Listen To Your Heart

I have always been curious about the Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) to know if it really does help out in training. Was it only intended to be used by those with heart problems or any active person? Not only until late last year when I was given one was I able to try it out myself.
My past runs prior using the HRM would usually end up with myself being d-r-a-i-n-e-d.  My long distance races would start out well only to end up with me bonking out. It’s a bad habit that I have of pushing myself to the limit right from the start, only to pay for it later on the 2nd half when my energy has depleted.
Now, that I’ve been using an HRM in my runs, I have noticed that I am able to sustain my endurance longer. I rarely burn out easily. Being more of a visual person,Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.26.10 AM with the aid of a Visual heart rate zone app I was able to download on my watch, it has made it easier to monitor my heart activity.
Through the HRM, I’ve also discovered that the effort that I usually put into cycling on the stationary bike was only meant for recovery and not yet enough to give me strength or endurance. What?!?  😦
For someone who gets these weird heart palpitations once in ablue moon, wearing an HRM as I run has given me the peace of mind as it prevents me from going beyond what my heart can handle. I’m pretty new to this that I still have to master making the most out of the HRM, but as of now, I find it very efficient and would recommend it… although when you think about it, you rarely see Kenyans wearing HRMs. :p

I gathered up some active people to share their say on the usage of a Heart Rate Monitor to help you decide if you think you need one.

 

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The Runners I’ve Encountered

Runners come in all shapes, sizes, ages and characteristics. Here are just some of the runners I’ve come across so far.

Newbies

Cotton shirts, basketball shorts, thick jogging pants, or even sometimes in those greyish silver plastic sweat suits. Still unaware of the importance of wearing the right shoes, on their feet are basketball, badminton shoes or ordinary sneakers. Their playlist being played on their huge headphones or is in full blast on their handheld phones. Often a mineral water/sports drink bottle in one hand, or if not a shoulder bag or a whole backpack.
They often have this mistake of positioning themselves way up in front at the starting line especially if it’s their first race.
Not yet introduced to proper race etiquette, they may make sudden stops in the middle of the route to attend to their need to rest, to take a selfie or tie a shoelace putting other runners behind them at great risk.

 

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They may also be found walking side by side with other newbie runner friends not minding if they’re blocking the way. Oftentimes, you’d also see them taking selfies at every u-turn as well as their sprint to the finish line.

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011716: 7-11 Run 2016

RACE BACKGROUND
There was 7-11’s Run 800, Run 1000, Run 1,500 and now, this year it’s Run 2016. This was their 4th year in holding a race event and the 2nd time on the skyway. They had a range of distances from 500m, 3k, 5k, 10k buddy, 16k, half and the full marathon.

GUNSTART
Since the race course basically was on the skyway (except for the shorter distances of 500m, 3k and 5k which went around Filinvest only) and obviously couldn’t be closed during the early morning busy hours, runners were released starting from midnight.
Gunstarts like these have both it’s pros and cons. Not being able to get enough sleep needed is what most of the runners worried about. On the other hand, not worrying about the sun and getting to finish earlier than usual, having more time to make it back to bed again  (Ahhh… yes, please! 🙂 were the advantages.

CUT-OFF
As much as you’d like to spend your time running on the skyway, there were cut-offs. It was 7 hours for the marathon, 4 hours for the half, 3 hours for 16K, 2 and a half hours for 10k and an hour for 5k and 3k.

RACE COURSE (21k)

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The route was a loop on the skyway that started and finished at Filinvest, Muntinlupa.

HYDRATION
The skyway was overflowing with water, Gatorade, Powerade, Pocari and even Del Monte pineapple juice. Didn’t see any bananas though. 😦

MARSHALS
They were okay.

FIRST-AID
If my memory serves me right, I saw and ambulance on the skyway near one of the hydration stations.

PORTALETS
There were lots at the activity area and several on the skyway.

FINISH LINE GOODIES

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The loot bag contained the medal (they didn’t do the traditional hanging of the medal as you cross the finish line), one size fits all cotton Finisher’s shirt (which now has the distance you ran  printed at the back), several drinks and magazines.

