Thursday, April 30, 2009

Golden Gate Bridge, SFO

What a beauty!! A few days ago, Philippine Airlines came out with super cheap rates to USA, Asia and Australia and I was able to book (though it took a long time) for two tickets to San Francisco for end of October for two -week stay in that city.

Naturally, I wanted to try any race they have during that week. First race I found was to be held on November 1 and is a 4-miler run. It's a Halloween themed event and prizes go for best costumes and for fastest finishers. Good enough for us and Per game also to do one race in USA (I'm aiming for two!).
Unfortunately, it doesn't go through the Golden Gate Bridge which was what I wanted. I was able to convince Per to do some jogging on GGB at a very relaxed pace just so we can see what the experience was like and to which she agreed to it. I even proposed bringing a camera with me so we can stop and take pictures from it.
But last night, as I was browsing through my back issues of Runners World magazines, I came upon a race review for a race that happened in San Francisco. It was called US Half Marathon, San Francisco and route passed through the Golden Gate Bridge!! SIGH! If only we booked our travel dates to be at the same time as this race!
With sadness and envy, I looked at the date when it was last held and it says "November 2, 2008"! WHAT???!!!! Can it be? Is it possible ???
This morning, I went to their website: and got a VERY VERY AWESOME SURPRISE! Next race to be held will be on 11.01.09 !
So FREAKING COOL !!! Immediately, I booked myself for the Half Marathon event. Per was contemplating the Half Marathon or the 10km event as the farthest she ran was a 15km race and she vowed at that time never to run that far or that long again. BUT.... The 10km event DOESN'T go on the Golden Gate Bridge!
With a cut-off time of 3.5 hours (about 9:22 min/km pace), very chilly weather, nice finisher medal and me willing to stick by her if she wants me to, she said YES to the Half Marathon as well! DOUBLE AWESOME!
I researched on what the finisher medal looks like and this is what I found from last year's event:

How great is that???? Perfect souvenir for our USA Vacation! Our bibs will be personalized as well. We decided to put our full names on the bibs (wonderful for framing with the medals when we get back to Manila).

This race will have about 5,000 runners and will pass by Marina, Crissy Field, Presidio and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge! Hydration stops at every 2 miles and has some hills to run on.

Upon finishing race, you will get a medal, t shirt and goodie bag. There will be a Free Concert held near Aquatic Park. There will also be a Sports Expo the day before race for race kit collection, food and drink samples and training/ nutrition tips.

November is so far away (more than 5 months!) but I am already excited for this run! In honor of the GGB color, all blogs related to USA Trip will be in ORANGE -RED.

Trivia: Why is the Golden Gate Bridge called Golden when it is actually orange?

The term Golden Gate refers to the Golden Gate Strait which is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The strait is approximately three-miles long by one-mile wide with currents ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 knots. It is generally accepted that the strait was named "Chrysopylae" or Golden Gate by Army Captain John C. Fremont, circa 1846. It is said it reminded him of a harbor in Istanbul named Chrysoceras or Golden Horn.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Greenfield Run (April 19, 2009) - Post race

On Sunday, April 19th, I woke up at 2:30AM for a race that will start 2 1/2 hours later. This is by far the earliest I have ever waken up just to do a road race but it is worth it as this will be my first time running in Greenfield Sta. Rosa.

Janine and Jeanne went by my house to pick me up at 3:00AM and we then went to the shuttle bus station for our free ride to Sta Rosa. Bus was filled up quickly and by 3:45AM we left the station (15 minutes ahead of the scheduled 4:00AM departure time but that was a good thing as there were some roadwork on the South Super Hi-way, which caused a little traffic).

By the time we got to Sta Rosa, it was 4:40AM and for some reason, we didn't get our race bibs (as surrendered them to get the shuttle bus ticket). With the clock ticking closer to gun start, Janine and I were getting a little worried as neither of us would want to be tagged as a bandit here, especially since we DID pay for this race. Good thing I saw Vince near the stage and he was able to give us new race bibs, which we pinned immediately to our shirts and headed to the starting line for some stretching exercises.

The 21km race started promptly at 5AM. My goal was to try and beat my 21km PR and target a pace of 6:15 minutes/ km and I was successful for the first few kms (all were below 6 minutes/km). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sustain this pace and my speed was slowing down. Even worse was that I had to take quick walk breaks now and then, which I didn't do at all in Condura! Sigh! I knew early on that I will have a hard time finishing this race and that I wasn't as strong as I was before. It took an effort for my legs to move and a struggle for me to beat each km distance.

