Happy Hour

August 25, 2010

Dear Levy

Filed under: Races,Ramblings — levyang @ 3:07 am

I wrote the following letter to a friend of mine who was disappointed with his time at the recently-concluded IM 70.3 at Camsur. Reading through the letter again, I realized that I might as well have written it to myself instead.  (Edited some portions to capture moments that were reflective of my race last Sunday)

Dear Levy,
Why the long face?  I thought I saw you smiling at the finish.  I guess now that the crowds are gone, you can be perfectly honest with yourself and assess what happened out there.  Anyways, I’m gonna tell it you straight. Go ahead wallow in disappointment. Feel its bitter aftertaste. I feel you. After all the training and the hours you’ve put in, the results just doesn’t sit well right?  Cayetano and Zobel kicked your butt two years in a row.  “On your left” was ringing in your ears throughout the bike course.  And is that what you call a run?  Damn right you should feel bad.  Kasi kung ok lang ito sa iyo, I would really be pissed because that would only mean that you don’t even care at all in the first place.

But after giving yourself some grieving time, please don’t hang your head Levy. Remember WRT 2006 when you joined the relay?  How can I forget your screaming red Dolce Gabbana trunks.  And that you were the only participant who swam without goggles.  Yeah, you were still a greenhorn then.  You’ve fumbled through some of your initial races at Lakeshore and Subit.  But look at you now, you’ve come a long, long way.  From your initial goal of simply checking triathlon off the bucket list, you are now competing in some of them races.  Heck, there were even times you dared to even gate crash the podium list.  (So long as the resident ‘monsters’ of the sport don’t show up)

Levy, races aren’t about setting PB’s all the time. There are more valuable lessons to be learned if you fail, only if you care to listen.  Had you succeeded in reaching your targets last Sunday, would you have realized that you:  1.  violated a cardinal rule on nutrition by experimenting on race day?  2.  failed to account for the extreme heat at Camsur and just conveniently left of f salt tabs among the nutrition which you should bring, etc.

Still, let me say that I am proud of the way you raced last Sunday.  While the times you posted may seem like nothing has changed since last year, they tell a different story altogether.  For one, you yourself admitted that last year you checked out mentally from the race remember?  You said somewhere in the middle of those hills during the run, “Ah, fuck this race.  I’m just going to enjoy the view.  Mamamasyal na lang ako.”  Hence, the friendship that was forged with your fellow-walkers like Makoy and Carlo.  This time though, there was no such thing.  While cramping on the bike, you were already preparing on how to manage the run.  There was a plan in place and you stuck with it.  “Run between aid stations and walk the hills.”  Yes, it was nothing great.  But you were on survival mode already and soldiered on even though the hammies and calves were about to lock up throughout the second loop.   I don’t know but it takes a bit of mental fortitude to do that.  If only for that, you should be proud of your race.  Also, you didn’t draft off any of the participants.  Only because your puny GTS wouldn’t have been able to keep up with the machines of the other racers.  (Hehe, just had to stick that in there.  Theme of the weekend huh)

But seriously Levy, hold your chin up because nothing is ever wasted. While the most recent result may not reflect the hard work and training that you’ve logged in, you certainly cannot deny that what you are now in 2010 is no longer the same Levy in 2009.  (Yes even that Levy from WRT 2009).  You are much more stronger mentally, athletically,….well, you get the picture.

Remember, you’re in this journey for the long haul. Years from now, IM 70.3 2010 Philippines will just be a blip in the radar. You’ve got what it takes Levy.  I believe in you.

So there.  The letter to my friend which was, in reality, a letter to myself.  Didn’t want to be a party-pooper last Sunday so I had the look of a ‘happy camper’.  But in all honesty, the preceding letter was how I felt.  But I’m ok now.  Someone inside of me believes in me.

Cheers!

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February 8, 2010

Unang Maria

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 8:09 am

Ang Condura Run ay isa sa mga pinakaaabangang karera dito sa atin.  Naging matagumpay ang huling Condura Run noong 2009 dahil naranasan ng mga mananakbo ang tumakbo sa Skyway sa unang pagkakataon.  Para sa akin naman, matamis ang alaala ng Condura dahil dito ako naka-PR sa half marathon sa oras na 1:45:57 (salamat Jay Nacino, dahil siya talaga ang nagdala ng pace noong araw na iyon).  Ito ang dahilan kung kaya nagpalista agad ko noong nalaman ko na magbubukas sila ng 42K marathon sa Skyway 🙂

Sabi nila ang susi sa marathon ay nasa preparasyon.  Marahil nabasa niyo na ang ginawa kong preparasyon para dito.  Yung back-to-back 30K run noong Disyembre kaya sumakit ang tuhod ko.  Tapos huling hirit na 30K sa UP noong Enero.  Sa totoo lang, kinakabahan ako Condura Marathon dahil hindi ko alam kung sapat na ang paghahanda ko 😦  Sabi rin ng iba kung first time marathon, wag magtakda ng oras; bagkus, gawing learning experience ang karera para sa susunod na marathon. Siyempre, dahil pasaway ako, di ko maiwasan magtakda ng ‘goal time’ para sa karerang ito:  sub-4.

