Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Unexpected Stranger

I thought it was another ordinary day having my long run, however it turns out that it was rather different when suddenly I met this unexpected stranger in the middle of the road.

As I continue my training for the Adidas KOTR, I started outside my place straight through Sri Hartamas, distance roughly 12kms. including 2kms. of hilly course near the turnaround point. Do a warm up run for about 14mins. reaching Dataran Merdeka (Similar to Quirino Grandstand in the Philippines where usually races are being held). From that point I begin to pick up my pace at 5:30 / km. reaching Jalan Duta highway.

While heading down to Jalan Ibadah near Masjid(Mosque) Wilayah Persekutuan. I suddenly felt water spraying on my shoulder. It was still dark at that time and thought it might be one of those water sprinklers so I ignore it, but to my surprise the water spraying didn't stop and from little sprays it became big drops of water. Before I knew it the rain poured heavily on me, my unexpected stranger.

At first I ran for cover but without any luck I'm already soaking wet inside out. I don't know If rain is considered a runner's enemy, but I knew exactly how I felt in that moment. It made me feel, a totally free man. It also brings back memories back in Manila where as a kid; whenever it rained we would go out and play. The rain completely washed out everything from sweat to a week's rat race. It was such a great experience.

In reaching the turnaround point (Sri Hartamas) I clocked at 1hr & 7mn., then continued to the small loop around the Gas Station at 5min & 40s. It was still raining when I headed back, returning from Sri Hartamas to Jalan Duta and finally to Bukit Aman. having covered 10kms. with a time of 1hr & 4mn. All in all I approximately covered 22.5Km. with a total time of 2hr & 18mn. as my run ended so as the rain.

For now, I feel good and hoping this will be a blessing in disguise for my race next week. If ever the unexpected stranger comes again, I'll be totally prepared for it.

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” …John Updike.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

ADIDAS King of The Road - In Training

"to be prepared is half the victory" ...Miguel Cervantes

I wake up early today to have my regular weekend run. Had a last minute change of place to run (KLCC or Lake Gardens), finally I ended running in the KLCC area. I just finished doing 5 laps around 6.5km., 5 laps short of my target which was to finish at least 10 laps. I fall short of my target because of last night from drinking sessions with friends which lasted around 3am. If only this run is not important I would have choose to rest. But in a week’s time it’s already the Adidas King of the Road and I’m planning to aim for the qualifying time of 1hr 45 for Half Marathon. Even if it appears too difficult to achieve I’m still confident to set a new PR. Tomorrow is the continuation of my training, I will be running at Bukit Aman - Sri Hartmas Route. Distance is a bit longer roughly 20kms back & forth. I'm sure there will be a lot of runners training for this event too.

View of Petronas where KLCC Park is located

This weeks training:
Sat: 5laps (1.3km) – KLCC Park
5th lap - 7.20mn.
4th lap - 6.52mn.
3rd lap - 7.02mn.
2nd lap - 7.13mn.
1st lap - 7.43mn.

Thu: 9.0km – 1hr.
Wed: 6.8km – 45mn.
Tue: 4.5km – 30mn. W/ strength training

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Maiden Marathon

“The hardest physical thing I’ve ever done” … Lance Armstrong (7th time Tour de France Champion) after conquering his first Marathon at the NYC Marathon 2006.

In The Beginning
It has been one year since I started running here in Kuala Lumpur. I still remember how it started from a little hobby and now a sport, way back in 2003 in the Philippines. At the time, my running mate was Wax who is twice as big as I am. We would jog around Quirino Grandstand for two laps (around 400m.). Exhausted, he would feel the urge to eat and being a true friend that I am, I would tag along to his favorite Tapsilog place. How ironic that after burning a couple of calories from jogging, we would eat right after with possibly even more calories to burn than what we lost. From there, the rest is history.

