Archive for November, 2008

Runner’s Interview: Mike Mesina

November 28, 2008

I have decided to resurrect TBR’s “Runner’s Interview” to feature runners of all shapes and sizes who have something noteworthy, significant, or inspiring to share with their fellow runners.  My first interview was with Sen. Pia Cayetano followed by Pinoy Ultra Runner’s Team Principal Neville Manaois last year.  Hopefully, I can churn out at least one interview every two weeks for all of us to enjoy.

In this 3rd interview, I’ll be featuring Mike Mesina, a serious runner based in New York, who caused a lot of commotion online due to his spectacular finish at the recently held ING New York City Marathon with a time of 3:12.  Here goes:

So, we all heard about the now famous Mike Mesina finishing the NYC Marathon with an impressive time of 3:12.  How was it?  What were the highlights of the marathon for you?   

I admire you for a job well done on your blog site. It’s certainly beneficial for Filipino runners to find a channel to share passions and interests in running.

 Mike_New York Marathon - 2 Nov 2008

– Mike at ING NYC Marathon 2008 –

The NYC Marathon has been the one race I’ve wanted to run more than any other race since I got into formal endurance events. There’s something to be said about running around the city I’ve come to call my second home while being cheered on by thousands of spectators throughout the course. I, myself, was a spectator for so many years and always found the event to be an incredible one. The stories finishers told were filled with varying and magnified emotions and always ended in utter satisfaction. So you can only imagine how ecstatic I was when I was finally accepted to run this year after two failed attempts. This would probably be my most memorable race. I couldn’t believe it. 

It’s difficult to pinpoint a few highlights through the race because the entire experience was filled with memorable events for a first timer like me. Staten Island, where the race starts, was freezing and waiting by the sidelines was nerve wracking. Running the 26.2 mile course was absolutely amazing. I will never forget how difficult it was to keep going past the 23rd mile. My legs and knees were about to give way and I did everything I could do to keep my mind off the pain. The crowds were so involved and at times even animated, and that kept me going enough to get me to see my family and closest friends cheer me on a mile from the finish. Certainly finishing at the time I did was also a highlight. It affirmed the time and energy I invested into running the best race I could run. 

Was your time within the goal you set for yourself? 

There wasn’t a set hard goal time. It was my second marathon so I didn’t have much information and experience to go with. I finished my first marathon in Athens a year earlier in 3:15. However, I seriously thought I just had a really good day, one that couldn’t be easily replicable. It was improbable that I was going to beat that time. Based on a few assumptions, I expected to run between 3:20 and 3:40 so in that respect, I finished better than my goal. But I wanted to enjoy the race and take the event in as well, so the experience of running it was more important for me. I probably should have studied the course a little more. Most of my information about race was anecdotal and based on comments from people who’ve done it. 

At the same time though, I knew I failed to qualify for Boston by a minute and a half. It was one of those “konti na lang!” moments but I can’t complain. I PR’d in my first NYC marathon. That to me was a great feat. 

Is there anything you wished you had done differently during the marathon? 

Well, most of what I learned, I learned through my preparation and training so in hindsight, I should’ve been more systematic in my training plan. For this race, I did two 18-mile runs which in my opinion, was a huge a mistake. Ideally I should’ve done at least two more long runs of 20-22 miles. My body would have been much more prepared to keep my pace past mile 22 to the finish. I bonked at mile 23 and my legs started to cramp. I wanted to walk so badly but I knew the repercussions would be regretful. 

Did you meet other Pinoys? 

I already knew a few Pinoys who ran for ING Philippines like Sen. Pia Cayetano, Jon Jon Rufino, and the Carpo sisters among others. I’ve had the privilege of running with Jon, Amanda and Chesca Carpo when I visited Manila last year. These are great people and I admire their passion for the sport. 

Jon organized a brunch the day before the race and there I met the rest of the Pinoy runners. There are also a few Pinoy friends who are based in the States. It wouldn’t hurt to form a Pinoy running group in the near future. That would be a lot of fun. 

How long have you been running?  I presume NYC was not your first marathon, right?  

I started participating in triathlons three years ago and that’s what got me into running. A good friend of mine, Patrick M., convinced me to try it out with him so we did our first triathlon together an hour away from Manhattan. We didn’t know how to train properly for it, but we definitely enjoyed the dedication of training for the three events. After we finished the event, we were hooked and since then, we’ve done several races of varying distances together even if he’s moved out of New York. 

Because of that, I found a greater appreciation for running. I started joining races organized by the New York Road Runners and love running around Central Park. The park has become my church. It is a haven for runners and cyclists coming from all walks of life. The park’s moderately tough 10k route with a few rolling hills makes it ideal for training.     

