Category Archives: pacing

I Shall Return 50K Ultramarathon 2013 Finisher

Two years have passed since last ultramarathon race, which was the Bataan Death March (BDM) 102-km race.  I found myself wanting to go back and do another ultramarathon.  While searching online sometime in June, I chanced upon a link of an ultramarathon to be staged in Tacloban City.  I’ve never been to this part of the country since there never was any occasion to go there.  In fact, my only recollection of the place was from a photo of my late father with my older brother taken at the famous San Juanico Bridge.   I knew I’d love to visit it one day.   What better way to go back to long distance running than by joining the I Shall Return 50K Ultramarathon, a fitting race name for a returning long distance runner like me.    
Arrival in Tacloban City and Race Preparation
The good thing was the hotel’s location is pretty close to a mall so looking for a good place to eat and buying whatever I need in the race would be easy.  Though food and drinks are provided at the aid stations, I bought myself my own energy drinks. My rule of thumb: never try something new on race day.
I came back to the hotel as soon as I can and had each energy drink labeled with my name and aid station number as aid stations are spaced approximately every 10 km apart. I hadn’t been able to sleep so I had showered, prepared my race gear, and killed time and thought I could arrive early at the venue and still not appear too worried.  The reasons perhaps were not having enough long runs plus the extra weight I gained lately. My only consolation was I had the chance to train for three weeks focusing on core, endurance and speed exercises at the very least with the help of Coach John Lozada, my running coach.  But I knew the preparation was not enough.  Faced with these quandaries and crazy as it may sound, I literally conversed with my feet and body telling them not to get cramps and help me reach the finish line.  To lighten things up, my goals were (1) to finish within the 10-hour deadline; and (2) get to see the longest bridge in the country, the San Juanico Bridge.  
Hours before Gun Start and During the Race
Not one familiar face at the race venue when I arrived.  I just took a seat and waited for the race to start.  Few minutes later, I saw Jonel’s arrival, the Race Director and editor-in-chief of Frontrunner magazine, and the only recognizable face I could find in the crowd.  Distribution of race bibs and a briefing on the race route then followed.  During the briefing, we were informed that portion of the route would be in total darkness due to a power failure that was announced earlier.  Meaning, we would be running in the dark from 2am until 4am or 5am.  I could only expel a deep breath after learning this, silently praying I would make this better and not get lost going around the city and for my guardian angel to guide me as my eyesight isn’t that good.  The only game plan I could think of was to follow those in front of me.  The race started with a prayer led by no other than the Race Director himself and a group photo op ensued at the start/finish tarp.  It was almost 2am.
To my relief, I was not alone (the highway is reminiscent of BDM) on the road. Marshals, either riding in their cars or on tricycles, were there to light our way. Sometimes they stayed at the back and every now and then went past us to give directions to help ensure safety of runners. Glad there was a bike following with an extremely bright headlamp.  It turned out it wasn’t even what I thought it was when I heard male voices and a pair of running footsteps behind.   As minutes raced by, I started to feel dizzy from the headlight coming from one of the runners.  To solve the problem, I stopped and waited for them to overtake me then stayed following them.  
Immersed in deep thought and oblivious to everything else, I almost didn’t notice the shout and signals of the marshals at the rotunda near the 10km or 12km aid station.  In the next hours that followed, the two gentlemen became my instant guides and companions.  They were kind enough to offer me whatever supplies they have.  Took some and politely declined the next time I was offered.  In my estimation, the aid station, where I could take my own drink and food, couldn’t be that far. 

The many facets of ultra distance running in Leyte
(Photo courtesy of N. Fevidal)
Down the highway we came across with a support crew who eagerly offered us bananas, chocolates, water and soft drinks.  As the race progressed, one of the gentlemen who were running with me decided to proceed.    A few minutes later the other one followed suit.  But before leaving, he advised the driver of his support vehicle to escort me.   These people are my angels, an answered prayer. 
Left alone now I watched the early morning sun slowly creeping up the horizon, running steadily till I overtook two more runners.  I stopped for a while to exchange pleasantries with them afterward told them to slowly jog with me so we could reach the aid station together.  The small steps brought us to Magsaysay Boulevard near University of the Philippines, Tacloban.  I liked the place as the boulevard was lined with trees making it more pleasant for running.  There were joggers as we passed by the area.  

