Sunday, July 17, 2016

Race Review: Takbo.ph Runfest 21km

Takbo.ph was the online group that started it all for the running community here in the Philippines.  

I was able to register for the Half Marathon category for this year as that is my requirement for the week's long run.  Having it at BGC is an added incentive as it will just be 10 minutes away from my house.

The gun start for the 21km was strange at 4:10am but I didn't mind as had a chance to chat with some friends whom I haven't seen a long time.  Takbo.ph really is the one race that brings together runners, whether they are new ones or ones who have stopped joining races.  It's like a high school reunion! Haha!!



The route was so old school in that we would go up Kalayaan Bridge and into Buendia Avenue with a U turn near South Super Hi-way before heading back to BGC for another climb towards Lawton Avenue and Bayani Road before making a U Turn back and head towards the finish line.



My goal for this race was 2:30 finish time and to distract myself, I thought of it as a video game wherein I am the player.  There would be four levels for this "game": first level going up Kalayaan Bridge, level two return to Kalayaan Bridge, level three and four going to and fro from Bayani Avenue and Lawton Avenue.  By the time I had finished my own "level four", I was just two to three kilometers away from the finish line and with the remaining distance flat to downhill, it was an opportunity for me to surge and pick up the pace.  

By this time, I knew that I would be able to attain my target goal time and as I still felt strong, I ran faster to see how  much faster I could go.


A final push to the finish line garnered me the fastest pace for this race at a pace of 5:49 and this was for the last kilometer!

Final time of 2:22:50, average pace of 6:49 minutes/km with a distance of 20.97km.  Thank YOU LORD!


The medal was pretty awesome.  There were sufficient hydration, km markers and marshals to guide us on the road and monitor cars.  The finisher shirt was nice too. No complaints whatsoever in terms of how race organizers handled this race.  Even the claiming of loot bags and finisher shirt were quick and efficient.    

Congrats to Leadpack Race Organizer for a well handled race.  Congrats to all the finishers for this race. It was nice seeing a lot of familiar faces too. Till the next road race :)

Race statistics:
Number of GU gels consumed: 2 (one at 9km and second at 16km mark)

Paces: 1km - 6:34, 2km - 7:09, 3km- 7:03, 4km - 6:33, 5km -6:49, 6km - 7:05, 7km - 6:56, 8km - 7:22, 9km - 7:36, 10km - 6:50, 11km - 7:01, 12km - 6:48, 13km - 6:48, 14km - 6:35, 15km - 6:43, 16km - 6:46, 17km - 6:47, 18km - 6:59, 19km - 6:34, 20km - 6:03, 21km -5:49



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Took the Plunge!



Registration is easy.  Now comes the hard part:  training and finishing this race at a good time.

To GOD be all the Glory!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Race Review: Batman vs Superman 10km

Now, this is a race that doesn't happen often. In line with the new movie starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (oopps sorry, wrong flick), there is a race around Mall of Asia grounds with distances of 3km, 5km and 10km.

I was registered for 10km along with friends Janine, Kerwin and Abby and rode in Kerwin's car to head to the event.  But due to unforeseen circumstances (road work on the Pasay flyover), we got to the venue pretty late. 

So late that both the 5km and 10km runners had already started.  So late that even the 3km runners started a few minutes ahead of us reaching the starting line.  But there wasn't anything else for us to do but run.

By that time, I could see the sunlight filling up the morning sky. My strategy was simple: maintain a sub-6 minute pace for each kilometer. That would lead to a sub-60 finish time.

Other than that, there were no other goals for this race.  No new PR, no faster pace than the last one.  

I was comfortable throughout the race.  What also helped me here was the relatively flat route in the entire 10km distance.  No hills or flyovers to climb over.

I did miss a turn somewhere as whenever I see a km marker, distance in my Garmin was shorter by about 1km. 