Training for Athens was a struggle because at the time, I was based out in Sudan, Africa. I left NY for Africa in July 2006 until July 2008, so basically the bulk of my training was in Africa. I had no choice but to run in the desert with temperatures reaching 120F. That was extremely difficult but it helped – a lot!

 Mike_Athens Marathon - 4 Nov 2007

– Mike at Athens Marathon –

How does your running program in a week look?  

For the two marathons, I never included intervals, tempos or fartleks in my running routine. To be honest, I didn’t know what a lot of them meant. I just love to run long distances and that’s how I trained. 

My typical running week is below. It needs a lot of work so feel free to comment on it. 

  • Monday – 10k at easy pace (7:30 min/mile average) 
  • Tuesday – 10k at hard pace (6:50 min/mile average) 
  • Wednesday – 10k at hard pace (6:50 min/mile average) 
  • Thursday – Swim or bike 
  • Friday – Rest Day 
  • Saturday – 8-10k at easy pace depending on what’s scheduled on Sunday, which is usually a local race in Central Park from 10k’s to half marathons to 18mile marathon tune up races. 
  • Sunday – Race Day at race pace (6:50 min/mile average or slower, depending on the conditions and distance)

What is the best experience you’ve had during a run or a race? 

Aside from Athens and New York, my most memorable experience was a 10k fun run i joined in Sudan. The race started at 2pm and it was 120degrees. There were 7 false starts, no bib numbers, no timing chips, no water stations, no mile markers and to top it all off, I was the only non-Sudanese who joined out of the 500 participants. I got heckled by the spectators and even the runners themselves through out the race! People stared at me not having used to seeing a Filipino runner amongst them. Furthermore, most of the runners were wearing jeans and flip-flops! But man, they ran like their lives depended on it. They had no need for dry fit shirts or shorts, running shoes, or heart rate monitors. They just ran and I ate their dust. 

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– Mike at the Sudan Fun Run –

What is the worst? 

Tough question. I would probably highlight two, both being my worst blunders in running to this day.  

The first was the Luxor Half Marathon in Egypt. I got spoiled with properly organized events in the US where there are mile markers and race volunteers directing you every step of the way. Egypt was the opposite. The course was spectacular and included historical sites. Because it was flat, I was trying to beat my previous half marathon time of 1:29. I was feeling good and strong through the race and was running my fastest pace, I was really hammering down the pace and kept my focus on the road until the last loop when I missed my turn for the home stretch!

I continued running with a pack who, after a few minutes I realized, was running a full marathon distance. Essentially, I lost 10 minutes trying to get back to the turn to reach the finish. Quite disheartening but also a lesson learned. You can’t be too focused on the pavement, you have to be aware of your surroundings. 

The second is hysterical. It was during a 10k event in Central Park back in 2006. I had just completed my first half marathon a few weeks before so I didn’t think it would be entirely difficult. It was just another 10K. At least that’s what I thought. 

I went out with some friends the night before the race which went from a quiet and relaxed evening to an all-nighter. It was a huge mistake and I was simply overconfident.  I came into the race obviously not as physically ready as most of the other runners. So when the race started, I overshot my pace and started running hard. After a mile, my stomach started churning and my body felt like shutting down. I went to the curb and threw up, got back and ran and threw up again! This happened four more times until I finally finished. It was idiotic, irresponsible, and not something I would ever do again. The lessons are obvious. But this really was a question of dedication and all I really did was cheat myself and disrespect the event.  

Why do you run? 

There are so many adjectives to describe what it feels like to run. The runner’s high and endorphin kick doesn’t hurt. The sense of accomplishment after a race is wonderful. Being dedicated to something, I’ve found, has become quite important to me as I grew older. I’m the best at who I am when I’m running – does that make sense? 

Running is time for myself and is an outlet to distress and have fun. It allows me to push my body to transcend limits and discover what I am capable of accomplishing. The best feeling  after a hard run is when you’re muscles are twitching and you feel the pain when you come down the stairs. It feels like you put your body to the test. 

After NYC marathon, what is your next goal?

My goal is to run ING Miami Marathon in January 25 in hopes of qualifying for Boston in April. The NYC marathon just left me feeling a little hungry and I feel that I owe it to myself to give it another shot. But with the winter season already here, it’s going to be hard to train. We’ll see how it goes. 

I plan to start preparing for the triathlon season in the spring. The NY marathon is definitely in my radar for next year and my training regimen will certainly be more comprehensive.

Good luck at Miami, Mike!  Thanks again for the interview!

