Runner’s Interview: Leica Carpo

Monday, 2 February 2009  |  Interviews + Features

Honolulu.  Pasig.  White Rock.  New York.  These are just some of the major marathons and triathlons that Leica Carpo, runner and triathlete, has joined since she started running in Aug 2007.  Last November, she finished the NYC Marathon with a time of 3:40, which qualified her to run in the prestigious Boston Marathon this coming April.

ingrun

Lucky me.  I had the pleasure of interviewing her to find out the secrets to her unbelievable performance:

First of all, congratulations on qualifying for Boston Marathon, a feat accomplished by only a few FIlipino runners. THANK YOU. 

How did you feel running at NYC Marathon?  

I felt great and barely felt ‘the wall’ at kilometer 30 I just focused on running tall, breathing easily and soaking in the positive atmosphere. The weather made a big difference for me. It was cold (40 degrees) so I did not get as tired as when I run here. I enjoyed the weather and the NYM organizers did an excellent job of making the marathon as much a joy as any running trial can be. From the perfectly positioned and executed water/Gatorade refuel stations, medical aid stops, energetic bands ranging from rock to gospel to the positive spirit that the volunteers and crowds reverb with. The city came alive and rallied behind the runners. It’s a lifetime running memory that I would want for any runner. 

 first ave

What was it like to cross the finish knowing that you had qualified for Boston along with your sister, Amanda?

I was happy to see I made my sub 4 goal and did not know what the time was for qualifying for Boston at the time I crossed. I just ran at a pace that was relaxed and comfortable for the distance I felt I had to cover. I love the fact I qualified with my sister Amanda. I have a training buddy I can rely on to encourage and push me to do better.

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You finished your first marathon in Honolulu at 4:22 and, a mere two months later, you ran Pasig River Marathon at 4:25.  At NYC Marathon, you finished strong at 3:40, a significant improvement from your first two marathons.  What would you say was the key factor in your training that led to your faster time?

The weather in NYC and my training program with POLO TRI for Triathlon training.  I trained for a 70.3 distance so that ‘s 6 hours of exertion vs. my goal of sub 4. I had a stronger base for NYM then my first 2 marathons. For Pasig I was coming from Christmas Holidays and only planned to run two weeks before barely enough time to recover (for my level) and not enough time to improve. Another factor I think is a serious taper which is one of the hardest things for most runners to do because they like to run everyday and get cranky when they can’t get in the mileage. As for me since my sister was getting married two weeks before Manda and I had no choice we had to join in the wedding festivities and were forced to get off our feet and rest.  Its always better to race rested after (solid training program). You need to feel like you can’t wait to run and legs should feel fresh. Both my sisters and cousin finished well under their sub 4 race goals for this NYM :>

What was your weekly training program for NYC Marathon like?

15 to 20 hours a week. Intensity varied from easy (zone 1- 2 heart rate) to hard (Zone 3-4 heart rate). 

It’s uncommon for runners to race 3 marathons in 11 months as this can lead to overtraining and injuries.  How did you ensure that your body, especially your legs, were free from injury?

Follow a well-rounded program created by a seasoned coach or runner. Proper cross training is the key. Listen to your body and don’t let aches and pains go unchecked. Proper nutrition, hydration, and the addition of (core and weights training are also good ways of ensuring you remain injury free).

How are you preparing yourself for Boston this coming April?

More running and cross training in a similar terrain as Boston. More course specific—e.g.downhill running etc 

Any goals in mind after Boston?

2 or 3 TRI races (SUBIC, IM CAMSUR 70.3 and maybe one more marathon towards end of the year).

How do you balance running with everything else in your life?

Wake up early to train. So discipline is key so you can keep all the balls in the air. I’m lucky that my work allows me to be flexible with my time.

Why do you run?

Because it makes me feel good about life and myself.

Any tips for beginners?

The first 15 minutes are always the hardest part of running—just stick to it and I promise it will get easier.  Take it one step at a time. Run with a run group you will get motivated, learn from other runners and it will make time pass faster.  I like to focus on the finish line when I get tired it keeps me going. Other thing I drilled into myself early on is to never enter a race I won’t finish. From training for it properly to motivating myself through the tough parts—one step forward no matter how slow or small is still better then not moving or going backward.

Read “How I Qualified for the Boston Marathon” by Leica Carpo on Inquirer.net

Read past Runner’s Interviews here.