As I crossed the finish line, I saw that the distance was at 8.8km.  Rather than stop running, I decided to keep on going for the next 600 meters before making the U turn back to the finish line.  Having done that, I had completed the full 10km distance.

Note: After crossing the finish line, I stopped my Garmin watch to check the distance.  And once I decided I wanted to run some more, I walked for a few meters away so that road can be lighter from the crowd, unpaused the Garmin and ran again.  So that was a few seconds of getting a break and not recorded in my Garmin.  It is for this reason I don't consider this as a PR race (although it should have been for the distance).  Funny thing here was that my average pace was exactly the same as the PF Sub-60 10km run a month ago!  But effort was a lot easier so that's something.

Thank God for this and letting us all finish injury-free! Thank YOU LORD for my 3rd sub one hour 10km race for the year. y goal was just one sub-60 race but YOU have blessed me with two more. :)

The finisher medal was awesome and got a Goldilocks loot bag too, which had its own caramel pop corn among other things.

Pre-run nutrition: one cup of black coffee and one pineapple cake

Gu gels: none

Taken in race: water 

Pace: 1km: 5:51, 2km: 5:39, 3km: 5:48, 4km: 5:47, 5km: 5:56, 6km: 5:50, 7km: 5:50, 8km: 5:54, 9km: 5:47, 10km: 5:30





Monday, March 21, 2016

Race Review: Pinoy Fitness Sub 60 10km

This is the fourth year that Pinoy Fitness has done this race and unlike other 10km races, there is a time goal here of finishing the 10km distance in an hour or less than that.  Should a runner complete this, he shall receive a finisher medal and a finisher shirt.

But to cater to runners with no time goal or who are just after the distance, Pinoy Fitness had added another category "Walker Fun Wave", wherein once they completed the race, finishers will receive finisher shirt.

There are three wave categories for the sub-1 due to the number of runners interested in this challenge.



When I registered for this race, I opted for the Brooks Wave as figured that the earlier wave the better as air should be cooler and sun won't be out yet.  

I plan to be there by 5:00am at the latest so that I could be at the very front of the wave and save time.  This was the strategy I used in Amcham race.  Here that should be done even more so as the Sub-1 challenge will be based on gun time, and not on your chip time.  So the further back you are from the starting line, the harder it will be to finish within 1 hour from when the race started.

Unfortunately, every runner had the same idea and by the time I got there, I was at the very back of this wave.  It was super crowded and made me re-think whether registering for the first wave was such a good idea when most runners joined this wave, making it the most congested out of all three waves.

There was nothing to do but find a spot and do a little stretching.  The wait didn't last long and pretty soon, the race had started.

Of course, being at the back, I couldn't run yet and walked slowly toward the starting line.  At this time, I was counting the seconds slowly as I knew I can't just be sub-60 but at least 0:59:30 if they were going to follow the clock!  By my count, it took me 20 seconds alone to cross the starting line to start running!

It was a fast start as almost everyone was sprinting!  Everyone had a goal in this race.  Race route took us up BGC before we headed to Kalayaan Bridge.  

This was around 3km and my pace was comfortably below 6 minute per km.  On Buendia Ave, it was easier to run and I was able to speed a little for the time i slowed going up the flyover.  

Daunting was the task of going back up Kalayaan Flyover from Buendia Avenue as it felt steeper and longer.  "Just cross this", I thought to myself and I kept on going.

Back in BGC, there were only 3km to go.  I was running below 6 minute pace but I was worried if that would be enough due to 20 seconds I lost prior to reaching the starting line.  But I thought of an answer for that, and that was to show the marshal my Garmin watch , reflecting both the finish time and distance I ran!  I have proof!  Once I realized that, I became calmer and just focused on my running.

At 8km, I was experiencing some difficulty in running and breathing.  Am I hitting the wall?  But there were only 12 minutes or so to go!  I need to push myself but also careful and do body self-assessments.  I was wheezing more around this time.

