Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Race Report: Powerade Duathlon MOA

I know its not Strictly a running event, but then again, I'm not strictly a running blog.

I'll keep this short because I'm kinda lazy today and I'm trying to fit in some pool time before my 6 PM Ethics class today.

Knowing that the race was supposed to start at 6:30, I got up at 4 am an went through my normal pre race routine; hot shower to warm the muscles, Oatmeal, and get into the race clothes.

Ever since I was a couple of minutes late to this year's Happy Run, I now always allot more time then I think I need to get to the race venue.

In this case, it turned out that I didn't need to worry about being late. 

After spending 20 to 30 minutes battling with very unhelpful guards just to find a parking space, Marga and I arrived at the registration area to find a long line to claim the race packet followed by another long line to get body marked.

After all was said and done for us, we racked our bikes in the transition area and ran into a few friends. Ryan, my teammate in UPDT and Habagat was there, and we ended up talking for a few minutes before we went to the front of the starting pack to get his race face on! Hehe

By this time is was around 8 AM and it was hot! I remember Marga and I being in the back of a whole group of people who were milling around the starting arch, when we heard that gun go off!
The race had started!

Knowing that it takes me a very long time to warm up, I started the race slowly. Keeping a steady pace in the back while slowly making up ground as the kms passed beneath my feet.

It was so hot that I remember at one point in the run, all the runners suddenly crowded on the left side of the street because that side was shaded by the giant Uniwide mall.

According to the official times, my 1st 7k run plus transition was 0:35:25, which I guess is not that bad for a 7k run.

It was my bike time that really disappointed me. For 6 loops around MOA, more or less 30 kms of flat terrain, I timed a 1:05:14 including transition 2.

From the get go, I knew my bike time would be bad, after all this would be just my second time on the road bike after being on a MTB for 2 years.

What immediately struck me was the gearing. I remember starting off and accelerating quickly through some gears, when it became "heavy" I thought, ok this must be a good pace. No sooner had the words entered my mind when I was quickly overtaken by 3 road bikers!

Damn! I thought, Ang Bagal Ko!

In my mind, using my MTB with its little ratios as a frame of reference I thought I was really pushing a tiny gear on my road bike, when I looked down I saw I was only around the 3 or 4th gear from the largest one!

So I tried shifting down, but that became way too tiring, so I shifted gears again and prepared for a long morning of being overtaken up and down the course.

Which is pretty much what happened. I think I must have lost at least 10 maybe 15 places on the bike leg alone!

Which meant that I had some serious running to do.

Into the 2nd and last run leg, we had 4 kms to run. Straight of the blocks, I quickly speed up. Only to just as quickly slow my pace when my right calf started to give me the "spasm of doom"! Having experience this in a duathlon last year, I knew what to expect, I just slowed my pace a bit and I knew eventually, it would pass.

And it did, I was clear. I picked up the pace again and eventually even caught up with my friend Ryan who was around 3 or 4 minutes ahead of me coming out of the bike.

After we had made our turn around I increased my pace again and I even remember with around 1 km to go, asking the guy beside me if he wanted to race to the finish, you know for a little extra push.

Unfortunately, he declined, but I decided to run ahead anyway.

Long story short, I finished the 4k in 18:59 for a total time of 1:59:38, not bad I think for my 1st road dua. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Running Batanes 3

My last installation of this series is not actually a run I did, but rather was planning to and really looking forward to doing, if not for the fickle weather of the islands.

Saturday morning was supposed to be a rest day for us, hence I was really looking forward to getting in a good long run around the South of the Island.

Yet, when I awoke, the sky was overcast, a light rain was falling and gale-force winds were howling. No way, I'd run that. I didn't even bring a jacket! Looked like an indoor day. Oh well, there's always gin. (As an aside, our tour guide tells me that they sell 26 Million Pesos of Rice a year in Batanes, and 22 Million Pesos worth of Gin! Gin is almost a staple product!)

However, I'd like to talk about the route I would have taken, having scoped it out by car the day before.

If I or say you were to do it, first you'd make your way South of Basco to the Municipality ofMahatao.

Pretty soon, you'll find yourself on the paved national road which hugs the coastline and provides beautiful, I mean absolutely stunning views.

Be careful though as there are alot of blind corners and the Ivatans as nice and hospitable as they are, are not the best of drivers. You may also want to pay attention to the fact that the roads are not always in the best condition, although there was a modernization project going on there while I was there. According to the omni present signs, they'll be spending 110 Million to modernize the roads there.

Around 5 to 7 Kms out of Basco, you'll reachthe municipality of Mahatao. The 1st thing you may notice is that the main road takes a right while a smaller road goes straight, following the main road. 

In Mahatao, take time to appreciate some of the history around you. From old Ivatan houses, churches and even Spanish era bridges.

Making your way out of to the edge of town, you'll still be in the still be running on the stunning coastal road. And by now, you'll probably be thirsty, so be sure to drop by the Honesty Store 

If you're lucky, the owner, a retired teacher with a golden heart, maybe around and she can tell you the story of the history of the Honestly Store. 

The next part of the run will be on similar roads to the ones before Mahatao. But with one important exception.

The view...

The rocky cliff faces now becoming gently rolling hills and still rocky beaches. This view is the favorite of the loop for me.

Just check out these views!

Right before you reach the abandoned American outpost on the beach shown above, you will see a fork going up to "Marlboro Country"

This is where the paved roads start to become rough and trail shoes start looking like a really good idea.

A kilometer or so and you'll run into a closed gate. This is the gate for the communal grazing pasture. You may open the gate and pass through, but please for the love of God, close it behind you. Unless you to spend the rest of your vacation looking for a herd of missing cows!

After  you pass these rolling grass covered hills, don't forget to lock the other gate behind you, and soon you'll find yourself on a paved road.

These paved road can have some killer uphills, but if you preservere and finish, you will find yourself in the town of Mahatao again, coming out of the secondary road which you may have noticed earlier.

At this point you'll only be 3 or 4 kms from Basco and you just follow the roads you took earlier. But run quickly, because you don't want to get stuck out here in the dark, remember what I said about Ivatan drivers earlier!

Hope you had fun!