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May 24, 2011

Greentennial Race Recap

Team ALPHA1 @ Greentennial
Skype Message to Nerissa
[5/19/2011 2:09:55 PM] Jayson Deuna: eto yung strategy naten: sana magwork.. maganda naman training ko e.
Half Marathon:
8K => 4:20 /km = 34:40
5K => 4:30 /km = 22:30
8K => 4:20 /km = 34:40
21K TOTAL = 1:31:50 hours
[5/19/2011 2:11:17 PM] Jayson Deuna: pero secret lang yan ha. nde ko sure kung kakayanin nga. hehe. pray naten na maging maganda kondisyon ng katawan ko. saka yung panahon.
Before the race, she told me "Kaya mo yan. Wag mong masyado pwersahin sarili mo ha?" (You can do it. Don't push yourself too much, ok?)

That was a packed message. She believes in me and shows her full support. At the same time, she knew all too well how hard I trained for this race. All those speed training runs when I almost vomited, every pace simulation run when I just try to run as fast as the training schedule suggests and for how long, and every long runs when I just kept on pounding till I reached my target long distance. She bought the pain relievers, the anti-bacterial medicine for the abrasions and minor lacerations, she massaged the tired muscles. She is my training and conditioning coach, my nutritionist, my motivator and my number one fan.

Training and Preparations

Great training. Long. Speed. Speed endurance. Tapering.
I had a 5-week half marathon training schedule. And it was almost followed according to every details. The Yasso interval training progression was completed from Week#1 to Week#4. From 4 repeats on the first week all the way to 7 on the fourth. The mileage build up were completed as prescribed. The two 17Km Easy runs and the Sunday long runs were not missed. The three Tempo runs were also finished according to the plan. And the race became the exhibition room -- it only exhibits the details that were carefully planned and diligently prepared for a period of five weeks.

As our national fist and boxing hero say fondly, "If you train hard, the fight is easy."

Training was divided into three paces.. Mileage build up. Speed training. Speed endurance training. We have to build a significant mileage base to be able to introduce and adapt to the rigors and hardships of speed training. After acquiring speed using the speed training runs, it must be usable for long distance runs. Imagine sprinting the first 200 meters of the race only to crash out of it. Pretty useless and outright silly, right? The speed has to be endured for a much longer period of time. So Tempo runs are part of the training schedule so that all important acquired speed can be tapped into longer distance running.

The training was all hard. It might say 17Km easy.. When does 17 kilometers ever easy? The Yasso runs were difficult for the heart, the lungs and the legs. They were so difficult I almost often contemplate, on the last few repeats, if I will stop or complete the number of laps. And when I do go to complete the repetitions, I almost always end up at the point of vomiting. It was very very difficult. But the results were as convincing as they were difficult. The Yassos made the Tempo runs much easier and manageable (Yasso pace is much challenging at about 3:50 minutes per kilometer, Tempo pace is a bit slower and more manageable at 4:20).

Training and completing 8 straight kilometers of Tempos at 4:20 minutes per kilometer realized the target race pace. The race starts during the training period as they say. Not at the starting line. When I managed to run the 4:20 pace for 8 kilometers, I have already completed a third of my race strategy. I knew I will be alright for the first 8 kilometers because I trained for it a few times. It has been rehearsed and it was proven to work.

Still, we can only prepare for much. There are only things we could prepare for, the race must still be ran. After the 8 kilometers I trained for, and the 5 kilometers of recovery at a slightly slower pace.. would I be able to go finish the last 8 kilometers at 4:20 pace? I honestly don't know. Historically, I tend to fade at the latter stages of my previous race. I start strong and finish so so -- a positive splitter. I have always planned an even split or had always wished for a negative split but it has never happened yet.. all wishful thinking. I just leave it as the unchartered and unplanned part of this race. That is also why we still have to run the race after all those training runs.

