Sunday, August 30, 2009

Three Napkins, Priceless!

First time this ever happened to me in my more than 2 years and a half of serious running.

Last night, I ate a big serving of spaghetti with meat balls to carboload for this morning's long run.

I woke up late at 6 this morning, had to eat breakfast quick (had whole grain pita with peanut butter, some cherries, a cup of coffee, and a glass of lactose free milk). Took a quick shower, tried to use the washroom with no success (however hard I tried :)), got dressed and drove to the Runningroom homebase to meet my running buddy, Nette on the agreed upon time of 7am.

We were to run 29 ks this morning, in this the 14th Sunday long run of our 18 week marathon training program. This morning, I had 4 energy gels, 2 bars of shotbloks, gatorade , and 500 ml spring water, enough I thought for a 29k run. I also brought $10 cash just in case.

Nette and I agreed again to run the route that our clinicmates were to run and started off 30 minutes ahead of them. The morning temperature was cool, about 15 degrees Celsius, the sky was cloudy, hardly any breeze or wind, ideal for a long run. That was what I thought at the start of our run.

It soon became obvious 3ks into our run that this was nothing but an ideal long run, when I started to have a stomach ache. I kept quiet and hoped it would go away. By the
6th kilometer we passed the last public building , the Markham Stoufville Hospital, and we continued on with my stomach still grumbling. At this point, we would be running along a wooded area and then miles and miles of farmlands and vacant space until we stop at Tim Horton's on the 17th k.

At the 7th k, I knew the inevitable. I wouldn't be able to hold it any longer. I would have to go to the woods and relieve my self (simply, poo :)). Was so embarrassed to tell Nette, that she must have been wondering why I was so quiet the last few ks. Now I know how it felt when Paula Radcliffe had to pee in public at the 2005 London marathon which she won, and our own distance runner PC who crossed the finish line in a marathon sockless after he used his socks for a good and natural purpose.

Initially, I thought I should lie and tell Nette that I'd stop and go to the woods to take a piss. But, had to change my mind knowing I'd have to use leaves or twigs or even my socks and instead asked her if she brought with her some tissue paper, napkin, anything. When she said yes, (I shouted in my mind Woohoo!!), and when she asked why I was asking, I had to confess that I had to go poo (with a red face :)) . She, trying not to laugh, handed me a clear plastic bag with three white napkins. So embarrassing. Thank God I was running with a female friend.

Anxious while at the woods that my faster clinicmates may catch up with us and find me sitting and with my pants down, bum showing, while answering the call of nature in the woods. But the sidetrip to the woods was a complete success,with only squirrels, rabbits, skunks as likely witnesses, thanks to Nette's 3 napkins. A few pounds lighter, I felt much better and it translated into a faster more comfortable pace from then on.

The first 5 of our faster clinicmates caught up with us at the 10th k. Nette and I stopped over at Tim Hortons for water refill at the 17th k. More caught up with us at the 22k mark. At this time, like our previous long runs, had to decrease my pace and Nette had to go ahead, as she gradually disappeared in the distance. By the 24th k, everyone from my clinic passed me. Was a solitary runner once again. Decided to add one more kilometer to the 29 to psyche me up. Very tired at the finish and so thankful to Him for another good day and safe long run.

Completed 30 ks in 4:09:48.

Next Sunday's long run is for 32k.

28 days to my first marathon. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Shhhhh, Please Don't Tell The Wife.

From the time I woke up this morning till now, all I've been thinking of is my 30k race tomorrow. I am excited like a kid playing his first game in a basketball tournament. As my faster runner friend once told me, he felt like a race horse nervously waiting for the start gun at the starting line, just before a race. With me, I feel like a donkey among race horses aiming not to win but just to cross the finish line. Just the same, I've been continuously thinking (more like imagining) of myself running a strong, fast, and PR breaking race. And I've also been massaging my leg and thigh muscles every few minutes (like a trainer massaging his boxer before a title fight) in addition to stretching every now and then. My co-worker partner has been eyeing me with a questioning look maybe thinking if I'm going crazy or if I took some speed medication today :) .

