Friday, October 15, 2010

Race Report: Naga Triathlon

The Naga Triathlon was my second triathlon race.  I was more relaxed preparing for this race as I kept improving my running time already and the long distance swim is not that intimidating anymore.

The race is scheduled at 7 AM and we arrived at the place around an hour before.  My running friends, Coleen, Katol and Brian went along with us, trying to observe the race as they may have plans of joining next.  It was a cloudy morning and after claiming my race kit, I proceeded to check in the bike.

There were two categories, SPRINT (2 loops) and SUPER SPRINT (1 loop).  I figured that super sprint would be too short (and will not be value for money for the registration fee) so I signed up for SPRINT, consisting of a 1K swim, 30K bike and 7.5K run.  There were about 50 triathletes and 4 relay teams.  An elite triathlete (one of the fastest swimmers at the Kona Ironman Championships) and a local actor also joined the event. 

After the briefing, we proceeded to the water for the warm-up. 

The starting gun fired at 8AM and as expected, I have noticed and enjoyed again the CHAOTIC SWIM START.

I was happy with my swim split but made the mistake of using too much obliques and calf muscles.  My left gastrocnemius was on the verge of cramping at the end of the swim leg.  Time for T1.

Entering the bike leg.

The bike leg was a slight uphill climb and I now felt the weight of the bike on me.  I was struggling to keep 30kph while others on their roadbikes/TT's were on the 35's.  I trashed my quadriceps muscles on the process.

Time for T2
I was already wasted on the run leg as I can barely move my legs and my core muscles hurt.  My pace was 2min/km behind my planned pace and at 10AM with barely enough hydration, I was on the verge of collapsing.  I still managed to smile at the finish line though with the aid of friends who cheered for me.

Being 6-feet has its disadvantage also.  Aside from the fact that you weigh heavier, have more swing weight and will never be a fast runner unless you're a Kenyan, you should also be careful crossing the finish line as you're forehead might get stamped.  LOL

I had a good swim split, a so-so bike split and a bad run split.  What did I learn?

1. Don't engage too much core and calf muscles on the swim leg.  Save it for the run.
2. You can save time on T1 (transition from swim to bike) by wearing a tri-suit and put on the cleats when the bike is moving already.  This way, all you have to do is grab the helmet, put on the sunglasses and get rolling immediately.
3. Get a road bike.  TT bike is good but my longer femur is better for the road geometry.
4. Don't trash your legs on the bike leg.
5. Practice the flying dismount as it looks cool.
6. Get running shoes that don't require socks so T2 (transition from bike to run) will be minimum.  Only 2 processes will be involved: (rack the bike + helmet), then slip on the running shoes.
7. Run as if there's no tomorrow (just kidding).

Except for the fact that the race started at 8AM or an hour late, I would rate the race 9/10 for the safety (lots of marshals and policemen on the bike leg) and well designed race course.  Hydration was scarce but this could be prevented by bringing my hydration belt.  We can't blame other triathletes for gulping too much water as we are in the tropics and it's very hot at 9AM onwards.

Another triathlon, in the books. :-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The F.I.R.S.T. Program and where Running will take you

The herculean desire to run just a little bit faster led me to try those running programs from the internet.  Since I am the type of guy who likes to research and make myself the subject, I immersed myself to an 8-week program, the sole purpose of which is to make it to the MILO 21K cut-off time of 2:30 and claim that finisher's medal.  I was very motivated.

I followed the F.I.R.S.T. program ( ), which requires you to run only 3 times a week, the other 2 being cross-training.  This means I can still swim, bike, play basketball or windsurf whenever the situation or weather warrants. 

I got excited on the 6th week as it will be a real test if the program worked.  The run was sponsored by Aboitiz for the benefit of the environment and as a windsurfer who enjoys nature so much, I have every reason to support the run.  We assembled at 430AM at SRP and the weather was cool, having rained just 2 hours prior.

