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Aug 25, 2011

Run for Sofia Ysabel (1000 Runners for One Heart)

Please feel free to forward to other runners!
Thank you!

A Thousand Runners for One Heart

Three months ago, Sofia Ysabel Rosal was born with Down’s Syndrome and Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a congenital heart disease. She has undergone dialysis to address kidney failure apart from the other tests and procedures that were regularly administered to keep her condition stable. But through all these, Sofia remained strong and steadfast in her will to live a full life with her family. Last July 23, Sofia’s battle finally came to an end. However short her life was, it was fully lived as she stood as an inspiration and a shining example of how one should face a life filled with seemingly insurmountable adversities.

Sofia's strength and determination has inspired friends and family to put together a fund raising activity to support her family since the cost of her treatment had reached alarming heights. “One Thousand Runners for One Heart: A Run for Sofia Ysabel”, is a 3k and 5k  fun run happening on August 27,2011 (6:00am) at the Venice Piazza , McKinley Hill, Taguig City.

Registration is now open at R.O.X Bonifacio High Street and The Brick Mckinley Hill. Registration for both 3k and 5k is Php 500 with the proceeds to be turnover to Sofia’s family. Part of the proceeds will be donated to charity benefiting patients with congenital heart disease. Professional runners, leisure runners, and first- time runners are all welcome to run, not to beat previous records but to be one of a thousand runners running or walking for Sofia , the little girl with a big brave heart.
Online registration can be done via http://www.runnersrunner.com/store/run-for-sofia-ysabel.html. To get updates about Sofia, visit http://sofiaysabel.wordpress.com. For more details, like us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/runforsofiaysabel).

Aug 11, 2011

Power Up - Ten Weeks Strength Training

Getting ready for the Milo Finals.. We have secured the REBOUND.. Time for a thunderous SLAM DUNK. [See the intent on the eyes of Sakuragi.]

Rain poured. Cramps crept. Problems mounted.
The race report says we still qualify for the Milo Finals in December. Praise God. It was not just a successful marathon in terms of qualifying time. It was also a success for I had no major injuries. Only a cramping calf and a few blisters.

Now what?

In 2 months time, Nerissa and I will tie the knot on a church wedding. Before that, I still plan to lose some weight and power up for about 10 weeks, get a week break from running, then start with my Milo Finals training schedule.

Here's what I intend to do leading to the December 11 marathon:
  1. 10 Weeks for Strength Training, Aerobic Conditioning and Mileage Build Up
  2. 1 Week Wedding Break
  3. 8 Weeks Milo Finals Marathon Training

This week, I am still in post marathon recovery mode. Zero mileage last week. Zero again this week.

But I am lifting weights and already powering up in preparation for the next grueling marathon training schedule. I injured my right knee on the first marathon and I injured it again while training for my second marathon. On my third marathon, the strength training sessions helped me a lot to be able to conquer the long runs without bothering my knee so much.

The stronger hamstrings and quads eased the burden on my knees on long distance uphills run to Tagaytay City. I firmly believe that injury prevention starts with strengthening and preparing our muscles and body parts for the work load we intend to accomplish. I am sticking to this same principle and I will continue with my strength training sessions before I formally start with another marathon training. Here's my ten week strength training schedule from August 2 to October 7, 2011.

My 10-Week Strength Training Schedule
Table Last Edited October 5, 1:15PM
Week # Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Sat Sun
Chest 'n Back Arms Chest 'n Back

2 Arms Chest 'n Back Arms Chest 'n Back Legs

3 Arms Chest 'n Back Legs Chest 'n Back Legs

4 Arms Chest 'n Back Legs Chest 'n Back Legs

5 Arms Chest 'n Back Legs Chest 'n Back Legs

6 Arms Chest 'n Back Legs Chest 'n Back Legs

7 Arms Chest 'n Back Legs Chest 'n Back Legs

8 Arms Chest 'n Back Legs Chest 'n Back Legs

9 Arms Chest 'n Back Legs Chest 'n Back Legs

10 Arms Chest 'n Back Legs Chest 'n Back Legs

All the best and may our God help us all.

