Category Archives: Race

Now if I can just believe in this myself…

After posting my last post about signing up for a 10k even though lately that actually seems like a big number (Carla circa 2010 is in tears right now), Jen, who ran my last 20 miler training run with me wrote on my Facebook page…

“…I know you can do it! I know because I logged 23 training miles with you and saw you finish the MCM strong, with barely a week of recovery from the brutal inferno that was the Chicago marathon. You, I believe, have the spirit of a warrior and you truly do finish what you set your mind to finish…”

Well, it seems like I need to have faith in myself for a change.  Nowadays, we all know I’m far from having the spirit of a warrior and I have instead the spirit of a wimp.  Maybe I can print out what she wrote on the back of someone’s shirt and make them run just a bit in front of me so I can keep reading it throughout the 10k whenever I feel like giving up?

Tracy also had words of wisdom for me…

“You can do it. It might not be pretty, but you can do it (and however long it takes you, I promise I’ve done worse!).”

It’s funny, because my fear of running a 10k right now it’s not of failing and not crossing the finish line.  Heck, if I had to run a half marathon tomorrow I know I’d cross that finish line (it would just take me a long time to get there, and I might develop a new injury to boot). 

My biggest fear?  Is to get a personal worst.  As it stands, my personal worst was on my very first 10k in 2008– when I had never done more than a 5k, and didn’t properly train for it (blame it on a wonderful vacation for a friends wedding in Greece).  The time?  1:18:42, or a 12:40 pace.  Ugly and miserable, but back then it was a BIG accomplishment, because I never even stopped to walk.

But the weather then wasn’t hot and muggy, and though my training was lacking, my fitness was good – I used to commute by bike to work logging 10.5 miles each way, at least 4 times a week.  Nowadays, I’m far from that. 

But then I stop and think about it and if getting a PW really the worst that it can happen to me, what’s the big deal?  At the end of the day, it’s just numbers.  And if I don’t go for that PW, I’ll never be in shape again to attempt a new PR.

Let’s hope sometime in the next two weeks, I can find that warrior spirit within me again…

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Filed under 10k, Race

And then I signed up for a 10k…

Yes, a year ago signing up for a 10k wouldn’t even make me blink.  I mean, that was even less than my usual short run, right?  Heck, I used to run 20 miles for torture fun!

These days?  A 10k is a big deal.  Specially since my current 10k PR was achieved last November, while running with the flu, and sadly I know there’s no way in hell I can get even close to that time nowadays, specially after achieving a personal worst at the one race I ran in Manila. 

The last time I ran a distance above a 5 miler?  It was during the first weekend of April, at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  And since arriving in Manila, I only ran a distance above a 5k once.

The kicker?  The race is in 2.5 weeks, so not necessarily enough time to get back to a proper mileage either, but if I don’t just go for it, I’ll never go for it, you know?

It all started when I got a call asking if I can be the Embassy liaison for the local Avon race to fight breast cancer…

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Of course, I promptly said yes.

Then, I spoke to Mai Mai (my new running buddy!) and she was in for the 10k as well. 

So I signed up.  Today I even walked to the Avon headquarters and came home with my race packet and posters to put at the Embassy.

I hope I can get a good crowd together, and even though most people are leaning towards the walk now, it’s all for a good cause, regardless how you get there.

Plus, the race shirt is pretty cute…

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Wish me luck.  Let’s hope I’m not the last one to cross the finish line…

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Filed under Manila, Race

One more race bought out by the Rock n Roll series!

And in this case?  It’s a good thing.  A VERY good thing!

I made my feelings pretty clear when I ran the National Half earlier this year:  the whole thing sucked.  From the crappy t-shirt, to the boring race course, to the lack of mile markers, to the medal…

So when my friend Jane sent a message to my running group yesterday that the National Marathon got bought out by the Rock n Roll series, I was sad that I wouldn’t be there to run the inaugural one! 

