Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Run For Juan AKA Run on EDSA 21km

I knew this would be a good race as the organizers behind this event never failed in terms of accurate distance, ample water stations and enough marshals to ensure a safe race.  These were the same people behind Rescue Run 5km at McKinley Hills and Greentennial Run held at BGC a year ago.

I needed to do a Half Marathon this weekend before my big race the following week and this was the only race that had it.  There was also another race in BGC but only had 10km as its longest distance.   While I registered for the 21km category, Per joined the 10km race as her first race after her first marathon so she was a bit excited for it too.

The only drawback to this race was that the gun start for the 21km race was at 4:20AM, which meant we had to wake up at around 3AM to get ready, and to have enough time to get to the starting area in White Plains before our race would start!

I would think that parking would be a problem too given that the area allocated for it was along White Plains roads only but luckily, we got a very good spot right next to the starting line!  Thank God for that!

As Per's 10km would start at 5:30AM, she opted to sleep in the car first while I walked slowly to the starting line, turned on my Garmin and did a few stretchings!

The unique thing about this race was that we would be running on EDSA!  This was something I have never experienced before and one I was looking forward too.  But they can't possibly close the entire EDSA road to accommodate the runners!  Even during the Inaugural Run United Marathon in 2012, only one to two lanes were open along C-5 for the runners.  Either way, this was still an experience in itself but before we got to EDSA, we had to do some intense running along White Plains and the hills that this area offered.  There were some twists and turns but marshals were there at important turns and there were water stations every 1.5 kilometers, which were quite good for us.

Pretty soon we headed on EDSA via Julia Vargas Avenue (running between the two Megamall Buildings) and as expected we were on the same road as that of cars and buses, which were moving slowly along EDSA.  I didn't know why as they had their own lanes!

I soon realized that the vehicles were being diverted to San Juan via the bridge to Greenhills and what was causing the slow movement of these vehicles were the passengers being dropped off by the buses, thus resulting in one free car lane only. 

Then the lanes were clear of all vehicles!  We had EDSA all to ourselves and that was an awesome feeling!!!

"Wow", I thought to myself, "This won't happen again!"

So I enjoyed running on EDSA and its two flyovers there, and even stopped to touch the lamp posts, cause you know, I won't be able to do that again!  Haha!  So this half marathon became a fun run, if you can call it that.

The roads weren't as smooth though as one runner tripped and fell on the concrete.  Another girl tripped on a cat's eye in the White Plains area but there were always some runners to help them up and make them move again.   With these two incidents right before my eyes, I got worried about Per and wondered where she was.  I noticed that there were some runners next to me that were wearing the 10km bibs so I tried to go after Per and just run with her as we would be running on the same route.  I wanted to watch over her too to make sure she wouldn't trip on the roads.

I saw Per on EDSA but she was heading Southbound while I was still going Northbound.  She seemed strong and happy and had done 1.86 kilometers while I was on my 8-9 kilometers.  Pretty soon, I reached the U turn on EDSA and headed back to where I came from.  I did not see Per on EDSA again (wow, she was fast).  I passed by Megamall and crossed J Vargas and there were no signs of Per yet.  The route was shared with 10km runners but at one point we would separate.

I saw Per ahead of me but a bit far off and she was walking!  "Yes", I thought to myself, "I would finally be able to get to her!"  But as our distance got closer, she ran again and I couldn't reach her again.  Then there was the U Turn for the 10km runners whereas the 21km runners would keep on going.  Oh well, at least I would see her on the U Turn.

She was strong and happy still!  What is going on with this woman!  There was also a banana station here for both 10km and 21km runners, which was good for all of us!

I slowly completed my last 6 kilometers inside White Plains/ Valle Verde Area.  More hills and more walking but I didn't mind as it was a long, slow run for me.

