Go! St. Louis Marathon : My Half Marathon Come Back

It’s been a while since I had my last half marathon, maybe last 10 months ago from the time when I’m in the US or maybe a year, I lost count. I thought then I should get back to serious running. Besides, spring is in, summer is coming and I need to lose those weight I invested in during the winter days. So I registered to the “Go! St Louis Marathon and Family Fitness Weekend”. I’m guessing its one of the best running events in St Louis, Missouri so I go for the half marathon. As long as tech shirts and medals are included, I’m fine with it.

Honestly, a week before the run I’m not confident enough to the thought that I can run the distance the same way I was running it before. Two weeks before the race, I did a challenging 10k trail run and it did made me wonder if I can run longer with the same cold weather and difficult road elevation. So I did have hesitations, trying to look for signs if I should go or not. But then, I went on during the week trying to prepare myself in between my busy work schedule. And I should say thanks to my years of running experience that I was able to conquer another half marathon. This time, in a different route, in a different country and city and with a different weather I’m not used to. So here are some of the things that helped me prepare for this run. I also added some points and tips that can help beginner and experienced runners in their own half marathons…

Pre-Race

  • Training

I only have a single planned training and it’s a week before the race. I just need at least one 10k run on the weekend before the race. Saturday, I was able to do a 7k. I blamed the heat, the very challenging road in Creve Coeur, and the forming blister on my left foot. I did not plan for another run, but came Sunday I was back on the road. This time I put on my other older shoes (I was using a new pair on my Saturday training) and didn’t bring my hydration bottle with me. I finished my 10k training. I had the same blisters but was able to get through with it. Friday before the race I was able to do another easy run with 5k distance.

I wouldn’t recommend this training to half marathon beginners. The best approach in any training, even for experienced runners like me, is to have at least 3 runs in a week in at least 2 months before the race. At least one of those run in a week is a long distance one. For half marathon, I can say 10k to 16k can be the long distance training. Better if you can go further than that as well. There are a lot of site or apps that provides training calendar. The Go! St Louis website has a Training Program that is also useful.

  • Food and Nutrition

I was on a strict diet for almost a month before the race. I wouldn’t say it’s a healthy diet. I eat whatever fits on my required calorie content for a day. A week before the race, I took a break on the calorie counting and went back to eating rice. I brought bananas and a daily dose of vitamins in my everyday meal. A day before the race, I munched on carb rich foods as much as I can. Since I was used to eating less before, the carbo loading is like an eating challenge I need to get through with.

  • Rest

This is one important factor to help you gear up on the race day. Do not do long runs a few days before the race. Cramming is not good in sports. If you have not done your long distance run a week before, trust on your previous training and focus on getting stronger through nutrition and enough rest.

Sleep early before the race day. Some people can’t find sleep a day before the race. It happens because it might not be the usual bedtime you are used to. A week before the race, practice early bedtime and go for the 8 hours recommended sleep. My practice before race day, I sleep over during the day as I also have problems sleeping early the night before the race. If you have a gun start anxiety like me where I worry I won’t be able to wake up on time and might missed the gun start or just too excited to run, you can do the same.

Race Day

  • Running Clothes and Gears

In any running distance, runner’s rule is to not try anything new on the race day. As I am more comfortable on my older shoes which I also used on my trainings, I had to stick with it. For half marathons and other longer distances, I usually put on my compression tights. Based on my experience, it does help lessen the pain during and after the race. Also, I put on kinesio tapes for my feet. I found that during and after my long run trainings before the race, my feet hurts I end up limping my way home. So I said I need to do something about it. Kinesio tapes are actually used to minimize pain and injury and it works well on me during and after my race.

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The Go! St Louis marathon day was predicted to be a sunny one. So I put on my running cap, brought my sunglasses and applied sun screen for protection. It is very important to know the weather during a run, especially in the US where temperature changes almost everyday. Mornings can be cold and people gear up with jackets or long sleeve clothes and then end up putting them away in the middle of the run. As for me, I preferred to stick with the short sleeve tech shirt and just bear the cold at the start line.