Tapering was fun. After my last training run, a short 8Km Tempo run where I ran 6Km in 4:19 pace, I rested and loaded on carbohydrates. I feasted on pansit, fried chicken, vegetables, kalderetang baka, bread, rice, watermelon and lots of soft drinks for about three days. I slept early on the last week before the race and made sure I was not lacking in rest and sleep. Eight sleep hours was the minimum a day. The training, the tapering, the food and enough sleep made me fit, fast and strong for the Greentennial Run. I felt I was on my peak form and I know I was ready for the sub 1:40-hour mission.


The night before the race, it has always been pretty tough to sleep early. I have mostly been very excited and anxious, my mind wont stop thinking about the upcoming race. And this race is no exception. To compensate, I have already slept early at around 7pm and mostly before 9pm the last few days leading to the race. Saturday night, I was up until 11pm.

And I awoke by 12 midnight. It must have been a very shallow sleep because I usually sleep like a log, you can't wake me up easily. Then by 3am, though I am still very sleepy, I already had a wake up call from Nerissa. I packed my weekly used clothes to my bag and took a shower. Before 4am, I was already on the streets to buy hot pandesal (yeah, that's my trademark!) and a bottle of Mountain Dew. Inside the taxi, I ate 3 pieces of bread, a bar of Klicx cereal chocolate cruncher and pushed them all down my tummy with the soft drinks.

I am trying to figure out what to do with the other bar of chocolate. To eat the second bar, to consume it halfway through the race or to just use it after the run. I decided to put it inside my pocket and consume it during the race for extra energy (more chocolate discussions later... ).

@Starting Line

I have not been to Aseana, the race venue. The taxi driver does not know about it neither. We headed to MOA and just asked for directions when we got there. I saw Bryan of Team Alpha1 running around MOA streets for his scheduled 34 kilometer long run.

I paid P140 for the taxi from Makati to Bradco.

Before the race started, I met my Alpha1 teammates Billy (Armbanded), Speedy Giant, Coyote and Bryan (FFS). I also got to chat with running friends Alfred (El Kyoshi) and Sir Junrox (Tiger Boy), the two belong to the very popular Team Power Puff Boys.

The race started just about 5 in the morning. I was very careful not to over speed at gun start. Use the adrenaline rush wisely, this is a very long race, remember the 4:20 pace and nothing faster.. I kept reminiding myself not to chase the elites from the get go. Just race according to my trained pace and run my own race.

A few meters after, I was running side by side with the Black Knight (remember my Earth Run blog?). He is a very fast, efficient and very lean long-distance runner. I tried to slow down a bit more and not run too fast at gun start. I have learned from my Run with the Masters mistake. I ran my first kilometer of that race at 3:45 pace and then suffered the rest of the way trying to recover and catch my heart beat.

After our 1st U-Turn slot at Aseana Avenue, I was very relaxed and just running according to my planned pace. After the U-Turn, I noticed myself running at the very wide road of that avenue while the morning sun is still half asleep. It was a beautiful day.


I Caught up with a young barefoot runner going towards the Festival Mall along Macapagal.
Young Barefoot Runner: Hi Sir
Me: Good morning.

After a brief pause and few strides running with him.
Me: Nde ba masakit yan?
Young Barefoot Runner: Ayos lang. (with a nice confident smile)

@KM 4. Just as I Trained For

I know it's been 4 Km. Looking at my Timex, the elapsed time was 16 minutes. Just around my target pace.

I gotta keep going. My first two kilometers will be at a controlled pace. I am fresh and strong and I could go faster. But doing so, I would put the rest of the race in jeopardy. Control and conservation are the keys.

For the 3rd and 4th kilometers, they must be strong fast kilometers. Keep going and stick to the target pace. At this point, I would really begin to feel the pain of fast running. I must endure and keep going. Focus and keep going strong.

