Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Condura 42k: Unsolicited Advice

So now you’ve registered (or have decided to register on the last day, Feb1) for the Condura Skyway Marathon 2012 happening this coming weekend. You did your 42k training and ready to ride The Skyway a.k.a. The Beast, as I’ve coined it last year, for the very first time. I won’t be running this year’s edition but I would like to wish all the first-time Condura 42k runners the best race that they can have.

Allow me to give my two cents on running this race.

Hill intervals/training (lots of it). This maybe late advice, but I hope you did regular hill intervals/repeats during your marathon build up for this one. Lots of it. The Beast is unmerciful with its rolling uphills and downhills. At first glance, it may seem a flat road from Alabang to Makati but it isn’t. It’ll be a roller coaster of elevation changes as you make your way across 5 cities over the Skyway ---and back. Quads will be screaming, pace will be slowing down, and the mind will tell you to walk if you’re unprepared.

Get accustomed to 100 PLUS. It is most likely that the sports drink for the whole race will be 100 PLUS, same as last year. Again, this is another late advice, but I hope you’ve accustomed your digestive system in consuming 100 PLUS for rehydration. Otherwise, packets of energy gels and salt sticks is what you should’ve prepared for to go with the alternative hydration being provided: water.

Dark and lonely. As the 42k race gun time is 12:00am and if you’re averaging 5 or more hours to complete a 42k, The Beast will be a lonely road. This will be most evident on the 3rd or 4th quarter of your race, when most of the 42k runners are spread apart and by their lonesome. It would be best to make friends among runners you get to be with it on that lonely journey. There’ll be no cheering crowd to watch you over the Skyway, and definitely minimal color wherever you look at the sights (black/grey mostly) since you’ll be running during the night time (while the rest of us are sleeping soundly on our bed).

Be mentally strong. Avoid thought processes that snowball like this: from looking at buildings/houses/condos, seeing the windows with no lights, thinking that people are in deep slumber and dreaming of wonderful subconscious thoughts while you are struggling your way and asking yourself, “Why have I signed up for this?” Be strong!

Keep going. I love one of Saucony’s mottos. It goes something like if you’ve used up all your weak, then what is left is your strong. I hope that inspires you to get going as your Garmin or the km marker shows 5k left, even if that 5k seems like a whole eternity and it might take you more than usual to cover the said distance. Believe me, the last 2.195km would seem long as well.

Enjoy the race. Just think of the massage tables, that humungous medal that will be greeting you as make your way to the finish line. You can’t wait to FB that on your profile and receive all the likes and positive comments from your friends and relatives. You’ll be the envy of that fast runner in your office who still hasn’t conquered the full marathon. You'll walk around the next day with pain all over, but you will still smile for what you did on that previous Sunday (early) morning.

Well, that’s all I can think of. I hope you get to enjoy the Condura Skyway Marathon. It’s going to be a one of a kind experience. You’ll never look at the Skyway the same way again. For you, it is The Beast that you’ve conquered and slain ---all 42.195 kms of it.

Condura Skyway Marathon 2012 from Condura Skyway Marathon on Vimeo.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Brooks PureFlow Review


After a forgettable Marathon #3 at QCIM 2011, I was able put myself back together (after almost a week of self-pity) and move on. Post analyzing that race, I've assessed that the Brooks Green Silence, a formidable minimalist racing flat IMHO, is not suited for my 165-lb build mowing across 42.195 kilometers at an average pace of 7:00-7:30/km.

After 619kms (386 miles), my Green Silence had to go. I think that's more than enough for a racing flat.

It was evident in my 16-week training prior to that race as I was not able to meet the mileage required of my scheduled long runs. I got easily fatigued as the kms beeped on my Garmin, assumed to be brought about by the lack of comfort/cushion in the said minimalist shoe.

I still wanted to be a runner embracing minimalist/natural methods but I also wanted even just a tad of cushioning to hopefully conquer my long runs.


After weeks of searching, I ended up with two shoes to decide on:

1. Asics DS Trainer 16
2. Brooks Pureflow

My first choice was the Brooks Pureflow (special thanks to @Oblinkin of Runblogger fame who confirmed my assessment) but RUNNR store in Taguig ran out of my size when I inquired around middle of December.

