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.....

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Two Races


This race was forgetable for a lot of things. Power meter battery died before the start of the race. FD broke temporarily on the 1st few kms. Took a pee break. And I was at my heaviest weight coming into this.

The result? A dismal (but still decent IMHO) 1:26:09 finish time which is my worst to date.

Yup, forgetable.


The good:

  1. Good amount of race marshals
  2. Good amount of aid stations (and Gatorade!)
  3. Freebies after the race, especially the nice finisher shirt

For improvement:
  1. Racekit distribution should be done ideally when you register. Not on the day of the race so as not to cause delays
  2. Race didn't start on time because people arrived late (and had to claim their race kits). Supposed to be 6am but we were flagged off at 6.30am

My race:

I wasn't in tip top shape (still! ughhhh) so I had to race this conservatively. The week before I did a simulation (6-20-4, add an extra km at the end for insurance) and did baaaadly on Run2 (bonked actually).

On race day I was able to pull through. The overall time was bad (as expected) but I didn't bonk in Run2 as I was able to manage my gel intake beforehand (1 before gun start, 1 at km5 of Run1, and another 1 10mins before Run2).

Still a lot of work needed, especially on the runs. I still need to inject back those speedwork and tempo runs to have a better race time.

Up next? Possibly a half-marathon. We'll see....

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The First Noel

I was an hour or so early for my 10k race when I entered the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. It was my first race outside the Philippines but I didn't feel a hint of worry as I consider Malaysia as my home away from home, having lived in KL in the early 2000s for three and a half years.

As the 21k runners were flagged off to start, I sat along with a good crowd of 10k runners in the stadium while we waited for the 6am gun start.

It was about 40mins before 6am when I heard regular updates from the race host as to what was happening in the 42k race (which started 3am). I got excited when I heard him say that a Filipino he called simply as "Noel" was leading the race.

Now this doesn't happen very often so I just hoped that he will pull through. Thoughts like, "What if there are Kenyans a few meters behind him and just waiting for the last km to out sprint him?" I didn't know how many kms left exactly so this added to the tension as well.

About 10mins later the race host announced again. The leader of the race is now a man from Borneo, which meant that Noel was caught and might have lost it. The new leader maybe all too familiar with the race route and was well acclimated so it may have been right for him to win this one.

Then, about another 10 minutes after that, the race host announced that it was Noel again who took the lead. Damn it, this would've been nicer to watch if there was a full video race coverage, I thought. But I had to calm myself and hoped that this "Noel from the Philippines" pulls through up to the end.

At about 5:47am, all that hoping was worth it. The race host announced to clear the entrance of the stadium as the leader of the 42k race was about to come in. I fumbled for my phone camera, aimed at the stadium entrance, and clicked Record:

It is not common for Filipinos to win international marathons (outside the country). But for me having seated at "ringside" to see this proud moment unfold before my eyes, it was just a beautiful sight: a Filipino with a 7 minute lead striding into the stadium track in perfect running form not with a grimace of pain from the 2:48:10 effort, but clad with that trademark Filipino smile.

I managed to have his picture taken as he walked from the finish area and asked him about that moment when the man from Borneo took the lead. He said something like that the guy was a veteran but Noel kept within sight of him and guarded him until the right moment came. Noel did his homework, it seems, as his strategy paid off handsomely.

Not a sign of fatigue. What a guy!

I had to go as the 10k race just started. But after my run I stayed a while to see the awarding where Noel proudly stood at the top of the podium.

Noel Tillor (PHL) 1st. Ma Liang Wu (CHN) 2nd. Wincenbert Latius of (MAL) 3rd.

It is but unfortunate that the Philippine media may not have been aware of his achievement. I hope in future international marathons we could see our fellowmen from the media support our athletes as they compete (and hopefully, win) so that everyone here in the Philippines will know ---and be proud.

My hats off to you, Noel Tillor, for running strong and winning this race.

So Noel, will you be back in 2017, the 10th anniversary version, for a possible back to back win? ;)

Go for it parekoy! :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

10k Race Review: Borneo International Marathon

The good:

  1. Flat and fast course good for breaking PRs
  2. Organized registration (online and on site)
  3. Scenic race route by the sea
  4. Bus service (RM30) provided from and to the race venue at designated pickup/dropoff sites
  5. Brooks shirt included

For improvement:

  1. Inaccurate distance. Garmin GPS recorded my 10k race as only 9.6km
  2. Only water was given to the 10k finishers. Energy drink distributors were instructed to provide to 21k and 42k participants only

My Race:

The race setting was beautiful with a PR for the taking. The problem was me, as usual, as I lacked the speedwork and tempo runs to really prepare for this. Not to make excuses, but I was coming off from being sick several weeks prior which affected my then already improving CTL progress. Thus a PR was not in the books if I looked at my depressing training logs.

I approached the race with caution, aiming for a constant 6:30/km pace. In a nutshell, I started of well but faltered by km8, 9 and 10 (or 9.6k if you will). Finished the race in 1:04+ with 9.6km logged. Feeling "bleh!" was an understatement as I crossed the finish.

With the Duaman duathlon coming up in less than 3 weeks, I will need a lot of work from here 'til then.