Sunday, November 27, 2016

Race Review: Gatorade Run 2016

This was my first time to not only join a Gatorade race but also a 22-km distanced road race.  The big come on for this race (at least from my perspective) are the Adidas singlet and finisher shirts.  They even have price tags on them for P995 each so that more than makes up for the P1,700 registration fees.

The route for this race goes around Mall of Asia area before doing a long stretch along Buendia Avenue all the way till the end and make a U Turn right before Kalayaan bridge (phew as didn't want to climb the bridge).  From the U Turn back to Mall of Asia area, there were two more turns before the finish line.  

It was nice how they had a special thing at the 21km mark as if to say that you have just done a half marathon but your race isn't finished yet. Haha!

School bands at the last 2km of the race also helped boost energy, which at that time I really needed as tired and shoulders were aching!  This is due to the back to back race I did this weekend: 10km Mcdonalds Stripes run and then this one.  So started this race with tired legs!

But by God's grace I was able to finish this race.  Thank YOU LORD!  

This was a good race and one I recommend to runners who can afford to pay a little more due to how they managed the race and the shirts that come with it.  I hope I get a chance to join next year's event.  

Thanks to ADIDAS Ph for the free race kit. :)  A good year ender race

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Race Review: Mcdonalds Stripe Run 10km

I was fortunate enough to receive a complimentary 10km race kit for this event (thanks Joanne of EON) and I was excited for this race as it has been a while since I was able to join a 10km race (about 6-7 months ago!!!).

I joined past events of this race from a 10km solo run to 3km family run with my two kids (one in stroller) and wife.  And in all these events, the race was well organized.

For this year's events, proceeds from the registration fees will go to one of their charities:  Ronald McDonald Read to Learn Program.  So not only do you get to run a nice race and burn some calories but you are also contributing to lessening the country's illiterate population.

For the race itself, I have no target. Haha!  No speed or time trial but just to have a good run!  Route took us to Kalayaan Avenue and to BGC area.  There were only a few runners doing the 10km category as most were in the shorter distance with their families.

My legs were tight in the beginning and pace of 6:30 wasn't easy for me.  But I made it a point to run through the entire race and just stopping to drink or tie loose shoelaces.

All in all, a good and quick race and got a breakfast sandwich at the finish line.  Congrats to the race organizers!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

New Balance 25k pics and results

Race photos are available at pinoy fitness and facebook.

Race results are available as well

Race Review: Pinoy Fitness 21km Challenge

This was my first time to join this half marathon challenge.  With Pinoy Fitness races, you not only have to have the endurance to finish the distance but the speed as well to complete the race within the cut-off time.  Early this year I was able to complete the sub-60 Pinoy Fitness 10km.  It was my most pressured 10km race and it took a lot of weeks of preparation just to make sure I am able to cross the finish line in under one hour and get the medal.

Same goes for the Half Marathon race.  They had three categories: sub-2 2XU which is impossible for me, sub-2:30 which is possible but not 100% sure and the sub-3:00, which is definitely doable for me.  Aside from this, gold medals are given out for the first 300 finishers for each category.

I wanted to join this race but didn't know whether I wanted to do the sub-2:30 category and train hard for it or take the easier route via the sub-3 category and try to aim for the gold medal.  That could also give me a fast time with minimum risk of not getting a medal should some thing unforeseen happen during the race. But I realized that if I took the sub-3 category then I am not challenging myself.  So last month I took the plunge and registered myself for the sub-2:30 category, paid Php 1,000 and got my race kit.

As an added bonus, the medal for 2:30 category is bigger than the 3:00 one (about half inch bigger I think).

My training is to do short 8-10km runs at average pace of 7:00 and I also joined the New Balance 25km to build endurance. I did well in New Balance
so that helped build confidence for this race.

The gun start was at 4:35am and I left the house early as going to MOA is always unpredictable: sudden traffic jams due to roadwork, long lines for parking, need to search for toilet.  Logistics was a problem and unlike other Half Marathons where i can be late, I can't afford that luxury here!  Being 5 minutes late here can spell the difference between me getting a finisher medal or not as they based it on the gun time of the race!

Thank goodness God guided me and I was able to park in a place where there were no lines, found a toilet I can use and no traffic whatsoever in Edsa!  Praise God!

I got to the starting line at 4:30am, just in time to see the first wave of fast sub-2 runners go off.

Then it was our turn to be at the starting line.  This is it!

The route for this Half Marathon consists of two loops, made up of four turns around the area.  My strategy is to go at 7 minute pace for the first loop, which is my target pace for this race and if I am feeling good, to go faster on the second loop.

I had hoped this race would be easier for me given its flat route and that I had a good time in last week's New Balance 25km race, which was hillier and longer!  But that wasn't to be as I was struggling in this race.  

I took GU gel at 12km and at 17km. No banana stations here but didn't plan to eat this as that is additional time that I can't afford to waste.  There were a few Pocari Sweat stations so that posed a challenge for me as water wasn't enough for this race.  Luckily I have an extra GU gels for emergency use (which didn't end up using).

Thank God that on the second loop I was able to go faster and went at 6:35 pace during that time. So that brought my average pace down and gave me more allowance for a sub 2:30.  

But I was getting exhausted.  Just two km more...

And then it was there, the final turn to the finish line!

Thank God For this race and for helping me make it!  I was praying at various times in the race and I felt God was with me all the time.  I was never truly alone in this race.

The sub 2:30 medal was put around my neck and I headed to the finisher kits area but with the long line there, I went first to the PF booth so I can get my self imposed reward:  PF Trucker's cap for Php 250!

I was prepared to buy it and had money with me during the duration of this race.  After getting the cap, I went back to the finisher kits area where it was a loonng wait before I got my finisher shirt.  But I am not complaining as got my qualified time, medal and trucker's cap.  To God be the Glory!

Awesome medal! To Him I dedicate this prize!

Note: race results and photos are now out via Pinoy Fitness website and their facebook page

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Race Review: New Balance 25km Power Run 2016

The last time I joined the New Balance 25k Power Run was back in 2013.  In 2014 I was out of the country when they had the race and in 2015, I found it too much of a hassle when they moved the location of the race to Daang Hari.  So I was pleasantly surprised when they moved it back to Bonifacio Global City (BGC) for this year's event.

