Archive for December, 2009

Project Cuarenta: My Farthest, Craziest Run Ever

Accomplished the day after Christmas, Project Cuarenta is the name I have given to my longest run as of date. But why the reference to the number 40? Here’s how it works.

In our park there is a concrete oval serving as one of the major roads in the village. Although much cars pass through it (especially on weekends), the place gets really breezy in the early morning and late afternoon. No wonder many joggers run this path every single day. According to the GF 305 a complete loop around this park would equate to 800 meters. Now if you do 40 loops of these, you would be able to run 32K. Hence, Project Cuarenta. =)

But some of you may ask, the Bald Runner hosted a 32K event last December 30. I wanted to join that race – however, due to sudden circumstances I was forced to drop out. This is the very reason why I went solo, apart that I am training for the Condura Run next year.

My initial strategy for this run was to stop every 10 laps for a water break at a comfortable pace. That’s a water break every 8K. For 70% of the course it really did work, as shown by the following splits.

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However, after KM23, I found myself running short of breath and exhausted. Thankfully I was in the middle of completing lap 30 so I pushed myself to reach KM24 in a decent state. That’s what you get for having monstrous splits for the first few kilometers! Geez! (I checked the split times for 21K on Excel and discovered that I would have a new 21K PR already.) Anyway, upon completing lap 30 I decided to revise my strategy to reach the beloved 32K with a strong finish. There were 10 laps to go and I was that close to victory. So I decided to stop every 5 laps after KM24. But that still didn’t work for me. I was panting here and there!

Before completing the last 5 laps (the last 4K of the course), I had another change in strategy again. I told myself to stop for a water break at every kilometer and walk for around for a few seconds or so. Thankfully this plan of attack worked, and when I reached the 40th lap I felt so fulfilled. I never knew I would be able to break beyond 30K in my life. And it feels GREAT! Yebah! =D

So what’s next after 32K? Well, I’m thinking to do a full 36. That should serve as my final long run before I start cutting down on the mileage. And in this run I will be implementing the Galloway approach – run for a certain number of minutes, then walk a full minute. Then repeat. =)

And next time, I’ll make sure to bring my iPod so I won’t get bored. Running in circles can get annoying after a while.

Here’s the route that I did…

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If anyone in the south wants to do this with me sometime, do inform me. =)


Race Review: BF Pasko Run, December 13

This may very well be my last registered race for the year. I did another 10K effort since there was no longer distance.

Good thing the race route was very close to home so I had the opportunity of waking up a little later than usual. Since the morning air that time was very cold, I was thinking whether to wear a warmer under the singlet, much like what I did in Baguio 2 Sundays ago. After 15 minutes of thinking, I decided to go with my usual running attire instead. After grabbing a banana and chugging a whole cup of water, I drove to the race site. I was amazed that there were a lot of people from the group who were going to participate in this event. Around 30% came from the north.

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Pre-meditative stretching. =P

The Kanto Boyz (Luis et al) were deigning to do a pace that would beat Piolo’s official time of 47:54. Given that target finish time (and the fact the boys also have monster paces), they were really planning to have a sub-Piolo finish. Apparently, these guys can’t believe that Piolo’s faster than them – hence, why they made him the benchmark. Hehehe. As for myself, I just wanted to treat this as another long run, so I didn’t set any pace alerts on the GF 305. Whether I go slow or fast – preferably slow – the results would still be okay with me, I’m not after any personal record. Besides, Neil, Rach, and I had an agreement to run at LSD pace.

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Luis determined and hell-bent to beat Piolo’s time.

After a long prayer and after much well-wishing for the participants, we started running a little after 6AM instead of the planned 530AM schedule. Many had also wanted to join the race, and it’s a good thing the organizers allowed onsite registration. Hence, the delay.

At the first few kilometers I was checking the real-time pace being registered by the Garmin. WTF, I was already peaking at 6:00 kpm? It couldn’t be! There were no visible obstructions and the sky was clear. Plus, I was ‘comfortably’ running! So I kept to what I was doing and didn’t mind whatever my Garmin was registering. If I keep this up I might be able to finish the whole course in an hour or less, assuming that the route was exact.

