Thursday, December 24, 2009

Year ender 2009

For 2009, I did 32 road races broken down into the following:

2 Full Marathons, 11 Half Marathons, 8 15k/16k Races, 10 10k races and 1 5k race.

There were 15 races held in Fort Bonifacio, 1 race held on the Rock, 3 International races, 4 races in MOA/ Roxas, 3 held in UP and a few held in different parts of Metro Manila (QC, Greenfield, Timberland Heights, Sta. Elena among other places).

Got individual PR for Half Marathon, Marathon (twice), 10k PR (twice), and 15k PR (twice). Got couple PR for Half Marathon (twice), 16k, 15k and 10k. A good year not just for me but for Per as well.

A total of 1,650 km for 2009. NOT BAD!

And finally, I found use for the finisher medals....

God is indeed Great for blessing us with lungs to survive tempo runs, legs to cross the finish line, hands to grab water and sports drink from marshals, strong hearts and the will to finish a hard race.

See you guys next year! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mango Finisher Medal: Cebu Marathon

WOW! A medal unique to all the finisher medals that I have in existence, and one more reason to do the full marathon instead of the half. DARN IT!

I just hope my left heel pain improves. Big test will come this Sunday for the 21km Celebrity Run + 11km run in between (if possible). Fingers crossed.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

To Cebu or Not to Cebu (42km)...

A little bit of a background first: In terms of the race, this will be the first full marathon to be held in Cebu City and for that, Janine+ want it to be her first full marathon experience too, along with her friend Dave.

Per and I offered to join her and be there to support her and so we bought Cebu plane tickets too. Three more of our closest friends will join for this trip but mostly to explore this wonderful city in the Philippines.

I didn't want to run another marathon at the time the plane tickets were bought, seeing as I will be doing my 2nd full marathon in Fresno CA in November 2009. It was just too soon and didn't want to wear myself out by doing another marathon. So I was perfectly happy doing the 21km for Cebu Marathon and Per happy doing the 5km with her friend Blanche.

But then.... I had a great time in Fresno. The cold weather helped me a lot. I wasn't as tired as I expected, I didn't hit the wall, didn't get any blisters or cramps and able to walk normal the next day. All that plus reaching Coach Alvin's (and definitely NOT MINE) 42.2km goal of sub-5 hours. It was a runner's high (as high as can be) and I lived off the next few days in USA still unbelieving at what just happened.

I returned back to the Philippines with a big smile on my face and asked Alvin, "can I do another marathon so soon?" His reply was a definite YES and better now as I've locked in on the training and the mileage so no need to start from zero again.

Perfect! Except that my body doesn't seem to agree with the situation. Left heel painful after doing a tempo run in Fort and still lingered in Corregidor 10-miler race last week. Seem to be getting better though...


1. Training has been "locked in" so to speak so not much high weekly mileage needed to get back to the same level as before. Just need to maintain by continuing the fast fast tempos.

2. There is a finisher medal here and only in this race event! None offered for the 21km. This will be a great souvenir from our visit in this city.

3. Very nice singlet design. All the more worthy when you are able to finish a 42.2km race

4. No cut-off time. At least none that I know no fear of being picked up by shuttle bus if too slow..

5. Eye candy route. It won't be some place I have gotten used to (like Fort Bonifacio) so at least it will keep me occupied for the next 5+ hours. Touring around Cebu the runner's way. :)

6. Worth the plane ticket, hotel bookings, etc. I'm already spending for these things so might as well go all out!

7. Early gun time of 4:00AM so can avoid the morning heat for the next few hours...PROVIDED they start race as scheduled!

8. Rewarding. Aside from the pure happiness of finishing a full marathon, I decided to reward myself with some material item as a prize for doing this race. New shoes perhaps? Haha.

9. Great year starter for 2010!


1. No PR for me. It's statistically proven that running in cold weather gives the runner his best peformance in a race. So Fresno's 6 degrees gave me sub-5, Singapore super humid super hot Sundown Marathon's 38 degrees gave me more than 6 hours! Cebu's 30+ degrees should give me 5:30 time if we follow the law of averages. But still aiming for 5:00 at the most...with Alvin aiming for something way way below! haha!