This would be a good long run and assessment also for my big race the following week - Pinoy Fitness 21km sub 2:30 wherein you not only have to complete the half marathon but under the required time of 2 hours and 30 minutes to get a finisher medal at the end.

My goal for this race is to run the first 21km and see what my "finish time" for that is to give an idea for next week's race.  For the remaining 4km, I can opt to go easier or harder depending how I felt that time.  

The route is the usual one when it comes to long distanced races held in BGC - Kalayaan Bridge to Buendia Avenue, U Turn back all the way to turn right to Lawton and Bayani Avenue and U turn back again to head to the International Schools to the finish line.  It's safe to say that this is a hilly race!  Perfect! 

The gun start was at 4:00am and though it was too early for my taste, it was good too as most runners will be finished by the time it gets too hot.

There were a lot of (cold) water stations but not enough sports drink stations.  They had only one at the first part and none until the very last few kms in the race.

There was one banana station but I opted to have a GU gel instead to save on time.  Even with slight twinge in my left knee (which made me a bit more careful), I felt good throughout the race.  By the time I have reached the 21km mark, my time was at 2:22 and pace about 6:50ish.  This was a good gauge for my strength.

With 4km left, I kept going.  Prior to this race my PR for the 25km was at 2:58:11 and this was back in 2011.  I am happy to have broken that record by going more than 8 minutes faster than before at a finish time of 2:50:25 with an average pace of 6:49!  Praise God for this!  He is awesome!

No loot bags at the finish line but i am happy with my time and with the medal.

Plus some good stuff upon registrations:

Hopefully they will continue having the 25km in BGC and make that its permanent place.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New PR... at being late! (SMDC 21km race)

I haven't join any road races since the 40th edition of Milo Marathon last July.  My running has been reduced to two short runs in a week. And yet I have the final leg for Run United coming up soon and I needed to do a little training for that.

I was able to increase my long run from 10km to 16km.  With SMDC's 21km race kits still available at Chris Sports branches, I signed up for it to see how
I would fare on this distance.  My goal was slow and easy for the most part and just re-assess on last 5km.

The gun start for the race was moved to 4:15am from the original gun start time of 4:00am but that didn't help me as I turned off both alarm clocks and went back to sleep!  The next time I woke up it was already 4:45am!

Wow, 30 minutes late! The best solution is to go back to sleep or just run on my own.  But no, I quickly dressed up and drove myself to Mall of Asia.  I don't see any runners on the road!  Have they opened up the roads for vehicles? Oh man, what do I do now?

By the time I parked my car, it was already 5:15am, an hour after my race had started.  Is the starting line still up?  Will they allow me to run?  All these questions in my head as I jogged to the starting line.  

Thank goodness the starting line was still assembled and there were some runners near there.  As I peered at some of their bibs, I saw that they were running the 5km distance.  So at least I wasn't by myself on the road.

As I ran with the 5km runners, I was thinking whether I should just stick with the 5km route but I felt it was too short for me.  

A little bit further down the road, I saw some 10km runners.  Well, this was a group I could follow next.  It won't be so bad if I ran with the 10km runners as distance wasn't that short.

But then how would I explain to marshals at the finish line that I did only 10km.  How can I justify getting the finisher medal or shirt?  I would look like a cheat claiming these things. 

So as the 10km runners made a U Turn at the 5km mark and headed back to where the Starting/Finish line was, I kept going.

And this was the hard part as there weren't any runners on my side of the road.  It was empty except for a few marshals whom I assumed were surprised to see a runner at 6-7km mark, nearing 2 hours from the gun start!

I was embarrassed to be on the road by myself and even uttered sorry a few times to the marshals who saw me.  Praise God for these marshals as rather than giving me disappointing looks, they were actually cheering me on.  One even said how daunting my distance was.  To them I must have looked super slow but they didn't show this and instead encouraged me to keep on going.

I saw a lot of 21km runners but they were all heading back to the finish line while I was the lone runner on the rightside of Buendia Avenue.  They were some who saw me on the road and I was embarrased to look back.

With this situation, I didn't or couldn't slow down as I wanted to catch up with some runners if such a thing was possible.  I also wanted marshals to finish their work and not wait on me anymore.  So I kept running (and on an empty stomach too).

I took my first GU gel at 9km mark as I headed toward lonely Kalayaan Bridge. At this point, I was able to overtake three women runners who seemed to have gotten late for this race too.  I was consoled knowing that I wasn't alone in this race anymore.  But I still wanted to see more runners.

And I did...eventually.

I was able to overtake a few runners on Buendia Avenue as they were hurting and were walking on the road.  

I had my second GU gel and kept going, even skipping the banana stations as figured it would lose precious time for me.  

Some water stations were closed and I had to request for some drink from the marshals which they obliged with no complaint whatsoever.

The sun was up by this time and it was getting warm.  At 18-19km there were more runners and I was glad I wasn't by myself.  Water stations were open at this area and got to drink some water before I kept going.

I crossed the finish line, tired and exhausted but also happy that I didn't give up at any time during and before this race.

And I got my finisher medal and shirt afterwards.

Congrats to for a well executed race and thank you marshals for the encouragement.  Most of all, thank YOU LORD for giving me a chance to do this race.

Chip time: 2:28:06
Gun time: i guess 3:35 ish!
Pace: 7:01

Results are posted now 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Post Milo Marathon Ramblings

This morning, I went out to do an easy 10km run and although my pace wasn't fast, I felt winded and tired by the 7-8km.  "Only 2-3km to go", I thought to myself as I slowed down to a walking pace.  My, why is this short distance so hard to complete when just less than two weeks ago, I just completed the Milo Full Marathon?  Granted, I haven't been doing much running since that time, putting in just one 5km run the other night and with this morning ran as just my second run for the entire month.

I ended up contemplating on the Milo Marathon event as well (yes, our minds wander whenever we are out on the run and for me that is a good thing).  How did I survive and complete this event within the 6-hour cut off time?  I definitely did more mileage last year when I did the Run United Philippine Marathon and Subaru Marathon and yet in both races, my finish time was past six hours. 

