Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Strong Finish at the Run of the Century


It's amazing what a single marathon finish can do for an average recreational runner's confidence. Still stoked from my recent Condura marathon experience, I came into the Century Tuna Superbods Run unusually confident that I could improve on my dismal 2:31 finish at my last half-mary, the 2009 Timex Run. As it turned out, confidence bred determination, determination spawned effort, and the result was my strongest showing to date in a road race.

I crashed and burned in my two previous stabs at a half-marathon. During my first half-marathon at SIM 2009, I think I was way too tense and cautious, and I ended up with a mediocre 2:23 finish.  At Timex 2009, I was totally unprepared, both physically and mentally.  I bore these shortcomings in mind, and, aided by the new-found confidence I gained from my recent conquest of the Skyway, I approached the Century half-mary with every intention of setting a personal best.

One thing I had for this race that I never had during any of my previous half-marys was a clear plan, a technique.  In my previous 21k runs, I did my best to avoid walk breaks and resisted stopping at hydration stations for fear of losing precious time -- only to falter miserably at the homestretch due to debilitating fatigue and dehydration.  Consequently, as I trained for Condura, I finally conceded that my physical limitations would never allow me to finish strong on a 21k run without taking walk breaks.  I also learned that, for long distances, observing a good hydration plan is key. And so, I resolved to do the Century 21k Galloway-style with a 6:1 run-walk ratio, and to make it a point to make a pit stop at every single hydration station along the route.

The plan worked to perfection.  It took a lot of EQ to stop for walk breaks at the start of the run and allow sprinting newbie runners in basketball shorts and high-cut sneakers to smugly pass me by.  It also didn't help that I positioned myself somewhere towards the tail-end of the 21k pack at the start line. However, I knew I was doing the right thing when, beginning at Km. 13, I started overtaking a lot of the runners that passed me early on.  I also noticed that I was still sweating profusely up until I crossed the finish line  - a good sign that I had remained well-hydrated.  Because I was still feeling great as I entered the homestretch, I decided to take my last walk-break and  have my last water stop somewhere in Km. 19.  I still had a lot left in the tank, so I decided to do a light sprint for the last two kilometers.  For the first time ever in a 21k run, I finished strong.  According to my 305, I completed the Century Tuna half-mary in 2:13:45, with an average pace of 6:22 min/k - by far a new 21k PR that bests my previous one by over 9 minutes.  My chip time, on the other hand, was 2:14:38.  This indeed, by my modest recreational standards, was a special run.

They gave me a medal for waking up early on a Sunday. :)

With my friend Javi Gonzalez - my running mate for BDM 2011!

Next up for me is another half-marathon - the Unilab Run 21k - and my goal for that one would be a sub-2:10 finish.  I am optimistic that all my experiences during my last two races would serve me in good stead, and, hopefully, yield yet another special Sunday.


  1. Nice one Julius. I have always been a Galloway fan. Two weeks after doing a Galloway marathon, I ran a Galloway half. That was my half-mary PR for a long time. Until this morning when I resolve to break that record, again Galloway-style.


  2. congratulations julius! go galloway! =)

  3. a 2:13 using Galloway? No way?! Ahehehe...

    Congratulations on your new PR!!! Go get that sub-2:10 sa United! :)