Saturday, January 30, 2010

Personal Updates

- Three races Per and I joined so far: Tomorrow's 10km Book Run, Feb 21st Century Tuna 21km Run (21 for 21) and Feb 07th Condura Race.

- First two races were easy to join and should be fun for me. No PR targets although for Century Tuna, I want a CR (Couple Record) target as we beat our SF time last November. It shall be Per's 3rd Half Marathon so far. I can attest that all her family and friends are quite surprised that she is able to do this feat.

- Condura race was easy to join too. But I had a very difficult time thinking which event I would go to. Finisher medal wasn't the issue as all race categories will get one. 21km will be the easy one to go for. But I already did that last year. My heel pain is pulling me down on the decision making. I registered for the safer route - 21km , paid for it and got my claim stub. Only....

as I was about to leave the store, a lingering thought kept going into my mind. Can I do another 42km this soon and still this injured? But it was a challenge and I know it was dumb. But I followed my heart instead of my mind, made a U turn back to the counter and changed my race category to a full marathon. 42.2km for just Php 100 more.

It was a tough decision but if I did not finish the race, I have nobody to blame but myself. My goal is to ignore the heel pain, and keep moving forward. Don't stop. Target of 5:30 or below. Definitely not 6:00 or even 5:40. I hope for 5:15. I hope to beat my Cebu Marathon time (nevermind Fresno time as I wasn't injured back then). Positive thinking and hoping for the best. Hoping my heel won't cause me trouble like last time when I was in Cebu. But will enjoy the scenery too.

- I'm getting bored with running. GASP! Can it be I'm burning out again? But I'm not running at all! Can it be I'm getting too comfortable with being a couch potato? Maybe! But I think the real reason is the pain when I run. It's not a good feeling. It hurts. And it slows me down. It makes me want to quit. It makes me want to change into another sport. Who knows? Maybe, after Condura, I may do just that.

- In the meantime, I will start using my ipod again. Music may lift up my spirit. I will use it for tomorrow's race.

See you when I see you...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Marathon # 3 - C E B U !! - Part 2


- The FIRST Marathon in Cebu

- My FIRST Marathon in the Philippines

- My/ The FIRST Marathon for 2010.


- At the start of the race, there were huge fireworks to officially launch the 42.2km marathon event.

- I spotted some Sto. Nino's in different segments of the route. People must be getting ready for the Sinulog event of Cebu the following weekend.

- The famous Magellan Cross (as seen from the logo of Cebu Marathon) we passed by twice (from different directions) in this race.

- I think we went through the famous Sto Nino church. I figured this out when we ran inside a public market where a lot of vendors were getting their stalls ready and putting the Sto. Nino inside them.

- SRP Area. What I especially like here were the signs heading into and out of the area. Heading into it, the sign read "Welcome to SRP". Heading out, the sign read "You've conquered SRP".

- the singers and dancers in different parts of the route in their Sinulog costumes and entertaining the runners.


- Jason, Janine, Dave and I all came from the same hotel and saw each other at the hotel lobby and walked to the starting line. We bade each other good luck before we started off at our own individual paces.

- There was a woman dressed like Darna (or was it Wonder Woman) who went ahead of me. I overtook her but eventually she overtook me again. At one point, we repeated this cycle of overtaking. Finally, I overtook the superheroine. But it was amusing to run beside her. People would cheer her, calling her by her costume name and clapping at her. It was entertainment for the 42km.

- I ran along a nice guy who was wearing the same compress pants as I was. We ran for a few kilometers with him going ahead, going behind or just side by side. Eventually he ran ahead and I managed to catch up with him again at the Magellan Cross. But he went ahead again going to SRP. He was long gone but at the turning point of SRP, I got my second wind and managed to run constantly during most of the entire stretch back and overtook him again. But I got burned out again and he overtook me at 28 to 29km. It was healthy running and we would encourage one another when the other was slowing down. He even told me that he was aiming for 5 hours but now that wasn't feasible given the hot Cebu heat. I agreed as I was thinking that exact same thing. At the downhill portion at the last portion of the race, he said that we should just run it off and just walk going uphill. I tried to follow him but was too tired. I didn't see him again. But I knew he had a good finish as Per apparently took a picture of him crossing the finish line.

