Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ironman 70.3 South Africa

Who is with me?

I have spoken to a few of you about joining me in 2015 for the so called best organized and biggest 70.3 in the world!!! I need to go back and do it again and here is why....

Jan 22, 2012, East Londen South Africa. Ironman 70.3, first ironman competition for me....

I was in SA for 8 months last year and returned in April to the Philippines. I decided while being in SA I will dare to do the ironman 70.3 SA. Everything was counting in my favor. Weather was great, approximately 20 degrees celsius for that time of the year. Water is cold so perfect to wear a wetsuit that gives you so much buoyancy (will get to that later). Cycling course is on the national highway, perfect road, which is a out and back course. They close the national highway just for the event. Run will be alongside the ocean with beautiful scenery and a two loop course which is great for spectators and love ones to take photos.

My only non pool swim leading to the event

Weeks leading up to the event, I was training hard, most days twice a day. You all know by now I struggled with swimming but after my total immersion and help from a swimming coach (two to be exact :)), I was ready, or so I thought, for the swim leg. My running was as usual the leg of the event I would fall back on to make up loss time on the bike and swim even though my bike was not to bad. This was my plan of action for race day. Just make the swim, IF I make it, then push a little bit on the bike and then kill it on the run. The Philippines heat and humidity trained me well for the run and I should be able to go out hard in this great weather conditions in South Africa, little did I know :=)

The bike I was going to use during the race
I got my bike a couple of weeks only before the big event so did not have a lot of time training on it. I did however realized two weeks before that there seems to be a bit of a problem with the drop out at the wheel. It seems that the back wheel is catching a bit on the fork but nothing to bad. I was however able to "sort that out" by realigning the wheel and then tightening the bolt that turns into the dropout. If you don't understand what I just said, I thought I fixed the problem is what I am trying to say.

We drove up a couple days before the event by car. We stayed in Johannesburg so it was approximately a 900km drive. It is a beautiful drive down to the coast so we did not mind at all. We arrived at our hotel which is walking distance away from the start line but a couple of minutes walk away from registration. Registration went smooth. It was well organized and there were a lot of people that took you through the process. There was also a bike company fixing bikes and doing last minute adjustments, the same set up as the one that was at the 70.3 Philippines. I decided to take my bike and ask them to look at the wheel problem just for peace of mind. They checked it out and with a bit of work on the drop outs, they declared the bike as road worthy, even put their sticker on the bike.

Coming broken after my failed practice swim
The Friday morning I went in the morning for a scheduled swim where we could swim a bit of the course just to see what the ocean is like. Vina had a 10km ladies race. They organize this for the women that comes to the 70.3. It is only for women and they even wear pink shirts. This was super cool.  A race for Vina and the run course is the same as the next day for the 70.3. This is a way for them to test all the stations. The plan was first the practice swim in the ocean then Vina's race. Did I mention I never had an open water swim until now?

Vina getting ready for her ironladies race
I put on my wetsuit, second time ever. First time was at our pool in our gym in Johannesburg (yeah most gyms in SA have swimming pools). I was amazed after jumping in the water. It felt like I was wearing swim aids around my arms. It brought back memories of my childhood. This gave me confidence. I along with hundreds of other people waited for the mist to clear and then we started the practice swim. Two of the buoy were out so the plan is to swim out around both buoy and then back, approximately 600m. From the moment I put my toes in the cold water, under 16 celsius, I struggled to breath. I went through the first couple of waves (there are bigger waves in SA than in Philippines) and started my swim. I could not get my stroke. I was so tense. There were to many elements involved. Cold water, waves hitting me around, people kicking me and no visibility. I ended up doing breast stroke the whole way.
Vina's race about to start

The nervous me two days before the race :)
I was so scared after that swim. I was even thinking of quitting. It was so hard for me to try and hide my fear from Vina as she still had a race to do the Saturday morning. I could not sleep the Friday night neither the Saturday night. So many things went through my mind!!! Maybe I should just give up, but then what will the people think. Maybe I should just go and try but I could not even make 600m how about 1.9 km? These were all questions going through my mind. To make matters worse, the Saturday morning with Vina's race, all the buoy were out and we could see the course. It seemed so far away as it is not a loop swim but out and back. It looked even more scary as the big buoy were so far out they were not big anymore.

