Sunday, May 30, 2010

DNF at the Nature Valley Run

I was totally unprepared for the Nature Valley 21k Run.  For one, since I got back from Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago, it seems that I haven't been the same insofar as running is concerned.  I have been feeling a bit lethargic, and my endurance the past couple of weeks has been iffy at best. As a result, all the training runs I have done since I got back have all been absolute crap. 

As if those weren't enough, what made matters worse was the fact that I was down with the flu for most of last week.  It was so bad that I actually missed three days of work, from Tuesday to Thursday.  I never ran a single kilometer during the entire week prior to the Nature Valley Run, and my last runs were a 20k last Saturday and a 5k last Sunday.

Given that my last two weeks have been utterly useless, up until last night, I was seriously considering not doing Nature Valley.  But then, I decided to run anyway because I was thinking that perhaps a race would be able to "fix" me and do me some good.

And so, I showed up at the starting line.  I warmed up pretty good, too.  I arrived in BHS more a full hour before the 5:10 a.m. gun start  because I was concerned that I had been runless for six full days. I knew I had to shake off a lot of rust or else I might get injured.

I surprisingly opened the race strong (at least by my humble standards), and my splits for the first 10k gave my confidence a much-needed boost: 5:40, 5:56, 5:58, 6:01, 5:59, 6:09, 5:48, 5:55, 7:12, and 6:05.  Despite my condition, I almost pulled off a sub-60 10k - 1:00:45 to be precise.  Not Haile, but not bad at all, considering that I was doing Galloway at a 6:1 ratio.  Up until this point, I was entertaining thoughts of topping my 21k PR of 2:09. 

Little did I know that a new PR was wishful thinking on my part.  As soon as I opened Km 11, it felt as if someone pulled the plug and sapped all of my energy.  At Km 13, I seriously considered quitting.  It started to feel as if my decision to go ahead and do the run was a bad one after all, and I was telling myself that I should just stop, take off my bib, and call it a day.  I was that close to logging my first official DNF.

You want to know what kept me going, though? Believe it or not, it was none other than... the medal.  I am a huge sucker for Finisher's Medals, and I so badly wanted to get another one.  I'd get one anyway even if I ended up walking the rest of the way, so what the hell?

My pace during the rest of the way was very erratic.  I resorted to an extremely irregular run-walk pattern, and I was no longer targeting a particular finish time.  I just wanted to finish, get the damn medal, go home, and go back to sleep.  My splits for the last 11 kilometers were totally unspectacular: 6:44, 7:12, 7:13, 7:05, 7:33, 7:50, 7:27, 7:12, 7:26, 7:10, and 7:15. The last time I struggled this badly during a race was at 2009's Timex Run 21k, which I ran a few hours after a friend's stag party.

I finished the half-marathon in 2:21:38 (Garmin time), with an average pace of 6:42/k.  Very pedestrian even by my recreational standards, given that my last three half-marys were a 2:14 (Century), 2:09 (Unilab), and another 2:14 (Globe). I don't feel bad at all, though.  As a matter fact, as I crossed the finish line, I felt a different kind of contentment. I did get another big, shiny Finisher's Medal.  More importantly though, twice did I come close to giving up on the race, and twice I resisted the temptation.  Instead of logging my first official DNF, Did Not Finish, I ended up registering MY very own version of a DNF: DID NOT FOLD.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Run and Represent

The forum once had a thread that asked runners this simple question: "Why do you run?" There were a lot of brilliant responses, but for me, the one that stood out went like this: "Growing up, I was never the type that could put the ball through the hoop. But with running, I have an opportunity to be called an athlete."

I can fully relate to that statement.  I, too, was never the athletic type.  I always had a thing for basketball, but basketball simply does not have thing for me.  Being a part of a closely-knit group of guys that lived and breathed basketball, I was always (and still am) the one that had to get by on heart and effort.  Because of running, however, I have the chance to accomplish athletic feats that I never would have thought I'd be capable of accomplishing - such as representing the country in an international sporting event.

Yes, you read that right.  On 5 December 2010, I will be representing the Philippines in an international running event.  I have successfully registered for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2010, and I will run the full marathon with the Philippine flag proudly emblazoned on my singlet.  I did not earn the right to wear the Three Stars and the Sun by passing some try-out, or by hurdling some qualifying tournament, or by being selected by some governing body.  I earned that right simply because I claim it, because I am a Filipino runner, and because running continues to present me with opportunities such as this. 

I hope to do the flag justice by finishing the race and running my heart out in Singapore - simply because that's what an athlete is supposed to do.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Preview: adidas Supernova Sequence 2

It's good to be back in Manila. I've quickly settled in and I've hardly had to deal with any jet lag. After all, I was away for only a couple of days short of three weeks.

Before I left for the US, my "brad" and Sports Marketing head for adidas Philippines, JM Pilares, gave me a little "going-away gift" - a brand-new pair of the adidas Supernova Sequence 2. The Supernova Sequence is classified as stability running shoes, ideal for overpronators like me. explains that "the Supernova Sequence 2 has adaptive ForMotion for soft, smooth touchdowns, a new heel, lightweight forefoot and GeoFit for step-in comfort."  It weighs 354 g, and has the following features:

  • FORMOTION™ adapts to the ground to ensure the smoothest, most comfortable run possible
  • Synthetic upper for durability; MicroSuede for smooth forefoot fit and support for the natural flex zones of the foot; LightStrike 55 lasting for added comfort and stability
  • Dual-layer adiLite/respoEVA sockliner for great step-in and motion comfort; adiPRENE®+ in the forefoot maintains propulsion and efficiency; TORSION® SYSTEM for midfoot integrity
  • GEOFIT™ construction for anatomical fit and comfort; pro-moderator medial support device prevents overpronation
  • adiWEAR® outsole offers the ultimate in high-wear durability; Blown rubber outsole for lightweight grip and cushion
  • miCoach compatible
These fancy features look fine on paper.  And the shoes, as you can see below, look awesome.  Will they fare as well on the road?

It's time to get down to business and take these babies out for a test drive.  It has been a while since I've gone running in full-weight stability running shoes. 

Shoe review coming soon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thank you, Milwaukee!

My last night here.  Hopping on a plane in a few hours.

It has been a blast.  Sleep tight, Milwaukee.  Many thanks for sharing your streets.  When I see you again in November, you'll be all decked in white!

Manila, here I come!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Blogging in Vegas

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in the US and I'm at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, waiting for my connecting flight back to Milwaukee.   I have a couple of hours to kill, a laptop that's fully charged, and free Wi-Fi internet connection.  Might as well jot down a few thoughts on the weekend that was.

I had an awesome weekend with my brother and his family in Sacramento, California.  It was my nephew's thirteenth birthday, so the timing of my visit was perfect.  It was definitely great to be with my brother and his wonderful family once again (the last time I visited them was Christmas 2008), and we spent the weekend just catching up, goofing around, and having fun.  We don't get to do this often because we see each other only every other year, so it was something that I was definitely looking forward to. 

The weather in Sac Town was absolutely perfect for running, but I didn't even attempt a run.  I only had less than two full days to spend with family, and I did not want to take a single minute away from that by heading out for a run.  It would have been a great run, though, because my brother's neighborhood is just perfect for running.  But then again, this is one of those moments when running (or anything else for that matter) just had to take a backseat to the more important things in life.  

The next two days will be my last here in the US, and I'll be flying back to Manila on Wednesday.  I'll go out for one last run in downtown Milwaukee tomorrow night, and after that, it's goodbye, Wisconsin! I'm just excited that I'm almost on my way home.  I can almost smell the sweet and polluted Manila air!