Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Ran Like A Rock Star!

Had a great 23 hours in CamSur (flew in Saturday 3 pm, flew out Sunday 2 pm) over the weekend. Now I can say that provincial races  - if properly organized - are MUCH better than races in snobbish Metro Manila. The scenery is picturesque, the air is pristine, no motorists that get furious over road closures, and awesome crowds that line the route. 

Ah yes, the CamSur crowd.  I have been racing for over a year now, and not until last weekend have I ran before spectators that were as warm, friendly, and hospitable as the people who lined the CamSur route. They smiled, cheered, clapped, waved, and greeted runners with a warm "Good Morning!" They manned the hydration and aid stations with the zeal and zest of true volunteers, and gave all passing runners a lot more than an energy boost or an adrenaline rush. They waved flags, carried hand-made signs, gave words of encouragement, reached out to give low-fives, and made even an average runner like me feel like a frigging rock star. If only to experience all of these, every runner ought to have a CamSur race in his bucket list. My only regret from the weekend is that I did not have a camera with me during the run to take pictures of all the friendly faces that lined most of the 42-kilometer route. 

As mentioned in my post-race mobile post, I finished the CamSur marathon in 5:18. Still way off my sub-5 goal, but it's totally fine - no skin off my back at all. Sub-5 marathon or not, this first-time CamSur visitor had a grand time running through the fields and the friendly villages. Special thanks to Marian, a fellow 6:1 Galloway marathoner who paced with me throughout the run, and who will in all likelihood nail that sub-5 before I do.

Here are some souvenir pics from my wonderful 23 hours in CamSur. Cebu, can you top this in 2011? I'm going to find out for myself.

Laying out the red carpet - band and dancers at the runway to welcome runners.

The mandatory "self-portrait" - in the shuttle to the hotel
Runners are welcome at the Avenue Plaza Hotel 

Gear up!

Carbo-loading at Grissini's with pizza and pasta, plus some beef carpaccio for protein

Never go to bed without chamomile tea and chocolate sans rival

A few meters to the finish line

Marathon No. 3 - Done!!!

With Bam, my ever-supportive wife

Post-race Pinoy brunch at Red Platter -
inihaw na liempo, inihaw na pusit, sinigang na salmon belly, and steamed white rice 
Thank you, CamSur! You deserve a medal, too!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

CamSur, Done!

I finished the CamSur Marathon in 5:18 (Garmin / chip time). Still no sub-5 for me, but a new PR nevertheless (by the skin of my teeth!). Still, I am very satisfied because I still made very good progress in a number of ways.

Details to follow in a full-length post. For now, I will enjoy a post-race meal with wifey. Have to be in the airport in an hour!

Congratulations to all finishers!

Sent via BlackBerry

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another Shot

At the airport right now, waiting for our flight to Naga, venue of my third shot at a sub-5 marathon. I did a 5:42 back in February (Condura) and then a 5:19 last July (Milo). I thought I had a legit shot at a sub-5 at Milo, but my chances were dashed by the amazing shortage of water or any form of hydration during the last eight kilometers. Frustrating indeed, but hey, that's part of the challenge. If anything, Milo inspired me to work harder towards improving my time.

And work harder I did. My tight schedule notwithstanding, I've done the best I can to build up my base mileage and squeeze in long runs. There are still so many other things that I could have done, but under the circumstances, I think I did a decent job of giving myself another legitimate shot at further bringing my time down. If I nail the sub-5 on Sunday, I can set my sights at a 4:50 or even a 4:45 in Singapore in December.

Godspeed and best of luck to all CamSur participants on Sunday. May our feet be swift and our lungs strong, and may we all reach the finish line safely.

Sent via BlackBerry

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Finding Out

I finally received an invite to the (in)famous Bataan Death March 102 KM Ultramarathon Race, more popularly known as BDM 102, on 5-6 March 2011.  BDM 102 is definitely one of the most gruelling races this side of the running world, perhaps second only to the soon-to-be-staged BDM 151. As with other ultra runs, this race will separate the men from the boys.  Let the cream rise to the top, they say.

As of this writing, I have yet to do even a single run spanning an ultra distance. A couple of ultra runs were held in the past couple of months under the auspices of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) (i.e., Tanay, P2P 65K), and a couple more are scheduled for the coming months (i.e., Pinatubo 50K Trail, Tagaytay to Nasugbu 50K). So many chances for me to finally experience my first ultra, but work has always kept me, and will continue to keep me, from finally graduating to ultra runs. And so, my longest runs to date have only been the two full marathons that I completed earlier this year. 

For the more seasoned runners, my marathon finish times could be considered pedestrian at best - a 5:42 at Condura and a 5:19 at Milo. While stronger runners gun for sub-4 marathons, I am aiming for a very modest sub-5 (I still get two shots this year at CamSur and Singapore) --- while using the Galloway run-walk method.

My average weekly mileage ranges from about 50 to 60 kilometers only, and this already includes my weekend LSDs that typically span 20 to 32 kilometers only.  

As of this writing, my base mileage stands at only 1,878.36 kilometers, accumulated over an observed period of approximately 14 months.

After I finish long runs that go for 30 kilometers or longer, my legs still hurt like a bitch and I spend the next day walking with a slight limp. 

An average recreational runner applying for and getting invited to BDM 102. That, my friends, was the easy part. But showing up at the BDM 102 starting line, and then actually running and finishing BDM 102 within 18 hours? Now that's an entirely different story. There is a logical reason why only a very select few ever get to complete even just a single ultramarathon.

Given all these, what in the world was I thinking when I applied for a shot at experiencing - suffering - BDM 102? Do I honestly think I have even an ounce of what it takes to actually finish, or better yet, survive, a 102 kilometer run under the blistering inferno that is the scorching summer sun? Am I a fool for even entertaining the idea that I can actually pull it off?

There's only one way to find out. I did get invited by the good General, didn't I?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Not Enough Time

Work has been a total bitch.

It has been awfully quiet here for over a full month already. Life is a Highway turned one on August 31, and not even a whimper was heard. Ah yes, work has been a bitch.  Really fun, but what a bitch.

I have been running very diligently, though. Not too many long runs, but I have been racking up the miles, nevertheless.  Working and running.  The story of my life.

CamSur Full is just a few days away - a week, to be exact. I'll do one last long run tomorrow - possibly 32k - and then it'll be taper time.  And then maybe, just maybe, I'll have some time to come up with a decent post.  Work = bitch.

Off to bed now.  Wait, have I already told you that work has been a bitch?