New Balance Power Race

Monday, 17 November 2008  |  Race Reports

TBR RACE REVIEW: NEW BALANCE POWER RACE 25K

Organizer: Extribe
Overall rating (5 highest): 4

WOOHOO, HIGH FIVE!:
– use of RFID timing chip for 25k runners
– challenging course
– portalet at 12.5k turnaround 
– medals for all finishers plus other goodies
– separate race days for kids/5k and 10k/25k 

GOOD JOB:
– ample supply of 100 Plus and mineral water bottles at water stations
– good number of race marshalls at certain areas
– accurate mile markers at every kilometer
– bananas and fluids at the finish
– NB recovery and photo booths
– pretty accurate measurement of distance (Garmin measured course at 25.14km)

AAW, BETTER JOB NEXT TIME:
– high traffic to check in at race start
– late starting time
– mistakes at awarding

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– NB booth where runners lined up for extra loving care from therapists –

The New Balance 25km at Clark yesterday will be one of the more memorable races for me. It was the farthest I had ever run and, despite my fears and anxieties, it was, by far, the most fun I had ever had in a race. Excellent weather conditions (it was cool and cloudy all throughout with a bonus light drizzle at the start), fun and entertaining personalities among 25kers, a great job by race organizers, plus my better-than-expected performance (not that I had such high standards) contributed to making this race unforgettable for me.

According to my Garmin, I crossed the finish line at 2:33:10 with an average pace of 6:06 min/km, a great time for me because my training runs have all been at a much slower pace; actually, my only goal was to end the race without injury.  Here are the highlights of my race:

Zen dinner: We shared an early pre-race dinner with JunC and Jay and the rest of our families at Zen, just across the hotel.  It’s nice to know that, as much as we love running, for this training group, family still comes first.

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Meeting other running bloggers: I met ibanrunner, high altitude, miraclecello, and run unlimited on race day. It’s always great to meet other runners, but even better to come across those who love it so much that they must tell everyone about it.

Bonding with family: The weekend trip to Clark was enjoyable for the kids, but it was also a great bonding experience for hubby and I since it was the first out of town race we were running together.  Hubby ran his first 10k which, as I mentioned to Mark, was of his own free will (and passion); nope, I didn’t have to force or even subtly persuade him (hehe) to register. 

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– The hubby was my photographer, sponsor, and (as seen in photo) support as I was about to stretch my quads –

Running with JunC for the 1st half: Our plan was to run a 6 min/km pace. Jay decided the night before to run at a much faster pace while Dindo stayed close behind. During the 1st few kilometers, JunC and I managed to stay within our goal pace but, as soon as we reached the downhill portion, we upped the tempo to 5:30 for around 5km as buffer for the expected slow uphill climb on our way back. JunC and I make a lot of pre-race plans but part of the fun of running with him is agreeing mid-race that we should trash those plans and run faster…haha.

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– That’s JunC and myself – 

Potty Break: Before the race started, Ting had informed me that there would be a portalet that awaited female runners at the 12.5k mark. Thank God, I told her. All throughout the run, I (and perhaps other female runners) were tormented by the sight of numerous male runners having easy access to pee breaks anywhere on the road. Aaah, life is unfair. By 9k, I needed to go badly and I was praying Ting was right.  As we climbed the slight uphill in Fontana toward the turnaround, I caught sight of the portalet and did my business at world record time. Hallelujah!

Running with Mark P. and Renz: I bumped into Mark and Renz shortly after my bathroom break. Time flew as I ran with them—almost like running with Tito, Vic and…errr…I am certainly not Joey so scrap that idea. There was a lot of laughter and nonsense talk to keep ourselves entertained. A bonus from Mark was the technical race tip he gave which I will never ever divulge to anyone. (Mark, I tried it in the last few kilometers, and yes it works!)

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– with Mark and Renz –

Running with Coach Rio and Dra. Doray: As luck would have it, I did find Coach Rio and his hair as I had initially planned. I ran with him and Councilor Doray during the last kilometers of the race, which included the 4km climb that all of us dreaded early on. Coach Rio was his usual funny and talkative self (even if I could barely respond), but he also checked in on us often asking how we were doing.  Thank you Coach and Doray!

