Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Christmas!

Its quite a bore coming to work after Christmas.  It seems like it just too soon.  The best Holiday of they year just spent for a day, just like say a Sunday but merrier?!  Well, I’m here in the office… early… quiet… will be sleepy in a while… with tired legs… Zzzz…

Anyway, yes, tired legs – have been running this week, after a zero run the previous week.  So far I managed to wake up this morning (though late) with the thought that I will run.  So the runner in me is focused on getting back on track.  This December might have affected my fitness level seriously than I thought:

  • Having some foot pains now – (from a 5k-10k-5k run at 6min pace)
  • Felt my body’s a bit heavier on runs

Now I have mentioned in the previous blog that December really was a toxic month.  It took away the rest, the food and made me dehydrated at times.  Those contributed to the current level I’m now at.


Good health is a continuous process.  We can’t just say that I’ve been good this month so I’ll take this week off.  Well, you can probably have 1 cheat day, but really not a long time.

The good thing is that I have come to realize that while still early.  And I started to go back on track this week.  Plus, there will be quite a long holiday after the 27th.  So there’ll be more time to run, yey!

Speaking of long holiday, 2013 will be over soon.  Might have to do the year-end blog to get a good look at what I accomplished, to cap things off and to create a new running goal for 2014.  Let’s do this!

Happy Holidays!  More miles this 2014!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A lot to make up for and a mid-life - transition?

Ok, so I haven’t been blogging enough for about 3 months now, and this month have been laying low in mileage as well.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m about to give up running!

The “ber” months are the crucial times for retail, which in my case have been the most important months since I started working.  It is the time of the year where plans are executed and there really are a lot of those plans in place.  We even opened around 11 stores from November until December, 8 of those within 3 weeks of December.

Although I have managed to receive a free trip to Spain last October 20 to 29 with the boss, and even though Spain is not really on my choice of places to visit, it turned out just fine.  I have managed to run the cold and windy beach of San Sebastian, and got to circle around Retiro Park.  I also got to experience my first – first run on a treadmill!

There is a blog about the Spain trip, I’m surely gonna finish it before Christmas! I sure had a lot of good and not-so-good experiences there that I would like to document. Hehe!

Now this blog mentions about Mid Life… Transition.  Suddenly came out upon noticing that I have been missing on some “things” that I used to enjoy – basically socializing.  I came to realize that I have been prioritizing heavily on 3 things – family, running and work; all others come very far from these 3.  Cases in point:

  1. Due time from work to commute on the way home with the wife to get some playtime with my daughter
  2. Can’t afford to go late night for a group drinking session as I will run in the morning
  3. Make sure to free up the weekend for the following activities:
    1. Morning long runs
    2. House chores
    3. Playtime
    4. Trip to the mall
  4. Being (unreasonably) uptight in work area to meet deadlines

Have been a bit depressed for 2 days from this, yes just 2 days and I’m now fine that quickly.  Realization – avoid being an @$$ in work, and there’s always time to run and to interact.  Well, family time is still the same, I won’t sacrifice that.

So does this mean I’m gonna take time off running?  Nope!  Just time management; I don’t have to train hard, but instead train smart (whatever this means, I’ll have to find out) well I guess I really don’t have to rush into being fast and running far.

So does this also mean that I’ll be softer at work?  A bit, yes – realized that I have to be human every once in a while.

So its really a transition, not a crisis.  This was an eye-opener, to change for the better.  Cheers to a new Runner In Me! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sante Barley Domination Run 2013

Another successful running event to end my 2013 race season (yeah, I do have a race season so I won’t burn out) thanks to Sante Barley.

This caps of my 3-21k (including a 25k NB Run) for the year.  And what a very fitting end as I got a PB of 2 hours!  Okay, let’s summarize:

Milo HM
21k/2:09:31 (9.76km/h)
21.62k/2:09:38 (10.0km/h)
New Balance – 25k
25k/2:36:11 (9.61km/h)
25.77k/2:36:12 (9.9km/h)
Sante Barley HM
21k/1:59:40 (10.61km/h)
21.35k/1:59:43 (10.7km/h)

Coming from a 2:10 HM to a 2:00 HM is a huge improvement.  Thinking about it I have come to a couple of theories:

  1. Milo HM probably was a case of the jitters plus blisters
  2. NB 25k adjusted the shoes but the Buendia overpass was too much for me
  3. Sante Barley’s route was relatively flat with very few turns; plus the 2 previous experiences helped
For now I’m just happy with the result.  As I think aside from the reasons above, my trainings really did it for me.

Going back to the race, was a bit irritated even before the race began as (1) traffic at Pier area due to trucks and this was 3am!  Almost didn’t make it here; (2) 30 minutes late gun start, although I made it just in time, plus the wait due to the delay.

The route was mostly flat with a few minor inclines.  I felt it on the 7th or 8th kilometer mark as we approach the end of coastal hi-way on the way to Cavitex.  After that it was a straight, relatively flat Cavitex road, then back.

