Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Goal: To Get this Shirt !




That's about it. No pressure on time as automatic PR once I cross the finish line and cut off time pretty lenient. I just hope to end this race strong and not "hit the wall". Hoping all the long runs pay off! This is it! Fat fingers crossed!

Some challenges to this race though:

1. It has been raining in Singapore for two days now. Weather forecast rain till end of this week. Oh man! I wish I wish I wish for no rain ! Blisters will definitely come out and socks/ shoes will all be wet!

2. Mental preparation for first 21km. Although it will be a flat course for first half of the Marathon, it will just be one long road. No turns, no new sceneries and no cheering fans (as most will be asleep when we start the race). It will just be you and the one long road for next 2.5 hours!

3. There will be trail running involved! WHAT???? Oh no! Running will be difficult on uneven surface. Much more if the surface turned into mud because of the rain.

4. Three to four overpasses to climb up on. Steps to go up. Won't be able to run up here. Knees will feel the pain.

5. One big hill at near the end of the finish line. 'Nuff said!

6. Sleepy for midnight run. Need double espresso before race starts or there will be a Fatboy snoring on the sidewalks.

7. I heard news from my sister that race measurement exceeds 42.2km (even reaching 44 -45km). I sincerely hope this is not true!


If only I can be like Alfred E. Neuman!

Definitely not recommended for a first timer. But too late to back out now. So, I will just enjoy the experience and hope to survive it !


Monday, May 25, 2009

Auto Review 10k Run (May 24, 2009) - Post race


The Auto Review Race was held at McKinley Hills on May 24, 2009, and I was there by 5:30AM for the 6:00AM 10km race. This time, I am flying solo. But I was able to meet Janine+ and couple Neil and Mylene at the race site.

Parking was convenient as we were lead to an empty lot just a few meters away from race start. I was able to do a warm up jog of 3.24 km (at pace of 7:19 min/km) around the vicinity and from my jog, I realized how difficult this race would be. Just like the RUNew race a few months ago, the route will go around the very hilly McKinley Hill and out of this area and into Lawton and heading into Heritage Park before coming back to the starting point.

My feet don't feel fresh, I feel bloated and was tired but I was still optimistic that I will achieve goal of sub- one hour target. After all, I have been able to do sub- one hour races in all my 10k races for this year so probability of achieving it again is high.

The 5km runners were launched at 6AM, to be followed by the 10km runners and ending with the 2km runners. In between the release of the 5km and 10km racers, there was a short interview on the oldest runner (at 91) who looks way fitter than this RUNNING FATBOY! Right after his small speech, we were given a countdown from 10 and once it reached 0, we were off!

Immediately, we ran to the hilly area as we made a turning point there. Another hill was at McDonalds as we leave McKinley Hills and head towards Heritage Park. I was already tired and gasping for air but didn't want to walk so soon in this race. I skipped the first water station as people were crowding it and focused on targeting the second water station. Thank goodness there were ample water here as the weather was really really hot! I am so glad I only had to run a 10km distance and not do anymore long runs! PHEW!

But I was definitely slowing down. My pace was mostly above 6 minutes/km and no matter how hard I tried, I was unable to go faster. Running in Heritage Park was difficult due to lack of tree shades from the sun rays and walking was equally hard for the same reason mentioned.

I was counting down the KM I still had to cover and just kept looking at my Garmin for the distance. I didn't care anymore about my goal as I know it would be unachievable. On the last km I sped it out and back into McKinley Hills for the final hill before reaching the finish line.

My finish time : 1:02:58! This would be my slowest 10km finish time for 2009! Yikes! All my other 10km races for 2009 were below 58 minutes. This was a major disappointment. But I realize that it was because of my training as I focused more on running long at easy pace instead of running short at hard pace. But it was still 5 long minutes! AAAARRRRGGGHHH!!

Rather than dwell in the past, and thinking what could have been or what should have been done, I ran to my car and got camera to take finishing shots of my friends:


1. JANINE+



Running with eyes closed! Now, that's something I can't do! Go Janine! :)

2. NEIL - another 10km race in his track record. Congrats bro!


After running for more than an hour, Neil and I were both grateful to park our @sses on the sidewalk. His wife Mylene took photos below:






DLSU Batch '97 photo: Mylene, Neil, RFB


After the race, we got some free samples from Starbucks. Yummy!!!!! We also got a Finisher Certificate and Mylene won 2nd place for the Road Safety Slogan. Awesome!! All in all, a very well organized race. Results are supposed to come out in 48 -72 hours via takbo.ph
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Additional announcement: There will be a 2nd Shake Rattle & Roll race this October! And 2nd time I will be missing it! GRRRRRR!!!
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See you in the next race!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Market Market 10- miler (May 17, 2009) - Post race

SUCCESS!!