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I know many people have strong feelings about the Rock n Roll series, as they tend to buy out the local races making them more expensive (in this case, the National Marathon was already a fortune, so there is no price change, it’s actually cheaper right now), but we can all agree in one thing:  they know how to put on a race.  It’s organized.  There’s entertainment.  The medals kick ass!

Here’s hoping that they also change the race course and make it more interesting (I couldn’t find info on the new course).  A longer run around the Mall, maybe even mimicking part of the Cherry Blossom 10 miler route which is SO scenic or the Army Ten Miler route which pass by many of the sights in DC! 

Now who’s signing up for it?  It’s only $60 for the next two days!  Rock n Roll USA –  like many DC races I now miss, I wish I could be there to run it.  (Here’s hoping the weekends don’t coincide with the Shamrock Half, which is another one of my favorites!)  But maybe I’ll be there in 2014?

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Filed under Race

Brooks Run Happy 5k Race Recap

Run HappyThat’s right!  Despite my lack of running since arriving in Manila (one outdoor run, a few treadmill runs does not “running” make), I decided to sign up for the Brooks Run Happy 5k.  For two reasons, really:  the 500P (about 12 dollars) registration would give me a free Brooks tech t-shirt AND a medal.  You guys know how I like medals (didn’t I run the National Half, just so I can get one last medal before leaving DC?).  The tech t-shirt wasn’t even too bad, I like that it’s sleeveless, which I wear a lot more during runs in the heat, but I’m not sure about the VERY BRIGHT color.

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There were different options for this race:  a 15k (9.3 miles), a 10k, a 5k and a 3k (I guess so you can sprint all out?).  I chose the 5k because I’m nowhere adapted to this heat yet, and I know that even in bad conditions I can pull off a 5k, even if slowly.

The kicker?  We were supposed to get there at 4am (4 AM PEOPLE!), for a 5:50am race start.  I even asked the guys at the registration (since you had to do it in person at the store, there is NO online registration here in Manila), if I could get there a bit later and they said “No, ma’am, 4am.”

After waking up at 3:45am, I didn’t get out of bed for another 15 minutes, because for the first time ever, I actually considered not going for a race I signed up for, as I would rather sleep.  But I told myself to do this one, and if it was that miserable, I didn’t have to run one again while I’m here (the horror, right?), and eventually got out of bed, changed, and we made our way to the street to grab a cab to the race start.
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We arrived there at 4:45am.  There was really no reason to get there at 4am, or even at the time we did.  Next time, a 5:30am arrival will do just fine.  We weren’t fully awake yet, and we sat and waited for a loooong time…

Quite a few people were already there, but most arrived much later…

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This was our first time in Fort Bonifacio/Bonifacio Global City, so we enjoyed seeing all the high rises.  This area is even fancier than Makati, where we now live.  And there’s soooo much green space here, it would have been perfect for walking Lily! (The one park across the street from us doesn’t allow pets…)

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The good thing about the 4am time, was that the weather was actually pleasant at that time.  Perfect running weather even.  But of course, it didn’t take long for the sun to come out, and the pleasant temperature to change pretty quickly…

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It wasn’t even 5:30 am yet, and the place was bright.  And it was a lot warmer.  I quickly realized that my choice of outfit, the black Cherry Blossom 10 miler race shirt, was a big mistake.

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Right away, I noticed something different about the way races are in Manila vs. the US…  While in the US most people don’t wear their race shirt to race day (why wear a shirt if you haven’t earned the right yet?), here, the race shirt was EVERYWHERE.  I was one of the odds one out by wearing a different outfit.

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The other thing?  While in the US you see a few people here and there running before the race to warm up, here it was the majority of people, at some point or another would sprint back and forth, or do all sorts of stretching and jumping.  I admit that it was at this point that I got very nervous.  I told Karl how there’s only serious runners, and I knew I’d have to be slow because of the heat, and I was really afraid of being last.  Plus, this is the smallest race I’ve ever been part of, with maybe 1,000 people total, so there were no guarantees there would be people even slower than me.

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Finally, the 15k and 10k people were told to line up at the start.  The 15k would start at 5:30am, and the 10k would start 10 minutes later and so on.