Running at the San Juanico Bridge with Noreen Fevidal
(Photo courtesy of N. Fevidal)
One of the main surprises running in this event was being supported by a stranger, a lady runner, who paced with me, offered me water to drink, and even encouraged me to at least finish fourth odds in women’s division.  This unexpected vote of confidence though warmed my heart all I could do was smile knowing there were other faster runners in attendance.  Anyhow, I think I did a good job finishing the race.  To top it off, crossing the San Juanico Bridge (Leyte to Samar, and vice versa) was a bonus indeed!   Not bad…  Not bad at all…

Congratulations to all of the finishers in this year’s I Shall Return edition

Super duper thanks to Noreen (for pacing me), Norman (for the photos), Jonel (for facilitating my registration), Jojo Yu of R8 Cycling and Stars Cafe and Bar (support), Brian (support), Glice, John, Edgar, Frederick, Nap Ocampo (distributing my foodstuff at each aid station), Mark, the marshals ( ensuring safety of runners) among others. 

Will You Be the Last Man Running?

Rogin-E® LAST MAN RUNNING

20 February 2011
5K (6AM), 10K (5:45AM) and the main event, the Rogin-E® Last Man Running (4AM) capped at 7 hours
McKinley Hill, Taguig
Running has become more popular and challenging than ever! Heralded as the ultimate test of a man’s (or a woman’s) athletic prowess in direct competition with everyone else, considered as a first in the Philippine running scene which brings not only the endurance of the body against time but also the endurance of the will against the will of others.
Interested entrants can register at participating drugstores with a purchase of any *Rogin-E® bottle.
MERCURY DRUG
Trinoma Mall 1
January 7-9; February 18-19
Glorietta 3 Makati
January 7-9, 14, 21-23, 28; February 4
Market! Market! Bonifacio Global City
February 4-6, 11-13, 18-19
WATSONS
SM Mall of Asia Mall 1
January 14-16, 29-30
SM North EDSA Main
January 21-23; February 4-6
SM Megamall B
January 15-16, 28-30
ROX Bonifacio High Street, Taguig
February 1-13 (3-8PM)
Walk-in participants are welcome to join. You just need to buy any Rogin-E® bottle at registration booths during the event. P5,000 and P10,000 will go to the best male and female runners at the 5K and 10K races, respectively while P50,000 awaits the titular Last Man Running.
For more information, please contact +62 2 638.5940.
*Rogin-E® is a male multivitamin with a unique of Deanol for metal potency, Korean Panax Ginseng for endurance and Royal Jelly for youthful vitality. Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of the health care, nutrition and high-tech materials.
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Please visit www.bayerhealthcare.com for information about their products.

Running Diva Returns for QCIM’s Half Marathon Event as Pacer the Second Time Around

One of the best experiences I had last year was when I was invited as a lead pacer for a half marathon event, 2:30 pace group, during the first Quezon City International Marathon (QCIM). Overall, I was happy how that experience turned out. I was deeply thankful of my fellow pacers, Ebong and Gab aka Rastaman, for a job well done. No amount of money could replaced the exhilaration I felt after knowing those who finished in our pace group felt so elated with their experience as finishers of the half marathon event.

This year, Running Diva returns by running in the same pace group of 2:30 (in hours). Finishing a half marathon within two hours and thirty minutes is neither slow nor a fast pace group. Below is the list of pacers taken from Sir Rene’s aka Jazzrunner‘s blog.

A GUIDE FOR PACE GROUP RUNNERS

I found this article in my blog archive, October 2009, and decided to have it reposted here as you may have missed reading this before.

How glad I was to read some articles about perfect pacing experience. I got these DOs and DON’Ts guide from Runner’s World magazine.

Nice Pacing: How to Behave (And Not) in a Group
Having the perfect pacing experience depends on who’s leading the way, of course; but you also bear some responsibility to yourself, to the leader, and to the rest of your group.