Last 2km: So, I ran this behind Coach Rio and Dra. Doray and, as they started speeding up, I wondered if I should (or could) do the same. There was barely enough time to think, so I just ran with my eyes practically closed. It was one of the toughest and longest runs for me—ever. Ack, I wanted to yell out and ask Coach Rio if the finish line was really “malapit na” as he had repeated over a hundred times, but I didn’t have the energy to talk. Soon enough, we crossed the finish with a large crowd cheering all finishers and it felt awesome; I couldn’t have been happier that I pushed myself to the limits.

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– Our training group: Jay (Prometheus Cometh), Dindo (RunningDATcom), JunC, myself plus the hubby –

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– with hubby, Annie who won 1st in her age category with a time of 2:05 accdg. to her Garmin, and JunC –

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– Councilor Doray (Doralicious), Nina, Wayne (SFRunner), Coach Rio, hubby, myself, Vimz, Mayen, and friend –

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– with the Cougcat Family of racers –

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– with Missy, and super fast running partners, shirtless Ben and Joms –

Congrats to all the finishers! It was a fun race!  Congrats to race organizers as well!

Thank you to Jay (X59) and Jun, Mariel & Bea for some of the photos!

VSO Bahaginan Race

Monday, 10 November 2008  |  Race Reports

Before the roosters crowed, at around 5 a.m. yesterday, a large number of giddy runners, including myself, had gathered at NBC Tent for the VSO Bahaginan Run. After two short trips to the rest room, I made my way to the assembly area in search of my training group for our 15km run.  JunC, Jay, Dindo, Dra. Doray, Levy and I had agreed to run together at a relaxed 6 min/km pace for this run.  At such an early time, I wondered if I’d ever find them in the dark.  Good thing Levy is a runner/triathlete stuck in a basketball player’s body so I caught sight of him first. Pretty soon, the others appeared; we were complete. 

I almost regretted waking up early for this race, as it started 20 mins. late at 5:50 a.m. instead of the 5:30 call time. However, the long wait gave me the opportunity to finally meet Wayne (who just flew in from SF), Nora (truly the golden girl because her mere presence lights up the room, or in this case, the road) and other runner friends that were just everywhere!

The course was similar to Mizuno and Nike Human Race’s course; in a word, it was challenging. By now, most of us know that when McKinley Hill is included in the map, one should take extra steps to train well for the race, plus make the Sign of the Cross soon after the gun is fired.

When the race started, our group stuck like glue running out of Bonifacio Global City.  As soon as we made our way to Lawton, however, we had split into two.  For the most part though, we managed to stay within our goal pace running at around 6 to 6:20 all throughout the run.  Running with a group made the entire 15km more enjoyable and a lot less gruesome.  Chatting was light and free-flowing with exceptions in the uphill portions and last few kilometers of the race where all talk had stopped (either we ran out of stories or energy—you decide.)

The organizers did a good job as well to make the race as pleasant as possible.  Water was overflowing as is always the case when it’s organized by Coach Rio.  Half of the road was closed so there was less traffic than usual to contend with.  Large and accurate mile markers were also placed along the road to remind us 15km runners that we still had a long, long way to go before we reached the finish…hah!

As for me, everything went smoothly.  The only nightmarish incident I (and other squeamish runners) faced was the last kilometer’s veritable obstacle course where hundreds of higads hung from trees waiting to pounce on our sweaty faces.  Aaaack!  Thanks to good samaritan Mark Parco who warned us all about our entrance into higad territory.  I was ready to get run over by a car rather than have a higad land on my face!

According to my Garmin, I ended my 15 km run (exact measurement from organizers…great job) at 1:33:14 with a pace of 6:11 min/km.  After crossing the finish, I took a few gulps of water, had a few photos taken with Nora and Bald Runner, and run off to the comfort room for a quick change before our 2nd portion of the run.

