Post-Marathon Blues

Wednesday, 1 December 2010  |  Bullish Insights

As Menudo once said (long before most of you were born): “It hit me like a cannonball.”  (Now you can have that tune in your mind as you read this.)  It attacked without warning like a thief in the night.  Then, it left me confused, distraught, and just plain bored with anything and everything running.  It is only now that I can come out in the open and tell you:

My name is The Bull Runner and I had post-marathon blues.

I should’ve seen the signs:

  1. I skipped the all important recovery run after the marathon.
  2. I gained 8 lbs. in New York and I couldn’t care less about its effect on my running.
  3. I didn’t buy anything at the Nike outlet store in Woodbury. (Sure sign that’s something is wrong.)
  4. I procrastinated when it came to posting about NYC Marathon on the blog.  And I didn’t post much the past few weeks either.  Sorry.
  5. I didn’t wake up for Run United.
  6. I was more excited to open a bag of Doritos then to run.

Me?  Post-marathon blues?  Never thought I’d get hit with this.  But, I did.  And now that it’s over (Hallelujah! I ran on the road again this morning…and I enjoyed it!), it’s probably safe to write about it.  Don’t worry, the doctors tell me it’s not contagious.


  1. Have a goal for AFTER the marathon.  I did…and I still do.  But, the only way I can explain why I still fell into the rut was because my goal was and still is so far away.  It’s in May!  I need an earlier goal.  One that will not just excite me, but scare me to death.  Any ideas?
  2. Don’t force it. If you don’t want to run after the marathon, don’t!  It’s better for your mind and your muscles to try other sports to maintain your fitness level while resting your overworked legs.  I am so into Bikram Yoga right now.  Seriously addicted.
  3. Eat properly. A bad diet can make you feel even more lethargic and uninterested in lacing up.  I wanna hit myself in the head for succumbing to the 6 packs of chips I purchased at Duty Free. Now that I’m paying the price for it (it’s all over my hips and thighs) I’m back to my regular healthy diet and I feel better mentally and physically.
  4. Relax. Don’t overanalyze. Don’t stress over it. Don’t panic. Running is a big part of our lives, but it’s not everything (at least for me it isn’t.) So, kick back your feet (literally!) and enjoy the temporary break.  Your hunger and passion for running will definitely return in no time…just like mine.

Part 2: Running NYC Marathon

Monday, 22 November 2010  |  Bullish Insights, Favorite Posts, Race Reports

Wave 3 | Blue Corral | 10:40 a.m.

They said it was the coldest New York Marathon in 20 years.  I couldn’t agree more as I stood at the foot of the Verazanno-Narrows bridge dressed in a lowly black garbage bag shivering like a wet kitten.  My lips were dry, my skin had goosebumps all over, and my legs were as heavy as ice blocks.  But, with my husband and a thousand other giddy runners—27% of whom were running their first marathon—I felt like this bridge was the center of the world.  At this moment, time stood still and nothing mattered more than making this dream of mine come true.  As we made our way to the starting line, I told the hubby “Now it’s finally hitting me.  We’re really doing this!”

– The first and only video I took during the race. I still get goosebumps every time I watch it –


Months ago, I asked Leica Carpo, who ran NYC Marathon last year and qualified for Boston in the same race, how she managed to run fast in a race that’s best known for being, well, fun.  Her reply surprised me.  She said she did both.

Could I possibly do the same? Run at race pace while enjoying the sights, sounds, and spectators of the biggest marathon in the world?


Running on the Verazzano bridge with Frank Sinatra singing “New York New York” in the background and the forceful wind propelling us on was an experience I cannot even put into words.  I wasn’t sure what touched me the most: the breathtaking view of the city on both sides, the presence of such a large pool of runners around me, or the idea that I had finally gotten what I had wished so long for.  It was probably all of the above.

By the time we rolled down the bridge, the cold had completely dissipated from my body. I felt warm enough to remove my long-sleeved top and gloves (but I didn’t) and, more importantly, to pick up my pace.