Training at my target pace really helped. Having put these ideas into test, I know what to expect. I know how my body reacted during training, and on the course of the race, it is just a matter of repeating what has been done during training. The struggles, the pace, the difficulties in breathing, the strides, the swings, almost every factors have been dealt with during training. They have been rehearsed and practiced. I just need to execute and do them again.

I know I'll be tired at the third kilometer. No need to panic. No need to fret and think of things to eliminate the feeling of being tired. That has been felt during training, and that is just natural. Just keep going as we did during training!

The 5th and 6th kilometers are the "hold on" kilometers.. the weakest pair of kilometers I have during training runs.. the point I must fight with my mind to continue to run fast.. to focus and still hold on to my target pace. After the U-Turn just before Macapagal intersect with Pacific Avenue, I reached this point of struggle within myself.

I just counted all those runners already going back up Macapagal Road after the U-Turn slot. Exactly nine runners were ahead of me at that point, including the Kenyan who was leading all the half marathoners. Three fast fellow Filipinos were packed together trailing behind the foreign runner. I was tenth at that point of the race. I must hold on to my planned pace.

My 7th and 8th kilometers are my "finish it" kilometers. For my 8Km Tempo runs, this is the point where I speak to myself and motivate me "we are about to finish the set.. keep running. finish strong".

My problem, of course, is that this race is not about to end at the 8th kilometer. Hehehe. How did I run the "finish it" phase? By thinking the next 5 kilometers after 8Kms, will be at a slower recovery pace, and that I will stop at hydration stations and eat my bar of chocolate.

I stuck to my target pace of 4:20 minutes per kilometer.. barely.

@KM 9. My Unchartered Territory

I did not stop at any water stations during the first 8 kilometers of the race. WARNING: This is a very dangerous strategy that must be executed with caution and must have been personally tested especially during the summer period. I trained myself to rehydrate only after 8 to 12 kilometers of running. I can go 12 kilometers without water or hydration on a long slow run, I can take 8 kilometers of fast running without hydration during interval and tempo training runs.

I relieved myself of the thirst and the heat with the cold water served on the race route after the first phase (8 kilometers) of my half marathon strategy. At the 9th kilometer, I ran slower and trying to breathe and replenish. I breathed deeper and slower. I ran slower. I tried to hide the fatigue with a smile.

At Macapagal corner Seaside Boulevard, my Timex elapsed time is 38 minutes. I was very very excited and thrilled. Yet I must not speed up yet. Just relax, recover, we need every bit of our energy to finish this whole race strong and fast.

There were three runners (8th, 9th and 10th) ahead of me running as a pack. They were just a minute ahead of me. How did I know that? I looked at the light post where the three of them were. Then I looked at my Timex and memorized the current time elapsed at my location. When I reached the light post where they were when I looked at my Timex, I again looked at the time and calculated the difference. About a minute!

No chasing, I kept on my recovery. There is absolutely no need to chase and jeopardize the race strategy. Conserve the energy Jayson. At the 10th kilometer, Macapagal corner Buendia (Sen. Gil Puyat Ave), I registered 42:29 minutes on my Timex. That is a 4:15 pace. I am right on target, maybe a little bit quicker than I expected, but it is just about right. I still feel very strong at that point and was continuing to just run comfortably.

@KM 11. Pampering Station

I skipped the hydration, towel and ice, banana, Boy Bawang and ChocNut station. I don't know why really. Maybe because I was running at the right most side of the road and the station was on the left most side. Maybe because I had a chocolate bar on my pocket. Maybe because, just a kilometer ago I already have rehydrated.

The staff at that station was calling me to be aware of their station. I just gave a thumbs up sign and was totally focused on the race ahead.

I expected a right turn when I reached Vicente Sotto. That was the race route advertised. I was advised to turn left though and was greeted by truck loaded with water, ala pampering station. They sprinkled lots of water as if it was raining as I pass by. The water helped me to feel cool and refreshed but it also made my shoes, socks and feet wet. Not a good sign, I was worried I might get blisters and that I lost the feel and control I had over my socks and shoes. They became slippery.

