Thursday, July 30, 2009

Possibly my first half-mary

I saw the ad from and Running Diva's website. It's the New Balance Power Run on September 27 at The Fort.

This will be a week after I've completed my 12-week half-marathon training so pwedeng-pwede. This could be my first half-mary race. I'll aim to at least finish this inside 3 hours ---or at least finish it.

Running Diva also mentioned that there'll be finisher's medals for 5k, 10k, and 21k. WOW!

See you there!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The First (?) Punta Fuego 8K

The road from Nasugbu town proper to Punta Fuego Peninsula was all up and down as me and my officemates traveled for a kick-off seminar there. The running gang have agreed the previous day that running will be part of the agenda on Friday morning so I packed my running gear with my vacation ah este kick-off meeting clothes.

Friday, 5:45am. My phone alarm woke me up after a drunken stupor of red wine which our vendor generously provided (although most of us expected beer which came only after the wine bottles went empty). I walked up from my Casita to the road where BE, AQ, and DR were supposed to start. From my car's odometer the measurement from the Casita to the Punta Fuego entrance was roughly 2kms. So 1 loop would be 4kms. I was hoping to run the usual 10kms so if I felt that if I could still run after 8k, then I'll make 1 more loop. That'll be more than sufficient since it'll total 12k ---my longest since I've been hooked on running.

So we started off (without AQ who couldn't/wouldn't wake up) and I hit off at around 5:45-6:00/km as indicated by the Nokia Tracker which btw was placed in my newly-bought Case Logic armband that I bought at the Megamall branch at P503.00. If I won't like the fit or the running-experience, this'll be P503.00 down the drain, I thought.

By the turn-around point (2kms passed) we opted to take a new route heading back via the lower/upper beach house road. The word "incline" cannot do justice for this part of the run ---it was damn difficult! I think it was about 45 degrees incline when BE and I started attacking the incline...all the way. Believe me, the Buendia-Kalayaan flyover return-route to Fort was NOTHING compared to this 100-150meter killer incline along upper/lower beach road. I think it was the Kalayaan-Buendia flyover's dad, hehe.

After 1 loop (4kms), BE had enough. Hanggang 4kms na lang daw sya. The killer incline had drained both of our strengths that BE, who had not been running since July5, was done for the day. I was pacing at 7mins/km after I reached the top of upper/lower beach road. Sobrang ubos ang lakas talaga that the tought of finishing at 4kms as well passed my mind......

....but then, unlike BE, I'm an addict.

So I drank 3/4 of the water bottle that I took from the hotel room that I laid on the Casita welcome sign grass and headed off for another loop to face the upper/lower beach road incline. I was pacing at about 6:45-7:15/km when I started the 2nd loop. I was more cautious this time since the incline had earned my respect after loop 1. As I reached 6kms and started to attack the incline, thoughts were racing through my head:

"I should've been sleeping instead!"

"Ba't ka pa kase umulit? Alam mo namang mahirap 'to?!"

"Whatever you do in this incline, DO NOT WALK! Run slow, but DO NOT WALK!"

At the end of the ascent, I was pacing at 10:00+mins/km. Sobrang drained na talaga that I wanted to walk the remaining 500meters of the loop. But still, I couldn't. Konti na lang, I thought. Just keep running and it'll be over soon.

As I reached the end of the 2nd loop, my Nokia Tracker stats showed:

Distance = 8.08kms
Ave Pace = 7:02mins/km
Time = 56:55 (with 2mins water-break after the 1st loop)

Not a good performance in terms of pace/time. But I have to say that going through the killer incline TWICE could've equaled the effort I would take to run 10kms or probably more. Yup, I think I need to do more hill training. I'll try to put that in my half-marathon program next week.

The new armband went well btw. I'll most probably use it on my next runs.

My reward for this run? No finisher's shirt. No medal. No giveaway loot-bag.

Just this:


(Nokia Sports Tracker Beta run details can be found here)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Race Review: M.O.V.E. Manila

Again, the weather cooperated last Sunday morning just like in the Mizuno Run Time Trials. The sky was a grayish light-yellow when I hopped into my car at 5am to drive to UP for the MOVE Manila Run. The sun will be coming up today, I said to myself as I drove a little fast ---I had to be early since this was my first time to (a) race in UP (I don't know where to park except for the AS parking lot which was where the organizers/sponsors were located) and (b) do an onsite registration.

