Sunday, May 30, 2010

RunRio2 21k: Forgettable

When Everything Just Didn't "Clicked"


My finish time for this morning's RunRio2 21k summed up my performance or should I say, non-performance. Before today my personal worst at 21k was at the Milo Finals last year wherein I clocked in at 2:41.

Obviously, today was worse.

The plan was to "chillax" my pace at 6:40-7:00 mpk ---the same marathon pace that I've set for Milo full-mary this July. It was a race-simulation of sorts for Milo such that I hoped to memorize the pace and train my body to maintain it for 21k. Extending it to another 21k might help me finish at my target sub-5 hour marathon debut.

The first 10km was ok as I timed 1:12, a little off the 7 mpk target pace but still alright. I started walking after that (approaching 5th avenue towards Lawton). It was pretty much run-walk-walk until the finish, with my 305 beeping ridiculous paces of 9, 10, even 11 mpk!?!?! Thoughts going thru my head included delaying my full-marathon debut to next year instead, much reinforced by Baldrunner's post last week on when to start running 42k's as I recalled.

Yup, it's a race that I want to forget. But I can't.


I sight several reasons for this morning's dismal performance:

1. Undertrained. Despite having a 12-week marathon plan to follow, the last 2 weeks have been wanting in terms of mileage. Last weekend was supposed to be a 15k race but it got canceled. I only have to blame myself as most of my planned weekday runs, tempos, and intervals were not followed. I paid for it dearly as I ran-walked this hilly course. To top it all, my planned 32k long run for the day was scrapped as I was severely demoralized by the time I reached home, supposedly to complete the remaining 9k (I had a 1k warmup and 1k cooldown pre and post-race).

2. No carbo? I didn't pack up on carbo the week before the race. I may have gotten overconfident since my last 21k was 2:18 (RunRio1) so I thought that today's race should be a walk in the park. Well, literally, it WAS a walk in the park and more.

3. The shoes. This is the 1st time I used my Asics Gel Foundation 8 for a 21k race. When I removed my shoes after the race, the shoes felt extra heavy. It may have been the water that I've splashed all over me when I stopped at the water stations dripping to my shoes. The shoes were DEFINITELY heavy by km13 onwards. I should've put on my ever-reliable Adidas Response Stability instead which were much (much!) lighter. From hereon, probably I'll be using my Asics for easy short runs only (8kms and below) and NOT for racing. Time to buy new shoes? (evil grin)

4. Burnout? I hope not. The long runs in my training plan have been horrendous since I often found myself walk-running in the end. Today's race just reflected it more. The training plan had somehow turned me into a robot every morning to just follow the day's program and not have fun with it. It could be the pressure of joining my first marathon that's leaving the fun out of my runs.

This morning's race was an awakening of sorts for me. Everyone has bad days, yes, but I couldn't believe it would be THAT bad at all. On the side, well it was good to know that Josh Cox had a bad day at Comrades today as well: he walked 14k due to cramps brought about by diarrhea-dehydration.

The coming days will be reflection time for me. Should I continue to train for Milo knowing that my long runs for these previous weeks have been below par? Or should I just scrap the plan for next year instead since there'll be a lot of marathons coming my way anyway?

I'll let you guys know soon.

Friday, May 28, 2010

3 Races, 3 Long Runs

I know I know. I said on an earlier post and probably commented on other blogs that I've minimized joining races from 2x/month to once a month. But hey, can you blame me if 2 of the 3 upcoming races are free? Sayang naman, di ba?

Further, from now until July 4, my weekends have been scheduled with marathon-training-plan long-runs exceeding 21km so these races will help psych me up in completing said long-runs before Milo. As mentioned on a previous post, doing long-runs alone has been quite unsatisfactory in terms of keeping within the easy pace range. Being around runners keeps my mind busy from thinking about fatigue and the heat.

1. RunRio2 Nature Valley

Paid for this one. Yup, it's quite expensive but RunRio1 fared well on my book in terms of overall race-organization. Money well spent I think. I'll be running the 21km event this Sunday so I hope to get the same (or if not better) race treatment by the organizers.

Long-run required: 32km. This'll be my longest run after my 29km two weeks ago. So, if you see a 30-something dark guy running/walking around BHS even when RunRio2 closes, that would probably be me gasping for strength to complete 32k.

