A look back at my 2008 Runs

I apologize for this long entry. This is also a bit late as we are midway to the month but, I’d like to start 2009 by recalling an eventful 2008 running year.


In summary, I was able to join 12 run events. I was able to run a total distance of 315 km.; 115 km. from run events and 200 km. from practice runs. My personal records (PR) for 5K and 10K are 27:39 (from Race For Life at Fort Bonifacio) and 50:45 (from Botak Paa-Bilisan Road Race at Fort Bonifacio) respectively. (The only disclaimer here is that the distance of the practice runs is subject to the accuracy of the Nike+ Sportsband.)


Here’s a brief rundown of my runs from August to December 2008:


August 2008: This month marked my very first run as I, together with my officemates, joined the 5K/10K Men’s Health Miracle Run at Fort Bonifacio. It was exciting to see and feel the festive mood. You see runners jogging and warming up along the sidewalk. Some were stretching. Some have that serious and competitive look on their faces. The energy level was just overwhelming and invigorating. But excitement soon turned to nervousness. I was confronted by the fact that I had to run in the 10K category as my partner would not be able to join (race rules allowed us to split the 10K). With the race about to begin, I quickly decided to run the entire 10K. I started very slowly. The main goal was to finish the race regardless of the time. The first 5 km. went smoothly. I felt that I had conserved enough energy to increase my pace for the last 5 km. But that did not go well as planned. By the 7 km. mark I felt very tired. I had to slow down or risk not finishing the race. But with about 1 km. to go, I was motivated by people encouraging runners that the finish line is near. I started to pick up the pace again and to my relief, I finished the race with an official time of 1 hour, 43 seconds. Looking back, I realized that it was the first run that I wanted and needed. It gave me a challenge. It erased all my worries and gave me confidence that I can finish a 10 km. distance. More importantly, it felt very good to have done something for a worthy cause (proceeds went to the GMA Kapuso Foundation).


During the MH Miracle Run, a print ad about the 10K Nike+ Human Race caught my attention. About 2 days after the run, I browsed the net for more information. Upon reading the details, I was somehow taken aback that it was exclusive for Nike+ Sportsband or Nike+ iPod users. That meant I had to buy the sportsband, which was Php 3,250. But it was not hard to convince me. After my friend advised me of its long-term use and how it can be useful in tracking progress, I decided to buy the Nike+ Sportsband and join the 10K Nike+ Human Race at McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio.


The Nike+ Human Race was a very difficult run for me. When some runner friends told me that “I’ll finish with my tongue wagging,” they must have meant both figuratively…and literally! With only 1 run tucked under my belt, I was introduced to the tricky, difficult and challenging course of McKinley Hill-Lawton Ave.-Bayani Road-Heritage Park. I was overwhelmed by the many uphills and downhills of the course. After exiting Heritage Park, I really felt tired. I had to drop my pace to about 7 min//km. just so I can finish the run. I only picked up the pace when I got back at Lawton Ave. where it’s a mostly flat road. And with my tongue wagging, I finished it with an official time of 1 hour, 18 seconds.


September 2008: I joined only 1 run for this month, the 10K PMI Proudly 60 Run at UP Diliman campus. With a 2-week gap from the Nike+ run, I was able to do some practice runs by running 3-4 times a week. On race day, I felt good. I had a good sleep. I somehow felt that I can improve on my previous times. This also marked my first time to run at UP campus. I have been told that it is one of the best places to run with the tall trees and fresh air. True enough, what many people say is spot on. Running around the oval and through the side streets, you can see many trees and breathe the fresh air. The only downside was that there were some slippery sections of the road due to the rain a few hours prior to the start. There were also a few uphills but it was more manageable this time (got some great tips from the Running Aid clinic by Pinoy Ultra Runners). But everything went well for me. I crossed the finish line with an official time of 52:42, shocked and bewildered that I exceeded my goal.


October 2008: This was the busiest running month for me. I joined a total of 5 run events, 1 run for each weekend capped by a Friday night Halloween run on Oct. 31.


First was the 10K run/6K walk Hope in Motion run at Ayala Alabang Village for the benefit of the SOS Children’s Village. Similar to what I have been told about UP campus, Ayala Alabang also boasts of tall trees and fresh air. But what I did not know is that it has many uphills and downhills – and I mean, many! They are not as steep as the ones in McKinley Hill or Bayani Ave., but the many uphills kept me huffing and puffing midway through the run. Add the fact that the sun was shining brightly through some parts of the route. I had thought that I can break my time at the PMI run, but it was not meant to be as I crossed the line with an unofficial time of 57:00 (no official time has been released for this run).


Second was the 5K/10K/21K Adidas King of the Road (KOTR) at Fort Bonifacio. This was the most anticipated run for this month. Thousands of runners flocked to Fort Bonifacio. Parking was full, lines at the portalets were kilometric and making your way to the start-finish line was a maze. We (me and my officemates) arrived there a good 30 minutes before race time (for 5K & 10K). With plenty of time to spare, we decided to fall in line at the portalets because we really had to pee. Time kept ticking and we were still in line. Then, the unexpected happened. The 10K run started with us still in line. By the time we made our way to the start-finish line, we were about 3-4 minutes behind. I started faster than usual to catch up with the 10K runners. Fortunately, I was able to catch up towards the ascend to the EDSA-Buendia flyover. With the pace slowing at the flyover, I was able make headway through the traffic. I picked up the pace again upon reaching Buendia, taking advantage of the flat road. We made a U-turn at Reposo St. to go back to Fort Bonifacio. This time, the ascend at the flyover was more challenging. It was a very long stretch. I was very happy when I got over that stretch. I picked up the pace again and made it all the way through the finish line with an official time of 55:29 (since I started late, I also recorded my unofficial time of 51:43, my best 10K run so far).


