2009 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon: Pre-Race

Monday, 7 December 2009  |  Race Reports

I’m back…and I survived the heat and humidity during all 42.195km of the 2009 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon! Before I tell you all about my race experience (I’m getting tired just thinking of it again!) allow me to share with you a few tips I successfully practiced prior to the actual race: December 4 &5, 2009 in Singapore…

Tip 1: Prioritize Recovery over Comfort

Who cares if I could barely breathe underneath my jeans? During the 3-hour flight to Singapore and pretty much half the day in the Lion City, I surreptitiously wore my Skins compression tights beneath my jeans for knee support.

Lo and behold, they worked like magic! When I awoke from a brief nap at our hotel room, the minor knee pain that was stressing me out was gone! Hallelujah!

Tip 2: Business Before Pleasure

The morning we arrived, hubby and I wasted no time in going to the Singapore Expo & Convention Center to claim our race packets. After all this was no vacation; it was an official race trip!


– The classic Singapore Marathon pre-race pose that I’m sure all runners have –


– Got the bag…Ready to shop! –

Hubby got his 21k pack, while I got my 42k. As expected, redemption was quick, easy, and very well-organized. Chips were double-checked before leaving to verify that it was correctly encoded with our names.

The expo offered a wide variety of products for runners and other sports, some at huge discounts. With most brands, such as Newton, 2XU, and Ultimate Direction now available in Manila, I didn’t spot too many products that I wouldn’t be able to purchase locally.

I did see this…Sundown Marathon, anyone?


I still managed to bring home new loot such as an Ultimate Direction race belt and 2XU cap that I had been pining over since last year. When it comes to shopping, all I really buy are running items so this was quite a treat for me. As seen in this photo, hubby had a blast too…


Tip 3: Meet Local Runners

The highlight of this trip (aside from the marathon, of course) was being reunited with my best running buddy Annie who, as much as I still hate to think about it, is now a Singapore local. (Boohoo!)

– with Annie and our dearest ultra running mommy, Kim –

Annie took hubby, Kim, and I to the carbo-loading party of the popular Singapore-based running group, Team FatBird, at Swensens, a pasta place with an eat-all-you-can ice cream bar (heaven!)

Team FatBird is composed of an awesome bunch of fun-loving, dynamic runners who are seriously committed to the sport. They meet regularly on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings for 10k runs and for long runs on weekends.


– with Anthony Sum of Team FatBird. Photo courtesy of Team FatBird –


– After our comedic interview by Team FatBird press for their blog –


– Annie dessert-loading BEFORE her actual carbo-loading –

Annie, now a Team FatBird member, introduced us to Anthony and David, the leaders of the team. Both were gracious hosts who answered our never-ending queries: Why FatBird?  Can you recommend another good destination race?  Where do we find the pacers on race day? (Team FatBird runners were the official pacers of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.)

After filling our bellies, we gathered together for a howling and seemingly never-ending toast to the marathon ahead!


– Check out David’s New Balance shoes! Cool! –

Thank you to Team Fat Bird for allowing us to crash your party!  It was nice to meet such a fantastic team of runners.

Click here to view Team FatBird’s website.

Tip 4: Say No to Spicy Food

My friend Alvin had reminded me thrice about staying away from spicy food before the race. Luckily, the carbo loading party was TWO nights before the race so when the Black Pepper pasta called out to me on the menu, I rationalized that Alvin didn’t mention exactly when I should avoid it. Plus, he was way back in Manila anyway.

The pasta was delicious…and it was awfully spicy, so spicy that my nose started running (at 4:30 pace!) after a few bites. By the next day, I was woken up by a tummy that could actually speak! It was in alien language though, something like “Mutu Buhu RAA!” Then, “Goo Gaba RAA!”  When translated, it means “Attention: You’ve now got tummy problems due to your stupidity! You better pray this will be gone by race day!” Fortunately, it did disappear! Close call there.

Tip 5: Nourish Your Body

It was easy to forget about our healthy diet during this trip with all the yummy food to taste and indulge in…


But, since we knew we needed adequate nutrients before the race, hubby and I swung by a wholesome grocery at Ion. The fresh, bright-colored fruits were a sight to see so we splurged on a bunch of grapes, cherries, blueberries and bananas that evening.


