Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My February 2009 Races: Power RUNew 15kms

I am looking at joining two races for February. These are:

Feb 15: Run Manila '09: Power Run 5/10/15km. Route will be from Mall of Asia to CCP. Registration fee at Php 300. Registration is at Unit 207 Ash Creek center Ortigas Ave. corner Madison st. Greenhills (near Greenhills Shopping Center)

I will do the 15km race while Per will do the 10km race.

My Goal for this race: A new PR. Hopefully this can be done given its flatter course vs the 15km course at Fort Bonifacio.

Feb 22: RUNew (Asian Hospital) 3/5/15km. I am guessing that the race route will be similar to Happy Run, held just recently. Registration fee at Php 300. Registration venue at Nike in Bonifacio High Street (starting Feb 1). Race start at 5:30AM for 15km runners! Wow, very early but I am guessing it's to avoid the heat. All runners can have their pictures taken and printed after the race. More details at http://www.runrio.com/

This will be Per's first 15km and I will run the entire race with her. She doesn't know (yet) that one of my running goals for 2009 is to convince her to do a 15km race. Hehe! :0

My Goal for this race: To Finish it, thereby getting a new Couple PR for 15km. Per may have her own goal for this race, which I will do my best to help her to achieve it.

Both races will help me add mileage for my Marathon training and I may need to run further to achieve my running target.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Run - January 25, 2009

It's the Second Race for the year but the First 15km Race for 2009! Route will be similar to other 15km races held in Fort Bonifacio in that runners will go down Lawton St., head into Heritage Park go around it, climb back up Lawton and head into the dreaded McKinley Hills for some serious uphill battle before running the last 2km to the finish line.

I got to the race venue around 5:30AM in preparation for my 15km race. The place was packed with runners and Drew Arellano with Bianca Gonzales were talking to the crowd, as we wait for the last few minutes before the race begins.

Race started promptly at 5:45AM, which was a good sign that this race was organized. As always, I start my Garmin upon crossing Start Line and check it from time to time to see if I am running at the pace I wanted. The first 5km was easy as it was similar to last Sunday's PSE Bull Run so I was familiar with that aspect and was at race pace for that part.

We then went into Heritage Park, where it was quite festive here with the various entertainment we saw while running in it. It helped us NOT to think that we still had 10km to run after already doing 5km! I kept looking at my Garmin and moving faster when I see that I am slowing down.

Going out of Heritage Park was a slight uphill climb but this was easy compared to the one at McKinley Hill. By this time, the sun had already risen to the sky with the heat adding to my fatigue. I tried running all the way out of McKinley Hill but didn't make it. So I walked and was still tired from walking. The only good thing was seeing a sign in front of me saying I've already done 13km. "2km to go!', I thought to myself, so I started running again.

At this point, I've stopped looking at my Garmin as just concentrated on finishing the race. I saw fellow runner/blogger Bro J running by my side and he seemed to be running strong. And me? I was just tired and wanted to get this over with! Upon crossing the finish line, I stopped my Garmin and started walking to the marshals in front of me.

After the race, I got the Rush Drink I craved for and a pear to give me back the energy I lost in the race. I also got my singlet, which I wasn't able to get when I registered for this race.

My time, according to Garmin, was at 1:32:25 with a distance of 15.11km and average pace of 6:07 minutes/ km. My official race time results was at 1:32:58 (other race results you can see at http://www.runrio.com/). My previous 15km record was at 1:36:46 which happened waaaay back in March 2008! So I've achieved my goal of getting A NEW PR! YIPPEEE!!!!

Although I got a new PR, I had mixed emotions because for me, I did not finish strong. I just wanted this to end as quickly as possible. I realize there are still some room for improvements on my part mainly:

1. More hill training! I tried running the entire race (except when I was drinking water) but failed to do as I gave up running at the very steep incline of McKinley Hills.

2. Maintain running pace. I was running at race pace at first 10km but after that segment, I was slowing down. Worse was at the final 2km when I stopped looking at my Garmin and really slowed down.

3. Less reliance on water. I was getting thirsty and was craving for energy drinks like Rush or Gatorade. Since they weren't available, I settled for water to keep me going.

Still, a PR is still a PR and having gotten two PRs in the two races this January (and scratching off two of my six running goals for the year), 2009 is off to a great start!

In terms of race itself, it was very organized, with results posted the same day as race, lots of water, km markers, and good attendance. A truly HAPPY RUN!

