Posts Tagged ‘Recap

31
Mar
09

First Quarter Summary

It was like yesterday when we celebrated New Year’s and now we’re entering the second quarter of the year.  It had been a very fast three months for me and surprisingly most of my goals for the year are already achieved; add to that a lot of firsts.

2009 Goals

  1. Get a Garmin. This was at the bottom of my list and was actually optional but it was the first one to be completed.  I think of it as a reward after completing 100K race distance last year.
  2. Run not only on weekends but also on weekdays (and log it). Sixth on my list and was also one of the first ones I did.  Not only did I run during weekdays, I also tried it at night and on sub-zero temperatures.  My running logs can be viewed at http://www.dailymile.com/people/dhenztm/.
  3. Stay injury-free! Well, so far so good.
  4. Set new PRs: 5K (below 20min) 10K (below 50min). With the recently concluded Miracle Run I was able to do a sub-50 minute 10K race.  The 5K PR remains elusive but there’s still time to practice!
  5. Run outside Metro Manila and hopefully abroad on International Races. Ran outside Metro Manila with TNF Thrill of the Trail; ran abroad in Columbus, Ohio; but unfortunately wasn’t able to do an international race so far.
  6. Gain some weight. As of my last measurement I gained 3 pounds.  The challenge here is gaining more and keeping it since I’m starting to run long distances.
  7. Run my first half-marathon. One of my proudest achievements so far via Condura Run—I had to do it under a different name but the experiences I gained are priceless.

Firsts

  1. Trail run at TNF Thrill of the Trail.
  2. Winter run at Columbus, Ohio.  It was also my first runs abroad.
  3. Runabouts on major roads of Metro Manila (starting with EDSA) and with it first runs beyond 21K.
  4. “Banditting”—a last resort to doing a “dream race.”

Although most of my 2009 goals are achieved I still have a lot of work to do.  Being injury-free and gaining (and keeping) weight is a conscious effort and the sub-20 minute 5K would really need a lot of practice.  It seems that the “easy” part of the list is done; now the real work begins.

“Don’t rest on your laurels.”  We should always strive to be better today than what we were yesterday, and in this case just continue to set new records and get new “firsts.”  Chasing after your goals isn’t easy, and partially fulfilling them is not “good enough.”  And even if you complete your goal it’s not a sign to stop, but instead a sign to take it to the next level.  How about you?  How’s your 2009 goal list doing?

12
Mar
09

Feb Summary: Raceless But Not Runless

February was a great month, but in terms of races it’s not as fulfilling as I had expected.  Major races during the month were scheduled on the second half, which was the time I left for US, resulting in a raceless month for me—a first since I started running regularly.

Being raceless doesn’t really mean runless—I had one of the best distances covered in a month: 78.12K, which was about 78% of my race distance last year (when I started running).  For the first half of the month (while I was still in the Philippines) I was able to squeeze in 2 Nike Run Clinic Sessions and 2 LSDs that are at least 21K.  Unofficially I already completed a half-marathon distance but since it’s not a race I still am anticipating my 21K debut on the Condura run on March 22, 2009.  The second half of the month was the most challenging—winter.  Suddenly my definition of “cool” and “cold” changed.  I had to resolve a lot of challenges before I was able to start running again.  The key was the thermal leggings I got and when it arrived I was back on my feet, too bad that I was only able to run on the hotel’s jogging trail—there are no nearby parks in my area so I had to settle for what I had.  I still managed a measly 20.51K during this period, but on the bright side it was all done outdoors with temperatures below 0°C.

There’d always be obstacles that prevent us from reaching our goals, it could be the location, weather, time, etc. but whatever reasons it may be there are always ways we could take to make it work.  The only question here is how motivated you are to take those steps, literally.  Being able is only half the battle, willing it is the other half.

26
Jan
09

Happy Run with My New GF

The Happy Run was my first regular race with my new GF—GF405 that is.

My new GF (405), watch out for my upcoming review

My new GF (405), watch out for my upcoming review

The race turnouts for all categories were very good but since it was handled by Coach Rio everything was in order, another well organized race from Runrio.  The weather was quite cooperative too, it didn’t rain and it was cooler than the past few days.

Start Happy

Start Happy

The race formally started 5:45AM with the 15K runners.  What’s unique about this race, aside from not having a 10K race, was the McKinley Hill route, a first for me.  This area in Fort Bonifacio was infamous for its steep climbs but alternately it also boasts some of the nicest view.  Indeed this section of the Happy Run made some runners not so happy since it was a real drainer.  In fact I recorded my slowest pace of the race upon leaving McKinley Hill: an appalling 7:51/km!  This was due to a 20M rise in elevation in just about 370M (GF405 data).  After enduring that it’s just another 2K to the finish.