MY RACE STORY
Okay, I never planned on running 7-11. It was because it was a week right after my marathon and wasn’t sure how fast my recovery would be from running the course in Corregidor.  Then along came TBR Batchmate, Coach Bobby who has this lucky streak in FB raffles that he won 5 racekits and offered me one. Um, sige na nga! Hulog ng langit… masama tanggihan.  😀
I was choosing between the 16km and 21k and decided to go for the 21k as my recovery race. Tsk! Tsk! This is not the way you reverse taper, Jah! (Although I never have done reverse tapering. I also haven’t really jumped to 21k at once just a week after a marathon. Yikes!).
Oh well, I could always just walk it anyway as I wasn’t aiming for any PR, but recovery (Perfect excuse for a slow time. :D).
I did my usual 5k run all the way easy warm-up and went Galloway with 3 minutes run and 30 seconds walk interval. It was windy up there, but kind of humid. I kept looking at my watch as the sounds of the vehicles passing by below was louder than the alerts on my watch. It was a long and winding stretch of road that never seemed to end. That was when a feeling of umay presented itself to me. (Like “Ta-dah! I’m Umay. … kidding.) Haaay… ,but really! I think I need to squeeze in other activities aside from the ones that involve hours of just pounding on the concrete road to make me look forward to more.

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Last stretch going down and off the skyway to the finish line.

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My recovery race time.

It was nice seeing other runners I knew along the way and a lot of TBR dreamers doing their LSDs. Actually, a majority of the people I knew who joined were after mileage and not PR (except for some bunch of people I knew who were supposedly running LSDs, but ended up with unplanned marathon PRs).

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Team Pukers’ Jon, Ferdz, Jen and Erwin with their 4:32-5:03 Marathon PRs achieved by doing a 4:1 Run-Walk Interval.

I didn’t get to see this guy, but he certainly made his rounds on the internet when he picked up a stray cat off the skyway and ran with the cat to bring it down to somewhere safer.  🙂 Ugh! Can’t imagine carrying a 5 kilo(?) cat while running. The heaviest object I’ve brought along in one hand while running was a brick during a Puke Session and that’s way much lighter and it doesn’t move. 😀

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WHAT WAS I THINKING?
“Ang humid!”
“Road… road… all road… kaumay.
“Oh wow! Ayan na yong mga pabalik!”
“Is this Jojo?
Looking good. Wait, baka hindi siya. Tabihan ko muna to check.”
“Wala bang food sa hydration?” (This is what you get for being way too pampered at your previous race).
“Shugs! My shorts is falling. Have I lost that much weight? :o”
“Nasaan na ba kami? As if I can tell.
“Girl, easy lang. I’m not competing with you… so competitive, huh?”
“Konti nalang! Woohoo!”

THANK YOUS
To Bobby for the free kit, of course and for squealing I was going to run. 😀  To my personal Uber driver… thanks again Lou for the ride. To Team Pukers for the company before and after the race.

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Team Pukers after the race.

 

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Team Free Race kit 😀

 

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With Team Pukers at the all time fave post run venue, McDonalds.

 

MY FINAL SAY
This is a race for the whole family. If you’re new into running, I’d recommend this one because of the many shorter distances they offer. If you’re into freebies galore, from the free food at the activity area (only got to eat instant noodles, slurpee and gave away my red bull) to the groceries you can take home (if you’re that patient to go around all the booths), then this is a race event for you. 🙂

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Sorry, Sherwin! You were the one I saw who had the most groceries posted on my FB wall. Winner! 😀

If you’re not as picky about the finisher shirt or medal you’ll be getting, this one will do.
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It was a pretty good race. Come on, how many times do you actually get the chance to run on the skyway, right? 🙂

 

What Makes Ultras Different

Going into my 3rd year of running, I have only mustered up the courage to do 2 ultramarathons so far. Even on just the 1st time I participated in one, I could clearly see that ultramarathons was’t anything like your usual race events.

