Monday, January 24, 2011

The road to May 1st. Week 1.

After running the marathon last January 9, 2011, I finally felt like I was ready to start again. Training, that is. I have had my share of rest, you know, to recover, for about a week, and then I thought, I cannot do this any longer. Resting, that is.

As you may already know, I registered myself for an Ultra-marathon the very day that I finished my first marathon. This one is being organized by Jonel Mendoza and is titled “frontRUNNER’s Labor Day Coast to Coast Ultra-marathon ‘ONLY THE STRONG’”. It’s a race starting from Balamban, Cebu and ending at the Cebu Provincial Capitol, via Transcentral Highway. The time of the race is May 1, 2011, 4am to 2pm. Yes, about 60KM in 10 hours!

With barely 15 weeks to race day, I was in the search for a suitable training plan. I browsed the Internet for one that would be best for me. But, I was out of luck. I could not find any for the 60KM distance. And then I thought, how about if I would just use my old one? Yes, the one that I used for the marathon. So I did. I am using it now. I made some modifications to it though. I added 50% more to the Long Run distances. Now, I think I am ready. To train, that is.

I do Intervals on Mondays, Tempo on Wednesdays, and Long Runs on Fridays or Saturdays. When I was training for the marathon, I found it to be effective to train only 3 times in a week. So, I thought I’d do the same this time.

Last Monday, I did 1600m warm-up, 4 sets of 800m runs with 2-minute rest intervals, then 10 minutes of easy cool down. I did it in the night, after work, because I was too lazy to get up and hit the road in the morning. You know, those days when the bed just get the better of us runners. It was one of those. But, the bed may have won the battle at 5am that day, at least I was able to redeem myself in the evening!

Wednesday, I did 1.5KM of Easy Tempo, 9KM of Long Tempo, and ended it with another 1.5KM Easy. I must say I must still have a little hangover from my last race as I had difficulty maintaining my pace during this workout.

On Friday, I topped the first week with a Long Run to Busay. It’s been so long since the last time I was in this route, and I must say I missed the feeling of going up and running down this hill - or mountain. I met with Ultraman Joel C., Coach Boying M., and TurboAx at JY before heading up. I enjoyed this run very much and I consider it a privilege to train with these awesome elite runners. Later that day, I joined the Ungo Night Run as a recovery, which was a very nice experience for me. It was the first time that I joined such, and I must say I very much enjoyed it. All in all, I logged in a total of 26KM that day, which was below my target of 28KM, but I thought it was okay for starters.

Now, I would like to mention and thank my wife for being so kind and for understanding my passion for running, for letting me join these kind of races when even the thought of it would be insanity for some. You and our son are my inspiration. I will run and finish this race for you. But of course, I will keep the same promise I did during my last race.

I also must thank Mr. Sun for being so kind, and showing up on my scheduled days of training.

And, as always, I thank God for all the blessings, especially for good health.

Now, on to the next week of training...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tying huaraches... My alternative way.

As you may already know, I use Kai Running Sandals when I run. I have nothing against conventional running shoes, shods as some of you might call them, and nothing against other minimalist shoes - VVFs, Evos, Neos, etc., if they were free, or come with price tags Php500 or less. Anyways...

Tying. The product page itself has a very good guide on a very good way of tying the sandals. Here though, I present my own way of doing it. Call it an alternative way. Warning: Lots of feet photos. Oh and, people with feet fetishes, please please please stay away! Okay. So here it is...

1. Place your foot in between the two straps. The one with the metal lock should go around your Achilles tendon, while the one without it should pass in between your big toe and your long toe or index toe.

2. Create a loop around the strap in front, passing over then under it.

3. Passing over the tail (for the lack of a better word) part, complete the loop in Step 2, and take the head (again, for the lack of a better word) to the lateral side of your feet. Then, insert the head under the strap that goes around your Achilles.

4. Now, insert the head again under the front strap, between the loop in Step 2 and the ear (you guessed it! for the lack of the better word) on the lateral side of the sandal. Then, take the head to the other side of your foot.

5. On the medial side of your foot, insert the head under the strap that passes around your Achilles.

6. Then, take it under the strap that you formed when you created the loop in Step 2.

7. Now, buckle it up.

That's it! You're done. Now, I'm not sure if you completely understood the narrated steps, but the pictures that go with each step should be clear enough. ^_^

Anyways, when you are done, it should look something like these.

Just make sure that the straps are snug fit, and that there are no twisted straps, and you should be good to go...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sweet 04:05:55 Mary

Last january, 9, 2011, I joined a life changing event. The Cebu City Marathon. 42.195 long kilometers of a mix of sweat (who doesn't in a marathon?), and pain (I did feel a little pain in my calves, oh and there's my wound, too, of course, it was little, and it was a little painful), laughters (yes, we were laughing at the start, I think everyone was), and tears (and yes, I cried when I reached the finish line, I couldnt help it, it was an emotional moment for me, so say whatever you want to say, I don't care). Now, let me recount the experience...