There’s nothing much to say about the race though as I made an even pace all through out.  Except that I think after the first 8k I began taking water at almost every stop.  I don’t do that on practice runs but for this race I felt the need to.  It didn’t affect my time that much though.

I knew I was doing great after the 10k where my time was around 57-ish minutes.  It was there that I focused on my pace and form and not to get too excited.  Although I felt the need to slow down coming in to the 20km, but upon seeing the clock at 2:00:xx gave me my second wind.  I got a strong finish (along with a strong facial expression)

As for the way the race was organized, my comments below:

  1. Late gun start – this is a big negative for me. 
  2. Dark portion on some part of the route
  3. No energy drinks on station – although there was plenty water
  4. Late-finishers complained about dried-up water stations (wouldn’t know)
  5. Heavy investment on photographers – plus plus points!
  6. New addition – late result posting!  Its been more than a week now! (update – released after 8 days!)

What a way to end my running season!  I’m really happy with my performance. 

So what’s next for me?  I’ll take running easy now (or at least I plan to).  Not much pressure in running xx distance at xx time – just to enjoy running.  Unfortunately, last weekend run was a 1:33:xx 10-miler – still a competitive time for me.  Oh well, I guess I’ll just run it as I feel it.

If the next few weeks I’m still up to running “competitively”, I might just move on to the longer 32k.  Hmm, still having some “boring” issues during long runs, might need to work on that first.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Balance Run 2013

Got there a bit early
So I did manage to join the New Balance Run 2013 (November 10, 2013 - birthday run!) even with all the rants about how the organizer decided to make a lot of profits out of it (by not doing any efforts to consider runners who do not have the time to pickup the race kits at the designated date and time).  Thanks to DEVANT, I got a free 25k race kit, just by posing with my DEVANT TV.  Thank you very much, and more power to you!  As for the organizer, good luck to you.

Going back, it was a good 2 months of endurance training for the HM.  Even got a good run when I was in Madrid (hmm, got to finish my blog about that) so more or less I don’t have any excuses not to perform in the best that I could.  Well, prior to the race I did have some days where I was a bit dehydrated, but it really wasn’t a major concern.

Good, consistent runs going into race week
So Devant did this online contest where you have to pose with your Devant TV and send it to them, luckily I was the first to win.  It was supposed to be for a 10k kit, but since Devant’s team was sooo accommodating, I managed to get a 25k kit!  Good thing I was race-ready for the weekend so a I just did a little taper on race week.

Winning facebook entry

Race prep was cereal, bread and banana.  I could have prepared a better pre-race meal.  I got my kit on race day.  Well the singlet given was Large, so I just wore my 2012 singlet (easy way to identify myself for the race pictures).

Race Report

I enjoyed the route
Race started exactly 4:30am, I got to the line some time 4:32-ish as I was at the middle of the 2,000 25k runners; a bit of a dodge in the first kilometer and opened a bit in closing the 2nd kilometer.

Hydration stations were plenty, lots of Gatorade and water.  I managed to stop and hydrate on the 4th and 8th kilometer to cut off some time, without compromise.

Going to the 10k mark, I was at the 58-ish time – good enough and felt just fine.

The Buendia fly-over proved to be a challenge on my legs, and I got past the uphill with a lot of effort, and a very controlled downhill to manage.

Yep, getting tired
At the 20k mark, I was at 1:58-ish time and I felt tired from running back up the Buendia fly-over.  Got to walk a steep uphill to catch my breath, obviously I was not prepared for such a long uphill/downhill stretch. I was hungry after the 20k and I don’t have any gel left (should’ve taken the banana on the 18k station).

I was at my target pace of 6:00/km up to the 25th kilometer based on my Soleus. The last 5k ate up the time I saved in the first 20k.  But I knew that I did the 2:30:25k mark that I’m aiming. 

There’s a 770-meter extension according to my Soleus, and by that time, it was only reaching the finish line that was keeping me running.  My Soleus gave me a 6:03/km pace for that race, and its acceptable for me considering my 1st 25k run.


Sore legs and a bit nauseated, definitely exhausted.  It’s a welcome feeling as I knew that I gave it all that I had.  5 minutes of recovery and I’m fine, although my legs were really sore, even after I shook it off.  I finished the Gatorade and bottled water that was with the loot bag (not a very attractive loot, with discount coupons and a plastic water bottle, with no signs of New Balance inside - could’ve been better)

I just stayed a while in the Devant booth but my friend Jeff isn’t there.  I dropped my raffle coupon but didn’t stay long as the sun was up so high and I don’t want to risk migraine attack (this weather considering the Yolanda typhoon was up just the day before).


  • I wouldn’t sign up given the race registration mechanics, too costly
  • It was a good race experience for me.  This is my first time to run the Buendia flyover and it really was a challenge. 
  • Good hydration stations but the only station with the sponges was not ready when I got there.
  • Big medal but deadly with the pointed lightning (although you really wouldn’t wear a medal while running).  There were issues of runners not receiving medals and loot bags– it’s just wrong.
  • Post-race wasn’t exciting and the staging area is so small.  Nothing much happening as well.

