Takbong May Yabang

Sunday, 19 October 2008  |  Race Reports

Having slept close to midnight the previous night, I desperately needed my morning brew to get me up and about yesterday morning. So, despite the coffee ban I declared for myself in the previous post, I had half a cup of instant coffee with graham crackers for breakfast. (So much for all the planning!)

I arrived at the race venue, Cuenca Park at Ayala Alabang, a little after 6 a.m. frantic over my tardiness as I still had to register onsite. As I lined up at the registration booth, I was met by Coach Patrick Joson, the race organizer, who welcomed me with a smile, personally handing out my race packet even if I wasn’t sure he remembered me at all when I met him at Mizuno Run Club ages ago.  Turns out, I had enough time to claim my free Yabang Pinoy mug and band, put this back in the car, run to bathroom (twice!) before heading out for the assembly area.

This was a relatively small race in a relaxed, light, and fun atmosphere.  It was great to chat with running friends at the starting line almost forgetting at times that we were at a race, not a cocktail party.  No worries from me as this was going to be a training run; my goal was to run an easy 6:00 min/km pace for the race and run additional miles at 6:30-7 to reach my total of 18.5 km for the day.  The race started without fanfare, someone just yelled and we were off.

As we headed out towards Cuenca, I knew that my pacing plan—just like my coffee ban plan—had flown out the window. I was running at around 5:15, even reached a high of 4:27 during the first kilometer. I couldn’t help it. This was much too fun. 

After a few kilometers, I was running 3rd behind two fast women runners. I don’t recall how long we were running in one straight line, but time flew here as I just tried my best to keep up with them.  When the 2nd woman slowed down to drink, I crept up behind her to grab 2nd place.  Before I could yell “Wooohooo!” in my mind, I realized I had made a terrible mistake. Now, I knew she would be breathing down my neck the entire time and I had to push harder. Argh!

Pretty soon, this strong lady runner swept past me and I placed 3rd again. For the rest of the race, I ran close behind her running at around 5:20 to 5:30.  It was pretty much like this all throughout the race. Phoooey.

As we neared the finish, I recalled that Patrick had run the route the previous weekend and informed me early on that it was short of 10km, 8.8km to be exact.  So, around 8km, I slowly increased my pace to chase after the 2nd woman. Unfortunately, she did the same. As we neared St. James Church, we both managed to outpace the 1st woman.

We were soon sprinting towards the finish and, judging by her good form, I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch up with her. I crossed the finish line with an official time of 46:43 mins. for 8.6 km (even shorter than Patrick’s measurement) with an average pace of 5:26 min/km.  

Woah, by far, this was the most competitive race I had ever run.  Quite ironic, since this was probably the smallest race I had ever joined. I never got the name of that fast woman runner, but I did congratulate her after the run. It was so much fun!

She won 1st place, while I grabbed 2nd.  Wooohooo! 

Instead of waiting for the awarding, I met up with JunC (who won 4th place…Congrats!) and Dindo for yet another 2 loops of the race course for our long run. We ran an additional 10km at an easy 7:15 average pace which allowed for great conversation about running and family life.

I ended the morning in high spirits. The 2nd place finish was great, but it was the long run sans injury that made me jump up for joy!  Singapore here I come!

P.S. Sorry no photos. My long run was a priority that day.

Congrats to Patrick Joson for a great race!  Water was overflowing. Next year, hopefully we can make it exactly 10k. 🙂

Congrats to Mark Parco for placing 3rd (?) and bringing home a ricecooker! Me-Anne, glad your back into running. Nice seeing you Tiffin, Joe, and Eric. Patrick, sana you joined!  Idnod, it was nice to meet you even if I had to force your name out of you! To JunC and Dindo, long run again!

Adidas KOTR Race Report

Saturday, 11 October 2008  |  Race Reports

There’s something about the Adidas King of the Road that makes the race a notch above the rest; it must be the presence of thousands of eager runners, the half marathon offering, great-looking singlets, a well-organized assembly, and a number of other things, but all I know is that the moment I arrived at the assembly area, I went on full race mode eager to get going. Instantly, I forgot about last night’s rantings about the missing route map or lack of race bibs in the days leading up to the Adidas KOTR; I was just wanted to race. And, that’s what I got.

