TBR Dream Team Run: “The Happiest Run Ever!”

Tuesday, 20 November 2012  |  Favorite Posts, Race Reports

WOW. This is so much fun!

That’s what I thought as I watched the runners come in during our first TBR Dream Team Run last Saturday, November 17, 2012 at NUVALI. And, as I welcomed the teams of runners coming in, that’s all I heard too!

“It was the ‘funnest’ run!”

“Ang saya!”

“It was so much fun!”

“There should be more team runs like this!”

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– TBR Dream Team Run medal –

We conceptualized this run a year ago with the vision of making it the first reunion run for TBR Dream Marathon alumni and their friends.  TBR Dream Marathon is and always has been a unique run because, even when the marathon is over, you’re almost bonded for life with other TBR Dreamers.  We wanted to provide a venue for all our TBR Dreamers—batches 1, 2, 3, and our current participants (yes, that’s how many we are now!)—to gather together once again.

We had one goal in mind: Let’s make it fun!  We wanted it to be light and happy, a celebration of friends and running hence half the distance of a marathon.  We hoped to encourage bonding and camaraderie among the alumni and their friends who they hoped to “recruit” into the running world so we made it into a team run.  We created the BullStock, a laid-back post race celebration with overflowing milk from Enervon HP and Krispy Kreme donuts with lots of laughter and chit-chat hosted by the Boys Night Out.

When you see the photos below, along with a few Facebok statuses that I “borrowed” from those who run the race, you’ll see that we pretty much achieved our goal!  Perhaps my only regret is that I didn’t run it myself!

To all those who participated in TBR Dream Team Run, thank you for coming!  We had a grand time and I hope you did too.  It was heartwarming to see you all once again!  Keep the dream alive! 🙂

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– Powerpuff Boys was well represented. They won 1st and 2nd Place! –

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– Team Gangnam?! –

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– Spongebob, Patrick, and Bugs Bunny –

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– The snail runners! –

“As an age-grouper who has run various races, I rank this as the best fun run of the calendar for several reasons:
1) Revisiting your first mary is an experience in itself;
2) Distance was perfect–it was achievable, reasonably costume-friendly, yet naturally constrains the race to a manageably pleasant size;
3) Though it is not uncommon to see friends during races, seeing them in themed groups and not in their usual anti-social Zone 5 state was sheer fun;
4) Race organization that has been fine-tuned thru the years;
5) Finishing with friends–priceless.

Thanks, Jaymie, sponsors and volunteers!”
– Roland Benzon

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– Team in red… –

– …and The Red Runners without shirts nor shoes! –

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– We’ve got a blue team too! –

– Team TBR (Truly Bright Runners!) –

“Race was fantastic, post-race was fun, shirt is the bomb… time with friends new and old = unforgettable. Thank you all!”
– Vince Bunuan

– Hey sole sistah! Hey sole sistah! –

The happiest run ever by The Bullrunner Dream Marathon Team of Jaymie Pizarro and Jun Cruz. You’ve raised the bar guys! Now time to sleep.. I think we all deserve it after that 4:30 gunstart at Nuvali!”
– Tina Zamora

– with running mommies Tina Zamora and Maricel Pangilinan! –

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– Three bumblebees won best costume award –

After the race, runners were treated to Enervon HP and donuts from Krispy Kreme. The awarding was hosted by a trio as well: the Boys Night Out! Hilarious!

– Yeah Men! –

– Awarding of Team Powerpuff Boys –

“Congrats Jaymie Pizarro, Jun Cruz, Neville Manaois and the rest of the TBR alumni run team for the best 21km run of the year! Thanks to Team No Judgement: Jamike and Jake for a fun run!!!”
– Ton Gatmaitan

– with Team No Judgement (Jake, Ton, and Jamike) with Lit, Lester of Unilab Active Health, Jun, and Neville –

– Thanks Jun of TBR Dream Team who made this event a huge success. Here he is with just some of his “fans” led by Coach Norman Pascual –

– Justine and Macel, the two girls who made everything behind the scenes run oh-so smoothly! Thank you! –

– with Jun, Neville, and Macel at 2am before the race. Couldn’t be happier to work with a fantastic team –

Thank you to our sponsors who made this all possible!!! Presenter: Unilab Active Health. Co-Presenter: Runrio.  Official Venue Partner: Nuvali.  Major Sponsor: Gatorade.  Minor Sponsor: Enervon HP, Nutribar, Thorlos, Chris Sports, Paramount Insurance, Krispy Kreme, Spibelt, and Timex. Registration Partners: Secondwind, Riovana, and Starting Line. Media Partner: Multisport.  Beneficiary: Hero Foundation.

