Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sub- 60 !

Finally! I didn't think this was possible for this year (especially given my not-so-thin weight and not-so-small body size).

But I was able to do it at last Sunday's BGC run at (where else!) BGC.

At first glance, the race route for the 10km category looked flat as it was just around the BGC area (International Schools, Bonifacio High Street, etc.) but the route was quite the opposite. There were a lot of uphill climbs that just made it harder to move faster.

My race pace was at a steady 6:05 average for the first 3km but by 5-6km, the average had gone up to 6:09! Argh! I had to quicken my pace if I am going to make it under 1 hour (and I had 4kms to do that!)

I kept thinking about the finish line and how this was just a 10km distance race (on a regular weekend, we would usually run 16km - 21km). It was time for me to go all out! The breathing became heavier and shorter. The arm swings became longer. I HAD TO MOVE FASTER! I stopped looking at my Garmin and just did my best to stay at a good (and not so comfortable) speed.

But we had to go through the final (and quite long) uphill climb before getting to the finish line. I kept thinking of an imaginary bus right behind me, pulling people out who weren't below 6 minute pace and that little mind game kept me going and going. There was one final water station and I asked Alvin to get me a cup of water. But I was too out of breathed that I couldn't even swallow it and ended up spraying and spitting it out. Haha! But it was a good way to wet my mouth.

Then it was the final right turn to the finish line and I saw the clock already surpassing the 1 hour mark. Damn! I was already too late but I didn't want to give up (especially for the 200-meter distance left to do). It was all or nothing (hard to slow down too with Alvin shouting at me to go faster!).

I crossed the finish time at a little below 1:01 gun time. Upon looking at my Garmin, my finish time (chip time) was at 1:00:08. Dang! Just 9 measly seconds for sub-60 (but it was still a PR for this year)!

I then looked at my average pace and saw that it was at 5 minutes, 55 seconds.

Wait a minute, that can't be right! Then I saw the distance that I ran and saw that it was at 10.18km!

Alvin erased the 0.18km from my Garmin watch to give me a flat 10.0km distance, an average pace of 5:57 (I was fastest at the last 0.18km distance) and a time of 59:25. Yes!


I was ecstatic with my time that I wanted to run some more, and we did for 2km more before calling it quits for the day!

I was also able to get a loot bag at the finish line with a finisher certificate, some canned goods and vitamins/medicine in it. Not bad in terms of freebies!

2011 10km PR!

A big thanks to Alvin for the much needed push I needed to achieve my goal in this race.

Friday, November 25, 2011

READ: The Long Run by Matt Long

Every once in a while, I would read a book on running. I'm more interested in the "inspiring" kind of running book rather than those that has various marathon training plans in it.

This is one of those inspiring running book. I first heard about this writer when he was featured in an old issue of Runner's World. Matt Long was a member of NYFD and did the New York Marathon back in 2005, and qualified for Boston Marathon (he finished at 3:13).

Unfortunately, there are days when things don't go the way we planned especially for him when he was hit and dragged under a passenger bus, while riding his bike to work!

This is the story of how one ordinary guy became extraordinary through the trials that he had to face (he couldn't walk, he couldn't even move, and he was given a 5% survival rate by the doctors!) and how he conquered all these things.

The next time I would complain about my legs or shoulders or the hard run, I have to think of Matt Long. And stop complaining (or in Alvin's words: whining) and start counting my blessing.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ! (Especially if you are training for a big race)..

Note: I bought my copy at Fully Booked, BGC (Fort Bonifacio)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Run United 3 - Afroman Distance (32km)

The recently held Run United 3 race was my first 32km race and as such it was an automatic PR. But I didn’t join this race for an automatic PR. Rather, it served as my long run for the weekend and it was also used to gauge on how I would do for this ¾ full marathon distance.

The result: Not so good.

Words pop out of my head when I think of my race performance: Disappointment, disgusted, frustrated, irritated, sadness, and so on and so forth.


I got to Mall of Asia grounds around 4:30am and by the time I got to the race’s starting line, the 32km had already started some seven minutes earlier. But I didn’t mind this as there was a b-tag attached to my bib and I had my Garmin with me to record my own finish time.

I started at a comfortable 7:30 minutes pace as I slowly caught up with some 32km runners. The 32km route took us from Mall of Asia grounds to Roxas Boulevard to make a left turn underneath the flyover (on the other hand, 21km runners went up here) and into Buendia Avenue. There was a small lane reserved for runners and some marshals/ traffic enforcers watching over it. I tried to leave this place as quickly as possible as there were a lot of cars and jeepneys here, honking and beeping and releasing all those carbon monoxides! Definitely not healthy for any runner!

At one point along Buendia Avenue was the U Turn back to Roxas Boulevard to do some more miles here. At this point, my average pace had gone down to 7:09 but try as I can, I couldn’t bring it any lower. I was calculating when to consume my 3 GUs within this race and figured that the second one should be done right after the 21km mark (first one was used in 15km mark). Everything was still going fine with me. No pain, no slowing down, no tiredness. But that wasn’t bound to last.

At 27km, I slowed down… significantly. By this time, it was really, really hot and the heat was getting to me. I tried running in what little shade there were but that didn’t seem to help. I craved for water – drinking two cups at a time and using the third cup to pour the water over my head. My average pace went down to 7:12, then to 7:15, then to 7:17. This wasn’t turning out well. My slow running pace became a run-walk fiasco.

