Sunday, December 18, 2011

35th Milo Marathon: Day for Back-to-back 21k PRs!

Fresh from my QCIM sub-2 ecstasy, never did I expect out-performing the PR that I have set there, not a week after. But I did! And until now, it surprises me so.

I've joined the 34th Milo Marathon last year, participating in the 10k category. This year, on the event's 35th anniversary, I wanted to get my hands on the 21k finisher's medal, so I registered early to secure a slot. A cut-off time of 2 hours and 30 minutes will be imposed for runners wishing to get a medal, an additional motivation to do well on the race.

Bryan FFS that my legs should now be accustomed to the sub-2 pace, so he's pressuring me to do another sub-2. I'm not sure if I could pull it off but since running in Mall of Asia and Roxas Boulevard is running mostly on flat terrain, I told myself I'd give it a shot.

By the early morning of December 11, I did my pre-race routine: wake up at 1am, have peanut butter sandwich, banana and coffee breakfast, have a quick shower, and don my running gear. I wore the Milo-provided green singlet since I thought it was a requirement to wear it during the race, but I still brought my lucky red Nike Team Alpha1 singlet, just in case. When I found out that my teammates were all wearing their TA1 tops, I ditched the Milo singlet and changed to Alpha-mode.

My game plan is to follow FFS' pace and see until what point I could survive doing his pace. During the start of the race, we were also pacing with Beeps and Kampuger of Team Power Puff Boys. Unlike my QCIM race start wherein I could not even talk, this time I noticed I'm much more relaxed and I could converse with FFS while doing a 5:10 min/km pace! I also tried forefoot strike and FFS noticed an improvement on my running form.

Well, that was until about kilometer 14. That time, FFS told me I'm losing my form. I was already tired and I could already feel the pain of blisters on my feet. I can also feel my calves were giving up, even though I was wearing compression socks. I had no choice but to go back to heel strike.

At kilometer 16, FFS told me to go ahead and run at my own pace. Below picture was taken by Ms Mars of Pinoyfitness after I passed the final flyover on my way back to MoA.

Photo courtesy of Ms Mars of PF

At the kilometer-19 hydration station, I stopped to take a sip of water. During this break, i walked and told myself I don't want to run anymore. I think it was more mental exhaustion than physical. Then I heard someone shouting behind my back. "Go, go, go!!!" It was FFS, urging me to run. It was as if I had an invisible arm pushing me to move forward. So I ran and did not stop for the final 3 kilometers.

Almost at the finish line!

I clocked in at 1 hour, 51 minutes and 19 seconds. Another new personal best. 5 seconds later, FFS arrived in the finish line and congratulated me. Coach Bry, you're the best!

With medals and loot bags at hand

After the race, my legs were so sore. My calves were literally screaming because of pain; I can't even walk right! I knew it would take some time for me to recover. But nothing, nothing could ever dampen my (running) spirit.

We had a quick change then went back to the finish line area to wait for our TA1 marathon qualifiers (and my idols) - Jayson, Jualyn, Chad and Eugene. How I wish someday I could qualify just like they did.

Chad, Deemen, FFS, Pandesalrunner, Armbanded, Eugenator, Sprintingswine

It was my first time to use my recently purchased Soleus GPS watch on a running event. I plotted my per kilometer performance. I did my fastest pace on two kilometers: kilometer 4 and (surprise, surprise!) kilometer 21!
Excel geek

Three days later the official results were released. I placed 71st out of 1480 21k runners. That's top 4.8% of the population. And this being the Milo Marathon event is quite something.

Indeed, "great things start from small beginnings." Thanks Milo and Runrio for one of 2011's best running events.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Go Natural Run: Runrio's Year-starter Running Event

Let's all start the year right by joining Runrio's year-starter running event - GO NATURAL RUN 2012: A Run for Early Child Diabetes Education. The race will be held on January 15, 2012 at Bonifacio Global City (BGC).

The race features 4 race categories: 3k, 5k, 10k and 21k. The 5k race is a special category sponsored by Resorts World, so expect a bit more freebies when you join here (hint, hint...).

Registration fees and race kit inclusions are as below:
NOTE: No finisher's medal for 21k.

Online registration
can be done on this link and will be available until January 8, 2012.

In-store registration is until January 8, 2012 (8pm) as well, and can be done on the following venues:

9th Ave corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig


•Level 1 Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Edsa cor. Shaw Blvd., Ortigas Center
•G/F Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City

Planet Sports

•2/F Trinoma Mall, North Ave., cor. Pagasa, Quezon City
•2F Glorietta 3, Makati City

The Athelete’s Foot

•3/F Robinson’s Galleria, EDSA Cor. Ortigas Ave., Quezon City
•2/F Twin Cinema Arcade, Alabang Town Center, Alabang

You may get to choose from 4 different singlet colors (subject to color and size availability of course): BLUE, GREEN, ORANGE and RED:
As mentioned there will be no finisher's medal for the 21k participants but in my opinion the nice, high-quality shirt more than makes up for it.
Now for the more generous race registrants who'd want to donate more for the advocacy, a donation of an additional 150 pesos will get you the shirt below, to be given on the race day.
Here's a quick teaser clip of the race event:

Proceeds of the event will go to ABS-CBN's Ako ang Simula.
Join now! Live healthy. Go natural.

