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Mar 30, 2012

My Memorable March Madness

March Mileage Mission Accomplished

I had my last Easy Run of the month yesterday and in doing so fulfilled my month target mileage. I ran a total of 240 Kilometers this March. Cheers!

240Km for March 2012

The 3 consecutive runs on weekdays plus one long run on weekends were sufficient for my 225+ Km March mileage goal. I trimmed down to 156 pounds from 162 last mid January. Something is working and I've got to keep on pounding the road to keep the weight down.

Weekly Mileage Graph

Speed wise, I have no real data to assess where I am at right now. I've been only running Easy and Long runs at pretty comfortable paces. No speed challenge. No Tempos. No Intervals. No Yassos.

Will it change next month? Any races to join?

Most probably none. I want to keep on training for endurance and to continue to build my mileage base before I decide to start with a marathon race training schedule. Weight also plays a key factor in this decision. I am still focusing on losing some more extra pounds before I start training competitively. I would like to go as low as 150-152 this April, 147 by May and then start my speed training by June.

Yes, it is taking too slow for my liking. It is definitely on the borders of being basically boring type of running and training for 3 months now. Yet I have something to achieve that must be accomplished. I want to dedicate myself in that goal and discipline my heart and my head into that single purpose and let my feet run into that one single direction. Once I get that goal in the bag, I will be more than happy to get back to race training mode.

Launching the Pandesal Marathon

Meanwhile, I will attempt to run the marathon distance on my Sunday Long Runs. I have gotten used to running 31-35Km on Sundays. I think that I can slowly increase this and be able to run up to 43Km before April ends. See this Pandesal Runner Marathon Route.

35, 37, 39, 41 and then 43Km. This will be the series of long runs I will be running on consecutive Sundays starting April 1. On weekdays, I will continue to run on Tuesdays (10K), Wednesdays (6k) and Thursdays (10K). Tuesday runs actually depends on how fatigued I feel on that day after the Sunday long run. In the event that I feel my body needs to rest on a Tuesday, Wednesday run automatically becomes 10K.

I still don't know if I can join the Manila Eliminations of the 36th Milo Marathon as it somehow overlaps with the expected delivery of our very first baby. At least if I miss the Milo marathon, I have my own provincial marathon to keep busy with. 

Bonus Part I
It's A Boy!

Hon had just undergone her second Ultrasound test and the sonographer told her emphatically that our first baby is a boy. Ever playfully teasing me, as I was not able to join her for this ultrasound, she won't tell me the results until I got home from Makati office to our house in Cavite. That was one-and-a-half hour of excitement - (I was just riding on her secrecy play as our Ninang Sally just texted me that it was a boy a few seconds before my wife told me that the Ultrasound test is over) until I reached home.

Our prayers were answered - not only was it a boy but the baby is as healthy as he can be, the boy has been measured and dated to be 24 weeks and 1 day old (on the 24th week and 3rd day after our wedding! I still believe it's a honeymoon baby which was last October 9, a day after the wedding).

Bonus Part II
Paalam Sa Aking Balbas

I let my beard grew for about 5 months (mid October to mid March) and I did appear to be some mountain hermit for a while. My church pastor often joked about it when we see each other at church every Lord's day. My wife often complained and would not let me kiss her because the beard irritates her cheek. My mother scolds me for it. My sister, brother and sister-in-law make fun of it. It was an eye-sore to them.

Last week I had it cut. "Finally", they mused, "Thankfully you realized the beard only makes you ugly!"

Yet it was just a solemn vow to keep a commandment (Leviticus 19:27) while I try to complete reading the full Old Testament of the Christian Bible (39 books of the Protestant Canon). Indeed it is gladness and peace deep within to obey the Lord but it always isn't acceptable, normal and peaceful on the eyes of the world. (And the New Testament also does not require Christians to fully obey the Law of the Old Testament so I do understand the complains of my family and the difficulties I face in trying to explain why I don't shave for months!) After all, I think I was able to feel and imagine what it was like in Israel with men growing their beards as a sign of obedience and love of God as I read through the Bible.