It was the Asics then. Unfortunately, the P6,250.00 price tag was too steep for me. Further, I missed the year-end sale of TheBrick MultiSport store at McKinley Hill (they were selling the DS-Trainer 16 at P5,000.00, other stores are selling it for P6,250.00).

By early January I was at a loss on what shoe to buy. But then, by some divine intervention, I thought of calling RUNNR store again on a Friday afternoon.

Lo and behold! They have a Brooks Pureflow size US9.0 being sold at P4,995.00!

I told the saleslady to hold onto the pair for the weekend for me. By Saturday evening I was able to grab hold of them. Of course, the next day I wore it immediately for a 5k easy Maffetone run.


The fit is perfect and the feel is comfy. The other online reviews say to get a pair half-size smaller but true-to-size bests suits me. I like the wide toebox (as usual). Comfort and minimalist do not usually go together but the guys at Brooks were able to make these two work together. Overall, it felt just right for me.


I have logged 61kms with them so far, using them for my Maffetone training with distances ranging from 5k to 18k. I looooove the just-the-right-amount of cushioning that this shoe provides, especially in my weekend long runs.

My only complaint, observed only in my first few runs, was slight discomfort at the top of my right foot when running with them. I assume the Nav Band was causing this discomfort. However, in the runs succeeding the break-in stage, I was not feeling the said discomfort anymore.

Taken from runfreddierun.com

The Brooks Green Silence has a very durable outsole and I think the Pureflow, so far, is just as durable. I think I'll be able to log more miles in them, assuming no other wear occurs on the upper.

Of course, the 4mm heel-to-toe drop is suitable for my minimalist taste. Midfoot strike is (comfortably) achieved.

Tomorrow morning I plan to run 20k, my longest on the Pureflow so far. If all goes well, that small-but-just-the-right-amount of cushioning will make it another pleasant long run.

My next marathon could be in July (The Milo Manila Elims). The Pureflows will be a good tool in meeting my required miles for the weekly long runs.

And with that, hopefully I'll achieve my sub-5 hour goal.

06/12/2012 Update: I removed the NAV Band. Read here.

07/31/2012 Update: Used it for my 4th full marathon and got a 10min PR! Read here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

#TwitterRoadRace 5k: Sub-30, Barely

I have not run a 5k race for quite a while so it was very inviting last Saturday morning when I read Kenley's blog about a scheduled virtual 5k race on Jan21. It led me to this blog by Doug that invited runners from all over the world to participate in the first ever #TwitterRoadRace 5k. Realizing that this could also be a chance for me to assess the Maffetone training that I'm currently doing, I decided to sign-up and strap on my Vibram Bikilas after lunch for a 5k.

The route was going to be done on a 1km-loop that I use regularly for 1k-cruise intervals during marathon training. Thus it would have to be done 5 times.

After a 1.4km jog warmup and set my Garmin to count-down from 5km, I was off with my virtual race.

I reminded myself to start off comfortably as much as I can. This is to avoid the blow-up that happened a month ago when I did my own mock 5k race (ran out of gas after 3.6km). I clocked in the 1st km at 6:20.

I needed to catch up on my pace if I wanted to make sub-30.

Fortunately, I could say that I ran a smart race as I managed my splits fairly well, accomplishing a very rare negative split performance. Here are my splits for the rest of the 4kms: 6:02, 6:00, 5:52, 5:46.

Finish time: 0:29:59. PR!

Yup, I BARELY finished sub-30. On a sunny Saturday afternoon.

After I finished, I went for a 1-mile cooldown jog/walk.

Total mileage for the day: 8km.

As I logged in my race time in the #TwitterRoadRace results, it was nice to see the results page filled with runners from the US, Australia, Sweden, Canada, Panama, UK, and, of course, the Philippines (who were very well represented if I may add). I finished 215th out of 376 total runners and I was 61st out of 75 in my age group (M 30-39).