I also researched about the optimum hydration required, along with the amount of carbohydrates that should be infused in a certain period of time, hence I got myself a hydration belt.  I also got myself a North Face singlet, having learned my lesson of wearing inappropriate shirt on long runs which caused my arms to chaff.   Gun start was on time at 515AM.

It was extraordinarily cool that morning and I believe many have run their best times that day.  Hydration was abundant and the route was well managed and safe.  Add the truck with adrenaline-boosting drum-beats, the firetruck spraying water to the runners and the sight and company of my growing running friends and the atmosphere was really perfect.

The program worked as I was able to improve my 21K time from a slower-than-brisk-walk time of 2:59 during the Lapu-lapu run in April to 2:24.  That day just marked my renewed love for running.

Two weeks later, the time has come for the Milo 21K.  The pressure was somewhat relieved, having made the goal time of 2:30 on the Aboitiz run.  It wasn't as easy as it was supposed to be, as I found out later.  As with the Aboitiz Race, the Milo run was well organized and I have to salute the organizers for the job well done.

The first part of the run was fast, making the first 8K in 48 minutes as we were passing buildings in the old streets of Cebu.

Then came the part that separates the runners from the recreational joggers:  the 10K SRP stretch wherein no shade is in sight.  Unlike the Aboitiz run, the sun was just up there and the pavement was very hot.  But as a windsurfer and triathlete-wannabe, the sun is my adversary, not my enemy, as he makes me a stronger and battle-tested athlete.  The helpful ungo support team also made the ordeal a little easier....and fun!

The last few kilometers wasn't easy but somehow I  was able to make the 2:30 cutoff, having finished the 21K in 2:26:30.

The medal was well-earned and will be in my wall as a reminder that the Milo 21K wasn't that easy.  Everyone at the finish line was really really happy with their medals.

The program really worked!

After the Milo 21K Marathon, the next stop was:  TRAIL RUNNING in Danao, Bohol, organized by The North Face, on the next Sunday.  I did not expect that I would have to travel outside Cebu to join run events but this seems like fun.  We departed at Saturday noon via Tubigon. 

The better news, free carbo-loading on the night before the race.  It was more like carbo-OVER-loading actually.
The run led us to the trails of Bohol and it was scenic, refreshing and fun.
River crossing was fun.
Crossing on rice fields is fun.  Crawling is fun.

Running with the chocolate hills as your backdrop is fun.

Running in the forest is fun. 

...and finishing the course holding hands with the Significant Other is....err......cheeeeessssy!!!

So, there it goes.  Running takes you anywhere, literally, assuming you have the right pair of shoes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A windy day, a shoe review and my first road run in the city.

Last Friday, August 6 marked my "real" comeback to windsurfing. Eight months post-op and I am already cleared for big-sail surfing. The day was perfect: it's a holiday, windy, slight overcast, no lightning, no basketball game and I have nothing to do!

The forecast was windy in the afternoon and high tide in the morning. I was still at home at 9 o'clock when the wind started blowing. Since my legs aren't ready yet (I was doing interval run the day before), I was only able to go at noon. The beach was equally perfect, offshore winds around 12-16 knots, tide was still high enough to launch near the shore and only few beach-comers. Today, I will also have the opportunity to try my new Garmin 305 which can track my speed via GPS.

It was a very enjoyable day beam-reaching. At one point, I planed for about 5 minutes registering a maximum speed of 36kph (19 knots) so the wind must have gusted for more than 20. Cooool!

The not-so-good thing about Habagat is that the wind tends to be gusty, shifty and stops without warning. I had a hard time going back to where I launched. Sailing upwind while maintaining course is difficult but I enjoyed the tactical part of it. Wind became zero at 3pm so we called it a day.

Saturday was still windy but we only stayed at home to rest those legs as Sunday is fun run day.
The run was organized by VSMMC for the benefit of the congenital club foot babies. Since we have lots of friends at VSMMC, we did not want to miss it. The race was organized perfectly: lots of marshalls, abundant hydration, early start time, aerobics after the run and most importantly: FUN!