Friday, December 9, 2011

QCIM Sub-2 Half-Marathon Euphoria

After eight 21-km runs this year, I finally managed to shatter my previous personal record of 2 hours 6 minutes and 55 seconds last Condura Skyway Marathon 2010 --- IN A SUB-2 FINISH!

It all happened the morning of Sunday, December 4, at the QCIM running event.

The week before, the anxiety and pressure was a bit overwhelming. I was still hesitant to attempt running a sub-2 half-marathon, with my fastest performance this year only at 2:12:14 (back in CamSur). It didn't help either that I had Saturday work scheduled, with my normal race-mode weekend sleeping pattern altered. I was already at the McKinley office 7pm Saturday, and worked the entire night until 3am in the morning. I brought a pillow with me, in high hopes I could at least insert an hour or two of sleep. I had zero.

Good thing it was an almost-perfect execution of work activities, which i only presume was a precursor of (positive) things to come. So with high hopes, I geared-up, left the office, and drove to Quezon City.

FFS, Rocknrolly, Ms Mars of PF, Me, Rocky, Armbanded

It was Bryan (FFS) who planted the idea of the sub-2 21k attempt to the Team Alpha1 members who haven't done a sub-2 yet. Since we had back-to-back 21k races (QCIM and Milo) this December, we still have another shot at Milo if ever we miss doing it in QCIM. A good plan. But it's the executing part that worries me.

Bryan and Rolly were kind enough to offer sub-2 pacer duties to TA1. I know that I perform better on races when someone else is giving me the push. This time, with no sleep at all, I will be relying on another thing to give me a different kind of kick - GU Roctane energy gels. This is the first time I'll try these. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Haha!

During the first few kilometers, I had difficulty with my breathing. I could barely talk. When FFS talks to me, I reply with a simple nod. After 5-6 kilometers of warm-up, I was able to pick-up the pace though. I think it was Roctane doing its job by that time. I was becoming hyper. FFS would occasionally remind me to reserve energy for the last 5 kilometers. Thanks to him, I was able to control my energy reserves for later.

By kilometer 16, FFS told me we were a bit off-track, and that he needs to slow down due to cramps (tsk, tsk, alcohol intake). He let me go, with a final advice that I should maintain the pace. And with that, I was alone.

The rolling hills of Commonwealth Avenue were now taking its toll on my body. I then did what was the only logical thing to do at that time: PRAY. I sought strength, I sought endurance. I had no GPS watch so I had no idea what my pace was. I just kept going, and gave it my all. Upon sight of the Quezon Memorial, it dawned to me that the finish line is drawing near. As I entered the memorial circle curve on that final stretch, I kept asking myself "Did I make it?"

Eugene made me sprint!

YES I DID! The time I looked at the digital timer, it read 1:59:04. Everything went like a blur after. Eugene was at the finish line and congratulated me, but I still could not believe it. When Bry arrived, I gave him the thumbs up and he understood. I saw how proud he was with my achievement, but I was more proud to share this achievement with my entire team.

Cloud 9 moment captured!

QCIM not only marks my first sub-2, but also the first full marathon of our teammate Marvin (Martian). Jesy (Sprintingswine) was his pacer.

Waiting in the rain for our marathon finishers!

Congratulations Martian! Virgin (marathoner) no more!

Post-race breakfast at Max's

The results were released 2 days after. My official time is 1 hour, 58 minutes and 51 seconds. I ran my fastest pace at the final kilometers of the race.

Race Results

Thanks to QCIM! This definitely will be one of my most memorable race. But according to Coach Bry, I should not stop here and continue to strive for improvement. Time to focus now on my running form. On to the next challenge!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Running 21k... On a Treadmill!

A typical Sunday for me would involve an early morning long distance race event. November 27 was an exception, as there were 7 race events that day, but none offering 21k (maximum 10k category only).

Since I do not want to miss any Sunday long runs, I decided to try long distance running on a treadmill. My teammate from Team Alpha1 Rolly told me it's a good mental training. Our teammate and idol Eugene did a full marathon (42k) and ultramarathon (50k) on a treadmill as part of his BDM training.

With 1 week to go before I attempt a sub-2 21k run, I sort of wanted to simulate how my quick my legs should move to meet the target time, and to assess if it's even plausible for me to do a sub-2 already.

