Condura Race – Part 2

Monday, 23 March 2009  |  Race Reports

I made a lot of new friends at Condura Race and I have evidence to prove it!  Check out the photos below.

But, for those I met, I apologize as I could not remember all of your names! Blame it on the exhaustion from the race, plus the epidurals I had upon giving birth to my two kids. So, for easy captioning, please submit a comment on this post with your name, race distance, and time (be proud no matter the time!)  Oh, don’t forget to describe yourself because I may caption the wrong photo (you wouldn’t want that, would you?)  Hope to see you again at the next race.

– Concepcion Durables Inc. Ton and Patrick Concepcion up on stage –

– with super hands-on Ton Concepcion who made sure everything went well for the race. Congrats again, Ton! –

pat jaymie miguel

– with Patrick Concepcion (Running Shield) and hubby. Congrats Patrick! Now you can enjoy your long runs again, free from race organizer anxieties! –

– with Rene Villarta (Jazz Runner) and Art Disini of Runnex –


– Now, this runner knows how to relax after a race! –


– Who’s photo are they staring at?  –

– Nice to finally meet you Lugs! Hope you stay in Manila for a few more races –


– Flew all the way from Vigan for Condura Race –




– with Clinton –



– A race is not complete if I don’t see Cougcat! –

Condura Race 2009 – Part 1

Sunday, 22 March 2009  |  Race Reports


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

– Skyway Run: You dreamed it and you pulled it off!  Hats off to Condura for creating a race like no other.  
– Medals for Half Marathon finishers: Everyone loves a medal.  Even better that someone placed it around our necks.
– Race marshals were effective especially in blocking off traffic:  We even witnessed a fight between a race marshal and a disgruntled driver.  Our bet was on the race marshall, of course.
– Abundant supply of water at stations.
– Sports Beans and sponges near or on the skyway.
– Portalets along the route.
– Pacers for 10k and 21k.
– Rocky theme song playing as 21k runners neared the finish.
– Bands playing along the route.  I didn’t see nor hear them though.  Hubby did.
– Inspirational signs to keep runners motivated (or distracted from the pain!)
– Race results to be published in Phil. Star.  Hope to see it soon!

– Water sprinkling from the firetruck: Great that there was water to cool us down at the start/end of the skyway. I just hope that next time we have the option to get wet or not. I personally don’t like getting my shoes soaked but the water showered over the entire road, so most of us had to squeeze ourselves on the right side of the truck, climb on that way too high edge of the skyway just to avoid getting drenched. (Did I tell you I’m afraid of heights?)
– Fairly accurate distance.  21.07 for 21km and 9.8 for 10k.  
– Medical assistance was readily available.
– Booths and Nike sale at the expo area.

– Crowded assembly area:  The assembly was filled with runners squeezing through the tiny entry way.  I heard some runners only entered when space was freed up after the gun start.
– Balde System: Runners have raised hell over the unsanitary balde system that’s been used in previous races. I heard that the people giving cups were now wearing gloves, but that doesn’t make much of a difference. When will we see an end to this?  UPDATE: Ton Concepcion clarified that all water provided was MINERAL WATER.  See comment below.  Thanks Ton!
– Water from a tank?  A friend told me that drinking water was taken from a Manila Water tank parked along the 5k turnaround.  Please don’t tell me this is true.  UPDATE: Again, this was not used as drinking water.  See comment below.
– Lack of mile markers.  With my Garmin conking out, I had to rely on mile markers.  The markers were few and far between.  


Wow.  I am in a state of disbelief.  How did I possibly finish the Condura Half without any sign of injury (yes, not the slightest hint of pain) all throughout the race considering I was in pain even at rest for the past weeks?  How did I finish with a time of 2:24 (unofficial)—far cry from 2:08 at Singapore but I’m not complaining—when I expected to crawl through the finish at around 3 hours?  And, how did I manage to run through the finish when I was convinced I’d  be limping my way to the end just like Singapore Half? 