I didn’t want to bring a lot of my stuff during the run and that’s where I utilized the gear check in. Running lighter is running better. I only had my running belt where I placed my phone, energy gels, race bib and my hydration bottle and I’m good to go.

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  • Food and Hydration

It is also important to plan food and hydration on the race day. At least an hour before the run, take a light snack. I usually have banana and bread with butter in the morning. Do not eat big. The one thing you don’t like to encounter in a race is an upset stomach. Fifteen minutes before gun start, I load up one of my energy gel. I brought additional 2 energy gels that I will consume every hour thereafter during the race. Roctane and GU gels are usually the ones I alternate to consume on races.

Even though I trained my 10k without hydration, I planned to bring one on the race. Checking the race map of Go! St Louis, they have hydration aids every 2 miles. In Manila, the usual hydration distance is every mile. In anyway, I need my hydration bottle for fear of getting dehydrated. I brought my simple hydration bottle that is light and hooks perfectly on my running belt. Water is always the best choice during runs, but if energy drinks are available in hydration aids I alternate it with water.

Post-Race

I don’t have a lot to say here but I did enjoyed my first half marathon in the US. The crowd and the cheers are encouraging and I had fun reading their shout out signs. Based from feedback, the Go! St Louis has a better route this year as it had less of the uphill and downhill roads. It’s a good thing that I’ve trained in one challenging route.

After the race, the best thing to do is go around the expo, show off your hard earned medal and grab all freebies you find. Too bad I was not able to do that during the Go! St Louis event as I have to leave early for another appointment. The best part of completing a long run is having the privilege to eat bigger meals. So I indulged in a good meal, had a refreshing bath and rested my tired legs and feet. It will be pain in the next couple of days but those are sweet pains of achievement.

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I hope to have more long runs this year and with the same quality and fun as the Go! St Louis Marathon event. Keep running!

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I Finished A Marathon: My TBR Dream Marathon Experience

The Calling

I never planned on running a marathon this year. Besides, I still have a few years before I turn 30 (being part of my 30 things before 30). My fellow runners are getting excited to this “The Bull Runner Dream Marathon (TBRDM)” thing. I told them it’s not for me yet. Though sometimes I will watch videos and check out blogs about this run and then listen to my running buddies’ stories on why they want to join. Still, doesn’t feel like ready to do it sooner.

Came registration day, I was in my usual Facebook weekend time. Suddenly, messages are popping up in my chat windows. Jonah and Belle, my usual running buddies, telling me to give it a try and register. Anyway, I’m just reserving a slot and still can go out anytime I feel like not doing it. Of course, I did move on with the registration and everything. I told myself, everybody I know is doing it in 2013 at the TBR, might as well join them. Besides I got a few months to train.

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With around five months to prepare, I know I have a good feel of long runs already. Being able to join a number of half marathons within the year is a good jump-start for my training. But still, 42km is twice the distance and might be more than twice the pain. What’s good about the TBRDM is that they provide you with the program on how you will be able to finish your first marathon. Though it really requires focus and discipline. For a full time employee rendering 9 hours or more everyday in the office and an MBA student taking 4 hours of my weekend in school is already a lot. Now I need to squeeze a little more time for training.

What did motivated me to train is my running club buddies and the Ayala Triads group training every Tuesday. I would admit that I didn’t really execute the program as said by our coaches. At least 2 short runs and 1 long run every week doesn’t fit my schedule so I tried to have at least one training on weekdays and register for longer runs on weekends. Still I don’t get to stick on it on all weekdays and weekends due to time and money constraint.

