Animo Duathlon

Sunday, November 23, 2008

First Leg: 10K Animo Run

I gave up my Unicef Run registration for this. I skipped the chance to behold the sunrise at Heritage park and participate in a Rio-organised event, so I can have a nice easy run with friends, who happen to be Lasallites (Lasallians? How do you call yourselves again? This is a true child of UP asking).

It was supposed to be my last 10K for the year so I wanted it done right. Maybe in the process I will break my PR. I woke up and left home early - enough to kill time while munching on a cheeseburger. I hurried to the registration table so I can get my race kit along with friends. Omen number 1 was that the registration table was meters away from the race start. WHY? There was a swarm of people at the registration/claim table. Two or three youngsters were manning the table, besieged by a crowd anxious to get their kits. My group was within that crowd. I was getting concerned as I wanted to do a proper warm-up and possibly take a pre-race leak. I was still in a good mood to take a photo though.

Weng and I from my camera phone.

Then the host announced "The race is about to start in 5 minutes. Are you ready?" I shouted a loud protest "No, we are not yet ready". Of course he didn't hear us as we are so far away. That's when my mood began to turn sour. What the hell was taking so long? Had we known that online registration would lead to this, we would have asked someone to do registration in person. The 10K group finally started and my heart sank further. Finally, the bibs came, sans the singlet. I was too upset to notice the missing singlet and grudgingly pinned my bib. We raced to the entry point to look for the scanner the host was blurting out earlier, but the race marshals there said "What scanner?". I saw an equally irate Caucasian woman having same problems as ours. Just go, said the marshal.

And go we did for we have no choice. I badly wanted to start on time so I can assess how I pace vis-a-vis other runners. If we would just end up timing ourselves, we should have not waited for those kits. And where is the singlet? We paid for it! For the next 2kms I tried to exorcise the demons. Thank God I found diversion in the elite runners passing by. For the next few kilometers I tried hard to amuse myself by observing other runners.

In the last 2kms I was debating within myself if I should accelerate. My flesh was far from weak, but my spirit is unwilling. What for? What do I hope to achieve? By sheer habit and training I did pick up speed on the last leg. I tried to count people I was overtaking, but the thrill was just not there. I was like a robot programmed to count, devoid of emotion and inspiration. I did overtake about 25 people till the finish, but I was not jubilant at finish line. Cheers from friends at finish line saved the day for me. I was surprised I did beat my PR -- shaved 2 minutes off my old record for a new time of 1:07:44 on my watch. But I wasn't ecstatic. On that I course I think I could do a 1:05, probably even beat my 1 hr year-end target if I was inspired and lucky enough. The cheeseburger I ate was supposed to fuel my drive for a strong PR. With this new PR, di ko trip magpa-cheeseburger. I did win free lunch from 2 of my friends whom I outran. But even this was not enough.

My biggest disappointment was that it could have been a good race, even a great one. I liked the venue, the breeze, the smooth, flat roads, the DLSU cheering squad, the organizers' youthful enthusiam and the huge runner turn-out representing various sectors of society. I actually find this crowd refreshing, different from what I was used to for the past few races I've had at the Fort. Some of my better memories were a Caucasian man pushing a baby stroller (Boy, was he fast. Is the stroller unfair advantage?), a group of senior citizens merrily chatting while running, and a beautiful couple full of love in their eyes, etc.

My friends and I had some merry banter after
the race, and then we parted to go back to our individual responsibilities.

Gilbert, Oliver, Me-ann, Bunny and Weng after the race

Second Leg: 30Km Bike Around Mall Of Asia

It was a good thing I brought my bike. I was still heady with the joyride I had the last night and I thought I should log on more kilometers on that bike. Weekends are my only practice skeds so I better maximize them. Besides, MOA is a great place to bike in.

Bike practice was all I had in mind. I didn't even bother to change from my running shorts, singlet and wide, chunky New Balance running shoes as I figured I will just do a few rounds and be done in 30 minutes. But I was so underwhelmed by my Animo run that a crazy idea went up my head. Do an impromptu duathlon. How long is a sprint duathlon anyway? If my memory served me right, it is 10k run - 30k bike - 7.5k run. Ok go. Bahala na si Batman. The bike leg is a fun leg lang, okay?