Tama ang hula ni Monica, di ako nakatulog noong gabi ng Pebrero 6, kung kaya’t ang aga ko nakarating sa Fort.  2:30 pa lang andun na ako sa aking favorite parking slot sa tabi ng ROX.  Maraming tao na din sa Fort sa mga oras na iyon:  mga lasheng galing Embassy at mga organizers ng Condura.  Di nagtagal, dumating na rin mga lalahok sa marathon.  Napagusapan namin ni Norman mag-pace.  Base sa naging karanasan ko sa Rizal Day Run, kinaya naman noon ang 5:30 pace para sa 30K kaya napagkasunduan namin na subukan ang pace na ito para sa buong marathon.  (Wala ako masabi, mayayabang talaga kami eh)

Bongga ang simula ng marathon.  May maikling programa: mga umiindak sa tunog ng “I Gotta Feeling” at fireworks pa.  At pagpatak ng 4am, sinumulan ko ng tahakin ang landas ng Unang Maria ko.  Tulad ng inaasahan pag kasabay si Stormin Norman, mabilis ang pace namin sa simula.  Umabot pa ata ng 5:10 sa unang 2 kilometro dahil sinusundan namin si Fiona na may Garmin.  Pagkaliko namin sa Bayani Road,  biglang nagdilim na talaga ang paligid.  Nahirapan kami ni Norman hanapin ang tamang pace.  Yung tipong komportable na pang matagalan.  Hindi nakatulong na wala kaming masilayan na kilometer markers kaya talagang literal na nangangapa kami sa dilim.  Nakuha namin ang unang 10k sa loob ng 52 minuto.  Pagbabayaran namin ito sa dulo ng karera 😦

Bagama’t may kabilisan nga ang pace namin, masasabi ko namang komportable siya.  Napakaraming aid station sa kalsada kaya nakuha ko pang lagpasan ang iilan dahil alam kong di magtatagal ay may susulpot na isa na namang aid station.  Nagbaon ako ng 3 GU gel para sa marathon.  Plano ko siyang kainin sa 15K, 25K at 35k bahagi ng karera.   Matapos ang isang oras sa daan, nakarating na rin kami sa Skyway.

Magandang tumakbo sa Skyway: walang building, walang kotse.  Ikaw lang at ang daan.  Sa bahaging ito ng karera, masasabi kong nakuha na namin ni Norman ang ritmo sa takbo.  Kaso nga lang, bandang mga 16K, naramdaman ko na unang kirot sa quads ko.  Hindi ko masabi kung ito ay dahil may mali sa takbo ko dahil dati rati naman nakakatapos ako ng 21k ng matiwasay.  Noong Rizal Day Run, maayos din naman ang pakiramdam ko noon maliban lang sa tuhod.  Pero ito naman ay sa quads.  Hmmmm.  Madilim pa rin ang paligid hanggang nakarating kami sa dulo ng Skyway sa Bicutan.  Pagkalampas ng 21K marker, ang oras namin ay 1:54.  Dito una ng pumasok sa isip ko ang pagdududa kung maabot ko nga ang goal ko na sub-4.  Oo, kailangan lang ng 2:05 para sa 2nd half pero sumasakit na ang quads.  Nakakahiya nga kay Norman dahil unti-unti na akong bumabagal.  Unti-unti na ring sumisikat ang araw na ok din naman dahil nakikita ko na rin ang paligid at ang kagandahan sa Skyway.

Pagkalampas ng toll booth, nakasalubong namin ang mga 21K runners at di nagtagal kinailangan namin humiwalay sa kanila para umahon sa NAIA interchange.  Di ko na nagawang umatake sa ahon dahil nga sa sakit na nararamdaman ko.  Pagpatak ng 30K, 2:43 na oras kaming tumatakbo.  Nagulat ako na mas mabilis pa ako ng 2 minuto sa Rizal Day Run.  Pero hanggang doon na lang talaga.  Sa madali’t salita, yun na ang last hurrah.  Sinabihan ko na si Norman na mauna na lang siya dahil di ko na kakayanin ang pace namin.  Pero dahil mabait si Norman, hindi niya ako iniwan.  Pagkababa namin mula sa Skyway, inalok pa ako ni Julian ng tabletas para ata tanggalin ang pagod.  Pero takot kasi sumubok ng bagong kakanin kaya inalok na lang niya ito kay Norman.  Bilib din ako kay Julian dahil ang sipag niyang sumuporta at kunan ng letrato ang mga kumakarera sa kabila ng kanyang injury sa paa 🙂

Pagbalik namin sa Buendia, pinatulan ko na rin ang liniment spray na inaalok nila doon sa Takbo.ph aid station.  Malaking tulong talaga ang aid station ng Takbo dahil bukod sa spray, nakahanda silang mag-cheer sa bawat mananakbo at namigay pa ng saging.  Nakakahiya nga at di man lang ako nagpasalamat.  Pasensya na dahil pero tinitiis ko na lang talaga ang sakit sa mga panahon na iyon.  Nagbigay ginhawa ang spray ng ilang minuto tapos bumalik na naman ang sakit.  Pero ngayon, parang may kutsilyo na sumasaksak sa quads ko.  Sabi ni Brett Sutton, dapat T.U.F.  (technique under fatigue).  Ani niya, sa mga oras na pagod na pagod ka dapat pa ring manatili ang technique.  Hindi puwede ang takbong tamad.  Pero lahat yan at mga turo ni Coach Jomak sa labas ng bintana.  Tapos, andiyan na ang Kalayaan flyover.

