Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Alaska Cycles Philippines - first half of "The Challenge"

I believe that we won’t know how much we’re capable of until we do it.  This has been my mantra for the longest time.  I may have taken more time than I should have on some occasions, and I had my share of disappointments, but this made me what I am today.  The journey goes on, and I still bite the bullet every once in a while.

Same goes with my running.  I have been pushing myself for the longest time to know my peek.  And it seems that running a 2-hour HM was the best I can do.  It is unfortunate that I have diverted much of my efforts in cycling.  But still good in a sense that I’m still maintaining my runs while doing it.  It is sad that I couldn’t make myself go to the next level.  I guess I reached my peek?  Or I just can’t manage to squeeze in running, cycling, work and most especially family?

Memories that last
Which leads me to this weekend - it was a very busy weekend.  I managed to take a leave from work last Friday to spend time with my family at the Hamilo Coast in Pico De Loro resort.  I enjoyed the family time, and we all did (except for the food – blah!).  We spent the night there and enjoyed the breakfast and the quicker route home.

Friday was also the Alaska Race expo as well.  So I had to squeeze it in the morning to pickup the race pack.  Traffic was sooo bad on a weekend, not to mention that weather was sooo hot, too.
daughter sees a fountain and
just needs to get a photo taken

It was my first time to do a race pack pick up.  I hated this when it was implemented on run races, but for my first bike race, I did it.  It wasn’t that bad, actually.  It was smooth and quick.  It was a work-day, after all.  There were quite a few sights, among them a Specialized booth, F2P merchandise, Alaska booths and then some sponsors.  I’m not the type who would actually buy something out of impulse.  More so a bike shorts that cost P1,800!  And I can’t let my family wait for me that long, so after pickup, just a few sight-seeing then I’m done.

It was almost lunch so we did a quick brunch at The Coffee Bean.  I don’t know where the Starbucks is, so it had to do. I can say that we didn’t enjoy the food as much as we would have if we were in Starbucks.  Just the same, my daughter loved her Mocha frap!

its inevitable...
Race pack was good, actually.  I got Rudy Project EFX performance bracelet (looks cool and just the right size!) that makes me look athletic, some Alaska milk products that my daughter chugged down on the same day and a very nice race bib (I actually asked to change it to XS from S as I felt that is where I’m at right now – and it is!)

Fast forward to race day.  I was assigned on Wave A, along with other Tri teams and some Pro’s.  I really didn’t know why I was assigned there, but it is where I am so that’s where I stayed.  You can say that I felt out of place as I found quite a lot of good bikes there.  I have been used to run-races where the only tools we have are our shoes and caps.  It’s a totally different scenario in a bike race.  Then again, I am a newbie in this, and I don’t (probably) need all those hi-end parts (at the moment, hehe!).

Gun start – I couldn’t get my cleats on!  I traveled quite a distance before I got them on.  First 5k I was moving at-pace with the Pro’s.  I didn’t focus on myself, so I kinda bonked up to km15.  I was out of breath, and my legs were heavy.  There was a feeling of DNF.

I got my second wind on km15, focused on breathing and pacing, and I made just fine on the roundabout flyover.  I wasn’t competitive anymore, and just went on my own pace.  Sure there were some who overtook me, but I stayed on my own pace (I’m a fast learner! Haha!)

I was still fine upon the second half of the race.  Although I had a bit of a hiccup as I swerved out of the cones and left me stranded on traffic.  I had to lift up my bike to enter the cones.  I had cramps upon doing this and felt sore until the end of the race.

The second trip up the flyover was devastating.  I had tunnel vision as I finished the stretch.  It was also getting hotter so it didn’t help.  I think I only managed a 2:50/km on this stretch.  I wished I had GU with me!
I finished strong, a lot different from running where I normally feel beaten up.  This is one the reasons why I enjoy biking more than running.  I haven’t seen much at the staging area when I got there, perks of being in the first wave. 

Recovery meals were McDonalds sausage Mcmuffin, and a box of Cupcakes by Sonja, bottle of Gatorade and of course, Alaska milk. I just the ate the muffin, and refilled my water bottle with water from Maynilad (with ice!). 

