2011 Dreams Conquered!

2011 started with lots of dreams for me. In an interview for a Crossfit article posted in www.crossfitmnl.com, I have laid them down:

It’s almost a month into 2012. They say, you cannot set new goals if you haven’t seen the results of the old ones. Let me go back and revisit…

Plans unfurled clearly as 2011 started.

I had clear goals during the FIRST QUARTER of the year. Finish the Bataan Death March 2011. With God’s grace, I survived! Goal no. 1 – checked! You can read more about my BDM experience here: https://2timothy.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/bataan-death-march-2011-the-finish/

my BDM trophy — I survived and got a bonus podium finish!

SECOND QUARTER was supposed to be spent on polishing my skills in two new sports – that is swimming and biking. It did not happen! I’ve found myself going to Crossfit more often instead of training. Goodbye to goal no. 3!

Bye bye bike and water!

Hello Crossfit!

For the THIRD QUARTER, I had plans to run an ultramarathon and then aim for a personal record at the Camsur Marathon. I know they don’t quite rhyme together. I discerned about it and was led to focus on what I really wanted. I wanted to set my personal record for a marathon this year (better than my Condura Marathon last February of 4:16 and Camsur 2010 of 4:24) aka ‘a sub-four hour marathon time’.

I started to follow a strict training program which consists of 1)two to three double workout days – a Crossfit workout and short run intervals, 2) strength training days where I had to do maximum effort on lifts, 3) a healthier diet (high in protein and natural foods) and 4) long runs (did I say long? No, I meant one long run as I only had to do one 30k-run the entire four months).

The advantage of the program is that I spent fewer hours in training as the workouts are really short. The disadvantage is I have to juggle the short workout sched within my daily activities-one in the morning or lunch and another one after work. Multi-tasking, time management and self-discipline are traits I’ve developed the entire four months. Slowly, I have felt myself becoming stronger- not only in my sports but also in my ability to keep up in my hectic work schedule and personal activities.

And September comes! I flew to Camsur for my birthday errr the Marathon.

My Camsur Entourage! Do we look like we

Compared to the first four marathons I have done, none from my close friends ran this race. That means, it lacked the extra push from seeing the people you’ve trained with along the route . The festive cheers from the locals and exchanges of hi’s with other runners are still there but for the most part I was just listening to my body and talking to myself.

Camsur Marathon, starting 2011 is a Boston Qualifier (who doesn’t hope to qualify within this lifetime?). I was expecting that the organizers would raise the bar from the 2010 but I’d say nah…there were several loopholes for this year. You can read my last year’s Marathon here: https://2timothy.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/camsur-international-marathon-a-day-to-remember/)

I wonder where the long table of drinks were which was one of the As from last year’s edition. I could have elbowed and poured water to several runners. The race started with several pitch dark portions, slowing you down at the first ten kilometers. The merging of the route with the mid-pack of the 21k-runners from 11th to the 25th kilometer is something that could have been avoided, too. These are factors beyond my control, so I just focused on my run.

When I reached the 25th kilometer marker, I knew I had to push. I was still on target but I already lack time-allowance if I slow down further. I started to run stronger than I did at the first leg of the race. At that point, I know my training has paid off and God has answered my prayers.

As I tweeted right after the marathon, “It was a good Four Hours and Two minutes conversation between God and me”

My only Running Photo Souvenir from the Marathon (Okay, another area for improvement for them)

Yes, I missed it by two minutes! 😦 A  friend told me, two minutes meant i could have run a few seconds faster per kilometer and SUb 4, it is! Coach Titus also reminded me of his advise on running the bends- the excess 400meters in my Garmin could be due to the bends of the streets and weaving through runners that cause me to run extra few meters.

Hay! That’s how elusive ‘Sub Four’ can be. For me, there’s always a ‘next time’. I am already happy with my loots:

Finished 7th Place Female. Could have bagged a podium if one elite girl was absent 🙂

Goal No. 2 – Checked! And there goes my 2011….hmmm but wait, I have registered for Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in December.

FOURTH QUARTER is still not Vacation then. October started with some easy runs. I also went back to attend regular Crossfit WODs. It wasn’t by choice; I had to give up some training schedule due to the demands of work for the last quarter. I didn’t follow any structured program but maintained my regular visits at Crossfit (at least twice a week) and squeezed in interval workouts when I can.

