Sunday, November 27, 2016

Race Review: Gatorade Run 2016

This was my first time to not only join a Gatorade race but also a 22-km distanced road race.  The big come on for this race (at least from my perspective) are the Adidas singlet and finisher shirts.  They even have price tags on them for P995 each so that more than makes up for the P1,700 registration fees.

The route for this race goes around Mall of Asia area before doing a long stretch along Buendia Avenue all the way till the end and make a U Turn right before Kalayaan bridge (phew as didn't want to climb the bridge).  From the U Turn back to Mall of Asia area, there were two more turns before the finish line.  

It was nice how they had a special thing at the 21km mark as if to say that you have just done a half marathon but your race isn't finished yet. Haha!

School bands at the last 2km of the race also helped boost energy, which at that time I really needed as tired and shoulders were aching!  This is due to the back to back race I did this weekend: 10km Mcdonalds Stripes run and then this one.  So started this race with tired legs!

But by God's grace I was able to finish this race.  Thank YOU LORD!  

This was a good race and one I recommend to runners who can afford to pay a little more due to how they managed the race and the shirts that come with it.  I hope I get a chance to join next year's event.  

Thanks to ADIDAS Ph for the free race kit. :)  A good year ender race

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Race Review: Mcdonalds Stripe Run 10km

I was fortunate enough to receive a complimentary 10km race kit for this event (thanks Joanne of EON) and I was excited for this race as it has been a while since I was able to join a 10km race (about 6-7 months ago!!!).

I joined past events of this race from a 10km solo run to 3km family run with my two kids (one in stroller) and wife.  And in all these events, the race was well organized.

For this year's events, proceeds from the registration fees will go to one of their charities:  Ronald McDonald Read to Learn Program.  So not only do you get to run a nice race and burn some calories but you are also contributing to lessening the country's illiterate population.

For the race itself, I have no target. Haha!  No speed or time trial but just to have a good run!  Route took us to Kalayaan Avenue and to BGC area.  There were only a few runners doing the 10km category as most were in the shorter distance with their families.

My legs were tight in the beginning and pace of 6:30 wasn't easy for me.  But I made it a point to run through the entire race and just stopping to drink or tie loose shoelaces.

All in all, a good and quick race and got a breakfast sandwich at the finish line.  Congrats to the race organizers!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

New Balance 25k pics and results

Race photos are available at pinoy fitness and facebook.

Race results are available as well

Race Review: Pinoy Fitness 21km Challenge

This was my first time to join this half marathon challenge.  With Pinoy Fitness races, you not only have to have the endurance to finish the distance but the speed as well to complete the race within the cut-off time.  Early this year I was able to complete the sub-60 Pinoy Fitness 10km.  It was my most pressured 10km race and it took a lot of weeks of preparation just to make sure I am able to cross the finish line in under one hour and get the medal.

Same goes for the Half Marathon race.  They had three categories: sub-2 2XU which is impossible for me, sub-2:30 which is possible but not 100% sure and the sub-3:00, which is definitely doable for me.  Aside from this, gold medals are given out for the first 300 finishers for each category.

I wanted to join this race but didn't know whether I wanted to do the sub-2:30 category and train hard for it or take the easier route via the sub-3 category and try to aim for the gold medal.  That could also give me a fast time with minimum risk of not getting a medal should some thing unforeseen happen during the race. But I realized that if I took the sub-3 category then I am not challenging myself.  So last month I took the plunge and registered myself for the sub-2:30 category, paid Php 1,000 and got my race kit.

As an added bonus, the medal for 2:30 category is bigger than the 3:00 one (about half inch bigger I think).

My training is to do short 8-10km runs at average pace of 7:00 and I also joined the New Balance 25km to build endurance. I did well in New Balance
so that helped build confidence for this race.

The gun start was at 4:35am and I left the house early as going to MOA is always unpredictable: sudden traffic jams due to roadwork, long lines for parking, need to search for toilet.  Logistics was a problem and unlike other Half Marathons where i can be late, I can't afford that luxury here!  Being 5 minutes late here can spell the difference between me getting a finisher medal or not as they based it on the gun time of the race!

