Monday, May 30, 2011

I Run For Integrity 10k: Finally a sub-60?

If I knew earlier that this race would be organized by Rudy B, I would not have relaxed my walk from the house to the starting line. The sole yellow digital-clock placed on the starting arc with 11-minutes plus ticking (even though it was still around 15minutes before the published guntime) was undoubtedly telling me two obvious things:

  1. This was a Rudy Biscocho race. Known for it's accurate race-distance, and notorious for its guntimes being earlier than the one published. It will be a no-frills, "plain rice" race.
  2. The race had started 11-plus minutes ago. I was late.

I passed thru the hoard of 3k runners up to the starting arc, and pressed "Start" on my stopwatch. Late or not, I'm still going to gun for a sub-60.

The route was going to be a simple BHS-BuendiaFlyover-BuendiaAvenue out-and-back. I have done this route many times, but not at the crazy pace that I was planning to do for 10 kilometers: sub-6:00/km.

By the 5km turnaround my stopwatch showed 28:14. I was on target. The remainder of the course will be mostly inclines exclamated by the notorious Buendia Flyover. With my heart noticeably pounding and me breathing hard, I used my 1:46 buffer to take brief walk breaks (5-10secs) and hoping for the best. I was consciously egging myself, "RACE this. Don't jog. RACE PACE! Come on!"

I walked the Buendia Flyover for about 10 secs and just kept pushing myself to race on. I was able to catch up when I descended the flyover and turned right to Rizal Avenue, where the 1st half would be downhill. The second half all the way to 32nd avenue would be all uphill but with a slight grade. I was still in pace, but the 1:46 buffer had shrunk precariously to 1 minute.

I just needed to hold on a little more, I told myself. I glanced left and saw the finish arc waiting for me. As I made the two last turns, I was greeted by the welcome sight of the finish arc.

Just a little bit more. I was looking straight ahead but at the same time feeling the stop-button on my watch to get ready to stop the timer.

And then, as I crossed the line, there it was.


The most beautiful set of numbers that I ever saw that day.

Finally, my very first sub-60 10k.

How sweet it is.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chasing Sub-60

1 hour and 57 seconds.

That's my 10k PR from last year's Mizuno Run. As this year's Mizuno Run nears, it is time for me again to chase my sub-60minutes dream.

In terms of sub-ing race times, I have yet to achieve a sub-30 5k, a sub-60 10k, a sub-1:30 15k, and a sub-5hr full marathon. I think I've accomplished a lot on the half-marathon, my favorite distance, doing a sub-2:30 then sub-2:20 and a sub-2:15 (my current PR). There's this obsession of mine to log sub-6:00/km pace which I think most will agree is a good standard for being an above-average runner. I'm able to do that during 1000m cruise interval workouts (with 2minutes rest) but not during tempos or races. I often found myself out-of-breath and gassed out after a mere 1 or 2km stretch of running sub-6:00/km pace.

Well, I have this chance again on Sunday (I run for Integrity 10k) to hopefully break 60minutes. By the look of my workouts these past two weeks, it will be a difficult task. Moreover, the Buendia flyover will pose as a challenge as it became my Waterloo during Mizuno 2010. But I would like to give it a try nonetheless.

If that fails, then I'll try again...and again....and again....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Goldilocks 21km: Glad to be back


I was surprised with my time as I stopped the timer on my stopwatch approaching the Goldilocks FunRun 21km finish line. The clock on the finish arc showed 2:26, mine showed 2:29. Guessing that they haven't adjusted the timer since we were sent off 2+ minutes before the actual gun time, I came to realize that the time on my stopwatch was correct.

I almost didn't make it to sub-2:30.

Since I didn't have my 305 back from repair, I had to rely on my stopwatch and press 'lap' on km5, 10, and 15 to oversee my pace. The recorded laps were as below:

  • km1-5: 34:30
  • km6-10: 34:00
  • km11-15: 34:00
  • km16-21: 46:00

I was still on 2:22-2:24 pace by km15. After analyzing what went wrong, I arrived at the following:

  1. Blister. I opted to wear the VFF Bikilas over the Brooks Green Silence. I haven't ran in the Bikilas for more than 8km at any run. Perhaps the lure of my last cruise interval workout encouraged me to go for speed over safety. The result was a 1-peso-coin-sized blister under my big left toe in km10 which forced me to go to the side of the road. The stop had caused me 1-2mins and perhaps cautioned me to slow my pace
  2. The absence of my Garmin305 (still under repair) made me neglect my pace-monitoring duties after km15. The last leg showed I was at a 7:40/km average pedestrian pace, admittedly since I was more concentrated in overtaking the walkers struggling to finish the race. Maybe if I had my 305 beeping my per-km splits, my performance would've been different.

