Wednesday, June 23, 2010

34th Milo Marathon Race Map

I got mixed feelings seeing the route for the 34th Milo full-marathon.

The V.Sotto-NAIA-road loop to be done 3 times might hit me pyschologically, especially in the latter kilometers. Too bad I won't get to run up until Bayani Road for this one since I've been doing my long runs mostly in that area (last year's race included a Buendia-5thAve-BayaniRd section which I think adds variety to the route). Going around 3 loops seems to have brought down the excitement to my first full. Even PC, my running-mate for this race, feels turned-off by the route as well. I guess RACE, the race-organizer, had problems securing government approval to clear Buendia Avenue traffic for 6 hours (42k cutoff time)?

On the plus side, except for the Roxas Blvd flyovers, the route seems relatively flat. This means my pace won't be sucked up by the cruel Buendia-Kalayaan flyover and Bayani Road. Further, removing Buendia Avenue from the route eliminates the excessive pollution from the jeepneys and other vehicles plying that road while they wait (in anger?) for the road to be cleared of runners.

Hmmm, maybe I should try out the route this weekend on my last long run.

Yup, I probably should.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Long Run and Mr. Wilson

Sunday morning I woke up at almost 5am for my scheduled long run: 29k. Gear, hydration, and nutrition were all set. The planned route was the Nutreogena 15k route to be done almost twice to complete the required mileage. Planned pace was an easy 7:00-8:00 mpk throughout.

I was doing fine (averaging just between 7:30-8:00 mpk) when I stopped at km11 halfway along Bayani Road. Nope I wasn't injured or anything, but I just felt the need to stop. I just sat by the sidewalk and looked miserably at myself, disappointed that I might have to cut short the planned long run ---again.

It was at this state when I saw a runner coming towards my way to Lawton. He was wearing his signature gear: 405 and Livestrong yellow wristband on one hand, while clasping a bottled drink on the other. His neon-green NB905s gave him away. I've never met the guy other than here at the blogosphere since he would most often be on his way home while I'm still 5-6kms to go whenever we both ran a half-marathon.

It was 4:07 marathoner Wilson Tan.

Our conversation was only about a minute or so, dwelling on the looming Milo marathon on July 4. He had been running for over 10k today he said, and intends to finish the route back to BHS, I presume.

"Dude kaya mo yan!" was all I can remember as he ran back up to Lawton. I got myself back up and started my way down to Heritage where I resumed my easy 7:30 pace. Going back up, with the lure of the banana stand and the next door bakery at the corner of Bayani, I decided to call it a day.

I sat there in front of the bakery with a C2 apple-tea and spanish bread in hand. Nutrition or lack thereof, I think, will be one of the main contributors of my possible DNF if I don't plan for it well for Milo. The 42k distance I know I can finish. But will I finish it running or walking? That'll depend on the nutrition plan, and my mindset by km32 (should I reach km32).

I ran-walked-walked the remaining kilometers until I reached the car. 15kms and change. I got no energy left to run another round and the sun was slowly coming up anyway. These lonely long runs are not doing me well. Need to get PC, my triathlete-officemate debuting on the full-mary as well, to join me on this weekend's last long run (24km).

It's less than 2 weeks away from Milo.

The journey to my first full marathon continues.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Freedom Run 21k: Getting There

I wanted to improve on my 21k 2:54 finish at RunRio2 two weeks ago so this was a good race to do it. Organized by RACE, it was held in Greenhills, San Juan area. Athough this was my first Greenhills race, I'm familiar to it since most of my weekend long runs pass by around that area. Further, I'm also familiar with the food places around it (Le Ching, Yuujin along Wilson street, the DnD eat-all-u-can siomai, Baker's Fair diced hopia, etc.). Hehe.


Nutrition? I crammed for carbo the night before (yakisoba and jap fried rice). For the race itself, I packed on oatmeal cookies (the 3-pack from Quaker Oats) and 2 sachets of HammerGel. Since I was also planning to run 35km based on my marathon training plan, I brought my hydration belt filled with water. I'm not used to wearing a hydration belt during races, but this decision would prove vital in the race as you'll see later on.

With a small bag containing my extra gear (singlet, towel, gatorade, extra socks...), I trodded off to Greenhills from our house. The planned 7km warmup decreased to 4k since I got worried that I'll miss gun time since Rudy B has the knack of starting the gun earlier than scheduled.

By 20mins before 5am, I was ready. Planned pace would be 6:45-7:00/km which is my target marathon pace for Milo.

Race Proper

The 21k race went off 1min before the scheduled time ---typical Rudy Biscocho. The race route was a fresh change from my usual TheFort races since it covered Greenhills mall, North GH village, Ortigas, Wilson, Addition Hills (killer inclines!), and back to Greenhills mall perimeter.

To summarize my race performance, I was within the planned pace from the start until 13k. The pace started going down after that, no thanks to Addition Hills (hill training Roelle!!!). But since I was able to deposit sub 7:00/km paces before that, I was still able to finish the race on target: Garmin recorded my average pace at exactly 7:00/km with 2:22:08 official time (4mins from my 2:18 PR). Except for my poor run-walk performance at the hills, I can safely say that I'm getting my race pace back ---hopefully just in time for Milo.

Race Org

There were minor issues on this race. First, there was a water station along Ortigas going towards Santolan wherein it ran out of cups, leaving only 2 water containers (the ones with rotary faucets) for the runners. It was a good thing that I had my hydration belt which was near empty by that time. I used one of my empty bottles to fill-up from the water containers and I was on my way to continue my race hydrated well.