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Sunset Run at Fuego on Dec. 13

November 28, 2008

I don’t care if this Sunset Run is a week after my Singapore Half Marathon; I’m going to this one.  I can already smell the salt water, feel the pain in my legs from the steep and rough inclines, and imagine the picturesque sunset I’ll be viewing during the race.  Oooh, I cannot wait. 

Here’s more info from the Mizuno site:

10TH ANNIVERSARY SUNSET RUN
organized by Club Punta Fuego Inc.
in cooperation with Mizuno:

DATE & TIME 
13 December 2008, Saturday 
Assembly: 4:30pm 
Start of Race: 5:30pm 
Awarding Dinner: est. 7pm

VENUE 
Start/ Finish Area 
Main Rotonda, Peninsula de Punta Fuego, Nasugbu, Batangas

CATEGORIES 
3K/ 5K/ 10K

ENTRY FEE 
P500/ Pre-Registered Member 
P650/ On-Site Registered Member 
P650/ Invited Guest

Non-refundable. Includes: Race Kit, Giveaways, Awarding Dinner & Use of Facilities for Guests 
ADD P2,500 FOR A PAIR OF MIZUNO RUNNING SHOES! (Precision 8, Precision 9, Rider 10, Nirvana 2, Elixir 3, Inspire 4, Aero 5)

REGISTRATION 
1) For Club Punta Fuego members/guests, registration and payment must be made or before 08 December 08 (Mon). For more information call 751-4027.

2) For Mizuno invited guests, registration and payment can be made or before 08 December 08 (Mon) at Mizuno stores in: 
a) BMG Center, San Antonio St., Paseo de Magallanes, Makati City 
b) Bonifacio High Street

For more information call 757-3160 loc. 515

COLLECTION OF RACE KITS & GIVEAWAYS 
Participants may claim their Race Kits containing the Official Race Number, Safety Pins and Route Map upon registration.

Certificates and giveaways may be claimed upon completion of race course.

Nike Warehouse Sale

November 27, 2008

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Nike Run Clinic: Day 3

November 26, 2008

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– with Jay (who looks like a firefly here), Coach Rio, friend, Vimz, Wilbert, Mark, and Jun.  (Chris, never leave before the photo op!) –

Silly me for thinking I could do an easy 10k during Day 3 of Nike Run Clinic.  My training at Ultra last night was quite the opposite. 

After the usual warm up and stretching, Coach Rio asked the group two questions: 1) who had injuries, and 2) who was going to run at Singapore; both times I raised my hand.  We were then divided into groups during which my bullheaded self requested permission to cross over to the uninjured group instead.  Coach Rio and Jo-Ar obliged telling me to simply stop should I encounter any pain.

I found myself with Jun and Mark under the supervision of Coach John. Jay and Chris joined the group several minutes later.  We were to run 3 x 200m with 100m walks for recovery.  My goal time was 40 sec.  Phew.  Just thinking about it made my heart rate skyrocket but, at the same time, I was looking forward to doing intervals again which I hadn’t done since summer.  (Ssssh, don’t tell anyone.)

In a few words, that workout was lung-busting, vomit-inducing, and really tiring, but it was a lot of fun. I also picked up a few tips from Coach Rio and Coach John who took note of my “lazy wrists” and helped me correct my form. I ended the run without injury but Coach Rio advised me to continue with the ice—not in my drink, Mark—but on my knee. 

I must say that I don’t enjoy intervals as much as long runs, but I always end track workouts feeling proud of myself for merely being able to walk back to my car alive and well.  I’m so looking forward to Nike Run Clinic Day 4. Tempo Workout, here I come!

Thank you to the wonderful coaches: Rio, John, Jo-Ar and Roel and the rest of the team.

Confirmed: Phil. Marathon on Feb 2009

November 26, 2008

It’s confirmed. The Philippine Marathon—initially cancelled—will be pushing through on February 22, 2009 thanks to the support of the ABS-CBN Foundation.  

With that news confirmed by race organizer Gay Maddela and announced by Patrick C. via SMS yesterday, there were a lot of runners sporting wide grins and walking on cloud nine rejoicing over the fact that all the past months’ training had not gone for naught; there’s a confirmed marathon for February!  Woohoo!

As for Clark Marathon, I shall wait for news of this race, which is also scheduled for February 2009, and post it here once I find out.  (I separated List of Races 2008 and List of Races 2009 already.  See sidebar on the right.)

For now, I will keep myself busy happily training for my first full marathon in February 2009—whatever it may be.

The Pinoy Ultra Runners Conquer Pinatubo

November 25, 2008

pinatubo_nev

Welcome back to the Pinoy Ultra Runners and their guests who ran 55km up Mt. Pinatubo and down again for a good cause: Kythe kids’ Christmas Party.