I put in more weekly mileage as well in my other two Milo Marathons - which lead to one finishing at 5:55 and other at 6:09 (and not receiving a finisher medal for it).  Because of the Milo DNF, I stayed away from joining any Milo event for the past three years.  It was a defeating moment for me and I didn't want to repeat it again.  I took the easier way out, still joining marathons but those with very long cut-off time (7 hours or more).  It was always a Just to finish race.

And yet, here I was again on the starting line with my name on my bib and getting ready to complete it.  My training has been erratic as wasn't able to reach the minimum weekly mileage and that hurt me at the latter part of the race.  I wasn't that serious with this race, looking first at vetoing it, to running it but quitting 2/3 of the way and running home (instead of the finish line), to deciding that I should see this race through from beginning to the end (thanks to Per for encouraging me to do so).  Per told me to just finish it and if completed beyond 6 hours, that's fine.  It was still better than quitting and I never quit in any race that I had started (never mind getting feverish or getting sprained during the race).

As my kids sometimes play and wear my finisher medals, the Milo one is the single one I keep away from them.  This one is mine!  Hands off!  I act like that character from Lord of the Rings (my Precciousss) but it is okay and they are happy with the other medals in our room.  Haha!

So what made this one different from all the other Philippine marathons.  Well, this blog entry is brought to you by the letter S:

SPEEDWORK: The one thing I didn't do before as goals before were just to get to the finish line.  This one had an added pressure of getting to the finish line within the gun time of 6 hours.  So I did various speedwork ranging from fast 10 x 200m up a hill, to fast 10km races and sub 2:30 Half Marathons. 

But speedwork were a bonus for me as I did speedwork so I could have faster 10km and 21km races.  This of course, helped me in the Marathon too.

SPINNING:  Rather than do running the entire four months (and get bored from it), I joined spinning classes at Golds Gym too.  It was tiring as well but I always felt stronger in the runs after doing this.  No pressure or weight on the legs, yet it improves in my endurance and stamina.  Aside from spinning, I also play badminton once a week and badminton feels like doing a little speedwork as well.

SALT TABLETS:  I bought a small container of salt tablets from Runnr that had about 30 pieces of it inside.  I had with me about 7 of these capsules as I was at the starting line of the race and took it every 45 minutes to an hour.  I always feel weak with too much liquid in me (from drinking Gatorade and water) and with a lot of sweat from my body, my salt level get depleted.  This helps boost it up again and gives me strength to continue on.

(TRIPLE DECKER) SANDWICH:  Before any race, my go to quick meal is a peanut butter sandwich.  It is still the same now but with one more slice (and one more layer of peanut butter spread in between).  I was so full from eating this that I wasn't able to eat the bananas anymore.  But this also helped as I didn't experience hunger in the race (I usually get hungry at 25 -30km).

SUPPLICATION:   def:  the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.  
I prayed that I can complete the Milo Marathon days before the actual event.  During the event, I said the Lord's prayers every kilometer to honor HIM and lift this race UP to him.  And for that this gave me:

STRENGTH:  At the latter part of the race, when it was the hardest for me, I kept repeating this life verse:

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me.  
I believed HE was there for me and that gave me strength, that I wasn't alone in this race

(No) SUN/ SHADED COURSE:  Forecast of thunderstorm for this morning but none came.  Even better, the sun didn't come out to burn us all out.  So weather was as perfect as it can be!!!  And I believe it wasn't out of pure luck that this happened.

But it still wasn't easy.  My feet and shoulders were painful and I really wanted to sit down a couple of times.  Due to lack of weekly mileage, I felt my legs about to cramp soon (thank goodness that didn't happen).  It was a hard race.  And as I crossed the finish line, and got the much coveted medal and loot bag, I had to sit in the sidewalk and just rest for a while.  I was so tired that I wasn't sure yet if I could drive myself home that day!

And although I was always below the recommended weekly mileage targets (worse as for beginner levels!), I made sure to hit the weekend mileage needed.  So that one I followed and did two 32km runs before tapering off for this race.

Thank YOU GOD for this, without which it would have been impossible for me to finish the race.

Praise to YOU Lord Jesus.

These two medals are my most prized finisher medals for 2016 as both had cut off times to get the prize.  Both hard to attain and therefore more appreciative once attained.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

My Milo Marathon 2016 Story Part 2

With only three hours of sleep I was off to Mall of Asia around 2am.  My plan was to get there early so that I would have time to stretch and be at the front of the starting line as 6 hour cut off will be based on gun time and not chip time.

Unfortunately not everything went according to plan.  With the road work on the EDSA- Pasay flyover and long parking queue, I got to the starting line less than 5 minutes before gun start.  I was able to do some quick stretching for the legs but I wasn't able to position myself in the front of the pack.  Again not because I am fast (I am not) but want to maximize the gun time start as much as possible.  Luckily, the 42km runners weren't that big and even being at the very back of the pack, I was just 2 minutes away from when first runner took off.  Not so bad and is just equivalent to about three seconds more per kilometer.

The route would take us to Mall of Asia to both sides of Roxas Blvd. before heading to BGC and Lawton Avenue via Buendia. With the 42km distance too daunting to think about as a whole, I divided the distance by three segments: 16km, 16km and 10km distance.

The first 16km ended somewhere along Roxas Blvd while the second 16km distance was on Buendia Avenue.  The last 10km should have been my fastest but with sore feet, legs and really painful shoulders, it became the worst one.  

My average pace prior to this was around 7:55 per kilometer but with the last 10km, my pace slowed significantly.  Everything was painful!! More wallking done and pace for last few kilometers were beyond 9 minutes already.  

My arsenal for this race were 7 GU Gels taken every 7km (ended up using 5) and salt tablets taken in between. I also had two bananas and unlimited water and Gatorade.

My target was initially to finish at 5:30 but with feet and legs pain (felt at times I was about to cramp!), my goal was just to finish below 6 hours.

I ended walking a lot at last 4km.  Even when I saw the finish line in front of me, I still could not run toward it!

During the entire marathon I was reciting the Lord's prayer every time I hit the next kilometer and the verse from Philippians 4:13 at last few kilometers to give myelf some strength and encouragement.  

But it was still hard.

Good thing my pace was good at first part so that compensated on overall performance.

I finished the Milo Marathon at a time of 5:46:24, with pace of 8:09.  Thank God for that!