Thank goodness God guided me and I was able to park in a place where there were no lines, found a toilet I can use and no traffic whatsoever in Edsa!  Praise God!

I got to the starting line at 4:30am, just in time to see the first wave of fast sub-2 runners go off.

Then it was our turn to be at the starting line.  This is it!

The route for this Half Marathon consists of two loops, made up of four turns around the area.  My strategy is to go at 7 minute pace for the first loop, which is my target pace for this race and if I am feeling good, to go faster on the second loop.

I had hoped this race would be easier for me given its flat route and that I had a good time in last week's New Balance 25km race, which was hillier and longer!  But that wasn't to be as I was struggling in this race.  

I took GU gel at 12km and at 17km. No banana stations here but didn't plan to eat this as that is additional time that I can't afford to waste.  There were a few Pocari Sweat stations so that posed a challenge for me as water wasn't enough for this race.  Luckily I have an extra GU gels for emergency use (which didn't end up using).

Thank God that on the second loop I was able to go faster and went at 6:35 pace during that time. So that brought my average pace down and gave me more allowance for a sub 2:30.  

But I was getting exhausted.  Just two km more...

And then it was there, the final turn to the finish line!

Thank God For this race and for helping me make it!  I was praying at various times in the race and I felt God was with me all the time.  I was never truly alone in this race.

The sub 2:30 medal was put around my neck and I headed to the finisher kits area but with the long line there, I went first to the PF booth so I can get my self imposed reward:  PF Trucker's cap for Php 250!

I was prepared to buy it and had money with me during the duration of this race.  After getting the cap, I went back to the finisher kits area where it was a loonng wait before I got my finisher shirt.  But I am not complaining as got my qualified time, medal and trucker's cap.  To God be the Glory!

Awesome medal! To Him I dedicate this prize!

Note: race results and photos are now out via Pinoy Fitness website and their facebook page

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Race Review: New Balance 25km Power Run 2016

The last time I joined the New Balance 25k Power Run was back in 2013.  In 2014 I was out of the country when they had the race and in 2015, I found it too much of a hassle when they moved the location of the race to Daang Hari.  So I was pleasantly surprised when they moved it back to Bonifacio Global City (BGC) for this year's event.

This would be a good long run and assessment also for my big race the following week - Pinoy Fitness 21km sub 2:30 wherein you not only have to complete the half marathon but under the required time of 2 hours and 30 minutes to get a finisher medal at the end.

My goal for this race is to run the first 21km and see what my "finish time" for that is to give an idea for next week's race.  For the remaining 4km, I can opt to go easier or harder depending how I felt that time.  

The route is the usual one when it comes to long distanced races held in BGC - Kalayaan Bridge to Buendia Avenue, U Turn back all the way to turn right to Lawton and Bayani Avenue and U turn back again to head to the International Schools to the finish line.  It's safe to say that this is a hilly race!  Perfect! 

The gun start was at 4:00am and though it was too early for my taste, it was good too as most runners will be finished by the time it gets too hot.

There were a lot of (cold) water stations but not enough sports drink stations.  They had only one at the first part and none until the very last few kms in the race.

There was one banana station but I opted to have a GU gel instead to save on time.  Even with slight twinge in my left knee (which made me a bit more careful), I felt good throughout the race.  By the time I have reached the 21km mark, my time was at 2:22 and pace about 6:50ish.  This was a good gauge for my strength.

With 4km left, I kept going.  Prior to this race my PR for the 25km was at 2:58:11 and this was back in 2011.  I am happy to have broken that record by going more than 8 minutes faster than before at a finish time of 2:50:25 with an average pace of 6:49!  Praise God for this!  He is awesome!

No loot bags at the finish line but i am happy with my time and with the medal.

Plus some good stuff upon registrations:

Hopefully they will continue having the 25km in BGC and make that its permanent place.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New PR... at being late! (SMDC 21km race)

I haven't join any road races since the 40th edition of Milo Marathon last July.  My running has been reduced to two short runs in a week. And yet I have the final leg for Run United coming up soon and I needed to do a little training for that.

I was able to increase my long run from 10km to 16km.  With SMDC's 21km race kits still available at Chris Sports branches, I signed up for it to see how
I would fare on this distance.  My goal was slow and easy for the most part and just re-assess on last 5km.