Baby steps na lang ako para lang makaahon sa flyover.  Marahil ito na ang sinasabi nilang Wall sa marathon.  Bagama’t sabi ng isip at baga ko na kaya pa, ayaw naman sumunod ng katawan.  Kahit sa ilang bahagi doon sa flyover na may downhill, di man lang ako makakuha ng momentum pababa para umayos-ayos naman ang takbo na tila mas lakad na sa mga oras na iyon.  Pagkababa mula sa flyover, nakita ko si Gerard na sinabayan ako ilang sandali.  Di ko rin nagawang magpasalamat sa kanya dahil gusto ko na talaga matapos ang karera at iyon lang ang nasa isip ko.  Kaso nga lang, iikot pa kami sa International School.  Sa mga sandaling iyon, medyo nauunawaan ko na ang naramdaman ni Hesus sa hardin ng Gethsemane.

Nakita ko ang 40km marker sabay tingin sa relo ko: 3:48.  Kaya pa sana ang sub-4 kung gawin ko muli ang pace namin ni Norman sa simula.  Sa totoo lang, sinubukan ko pa rin talaga tumakbo ng 5:30 pace.  Asa pa….wala na talaga.  Imbis na 5:30 at strong finish, 8:30 na lang ang pace ko sa huling 2 kilometro.  Maigi pa siguro kung naglakad na lang ako.  Pagkaliko sa 5th Avenue, andun si Gerard muling nakaabang para alalayan ako hanggang finish line.  “300 meters na lang” at ang mga katagang binitawan niya ang nagbigay lakas sa akin na magpanggap na malakas pa rin ako para tumakbo lampas ng finish line 🙂

Sa wakas, natapos na rin ang Unang Maria ko sa oras na 4:05:30.  Halong saya at lungkot ang nararamdaman ko ngayon.  (Oo nga pala, sakit din) Saya dahil sa suportang binigay ng mga kaibigan at kakilala sa karerang ito.  Alam niyo na kung sino kayo.  Lungkot hindi lang dahil sa di ko nakamit ang sub-4 pero yung di ko nagawang ayusin ang teknik sa pagtakbo.  Hindi naman sa dapat walang masakit pagkatapos ng marathon pero kung naging maayos ang porma sa takbo, ang sasakit lang dapat ay yung calf muscle di ba? Dahil ito ang ginagamit pang push-off.  Pero ako naman….quads.  Ano ito?  Di naman ako pumadyak.  Parang ginawa kong criterium race ang marathon.  Halos kapareho ito noong una akong sumali ng half-marathon sa Subic noong unang bahagi ng taong 2008.  Naalala ko sabi sa akin ni Coach Jomak noon, kaya masakit ang quads ko dahil nakaupo ako tumakbo.  So para akong nag-squat ng 2 oras kaya masakit.  Ngayon na 2010 na, pakiramdam ko tila walang nagbago sa akin.  Marahil takbong nakaupo pa rin kaya masakit ang quads 😦

Sa kabila ng lahat, mapalad pa rin ako sa pagkakataon na tumakbo at matuto mula sa karera kahapon.  Kung ang Condura 2009 ang nabigay sa akin ng PR sa half-marathon, ang Condura 2010 naman ang nagbigay ng leksyon sa akin na maging mapagkumbaba.  Huwag mangahas ng mga sub-4 na yan na hindi ko pa naayos ang tamang teknik at porma sa pagtakbo.  Pakiramdam ko ngayon ay hindi naiiba sa pakiramdam ko matapos ang Ironman 70.3 sa Camsur – noong may goal time ako na sub 6 pero natapos ako ng 6:11.

Pero kung may Camsur, nakabawi naman kahit papaano sa WRT 🙂

Ganun din dito.  Marami pang pagkakataon makabawi sa susunod na mga karera 🙂

Kailangan lang maging bukas, masipag at mapagkumbaba.

Tagay naman diyan!!!

December 30, 2009

Rizal Day Run

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 6:04 pm

30 December.  30 kilometers.  Done in 2:45:06.   Lechon – gone in 5 minutes.  Beautiful, rolling 4-loop course inside Camp Aguinaldo.  Beer.  Ice Cream.  Back to Basics, No Frills Race done the Bald Runner way.   Jose Rizal would have been proud.

Cheers!!

December 21, 2009

UPLB NAGT/Celebrity Run

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 4:54 am

It really must be December now since I can hardly fit in my trisuit.  Love handles are bulging out at the seams.  Good thing there were races this past weekend to hold the fatness at bay for a few hours at least 🙂

The UPLB NAGT which was originally scheduled on October 3 finally pushed through last Saturday with an 8:30am gunstart, instead of the usual 2pm in previous years.  Course was still the same as last year’s version which was good – it’s always nice to see if I can improve on last year’s time.  My wave started at 10:30am.

