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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!  🙂

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, many people will say YES to this question.  And according to running gurus and elite runners, it can make or break your running career.  Some say correct running form will help you run faster, others say it will help prevent injuries and still some others say it will prolong your running career.  I’ve read some commentaries that say amen to all of the above.



While there are still those who are skeptical and dismiss the hype on midfoot running as just a fad, I have decided to peruse reports and magazine articles.  I think I need all the help I can get being a rather newbie in this sport I have come to love.

There are of course running clinics and workshops you can attend for free.  But for those whose schedules don’t allow them to take advantage of these opportunities like me, we can always read and/or check with the experienced runners we know for tips.

I have also discovered that a lot of blog posts are dedicated to helping spread the word on the “correct” running form.

Following is an excerpt of an article from Running Times (which also includes some links I’m still checking out as of this writing):

Run Naturally

Here are several basic tenets of natural running form espoused by various technique gurus:

  •   A key to natural running form is high cadence with short strides, regardless of pace.
  •   Regardless of your running pace, run with a fast cadence of 180 to 190 steps per minute or higher.
  •   Instead of rolling through a stride and pushing off, lift your leg to begin a stride.
  •   Run with an upright posture and a slight forward lean.
  •   Strike the ground below your hips and not in front of them to reduce braking. (Wearing lightweight, low-to-the-ground shoes with minimal midsole cushioning helps reinforce this stride.)
  •   Strike the ground at the midfoot, not the heel or the toes — the actual impact area will vary based on body type — and allow your heel to naturally settle to the ground.
  •   When starting a new stride, develop the habit of picking up your leg instead of pushing off the ground.
  •   Use a compact and fluid arm swing, keeping your elbows bent at an acute angle and your hands close to your chest.
  •   Keep your head upright and steady and your eyes looking forward.
  •   Be “present in the moment” to allow yourself to concentrate on your stride but stay relaxed and don’t overanalyze. The more you adhere to good form, the quicker it will become second nature.
  •    Consider getting custom insoles to further your gait enhancement.
  •   Land at the midfoot and allow the heel to settle to the ground.

For those who haven’t discovered the Running Tips portion of Runner’s World where you can read all about running form, click here.

I’m sure you will agree that in everything we do, it pays to be educated.  Happy running!

I had been doing yoga with some friends for several months until our teacher got pregnant so we had to stop the lessons for the time being.  I’m not even sure now if that’s the reason but thanks to good friend Sumie, I’ve now been introduced to the world of Pilates.  Stott Pilates to be exact.  Sumie enrolled for a class and then for her practical training, she is teaching me and a few other friends starting from the very basic.

I’ve tried some pilates at the gym before and I really liked it but because Sumie gives a more personalized class, she teaches the basic principles and then guides us in our breathing and every move as we progress and try other moves.

Light moment before the session with Reina and Mark

Sharing a light moment before the session with Reina and Mark

So what is Stott Pilates?  According to its website, it is a contemporary approach to the original method pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates and includes modern principles of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation, making it one of the safest and effective methods available.  It’s used by rehab and prenatal clients, athletes, celebrities and everyone in between.

The benefits range from improving postural problems and having longer and leaner muscles to preventing injury and balancing strength and flexibility.

Sumie teaches the pelvic placement.

Sumie teaches about the pelvic placement.

On the first day, I learned about the 5 basic principles which focused on:

  • breathing
  • pelvic placement
  • rib cage placement
  • scapular movement, and
  • head and cervical spine placement

And on the second session yesterday, teacher Sumie noticed that my body looked more relaxed particularly my shoulders during and after doing some movements.  I also found last night’s session more challenging.  We are all excited to come back for more!

Group picture after an hour and a half of Stott Pilates

Group picture after an hour and a half of Stott Pilates

I plan to continue (for as long as Sumie will allow me) doing Pilates and I’ll try to share some points in this blog hoping to encourage other runners (and of course even non-runners) to at least give it a try.

When I decided to train for the full marathon early this year, I wasn’t sure if there would be a full marathon event by the time I would have completed my training.  One friend called me nuts to do it since it was to him like reviewing for an exam only there was really no test to study for.

It was January and part of my to-do list for the year (I don’t remember the others… :-)) is to complete a full marathon.  Late last year, I even asked my friends to join me and join the 2009 Honolulu Marathon in December.  I thought if I had Honolulu in mind, I would be really motivated to train for the 42.195 km race.  Little did I know that only six months after making the list, I would have been able to accomplish that goal.  And more. 

So far, I have finished two full marathons and maybe I’ll do one or two more before the year ends.  I may not be able to take time off and go all the way to Hawaii this year but it will be one of my future marathon destinations.  Two years ago, good friend Reina was telling me about her Japanese friend who would go to different places to travel and join a marathon race.  It sounded very exciting at that time but I didn’t have any idea that I would be that excited, so much so that I’m contemplating on doing the same!

