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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.