Thursday, July 21, 2016

Race Review: TakboPH BGC 21k

The Good:

  1. Accurate Distance
  2. Race started promptly
  3. Adequate marshals
  4. Adequate hydration stations (water, energy drinks, bananas)
  5. Cool looking race jersey and finisher shirt (for 21k runners)

For Improvement:

  • None at this time.

My Race:

The plan was to finish between 2:35 to 2:45 for this one, being my first 21k race since 2012. I came into the start area with around 10-15mins before gun time and fortunately met Dennis and Roselle for a quick chat (on separate instances), who are fellow running bloggers that owe a lot to for their respective blog's audiences. Dennis was targeting a sub 2:30, while Roselle was an official pacer for the 3:00 finish time.

The weather was pretty humid, as evidenced by my sweating like a pig in the start corral even before the race started. Good thing Kuya Kim Atienza, who predicted the day's weather, reminded us to hydrate.

Another mental note that I had to keep in mind is to just finish this one and not go all out, as I was experiencing chest pains from playing basketball Fri night in a VERRRRRY humid gym. As I am not as young as before anymore, I had to manage my pace and listen to my body throughout the race.

The race started and I squeezed myself lucky enough to be included in Wave 1 of 2. The route will be reminiscent of the old days when popular 21k races like Botak, Adidas, and Mizuno would take us to the Buendia flyover til SLEX for the U-turn, and then back to BGC going towards Heritage Memorial Park then back to BGC for the finish. The path from BGC to Heritage boosted some confidence in me as I was able to test myself there when I did my last long run (of 18k) two Sundays before race day.

The first 10kms (BGC-Buendia-SLEXUturn-Buendia) went by without a hitch (gel at km4-5) with average pace at 8:00/km which is slow by my standards. However, I was feeling alright so why mess it up, right? Besides, HR was at 150-155 which is already at my tempo range so it was too early to accelerate as there are 11kms to go.

As I finished the Buendia flyover climb from Ayala, I saw yellow balloons along the distance.

It was the 2:45 pacers.
These guys kept me from finishing beyond 2:45. Thanks!!!

As I was too relaxed with my pace I didn't realize that I already fell off my target finish time as evidenced by the yellow balloons held by the 2:45 pacers about 800m away. I adjusted my pace and it was a game of cat and mouse for the next 8km.

They were probably employing a 6:2 run-walk strategy by my reckon. Everytime I got near them (while they were walking), they would run and I would have to psych myself to keep my pace to chase them. Frustating was an understatement in the pickle I was in.

By about the 18th km (gel at km 11 and 16) I was able to overtake them (finally!) and ran to the finish. I was constantly looking back to see where they were. There was a point that they were suddenly closing in (probably as I walked along one of the water stations) so I had to jump my pace up again. HR was at or near 160 bpm.

Finally, after 2 hours 43 minutes and change, I finished my first half marathon in years.

Approaching the finish line. #SalamatPompo

The time was slow but my overall effort, if I were to rate it from 1 to 10 with 10 being hardest, would be around 7 to 7.5. This was at a "comfortably hard" pace for me which meant that I could definitely do better in future 21k races. Just need to train more and probably work around cycling and running exclusively (no basketball in between, especially in humid conditions).

Next up? The Philippine Duathlon Series Leg 4 on Aug21 in Clark. Time to get back on my bike again.

10k run. 40k bike. 5k run.

Yup, it's racing season! :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Taper Time!

Ran long on these past few Sundays (14.2km, 16km, and 18km) along with the needed speedwork and tempo midweek runs. As I am now on taper mode, I am hoping that all that (hard) work will be enough to get me to the finish line after 21kms come July 17 Sunday at the TakboPH BGC race.

Lovin' the singlet btw! :)

I estimate my time to be somewhere between 2:35 to 2:45 based on my training logs. Not anywhere near my 21k PR of 2;14, but I will take it after a long hiatus from half marathon racing.

It will be important that I stick to my strategy for this race:

  1. Gel every 45mins to 1hr
  2. Keep hydrated
  3. "Run tall" to maintain good running form
The last item above really helped in my 18km run last Sunday as I felt good all throughout the run which I finished at 2:21 and change. 


