Friday, July 31, 2009

On Motivation and Re-Starting

It's been over a week since the Globe Run for Home 21K. For a number of reasons, I wasn't able to run since that race until yesterday. While it's easy to give excuses -- weather, work, time, etc., it seems like it's so hard to maintain a high level of motivation after completing a goal.

Finishing the 21K race was an accomplishment -- albeit not great. I've now set up a new goal of training for a full 42K. But, somehow, after the rigor of preparing for the last 21K, it's so hard to find the same level of motivation to start my training program for the full marathon.

If you scout the web on the topic of running motivation, there isn't a lack of resources to choose from. But, somehow, despite all the techniques, it's like the feeling after a sugar rush -- you just feel lethargic and lost. I guess that's why you really need to take time off after your major efforts and work out a re-focusing plan.

So yesterday, after all the internal mind games about starting and not starting, I actually woke up early to resume my running regimen. Unfortunately, while you force the effort, all is not in place and it was agonizing getting back into the groove. Every step was a struggle -- not necessarily physical. The concentration needed to push myself mentally was enormous.

Somehow, I got myself to finish my 5K run. It wasn't pretty but it was good to just start running again. I know that it will take a lot more mental effort to get myself back into a routine -- it's just slow progress. But, one thing that is helping me refocus is the fact that my friends Jorge, Dave and Mesh just did one of my dreams -- running the full marathon at San Francisco. If they can do it, there is no excuse for me not to.

So, in the words of two famous shoe brands -- Impossible is Nothing and Just Do It!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Congratulations - SF Marathon Finishers

Yesterday, 3 of our friends attempted and completed the 42Kms of the San Francisco Marathon. They are: Mesh (3:57:56), Jorge (5:02) and Dave (5:10). I've always dreamed of participating in the full marathon at San Francisco -- the last time I ran, I joined the 5K event. That was just a few months after I started running -- ergo, I wasn't ready for any other distance outside of the 5K. But, I love this event because it allows you to run over the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most recognizable icon of the city by the bay. So, it shall continue to be one of my aspirations to run across the Golden Gate Bridge.

My heartfelt congratulations to all those who finished but most especially to these 3 friends. I shall be ever envious until I myself complete the same event some day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Globe Run for Home Results - Other Views

I started exploring the Globe Run for Home Results page after my blog entry and found two other views of the results.

The above view had the split times for the two halves and the average pace. Interesting also was the bird's eye view of the finish line. If you actually move the mouse over the dots (on the web page, not here), you'll see who the racers were behind or beside you.

This view gave you the course map and your place vis-a-vis the leaders -- of the race, the female lead and the age group lead.

Fantastic new approaches to presenting the results. Great innovations -- Congratulations again to the race organizers!!

Globe Run for Home Race Results Out

The Globe Run for Home results are now out. (Click on the title for the blog entry to get to the site.) The site does say that only 83.6% of runners have official results. Possible reasons given are: 1) runner forgeting to bring his chip, 2) chip wasn't installed properly and 3) the chip fell along the route.

I'm glad I wasn't part of the 17.4% without official results. The official time was the same as the time on my Garmin!! Fantastic. But, they also have an interesting way of presenting the results.

I hope this is the start of chip-based timing for all races in the Philippines. I don't know how much the cost was and how much Globe had to pony up for this. But, we're all praying it is affordable enough for all races.

Congratulations to Coach Rio and Globe for a fantastic race!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Globe Run For Home -- My 2nd 21K

The moment finally arrived. After weeks of training trying to ramp up running volume, the event I was training for is here – the Globe Run for Home 21K Run. It will be my 2nd attempt at a 21K distance. The first try was the Condura race – a race where I finished but had to limp in the last 4K. This time, I hope to do better.

Pre-start images -- still dark as 21K race would start at 5am

Waking up at 3am, I was hoping I had sufficient time before race time at 5am. Upon arriving at Bonifacio High Street, many of us were surprised to discover one of the pay parking area was totally reserved for the race organizers and sponsors – of which at 4:15am, it was practically empty. I decided to go around and park at the other side near Kabisera.

