The Fort Running Festival: New 21k PR!

Sunday, 17 October 2010  |  Race Reports


DETAILS: Oct. 17, 2010, Bonifacio High Street

ORGANIZER: MLB Road Race Specialist


– simple but challenging route
– ample water and Pocari Sweat stations
– enough marshals
– adequate directional signs and kilometer markers
– loot bag with bananas, Pocari Sweat, plus free Goody ponytail holders (like FS Run)

– sudden gun start for 21k (even the host didn’t know the 21k race had started!)
– no lights at the dirt road during the 1st kilometer
– short 21k

This was a small and simple race.  For the runner who wanted a safe and enjoyable race without expecting much fanfare, this race delivered.

– Race awarding –



This was a big day for me. It was to be my last and longest run before New York Marathon.  And, just to make sure that I was on track for my goal, I decided to join The Fort Striders run at Fort for a 21k time trial.  Let’s just say this is something I felt I had to do to either 1) Build my confidence for my dream race, or 2) Make me the most anxious runner in all of New York City if I went below my own expectations.

My goal was a sub-2 hour 21k.  My personal record for a 21km was at Cebu Marathon last January when I clocked in at 2 hours and 1 minute. Ouch.

My good friend Alvin offered to pace me for this run.  I looked forward to having him push me to run faster.  But, at the same time, it made me 10x more nervous.


When the gun was fired, Alvin and I walked towards the starting line as the 21k runners charged away.  Talk about relaxed mode. I thought we were both trying to delay what was to be a very exhausting and challenging 2 hours ahead.

The route took us towards the I.S. and British School area, our regular tempo route with Alvin.  Much to our surprise, it was exactly the same course we had run in numerous times in the past.  Woohoo!  This race was ours, well, at least for the first 5k!


As we entered Lawton, we spotted a female runner in pink ahead of us.  I’ve seen her in past races so I knew how strong she was.

Alvin and I continued to run a steady pace and, by chance, we overtook her. She was on my right side as I ran past her.  Faster than I was able to say “What-the-hell?!” I found her on my left overtaking me!  After a few minutes, we overtook her again.  And, as expected, she forged ahead leaving us a few meters behind.

I whispered to Alvin “She is very competitive.” Later on, I added “We’re very much alike!”


For the rest of the race—from Heritage Park climbing up towards Bayani Ave. where pink runner’s pacer guided her all the way until the finish line—we stayed safely behind pink runner.

It was pretty obvious to me at that time that Alvin was using her to motivate me to maintain the pace.  He would tell me “Let’s get her at Essensa” and I would barely manage a word, just a little snort which could have meant “Uh huh” or “No way!” Or, he would signal to me with his thumb and index finger right in front of his face and I would try to read his lips “She is THIS near!”  And, I would stare at him blankly focused on running my own race regardless of pink runner’s presence.

Sure, I wanted to beat her.  Of course, I wanted to overtake her.  But, with all humility, this woman was strong and I thought I’d collapse if I tried chasing her down.  Was I willing to go all out to chase after her when I knew deep inside that I was already running a race that exceeded my own expectations for myself?  Not really.  (Maybe after New York, yes?!)

I was running what I felt was the best 21k race I ever run so far.  Not once did I glance at my Garmin, but I felt it.  And, I knew that if I ended the race strong–whether or not pink runner was ahead of me—I would be happy.


As we neared the finish line, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The clock read 1:52.

1:52?! NO WAY?! Only in my wildest dreams!  I stopped my Garmin and got confirmation.  Yup!  My time was 1: 52 with an average pace of 5:29/km, but it was only for 20.45 km. If adjusted, my time would’ve been 1:55 for a 21k.  Well, that’s still 6 minutes better than my Cebu PR!

I placed 6th Overall for Women’s 21k.  2nd Place for Women’s in my age category.

To say I was happy was an understatement.  I was overjoyed. And, if I knew how to do cartwheels, I would’ve been doing them all the way to the car.

– with Jun & Mariel (The Solemates) and hubby –

– with new friends after the race –

After thanking Alvin, congratulating Pink Runner (yes, I sought her out and shook her hand), and waiting for hubby and friends to arrive, we ran more kilometers to total 32km for the day followed by our usual breakfast at Sentro.

New Yoooork (concrete jungle where dream are made of) I am so ready for you!

Fort Striders Run and a Little Bit More

Monday, 13 September 2010  |  Race Reports


DETAILS: Sept. 12, 2010, Bonifacio High Street


– nice route
– simple but attractive singlet
– enough marshals
– directional signs and kilometer markers
– loot bag with bananas, Pocari Sweat, plus free Goody ponytail holders (I like!)

– started late
– sudden gun start for 5k/ 10k
– could’ve had more water stations

An annual event by one of the more popular running clubs, Fort Striders, I expected not much fanfare, but a well-organized race much like the past couple of races they staged in previous years. The Fort Striders Run was once again clean and simple with an enjoyable course and enough marshals along the route although there could’ve been more water and sports drink stations lining the course. The only negative about this race? The late and confusing start for 5k/ 10k runners. All else was fine and dandy.



Life has been moving at breakneck speed with more work, heavier training, and a slew of events to attend. Don’t forget the kiddos who always demand the most time from me—and are always top priority.

Due to the chaotic schedule, I didn’t have any plans of joining a race for the weekend. After all, I had work on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. I wasn’t crazy enough to squeeze in a race to make life more complicated! I did know that I would have to cover the 22km long run required by my NYC Training Program.