Still, I needed the 21km mileage and it was great to be racing a half-marathon again after such a long time. Seeing a lot of runners (1,600+) joining the 21km event, it seems that many 10k runners have "leveled-up." This was pretty obvious from the Buendia turnaround point, when many newbies (I presume) were found walking by the wayside, perhaps not obedient in following their long run schedule. To be honest, I was actually LOVING the feeling of overtaking them one by one from Buendia all the way to the finish.

A note as well on the Bikilas. Although the blister experience is something that needs to be addressed (wearing Injinji socks perhaps?), I LOVED them as I trudged the uphills. Forgive me for being vocal, pero PANIS yung mga uphills ---as in I never walked. Probably it being lightweight proved pivotal for me to conquer the Kalayaan flyover and the 5th avenue approach to the last turnaround. It was just unfortunate that the blister happened.

Obviously, the 2:29 (2:28:22 chip time) result is something that I need to improve on. Let's see how it goes this year.

Congrats again to RunRio for an excellent, well-organized race!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Running Log, May9


Mileage-wise, my weekly totals have been on-target. I've been increasing it 10% every week, with a cut-back week after 2 or 3 weeks.


The injuries have been non-supportive. The right foot pain that started last March which I initially blamed on the Bikilas were found to be actually caused by the faded support/cushion of the Adios. I've retired the Adios (which was used btw by Mutai to achieve a Boston/World best of 2:03:02) to casual trips to the mall or church. Since then, my right foot has been healing, albeit slowly.

My left foot has now joined in the fray. My big toe is having trouble dorsiflexing, especially after immediately waking up in the morning. It may have gotten injured during my 2nd test run (18km) of the Brooks Green Silence the other week. I'm not sure if shoe size is an issue since the US9.0 was recommended by when I compared the shoe with my Adizero Adios (also a size 9.0). My toes could still wiggle a little in the toebox so I don't think that's the issue. My theory is that the Green Silence is not kind to forefoot-striking, which I've gotten used to with the Bikilas. Looks like I need to switch to midfoot whenever I wear the Brooks.

My left knee has started to become painful again, especially after long runs. I probably need to do more strength training for my knees, or study my gait again since the pain is usually obvious when I wear the Green Silence (heel-striking perhaps?).

Or is it because I gained weight?


With all the heavy merienda (office birthday celebrations and invites to PM snacks because of the accessibility of the mall from the office), unusual snacking, and bottomless iced tea, I was not surprised that our weighing scale said that I have gained 5 lbs as of this morning. The increasing weekly mileage is obviously not helping since energy in > energy out. I might have to resort to oatmeal dinners again (bleck!).


With the injuries and weight-gain going on, I'm still happy that I have my runs. This weekend I'm running 21km c/o the Goldilocks Fun Run. With my current condition, a PR is definitely out of the question. Finishing it below 2:30 is a more hopeful target. I'm contemplating btw if I would wear my Bikilas for the race. Hmmmm.....

Increasing the mileage and eating less would be the instructions to be followed starting next week.

So, Milo Marathon Manila Elims on July 31. Anyone joining that one?

Me? I'm still thinking about it. Who knows, ey? ;-)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Garminless for a while

I've had my trusty GF305 since Nov2009, via pabili to my sis-in-law who's based in the US. The cost was around PHP 7,500.00 which is a bargain since it's being sold locally at about PHP12,000.00 (although it seems that they're being sold at around 8thou in

It's been with me in almost all of my runs and in all of my races, keeping tabs on my per-km pace, distance, total elapsed time, calories, and heart-rate. Needless to say, it's been a very helpful tool in my running.

The signs of wear have appeared after my 18km long run last Sunday: the UP button on the right side has eroded away from the rubber support as shown below.

All the other buttons (left and right side) are starting to show signs of erosion too.