Happy Run Elevation (GF405)

Happy Run 15K Route Elevation (GF405)

The Happy Run 15K Gradient/Elevation

The Happy Run 15K Route Gradient/Elevation

I already did a 16K (10 miles) race before but never a 15K so I could consider this as my 15K debut.  Coming into the race I was constantly thinking if I could better my 16K PR (1:27:37) since my 16K race was held on a very flat course, Roxas Blvd., while this one which was 1K shorter would be on challenging terrains of Fort Bonifacio with McKinley Hill part of the equation.  Apparently my constant participation in the Nike Run Clinic with some speed training is starting to pay off: my 15K time: 1:18:06 (GF405, unofficial).  That’s a new PR for me, an average of 5:14/km, and considering the distance and terrain I’m quite happy with it.  And not only did I manage to set a new 15K PR I was also able to break my previous 10K PR: it now stands at 51:14, about 2 minutes off the old PR (it was set on the uphill leaving Heritage Park so it was quite an effort).  With some more practice I may be able to break the 50 minute barrier for a 10K soon (one of the goals I’ve set for the year).

Happy Run route, courtesy Google

The Happy Run 15K route, courtesy Google Maps ©2009 Google – Imagery ©2009 DigitalGlobe, GeoEye

This race was also unique because now I’m running with a lot of my new friends from the running community which I oftentimes see along the race.  I used to join races knowing only my officemates but now I’m having trouble which group to mingle with (that’s how fast the running fever spreads).  Truly this Happy Run made me happy in a lot of ways!

With some happy runners

Together with some happy runners Patrick (left) and JanMike (FlatFoot Runner, right)

As for the “true” cause of the event, according to Drew Arellano the event generated P400,000.00 all of which goes to Bianca Gonzalez’s Help The Kids Learn Project benefitting the kids of Bagong Tanyag Elementary School Annex in Taguig.  And that was really a happy accomplishment to be proud of.

As for the race result it was happily fast, so fast that the official results list was out even before the day ended.  I’m so happy I picked this race!  Here are the official results (revised: January 29, 2009) courtesy of runrio.com:

21
Jan
09

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience, Part 4 (Final)

Finally to conclude my series on The North Face Thrill of the Trail experience, here are my opinions about the race:

When is the next one?

Good:

  • The race was one of the most organized races (of any kind) I’ve seen.
  • The Marshals are everywhere, very friendly, accommodating, and informed so they’re not just fillers.
  • Route markers are placed along the trail so you’ll know if you’re still on the right trails.  There are even kilometer markers so you’d know your distance.
  • The difficulty and route of the trail was excellent.  Marshals kept giving precautions to runners on potentially dangerous tracks and ropes were placed where needed for additional safety.
  • The race participants were limited to protect the trail and make the race more manageable.
  • “No race number, no race” policy wasn’t strictly implemented (for forgetful ones like myself).
  • The prizes were generous (although the categories were limited).
  • The race was fun before, during, and after.  The sponsors gave some privilege/discount cards for their products along with some freebies.

Forgivable:

  • Limited categories for prizes and having to wear (any) TNF product to be qualified to place, although TNF gave special prizes to the fastest woman on 10K even without the required TNF product.  This was the only thing I could think that isn’t good about the race, and it’s forgivable!

I didn’t win anything but I got to the stage!

Lessons Learned
Since trail running was a new experience for me I could only speculate on what to expect.  Now that it’s done I do have some lessons to share:

  • Don’t forget your race kit. Some races have “No race number, no race” policy so I was thankful this wasn’t the case.
  • Wear trail running shoes. Trail shoes are also good (only heavier and less “breathable”), but not running shoes!  Some of my friends learned this the hard way.  Running shoes are designed to handle tracks and even surfaces, not rough roads—it doesn’t provide the traction you need.
  • Wear “quarter” socks. Any comfortable socks may do but higher-cut socks may help protect your feet from the sharp blades of low grasses or any other low-lying objects.
  • Don’t forget to bring your food. This is basically for before and after the race since you may not know if food is readily available on the site you’d be going.
  • Bring your own hydration solution. It may be a hydration belt but I’d recommend a good hydration bag: it has much more capacity and you can carry a lot more items with you on the trail.  If properly adjusted it’s even more comfortable than some much lighter hydration belt.  Chances are water stations would be limited on trails.
  • Bring a cell phone. You’ll never know when you’d need assistance and chances are trail runs would be held in areas with cellular service coverage.
  • Bring some ID. It’s very helpful in case of emergency.
  • Know the place you’ll run. I didn’t expect Batulao to have Tagaytay weather so I didn’t bring my jacket.  Thankfully it was still within my tolerance level.
  • Know how you’d get there. I also didn’t expect that the Nasugbu-bound buses would take Coastal Road (I thought we’d be passing through South Luzon Expressway, but I was wrong!).
  • Bring along some company. It’s pretty nice to have someone to talk to while you run the trails—unless you’re in it for the win.  Besides, even if you chose to run alone it’s still nice to have some familiar face to chat with before and after the race.
  • Bring a camera (optional). If you don’t have one, bring a friend that has one!  If you or one of your friends is able to bring one I recommend you do.  It’s very nice to have some evidence of your adventures.  Just don’t forget to recharge and make sure you have enough free space.
  • GF405 loves the great outdoors! Too bad it does not handle trails of varying elevations well in computing linear distances.

