Sunday, January 22, 2017

Race Review: PSE Bull Run 2017

This is the first race for 2017 and similar to last year's edition, I joined the Half Marathon race.  My goal was to beat last year's pace of 7:37. It helps that I was able to blog about it last time so that it will be easy to track down my performance and results.

So I am writing this again in case I need it for reference for PSE Bull Run 2018.  Haha!

Anyway, this would be part of my 32km long run for the weekend but rather run it at LSD average pace of 7:30 per kilometer, I decided to race it just to see how fit I am (and if I can sustain the distance at the pace I wanted).

My goal is to not only beat last year's race but hopefully to do an average pace of 7 minutes per kilometer so I can finish the Half Marathon at below 2:30 time.   But I wasn't sure I could do it as haven't been doing any speed runs lately. 

My legs though felt good, having it rested since Thursday.  And I was sure I could finish this race in terms of distance.

The gun start for the Half Marathon was at an early time of 4:00am which is something I can never get used to!  I was still dazed, sleepy and had a minor headache when Alvin came to the house at 3:15am.  Blame it on the two hour sleep the night before from
doing... nothing!  Just aimlessly flipping TV channels.  Zombie TV time!

We got to the race early, well early for us with about 10 minutes to go.  And saw Jaymie "TheBullRunner" there with her son, who seemed to have inherited her running genes.

Saw my sister and brother in law and some friends too.  All were doing the 21km distance.

Alvin had his own goal of sub 2 hours so he went to the front of the wave as our race started.  I was comfortable running at the back end of the pack.

Like in previous editions, the route was a hilly workout as it took us to Kalayaan Bridge and Lawton Avenue/ Bayani Road or as Alvin and I call it, "the Old School route".

As part of my own training, I would try and drink at every 5 kilometers to try and emulate the hydration stations in Hong Kong Marathon which I shall be doing a second time in three weeks time.  And every time I stop to drink, I would be conscious and spend one minute walking in that area, nothing shorter (so legs can recover from fatigue) or longer (so pace won't slow too significantly).

I had 3 GU gels with me as safety measures but ended up not taking a single one.  I also skipped the banana
station as figured it would take more
than a minute to consume that.

Surprisingly my pace was below 7 minutes even with the hills.  I kept muttering to myself ,"You are going too fast.  You are going to burn out."  But I felt strong and couldn't really slow down. In fact I was going faster.  But cautiously fearing that that won't last long for me.

I honestly missed running the races (except for super early gun time) and this was one I wanted to try my best in it.  Nevermind the fact that I had to run 11 km more after it.  I will just cross the bridge when I get there. GULP! 

I was good all the way, then we headed to Lawton Avenue and there was a curve ball which I didn't expect: a right turn into steep Mckinley West.  A short burst of profanity to myself (sorry!) as I realized where the route was taking us but I had no choice but keep on going.  Took a water/walk break there before resuming the run again.

I should study the race map better next time! Grrrr!  Don't like surprises!

It helps that the weather was chilly and sun wasn't out yet.  Pretty soon I made the U Turn at Bayani road and started to go back to BGC.

That was when the 2:30 pacers overtook me!  What the!  I checked my Garmin watch and I was running at 6:40 average pace.  That meant that they were even going faster than my pace!  For a 2:30 pace that would roughly covert to a 7:00-7:05 average pace so why were they going at below 6:40 average?  That wasn't right and I felt sorry for the runners who joined these pacers and got burned out for running at a fast pace.  Not sure if pacers knew what they were doing in this.

Either way, I never caught up with them but focused on my own pace.  There was a part at 18-19km wherein my right arm had excruciating pain.  I didn't know where that came from but kept going using my legs for running and rotating my arms in clockwise and counter clockwise directions to lossen it up.  Praise God that after 1 km, the pain subsided and I could focus back to the running.

Finally, the end of the race was near. It was a final push to...the stoplight!  Yep, marshals made us stop and wait for traffic to cross before allowing us to run again.  "So bitin", I thought to myself but used that time to catch my breath.

And finally the real final push to the finish line!

With this being first half marathon for the year, it was an automatic PR for 2017.  But what was awesome was how it beat all my 21.1km times from 2016!  Even better news was when I dug deeper in my own running history and found out that last time I ran a half marathon that had a faster time than this race was back in 2010! A 7-year record!  PRAISE GOD for this!!!

After resting a bit and getting high from the good time in the race, Alvin and I resumed our 10.5km additional mileage so I can complete my 32km day requirement.  Of course at a much much much slower time!

Thank YOU GOD for an awesome race
time and for keeping me safe the entire time.

In terms of race organization, it was well handled again by Runrio team.  Easy to claim loot bags, finisher medals at the finish line, ample water and Gatorade stations, good loot, and banana stations.  They probably need to improve runners doing the pacer duties but since I didn't run with them, I wasn't affected by them either.  Hopefully marshals won't stop us too when we are so near the finish line but I guess that's part of how they manage the race and the traffic in that area.  Congrats to the race organizers for a job well done!