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.