- Friend Jason was aiming for a PR. This was my second time running a full marathon with him. He was fast! But he was having a hard time too. When I was heading to the final U turn of the race at 28km mark, he was heading out again. He remarked how hot it was. We were both suffering. But with his willpower, he achieved his target of a PR: 4:45!.

- Ot of the 600 marathoners, there were a lot of first timers here. One was the founder of Jinoe. I saw him a couple of times and encouraged him to keep on running. I saw his wife Que at one of the support station, helping runners but also waiting for her husband to go to her. With cramps and injury he crossed the finish line. Now he is a marathoner as well.

- There was also Janine. The person I joined together for our first 10km race that made it into our running lifestyle. January 10th 2010 was the day for her first full marathon. She was strong. She was having a good time while I was hating the last 10milers. But she got the cramps and had to slow down. She still finished her first mary at a good time of 5:49. Pretty good!

- There was Dave. He was doing it slow and steady. And that's a good thing too especially for a race that's 42km long. At the same point where Jason and I crossed paths, Dave and I crossed paths. This time I was out running of that area while Dave was going into it. Dave asked if the distance was far for the turnaround. I was already in a bad mood at that time and told him bluntly "Yes, Ang layo pa!" Sorry about that! But Dave crossed the finish line and earned the mango medal and that's the important thing. Now he can call himself a Marathoner too.

- Fast women! Donna Cruz overtook me easily and so did blogger Marathon Foodie. My finish time was worse than half of the women who finished the full marathon. When women run, THEY run!!!


- LEFT HEEL PAIN! This is a neverending story for me. Rest, Ice, Tape, Elevate. Rest, Ice, Tape, Elevate. Unfortunately, not much rest in Cebu as anxiety/ excitement prevented me from getting a restful sleep. On the race itself, I wore heel cups and had my left leg taped as well. Pain wasn't there until the first 10km and that was a terrible omen. If I am suffering at 10km, how the hell am I supposed to finish the last 32km? Well, the simple answer to this question was: ONE STEP AT A TIME! Pace went from 7:15 to 7:20 to 7:30 and eventually falling all the way to 8:05! I was disappointed that I was slowing down but nothing I could do about it.

- THE SUN! BURN BABY BURN! Sun was up at 8:00AM and it was burning through the skin. It drained me of my energy. It took away my strength and made me even tired. I was using the water cups not just for drinking but to pour on my head to prevent myself from a heat stroke. My feet felt the friction of the heat and the ground and they were not enjoying it too. Heel pain + heat + 42km = Poor feet!

- TRAFFIC & POLLUTION. By 9AM, the roads were open for vehicular traffic and I was forced to run on the sidewalks with the other runners. When there were no sidewalks, we are forced to weave between tricycles, bikes, cars, jeeps. Lots of smog but at least it was just opened at last part of the race and not the entire race.

- VERY LONG SRP. It was okay going there at first but going back, it was hot because of the heat. I needed a way out and a change of scenery but there was no chance of doing it sooner because of the long distance. I can't wait to get out of this area and into the shaded area of Cebu.


- At the last km, I can't wait to finish (come to realize it, at the 26km I can't wait to finish too). So I ran fast. It was my fastest pace for the entire event and my only reason is that the finish line is near aleady. Finally, I see it and I give it my all to cross at a time of 5:40. PR for a Philippine Mary and right in between the super hot Adidas Sundown and super cold Fresno Mary.

- I got the mango medal to add to my collection.

- I got a snack pack which I ate as soon as possible. YUM.

- I got to finally finally finally sit down on the grass, take off my shoes and just lie there in the shade. It's over!

- I can now eat again. And not just eating but EATING. A. LOT. Three letters: C N T ,or if you aren't familiar with it, one word: LECHON!

