Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas in Tagaytay

For the second time, we have decided to spend our Christmas in tagaytay. Me and my wife had our first Christmas two years ago at Taal Vista, and we literally had a grand time. Now, we wanted our baby Meekha to experience with us Christmas for the first time at Taal Vista also. Early November, we have already reserved a room for my family.

We arrived at Taal Vista at around 10am. We were hoping to get an early check-in, unfortunately all the Rooms at the hotel were fully booked so we had to wait until 2pm before our room gets available. So, before checking in, we went to Leslie's and ate my favorite Sisig and Kare-kare (The ultimate running diet!).

After the sumptuous lunch, we strolled along the area to look for a shorts that I could use, for hopefully later. The day before, because of running addiction, I've worn all the shorts that I've packed. At Tagaytay, there were lots of ukay-ukay, but I didn't feel like buying any shorts from an Ukay. I also cant stand not getting any allergies when getting inside ukay shops. I'm terribly allergic to dust and mites which causes me to get asthma attacks. Fortunately, a grocery shop at Olivarez plaza are selling shorts for 99 pesos only. I bought one and we headed back to the hotel. We arrived around 1:30pm. Unfortunately again, the room wasn't ready yet, so we decided to get some drinks at the hotel's cafe at the ridge. The hotel had invited some performers dancing different Filipino traditional dance. Meekha liked the dance. She was almost watching the whole show without whinning at her stroller while her yaya was watching her. Me and Meng, had a papaya shake. We went back at the lobby and to my dissapointment, the room wasn't ready. They gave us welcoming drinks but it was unfortunate we had to check-in at around 3pm already. I didn't want to argue with any hotel personnel and besides, they were already having a hard time accomodating so many guests. After checking in, I already strapped in my running attire and checked out the gym. As expected, I only tried the treadmill. I found running in the treadmill too boring though, so I only spent around 20minutes in the gym and headed back to our room.

For Christmas dinner me and my wife were trying to decide were to have our date. The hotel was offering a set dinner for 1000++ peso each, or if we would look for a cheaper but descent place to eat dinner. We decided to try dinner at the "Botique" inn. Besides, if you would compare the set dinner this year to last year, this year wasn't as plenty as what we have experienced last year. At dinner, we had a Kani Salad, Pork Belly and a Fish Fillet. The food was really really good. We went back to the hotel, very satisfied and full. Around 10pm before Noche Buena, since we were already sleepy, we decided to start opening the gifts and sharing a glass of sparkling white grape juice. I shared a little bit about what Christmas is all about. Talked about how significant Christmas is. I talked about it was not just a celebration of Jesus birth, but also a reminder of our salvation because of His death. It is Christmas were we are reminded of God's goodness to bring salvation to mankind because of His death from on the cross. We were no longer able to wait until 12pm so we slept already.

In the morning, we had a breakfast buffet, and packed our things and checked-out early so that we can reach the Quintos Christmas party.

Long Run From Guadalupe to Merville

Last Sunday, the day before we plan to go tagaytay, I decided to pay my parents at merville a visit. Luckily, it was sunday and it was my long run day. So what best to do my long run than to start running from Guadalupe to Merville.

530am and started doing my run starting with the usual warm up then headed inside fort bonifacio. The route was from gate 1 and then to mckinley toward gate 3. Then left to service road and right to Merville access road. Passing by the guard house, I greeted the guards Merry Christmas, and then headed to my parents house.

The long run wasn't really much of a long run since the distance was just around 10KM. But nevertheless it was fun, since it was a different route. I checked my watch and averaged a pace of 5:29 min/km.

I had breakfast, borrowed the car and drove to our place to pick up my wife and our baby so that meekha can visit her lolo and lola.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

DND Race

I must say this was a very memorable race for me, primarily because it was my first relay race. It was also the first time we get to race as a team. There were actually two Fort Strider groups who joined. Kuya Art, Ate Merlyn and another guy who's a friend of kuya art were the first group. On the other hand, Me, Glenn and Tina were one group.

I was surprise to find out that there were also Happy Feet runners who would be joining this relay. Jaymie was also the second runner for their team. At last, I was able to meet Ben and Joms.