For the first 20k—except for a toilet break at Km 9 which felt like forever due to a line—I successfully ran at my goal pace of 5:45.  I looked at my lap time bracelet and I was behind by around 2 to 3 minutes, which I instantly blamed on the toilet break.  Nice. Still, I was doing well and I was enjoying every minute.  Much like Leica, I managed to enjoy the non-stop, full-blast cheering from the crowd even as I focused on my performance.

– Pure joy –

– And I thought things couldn’t get better. Check out my “pacers” –


How could one not be moved by the cheering from the crowd?  This was, after all, the spirt of the New York Marathon.

2.6 million New Yorkers had stepped out of their homes that day and filled every empty space there was on the street to provide drinks, food, petroleum jelly, tissue, and last but not the least, cheer, for all of us runners.  And, when I say, “cheer” I mean non-stop yelling, screaming, entertainment, and one-liner morale-boosting phrases from spectators. Strangers would yell: “You’re doing great!,” “Way to go!,” or “Looking good!”  For runners who wrote their names on their shirts, positive support would even be personalized.

As we ran through each burrough of New York, crowd support would be unique expressing the culture and personality of its residents.  As I ran past a church, a choir had come out to sing. Rabbis were giving high fives.  Mexican kids handing out drinks.  Black guys pulled out their speakers and played Neo’s The Dream. There was a Filipino family that waved the Philippine flag proudly (which I later on learned was the brother of Jun of The Solemates, hah!)  Everywhere we went, there was entertainment of every kind.

Even fellow runners added to the colors of the race, I spotted Superman on the ferry and The Blues Brothers in our corral. Runners came in their group uniforms, wore notes on their backs proudly showing for whom they were dedicating their run for, or wore funny wigs and outfits. I ran alongside marathon mommies, sturdy senior runners, and foreign runners who, just like me, believed that flying a thousand miles and spending all this money to run 26.2 miles on a foreign road was worth every penny.


When I hit 21k, I suddenly felt drained of all energy.  This was a big surprise (and a frightening one at that) because, based on past marathon experiences, I usually tire out at around Km 30.  This was way too early.  I was just half way through the race!  Even worse, goal pace for 2nd half was a faster 5:35/km (as ordered via email by my coach friend Alvin) and, at Km 21, my pace had suddenly slowed to 6:59.  Not good.

I pretty much had an idea I wouldn’t hit my ambitious sub-4 target.  So, I downgraded to realistic 4:30.  Yeah, I could definitely do a 4:30.

I ran at a slower, steady pace and decided to enjoy the crowd support more.  I even made a conscious effort to smile more and draw energy from the people around me.  Perhaps this would provide me with my much needed second wind?  Not.

Things got a bit worse.  Suddenly, my inner thighs went numb.  My hips felt frozen stiff.  It wasn’t cramps and it wasn’t painful.  But, it required extra effort from me for each and every step.  Aaack!  So much for the idea of running faster in the cold.  This was definitely a myth when it came to my legs.


I had worried about Queensboro bridge the day I listened to Bobby Flay announce at the expo that this was his greatest fear.  He said it was a dark and lonely ascent, no spectators around and little runners around, and it broke him.

When I got to the bridge, it was not as daunting as I had envisioned it to be.  The tunnels and bridges of HK Marathon were far more terrifying.  The Queensboro bridge was a long uphill, but not very different from the challenging hill near IS in Bonifacio Global City.  I thought I would have to walk this, but I focused and forced myself to climb slowly but surely.

All of us runners climbed this in silence and with full concentration, but we all cheered when, as we successfully started the descent, a fellow runner yelled “It’s all downhill from here guys!  We did it!”

By the way, this was the bridge where my idol (and I’m sure yours too) Haile Gebresselasie dropped out of the race.  Sob sob.


Despite my worries, I was enjoying every minute.  It would’ve been a grave sin to complain, get angry, or even show frustration amidst a crowd of such positive and supportive spectators!  I continued to run slow and steady.  And, I was doing fine, thank you.


Soon, we made our way to First Avenue.  What greeted us was a scene straight out of a Pacquiao knock out celebration.  There was a thick crowd of spectators from start to finish.  They held banners, flags, food, drinks, and everything else they thought we would need (I got a bar, bananas, and tissue). They made each one of us—all 45,000 of us runners!—feel like we were winners.