I happily received the finisher medal, finisher shirt, and towel from the organizers.  It took a while though before I got to the car as I was too tired and had to rest for a few minutes at the sidewalk.

This was my fastest Philippine marathon since 2012 and for that I was grateful.  Since 2013 all my Philippine marathons were past 6 hours.  This was also faster than my first Milo Marathon.  Milo Marathon #2 DNF redeemed!  

Thank You God for this opportunity.  Now it is time to rest :)

My Milo Marathon 2016 story part 1

I was adverse in joining this race due to the strict 6 hour cut off time.  The last time I attempted this was in 2013 and sadly, I didn't make it to the cut off time.  All the time on the road was all for naught as there were no finisher medals to show my hard work.  It was my second time to do Milo Marathon.  The first time I was able to get a finisher medal as made it 5 minutes before the cut-off time.

I joined other local marathons (Subaru and RUPM) due to more lenient cut off time. And yet in both races, I still finished beyond 6 hours 30 minutes.

And yet I was enticed for Milo Marathon as it is celebrating its 40th edition.  But I didn't have high hopes for it as lacked mileage for it.  

I changed my strategy this time and incorporated a lot of speedwork. So shorter weekly distances but more effort due to faster pace.  Because of it, I was able to bring my 10k below one hour (three times this year) and 21km below 2:30.   

One setback for me was when I did the Run United 32km as a test run for my endurance.  It did not turn out well.  In fact, it was horrible as I finished at a time of 4:30 and pace of 8:25, which is too close pace wise for a sub-6 hour marathon.  I was discouraged once again and debated whether I should continue with the Milo Marathon or veto it all together.

In the end, I decided to push through with the Marathon as I had already registered for it, with my personalized
name on it and "21" next to it to signify that this will be my 21st marathon.

But I still wasn't convinced that I would do well here and thought of quitting when I reach BGC and just run/walk home.  But Per told me to finish the race regardless of the outcome as I had never quit before and I shouldn't start now.

To which I agreed to her point and will try my best for this race. I was able to do one more 32km solo run and whose results turned out well.  It was taper time after this and I did one fast 21km race ( Runfest) as final long run before Milo Marathon.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Race Review: Runfest 21km was the online group that started it all for the running community here in the Philippines.  

I was able to register for the Half Marathon category for this year as that is my requirement for the week's long run.  Having it at BGC is an added incentive as it will just be 10 minutes away from my house.

The gun start for the 21km was strange at 4:10am but I didn't mind as had a chance to chat with some friends whom I haven't seen a long time. really is the one race that brings together runners, whether they are new ones or ones who have stopped joining races.  It's like a high school reunion! Haha!!

The route was so old school in that we would go up Kalayaan Bridge and into Buendia Avenue with a U turn near South Super Hi-way before heading back to BGC for another climb towards Lawton Avenue and Bayani Road before making a U Turn back and head towards the finish line.

My goal for this race was 2:30 finish time and to distract myself, I thought of it as a video game wherein I am the player.  There would be four levels for this "game": first level going up Kalayaan Bridge, level two return to Kalayaan Bridge, level three and four going to and fro from Bayani Avenue and Lawton Avenue.  By the time I had finished my own "level four", I was just two to three kilometers away from the finish line and with the remaining distance flat to downhill, it was an opportunity for me to surge and pick up the pace.  

By this time, I knew that I would be able to attain my target goal time and as I still felt strong, I ran faster to see how  much faster I could go.

A final push to the finish line garnered me the fastest pace for this race at a pace of 5:49 and this was for the last kilometer!

Final time of 2:22:50, average pace of 6:49 minutes/km with a distance of 20.97km.  Thank YOU LORD!

The medal was pretty awesome.  There were sufficient hydration, km markers and marshals to guide us on the road and monitor cars.  The finisher shirt was nice too. No complaints whatsoever in terms of how race organizers handled this race.  Even the claiming of loot bags and finisher shirt were quick and efficient.    

Congrats to Leadpack Race Organizer for a well handled race.  Congrats to all the finishers for this race. It was nice seeing a lot of familiar faces too. Till the next road race :)

Race statistics:
Number of GU gels consumed: 2 (one at 9km and second at 16km mark)

Paces: 1km - 6:34, 2km - 7:09, 3km- 7:03, 4km - 6:33, 5km -6:49, 6km - 7:05, 7km - 6:56, 8km - 7:22, 9km - 7:36, 10km - 6:50, 11km - 7:01, 12km - 6:48, 13km - 6:48, 14km - 6:35, 15km - 6:43, 16km - 6:46, 17km - 6:47, 18km - 6:59, 19km - 6:34, 20km - 6:03, 21km -5:49

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Took the Plunge!

Registration is easy.  Now comes the hard part:  training and finishing this race at a good time.

To GOD be all the Glory!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Race Review: Batman vs Superman 10km

Now, this is a race that doesn't happen often. In line with the new movie starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (oopps sorry, wrong flick), there is a race around Mall of Asia grounds with distances of 3km, 5km and 10km.

I was registered for 10km along with friends Janine, Kerwin and Abby and rode in Kerwin's car to head to the event.  But due to unforeseen circumstances (road work on the Pasay flyover), we got to the venue pretty late. 

So late that both the 5km and 10km runners had already started.  So late that even the 3km runners started a few minutes ahead of us reaching the starting line.  But there wasn't anything else for us to do but run.

By that time, I could see the sunlight filling up the morning sky. My strategy was simple: maintain a sub-6 minute pace for each kilometer. That would lead to a sub-60 finish time.

Other than that, there were no other goals for this race.  No new PR, no faster pace than the last one.  

I was comfortable throughout the race.  What also helped me here was the relatively flat route in the entire 10km distance.  No hills or flyovers to climb over.

I did miss a turn somewhere as whenever I see a km marker, distance in my Garmin was shorter by about 1km. 

As I crossed the finish line, I saw that the distance was at 8.8km.  Rather than stop running, I decided to keep on going for the next 600 meters before making the U turn back to the finish line.  Having done that, I had completed the full 10km distance.