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– With superfast women, Annie (3rd place 15k) and Lala –

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– With my favorite coach, Coach JoAr. You have to check out Photographer Ben’s cool photos of him here

Within 5 to 10 mins, JunC, Jay, Dindo and I began our next run at a slower 7 to 7:30 min/km pace.  My goal was to run a total of 22 km and initially I thought I could do it.  However, after one loop around Market! Market!, with the sun beating down on us at 7:40 a.m., I decided to call it a day a little before 2km.  My total for the day was 17km.

When I got home, I wanted to slap myself in the face for making the impulsive and foolish decision to quit with only 5km to go before I reached my goal. Argggh.  Sayang!  Oh well, I stopped beating myself up for it this morning when I woke up with a sore left thigh; I guess it’s good I got some rest in preparation for NB 25 next week.  As for how I’m going to finish 25km with only 20km as my highest mileage ever is a question that I have yet to answer…gulp.

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– Nowadays, once you take out a cam, everyone just comes running! In this photo: (FRONT ROW L to R) Coach JoAr, Vince, Coach Rio, Mark P., Master John Ting. (BACK L to R) Taki, TBR, Jaimie, Zinnia, Philip, Glenn, Tiffin, Mon, Ipe, and two other running friends. –

4th OctobeRun Festival

Monday, 27 October 2008  |  Race Reports

{ TRAINING RACE }

I had only two words in mind as I dressed for the race yesterday morning: TRAINING RUN. My “race mode” button was shut off that morning so that’s probably why I took my sweet time—even had time to touch up the pedicure on my dead toenail (yes, it’s dead again)—before I left for Bonifacio High Street.  

It came as no surprise then that I arrived just 5 mins. before the race start. When I arrived at the assembly area, I was in no mood to socialize (except to wish Cougcat good luck in his 3k and congratulate Carolyn on her Nike Women’s Half in SF) while I let out quite a number of yawns as I waited for the babbling host to just let the race begin. Fortunately, just after the Philippine National Anthem was played, JunC and Jay—my training partners that day—appeared and we had a few minutes to chat before the race started at 6:15 a.m. (thanks to the super talkative host).

Our plan was to run at 6:15 pace during the 10k race plus an additional 10k thereafter at 6:15 to 6:30 pace to complete 20k for me while Jun and Jay, who ran before the race, would reach a total of 25k.  

This was the first time I ran with a training group during a race and I’m sure glad I did. Our steady and relaxed pace allowed us to chat during the entire length of the race, yell out words of encouragement to runner friends who made their way back ahead of us (and maybe whisper “I’ll get you next time!” to a few others), and even stop at some water stations to splash some cold water on our faces. We even “recruited” Dra. Doray to run with us for a few kilometers before we parted ways.

The Fort Striders Club did a great job organizing this race. We went through the challenging Lawton-Bayani Road route without a hitch. There was an abundant supply of mineral water (not balde system as in Adidas KOTR) and marshalls were so helpful that they even poured this on our heads or faces as if they were personal coaches. I wished they had started at exactly 6 a.m. but hey that’s a minor inconvenience.  Congratulations to Fort Striders, especially my friends Taki and Glenn, for a successful race.

We crossed the finish line—agreeing to meet in 5 minutes for the next 10k—at 58:21 mins with an average pace of 5:54.  Total distance was 9.9k on my Garmin, pretty accurate measurement for organizers. We ran a little bit faster than our planned pace, but it left me feeling strong enough for the next half of our goal.

{ NEXT 10KM }

After a 5 minute break where I changed my top, munched on half a ClifBar, and found myself sharing an almost empty parking lot with Fernando Zobel, I met Jay and Jun at ROX to run our next 10k.

We were an indecisive bunch not knowing which route to take that would give us the most shade from the 7:30 a.m. sun. We decided to run loops around Market!Market! where more than half of the route was shaded and, as I requested, the roads were flat.

