Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Marathon Comeback - QC International Marathon

Beginning of this year I have scheduled only 1 Marathon and was planning to do the Singapore International Marathon. However, I opted to do the QCIM2 as I wanted to redeem myself from last year's QCIM. I ran the half marathon (21km) then and was actually nursing an ITBS injury at that time. I remember struggling from km 15 until the finish line as I spent most of the time walking. It was for me one of the worst race I have joined and I wanted to have a comeback and decided to do the full marathon in this event. But the pain of having a bad race didn't stop there. It was in November 2009 where I joined my first Marathon in Bangkok (Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon) and true enough, this for me was a bad experience for my marathon debut. Due to the fact that I was nursing an injury last year, I was not able to train properly and had a lot of pressure nearing the event. There was no turning back since I was already committed to join the race. I went to therapy and did cross training using my bike in order to compensate for the running mileage that I lost. I did finished the Marathon in 5:42:07.

Luckily this year I was able to train and was glad to have been invited by the baldrunner to join the PAU 50k run (Tagaytay to Nasugbu) in November. I remember that my split time at 42km was 4:57. It elevated my confidence level going to this marathon.

Race day at QCIM2

There were 4 members of Gone Running Club that joined the marathon, Me, Jay, Jun, and Kuya Ernie (his first marathon). We arrived early in the area and had ample time to prepare before the race. I thought the gunstart was at 4:00am, and was actually surprised that the organizers were still setting up the clock, portalets, and genset arrived late. I had an initial expression that this race was not organized properly. But didnt dwell on it, as I dont really let negative vibes affect me so I patiently waited for gun start and just focus on my goal which was to at least have a sub-5hr marathon. Told Jay at gunstart I was eyeing for 4:45 (stretch goal).

The race course for me was tough due to the rolling hills but it was a good route. Turnaround was at the La Mesa Eco park, the place was nice and well preserved. As we enter the La Mesa Eco park, we were advised to leave our hydration belts. Not sure what the logic was behind it though. Jay's experience last year was the lack of hyrdration and it was a good thing that it was addressed this year. Hydration was sufficient and I have no complaints. I was doing fine in the first 28km, but not too long did I hit the collapse point. I started doing more walk breaks and it was all mental for me all throughout as I was starting to cramp in the last 8km. On the way back to commonwealth, I recall that I was practically walking along that road last year, and made me push to avoid too much walk breaks. Eventually I reached the last km and I knew that my time was better than my first marathon and I was happy about it. I did finish in 5:05:15 it was a 37 min improvement from my last marathon. This is a new marathon PR for me and definitely I will be training more so that I can improve further in the next marathon race. Who knows, I might be able to pull another 30 min improvement next time.

with Jay who paced with me all throughout and motivated me not to walk too much.

Jun Moslares who finished in 3:31 (unofficial time).

Kuya Ernie who finished his first Marathon at 5:41:43

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Going beyond your limits

In the midst of my training for the QC International Marathon, I have received an invite from Mr. Jovie Narcise (aka baldrunner) to join the PAU T2N (Tagaytay to Nasugbu) 50K ultramarathon. I was honored and felt that I was considered to be ready to do this race. I have been doing long runs with my team (Gone Running Club) on weekends and we have done a 40km LSD 2 weeks before the PAU 50k race. That basically builds confidence that I can finish the race. Together with my buddy Jay, we both registered for the event and would log this as another milestone in our running career.

It was a cool sunday morning in Tagaytay City where we all gathered at the start line. Happy to see familiar faces, and knowing that it was an ultramarathon, I knew that all runners have prepared for this race and have pure will and determination within them. Jay and I were among the newbies and we were glad to be part of it. There were about 160 runners who participated the race and I learned that 159 have finished.

We decided to set a target time of 6:30 for this race. The first 35km was a good run as we were able to increase our pace and we were ahead of our target time. However, from then on I felt my heart rate has reached probably 90% or more and it was difficult to recover. I had to run and walk which obviously slowed as down. At 39th km, I told Jay to run his pace as I can't maintain a 6:40 min/km pace, and that we see each other at the finish line. It's 11km to go and in my mind I knew that I can finish the race, no doubt. I slowed down a bit, but I have another focus, my 42k split. Yes, I had a new Personal Record on my 42k, I logged 4:58 (my first marathon was 5:47). I was smiling as for me its another milestone of improving my time for a marathon. As I move on for the next 8km of the race, I managed to recover my breathing and heart rate was at a comfortable level but I was struggling already due to leg fatigue. More walk breaks for me. In the last 5km, I started to pick up some pace and mindful of my target time, but at this point I noticed that my garmin hanged and I was now totally blind of the time and pace. As I saw the Jollibee signage saying last 3km, I began to focus and and avoided walk breaks. The finish line was at the Nasugbu City Hall which was near the Jollibee Outlet. As I saw the Jollibee sign, I was too eager to get there the soonest that I can, but it seems to be the longest 1-1.5km of the race. I saw one of the bald runner marshalls and guided me to the final turn reaching the finish line. It was yet again another memorable moment as I have tested again my limits on this race. If you put your mind to it and prepare for it, you will achieve whatever goals you have envisioned. Keep raising the bar and believe in yourself. There's a long way to go, keep it one stride at a time and try to make a difference.