This run fits right smack into my current half-marathon training schedule so it was good that I was able to race again since my last race was July5 (company sportsfest 10k at Heritage Park).

I was able to park behind the AS(?) building. I did a warm up jog towards the start/finish line since I had to hurry to look for the registration booth at the AS parking lot.

Hay salamat, hindi mahaba pila sa pag-reg. I paid the P350.00 fee and got my racekit. The racekit was the standard waterproof (like Mizuno and Condura) but there was no tag with the barcode which signaled to me that this will be "low(er)-tech" in the timing once I cross the finish-line, a.k.a. cheap-timing, hehe. Good thing I had my stopwatch and Nokia-Tracker as my "unofficial timekeepers."

Unfortunately for us overweight runners, they ran out of size-XL so I had to settle with size-L which I might use sparingly at home (unless I want to look like Tonette Macho in public, hehe). I jogged back to the car to put back the envelope and the singlet...and then jogged back to the starting line. Whew!

The yellow start/finish inflatable arc deflated twice before it was finally managed. Akala ko we had to traverse it as our first obstacle. There was the usual warm-up exercises, a short prayer, and oath-taking. A few minutes past 6am, the gun blasted off for the 10k race.

The first part of the course required us to go around the famed 2.2km oval. I was familiar with this part since I previously ran here with my wife twice and my officemates once. I looked at my Nokia Tracker and I was pacing below 6mins/km. Too fast too soon for me, I thought, so I had to slow down to 6:45/km. I'm not familiar with the parts outside the oval so I have to reserve my energy since I have to respect the UP race path to come.

I saw Eric and Team Logan of at the start. I was ahead of them until reaching the Oblation on the 2nd loop. They were pacing well since it was about 3kms to the finish. I decided to pace with them until I had to drop off until the Film Center(?) since I couldn't keep up. With about 2kms to go, I was pacing over 7mins/km. Such is the effect on me of the killer UP inclines.

As I turned back to the Oval towards the finish, I looked at my Nokia Tracker and noticed 53mins and averaging 6mins/km.

What?!?!?! Am I fast?!?! Could this be my first ever sub-60 10k run? Wow!

I arrived at the finish at a modest 57:34 based on my clock. WHAAAAT?!!?! A sub-60 performance?!?!?! Really????

Well, as I looked into the distance of the Nokia Tracker, it dawned on me that this is possibly not true:

Distance = 9.45kms.

It was short by over half a kilometer. I heard the Logan guy at the finish said his Garmin registered it "short of a kilometer" which could mean it was only 9kms. If my average pace was at 6mins/km, then if the distance was at 10kms my time would've been around 63-64mins. But that's STILL a big improvement on my 68mins 10k PR.

That night I was still thinking about the race distance so I looked again at the race-route flyer, my Nokia Tracker Distance Map ran, and Google Maps. I think I was able to find the missing 0.55kms (or more). If you look at the scanned map below from the organizers, the path encircled in RED was the path we never passed based on my Nokia Tracker. On Google Maps, it accounted for 300meters, if we ran through that path and turned around the same way as in the race map even for just 1 of the 2 loops, then that would be 600meters. Or 0.6kms ---a little over the missing distance that was needed to complete 10k.

Oh well. Be it 57mins or 64mins, they are still both PR-beating times. Yey!

The AS parking lot was filled with sponsor booths as I reached the finish line. Nice giveaways like juice, a water bottle, granola bar, a small pack of cheezy chips, and a sample tablet for those "namamanhid ang pakiramdam" days. There was even a booth offering free massage. Nice!

Before I went back to my car I finally introduced myself to the racers there. It was nice to meet Eric, Pinky, and Quennie. Nasindak ako sa Team Logan so I never got to formally introduce myself (baka maubusan ng Ingles kase, hehe). Hopefully next time.