The next 10k was light and easy and filled with good conversation. Sometime during the run, I had what I’d like to call a “running epiphany” where I realized that I enjoyed this slow and steady type of run vs. a race; I would give up a 10k podium finish (and even cash prize!) anytime for an easy half marathon distance with friends. I could’ve screamed “I love to ruuuuuun!” right there and then, but I thought of Jun and Jay who didn’t have brown bags with them to shield them from embarassment.

We ended our 10k with an average pace of 6:55km to complete a full 20km for me. This was the farthest distance I had ever run.  Wooohooo!  And, as I ended without any hint of injury, I took it as a sign that I was ready for NB 25k.  Double wooohooo with cartwheels (if only I could do them)!  See you at Clark!

Takbong May Yabang

Sunday, 19 October 2008  |  Race Reports

Having slept close to midnight the previous night, I desperately needed my morning brew to get me up and about yesterday morning. So, despite the coffee ban I declared for myself in the previous post, I had half a cup of instant coffee with graham crackers for breakfast. (So much for all the planning!)

I arrived at the race venue, Cuenca Park at Ayala Alabang, a little after 6 a.m. frantic over my tardiness as I still had to register onsite. As I lined up at the registration booth, I was met by Coach Patrick Joson, the race organizer, who welcomed me with a smile, personally handing out my race packet even if I wasn’t sure he remembered me at all when I met him at Mizuno Run Club ages ago.  Turns out, I had enough time to claim my free Yabang Pinoy mug and band, put this back in the car, run to bathroom (twice!) before heading out for the assembly area.

This was a relatively small race in a relaxed, light, and fun atmosphere.  It was great to chat with running friends at the starting line almost forgetting at times that we were at a race, not a cocktail party.  No worries from me as this was going to be a training run; my goal was to run an easy 6:00 min/km pace for the race and run additional miles at 6:30-7 to reach my total of 18.5 km for the day.  The race started without fanfare, someone just yelled and we were off.

As we headed out towards Cuenca, I knew that my pacing plan—just like my coffee ban plan—had flown out the window. I was running at around 5:15, even reached a high of 4:27 during the first kilometer. I couldn’t help it. This was much too fun. 

After a few kilometers, I was running 3rd behind two fast women runners. I don’t recall how long we were running in one straight line, but time flew here as I just tried my best to keep up with them.  When the 2nd woman slowed down to drink, I crept up behind her to grab 2nd place.  Before I could yell “Wooohooo!” in my mind, I realized I had made a terrible mistake. Now, I knew she would be breathing down my neck the entire time and I had to push harder. Argh!

Pretty soon, this strong lady runner swept past me and I placed 3rd again. For the rest of the race, I ran close behind her running at around 5:20 to 5:30.  It was pretty much like this all throughout the race. Phoooey.

As we neared the finish, I recalled that Patrick had run the route the previous weekend and informed me early on that it was short of 10km, 8.8km to be exact.  So, around 8km, I slowly increased my pace to chase after the 2nd woman. Unfortunately, she did the same. As we neared St. James Church, we both managed to outpace the 1st woman.

We were soon sprinting towards the finish and, judging by her good form, I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch up with her. I crossed the finish line with an official time of 46:43 mins. for 8.6 km (even shorter than Patrick’s measurement) with an average pace of 5:26 min/km.  

Woah, by far, this was the most competitive race I had ever run.  Quite ironic, since this was probably the smallest race I had ever joined. I never got the name of that fast woman runner, but I did congratulate her after the run. It was so much fun!

She won 1st place, while I grabbed 2nd.  Wooohooo! 

Instead of waiting for the awarding, I met up with JunC (who won 4th place…Congrats!) and Dindo for yet another 2 loops of the race course for our long run. We ran an additional 10km at an easy 7:15 average pace which allowed for great conversation about running and family life.

I ended the morning in high spirits. The 2nd place finish was great, but it was the long run sans injury that made me jump up for joy!  Singapore here I come!

P.S. Sorry no photos. My long run was a priority that day.

Congrats to Patrick Joson for a great race!  Water was overflowing. Next year, hopefully we can make it exactly 10k. 🙂

Congrats to Mark Parco for placing 3rd (?) and bringing home a ricecooker! Me-Anne, glad your back into running. Nice seeing you Tiffin, Joe, and Eric. Patrick, sana you joined!  Idnod, it was nice to meet you even if I had to force your name out of you! To JunC and Dindo, long run again!