Tip 6: Think Before You Buy

Annie took us to Novena Velocity Mall where she bought us salt caps to combat the much dreaded cramps on race day. In the same store, we spotted another product that’s been on my wish list forever: Vibram Five Fingers.

I finally got my hands (or more like feet!) in them! The Sprint model looked good and it fit well. But, when I took them for a test run around the store and I felt the hard concrete beneath my foot, I wasn’t sure if I would actually have the nerve to use them back in Manila. For Php7,000+ a piece, it took me quite a while to decide. Final verdict: I chickened out and passed. Maybe next time.

Tip 7: Sleep Early

Hubby and I hit the sack on the eve of Marathon Day at 9 p.m. Good thing we did so because I woke up every single hour that night both eager and nervous about the race. I got out of bed at 3:30 a.m. and felt refreshed. I was all set to go…

NEXT POST: 2009 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon

Click here for 2008 Singapore Half-Marathon: Pre-RaceHalf-Marathon, and Post-Race

2009 New Balance Power Run Raising Hope

Monday, 30 November 2009  |  Race Reports

Organizer: New Balance/ ExTribe
Overall rating (10 highest): 7


  • Challenging race course. I despised the almost 4km McKinley “trek”, but then again, it’s what made finishing the race all the more fulfilling.
  • Very well organized race
  • Accurate and sufficient number of kilometer markers
  • Uniformed marshals along the route
  • Hydration stations had long tables with cold water bottles or 100Plus
  • Bananas provided at the finish
  • More than enough portalets at the race start
  • Excellent choice of host for post-race event with Tessa Prieto. (Can’t say the same for the male host who kept on reiterating he was not a runner. Why not choose a host who can relate with the audience?)
  • Free NB socks after the race
  • Different finish lines for 21k and other distances was unique and well-planned
  • Booths (including gait analysis) and shopping after the race


  • Messy race redemption. Race packets were not available for all runners at the advised redemption dates. (Best scenario: provide race packets upon registration)
  • Race start lacked fanfare. I detest long shows and warm ups before a race, but a countdown with great music could’ve helped to drum up excitement. This race start was…yawn…dull.
  • Water stations for 21k could’ve been more frequent, let’s say, at every 1.5 km
  • Bottled water at stations. High wastage of water. (Best scenario: long tables with filled water cups as in Timex)
  • Same medals provided for all distances. Half marathoners could’ve been given distinct medals
  • Turnaround bands were too tight. Wearing the bands on one’s wrist could’ve impeded blood circulation. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but seriously it was too tight for comfort
  • Some marshals chatting it up instead of doing their job. I told NB a few days before the race that if there was one minor item that would make a significant difference in the event it would be in the enthusiasm of marshals/race volunteers. Having energetic and happy marshals can boost a runner’s morale no matter how exhausted. During the race, at around Km 19/20, there were marshals who were chatting with each other in a circle rather than leading runners towards a certain direction or cheering them on.

The New Balance Power Run 2009 was a well-organized race as expected from most races staged by ExTribe. The highlight of the race was the challenging 21k course which toured runners around Bonifacio Global City, including the much dreaded McKinley Hill portion. It was this tough course that set the race apart from all other races. Other aspects of the race were average with flaws being very minor.

A couple of years ago, this New Balance race would’ve ranked high among other smaller running events. But, at this point in the game where race organizers continue to raise the bar in staging world-class races like the recently held Timex Run, New Balance must think of innovative ways to make the New Balance Power Run not just good but excellent if they want to stand out from the clutter.

Congratulations to New Balance and ExTribe for a well-organized race!


Nerves Nerves

I was fortunate enough to receive apparel and running shoes from Anton Gonzales and Bing Buenaventura of New Balance for the race. The items I received were top-notch, but I still had some anxiety over wearing my barely-tested New Balance 801s for a half marathon. (I know, they’re racing flats, but I found the 1225s too heavy for me.) Prior to the race, I had only road tested it for a 5k tempo run in the rain (yes, I got my brand new shoes soaked!) and despite the fairly good test results, my paranoid self just worried over the fact that I was setting myself up for injury a mere week away from the Singapore Marathon.