Pretty soon, it was the last 2 kilometers, then the final kilometer and I opted to run the final distance all the way to the finish line.  My last kilometer was the fastest at 6:30 pace and I was strong at the finish line and not out of breath.  What a great race!  PRAISE GOD!

The loot bag had plenty of nice stuffs too - deodorants, conditioners, mouth wash, tooth pastes and the finisher medal was a good souvenir item for this race and to commemorate the EDSA Revolution Anniversary!  A very unique medal.

Per had a great time too and upon checking her loot bag a day after the race, I saw that she had a finisher medal too.  For 21km runners, ALL FINISHERS will get a medal but for 10km runners, only the top 50 men and top 50 women (for a total of 100) will get finisher medals.

My wife was one of the top 50 women 10km finishers that day!  And didn't even target that medal!  Great job!!!  

Congrats to the organizers for an unforgettable race experience!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why Run? Reason # 8


This reason is related to the previous one in that you do these things because you want to know how much you are capable of doing.

The first time I joined a 10km race, I was really worried about it.  I didn't want to finish in the last place and I trained hard for the next three weeks at the gym (yes, I know that the time wasn't enough but to be fair I jogged back then on a regular basis).  I would run faster on the treadmill and increased the incline levels. 

It was a race for me against all these fit zero-fat runners in short shorts!  Running was just for these people back then while the average Joe was still into badminton and basketball. 

My goal was to finish and not to finish last, and I got both goals!  I was so happy and felt proud of myself.  I went back to the gym and forgot about running again till after two years later when Men's Health introduced the Urbanathon Race, which was another new challenge for me and one I set out to conquer.

Then, there's my first Half Marathon Race, first Trail Run, first Full Marathon, new PR's, first Half Marathon Trail Run, first 100km, first 1,000km, etc.

Recently, a new running milestone for me was achieved when I completed 100km in just 7 days so this is an ongoing process.

Run for your own Personal Achievements!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Disneyworld Full Marathon 2013 (Dopey Part 3)

January 13th 2013 was the BIG DAY, wherein my wife Per would do her first ever Full Marathon and I will be accompanying her the whole time here.

As with the other races I did the previous two days, we took the Disney bus to the starting line at a very early time of around 3:30AM.  This is because we purchased two tickets for the Race Retreat where we could have our breakfast here, do our stretching, relax a bit and have shorter lines at the toilet.  There were also some Disney characters where you could pose and have pictures taken with them (see above).

The Race Retreat, although expensive, was worth every penny especially after completing the marathon as it offers a place to have brunch and to rest a bit too.  At that time, you would be too tired to walk and this would be a great place to recharge and refuel.

When we are about an hour from our gun start, we decided to leave the comfortable Race Retreat area and walked slowly to our starting corral D, where we saw a lot of fireworks as Wave after Wave of runners were being released!

It was still dark when our race started but I didn't mind that as it kept the weather cool, which was less tiring than running in hot, hot weather!

There were a lot of Disney mascots scattered across the race route but you have to select which ones you want to line up for as it would take a lot of time just waiting in line.  This was obviously NOT a PR race but a Fun Run with 42km to conquer!

Per had a target finish time here and didn't want to stop at any mascot areas.  My strategy was that I would run ahead of Per and line up for a mascot so by the time she would get to me, the line would be considerably shorter and we could take a picture.  But for most of the mascots I did line up for, Per would reach me and said line was still long!  Oh well, this was her race after all!

Are these mascots lost?  Christmas is waaaayyy over!!!

The route would take us to all Four Disney Parks plus ESPN Area and Downtown Disney.  It was an awesome route especially since we went to all of them at one point during the week, whether it was to have dinner, to go shopping or to ride some rollercoasters.  And now we are running in all of them!

The first Disney park was Magic Kingdom and highlight for this was when we ran inside Sleeping Beauty Castle.

As this was the 20th year of the Disneyworld Marathon, we got a specially made Mickey Mouse medal and there was also a nice surprise at Mile 20.  All runners knew about it and anticipated it as we slowly closed the gap towards it.