It was also my first race using the recently-acquired K-swiss KONA. My review? AWESOME! I got them purely because they look sexy. But apart from aesthetics, my feet loved them. They are very light, adequately ventilated and with real good cushioning. I tend to pour water on my head late in the run and the holes at the shoe's bottom drained the water well keeping my feet dry. They also fit like a glove after only two training runs.
I also tend to rotate between mid-foot and heel striking to rest some muscle groups and the Kona have no problems dealing with them. I was hoping to finish the 10K in less than an hour but fell short by a couple of seconds! Though my time was 1:00:35, I was glad because I was able to catch-up with Kingking, something I can only dreamed of in the past. (Thanks to Katol V. for the picture)

Did I mention that the shoes really look good? Here's the proof:

The next week found no wind and no low pressure in sight so we proceeded with the scheduled long run in the city with Kingking and Ted. We started at IT Park and since there was a race that day, we just went with them all the way to Carbon Market but turned back half-way at the South Road Properties due to lots of speeding vehicles who had no clue that there was a foot race going on.

We proceeded to the North Reclamation Area and found that the "other" race was still on-going. We were able to cover 15.5 km that day, just enough for our training. This run also marked the first time I used a hydration belt, the Fuel Belt Helium. They fit perfectly at my waist and the 4x8oz bottle is more than enough for me. The extra pouch holds the keys and spare cash well.

But the best part of the hydration belt is the color: RED! They go together well with my shoes! I think I need a new pair of RED singlet then! (and maybe red sunglasses too)

A training partner/girlfriend/lady in red completes the picture.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thrilled for the week's forecast

It's been weeks since I've been lurking at windguru hoping to find a glimpse of wind. Now the long wait has ended (hopefully).

Friday is a holiday in Cebu and wind starts to pick-up in the afternoon. I am very excited since the last time I get to use my big sail was still 11 months ago, right before my surgery. This Friday will also be an off-day for my running.

In the unlikely event that I'll get skunked at the beach, I will just be doing some open water swimming to cross train, hence I won't lose the preparations I am doing for the Milo Half-Marathon next month.

The forecast also showed no low cloud cover so this could mean high wind, no rain and no lightning. Another great news!

Windfinder also have a windy forecast in Visayas. Two reliable forecasting websites can't be wrong at the same time, I suppose so let's gear up!

See you at the beach! Boomshaka!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Race Report: Danao City Triathlon

Since it's off-season for windsurfing, I decided to venture into a new sport: TRIATHLON. This will still give me time to be with the water while at the same time learn new skills.

So after 5 weeks of training (and losing another 10lbs), the time has come for my first tri (pun intended).

There were supposed to be two categories: sprint distance (750m swim - 20k bike - 5k run) for the newbies and olympic (1.5k - 40k -10k) for the elites. However, for unknown reasons, only one distance was announced.

There was no turning back and even though my longest swim was just 250meters, I signed up and got no. 11.

There were around 35 triathletes who joined the event with all sorts of bikes. The best one I noticed was this very very very very cooooool folding bike with drop bars.

The swim leg was perfect, with buoys and ropes forming a triangle. Two marshals in outrigger boats are manning the corners for safety.

At 730AM, the gun fired and we started. As expected, the swim start in a triathlon is very chaotic, with arms and kicks all over the place. I made the mistake of fighting my way and lost most of my breaths in the process. I could no longer find my seemingly-elusive swimming rhythm.

I survived the swim leg with the help of the ropes and finally appeared on dry land after 22 minutes. I rushed immediately to the transition area.

After putting on the shoes, bike shorts, helmet, sunglasses and watch, I immediately proceeded to the bike start. You can't mount on the transition area, so you must run with your bike to the line. :-)

The bike leg was enjoyable with marshals manning the busy intersections and at the turning point. I just kept spinning and disregarded the stiffness at my neck, back and butt. After 1 hr and 9 minutes, I am back to the transition area.