Thanks to the organizers for making this a very good event. There were ample marshals, signs, and lots and lots of water. For your first year at doing this race, I can safely say that this was a SUCCESS!!!

PS. My wife did the 5km event here and got a new PR too! Awesome!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Marathon # 3: C E B U !!! - Part 01

Ramblings on the Cebu Weekend getaway from January 8th - 10th , 2010


Arrived in Cebu. Took taxi to our hotel. Checked in at Waterfront Lahug. Rooms weren't ready yet so looked for a place to eat. Saw the I.T. Park right outside our hotel. Is this where the Starting line will be?

Had oh-so-yummy lunch at a local restaurant here. Start of Carbo loading. Starbucks desserts after. They had different flavors from the ones in Manila. The cheesecake just melts in your mouth. The chocolate cake was so rich. So delicious we bought all four different slices of cakes plus two doughnuts too! But didn't feel guilty as had a super long run in two days time. Don't know about our other friends though. Haha.

Met our other two friends who took the later flight from Manila. Got our nice rooms and ventured out to Ayala Center to claim our race kits.

We saw the set-up being done for the Carbo loading Party. No race kit collections here. Finally found it on the 2nd floor. So many sport stores here: RUNNR, ROX, Adidas, Nike, etc. Oh what fun to explore each one (which we did and I bought a cap for myself).

We got our race kits quickly. For our group, Per and Blanche will go for the 5km race while Janine, Dave and myself will do the 42km event. It will be Janine and Dave's first full marathon (Yehey!) and I was game to join them (or else regret for not joining it nevermind the stupid injury I have on my left heel).

The ladies had fun at....


Does anyone know where it is? Clue No. 1 - it is found in Ayala Center, Cebu. Clue No. 2 - it is worth P300+. Clue No. 3 -it can feed 5-6 pax (and yes, we finished it)!!!!
Future models of this magazine? I wanted to pose but I think there was a sign somewhere that said "NO PREGNANT MEN ALLOWED".

The very nice shirt from Island Souvenir for Php 250. Too bad we forgot to buy this shirt and by the time we remembered, they have taken out the booth at the race! GRRRR!!!
If anyone knows how to contact the seller/ organizer, I have 3 pax willing to buy these shirts :)
Just let me know.

Dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Very filling and yogurt for dessert. Met Luis, Rico and some more of the runners looking for a dessert place too.

Back to Ayala Center. Met again Luis, Carlo, Rico and the fast 42km runners. Met them again a couple of times (ate at the same dessert place as they did). Had the burger (from the picture above) with the ribs (which looked like appetizer next to the Burgerzilla).
Too full to have dinner. Early to bed for early to rise the next day!

To be continued....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Need Marathon Motivations!

This is one race I am NOT looking forward to (not because of the organization but because I realized I may not be as ready as I thought I would be).

There is a strong fear of DNF-ing here but I shouldn't let that control me. So to get some sort of inspiration for this Sunday's 42km race, I looked at some marathon quotes on the web:

"It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse."
Ann Trason

"Marathon running is a terrible experience: monotonous, heavy, and exhausting."
Veikko Karvonen, 1954 European and Boston Marathon Champ

"To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who's never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind."
Jerome Drayton

"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming."
Frank Shorter

"If you feel bad at 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal."
Rob de Castella, winner 1983 World Marathon Championships

"The marathon can humble you."
Bill Rodgers, winner of four Boston and four NYC marathons

"The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals."
Hal Higdon, running writer and coach

"Marathoning is just another form of insanity."
John J. Kelly, winner of the 1952 Boston Marathon

"Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when the awareness comes, it is excruciating."
-John Farrington

"No marathon gets easier later. The half way point only marks the end of the beginning."
-Joe Henderson

"I also feel it usually takes four or five races to hit your best marathon for your body to be accustomed to the training AND the race itself."
- Bill Rodgers

"Learn to run when feeling the pain: then push harder."
-William Sigei

"You're running on guts. On fumes. Your muscles twitch. You throw up. You're delirious. But you keep running because there's no way out of this hell you're in, because there's no way you're not crossing the finish line. It's a misery that non-runners don't understand."
-Martine Costello

To those running the Cebu Full Marathon, I just have to ask:
Are you as excited as I am? Or are you regretting you opened my blog? :)

"I don't aim to win. I don't aim to lose. I just aim to give it MY ALL, cross the finish line and be reunited with my family and friends. To God Be the Glory!"