Assessing my performance, it was acceptable and I gave it my all.  But I still find running long
distance race redundant and boring.  Although this is only the 2nd long distance race I ran, I’m hoping that I can get over this on the next one this November 24 for the Sante Barley Domination run.  I'm going to break the 2:10 HM here.  See you there!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Running with the Virrata


For the longest time I have been trying to find it – and so I did.  I finally got the Saucony Virrata shoes!  So long, Minimus (I won't be running in your run this year as well but its because registration's a hassle!)

This was an early birthday present for me, thanks to the wife.  It is timely though, as my next run would be on November 24 for the Sante Barley Domination run.  And if I would buy it on my birthday, might not have enough time to get used to it.
I’m fixed on getting the Virrata, but there was one thing that kept me thinking for at least 5 minutes – whether to get the black or the green one.  I knew myself that I want the green one, as it fits my running in the early, darker mornings.  Its highly visible with the neon color.  But thinking about the terrain that I’m running in most of the time it’s a bit wet and dusty, so having a light-colored shoe will require frequent cleaning (I do wash my shoes but not that frequent, and the make of the shoe might not handle frequent washing that well).

So I got the black one.  Yes I wished it could’ve been much noticeable on low-light runs.  The reflectors don’t seem to be enough (then again it might just not reflect too much on me wearing it).  So I bought this red blinking hazard light and installed it to my belt.  Problem solved!

Running in it was a big difference with the Minimus.  Having ran at least 1 speed and 1 long-run (update – upon posting this I already made at least 5 runs), no blisters or hotspots.  Feet were not as sore as with the other shoe.  I’m happy with the cushioned ride.  I have been getting quite faster results with the shoe.  It seems that with the Minimus, I tend to take it a bit easier.  Anyway, I really can’t assess the difference (it could be the shoe or it could be the new found excitement I found with it), but I’ve done a pretty good set of runs with the Virrata, that’s for sure.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Making it hard for runners

Rant about this race organizer’s direction on race registration!  Just capitalizing on the running boom in the Philippines, I see?!

As planned, my next race would be the Rexona Run and New Balance Run this October and November, respectively.  I ran these 2 races last year and has contributed to my love of running.

Last year’s Rexona Run I was able to beat the 30-minute cut-off to get a keychain, yup, a KEYCHAIN!  But its not just an ordinary keychain, that symbolized the determination and hard training I did to reach the cut-off time.  I can still remember running with the side-stitch just so I can reach it.  It was satisfying.

The New Balance Run – I upped it by running a sub-1 10k (Soleus-time).  Again, proved that hard work really has its moments.  I also won a raffle, a NB shirt worth P2,195!  Well-worth it, and here’s when I bought my NB Minimus shoes that made me more inclined to running.

To give back to these runs that made me the 6min/km runner I am now, I planned to race them again, this time the HM.  I’m preparing as hard as I can – with the recent Milo HM, I already have an idea on how it will go (Rexona Run has the same route).  And this September has proved to be a good training month for me.

BUT the race organizer decided to mess it up by making the registration process inconvenient.  There is now a separate registration date and race kit pick-up date.  WTF?  The organizer would like us to spend to go to the registration site, and spend and possible take leave or mess up one day of family time to claim the kit!  Imagine thousands of runners getting together in two days to claim their kits?!

Here’s more, the online registration, you have to buy “prepaid cards” to be used to register online!  Plus, go to the pickup site to pickup your race kit.  Takes out the convenience of “online registration”, right?

We have noticed the increasing fees in race registrations.  We understand that there are increased costs in operating races and venues when the participants are huge, but to totally do nothing to deliver the kits to online registrants and to prepare the race kits in registration sites?  This is just too convenient for you!  You really are maximizing the profits, no? 

Anyway, I won’t let this race organizer ruin my passion for running.  I will still train and run races.  Not just this organizer’s races (or until he decides to invest a bit to make it convenient for runners).  I registered to the Domination Run on November 24 for a 21k run, and it only costs me Php700 + Php150 for shipping- this is still much cheaper compared to this organizer’s rate. 

In the end of the day, runners just want to run.  We won’t care much about the organizer and their raffles and loots, we want what’s fair for our time and money.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Welcome September! Welcome new running goals!

Its been a very toxic August for me, and now that its over, time to organize my thoughts to prepare for better months ahead!

Gotta love family time!
Back to running

It feels good to be sore!  Yeah, sounds weird, but I'm enjoying the feeling of soreness in my calves today.  This after a come-back 10-miler I did yesterday after 8 days off.  After the weekend getaway with the family I had the head cold and my body just feels beaten up.  The toxic week of our company sports-fest preparation didn’t help either.  It was just a week of stress and fatigue.

New shoes

Yes, the week of preparation and stressful schedule translated to my shoes catching a hole.  I wished it would be my running shoes, as it already passed the 500-mileage, but it was my office shoes that got replaced.  I’ve only been in this company for 2 years and I already changed my work shoes 3 times now.  Well, I get what I pay for, so this time I got hold of a sturdier (and more expensive) shoes – yes, I’m too cheap to pay for better shoes now compared to when I was a lot younger.  I guess its part of “senior moments” now.

