Champion Run 2007

Monday, 21 May 2007  |  Race Reports

Yesterday was a big day for me. “Big” because it was my first 10k ever…hmmm perhaps I should’ve used the word “long”?

I arrived at the scene of the Champion Run at 5:30 a.m. giving me just enough time to do my warm-ups—some dynamic stretching techniques taught by Coach B followed by a quick run to the little girls’ room. That counts as a warm up, right? I bade my hubby and son goodbye (both came for moral support…ack, who am I kidding? I begged my hubby to come as my official photographer) then I slipped into the sea of runners impatiently waiting at the starting line right across Jollibee at The Fort.

Morning Stretch
– Runners stretch before the race –

The crowd that showed up on this sunny Sunday morning was an enthusiastic and happy lot—aren’t runners that way all the time? Most were men (well, a whole lot of them were PNP cadets) and I would say that majority of the registrants were serious runners who knew their stuff. Soon after the National Anthem, at around 6:10 a.m., we were off.

It was literally a mad rush to get out of the pack. Runners were scrambling to secure their own space, overtake the slower ones, or find and sustain a steady pace. I knew it was wrong for me to run like a bull at this point, so I kept my pace at around 65-70% effort with some bouts of power followed by short recovery periods every now and then. The first 5k of the course from the starting line till the end of Manila American Cemetery at the end of C5 road was relatively easy for me. I savoured the downhill runs and immensely enjoyed the idea of gravity doing all the work for me at that point. Passing by the water stations, I made a mental note to stop at one on the way back since it was located at the bottom of an uphill climb. At around 4.5k, I saw a couple of friends heading back already: Sen. Pia Cayetano, an accomplished triathlete who probably eats 10ks for breakfast, and Annie, my running group buddy who never seems to run out of energy (she can teach a spin class right after our 10k training runs!) Physically, I was still alright, but mentally I was getting a bit nervous about the thought of climbing up all the hills I had previously rolled down from.

Upon reaching the 10k turnaround, I felt like I still had a lot of energy left, but I needed water badly. I knew where the water stations were located so these became my goals—much like a dehydrated madman searching for water in a desert. I pushed myself hard and thought positive. When I saw hills, I reminded myself of our training runs in Cuenca Street in Ayala Alabang when I initially thought I couldn’t climb such a steep hill but surprised myself when I did so with ease. When I was tempted to walk, I reprimanded myself and said “No way you’re walking. Just run slowly until you recover.” With some patience and persistence, there it was…the next water station. Aaaah, at last! As I was about to line up for a glass, I was completely shocked to see (almost in slow motion, I tell you) one man pouring what was left of the water over his head. Just like a mirage, all the water was gone! Thirsty, tired runners were screaming “Tubig!” (“Water!”) repeatedly but no water came. OMG! When I reached the next water station, why was I not surprised that there was no water either? I was too thirsty to complain. Needless to say, I, and hundreds of other runners, ran the last 5k with nothing but willpower.

When I saw the finish line ahead of me, I was ecstatic. I gave it my all and ran as fast as I could. Boy, did I miscalculate the length of that road because I certainly did not have the energy reserves (nor enough training) to run a sprint that long. With a dry throat and tired legs, I forgot about everything and just went for it. Before I knew it, I crossed the finish line.

Finish
– That’s me a few steps away from the finish line –

My goal: 1 hour. My time: 1:00:53. I was seconds shy of not reaching my time. But, sigh…I did it! Now, when’s the next 10k again?

With Anton
– My hubby (taking the pic) and son meet me at the finish line –

With Annie
– with Annie, my super strong running mate –

with Pia
– with Sen. Pia Cayetano, my boss/friend/running idol –

Army/Navy
– PNP cadets celebrating post-race camraderie –

3 runners
– Three runners relaxing after the race –

Happy Feet
– with the H@ppy Feet Runners (It was great to finally meet you guys! See you at the next run!) –

 

 

Death of a Loved One

Friday, 18 May 2007  |  Bullish Insights

This will be a short entry as I am inconsolable as I write this. Kindly say a prayer for the death of a beloved—my fourth toenail on my right foot.

Tombstone

His death came like a thief in the night. This morning, when I woke up for my early morning run, he was in the pink of health. As I slipped my socks past him, I sensed that something was not right. I checked my 2nd toe and, yes, I had wrapped it with micropore tape to protect it from blisters. So, what could be wrong? I was late so, with much hesitation, I put my shoes on and rushed out the door.

Being the last running session before the Champion Race, we kept it light and easy today. We ran around 7k at a comfortable pace before we called it a day. When I got home, I tossed my shoes and socks unto the hamper and got the shock of my life.

There he was—my badly bruised toenail gasping for his last breath and then fading away. He was gone.

The entire toenail is now black with bluish tints (must I get so graphic?) and it is slightly painful when touched. I doubt if it will trouble me during the race, but its sheer ugliness is bothersome for me. Oh, the sacrifices one must undertake as a runner!

As I type these words in grief, only one thought comes to mind: Will my feet still look good in Havaianas?

Yes, I am a Runaholic

Thursday, 17 May 2007  |  Bullish Insights

I was about to finish a logo I was working on last night when a friend sent me a message about the 1st Philmug Nike+ Challenge. I hopped on over to the site and I wanted to join the race…even if it seemed like only men had signed up, and I’ll be joining midway, and uh oh aaah, I don’t even own a Nike+ Kit or a Nano—and I don’t plan on purchasing either one. Forget it. I’m sticking with my Polar Dream.