@KM 12. Chocolate Break

At the next hydration station, I grabbed a cup of cold water filled with ice cubes. I also got the bar of Klicx chocolate I had on my pocket. Time to re-energize as I walk toward the CCP complex. There were a few joggers on that road greeting us with smiles and encouragement.

I was very happy to have decided to consume the Klicx Cruncher during the race. It made me feel happier, stronger and less tired.
Klicx Cruncher
Nuts. Caramel. Cereal. Chocolate. Yummy, delicious and lots of energy. This chocolate does not melt on my pockets while running (unlike the other chocolate I brought with me on my first ever full marathon).

Why chocolate? It has serotonin, the happy hormone.
It is also said to reduce blood pressure.
Of course, it contains carbohydrates for a much needed energy boost.

I took time to consume the chocolate bar and then drank a cup of cold water. A runner overtook me while I was busy walking and eating my chocolate-coated cereal. After a few more bites and a gulp of cold water, I returned to the middle of the empty road and embraced my journey. Time to finish what I started. I am only about halfway through.

Towards KM 13. Still About Pacing and Recovery

The Japanese, I think he is Mr. Naoki Yamane, is already closing in on me. Some more runners were just about 500 meters to 1 kilometer behind me. I can see all of them after I had taken a U-Turn at Atang Dela Rama. I then saw the 1:45-hour pacers on my way back. Sir Junrox and Natz of the Power Puff Boys were part of those pacers. I must keep going.

Still, I was not racing back to 4:20 pace at Vicente Sotto Road. I was taking my time knowing it is still a very long way to go. Am I fully recovered? Are those 5 kilometers of my recovery phase over? Relax and just have fun. Run according to plan. No need to panic.

I took a towel with ice on my way back to Macapagal. I still did not go for a banana. I did not notice the Boy Bawang nor the ChocNuts. My friends and running mates only mentioned these goodies on that station after the race.

@KM 13. Serotonin Kicks In... Getting Ready for the Final Push

Turning Right to Seaside Boulevard.. I already fell to13th place. Yet there is no pressure to fight hard at that point. Run my race. Race at my own pace. I need all my energy for a strong finish.

Back at Macapagal after the Seaside Boulevard stretch.. I tried to catch up. It is about time. Recovery phase is over. Time for Phase 3.. The last 8 kilometers.

There were three runners ahead of me who were just a few meters away. By my count, as confirmed by the several U-Turn slots we ran during the course of the race, they were the 10th to 12th runner respectively. The 10th runner was part of the trio I mentioned from KM 9. He is tiring as is visible on his form and breathing. The 11th runner was more energetic and is really surging ahead with more energy as compared to the 10th and 12th runner on that point.

Can I catch up with all three? We can try now.

@KM 18.

Little by little, I was inching closer to the 12th runner. And before we turned right to Coral Way, I have also passed another one (the 10th runner going out of Seaside Boulevard). Along Coral Way, there were ten light posts before I reached the U-Turn point. I counted each one as I tried to sustain my pace. After the U-Turn point, ten more light posts before I got back to Macapagal.

I was feeling really tired and I felt my pace was getting unavoidably slower. I just motivated myself that there were only a few kilometers left, soon enough it will all be over and I can look back to this race where I can say "I could have not raced it any better." Give it everything, leave everything and finish strong.

I knew the front runners were already way ahead of me and are already on their way to the finish line as I hear the program emcees already announcing the approach of the top half marathon runners. I could hear them as I past across Bradco.

@KM 20. Route Change

I thought there's only 1 more kilometer when I turned right at Aseana Avenue. I was very excited. My Timex reads 1:25 hours, and if I were indeed just a kilometer away from the Finish Line, then I could finish this race under 1:30 hours! That would really make my day.

The organizers of the race decided to make us run more on Aseana Avenue before we turn towards the Finish Line at Bradco. They must have decided to do this to compensate for the lost distance at Vicente Sotto Road where the advertised route requires us to run a few hundred meters from Vicente to Roxas Boulevard.