Runner’s Interview: Mike Mesina

Friday, 28 November 2008  |  Interviews + Features

I have decided to resurrect TBR’s “Runner’s Interview” to feature runners of all shapes and sizes who have something noteworthy, significant, or inspiring to share with their fellow runners.  My first interview was with Sen. Pia Cayetano followed by Pinoy Ultra Runner’s Team Principal Neville Manaois last year.  Hopefully, I can churn out at least one interview every two weeks for all of us to enjoy.

In this 3rd interview, I’ll be featuring Mike Mesina, a serious runner based in New York, who caused a lot of commotion online due to his spectacular finish at the recently held ING New York City Marathon with a time of 3:12.  Here goes:

So, we all heard about the now famous Mike Mesina finishing the NYC Marathon with an impressive time of 3:12.  How was it?  What were the highlights of the marathon for you?   

I admire you for a job well done on your blog site. It’s certainly beneficial for Filipino runners to find a channel to share passions and interests in running.

 Mike_New York Marathon - 2 Nov 2008

– Mike at ING NYC Marathon 2008 –

The NYC Marathon has been the one race I’ve wanted to run more than any other race since I got into formal endurance events. There’s something to be said about running around the city I’ve come to call my second home while being cheered on by thousands of spectators throughout the course. I, myself, was a spectator for so many years and always found the event to be an incredible one. The stories finishers told were filled with varying and magnified emotions and always ended in utter satisfaction. So you can only imagine how ecstatic I was when I was finally accepted to run this year after two failed attempts. This would probably be my most memorable race. I couldn’t believe it. 

It’s difficult to pinpoint a few highlights through the race because the entire experience was filled with memorable events for a first timer like me. Staten Island, where the race starts, was freezing and waiting by the sidelines was nerve wracking. Running the 26.2 mile course was absolutely amazing. I will never forget how difficult it was to keep going past the 23rd mile. My legs and knees were about to give way and I did everything I could do to keep my mind off the pain. The crowds were so involved and at times even animated, and that kept me going enough to get me to see my family and closest friends cheer me on a mile from the finish. Certainly finishing at the time I did was also a highlight. It affirmed the time and energy I invested into running the best race I could run. 

Was your time within the goal you set for yourself? 

There wasn’t a set hard goal time. It was my second marathon so I didn’t have much information and experience to go with. I finished my first marathon in Athens a year earlier in 3:15. However, I seriously thought I just had a really good day, one that couldn’t be easily replicable. It was improbable that I was going to beat that time. Based on a few assumptions, I expected to run between 3:20 and 3:40 so in that respect, I finished better than my goal. But I wanted to enjoy the race and take the event in as well, so the experience of running it was more important for me. I probably should have studied the course a little more. Most of my information about race was anecdotal and based on comments from people who’ve done it. 

At the same time though, I knew I failed to qualify for Boston by a minute and a half. It was one of those “konti na lang!” moments but I can’t complain. I PR’d in my first NYC marathon. That to me was a great feat. 

Is there anything you wished you had done differently during the marathon? 

Well, most of what I learned, I learned through my preparation and training so in hindsight, I should’ve been more systematic in my training plan. For this race, I did two 18-mile runs which in my opinion, was a huge a mistake. Ideally I should’ve done at least two more long runs of 20-22 miles. My body would have been much more prepared to keep my pace past mile 22 to the finish. I bonked at mile 23 and my legs started to cramp. I wanted to walk so badly but I knew the repercussions would be regretful. 

Did you meet other Pinoys? 

I already knew a few Pinoys who ran for ING Philippines like Sen. Pia Cayetano, Jon Jon Rufino, and the Carpo sisters among others. I’ve had the privilege of running with Jon, Amanda and Chesca Carpo when I visited Manila last year. These are great people and I admire their passion for the sport. 

Jon organized a brunch the day before the race and there I met the rest of the Pinoy runners. There are also a few Pinoy friends who are based in the States. It wouldn’t hurt to form a Pinoy running group in the near future. That would be a lot of fun. 

How long have you been running?  I presume NYC was not your first marathon, right?  

I started participating in triathlons three years ago and that’s what got me into running. A good friend of mine, Patrick M., convinced me to try it out with him so we did our first triathlon together an hour away from Manhattan. We didn’t know how to train properly for it, but we definitely enjoyed the dedication of training for the three events. After we finished the event, we were hooked and since then, we’ve done several races of varying distances together even if he’s moved out of New York. 