We were not really racing to win but simply to enjoy the race and to get to try for the first time a relay race. Glenn asked me if I wanted to join him and his girlfriend Tina, so I'm the extra guy who tagged along with them in this race. Glenn would be running first, followed by me, and then Tina. I call this arrangement the Positive splits. The fastest runner would run first, followed by a slower runner, and then the slowest runner. Glenn is really fast, even for an injured guy still manages to go in the top 20 of several races. Me on the other hand, I just wanted to get my first Personal Record for the 7K. Tina on the other hand is not really much of a runner. Perhaps Glenn only dragged her since we needed a girl to form up our team. But at least I know Tina is capable of completing a race. (Hey, not everyone can complete a race, even just a 7K race).

When the gun sounded the first team started running. As usuall, I was now pretty nervous. I don't know if it was a good thing, but just by standing up, my heart rate began elevating to 105 bpm... hehehe.... As predicted Glenn would come around 7 or 8th place. After Glenn arrive it was my turn to run. I started with a very fast pace of 3:30 but after 100 meter i slowed down to 4:40 pace. I know I can maintain a 4:40 for 7K since I have done a 4:35 in a 5K practice run. Around perhaps 500 meters I saw Joms, the tall happy feet runner on his way back. After going out of the camp I saw Kuya Art just on his way going back. I thought to myself, "wow, we are really far in front of the lead". It was even more bliss as I was able to overtake 3 runners before heading to the turning point. On the way to the turning point, the road became really really steep. I also noticed my pace go down to 4:50, I thought to myself, I'd just maintain 4:50 and push more speed after the turning point. When I was running back, I saw of a couple of runners. I also saw Jaymie from happy feet and waved at her. I pushed my speed at a faster pace to compensate the time lost while running uphill. I was hoping to overtake the runner 100 meter ahead of me. Unfortunately, I had no more time to do so until I reached the finish line to pass the straw to Tina. I completed 7K in 31 minutes while glen did it 27 minutes. So combining our speed we have completed 14KM in 58 minutes. I thought that we were kinda ahead already. We were even ahead against the really fast Global City Runners. They even thought we would be winning the Civilian category. I was just hoping Tina would still do good enough to maintain our starting edge. We saw Ate Merlyn reaching the finish line first. We asked ate Merlyn where she last saw Tina, and she said she was able to over take her at the water station after the turning point. She also said that it was unfortunate Tina had some side stitches and couldn't run well. After a couple more minutes, we saw Tina approaching the finish line and we congratulated her. Tina completed the 7K by around 52 minutes. We didn't win any medal, but it was not bad to complete a half marathon for 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Ate Merlyn, Kuya Art and their friend got 4th place in their age category as expected. And Happy Feet runners Joms, Jaymie and Ben won 3rd place for the age 39 and below.

We had a good race, and we enjoyed it alot. I'd definitely be there on the next DND relay.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Every Nation Sambang Gabi

I'm pretty excited for tomorrow morning's sambang gabi that will be held at our church around 4:30 am at The Fort Every Nation building beside Market Market. Its a time were we are reminded of the real purpose of Christmas. It is also a time were we begin to fellowship with our Lord Jesus.

Sometimes we are caught up with Christmas, that we tend to forget why we celebrate it at all. Christmas isn't just all about Santa Clause, nor is it about gifts and parties. It is a celebration of the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ. What makes Christmas so special to us is that it is a celebration of our Victory against sin. It is the time where God has started fullfiling His promise of Salvation. For it is said in the Bible, it is by Grace that you have been saved, and indeed our salvation in Christ is worth celebrating.