The gun start for the race was moved to 4:15am from the original gun start time of 4:00am but that didn't help me as I turned off both alarm clocks and went back to sleep!  The next time I woke up it was already 4:45am!

Wow, 30 minutes late! The best solution is to go back to sleep or just run on my own.  But no, I quickly dressed up and drove myself to Mall of Asia.  I don't see any runners on the road!  Have they opened up the roads for vehicles? Oh man, what do I do now?

By the time I parked my car, it was already 5:15am, an hour after my race had started.  Is the starting line still up?  Will they allow me to run?  All these questions in my head as I jogged to the starting line.  

Thank goodness the starting line was still assembled and there were some runners near there.  As I peered at some of their bibs, I saw that they were running the 5km distance.  So at least I wasn't by myself on the road.

As I ran with the 5km runners, I was thinking whether I should just stick with the 5km route but I felt it was too short for me.  

A little bit further down the road, I saw some 10km runners.  Well, this was a group I could follow next.  It won't be so bad if I ran with the 10km runners as distance wasn't that short.

But then how would I explain to marshals at the finish line that I did only 10km.  How can I justify getting the finisher medal or shirt?  I would look like a cheat claiming these things. 

So as the 10km runners made a U Turn at the 5km mark and headed back to where the Starting/Finish line was, I kept going.

And this was the hard part as there weren't any runners on my side of the road.  It was empty except for a few marshals whom I assumed were surprised to see a runner at 6-7km mark, nearing 2 hours from the gun start!

I was embarrassed to be on the road by myself and even uttered sorry a few times to the marshals who saw me.  Praise God for these marshals as rather than giving me disappointing looks, they were actually cheering me on.  One even said how daunting my distance was.  To them I must have looked super slow but they didn't show this and instead encouraged me to keep on going.

I saw a lot of 21km runners but they were all heading back to the finish line while I was the lone runner on the rightside of Buendia Avenue.  They were some who saw me on the road and I was embarrased to look back.

With this situation, I didn't or couldn't slow down as I wanted to catch up with some runners if such a thing was possible.  I also wanted marshals to finish their work and not wait on me anymore.  So I kept running (and on an empty stomach too).

I took my first GU gel at 9km mark as I headed toward lonely Kalayaan Bridge. At this point, I was able to overtake three women runners who seemed to have gotten late for this race too.  I was consoled knowing that I wasn't alone in this race anymore.  But I still wanted to see more runners.

And I did...eventually.

I was able to overtake a few runners on Buendia Avenue as they were hurting and were walking on the road.  

I had my second GU gel and kept going, even skipping the banana stations as figured it would lose precious time for me.  

Some water stations were closed and I had to request for some drink from the marshals which they obliged with no complaint whatsoever.

The sun was up by this time and it was getting warm.  At 18-19km there were more runners and I was glad I wasn't by myself.  Water stations were open at this area and got to drink some water before I kept going.

I crossed the finish line, tired and exhausted but also happy that I didn't give up at any time during and before this race.

And I got my finisher medal and shirt afterwards.

Congrats to for a well executed race and thank you marshals for the encouragement.  Most of all, thank YOU LORD for giving me a chance to do this race.

Chip time: 2:28:06
Gun time: i guess 3:35 ish!
Pace: 7:01

Results are posted now 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Post Milo Marathon Ramblings

This morning, I went out to do an easy 10km run and although my pace wasn't fast, I felt winded and tired by the 7-8km.  "Only 2-3km to go", I thought to myself as I slowed down to a walking pace.  My, why is this short distance so hard to complete when just less than two weeks ago, I just completed the Milo Full Marathon?  Granted, I haven't been doing much running since that time, putting in just one 5km run the other night and with this morning ran as just my second run for the entire month.

I ended up contemplating on the Milo Marathon event as well (yes, our minds wander whenever we are out on the run and for me that is a good thing).  How did I survive and complete this event within the 6-hour cut off time?  I definitely did more mileage last year when I did the Run United Philippine Marathon and Subaru Marathon and yet in both races, my finish time was past six hours. 