Do make sure you’re in the right place.
It means you know your time goal. If it’s too fast for you then opt for the slower one.

Don’t run ahead.
Let’s accept it. There are just some runners who want to show to the world how fit they are by running ahead.
Bad move. If you want to lead the pack, then leave the pack.

Do take your cues from runners
This one I like. This defends my case (as I’m not much of a talker during races).

Some groups are quiet, others chatty. Same goes for the leader-some will offer encouragement, others focus quietly. Nothing wrong with the friendly “how you feeling?”-but don’t become a Blowhard Bob, meaning, a braggart or a boaster.

Don’t expect the pack to cater to your needs; but if you have to stop, don’t panic.

Take care of your business, then take your time catching up to your group.

Do give the leader space.
No need for me to explain it, right?

Running an even pace is the way to go. But with more practice, one can learn to run the second half of the races faster than the first. This is what they call “negative splits.”

Why is an even or negative-split pace works better? Firstly, it gives our body time for a good warm up by preparing the muscles for the activity. Just like how you start your car efficiently. Once your muscles are ready, you can maintain the same pace or increase it with not much effort. It’s also important to avoid being pulled by fast runners that you become one of them at the start. Remember, a fast start means a significant decrease of performance as you go back.

To some running a certain distance may come as a piece of cake but that is totally different to most who are either running a half or full marathon for the first time.

Over lunch today a friend of mine, an experienced runner, even said, “two more weeks and it’s full marathon for me!” and it was followed by a long sigh.

See? Even an experienced runner do feel anxious. Just like you and me. Why is this so? May be because we are not so sure of the outcome. Okay so you’ve been training hard. Sometimes struggling. At other times succeeding but the whole time it’s in your head. “Am I really ready for it?” “What am I getting myself into?” “I didn’t have much time for training.” Do you think I can do it?” May be these are some of the questions playing in your mind. It’s all there in your head. But mind you even experienced runners are probably thinking the same way many times over especially that race day is fast coming.

What I am trying to say here is that we all have goals. Mine right now is to lead runners across the finish line and at the same time achieving their target time goal of 2:30 (in hours). How about you?

Marathon is competitive that’s why it’s called a race. So you want to race, eh? If you think you are then my next question would be, “Are you ready or still feeling a bit nervous?” They say if you are feeling this pre-race anxiety, it only means one thing. You are just mentally and physically preparing yourself for the race. The ultimate test is race day itself.

Ey, no worries, OK? You’ve been training hard for this. Why worry? To conquer fear is to embrace itself. Go back to your goal and focus. Be realistic with your goal. Focus is the main ingredient towards a successful marathon. Just like any event there are just things that are beyond our control. If things don’t happen the way you want it to be, don’t be disappointed. Instead prepare yourself for it. Don’t forget to relax and have some fun while running. Being too serious ruins the experience. Remember you’re already a winner by signing up for a race.

See you at the starting line!

Let’s Pace It! : the QCIM Experience

Friday Night: Carbo Loading Party and Pacers Orientation

Going to Quezon City was quite difficult, especially, on a Friday night. Thanks to Neil a.k.a. Crash Burn for the ride. But who would like to miss this event? It took me sometime to post this entry, as I myself was quite overwhelmed that night. For me, it was indeed a night to remember

~ the colorful display of the QC Circle tower was showcased
~ it was where I saw (again) the fast Kenyan runners who shared to us a glimpse of their pre-race training program
~ pacers for the 21k and 42k events were introduced
~ where I did an impromptu public performance
~ where I had almost endless photo ops with super funny takbo.ph friends
~ where I had photo ops with Armie and Mark a.k.a. The Running Adventures of Mark, who to my amazement knew my blog and even recognized me

I didn’t have any inkling that the incognito and fellow pacer, Ebong, was the one and the same classmate of mine at the Mizuno running clinic. What a surprise!


21k pacers for 2:30 (in hours) finishing time; L to R: Gab a.k.a. Dirty Sanchez, Running Diva, and Ebong

And take note of the runners behind us, the funny musketeers Erick a.k.a. Shocks 5, DocT a.k.a. Doc Tapiok, and Crash Burn.

