On Your Mark

Sunday, 13 April 2008  |  Race Reports

“Mama, I want my blanket.” she murmured.

“Uh huh…” I replied in my sleep.

“Mama, I want my blanket!” my daughter screamed.

I opened my eyes, peeked at the alarm clock that failed to wake us, and yelled to the hubby “Get up! We’re late!” followed by a few curse words that you yourself would have said in the same situation.

It was 5:40 a.m. A mere 20 minutes to the start of On Your Mark at NBC Tent where the hubby and I were registered for 5k. I ran towards the bathroom, ran back to the bed to pull the blanket over my daughter, and sprinted again back to the bathroom to get dressed in breakneck speed.


We arrived at the race at 6:07 a.m., 7 minutes after around 1,600 registered runners left for the 5k and 10k races. The hubby and I decided to continue with the race sans the race bibs. He made it his mission to search for his two colleagues who I had registered for and, as a result of my loser alarm clock, were forced to run without their numbers.

We ran side by side at a s–l–o–w 7 min/km pace. It was a bonding experience for us, but I wished we could move just a wee bit faster. The hubby, you see, doesn’t care about his time and I respect him for that. It’s good that he keeps me “grounded” as I teeter on the edge of obsessiveness over my running time all the time. He runs with me for fun and remains to be passionate about nothing else but golf. So, for the first few kilometers, we ran together at this relaxed, easy pace.

By the time we reached 2km and met the 10k runners near Market! Market!, I was feeling antsy. Fernando Zobel ran past me at full speed. (By the way, may I just say he is no longer my crush as I have noticed too many a women runners going gaga over him. My crush should belong to me and only me. Hence, I shall revert back to the hubby for now! hah!) Then, Lala Calma and Mark B. flashed by. And a little later on, Bald Runner flew by me too looking all cool in his slimmer physique. I couldn’t take it! I suddenly missed running 10k at a more challenging pace.

A few minutes later, I gave in and asked hubby if I could run ahead. “Go ahead” he replied in his usual laidback manner. “Okay, meet you in a few seconds!” So, we had around 4 or 5 rounds of that mini interval training for me where I would run ahead, slow to a walk and wait for hubby, then run fast again.

Nearing the end, I didn’t even bother to cross the finish line. I ended the run at around 35 mins. barely evaluating the results from my Garmin. Yet again, this was not a real race for me. I was just grateful to be spared of any pain or discomfort in the knee. Well, that at least deserves a little Yey! from me.

Where was Rufa Mae? Dingdong Dantes? Nowhere to be seen. Dang, I would’ve ran GK had I known there was no juicy showbiz chismis over here. (Kidding!) Oh well, at least they gave out great loot: a shoe bag which contained a shirt, wristband and sticker.

To friends Jujet and Lala, congratulations for coming in 1st and 3rd respectively in your categories!
To Happy Feet, I missed you! Ang lungkot pala kapag wala kayo!
To the hubby, congrats on your 2nd race!

Mizuno Infinity Run – Part 2

Monday, 31 March 2008  |  Race Reports

Last night, I checked this blog to find quite a number of negative comments regarding the organization of the Mizuno race—from registration to the lack of water stations—and with a range of emotions from simply disappointed to infuriated.

Personally, I was oblivious to the water problem as I didn’t feel the need to stop at any water station during my 5k run. However, I did encounter these:

1. difficulty registering my husband for the 5k run
2. no pins for my hubby’s race bib
3. more than usual vehicles on the road due to late race time of 6:30am

    In fairness, there were good things too…

    1. 5k race was 5.07km on my Garmin. They finally got it right this time—not perfect but close enough right?
    2. nice singlet for men…but no sizes and too transparent for us women 🙁
    3. 5k started on time
    4. They make the best shoes and leggings…oh right, that’s not about the race

    It was obvious to me that Mizuno and the race organizer worked hard to make this race as successful as it could be. But, obviously, a lot of things went wrong.

    This was Mizuno’s first race and it can only get better next time. Hopefully, all race organizers learn from this experience to give us runners a race that is well-organized—or better yet, one that is at par with races abroad. Sigh.

    What did YOU think about the Mizuno Infinity Run?

    Mizuno Infinity Run – Part 1

    Monday, 31 March 2008  |  Race Reports

    I arrived at the Mizuno Infinity Run at the Fort at around 6:15 am. Just in time to make a quick stop at the portalet (to see poop staring back at me from the hole! Blech!), teach hubby how my Nike kit worked, and do some (but certainly not enough) warm ups and stretching before the race started. In a blink of an eye, we were off.