My lungs were okay but I had a hard time with the heat and even with the all mind games I played with (“run fast to rest”, “run fast so can get out from the sun”, “run so can see wife and kid again”, “run to get to buffet breakfast soonest”), none seemed to be producing the effect I desired for. But I wasn’t alone in this. All around me, almost everyone was walking the remaining distance.

And then the water ran out. Groan! They gave water in cups but said it was just for pouring and not for drinking. So I did that (but thought twice about drinking it) and moved on, looking for the next available water station, which came after 2km more. I was spent and exhausted by the time I reached the last kilometer and even at this short distance, I was still walking part of it!

A fellow 32km runner asked, “The finish line should be right around the corner, right?”

“I think so.”, I replied before adding, “I really hope so!” The runner chuckled thinking I was joking. I wasn’t but my own comment brought a smile to my face.

We were there that morning to challenge ourselves: to conquer that distance and we should appreciate it and not whine about it (which was what I was doing internally).

Then, it was the final turn and I saw the finish line up ahead. It was a sight of pure joy to know that my ordeal (too harsh a word?) was about to end. But it still seemed too far away. I had reached the 32km mark but the finish line wasn’t there yet.

I finally crossed it with a distance of 32.33km and got my finisher medal (and checked it if I got the right one). Then I got my finisher bag and shirt at the event’s area. And waited for Per to pick me up at a pre-agreed (and shaded) area.

The one single term I could think of as I crossed the finish line was simply, “ WIPED OUT”!


As I finally rested and had a hearty breakfast, I reflected on my race performance and realized that there were silver linings here as well. For one, this was my longest distance run for the entire 2011 (and the most mileage I did for a given week)! I didn’t even join this “Afroman category”, when it first came out in 2010 because I knew back then that I could not finish it. Back then, I was injured and even a half marathon race was difficult to accomplish. And even with a half marathon distance, the finish time wasn’t an issue. The only goals for them were to complete the distances and bag the finisher medals.

So it was just a matter of perspective that in this 32km distance I failed when I did not accomplish my pace target. I failed when I went slower at the last part instead of going faster. I failed when I started walking.

But I was still able to go below 4 hours and my average pace for this run was exactly the same as the one I did in January 2011 – for a 15km distanced race! And that wasn’t just any 15km distanced raced but it turned out to be my 2011 15km PR!

These things show how far I have gone as a runner for this year (with a big thanks to friend Alvin for all those trainings done).

And one final thing after having this experience was a renewed sense of MOTIVATION to be better and stronger the next time I do this.

Race Update: Race results are now available for viewing and can be seen at www.RunRio.com

My results are as follows:
Gun time: 4:05:07
Chip time: 3:57:25

Split times:
9.255km: 1:06:38
24.44km: 2:57:10

Rank (based on gun time): 1,134/ 2,039 32km runners

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Balance 25km - 2011 Edition

The last time I joined a 25km race was way back in 2008 and that was my farthest distance for a road race. History repeated itself last Sunday as Chevrolet New Balance 25km Run was my farthest distance for a road race for 2011.

With no long runs done for the past three weeks, I was scared for this race....so scared that I got hit with panic/ anxiety attacks the night before! Being unprepared really adds stress to a regular (but oversized) runner like myself. But there are some things that are beyond my control (I got sick for two weeks and even missed running Adidas KOTR). But as is always the case from a bad situation like this, we get up again, pray, and do our best.

The hard rain didn’t help me in that my shoes and socks were drenched BEFORE the race even started. But one good thing about the rain is that I didn’t feel the heat from the sun and the very cold weather kept me going forward. Alvin was right in front of me as we ran toward the various International Schools at BGC (and the ankle deep floodwater therein), the hilly long road near Merkato Centrale, up the Kalayaan Bridge and on Buendia Avenue. But we got separated on Buendia as I had to take a quick toilet break at the gas station there.

I couldn’t catch up with Alvin after that (even though he waited for me at the latter part of Buendia Avenue) and I couldn’t go any faster but that’s okay. For me, my priority was not hitting the wall and to be consistent throughout the race. A new PR wouldn’t hurt as well.

For these things, I was quite happy to achieve them and even go sub-3 hours (including the toilet break). I was so happy that I ran 3km more for a total distance of 28km, my longest mileage for one day for 2011!

God is GREAT!

Cast all you anxiety on HIM because he cares for you – 1 Peter 5:7

Per, in her second 5km race for the year, did well too in her race. She got faster again and finished her race at a time of 38:38. Not bad for someone who stopped running for nearly a year!

After I finished running my extra miles, Per and I stayed a bit more to await the raffle draw. No, we didn’t win the Chevrolet but this guy right next to us did and it was such a joy to see him win it. What a great Christmas gift for this guy, don’t you think?

Congrats to all runners who finished their respective races, to the winners of the races, to the raffle winners and to RunRio, New Balance and Chevrolet Philippines for an awesome 25km race! Hopefully there would be another one for 2012!

Note: Some pictures were taken at the event and can be found on Team UBS' Facebook page.

Race Update: Results are out already!!

My chip time for 25km was at 2:58:53 with a rank of 687/1210 = 57%

Per's chip time for 5km was at 38:24 with a rank of 759/1336 = 57%