Monday, July 18, 2011

One Year with Team Tyts Bogdo

August 7, 2010. It was a Saturday. And it was a spur of the moment LSD (Long Slow Distance) run organized just a few days earlier on Dailymile. It was to be a 21-kilometer run that would cover the 2 major bridges in Cebu. Most of us have never run that far for a long time, and for some never ever. Heck, most of us have never even met in person yet! A full marathon was only a dream for most of us, yet we were going to tackle a half-marathon with not much preparation. 

"I could never imagine myself running for 21k!" That's what Charles Cullen said to me just a week earlier when we first met in an Ungo LSD. Boying Milan was the only experienced marathoner, having finished his 1st Milo Marathon just a couple of weeks earlier. That's why everybody called him 'Coach Boying'! Everybody kept asking him questions and advice on preparing for a marathon. And it was Doc Izzy 'Fafi' Rabang who came up with the name 'Tyts Bogdo'. Team Tyts Bogdo, or TTB for short. Once again, Coach Boying has all the answers on his blog:

But in many ways, that Saturday LSD was a truly memorable experience for me. It was my 2nd 21k run ever and I had to struggle trying to finish since my foot was already hurting. But those guys certainly helped me finish. And in the upcoming months of training for that first marathon, we would try to find the time to train together, despite the different schedules we all had. As a result, I guess we all pulled ourselves up into achieving something by training together and pushing each other's limits.

TTB has certainly grown after a year. Not only has it grown in number, but I guess into something more than just a catchy group name. Of course, it also helps that we are officially a part of the Ungo Runners. And after all the LSDs, ReHydrations, carBogdoloading, races, marathons and ultra-marathons, it's hard to imagine what this crazy bunch of Adiks have achieved for one year. So, what's next for TTB? Anything, Coach Boying? What say you now, Chuck? Whatever it is, one thing's for sure with TTB: Sayang ang Miles!!! Happy Birthday, TTB!!!

A short pictorial summary of TTB's 1st year:
August 7, 2010 Saturday LSD
STC Glamour Run: the debut of the 1st TTB singlet
Citigym Halloween Run: TTB medal finishers

Run United Leg 3: TTB banner finish
Cebu City Marathon 2011: Graduation Day for TTB
SM2SM Run: TTB's new singlet debut
Citirun 2011: more running medals
Leon Kilat's Retreat: an Ungo 42k run
to infinity & beyond, TTB?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Runner's High: Cebu City Marathon 2011

“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.” —Emil Zatopek.

That quote really hit me because it certainly felt like I was in a different life! Actually, running a marathon felt like different stages so let me break it down into three parts.

Part I: The Adrenalin Rush - For this part, I will mention the hours leading up to gunstart. Since Saturday afternoon, all I could think of was "4am Sunday". I kept visualizing my gear, outfit, things to bring, the race venue and even the route. I could already feel my heart pounding fast and my hands getting sweaty! I tried to go to sleep at around 9:30pm. TRIED is the correct word since I hardly got any! I got up at 2am, had a little meal, coffee, poopstop and it was off to Asiatown I.T. Park!

When me and my bro got there, you could already sense the excitement and anxiety of everyone. Again, heart pounding fast and more sweaty hands! After so many greetings, a few photos and getting checked in, the more than a thousand strong souls registered for the 42.195 km distance were treated to an inspirational video and a prayer by Fr. Siongo Tan of Team Boyek. Then the countdown began...and a spectacular fireworks display signaled the start at exactly 4am!
TTB before gunstart

And so we were off! I ran with TTB teammates Coleen, Charles and bro Chill. We maintained a 6:30 min/km pace for the first 6 kms. By this time, Chill and Charles were already pulling away. Fellow TTB mate Benjhz joined me and Coleen as we approached the SRP Tunnel. The runners were still so rowdy and energetic, especially when we entered the tunnel and were greeted with loud Lady Gaga music. So far, so good! We maintained an easy 6:30-7:00 pace with walk breaks on every water station.

With bro at the Fuente area, km 5

With fellow TTB Coleen along Jones Ave., km 7

Part II: The SRP Highway - For the past week, the morning weather in Cebu was either cloudy, rainy or gloomy. Perfect running conditions! So this was certainly on every Cebu City Marathon registrant's prayer and hope for Sunday's weather. But as Coleen, Benjhz and I entered the SRP highway, we just knew that the sun was going to attack us. It was still dark and cool as we passed the 10 km marker, but you could already see the sun's annoying orange rays forming through some clouds. By the 12th to the 14th km, the thing I was most afraid of suddenly hit me...slowly but surely! My injured left knee (torn ACL and meniscus) started to pop and become uncomfortable with each stride. I was really slowing down! But Coleen stayed with me the whole time (so grateful, Colili). The U-turn point, or the 20th km at the end of the SRP highway, was all I could look forward to at that stage. So many runners were already overtaking us and I honestly was contemplating on not finishing this marathon.

