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4th & Last Day: Quad Marathons

13 06 2017

We were all excited that we have reached the Final Marathon for this event. Nobody was complaining about any aches, pain, “niggles”, or any injury from the runners. At least, all the runners had a chance to conduct a walk & drive-thru along the route during the day after the 3rd day Marathon. They would know what to expect and come up with their own “landmarks” with regards to distances and where exactly the locations of those rolling elevations on the course.

The runners would start at the LAOAG Sign Landmark which is located at the Laoag City Park and then goes to the Gilbert Bridge towards San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. Once the runners cross the bridge, they have to turn RIGHT on the first intersection where the road leads to the Laoag City International Airport. Once the runners reach the new “roundabout” in front of the Northwestern University, they have to turn LEFT and run along the Laoag-Suba-Paoay Road until they reach the Poblacion of Paoay, Ilocos Norte. From Paoay, the runners would run one loop of the street block where the Paoay Church is located and then turn-around and go back to the Starting Line.

Day 4 Before The Start

Group Picture Before The Start (Photo Courtesy of May Santos)

This running route is very memorable to me because it was my training playground for my first Marathon Race in the early 80s while I was assigned in Ilocos Norte as a young First Lieutenant of the Philippine Army. I would do my daily runs from Laoag City to the Suba Golf Driving Range (now, Plaza Del Norte) and then back to Laoag City for a good 20K LSD run. For my hill workouts, I would run along the road from the Golf Driving Range up to the beach where the famous Laoag Sand Dunes are located ( film shooting locations of the movies “Panday”, “Himala”, and the “4th of July” where Tom Cruise is the lead actor).

The course is relatively flat on the first 10K (6.2 miles) until the road goes uphill in front of the Plaza Del Norte and before the Golf Course which is only about 100 meters long. This is the famous Start Area of the yearly North Start 10K Run which was discontinued in the early 90s after almost 15 years of existence. This year, I have thought of reviving this event after I made a consultation/agreement with the then Race Organizer of the event who is in his 80s! From the peak of the uphill portion, it goes downhill for about 500 meters and then goes slightly up for a rolling elevation of about 1 kilometer. Once you see the view of the Paoay Lake on your left, everything goes downhill and flattens to the next 5-6 Kilometers up to the famous Paoay Church which is the turn-around point of the course. The runners take one loop of the street block around the Paoay Church and then goes back to the Starting Line.

The last Marathon Race started at 11:40 PM of Sunday, June 11, 2017 after some reminders and group pictures. I decided this time to be the “sweeper” again to make sure that everybody would be able to finish the race within the cut-off time of 6.5 hours. As we reached the Km 5 point, it rained for about 10-12 minutes and all of us were wet but it made our running environment cooler and made our body temperature lowered. The feeling of having your body perspiration mix with the cold rain is very refreshing!

Personally, I had the feeling of nostalgia and happiness while running on this course because I could memorize every inch or meter of the road! It is that feeling of happiness that I am finally back on this course/route after 37 years that greatly contributed on my being a passionate runner up to this time. Except for the 2nd Day Marathon (Laoag-Sarrat-Piddig route which is the official MILO Half-Marathon route), I have never ran along the 1st Day and 3rd Day routes.

I have never told to the 7 runners how deeply happy and elated while I was running with them on this Quad Marathon along the route of the 4th Day Marathon. I only told them that this was my favorite route when I would run while I was assigned in the province. I never told them that I had been running with some of the runners then in the City and that I’ve been “coached” by a Project Gintong Alay athlete, who is a local resident of Laoag City, for the Marathon distance and personally massaged by him every after our LSD runs along this route. This local elite running athlete would become a Champion of some of the Marathon Races in Metro Manila but what made him very popular was the fact that he was able to break the the course record for a Half-Marathon Race in the country! So, for the six hours that I’ve been running this course, I would recall all those times and the persons that had been a part of my running life while I was in Ilocos Norte. I will tell more about the “stories” among and about the 7 runners in this event in my “Epilogue” of this event.

Day 4 Finish Pic

Group Picture After Finishing The Race (Photo Courtesy of May Santos)

The following is the result of the 4th and Last Day Marathon of this event:

RANK     NAME                TIME (Hrs)

  1. Dondon Talosig ——4:50:25
  2. Gibo Malvar ———- 4:51:03
  3. Rod Losabia ———- 5:10:12
  4. Tess Leono (F) ——- 5:22:48
  5. Rose Betonio (F) —- 5:34:06
  6. Kathleen Piñero (F)— 6:04:25
  7. Reese Rogel (F) —— 6:11:36
  8. Jovie Narcise/BR —— 6:11:49

After I have personally awarded the Finisher’s Medal and Shirt to everybody, we had our Group Picture and we congratulated each other for being the Official “Pioneers” of this event which is considered as the First Quad Marathons in the country.

Day 4 Finish Flag

Finishing The Quad Marathons Was In Time With The 119th Independence Day Celebration

What a historic way to celebrate our country’s Independence Day!

Congratulations to the Quad Marathons “Pioneers”!

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2nd Day: Quad Marathons

10 06 2017

The second day Marathon Event started at 11:45 PM of June 9 (Friday) and expected to be finished at 6:15 AM of June 10 (Saturday). The route brings the runners to the eastern towns of Ilocos Norte. The runners would be able to pass the municipalities of Sarrat (first town after Laoag City) and the Poblacion of Piddig, Ilocos Norte (location of the turn-around point).

Day 2 Quad Marathons START

Day 2 Before The Start

The Municipality of Sarrat is noted to be the Birthplace of the Former President Ferdinand Marcos who ruled the Philippines for 20 years—8 years as a duly re-elected President and then another 12 years under Martial Law. The town has also a much-improved Public Park with an old Spanish Church. The Municipality of Piddig is also noted in history as the place in the country where the people revolted against the Spaniards because of a locally produced wine from sugar cane, called “Basi” in 1807. Up to the present, the place is still noted as the source of the Best Basi in the province.

