Tuesday, June 30, 2009

GIG Run 2009 (June 28, 2009) - Post Run

It was back to U.P. again for me for another 10km race and this time, I am accompanied by Per in going here.



Per usually had knee pains whenever she does a 10km U.P. race and swore off running in U.P. again, choosing instead the comfortable even paved roads of Mall of Asia/ Quirino Grandstand area and that of Fort Bonifacio. But since her knee pains come out only in a 10km U.P. race, would it have the same effect as in a 5km U.P. race? We decided to try this experiment and had Janine register Per for the race.

RACE DAY!

I was looking forward to doing a pre-5km warm up jog before the race started so I could log in my long miles but woke up late and was generally lazy to get out of bed. We were able to get here early but my 5km wish was diminished to less than 2km run. :( Can't blame anybody but my lazy @$$ self for this.



We got to the starting line right before the race commenced. No more stretching for me and Per hadn't even pinned her bib yet (luckily it was just the 10km race that started with the 5km race starting few minutes later). I started running, fearful for my breathing and lack of mileage for this week (just did 6km last Tuesday) but I wanted to finish fast and try to get a finish time of sub-60.



This sub-60 goal was something I wasn't able to achieve for some time now. First missing it out on the Auto Review Race in May, then missing it out again on the UP PTAA Charity Run two weeks ago. Both times I was close (in terms of minutes) but in terms of the running world, they were just NOT close enough!



The race course was one of the nicest I've ever tried in UP as almost all the route went through UP's shaded area and had some minor uphill climbs only. There were plenty of water here and a lot of nice directional signs to guide us on. It's a basic 5km loop where 10km runners will do two of these loops. This is good for me in that on my 2nd leg, I would already know what to expect.






Per doing her first U.P. 5km run was the first in our group to cross the finish line. It has been a while since she joined a 5km race (having done a lot of 10km races and one or two 15km races) so this would be an easy fast race for her. And it was! She got a new 5km P.R. and best of all she wasn't even tired yet. Her knees are fine too!!! It was a great day for her and removed her fear of running in U.P. One wonders if the Sundown Adidas singlet she wore gave her hidden strength to finish her race at a good pace?



As Per finished her race, I was still doing it. I was stopping at some water stations but not all of them. I was running hard but was panting too. It was difficult to achieve the pace that I wanted but I kept thinking "just a few kms more". I use the runner in front of me to push myself to run at his/her pace.





And then I was at the last kilometer. Hmmm, maybe the sub-60 is reachable but if ever, it would be very close. At that point, I reverted to my second goal : 1:00 to 1:01 ! I didn't mind going over 1 hour as long as it would be below 1:02 (my Auto Review and PTAA time).





I reached the UP Oval and knew I was near. It's time to go all out and not look at the watch anymore. No more what if's ! Time to surge! And I did. I finally crossed the finish line and stopped my Garmin. The time reflected on the finish time was at 1:01 something but I started a little late. So I checked my Garmin and saw I finished this race at 59 minutes and 53 seconds!!!! Woo hoo! Just 7 Seconds short of 1 hour but still a SUB- 60 run! Whoopee!





Never had I done a race so close to my goal as I did today but I am happy that I was able to attain it! A perfect ending for a perfect beginning.





Both Per and I were happy in that we reached our goal for this race! Looking forward to our next UP run (whenever that may be).



At the finish line, there was a small festival as food and drinks were being given out to all finishers. Per even got a SPEED magazine (appropriately named for what we do, don't you think?)



Running UP Mountaineers



with Neil (wearing the GIG Run Singlet)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Special Number!

For my final road race in June, I registered at Columbia Greenbelt 5 for the UP GIG Run. This will be my 2nd U.P. race for the month of June, 3rd 10km race for month of June and 4th road race for the month of June. But this was the first time ever I got this number. And what makes this number special is that it's my birthday number. How awesome!

I first wanted to order my birthday number for Sundown Marathon race but changed my mind at the last minute because I realized how expensive it was (nearly Php 2,000!). After thinking about it, I realized that that moohlah could buy a lot of things for me so it was just my good luck that I got my bday bib number from this race and in the month of my birth! (And just paying Php 250 for it). What are the odds?

Another good thing about being a runner and having family and friends who are into the same sport you are is that they know what to give to you.

From my sister Nat, I got a SPI BELT:



This is a flexible belt that you clip on your waist and has an expandable pouch in the front. Said pouch is big enough to put in my digital camera or in the case of my Singapore race, 6 GU gels!


I can also use this to attach my bib numbers so no more rusty safety pin stains on my nice dri-fit shirts and no more shirt holes from said safety pins. It was also easier to attach the bibs here (as I usually try more than once in trying to pin the bib number on my shirt just to make sure it is even).


NEW SHOES


One of my problems in doing my marathon was that both my NB shoes were totally worn out. They were not as soft as they were before. The cushioning was weak and the sole were flat already. They were still okay for a 10km run but not for a 42km. It was time for a replacement!


Unfortunately, the shoes I bought weren't good for me. In fact, I had a hard time running in them the following day. They were heavy and it was just bad to run in it. There was just too much cushion in it making it super firm. I didn't enjoy running anymore because of the shoes. It was terrible. And having wasted money on this purchase already, I didn't want to spend again.

I thought about it and decided to use my old shoes again. At least they worked in my half marathons. The new pair of shoes (different brand) gave me a hard time at a 5k to 8k easy run! I doubt it would help in my 6+ hour run! (Too bad refunds don't work here as they do in the USA).

