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Well, if you’re planning to join this March, you should be training by now. Or have a game plan in mind at least.

When I signed up for my first full marathon in May of this year, never did I imagine that I would be entertaining the thought of joining an ultramarathon.  And then I chanced upon an ultra runner’s blog and was “cautioned:”  Don’t let the ultra bug bite you.

Fast forward to December 2009 and then I actually did it.  Signed up as hopeful number 122 on the BDM 102km site.  Well, just in case I do make it to the final list, I’ve started the following training plan I came across on an ultra running site:

100km Training Programme

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Rest 15km, including 4 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 90-minute run 3-hour run (or about 30km)
2 Rest 15km, including 4 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 90-minute run 3 hour run
3 Rest 15km, including 2 x 3km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 90-minute run 3 hour run
4 Rest 12km, including 3 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 10km, middle 3km at marathon pace Rest 90-minute run 2 hour run
5 Rest 15km, including 6 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 4 hour run(or about 35km) 3 hour run
6 Rest 15km, including 6 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 4 hour run(or about 35km) 3 hour run
7 Rest 15km, including 6 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 4 hour run(or about 35km) 3 hour run, last hour at marathon pace
8 Rest 15km, including 3 x 3km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 2 hour run 2.5 hour run
9 Rest 15km, including 6 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 4 hour run(or about 35km) 3 hour run, last hour at marathon pace
10 Rest 15km, including 6 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 4 hour run(or about 35km) 3.5 hour run, last hour at marathon pace
11 Rest 15km, including 3 x 3km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 2.5 hour run 3 hour run
12 Rest 15km, including 6 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 4 hour run 5 hour run (or about 45km)
13 Rest 15km, including 6 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 4 hour run 5 hour run
14 Rest 15km, including 4 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 15km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 2 hour run 2 hour run
15 Rest 12km, including 3 x 1.5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog 12km, middle 5km at marathon pace Rest 1.5 hour run Easy 1 hour jog
16 Rest 10km, including 5km at half-marathon pace Easy 8km jog Easy 5km jog Rest   RACE  

 

One more exciting event to look forward to is the test run simulating the final 52 km of the race.  It would be interesting to see how traffic, fatigue and all the elements of the actual race at about the same time would affect the last half of the run.

Doug Rennie writes in Runner’s World:  You don’t have to be crazy to run an ultramarathon.  You just have to be ready.

Hope to see you in Bataan!  🙂

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Starting this week, I’ve been following this training program I found online for 100 km ultra which I think would prepare me for the BDM 102 km run in March.  Looking at the schedule, the glaring difference from the usual one I would use for a 42 km marathon training is that for the ultra, there are two consecutive, long runs–usually a 4 hour run (about 35 km) on a Saturday and a 3 hour run (about 30 km) on a Sunday.

So I did the calculations:  if I run at an average pace of 6:30 min per km, I would be able to complete the 35 km in less than four hours.  Easier said than done I know but knowing that my average pace was 5:20 minpkm in my last full, I was expecting a nice run.  I even brought along a camera for the first time.  I would follow the kilometer markers along the national highway and when I hit 17 or 18k somewhere near Greenfield City, I would turn around and run home.  At least that was the plan.

Sunrise from outside where I live in Sta. Rosa, a little past six

I started  a little past 6 am just as the sun was rising as it would be my first time to run along that highway.  I didn’t want to run in the dark and be in danger of being hit by the speeding jeepneys.  The weather was glorious with a bit of chill in the air.  It was after all a day after Christmas so I would say temperature was around low to mid 20’s when I started.

Nice day, nice runA few kilometers after running across the SLEX and along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road, I was impressed with the newly and evenly asphalted road and the space at the shoulder where runners can run safely.  I was running on the left side of the road so the only danger was when a speeding vehicle would overtake from behind me, which rarely happened.  I would stop running to take pictures and quickly buy drinks along the way but other than that, there were no more breaks.

Should I turn around or go straight to Tagaytay? It was a no-brainer.

I was at km 18 when I saw the road marker at the other side of the road, a countdown from Tagaytay.  It said 19 km to go.  I took a photo and thought for a while.  What if I just continue running towards Tagaytay and just take the jeepney on the way back?  Or, since the route was mostly uphill, just go as far as I could and run downhill from there?

The beauty of running alone is that only you make the decision and there is no room for debate should other people’s opinions not agree with yours.  Of course, you alone would have to suffer the consequences, too, if the decision you make doesn’t yield positive results.  But it was the day after Christmas and I was feeling good.  Worse comes to worst, a jeepney will take me back home.

The sun was up but since the air was still a bit cool, I didn't have any problem--nothing that I couldn't handle at least

So I went ahead with my run taking only breaks when I needed to buy sports drink or water from the stores along the road and to take photos.  I was hoping that my fresh-from-gorging-holiday-food body would be able to take me all the way to one of the highest points of the city and my finish line–Tagaytay Junction.

The smiles of the locals and the exhilarating view definitely kept me entertained and in high spirits all the way.  The cars coming from Tagaytay were all nice to give me space to run on the road but when I thought it was getting crowded, I would run on the grass or dirt road.  It was just a perfect, nice run I thought.