The first half of the course took runners along Tropical Avenue and Elizalde leading to President’s Avenue. There were simple gradual uphills and rolling sections, allowing runners to boost as much as they could. The splits that I incurred were in between 5:50 to 6:15 – I told myself to forget the LSD pace and stick to whatever pace I had right now. Besides, I was feeling good inside! Later on we took the road leading back to BF, but runners had to make a left to Tirona leading to Alabang Hills. I thought that route would not cover the steep incline leading to the Alabang Hills entrance. What do you know? I was wrong. We were to go through that uphill path. Oh no! Fearing that this would ruin my race time, I sped as much as I could on the downhill section before making the turnaround point at Tirona. After stopping for a water break, I ran half of the hill, but walked the rest of the way. Upon reaching the highest point of Tirona I resumed the 6:00 kpm race pace again until we got back to Aguirre. From here it was a rolling course all through out.

KM8. Around 47 minutes. I was still within the sub-60 target. If I am to finish in less than 60 minutes, the 6:00 kpm pace should not falter itself. But exhaustion was starting to seep in, and upon realizing that there was going to be one last turnaround point in front of the Elysium gate, I was wondering if I was going to have a (rather) fast finish. The sun was high up, though it wasn’t that hot yet, and there weren’t anymore water stations. It was time to push.

KM9. Around 54 minutes. The finish line was almost close. It was now literally a race against time at this point. Using all the energy reserves in my body I ran as fast as I could to that finish line. My legs didn’t feel that jolt leading to muscle cramps, so what better choice than to push it! After clenching my fists and breaking my limits completely, I crossed the finish line with a Garmin time of 59:30. Yes! It’s a second sub-60 finish in my running career! =) I felt so happy that I forgot to cool down after the race.

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Speeding to the finish. Thanks to the Meek Runner for the picture.

And guess what – I was tired, but not completely wasted. YEBAH!!!

The run culminated with Jollibee at President’s Avenue. Corned beef in the morning = win. =) Apparently, some of my running buddies still had that high that they decided to go to Mamplasan to shop for some new shoes… Hehehe! But that’s for another day. =)

Class pictures!

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Here’s my review.

D (direction) – refer to the map below.

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> start at the Village Sports Club, then make a right at Tropical Avenue
> turn left at Elizalde, going straight to President’s Avenue
> turn right at President’s Avenue
> make another right at Aguirre Avenue leading to the BF entrance
> make a left to Tirona, then go straight until you reach the Alabang Hills entrace
> make a u-turn, then run Tiron Again
> turn left @ Aguirre Avenue, making sure to go straight until you reach Elysium
> make another u-turn
> turn right at El Grande Avenue, heading towards the finish line

Had it not been for those hills, this would have been an easy course.

R (registration) – the race organizers allowed for online registration + bank deposits as well as onsite. You will be able to get in this race no matter what.

U (uhaw) – when the race organizers said that there will be a water station every 2.5K, they really meant it. Good work!

M (money) – 350 bucks gets you a singlet, your race bib and map, plus an RFID tag. Good enough for me. =)

S (safety) – there was an adequate number of them, however, some runners still got lost along the way.

Check out these impressive splits

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(Credits also go to Doc Marvin Opulencia for the pictures.)


Happy Holidays!

Warm greetings from myself and the rest of the running core.

Due to our so-called insanity, we did a 21K LSD on Christmas Eve… =P ADIK!

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And look at the matching red and green tops. Christmas is REALLY in the air…

Don’t fret about eating a lot this holiday season. Just run it off! =D


Race Review: Baguio 30 for 30K, December 6

My participation in this race came into being after receiving an invite from Ellen. I was at the Philippine Army pool mingling with some of the takbo.ph people when I was invited to do a 30K in Baguio. At first, I was very hesitant since I’ve never really gone beyond 22K in my entire life. In addition, this was going to be held in one of the chilliest places here in the Philippines – and add to that the killer hills! Plus, I didn’t have much training for a 30K race, apart from the 21K long run I did at the New Balance Power Race and the easy 5K 3 days before race day. But since I was under training for the Condura 42K next year, what the hell, I might as well do it. Finish or no finish, I would have done a long run nonetheless. All the pressure came in further when I told Roselle that I’ll do a long run pace for this event – she reminded me it was a RACE. Indeed, she was right. I cannot slow on this one.