Running event is a male dominated arena but I could say that women empowerment is truly alive in this country. If you try to see the pacers group photo below, you would notice that there were only two female pacers, Running Diva and Carina a.k.a. the Flying Boar. And, I would like to personally mention here Jonel a.k.a. Bugobugo85 who warmly welcomed me on stage. Super thanks for that gesture Jonel. Same goes to Runnex for the opportunity and for the vote of confidence bestowed on us.

The surprise of my life didn’t stop from coming. Right after the introduction of the pacers, a young and bubbly guy approached me for a photo op. And it was Mark. Mark left some comments on my blog before and I was humbled that he appreciated the articles I posted here. I was so glad to finally meet him in person.
From L to R: Tin (Mark’s friend), Mark, Running Diva, and Vince of Finish Line

Rene a.k.a. Jazzrunner told me already that I might be asked to sing during the CLP but I didn’t take it seriously as I knew he was only jesting. But, again I was caught off guard when suddenly I heard my name being called to perform on stage. Ey, am just a regular girl who enjoys music and singing and did some concerts in my own bathroom! I had no choice but to go up there. While singing, I saw my takbo.ph friends did photo ops with the Kenyan runners. I so wanted to just stop singing but I had to finish the song.

The night ended with funny poses with takbo.ph friends. They are not only a bunch of running addicts but also young at heart fellas. They love to kid around. Just look at the guys on Row 3. What do you think?

Sunday: The Day Has Finally Come!

Woke up at 3AM for this event. A great task at hand! Today I will be in a race not to race but to pace fellow runners who wanted to finish their half-marathon in two hours and thirty minutes. These were my thoughts while I was preparing my stuff. What’s so touching about being a lead pacer is to be with fellow pacers who believe in your capacity. With that said, I was grateful to be with Gab and Ebong, my fellow pacers and co-leaders who believe I can. Super duper thanks guys!

Those were the balloons for the 21k pacers. The half-marathon race started at the QC Circle at exactly 5AM. I didn’t have any idea who were following me but I could sense there was a good number of runners in our pace group. They were chatty and energetic. Fast running friends whizzed by and shouted jokingly at me, “Running Diva you need to talk and prep them up!” I just acknowledged their shout with a chuckle. Our pace group started by running an even pace of more or less 7 min./km up to the first turn around point near Batasan Hills.

After the turn around point, it was then where I slightly increased the pace, took no notice of the Garmin watch for some minutes and never realized I was running a bit too fast until Ebong gently tapped me on the shoulder reminding me to slow down a bit. Whew!

We were averaging a pace of 7.01/km. But I wanted to bring the group at an earlier time than the targeted finishing time. I maintained instead a pace of 6.57/km all throughout except on the last two kilometers. I slowed down a bit knowing that we had ample time to finish the race. One of the veteran runners said to me, “It’s an overshoot finish.” I wondered what he meant by that. I later realized that the group would reach the finish line six or four minutes earlier than the targeted time. That would mean a strong finish for everybody in the pace group.

A few meters left before reaching the finish line, I shouted to the group, “It was an honor to bring you to the finish line today fellow runners. Thank you so much!” True enough, we reached the finished line clocking 2:27.57 with seconds ticking. Jubilant, we gave each other some high-fives, we shook hands, and tapped each other’s shoulders. No amount of words can describe what I’ve felt and experienced that day.

Mission accomplished!

Photos Taken After Finishing The Race

Photo 1 ~ Bloggers meet and the banner says it all. Can you see me?

Photo 2 ~ Pre-race shot with fellow 21k pacers with our balloons.

Photo 3 ~ With Margalicious; Thank you so much for accompanying me to QC to see Coach John for the Garmin

Photo 4 ~ With Margalicious still and Marvin Rae.

Photo 5 ~ With Armie, Runnex Secretariat, who knew me through my blog. Thank you Armie for your appreciation.