I ran from the house to IT Park so I arrived at the site a little late than I planned. I thought it would be a good warm up before the race. I immediately went to the Runner’s World PH booth to get my singlet, then headed on to the parking lot to change and leave my things in my friend’s (KamikazeRunner) car. By this time, we were already hearing the announcement calling all 42k runners because the race was about to start. After making sure that we already have everything that we needed, we then went on to the runner’s holding area. There I met some of my runner friends from dailymile who were all smiles and excited for the race. Pictures were taken, greetings and good lucks were exchanged. There were many comments about my sandals (Kai Running Sandals), some of them in disbelief, some wishing me luck on finishing the race in it, all of them my motivation. Then, another announcement… “The race will start in 2 minutes…” or something like that. Now, the runners were shaking their arms and legs in anticipation, getting ready to march out. And then, with a fireworks above, off we went… 1000 plus runners gunning for the 42.195k experience…

Some people would prefer to not have a time target for their first marathon to take away the pressure. Not me. I was thinking that a goal is a good motivation. Kind of like a force that will drag me to the finish line. In my training, I was able to run 42 kilometers in 4 hours and 19 minutes, so I thought shaving off some minutes from that is a good and realistic enough goal. So… 4 hours and 10 minutes to 4 hours and 15 minutes – that was my target for my debut. I did not aim for a sub – 4 because I thought that it was too ambitious a target for me – a noob.

In the first 12 kilometers of the race, I was taking it easy. I was running at a 6:00 to 5:40 pace. I was hydrating at every water station, and ate a pack of honey (many thanks to my wife for preparing those) at a 30 to 45 minutes interval. I caught up with what I thought was the sub – 4 pacers at kilometer 8 and decided to run with them. I got a little worried when we entered the SRP tunnel because suddenly I was sweating profusely. Good thing there was a water station in the middle which helped eased out my worries. I drank more in this water station than in any other during this race. Then, at kilometer 12, I had a shocking realization… I was with the wrong group! They were actually the sub – 4:30 pacers…

From kilometer 12, I decided to speed up a little. I went ahead of the sub – 4:30 group to catch up on my target. I tried to maintain a 5:20 to 5:40 pace. I still hydrate at every water station, though. I promised my wife I will not get seriously injured, collapse, or die in this race, and I was making sure not to break that promise. There was only one incident somewere in kilometer 16 when I almost tripped because I hit a road reflector with my left foot. That’s how I got the wound in my left ankle. I hit it with my right sandal when I tried to recover my balance. But, it was nothing serious… so, promise still kept. I was able to get to the turning point in less than 2 hours…

Now, I was homeward bound. All the while, I had a smile on my face. You see, I also told my wife that there will be a lot of photographers along the route and I will make sure I will have good pictures. So, smile I did, all the way to the finish. I also noticed there were a lot of people looking at my footwear. Some of them must have thought I was crazy running in those sandals. While some of them shouted, “Go barefoot!” I smiled at them. I was thankful for the extra motivation, especially during this part of the race.

Entering the tunnel again, I was already feeling tired. Even before reaching it, a few kilometers before the tunnel, I was already having a hard time maintaining the 5:40 pace. I was slowing down. I was worried I wouldn't hit my target. When I reached the Colon area, I was positive I still have the chance. I thought if I could just maintain a 5:50 pace I might even be able to hit a sub – 4 finish. But, it was only wishful thinking. It was very hard to maintain even a 6:00 pace at that point in the race. So, I just did the best that I could, holding in my mind the only motivation that has kept me going – my wife and my son waiting for me at the finish line.

When I reached the UP area, I looked at my watch. 3 hours and 55 minutes had passed. The sub – 4 finish is already an impossibility, probably something to aim for in 2012, I thought. So, I eased out. I enjoyed the cheers, the motivation, and the smiling faces from the marshals, and the people along the route. Then, I saw the finish line…

I was a little emotional this time. I thought, looking back, what a great thing I have done! The immense sense of fulfillment from the whole gratifying experience, from the sweet victory of conquering 42.195 kilometers came pouring in. I couldn't help myself. My tears fell while I raised my hands when I reached the finish line.

Now, I have ran a marathon! Now, I thought, I will claim my prize – a kiss, yes, a kiss from my wife and a kiss to my son. A million times sweeter than the mangoes that I have on my neck… That was my prize.

Cheers to all of us who braved the 42.195 kilometers and reached the finish line!
Cheers to the organizers for a race that raised the bar a few knots higher!
Cheers to all of those we hold dear, whose support and love carried us through when we thought we couldn't make it anymore!
Lastly, cheers to God! To Him be the glory…

* Photo credit to Sydney Delos Reyes for the greatest photo that I have for this race.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My running blog... at last!

Yes. Finally, I'm in the bandwagon. No. Not the running bandwagon. The blogging bandwagon. Oh, and yes, this is a running blog. Since I started running, I have this urge, this itch to write about my experiences on the road. There is so much to say about it, it's just that I don't know how to write about it. Yes. I struggle with words, and I suck at writing. Anyway...

I started running back in 2010. July 20, 2010. I was training for the 5th CDU Run then, which was also my first official race. I ran in the CDU 10K category in preparation for another race the weekend after that - the Aboitiz Race to Reduce Challenge. In my frustration though, I was not able to join the Aboitiz race because I was late. I could never forget that experience. It wasn't that the organizers did not allow me to run, I opted not to run because I was ashamed of marching to the starting line late. Thoughts of people staring at me thinking who this lone, shameless noob walking to the starting line late were flashing through my mind that time. So I decided, I'd just turn around and save face. Still, it got me so frustrated that I registered right away for a race happening the weekend after that - the 1st Recoletos Run. Also, I made a promise to myself never to be late on any race event again.

Now, almost six months after I started running, with more than 700 kilometers of training logged to my account in dailymile (, oh and Php17K poorer from buying myself a GPS watch, here I am, excited, anticipating, and eagerly waiting for 4:00am of January 9, 2011 - the gun time for my very first official full marathon. Wish me luck, guys! And, see you on the road...