Marathon on My Mind

Wednesday, 17 October 2007  |  Bullish Insights

Ever since I posted about the Subic Marathon I’ve been toying with the idea of going for the full 42, but probably in the Pasig Marathon on Feb 2008. Am I ready? Is it feasible considering I’ve been running for less than a year? Can I really put myself through the rigors of a marathon training program? Am I disciplined enough to run through the chaos and mayhem of the Holiday season?

Index Card

My mind says Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. But, of course, being the wise runner that I am (ehem) I decided to consult with the more knowledgeable and experienced runners around. I decided to sign up for a one-on-one trial session with Ige Lopez. In the running/ triathlon/ adventure racing world, Ige is known by many as a passionate athlete and a credible coach. I met him for the first time during the Mizuno Run Club and I was very much impressed with his style of coaching: straight-forward, frank, and aggressive. This guy definitely knows his stuff when it comes to running, so I surmised he could determine my readiness for a marathon.

Ige and I met last Monday at The Fort for a 1-hour session. We started promptly at 4 p.m. with a 30-minute progressive run. It was during the run that he interviewed me about my running experience and goals. I particularly liked the fact that, in between chatting and running, he also observed my form and told me what I was doing wrong and how to correct them. (Boy, did I need a lot of correcting!) Oh, we also bumped into Pastor Emata, one of the members of the First Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition Team, who ran along with us for several minutes.

After the short run, Ige proceeded to torture—er, I mean, teach me how to go about training. He put me through speedwork (I have never been forced to run so fast) and a couple of drills that would help me run faster and make me more flexible. We then ran for another 10 minutes. God, I was out of breath and tired. I definitely felt my age at this point. I wanted to scream “I’m a 31 year old mother of two children for God’s sake! Please have pity on me!” But, the runner in me was enjoying every second of this tough kind of training. First of all, Ige was very generous with his tips. In fact, I wish I had taken a notebook with me to jot down every single word that escaped his mouth! Secondly, I knew this was what I needed to improve; someone to drag me out of my comfort zone and squeeze every ounce of energy in me to make me a more powerful, faster runner.

Before the session ended (time flies when you’re running fast), I asked Ige if he thought I was ready for a marathon. He answered that no one could determine this except me. Rules can be broken. Limits can be exceeded. It was all up to me if I was committed and willing.

So, yes, the marathon is still on my mind. I am, in fact, currently training for it using Jeff Galloway’s basic marathon training program. But, I haven’t fully made up my mind yet. The thought of running 42 km sends shivers up my spine—10% from fear but 90% excitement.

Tag: I am a Runner…

Sunday, 14 October 2007  |  Bullish Insights

Inspired by John Bingham’s RW column No Need for Speed, Hitme came up with this new tagging game which he entitled, “I am a Runner”.

Hitme wrote: To hear it from Bingham quote the late Dr. George Sheehan, beloved Runner’s World columnist, who once wrote that the difference between a runner and a jogger was a signature on a race application. As succinct as Dr. Sheehan’s definition was, it made the point. If you are motivated enough to train for and participate in an organized running event, then you are a runner. Anyone willing to risk public failure in order to be part of the running community – no matter what his or her pace per mile might be – was a runner. Period. (NNFS, 2007)

To Bingham, though, such definitions are meaningless, since those who call themselves runners already know why they call themselves runners.

So, as promised to Hitme, these are the reasons why “I am a runner”:

I AM A RUNNER because I give importance to my training schedule. There is so much more in my life aside from running—my husband, children, parents and siblings, friends, graphic design, baby sign language, art, household, blogging, etc.—each of which requires special attention from time to time, or in some cases, all the time. But, should some aspects demand more from me or if my load becomes overwhelming, running is never set aside; it has its own slot of time in my crazy, busy life.

I AM A RUNNER because I am in it for the long haul. I’ve enrolled in countless gyms during my lifetime—Shape, Clark Hatch, Slimmers World, Fitness First—and never thought, for once, that I could sustain the monotonous act of going in and out of those gyms for over a year.  I signed up for badminton and golf excited over the initial sessions, but my interest waned for these sports quicker than I could say the sentence “This is not for me.” Running is different. I fell into a whirlwind romance with running, was completely infatuated with it, still love it for all its flaws and challenges, and I’m fully committed to it in good times and in bad (my hubby comes first, of course). I can see myself running until I am old and gray.

I AM A RUNNER because, whenever we are on the road travelling around Metro Manila, all I ever look at is the ground: “Hey, it is asphalted here, this would be a good running route.”