Adidas KOTR Race Report

Saturday, 11 October 2008  |  Race Reports

There’s something about the Adidas King of the Road that makes the race a notch above the rest; it must be the presence of thousands of eager runners, the half marathon offering, great-looking singlets, a well-organized assembly, and a number of other things, but all I know is that the moment I arrived at the assembly area, I went on full race mode eager to get going. Instantly, I forgot about last night’s rantings about the missing route map or lack of race bibs in the days leading up to the Adidas KOTR; I was just wanted to race. And, that’s what I got.

After my warm up and stretching, I waited just a few minutes—with winning triathletes and showbiz celebrities Drew Arellano and Paolo Abrera right behind me and my favorite reader Cougcat right outside the barrier—before the 10k gun went off at exactly 5:55 a.m. My secret goal (sorry, I couldn’t share with you) was simply to run a sub-55 hour 10k, a very conservative goal, which I knew I could achieve in this fast course after two consecutive weekend races at hilly Ayala Alabang.

What can I say? The course was awesome! I enjoyed running so much (or was it because I saw super funny and witty Rovilson Fernandez pass by me?) that I snobbed my Garmin throughout the race. I disregarded time and pace and focused on simply giving my best. I didn’t even feel the need to compete against other runners. I just ran, and ran, and ran.

As we climbed the Buendia flyover, I was still in high spirits and it was a delight to see friends who joined the 21k making their way back towards Bonifacio Global City. When the first few running friends passed, I would yell “Go, Glenn” then “Go Joms” then “Go Ben” then “Go Annnnniiiiie” but then, after a while, I thought I would lose my mind (and breath) just cheering for them. To conserve energy, I waved at others to show my support.

Once we hit the flat roads of Buendia, I stopped watching the 21k runners on the other side of the street and looked straight ahead. It was time to get going. After all, flat means fast (hey, I’m talking about the roads, not chests). So, I ran to my heart’s delight.  I only stopped to glance at my watch during the 5k turnaround at Reposo then I went on again.

Before I knew it, it was time to climb back up the steep Buendia flyover, which was a lot tougher than the 1st half. With the intense heat, most of the runners before me had began to walk while I slowed down to a 5:50 pace. Wow, it felt like forever trekking up that road but, with a little patience and perseverance, we survived. As I made my way back to Bonifacio Global City, I wanted to yell “Freedom! Woohooo!” as I rolled down the flyover towards flat roads but decided otherwise as the troop of PNP’s I was running with would have to cuff me and send me to Crame.

I ran towards the finish at a comfortably hard pace, again, enjoying every minute. I found my rhythm somewhere in between passing the Pinoy Ultra Runners who ran 21k and the finish line.  It was pure fun!

According to my Garmin, I finished 10.02 km (hey perfect race distance!) at 52:44 minutes with an average pace of 5:16 min/km. 

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Did you get to sign here? I didn’t. Maybe next year. Thanks to future elite runner Naombi for pointing it out to us –

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– BWK united! –

I reached my sub-55 hour goal. CHECK (with minutes to spare)

Ended the race injury-free. CHECK (Actually, I did have an injury after the race. Silly me. I bumped my head against the bathroom door hanger as I was changing. Forehead was bleeding and now it’s black & blue)

I felt I could’ve pushed harder, gone faster, and broken my PR, but hey I’m happy. It was a great race. Adidas KOTR currently tops my list of favorite races this year.

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– Aaaw, highschool classmates Tin U. and Jennie Bau! –

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– with running bloggers, The Changeling Child, RunningDATcom, & Loonyrunner –

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 – Pinoy Ultra Runners Hector, Neville and Jeremy –

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– BAGAY…ang shades ni Marga sa kanya. Diba Neville? –

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– Congrats to Annie for placing 9th, even after coming in late, for 21k –

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– Congrats to Queen of the Road Jo-Ann Banayag –