As to my race performance, I felt very comfortable throughout the run as I slowly (smartly?) increased the pace after each loop. I forgot to mention that the 1k-loop had two gradual climbs and two quick descents so it was really a challenge to keep my mind concentrated on the goal, especially on the uphills. My heart rate averaged 157 (gradual increase from 140+ to 172) and max'ed at 172 towards the end. I think I still had more left in the tank if I wanted to push harder so I'm excited to see further improvement of Maffetone training when I finish another 5k virtual/mock race in a month's time.

For now, it's back to slow run efforts below 142 heart rate.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Running Log: Jan9-15

6km. 47mins. 7:50/km average. Brooks PureFlow.
Ave HR 133. Max 145.

5.2km. 39mins. 7:34/km average. Bikilas.
Ave HR 135. Max 146.

5.1km. 41mins. 8:03/km average. Brooks PureFlow.
Ave HR 138. Max 150. This was a lunchtime run on BGC. Sunny and breezy at the same time, the hills were tough as it forced me to take brief walk breaks whenever HR exceeded 142. The 150 maxHR was unfortunately logged since I was late in checking my Garmin to adjust my pace immediately.

18km. 2:22. 7:52/km average. Brooks PureFlow.
No HR monitor. Middle 10k ran with an officemate over hills-laden San Juan area.

TOTAL KMS: 34km (lacked 7km to reach 10% weekly increase)

I would've ran 7k on Sunday morning in BGC but I was too lazy to get up. I paid for it by Sunday evening as I ate a lot, losing the 1lb that I lost earlier in the week.


Last week was a surprise, except for the Jan12 run, for I had been running sub-8:00/km runs consistently (today, Monday was an epic day as well as I saw a 7:11 lap on one km). So after almost 4 weeks of Maffetone paced running, I am slowly seeing the effects. I have learned to manage my HR by strictly telling myself to slow down or walk whenever I'm nearing 142 HR. The result of which is a more relaxed effort throughout my runs but at the same time, somehow, my pace is improving. I would've wanted to put my progress chart on this post but it's too early to see a noticeable improvement on the graphs.

I can't wait to see how much pace improvement I would get in the next 3 weeks!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Running Log: Jan2-8

8km. 1:10. 8:45/km average. Bikilas.
Ave HR 132. Max 144. First run of the year. Afternoon run on a cloudy day.

5.17km. 42:45. 8:33/km ave. Green Silence.
Ave HR 137. Max 146. Ran lunchtime at BGC. The sun was up but there was a cool breeze. Walked the uphills as HR went >142. Right lower leg front muscle ached. It could be the shoes' upper that has stretched over time. Time to buy a new pair. ;-)

18.8km. 2:45. 8:47/km ave. Bikilas.
No HR monitor. Middle 10k ran with an officemate. Pace on that segment was faster than MAF pace as he had new shoes, hehe. We started at 6:30/km then fatigue met us at the latter kms, at a stubborn 7:45/km pace. The stopover at km14 (cuapao and choco drink at Greenhills weekend market) made me bloated, forcing me to walk most of the remaining part home. Yup, will never eat that much in the middle of a run again. Damn you, cuapao!

5.08km. 41:00. 8:01/km ave. Brooks Pureflow.
Ave HR 131. Max 143. First run on these babies were awesome as evidenced by the relaxed ave HR and pace. Cushioned but still with the minimalist heel-toe drop (4mm). I'll post a complete review after I log more miles on them.

TOTAL KMS: 37km (exceeded weekly allowed by 1km)

Still building my aerobic engine and weekly miles. Haven't seen any concrete result of Maffetone training ---yet. Yeah, this runner is very impatient. Hehe. Well, it's just been 3 weeks so probably another 3 weeks more before I notice any improvement.

I'm thinking of reaching a target of 2,000km for 2012. My annual kms since 2009 were 1,000+, 1,500+, and 1,427km. Barring any injury, I hope to meet said goal (along with a smaller waistline).

Browsing the takbo.ph race schedules and resisting the urge to register for a race has been like me resisting Chatime milk tea on a thirsty office afternoon. I'm still sticking to this Maffetone "diet" of low HR-paced runs. Except for the 3k New Manila Fun Run that I'm coaxing the Mrs. to join as her first run (I'll be beside her as moral support), I'll probably not be in race-ready mode until late March.

See you on the road!