Swim – 15:44

8 loops, 4 x 25 meter/loop.  Jumping back to the pool after each 100m loop pretty much guarantees that it will be virtual washing machine throughout.  Was ecstatic climbing out after the first loop and seeing Leo Oracion diving for his second one 🙂  Twas the last time I saw him during the swim though.  The challenge in ‘multi-loops’ racing is making sure that I do the required number of loops so I won’t get disqualified.  I mean it’s ok to go overboard just like I did at the MOA duathlon last June but to get DQ’d just because I did not do enough loops….I’d rather not think about it.  So, that was all I thought about during the swim: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.  I was happy to see that I improved upon my last year’s time by a minute 🙂

Transition 1 – 1:22

Lately, I’ve had my shoes on and just clipping them before I begin my ride because I have a hard time putting my feet inside the shoes during the actual ride itself.  I know it will make for a faster transition time.  Something to ponder and work on for next year.

Bike – 56:10

4 loops of around 8kms per loop.  Did not bother counting loops this time because of the odometer 🙂  The course is pretty much flat with gradual and hardly noticeable inclines in certain segments.  The weather was cool although it was probably almost noon at this point.  In fact, it was even drizzling at certain stages.  Encountered headwind each time after the rotonda on the way back.  There were a couple of times when momentum was lost on account of traffic build-up where I had to slow down and bide my time in passing the jeep/tricycle for safety reasons but other than that, I tried to keep a solid pace, spinning the cranks with the right amount of effort that would not build up lactic in the quads.  For the bike leg, I was slower by 6 seconds from last year 😦

Transition 2 – 1:10

Coach Rick shouted that it was, in fact, lunch time.  Good thing the sun was hiding behind the clouds 🙂  And it was December, so that helped also.  Made sure to tighten the laces this time around which was probably the reason transition time was over a minute in this race.

Run – 27:30

One thing I’ve learned is that the different distances in triathlon races present different challenges.  Short distances are not easy and longer distances does not necessarily mean harder.  In fact, some would say that sprint distances are the toughest just because one races at threshold pace throughout the supposedly ‘short’ distance.  Such was the case for me in this race.  Was already huffing and puffing even as I began my first loop.  Of course, that incline out of transition didn’t help matters.  But the downhill section after that gave me the opportunity to coast and reload until the incline shows up again.  Running at a steady pace and reflecting on the year that has gone by.  Last multisport race of the year has gotten me nostalgic 🙂  Soon enough, I got to the finish line and finished at 1:41:58 by my watch.  Run was slower by 9 seconds from last year, but overall result was faster by a minute.  I’ll take that 🙂

Celebrity Run

Didn’t plan on running this race when it was originally scheduled sometime in October I think.  But then, in the midst of discussing preparations for the long distance races next year, I forced Javy to include me for this one since he wanted to do a 30K run in his preparation for Langkawi.  Alas, Javy got sick in the wee hours of Sunday morning 😦

Remember when I said that the New Balance Run was the toughest 21K yet?  Well, that title didn’t last long because of this one.  It’s the same New Balance route except that instead of going to the International School area, the first few kms were spent going to the Makati Business District which meant the Kalayaan flyover on the way back.  Also, while McKinley Hill was a constant in the 2 races, the runners for this race had to run all the way to the C5 turnaround point which meant cresting that short but very steep hill on the way back.  A challenging course for sure and it’s just too bad I was in no condition to race this one.  I barely slept Saturday night after watching Avatar in 3D 🙂  Thus, for this race the goals were simply to maintain good form throughout, establish consistent cadence and NEVER walk ’em hills.

I was busy chatting with Hector and Bobby at the barriers when suddenly the race started at around 5:40am.  It was a cool morning and drizzling just as it was at Los Banos the day before.  Took advantage of every water station nonetheless.  One advantage of running at a pace below race effort is that I was able to notice/appreciate the surroundings a bit more – just like that rainbow that appeared when I was inside McKinley Hill  🙂

I finished at 2:06:01 by my watch.  From what I’ve gathered in reading the other blogs, it appears that the course was longer than 21K.  The Garmin users who ran the race said that the course measured 22.2k.  Sayang, sub-2 sana 🙂

As far as initial goals were concerned, I think I was only able to achieve the third one 🙂  There were certain points where I knew my form suffered together with the cadence as a necessary consequence.  But all in all, I was still satisfied with my effort in this race.  After all, it was about putting the mileage in as I am about the begin the running block in my training.

No rest for the weary this holiday season.  Next up: Rizal Day 32K Run.

Cheers!!

December 14, 2009

Duathlon at Roxas Boulevard

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 4:35 am

The final leg of the Powerade Duathlon series was a standard distance race held at the Quirino Grandstand.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a multisport race at Roxas Boulevard.  In fact, in a previous post and in an ideal world, I thought it would be perfect to hold an Ironman event at Manila Bay.  But I guess the duathlon yesterday would be the closest thing to such a reality taking place.

The race started late at around 7am because the officials had a hard time closing the south-bound lane of Roxas Boulevard.  I pretty much expected this problem considering it was a Sunday and there’d be a lot of strollers at Baywalk and Luneta.  But I didn’t know the magnitude of the problem until much later during the bike portion.