The cutoff time for the 30K was 3:30. The slowest pace that one can go if one were to participate is a flat 7:00 mpk. I thought to myself, this could still be achievable, despite the hills. This led me to adjusting the Garmin pace alarms between 6:45 – 7:15 mpk. But as I will learn later, this may have been too confident for me to utter out.

Among those will be participating in this event are yours truly, Ellen, Doc Iris (who will do a 5K), Bryan, Sir Mon, Roselle, and her friend, Judah. Other members of takbo.ph were in Corregidor taking on a 10-miler uphill race.

Ellen, Doc Iris, Bryan, and I left Saturday, 11AM, on the way to Baguio using Bryan’s Fortuner. After zigzagging in and out of traffic, speeding across expressways, cutting through cars and dodging those against traffic, we arrived at Baguio shortly after 4PM. We already had a couple of pit stops during our travel, but still, 5 hours was still fast! Indeed, Bryan was the driver from hell, and he was highly accustomed to travelling long distances at break-neck speeds. Upon reaching Baguio, the four of us settled in at some hotel near the starting line – Burnham Park. We later met up with Sir Mon, Roselle, and Judah, where we had a little carbo-loading session so as to gain all the calories we need for the 30K. This ordeal was no joke so we ate as much as we could, while not bloating ourselves in the process.

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With Ellen

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With Doc Iris

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With Bryan

All of us had shut-eye at 9:30PM, with an agreement to wake up 4AM next day to have light breakfast consisting of granola bars and bananas.

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Our breakfast come race day.

Race day came. Ellen and I were discussing whether to equip ourselves with a hydration belt for the race or not. Being that Baguio was “unfamiliar running territory” for me, I decided to strap myself up with it, as something bad could happen. After a long time, I finally got to use my Nathans again. In addition, I wore the black warmer I had used during my Spain trip last year, with the Ninoy Runners singlet on top of it. When everyone was ready, we made our way to Burnham Park on foot. The temperature was freezing cold so we had to warm up well, as per Roselle’s advice. We lightly jogged to the starting line, where we met up with Sir Mon, Roselle, Judah, and a few noted running personalities from Manila, like that of Cris Sabal, who was training for the Cebu City Marathon this coming January. While waiting for the starting gun I ran for a bit to get some heat into my system and to avoid the immense cold that was seething through my warmer.

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Ready to rock!

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Warming up.

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At the starting line with Roselle, Ellen, Doc Iris, Cris Sabal, Judah, Sir Mon, Rai RN, and myself.

KM 0 to 4.50: Hitting Fourth Gear
The gun sounded off at 5:30AM. All runners made their way to Kisad Road on the approach to the rotonda that will take them to Kennon Road. Gradual uphills greeted us on the first kilometer, but upon stepping on Kennon Road, the downhill had a rather steep grade, and there was no chance for me resisting gravity here. Hence, my real time Garmin pace readings were hitting above 6:00 mpk. There was no sense of exhaustion since it was a downhill route, and that didn’t pose any problems at all. Roselle and I were running side by side for this section of the race, and I felt good that time until after crossing KM4.5. It was now time to deal with the steepest section of the route – the road to Loakan Airport!

KM 4.51 to 10: Damn Those Hills!
I made the left. After running 20 meters at a VERY slow pace, I walked it. The uphill had a very sharp incline and it posed major problems to my legs. There was NO WAY I am going to run this! For the duration of that uphill attack I was walking while sipping on my orange-flavored Gatorade. Whenever there were any flat paths, I firmly resolved to run it and make up for lost time. But no, the uphill paths presented themselves one after the other. I tried to run it, but I would stop after a few meters and walk it again. Even a run-and-go approach would not work on these bloody hills! As a result, I would resort to walking all the uphill paths I encounter. Screw the pace, as long as my legs and knees don’t hurt I will do just fine!