Hubby, Lit, JunC, Mariel and I met at 4:30 am to run long on Saturday morning. I advised them that I had to leave by 6:30 am. Either we start early, run fast, or both, I thought.

Time flew quickly during this run. It was definitely due to great conversation.

Since I had to rush off to a meeting, hubby and I could only run until 6:30 a.m. We ran the last 10 minutes as quick as we could. Good thing Lit switched to Chi-running-instructor mode during the last 3 minutes. He asked me to lean more, let gravity pull me, loosen my shoulders and my ankles and off I went at 4:30/km during the last few hundred meters. When we slowed to a stop, the absence of the usual panting and exhaustion that comes from sprinting was noticeable. I could speak straight and I didn’t feel too tired. Aaack, it was awesome. It made me an even bigger believer of Chi running.

Despite the sprint though, I covered only 18k, 3k short of my target. I knew I had to make up for it the next day. So, we signed in for the FS Run the following day.  Apparently, I am crazy.


I woke up to realize that I would be running alone that morning. Hubby wasn’t feeling well. By 4:30 a.m., I was parked at Bonifacio High Street ready to run a few rounds before the race started.

Wait a minute. When was the race going to start anyway? A friend said 5 to 5:30 a.m. But, another one said it was 5:45. Later on, they said it was moved to 6:15. Unbelievable. I had to be in Ultra by 7 a.m. That meant I had to run a 10k in 15 minutes. Duh.

By the time the race started, I was getting anxious about how late I was going to be. I didn’t get to enjoy much of the race as the only thing on my mind was: Let’s get this over and done with.

It felt like a tempo run to me. I ran fast, but didn’t give it my all. I particularly loved the uphills, which have just been my favorite kind of training the past few weeks. I practically crave for them each week.

According to my Garmin, I crossed the finish at 53:12 for an exact 10k distance. Average pace was 5:17/km.

I then rushed over to change, buy a Starbucks tuna pandesal for takeout, pulled out my low fat chocolate milk from the cooler (truly works for muscle recovery!), and drove to Ultra for a shoot I was 30 minutes late for. My average pace was probably 4:30/km doing all that.

What a hectic weekend! I am so relieved it’s over.

4th OctobeRun Festival

Monday, 27 October 2008  |  Race Reports


I had only two words in mind as I dressed for the race yesterday morning: TRAINING RUN. My “race mode” button was shut off that morning so that’s probably why I took my sweet time—even had time to touch up the pedicure on my dead toenail (yes, it’s dead again)—before I left for Bonifacio High Street.  

It came as no surprise then that I arrived just 5 mins. before the race start. When I arrived at the assembly area, I was in no mood to socialize (except to wish Cougcat good luck in his 3k and congratulate Carolyn on her Nike Women’s Half in SF) while I let out quite a number of yawns as I waited for the babbling host to just let the race begin. Fortunately, just after the Philippine National Anthem was played, JunC and Jay—my training partners that day—appeared and we had a few minutes to chat before the race started at 6:15 a.m. (thanks to the super talkative host).

Our plan was to run at 6:15 pace during the 10k race plus an additional 10k thereafter at 6:15 to 6:30 pace to complete 20k for me while Jun and Jay, who ran before the race, would reach a total of 25k.  

This was the first time I ran with a training group during a race and I’m sure glad I did. Our steady and relaxed pace allowed us to chat during the entire length of the race, yell out words of encouragement to runner friends who made their way back ahead of us (and maybe whisper “I’ll get you next time!” to a few others), and even stop at some water stations to splash some cold water on our faces. We even “recruited” Dra. Doray to run with us for a few kilometers before we parted ways.

The Fort Striders Club did a great job organizing this race. We went through the challenging Lawton-Bayani Road route without a hitch. There was an abundant supply of mineral water (not balde system as in Adidas KOTR) and marshalls were so helpful that they even poured this on our heads or faces as if they were personal coaches. I wished they had started at exactly 6 a.m. but hey that’s a minor inconvenience.  Congratulations to Fort Striders, especially my friends Taki and Glenn, for a successful race.

We crossed the finish line—agreeing to meet in 5 minutes for the next 10k—at 58:21 mins with an average pace of 5:54.  Total distance was 9.9k on my Garmin, pretty accurate measurement for organizers. We ran a little bit faster than our planned pace, but it left me feeling strong enough for the next half of our goal.

{ NEXT 10KM }

After a 5 minute break where I changed my top, munched on half a ClifBar, and found myself sharing an almost empty parking lot with Fernando Zobel, I met Jay and Jun at ROX to run our next 10k.

We were an indecisive bunch not knowing which route to take that would give us the most shade from the 7:30 a.m. sun. We decided to run loops around Market!Market! where more than half of the route was shaded and, as I requested, the roads were flat.

The next 10k was light and easy and filled with good conversation. Sometime during the run, I had what I’d like to call a “running epiphany” where I realized that I enjoyed this slow and steady type of run vs. a race; I would give up a 10k podium finish (and even cash prize!) anytime for an easy half marathon distance with friends. I could’ve screamed “I love to ruuuuuun!” right there and then, but I thought of Jun and Jay who didn’t have brown bags with them to shield them from embarassment.

We ended our 10k with an average pace of 6:55km to complete a full 20km for me. This was the farthest distance I had ever run.  Wooohooo!  And, as I ended without any hint of injury, I took it as a sign that I was ready for NB 25k.  Double wooohooo with cartwheels (if only I could do them)!  See you at Clark!