Saturday, April 23, 2016

How To Nail That Sub1 10K Race In Your Forties (My PinoyFitness Sub1 10K Story)

When was the last time you have accepted a challenge knowing the odds were against you? What prompted you that made you stick to your decision and push through with it?

To some of us who excelled in academics, the arts, journalism, sports or even in beauty contests, a lot of preparation and practice is done just to make sure we get that had earned medal or trophy even. It will be an added bonus if we get some cash prizes or additional freebies.

Now what if you registered for a 10K race and you accepted the challenge of finishing it in an hour or less (SUB 1) with little or no training at all, a week before the run? What are the chances that you will get that hard earned medal once you cross the finish line especially if you are already in your late forties just like me ? Isn't it risky putting yourself in a spot knowing that you might even get injured?

To those who are slowly getting to know me through my blog, some of you may already know that I have been running since 2012. It all started when I ran at a free race where the company I used to work for was one of the sponsors.I have joined a 3K race where everything I did was all wrong since I was a beginner. I wore the running shoes I just bought the day before the race, wore a wireless bra and denim shorts plus I did not have any training AT ALL. In short, I was heading for a disaster that fateful Sunday. I could not even remember the last time I had run. Though I was able to cross the finish line in an hour which was already an achievement for me at that time, I did feel some minor leg pains because my pacing was all wrong which was to sprint and then abruptly stop, at times almost bumping at other runners. I was like a tire that gets inflated which was what most newbie runners do when they get all excited running in their first race.

As I started reading running articles, watched videos and continuously spent my weekends running very early in the morning, I have learned to control my pace, developed endurance and improved on my speed. I seldom join races as they too add to my family expenses so it was enough that I finished three to four races in a year. I may have started slow and needed a lot of training and improvement but I was sure glad that I have met coaches and seasoned runners, even ultra marathoners who gave me tips on how to improve my running.

I usually run at BGC. It is a place filled with good memories because it was where I ran my first race & where I joined my first group exercise at the park. There was even a time that I was one of the lone runners along McKinley Road at about 4AM because jeepneys were rare and I did not want to be late for the 5:30AM Zumba class at the park. I considered it as my training field and my turf. What I love about BGC are its uphills and downhills which are good training grounds for a beginner. It also has lots of trees and parks and I pray that it remain that way. Thus when I learned that PinoyFitness Sub1 10K Challenge will be held there, I did not think twice in signing up for it. 

However a week before the race, my monthly period arrived. That was a Wednesday, just three days before the race. I told my self there was no way I am going to back out. I have waited so long for it and I wanted to know if I could really finish a 10K race in an hour at least. So instead of thinking of what might go wrong on race day, I focused on what I could do to prepare myself for that coming Sunday. And here are the things that I did.

 I Practiced Yoga

Since I was not able to train and practice on my speed due to my period, I resorted to the next best thing which was to practice Yoga. Some runners still could not understand how Yoga and running go together. Runners World already featured articles and videos on how Yoga can improve one's running. Since Yoga was low impact, I practiced it everyday  where the routines lasted for an hour, sometimes more. I focused on the calves, hamstrings, legs & arms. I continuously told myself that I will be okay come race day.

I Made Sure I Got Enough Sleep, Ate The Right Food & Drank Plenty of Water

Sleep is very important not only when you register for a race, but once you decide to get serious in running. Same thing in eating the right food & keeping hydrated. One needs to learn how to shy away from junk food, food high in sugar & salt. One also need to eat more veggies and fruits, drink plenty of water instead of soda or carbonated drinks.

I never really had any challenge from avoiding junk food and drinking soda. I could bear not to visit any fast food chain even in a month or three months without any problem. I maybe into sweets like fruit salads and ice cream but I eat them in moderation. I am also lessening my intake of rice to half a cup in every meal. I love veggies and fruits plus I make sure to drink 8 glasses of water, sometimes more especially during summer.

To those who still smoke and drink yet chose to run and join races to keep fit, it would be better if you can quit because as you continue to increase your mileage and join longer races, your body will need all the rest and nutrition there is for you to endure the challenge until you cross the finish line. It would be best to totally quit such vices than suffer the repercussions later.

Although most runners find it hard to sleep the night before Race day, it would still help if the body got enough sleep the day before. NEVER, EVER risk going out for a short drink or attend a party the night before the race. Same thing if you have the flu or are not feeling well. Some runners collapse while on the road and sadly are not able to finish the race. Some are lucky to have friends who will do the extra mile to support them, making sure they are still okay even if it is just a 10K race.

I Used My Old Set of Running Gear, From My Sports Bra to My Running Shoes

Nothing new was worn on race day. Even the race kit that I got when I  registered had been worn the Sunday before the race just to check if it fits comfortably despite the hot weather.

Just roughly 2KM away from the finish line
I Kept Saying " Sub1, Sub1" Until It became A Mantra 

I was not the only one who registered for the race. My daughter, Sidney who has autism also ran in the same category with me. We registered for the second wave which started at 5:15AM. When we heard the gunshot, my daughter and I got separated. It was hard not to think of her when she went out on her way but I was confident that she will finish the race in one piece just like she did in the past. So, instead of again thinking what could possibly happen to my daughter on the road, I focused on my run as I only have one hour or less to cross the finish line.

It was hard not to think of my daughter when we got separated

The race route was not at all easy. Runners have to pass by the Buendia Flyover to Kalayaan Avenue and back. There was a point when we were running down the flyover that the pull of gravity was so fast that one has to check his speed not to tumble and hit the other runners in the process. There was also the challenge of staying hydrated and keeping your focus on the road. Not that there were limited water stations. On the contrary, there was enough supply of water and Gatorade but the thing is, stopping to have a drink will affect the remaining time left for you to finish the race which was an hour or less for you to get that medal. In my case, I did stop twice but  made sure I made up for that lost time by quickening my pace to catch up on the required finish time. It was a good thing that I also brought my ever reliable bottled water as I needed to splash some of it on my face and my arms which were getting hotter due to continuous running.

I Never Gave Up Until I Reached The Finish Line

There was a point when I wanted to slow down and just give in to the fact that I will not be able to make it. I was trying to console myself that I was not really prepared for the race plus the fact that I was already in my late forties, that age was already catching up on me and that I was not really a fast runner to begin with. However, there was this stubborn, nagging voice at the back of my head that said I can still finish the race with a faster PR (personal record) although not necessarily a Sub1. With that in mind, I continued to run and when I saw the marker that I was just 500 meters away from the finish line, my strides became longer and my pace became faster. 

When I finally stopped running, I was surprised when I learned I made it to the cut off time.

Hard earned medal

Meanwhile, my mind drifted immediately  to my daughter who was still on the road.             

I always knew she would do well on her own.

After almost half an hour from the time I crossed the finish line, we finally  got to      see each other amid the thousands of runners.

Despite her autism, she never gave up until she finished her 10K race

Despite the lack of training, I was able to prove that age is not a deterrent in exceeding yourself and in nailing that elusive Sub1 10K race.  And as an added bonus, I was included in the Pinoy Fitness  Sub1 10K Challenge Video. Go check for yourself. 


Will I do it again next year ? 

You bet. 

Especially now that I am officially, a Sub1 10K, gray haired Momma.

(photo credits to, Active Pinas and Sidney Rain Bucu)



Post a Comment