Second, there was this runner from Hings(?) (which I assume to be a running community coz there were lots of them wearing the singlet) who complained of getting the wrong directions from the marshals approaching Addition Hills. But how come he was the only one who complained about it? Road signs and scattered marshals were throughout that area. Even the San Juan police and Barangay tanods were there to assist runners. Hmmm...

Third, the medal used a sticker to label the race details. Unfortunately the writing fades when my sweat got in touch with the medal. Hay....

Lastly, my 305 measured the distance at 20.27km while another runner, Philip, whom I met after the race had his 305 register the race at 20.8km.

But this was a RudyB race. Overall, the race itself was well-organized I might say. Congrats as well for their testing of their own chip-timing system which was nicely fit at the back of the racebib with a foam bed protecting it from getting in contact with the singlet.

What to do after a 2:22 21k?

Since I didn't bring my car I had no other choice but to walk/run back. The freebies I got from the race made my bag heavier so I had to walk 2 of the 4km trip back home. All in all, I was able to log 29km. Still short of my planned 35km, but I guess the pace I tried to manage during the race would help boost my endurance (I hope).

Milo here we come!

Over 2 weeks left before my marathon debut. There's no turning back now since I already handed in my registration. Well, as they say, bahala na si Batman!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Paper-Disposable Timing Chip: Road-Test

As mentioned previously, last Saturday's Company race was a chance for RunRio to road-test the paper-disposable timing chip or PDTC, if I may. Needless to say, my first 15k was over in 1:37. PR, of course. ;-)

The race results on the PDTC were very accurate. My 305 registered at 1:37:20 while the official race results timed me at 1:37:21 ---a mere 1-second difference.

Putting in the PDTC to your shoe might be a bother but not as difficult as the Championchip. For the latter, I would undo my shoe laces since I would like to have it firmly laced between eyelets. For the PDTC, all you need to do is loop it one eyelet below the actual place were you tie your shoe laces as below.

The sticky-tape is very secure so as long as you loop it as mentioned above, the PDTC won't fall off your shoe. Do take note as well to follow the "THIS SIDE UP" sign so that the circuitry is well-exposed.

Similar to the Championchip, you don't feel that it's there when you run so you can still run as you please. Regular Championchip users might become surprised with the PDTC when stepping on the timing mat since there'll be no "beep" sound heard. But don't worry, your time will be denifitely registered so long as you pass over the mat. The mat looks as below. It doesn't look like the Championchip's "mala red-carpet" mat, but it works.

The PDTC, exposed!

Of course the ECE/Macgyver in me wanted to pry open the PDTC to see what's inside since from the outside, all you can peek is the printed-circuit board (PCB). I didn't see any coil, resistor, or whatever so how does the PDTC get associated with my race number? The answer was less than a millimeter.

See that black spot in the middle? It's a micro integrated-circuit (IC) or simply, a micro chip! It's less than a millimeter as I've said, or, in colehiyala terms, it's teeny-weeny-my-gosh!-small!

Based on Rotas who manufactured the PDTC, the chip responds to high-frequency (or "HF" which is between 3 to 30MHz, common in two-way radios) and ultra-high frequency (or "UHF" which is between 300MHz to 3GHz common in mobile phones) waves that are emitted by the race mat that we step on. The chip has the runner's identification number (associated with the racebib number) so the info is accurately timed as the runner steps on the mat ---much like how Championchip works. Unfortunately the details of the chip-circuitry could be Rotas' proprietary since I didn't find any design detailing it on the 'net. But I'm pretty sure the circuitry is similar to the Championchip but micro-embedded to fit the IC.

So that's the PDTC in a nutshell. I do hope that reg-fees will go down once race-organizers use the PDTC in favor of the Championchip.

We'll see.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

2010 Company Sportsfest: My 1st 15k


Yup, I was still a newbie when it came to this race distance. I ran a 10-miler and some half-marathons, but not a 15k.

This was my next race after last week's RunRio2 21k. This 15k was organized by RunRio so it had the same look and feel as last week. That is, the route was almost the same (short of 6k of course) and with less participants (only around 30-40 people ran the 15k event). We all got split up by the time I reached the Buendia-Kalayaan flyover. Running it by my lonesome felt very surreal.

As I wanted to redeem myself from last week's race, I changed a few things going into this race. First, I used my Adidas which were lighter than my Asics (about 30grams lighter per foot based on the specs on the 'net). Second, to hell with a conservative easy pace. My plan was to give it my all since, well, this is a race!

To cut the long story short, I finished 1:37 (unofficial) via a positive split pacing. I actually zoomed at the start (I NEVER learn) with a 5:18/km pace which I've NEVER recorded in any prior race and then slowed down until my last km recorded at 6:59/km. The 6:27/km average pace recorded by my 305 was encouraging since I felt that I found my race pace again ---except of course, by the blooper I did by zooming off at km1-2 which was too much for my body to handle.

Nevertheless, the 1:37 is still a PR as this was my first 15k.

Oh btw, we got to use the paper-chip (finally!). I'll tell you more about it on my next post.

Completing the long run

As I was required to do 26km this weekend, my plan was to run 11km more (duh!). I went back to ROX BHS parking and changed my shoes (Adidas to Asics), socks, and singlet and headed off for additional mileage. Unfortunately, I was severely fatigued (i.e. got lazy) that I only managed to make 2 rounds around BHS or about 2.4kms.

Total for the day: 17.4km ---failed in terms of meeting the planned long run mileage.

I really have to start following my marathon-plan to the letter now moreover that the Milo Marathon is less than a month away. A few more long-run and tempo run misses and I might have to start thinking of delaying my marathon debut to probably Dec.5 (2nd QCIM) or Feb 2011 (Condura Run).