First Run – 44:41

Javy and I tried to agree on a pace for the first run.  I said, “4:45?” to which Javy countered with, “Bahala na…”  And right then, I knew I was gonna run alone once again 🙂  True enough, once we started, I was only able to keep up with Javy for a good 10 meters – and only because we had to negotiate our way past some runners during the initial stages of the race.  Soon, I spotted Belle once again and I knew I’m running with the right amount of effort.  Maybe, I should talk to Belle instead of Javy 🙂  Anyway, the first run consisted of 2 loops from Quirino Grandstand to Quirino Avenue and back.  Just maintained a steady rhythm until I reached transition 1 after 44 minutes.

Transition 1 – 1:22

I ran past my bike but not much.  Scampered back and put on the cycling stuff while a cameraman was taking a video of the proceedings.  Wonder where they’re gonna show this, if at all – I must have looked silly 🙂

Bike – 1:10:48

Ah, this was the highlight of the race by far.  I guess a flat and fast course would be quite boring so dodging the pedestrians along the way proved to be quite a challenge.  Had to be mentally alert throughout and spot potential risk-takers who’d  dare cross the street and shout “Bike! Bike!” early on to avoid accidents.  It was really dangerous especially when the vehicles along Kalaw Street took matters into their own hands and began crossing the intersection. If not for the spectators who yelled for me to stop, I would have surely crashed for sure 😦  In a flat course such as this one, I can usually spin at an optimum cadence using the 3rd or 2nd to the smallest cog.  But I noticed that I used the middle cogs for pretty much the entire 40K distance in this race. Wonder where the drag came from because it wasn’t windy yesterday.  Hmmmmm…

Transition 2 – 0:52

Fastest transition time for me 🙂  In my rush, I didn’t tighten the laces properly.  Had to get by with “loose” shoes for the second run 😮

Second Run – 23:35

Spent the first few minutes getting my bearings and then settled into a good rhythm.  Of course, it certainly helped that I know whatever suffering I felt at that point would soon be over in half an hour.  At this point of the race, I usually try to mark whoever is in front of me as targets – that is, if I can gauge from their pace that they can be caught.  However, for this race, whoever was ahead of me is too far along for me to even contemplate picking up the pace.  I know, what a loser right?  Whatever happened to mustering your best effort in every race regardless of the circumstances?  Crossed the finish at 2:21:18 by my watch.

I was glad to be able to improve on my time at Subic by about 4 minutes 🙂  Finally able to manage sub 5 min/km pace for a run off the bike as well 🙂  The key now would be to see if I can hold that pace for a longer distance such as 10k.

I don’t know if I should mention this but I’m thinking of a signature pose at the finish 🙂  Javy’s got his headstand going.  For this race, I did a genuflect as I put my head to the ground.  (originally wanted to kiss the ground, but body was hurting and only managed to put my head down)  I know, OA to the max 🙂  Any better suggestions?

Cheers!!

Last race for the year:  UPLB NAGT

December 3, 2009

New Balance Racing Hope

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 5:24 am

Well, that was the toughest 21K yet.

Originally, this New Balance run was supposed to serve as a tune-up race for WRT.  But then, Ondoy visited our country.  Thus, Extribe had to reschedule the race to November 29.  Coming off a good run at the KOTR, I wanted to see if I could maintain a consistent performance at a half-marathon distance.

I positioned myself out in front and before I knew it the bugle horn sounded signaling the start of the race.  My personal best for a 21k was 1:45:57 that was set early this year at Condura.  I guess it must have been a dream of some sort or an aberration because I can’t seem to muster the same effort/success in the succeeding races.  At the outset, I knew it would be difficult to set a new PB in this race considering the hilly terrain.  But then, will never know unless I give it a try, right? 🙂

For the initial kilometers into the International School area, I was maintaining a 5 min/km pace.  It was dark when we started and it was pretty cool which certainly helped in maintaining the pace.  The route towards the IS area was a new one and I welcomed the new sights around the Fort. Pretty soon, I found myself pacing with a familiar participant, Belle Grandinetti. During the last duathlon at Subic, we ran pretty much the same pace for the first run.

There were markings for every kilometer that we passed and it helped me gauge my pace throughout the race.  I felt a good rhythm and tried to maintain it through the rolling terrain at Lawton Avenue.  Jumbo and Bombee of Tri Clark passed me right after Essensa as we made our way towards Bayani Road.  In the past, the marshals would have the participants turn left once we hit Bayani Road.  In this race, however, we had to go on straight and make a U-Turn further down Lawton Avenue before coming back and making a right turn at Bayani Road.  The next turnaround point would be just before C-5.  And I guess these little bit of changes in the usual Fort route took its toll on me as I found myself slowing down as I entered McKinley Hill.  It was at this point where the race became a mental challenge for me.

After going down the initial hill, the participants had to turn right and ran on cemented roads.  Didn’t like the pounding it gave me.  In fact, I was really hoping that the marshals would point left going back to the Fort when I made my way back to the main road.  I was already running to a crawl at this point dreading that killer hill at the C-5 turnaround.  It was a good thing though that the turnaround came much earlier than I expected – just before the Korean School.  It was all the push I needed to get me over the last hill back to Lawton Avenue.