After my warm up and stretching, I waited just a few minutes—with winning triathletes and showbiz celebrities Drew Arellano and Paolo Abrera right behind me and my favorite reader Cougcat right outside the barrier—before the 10k gun went off at exactly 5:55 a.m. My secret goal (sorry, I couldn’t share with you) was simply to run a sub-55 hour 10k, a very conservative goal, which I knew I could achieve in this fast course after two consecutive weekend races at hilly Ayala Alabang.

What can I say? The course was awesome! I enjoyed running so much (or was it because I saw super funny and witty Rovilson Fernandez pass by me?) that I snobbed my Garmin throughout the race. I disregarded time and pace and focused on simply giving my best. I didn’t even feel the need to compete against other runners. I just ran, and ran, and ran.

As we climbed the Buendia flyover, I was still in high spirits and it was a delight to see friends who joined the 21k making their way back towards Bonifacio Global City. When the first few running friends passed, I would yell “Go, Glenn” then “Go Joms” then “Go Ben” then “Go Annnnniiiiie” but then, after a while, I thought I would lose my mind (and breath) just cheering for them. To conserve energy, I waved at others to show my support.

Once we hit the flat roads of Buendia, I stopped watching the 21k runners on the other side of the street and looked straight ahead. It was time to get going. After all, flat means fast (hey, I’m talking about the roads, not chests). So, I ran to my heart’s delight.  I only stopped to glance at my watch during the 5k turnaround at Reposo then I went on again.

Before I knew it, it was time to climb back up the steep Buendia flyover, which was a lot tougher than the 1st half. With the intense heat, most of the runners before me had began to walk while I slowed down to a 5:50 pace. Wow, it felt like forever trekking up that road but, with a little patience and perseverance, we survived. As I made my way back to Bonifacio Global City, I wanted to yell “Freedom! Woohooo!” as I rolled down the flyover towards flat roads but decided otherwise as the troop of PNP’s I was running with would have to cuff me and send me to Crame.

I ran towards the finish at a comfortably hard pace, again, enjoying every minute. I found my rhythm somewhere in between passing the Pinoy Ultra Runners who ran 21k and the finish line.  It was pure fun!

According to my Garmin, I finished 10.02 km (hey perfect race distance!) at 52:44 minutes with an average pace of 5:16 min/km. 


Did you get to sign here? I didn’t. Maybe next year. Thanks to future elite runner Naombi for pointing it out to us –


– BWK united! –

I reached my sub-55 hour goal. CHECK (with minutes to spare)

Ended the race injury-free. CHECK (Actually, I did have an injury after the race. Silly me. I bumped my head against the bathroom door hanger as I was changing. Forehead was bleeding and now it’s black & blue)

I felt I could’ve pushed harder, gone faster, and broken my PR, but hey I’m happy. It was a great race. Adidas KOTR currently tops my list of favorite races this year.


– Aaaw, highschool classmates Tin U. and Jennie Bau! –


– with running bloggers, The Changeling Child, RunningDATcom, & Loonyrunner –

 – Pinoy Ultra Runners Hector, Neville and Jeremy –

– BAGAY…ang shades ni Marga sa kanya. Diba Neville? –

– Congrats to Annie for placing 9th, even after coming in late, for 21k –

– Congrats to Queen of the Road Jo-Ann Banayag –

Hope in Motion 3

Monday, 6 October 2008  |  Race Reports

In the October issue of Runner’s World, it says that a cup or two of coffee an hour before a race may cut your time by 30 seconds. Although I wasn’t aiming to break my PR (I don’t think I ever will beat my 46.57 10k PR), I opted for coffee instead of my usual pre-race drink of Rush together with, as always, 3 sheets of graham crackers. Big mistake.

By the time I stood on Mindanao Ave. in Ayala Alabang awaiting the start of the race along with other runners (the larger group of 6k walkers were behind us), I had paid the toilet a visit 4 times already! Good thing the race started just a little after 6:30 a.m. giving me enough time to give my bladder a little scolding.

When the gun went off, my bladder was empty (thank God!), I was feeling strong, and I felt completely race ready. I ran out of Mindanao Ave. towards Visayas Ave. going a wee bit faster than I thought I should.  I hate to admit it but I had no strategy for this race.  My only plan was to conserve energy for the gradual ascent along Country Club Drive and, after that, I felt I could go as fast as I wanted knowing the route would be mostly flat until the finish line.

