Monday, April 25, 2011

Training Plan


During the past weeks, I have been trying to do tempo runs and was hoping to break a sub-60 on my 10k runs. I was glad to have been on that horizon and hopefully I get to improve each week. I believe that my training for BDM 102K has earned me enough mileage in improving my endurance. I am now beginning to put in some tempo runs and speedwork in my regimen in order to improve my speed. In the past, I have focused on endurance building and totally forgot about temp run and speedwork. Probably one of the reason was to avoid any risk of injury as I have been on the sideline for a long time in 2009 which caused me to lose running mileage. Good thing I have cycling as my cross training. It's time that I get out of my comfort zone and push myself a little bit and increase my training level up one notch. It is still a long way to go to improve my performance and the only way to go is to continue training. I still need to achieve two running goals this year, a sub 2-hr half marathon, and a sub 4:45 full marathon. Let's see how I progress.


After my 70.3 Half Ironman stint here in the Philippines in August last year, I have not put in swimming (and cycling) in my training plan as I focused more on building my running mileage. As a result, I completely lost the proper form and need to get back to the basics. A lot of mistakes in my swim, my arm stroke was not syncrhonized, my kick was wide, had difficulty in breathing technique, and I was not swimming in a straight line. Everything was a complete disaster and I knew I needed to refresh and get back to do more drills.


I began to get back on the saddle last month. Started off with an hour of spinning on the trainer to get the feel of it before doing my road rides. Then I gradually started to build mileage on the road and had a two 80km ride during the Holy Week. I have now included cycling in my training regimen, 2 weekday rides, and 1 weekend long ride. Probably I would insert a brick session (bike-run) in one of my weekday rides.
This is how my training plan would look like this week. I hope I can keep up with it (Mon-Wed is done).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Discovering Success

Picking up from the Globe Run for Home, the team went out to support the NATGEO Earth Day Run. It was a very good day as we have 3 runners who achieved their new Personal Records. First off was Dennis Villanueva who clocked at 1:58:26, which was 7 minutes better than his last PR at 2:05:13 at the 2011 Globe Run for Home. He was determined and really prepared for this run. When I asked him at the starting line what his goal was, he said he would target less than 2 hrs, and he did.

Next was Allen Co who finished at 2:38:14, which was 5 minutes better than his latest PR also at the Globe Run. Apparently he was a bit late at gun start as he was trying to figure out where the starting line was. But after a while he catched up with us and proceeded to run his pace.

Allen was consistent in improving his 21k run and now have 4 half marathons. He is eyeing to improve further his time in his next race in May.

Finally, Tiffany Qua, who promised that she will do better in her 2nd half marathon. She finished at 2:47:32 which was 3 minutes better than her last run (Globe Run). She remains to be determined and focused on her goal, which was consistent from her first run. She was conscious of her time as she checks once in a while if we are still within target. I bet, just like in the office, being a manager as she is, she always keeps track of their metrics and make sure that it is within target.

According to her though, it was a more difficult run this time. Probably it's because she was advised by her doctor to take some rest after the Globe Run and was not able to continue her training afterwards. But she said she will improve her time, and she did. Now, she is looking forward for a better performance in her next race.

Egay Jardiniano, whose last half marathon was last year at the Rexona Run finally tried another half marathon. Egay is a body builder and he barely do runs but got motivated by his wife Cherry to run. He finished strong at 3:02:56, not quite a PR this time but he felt that this was a better run as compared to his last half marathon. I'm sure being a disciplined fitness buff, he will improve his future runs.

Meanwhile, Cherry Jardiniano was initially pacing with us in support to Tiffany, but later on paced with Allen to give extra support. She did finish in 2:31:13. She had no plans to do PR in this race but will definitely do in the next races. After she crossed the finish line, she came back and meet us and she ran alongside Tiffany to support her until they reached the finish line. But I guess, she wanted to run more and agains went back to meet her husband (Egay) and ran with him until they reached the finish line. Cherry is getting stronger and I'm sure she will hit sub-2 hrs anytime soon.

A happy couple, Egay and Cherry. Nice to see these two help each other out.

As for Me and Jay, we remained to be on a pacer role, but I figured, the aggressiveness of these runners to improve their time is kicking in and we have to train harder as these guys might become our pacer someday if we dont shape up.

Dennis obviously had all the time to enjoy while waiting for all of us. Great job Dennis!

Allen, happy with his new accomplishment.

Tiffany with the body guards!

With Tiffany's cousins who likewise had a great time.

