Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Run 15K -- DNS

What do you get when you've created so much hype and expectations and then --- you just didn't run??? A bummer of a let-down -- for me and my friends!!!

What's DNS? Since there is DNF (Did not finished) there is DNS for Did Not Start!!!

Somehow, events conspired for me to miss this most anticipated run for January -- my supposedly first 15K run!!

I was trying very hard to manage my diet for Saturday (Jan 24) but, that was not meant to be. Somehow, somewhere, I made a mistake and the result was a bad tummy for Saturday evening. This was compounded by a Chinese New Year get together with my high school batchmates -- really good Chinese dinner at A Hong Restaurant in Quezon City. But, my tummy wasn't the same the whole night.

Then, my usually reliable alarm clock, my Sony Ericsson p990i, decided to conk out at this particular instance. The alarm just didn't go off. I would later find out that if you don't clean up your text message boxes and it goes above 1200 msgs, the phone just stops functioning -- not just incoming messages but also the alarm!!

So, I ended up not waking up for the event and missed not just the run but the birthday breakfast bash for my friends Jorge and Dave!!!
I'm heartbroken, I'm disappointed and I'm pissed!!! But, what can I do. I humbly apologize to my friends and will just have to contend with making a better go with February races. Maybe I will just prepare harder for the 15K race I'll join in February -- the Asian Hospital Run at the Fort on the 22nd. Maybe this was divine intervention telling me I'm not ready for the 15K -- but, I'll definitely try to be ready in February.

Disappointment aside, let me take advantage of this post to greet everyone a Happy Chinese New Year!!! Kung Hei Fat Choi to everyone!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

PSE Bull Run 2009

The most anticipated race for the start of 2009 finally arrived. Not because it's the greatest race ever but it's the first race for the year!! Having set goals for 2009, it's time to see how far I've come since the long lay-off in December. I wasn't as anxious as my previous 10Ks but I wanted it to be a good prelude to my next challenge -- the 15K Happy Run next Sunday.

Okay, okay -- I'm sure many are surprised -- You're running 15K next week??? I know, I know!!! I'm pushing myself beyond what is uncomfortable!!! (That's your fault Gene (Barracuda) -- you told me to go beyond my comfort zone!!) I guess peer pressure and the threat of no free breakfast (what excuses!!) pushed me to decide that I'll run 15K next week. Besides, there was no 10K race in the agenda and my friends, Jorge & Dave, said that they have decided to treat us for breakfast but only for those who run 15K!!! How can you refuse that?? So, I do hope the breakfast will be worth the pain I'm gonna go through this Sunday -- but, I getting ahead of myself, 15K is still the next event.

So, I'm running my first race for 2009 and it's my fourth 10K race since I started running last year. I feel good about my preparation. While I would have wanted to train some more, my health condition didn't give too much time to train. I did manage to sneak around 3 good training runs in 2 weeks.

I arrived around just before 5:30am at Bonifacio Global City but was surprised to see that the race was starting at a different location compared to all the races last year. This was at an empty lot near for the former Dencio's restaurant. I was waiting for Mama Ting for my race packet. There was a few anxious moments as Ting and I lost track of each other as she didn't bring her cellphone with her to the starting area. Thank God we saw each other in time for me to put on my race bib and get into the starting area.

I had some Kodak moments with Nora, who was going to run her first 10K!!! Welcome to the 10K world Nora. Also had a few minutes to chat with Dindo (a.k.a. DATC) and a friend from high school and college, Mike Bangayan, who is a serious triathlete, one of my idols!!
This will be my first 10K run at Bonifacio Global City. I was apprehensive because I wasn't familiar with the route and distance milestones. So when the announcer said ready, get set, go -- I just sucked it up and we were off.

I felt good at the start -- my pacing seemed comfortable, even with the first uphill stretch up the McKinley stretch. Good start since I usually have a difficult time with this hilly stretch. Even as we passed Essensa, my pacing and breathing still felt comfortable.

As we reached Bayani Road towards Heritage Park, I was suprised that runners went past the turn. I would have thought a left turn then would have been logical. But, just a few meters after, we hit the first u-turn and then a quick right into Bayani Road.

This is where is gets a bit tricky since we were entering the hilly segment. I was still okay reaching the u-turn point near C5. The return route was really daunting since you can see the uphill climb all the way to the top. I reached the water station at the top of the hill okay -- took the time to imbibe some water.

This is where my run broke down. I had to intersperse around 3 walk breaks. But right after the Essensa, I continued without stopping until the Finish line. It was actually inspiring to the see the 7 minute/km pacer passing me and Nora just beside him. That forced me to concentrate until the end.

As everyone now knows, the Finish line queue was a terrible ending to the race. In the end, I relied on my watch -- it registered 1 hour 10 minutes!!! Much better than my first three 10Ks. As with all the other runners, the official time is probably not relevant but I'm happy with this run -- not yet perfect but it felt good and should help ease some of the pain for this Sunday's 15K. Let's see what happens!!!

Photo-op at the Finish with Nora and her friend plus Joaquin, a Lasallian Civil Engineering graduate.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

First Run For 2009

I've been out of running circulation since my last 10K run during the UP ICTUS run in December, 2008. That's about a 3-week layoff from any running. In between, my body was exposed to all sorts of abuse from the different Christmas parties and family reunions -- all the way until Jan. 1, 2009. In fact, it was unusual in that 3 week spread that I played only 3 rounds of golf, despite the long holiday break from work!!! Thankfully, despite all the abuse, I was able to maintain my weight within a reasonable variance off my current target weight of 200lbs.

Despite having a bout of sore throat and cough yesterday and sleeping late because of a marathon session watching downloaded TV shows, I decided to head off to U.P. to try and do my first run for the year!! Actually, Run Ma Ting texted early last night inviting us to run a 10K today. Unfortunately, I didn't see the text until late last night. So I didn't respond to her text but hoped that she and the others will push through.

I arrived around 6:45am and parked near the U.P. Theater. There were plenty of people already running and walking around the U.P. Oval. After a long layoff, I wasn't sure I could do a 10K but I was going to make sure I go beyond a 5K run. I wasn't sure of the measured distance of the U.P. Oval but Ting mentioned that we'll run at least 4 rounds.

The difficult part of running the U.P. Oval is the first stretch after the Oblation. That portion is actually a long uphill run. The gradient isn't too difficult -- but it's still a long uphill stretch. When you reach the end, you're actually rewarded with the reverse downhill run. The first round was relatively easy. When I started my second round, it became a slight psychological challenge. But, the last three 10K runs have helped me manage 5K distances pretty well. It's always the distances after 5K that are posing some problems for me. 

As such, upon completing the 2nd round, I was determined to continue at least one more round without stopping. As usual, the uphill stretch became quite a mental challenge. It helped when I started counting the cat's eyes in the middle of the road. The problem with counting the cat's eyes is that they're not in synch with my running stride. But, it helped me stay focused with the run. Once I reached the corner, it became a bit easier -- but, I was still mentally challenged with completing the 3rd round. I decided then to just finish 3 rounds instead of the 4 initially targeted. I'll use this as a base to start my 2-week training program for the first race of the year -- the PSE Bull Run.

I finished my 3 rounds in 46 minutes 13 seconds. I later found out from Ting that I covered 6.6 kms for the 3 rounds. Nothing to crow about but at least I started my trek back to running. Now, I need to maximize the next 2 weeks to get back to running form. I just pray I can continue training without injuries. So far so good.