So, temporarily abandoning my work (oh, the temptations of the web for a work-at-home designer), I further explore Nike’s Running site. Oooh, very cool intro and I love their tagline too: “I am a runaholic.” It’s obvious I can relate, isn’t it? The website takes quite a while to load though—did they not take into consideration that runners are addicted to speed? While waiting for what seemed like forever, my son tells me to shut off the sound; he can’t watch Nick Jr. with all the noise.

I go window shopping online and discover sportsbras made the way I like them (plain and simple, please—none of the laces, double spag straps, or triangular holes for other runners to peek through while you’re running ahead of them.) I wonder which branches these are actually available in though since I haven’t spotted any of those in the shops I’ve visited lately, and believe me, I’ve been to quite a few the past month searching for apparel.

I browse through their shoes with little excitement because I am a staunch lover of New Balance running shoes. My old Nikes were always rushed to Mr. Quickie for large doses of rugby on their soles—to think I wasn’t even running then. My 2-year old New Balance pair has never needed a shoe doctor or any kind of special attention. Their tough and dependable.

The running stories are a delight to read. The natural high you get from running cannot be put into words, but what the three runners say does come close. Surprisingly, I’ve met two out of the three of them (one while I was still in the stock market and the other in college) and I’m sure they don’t remember me anymore, but I want to give them a virtual high five and say “Hey brother, I know what you’re talking about!” Haha.

Now for the exciting part. I visit Nike’s pace calculator which, after punching in your record time, will compute your pace—and not just that, but also your predicted finishing time for a race. So, rubbing my hands together, I plug in my personal record during the Global City Run and eagerly await the predicted results of my 10k for this coming sunday’s Champion run. Whoa, at a pace of 6:03, I should finish at 1 hr 30 sec. Hey, for a novice runner, I think I would be pretty happy finishing at 1.30—although 1 hour would sound a lot cooler!

Nike Pace Calculator

Will I be able to sustain my 6:03 pace on Sunday? Gulp, I have no idea. Let’s wait and see. 3 more days to go…

Featured Runner: Grete Waitz

Wednesday, 16 May 2007  |  Bullish Insights

 

“God gave me a gift. I got the chance to use it.… I didn’t think I deserved what people were saying. My talent is just more visible than theirs.”

– Grete Waitz

Grete Andersen-Waitz

– Grete Andersen (before she married and changed her name to Waitz) at Bislette 1976 after she set a new world record in the 3000 meter event – (Photo: ScanPix)

I found this inspiring article (yes, you men will enjoy it too) about Waitz’s first marathon on marathonguide.com.

Who is Grete Waitz? She is one of the most acclaimed long-distance female runners of the century. She set world records in the 3,000 meter event (1975, 1976) and became the world women’s marathon champion in 1983. Waitz won the women’s silver medal in the marathon at the 1984 Olympic Games. In 1978-1988, she won the New York marathon nine times (I repeat, NINE!) and was the first woman to finish that race in under 2.5 hours. Beat that.

Waitz and Armstrong

– Grete Waitz gives Lance Armstrong some last minute tips before the ING New York City Marathon 2006. Waitz, who is battling cancer, thanked Armstrong for his support since her diagnosis in 2005. – (Photo: ING New York City Marathon)

Sources: “Grete Waitz.” Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2006, “Grete Waitz.” Quotations. Quotations Book, 2005. Answers.com 15 May. 2007.

My Polar Dream

Tuesday, 15 May 2007  |  Gear + Gadgets

Elite runners probably know their bodies so well that they know when to push harder, slow down, run longer, or stop. For the novice runners, it will take some time to listen and learn to what their previously indolent bodies have to say (I’m speaking for myself, really). For all types of runners though, it’s been said that monitoring your heart rate is still the best way to go to determine your pace, maximize your training runs, and track your progress.

For the longest time now, I’ve been using my hubby’s hand-me-down stopwatch that he received as a giveaway in a company sales conference. It’s not very attractive—it has a high-tech cum alien look to it—but it’s free so I don’t mind looking like a martian at all during my runs. Then, last week, Mayi and Jamike ran with us and Jamike was sporting his Polar. He even had the foot module on to track our distance and pace.

Oooh, I thought, I want one.

No, that’ll cost you, my conscience tells me.

You’ve worked hard and you deserve it.

You’re spending way too much on accessories.

Shut up, conscience, I said. Maybe my hubby can get me a second birthday gift? The following day, I drop by Time Depot at Festival Mall and pick up a Polar brochure. That evening, I show the Polar RS 200 to my Hubby and exclaim with much excitement “They are more affordable than I thought! I should’ve asked for this on my birthday instead of the ipod you gave!” Biting the bait, he replies “Yeah, if the budget permits then why don’t you get one?” I want to tap myself on the back for a job well done, but before I can celebrate my victory, my authoritarian conscience whispers “Isn’t it preschool enrollment next week?” Shucks, I nod in forced surrender.

So being the good mother that I am (don’t laugh), I shall patiently wait for the right time (read: Christmas) to buy my Polar Watch. In the meantime, I shall drool over and dream of the Polar that shall be mine.

Polar RS200

– the Polar RS 200 with the option to connect to the foot module (when I get it for my birthday 2008 haha!) –