Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The road to May 1st. Week 5.

The race frontRUNNER's Labor Day Coast to Coast Ultra-marathon 'ONLY THE STRONG' is only about 10 weeks away. To be honest, I'm kind of getting a little nervous now. I'm still not at 100% sure that I will be able to make it. So, I made a drastic change to my training plan. From this time on, I will be doing 2 long runs per week, plus 1 workout that will either be a Tempo or an Intervals training. Emphasis for the training plan will now be towards the long runs as I think I need it more.

So, my first workout for the week. I did 23k, hamster mode around IT Park. This was supposed to be a morning workout, as all the workouts in my training plan should be, but the heavy rain did not allow it. However, this is already the 3rd day since my last run, so I needed to do this. I was trying to maintain a 5:30 pace for this workout, but I was only able to maintain this pace until about halfway through. I must admit I was gassed out, and by the second half, I was already at a 6:00 pace. Many thanks to Coleen D. for running and pacing with me in the last 4km, I was able to finish the workout strong and reached my 1000th km with this run!

On Friday, I did another long run to Busay with Joel C., and a friend from DM, Johnny F. This time, the weather was perfect! Going up, it was impossible to maintain a fast pace, but we tried to pick it up on our way down, maintaining a pace of 4:30 to 5:00.

I lack one workout this week, but it's okay, I will make up for it next week. To week 6...

Friday, February 18, 2011

The road to May 1st. Week 4.

This is the 4th week into my preparation for the coming frontRUNNER's Labor Day Coast to Coast Ultra-marathon 'ONLY THE STRONG' which will be happening on May 1, 2011. With this week, I think I have further strayed away from my training plan. I need to do something about this. Anyways, in training perspective, here is how this week was for me...

On Tuesday, I did a 10k Tempo run. Tuesdays were supposed to be rest days since Mondays were supposed to be my Intervals day. But this Monday the bed got the better of me, so I felt like I needed to do this workout on a Tuesday. On top of that, I was too lazy to do the Intervals workout planned for this week, so I substituted it with a Tempo - this Tempo run. I was scheduled for an 8k Tempo at my Short Tempo pace this week, but, to redeem myself, I thought I should push a little more, so I did a 10k Tempo run at my Short Tempo pace. After the workout, it actually felt great that I was hitting the road again because I was actually out for 4 days!

Then, another Tempo run! This was on Thursday which, by the way, is supposed to be another rest day. Now, this is what I meant when I said I was straying farther away from my training plan. Anyways, this time I did 14k at my Long Tempo pace. My body was really heavy during this run, though I'm pretty sure I didn't gain any weight. I'm not really sure if this was due to the fact that I was absent for a long time, or due to my body being overworked, or due to the fact that I am not following my plan. That, I will have to see.

Friday. Fridays, were supposed to be Long runs, but since I was running the SM2SM Run Half - Marathon race on Sunday, I decided to have that as my Long run for this week. Instead, I run with my Ungo family - the usual Ungo Night Run. I was pacing with my friends the entire time, except for when I did some short sprints on the hill along UP. Then I did some extra rounds around IT Park for a total of 8k.

On Sunday, I topped this week off with a race - the SM2SM Run Half - Marathon race. It was an awesome race. A very well - organized race. I wasn't able to hit my target, but it was okay, I think I still finished strong on that race.

So, total mileage? 53. Not bad for a week gone astray. Still, I think I need to do something about following my training plan. It's almost 10 weeks to the event and I am still nowhere near ready.

Now, on to week 5.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My first 21k experience.

Photo by: Norwin Detalla
It's been ages since my last post! No, actually it's only been a week, but it feels like this one is already overdue. Sorry about that. I haven't had the time nor the words lately. But, this is my first ever official half - mary, so this is something I have to blog about.