I AM A RUNNER because I have blindly spent all my hard-earned money on anything and everything that can improve my running. When was the last time I purchased a good pair of shoes or a fancy handbag? Maybe the same day that asteroid killed off all the dinosaurs. I can tell you though that I have happily shelled out cash for my treadmill, running shoes, sports bras, tops and shorts, ipod, nike kit, thorlo socks, no-slip headbands, cases of Gatorade, and so many more.

I AM A RUNNER because when I talk of travels abroad, all I ever think of is running. To a friend: “You went to Sydney, how did it feel to run there?” To my cousin: “You lived in a villa in Southern Italy? Wow, it would’ve been great to run there early in the morning!” To my Coach: “You’re back! How did it feel to run in Michigan?” To my husband: “Next time we go abroad, I’ll play golf with you and you can run a race with me. Wouldn’t that be romantic?”

I AM A RUNNER because my schedule revolves around races. When can we go up to Baguio? Am I free for dinner this Saturday evening? Wait…let me check if there’s a race on Sunday. I free up my entire week (or at least lighten my load) before a race because I know I have to train for this and be in tip-top shape.

I AM A RUNNER because I have my easy runs, fartlek, hill training, and LSD’s. I don’t churn out these technical terms for others to know I am aware of them. Hell, I don’t use them that often. I just run them.

I AM A RUNNER because I have to run. I must. If not, I feel awkward, incomplete, and unhappy. It is no longer about losing the last few pounds, burning excess calories from overindulging the night before, or keeping up with other runners. It is all about me and what I must do to feel alive.

Now I tag: Ben, Rick, E-rod and Crunchy ‘Nanas.

Slowing Down

Tuesday, 9 October 2007  |  Bullish Insights

Admit it. Most runners like us are masochists. We feel like winners when our calves are burning, our feet are sore, and we are too exhausted to run any further yet we still plod on for the sheer passion for running. Conversely, slowing down may feel like we’re giving in—or worse giving up.

For those who want to run for life, one must actually learn to slow down at times. In the runner’s world, that could mean: to decrease your pace, to lessen your number of runs, to shorten the length of time, or to allow your body to rest and recover for a certain period of time in order to avoid injury.

For me last week, I felt I needed to slow down in Life. I was going at breakneck speed and, if I did not reduce my pace anytime soon, I thought I’d find myself laying lifeless in the middle of the road.

So, after last Friday—the day I finalized work for one large design project and fortunately the same day that both kids were back in the pink of health—I confessed to my mac that I needed some space. (Yup, that’s why I hardly posted anything new here.)

It was during those days away from the laptop screen that I was able to focus on ME. I happily indulged in days of pampering and pleasure:

1) Treated myself to a massage. I got a home massage one evening last week much to the delight of my left ankle, which was a bit sore from my past two treadmill runs. Fortunately, I found the perfect masseuse for me, Jenny, who has a super strong but relaxing massage style… so different from my masseuse from hell.

2) Got a pedicure/foot massage. It wasn’t so much the foot massage that I desired but the pedicure. I could no longer look at my fourth toe nail staring back at me in all its blackness. My foot just looked hideous. I visited a nail spa last Friday and treated my toe nails to some beautiful red paint.(Uhm, I don’t usually wear red on my toes but this was the only color that effectively concealed the death of my 4th toenail. The lady there said I could return on the last week of October and she would gladly paint all my other 9 toenails black just in time for Halloween!)

3) Visited the parlor. I finally saw my hair stylist again for the first time in months. He chopped 2 inches off my hair. Not that it makes a significant difference since my hair is forever up anyway.

4) Met up with McDreamy. He’s back…my (and a million other women’s) McDreamy is back! If there is one thing that can stop me from running when I’m heading out the door with my shoes on, it would be Dr. McDreamy beckoning me to watch him on television. (Oh okay, maybe my husband begging me to spend the day with him would be another reason too.) So, after months of not watching anything at all, I spent more than an hour glued to the screen watching the first two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy’s Season 4.

5) Went shopping. Actually, I went shopping online a couple of days before I even submitted my work. No, I am not into the newest fashion trend. In fact, I’ve hardly spent a cent on anything but running accessories for the past couple of months. So, I am awaiting my new running partners that should arrive before the month ends. For now, I shall not disclose what these are for fear that, as they say in tagalog, “Baka maudlot!”

6) Ran alone. I needed to feel alive again. I ran in Ayala Alabang on Saturday with my playlist “Running Happy” playing on my nano throughout the hour’s run. I ran to my favorite songs of all time like “Next To You” by Elisabeth Withers, “Just for You” by M People, and “You Are the Universe” by Brand New Heavies and felt supremely happy and reenergized. Aaah, by far, this was the best treat of all.