It could be due to my last-minute prep for the race: dry needling (Thur), deep massage (Tue & Fri), and ashtanga yoga (Sat) combined with strengthening exercises and stretches.  Or, as I’d like to think, it was simply a miracle.  God’s way of blessing me for being a good girl despite all the hell that I’ve been through with this injury perhaps? Hah!

Whatever the reason, I know I should be extremely grateful for the chance to run Condura Race.  Here are the highlights of my race:

Go Team Injured Skins!  It was JunC, Vince, and I who ran together for the first few kilometers of the race.  The three of us were in uniform: our iamninoy runners group shirt (more about this in a later post) and skins compression tights.  Aside from the common attire, all three of us had barely run the past two weeks and had knee injuries.  We shared the same mindset: this run was going to be a slow, safe, and steady run; no racing nor breaking PRs.  Along Buendia, Jake of Team Super joined us.  Until the end of the run, we were stuck together like glue.  It was fun running with you, guys!

Hubby (10k) and I with JunC and wife Mariel (5k). Vince fell asleep in his booth soon after crossing the finish. Jake, where did you go? –

Glenn, the best pacesetter ever.  Early in the race, we stayed close to the 7min/km pace group led by Glenn of Fort Striders.  Glenn is a friend and he has always been sociable and funny.  Little did I know he had the ability to entertain runners with his witty remarks (e.g. “Prepare exact change, runners” as we climbed the skyway) which kept a large group of us runners guffawing throughout the race. 

Boo to my Garmin, Yey to “blind” running.  I hadn’t used my Garmin in over 3 weeks and, today, it decided to go on strike…twice.  It conked out at 2.5km and again at 7km even if it was fully charged.  At first, I was cursing.  But, later on, I realized it was a blessing that I couldn’t check on my pace or distance.  Running like a blind runner allowed me to enjoy the run even more.

The flyover was worth it.  Do you know that I decided to downgrade to 10k yesterday due to major anxieties over the injury?  But, thanks to friend/ ITBS adviser, Alvin, who told me that I should run the skyway even if I had to bike the first 10k, I decided to just go for it.  Upon climbing up the skyway, the sun was on our left and one could see all the runners ahead and behind marching like little soldiers.  It was a great sight.  Even nicer to think that no other runners had ever ran a race up there.

– Alvin! I cannot thank you enough! Thanks for putting up with my bullheadedness, indecisiveness, and incessant whining over the injury! –

Test of the will.  I was fine throughout the race.  I actually found fulfillment running the slow 6:30 to 7 min/km even as other runners passed us by.  I refused to succumb to the temptation to run faster and risk injury.  But, on the way back, as we climbed the Buendia flyover, the heat and, I have to admit, the lack of training caught up with me.  I started feeling dehydrated and weak.  From the flyover to the finish line, it was all will that carried me through.

– Annie is back!  My dearest running buddy, Annie, flew in from Singapore for a 5-day break.  We saw each other before the race, hugged, spoke briefly, and off she went to run her 21k leaving us all in the dust.  What’s new?  At least I know she hasn’t changed one bit. Missed you Annie girl!


– Annie showing off her photo in TBR Mag’s inner back cover. She says she’s willing to autograph your magazines anytime!-

Launch of TBR Magazine. I think this went fairly well.  I saw my banners up, the magazines were distributed after the race, and I didn’t faint onstage (I had just arrived from my 21k when they called me up there).  I was overwhelmed to hear the positive response from the runners I met.  Hope you liked it!



To all runners, congratulations!  To Condura Durables Inc, especially Ton, Patrick, Michelle, and Alex, great race!  Hope to see you again on the skyway next year.


