Happy New Year!

I just realized that my blog almost completely skipped 2011. I tell you its not because it was an uneventful year, actually its quite the opposite. Time, I guess it might be a factor since I have been very busy the whole year but laziness, well that would most likely be the more accurate reason. Is there anyone out there who writes for relaxation? Talk to me but I would most likely find you boring. (Sorry Noel and Kathy, hehehe.) So nevermind.

However, I am starting to regret not writing about the events that happened last year because after recently reading my New York Marathon post (still the best marathon there is!) I realized I remember almost nothing with my other marathons. Ok, nothing may be quite stretch but still I don’t remember every detail compared to my NYC marathon. Right now, my memory is not serving me well as I hope it would, which makes backtracking the past not only laborious but I am starting to doubt its accuracy as well.

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is for family and friends. Reading this blog entry might be misleading for people who do not know me. Mayabang ako pero yung pasimple lang and sa entry na to hindi pasimple magiging dating ng pagkayabang ko. So stop reading if you don’t know me. Hehehe)

City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia

24 half marathons, 2 local marathons- Milo and QCIM, 2 international marathons- Paris and Kuala Lumpur and 11 countries- Belgium,Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Vatican, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Kuala Lumpur and USA, I think that is what defined year 2011 for me. (sabi na kasing wag ng basahin eh. Hehe..)

 

2011 Marathon Medals

 

Last year was definitely a marathon year for running and traveling. 4 marathons, imagine that! For someone who weighed almost 200 lbs. before, I am proud of myself. I know it may not be something of a challenge compared to Eugenator, who is currently training for BDM Ultra marathon (pero nakalog naman na malamang utak nun). Let’s start with the Paris Marathon 2011 since that was where my last blog entry ended.

 

Paris Marathon 2011

Arc de Triumph- Paris Marathon starting line

Marathon in Paris!!! Who would have thought I would be doing that?! New York was actually a lot more that I prayed for and yet I was blessed with another epic marathon. I tell you guys, we can never measure God’s greatness. So let us never try to measure Him up with our limited minds and measure His greatness I never did in Paris.
I actually ran Paris Marathon without proper training. I trained for 3 months before the marathon but since the race was part of a month long trip in Europe I ended up just doing a couple of 21km runs. One in Amsterdam, another one in Valencia and Venice and lastly in London. Each city has its own character but if I were to choose the best one, with the risk of being cheesy I would pick Venice. There is something about running in its claustrophobic alleys and century old wooden bridges but the best experience was accidentally running into St.Mark’s Square. Having the square on your own while the sun is slowly rising to hit the gilded mosaic facade of the St. Mark’s basilica and the bell tower was an experience even Hollywood has failed to portray. (I could go on and on about the run but I am here to talk about Paris so back to the topic.)

Venice

Like every other international race the Marathon experience starts with the marathon expo and this expo starts with a very, very long line. It took me almost an hour to get into the venue and almost 30 minutes more to get my race kit. With the huge amount of people and the vast expanse of the exposition hall its impossible not to get hyped about the race and over hyped I was, since I instinctively splurged on the Asics’ branded marathon memorabilia. Up to this day I am regretting those purchases, such a waste. Good thing was I had to leave early since it was race day the next day.

I have always thought that the Paris Marathon would include running under the Eiffle tower. Well it does not. We did pass by it though which makes it a little better. The race starts and ends right in front of the Arc de Triumph which was really great. I think it was the right choice since it was the most accessible one and almost all major roads in the city leads to that circle so you can never lost. The whole race was basically a running tour of the city. We passed by the louvre, notredame cathedral, the paris opera, a modern building by renzo piano (too lazy to google the name) and a lot more old buildings. Its was a loop course that traces the river seine, which seems endless during the race. There were a lot of people watching and cheering at some parts of the city but once we got to the parks it was just the pavement, trees and runners. The roads were not as wide as I hoped it to be so there a lot of human traffic as well. This race is not a PR breaker, there were too many elevation changes and cobbled streets can be a challenge after loosing its novelty.

Overall Paris has its own charms as a city which makes it great to run a marathon into but the marathon itself was a bit flat. A lot more people in the streets could have given the race more soul. I can compare it to the singapore marathon. Great city, bland marathon experience but who cares you are in Paris anyway!