2. Left heel pain. Still there and might deter me in finishing race and quitting instead! Oh no!!! Mind over matter dapat!

3. Might be too tired to cheer/ motivate Janine. But maybe running the same race will make her run more....Besides, Per and our friends will be at the finish line waiting for us.

4. The heat is on! I think it should be hotter to run in Cebu than in Manila so that could give me a hard time. Related to this topic are blisters and chafing!

5. Eventhough my training already in place, is it still too soon for this RUNNING FATBOY to do another 42.2km? Fear plays a role too!


1. This being the first for Cebu, I am not sure how well they organize a marathon race. It can be very very good (like the first QCIM) but that one had the advantage of Coach Rio as the organizer. It can also be very very bad (lkie the Subic International Marathon) where there were no lights, marshals and no water! Dumb, really dumb!

2. Chip timer. But since it's applicable for both 21km and 42.2km race, it doesn't matter to me either way. :P


Looks like the advantages outweigh the disadvantages! DAMN IT! But I still have until Dec. 31st to register for this race and think twice, thrice on what I should do. What do you think????

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Past Two Weeks...

I joined two road races....
One was a Half Marathon, the other was a 10-miler. Somehow, the 10-miler seemed harder to accomplish!

I got one of my fastest half marathon times ever (2nd best) and my worst 10-miler performance ever.

There were ample marshals in one race while in the other, nobody was even manning the water station. It was get your own water bottle from the plastic bag on the floor.

One was a race, the other became a walkathon... sort of!

One was hard running on the steep hills and desert feeling. I thought that was the hardest race. I was dead wrong come the next weekend. Now that gave the meaning of STEEP HILLS!

One was just 10minutes drive from my house. The other was a 30-minute car drive, 1.5 hour boat ride, and two trolley rides to the starting line!

One lasted until 9:30am. The other lasted until 7pm! There goes my entire day!

Both were good times as spent in with friends

One race lead to my wife injuring herself. I wasn't in a good condition too and thought of resting for a while...

I got a finisher medal.

I used said finisher medal as part of the Xmas Tree Ornaments. Wife super duper excited about the tree. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!. I'm just happy I found uses for the medals.

Didn't get the singlet for one race. But at the end of the day, I just didn't care. I just want to go home!

Had super hard time chasing after coach Alvin in one of his tempo runs. Heel pain.
Four days later, pain still there! :(

Having seconds thoughts about Cebu race. Won't register yet until I've made up my mind. But I did register for Celebrity Run the second time around.

But the Cebu race keeps reeling me in... Damn that ego. Damn that curiosity!

Soooooo looking forward to a weekend without an early morning race! Is this running fatboy finally burning out???

Realized that except for the weekend after my No.2 Marathon, I have been joining and running road races every weekend. I need to rest again!

Pictures from New Balance 21km race at Fort Bonifacio and Corregidor 10-miler.

Friday, November 27, 2009

2nd year of RUNNING! - my top 10 races

It has been two years already for this RUNNING FATBOY! Has it been this long? As they say, time flies when you're having fun!

FROM NOV 2008 – OCT 2009


The top 10 races isn’t categorized based on which is the best race in terms of starting on time, having kilometer markers, having sufficient water stations and marshals, having good gift packs, quick race results, accurate course distance etc. but rather it is ranked on which races are most memorable for me as a person first and as a runner second. So here it is, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER, my top 10 races from Nov 2008 to Oct 2009

November 16, 2008 – Clark 25k (Php 550) – 3 hour 03 minutes 26 seconds (25km PR)
This was Janine and my longest distance race when we joined it. I had a big phobia of burning out here as that was what happened to me a month ago for a race that was 4kilometers shorter. Good thing I was more careful this time around. I survived the race and got my second finisher medal. More importantly, this was a race where a lot of our friends tried their hand at running. They did the 5km on a Saturday with us supporting them. On our race itself the cool weather, out-of-town experience, accurate distance and the very nice singlet and medal made this an automatic favorite for all of us!

March 22, 2009 – Condura 21km (P500), 2:15:09, 21.1km (Half marathon PR)
First run on the Skyway. That alone was unforgettable! It was an exciting race with very nice shirts and finisher medal. The shirt was even better for me as this year I went to see the whale sharks in Donsol. Condura made it to my top 10 years two years in a row!!! That shows the quality and commitment they gave to the annual Condura race. I also got a half marathon PR (and up to now, still unbeatable)!