Ironically, it was at First Avenue when I bumped into my worst enemy: ITBS.  My ITB problem, which had remained dormant for about a year now, started rearing its ugly head.  There was no sharp, sudden pain, but with every step, I could feel him threatening to lock up my knee again, just like the way it did at Km 19 in Singapore Half Marathon 2008.

– Pure pain –


The last 7 km felt like the slowest race I had ever run, if I ran at all!  Every single time I attempted to run, I would feel slight pain on my outer left knee due to the ITB pulling on it.  I walked briskly instead and watched time tic away.  Everyone was running past me.  Gone was my 4:30 finish.  I would be lucky to finish sub-5 at this rate, I thought.

As we entered Central Park, I was enamored with its beauty, but all I could think of was the finish line.  Everything was a blur when I crossed the finish line at 4 hours 57 minutes.  Behind me, a female runner was crying with joy.  Ahead of me, runners were hugging.

4:57. This was the slowest, hardest, longest, and coldest marathon of my life.  Such a slow time for a marathon I had worked so hard for.  I changed my diet, ramped up mileage, and spent a considerable amount of money to run this.  And all I got was this time.

All I got was THIS time.

ALL I got was THE time of my life.

– Still smiling –


I got my medal.  Smiled for my post-race photo.  Picked up my kit.  Trudged along with the rest of the runners in the horrifyingly slow post-marathon walk off to the exit.  Thankfully, I bumped into a fellow Pinoy runner, Mike, who was welcome company at such a momentous occasion.

I was exhausted.  I was cold.  And, I failed in my attempt.  But, I didn’t feel an ounce of disappointment.  I felt blessed to have experienced such a celebration of running and the human spirit.  I felt proud for conquering my dream.  I truly felt like a winner!


PREVIOUS POST: Part 1: Getting to the Starting Line
NEXT POST: Part 3: Post-New York Marathon

* Note: All photo courtesy of Brightroom. I’ve been trying to purchase my photos but had problems with their site. This will have to do for now.

ING New York City Marathon Aftermath

Monday, 8 November 2010  |  Bullish Insights

I did it!


– My ultimate running dream and 5th 42km: ING NYC Marathon –

My New York City Marathon was the slowest 42k I ever ran.  Unofficial time was 4:56:38, a far cry from what I had hoped and trained for.  I thought I was ready, but as it is with marathons (and in life) things don’t always go your way.  I was in a lot of pain during the last 12k thanks to ITBS plus what felt like a frozen hip and inner thighs.

But, I’m still on cloud 9!  It was an unbelievable and unforgettable experience. I am still in awe of the 2.6 million New Yorkers who stepped out of their homes and yelled their lungs out to cheer us on. Thank you so much New York!

I loved every bit of the race despite my disappointing performance. I’ll get over it. More than anything, it was a great experience that I’ll always remember.

More detailed story of my marathon after I get some rest.

NYC Marathon Preps

Sunday, 7 November 2010  |  Bullish Insights, Gear + Gadgets

That’s it. I’m done. Not with the race, but with preparations for tomorrow’s race!

Wow. Gearing up for a cold marathon (temperature is expected to be in the low 50s while we run, but while waiting in the corral it should be around 32. Yikes!) is so different (and so much more complicated) than preparing for a race in a tropical country.  There’s so much more things to think of and purchase!

Of course, the bib is all set. Has its pins. Filled in the information behind it.


Shoes has got its D-tag on. Decided to use my trusty old Nike Lunar Glide. Yes, it’s old. It was the same pair I used at my first marathon last year. But, it’s safe and reliable for my feet. I was considering using my Brooks Glycerin or Newton Racers, but at the end of the day, I stuck with the one I knew to be safe.


When I left Manila, I was absolutely sure about my entire outfit for the race.  But, after tripping in Disneyland, the entire plan went pffffttt with the open wound on my left knee.  Goodbye 2XU compression tights (which I trained with in all my training runs) and hello to shorts that will make me freeze to death!

