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!!