Sunday morning, race day, I was awake really early as I struggled to sleep. I took my last things to attach to the bike (half heartedly as I thought by myself, I will never do the bike leg anyway). I put on my wetsuit, said goodbye (not sure maybe forever) to Vina and went to the holding area. We were over 3000 athletes. I told you it was the biggest 70.3 in the world. I took my position at the back of the group behind a building as the pros went off. It was our turn. I could not hear myself breathing. I was so scared. I was caught between giving up and taking the next step closer to the start line on the beach. This continued until we reached the start line.

Before the race
I was standing right at the back. I decided to look for someone to chat to while waiting to calm the nerves. What a mistake. The guy (quite a big fellow), asked me if I am scared... duh!?!. My answer was quick and loud and without hesitation... yeah! I told him especially for the swim. He asked me why so I told him I never had an open water swim before, I did not even share with him my horrified experience with the training swim, when he looked at me and with disgust say to me, "really?". This was not good. I decided not to speak to him anymore. As if that was not enough, the announcer was interviewing a pro that was not competing, asking him to give us that are waiting to start a couple of tips for the swim. He stated that by now we should have done a couple of open water swims... what? Did he just say a couple of open water swims ?!? That was it, no more listening to anyone. I noticed a group of guys praying together so I decided to rather join them, after all that is the only place where I can get help from.

The gun shot went and everyone storm the water except for one :). I took a stroll and slowly entered the water. I thought by myself that is it. I will try but most probably after 600m will put my hand in the air, except help and let them bring me out on a canoe. I even told Vina that IF, and a big IF I make it, then it will be close to the cut off time of 1hour and 15minutes. I went through the first couple of big waves and got to a spot where I thought that it is calm enough that I can start swimming, meaning that I don't have to dive under anymore waves to get through them. I put my head down and thought I will just calm down and except defeat. Then it happened. I started swimming and I found my stroke and before I knew it I was at the first buoy. This is the buoy I was out of breath already on the Friday morning. I kept swimming and could hear that little blue fish in Nemo saying, just keep swimming, just keep swimming. I all of a sudden felt kicks coming again from all sides. As I tread water to see what was happening I realized I was at the half way buoy. I was amazed. I made my way back and before I knew it I felt the waves started breaking on me from behind. I kept swimming and not long after saw people in front of me standing up. I MADE IT!!!! In a time of 43 minutes!!!! I stopped a bit outside the water as I was sea sick because of the waves (first time I heard that you could get seasick while swimming but it is normal apparently, lots of people get seasick when they swim in high swell waters). I remember running up a slope towards T1 seeing Vina. She looked shocked, as she did not expect me to exit at this time. She could not even grab the camera fast enough to take a picture.

T1 went smoothly. I was een joking to everyone while getting ready for the bike. I thought that now is my time to shine. I will catch up on all these slower guys on the bike and then kill most of them on the run. I jumped on the bike and off I went. The bike course is an out and back course. The first half is mainly uphill and then the 45km back is downhill. The road is smooth with not pot holes or bad spots. I kept concentrating on not to litter as they are strict with the 70.3 SA. If you are caught dropping just a small peace of paper, it is immediate disqualification. They had spots along the cycle and run route where you could dump your empty bottles and gel wrappers.