For the next hour and a half I did my bike practices. I hit the slightly busy roads as well as those less travelled. I sometimes found myself accidentally in bike packs, but I wiggled my way out of them cause my ride was still , er, wiggly. Someday I will also be a groupie, but for now I prefer to be alone with my bike, free to explore her angles and curves. I tried various gear ratios and forced myself to go down on the curve handles instead of cruising along with my hands atop the horizontal bar. I felt like a poseur, a trying-hard, but I experimented with those clip-on aerobars. nonetheless. I was trying to imagine what angle and lenght will suit me best. I experimented with saddle height a couple of times. I adjusted my bike so many times my allen wrench eventually lost it shape.

Most of the time I was just cruising, enjoying the views, the breeze and the crowd. I saw a father on bike watching his fully suited son ride his own kiddie bike. I saw former rowing mates running; I wanted to cross over to them but I have yet to conquer my fear of busy streets and intersections. I would pass by the church twice. First was to give thanks to the Lord for my legs and feet. Imperfect and ugly they maybe, they allow me to run and bike. Second was to ask blessing for my family, friends and country. I also asked the Lord if he can give me strength to finish the last 5K of my impromptu duathlon. God help me, my back and my butt are already grunting in pain! In gratitude I promised my next triathlon is dedicated to Him. I hope I do not screw up.

Third Leg: 5K run on Treadmill

On the last transition I questioned my motivation. Why the hell would you want to continue with this? Triathlon season is still months away and you are a still newbie for Christ's sake. Why punish yourself? I know you love triathlons, especially the swim leg, but duathlon feeds on your weakest skills - biking and running. Do you honestly think there is still incremental gain by running again. You are already tired. Remember the principle of maintenance of efficient movement. You can't run correctly and optimally if you are tired. Yeah I know, but triathlon entails fatigued running, and I need to know my limits.

I finally retired my now very drenched singlet and put on a fresh shirt. On the airconditioned confines of the gym I would finish my duathlon. I would do an easy 5K. I thought I can do longer but I was getting hungry. For this duathlon, all I had was a bottle of water for the first run, another bottle for the bike leg, a bottle of Activade for the last run and my generous fat reserves. Where was GU when I needed it? I ran with little fanfare. I tried to focus on maintaining good form while doing 4K at 8kph, 800m at 9kph and the last 200 at 10kph. See, I can still end with a strong finish.

For all that effort I rewarded myself with a plateful of lumpiang bangus, maja blanca and bibingka. I threw in a new set of allen wrenches and a white cap I can wear for runs. I hope there will be more road races in MOA so I can do this again. By the way, is there a pool nearby that opens before a road race?


Running Fatboy November 24, 2008 at 6:24 PM  

wow, what a busy day for you yesterday.. Incidentally there is Milo 10k next sunday if you want to have another try at another 10k race before year ends...

Rico Villanueva November 25, 2008 at 12:13 AM  

RFB, if I go ballistic, I might just bandit Milo 10K. Layo lang kasi eh.

The foreign runner November 25, 2008 at 6:54 AM  

Oh it seems like we might have a soon to be national Philippines triathlon athlete. Is the duathlon not a 40km bike and the triathlon 30km? Do you know when the triathlons start again? Sorry to hear about your bad experience at the race Sunday but all the blogs I read not one had something good to say. Rio for president!!!

Rico Villanueva November 25, 2008 at 10:15 AM  

Philip, harharhar...The distance is an honest mistake. I remember triathlons, not duathlons. Had I known it was 40K, I would not have even tried that crazy idea. But if wake up early on Sunday, I might just get crazy again to run a 10K Milo, bike 40K from Quirino (or within CCP-MOA complex if I chicken out on the highway), and do my favorite 5k treadmill run.

Rico Villanueva November 25, 2008 at 10:22 AM  

Btw, I am assuming triathlon season starts Feb or Mar. In the meantime, I am trying to raise my relaxed long run pace to 6min/km preparatory to a marathon, build the mental and butt stamina to sit on a bike for 30/40k, and change my swim breathing pattern to glide faster. And yes, I will campaign and vote for Rio.

The foreign runner November 25, 2008 at 10:24 AM  

Everything happen for a reason because if you knew it was 40km then you would not even have done 30km diba? Good luck with the milo. Do you know if we can enter for the marathon?

Rico Villanueva November 25, 2008 at 11:28 AM  

I believe there is a pre-qualifier for the Milo marathon. I remember being dragged by a friend to Baguio so we can cheer her up in her 21K pre-qualifier bid. Back then qualifying time was 2:30. Philip, this should be peanuts for you. I hope to eventually run the Milo Marathon, for sentimental reasons.

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