Monday, September 24, 2012

The Last Puzzle Piece - My Run United 3 2012 32K Experience

For all Run United race patrons for this year, all are very much determined to complete the trilogy because of the three-piece medal. Even if I said before that I am not a huge fan of these shiny blings, collecting them has a different meaning for me.

When details were released at the Blogger's Launch of Run United 3, the last leg of the Runrio Trilogy, there are two options to get the last piece of the medal: Run 21K or 32K. Without any doubt, I did not hesitate to chose to get it the harder way. I have been running for two years now and I have been running numerous 21K races already so I guess now is the time to level up.

Me and Ethan's Race Bibs! ^_^

With just a month to prepare, I did not actually have a fixed training plan. I just had my usual swim trainings on weekdays and a long slow distance run and recovery swim on Sundays. I also enhanced my diet plan as a way of preparation as well. I even got another worse episode of hypoglycemia attack one week prior to the race but surprisingly it did not stop me from doing my trainings.

To give you an idea of how long is 32K. If the base point is the Kilometer 0 mark at Luneta Park in Manila, Kilometer 32 will be somewhere in the middle of Dasmarinas, Cavite

Point A is Luneta Park and Point B is Emilio Aguinaldo Hi-way just before SM Dasma, Cavite.

Since there is a super typhoon in the Philippine Area of Responsibility, even if it will not reach our lands, it pulls the "Habagat" which causes the heavy rains in Luzon for the past few days. Given this situation I am getting myself prepared for a wet race.

I chose to use my trisuit as a top and my running leggings to keep my upper body from absorbing too much water from the garment and also to keep my legs warm during a wet and cold run. My trisuit offers 3 stable pockets at the back to make room for my gels and other race necesities.

The night prior to the race, I was imagining different scenarios. My foot is thin skinned and very sensitive when exposed to water for long. I can't afford to have injuries on the foot, we diabetics are very caring on our extremities because it can endanger our lives or will make us amputees. I bought a sports tape and planned to cover both my foot in it. While trying it out, I feel it will not work. So I thought of something else to try.

They said that necessity is the mother of inventions so out of my ingenuity (If it can be called that way), I was able to think about a way of waterproofing my shoes. This way, I am not only protecting my foot, I am protecting my shoes as well. I didn't know if it will work at first but surprisingly it did the job. I am thinking of finding a better material and have this patented to me. This may be a good business to start with. LOL! :P

My own way of waterproofing my shoes. It actually works!

How to make this waterproof shoe cover? It's pretty simple!

What to prepare:
  • Calypso Plastic Bags - these are the thin transparent plastic bags you see in the market where they place vegetables in. You can buy it there as well.
  • A sharp pair of scissors.
  • A roll of Sports Tape - This is like the expensive Kinesio Tapes but cheaper and generic. You can get one at the shopping mall. The cheaper ones are good. I got mine at the American Dollar Store.

How to do it:
  1. Cut the Calypso Plastic Bag on one side and on the top to make it a flat rectangular plastic. Prepare 8 pieces for this project.
  2. Cut 4-5 inches from the Sports Tape and cut it in the middle since it's a bit thick. Make at least 16 stips
  3. Get 2 pieces from your prepared Calypso Plastic and put in on top of each other.
  4. Place it on top of the shoe and start taping the edge of the plastic on the back, then one side, then the other side until you get infront to finish taping around the shoe.
  5. Cut a hole on the top of the shoe to give way to your foot. No worries, it will still be waterproof because the next step will do the job.
  6. Get your foot inside the shoe and tie shoelaces securely.
  7. Get another 2 pieces from your prepared Calypso Plastic and put in on top of each other.
  8. This time, wrap it on your legs just above your socks.
  9. Secure the edges of the plastic with Sports Tape.
  10. Fix the end of the plastic and make small tape cut outs. Tape it on the side sole of the shoe to secure it in place. After this, repeat the steps on the other shoe.

After road testing this, I surprised myself that it actually works! Some of the runners even approach me and asked me if it is dangerous to wear it. Maybe they're thinking that I covered the whole shoe. I explained to them that it just covers the top portion. Even my pacer is amazed how it kept my foot dry and how it helped me maintain the pace we are in.