They have this cool system in SA whereby you or your support team for a small fee can register your race number by sending a text to a number. Once you are registered you will receive a text every time your athlete passes the mat that register your time. It was super cool as your friends and supporters even in another province can track your progress. Before I knew it I could see the turn around point of the bike leg. It is a downhill to the turn point, one of the few steep downhills on the out part of te leg. As I went downhill and changed my bike gears, I heard a funny noise. All of a sudden the back wheel just stopped. I almost fell of the bike. What in the world is happening, why now? I was on such a high after the swim and now this? The Lord knew better to humble me again:) He gave me the victory in the swim but as soon as I got pride full, He changed things for me. I looked at the back wheel and two spokes were broken as well as the back derailleur was bent over. That was it, my race came to a halt. It was unrepairable. I made my way down the road where some marshals were standing. I explained to them what happened and they offered me a ride back to the start line.
The swim course

I remember sitting in the back of the vehicle with a total peace. Even though this just happened, I had a sense of achievement and a peace about it. I knew deep inside why this happened. I knew I was getting more and more cocky as the race went on thinking how I am going to overtake the people especially on the run. I was looking at the athletes we passed on the way back. I was so excited still about my swim that just finishing that swim was not only like finishing the ironman but the feeling of winning it. Even though I had a DNF I was still over the moon.

I enjoyed the last couple of days in East Londen doing tourist things before we head back to Johannesburg. I am so glad I have my faith as this was the only thing that could pull me through. Even in such a way that I could testify to all my friends the reason why it happened and still be happy.

Lesson learned, never be cocky, stay humble and thank the Lord for everything He ALLOWS me to do as He can stop everything in a second.

Now my question. As I started this post. Wh is with me? I need to go back and do it again and this time finish it. I managed to finish my first one here in Cebu in the Philippines but would love to be able to finish the 70.3 SA. We are planning on going back to SA in 2015 and I will Lord willing enter the January 2016 ironman 70.3 South Africa. Lets see if we can get a group together here from the Philippines and do it together. After all, I don't have many SA athlete friends, most of my athlete buddies are here in the Philippines! If you are interested, give me a shout and lets plan for it. I can give you all the details you need on how to get there and where to stay. I will even do the arrangements of our stay as I will be a couple of months in SA before the event.

ARE YOU GAME? Lets do it!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

To TRI or not to TRI

Do you love running? Is it your first love (depends on who you are considering). Is running the exercise that shed of those pounds in the beginning? Is running the exercise that made you get up early in the mornings, that made you go further and further because you felt a change, that made you go faster as you started to reach pb's? That was the case for me about 6 years ago.

I started running to loose weight in England. I moved to the Philippines and continued running, seeing a difference in the way I look, I got compliments on how much weight I lost but the most important, I felt fit and never felt this in the last 15 years. I started running further and further and longer distances. It was a way of breaking away from the world, just that 10 minutes (in the beginning) or 2 hours time out and all by myself. It was such a great experiences. I must admit it was much harder in the beginning and I had my mornings of skipping and sleeping in, but overall it was a great experience.

I came to the Philippines in 2005 January and joined Golds Gym in Greenhills or San Juan. I got to know the manager there as he was also a running coach at the polo club (forgot his name so if someone know please let me know:). He told me there are a few races at UP. I heard the name Rio and decided to go there one Sunday morning as I heard there would be a race. I was amazed with how little people joined the race and that was the case for most races then, mainly organised by Rio de la Cruz. I met him that first Sunday, just for a couple of minutes as he did everything, from organising, gun start, set up, cleaning and even marshall. Nevertheless, he seemed like a great guy that knows something about running...

Months followed and I joined most races available which were only a few then. I got to know Rio better and noticed he knows more about running than what I thought. The races grew bigger and bigger, from being the only foreigner for the first couple of races to seeing more white faces. It started also at MOA and the Fort. More organisers became involved but Rio still stood out amongst them.

I came to a place in my ministry where I had to leave running for a while. We moved the Palawan and got cut of from the running community. I remember one Dec as I was in Manila, friends of mine, Levy and Jay Nacino asked me to join the Condura 21km, that was before there were a 42km marathon. I agreed to do it but I soon realised it was not a wise decision as I walked most of the way. On my return to Palawan I started picking up the sport that I loved so much over last few years and soon realised again why I loved it. It was again a slow process to get fit but eventualy was able to run the Hong Kong marathon as well as the Palawan milo 21km.