After the Sambang gabi would be a time of fellowship and free flowing bibinkas. Anyone is invited. Come join us. Oh, and after the sambang gabi, ill be doing my usual morning runs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Morning Tempo Run

I woke up quite late already this morning around 630am and I wasn't in the mood in running at this time. I looked at my watch and decided that I'll just try running a few laps around the makati park area. I took my usual running clothes, adidas cap, and my can't run without Suunto watch and heart rate monitor. But as soon as I was about to leave the house, my 7 month daughter Meekha began crying. So I went back into the room took Meekha in my arms and cuddled her. As usuall, my cute irresistable daughter always makes my mornings a blessing. At this point I was already contemplating of not doing my morning run and play with her the whole morning instead. That wasn't a bad idea I thought. After minutes of playing with her, I gave her to her yaya, kissed her a couple of times and again I decided to continue my morning run. I thought it wouldn't take that long if I'd just do a 5km tempo run.

As I was about to walk to makati park, I thought that in order not consume much time by walking there, I decided to start the stopwatch do my run and do the laps that will complete 5km for my tempo run. I made my pace to approximately 4:35 seconds. I looked at my heart rate monitor and I was averaging 88% of my maximu heart rate, which is enough for almost a threshold level. I ended the run with still enough amo, but satisfied enough for the short workout. I clocked 23:00.8 minutes. I was so happy with the time, cause it was my best tempo training run. I was 8 milliseconds close to clocking in the 22 minutes section. I was thinking of trying a 5KM race soon. Normally, I use 90% to 95% effort during races, so I hope I could get a good time on my next race.

This tempo run also made me realized how much I had improved compared to 3 months ago. 3 months ago, doing all my effort, and almost vomiting doing so, I only clocked around 26 minutes. 26 minutes and I had absolutely no more amo left. But today, a 23 minute tempo run was now just a normal day in the park.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Trail Running Shoes on Concrete

Monday morning and the wheather isn't cooperating. But I just bought a Merrell Overdrive Gore-tex XCS trail running shoe yesterday and I really wanted to test it. It sounds foolish, but I really wanted to test the trail running shoes even on concrete roads at the fort area. Then it hit me. I could test the Gore-Tex capability of the shoes which will guarantee to keep my feet dry even from rain showers while still being breathable.

I decided to hit the road anyway. My plan was to do a complete loop at the fort which is approximately 8KM and head back home. There were some muddy areas along the side of the streets, and out of sheer curiosity on how trail running really feels, I decided to try running at that area. It didn't take that long though that I had to shift back to concrete roads cause there weren't enough dirt roads in the fort. As trickles of rain were pouring, I wondered how fast I could go with a trail running shoe on a wet concrete road. So I decided to run faster to a below 6:00 pace. As my feet kept on pounding the road I really felt that the shoe was quite heavy. A trail running shoe is definitely heavier than my New Balance 902, and not to mention that its super stiff. Sheesh!! what was I thinking! Why was I comparing my other running shoe with this trail shoe. Its designed to run on trails that is why is stiffer and heavier. The Gore-tex did work such that not a single drop of rain penetrated the shoe. It was also breathable as expected. Its not as comfortable though as my other running shoes most especially when I was climbing the 40 degree bridges.

So as I finished the loop I slowly jogged another kilometer going home. As I reached home, I looked at my Suunto T3 watch and it exactly told me that I ran 9KM with an average pace for the whole 9KM of 5:22/km. For me, it wasn't really that bad. It could be better, but for a trail running shoe, I wasn't dissapointed at all. I could use it for future trail runs, and other outdoor activities such as hiking.

Btw, if anyone knows of a place where I can do trail runs, let me know.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Recovery walk in the park training

It has been 2 days since I had zero running, and I anticipated this day so that I could run again after recovering from my weekend 21K long run. As I arrived at the Net3 bldg of the fort I wanted to do my normal 5min/km tempo run. But to my dissapointment, my legs are still very heavy. Thats what I get for breaking the 10% rule. Now, the problem was my pace could go only as fast as 5:30min/km and I hated the idea so I stopped after a 1KM run. Good thing, after the short 5:30 run, joy (guy) friend was about to do his 8KM run. I volunteered to come along. He was pacing only for 6:30min/km pace and it was just an 8KM. Tagged along with us were 2 fort striders. As we were running, it was so easy my heart rate is taking only 60% of my effort. I wanted to move faster but I guess this was a good recovery session run while I'm still injured. Besides, I can't force myself if I still want to continue the 16K long run this sunday. As a consolation, I tried speeding up below 6min/km on uphills, and the last uphill hitting a 5:10min/km pace. After the run I know I could still do more, but its a bit late already and I have to go home to dress up for work.