THE RACE ROUTE
Since an ultramarathon involves a longer distance with lesser runners, these race events usually take place out of town even sometimes from one city to another or even through cities. Roads will not be closed for the race so, don’t expect to see any of those orange cones or marshals along the way making space for you to safely run on. Instead, you will be running on the usual busy roads alongside the incoming traffic of moving vehicles.

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THE CROWD
With a small number of participants ranging from a two digit figure (sometimes even less for those really long distance ultramarathons) to around a few hundreds, it’s probably the reason why everyone simply seems to know each other. It’s like a small running community made up of various teams with some solo runners, ready to support each other.

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THE ULTRAMARATHONER
From the way I see it, ultramarathoners are the most relaxed runners I know. There’s not a hint of stress on their faces at all before the race begins. Finish times don’t matter as long as they finish before cut-off. Only a handful would actually strive for PR (Personal Records) or a podium spot.

THE SUPPORT
Unlike marathons or the shorter distance races, a support vehicle is usually allowed or sometimes even required, unless it’s a trail marathon. This means, you can have a support vehicle with your own support team stopping at certain points to take care of your needs— anything from refill of hydration, food, a good change of clothes if needed, a good massage and of course, words of encouragement to push you further, but certainly not a free lift. Usually, a member of the support team crosses the road to where the runner is to give his/her needs.

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Then there are some who opt not to have a support and be “self-support” bringing all the essentials and relying on the races’ official hydration stations or the stores along the way. “Support is for the supot!” as one ultramarathoner friend tells me.

RUNNING AN ULTRA
More than the training that you do to actually run one, running an ultra is also a mental challenge. It takes a lot of will and determination to go beyond the regular distance (especially when some race organizers add an additional few kilometers to the said distance or what they refer to as a “Bonus”).

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There’ll be times when you’ll be running in dimly lit areas on your own. This usually happens when you’ve come to the stage of the race when the gap in between runners has already been stretched out because of their own pace. (Believe me, it makes it scarier as a girl and if you have this habit of running alone.) Mind games take place.
Attending to the call of nature is also an issue for the girls where gasoline station seems like an oasis on the desert for us.

ULTRA ETIQUETTE
In my recent blog about a marathon I ran when I wasn’t sure it was to okay  overtake someone a few meters away from the finish line, I mentioned about Bald Runners blog that talked about it.

“This is the practice of overtaking or passing a runner in the last few meters before the Finish Line in an Ultra Running Event. Personally, it is my understanding that an Ultra Running Event is NOT a Sprinting Event. Having said this, Sprinting on your last 10 or 20 meters before the Finish Line is a BIG “No-No” to me, more so, if you intend to pass a runner ahead of you before finally crossing the Finish Line.”

If you’ve already done a marathon and want to try something else, run an ultra.
If you’re tired of speed, tired of being conscious of your pace, of your finish time and want a more relaxed race, run an ultra.
If you want to be surrounded by runners who don’t care about your finish time, run an ultra.
The feeling of crossing the finish line after all the the hours of exhaustion more than how long it took you to get there is one I guarantee you will never forget.

Being A Runner Doesn’t Give You Immunity

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* Taken from Urban Dictionary

 

When we think of a runner, we think of a person who trains, eats the right food, keeps away from anything that could do harm to the body. We picture these bunch of health buffs with special diets of all sorts and those who make time to run or work-out in the gym. Simply put, we see runners as the few individuals who have chosen to live a healthy liefstyle.

By being a runner or any active person in general, we’d think these would most likely be the ones facing less health issues and may even live a longer life than many.

Wrong.

Runners are humans, too, and just like an ordinary Juan or Maria can die from many other reasons aside from it being running (I’m referring to those healthy ones that actually die during their races).

Since last year, I have sadly lost 5 TBR (The Bull Runner Dream Marathon) batchmates. 1 died from pneumonia and another of late detected cancer. Both seemed perfectly healthy that no one would have suspected they’d succumb to such illness. 2 other batchmates died late last year in tragic road accidents involving a bike and the other a motorcycle.

