Sunday, December 26, 2010

Now I could Bike!

I just did breaking in my new bike an hour ago in my house attire! Two days ago, I've got my biggest surprise when my wife in connivance with my brother and Noy Jopson gave me a Scott road bike for Christmas! These are one of the few moments that I've wanted so much a bike and a Scott for that and my Santa wife gave it to me. It must have cause her an arm and a leg!

It is a fitting gift for me, now i could bike! Besides running, I've always wanted to go cycling for fitness, travel and aiming in the future the Cobra Ironman (IM) Philippines 70.3. Its just one reason that I could now pursue that dream.

I'll try giving it a spin in the next two weeks, hopefully. I still has to spend on those cycling accessories needed to make the sport safe and sounds I have t0 cut an arm and leg too!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Singapore Marathon 2010

There was a sense of relief when rain was pouring cats and dogs the day before race day, non stop. Singapore marathon known for its flat course and an Asian Boston qualifying race, is also more famous for its humid and hot weather, a bum for fast runners who could bonk down the stretch due to the heat. I'm no fast runner but the reported "heat" topics among those who ran it had generated much curiosity and arousal from my part that it did succeed in scaring me off a bit. Guessing from what I felt during the rain drenched trip to get the bib, I guess I was more concerned over my shoulder nerve pain which was little bothersome and painful.

It was supposed to be my 2nd marathon this year and my first run on an international race thanks to a year of happy, hip hip hooray running with runners alike and more thanks to God for ever giving me strong reliable knees, my family for the support in times when they would have needed me more in taking care of my new baby than seeing me running like crazy in the darkest of nights.

We arrived on midnight of December 4, a good full day before race day. Those cheap, no frills airlines has made running in international races more easier for our pockets. We were immediately whisked off on a Mercedez benz cab too tired from complaining but ended up cursing for paying a hefty amount that would have been good for a new Nike shirt. Felt better though when we arrived in Pan Pacific in Marina Bay with the spunky Mandarin and Ritz Carlton for our neighbors, a mere walking distance from the finish line and a door away from the shopping malls except that my wife was not with me (hahaha).

We woke up the next day on a rainy Singapore to pick up our bibs a block away from the hotel, elated to have been given the door to a rousing applause from the volunteers as overseas runners, brought some marathon souvenir shirts and returned back to the hotel drenched! Would this be the weather tomorrow? A Malaysian said it was unlikely that the sun would shine. Sweet!, maybe God has answered all the runner's prayers this time. We made our way to the shopping malls (bad idea) in the afternoon to do some sightseeing which only offered more walking to our already tired legs.

On race day, we woke up early from excitement with over 4 hours of sleep, hailed a cab at 3am for the starting line in Orchard Road which was in full Christmas lights display, just before some group of partying caucasians told us that since were running a marathon would we should be running instead of hiring a cab (hehe). We met some Manila runners during the starting line and had some few talks with them. As efficient as their government, so was the race as we were assigned into specific pens with the elites already flexing their muscles like cheetahs going for a kill and the rest of us mortals into sub 4, 5 to 8 categories. I was with my brother at the sub5 pen fully aware that I have to run a constant pace of 6:30-7 to get it. By 430am, Like the rest of the 20,000 full marathon runners and among the 60,000 running on the race on the 21k and 10k division, I was ready.

With a giant electronic billboard display and from the sound of Joey Tempest's melodic heavy metal song "The final countdown", we were off at 5am. I was actually running the Singapore Marathon, yipee! The adrenalin shot off almost immediately and didn't mind tripping off the timer mat and hurting back my shoulder nerve I have been experiencing lately.

I saw yellow balloons on a 4:45 pace group and decided to follow them. I started out just about my usual pace but felt unusually tired. Must have been the other days sightseeing and the lack of sleep for two straight days, crap! but soon regained form by the fifth kilometer. Drank every water stations as it was beginning to be very humid. Passed several of the tourist attraction of the city in between km0-km9 like the shopping mecca Orchard Road, Istana Park, Fort Canning Park, Chinatown and the Merlion. Here we passed the only tunnel of the race which was like an oven inside and ended up sweating more by the time we were out. The cool breeze of the bay was a relief as we passed by the popular Marina Bay, down to the F1 pitstops, under the Helix bridge, beneath the Singapore Flyer before we entered the East Coast Park. Its was just a few minutes inside the park when we met the elite Kenyans going back already.

Everything was well and under control under km21, a little bit tired than usual and slower. The water station a plenty with 100 plus drinks and the cheers a few and between. My time at cp21k was 2:19:33. The sun was up, not the rained that we all hoped for but certainly something we trained for. Its was just a bit humid than usual, something I didn't foresee.

We passed the only station with GU gels and took a scoop. Started to drink salt caps too at km25 and km30 to avoid the cramps. Both failed miserably. With the hope of making it at 4:30 fading, started to make adjustments but felt too tired to do so. By the time we were out, it was twilight zone already. Ended up at 3ok at 3:23:03. Fighting fatigue, I tried to enjoy the scenery while chatting along the way with a fellow Singaporean.

There were a lot of liniment stations which many find to be a relief. At km32 my paced has dipped at 7:00/km. At km33, I passed fellow Cebuano runners Dindz Bartolabac struggling with cramps with Kenneth Toledo helping him. With little shades, the heat and humidity has become a little bit unbearable. By this time, a cup for the thirst and another cup for the head was the rule. By km35, my body was bonking down too. I drank the last Hammer gel I had with me. I knew at this point that my dream time of 4:40 wasn't to be but still had a good chance to make it under 5 hours.