I ran at around 5:15-5:30 enjoying the familiar route I was running. Annie passed me early in the race and I watched her outpace runners one by one. On Madrigal Ave., Bald Runner and I were able to exchange a few words before he ran ahead of me. Just like in Gabriel Symphony last weekend, JunC was a few meters in front of me so he pretty much became my involuntary pacer.  Surprisingly, I was pretty well-behaved at this race feeling no need nor compulsion to chase any runner down; this bull was good and tame that morning.

By the time we hit the dreaded ascent of Country Club Drive, a foreign lady runner swept by me and it was fine by me. She seemed awfully strong and I didn’t want to bust my lungs climbing up that hill. Before I knew it, the short climb was over and we made our way towards the flat roads of University Ave. Woohoo, there was nothing to be afraid of anymore!  

My experience on these roads proved to be helpful as I watched other runners climbing up sidewalks along Country Club Drive, while I confidently stayed on the paved roads knowing it would be easier to just stay where I was. On University Ave., as other runners crossed to the right side of the road, I stayed on the left because the trees would provide shade from the intense heat. Yup, Patrick was right about having a home court advantage!

As we neared the finish, I felt I still had enough energy to sprint to the finish. Nearing Anahaw, I started to increase my pace and enjoyed the rhythm of each step. I crossed the finish line back at Mindanao Ave. with a time of 55.38 min for 10.27km according to my Garmin.  My average pace was 5.25 min/km.  

I peeked into the list of finishers and saw Annie in 1st place with the lady foreigner in 2nd place.  I placed 3rd!  So, I guess the coffee did me well.

Together with Annie, Jun, and Prometheus Cometh (who extended his run even after we headed back), I ran another 5km around the village. Total of 15km for the day. Just perfect.


– 10km Winners: Annie (1st), French lady (2nd), and myself –

6th Gabriel Symphony

Sunday, 28 September 2008  |  Race Reports

Joining the Gabriel Symphony 10k run was a last minute decision I was glad to have made; good thing there was onsite registration.  Yesterday morning, I arrived at the Alabang Country Club at 5:30 a.m. sharp anticipating a long line of onsite registrants; it turned out that I was the only eager beaver in the area. Organizers were still setting up the venue when I registered, got my race bib and singlet, and laughed to myself when I saw the lady jot down the words “Early Bird” on my registration form. I hoped that it’s true what some say “The early bird catches 1st place.”

Shortly after, I was relieved to see friends arrive: JunC, Coach Rio, Coach Jo-Ar, Coach John, Kim and friend Cristina, Dedette and Lisa. As we did our usual warm ups, Patrick and Totoy of Happy Feet took a detour from their run to say hi too. 


– Coach Ani de Leon gives the pre-race briefing –

The 5k & 10k event started late as Sen. Pia Cayetano, who was leading the affair, came from a brief swim with Maiqui Dayrit and Joey Torres, two athletes who so admirably volunteered to do an Ironman distance from 6 am to 6 pm to raise funds for Gabriel Symphony.  After a short talk from Sen. Cayetano about the recipients of the fundraising activities of Pinay In Action, the runners—perhaps less than 50—assembled at the startling line awaiting the start of the race.

By 6:30 a.m., we were off.  The course would take us through roads that I knew like the back of my hand. We were to make two 5k loops from Alabang Country Club to University Ave. and up Country Club Drive. Easy peasy, I thought. I could never have been more wrong.

As we exited Alabang Country Club, I ran at a comfortably hard pace for me—around 5:30 min/km—almost like I was going for my once-a-week tempo run. I ran alongside Sen. Pia for a few minutes; our conversation revolving around PRs and running, no longer about the kid’s articles we used to write together.  

The first 5k loop was fairly simple. I maintained a 5:30 to 5:40 min/km following three men in a line. Actually, they looked like the three little dwarfs (a lot taller though) climbing up those two major uphills at University Ave. and Country Club Drive (Think Hi ho hi ho, it’s off to work we go!)  As for me, the 4th little dwarf, I was doing fine, thank you, until another dwarf in black overtook me and claimed my position. Arggh, I was not happy playing 5th dwarf!