12374909_1090145087715452_7235392347949767828_oIt makes me sad that yet, another batchmate of ours died from cardiac arrest just this week. Just when he was getting back to running again after losing his wife barely 6 months ago (the 1 who died of cancer), this happened. 😦
Even his kids said their dad seemed to be the healthiest of them all after a recent family annual check-up.

I may not have had the chance to really get to know you that well Egay, but I’ve always seen you as one of those cheerful down-to-earth batchmates from Team Kulit.

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Our last FB conversation.

Rest in peace, Egay.
You will surely be missed back here. 😦

So, even if you think you’re all fit and healthy, when your time on earth is done, you just to go… ready or not.

Therefore, go live life to the fullest and make each day worth living.

Finish Line Etiquette

Ahhh… the finish line.

For everyone doing races, nothing beats the feeling of crossing it. It’s the end of the agony and start of your glory. After all the hard work, training and sacrifices, this is it! You’ve worked so hard for this and it’s time to claim what’s yours.

We picture ourselves making a strong finish like dashing to the finish line (if you still have that energy left it you) or simply making your signature poses as you run through the ribbon. Sometimes though, you don’t always get the finish that you’ve dreamt of for various reasons.

I have always wondered if there is such a thing as finish line etiquette. Are there certain rules or guidelines a runner must follow when crossing the finish line? Not all races here have ribbons to cross except a few marathons (The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, Corregidor Marathon) then there’s mostly ultras and triathlons.

Well, I came up with my own list on what I think runners should do when it comes with crossing the finish line.

1. If you have to propose, do so after the finish line. If possible, way, way after. :p

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During my 1st marathon at TBR, I had batchmates who were pissed off for not having a decent finish line picture of their 1st marathon when a batchmate of ours decided to pull out the ring right before the finish line. He even had a h-u-g-e tarpulin of his own that had the question written on it held right after the finish line.
The crowd’s, most of photographers and even the emcee’s attention all went to the newly engaged couple while my other unlucky batchmates who then officially became marathoners crossed the finish line unnoticed. *sigh* Their moment gone forever.

2. Just cross the finish line and go.
It can’t be prevented, but sometimes a pack of runners would all be making their way towards the finish line at the same time. This would usually end up with runners standing in a line each waiting to cross. Just smile or pose and carry on. Simple as THAT. Please remember, their finish time is still ticking as long as they haven’t crossed yet so, please don’t take too long with your moment.

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3. Give way if you’re not alone heading towards the finish line and plan to have a pictorial session.
If you actually have a plan to have a series of pictures taken in various poses complete with banners and what have yous with full knowledge someone is right behind you, please let them cross first before you proceed with your planned pictorial.

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It sucks having to wait several minutes behind, be asked by the timekeeper to cross by going at the side just to make it official, go back behind, wait until the runner in front of you is done with his moment as yours slowly fizzles away.
Then you get asked to do a take 2 of your finish line moment by running back a bit and run towards the finish line again. Ugh!

There! To sum it up, just be considerate to your fellow runners. I’m sure we all want to make the cross to the finish line memorable.

* Photo credits: Photo-Ops, Run Corregidor

Corregidor Marathon Additional Tips and Info

Since it was our first time on Corregidor and our 1st time to join their marathon, we had no idea what to expect and relied mostly on what we saw through other runners’ posts about their experience. This is why I’m listing down some information that I hope would come useful to other runners who may want to pursue the rock in the future.

ON REGISTRATION
Register early to avail of discount and hotel reservations if you plan to check-in the hotel.

FERRY CHECK-IN TIME
They require that you be there 2 hours prior ETD.

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* Photo credit: Giancarlo Martelino

Nah! Unless you want to beat the traffic peak hours. An hour before is enough as that’s the time the distribution of the small ziplock packets containing the Ferry ride stickers and meal stubs (Breakfast buffet and Lunch buffet) begin. Carboloading Dinner (P250) and Daytour (P300) stubs can be bought there even if Sun Cruises told me they would only be sold at the Race Briefing.