April 19, 2009 – Greenfield Sta Rosa, 21km (P 500) - 2:17:28
Kudos to Coach Rio and Vince for putting an out of town race with free shuttle bus service for those people who have no access to Sta. Rosa. Registration is easy as well, as runners can do it via the internet. The torched route, the surprise finisher medal and lots of water for that hot day made this an experience worth doing again. Photovendo service was a nice addition to this race too!

May 30, 2009 – Adidas Night Marathon 42k, Singapore (Php 1,938), (New 42k PR - 6:31:34)
Although I had a very, very bad experience here, it still made it to the list because I am happy to have survived it. It was my first full marathon and the course passed through trail roads, lakes, overpass bridges, and had a lot of people doing the full or the ultra marathon. They also had a movie marathon for the supporters of the race that ran from midnight till 7AM. I super loved the finisher medal because of its massive size and because I worked really hard to earn it (not just for the race but for all the long runs I did to train for it). The finisher shirt was something I can wear proudly too. Of course, I also ordered the photo certificate and had it framed as a memory of this very tiring 24-hour episode in Singapore (finally slept after 26 hours of being awake! - Darn that shopping!).

July 19, 2009 – Globe Run, 21km (Php 300): 3:09:17 – new couple 21k PR
Good chip timer. Nice free photovendo photos. New course as it passed through Ayala Avenue. But what made this race extra special for me was that it was the first 21km race for Per. She, with no training whatsoever. She, who promised before not to run anything longer than 15km and just go back to 10km again. She, who joined this race out of impulse (2 days before) and had a super strong finish. I was proud of her and she amazed me by her endurance. After this race, the possibilities for her became endless.

Close to this was July 12, 2009 - Robinsons Fit Buddy Run 10k (Php 700 for two): 1:14:54 - new couple 10k PR

It was great joining this race but the best part was when it was over and our names were announced as we crossed the finish line. We got a new 10k Couple PR that time, some free photos and a mega sized gift pack from the Robinson Group. We felt like champions after bringing home said gift pack! Well Done!

August 15, 2009 – Kenny Run 15k (Php 600): 1:39:14
Last day as a bachelor run! “Crazy!” “Seriously??” “What is wrong with you?” These were just some of the reactions I got when I first mentioned it to my friends. But they weren’t my “running” friends. The running friends gave these answers “Hell yah!” “I’m Game!” “Put me in 15km.” and these are people who have a role in my wedding! Unfortunately, one runner was injured after the race (note the word AFTER!). Ahem. Good thing said person was able to walk down the aisle the following day (not the bride at least...Phew). Hehe. First Philippine night race. Nice black and white singlet material. Good food at Kenny’s. Free surprise photos at Photovendo (surprise because none of us saw where the cameras were).

December 28, 2008 – Kappa 10k Run, Hong Kong (HK$ 160 = Php 1,025.60) – 1 hour, 1 minutes, 48 seconds (Foreign run)
Hong Kong run! Nice shirt. Nice view! Very cold weather as running in the mountains. First time running in Hong Kong too so it was a memorable experience running on unfamiliar terrain.

December 7, 2008 – Yakult 10 Miler (Php 150) – 1 hour 36 minutes 23 seconds (10 miler PR and 15km PR too)
Simple but efficient. Loved the flat route. Happy that this even beat my existing 15km PR to think its 1 km longer! Price is super cheap too for a long race and lots of water stations here.
Similar to this would be the Milo 21km (Php 150 + Milo packs) as used the same route, had cheap price and lots of drinks too!

Oct 18, 2009 – QC Half Marathon 21k (Php 500) – 2:29:21
As it is another race by Rio, I know there won’t be a problem with regards to water stations here. The finisher medal was huge! The new route is fantastic and took us to Commonwealth Avenue where there were 4-5 open lanes reserved for runners only. Plus, the unbelievable fast Kenyans added to the attraction of this race. You will definitely run where the Kenyans run!