Before we moved to Palawan I was challenged to do a triathlon. I was told it is not that hard. I should only do a sprint race. "What does that involve": was my next question. I was told only and I say again ONLY 700m swim, 30km bike and 7km run.... Well 30km bike, I can ride a bike, 7km run, no problem as I was fit then but a 700m swim? Being the stubborn person that I am, I quickly tried to downsize the swim leg. I told myself things like, I can swim, how far can 700m be? If I get tired I will just roll on my back until I have my breath back and then continue swimming, I go on holiday and always swim, sure I can do 700m. If only I knew.

You guessed it, I signed up. My dear friend Levy met me the morning of the race and together we drove to Alabang. He took me through the steps at transition and how to pack my gear. We had race briefing and we went to the pool. It was a 50m pool. I waited for the gun start and off I went. I allowed for everyone to go first before I started. After not even 25m I was tired. I did not know what to do. I still had 675m to go. How could this be so difficult? I started doing back strokes and not even the proper stroke. It seemed like I was on holiday. Each time I got to the other side of the pool I rested for at least 5 minutes. I eventually finished the swim dead last. To make things worse, I was the only foreigner. I managed to finish the bike and run leg after that.

The first thing I was going to do in order to continue with triathlon (yeah the triathlon bug bit me even though I could not swim) was to go for proper swim training. Jaymie told me about this swim program called total immersion. Their website is I signed up and did 8 lessons in Manila. They taught me the technique and what I did wrong. I was amazed. After just four lessons could I swim for at least 400m. It is all about technique. Instead of fighting the water you use the water to glide forward.

Today I have done at least 4 triathlons in Manila, 1 70.3 in Cebu, one 70.3 in South Africa and an olympic distance in Subic. I definitely enjoy swimming now, even though it is not my favourite part of the triathlon, it is still great to swim, feel great and enjoy it!!! And did I mention finish the swim still feeling strong.

If you are one of those that want to tri but scared of the swim, check out aqualogicswimco and get some training to just learn the technique and you will not regret it.

As I always ended my posts, keep on running, for today, keep on swimming!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Guess what!!! I am back :)

Hi ya'll,

I too of a couple of years from blogging to concentrate more on my ministry here in the Philippines. It just so happened that I have some more spare time again and decided to come back to my second or third love (depends who reads this), running or my newest found triathlon.

I read through my last posts today and found that I did my first triathlon with the help of my good friend Levy Ang in Ayala Alabang. I remember my biggest fear and problem of the day was my swimming. Well, I just completed my second 70.3 ironman in Cebu on 5 August. Looking back, what a long and sometimes hard but so enjoyable journey I came to where I am today. I can honestly say, even though that I enjoy running the most of all three disciplines, I fell in love with the world of triathlons.

I told myself that I will just write a short post to say I am back and here I go again :).

I will post more in the next few days to come about my experience in Cebu and some advice to swimming on how I conquered it as I found over the last two years, it seems to be the biggest concern to most runners. I promise you, it is all technique and if I can do it so can you.

Well here it is officially, I am BACK!!! Please check out my posts to come and if you have any news or advertising you would like to add please let me know ;). I missed you all and can't wait to start again blogging!!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

34th National MILO® Marathon Race Palawan

Plenty of training and just as much injuries for the Palawan Milo race. This is my story and review for the 34th milo 21km provincial race in Puerto Princesa Palawan.

I have been waiting for this race for long. I started my training program a couple of months ago because I wanted to qualify for the milo finals in Manila in Dec. My plan was to do the Singapore marathon. I never knew the opening date for applications and so by the time I went online it was to late. Sayang... I then decided to go all out for the milo qualifier and run it under 1h35m for my age category. After a short visit to Manila I met with Rio and he asked me after listening to my bad luck with the Singapore, why don't I apply for the Hong Kong marathon. Upon my arrival back in Palawan I immediately went online. I continued to go back to the site until the entries opened and so I registered... I AM GOING TO HONG KONG IN FEBRUARY 2011 - who are joining me?

