Posts Tagged ‘PR

25
Apr
11

Boston Kreme: When is a World’s Best not a World Record?

Boston, Massachusetts is thousands of miles away from Manila, but the running highs that were set during the recent Boston Marathon were so contagious I can feel it all the way here!  The highlight of the event of course was the 2:03:02 time set by Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai—the world’s fastest ever, but not the world record!

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10
Jul
10

34th National MILO® Marathon: “I did it for the Shirt!”

This statement basically sums up the reason I signed up for the marathon.  The new routes, timing chips, donate a shoe program, potential new PR, and even the medal were not enough to entice me to join—only the 42K finisher’s shirt.  On the other hand I had many reasons why I wasn’t jumping for excitement to join the race: my right knee still hasn’t reverted to “normal” level, I wasn’t prepared, my final exam was on the eve of the marathon, etc. just to name a few.  It was only through a “Divine intervention” that my fate was sealed—registered a day before the deadline of the extended registration period.

After an “interesting” commute I arrived at Quirino Grandstand at around 3AM, an hour before the marathon gun start.  Last year I arrived 30 minutes early but ended up 10 minutes late, and I didn’t want a déjà vu.

This race served as a mini reunion for me with my takbo.ph family.  I thought that I’d be running like I was during my first MILO® race (alone) but surely enough, the gang was there, although I was surprised that Vener (run unltd.), a two-time MILO® Marathon qualifier, didn’t join this year.

I arrived so early the Start line is just being set up! (That’s the Km 0 marker on the right)

With my finish time out in public I think I’m going to raise some eyebrows when I say that I intentionally capped my speed to around 9kph (kilometers per hour) or 06:40/km pace, and aimed just to finish within 6 hours (the curfew).  With a “not-so-normal” knee and with just a single 10K run (on trails with an ultramarathon pace!) I had to play safe as I have every intention of finishing this race!  (Marathons never get shorter or easier no matter how many times you do it!)Crawl if you must” as my friend Jet described his marathon experience.

Speed Limit

The marathon leg started at 4:09AM (Garmin), nine minutes off which is atypical by Mr. Rudy Biscocho’s standard.  The new “timeslot” is beneficial with our climate as runners get to enjoy less of the sun, even just for 30 minutes!  If you ask me I would even prefer it to start around midnight!

Before gun start (courtesy Vener Roldan)

I started the race with Rico, a fellow ultramarathoner, as the rest of the gang sped away into the horizon.  It was like the good old ultramarathon times when we just chat away the kilometers, except we were faster (conscious monitoring via GF405).  Occasionally we exceed my cap of 9kph (which I never mentioned to anyone until this post) but I didn’t mind as long as I didn’t feel any pains.

Manila Eliminations route

Everything was smooth-sailing until the sun slowly greeted the runners with his warmth.  I think some of us were solar-powered as I noticed the improving pace of the runners in our vicinity.  I’m stuck on first gear so eventually I had to let my buddy go ahead with his race.  I don’t have a schedule to keep, just a pace to maintain, so cruise control it was!

I was delighted to see takbo.ph’s support station en route but after passing the first time on the one near Aliw Theater I thought to myself, “shucks, two more loops… I can still smile now, I wonder how I’d be on the next loop more than an hour from now… and the next one after that!”

First loop

First loop complete, two more!  MILO® really exhausted my tolerance on loops by having not just two but three loops of 10K length.  At my “cruising” speed of 9kph it would take me an hour and a half to complete one—it’s like watching a boring movie three times in a row.  The things I’m willing to do for that shirt!

Loop two, boring, and hot!  The loop section was pleasant as there were shade early in the morning and there were bananas and energy gels offered to runners.  Forgive my hoarding but I took two gels on my second loop as I instinctively know that there’d be none on the third loop!  (Which proved to be right)

Third loop, this is it!  To my surprise one by one I’m overtaking some buddies who were way ahead of me.  It hurts me to overtake anyone as I publicized that my target was just to do a “walkathon” of 6 hours.  As much as I’d love to stay and chat my “cruise control” was still intact so I had to overtake, sorry about that.

Completing the first loop

Approaching Aliw Theater for the third time I felt my body warning me of an imminent cramp—both on my quads and hamstrings! Luckily I was approaching takbo.ph’s support station so I asked for anything that could help.  As I approached I saw a runner that fainted, but he was already being tended to.  As much as I would like to stop and help I’d just be a nuisance since I wouldn’t know what to do anyway, so I just went on and got some of that liniment spray which effectively stopped the onset of cramps—or so I thought.

Just a few hundred meters later my hamstrings were really giving me some serious symptoms.  Fortunately the liniment wasn’t absorbed totally yet so I had to reapply it all over without stopping (I felt that if I stopped I’d get stuck!).  That time it worked but I had to tune down my cruising speed to 8kph with short walk breaks.  The walkathon had begun!