Last Sunday, February 13, 2011, I joined my first official 21k race - the SM2SM Run Half Marathon. I have to say, this was the best fun run that I have ever joined in, although I haven't really joined a lot of fun runs for that matter. But it was really well - organized, the hydration stops were at the right places with more than enough for all the runners, and the route was PR conducive. Also, this was the first race I'd been to where an energy gel was given to the runners halfway up the course. Plus, the weather was perfect! There were also other notable things, although not race related, such as the parking space was huge and I never had a hard time parking even if I didn't arrive so early at the site, the venue for the awarding ceremony being the SM North Wing (which was nice because the venue was big enough with lots of chairs, plus, it was air - conditioned!), the souvenirs included discount coupons and a shirt from Island Souvenirs (a shirt which I actually liked, if not for it being too big for me, I got a Large size shirt!), and the raffles (if only I won that Bravia!).

I arrived at the site at around 410am. I was actually thinking that the gun time for 21k was at 530am. It was at 5am. Yes, I wasn't late, but I could have been. Damn me for not reading the paper that went with the singlet. Anyways, it was a good thing that the parking lot was huge and that I had no trouble looking for a spot. I then put on my new pair of calf compression sleeves, my running footwear, my race bib, and went to a relatively open area near the holding pen to warm up. After some slow very easy rounds, I went on to the holding pen, ready for the race. I positioned myself somewhere near the front lines. I was thinking that since this one doesn't include timing chips, I should be starting when the go signal is given. I was standing in the sideline so that I wont be a hindrance to the elites competing in this race. Then, the countdown...

When the race finally started, I was running at a relatively slower pace. I tried maintaining a 5:00 pace for the first 2 kilometers, then went on to pick up the pace thereafter. I was criusing at an average of 4:30 to 4:40 pace up to until halfway of the race. I still take a pause on each of the water stops though. Hydration to me is very important, as it should be to everyone. And, eventhough some parts of SRP are still dark, I enjoyed running the entire stretch.

I brought with me 2 bars of snickers. I was planning to eat one of it halfway and the other when I reach the finish line. But, halfway up the course, I was surprised to receive an energy gel from one of the pit stops. I have never tried taking in any of those gels in any of my runs, but you know, there is always a first time. This time, it's for free! So I took the gel instead, saving the snickers for later. I didn't really take any time to look at the brand nor the flavor, but there was a hint of coffee in it. It actually tastes good to me. And I think it was effective, too. After about 15 minutes, it felt like I had a renewed energy source.

The scenes along the boardwalk was awesome. This was the second time that I ran SRP, but this was the first time that I ran closer to the sea along the boardwalk. I was able to witness the first hints of a very beautiful sunrise on my way to Sugbu.

From there, it was back to the finish line. I was already tired and was slowing down. My pace dropped to about 4:45 to 5:00 on the average. Still I was determined to finish the race strong. I passed along many familiar faces whose Hi's and Hello's were added motivations. I was still getting occassional stares, or should I say, my feet and footwear were still getting a fair share of stares.

When I finally made my turn to the finish line, I looked at the watch. I missed my target time by a little more than 1 minute. I wasn't sad though. I was happy. I gave it all I got. I clocked in at 01:41:23. And, I got myself a nice new medal!

As always, I would like to thank my ever supportive and beautiful wife and my son who were waiting for me at the finish line.
And, God, for the gift of life, love, and good health, I thank You!

Lastly, I would like to mention one of my inspirations, someone without whom I would not be who I am today - my Nanay. This one goes out to you. I wish you could see what I have become, and I hope I made you proud. God knows how much I miss you. Rest in peace, Nanay. You will always be remembered.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The road to May 1st. Week 3.

Week 3. My training for the frontRUNNER's Labor Day Coast to Coast Ultra-marathon 'ONLY THE STRONG' race had been going well until this week. I had to forgo my scheduled Monday Intervals workout because I felt like I needed to rest. There was a little pain in my left foot, kind of like a bruise, somewhere between my middle and 4th toe (yes, that's what they are called). I was also a feeling a bruise under the balls (yes, that's what it is called) of my right foot. So, I had to. I'm wondering though as to what caused these. It must be my landing, or my foot strike, or the pebble I happened to step on during one of my workouts last week. I don't really know. This is something I must study and experiment on in my future runs. But, the good news is, it's healing, and I was able to do my remaining workouts for the week. Albeit, a little slower and with extra care.