In between, we ran inside a baseball field and a running track inside ESPN Complex and these were cool as well.

At Mile 20 (but really closer to 34 kilometer mark), there was a lot of floating Disney characters from each side of the road.  It was an awesome sight.  Too bad I didn't have my camera with me to take pictures of these things.  Mickey and Minnie Mouse were also there to cheer the runners.

I was feeling good in this race but Per was already having a hard time running it.  Just our luck that this was the hottest marathon in all of 20 years!!!  Goodbye to the cool weather and say hello to the Heat!!!  It gets worst when we were still on the road come noontime.

WRECK IT RALPH!  I missed taking his picture while visiting the Disney Park and luckily got a photo of him here!

We were slowly getting closer to the finish time but we were getting slower too.  Some other hiccups during the race involved Per's left shoe sole coming off (I had to rip it off her shoe so she can continue running), getting cramps on her right shoulder (odd place to happen) and even hyperventilating at 40km mark!

The last one was the scariest as it looked like she was having a heart attack and there were no medics or water stations around.  But we were in one of the Disney Parks and I asked for water from one of the food stalls there to which they replied that they didn't have any FREE water!   Seriously!!  I can't believe it!

Good thing there was a kind fellow who offered to buy water for us.  I kept thanking him as I gave her the water and made her walk for a few minutes till she was back to normal.

We ran-walk the last kilometers together and side by side as we got closer to the finish line.


We got our Awesome Mickey Mouse medal and I got my Goofy Medal too at the finish line.

Welcome to the Marathoner Club!!  PROUD OF YOU!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Why Run? Reason # 7


Whether it is telling your family members or friends, there is an air of pride when you discuss to them about your first half marathon or first marathon race. 

Or they may even ask you your fastest 10km and you can proudly say that you are sub-60! 

Of course, all these things need to be trained properly... all the more to be proud of them when you achieved your personal goals!

Monday, February 18, 2013

News: Merrell Adventure Run 2013

Doing a trail run is always doubly hard to running a road race and finish time is usually double the normal finish time for a road race too.  But the experience is almost always unforgettable due to the wonderful scenic route, running on Mother Nature, the challenges of crossing rivers, climbing mountains and the great achievement one would feel once he crosses the finish line.

I did my first half marathon trail run last year and it was hard!  I was so tired but so proud of myself too for completing that feat!

Now, comes another trail run at San Mateo, Rizal with a 5km, 10km and 21km trail category.   Registration fees are quite affordable at Php 650 for 5km, Php 800 for 10km and Php 950 for 21km categories.

Since there are very limited slots for this, you should hurry to any Merrill Concept stores to register before it ends!

For our conveniences as well, the organizers have provided round trip shuttle services for additional fee of Php 300 at Market Market or at Trinoma!

Some other rules and regulations for this event:

General Rules
1. All participants below 18 years old must have their registration forms signed by either a parent or a guardian.
2. Registration is non-transferable and non-refundable.
3. Multiple category registration for one person is prohibited for safety purposes and as this may affect or disrupt race results.
4. Participants who choose not to take part in the event after having registered can decide to withdraw. However, please note that there will not be any registration fee refund. Race slots are also strictly non-transferable.
5. Race bib numbers and electronic timing chips must be worn at all times during the race. Official time will be based on the disposable timing chip provided in the race kit. No chip, no time. Without the timing chip, participants are not entitled to win any of the top prizes.
6. Organizers maintain the right to remove any participants from the race. Injuries and medical emergencies are the utmost priority.
7. No late runners will be allowed to run 15 minutes after the gun start of their respective races.
8. All runners are required to have the proper loop band when they cross the finish line; no loop band means disqualification from the race.
9. A cut off time of 5 hours for the whole race will be implemented. Runners on the course after the cut off time will be pulled out by the Race Marshalls.
10. Time penalties and disqualification may be imposed by the race organizers on runners who do not follow race rules.
11. All protests related to the results must be made in writing and submitted to the Race Director within 30 minutes after the official announcement of winners.
12. The organizers reserve the right to make changes at its discretion without prior notice. The organizers’ decision is final.