When we got to the U-turn, I had to let Coleen go ahead since I was really in pain. And she certainly sped away like an orange blur! From then on, I had so many walks and stops just trying to relax, massage and "aligning" my knee. I could only run a few strides and then walk again. It was so frustrating and disappointing! The only things I could think about were the months of preparations and motivations for my 1st full marathon going down the drain. But so many runners and motivators along the way forced me to just keep on going. At the 24th to 27th kms, where the sun was already very visible and I was approaching the halfway point of the SRP, I finally found a little running rhythm going. Even though I was really slow (around an 8 min/km pace), I figured as long as I'm running I'll be able to get to the finish faster than walking. But the SRP really gets to you. By the 27th km, approaching the Filinvest area where the sun was already in full force, the highway just keeps getting longer and longer. I thought every meter felt like a kilometer! From time to time, the pain in my knee would resurface. But as they say, No Pain No Gain! I just wanted to reach the tunnel to get reprieve from Mr. Sun.

Part III: The Homestretch - After getting out of the SRP and the tunnel (around 4hrs 20min of my Garmin time and at the 32nd km), all I could think of was finishing in one piece. Somebody once said that the final 10 km of a marathon is probably the longest you'll ever run. So true!!! By this time, my feet were killing me. My knee still felt sore but my slow pace probably relaxed it a bit. I maintained by 8 min/km pace while walking every 1.5 - 2 kms. Heading into Mango Avenue (35 - 38 km) was also another torture area. The uphill and downhill slopes and the heat of the sun certainly didn't help any of the runners at this stage. Not to mention the heavy traffic and the vehicle fumes all confined at the other side of the road. But you just had to force yourself to move on. Go go go! was all I could think of at this point.

When I got to the 39th km, I gathered all my remaining energy to force myself to run the last 3 kms without stopping. Go go go! I raced passed many runners who were walking at the UP Gorordo area (that dreaded killer uphill area) and just kept on going. I felt like I was sprinting, but my pace was still at 7:30-8 min/km. Everything felt so heavy but I just wanted to get this over with and finish under 6 hours!

The sight of the finish line and seeing many familiar and encouraging faces really gave me that "Runner's High"! My wife and daughter were there as well as other Team TytsBogdo teammates. What a feeling that was!

Making the final turn for the finish line

I guess it's true when they say that only a marathon finisher can understand how it feels. I've heard so many stories before about finishing a marathon, but only until you actually experience it that you truly understand its significance. Pain was certainly inevitable, as my knees and feet were really heavy and sore right after. Stairs were a nightmare while taking a bath was an effort in itself! But through all that, looking at my twin mangoes CCM medal just puts a smile on my face!

So I would like to thank my family, for all their support and tolerance; Team TytsBogdo, who certainly provide all the motivation anyone can ever need in running a marathon; and to the Ungo Family, also for all their support and camaraderie.

Mission accomplished!

Finally, I would like to borrow the closing line from CERC member & friend John Pages' article from Sun-Star Daily: To all those still grimacing with aches and sore muscles, consider this...
“I’m never going to run this again!!!” said Grete Waitz after winning her first of nine New York City marathons.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Preparing for my 1st Marathon: CCM 2011

Eleven years ago, after my 1st 21 km run, I said to myself that I would not be doing that again.

Two years ago, I was contented with my weekly routine of 6k to 8k loops running solo around Cempark.

A year ago, I said to myself: "Why are these guys so excited for a marathon (1st Cebu City Marathon 1-10-10)? I can just run anytime I want, anywhere I want and any distance I want."

Six months ago, I thought my weekly 10-15 km Sunday Fun Runs at 5:30 min/km paces were satisfying and gratifying already.

But today, two days before January 9, 2011: the 2nd Cebu City Marathon, and after a 14-week training program, I reflected on my earlier thoughts.  I will be running 42.195 km this coming Sunday, I will be running with more than a thousand other crazy guys registered for the same category (including my Team TytsBogdo), I am excited like I have never been in my life and a 5:30 min/km pace is now something I can only dream of.

But my marathon preparation has been made easier by Team TytsBogdo. With special mention of course to my wife and family. But TTB has made the 14-week training program more enjoyable rather than monotonous and boring. To the celebrity sightings on the road during weekday runs, to the many posts and comments on Dailymile and to the many Sunday LSDs, TTB has been more than a running group & family. In fact, sometimes I think I'm more updated with what these guys are doing or saying on Dailymile & Facebook than my own family & friends! Maybe that's an exaggeration but I'm sure you guys get my point.

So to TTB, Ungo Runners and the thousand-plus other crazy registrants for this Sunday's Cebu City Marathon: see you at the finish line!!!

A little photo tribute of Team Tytsbogdo in preparation for CCM 2011:
TTB's first LSD back in August

After the Citigym Halloween 21km run

Conquering Run United 32km in Manila

CarBOGDOloading at Fudge before CCM 2011

My race pack for Sunday

"You will be mine!!!"