The Start
“Ito na”(Translated: This is it) these are the words I uttered on the start of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2006 last December. It was still dark, around 5am and slightly cold. I prepared myself, warm up and prayed that my 3 months of training for this event pays off else I will go home? As the clock nears for the flag off I can see people begin to pile up until already a sea of runners. Around 30,000 attended this event from different categories. Our starting point was beside the huge Durian shaped Esplanade. We were the first to run for the Full Marathon Category. I felt a little dizzy from a couple of drinks I had with friends on the eve of the race. I positioned myself at the 5hr mark (those were for the first timers like me finishing for 5 hrs). It’s my 1st time to join a marathon. They say the goal for first timers is to just finish the race. But I have my mind set to finish it by 5:30, 30mins ahead of the qualifying time which is 6hr. A couple of minutes more will be flagged off, the host were prepping us up with the loud U2’s “Beautiful Day” for a background. The Intro lyrics were enough to give me an unexplained adrenalin rush and goose bumps. I was thinking that this was one of the best songs for this kind of event. And before I knew it …5…4…3…2…off we go.

The Beauty of Letting Go
On the road, I run comfortably from 5 to 15KM, just enjoying the scenic view of Singapore. While we’re approaching the U turn in Marina grove, I heard the crowd ahead cheering & shouting as I looked on the Elite Runners leading the pack and already coming back from the opposite direction. They were All Black african Kenyans escorted by the marshals, those runners whose average speed is about 20Km/hr is a spectacular view to have witnessed.

Through Difficulty
I reached East Coast around 23Km. I was already limping from the lactic acid build-up in my legs. I mixed stretching, walking, and running as I was enduring physical and mental pain. I hit the so called “Wall” at 30 Km…another step and I will break my longest run. I snatched a bite of power bar only to throw it up afterwards. Thank God I was already nearing the drinking & energy station. They handed me a power gel instant energy boost to run the final 12K of the race. People in the park who cheered on us and the motivational sign boards helped me to carry on.

As I was nearing Promenade the 40Km mark, I send an SMS to my wife & kids to motivate and keep me going. This time the pain in my legs has doubled. I began to hallucinate like the “beginning of life” and all sort of things. This usually happens at the last 10k of the race.

I got my second wind past the 41Km mark to the cheers of waiting crowd, some even gave high fives. As I turned from Connaught Drive, I gave all what I have left until I crossed the finish line raising my arms in the air. But the worst has yet to come, cramps sets in my butt and I can barely put a foot forward. The medic officials carried me in a wheelchair. I was told that I suffered from a partial dehydration due to loss of sodium (salt in the body). I laid in the stretcher for about 20mins and took a 100 plus to replenish the salt in my body.

For the meantime, I grabbed my camera to have a souvenir shot. To my frustration the camera didn’t work and I have not a single picture to document this entire ordeal. Not even a picture of me lying in that stretcher =).

Thanks to who captured me in a wonderful shot right in the center. (see picture below)

I finished with a time of 5hr & 19mins. Not bad for 1st timer like me. The next SG Marathon will be held on Dec. 2, 2007. This will be my 4th marathon since I start the sport.

The Look of Determination

That’s me Entrant # 7876 for Full Marathon. (Sprinting the last 600 meters to the finish line 42.195).

My event souvenirs hanging in my desk, to remind me of the wonderful experience I had in Singapore.

The Route

Training & Motivation
It took me 3 to 4 months of preparation to build my base for running. During those months I have joined several race, 2nd 10K (Mizuno wave run), 1st ½ Marathon (Putra Jaya Int’l Marathon) and 1st 30K (Pacesetters practice run). I also had my running logs which I got from What motivated was an article about Lance Armstrong’s 1st marathon as well as the quote written on my 12K Cross Country Finisher’s Medal.

The endurance, strength and courage required of this sport had made me a better person. The feeling of achievement, of what could be a minor feat for some, is unexplainable. Now every time I run, I’ll always remember with fondness the struggle to go and break the human barrier. To have finished a marathon, I can proudly say that I am a certified Marathoner.