I was very very slow at this extended route.
One.. I was not mentally prepared for it. It was not part of my calculations.
Two.. The finish arc is so close and I am about to run further away from it. That's mentally punishing!
Three.. I must be very tired and only stored just the right amount of energy to finish the last kilometer.

It was partially my fault, the original route was cut a bit short on the Vicente Sotto Road, I should have prepared for this distance compensation. Yet on the organizer's part, they must realize the [Importance of Published Routes and Miseries of Late Notice Route Changes]. As I touched on a bit with my One.. Two.. Three reasons above.

Anyways.. I had to run that part. I am really complaining a lot inside and I was very unhappy with this surprise route extension. Our convergence with the multitudes of 3K and 5K runners towards the finish and the taking of pictures by hundreds and hundreds of these runners near the Finish Arc did not help my cause.

Jump Shots! Jump Shots! As the photographer screamed and the runners obeyed.
The marshals must have been smiling as well as they did not request a the runners to give way to the faster half marathoners going their way straight to the finish.

When you are tired as I was back there at the last kilometer of this race, you would know how frustrated I was becoming.. Late route extension? Picture taking in the middle of the race route? Give me a break.

@Finish Line

When I saw the giant digital timer on the finish arc reading 1:32:10 hours...
And then, 1:32:11..

I thought It must not reach 1:33:00 before I cross the finish.
I sprinted as fast as I could towards the finish line.
But as fast as try, the faster the clock seems to go. 1:32:58.. 1:32:59.. I will miss 1:32 hours..
Missed it entirely and finished the race in 1:33:12 hours.

Official results 1:33:23 hours. They must have placed the RFID sensor a few more meters away from the finish arc. Why? Most runners would be stopping at the arc already and breathing hard to recover thinking they have finished the race already at that point. The additional 11 seconds nullified my sprinting effort.

My Race Photo Certificate

Post Race and After Thoughts

I need to rehydrate after the race but there were too many runners after the finish line. Labu-labo for the medals. I was given the wrong medal though I was begging for a 21K medal.

Then it was very difficult to go to the next queue for the finisher shirts. Too many finishers crowding at the tents positioned very near the finish line. There were pushing and pulling. And I still haven't rehydrated yet. Can I go to the First Aid station for a water aid?

At the Finisher's Shirt queue, I first asked for a LARGE singlet. Then changed my mind. I asked for a SMALL replacement, I would like to give it to Nerissa for all her support. It was kindly replaced by the staff at that station. Unfortunately, when I was giving the shirt to Nerissa.. It was still LARGE.

After I got my wrong medal and my wrong-sized Shirt.. I queued for a bottle of Pocari Sweat.. Finally I was able to rehydrate with a cold refreshing bottle of Pocari.
I got my bag at the baggage counter. Quickly grabbed my mobile phone and called Nerissa for a very happy race report.

I drank lots of water at the water booth as I waited for my Alpha1 group mates: Bryan (FFS), Billy (Armbanded), Kathy, Daves, Coyote, Speedy Giant and Rocky. I was also able to chat with runner friends and ate a post race heavy breakfast meal with Alpha1 before I went home to Cavite.

Hours later, I still can't take the smile away from my face. This is just a very rewarding race after the difficult but effective training weeks. Yehey

Photos from TEAM ALPHA1 Facebook Wall

Your Pandesal Runner
Finished my First 2011 21K
Rocky. Billy. Coyote. Me. Speedy Giant. FFS

With FFS

With the Speedy Giant

With the Coyote
Enjoying Breakfast with Teammates
The 21K Greentennial Medal

May 16, 2011

Forecasting my Half Marathon Finish Time

My Half Marathon Training Schedule
Week # Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Yasso x 4 Easy 17k Long 21k
2 Yasso x 5 Easy 17k Long 23k
3 Yasso x 6 Tempo 12k Long 25k
4 Yasso x 7 Tempo 12k Long 23k
5 Easy 10k Tempo 8k Race 21k

Yasso 800s 

You can predict your marathon time based on how long it takes you to run 800 meters!!!
  1. 800meter Intervals. Recovery is same time as the 800m was completed (about 400m of jogging to recover).
  2. Discovered by Bart Yasso (Read more about the Yasso Training Run)
  3. A very good high-intensity interval training run
  4. I want to do my Yasso 800s in about 3:00 - 3:20 minutes for a 3:20 hour Milo Marathon.

