My Running Schedule Gone Amuck

Monday, 18 June 2007  |  Bullish Insights

I recall my perfect running schedule from May till mid-June and—with Whitney Houston singing “Didn’t We Almost Have It All?” in the background—I plunge into a deep dark hole of melancholy and sorrow for all that was—and what could have been.

Perfect. That would be the only way to describe a schedule that flowed so smoothly into my daily itinerary that finding the time to run was effortless and uncomplicated. Early mornings were MY time. I would leave while the entire house (even the sun!) slept and I’d return before the hubby and kids awoke for breakfast. No one would even notice my absence (mind you, for a mother of two children below 6 that is a rare occasion!) I loved my running schedule with Coach B and Annie during the past summer:

Monday: Medium 5:30 am

Wednseday: Heavy 5:30 am

Friday: Light 5:30 am

Saturday: Super Heavy 5:30 am

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. With the start of school, my entire sched has gone haywire. Goodbye to morning runs as Annie and I have to get our kids ready for school, while Coach B must attend to coaching duties in school.

Temporarily, I have settled with a new sched that keeps me running four times a week—three are solo runs while the fourth run is on Saturdays with Coach B and Annie.

So, last Saturday, Coach B and Annie met for the first time since school started, but this time at a new venue—Alabang Country Club.

Alabang Country Club

– Me with Annie and Coach B before our long run –

Coach B must have missed us during the entire week because he surprised us with a host of new drills that we practiced in the wide open field of the club. (Ooh, running on grass—loved it!) And, let me tell you, I missed our group so much that when Coach B asked me how long we were going to run, I blurted out 1 hour 10 minutes. Was I sure about that? Naaah! But what the hell, let’s go for it, I thought. And so we did.

12k all over Ayala Alabang with running buddies who keep you on your feet—literally. How else could I describe that morning? Perfect.

My Training Diary

Wednesday, 13 June 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

In running, or any other sport for that matter, a training diary can be an athlete’s best friend. Real friends don’t fool you; they don’t lie; and they encourage you to do the best you can. A training diary will do that and more for a runner. Provided of course that you religiously record important information about each run, your diary will allow you to track your progress (look Ma I can now run a 10k with ease!), motivate you to reach your goal, help you determine the cause of an injury, fatigue, or explain how in the hell you ran so fast on a particular training day.

What information do you put into your training diary? Below is a basic list I’ve made, but feel free to add (like “Who did I date the night before I broke my PR?”) or omit data as you wish:

  1. Date and Day
  2. Distance
  3. Time
  4. Calories
  5. Comments (e.g., weather, feelings—physical and emotional, new accesories used, etc.)
  6. Companions, if any
  7. Pulse
  8. Weight before the run
  9. Diet (You may opt to have a separate Food Diary, so you may simply note if you’ve been “Good” or “Bad”)
  10. Goals (i.e., lose 5 lbs., run a full marathon by December, zip up those tight jeans so I don’t have to wear my shirt untucked all the time)
  11. Training Program
  12. Races joined and your time

Now, what diary do you use? There are available books in the market that are designed as training diaries for runners. I saw this NYRR Road Runners Running & Fitness Log in A Different Bookstore, Bonifacio High Street last month. I was so tempted to buy it, but as you very well know, I am a frugal shopper so I decided otherwise.

NYRR Training Log

– New York Road Runners Running & Fitness Log 2007 by New York Road Runners (Available at A Different Bookstore and Amazon) –

There are a host of other running diaries available in Amazon, but I am unsure of their availability locally. You may ask your favorite bookstore to bring them in for you or for a kind soul to carry them home from the U.S. For now, just surf and drool…

2 Diaries

– LEFT: The Runner’s Training Diary: For Fitness Runners and Competitive Racers by Bob and Shelly-Lyn Florence Glover, Amazon. RIGHT: The Running Log by April Powers, Amazon –

If you’re a techie, my friend E-Rod recommends breakingthetape.com, an online diary for runners and other athletes. Google other online or PC/mac-based applications and you’ll discover several programs that can go beyond the role of a logbook. Some will provide you with high-tech looking charts and graphs that you’ll run the risk of turning into a analytical geek instead of an athletic runner.

And, still there are those lucky people who use the programs that came along with their Nike+, Polar, Garmin and any other HRM or sports accessory that will practically do everything for you. It won’t be long till I shall become one of them. It won’t be long. It won’t be long. It won’t be long. Hmmm…do you think chanting that over and over will help me get my Polar sooner?