I was worried for the race because the most essential gear for it - my shoes, become questionable in its performance. Per, seeing my plight offered me something great:













NB 1063. This shoe was mentioned in Runnersworld Magazine for Best Update. Wayne of SFRunner blog gave great reviews for this pair as well so figured it should be as good as it seemed. Even the NB Glorietta staffs said this was the best pair for a person of my... ummm. . . size!

I got a size bigger as read somewhere that your feet swell if you have been running long. Not much of a size difference anyway so safer to get larger size. I got these shoes from Per as an advanced bday gift two weeks prior to my Mary and haven't broken them in yet. So I just kept using them. For easy runs (phew, they worked okay) and for walking as well.

Come Marathon day, I ran in them. And it felt great! Now, I am seriously thinking of getting a 2nd pair of these nifty shoes once prices go down further. There is a red color model and a blue one as well. Haven't decided which color to get.

The final running- related gift came from fellow runner and fellow Gemini Janine+ via her blog:

http://pacecreative.blogspot.com/2009/06/new-running-fatboy-action-figure.html

It was a RUNNING FATBOY action figure. With a tickle me Per doll. :)

Thanks everyone for the gifts. And I will see you this Sunday in my birthday suit, ooopss, I mean in my birthday bib!






Keep on Running!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Men's Health All Terrain 15k (June 21, 2009) - Post Race

Why I joined this race?

1. It is by Men's Health, who has been doing a couple of All Terrain Races for some years now. Good history! I also loved all the shirts and singlets the MH have given out (Urbanathon, All Terrain, Miracle Run) and quality has been consistent with these shirts/ singlets.

2. This race will be organized by http://www.runrio.com/ so expect lots of water, lots of marshals, fast race results and no runners getting lost!

3. It will be a trail run. How exciting is this? More so, there will be a 15km event for this race (along with a 5km and 10km event). The farthest I ever ran for a trail run was 12km (MH All Terrain 2008) and got muscle pains the following day. But it was worth it for the experience alone!

4. It will be a new course. And not just a new course like a different loop here or there. It will be at an entirely new area: Sta. Rosa. This has never been opened for the public (in terms of running) so it will be great to be part of the first group to try it out.

But as much as I was excited to be a part of this event, there were also reasons why I wanted to BACK OUT at the last minute:

1. I was tired from doing the back to back runs the week ago and therefore didn't run from Monday to Thursday. Resting my legs instead.

2. Since this was a 15km trail event, I needed to see how my endurance can handle it.


Conclusion: Do a Test Run!

And so Per and I went to Fort Bonifacio last Friday to join the Nike Clinic. I had to run 7 big loops around Serendra/ Boni High Street (1 Big loop = 1.2km). The result wasn't good! I had a really hard time finishing the task. I was coughing hard. I was panting. I couldn't suck in the air. I was just tired (and dizzy too). The finish was horrible and by covering only half the distance vs the required race distance on Sunday, my confidence level dropped significantly. What's worse was that I wasn't running fast in the first place: about 30 seconds to 1 minute longer than normal race pace.

Can we say, "Worry worry worry?"


But I couldn't back out from this as I was the one who convinced my sister Natalie, friends Neil and Janine to join and two of them will be riding with me to the said venue. So I still pushed through with it with a strategy of taking it slow and easy and see how I would feel during the run ...


RACE DAY!

It was an early wake up call for me (3AM!), ate two museli bars and drove off to pick up Nat and Janine in different spots in Makati. Had some problems with the e-pass (didn't know how to use it!) but got to Sta Rosa at about 5:10AM. Had enough time for stretching , a little warm up jog and for the two ladies to get their race packs from the organizers before the 15km race started at approximately 5:40AM.

All three of us will be doing the 15km trail run (Yikes). Met Neil at the starting line too who will be doing the same event as us. We started the race at 5:42AM and almost immediately, all my friends disappeared! But I was conscious of what happened last Friday and decided to take it easy.

After running the first 1km, I felt good (phew!). No heavy coughing and surprisingly, I can breathe again! That was a good first sign but I know I still had 14km to cover. I ran a little bit faster and a bit faster still.

I thought there would be a lot of pavement running but I was wrong. Almost immediately, we went to the trail and just kept going inside it. It was a snaky trail and every time I thought we would go to the cemented road, we would make a turn into the woods again.

I felt comfortable with my pace. I was able to avoid most of the mud and even played a little mind game based on the HBO movie I watched the night before:

Imagine there's a T-Rex running after you (and all the other runners) so you can't stop running! Yep, Jurassic Park was on! Hehe :)








A very frightful RFB running away from a T-REX. Only to find out it was Janine+ with a menancing camera phone!! Hehe

I was running normal again and I was happy. No more heavy coughings and difficulty in sucking of air. Thank goodness! By 10km, I saw the finish line for the 10km racers and know I have 5km more to go.


By this time, the sun was out and it was hot hot hot! I was taking more walk breaks but kept going and running. Slowly counting down the miles. And running to the next water station so I have an excuse to walk again.

I saw the last 1km sign but unfortunately the distance was 1.5km more! I kept looking for the last stretch but kept getting disappointed as it seems I was running in the trail forever.

Finally, got off the trail and had to walk for a few seconds before sprinting to the finish line!

My time based on Garmin was at 1:47:41 (with pace of 6:57 min/ km) and distance of 15.49km.
On the official results, my time was at 1:47:58 (pace of 7:12 min/km) and I ranked 73rd out of 162 runners.