“Chillax Pace”

After adjusting the tightness of my shoe and tying and retying my laces a hundred times over at the 21k assembly area, the race started and I was off. I ran alongside Atty. Raymund, my pace buddy at my accidental QCIM Marathon a few weeks back.

The night before the race, I chanced upon Raymund’s facebook status: “Chillax pace for New Balance” and so I wondered if we would be able to pace each other. My coach-friend Alvin had advised me to do a 6 min/km pace all the way.

“What’s our chillax pace?” I asked Raymund. I don’t recall getting a direct answer, but I do remember seeing a “5:30” on my Garmin as we ran past Market! Market! in the break of dawn. Gasp, so much for Chillax!

Steady till 10k

Raymund and I ran side by side averaging a pleasant 6 min/km for the first half of the race. As we neared Heritage, he started falling behind due to a bad knee. So, I found a new pace buddy in Chris Martin (sorry Gwyneth!) when I switched on my ipod and heard Cold Play motivating me to plod on further.

The Dreaded McKinley Hill

Shortly after 15k, the course took us inside McKinley Hill. As one enters the enclave by running briskly downhill, there’s much anxiety over the same hill which must be climbed up to exit. I dreaded that portion, but little did I know that there was much to be feared ahead.

The course inside McKinley was gut-wrenching and lung-busting. I studied the map the night before, but it didn’t seem as long and tough as it did on paper! The steep uphills completely took the energy out of me especially after running over 15km and striving to maintain 6 min/km.

With much suffering and a whole lot of sweat and determination, I managed to have my pace hover around 5:50 and only slowed down to 6:05 as I was trudging out of McKinley. Woah, I couldn’t believe I came out of that portion alive.

Race Mode

By Km 20, I wanted to increase the pace but for some reason, my legs would not cooperate. All things changed by the last kilometer. I channeled my inner bull and targeted a lady runner ahead of me. Heck, I even pretended she was in first place to motivate me even more! I went on full sprint and outpaced her making me first in my delusional TBR world. Then, I found myself with two male runners on each side, and together we ran full sprint ahead towards the finish. We shook hands at the finish, laughed off all the pain we endured, and parted ways.

– Sprint to the finish –

– Last long run before Singapore…DONE without pain nor injury. Wooohoo! –

According to my Garmin, I finished my last long run before Singapore Marathon at 2:06:35 with an average pace of 5:55 min/km for 21.4 km.

Curse you, McKinley! Had you not been there, I would’ve grabbed a new PR! But, then again, it was McKinley Hill that will keep this race forever etched in my running memory.

– with Bing of New Balance –

– with Fides (my daughter’s 1st teacher who finished her first 3k…Congrats Teacher Fides!) and Leonard –

– Jamike Lopa and Francis Macatulad present Planet Sports President Anton Gonzales with an iamNinoy shirt making him an honorary member of iamNinoy Runners Group –

– iamNinoy Steercom: Francis, Jamike, Jim, myself, Mayi with Francis’ kids.  We missed you Rapa, Jake, and Drew! –

To learn more about iamNinoy Runners or to join the group, click here.

Del Monte Fit ‘n Right

Thursday, 26 November 2009  |  Race Reports

Race: Del Monte Fit ‘N Right

Organizer: CEMG

Overall rating (10 highest): 3


  • Use of RFID for timing
  • Fairly simple and incident-free run
  • Organized race pack in bag with free samples
  • Pre-race briefing from race organizer
  • Directional signs lining the route
  • Samples and freebies provided after the race
  • Booths after the race


