Exorcising My 21k Demons (Part 1)

It’s been a little over a year since I started joining road races in October 2009. I have run 8 races so far, beginning with the 5k event of the 2009 Adidas KOTR. I just realized that there is a pattern to my racing – I would race a certain distance thrice before moving on to the next race distance. This, however, was not a conscious effort on my part. My goal really is to perform well at a certain race distance before moving on to the next. For me, a decent performance would entail a pace of 5mpk or better.

My first 5k wasn’t really a 5k; it was a whopping 6.4km. You can just imagine what damage an extra 1.4km can do to an eager-beaver greenhorn running his very first 5k. It was a complete disaster. It wasn’t so much the fact that I had my first 2k splits at 4:17 and 4:24, respectively (rookie mistake). It was the chilling realization midway into the race that the course was changed, thus making it a lot longer than the 4.7k indicated in the race maps (yes, the original race course was short), that simply broke my resolve. I do not recall my time anymore and I tried searching for the 5k results online but for some sinister reason there’s no record of the the 5k results ANYWHERE. However, I was pretty sure that I was unable to run it below 5mpk – with the extra 1.4km and all.

Thus, after my debut road race at the 2009 Adidas KOTR, I ran two other 5k races – Timex Run in November 2009 and the Philstar Celebrity Run in December 2010. I set a PR of 22:40 at the Timex Run (see related article) and would have run the 10k event of the Philstar Celebrity Run had my brah, who was in town for the holidays, agreed to race the 10k with me (I think he just wanted to make sure he would cream me at his preferred distance Hehe). At any rate, I still had a decent result at the Philstar Celebrity Run so I knew it was time to move on to 10k.

PRs are nice šŸ™‚

I have to admit that, to date, nothing comes close to the dedication and hard work that I put into my 10k training. I almost never missed a workout. Whenever I had to go out of town for a hearing, I made sure that the hotel where I would be staying had a gym or even just a simple treadmill. I also followed my training program to the letter – no cutting corners, no slacking off.

My target race was the 10k event of the 2010 Condura Run for the Dolphins. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to run a sub-50 due to a stupid mistake (pardon the french) in the last few days of my training. I was then in the process of transforming myself from a heelstriker to a forefoot/midfoot striker. On the Thursday prior to the race, I purchased a pair of Newtons (which as most of you would know are designed for forefoot running) and ran a 5k tempo in them at the track that same night. After that tempo, my calves hurt as hell. I couldn’t even walk properly as I headed back to my car. My calves were still so painful the day before the race that I got two long massages. I don’t know if the massages had any effect, but on the day of the race, I had to limp and hobble all the way to the corral. It was no surprise that I wasn’t able to run under 50 minutes. My time was 50:53. I was more surprised that I was able to run at all.

Wanting to bounce back immediately, I signed up for the Century Tuna Run scheduled two weeks after. In the two weeks before the race, I tried to recover quickly and, at the same time, get the hang of my new footstrike. Apparently, I succeeded in my efforts. I clocked in at 48:29 notwithstanding the very early gunstart (it was early by more than 10 minutes), which (a) deprived me of any decent form of warm-up; (b) shattered my mental race preparations; (c) made me weave through a throng of 10k runners IN THE DARK for the first 5k or so; and (d) got me squeezed in with the 5k runners for the last two kilometers. To this day, I still believe that the early gunstrart cost me my sub-Piolo. šŸ™‚

Navigating my way around the 5k runners on the way to the finishline


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