Loving this taper period so far as it gives me a chance to get my cycling form back, with the running volume lessened. This'll be a good start to prepare myself for next month's Philippine Duathlon Series Leg 4, which is a 10k-40k-5k affair in Clark.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Shoe Review: Mizuno Hitogami 2

I bought this shoe about 3-4 months ago to replace my old K-Swiss K-Ruuz racing flats, used mostly for my duathlons and 10k races. There's a video review of the Hitogami 1 as below in which GingerRunner's view is mostly similar to my experience of the Hitogami 2:

Some personal comments on the Hitogami 2 based on my experience:

  • This shoe is better for tempo runs and 16k or 21k races. I don't recommend this for duathlons or 5k/10k races. The plastic part outsole heel area does not complement my running style.
  • Very stable with just enough space on the upper for toes to splay.
  • Forefoot area would've been better if they added a *little* more bounce.
  • Not recommended for use with Lock-Laces (for duathlons/triathlons) since it needs extra help to open up when changing into it during transitions.
  • I love the orange with blue colorway.
Overall, a good shoe for my weekly rotation (and my upcoming July half-marathon) but I would prefer a racing flat similar to my old K-Ruuz for my duathlons.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Long Runs Are Back(?)

Yesterday was a great achievement for me as I was able to run 14.2km which is the longest that I've run in quite a long long while. The reason for this motivation to run long again is because I signed up for the TakboPh Half-Marathon coming up next month. I set up the preceding weeks from last week to July 17 such that I hope to progress effectively to finish the distance come race day.

Putting back intervals and tempos (and actually following them!) in my weekly sked was important in order to put the needed speed back. Based on my current condition, I might only be able to pace myself at 7:30/km average race pace, at best. Striving for 7:00/km or better is not achievable at this point and I don't want to push myself too much to injure myself way before race day.

Cycling will be pushed back a bit, probably reduced to 2 workouts a week to put priority on my running. For this weekend, the aim is to run 16km which is highly doable based on last Sunday's run.

Hopefully all goes well from hereon until race day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bike Routes Outside Metro Manila Series: Bugarin Jalajala Loop

A sort of continuation from a list I made 2 and a half years ago, I'll be posting from time to time places outside Metro Manila that I frequently ride. Note that for some of these routes, there are climbs that are quite challenging especially for the newbie so doing this with a friend who's done it, or better yet, with a group, is best recommended.

For today, I'm featuring the Bugarin Jalajala Loop.

Getting There

The route can be reached via Marcos Highway then turning right at Sumulong Highway intersection (which is the way towards Antipolo). Btw, I don't recommend that you bike all the way to this route (if you're a newbie, especially) since the Marcos Highway is abound with erring drivers. It is best to drive to this route. Then look for directions towards Morong Rizal and drive straight until you reach Pililia. There's a Phoenix gas station on your right which you can park your car. This'll be your start point. Btw, if you have a GPS or WAZE app that will greatly help to not lose your way going there. Under Google Maps, just search for "Aling Mameng Restaurant" which is the resto across Pisong Kape. From QC, the drive could take an hour or so (IF you start early).

The Route

This is a 64km loop which starts off at the famous Pisong Kape rest area, kicking in immediately with the famous Pililia-Bugarin climb after just a few hundred meters of flat. This 7.3km 4% ave climb is classified as a CAT3, with Strava recording total elevation gain at 319m (the whole route's elev gain is at 584m). The rest of the route is mostly flat from there. The climb has recently been made famous by the Pililia windmills which anyone can access for photo ops and sight-seeing. Be careful with your road bike though, as I heard that the road exiting to the windmills midway of the Pililia-Bugarin climb is a rough road.

You can also do the reverse loop of this route (flat first then the mean climb on the last part), but you have to pace yourself from the start to just before the foot of the climb so that you'll have enough energy to finish.

Sari sari stores and carinderias are mostly at the top of the Bugarin climb, where you can grab a quick rice+ulam meal (with Mountain Dew, hehe) as a reward for finishing that climb. Sari sari stores start to be scarce on the flat section so better refill your bottles with water (and jersey pockets with gels/etc.) on the climb's tip before descending. At the finish, Aling Mameng's and Pisong Kape offer good food and thirst quenching drinks to accompany your post ride conversations and kulitan.

Be ready to soak up the laid back scenery and fresh air as this route offers the needed weekend respite before another Monday moves in. Read my recap of my 1st ride on this route here.

At the flat section, with Laguna Bay on the background

Safety: 4 out of 5 (the 1 being the climb and descent which you need to be very careful of trucks and fast cars, which are scarce on weekends)
Road quality: 3 out of 5 (the climb/descent is good but the flat section needs rehab)
Volume of cyclists: 10-20 (along the route, since many have stopped already at Pisong Kape coming from their rides from Manila)
Recommended day to Ride: Weekends

Have you ridden this route? Do share your experience in the comments section below.

More routes to come.....