Saturday, December 12, 2015

Run United Recovery Run

I almost didn't make it as it had a gun start of 6am at Filinvest and I woke up at 5:20am!

Now that was a wake up call! In 10 minutes I was out of the house and driving on the road to Alabang.  The horrible traffic in Sucat area didn't help me in this situation.

Luckily, I found the race start and secured myself a nice parking slot right when the race had started.  But no worries, I could still catch up with them. And pretty soon I was running with then.

As race was at Filinvest, it was sort of a new route for me and I enjoyed doing the 10km as the last race for the year.

I was slow at first but by the second half, I got my second wind and was able to go faster.  

Goals for this race kept improving as well- from 6:30 average pace ( just to finish), to 6:21 (which was my pace in last week's race) to 6:19 ( which was my 10k PR for this year. As more disance gets covered, the pace went down as well.

I kept changing the goal and had strength to keep going. Final two turns before I crossed the finish line.

God is truly awesome!! Thank You for a wonderful year -ender run.  This wasn't just a recovery run but it was also a redemption run!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Burned out?

After doing Subaru Marathon, I felt defeated.  I was glad to have finished the race but it was below what I expected to do.

Since then, I haven't quite recovered yet. 

Legs still feel tired.  I get lazy in runs and finish them but end up walking a significant portion of them.  The excitement has all but disappeared too.

Both mind and body were defeated in Subaru.  So how do I get up from the bottom and run again?

How do I finish another Marathon, that isn't a few months away, but just in a matter of days?

How do I push myself to keep going till the end?

My goal of 5:40 has gone out the window.  Now, it is most likely past the 6 hours.  I hope it doesn't become worse than Subaru Marathon but there is a chance that it might be.

Will see how it goes.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Running in Japan

The hard part about training for a marathon is that when there is a vacation during the training schedule, you can't take a vacation from that either!

Of course it will be harder as it will be busier in terms of travel schedule.  For our 11-day trip in Japan, we ended up taking all sorts of transportations (train, subway, tram, ferry, bus) to get to the various cities.

I would schedule my runs on days where we would just go around the city.  No runs on days we need to travel to another city as we might end up missing the trains!

For Kyoto City I was able to do two 7.5km runs on two consecutive days.  Our hotel was located near Kyoto Train Station and although the weather was hot during the day, in the morning it had a nice and cool weather.  Japan had a lot of vendo machines so just bring a few bills or coins and you are all set in your run.  For Kyoto, I was able to discover a 4km loop around the city, which passed through two big city temples, for which I entered one on first day and the second on the second day.  So some sightseeing done in the city too!

The 4km loop passes through the quiet area of the city so that was a good place to observe their day to day activities too.

The scheduled long run for the week fell on the day when we were in Hiroshima,
which was a perfect place to do it as
city felt solemn as I was reminded of what happened to the city during World War II.

There were countless monuments to commemorate this fateful day.  My route took me to the Peace Memorial Park, around A-Dome and towards Hiroshima Castle, wherein I did 4 loops around its perimeter.  Went out again and this time I followed the river to the more rural section of the city.  In this part there are more runners and the road is more cushioned and quite similar to a 400-meter track.  It seems I have discovered where they secretly run in this city.  I wasn't able to finish the required 24.5km and did only 21.5km as our hotel stay included Japanese breakfast buffet and I had to get back before 9:30am to avail of it.

The next run was in Tokyo City, where the only place I could think of to run where it wasn't that busy in terms of traffic, people in the streets, countless traffic lights, etc. was around the Imperial Gardens.  From our hotel near Tokyo Station, it was a relative straight path to the Imperial Gardens, where one loop is equal to 5km distance.  This was bigger than Kyoto Castle but both routes are good for runners.

I planned to run inside the Gardens as well but unfortunately, they close the Gardens on certain days of the week.  Just my luck that Friday was one of those days.  But I was able to see the famous bridge nearby and also run around the perimeter 1.5 times.

The final run for our Japan trip was at Nikko, where we stayed in an Onsen, which overlooked A big lake.  a five minute walk nearby is one of the largest water falls in Japan.  

