Thursday, October 29, 2009

Can't speak!

As a last training run before we depart for San Francisco on Friday, Per and I met up with Alvin last night at Fort Bonifacio. I was to run 2km warm up, 8km tempo run and 1km cool down. Per would join us for the first 2km and see how it would feel doing a 1km tempo run.

I was frightful heading to Fort Bonifacio as this was the farthest I've done for a tempo run and not sure if I am going to survive it. Prior to this, my tempos have been around the range of 4km - 6km and I was usually tired by the end of the exercise. What more if I do an additional 2km at the same pace? YIKES! But I am determined to do it.

It was nice for the first 2km as we end up chatting the whole time about our plans, goals, and news about running (the recently concluded Subic Marathon and Adidas King of the Road). But come start of the tempo run, my legs suddenly felt heavy, my breathing heavier. I seem to be tired already! Even the rolling down the hills took an effort for me. At one point, a kid on a skateboard went to our direction and in an effort to avoid us, he sidetracked to the sidewalk and fell to the ground.

I stopped running and went to the kid trying to say "sorry". But no words came out of my mouth! I was mute and can only look at the kid trying to help him. I was dead tired and couldn't even talk for that few seconds! Good thing the dad was there and probably saw how tired I was, just said "it's ok, don't worry". After a last look to make sure the kid was doing fine, i went back to running with Alvin.

Alvin was counting down the distance so I continue to push myself. Usually our Garmin would beep indicating we've conquered another km and Alvin would shout out his pace and I would do so for mine as well. But on the final km when we finished the tempo, again I could not speak! I was too busy huffing and puffing to say the numbers! This never happened to me before!

Well, after walking for a few meters, I was fine again (phew), and we did a cool down jog and met up with Per at Fully Booked.

Now, it's packing time for our trip in the USA. Being addicted to running, we joined two race in our two weeks there! As running friends would say before "Nandun ka na. Might as well do it!". Non-running friends have the opposite reactions "Nandun ka na, bakit ka pa tatakbo?" :) Clearly, the running friends won us over!

Our I.T. (in terms of running) are as follows:

Friday - board plane to SFO

Friday - arrive in SFO night time.

Saturday - meet Wayne and Wilbert and go to the San Francisco Half Marathon Expo. Look to buy jacket and long sleeves technical shirts as seem to be COLD here !

Sunday - do the San Francisco Half Marathon with Per at 7am. Run on the frigging Golden Gate Bridge!

Monday - fly out to Vegas

Tuesday - 5km easy run at the desert

Wednesday - easy hike around Grand Canyon

Thursday - 5km easy run at the desert

Friday - fly out to Fresno

Saturday - attend the Fresno Marathon expo, attend the carbo loading party at 4pm, hear Dick Beardsley speak and maybe buy his running book and have it signed!

Sunday - Fresno Marathon! A certain someone from the Philippines will also be there looking to Boston Qualify! Per will wait from the sidelines as my own cheerleader! Look for a massage therapist afterwards

Monday - drive out to Yosemite and so some easy walking on the trail roads (if possible)

Tuesday - more easy hiking in Yosemite in the morning, afternoon drive back to San Francisco

Wednesday - Free day

Thursday - Free day

Friday - fly back to Manila

A very tight schedule and not as relaxing as a vacation should be. But we are runners and isn't running a relaxing thing to do?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Adidas King of the Road Half Marathon (Oct 25, 2009) -Post race

Another 21km!

There were no chip timers in this race nor were there any finisher medals. The only thing I got at the finish line was the finisher certificate and two cups of water. Still, for a fee of Php 500, the very nice Adidas singlet more than made up for it. This was my and Per’s first Adidas King of the Road after missing out on it last year. But we heard great reviews from Janine then when she accomplished her first half marathon (she got a runner’s high!).

So when we heard news that there was a King of the Road for 2009, we made sure our schedule was free for that weekend. At the expo, aside from the singlet, we got a free breakfast from KFC. Definitely worth the Php 500 registration fee!

We weren’t the only people who liked the bright yellow singlet as evidenced by 90% of the runners who wore it on the race day, be it the 5km, 10km or 21km category. If Milo races were a sea of green runners, Adidas for this year was a sea of bright yellow runners. I joined the 21km as another part of my long run but with my marathon in just two weeks, I only had to do 26km for the day. Whoopee! Per registered for the 10km with an ambition of going below 1:10, after her disappointing finish last week.

