I went into this race with not much expectation from myself. A PR was waaay impossible as I lacked the necessary speedwork and tempo runs, just coming out of a 3 week experiment with Maffetone-paced training. Although I hoped for a sub-2:20 time, I was more concerned on logging decent amount of miles for the day’s required workout: a much-needed long run. Thus, any amount of kilometres before and after the race would be a warm-welcome for my marathon plans for QCIM3.
The strategy would be for me to pace myself in the opening kilometres and try to keep below or at 7:00/km the rest of the way, make most of the hydration stations, keep my running form in check at all times, take a gel after 1 hour, and, most of all, prepare myself mentally for the closing kilometres. The reason for the last bit was because of something I realized whenever I do long runs/races. At the latter part of a long race/run, my mind seems to be at, oh how do I explain it, lazy-tired-oh-just-walk-a-bit-but-you-know-later-on-you’ll-be-walking-the-rest-of-the-way train of thought. I realized this when I was training for Condura2011 and also on the race itself, specifically after km32. Yes, my body could be tired at that point but I know if I tried to dismiss the fatigue mentally, I know I could finish it running strong if I put my mind to it. The problem at the time, my mind gave up easily to the fatigue-mirage being orchestrated by the Governor. I was hoping that in this race, Octoberun2011, I would be better prepared mentally.
With a pre-race snack of BreadTalk floss bread (yummeh!), I went to the Octoberun 2011 21km starting line.
There was a modest amount of 21km runners compared to your usual RunRio races, with familiar faces present (saw Dennis “Running Fatboy” on most of the U-turns). To psych myself, I set my 305 to countdown from 2:20 to encourage me to try to finish sub-2:20. We were sent off on schedule (5:15am).
Split for the first 5km was 34:13 (6:50/km ave). Right on schedule.
Btw, the race-org made a twist to the usual BGC-Buendia route for 21km races. Instead of tackling the BGC part first, we went up the Kalayaan flyover and onward to Buendia first. If you ask me, the route was especially challenging since by the time you reach the way back to BGC via the Buendia flyover, you’d think that you’re almost near the finish line. However, in Octoberun, you still got 10km to go around BGC to complete the half marathon. It’s wickedly challenging that it causes you to change your pace strategy: conserve energy along Buendia so you still have something left in the tank by the time you go around BGC. I give credit to MLB, the race organizer, for plotting in that twist. Good job!
Split from km6-10: 33:25 (6:41/km ave). This was along Buendia. I was able to cope with the climb back up the flyover (thanks to the usual Meralco compound hilly runs during training). I took my Powerbal Energy Gel along km8. I may have ran this section too fast, which may have caused the next sequence of events to occur.
Split from km11-15: 34:57 (6:59/km ave). Uh-oh. I started slowing down from here. I had a short side-stitch episode. Further, my right bicep started to ache as well. Based on Condura2011 and this race, I can fairly conclude that my continous holding of a Gatorade plastic bottle from the initial kms of the race caused this ache as I’ve never experienced this in my other races. Yup, I think I’ll ditch the bottle in favour of my hydration belt from now on.
I logged my slowest lap at km17 (7:24/km). I was drained at this point (yup, the change of route sequence got me), but not out. At this point I was within range (either in front or at the back) of 2 ladies. One was wearing a tri-suit and the other was wearing an Ironman shirt. I saw them chatting on the initial kms of the race and was surprised that they were still at constant pace ---yup, still chatting. I decided then to drift behind them and use them as my pacers. Just follow them, I told myself. Well that got me going again (or was it the free Ricoa Flat Tops candy that was given along km14?), holding on to their constant “chillax” pace up to the finish line.
Km18 = 6:55, km19 = 7:05, km20 = 6:58.
By the time we reached the BHS perimeter with 2 turns left to the finish, my 2 Ironman (or should I say Ironwomen?) pacers went all out. I upped my pace as well but couldn’t catch up to them. However, I managed to overtake two men using me as marker on their run-walk strategy (hehe) 100m from the finish.
GF305 unofficial time: 2:22:40. Octoberun official time: 2:22:50.
I missed my target by almost 3 minutes. But not bad since I’ve improved on my last 21km race time for this year (2:24). I have to thank my two Ironwomen pacers on the last stretch, enabling me to finish at a decent time (by my personal standards).
Aside from the wicked route, MLB had covered this race well. The hydration stations, sponges, bananas, and, most of all, the Ricoa FLAT TOPS (one of my indulgences)were fantastic. Race marshals were giving words of encouragement which helped too. This was my first MLB org’d race and I have to say that they did a splendid job (all for a fair registration fee of P600.00).
Oh, I have to say that the finisher’s shirt is veeeerrrry nice.
COMPLETING THE DAY’S MILES
After the race I went back to the car and changed singlets and onto my VFF Bikilas, wherein I did a painfully slow 3km cooldown run in 30 minutes. Total miles for the day: 25km (including the earlier 1+ km warmup). The 21km race was helpful in forcing me to complete my scheduled long run which is why I’m thinking of registering for RunRio3 32km. The race atmosphere just keeps your mind busy as the kms tick by. The schedule is just right before a two-week taper for the Dec 04 QCIM marathon so we’ll see how things happen next month.
For now, it’s back to training.