I had to do this introduction for you to understand why I did not go full out with my training. You see after I registered I decided not to put so much pressure on my training to qualify for the milo but to use it as early training for the Hong Kong. I also started again struggling with knee injuries and pains. I think it is mostly due to a lot f trail running (although it helped my training to fitness a lot). Being out of running for about a year was difficult to get back to fitness again and slowly but surely I am getting there again!!!

The night before the race we had a huge storm and I woke up at midnight thinking we wont be running. I woke up ate 3:30 am and after preparing all my race equipment and leaving the house I noticed the beautiful weather, ideal for running. I arrived at the venue at Mendoza Park in Rizal Ave at 4:00am and everything was already set up. The vibe was great, the organizers, helpers and marshals were plenty.

I did feel again like a sore thumb as I AGAIN was the only white runner. It does draw unwanted attention but something I slowly but surely are getting use to with our three years being in the Philippines already. We were called to the start area at 5:00 and the race started at 5:30. We were not a lot of 21km runners and most raced of so fast and before I knew it I was caught up in the excitement and had to hold myself back again. The first 10km until turn around point went well. I felt good and refreshed after the turn. It started getting hot towards the end.

I finished unofficial time of 1:38 and I was aiming for a 1:45 so I am satisfied with my performance as I felt I could have gone faster. At the finish line, I was awaited by very capable staff. There were no queues, no 10km runners we caught up with and well organized race.

The water stations were sufficient and well manned. We received a couple of times gatorade (or so I was told) in little plastic bags. I at first thought maybe low budget but it was all sufficient and just enough until the next water station.

Medical ambulances were noticed at all times as well as marshals that were plenty on the road. I even at one stage had my own escort for almost 2km - thanks to the marshal, it did help me a lot.

The chip system on the bib worked well. At the turn point I could clearly hear it register even though they made for a person to write the numbers down at the turn.

The only bad point I can mention is that there was a water station at the worst hill of the route. They must know that especially close to the end it is hard already running an uphill and then have to drink water as well - mission impossible. I used the water to wet my head instead.

Overall well done to the organizers and everyone involved in making this a great day for the people. I do have a confession to make though. At the end we received nice goody bags. I handed my banana to a little girl at the finnish line and she was happy. I then saw a little boy and immediately took of the one stub as I noticed a day before you can get a free milo with the stub and I gave the stub to the boy. Upon my arrival back home, I noticed I accidentally gave him the wrong stub, it was the baggage claim stub. I am so sorry and if I see him again in town I will make up for that. If someone know him please let me know....

I am glad to be back into running. I will be in Manila during December and part of January and would like to meet up with you all. I am also interested in buying a treadmill so any advice will be helpful.

Until then KEEP RUNNING!!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

I am back!!!

It is almost like the day you wrote that final day you wrote your school exam or standing at every start line and your stomach is trying to give you information that your brain don't understand. I am sure most of you know how it feels or at least one example... This is how I felt getting the thought again to blog running experiences again here in the Philippines. You see, it is not just about dotting down information others can use but more a intimate relationship with the person reading the blog, in this case with you.... :)

I had so many questions the last year ranging from... are you upset with us? to where have you been brother, man, Joe etc... Let me try and explain and in the same breath or ink blot, ask for forgiveness but hopefully you all will understand my excuses...

At the end of 2008 we went to our annual conference. I found out that due to the program there I wont be able to run as frequent as I wanted to. At that time I was also into biking for triathlons. As this was brought to my attention and the fact that I had to leave my bike at home, I became someone else.. I became rude to the people close to me, I lost my temper much quicker and became someone that no one wanted to know. I had to sit back for a moment and assess what is happening to me. It then hit me. Those of you that can still remember some of my previous posts telling you how overweight I was weighing a whopping 120kg and being unfit before I started running. At that time I was also smoking 40 cigarettes a day!!! Everytime we went to a restaurant we had to sit in a smoking session. When we went to the movies I made a break to go out and smoke.... Wow, I realised I am going through the same emotions, if I could not smoke I got upset and become someone else... here I am again but this time it is running! If I cant train, I become someone else.