This was also a good place to run as it had a nice scenic view of the lake.  I passed two temples around here.  The path was more of trail kind so had to be careful in where I would run.  But good experience nevertheless.

All in all, even though I had to wake up early to do the runs in our vacation, it was still a fun experience and through these things I was able to discover Japan more.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Race Review: Runfest 21km

The Runfest 2015 had different race categories with the longest distance being the 21km or the Half Marathon.

I joined this race because it had been a while since I ran in BGC and also to give support to the race organizers ('s founder Jinoe Gavan).

When the race map came out a few days ago, I knew that this wasn't going to be an easy race as it goes up Kalayaan Bridge and also Lawton Avenue.

Upon seeing the map, I lowered my race goal and knew it won't be a fast race for me.  I decided that I would just run for fun and run by "feel" only.  There won't be any pressure to try to meet a time or pace goal.

With the 4am gun start and nice cool weather, it felt easy for me as I headed towards Buendia Avenue. 

I would glance at my Garmin watch from time to time but only to look at total distance or current pace.  I never knew what my average pace was.

Thank God there was no acid reflux in today's race.

Even though it was a hilly route, I quite enjoyed it and realized how much I missed running along Lawton Avenue and Bayani Road.  It was here that I took a short walk break while eating a piece of banana.

I also took one GU gel at the 9km -10km mark and didn't see the need to take a second one especially since I wasn't racing it.

I felt good all throughout the race and by 16km,I decided I wanted to go faster for the last 5km.  By this time, I was heading back from Bayani Road and climbing the hilly parts to BGC.  But I was still feeling good and used that opportunity to go a little faster.

With only one kilometer to go, and still not feeling winded, I went to my fastest speed and crossed the finish line.

That was the only time I saw my average pace, which was at 7:19, more than 25 seconds faster than my previous 21km distance.  Pace was reflected in the finish time as well of 2:33:51 (previous half marathon at 2:45).

Wow! Thank You Lord for this unexpected surprise.

Congratulations also to the race organizers for a very well managed race. There were kilometer markers the entire 21km, enough water stations (though just one or two had Gatorade in it), a much appreciated banana station and nice finish gears (finisher shirt was one of the nicest one I have seen in terms of design and materials used) at the finish line.

The best part for me was the strong finish and unexpected fast finish time.  Now that is a runner's high! Praise God!

Before going home, I rewarded myself with a nice breakfast at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in High Street. Yum!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Set the 10km bar!

I am quite happy when I saw my results in the recently concluded Li- Ning 10km race.

Didn't expect to have a high ranking in this race.  (And to think I was questioning on getting to the finish line in one piece.)

Praise God for this unexpected surprise.

Hopefully, this sets the bar for me to go faster and be stronger in this Sunday's Fit Buddy Run at Bonifacio Global City (BGC).

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Race Review : Li Ning 10km

I just realized last night (and hours before the race) that this was my first 10km for the year!

I guess I kept on joining the longer ones that I overlooked the short but heart pumping distances.

So I guess this is an automatic PR for the year. Haha!

The reasons I wanted to join this race were:

1) I heard that the singlet was really nice so that alone was worth the registration fee. This reminded me of the Adidas King of the Road and Nike races where we were after the singlets/ shirts more than the finisher medals.

2) Finisher medals for all caregories.  When they say it this way and with no other details, you would know that it's a generic medal for all race categories.

So what's the added benefit for doing the 21km race? The finisher shirts!

But I was quite happy with the singlet and the medal so I registered for the 10km category.

There were only a few hundreds of us for this race but it was short and fun.  The sun wasn't out yet so we had a little bit of leeway before it got really hot.

There were ample water stations all throughout the race which was enough for the 10km runners.

My problem here was more of a personal one as I was acidic the entire morning before the race. Even when the race started, the acidity didn't disappear and at certain parts, it even got worse.

Rather than be discouraged and walk, that got me a little more motivated to finish as quickly as possible so that I can go home and eat properly.

I stopped at every water station with the hopes that the water will flush away the acidity from my body.  But no, it was still there.

