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 Leadpack.ph 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.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

My Milo Marathon 2016 Story Part 2

With only three hours of sleep I was off to Mall of Asia around 2am.  My plan was to get there early so that I would have time to stretch and be at the front of the starting line as 6 hour cut off will be based on gun time and not chip time.

Unfortunately not everything went according to plan.  With the road work on the EDSA- Pasay flyover and long parking queue, I got to the starting line less than 5 minutes before gun start.  I was able to do some quick stretching for the legs but I wasn't able to position myself in the front of the pack.  Again not because I am fast (I am not) but want to maximize the gun time start as much as possible.  Luckily, the 42km runners weren't that big and even being at the very back of the pack, I was just 2 minutes away from when first runner took off.  Not so bad and is just equivalent to about three seconds more per kilometer.

The route would take us to Mall of Asia to both sides of Roxas Blvd. before heading to BGC and Lawton Avenue via Buendia. With the 42km distance too daunting to think about as a whole, I divided the distance by three segments: 16km, 16km and 10km distance.

The first 16km ended somewhere along Roxas Blvd while the second 16km distance was on Buendia Avenue.  The last 10km should have been my fastest but with sore feet, legs and really painful shoulders, it became the worst one.  

My average pace prior to this was around 7:55 per kilometer but with the last 10km, my pace slowed significantly.  Everything was painful!! More wallking done and pace for last few kilometers were beyond 9 minutes already.  

My arsenal for this race were 7 GU Gels taken every 7km (ended up using 5) and salt tablets taken in between. I also had two bananas and unlimited water and Gatorade.

My target was initially to finish at 5:30 but with feet and legs pain (felt at times I was about to cramp!), my goal was just to finish below 6 hours.

I ended walking a lot at last 4km.  Even when I saw the finish line in front of me, I still could not run toward it!

During the entire marathon I was reciting the Lord's prayer every time I hit the next kilometer and the verse from Philippians 4:13 at last few kilometers to give myelf some strength and encouragement.  

But it was still hard.

Good thing my pace was good at first part so that compensated on overall performance.

I finished the Milo Marathon at a time of 5:46:24, with pace of 8:09.  Thank God for that!

I happily received the finisher medal, finisher shirt, and towel from the organizers.  It took a while though before I got to the car as I was too tired and had to rest for a few minutes at the sidewalk.

This was my fastest Philippine marathon since 2012 and for that I was grateful.  Since 2013 all my Philippine marathons were past 6 hours.  This was also faster than my first Milo Marathon.  Milo Marathon #2 DNF redeemed!  

Thank You God for this opportunity.  Now it is time to rest :)

My Milo Marathon 2016 story part 1

I was adverse in joining this race due to the strict 6 hour cut off time.  The last time I attempted this was in 2013 and sadly, I didn't make it to the cut off time.  All the time on the road was all for naught as there were no finisher medals to show my hard work.  It was my second time to do Milo Marathon.  The first time I was able to get a finisher medal as made it 5 minutes before the cut-off time.

I joined other local marathons (Subaru and RUPM) due to more lenient cut off time. And yet in both races, I still finished beyond 6 hours 30 minutes.

And yet I was enticed for Milo Marathon as it is celebrating its 40th edition.  But I didn't have high hopes for it as lacked mileage for it.  

I changed my strategy this time and incorporated a lot of speedwork. So shorter weekly distances but more effort due to faster pace.  Because of it, I was able to bring my 10k below one hour (three times this year) and 21km below 2:30.   

One setback for me was when I did the Run United 32km as a test run for my endurance.  It did not turn out well.  In fact, it was horrible as I finished at a time of 4:30 and pace of 8:25, which is too close pace wise for a sub-6 hour marathon.  I was discouraged once again and debated whether I should continue with the Milo Marathon or veto it all together.

In the end, I decided to push through with the Marathon as I had already registered for it, with my personalized
name on it and "21" next to it to signify that this will be my 21st marathon.

But I still wasn't convinced that I would do well here and thought of quitting when I reach BGC and just run/walk home.  But Per told me to finish the race regardless of the outcome as I had never quit before and I shouldn't start now.

To which I agreed to her point and will try my best for this race. I was able to do one more 32km solo run and whose results turned out well.  It was taper time after this and I did one fast 21km race (Takbo.ph Runfest) as final long run before Milo Marathon.

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