POST RACE
I was dizzy from heat and had to sit down for a few minutes before realizing I had to walk it off! I got off my butt, drank some water, ate an energy bar (and a GU from Nat) and that made me better. I may have been a bit dehydrated from this race. I got a massive blister on my left foot and took out my shoes and socks and just walked on the grass.

Aside from the energy bar and water, some other things found at the finish line were 1)Photovendo booth for that trail run photo souvenir! Very nice quality and memorable 2) Free back massage! So relaxing that I didn't want to leave the chair even after the massage was finished.
No Mens' Health Back issues though :(





Our feet before and after the race. Quite opposite from those detergent powder commercials !





15km trail run finishers (Go Ladies!)



15km trail run finishers (Go MEN!)



Shot taken near our car. No idea why we posed liked this! Haha. Thanks to Janine for all these photos! Till the next (trail or otherwise) run, this is RFB signing off!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

PTAA Charity Run (June 14, 2009) - Post Race


Things you should never do when it comes to running:

1. Do A 10km Road Race two weeks after doing a Full Marathon. Body hasn't fully recovered yet from the impact of running 42.2km. Best way will be to join road race at least 3 weeks after Full Marathon. Second week should be focused on light easy runs instead. This was confirmed by both my sisters and Rununlimited Vener (a four-peat marathon finisher).

2. Do A back to back Road Race. You will most likely suffer on the second race as once again, body hasn't recovered from race the previous day.

3. Do A road race when you are semi-sick. Better to chalk it up as a rest day and get well soon.

As expected, I broke the rules again. Sigh!

Take note, this has happened before:

On the night of my first marathon, I did not get enough rest and even went window shopping. I had been awake for 14 hours when the race started and had semi-tired feet from shopping the entire day. Tsk tsk!

On Per's first 16km (her longest that time), we broke rules too: We did not break in either of our newly purchased NB shoes, not enough rest for either of us due to concert the night before (had 3 hours sleep only) and cramming of easy runs to just 5 days (from 7km total weekly distance to 30km total distance for that week).

So why am I standing once again at U.P. grounds at 5:50AM Sunday (June 14), with tired feet, heavy coughs and coming from a trail race the day before?

For the raffle of course!!!! I hoped to win a prize, any prize as that would more than make up for the entry fee here. They will be giving away plane tickets to USA and Asian destinations, hotel accomodations, hotel buffets, and other prizes. Even if you did not show up on race day, you still have a chance of winning here.

So why did I show up at U.P. ground at 5:50AM Sunday even if I can STILL win had I slept it in? Why? Why? Why? Well, it was a waste of the entry fee if you paid for it, didn't run and didn't win the raffle either! It was a waste of bib number if you didn't use it for the race. That was just ... environmentally wrong!

Truthfully, I was just making excuses. Yes, the raffle was nice. Yes, it would be great to win! But it would be a reward in itself to finish a race again. It would be great to push yourself again and see if you can run well.

And so here I was again, waiting for the countdown. Heavy legs (stretching helped a little bit). Hard to breathe. But I was here and I was determined to finish this 10km race!



I wasn't the only one doing a back to back race. I saw Nino running too. And Neil registered for this race too. What a way for us to spend the long weekend!


The race started on time (at 6:00AM). And we were off! Five minutes later, I heard the start signal for the 5km runners. I was coughing and wheezing and realized how bad this decision was. I couldn't suck in the air. I felt like a smoker who had just started running EXCEPT for the simple fact that I'm not a smoker and I have been running for a while! It's obvious that I'm not well yet. Sometimes the mind and the heart are willing but the body isn't. But it was too late to back out now. I am in this race and I will finish it. Never mind if I walk throughout or have a bad time. No point in complaining now. Just target to finish race!


The course was pretty good. The weather was fantastic. There were a lot of water stations. The event was perfect but unfortunately, I wasn't. I walked at various points (starting from 2km!) and had to stop at each water station to drink water. It was like starting to run all over again. I continued to huff and puff in each kilometer and just want this to end.





One of the many turning points. Photo captured by Vener. Thanks dude!

I kept going and going. One loop became two loops (each with corresponding straws) and finally, it was the last stretch to the finish line. I increased my pace and crossed it.

My time according to Garmin was at 1:02:28 (pace of 6:15 min/km) and distance of 9.97km. Not a great time considering I wanted to finish this race at below 1 hour. But given the circumstance, I was happy with it.

Results are now out and can be found at http://www.run4change.com/. At the open 10km overall results, my time was at 1:02:46 (pace of 6:17 min/km) and I rank 198th out of 391 runners (not including Bandit and PTAA members).


POST RACE

There was a line for energy bar and some nuts.

There was three to four lines for finisher shirt (based on shirt's size). This item I loved the most because it fits just right and I liked the color scheme. It matches the Livestrong band.





10km back to back finishers! We both need to rest after this tiring weekend!




Benny not looking tired yet from his 10km race!





Race finishers showing off their well earned shirts!




Neil with Second Wind owner Hector

Now, it is time for my recovery! More bed rest and less exercise for this Running Fatboy.

Going forward, I will try to NOT break any more running rules as doing so can lead to injury and slower recovery. After all, rules are there for a reason . . .

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sundown Marathon Updates



1. Finalized results are now out. What I thought before was that I ranked 2,281 out of 3,827 male marathoners and getting 59.27%.

But in fact, I was ranked 2,281 out of 4,638 male marathoners to get a rank of 49.18%. Woo hoo! I somehow made it to the top 50% rank of this race.

So happy!



2. One of my wish list for this race was a Finisher Photo for next year. What I didn't know was they also had them for this year and race photos are out for viewing and ordering already!