FINISHERS MEDAL All 21km finishers will receive a finisher’s medal. Medals will also be given to the first50 finishers for 5km and 10km categories respectively.

CERTIFICATES will be sent through email within two weeks after the race date to those who finish the course in their specific categories.

Trail running shoes, hydration pack/bottle belt, cap, running gaiters and energy bar or gel, head lamp especially for the 21K runners.

Hydration stations will be provided at the finish line and along the race route.
This is an eco-friendly event; each participant is required to bring his/her own hydration pack/bottle. Organizers will only provide refilling stations along the race course; there will be no cups to avoid littering.
Medical aid will be available at certain points along the way and at the finish line.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Disney World Half Marathon 2013 (Dopey Part 2)

Day 02 for the Disney World Weekend began with me taking the bus ride once again at around 4AM to get to the starting line.

The starting line would once again begin at Epcot Center but unlike the 5km run, it was a longer walk to get there.  I was part of Wave D and waited a bit there before our race wave would begin.  There were fireworks for each race wave and Donald Duck was the one who did the countdown for each wave (it was his race after all).

At the Marathon Expo a few days ago, I had already bought two coupons from Marathon Foto, that would give me $35 discount for each $100 purchases made.  Knowing this, I made sure to pose at every person who has a camera and wearing the official Marathon Foto jacket.

One of the nice things about joining a Disney Race, as opposed to any other road race is that you can really have fun here.  Like in this instance, I took time out to line up with other runners for a photo opportunity with Chip (or is it Dale?).  And Marathon Foto people are there to take photos of you as well, which is very handy as I didn't want to bring a camera with me and if I did, who would take a picture of me as I was running by myself!

Of course, I had to choose which mascots were worth lining up for.  Jack Sparrow and the Disney Princesses had huge lines and I had to skip them! 

I had to make sure that I was still within the pace limit as I didn't want to line up too long and be stopped from running by the sweep vehicles!  And lining up takes a long time too.  For the single photo above, my average pace slowed down by 15 seconds!  CRAZY!!!  

So I had to run fast again just to get to the average pace that I wanted (which was below 8 minutes per kilometer)....

There was a bottleneck here as we ran inside the castle (Mickey and Minnie Mouse were also positioned outside the castle but the line was really, really long).  

It felt surreal that I would be running inside Sleeping Beauty Castle and this was one of the highlights for the Half Marathon Race.  

With me doing the Half Marathon race, I can take a look at the course and describe it to Per so that she can be mentally prepared to do her Full Marathon.  The course is almost the same as the first 15km of the full marathon course so that can help her as well. 

"To Infinity And Beyond!"

Alice in Wonderland characters. 
"Off With his Head!"

(Poor Croc - nobody wanted to take a photo of him as no lines at all!)

It took me a while inside Magic Kingdom as there were a lot of nice characters to take pictures with.  "Never mind", I thought to myself, "I will just go fast at the second half of the race!  But not too fast..."

Everyone seems to be enjoying himself or herself here!

A lot of costumed runners.  Is that the character from BRAVE?

Back at Epcot and nearing the finish line

Yes, Half marathon done!

The Donald Duck medal was HUGE!  I love it!!!!


Disney Race # 2 done.  1 more race to get the Goofy and Mickey Mouse medals!!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Disney Family Fun Run 5km (Dopey Race Part 1)

The Disney Family Fun Run 5km is exactly how it is described - as a fun run!  There is no timing clock, no chip timer and no winners here.  Everyone was enjoying this race as it started from the parking lot of Epcot Center and goes around this area to finish at around the same place too.

A LOT of people were in various Disney costumes - from the standard Mickey and Minnie Mouse costumes, to Goofy, to Tinkerbell and a lot of Disney Princesses too.