By this time, I was probably doing 5:30 min/km pace and I was just hoping that the race be over and done with.  Training buddy Norman came up beside me just before Essensa and I told him to go ahead because I was already spent.  When I saw the 20km marker, I tried my best to muster a sprint finish.  Well, at least to me it felt like a sprint.  But I knew I was just lugging my ass towards the finish.  Finally finished at 1:48:16 by my watch.

Congrats to Extribe for a well-organized race.  Challenging 21k course inside the Fort.  Unique set-up of 2 start/finish banners for better crowd control.  Looking forward to going back to Clark next year to take on the 25k challenge once again.

Cheers!

Next:  Powerade Duathlon Final Leg

November 19, 2009

Asian Duathlon Championships

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 8:38 am

It was the week after WRT and while reason dictates that I should be resting this one out, I guess I’m just a sucker for races 🙂  But seriously, I consider it real blessing to be able to do this sport and I try to get as many races under my belt for the experience and because one never knows what will happen in the future.  Tomorrow or the week after that, my body might just give up on me and then…..

Kap and I got to Subic Saturday afternoon just in time for the race briefing.  I was amazed with the number of foreigners milling about.  Talk about International Colors of Bennetton 🙂  As Coach Rick said in his email, the top duathletes of the world were present and we’re gonna do the same race as them.  How cool is that?  All of us were treated to a dinner buffet and probably the only damper was the news that the bike route was modified the last minute for safety reasons.  Instead of the usual hilly route past the airport, the participants are just going to do 2 20K loops of flat terrain.  Initially, I was disappointed with this development because I’ve always looked forward to climbing the hills at Subic.  But then, a flat and fast course would be an opportunity to set a personal best 🙂

Run 1: 46:58 (10K)

The athletes were sent out in waves with the age-groupers sent out last at around 6:15 am.  It felt cool that morning as everybody sprinted out of the starting line.  This first run consisted of 2 loops around the Events Convention Center.  I was able to settle in a good rhythm from the get-go but I was really astonished at the speed of my fellow racers.  I knew I was doing a sub-5/km pace but it felt really slow compared to the others.  People were passing me left and right 🙂  Soon enough, I found myself pacing behind Rune Stroem – only because he was out of shape 🙂  Later, it was Joyette Jopson who ran past me as another lady runner (Belle Grandinetti) and I took turns setting the pace.  As it turned out, whatever pace we set was enough for me to churn out my first-ever official sub-50 10K time.  Woohoo!  One lesson I’ve learned is always to run your own race.  Don’t mind the others even as they speed up and run past you.  Sometimes, this is easier said than done because ego does get in the way — especially when getting chicked 🙂  Check that ego at the door.  Makes for a fun and a more satisfying race 🙂

Transition 1: 1:35

I ran past my bike.  Must be the adrenalin of that sub-50.

Bike: 1:09:56 (40K)

The bike route was flat and fast.  As I mentioned earlier, the route consisted of 2 20K loops.  First turnaround was the road just before Subic International Hotel and the 2nd turnaround point was at the Building that used to house FedEX before it moved to China.  I concentrated on maintaining a fast cadence of around 90 rpm.  Did I mention that the route was flat and fast?  Getting a sip from my Gatorade was such a chore and I was only able to drink during the turnarounds.  Otherwise, I tried my best to maintain a tucked aero position throughout.  Averaged around 33km/hr  for the duration of the bike leg.

Transition 2:  1:07

Wasn’t lost this time 🙂  Racked the bike, put on the visor, drank Gatorade, then off to run.

Run 2:  26:04

Just tried to maintain the same rhythm during the first run.  Other age groupers were too far ahead I guess because I hardly saw anyone throughout the 2nd run.  In fact, the leaders were probably finished by the time I began my 2nd run 🙂  Yeah, I remember them announcing George Vilog’s name as I exited T2.  My run off-the-bike in this race is pretty much consistent with the pace set at previous races.  Somewhere along the 5:05 to 5:10/km range.  Still a work in progress.  But I take solace in that, at least, it’s been consistent.  Eventually finished with a total time of 2:25:40, a personal best for standard-distance duathlon.  Now, I have a benchmark for the duathlon this December at Quirino Grandstand.  Another race which promises to be fast and furious as well.  I just hope I’ll be able to keep up 🙂

Just want to congratulate my team for a solid showing at the DU last Sunday.  To Kap for finishing first in our age group; To Tina for finishing first in hers; To Jupiter for finishing first in his age group as well.  To Monica for bouncing back from a disappointing Powerman Malaysia to a 3rd place finish at ADC (2nd among Asians).  Thank you to Gerard for sharing his home at Subic.  Congratulations to TRAP for another memorable race.

Cheers!

Next Stop:  New Balance Power Run.

November 9, 2009

Whiterock 2009

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 7:09 am

Swim:

– Water was unbelievably buoyant.  Minimal effort to propel forward.

– 3 loops counter-clockwise.  Advantage for those who breathe on the left side like me.

– Difficulty in sighting on the way back to shore because of the sun.

– Course may have been short by about 400 meters at least.

Bike:

– Out and back route.

– Spin at 85-90 rpm throughout.

– Even as the others passed me, focused on holding back the urge to speed up.

– Nutrition was adequate.  Consumed 2 and a half cans of Ensure as well as 2 bottles of Gatorade.  Threw my old bottle at the turnaround.