Mar 19, 2012

March Peak

I have conquered my peak distance for the month of March -- 35Km long run, 61Km week mileage.

But it was not a very good run in terms of strength and speed, it was my slowest long distance run of the year at 6:47 minutes/km pace.

It was, however, still my longest long run in 2012 so far. It took me almost 4 hours (3:56 hours to be exact) to complete. It was very difficult, but very rewarding at the same time. I won't blame myself so much for the slow speed in this blog, I just want to bask in my thoughts that despite the weight problems -- I was still able to log my farthest out-and-back-home run of the year!

Muhammad Ali once stated that champions are both made of skills in terms of talent (float like a butterfly and sting like a bee) and will (the tenacity and determination to win despite the struggles and difficulties). He also said that one's skill of the will must be greater than that of the skill of talents.

Running the last 2 or 3 kilometers of the 35K run, I no longer had the stamina, much less the talent, to keep on running strong and fast. My body screams for rest and walk and water! But at least I had the will of strength to just keep on running and finish what I've started. I may not be a tenth as great as Ali, but I think I understood at least a tenth of what he is talking about.

The prophet Isaiah also wrote.. Those who wait and trust in the Lord will renew their strength.. They will run and not be weary! Despite the spaghetti-tired legs and the camel-thirsty throat, there is always peace, faith, hope and assurance that our strength will not run out as the Lord empowers those who trust and call upon His name. I do sound like a minister, don't I? I guess I just want to really take care of my body and my health for my wife, my future kids and for the glory of my King -- to have an able body equipped to last a longer distance for a meaningful and abundant purpose.

Mar 9, 2012

A Tale of Two Training Runs

--- 31K Long Run ---

Last Sunday, March 4, rain poured early in the morning seemingly trying to interrupt my week-long awaited Sunday long run. Clock alarmed by 5:25 AM and to my dismay, I may not be able to run due to the pouring rain. I slept again, prayed and hoped for sunshine before 6 AM. I woke up and there it was -- clearance to run under the clouds' covering. 

Sunday mornings running tradition has not been interrupted for this year starting from January 8 (25K, 21K race on Jan 15, 17K, 25K, 25K, 27K, 29K, 29K and last Sunday -- 31K).

For the first time this year, I am to run past the 30K mark! But the rain tried to interrupt the plan or at least keep me from running beyond 25K due to time constraint (heat by 9AM and Christian worship service by 11AM so I must be back home before 10AM). And since I was about to start running by 6:20AM, I can only run for 3 hours or risk suffering from heat or from wife's anger and then missing the Lord's Day.

After a quick stretching routine, I'm off the road to unwind, enjoy a Sunday morning on the road and do my own running thing. By KM 5, I was already contemplating n whether to run 25K or 27, maybe 29 and perhaps still manage to accomplish the planned 31K. By KM 9, I decided to follow the plan but I need to go back before 10AM! Which only means I am not allowed to take the long run any easier than I am accustomed to -- stick to 6:00 minute per kilometer pace.

KM 15.5 calls for a usual break time at the Silang Bypass bakery across Estrella Hospital. Four pieces of hot pandesal served with cold Cobra energy drink on plastic and straw -- P20 meal. I consumed all of these as I walk towards KM 16 of my run. 

I forgot to wear my knee support. I dont want to run uphills to Tagaytay without it. My knees always complain about the tough Tagaytay ascent and the knee support calms them both most of the time especially for long runs beyond 25K. Since I initially thought I am only about to run 21-25K when I got out of the door, I did not wear the knee support this time. Bad move.

When I reached 21K, my knees started to be uncomfortable but pretty much manageable. I wished I wore the support. Often times, I am just too excited and forgets a lot of things. I am now struggling with the heat because it is well past 8AM. 