As I was assesing the run, the 21KM training really helped in my endurance. I went home telling my wife I made an 8K walk in the park.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

22K Long Run????!!!

I was in awe as I saw the training schedule on hand... It was a 22K long run! I know for serious marathoners, this is no sweat, but for me, I haven't been able to run farther than 10K in my training sessions. And the 10% rule says you should only increase a maximum of 10% in distance per week. But if I do a 22K then this will totally break the 10% rule, and ill be doing a more than 100% increase in distance.

What kept me motivated in doing this long run though is the fact that the pace will be a little bit slower than my usual 10K pace. I've done a 4:50min per kilometer in my previous race, and they have planned to slow down the pace to 6:00min per kilometer. But again, a lot of runners are saying that there is a huge difference between running a 10K and running a half marathon.

In preparation for the long run, I asked my wife to allow me to buy the nike hyrdation pack which costs around P1300. I told her its very important for long runs. I also bought a sachet of Power Gel which I will definitely needing for fuel.

Now comes the moment of truth. I woke up 4:30 packed my amo, and head off to fort to meet up with the other runners. Unfortunately as I was walking toward the meeting place, they were already running. Glen called my name and said to join the pack. He said we are just doing a slow pace. The problem was, I was wearing a jacket, and was carrying a heavy water bottle filled with water. To my disappointment I had to start 1km ahead of them, so I thought that wouldn't be fair. Anyway as I was running along with them, before the 2K mark, I felt really uncomfortable so I stopped and let them leave me. I opened up the power Gel, swallowed everything, tied the jacket into my waist, and burst into running at 10K race pace in order to reach them. I was able to catch up with them at the bridge. So for the first loop I was only able to do 6Km while they were able to do 8KM. There were also some who gave up the first loop and no longer tried doing the next loop. On the second loop though, the pace began to speed up to 5:40min/km, and this wasn't intentional. It was kuya Melvin and Glen who was leading the pack, and they were the fastest from the group. But I knew my watch couldn't lie, it was 5:40. After the 2Km mark I saw my watch telling we are moving at a 5:20min/km pace, and I knew this is now crazy!!! And the worse part is, we are moving faster on uphill. I heard now from the platoon crying out "TAMA NA!!!". But the pack kept on going playing with seconds in the 5 minute scale. On the 13K mark, many gave up. Here I am still holding on to finishing the run. I was telling myself, how long can you hold on? Then we were able to reach the 16th kilometer mark. This time around almost everyone gave up and there were only 5 of us left namely me, Glen, Kuya Melvin, Kuya Art, and a fast member who I don't know the name. I was telling myself, I can do this.... On the 20th kilometer mark there were only 4 of us left now. It was me, Glen, Kuya Melvin and Kuya Art. Now I'm along the pack of the fastest fort striders... talk about being proud. But I was about to give up when we reached the 40 degree bridge that consumed most of my energy. I saw my pace slow down to 7min/km. I told them, "no more", but they insisted that I can do it. So I decided, alright, lets finish the run! We slowed down at a 7min/km pace as we run up the really steeeeeep bridge. But after reach the top I was fully recovered I felt the pain in my knees while pounding on the ground. I normally feel the pain when running at a slower pace, so now I insisted to run faster back to a 6min/km pace. They agreed and told me that Ill be the one to pace. They also told me not to try running at a 5min/km pace because they can no longer hold that kind of pace as well. So I speed up a bit at around 6min/km pace until we reached the end. Kuya Melvin congratulated me for doing my half marathon. Since I started 1KM ahead it was really more of 21KM while it was a 22KM for them.

I was assesing my knee today, and I noticed that the 21KM run did not gave me a bad injury as much as my 10K race pace runs. So I thought, this is a cool way to end a week to have a really really long run once a week for training. I'll be running for the Yakult 10miler (16KM) this sunday and if my knee heals just in time ill try pacing for 5:30min/km for that race.