  • Messy race packet redemption. (I redeemed mine at Bonifacio High Street only to find out it wasn’t available yet. I was told to return Friday evening.  Fortunately, it arrived earlier so I returned shortly and got to claim on Thursday.)
  • Assembly time of 4 a.m. too early for a 6 a.m. race start
  • Traffic!  Long lines to enter the area. Parking lots were closed so runners were forced to parallel park on the roads.
  • Late race start. Race start was scheduled for 6 a.m. but it was the pre-race “show” that began at this time. With runners crowded at the starting line, hosts were chatting away and a warm-up was introduced while runners were impatiently waiting to run (hence the heckling from the angry crowd.)
  • Late pre-race briefing began after 6 a.m.  After 6 a.m., while runners of all distances were already crowded at the assembly area, it was only then that the organizer announced different start times for distances and requested 3k and 5k runners to make way for 10k runners.  (I cannot count how many eyeballs rolled during this time.)
  • Surprise gun start. In the middle of the warm-up, the gun was suddenly fired and the race started with many runners unaware of what was going on.
  • Lack of marshals in a major intersection in front of SM Mall of Asia. Runners crossed the intersection and stopped vehicles on their own.
  • Converging of slower 3k/5k walkers with 10k runners.  By the 2nd loop, 10k runners had to weave through the traffic of walkers.
  • No kilometer markers.
  • Extremely long gift ribbons used for turnaround markers for runners (at least in perfect timing with the Holiday season)
  • Limited water at stations.
  • Long lines to claim freebies. Freebies were limited so not all runners were given.
  • Low-quality singlets that smelled of paint. (My 8-year old was the one who complained about the stench, not me!)

This race could’ve been called the Del Monte Late ‘n Wait race. For the almost 5,000 runners who registered for this race, there was a lot of waiting: one had to wait for the race packet to be delivered, wait to find parking, and worst of all, wait for the race to start amidst a tight crowd of eager runners. If you were parched after the race, you had to wait behind a long line of thirsty runners to grab a cup of water, too.

Thankfully, despite these mishaps, the course itself allowed for an enjoyable, flat and fast run, which allowed runners to grab great times.  The atmosphere was festive and fun, especially for beginners who didn’t have high expectations on the technicalities of the race.

I heard this will be an annual event for Del Monte. Hopefully, the race organizer will improve on the flaws and make the race “right” with runners next year.  Congratulations is still in order for Del Monte which campaigns for a healthier lifestyle for Filipinos!


26k Plan

My plan:

5 to 6 a.m.: Pre-race – 10k, easy

6 to 7 a.m.: Race – 10k, 5:30 min/km

7 a.m. onwards: Post-race – 6k, 6 min/km

Hubby and I arrived at the SM Mall of Asia at 5:10 a.m. and, when I saw the long line of cars entering the area, I knew there was no way I could squeeze in a pre-race 10k.  As soon as we found parking, I jumped out the car, bid hubby goodbye, and ran easy.  I only hit 2k when I made the wrong decision to enter the starting area at 5:50 a.m. in preparation for the race to start.  I wasted 30 mins. waiting, which gave me enough time to think of Plan B…

Plan B

5 to 6 a.m.: Pre-race – 2k, easy

6 to 7 a.m.: Race – 10k, 5:30 min/km

7 a.m. onwards: Post-race – 14k, 6 min/km

The gun went off during the warm up, but I couldn’t complain; I was all psyched for a fast race. I switched my iPod shuffle on and went on full race mode through the flat roads of SM Mall of Asia course.

Race Mode

The nice thing about this race is that I wasn’t competing with anyone but myself. In the past, I would target other runners and cross them off my mental list one by one. Now, Singapore was on my mind (as it always is while training the past months) and I was focused solely on my own pace.  I would take a peek at my Garmin (yes, I’m back to Garmin) and manage a tiny grin as my pace ranged from 5:00 to 5:15 min/km without me feeling completely drained.  Fine, I didn’t stick to my Plan B pace, but I felt great and I couldn’t slow down.


– Going for my 2nd 5k loop. Thanks to Bald Runner for the photo! –

Strong, Happy Finish

I finished with an unofficial time of 51:20 mins with a pace of 5:08 min/km for my 10k run. Not a PR but a great time considering it’s been so long since I raced a 10k without worrying about injury.


After chatting with Coach Jim Saret, meeting up with the hubby at the finish line, refueling with a Hammer Espresso gel, and refilling my amphipod with Gatorade, I took off on my own to run the balance 14k of my program.

Long, Slow Run

Since I was going to run the last 14k on my own around SM MOA, I searched for a safe, secure course within the area. I found a 1.2k loop and ran that over and over and over again.  The first 10km were serene and enjoyable; my introverted self found it completely invigorating.  But the last 4km were the opposite; it was painfully slow and challenging.