After a few more kilometers, I stopped again for a hydration break. I was stretching my legs before Manang Tindera attended to me. They had no mineral water left on sale, only soft drinks. She said they do have portable drinking water if I want -- sensing my thirst for all the sweat running down my body from hours of running under the now scorching heat of the sun unveiling its wrath. I offered to buy soft drinks if she could provide me with the water. After filling a plastic with straw with the water from her house at the back of the small store, she told me I need not buy soft drinks. I left her with a lot of thanks and gratitude for I really needed to drink -- I still have 7.5K to run and time is running out.

I faded under the heat and slowed down to about 6:45 minutes per kilometer. My legs are definitely tired. I was not fully ready for my first 30+ KM run of the year. Blame the heat, blame the rain, blame the knee support. Blame everything except my foolish desire to conquer 31K despite the late start and unplanned running beyond 25K (when rain poured early in the morning).

I reached home after 3:20 hours of running, an average of 6:28 pace for 31K. I am thankful I still was able to log this much mileage though I wanted to run at a faster 6:00 pace.

--- 10K Easy Run ---

You don't force the pace, let the pace come to you.

Running easy runs and long runs at slow paces can bore the competitive fast-paced lover in me. I long for the times when I run 800 meters in a flash, record 3:30 minute kilometers once in a while or run 3K and 5K Tempos at or even under 4:00 min/km pace. These things I surrendered when I adapted my training strategy for this year -- exhaustively building my mileage base thru long and easy runs. 

Amazingly, last Thursday, March 8, was an exception. I started off at a 5:20 kilometer and almost ran each and every kilometer thereafter under 5 minutes (KM 6 was at 5:05 minutes). It came as a surprise since I just ran a 53:51 10K last Tuesday followed by a pedestrian 6K run on Wednesday. The following day, I ran 49:00 minutes 10K easy run.

Again, it was not part of the plan to run under 5:00 minutes on an Easy run. What caused it? Perhaps I am now improving as my body adapts to running 10Ks twice a week. Perhaps I am now a bit stronger with almost 400Km of mileage this year. Perhaps I just wanted to recover from a weak performance on my Sunday long run. Or perhaps I am just too loose and not forcing anything. Perhaps it was just the sheer joy of being able to run consistently.

--- Up Next ---

This Sunday I will be running 33K to be followed by a 35K on the next Sunday before I trim back down to 31K on the last Sunday of March. I will still try to stick to 10-6-10 Easy runs on Tues-Wed-Thursdays as I pile up the mileage for March. Hopefully I get to log the 225+ kilometers I plan for the month.

Feb 29, 2012

Feb Recap

I feel like I am now closer with my old running self.
Yet the weighing scale says otherwise. :D

I ran my last 29-kilometer long run nicely at 5:58 min/km pace. The last few weeks dating back to January saw me running at 6:05++ pace on 17K and 27K long runs. The last three or four kilometers of a long run usually says a lot about your current endurance level and I really felt strong towards the end of the run. Somehow, someway I am getting back to marathon endurance level.

February 26 was the last Sunday of February, I targeted my longest long run of 2012 on this Sunday -- 29 kilometers. And I was able to execute the plan! Cheers!

Courtesy of Runner's World Training Log:

52-Week Graph from 2011-2012
Week starts Monday and ends on Sunday

12-Month Graph from February 2011 to February 2012

Noticeable on the graphs are the consistent Easy and Long runs and the absence of Speed Runs (Tempo and Interval) for the year 2012. The intention is to build the base endurance foundation and get comfortable with the longer long runs -- maybe up to 45 kilometers by May or June. Losing weight is more important to me than gaining speed at this point in time. (I know speed training can actually speed up the weight loss but for 2 reasons I decided to delay speed training: (1) we build endurance first (2) I find it hard to sustain my speed works with my current weight and endurance level)

Tomorrow, March 1, I will start building my March running mileage. A new month and a new start (monthly mileage resets to 0Km). For this month, Easy runs and Long runs will still abound and the absence of speed runs and perhaps even races will be my norm. Sunday long runs will now be as long as 35 kilometers (March 4: 31Km, March 11: 33Km, March 18: 35Km, March 25: 31Km). The target mileage for March is about 225 kilometers (about 57Km per week).

