Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Longest Run Ever!

This morning, Sunday, September 6, 2009 was the first day of the 16th week of my marathon clinic program. The distance for this morning's long run was 32 ks the longest training run in the marathon program. It's only 21 days to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, my (and six others in the clinic) first marathon, and the excitement of every runner in our run club entered in the event could be felt during our clinic sessions and right after the training runs.

I ran again with my running buddy Nette, this time around, I had with me tissue paper (toilet paper) inside a ziplock bag just in case of emergency. I got lucky the previous Sunday when I had to rely on Nette to provide me with tissue paper when I had to relieve myself in the woods for the first time also in my running career.

Unlike the previous Sunday when I kept up with Nette till the 22nd k, this morning, she started pulling away from me by the 14th k. And this was not because I was running slower, it was because she's getting stronger and stronger as we get closer to the race. So proud of her.

Reached the 21st k in 2:49. Started feeling tired, legs heavy the next few ks. By the 27th k, was in pain everywhere, my feet, leg and thigh muscles, my right pelvic joint, as if all parts of my running body were conspiring to make me quit. This was the time when I asked myself, why am I doing this? Why am I punishing my body like this? Is it worth all this pain?

The good thing about blogging is you get to know the accomplishments of other runners and athletes that far surpassed in a great way the best you've ever accomplished. When I was beginning to doubt myself and all these negative questions popped up in my mind, all I had to do was think of Ronnie, Jerry, Sir Jovie and everybody that finished the BDM 102k ultra in the heat of summer (blistered feet and all), Rick Gaston being tossed like a rag doll in the mountain trails in his 100 mile races, Iron ladies Pia and Ani doing their hours and hours of swim, bike ride, plus a full marathon. All these great athletes compete in events that require them to test their physical and mental limits in more than 10 hours some closer to 24 hours in difficult and sometimes extreme conditions. What is a 32 k? A piece of cake.

I completed 32ks in a slow time of 4:28:58, the last 3ks at close to 9 minutes per k average.

Next 3 weeks is tapering period, the next Sunday long run at 23 ks, the Sunday after next at 6 ks and then marathon race day on the 27th.

With my longest run ever under my belt, I now believe I can.


  1. Metaphorically and otherwise, we've definitely come a long way in a short period since our start in 2007, haven't we? I'm amazed, and happy for you. It makes me wonder if I can achieve this myself without buckling under the strain. Do I have that kind of discipline? Maybe next year (busy with the next half clinic).

    Scotia is 3 weeks away! Keep at it!

  2. Hey, Jay! I hear you're teaching your first half-marathon clinic. Hope you have a nice group of runners like you had at the Learn to Run Clinic. I would like to rest from doing marathon training runs during the fall and winter so you'll probably see me join your group (if you don't mind)on our run club days. Need to rest the body, let it heal and recuperate and then train again for a marathon early next year. Good luck and enjoy your new clinic.

  3. Congratulations Bong! Enjoy your upcoming marathon :-)

  4. hi bong, like you, i'm following a marathon training plan. i got mine from smartcoach/runner's world. i'm preparing for subic int'l on oct 24.

    i missed my first 32k last aug23. i'm with some friends who didn't bring their own hydration. i was a bit frustrated for mentally i'm prepared for it.

    well, i still have two 32k runs scheduled on the 13th and 27th of this month. hope i'm also as successful as you are.

    good luck on your training and upcoming marathon! =)

  5. With that level of discipline, Bong--there's no doubt that you're ready for your first marathon. How I wish I could be there to cheer for you . . .

    Good luck with the remaining weeks of your training (always carry a pack of tissue heh heh . . .)

  6. Well, like your friend Nora says, how I wish I could be there to cheer for you. Having read your blog for the past months, I somehow already got a feel and understanding of how much this means to you! So I wish you all the best, and may God's protection be always on you as you train.

    Some friends who are into wellness (the friends I was with in Baguio) just came back from the US. Rosemarie recovered from Stage 4 cancer after doing a regimen with Dr. King...all just natural nutrition stuff, and generating bioenergy naturally with hand movements. It is amazing. All natural, nothing chemical. She also learned that the body can only take 45 minutes of aerobic exercise at a time. More than 45 minutes causes our immune system and other systems of our body, including our circulatory system, not to mention our muscle system, etc to be overworked and eventually wear down. Many of course are not aware of this.

    So I was just concerned with how you runners push your bodies beyond the natural allowable limits. Maybe if you did 45 minutes of running, brisk walking everyday, it would also be just as good. Just a thought I wanted to share.


  7. Nicely done, way to pull through Bong. On times like that just pull back, concentrate on your form (when you are exhausted and in pain your form degenerates and the worse it is the harder you are working) and focus on staying relaxed. Make a mental effort to relax, let go of the tightness that builds up on your shoulders, jaw, face, arms and be at peace mentally with the challenge of the moment. Let go.

    This past weekend I did back to back long runs and the last 5 miles of the second day was quite a challenge, soreness and tightness everywhere and I had to practice what I preached. Whew those were some tough miles and they were flat.

  8. As for Crown of Beauty's comment about 45 minutes being the max aerobic activity. Well with all due respect, that doesn't make sense to me. I am stronger now than when I only used to run 1 hour or 45 minutes at a time. If the body eventual wears down then I should be in bad shape now since I've been at this for 10 years. Also in the sport of ultra-marathoning, I've known people who have been at it for decades.

    I think and I'm no doctor but just based on my personal experience, that limits are different for everyone. How can 45 minutes be a rule for all people. Second, we have proved time and time again than when the body's limits is stressed and given adequate time to adapt and recovery, it comes back stronger and better. Isn't that what training is all about? It has been documented that after a marathon the immune system is stressed and you are more susceptible to colds and sickness but after a few days guess what happens - it recovers.

    I'm not advocating that marathon running or ultra-marathoning is a healthy endeavour. In fact I know some people that should back off a bit but that's another story and it has more to do with their A personality than the activity. I'm always suspicious on supposed limits the body is far stronger than many realize. Again not a doctor just from my own experience as a runner and triathlete and the experiences I've witnessed in others.

  9. Thanks Rico. Like your post in Tagalog. Have to read your old post on your first marathon to get me more inspired and motivated.

    Hi Jet. I pray that we both complete our first marathon in respectable times and without injury. God bless.

    It's not discipline Nora,it's hardheadedness, can't help to continue trying to prove myself and test my limits. I enjoy the early part of the race, hate the pain and suffering, and enjoy the finish and the recovery after. Take care.

    Hi Lidj. Thanks for the prayers by the way. I need them to reach my goal because I no longer am a young, strong and fast runner. I am very much excited now that the race is just 16 days away. I also respect your view regarding the 45 minutes max for exercising. My wife, daughters and some friends who are non-runners share the same view as yours. They tell me I am too old to run a marathon and that I should just run shorter distances like the 5k or 10k. Love your photography BTW. Every picture you take is a gem.

    Thanks Rick! Hope I'd be able to digest all the good advise you've given all this time and use them for my first marathon. The one thing I am sure of is, I'd be thinking of you and your 100 mile ultratrail races if ever negative thoughts enter my psyche during the run. If you could afford to smile at the finish of a 100 miler, I think I could do the same in a 42k race. Take care buddy.