Note: After crossing the finish line, I stopped my Garmin watch to check the distance.  And once I decided I wanted to run some more, I walked for a few meters away so that road can be lighter from the crowd, unpaused the Garmin and ran again.  So that was a few seconds of getting a break and not recorded in my Garmin.  It is for this reason I don't consider this as a PR race (although it should have been for the distance).  Funny thing here was that my average pace was exactly the same as the PF Sub-60 10km run a month ago!  But effort was a lot easier so that's something.

Thank God for this and letting us all finish injury-free! Thank YOU LORD for my 3rd sub one hour 10km race for the year. y goal was just one sub-60 race but YOU have blessed me with two more. :)

The finisher medal was awesome and got a Goldilocks loot bag too, which had its own caramel pop corn among other things.

Pre-run nutrition: one cup of black coffee and one pineapple cake

Gu gels: none

Taken in race: water 

Pace: 1km: 5:51, 2km: 5:39, 3km: 5:48, 4km: 5:47, 5km: 5:56, 6km: 5:50, 7km: 5:50, 8km: 5:54, 9km: 5:47, 10km: 5:30

Monday, March 21, 2016

Race Review: Pinoy Fitness Sub 60 10km

This is the fourth year that Pinoy Fitness has done this race and unlike other 10km races, there is a time goal here of finishing the 10km distance in an hour or less than that.  Should a runner complete this, he shall receive a finisher medal and a finisher shirt.

But to cater to runners with no time goal or who are just after the distance, Pinoy Fitness had added another category "Walker Fun Wave", wherein once they completed the race, finishers will receive finisher shirt.

There are three wave categories for the sub-1 due to the number of runners interested in this challenge.

When I registered for this race, I opted for the Brooks Wave as figured that the earlier wave the better as air should be cooler and sun won't be out yet.  

I plan to be there by 5:00am at the latest so that I could be at the very front of the wave and save time.  This was the strategy I used in Amcham race.  Here that should be done even more so as the Sub-1 challenge will be based on gun time, and not on your chip time.  So the further back you are from the starting line, the harder it will be to finish within 1 hour from when the race started.

Unfortunately, every runner had the same idea and by the time I got there, I was at the very back of this wave.  It was super crowded and made me re-think whether registering for the first wave was such a good idea when most runners joined this wave, making it the most congested out of all three waves.

There was nothing to do but find a spot and do a little stretching.  The wait didn't last long and pretty soon, the race had started.

Of course, being at the back, I couldn't run yet and walked slowly toward the starting line.  At this time, I was counting the seconds slowly as I knew I can't just be sub-60 but at least 0:59:30 if they were going to follow the clock!  By my count, it took me 20 seconds alone to cross the starting line to start running!

It was a fast start as almost everyone was sprinting!  Everyone had a goal in this race.  Race route took us up BGC before we headed to Kalayaan Bridge.  

This was around 3km and my pace was comfortably below 6 minute per km.  On Buendia Ave, it was easier to run and I was able to speed a little for the time i slowed going up the flyover.  

Daunting was the task of going back up Kalayaan Flyover from Buendia Avenue as it felt steeper and longer.  "Just cross this", I thought to myself and I kept on going.

Back in BGC, there were only 3km to go.  I was running below 6 minute pace but I was worried if that would be enough due to 20 seconds I lost prior to reaching the starting line.  But I thought of an answer for that, and that was to show the marshal my Garmin watch , reflecting both the finish time and distance I ran!  I have proof!  Once I realized that, I became calmer and just focused on my running.

At 8km, I was experiencing some difficulty in running and breathing.  Am I hitting the wall?  But there were only 12 minutes or so to go!  I need to push myself but also careful and do body self-assessments.  I was wheezing more around this time.

Finally, I saw the finish line and sped to the rightmost side of it as that is where my finisher clock was.  So far so good and I crossed the line, out of breath and tired!  But happy especially when the marshal handed me the much coveted finisher medal.

THANK YOU LORD for this!!!

i didn't stay anymore after the race as felt it was too crowded.  Plus I was famished too. 

So I went back to the car, changed clothes to drier ones and had breakfast at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf after.

What a great Sunday morning!!

Pace per kilometer:
1km: 5:44, 2km: 5:34, 3km: 5:50, 4km: 5:47, 5km: 5:44, 6km: 5:59, 7km: 6:00, 8km: 5:58, 9km: 5:52, 10km: 5:31, 200m: 5:11

Water: drank twice in race: At 4th km and at 7km.

Gu gels: none.  Supposed to bring one for race but at last minute, left it in car as didn't want the "added" weight, all one oz. of it. Haha!

Thanks be to GOD, who was with me throughout this race.  I was never alone :)

Preparing for Sub-60 10km Race (PF 2016)

To say that this race gave me a lot of pressure is a serious understatement!  It took me a few weeks pondering on it before I decided to sign up for this event.  

And it was because I was getting faster in my 10km race, from a 1:02:39 finish time last December, to 1:01:16 finish time in February, I was just a minute or so away from my target finish time.

So I took the plunge, paid the registration fees, took home the race kit and didn't know what to do next! Haha!

I run only twice a week, a short mid-week run and one race over the weekend.  The mid-week may be an easy run, a
tempo run of 7 minute pace or speedwork via 200m x 10 times and would usually involve running up a steep hill.  Even with the steep hill, the 200m would be finished in 1:05 or less, then I would walk down the hill and repeat run again.

The races I join vary from 10km (to build speed) to 16km and 21km (to build endurance).  All with the ultimate goal of going sub-60 in the Pinoy Fitness challenge.  Usually in all these race, I try to go sub-6 minute pace for the last 3-5km regardless of distance I joined so that I could be familiar with running at this pace especially with tired legs.  I may not
always achieve it but in all times, these races helped my performance and I got to finish fast in them.  The goal for the last 3-5km is to be able to still run fast even with tired legs!

You may think two runs a week is insufficient, and I agree with that.  But i was also able to go to Gold's gym for one month and join some of their classes (spinning, boot camp) which helped my endurance and developed core muscles too.  

Once a week I play badminton too which helps in speedwork as I try to catch every shuttlecock heading my way!  It is usually in badminton that I am out of breath so I know that there is still room for improvement.

There is one 10km race (Amcham) that I joined before the Pinoy Fitness run and the purpose for this race was a tune-up race.  Basically I would race this with goal of finishing it in sub 60 minutes.  I will see if my target here is achievable and my effort level in getting to it.