Photos can be found at http://www.snapshots.com.sg/

I found two photos taken of me. Since this was my first marathon, I will order for myself a copy of Photo Certificate (A4 size) and have it delivered to my Philippine address.

Anticipating the mail soon!

The 3rd Adidas Sundown Marathon is now scheduled for Saturday, May 29th 2010.



DO THE IMPOSSIBLE!

Monday, June 15, 2009

King of Mountain Trail Run 10km (June 13 ,2009) - Post Race



The King of the Mountain Trail Run was held recently at Timberland Heights, San Mateo Rizal. This was my first trail run for 2009 (but definitely not the last!). I wanted to do the North Face trail run last month but forego it for fear of being injured for the Marathon event the following week.



I know I shouldn't be doing any races right now and should be focused on recovery instead, but it was hard to resist the urge to register for this run. Trail races are still considered rare in the Philippines (as opposed to the weekly road races) so I was quick to grab the opportunity when it presented itself.



Joining me in this fun (but torturous exercise) are Natalie, Gigay, her friend Nino, and Neil. It is always more enjoyable to do a race with family and friends rather than doing it alone so you can share your experiences afterwards!



We got to the race site at around 5:30AM (quite early for 6:00AM race but not as early as Neil, who arrived at 5:00AM . . .hehe!), did a few stretching and very short warm up jog before heading to the starting line.



The crowd was quite small but we didn't mind it as it felt more intimate.



At about 6:10AM, the race started. It was just a 10km race. No option for shorter or longer distance. But there was a bike race held 2 hours after the trail run. Hard competitors can join both races if they have the strength to do so. I of course, am NOT one of these hard competitors!



Right after we started, it was a very steep climb as we head from the paved ground to that of the trail. We were hit by the incline and a lot of people (including me) had to walk at some point to keep on going. This was a hard and tiring start!



The trail wasn't easy either. There was no way you can enjoy the view as you had to focus on looking at the ground and avoid the large rocks and mud scattered everywhere. There was a point where I got caught off balance and had to skip a few steps so that I wouldn't fall to the ground. At a certain part of the race, you had to submerge your feet in a small body of water in order to get across it. The paths can be wide (fitting two to three runners) to very small (for only one person). On the uphill climbs, you had to walk going up as ground was very slippery. Same thing going downhill (even more dangerous should you fall).



The race was quite organized in that there were ample marshals and directions for the runners, and sufficient water stations scattered around the 10km course. Great job guys!



For most part of this race, we just kept on climbing higher and higher. But that ended at 8km as we headed back to the cemented road and had the time of our life running downhill for the last 2km. This was the part you can really run again as there are no rocks to avoid, no mud to jump across and no wild boars to kick in the nuts (latter point obviously an exaggeration).



I ran right to the finish line (and saw my sister there) and clocked a time of 1:17:59 (7:57 min/km pace). Total distance of 9.79km. Automatic PR as never done a 10km trail race before! :)



This was definitely a great experience. If you are sick of running weekly in Fort Bonifacio and/or U.P., you should try trail running. For those people who missed this event and wanted to try trail running, no worries as Men's Health will have their own trail running event this Sunday (June 21) at Sta Elena. Check out http://www.menshealth.com.ph/ for more details.



This was my third time running in Timberland Heights but first time I did a 10km race. Previously, it was an 8km and 12km race, both as part of Men's Health All Terrain Race. Out of these three events, I find this latest one to offer the best course as it was challenging but rewarding for me. I especially liked the 2km fast downhill run to the finish line. Many thanks to Second Wind for plotting the course!





10km finishers!





Long climbs indeed! We all survived it!


POST- RACE

We got sample juice drinks, some healthy capsules and free breakfast! Perfect for us as we were all hungry by the time we finished the race. We sat inside the tent and watched the awarding of top 10 women racers.




Nino, Nat, and Gigay happy after doing their first 10km trail race




Adobo chicken and rice meal.







The shoes I wore were old trail shoes that I had and I got a blister on my left foot after the race. Said shoes were light enough for running and steady enough for uneven trail but size were too tight for me. I may need to wear ordinary running shoes for the 15km trail running next Sunday.


See you there!
6/16/09 Update: Race results are out and can be found at this link. My official time was at 1:18:05 and I rank 56th out of 88 male runners for 63%. Total of 126 runners who finished this race..

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sundown Marathon (May 30th 2009) - RACE!

(continued from previous blog)

As I started running, I felt no pain from either leg. The weather, as mentioned by Per who did the 10km race 3hours earlier, was extremely warm and humid. The road was relatively flat and in a few minutes, I was able to catch up with the other runners.


By 2km, my singlet was already wet with sweat. Oh man, how am I going to survive the remaining 40km? But I put that thought aside and hoped for the best. Up till now, we were running on the wide open roads and when we reached the first 5km and first water station, that is when we were directed by the marshals to use the sidewalks! What the %$# ? ?? I didn't understand this at all. How can nearly 5,500 runners (and not even counting the ultra marathoners) fit on a sidewalk that is at best good for 3 runners running side by side? Oh this is definitely not good. With the tight crowd and very warm weather, it felt like running inside a sauna. It was that horrible. I kept hoping for a part where we would go back to the open roads again but that was not to be.