The course is flat for the first 9 kilometers and then an uphill climb for about 200 meters at Km 10 which levels off until reaching Kilometer 19 which has another uphill terrain at the Poblacion (center) of Piddig..  The 21K turn-around point is the Solsona-Piddig Highway Kilometer Post #507. As compared with the first day route, this route has a cooler and windy environment because of big trees along the highway and the cooler winds coming from the mountain ranges located at the eastern part of the province of Ilocos Norte.

Day 2 Turn-Around

Day 2 Turn Around Point (21K)

Being the “sweeper” of the event, I could see who are the runners that are leading once they are on their way back to the Finish Line. Sometimes, if I see and feel that the last runner is lagging behind, I try to run in front or ahead of the runner so that he/she is forced to run faster to catch me.

Day 2 Quad Marathons

Day 2 Finish Line Group Picture

For this 2nd day Marathon, all the runners had improved on their finish times as shown below:

RANK          NAME              TIME (Hrs)

  1. Gibo Malvar ———– 4:51:58
  2. Dondon Talosig —— 4:58:36
  3. Rod Losabia ———– 5:20:23
  4. Tess Leono (F) ——– 5:46:26
  5. Rose Betonio (F) —– 5:50:16
  6. Kathlee Piñero (F) — 5:58:55
  7. Reese Rogel (F) ——- 6:17:49
  8. Jovie Narcise/BR —– 6:17:55

After the awarding of the Finisher’s Medals and Shirts, we had a group picture and breakfast from McDonalds Fastfood courtesy of one of the runners.

Day 2 McDonalds

Recovery Food & Drinks After Marathon #2

Tonight will be the third Marathon Event in a different course which will test (again) the determination and endurance of all the runners.

(Note: Pictures Courtesy of May Santos)





1st Day: Quad Marathons

10 06 2017

Seven of my ultra running friends registered for the First Edition of the BR’s Quad Marathons which is held on June 9-12, 2017 with start and finish in Laoag City (Ilocos Norte). A day prior to the start of the event, I decided to join the runners as a runner-participant and at the same time the “sweeper” for the event. However, at the back of my mind, I did not want anybody among from friends to DNF this event.

The four daily marathon events is scheduled to start at 1:00 AM every day but with only a handful of participants, I advised all the runners that we might start earlier as soon as all the runners are already at the Start Area. Except for one runner, the remaining seven runners stayed in our house for easier control and management.

Each of the marathon events has a cut-off time of 6 hours and 30 minutes. If a runner finishes a marathon event beyond the cut-off time, the runner is declared DNF and could not join the succeeding events. Every official finisher each day will receive a Finisher’s Medal and Shirt. If the participant completes or finishes the four Marathon Events, he/she will receive a Finisher’s Trophy and a Finisher’s Certificate.

1st Day Quad Marathons

Group Picture Before The Start Of The Race

The first marathon event started at 12:30 AM and the course covers the 21K distance from the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol in Laoag City to Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte and then back to the Starting Area. The route goes north along the Maharlika Highway passing the towns of Bacarra and Pasuquin. The turn-around point is at the Highway Kilometer Post #508 where a Marshal is located. The Marshal must take a picture of the runner once they reach the turn-around point before going back to the Starting Area for the Finish.

1st Day Quad Marathons 00

21K Turn-Around Point

For the logistics support of the runners, there are two roving Support Vehicles which could provide water, soft drinks, Gatorade, and bite foods for the runners. Usually, these support vehicles are located every 3 kilometers. In this edition, these support vehicles are also individual support vehicles of some of the runners.

The course is relatively flat with a few elevation gains at Kilometers 4-5 and on the way back, Kilometers 37-38. However, on this particular night, it was hot and humid with no wind even during the early morning.

All of the 8 participants were able to finish the Marathon on the first day within the cut-off time. The following is the result:

RANK          NAME                  TIME (Hrs)

  1. Dondon Talosig ———- 5:03:40
  2. Rod Losabia ————— 5:12:17
  3. Gibo Malvar ————— 5:37:27
  4. Tess Leono (Female) — 5:37:29
  5. Rose Betonio (F) ——— 5:45:04
  6. Kathleen Piñero (F) —- 6:11:50
  7. Reese Rogel (F) ———– 6:26:52
  8. Jovie Narcise/BR ——— 6:26:54
1st Day Quad Finish

Group Picture After The Awarding Of Medals & Shirts

After the awarding of Medals and Shirts, we had some group pictures taken. After breakfast, we went to the beach for a swim and had some sight-seeing; and have some fun!

1st Day Quad Finish Beach

Having Fun After The 1st Marathon Event

We hope that we will be ready again for the 2nd Marathon Event before midnight!

(Note: Pictures Courtesy of May Santos)

 

 





Obsession To Finish Times

1 12 2015

As a “newbie” in running, the number of minutes and hours that our feet on the ground, whether one is jogging, walking or running, is the measurement of our endurance. In our training journal, we take note on the time and distance we have finished for the day. To some of the average and elite runners, they consider time as the most important gauge for their daily workout as they can already estimate the distance they have finished. In short, in training, the time to cover a certain distance is our most important data in our training journal.

In racing, we try to compare our previous finish time with that of our recent finish time in the same distance and often, we brag and congratulate ourselves that we had a “PR” (Personal Record) or “PB” (Personal Best). That is fine and predictable to every runner. However, once we are already a “veteran” runner or marathoner, we tend to be soft and some sort of “lazy” to improve our performance by having the fastest “PR”/“PB” and the thinking is that we are more focused on the number of marathon races that we have finished as we grow older.

If you noticed in this blog’s ABOUT Page, I’ve been lazy updating the number of ultra races and marathon races that I’ve finished. If I have the time and motivation to update this Blog’s Page, I might include the list of my DNF Races. Personally, with my age of 63, I have already stopped counting the number of races, whether they are trails or roads, that I’ve finished.

A Facebook friend of mine came up with a Status about her observation on people who would ask for the Finish Time every time their friends would finish a Running Event and brags it on the Social Media. To some, it is an unethical and unacceptable practice of runners to ask another runner’s Finish Time if he/she brags about finishing a certain race, whether it is a road or trail. To most of the veteran runners, whether their times are slow or average or fast, they are proud to mention their Finish Time because to them, Finishing Race or Crossing the Finish Line in a healthy condition is the MOST important achievement as a result of their training.