I swear to the heavens, those hills really got the best out of me. A couple of runners in their prime (read: runners in their 60s) passed by me and I was amazed at how they could take on those hills with the greatest of ease, as if they were treating it like flatland. I felt embarrased after they had passed me. These gentlemen are doing strong on the hills while I’m just walking them? I could almost cover my head in shame after realizing that. But then again, I was playing on an unfamiliar playground, so in some sense I had an excuse.

I was able to resume my running form again on the way to the Philippine Military Academy. There were flats and downhill paths for me to run quick on. But as I was traversing the road to Philex Mines, I once again implemented the run-and-go approach. There were some uphill sections that I really couldn’t handle. For some reason, my legs had started to feel like marshmallows. Goodness, I haven’t even completed a third of the race and I’m already feeling like this. God, help me finish this race.

The first water station came in along KM6. Thank goodness I thought of bringing along a hydration belt!

KM 11 to 14: A Temporary Reprieve
It was nearing 7AM. After making the turnaround leading back to PMA, I once again ran with Roselle. Along the road was a very good sunrise, being partially sheilded by the clouds and montains on the horizon. It really was an extravagant sight, something that provided a temporary sense of happiness and awe. Roselle and I couldn’t help but admire the view, so we ran the next kilometers at a relaxed pace. There was a race marshall on a motorcycle who was following us directly behind as the two of us were a portion of the last runners. I asked him were Mount Pulag was and he gladly pointed it to me.

After passing PMA, there as another uphill path again, leading to the road to Camp John Hay. We had to walk the hills for the most part but we tried running it nonetheless. The moment we saw the water station, we got a gulp, held on to our spirits, and made our way to Camp John Hay. The reprieve was other – it was time to hand in some punishment once again.

KM 15 to 22: Feeling Apprehensive
The next few kilometers were mostly uphill once again. After reailizing that I couldn’t take anymore of it, I urged Roselle to move on ahead and leave me. I am going to take this ordeal on my own. About 90% of the time I would walk the uphill road, with bike marshalls assisting me from behind, should anything go wrong. But on a good note, when there was a chance to run on flatland, I would do so to the best of my ability. My thoughts were going wild at that time – I was asking myself why the hell I was doing this for myself, I wasn’t even running for the most part to begin with!

It even got worse when I got to South Drive. Although there were certain portions that were flat, I couldn’t bear to run that much or that far anymore, so I once again implemented a run-and-go approach. Run a few meters, then walk the rest. The process repeated itself just before entering the road leading to Mines View.

KM 22.01 to 24.51: I QUIT!
The road to Mines View was yet ANOTHER uphill path. Upon realizing that I had much to go and that I will never make it to the cutoff time, I decided to walk until I see some flat portion that will enable me to get myself running again. Unfortunately, there weren’t that much flatlands, so I was walking most of the time.

Halfway going to Mines View, my legs couldn’t move that much anymore. My legs had completely locked themselves. Even if I tried to walk, I couldn’t push myself to do so. As a result, it led me to uttering those two words: “I QUIT!” I shouted to the heavens and took a seat on the pavement, pushing the stop button on my Garmin at KM24.51. Panting and wheezing heavily, I had realized that this course was harder than hell, and I vowed to myself NEVER to run in Baguio again. The paths were unforgiving and the route will kill your spirits. Partly, this was my fault, because I didn’t prepare physically and mentally. But it’s okay. I have accomplished a long run nonetheless. It’s still an achievement.

Thankfully there was an ambulance behind me, so I got in there for me to stretch my legs. After crossing the remainder of Mines View while following the last runner of the race, I got myself out of the ambulance to find a taxi that will take me to the finish line. There I met up with the finishers while chugging on a couple of cups of taho.

After the race we went back directly to our accomodations to have ourselves a decent breakfast. Ellen and I checked out come lunchtime and had another chance to get some grub at Session Road. Cindy met up with us after she came from a friend’s wedding. Come around 1PM Ellen and I headed to Victory Liner, where we purchased our tickets for the earliest trip possible. We took the same bus that Sir Mon, Roselle, and Judah were in.