I didn’t stay long, after the race.  I just queued up for a photo booth.  I couldn’t let that pass.  Haha!  So I circled the expo and went my way back to the car and home.

Overall, I can say that it was a good experience. I learned a lot from my first bike event, and I’m sure to avoid those newbie mistakes on my next one.  There were some reported accidents and a few flat tires on the way.  I do hope they turned out okay.  I’m happy that aside from the bonking I had and a close encounter with a metal railing, I finished safely.

Let's see how it goes
The first half of “The Challenge” is complete.  My next one would be a HM for the RUPM2 this coming June 1.  I really am not fully prepared for this.  I’m hoping that the cross-training with my bike can translate to good running performance.  But if I am to base it from my previous HM training, it’s a definite fail.  So I am just hoping for the best, and that best is a 2:06 finish at the most.  If not, well, just enjoy the view and accept it. 

Cool underwater shot!

Good time

A welcome addition

Just can't let this pass

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Back to racing

Takbo Mo, Buhay Ko (You Run, My Life – dunno if this is the correct usage, but its pretty much the correct translation) is a rehabilitation project of Kaarawan Mo, Buhay Ko Foundation for the benefit of Typoon Yolanda Victims in Northern Iloilo held last April 27, 2014 at the CCP Complex in Manila.

I ran this Fun Run, courtesy of OCS and given by our company (very supportive!), and because the race kit was delivered.  I signed up for the 10k race (because that’s the farthest distance).  Anyway, I don’t think I can afford to run a half as I really didn’t do any serious training this year.  My mind was set on running it and enjoying it at the same time.  Not that I didn’t enjoy races, its just I didn’t pressure myself on finishing fast at this.


result of aligning with Nat Geo run schedule
Gun start was at 5:30am (sun was up this time already), so I left the house some time 4:15ish (was supposed to be 4:00am but I had to adjust my poop).  As early as that the road to CCP was a jam due to trucks.  So I had to turn around and go the long route to CCP.  Good thing I got there, quite early.

I got to walk around a bit, did my usual pre-race rituals.  Pre-race was a zumba dance, more than the usual stretching.  I didn’t zumba!


1-3km – Start of the race; it was fun, a lot of runners were having fun!  They seem to be running at 5:00/km pace and are having fun.  I was maintaining my 5:45/km pace at this time as I just wanted to run and have some more energy for my post-race activity.

3-6km – Here’s where all those who overtook me were just walking.  They’re still having fun though.  I was now at the 5:30/km pace with a lot of energy to spare.

Good time, great medal!
7-10km – Okay so the road is now open, aside from groups of 5k, 3k and 2k runners who are still having fun while having selfies!  I was now doing a 5:25-5:30/km pace, and I’m getting bored.

Overall, I had a pretty good race result from my Garmin; it was a sub-1hour 10k for me:

Distance – 10.42km
Time – 57.02
Ave. Pace – 5:28/km

Post race

Good workout
Although I had another agenda going to this race, and of course it is something that I really love – I rode my bike!  Yes, I finally got to do a brick training and it was great!  I got to ride some 27km at a 2:24/km pace after the 10k race, and still able to walk!

The next day after this, I was expecting a lot of soreness with what I did.  But wrong!  I didn’t have any tightness or pains that could make me immobile.  I guess the bike ride made a good cool-down workout.  

At the end, it’s all about doing what you love and doing it the best you can.  I’m glad I threw the bike inside the car the night before.  And I’m glad I already built the mileage.  I may be ready to take…


Alaska Cycles Philippines on May 18 is a 40km bike race.  Training has been on going for the past 2 months, and I’m positive that I will be able to finish at around 1hr45mins if there will be no hiccups (like a flat tire or something).

Run United 2 on June 1 is a 21km running distance.  Training for this has been poor.  I’m not sure to make it sub-2 hours this time.  But I still have 3 weeks to cram.  I have been active in doing maintenance runs, but not near HM training that I used to do.

Regardless of the results, I am sure to enjoy both.  The experience of joining my first bike race, and the feel of pushing my limits to get or maintain my running PR – its great to be back to racing!