Photo 6 ~ From L to R: Jinoe, admin of takbo.ph site; Andrew, Milo PR & Sports Events; Andrew’s wife; Leo Valdez, the famous Engineer of Miss Saigon; Running Diva; Que, admin of takbo.ph site; Carly

Photo 7 ~ With takbo.ph friends and fellow 21k pacers.

Photo 8 ~ With James, so happy to finish his first full marathon. Niel a.k.a. Crash Burn and I went back to pace/walk with James. Niel didn’t get to join us in this photo as he had to drive and park his car to the Circle.

(Photos Courtesy of Pio, Mark, and Doc Marvs)

Perfect Pacing and Marathon Angst

Leading the pack of half-marathon runners? This is the same question I’ve been asking myself countless of times ever since I accepted the challenge to be one of the official pacers for the 1st Quezon City International Marathon. Not an easy feat considering that it will be my first time to be a pacer in a race.

But there is no turning back now as it is a privilege and an honor to bring you fellow runners to the finish line, of course; with the help of Gab as co-leader.

I did my first half-marathon last year during the Adidas King of the Road race with Wilbert at my side while running along with Bobby and Sensei John T. It was a no-fuss-run, meaning, to just finish the whole stretch of the half-marathon. It was just us. No pacer.

Pacers lead runners across the finish line, target the overall group goal and not the personal goal, and look out for the welfare of all. A pacer is a leader, coach, cheerleader, psychiatrist, etc. To be a pace-group leader in the upcoming QCIM half-marathon next weekend is quite a big responsibility. My only concern though is how can I be an effective cheerleader of the group when I, myself, is not a talker while running? How glad I was to read some articles about perfect pacing experience. I got these DOs and DON’Ts guide from Runner’s World magazine.

Nice Pacing: How to Behave (And Not) in a Group
Having the perfect pacing experience depends on who’s leading the way, of course; but you also bear some responsibility to yourself, to the leader, and to the rest of your group.

Do make sure you’re in the right place.
It means you know your time goal. If it’s too fast for you then opt for the slower one.

Don’t run ahead.
Let’s accept it. There are just some runners who want to show to the world how fit they are by running ahead.

Bad move. If you want to lead the pack, then leave the pack.

Do take your cues from runners
This one I like. This defends my case.

Some groups are quiet, others chatty. Same goes for the leader-some will offer encouragement, others focus quietly. Nothing wrong with the friendly “how you feeling?”-but don’t become a Blowhard Bob.

Don’t expect the pack to cater to your needs; but if you have to stop, don’t panic.

Take care of your business, then take your time catching up to your group.

Do give the leader space.
No need for me to explain it, right?

Running an even pace is the way to go. But with more practice, one can learn to run the second half of the races faster than the first. This is what they call “negative splits.”

Why is an even or negative-split pace works better? Firstly, it gives our body time for a good warm up by preparing the muscles for the activity. Just like how you start your car efficiently. Once your muscles are ready, you can maintain the same pace or increase it with not much effort. It’s also important to avoid being pulled by fast runners that you become one of them at the start. Remember, a fast start means a significant decrease of performance as you go back.

To some running a certain distance may come as a piece of cake but that is totally different to most who are either running a half or full marathon for the first time.

Over lunch today a friend of mine, an experienced runner, even said, “two more weeks and it’s full marathon for me!” and it was followed by a long sigh. See? Even an experienced runner do feel anxious. Just like you and me. Why is this so? May be because we are not so sure of the outcome. Okay so you’ve been training hard. Sometimes struggling. At other times succeeding but the whole time it’s in your head. “Am I really ready for it?” “What am I getting myself into?” “I didn’t have much time for training.” Do you think I can do it?” May be these are some of the questions playing in your mind. It’s all there in your head. But mind you even experienced runners are probably thinking the same way many times over especially that race day is fast coming.

What I am trying to say here is that we all have goals. Mine right now is to lead runners across the finish line and at the same time achieving their target time goal of 2:30 (in hours). How about you?

Marathon is competitive that’s why it’s called a race. So you want to race, eh? If you think you are then my next question would be, “Are you ready or still feeling a bit nervous?” They say if you are feeling this pre-race anxiety, it only means one thing. You are just mentally and physically preparing yourself for the race. The ultimate test is race day itself.