Since Per and I were staying at a Disney Resort, we had free shuttle services to and from the race venue, which really helped a lot.  It was a bit cold when we were there and I got hungry.  Good thing they had food booths there and I had a little bit of cash with me, which I used to buy a warm cup of coffee.  Yum!!

Minnie and Mickey Mouse both getting ready to launch the 5km race!

There was a bleacher area there at the finish line so it was the perfect area for Per to wait for me finish my race.  After all, how long does she need to wait for me to cross it?

That is me walking to the finish line!  Yes... walking!!!  And this is just a 5km race! 

But it was also the first of three part races that I joined, with me having to run a Half Marathon the following day and a Full Marathon the day after AND to try to pull Per too in the 42.2km race (although I did give a disclaimer to Per that if she felt stronger than me, that she should overtake me and finish her own full marathon)!  And this my friend is called a DOPEY Race, unofficially still as Disney hasn't categorized it as a separate event... YET!

So I needed to conserve my energy from this run!  It's safe to say that it was the S-L-O-W-E-S-T 5km race ever for me!  And as for my time...well, since this race doesn't have any record of any finish time, I guess you  loyal reader will never know about it. 

Me having a good time.  Take note:  I still haven't crossed the finish line!  Talk about FUN RUN!!!

5km Finisher!  And first Disney Medallion!  Yahoo!

Congratulated by the Main Mouse himself, Mickey!

And Minnie Mouse... for which Per gamely joined in the photo taking as well!

 There were water, sports drinks, bananas and some snacks at the finish line too for all 5km finishers!

One Disney race down... Two to go!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Disney World Marathon Expo!

The Disney Marathon Weekend that was held last January 11- 13, 2013 began (as with most International Marathons), with the runners attending the Marathon Expo to claim their race kits, which would include their race bibs and race shirts. 

Since we were staying at a Disney World resort, there were free bus services to the expo every 15 minutes!  Very convenient!  We can keep going back to the expo if we wanted to (which we did)!

The organizers even provided a schedule of events conveniently placed at the lobby of our hotel (see picture above).

 As we got off the bus, we can already feel the excitement in the air!  Hmmm, is that a newly arrived runner from the airport next to Per or is he planning to buy a lot of stuffs at the expo? Curiosity!

Inside the expo, there was a small section where popular athletes were giving some inspirational talk.  We got in time to see Dick Beardsley recount his Boston Marathon race with Alberto Salazar.  I was prepared for this and had his book with me. 

Woo Hoo!!!!

Completely made my day!  Now, I better put the book in an acid free plastic and inside a fireproof safe! 

Per claiming her Marathon kit.  This would be her First ever Full Marathon and as every marathoners would know... you never forget your first time!  E X C I T I N G  !!!!!

All set for the race!  Our bibs are personalized so people can call out our names to encourage us to keep on going!

Woo Hoo again!!!

 Our goal on January 13th 2013 - the 20th year of Disney Marathon special finisher medal!

Me with my Goofy Bib, which requires me to finish a Half Marathon on Saturday and a Full Marathon on Sunday WITHIN the time limits!  GULP!

And I had to maximize our stay here by registering for a 5km Race that will be held January 11th so three races in three days for this RUNNING FATBOY!

Couple picture!  We are ready!

The huge expo at the building opposite where we got our race kits.  To say we bought a few items here is one big UNDERSTATEMENT!  New Balance even released special edition Disney Marathon shoes!  Too bad my size were all gone by the time we got to the New Balance booth at 2pm.  Sigh!

But it didn't deter us from spending our $$$ here to buy all sorts of stuff.

The expo was held at ESPN World of Sports Complex, about 10 minutes from where our hotel was located.

A foreshadowing to the Disney Marathon?  We ended up running where these cars would race each other!

It is soooo ON baby!

Fun filled day here... now the pain begins!