By the last kilometer, the sun decided to strengthen its rays over the entire street so I had to take cover as I started to feel like a sunbathing shrimp with my face burning up.  I changed my course and ran only under the shade.  Unfortunately, this passed the row of restaurants around SM where all the other runners, including Jinoe and the rest of the takbo.ph peeps, were savoring their meals while my empty stomach growled with each step.

Despite the temptation to give in and quit (something that was quite easy to do as the car was parked in the loop I ran), I managed to complete the 14km for a total of 26km that Sunday.  Surprisingly, I was more pleased with myself for finishing the last 14k than grabbing a great time during the race.  Truly, the tougher the challenge, the more rewarding it feels in the end.

2009 Timex Run

Monday, 16 November 2009  |  Race Reports

2009 Timex Run

Race Organizer: Finish Line
Overall rating (10 highest): 10


  • Very well organized from beginning to end
  • Use of timing chip
  • Race packets were organized: bib and chips sealed in plastic
  • Nice singlet
  • Accurate and sufficient number of kilometer markers and directional signs
  • Marshals in uniform at every corner
  • Hydration stations had long tables containing cups readily filled with very cold water or 100Plus
  • Bananas provided for half marathoners
  • More than enough portalets at the race start
  • Excellent pre- and post- hosting of the show
  • Loot bags, shirts, and towels distributed for free after the race
  • No lines at the assembly, finish, or picking up of loot bags
  • Entertainment such as cheerleaders and music
  • Announcement of race number and name upon nearing the finish
  • Awesome race medals
  • Runpix race analysis
  • Photovendo photos
  • Booths and shopping after the race
  • Option to watch Pacquiao match at a nearby tent
  • Immediate release of results (Click here for official race results)


  • None


The Timex race was the best organized local race by far. There was nothing to rant about and more than enough to rave about. Truth to tell, Timex and Finish Line didn’t just fulfill runners’ expectations for a well-organized race but exceeded it. Every single detail was covered in this race down to the cold water at the many water stations to the uniformed marshals every 10 meters of Lawton Avenue. As I said to Timex manager Gemma Pagsibigan and race organizers Coach Rio de la Cruz and Vince Mendoza just hours after the event, the race was perfect! Hats off to Timex and Finish Line and may you continue to spoil us runners with such a remarkable race in the years to come.


My 2nd and Last 20 Miler before Singapore

Timex was going to be my last 20 mile run before Singapore Marathon on Dec. 6. Along with my coach-friend Alvin, we planned on running 21k at an easy 6:30 min/km and the balance 11k at 6 min/km. Sounded good to me!

Right on Track…for Km 1!

For the first kilometer, we were right on track at 6:30 pace. Alvin, the hubby—who was going for his first ever 21k (woohooo!)—and I ran alongside each other. By kilometer 2, we were still fine going at 6:25. When we reached Buendia flyover, we slowly started picking up the pace. Hubby took it easy and ran with a cousin, while Alvin and I went ahead.

Speeding Up

So much for plans! For the rest of the half marathon, our pace was sub 6 all the way, except for Km 15 & 16 which went up to 6:05. I felt strong and I was having fun (which is always the priority at every run, is it not?) so we just went on and on and on.

Every now and then, Alvin would gingerly tell me to slow down, and I would retort the same way he would during our lung-busting tempo runs: “This is downhill so we can go a bit faster here.” or “It’s fine. This will average out at the end.”

I don’t even recall any major incident during this joyous run, except for the motorist caught in Pasong Tamo traffic who stuck out his middle finger at all of us runners (I wanted to yell to him: Hey Buddy, you ought to run to relieve all the pent up anger!)

The Last Kilometer

I do remember the 21st kilometer and how, after taking a quick peek at my watch, I realized that while a sub-2 was impossible, a sub-2:05 was well within my reach. So, I sped up, and with Alvin’s friendly coaching: “lean forward”, “breathe!” and “c’mon, you can do it!” I managed to grab a new PR for my half marathon.