Fortunately, I was able to contact NAVCO Philippines which is the local distributor of Garmin here. A repair IS possible (with a fee, of course). I've gone to their office during lunch earlier and have handed over my GF305 for them to send to their Asia center for repair.

It might take 3-4 weeks before I get the unit back, thus I'll be confined to my old stopwatch and mapping out the distances via Map My Run in the meantime.

Yup, old school.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Brooks Green Silence


Aside from the Bikilas, I've been rotating between the Adizero Adios (bought Oct 2010) and Newton Distance Racers (July 2010), both of which have the outsoles worn down excessively. The mileage on both the Adios and Newtons may have acquired about 400-500km each. I tried (really) to maximize these two shoes but the performance that I've been getting back from them during my runs have gone down, probably due to the eroded cushioning and unbalanced wear on the outsole (it seems that I've been supinating more than usual). My left ITB has been acting up lately which I'm fairly certain because of the outsole wear.

Thus, a well-prepared justification to the wifey for me to buy new shoes (again). ;-)


After countless reading of online shoe reviews, I was able to trim my choice to the following:

  1. Merrell True Glove
  2. Brooks Green Silence
  3. Brooks ST 5 Racer

I turned down the True Glove because of (1) I already had the Bikilas which promotes barefoot running just like Merrell's, and (2) the True Glove, supposedly for road use, was not accepted positively in a shoe review that I read online. I might consider buying the TRAIL Glove later on, should I finally try trail running in the future.

I then went to Toby's to try on shoes 2 and 3. I jogged a bit and noticed that the ST5's heel is raised more than the Green Silence. This made me heel-strike which I wasn't comfortable of (apart from the excess cushioning that I wasn't anymore used to).

In the end (and with a 10% discount coupon for registering at the May15 Goldilocks run), I purchased the Green Silence.

TEST RUN #1 - EASY 5km

As I was walking before the start of my run, I felt some tightness on the upper which I didn't really mind. The toebox, as many have reviewed, is quite wide that enabled my toes to splay comfortably.

The Adios, as you may recall, has a heel-to-toe lift of 11mm. The Green Silence has a reported lift of 10mm. The 1mm should be a negligible difference but I was amazed on how my feet were (finally) achieving the hard-to-find midfoot strike! The Bikilas and the Newtons were forcing me to almost forefoot strike, which is not really that economical to an average Joe like myself, especially in full marathons. Finally, I said to myself, so this is how midfoot strike really felt!

Average pace = 7:20/km


I have this love-hate relationship with long runs. I like it when it's on the planning stage, but I hate it when it's on the execution stage. It's probably the voices in my head urging me to stop (this nonsense), and I should still be sleeping instead. This has been obvious in my long runs exceeding 21km, with boredom, the heat, and lack of hydration coming into play. Often times, I just stop, and walk back home to call it a day. Target mileage failed.

However, about 30mins into this planned 18km run, I may sound cocky but during that time, for the first time I felt that I CAN finish this long run. The Green Silence's reduced heel-toe lift was still enabling me to midfoot strike effectively. This made me thought that I could finish this run confidently.


The plan for that 18km was to run the first 13km easy (7:30/km), then go for target HM pace (6:30/km) for the last 5km. As I picked up the pace after km13, I felt something slowly acting up at the top of my left foot: pain. Then, as if in unison, I felt a hotspot under my left foot: blister. I'm not sure if this was because of not easing slowly into the shoe or something on the upper's design that my left foot didn't like, but it caused me to stop and sit by the sidewalk to unlace the shoe momentarily. I loosened the lacing a bit, stood up, and resumed my run.

I could still feel some pain at the top of my left foot as of this morning, a day after my long run.

Except for that experience, I was able to finish the run with a decent time of 2:11:54 which is still better than my 2:15 target (for 7:30/km average pace).


I would need a few more runs to make my final judgment, but so far the Green Silence has performed well (except for that issue on the upper that I encountered which I'll probably adjust to as I run more with it). It will complement the Bikilas in my shoe rotation as I'm now destined to retire my Adios and Newtons.

Scott Jurek (@scottjurek) and our very own Vertek Buenavista (left photo) use the Green Silence for races.

Of course, the fact that it's been made with recycled materials which helps reduce my carbon footprint makes it more rewarding.