21K Runner friends ready to run prior to start

By the time I was at the Starting Line, it was almost 4:30am. I happen to chance upon Bong Zandueta limbering up near Rox while waiting for his fellow running gang. Also hooked up with good friends Jajo Quintos of IBM and Jay Nacino (Prometheus Cometh). Pretty soon, they started the National Anthem and we were all asked to enter the Starting Area. Inside, I saw my cousin, Emerson Tian. Dave de Leon entered a few seconds later and introduced some of his Runnex buddies. Rico Ibana showed up a few seconds after. I also bumped into with Bro. J and his lovely Swthrt, for the first time!! At exactly 5am, we were off. No jostling this time as our starting times are individually clocked by the Champion timing chip we were all given.

The route will take us from the Starting Line at Boni High Street up the Kalayaan flyover to Buendia. From there we will enter the Makati CBD through Ayala Ave., passing through Paseo de Roxas, right onto Makati Avenue and left to Ayala Ave. until the Rustan’s area and then back. Unfortunately, that is not the half-way point yet. As we re-enter Fort Bonifacio, we continue another 7Kms. all the way until Bayani Road before coming back home to the Starting Area.

The first time I ran a 21K during the Condura 2009 race, I was a tourist-runner, stopping to take pictures along the way since it was my first 21K and the first time we ran up the Skyway. This time, I was focused on running, hoping to do much better than my first attempt.

I was prepared to run a steady 7.5Kph pace – the setting I used for my Virtual Partner on my Garmin 405. Unfortunately, as is typical in a race, I get pulled away from my normal pace with the rest of the runners at the start. It was only later, after reviewing my splits, that I found out my first 5K was over 8Kph, 7:08mins/km! I guess I knew it would be like this but I was also concerned I’ll pay for this faster start at the end.

I tried to stop at each water station – making an effort to take some walking breaks early in the game. At one of the water stations, instead of water, I tried the 100 Plus they were distributing. I was surprised that it was the carbonated version!!! I had a few sips but decided not to finish the whole can. Later on, several of my running buddies complained about imbibing the carbonated drink – just not meant for drinking while running.

My first 10K was relatively good. I managed to squeeze in 8Km in less than an hour and finished the first 10K in 1:13:88. Still too fast for my 21K pace! After the first 10K, I was starting to feel an ebbing in energy. I continued to follow my strategy of walking breaks every 2Km.

On the way back through Kalayaan Bridge, I was happy that I was able to continue running – no stopping this time on the bridge. But, as I was coming down from the bridge, I felt my feet slipping inside my shoes and was fearful that blisters will developed. I stopped on the side and tightened my shoe laces. While it prevented the slipping, I somehow felt constricted and it showed during the last part of the run.

The last 6K was agonizing!! I still have to traverse the path towards McKinley and Bayani Road. While my target was to run each 5K at around 40 minutes or less, the last two 5K splits were definitely over 40 minutes. I had to dig deep into my reservoir of mental strength to make sure I don’t stop running. The walking breaks continued but in a disciplined manner every 2Km at each water station.

By the time I crossed the Finished Line, I was one exhausted runner. I crossed at 2:53:52 based on my timer! I was targeting 2:45 but I knew coming in it would be a stretch. But, still, it was better than my Condura performance, which was over 3 hours running.

After the race, I met up with a number of runner/bloggers. I was able to finally meet some for the first time, including Jaymie (Bull Runner) and Vener. Saw Nora, Jinoe and Bro. J again. That was when I found out Bro. J was Joseph and Swthrt was Josephine (she did her first 21K!!! Congrats!!!). We took some pictures before I left to join the gang for breakfast at Valle Verde.

Post-race pictures with other runners/bloggers

At Valle Verde, I was one of the last to arrive. It was a nice breakfast courtesy of Jorge Buenaventura. The breakfast was not just a nice get together after a hard run but also a send off for SF Marathon runners Jorge, Dave de Leon and Mesh!!! Good luck to all of you. I was also surprised to see Gina Go, who turned out to be the better half of Bobby Go!! Gina and I used to work together in the Lopez Group – so it was great seeing her again. Several of my buddies are also training for the CamSur tri-event – Ting, Ed, Rico, Laarni and Bobby. Good luck to them, too!!! Me – I’m happy completing my 2nd 21K and might consider training for a full 42K in time for October!! Hmm – this is a step up for me but now that I’m where I am, I guess I might as well go All-In!!!