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Lunch with Cindy.

Roselle told me not to feel bad after not completing the race. She said that I should be proud of myself because it took humility for me to admit what I can do and what I can’t. Had I pushed myself further I would have gotten myself injured even more. She’s got a point there. While on the bus I had pondered on this thought – heck, I had my first DNF on this race, BUT I have gone past the 22K mark when it comes to running longer. This only means that I should train harder, especially now that the Condura Run is nearing.

So to all who participated in the race, thank you for an exhilarating yet wonderful experience. Those hills were punishing and I vow to get my revenge on it soon. You will see me again, Baguio! =)

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Banana chowdown after the race.

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Posing near the finish line. Everyone finished but me.

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Cooling down.

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I will be back again, Baguio, hopefully better trained. =)

Here’s my review of the race:

D (direction) – just look at the map and you’ll see where we went. Remember, Baguio has a lot of hills, so this is one tough cookie!

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R (registration) – Sir Mon was able to get me into this race at the very last minute. Thanks much, Sir! =)

U (uhaw) – if you didn’t bring your hydration belt, you’re in a LOT of trouble.

M (money) – 300 bucks for a bib, the route, and a finisher’s shirt. That’s not bad in itself, but I hope there were more goodies.

S (safety) – although there were an adequate number of race marshalls, there were a couple of runners I know of who got lost along the way. In turn, one of them had nearly simulated a full 42K. Where’s the marshall when you need him? But on a good note, at least there was plenty of bike support, which came in really handy on the approach to Camp John Hay and Mines View.

Here were my splits. Very horrifying. Note that I had to walk the majority of the race route due to those blasted hills.

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(Pictures courtesy of Bryan Rivera. Thanks, bro.)


Race Review: New Balance Power Race 2009, November 29

Long overdue race review from me. =P

After a long time, I finally got to race in Manila again. This seemed to be a “welcome back” race of sorts. =P Once again, I didn’t have any long run training for this, except for a 15K runabout that was accomplished nearly 2 weeks before the run. I wasn’t aiming for a PR for this race, but like what I did at the Globe-Ayala Run For Home event, my Garmin settings were set between 6:15 to 6:45 mpk. If I get a new record, that’s great. But if not, it’s also okay with me. I’ll do everything to the best of my ability though I lacked training.

KM 1 to 5: Early Morning Cold.

When I woke up on race day, the chill was quite strong and cold. I was tempted to skip this race and continue resting instead since I had a mountain climb RIGHT after the race. Quite suicidal for me to rush to the mountains after a race, right? But upon thinking how much I paid for this race – and knowing that I was in training for the Condura Run next year – I got my lazy bottom up. Besides, it’ll be good to see my running cohorts again after such a long time not being with them.

There were many of us at the starting line for the 21K. All were planning to do a long run as part of the Condura Run. Cool, I’m not the only one. Though many were doing the run at a long run pace, I still kept with my current Garmin settings. One of my friends, Mark, decided to pace with me for the first few kilometers of the race. It was going to be his first 21K effort so all the pressure went on me not to let this guy down as much as possible. Hehehe! When the gun started, we managed to keep our pace at bay, to an easy 6:30 mpk. The surroundings were still dark and cold, so the overall ambience was just right to get the heat into our system. There were a few stops to get ourselves hydrated but overall, Mark and I were doing good time and looking forward to maintain that pace.

KM 6 to 10: Keeping It Steady.

After passing KM5, our pace was still doing good. Shortly before reaching Net Square, I heard some voice calling me from behind. It was Ellen, along with Bong Z, Joyce, Sir Mon, and a few of my other running buddies. These “monsters” were also under traning for the Condura Run, and they were planning to pitch in 6K after the race. After receiving a remark from Bong that I had bloated myself (hopefully not to extreme proportions, though – but I must admit, I DID gain weight after my assignment in Cebu), I really got conscious of myself. Damn, this belly fat I gained back has got to go soon, REAL SOON. =P But thanks for the reminder, bro. I must be conscious of what I’m eating once again. =) They went ahead of us after sometime.

