Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Travel planning

My aunt and uncle invited me to visit them in the Gold Coast region of Australia. I jumped! HIGH!

This could well be my last hurrah before I move to San Francisco in March. If only I can get a ticket!

All PAL & Qantas flights to Melbourne/Sydney in February are solidly booked. There are a few business class seats available, but that's way over my budget... I'm waitlisted so I'm crossing my fingers that someone cancels!

My itinerary ::
4 nights in Melbourne, daytrip to Great Ocean Road
5 nights in the Gold Coast
4 nights in Sydney

This will be a super budget trip because I'll most likely be traveling solo. Therefore I'll be hostelling it in Melbourne and Sydney.

Some serious shoe loving

I wore my new Nike Vomero+ 2 shoes for the first time today and oh my gawd, they are heaven to my feet.

Compared to my NB 1061, the Vomero+ 2 is super light and cushiony. My kicks and lift offs were higher. I felt bouncy, springy and fast. It also has a support for bunions, which will come in handy during long runs. Love it!

The oval thingy supports bunions

A few things I'll need to adjust to:

  • the width ~ it's a lot narrower than my 1061's, but then I was wearing a thick pair of Thorlo socks
  • my heels feel like they are rolling inward upon landing
Thank you Therese, you are the best!

Nike+ Sports Kit
On another note, my Nike+ sports kit must be dying. I did a 49 minute tempo run today and it reported that I only ran 3.32 miles at a pace of 14:43. HUH?!? By my calculation, I should have covered 5+/- miles. I'll try it with the 1061's tomorrow and see if I get a wrong reading there too. Aren't these things supposed to last 1 year?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Recovery Week

It took me three days to recover from last Sunday's half marathon. My legs were so sore and stiff, that I waddled like a duck when I walked. But it's all good now.

I had a massage the day after the race. It felt good, but a couple of times I felt my ankles were going to snap whenever the masseuse would draw circles with my toes. So note to self: wait a few days before getting a massage.

A recap of last week's runs:

MON ::recovery
TUE ::recovery
WED ::recovery
THU ::4.22 mi11:02 pa
FRI ::3.37 mi9:53 pa
SAT ::6.0 mi10:41 pa
SUN ::7.33 mi10:34 pa
TOTAL ::20.92 mi

Reached the Nike+ Top 4 spot in the Philippines for overall distance today, yippee! I remember a time not so long ago, when I ranked in the 90s. I've come a long way...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Left turns

I met up with my two German friends, Peter & Cathrin, last night. They visit the Philippines each year to escape Europe's bitter winter. Basically, Boracay is their second home. They've been going since the late 1990s, staying at the same resort each year, up to a month at a time! I swear, I love their life.

Gasthof, Boracay. Jan 2006

For the past two weeks, they've been traveling around Thailand and China, so understandably they were craving for European food. My dilemma:: Peter does not eat garlic or onions. You cannot trick him. His taste buds are so sensitive that he knows if there is even a sliver of garlic in his dish. This being the Philippines, a land of garlic lovers, our options were limited. After not much ado, we settled on Italiani's. He requested no garlic on his pasta sauce. Usually my experience in restaurants is that something is always amiss, you don't always get what you ask for. In this case, I'm happy to say that Italiani's followed through, not a hint of garlic in Peter's sauce! Kudos to them.

Anyway, this post isn't about that, so I'll get on with my story.

We were on our way back to Peter & Cathrin's hotel in the Adriatico area. My driver, who is not that familiar with the area, made an illegal left turn. Now, I'm not sure what the case was, but I wouldn't be surprised if he knew what he was doing. This driver is notorious for making his own routes, cutting corners, straddling several lanes and what not. He's been talked to several times, but nothing. He's been with our family for quite a while, and due to his mature age is not easily employable. In other words, my mom can't let him go.

So anyway, we were pulled over by a police officer. The cop, seeing two caucasians in the car got giddy. He took my driver's drivers license and apologized. Said there was something about meeting a quota, blah blah blah, but that it can fixed. My driver and I, in Tagalog, pleaded with the cop to let us go this one time, that we were new to the area, the usual yadi yada. I didn't want to pay up, especially not in front of my European guests. It must have been strange for my friends to see a police officer asking for a handout.

