Friday, May 15, 2009

Interesting PR at Botak

Ordinarily I would have been raving!!! But, somehow, it just didn't make sense. I just saw the results from last Sunday's Botak Paa-Tibayan Takbo Race. I was officially clocked at 1:08:50 (although they misspelt my name -- Johnny See) while Dante was tagged at 1:09:28. This was about 5 minutes off my own watch.

I'm not sure what transpired -- whether there was some computations that took into account the mass start and the position from the starting line. I saw some other blog entries for 42K runners who also complained about having really faster times.

I guess whatever the reason, the organizer has to do better next time. I hope they do because I really like having Botak sponsor all these races. The issue of accurate times and the lack of water stations need to be addressed. They just would have to learn from this and do better next time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Botak 10K Struggle

You have to have your eyes wide open when you enter a race knowing that you're unprepared. Still, you always hope that somewhere deep inside your gut, you have the fortitude to carry you through to the finish line and pray you'll do it in a respectable time. That's what I felt going into Sunday's Botak Paa-Tibayan race.

It will be my first road race since attempting my 21K in March. April went by quickly because of vacation and work schedules. I was actually missing the atmosphere and challenge of the road race and this made me look forward to Sunday's event.
The starting line was at the usual spot near the NBC Tent.
The 42K runners were off much earlier than the 10K and 21K runners.

These two folk singers were pre- and post- race entertainment for the runners.
Our 10K run was scheduled at the same time as the 21K. I had asked Mama Ting to register me at the last minute. So, I came in without any idea what the route was going to be like. Mama Ting came in around 5:30am to give me my race packet but she wasn't going to run the race this time.

Inside the corral -- runners all waiting for the start

Inside the corral, I met up with Dante, Dave and Jorge. Dante was in a similar situation as me -- no run and not much training in awhile. Dave and Jorge are training for their 42K in San Francisco but Jorge recently got injured, so, he is going for a very light run. He was supposed to try his first 42K but his injury prevented him from proceeding. Dave decided to do a 21K, together with a number of messengers from his office.

Pre-race pictures for me, Dante and Dave. Jorge came a few minutes later
but I had problems with my camera phone -- sorry buddy.

The race started off at around 6am. At this time of the year, the sun was already up high. While it was still overcast, we were all worried about the temperature as the race progresses. I found out later that the route was similar to the 21K run via Buendia and the Kalayaan Overpass. The turnaround point for the 10K would be at the Buendia-Malugay intersection.

The early part of the run was pretty good. I felt strong and my pacing seemed to be bearable. I started playing a game of picking out a runner up front and doing two things -- either match his pace or overtake him. I overtook a few runners this way and as I rounded the turn at the halfway mark, I was surprised to see that I was just a bit off 30 minutes for the 5K! It would have been a new PR for me for that distance. I was even surprised to be ahead of Dante and Dave at this point.

Unfortunately, things didn't quite work out post 5K. I started struggling right after the 6th kilometer as I felt soreness in my legs creeping up. I slowed my pace a bit but I was now mentally struggling to stay focused. It was when I reached the Kalayaan flyover that I mentally and physically bogged down.

Oh well, so much for a new PR for the 10K. It was a struggle walking and running until the finished line. At one point near Market Market, towards the last 1Km stretch, Dante and I caught up and walked together. At the Market Market area, we both pushed ourselves to run back to the finished line. I finished a little over 1 hour 13 minutes while Dante came in a few seconds after.

There are a few lessons to be learned here for me. 1. I do need to focus on training as much as I can, despite my time constraints (see my previous blogpost). 2. My 5K is getting better, most probably because several of my training runs were 5K in duration/distance. It just means I need to run longer to sustain the endurance.

So, maybe, I can continue strengthening my long runs but also focus on dropping my 5K mark -- I still have my sub-30 objective that I need to fulfill before the end of the year. Looks like it might be doable given what happened last Sunday.

It wasn't my best 10K but there are some positive aspects to it -- and I guess it's an okay end to my first year of running!!! Yehey!! May 20 will mark Year 2 of Johnny's Run while May 18 would be the anniversary of my first ever road race!!

So much has happened in one year!! But one definitely bright spot -- I am definitely healthier and stronger than when I started one year ago!! Alleluiah for that!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Squeezing in Runs

I've been frustrated of late. Since my runs in Australia, my workouts have been sporadic. As such, my cardiovascular fitness level has deteriorated -- enough for me to feel difficulty with even just a 5K run. While you don't want to use excuses to justify this situation, it has become really difficult for me to find the right time to do my training runs.

April and May should be summer months. But, with global warming on the upswing, we are experiencing a really wet "summer" so far. While I do cherish running in the rain, it's kinda hard when it's a raging thunderstorm.

Likewise with work. Together with the usual responsibilities, you have visitors from abroad that you have to entertain. This results in late nights, making early morning runs almost impossible. Sigh!! This wasn't a problem during my younger days!! he! he!

So, you try and squeeze in runs whenever you can find spare time. Sometimes, I try and squeeze in a 5K run late in the morning -- knowing I'm might be a bit late for work. Sometimes, you try and squeeze in an early evening run -- although the pollution is at its worst. The worst is squeezing in a run very late in the morning -- you then contend with the heat of the summer sun. That's when you wish it was overcast with even a slight drizzle.

I guess you really just have to look for whatever hole you have in your schedule and squeeze in a run. It's been awhile since I ran a race -- this Sunday's Botak will be a nice return prior to another trip abroad. I'll need to squeeze in a couple more quality runs and hope that it will be enough for a respectable 10K finish on Sunday. I guess Squeeze is the Word -- you make do -- as in poker, you play the hand you're dealt!