Ey, no worries, OK? You’ve been training hard for this. Why worry? To conquer fear is to embrace itself. Go back to your goal and focus. Be realistic with your goal. Focus is the main ingredient towards a successful marathon. Just like any event there are just things that are beyond our control. If things don’t happen the way you want it to be, don’t be disappointed. Instead prepare yourself for it. Don’t forget to relax and have some fun while running. Being too serious ruins the experience. Remember you’re already a winner by signing up for a race.

See you at the starting line!

A Sneak Peek of QCIM Route

Thankful that Supertyphoon “Pepeng” (international name: Parma) cut across northern Luzon with little damage, I joined the QCIM long slow distance or LSD last Sunday, Oct. 4. I arrived at the University of the Philippines (UP) Oblation, the assembly area, at ten minutes before 4:30AM.

More than 60 runners joined in this simulation run. (I was just a tiny yellow orange speck in the crowd). We took off 15 minutes later under a very light shower of rain. First pit stop was at Shell station along Commonwealth Avenue. The group then turned right going to Batasan Hills up to the 21k turnaround point. Instead of going back to UP, I decided to run with the group and see La Mesa Eco Park. The photo below was the second pit stop of the group before proceeding to the Eco Park.

For the full marathon runners, here are some of the photos of the QCIM route, courtesy of Running Pinoy and Run Unlimited. Prepare your hamstrings as you run this “not-so-steep-hill”. The road leads you to the Eco Park.


On the right of the photo, partly hidden by coconut trees, is La Mesa Dam. Nice road, nice environ, cool place to run, right? We waited a bit for the management to allow us to see the reservoir but even if we had permit to enter the place, we were constrained not to for safety reasons. Instead the group had another photo op, ran the Fairview route to make up for the supposed mileage, and decided to save the best for last. See you at the starting line!

Do You Talk While You Race?

No two individuals are alike. Not even twins. Same goes with runners. One is fast, the other is slow. Others are serious. Some not so serious.  And the list goes on.

Are you one of those runners who enjoy talking while racing? Well, good for you. I can’t. As simple as that. That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to talk. I do! But not during race time. I believe some runners are quiet, others chatty.  I am more of the former.

Whoah, hold on! Before you say something about this, let me first tell you something.  As a runner, I want to hear the sounds around me. I want to be aware of my surrounding. I want to listen, to be more focused of what’s ahead of me. (Photo by Photovendo)

NVR2010_2_xxx26_018752_858-1

If I get to see familiar faces on their way back, I try to do a high five, say a few words like, “Go, go, go!” and sometimes, l shout. But I can never engage myself in a conversation while running. Well, except when doing a long run.  I did try, once.  But no, I can’t.  I need to concentrate.  If I can’t concentrate I don’t think I can finish. In the zone … as they say.

As a runner, there are thoughts going on in my mind.  Some are good.  Some are dilemmas.  At times, a way to meditate.

One Sunday, while doing a long slow distance (LSD), I was engaged in a conversation with Maui, a fellow Happy Feet.  Guess what? All I could say was, “Yeah,” “Uhms,” “Ah.” After the LSD, if only Maui asked me to recap the whole conversation? Honestly, I couldn’t since l was not listening! Remember, this was during a long run.  How much more if during a race?

I didn’t intend to be a snob.   Okay, one time, in the recently held Milo Marathon race, I had to say to a fellow runner, a friend of mine, rather bluntly, “don’t talk to me.”  Well, that was bad. (Laughs)  My apologies my friend (you know who you are).  But please don’t take it against me.  I’m no talker when racing.

I once read from a leading running magazine that if you still have that energy to talk while racing, it means you are not doing much effort with your running. Now, if you are eavesdropping to what runners, either ahead of you or behind you, are talking,  you are not racing my dear.

I do appreciate though you calling my name and saying words of encouragement while the race is in progress.  I really do! So if we get to see each other, do chat with me over a postrun drink.  What do you think? 🙂

Now, I am throwing the ball at you. Is talking during a race rude? Is engaging a fellow runner in a conversation during a race rude?