Yasso Training Run Data

The following tables show my Yasso 800-meters training data starting from Week#1 to Week#4 of my 5-Week Half Marathon training runs. Basically, I would run 800m and then jog for the same amount of time I have finished the 800m lap. I started to do 4 repeats on Week#1 and then increased it by +1 more repeat every week thereafter.

I will start this training run with a moderately intense dynamic stretching routines. Then 2 kilometers of warm up run before I formally start my Yasso sessions. I would hit the lap button on my running watch at the start of the 800m, hit it again on the completion of the 800m, and then hit it again after the recovery run. After I have completed all the repetitions, I would run another 1.6 - 2 kilometers to cool down. Lastly, I would finish the training run with static stretching routines focused on the arms and leg muscles.

Highlighted in red is the slowest 800m of each Yasso training day. We will use this slowest time to predict our marathon and half marathon finish times. Expectedly, my slowest laps were registered at the last or the next to the last 800m lap. Exhaustion and energy depletion must have been the culprits of these slow times.

Yasso 800m x 4 (Date: APRIL 19)
Lap # 800m Time Pace (min/km) Recovery Jog 800m - Recovery
1 3:00 3:46 2:39 +21 seconds
2 3:02 3:48 3:01 +1
3 3:06 3:53 2:43 +23
4 3:03 3:49

Yasso 800m x 5 (Date: APRIL 26)
Lap # 800m Time Pace (min/km) Recovery Jog 800m - Recovery
1 2:55 3:40 2:55 +0 seconds
2 2:55 3:40 3:25 -30
3 3:00 3:46 2:56 +4
4 3:05 3:52 3:08 -3
5 3:10 3:58

Yasso 800m x 6 (Date: MAY 03)
Lap # 800m Time Pace (min/km) Recovery Jog 800m - Recovery
1 3:02 3:48 2:52 +10 seconds
2 3:02 3:49 3:16 -14
3 3:07 3:55 2:52 +15
4 3:09 3:57 2:53 +16
5 3:04 3:51 3:05 -1
6 3:12 4:02

Yasso 800m x 7 (Date: MAY 12)
Lap # 800m Time Pace (min/km) Recovery Jog 800m - Recovery
1 2:57 3:42 2:41 +16 seconds
2 2:58 3:43 3:03 -5
3 3:02 3:48 2:49 +13
4 3:04 3:52 3:32 -28
5 3:02 3:48 3:05 -3
6 3:09 3:57 3:22 -11
7 3:11 3:59

Half Marathon Predictions

For the full marathon, we need to complete 10 sets of Yasso 800m laps to predict our marathon finish times. Had we finished 10 sets with the slowest 800m lap recorded at 3:11 minutes, the predicted marathon finish time would be 3:11 hours.

We have not yet completed 10 sets and we only aim to test this Yasso training method on the half marathon. Instead of 10 sets for the full marathon, I will be using 7 sets for the half marathon.

I have finished my 7 sets of Yassos with the slowest times recorded at 3:06, 3:10, 3:12 and 3:11 minutes. 

Half of 3:12 minutes is 1:36. For the Greentennial Half Marathon race this May 22, my predicted finish time is 1:36 hours. And that is well within my 1:40-hour target finish time.

A few more Tempo Runs to simulate my target race pace and with God's will and help, we might be able to confirm Mr. Bart Yasso's interesting discovery.