Thanks George for the great Photo!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The PSE BULL RUN was the First Race for 2009 so it was highly anticipated by the running community after having no running events for nearly a month now. It was also the perfect event to burn off some of the weight we gained over the long holiday break.

Since this race is on its 5th year, you would think they would have gotten it hands down by now. Sadly, that wasn't the case. I already got a hint that this won't be as organized as the other races given the hard time we had in trying to get our race singlets. There were a lot of complaints on the lack of availability and lack of proper sizes for said singlets. The stitchings on the singlet were also not good. It is weird they hadn't prepared for this given they were announcing this race since early November (two months ago) and even had early bird registrations at that time!


I had a very good night sleep the night before so woke up feeling refreshed and excited to do my 10km race. Picked up Per and together we headed off to Fort Bonifacio. We first couldn't find where the race start was but all we had to do was listen to the booming sound of the Emcee and just followed the (very loud) voice.

We did a short warm up jog to the starting line as we parked far anyway and didn't want to miss the start of the race. It was quite crowded by the time we got there with the Emcee giving false remarks such as "Ready, set, wait a minute" then doing it all over again. He must have done it at least 5-6 times !!!!!

Finally, at 6:05AM, he gave the Go signal and we were off! It was hard to run as area was quite crowded so Per and I decided to walk till we had a clearer path. I started my Garmin right after crossing the Start line and that is when I went running. Running on the sidewalk helped me evade the crowd as not many people used this path.

It was chilly this morning so that helped me as I didn't feel thirsty nor tired. I went through about 3 water stations in the entire race, choosing the ones which had the less amount of people going through them so as not to waste time.

There were some problems in giving out the colored strings as there weren't enough marshals handing them out. I got the strings that were lying on the floor as that proved the faster way.

There were cars on the same road that we were so had to evade them. They were also honking at the runners! I had hoped that the organizers would have kept the road closed until we had all finished running it but that didn't happen. :(

Even with all these problems, I still stuck to looking at my Garmin and followed my pace. At the start of the race, I noticed that I was going out too fast and had to slow down so I won't burn out. During the uphill climbs, I saw that I was running at a slower pace so I had to push myself to run faster. Amid all this, I kept thinking that this race was short and that I shouldn't walk at all. The Nike training sessions with Coach Rio had prepared me mentally for this race as kept thinking that 2km run was just our warm-up jog and this 10km race was just like one of our Tempo Runs in Serendra. If I am able to do that if no or little water, then I should be able to do this. More so, since there are a lot of water here. That kept me going... and going... and going...

Rewind: January 2008, my first PSE BULL RUN: at 8km, I was walking uphill already, and was panting heavily and gasping for air. Looking signs for the nearest water station. Tired...

Now: January 2009: my second PSE BULL RUN: at 8km, I was still running and not slowing down. I remembered the drills we did at the Nike Training session and did high knee kicks so it became easier to conquer this challenge. I was feeling good! Passed by the last water station without stopping at it as wanted to finish at a good time.

At 9km mark, I knew I can break my PSE BULL RUN record and I knew I can go under an hour so I kept running at my steady pace.

At turning point to the finish line, I finally saw the huge FINISH banner and had enough time to spare before the 1 hour mark but had to stop 100 meters away because of the long line! AAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH !!! This was so anti-climatic! To be so near and yet so far! GRRRRRRRR!!!! Anyway, I stopped my Garmin timer and saw that my time is at 57:08. I figured 100 meters would add about 10 seconds more to my time but at that point I didn't care as I finally breached the 58 minute mark I've held since May last year and got a new PR!


Goals I've written for this race a couple of days ago were:

1. Beat my PSE BULL RUN record of 1:04:23 set last January 2008. - DONE!

2. Go Under an Hour. Might prove difficult given its uphill climbs and not enough training for me. - DONE! Chilly weather helped!

3. Go For PR. Yeah, right !!!! But a guy can dream can't he? Hehe... - DONE! I guess dreams do come true! :)

RFB with very fast runners Wilbert, Vener & Chris

Both of us are happy for our 10km races! Look for RFB's shadow holding a camera! haha. Per's shadow like Peter Pan!

The 10km route

Friday, January 16, 2009

What the F@*%!