Fame Fun Run

Tuesday, 25 September 2007  |  Race Announcements

I woke up for the Fame Run last Sunday feeling utterly depleted. My eyes refused to open and I felt like a ton of bricks lay on top of my legs. This came as no surprise as I had been pulling all nighters for work the past couple of days. For the first time, I contemplated skipping a race, but I knew I would hit myself on the head for that decision later. I decided to cut my run from 10k to 5k instead. So, in true zombie-like fashion, I got myself dressed, woke my hubby and son up (they were joining the 3k) and found myself on the road headed for Mall of Asia. There was a light drizzle on the way there, but fortunately the sky was clear by the time we set foot in the assembly area.

The race was relatively small with majority of the runners being “marinos” (hence the race name “Go Marino Go”) donning their bright yellow race singlets that almost jolted me out of my dazed and confused state. We arrived around 15 minutes before the race started, which gave me just enough time to look for Ben who had our race bibs. (Thanks again Ben for signing us all up!) After pinning my bib, I rushed to the registration booth to change my race distance, but gave up after seeing the chaos there. (I decided to just stop at 5k with my 10k bib. ) My son’s nose started to bleed so I pointed out the medical booth to my hubby so they could treat him there. Realizing the immediate need to pee, I headed for the nearest portalet in a mad rush to clear my bladder before running. Could there be anything else to surprise me?! I jog towards the portalet and—much to my horror—the gun was fired! Ack, I joined the hundreds of runners in the race and prayed to God my bladder would cooperate!

Where do I run?! That’s what I was thinking as I squeezed my way through the massive crowd of “marinos” who ran with their bodies practically intertwined. I followed the path other runners took which was the other side of the street. Oooh, in here, the road was flat and spacious and mesmerizing (my new race playlist with Maroon 5 and Fall Out Boy may have helped to get me enthralled). I ran freely and enjoyed every minute of it. I pushed hard because I knew I could sustain it for 5k no matter how tired my body was. Tired? Wait a minute. Who was exhausted and weak again? Nope, that wasn’t me. Now, I felt strong and I was revved up. In fact, I wanted to run the entire 10k instead. Too bad I told hubby it would be a short run for me.

So, the 5k was quick and short and fun. Actually, it wasn’t a 5k but a 5.86k according to my Nike+. I came in at 4th place as listed by the race organizer at around 27 minutes.

Fame Run

I usually stop my watch and Nike+ automatically after I end the race, but this time, I had no time to even think about it as I was bombarded with complaints from another runner. He argued with the race organizer about my place since I was registered for a 10k. I was so happy that I said in tagalog “Hey man, it’s fine with me. You can have 4th place. I’m not here to compete really.” Caught up in his own anger, he didn’t hear a word I said. I returned the #4 Tag to the race organizer, but he gave it back to me saying I could keep it and they would still count me as 4th. Oh well, whatever decision they made was fine with me.

Right after the run, I headed for the bathroom and did my own business. (Of course, I praised my little bladder for being very well behaved but I told her never to pull that stunt on me before a race. Would you believe she disprespectfully replied “Well, you shouldn’t have gobbled down all that Gatorade in the first place?!) I chatted with H@ppy Feet members and searched for my hubby and son who were nowhere in sight. I did see Jujet de Asis and congratulated him for placing first in 5k. His time was 17 minutes. (I think if I chat long enough with him and train with him at every Mizuno Run Club then his speed may rub off on me. I’ll tell you in a couple of weeks if it works.)

My hubby, son, and I left before photos were taken, medals were awarded, and stories about the race were exchanged with fellow runners. But, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I was just glad I ran and I didn’t hide under the sheets that morning.

Subic Marathon 2008

Thursday, 13 September 2007  |  Race Reports

Boys and girls, online registration for Subic Marathon 2008 is now open!

According to its website, the Subic Marathon “raises the bar in terms of organizing marathon events in the country and in the ASEAN region.” Aside from plans of obtaining accreditation from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), it is also associated with The Runners Confederation of the Philippines, Inc. (Run-CPI) and Outbound Asia, Inc. (OAI). The Subic Marathon will hand out the biggest top prize of US$ 5000 in any marathon in the region and will offer up to P 1 million in total prizes. Whoaaa, honestly, I’d just be happy running in scenic Subic wearing a scintillating new singlet!

Phew, just visiting their site is getting me all excited. I feel like a 2-year-old who ate too many marshmallows before bedtime. Yeah, it’s time to hit the sack right now but I cannot for the life of me get my mind to stop thinking about kilometers. How long shall I run in Subic? Perhaps I’ll count kilometers—instead of sheep—tonight. 5k…10k…21k…42k. Hmmm…what shall I sign up for?

Click here to visit the official website.