I finished successfully this race with a finish time of 57:15 but it was short 400 meters.  Still, my pace was at 5:56 minutes per kilometer, which would guarantee a sub-60 in PF run.

Two takeaways though from this race:
1) It was mostly flat as just went around BGC area.  Or if there were some climbs, they wouldn't be that steep.  I had no idea yet on route map of PF run at time of this race.

2) My effort level was in the RED.  That means I was giving everything in the race and having a really hard and horrible time in it.  I was having a hard time at the last part of the race in trying to bring my pace down further.

So rather build confidence from that race, there was some self-doubt too as felt I wasn't strong enough or confident enough for PF.  But it was also a good tune up race as it had been a long time (years!) before I had done a sub 60 10km race.

Thankfully, I had two more races: Yakult 16km and Run United 21km.  With these two longer distance races, it should help my endurance and make me stronger!

I also use foam roller to remove the tight spots in my legs and lower back.  

For the final week of training, I did an easy 7km run in BGC Tuesday morning followed by two hours of playing badminton that same day (but in the evening).

On Friday morning, I did 3km warm up followed by 200m x 10 sessions of speedwork where 5 of these sessions will be going up a hill.  

Rest on Saturday so legs will be fresh come Sunday morning!

An extra challenge when the route map came up:

Kalayaan bridge!  My nemesis in all the races.  In the past years, I walk going up this as felt it was too steep and hard effort for me to run it.  Can't do that for this race!

Hopefully the hill sprints I did were enough to meet this challenge.  We shall see..

Sunday, March 13, 2016

RU1 21km: Horrible start but good finish

This was the worst race start for me EVER!

It had a regular set-up the night before: fixing my running gear and setting my phone's alarm clock to 2:40am.  Too bad at 2:40am when the alarm rang, I quickly turned it off and went back to sleep!!

At 3:30am, I was woken up by a phone call.  It was Alvin calling me!  He is at the house already as our race start was at 4:00am!  Adrenalin rushed over me as I quickly went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, fix my gear and use the toilet. Even with the rush to get ready quickly, it still took too long!

We were out of the house at 3:45am, 15
minutes before race start but we had another hurdle to conquer: EDSA was congested with cars at 3:45am!  Apparently one lane on the flyover to Mall of Asia had some roadwork being done on it.  But after the flyover, traffic was light all the way to Mall of Asia.  Parking was easy too as 21k runners were at the starting line and it was an hour away for the 10km runners.

We got to the starting line 10 minutes after the gun start.  And did some quick stretching before starting the race at 4:13am, 2 minutes before the start cut-off.

There was one final hurdle to conquer and that was my upset tummy.  I hoped to do the race quick enough that I won't need to use the toilet until after the race.  As it was a 21km race, I wasn't that hopeful and I looked at the hotels nearby to see where I could stop for abtoilet break should the need arise.

The route was similar to last week's Yakult run in that it was mostly done on Roxas Blvd.  I was able to spot three hotels as we headed towards Luneta Park.

My pace was at a constant 6:45 minutes per km, which was my target pace here.  But at 8km, I felt my tummy grumble and felt that I had to go soon!  I made it in time to the hotel's bathroom after talking to the hotel's security guard if I could use it.  This happened at the 9km mark.

While there my pace went up slowly from 6:45 to 7:00 and to end at 7:11!  I was so disappointed as felt that all the hard work just disappeared because of the toilet break.  But what can I do?

I am reminded of the biblical verse,
"I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith."
 - 2 Tim 4:7

With this reminder, I was convinced that the race was far from over!  I may have lost precious time but I can try and make up for it.  I shouldn't give up even with all that has happened and try to work back to my goal.  My goal was 6:45 average pace for this race so now I had to do my best to achieve it with the last 11km of the race.  Every flyovers that I would go to, I will be in attack mode and surge on them.  There would be minimal walking breaks as well and some level of speed maintained in this race.  I was pretty sure the 6:45 target was out the window, but I can at least try to be below 7 minute average pace.

As more distances are covered, my average pace went down as well.  On the last 3-4km, I brought the pace during this time to below 6 minutes.

I knew by then that I should be below 2 hours 30 minutes and even below 7 minute average pace but had no idea how low it was.

Finally I crossed the finish line, drained and exhausted.  I got my finisher loot bag and shirt before I took a look at my Garmin watch.


It definitely wasn't how you start the race but how it is finished!  That's the important thing!  I was quite happy with this time and I hope that it would be enough for next week's PF sub-60 10km.

I end with one other biblical verse:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"- Philippians 4:13


Just when it felt hopeless, God allowed me to not only reach my goal pace but even be 2 seconds faster from it.  Moreover, this is now my fastest half marathon race since 2010!  With all the hurdles at the beginning, who would have expected this to happen this way?  Definitely not me, but I am sure God knew and He gave me strength.

Race paces:
1km: 6:53, 2km: 6:45, 3km: 6:41, 4km: 7:03, 5km: 6:39, 6km: 6:34, 7km: 6:42, 8km: 7:05, 9km: 6:56, 10km: 10:43 (or as I call it- THE TOILET BREAK), 11km: 6:38, 12km: 7:00, 13km: 6:22, 14km: 6:17, 15km: 6:12, 16km: 6:15, 17km: 6:29, 18km: 5:57, 19km: 5:47, 20km: 6:17, 21km: 5:57, 0.15km: 5:16

Pre-run Nutrition: 1 bottle of Gatorade and 1 pineapple cake

Race nutrition: water and Gatorade throughout race.  1 Gu gel at 10-11km. A second gel was distributed at 16km to which I ate it.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Race Review: Yakult 10-miler 2016

As one of the country's oldest running races (superceded by Milo Marathon), this is a race that all runners should do at least once in their lifetime.  Not only will you be giving importance to historical races that are still in existence until this day, but it has a very affordable registration fee vs other Metro Manila races.

For the 10-miler distance, the fee was just P500 and this comes with a finisher shirt, a bottle of yakult and a bottle of Pocari Sweat.

The starting line was at CCP, next to Star City, with gun start at 5:30AM.  We got there with 15 miniutes to spare to do some last minute toilet break, warm up jog and some static stretching.