What about the new running shoes?

Well, I seem to be fixated on the Saucony Virrata now.  I tried searching for that brand yesterday after I bought my office shoes, just to see if I can secretly buy it, but it was not just present in Robinsons Galleria! L  It would have to wait for a while until I can get to better running stores, or when the New Balance Run registration will be up (Free registration when you buy NB shoes!)  I’m looking at the new Minimus 10v2, this new version seems to be a lot better than the first version I have now.  Yesterday’s run I could felt hot spots again, and if I went up a few kilometers more, I know blisters will come in next.

The plan

Now that its back to usual work load, its gonna be a come-back to running.  Yesterday’s 16k run, I was exhausted in the last 2km.  I’m guessing it’s the dehydration from the week plus the head cold that I was slightly in to that day.  My usual training plan resumes two days from now.
This year will not have special cut-off time prizes

Next race would be the Rexona Run 2013 on October 20.  Basically its still 1.5 months training for this, so I’m going for it.  Next would be the 25k New Balance Run as my birthday race on November 10.  Both runs I’ve ran the previous years, but at a lower distance.

The goal

For a time my goal for my next HM would be to gun it at sub-2.  But it seems I’d rather get a goal of finishing it with EASE.  First HM I was able to meet my 6min/km pace, but the last 2 km was a disaster, and I didn’t enjoy it at the time, and for me its more important to ENJOY.  It will also somehow eliminate the “burden” of the requirement to run a specific time, or a specific distance on trainings.  Not that I’ll slack on trainings, but at least I’ll be able to do those timed and measured runs as the body sees fit at the time.

Overall it feels great to be able to plan all this.  I’m excited again for the weekends to come, and looking forward to my morning runs.  Its September – the “ber” months is a time to be excited for my birthday and Christmas, its good to have another passion worth waiting for in running.

Beat myself up just to get the cut-off

Got this keychain from beating 30-minute cut-off for 5k

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Running in the habagat / thoughts of a treadmill

Recent tropical storm “Maring” plus the habagat (Southwest Monsoon) gave way to 5 straight non-working days.  It also didn’t allow us to leave the house.  It was ironic that in those 5 days, there were 2 weekends and 2 holidays, yet there was nothing to be festive or to celebrate.

Also in those 5 days, there was not a single chance to do some running.  Aside from the heavy rains, roads were flooded as well.  Even our compound was flooded.  Just when I was on a roll the previous weekend with 28km consecutive mileage, it really had to end.

However, before the rains I managed to do a quick one last Saturday, just before I did daddy duties - the weekdays prior to that I had zero runs.  And today, I managed to do a quick one, but heavy pouring caught me as I was finishing 5km.  My voice sounds weird and I feel heavy now, I hope this will not go bad.  It was a gamble for me running in between the heavy rains, but the runner in me insisted.

If it does go bad for me, then I think I really should go for the treadmill.  For the 5 days, I was looking and studying my options for the treadmill.  Was initially planning on going for a manual one, due to cost constraints, but reading about it I think I would have to go with the more stable and sturdy electric.  What’s bad is that what suits my running needs would be the mid-range one at 2.0HP (at least 10km/hr speed range).  This would set me back at a minimum around Php20, 000 (USD 500).  Not to mention the space needed for this equipment.

I’m assessing the need right now to get one.  Although I can get it in installment, its just too costly.  I’m weighing it to safety and convenience (as I wouldn’t have to go out in bad weather, or when I just want to go for a quick one) also to get my wife and dad to get on it to get them moving, I think the cost justifies it.

Overall, its about health and the benefits that me and my family would get from it.  My daughter at an early age will more likely to do it as well once she sees everyone in the house is doing it.  As for me, no more missed runs when I get this, just have to get the will to shell out money for it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The FUN in running - Robinsons Supermarket Buddy Run 2013

The Robinsons Supermarket Fit and Fun Buddy Run finally pushed through last August 10, and it surely made up for the previous cancellation BIG TIME!

The run started on-time with a little bit of drizzle.  Good thing that the sky cleared up enough to give the runners a good view of the road.  Starting point was different from the runs I participated in BGC.  The area though doesn’t have that many parking area near it, but I got to park at the road illegally.

What’s good about it was that the route was different, and a little challenging – steep uphill with slow and steady downhill.  There were intersections where we were stopped to give way to motorists.  This is the first run in BGC that I encountered this.

Rain stopped at mid-race.  Still the weather was cool.  Hydration was flowing with Gatorade and water.  Not a problem with Robinsons Supermarket.  First stations setup was a bit late perhaps, as runners had to queue for it.  But subsequent stations were fine.

So how did I do?  Well first, it’s a buddy run, so my running buddy, Justin was with me all the way.  Its his first race (and he forgot to bring the race bib).  Anyway, it is clear that this run would be a FUN run, so I’m not looking for PR here, and told my buddy that we’ll just “enjoy the view” and the social aspect of running (there were a number of co-employees here).  So we took it at a very comfortable pace.

