Sunday, December 27, 2009

One tawsan! Con-GRAT-tulations!!!

I've finally reached my 2009 mileage goal of 1,000kms. It was done on the usual 5km route that I've plotted around the neighborhood ---the same practice route that I've used ever since I started running last March.

It was on a chilly Christmas morning that I decided to do a 5km run, several days after the 22.2km Celebrity Run. Actually, I did another 5km on 12/23 but that was only a walk throughout, averaging 11 mpk. So I decided that it won't count in my running mileage coz, well, I didn't run.

Anyway, the reason why I ran last Christmas morning was not only to counter the expected onslaught of Christmas feasts that will be served thru the rest of the day, but to meet my first goal of 1,000kms in this new passion of running that I've learned to love.

1,000 kilometers. Wow! If you talked to me this time last year I wouldn't even imagine of having done such an accomplishment. Kaya naman pala. :)

My goal for 2010? There are actually two:

1. To run 2,000kms
2. To run a full marathon (preferably below 5hrs, but finishing one is not bad at all)

Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

21k Celebrity Run - Makina

"Ikaw ay isang makina"

That was what EG told PT (my college buddies) a couple of years back when PT's wife had their 3rd child. The context of being called a machine would attribute to PT's sexual vigor, obviously, to everyone in the yahoogroup's laughter online. I guess you'd have to call my lolo on both sides as "makina" as well since they were blessed with 12 children. Yes, 12 on my mom's side and 12 on my dad's side.

Mga makina.

There are also noted sportsmen who have the same "The Machine" monicker:

Sasha Vujacic

Oliver Ortmann

Mga makina.

Fast-forward to last Friday's free lunch from one of our vendors. Dom, owner of said company, used to be a member of the UP track team wherein he recalled the two sub-4hr marathons that he joined back then. He's not as athletic as before but he still remembers how he'd run. In his own words, "Ang natatandaan ko eh paglagpas ng km13 eh parang MAKINA ka na nun." From that point to km 42.195, everything was just automatic ---less the mental interruptions that, if one entertains, would be the cause of one's folly or, DNF.


Ikaw ay isang makina

As the Celebrity Run 21k event sped off yesterday morning, that became my mantra for the whole race. The 2:26 21k PR had been sitting at its throne for too long now, I thought. It's time to have it replaced with a new/better one.

The plan was to employ a 1-4 strategy: 1km 7mpk recovery, 4kms 6-6:45mpk run repeats throughout. Said plan was successful during my last race (a 10k) wherein I coasted to a 1:05 finish. For nutrition, I had the usual handies: a Milo wafer bar and a sachet of Hammer Gel. Btw, as this might prove helpful, I ate 5 slices of Tutta Carne pizza and a helping of spinach pasta Saturday night at Amici as I crammed for carbo. Yup, I was Popeye.

As I descended the Buendia flyover going to Ayala, I noticed something was wrong distance-wise when my Garmin registered 3.5kms verus the 3-km marker. Hmmm, probably the buildings I thought.

Lady with red socks

Towards km4 I sensed a trio steadily moving in front of me. I didn't recognize the other guy (sorry) but the other two were unmistakeably bloggers RunningDiva and KenkoyRunner. Since I felt that my Garmin might be going bonkers because of the buildings and the cloudy sky, and that this trio of runners were moving at a less than 7mpk pace, I decided to pace behind them. I would lose them during my 1km recoveries, but was able to catch up at the water station whenever they would stop to drink. As long as I have those red high socks in sight, I'm ok I thought. There was about a 200m gap between them and me. This was the case from Ayala to Buendia to 5th Avenue to Essensa and Lawton Avenue.

I don't know if it was the Hammer Gel that I took along Rizal Avenue going to Essensa, this helpful video, or the makina mantra but, as I turned left at Bayani Road, I felt everything was just right in place running-form/condition-wise. Since the beginning of Bayani Road was a descent, I found myself accelerating without any problems. The trio that I've been following had now split up in the order of unknown runner, KenkoyRunner, and RunningDiva. As I wanted to take every opportunity to speed up during the descent, I was able to catch up with RunningDiva at the Bayani turn-around point, KenkoyRunner mid-way into Bayani. I didn't really recognize the other unknown runner so I guessed he was still ahead of me.

I suddenly remembered RunningFatboy after the Bayani U-turn. As in my past 21k races, he would expectedly glide over me by km13, zooming into a strong finish. But there was no repeat this time since we were already at km15. I guessed that he was racking up mileage for the weekend so he was taking an easy pace on this one.

As I hopped back onto Lawton Avenue, it was time to meet Mckinley Hills.

a.k.a. Magneto

I didn't do hill-training like I wanted to after the NB 21k run so this was going to be another messy encounter. Descent going to the Mckinley Showroom was a breeze. As expected, the ascent back up Lawton was a killer.'s Jinoe was well-prepared, taking every ascent with ease as he passed me after the British Embassy.

