My Way of Living + training

Piolo 1, GBM 0 : The Elusive Quest for 47:53 at BF Pasko Run

47:53 . Those were the numbers flashing in my head as we were awaiting the starting gun. What's so significant about this figure? To those who have been hanging out in caves lately, matinee idol Piolo Pascual turned the general running populace upside down with an earth-shattering 47:54 performance at Timex, a staggering time for someone whom purists term a "non-runner".

Meaning, he doesn't exactly eat, sleeps and think running as, er, the rest of us do. Thus it has been a sort of rallying cry to beat his time at all costs, if only for my "eating-Piolo's-dust-then-waking-up-in-cold-sweat-at-3am" episodes to cease.

The Venue
Aptly dubbed the BF Pasko Run, The Village Sports Club played host to this race, which turned out to be a welcome respite from your usual diet of BHS and UP runs. By my estimate, the race had about 400-500 runners, and gave off the warm, communal vibe that "south" races typically offer. Pretty good deal too - for P350 you get a dri-fit singlet (very wearable) and an RFID tag. Not bad at all.

The Reinforcement

The so-called "Kanto Boyz" pace group ( someone please think of a better name) had its debut at New Balance with mostly positive results for everyone. So it didn't hurt that we had an elite reinforcement to help bolster our cause. One of the nicest guys at, Wilnar had always told me that he never enjoyed too much success playing basketball, and that it was one of his biggest frustrations.

Evil Basketball Teammate : Wala kang shooting! Wala kang depensa! Lay-up lang, airball pa! Pangtakbuhan ka lang eh! Wag ka na lang kaya maglaro! (throws ball forcibly to Wilnar)

(pan camera to Wilnar with lips quivering, and with mist building in corner of eye)

Wilnar : Makikita nyo... . sisikat din ako... .. may araw din kayo... ..

You mean you don't want me on the team no more?Then he had a Eureka moment - why not he move into a sport that involves running... . and pretty much nothing else? That he did, and the rest is history. A 40 minute 10k and 3:38 marathon later (not to mention a TNF trail runner-up finish) and he is well-entrenched as one of the strongest runners in our group. He tagged along out of sheer boredom, and I successfully pitched him the idea of anchoring the pace group along with Pat. Surely, having the presence of such strong runners could only help the rest of us improve our times.

Wilnar with Internet legend Tito Caloy
The Mass
With not too may people around, it wasn't exactly a logistical nightmare for the organizers in terms of their pre-race onsite registration and singlet claiming. In short, things were running smoothly and it seemed that we were going to start on time. Come 6:00 am, we were all revved up and ready to go as the host was reading out sponsor names. Then, she called on one last guest - the neigborhood parish priest to give the opening prayer.

Opening prayers are well, opening prayers right? They typically last for about a minute. But Father was obviously on a roll, and could care less about heat or starting times. Not that I blame him though ; his line of expertise culls influence from a higher power. Thus, he could make us wait all day if he wanted. In common parlance, this would be a walang palag moment. And it made for a heck of a lot of unintentional comedy.

As the "opening prayer" (with matching responsorial psalm) hit the 10-minute-and counting mark, the runners around me were going absolutely crazy as they could NOT get mad even if they wanted to. For your enjoyment, here are some sound bites from within hearing range :

"Father, patawarin ninyo ako pero magkakasala ako kung tagagal pa to"

"Counted na ba to para sa Misa mamaya?"

"Uy san ung misalette?"

"Sana naglabas muna sila ng Monoblock"

"Oist bastos patayin mo nga iPod mo may Misa!"

As the final "Amen" reverberated across the starting corral to racuous cheers worthy of World Youth Day, the host (who looked as uncomfortable as any of us) immediately started the countdown. And so it begins... ..

Walang Palag :)
The Peloton Falls Apart... Very Quickly

Apparently, the anxiety of waiting too long got to my pace buddies, and they shot off the starting block like a bunch of maniacs. I simply could not keep up. Given four good training days the week prior, it was expected that I'd be operating at a higher level of fitness. I was fading very badly, about a hundred meters from the rest of the gang. The I took a look at my 305. 600m... . at 3:45 km/min.

Wha?? 3:45?????? What the fudge??? What happened to our even split strategy? No wonder I felt like dying. I assumed the rest of the gang was running at a 3:30. And to add more to our quandary, Mark suddenly shot out like Usain Bolt and overtook everybody, even Wilnar and Pat. We assumed he did a Max HR 3:00 split, but what the heck was my good buddy thinking as well? Amidst all this confusion, I tried hard to normalize my breathing and get my wits about me. We still had a LONG way to go.

Peloton falls apart... very quickly.Getting it together

I gradually settled down, and eventually passed Mark (who must have been completely gassed by his fartlek move) and Jix ( winded by the horrible start as well) I once read an article on Ryan Hall, and his coach was saying that even if you go just ten seconds faster than your intended pace, your fallout could be as much as 60% over the course of the entire race.Suffice to say, I was extremely gassed. And mind you, the course was not easy. It was a sustained rolling course, with the incline at the Tirona area mimicking Mckinley quite accurately. There wasn't as much "completely flat" ground as I had expected. My anaerobic reserves have been depleted very early, and I felt i was running on sheer guts. The fade was starting to kick in... .

The Man In KOTR Red

It was not the first time we had met. At PIM, we were going at it the last 2k. Obviously an experienced runner, he was really, really strong and I was trying my best to use him as a target. Here, we met again, and it was a seesaw battle. Fading badly and with smirking Piolo hallucinations in front of me, I decided that every second counts. And this guy was my key. I would try overtaking him, then he'll catch up. We''ll go neck and neck, and he'll pass me. Was like a boxing prizefight. However, in my diminished positive split state, I felt he was definitely stronger, and he eventually put in a quick burst that left me gasping. Nonetheless, that precocious pseudo-rivalry no doubt slashed precious seconds off my time. I eventually passed him, but not after he had slowed that to pace with what I assume was his wife.

So to the Man In KOTR Red, whoever you are, thank you for the push. And I look forward to running with you in future races again.

KOTR 2007 singlet = Strong, experienced runner
Bittersweet Endings

Suffice to say, I didn't beat Piolo.A fat 5:17 split at km 9 all but sealed it. Missed the bus by 39 seconds. But still a happy run because I took in a 48:33, good enough for 22nd place in the race. Wilnar took 14th, Pat 19th, Jix 27th and Mark 32nd. Not bad for a crazy start. I still believe that if we had maintained an even split we had a shot at it.

One last thing. I would like to acknowledge the honesty of our new members Mike and Eden, hubby and wife team. Eden was mistakenly awarded 3rd place for the ladies 5k, when in fact she had only run 3k. Some sort of mixup. They could have taken the loot and ran. But they told me about it, and I relayed the info to the organizers so that the rightful winner could be called. Now that's what I call a class act!

Overall, nicely organized community run with matching raffle at the end. Of course given my luck at raffles, I didn't win anything. At the Christmas party I won... .. English proficiency lessons. I guess that says it all. (x_x)

Congratulations to Tiffin and Zinnia for taking podium finishes in their respective categories. RFID worked pretty good this time, a variance of only 8 seconds from what my 305 registered. I genuinely enjoyed this, and I'd give it a go again next time around. Congratulations everyone on your respective finishes! Keep on running to burn away those Christmas Party fats haha :)

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Piolo 1, GBM 0 : The Elusive Quest for 47:53 at BF Pasko Run + training