Aw Shucks! Thanks Runner’s World Philippines!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012  |  Favorite Posts, Press

You know how it feels when someone you admire acknowledges you and your work, like a well-esteemed professor giving you an A+ or your boss tapping your back for a job well done? That’s how I felt when Marie Calica, Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World Philippines, invited me to be on the cover of Runner’s World Philippines’ Oct-Dec 2012 issue.

Whenever I recount my story of how I started running in 2006, it always starts with an 8-week beginners’ program that I downloaded from Runner’s World.  From then on, Runner’s World became my source for all things running.  At that time, I didn’t have anyone to ask nor were there many local running blogs or websites to read, but there was RW!  It was my running bible…and it still is.

Aw, Runner’s World, it’s an honor to be featured on your pages.  Thanks for allowing me to share my story and, um, how I’m “Stub-born to Run.”  Now you know that you’re partially to blame for creating this bullish runner.



Runner’s World is out.  Get your copies in bookstores and running stores now!

Race Report: Tri United 2 – From Holy Shiv to Holy Cramps!

Friday, 6 July 2012  |  Favorite Posts, Race Reports

Event: Tri united 2
Date: 1 July 2012
Venue: Laiya, Batangas
Organizer: Bike King

Tri United 2 was to be my first long distance triathlon: swim 2k, bike 60k, and run 15k. To say, I was nervous would be an understatement. The only thing that could console me was that I knew I had run marathons for about the same amount of time I expected to finish this triathlon. Still, my mind knew triathlons were a different animal, and, it was during this race, that my body learned that too.

– Teammates Bic, Jake, and I after we set up our bikes at transition –

– with Harvie, Alex, Roland, Coach Norman, Jake, and Bic. Before a triathlon, it helps to hang out with friends who are calmer than you! –

– with Bic, Drew, and August a few minutes before race start –

– Saling pusa! Photo courtesy of John Ramon –


The start of a triathlon is nerve wracking. You’re all lined up at the shore facing the unknown. You don’t know what lurks in the deep blue sea (jellyfish away!), and, worse, what lies ahead of you for the next few hours of the race.

– Nervous smile.  Photo courtesy of Rose Marie Photography –

The swim course for Tri United 2 consisted of three loops. I was confident about my swim, but also anxious.  As a runner, I can anticipate and probably manage matters on the road, but, in water, I felt like I was treading in unknown territory. No pun intended.

My teammates Jake, Bic, and I wiggled our way through the crowd of triathletes lined up at the starting line. We poised ourselves on the far end of the left side. Our strategy, according to Jake, would be to swim on the far left end avoiding the traffic then cut to the right when it was time to turn the loop. Sounded like a good plan.

The gun went off and, barely a couple of minutes into the swim, Bic and Jake were gone. I was on solo flight…or solo fight. Probably both.

I struggled to find my rhythm amidst the chaos of flailing arms and kicking feet. Suddenly, a thought came to mind: What do I cling on to if I tire out? I was so far from the buoy! Almost instantly, I panicked.  I could hardly breathe. Like a drowning dog, I paddled my way towards the buoy. There, I found my comfort zone and proceeded to swim beside it.

By the 2nd loop, I found a sense of calm in the steady pace of my strokes. With every breath, I caught a glimpse of the sun. In my head, I said a short prayer asking God to keep me safe and thanking him for the awesome opportunity to participate in this race.

