…is spent heat training for the BDM next week.
3:50 a.m. Valentine’s morning found me driving on the SLEX all the way to Sta. Rosa Laguna for the TNF Thrill of the Trail in Nuvali. Since I was taking it easy this week, I decided that I would run a relaxed pace and take plenty of pictures of the scenery.
I arrived at the site just before 5 a.m. and the first thing I noticed as I got down from the car was the chilly air from Tagaytay. I zipped up my shirt to neck and brought down my old TNF Xenon Hydration Belt. I had packed 2 500ml bottles of sports drink, an energy bar, gel, and my camera. As I walked towards the 11-K starting area, I glanced at my watch and mentally calculated the sun’s arrival. It was still quite dark and I wondered whether I should bring my headlamp and my sunglasses. With the 22-K race start at 5:45 a.m., I figured I wouldn’t need the headlamp for long so I decided to leave it. Fear of river crossings and losing my glasses to the water, made me decide not to bring them as well. I saw some familiar faces : Bards, Dingdong, Marga, and Hector but none of them were running the 22-K. After saying our hellos and happy valentines, I boarded the bus which would bring the 22-K runners to the starting line at the Montecito gate from the race site.
A few minutes after the last of the 22-K runners had been ferried to the starting line, we were soon off and running into the dark.
With so many runners jostling for space as we made our way to the Mahada plains, I slowed down and began taking photos until I was at the tail end of the group. At the back, I could take my time and not pose a danger to the runners behind me. The open landscape, overcast sky and strong cool breeze felt like something out of a TNF advertisement in the US.
At the end of the plains was a forested area which we ran into until we came to a steep ravine leading down to the first river crossing. I made friends with the 2 runners behind me, Aaron and Cris as we made our way to the bottom.
While negotiating this part of the course, I met Jen Wallace, an avid runner and teacher from Brent. We would run together past the river, to the spine exit, until the second river crossing. At this point , we were running part of the 11-K course already although most of them had already finished running.
We had been running for more than 2 hours now. Despite 2 river crossings and the debris that had accumulated in my shoes, my feet were still okay. At the end of this river, I cleaned out my shoes for the last 6-K of the course of mostly mountain bike trails which I imagined would be harder with the sun shining down on us already and little shade provided by the wall of talahib grass. From there, I raced all the way to the finish line hardly stopping even to hydrate. It had been a beautiful run but I needed to get home to my Valentine.
Another race I won’t be able to join but am promoting is the Amazing Kidney Race of Edward Kho (of the Corregidor Run). It’s a smaller event than Unilab’s Run United for Wellness but should be no less fun.
“The Amazing Kidney Race” will have four event categories. There is the 15K Relay Race limited only to 50 teams. Each team shall be composed of 5 members who will correspondingly complete the 1k-2k-3k-4k-5k race distances to complete a total of 15 kilometers. Adding twist to this race category are the baton passing and challenges that must be met by the relay runners in the handover zones to complete transition. Then there is the heart-warming 2.2K Parent-Child Tandem Run especially allocated for Mom/Dad-Child team-ups. During the race, participants and spectators will get a touching sight of a parent egging on and encouraging her/his child who is determined to give his/her all. There is also the 5K UP FLCD Circle Challenge, a banner event of event-partner UP FLCD Circle, particularly catered to beginner runners or veteran racers who have the need for speed. And finally there is the centrepiece event, the 15K Eliminator Pursuit, where race participants will get an adrenalin rush as they negotiate UP Diliman campus’ best kept running course secret – the Heartbreak Route. 15K racers will get to know first-hand why it is called as such. And as if the route is still not inviting, all participants who meet the 45-minute half-way mark or 1hour45minutes finish point cut-off times will receive a Finishers’ Medal.
This event is meant to celebrate “World Kidney Day 2010” and is organized by the Philippine Society of Nephrology together with the UP Family Life and Child Development Circle. Proceeds of the race event will be used to support the kindey disease awareness campaign of the PSN, the treatment and operation of kidney patients, and the UP Child Center.
I attended a briefing for the Run United for Wellness earlier today. As part of their thrust to promote healthy lifestyles, Unilab, a leading pharmaceutical company, is the main sponsor for this event.