Thank you to team bald runner and PAU. It was a good race and a good experience. Looking forward for more PAU races in the future.

50km done! My longest run so far..

with Jay and Sir Jovie (baldrunner), I finished in 6:12:48 and 65th out of 159 finishers, Jay finished 5:52:50 at 51st place.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Running Mileage

Looking back at my running mileage, I have not really put in more runs in my regimen during my triathlon training. I have focused on swimming and doing long rides on weekends. I knew I was sacrificing my run for the Half-Ironman event because I have to put in more time to swimming. True enough, the run leg was the most challenging part during the race and I ended up not hitting my target time. That's why since September I have focused on my running and tried to build more mileage and also it was time to train for QC International Marathon in December.

It was a good feeling to be back on the road and running. Together with some Gone Running Club members, we were consistent in doing our long runs. On weekdays, we do our own easy and tempo runs and meet up on weekends for the long runs. QCIM would be my 2nd Marathon and I am glad that this time I am able to train properly without any injury. Last year, I suffered from ITBS which hindered me from running well in my First Marathon, but still I was able to finish. This year's marathon will be my chance to perform better.

Sharing here our long runs in the month of October:

Oct 4, 2010 with Alabang Runners (LSD - 30km)

During this week's long run, we were able to meet up with the Alabang runners. It was a good meet up and was fun to run with other runners from the south. Our usual long runs starts at 3:00 or 4:00 am depending on our target distance. The Alabang runners started at 5:00 am and we joined them in their route.

First stop at the bird sanctuary in Nuvali. Was talking to Raymund Canta and disussing future races that they are joining.

Joined the group photo with Alabang Runners.

With Kuya Ernie, Jay, Ronald, and Ric. Kuya Ernie and Ronald will be doing their first marathon in December, while Ric is starting to build up his mileage and yet to decide when his first marathon would be.

Oct 12 - 15, 2010 Singapore

During this week, I was in Singapore to attend the SCM Logistics World Conference. It was a business trip and as always, I made sure that my running gear is packed as I would definitely not missing my training plan even on trips like this. My wife's friend Peter Yongco was based in Singapore and he joined me for Dinner on my first day and took me to esplanade area. I was glad that this area was a running route for most runners and was happy to see runners training for their own races. We took a walk and surveyed the area so I can familiarize myself. The following morning I stepped out to do my morning run and went to the area to run. I did two morning runs with 11km each. Below are some photos of the area I ran thru.

At Esplanade
Stairs up to Helix Bridge

The Helix Bridge at Marina Bay

Oct 24, 2010 - LSD (35km)

We did a 35km run on this weekend, was glad that Ric showed up as well as he was able to log in his first 24km run. Cherry has not missed the long runs and she was doing good and getting stronger.

Oct 30, 2010 - LSD (40km)

This run was supposed to be a 38km run, but since it was Cherry's bday, Jay and I decided to do a 40 km run. This is a confidence builder for Cherry and she is now ready for the full marathon. 5 weeks left before her first marathon and I think she will perform well.

with Jay and Cherry at 27th km in Canlubang Golf and Country Club

Saturday, October 30, 2010

UP Fun Triathlon

It’s been awhile and I haven’t blogged. But it doesn’t mean I have stopped any fitness activity after the Camsur Ironman. However, I must admit that I took time to enjoy the recovery mode and had a very light workout for a month. I think I only had 3 runs for the month of September and 1 swim. With the strenuous 5 months training before my first Half Ironman, it was just fair to take it slow and spend more time with my wife. Half Ironman training was no joke and it would require some sacrifice in your time.

In September, I attended the 6th beginners/costume triathlon sponsored by UP Trantados Tri Team. This is being held annually to introduce beginner Triathletes and serve as their first race. While the experienced athletes are there to support and are all required to be in costumes. I brought my gears with me but I ended up supporting the sidelines as the race was for beginners. Since they knew that I did the Half Ironman, it served as my induction. We were told also to come in our costume, but me and my friend Jay was both busy at work and was not able to bring one. Definitely next year we will be in our costume.