It was late. In the end, my driver figuring I wouldn't be fishing out my wallet anytime soon, stepped out of the car to settle the matter with the officer. Less than five minutes later, we were on our way.

I do not condone it, but eventually I reimbursed my driver.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Post race thoughts

It's been four days since the Subic Marathon, and yet I'm still on a high for completing a half marathon! I started running approximately 8 months ago, so for me this is a big deal. I never thought that I'd be able to run one mile straight, let alone 13+ miles! I have worked so hard for this, and am so proud of myself! Okay, enough of the self patting.

That being said, I know that I am not ready to run the full Philippine Marathon next month. Primarily because I haven't been consistent with my weekly long runs. Last week's race was my longest run yet. I'll only be asking for trouble if I start piling on the miles at this late stage, with less than 5 weeks to go.

I am truly bummed, because the marathon has been my goal since last October. My schedule and plans centered around it. It was what kept me going. And now without this goal, I feel kind of in limbo.

You see, I was planning to move to San Francisco soon after the marathon. But now that I'm not running this race, there's not much left for me to do here in Manila. Sure, my family and friends are here, but I need to start working again.

So anyway, the next marathon on my list is the San Francisco Marathon next August. That gives me more than enough time to train for it. I'll be building up my base, adding quality runs and not foregoing the long runs.

I won't be able to do it alone. I'm thinking of joining a running club, that way, I'll stay on track and make new friends. Funny how running has become such a big part of my life... How decisions are being made because of it...

Computer back up again

Ayyy, been having computer problems lately. Spotty wireless internet connection, that had nothing to do with my wireless router ~ other laptops were working just fine. I think my black beauty was miffed at me for mentioning some MacBook Air lust. Okay, no more of that, it was just a phase... Today, I've had uninterrupted internet connection :-) I think she's forgiven me.

Having Touch trouble too, my calendar hasn't updated since the first time I synched. Tried all sorts of things to no avail. Anyone experiencing the same problem? Mac guy coming next week to check it out, hopefully he can figure it all out.

Wondering if getting the latest Touch upgrade will make it work?!? But, you can only update if you reside in a country with an iTunes Store. How incredibly frustrating!

UPDATE ::   I was able to upgrade my Touch software. I haven't had time to play with it much yet, but it looks like it's worth the $20 USD. I can now write Notes! Maps looks pretty awesome too. Zeroed in on the Philippines, zoomed way up close, and was able to see the major streets of Manila in map view! Also nice satellite and hybrid views. Too bad Google Maps doesn't work in the Philippines. When I asked for directions from Ortigas to Makati, it resulted in a London to Potugal route.

It did a partial calendar synch too. What the hell? Argh!

Monday, January 21, 2008

My first half marathon

The night before the race
I was excited, I couldn't wait for it to be race day. Had an early dinner, 3 huge slices of pizza from Extremely Espresso. Oh, I shouldn't have eaten so much...

Prepared my race stuff so I wouldn't have to deal with it the next day.

  • FuelBelt in fridge: 2 flasks filled with Gatorade, 2 flasks with PowerBar Gel (strawberry banana) mixed with water
  • pinned race bib to shirt
  • laid out race outfit/paraphernalia on the chaise, ready to go
  • post race bag packed with sunblock, lipbalm, an extra shirt, Protein Water and a cell phone
  • set alarm to 3:50am

Was asleep by 10pm. Woken up by a good luck text message at around 11:15pm. My room was freezing, reached for the a/c remote but couldn't find it. Too lazy to get up to adjust the temperature, I endured the cold. It took a while for me to sleep again, but when I did, I slept like a log.

Race day
Woke up a few minutes before 4am, a quick breakfast of graham crackers and water, applied sunblock, dressed and out the door by 4:20am. Was at the starting line 10min later to find out that the 5am start time was for the 42K only. The 21K, 10K, 5K and 3K all started at 6am. The organizers should have arranged for graduated start times, i.e. 5:30am for 21K, 6am for 10K...

