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