Starting a healthy lifestyle is made easy with Unilab Run United for Wellness at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig on March 7.
Unilab Run United for Wellness is a health and wellness event for the family with running as the core activity. Aside from the 3 km, 5 km, 10 km, and 21 km categories for adults, there’s also a 500-meter dash for kids to help parents get their children started on a fitness lifestyle.
Family members can have free consultations with running coaches and fitness experts at the Unilab Wellness Village, divided into health zones such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Children’s Health, Seniors’ Health, and General Adults’ Health to cater to the specific needs of each family member. Aside from free consultations, the health zones also have interactive games and activities that family members can enjoy.
Runners and their families can register online at www.unilabwellnessevents.com.ph until Feb. 15 or through in-store registration at Runnr store at Bonifacio High Street, New Balance branches at Shangri-La and Glorietta, Planetsports outlets in Trinoma, Alabang Town Center, and Rockwell from Jan 30 to Feb. 21. From Feb. 22 to 28, registration is only at Planetsports Trinoma and Runnr store at Bonifacio High Street,Taguig.
Registered participants can get 20% off on New Balance items. Top finishers can win cash prizes, Unilab gift packs, and New Balance gift certificates worth P5,000. Finishers in the 21 km category will receive a finisher’s medal. The first1,000 finishers in the 21K can also bring home a finisher’s shirt.
Unilab Run United for Wellness is brought to you by Unilab, the country’s largest and leading pharmaceutical and healthcare company that’s behind trusted brands like Alaxan, Ceelin, Enervon, Myra E, Skelan, and Solmux, among many others.
Organized by Finishline and renowned running coach Rio Dela Cruz, Unilab Run United for Wellness is undertaken for the benefit of Children’s Hour and K.I.D.S. Foundation.
Interestingly, they have also taken over where the Nike Running Clinic left off with a running clinic at the ULTRA from 6-8 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday starting February 11 to March 4. I guess this is in preparation for their run.
While I won’t be around for this event as I will be in Bataan, I’m sure plenty of runners, both old and new, will be joining.
After the Condura Run for the Dolphins (more on that later), now comes Century Tuna Superbods Run on Saturday, February 21, 2010. What will he have next? Sardines? Mackerel (which incidentally are the favorite food of dolphins)?
I heard that registration for the Century Tuna Superbods Run has gone over 10,000 participants already. When I tried to register 2 of my co-workers in the 3k run yesterday, I was told they were already closed. It must be the running boom and Derrick Ramsey effect. Kaye Lopez of Runrio sent me a message for all those who would still like to join the run :
Due to the sheer volume of registrants for the Century Run, we are momentarily putting registration on hold, but you may go to Nike Park BHS or Second Wind to leave your name, distance category, and contact number and they will do their best to re-open registration on Monday, February 15.
No promises, but those who are able to leave their numbers by Friday will be prioritized if we are able to produce additional race kits. However, these late registrants will no longer get a singlet.
Hopefully, my co-workers and all those who were shut out can get in. Otherwise, they may be forced to look at other fish in the sea…I mean races.
edited : There are still some 21K kits at Nike BHS and 5K kits at Second Wind. Grab them while you can!
We arrived at the starting point, Mariveles, Bataan with a few minutes to spare. Dawn was breaking and the cold sea wind and stirring bustle of the town roused us from our stupor as we got down from the van. We had time to get our names down on the list, take a few pictures, and before we knew it, we were off.
I was going to run slowly, even slower than my usual easy pace and walk the hills. I initially started running with Jun but further down the road he and Vener sped up and eventually other runners began passing me too. A few kilometers later, I could see only one person ahead of me and another person behind me as we negotiated the undulating roads. In order to keep myself from speeding up, I took in the beauty of my surroundings while evaluating my strategy as I walked. I realized even if I slowed to a pace of 10 min/km I would still make it to the cut-off time of 18 hours even I stopped to rest for 3 minutes and 20 seconds 24 times along the way.
At the 7th kilometer marker, I arrived at the pit stop and saw my van was one of the few vehicles left at the site. I replaced my empty Nathan bottles with new ones filled with cold sports drink and water and I brought along a whole wheat pandesal with luncheon meat to munch on along the way. Past the hills, the roads were wider with little tree cover from the sun, but the air was still cool and it was quite comfortable to run specially when the rest of the way to the next pit stop was downhill.