Oct 25, 2009 – Adidas Half Marathon 21k (Php 500) – 2:18:11 (Foreign Run)
Finally, we were able to join this race after missing it last year and it was wonderful. Aside from the great looking Adidas yellow shirt, it was very festive with 7,000 runners for the race. The route was wonderful as it headed towards Buendia and there were a lot of cheerleaders motivating you to keep going forward. That they were from my Alma Mater did not hurt too.

Pictures below on some of the Top 10 races we joined for the year:

For my first year of running and top 10 races for that time, copy and paste the link below to another webpage:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Men's Health Urbanathon Race - Nov 22, 2009

I try not to miss any Men's Health races as they usually guarantee a good time, with the nice shirts and lots of freebies. There is the Urbanathon series, the Miracle Run series and the Trail Running series, each happening only once in a year.

This race was more significant as it was the first race that I joined that got me hooked into the sport of running. Back then (some two years ago), Janine and I did the 10km while Per and Jeanne stayed on the sideline and acted as our support crew. How things change! Now, both ladies have joined the 5km race and tried their hand at the famous obstacle course too.

And what an obstacle course!! Aside from the trademark 8-foot wall right before the finish line (so close and yet so far!), there were hurdles to climb over, structures to crawl underneath and the hardest challenge (at least for me) - going inside a building and climbing 6 floors, cross to the other side and run down the 6 floors and out of the said building. This happened at our 3km mark and by the time I got out, I was dead tired! And I just finished 30% of the race!

I did some walk breaks at the steep Mckinley Hills as we head out of the area. Outside, we ran into runners from another event - the Botak run series. They had part of the same route we did and rather view it negatively, I liked it even more. It was more festive with more runners, more water stations (as coming from two race organizations) and more familiar faces (saw Neil and Marina).

Got my groove back after a few km and able to run again at a comfortable pace. The final leg was going back into McKinley Hill, running on its grass area to crawl for a few meters, run to the wall, climb over it (with the help of Coach Rio from the other side), jump off (a no-no but who cares) and run to the finish line!

Fantastic! Best of all, for the P450 fee, aside from the singlet and latest Menshealth Nov 2009 issue, we got a breakfast from Kenny Rogers too. A great deal!

Per was happy too and even happier two days later when we found out she finished 19th place out of 191 female 5km racers. Good job!

Per and Jeanne's first Urbanathon. Definitely not their last!

The Killer Wall

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Post Marathon Activities

For my First Marathon in Singapore last May 2009, the first thing I did (after eating and taking a shower) was to fall asleep for a few hours. I have been awake for more than 24 hours as my race started at midnight and given we were in Singapore for a few days only, we decided to use the time there as much as possible (a big no-no) by shopping the entire day. So by the time my race started, I was tired from walking around Orchard Road already. The humidity didn't help too. But I did finish the race and that was the important thing. Never mind the limping and can't-stand-up-from-taxi situation. I got the medal and finisher shirt and glad it was over. So going back, after sleeping, I had a very painful massage but it worked as no body pains the next day and for that I was glad.

This time, the situation is different for my Second Marathon. The weather was cold. The race started early in the morning and I rested well the day before. All proper pre-marathon training (at least I learned from my first experience). My feet were sore again and I was a little bit limping but at a manageable level.

First activity was trying to get a free body massage post-race. That did not work as lines were just too long at the finisher tent.

So, next activity to try to do was a heavy lunch. I was famished so went to a good place that serves heafty portion:

It was good! But was hungry again after a few hours.

The day after, legs felt fine so we drove to Yosemite and did four hour hike to see the waterfalls there. Tiring but perfect for post marathon activity.

Back in Manila, 2 hours after landing, we went to Timex Run to see how the event went. Saw a lot of friends there and seem to be a successful event. Our time wasn't wasted either as registered for Men's Health Urbanathon race for the following Sunday.

Now, it's back to running again after more than a week of hiatus. Easy run for 10km tonight at Fort Bonifacio.

See you soon!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Marathon No.2 - Fresno CA Marathon!

My second marathon coincides with the Pasig International Marathon but due to the time difference I was able to read on the race via an email from Alvin, my pro-bono coach.