Though I had my first major walk break on the approach to the intersection leading to Forbes, I was still feeling good and managed to make up for the seconds I had lost. Thank goodness for the downhill leading to Serendra. The morning chill was still there somehow though the sun was nearing its height, so the steady pace lingered itself, until we got to Bayani Road.

KM 11 to 15: Still Keeping It Steady.

Mark and I incurred our second long walk break in the middle of Bayani Road, right smack before reaching the American Cemetery. My feet were starting to feel initial signs of pain, but it was still tolerable. The downhill leading to Heritage made it somehow easy to course through the remaining sections of the race. Unfortunately, Mark had to break away somewhere between KM12 as he was feeling exhausted. After asking if it was okay to go on ahead, I coursed through the gradual uphills leading back to Lawton Avenue. I had another walk break after the American Cemetery, but my overall feeling was still great. I had realized that I could still make good time in this race – but not for long. The hardest section of the race was about to come up – and it was every runner’s worst nightmare.

The last few kilometers will course through the killer hills of McKinley, with the hot sun shining above our heads.

KM 16 to 21: Run and Go!

After entering McKinley hill, I realized that there was NO WAY that I was going to meet the 2:15 or 2:20 target. The mere thought of me running these hills made me uneasy for a while, since I was steadily getting weary. From here, I employed my run-and-go strategy. If there were any uphill traverses, I will walk it, but if there weren’t any, I’d run to whatever distance I can reach. The last section of McKinley Hill – particularly that steep ascent leading back to Lawton Avenue – got the best out of almost all the runners I know of, including me. They, as well as myself, were literally walking that hill. Heck, there’s no way I could muster enough strength to run that hill, even in small steps. Nevertheless, I firmly resolved to run again after reaching Lawton Avenue. Though the finish line was nearing the run-and-go was still in effect. I wanted to push but I was saving that energy for the last 500 meters.

With less than a kilometer to go, my right leg felt a sudden jolt. It reminded me of what had happened when I had cramps back at QCIM. CRAP! I cannot suffer from cramps now that I have the finish line in my sights! I was left with no choice but to run with a really easy pace, though I had enough strength to push. Finally, I got to the finish line, exhausted BUT injury-free. =)

I was still able to climb Mount Batulao right after this race. Much energy was still in my system – I thought I was going to be completely wasted.

Here’s my review:

D (direction) – the 21K route will take runners through the following:
> from 28th Street, right at 11th Ave
> right again at 26th Street
> left at McKinley Parkway leading to Serendra
> straight to 38th Street
> right to Triangle Drive
> left at 10th Ave
> left again back to 38th Street
> right upon reaching 32nd Street
> left upon hitting Rizal Drive
> left at 26th Street
> right at 5th Street moving straight to Lawton Avenue
> make a u-turn meters after reaching Bayani Road
> right to Bayani Road all the way to Heritage Cemetery
> make a u-turn back to Lawton Avenue
> right at McKinley Hill
> head up once again to Lawton Avenue
> right at 26th Street, moving towards the finish line
Might I say, this was a REALLY tough course. McKinley had to be the last section of the route! =O

R (registration) – easy access to this race. You can register at any New Balance store.

U (uhaw) – more than enough water stations for you to finish the race. You won’t get thirsty. =)

M (money) – if I remember correctly, I paid nearly 500 bucks for this race. Aside from the usual race bib and singlet, you get a finisher’s medal, and if you’re lucky, you might gain a new pair of new socks from New Balance. Those we were sporting NB footwear will get them for free. Not bad of a deal there.

S (safety) – proactive marshalls with loudspeakers telling everyone to run on the designated path? That’s an A+!

Here’s the route we took…
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And the usual split analysis.
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Since I didn’t bring my SLR on this day, I don’t have much pictures to share with. Oh well. =)

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE ORGANIZERS FOR ANOTHER GOOD RACE, NO MATTER HOW HARD IT GOT! =)


Goodbye, Cebu

It has been indeed nice running with you.

I’ll see you when you host your first-ever marathon… =)