My thoughts on why it worked:
  • The Sports Tape is made out of canvass and it provided a good hold adhesive that it sticks to the sole of the shoe even when wet.
  • The Calypso Plastic Bag despite it's thinness, is very durable. It can stand the stretching of your foot and legs when running. It still shows a transparent view of your pretty shoe even if it is covered.
  • It will not get slippery since there is no plastic covering the sole under the shoe.

I managed to run up to around 21K with a dry foot until I stepped on a deep puddle of water, that's where my foot started to soak. Also, because of the cover, my foot started to sweat inside at around 18K, so it retains water, and my foot started soaking in.

The Cons of this project are:
  • Covering the shoe will make the foot sweat since there is no air circulation happening inside the shoe so eventually, it will soak.
  • It takes a lot of tries before you can actually perfect the cover. I even seek assistance when I did this to lessen errors and wastage.
  • It doesn't work on floods and distances beyond 21K.

Running with my pacer, Che-Anne. (Photo by RJ Knight Runner)

So given the situation that my feet are now soaking wet it became painful now and to make thing worse, comes a very new and scary feeling of CRAMPS! Honestly, this is the first time I experienced such tremendous and excruciating pain. It happened at around 23K. The pain is like a dog bite that attacks fast and then goes away. I heard some stories about these and once the pain kicks in again, there is a tendency that it won't go away, and will cause you to stop completely and be brought to the ambulance. I won't let that happen to me so starting this point, I am so careful about running, and I almost walked the remaining stretch of the road.

The foot was so painful I need to hold on to something to be able to walk faster. (Photo by: Riza Aquino)

Che-Anne, my pacer was so determined to push me to my limits that I was starting to get annoyed because of the pain I am experiencing. Still, I'm trying to keep myself calm as it helps me prevent the cramps from coming back. My foot started to soften and even walking has become a curse.

We walked almost the rest of the route and tried running the last 50 meters. Reaching the finishline was a breather! Finally the hardships was over. When the medal was handed to me, I put it in my neck and I was proud. Despite my lame time, I was able to finish.

The race analysis yield a very pleasing result compared to my previous runs in which I am always one of the last 100 finisher. Now, I am one of the last 500. I feel this is already a good achievement that the training was able to do for me.

I finished with an official time of 4:50:50 per chip time. 2094th place out of 2,600++ runners who took the same distance as I did. I can still walk even with the presence of blisters on my foot. Ofcourse I wouldn't dare miss socializing with my runner friends despite injuries. It is a must! ^_^

Some of my runner friends at the finishline, (Photo credits to RJ Knight Runner)

Completing all the puzzle pieces of this medal is more than just a collection to me. It's a three-piece of wonderful memories on the road. Each of them reminds me of a wonderful race, beautiful people and different kinds of pain & emotions. I discovered more of me and more importantly, each time I finish, I prove to myself that I CAN!

These won't be possible without the efforts of Runrio Inc. and mostly, Unilab Active Health. The accommodating race marshals, those who selflessly paced me despite my condition, the love I get from my teammates (Team Kamote Runners, Team Triabetics, TIP Running Club, STORM CHASERS: adiNation of Runners (aNR) | BHS Group) and the runners who take time to greet & encourage me is indeed a huge help. Also to my ever generous sponsors, ASICS, Soleus Philippines, MultiSport Philippines and mostly to Ampalaya Plus. To my family who's always been very supportive. Thank you very much is not enough to express how grateful I am for everything. I thank God for all of you. I am indeed very blessed!

Because of this, I am more confident that I can now take a Marathon journey. With all the love and support I am getting, there's no reason of stopping now! My sweet life will continue. On to the next level! ^_^

The one that kept me going to the finishline because I know he's waiting. Mommy & Ethan at Run United 3!

Good Vibes everyone and Sweet Running! ^_^

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My New Found Love!