2. Company Sportsfest (June 5)

FREE. This is the rescheduled running event from last week. I've signed up for the 15km event. The paper-chip that I've blogged last time will finally be tested here.

Long-run required: 26km. My officemates will probably think I'm nuts to go back to the race route after crossing the finish line just to run 11km more.

3. Freedom Run (June 13)

FREE. Yeah, I guess that's one part of my work that I love. The CEO is really into running. Our company's one of the major sponsors so a friend from Marketing called me if I wanted to join the contingent to rep the company for this one. I'll be running 21km. And yes, it's a Rudy Biscocho race.

Long-run required: 35km ---the longest long-run for this 12-week marathon plan. I'll probably run this at easy pace (7-7:30 mpk). Since it'll be held in Greenhills which is about 6-7km from home, I'll be running to and from the start/finish line to complete the required mileage.

So there. Probably after each of those races I'll complete the remaining mileage at easy pace. I'll try my very best to chillax at the race itself to save energy for the remaining kilometers. But the race ambiance is so infectious that I might probably zoom again like there's no tomorrow (especially race #2 wherein officemates will bash you all year if they get to beat you, hehe).

See you at the races!

Oh by the way, it finally rained today. Yey!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paper-Disposable Timing Chip

The yearly company sportsfest is coming up this Saturday. As my marathon plan requires me this weekend to run a 15km race, it's a welcome coincidence that a 15km event has been added to the usual 10/5/2.5km events in Heritage Park.

Our HR has hired the services of RunRio since two sportsfest races last year. This year, we are honored to be Rio's guinea pigs for probably THE next thing in automated race timing: paper-disposable timing chips which I'll refer to hereon as "paper-chip" if you so kindly allow.

The paper-chip is popular in most races abroad. The pic above shows Meb Keflezighi using one (the red tape-like thing on his shoelace) during the NYC marathon last year wherein he finished first.

the paper-chip and championchip side by side

From my rough estimates, the paper-chip measures 8-9 inches long and 1-inch wide. The illustrated instructions are easily indicated on the paper-chip, instructing the runner to put the paper-chip on his shoelaces, similar to the ChampionChip. The paper-chip is secured using sticky-tape that forms part of it, similar to those bag tags used when we check-in our baggages in airports. We were informed though not to fold/crumple the paper-chip to probably prevent the circuitry from being damaged.

If you put it against a light source you'll see that the printed circuit board (PCB) is intricately embedded within the strip. I'm guessing that this will use RF technology as well so *probably* the same sensor mats used in RunRio/FinishLine races will be employed.

I'll let you know how it goes when I get to use it this Saturday. Initially, I'm hoping that this will push the registration fees of future races down since it seems to cost less compared to it's plastic ChampionChip counterpart. But (I hope I'm wrong) the bottom of the strip indicated the manufacturer is based in Italy, reg-fees might increase due to importation/customs cost. But I'm just guessing here. Let's just see how it goes in future races. Probably we'll see this introduced formally in RunRio3 in November (or even earlier).

Well, there's about 47 people running 15kms on Saturday's race so I'm hoping to finish at the top half. Wish me luck on my FIRST 15km race!

Yup, I'm about to be devirginized in the 15km event come Saturday morning, hehehe.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mini Cooper

So far, I've finished 5 of 12 weeks of my full marathon training plan. To cap those past 5 weeks, I would rate my readiness for Milo Elims as 5 out of 10. Easy pace short runs were sometimes skipped in lieu of dozing off in bed, intervals/speedwork was below the planned mileage (3x3km ended up as 2x3km, for example), and the long runs, boy.

The required long run mileage (21, 24, 26, 10km race, and 29) were all met in terms of distance but not of the required easy pace of 7:19-8:12 mpk. Except for the 10km mock-race that I did using the Unilab 10k route @ 1:06, I often found myself walking at the latter part of the long run, mostly at the last 5-7kms. A miserable sight really.