Parking was easy and going to the starting line was quick too.  Route was pretty straightforward: running along Roxas Blvd. for both sides.  This would be a general flat route except for the two flyovers, which we had to do twice.

I was hoping to beat my PR pace from Fed Run two weeks ago by going faster than that week's race pace of 6:25 minutes per kilometer.  I also hoped to do the last 5km at below 6 minute pace, as it serves as training for the sub-60 PF 10km race in two weeks time.

I planned to start at 6:45 pace and keep it that way, and bring it down eventually.  But today was an especially hot day and that made it harder to accomplish what I wanted for this race.

I was able to do the 6:45 pace for first 11km but as for the 5:59 pace for the last 5km, it wasn't easy.  Effort wise, I was having a hard time here vs Fed Run 16km two weeks ago.  I don't know whether that is a good or bad thing.  On one hand, I was going faster overall as pace was faster but on the last part, pace couldn't hit the sub-6 minute target that I wanted for it.

It was a hot day too and that could be another factor to me having a hard time here.

With 2-3 km to go, I took a quick look at my average pace and saw that it was at 6:25- 6:26 average pace.  I wanted it to be at worst 6:24 pace so I kept going faster.  But was having a horrible experience with this target.  Pretty soon, I hit 6:24 (thank GOD) and just had to keep the pace through the end.

When I crossed the finish line, I was wheezing and panting so much that it seemed that this was my first exercise for the year!!

But by God's grace, I made it to the end and beat my pace from before (which at that time seemed impossible to beat).

Wow, a 6:22 average pace for a 16 kilometer race.  Praise God!

After I had recovered and gotten finisher shirt, Alvin and I went back to the car and I noticed how every piece of clothing that I wore for the race were drenched with sweat.  From the shoes and socks to the shorts and shirt.  More bad news was when I got home and took a hot shower as realized I had chaffed all over my thighs!  It is safe to say that summer is here! And a painful one at that!

I enjoyed the race and the route and I was quite happy with my time and pace.  I hope that I can get stronger and that this will be easier for me in the future.

Pre- run food: one cup of black coffee and one Taiwan pineapple cake

GU gels: one piece taken at 10km mark

Pocari sweat: drank at multiple parts of the race.  Even more than water!

Pace:  1km: 6:27, 2km: 6:44, 3km: 6:44, 4km: 6:40, 5km: 6:39, 6km: 6:50, 7km: 6:41, 8km: 6:25, 9km: 6:33, 10km: 6:08, 11km: 6:24, 12km: 5:58, 13km: 5:59, 14km: 6:05, 15km: 6:04, 16km: 5:26

Two more weeks to go for the PF sub-60 10km race!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

News: Pet Express Doggie Run 2016

The best running race for dogs and people is back again.  As we didn't have any pets in their very first race back then, we used our own daughter to be the "Pet".  She had a great time seeing all the four-legged creatures.  And it was very nice how it was organized.  So, if you are into running and have a dog, this is the perfect race for you!

A pair of race bibs for each registered "team".

Nice swag

Race Map

More details below:

The Doggie Run will be held on March 19, 2016 (Saturday) at 5:30AM at Mall of Asia.  Doggie runners can choose from 1.5K, 3K and 5K categories.  Part of the proceeds go to the animal shelter, PAWS (Philippine Animal Welfare Society).

Registration fees:

Doggie Race Kit (Php 550) - Race bib with RFID, Event Running Shirt, Doggie Race bib, Doggie Bandana, Doggie Finisher loot bag, Doggie Finisher Medal, Insurance Coverage, Donations to PAWS

Human Race Kit (Php 400) - Race bib, Event Running Shirt, Insurance Coverage, Donation to PAWS

Registration is now ongoing in all Pet Express Branches


Monday, February 29, 2016

Finally: A sub-60 10km race!!

I didn't think this was possible.  This felt surreal especially since I burned out in the fourth quarter of 2015 from doing two Full Marathons just three weeks from each other (Subaru and Run United).  Those two had pretty horrible finishing times for me so I thought I lost my speed and gotten really really slow!

But with GOD, everything was possible.

From Sunlife run 2015 (11/29/15), where I finished it with an average pace of 6:37, to Healthy Run 10km a week after where I got faster and finished said race at an average pace of 6:21, I was able to do my fastest 10km race for 2015 via the last race for the year: Recovery Run 10km (12/12/15) and finished this race at an average pace of 6:15 (with a time of 1:02:39).

For 2016, I was able to go faster for the 10km race and beat my 2015 pace via the La Salle Greenhills 10km run last January 24th.  This one I finished at an average pace of 6:11 (time of 1:02:12).  But I felt like I wanted to collapse and faint in this race.  It definitely wasn't a good feeling!!!  I needed to get faster and get stronger!

I had another 10km race.  This time it was held in Bonifacio Global City and on Valentine's Day.  I was able to complete this race (Run for Life) at an average pace of 6:01 (time of 1:01:16).  Best of all, I didn't feel like I was going to die!  

6:01!  That pace bothered me for the next few days as to get to sub-1 hour 10km time, I need to run at an average pace of 5:59, just 2 seconds away!  But even 2 seconds wasn't enough.  As race may exceed 10km by a few meters.  I needed a little more leeway!  That meant going faster and sustaining speed!

This was all part of preparing in my big 10 race:  March 20th Pinoy Fitness sub-60 10km race!

And yesterday was the final test for it:

AMCHAM 5th ScholaRUN 10km race in Bonifacio Global City:

The nice thing here is the proximity to my house.  I was able to find a parking space easily and did some light jogging and stretching.

I was tensed for this race as had a specific time/ pace goal.  This wasn't a just to finish 10km race but one that hopefully was a sub-60 minutes.

I studied the race map the night before and tried to think where the steep hills were so that I can be more prepared for them.  At the same time, I looked at the downward portions of the race so that I know where I should surge and go faster!

As I saw it, there were three U Turns in this race and two to three uphills but they were compensated by downhills.

During the week, I did one run only to prepare for this:  5km at 7 minute pace followed by 10 x 200m hill repeats.  I hope that this would be enough to give me strength during the uphill portions of the race.