The pain lessened and I was able to go a bit faster, going below 7 minutes for the second part of rhe race.  Deep breathing all throughout and lots of water.

I managed to cross the finish line at 1:06:53 which was a lot better than I expected (my target was around 1:30). 

So I was quite happy with that. Obviously.

Best of all, after getting the large medal, I can rest and eat at home!

Praise God for giving me the strength to finish this race.  Without You, this would have been hard or even impossible.  This race is for You Lord! Amen

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Race Review: World Vision Run 21km

I am starting to join more races as it serves as a motivation to train a bit more and to exercise as well.  Without races, I would be too lazy to run.  It also helps to assess my fitness level.

For this race, I was hoping for a sub 2:30 time like what I did three months ago.  I was optimistic that the 32km Run United 2 race I ran two weeks ago was enough for me to get to the finish line at this pace.

With a gun start of 4am, I was awake by 2:15am and prepared my breakfast meal for this race.  I was sleepy once again as just had two hours of sleep but made sure that I will drink just one cup of coffee so it won't be a repeat of the last race where I had acid reflux for the first 10km!

I was positive with the time as figured it was 11km shorter than my last race but that wasn't enough.  I ended up consuming two GU gels (one at 9km and second at 16km) but even these weren't sufficient for me and by 19km, I was slowing down and even walking at some parts of the race.  Getting a 2:30 finish time meant an average pace of 7 minutes per kilometer.  Clearly, I lacked speedwork as none of my kilometer runs were at 7 minutes! Ha ha. 

I ended up crossing the finish line at a time of 2:48 with an average pace of 7:50, tired, exhausted and having sore legs and back.  Clearly, I was short of training (mileage and speed) for this race.

The race route is quite different from all other races from the same venue (Mall of Asia starting ground).  We never ran on Roxas Blvd except for that one point where we would cross it to head toward Buendia Avenue.  So that was something new. 

I also liked the Pocari sports drinks offered at various parts of the race but too bad, they didn't have any banana stations, which I thought was a regular thing for a race with this distance.

In the end, I am happy I survived the race with a quick lesson that I need to train more to perform better and finish well in the succeeding races.  Finisher medal was awesome and added that to my collection.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Race Review: Run United 2 32km (2015)

Once in a while, there is a race that you think you are ready for and quite prepared for it that you set high goals for it:  A new Personal Best, A sub whatever target time, etc.

This for me, isn't one of those races!  Haha!

With only one or two runs in a week and at a very slow pace, my goal for this race was simply to finish it safe and sound.

Then I heard at the starting line that there was a cut-off time of 5 hours 30 minutes but I wasn't worried as that would be a conservative pace for a runner to get to that level.

The starting time for this race was at 3AM, which for me was pretty good in that you would be running more in the darkness than in the sun (and we all know how hard it is to run along Roxas Boulevard with the sun burning you up).  Kudos also to race organizer for tweaking the route in such a way that we would run toward both ends of Roxas Blvd. FIRST before heading out to Buendia Avenue.  This is pretty good planning in that we would be in Roxas Blvd. during the cool weather and when it gets hot, then we will be in shady Buendia Avenue.  I can't count the number of times I suffered in the past on Roxas Blvd., wanting to stop running due to the heat in that area.

But since it started at 3am, then my wake up call was at 1am and I was super groggy!! It felt too soon to be woken up my phone's alarm clock.  To get rid off the sleepiness, I made and drank two cups of brewed coffee and ate two muesli bars.  BAD CHOICE!

Once the race started, I had a very difficult time running as my tummy was acidic (figured later on that it was probably the two cups of coffee that did that)!  I would run for a bit but needed to stop and walk or I would vomit!  By 3km I was walking already!  How am I going to complete the last 29km!  My legs felt tight too.  Everything was working against me.  The distance was just too far to be in this kind of situation and I was contemplating quitting too.

I stopped at every water station and drank Gatorade to try to compensate for the acid reflux.  At that time, I was thinking that it could be hunger.  By 5km, I took my first GU gel.  I am so glad I packed extra gels!  I definitely didn't expect taking my first one at such an early part of the race!