This race was of course initiated by The North Face with the help of the Pinoy Ultra Runners (PUR).  Neville Manaois, Team Principal of PUR shared his perspective on this race, being the Race Director of the event.  He also answered why the 10K group started earlier than the 20K group.  I salute you guys!

I am a finisher!

Thank you as well to the nice Marshalls at the MPs, I wouldn’t have been officially in the race if it weren’t for you.  Special thanks to my running friends for lending me the camera and for the pictures.

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience Index:

19
Jan
09

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience, Part 2

TNF Thrill of the Trail was held January 19, 2009 within the premises of Evercrest Golf Resort in KM 72, Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas.  It’s basically a loop around some very good and challenging trails, with the 20K having two laps of the approximately 10K loop.

TNF Trail Route and Elevation courtesy of GF405

TNF Trail Route and Elevation courtesy of my Garmin FR405.

 

Getting There
The starting area was very easy to find, it was along the highway and even public transport were very accessible so we had no problems of getting there.  It was actually my first time to go to the area, and my running mates and I decided just to use public transport so we can all be spared of driving (and getting lost).

There are Batangas-bound buses in Pasay, we took one that goes to Nasugbu, and 67 kilometers later we were there.  It was pretty cheap too, just P111 from Pasay to Evercrest.  Be wary of the time and day you travel as these buses use Coastal Road on the way to Batangas—we learned it the hard way so we lost quite some time to heavy traffic, nonetheless we arrived with enough sunlight to spare and enjoy the breath-taking sunset.

Nice sunset.

Accommodations
Evercrest Golf Resort gave discounts to TNF Trail participants who wanted to stay for the night.  I’m not sure how much the original price was but for me and my running mates it was worth it, the room was excellent: there were two beds (we had an extra one since there were three of us), hot and cold water on the faucet and shower, there was even a bathtub along with standard hotel room amenities, and the package included breakfast and massage for two.

Evercrest Golf Resort, our home for the night.

The view was excellent around the resort and we had time to goof around and took some pictures while there was still sunlight.  (For reasons of privacy I’d basically post only photos with permissions 🙂 )

Where are the ducks?

The weather in the resort was very similar to that of Tagaytay: cool and windy.  The sky was clear but it’s probably as cool, if not cooler, than the bus we rode.  This was quite unexpected but very pleasant to experience.

Running Forgetful
Having a race outside the Metro for the first time also meant bringing along a lot of stuff.  I kept reminding my running mates of things to bring, and guess what, I actually forgot one of the things I reminded them to bring—race bib.  I had some tendencies to forget this but this was actually the first time I actually forgot it!  I only realized it during dinner when I saw a fellow runner’s race bib.  I just thought, “oh no, this isn’t happening… I actually forgot my race bib.”

Running Support
I really intended to be a support to my running mates, especially that one of us is having a 10K debut.  I brought my hydration bag with me on the trail to provide space for any items they may want to bring along.  With my forgotten race bib I thought that I may not join the race and just be a full-pledged support crew for the team (although in this case my support was limited to taking in-race pictures).  I wasn’t really expecting to win anything on the race (especially that I’ve not a single TNF item with me) but I was sad of the possibility that I may not be included in the race results (and be on the DNA list).  Sigh.

My running gear.

Race Day
Having a room that’s about a stone’s throw away (literally) from the starting area was a convenience that we really enjoyed—we didn’t have to travel to get to the race, we were well rested, and best of all we don’t have to wake up that early!

One of the problems we had was the cold breeze: it’s one thing to have a low temperature but to have wind blowing at your face—that’s another! We didn’t expect it to be that cold and windy so I and one of my running mates didn’t bring any jacket.  We only had our regular running attire (shorts and singlet) for the race so it’s quite a challenge for us to even come out of our room.  Only our 10K debutante had warm clothes (and we’re supposed to be the pros at these).