Time: 3:57:00

 

Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2011

Kuala Lumpur Mrathon 2011

Around 2 months after I did Paris, I went to Kuala Lumpur. I treated this race as my peak for my Milo 2011 qualifiers. So I took it easy. Thank God for cebu pacific, air asia and tiger airways. These airlines made regional travelling (as well as over spending) a lot more doable. Next time you guys are here, try staying at Tune Hotels I think I paid only 600php per night. (Ang mura! Pero di pangsosyal yan ha attention kathy) but it was clean, it has a great shower and bed and near a monorail station that is all you will need anyway. It was my second time being there yet the only place I have been to previously was the Petronas towers. So this time, I went to Putrajaya, Genting highlands and Bukit Bintang. Ang ganda nung white bridge sa putrajaya. Best bridge I have seen so far, even better than the ones made by Calatrava. Sa bukit bintang naman best indoor mall for me was the Pavilion plus inside it is the trusted Food Republic which means I was basically there everyday.

Going back to the race, let me start with the expo again. The Kl Marathon expo was sponsored by timex. I remember because that is where I bought my extremely cheap timex tap watch. The expo area was I think the place where they hosted the commonwealth games because there were so many different stadiums clustered together (just consult google on this one). Unlike paris it was pretty easier to go through the entire process. I think I was in and out in less than an hour. Majority of the time I was just pondering upon purchasing the watch.

The race started in Merdeka square, Luneta’s counterpart. Actually it was quite impressive as well. Compared to Singapore this one has a lot more historical and cultural side. There were these lighted old moorish buildings which reminds you that you are in Malaysia I think Manila should start restoring and lighting our historical buildings as well. The race started very early in the morning. It was dark for more than an hour of running. Sometimes you even have to slow down your pace just to be sure that you are not going to trip into something. The race was a loop course circling most of KL so there were times that we had to run through expressways that were partially closed. It went through the CBD, little india which by the way has a porcelain tile roadway, some rich communities which remind me of forbes park but only with a lot more space and trees and less the walls and  finally a lot of trees and hills especially near the end. The view however was nice since you get to see most of KL. The good thing was that the roads weren’t very crowded. Downside was they didn’t turn on the petronas lights early in the morning for that runners to see. Overall I liked this race a lot maybe because of the weather or the course or the people. This may sound crazy but I would rank it right beside Paris and since KL is less than half the cost of Paris, KL beats Paris.

Time: 4:03:00

Sorry, I have not done justice to both marathons.. Can’t remember anything else right now so I will just constantly add on this one.

Next: Milo 2011, Camsur 2011 and QCIM 2011 and USA runs… ang haba na masyado eh.. pahinga muna..

Next target Kona...di ko lam pano turn

Paris Marathon for 2011

Posted: February 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

Visa just got approved! I think its the most tedious visa application I have completed so far.  So its final! Am going to the Paris Marathon 2011! I started training since January but the only problem is this recurring flu I have. I think I’ve had it for over a month. I tried everything from vitamins to medicines but nothing worked so far. So in conclusion, I think I have to stop running for a week and give my body its needed rest.  Let’s see how that will turn out. Hopefully I will be fully recharged this weekend for another long run.

So in the meantime let me stare at this first and daydream.

Parcours2011

 

What I like most about running a marathon on foreign land is the fact that you get to grasp everything about the city. You get to see the touristy areas, the locals’ area and even the area locals try to avoid. The New York Marathon does exactly the same thing for its runners. Actually, it goes even further, running the marathon provides the chance to run through New York’s five boroughs. I had no idea that New York was made up of marshlands. It starts all the way from Staten Island and goes to Brooklyn through the Verazzano Bridge. Then there is Queens which heads to Manhattan through the Triborough Bridge. Then lastly, u-turn through the Bronx and back to Manhattan.

Let me break down the city into these boroughs since each one has its own character.

First stop. Staten Island.