Take for example last Sunday. The 29km run. The first 16kms were alright (sub-8:00 easy pace) since I was running bandit behind the Neutrogena 15k runners (literally behind since it was only Tessa Prieto, probably among the last 5 runners in the 15k event, in her mint-green ballerina skirt behind me). Things started to go down after 16km when I refilled my liquids when I stopped at the car parked at the Fort Strip. The summer sun was up and blazing. With the scorching heat, my pace dropped significantly, to note:

  1. km19. Stopping by the sidewalk to sit and remove my shoes to relax. spent about 10mins with thoughts like, "why the HELL am I doing this?!" or LSS of Justin Bieber's "Baby" playing in my head (thanks to my 3-yr old who knows the lyrics!)
  2. km20. Going inside Jollibee Rizal Ave to refill my hydration belt with their ice-cold water. The server taking orders had dagger-like looks btw.
  3. km25. Stopping at a carinderia to buy two mini water bottles (P15.00 each) for hydration refills even when the ampalaya with giniling na pork looked VERY tempting. The excess I poured over my face and arms.
  4. km26. Stopping at the same carinderia as in point 3 above (on the way back) to buy an additional water bottle for cool paligo. Yup, the ampalaya with giniling na pork was still there, calling me.

I stopped my Garmin at all of the above unscheduled stops. Total running time? 3hours 57minutes. If that day was Milo Elims day, I would've finished at 6hours 44minutes ---waaaayyyy outside my target of 5 hours.

It's been a riddle trying to find out my poor performance for those long runs. For now, I suspect:

  1. The heat. The sun which could've been more than 30 degrees Celsius at an easy 7am Sunday morning was too much for me to bear that it sucked all my energy out. I even started earlier, 5:30am versus 6am on my previous long runs but still the sun rose, frying me.
  2. Running alone. I think if I had company during those long runs, it would've been encouraging for me to finish at my target pace. As mentioned above, the first 16kms of last Sunday was with the Neutrogena runners. I was within easy pace then. It dropped when I started running alone. Probably being among runners psyched me somewhat.

I think by now I know that I CAN finish a full-marathon if I wanted to. I also know that I can finish a full-marathon in 5hours IF I WANTED TO. I just need to psych myself more to keep my pace in check and not let my mind wander. I have to think positively that running alone also means running in solitude. The sun? Well, there's sunblock. ;-)

Let me end this post by recalling a moment I had along km21. I had just passed McDo Rizal Ave, walking-running, when a tempting thought came. As I was on 26th avenue about 100meters from 5th, I was able to see my car just beyond 5th parked at the Fort Strip. The debate in my head went something like this:

"hey there's the car! let's call it a day!"

"but we still have more than 8kms to go! I should turn right to 5th towards lawton..."

"noooo! tama na. subra na. the sun is too hot already. see, you're walking! walk straight to the car! enough of this!"

"ok. but if I stop, might as well quit the marathon training altogether. If I stop at 21km now, let's not run in the Milo Elims."


As I passed the Mini Cooper display, I was at a crossroad, literally and figuratively. If I walked straight at 26th, it's bye bye marathon debut. If I turned right at 5th going to Lawton, the journey continues.

As you may have guessed, I turned right.

Km29 = 6:48 target marathon pace.

Game on!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You're Addicted To Running When...

...your browser's homepage is set to the sight of a person wearing running shoes be it in the mall or anywhere else, you instinctively look at the sole to see if there's a gray part ---a sign that it's for an overpronator. regularly check's List of Races to see if there are races this weekend (or even a month from now) that you can sign-up for. feel a certain tinge whenever you drive along the Buendia-Kalayaan flyover for you know very well that you've passed it many many times ---on foot. go to Boni High Street either to register for a race or to join a race. Malling is not really your prime purpose to be there. know that the BHS and Ayala-Triangle perimeter is almost of the same distance.

...within one minute, you can give the names of at least 10 Filipino running bloggers. are familiar with the term "sub-Piolo." know what these guys do in common: Rio, Rudy, & Ian. know that the term "singlet" does not mean a cute single guy/gal. prefer to eat pasta before the weekend (long run) arrives. know that the Illiotibial Band is NOT a musical group.

from follow the tweets of elite runners like Josh, Ryan, Meb, and Haile. can fill in the blank to this phrase: Yakult ___-miler. know the names of the 2 running-specialty stores in the Philippines. know who Vertek is. know what R.O.X. stands for. feel a certain tinge whenever you drive along the Skyway for you know very well that you've passed it before ---on foot. absolutely hate going up and down the stairs.'d rather read an ebook on Chi Running during a boring office meeting. can find another meaning to the acronym HRM aside from Hotel and Restaurant Management.

...the word MILO means so much more than the chocolate drink you loved as a kid.

