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With just exactly two weeks before the Milo Manila eliminations, I woke up early this morning with two goals in mind:  first, a nice, long run (maybe half marathon distance) and, second, to sign up for the biggest marathon event of the country.

As I stepped out of the house and made my way to the Rizal Memorial Stadium track oval, I was so happy to see  the fair weather on a Sunday again after the Mizuno run.  My friends tell me I’m overly sentimental but this morning, I really felt that I should be more thankful about the little things that I sometimes tend to overlook.  I guess I should stop and smell the flowers more often.

The oval was reported earlier this year to be demolished and transformed to a football field by the end of the year.  For now, it's home to me.

There were reports earlier this year that the oval would be transformed into a football field by the end of the year. For now, it's home to me.

I should pay more attention to and be thankful for the things that make our lives, my life, better.  Like the weather.  Or the chance to run in the stadium where our national athletes also train.  Or just to be healthy and be able to run. 

As I started running, I also started to hear the birds chirping and smell the grass as the sun dried up the dew that had been kissing it since early morning.  I thought it was really nice to run with the wind slightly blowing my face, cooling the perspiration my body had been producing after running more laps.

I was running along for most of the two or so hours.  I felt like I rented the whole oval for just 35 pesos.  :-)

I was running alone for most of the two hours or so. I felt like I rented the whole oval for just 35 pesos. 🙂

Over a period of about two hours, I had a nice, relaxed run of 53 laps around the oval.  This is one more thing I like about running.  I can relax and enjoy the run and the view, and at the same time concentrate and focus on my target mileage and still be able to count the number of laps I make.  🙂

21.2 km done.  One down, one to go.

I was encouraged even more to make the National finals by a question from a friend on whether I really think my race number is lucky.

I was encouraged even more to make the National finals by a question from a friend on whether I really think my race number is lucky.

It will be my first Milo full marathon so I was very excited and very eager to register for me, my sisters and friends.  Last year, we almost didn’t make it as we weren’t paying enough attention to the approaching deadline.  This year, I didn’t want to have the same problem, so together with friends Reina and Mark, we headed for the RACE office in Greenhills and filled out forms, checked if we had enough Milo packets, and chose our singlet sizes.  And boy, am I relieved to get it done and over with!  Whew!  No more bad dreams about not making the deadline again this year.

Two out of two.  What a great way to start my Sunday!  🙂

Thanks to a post by the Bald Runner, I got introduced to this marathon training that was first posted about 8 years ago on runnersworld.com.  Well, it’s not that the training involved is totally foreign to me because for my speed training, I do two laps around the track oval (800 meters in total, or sometimes four laps = 1,600 m, or just do the treadmill settings) as fast as I can then follow it up with a jog in between those fast laps.

What I didn’t know is that the average speed it takes you to run ten rounds of 800 m run in minutes, say 3 minutes and 45 seconds, would be your predicted marathon time in hours, 3 hours and 45 minutes!  Magic?  No, that’s Yasso 800s, named after the person behind it, Bart Yasso.

Bart Yasso has run on all seven continents and completed more than 1,000 races.  Yet the things he recalls the most are the people he meets.  Pretty cool guy, right?  He’s been a source of both inspiration and information for runners around the world.  I think he deserves a Nobel Prize!

Yasso suggests that you should start a couple of months before marathon day by doing four 800s first, then six, then eventually ten peaking 10 to 17 days before race day.

So all this reading about Bart Yasso really psyched me up and there was no other choice but to give Yasso 800s a try!  So one early morning at the Rizal Memorial Stadium track oval, there I was.  I ran one lap for my warm up then two laps for the 800 m run.  I really love running on that surface.  My first 800 was 3 minutes and 45 seconds then I jogged and did another set of 800 m run.  The second one was a little faster at 3:40, then 3:36.  The fastest 800 I did that day was at 3:30. 

So here’s the average of my ten 800 meter runs: 3 minutes and 35.4 seconds.  Converted to hours, my predicted marathon time will be 3 hours 35 minutes and 24 seconds!  Wow, that’s an amazing time, I thought.  Well, that will qualify me easily for the Milo National Finals.  But you know what they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so there’s no time to relax.  I am hanging up my tennis racket for now to concentrate on the July 5 marathon.

Milo marathon Manila eliminations, here I come!  Oh, I have to register first…

Compared to other races, I especially liked the run yesterday in so many ways:

(1) As to be expected from a race organized by Rudy Biscocho’s team, Infinity Run 2009 was a very good event looking at the road markers, marshals, water AND gatorade stations (only minus is the sudden change in route although it was mentioned before the start of the race so that’s ok);

(2) Weather was perfect!  Gone was the rain that kept many runners, including me, away from the road and just be happy with running on the treadmill in preparation for the run;

Having fun with friends and the giant shoe after the race

Having fun with friends and the giant shoe after the race

(3) Although I was one minute and eleven seconds away from a 15k PR, I was happy with 1:15:22 (click here for the official results);

(4) It was nice to be a part of iamninoy Runners in their desire to address the deterioration of the education system in the Philippines (I also lenjoyed running in my iamninoy jersey!); and

(5) Yesterday was the first time that my two sisters joined a race after having been encouraged-slash-pestered for over a year now, I mean that in itself I will consider a personal victory!!

With sisters Agnes and Aida minutes after their first 5k run!

With sisters Agnes and Aida minutes after their first 5k run!

It was also interesting to find out about Infinity Run Race Day 1.10.10, how Mizuno and the people behind the race thought of encouraging the running community to push the envelope and “never settle!”  I will see to it that I beat my trial time and set a new PR come 01.10.10!

Congratulations again to the race organizers and to all the runners, espcecially to Ate Aida and Ate Agnes!  Let’s not celebrate too long though and start training for the next race!

With UNICEF Communication Specialist Marge Francia

With UNICEF Communication Specialist Marge Francia

One of the things I like about joining races is sometimes, in my own little way, I can be a part of a worthy cause.  Like the Microsoft IE 8 Run, held on May 31 at the Fort.  It was held on the same day as the Earth Run so some of my friends weren’t quite sure which one to join.  Both causes are great but I chose the former as proceeds of the IE 8 Run would go to the Child Protection Program of the UNICEF.  The affair is part of the ten-day awareness campaign on child pornography.

With good friend Grace, the only one who dared to join the race with me on a rainy weekend

With good friend Grace, the only one who dared to join the race with me on a rainy weekend

Some runners, including four of my friends, did not show up due to the inclement weather.  I had a hunch that the rain would let up and it did!  I was enjoying running in the drizzle and when it completely stopped, it was a nice, cool run. 

I was just a little disappointed with the race organizers because I only saw one road marker (at the turn-around point) and the course was actually longer than the one on the map they distributed with the race pack (the map showed a U-turn at or near the post office but the ACTUAL turn around was at the railroad crossing near the super highway!)

The map.  This was where we turned around...

The map. This was where we turned around...

 I didn’t have enough training leading up to the 8 mile (12.8 K) run so I was happy with my 1:06:45 finish (click here for the official results).  There were no certificates nor freebies but to have been able to be part of something significant is worth more than anything!  So kudos to Microsoft and let’s support the Anti Child Pornography Bill!

UNICEF Child Protection Chief Natalie McCauley rallying the finishers to ask their congressmen to support the Anti-Child Pornography Bill

UNICEF Child Protection Chief Natalie McCauley rallying the finishers to ask their congressmen to support the Anti Child Pornography Bill

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