Two months before the event, I decided to enroll on a weekday MBA class so I can have the weekend available for training. Also, my running buds and me plan on checking in at a nearby hotel on the Saturday before the marathon so I’ll be available that day and never have to miss a class. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I enrolled on a Tuesday class. That means I will be missing my trainings with Triads. So everything is upon my hands to really have the effort to train on my own. And I only had 25km for my longest run so far. (See my other blog for my 25k experience)

Three Weeks on Taper

Condura Skyway Marathon was my last long run, running my half marathon to prepare for TBR. I planned on going around the race route to complete 30km but one of my running buddies told me I should not stressed myself to running more and just concentrate on conditioning myself for the marathon. And so I did, even feeling relieved that I didn’t force myself to run under the heat of the sun.

After my half marathon, I realized that I feel some pain on my right big toe every time I do long runs. Being worried that it might affect my performance during the marathon, I went to see a doctor. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with gout – a type of arthritis cause by high level of uric acid where uric crystals are deposited in the joints making it swollen. I had to go through medications and limit the type of food I take to lessen the pain and to avoid worsening the condition.

That last three weeks doesn’t really feel like taper for me. I have less mileage than anybody else, which is what I believe in. My longest mileage per week could have been 30km and that happens a week only per month. So taper period was just my usual run. I only did 6 to 10km of run once each week during the taper period. The last weekend before the event, I did a 12km run. Three days before, I did a 4km run on a night with rain shower. Then I remembered what Coach Lit said, do not do anything that will risk your health before the marathon. And my gout medication lowers my immune system so I have to stop for a few days. After running in rain shower, I have colds right in the morning. Fortunately, I drunk lots of water the whole day and were able to feel normal again.

A Day Before the Event

The day before the marathon, I met up with Karlo and Mark early in the morning. We are in Paseo de Sta. Rosa around 12nn just in time for lunch then checked in by 2pm at Technopark Hotel. We planned on taking more rest and getting ready for the marathon. We had all our things checked, race belts, GU gels, compressions, rocktapes, shades, sun visors and anything we plan on putting on during the run. Our room has poor phone signal and no wi-fi available so we just took some sleep.

It was not so much of a sleep for me. I was playing on my iPad then tried to sleep but I feel that I just rested my body but didn’t get the nap I want. I went outside for a wi-fi spot. My running buddies eventually get up also and we decided to have an early dinner. Food delivery came by around 6pm and we got our last carbo-loading meal before the event. After that, we slept and woke up by 10pm to prepare. We planned to leave by 12mn to the event venue.

The Marathon

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12:30AM, we were picked up by a free ride to Nuvali. Upon arrival, we deposit our stuff, get our timing chips and do some stretches. At exactly 2AM, we have out gun start. I told the two guys I will do the 2:1 pace, walk on uphill and run the downhill. Every 10km, I will do my break and have some rest at the pump up stations. I will do my first 10km slow to preserve energy and see after that how fast can I go further. Then Mark will tell me if I’m already going faster.

The three of us run together until around 2 or 3km. Karlo was trying to get a feel of his injury, checking if he can go faster. He already mentioned he might declare DNF (Did Not Finish) if he feel he can’t go further with the injury. Eventually, he went his way faster and left Mark and I behind.

On our first 10km, everybody was relaxed, having a light mood and greeting familiar faces. I was excited, but have worries thinking whether I will still feel that great on the 21km mark. I wanted to go faster, but didn’t want to reach that thing they call the “wall”. All I wanted is to enjoy my first marathon.

The second 10km is more of the uphill and downhill part. So this is the part that we need to stick to our rule. And even with uphill challenges, it was too early for pain. At around 16km, I feel little pain but more of the usual ache when you stand long hours. When we get to the 20km mark, I did more stretches. Trying to pump up for the second part of the run. The pain is there already but it was tolerable. My mind was still set that I will finish the race and no pain will stop me.

For the second part of the race, I made sure that I won’t feel dizzy or inadequate. I stopped at every hydration station and ate something just enough to keep me going. I was not able to follow the every 10km mark during this time. Whenever I feel the need to stretch and rest for a while, I find the time to do it. At 31km mark, I feel the pain crawling from my feet to my legs. My muscles are starting to get harder and we’re already trying to walk backwards just to try to ease some of the pain.

