Archive for the ‘Sprint’ Category

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!

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 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, 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.

T-Day is coming!

Posted: August 28, 2010 in Sprint
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Training for a marathon has its ups and downs. Imagine doing things you would not normally do for almost four months just for a half day event. How crazy is that right? A perfect example would be what I would be doing tomorrow morning. First, I would have to sleep early and make an excuse not to go to karaoke night with friends (not much of a secret now). Second, I would have to wake up early on a Sunday morning and mind you, I do not have a two day weekend job. Sunday is suppose to be my only rest day. Now, the second part can actually be enjoying especially if I would be waking up for a Runrio event but the thing is, tomorrow is actually one of my most dreaded days. Tomorrow is  T-Day. Haaaaay…

Ok for those with question marks on their foreheads, let me clear things up. T-Day was actually the day wherein you practiced with your piano when you were young. It was the day you studied accounting. It was the day you started saving up money. It was the day you paid for that first date. It was the day you started lifting weights. It was the day you stopped eating Chippy and Kit-kat (who am I kidding).  Not clear enough? Ok, to make things even more clearer (for those who are a little slow) T-Day is actually “Tomorrow Day”! Still not ringing a bell? (hey, maybe you should start reading Archie instead? That’s where I started). You know, the day you live for another day? The day you can actually call as an investment for an even bigger day? Now were on the same page!

So, that would actually be my day tomorrow. Boring huh? According to my slave driver (my garmin forerunner) I need to run 11 miles at a 6:00 min/km pace.  I know it sounds really easy but imagine doing it alone for about an hour and a half? Crazy right? So with a year of experience with long distance running, I have developed my own remedy to combat boredom.

First, recite the lyrics of puso in my head, over and over again. (I told you it’s my current theme). “Para san pa mga galos mo kung titiklop ka lang? Titiklop ka lang? How can you get tired of that line?

Second, recite the multiplication table. This one really takes my mind away from what I am doing. There was even this one time in a race wherein I was speaking to myself. Saying 8 times seven? Eight times seven and then this old guy beside me answered fifty-six! Thank God he answered! I was suppose to say forty two!

Third, when sprinting, lift your hands to your sides and imagine you are flying. Just be sure to do this alone though (actually, I do this even during races). Yes, it may seem stupid because not only would you look stupid while doing this, I also got this idea from a stupid person as well, Pheobe from friends! To run like a child, feel carefree and yes,  truly free is priceless.

Fourth, choose a color then count the cars and persons you see in that color. Just be sure not to do this in a race, then mistakenly choose the color of the official race singlet (that can be just plain st***d! Please go back to Archie. Maybe today is your T-Day as well?

Runners cross the Verrazano Narrows Bridge at the start of the ING New York City Marathon

Haaayy, tomorrow maybe T-Day but this would be my November 7, 2010.

Fifth, keep your goal in mind because one day all the T-Days may account to something and I think it would definitely be more than the sum of its parts.

Miles for Smiles

Posted: August 23, 2010 in Sprint
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After Gaile left for Manchester, I was clueless which race I should join. Since for the past few months she has been the one scheduling our Sunday races. So just like any other Filipino runner I checked the ever trusty race calendar then Boom! The perfect race for me! Miles for Smiles!

Now there are four reasons as to why this race cannot be more perfect.

First Reason: According to the marathon training program which I downloaded from Runner’s World UK, I am suppose to do a 11 mile slow run during that day. So that means I would only need to  add 1.6 kilometers after the race.  That is if ever I would register for the 16km race. Well, I guess everybody knows how hard it is to actually run the whole 11 miles alone. Even if I do have a world of my own while running, it does get boring sometimes.(To combat boredom I pften recite Spongecola’s puso in my head, especially during the last stretch)

Second Reason: I need to do a long run since I am eager to test drive my new nike vomero and during that time I believe Miles for Smiles has the longest race route, which is 16km. I tell you guys, I think me and my vomero are meant for each other. If only I saw her  during my early racing days, my feet and knees would not have endured so much pain. The only thought that’s bothering me right now is her lifespan. After about 18kms of running I can see degradation already. Nike, why do you do this to me? Making me love a shoe then taking it back right away? hehe.. (see? living in my own world yet again.)
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0AThird Reason: I have an older brother who died when he was just three years old. He was born a blue baby and has a cleft lip and palate. The least I can do for him is to join this event, which can give chances for those like him, to live a normal life. I think we Filipinos are part of the few who misjudge and mistreat people according to their appearances. Having and being a part of this race against cleft lip and palate can raise awareness about things that we can do something about. (and who said having these races for a cause is but a profitable opportunity? Guilty as charged)

Fourth Reason: (Warning: please skip, mushiness approaching) This actually is my first race without Gaile, so maybe, just maybe if I run for miles as fast as I could, I could end up having a smile on my face. (ok, kill me now. haha)

I finished the 16km race with 1:21:39. (not yet sure of my ranking since official results are not yet out) Way faster than my target and a personal best. I guess I was right, there will always be a reason to smile for. Wink, wink.

Update: Finish Time: 1:21:30, Ranking: 32nd out of 482 16k runners

Hmm, now that I am thinking about it, the title does seem like I am quitting running. Well, I am not. To clear things up (with an imperial Rome tone), I sprinting swine, here by announce that it was my shoe who have given up on me and not vice versa. So i guess lady luck is truly on my side with this one. First day of training right after my first blog entry and there it was, my shoe sole just went awol on me.

How it happened  was actually one of the most embarrassing moments in my life although it would not reach my top 10. Definitely not. Let’s just say I have been through unimaginable cases. Jumping straight into a clear glass wall in a hotel and fainting right after would probably be at the tail end. Oh another one would be helping a girl, a complete stranger mind you, park her car and end up crashing it to another car.

Well, what happened earlier was weak compared to some of my cases, although I bet some people might even cringe with the thought of it. So there I was, smack in the middle treadmill of Fitness First Gym (Fact: I always stay in the middle for people to notice how long I have been running, even though the sweat in my shirt more than makes up for it. Like what I said before, a little audience can pressure you to do things you would not normally do) back to the story, so there I was, pumping myself up with puso by sponge cola which is my current power song. I then hit the treadmill quick start button with my ipod playing “matalo kung matalo, wag ka sanang magkakamaling sumuko nalang wooho” right on que. With this mantra in my head, how can I run a slow warm up? Right there and then I switched it from a slow jog to a full sprint and I was really feeling it. (By now, I knew the person beside me is trying to glance at my speed.) Today is actually one of those days wherein running does not feel like a chore at all. So all hyped up, I even tried to sing-along for a bit “para san pa mga galos mo kung titiklop ka lang, titiklop ka lang? (not too loud of course) Then boom! Right in front of me is a black UFO flying just in the right trajectory to hit the person running in front. Touchdown!!!

After explaining and giving out even more awkward remarks, I was running through high street. Not really running away because of embarrassment but more of looking for a new shoe. What was I suppose to do? I was all hyped up! This moment may never come back. “Para san pa mga galos ko kung titiklop lang?” So I ended up buying a nike vomero, which literally feels like running on marshmallows. So I guess I was really lucky today since I hated my old shoe plus I now have a great new shoe which I bought on sale! Right on my way back to gym I went on a detour to eat a croissant in starbucks with my current addiction, the dark coffee jelly frap, not because I was hungry but only because I had to make sure my treadmill neighbors were all gone.