The Gold's gym treadmills have a 99-minute maximum run time (approximately running 15 to 17 kilometers), so I had to split my training run into two. I decided to run the first 15 kilometers at a constant 6 min/km pace, then finish strong with the final 6 kilometers at 5:42 min/km pace. The latter pace is the pace I needed to maintain to make it to the sub-2 goal. I did not want to push myself too much by doing the entire 21k on this pace.

I finished with a total time of 2 hours, 3 minutes and 56 seconds. A glimmer of hope for my sub-2 dream. :)

Call me crazy but a treadmill is my training best friend

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Just a short note for the day. December 4 is just too perfect. Flawless execution of an activity for our client at work, an unexpected PR at a 21k race, and great bonding with the best running team in the world.

Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Full Marathon Training Plan - 6 Weeks Done!

I'm currently following a 16-week training plan for my upcoming HongKong Marathon on Feb 2012. The training plan is for a sub-4 marathon, which I'm not really targeting. I'll faint if I even finish in sub-4:30. Haha! However, I just like to follow a training program, to the best of my ability, given a number of factors which would make me miss some training days - work, illness, or just simple laziness.

I track my progress in a simple MS Excel worksheet. So far I've logged an approximate 225km in 6 weeks, versus the 290km recommended by the program. Sigh. That's just 77.6% of the needed mileage.

The next 10 weeks will only get tougher.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Running Tagaytay Highlands: EPIC!

Nathan Ridge Run's tagline: We'll REDEFINE road races. They didn't disappoint.

Last November 20, I and a few (suicidal) Team Alpha1 members joined what could be our most memorable race for the year - Nathan Ridge Run, at Tagaytay Highlands. As the day's designated driver (LOL!), I picked-up Coyote, FFS and Rocky at Speedygiant's Paranaque residence, where they stayed for the night. We left for the long drive around 3am in the morning.

We were greeted by race marshals at the Highlands gate, with our race bibs as entrance passes to this exclusive destination.

"Welcome Runners" banner

One of the marshals handed us a map to the location of the starting line. My navigators ensured we were on the right path by following closely the directions on the map.

The controversial map.

We arrived at Midlands, quite surprised that we were the first one to arrive. Not a single soul was in sight (shudders...). I parked my car at this very dark and creepy parking lot. Martin was even joking of a man sitting at a far bench, looking at us. Someone got scared, but I won't divulge who.

A security guard on a motorcycle arrived (whew!) and told us we were on the wrong location. The starting line of the race is at the Highlands, not Midlands. We showed him our map and he pointed us to the correct location. It turned out that the map is one directing to a church for the Del Rosario-Tan wedding which happened October 22! We were laughing our asses off upon realizing what a big booboo we had.

On top of this series of comedic events, the race kits of Eugene and Maddy were in my car, and they should be presenting their race bibs at the gate to be able to enter, so we had to drive all the way back to the gate. It was already 4:20am and we lost all the free time we should have had been enjoying before the race start.

Finally we have arrived at Highlands! The buses carrying most of the runners were now arriving. I parked my car at the designated area, and we had to walk an uphill path going to the clubhouse, where the start arc is located.

FFS, Coyote, Maddy, Eugenator, Rocky, Deemen - the suicidal bunch

Team pic with the very pink Sweet Life Runner

We had a few minutes to prepare (and for some photo ops). The 21k runners were asked to assemble at the starting line, with some words of warning from the race director that what we joined in is no ordinary race. And with that, we were off!

I thought that Martin, Rocky and I could run the race together. I was wrong! The start of the race was already an uphill (or uphell, as they say), and it was so difficult to pace with another runner given we have different running styles in this type of terrain. We got separated very early in the race.

Enough of the rants. I now present to you a set of pictures highlighting my Nathan Ridge Run experience:

The crazy fog during an uphill (running) battle

I love their kilometer markers but I only had the chance to take a pic of the 7km marker.
It's an additional effort to stop and take a picture with my trembling hands. :p

Look at the background downhill path!

Guys, this is no camera trick!

Met Aldrin, who was running the same pace as I am. We ran-walked-talked until the finish line.
Merry Christmas colors!

Even walking was a struggle at the final kilometer of the race! I can't even force a smile!

After 2 hours and 43 minutes, it was all over. The grueling race was worth it - I managed to finish it injury-free!

My hardest-to-earn 21k medal (so far)

Team Picture!

21k finishers and proud!

What else comes after the hardships of a long run? A well-deserved post-race breakfast of course! We went to Leslie's Tagaytay for bulalo, sisig and crispy pata! Calories lost, calories gained. Haha!

Hungry boars.

The big question is, with the Nathan Ridge Run becoming an annual event, will I give it another try next year? Right now, the answer is no, even though it's one of my favorite races for the year. What I'm feeling right now is that it's sort of a once-in-a-lifetime race experience. It's fun yet traumatic. But we'll see. It would be a good target to set a new PR on this race, kinda lets you assess if you're getting stronger on hills.