Season 3: The Finals

Original image from http://openguys.org/films/

We started running with the Pandesal Runner Adventures. Then we followed it up with Season 2: The Road to Boston. In season 2, my second year of running, I was not able to achieve my goals and only managed to finish the Milo Eliminations in 2010 in 5+ hours.

Now we bring the adventure-type blogging style back with a whole new season -- The Road to the Milo Finals. I aim to rebound from the miseries of season 2 and hopes to come back much stronger this year en route to a ticket to the Milo Finals this December 2011.

So lay back, relax and let me take you again to my running world of miseries, hard works and determination as we continue with the 3rd year of Pandesal Runner Adventures.

CHAPTER 1. Running Again in 2011

CHAPTER 2. Milo Marathon - Manila Elimination Leg

CHAPTER 3. Road to the Milo Finals

Aug 5, 2011

Milo Marathon - A Fool's Finish

[In case you missed it.. Here's a link to the first part.]

Milo Marathon Route 2011

After my self-imposed mandatory break, I found my second wind. I had a great time running the long stretch of Kalayaan flyover going to The Fort. There I found a few marathoners to talk and chat with as we tackle the flyover and the hills of Taguig City. One was a first timer, and the other two were like experienced buddies. It is a lot better to run with a company than to run alone. As I told the three guys, all of whom I have not met before the race, "Apat na tayong tulong-tulong.. pag nde pa tayo nag-qualify!" Who would understand what you feel and what you are going through? Your fellow runners going the exact same conditions like you do, right? Just to go and try to tackle each step of the way with someone beside you makes you a lot stronger. (The Milo marathon handbook explicitly states that fact: You have a higher chance of completing the distance with a race buddy.) And with a thousand strong runners fighting the same fight, there are a lot of friends to win out there. To encourage. And to be encouraged.

Taguig City

Unfortunately, I fell behind that pack of four when my knee support unfastened. It was all wet and heavy. The constant movement from my legs and the accumulated amount of water made the knee support unable to hold together. Its locking system failed often along the route. If I fasten it tighter, my legs could not breathe. I fasten it loose and it does not hold for long. I could have thrown it away somewhere in Taguig for all of my frustrations with it. Only the fact that I paid a thousand pesos for it last year and that I wore it as a precautionary measure to help ease the pain on my right knee (I suspect an ITB syndrome) prevented me from doing so.

The newbie marathoner among the three waited for me and simply said the other two runners were running much faster than his preferred pace. I ran with him for about a kilometer until he slowed down. I know that the long distance is now getting into him, slowing him more and more the farther he goes. I know that I will have that same pull later on. We runners all experience that. It caught up with him at the 26th kilometer, it has already started to catch up with me before the 21st. It is the arms of the long marathon route extending, grabbing and pulling down your ankles and feet. It drags you down. Somewhere along that route, it eventually teams up with the wind blowing mildly on your ears. Where your mind and spirit says 'Run', the wind soothes your soul and serenades you to slow down and rest. It's much like the slow Sunday songs playing on radios intending to relax your soul all day long after six tiring days. When you've been running for more than 2 hours, it becomes so natural to fall prey to these invisible forces. The marathon is not just a grueling physical test. On the latter stages, it exposes the deepest desires of your mind and spirit (things that aren't visible to the eyes) -- how much are you willing to give for your cause?

Makati City

The second wind I got after my banana and chocolate break did not last long. Going down the Kalayaan flyover to Makati, my fifth flyover climb so far on this marathon route, I rushed down with a mild pain on my calf. The cramps crept up again on my poor tired right calf. It has cramped for the past few weeks during my runs. And race day is no exception. When problems start to appear, they tend to pour on you like rain (and in this year's Milo's case, like storm).

After chasing a few marathoners ahead of me, they now start to catch up leave me behind. Worse yet, I kept on pulling my underwear down. The left crotch up around the leg area just below the left butt got chafed. How come these problems were not published on the Milo runner's manual? (That's not a rant, that's a joke. Hehehe.)