– Out of the water for the next loop. I was having fun! –

The third loop was swift and strong. I found my rhythm along with a burst of confidence that I was capable of finishing this race. I swam to the finish pulling hard but leaving enough for the bike and run.

Time for 2k swim: 49mins.

– Ani de Leon heading to transition –


It was the first time my boyfriend, the Shiv, and I were going to race together. I must admit, I was excited to see the progress I made in biking. From being unable to shift gears and ride in aero position, I could now do so with ease, plus drink, and take a gel, and even refill my bottles while riding!  (Next goal is to peel a banana and eat it!)

– That’s my boyfriend, the Shiv, and I! Off we go on our first triathlon together! –

Prior to the race, Coach Andy Leuterio had analyzed the results of a Power Meter test he conducted on me a couple of weeks ago. Based on the results, he said that my heart rate went too high when I pushed hard on the bike (which was expected because I’m new to cycling) so he advised that I keep it steady on the bike to ensure that I could run strong. I obediently followed.

– Steady she goes. Photo courtesy of Jazz Perez, Sports Unlimited –

The ride was steady, conservative, smooth, and, I must say, super fun.  Every now and then, faster cyclists would overtake me yelling “Right! Right!” which would rattle me, but for the most part, I think I was cycling with a smile all the way to the finish.

– Teammate Bic makes the turnaround. I wish I could turn as easily as she did! –

Time for 60km bike: 2:11

RUN – 15KM

I didn’t know how my body would react to running 15km after the swim and bike.  It’s one thing to race 15km and another to run 15km in the sweltering heat in a triathlon. I expected heavy wooden legs as soon as I left my bike at transition. Surprisingly, my legs felt great. (In hindsight, it’s probably because I was conservative on the bike.)

– Off to run wearing my bike gloves! Whoops! Photo courtesy of Noel Miano-

I ran the first loop steady and strong. By the second loop, the heat started getting to me. At every station, I dropped a pail or bottle of water over my body to cool down. It was almost like taking a shower at every station. (It was only at that point that I finally realized why triathletes choose to wear these body-hugging unforgiving trisuits! It’s so much more convenient for showering when the sun is beating down on you! Why didn’t we runners think of that?!)

– Steady run. Photo courtesy of Noel Miano –

– Keeping cool! –

It was also at this point that the mistakes I made during training and racing caught up with me. By the third loop, both legs started cramping up from my calves climbing up to my quads. I had never cramped up in my entire running life! I started shuffling my way through the last 5km. At the same time, I began talking to my legs (by the way, this always works!): Run. Run. Run. We can do this. I also prayed that they wouldn’t suddenly freeze on me and make me fall flat on my face a few hundred meters from the finish line!

Thankfully, the slow shuffle and the psych talk worked! I crossed the finish line even if I didn’t feel my legs AT ALL! It was one of the most fulfilling race finishes I had ever experienced. Right up there with all my marathon finishes. Hehe.

Time for Run 15k: 1:43 mins


The most important gift of Tri United 2 to me, aside from the scintillating star-shaped medal, is the assurance that I’m on the right track towards Ironman 70.3 Cebu. For this last month leading up to Cebu, I know what I should work on (and there are a lot!), what I should continue, and, last but not the least, what power the mind has over the body!

After crossing that finish line, I heaved a sigh of relief.  My trepidation over Cebu considerably lessened and a feeling of excitement swept over me.  For the first time since I impulsively signed up for my seemingly impossible Ironman 70.3 goal, it suddenly occurred to me: Holy crap, I can actually do this!

– with Teammate Jake and Coach Andy Leuterio at the post-race awarding. Tons of food, lots of laughter, and I got to fill up a whole glass with free chilled Enervon HP for my recovery drink. Hay, I can’t have enough of it! –

– with training buddy, Jun, and Coach Norman, my coach for bike skills. Thanks Coach! –

– with friend Vanj Endaya –

– with new tri friends, Jay and Mark. Photo courtesy of Mark Salvador –

Congratulations to Unilab Active Health and Bike King for a fantastic race! For official results, visit Unilab Active Health website

Race Report: California International Marathon 2011

Friday, 9 December 2011  |  Favorite Posts, Race Reports

The Califonia International Marathon is a point to point, net downhill race. It starts at Folsom Dam, a 20-minute ride from Sacramento and ends at the finish line at California State Capitol in Sacramento. The course offers gentle rolling hills which allows for fast times and, subsequently, a high number of Boston qualifiers. No wonder Runner’s World named it as one of the top 10 marathons to run your personal best.

