sheehan and how he would describe runners in the early days. And of course, probably the most iconic pic among the running bloggers here :-)

Then some really nice pictures posted by HighAltitude while doing trail runs in Mt. Batulao, medyo pang-commercial nga yung pics eh, I was half-expecting an endorsement for power drinks there somewhere hehe :-)

I wish I could post something similar, something that can connect and resonate the way sfrunner's picture does with others but since I have nada I'll just take my cue from one of the recent bungee jumping pics I've seen on one of the running blogs.

Yeah, in case you're wondering I was shouting my lungs out there.

This was the mindless jump (second) I did. I had the jump film, and this pic was a snapshot from it so it's a bit is granny. It was just crazy but heck of fun.

The La Salle Run is going to be tomorrow, good luck to all runners!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tiktabo Run

Run with my nephews last Sunday at Tiktabko at UP. Being the great uncle that I am :-) I've been introducing them to the sport with great results. When I brought them to my first run at the Market! Market! Fun Run, they've been quite taken and excited, asking me unceasingly "Tito Gene, when will we run in marathon?".

So for a few weeks now, they been practicing their run. It always make me smile seeing them run a few blocks from the house and after which proudly declare themselves the fastest and strongest marathon runner ever!

Last Sunday was their first stab at running races. We went there early, made sure we're registered for the 2K event, did our warm-up and stretching, and line up at starting line. At get go, Paolo went off like a bullet and run beautifully for first 300-400 meters, his arms swinging like I taught him to, looking confidently ahead, his stride, sure, long and wide. Watch out world, here comes young Pheidippides. CJ were the same but had problems with his shoes early on and so couldn't finish the race :-(

Paolo (right) and CJ (left) with Mom and Dad

All dress up and rarin to go! Paolo got that flexing bicep posture from the mysterious Zorro :-)

With irascible Zorro :-)

Also, I needed to take my spanking new top-of-the-line Adidas adiStar Cushion 6 I bought few weeks ago for a test run. Wasn't really planning to buy a new pair but for a 40% promo discount it was a steal... I'm weak I know.

Anyways, the shoes fit snugly at the store when I tried it so didn't bother to go outside to do a quick trot. Very very bad indeed :-( When buying a new running shoes (and this I only research today grrh!) you're suppose to make allowance for some toe space at the tip of your shoes. Otherwise, it makes for uncomfortable running and blister to boot!

It's been a few week since, so I can't return it now. Arrgh! there goes my 40% discount. I could just kick myself.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Running with Mizuno Run Club

When I went to register for the Mizuno Run a few weeks back, the staff at the store told that me they also have a running club that meets every other Thursday, and to come and check it out. And so I did last night. It was good.

They got a good mix of runners there, plenty of beginners, serious runners and runners in-between. Probably 20-30 people there, good crowd. They also provide free Rush water drink. The main guy (didn't catch his name) had the group running 5 half loops around Bonifacio High Street. For the more serious runner, it's the whole block. Tried to pace with these guys but sort of fell behind after the second full loop. After that I sorta took it easy, it's supposed to be my recovery run from last Sunday, after all.

One of the more popular blogger in the local running scene was there. I was going to say hi, fanboy and all, but got cold feet (she look gorgeous in person :-) so just played it cool and look surreptitiously here and there. But I did chat with a couple of the veteran runners there.

Hey, you know what's the word is on the street... the second placer Annie (forgot her surname and her name wasn't in 15k_Female_Results.pdf I've downloaded) was in good stead to be first place in the 15K race division but was overtaken by the eventual first place finisher down the stretch. Rumor mill was a buzz that there was 'short cut' taken which accounted for the fresh legs in the last few kms. There was plenty of the veteran runners who was vouching that they run with Annie all through out the course and was quite surprise by a runner coming out of nowhere to overtake. Oh well, you know rumors, juicy stuff and high on entertainment value, but really counterproductive :-)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Good Run But Finish Line Suck

The highly anticipated Rush to Infinity Run was held last Sunday. It was supposed to be redux of the Infinity run last March.

First, the pet peeve. Putting it diplomatically, the Finish Line part of the race was a messy affair. It was disorganized and poorly executed. Apparently, the race organizer didn't anticipate how many runners from different class (5K/10K/15K) would converge at the finish line. It wasn't so bad for first time runners, but for more experience runners there were heaps of vitriols being hurled around and plenty of negative vibes making rounds.

After the race, I went to nearby FF gym for a quick shower. I was talking to a guy who felt ripped off by whole thing, we were discussing how the event was well organized for most part but because fiasco at the finish line, the experience turn sour for everyone and left a bad taste.

On the other hand, mistakes do happen and there are such things as Murphy's law that virtually guarantee it to occur in worst possible way. But Mr. Rio (the guy responsible for the organizing the event) did manned up for that ignominious affair, and publicly apologize. I'd say he's one courageous fellow. I guess he can chuck it up to experience, I'm sure he'll be a better organizer for it. He'll just have to wait for the whole thing to blow over :-)

That said, the race event was actually good (if you discount the fiasco at the finish line). There was a huge turnout, which is always good, the route for the race was also nice (not as scenic as the route from the Men's Health race), race marshals at critical junctures, plenty of water stations. Even the weather was perfect, overcast sky that provided cool and shade to the runners. Added bonus, plenty of fine-looking women and eye candies (check out the pic below!) at the race. Kudos still goes Mr. Rio and other sponsor for the mostly well-organized event.

And of course before I forget the highlight of my running career so far; moi was running beside and slightly behind our good Senator, Pia Cayetano. How is cool is that! Initially, I was only aware of the tenacious lady runner ahead, she with the colorful and girlie outfit (pink shoes, pink short, pink/white top, pink visor, pink shade) until onlookers started saying "Hey, that's Senator Pia Cayetano". She run so daintily, I swear she couldn't be a triathlete (she is though). And I'm proud to say that I was able to keep pace for the first 12Kms before she finally pulled ahead. Shucks. And I still didn't catch her after the race, so there goes my photo shoot with her, next time...

My personal time was 1:25:37. Pretty decent I think since it's my first 15K run. Another pet peeve was how the race organizers bludgeoned my official time to 1:42:18... oh well.

Overall, I would still say that it was good race despite bloopers at the end. And you can't really let details affect your whole mood. I'm quite the happy runner and would be glad to run again at the next Mizuno run event.

Next race: La Salle Running Festival (16Kms)

Eye candies at the race :-) if only they included them in the prizes, would have been plenty of record-breaking run. How the heck could the organizers be so remiss.

Lucky to be (accidentally) posing with some the gorgeous runners at the race, hehe, wish I could one take home.