Finally, I saw the finish line and sped to the rightmost side of it as that is where my finisher clock was.  So far so good and I crossed the line, out of breath and tired!  But happy especially when the marshal handed me the much coveted finisher medal.



THANK YOU LORD for this!!!

i didn't stay anymore after the race as felt it was too crowded.  Plus I was famished too. 

So I went back to the car, changed clothes to drier ones and had breakfast at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf after.

What a great Sunday morning!!

Pace per kilometer:
1km: 5:44, 2km: 5:34, 3km: 5:50, 4km: 5:47, 5km: 5:44, 6km: 5:59, 7km: 6:00, 8km: 5:58, 9km: 5:52, 10km: 5:31, 200m: 5:11

Water: drank twice in race: At 4th km and at 7km.

Gu gels: none.  Supposed to bring one for race but at last minute, left it in car as didn't want the "added" weight, all one oz. of it. Haha!

Thanks be to GOD, who was with me throughout this race.  I was never alone :)





Preparing for Sub-60 10km Race (PF 2016)

To say that this race gave me a lot of pressure is a serious understatement!  It took me a few weeks pondering on it before I decided to sign up for this event.  

And it was because I was getting faster in my 10km race, from a 1:02:39 finish time last December, to 1:01:16 finish time in February, I was just a minute or so away from my target finish time.

So I took the plunge, paid the registration fees, took home the race kit and didn't know what to do next! Haha!



I run only twice a week, a short mid-week run and one race over the weekend.  The mid-week may be an easy run, a
tempo run of 7 minute pace or speedwork via 200m x 10 times and would usually involve running up a steep hill.  Even with the steep hill, the 200m would be finished in 1:05 or less, then I would walk down the hill and repeat run again.

The races I join vary from 10km (to build speed) to 16km and 21km (to build endurance).  All with the ultimate goal of going sub-60 in the Pinoy Fitness challenge.  Usually in all these race, I try to go sub-6 minute pace for the last 3-5km regardless of distance I joined so that I could be familiar with running at this pace especially with tired legs.  I may not
always achieve it but in all times, these races helped my performance and I got to finish fast in them.  The goal for the last 3-5km is to be able to still run fast even with tired legs!

You may think two runs a week is insufficient, and I agree with that.  But i was also able to go to Gold's gym for one month and join some of their classes (spinning, boot camp) which helped my endurance and developed core muscles too.  

Once a week I play badminton too which helps in speedwork as I try to catch every shuttlecock heading my way!  It is usually in badminton that I am out of breath so I know that there is still room for improvement.

There is one 10km race (Amcham) that I joined before the Pinoy Fitness run and the purpose for this race was a tune-up race.  Basically I would race this with goal of finishing it in sub 60 minutes.  I will see if my target here is achievable and my effort level in getting to it.

I finished successfully this race with a finish time of 57:15 but it was short 400 meters.  Still, my pace was at 5:56 minutes per kilometer, which would guarantee a sub-60 in PF run.

Two takeaways though from this race:
1) It was mostly flat as just went around BGC area.  Or if there were some climbs, they wouldn't be that steep.  I had no idea yet on route map of PF run at time of this race.

2) My effort level was in the RED.  That means I was giving everything in the race and having a really hard and horrible time in it.  I was having a hard time at the last part of the race in trying to bring my pace down further.

So rather build confidence from that race, there was some self-doubt too as felt I wasn't strong enough or confident enough for PF.  But it was also a good tune up race as it had been a long time (years!) before I had done a sub 60 10km race.

Thankfully, I had two more races: Yakult 16km and Run United 21km.  With these two longer distance races, it should help my endurance and make me stronger!

I also use foam roller to remove the tight spots in my legs and lower back.  

For the final week of training, I did an easy 7km run in BGC Tuesday morning followed by two hours of playing badminton that same day (but in the evening).

On Friday morning, I did 3km warm up followed by 200m x 10 sessions of speedwork where 5 of these sessions will be going up a hill.  