My hotel, which was booked with runners of all shapes and sizes, hired a bus that would conveniently take us to Folsom at 5:15 am. Race start was 7:00 am.

– All wrapped up on the bus –

When I stepped out of the bus, I thought I died and went to the North Pole; it was freaking cold. There was no wind (thank-you-Lord!), but with temperature at the low 30s, my Sheddable Shell (tear away wind breaker purchased at NYCM for $10) with a throwaway long sleeve top plus fleece jacket couldn’t keep me warm! I was uncomfortable and I wanted to hide out in the bus until the gun was fired. But, I had to make a quick run for the portalet, check in my bag, and warm up.

– Runners kept warm with throwaways and trash bags –

– A wall of portalets. CIM has 1 portalet for every 26 runners. Pretty cool but there were still lines before the race start –

– Streets were filled with runners scrambling for last minute race preps –

I waited in the cold for less than 15 minutes, then headed off to the assembly area for race start.

– Just a few minutes before race start. Starting line is right behind me  –


CIM is a relatively small race with 8,000 runners registered. (Post-race results show that only 5,300 showed up and finished). The start isn’t crowded at all and makes for a pleasant experience. Most runners look experienced—slender, fit, and well-geared for the marathon.

Pace teams stood out with their black flags and pace times. The leaders for each pace team were friendly and experienced and would later give practical tips along the run. For newbies targeting a specific time, this type of system would help give them maintain pace. But, in this race, most runners who joined probably hoped to get that extra nudge to achieve their Boston qualifying time. This was one serious crowd of fast runners.

There was no major fanfare except for the Star Spangled Banner being sung. A few seconds after, we were off.


We ran through the small and peaceful residential neighborhood of Folsom. The sun was out, the run was slowly increasing our body temperature, and the sounds of our footsteps hitting the pavement was almost tranquilizing. We ran an easy downhill then up a minor ascent which warmed us up even more. There were locals—some in their pajamas—who stepped out of their homes early that morning to give us high fives and cheer us on.

The run was steady, but my legs still felt like lead due to the cool weather. My jacket and gloves were still on (I kept the gloves on until the race ended. Yes, that’s how cold it was!) yet I wasn’t breaking a sweat, literally. At one time, I bumped into good friend Lit and we agreed that our legs still weren’t fully warmed up, my nose was runny, and my lips were chapping. Offering him my chapsticks, I yelled: “Do you want my shlapsphtick?” Man, even my mouth was frozen!

I felt fully warmed up at around Km 8 to 10. And, when that happened, I suddenly felt like a well-oiled machine ready to keep on running. I put one foot in front of the other and never looked back. At Km 13, I turned my ipod on and gained extra strength (and inspiration) from my playlist. (Special thanks go out to Adele and Maroon 5.)

When they said CIM is a net downhill course, I feared it was downhill all the way which was no good for a marathon; it would tire our legs to be running the same way the entire time. Fortunately, this course offered gentle rolling hills. There were slight ascents, none harder than our very own Buendia Flyover killer, and the descents were gentle and easy on the knees. The roads were traffic-free, secure, and wide for most of the way. Race organizers did a good job in setting up this race. Truly the best course I have ever run for a marathon.

– All smiles! Gloves were off only after the potty break! haha –


How many times have you heard runners say: “Running is a metaphor for life”? Well, marathons are much like life too. As you go along, you learn from your mistakes and successes, pick up a thing or two from those who know better, practice, practice, practice, and, when judgement day comes, you hope to be the better, stronger person you are shaped by your past.

