Race results: Takbo.ph 20-miler

Yes, running at zone-2 works. I am now a believer in this. I was doubtful about this, even if all the science seems to point towards its effectiveness. Proof of the pudding is in the eating, so they say, and the fact that I established a new PR in the 32K is proof enough.

My previous PR was set in November 2011 and it was a grueling experience. I had hit the wall at around the 28 kilometer mark and walked for most of the remaining kilometers. I ran a couple more 32-kilometer races but the result was more or less the same – I would struggle in the last 4 to 5 kilometers and would eventually succumb to walking.

But in today's Takbo.ph 20-miler race I didn't fold. I didn't stop to walk AT ALL. Ok, maybe that's not accurate. There were a few situations where I did stop for a few seconds to grab a cup and at least one situation where the marshalls signalled me to stop to let traffic pass, but I didn't stop because of exhaustion. And I beat my previous PR by four minutes!

Honestly, even days before this race, I had a good feeling about my condition. I conquered the uphill climbs in last weekend's 32K Resolution Run so I figured that I should be able to come out with a good result in the Takbo.ph event. I figured to take it easy in the first 5k and, since the route was actually 2 “loops” of a 16-kilometer route around Bonifacio Global City, I could gauge my pace and stamina after the first route.

The weather was cool – in fact it can be considered cold by Philippine standards. There is a typhoon in the south and rain was forecasted to hit Manila in the afternoon. The run started exactly at 3:30 am and the route took us through the International School and then close to the new Valkyrie club (where I could still see plenty of cars parked by the road) and then we ran up the Kalayaan Flyover, ran along Gil Puyat Avenue, and then making a U-Turn before we got to Sergio Osmeña Avenue for the run back. That's one loop. Unlike last week's 32K Resolution Run, this was a route I was familiar with. I knew the uphill climbs and I knew how far one landmark is to the next. I knew that it was predominantly a downhill run from Mckinley Avenue to the finish line so I planned that section for my last hurrah.

And I also knew that GPS signal would be erratic, so I knew that I couldn't rely on the distance indicator of my running app. Around BGC it was off by a few meters but after a couple of kilometers, once I got to Gil Puyat with all its trees and tall buildings, it was hundreds of meters off. When I completed the first 16K loop, my running app registered 16.7 kilometers so I knew I couldn't rely on the pace that the app was measuring.

At around the 25-kilometer mark, after running for about 3 hours, I knew that I would at least beat my PR. I knew that I could run all the way. I felt good. I didn't feel the onset of any drop-dead exhaustion. The constant thought in my head was “I COULD DO THIS!” Even running up the Kalayaan Flyover didn't sap my energy. Yes I felt my legs get tired but it dissipated once the incline levelled off. At the final U-turn near McKinley Avenue, I estimated two more kilometers until I reach the finish line so I picked up the pace a notch. When I saw the tarpaulin declaring the 31-kilometer mark somewhere by High Street, I looked at my watch (it was indicating 32 kilometers) but I paid that no mind. I was more interested at the time and I knew that even if I ran the final kilometer at a slower pace, I would make a new PR!

All in all I am more than just satisfied with my performance. I ran the second half faster than the first. And to achieve a new PR at my age is proof that age is just a state of mind. Those long boring Z2 runs did pay off!


Takbo.ph 20-miler tomorrow

Tomorrow is the Takbo.ph 20-mile run. Once again, just like last week’s 32-kilometer Resolution Run, I am excited for this run. I fared pretty well in last week’s 32k run, where I ran strong with some energy in the tank despite the long and steep uphill climbs. Tomorrow’s route is still a hilly route but not as steep as last week.

I also reviewed my run stats.  My PR for a 32k is 3:54, which I achieved in November 2011. That’s 3 years ago. Will I be able to beat that record?

Ok. Let’s put some goals to shoot for:

  1. Finish in 3:46 (that means I can theoretically finish the marathon in less than 5 hours)
  2. Get a new 32K PR
  3. Finish without walking

So I wonder, how should I approach this run? Definitely I won’t start off by running my marathon pace. Probably do an easy (but no too easy!) run for the first 5 kilometres then settle into a steady pace. I don’t want to burn out and struggle in the last few kilometres.

Signed up for Takbo.ph 20 mile run

I signed up for this because, well, 32k runs are held infrequently. The only other 32k run that regularly comes up is Unilab’s Run United series, which is typically held around June. I have to ramp up the mileage to prepare myself for Tokyo and it’s tough running 32 kilometres my own.

32 kilometre runs continue to be a challenge for me. I can finish a 21k with no major issues but in a 32k I find myself bonking at around the 28-kilometer mark. This is why I am always looking for 32k runs. By January 2015, I am hoping that my training runs would have prepared me for this distance.

Takbp.ph 20-miler will be held on January 18, 2015 at the Bonifacion Global City. As I write this, registration is still open. In fact, early registrants (those who register before November 30, 2014) will receive a personalised race bib!