Post-Run Breakfast at Valle Verde

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wet Training Days

As the days approaching the Globe Run for Home 21K diminish, the need for training increases. As such, it's a bit frustrating when Mother Nature decides to test one's resolve to meet training objectives. Thankfully, this week is "taper off" week, but still, I wanted to keep my running volume up. I guess Mother Nature has decided that I need to watch the amount of pounding I give my body this week.

One of the perils of running in the rain is getting wet shoes. Even if you want to avoid them, you have no choice but to go through puddles of water. I was rotating 3 pairs of shoes the last few days and all of them are hanging out to dry. I tried on a new pair of Asics yesterday -- hoping to break them in slowly so that I can use them during the longer runs and races. That too became soggy. So now, I have 4 pairs to rotate during rainy training runs!! And, the Asics had a real baptism yesterday.

While wet equipment is a hassle, the real danger is catching a cold or the flu. Each run this week I come home soaking wet from head to toe. As soon as I reach home, I get into the bathroom to take a shower so that I could get into dry clothes quickly. The worrisome part is not being wet but in many cases doing my cooldown in the rain while walking home. So far, knocking on wood, my body has stood up to the challenge. I want to make sure I don't get sick any day now up to race day.

The nice thing about running in the rain is that your body is comfortably cool despite the effort. I guess a slight drizzle is ideal but when it becomes a downpour, it's not fun anymore.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Running Long and Celebrating a Birthday

Last Saturday was a record of sorts for me!! But, that's getting ahead of the story.

Mama Ting's group scheduled a strenuous workout weekend for everyone. For the triathletes, Ting, Ed and Laarni, it was 3.5 hr. bike/12 Km. run combination, except for Rico Ibana, who decided to just bike. For me, Dave de Leon and birthday-boy-to-be Oca Sanez, it was a long 26Km run.

The bike/runners were off at 5am. For us runners, we were supposed to start our trek at 5:30am. I miscalculated my prep time and arrived a little after 5:30am. After a glass of juice, we were off on my first ever 26Km run. I was a little bit apprehensive for a number of reasons: 1) this will be the longest and farthest I have ever run, and 2) I was still worried about the condition of my injured toe. Still, I wanted to attempt this run in preparation for the Globe 21K.

As we headed out of the village, I kept testing my foot and toe -- so far so good. We took a left turn on Lanuza headed towards Ortigas Avenue. Oca and Dave were in front on me with a nice, medium steady pace. I was right behind them. We crossed Ortigas Avenue and into the Greenmeadows area and up Temple Drive. This is where I slowed down a bit. Temple Drive is a long uphill run -- not very steep but still uphill. I didn't want to match them pace for pace as I wanted to make sure I have enough reserves till the end.

Temple Drive was wide and friendly to runners. In contrast, as we entered White Plains and Katipunan, the road narrows with really bad sidewalks. Good thing it was still early and cars weren't a problem -- yet!! Towards St. Ignatius, Oca came back to look for me and I waved to him to continue. At the corner of Katipunan and B. Serrano, I saw Oca and Dave turn right down towards Blue Ridge and Industrial Valley.

At the intersection with C5, I saw Dave and Oca waving and pointing at a pack of dogs. They apparently tried to attack the two. So, I deftly avoided them by running into the middle section. We then headed off towards the Marikina River bank. I was unfamiliar with the running trail that Oca was leading us to. I just remember him mentioning the SM Marikina area. We reached that section and up towards the Riverbanks Mall.

I thought we were at the turn-around point already; but it wouldn't be right as we were just only 8Kms into the run. I then saw Oca and Dave climb up a section towards Riverbanks Mall and headed towards a grassy trail. At one point, we emerged near the river bank again but we were traversing muddy grasslands. Since they were quite a bit ahead, I didn't see them get down at a much nicer landing area -- I ended up sliding down a pretty muddy patch and walking through a muddy stretch of the road -- my shoes were now wet and muddy!! With the rains the night before, the river was swollen and was overflowing the banks -- as such, there were stretches that were pretty muddy!!

We regrouped and Oca mentioned that we will cross 3 bridges towards the turn-around point. There was a running path right beside the river and it was paved!! Both Dave and I were really surprised there was this hidden gem of a running path!! We took off and I was actually enjoying myself going through unfamiliar territory.