    This was one mad, hungry, chaotic, crowd. (Or have I just been away from races for too long?) I felt somewhat lost and confused in the traffic of 5k runners. Despite this, I stuck to my plan of maintaining a steady (read: boring) pace of 6:30 thereabouts. The hubby had the ipod on (so much for my dreams of marital bonding while running!) and he suffered pain behind his knee at around 2km, so soon after we crossed McKinley we parted ways.

    Running alone, I focused on my form: landing on my midfoot, putting more power on my left leg, lifting my knees a bit higher, and tucking my tummy in. Going downhill, I would intentionally slow down to avoid aggravating my runner’s knee. I busied myself watching others—especially the elite who were returning from their 15ks on the opposite side of the road. Awesome! Sure, I wanted to run faster or outpace others, but I had to stick to what I knew was right. Well, I was “good” until the last half kilometer. I increased my pace to a 5 to 5:30 and slowed down again just before hitting the finish line.

    According to my Garmin, my time was 33.42 for 5.07km. Ave pace was 6:39/km. Nothing to be proud of, but hey no pain so I’m a happy camper. Hubby came in, tired but happy, a few minutes after. I think I’ve just made a new recruit!

    Guess who dropped by on their motorcycles? My two kuyas! That’s me with Tan, Jude, and Hubby –

    – Mark and Charlie.  Mark, did you achieve your secret goal? 🙂 –

    – Taki (2nd fr left) and Bald Runner (2nd fr right) with friends. Bald Runner collected quite a number of old running shoes to donate to other runners. –

    – Photographer Ben with his nephew…the youngest Happy Feet member? –

    – Happy Feet people: Joms, Abby, and Lucky 777 Marga –
    The Mizuno Elite Team…plus me in high hopes that they’re speed rubs off on me –

    Pinay In Action ’08

    Sunday, 9 March 2008  |  Race Reports

    I just thought of a great way to celebrate Women’s Month. Gather a huge group of strong, beautiful, driven, and dynamic women for a race. Tell them to take their husbands, children, friends and other relatives who wish to honor the importance of women in their lives. Maybe set up an expo showcasing health, wellness, beauty, and fitness products especially for women. It will be great! The perfect way for everyone to truly celebrate the strength and spirit of a woman!

    Oh, wait a minute. Someone beat me to it. Sen. Pia Cayetano just celebrated the 2nd Pinay In Action this morning. It was the biggest and only all-women’s race in the country. It was definitely a success with over 2,000 participants (according to Mon D.) signing up for the 1.6k, 5k and 10k runs.


    – Starting line for 5km runners at around 7:15 am. 10km runners had started earlier a little after 6 am –

    I definitely could not miss this race. PIA makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside—like treating myself to a fat-laden Twix bar after a long run without worrying about my thighs—because this was the first ever race I joined last year. After finishing my 1st 5k, I remember telling the hubby “I like this. I could get used to this.” And that perhaps was the birth of The Bull Runner within me.

    So, this morning, my son, Anton, and I arrived at NBC Tent a little bit too early for the 1.6km race we signed up for. After warming up and stretching (I told you I am a very good girl now), we waited and waited and waited…


    – Please pause in silence to commemorate this special event. It had been way too long since I last pinned a race bib on my singlet so this was a momentous occasion. –


    – Anton looks like he just woke up but he’s super excited over his upcoming run –

    Perhaps out of boredom (and maybe in an attempt to get a new toy as a reward), Anton told me that he’d like to run the 5k instead which was going to start ahead of the 1.6km. Within the next few minutes, we were off. We ran for the 1st 5 minutes strong and cheerful. I cheered Anton on and he smiled back enjoying every minute. Like a stage mother (or maybe a road mother), I even taught him a few things I picked up from Ige Lopez such as keeping the arms low as if you were striking drums. But, he smartly replied “Mom, you can’t play drums while you’re running!” So, I shut my mouth and just enjoyed the run.

    Within the next few minutes, we slowed down to a jog and shortly after we slacked off to a walk. By that time, Anton could hardly talk anymore. His smile had disappeared and was replaced by a blank stare. He was too pooped to even reply to my questions “Do you want to start running again?” or “Isn’t this fun?” or “Are you still breathing?” The only time he spoke again was after he drank a bit of water. By that time, I had decided to just head back and call it a day for his sake.

    – 56 bottles of beer on the wall 56 bottles of beer, take one down pass it around, 56 bottles… –

    We ended our run at 2.5km. A little bit more than Anton’s initial 1.6km goal and half of his 5km dream. Pretty good for my little boy! After a bit of socializing with Happy Feet friends (Anton was still not talking at this time), we headed home to meet hubby and daughter but not without a stop for a Jollibee kiddie meal as his reward. (Note: Anton gets a real toy if he finishes 5km. Maybe next time, baby!)