By 7km, my feet were making wet swoshing sounds inside my shoes and I had to find a place to sit down, take off my shoes and my socks, wring out the sweat out of the socks and put them back on again! Gosh, this never happened in the Philippines even during a Half Marathon race and here I am at just 7km and doing this already. Yikes!!!! But this I had to do for fear of getting blisters at such an early part of the race. Squeezing the water out helped but it didn't make my socks dry. Worst of all was that I was running at a very slow and easy pace. I wasn't even exerting effort yet. I knew right there and then that I won't be able to finish the race at a good time. I only hope that I don't burn out here and was extra careful in my running pace.


By 10km, I looked at my Garmin and saw that I have been running for a time of 1 hour 16 minutes. A personal worse. Haha! But I didn't care as I concentrated on finishing this race and getting that darn shirt.

Meanwhile....


Per and Blanche were having a good time with their movie marathons and relaxing after completing their own races. I can just imagine them with their feet off their shoes, lying on the mattresses with a beer in each hand, laughing and trading jokes and stories while Iron Man plays on the movie screen. Yup, they had a good time with my camera too. Those FIENDS!!!

Going back...

One long boring straight road. Nothing to see but street lamps. Still crammed on the sidewalk like sardines in a can and at the same time, being heated in a microwave. Terrible terrible feeling. Oooh, a plane flew by. Must be near the airport.

Oh there it is! Behind the barbed fences. Something to distract me by. Ho hum. Time to take a GU power gel. Hoping for Coffee flavor. Got Vanilla instead. DARN! Too lazy to switch GU Gel. Maybe would be luckier the next time around. Pink Gatorade in my right hand still remained untouched. Security Gatorade Blanket is what I call it. Still running...

13km - Toilet break and also socks-out-of-shoes-and-wring-the-sweat-out break. 'Nuff said. Went back to running. At this point, my morale is kinda low and just kept thinking why I'm doing this. On a good point, I'm 1/4 done already. Big Whoopee!!


15km - it is now 2AM. "Crazy midnight marathon": that was all I can think about. And also: 2hour time, another personal worst time! Haha! Goal is to get to finish line before third movie ends (so P and B won't get bored waiting for me) and before sun rises (feeling Twilight... Twilight Zone that is)! But odds are against me in this race.





17km - Turning point out of here. Going towards greenery where there were a lot of campers here. For some reason, this area looked so similar to where we started the race from that I started to believe that it was the same place. I was excited to see Per and get the motivation I needed to complete this race. So I increased my pace and I hurried on. Any minute now, I would see the big screen showing the action movie. Any minute now... any minute now. . . just got to be patient and keep on running. . . it's coming up... pretty soon. . . got to run further and faster .. any second now. . .


But sadly, this hope didn't become reality.


It was a different area! Probably on the opposite side from where I started the race from. My morale got even lower. It was incredibly frustrating to have your expectations run high and have it come crashing down.


As a form of consolation, I got another GU gel and hoped for the Coffee flavor. I got Strawberry-banana instead! DARN MY LUCK!


I kept running and saw runners standing on the road or lying on the floor stretching their legs. Looks like cramps. Another guy was leaning heavily on a tree, face down. It was a terrible ordeal but it was hard to tell whether they were ultra-marathoners or marathoners as we all pass the same route. (I didn't even think to look at their bib colors at that time)


At 21km, I saw time was at 3:06AM. Three freaking hours for a half marathon!!! But my mind was just pushing me to finish this race. Each water station I get to, I would walk for a few minutes before resuming my run again. It was a technique taught by my two sisters who both had their first full marathons a month ago. It is supposed to relieve the stress from running for a long time. Unfortunately, my supposedly one-minute walk break turned into minutes. I was always delaying the inevitable. And that is to go back into running. But go back to it I did.


The route changed from this moment on. No more boring long road but it will be more difficult. There was a series of overhead bridges we had to climb up on and they were very high. The good point here was that all the runners used it as recovery area so at this point I was climbing up the stairs to the bridge, walking across it and walking down it again on the other side of the road. Then, I would resume my running.


My pink gatorade was still alive but now just 1/4th full. Still couldn't let this go eventhough there were ample water and ISO drinks every 3km of the course. Yup, security "Gatorade" blanket!


I kept running. I got a banana at one point. And a coffee at another point. I don't remember where or when. I was so out of it. I did sit down again and do the whole sock-out-of-shoe-and- wring-out-sweat routine again. I didn't look at my sole anymore for fear of seeing blisters and that would discourage me even more.



Went back to running...







28km - I have been running for more than 4hours. Yes, I know how long this is taking and how far I still am but nothing to do at that time. By this time, I was thinking that P and B have probably finished their second movie and should be starting their 3rd one by now. More than 50% done so that is a good thing but I am getting slower.



More GU gels and hoping for elusive Coffee flavor. It continues to escape me! Made me think, "did I even have a coffee flavor or was that from my imagination?"



29km - Start of trail running. It was softer on the legs but felt some sand and a small pebble go into my shoe. Didn't want to slow down and just kept running. For a few minutes, I toyed around with the pebble in the shoe, moving it around to my toes while running at same time. Yep, I was bored! Haha. This running thing feels like forever! Good thing there were a lot of people in the race so that kept me distracted.



I saw a lot more people stretching their legs or resting on the ground. Still no idea if they were doing the 42km or 84km race.



30km - with only 12km to go, I decided to finish my pink gatorade (it only had 1/8th contents anyway) and threw away the plastic bottle at the trash can. I think I can finish the remaining miles without my security blanket. Thanks Pink Gatorade for the support!



32km - this was it. The farthest I've ever run and I am still running (though at a turtle pace). No hitting the wall yet so that was good. I feel pain on my shoulders and rotated it from time to time to give it the flexibility it needs. Seems to work.