These runners were determined to challenge their personal best as they discover their potential and ability to stretch their goals. They are becoming more excited in setting their new target as they experience the joy of running and the sense of accomplishment attached to it. As I have always believed, nothing is impossible, everything is achievable if you believe in yourself. Preparation, determination, and a positive mental attitude will lead you to success. I should start training myself as these guys have no way to go but to get faster and better.

Keep on running!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pay it Forward

This is the 3rd time for Gone Running Club (GRC) to join the Globe Run for Home. We have chosen to support the Habitat for Humanity and help build homes for our less fortunate brothers and sisters. It is always good to run for a cause. You get to enjoy the run and at the same time contribute in helping others.

Speaking of helping others, it is in the best interest of GRC to help our runners whenever they level up on their race distance. Since Jay and I were able to do marathons, ultra marathons, and triathlon, we thought of paying it forward to help our runners to step up and eventually do their first half marathon, or full marathons. We train them, taught them what we've learned through our experience, and pace with them on their debut run.

If you recall, in December, we paced with Kuya Ernie Carandang who ran his first full marathon. On weekend long runs, he was always there and try as much as possible not to miss a run. He did finish well and is now looking forward for his 3rd marathon this year. Now he is trying to motivate his brother (Val) to do his first marathon as well.

Ernie Carandang

In February at the Condura Skyway Marathon, it was Cherry Jardiniano's marathon debut. She was supposed to do her marathon at the QCIM together with kuya Ernie but since she was sent for a month in the US for a business trip, she decided to defer it to February. During her first marathon, kuya Ernie joined me and Jay to pace with Cherry to give her the support that he had during his marathon debut. Cherry finished strong and now she is geared to do her first ultra marathon, hopefully the PAU 50K within the year.

Now it was Cherry's turn to pay it forward as she also joined us in pacing Tiffany Qua who did her first half marathon (21km) in Globe Run for Home. Tiffany is also a member of GRC and she completed her first 10k at the Condura Run in February. After that she decided to level up to 21k, a brave move but definitely a good one.

Prior to the race, we were giving Tiffany inputs and guidance on what she should do during race day. Her farthest run before the race was 17km and she felt pain on her legs and was really exhausted. After that, she was doubting if she can make it. But the fact that she was able to run 17km was an indication that she can finish the race. Jay and I were motivating here that she can do it and it was just a matter of managing her pace and monitor her nutrition and hydration. When I saw her at the starting line on race day, I knew she already conquered her first half marathon, we just have to enjoy the run until we reach the finish line.

I was designated to monitor our pace, we set it at 8:00 min/km in the first 10km and see how Tiffany would respond halfway through. Time was not a primary objective, but would want her to finish below 3 hours. What was important was for her to finish the race feeling strong. But since I was tracking the pace, I must admit that I was trying to pick up the pace once in a while and we managed to maintain a 3 min buffer from our target pace. I was eyeing for her to finish at least at 2:45. It was very impressive to see her walk only on aid stations. She had no complaints and was determined to finish the race. During the walk breaks, I had to do a 10 sec countdown to start running again so as not to waste more time. At km 17, she started to slow down and feeling the fatigue but still no complaints. If we say run, she will run. At km 18, she said that it seems to be her longest 3km! Taking it one step at a time we finally reached the final turn and saw the finish line. As we approach, we told her to finish strong and try to sprint. She was tired but she was determined to finish strong and she did sprint approaching the finish line. She completed her first half marathon in 2:50:46. It was a great accomplishment, good job!

Jay, Tiffany, Me, and Cherry. (thanks to active moments for the photo)

It was indeed a good feeling to be able to help others accomplish their goals. It is equally rewarding when you see them cross that finish line. Tiffany's experience in Globe Run for Home will tell whether she dread the distance or would love to come back. And yes, she finally decided for a comeback, and SOON! She is doing the NATGEO half marathon this weekend and hopefully beats her time.

Take time to pay if forward, you will be glad you did. Enjoy the runs!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Ultra Marathon Experience

It’s been a month already since I completed my first Bataan Death March (BDM) 102km ultra marathon and I have not written about it. I must have enjoyed myself recuperating from it and enjoyed longer sleep which I barely had during the training season prior to the race.

One of my goal this year was to finish the BDM 102km. Another crazy idea, but I guess I have established already that whatever I put my mind into, I’ll make sure that I’ll work on it and eventually achieve it. I trained for 12 weeks for this event and have really focused on improving my mileage. I was glad that I was free from any injury and I hope it stays that way. Deciding to do the 102km was obviously to test our endurance and mental toughness.