Anxiety made me check, double check and triple check everything and I did the same thing with the alarm (set up three different ones having the same wake up call). It was quite easy going to the race venue as there was a hotel shuttle that would take the runners there every 10-15 minutes. The weather was even COLDER than in San Francisco. I was shivering and had to use socks to cover my ears as they are the only exposed skin area. Per will wait for me for the entire race and will be my emergency contact as well. We went to the race together and got there a few minutes before the start of the Half Marathon race.

The Full Marathon began 30 minutes later and divided into four corrals. When I registered for this race in June, I was just targetting a 6 hour time and therefore put that in my application. Which lead me to corral D, the final and slowest group of all. Elite runners (including our very own RunRio) were at corral A to compete for the top prizes. But I didn't mind. Actually, I prefer it. This way, I won't go out too fast and be at an easy pace. I dread the wall and do not want to encounter it in any part of the 42.2km race!

Some more photos were taken between me and Per before I finally went to my area and got ready for the race to commence. At 7:30am, the gun fired, I said goodbye to Per and I walked slowly to where the chip timer mat was.


My original goal when I first registered for this race was to have a new PR. That is, to beat 6.5 hours! I aimed for below 6 with a best effort at 5.5hours. I know that this is my limit as I always burn out from my long runs and avoided it whenever I could. I also wasn't training properly. My 3-week honeymoon lowered my endurance performance even more (NOT that I'm complaining). I seriously contemplated switching to a half marathon due to lack of running. Per was afraid for me. My siblings warned me against a 3-day week run only (not sufficient). I was afraid for myself!

All this before I met Alvin again at Mizuno Run Club. He told me to run with him that night and that is where our friendship began. Twice a week we would meet and he would make me do tempo runs. He was confident I would reach sub-5 hours. Per and I laughed in his face. It was a nice dream but this is reality. That worked for slim, athletic people. Not for this running fatboy. Every session, he would use his positive energy to say 5 hours was easy for me. I laughed it off again. Eventually, Per also told Alvin that although she believed I could finish a race, under 5 hours is definitely out of the question for me. Alvin only smiled, shook his head and just gave two words to end the discussion "Trust me". This scenario kept on repeating over and over again. We were negative all that time. He was always positive and had no doubts about it. CRAZY!!!

But I kept going to his sessions. It was free after all and I needed somebody to push me. Besides, it was much more fun running it with a friend than by myself. So I continued to meet him for two months till the time I had to leave for the USA. Just two short months made up of three runs a week. But during that period, I slowly started to belive Alvin that maybe it was possible. Maybe not sub-5 hours but at least 5:15. That would cut off an additional 15 minutes from my target. Per started believing too....


At the start, I was running slowly at a comfortable pace. I immediately prayed to God to protect me and to help me finish this race. I prayed that everybody will finish the race and to be safe here. I repeated the Lord's Prayer over and over again. It helped give me the confidence I need to finish the race.

I need to run at a certain pace at each kilometer to make sure I reach my target time. I started at a faster pace. It may be a good thing but I was afraid that I might be going too quickly and burn out at the last part. I tried to slow down and it worked. I continue running, feeling the cool breeze to my face and feeling good about this. So far so good (but it is just 2km so far!).


I have gotten dependent with my Garmin watch so I made sure its' battery was full before the race. What I didn't do was erase the old data so at 4km, it stopped moving. I had to stop and try to find some way to free up space so it can record this race. Problem was that I had to stop the timer too so by the time I finished fixing it, I didn't know how much time I wasted. I was in panic mode and ran fast to recover the time I missed. But knew that was wrong and slowed back to my normal pace. I did not know my normal time but just estimated an additional 2 minutes for that chore.


Back to running again. I'm always behind this old gentleman running in a straw hat. There are times I would catch up with him but he would just overtake me again. I designate him my target and keep a watchful eye on him.

Goodbye gloves! You've served your purpose and for that I am glad you were there to help me. It's time to leave you by the hedges and may someone else find you useful. There were discarded jackets and sweaters too. I couldn't throw away my new jacket (bought at SF Expo) so stuck to it the entire time. It was light anyway and protected me from the wind.

There were rock bands here and it was nice listening to music again while I'm running. They perform without any jackets on in this cold weather and I applaud them for that. The music boosted my spirits and I keep running at a steady pace.

There were timers: people who hold stop watches and shout out your time as you pass by them. That way you would know how near or far you are to your target time.