Because of that, I found a greater appreciation for running. I started joining races organized by the New York Road Runners and love running around Central Park. The park has become my church. It is a haven for runners and cyclists coming from all walks of life. The park’s moderately tough 10k route with a few rolling hills makes it ideal for training.     

Training for Athens was a struggle because at the time, I was based out in Sudan, Africa. I left NY for Africa in July 2006 until July 2008, so basically the bulk of my training was in Africa. I had no choice but to run in the desert with temperatures reaching 120F. That was extremely difficult but it helped – a lot!

 Mike_Athens Marathon - 4 Nov 2007

– Mike at Athens Marathon –

How does your running program in a week look?  

For the two marathons, I never included intervals, tempos or fartleks in my running routine. To be honest, I didn’t know what a lot of them meant. I just love to run long distances and that’s how I trained. 

My typical running week is below. It needs a lot of work so feel free to comment on it. 

  • Monday – 10k at easy pace (7:30 min/mile average) 
  • Tuesday – 10k at hard pace (6:50 min/mile average) 
  • Wednesday – 10k at hard pace (6:50 min/mile average) 
  • Thursday – Swim or bike 
  • Friday – Rest Day 
  • Saturday – 8-10k at easy pace depending on what’s scheduled on Sunday, which is usually a local race in Central Park from 10k’s to half marathons to 18mile marathon tune up races. 
  • Sunday – Race Day at race pace (6:50 min/mile average or slower, depending on the conditions and distance)

What is the best experience you’ve had during a run or a race? 

Aside from Athens and New York, my most memorable experience was a 10k fun run i joined in Sudan. The race started at 2pm and it was 120degrees. There were 7 false starts, no bib numbers, no timing chips, no water stations, no mile markers and to top it all off, I was the only non-Sudanese who joined out of the 500 participants. I got heckled by the spectators and even the runners themselves through out the race! People stared at me not having used to seeing a Filipino runner amongst them. Furthermore, most of the runners were wearing jeans and flip-flops! But man, they ran like their lives depended on it. They had no need for dry fit shirts or shorts, running shoes, or heart rate monitors. They just ran and I ate their dust. 

Mike_Sudan Fun Run
– Mike at the Sudan Fun Run –

What is the worst? 

Tough question. I would probably highlight two, both being my worst blunders in running to this day.  

The first was the Luxor Half Marathon in Egypt. I got spoiled with properly organized events in the US where there are mile markers and race volunteers directing you every step of the way. Egypt was the opposite. The course was spectacular and included historical sites. Because it was flat, I was trying to beat my previous half marathon time of 1:29. I was feeling good and strong through the race and was running my fastest pace, I was really hammering down the pace and kept my focus on the road until the last loop when I missed my turn for the home stretch!

I continued running with a pack who, after a few minutes I realized, was running a full marathon distance. Essentially, I lost 10 minutes trying to get back to the turn to reach the finish. Quite disheartening but also a lesson learned. You can’t be too focused on the pavement, you have to be aware of your surroundings. 

The second is hysterical. It was during a 10k event in Central Park back in 2006. I had just completed my first half marathon a few weeks before so I didn’t think it would be entirely difficult. It was just another 10K. At least that’s what I thought. 

I went out with some friends the night before the race which went from a quiet and relaxed evening to an all-nighter. It was a huge mistake and I was simply overconfident.  I came into the race obviously not as physically ready as most of the other runners. So when the race started, I overshot my pace and started running hard. After a mile, my stomach started churning and my body felt like shutting down. I went to the curb and threw up, got back and ran and threw up again! This happened four more times until I finally finished. It was idiotic, irresponsible, and not something I would ever do again. The lessons are obvious. But this really was a question of dedication and all I really did was cheat myself and disrespect the event.  

Why do you run? 

There are so many adjectives to describe what it feels like to run. The runner’s high and endorphin kick doesn’t hurt. The sense of accomplishment after a race is wonderful. Being dedicated to something, I’ve found, has become quite important to me as I grew older. I’m the best at who I am when I’m running – does that make sense? 

Running is time for myself and is an outlet to distress and have fun. It allows me to push my body to transcend limits and discover what I am capable of accomplishing. The best feeling  after a hard run is when you’re muscles are twitching and you feel the pain when you come down the stairs. It feels like you put your body to the test. 

