Monday, June 23, 2014

Completing “the Challenge”

There are times when we just have to face the situation head-on.  Even if we know that odds aren’t completely for us, we just have to do it and let it pass.  Most of the times the outcome aren’t as what we want them to be, but it serves as a lesson that will make us better human beings.

To put this in running perspective, that’s what I did with “the Challenge”.  A 21k run at the Run United Philippine Marathon 2 (RUPM 2), two weeks after the 40k Alaska Cycles Philippines bike ride.

Since I started the bike this February, I really didn’t have much running mileage anymore.  Yes I did my morning and weekend runs, but its mostly on maintenance mode.  I did have the passion on the bike, though.  I did run a couple of 10k races prior to RUPM2 and my running legs were still up to it.

But the HM proved to be the biggest challenge as I know I’m off to being devastated just looking at my previous and PB result.  Although I knew that I didn’t prepare as much as I did before, so the result would just be at that level.  I just feel bad coming off from a 2-hour HM late last year.

The race

I took the first few kilometers lightly as I usually do so as to get the momentum.  It was quite fine until I made a pit stop for a bladder break some time during kilometer 5.  At kilometer 7, I felt something poking at my right foot, like a rock that’s lodged in a shoe but I kept going.  Halfway through the race I stopped and removed my shoe to shake it off, but it wasn’t a rock – it was a blister!

We had to be stopped to give way to traffic and it was quite some time.  That stop gave me the cramps, and I had to stop again to fix it.  It was at kilometer 14.  I tried taking banana to give me that boost but its just no use.

I ran the remaining kilometers with the blister and the cramps and I knew then that it was gonna be far from my PB.  I didn’t bother to look at the watch anymore and just did the best I could.  Run-walk-run-walk as I could.

I was tired and beat up.  The staging area didn’t seem as exciting as it is, and the loot bags were just plain dull.  I got my first medal from Run United, though.  And it’s a big one!  After meeting my friends, I took a short 10km bike ride, just to enjoy what remains of the morning.

What’s next?

It seems as if I’m losing the drive to run competitively (when I say competitively its to improve on running NOT aiming to win).  I still do my twice-weekday morning runs and occasional 10k weekend runs.  But that’s it.  I tried to go beyond 10k, but its just so hard.  I tire too easily.  I got down to 120, probably really not doing enough to recover from all the running and biking I’m doing.  A lot of people have been noticing my “thinning” features as well.  All this is taking a toll out of me.

Right now I’ve been doing some body-weight lifting, crunches to get a little structure in.  And of course the usual 40km+ bike ride on Sundays because I enjoy doing it.  I guess competitive running will have to take a back seat for a while until I recover.  There’s a thought of giving up running, but I won’t give in to that (or at least I’ll try). 

So I finally got a decent photo from Run United.  For now there’ll be no more HM races.  I’ll make sure to be ready before entering the next one.  I also got a BIG medal from this race that will remind me to respect the distance.  Race analytics say that the average finish time for 21k was 3 hours.  Its significantly down from the usual 2 hours 30 mins average.  My time of 2:09 was pegged as “fast” – I’ll take it.