What is the protocol or accepted norm about this situation? Is a runner obliged to mention his specific finish time in a running event if he/she post his/her accomplishment on Facebook or in the Social Media? To me, a runner must state his/her Finish Time because it’s a Race where one has to go against the Clock. That is the reason why there is a Clock displayed at the Finish Line!

So, whether one finishes a race locally or abroad, he/she is obliged to mention his/her Finish Time (because there is a Clock at the Finish Line) if he/she has the intention of bragging on the Social Media.

It's A Race When There Is A Clock @ The Finish Line (Photo By Dm Padilla)

It’s A Race When There Is A Clock @ The Finish Line (Photo By Dm Padilla)

 





Race Report: 2015 Condura Skyway Marathon (Run For A Hero)

3 02 2015

Background

I was expecting that the 2014 edition of this race was to be conducted for the benefit of the victims of Typhoon Yolanda but instead, it was cancelled and the Race Organizer opted to donate a part of their budget for the recovery and rehabilitation of the people of Samar and Leyte.

Many of the runners were frustrated to hear this news and I was one of them.

And my ultra running friends were not also happy about the news. For the past editions/years, the Condura Skyway Marathon had been always and became the post-recovery run for all the participants of my Bataan Death March 160K Ultra Marathon Race as both races are one week apart.

Official Logo Of The Marathon Race

Official Logo Of The Marathon Race

But runners would not have to wait any longer for the good news about the next edition of the Marathon Race. In a few weeks after the actual schedule of the event, the Race Organizer had announced that the 2015 event will be for the benefit of the HERO Foundation. Being a part and former soldier, I was happy to know that this event will benefit the families who were left behind by our fallen heroes who died fighting against the enemies of the State and threats to our peaceful way of life.

Exactly one week before Race Day, elements of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police encountered in a firefight agains the separatist groups in Mindanao, MILF and BIFF, resulting in the death of forty-four (44) and the wounding of others. This incident became a national issue where the public called for an immediate action for the arrest, apprehension or killing of those who are involved in this dastardly act against our troops.

Thus, in the minds of all the runners, this Marathon Race had become an instant “platform” for them to sympathize with the “Fallen SAF 44 Heroes” and for a united call for the government to give justice where it is due.

Training and Preparation

I did not have any specific training program leading to this race except for the my training program which is in preparation for me for the Trans Lantau 100K Trail Run which will be held in the middle of March of this year. Such training program was so specific that my mileages should be done in the mountains. But with my trips to the different provinces since the start of the New Year, in order to coordinate with my Ultra Races for this year where I am the Organizer and Race Director, my training runs were solely on paved and flat dirt roads.

Instead of having more vertical climbs/gains in my training, I opted to improve on my speed by doing tempo runs on the road and flat dirt roads. I had also the chance to have my rest and recovery in-between runs for a more extended period. And trips outside Metro Manila to Aurora and Albay Provinces became my tapering period a few days before Race Day.

I have also prepared my mind on this race and think of it as a Long Steady Distance (LSD) weekend run with a faster speed while my HR monitor will not breach more than 162 beats per minute.

Since all my runs for the past two years were devoted to trails and with a hoard of new trail shoes in my “trail running arsenal”, I have to choose the lightest shoes for this race and had to try them for a couple of times in my tempo runs. The choices were between the INOV-8 Roclite; SALOMON’s LAB Sense 3; or ALTRA’s Superior 2.0. I selected the Salomon LAB Sense 3 as it is the lightest among the three!

Salomon Ultra Trail Running Shoes

Salomon Ultra Trail Running Shoes

In order to arrest my sweat from reaching my feet and shoes, I prepared my Headsweat (for my head), Buff (for my neck), Long-sleeved PAU Shirt for my body), and Compresport Calf Sleeves, and Drymax Socks.

Race and Nutrition Strategy

Being an “old-school” marathon runner, I consider Marathon Running as a Speed Endurance Event where walking is integrated while drinking my two cups of water as I leave in every Water Station. In-between those Water Stations, one has to run and jog as fast as possible!

Knowing what my body is capable of as an “experienced and old” marathon runner, I opted to use the “negative split” way of racing this event. If I had prepared properly for this race, I had opted to use the “even pace” strategy where my race pace at the beginning is maintained throughout the race. My experience in ultra running and consistent advise from my Coach dictate that my pace at the beginning should be slow and progressing to a faster pace towards the last half of the race up to the Finish Line.

On nutrition, I had a full meal rich in fats and carbohydrates one a half hours before the start of the race; snacks of carbohydrates 30 minutes before the race; one Gel every hour; drink water every Aid Station; last Gel to ingest was a GU Roctane; and a reserve of Stinger Waffle as my “reserve solid” food just in case of emergency.

Race Proper

I’ve been away from the road running crowd for the past two years and it was the members ultra running community and my readers in this blog who approached and greeted me as I joined my co-runners in Wave I. It took us 30 minutes to wait from the time the Wave A runners were released from the Starting Line. Those 30 minutes were devoted to talk to some of the ultra runners within my Wave Group and review in my mind my race & nutrition strategy. As we got nearer to the Starting Line, I had my simple prayer to myself and thought of my Officers and Men who died under my Command during my stint and tour as a Military Officer and lastly, to those of the PNP SAF 44 soldiers.

My slow jog on the first 400 meters was the most memorable part of this race as I saluted every time I would approach a SAF member holding a framed picture of the Fallen SAF 44 who was standing in attention on the left side of the road. Yes, it was a slow jog but saluting 44 times is the best that I could do to honor these men who unselfishly offered their lives in the name of peace and safety for the citizenry and our country.

First 400 Meters Of The Course

First 400 Meters Of The Course (Photo By Spin.PH)

Salute To Our Fallen Heroes

Salute To Our Fallen Heroes (Photo By Spin.PH)

I started at the back of the Wave I and waited to make a move on the first uphill climb on the Skyway. I passed a lot of the slow and walking participants on this part. Knowing the whole course’ profile, the first 8-10K is a slightly uphill climb and it worked well with my slow pace as it served as my warm-up. On this first 10K of the course, I would maintain my slow speed of 4.6 miles per hour being aware of my running form; hydrating myself as I would reach the Water Station; and most of all talking to some of the runners and acknowledging their greetings as I passed them.