So, are you addicted to running?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Going For It

The following interview never happened.

================================= sat down with 2:18 half-marathoner daytripper1021 last weekend to talk about his latest challenge, the full marathon which he'll be running at the Milo Marathon Elims on July 4th. Below is a transcript of that interview.

RW: We dropped by your blog and saw a new gadget: a countdown timer to the Milo Marathon Elims on July 4. So, the full-mary huh?

DT: Yup, I've finally decided to try it out. After a year of discovering running and racing, I want to see if I'll be able to finish the full 42.195 kilometers. After finishing several half-marys, I think it's the next logical step for my running career.

RW: Running career?

DT: Sige na pagbigyan nyo na ako. Pantasya ko naman itong interview na ito.

RW: (gives an "ok ka lang?" look) Anyway, so how's your training coming along?

DT: It's been challenging to say the least. Among 3 prospects, I decided on taking on this 12-week marathon training program posted in your website. It's unorthodox versus other programs since it concentrates on improving speed first before endurance. Further, since most marathon training programs online stretch out for 16-20 weeks, the 12-week program I got fits nicely, especially since I don't have the luxury of time to train for 16-20 weeks. The left knee injury that I had months ago had delayed the start to my training.

RW: How's that left knee btw?

DT: Well it's recuperating thanks to doing VMO strengthening exercises as prescribed by a sports pysiotherapist that I went to. The one thing I learned is to follow the paces prescribed in the training program, especially when doing easy short/long runs. I resist the urge to speed up so that I'm still within range of the prescribed pace. That, and remembering concepts mentioned by Danny Dreyer's Chi Running, I think has led to my being able to handle my left knee from getting reinjured.

RW: A full-marathon training is typically very demanding in terms of weekly mileage. How have you been coping with it so far?

DT: The 1st two weeks have been dreadful in terms of meeting weekly mileage. I totalled 30kms the first week versus the required 42kms then on the second week I only managed 41 of the required 48kms.

RW: (whispers to himself "Yari tong batang 'to")

DT: You were saying something?

RW: Ahhh no, no. Nothing. Continue continue!

DT: (gives RW a weird look) far last week, I ran the required days and corresponding mileage which was 53km ---probably my highest weekly mileage so far.

RW: So how are your long runs these past 3 weeks?

DT: Well the long runs have been 21k, 26k, and 24k. I found myself run-walking on the finishing kilometers. It's very tiring and sucks all the energy out. It's probably due to the searing heat since I start my long runs past 6am or could probably be due to loss of glycogen storage. I need to start my long runs earlier, possibly 5am, and read more on how to carbo-load and all that nutrition preparation stuff.

RW: Do you think you'll be able to finish 42k moreover that the Milo Marathon has a 5-hour cutoff?

DT: The 5-hour cutoff is very daunting, to say the least. Most online race calculators predict that I can finish the full somewhere around 4:45 based on my 2:18 21k finish at RunRio1. But that race was more than 2mos ago. I haven't raced a half since then so I'm not sure of my finish time on my maiden full. Will I finish? I'm pretty sure I can finish but I'm uncertain if I'll meet the cutoff. Probably a DNF will be the last resort if the water stations start closing. But that's a worse-case scenario. I hope I don't get into that situation. I'm still hopeful to finish below 5hrs. Really hoping. But then again, to simply finish is going to be great! It'll be a major bookmark in my life.

RW: Race strategy?

DT: Ideally I hope to run a 6:45 mpk steady pace all throughout which will get me to a 4:45 finish. But that's an ideal scenario. As they say, shit happens so I'm hoping that the running gods will be kind come July 4th. Again, the goal for this race is simply to finish. But to be able to cross the finish line and being donned with that finisher's medal below 5 hours, that would be something special.

RW: So why are you doing this again?

DT: Because it's there.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Body Glide Anti-Chafe Balm

I bought this for around P350.00(?) at Second Wind Running Store Ortigas last week. Being someone who always suffered from chaffing under "there" and resorting to taping the other parts that can be saved from possible burningly-painful-post-run showers, I can say that after using this product prior to an 11km and then a 24km long run both at easy pace last week, it really works!

Another variant of this product comes with sun screen but it costs about 20-30 pesos more. The product is rather pricey but it's better than not enjoying a post-run shower.

A good buy.