Monday, February 29, 2016

Finally: A sub-60 10km race!!

I didn't think this was possible.  This felt surreal especially since I burned out in the fourth quarter of 2015 from doing two Full Marathons just three weeks from each other (Subaru and Run United).  Those two had pretty horrible finishing times for me so I thought I lost my speed and gotten really really slow!

But with GOD, everything was possible.

From Sunlife run 2015 (11/29/15), where I finished it with an average pace of 6:37, to Healthy Run 10km a week after where I got faster and finished said race at an average pace of 6:21, I was able to do my fastest 10km race for 2015 via the last race for the year: Recovery Run 10km (12/12/15) and finished this race at an average pace of 6:15 (with a time of 1:02:39).

For 2016, I was able to go faster for the 10km race and beat my 2015 pace via the La Salle Greenhills 10km run last January 24th.  This one I finished at an average pace of 6:11 (time of 1:02:12).  But I felt like I wanted to collapse and faint in this race.  It definitely wasn't a good feeling!!!  I needed to get faster and get stronger!

I had another 10km race.  This time it was held in Bonifacio Global City and on Valentine's Day.  I was able to complete this race (Run for Life) at an average pace of 6:01 (time of 1:01:16).  Best of all, I didn't feel like I was going to die!  

6:01!  That pace bothered me for the next few days as to get to sub-1 hour 10km time, I need to run at an average pace of 5:59, just 2 seconds away!  But even 2 seconds wasn't enough.  As race may exceed 10km by a few meters.  I needed a little more leeway!  That meant going faster and sustaining speed!

This was all part of preparing in my big 10 race:  March 20th Pinoy Fitness sub-60 10km race!

And yesterday was the final test for it:

AMCHAM 5th ScholaRUN 10km race in Bonifacio Global City:

The nice thing here is the proximity to my house.  I was able to find a parking space easily and did some light jogging and stretching.

I was tensed for this race as had a specific time/ pace goal.  This wasn't a just to finish 10km race but one that hopefully was a sub-60 minutes.

I studied the race map the night before and tried to think where the steep hills were so that I can be more prepared for them.  At the same time, I looked at the downward portions of the race so that I know where I should surge and go faster!

As I saw it, there were three U Turns in this race and two to three uphills but they were compensated by downhills.

During the week, I did one run only to prepare for this:  5km at 7 minute pace followed by 10 x 200m hill repeats.  I hope that this would be enough to give me strength during the uphill portions of the race.

My goal was to hopefully start at a pace of 6:05 and to bring it down to below 6 minute pace all throughout the run.  Obviously I went out too fast at the first kilometer (5:42 pace) and paid for it in the second kilometer (6:13 pace).  

Every time I thought I was doing well, I would see my pace and be disappointed with it.  I even thought that there was a problem with my Garmin and paused and started it during the run to get it back on track.  More bad paces as I got a 6:19 pace on 4th kilometer and 6:08 pace at 5th kilometer.

I was having a hard time keeping the below 6 minute pace.  It was taking more effort on my running.  Even the downhill portions weren't as fast as I hoped they would be.  

But I kept pushing myself and played mind games saying that it was just 5km to go. At 6km, I pushed some more.  At 7km, I psyched myself not to waste the last 3km or the previous 7km would have been!  It was all or nothing!

At 8km, I took a quick look at my average pace.  It was at 6 minute pace!  I had to go faster and bring it down some more!!

I was breathing hard at this point. Just 2km left and I can lie on the ground.  I can stop running. Push! Push! Push!

Having one more climb did not help!

But I thought of the hill repeats and thought that this should be easy.  It wasn't but at least I didn't slow down.

And I saw the finish line!  One last surge! And just like that, it was over.

Thank YOU GOD!!!

I did it with YOUR Strength!  Thank YOU for YOUR protection!  This is for YOU LORD!

As an added bonus, I lingered around the stage area and won this when they had some games for all finishers.

I need to get stronger though as my feeling here was a little similar to the La Salle Run I did where I had a hard time in it.  So I have to keep training until March 20th to be faster and stronger.

Pace per kilometer (negative split):
1km: 5:42, 2km: 6:13, 3km: 5:55, 4km: 6:19, 5km: 6:08, 6km: 5:57, 7km: 5:51, 8km: 5:56, 9km: 5:50, 0.64km: 5:15

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Race Review: Fed Run 16k 2016

This is the second year that I will do the Fed Run race.  As my daughter's school is part of the group of schools associated with this race, I had myself and Alvin registered for the 16km category.