As for my own training diary, the creative and resourceful side of me popped up once again to save the day. I got myself a simple orange notebook (King Jim because it has tiny lines at the top and bottom to guide alignment of columns) and plotted my way through a personalized logbook.

During the early days of my running, when I was just working my way up to running a full 30 minutes through the RW Beginners’ Program, this is how my journal looked:

My Diary - Old

In hindsight, the layout is simply confusing and crowded. Just looking at the five pages I have of that layout gets me more exhausted than all the runs I recorded on them.

So, I recently changed the layout into this simple grid pattern which I tap myself on the back for everytime I leaf through it. (No, I am not self-absorbed, I just like boosting my own confidence every now and then.) Just one look and I can determine how my training program is going and where adjustments should be made.

Training Diary - new

At this instant, I find it glaringly obvious—and perhaps you do too—that I should cross-train on Tuesdays and Thursdays…if only to make use of the wasted paper space on the right.

Run For P.E.A.C.E.

Monday, 11 June 2007  |  Race Reports

This being my 4th race we—my hubby, son, and I—have got our pre-race preparation down pat. For a 6 am race like yesterday’s Run For P.E.A.C.E., we planned on arriving at 5:30 am, which meant that I would wake up at 4:30 am, followed by hubby at 4:40, then son at 5:00. We would be out of the house by 5:15 to arrive at the venue on time. As expected, that is exactly what took place yesterday morning.

The gods must have been bored to death by our predictability though because, as soon as the race started, there were a few surprises—pleasant and err not so pleasant—that were thrown my way.

(1) The route was changed! I signed up for the 10k, despite coming from a Batangas business trip the day before, on the premise that the route would be easy and flat as the race organizers had initially presented in their map. It was deja vu for me then when, after running around Libingan ng mga Bayani we were led to make a right turn towards C5. A right?! No way, I thought, because that would lead us all down the hill towards C5, which would have meant that we would take a u-turn and climb back up again! It was the Champion Race all over again—aaaaah!

(2) I’ve made a lot of running friends. I still remember my very first race vividly. I forced (uhm, I think “persuaded” sounds much better) my husband to accompany me for fear of looking like a lonesome loser waiting for the race to start. Fast forward to yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised to meet a few runners I’ve been in touch with online—Mon, Smith, Joms, and Tisha of H@ppy Feet Runners, Hitme64, and Renz. Of course, familiar faces like Mayi and Jamike—the coolest athletic couple ever who I have the pleasure to train with every now and then—were there too.

With The Lopas

– with Jamike and Mayi (who finished 10th) –

For the first time, I ran side by side with someone all throughout the race. Joms kept me entertained for a full hour with whatever he could dish out about anything under the sun. Well, there was certainly a lot for us to chat about since this was the first time we had ever really met (excluding the quick photo op in the Champion Race.)

(3) No pain! After struggling through a week of knee pain, I was paranoid about hurting my knee all over again. In fact, I was 80% sure that I would hear my knee clicking again after the race. But, nope—I felt no soreness, no pain, no snapping, no nothing—could it be that I’m getting stronger? Hmmm…it’s probably because I didn’t push too hard during this race.

(4) I broke my PR. Yup, I came in at 1:00:24, 33 seconds faster than my previous 10k. What surprises me though is that I broke it at all. I certainly did not give this race my best. For some reason, my mind wasn’t all that into it. I think I got turned off with the start of the race when we had to literally walk/jog our way out of the mass of runners in the narrow road leading to the cemetery.

Finish Line

– Running towards the finish line –

With Anton

– My little boy and I after the race. He’s pooped after his 3k –

(5) I placed 6th! Honestly, I don’t know if this is a surprise or a joke! Me, 6th place? 10 minutes after the race, as I was chatting away and taking photos, my hubby asks me about the piece of paper in my hand. I tell him it’s nothing—a man handed it over to me when I reached the finish line. When I take a look at it closely it says “6th Female.” Wooohooo! My time wasn’t all that great, but hey it feels awesome to discover that I was the 6th fastest woman in the 10k. Now, that was a surprise for you too, wasn’t it?

6th Place

– Who would have thought an index card could bring me so much joy? –

Cool Prizes From Rogin-E

Friday, 8 June 2007  |  News + Promos

Calling all MEN!

