Monday, November 26, 2012

ASTC Duathlon: Happy and Humbled



Elites passing by.

Telling the fireman to turn off the hose.

Singing the Pia Cayetano election jingle as she passed by.

@lingerboy and I had been chatting about these different topics while running for several kilometers now. It was a typical weekend run that we have most of the time. We run and chat at 7:30/km for about 10-12k, then we grab a bottle of choco milk at the Greenhills weekend market as our reward for the day.

But last Sunday we were (still) chatting but at 6:20-6:30/km tempo pace and we weren't in Greenhills.

We were at Subic for the ASTC Duathlon Championships. My baptism of fire into the sport of duathlon.

RUN1 - 10km

The crowd was small compared to the regular weekend run races in BGC or MOA. About 90% of the age group participants were in lean, race-ready shape so when the starting gun blew for the Standard age group men category, it was no surprise to find @lingerboy and I just before the back of the pack.

Take note that we were at 6:20-6:30/km pace based on my Garmin. That would be my normal pace for a 21k race but I couldn't fathom why we're at the tail end. Probably, duathletes could be on a whole different training regimen compared to runners?

Although I'm a faster runner compared to @lingerboy, I decided to stick with his pace since there's still a 40km bike and a 5k run up ahead. The pace that we were at was manageable but still race-worthy since I won't know how my condition will be at the end of the 2nd transition.

Hammergel taken at km4. Water all the way.

We finished the first run in 1:04 (Garmin) and headed onto the transition area.

BIKE - 40km (38km)

After just a month of bike training, this is where the real race started for me. I felt a cramp on my left calf as I passed the Subic Yacht Club (1-2km mark). Low in electrolytes, I told myself. So I snacked on a second Hammergel, an energy bar, and gulped on Gatorade and water. After about 15 minutes, the cramp subsided.

The bike leg was going to be 2 loops around a mostly flat course. There was one small grade but long climb about 5 minutes from the U-turn. The challenge of it all was to try to push the pace at 27kmh but still leaving enough energy for the final 5k run.

Keeping up the pace was tough as I only had one 40km stint at Aseana last month. Further, it was somewhat discouraging that although I was pushing the pace, I was being passed left and right by tri and aero-bar equipped bikes. Of course, the type of bike is only 10% of the equation I believe since the duathletes themselves were the true source of power that I heard whizzing by me. This included @lingerboy who left me in the dust as early as after the 1st loop's U-turn.

Still, after 38km, I managed a decent 1:26 (Garmin).

RUN2 - 5km

I saw @lingerboy leaving the transition area as I entered it to leave my bike. He was ahead by probably 5mins so it was gonna be a lot of chasing to do. I racked my bike and helmet, laced back my racing flats, and headed out to the run course.

It was about close to 9am when I started run2 so the sun was up but not that hot. I've practiced bike-run brick workouts during my training so my body knew what to expect in terms of adjusting from bike to run gait. I started my run and after a few meters I checked on my Garmin for pace: 6:20/km.

Not bad, I thought. The good of it all was that I felt good heading out for the run after the bike. I wasn't fatigued, feeling flat, bonked, or anything of the sort. It's probably due to those numerous times I watched videos of @CrowieAlexander beating his competitors at Ironman Kona during the run leg with his enviable running form. ;-)

Yes, for those last 5kms, I felt like Crowie.

I would douse my body with water as I passed by the water stations to get cool and saw myself getting closer to @lingerboy. In the process, I managed to overtake most of the duathletes who have succumbed to the heat. I overtook probably around 10 at most.

I finished run2 at an amazing 32mins (Garmin). @lingerboy finished about less than a minute before me so it was good to see that I've managed to get close from a previous 5min lead.

TOTAL RACE TIME (Garmin) = 3:02.

PR, of course. ;-)


As I write this post I have to say that I've been hooked into duathlons so much that I'm eager to race another one. However, since it's almost at the end of 2012 then most likely the next duathlon would be months away which I presume to be that of the Powerade Duathlon series.

Still, I feel both happy and humbled about my 1st duathlon experience. Happy that I've managed to finish this new sport with no injuries and with a somewhat good performance, especially on the run. Humbled that I learned the hard way that there's much to improve on my biking skills.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thoughts before my 1st Duathlon

My 1st duathlon is 3 days away. I have to say that I'm very excited and anxious at the same time. The sport of duathlon is something very new to me, even if I've watched videos and read articles on duathlons and triathlons for quite a while now. Just the concept of checking-in your bike or planning your transition strategy excites me. It would be interesting to see how I'll fare on Sunday's race. I'll probably be goofing it up during transitions, and staying much on the side of the road during the bike leg to let others pass. Of course, I'm first and foremost a runner so I'm counting on the 2 runs that will sandwich the bike leg to improve my race time. Overall, or probably on run1 and the bike leg, I'll take the pace just on the upper end of my comfort zone then give it my all on run2. No pressure as any finish time on this race will be a PR. Definitely that'll be a good starting point for improvement in future duathlons. We endurance junkies are only meant to go faster anyway, right?