Rest on Saturday so legs will be fresh come Sunday morning!

An extra challenge when the route map came up:



Kalayaan bridge!  My nemesis in all the races.  In the past years, I walk going up this as felt it was too steep and hard effort for me to run it.  Can't do that for this race!


Hopefully the hill sprints I did were enough to meet this challenge.  We shall see..

Sunday, March 13, 2016

RU1 21km: Horrible start but good finish

This was the worst race start for me EVER!

It had a regular set-up the night before: fixing my running gear and setting my phone's alarm clock to 2:40am.  Too bad at 2:40am when the alarm rang, I quickly turned it off and went back to sleep!!

At 3:30am, I was woken up by a phone call.  It was Alvin calling me!  He is at the house already as our race start was at 4:00am!  Adrenalin rushed over me as I quickly went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, fix my gear and use the toilet. Even with the rush to get ready quickly, it still took too long!

We were out of the house at 3:45am, 15
minutes before race start but we had another hurdle to conquer: EDSA was congested with cars at 3:45am!  Apparently one lane on the flyover to Mall of Asia had some roadwork being done on it.  But after the flyover, traffic was light all the way to Mall of Asia.  Parking was easy too as 21k runners were at the starting line and it was an hour away for the 10km runners.



We got to the starting line 10 minutes after the gun start.  And did some quick stretching before starting the race at 4:13am, 2 minutes before the start cut-off.

There was one final hurdle to conquer and that was my upset tummy.  I hoped to do the race quick enough that I won't need to use the toilet until after the race.  As it was a 21km race, I wasn't that hopeful and I looked at the hotels nearby to see where I could stop for abtoilet break should the need arise.

The route was similar to last week's Yakult run in that it was mostly done on Roxas Blvd.  I was able to spot three hotels as we headed towards Luneta Park.



My pace was at a constant 6:45 minutes per km, which was my target pace here.  But at 8km, I felt my tummy grumble and felt that I had to go soon!  I made it in time to the hotel's bathroom after talking to the hotel's security guard if I could use it.  This happened at the 9km mark.

While there my pace went up slowly from 6:45 to 7:00 and to end at 7:11!  I was so disappointed as felt that all the hard work just disappeared because of the toilet break.  But what can I do?

I am reminded of the biblical verse,
"I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith."
 - 2 Tim 4:7

With this reminder, I was convinced that the race was far from over!  I may have lost precious time but I can try and make up for it.  I shouldn't give up even with all that has happened and try to work back to my goal.  My goal was 6:45 average pace for this race so now I had to do my best to achieve it with the last 11km of the race.  Every flyovers that I would go to, I will be in attack mode and surge on them.  There would be minimal walking breaks as well and some level of speed maintained in this race.  I was pretty sure the 6:45 target was out the window, but I can at least try to be below 7 minute average pace.

As more distances are covered, my average pace went down as well.  On the last 3-4km, I brought the pace during this time to below 6 minutes.

I knew by then that I should be below 2 hours 30 minutes and even below 7 minute average pace but had no idea how low it was.

Finally I crossed the finish line, drained and exhausted.  I got my finisher loot bag and shirt before I took a look at my Garmin watch.



GOAL ACHIEVED!!  PRAISE GOD!

It definitely wasn't how you start the race but how it is finished!  That's the important thing!  I was quite happy with this time and I hope that it would be enough for next week's PF sub-60 10km.

I end with one other biblical verse:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"- Philippians 4:13

THANK YOU LORD FOR EVERYTHING!!

Just when it felt hopeless, God allowed me to not only reach my goal pace but even be 2 seconds faster from it.  Moreover, this is now my fastest half marathon race since 2010!  With all the hurdles at the beginning, who would have expected this to happen this way?  Definitely not me, but I am sure God knew and He gave me strength.