After NYC marathon, what is your next goal?

My goal is to run ING Miami Marathon in January 25 in hopes of qualifying for Boston in April. The NYC marathon just left me feeling a little hungry and I feel that I owe it to myself to give it another shot. But with the winter season already here, it’s going to be hard to train. We’ll see how it goes. 

I plan to start preparing for the triathlon season in the spring. The NY marathon is definitely in my radar for next year and my training regimen will certainly be more comprehensive.

Good luck at Miami, Mike!  Thanks again for the interview!

The Running Road Show

Friday, 29 February 2008  |  Interviews + Features

Thanks to Ben, I caught the latter half of The Running Road Show, perhaps the only running show on local television today. It is aired on Balls, a sports channel on Sky Cable.

The show was created by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) and Fox Corp. According to IAAF.org, the show will “visit over 50 countries and will broadcast an all year round entertainment show with 50 weekly episodes covering a variety of topics from lifestyle to competition updates and runner profiles, meeting the world’s greatest runners and reliving the world’s greatest road races.”

I enjoyed the interviews with runners and found myself nodding in agreement as I choked back tears. Just seeing people run, after being gone for so long, made my heart jump. Among the highlights I caught were the features on the Loch Ness Marathon and Paula Radcliffe at the World Championships in Helsinki. (Was that way back in 2005? Sheesh!) There were some supposedly inspiring words from an African runner (I forget his name. It start with a W and has a double ii somewhere in between.) but it’s funny that he only spoke a couple of sentences in English. The rest were in his local language without any subtitles. Hmm, I guess those quotable quotes were meant to inspire only his fellowmen.

Anyhow, it was great to finally watch a show that was solely about Running. I would still wait for the next shows. Actually, I’ve already put them on my cellphone calendar (except for the early morning ones). If you want to see it, here’s the sched from ClickTheCity.com:

Fri, Feb 29, 7:30 am
Sat, Mar 1, 3:30 pm
Mon, Mar 3, 5:00 pm
Tues, Mar 4, 2:30 am
Tues, Mar 4, 10:30 am
Sun, Mar 9, 3:00 am
Mon, Mar 10, 6:00 pm
Tues, Mar 11, 8:00 am

More about show here.

Run For Your Life 100km Part 2

Wednesday, 11 July 2007  |  Interviews + Features

After visiting the blog of Neville Manaois, the man behind Run For Your Life 100km, I instantly wanted to interview him. Who wouldn’t be curious about his group’s training program, the background of each of these runners, and the entire story behind this run? Why, when he mentioned that 30-40km was a short run for them, I wanted to drive on over to his place just to say “You must be crazy!” Fortunately, within the same day of emailing a set of questions to Neville, he quickly responded and put my mind at ease.

Run For Your Life Poster2

What is the Run For Your Life?
Run for your life is a project initiated by a group of runners to raise funds for cancer patients. Our goal is to support Kythe which looks into the welfare of cancer patients specifically kids who need all our help and attention. Donors and supporters can make a financial pledge to the 6 member team running to the marathon all proceeds will go to Kythe.

When and where will the run be held?
This will happen in key cities in Metro Manila. We will start running at the UP mountaineers tambayan in UP diliman on July 21 at 7pm. We will be having a send off for the team and people can go there to donate or pledge for the runners. Our sponsor The North Face as well as Kythe will be there as well. This run will go on the entire night going around metro manila and we will proceed to the Quirino Grandstand to join the milo 42km run dun na rin yung finish line.

How did this idea come about? Why did you choose running as a fund raising event for cancer patients?

Romi Garduce, a close friend of mine encouraged me to push through with the plans of doing an ultra marathon. After procrastinating and thinking about it, I said yes thinking we would have three months to prepare. Yun pala 1 month na lang. So, we had the option to pull out or continue. We decided to push through kasi saying naman yung plano and we were already talking to sponsors, runners and other members.

We eventually decided to put the team’s running talents to good use. Inspired by other ultra marathons we decided we could use this run to generate funds for cancer patients. Rather than showing what ultra marathon is all about we want to show how running can help people and maybe inspire change. We focused our attention on cancer since most of us have friends, relatives, love ones, who died or battling cancer. On a more personal note, I have a close friend who I witness everyday fighting to live and it pains me to see that I can’t do anything.