By the time I was running for that 42K turnaround point I was really hating those two flyovers—for the sixth and seventh time before turning back for more which made the 42K route having a total of 10 flyover crossings, a PR?  Now who says that the route was flat?

Walking… with a smile 🙂

Homestretch, around 5K to the Finish—no more water!  My worst nightmare has come.  It’s my first marathon all over again.  With an empty hydration belt on my waist and no water station in sight I was forced to walk.  This time around some of those I overtook earlier caught up with me, and even if I wanted to join them I simply cannot without water (call me Agua :)).

Cultural Center of the Philippines—an oasis as far as MILO® Marathon is concerned where one of the last standing hydration station serving sports drinks remains.  I wanted to refill my hydration belt then but they’re down to their last few cups so I just restocked with the contents of a cup (just a few sips worth).  A little more than 3K to go!

Walk-run combo was the theme for many runners during that last 3K.  Anyone who has run Roxas Blvd. would know how hot it can be, even as early as 8:30AM.  If you don’t have support it’s better to play safe.

Just crossed the Start line approaching the Finish (courtesy Rene Villarta)

Finally I can see the Start line, down to the last few hundred meters!  I wanted to run but I was so dehydrated that I can only manage short bursts.  And on that final curve to the Finish I saw Rodel (The Argonaut) who overtook me a while back.  As I approached him from the back I challenged him to run and unexpectedly he took the challenge!  And so, crazy as we were, we had a sprint showdown to the Finish, both of us on the verge of having cramps!  I jokingly said to him “unahan na lang mag-cramps” (it’s just a matter of who gets a cramp first) as we sprinted towards the finish line, no one willing to be the runner-up.  Like with my BDM102 power tripping, I won’t just hand over that ranking without a fight :).  Isn’t it better to feel you have earned the spot rather than been given to you?

Final sprint to the Finish (courtesy PhotoVendo)

That was the longest and one of the most enjoyable sprint to the Finish line I ever had!  I guess my competitive instincts got the best of me, thank you Rodel for giving me one challenge I won’t soon forget!  (I probably cut down a minute because of that crazy long sprint!)

In action (slower than real-time) 🙂

After crossing that shoot my finisher’s medal and certificate was awarded along with a loot bag and that most anticipated finisher’s shirt!  It’s a shirt that isn’t even branded but is worth that 42.2K trip.  Completing that MILO® Marathon experience was that ice cold MILO® drink that I missed last year.

The constraints that I endured were insignificant compared to the differently-abled runners which I witnessed performing their best with integrity, many doing way better than I did!  This proves that if we really aimed for something and worked hard for it, despite the odds WE CAN!  That’s MILO’s message for everyone with their slogan “kaya mo ‘yan.”

Marathons are always enlightening—how anyone handled their race tells a lot on how they live their lives.  To the enlightened ones, congratulations!

28
Dec
09

runningpinoy’s 2009 Second Half Report

Before we look back at the year in its entirety let us first review the Philippine running scene for the last six months.  This period saw highs and lows as far as races were concerned.  Races reached all-time high in terms of participants while inversely its quality fell to all-time lows (since August 2008 when I started joining races).  We’ve also seen race fees skyrocket to outrageous levels but there were still great races from good organizers that gave free races.

July

July marked my marathon debut on one of the best organized race of the year with the 33rd Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations. It was at a caliber unseen before locally and although it fell a little short it served as an epitome on how races should be organized.  Globe’s Run for Home was also a milestone as it introduced disposable timing chips while being virtually a free race when prepaid loads served as registration fees.

Personal achievement: First marathon and half-marathon PR

Disposable timing chip used in Run for Home

August

Kenny’s Open Urbanite Run introduced the first organized night race in the Metro with disposable timing chips to boot.  It could also be credited with starting the steep rise of race fees that would ensue throughout the year.

Personal achievement: 10-mile PR

Scene from KOUR

September

Mommy Milkshake was one of the most organized fun run of the year and the only one to be really free!  It puts in question organizers’ “reasons” for putting up expensive registration fees with races.  It was also during this month when race distance accuracy became a serious issue when RotaRun’s 21K was 3K short.

Personal achievement: First provincial Milo race

Pink Power at Mommy Milkshake Fun Run!

October

International Marathon (IM) season has begun with Quezon City International Marathon (QCIM) followed the following weekend with Subic International Marathon (SIM).  The use of the words “international” and “prestigious” became in question when races that used these didn’t live up to their promises. This month also started the “Kenyan invasion.”