Venue was at Mall of Asia with a super early time of 4:30AM!  As we left the house around 3:50AM, it felt like we were going to the province for a beach or mountain trip instead of just in Mall of Asia for a running race.

Parking was easy at the venue and there were ample portalets as well. But for the water, I had to go around the area before I finally found it near the stage, covered in plastic and unmanned.  I quickly got a small bottle of water and walked to the starting line.

My target for this race was two fold:

First was to get a fast time not only for this year but also by beating my 16km time in 2014.  To achieve that, I need to have an average pace of 6:49 or below.

Second, was that this will be a training of sorts to get a sub-60 10km run next week.  To do this I have to run below 6 minute pace for the last 5km so that I can  be comfortable in this pace.

To make the first goal easier, I try to start race with a below 7-minute pace and keep that throughout the run until the last 5km, wherein I would then accelerate for the second goal that I wanted to do.  Hopefully I had energy to do both tasks.

My weapons for this event were two GU gels and prayers for strength.

As the race started, I felt like I went out too fast.  And I was right!  I was going at 6:35 average pace per km and knew that I had to hold myself back or be burned at the latter part.  So I kept holding back but made sure all my km pace were below 7 minutes.

At 10km, I took my first GU gel, and didn't want to hold back anymore!  My pace quickened but not so much that it went below 6 minutes.  

At 11km, I knew that was the time to go for it.  I had one more GU gel for emergency in case I got drained but it was now or never.  I was able to run at 5:45 pace and kept it.  That was good enough for me.

At 14km, Alvin, having finished his run earlier, joined me for my last 2km.  I was able to lower my pace some more.  But I was a little out of breathe and one cup of cold water later, I was back to running at a fast pace.

I also had a third and secret goal for this race.  To not only cross the finish line with a 6:49 average pace or better (and therefore beating record from 2014) but to cross the finish line with at best a 6:30 average pace.  
I had no idea what my pace was.  I was just sure I had beaten my first target of below 6:50 pace.  I also completed my second goal of below 6 minute pace for the last leg.  But to the final time and average pace? I didn't know until I finally crossed the finish line, stopped my Garmin watch, got the finisher loot bag and finisher  medal before I finally took a look at my performance.

Praise God!  Only He can give me strength for this race!  Glory is to You Lord!

Thank You!

After which Alvin and I had a good breakfast at Aristocrat (it's opened 24/7 !) and we passed by a Starbucks store in Manila so I can get a tumbler (race reward?).

As an added bonus, I got back home and looked at the races I did in the past to find out when the last 16km race was when I went faster than today's finish time and average pace.

Eventually I found said race.  It was for Yakult 10-miler wherein I finished at a time of 1:36:23 (pace of 6:01!).  Wow, that was fast!

But then I looked at the date and saw that it happened some time now... in 2008 to be exact!  Wow!  Praise God for making me stronger and quicker that I was able to shatter 16km race records all the way back to 2008... a time where I was probably 30 lbs lighter, no kids and single!

Now that is doing the Meb!

Thank You again Lord!

Pace per km (negative split):
1km:  6:44,   2km:  6:30,  3km:  6:52,  4km:  6:46,  5km:  6:48,  6km:  6:59,  7km:  6:53,  8km:  7:06,  9km:  6:43,  10km:  6:12,  11km:  6:15,  12km:  5:57,  13km:  6:02,  14km:  5:54,  15km:  5:41,  16km:  5:36,  0.16km:  5:07
Used: one GU gel.  Morning had one cup of black coffee and one pineapple cake.  Throughout the race, drank cold water (there were no sports drinks offered in the race).

Route:  Took the roads around SM Mall of Asia and behind Roxas Blvd.  A little easier vs other races held here as we didn't go through Roxas Blvd.  So no Roxas Blvd, no flyovers.

Weather:  nice and cold.  As early in the morning, sun didn't come up till after the race is over.

What the moment:  Overtook Actors Dingdong Dantes and Tim Yap at last 1.5km and were way ahead of them.  But 700 meters from the finish line, they were suddenly 200-300m in front of me!!!  They never overtook me at any portion of the last 1.5km!  Even Alvin, who was running beside me for last 2km was surprised by it.  So they probably made an early U Turn (I hope accidentally and not intentionally).