We crossed the finish line at a time of 2:03 hours. This was Per's second farthest run after the 15km RUNew race a few months ago so she was a bit apprehensive about this race. All throughout the week she was afraid on whether she can finish it or not. In my heart I know she can finish it. What I don't know is whether she will finish the race strong or struggle with it.


My goal was not only to get a new Couple PR in this race but to finish it strong so as to build Per's confidence that "yes, I can run this far without actually hating it!" In the RUNew race, my strategy was to do the 10km as quickly as possible (like an ordinary 10km race), then run - walk the remaining 5km to the finish line. She was fast at her first 10km but I can see her burning out on the 3rd part of the race as she was walking more than she was running and having a really hard time during that day. It was then that she vowed never to run longer than 10km again. And although we finished the race, she didn't like the experience.


I changed my strategy this time around. There will be more walk breaks even at first part of race and we will walk at some of the uphill portions. Each water station we would stop at and do about a minute of walking before resuming the race again.


PRE-RACE WEEK


With not enough preparations, we basically crammed for today's race by doing a 10km easy run at Ultra last Tuesday, and another 8km easy run at Fort Bonifacio last Friday. Both done at comfortable pace. Prior to that week, she was able to run only 7km.


Saturday afternoon, we both bought new New Balance shoes for use in today's race. I wore mine immediately to break it in. Per couldn't wear hers because of her get up.


That same night, we drove to Mall of Asia to watch the David Archuleta/ David Cook concert and ended up getting home around 12 midnight. Wake up call for me the following day at 3:30AM and for Per at 4:00AM. Definitely not enough sleep!


With the "cramming", lack of sleep and not "breaking in" the new shoe purchases, I have doubts on how well we are going to do in the Market Market race. We seemed to defy all the right rules that come with proper race training !!


RACE DAY


We got to Fort Bonifacio around 4:45AM, to which I did a 3.2km jog around Serendra area to test my shoes and look for the starting area. At about 5:20AM, we walked to the Starting Line, which was located on the road in between High Street and Market Market. There weren't that many runners for today's event but we did see a lot of familiar faces here.



Christy doing her 10-miler with her husband Vener as her photographer/ supporter for today. He was kind enough to take pictures of us as well. Most of the pictures here would come from his camera. Thanks RunUnlimited!



5 minutes before the race start!




Getting ready! It was 5:30AM but looks like the sun is coming out already.


The race started on time and we were off! Per wanted to chase the runners. Good thing I looked at our pace and saw that we were going out too fast. So I told her to slow down and just ignore the fast runners. It was hard to do, not only for her, but for me as well, as we both had the feeling of being left behind. But we had to stick to our strategy of finishing strong for this race! I kept asking if she had a finish time and she always reply, "None. I just want to finish." That meant we didn't have to run hard as there was no time constraint for us. So less pressure. :)


Being Per's "shadow" for the entire race, I decided to bring my camera with me and snap some pictures of her in the running mode. I would run ahead of her and stop a few meters away to take some pictures. It wasn't easy as it seemed as camera was still focusing by the time she reached and went past me. I had to do this a couple more times before I got the hang of it. See below for running shots:












There were enough water stations for this hot day and that was a nice thing. Route was simple although I fear there were some runners who went inside Heritage Park and ran in it. I wasn't sure if they were part of today's race or just joggers but at that point, Per wanted to go in too.


Lesson #1 - always look at race map before the race to get some familiarity on where you are running and avoid any confusion.


Good thing I was prepared by doing Lesson #1 so we kept running on the road for the turning point back to Fort Bonifacio area.


We were still running at a good pace of 7:30 - 8:30 minutes/km and taking walk breaks at each water station. Slowly, we were overtaking other runners and remained focus at our race pace. After the halfway mark, we weren't slowing down even with the scorching sun above us.


At 12km mark, Per was walking at some point but still smiling and at a good mood. I told her that if she wanted to walk, she should do so at shaded areas so she won't feel the heat. I was counting down slowly the last few kilometers as we head into and out of British School.






At the final turning point, we saw the finish line and I told Per to speed it up so we can finish below 2:03. She did so and our Garmin registered at 2:02:59 with a distance of 15.45km. Our average race pace was at 7:58 min/ km.


For comparison sake, in the RUNew race we did a couple of months ago, our finish time was at 2:03:04 with distance of 15.35km and average pace of 8:01 min/km.