You can really see the FUN in my face in these pics.

We clocked in at 1:22.  Not bad, actually.  Cramps and blisters attacked my buddy.  I know how blisters feel, and it really takes a lot to run through them, so to pair it with cramps, its really something to stop about.

Post-race, what can I say, true to the previous Robinsons Supermarket run last year, it was a blast!  Loot bag was heavy with REAL usable products.  Hotdogs, ice cream and treats a plenty from sponsors.  Its just too damn FUN to even think of getting a PR in this race.

Oh, the social aspect, friends and colleagues were everywhere.  The weather was conducive enough to spend time chatting and laughing about.  A friend also celebrated her birthday, so she was treated with a birthday banner with matching flowers.

 I guess the Robinsons Supermarket could be the race where I could ease off and enjoy running.  I could do this every year, just for a change.  Anyway the day after this, I still got to run 18k, just to make up for my “competitiveness”.  But that’s a different story.

Of course the ever so supportive Devant (now I got a pic with the stiltwalker)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Men's Health Urbanathlon - challenging, (not for the unprepared)

The running event that left me bed-ridden is here again – the Men’s Health UrbanAthlon 2013 on September 29 at the SM Mall of Asia.  This is a race with a combination of “traditional road race elements with rigorous obstacles”, according to RJ Knight Rider.  Any way we put it, it’s a test of running, strength and endurance.

 Last year, even if it is out-of-way, I dropped by 360 Fitness Ortigas to register.  I really exerted effort to join this event.  At that time, I remember I was thinking that I “used” to be this athletic, so training for it was gonna be easy.  As it is, my body didn’t take it.  I was out for a month.

There are quite a few obstacles for this race:

  1. Runner’s Wall – wall-climb of up to 8-ft wall
  2. The Network – 50-foot net stretched over a bus
  3. Container Van – I think its to climb up over this
  4. Tires – to run on these
  5. The tower – 12-foot rope with a bell on top
  6. Traffic Barricades – I guess this is like steeple?
  7. Monkey bars – this I remember on my elementary days
  8. Scaffolding Maze – I guess to run through these

From the previous strength and conditioning session we had from our running clinic, I think I’m gonna have a hard time on these, most especially the Runner’s Wall and Tower.  I’ve already done 21k race, but I’m not going to do it here along with these obstacles, definitely.

Timeline, I have less than 2 months to prepare for this. I have a bunch of store openings and promos that will eat up my time.  I don’t think simple push-ups and crunches will be enough.  As it is, I just found a different running approach during my long run yesterday.  I think it will make a difference, as I was faster yesterday yet there’s nothing sore today.  While I’m excited for this, I guess I’ll have to pass. Its just too risky for the unprepared.
last year's black singlet looks better, I think.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Out of time? Make time!

Time constraints - I haven’t been able to blog that often lately with marketing works overflowing in prep for the season (only thing I hate the BER months).  Good thing that I am still able to run adequately.  Adequately – because I do reach the 20k+ weekly kilometers to sustain my level, but is not done intelligently.  I do that in two runs – intervals and long runs.  However, even with that meager training plan, I still managed to meet my target time for my first HM.

Yes, I reached it, but I was really beat up, wasted on the last 2 kilometers of the race.  That shouldn’t have happened if I trained accordingly.  That’s the kind of output that I always avoided, remember the free race entry I got for the Skyway run?  I knew that I was not ready for it, so I did not push it.

There is a boom in the running community.  In the recent Milo Marathon, there was a strong 4,000+ registrants for the 21k category, this, considering that there is a cut-off time of 2.5 hours.  Gun time, there was 1,600 who made it to cut-off, the rest of the 2,400+ runners?  I don’t want to drill down on statistics as its past the cut-off, so it doesn’t matter anymore.  My point, it is amazing how everyone just signs up for a half-marathon with a strict cut-off time set in a whim.

I’m don’t have anything against those 2,400+ runners who didn’t make it, I believe that some of them really exerted effort to train for it, but there is close to 50% of the total runners who timed at 2 hours and 40 minutes up to even 4 hours to finish.  I think 10 minutes over the cut-off is a little too far to “see” if you can make it.

Again, I think running for a half-marathon is still way better, than not running at all.  I believe that running is a social thing for some as well; and the notion applies – it is not the destination, but the journey.

I’m just pointing out, that my experience with the Milo Marathon is a very humbling one, and it is there that I saw that many fast runners, doing their best to qualify for the finals.  I believe that the Milo event should be run by runners who invested and sacrificed time better than others.  Of course there’s also the issue of running safe and avoiding injuries.

There are quite some deliberations about wearing finisher’s shirts during trainings, races or even casually.  Others find it as yabang (show-off) and others say that it’s only right to be proud of being a finisher.  My take – whatever rocks your boat, baby!  But if I’ll wear one, I’ll make sure to write my time in it, even invest in a printing service to make it more presentable.  That way, whoever sees it, will have to be faster than that before saying something.  I'm only joking, of course.