I figured the race now shifts to individual toughness. At the last ten kilometers of the marathon, the battle becomes personal. It turns into a battle within. Do you stop now when you feel all the pains in your toes, feet, calves, legs, lower back, shoulders, neck and arms? Everything seems to hurt now. Do you push through? Or do you stop? How tough are you? What is your spirit made of? Brittle spirits start to crawl under the heat and all the pains. Tougher ones tend to face the hurdles head on.

As for me, I stopped at the end of the long hydration table. Drank a few cups of cold water served generously along the 32nd kilometer and pulled off another plastic from my running shorts. Nerissa prepared a small zipped plastic container filled with Omega pain killer ointment. I put all of the ointment on my right calf and gently massaged the poor cramping muscles. Time check: 2:40 hours. I still have one full hour to qualify. I thought 3:39 hours will be sweet enough for me at this stage of the race. Time to get going.

Pasay City

I reached Makati Avenue and later on passed by Pasong Tamo and continued at my tired pace to the LRT station in Taft Avenue. I am so tired now and even though I felt like running at a 5:00 minute pace, my running watch indicated otherwise. I am now in danger of missing the 3:45 qualifying time if I continue at this slow and tired 6:00++ minutes per kilometer. Against the wishes and pleads of my energy-depleted body, I tried to run a bit faster.

Time check: I have covered 35kilometers already, I need to run the last 7 kilometers in 42 minutes. I already threw away the hopes of a 3:39 finish, if I can do it in 3:45 then it will be good enough and in no way would that be any less sweeter.

But when will this run ever going to end? Computations and different methods of calculations all lead to the same conclusion - any unnecessary stop at this point means I do not qualify to the Finals in December. The pull of the road right on my ankles and the whisper of the wind in my ears to stop for a while and rest doubly intensified. If I go all out and still fail to qualify, would it not be nicer to just take it slow and walk a while until my lungs and legs have recuperated? Anyway Milo marathon will still be here next year waiting for me, right?

It's definitely nice. But it's not what I'm here for. Milo will be back sure but my heart won't be able to take another golden opportunity to slip away. I have already been a victim of depression -- once failing to qualify after long weeks of training and running. I can endure the physical pain of perhaps another 7 kilometers more. But I just cannot endure another year of rejection. At least not without a fight. Not without giving it my best effort yet. Not by surrendering to the calls of my weakened body. I am not going to quit now.

Manila City

Turning right to Roxas Boulevard coming from Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, I got mixed emotions. I am happy that I have reached Roxas at last. Though I really am troubled for I feel like I have nothing to offer anymore. I am losing it already. The burning hopes of finishing this marathon wanes from a fiery torch to a burning flame to a dying candle. But I kept on running. No more inspirational talk from within, the body is weakened, the spirit is waning, my not-so-hopeful eyes are all on the splashes of water on the never ending road instead of the bright lights up ahead.

Then a fellow runner asked how many more kilometers to go? "Nakakapagod nu? Ilan pa?" I replied that there are still about 4 kilometers more to go. Maybe 5. He also rhetorically asked "Ang layo pala nu?" I just nodded and remarked that after the left turn to Sotto Road we will be on our way back to SM Mall of Asia for the finish line.

At Vicente Sotto Road, I found myself dying for water. The rain has temporarily stopped and I also took the time to rest a bit and stretch my almost lifeless arms. Time check: 3:20 hours. If I can somehow run at 6:00 minutes per kilometer, then I can still make it. Only 4 kilometers separate me from my Milo qualifying dreams. Hang on Jayson! 3:45 hours is still manageable.

The next two kilometers after that hydration stop felt quite amazing. Somehow, someway, I managed to still run as fast as I could to meet the 21K runners also approaching MOA for their last few kilometers. The mood turned festive from lonely, from despairing to hopeful, from lifelessness and dullness to activity and colors. It was my dream that is still pushing me to fight despite the fatigue and the pains. And now that a lot more runners are running for the same Finish Line, I feel rejuvenated.