So this is where the race starts. The good thing about Staten is the view. The huge bridge affords the runners the chance to see both the Liberty Statue and the Manhattan skyline. The only down side about it is the freakin cold wind! It’s like soaking your whole body into iced water and another downer is Staten itself. The place is practically deserted! I am not sure if all the businesses closed down because of the marathon or because it was Sunday but Staten is practically dead.

2nd stop. Brooklyn!

Now the only thing I know about Brooklyn is that its quite far from the tourist ares. However, during the marathon I learned another thing about the place. The people are just off the scale great! Right after crossing the bridge you would see hundreds of people screaming support. Why? I have no idea! But I guess this is what it feels like being a celebrity and mind you the spectators didn’t come unprepared! Most of them are carrying banners, ringing bells, blowing whistles, and some even brought their own megaphones to shout some support. After about 6 kilometers it dawned on me that this might be a yearly thing for most of these people. Brooklyn, being a suburb area, gave me the opportunity to see through most of the people’s lawns and as I was running I can see that the people were actually having small parties themselves.

Third stop. Queens!

Pizzas! That’s the only thing I know about Queens. Good news is that the place is peppered with low rise buildings and warehouses so there was enough sun to provide some heat. Now, since Queens is a little more commercial, the crowds thinned a bit but still it was something since there were 4 bands per kilometer. Imagine the party we were all in! In Queens, I was able to get hold of my pace. Yes, my pace then was a little bit faster than what I trained for but hey, I just followed my guts. I guess the cold weather helped a lot since even during my 13th mile it felt like I was on cloud nine!

Here’s a picture of me halfway through the marathon. The time clock was not accurate since I was on second wave. I distinctly remember trying to run a little bit faster through those blue sensors since I know that everyone at home is tracking my run. Thank you everyone!

Fourth stop Manhattan!

Right before going through Manhattan we went through the triborough bridge. It was a very long uphill since we were crossing a huge river. Now this is where I felt my fatigue. The bridge itself was quite depressing actually since no spectators are allowed and there was this slab hanging above you. I guess that was for the commuter train above us since I remember its distinct metal clunking sound. The only thing that kept me going was the sight of the Manhattan skyline including the Empire State building and the Chrystler Building. I was tying to punch my legs the whole was since I am starting to have cramps. Why? I don’t know but it seems to be effective.

Right after the bridge was the ramp down going to 1st avenue. Now this area was the exact place I thank God! Not only because I gained back my strength and my pace but because there were about a thousand people cheering on an endless avenue. The whole experience was surreal, even up to this day it gives me goosebumps just remembering it. I tell you it was way better than what I imagined it to be. Nothing compares! I remember talking to myself, saying “unreal” and this Caucasian guy answered back ” Believe it before its gone! Welcome to New York man!” Haha, that was really something to remember andd guess what! My pace during that time was 4:23/km! Now that was unreal!

Right through first avenue, I passed though my own support team! There was my brother Kuya Elo, my classmate Joseph, my gf’s sister Am and Tito Ermie. Thank you everyone! I could not thank you guys enough! I almost didn’t notice them because of the thick crowds, but just seeing their shouting faces surely gave me another boost I badly needed (I could not hear a word they were saying). Now, this is also the time I wished everyone can run a marathon since I was just overwhelmed by the whole experience. Seriously, if there is someone out there who can run a marathon but choose not to, think about the possibilities before deciding. I think the fatigue during a marathon makes someone thankful of everything he has and makes one appreciate all the small things. That time was actually the time I knew I could beat my goal time. How could I fail the people who braved the cold weather and waited for hours just to cheer me on?


Fifth Stop the Bronx.

Bronx. What can I say about it without being racist? I can’t think of any. How rude of me. Wait tell me see. Nothing. Oh I know one! If you like graffiti this is the place to be! Plus during the marathon this is where they placed the panoramic LCDs showing some supporters doing almost everything imaginable to cheer their runners on. Sponsored of course by Asics! The Official Runner’s Gear of the 2010 ING New York Marathon! Haha. However, even though Harlem is not one of my favorite places it is where one of my favorite marathon scenes happened. It was during the part we were making a U-turn back to Manhattan, there were these aged guys talking (why they were running with me? I have no idea. Haha). I overheard one of the guys saying that they are about to pass by the school he was teaching in. I remember he said ” just about that cor–, oh shit!” and there it was his school and I guess almost 50 of his students waving his picture. The school was almost cladded with this banner saying “Run Mr. Something Run! and then the guy behind me shouted “Did you guys thought I was gonna gonna die?”

