5:58 AM 15 March 2009 @ The Fort
After running for almost 51K in our last Sunday’s “Runabout”, I did not have any intention of running a short road race except for the Condura Half-Marathon on 22 March before I finally taper for the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race which will be held on 05 April. However, last Friday morning, I finally decided to join this race and test my speed as part of my final preparation for the Condura Run and the ultramarathon event. I went to the New Balance Store at the Shangrila Mall to officially register and get my race packet.
As part of our regular Friday afternoon speed training at the ULTRA Oval Track, our coaches would always instruct us to run 75% of the distance of the race we have to compete for the following Sunday morning, running within our 100% Lactate Threshold or 100% of our Total Effort. And so last Friday’s speed run resulted to a time of 34:52 minutes with a distance of 7.65 kms at an average pace of 4:33 minutes per kilometer. Such pace was actually 106% of my Lactate Threshold. But at the back of my mind, I was hoping I could reach my 110% Total Effort during the race which is a pace of 4:21 minutes per kilometer. At least, I hope also that I would be able to improve my time during the PSE Bull Run 10K at 46:17 minutes.
The Elite Team Bald Runner and I arrived at the Starting Area at 5:15 AM and I started immediately with my warm-up jog together with Totoy Santos of Happy Feet and later on with other members of Team Bald Runner. After 15-20 minutes of warm-up, I did my stretching and made some speed drills just to loosen my muscles. As the Emcee announced for the remaining 10 minutes before the start time, I entered the corral and joined the other runners for the 10K race. I was positioned at least one meter behind the elite runners at the front.
The race started at 5:58 AM and it went smoothly. The first kilometer covered a part of 6th Street as the runners turned right to the 26th Street. Along the 26th Street, I thought I was on a relaxed mode with my pace as other runners would pass me and I tried to settle for my running space. At the end of the 26th Street is the old McDonald’s as we turned right to Rizal Street towards Jollibee and St Luke’s Hospital. More runners would overtake me while I was running along Rizal Street. Calvin’s Restaurant marks the end of Kilometer #1.
Km # 1 Split Time—4:20 minutes
From Calvin’s Resto, there is a slight ascending portion towards Jollibee. As runners turned right at 32nd Street where St Luke’s Hospital and Home Depot are located, the space in between runners have stretched out and my running space had expanded. The road seems to be so flat but after crossing 5th Avenue and running towards Home Depot, I felt that the road is slightly ascending again and I started to breath heavily and my sweat was starting to drip from my head and arms. It was a sign that my “second wind” has just arrived where I could maintain my prevaiing speed or speed up some more. A few meters before turning right at the 11th Street (Serendra) marks the end of Kilometer #2.
Km # 2 Split Time—4:24 minutes
The 11th Street which is the road that separates Serendra and Bonifacio High Street Mall is a very familiar place for me as I extend my running route to this road when doing my workouts at the BHS Loop. The distance in between runners was already overstretched up to five meters and I was alone trying to pace myself. Instead of turning right at 26th Street (based from the original route provided in the race packet), a road marshall was at the intersection of 11th & 26th Streets telling the runners to go straight along 11th Street and towards McKinley Road. I observed that at least 10 meters before runners would turn right at McKinley Road, the lead runners would run along the sidewalk and cut corners. I decided to run along the road as I turned right towards McKinley Road. A few meters before I turned left towards an uphill road going to the American Cemetery Circle, it marks the end of Kilometer # 3.
Km # 3 Split Time—4:32 minutes
As I turned left towards an uphill road going to the American Cemetery, I prepared myself for my first uphill run along the course. I shortened my strides but made them quicker and swing my arms faster. The short uphill portion was a “test” for me and I conditioned my mind that I could easily go through the ascending portion of the McKinley Hill. After passing the American Cemetery Circle, the runners were directed by a road marshall to take a road that directly connects to Lawton Avenue. The road is slightly downhill from the American Cemetery but it goes slightly ascending once the road reaches to Lawton Avenue. The fruit store on the right side of Lawton Avenue marks the end of Kilometer # 4.
