Posts Tagged ‘sprinting swine’

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

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!