View of the lake on my right side (or was it left side). At this point, everything was a blur for me.



Meanwhile,




Pinoy runner Alvin crossed the finish line and went off to meet P. and B. They used my camera to take his finisher photo. On asking how this marathon fares against the other ones he had done (he has 4 or 5 before Sundown), he replied that this was one of the hardest of them all because of the hot weather here. Per was the one who told me about this conversation post-race...






Going back...


33-34km - I checked on my GU. I only have one left. But have another Powergel as back up. This was handed out during the race and will save this for last as do not know how it would affect my stomach (never tried this before). Finally I got the coffee flavored GU. Yes!! Savored every bit of it as waited to get my hand on it since the start of the race. Kept me going again..




35km - Out of the rough road and onto the city road... unfortunately, got diverted by marshals to the sidewalks again. AAARRRRGGGHHH! At least it wasn't as crowded as when I started the race. Not as hot either..




This is the last stretch of the race. No wall yet! So far so good. It is now 5:23AM. There goes my hope for sub - 6 hour race but I remain optimistic for that target. Awake for 19 hours now. Totally CRAZY !!!! But not feeling sleepy yet. Must be the sugar rush from all that GU gels!




37km - Boom! Right leg cramp! Ran - walked. My goodness this is sooooo freaking far! Would run for 200-300 meters but then ended up walking 400 meters afterwards. At this point, I was cursing to myself why I do this. Haha. Ate the powergel. Its strawberry flavored and thicker than GU. No point in keeping it anymore as won't eat it after the race. I need it now for final leg!




39km - So near and yet so far! This was the hardest 4km for me in my life. Can't believe it is taking this long. So exhausted. Feet making squeaky wet sounds but didn't care anymore. Tried thinking I was a robot and so shouldn't get any pain feeling. That worked ... for five good minutes before I gave up on the idea. Walking more but at least know I can finish race. Nevermind the finish time or the rank!




40km - So tired. Limp walked and determined to just walk to the finish line. It is now 6:17AM. Awake for more than 20 hours! I saw a lot of parked cars here and know I am near finish line. So exhausted. Too exhausted to curse to myself anymore. And that's when I saw a familar 100% Run Mizuno shirt in front of me. It was Alvin who was wearing it and he was standing there waiting for me. He saw that I was in deep pain and ran to me. He wanted me to run again. I was whining that I couldn't anymore because of the cramp on right leg. He told me to just run and count up to 100 while doing so. Once you reached 100, you can walk again. He offered to run with me. And so I did. I counted slowly to 100. The pain was still there but I got distracted by the counting. I reached 150 before I had to walk again.




41km - He said, "Do it again". And so I did. I reached 150 again before I had to walk. This time, the pain was really bad so I told him I had to do a longer walk break. Alvin said that was okay as I was near already.




Final turning point. I tried running as downhill again. And so I did but unable to see the finish line. I was discouraged by it and went back to walking.




Then, it was there. 200 meters away. But at this point, I couldn't run anymore. The leg pain was terrible. Per was standing near the finish line and saw me. I was shaking my head to show how hard this race was. But it was a welcome sight as I expected her to be at the movie area with Blanche.




Finally, I crossed the line and stopped my Garmin. They made me stand on a weighing scale and jotted down my weight. I had no idea what this was for as I didn't do any weight check prior to the race. I walked further to get my finisher medal and shirt and met up with Per. I got a can of ISO 100 and lied on the grass, took out my shoes and waited for Per to meet me up there.





She had my camera with her and took my finisher photo. She noticed I was really pale but after re-hydrating and eating a museli bar, my colors went back to normal. Phew! I did a few stetches before I stood up again. I was still limping as we headed out to meet Blanche.




The sun wasn't out yet. The movie Hulk wasn't over yet when I met Blanche (but it was at the final fight scene). I lied on the mattress and took a look at my Garmin time.




It read: 6:31:34 (average pace of 9:16 min/km). Distance of 42.28km. Calories burned 3,603. Not the finish time I expected but luckily this was my first marathon so I still got a PR! PR by default that is. Haha!




The very nice finisher medal. So proud of this one.





Back of finisher medal.




AFTER RACE


I was limping still and had hard time going down flight of stairs. My legs were all tight and once standing up from a seated position (one time from taxi cab, 2nd time after breakfast at Mcdonalds), my legs will lose strength and I had to grab onto something to catch my fall. I was lucky that Per and Blanche stayed up for me as I don't think I would be able to go home by myself with this tired condition! Super thanks girls!




Once we got home, Carolyn was there waiting for us (and worried that we didn't come home sooner). It was about 9:45AM and we have been awake for nearly 24 hours. I took a quick shower even with all the pain and found some chaffed parts and went to sleep after (after being awake for more than 24 hours). I woke up a few hours later for the home service massage. It was painful but it really helped loosen the tight leg muscles. (The next day, the limp was gone and I was walking normally.. big thanks to that powerful massage).




All throughout that day, the feeling was surreal. I had accomplished what I had trained to do. I suffered and hated it. But this was something I can never forget. It was an EXPERIENCE. And it was surreal because before that point, I was just a runner. Now, I can call myself a MARATHONER !




On the official website, I expected to rank at the bottom 20% of the Men's Marathon category. Imagine my surprise when I saw I ranked 2,281 out of 3,827 male marathoners. I was at 59.27% so I wasn't even at the bottom 40% finishers (though still below average...hehe). Official time of 6:31:31:93 Cool !!!! Quite happy with the rank here!