It was going to be a 5Km outbound run. At one point, I caught up with Dave as he was in active recovery. We each took a GU to refuel and slowly moved forward. A few minutes later, we saw Oca on a his way back. He said, "turnaround point in 300 meters." We reached that in a few more minutes. That was the end of the running path but there was another trail leading somewhere. Dave asked someone on a bike where it led to and we were surprised to hear that it was approaching Batasan (our House of Representatives)! In fact, Dave quipped that he was tempted to just run home since it was close by already!

Dave and I kept each other company on the way back. At one point, he disappeared. I thought he took another route back. I decided to continue forward as I was unfamiliar with any other way. When I reached the muddy area, I had to traverse the muddy and grassy trail again to reach Riverbanks Mall. I was surprised to see Dave at my back a few meters into the trail. Apparently, he stopped by a store to get hydration. Unfortunately, the only fluids they have were Coke. He had no choice but to imbibe the fizzy drink.

When we reached the top, we were trying to get back on the trail but we encountered more mud. We took a slight detour but ended back on the original path. Unfortunately, the trail walk slowed us down enough that it was difficult restarting our run. I told Dave I'd walk back. (And that was still another 8Kms. to go!) Dave decided to stay with me.

When we were nearing C5, Dave said he'll run ahead to find a store to get water. I said I'll catch up. My legs were still in no shape to run so I continued walking. I caught up with Dave near C5 where he was gulping down cold water. I chugged down my own water from my hydration pack.

We headed back up the hill on B. Serrano. This was the underpass that traversed C5 and Katipunan but the side roads were steep -- very steep. By the time we got to Katipunan on the way to White Plains, we were bushed!! The plan was to walk a bit then run back again. I told Dave to go ahead since I knew I needed more time to recover. Dave decided to stay on and keep me company.

We walked all the way through Katipunan, through White Plains and through Temple Drive. We saw how the cars were traversing through Katipunan and wondered how we could run there safely. The roads were narrow and the sidewalks were hardly fit for walking. Plus all the cars in the narrow space meant pollution was pretty bad. I guess at this time, it was good we were not running.

At Temple Drive, we saw a runner in blue coming up. I thought he looked familiar and true enough, it was Ed Francisco, now doing his run portion. In a few more minutes, we caught up with Laarni and Ting. Laarni was admonishing us: "No Walking!!!" :-) Ting was more supportive!! he! he! She just gave us more encouragement.

We were near the homestretch. We got caught in the traffic light at Ortigas and Lanuza. As the light turned red, we were able to cross. I jogged off a bit to reach the sidewalk and decided to just run all the way back to Oca's place. This surprised Dave but he gamely stayed with me on the run. Prior to this point, we were even using a menthol spray to keep our legs from cramping -- and here we are, running the last kilometer back to Oca's place!

For me, seeing the VV1 Gate was such a welcome sight. We managed to continue running until we reached the gates of Oca's home. We both headed to our cars to get our Gatorades and water. It was truly refreshing partaking of liquid nourishment at this stage.

A few minutes after we arrived, the rest of the gang came in. We showered up and enjoyed the hospitality of Oca and his lovely spouse, Grace. They prepared a sumptuous feast -- showcasing the best of Filipino breakfast fare!! I was exhausted but with the company of good friends and good food, I felt really great! It was a wonderful experience -- the first time I ever went on a long run to celebrate a birthday!! But, it was worth all the effort. We all benefited from the workout and enjoyed the feast after!

Now, it's time to test what we have during this Sunday's Globe Run For Home 21K! Hopefully, we're all ready after this! Thank you Oca, Grace and Ting for organizing this unique celebration and thank you Dave for keeping me company -- hope I didn't ruin too much your training run for the San Francisco Marathon. Advance Happy Birthday Oca!! Good luck to all of us on Sunday!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Wonders of Massage

Over the last 2 weeks, my running volume has increased. I'm trying to get my endurance base to a level where I would be comfortable running a stretched 21K. This should make me ready in time for the Globe Run for Home 21K on the 19th of July.

But, as you probably will surmise, the increase in running volume takes a toll on the body -- the whole body is sore and the muscles all feel like they've been tortured continuously!! As such, the runs last Saturday and Sunday were excruciating -- really a test of mental strength to push through despite the obvious physical difficulties.