It was a festive event and the camaraderie was just awesome. Experienced athletes were coaching beginners from how gears are set up in the transition area to tips in the strategy in the swim, bike, and run course. As each one crosses the finish line, you can see the sense of accomplishments and joy amongst them. This event was a start of their long journey in the Triathlon world. Who knows, some of them might be joining the team in Camsur Ironman 2011.

Here are some photos of the event.

The last finisher of the event, he was supported in his last lap by the group in costumes. This was classic!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Journey to Ironman 70.3 Philippines

It all started when Jay asked me early this year, “Bro, Camsur tayo?” (the Ironman 70.3 Philippines event). During that time I had no basic skills for swimming and Jay with no base in cycling. I took it as a joke at that time not knowing that he was in fact serious when he raised that question. I told him then that I plan to do a half Ironman in 2011, and a full Ironman in 2012. I thought that doing it this year would be too soon. In March, we talked about it again and was starting to look at the Ironman 70.3 Philippines website. One day, he was playing around with the registration and probably was trying to navigate the registration process only to find out that he had registered and was given a confirmation code. He called me and said that he registered and we laughed about it and we both ended up registering for the Half Ironman event, with only 5 months to train. Crazy huh?, I had no swimming skills, and Jay has no bike at that time. It’s the first thing that any athlete would do, register for a race and prepare for it. Now we are locked to it and have no choice but to start training for it.

Immediately, I talked to my friend (Dante Pahud) in UPLB who is a member of the UPLB Trantados Tri Team. He was a good swimmer and asked him if he can coach us for the swim. At first we are only looking for a swim coach. He endorsed me to his cousin who he said can train better. I contacted Ian Castilla (3-time ironman finisher), who just came back from the Ironman event in Langkawi Malaysia and asked him if he can coach us. Luckily, he offered a full training for the 3 disciplines (swim, bike, and run). We agreed on the schedule and off we went to start our training. I’ll blog about the training experience separately.

Obviously bulk of my training was focused on swimming and honestly I was not sure whether I can even start the race since I was having difficulty improving my swimming skills, breathing in particular. Also, I got sick for 2 weeks in May and was busy in my wedding preparation in June where I lost about a month of training (adding to the pressure). I have told Jay and coach Ian that I might not be able to make it, but they didn’t give up and said that I can make it. So there I go, followed every instruction and religiously followed the training program. We had 2 tri simulations in UPLB, and that helped me boost my confidence. A week before the camsur event, we went for an open water swim in Laiya Beach in Batangas. That helped me overcome my fear in water and told myself I can do this. When I was able to do a straight 2km swim in my training (3 weeks before the race), I knew I will make it as my confidence have shoot up. I remember the time when I was training for my first marathon where I was not able to follow the training plan due to series of injury from running. I used that experience as a motivation that if I was able to do my first marathon given the odds, then I can finish my first triathlon.

We rode to Camsur in Aug 20 with my wife, Jay, Noemi (Jay’s wife), and my cousin Nick who was driving. I was actually excited and convinced that I will start and finish this race. As soon as we arrive in the afternoon we checked in and headed to CWC to meet the rest of the guys. We did a 1k swim on the lagoon to get used with the environment, I was a bit nervous but after a while I was convinced that I am ready to enjoy the race. Then, we proceeded to the carbo loading party, saw coach Rio dela Cruz and his team (they won 2nd place in the relay) and other celebrities.

The following day (Saturday), we did a 50km ride to check on the bike and run course. It was good to see the route so that I can plan my strategy on the bike and run course. In the afternoon, we attended the race briefing, the video was awesome. After the briefing we started to prepare our bike and run gears and get ready for the bike check-in.

Bike gear check, run gear check. Im ready!

At the bike check in.

It was a wonderful day, woke up at 2:00am, had a good 5 hours sleep, as always you can’t sleep much the night before a big race. I had coffee, bread, and banana for my pre-race meal. My wife and I had a short prayer before heading to CWC. At the race site, went back to the bike check in area to put in my race belt and made my final check on my bike and gear. Then we proceeded to the race numbering station where I met senator Pia (she was right behind me). I was able to talk to her briefly and told her that it was my first time to join the race, she welcomed me and told me to just enjoy the race.