Personal achievement: First marathon pacer duty; first back-to-back marathon (second and third)

World-class competition at the QCIM

November

The Philippine International Marathon (PIM) ended the “IM” season and was also highly criticized for not rewarding marathon finishers with a medal (the only one to do so thus far). It was a month plagued with poorly organized races!  The month seemed to turn for the better when Timex Run came but was derailed when Fit ‘n Right Fun Run didn’t turn out to be fit or fun for many disappointed runners.  Fortunately Run Ahead in Laoag, Ilocos Norte reminded everyone of how races should be with a well-organized, fun, generous, and charitable race making Metro Manila-based organizers look very greedy.

Personal achievement: Fourth marathon; 5K PR

Team Logan during PIM

December

Corregidor was a breather for many local runners and although it wasn’t trouble-free it was definitely unique.  There were still plenty of races for the month but personally I’ve had my dose of preposterous registration fees with mediocre races so I decided to be in abstentia for the month.

Personal achievement: Fifth marathon and new PR (via Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon)

Takbo.ph in Singapore!

Lessons and Tips

There were a lot of lessons both runners and organizers can learn with these period.  As long as these points were taken we have no reason not to improve next year.  Personally here are some tips I can give to fellow runners especially those that are just beginning to join races here in the Philippines:

  • Time yourself. Not all races we join are “reliable” and if you intend to monitor your progress get a watch.  You don’t even need one with a stopwatch, you just you’re your common sense.  Buy an über cheap children’s digital watch for P20 (from sidewalk vendors; no reason not to have a budget), remember your time when you start and look at it when you cross the finish.  You should get a rough approximate of your time which not accurate but it’s much better than nothing (what do you expect for P20?). You may validate it later when the race results come out.  If you have some dough buy a stopwatch, but if you have some serious dough get a GPS watch!
  • Bring your own water/sports drink. You need not buy a hydration belt; just bring a small flask or bottle of water or your preferred sports drink in case the organizer didn’t fulfill his obligation.  Consider investing in one though but ask around fellow runners first before purchasing.
  • Don’t be a distance freak! A few meters off the mentioned distance doesn’t mean you’ve been ripped off by the organizers.  Here’s my point: try to make an accurate 1K route using any GPS device.  Run that same route at least twice and see if you can get an accurate 1K every single time.  If you do try to make routes in 5K, 10K, 21K, and 42K and do the same.   If you still have an accurate distance every time you can make yourself a race route director.

I hope that newbies don’t get intimidated by bad experiences from previous races and continue joining reputable races, especially those with a “real” cause.  Before signing up for a race, don’t just join because everyone else does—ask fellow runners about the reputation of the organizers or the conduct of its past races.  Even the “pros” have “bad days” while on the other hand everyone deserves a second chance.  Best of all follow your heart—regardless of what everyone says it’s up to you to decide where you’re investing your hard earned cash.  Remember that we are not only paying for our right to join their race, we are also paying for the experience.

Summary

It was a “one step forward, two steps back” half for the year.  Disposable timing chips definitely placed Philippine races forward at par with races abroad but the proliferation of unbelievably disorganized races with outlandish registration fees were really traumatizing especially to newcomers to the sport.  Even race results became optional as we saw some races with no official race results, and those that do have inaccurate, very much delayed, or alphabetically-sorted race results!  Common sense wasn’t very commonly applied as far as this half was concerned!

23
Nov
09

Dare to be Fit ‘N Right Fun Run: Weighing In

After several consecutive races, I can finally have a race I can call my own—no more running others’ pace, no more target time—freedom to run as desired, and Fit ‘N Right was the right venue for me.  It was a particularly interesting event especially that this was my first race at the SM Mall of Asia compounds. Here’s my rundown of things as it happened.

Background

A lot of runners were concerned when race packets weren’t outright distributed with registration because recent similar events went unwell, and despite the organizers’ best efforts what many runners feared happened again—delayed race packets distribution.

I registered a few days before the regular registration cut-off date.  Registration went smoothly and the people manning their booths were very friendly and accommodating.  As one of the endorsers of the event I knew how race packet claiming should have been, but when the claiming date came I’ve heard of problems.  I decided to claim my kit Thursday before the race and to my surprise my kit still wasn’t there!  I didn’t bother showing my disappointment with the people in their booth as I clearly know it’s not their fault and they were already being battered by anguish from angry runners.  They were very apologetic and informed me that they’d contact me if my kit was available, but until Saturday, hours before the race, I received no such message.  I was prepared for the worse—running without a race number.

Pre-Race

A few minutes before 5:30AM I was on queue to claim my race kit.  I was surprised at how many runners were actually there!  This was in no means your small time event; it was even comparable to events by Runrio!  After being in line for some time I was able to get my race packet containing a singlet, course map, and a race number with RFID—say what, RFID?!

The seemingly regular race bib

Yes, the biggest surprise for this race was the use of RFID, a first in local races.  We were introduced this year with disposable timing chips, and now FNR “silently” introduced RFIDs which I prefer over the former because you don’t have to lace anything to your shoe—it’s just there with your race bib!  Registration cost for this race was one of the cheapest for the year so it was pleasantly unexpected.  Things suddenly turned up for this race.