At the 10th kilometer marker, I told my brother to just move on to the 15th km as I still had bottles filled with sports drink. I was also worried that Vener and Jun might get there and find the van nowhere in sight. However, during the next 5 kilometers, I began calculating their possible location based on the time and different pace times and I reasoned that they couldn’t be farther than 3 km from me. With the help of a race marshall, I made the turn into the first critical intersection at the 14th kilometer.
By the 15th kilometer marker, I confirmed my computations while I replaced my bottles, ate a banana, and slathered on sunblock. They were probably a little more than a kilometer ahead. The sun was climbing higher and I didn’t want to put on sunblock earlier for fear that it would mix with my sweat and get into my eyes. However, a burning sensation on my right ear would warn me of the need for further protection.
At the 20th kilometer, I had a few bites of a Jollibee Double Cheeseburger. I did not have the appetite to finish it and continued my run.
When we made another turn at the 23rd marker, my Garmin indicated a distance of 25.71 km. I began to worry since there was no sign of my support van. It was possible that they might have missed the turn and had gotten lost or worse, gotten arrested for parking in a no parking zone.
The route passed through the main road of a small town. There were more jeepneys and tricycles and the pollution and rising temperature were combining to make it a uncomfortable experience. I had run out fluids and the only reminder of my last meal was the taste of the burger each time I burped. I had been constantly eating and drinking along the way to battle dehydration and loss of energy, but unless I met up with my support crew I would need to walk soon. At one gas station, I made a quick stop to wash my face and neck with water from an outside tap.
I finally saw them after 29km. I could hear them say something about taking a service road, but my mind could not process it as I was intent on getting a cold drink and food. Jun was already with them having completed his run. I instructed them to just use the odometer and meet me every 5 kilometers instead of using the markers.
The last few kilometers saw my heart rate creep above 130, but beyond the 30th kilometer, I could run albeit conservatively and keep my HR within 145 to the finish. However, the heat made it next to impossible to maintain a steady pace and HR as it would climb 5 bpm every 30 minutes unless I slowed down. I decided to maintain my pace and let it climb reasoning that during the BDM I would be running this route at night which would keep my HR at my targeted zone.
The last few kilometers I wondered where the finish line was. I was looking for a church or a municipal hall but when I saw kilometer 50 in what looked like a parking lot in Abucay, it was the happiest sight of my life ( or so I thought at the time). I made it. My first ultramarathon experience and it was a painful but sweet deflowering.
Distance : 50.06 km Time : 6:01:33 Pace : 7:13/km Ave. HR : 133bpm
It was a pretty stressful week as preparations for the BDM test run were in full swing.
After intermittent training sessions in December, I was finally getting some regular runs the past weeks. Upon Jonel‘s suggestion, I was using the Runner’s World Ultimate Ultramarathon Training Plan. Although, because the program was meant for a 50-mile (80 km) race, I tweaked the distances and times a little to suit my goal race. However, I needed 16 weeks to complete it and I only had 10 at best which meant I would have to skip the 3rd week of each cycle and hope for the best.
What I lacked in training, I needed to make up for in preparation and strategy. While scanning for articles on ultra running, I pored over the site of the toughest ultramarathon in the world, Badwater, and found some useful advice on what the support crew should bring to the run, choosing a support vehicle and setting it up. I had already made a list of items I planned to bring supplemented with suggestions from those who had run BDM last year but the articles gave me a lot of practical tips which would definitely help in finishing (and surviving) BDM.
For this trip my support crew would be a driver, my brother Joey, and Jun C (who would be running 25 km that day). A few days before the run I briefed each one on the race rules and their responsibilities. They needed to be familiar with the route and to take notes on the course and available resources (i.e. gas stations, convenience stores, etc.). What we learn from the test run in terms of nutrition, hydration, acclimatization, and terrain would depend on simulating a run as close to a BDM experience as possible and our observations.
