Monday, February 24, 2014

Race Review: Batangas to Laguna 53km experience


My legs and shoulders are still sore from yesterday's Ultra Marathon, but it's a good kind of soreness, the kind that showed that yes, I conquered the race and I finished within the cut-off time.

It was extremely difficult especially for the last part as the uphill was torturous!  (Just see the elevation map below!).  Never had I experienced an uphill climb this steep and long before.  Per and Janine (our support crew) even mentioned how hard it is for cars to go up here, what more for runners!

intense Elevation of Race

 I was trying to aim for an Ultra Marathon PR pace and was within my goal when the uphill hit me and that target was thrown out!  I then revised to lower my pace when the hills ended, which took forever at that time (in actuality it was 4km but 4km of uphill climb does seem FOREVER!!).

My average pace got slower by 20 freaking seconds in a span of just 4 kilometers... and that is basing on my average pace for 40km!  That was INSANE! 

But once the uphill ended, I tried to regain my speed with goal of trying to cut down average pace by 6-7 seconds.  I succeeded and finished with a  time of 8 hours, 21 minutes (with pace brought down to 9:28 from 9:34).  That was good and speed training Alvin and I did together helped me make the final push to the finish line.

happy to finish!

For this edition of Ultra Marathon (my first for the year), it was just supposed to be me running it and with my wife supporting it.  But then she invited Janine to be part of the support crew and Alvin on a whim (the day before the race) decided that he wanted to run it too!

So all four of us departed Manila at 11:30pm on a Saturday night and drove to South Super Hi-way, exited Calamba and kept going on the National Highway till we hit Sta.Cruz, Laguna where the starting line was.  We saw a lot of runners at a 7-11 convenience store and after asking for directions to San Luis Stadium, we found it at just 500 meters from the 7-11 store.  That was around 1:10am, enough time to do some last minute preparation for the 2:00am gun start.

There were about 400 runners for this race and as always, we started at the back part.  Support car will be stationed every 7km and I ran with a GU gel, a bottled water and Php 100 in cash.  At the beginning, Alvin and I ran together but after 10km or so, he sped off at his own pace (I think my pace was making him sleepy! Hahaha).

I meet Janine/ Per every 7-8km and after I re-fueled at the car, they would drive off to look for Alvin.  This would continue until 49km after which they would go and wait for me at the finish line. 

Having the race start at 2am meant that we would run in the dark most of the time.  Good thing all runners have their own headlamps on for this race.  There were also water stations every 10km or so here, with a bonus ice-cream handed out at the 40- 41km mark (and right before the hilly climb).

All in all it was a good race.  There were ample signs and marshals especially for crucial turning points, which were helpful for runners and support vehicles.

The finish line was at Macban town, which was unique due to the geothermal plant residing within (there were a lot of big pipes integrated within the town). 

I got a ranked finisher trophy (Rank # 229), a finisher medal, a finisher shirt and post race meal.

Awesome finisher trophy!

We also bought some pre-ordered Yema cakes, which were delicious!!!!

After which was a Pinoy lunch celebration (bulalo, sisig, tuna belly) at Rose and Grace in Batangas (near South Super Hi-way Exit), where Alvin treated all of us there!  Thanks 'Vin!  Just thinking about that place is making me hungry again!  Definitely going back to it next time!!!!

Congrats again to RunMania for another awesome race.

Thanks to our wonderful and ever-patient support crew (Per and Janine) and please forgive me for my grumpiness!  Haha!

Thanks to Alvin for all the long runs and speedwork that we did to prepare for this race.

And a big Thanks to God for keeping us all safe and protected during this race (and injury-free for me and Alvin). 



Monday, February 17, 2014

10th PSE Bull Run 2014

Wow, has it been 10 years since the very first PSE Bull Run?  How time flies!

I am not a big fan of this race but since it is in its 10th edition, I thought it would be nice to be a participant in this historic event.

Registration though wasn't an easy task as it would involve claiming the race kits at Philippine Stock Exchange in Ayala Avenue.  Good thing I have some friends who joined this race and I had mine and Per's kits picked up  (and also registered) by them.  Thanks Denzell and Kath!