The Final Stretch: Central Park

Since I was in New York a week earlier than the start of the marathon, I was able to run through Central Park almost everyday! Hey, this has been a 7 year dream of mine! I remember seeing hundreds of runners running around with their gigantic ipods way back in 2003 and saying this must be the New York lifestyle. I bet my fat ass could not even run 3kms then! If there is one place in the world I would like to run in again and again, I think it would be central park. The mix of the lush trees and New york skyline is something that cannot be easily replicated. However, the last 3kms of the marathon was a different story.

It was actually the first time that I realized that the park has a slow incline and boy did I felt it! Plus, to make matters worst, I was pacing with an orange masked man and everybody was cheering him on! It was time for my secret weapon! My power song! So on with the ipod for the first time then boom! Spongecola’s Puso! “ang puso ialay sa laban kapalit ay tagumpay!” Cheesy as it was it actually worked! For about 30 seconds.. Haha and then I walked.I felt like being the bad guy and yes he won! Haha at least I am not a lunatic! (although I contemplated on wearing a blue one next time). Then there it was all of a sudden! Destiny!! Hahahaha.. My dream! The cause of my bankruptcy! The reason I felt so tired everyday!

Right after crossing the finish line I felt like vomiting and the fatigue started to be felt but you know what? I just achieved a dream! Who cares how tired I am? How great is that? Now that does not happen everyday.


I finished around 3:51:51. Way below my target! Thank you my Lord!

Posted: February 19, 2011 in Sprint
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New York Marathon 2010 1

Posted: February 18, 2011 in Sprint
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So 3 months it is. 3 months is what it took me to finally write about the greatest experience in my life. (except of course for the part wherein I was being born, which quite frankly I could not remember vividly). Why? You see, I was never good with writing and I am afraid of not doing justice, hence, the delay. Why now? I think mostly because I am starting to forget how overwhelming the feeling was. So back to my point. Why the greatest? Here’s why.

First, I worked really hard for it. Day in and day out, it’s the first and last thing that comes to mind. Hmm, now that I am thinking about it, it seems like I was a bit obsessed back then. Looking back at my training schedule, I have no idea how I have trained for 3 months, 4 times a week without skipping a single day (patay na bata talaga).

Second, imagine the streets of the greatest city in the world being cleared out for you. I think, the Philippine equivalent would be closing EDSA for almost a day! How awesome is that right? Running through these streets made me feel so small not because most of the other runners are 6 feet tall or even taller but because of the magnitude of the event. I could not find the right words to describe it but there is this special feeling of being engulfed into something way bigger that you are. It does not really matter how small a part you play as long as you are part of it. (quite cheesy I know, haha, but still quite true).

Third, the people. I don’t know why quite frankly but about 2 million spectators actually crowd the streets of New York every year just to watch the New York Marathon. 42.195 kilometers filled with strangers cheering you on. How great can that be right? I think running the New York Marathon is the equivalent of joining the Olympics for normal guys like me. That’s how great it is!

Now let’s get into details.

Unlike the races here in Manila, getting to the starting line of the New York Marathon is quite complicated since the race starts on an island. There are 2 ways of how you can get there but as a participant, you have no say on this matter. Depending on the area wherein you are coming from, you may be assigned to a bus or a ferry. Luckily, I got the ferry and sailed right by Lady Liberty while being flanked on both sides by the US Navy boats. Now that I remember, it was quite unsettling seeing those ships (a scene from the dark night flashed through my mind).

The starting line was not as grand as I thought it to be. Runrio’s starting lines are much more impressive. The starting line was nothing but a blue marker on the ground but hearing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and being on the gargantuan Verrazano Bridge more that makes up for it. So let the greatest experience begin!

I know I haven’t been able to write on my blog for a very long time. It doesn’t mean though that nothing note worthy happened within the month and a half. Actually, last month may be one of the most fruitful months I had as a runner.