–  It was a fast ride going out to the turnaround but had to fight headwind/crosswind coming back.  It was getting a bit hotter at this point as well.

– Felt good throughout the race.  Maintained speed of about 33.3km/hr.

Run:

– Baby steps at the beginning.

– Hills began at about the 3km mark.

– Was able to run at a decent pace upon reaching Subic.

– Adequate aid stations offering Coke, Gatorade, water, bananas.  I especially liked the ones where blocks of ice were also offered.  Did not resist putting some inside my jersey.

– Weather was not as hot as it was at Camsur.

– On the way back, Fiona passed me at heartbreak hills.  Gotta love that running form.

– Stride finally opened up on the downhills.  Didn’t let go anymore till I reached the finish.

– Finishing time not important.  Experience is what counts.

Next Stop:  Asian Duathlon Championships

Cheers!

 

October 23, 2009

Tri N Tri

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 6:05 am

Last Sunday found me on the starting block once again at Alabang for this year’s NAGT series.  It was a special day as it was my Dad’s birthday and it also marked the third year since my first race at good ‘ol Narra Street.  Judging by the number of participants that day, it certainly looked like triathlon is here to stay 🙂  Raced without a watch again, so the times posted here are based on TRAP’s official results.  Here’s my report:

Swim – 17:44

Swam with the usual big contingent comprising the 35-39 age groupers.  At the start, I positioned myself beside Alfred Racho who is a strong swimmer with the intention of drafting off of him.  I told him as much 🙂  Alfred, for his part, positioned himself right behind Jon Rufino and David Verlee.  So, good luck to us 🙂  It was a wild sprint after the starting horn sounded, all of us with the same intention to get ahead of the crowd.  Was able to keep up with Alfred for the first few laps and settled into a good rhythm.  Maybe it was the thrill of competing in a race  or the adrenalin rush, but I found myself swimming harder than planned. Probably a level or two below threshold.  Comfortably-hard pace, if there’s such a thing.

Bike – 57:20

For the past few races, I put on my cleats before getting on the bike.  No more of those “attached cleats before riding” thing that I was trying out before.  I’ve always had difficulty to put my feet inside the cleats while riding anyway so why bother riding like a pro, right? 🙂  Anyways, I pedaled with Coach Jomak’s admonition in mind:  Spin faster, lighter gear.  So the run won’t suffer.  Initially, I thought that spinning at a lighter gear might slow me down.  Jomak told me otherwise and said that in fact, it would help me run better.  Guess what?  Lesson No. 1:  ALWAYS LISTEN AND FOLLOW the advice coming from an ITU Coach 🙂  Using the previous bike times/speed as benchmark, I pretty much maintained the same speed as before.

5 kms into the bike leg. Jon Rufino overtook me and soon he was no longer in sight 🙂  Gotta love the sound of those disc wheels as he zoomed past me.  At this point, I was glad I still managed to get a sip from my water bottle before it jumped out of the bottle cage.  Probably as a result of the numerous humps throughout the bike course.  I tried getting the water cups from the aid stations on the fly but I found it difficult to balance with one arm extended to get the cups.  “Di bale na nga,” I told myself.  Thank God  this was a sprint distance race 🙂

Run – 35:44

Throat was parched as I got into T2.  Water bottle from the marshall saved the day for me 🙂  Headed out of T2 with the aim of establishing a good rhythm.  Nowadays, I consider a race successful if I’m able to get a decent run at at the end.  It’s not that I don’t value swimming or biking.  But the run will show if  I’ve managed myself well during the first 2 stages of a triathlon race.  Blowing up during the run usually means I fucked up earlier in the race.  Pardon the language 🙂  Either nutrition was not adequate or I might have pushed myself too hard on the swim/bike leg.

About a kilometer or two into the run, I was overtaken by Fernando Ferrer of Sunkist Tri-Hard.  Looking at him run, I knew I couldn’t keep up with his easy gait and long strides 🙂  But I was quite happy with the pace I have set although there was no Javy Olives to run with this time around 🙂  Another comfortably-hard pace again just like the swim up until the hilly portion beside the Country Club when I suddenly heard footsteps behind me.  Did not bother looking behind as I increased my pace.  But the footsteps were still there.  I think this went on for a good kilometer at least.  I remember thinking, “Oh no! This is now a race and somebody is gunning for me.”  What if he came up beside me?  I don’t know if I can match him stride for stride.  I just took comfort in the thought that whatever happens, I’ll just do my best 🙂  Pretty soon, a few hundred meters before the turns toward the finish, the footsteps were gone.  Tried to muster a snappy salute to my teammates from Team PMI who were kind enough to wait for me as I crossed the finish line.

Overall time: 1:50:48

Yup, Coach Jomak was right.  Ever since I followed his advice from the debacle that was Camsur, I was able to run better off the bike.  Run splits from the races that I joined since Camsur show that with faster/lighter spinning, I managed to maintain a 5:06 km/pace for a 3.5, 5 and now 7 km distance.  Probably, a loser pace for most triathletes out there.  But for me, anything close to 5 min/km pace off the bike is a winner in my book 🙂  Now, if only I can maintain something like that for a standard distance race, I can die a happy man 🙂  I’m really happy with this race only because as it turned out, my times improved across-the-board from similar races at the same venue.  That it happened on the day of my Dad’s birthday and my third year anniversary as a triathlete only made it more special.