I a sense I was happy getting to the root of the problem.... I WAS ADDICTED!!! Never thought one could become addicted to training. I had to do once again what I did when I was smoking and that was to give it up and not be a slave to anything. I took time out.

After more than a year, I am back and enjoying it again. It took me three months to try and get some of my fitness back but I am running again. A lot of things changed, the most biggest thing is the scenery as we moved in the mean time into a tribal location where we are busy learning the new dialect of Agutaynen getting ready to evangelize to the area where we are. I do mostly trail running (any advice will help) and train at the moment for the Provincial marathon here in Palawan. I was planning in doing the Singapore but was to late to register then decided to do the milo. The only problem is I need to run the 21km in 1:35min to qualify. If I make it then I will surely see you all again in Manila for the Milo marathon. Until then, if you are in Palawan, drop me a note and we might run into each other.

Thank you all for your kindness during the last few years as I have treasured that so much of the mng Pinoy. Friendliness is part of your day to day life. Also special thanks to the people at team baldrunner that was sending me messages, and also the great friendship through Rio, Jun C and Jaymie, you guys rock. The rest of all you running friends, keep running and see you soon again.

God bless

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Filled up with Christmas lunches and parties?

Yeah so the year is almost at an end and it is function upon function until then. We are storming the end of the year and the new year by filling up our systems - I mean EATING and indulging in all the fine cuisine that the Philippines can offer. Guess what, come next year we are upset when we look at ourselves in the mirror. Now it is back to basics and back to the treadmill, oval track or wherever we were in order to loose weight.

I would like to focus on another area we can join which is once a week and it also helps us in loosing weight..... RACES.....

Races in the Philippines is fast in catching up with the world standards. The only way we (Philippines) can get there is if us as runners support these events and our race organisers. We are quick to complain that we get water out of a tub and therefore we carry our own water for a race or the reused the water cups at the water stations during this and that race. We were actually joking about it last night at ROX but in all honesty, the only way we can get to the Singapore or US standards is by supporting our local races.

When I came to the Philippines and joined my first race the Runnex race, there were not as many runners but lately it is different. We all share this passion of running so let's support it in all the ways we can. If it is to loose weight, meet friends, be competitive as Baldrunner puts it or whatever reason we are running, let's put our hearts into it and help the growth of the sport here in the Philippines. While we are supporting the sport why not do it also for a good cause. I have been given a list of races from family runs or fun days out to full on races and it is all for a good cause. I am not saying let's only support these but this is a good start. Below is a list of races for the new year so let's block it on our agendas and start to sign up for these right away and get rid of those extra pounds and do it for something good..... Killing two flyes with one hit.... I hope to see you all at these races.

January 25, 2009 THE HAPPY RUN 3km, 5km and 15km. NBC tent The Fort

March 1, 2009 2nd DOCFIT RUN 5km and 10km (MD and Non MD category) UP theater UP Diliman QC- poster to follow

March 8, 2009 RUNew (ASIAN Hospital) 5km, 10km and 15km Bonifacio taguig

For more info on these races please go to Rio's site.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Milo marathon recap - ouch ouch ouch and in an unofficial time of 3:37

I am typing this post in so much pain, I can not begin to explain. I must add it is better today than yesterday.... Here it goes....

A week ago I never thought I will be able to run the milo marathon and was not in the mood for the 10km again as it was one of the worst experiences I had in August when I did the 10km milo as there were too many people in front that completed the 5km walking that we struggled to get through the crowds. So I wanted to do the milo 42km. There was just one problem, me being a foreigner and not a lot of explaining how the milo works, I thought I will do the 10km in August and then the 42km in November, never did I know you have to qualify to do the November 42km. I don't have a problem with cutting down but why not let the elite runners or the qualifiers start earlier and then the rest of the field? Or just explain properly on the milo site how it works. Enough complaining as I ended up running the 42km as a BANDIT.