So, by the 2nd loop, this little dwarf was on a mission to regain her position. I stayed behind the black dwarf during the entire run, sometimes even matching his pace—no matter how tired I was—just to ensure that I wouldn’t lag too far behind. The supposedly easy peasy route and fast pace (remember this was a big guy I was trying to chase after), however, had taken its toll on me; I was feeling tired. As we climbed University Ave., my legs started feeling heavy and the black dwarf had gone way ahead of me. This annoyed me even more.

Rolling down University Ave. I discarded all shin splint fears and sprinted my way down the hill to catch up to black dwarf. We were less than 2 km to the finish and I needed to be right behind him to execute my plan. As we climbed the last uphill on Country Club Drive, I knew it was time.

I increased my pace just as he had slowed down during the climb up; yes, I overtook him! I wanted to scream out in triumph, but there was one problem: I was exhausted. (Hubby saw me at this point and waved at me from afar, but I could barely manage a grin.)  Oh, there was another problem too: the finish line was farther than I thought as we had to enter from the exit of the Club, not the entrance. Gawd, I didn’t know how long I could maintain my 4:40 pace without the black dwarf surprising me from behind.

Well, I ended the run with a terrible time of 59:48, unhappy with my time but ecstatic over my triumph over black dwarf. Woohoo!

I took a 5 minute rest (and a quick photo op with Smart peeps Ellen and Jet) and met up with JunC, who I was to run extra kilometers with as planned. Annie was supposed to join us but she was nowhere in sight.  So, Jun and I took off. We ran at a slower 6:00 to 6:30 min/km pace around flat roads this time (thank God!) and enjoyed easy conversation about family, children, and the upcoming Singapore Marathon where we’re both registered for the half. I ran an extra 4 km while Jun ran an additional 8 km.

The big surprise of the morning: I won 3rd place! First placer was the super fast runner who took Annie’s place as first at Nike due to Annie’s collapse; 2nd placer was no other than top female triathlete Sandra Araullo. Wooaah, I was just in awe that little ol’ me stood with these two great runners up on the podium. Must’ve been my lucky day.

I arrived at Gabriel Symphony with the mindset that it would be an easy, relaxed, fun run; it was fun alright, but it was taxing, challenging, and completely exhausting—just the way I like it.

– Winners received cool medals and a bag full of grocery items –

– When I grow up, I wanna be like Sandra Araullo. Problem is, she’s younger than me! –

– with 1st placer Coach John, 2nd placer Coach Rio, and JunC –


– Smart Runners with Ellen (5k winner) at the top of the podium –

Congratulations to Pinay In Action for completing yet another successful event. May you help more children live happier and healthier lives.

Nike+ Human Race – Part 2

Monday, 1 September 2008  |  Race Reports

This race was truly one of the more memorable races. Yes, I was happy about my performance. Plus, the race was perfectly organized; one of the best races I’ve attended—from the banana and ensaymadas at stations to overflowing water to the challenging race route to lots of race marshalls to giveaways (photovendo pics, finishers bracelets, Men’s Health magazine, Nike socks)—everything was perfect. (Congrats Coach Rio!)

But, it was also a race where the participants made it even more enjoyable. I was glad to have met most of the readers who had joined my TBR Race for the Nike+ SportsBand plus other runners in the community. It’s funny but I couldn’t have been more wrong about how CougCat or Bugobugo would look in real life.

After the Nike race, I learned that…

Patrick‘s bodyguard/driver is a budding photographer

…Bugobugo is one of the few fortunate running souls who enjoys high altitude training

Mukhang Guilty gives a tight handshake (parang di napagod sa 10k)

…Ever and Allyn won SportsBands at my blog and Ben’s, respectively. And, they’re husband and wife!

…Vince won’t be an active achiever anymore

Bards is not just a great runner but a good dancer too

RunMD starts fasting for ramadan today. He’ll be fasting from races too

DATC looks different in running attire compared to his preppy look the first time we met

Prometheus Cometh did a great job as race volunteer. He made distributing free socks look more fun than running the race

…in 10 years, Cougcat will be one of the country’s fastest runners

Coach Rio always looks calm under pressure (I always wondered if his hair would straighten out with all the stress he goes through in each race…apparently not.)


– with Patrick, Vince, Marvs, and JunC. –


– Running Bloggers: Bards, DATC, and RunMD


– with Baguio boy, Bugobugo –


– with Ever & Allyn –


– with adorable CougCat and his supportive parents –