We got to the race venue at 4:45am. I originally wanted to do the 5km before the race so I can finish at the same time as the race itself but the lack of time made me do only 3.2km. At least that was 3.2km that I didn’t have to run anymore! By 5:20am, I was at the starting line where I saw Jason, who had just arrived from his Subic 42km race to do a 21km race here, and Coach Alvin, looking to do an easy run. My sister and brother were also there waiting for their turn at the 10 km race.

My target pace was at 7 minutes/km and by 11 km point, I should increase the pace to 6:30 min/km. I started at 6:30 min/km and maintained that pace with the other runners. Alvin ran with me for a few minutes before increasing his own pace. Fearing that I would burn out should I follow him, I stuck to my pace at 6:30 min/km (I was afraid that even at 6:30, I was running too fast but for some reason, I just couldn’t slow down).

There were a lot of water and Gatorade stations here. I mostly drank water as Gatorade stations get crowded easily and didn’t want to waste time waiting for my cup to be filled here. The nice thing about the Gatorade stations is that they had La Salle Pep Squad members and Cheerleaders cheering the runners and giving positive comments. In a way, it felt like I was doing the Animo Run again. Course took me to Buendia Ave., for the turnaround to Fort Bonfacio where we then head to Lawton Avenue for the final turnaround to the finish line.

Heading back to Fort Bonifacio, my shoulders were aching again and I was tired. My average pace became slower at 6:40 min/km, which meant my speed went down to 7 min/km, a positive split and a big no-no. I was determined not to slow my average pace further than 6:45 min/km and forced myself to keep running to the finish line. But I was exhausted! By the last 2km, Alvin came back for me and pushed me to go faster. I was whining to him the whole time about how tired I was but he wouldn’t hear about it and just said how close I was to the finish line. And so I pushed myself, ignoring the fatigue and shoulder pains. My pace went down to 6:20 min/km for the 20-km mark! Alvin wasn’t content and said that we should go faster! I whined even more (really sorry about that)! As a form of bargaining, I asked if I could run slow for the remaining 2km that I still had to do after finishing the race. He said that I can make it into a cool down run, provided I run at his pace for the last km to the finish line. Easier said than done! I was panting and wheezing and wanted to walk but instead I pushed the negative thoughts at the back of my mind and just kept going faster and faster….overtaking more runners… faster and faster still…. until I finally crossed the finish line. And gave out a big sigh of relief!

I was able to do the last 2km via run-walk as my feet hurt already. After doing the 26km target distance for the day, I checked my Garmin and swore under my breath when I realized we went at 5:36 min/pace for the last km to bring down the pace to 6:36 minute for the Half Marathon Race for a time of 2:18:11, a 10-minute faster time from last week’s QC Half Marathon and 14-minute faster time from Milo Half Marathon two weeks ago.

It’s true what they say that pain is temporary but the feeling afterwards last longer! I was tired, exhausted, and whining during the race but glad that I was still pushed to reach my limit and get the target I didn’t expect to attain. Per, had her own great moment when she beat her target time of 1:10 and finished her race strong at 1:07:55! A new PR for the Mrs.!

Next race will be our first USA race in San Francisco, where we will meet Wilbert and Wayne there. We shall be doing the Half Marathon together and running on and off the Golden Gate Bridge! The week after will be my 2nd Full Marathon in Fresno, California. Hopefully, all my long runs, tempo runs and easy runs pay off for that big day!

Big thanks again to Coach Alvin for pacing for the last 2km of this race (regardless of how much I hated it...hahaha).

See you guys in 3-4 weeks!

Neil nearing the finish line for another 21km achivement!

the running couple in a happy mode

Siblings Janine and Jeanne!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

QC Half Marathon (Oct 18, 2009) - post race

Late Again!

And it wasn’t because my alarm didn’t go off or I got lost going to QC Memorial Circle. On the contrary, I was there by 4:30am, 30 minutes ahead of the 21km race. But I had to do a long run for that day. My target distance was at 29km and rather do the remaining 8km after the Half Marathon race when the sun is already out, I decided to do some mileage early in the morning so can finish early too. Unfortunately, I made the wrong guess on the distance and by the time I arrived at the starting line, the 21km race had started some 5 minutes earlier.