Running is one of the simplest sports. You just need to run, no venue, no high-tech equipment, just run. The team has been running for a long time so we have decided to use our skills and talents. At the same time, we are promoting ultramarathon as a sport and people can do it.

Who are the runners joining? What are your backgrounds?
Most of the team members are members of the UP mountaineers. I have spent countless hours with them during runs, climbs and races. The short time frame given to us means that we need to chose people who we already know. We have invited other runners but the concern was the training is too short. I agree with them, that’s why we decide to focus on a group of people who have participated in long and strenuous activities. Most of all, we decided to recruit these people since they have sense of humour hahaha. The team members are all working so it was an extra challenge. The members are also involved in activities like marathon, ultimate frisbee, mountain biking, climbing, triathlon, most of all running. Hehehe.

Neville

 

How long have you trained for this?
We all have running backgrounds and we run twice a week or ride bikes or other activities. We officially started our training 1st week of June with the knowledge that the target date would be August but as I told you it was moved to July for the Milo Marathon. So, we have actually six weeks to train. All of us are working so I created a realistic plan. Long runs only weekend and the rest of the week do your own thing. So every Saturday or Sunday, we have long runs—not distance but time. First week four hours, then second week five hours etc. A lot of us got sick hahahahaha. Check out my blog I posted my Nike+ stats.

How does a typical week of your training program look?
We have individual trainings. Once a week, I do long runs. Real long, like five to six hours. I don’t care about the mileage. What is important is how much time I spent running or walking (we have to train walking also). The rest of the week I run only once usually Wednesdays, since I have to work and make arrangements for the project.

How do you feel now that the event is drawing near? Excited? Anxious?
Anxious, and the ominous task is bearing down on me. Kabado talaga!!! I am having a hard time focusing with my work and also my studies hehehehe. But I will just look at it as an ordinary training run with a cause. I just hope I don’t get sick. Hehehe. Its just been very busy, the only time I can really think about the run is during the long runs.

Can other runners join a shorter distance and help collect pledges?
Yes, other runners can join in and collect pledges. We also have guest runners. Sad to say we may not be able to provide support to other runners in terms of transportation, sponsors and the rest. I suggest that you run with us and collect your own pledge. The goal if this run is to jumpstart these kinds of activities. We already have plans in store. When we finalize the route you can actually join us and we hope you join and create your own pledge. It is time to give something back to the community.

How can we pledge?
I will be releasing two posters today all information could be seen there about pledge. But here are some of the details how you too can be a part of “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE”:

  1. Pledge PhP500.00 for every kilometer that the runners will run. Each kilometer completed contributes directly to Kythe Foundation’s Cancer Fund and Child Life Program for chronically-ill children.
  2. Pledge then join the runners as they do the 100-km. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE beginning July 21 at 7:00 pm and ending on July 22 at 10:30 am at the Milo 42-km Marathon Eliminations. It’s fun, satisfying and life-saving!

Donate directly to Kythe Foundation at these receiving areas:

  • Via ” Kythe Inc. “BPI Family Bank, East Avenue branch. Account number 6031-0529-02.
  • At the start of the RUN at the University of the Philippines Mountaineers, UP Diliman Campus on July 21,2007 starting at 6:00 pm. The staff of Kythe will be there to receive donations.
  • Quirino Grandstand on July 22, 2007 Milo Marathon Metro Manila Eliminations. This is where the RUN ends. Upon fulfillment of your pledge, you will receive a certificate of 10% discount on products from The North Face.
  • at the Rockwell Mall Press Conference on August 7, 2007.

Pledge now! See you at the RUN!

For more information on the runners’ profiles, pledges & donations to Kythe, visit Kythe, U.P. Mountaineers, Hirap Mag Run, or email fundrun@gmail.com

Runner’s Interview: Sen. Pia Cayetano

Monday, 4 June 2007  |  Interviews + Features

She ran for the Philippine Senate in 2004—and won the top sixth slot making her the youngest female Senator in the country. That is no mean feat, but for Senator Companera Pia S. Cayetano, that is just one of the many achievements she can tuck under her belt. You see, aside from her work in the Senate (which I’m sure comprises majority of her time), she was in the training pool of the Philippine National Duathlon Team, a Series Champion in the Ladies Division of Clark Duathlon (2004), and a finisher in the San Francisco Marathon (2002), ITU World Duathlon (2005), and the more recent Venice and New York Marathons. (Phew, just typing that out made me lose 1,000 calories!) Aside from that, Companera Pia finds the time for advocacy work in which she supports issues that are close to her heart. Oh, did I mention she is also a mother of two?!

