Monday, February 12, 2018

2018 New Balance Power Run 25km

After skipping 2017 for its Power Run edition, New Balance is back again this year stronger than ever.  There are multiple race categories for this race - from 8km to 16km and ending with its popular distance of 25km.  It also included its other race of 5km (+1km) for this event as well.

For its past editions, the starting line was usually situated at Bonifacio Global City (BGC).  For this year, they decided to make it different by moving the starting line to McKinley West.  As I am not familiar with the parking area here and worried that it might be a problem for us, I decided that we leave the house earlier than usual.  Doing so turned out to be a good decision as I was able to find a parking almost immediately on the road.  Should we arrived a little later, this place would be filled already.  Our parking was conveniently located near the starting line and it was free!  Only worry Alvin had (which became my worry) was if there would be any break ins as no security here.  But I figured that with a 4:00am gun start, we should be able to finish quickly as well (before any thieves were awake).

Having come off Hong Kong Marathon, I didn't feel like racing and just wanted to take it easy.  But knew that I also had to be prepared for it distance wise and not just take it for granted.  25km is still a long race and a daunting task especially to one who underestimates it.  So for my training runs, I would run two 10km during the week, preferably at 7:30 pace and the weekend prior to this, I logged in a 20km run via the treadmill.  This should be enough to help me survive  this year's Power Run, survive at least till the finish line.

My target for this race was at worst a 7:30 minute pace, which was what my pace was for the training runs.  But it was a hilly route so I wasn't that sure on how well I would perform come race day.

New 25km route
 This race was definitely one of the hilliest ones I have ran in the Philippines!  The only part that was relatively flat was after Kalayaan Bridge and along Buendia Avenue.  It was here that I spotted some celebrities running the same distance that I was - Kim Atienza and Anne Curtis.

As Buendia Ave was the only flat place in the race, it was here that I sped a little faster knowing that later on, I had to slow down again once I get back to Kalayaan Bridge.

My back and shoulders were sore but legs were still strong so I kept running, just wanting this race to end.  I was envious of the 16km runners and silently wishing I had joined that race category instead.

I kept going, counting down the distance to the finish line and now having a target runner for me to keep going - none other than Anne Curtis, whom I felt was slowing down as our distances were getting nearer.

I finally saw her back in BGC, and overtook her there.  It was about 23km into the race and an uphill climb again going to Bayani Road.  I didn't want to slow down for fear she might catch up to me.  And went faster instead.  This was hard, but I knew that pain would soon end and I could finally stop running and sit down.

A right turn to McKinley West was made and it was a downhill one to the finish line!  Thank God for that.  I saw John shout my name, then Alvin who seemed happy near the finish line.  I sped the last 200 meters, overtaking another runner as I crossed the finish line!

Final time of 2:57:00 with pace of 6:58!  Wow!  Thank YOU LORD for this.  Truly unexpected!

A few minutes later, Anne crossed finish line with a lot of people bringing out their cellphones and doing selfies with her.

Cindy crossed finish line too afterwards, quite happy as this was her farthest distance and she didn't burn out!

Happy 25km finishers
 No more loot bag at finish line, just the finisher medal.  So that felt a little anti-climatic although they did have a really nice shirt that we got upon registration.

Celebration afterwards at Mcdonalds BGC (our usual post race breakfast place) where my wife also came over to join us to eat.

Thank YOU JESUS for everything! 

Note:  I had two GU gels for this race, and one banana plus water and Pocari Sweat throughout the race.  One toilet break as well.  Lord's prayers were made every time I reach another kilometer which has become a standard to my long races.

Weather was a little humid at the beginning as well and I started to sweat a lot.  But it became cooler as the day progressed.  Witnessed a very nice sunrise on top of Kalayaan Bridge and a lot of runners took out their cellphones to take pictures of it.

Races are now over for the first quarter of 2018.  Will see when the next one will be!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Virtual Races in the Philippines !

Aside from the regular road races, there is also a virtual race and it has now hit the Philippines as well. 

For a virtual race, it would essentially mean logging your running miles whenever you run and uploading it at their website.  So you could be running in the gym, out on the roads, on the mountains and all of these would count as long as they would fall within the validity dates of the rules and regulations of the virtual race.

Garmin actually had its own virtual challenges and I would run against fellow running friends in the hopes of getting in the most distance within that time period.  It serves as a motivational tool for our marathon training and it makes us aware if we start to slack and other runners keep adding miles.  There are no prizes at the end of these challenges, only bragging rights from the winner.

For the Paris Marathon 2017, they also had their own running App where there were a series of challenges in it to encourage you to keep running for your marathon training.  This can be a series of 10km tasks that needed to be accomplished within a week's time, or it can be a required one 25km distance that needed to be done over the weekend.  Once done, you will get a virtual badge from the App.  Once a certain number of badges were completed, it would unlock new levels and new challenges.  For anyone who completes all badges, they get a chance to win one pair of Asics running shoes, which can be claimed during the Marathon Expo. 

So there are a lot of ways for these virtual challenges and races.  Recently via my Facebook feed, I stumbled on two virtual races in the Philippines.  The premise for both are quite similar:  get a total distance done for the entire month of January and if you do, you will get a finisher shirt and medal. 

Total distances to conquer  for the month ranges from 25km to that of 200km.  The loot is the same regardless of the distance but the shirt and medal would display the distance you joined so the higher the distance, the higher the bragging right provided of course that you reach it before January 31st.

As I had a full marathon race in January and a half marathon race also in January, I would be able to lock in 63km already from these two races.  It would also be a consolation prize for me should something happen to me and I won't be able to finish the Hong Kong marathon within the cut-off time.  So I joined for two races, one from and the other from Go Run Sketchers.

Both cost about the same of Php 950 to Php 1,000, which can easily be paid via bank deposits and uploading the deposit slips to their respective websites as proof of payment.  Runs made during the month will be uploaded in the same websites by taking a picture of it using your phones, and each run will be verified by the site's moderator and added to your total miles. 

So I have been running and logging in miles, and uploading them almost immediately to the websites as a sign of my accomplishments.  I finished the PSE Half Marathon and logged that in.  By God's grace, I also finished the Hong Kong Marathon and logged that in too.  And I kept running still.  I kept uploading screen shots of my runs and pretty soon I exceeded my target goals of 100km for the month. 

I had hoped they would have a 150km challenge but there was only a 200km after the 100km and I wasn't that confident that I could accomplish that.

At the end of the challenges, I have logged in about 175km for the month and almost immediately, I received the finisher kits from the mail:

Sketchers Go Run 100km Virtual Race 100km Virtual Race

No problems encountered with delivery of finishers kit (and kids had a blast trying to guess what was in the packages).  Shirts were of nice material and medals were pretty too.  So because of the HK Marathon, I ended up with three medals instead of one!  Ha Ha!

Good motivation tool as well to keep running.  Will definitely join future virtual races.  Maybe the 200km would be more challenging next time!