The organization was well done, putting out lights on the road for us to see as it was still dark when we started the run. There were ample water, Rush drinks, and best thing of all were the sponges they gave to us. These things were icy cold but rightly so for this hot hot day! An hour into running, the sun was out and burning us up! There weren't enough shade here so it was a good thing they started the race early for the Half Marathon. Summer is definitely here!

Roads were mostly flat and there were some entertainment along the trail. But even that didn't lift my spirits. I just want this to end as quickly as possible. Finally, I see the turning point and gave my last sprint to the finish line to get a time of: 2:17:28 (with average pace of 6:32 minutes/ km). I did not achieve my goal of below 2:15 time but I was just too tired to care anymore. I was happy though in that they were giving out finisher medals so that was a nice surprise!

This medal took out some of the fatigue I felt but then I realize I had to run another 11km more. Sigh! And so I did at a very slow turtle pace (and got lost too). Buddies Janine and Jeanne waited for me and I came just in time for a photo shot at Photovendo before they packed up their booth! After resting for a while, I changed into dry clothes and we all went to the bus for its 11AM departure.

Cool loot bag with lots and lots of vitamins!!!

Our bus left the area at 11:00AM. I was able to catch some zzzz's there and by the time I got to Manila, I was so hungry already. I have been awake for about 10 hours and it was just 12:30PM! Talk about a loooonnnnnnngggggggg day! It really was a great escape!

Results out already at Upon checking it, I see that my time was at 2:17:37 (pace of 6:33) and 145th rank out of 278 male runners (female 21km runners have their own race results). I wonder though, how come my name is the only one that is ALL CAPS??? A mystery indeed :)

See you in the next race!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Countdown to Greenfield Run 21km

Just a few more days to go for this race and I am UN-PRE-PARED for it ! Over the Holy Week, I did only one run early in the morning for a distance of 10km and time of 1:18 (average pace of 7:30 minutes/ km). I was tired. I was exhausted and I was walking. I just wanted it to end. :(

Still no running since then so this week, it is time for this RUNNING FATBOY to cram for Sunday's big event by

1) Going to Ultra later for Nike Clinic session,
2) Going to Fort Bonifacio this Friday for Nike Clinic session and,
3) Going to gym this Thursday night but haven't figured what I would do yet - bike, run on treadmill, do weights or a combination.

Not only do I need to finish the 21km race this Sunday, but I also have to run an additional 11km distance in preparation for my Sundown Marathon.

Fellow runner and good friend Janine+ was able to get my race kit yesterday at Nike Serendra and put me up for a slot for the FREE shuttle bus to Greenfield. We, along with other racers, will be taking this journey together to Sta. Rosa. How ironic that my first 21km race for this year was spent running on the SKYWAY and for my second 21km race, we will be driving underneath it !!

Shuttle Service is as follows:

3:30am assembly at EDSA Central Parking
4:00am departure from EDSA Central Parking
4:40am ETA at Paseo Greenfield City
10:30am assembly at Paseo Greenfield City
11:00am departure from Paseo Greenfield City
12:15pm ETA at EDSA Central Parking

With the 3:30am assembly time at EDSA Central, this will definitely be the earliest I have ever woken up for a road race! Looking at a wake up time of 2:30am! YIIKKKKES !!!

My goal for this race is simply to try and get a new 21km PR. Hindrances to achieving it are 1) lack of training during Holy Week Vacation (but it might also be a good thing as body recovers) and 2) lack of sleep on race day.

Whether I achieve my goal or not, I know that I will still have a good time running in an unfamiliar territory, buying cheap clothes and checking out the weekend bazaars, coffee and pastry fairs, and spending time with friends there.

This is indeed a GREAT ESCAPE so why don't we all do it together ???

More details can be found at

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Botak Upcoming Super Long Races 2009

The first long race will be a 42km Full Marathon to be held on May 10, 2009 (Sunday), 4:30AM at Fort Bonifacio and will go around the Makati Area: Rockwell Center, Ayala Center, Fort Bonifacio.
Above is the route map and prizes for each category. Aside from this, there will also be a 5k, 10k, and 21k event.

The next race by Botak will be on June 28, 2009 and will start from U.P. Diliman. This one is even longer at a distance of 100km! Paa-Tibayan ! That's equivalent to more than two Marathons !!

Are you stong enough???????

(click above pictures for more details)