– Fun and fast course! –

In this marathon, I practiced two key things that helped me finish the race:

1. RUN CONSERVATIVE IN THE FIRST HALF. I’ve heard and read this a hundred times before, but being the bullheaded person that I am, I always failed to practice it. After the big mistake at NYCM last month where lack of training due to my neuroma and an aggressive first half left me drained by Km 21, Lit reminded me to apply this principle again. A day before the race, I promised him I’d try thinking that I had nothing left to lose. I ran a conservative 6:20/km during the first Km 21 and found myself reaching Km 32 feeling great.

2. USE YOUR CORE. The day before I left for San Francisco, I ran with Ironman 70.3 2011 Champ and current TBR Magazine cover, Arland Macasieb. He gave me several tips on the Newton technique of running (I’ll post it here within the week) but what stood out was his advise to use my core, not the arms, to push forward. I practiced this during the race and felt like I could go on and on.


Much of CIM is run at Fair Oaks Boulevard at Folsom. I knew we entered Sacramento when the street names became letters and numbers. I spotted the street name: 53rd Street and wanted to delete it from memory.

You see, during the talk at the expo, we were forewarned that we should avoid looking at the street names during the last few kilometers. The race would end at 8th Street and counting down street numbers would only scare us about the distance. Well, it sure rattled me. 53rd street to 8th street. Woah boy, we had a long way to go.

Fortunately, this portion was all flat. And, again, the autumn trees did nothing but inspire me to plod on forward. I focused on taking one strong step at a time. Before I knew it, I was at 20th street, then 15th, and closing in on 8th.


Among all 7 marathons I’ve run, this was the first and only marathon that I felt strong until the end. For the first time, I had absolutely no long walking breaks; I actually ran all the way until the end!

I finished at 4:41, my second best marathon time after my Condura 2010 PR of 4:24. This was a whopping 40 minute improvement from my NYC Marathon finish exactly a month ago. With so little training due to my neuroma, I wonder about the possibilities of improved performance now that I’m fully recovered.

I crossed that finish alone overwhelmed with joy and beaming with pride. I wore that medal around my neck and met Pinoy friends for a wonderful picnic of free bagels, cookies, and bananas by the Capitol. A perfect way to end a perfect race.

Remember I said I wouldn’t run a marathon twice except for NYC Marathon which I finished in 2010 and 2011?  Okay, I take it back.  I would love to run CIM again…and again…and again.

– Majestic California State Capitol to greet us at the finish –

– with Nica (4:08 PR), JaneJane (4:09 PR), and Lit (4:38 PR) –

– Pinoy finishers of CIM –

– Fast runners of Team Cebu (Nica, Andrew, and JaneJane) with their relatives –

– Runners relaxing after the run on Capital Park grounds –

– Post marathon chatter is the best –

– Free banana, bagels, cookies, water, and beer for marathoners –

– with Nica at our little picnic as I sipped on my Gatorade recovery drink –

– Walking back to my hotel. Couldn’t stop smiling! –

The ING New York City Marathon 2011

Friday, 25 November 2011  |  Bullish Insights, Favorite Posts

This begins my story about the ING New York City Marathon which took place last November 6, 2011. Over 47,000 runners from all over the world ran 42.195 km through the five boroughs of New York City: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Manhattan. Over 2 million spectators came out to cheer for the runners. A whopping $34 million was raised for charity. And its male winner, Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest ever on a record-certified course in the United States with a time of 2:05:05.

– NYCM 2010. Photo courtesy of Brightroom –

Thanks to Gatorade, I had the opportunity to run the ING New York City Marathon for a second time. The awesome people at Gatorade, who I can now call friends, offered full support from hydration allocation and scientific tests to actually running long runs together. They often said: We’re giving you the chance to redeem yourself at New York, but now with our full support.

I always say that every runner should run the ING New York City Marathon at least once in their lifetime. Imagine, I was given the chance to run it twice! This was a gift that I felt blessed to receive and I planned on giving it my best, whatever “best” meant given the situation I found myself in months before the race.


My story about the ING New York City Marathon is a tale about two runs within the marathon that were as different as night and day. The first run was the first 21k of the marathon, while the second was the last half. Everything changed for me after a potty break at the halfway point.