Read Part 1 of the story here.  Neville, we shall wait with bated breath for the 2nd installment. 

* Photo courtesy of Pinoy Ultra Runners

Unicef Walk on the Child’s Side

November 24, 2008

TBR RACE REVIEW: UNICEF WALK ON THE CHILD’S SIDE 2008

Organizer: Rio de la Cruz
Overall rating (5 highest): 3

WOOHOO, HIGH FIVE!:
– challenging 10k course (as always whenever McKinley hill is included)
– fair atmosphere with kids’s entertainment (inflatable), photo wall, finisher’s family photo, raffle, etc.
– race marshalls were everywhere
– quick response of marshalls in emergency
– UPDATE: Same day release of race results

GOOD JOB:
– ample supply of mineral water at stations
– mile markers

AAW, BETTER JOB NEXT TIME:
– high traffic after entering McKinley hill
– limited parking space
– crowded race start (roads are too narrow in that area)
– need for more portalets (lines were too long)

_______________________________________________________

[ MY FIRST DNF ]

The Unicef Walk on the Child’s Side wasn’t going to be a “walk in the park” for me. This was the plan: I was to run 10k with JunC at 5:30 to 5:45 pace. Yaya would dress the kids, who lay asleep in the car, and have them race ready by 6:45 a.m. Hubby would run 5k so he could be back in time for the kids’ 2k at 7 a.m. Hopefully, I would run fast enough to be back for the 2k as well.

Now, this is what happened: JunC and I ran within 5:20 to 5:30 for the first 5k. It was quite fun to finally run fast again after so many long slow runs the past weeks. But, upon entering Heritage Park at around 5k+, my left knee started bothering me; it was just a slight nagging pain that I could’ve ran with until the finish. But, with Singapore Half only two weeks away, I’ve been practicing extreme caution and over-paranoia. So, bereft of any runner’s ego, I slowed down to a walk and bid JunC goodbye as I made my way to the marshalls’ booth asking them to drive me back to McKinley.

At first, they planned on making me ride a motorcycle with a marshall. Gawd, I had no pride when it comes to DNF-ing, but I certainly didn’t want to tell the world about it. I was about to search for a brown bag to cover my face when Billy, a Heritage Park marshall, volunteered his car instead of us having to wait for the medics.  As I was about to heave a sigh of relief, the host at Heritage announces on his microphone “Thank you for joining the race, Ms. Jaymie.  We hope you join us again next year!”  Oh boy, let’s tell the world indeed.  In no time at all, we were back at McKinley with a few minutes to spare before the 2km walk’s start.

[ A FAMILY OF RUNNERS ]

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I knew it was a “2km walk”, but my press release at home was a “2km run.” My two kids were looking forward to this “fun run” for days, but they had very different goals. As it was my 7 year-old son’s 3rd or 4th run, he knew how tiring it could be so he only aimed to finish. On the other hand, my Little Miss Bull Runner, who was joining her 1st, had more serious plans. When I tucked her into bed the night before, she whispered “Mama, I’m going to win the race.”

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I held my daughter’s hand, while hubby was with my son.  When the race started, it was a slow walk through the crowd and I could see the disappointment in Little Miss Bull Runner’s face.  But, as soon as there was space, we took our positions and I yelled “Ready, Get Set…Go!” as I always do when we race after school, and off she went smiling as she climbed up McKinley Hill.

We frequently stopped for walks and water breaks throughout the race, but for the most part, my daughter was dragging me to run faster.  Whenever Little Miss Bull Runner spotted Kuya in front of her, she would look up at me and say “Mamaaaa!” as if to say “We can’t let the boys beat us!”  

Before the race ended, as we climbed the other steep hill towards the exit of McKinley, I let go of my daughter’s hand and let her run free; as expected, she showed off her patented aerodynamic propeller-arm run for a final sprint.

As we neared the finish, hubby and I agreed to cross the finish all at the same time to ensure that no one “won” the race. The kids were spent, but they were happy.  This was definitely a good experience for the entire family.  

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– Little Bull Runners with Little Foreign Runners

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When I tucked my daughter into bed that evening, she asked me if she won the race.  I replied “Yes, you won…and Kuya won too!”  Then, she asked “But…where’s my prize?”  Uh oh, let me think about that.

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Thank you to the race organizers, especially those at Heritage Park, who took care of me during the little emergency!

Thank you to Dindo, JunC, and Marvs for photos!