Per my watch, the gun went off at 5:52am and off we all went like salmon swimming upstream. I went slow and easy the entire way, even through the hills, stopping occasionally for water breaks and to take pictures of the scenery and what not.

Driving around the course the day before, the hills looked long and deadly, but in actuality it wasn't so. Of the course's hilliest area, between miles 6-8, the inclines were gradual and the descents forgiving. Slowly and surely I went, one step at a time, confident that my "hill" training around Ultra and Green Meadows prepared me for this!

I have a lot of respect for the poor marathoners ahead of us who ran much hillier hills on the way to Ocean Adventure. Hopefully, the scenery made it less painful for them.

Near the turnaround point, we were greeted by a flock of flying black birds overhead. I heard one person was even gifted with droppings, maybe to bring him luck.

By mile 10, my legs were heavy and slowing down. But I knew I could keep going for another 30 minutes or so. From miles 12-13, I stepped it up a bit hoping for a good finish. I kept going and going, but there was no sign of the finish line. I couldn't sustain the pace any longer so at mile 13.85, I began to walk. Argh! I wanted to run the entire race, but my legs felt like it was about to buckle at any time. Finally, Remy Field was in sight, but we kept on going and going, we past it, then went around the block. As soon as I entered the field, I started to run to the finish line. When I crossed it, I felt light, like I was soaring. I was still a bit grumpy though about the distance.

Saw a few friends who finished way ahead of me and yet congratulated me. Sure, we're a competitive lot, but the nice thing about runners is that we support and encourage one another.

My Stats
Distance:  14.75mi (Garmin)
                15.85mi (Nike+, needs recalibration)
Official Time:  2:36:05
Placement:  54.9%  (1040 out of 1895 runners)

Visit the Subic Marathon website to view the complete race results.

Avg Pace:  10:43/mi
Avg Speed:  5.6mph
Max Speed:  8.6mph

Calories:  1416

Avg Heart Rate:  174 bpm
Max Heart Rate:  186 bpm

Ascent:  2176 ft
Descent:  2246 ft

I'd like to commend the organizers, the PNP, and all the volunteers for a job well done. It was easy going from the get go. A few nits to pick however:
  • Inaccurate distance for the half marathon ~ we ran 23.67km instead of 21km. Had I known it was going to be this long, I would have conserved my energy for a much stronger finish.
  • The 21K should have started 30min earlier. The sun was hot and blinding by 7:30am.
  • A couple more water stations along the way would have been perfect. I was so parched way before the finish line, even with the extra 32 ounces of liquid I brought with me.
  • No one knew exactly where the baggage check-in counter was.

I'm so proud of all the runners out there! And for the marathoners, wow, I am so in awe of you guys.

Half marathon race result

I did it! I ran my first half marathon at Subic!!! Yeah!
Actually I ran more than 13.1 miles. Way more, per my Garmin.

Distance ::14.75 miles
Time ::2:38:17
Pace ::10:43/mi

UPDATE :: My official finish time is 2:36:05 :-) You can download the race results for the full and half marathon from the Subic Marathon website.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The thing about hair care

Most women know that you're not supposed to shampoo your hair everyday. As a runner, I sweat, a lot, and so does my head. I knew that sooner or later, someone was bound to ask me whether I shampoo everyday.

I was with my sister the other day and she asked me that very question. You see, my sister has beautiful hair. She started running recently to complement her yoga workouts. But, if running means she'll have stinky hair, then she'd rather not.

I told her that I shampoo every other day. During the off days, I rinse my hair after every run. When my hair is dry, I use a product by Stila, called Hair Refresher, and I love it. I think of it is a "powder shampoo" that absorbs the oil produced by your hair. Plus, the Jade Blossom scent is light and quite lovely.

On days that I swim, I rinse my hair first, put some conditioner on, then put my swimming cap on. The conditioner bars the chlorine from penetrating the strands. So I was told. Then of course, I shampoo afterwards.