My legs couldn't take anymore so, after passing by McDo, I walked for about 10secs. My average pace at that point was about 7:30mpk.

The last part of the race ---after Mckinley Hills from Lawton to BHS--- is a true test of how fast one can recover pace-wise. If Magneto had killed you, there was no way you're speeding to your intended sprint-pace at this leg. No strong finish.

Then, as all hope to recover started to fade, I recalled my mantra.


Ikaw ay isang makina.

With everything I got, I stepped up the pace from Essensa all the way to The Fort. What was bothering me was the time. At 2kms to go and an obviously more than fast pace, why is my Garmin registering a 2:20 time? I knew I pressed the Start button on time when the race-host shouted GO. Something's really weird.

As I made a last ditch effort to sprint at the final turn to the finish line, I realized that I was too late. 100meters from the finish line, the timer ticked 2:30+. I failed. I decided to walk for a few seconds to catch my breath and pace myself up to run again until I reached the finish line.

Unofficial time: 2hrs 31mins and change.

What relieved me in the end after introducing myself to GBM, KenkoyRunner, and El Kyoshi, was that the surprise that they all mentioned that the race was a kilometer too long. 22k. Same as my Garmin.

Wow, that was my longest run so far! I calculated that if my final average pace was 6:49 mpk on a 22k distance, I would've finished a true 21k distance at 2:23:43 ---a new PR!!!

I guess that's a reason to celebrate. Except for the 2:31:something that will be posted in the official results, my race-performance was all perfect. The nutrition, the 3-week training plan, and the mindset/mantra throughout the race was all perfect!

'Til next year!

Well, that's it I guess for my rookie 2009 running/racing season. I'll be banning myself from heavy training for the next 2-3 weeks since I think it's time to rest my left knee. Probably runner's knee (mild pain when going down the stairs, it wears off when I run thanks to the patella brace). I might have 5k-walks and 2k-light jogs instead for maintenance.

See you at the Condura Run which, btw, I've already registered for the 21k event last Saturday morning at RUNNR.

Skyway here I come!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

For Flipper II

I just read another update on the Condura 2010. Race website is now up and running!

Like a kid on Christmas morning, my mind was shouting (screaming! nagtitimpi ng excitement actually as I am in the office now) as I drooled over the website showing the registration details, the Asics Expo, the nice finisher's shirt (distance you ran is ticked at the back, pangyabang, hehe), the finisher's medal (the distance ran is stamped at the back, double drool!), AND, last but not least, the 21k race route ---with Skyway.

Yup, I'm 99.9% sure that I'll be running 21k on Condura 2010. 7 weeks for a full-marathon plan is too short, I think, if I want to finish my first full below 5hrs (pangarap lang naman, hehe).

I've been reading a lot of SCSM blogs last week and if I were to base it from what I read on the Condura 2010 website, it looks like it will be one very-organized race that *maybe* could be comparable to the likes of SCSM and Rio's Timex Run.

Ahhhgggghhhh! Sabiiiik na sabik na ako to race this! Tagal pa ng 02.07.2010!

Anyway, Celebrity Run 21k muna this Sunday. I hope to finally beat my 2:26 PR.

See you at the races!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

For Flipper

As accustomed after my weekday morning run, I'd power-on the home laptop and browse This morning, after a 6km easy run (beating my 7:40mpk Garmin Virtual Partner ---again! [naks!]), the latest post greeted me with this logo:

Yup, Condura 2010 has been signed and ready to go on Feb 7th. This is THE race that started my love for running, having run the 5k event last March 22nd (see, naalala ko pa yung date! ganung ka-memorable! hehe) finishing at 33:50.

Including Condura 2009, I've ran 3 5k funruns, 9 10k races, and 4 half-marathons (with PhilStar Celebrity Run as my 5th 21k). Including my practice runs, total mileage is now at 944kms (lapit na 1,000kms! I want that BR 1,000km club shirt! hehehe).

All that due to my will-power to join (and finish) my first 5k at Condura 2009.

Albert, a college friend who I saw at the NB 21k weeks ago, texted me last Tuesday morning with a very tempting invitation:

"Wana run d Condura marathon feb nxt year? :)"

With 8 weeks left before Condura 2010, my mind has been wondering. I'll definitely sign-up for Condura 2010.....but for what event? 21k or 42k?

Is 8 weeks too late to start training for my first full-marathon? If my average finish for a half-mary has been around 2:30, I calculate that I might finish a 42k in 5:20 (that is, IF I finish).