When we reached the station where we can get massage and some liniments, we took our time and grab some food as well. We asked for the roller massage to soften our back leg muscles. It did work and we keep on running. Rain showers start at 33km and then stopped and we were welcomed with a rainbow. Then the sun starts to rise and kept us warmer.

Pain and a little impatience are starting to creep over me. Still, we do our 2:1 program except for uphill roads. Until we reached our last 4km and I was surprised to see my Triads coach and running buddies. It had lighten up my mood to see some familiar faces supporting us to go a little more on our last few kilometers. I was already pushing myself on those last 4 kms. Having a positive mind set under the heat of the sun at past 8AM in the morning was a challenge. On my last kilometer, I was already feeling light headed and hungry. So we slow it down for a while. Then run our way through the finish line when we see our avid cheerers waiting, standing under the heat of the sun. I finished my first marathon at 6 hours and 53 minutes. While Running Host tells everybody that I just crossed the finish line.

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New Balance Power Run 2012: A Journey to 25K

After my four 16km and seven 21km run (counted my medals and that’s what I got), I finally conquered my farthest distance so far. The decision was made when New Balance, in cooperation with RunRio, released the photo of the 25km finisher medal. Without any second thought I registered to the event. Though at the last minute I realized that it will be a week before my 21km run at The Bull Runner Dream Team event, I told myself I already done a three week three consecutive long runs before (21km – 21km – 16km distances). What is it that I can’t handle? So I registered and looked forward for November 11.

PRE-RACE PREPS

The usual early bird that I am, I get out of bed at 2:30am in the morning of November 11. After 5 hrs of sleep, I drag myself out of bed. Still the same feeling where I would think of “Would it be better to stay in bed rather than run 25km?”. Good thing that I still have the motivation to select the latter. So I prepare on my early morning shower to help me wake my nerves. Turns out that it’s the first day of my monthly visit. Damn! It’s actually the day I feel the most pain. After taking my bath, I thought maybe some medicines can help me out that day. After checking if its safe to take the meds with an empty stomach, I took one and geared off to Bonifacio Global City.

I arrived at BGC past 3:00am. I found a spot, put on my race bib, my armband and my earphones. My next stop is the baggage area and thankfully, it is not yet crowded. After disposing my things at the baggage tent, I finally got to stretch and do warm ups. There are still few people but after I completed my routines, the streets are starting to get crowded. And I see Coach Rio starting to give guidelines to the event staffs and marshals while riding his bicycle in the early morning.

To complete my pre-race to do’s, I setup my Nike+ app in my iPhone. I created a target to complete the race at the most 3 hours and 30 minutes. And then I setup my Soleus sportswatch for my interval timer. Since I did 3 – 1 galloway on my last training (3 minutes run and 1 minute walk), I thought its going to work as well during my 25k run. After all the setups, I finally walk through the crowd of people and waited in the start line for the program and some warmups.

DURING THE RACE

After the simple stretching and a video showing of the 25km route, the countdown started and then we’re off at 4:20 in the morning. I started my Nike+ making sure GPS is strong. I was planning to run as long as I can before I can start my interval timer. After all the trainings of run and walk intervals, I think I got the most of it. On the first hydration station which is around 1.5km, I already started walking. After getting some water and a minute of walking, I started my 3-1 galloway.

I was actually doing fine with the intervals but after 4 or 5km, I was being anxious on the time and thought 3 minutes run is too much for me. I still need to preserve my energy to finish the race and the technique is not really helping. So in my 5km mark, I setup my watch to count 2 – 1 interval instead. Then after 2 to 3km, I was again being anxious. I was always checking my watch if its already time to walk. There will be some point where I will just walk even if its still time to run. At that point, I told myself I will pace myself according to what I can handle. Since I observed that I run less than 2 minutes but I can also cut my walking time to 30 seconds, I think I wouldn’t slow down that much doing my own pacing. So everything will be based on the capacity of my body and mind conditioning.