This garnered a new PR! And the important thing was that Per finished strong! She was confident enough during the entire race. She didn't complain and now sees a half marathon as a doable race.


Now, she doesn't mind joining long races. So I guess our strategy worked! PHEW!


In terms of this race, I had hoped it would be closer to the 16km distance so we could appreciate our achievement more...















We did it! YAAAAYYY!




So what's next for the Runner named Per? Only time will tell....



Not to be outdone, good friend Neil also finished his first 10-miler yesterday. Great job! His wife Mylene had her first 5-miler as well. They can be spotted after having some post-race carbo replenishments at Old Spaghetti House in Market Market.


POST-RACE


There were booths for upcoming Botak and Auto Review races. We got a copy of Menshealth (Obama cover) and announcement of another Menshealth race in June. We got some sports drinks, vitamins and even conditioners.


2 miles and 5 miles results were posted on race site! That was a surprise as the organizers were quick in coming out with it. Neil was able to get a finisher certificate as well.


All in all, even with the very hot day, we had an awesome time in this race! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Donsol Whale Watching

Last March 22, 2009, we did the Condura Race race at Fort Bonifacio. It was a Half Marathon and passed through the Skyway. The race was done to save the Whale Sharks.

May 8, 2009

Two months from that date, I get a chance to see the whale sharks as my family and I travelled to Donsol to try and catch them underwater. To go to Donsol, we had to take a local flight out of Manila and land in Legazpi, where a one hour drive will take us to Donsol.

This was a trip that nearly got cancelled because of the tropical storms that very weekend! In fact, when we were onboard our plane, the pilot announced that there may be a chance the plane had to turn back to Manila if the runaway wasn't visible due to the heavy rains! Thank goodness we landed (but heard news that day that a plane scheduled for Legazpi that day DID make a U turn back to Manila airport). Still, that didn't lighten our moods as it was raining hard in that province.

After being picked up by our hotel van and having lunch at a local restaurant here, we proceeded to Donsol. It was still raining here but not that hard. The problem was that if the rain continued, we may not be able to see the Whale Sharks the next morning as they tend to stay away from the fresh water (rain water) as they couldn't breath in it. Since we were already there, there was no other choice but to see it through and hope for the best.

May 9, 2009

At around 7:30am, we were picked up by our tour guide and went to get our fins and mask and watched a short film on the whale sharks (the locals call it butanding). 30 minutes later we were boarding our bangkas and headed out to search for these fishes. Since we were a big group, we were split into two boats and wished each other luck on this trip!

There were a couple of times where our spotter saw a whale shark but by the time we jumped into the water, they were gone. It had become tiring as we kept on jumping into the water, swimming underneath it and climbing back up into the boat. After two hours, there was still no sighting. We were clearly discouraged by this and thought that the rain yesterday affected the situation today. Our expectations to see 8 whale sharks were reduced to just 1. Give us 1. At least 1! Just so we can come home and say that we saw it.

We saw the other boat and asked how many they've seen. My sister on that boat raised two fingers. Oh, we were so envious of them! But not discouraged. If they were able to spot two whale sharks, there is a chance we might spot at least 1! Our boat went to a different area and our spotter kept on looking. In the meantime, I played some games with my nephews and niece and munched on some potato chips.

A few minutes later, the spotter pointed out and said, "There is one! Jump in!". And so we quickly put on our snorkel masks and jumped into the direction he pointed at. And finally saw a whale shark. It was just the back of it as it swam into deeper water. We weren't able to go after it. It lasted for just five seconds....tops! But we were happy. We were able to see it. Our spirits were high again. We climbed back into the boat and looked for more of these fishes.

We were lucky. There was another one and no one in sight (the tendency was if there were a lot of swimmers hovering around a whale shark, it will try and get away from them). This one didn't dive but was was just swimming around us. We were able to see the entire whale shark from its mouth to its fins and to its tail. It was a baby whale shark but the feeling of swimming with it was surreal. Good thing my brother in law had an underwater camera with him and he was able to take a video of the fish.

To see what we saw, play video below:


video

We were able to see two more whale sharks that day. Both were huge and I had a great time swimming with them. After chasing one butanding I was tired by the time I got back to the boat. That will serve as my exercise for the day and will forego my plan of doing an easy jog around our resort.

We spent a total of 5 hours in the boat so were exhauted by the time we got back to our hotel. The other boat was able to spot 7-8 whale sharks. We weren't envious anymore as we had a good time with our own sightings. At night, we went to see some fireflies in the area and had a seafood dinner afterwards.