For those unfamiliar with the Big Apple, reaching the race start at Staten Island before the race actually starts feels like a huge win already. It can be quite confusing for international runners so careful planning must be done days ahead of the race. Fortunately for me, I rode a cab with NY-based runner and member of Adobo Run Club, Jet, to Whitehall Terminal, boarded the ferry to Staten Island together, and made it to our own corrals at around 8:30am with lots of time to spare before our race start at 10:10am.


I waited alone for over an hour. I was excited but anxious at the same time. After five marathons under my belt, I had never been so ill-prepared for a race as this one. Don’t get me wrong; I always take marathons seriously as everyone should, but, due to my neuroma, which I only fully recovered from 3 weeks before race day, I only had 21k as my longest run. 21k?! No amount of prayer would take me to a smooth and easy marathon. I predicted one of two things: 1) Bonk at 21k, or 2) Bonk at 25k. Either way, I knew from experience that this was going to be a painful and agonizing 42km. At the same time, I tried my best to calm myself with the idea that this was NYC and “In New York, there’s nothing you can’t do, these streets will make you feel brand new.” I sure hoped my legs would feel brand new even at 32km!

We were then finally called to walk to the starting line at Verrazano-Narrows bridge. A booming, energized voice welcomed us all for the race. Runners chatted nervously or walked quietly unto the front of the line. The weather was perfect, just a little colder than Baguio, so my two layers of clothing plus the throwaway jacket was just right. I walked slowly towards the race start smiling from ear-to-ear barely able to contain my excitement.

– At the race start –

– Woohoo! Few more minutes to race start –

Suddenly, there was silence. The US National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner was sung. Then, one of New York’s anthem’s, Frank Sinatra’s Start Spreading the News broke through the air. There was cheering, yelling, screaming, then we raced forward towards the bridge and unto the start of our 42km through the five boroughs of New York.

– Running on the cold and windy Verazzano-Narrows Bridge –


Once we got out of the cold and windy run through the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and unto the sunny roads of Brooklyn, it felt like we were racing for our lives. The course was flat and fast and it was hard to hold back.

– Out of the bridge and unto Brooklyn –

– Ran behind a guy named “JOHNNY P.” same name as my Dad. My dad passed away just a few days before the race in 2008. Thought of Dad and ran in his memory –

We were running at a pace below 6 min/km. I knew I should’ve gone at a more conservative pace, but at the same time I thought: “Hey, if I’m going to bonk at 21k anyway, I might as well go full speed ahead. Besides, it was difficult to slow down with a crowd this fast anyway.” (I know, I know. I shouldn’t have done this. But, they don’t call me TBR for nothing!) So off I went.

5k – 29:48, 5:57/km
10k – 59:13, 5:55/km

I would slow down only for hydration breaks which, as advised by Gatorade was 125ml every 15 minutes. The hydration stations for the race were every 1 mile or 1.6km. I took gulps of Gatorade Endurance at most of the stations. Took a Hammer Gel at 10k. And off I went again feeling strong.

– Hydration stations: water and Gatorade Endurance every mile –

– Runners were running at a fast clip –

– Blurry pic but guess what the sign said: DREAM BIG. RUN STRONG. Our tagline for our TBR Dream Marathon. How cool is that? –

– Just one of the many bands that provided local entertainment –

– I agree 100%! –

– Check out those trees! Not the guy, he isn’t my type! Hah! –

– Hey hey! Nice bumping into siblings Joey and Nona Torres of Polo Tri –

Wow. The sights and sounds of the ING New York City Marathon really compared to nothing else. The number of runners on the road that day were astounding already. But, to see the spectators lining the main roads and side streets, standing by the curb handing out food or yelling our names, was simply overwhelming. There were just so many people around us at any point during the race that there was no time for loneliness or boredom. Each borough pulled out all the stops to bring motivation, good cheer, and entertainment to us runners. It really was a celebration of running and the human spirit.