That's it, in a nutshell, the gist of my hair care maintenance.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What a treat!

After dinner with the girls last night, I was in for a super ultra treat. An entire suite all to myself. And not just any old suite, it was an upgraded suite at the Edsa Shangri La. This was all so completely spontaneous and unexpected! Did I mention it was just me? Alone in a suite? I still can't get over it! Thank You!

Good thing I packed my running gear with me too. To burn off last night's dinner, a breakfast buffet and lunch at a nearby Greek restaurant! All for the sake of carbo loading. Ugh, right now I can't even think about food without cringing! I'm DONE! Done with the carbo loading! I think I've got enough stored in me to carry me through the half marathon on Sunday.

I was so tempted to get a few hours of pampering at the Chi, but I thought, better save the money for that new MacBook Air. Oh, she's a beauty!

What?!? No half for the Phil Marathon?

If this is true, that sucks! Big time!

Plus, the Feb. 24th marathon, which bills itself as the "Philippine International Marathon for the Pasig River," has yet to update it's totally outdated website!!!

I'm sure organizing a marathon of this scale is a challenge and I'm glad someone's out there to do it. But with 38 days left before the race, c'mon, you would think that they'd at least update their site. And, a google search won't yield you much information.

At this point in time, they don't deserve to be called an International marathon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Feels like I'm on vacation

because this week is taper week. In four days I only ran twice and both of them short runs. Ugh, I want to run more!

SAT ::0
SUN ::0
MON ::4.35 mi9:45 pa
TUE ::3.01 mi11:57 pa

Sunday is race day! I'm treating it as an lsd run, so I won't be setting any PR's here. Actually I will, since it'll be my first half marathon. :-) My next half is on Feb 24th.

Subic race route

for the full and half marathon.

A freebie

Got my Subic Marathon race packet today. Sorry to say, but their singlet is nothing to rave about, especially up close. The design is okay, but the print quality isn't. Best to stick to simple text and graphics next time.

So to the first person who leaves a comment and can pick it up, it's yours. Seriously!

UPDATE :: 1/26 Singlet is reserved for Venice.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Formatting changes
made to this site

For the longest time, I've been wanting to add a third column to this site. But I've been dragging my heels because I didn't even know where to begin. I did a search and came across this site. What a great resource for blogger users!

Now all I need to do, is figure out how to remove those darned underlines from the links and I'm set! I've tried adding the code below between the heads, but it just isn't working... Any thoughts?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Taper week

Next Sunday is the Subic Marathon, so today I began my Taper Week. I know, I should have started last week...

Based on the miles I ran last week, the Parrot Marathon Predictor predicts that I will run a 5:02:59 marathon. Therefore, I'm aiming for a sub 2:30 half marathon.

Miles ran today:: 0

On a completely different matter, the trip to Singapore is not pushing through. :-( I will have to see The Police another time.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Two things I'm excited about

  • Subic Marathon is next Sunday! I'll be doing my first half.
  • I'm going to Singapore in early February to see The Police in concert!
Fridays are my swim days, but since I still have a bit of a cold, I did an interval run.

Miles:: 7.00
Time:: 1:05:11
Pace:: 9:18

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Low battery indicator

symbol appeared on my Polar F11 heart rate monitor (hrm) about a month ago. This has become my everyday watch and I love it. Since I also use this watch/hrm for swimming, I was advised to take it to an authorized Polar Service Center.

I dragged my heels getting the watch serviced because I didn't think there'd be an authorized center here in Manila. But there is! You can drop off the watch at Toby's and you'll get the watch back within 3 working days. Furthermore, it only costs P140, or approximately $3.50 USD. :-)

I dread the day when my other gadgets run out battery. I wish there is one gadget that does all. These are the tools I use...


  • iPod Nano with Nike+ Sports Kit,
  • Polar F11 for indoor runs, or
  • Garmin 305 for outdoor runs
  • Polar F11
Stationary Bike::
  • Polar F11
  • iPod Nano

Feeling much better...