At around 11km, I can already feel my back shoulders aching. So while on top of Kalayaan flyover, I decided its time for my packed CLIF energy gel. I was hoping that it wouldn’t stress my stomach since its the first time I’m taking this new brand of power gels. I bought two of it from Healthy Options which I think is good because they are 90% organic and costs almost the same with other brands. The mocha flavor tastes good that I can consume it without the immediate need for water.

I reached Gil Puyat Ave. after 1 hour and 15 mins, that’s around the 12km mark. Since my target to finish is 3.5 hrs, I think I’m still good with the current pacing. I continue, running and walking and getting to every hydration station for water, until I reached the U turn mark at the Makati – Pasay boundary, that’s around the 15th km mark. At that point, I can already feel my feet aching. Though I cannot tell it if really hurts bad, taking pain killers in the morning must have lessen my burden. But I am also worried that I might not able to realize early if I have cramps or anything. Some moments I will feel my left foot getting a tinge of pain, so I would slow down or try to be conscious about the fall of my foot on the ground. Still I continue with my run and walk pacing.

I took my second energy gel at the 18th km mark. I would need it for my last 7 kms. The morning is getting hotter already and I haven’t reached the Kalayaan flyover. I started to use the water at the hydration station to keep my temperature lower. I walked longer but I ran faster for a while. After completing the stretch of Kalayaan flyover, I was left with my last 3kms. I was welcomed with the event band playing a Christmas song. How’s that for my last few pushes?

At this point, walking is more painful than running. But my heart would not be able to handle continuous run. So I tried to run as long as I can and walk once in a while. After a few rounds on the streets of BGC, I can already see the finish line. I checked my watch and its 7:30am. I thought, I’m finishing in less than my target time. A few more push and I can already see photographers in the area, capturing photos of the finishers. I completed my first 25km at 3 hrs and 22 minutes, so far that’s what my Nike+ had recorded. And finally I got my first 25km finisher medal. 🙂

POST RACE

Straight from the finish line, I got my finisher kit and my bag from the baggage tent. I checked on any freebies in some of the booths but its getting hot already and my feet would not be able to handle waiting in line with the other runners. So I just got a discount coupon from New Balance booth and I’m off to find a place to rest for a while. After changing on a more comfortable sandals and eating the free banana from my finisher kit, I met up with my running buddies whom I saw around the finish line. We had a big meal at Giligan’s rice all you can and then we call it a day (a long one for that matter).

Amazingly, comparing my first 25k with my 21km runs, I feel a lot better on this one. I wouldn’t be surprised that New Balance Power Run is one of the best organized running event, knowing it was in partnership with RunRio. But also, I never had a problem during the race like getting injuries and walking my few kilometers to the finish line. After finishing, my feet didn’t hurt much and I can even walk straight. After this run, I’m looking forward for my first full marathon on February. I hope I’ll have a great time as well just like my 25km experience. 🙂

Condura Skyway Marathon 2012

I’ve been joining fun runs since April 2010 and had set a goal to join events at least once a month. But I never thought I’d be able to run more than my usual 5k. I had my first 10k on the Nike We Run Manila just because they had a lot of freebies at stake. Then went on my second at the last leg of Run United 2011. I started 2012 with two consecutive weeks running 10k. Though before that, I had planned and registered for my supposedly first 16k run in the Condura Skyway Marathon 2012. Eventually, I was excited enough to go for 16k that I registered for an earlier event 2 weeks before the Condura Skyway Marathon. My first 16k didn’t turn out good for me but it did helped me learn stuffs to prepare for the skyway run.

Challenges and Preparation

It was the toughest month for me, it’s high season for my allergies, stress from work and my 3 week consecutive running events had got the best of me. My two weeks preparation after the last 16k will not be enough. I got no time for long run training as I still feel less stronger. After getting better, which happened only days before the event, I only did 5k training with my running buddies and watched my diet. Mostly, I got lots of carbs and less or none of the junk stuffs (even fast foods is not an option). I get the most of meals at least 3 times a day and had enough rest and sleep for at least 3 days before the event.