For about a minute or two, I was able to talk to a couple, Miguel and Cachelle, and kept my pace with theirs. I was happy to see them running together. As with Miguel, I did not see any signs of limping from his gait and strides as he fully recovered from an unfortunate accident while participating in one of my BDM “test runs” two years ago in the Pampanga area. Looking at them together, I knew they would be able to enjoy and finish the race. I will not be surprised to see this couple to be back running in my ultra races soon! I had to beg off from them as I wanted to continue with my own pace as knowing that they are enjoying and having fun with the race.

Smiling On The Early Part Of The Race

Smiling On The Early Part Of The Race

When I reached the 10-Km mark, I was already enjoying the windy and cool atmosphere of the early morning. I have increased my speed to 5 miles per hour and I was surprised that I was too comfortable with such pace. I ingested my first Gel once I reached my first 40 minutes while I was approaching a Water Station. Two cups of water were enough to bring the gel to my stomach and let it provide the much-needed energy to my machine!

At the 13-mile point, my speed had reached at 5.6 miles per hour and I never let that speed to decrease all the way to the Finish Line. At times, I would reach up to 6.0+ miles per hour on the downhill portions of the course. In my tempo run workouts, I could still run a 10K race with a time of 55+ minutes but forcing myself to this kind of speed in a marathon race without the necessary speed training will be courting for an injury that might jeopardize my training for and participation at the Trans Lantau 100K. There is no point to take a risk on this race.

Getting Serious During The Race

Getting Serious During The Race (Photo By Running Photographers)

I kept reminding myself that this race was part of my training for an ultra trail run in the middle of March.

Getting Faster On The Lat Half Of The Course

Getting Faster On The Lat Half Of The Course; From Wave I To Wave F (Photo By Pinoy Fitness.Com)

And my rituals were repeated as I reached nearer to the Finish Line——ingested my Gels every hour after my first Gel at 40-minute mark from the start of the race; reached for two cups of water (only, No Gatorade for the whole race) in every Water Station; would pass other runners at the Water Stations by running up to farthest end of the table and walk quickly & briefly while drinking the water; making sure that my empty cups would land in those garbage bins provided by the Race Organizer; by just waving my hand or simply greeting back to those runners who call my attention or greet me; no unnecessary “chit-chat” to other runners on the last half of the course; by allowing other runners to pace with me or run along with me (without any conversation); and try to pick-up and increase my pace through some quick “surges” on the uphill portions and on the last 10K of the course (all downhill to the Finish Line).

It was still dark when I reached the Finish Line. I finished the race with an Official Time of 4:40:19 hours and ranked #569 out of 5,022 Finishers.

I did not realize that I could still run this fast considering my age of going to 63 years old in 3 months. Maybe with a more focused training in the Marathon distance, I still could run this fast and hopefully, could still have a shot to a Boston Marathon Qualifying Race, the proper and traditional way!

But on second thought, I will remain as a Trail Ultra Runner and consider the Condura Skyway Marathon as my ONLY yearly Road Marathon where I could be in touch with the marathon/road running community in the country.

Breathing Hard Through My Mouth

Breathing Hard Through My Mouth (With The Wave F Runners)

Lesson/s Learned

1. Marathon Running is an Art and a Skill. Racing is about You and the Distance. Every runner needs Endurance and Speed to have a very successful finish. One has to compete with oneself and not with any other runner.

2. Marathon Racing is NOT a time to socialize. “Socializing” is done after the race. As compared to Ultra Running, Ultras are races where one has to “socialize” from the start up to the finish and beyond the race itself. Sometimes, Ultras’ “socializing” starts during training and preparation.

"Socializing" Before The Race

“Socializing” Before The Race With An Ultra Friend

3. Proper Nutrition Strategy is the Key to a successful Marathon Finish coupled with proper Hydration technique. Gels are the best immediate source of nutrition in a Marathon Race. Eating a full meal few hours before the race and later, a light snacks few minutes before the race always worked positively in my races.

4. Racing Strategy is dependent on one’s training and preparation. If you are NOT fully-prepared and trained for the event, be contented to aim for a Finish without any injury, and not for any PR or best time for a Marathon Race.

5. No complaints and “whining” in a Marathon Race. Before Gels and Sports Drinks were invented, Marathon Races have ONLY Water as support for all the runners! Try to strive and train for the simplest and most basic way of running a marathon race.

6. Be LIGHT. Wear the lightest running kit and try also to run light with your body. It is not yet late to learn how to run light by using your forefoot or mid foot as you run by feel.

7. Taper Properly. Since the race is done from Midnight to the early morning, runners are practically sleepless on Friday night, considering that the trip to the event area is outside the Metro Manila. It is advisable to have a complete rest and sleep for at least 7-8 hours every night on the last week prior to Race Day.

8. Marathon Race should be a part of an Ultra Race training and preparation in order to improve one’s speed and endurance. I really did not have a focused and dedicated training for this race. This marathon race was part of my weekly ultra training program where it was to be a “back-to-back” long runs where each day would be a 12-mile run. Instead of two days of 12-mile a day run, I did it for one day/one workout with an excess of 2.2 miles. My average total weekly mileage for the past three weeks leading to this race was from 47-50 miles.

Very Rare Picture With Ultra Runners In A Marathon Race

Very Rare Picture With Ultra Runners In A Marathon Race

Running Kit & Accessories

Running Shoes: Salomon S-LAB Sense 3 Ultra Trail Shoes

Sweat Absorbers: Headsweat and Buff

Shirt: PAU Long-Sleeved Shirt By A Perfect White Shirt

Shorts: Salomon Trail Running Shorts (Bermuda)

Calf Sleeves: Compressport

Socks: Drymax (Trail Running Socks)

Cycling Gloves: Specialized

Headlight: Fenix

Nutrition: 2 pcs of VFuel Gels (Fudge Brownie); one GU Gel (Salted Caramel); one GU Gel (Roctane); and 2 pcs of Stinger Waffle (Reserve)

Race Belt: Ultimate Direction SJ Signature Series

Watches/GPS: Garmin 310XT with HR Monitor and TIMEX Watch

Congratulations to Tonton and Raul Patrick Concepcion (Race Organizers); Rio Dela Cruz (Race Director); and to the rest of the Condura Skyway Marathon Team for this well-organized and international-standard marathon race which honors our “present day” heroes in the military and armed services and supports their dependents through the HERO Foundation.