Last month, I won two races from my home town Bulacan. The first one was in San Rafael, wherein I run a PR of 21:34 for a 5k race. Not bad right? It was the first time I ran in my hometown and I tell you even if my town, San Rafael doesn’t compare to the modernity if Fort Bonifacio, being cheered by your neighbors, even though you do not know most of them brings in a sense of accomplishment. Only bad thing about that race was it wasn’t a race after all! Haha, it was truly just a fun run. There wasn’t even a medal for the winners! Too bad, for us, the top three since we truly battled it out from the beginning!

The second one was in Baliuag. This race was a lot more organized since the running club of Baliuag organized it. The route was actually simple, it was a 6km loop from sm baliuag, then pass through the baliuag town center and then back to sm. Only problem about it was that they announced that it was going to be an 8km route even though it was 2km short. That day was an LSD day so I had to run 12km before the race (hey I really had no intention of racing this one) However, after about a kilometer, I realized that this could actually be my only chance of getting a medal, so run fast I did as much as I could. In the end, I got third place, which is not bad at all! Hey I ran twice the distance those guys did!

Hey even though I won from those two races. Last Sunday, I think was the most special day I had as a runner, of course except for the time I ran my first marathon in Singapore. May 2004 was the first time I have been to New York and even though I wasn’t a runner back then, I envied the people circling central park like rats. In central park, you would realize that the city, really is a running city. Even during the middle of the day the park is teeming with runners, and it actually has a festive feel with it. The runners may not be on a race that day but it certainly has a grandeur and feel of being in one. So I realized my 7 year dream last Sunday. I, at last was like a rat circling central park for 21km (which is just 2 loops around the park.) and yes, I almost cried. (tears of joy of course) The first 5km is actually the hardest since it was almost freezing, at the end of every run it feels like my face and hands has been dipped on iced water.

Today, I only had 20 mins to write this blog entry, I wish I have more time since I have a lot more to say but hey it’s time to get my race bib from the marathon expo. Tell you guys about it later. It’s gonna be another great day in the city of dreams!!

Posted: November 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

Crazy Training

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Sprint
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Today wraps up my second month of training and so far I have not yet tapped out.  Ok, except for last Saturday wherein I was suppose to do an easy 3 mile. First of all it was just 3 miles! Not really worth waking up early in the morning (hmm.. yeah, just an excuse). Second, I was to do a 27.3 km run the next day, so I ditched my slave driver (my garmin),and third, it was going to be easy anyway! (just kiddin, every run starts kinda uneasy for me but I was extra sleepy that day).

So for the past 2 months, I wake up really early around 5 times a week. I usually start running while it is still dark, eat breakfast around 7:20 and go to work around 8 and surprisingly, I AM enjoying it! Crazy right? But the thing is, my state of craziness does not end there. Early this morning I realized that I can listen to a single song while running 12km! That would be more than an hour of listening to a song on repeat over and over and over again! Beat that! I won’t mention the song though (or else my ego would be beyond repair). To further my case, I noticed  that I am beginning to talk to myself  even more frequently. My early mornings would usually start with, “Jesy gising ka na!, Jesy ang tamad mo naman eh, Jesy bakit mo kinakausap sarili mo? Then on with the snooze button.

However, sundays would always be a different story for me and yes that means no snooze button at all. LSD sunday is actually the backbone of my training or at least that is what I heard. The last 3 sundays have been especially hard for me since I am running through uncharted territories (figuratively of course!). Here’s a secret, I may have completed a marathon, but the farthest training run I had was around 24km! So, after feeling the pain and humiliation I had in Singapore I promised to redeem myself in New York. 2 sundays ago, I ran 26 km almost entirely by myself. Last sunday, I ran a 21km at race pace (1:50:49, nice!) and yesterday, I finished a 27.30km run (with the help of the FFS Gang and the takbo.ph peeps!) and to top everything, I really enjoyed plus, my body did not protest at all! I always felt fine the next day! Finally, finally!!! I think all those crazy runs are paying off!