The RFID atop the race bib

Early on we had a hint that there may be a mass-start but thankfully somebody must’ve advised the organizers to start by category, making for a better start.  It was already past 6AM but the pre-race program was still being staged, and with much pressure from the 10K runners the race started 6:23AM, five minutes later followed by the 5K which was my event.

A Cautious Race

It had been a very long time since my last 5K run and I have to admit that I really missed it.  After doing an International Marathon sweep you may be wondering why I went back to 5K.  The reason was simple—I’m on my taper period for the forthcoming Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.  Of course being free of any pacer duty I can run freely—the temptation of “touching” my almost year-old 5K PR was too much to pass over.  With the flat and Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA)-certified course it was a perfect venue for a race, and a PR.  Unfortunately I had pains on my right side so I decided to take it easy—going as fast as comfortably possible without risking aggravating the injury.

I thought I had started relatively near the front row but I had a hard time navigating through the crowd.  Since I wasn’t able to warm up properly I just took that opportunity to do just that, and to my surprise the pain that was bugging me wasn’t there!  A few minutes later I spotted Natz (i2runner) and thought he’d be a good pacer so I ran behind him.

Since I’m in a “cautious mode” I decided to “ignore” other runners, including Natz whom I know was just around.  This was my race so I decided to race with myself and nobody else.  Before I knew it I was heading back to the Finish line.  That’s the beauty of a 5K—you won’t get bored.

Final kilometer, 18 minutes, a possible new PR looms.  500 meters later, I can see the Finish line.  It was one of the longest 500 meters of my life as I attempt to shave a few seconds off my 5K PR and upon reaching the Finish, 22:25 says my GF405 (gun time), a new PR!  I didn’t really expect to trim my 5K PR by 46 seconds especially that I wasn’t gunning for it!  A nice race it was.

The 5K Perspective

The Dare to be Fit ‘N Right Fun Run was a surprisingly well handled event, and in fact if it weren’t for the really notorious lowlights it would’ve been a very good race.  Here are my observations based on my 5K perspective:

Good:

  • Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA)-certified race courses
  • Excellent venue for setting new personal records
  • Use of RFID
  • Route markers (with color coding)
  • Relatively cheap registration fee
  • A lot of giveaways and raffle prizes

The lively stage

Bad:

  • Race packet distribution
  • Late start
  • Insufficient water at cramped water stations
  • Insufficient portable toilets with the number of participants
  • A lot of runners weren’t given the post-race freebies
  • Cramped baggage counter
  • Late and inaccurate race results

Relief goods?

Summary:
It was another event with very good highlights and nasty lowlights but overall the race was Good (3/5).  I noticed that most of their problems stemmed from distribution (race packets, giveaways, baggage counters) and some from lack of experience (lack of water, lack of signs at the finish line, lack of portalets) but seeing how well the race was managed I can only assume that the organizers got the lessons that they needed. For the awareness of the organizers, here are some of the issues that are for improvement:

Late Start
Running takes time and for the sake of runners’ skins we try to avoid running with the sun high up in the sky by starting early.  If a program was to be held pre-race start it early so as not to delay gun start.

Water
Water supply should at least be sufficient for all runners, and the station should have long tables to avoid crowding.  Cups should at least be the number of times each runner would pass that station.  How much water is needed could easily be computed based on the number of cups.

Marshals
Some marshals are noticeably inexperienced.  You shouldn’t abruptly stop runners upon crossing the Finish line as it may cause them injuries. Get runners’ times with being obstructive.

Crowd Control
Crowds weren’t managed well at the Finish area leading to a very crowded area for late finishers.

Signs
If signs were placed atop the Finish gate there wouldn’t have been much of a need for Mr. Rey Langit to repeat himself over and over to guide runners.

Giveaways
Not all received their giveaways.  When I arrived (about 27 minutes into the event) there was already a long queue at the booth because the people manning the station stalled.  The situation turned worse as more runners arrived and until it was like a “relief goods distribution” center did I saw some movement.  Unfortunately they also didn’t pack enough for all the runners so many went home empty handed (including myself).

Baggage Counter
With more than 4,000 runners the baggage counter was ridiculously small and was seriously understaffed.

Fit ‘N Right 5K Route (10K is two laps of this course)

Hopefully the succeeding races pickup from the good points of this race and learned from its shortcomings.  To the more than 4,000 runners that Dared to be Fit ‘n Right, especially to those who have bettered themselves, Congratulations!

UPDATE: My time based on the original race results was actually 22:22 finishing 20th overall out of 1,181 5K runners!  One of the best finishes for me and it’s from a PATAFA-certified route!  Nice!  🙂




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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
– John “The Penguin Runner” Bingham
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