Then all hell broke loose at km36. The dam broke! We didn't expect that the expected times we had coincided when all the runners in the 42k, 21k and the 10k converging together on one side of the East Coast Freeway all the way to the finish line! Poor full marathoners, we were looking at a sea upon sea of runners cramped on one side on the road like were all going for a U2 concert. Not even the shouts of North Korean leader Kim Jung-il "walkers to the right, runners to the left, DNF's jump of the bridge" would have made them move! So much for the running! Haha

From here to km41 it was mostly walking with brief runs whenever the crowd eases a little bit. By this time the time was ticking. It was only on the last kilometer that I mustered all my strength to run, huffing and puffing and finally saw the Pedang finish line with the timer at 4:55:40 something. I sprinted and raised both my hands with the two sign signifying my second marathon. My chip time was 4:55:53. I made it under 5 hours! Wohooo!

The S$39 photo. The only finish photo I have.

We got our medals and finisher t-shirts, ate some Nature valley bar, rested for a while before heading to the hotel for more hydration, icing and ice bath. A quick nap after, we headed to Jack's steakhouse to celebrate the day and the accomplishments. The next two days, we literally walked our feet off, sort of recovery walk all over Singapore, Night Safari, Orchard Road shopping for pasalubongs, Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and Universal Studios.

Universal Studios!

Amazingly, I ended up as the 35th Filipino to finish, top 15% of the entire field for the full marathon and a 36 minute improvement from my previous marathon time. I couldn't be more prouder.

Photo credits: Flickr oeyvind and Sensibles

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1st Cebu Ultramarathon

This I wouldn't miss for several reasons. I was on taper mode for my Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (A day on zero running doesn't hurt.bad me) and the thought of seeing brave runners and friends taking on a grueling 50k ultramarathon is something I want to know first hand. Second, I haven't touch my camera for a while and I was afraid that whatever skills I've learned for the past years might be unlearned. Third, I wanted the fresh air in the mountain and see if I could train there. Lastly, I want to run an ultramarathon someday and having a first hand experience on the event would be advantageous.

Fisheye view on runners at km16. Ga-as, Balamban

So there like the 180+ hardcore runners and just like another day of training, Me and my brother woke up early, took breakfast along the way and was there at the Ga-as, Balamban some 37 kms. from the city by 630am. We were positioned within the highest elevation of the race, a ridge where the land meets the sky, a runner's heavenly route. The sights so breathtaking you wouldn't expect it would be a false pretense to the race that was on their way. It was km16 for them and it took them a while to get there with the leading runner (Mendel Lopez) passing us two hours into the race. I thought at first they were too slow to realize later on that the route was a difficult one.

Another running in motion. Ga-as, Balamban

One by one, these brave little souls passed by some smiling, other very focus. Saw my friends Boss Joel, Huarache runners Jacob and Edward and TTB Christian and Eric. Saw the famous Jove "Baldrunner" Narcise and ARC runner Michelle Estuar. By the time we left the ridge, I would have made photos of almost two thirds of them. It was already hot! By the time we left at 9:30am, it was beginning to be a scorcher already. Many were left to walking but knowing that the route was a killer was perfectly fine. Besides it was to be a long long day ahead. Thanks to the individual support crews and the Ungo support group, it made their burden a little bit lighter. Around 162 finished the race most arriving over the 8 hour cut-off which was later on revised by an hour.My hats off to all of you! That was a feat that not so many marathoners would dare.

Joven "BaldRunner" Narcise with another runner

On a personal note, while I was traveling back to my place it dawned to me that I can do it. That if Mommy Twinkle can, so can I. So I started to plot my schedule and lo and behold in the following days after, the Labor day coast to coast Cebu ultra was launched. May 1, 2011 is the day, yeah just in the middle of summer! and much longer (60-65k)! Waaah.

One of the early runners passing through the ridge

If all things comes in alignment, I will run this one. For now, there's Singapore Marathon 2 days from now and the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon in February 20.

Let the good times run!

Note: For more photos visit my facebook link:

Meeting Wayne

L-R: TTB Eric, Ken, Jack, Coleen, Katol, Christian, Richard, Wayne, Chill, Tata, Yendy, Boying, ME and Gerry

If there was a guy whose achievements in running is as big as his humility, that would be my Dailymile (DM) friend, Wayne Plymale A veteran marathoner and a Boston qualifier, I finally met someone whom you can look up to as an inspiration for all runners. In person! He might not be a Haile Gebrselassie of our time, but for who he is and what he has achieved represents more of the common runners that is us.

Dinner at Spice Fusion with TTB, SM City Northwing
Thanks to my friend Richard Ho for inviting him to come to Cebu for a quick visit. I hope that the Cebuano hospitality had made his trip memorable even how short it was. Well, eating balot and drinking Red Horse would have been one for his books!

Thanks for visiting us Wayne. We hope to see you again in 2012 for the Cebu Marathon!

Shoot and Run

Rumblings of a Cebuano on a pair of running shoes and a Nikon on one hand.

About Me

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Photography is my hobby, a long distance runner and an avid blogger, I consider traveling a dream and my family as my number one inspiration.