– with good friends Dindo, Banggi, Joms, Ben, Hubby, and Renz –


– with Dindo, Carmen, Tiffin, Jeremy, Mark, Marga –


– with the hubby, my support and photographer for the day –


– with i am ninoy runners group launched at Condura.  Congrats to Jamike and Mayi! –

More photos to follow…

The Happy Run – Part 2

Monday, 26 January 2009  |  Race Reports

And here are more happy photos…

– Sen. Pia after her 15k –

– One of the most passionate runners around, Patrick C. (Running Shield) –

– Good friend, Jay (Prometheus Cometh). Miss running long with you, Jay! –

– Birthday girl Princess Tiffin looking for her Frog Prince, Mark VO2 –

– Happy couple: Mukhang Guilty and Happy. Congrats to Happy on her first 5k. Congrats to Harry for successfully recruiting his girlfriend into running! –

– See, Hector can’t possibly be a “Fat Gay Guy” if he has girls (Zinnia & Marga) swooning over him –

– Who would’ve thought so many Southridge Parents run? –

– Ex-La Salle track team member and ex-team mate of Mark Parco, Francis M. (not Magalona), and hubby. Watching Mark & Francis race should make events more exciting. Place your bets!  –

– Once upon a time, a completely clueless newbie runner emailed Star Columnist Tanya Lara requesting for more info about races in Manila. That runner was me in 2007 before I created TBR. Tanya and I met for the first time yesterday

– with Team Super’s Jody, Javy (Tri N Hard) & Hannah –

– Drew A.’s Kuya, Gelo, with kids –

– with Rene (Jazz Runner) of Runnex. Thanks for the shirts, Rene! –

– Hubby with #1 Pinoy blogger, Anton (Our Awesome Planet) –

– with Nicole, future sub-3 marathoner –

The Happy Run – Part 1

Monday, 26 January 2009  |  Race Reports


Organizer: Rio de la Cruz
Overall rating (5 highest): 4

– very well organized (Coach Rio has perfected the template of his BHS races)
– great entertainment (Chinese dragon dancers and ati atihan dancers at certain points)
– fun, happy atmosphere
– early release of results (Click here to view)

– ample supply of water at water stations
– good number of race marshalls at certain areas
– accurate mile markers at every kilometer
– pretty accurate race course measurement
– convenient registration at ROX

– wrong route map provided for 15k
– predictable course (same course for previous races of Coach Rio)
– no finisher’s certificate


This was a race that lived up to its name.  The Happy Run was yet another perfectly organized road race by Coach Rio which left majority of the runners content with the race organization.  There were a few surprises to liven up the mood, such as bands and dancers on the road, games after the race, and great hosting by Unang Hirit & Team Super’s Drew Arellano, the man behind the entire race.

IMG_0608 – Bianca Gonzales and Drew Arellano hosting the event –

Boy did I need some happy dust to rub off on me.  Still feeling some soreness in my left patella, I had earlier decided to downgrade my 15k registration to 5k.  Grrr…this bull wasn’t so pleased with the idea.  On the other hand, my hubby joined his first 15k.  Yahoo for him!

There I stood at the starting line with JunC, my running buddy, who is suffering from practically the same injury as I am.  (May God help us both!)  I think we were both unsure of what we were doing: Was it worth it to risk aggravating the injury?  Why run if we’ll be so slow anyway?  Will we be able to swallow our pride (gulp) as other runners swept past us?  Before I could think of answers, the race began.

We agreed on maintaining 6:15 pace.  Easy.  We were chatting and laughing while one by one the faster runners would pass us by.  In the beginning, this was acceptable.  After all, we were injured!   After 1km, more and more runners started to overtake us.  Runners who I used to outpace were now way ahead of me. Ouch.  Sob sob sob.  It was obvious in Jun’s face that he wasn’t happy either.  That is, of course, until Iza Calzado ran by his side and they exchanged hellos! Hah!

As we neared the 2.5k turnaround, we chuckled because it felt so short.  I don’t think we were even sweating yet.  As soon as we started climbing our way back up Lawton Ave., Jun and I asked each other how our knees were faring.  Both of our knees were holding up.  It was then that I asked him “Negative?”  He nodded with a smile, “Sige, negative.”  We picked up the pace and went for a negative split.  That’s where the fun began.