Finish Line

Then the half marathoners turned right but we were instructed to still run along Macapagal. The separation hurt my cause. Activity and festivity were taken away and once again, I find myself complaining of exhaustion. That hopeless question popped up again in my head "When will this run ever going to end?"

Thankfully, we turned right going to MOA complex. I just passed by the KM 40 marker and I still have 13 minutes and 2+ kilometers to go. There is still hope if I can just hang on some more.

Inside MOA complex, I still have 7 minutes but I still haven't found KM 41. Maybe I wont make it after all.

Turning left before the Seaside Boulevard where all these run started and ends, precious 5 minutes are still left for me to reach the finish line and qualify. There is no time to rest. Push. Push. push. But I really have nothing more to push.

Last turn and Seaside Boulevard at last. 3 more minutes. The clock at the arc reads 3:42:xx but I am still about 500 meters away from it. My mind suddenly became clear. All these years of running, mostly for that hope of a Milo marathon qualifying time, now hangs on the last 2 or so minutes of that huge digital Timex atop the finish arc and on the stretch of the last 500 meters of asphalt road that I still need to run. This is the moment of truth. That inexplicable moment that I will cherish in my thoughts for all of my life.

At the final straight of the route, my Milo marathon journey unfolds. I locked my eyes on the timer and summoned all that I have into one final push to the finish.

200 meters.. 3:43.. Oh no. Will it slip away?

100 meters.. 3:44.. It is definitely slipping away..Will I make it?

10 meters.. 3:44:30 cameramen shouting to me "Go Kaya pa 3:45 yan!"

Finished at Last. Knee support already falling..
Finish at last.. 3:44:37.. by the skin of my teeth.. I made it.. Yehey!!!!! Isn't it funny how the finish line separated two different runners in me? The one just about to cross it is very energetic unleashing all his reserves to finally reach that coveted line. Yet the other one who just crossed the line is all wasted and tired with nothing left but his dreams finally realized.

With my Alpha 1 Brothers
Building Champions in Life!

Aug 3, 2011

A Fool's Milo Marathon Journey

Every runner has his own story. As we gather at the starting line clapping and shouting and eagerly waiting for the start of the marathon at exactly 4am, I can't help myself but be proud of this thousand marathoners -- we are definitely a dedicated bunch of weirdos. Under the might and anger of tropical storm Kabayan, a thousand men and women gathered bravely bordering on foolishness and insanity.

Take a picture of that group of marathoners, gathered too early in the morning under the stormy weather only to punish themselves willingly for a 42-kilometer run -- you will basically know what I am writing about. Foolishness indeed. And that day, I am so proud to be one of a thousand fools.

This is my foolish story.

It is actually not an easy life to be this kind of fool. For countless Sundays, I get up by 4 in the morning so I can run by 5am and finish about 21 kilometers of running before the sun's heat become intolerable. Tuesday and Thursday nights, I go to the park after office works to run some more. Forty to fifty kilometers a week of running. Three times a week for seven months this year prior to that eventful morning of July 31. Thousands of kilometers and hundreds of hours spent running. This is my running life. A certifiable foolish way of life. You want to be a dedicated runner? You need to drop your sanity somewhere first (And the more dedicated runner you are, the more insane you become).

Jesy and I before the 4am Gun Start
On my way up the Baclaran flyover, after sprinting against the heavy rainfall after some 17 and more kilometers, my thoughts were like "This feels like some military training in the movies!" Rain falls down on my face like my usual morning shower prior to an office working day as my running shoes playfully stride on the slippery roads of Roxas Boulevard. Going towards the Buendia intersection under the Buendia flyover, I am closely following a few marathoners as we form a file of cadet soldiers about to be lined up for extreme physical tests and tortures. The rain never stopped falling nor did we ever stop running.