POST-SCRIPT



At the weighing scale, even after running for 6.5 hours, my weight went up by 2 lbs! What gives!!!!!!



I took out my socks 4 different times in this race. Surprise surprise : no blisters at finish line. How fantastic!


No muscle pains the next day!!! Wow, another good surprise! I was walking normally and since I had two more days in Singapore, Per and I went right back to shopping shopping shopping!!!



On race organization: water, ISO stations every 3km, some cheering squads at certain points of race, marshals lead to right direction, fast race results. Great medal!




Wish list: Road closures (so don't need to run on sidewalks)! Bigger singlet sizes! Finisher photos!




Big thanks again to the following people:






1. and 2. Per and Blanche - for sticking through the night and waiting for me to finish this race safely. They helped me get home safely with my limp. Blanche was by my guess more than 48 hours awake as she had to do some stuffs after my marathon finish. Per slept through the 3 movies but she was there when I needed her the most, and that was at the finish line. Loved the NB shoes too!!!!






3. Alvin - for making me run the last 2km! And helping me get a better time than if I had walked it. Thanks for the mental distraction (counting to 100 is better than thinking you are a robot!) and for the support.






4. Carolyn - for going with us to Singapore and getting us free lodging. The GU also helped! Thanks for running tips and pre-marathon meal.




5. Natalie - for all the GU she gave to me! Plus the race belt to put the GU in (as a pre-birthday gift). Also marathon tips too.






6. Melody - for being there and the coffee we drank to hype me up prior to the race! Thanks for the food too.



7./8. Aline/Phil - for the relaxing place for us to crash in during our stay in Singapore. Great suggestion on body massage! It worked wonders for me!



9. Running bloggers Jinoe, Vener, Wilbert, Luis, Rico, Janine, Bro J, Carlo, Jeanne, Wayne and others, who want me to bring home that darn shirt and gave me the motivation I needed to complete this race. By the way, finisher shirt was really really great and fits me perfectly. Will wear it proudly !!




Monday, June 8, 2009

Sundown Marathon (May 30th, 2009) - Singapore Day 2

This is it! What I have been doing my long runs for. The main event! The big event for this RFB! Distance of 42.2 km! The full marathon!


PRE-MARATHON PREPARATIONS


The bad thing about doing a Sundown Marathon (which should be called a Midnight Marathon because of its starting time) is that we didn't get enough rest for this race.


On the day itself, we all woke up around 10AM and went to Orchard Road to do some window shopping. We got back to the apartment at about 5:00PM with tired feet. Oh man, not a good plan at all! But we were only in Singapore for a few days so why not make the most out of this trip?


Per and I went immediately to pack our race gears and I had my final meal before the big event: roasted chicken and rice brought home by my sister Carolyn. YUM!





At around 6:15PM, we left the apartment and went to the MRT station to take the train near the Changi Airport station. We were the only ones in running gear so it must have been an odd sight to the daily commuters but upon getting off the MRT station, we saw a lot of women (and some men) in running gear.


We got on the shuttle bus (and paid SGD 1 for it) as it drove off to the final destination: Changi Village.






Upon reaching the race area, Per and Carolyn went to the baggage counter to deposit their bags and get themselves ready for their 10km event (which will start 20 minutes from that time). I was there to watch their race and had a chance to meet my college friend Melody as we chatted over Espressos and cup of coffees near the race course.


8:30PM - 10km Women's race start. See previous entry.


9:55 PM - looked for the 10km finishers and found Per and Blanche at the grass area. Carolyn was nowhere to be found! Per was complaining how hot the weather was here compared to the Philippines and how they had no water till the 7km point. Definitely not a good sign!


10:45PM - changed into my running clothes and running shoes. Did a few stretchings. Went back to the group.


11:00 PM - Melody said her goodbyes and good luck to me as she left to get the last train out of Changi Area. Per and Blanche decided to stick it through the night and see me finish the race. (Big thanks girls !!!!!! )


To kill time, they will watch the movie marathon showing at the park - Transformers, Hulk, Iron Man (not sure of order of screening). Race organizers had free mats to give to them. There is also a stand for free yogurt and some free drinks. Plus, you can buy some beer here as well. It was a great party!


P.S. Carolyn was still missing!



Lots of people waiting for the movie marathon







The race course for the full marathon was shown on screen. For the ultra- marathon, runners will have to do two loops and should be able to finish both loops before time limit of 15 hours. Marathoners have it easier with a more lenient cut-off time of 10 hours.

11:45 PM - met another Pinoy runner doing the full marathon: Alvin. This will be his 5th 42km race so far. I said goodbyes to Per and Blanche and left them at the "Movie" area. Both Alvin and I walked to the starting point but I had to visit the portalet first so I told him to go ahead and we will just see each other at the finish line. At the portalet (while lining up and not inside!!), I met Jason, another Pinoy runner and fellow Nike classmate.

11:59PM - the marathon has started. And I am still lining up at the portalet. This is taking forever!!!! GRRRRRR!!! Good thing it's chip timer race!


12:10AM - As I walk slowly to the starting line, I realize that I have been awake for 14 hours! There were just a few runners by the time I got there. I have in my hand a bottle of pink Gatorade for safety measures. I cross the starting line. I press START on my Garmin and I start to run.....








To be Continued....







Saturday, June 6, 2009

Janine+ the Go Getter!



We started our first 10km together in the very hard Mens Health Urbanathon 10k challenge. There were tires to run on, planks to balance on, trucks and a wall to climb over. From that day, we continued doing 10km races.