Considering that the farthest I ran was 50k (PAU T2N) in November last year, there were a lot of unknowns on this race. We have not simulated the whole 102km distance during training and just relied on the back to back long runs on weekends where some weekends were skipped. We were not able to do the two test runs prior to the race to familiarize us with the route. Not sure what the condition is after 50km and how my body would respond to 18hrs of running and walking. But I felt that I was prepared and I thought that the mileage I put in training was enough to take me to the finish line.

Jay and I initially planned to do 15hours, but we were not sure if this was an aggressive or conservative estimate, we didn’t know. But it is important to set a goal so that you’ll have a clear direction on where you are going and what you will do along the way. Theoretically, we have set our planned pace to hit 15 hours, not knowing the real condition, we thought that it can be done. But reality steps in that this was a 102km ultra marathon and not a marathon. Though it was good to put a target but it has to be realistic. Respect for the distance was very important especially that it was the first time to conquer it. So we changed strategy and had a comfortable pace to cross the first half of the race as we know how to manage that distance. Then it was a total different strategy in the next half of the race (more of that later).

Prior to the race, we have not really thought about our support group. As a default, Jay’s wife will be there to support us together with a driver, my wife can’t come since she is pregnant and not allowed to travel. One day I was glad that my friend Mike Dauden (aka the transformer) and a GRC member volunteered to be part of the support crew together with Joey Cabanag who is from Balanga Bataan. Another GRC runner Cherry (who completed her 1st marathon in Feb) also volunteered to join. I have distributed to them the rules of the race so that the support group are aware of their roles during the race.

Race day

Saturday morning at around 10:30am, we started to travel to Bataan. The plan was to meet up the rest of the support group (Mike and Joey) in Bataan where we are supposed to rest and prepare prior going to the start line in Mariveles. We arrived at Joey’s place at around 2:30 pm and we were welcomed with a prepared lunch. Food was great, we were kidding that it was like our last meal as we go to the bataan death march. I had coffee afterwards and since we have time, we took a nap to get some rest.

For lunch: Tinapang Bangus, Tinapang Tilapia, Crab, Prawns, Papaya, Singkamas, and Ube Halaya. Did I miss something?

We had at least 3 hours to sleep but I can’t sleep. I was thinking already about the race, was trying to visualize what’s gonna happen after 50km. I was also trying to psych myself up and try to maintain a positive mental attitude because I know at the end of the day, it will be all mental in the second half of the race. Went down and read magazines while drinking coffee (again!) at around 6pm. At 6:30 pm we started to prepare as we are to leave around 7:30 pm and head down to Mariveles at Km 0.

Jay and I changed to our running gear and preparing or our stuff for the race.

At km 0 with GRC support group.

After the final briefing, singing of the national anthem and final prayer, the 142 brave warriors went off for the BDM 102 challenge. This race was also to commemorate our fallen heroes of Bataan during the World War 2. The first 6km was an uphill climb, as the strong runners went ahead, we decided to do walk breaks that early on uphills to make sure that we conserve our leg power. After that long uphill, we went running and tried to enjoy the course. Our support group had to leap frog every 5km in the first 50km of the race.

Somewhere around the 49th km, Jay had to slow down and rested for awhile and he advised me to go ahead. I had at least a 2km lead I guess after that.

But not for long, Jay catched up soon enough and waited for him at the next pit stop and saw me there eating banana. We replenished our hydration and off we went.

Finally reaching the 60th km, we already passed our 50k mark and we still feel good.

At km 70, can still afford to smile..

During this stage, Jay and I were not actually talking, this is where we felt the heat of the sun. The support group had to be there every 1km or less so that we can get water sponge to keep us cool. We were not complaining but we were conscious of the time. I began to feel pain in my hamstring and calves and I had to stretch once in a while. Our objective at this point was to finish within cut-off time. We were doing a run-walk strategy, we ran 500 - 600m then walk the next 400m. Everytime we see a km marker, all I would say was, "X km to go, almost there!" Had to maintain a positive thought so that we can make it to the finish line. Around km 80 onwards, it is where you begin to ask yourself, why am I doing this (but friends would start to ask this question from the moment we decided to do this, haha!)? It is important at this stage to at least manage to have fun while having to go thru the struggle of running this distance. Though you have to be physically fit, it is equally important that you are mentally prepared.

Almost there! Can still smile (trying) no worries..

We were actually walking here, but there's a camera pointing at us, so better run and try to smile! hahaha!

Finally at the finish line, we finished at 17:12:17. We finished at 78th and 79th place.

We are very thankful with our support team. All support crews were very instrumental in every runner who joined this event.

It was a great experience doing the BDM 102K Ultra marathon. It would seem to be difficult and impossible, but through preparation, discipline, and determination, everything is possible.