Race paces:
1km: 6:53, 2km: 6:45, 3km: 6:41, 4km: 7:03, 5km: 6:39, 6km: 6:34, 7km: 6:42, 8km: 7:05, 9km: 6:56, 10km: 10:43 (or as I call it- THE TOILET BREAK), 11km: 6:38, 12km: 7:00, 13km: 6:22, 14km: 6:17, 15km: 6:12, 16km: 6:15, 17km: 6:29, 18km: 5:57, 19km: 5:47, 20km: 6:17, 21km: 5:57, 0.15km: 5:16

Pre-run Nutrition: 1 bottle of Gatorade and 1 pineapple cake

Race nutrition: water and Gatorade throughout race.  1 Gu gel at 10-11km. A second gel was distributed at 16km to which I ate it.






Sunday, March 6, 2016

Race Review: Yakult 10-miler 2016

As one of the country's oldest running races (superceded by Milo Marathon), this is a race that all runners should do at least once in their lifetime.  Not only will you be giving importance to historical races that are still in existence until this day, but it has a very affordable registration fee vs other Metro Manila races.

For the 10-miler distance, the fee was just P500 and this comes with a finisher shirt, a bottle of yakult and a bottle of Pocari Sweat.

The starting line was at CCP, next to Star City, with gun start at 5:30AM.  We got there with 15 miniutes to spare to do some last minute toilet break, warm up jog and some static stretching.

Parking was easy and going to the starting line was quick too.  Route was pretty straightforward: running along Roxas Blvd. for both sides.  This would be a general flat route except for the two flyovers, which we had to do twice.

I was hoping to beat my PR pace from Fed Run two weeks ago by going faster than that week's race pace of 6:25 minutes per kilometer.  I also hoped to do the last 5km at below 6 minute pace, as it serves as training for the sub-60 PF 10km race in two weeks time.

I planned to start at 6:45 pace and keep it that way, and bring it down eventually.  But today was an especially hot day and that made it harder to accomplish what I wanted for this race.

I was able to do the 6:45 pace for first 11km but as for the 5:59 pace for the last 5km, it wasn't easy.  Effort wise, I was having a hard time here vs Fed Run 16km two weeks ago.  I don't know whether that is a good or bad thing.  On one hand, I was going faster overall as pace was faster but on the last part, pace couldn't hit the sub-6 minute target that I wanted for it.

It was a hot day too and that could be another factor to me having a hard time here.

With 2-3 km to go, I took a quick look at my average pace and saw that it was at 6:25- 6:26 average pace.  I wanted it to be at worst 6:24 pace so I kept going faster.  But was having a horrible experience with this target.  Pretty soon, I hit 6:24 (thank GOD) and just had to keep the pace through the end.

When I crossed the finish line, I was wheezing and panting so much that it seemed that this was my first exercise for the year!!

But by God's grace, I made it to the end and beat my pace from before (which at that time seemed impossible to beat).


Wow, a 6:22 average pace for a 16 kilometer race.  Praise God!

After I had recovered and gotten finisher shirt, Alvin and I went back to the car and I noticed how every piece of clothing that I wore for the race were drenched with sweat.  From the shoes and socks to the shorts and shirt.  More bad news was when I got home and took a hot shower as realized I had chaffed all over my thighs!  It is safe to say that summer is here! And a painful one at that!

I enjoyed the race and the route and I was quite happy with my time and pace.  I hope that I can get stronger and that this will be easier for me in the future.

Pre- run food: one cup of black coffee and one Taiwan pineapple cake

GU gels: one piece taken at 10km mark

Pocari sweat: drank at multiple parts of the race.  Even more than water!

Pace:  1km: 6:27, 2km: 6:44, 3km: 6:44, 4km: 6:40, 5km: 6:39, 6km: 6:50, 7km: 6:41, 8km: 6:25, 9km: 6:33, 10km: 6:08, 11km: 6:24, 12km: 5:58, 13km: 5:59, 14km: 6:05, 15km: 6:04, 16km: 5:26

Two more weeks to go for the PF sub-60 10km race!