Pia Sprint

– Sen. Pia sprints to finish her 10k at 50:40 –

I met Pia in 2002 when I started writing for Maxibulletin, the newsletter of Maxibear, Maxitoylab, Maxiworks, and Just Born, the chain of retail stores she built as an entrepreneur. Together, we would write and edit the articles every other month. When she became Senator in 2004, I continued to work on the bulletin alone. While Pia championed her causes for the nation, I battled typos and grammatical errors—mind you, my job was just as honorable…NOT. We only saw each other again in the Pinay In Action (PIA) Fun Run, the race she organized, which was the first race that got me hooked into running.

With work, training, family, and her advocacies, I was foolish enough to ask Companera Pia if she could find the time to be interviewed for this blog. Fortunately, she was gracious enough to accept this email interview so many of us runners can take a peek into her life as an athlete:

TBR: We know you’ve been into sports ever since you were young, like volleyball in your college days. When did you start running and joining marathons?

Pia: I started running as part of our training when I was part of the UP volleyball varsity team. We would run around the academic oval in UP which was 2.2km. That was already long for me back then. When I was 16 and a sophomore, I started running longer distances cause I felt I was putting on unnecessary and unwanted weight. So, I started joining 5k fun runs and running 2-3x around the academic oval.

If I remember right, I joined my first 10k and eventually half marathon much later, like after college..That was because I was so fat! Seriously, I had gained so much weight (living and working in NY for a while) and I needed to do something about it.. and that’s how I became a long distance runner…

I enjoyed joining races ranging from 10 to half marathons, but it took a while to do my first marathon…I did that in my senior year in law school in 1991, the PAL marathon.

Pia in Mekong River Race

– Sen. Pia at Mekong River Race where she did an olympic distance duathlon (10krun-40k bike-5k run) on Saturday and a sprint tri on Sunday (750 swim-20kbike-5k run) –

TBR: You organize marathons as well, “Run-Walk Bike For a Cause in Memory of Gabriel” and “Pinay In Action,” why do you think is this a good way to celebrate your cause?

Pia: First of all, I like to bring awareness or celebrate causes in a way that is close to my heart. Some people chose to do benefit concerts, others sponsor a play or a movie. I do what I do best, running, biking and stuff like that…Not only does this become an enjoyable process for me (its not easy raising funds) but it gets people involved in a healthier lifestyle.

Bike For Hope Pia Speaks

– Sen. Pia promotes cycling as an environment-friendly means of transportation during the 6th Bike For Hope –

TBR: You already ran the dream race of most runners, The New York Marathon. How did you prepare for this? How did you feel during the run and after?

Pia: How did I prepare? I made the decision to join in May, I think. That gave me 6 months to prepare. At that point, I was doing around 14k as my once a week long run. I worked with my coach Rob Pickard, and figured out the distance I had to cover backwards…meaning starting in the last two weeks before NY, I wanted to be running 30-35k comfortably. That would mean, I had to slowly build up to that distance. In July I was doing half marathons comfortably, working on both my speed and edurance. In August and September I slowly built up the distance to killer 30k plus long runs every other week. I died of boredom but I knew I needed to do it..Because doing a 30k is so long, a couple of times, I joined a half marathon and then ran 10k more after passing the finish line.

NY was meant to by my 3rd marathon (I say meant to be because may “nasingit” na marathon 2 weeks before. When I was finalizing my training program, I realized I would be in Europe for my conference with Women Parliamentarians during the time I had to do the crucial last long run. I looked if there were any 21k races that would serve as my last long run. There were none, but there were a few full marathons. To make a long story short, I decided to join the Venice Marathon but just do half…except that the night before the race, we realized I would be stranded in the middle of nowhere if I just stopped at 21k…so I completed it..and ended up running two marathons 2 weeks apart. Not a good thing to do, but I did PR both times..I did a 4:06 in NY.