My target time for the race was 6:30 to complete the 1.9km swim, 90km bike, and 21km run. Jay and I reviewed with Coach the split times for each event based on our own pace. It was good to set a target time rather than just focusing to finish. It gives you a personal challenge to enjoy the race (well, joining this event is a challenge already, what am I thinking??).

Before the race, we had a short prayer (again!) and prayed for the safety of all participants and thanking the Lord for the blessings and for the opportunity to join this event.
Prayer before gun start with coach Ian, Diego, and Jay

First time to do Ironman 70.3 for Diego, Jay, and myself. With us is Joan who participated in Langkawi Malaysia Ironman.
Coach giving some last pointers.
At the start line of the swim course, the age groupers were very anxious to hear the gun start. I positioned myself at the back, can’t risk battling it out with the more experienced swimmers.
And off we go.. we started 2 minutes behind the Pros and Filipino elites. 5 minutes after the next age group followed, then the female age groupers, and lastly the relay swimmers.

A lot of accidental kicking and shoving, but generally athletes played clean (at least from where I was). I tried to keep my composure as it was too stressful, I had to stop at the turnaround and waited a bit to find a safer spot. Checked on my time and saw that I was behind my split time. I then proceeded and just kept on swimming, saw pink swim caps, meaning female swimmers started to catch up on me. I didn’t mind but was conscious on the time as I might hit the cut-off time. Finally I reached the end of the first loop. My wife told me that Coach was jumping up and down as he was very happy to see me get out of the water. I think he was more tensed than I did. But it was a job well done for him because he was able to make a guy who can’t cross a 25m pool to finish a 2k swim. Thanks Coach!

Spectators all excited watching the swim course. Energy is high in here.
Whew! Another 450m and I’m through with the swim course. Can’t wait to ride my bike.. As soon as I was out of the water, I was relieved and told myself that I will enjoy every minute of the bike and run course (ahh, maybe only the bike course). I finished the swim course at 1:04:55.

Bike waiting, only a few was left at the bike transition area.

At the bike course, I was ecstatic. It was freedom for me to be on my bike. I just kept on pedaling and was smiling everytime I pass on other athletes. I saw Jay as I went out of the national road. Our forecast was that we will have a close finish at the run leg as he was strong in the swim and run. The spectators at the bike course were awesome, it was non-stop and everytime I passed by them I felt more stronger and was gaining speed. The kids from school were organized, they were chanting “Go Ironman!, Go Ironman!”. There were also some cheer prepared. It was a good experience. Aid station was good, we were just dropping our empty water bottles and take another one as we pass by. I dropped one during the handover at one aid station, but luckily after 200m there was the actual aid station. The volunteers had an advance group prior to the actual aid station. After an hour and a half, I saw Jay finally and he knew that I will pass. He was actually waiting for the “go bro!” from me. As soon as I get passed him, I did not waste time and continued overtaking more athletes. I knew that I had to get enough lead on the bike as Jay and I will definitely be catching up in the run leg. Yes, we had a mini race between Me, Jay, and Diego (expected to finish in 5:30). We were given plus one hour from Diego’s expected time.

From the bike transition, feeling was weird as expected. I can’t even feel the pavement and my quads are cramping already. But I still managed to give a smile to my wife and gave her a kiss as I passed thru.
The run course was hot!! I can’t even smile here anymore. The run course is a two loop course. Aid stations were strategically located and Gatorade and water were just overflowing. At the turn-around, the david’s salon team with David Charlton was there assigned at the aid station and was giving oranges, banana, and power gels aside from water and Gatorade. I began to feel cramps on my calves at the 4th km and from then on I was jogging and walking. I was able to get a second wind already and was ready to run, but my cramps were just killing me. I had to slow down. As expected, somewhere at the 4.5km I saw Jay already and knew that he will overtake me anytime soon as I can’t keep up with my run. He did pass me at 5th km and gone he was. Meanwhile, I was hoping to finish it not walking all throughout. I was trying to stretch once in a while so that I can run. I was just strolling and was taking it 1km at a time. On the second loop I was just enjoying it and was counting the remaining distance. I was happy as I know I will finish the race. And there it was, as I approach the finish line, I was smiling and have conquered another milestone. I finished in 7:10:12 (official time).
At the finish line, with senator Pia extending her hand to congratulate me.
With Fred Uytengsu and Senator Pia Cayetano at the finish line. Dante on the background, one of the guys who helped me to develop my swimming skills.
Proud Coach!
With best friend Jay, another milestone for Gone Running Club.
..and of course a proud wife.. look at the background, its IronMark and IronKay! Kay was busy taking photo shots and was very supportive all throughout the event!

Photos (except last one) taken by Kay Salvador