The other thing that bothered me earlier this morning was tomorrow's date, August 22. I just couldn't stop thinking about August 22. My wife's birthday is August 16. My daughter, Marie is August 10. But what is it about August 22 that is too important that I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Until, I finally recalled that when I was 17 years old, my childhood girlfriend Ina, on her own made the day as our "anniversay day". That is it. That was the day she said yes to me. Did any of you guys have this anniversary day with your childhood girlfriend or boyfriend, or is it just me?

Please don't tell the wife, I beg you. I love her more than 100 Inas. I don't want to be turfed out of the bedroom and sleep in the couch with my pet dog, Yuki, after a 30k run :) .

Sunday, August 16, 2009

6 Days To Midsummer's Night 30k

It's just 6 days away from my next race, the Midsummer's Night 30k Run to be held in Toronto on August 22, Saturday at the historical Old Distillery Area and the streets along Lake Ontario. the race is to start in the evening, at 5:30 pm. Cut off time is 4 hours and incidentally, my best time in this distance (I only ran one 30k race, the Around the Bay 30k in March this year) is 4:00:16. So simply, I have to shave off 16 seconds off my best time to even see my name in the official result. What pressure, eh?

This morning I joined my running buddy, Nette at 7am on our long Sunday run. Our run club group was supposed to start at 7:30 am and the 2 of us decided to start earlier due to the hot weather forecast for the day. So, we actually had a 30 minute headstart from our other clinicmates. Nette did a total of 32ks while I did 25.27ks with a time of 3:32:48. At the 15th k, Paul (whose a Boston finisher) passed us, then Edward and Ric Kong (6 minutes off Boston qualifying time) passed us close to the 16th k. By the 21st k everybody from my run club passed me (Nette was way in front of me by this time). Overall, I was happy with my run. A lot of positives. My calf muscle held good. Except for my middle toes that bothered me at the 21st k, didn't have any pains. It was just too hot and humid, had to drink lots of sports drink and water.

I was initially thinking to run this coming race as a regular Sunday LSD (Long Slow Distance) run in preparation for my first marathon in September, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, but with the 4 hour cut off time, I have to be aware of my pace and make sure I don't run too slow and end up finishing in more than 4 hours.

I ice bathe my legs, thighs, feet after the long run and the next 6 days is tapering down, 20ks at the most divided into 3 training sessions, the last around Thursday. It'll be a good test for sure on how I will fare in my first marathon.

It's a happy time here at home tonight with my wife's birthday party ongoing now, with the karaoke machine at full blast, my wife's siblings , friends dancing and getting tipsy, my daughters and their cousins joking around and laughing out loud, and here I am typing away at what topic - running. While most people here are drinking wine or beer, I am content with cold water, lots and lots of it to replace all the water I lost in my more than 3 hours morning run.

Everbody here thinks I'm crazy and obsessed with running and running blogs.

I'm not ashamed to admit it, I actually am.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Just Earned My Badge Of Honor As A Runner

It was time to rest the sore feet, legs and thighs after completing 25.27 ks long run this morning in a time of 3:34:27 (washroom , water refill, walk breaks included). So happy and thankful that there was no sign of any discomfort or pain in the left calf that forced me to stop my training for a month when I had a muscle strain during one of my training runs. Thanks Lidia and my other friends for the prayers. Congratulate me for earning my badge of honor as a runner, as one of my toenails (the fourth toe on my left foot) finally turned black. I wonder if this is quite common among us runners. Have you had a black/dead toenail?