See you all this Sunday!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


In doing a marathon, FEAR controls my feelings.

For my first marathon in May 2009, there is a FEAR as to whether I can finish the race. Luckily, the cut-off time was at 11 hours so I realized that even if I walked the second half, I would still reach the finish line. But there was also a FEAR of cramping on the race, getting blisters, getting dizzy or injured in it. There was a FEAR of running out of water (this being the Sundown's first race), FEAR of rain and FEAR of dying in it (it has happened before in the Philippines and USA). Generally it was a FEAR of the unknown as I have not gone farther than 32km while training for this race.

I survived the race, finished it, got my medal and finisher shirt. Proud I finished it but at the same time, swore never to do it again!


Per got us cheap tickets for the USA and immediately I looked for a road race there. We found the San Francisco half marathon but then realized that we had another Sunday in the USA. And that's when I saw the Fresno Marathon. Could it be my 2nd marathon for its 2nd marathon ever? I thought hard about it and then decided to go for it. I figured I had the advantage to my side: I knew what to expect, I would be running in the cold weather, and in the morning (where I was rested vs Sundown where we went shopping the entire day). I was confident I could beat my Singapore PR time.

But then I almost stopped running for three weeks. When I resumed running, I was back to zero. All the training disappeared. I was panting from the start. I couldn't run fast. And that was when FEAR crept into me again. How can I train given the lack of time I had left? Luckily I met Alvin again and he agreed to help me in that one month time. He trained me to the point of sheer exhaustion but I didn't quit and came whenever he told me to. My goal of 5:30 was conquered and I got an unbelievable time of 4:52. Part of that was due to FEAR again. I was afraid that Alvin would make me run Cebu or Condura for a sub-5 hour target if I failed this one!! This time I learned how to use FEAR properly.

After finishing the race, I swore off doing another marathon, as I was very satisfied with my achievements and had nothing else to look forward to in a marathon.


Our friend Janine wanted to do her first marathon in Cebu. Per and I agreed to go with her and run with her. Per will do the 5km while I was caught between doing a 21km or a 42km. I couldn't decide! What made my decision was seeing the finisher medal and finding out that only 42km finishers can get one. There wasn't a cut off time and race will start at an early (and cold) time of 4:00am. Besides, there was no time pressure for me as doing this for fun (if you can call it that!) and just aimed to finish. But I wondered if I went faster by just a little bit, could I get a new PR? The trainings have been in place. I knew what to expect (again) and would feel fulfilled running a marathon in Cebu.

But then FEAR crept in again. This time due to injury on my part. I don't know how it came about. It just happened. My left heel hurts. A lot! I can run short distance but then the pain comes and I lose my form. I slow down. I walk. And I get frustrated knowing my lungs can still handle it but my feet can't. It's what people call Plantar Fasciitis.

From an ambitious goal of PR, it has gone all the way to just finish and even that I am not sure it is achievable. My goals (from easiest to hardest) are as follows:

1. Finish a marathon (and bring home the mango medal)
2. Beat Singapore time of 6:31
3. Go Sub 6 hours
4. Go at least 5:30
5. Go below 5:00
6. Go below 4:52

I wonder how far down I can reach my goals. But with this injury, it's hard to say. I may not be able to reach even goal #1. But I will try.

Or as a certain Jedi Master would say "Do or do not. There is no try." So I will do. I will give my all. I will block off my pain and keep moving forward. For the medal. But more importantly, for the chance to see my wife at the finish line. That would be reward enough...

Good luck to everyone going to Cebu for the race. See you there!