By 9km, aside from the acid reflux and tight legs, I needed to go to the toilet and do the nasty!  Oh man!  Just two days ago, I read from Unilab's facebook account that 60% of runners needed to go to a toilet in a race and to take Diatabs (of course it was an ad for Diatabs).  That was a very clear sign for me back then to which I obviously didn't follow!

Luckily, being on Roxas Blvd. at that time, I had my pick of nice hotel toilets.  But even with that I was suffering from acid reflux.  I didn't know what else I could do as I was far, far away from the finish line and no matter what remedy I did, the acid reflux and tight legs were still there.

That's when I surrendered.  I gave up.

But I didn't surrendered or give up on the race.  Rather, I surrendered it to the Lord.  I gave up the race to Him.  And I started praying.  A lot.  Every five minutes, I would say the Lord's prayer.  And I would continue doing that every kilometer.

Amazing how things change once You surrender it to Him.  The tight legs disappeared and I could run longer and faster.  The acid reflux disappeared too and I didn't need to walk that much anymore.  I slowly overtook more runners.  My average pace of 9:10 at first 10km (!!!!) went down to 8:55, then to 8:50, then to 8:45!

GOD is loving and He took me to the finish line.  I can definitely say that by myself, I would have quit even before reaching 1/3 of this race.  And I didn't mind if that happened.  I even convinced myself that there wasn't anything to prove as I completed the Trilogy last year.

But GOD helped me have a better victory by leading me towards the finish line happy, strong and injury free with a reasonable time of 4:43:17 (my goal pre-race was just to finish but hoping it wasn't more than 5 hours) and a significant reduction of average pace to 8:38.  Total distance conquered was at 32.76km (via Garmin).

 Second medal completed (but not by doing it alone).

Praise God!

2 Tim 4:7

nice breakfast reward after - BULALO!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Race Review: LEZGO Run 21km 2015

When I heard about this race, I laughed to myself, thinking, "what a cheezy but funny name for a race!".  It just sounded funny (especially if you said it out loud). 

I looked if there were any other races during that same weekend.  There was, which was the 7-11 race, which got me more interested in it as I did it last year too.  But with a 2am gun start for a 21km race, I decided not to register for it as felt that it was just toooooo early for me!!!

"I might as well just do a long run by myself", I thought to myself.  But somehow this Lezgo run just kept coming back to me!  I started exploring the route map (okay Roxas Blvd is generally flat except for the flyovers) and the gun start (okay 4am is waaayyy better than 2am!). 

So last week, I went to New Balance Glorietta and registered for the 21km race.  There were no more singlets available for my size and I got the smallest one that they had (XS!!!).  But never mind that as priority was getting the race bib.  LEZGO for this race.

I was with Per at that time and when she saw the race, she laughed at it too.  LEZGO for this!!!  You got to admit, it was a catchy word and we spent the day using the word for all sorts of situations:  Want to have desserts?  LEZGO!  LEZGO home na?  Okay LEZGO Home! We were enjoying ourselves with it. Hehe

On race day, Per decided to join me in case there were problems with the parking.  Since she didn't register for the race, she volunteered to park our car and just wait for me at the finish line.  Alvin joined too as he wanted to run with me.  So LEZGO for the 21km race!!

We left the house a bit late a 3:30am and drove to Roxas Blvd and to Star City, where the starting line was.  Luckily, the line to the car park was short and I quickly parked there and Alvin and I walked to the starting line.  Per stayed behind to try to get some sleep.

This was my first solo race for the year as I usually ran with Per so it was sort of a self assessment race for me in terms of how strong or how fast I can finish this race.  I didn't have any big goals for this race as I didn't know what to expect from my own performance:  just a 2:35- 2:40 finish time.

My strategy was simply to take it easy on the first 10km, go a bit harder on the second half and try to go fastest on the last 5km.  Weather was nice and cold and not much cars yet at 4am so that was good too. 