To summarize:

1. The Good

  • race route was new to me since this was my first UP race. A nice change from all those runs at the Fort and Heritage Park. UP is good as well for a QC resident like me ---less travel time.
  • adequate water stations
  • definitely a better-looking singlet compared to Run4Home (too bad wala nang XL. wah! at least another motivation for me to lose weight)
  • nice giveaways
  • 1st time I saw wheelchair runners on live action. This was definitely a race that you can see that'll go to a charitable cause

2. The bad

  • I called Club650 several times weeks before the race in the hope that I could register in advance (that was the nearest site to my office). Unfortunately they will only issue a receipt and then the racekits and singlet would have to be claimed on race day. Eh di parang ganun onsite reg din. Buti na lang hindi mahaba yung pila dun sa reg site.
  • No bar tag or spindle-hole tag for the racebib. I don't know how they will issue the race results accurately if they don't have this. Did they do, "OK isulat mo: number 132, number 45, ay mali mali....burahin mo!" method? I trust that the organizers had a way to record this accurately.
  • Distance was less than 10k. This is the most unforgivable part of the race. I still have mixed feelings if I did a sub-60 since the distance wasn't really 10k. Hay. Parang bitin yung pakiramdam ko. I would advise the organizers to look into fulfilling the race map to the letter next time (if, to borrow's term, they used "Tamaraw FX" distance calculations, it would be good to use GPS or even Google Maps next time).
  • P350.00 for the race fee is too much based on my rants above. I just hope they gave a bigger percentage of the fee to the intended charity.

My next race? Probably Hataw Pilipinas in UP again. P150.00 lang reg-fee which is not very common nowadays.

(Nokia Sports Tracker Beta details for this race can be seen by clicking here)

Friday, July 17, 2009

M.O.V.E. rain! M.O.V.E.!

No thanks to bad weather, I'm still undecided on participating in Sunday's M.O.V.E. Manila 10k Run at UP. The hourly-forecast at has predicted that it will be scattered thunderstorms and 85% chance of rain by July 19, 5:00am and 6:00am. But I'm still hoping that the underdog 15% chance of sunshine will still win just like what happened at the Mizuno Run Time Trials. Below is the current weather status of Manila (July 17, 5pm):

Well, I've printed out the registration form so if the weather will be alright by 5am, I'll drive immediately to UP and just register onsite. I hope they still have the singlet by then coz sayang naman yung P350.00.

Everybody sing with me!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shin Splints

I think I've got them after my "easy" run this morning as dictated by week2 of my 21k program. I may have overstressed myself by following the scheduled runs last week:

Mon- off
Tues - Fartlek 4miles
Wed - 5miles easy run
Thu - 3miles easy run (which I made a hard run by finishing 5k in 30:01)
Fri - off
Sat - 3miles easy run
Sun - 7miles easy run

This morning's run ended at 6.5 miles since I was running too slow (easy run should be 1-2minutes slower than your race pace according to the program I'm following pero mukhang I was slower than that since I finished 10k in 1:30 (my slowest)) and had to cut short since my wife and I had to attend our first PTA meeting.

What are shin splints? Wikipedia best describes it via this link.
Could it be that running way too slow for my normal pace may have caused it? Or are my Nike Victory shoes not fit for my foot? Hmmm....I'd better go to Mizuno or RunnR in BHS to have that gait analysis.

Buti na lang tomorrow, Monday, is an off day so it'll be enough time to recover (along with taking Alaxan FR).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

You're addicted to running when.... hang all your racebibs on your office cubicle wall.
(A great stress-reliever)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Recently, I've been inspired to take up a beginner's half-marathon program I downloaded from after I saw that a finisher's medal, not a shirt, is given to half-mary finishers in most races. For someone who didn't really excel in school or sports, I was still able to get my fair share of medals, among which:

1. school loyalty award (imagine attending Don Bosco from Prep to College)

2. bronze medal for technical excellence in high school (which was given to me AFTER graduation since the teachers realized they made a mistake in calculating my grades. sinabitan ako ng medalya in the principal's office with my dad as the lone witness)

3. a gold medal from my department's volleyball team last year (even though all I did was go there to cheer the team every game ---I didn't play volleyball)

I think those were the only medals that I could think of, all of which didn't really have a lasting impact since there was no real effort involved (especially #1 which I think should be given to my parents for working hard to get me through school).

It was in the Botak Paa-Tibayan last May when I was resting near the finish line after my 1st 10k race when I saw a 21k (or was it a 42k?) runner arriving at the finish, approached by one of the officials being donned a finisher's medal. Oh man, I think that whole part played super slow motion when I saw it. I could only imagine what that runner felt while he received the medal and as he was walking past the finisher's corral to be seen by the other runners who'd be envy of him, like me. All his training to finish 21k/42k paid off.

Man. A finisher's medal.

I gotta got me one of those.

Since then, everytime I ran 10k I'd say to myself, "Kung itong 10k pagod na ako, pano pa kaya ang 21k??? Parang di ko ata kakayanin ah!"