Early afternoon was the exact opposite of the start of our run at 7:00 am this morning, when it was cloudy and foggy/misty the first one and a half hours of our run. It rained lightly intermittently during the rest of our run and it refreshed as a bit, because the air was so humid. It turned sunny and nice this afternoon, just ideal for relaxing at my deck with my feet up . Sat on the bench, read my National Geographic, and just savored the beautiful sunny day (we haven't had much this summer, it's turning to be a rainy summer season here)

Right after the long run, I had a hearty lunch of paksiw na ulo and tiyan ng bangus, that my wife bought from a Filipino restaurant in Scarborough, the Golden Valley Restaurant. It was so good, with the talong and hot green pepper, I had to have a bowl of rice (no dieting today after the long run) with it. Then, to replenish the sugar I lost during the run, I had 2 pisngi of ripe sweet mango (we buy mangoes at a nearby Chinese store) and left over ube (from our family halo-halo gathering last weekend).

Before all of the above, I treated my tired feet, leg, thigh, butt muscles to ice bathing, something I learned from elite Pinoy ultrarunner Rick Gaston (365me). First, I filled my bath tub with cold water, high enough to reach my belly button when I sit on the tub. Then, I added about 10 big round blocks of ice just enough to get the water very very cold. Then I got myself a magazine to read and jumped in and sat on the bath tub. Brrrrrr. The trick was to have my legs, thighs and butt under the cold water, and it's supposed to aid in faster recovery of sore running muscles. It is amusing to note that as soon as I sat on that freezing cold water every part of me shrank! I mean my toes, feet, legs ,thighs . Wrapped my upper body with the dry towel to fight the cold feeling, all my sweat pores must have closed and had the immediate urge to jump outof the bath tub as my skin felt the freezing cold water. Stayed there for 10 minutes, out for 2, back again for 10, 3 repetitions total. Please try it and let me know if it works for you as well as me. :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

21k With Sandra And Nette

I decided to run with my clinic group this morning under a cloudy and overcast sky with the forecast for some rain in the morning. The group was to run 33k for some and 29k for the others. I would be doing just 21k at the most, while Nette and Sandra were to do 29k.

Our clinic teacher Ray led around 25 of us to this long run. Out of all clinic participants only 7 have not completed a marathon yet, one of them is me.

Runners on our clinic run at different speeds. The elite, those who've qualified for or ran Boston started as usual in front, most were middle of the pack, and myself and a few others ran at the back of the group.

I joined my happy runner friends Nette and Sandra on a 7:30 to 8:00 minute per k pace.

It was still overcast almost an hour to our run. I prayed that it would not rain and it didn't.

After more than an hour on the busy streets of Markham, we headed to Reesor Road going northward where all we saw were vast farmlands and miles and miles of low vegetation and vacant space.
If you're wondering where your wheatbread and wheat cereals come from, this is a wheatfield, as far as the eye could see.

We passed by this beautiful stream that provides water to the farmland.

Saw an old buggy in front of an old farmhouse.

I love having a walk break to rest my tender left calf.

Priceless! Nette and Sandra had to take a washroom break and I could buy my donuts.

Felt guilty, so had to settle for timbits instead. Hmmm. the chocolate timbits were the best. Then, got nagged by the 2 ladies for eating "unhealthy". Reasoned, that I needed some sugar, ha ha, still they both snubbed my timbits. So, had to continue running with this box, no wonder I couldn't lose weight.

Took the 2 of them to my secret trail at the woods where we continued our run.

Since Nette and Sandra had to do 29k, we had to go on our own separate ways at the corner of Mccowan Road and Bur Oak Avenue. They continued west at Bur Oak while I turned left going southward to Mccowan towards homebase.

Completed exactly 21k in 2:58:58, after which I just walked for another 3ks to homebase.

I just could not avoid taking a picture of these fruits that look like our guayabano or atis.
Next Sunday's long run is for another 29 ks, I will try to do 25 ks. My target is to catch up with the marathon clinic training run schedule in 2 weeks. As Vener advised, "hinay hinay lang" (just take it easy).