Just like last week’s race, I was late again but grateful that similar to last week’s race, this race used a chip timer to show your real time aside from your gun time. I wanted to chase the other runners but decided that that wasn’t a wise thing to do and took this as a blessing in disguise to run at a constant pace. Had I started on time with the other runners, I would most likely have gone a lot faster as will be drawn with the speed of the fast people.

It was scary to be running by myself as I wasn’t familiar in this area and didn’t know the right turns. Good thing, there were adequate marshals to guide me on the course and pretty soon I was able to see a few runners ahead of me. There were also some runners who came in late so it wasn’t that lonely running in this race.

My pace was at a constant 7:20 minutes/km and course took me to the familiar roads of UP (near Sunken Garden) and to the wide roads of Commonwealth Avenue, where the 21km runners were joined by the 10km runners. It was great running on wide streets with no moving vehicles in sight. There were only a handful of Half Marathoners but I didn’t mind. The number of 10km runners more than made up for it. There were ample water stations on the course and the weather was just right. The 10km runners made the U-turn at one point while I had to continue running to Batasan Road for the turning point. At the 11km mark, I heard a patrol car coming by and with his emergency lights blaring. I thought that something went wrong (did a runner collapse mid-way?) only to see that it was the Kenyans coming back already! Wow, that gave me goose bumps to be on the same road as these speedy runners. They went past me (obviously) and I continued my run at a steady pace. I learned later on that they won the marathon at a time of 2:30++. Very impressive!

The route back took a detour through a part of Trinoma Mall and it was here I realized I still have a lot of energy and quickened my pace. My pace went down to 6:35 minutes/km. At the finish line, my average went down to 7:01 minutes/km for a total time of 2:29:21 with a distance of 21.27km. I reached my target of 7 minutes/km and with a negative split at the last 5km. Awesome!

Not much freebies after the race. The Nike shirts that were supposed to be given out did not arrive but I didn’t mind as I got a big finisher medal at the finish line. Per, after finishing her 10km race, got a black Nike Human race bag.

I then went for another 4km to attain my target mileage for the day and we then left early to go to SM Megamall (after showering and a change of clothes of course) to get our Adidas Race kits at the exhibit area. We were there early so no lines yet and got free food here via KFC (perfect as haven’t had breakfast yet).

Some pain on my shoulders (did I run too stiffly?) and heels (do my shoes lack support) but quite happy with my overall performance in today’s run. Ran a total of 29km for a time of 3 hours 28 minutes++. It’s tapering time soon! Can’t wait!

Thanks again to my coach Alvin for teaching me the principle of negative split performance and to Per for patiently waiting for me to finish my long run.

See you in the Adidas race next Sunday!

Half marathon Finisher! Yehey!

10km finisher!

Near the starting area and where we parked our car.

One more finisher medal for my collection! Great!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Milo Finals 21k (Oct 11, 2009) - Post Race

I registered for this for two reasons:

1. I needed to do a long run with a total distance of 32km

2. The race I originally registered for: Celebrity Run 21km, moved its race to December 20th. And I still need to look for another race with a 21km distance, hence the Milo 21km.

Per ran out of 10km slots here and rather than registering for the 21km and having a DNF record, we decided instead to run early morning before the start of the 21km. Jason wanted to join as well and at 4:30AM, we've parked at our spot and started our runs. We ran along Roxas Blvd till the 3.5km, then ran back to the starting line.

Unfortunately, before we could reach the starting line, the 21km runners were off. We were so late! Good thing, this was the first time Milo used Chip Timer technology (care of Rio) and still maintained its registration price of Php 150! So, there is no pressure for me to chase after the runners knowing that I can see my results in net time or Gun time.

By the time I've started, there were only a handful of runners on the course. Most were late comers like my friends Rico and Neil and I had a blast hanging out with Rico at the early part of the run.

There were ample Gatorade and water stations and I noticed how long the tables were and that there were appropriate trash cans to throw away your paper cups once you've used them. The weather was perfect and as in previous runs, I liked the flat course in this race.

So far so good!