A picture IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS! I hope this doesn't happen to any of us !!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beach Running

Recently my sister sent me a text message on whether we should run on the beach during our time here in Boracay? I replied that it looks good but near departure date, I really didn't want to pack a pair of running shoes in my backpack and looking at removing this activity from my stay at the beach. I confirmed with her whether she would bring her running shoes and she said, "no, its better to run barefoot.".

Hmmm, now that got me all curious. Running barefoot on sandy beach with broken shells and debris to avoid? Still, this was something new and who knew what it felt like. She said that it would be hard because you would be sinking into the sand and had that added weight just to keep on going. Hmmm, interesting. Definitely worth trying out for the experience alone!

So at around 5pm when the sun was partially gone, we decided to do it. Yes, it was hard, more so given that we were running on an inclined plane so we ran tilted somewhat. Yes, I had to look where I was running as I didn't want to step on broken glass, broken shells and other stuffs in the beach that would cause me injury... but, I had a great time. It was tiring. It was hard but more so, it was fun for the experience alone. Now, I'm sore but I'm sore with a smiling face!

Thanks Carolyn for this barefoot running experience. Never thought I would try it but as cliches go, "never say never". I was also able to find out the distance from end of Station 1 -3 so that added to my knowledge as well (its 3.7km).

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 2009 races - The HAPPY BULL RUN!

We should start the year right through exercise and proper diet, and one motivation for me in terms of exercise is to join the upcoming running races. Once I paid for them, there is no turning back (unless, of course, you don't mind throwing away money)!


The first run for the year will be done in Fort Bonifacio (January 18, 2009) and will have 3k, 5k, 10k categories. I have registered for the 1okm race. This will be my 2nd PSE BULL RUN so my goals are as follows (arranged from easiest to hardest):

1. Beat my PSE BULL RUN record of 1:04:23 set last January 2008.

2. Go Under an Hour. Might prove difficult given its uphill climbs and not enough training for me.

3. Go For PR. Yeah, right !!!! But a guy can dream can't he? Hehe...

Registration is open at PSE Bldg., Ortigas Ctr., Pasig City for fee of Php 250.


The following Sunday (January 25, 2009) will be another race organized by Rio and done by celebrity star Drew Arellano. There will also be 3 categories here but instead of a 10km like that of PSE Bull Run, they will instead make it 15km. Go the distance huh?

Race Venue is also at Fort Bonifacio. Registration fee is Php 250 and can be paid at R.O.X. in Fort Bonifacio. Nice thing about this race is that this is for a good cause!

My goal for this race is simply to get a P.R.

Anyone else doing the HAPPY BULL RUN???

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kappa Shek Kong - Dec 28,2008 (part 2)


8:50AM: 30km runners start walking toward the starting point. Emcee talks in Cantonese then in English. Mentions that 30km runners are about 700+ this year and wishes everyone a strong finish. I position myself few meters ahead of starting line right before a TV camera to get some photo shots.

9:00AM: 30km race starts and runners are off !!!

9:15AM: Deposited my bag at check in counter. Did some stretches and 2 minute short jog near the area. There is a toilet building nearby but smell was horrifying!

9:20AM: Emcee starts talking again giving special mention to Thomas Kiprotich, a Kenyan I think, who is looking to not only winning the 10km race again but looking at beating his own record. Only Kenyan I saw so far in the entire race.

9:30AM: 10km race starts and we are off! Since this had timer chip, I start at back of pack so won't be stuck in the crowded front part. Weather was chilly (Temperature at 19 - 22 Celcius, Humidity 80 - 90%). Felt good while running. No pain.

I can't remember the last time I ran in a race where there are no cars to be seen anywhere! It's just you, the other runners and the road! This is how running should be like! The sights were also very nice: lots of trees, bird's eye view of the city below, and we even ran on a water dam.

But I was craving for water! Luckily the weather was cold so that helped me keep on going. What I didn't account for was how steep the hills were! It was worse than the ones at ULTRA! Very very steep and at that point, I had to stop running and walked instead. Figured not much to gain from running as my speed as really slow anyway. The good thing about a steep uphill climb was a very fast downhill decent so it was there I sped up again heading to the 5km point.

Soooo glad I didn't do the 30km race as having a hard time BEFORE even reaching the 5km mark !!!!

There were km markers all throughout the race so that was nice. Upon reaching the 5km turn around, I ran on the two chip timer mats to make sure that it went through the computer systems and sped going back.

