Monday, November 29, 2010

McHappy Day Fun Run 10k: Better Late Than Never

I was still in bed when I fumbled for my phone and looked at the time: 5:20am.

"AHHHGHHH!!!! I'm going to miss the 5:30am gunstart!"

This race was not planned but seeing that "Pahabol" racekit giveaway by Gingerbreadman made me trigger-happy into keying in my comments for a chance of a free racekit (I actually wrote the first comment). 10 or so comments later, I was surprised to find out that I won (naaah, I was actually certain I would win coz I was the first to comment. Call it vibe since I've NEVER won anything online before). Thanks Luis!

This wasn't the first time I woke up late. I actually missed the 10k race and another 5k race in QC some months back. That was bye-bye reg fee for me.

Fortunately last Sunday, we slept just a kilometer or so away from the starting line so, in 10 minutes, I was able to grab my stuff and scamper off to McKinley Hill. Needless to say that my 10k race started from the condo.

I ran to the starting arc and was relieved that they were still performing warmups. But then "they" turned out to be the 5k runners. The 10k runners had left X minutes ago!

Yes I put X since the timer at the top of the arc was off, thus I couldn't tell exactly how many minutes late I was. Worse case could be 10-15minutes. YIKES!

Without any warmup/stretching and my 305 taking too long to look for a signal, I turned off my Garmin and just started my race.

McKinley Hill, or Magneto as I fondly called it, is a hard climb if you start all the way from the C5 intersection at the bottom. This was the first section of the 10k. I was able to see the 10k pack climbing up as I was just starting my descent. Sheesh! Damn late.

Calling any race hilly in the McKinley-Lawton-Bayani route is an understatement. This route can really squash any dreams of a PR. I may have made a mistake of wearing my already-worn Newtons for this race (the 4th lug towards the outside of both shoes had worn out since my purchase of it last July) since I found it difficult to adjust to the hills.

The course was well-managed. There were plenty of water stations since another race, the BGC Run, went along the Lawton-Bayani route too. I was able to grab a banana from one of the BGC water stations as I left Heritage Park, just across the Libingan ng mga Bayani entrance.

I was really out of it on the way down to Mckinley, i.e. started to walk-run. Sprinting immediately from the condo to the race site, no warm-up and stretching had finally taken its toll on my hill-battered listless running form.

I reached the finish at 1:18+ gun time. Again, I wasn't sure how many minutes I was late but I think my "chip-time" could've been around 1:05-1:15. I guess I'll never know for sure exactly, but that was surely a forgettable race for me.

I hope to recover in time for my next race this coming Sunday, QCIM2, wherein I've volunteered to be a pacer for a 2:30 21km finish. I hope to do better there.

Actually, I just hope to be there.....on time!!! :D

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Runrio3 32k: Midterm Exam

RunRio3 32k was right smack in the middle of my training for Feb 2011's Condura 42k. Thus, it was only fitting for me to sign-up and see how effective (or not) the mileage build-up and addition of new workouts (200-400m intervals, stricter adherence to long runs) from last August to present is helping.

The plan was to stick to 7:00/km as close as possible ---my target full-marathon pace--- throughout the race. I managed to be slightly ahead of said pace at the 10k (1:08) and 21km mark (2:24). I was feeling good at this point, stopping at almost all the water stations and eating a pack of GU gel every hour. I was attentive to sensing my form as well, adjusting in time to stop that left knee from acting up (you really gottta try midfoot running, it works!).

And then, after grimacing through that final incline just moments after leaving the Heritage Park turnaround, it came.


You will see it noticeably in my Garmin stats, particularly on km25 onwards. The uphill climb at Bayani Road had left km25 with a 7:35/km pace. Things started to go bad from there, pace-wise. I was run/walking between 8:00-9:36/km between km26 to 31 then eeking out a 6:54/km on km32 (although km32 only measured 0.79km based on my 305).

I crossed the finish line in 3hours 51minutes. 7:17/km average pace, beating my self-proclaimed 4hour cutoff ---barely.

Not bad.

On the upside, the persistent training (long runs, in particular) that I've been doing had managed to push the WALL from km16 (experienced during my full-mary debut in Milo last July) to km25. I GOT to be happy with that. From hereon, I need to continue on religiously doing my weekly long run to hopefully push the wall further before Feb6.

Not to sound like a broken record, I really really really really need to do some serious hill-training, probably on that forsaken hill on Bayani Road itself if need be.

Congrats again to RunRio for conducting a well-organized race! You guys rock!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nutrition Strategy

Training for a race not only involves short runs, long runs, tempo runs, hill training, progression runs, or intervals. Yes they help improve your endurance and speed in preparation for a race. But part of one’s training should also include a nutrition strategy not only pre and post race, but also DURING the race, especially for long distances. Either employing gels (which I’m a regular fan of), granola bars, chocolate wafer bars, or bananas, such nutrition strategies should be taken well into consideration.

Just ask Canadian elite Simon Bairu, who learned the hard way in his debut during the recent NYC Marathon. It’s an unfortunate tale of how NOT to race a debut full marathon.

“My head got light, and it was almost like a drunken stumble. I was conscious, but I wasn’t in (the race),” Bairu was saying over the phone on Tuesday. “The next thing I knew, I was on the ground and my legs were just shaking uncontrollably. They were just twitching.”

His race was over, about three miles from the line, but his ordeal was not. Spectators immediately sprang to his aid. Someone called 9-1-1. Someone else ran to get a blanket. Meanwhile, Bairu said his spinning head felt as though “it was going to explode.”