The 21km race had a gun start time of 4am, which was quite early for a half marathon event (is this the new normal now and not 5am anymore?).  Luckily, we made it just in time for the countdown of the race (no more stretches or toilet breaks!).

Alvin decided (on a last minute) to accompany me for this race as he had 36km to do this day.  I had 25km to do so this race was good for our long run.  Per slept in the car as her 5km race would begin at 5:15am.

Alvin gave a simple request that we try to maintain a 7:30/km pace for the first 10km, to which I jokingly rebutted, "Sure, let's try it.  But after the first 10km, we walk the last 11km?"  I actually had no plans to race this but rather do a LSD (long, slow distance) but after Alvin posed that question, I was curious too at the speed that I could do this race.

I started off too fast (too excited?) but was able to control my pace as we ran around BGC before we headed out to Kalayaan Bridge and into Buendia Ave.  I was surprised that I was able to run the entire flyover as can't remember the last time I did that (yes, I have become super slow) and kept at a constant pace throughout the race, even with its hilly route.

There was a banana station, some Pocari Sweat stations and water stations too.  I had two GU Gels with me but ended up taking one at the 11km mark.  The weather was nice and cold and the sun wasn't up yet by the time we finished the race.

There were two instances where I had to walk a bit as felt I was about to vomit.  But other than that and the walks at the water stations, I was able to run constantly.

I finished the race with a total distance of 20.66km and an average pace of 7:30min/km!  Woo hoo!

My finish time was at 2:35:04PRAISE GOD for this great performance.

A new PR for 2014 is achieved as I ran 14 seconds faster per kilometer!  I am now just 7 seconds away from my 21km PR pace for 2013...

Thank You God for this!

At the finish line, I had to line up for a bit in order to get my loot bag, which is composed of a small enviro bag, a nice black finisher shirt and a finisher medal.  Too bad the organizers didn't market this race enough for its 10th year and the medal was very simple.  They could have made the medal bigger and better to commemorate this race.  But the race itself was pretty organized!

Alvin and I ate at Mcdonalds before doing another 4km to complete my long run.

As for Per, well her car wasn't at the parking area so we assumed she went home after her race.  We were right in that she went home but she wasn't able to run her 5km race as she fell asleep in the car and woke up at 5:50AM (35 minutes after her own gun start!)  Out of frustrations and disappointment, she just went home :(

Monday, February 3, 2014

50km Race in February (L2B) - First Ultra for the Year

This will be my First Ultra Marathon for the year (God Willing) and it is set in just a few weeks time.  So far, my longest run has just been 25km and that took forever to finish (too many pit stops and what nots).

But I feel good that I can finish this race within the cut-off time, which is quite lenient at 10 hours (12 minute average pace for 50km distance).  Of course, as with other Runmania races, there is an expected 2-3km BONUS distance for us!

Three interesting things for me for this race:

 1.  Very nice finisher shirt and in my favorite color too!  Read somewhere that the material used for this shirt is pretty good (hoping this is true).

2.  Unique Finisher Trophy.  This isn't a runner, it isn't even a guy but it is a woman clad in old Filipina outfit and carrying a Philippine flag on her right hand.  Who is this and how is it connected to the flag and more importantly, to this Ultra Marathon?

Fernando Armosolo's painting

 Apparently, this woman was Marcela Agoncillo, who was the principal seamstress of the first and official flag of the Philippines (ahhh, there you go), and who was requested by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo to sew a flag that would represent the Philippines.

Agoncillo was a daughter of a rich family in her hometown of Taal, Batangas (ahh, now all the pieces are here!).

Pretty cool idea for a trophy if you ask me (and perfect companion piece for those runners who did the Rizal Run 50km last December).

3.  Wife as support crew.  Not only did I get her blessing to join this race, but she was also willing to support me!  This would be her first experience as support crew.

 Some scary stuffs:
1.  Elevation levels!  Pretty much high on first 25km followed by a steep incline on latter part!  Boo!

 2.  Fear of getting lost by first-time support crew Per!

Good thing the good stuffs outweigh the bad stuffs.

Registration is still open up to now!

Let's do this!

Route Map