I’ll be wearing shorts with compression shorts underneath in hopes that it’ll keep me warm.  Shirt and long sleeved shirt for my top and maybe even an additional tank under!  Of course, I’ll have the Philippine flag sticker from Knowledge Channel on too.

How ironic that the thing that makes me most nervous is the smallest and lightest of ’em all.  The split time bracelet I picked up at the expo. Alvin, yes, I will try my best to watch my pace!


I’ll also wear a beanie, maybe a cap on top if necessary, gloves, Oakley shades, and Nathan hydration belt.  I’ll use CEP compression socks which should keep my calf muscles tight and warm.  The belt will carry my Hammer Gels, salt packs stolen from a burger joint (!), band aid, cash, Body Glide, and my Flip Mino.


Made a mental note to get masking tape later to print our names for taping unto our shirts. We need all the personal cheering we can get!

We also have to prepare snacks since we’ll be waiting around 2 to 3 hours for our wave to start.  Choosing between bagels or whole wheat, but definitely with tons of peanut butter in between!

Hubby and I will be at Wave 3 which starts at 10:40 a.m. Corral no. 44.  We’re hoping to meet up with other runner friends to keep us calm (read: distracted) while waiting.

Phew. So many little things to think of.  It’s unnerving but fun. Wish us luck for tomorrow’s great adventure!

NYC Marathon Expo

Saturday, 6 November 2010  |  Bullish Insights

Hello from New York!

Here I am by Central Park with a race banner above my head saying “ING NYC Marathon: Where the World Comes to Run.” Runners of various nationalities are all over New York getting their running fix—whether its by running short runs before the big day around the city or shopping for merchandise at the expo.

I love how the city has gone all out to support the marathon.  Runners here are given importance and this marathon is a big deal.  As early as Friday, some roads were being closed and tents were being set up for the race on Sunday.  Weather reports mention Sunday as a “good day for a run.” And, best of all, 2 million spectators are expected to come out and cheer for all of us.


We dropped by the expo last Thursday to pick up our race packs.  We returned yesterday to purchase CEP compression shorts for me and again today to get CEP socks for the hubby and myself. The expo is packed!

We were lucky enough to spot a few running celebs. Here we are with Bart Yasso. I didn’t bother to tell him that I skipped my Yasso 800s during my training period…


…and Bobby Flay, who is aiming for a sub-4, being interviewed by David Willey, editor-in-chief of Runner’s World…


…and one of my idols, American-record holder, Deena Kastor, who’s currently pregnant and won’t be participating in the race. Behind her in the photo with his arm raised is husband, Andrew…


We also bumped into fellow Pinoy running couples, Deo and Mayda Custodio, and the Solemates, Jun and Mariel Cruz. Imagine, hubby, Deo, Mayda, and Mariel are all TBR Dream Marathon alumni!  How far they’ve come…literally and figuratively!


There was a whole lot of shopping…Asics is the official footwear of the race. But, New Balance, Mizuno, Nike, Adidas, Brooks, Newton, Saucony, and more were there…



Asics released a limited edition Asics Gel Kayano 17 for the race…Niiice!


Timex, Polar, Garmin, and Suunto were there. Garmin is offering a $25 discount on purchases of new Garmin products upon trade in of an old Forerunner!


Even Tiffany was there for NYC Marathon jewelry and memorabilia. Too bad hubby didn’t spend time here to purchase something special for someone who will be running the marathon tomorrow. Or, maybe he did but he’ll surprise her tomorrow? ehem…


Of course, there was eating…


and drinking….We tasted various kinds of Gatorade. Prime for pre-race, Perform for during the race, and Recover for post-race protein recovery. They even have low-calorie options…


There was massage and kinesio taping too…


Little Miss Bull Runner wants this when she grows up. Cinderella’s glass sneaker from the Disney Marathons. I want one too!


As we were about to leave, we bumped into Coach Rio. Good luck Coach!


We got home to open our huge race pack (or more like bag) to find loads of freebies. My favorite was the cool long-sleeved shirt. Love it!