Our Travel and Arrival to the Event

Alabang is the farthest running location I have gone so far. So I got my running buddy took a cab and picked me up at Boni Avenue at past 2 in the morning. I have gone a lot to the south of Manila since its our way to Quezon province (my hometown and where I usually go on vacation), but it feels like a long ride to Filinvest Alabang. It feels like we are already in the province nearby Manila, include the high amount of taxi fare and the toll fee we paid.

Arriving at the event venue, it’s around 3 in the morning and the people in the finisher’s area are already looking forward to the first 42k finisher. They should have been running 3 hours already conquering 5 cities within Manila. Our first stop is to look for the baggage area and the portalets. We’ve got no idea how the village was designed so we just followed the crowd. We found the portalets near the baggage area though the way to that portion is a little dark. Still we survived moving around inside the portalets.

We geared up after and left our baggages at the 16k baggage area. Next mission is to find our running colleagues. We went near the starting line to check on what’s happening. Our gun start is 4am so we have enough time to stretch and warm up. While doing our prep drills, we found one of our colleagues just behind us. For a large area with a lot of people going around, you wouldn’t expect to see somebody familiar that easily so we were surprised during that moment. She promised to take pictures of us the day before and so we had our pre-running photos from her.

Gun Start and the Rest of the Skyway

All the 21k category waves was already released and its our turn already in the starting line. We find our way to the front of the crowd since we are part of wave A. At 4 in the morning, we feel the air colder. Our warm ups are not enough to literally warm us up.  And it feels like a long time just standing there waiting for our gun start. Then the fireworks for the 16k category started. Personally, I didn’t get excited on the view. All I was thinking is the excitement to start running. I can feel I’m on the right condition and I have enough energy to conquer the skyway that day.

We were part of the second wave of wave A. Releasing of runners have been a tough priority of the organizers to avoid congestion on the road. It’s a good thing for us because we didn’t want to have a lot of bodies blocking our way especially when we go faster than the others. On our gun start, me and my buddy started it slow. I usually start the run slow so I can preserve enough energy during the middle and last part of my long run. The first part of the run was going up the skyway, just a good way to warm up my muscles. After a few minutes, I noticed my running buddy was already running behind me. But I didn’t want to waste time walking while I can still run. I may have enjoyed running on the skyway so much I didn’t stop until the first water station, which is 2.90 km away from the start line. After sipping enough water, I walked for a while and then run again. It was always a run-walk thing for me but I tried my best to run longer and walk shorter.

On my 6km mark, I saw some of my running colleagues on the other side of the skyway. They are running the 42k category and was doing some stretches on their last few kilometers. I called their attention and they gave me good lucks on my 16k. After a few minutes, I found another familiar fellow (who we thought was not able to start his 21k) already going back. Before I reached the turning point of 16k, which is in the Bicutan area, I was called by another familiar face who was also running the 16k category. So much for socializing, I still got half of 16km to be covered. And there was Tessa Prieto again running the 16km. And she did it again, starting after me but finishing ahead of me. Once I tried to follow her pacing but she was too fast for me so I just relax and do it on my own speed.

I already finished 1okm and the brightness of the morning is already coming. I did expect that I’ll be running the whole stretch of 16k in the same dark sky but it turns out I will welcome the morning sun. Still it was a great moment seeing the sun rises while I run in the Skyway. And at that very moment, I wanted to shout good morning to everyone. I also thought of posting a good morning greeting in Facebook but too bad I don’t have my phone with me. So I just enjoyed the morning running and sometimes walking my way through.

At around 6 in the morning, the skyway is already building up with runners as the rest of the categories (10k, 5k and 3k) are being released. It didn’t bother me since their presence had encouraged me to run more, like they are my pacers or better yet, I made it a point to outpaced them. And then, after 2 hours and 11 minutes running, I finally reached the Finish line. I had an aching feet and a tired body but it still feels good.