And the best part is, there are no buts.  After two gel shots, one granola bar, one gatorade, one bottle of tropicana and coke (there was no bottled water at a certain part of Tagaytay, all sold out I was told on Christmas day), I finally was at the famous viewing deck to see the Taal volcano and lake in all its glory.  Around three more kilometers and I would reach the junction.  Ah, downhill finally!

Time:  4 hrs 15 mins; distance covered:  at least 35 km

Bird house store

I have officially run from Sta. Rosa to Tagaytay!

Fresh fruits never fail to attract visitors and locals alike

With all the scenery, nice people, and the spontaneity of the run, I would say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

Taken at the viewing deck of the Tagaytay Econo Hotel

Finish line--the Tagaytay Junction

 After my second breakfast, I decided to walk back for three more kilometers and then took the jeepney back to Sta. Rosa–full and happy and with a great experience I can’t wait to tell all my friends!  🙂

Breakfast after SLR! 🙂

I dropped in the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Immaculate Heart Convent on my way back and said a little prayer for being able to enjoy the run.

One for the road--I have discovered that it is just a long run away 🙂

Well, if Mayweather can come out of retirement to challenge Pacquiao, I think I can run another half marathon after my supposedly last one at the last week of November. I didn’t originally intend to join and I wasn’t even paying attention to the extended registration after the run had been postponed for a later date. But three days before race day, Junrox sent a message asking me if I would join the said race. Then, what was planned to be a week of mostly tennis for me (I had already played three straight days at Makati Sports and was planning to do a long run at Camp Vicente Lim on Sunday and then another game of tennis), I couldn’t resist the tempation.

With my mixed doubles partner Jen

Lack of sleep + Not enough mileage ≠ PR
 
 

 

Well it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that statement of inequality but I was just hoping for a decent time at least.  Although at the back of my head, I knew not getting enough shuteye and being somewhat lackadaisical in putting in those needed kilometers prior to a half-marathon race would kick me in the face in the end.

It didn’t help either that I had nasal congestion a couple of days before Sunday and that the season for Christmas get togethers made it even more difficult to follow my usual traning regimen.  In spite of all that, I still went to Glorietta and signed up 4 hours before the registration closed.  In local parlance, Bahala na si Batman!

Tigerboy and El Kyoshi

After leaving my bag at the counter (which later on would be full of mud because of the rain), I went near the starting line and one by one, the familiar faces of the local running scene appeared, those who know me gave me a smile, some short talk and the others well-wishes for a nice run.

It was our third half marathon together for the year and since both of us lacked the training, we were quite realistic not to hope for a record breaking run.  I was thinking more in the line of doing a combination of speed training, tempo run and long run all in one day during the race 🙂

The Curse of McKinley Hill

I was doing my pre-race stretching after a quick warm-up when I heard from the runners that the original route had been changed and McKinley Hill would now be part of the run!  It made me imagine Macaulay Culkin screaming with his mouth and eyes wide open after patting aftershave onto his face!!!  That was probably my reaction, the not-so-fond memories, albeit full of lessons, the New Balance Run left in my head.   I know I should have started doing hill training after that but some things I really have to learn the hard way.

Perfect weather for running

A soft drizzle greeted the runners going into the now famous Buendia-Kalayaan flyover.  We were running a little under the 5 minperkm pace at that time up until about the first half of the run.  The lack of training definitely was starting to show as we hit km 12 but the weather was still encouraging. 

My “mini-wall” came as I made my way towards the Heritage Park.  Some runners were starting to overtake me.  And then, the shocker I was fearing!  No more going past Heritage Park near C-5.  A surprise early turn-around greeted us just after negotiating the uphilll portion of Bayani Road.  I knew then that before the end of the race, McKinley Hill would again torment us runners.

It’s a Beautiful Life

That’s what the McKinley Hill website says.  So despite the challenges the residential, commercial and educational community offered, I faced them all–downhills, uphills, curves, including the absence of marshals, and a headache in the middle of the race–and kept running.  And running.  And soon enough, I saw a rainbow after the storm.  Quite literally, there was this glorious refraction of sun’s rays just after that very exhausting leg.  And my figurative rainbow is that  there was only 2 kilometers (based on Junrox’s Garmin) and 3 kilometers (if you were reading those kilometer markers) left.

Life is indeed beautiful.  What if there weren’t enough marshals to guide the runners?  Or adding to the route THE Hill and an extra 1.2 km for good measure?  I should be more thankful for being healthy and able to enjoy the MANY benefits of running. 

I was surprised I still had the energy to do a fast final kilometer and overtake one runner before crossing the finish line.   A little bit disappointed at first to see 1:52 at the clock but when Junrox and the other runners confirmed the extra 1.0+ km, I thought it was an overall OK run.

Kids, don’t try this at home.  Always train before a race.  🙂

I ended up signing up for DEFINITELY my last race of the year:  the Rizal Day Run!  See you there  🙂

With the Bald Runner and the Tigerboy after the race

My 1,000 km Club shirt, yay!