Hard-earned medal.

Runner 0318 helped redefine a road race.

Friday, November 25, 2011

New 32k PR at Unilab Run 2011

I promised myself I'll be having a new PR at the 32k Afroman distance the next race opportunity. Last 2010 at the Unilab Run United 2, I finished in 4 hours, 2 minutes and 19 seconds. This year in Unilab Run United 3, I slashed 35 minutes off that time and clocked in at a strong 3 hours, 26 minutes and 50 seconds!

Thanks to the weekend long runs and weekly trainings at McKinley hill, I've managed to increase my endurance on long distance running. The 25k run the previous week at the NB Power Run event worked to my advantage, as I have a gauge already of how I need to conserve energy at the latter part of the race.

I paced with two Team Alpha1 teammates - Martin (Coyote) and our new member Byron (Achilles). We were targeting for a sub 3:30 finish, with a need to sustain a 6:15 to 6:20 minutes per kilometer pace. The plan was also to do a steady start, pick-up speed at the middle and finish strong.

By kilometer 22, Coyote declared a "walk break" which I did not want to entertain. I knew that if I walked with 10 kilometers to go, fatigue will set-in. I decided to go ahead; I wanted to keep my legs moving. At around 7:30am, I started to feel the heat. It was not particularly helpful that we were running in Roxas boulevard area where there's very little shade. Hunger also started to kick-in, with no banana stations and no Powerade drinks in hydration stations. I just managed to be content on small sips of water at every hydration station I pass through.

At the final curve with the finish line in sight, I was elated to see 3:26 on the digital timer display. With a bit of a sprint, I crossed the 32km arc in 3:26:50. I did it! I performed above target!

Deemen, FFS, Rocknrolly, Achilles, Bandit

A few more meters to the finish line!

Post-race breakfast at Dennis the Grill Boy, Mall of Asia (Welcome, TA1 Byron!);
Watched the Pacquiao-Marquez controversial match after

"You passed 134 runners!" Oh yeah!

Next year, I'd probably eye for a sub 3:10 finish. Well it doesn't hurt to dream anyway.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Run, Rain and Pain: 25k at the New Balance Power Run

I'm not a fan of the rain. I miss gym workout sessions when it rains. I miss my running training program when it rains. I'd rather stay home and keep dry.

All that changed on a rainy, Sunday morning of November 6, when I forced myself to go out of bed, and attend the NB Power Run event. I didn't want my money to go to waste; I paid 1000 bucks as registration fee for this! Hehe!

Good thing I'm all geared-up for the downpour. I had my running jacket on as well as a cap to protect my eyes from the rain. My pair of shoes helps keep out water as well. Puddles of water were everywhere, and there was a particular area in the race route were flood waters were about an ankle high. Runners had no choice but to submerge their running feet. Wet shoes... Wet socks... Blisters!

Luckily, I had running company with me, my teammates from Team Alpha1 Coyote and FFS. FFS graciously offered to pace me and Martin. No pressure for me though, as this is my first 25k event, with a sure PR as long as I finish. I appreciated how FFS controlled our pace at the first few kilometers - making us slow down on road bends, advising us to keep steady on uphills, and on top of that, running ahead of us when we're approaching hydration stations and handing us cups of water as soon as we reach the water station. Now that's good pacer service!

We picked up pace at the final 10 kilometers, and by this time, we were overtaking a lot of runners who weren't able to manage to balance their energy reserves well. FFS' strategy worked! We managed to finish in 2 hours, 36 minutes and 59 seconds. Given the weather condition, that's a great time.

Almost at the finish line!

Team Alpha1 25k Finishers

Post-race breakfast at Pancake House

Runpix Analysis - Notice the negative split at the final 11k!

Now the only problem I had with this race is why the heck the finisher's medallion given during registration? If there's any rationale to that, I'd like to know.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Online Raffle Winner! Woot!

(Gift voucher photo courtesy of Kulitrunner's site)

I love reading other runners' blogs. One site I frequently visit is Kulitrunner's site since she's almost always first in announcing details of Runrio races. Last October 30, she posted a blog entry, letting 5 lucky readers win a complimentary race kit in Run United 3. I seldom join raffles since I feel luck is not on my side, but when I read this particular contest, I really felt good so I gave it a try.

3 days later, the winners were announced. Snippet of the blog entry on the image below:
Thank you Ma'am Vimz for this great running gift! I have registered already in RU3 32k (did not want to rely on chance alone) but Ma'am Vimz told me the voucher is transferable (but should never be sold) so my Team Alpha1 teammate Speedygiant will be using it for the 15k category.

Time to join more online running contests! Haha!