Rest and Some Fun Times

After getting my finisher drinks, baggage and medal, the next mission is to find my running colleagues. Though I was more focused looking around the booths around the finisher village and checking what’s in store free for runners. So I just walk around and then, surprisingly, I found the same familiar faces at the 42km recovery area. They already have rest, others just got their massaged and some took some photos in the Condura wall. So I just sit there, waiting for my running buddy who I left in the 16k run. Once we were complete, we just stayed for a while, took some free ice cream and milk and got some breakfast from Tapa King. And then we call it a day, we rode a bus going home. It was a long day for all of us. Running in the early morning is just the beginning.

Nike We Run Manila 10K 2011

Nike We Run Manila 2011 is my first 10k run and my first night run. I didn’t get excited on the fact that I will run longer this time, but I was looking forward on wearing the best dri-fit shirt I got from any fun run. For a fee of Php650, I have the we run manila bag, a nike shirt (must have an estimated cost of Php850) and a nike tumbler that costs Php335 (I just checked from one nike stadium store.).

ON THE WAY TO THE EVENT

On a saturday afternoon, I made my way to BGC riding a cab because I don’t want to get the stress of commuting on a hot day. I’m not familiar with the street numbers at high street so I mistakenly get off near Serendra where another event was held. It was really deceiving seeing other runners roving around the area. So I had to ask a security guard where 34th street is located. Turned out it was two stop lights far. Knowing that my running buddy is waiting around the Nike village area, I walked fast to the event place. Great thing he was just standing by the entrance and tall enough for me to see him.

GETTING READY

First stop, I had to deposit my things in the baggage counter. The counters have terminal numbers which we need to remember to claim our baggage after our run. It’s still hot at 4:15pm in the afternoon, I was worried we’ll get burned so we stop in a tent near the starting lane. But after a while around 4:30pm, organizers requested all runners to get on the lane and get ready. We stayed there under the rays of the afternoon sun for like 20mins until the warm up begun. Good thing I was small enough to take shade on taller and bigger guys. We’re not able to do all the warm up stuff due to space limitations so most of the time we just jog or jump or stretch.

THE RUN

I setup my Nike+ before the countdown begins. 10 seconds and we’re off to my first 10k run. The programme said there will be water stations for every 2km but it’s a great thing that they have actually more stations. I know I’m a little sluggish that day, having a drink a night before and sleeping only 6 hours have been a struggle. Still, I maintained my energy by not pushing myself harder because I’m afraid I might get dizzy in the middle of the run if I push harder. And thanks to my running buddy for being patient on my slow pacing. It was really a run and walk day for us. At 6pm, we’re on the 6km spot. And it seems that the darkness is already taking place. Every now and then, we’re checking our clocks knowing that we only have 2 and a half hour to finish the race. Luckily, we finish the race early. Checking on my Nike+ Ipod, we finished 1 hour and 25 mins. Not bad for our first time.

FINISHER

After crossing the finish line, we get straight to the finisher kit claiming area. We are excited with the freebies they’ll be giving. We got 1 bottled water and 1 Powerade. Went straight to another station and got a poster and an envelope. Runners are really looking forward for the USB thumb drive and everyone is asking for it. All the staff said we should check on the message from the envelope. And so we did. We found out that there are delays in production of the surprise award and they will just contact us for the delivery of the stuff.

STRUGGLE OUT

We decided to get our baggages and get ready to go. A lot of runners are already lined up, or I should say getting crowded on the baggage area. We tried to searched for the terminal numbers where we left our bags. In front of me was a guy who really looks irritated because the baggage persons are getting a hard time searching for his stuff (the black sierra bag with a reflector lining??? where did that stuff go?). After some time I was already asked by the girl who’s checking the list of bib numbers. I said my number and describe the nike black bag with orange handle. Thank goodness it was right in front of her. I went out of the crowd and checked my phone. My running buddy was already waiting outside the nike area.