I started running about two years ago hoping to log in 1,000km. Now I'm almost at 3,000km with no signs of stopping anytime soon. (Thanks Junrox for the great shots!)

I have been following the 25th SEA Games with interest especially the athletics.  While there have been disappointments–from the sad story of a female cyclist “urged” to join her male teammates to protest a ruling barring them from competition to the gold medal drought in diving allegedly due to poor judging favoring atheletes from another Southeast Asian country–the triumphs of Eduardo Buenavista and Jho-an Banayag are definitely sight for sore eyes.

Eduardo Buenavista

Jho-an Banayag after the Milo Marathon (from philstar.com)

Buenavista beat defending Men’s Indonesian champion Yahuza by 46 seconds with a time of 2:21:10.  In the distaff side, Banayag unseated another 2007 champion in the person of Sunisa Sailomyen of Thailand with a time of 2:46:34.

While the country will find it hard to duplicate its 2007 41 gold medal finish in the Laoatian capital Vientiane edition of the biennial meet, the Filipino runners certainly stamped their marathon class in dominating the event in the region.

Buenavista’s best time is 2:18:44 when he finished 14th overall in the Beppu Oita marathon in Japan while Banayag holds a 2:44:41 PR.

With proper support and exposure (and hopefully less politicking), I’m sure Filipino athletes, espcially long distance runners, can excel beyond southeast Asia.

Congratulations!

All good things must come to end.
Every end is a new beginning.
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

As I go through some quotes about things coming to an end as we enter the last month of 2009, I can’t help but (once again) feel nostalgic. I will definitely remember this year as I ran my first full marathon.  And then three more.  But more importantly, I’ve met a lot of interesting people through this blog. So when the New Balance Run was moved to the last Sunday of November and so far I haven’t signed up (don’t know if I will) for any race in December, it hit me for the very first time that I was at the homestretch of this busy yet productive year.

Photo grabbed from http://www.baldrunner.com

Junrox back from Japan

I got to the race area at least 30 minutes before start time so when I saw Anton, a former student, we decided to run part of the BHS block for our warm up and then made our way near the start arch where I met now regular race buddy Junrox.   He just came from a business trip in Japan and was lacking mileage prior to race day.  That was according to him.

Catching up with Junrox, reading the markers

For after the “horn,” or whatever start signal it was, was sounded,  Tigerboy didn’t show any sign of  “lack in training.”  I didn’t think I was remiss when it comes to putting in the kilometers regularly but I was chasing him for the first half of the race, sometimes even falling behind as much as 10 meters.

Aid stations were taken care of by the organizers although I felt that instead of bottled waters, cups should have been used to save water.  I particularly liked the road markers with “amusing” lines.  Kilometer 5 marker made me smile with “Running, the original friend with benefits.”  And even as I was trying my best to keep up with Junrox after 8 kilometers of running, I still had time to appreciate “XOXO Running.”  Then when I finally caught up, km 13 read, “Running will meet you anytime” (or something like that).

Turning points

I love those turn around points because they were opportunities to see friends who may have been running ahead or behind you and those points were the only chance for you to cheer or receive cheers from them or just say hi or call out their name as a sign of support. (But what’s with the tight turn around bands???)

I never thought that turning into and entering McKinley Hill would be the X factor of the race for me.  X because I’ve never run “around” it and, as I would learn painfully that morning, the experience from previously running “portions” of the 50 hectare project home to condos, international schools and a couple of embassies provided little help.  I think I should seriously consider doing a hill training now.   Although I saw some runners doing some walk breaks especially in the more hilly parts, I decided not to for fear of not being able to run anymore later.

The final turn

But surprisingly, I was still feeling strong even after that killer leg, and so I went on with the 5minpkm pace heading near the finish.  I did a mental note of the map (a big mistake since a friend later told me that I should have checked the “revised” map!) and accelerated a little thinking that the final turn before the finish was near the NBC tent.  But when I saw that the runners in front of me were directed to the Serendra area, I thought I could not go further anymore!  But somehow I was able to maintain the speed and gain some more as I made the “real” final turn to the finish line.

Accidents and finish lines

Relieved to finish this challenging race. Thanks Jovie-san for the photo!

I later learned from Junrox that the Bald Runner was taking photos near the finish line.  I wish I had seen him and talked to him about how I was in black after reading his post about the horrifying incident in the south.  As I crossed the finish line, I also paid tribute to the victims of the four powerful typhoons that hit the country in a span of about  a month, the first of which caused the postponement of this race.

It was a tough race to say the least but in the end, isn’t that what we need sometimes to push harder, go beyond 100 percent, be the best we want to be?  It reminded me of a line from a recent post by the The Bull Runner:  the tougher the challenge, the more rewarding it feels in the end.

Download race results at the New Balance website.

Good luck to all Pinoy runners in Singapore!!!

And one more final quote from Orson Welles:

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

Thanks SPEX runners for the breakfast! Yes, that's Kitty, Urbanathlon Women's 10K 2nd placer the week before

Photo op with the most famous Afro in the running world!

After the race with students at a group study complete with Christmas decor. Good luck on the test this Sunday!

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