The arm is already wasted on the 1km swim and the legs on the 30km bike. With nothing left, I now have to run 7.5km at past 9am under the scorching heat of the sun. This is the time when you realize that nobody is really asking you to do this. :-)

However, when you see the finish line, the feeling is beyond comprehension. It is as if your relationship with your body is renewed. I finished the event in 2 hrs and 23 minutes.
I will definitely do this again.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Holy Week 2010

I always love holidays, especially the holy week. It is a much needed break from our daily jobs and responsibilities. During this year's holy week, I managed to squeeze the two great activities that I enjoy: running and windsurfing plus a basketball game in between. I felt really awesome....and sore. :-)

The week started on Palm Sunday with a 12k Citirun race, starting at Waterfront Hotel Lahug, to JY square, to UP Cebu, to the Provincial Capitol, to Jones Avenue, rounding at Normal University and back. Kingking started ahead with a quicker pace, a full minute per kilometer than me.

(Thanks to Mr. Estan Cabigas for the picture, posted at his fb site)

I, on the other hand, enjoyed running with my 50-year friend Audie. He is my teammate for years now in our annual PICPA basketball tournament. This is his first 12k run so we are just pacing slowly. Well, even without him, I would still want to run slow.

My knees felt pain & were inflamed at Km 10. Well, what do I expect? They are supporting all 190lbs (85 kg) of me and they were only trained for around 2 months yet. I hope in time, they will adapt to the stresses of running while my body will try to lose those unwanted fats that adds to the knees' struggle. Running though gives you endorphins and the feeling is very rewarding. So even with the painful knees, wild breathing and exhaustion, I still managed to smile.
On Holy Tuesday, we played basketball at our subdivision's gym when my neighbor invited me. The game was rough as we were playing guys from the Philippine Navy. These boys never stopped running and are very competitive. My legs were fried after the game and have numerous brown spots in my arms. Well, no harm, no foul.

On Holy Wednesday, we went to the mall to check out some shoes. Runners recommend at least two different shoes so more leg and foot muscles are developed. I felt the need to get a highly cushioned shoe which led me to the New Balance 1063. I was lucky to find it at Athlete's Foot Ayala Cebu, with a 30% discount as an updated model is already available.
The black/yellow combination is a perfect match to my Oakley Livestrong Radar Path sunglasses, which also has the same color scheme. Add the Nike 2-in-1 black shorts with yellow side band and Nike Drifit black with yellow accent singlet and nothing is out of style. I wasn't this fashionista before I took up running. Now, it's time to get a New Balance singlet to go together with the shoes. Or maybe an Adidas Climacool top will also be perfect so I will have different brands (a la chopsuey) for my running outfit. (ewww...)

Anyway, the shoes were tested on that Holy Wednesday afternoon at IT Park. I experienced mild pain in my plantar fascia region after 7k but I believe this is normal for a new running shoe. Heck, the recommended first run is somewhere like 3k but it was my first time at IT Park so I got carried away.

Maundy Thursday was lazy day and we resumed activities on Good Friday. It was oven-hot outside and the perfect activity would be? BEACH!!! Most Catholics believe that God is dead during this time so they stay away from any activity. This simply means that there are less people at the beach.

We tried this SUP thing. SUP is Stand Up Paddle surfing and it's supposed to be fun. Well, it is, except that due to a smaller board, it's very hard for a big bloke like me. It's like I was learning to ride the board again. It was a good leg workout though.

The seabreeze start to come in around noon. This happens when land is heated up more than the water creating a lower pressure. Since high goes to low, air at sea moves to land creating WIND! It was just a mild 8-10 knots but enough to get back even with a smaller sail. I rigged immediately while Mizuki keenly watched.

Cruising at sea on this oven-hot day is a great privilege. The enjoyment and feeling of happiness is second to none.
The sail I am using is still Kingking's, a 5.5 Neilpryde Solo. My 8.2 Neilpryde Saber is still in storage because I am not confident yet of my inguinal canal. I will be using it at the first sign of the windy season. Since the start of this global warming thing, the weather is not following the seasons anymore. I am almost certain that there will be a tropical depression or even a storm at summer. In MAY! Mind you, it did happen two years ago. :-)