My time in the Milo HM is 2:10, doesn’t matter if there’s an extra 500 meters into it, but my place is at 564th place over 3,448 listed in the result.  And I’m proud of my accomplished time, and while I will not brag about it to just about anyone, I will be proud to talk about my 21k race and my journey towards it – all the invested time and sacrifices (and pain) that it took me to have the guts to be there on actual race day.

So if anyone asks me, yes, invest time in training, before signing up whatever distance.  You’re having time constraints?  Then adjust, there will always be a race next time.  And if you can, try to be at par.  It’s a lot more meaningful if you finish in that fashion.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hitting the mark! First HM at 37th Milo Marathon

July 28, 2013, Sunday, MOA grounds, 4,000-21k runners, 2.5 hours cut-off time / 2:10 target time - that’s what it was all about.  At the starting line, thinking about if all the trainings I’ve made was enough to make it to my desired pace, and if my performance would be a bit better than the crowd (it’s still a race, anyway).

I made it to the staging area 30-minutes ahead of gun start, I wanted to start right and do my pre-race warm up this time, unlike my previous, shorter races.  I applied the techniques I learned from our first running clinic, so I guess I’m better warmed up than I usually am this time.

Gun start exactly at 4:30 a.m., I seem to pass by the starting line 30-seconds behind it.  Still with a flock of runners, I dodged some of them, but there were also a lot that passed me.

MILO Marathon runners are very much competitive than most races I ran

First few kilometers felt heavy.  I had to take a pit stop by km 4 for a bladder break - I felt the need to go.  After that, it felt better.

Km 6 to 18 went fine and well-paced under the 6-minute/km mark.  Time was well managed to accommodate some water stops.  At my previous races, by mid-part, I pass by runners already.  But for this run, it was very rare that I pass on runners, they’re pretty much consistent.

MILO Marathon runners are consistent and fast.

It was after the last water break on km 19, starting from the last flyover where I felt tired.  And the pain from the blisters under the balls of my feet was biting me.  I was heel-striking at one time just to make time.  That and I just felt tired.

There was a fire-truck there that sprayed on water on us.  The splash felt good!  And I had that 2nd burst.  But running got heavy as my shoes got heavy.  But blisters felt good.

At the exact 21km mark in my Soleus, I was at the 2:06 pace that I was aiming for.  Unfortunately, as with all the races, the finish line was a bit farther.  Distance was 21.6km, and I finished at 2:09:xx (chip and Soleus time) – still got to maintain the 6-min/km pace.

The race, despite the 13,000-5k runners, was well-organized.  I couldn’t imagine the same finish line for that number.  Good thing that they’re route and finish lines were different from other distances.  Hydration stations were plenty - you have a choice of Gatorade or water.  Bananas were also on route, as with sponges.

Upon finishing, loot bag, banana, medal and certificate of completion were given outright.  I only had to fall in line for a short while for the water and Gatorade bottles.  There were lots of comments in the post-race discussion that they were not given medals, even if they were only a few minutes off the cut-off time.  Good job, Milo!

Considering the very competitive entry-fee, there was nothing much after the race.  There was a program for a school cheer-leading competition, and some raffles, but I didn’t stay for it.

Future plans

Now that I finished my first HM, I’m now in the rest and recovery period.  Good thing the running clinic offers different contents.  Just this Monday, we got to do some cross-fit training.  My core muscles are sore now, and it’s the same with my legs.  I might do a short easy run tomorrow, and a little long on the weekend, just to keep it going, but no hard work-outs.

September’s the RUPM, and December’s the final leg of the Milo Marathon.  I’ll find it in my heart to train again, possibly by next week.  Between the two, I find the Milo Marathon to be a better race to participate – both in costs and quality.

I also plan to get a new pair of cushioned running shoes as my NB Zero is on its way to its 400-mile usage now.  I will try to find a low heel-to-toe ratio that goes with the cushion.  This was what our coach shared with us that flats are good for racing and speed as its light, but for long distance, we may need the cushion and support.  I will not rush into this, might do a little more research.

Overall, I’m all in to race 21k again.  Will also train for endurance, the wall that almost hit me on the final kilometers of the race eaten up the allowance I made.  I won’t improve PR if it happens again.  

Official result below

There were a small number of photogs during the event, glad that I have seen pretty much all posts where I was caught.

Updated my run collage as well (getting longer as long as I get caught in camera)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Quality over quantity – prepping for the Milo HM

There is a notion that more isn’t necessarily better, quality counts too.  This applies differently on different aspects, although I don’t know if this counts to running, as I have heard and read some discussions taking on each side.

On the left, we have building the base – run as more miles as you can (responsibly, of course) to build running base and cardio.  I won’t mention the “base” distance as it differs from source to source, and have considerations as to the target race distance is.  I agree to this as in any distance to run, there is a need to prepare the body, but the cons of this is time (at least for me where I’m juggling family and work)

On the right, we have the quality of the runs – intervals, hills, recovery and long runs to improve running efficiency.  Again this differs as to the capability of each runner.  This is more applicable for me where I can maximize the time I have for running by targeting specific goals in each runs.

