Thursday, September 14, 2017

Saucony Type A4 Review

I have been using the Saucony Type A4 shoe for over a year now, particularly for my interval and tempo workouts, and also for my races (duathlons, mostly). I changed the laces to lock laces for a quicker T2.

To be straight about it, this is a great fast shoe for your intervals, tempo runs, and races. It solicits quick leg turnover due to its (almost feather) lightness and with just the right amount of cushioning for a low-profile race shoe.

I highly recommend this shoe if you're looking for a pair for your fast days.....


Saucony needs to improve the strength of the Flexifilm technology that wraps the upper of this shoe. As the pictures of my pair show below, the Flexifilm wrap has torn out of regular wear in the areas that frequently folded in my running gait. Further, it has caused the inner layer to tear as well.


This causes the shoe to lose a little grip on the front part of my feet, which could cause some discomfort (slight slip?) upon ground contact. This is apart, of course, from the obvious degraded look of the shoe.

It is unfortunate that the greatness of this shoe has been undermined by the low strength/durability of the Flexifilm.

And that is why, unless Saucony improves on this, I will have to look at other brands once the Flexifilm (and inner layer) finally gives away.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Up Next, A Half Mary

With my A-race done for the year, it's time to tick off whatever I can do in these BER-months race wise.

One of which is to run a half marathon (or two? hehe).

As I shied away from the RunRio Trilogy series since it was too expensive in my opinion, along comes the Nutrilite Health Run 2017 with a P850.00 21k reg fee ---52% cheaper than the Trilogy series. Best of all, it's also by Runrio. ;-)

Of course, I gave in. :D

I won't forego my bike workouts but I'll have to prioritize my runs over rides should there be conflict with family/work priorities.

So I have started my crash training a couple of weeks back and I'm sloooowly building my long runs. The weekday runs (I try to run twice on the weekdays) seem to be lacking in structure so today I went to the Garmin Connect website which offered free training plans. I took the Tues, Thurs, and Sunday run sked for weeks 11-16 from one of the plans (since I've only 6 weeks left 'til race day) and plotted them onto my Trainingpeaks calendar.

Yup, it should work (I think).

Hopefully this'll help me finish the race on Oct 15 and maybe, just maybe, finish inside 2:30. ;-)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

BikeKing Duathlon: That's Better

Great race org overall. Simply THE BEST duathlon organizer in the country! From the registration to the race proper all the way to the medal and finisher's area plus loot bag, it was very well organized. Of course, riding the SCTEX is always the main attraction of this race and it never fails to disappoint.
Race distance accuracy could be something to be improved though as the bike leg measured an additional 2+ kilometers ---evaporating any PR chances goodbye. I understand the placement of the turnaround point at the Floridablanca exit which is at the toilet area which makes it convenient for participants to make a stop for #1 or #2. Not sure though how Bikeking can resolve this very minor issue.

Took a Nutella sandwich minutes before gun time.
Run1 took us to the ever familiar Porac road which was 3km downhill and then go back up the same 3k for T1. I planned for a 6:30/km pace throughout and I was on point for the first 3k, averaging 6:29+ per km for that downhill section ---refusing to let my adrenaline rush to push for more.
It was a different story though after the turnaround as my pace dropped to 6:44/km for the last 3k uphill. I was overtaking the other participants (who may have pushed too hard on the first 3k) but pace was way outside my target ---a reminder yet again that I should do more hill repeats.
Gel #1 taken at km5 of Run1.
Finished Run1at 6:37/km which was still a good start for beating my PR (I was 6:51/km in the 2015 version).
I was able to borrow a pair of UCI-legal aerobars days before the race. I know this is something unusual for me as I try not to do anything new on race day. Although I raced last May with the same aerobars on two duas, I didn't quite specifically train with it for this race. It will just all come to familiarity of feel when I exited T1 and, fortunately, I didn't do any major adjustments with using them (again).
Riding downhill was a breeze (reached 55kph max) and the upward section to the turnaround was expected. I was still feeling good so no issues were encountered...yet. 
Leaving T1 towards SCTEX
The bike leg was a 2-loop ride from Porac exit to Floridablanca, which was probably between 15-16kms. As I looked at my Garmin when I approached the turn around point, it read 15 point something kms which meant that this'll exceed 60kms. I mentally calculated that beating my 3:29 PR will be a challenge as I may have to double the effort. However, opting for safety (in preparation for a good Run2) I just had to manage my pace on the bike since there are makunat climbs on the way back to Porac (which I will tackle TWICE).
As expected, it was a chore on the way back so I relied on my power numbers (3sec power and NP readings) to manage my effort and prevent bonking. Fortunately, this strategy worked well as I was able to finish the 2-loop (hard!) bike course to reach T2 in one piece. 
Average speed = 25.8kph (2015 version was 24.6kph). I will probably make a separate post for my bike leg analysis a la Trainingpeaks for future reference so watch out for that. ;-)
Gel taken every 30mins during the ride (4 gels in total). Hydrated with water only.
I ran out of gels by the time I reached T2 so the plan would be to gulp Gatorade at the hydration stops. I was expecting a grueling Run2 if we were made to tackle a shorter version of the same downhill-turnaround-uphill route. Fortunately we were made to run a two loop course inside Sandbox, Porac. It still had its short climbs but not as challenging as the previous versions of this race. What was difficult was running in the hot sun so I had to douse myself with water at the hydration stations. 
I started off well pace-wise (6:30/km) but it considerably dropped to 7:00+ all the way to the finish. Not sure what happened to me from km2-4 of this leg. Possibly fatigue or ran out of energy (although I gulped the Gatorade, it may have been too late as it normally takes a while before you feel its effect to pump you up). Note that I was still running well (i.e. not walking) on those last kms but not on the pace that I liked.
Average Run2 pace = 6:58/km (2015 version was 7:15/km on a tougher course). 
I reached the finish arc at 3:36 which was 7 minutes over my PR. Nothing to be ashamed of here as I did well in my opinion. Had the bike distance been accurate and I haven't spent too much time on T1 and T2 (over 3mins each), it would've been a PR victory. 
There will be a lot of post race analysis on this one but, overall, I am very happy to finish this (my A-race) on a better condition vs 2015. My (pace and nutrition) strategy was better, my HR numbers were lower with same or better speeds, and I managed myself mentally well all throughout the race.
Even though I left Porac without a PR, this is probably my strongest SCTEX duathlon performance to date.
And I think I am just going to get better by next year's version. ;-) 