Except for the sore throat, all the symptoms I felt yesterday are now gone. Could it be that last night's run plus amping up on the Vitamin C, have flushed out all the bad toxins from my body? Well whatever it was, I am happy.

Did an easy short run today...

Miles:: 2.89
Time:: 30:03
Pace:: 10:22

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Feeling bleh today...

I've got a headache, my throat is sore, I can't hear off one ear and my muscles are sore. Could this be the onset of a flu, or simply a case of overtraining?

I don't want to risk missing the Subic race next weekend. Dare I run an easy 4 miler tonight?

UPDATE: I did run tonight, 5.35 miles. It was supposed to be an easy run, but I exerted more effort than planned. Bad, I know... Per Lance Armstrong through my iPod, I recorded my best 5K yet at 28'18". I felt woozy after the run ~ shouldn't have pushed myself too much...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Marathon stick

My weekly treat is a 1 to 1½ hour massage. Here in Manila, a massage isn't such a big indulgence as it is in other parts of the world. You can get a great massage for under $10 USD in the comfort of your own home. But for those times when I need a mini massage to ease tight calves after a hard or long run, I'd like to get my hands on one of these.

Think you don't have time to run?

Make a list of things you're wasting time on today. Cut one of them out and get the run in.

  • blogging
  • listening to TheFinalSprint/Phedippidations podcasts,
    while doing nothing

  • instead of listening to them on the treadmill
  • browsing the web
  • procrastinating

Mr. oNo

I have two set sets of resolutions, a running and a personal one. One of my personal resolutions for 2008 is to be more social, at least once a month. As a friend keeps saying, expand-the-base.

Well, there's this person I was set up with last year, who was described as "okay na okay," hereinafter referred to as Mr oNo. Well, Mr oNo and I went out several times, but I wasn't interested. Nothing wrong with him, I'm just not into him. So that was the end of that. Or so I thought.

Mr oNo's in town for a week or so and has persistently been asking me out. I'd rather go to bed early and do a morning run the next day. My dilemma, should I beg off on this one, or use this opportunity to check off January's social obligation and enjoy a nice dinner?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Running around Macau

It was my first time to Macau and I enjoyed it. The weather was perfect, sunny during the day and chilly at night. Six days is more than enough time to get to know, enjoy and wander around this charming little city. Here are some of the things I did:

  • a day trip to Coloane Village and Hac Sa Beach
  • a shopping expedition in Zhuhai (similar to Shenzen)
  • a visit to the Da Vinci Exhibition
  • and walking tours all over town

The cold weather, despite the wind, was conducive to running. I could have kept going and going, but sadly my days were packed. I was able to get four runs in, all of them good ones:
  • two around Lago Nam Van and Lago Sai Van
  • Fisherman's Wharf / Outer Harbour
  • Penha Hill / Lago Sai Van ~ my best run ever
  • and a hike up and around Guia Lighthouse
One thing this trip wasn't, is a foodie trip. My father likes eating simple meals. And after several days of eating Chinese food, he craved for something else. On New Year's Eve, it was a McDonald's burger he craved for, so there we all ate. Oh the burger I had, it was so good!

Snippets of the trip:
Discovered :: Daiso, a Japanese discount store
Daily Eats :: LemonCello gelato, various flavors
Savored :: egg tarts from Lord Stow's in Coloane Village
Tried :: fried squab at Dumbo's in Taipa
Money spent gambling :: zero
Total miles ran :: 16.87

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Oh, what a year this will be!

I had a tough but exhilarating run on a cold, windy New Year's morning in Macau. The first half of the run up and around Penha Hill was, for lack of a better word, hilly. If ever you find yourself in Macau, I recommend a morning run up to Penha Church ~ the view is spectacular, with the rising sun casting a warm soft glow all over. Plus it's a great workout for the legs. I stopped often to take countless of shots which contributed to the 997 some pictures I shot in 6 days!

Macau Tower

Bring it on, 2008! Wishing everyone great runs, all year long. Happy New Year!