This one’s for you Dad!

Cheers!

P.S.  Congratulations to Rachel Manglicmot (First Lady of Team PMI) for a solid showing in her first triathlon.  (Flat pa yan sa bike sa lagay na yan ha) 🙂

Next up:  Adidas KOTR

September 22, 2009

The DU at MOA

Filed under: Races — levyang @ 4:39 am

Sunday was the 3rd leg of the Powerade Duathlon series organized by Thumbie and Popo Remigio.  I was there for the first two legs, so I just had to be there to complete the threesome 🙂  Got my race pack the day before at Bike King so I didn’t have to be at the race venue before the sun rises.  My wife and I got to the race venue at around 6am and I noticed that the number of participants were not as big as before 😦  The course for the 3rd leg is pretty much the same as the one that was used for the 2nd leg.  First Run consisted of 2 loops of 3.5km each making a total of 7K.  The bike leg was 6 loops with each loop measuring around 5 kilometers and change. 2nd Run is just one loop measuring 3.5K.  The course was flat, race is going to be fast and furious 🙂

The usual suspects were there:  Robeno Javier, August Benedicto for the men while Monica Torres and Mirasol Abad for the women.  Was glad to see Makoy DU-ing his first DU along with Mrs. Olives 🙂  (In the multisport world, Hannah the erstwhile rock star and vocalist of the band Session Road will always be known as Javy’s wife) 🙂

I thought I should mention that when I did the 2nd leg of the Powerade Duathlon, I did an extra loop of the bike leg.  Although I’m Chinese and am supposed to be good at math, I never liked counting loops.  Thus, when my cyclometer read 26kms after doing 5 loops then, I did another loop to reach the mandated 30kms.  It’s all good in any case because at least now I have a benchmark for this race when we’re really doing 6 loops of the bike leg 🙂

First Run

Before the race, I saw ULTRA training buddies, Norman and Julian, and we agreed to pace each other for the first run 🙂  It was really kind of them to accommodate me considering that I’m racing without a watch again.  Kinda like taking the bar exams without a pen 🙂   The starting gun was fired before 7am and we were off.  Norman and Julian set a pretty good pace.  These guys kill me at the track so I was quite ecstatic just to be able to keep up with them off the bat 🙂  As for Javy  (my supposed pacer for the 2nd leg), while I missed him this race, he’s in another league altogether 🙂  I was just drafting behind Norman and Julian the whole way and they didn’t miss a beat even while partaking of liquid refreshments at the aid stations.  As for me, I did not bother to drink anymore after the first aid station lest I lose any more ground to these greyhounds 🙂  Pretty soon, we were at T1.  I asked Julian what our time was for the first run and he blurted out 33-something.  Nice 🙂

Bike Leg

After the Camsur debacle, I’ve taken Coach Jomak’s advice to heart.  No more of those mashing the smallest rear cog, except during trainings 🙂  I was worried though that I might go slower using the 3rd from the smallest cog but as it turned out, power output was pretty much the same 🙂  No, I don’t have a power meter on my bike.  Just describing how I felt 🙂  Faster spin with less effort.  Was hanging with teammate, Ernan, during the first 2 loops of the bike.  One good thing about biking multiple loops is that you’re bound to see them pros/elite athletes up close once they lap you.  Right about the 3rd or 4th loop, it was such a thrill to see the likes of Jeff Valdez and George Vilog up close as they passed me 🙂  Got to T2 with my timer at the bike showing 55 minutes and change.  I was really happy to maintain close to 35km/hr. for the duration of the bike leg 🙂

2nd Run

This is the part that spells either success or failure for me during races – the run off the bike.  At sprint distances such as this one, the book says that it should be threshold effort throughout from the get go.  But, I still have a loving wife and 4 kids who are in elementary school.  Bottom line, I still want to live a bit longer 🙂  Yeah, I know, I’m making excuses 🙂  I have to work on this a bit.  A good effort would be to maintain a pace below 5min/km.  Watch or no watch, I know I didn’t meet the standard by the time I crossed the finish.  The effort was similar to the run at the UP Law Triathlon which was a little over 5min/km pace.

Ellet informed me that she timed my whole race at 1:49:06.  As it turned out, it was a second off the official results which had me finishing at 1:49:07.  My official splits were:  33:53 for the first run; 56:51 for the bike; and 18:22 for the run.  I’m happy that my second run was an improvement from the 2nd leg where I posted a time of 19:11.  Still, a work in progress nonetheless.  But I take consolation in that it appears I’m moving in the right direction 🙂

Didn’t stay long for the awarding.  But I would like to send my biggest to cheers to the following:  Solid performances for the first timers like Makoy and Julian and even a podium finish for Mrs. Olives, Javy’s wife 🙂 Hats Off to August for placing 2nd overall (Men) and Monica for bagging first overall (Women).  High Fives to Kap for placing 2nd in his age group and Ernan for placing 3rd in his and also to Junie for topping her age group while Tina Reyes placed 2nd in her age group.  GO TEAM PMI!!!

Cheers!!! On to New Balance.

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