As expected, after my stint with biking in the late 1990s, hitting the pedals is sweeter the second time around. My training partner, @lingerboy, was right: cycling gives you that different high as you glide through pavement or asphalt with S-P-E-E-D. The intricacies of bike handling and maintenance adds to the thrill as well ---not to mention the ever tempting thought of upgrading this or that part, hehe.

Biking has been grand that I've been looking forward to it on training mornings instead of the runs. Don't worry, I'm not leaving running for good (there's still a sub-5 hour 42k to deal with). It's just that I love the way how biking has spiced up my daily cardio workout needs.

Last August to mid October I started gaining weight again, probably due to my laziness in updating my MyFitnessPal calorie counter and the additional 2 slices of toast with Nutella every morning (yummeh!). As a result, I gained 5lbs on my birthday week. "This has got to stop," I told myself. So I reluctantly started calorie counting again. The first 3 days were the same as when I started it last January: just put in all food that you take and don't worry about going beyond the limit. The important thing is that I was building the habit of keying my food intake again to that tool.

After several weeks, I'm happy to say that I've lost 4lbs since then.  Hooray for calorie-counting! That means that I'm 1lb away from my July racing weight. My knees will be thankful for it once they pound the Subic pavement in Sunday's race.

I'm hopeful for a good race on Sunday. I believe proper pacing based on keen observation of my current effort and nutrition intake during the race will be key.

This is gonna be fun.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Welcome To The Grind

"You were never created to reach a certain level and then plateau. You were created to excel."

So I got myself a bike. I've dilly-dallied on the thought and, after much analysis on how cross-training has positively affected my running (and races) lately, I've finally decided on hooking myself up with a road bike.

The seat and handlebars on mine are black

I've been using it to complement my running and I'm pleased with the results, especially that it helps get the boredom out of a grueling training week.

Yes, I'm training for a race again: a duathlon on Nov25 in Subic. 10k run, 40k bike, 5k run. For the past 3 weeks I've been peppering in bike rides and run-bike bike-run brick workouts in my training regimen, including a 40km bike at Aseana, MOA to see if I can reach the distance without any issue. I finished it happily at 1:44.

The bike leg in Subic is also 40k but it involves a lot of inclines based from what I scouted when me and my family drove to Ocean Adventure two weekends ago. Fortunately, my neighborhood streets have a lot of climbs so I have the regular opportunity to practice that.

I'm not worried about the run legs since I know that I can finish it. Rather, it's the run-bike-run combination which will truly test my will. I know I don't have that much road bike experience although in the late 1990s I used to bike from Paranaque to Mantrade to and from work, but I think I'll be able to manage it.

Let's see what happens on the 25th. It's gonna be tough, but I'll definitely love the challenge.

Monday, November 5, 2012

RUPM 21km: Still Good

I ran (and loved!) the Run United 2 previously this year so when the invitation for the RUPM came up, I didn't hesitate to register, even after back to back 10k races the previous weekend. I was not in it to complete the medal set (since I only have one of the triangular medals) but rather I wanted to run because of the point-to-point course. I was really impressed by RunRio that time so this one should be a similar race experience overall.

Onto the race, to summarize it I was feeling good all throughout, probably pacing at around 6:20-6:40 on the first 16 kms. I wasn't going for a PR but I was targeting a sub-2:20, just to see if I've already upped by 21km average time from last year. Even with just taking a Bread Pan snack prior to the race (and 2 gel stops during the race), I felt great that I even had a lot in the tank to surge 6:20 in the next 4kms and a 5:55(!?!?!?!!!!!) in the last km ---something that I've never done in previous 21k races. Credit goes to my newly found cross-training regime of strength training and stationary (hill workout) biking.

Finish (crossing the line) time as per my Garmin: 2:17:53.

It was 8 seconds off my Run United 2 time. Probably if I skipped the number 1 toilet break I would've finished better. But that's not an issue since I enjoyed the race throughout.

The medal is biiiiiiiig, as advertised, but it doesn't really matter to me since I prefer the overall experience DURING the race ---which RunRio always provides.

See you next year for another round of the Run United series!