Alvin and I proceeded to run at around 7:20- 7:30 pace and I ran more of how I felt and not how I wanted my pace to be.  I switched the view of my Garmin watch as I didn't want to look at the average pace for the entire distance.  Instead I looked at current pace and lap pace.  I felt good but didn't run faster as I was also cautious as things have a way of reversing quickly especially for a race this far!  Alvin was having a harder time as he didn't have anything to eat that morning and at 4km, we parted ways in the race. 

It was just me and the road and my more immediate goal was to reach the 10km mark so that I can take my first GU.  I was looking for any sports drink  at the water stations but all they served was water.  Good thing I thought about bringing two GU with me for this race as back up. 

Eventually, there was a banana station set up and I ate a piece of banana there as I was hungry.  There was also Gatorade served at the latter part of the course but at that time, I just drank water.

During this race, I make it a point to pray to God by saying the Lord's Prayer in various parts of the race.  It gave me strength and I lifted this race up to HIM.  Whatever happens, it is His Will and not mine. 

I kept going after taking my GU at 10km mark.  I didn't go faster though as figured it was still far from the finish line and more than having a good finish time, I wanted to finish strong in this race.  I wanted to finish with a happy look and not one of defeat.  So I controlled my pace and kept going.  I thanked God for making my legs strong and not tight.  But I was starting to get hungry too.  I was starting to feel pain for my feet as well.

I realized that I had to go faster before I became too hungry or feet became too painful that I would walk at the last part of the race. 

My next goal after surpassing 10km was to reach the 15km mark and to race the last 6km to the finish line.  I would keep the last GU as reservation and use if I felt I needed the extra push.  I continued praying.  By praying, I not only honor God but it also served to remind me if I was going out too fast or not.  Luckily, it was still at conversation pace and not out-of-breath pace when I silently prayed to God.

At 15km mark, I thought, okay, now is the time to go faster!  I pressed the button of my Garmin to see my average pace for the race.  It was at 7:15 pace/ kilometer.  In order to do a 2:30 finish time for a 21.1km race, I had to bring average pace down to 7:06 pace/ kilometer.  I had to run faster!!! LEZGO!!!

I pressed button of Garmin again to revert back to the lap pace and new goal for me was to bring all succeeding kilometer paces to below 7 minute if that was possible.  And it was!! Thank God!! 

My split time are as follows:  16km - 6:46, 17km - 6:43, 18km - 6:42.  With only 3km left to go, I took the last GU as it was now or never!  It helped me go faster again:  19km - 6:23, 20km - 6:22.

I had no idea what my average pace was for the entire race and I didn't want to know until I crossed the finish line.  That would be my ultimate assessment!  I had no idea if my last 5km was enough for me to cross the finish line at 2 hours 30 minutes.

 My final goal in that short distance was to try and break 6 minutes pace for the last km!  I had no idea for this one too as I was focused on reaching the finish line as quickly as possible.

I saw Per sitting at the sidewalk and I shouted her name right before I crossed the finish line, where I immediately stopped my watch.

game face on! hehe

The first thing I saw was the current pace, which was at 5:59!  Yes, goal achieved!
Then I pressed Garmin to see my finish time.  What came out was this:

TIME:  2:26:44
Pace:        7:03
Distance:    20.80km

Praise God!  The distance was short 300 meters but with my pace, it was for sure a sub-2:30 race.  I wasn't that out of breath and if the 300 meters was there, I felt I could have lowered my average pace further by 1-2 seconds.

I was so happy and thanked God for being there for me.

What was even surprising was when I got my LEZGO 21km medal and at the back, was inscribe this:

AMEN!  (It felt like God was talking to me directly!) Thank You Lord for the nice weather, strong legs and giving me strength to cross the finish line.

Congrats to the organizer for a well executed race.  Obviously I loved the medal but the finisher shirt was nice too!

Post note:  I wanted to check last time I ran sub 2:30 or pace faster than this and it seems that this did not happen for the year 2014 or 2013!  The last time I ran FASTER in a Half Marathon was in January 2012, more than 3 years ago!!!  God indeed surprised me with this race.  Thank You again Lord!!