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BRINGING YOUR CAR
Just in case you plan to bring your car to the ferry terminal, you can leave it in the parking area and will be charged a flat rate of P30 as long as it’s been verified with Sun Cruises. Your cars’ safety, that I’m not sure about.

ANOTHER WAY TO GET THERE
There are boats that come all the way from Pampanga as the Cabelen Team told us. So, if you’re in that area, you can come from there instead. Just make sure there’s a big group as you’ll be dividing the cost of renting the whole boat amongst yourselves.

ANOTHER ACCOMODATION
There’s a dorm that you can rent out from one of the locals which the Cabelen Team told us, too. Prior arrangements needed, of course.

CARBOLOADING DINNER
If you’re not used to having a heavy dinner prior to the race and don’t want to shell out an additional P250, you can order ala carte at the hotel’s restaurant. It’s cheaper and they have big servings of pasta and noodles.

THE FOOD
Breakfast buffet included rice, scrambled egg, corned beef, fish and a serving of coffee. Lunch buffet after the race had soup, stir-fried veggies, fried chicken, pork with milk sauce and watermelon for dessert.

WATER
Bring enough drinking water if you’ll be staying at the camp site. At the hotel, there’s a water dispenser at the restaurant and lobby. You can also buy before getting onboard the ferry as there’s a 7-11 right outside the ferry terminal.

HOTEL
It’s pretty okay even if there were signs of it being old already. The walls are kind of thin as you could sometimes hear the people from the next room as they talk. Aircon is really cold. There’s a water heater in the shower.

 

There’s also a thermos and lots of electric sockets. No Wi-fi. TV is in the lobby. Staying in the hotel became convenient as Breakfast Buffet was served there.

TOILETRIES
The hotel provides towels, a roll of toilet paper, sachets of shampoo with conditioner and the thinnest bar or rather “slice” of soap I ever saw. Hubs and I shared a good laugh when he said he had a hard time picking it up from the shower floor when it fell. 😀

SARI SARI STORES?
The souvenir shop has some snacks, toiletries and what have yous. You can also buy from the hotel lobby since the souvenir shops are located way up in the hills. Don’t expect any carinderias or other stores as there really isn’t any… or maybe we just didn’t see.

DAY TOUR
Do take the day tour. Even if you’ll be passing the tourist spots and running around the island during the race, it’s nicer to have more knowledge to what they’re all about. Plus you have more time to take pictures, too.

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ACCOMMODATION
Given a choice between the hotel or tent accommodation, I’d go for the tent. It’s cheaper and you get to mingle more with other runners present at the campsite. Besides, you’re required to check-out prior to gunstart making your stay at the hotel really short. You get to shower in the campsite showers after the race.
The campsite is also located beside the beach that you can try taking a dip if you feel like it. There’s a lot of toilets and shower cubicles in the campsite although I did feel so exposed using the shower cubicle after the race as it was right next to a hill. Anyone up on the hill would’ve had a pretty good view of everything. 😮

TRAINING FOR THE RUN
You’ll be given a suggested program to follow, but I opted to use a simpler one. Heat train especially if you’re not used to it. Try doing some hills. Try running on trail as well and perhaps on tall grass, too.

RACE GEAR
It really depends on the runner. It will be hot so, if you’re the type who doesn’t like being exposed under the sun, wear long sleeved shirts or shirts and arm sleeves. Wear shades if the bright sun has an effect on you.
I think one can survive the route without having to wear a hydration belt because the hydration stations are sufficient enough, but if you want to be sure, one hydration bottle will do.

EXTENDED RACE-CATION
We left after we were done with the race. Others stayed for another day and got to be part of the launch of the Corregidor Half Marathon at night.

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* Photo credit: Giancarlo Martelino

Seemed fun.
Will try.
Perhaps next time?

Hope this helped.