But then that Botak medal moment played slow-motion on my mind again. Haaay....

So about two weeks ago nakahanap na ako ng half-mary beginner program that I think would suit me. This is my 2nd week into the 12-week program and so far I've been following it faithfully (ran a 5-mile "easy run" this morning). To be more faithful to it, I promised myself not to join any races until the 10k-race scheduled on week9 of the program.

But then I felt the itch to join a race (even though I just finished our company sportsfest last Sunday). Yup, such is the dilemma of an addicted runner.

I then scoured the Races section of yesterday when I remembered the Botak 5mile/10mile had been rescheduled to Aug 23. Then I thought, "Hmmm, merong 10-mile akong nakita sa isang Sunday ng half-mary program ko ah?!"

Then I checked the program and counted the weeks against my desk calendar.....

...WOW! Tumapat yung Botak 10-mile sa 10-mile run ng half-mary program on week8!

It's like the starts have connived! I hope I could still register for it though since the Aug23 race is a rescheduled date. Sana pwede pa.

But even if I don't get to run there, I'd still be following the program (which I hope works). The end of the 12-week program will not fall into any 21k race based on's race sked so I'll have to repeat the last 2-3 weeks of the program in time for the QC International Marathon. I hope there'll be a finisher's medal there. If there is, then wow.

That slow-motion medal moment that will play over and over in my head will include me as the runner.

I'm just teary-eyed imagining that moment now.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Revenge at Heritage Park

I wanted to run at the Milo 10k since I see it as one of the biggest running events in the Philippines. Pero naman, yung HR namen tinapat pa yung opening ng Sportsfest on the same date as the Manila elims tapos a week after the JG Summit Employees run pa. Moreover, it's on the same track as last week: 4 rounds inside Heritage park at 2.5kms each.

But then all that sour-graping disappeared when I ran my worst 10k last week at the JG run: 1:12. My last 3 10k races were at 69mins so that made me feel disappointed at myself. Maybe I relaxed too much?

So, I made it a point to get a better time yesterday. Since there were only a few 10k runners (probably less than 30), makikita talaga agad sa timesheet sino kulelat. But more than that, I really wanted to improve my time.

Coach Rio was there to organize the event again similar to last week's JG run. Well organized btw!

As the starting gun went off, I precariously zoomed off the starting gate (my Nokia GPS tracker actually clocked me at that point at around 20kmh). Pero after about the 2nd turn or around 150-200meters, I slowed down but still way above my average pace. I finished the first 2.5kms at 15mins. Grabe, I usually finish a round at about 17-18mins, so that 1st round was really fast. Could it be that positive-split works better for me rather than the reverse? Hmmm...

I ran the 2nd and 3rd rounds at my usual pace, just below 7mins/km. Then, it started to rain. This was the kind of rain that suddenly pours (and I mean big droplets) with no warning (ambon). My shoes got wet. My socks felt soggy. But then as the rim of my cap protected my eyes from the rain and my clothes started to get wet, I felt a rush to run faster. I even saw most of the 10k runners take shelter amidst the mausoleums but me, I didn't mind getting wet.

Man, addicted na talaga ako sa takbo.

As I was in the middle of the last round the rain had stopped. I looked at my stopwatch and I calculated that I would finish below 72mins (yey!) but if I don't improve my pace I won't be able to beat my 69mins PR (boo!). So, with all the strength I had left, I increased my pace towards the finish. All the effort and training (I did some 4miles of Fartlek training last Tuesday) paid off as I clocked my unofficial time:


A new 10k PR!


I think I now know why my 1st 3 10k races ended all at 69mins: I just relaxed on my pace and didn't really push hard to improve my time. I thought that if I maintained my easy pace, I would end up faster but of course you need more speed to finish a race in less the time. So at the Sportsfest yesterday, I finally went strict on myself and pushed hard. I hope to have the same mindset on my next races: to keep on improving my PR.

Next race? Hmmm...probably MOVE Manila in UP if the schedules permit.

(Details of this run are located here)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

1st blog

Hi! Hope you like it. I'll be writing all my thoughts on this blog on my new addiction ---running.

I've been running on the treadmill since 2006 to try to lose weight but only to my dismay. The runs would usually last 20mins, a mixture of 2-3 kilometer brisk walking and about 3-6minutes running.

It was in March 2009 when LA, an officemate whose an addicted runner since May 2008, convinced me to join the Condura Run on March 22, 2009.

I've never stopped running since then.