    PIA wasn’t a PR race for me. But, it ranked high up there as one of the races that I’ll just never forget. See you there next year and the year after that…

    – Pinays (and Pinoys) in action –
    PIA in Pia08
    – Sen. Pia runs towards the 10km finish line –
    – Super strong mommy runner doesn’t mind the extra weight –
    – Women in unity! Same hair. Same outfit. Same shoes! –
    – Best friends? Or mother and daughter? Maybe both –

    – My friend Beni (left) and her friends run together with their friend, Mila, who is now a quadraplegic after suffering an embolism during childbirth. –

    – with Sen. Pia and Happy Feet –

    Clark International Marathon

    Monday, 14 January 2008  |  Race Reports

    This was a welcome change. Billeted at the Holiday Inn, which was a stone’s throw away from the assembly area of the Clark marathon, all I had to do was do my usual 5-10 minute brisk walk/light jog warm up and I already found myself right smack in front of the starting grid as early as 5:15 a.m.

    The scene was less populated than I initially expected but obviously I was among serious runners (like those who were willing to travel for a race instead of joining the more convenient Ictus Race at UP).

    I had high expectations for this international race. Organizers announced early on that foreigners signified their participation at Clark. (I was eager to get a glimpse of them Kenyan ultra-fast runners.) The race packet also provided strict rules and regulations that were uncommon in other local races I joined, such as water stations every 2km and aid stations on the course that would provide water sponges (cool!). I was certainly looking forward to this.

    At the same time, however, I had my worries. I felt no knee pain at that point, but for the past two weeks, running as little as 5k would leave me sore either on my left knee, right knee, or right shin. So, veering away from my usual pre-race thoughts of PR, PR and PR, I found myself fretting over one thought: Will I finish?

    The race started on time. Actually, in my watch, the gun for 10k runners was fired at 5:51 a.m. In a snap, we were off. I bid Marga, a fellow Happy Feet runner, good luck as we parted ways among the sea of runners running against a beautiful dawn backdrop.

    The start of the course was quite enjoyable; it was downhill! As much as I would’ve wanted to espouse the rule of negative splits, I quickly allowed gravity to pull me towards a fast pace of 4:45 thereabouts. As for conserving energy for the expected uphill climb heading back to the finish, I thought, I would just uhm cross that bridge when I got there.

    My first 5k came swiftly for me. I ran it at race pace averaging below 5 and I was pleasantly surprised to find my legs holding up with that speed. I knew I could sustain this, but seriously worried if my legs felt the same way.

    Then came the first water station, which was not at 2km as organizers promised, but at the 5k turnaround. I made the big mistake of slowing down to a walk to drink, which based on experience from my long runs is when the pain attacks from nowhere. I suddenly felt slight pain on my right knee.

    Needless to say, the race was pretty much over for me then. At 5k to 7k, I slightly slowed down but managed to keep my pace at around 5 to 5:30 while worrying about the pain. But, after 8k, it was troublesome and tiring. I slowed to a 6 (my training pace!) and only hoped that I would still be able to finish. Er, those cold water sponges would have helped, by the way, but I saw none.

    Thankfully, I finished with a respectable time of 52.26 minutes. Not my best time but, considering what I went through, I was just glad I made it to the end without crawling.


    – Me with a small group of Happy Feet runners. Others opted to join the Ictus run at U.P. –


    – Me with Mizuno Elite Runners –

    I stayed until close to the end of the awarding—something I rarely do since I am always rushing to get home—and I’m glad I did. With a sad limp whenever I walked, I felt utterly depressed about not being able to “race” due to the injury. What a waste, I thought, since I couldn’t even run my best due to the knee.

    However, after seeing other runners, like Jho-an Banayag placing first for females at 42k and Leo Oracion finishing his first marathon at around 3:30, my spirits were lifted. It was just awe inspiring to see these super athletes cross the finish line with so much passion in their eyes knowing all the pain they just went through. How could I even complain about my little knee then?


    – Leo Oracion, triathlete and first Filipino to reach Mt. Everest, talks to reporters about finishing his first marathon –

    – Jho-an Banayag finishes first for 42k –

    I’m home now. In a few hours, I shall pay my therapist a visit for more strengthening and stretching exercises on my legs. As for my next race, let’s not even go there. Let me fix these broken knees first.


    – Top male finishers for 10k


    – Top female finishers 10k –


    MALE (42K)
    1st: Hillary Lagat from Kenya 2:26:29
    2nd: Cresenciano Sabal 2:26:48
    3rd: Juniel Languido 2:29:05

    FEMALE (42K)

    1st: Jho-An Banayag 3:02.51
    2nd: Cristabel Martes 3:07.36
    3rd: Flordeliza Carreon 3:10:12