I’ve been absent from the racing scene for more than two years. Since my ITBS injury in March 2011, attempts at a comeback were foiled by one injury (not necessarily running-related) after another, not to mention occassional bouts with the flu. To be sure, this is not to say that I did not sign up for anything at all in those two years.
There was the 2011 QCIM in December, during which I went on pacer duty for the missus for her 1st half-marathon. My longest runs being only the two 10k’s that I ran the week before the race, I was able to keep up with her for the first 15k only. I clocked in at 2:16:32, about 6 minutes slower than my better half. In fact, this race gave me my first taste of leg cramps since my highschool basketball days.
In March 2012, I was requested (read: forced) to join this 5k fun run at UP Diliman that was sponsored by UP WILOCI. A retired partner of ours is a member and she wouldn’t take no for an answer. The course was short by 110m, which allowed me to turn in a respectable time of 23:16. My time would have been a lot better had I not walked. But alas, the lack of racing experience practically transformed me into a running newbie – I started out too fast on the first 2km, with split times close to the 4:15 mark.
In September 2012, I tried something new. Actually, two things. Trail running and trail biking – in one event – the Adrenaline Off-road Duathlon. Despite the lack of adequate preparation, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. If anything, I would say that the Adrenaline OD was responsible for getting me back on track, training-wise. Oh, how I missed pushing myself to the limit. Yes, this event pushed me to my limits. I cramped up twice and my average HR was really up there. Trail running is really a different animal. I ended up running a lot slower than my 5:45mpk target race pace. But boy, I had tons of fun –
* Photo credit to MTB.Ph
Despite the Adrenaline OD being my first crack at a duathlon and, not to mention the lack of adequate training, I was able to turn in a decent result:
The Adrenaline OD was supposed to serve as my springboard to regular training but, again, a few things got in the way – nasty bouts with the flu, work, relocation and the Christmas holidays. At least I was injury-free. In the latter part of January 2013, I was able to get myself to run thrice a week. It was then that I decided that I should sign up for a race and jump straightaway into a training program to keep myself motivated. The Safeguard 2XU Half-Marathon scheduled on April 21, 2013 seemed to be the perfect comeback race. And so my 11-week program began just like that.
The goal initially was to finally run a sub-1:50 half-marathon and banish my 21k demons. In fact, the SmartCoach 11-week program that I generated called for a 4:52mpk race pace. While I was able to nail a majority of my workouts, I wasn’t able to turn in decent long runs. In fact, the weekend before the race, my “long” run was only 11.62km.
I really had no plans of running at 4:52mpk, but I figured that 5:00mpk should be doable. However, having failed to nail my long runs, I decided to play it safe and just target 5:12mpk, barely enough to get me that sub-1:50. I was able to stick to my target race pace of 5:12mpk for the first half of the race. However, on kilometer 11, I saw that I was a minute behind. On kilometer 15, I was two minutes behind. It was at this point that I decided to take it easy as it dawned on me that a sub-1:50 was practically out of reach. I ended up finishing in 1:55:22 – officially, a new PR, but by no means my fastest 21.1km. Methinks it’s time to strike while the iron is hot. RU2 and KOTR, here I come.
*Photo credit: Running Photographers FB Page
The past two years were insignificant, not only running-wise. However, 2013 looks a lot more promising as new goals and challenges await. Exciting times indeed. Now I’m all fired up.