How did I feel during and after? I was worried when I started NY because 2 weeks is not enough time to recover from a marathon. But 5k into the race, I was psyched and energized because I was feeling really good…I ran the last few miles with friends Fernando Zobel and later Paul Casino and that was really a good feeling… NY was my best race because I had trained well. My triathlon coach Rob Pickard was instrumental in working-out a doable albeit at times, grueling program. He made me do horrible horrible 1k repeats and long tempo runs.

TBR: How do you balance your roles as Senator, mother of two, and athlete? How do you find the time to train?

Pia: The short answer to that question..I just have to wake up earlier and not stay up too late to sqeeze in my work-out. The long answer…I’ve always been a busy person. I think being a breastfeeding mom, set the tone and gave me the training for balancing life between family, work and other things..I’m not a morning person, but I had to become one to squeeze in training..so I guess I’m now a reluctant morning person. Sometimes, I wonder why my sport was not an indoor sport like badminton where people play late at night (I do play badminton but not regularly these days).

Pia in NY

– Sen. Pia speaks against child discrimination and violence at an international conference in NY –

The key is planning. My training is like any other appointment that is booked in my calendar and that should be respected, meaning not cancelled or bumped off, unless absolutely necessary. From there, I know if I have to wake up extra-early or just in time to do the planned work-out for the day before my work week starts. If its a busy week, then I just have to do the harder/longer work-outs and catch up on my sleep on the week-end..

Session ends in the evening, I rarely get home before 8pm, usually too exhausted to work-out by that time.. And that’s my time for my kids. We do indoor activities on school days–anything from just hanging in our room, playing sungka (our favorite these days), reading, sometimes artwork when we are feeling creative. They go to a Montessori school and rarely have homework which is a good thing, if you ask me.

I also try to get my kids involved in sports, that way we can all enjoy what we are doing. I’ve started bringing my girls to a short-off road trail for mountain biking, just here in the village. i stink at it, but its good for bike handling skills and my 12 year old daughter likes it and is getting better. She also has done 2 triathlons na! Proud mom! My 8 year old, likes doing a few laps and playing in the pool when I swim sometimes.

Pia with Maxine

– Pia runs with her 12 y.o. daughter, Maxine, and best friend, Amanda, during their 2nd triathlon –

TBR: How does a week of your training program look?

Pia: Well, it really depends on what Im training for. I join triathlons, duathlons and running events year-round. So, I swim, bike and run during the week. I join as many races as I can. They destress me.

This is the general program, subject to tweaking depending on the upcoming race:

> MON – bike ride or brick (bike and run) if there is a triathlon or duathlon coming up) and if Im not too lazy. Sometimes swim in the evening, if and only if I get off by 7pm.
> TUE – long run (every other week) med distance in between weeks and yoga
> WED – long bike (every other week, if possible)
> THU – run intervals and swim (badminton too if I have time)
> FRI – REST
> SAT – brick, if not bike and swim or tempo run
> SUN – either a race, easy run or whatever I’m up to. Easy swim after the race or in the early evening.

Pia Bike For Hope

– During the 6th Bike For Hope –

TBR: What other races do you plan to join this year? Do you have other goals in sports that you want to achieve?

Pia: I join any 10k I hear off when Im free. Im working on my form and my speed. My goal is to get my time comfortable under 50mins. Not easy:(

TBR: What is your dream race?

Pia: As a runner, my dream race has always been the NY marathon. That’s why I made myself do it last year when the opportunity came about..So, I guess, I have fulfilled my dream…I wouldn’t mind joining races in different countries. I try to look for races when I travel, but lately, its only the Venice Marathon that I’ve done out of the country.

TBR: Why do you love running?

Pia: Oh, that’s a separate interview all in itself! But well, I love running because it helps me keep the weight off, I feel good after, usually during but defintely after. Haha! And it really is my time for myself, I’m used to running alone, I dont need a running partner or group to get out and run. But it is so much more fun doing it with friends and I take any opportunity I can to run with a friend.

TBR: Any advice for beginning runners?

Pia: Don’t force yourself to run far and fast. Go at an easy pace and don’t hesitate to take walk breaks. Unless you are the self-motivated type, do join a group or run with friends…

Be patient, the weight will come off, for those of you trying to lose weight, which is probably most of us… You will get fitter and faster and you will feel absolutely great.

If you have any comments/questions for Companera Pia, visit her here.

Photos courtesy of SenatorPiaCayetano.com, CayetanoFoundation.com