My goal was to hopefully start at a pace of 6:05 and to bring it down to below 6 minute pace all throughout the run.  Obviously I went out too fast at the first kilometer (5:42 pace) and paid for it in the second kilometer (6:13 pace).  

Every time I thought I was doing well, I would see my pace and be disappointed with it.  I even thought that there was a problem with my Garmin and paused and started it during the run to get it back on track.  More bad paces as I got a 6:19 pace on 4th kilometer and 6:08 pace at 5th kilometer.

I was having a hard time keeping the below 6 minute pace.  It was taking more effort on my running.  Even the downhill portions weren't as fast as I hoped they would be.  

But I kept pushing myself and played mind games saying that it was just 5km to go. At 6km, I pushed some more.  At 7km, I psyched myself not to waste the last 3km or the previous 7km would have been!  It was all or nothing!

At 8km, I took a quick look at my average pace.  It was at 6 minute pace!  I had to go faster and bring it down some more!!

I was breathing hard at this point. Just 2km left and I can lie on the ground.  I can stop running. Push! Push! Push!

Having one more climb did not help!

But I thought of the hill repeats and thought that this should be easy.  It wasn't but at least I didn't slow down.

And I saw the finish line!  One last surge! And just like that, it was over.

Thank YOU GOD!!!

I did it with YOUR Strength!  Thank YOU for YOUR protection!  This is for YOU LORD!

As an added bonus, I lingered around the stage area and won this when they had some games for all finishers.

I need to get stronger though as my feeling here was a little similar to the La Salle Run I did where I had a hard time in it.  So I have to keep training until March 20th to be faster and stronger.

Pace per kilometer (negative split):
1km: 5:42, 2km: 6:13, 3km: 5:55, 4km: 6:19, 5km: 6:08, 6km: 5:57, 7km: 5:51, 8km: 5:56, 9km: 5:50, 0.64km: 5:15

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Race Review: Fed Run 16k 2016

This is the second year that I will do the Fed Run race.  As my daughter's school is part of the group of schools associated with this race, I had myself and Alvin registered for the 16km category.

Venue was at Mall of Asia with a super early time of 4:30AM!  As we left the house around 3:50AM, it felt like we were going to the province for a beach or mountain trip instead of just in Mall of Asia for a running race.

Parking was easy at the venue and there were ample portalets as well. But for the water, I had to go around the area before I finally found it near the stage, covered in plastic and unmanned.  I quickly got a small bottle of water and walked to the starting line.

My target for this race was two fold:

First was to get a fast time not only for this year but also by beating my 16km time in 2014.  To achieve that, I need to have an average pace of 6:49 or below.

Second, was that this will be a training of sorts to get a sub-60 10km run next week.  To do this I have to run below 6 minute pace for the last 5km so that I can  be comfortable in this pace.

To make the first goal easier, I try to start race with a below 7-minute pace and keep that throughout the run until the last 5km, wherein I would then accelerate for the second goal that I wanted to do.  Hopefully I had energy to do both tasks.

My weapons for this event were two GU gels and prayers for strength.

As the race started, I felt like I went out too fast.  And I was right!  I was going at 6:35 average pace per km and knew that I had to hold myself back or be burned at the latter part.  So I kept holding back but made sure all my km pace were below 7 minutes.

At 10km, I took my first GU gel, and didn't want to hold back anymore!  My pace quickened but not so much that it went below 6 minutes.  

At 11km, I knew that was the time to go for it.  I had one more GU gel for emergency in case I got drained but it was now or never.  I was able to run at 5:45 pace and kept it.  That was good enough for me.

At 14km, Alvin, having finished his run earlier, joined me for my last 2km.  I was able to lower my pace some more.  But I was a little out of breathe and one cup of cold water later, I was back to running at a fast pace.

I also had a third and secret goal for this race.  To not only cross the finish line with a 6:49 average pace or better (and therefore beating record from 2014) but to cross the finish line with at best a 6:30 average pace.  
I had no idea what my pace was.  I was just sure I had beaten my first target of below 6:50 pace.  I also completed my second goal of below 6 minute pace for the last leg.  But to the final time and average pace? I didn't know until I finally crossed the finish line, stopped my Garmin watch, got the finisher loot bag and finisher  medal before I finally took a look at my performance.

Praise God!  Only He can give me strength for this race!  Glory is to You Lord!

Thank You!

After which Alvin and I had a good breakfast at Aristocrat (it's opened 24/7 !) and we passed by a Starbucks store in Manila so I can get a tumbler (race reward?).

As an added bonus, I got back home and looked at the races I did in the past to find out when the last 16km race was when I went faster than today's finish time and average pace.

Eventually I found said race.  It was for Yakult 10-miler wherein I finished at a time of 1:36:23 (pace of 6:01!).  Wow, that was fast!

But then I looked at the date and saw that it happened some time now... in 2008 to be exact!  Wow!  Praise God for making me stronger and quicker that I was able to shatter 16km race records all the way back to 2008... a time where I was probably 30 lbs lighter, no kids and single!

Now that is doing the Meb!

Thank You again Lord!

Pace per km (negative split):
1km:  6:44,   2km:  6:30,  3km:  6:52,  4km:  6:46,  5km:  6:48,  6km:  6:59,  7km:  6:53,  8km:  7:06,  9km:  6:43,  10km:  6:12,  11km:  6:15,  12km:  5:57,  13km:  6:02,  14km:  5:54,  15km:  5:41,  16km:  5:36,  0.16km:  5:07
Used: one GU gel.  Morning had one cup of black coffee and one pineapple cake.  Throughout the race, drank cold water (there were no sports drinks offered in the race).

Route:  Took the roads around SM Mall of Asia and behind Roxas Blvd.  A little easier vs other races held here as we didn't go through Roxas Blvd.  So no Roxas Blvd, no flyovers.

Weather:  nice and cold.  As early in the morning, sun didn't come up till after the race is over.

What the moment:  Overtook Actors Dingdong Dantes and Tim Yap at last 1.5km and were way ahead of them.  But 700 meters from the finish line, they were suddenly 200-300m in front of me!!!  They never overtook me at any portion of the last 1.5km!  Even Alvin, who was running beside me for last 2km was surprised by it.  So they probably made an early U Turn (I hope accidentally and not intentionally).

All in all a good race.  Thanks be to God!