My training route is and will always be the same – asphalt road, two bridges, one slightly upwards climb and down again, sun shine hits directly 50% of the route, the half is under shades of houses, humidity and temperature varies (very much over a week).  For the past year-and-a-half, this is where I juggle my long runs and weekday morning runs.

I still run the route, although not as much as I previously do – 3 weekday morning 5ks and a long 10k run on weekends.  On the previous weeks I just run 1 weekday morning 5k and a long 15k run on weekends.  But the difference is that I do the weekday morning 5k on either speed runs, intervals or hills.  And the weekend long run on a relatively faster pace and with some insertions on hill sprints and intervals.  It’s the recovery weekday runs that I don’t get to do.

With work and number coding getting in the way, it seems that I will continue to go on this training path, most especially since I feel an improvement in my runs.  Although I do get these pains in the Achilles and arch sometimes but its part of improving, I guess.

There’s still a couple of “possible” weekday runs and one weekend long run before the Milo HM.  And I’m gonna ease up in running those remaining days.  I’m planning to hit a conservative 2:10, a debatable 2:08 or an impossible 2:06 for my first HM.  I’m really stoked on this.  Hopefully I won’t get that early adrenaline drop.  But I’m pretty sure with the way I’m doing now, whatever time I get, I’ll be more than ever be hooked in running.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A bit of a pain and a new pair of shoes

I felt this after last Friday’s run at the office where I ran it at 10k under an hour.  A slight pain on the inside of my left ankle; googled it and found it looks like PTT.  I’ve read a couple of threads, looked at pictures of how and why it occurs and yes, it seems I’m on that path that lead to PTT.

To identify what I’m doing that’s probably causing it:

1.  Last Wednesday when I did my 5k morning run, I felt it again.  I adjusted my form to counter it.  I do feel the difference when I change my form, so that’s one down.

2.  Another would be the pace that I’m running.  I have ran 10k races every 2 weeks intervals (third would be this Sunday for the Robinsons Supermarket Fit and Fun Buddy Run), alongside that I am now running at 10k pace on my training days and do hills and intervals whenever I run.  So its running TMTS that’s another culprit?

But I’ll be running the HM on Milo Run this July 28, so I really need to push it!

Yeah, been there when I was transitioning from 10k to the HM last year, been a disaster as I was sidelined for at least a month!  And eight months after that happened, I’m doing it again.

So while the two reasons above is my fault, another would be the SHOE – reading about PTT some comments seem to be about the footwear that “may” help correct this.  Or do I just want a new pair of running shoes?

I’m currently a New Balance Minimus Road Zero user, been in it for about 7 months now.  So far I think I’ve adjusted well to the semi (if not none) cushioned, zero drop shoe by now.  Yet I’m still having those blisters under the ball of my right foot (had this the 2nd time now) although I haven’t really invested yet in running socks, and I guess its cheaper to buy running socks than shoes.

I guess if I’m buying a new pair of shoes, it would be when I reach the 500 mileage.  Right now I’m at 350+.  Another 2 months and I’ll be at 500.  I’m gearing at the Saucony Kinvara Series 4.

Today I foregone with my morning 5k run as I still feel the PTT and my shins acting up.  I’ll be backing up a little until it dies.  Come this July I’ll be back training for the Milo HM, so the pain have to die down.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Running on rain

Or is it (no)-Running this rainy season?  The whole work-week after my good Petron 10k run has been nothing but a sleep fest.  I haven’t done any runs the past week due to both work and rain and a little bit of sinus issues.

Last Friday, while my wife is off to a relaxing night at the spa, I got to run with my running buddy for the Robinsons Supermarket Fit and Fun Run here in the office grounds.  It was a lot of firsts for me – first to run at night, first to run at the office grounds, first to run (this year) on the rain.  Even with the whole list of firsts that should’ve made me think of doing it, I still did it!  Missing a whole week run did it for me.

At first, getting dressed for a run at a place where people dress for work was odd, so I had to wait a few minutes until most of the people that matters got out of the office.  Good thing it was a Friday, a bit of rain so people were quick to go.  So we got out of the door and the rain greeted us.  It wasn’t that heavy and kind of refreshing actually.

After a few stretching, we started to run.  First was at a 6-minute pace that continued to up to 2km.  Rain stopped by this time, and the night sky cleared (or my vision adapted).  My buddy took some time off running so he had to do the run-walk routine.  Me, having missed running for a week decided to push on to a speed session.  I kept looking at my watch to see how I’m doing, and I didn’t want to go over speeding enough that I would get a bloody knee again hurt myself, and I saw myself running to up to 4:45/km pace and I’m doing quite fine.  I slowed down and paced with my buddy whenever I see him running.

I was just targeting to run at most 8km, but due to the taper I done that week, I had the energy to do a 10k and I ended up running at 59:30.  It just rained again at that point so I had to back out.

I didn’t get sick or injured during that night run, but the next morning gave me this pain in the inner ankle.  Had it going for up to 2km so I decided to call it a day and did just 4km.  Iced it immediately and felt fine in the afternoon and in the morning.