Be it 21k or 42k, it's still for Flipper anyway. :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Company Sportsfest Closing Ceremonies 10k: My Garmin305's Debut

Just having finished the NB 21k the other weekend, I was excited to drive back home from BHS. The reason? Owa, my mother-in-law, just arrived back from the US. Apart from the Kobe Bryant 2008-2009 season championship jersey that I asked my sis-in-law there to buy me from Staples, I was about to get my first hold of this:

Yup, the Garmin Forerunner 305. I was able to find one via and asked my sis-in-law there to buy on my behalf for US149.00 (or about P7,500.00). The price is about 25% cheaper than the rates being sold here so I was glad to finally get hold of one at a bargain.

Why did I decide to buy one when prior to this I was an avid Nokia Sports Tracker Beta (NSTB) user? There were two main points actually:

1. I've outgrown the NSTB such that I was looking for more in terms of features. Nokia has still labeled this current version as their beta version ---a sign that plans to release an improved FINAL version is not in the near future. Comparing it against what I've read with Garmin/Polar users, the NSTB application doesn't have a Pace Alert function. Yes, knowing one's current pace by looking at the phone is good. But you can't be looking at the phone ALL the time during your run, would you? It would be good if the NSTB would alert/beep if you were ahead or behind your intended pace.

2. Working for a telco company and being issued test phones is a great bonus. Since I've discovered running and the NSTB, I was able to malfunction (by accident, mind you!) two of our Nokia test phones namely the N85 and the E52 ---both good high-end phones. Whenever I ran with these NSTB-enabled Nokia phones, I would usually have them inserted on an armband that fits snuggly on my arm. However, my long sweaty runs would somehow find the phone covered in sweat. This caused the sweat to find its way to the phones' circuits (through the buttons or speaker screen) and short-circuit it. Seeing the NSTB conk-out during my NB run even when I was just at 1.46kms of my half-mary was the last straw.

Since Nov29 I've been tinkering on my new toy and employing it on my morning runs. So far I was able to use the pace-alert, heartrate training zones with my tempo runs, speed zones, and this morning the virtual partner which I beat in a mock 6km race by about 20meters ("You win!" said the Garmin). Uploading my runs to the laptop using the free Garmin Connect software is a breeze as well. I think there are still a lot of features I haven't discovered yet so it'll take sometime before I get to discover its full capabilities.

My Garmin's Race Debut

Dec5, Saturday. It was the closing ceremonies of our company's sportsfest. Our CEO, an avid runner, has staged again another 2.5/5/10k event at Heritage Park ---the same event and venue held last July for the opening ceremonies in which I clocked in at 1:08 in the 10k event. It will be organized again by Coach Rio's team so I was confident that it will be well-organized so much so that I didn't even bother to bring my hydration-belt.

Since the day before race day I was up and about thinking on what to program in my Garmin for the race. Going sub-60 is still a dream right now so I opted to at least improve on my 1:04:55 10k PR set at QCIM. After much deliberation, I setup a workout program in my Garmin for the race as follows:
Km0-1. 6:30-7:00 mpk
Km1-5. 5:00-6:00 mpk (Yeah I know. 5:00 mpk. I couldn't believe I can run that fast now)
Km5-6. 6:30-7:00 mpk
Km6-10. 5:00-6:00 mpk
Km10-11. 4:00-5:00 mpk (pangarap lang yung 4:00 mpk. Malay mo, di ba? Hehehe)

The program was set in such a way that I have at least a time to warm-up at the 1st km, run like hell from kms2-5, rest again between kms5-6, then a final push from km6 to the finish line.

Assuming that the course was exactly 10kms and that I never exceeded the max set paces above, I predicted a 1:02 finish. I added the Km10-11 pace above just in case GPS variances would cause the race distance to exceed 10k.

Race was supposed to start 5:30am but since most of the bosses (and feeling bosses) arrived late, the gun start for 10k fired at around 5:50am. There'll be 4 loops for the 10k runners since 1 loop was about 2.5kms based on Rio's map.

So off I went with my Garmin. Needless to say that I was able to follow the workout I've setup to the letter. Although the beep to speed-up or slow-down was irritating (especially nung super-bagal na ako, i.e. behind my planned pace), I find the pace-alert function to be a great aid. I was not mindful of getting fatigued on the latter kms (thanks as well to a serving of Hammer Gel that I consumed partially between Km5 and 7.5) and concentrated myself on meeting the pace that the Garmin commanded me to follow with its constant beeping.

I reached the finish line at 1:05:05 ---just 10secs slower than my 10k PR but more importantly, it was a big improvement versus the same race/route last July: exactly 3mins and 18secs better. My Garmin recorded a distance of 10.61kms (buti na yung sobra kesa kulang).

I find the Garmin 305 to be a great training tool for runners like me who'd like to improve their time. I highly recommend any runner to get one. If I may quote the RunningDiva when I was able to meet her after the NB 21k run, "[the Garmin305] is a basic necessity [for us runners]..."

A quick pic with idol CoachRio and my peeps (that's me to Rio's left)