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And they waited.  And waited.  And waited.  While the weather got hotter and hotter and hotter.

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I figured this would be the perfect time to go to the porta-potty.  While the line wasn’t long at all, with maybe 20 people waiting in each porta-potty (there were a total of four of them, and weirdly enough, they were separated by male and female), for some reason I waited a good 20 minutes in line.  I guess when you put all women in the same line, it’s bound to take longer than a bunch of men or a  mixed line.

But at least we had signs like the blue one below to keep us laughing:

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And the porta-potty?  Less spacious inside than in the US (it’s harder not to touch anything), but the toilet looked like a real toilet, with a flush and everything.  SO NICE not having to see what other runners did in the bathroom!  No more looking at poo volcanoes that go over the toilet seat!  Plus, while we were waiting, a cleaning guy actually came along and quickly cleaned the inside of the porta-potties so it wasn’t completely gross either!

Yes, I had to take a picture of the inside.  When else do you wait a long time to use it, and it looks like this when you walk in?

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Before the race started, I also grabbed a chilled “Pocari Sweat” bottle – a Japanese sports drink.  It was surprisingly good.

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Finally, half an hour after the race was supposed to start, the gun went off.  Shortly afterwards, the 10k people were starting as well.

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And then it was at last our turn to go.  We lined up and waited for the gun.

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And off we went!  Within the first quarter mile, I knew I wasn’t going to be last.  I was passing people and a ton of people were already stopping to walk.  It doesn’t help that we started half an hour later than we were meant to and that on that half hour, the weather got much warmer…

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It was really cool running through Bonifacio, as none of us had been there before.  It wasn’t flat, but a very gradual uphill followed by a very gradual downhill, so it kept us challenged.

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My first goal was “don’t walk” my second was “finish in less than 35 minutes” while my third goal was to attempt an 11 min/mile pace.  I’m sad to report that I was only able to meet my first goal…  I only quickly walked the water stops because it was so hot that I had to make sure to drink enough, but the water wasn’t refreshing by far:  it was HOT!  Couldn’t they at least had chilled the thing?  It was 85 degrees outside, so the water was just as warm.  Ugh.

The route was pretty though, and we loved the palm trees!

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Finally, we saw the finish line approaching, and as usual, I took off in a sprint, only to be faced with yet another obstacle once I got closer:  there were orange cones starting about 20 feet from the finish line, separating those finishing the 15k/10k/5k/3k, so there was only enough space for one person to get through in each line.  So I couldn’t sprint to the finish, because there was no way to pass people.  It’s not like I’m competing against people at the finish line (though we all secretly do that too), but I’m also competing against myself, and having to run slower than I’m capable of because the people in front of me haven’t chosen to sprint was a bit of a bummer…

But it was hot, and we finished and I got my worst 5k time ever (for a race I’ve run the whole thing – I ran one 5k slower than that back when I had to run/walk to the finish, years ago).  But at the end, I was fine with my SLOW time of 35:32 (11:26 min/mile – yes, the pace is slower than my 10 miler pace a month and a half ago, which was already slower than my paces from last year…).

I survived the heat, while wearing a black shirt, when I also had stupidly chosen to leave my hat and sunglasses at home.  I guess a good thing about having such a slow time is that my next 5k in Manila, it better be a guaranteed (Manila) PR!

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The medal?  It was cute, but the worst medal I’ve gotten so far (it was a thin piece of metal, glued in a wood board).

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After the race, we had to wait in line to get our “goody bag” – a small reusable bag with a granola bar, a few fliers, a magazine and a hand sanitizer.  While waiting in line, I took one last picture.  20 minutes after crossing the finish line and I’m still super-red!

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Despite HATING some parts of this race (super-early start time, HOT water at the water stops, narrow finish line chute), I really enjoyed myself, and will definitely run another race in Manila again – hopefully sooner rather than later (I have to find other runners, because Karl already said he’s not waking up that early on a Sunday again!).

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Filed under 5k, Manila, Philippines, Pictures, Race, Race Report