Third was the 3K/5K/10K Botak Paa-Bilisan Road Race at Fort Bonifacio. This was a family affair. I was joined by my wife, sister, brother, mom and 2 cousins. I ran 10K. My brother ran 5K. My wife, sister and 2 cousins ran 3K (which was for the benefit of the UN Millennium Development Goals). My mom took the pictures. The 10K route consists of running 2 laps (5K each) – starting at NBC tent, to 5th Ave., then U-turn at Lawton Ave (just before McKinley Hill), then to Rizal Drive, then to 32nd St, then to 11th Ave., and finishing at NBC tent. It was a pretty straightforward race and I was very happy to have finished it with an official time of 50:45, a new personal record.


Fourth was the 3K/5K/10K OctobeRun Festival at Fort Bonifacio. This was a very challenging 10K route. It started at NBC tent, then to 5th Ave., then to Lawton Ave., then to Bayani Rd., then U-turn at Heritage Park and back at the same route finishing at NBC tent. Lots of uphills and downhills again. I had hoped to do better than the Botak run, but it was not meant to be as I finished with an official time of 53:18.


Fifth and last was the 5K Isuzu Shake, Rattle & Run at Bonifacio High Street. This is a one of a kind run event – runners in scary costumes (only if you wanted to). True enough, a lot of runners came in spooky and funny costumes. I was one of the few who did not run in a costume as I wanted to finish the run (those in costumes were required to run at least 1 lap). The 5K route is 4 laps around Bonifacio High Street (1 lap is about 1.2 km.). The run started with a little drizzle. It was quite difficult to run because of the wet road. I almost slipped in one of the turn. Fortunately, no accidents occurred and I finished it with a time of 24:47. (Could have been a PR for 5K but it falls short with a total distance of 4.8 km.)


November 2008: November was also a busy running month for me as I joined a total of 4 run events.


First was the 5K/10K/15K VSO Kabahagi Ako FUNdraising run. With this being my first 15K run, I ran conservatively all throughout the race. My plan was to run 30 minutes per 5 km. and hope that I still have enough energy to push towards the last 2 km. It looked like my plan was going well. When I checked my time at the 10 km. mark, I had it at about 57 minutes. But the challenging McKinley Hill route completely slowed me down. It was a long stretch of running up and down. By the time I exited McKinley, I felt very exhausted. From that point on, I just cruised to the finish with an official time of 1:31:20.


Second was the 10K Men’s Health Urbanathlon at UP Campus. Another one of a kind event where runners need to hurdle various obstacle courses, such as: passing and balancing through the Plank, going over the Marine Hurdles, Crawling under a knee-high hurdle, jumping over several Road Blocks, weaving through Car Traffic, going over Toyota Pick-ups and climbing a 10-ft. Wall. Me and my officemates registered as a team. It was a tough but enjoyable race. We paced ourselves very well and we waited for each other in case any of us needed help. We calmly went through the race course and finished with an unofficial time of 1 hour, 8 minutes.


Third and fourth was my first back-to-back runs – the 5K/10K Race for Life at Every Nation Building, Fort Bonifacio and the 2K walk/5K/10K Unicef Walk on the Child’s Side run at McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio. I ran 5K for the Race for Life and 10K for the Unicef run. It was a new route for Race for Life. It started at Every Nation Building, then to 38th Parkway to make a U-turn at Manila Japanese School, then to 34th St. (back of Home Depot and S&R), then to 5th Ave., then to 26th St. with the final stretch along Market! Market! The route was mostly flat with some bits of incline. I ran at a conservative pace to finish at 27:39, my best 5K finish. Then, in about 24 hours, I was wide awake again for the Unicef run. It was the same route as the Nike+ Human Race (McKinley-Lawton-Bayani-Heritage Park). Unfortunately, because it was difficult to find a parking, we started about 13.5 minutes behind. Just the same, I enjoyed running this challenging course. My only goal was to eclipse the time I had at the Nike+ run. While my official time was 1:05:43, I still met my goal of finishing it with an unofficial time of 52:13 (less the 13.5 minutes).


This month also marked the start of the Nike Running Clinic coached by Rio de la Cruz. This is a free 16-week running clinic for all interested runners to be held twice a week – at ULTRA on Tuesdays and at Nike Fort Bonifacio on Fridays. I was able to attend the introduction on Nov. 14 and the Assessment run on Nov. 21.


December 2008: The program at the Nike Running Clinic allows for a recovery week after successive loading periods. Unfortunately for me, this month became a recovery month. After the Unicef run, I was sidelined by 2 injuries: Achilles Tendinitis and an inflammation under my big left toe. Apparently, it was because I was using the wrong pair of running shoes. The one I was using was not for a flat-footed guy like me. It does not provide stability as the arch of my foot collapses. After an MRI, I was glad to know that there was no stress fracture. My doctor advised me to rest from running for 3 weeks. As such, I missed all the 4 run events that I planned on joining – the Milo National Finals, Nokia Recycle and Run, the Yakult 10-miler and the UP ICTUS Century Run.


There goes 2008. The New Year brings a new opportunity to participate in more runs and take advantage of the free running clinics by different groups. My only hope is that I stay injury-free and that I meet my running goals for 2009.


Happy Running!


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