Last Half Of The Course

Last Half Of The Course

Approaching The Finish Line

Approaching The Finish Line

Congratulations also to all the Finishers!

See you next year!





2011 Condura Skyway Marathon

9 02 2011

3:30 AM February 6, 2011 @ The Fort/BHS to Skyway and Back

Plan

After my “muscle tear” injury on my left calf last December 7, I did not have any plans of training and running for another Marathon Race on the early months of the new year that is to include the 2011 Cebu Marathon. The 2011 Condura Skyway Marathon was not on my list of races for the year. I focused myself on my rest, treatment and recovery for the weeks and months ahead.

My attendance to the Fat Ass 2011 in Clark Freeport was a way for me to test and evaluate the extent of my treatment & recovery. I was very conservative during the run as the atmosphere among runners were very relaxed and non-competitive. However, I forced myself to run despite feeling some pain on the injured calf muscle. But my run at the Fat Ass had accelerated my treatment as the pain just completely vanished after 2-3 days of rest and recovery.

Since the Fat Ass Run, my runs were random and did not follow any pattern of a scheduled training program. I just ran if I felt like running. These random runs were limited to at least 1 hour & 10 minutes or 10 kilometers to the maximum. I was happy if I could run 2-3 times a week and I started to maintain an average pace of 7:00 minutes per kilometer. This pace had eventually became my training pace to build-up my endurance.

“Snafu”

 As I was busy with my “out-of-town” trips talking and meeting with race organizers in far-flung provinces all over the country; being invited for my Running Lectures; reading a lot of Books on Running for my Book Reviews; and trying my best to update this blog, a little “hump or snafu” just came to my attention when the PR people of Condura Skyway Marathon sent me an email stating of their apology for not including me among the Runner-Bloggers they invited for a Media Release of this event. Well, I got a “free ticket” for this year’s edition of the Condura Skyway Marathon due to this incident.

Decision To Run

I really don’t need so much time to consider the “pros and cons” if I finally decide to run this event. Being a “road warrior”, I consider this as a simple setback in my quest to run an excellent race but I know I could simply finish it if I consider this run as an ordinary LSD workout as a part of my training for more “important battles” ahead. So, I conditioned my mind that this run would be a “walk in the park”—by maintaining a 7:00-minute per kilometer average pace for the run with the hope that I will finish a near 5-hour or sub-5 hour marathon. What is important is to enjoy the race, have fun, be seen to inspire others, and to “engage” any runner whom I will meet along the way. So, the decision was final, run the marathon and look like a “brave warrior”.

At The Starters Coral, 5 Minutes Before Gun Start

Race Proper

At exactly 3:30 AM, the race started with some fireworks, simple countdown, and the sound of a starting gun. The BHS area was well-lighted and there was no problem on how my feet landed on the streets as I’ve memorized every street of this place. For an increasing 1,200+ runners in the Marathon Race, the group had stretched after running at least 500 meters from the start. If I can remember right, in the 80’s, if you have at least 500 runners in the Marathon Race, such race is already a successful one! Two years ago, if you have 700-800 runners as starters, you can consider the race as a successful event already. Now, I was surprised with the increasing numbers of Marathon Runners in this race, reaching to more than 1,200+. What an improvement! More of the runners are becoming braver and more aggressive and I really like that kind of attitude! I could see new faces; hear different dialects on the conversations of the runners around me; and a lot of “newbies” which I could conclude from the attire and “gadgets” they have in their bodies! I only have one conclusion in this, if these people are bored in marathon races, they can always try to do an ultramarathon distances which PAU can offer, at least, a 50K Road Race!

 The race organizer really invested on the safety and control of the runners. Almost all the streets were properly lighted with mobile lights and generators, a far cry from the unlighted streets in my ultra road races. We, the marathon runners, became the Kings & Queens of the Roads in Makati, for the whole duration of the event and it was a good feeling for everybody. It is unfortunate that there were still a lot of drivers who were cursing and blowing their horns as they were put “on hold” along key intersections along the road. I really admire those traffic enforcers who simply ignore and patiently not being irritated with such annoying drivers. As I passed by these traffic enforcers, I always say “Thank You” to them for doing their jobs well.

“Houston, we have a situation”

The problem when I am running in a cold environment (yes, I supposed 3:30 AM in the morning’s temperature is still cold) is that I pee most of the time. In almost all the water station, I have to stop and brisk walk to take my water drinks but I have to pee, too! Damn, I was peeing every time I pass by a water station and every portalet section along the route. You could just imagine the wasted time I’ve spent peeing almost all the time. I think this is the only Marathon Race in the history of my running career where I peed more than 20 times along the route. Well, I made the history of peeing on the asphalted road of the Skyway for three times! Thanks to Condura! How I wished I could have paid for my ticket for this race!

If only this race was an ultra trail run where you seldom see a runner on your back and front, I could have simply peed while I was running! I guess, this is normal among ultra trail runners as I did this thing in some of my practices and races along the trails here and abroad!

"Gallowalking" Towards My Food Pit Stop After Coming From The Skyway

“GalloWalk”

I got this term from ultra runner friend, Ben Gaetos. As a result of my attendance to a One Hour Lecture of Jeff Galloway a day before the Condura Marathon, I decided to have it as a trial or experiment. I am a “purist” in running when I train and compete with myself in road races up to Marathon distance, which means, that I don’t believe that you can improve your PR best time in Marathon Races by simply taking “walk breaks” from the Start up to the Finish.

Since I’ve decided to treat the Marathon Race as a LSD workout, I started to incorporate the Run-Walk-Run Strategy of Mr Jeff Galloway. At the first Water Aid Station, I started to walk once I was approaching the table. I picked up two glasses of water. Walked away from the Table by walking and slowly drank the water. After drinking the water, I had to count at least 30-45 strides (one stride = 2 steps) before resuming again with my run. Sometimes, the walking breaks and counting would reach up 60 strides! I did this ritual religiously every water aid station along the route.

