Archive for February, 2011

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.




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!

New York Marathon 2010 1

Posted: February 18, 2011 in Sprint

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!