I guess being a marathoner does require a little bit of craziness. I could not think of a perfectly sane person who would do everything I am doing right now, just to run 42 km on a single day even if that run would be on the greatest city on earth! Imagine, that would actually be a 5 minute feeling of self worth against  3 months of sacrifice. Quite a good deal right?! (for a crazy person that is!). Who am I kiddin? Call me crazy but just the thought of it gives me goose bumps! ARGGG!!! CAN’T WAIT FOR NEW YORK!

However, running with crazy people has its perks as well, and I think this would definitely be one (of course nothing compares to running with you Gaile, even though you make me slower! hehe..)

Being a social climber myself, I counted the number of invites through the email thread and there would be less than 30 people!!! Am gonna take solo pictures with each one of these guys above!!! Oh and one more thing before I forget. Thank you God! All the Glory is Yours!

How to Tri?

Posted: September 1, 2010 in Sprint
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Every since the first staging of Iron Man Camsur, it has been at the back of mind to join a triathlon. Why? Simply because it’s the next thing to do after doing a marathon. Yes, some might say, I can chose to be an ultra marathoner but the thing is, running a marathon for almost 5 hours is boring enough for me, what more if I would be doing it for 8 hours? Not a chance.

So why triathlon? First, I think I can swim well. Actually I use to swim even before I started to run! I was forced to swim a lot when I was in college and during those times I was really on the heavy side. I think I was close to 180 lbs. Survival swimming was actually part of the of our P.E. then, together with mountain climbing (what kind of a school would require freshmen to do these, right?). In survival swimming, for us to pass the course, we were tasked to do around 25 laps in the Olympic pool. Then jump from a high board, (which I have no idea how high, but most likely around 3-stories) and then thread for 30 minutes without touching the sides of the pool (once you go near it, you fail and would have to repeat the whole thing next semester, bummer isn’t it) and mind you it was a really deep pool made for high diving. And it does not end there, lastly we would have to swim 50 meters under water without catching breathe, now this one, I did not get to pass. I tell you, it was not a pretty sight at all. You can actually see vomit around the pool,that’s how rigid our class was. However, right after passing the course I realized that I was starting to miss our twice a week swimming training, not to mention I was gaining weight really fast.  So even before the start of the new semester, I was back on the pool. Actually I only stopped swimming when I trained for my first marathon.

Second, I can bike. Not really good with it though because I am really terrible with balance and clumsy as hell. I tell you, I most likely would have the worst hand and body coordination if I would join a triathlon. Case in point, when I was in grade 5 and lining up for our flag ceremony, the high school volleyball varsity was doing their daily practice (yayabang ng mga yun!!!) near the quadrangle. So since I was the class president, I was asking everyone to line up properly, then boom! Right smack in my face, straight from a full spike, a volleyball ball in full collision right at the center. I tell you, I almost fainted right after but to save face, if there was even something left to save, I went straight to the corner and find a seat. My classmates were even suppose to put me on a stretcher because I was really pale (from shame most likely) but I said I was fine. So while seating at the sides, I remembered that I left my bag, so I went back. As soon as I was beginning to reach for my bag, BOOM! Would you believe it? I guess the probability would be at par with being struck by lightning twice, right? So again, right smack in the face, straight from a full spike, a volleyball ball in full collision at the center. I wasn’t brought to the clinic since I declined but now it got me thinking, maybe I wouldn’t be wishing for a rhinoplasty if I had better hand and body coordination (kiddin! but around how much does it cost nowadays? haha..)

Third, I think I can run. No point talking about this one, since the whole blog is basically about this one thing.

Now, why not? Well, that is simple! I don’t know how to and I don’t know anyone who I can ask! All I know is that I have to do all three activities and that I can do all three. Triathletes, seem to have this impenetrable clique, unto which I don’t have any idea how to join and how one works. In running, all you have to do is check out the running schedule in takbo.ph, register, then run! Easy right? In triathlon, I simply have no idea. Another reason would be the fact that I have a mountain bike and not a road bike. Simply because I worry for my life when in public roads since I have very poor balance. But now all this may change, Xterra, an off road triathlon is being brought here by the same guys who brought in Iron man and the distances they will initially offer seems to be simple enough and doable for beginners like me.

So what next? Right after my New York Marathon, I still don’t know but well see how soon I can tri.