CALLED IT A DAY

We decided to change clothes to freshen up. Another struggle to pass through the baggage area street and made it to the changing tents. Coming in through the changing area, I was surprise to see four tables inside and some chairs. This is the first time I was able to enter this kind of stuff. So I though I’m just gonna change my shirt and I’m off. Other girls we’re just sitting there and somewhat having their rest or something. It’s getting crowded so I get out and see my buddy standing outside.

The programme still includes performances from different bands such as Chicosci, Sandwich and Parokya ni Edgar. I was thinking it would be a fun party but feeling so tired will not be worth it. We end up going home. Thanks to Nike for giving an event like this. Looking forward for another one from them. 🙂

Unilab Run United 2 2011

I’m not sure if I’m excited to run again with thousands of fellow runners or it’s just my habit to come early on the event assembly area everytime I attend one. Of course, a morning person as I am I went out before 4am and arrived at 7th Avenue of Bonifacio Global City by 4:15am.

The whole place is still dark and the streets don’t have a lot of people yet. The first thing I did was to set all my gears including my race bib, armband for my phone and deposit the rest of my things in the baggage counter for 5k category. For my timing card, I had it fastened already on my shoes. It’s the first time I’ll be using the Runrio Sports Card, it’s a reusable timing card that comes free with the registration of Rexona Run and Unilab Run. Eventually, for the next events that will be organized by Runrio, the timing chip will already cost Php300. That’s why for runners who registered on those fun runs, it should be worth the money you paid and more.

I did joined the first Unilab run last March and I finished my 5k in 38mins. This time, I’m again running in the 5k category and I should say it’s a lot longer for me to finish, like 45 mins upon checking on the latest results. Results are available at http://results.bazumedia.com/event/results/event/ru22011.

After the run, we went straight to the finisher’s area. 5k finishers get to take home a nice small duffle bag with Unilab Active Health water bottle, a box of milk (either Athena or Actiboost), a box of lemon iced tea sachets, PH Care, and other Unilab sample products like antihistamines and vitamins. Free drinks include powerade and mineral water. The other categories such as 10k and 21k have more freebies, and I think they earn it by running more. Maybe I should try those categories also when I’m ready.

The thing I didn’t got to see on this event is the main program, Coach Rio’s speech, warm up, the 5k route video and the first wave gun start. But based on what I’m hearing from where I stand, they had it organized accordingly. Great job and keep on doing more good runs for the Filipino runners!

Chatime

I have been a fan of tea… from teabags sold in grocery stores, house teas served in restaurants to commercial teas in coffee shops. And then I found out about Chatime. Curious about what a bunch of people in the bridge way between Landmark and Glorietta in Makati is lining up plus recommendations from my friends, I got to taste my first Chatime milk tea.

I ordered Pearl Milk Tea to start with. It’s their standard milk tea with large pearls, or what we call “sago” in Filipino. And yes, it tastes great. I just had a problem chewing all the pearls with my teeth full of brackets. So the next time I ordered, I had their Chatime Roasted Milk Tea without any toppings. After that, I craved for more.

Thinking I might as well add variety to my tea without any problems on my chewing, I had Chatime Grass Jelly Milk Tea. The good thing about Chatime’s drink toppings are they give generous amount of it per cup. So you’ll never run out until your last sip. The last one I had was the Taro Milk Tea. I had some research done on this one, looking for highly recommended drinks in Chatime. Though you can call me a non-fan of this drink because it didn’t satisfied my taste buds.

So what do I love about Chatime? I think I would never replace their Roasted Milk Tea, even with any Starbucks drink. And yes, Starbucks now comes second to my favorite drinks. One unique thing when ordering in Chatime is their electronic customer number. Once your drinks are available in the counter, it would light up and buzz. This would avoid non-listening customers from delays on getting their drinks and would easily clear up the counters. Especially now that Chatime had been a place for a lot of tea and non-tea drinkers.

The next thing I have in mind is to try other tea mixes. And I just found out that they have a branch in Pioneer Center with a very cozy lounge. I would have to visit it one of these days.