It was about a week ago when I was approached by someone (don't want to mention who) to run the milo 42km with them. I voiced my unhappiness and this is when they told me they will run it as bandits. I was quite keen on the idea and decided to do it. I did not want to be a complete bandit so I registered for the 10km run. We were a few that were going to run this race and here we are in the photo (thanks for the pics Jonel):

This is the bandit group together

Or the photo of Jonel as per his blog "The Bandits"

The only legitimate runner Sir Jovie aka Baldrunner

We met up early at Roxas Boulevard. We also met up with Baldrunner and posed for a few photos. The reason why Sir Jovie is the only one facing the camera well, he is the only legitimate one to run the marathon as the rest are all bandit bloggers.

We walked up to the road as the race was about to start. Once the gun went off we joined the back of the pack. We decided to start together and see what happen. I knew Jerrie and I would run at the same pace as well as Lester but Lester told me he will only do a half. As faith had it, I started running with Jerrie. I guess we just cant help ourselves but before we knew it, we were on a 5min/km pace. We saw Jovie and caught up with him and then we were off. We started to overtake runners and it all went well. It was after about km 15 and a few hello Joe from the crowd where I have learned to either not respond or just say kumusta and usually they keep quiet then at that point. Sometimes if I say mabuti po, it will keep them even quieter and then the giggles will start. Well it was at this point where Jerrie told me he has a slight problem with his knee. He told me we can still continue but it is a concern for him.

I kept my pace and slowly Jerrie started falling behind. I kept looking back but he waved at me to go ahead. So I kept my pace and I felt good. At Bayani road and the turnaround point I saw Jerrie coming past not too far behind and then Jovie. We encouraged each other with a few words and off we went again. I was amazed at the speed of the first runner that passed me on his way back just before I went down McKinley hill. I shouted a few words of encouragement to him and concentrated again on my own run. It was so nice to pass the runners after the turn around point as everyone was in good spirits.

As I reached the top of Fort again I thought it must be around the 30km marker as I saw the 25km marker close to Heritage Park. I still felt good at this point. Usually in my training runs I would start to feel discomfort at km 32 so I had this in the back of my head. I was so upset with myself as I forgot once again my garmin forerunner at home so I could not see the distance I covered. There were also not a lot of markers on the route. As we went over the C5 flyover I thought we should be at the 32 km mark but I still felt great. I passed more and more runners that started walking at this point.

I was pushing forward when I saw Joms passing. I asked him how far to go and he said he is not sure but he thinks 7km. At this point a female runner was running with me as she stopped and walked and I caught up with her. She told me it is still 10km. So I knew it was not that far, it must be between 7 and 10km. I could at this point feel my legs getting heavy and felt some discomfort but I kept on pushing. I heard my name from a passing vehicle and I was wondering who that could be. It was the support team of team baldrunner with Coach Ferdie Espejo and the rest of the team. Thanks guys for giving me that water at that point, you were send for me as I needed it so much. Thanks for the words of encouragement as well and the pic taken.

After about 37 km, still 5 to go!!!

I had in my mind the idea there is still just one km left and then I saw the 40km sign and knew still 2km left and this is where my hope died. Two km's can be so far after 40km of running. I was really tired at this point as my legs started to struggle to keep my body going forward. I met up with another guy that started to push me and I took his pace and even had a sprint to the finish line. Yipeeeeee I made it, 42km!!! I went into the 10km finish line as this is the number I had. They must have thought this is the slowest 10km runner ever as the 10km clock was over 2 hours at this point.

Thank you milo for accommodating us bandits even though we did not give you any choice. I am sorry my fellow bandits for not staying to long after the race but I needed a CR desperately and the tender loving care of the wife. So I hopped on my bike and off I went into the traffic of Manila with legs that were wasted. Thanks to all the bandits for the support and inviting me along and remember our goal in three years time.... the comrades in South Africa....

To all that will do the Singapore, good luck and all the best for the race. I am off to gym, yes, you read it right, to gym as I was instructed by coach Ferdie to do a 30min 80% run today and tomorrow so I will see how that goes. To team Baldrunner, see you at Ultra on Wednesday and to all that read this blog... Keep fit and Keep healthy. God bless.