Km # 4 Split Time—4:34 minutes
As we reached Lawton Avenue, the lead runners would initially run along the right side of the road and I followed them but after about 50 meters, the lead runners would shift running along the left side of the road. The reason for the sudden change was a sight of the other faster leading runners turning left towards McKinley Hill. The race route had entirely changed as runners would no longer go to Bayani Road but going inside the McKinley Hill and running along its roads would be harder than running along the ascending and descending parts of Bayani Road. My pace became faster as I was running along Lawton Avenue and it became faster when I was going downhill at the entrance of the said establishment. I thought that my faster pace in going down would compensate for the slower pace during my uphill climb back to the finish line. A few meters after reaching the bottom of the downhill road marks the end of Kilometer # 5
Km # 5 Split Time—4:21 minutes
After looking at the Kilometer Markings on the side of the road and knowing that I finished the first half of the race, I looked at my watch for the first time during the race. I was surprised to see that I had a half-split time of 21:52 minutes. From here, I decided not to look at my watch not until I reached the finish line. The running along the roads on the right side of the McKinley’s main road was my second time experience and tried to look around as I passed the eastern side of the remaining cantonment area for the Philippine Army Headquarters. I used to be the Camp Commander of the remaining 102 heactares for the Philippine Army and I could see the high-rise Transient Housing Facilities on my right. At this point, I was smiling as I looked upon the lady runners wearing ballerina/tutu dresses. These ladies really run fast! I am just wondering if they should be holding their “magic wand” while they are running! As I go up to the main road of MacKinley Hill and before turning right towards the British Embassy, it marks the end of Kilometer # 6.
Km # 6 Split Time—4:34 minutes
The road towards the British Embassy was an uphill one and the sight of the runners going back to Lawton Avenue was a motivation to run faster. I thought the turn-around was placed at the vicinity near the C-5 Highway & British Embassy. I was running slower at this part of the route and I knew most of the runners were also running slower. The air and smell in the surroundings of McKinley Hill affected my breathing. I could smell a mixture of cigarette smoke and smoke coming from the different contructions around. It could be the smoke of the welding jobs being made on the steel foundation and concrete reinforcements. At this point, I could hardly breath but my legs were still strong. The downhill portion from the turn-around point going to the McKinley Hill Commercial marks the end of Kilometer # 7.
Km # 7 Split Time—4:49 minutes
The “cursed” uphill climb from McKinley Hill back to Lawton Avenue almost covered the entire length of Kilometer # 8 of the route. My problem of breathing due to the quality of air at McKinley Hill plus the steep uphill climb towards Lawton Avenue slowed me to a great extent. I usually cough when I smell smoke and I was trying to control it. I tried also to quicken my leg strides and swing my arms faster but my breathing was not synchronized with leg strides. At this time, I knew I slowed down and I thought I reached the 5:00 minute/km pace. Once I reached the Waiting Shed & Jeepney Stop at Lawton Avenue, I tried to breath deeply and quicken my pace. I was no longer attentive to those runners who were passing me and those lady runners in “tutu” dress attire. My goal from this point was to focus on my strides and make my average pace faster. A few meters after the Waiting Shed marks the end of Kilometer # 8.
Km # 8 Split Time—4:53 minutes
As I quicken my pace along Lawton Avenue, the smell of the smoke was still there and later disappeared before reaching the Robinson’s Condo Building. I tried to run faster on the downhill portion before reaching Essensa and I was back on business with my pace. However, the uphill climb along 5th Avenue at Essensa slightly slowed my pace. After passing the Essensa area and a few meters before the crossing with McKinley Road, it marks the end of Kilometer # 9.
Km # 9 Split Time—4:40 minutes
Crossing the intersection of McKinley Road and 5th Avenue was a relief as the road towards the finish line was downhill. I knew I was running hard and fast on the last kilometer of the race as if I was running at my pace during my speed runs at the oval track. As I turned right along 26th Street, I just imagined that I was running my last lap around the oval track as I got nearer to the finish line.
Km # 10 Split Time—4:24 minutes
I finished the race in 44:17 minutes with an average pace of 4:33 minutes per kilometer. My race pace was the same with my last Friday’s “speed workout” and I was not able to lower my average pace for this race as what I have planned. Despite my failure to reach the 4:20 min/km pace, I was able to improve my finish time from my 2009 PSE Bull Run 10K held last January (46:17 mins), a 10K race which was held within the same race route without the McKinley Loop.
As I assess and evaluate my performance on today’s 10K race, there are still things to do with the remaining days before the Condura Half-Marathon and the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race. Initially, starting tomorrow, I will have to do my hill repeats and hill runs. The flyovers at C-5 Highway, the rolling terrain of Bayani Road and the roads surrounding the Ortigas Complex would be nice spots where I could test my legs and lungs! I need to go back to the gym and do more strengthening exercises on my legs, arms & core muscles. Finally, come up with a race strategy to catch up with those lady runners in “tutu” dress!!!
Overall Race Rating—96%
P.S. No running photos this time as my old SONY Digital “Cyber-Shot” Camera is about to be retire and replaced. I need a handy digital camera with a faster shutter speed and faster memory processor.