After the Sunday run, I was feeling frustrated and worried that I might not make it in time for July 19. I decided to take a day off Monday. I also decided to go to my suki Massage spa -- the Getaway Spa along Sgt. Esguerra Ave. I go there because they have this 80-minute Sports Massage which is a longer, deep-tissue, hard, Swedish massage. I just felt a really strong need for this session.

The masseuse went through every part of my aching body, kneading, stretching and massaging. It was partly painful because my muscles were all sore and inflamed. When she uses her arms and elbows to add strength into the moves, you feel like crying but I knew I had to endure it a bit -- it was painful but good!!! (Sounds like a masochist??? he! he!).

After the session, I was completely relaxed and exhausted at the same time. I went home and had a restful evening watching TV before retiring early. I wanted to get up early the next day to do a longer run than usual.

Tuesday morning, I woke up at the alarm at 5:30am. I felt better after the previous day's massage. As I started my run, I was amazed at how strong my legs felt. I tried a new route this time -- working through the hilly portion of Horseshoe Village before traversing Aurora Blvd. into Broadway and down Rolling Hills -- another hilly section.

When I finished my run, I actually did over 1 hour 45 minutes!!! Longest I had in a training session recently. While my legs were sore after, they didn't feel as tortured compared to the previous week. I was a little bit scared of how my body would feel at work -- I didn't want to be unproductive for the day.

While I was not 100%, I wasn't feeling like I needed to take the day off. But, I decided to have another massage session after work. Same treatment -- an 80-minute sports massage. Unfortunately, the masseuse who took care of me Monday had a day off. But, the substitute masseuse was equally good -- in fact, a bit stronger!!

I decided Wednesday would be another rest day. I also decided that I'll have my third massage session in a row but instead of the 80-minute sports massage, I opt for the 60-minute regular Swedish massage.

On Thursday morning, I woke up a bit earlier at 5am. I wanted to try a longer run. So, at 5:30am, I was off on the road again. I tried a few variations on the route, but still hitting the hills at Horseshoe Village and Rolling Hills but taking extended runs around the streets. By the time I finished, I was able to run a bit over 2 hours!! This is now the longest I've ever trained!!!

It was amazing that despite the long run I did Tuesday, I could do an even longer run on Thursday!! And my body seemed stronger despite the stress I put on it. I attribute this to the three consecutive massage sessions. I need to go back but I'm now bogged down with work and meetings. I hope I can find time over the weekend for one more session.

Unfortunately, I have a slight problem with one of the toes on my right foot. I'm surprised it happened given that I've been running with the same shoes for awhile. I'll need to check the straps to see if it's too loose. For whatever reason, I'm nursing an injured toe. I hope it will be better by tomorrow. I want to join my friends for a long run on Saturday. Let's pray it will be okay to run by tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Running with the Garmin Forerunner 405

I'm a late-bloomer with this new toy of mine. I know several of the runner bloggers have been using Garmin devices for several months already. I also remember Jinoe being interviewed by QTV on its features. Thus, I was thrilled when my unit finally arrived a few weeks back.

I struggled at first setting it up and in learning how to use the product. But, I was especially excited when my running data was finally uploaded to Garmin Connect on the web. Suddenly, I'm seeing my activities recorded and my progress tracked!!! I feel like a kid during Christmas and my presents were opened!!!

Seeing my runs transposed to a map of the route with corresponding data on distance, pace, etc. was truly amazing. I'm a technology guy by profession but it still astounds me how technology is being put into everyday lives.

I brought in two additional units but these were quickly taken up by my friend Dante Briones and the brother of Dave de Leon. I wish them good journey with their adventures on the Garmin Forerunner 405. I'm also excited to find out how my new friend Mesh will find her new Garmine Forerunner 310CX -- the newest member of Garmin for the triathlete.

I still have to fully explore the features of the device and its website but my first contact has been truly astounding!!! Thanks Garmin!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Congratulations -- Milo Marathoners

To all those who participated and/or completed the Manila-Leg eliminations for the 33rd Milo Marathon -- Congratulations!!! My friends Dave de Leon and Jorge Buenaventura were a few of those who were in the sea of green. Dave actually finished his first full marathon!!! Yehey!!! Jorge completed his planned long run!! Both of them are preparing for the San Francisco Marathon towards the end of the month. Good luck to both of you!!! To all the others -- More Power!!