By 10km of the race, I took out my first GU and finished it. I kept running at a steady pace.

Things were on my side as got the cheap NB 903 shoes that Neil bought for me and the not so cheap compression pants I bought at Runnr store in Fort Bonifacio. Both items never worn before. Both needed for my November 8th Full Marathon. Both used that Sunday as a test run, no pun intended.

Along Buendia, I met the very cheerful people of Rainier and and their cheers uplifted my spirits and made me smile. I got a cup of oranges and continued my run to the turning point, to which I came back to the aids station and got myself a cup of bananas. Que and Jinoe, good job! You guys deserve a pat on your backs for the efforts you made to make sure each runner feel they could finish their individual races.

I got back to Roxas Blvd., expecting to get tired anytime now. After all, this was what happened to me at the last Milo Half marathon so it's likely to happen again. Anytime now... 4km to go... its coming when you least expect it... 3.5km to go... took my 2nd GU reserve knowing I still had to run an additional 4km after the racce.... 2km to go.... wow, it is so near and I feel strong... I'VE NEVER FELT STRONG RUNNING THIS DISTANCE!....1km to go... I see the place where the race started...500meters... Turning point away from Roxas and heading into Quirino Grandstand... Crossing finish line! Awesome! The tiredness did not come!

My 21km race was my worst time ever at 2:33:40 (with pace of 7:17). Even compared at the last Milo 21km where I burned out and ran-walked the last 3km, this race was even slower than that one. But I didn't care as I have completed 28km and not yet sore or tired. Another 30 minutes went by running the last 4km and for some reason I was still strong. It was my worst 21km performance but my BEST 32km performance and that is the important thing here.

Factors that helped me were of course, the new pants and shoes. I loved the pants. Wearing it the entire time, my socks were dry for the first time (and hence no blisters) and no knee pains at all. Very worth my investments into it. Big thanks also to Alvin for giving me a target pace, letting me have my rest days and for letting me know how valuable a Negative split is. Thanks to Per and Jason for the company pre-race and to Sheerwill for the compny during the race. All of you guys made this my best 32km long run experience so far.

Another bonus - fast race results with my gun time in line with my Garmin and the tons of free photos by Photovendo. I got 40 shots! Wow!!! Also liked the gift packs they gave at the finish line. For Php 150, this is the best race in terms of value of money. Since I started running, I haven't missed a Milo Manila race and looking at keeping that tradition going forward!

Very happy in this race! The opposite to what I felt at the last Milo race.

Fun chatting with Sheerwill

Few meters from the finish line.

Performers at the Milo stage

Neil's first 21km run! Keep on running my friend..

The support of THE Mrs. Even knowing I had to do a long run, she still chose to accompany me at the race and read a book while I finish my task. Thanks Per! That meant a lot to me :)

'till the next race - QC in a few days. See you there!

Monday, October 5, 2009

OctobeRUN 16km (Oct 4, '09) - Post Race

It has been a while since I last joined a race where I targeted a specific pace or time to finish the race. The last was in the Milo Half Marathon last July but I got burned out and walked at the last part. Since that event, races I've done were mostly to enjoy the scenery, to run with Per or to be a part of the weekend's long run.

But then Alvin decided that I should finish this race with a time target of 6:20 min/km and then run 5km more at same pace to complete the 21km distance. I was supposed to do a 32km long run so this was a welcome escape from doing the extra mileage but I didn't know how hard this was going to be for me as well.

I hoped for no rain coming from the terrible attack of the Typhoon a week ago. Good thing the Super typhoon did not hit Metro Manila as was expected and the race was still a GO! Per and I got to the venue by 5:15AM. This was the race where a lot of us merged into one category. The 10km runners had no choice but to do the 16km distance. Same thing with the 21km runners. It was the first time that Nat, Dave, Neil, Per, Stella and myself all started at the same time for the same race distance but all with different goals.

The crowd wasn't as huge as expected but that was just fine with me. Race started on time and I followed the pace of my sister, thinking it is attainable. It's not. After a few km, I slowed down and got left behind. Still, I was able to maintain my target pace and have allowance in case I get tired.