May 10

Drove back to Legazpi, Bicol and visited Cagsawa Ruins before taking the plane back to Manila. All in all, a very satisfied weekend getaway for all of us! Best of all, I don't even need to buy a souvenir shirt as can use my Condura Race shirt to serve as a remembrance for that race and for this trip! :)

Some other things to see/do around this area

1) Mt Mayon hiking

2) Wake boarding at Camsur

3) Zip lining

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Auto Review Run 10k - May 24, 2009

This will be my 2nd race for the busy month of May. It has been a while since I've joined a 10km race so not sure if I can achieve my goal of running a sub one hour for this race. I have gotten used to the long runs at an easy pace so this may be challenging for this RFB. It's time to activate those fast twitch muscles again... or in my case, FAT twitch muscles!



Registration is ongoing on the 3rd floor of R.O.X. Fee is at Php 300 for 5k and 10k events. Php 250 for 2k event. 10km course will start at Venetian Center at McKinley Hills and head out to Lawton St for the U turn back to the finish line. Race will commence at 6AM.



What comes with the race kit:

1. Auto Review Bumper Sticker - to stick on your automobile, laptop and even on your enemy while he is fast asleep!

2. Race number - so far, the biggest I've seen in my entire life! So Freaking huge!




3. Race Singlets - comes in S, M and L. Very big sizes!!!









In line with the theme of this race, I have taken all above photos from inside my car. Hehe.

It looks to be a busy day this Sunday:
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From Takbo.ph
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The whole day event will also be a road safety festival of sorts as automotive and other sponsors will share their own road safety and environment advocacies , highlight the safety features of their vehicles and conduct test drives of the latest car models. Talks and quizzes on road safety and a basic motorcycle riding clinic will also be part of the Road Safety Exhibit
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What is particularly interesting was an added prize category : For best outfit with connection to Road Safety. So, shall I dress up as a crash test dummy or wear an inflated tire around my waist? Hehe :)

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It's time to GO FAST AND FURIOUS! See you there!








Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Race Report Card '09 - Half year Assessment





My Second Year of Running began from NOV 2008 - NOV 2009, thus the first half Report Card '09.

After doing my FIRST YEAR of running, I set some goals for myself as written below: Goals in BLUE. Results in RED.


1. Finish a Full Marathon. Target: 6- 6.5 hours

Progress: NOT YET ACHIEVED. But have Target: Adidas Sundown Marathon, May 30th, 12 midnight start. Target 6 to 6.5 hours




2. Lose Weight. Target: 10 lbs off this Running Fatboy body.

Progress: 4 lbs off this FATBOY. 6 lbs to go! Haven't given up on eating desserts, chips and all those junk foods. . . YET!



3. Try to finish more 10k races under 1 hour mark to increase batting average. On first year, from start to October 2008, its 5/17 under 1 hour (Menshealth Urbanathon not included) with average of 29%.

So far so good, its 2/4 = 50%

PROGRESS: 3/5 with recently concluded Delta Run (Feb 8) = 60%

PROGRESS: 4/6 with recently concluded Takbo Kalikasan (March 8) = 67%

PROGRESS: 5/7 with recently concluded MH Miracle Run (Mar 29) = 71%



4. Set new 10km PR by going under 58 minutes. Must run at pace of 5min 45sec/ km. Existing PR 58:27

RESULTS:
DONE! New PR at PSE Bull Run – Jan 18 with PR of 57:08

DONE AGAIN! Delta Run – Feb 8 with time of 57:34.

DONE YET AGAIN! Takbo Kalikasan – Mar 8 with time of 57:56.

DONE AGAIN! NEW PR! MH Miracle Run – March 29 with time 56:16.




5. Do more Half Marathon races and try setting new P.R.
Current PR at 2:29:34 via Borneo Half Marathon (Oct '08)

RESULTS:

DONE! New 21km PR at Condura Run – March 22 with PR of 2:15:09

DONE! - Joined more races - Greenfield Sta Rosa 21km and New Balance Power Race 25km (set 25km PR of 3:03).