Yet after half of the full marathon distance, my body felt a bit cold and my legs, feet and shoes become heavier and heavier by each kilometer. I was slowing down much faster than I planned. After 10 kilometers, I was 5 minutes off my target. After 21 kilometers, I am off by 11. I was hoping the rain would help my cause, but speed wise, the effect was negative. I was following the track with the least amount of accumulated water thereby unnecessarily making the marathon distance even much longer! Add to this fact that my clothes are all wet and heavy. I got blisters on my little finger (right foot) because of my wet and now uncomfortable socks. Nerissa and her sisters got a good laugh when I show them my blister on top of a blister. I suffered the first blister before the half, then I kept on running with it. That's why I developed another blister on top of the other after the first blister exploded. Plus I also got a third blister right below the double blisters.

But hey, those are not to be my excuses when I have waited for months to run this Milo marathon. I guess I'm making the list because I really failed my planned marathon pace. Blame it on the bad weather (and my lack of long Tempo training and lack of marathon endurance). Another not-so-good thing, I told my mama when I got home that I used the wrong underwear. I got chafed high above my legs (left crotch and leg area just below the left butt) from Taguig all the way to the finish line in SM Mall of Asia. It was all my fault, I know that the underwear I used is too tight for running and I still used it. Not only am I foolish, I am hardheaded too for I thought that the petroleum jelly would be enough to combat chafing.

Back to the 21st kilometer, 1:44 hours have already passed and I am just halfway through. To finish 42.195 kilometers and make the qualifying time of 3:45 hours, I need to run the next half under 2 hours. OK, enough of the Math, time for a mandatory halftime break. I pulled off my Klicx chocolate from my pocket, an Advil tablet and a plastic filled with salt. I ate a banana offered at the hydration station, swallowed the medicine and gulped a cup of Powerade and a cup of cold water.

I had to tell the staff at the hydration table that those are just rocks of salt that I poured on my cup of cold water. From the look on her face, she must have been wondering what was that substance I just consumed.

Eugene Yasay, my fast and very strong Alpha 1 teammate, caught up with me at that point and asked what just happened. He saw me running fast from the start up to the 16th kilometer U-turn point in Baclaran. Then at the halfway mark, there I was resting under the hydration tent ('nakikisilong') and taking all of my time for a break. I told him I was OK and that I'll be joining him up ahead ("habol ako!"). 

Eugene and I at the Finish Line

I took two more cups of water and chewed my chocolate bar.

By this time, I was all alone with just two or three runners in sight ahead of me. I shouted with joy "Let's Go Jayson!", even went nuts to chant the Milo song "Growing up with Olympic energy.. Growing up with Milo.. Milo everyday!". Temporarily, all of the pains and fatigue subsided. The future looks bright even though the sun is still covered by rain clouds and pouring rain. Even still, we march on.

On top of the Kalayaan flyover in Makati, I saw a marathoner with only one arm for the other was cut around the upper arm. Then on my way back, after another U-turn at Lawton Avenue in Taguig, I saw another marathoner with no arms at all for both were cut off. If these men, can run a marathon, how much more can a full-bodied man like I am can? I had no reason at all not to keep on running. Besides all of my personal reasons to go and finish this race, these fellow runners motivate me even more. This is our passion. This is what defines us. No matter what the odds, our physical condition with all the pains and injuries therein, the stormy weather and the slippery roads, none of those can stop us from our pursuit. The spirit of the marathon lives on and we are very proud to say that "We are marathoners!"

To be continued...

Aug 2, 2011

35th Milo Marathon - I Qualified

My 35th Milo Marathon Race Result

The wait is over.. and it cannot be any sweeter than this!!!
All those 2011 running mileage.. 1000+ kilometers of them..
All those 7 months of training.. running, boxing, strength training and core drills..
All those painful memories of the previous attempt.. eliminated in Milo 2010..
All those prayers and support from all of you guys.. thank you very much!

I really feel like crying now.. This is just great.
Thank you so much LORD! Thanks a lot!!!
1 Corinthians 9 24Do you not know that those running in a race all run, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. 25And everyone who strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Then those truly that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26So then I run, not as if I were uncertain. And so I fight, not as one who beats the air. 27But I buffet my body, and lead it captive, lest proclaiming to others I myself might be rejected.