Sunday, March 28, 2010

Racing Comeback - Globe Ayala Land Run for Home '10

I tried to update this blog last week but due to the ongoing dispute between Google and China, even Blogger was unaccessible while I was in Beijing. Oh well -- some tech stuff just can't be overcome. So, here's my delayed post. -- Johnny

It's been a slow climb back -- more than 5 months since I joined any race!! And to think my registration for this race was done on the last day of registration!! I'm glad I did it and I'm glad I'm back.

I've missed the running, the crowds, the friends and the healthy benefits. Over the last 6 months or so, my training has been erratic. For one reason or another, I could never get my training into a consistent groove -- very frustrating and very unhealthy. My weight ballooned closed to 210 lbs.

In early Feb., my colleague Jerry Bennett, our head for the Regional Network Group, and I entered a pact -- we'll help each other out through our wellness training program to achieve our individual goals -- our own "Biggest Loser" program. But, because of our weight difference, we decided to use personal objectives as targets and not percentage weight loss. This has helped us both jumpstart our path to good health.

The Globe Run was a test -- a test of whether my training program has been on track. My goal was just to finish the race close to 2 hours. The run up to the race was frustrating as my business commitments prevented me from running my target 3 training days over the weekdays and a long run on weekends. As such, I was not as confident about even finishing the race but the show must go on.

In this race, I made a number of new runner friends from work. There was a group of newbies who wanted to test the waters in their first 10K event -- I guess they were fitter and more aggressive than I was when I started.
Scenes from the Starting Line -- Fitness First, as usual, provided the warm ups before the start of each race.

I was actually running my first 15K -- I've done two 21Ks last year and the many times I tried running a 15K, I was unable to start for one reason for another. Thus, I had no benchmark for what I would do for a 15K, except that I'll try to keep it as close to 2 hours as possible.

The route was different -- running through the Makati CBD through Greenbelt before heading towards the Fort. Encountering the Kalayaan flyover early in the race was actually good -- at least I was still strong enough to handle the incline. In all my previous races, the return path through Kalayaan flyover was always a torture.

The dreaded Kalayaan Flyover coming from Buendia

The route through the Fort midway through the race was another challenge -- this time you had to rely on mental toughness as you traverse a familiar path but done midway through the race -- we usually do this at the start. Somehow this race route really took advantage of the different hills along the way -- if you don't train on hills, you'll definitely have a rough time.

Each time I checked my Garmin, I was surprised that I was doing better than my training pace. But, I was also frustrated that my Garmin was showing I was running farther than the race distance markers along the route!! Looks like the route is going to be a bit longer than 15K.

The last challenge was the return bout with the Kalayaan Flyover. Somehow the flyover seemed much longer than usual on the finishing run. I knew it was going to be a mental challenge -- I just had to grit it and use every tool in my arsenal to help keep the mind in focus.

I discovered that if I stop at the water station and walked to take my drink, it helped refreshed my legs and mind enough that I could restart the run at a better pace -- that's probably how I was able to sustained a better than normal cadence.

As I rounded Makati Avenue I knew that it was almost over -- I picked the pace a bit but just before I turned the corner to Paseo de Roxas I felt a twitch in my calves -- panic moment -- I thought I was going to cramp up!! I slowed down a bit and prayed that the muscles wouldn't spasm -- just a few more meters to go!! It was such a relief crossing the Finish Line without cramping!! Finally -- a completed 15K. My Garmin showed 1:58:13 at 15.5Kms!! Barely beating my 2 hour goal but I'm happy about the result.

Post race pictures as we were going back to our cars -- that's Jun Martinez and Tere Ibanez of ABS-CBN also -- newbie runners.

The next goal is to try for a 21K again on the way to my first 42K -- hopefully, a first attempt before my birthday in June!

After the race, my newfound friends and I had our rustic Filipino breakfast fare at Rufu's -- it's been awhile since I ate at the joint. My friends even decided to celebrate their run with beers -- a bit too early for me, though!!

Breakfast at Rufu's -- some even had beer!!
Hopefully, I can sustain this progress. And I hope I can sustain the blogging as well -- I miss all of this but I'm glad I'm back. Now, I need to catch up with Ting and the gang -- all full-fledged 42K Marathoners already. I'll catch up soon, gang!!