6. Get new PR for Couple 10k race.

RESULTS:

DONE! New PR at Milo Manila Finals – Nov 30, 2008 with PR of 1:16:21. (Per's 10k PR now down to 1:08)

NEW COUPLE PR for 15km - Feb 22, 2009 with PR of 2:03:04



7. Get new PR for 15k, 16k races. Current 15k PR at 1:36:46 (Mizuno '08). Current 16k PR at 1:38:10 (La Salle Run '08)


RESULTS:

DONE! 16k Yakult race beat existing PR for both 15k and 16k! New PR of 1:36:23
DONE AGAIN! Now at 1:32:25 at Happy Run in Fort Bonifacio (Jan 25). New 15k PR
DONE AGAIN! Now at 1:28:11 at Power Run in MOA (Feb 15). New 15k PR

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8. Try and have Per Go the Distance. Run longer than 10km

RESULTS:

DONE! 15K RUNew Race at Fort Bonifacio

NEW TARGETS: 16K Market Market Race, 21k San Francisco Half Marathon

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Two more goals to achieve. But these two are the hardest. Will hope for the best! Fingers crossed! (But prayers work best for me). Thanks to Coach Rio and his Nike Training team. They were a big help in me going longer and faster!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The running story of Per!


She started as a spectator. As a cheerleader. As a camera woman. As an audience.
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Then she got bored. She got tired of waiting for me to finish. So she tried the 5km. Walking with little running. Then running with little walking. Then running faster to get a new 5k PR. And trying to beat that new PR. She became a competitor against herself.
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I started running longer by then. She had to wait for me to finish even after her 5k race. She got bored again and thought, "What if I ran longer?". But there was a fear of going further as she was at her comfort zone. Eventually, she tested it. Her first 10k! And she liked it! Back to running with some walking. Back to trying to beat her PR by going faster. She was able to do it! Now her 10k PR is more than 10 minutes faster than when she first started this distance race.
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But she got too comfortable with her 10k race. And this time, I thought, "What if she ran longer?". That became one of my goals for my second year of running. To convince her to try it, I promised to run by her side for the entire race. Be her escort. Be her supporter. Be her encourager. Our target: RUNew 15k last Feb 15, 2009. Our goal: To finish it. Mission accomplished! She was happy crossing the finish line but had a hard time during the race. It was just too hot that day. She didn't enjoy running anymore. It was pure torture for her to run a race that long. It took out the pleasure in her running.
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I always say, "At least you tried it and you were able to finish it. That's something to be proud of!" She agreed. But she went back to 10k races. I thought that would be the end of it. No more long distance races for her.
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But then something came up...
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The San Francisco Half Marathon! It will be done in November. A chilly month in the USA. No heat. Clean Air. Huge crowd. I signed up for it just to get a slot. There was a 10k event. I figured that would be sufficient for her. But the 10k route doesn't pass onto the Golden Gate Bridge. She wanted that! She felt her experience wouldn't be complete without running on the GG Bride. So she decided. She will do the Half Marathon!
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Now: there is a Market Market Run. It will be done in two weeks time. It has a 10-miler and 5-miler event. She wanted to see how good she can handle running a long distance again. She wanted the 10-miler! She will do the 10-miler!
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For both these races, I will once again be by her side. I will be her escort. I will be her supporter. I will be her encourager. I will do my best to ensure that she will finish strong.
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She has exceeded more that I have expected from her and I am proud of her! She is a competitor but now, not only against time but against distance as well.
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She is PER and She is a RUNNER!! (Let's see you try and tell her she isn't one. :P )
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And her running story still has miles and miles to go....
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Watch this space!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Market Market Run - May 17, 2009


Yesterday, I was able to register for Per and myself for the 10-miler Market Market Race to be held at (where else!) Market Market.

For Php 300, race kit comes with 1) a singlet, where size varies from S, M, and L (but at time of registration, they only had L size), and 2) the race bib.

There were no race maps but the concierge was helpful enough to show me the 10-mile route:

It starts from the rotunda in between Serendra and Market Market, goes through Serendra, British School, International School (I.S.), 10th Avenue for turning point back to British School but instead of going back to Serendra, route goes straight to 5th Avenue (St Luke's), out to Lawton, and heading to (but not into) Heritage Park for the turning point again to the finish line.

Big Ooopsss! - I told Per that the course should be relatively flat as assumed route will be around the Market Market mall only and having two loops of the 5 mile route. Clearly, I am mistaken in all my guesses!

I will make it up to her by running by her side for the entire duration of this race and goal of finishing it for a new couple PR.


Race bib. Been a while since I last saw this material. Think this will be the first race I've joined this year to use this again. :)

Z' Official Singlet.

Registration is ongoing at Market Market. I would also recommend getting the promo ad (picture at top of page) as it isn't part of the race kit but had all the rules and regulations at the back of promo ad (including starting time, portalet locations, water stations, etc.).
For some reason, the girl on the photo kinda creeps me out and reminds me of the movie "Halloween". So sorry about that.
Aside from the 10-miler, this race also has 2-mile and 5-mile categories.
See you there!