I finished at 2:04:27 (official time) with an average pace of 5:54 min/km. And what a pleasant surprise: I ranked 4th place in my age category and top 15 for females in the 21k category! Not bad at all! 

– New PR! Thanks to Alvin (to my left) for the support! Photo courtesy of Emil Ancheta –

The Next 11km

As much as I wanted to pop a wine bottle and celebrate, there was still work to be done. So, I popped open a Gatorade bottle in the car instead, refilled my amphipod with more fluids, and set out to run the next 11km around Bonifacio High Street with Alvin.

If I felt strong and invincible during the Timex Run, I was completely exhausted in the long run. During the short break after the race, I felt like my legs had turned to lead and my tummy was bloated with fluids. The heat was also getting to me. And, as much as I’d hate to admit it, going at a sub-6 pace during the 21k had burnt me out.

Alvin and I ran very slow and easy just to get the mileage in. By this time, the assembly area was nearly empty and there were only a couple of other crazy runners like us who were running under the sweltering sun. We were exhausted and we were counting down to every meter left to run. In all honesty, it felt much tougher than my first accidental QCIM Marathon!

– At Km 31, with Rhei… –

– with Joey… –

– with JJ and Leslie. I was shuffling here as I couldn’t stop for too long lest my legs turn to lead.  Photos courtesy of Rhei –

Thankfully, as we neared Nike Park, Alvin and I heard that little beep from the Garmin marking the end of our 32km run. And what a wonderful sound it was!  32km = DONE! It’s all downhill from now until Singapore!  Woohooo!

2009 Adidas King of the Road

Tuesday, 27 October 2009  |  Race Reports


Overall rating (10 highest): 8
Organizer: Rudy Biscocho


• Organized start and finish.
• Nice singlets.
• Race started on time.
• Ample water and Gatorade stations.
• Festive race atmosphere with booths, fans, and food.

• Typical race route.
• Slow refill of water cups at stations (but no biggie!)
• Inconvenient and chaotic race packet redemption.

The Adidas King of the Road has always been one of the must-run races on most serious runners’ lists the past years. The Adidas KOTR for 2009, last Sunday, only solidified its reputation as one of the most consistent and best organized races held in Manila.

Over 8,000 runners showed up at Bonifacio High Street last Sunday, majority of whom donned the scintillating yellow Adidas singlet. Despite the large population of runners, the assembly area was void of confusion or crowding; there were clear directions for check-in, enough restrooms at BHS to accommodate everyone, and the atmosphere was festive yet organized.

The race itself was clean and simple enough for runners to simply focus on enjoying the run. Water and Gatorade were overflowing and the course was safe from traffic and pollution.

Congratulations to Adidas and Mr. Rudy Biscocho for giving runners another wonderful race. Until next year!


– Adidas KOTR race start –


I knew I wouldn’t be able to get up that morning. We arrived from Subic at 11 p.m., slept at 1 a.m. and woke up dizzily at 4 a.m. I registered for 21k but I was in no shape to run one. Yawn. By the time we arrived at Bonifacio High Street, I saw the 21k runners pass us by while we were still looking for parking. Wow, it was an amazing sight. Instantly, I was jolted out of my zombie state and was all set to run.

Hubby and I were together from beginning to end. We planned for an easy pace (not that there was any other choice given that we were tired from the run the night before.) The start of the race was vibrant and exciting. Runners cheered and counted down to the start of the 10k race.


Our run was just a pleasurable 10k run all the way. The race route was familiar so there were absolutely no surprises along the way, except for friends who we bumped into on the road, such as Toby of Runnr who startled us from behind, or Vince of Finish Line who silently crept up and ran by my side.

It was nice to see the 21k runners heading back as we 10k runners made our way towards Buendia: Ani de Leon in 3rd place and full race mode and several Subic International Marathon Finishers such as Mari, Lester, and Charlie.


As we neared the finish, I increased the pace and ended the run at 59 minutes. No pressures, no rush, all fun!



– with Ironwoman Ani de Leon –

– with Tanya Lara, Vimz, hubby, and Bobby –

– with Team Hardcore peeps: Margaret, Lester and Mari –

* Thanks to Paolo Sauler for the race start photo.