I LOVE GATORADE! I don't care what flavor it is. I just love the sweet flavor compared to plain water. But I make sure to alternate it with water just the same. GU I take every 45 minutes or so. I hope the Philippine organizers can emulate the organizers in Fresno, that is lots and lots of water and sports drink being given out by volunteers to runners to save time.

I'm at old town Clovis. Now, I can safely say I ran the Two Cities marathon. Lots of people cheering. Strangers shouting out my name. In an effort to be nice, I sometimes wave at them and at other times, whisper "thanks". If I am too tired, I just grunt to show my appreciation. They somehow understood.

No pain yet but so much more to gain! Darn it!

I love running inside tunnels and there were about 3-4 here so I ran inside them twice (back and forth)! What a nice photo to take here (if I had a camera)! I see dog prints on the sand and for some weird reason, thought of T-Rex prints from Jurassic Park movie. I loosen my shoulders from time to time. Pain already there and still far from finish line.

21km - halfway mark. Good time, even better was that I don't feel tired or hurt yet. I keep on running, praying for confidence and humility and inner strength to finish the race. I thought of Per and said to myself, "I'm ready to see my wife again". She will be waiting at 26km mark and I use her image to focus myself for the last 5km.

Back to Fresno! I see Per in her green jacket waving from afar. I am soooo happy! It's like I finished the race already. Sheer joy! I drank from the water she gave me and half hugged her. Some bystanders smiled when they saw I stopped there. We talked for a few seconds before I ran off again. She said she will see me at the finish line. I hold her to her promise.

I overtake the guy in the straw hat. He does not come near me again. Thanks dude. You helped me keep going at a good pace. I overtake some walkers. I keep running. I keep drinking water and Gatorade. I push myself to 30km mark with a thought "if I reach it, I reward myself with a GU". I do reach it but didn't take the GU until 32km as realized its the 20-miler that most people hit the wall. I made sure that that doesn't happen to me.

A surprise steep hill at 22-mile! Of all places, it was placed here! My slowest time but I do not stop running. I overtake more people. I push myself thinking, "Just a few more meters, then it's downhill. Be patient and keep going".

I'm still on target but realize that this is going to be tight and know that there can't be room for errors. At 23-mile, I overtake a guy and he said that I still had a lot of energy in me. I honestly replied that I just wanted to finish this race as quickly as possible and get it over with. He laughed and wished me luck. I kept going.

Final few miles but instead of speeding up, I slow down. There was no way I could run fast anymore. All the speed has burned out of me. I'm ahead of my mark but there is a small fear as to whether my calculations were correct or not. I do know that I will finish this race. I DO KNOW I WILL GET A PR from it.

A lot of people cheering me on. Saying how close I was. Some were spectators. Some had the medals around their necks. I wonder whether they finished the full or half marathon (only 600+ full marathon runners vs 2,000++ half marathon runners). I move on.

I still could not run fast but didn't care as Per was there at 25.5mile again with her camera. I smiled at her (or maybe I didn't) and kept on running. I hope to see the finish line at every turn and corner but it always eludes me. Finally, I see it! But still could not run fast!

I cross it! It's over! It's all over! I can relax now.

To God be the Glory of this run!

Thanks to...

God for answering my prayers, for protecting me and for showing me a very small sample of everything You created during the time I ran in Fresno.

Alvin for believing in me even if I didn't believe in myself. If there is one other good thing that would come from my first marathon in Singapore, it's that I got a chance to meet you and do a redemption run for my second marathon.

Per, my loving wife for your support, especially for those long long Sunday mornings when you had to wait for me to finish my runs. Thanks for the patience!

Running buddies whom I run with on and off race. This includes my siblings and friends from Nike run clinic. You know who you are!

As for my new marathon finish time? Well, that was something I saved the best for last:

Clock Time: 4:53:38
Chip Time : 4:52:54

Goodbye 6:31, goodbye sub-6, goodbye 5:30, goodbye 5:15, goodbye 5:00! Hello, 4:52!


I guess Alvin had the last laugh in this! Welcome to the new "reality". It really is POSSIBLE! Best of all, no blisters, cramps or Wall in this race. Cold weather helped too!