Never Settle

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mizuno Infinity Run
7 June 2009

To be candid, I joined the Mizuno Infinity Run primarily because I expected a very nice finisher shirt. I was not yet actively running when the last Mizuno Race was held so I would squirm in envy every time I see someone wearing the Run 100% finisher shirt. Having done almost a succession of half-marathons (4 so far this year), I was thinking 15K whould be a cinch, so I figured this ought to be a PR race for me. I remembered my first and last relevant 15K was the VSO Bahaginan Race last November 2008 where I clocked at 1:50:39. Surely I could beat that, especially now that my comfortably hard long distance pace averages roughly 7min/km. A time of 1:45 was perfectly reasonable. The race was also a perfect training run for the Milo marathon whose cut-off time of 5hrs still scares the slowpoke me.

The race plan was simple: run below the Milo minimum required pace of 7:10min/km. The plan entailed arriving early for adequate warm-up, a faster start just below the desired race pace, an even pace throughout most of the race, a negative split if weather was conducive, and my classic strong finish.

Well, I arrived about 20 minutes before the race and had a short walk-around, but most of the pre-race time was spent on banter with friends. Hehe. Looking at my Garmin lap data, I actually had a decent start with km lap1 averaging 6:49min/km (I was doing my best not to be carried away by the mob). I stayed well below 7:10min/km for the 7 laps (kms), this despite the initial climb-up the Kalayaan flyover. For some reason I have yet to fathom, I suddenly slowed down after the half turnaround. From lap 7's pace of 6:41min/km, I suddenly slowed to 7:25min/km. My heartrate also suddenly dropped.

My slowdown and HR drop extended till km12 where I hit a slow 7:51. Lap 12 I could explain by the gradient of the climb over the Kalayaan flyover and back to Global City, but for the flat laps 8-11, I could only offer one hypothesis. I probably suffered from sugar rush again from the Hammergel I took at the turnaround. I remember the exact same slowdown I experienced at my NB Powerrace turnaround (the last time I used energy gel). My body does not tolerate well sudden sugar fluctuations and prefers taking sugars from complex carbohydrates like bars, hopia, cookies, etc. Dang, how am I supposed to survive a future half-ironman if I will carry hopia instead of gels!

I suppose eventually I adjusted to the sugar and was able to use it to power me in the last 3kms, but it was harder to sustain the effort. Runners around me were already wilting, grunting and shuffling their way to the finish. The mental effort to sustain race pace amidst these runners was probably equivalent to the mental discipline required to hold your horses at the race start. In the last 3kms I would catch up with a few friends and tried my best to cheer them up by blurting out the remaining distance. Konti na lang!

Two kilometers before the finish I caught up with a friend whose legs were already hurting. The person told me he/she wanted to beat his/her PR and I replied that there was enough time to do it if he/she would just jog along or even brisk walk. I cheered the person along. This friend alternately trailed behind and caught up with me, and every time he/she would be within speaking distance, some form of complain/protest would be muttered. A kilometer into the finish, this friend realized a painful truth and blurted out: "I am such a whiner, no?" I wanted to utter "Yes" but I did not want to dampen his/her spirit further and I have a more important thing to focus on. Like my friend, I wanted a PR, but I preferred to work at it instead of whining. I may prefer negative split, but I am Mr. Positivism. So I sucked in all the goodness remaining in me and left behind the negativism. Finally I was free to work towards a strong finish, and if still possible, beat 1:50:39.

I probably had my best finish ever this morning. My Garmin told me I ran the last 214m at an average pace of 4:54min/km! Without meaning to, I even outran a friend in yellow shorts (a fellow triathlete wannabe whom I normally ran into towards the finish line) and I managed to shout back to a former officemate who called me. I did my strong finish while keeping a maximum heart rate of 176 and without any pain in my legs.

My Garmin told me I ran 15.21km for 1:49:22 at an average pace of 7:11min/km. Well, I did beat my PR (by a whopping minute! hehe) and just came 0.01 shy of the minimum desired pace of 7:10min/km.