This is not the proper way how to do the Galloway Method as he mentioned in his lecture but I wanted to experiment what was best for me with my present condition by incorporating “walking breaks” on a regular basis during the run. I really felt great doing all these “walking breaks” and “peeing breaks” during the run. The result was not a good PR but I enjoyed the run and the experience. But what is more important is that my run did not affect my “healed” muscle tear! I did not reach any “wall”. There is no “wall” after all. I did not have any muscle cramps or soreness on my leg muscles. And the best part of it, I was able to have my recovery run a day after the Marathon Race for a distance of 7 kilometers with an average pace of 6:10 minutes per kilometer! Yes, it was a fast pace for a recovery run but I did it without any pains or soreness!  

Conversations along the Way

Conversations and Greetings are the things that I like when I run in local Marathon Races. Well, you seldom “engage” in a conversation in Marathon Races in the West if you want a nice finish time. But it is a “must” if you are joining an ultra train run as it relieves the “pressure and stress” on the rate of difficulty of the course. Ultra runners have an “unwritten code” that they help each other on the trails in order to finish the race within the prescribed cut-off time. Helping each other means that you have to engage another runner that you run along the trail by talking with each other. An ultra distance of 50K, 50-Mile, 100K or 100-Mile is so boring that you need to “engage” with another runner in order to break the monotony!

In the Condura Marathon, being known in the running community, it gives me the pleasure to engage with the runners by simply waving at them, calling their names, answering and acknowledging their greetings, or simply listening some conversation among the runners.

Some of the examples of conversations were the following:

#1: From a couple of runners that I passed along the Skyway:

Runner: Hey, that is Bald Runner! He is wearing an all-black ASICS apparel

I briefly waved my right hand to them.

The other guy said, BR is wearing a nice ASICS shoes! They are nice and new!

The succeeding conversation became garbled as I distanced myself from them.

#2: From a guy who paced with me just to request something:

Runner #2: Sir, I am a runner from the Visayas and I saw you at the 1st Cebu Ultramarathon Race. You were so strong and consistent during the race.

BR: Thank you! That was a hard course!

Runner #2: Sir, I can still join and register for the 2011 BDM 102?

BR: Are you qualified?

R #2: Yes, Sir! I finished the 1st Cebu 50K Ultramarathon Run.

BR: Ok. Please send me your personal data through my e-mail. You can still register.

Then, I had to pass him for good!

#3: Conversation with a Wife of an Ultra Runner @ Km #20

BR: Angela? Are you running the full Marathon Race? (I was surprised to see her running along with the other Marathon runners. Actually, it was my first time to see her run!)

Angela: Yes! (She was running ahead of me for the past 20 kiometers! And she was maintaining a nice competitive pace)

BR: Where is Paolo? Did he run?

Angela: He did not run and he is sick. He is at home. It seems that he is overtraining himself for the BDM 160.

BR: Ok. He needs some rest and he has to taper on his mileage at this time already.

We ran together for about 5 minutes, pacing each other, until we reached a water station. She went ahead of me as I took my walking breaks after drinking my water.

#4: Conversation with Somebody in the Military

Runner #4: Sir Jovie, Whoooooaaaaa!!!

I answered him back with, Whoooooaaaa!

The conversation was done!

#5: Conversation With A Tall Runner

Runner #5: Sir, BR, would you mind if I ask a personal question to you?

BR: No, what is your question?

Runner #5: Why do you have to wear a bandana tied around your neck every time you run?

BR: It catches my sweat/perspiration from my head and the wet bandana eventually becomes a “coolant” to my nape/neck.

Sometimes, I use it for emergency purposes—as a dust protector to my nose & mouth or simply use it to tie a knot around an injured leg muscle.

Runner #5: I observed you like those with bright colored ones and with flowers printed on them.

BR: Yes, I have all the colors for all the Bandanas available in the market but I don’t have any preferences with regards to color. ( Note: I am not gay, dude!)

#6: From a Runner Wearing Tights

Runner #6: Sir, BR. It seems you are having a good time with this run. You have slowed down with your pace as compared with your past marathon races.

BR: Yes, it is because I am recovering from my muscle tear injury on my left calf muscle.

Runner #6: How many runners will be joining the BDM 160?

BR: I will be happy if there will be 40 runners at the Starting Line this coming February 26, 2011.

Runner #6: Are you preparing to join this BDM 160 as I can see your pace is suited for such an ultra distance? I have the impression that you always join your first edition of your BDM runs. BDM 160 will be in its first edition this year.

BR: No, I will not be joining the BDM 160 as competitor. I have to be a full-time Race Director on this one due to some sensitive issues. And then my answer ended it with a laugh!

#7: From Francis, An Ultra runner from Mindanao (As we met along the Skyway)

Francis: (Running after the Marathon turn-around) Sir, You are really serious with your plan to run 7 minutes per kilometer!!!

BR: (Running towards the Marathon turn-around 2 kilometers away) Yes! This is what I call “Discipline and Patience”!!!

Last 5K To The Finish Line (Photo Courtesy of Francis Chua)

Manage the Pain

The last 2 kilometers of the race was a display of managing and preventing the pain to come out from my calf muscles. The last 2 kilometers was test to increase my pace or not just to be able to finish the race in sub-5 hours. I decided not to speed up just for a simple reason of finishing a desired time. I have to be smarter this time. I want to finish the race without any injuries that will sideline me again for another two months. The better decision is to be able to manage the pain and not doing any “gung-ho” attitude on the last few meters of the race. My calf muscles are still weak due to the rest and recovery for the past two months. I have already incorporated a lot of exercises and drills to my training program just to focus with the strengthening of such muscles. I need patience and a lot of time to do this.

I was able to finish the race without any injuries or any pain or soreness on my legs. The accomplishment in itself is already a victory for me. I have treated the Marathon Race as an LSD workout that my present condition of my body could afford. I did not have any structured training schedule for this race and I ran it through instinct by taking care of my body, listening to my body, and talking to my mind that I have to stick to my race strategy of maintaining an average pace of 7:00 minutes per kilometer. There was no stress and pressure at all to finish this kind of Marathon Race. After all, finishing a Marathon Race is a personal accomplishment where there is no need to compare yourself with the finish times with the other runners.