All in all a good race.  Thanks be to God!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Race Review: Run for Life A love run

There are many reasons why I joined this race on Valentine's Day:

1.  It's for a good cause as proceeds will be used to build a nursery 

2. It's made by DLSU's ENGLICOM School Club.  As a fellow alumni, it's good to help my alma mater in one form or another.

3.  Race was held in BGC, my favorite race place in the Philippines due to the proximity to my house.  The nearer the better!

4.  Good to do a 10km race to see if I can improve on my previous 10k or not in terms of pace and finish time.

5.  Burn off the calories from eating out in our Pre-Valentine's date.

My target for this race was to simply beat my previous 10k 2016 PR of time 1:02:12 (average pace of 6:11).  This meant doing an average pace of 6:10 per kilometer.  

I got to the starting line 5 minutes before race start and I was able to do some quick stretching on my body.  As it was a small race, I started in the front and as soon as race started, I knew I was going out too fast as was running with elite runners.  I had to scale down my pace or else be burned out in the middle part.  

My objective was to simply run at 6:10 per kilometer and go faster in downhill portions of the race.  As there was no race map prior to the race, I didn't know where the route would take us.

At halfway mark, I was surprised as it took us up Kalayaan Flyover.  Truthfully, "surprise" was me downplaying what I was feelings at that time as I saw it.  More of a mixture of denial, anger, some swear words to myself and thinking I won't be able to beat my previous race time. Yes the I went through the entire 5 stages of grief in a matter of minutes before ending it with acceptance!

Thankfully, I was able to do some hill repeats this week and through that, it gave me the confidence to run up the flyover at a good pace.  Note to self: I should do more hill repeats!

I counted down the kilometers as I want it to end! I was out of breath but stronger than the race in La Salle Greenhills.

At the last 3km, I was able to run at sub 6 minute pace so that should help my average pace.

I finally saw the finish line and went all out before stopping my Garmin watch at the finish line.  I walked a bit to lower my heart rate before I looked at my watch.

Thank God for keeping me strong in this race.  Pace was a lot better than what I expected and if it was exactly 10km, then I would finish slightly or at 1 hour mark!  i just don't know how I can top this in the future.

Post-race, I got a finisher medal, a
finisher shirt and a loot bag
and went home to change and pick up my family for Valentine's day breakfast at Starbucks.  Thank You Lord for a great day and a great race.

To God be all the glory!

For the race itself, aside from the added 200m distance to the 10km race, I had no other complaints.  There were ample marahals, lots of water stations and race started on time.  There wasn't any problem in claiming loot bags as well. Congrats to DLSU ENGLICOM Club.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Race Review: Condura Half Marathon 2016

This was a good race for me and one that I joined last minute for.

Honestly, I was lazy to run it as it had an early gun start of 3:30AM and I wasn't that comfortable with running a distance of Half Marathon.  I escaped unscathed at PSE Bull Run 21km but I didn't want to push my luck.  Still, with the blessing of God, I felt I was getting faster and stronger.

Once I was able to talk to race organizers if I could claim my race kit in Makati, I immediately went online to register for the 21km distance.  Thank you guys for your help!

I did one 16km during the week for my long distance run and just had target of finishing well and enjoying the scenery.  But as the day grew closer, I was thinking whether I could beat my PSE half marathon time of 2 hours 41 minutes (with an average pace of 7:37).  I had a hopeful target of maintaining an average pace of 7:30 and if I was still strong, to lower pace for the last 5km.

Even if I wasn't able to go faster than 7:30 pace at last part, that would be a new PR for me for the year.

With two hours sleep and 3 Gu gels in my running belt, I was off to Alabang.  Parking was very easy and I was able to find a spot at Filinvest Mall, just a short walk to the Starting Line.

My gun start was at 3:30am but with the multiple race Waves, I ended up running it at 3:45am.  "Oh no", I thought to myself, "I'm going to feel the heat from the sun at the last part".  Nevermind that it was just 15 minutes longer from the scheduled race start.  The lack of sleep must have muddled my thoughts that morning! Hehe.

But a good reason of starting your race at the last batch was that most runners were already ahead of you, making the road or in this case, the Skyway less congested.

The first 5km was slow and steady as ran on an incline from Alabang to Skyway.  This was good as body was just getting warmed up.

Route was pretty simple: keep running on the Skyway until you make a U Turn at the halfway mark.  As we started our race, there were a lot of Full Marathoners already heading back towards Alabang.