I couldn't believe how Bairu, an elite runner who has beaten Ryan Hall in an earlier half-mary race this year, missed taking the energy gel halfway (he only had one at the start of the race).

How about you? What’s your nutrition strategy?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Farewell to the King

Haile ends his great career after the DNF-ing at the 2010 NYC marathon.

For all it's worth Haile, your racing career had a good run (no pun intended).

For the rest of us, we run.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Adidas Adizero Adios Review


I was rotating between my Asics Gel Foundation 8 and Newton Distancia Racers when I decided to buy another pair simply because the latter's outsole was starting to show signs of wear. I love the Newtons so as much as possible I try to save the mileage on it, especially since the cost per km is very expensive compared to average running shoes. I have been using the Asics sparingly (limited to short easy runs up to 7km) since it will just put my newly found midfoot-strike off-track. Since I was already sold into the natural-running method that Newton promotes and after getting much information on the booming interest in minimalist running, I chose to purchase the Adizero Adios to rotate with my Newtons.

I have to admit as well that my interest in the said shoe was also brought about by the fact that this was the pair that Haile wore when he logged the still-standing marathon record of 2:03:59 set in Berlin 2008. I wanted the yellow colorway but that was only available in the 2009 version of the shoe. The one I got was the red/gray/blue 2010 colorway as seen here. Price was P1,000.00 discounted due to the Adidas Refresh Your Gear Promo (extended, I read, until Nov.14, 2010).


The shoe is very light (210 grams) when compared to the already-light Newton Distancia (244g) and a very low heel-to-toe lift (6.5mm), both of which are typical specs for minimalist shoes. Although not recommended in a first run, I ran in these babies for 12km in 1:29 (7:25/km average pace). It rained from km6 onwards but I didn't mind. The Adios didn't mind either, with its outsole marking on the forefoot/midfoot able to grip the ground perfectly through wet roads. This would be advantageous during rain-dampened races, especially here in the Philippines.

Cushioning at the forefoot/midfoot was not too springy, not too "earthy" ---it was just right. Although there was no feeling of energy-return that the Newton's actuator lugs provide, the Adios had better heel-cushioning (which I hope never to use since I'm trying to burn into my running system a midfoot gait). But still, once fatigue sets in on long-distance races, the heel-cushioning of the Adios will be put into good use.

The other reason why I chose an alternate to the Newtons is that its upper construction, although comfortable and breathable, was not good once it rained or when I splashed myself at the aid stations with water (I used it during a 15k race). I could feel my whole foot sliding to the end of the forefoot when I go downhill under wet conditions. In contrast, the Adios' meshed upper was able to refrain less water from seeping into my sock so foot slippage was not happening during my first run.


As if the 12km break-in run was not enough, that weekend I used it immediately in the Adidas KOTR wherein I ran the half-marathon. I have to say that, under race pace conditions, it performed very well. Finishing 2:22 without enough training, the lightness of the shoe and good grip was able to help carry me through the whole 21km race.

As expected, the fatigue that set in at the last 5-6kms brought my left foot to heel strike slightly (damn BGC hills!). The Adios' heel-cushioning was able to aid me during that unfortunate part of the run so much so that the usual heel-pain that I encounter with the Newtons post-run was never felt after that race with the Adios.


Last Monday I used the Adios for my scheduled 25km long run. It was raining 3/4 of the whole time I ran (3:20, 8:00/km ave pace) but the Adios proved its worth by keeping me in pace due to its lightweight construction and "just right" cushioning.


A complaint on the shoe is that during my initial runs, I felt that the upper was slightly stiff. The sock-lining felt tight on one part of my left foot so much so that I was expecting a rash on that part (fortunately there was none). This may have been brought about by the newness of the shoe (need more miles to break it in) until the upper adjusts accordingly to the fit of my wide feet. I think the shoe is naturally fit for narrow feet so I don't think they'll be able to experience this problem.

Secondly, I really would've liked it if they released a yellow colorway. *SIGH*


The Adizero Adios, IMHO, lived up to the hype of Haile using it to smash the marathon record to 2:03:59 last 2008. Lightweight and with a low heel-to-toe ratio, it is suitable for those venturing into the minimalist shoe trend. Slight cushioning keeps you with that "near the ground" feeling that minimalist running recommends. The outsole's forefoot grip is excellent especially on wet roads. Although the upper may take some time to get broken in, the mesh is perfect for keeping less water out of your foot so you can concentrate more on keeping your pace and not on your wet socks. The Adios is a perfect shoe for training and racing up to the half-marathon distance.

Full-marathon distance? I'll let you know once I use it for Condura 2011.


02/11/2011 Update: The shoes have been very instrumental in giving me two PRs: a 2:14 in the half-marathon and, more recently, a 5:23 (30minute improvement) for the full-marathon. Except for muscle soreness which is expected, I didn't experience joint pains in my knees while using the Adios. This may have been due as well to my improved gait of preventing to overstride and by employing quick leg turnover (at least 180 steps/minute).

04/14/2011 Update: I browsed the Running Warehouse website to window-shop and I found out that, based on their measurements, the heel to toe drop of this shoe is actually 11mm and not 6.5mm as I've mentioned last year. This therefore conflicts my earlier statement that this is a minimalist shoe when in fact it is not. It would be better to coin the Adios' shoe type as a minimalist-bridging shoe for those who're still used to shoes 10oz or greater and would want to venture into the minimalist trend slowly.

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