I was hoping to breach under an hour though knew that was an impossibility given that I had a lot of walk breaks here. Focused instead on finishing the race as fast as possible to get the water I crave for!

At 1km away from finish line, there were 100 meters countdown markers starting from 900 meters all the way till the last 100 meters. Finally, I saw the finish line and ran as fast as I could to cross it where upon reaching it, I was given a bottle of water and a snack bag made up of a pear, a banana, a big bread and a small chocolate bar. I also gave out my shirt size to which they gave me a Kappa blue shirt with Italia logo (which had price tag attached to it saying its HK$200, so at least shirt made up for the huge fee I paid for this race). For the shirt, there were other designs and other colors but I liked the one I got the most (and wore it that same day). Returned the chip timer and got my HK$100 deposit back.

Thomas DID win the 10km race again, finishing it at a time of 32:28 (Chip timer registered at 32:26). No idea what his record was for last year. The fastest women finished her 10km at 43:48 (Chip timer at 43:46).

As for me, I finished 156th place out of a total of 216 runners. My finish time was at 1:02:06 with Chip timer at 1:01:48 (Garmin registered at 1:01:49 so quite accurate). Based on my record, I was a little bit faster on the first 5km than that of the last 5km. No PR, No under one hour finish, but still quite happy as big improvement from my UP ICTUS 2008 Run of 1:08:36. Given this race was held on December 28th, this will supercede UP ICTUS Run and will be my YEAR-ENDER 2008 RACE with a finish time of 1:01:48. Yehey!!! So, not a bad ending to 2008! As shown, results for this race came out almost immediately after race so that was nice too!

10:30AM: Back at bus where it would drop off all runners at nearest MTR Station, a 15-minute drive from Shek Kong.

10:50AM: At MTR Station. No idea where it is and only when I saw the MTR map did I realize how far I was from Causeway Bay. It took me more than an hour to get back and had to go through three MTR interchanges but this race was worth it. Maybe next time, I can try the 30km course as well....

Good points for this race:

1. km markers, 100meter markers

2. transportation services. A big plus ! Philippines should have this for out of town races and even for in town races for foreingn participants.

3. Snack bag at finish line. Yum!

4. Chip timer even for 10km runners

5. Lots of marshals, lots of photographers too

6. Started on time

7. Baggage security

8. Very nice shirt

9. Nice cool weather, nice scenery and no polluting cars

10. Quick results

Bad points for this race:

1. Need more water stations although that might be the norm for international races and only
Philippines are spoiled to have water stations at every 2km mark.

2. finisher medal for 30km runners. After all, organizers brag that this race is as hard as a full marathon given the steep uphill climbs.

3. Expensive although once again, that could be norm for international races.

The 800 meter walk from bus drop off point to starting line

Map of area

Chip Timer Mats ready for both sides of the Starting/ Finish Line

Runners getting ready for their 30km race ...

... while organizers are fixing the water station at the finish line.

30km Runners ready to Go!

My Year-Ender Race for 2008 !!!!

Way to go back here next time...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Kappa Shek Kong 10k - Dec 28, 2008

I first heard about this run when looking at the races available in Hong Kong during my visit there for the last week of December 2008. There were two more races happening on the same day but this one seemed to be the more accessible out of all three (and only one which had an English application form).

Through a series of emails to the organizers, they were able to register me for the 10km race. Good thing I brought my running gear with me as was only able to confirm my registration a day before the actual race. This race also had a 30km event, which is set up in preparation for the Hong Kong Marathon two months later. The 10km event started at 9:30AM while the 30km one started at 9:00AM.

I had no idea how to go to the race venue but good thing the organizers provide transportation for runners looking for a way to go there via bus pick-up points in three different areas in Hong Kong for a fee of HK$30.

My hotel was located in Causeway Bay, a mere 10-minute walk through Victoria Park to get to Tin Hau MTR Station, one of the bus' pick up points (at 6:45AM).

This will be my first time to join a race in Hong Kong and second time to run in a foreign country so quite excited by how they organized it. This will be a fun run as will focus on the sights here in Hong Kong. Too bad I didn't join the 30km race but I know that I am ill prepared for it since farthest I have ever ran is just 25km. Besides, I don't want anything bad happening to me while I am alone here and in another country!