Weather was nice and cool and the sun never came out even at the last part of the race.  In fact, it became a little cooler as it started to rain a bit at the last part.  Thank You God!

I felt good the entire time, taking one Gu gel at 8km mark, a banana at 12km and a second GU gel at 16km for the last 5km on the road.

With enough energy, I was able to go faster at the last 8km and ran at below 7 minute pace for the most part.  Only when I got to the Skyway exit did I get slower as it was congested with 6km, 10km, 21km and 42km runners!!  I had to do a lot of weaving around the runners in front of me.  

But I didn't mind as when I saw my pace, it was at 7:23 and much lower than what I was aiming for so either way, I was happy with it.

Best of all, I felt strong and not even tired.
As we head into Alabang, I stopped looking at my watch and focused on the remaining distance.

Finally, one last turn to the finish line and when I crossed it, I had a big smile on my face.

Condura Half Marathon 2016: conquered!  Thank You GOD for making me strong!!

... And what a nice finish time too!  I not only managed to shave off 11 minutes from my last Half Marathon race but also achieved my utarget time of 2 hours and 30 minutes, which was my ultimate goal for the Run United 1 event in March!  It came much, much sooner that when I expected it.  As another bonus, I wasn't out of breath after crossing the finish line.  No pain in my legs too.  God is definitely good and this race is one of many where I glorify HIM.  Thank You God!!

The finisher medal was nice but I was more looking forward to the Finisher Shirt as it had the route map at its back!  Which was a very neat idea!!

Thank You God for a great race!  Thank You Condura for a good event (there were enough drinks and bananas and distance was accurate).

Final Note:  Unfortunately, although this was a fantastic race for me and I had a great time in it, I can't say this for everyone who ran it.  

There were some complaints with regards to the race kit pick up one day before the event as lines were long and it took a long time for runners to get their kits.

Moreover, it was a sad news for some families and runners everywhere as two runners passed away in this race: both young and at the prime of their lives: One joined the 21km while the other did the 42km event.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

New Routes

When training for a race (be it a fast 10km, a half marathon or a marathon), we tend to have routes that we are used to running in and are comfortable with it.  With these old routes, we would know where the toilets are, the convenience stores and fast food joints in case we need to buy food and drinks to replenish ourselves.  We would know where the turn around point will be, how far we should go to cover distance and basically anything we may need from a run, whether a long, slow one to a tempo one.  It makes it easier too as you won't have to think of the directions you are going so in that way, it makes your run more efficient.  You will know the best route as well (that tends to avoid the many stoplights on the streets, the smoking area, the congested roads from traffic).

Same goes with races where the routes are ones you are familiar with.  You would know where to conserve your speed, where the steep climbs are and where the descents will be, where the toilets are in case of emergencies, etc. and all thse factors that could help you in attaining a new PR.

But... sometimes you need a change in scenery, something that makes you wonder at the new sights and make you forget about training hard.  These are for the easy days in your training or even the LSDs, where instead of focusing on time, you look around you instead and enjoy the sights.

That is why I enjoy joining races where I hardly run in, be it international races like New York (which I super love) to Berlin to Disneyworld Orlando.  It can also be local races like Cebu, Baguio, Subic where I never run in as well!  But it doesn't have to be races when running at new places. 

When we went to Japan last year, I made it a point to run in most cities we visited: from Tokyo's Imperial Gardens, to Hiroshima's Peace Park to Kyoto's temple city, it made exploring the city that more special for me and at the same time, as I ran in certain parts of city, I would know which areas will be interesting for us to visit in.  So that also help save time.

For Metro Manila, I ran on EDSA on Dec 31 where there were hardly any cars on the street and did a big loop, which took me to C-5 and back to Makati.  It wasn't part of my regular route but decided I wanted a change in my route.

Yesterday, I ran from Tagaytay Midlands to Tagaytay Highlands, well "ran" in a very loose definition as walked most of the way due to the very steep and long inclines. It was tiring, it was horrible and my legs were tightening up the entire time. But it was also something I had never done before.  And when we drove to Tagaytay Highlands to have lunch and passed by the same route, I was enjoying the scenery and how I survived that run.  I will never look at it the same way again as I knew how hard it was to get to Point B from Point A and back again.

So it's good to do your routines and that should still be the core of your workouts. But don't be limited by it.  

The world is one big road.  Keep exploring it.  Keep running it.  Keep expanding your experiences!  Be open to new surprises!