Condura 21k March 22

Condura 21k March 22

But that’s for the future (the near future I hope).  Back to January of this year and the start of my training.  The only full marathon (re)scheduled at that time was the Philippine Marathon in March, which unfortunately in the end had to be put off.  So I continued to join 10, 15 and 21k races before my first 42k.

L-R, Happy Run 15k Jan. 25, Airspeed 10k April 5, Greenfield City April 19 (Photos from

L-R, Happy Run 15k Jan. 25, Airspeed 10k April 5, Greenfield City 21k April 19 (Photos from

Using the Smart Coach of Runner’s World, I tried to wake up earlier at 5 am (sometimes 4:30) to be able to do the strength and speed trainings, tempo runs and the long runs before going to work day in, day out. 

Then came the May 10 Botak marathon which has been both controversial and memorable, depending on whom you talk to.  Well, it was both for me.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  But for me, it’s just the beginning.  Next stop was the Milo Manila eliminations on July 5.

Having finished both gave me more than what I bargained for really.  Now I have the following races to think about.  I’m sure I will be joining the full on the first one but still have to think if I’ll run half or the other events at the succeeding ones:

Now why did they all have to bunch up in the last quarter of the year? Drum and Run blogger Caloy says that’s what competition is all about.  Probably.  Whatever the reason, it sure gives me a headache trying not to miss any of these high caliber races despite my heavy work load.  Then there’s also the Singapore Marathon on December 6.  Argh!!!

If only I could join all of them…

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  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…

Thanks to Bald Runner Sir Jovie, I am now starting to write a log of my past runs.

After reading his 1,000-km Club, I have been encouraged to gather notes and web pages for the runs I have joined and my first recordings of the half-marathon training I got from a magazine before the end of 2007.

Get set

Reading my notes on that magazine page really brings back a lot of memories.  I can still remember how hard that first 6.5 km was for me at that time.  I had been running before that but because I was able to follow a training plan only since then, I decided to take it from there.  It was a 12 week half-marathon plan and on my long run every Sunday, I would start joining 5K and 10K races starting with the one in Subic.  Ah, that first 10K run!

I will then check out web sites with the race schedules and results to track my mileage and time if results are available to complement my notes. 

It would be nice to receive a “1,000-km Club” T-shirt but even if I don’t get the T-shirt reward, I will be happy just to look back at my humble beginnings, then put things in perspective and go on with my running plan for this year.

Running at 6:00 pace, I zeroed in on a mid-distance run after the now controversial Botak marathon last May 10th.  At the beginning of my first run since that road race, I was still thinking that I could have done better, would have finished sooner, and should have prepared earlier.

I strongly felt that I could definitely improve a lot!  But then thirty minutes into my run, I started feeling better, not only in my legs but also in my head.  Most of the anxieties, regrets and other not-so-positive things about my last race seemed to have disappeared and I really just started feeling better.

I began thinking about this run, the “right now” and how much I am enjoying it.  I thought I should be more thankful that I finished the marathon without an injury and still be able to enjoy the sport that I have fallen madly in love with.

After the run, I felt that I had a clearer mind, ready for work, ready to go back to training and ready to conquer greater heights, so to speak.

Boy, do I love running!

The Dream

When I started joining those fun runs regularly in January of last year, I never thought that I would be able to run a full marathon (42.195 km) because I thought, well I was 34 years old and it would be too late to start training for it. I didn’t want to think that I was too old but I still hoped I would be the first one in my family (both mom and dad sides) to be able to do so.My running buddy...
After joining one 5K and/or one 10K race each month, two 15K races and three 21K half marathons for about a year, I decided earlier this year that I would like to try running my first ever full marathon race in the first one in the Philippines for 2009. So I decided to go online and look for an ambitious but quite achievable 16 week training program which included speed training, easy and tempo runs on a weekday and a long run every Sunday. Plus I decided to incorporate my legs and core strength training I had been doing when I trained for the half marathon. This I had to do regularly without fail on top of a busy schedule that started almost at the same time, working full time as a journalist for the Manila bureau of a Japanese newspaper and teaching Nihongo on the side. And oh yeah, studying Mandarin and Spanish on Saturdays. And tennis on some weekends, too.

Many of my friends were very supportive all the way but there were those of course who had their reservations whether it was a good decision to go for it. Which pushed me even harder. Two months into my training, I found out that Botak started sending out information on the marathon which I thought was a good sign, knowing that one marathon scheduled for March got canceled. I was even more excited to train. When weather was great, I would run at the Rizal Memorial track oval and when it would be too hot or raining, I would go back to the always dependable treadmill at Fitness First, where I also did my strength training.

The following month, with my other friends who either had started running regularly with me or those who just picked up the sport decided to register with me for the May 10 run. Three of them signed up for 5K, two more for 10K and one wanted to go for his fourth half marathon run. Since I was 3 months into my training, I casually paid the registration fee for 42K smiling at the thought that my name would be printed on my race singlet and would be receiving a medal IF I finish the race.

I was back to training and around that time, I stopped playing tennis for the meantime and concentrated on my marathon training in between attending press cons and conducting interviews for our articles.

August 2020

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