Tuesday, October 20, 2009

QCIM: 10k PR set!

Ha! And you thought I won't be able to run this one! ;-)

Lucky for me, our company was one of the sponsor-booths for QCIM. I learned last Friday evening that there were FREE slots given to our Corp-Marketing department for this so upon hearing the good news from one of our VPs I quickly grabbed the chance to make some calls, fill-up the reg form, and by Saturday afternoon me and officemate MP were confirmed good-to-go for the QCIM 10k!

Why not 21k you might ask. I already joined EcoDash and Milo 21k right? Parang pangit namang bumaba ng distance?

Yup, the choice was difficult to swallow with the prospect of having my 1st Finisher's Medal dangling down my neck if I chose another half-mary, but I didn't. I feared that I might over-exert myself by running 3 half-marys in 3 consecutive Sundays so I opted to mellow down and join 10k instead. Further, and I think this was the strongest part of my decision, I wanted to overwrite my poor finish on my last race which was the Milo 21k by trying to beat my 10k PR (68mins). If I failed on improving my time on another 21k distance at QCIM I might get really disappointed going into next Sunday's KOTR so going for a PR on a lower, manageable 10k distance is a good psychological preparation for me.

But I still needed my scheduled long run so my original plan was an easy run from our house to QC Circle (about 4kms), run the 10k race, and then another easy 4km run back home. Total planned mileage: 18kms. THAT would be good enough as preparation for KOTR 21k next weekend, I thought. It was a good plan.

But then my 2nd son was feeling ill earlier in the week until Sunday so I had to sacrifice the planned 18k long run by taking the car instead. This is in case I needed to go back home in a hurry if there was an emergency.

Sunday came. I left the house around 4.30am since I still needed to look for the company booth and get my racekit. I drove to East Ave and had to turn right after Heart Center since the police detour encouraged it. I parked in front of the 7-11 store and walked/jogged towards the start/finish line to look for the booth.

After 30mins of searching I finally managed to find the booth which was inside the QC Circle. The lady manning the booth quickly identified me and gave me the racekits. The first thing I noticed was the singlet....

...and HU-WAW! The singlet quality was very good! It's right up there now in my favorite singlets list (Botak 10miler and KOTR. Milo is up there too coz of prestige, hehe). Ang danda-danda!!!!

An addicted runner (like me) wouldn't fail to notice as well the racekit-envelope's quality containing the racebib and timing-chip. It's not the regular brown envelope that one's used to getting. To borrow a comment from the takbo.ph QCIM thread: talagang pinag-gastusan talaga.

So I hooked myself up with the bib and timing chip and off I went to the starting line. Btw, I've changed two things that I used to do going into this race. First, I purposely didn't bring my earphones so there'll be no music pumping in my ears as I race. I want to find out if I'm able to race better with or without it.

Second, this'll be the race-debut of my recently bought Adidas Response Stability shoes. My precious. Igh-igh-igh!

My aim? Since my last 10k race, the M.O.V.E. Manila Run in UP, under a GPS-recorded 9km+ distance, the 57mins finish-time didn't seem believable coz the distance was lacking. An estimate of 64-65mins would've been my finish time back then but I still don't want to consider it since it's not official. Hence, I wanted to put it on paper, so to speak, to have that 57min mark on a true 10k distance or at least, a sub-60 finish would suffice.

The starting gun went off and I went ahead of MP since he was pacing his gf on her 2nd 10k. MP is faster than me so I knew he'll be able to catch me sometime in the race.

By km2, by some stroke of bad luck, my timing chip fell off. Stupid right? I knew I laced it properly when I made the knot but it somehow fell off (the lace was still tied on tightly). Strange really. So there goes my race stats. Hay...

By the middle of km4, as expected, MP had arrived from leaving her gf's slow pace. I told him that I lost my timing-chip and he said I could run along side him so we both have the same stats. Yeah right. His pace is too fast for me so I told him to go ahead since I still had my Nokia GPS tracker anyway. He will eventually finish at 60mins flat.