We ran faster, we stopped talking, and we found our rhythm.  Nearing the end, we both asked each other the knee question again.  And, both of us answered, there’s some slight pain, but hey we survived.  I finished at 5.15km at 30:08 mins with an average pace of 5:52.  

Then, the party started.  I say this because, as I waited for hubby to return from his 15k, I got to chat and spend time with so many of my running friends.  Photos were forever being taken.  Laughter was in the air.  Happiness was in abundance.  As the show ended (yes, we stayed until the very end) and hubby and I made our way to the parking lot, I only had one question in mind:  Where was Dingdong Dantes?

IMG_0611 – with hubby who finished his first 15k…wooohooo! –

IMG_0594 – with my best running buddies, JunC and Annie –

IMG_0590 – with Kulit Runner and The Changeling Children –

IMG_0596 – with young TBR readers who make me feel way too old: Carlos, Anton, Miggy, LJ (?), and Wacky.  Wacky, don’t be so shy next time! –

IMG_0619 – with Pinoy Ultra Runner head Neville Manaois. Congrats on the successful TNF! –

IMG_0587 – Now, how often do you see two heroes together: Optimus Prime & Zorro! –

IMG_0615 – Annie wins 3rd place for 15km –

More pics of Happy Run in next post…

My Singapore Half Marathon Experience

Tuesday, 9 December 2008  |  Favorite Posts, Race Reports

I’m sitting here trying to organize my thoughts and I don’t know where to start.  How can one find the words to share such an amazing experience, one that occurred in a little over two hours, but forever changed the way I think about myself and the way I will view life?  How can one explain how one race in a new city among friends allowed me to experience camaraderie, selflessness, passion, determination, and humility in its truest form so much so that my finishing time—the focus of so much of my attention prior to the race—was of little importance in the end?

Here’s my story but let it be known that this is but a small fraction of the entire race experience:

5:15 AM
Together with Aljo and Jun, I had arrived at the race assembly early and sat by the river behind The Fullerton Hotel as the full marathoners awaited their 5:30 AM race start along Esplanade Drive. We listened from afar as loud, upbeat music and two super hyper DJ’s welcomed all of us 48,000 runners.

I was in relaxed mode, unperturbed over my own 21k, even as the blowing of the horns marked the start of the marathoners and I wondered how Annie, Ben, Coach Jo-Ar, Kim, Glenn, Coach John, and all my other Pinoy friends would do.

5:30 to 6:00 AM
I visited the portalet three times. Did my warm ups and stretches. Gobbled down 1 Vanilla Bean GU gel. Bid Aljo good luck in his 10k. Jun and I then proceeded to the starting line for half marathoners. Still in relaxed mode.

Our “good enough” target was 2:15, but our secret target was sub-2. We hoped to run at 5:40 pace to finish at 1:59. We weren’t sure if it was achievable, but it was worth a try.

6:00 to 6:30 AM
In the darkness before dawn, we stood along Esplanade Drive along with the sea of half marathoners from various parts of the world. The bright yellow spotlights against the backdrop of the dark sky combined with the loud music and excellent hosting made this feel like the biggest show on earth, or at least, the biggest show of my entire life (and to think I was just running the half.) I was completely consumed by this moment; it was wild yet magical, noisy yet serene, communal yet personal, and beyond what I ever imagined this race could be. Jun and I hardly exchanged words, but I do remember telling him something like “Even if we don’t hit sub-2, it will be fine.” At that point, I just felt fortunate to be running the race no matter how I finished.

20 seconds before the race started, the music and Dj’s were silenced. There was not a sound—not a whisper nor a cough—from any of the runners. Then, the horns broke through the stillness and we were off.

Km 1 to 3
I felt like I was going off to war. The steps of a thousand runners hitting the pavement every single second sounded like marching soldiers, and were almost lined up in rows with elbows and arms hitting one runner to the left or right. It was crowded and slow. At one time, I panicked when I saw our pace hitting 7:30 but what could we do. Jun and I spent most of our energy overtaking runners one at a time unable to reach our desired pace.

