In Moments like These

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Race Moments

A Personal Best
Made possible -
by a buddy on your side,
smiles and cheers,
and push by a friend.

Personal triumph

For moments like these,
I join races.

Half-ironman dreams are chased one race PR at a time. For 2010, I have lined-up a slew of half-marathons, hoping to bring down my personal best to close to 2 hours before I set foot in Camsur in August. For the Century Run, I have a small, realistic goal: bring down my PB from 2:32+ to sub-2:30. Simple enough but it has evaded me for quite sometime. A number of my Biggest Loser Contest (BLC) Season 1 batchmates are now doing sub-2 or zooming towards it, and here I am still trying to hurdle the 2:30 physical and mental challenge.

It's not that I don't have the will. I have it in heaps I think. My goodness, I am Sheer Will! It's just that everytime I try to press on the speed gas, physical issues pop-up:  plantar fasciitis, stiff calves and the like. Clearly the pains are weight and training intensity related. I am enrolled in BLC Season 2 now, but for the meantime I have to find a training strategy that will yield me sub-2:30 without breaking my legs.

For the Century quest I went back to my proven combination of progressive fast-slow intervals and even tempo runs. I did this more careful now about differentiating between stress that improves and stress that injures. Stress, then rest. Repeat cycle till you reach your goal. I did my last short tempo run Thursday prior to the run. The accumulated stress of training put me a little below target pace, but I left it at that. The last two days prior to race I would rest completely, hoping to reap training gains on race day itself. Massage and prayers would take care of the rest.

I have also welcomed the support of friends. Running buddies EO, Tracy and Doc Marvs, fresh from their Condura Marathon would party at my target 7-minute pace. For the most part of the race, I tried to stick to an even pace of 6:45min/km. I know myself enough that I would naturally slow down on the hills and might not be able to maximize racing downhills for fear of stressing my calves too much. I would also strictly follow Galloway 50m walk breaks at water stations. Taking all these into account, I figured I would actually average 7mpk. I am happy to note that despite the difficult Bayani Road on the half-way back, I pretty much ran an average pace of 7mpk. Best part was I was doing 6:30 mpk on my last 2 kms and a sub5mpk on my last hundred meters. A PR, an even-to-negative split run, a strong finish - always my preferred combination.

But I owe my pacers big-time. Fiercely independent me is normally uneasy relying on others, but Milo marathoner me learned long ago that some pursuits are best chased collectively. And so I smiled seeing and running with EO, Tracy and Marvin close-by or within sight. On km10 I was just on target but EO just allowed me to stick to my race plan, assuring me that he would push in the last 5kms if needed. Tracy would always be her smiling, positive self assuring me that it could be done. Marvin would always announce with glee an oncoming downhill.

At km 16 going up Bayani Road, our party of four was actually a minute or two ahead of schedule. EO told me he can pace me at 6mpk if I wanted, but I did not want to risk our gains by burning out toward the finish. I told him I would try to survive the uphill back and run the rest at 6:30mpk. At km 18, we are still a minute or so ahead of the 2:30 schedule so I was becoming more confident. It was at this point that I truly appreciated my pacers. If it was me alone I might slack off or even doubt myself that late in the game. But at that point, I was running not only for myself, but also for my pacers. If I race alone my triumph or failure is mine alone. That day I did not want them to share in a failure. I wanted a shared triumph. At that point, two phrases and a song occupied my mind. Half-iron dreams and Posible would echo in my mind, in between strains of Rivermaya's song Posible. Half-iron dreams. They are possible. I aM Possible. With that thought I raced the last three kilometers, the last two kilometers being my best laps.

I crossed the finish the line surrounded by friends, with a heart leaping with joy for a gun time of 2:28:44 and chip time of 2:28:11. A humble time by most standards, but it was the best race experience I've had in months. Glory be to God and thank you my friends.

Lead Pacer EO, for just being there and believing in my race plan

Cheerer Tracy for being a constant, positive presence

 Pusher Marvin for mentally and literally pushing me in some parts.

Smiling at the finish line with pacers EO and Tracy and's Jinoe

For moments like these, I love races.

(Post title inspired by this Christian song)

In Moments Like These

In moments like these, I sing out a song
I sing out a praise song to You, Lord
In moments like these, I sing out a song
I sing out a praise song to You.


Ian February 25, 2010 at 12:52 PM  

Congrats Rico! I'd better start some serious training so i can keep up with you in the races.. See you at Globe Run :-)

Julius February 25, 2010 at 3:08 PM  

Well done, Rico! Congratulations! Too bad I never caught you at the finish line, though. See you in one of the coming races.

Mikes February 25, 2010 at 3:44 PM  

Nice post commish. As always, I enjoy reading your posts.

:) February 25, 2010 at 4:35 PM  

Wow! Congrats for hitting that sub 2:30.
Your such a lucky guy to have a friend to pace with you, push you and help you make it happen.

jetpaiso February 26, 2010 at 12:00 AM  

congrats rico! wooohooo!!! =)

run unlimited February 26, 2010 at 6:08 PM  

Congrats Rico, next time sama 'ko.

Anonymous February 27, 2010 at 1:11 PM  

congrats rico! your training and weight loss are paying good dividends. keep it up.


Anonymous February 27, 2010 at 11:24 PM  

Congrats Rico! Tuloy-tuloy na 'yan! Sub-2-hour na susunod! :D

Run Kick Smash February 28, 2010 at 7:31 AM  

Congrats sir Rico! what an inspiring post. :)

SamTheRunningNinja February 28, 2010 at 10:01 PM  

Congrats rico on your improvement!

You will surely pass the sub 2 hour border with your determination..and sheerwill. Hopefully with BLC 2, you will be lighter and should you aim for a sub 2 someday, we will be there as well.

nice song by the way

tracy c. March 1, 2010 at 9:44 AM  

congrats, rico! :D blc season 2 will give you that sub-2 21k for IM. :D good luck!

btw, how was the century ride? :D

Gingerbreadman March 1, 2010 at 2:03 PM  

Rico you rock! Am very very proud of you!

Anonymous March 2, 2010 at 10:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rico Villanueva March 3, 2010 at 1:12 AM  

Thank you all my friends. It's people like you that make races great :-)

Anonymous March 6, 2010 at 4:40 PM  

nice post. thanks.

kassy March 7, 2010 at 9:38 PM  


Anonymous March 9, 2010 at 5:54 PM  

Great job, Rico! Congratulations! I hope to achieve what you have done someday. Here's to more best times and best races! Cheers!

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