When I was small I used to love going to resorts and beaches to enjoy the water though I never learned to swim. But things changed when I almost drowned when I was about 9 years old and I got over it as the years passed by. The most traumatic of all was when I experienced a life and death situation drowning incident five years ago in an open water at Morong, Bataan. 

Much like how I struggled to be seen by the lifeguards. (Image from

I was enjoying the shallow waters of the sea. I took a short dip in and suddenly the sand in which my foot was standing slipped away. I was in a state of panic, struggling to grasp breath above the water but I feel something below is pulling me down. I started having thoughts of my family, my son, my friends and the things I have. After a few minutes I felt I am already out of breath and my head is starting to feel light. Then my thoughts started to rewind my past to me. When I was about to pass out I felt an arm wrapped on my neck and started to pull me up, and the next thing I know I was at the seaside and people were all looking down at me. From then on I developed a fear of deep waters.

Much like the scenario after I gained consciousness. (Image from

Since then, I already admitted the fact that I can never learn to swim, and that it can never be my sport, and because of this, it will be impossible for me to do Triathlons. Well, all of this changed because my advocacy is demanding for it.

I said before that running is my sport and my passion. But running alone all the time will eventually take its toll on you. I consider running as a hardcore sport, it is very hard on the lower extremities, and for me it’s on my legs and calves. I’ve been suffering from loose knee caps and painful calves muscles for quite some time now and I think I need a break from running to let it heal.

The first time I set my foot at Philsports Arena (Ultra) Pool, I was a bit scared. The pool is 50m x 20m in size, it has 10 lanes separated by line floats,  around 4 feet – 8 feet deep as you go further, it is located outdoors  so it doesn’t have roofing above it, they do not have water heaters to regulate the pool water temperature so the feel depends on the weather.

The shower area is huge and they have one room for 2 toilet cubicles and a counter w/ mirror. The pool is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 8:00AM to 4:30PM. Mostly the pool is crowded in the mornings especially on weekends. They also close the pool when there are competitions coming like IronMan Kids where the pool will be used in the said competition. Pool entrance costs Php60.
Under the supervision of Coach Norman Pascual, the official Triathlon Coach of our team, Team Triabetics, I was able to start on swimming. It was fun because I have classmates that train with me. He was so patient and so eager to teach that is why I am motivated. Just recently, he told me that I can already swim. It was a great achievement for me!

It was not easy. Since our training sessions are held every Tuesdays and Thurdays, 3 in the afternoon and that same time is my time out from work, I need to take a cab and get to the venue as fast as I can so I can have more swim training time. I know it’s kinda costly but because of my perseverance I gained more than what I intend to lose.

I wish I looked like her when I swim. (Image from

I can say that I started falling in love with swimming the first time I did a smooth back and forth swim in the pool. When I swim smoothly I felt a certain calmness in me. The world started to become soundless. It’s like I am entering a different world when my vision started to change from bright to blue. When I start to kick my feet and move my arms, I feel peace inside me. Floating in the water feels like flying, and I love the feeling of freedom it gives me. With every grasp of breath I take is like getting into transition from the real world to the world of my own. It’s magical! Everything is just so Zen!

Swimming, like any other sport is also tedious as you go on, especially on the legs. I find myself catching my breath everytime I lose the correct swim form. Until now I still have difficulty breathing but it will improve as you train.

Checking my blood sugar after incorporating this training for two months now yield a very pleasing result. From RBS 2 hours postprandial in 500mg of Metformin HCl and Ampalaya Plus Capsule without any insulin dosage result of 280+mg/dL, I made it down to 103mg/dL! It is so unexpected and it’s more than what I’m asking for.

Fear is really just a state of mind, and it is also a carnivore that can eat you whole if you let it. Conquering a fear is such a great feeling. It was just unexplainable! Being able to do what you thought was impossible is already a great achievement, and in this fight against my sworn enemy, it’s a winning streak. I won in this round, but the fight has only just begun.

Yes, I have a new found love in swimming! an addition to my true love, which is running. This is a kind of love that you can have both at the same time, you can be polygamous in doing different sports.

Try to find a new love to give a new excitement in your trainings. I hope you find yours soon!

Good Vibes everyone and Sweet Running! ^_^