It was a Positive Split (and that's not a good thing) and I had to take a GU at halfway point as getting tired and hungry. That kept me going. Luckily, weather was nice that morning with no rain and sun coming out at a later time. There were ample water stations and I made sure to stop at each one (sometimes even getting two cups).

I crossed the finish line at a time of 1:36:16 with an average pace of 6:20min/km. Unfortunately, distance was short by 800meters with total course at 15.2km. But I was happy I achieved my target pace.

Ran additional 6km with Jason at below 7 min/km pace. It's really hard to run again once you've crossed the finish line but it's something that needs to be done. So now it's back to running long and running fast for this Running FATBOY!

Race pacers for 5 min, 6 min, 7 min and 8 min per km

Copying the balloon

Won the raffle prize. First time for this Running Fat boy. Woohoo!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Matter of Perception

In running, we get frustrated when

1) we did not finish a race
2) our trainings get sidetracked due to sickness or injury
3) we don't get a new PR eventhough we worked hard for it
4) a race is cancelled
5) we aren't getting faster anymore
6) we "hit the wall"
7) we are tired so soon and knowing we still have xxx number of miles to go
8) the race distance is shorter than promised or we don't get the singlet size as promised or when they ran out of finisher medals or water
9) we see a fellow runner cheating in a race

These are very small things in the grand scheme of things. I too, have felt this frustration before. But this is nothing compared to losing your home, your shelter, your FAMILY MEMBER, your money, your savings. That happened to a lot of my friends when just a week ago we were all fine.

Sometimes, it takes a disaster to make us appreciate our lives more. To recognize the blessings that God has given us. To see what is important to us. To be strong in the face of adversity and not lose hope and faith. Let us help and support one another in this trying times. Let us share our blessings.

Below is a letter from Coach Rio (taken from website):

Dearest Friends,

Marikina City has been my home for most of my life and it fills me with great sadness to witness and experience first-hand, the tragic events that occurred over the past weekend. In one sweep, many lost their homes and the lives they’ve always known. Some have to deal with the painful loss of friends and loved ones in the midst of the tragedy that struck our beloved city. Now, more than ever, I’ve realized how fleeting and fragile life can be. And despite both of my cars needing major repairs and the first floor of our house looking like a huge mess due to the flood waters that ravaged our subdivision, I am still better off than most of people in our neighborhood. As I stood on top of a rock outside our house surrounded by a raging stream of flood water, seeing the far worse conditions experienced by my neighbors, I remember telling myself that it doesn’t matter anymore if Typhoon Ondoy takes away my Speed Racer and Bubble Bee and suck them completely under water. Losing my precious cars is nothing compared to the suffering that other people went through, some of which I painfully saw with my own eyes. It was truly heart-breaking and I can’t help but be thankful that I am still one of the luckier ones.

In line with the surge of relief operations from kind-hearted and selfless souls all over the Metro, the 2009 Timex Run will be accepting donations in cash and in kind, to aid our displaced brothers and sisters in Marikina City during their time of need. To start the ball rolling, the 2009 Timex Run has decided to allot a portion of the event’s proceeds to the affected Marikina residents. I am also donating 40 sacks of rice and about 700 singlets to several barangays within Marikina City, but more help is needed to reach as many victims as possible. Items such as ready-to-eat food, rice, noodles, potable water, clothes, blankets, beddings, towels, and other basic necessities will go a long way to help our fellow Filipinos get back on their feet. Volunteers are also more than welcome to offer their time and energy to help pack relief goods and distribute them to the different barangay halls and evacuation centers in Marikina.All 2009 Timex Run registration sites will be accepting your generous donations. I am also opening my home at 46 D. Macapagal St. Vista Valley Subdivision, Sto. Nino, Marikina City, if you wish to send them in bulk.

All participants, including friends and family, are invited to the distribution of relief goods on November 15, 2009, 1:00pm, at the different barangay halls and evacuation centers in the hardest hit areas in Marikina. These include:

Industrial Valley
Sto. Nino
Sta. Elena
San Roque

Thank you so much for your willingness to help us reach out to the countless victims plagued by Typhoon Ondoy. May God bless your homes and keep you safe. More power to the running community!

Sincerely,Rio De La CruzTimex Ambassador/ Race Director2009 Timex Run

Run Radio will also accept donations as well as various churches, schools, restaurants, etc.