Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Race for 2012 - Run for Pinoy Glory (01.07.12)

As a new year begins, so does setting new records. The record books are wiped clean again. So, it's time to set new PRs for different race categories (5km, 10km, 15km, 21km, 42km) with the hope that one of these 2012 PRs will beat one of my all time PR records.

And what better to start the year with than with a Half Marathon Race? It was time to burn off all those fatty, high-calories, high-cholesterol food that we had over the Christmas break and start training hard again.

I initially wanted to join the PSE Bull Run but the 16km and 21km categories were finished quickly and rather than run that race bandit style (that thought did cross my mind!), I was lucky enough to see another race for that weekend held at BGC and on a Saturday morning! PERFECT!

The organizers for this run were new though. Simply called Shadowfax, I knew nothing about them or their experiences in handling a road race. But nevertheless, it was still a half marathon and I needed that for my long run that weekend. So I joined for the 21km category and registered Per for the 5km category.

I had low expectations on my race performance given that I always seem to burn out in my long runs (happened twice already) and wasn't really excited for this one. The route won't help me too as it was a hilly one (going over Kalayaan bridge to Buendia Avenue and back again, going up the British School area, going up and down over the long road near Merkado Centrale) so all I was hoping for was to finish this run at a slow and steady pace and do little walking in-between. I need to run the entire thing and not fade at the halfway mark.

And here comes an added challenge: I need to do 28km for that morning! Sigh!

With the 21km already reserved for the actual race, I divided the remaining 7km into 4km for the pre-race run and 3km for post-race run (if I am still able to do it). That way, I don't have to finish too late and I can also avoid the morning sun.

The 4km pre-race run was at a comfortable 7:18 pace and I got back home right after to change my clothes into dry ones and to eat again.

Then Per and I were off to BGC for our respective races where I saw some familiar faces at or near the starting line (Patrick C., Titanium Runner, Vicky R.). As in normal races, I positioned myself at the very back part of the starting group and waited for everyone to go ahead of me.

At the back of my mind, I kept thinking that this is just a 21km race but at the same time, contradicted it by thinking that my overall distance would be 25km. The race started about 10 minutes later from the scheduled gun start (dang, I could have added one more km there instead of waiting for it).

When the 21km race started, I went off at an easy 7 minute pace but by 2km, I stopped to walk already. Oh no! Not this early please!! I used that time to drink some
water at the station nearby and went off again. I felt the tightness in my legs but as I ran and added more mileage, the tightness loosened and I was able to run faster.

The first obstacle in the form of Kalayaan Bridge came and went by quickly. It was almost pitch black when I got there so having no sun helped me to overcome this flyover (I had to watch where I step though).

Then, it was the long stretch of Buendia Avenue but it, being a flat road, wasn't giving me a hard time. There were bananas handed out at one point but rather than eat these fruits, I took one GU instead and ran again. I finished 12km by the time I got back to Kalayaan Bridge and still felt strong (surprised too as usually burn out by 15km and I had exceeded it if you count the 4km I did prior to the race) but I had to walk a bit here to loosen my legs. But my average pace was a surprising 6:58 minutes/km. Wow! But I wasn't that optimistic yet as I have a lot more to cover and the WALL can happen at anytime!

The water stations were numerous in this race and the ice cold water were a big welcome to me. I also drank a lot of the 100 Plus drinks that were placed on these stations. My pace got quicker. Was this possible? This never happened before!

I kept going and counting the km slowly as ran near the International Schools and on the long, hilly road near Merkado Centrale. Then I had 2km to go and I still felt strong. Yes, my back was giving me problems like it always does. Yes, I was feeling my right Plantar Fasciitis again but these pains were manageable and I was able to maintain my sub-7 minute pace. My goal was simply to finish this race at 6:59 or below pace. But as the distance to the finish line got shorter and shorter, I felt that I could still go faster than what I was going and sped up some more. This was freaking crazy!

I was going fast but for some reason my breathing were still fine. Then I saw the finish line and even went faster to finish the race at 2:21:01 but it was short 500 meters (20.6km only)! Argh!

So I had to run some more to complete the 21.1km distance and upon reaching the required distance, I stopped running and stopped my Garmin watch to see it hit 2:23:37. A new 2012 21km PR and one that beat all of my 2011 21km race times!

Wow, the bar was just raised high for my first race of the year!!!

After the race, I gave my race bib to Per for her to get my loot bag and finisher shirt (too bad that L is their biggest size), and I walked 1km before running 2km more around BGC area.

28km distance for the day - DONE!


Some Final remarks:

1) The organizers did a good job too in handling this race - from the nice, hard route, to the cold, cold drinks at the water stations and to the many cheerful marshals situated at various points of the race. But they have to be more accurate with the race distance and with their gun start time and more sizes for the singlets and finisher shirts (I didn't get the right sizes for both these shirts). But the good points outweigh the bad points for this race. Congrats Shadowfax!

2) Race results are posted already at www.pinoyfitness.com

Our results are as follows:

Dennis Que Pe, Ranked 145/238 runners, Gun Time Finish (2:21:18)
Jennifer Que Pe, Ranked 404/562 runners, Gun Time Finish (0:34:19)

3) The 5km Distance was also short by 500 meters based on Per's Garmin watch

No comments: