Sunday, February 24, 2008

My First Marathon (Philippine International Marathon)

February 24, 2008. This was D-Day for my first marathon. I was already awake at around 1:45AM preparing my things. I was excited at the same time anxious. But who wouldn’t, this was my first marathon, and 42K is the longest distance I’ll ever be running. We arrived at the Marikina River banks at around 3:30am. The area was already packed with many runners. I stayed beside my pace partner Glen. So my plan as a first time marathoner is to simply stick with a pace between 5:30 – 6:00 per kilometer. 4:00AM and the race began. I was with Glen, Joy, and Teddy and we were running at an even pace of 5:30/km. We didn’t mind some of the runners passing by. Glen said that we will soon overtake them at the half kilometer or so. The plan is to simply stick with the pace whatever it takes.

As we were about to enter Heritage, true to what Glen predicted, this young girl who was in the magazine was already walking. Then we overtook other runners inside the fort. As we passed by JP Rizal, we saw my parents providing supplies. They have prepared Gatorade in large quantities in a large ice bag. But to get those gatorade was really a relief. It was unfortunate though at around 24KM teddy had problems and was left behind. We also saw kuya Art having cramps at the 25th kilometer. But I'm confident they will be able to complete the race since they are really strong runners.

Everything seemed to be okay at this point. Not until we reached the 30KM mark. This was the time when I tightness in my knees. I told Glen that I’m getting knee pains but he told me not to mind it and just continue running. At kilometer 35 the pain began to increase, and all my feet are sore. I remember what Ben told me, that after the 30KM mark, it would be all heart. Yes it was so I kept on running. Not until we reached the 38th kilometer, I knew it would really be hard for me to continue so I stopped and walked. Maybe stopping was a bad idea, cause by that time, I felt the pain in my legs and it seems I could no longer run. So I walked and walked, and tried to run, but I was getting cramps in my calves. 4KM left and I needed to do something to cross that finish line. I walked and walked, and tried running again. Now as I was running, I felt the pain but I continued running. I thought that I might as well finish the race running than walking. Slowly I was nearing finish and I reached the finish line with a smile. I looked at the wide clock in the finish line as I crossed it. For my first marathon, I clocked 4 hours 5 minutes. I went to the recovery booth and my Fort Striders family congratulated me for finishing my first marathon and for remarkably finishing it with a decent time. I was so happy finishing it. I got my medal and it remarkable to achieve something very few people can achieve – to run 42KM. Its true what they say, whatever speed or time you finish the marathon, as long as you finish it, It is an achievement you will cherish forever. My legs are all sore right now and I can barely walk - so its recovery time. I’m targeting the Milo marathon and I’m planning to achieve a sub 4hours race time for it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ateneo Aquathlon

The week before the much awaited Pasig Marathon was a taper period. So what do you plan to do during your taper period? Hmmm... let me see... do those tempo runs, get as much rest as you can, and well, join the Ateneo Aquathlon!
Joining this event is purely unintended. It was just an ordinary training Saturday when our top Triathletes Joy, Norman, and Reva invited me to join the Ateneo Aquathlon. So whats the deal with this sprint aquathlon? Its 600 meter swim and 5KM run. What made me join this? I'm not really sure what came to me, but I felt this was a different thing and maybe its not bad to try.
Me, Norman, Reva and Joy arrived at the area at around 530am and had our body markings. The moment I arrived at the area, I was so nervous. For one, this was my first multi-sport race. Second, I've never swam a continuous lap for more the 100 meter. Oh, and I don't have enough practice at swimming.
Around 630am we started doing our warmup runs, followed by warmup at the pool. I also saw 3 familiar faces. I saw my cousin Kadee who is a Water Polo athlete, Totoy and Marga. Me and Totoy had something in common. It was our first time, and we were both non-swimmers. Marga on the other hand has been training in swimming for quite some time now, so technically this isn't really that new to her.
The race will start by different age group and genders. The 12 and below started first, and they were very fast! I was in awe seeing them swim. Then slowly the different age groups started the race. As I saw others swim, I was becoming more and more nervous. Most especially as I saw some last place swimmers being cheered upon. I was actually seeing myself in their footsteps/swim attire. So what have you just put yourself into Taki?? And the thing is, I had to do a total of 24(8x3) laps! Now finishing the swim was also one of my concerns!
Now it was our age group's turn. As the race started, I felt different feet hitting me.. hehe... So I decided to just stay a little bit at the back. Besides, I'm not sure I'm ready for race mode in swimming. My goal was simply to finish. 2nd wave I was literally holding to dear life. I was saying to myself "you can do this" as I was inching my way towards completing the second wave. On the third wave on the 18th lap, I looked at my back and there were no one at my back already. So now it looks like I'm the last swimmer! Slowly but surely, I was able to complete the laps and I was really really exhausted. As I arrived at the transition area, when I was placing my shirt, the pins of went off so I had to slowly place them. I was very slow at transitioning, probably took minutes to do so. I was suppose to put my heartrate and watch but decided not to use them. I slowly jogged out of the pool area and started running! Now I thought that this was pay back time.. hehehe.
I'm not sure what speed I was running, nor If I was doing enough effort, but it was bliss as I was passing by other triathletes running. I notice the guy who had a grey one-suit who was one of those ahead of me in swimming. It was really cool as I slowly overtook him. Now, I'm no longer last place.. hehe... But overtaking did not end from there. There were so many I couldn't count how many I was able to overtake. I finished strong and the run was not as tiring as some of my morning tempos so I was very happy finishing the race. But the best part is, I was happy to finish my first Aquathlon. I don't mind if I was last place in swimming, but I'm definitely more motivated to try swimming as a weekly regimen.
Oh, and my friends Reva won first place in her age category, and Joy won 2nd place in his age category. Overall, this was a great event!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Marathon Training Updates

As Feb 24 nears (my first 42K Marathon), there are butterflies in my stomach. Racing 10Ks is much different than racing a marathon. To run one whole marathon is almost equivalent to not eating for two days in terms of calories burned. But what scares me the most is not the amount of calories to burn, but rather the amount of impact you do to your feet. Its basically pounding hundreds of pounds for hours. This is the type of stress that retires many runners because of major injuries. But I've made up my mind. Ill be running a marathon this Feb.

It has been a taper period already so this week is quite light in terms of mileage, but not necessarily easy. So what was my running plan this week? Well its straight tempo workouts from tuesday to saturday at distances 5K to 6K followed by a 16K long run on Sunday. I've already ran last tuesday until today at 4:40min per kilometer pace for each 6Ks (approximately 23 minutes for 5KM). So tomorrow would be my last tempo for the week. Many would probably ask how would a tempo run for 6K help me in my marathon goal when they are so short? Well, honestly speaking I'm not sure. Except that I feel I needed to keep my fitness elevated in the last 2 week with less chance of getting injuries by removing very very long runs in the middle of the week and very very fast speedworks. So its almost all tempos for me, but of course, I still need that 1 long run on Sunday.

But training alone isn't enough. I needed a clear cut strategy on hyrdration and mental motivation come Feb 24. So whats the strategy? Well heres my list

1.) After 10K drink water
2.) After 21K power gel
3.) 21K onwards, power gel and water as necessary.
4.) Stick with my pacing partner Glen.
5.) My watch does not tell a lie, so stick with that pace and remind Glen to stick with it also. If tempted to increase the pace, we need to slow down.
6.) Its okay to walk for a minute or 2, but please not more than that or else i might be tempted to ride a taxi cab.
7.) If possible, try getting the sub 4 hours goal time. If not possible, then there is always a Milo Marathon this August.
8.) Enjoy the scenery. This would be the first time I would be running around the whole Manila!

Alright, thats just about it. Pasig Marathon here I come.