15k – 1:29, 5:56/km
20k – 2:03, 6:09/km

I took a peek at my watch when I hit 20k and had mixed feelings. It was a good split, but I knew I couldn’t keep it up with so little training in my legs. I took a potty break, saw the slight climb on the bridge ahead, and took a long, deep sigh. I suddenly felt depleted.

– 20k. Sigh. Tired. 22k to go. Gulp. –

– Nooo, not another climb –

– Here we go! –


21K – 2:13, 6:20/km

Why were there so many uphills? I remember myself thinking. I didn’t notice all the climbs from my run last year. They say that ING NYCM is one of the most fun courses you’ll ever run because of the crowd support, but make no mistake about it: it is still one tough route with five bridges to climb and several ascents throughout the course, even in the last mile.

One of the most unforgettable portions of the race was Queensboro Bridge. It’s one of the few portions where there are no spectators to cheer runners on, and most runners struggle to run the steep half-mile climb in silence.

– Queensboro Bridge –

– Well he was looking strong –

– I had to stop for a photo op on Queensboro Bridge. Who could resist this fantastic view? Thanks to the nameless Spanish runner who spoke no english but agreed to take my pic –

By this time, I had accepted the fact that this could be my slowest marathon ever. I was alternating between running and walking and enjoying the walks a lot more than the runs!  I could choose to feel disappointed over this or enjoy the experience. I chose the latter. No use crying over missed training that I could do little about because of my Neuromas. Uhm, I may have also gone too fast during the 1st half and suffered for it now. (You marathoners, take note of this. Don’t be as bullheaded as I am and don’t do as I did in the first half!) I slowed down and started to notice more of the view around me and was overcome by joy: I was running NYCM a second time! How lucky was I?!

After surviving Queensboro Bridge, the next part was the highlight of the race for me just like last year. We entered First Avenue where the roar from the crowd was electrifying and energizing. The crowds here were five-rows deep from beginning to end. Cheerers provided tissue, chocolates, bananas, petroleum jelly and moral support just at the point where runners are struggling and wanting to give up.

– Out of Queensboro bridge and unto First Avenue –

– Thick, boisterous crowd awaits. Here’s a marriage proposal –

– It’s like a huge party on First Avenue –

– Crowds cheer but it’s also a tough portion for most runners –

By the time, I was walking most of the time and I was taking in the sights: I would read the banners from the spectators, watch runners struggle alone or find strength in another, and take photos of this incredible experience.

25k – 2:45, 6:36/km
30k – 3:25, 6:50/km

– 30k! 12 more to go! –

I took me almost the same amount of time to run the first half of the race and the last 12k. As I run-walked through Central Park out again to Columbus Circle and back again into the park towards the finish, I was filled with emotion over the last few miles of struggle and the wonderful support from strangers around. It’s almost feeling a battle within: wanting so badly to finish the race and sit down to rest, but also wishing that this awesome experience would never end.

– Central Park on our right. So near yet so far! –

– Uphill again! –

– No matter how tired, this guy made me laugh! –

– Mile 24 in Central Park! Wooohoo! –

– Ooops. Gotta get out of Central Park into Columbus Circle first. Gasp!

– Thank God for crowd support. We really needed it here! –

– Heading back into Central Park towards the finish line. Yes! –


I finished the ING New York City Marathon with a time of 5:21:09. This is my slowest marathon time for all six marathons I’ve run. In fact, I had never run a marathon over 5 hours before.

– I did it! –

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was disappointed with the time. Of course, I could always blame the Neuroma for messing with my training, but still a bad performance is just hard to take no matter how you look at it. I was severely depressed about if for, uhm, around 2 minutes. Then, I plodded forward along with other runners in that long, cold walk out after the finish line (some runners call it “The Walk of Shame”) while sipping my Gatorade post-recovery drink and munching on pretzels. I claimed my check-in baggage, sat by the sidewalk on Central Park shivering in the cold alone barely able to move my legs and my teeth chattering. I glanced at the medal around my neck and thought: Woah, I just finished a marathon! Fast or slow, walk or run, I finished! And, boy was I proud of it!

Thank you once again to Gatorade for the opportunity of a lifetime!