Singapore was indeed a Vacation run. I am running the Marathon with some of my closest friends from the running community and also fellow Crossfit addicts. Compared to my previous marathons where I’d be resting the days before, we were walking and walking and walking. We’ve probably done a 100-miler the entire vacation.

We were still hopeful to finish with a good time despite that. After all, anything can happen in a marathon, right? We had a good time plotting our target time per 10kilometers of the marathon and reviewing our nutrition plan. It really looked good on the hotel stationary!

After some Zzzzz, we woke up and its D Day…..!

It feels weird that this is the only marathon that I am not so nervous at the start. It’s probably because I had no pressure on myself to set a record or meet a time (but I have to admit, I am still hopeful). And off we go……

It was very HUMID. In fact, saying it’s humid is an understatement. We had to weave through runners who were running at a slower pace at the start until we reached the highway which leads us to East Coast Park. By then, I tried to settle on my pace. I looked at my time and I already knew that this is not going to be a PR race so I tried to just enjoy and push myself when I can. That was the best pace I can deliver at that time-5:50mpk. After some time, the long stretch of trees covering the small road we were running along ECP became boring. For some strange reasons, I just can’t find the right rhythm. I reached the 30th kilometer and the guy announced the elapsed time. I am already minutes off my target.

I still felt strong then.  (Despite the lack of training, Crossfit koolaid to the rescue!)  At a minimum, I can maintain my pace. Then eeeekkkk…. an ‘alay lakad’ welcomed me by the bridge. I had to stop and control myself from shouting ‘excuse meeee’. No matter how I try to run, my pace went down to as slow as 10 minutes per kilometer. You have no choice but to stop and say excuse me so you can run again. It also didn’t help that the last water station was at around the 34th kilometer. That’s about 5 kilometers without water! It was only at the last two kilometers that a water station popped out which was so crowded, you have to squeeze yourself in.

This is probably the only race where I had to motivate myself by thinking of the shopping that awaits me in the afternoon. I was already looking forward to shop with my friend, Anne. This race has to end.

Not so bad I guess

Finally, the finish line appeared, after 4 hours and 23 minutes. I got my medal, finisher’s shirt and had to go through a muddy and crowded field to get out. It was impossible for us to find each other so I went back to the hotel and waited for my friends. (I can still feel my annoyance with the race as I write this!) I was surprised that we had the same fate and feel of the race. ‘HIGH FIVE’ We had a really good lunch then went around Ion until we can still walk ….

It was a funny endless sharing of our mishaps in this Marathon the entire time until we left Singapore. I even had bad dreams of being trapped in East Coast Park.

It was all good though, as we’ve learned lessons from this race — lots of it. The number one on the list would be: ‘SG Marathon is not a good race to PR.’ In fact, it is not a good race ‘period’.

Second lesson would be, ‘you can’t have everything’. True, it wasn’t the best race, but the trip was all worth it!

1) Nothing beats the fun of training, planning, strategizing and travelling with friends who are also running the marathon with you.

2) Sometimes you just join a Marathon to explore the place, make new memories, gain new experience. I’ve been to Singapore but I only got to see the new developments from this trip, ‘on foot’. Nothing beats a tour like that. (But please, not ECP!)

That

3) It’s a good chance to visit and spend time with friends and relatives in SG. (We all did.) It was a very short time but I had a blast in our short shopping, eating and Universal Studios trip. Thanks Anne!

Bestee 1. I

Testament that I didn’t really enjoy this race, Smacky told me ‘we ran by the SG Flyer’….Ah, I can’t even remember (I am known to vividly remember each kilometer when I run.). That’s it, we had to go and ride the SG flyer on our last night. It was the best part, the view was awesome! I am going home thinking that ‘Singapore is beautiful’.

SG skyline view from the SG flyer (grabbed pic from Smacky

Let’s forget about the race….off to the next

As 2011 nears its end, I realized that there is another goal I have forgotten to list down….Have enough Rest, Recovery and Relaxation time!

So, I did and I had a blast in December; spending it meaningfully with my family and friends.

Good times

Thanks to everyone who made 2011 a great year!

My prayer is that as I try to conquer my dreams, may I continue to remain focused on running the good race that is set before me.

6 replies

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