Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Never Settle

My first-ever road race was the Kenny Rogers Urbanite Run 15K held back in August 2009.  Back then, I was, for all practical intents and purposes,  your standard-issue running and racing newbie.  I have been "running" for fitness and weight loss (i.e., jogging) since my law school days back in the late '90s, but it was confined almost exclusively to loops around the Ateneo campus and the UP Academic Oval, as well as endless sessions on the treadmills of Fitness First.

Needless to say, the result of that race (and my outfit back then - check out the pic) wasn't pretty.  I covered 15k with a chip time of 1:52:31, good for 538th out of 727 runners.  My average pace was 7:29/K. I recall that, towards the last five kilometers of that race, I was already huffing and puffing badly, and my legs hurt really bad.  I also thought back then that one way for me to finish the race faster was for me not  to take water breaks.  By the end of the race, I was a tired wreck.  Fifteen kilometers in almost two hours.  I knew right away that if I wanted to improve, I definitely had my work cut out for me.  Still, I felt proud and had a sense of accomplishment.  After all, I had just finished my first race - and it wasn't a 5K.

So many things have gone down since that fateful night more than eight months ago.  I have grown as a runner and I have taken part in one 10-miler, three 10Ks, five half-marathons, and one full marathon. I have so far logged an accumulated mileage of over 1,000 kilometers.  I am looking to complete at least three full marathons this year, and am applying for the 2011 edition of the BDM 102K Ultramarathon Race.  However, since Urbanite, I have NEVER ran another 15K.  And so, my 1:52:31 finish at Urbanite has stood as my 15K "personal best" for the last eight months.

Admittedly, I had almost forgotten about the result of that 15K race. You see, I never grew fond (and I'm still not fond) of the 15K distance.  I have even stopped taking on 10K races and have grown most comfortable at distances of 21K or longer.  But still, I knew in my heart that I had an axe to grind.  That 15K finish has always been a chip on my shoulder, and I wanted to make up for it.  I just don't know why I never joined another 15K race after Urbanite. 

Never Settle. The tag line of the Mizuno Infinity Run series could not have been more apt. I joined the 2010 Mizuno Infinity Run because I wanted to "beat my time" - my time for my first and only 15K race to date, Urbanite '09. Eight months after I crashed and burned at the 15K distance, I grew tired of settling and felt it was finally time to raise the bar. I know I've grown to become a stronger and faster runner, a much improved runner, and it's about time I proved this at the 15K distance.

Up until the night before the Mizuno Infinity Run, I had a dilemma regarding my race-day strategy. Do I go Galloway, like I've done  for my last four races (a full marathon and three halves)? Do I run all the way and not take walk breaks? Do I go Galloway but use longer run intervals and take less-frequent walk breaks? Do I push hard early on and cruise at the latter kilometers, or do I cruise first and push late? My unfamiliarity with the distance was in full display.

Race day finally came, and I was still unsure of how I was going to run this particular race.  All I knew was that I wanted to beat my time very badly.  And so, I decided to simply play it by ear and just RUN with all my heart. No Galloway method this time around. No strategy, no science, no fancy technique.  No glancing at the Garmin every so often.  No iPod. Just run until my lungs and legs give out.  Gradually, the plan evolved into simply running with the pure, relentless, and unbridled focus and passion of a newbie

And so, off I went.  3K, 5K, 7K.  I was relying solely on the kilometer markers.  No glancing at the Garmin.  I had no sense of time whatsoever, much less my pace.  All I knew was that my legs still felt strong, I was not gasping for air, and that I could still keep going.  I just kept on running, and I think I was making very good time. 9K, 11K.  Did I just pass the Kalayaan flyover? 13K. I think I had more or less maintained my pace, whatever it was.  Finally, 15K.  When I finally checked my 305, I realized that I had just bettered my previous "PR" by 26 minutes and spare change. I crossed the finish line with a Garmin time of 1:26:09 and an average pace of 5:40K/min. This is the farthest I've ever gone while sustaining such a pace.   At long last, a "legitimate"  personal best for the 15K distance.  Details of my run here.

As July draws near and I prepare to redeem myself at the full marathon distance, I shall keep in mind all the lessons I learned and the goal I accomplished during the Mizuno Infinity Run.  It shouldn't be too difficult for me to remember.  After all, it can be summed up in two very simple words: Never Settle.


  1. sub-1:30 15k?!?! wow you're fast man! congrats!!!

  2. Great Post man. Very Inspiring. I am wondering if you would have had a sub 60 mins if you wore the Tron Uniform? lol. Great run and Congrats on beating your time from the last time. 15k is an epic distance. And you are right. Never settle, because until you are an elite, there is always time to chisel off. So you will be applying for the 2011 BDM? I will see you there to help out I think, That is when I will be visiting. As far as running it. I am thinking 2013. I need to get some 15, 21, and 42ks under my belt first and the weather, for sure, would eat me alive. lol. Who knows though. But I should be there. I will be staying in Mariveles where my asawa's family is from. Take care. Great Post. Its funny, with my recent post, I just had an epic 15k too.

  3. Good job, congrats! That's a big improvement! I ran my first 15km that Sunday, and guess what? My time was 1:52: 26, similar to your time when you did your 15k last year!!

  4. Nice one Julius. I also ran without Garmin the Mizuno 15k. I was late by 30minutes but I had a grand time enjoying the race and watching everyone else go back.

  5. Nice Julius :) Wow, massive improvement! Am quite happy for you, your training and dedication is paying off :) BDM BDM BDM :P

  6. consistency, patience & determination gave you the best PR for your 15K race. good luck on your training and next races!

  7. wow julius! lufet mo na! the monster in you is slowly revealing hahaha congratulations!

  8. Hi, passed by here from Kenley's blog. You had already a number of accomplishments eventhough you had just started August of 2009, congratulations!

    And wow, you are fast! I'm a slow runner, I could not maintain such pace. Congratulations again!

    Hooray! You'll be joining BDM 2011. God bless!

    BTW, my running blog was here: http://myunrevealedthoughts.blogspot.com/

  9. Woody Harrelson. Lol. I have been called that before several times. Yes, I have taken up some trail running here and there. It is fun. To know that your body is capable of such feats. About the BDM 2011, I would love to do that. I havent got my marathon time in yet though. I will be doing the Harrisburg Marathon in November however. I don't know if it will be too late to register by then. I would love to push each other to the finish of that though. I know one thing I would have to work on is the whole climate issue. Let me know what you think. I will after all be there at that time staying in Mariveles no doubt. If anything, I will be there for support. Take care.