Unicef 2k/ 5k/ 10k Still Open for Registration

November 21, 2008

A couple of days ago, I dropped by ROX to register for Unicef 10k only to learn that slots were all filled.  Race bibs were only available for 2k.  Argh.

Today, however, it was announced that there are slots open for all distances. For those of you who still wish to join the Unicef run this coming Sunday, register at ROX now.

Ugly Feet

November 21, 2008

I have never had uglier feet than I do now.  

I’ve had a black toenail on my right foot for what feels like f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  If that wasn’t bad enough, after New Balance last Sunday, my left pinkie toe was practically covered by one giant bloody blister that scared the living hell out of me after the race. To add icing on the cake, I also discovered a tiny blister on my right foot last night.

For weeks now, I have had my toenails painted in rich, dark red pedicure in an attempt to conceal its sheer ugliness.  And, all this while, I’ve been happily wearing my Havaianas, flipflops, and other open-toed sandals wherever I go blissfully thinking that I’ve been fooling everyone around me.  I was wrong.

Two nights ago, I was reading my Running Horoscope at Lonerunner’s blog and, much to my horror, this is what it said:

Taurus 20 Apr-20 May

Symbol: Bull

Element: Earth

Stop wearing Sandals/Flip-flops, your dead toenails from your last long run are never sexy.

Harharhar, I had a long good laugh!  In fact, I was practically hitting my head on the laptop while rolling on the bedroom floor laughing.  Lonerunner (or his manghuhula) hit the nail on the head for that one!

But, when the laughter died away, feelings of insecurity came clawing its way into my head and down to my toes, which curled up in embarrassment.  Should I stop wearing flipflops? Is it really that bad?  Lonerunner, does your manghuhula really think my feet aren’t sexy?

Last night, I removed the pedicure with acetone and stared at my ugly feet in all its naked glory.  Yes, my toes were hideous, but must I be ashamed of it?  I realized that I should be proud to show off such tiny little survivors, or better yet, warriors that just fought their way through 25km of rough roads.  So, what’s your problem if they aren’t white?  So what if they aren’t perfect?  They still do their job, right?

So, from now on, let it be known that whoever stares at The Bull Runner’s battered and blistered feet with disgust will get a kick in the face and hear these words:  “So I’ve got ugly feet. Who cares? I am a runner.”

To the Pinoy Ultra Runners—who may have uglier feet than I do by Sunday—I wish you the best of luck in your Pinatubo 55km run tomorrow.  Stay safe and, as always, have fun!

Clark Marathon in Feb 2009?

November 19, 2008

Just as most of us are almost drowning in our own sorrow over the postponement of QC Marathon, Atty. Jon from Clark comes in and brings us a shimmer of hope.  Read his comment as written in my QC Marathon post…

Hi fellow runners. I am the Team Captain of Team Clark based here in Clark.

We are coordinating with the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) (where we work at) and other groups/sponsors to continue the 2nd Clark International Marathon with or without the Kenyans (no pun intended). Some sponsors have expressed willingness and support for this race. I hope things will pan out and the clamor for 42k, 21k & 10k races in February will prevail over annoying hindrances.

We will do our best to hold this race most likely by February since January is too soon (it will be January again in 2010 due to cold weather) and even if we (the Team Clark members) don’t run ourselves just so our fellow runners like you would run and enjoy their first 42k or half marathon for that matter.

We will depart from the usual flat route for the 42K and will venture out the Clark Freeport Zone into an area which we call the “Sacobia”, the Next Frontier as aptly called by the new P/CEO Ricafort of CDC (he was there during the NB Power Race 2008). Hilly but manageable terrains and good scenic views in smog-free environment. Believe me we have so many good plans. One of which is finisher’s medal you can proudly hang in your car, office or room.

Like most of you, we are really hoping for a full marathon in February 2009 after the Singapore Marathon in December 7, 2008 (I hope all of us Pinoys will get to see each other in Singapore after the run, say congregate in one area. Maybe TBR can announce a place for this ) as a good long run for the Bataan Death March Ultra-marathon courtesy of Bald Runner or rumor has it, the 2nd North Face Ultra-marathon.

Please pray for and wish us all the luck.

Folks, it is about time we “institutionalize” an annual prestigous marathon here in the Philippines in the likes of Boston, New York, Singapore or HK marathons. Long shot but definitely possible.

The first step is we form and incorporate an organization of runners and other athletes that will concentrate on this endeavor and carry on the legacy from this year henceforth.

Kaya natin yan!

Atty. Jon, thank you for the info.  We do hope Clark Marathon pushes through in February 2009 and more sponsors (ehem ehem) come in to support your endeavor.  I’m sure a lot of us “displaced” runners will consider joining this, myself included.  More power!