By the turnaround point I looked at my stopwatch and saw 30:00+. I thought it was the 5km mark but then I didn't see any "5km" marker not until a few hundred meters further so if I calculated it I'm not within a sub-60 pace. I HAD to run faster, I thought.

So I ran faster than my tempo practice run the earlier week. Well, I FELT I ran faster. Hehe.

The difficult part of the race was not the slight uphills. Rather, it was encountered at the 7.5km mark: the 5km runners. It was like a tsunami of runners devouring every 10k runner that I've marked for overtaking so much so I couldn't see them due to my zig-zagging path trying to gain space and beat the time.

By the time I reached the end of Commonwealth towards QC Circle the stopwatch was at 59mins. Ahhhgggghh! I won't be able to make sub-60 this time. Hay. Time to set a new target: beat my 68mins 10k PR. This was manageable I thought but recalling my MOVE Manila 57mins at 9km+ distance made me do mental calculations.....................65mins.


THAT'S the time to beat! So with once last push (and thinking happy thoughts: my wife and two kids, of course), I accelerated my pace around QC circle until I reached the finish line.

The timer above the finish line arc, my stopwatch, and Nokia GPS tracker read beautifully: 1:04.



Nokia GPS tracker measured the race distance at 10.5kms with my average pace at 6:10/km. I was pacing at 5:59, 6:05, and 4:24(?!?!?!) on the last 3 kms. Now THAT was fast since I usually only have an average race pace between 6:30-7:30/km. The downside was that the tracker (again) conked out on the middle of the race (dunno why, probably lost the A-GPS signal) so NSTB stats for pace during that period wasn't recorded correctly.

Recalling that run, I considered my pace to be all push-push-push from start to finish. I think I've failed to do this in all of my past races. I was too relaxed either at the start (Milo 21k) or at the finish due to fatigue (the rest of my races). The nearest race that had me at this same intensity was the Botak 10miler last August in UP. I guess that's how I must race. Push-push-push lang lagi.

Could it be my decision not to have music influenced my mindset throughout the race? That is, to be always conscious of my pace and running form instead of the boom boom boom chorus of the Black-Eyed Peas?

Could it be the new shoes, my precious (which btw felt comfortable throughout the race)?

Will the same "no music" decision work on this week's KOTR 21k? Hmmm...we'll see.

It was good to see several takbo.ph members as well during and after the race:

1. Jazzrunner. I was able to greet him when his pace-group was at their 7th km.

2. Argonaut. I overheard him say to his buddy, "Iturbo ko lang ng konti" meaning up the pace a little. Good luck sa upcoming marathon pards!

3. Craig and family. I met him twice: along km1 pushing his son as usual and then at the finish line when they finished at 1:10. Pushing a heavy weight at a 7:00/km pace for 10kms ain't a joke. He said he'll be running SIM 42k this weekend so all the best to you Craig!

4. Queenie. Greeted her "hello" at the finish line as well.

The QCIM was a well-organized race. I hope more local-governments would join in and help organize future races in their areas to support the sport.

There were nice giveaways after the race: the meal-bar, 100-plus bottle, sealed water, and the Nike Human Race shoe-bag.

But along the left lane before reaching the Nike shoe-bag queue, a simple booth stood without any ad except for a lady standing and holding something blue and gold and shouting:

"Finisher's medal for 21k/42k runners!!! Get your medals here!!!"

Haaaay. I guess that 1st medal has to wait. Adidas KOTR 21k won't have one I think. I'm still unsure of joining TIMEX 21k so probably I won't have that medal until Nov29's NB run.

But don't worry, I'm still celebrating. A new 10k PR is still a great accomplishment....

...especially coz it's my birthday this week. ;-)

Nokia Sports Tracker race details can be found here.

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