We did our first 15km at the Mizuno Race and suffered from the heat and lack of water. We did that again the next month when Mizuno had another 15km race. There were ample water but the heat was worse.

We did our first Half Marathon but in different places - hers in Fort Bonifacio via Adidas race, me in Kota Kinabalu. I "hit the wall". She got a runner's high!

Then, we decided to go further! Next target was the New Balance Power Race in Clark! This time, its a 25km race.

Janine would always say "its just 5km more from what we've done (from 10km to 15km, and from 16km to 21km and at that time from 21km to 25km)" but that didn't take away my fear for this race. If I burned out at 21k, how much more if it's 25k? That additional 4km distance was dreadful! I didn't have the confidence that I needed but there was no way I was going to back out from this! So I ran it. And she ran it. This time, I got the runner's high and Janine "hit the wall". We both got aching shoulders and woofed down our lunch later that day. We both survived that race and went back to running.

We did the Condura Half Marathon. We did the Greenfield Half Marathon.

More finisher medals. More stories to tell. More pain! More pleasure! More distance!

Sadly, she wasn't able to register in time for the Singapore Sundown Marathon. So that was the first time I ran a longer distance without her!

No worries though. I'm sure we will be running again soon - either short or long races.

But one thing she can never get me to do is an ultramarathon. I won't be convinced by her "It's not that hard - it's just 60km more from a marathon!" speech! Save that for your sibling instead! HAHA!




But thanks for making a long distance race a lot more interesting!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY! WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST THAT LIFE CAN OFFER!




MORE CHALLENGES AND MORE DISTANCES FOR YOU TO CONQUER! :)




Friday, June 5, 2009

Sundown Women's 10k (May 30th, 2009) - Post race



It's the women's 10km race in Singapore. This event started at 8:30PM on May 30th, 2009 and representing the good ol' country of Philippines are: Per, Blanche, Carolyn ! Go ladies! All eager to make their country proud!



Since my full marathon race will begin at 11:59PM of the same day, I went with them to the race venue and was their official photographer for this race.





Hmmm... Why is there a guy in the Women's 10k event? Oh, he is wearing a green bib, which means he is part of the corporate team.


Cue in "All the Single Ladies" song!

I was also able to ask one of the ladies to give a commentary on this event.


The following is Per's story:



MANAGING EXPECTATIONS


I have been running for at least 2 years. I never really improved a lot but I must say, I never expected that I would enjoy running as I do now. This feeling of enjoyment lead me to agree on signing up for the Adidas Sundown Marathon – 10k Women’s run. This means going for my very first International Run to be held in Singapore. I was excited. All finishers will have their own Sundown Medal, Finisher Visor and Adidas Singlet. Finally, I thought, a race in a great country! Excitement and expectations were high.

May 30, 2009. It was time to do the run. For some stroke of bad luck, I was dehydrated due to my week long “stomach anxiety”. Didn’t have anything in my body the whole day but Skyflakes and Gatorade just enough for me not to faint. What the hell, I am still running. This is my first international run and there is no way I am backing out and besides, I am in Singapore, Adidas is hosting this race. What am I worried about? I am sure everything will be great!

And the race finally starts. My first 2 kilometers was great. Running at 6:40/km is not bad for me. But then, a stitch was beginning to form on my right side. Needed to brisk walk a bit for the pain to subside. I suddenly felt dizziness and hunger but told myself to run a bit more until the water station. The heat and humidity was beginning to be a bother and I was still waiting for that water station. I then asked a marshal how long till the station and he shouted, “at 7km!” My heart sank because I knew I couldn’t keep on running until the 7th kilometer without water. I was totally dehydrated. I decided to walk all the way through my 7th kilometer. Ran the last 3. Time was 1:23. Not bad for a dehydrated person with tummy aches. At least I didn’t faint, got my Medal and finisher visor. Haha :)






After the race




Wear that Bling Bling proudly !

Final results (total 10k participants: 1746)


Carolyn Ching - 54 min, 43 secs (Rank #9)

Blanche Yu - 1 hour, 17 min, 58 secs (Rank #734)

Per Ong - 1 hour, 23 min, 35 secs (Rank # 1025)


Congrats to everyone! Well done!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sundown Race Pack Collection - Singapore Day 1

On our first day in Singapore (May 29th, 2009), we took the MRT to look for the Race Pack Collection at Athlete's Circle. We had the address with us but no map on to how to go here from the MRT exit. Good one!!! We ended up getting lost from a wrong tip given to us by one of the locales here but finally found our way back to the right path. A supposedly 5-minute walk from MRT exit turned into a 20-minute walk!

The weather was extremely hot and I was sweating by the time we found the store. Definitely not a good sign for the marathon!



Hivelocity. There was a runner store on the ground floor but we had to climb up a flight of stairs to go to the 2nd floor for the...






Self-portrait shot !


10km runners Per & Carolyn ! First time they had this event for this race. Unfortunately, it is open only for women. Only way for men to do a 10km event is to do the corporate relay (will be needing 3 additional runners for this).

Finally got my race pack which has an awesome bag and a Sundown Marathon singlet.


My personalized race bib number


Outside the running store. We ended up buying... Nothing! Haha! But did use my confirmation print out to buy Adidas 3/4" pants and running cap and get 20% discount for both items.


All the contents of the race pack laid out on the floor.
Too bad the singlet, even with the XXL size still does not fit me! Apparently it's Asian size so very tight for this Running Fatboy. Hope they won't use the same sizing for the Finisher Shirt (if I get it that is)!