The Start/Finish Line: it was really cold and windy.

We can’t do anything about the weather so we just ignored it.  I just wore my running attire like the usual sans race bib (I was wearing the event singlet so at least they’d know I’m “licensed” to run the trails) plus my hydration bag and off we go to the starting line.  We went to the assembly area just a few minutes before the start and just walked off the cold weather (that served as our warm up).  Apparently I wasn’t the only forgetful one in the race but that didn’t deter us from running, and I think the Organizers were aware of this issue as well so even if I’m not wearing my race bib nobody stopped me from joining the race.  Just being able to join my comrades in the trail was enough for me.  Besides, some other runners probably had their race bib under their sweats and jackets!

The TNF Trail Runners.

The race actually started at 5:59AM (based on GF405).  It was still dark then and curiously, the 10K runners were first off.  The sun was slowly rising as we progress the race so we actually saw sunrise during our trails, and during which we were on high elevation so the view was very good.  The cold weather was no longer an issue a few hundred meters into the race because of the effort exerted in running.  We were actually breaking sweat long before arriving at MP1!

Let’s Go!

More pictures and the continuation of my trail experience on my next post.

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience Index:

18
Jan
09

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience, Part 1

It was truly an amazing race!  I just returned home from one of the best races I’ve ever had!  I have so many stories to share so please bear with me until I’ve compiled the pictures and completed writing about it.  I’ll share it here even if it takes on an installment basis. 🙂  For the mean time I’d like to share with you guys some information about this race held early this morning in the cold and breezy trails of Nasugbu, Batangas, courtesy of my new GF405 (I told you I had stories to tell):

TNF Trail Route and Elevation courtesy of GF405

TNF Trail Route and Elevation courtesy of my Garmin FR405.

For a more interactive information on this run, you may visit my Garmin Connect activities at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/1834519.

TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience Index:

25
Dec
08

0 to 100K: My 2008 Chronicles

Surely 2008 was a memorable year for many of us.  It was the year me and many of my friends started running, and it definitely changed our lives.

August 08, 2008 (08/08/08): it was the night of the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, and it was the day of my first race ever: Men’s Health Miracle Run.  Little did we know that that 5K would change our lives for good.

After our first race we still weren’t that active with running.  Although we enjoyed it a lot we just waited for races to come our way—we didn’t really lift a finger to seek races.  At that time we didn’t know yet where to get information on races.  Little by little we were exposed to fellow runners’ blog site until eventually we found out about thebullrunner and takbo.ph: sites that really helped us a lot (and still do).  These sites eventually inspired me to put up a running blog site of my own to also help fellow newbies like myself.

October marked the start of joining consecutive races.  The most interesting races I joined for the month were the adidas King of the Road, my first 10K and the Halloween race Isuzu Shake Rattle and Run.

November, my birth month, was the most packed month I’ve had with five consecutive weekend races: VSO Bahaginan Run, my birthday run, just two days after my birthday, my first sub-25 minutes 5K (self-timed) and sub-55 minutes 10K; Men’s Health Urbanathon, a mix of almost 10K run and obstacles; Race for Life and Unicef Walk on the Child’s Side, my first back-to-back; and the 32nd National Milo Marathon, the largest race I’ve joined so far and the first one with a full Marathon.  This was also the month I formally launched this site, runningpinoy.

December was a very leisurely month compared with the previous month, only three races but with another back-to-back: Nokia Recycle your Phone and Run, my first absolutely free race and my first race with sub-5:00/km pace; and Yakult 10-Miler, my longest race so far and first beyond 10K; and the UP ICTUS Centennial Run, the run that finally completed my 100K.  It was unexpected for me that I reached this mark before the year ended and I was thankful that I was able to.

Another good thing that happened to local running this year were the free running clinics: those offered by Bald Runner, and Nike Philippines, both held at the Ultra, Pasig and the latter having an extra session at Bonifacio High Street.  Being a participant of Nike Running Clinic I could attest that it really helped a lot especially for beginners to improve our runs.

Injuries—one of the things nobody wants to suffer but is a part of life.  Despite being a great downer it could also be educational and helpful if you learn from it.  But it’s probably better not to learn about it the hard way.  I did have my fair share of injuries, in fact I almost didn’t complete my 100K because of it, and hopefully I learned enough to minimize it in the future.

12 races, 100K, some injuries, free running clinics, a blog site, many new friends, and tons of memories—these are some of the things that this year gave to me, and hopefully this year was worthwhile for all of you as well.  I had fun sharing my running experiences and other “miscellaneous” accounts with everyone, and I hope you did as well.  Merry Christmas everyone!  Run Safe and have a more fruitful New Year ahead!




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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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