So, Tempo Wednesday. It was drizzling when I woke up and I was actually thinking of postponing this workout later in the evening, after work. You see, there was a forecast about a tropical storm coming our way which was the reason for the rainy days this week. Good thing my wife reminded me on that. She said, if anything, the rain would only get worse. So I changed into my running outfit, laced on my Kai Sandals, and hit the road. Doing my workout in the rain, with the strong headwind felt like this was a strength training! Still I was glad I was able to do this workout. I did 1.5k Easy Tempo, 7k in my Mid Tempo, and then another 1.5k in my Easy Tempo pace with the following times: 00:08:56, 00:35:06, and 00:08:20.

On Friday, I did my usual LSD. Although this time, I traded my planned Busay route for the city streets. I was tracing the CCM route when I remembered the cross route that Coach Boying posted in DM, so I decided to run that, too. I also passed by Ling's Heart Break Hill (that's the hill along UP Lahug) which was nice because, no matter how short, at least I was able to do a little strength training. Upon reaching the access road to the Cebu Business Park area, I was still 4km short of 20, so I decided to rounds around my good DM friend Ondoy's usual running route. This was a good run for me, 20k in 01:41:45!

On Friday evening, I joing the Ungo Night Run as a recovery. I had a nice, slow, and easy jog-walk, a very nice recovery run. We ran the usual route from Sunstar in P. del Rosario, passing through Jones Ave., Escario, then on to I.T. Park. Again, It's always nice to run with the Ungo!

This week is a low one for me. I am about 15k short of my target. But, as least I was able to do 2 out of the 3 workouts I planned, and I have that to thank God for. I hope next week will be better.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The road to May 1st. Week 2.

Another week into my training for the frontRUNNER's Labor Day Coast to Coast Ultra-marathon 'ONLY THE STRONG' race this coming May 1. The weather gods must have thought I had too much favors thrown my way last week because, in total contrast to last week's weather, this week's rains seemed to pour, and poured heavily, on my scheduled days of training. But, even with that, I managed to squeeze in some considerable mileage. Thank God!

So, Monday. This is another one of those days when you wake up in the morning  with a bed-over-road dilemma. Most of the time, for me at least, the road always wins. But this time? Anyway... In the evening... After work... Yeah, well, the bed won in the morning! Now, on to training. In the evening, after work, I did my usual Intervals workout. This time, it's 1200m, 1000m, 800m, 600m, 400m, and 200m with 200m rest. Plus, the usual 20 - minute warm up and 10 - minute cool down easy runs.

It rained on Wednesday morning so I decided to postpone my workout in the evening. I was hoping it wont rain, and I was actually hesitant to run after work because the sky was still gloomy and it looked like it was going to rain. Nevertheless, I did my Tempo workout that evening. It was windy and it was very cold. Plus, it rained, and it rained hard, in the middle of my workout! My plan was to do a 1.5km Easy Tempo, 9km at Marathon Pace, then another 1.5km Easy, but I was a little hard headed that day, and I ignored shouts from my Garmin telling me to slow down.

On Friday, the plan was to do another LSD to Busay with Joel, Boying, and Axl, but it rained hard in the morning so the planned run was cancelled.

To make up for the cancelled long run, I decided to run to Cebu City from my hometown in Danao City. Since our bosses from Oslo came to visit us here in Cebu with very limited time, it was decided that we needed to report to the office on Saturday. I was gonna meet Joel in Consolacion, but I was not able to start early so I messaged him to go ahead of me. I was taking it easy and running slow that when I reached Mandaue City, near A.C Cortes Ave., it was already 920am, and I have to be in the office before 10am! So, I decided to cut my run short and took the jeepney to our apartment.

I must say, this week didn't exactly went as good as I planned, but at least I was able to get the mileage in. I hope training will be better next week.

I have a message for those running minimalist or barefoot, please be extra careful when running at night, especially after a heavy rain. I happened to step on a marble - size pebble while doing my Tempo run on Wednesday, and it was so painful I had to limp for about 20 to 30 seconds.