A friend emailed me a link to this Rogin-E online game that her team developed. The promo is only open to males above 18 years old. I know a lot of you guys reading this will jump at the chance to win these prizes (given out daily to the top scorer):

Timex
Sahora Backpack (Samsonite)
Adidas GC
Suriya Spa
Nike Gift Cheque
Gold’s Gym GC
Rustan’s GC
Ipod
Rudy Project Shades

Plus, a chance to win P250K!

Boy, I would love to get my hands on any of those. Why oh why is Rogin-E only for men?!

By the way, if you by any chance win the cash, the tracking system in The Bull Runner’s blog shall automatically deduct a 20% referral fee through your online bank account. Thank you in advance for the commission.

6 Weird Things About Me

Thursday, 7 June 2007  |  Bullish Insights

I got tagged by Hitme64: “Each player of this game starts with 6 weird things about himself or herself. People who get tagged need to write a blog entry of their own as well as state the rule clearly. In the end, you need to tag 6 people as well and list their names. Don’t forget to let them know they’ve been tagged!”

Now, as The Bull Runner only discusses all things running in this blog, the six quirks below are only those that appear in her life as a runner: (Don’t you think it’s weird already that I use third-person when I have to discuss something negative about myself?!)

{ 1 } Listening to awesome music while running gets me all teary-eyed. Seriously. The first time this occurred was while I was running solo in Alabang to U2’s “It’s a Beautiful Day.” Aaaaw, it was truly a beautiful Sunday. The sun was just about to set, the sky was purplish blue, and I had a new outfit on (Ack, I’m such a girl!) When the song started, I was so ecstatic I wanted to burst into tears. Then, while running at 6am in Camp John Hay, Baguio, it happened again when I heard New Radicals’ “Gotta Stay High.” There was even a time when I got dramatic while cooling down to Coldplay’s “Fix You”!

{ 2 } I carry an Astring-o-sol bottle filled with water during my runs. I’ve seen the New Balance Waterbottle Carrier at their stores, but I think it’s just way too big and ostentatious for anything less than a full marathon. Thanks to my resourcefulness (and yeah, frugality) I thought of using a mouthwash bottle! During the initial phases of my “product development”, I planned on getting the Listerine 80ml (I’m a Listerine girl! I used to handle that brand during my marketing days) but the mouth was too small to manage a drink on the run, so I forced myself to get what I still unbelievably perceive to be my competitor, Astring-o-Sol.

On a side note, I would drop the Astring-O-Sol bottle anytime, if I got this as a 2nd gift for Christmas. (Someone please tell my husband to read this):

Nathan Speed One

– I want a Nathan Speed One Water Bottle Carrier –

{ 3 } I am an obsessive-compulsive shoelace tier. You won’t believe this, but I must tie my laces around 6 to 8 times before going on a run. Most of the time, I lace up when I wear the shoes, before I leave, when I arrive at our meet up place, before I warm up, after the warm up, and right before running. Sometimes, I stop in the middle of the run to get that comfortable fit! For some reason, I want both shoes to be equally, perfectly tight. If anyone knows the name to this disease, do tell me.

{ 4 } I am a journal freak. Since I started running in December, I’ve religously tracked the date, distance, calories, and time of my runs in a simple orange King Jim notebook, which you’ll be seeing pretty soon when I write about it in a separate post. Now, aside from my running journal, I own the following: a moleskine (Oooh, I just love moleskines!) for personal entries and drawings, a Franklin Covey filofax as a planner and addressbook, a plain ol’ sketchpad for illustrations, another large hardbound sketch pad to store creative inspirations, and a large hardbound journal as another personal diary.

{ 5 } Again, my thriftiness results in another quirk: I only buy old issues of Runner’s World. I was just telling my husband that RW is my favorite magazine of all time as I can read it from start to finish without skipping any article—sooo unlike the fashion magazines I buy (I guess I’m just not the fahionista-type), yet I cannot shell out a mere P399 for it.

{ 6 } Save for a couple of times (I think Christmas and New Year!), I haven’t had my hair down since I started running. What’s strange with that? Uhm, during my pre-running life, I was obsessed with having my hair long and straight. I spent a bundle on hair rebonding, which I went through every 6 months. You would rarely catch me with my hair in a ponytail. Oh, how running changes lives even in the most mundane of things!

Now, I tag E-Rod, Banggigay, Ben, Windowshopper, Michelle, MrsPartyGirl