Monday, August 14, 2017

SCTEX Dua: Race Week Thoughts

So it's my long awaited A-race (a.k.a. revenge race) this Sunday and I'm keen to find out how I'll end up then after.

Training-wise, I may have reduced CTL slightly (now in the lower 50s) as the weekend long rides and runs have been left wanting. Been taking the kids to the basketball clinic every Sat am so down goes the long ride/run. Sunday AMs are usually medium rides in BGC with not much elevation (been too lazy to drive to Nuvali) so I will definitely perish on Sunday's bike leg (where the makunat climb awaits).

The runs have been well, sort of, pace wise but with the bike in between come race day it'll be a challenge to keep it going once the Porac exit starts with the nasty climb upon the turn around.

Yup, I've been running this race course in my mind for several days now and I'm quite ready for it mentally speaking.

I predict a good Run1, a good/bleh Bike, and a hard fought Run2 on Sunday. 3:29 is my standing 2014 PR for this dua distance (6-60-4) so I hope to do better than that.

Fingers (and legs) crossed.

Comparing my 2014 vs 2017 training logs from Trainingpeaks, I should (must!) do better this year. It's been difficult though, as mentioned above, to keep the weekend training goals going so I'm not really confident once the race goes beyond the 1 hour mark.

Just need to remember to pace myself in preparation for a good Run2. It'll be a test of wills after that Run2 turnaround since it'll be a long 2k climb to the finish line.

Ah yes, and don't forget to have a good time. It's still a privilege to be able to ride my bike over the SCTEX highway ---makunat or not. :)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

No Milo for me this year

Yup, I (lazily) made up my decision not to reg for Milo 21k in Metro Manila which is happening this Sunday (July 30). The medical certificate requirement to register became rather tedious for me as our company clinic will only issue one if I pass an ECG and XRAY exam ---which I need to take in another clinic on another company building. Sigh.

I know I know. Should've been something that I could've done if I really wanted to race but, then, adding to a lot of things to do at work (and just being plain lazy to walk 600 meters away) made me decide to skip this race....for now.

In the meantime I've been training as much as I could for my A-race (BikeKing Duathlon) happening on Aug 20. Traningpeaks CTL is near the 60s so that's a good sign.

My runs have been doing well endurance-wise but I need to inject more of those tempo/speedwork sessions in the weekdays (long runs since my Maxicare 16k have been good pace-wise ---10k and 12k). Probably add more hill repeats too will be vital ---especially on the Run2 4k on race day.

My rides have been declining mileage/hours wise but I've been compensating it by doing a lot of high intensity short bike sessions on the weekdays (Sufferfest, and mostly GCN 40-minute sessions). I hope to cover more ground bike-wise in the coming weeks. Fingers crossed.

Oh, lastly, I've been doing some yoga at home for my back pain. The one with Adriene has helped relieve the soreness of my back IMMENSELY so I'm sharing the video here which I hope you'll try as well. I will probably do more yoga (once or twice a week) to keep my back (and probably my whole body in the long run) in tip top flexible shape. :)