I put in more weekly mileage as well in my other two Milo Marathons - which lead to one finishing at 5:55 and other at 6:09 (and not receiving a finisher medal for it).  Because of the Milo DNF, I stayed away from joining any Milo event for the past three years.  It was a defeating moment for me and I didn't want to repeat it again.  I took the easier way out, still joining marathons but those with very long cut-off time (7 hours or more).  It was always a Just to finish race.

And yet, here I was again on the starting line with my name on my bib and getting ready to complete it.  My training has been erratic as wasn't able to reach the minimum weekly mileage and that hurt me at the latter part of the race.  I wasn't that serious with this race, looking first at vetoing it, to running it but quitting 2/3 of the way and running home (instead of the finish line), to deciding that I should see this race through from beginning to the end (thanks to Per for encouraging me to do so).  Per told me to just finish it and if completed beyond 6 hours, that's fine.  It was still better than quitting and I never quit in any race that I had started (never mind getting feverish or getting sprained during the race).

As my kids sometimes play and wear my finisher medals, the Milo one is the single one I keep away from them.  This one is mine!  Hands off!  I act like that character from Lord of the Rings (my Precciousss) but it is okay and they are happy with the other medals in our room.  Haha!

So what made this one different from all the other Philippine marathons.  Well, this blog entry is brought to you by the letter S:

SPEEDWORK: The one thing I didn't do before as goals before were just to get to the finish line.  This one had an added pressure of getting to the finish line within the gun time of 6 hours.  So I did various speedwork ranging from fast 10 x 200m up a hill, to fast 10km races and sub 2:30 Half Marathons. 

But speedwork were a bonus for me as I did speedwork so I could have faster 10km and 21km races.  This of course, helped me in the Marathon too.

SPINNING:  Rather than do running the entire four months (and get bored from it), I joined spinning classes at Golds Gym too.  It was tiring as well but I always felt stronger in the runs after doing this.  No pressure or weight on the legs, yet it improves in my endurance and stamina.  Aside from spinning, I also play badminton once a week and badminton feels like doing a little speedwork as well.

SALT TABLETS:  I bought a small container of salt tablets from Runnr that had about 30 pieces of it inside.  I had with me about 7 of these capsules as I was at the starting line of the race and took it every 45 minutes to an hour.  I always feel weak with too much liquid in me (from drinking Gatorade and water) and with a lot of sweat from my body, my salt level get depleted.  This helps boost it up again and gives me strength to continue on.

(TRIPLE DECKER) SANDWICH:  Before any race, my go to quick meal is a peanut butter sandwich.  It is still the same now but with one more slice (and one more layer of peanut butter spread in between).  I was so full from eating this that I wasn't able to eat the bananas anymore.  But this also helped as I didn't experience hunger in the race (I usually get hungry at 25 -30km).

SUPPLICATION:   def:  the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.  
I prayed that I can complete the Milo Marathon days before the actual event.  During the event, I said the Lord's prayers every kilometer to honor HIM and lift this race UP to him.  And for that this gave me:

STRENGTH:  At the latter part of the race, when it was the hardest for me, I kept repeating this life verse:

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me.  
I believed HE was there for me and that gave me strength, that I wasn't alone in this race

(No) SUN/ SHADED COURSE:  Forecast of thunderstorm for this morning but none came.  Even better, the sun didn't come out to burn us all out.  So weather was as perfect as it can be!!!  And I believe it wasn't out of pure luck that this happened.

But it still wasn't easy.  My feet and shoulders were painful and I really wanted to sit down a couple of times.  Due to lack of weekly mileage, I felt my legs about to cramp soon (thank goodness that didn't happen).  It was a hard race.  And as I crossed the finish line, and got the much coveted medal and loot bag, I had to sit in the sidewalk and just rest for a while.  I was so tired that I wasn't sure yet if I could drive myself home that day!

And although I was always below the recommended weekly mileage targets (worse as for beginner levels!), I made sure to hit the weekend mileage needed.  So that one I followed and did two 32km runs before tapering off for this race.

Thank YOU GOD for this, without which it would have been impossible for me to finish the race.

Praise to YOU Lord Jesus.

These two medals are my most prized finisher medals for 2016 as both had cut off times to get the prize.  Both hard to attain and therefore more appreciative once attained.