Race Day

Woke up early at 5:10AM and by 6:15AM, I was heading my way to Tin Hau MTR station where I saw... no one! No runners, no early joggers though there were some people coming from late night partying. It was also a very chilly morning. I saw the MTR station but nobody was there. So decided to go around it where I saw another MTR Exit point but still empty of runners. Oh man! I hope I do not miss the bus because of the many Exit Points here. Finally, I saw some people in running shorts heading to a small street and followed them there where I saw a lot of people lining up already. Talking to two men in Kappa jackets confirmed that that was the line for the Kappa race. Yehey!

At 6:45AM, the bus arrived promptly and we went in. Said bus was filled up immediately with a lot of people still lining up outside. They don't allow standing inside the bus so the other runners had to wait for the second bus. I count 60 seats inside this bus, all filled up with runners, mostly local residents but had some foreigners too (although they could also be local residents for all I know).

The bus ride was long so I was happy that they provide transportations. Pretty soon, we were out of the city and going into the mountains. Not what I expected but it was a nice surprise.

Before 8:00AM, we arrived at our destination where there was a sign that race start is just 800 meter walk on the small road. Cars couldn't go beyond our drop off point so this was the final stop for all vehicles. At the starting area, there were a lot of runners by the time I got there. Seeing as I was still quite early (make that very very early), I decided to sit somewhere and read the magazine I bought with me. Runners keep coming in and did their stretches and warm ups in preparation for their 30km race.

I still haven't gotten my race bib yet as was having second thoughts on doing the 30km! I really wanted to do it but in the end, I had to stop my urge given the following conditions:

1. Water stations will be only be placed at every 5km of the race. I'm used to drinking water at every 2km so afraid that I can't survive the race on this alone.

2. No power gel with me nor did I carbo load the night before. No long runs in preparation for a 30km race!

3. Very hilly course which made running it more difficult

4. Cut off time of 4 hours. I think this I can do but I remember I need to go back early to meet my friend for lunch.

5. I'm all alone here so quite frightening too if something bad happens.

6. No finisher medal for 30km. The 30km runners get the same thing as 10km runners which is a shirt, so no added incentive for me to run.

So, against my wishes, I ended up paying for the 10km race (HK$130), the Timing Chip deposit (HK$100), and the bus ticket (HK$30) to the organizers. And just waited it out.... (more to follow)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My marathon Training Program

Starting this month, I will be following the 16 week program to train for a full marathon. Given this will be the first time I am doing it, I have no idea in terms of finding the right program for a full marathon so I went immediately to http://www.runnersworld.com/ to look for one.

It lead me to three choices:

1) The Rookie Marathon Training Program: A marathon training program designed for first time marathoners who seldom run or race beyond six miles.

This had you running for 5-days in a week with a quality day put in that mixes Fartlek, Track ladders, Kenyan Outbacks and Yasso 800s. No idea what they were!! Good thing there was a description for each of them.

2) Marathon Training Program For Slackers: How to get in Shape for 26.2 if you haven't been training.

This was done by coach and Olympian runner Ed Eyestone to a person who has never ran in his life. This one I found in an old issue of Runners World magazine (August 2006) and had you running 6-days in a week with tempos, intervals, and doing farts... i mean fartleks.

The bad thing about this article was that the author was injured while doing it so it may have been too hard for him. Though he did finish his full marathon after resting for a bit, injury is one path I do not want to take.

I initially wanted this one as thought who better to give advice than a Olympian runner but upon reading the forum on this article , I opted to go for something less difficult as my goal here is just to finish race.

3) Runner's World Smart Coach. Through this program, you input your current race time, goal and mileage per week and it would design a plan for you for 16-weeks. My program has only 3 Runs in a week with run pace slower than my average race pace. The 3 runs are broken down into easy, tempo/speedwork and a long run at the end of the week. Rest of the week are either for resting or crosstraining.

Not too stressful given target is just 3 days but still had enough weekly mileage given the 20miles long runs! Good reviews too from other people who have tried this plan.

So I am sticking to the Smart Coach. Now, comes the hard part: following it !

This will be my PRIMARY RUNNING GOAL for 2009.

Some other running goals for 2009:

1) Lose weight from running - it also helps if I eat and drink the right food!
2) Try and get New Couple PR and/or New PR for 10km races
3) Try and get New PR for 15km race
4) Convince Per to try for a 15km race. Hehe!
5) Do the Skyway 21km race by Condura (and hope to beat PR too) and have a great time! Perfect for the long runs that I need to do too! I hope there will be more 21km races next year for me to join so won't get bored doing a long run.