Feb 23, 2012

Fox International Channels (FIC) Run


Fox International Channels in cooperation with RunRio Inc. brings us the FIC Run this coming March 25, 2012 to be held at the Bonifacio Global City grounds in Taguig. 

Categories are 500m (P150), 3K (P550), 5K (P650) and 10K (P750).
See race routes below courtesy of Ms. Kulit Runner.

Register now! Only 3500 slots are allotted for this fun run. Registration start February 22 and ends one week prior to the event. The not so long distance of 10Km can be a nice Tempo run or an easy recovery run for the seasoned long distance runners. While the 5Km distance or shorter can be best for a fast run challenge. Whatever your goal may be, FIC run might just suit your needs this coming March 25.
  • Riovanna Store, BGC
  • Riovanna Store, Katipunan
  • Athlete's Foot, Robinson's Galleria
  • Toby's, SM Mall of Asia

Firm February Foundation

Everyone who wants to build something should know the importance of a foundation. For the foundation keeps together everything put on top of it -- be it the Church of Christ, a house, a high-rise tower or a running base. And this month of February, I am all about the business of building a firm foundation for my running goals later this year.

Tuesdays and Thursdays nights are my regular time for Easy runs at the park after office hours. If time and body still permits, I try to squeeze out a 5 to 6Km run on Wednesday nights.

Then come Sunday mornings, you'll find me sweating it out on the uphills of Silang to Tagaytay City for my long runs --- 25 to 29 kilometers for this month of February.

I lost 3 pounds in the last few weeks of this training schedule. I am still over the healthy scale limits by the way. Little by little, stride by stride I will be able to bring my weight back to where it has been -- 154 pounds or less. God willing, I will be running marathons in the month of May and perhaps try another Milo Marathon Qualifying run by July.

But I can't be overly excited for now, the extra pounds still cleave and the going is still tough. Still in the building the foundation mode. Still piling up the mileage base. Little by little. Stride by stride. Patience is key. Discipline is a must. This is really taking too slow and is taking too much time. But I am taking it anyway. 

Little by little. Stride by stride.

Feb 2, 2012

Slowly Coming Back to Running Form

You cannot fix a problem you do not see. Lucky for me, I have bloated so big I clearly see myself now. And that's part of my problems why I seem to regress and produce slower and slower finish times.

Last time I checked with the scale, I already am at a whopping 162 pounds. About 5 pounds heavier when I ran the Milo Finals, and more than 15 pounds heavier when I first ran a full marathon. 

And I am not complaining. As a matter of fact, by accepting the fact that I am now overweight, I am slowly getting back the fire within to keep on running. Had I dismiss the fact that I have gone so much bigger, I would have continued with my lackadaisical running routines producing mediocre race results.

And that's another part of my problems. I had focused so much on race results I had forgotten to build a solid mileage base. I kept on running the Tempos and the Intervals and set aside the Easy maintenance runs.

But I have slowly gone back to basics and I am loving the renewed passion and self-discipline. I think I need three more months to bring myself back to my best running form. Weight loss is the goal and 15 pounds is my target by late March or early April, right on time for the summer beach outing. More importantly, I am just taking it a lot more relaxed and a bit more purposeful on doing road works consistently. Come to think of it, that's really how I enjoyed this sports. In a world that dictates so many different ideas, techniques, fashion and all sorts of other stuffs, sometimes you just got to be yourself doing your own thing.

And that's where I'm at right now. Overweight and slowly running consistently to get back to form, doing my own thing.

Jan 17, 2012

Natural Run Top 20

Drew Arellano, the actor, finished at 20th place out of 850+ half marathon finishers.