Taking Care of the Body

In a tropical country like ours, runners need to eat some solid foods and drink some sports drinks like Gatorade/PoweAde/Pocari Sweat, etc. aside from water to replenish electrolytes excreted from the body through our sweat/perspiration. I believe that water alone could not replenish the wasted electrolytes from the body.

Early during the race, I have to eat a Power Bar and had in my palm two GU Gel packets which I ingested from Km 10-21 and then from Km 22-32. On the last 7 kilometers, I had a “pit stop” to eat one serving of oatmeal and a hard-boiled egg. However, on my last 5 Kilometers, a staff from A Runner’s Circle Store gave me a GU Gel Packet which I ingested on the last 4 kilometers of the race. Practically, I was well-fed during the race together with those ripe bananas being served in some of the Aid Stations.

But I expected that there should had been Sports Drinks equally served with the water during the race. I made a feedback to Patrick Concepcion by asking him why they preferred to serve 100 Plus Drinks which is a carbonated sports drinks instead of serving the usual and more common to runners like Gatorade, PoweAde, Pocari Sweat, Propel, and others. He answered me that Summit Water & 100 Plus Drinks were the main sponsors of the race & Gatorade was not a willing Sponsor for the sports drinks support for the runners.

On the Race Route & Race Management

As compared with the last year’s edition, this year’s race route is better and simpler. I hope that this race route will be maintained in the years to come. I consider this route as the most perfect one for a Marathon Race In Metro Manila. It is out and back. The roads are wide and the runners from other distance are not mixed with the other runners.

On Race Management, the road was not full of traffic from the runners. Moreso, with the runners coming from the Half-Marathon and 10-Mile Run Races. The lesser distance runners just came out from nowhere where they met with the Marathon Runners running on the other direction! When all the lesser distance runners left the Skyway towards the Finish Line, it was time for the leading Marathon runners to clear the turn-around point and follow the last runners of the lesser distance runners. Basically, the roads were not jampacked with a lot of runners.

Conclusion

I finished the race in 5 hours 3 minutes & 31 seconds based from GF 305, with an average pace of 7:07 minutes per kilometer. The registered distance in my watch was 42.61 kilometers. I was still strong after I crossed the Finish Line and spent more time standing, talking with the other finishers, and posing for pictures. Without any serious training for this marathon race, I was able to finish it without any pain or issues and of course, after coming out from an “injured” status in running.

For two months without any serious training, I could finish a Marathon Race in 5 hours or less.

Few Yards To The Finish Line (Photo Courtesy of Vener Roldan)

Attire/Apparel

Bandana by Buff

Sunglass By Oakley

Running Apparel (Shorts & Singlet) By ASICS

Running Shoes: ASICS Gel-Lyte Racer

Socks: DryMax Running Socks

Body Glide

Watch: Garmin Forerunner 305

Sports Bar & Gel: Nature Valley & GU 

Lessons Learned & Violations of the “Norms”

  1. Stick to a Plan or Race Strategy and don’t get affected with the situation of other fast runners ahead of you. Do not chase any runner if you are not well-trained for the event. Never underestimate slow runners at the start.
  2. Try to “engage” any runner that starts a conversation with you. Conversation with the other runners relieves stress and pressure during the race.
  3. Run-Walk-Run Strategy works if you are not well-prepared for the event. It will not force you to get injured. However, this strategy works well if you have adjusted to it. Since I consider myself as a “purist” in Marathon Races, running is the best way to improve one’s time is such distance. However, in ultra running, the Run-Walk-Run strategy is a “must” in order to finish within the prescribed cut-off time.
  4. It was my first time to use a brand-new running shoes in a Marathon Race. I was confident that I will not be injured or get re-injured with this decision since ASICS had been my favorite and most comfortable racing shoes.
  5. I did not take any Imodium or Tylenol or Salt Sticks tablets this time and I did not have any “issues” with my stomach and leg muscle cramping.
  6. Even if I have Gatorade drinks ready to be ingested from my support staff, I preferred to take in water only during the whole duration of the race. I wonder if it would have prevented myself from going to the side of the road in order to pee if I have taken Gatorade, in alternately with Water.
  7. Those ripe bananas were great as my food source during the race. 3 GU gel packets, one Nature Valley Sports Bar, one serving of Oatmeal and lots of water were the source of nutrition during the race. I have a faster recovery after the race if I take some food during the race proper.
  8. On this race, I did not ingest any form of “pain killer” tablets, before and during the race.

Congratulations to Condura Durables/Pat & Ton for a well-organized Marathon Race in Metro Manila. More power to you, guys!

See you on the next edition of the Condura Skyway Marathon!





1st CAMSUR Marathon

27 09 2010

CAMSUR Marathon/Pili, Camarines Sur/4:00 AM September 26, 2010

1. This is my 3rd Marathon Race for the year and I prepared this race without any training plan or program. Everything was done by “feel” and “instinct”. All my runs after the 34th MILO Manila Marathon Elimination were easy long runs; mountain trail runs; and a limited once a week tempo runs. Basically, I did not train for “speed” on this marathon race.  I concentrated more on my “back-to-back” weekend easy long runs and decided to have the CAMSUR Marathon Race as part of my easy long run in preparation for another “epic” running experience in the future.

One of My Finish Line Pictures (Courtesy of Babes Guloy)

Having Two Escorts At The Finish Line (Courtesy of Babes Guloy)

2. I finished the race in 4:39:33 hours (unofficial) as recorded in my GF 305. It is not a “shabby” finish time but I was able to learn a lot of what my body is capable of with my age of 58. Comparing myself with my friend and BDM 102 “veteran” Victor Ting who is already 62 years old, he was faster in reaching the Finish Line and I think he was ahead of me by 3 kilometers, I think I still have the chance to reach his age and run as fast as he can. But I think Victor is getting faster as he grows older. But for now, speed will remain at the back burner up to the end of this year and I will slowly introduce it again in my workouts at the start of the new year.