As for my strategy, I remember reading somewhere that to finish an ultramarathon, I should divide it into three parts; I should not feel the first third, the second third should be comfortably hard, and the final third should be the struggle. For a 13-14 hour finish, I needed to maintain an even 8 min/km pace but instead of focusing on pace I would watch my heart rate. For the first 30 kms, I would keep my HR at below 130. After, I would try to limit it to below 145 if I could. I wanted to finish the test run with something left in the tank otherwise I would have to seriously assess my ability to finish BDM in March.
We left Manila at 2:20 a.m. for Mariveles, Bataan. On the way, we bought 5 bags of ice for our drinks and Jollibee burgers, hotdogs, and spaghetti for breakfast, picked up Vener who was also joining the test run, and met up with Jonel at Petron Lakeshore just before the SCTEX exit. Together with the vehicles of Kim, Arman, and Junrox, we headed towards Dinalupihan while Jonel and Jay C picked up Mari from Clark. During the whole drive, I was constantly stuffing food in my mouth. It would be a long day and I wanted to be sure I had plenty of carbs for it.
Just got an e-mail from Kaye on this:
ONLINE GAMES & SPECIAL AWARDS AT THE 2009 TIMEX RUN
More prizes and awards to be given away at the 2009 Timex Run! A total of 26 Timex watches will be raffled off and given away as prizes for online games and special awards. Visit www.timexwatches.com.ph to join “Guess the Bib No. and Finish Time of Piolo Pascual” online game for a chance to win a fabulous Timex watch. And aside from the 24 category winners of the 3k, 5k, 10k, and 21k distances, we will also be awarding the youngest runner and the oldest runner registered for the event. They will each receive a Timex watch and a gift pack from Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar. The largest group/club/team/company delegation will also receive 5 Timex watches as their prize. Christmas just came earlier this year! See you at the 2009 Timex Run!
It was the kids’ semestral break 2 weeks ago and I took it as an opportunity to get myself used to waking up early everyday to run. Because of my spotty running schedule, I found it difficult to wake up at 5 a.m. with any sort of consistency which led to … well, a spotty running schedule. On regular schooldays, I would start my day by 6 a.m. so that I could eat breakfast, get dressed and be out of the house by 7 a.m. to take my daughter to school on time. With the kids on holiday, I could afford to leave the house at a later hour which meant my body clock could adjust gradually to an earlier wake up time. For that week, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and ran every day!
Well almost. Jun C and I aborted a long run at the Fort on the Saturday Typhoon Santi hit the country. Despite the strong winds, the felled trees, lamp posts, and other wind strewn debris, I drove down to Bonifacio High Street and waited for Jun at the parking lot behind ROX. I could feel the car being rocked by the strong gusts of air but running during a storm was nothing new to me. When Jun arrived, I was adamant that we push through but as we cautiously made our way down 5th Avenue, we witnessed the extent of the damage and the dangers posed to us by the storm. We finally decided to turn back when we saw a a motorcycle that lost control as the wind slammed into it. The winds had gotten stronger and we could no longer run as we were met with hard rain and resistance. We used buildings to shield us momentarily from the elements until we finally made it back to our cars. Glad to have survived the tempest, we simply continued our long run the next day.
Last week, the semestral break ended. Having adapted to getting up at 5:30 a.m., I began setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier which would give me an hour to run and still be on time to bring my daughter to school. Despite the resumption of my hectic schedule, I managed to run again almost every day.
It feels good to settle back into a familiar rhythm and within a week or so I am ready to dive right into a new training program.
It was as if nothing had happened from the time The Philsports Arena was utilized by the Pasig City government as an evacuation center for the flood victims of Typhoon Ondoy until this morning when I dropped in to see if I could do an interval session. While I had heard that the evacuees had gone back to their respective homes to rebuild their lives, I wasn’t sure if the ULTRA oval was open already. Since the children were on semestral break and I could train longer than usual, I decided to include a visit to the place as part of my route. As I wound through the compound’s small streets, there were no visible signs that the place had been used as an evacuation center as recently as a few days ago. It was almost 6 a.m. but there were only 1 or 2 cars in the parking area. I couldn’t get a glimpse of runners passing the bend nor hear their approaching footsteps and it was eerily silent. My sense anticipation of grew as I came closer to the stage that served as the entrance and when I finally saw the open track lanes, I knew I was home again too.