Coach Rio, the runner and race director, paced with Drew and finished slightly ahead at 19th place.

Yours truly, the unknown, finished just 4 seconds ahead of Coach Rio to bag the 17th position.

I started trapped in about the 6th row from the starting line and had to maneuver my way slowly just to have a running space. It transformed into a chasing game for me from there. But I was very heavy so I failed to really chase as fast as I wanted to. Hehehe. See below picture (Bib #0284).

My lower back cried pain all throughout the race. Sensing the possibility of a DNF, I forced myself not to stop and even limited my hydration stops to only 2. One after the 7Km banner and the next one after the 14Km marker (after the second, I was very eager to finish the race and drink all I want!). The strategy worked as I never drifted from a manageable 5:00 pace. I counted 23 runners ahead of me before the PNR Makati U-turn point. I aimed to overtake 3 runners to finish at the Top 20. By the Buendia Kalayaan flyover, I managed to overtake 6. Then I went pass 2 more half marathoners after a few hundred meters back in BGC. I was then at 16th place but the 15th finisher was nowhere near my sight so I just took it easy from there. A lean runner overtook me and I never fought back. The only time I really stepped on the gas was when Coach Rio started to closed in on me on the final hundred meters of the race. I took 17th place after finishing in 1:45 hours!

Next race would be 10K sometime in late February or early March. I better lose some pounds and start getting right back to fit form.

Meanwhile, training resumes this Thursday. I do hope I start to get lighter as the training progresses.

Team Alpha1 after the Race

Jan 9, 2012

Natural Run Extended Registration and Exciting Raffle Prizes

Extended Registration

If you have not registered yet for Runrio's Natural Run 2012, it is not yet too late as the race registration has just been extended!
Registration for Go Natural Run 2012 is extended until Jan 11 at all in-store registration sites except for RIOVANA wherein registration will be until Friday, Jan. 13

Raffle Prizes

Raffle prizes from Resorts World Manila, Air Philippines, Timex and others are in store for lucky runners participating in the race.

See you all on Sunday, Jan 15 at the Go Natural Run 2012 at the BGC!!!

Jan 5, 2012

Almost Tempo

Last Tuesday night, 12 Kilometers were the daily mileage schedule (should there be kilomeage as the metric equivalent of mileage?). Two kilometers to warm up, 3 kilometers in top speed preferably 3:59 pace or better, 2Km recovery jog, another 3 kilometers in top speed followed by a 2-kilometer cool down. The training goal is to carry my 1Km speed up to 3Km. To develop the stamina and endurance at top speed.

Great idea. Poor execution.

I ran 2 kilometers slightly slower than 6:00 pace. Strictly following the prescribed training run.
Hit 4:20 on the 3rd kilometer.
Recovered for a kilometer. Ooops! This is not planned, is it?
Hit 4:17 on the 5th kilometer.
Recovered for a kilometer. You are not following the plan, are you?
Hit 4:23 and 4:36 on the 7th and 8th kilometer.
Recovered for a kilometer.
Hit 4:33 on the 10th kilometer.
Cooled down with a 2-kilometer jog.

I don't know what to expect this coming January 15th on RunRio's Natural Run. I will be running 21Km and was hoping I could run at an even pace of 4:20 and submit a 1:31-hour finish. But as of last Tuesday, I can only run 4:20 for ONE kilometer, not the entire 21KM.

As poor as my last few training runs had been, there is still a ray of hope. Tonight, I will be running again. Who knows, I might just be able to sustain the 4:20 pace for 8 straight kilometers.. and then do much better during the actual race. Nothing's too hard if I just keep my focus and keep on trying..Right?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Anyhow, I will be wearing my running outfit tonight and see. It's a Tempo training run.. Like the previous training run, I might be tempted again to insert recovery laps in between the scheduled Tempo distance.. Or I might finally get the discipline and determination I am so lacking to finish the run according to schedule.

Let's hit the road, shall we?