After the race I had a splendid time posing for pictures, trading race stories and having breakfast with friends as always. After dropping off some friends in De La Rosa Street, I was alone in my vehicle once again and my mind raced back to the run I had this morning. I achieved some things today but I expected something better. I knew I had more to give.

I was somewhere near South Superhighway when I made a decision to go back to Global City. I went straight to the gym and hit the treadmill. On the treadmill I pushed myself. I did 500m intervals of fast and slow runs. In the end I ran a total of 10K on average pace of 6:30min/km. I pushed myself to run up to 6min/km, even 5min/km on my last half-kilometer. I must get used to speed. I must get used to the pounding. I must finally want to push myself.

Run 100%. Never settle.


sfrunner June 8, 2009 at 1:19 AM  

Hi Rico. Congratulations on the 15K. A PR is a PR. I don't know how tough the Mizuno course is but VSO wasn't that easy, especially with McKinley Hill.

Anyway, good post and nice shirts for the finishers. Take care and have a good week ahead!

edebelenmd June 8, 2009 at 2:39 AM  

Hey Rico!

Congratulations on your new PR!

You did what?! Another 10k with intervals after a 15k at race pace?! One word: ADIK!!! :)

Good luck in your training for the Milo Marathon! I might join the 21k.

forefoot June 8, 2009 at 9:48 AM  

Nice! Very nice Rico! Pushing one'sself is something that a lot of fellow runners can't do. Am glad about your accomplishment. Keep on pushing, and keep up the good strategy!

run unltd. June 8, 2009 at 4:29 PM  

Congrats Rico, never settle indeed. That was more of a mind game, akalain mo, bumalik ka pa at tumakbo ulit. Your shirt is right. Adik?

Jet Paiso June 8, 2009 at 10:23 PM  

hey man, congrats! the kalayaan flyover is really punishing, and i always dread passing that route.

qrunning June 9, 2009 at 3:01 AM  

Great job, Rico! Good luck with the Milo Marathon.

chris mcpeake June 9, 2009 at 4:19 AM  

Great job on the race. Way to go. Keep on working hard.

Rod June 9, 2009 at 1:25 PM  

nice one, idol! halimaw na sunod nyan! =)

Gingerbreadman June 9, 2009 at 4:35 PM  

Congratulations Boss Rix on your new PR :) Wow, you're really pushing yourself! That's terrific! Preps for MIlo are in full force ah :) Very nice! Keep on pushing :)


Bong June 9, 2009 at 11:58 PM  

First, congrats Rico for the new PR. I enjoyed reading your race report, it was quite entertaining. I like the part where you mentioned hopia instead of gels, :), if one would come up with a new running product in place of gels and shotbloks, called maybe - hopia bloks, I'm sure it'll be popular with Pinoy runners. Actually, I'm craving for one now, the ube in particular, with coffee. :)

Rod June 10, 2009 at 12:49 AM  

nice idol! that's more than a half-mary. winner na ang endurance mo ah. =)

Sam The Running Ninja June 10, 2009 at 11:44 AM  

Congrats Rico. It's only from this blog that there's a cut-off time of 5 hours to get the finisher's certificate*laughs*.

When it comes to food an hour before the race day, I stick with 1 huge banana and 3 spoons of peanut butter..i believe its good for 15k. Try mo rin.

SEABISKWIT June 10, 2009 at 8:22 PM  

Hey Rico! Congrats on your PR!.. I knew i should've joined Mizuno instead of the Clark Duathlon.. nakasama sana ko sa header ng hahaha!

Turning back to run some more? Whoah!! getting ready for Milo eh?! 25 days nalang pala yun... (nice countdown)

Nora, the golden girl June 16, 2009 at 4:43 PM  

I agree with Sam the Running Ninja. One banana and peanut butter sandwich could also work for you, Rico. Congrats for the new PR!

Hope to see you at the Robinson's Run this July 12.

Rico Villanueva June 17, 2009 at 4:58 PM  

Thanks Nora. Nice seeing you during the Mizuno run, and hope to see you again in the Buddy Run :-)

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