Km 4 to 8
The crowd eased up as we made our way to wider roads. Our pace increased to 5:35 to 5:40 and Jun and I hardly spoke to each other. I was feeling strong and was enjoying the run. The weather was perfect with cloudy skies and occasional winds blowing on our face.

By this time, I started feeling slight knee pain but I refused to acknowledge it. Jun asked how I was doing and I told him I was completely fine.

Km 9
I took my 2nd GU gel with no water station in sight…big mistake. As we entered Nicoli Highway, my thoughts were just on water or anything else to down the gel that lined my entire throat.

Km 10-12
The GU gel worked its usual wonders on me. Suddenly, I felt fresh and strong, as if I had just started the race. My knee pain would go in and out, but it was manageable.

At one point, we spotted Coach Rio, who also ran the half, on the opposite side of the highway making his way back already. He was in great running form, his hair bouncing up and down, sporting a big smile on his face and he had but a couple of runners around him. He waved at us and we yelled back cheering for him. The sight was amazing. A Filipino making it to the front pack of runners.  Kulang nalang hawak niya ang bandila ng Pilipinas.

It was around this time that we agreed to put on our ipod shuffles. Well, we weren’t talking much anyway. This race was much more intense than our New Balance kwento pace.

Sometime during the run, Jun glanced at his Garmin and said “We won’t make sub-2.” I repeated what I said in the race start “Oh, that’s fine Jun.” But, little did he know that it pushed a little button inside me to speed up and still attempt to make up for a very slow start.

With almost fresh legs from GU, I found my rhythm and ran at a steady pace.  As for Jun, who is a stronger runner than I am, I pretty much knew something was wrong when he started slowing down. I only learned after the race that, by this time, he was already cramping and feeling a bit of pain in his hamstrings. We parted ways somewhere around this area.

Km 13 to 19
If I thought I could make it to sub-2, this portion, especially the latter part, pretty much blew all my hopes for it.

It was at this point when my knee pain intensified and I wasn’t sure if I would finish. Each step was painful and I wondered if I should push it. I then recalled what Glenn told me during our carbo loading party at Kim’s the night before. He told me that he talks to his injury and asks it to behave. I laughed it off then, but with the pain increasing, I thought it was worth a shot.

So, I started repeating words such as “C’mon, let’s go knee,” “Behave, knee” or “Goodbye knee pain” over and over in my head. And, believe it or not, it worked! Talk about the power of the mind!


During the latter part of this race, I didn’t see the roads nor the people around me. The pain would drift in and out and all I remember now is the physical pain on my left knee and the mental battle to make it subside every single time it appeared. It was long and tough and tiring but I never succumbed, never even stopped to walk unless it was to sip water at the station.

Km 19/ 20
I was running at below 6:00 for the last few kilometers despite the knee pain. I was pretty confident I’d finish the race. Then, as I made a turn at one point, my knee locked and I couldn’t straighten it. I thought to myself “Noooo, not now! Please let me finish!” I didn’t stop but plodded on using the strength from my right leg to carry me through. It was pure hell, but thankfully, after a minute or so, the pain subsided and I resumed my regular run.

Km 20 – 21.5
As I made my way along Esplanade Drive towards the finish line, a quick glance at my watch told me that I was past my secret sub-2 goal. But, as I learned early on in the race, it didn’t matter. So many thoughts were floating about in my head at this time, but all were positive.

I was practically smiling from inside as I couldn’t have been prouder of myself for finishing the race despite the circumstances. It was only when I was forced to endure such a challenge that I actually learned how tough I was.

During the last hundred meters, I even managed to sprint to the finish. When I crossed the finish line, for the first time ever, I raised both hands up in the air and felt like a real winner.

My official time based on chip: 2:08:35
My garmin time | distance | pace: 2:08:31 | 21.52 km | 5:58 min/km


Next post: Pre and post race photos with friends…