I did another run the next morning, but this time my right shin is acting up.  I ended up doing just 6km as I didn’t want to force it - although I did intervals in this session so I guess I still forced it. :)

I guess it’s the speed that I’m doing it right now that’s harassing my body.  I don’t usually do a 10k at race pace, but I have a 21k run on July-end so I have to up my training. Too bad that it’s on rainy season that I’m doing this.  Its good that I’m focused as well, otherwise I might end up sleeping rather than running.  Anyway, I'll try to continue upping my training to be faster, just have to control it a bit to give my body a chance to catch up.  Be safe rain-runners!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Aiming to go faster & Petron Run For Safety run

(Big thanks to Shaw for the opportunity to run this race)

The Petron Run for Safety held June 16, 2013 at the Ortigas Center, Pasig was the most challenging 10k race I have ran so far.  Two (2) flyovers plus an uphill road proved to be a challenge for me.  I definitely did not have that much uphill during any of my previous practice runs or actual races. 

This is my first run outside of the usual MOA, Roxas Boulevard and BGC and based on what I know about Ortigas Center, parking and the run itself will be tight.  I didn’t get much trouble though in getting a parking slot as the only parking area I know wasn’t full yet.  And the travel time to Ortigas from my place is a very quick and easy one.


There were only 4 portalets available in the site, 2 for the women and 2 for the men.  So there was a queue to get your morning discharge that took me 15 minutes.

I was there 30 minutes before the 5:30am gunstart so I had time.  Although the 15 minutes I spent on queue wasn’t enough for my race kit to arrive.  So after 2 phone calls and another 5 minutes, my sponsor and I met up and gave me my race bib.  5:20, we just heard the “GO” signal and the race has commenced.  I haven’t done my pre-race stretches and my Soleus hasn’t picked up signal yet, and we had to start as the 5k wave is said to start in a few minutes.  So we ran.

The race

This was the first time that I didn’t get to use GPS to pace me.  It was as if I’m running blind.  Got to hate the Soleus on this, the whole race I was waiting for it to get a lock on a GPS signal but up to the end I didn’t get any.  I didn’t also see the race clock as I couldn’t find it.  There also were no markers in course so I’m really running blind.

First part of the race I felt the need to run fast as I saw the huge crowd way ahead of me (I started probably around 2 to 3 minutes after gun start).  Julia Vargas was downhill so I picked up an early pace.  Turning right to C5 though we had to stop and wait for the traffic to give way to us.

C5 is not conducive for running.  I can feel the heat under me as I ran, and it was not yet 6:00am!  Although the pavement is quite alright with almost no bumps or cracks.  First uphill/downhill was the Kalayaan flyover, I managed to pull this off quite fine.

Going back to where we turned right, 5k and 3k has started and immediately the Pasig flyover you can see a flock of runners.  Running up has been a series of dodges.  For the longest time I have managed to completely run a course without walking.  But 75% up the Pasig flyover, I had to walk to catch my breath.  It really was a long way up.  Going down was enjoyable, and I got to bump only one runner on my way down (we both were dodging walkers).
On the way back to the finish line from Julia Vargas, Its at the mid-point that I remembered that it was downhill in the start, so going back to the finish line was an uphill climb again.  I walked to take a breather again (with the smoke coming out of the vehicles that were stopped at the half of the road).  Upon seeing a photog, I started to run (don’t want to get caught walking, haha!)  But I went on to run to the finish line.

I really have no idea as to how long I ran that course, but I’m sure that its within an hour.  So I looked for the official clock and I saw 1:03:xx.  Not bad as I knew that I had my share of walks in between.


Post race there were lots of booths.  I got to try one of the ice pops – brand name didn’t register.  Got my loot bags filled with flyers, mouse pad, flyers, snickers bar, flyers oh, and some more flyers!  One good thing though, the Magnolia water bottles were overflowing!  Fell in line for the photo booths (yeah, I’m collecting these) but it was sooo slow that I bailed.  The snickers bar along with the banana I brought were my post-race snack.

The official result

Since I had no GPS measurement for this race, I was really excited to see the results.  And the results were out fast!  Emi one of my runner friends shared a distance of 10.3km total distance (?).  Official chip time says its 58:38 – let me add this to the previous chart I made:

GPS time @ 10k – 58:50:10 (10k RUPM2) VS. 1:00:01 (10k NBPR)
Official race time – 58:38 (Petron) VS. 1:00:54 (10k RUPM2) VS. 1:02:41 (10k NBPR)

It was a 2-minute PR, although too bad that I didn’t have my GPS time so could validate it.  Although if the course was really 10k flat, its near the GPS time I got during the RUPM2.

Now on the 59th slot

Anyway, I’m still happy with this run as this really pushed me hard.  Also I’m happy that I got a new pic to add to my run-collage.  RUPM2 I found one, but its so blurred!

My next run would be this June 30 for the Robinsons Supermarket Fit and Fun Buddy Run.  I made it to the lottery and paid just 250 for 10k; although I’m not sure if I can do a PR here as I have to look after my buddy.  We’ll just probably enjoy the view.