1st CAMSUR Marathon Logo

3. So far, this Marathon Race is the third major running event in the country that is fully sponsored and supported by a local government unit. The City Government of Quezon City came first with its own version of an International Marathon Race on the later part of last year and it was followed by the Cebu City Marathon last January 10 of this year and now it’s the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur. These local government executives in these cities and province are commendable for promoting the sports of running with their own resources without the support of the national government. How I wish more of these kind of local executives should come up with such sports events in their respective provinces and cities in order to promote their place through sports tourism. With cash prizes at stake on these running events provided through the efforts of the local executives, it will give more incentives to our elite athletes to train some more and at the the same time inspire the local folks and “grassroots” to develop themselves as competitive runners in the future. My salute and congratulations to the good leadership of these “pioneers” in promoting international running events in their own cities and provinces.

4. Camarines Sur Marathon is showing an example of the trend of marathon races in the country. It is no longer possible to have an ideal environment for a marathon race within the confines of Metro Manila and its immediate environs because of the problem of vehicular traffic, pollution, poor quality of air and the “no concern attitude” of the residents to people who are competing in a road race. It is only in the province and cities outside Metro Manila where you see spectators cheering and saying best wishes and good greetings to runners along the route of the race. Moreso, you can feel the hospitality when you see the barangay officials and folks manning the different Aid Stations offereing some food and water to the runners as Volunteers. I was informed that the Race Organizer had fielded almost 1,500 volunteers for this running event.

Relaxing Moments at CWC

5. Going to Naga City and Ipil by land and air from Manila was so easy. By land on our own vehicle, it took us an easy 8-hour ride on the late evening from Manila and arriving at Naga City on daybreak. Travelling by bus, I heard it was more comfortable by sitting on “Lazy Boy” seats with a Comfort Room inside. And by plane, after a short 45-minute ride, you are already in Naga City.

6. Having registered to run the Marathon Race last June, I had a lot of time to plan for the trip and for the accommodation for my Elite Team. I was lucky to know that one of my officers assigned as one of the General Staff of my Command when I was the Division Commander in Panay Island is now assigned with the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based at Pili, Camarines Sur. Col Ace De Asis took upon himself to look for a place for us to stay. I was surprised to find out that another officer who served as my Camp Engineer in Panay Island is also assigned in the said place. Through the transient facilities of the Philippine Army, my team and I were “billeted” at the VIP Transient Facility of the 565th Engineer Battalion of the Philippine Army for almost 3 days.

7. We arrived in Pili, Camarines Sur on the early morning of Friday and went around the facilities of the CWC and later proceeded at Camp Martillana where our the Philippine Army’s Transient Facility is located. We were received by our host, Lt Col Tony Celoso ( my Command Engineer in Panay Island) and led us to their Battalion’s VIP Transient Facility. The facility has two big bedrooms with two bathrooms; a big living room with TV and cable connection; and dining area. We were able to buy fresh foods at the Pili Market and cooked them in the facility’s kitchen. My elite team’s members were the cooks, dishwashers, and the ones going to the market to choose what food to eat for the day.

8. My elite team and I attended the scheduled briefing on Saturday morning at the CWC and I was impressed on the preparations made to make this running event a success. I observed that a lot of international runners attended the briefing and I saw new faces from the Kenyans. I even saw athletes whom I was informed to be from Russia. I was able to meet other runners who are regular participants of my PAU races as well as runners who came all the way from the Visayas and Mindanao. Definitely, this running event was a meeting place of the avid and passionate runners from all over the country. 

42K Runners at the Briefing

9. A day before the Marathon Race, I requested the Battalion Commander of the 565th Engineer Battalion to assemble his officers and men for an “impromtu” Running Lecture which will guide them to a more scientific way of training in preparation for a running event. The running lecture was done after one hour with the hope that the soldiers of this unit would be able to train properly. I gave them the challenge for them to join the next year’s half-marathon race after imparting to them the basic principles in training as well as tips in running. I told them that they are lucky and fortunate to have the Provincial Oval Track located just in front of their camp. In conclusion, the most important thing that I emphasized to them are the good values each one of them to develop while they are preparing for a running event.

Running Lecture With The Army Engineers

10. The race was conducted perfectly as the race started promptly at 4:00 AM; there was a “festive” mood at the starting line which was highlighted with fireworks; lots of photo-ops with runners; greetings from the “usual suspects” in marathon races; lots of hydration points; proper markings along the road; presence of volunteers and marshals along the route; fresh bananas, sports bars & sports gels (although some were “expired”) were available to the runners at the 2nd half of the marathon route; and most of all, the presence of spectators who were cheering and greeting the runners!

My Favorite Racing Shorts & Singlet For Marathon Races!

"The Usual Suspects" In Marathon Races

My Walking "Breaks" On The Last 3-4 Kms

11. Kenyan runner Richard Kemeli Kemboi won the Marathon Race with a time of 2:19:40 hours. In the women’s category, Ethiopian Ayelu Lemma Geda won the race in 2:40:05 hours. The Champion received a Cash Prize of $ 7,000. This could be the highest paying marathon race for this year in the country. My Elite Team managed to win First Place & Third Place (Local Category) for the Half-Marathon Race with a Cash Prize of P 20,000 and P 10,000, respectively and 3rd Place (Local Category) for the 10K Race. My team did not make good in this running event due to sickness and flu weeks before this race.

Don't Worry, Guys..There Are More Races To Come

12. Successfully finishing a Marathon Race this year is becoming a “trigger” mechanism for me to do something more challenging in the coming days. Few days after my Condura Marathon last February, I did my 5-day multi-day run from Manila to Baguio City covering a distance of 240 kilometers. Two weeks after my July 4th MILO Manila Marathon, I ran the Headlands 50-Mile Mountain Trail Run in San Francisco, California. And now that I’ve finished the CAMSUR Marathon, I am supposed to run the Dick Collin’s Firetrails 50-Mile Mountain Trail Run on October 9 in California but I had to cancel it due to some commitment which I could not refuse. But instead of the Firetrails 50-Mile Run, I am coming up again with another multi-day run in the coming days (with the message that you can “journalize” your multi-day runs on near “real-time”!)

See you on the roads and trails!!!








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