Archive for the 'Marathon' Category

My NYC Marathon Story: Pink Sole Part 1


Getting there…

Up and about early, Jun and I as well as Rio put on our prepared running gears, had breakfast of coffee and bagel and boarded the car going to Staten Island.  We feel really blessed and grateful our family took us by car and we didn’t have to stress about how we were going to the starting line.  We were greeted with an early traffic at the freeway.  It was still early so there really was no reason to panic.  Almost all of the cars have  marathoners in them and somehow it assured us that we were all in this together.

Anyway, we stopped near the drop-off point.  It was still early and we had time for some photo-ops.

The Solemates with Coach Rio at drop-off point; Verrazano-Narrows  Bridge in the background

Soon it was time for Rio, who is running in the first wave, to go.  We wished him well and bid him Godspeed.   Soon enough, it was our turn to go.

The Solemates at the Staten Island drop-off point just before proceeding to the holding areas.

The Gear

Whew, it was coowwoold!!!  The cold wind was penetrating my layers and layers of clothing!  I felt so heavy starting the race.  Here’s why…  a list of my race day gear:


1. Tank top

2. Long-sleeved thermal running shirt

3.  Thin jacket

4.  Thick Fleece Jacket (throw-away)

5.  Thick Sports Jacket (throw-away)


1.  Compression tights

2.  Thick jogging pants


1. shades

2.  ear warmers

3. beanie (for throw-away)

4.  cap


1.  Nike Lunar Glide+ (pink and gray)

2. socks


1.  gloves # 1

2. glove # 2 (for throw-away)

At the starting line…

Feeling like the native lumpia with all the layers I was wearing, I was still unbelievably cold while Jun and I walked on the closed part of the Staten Island Highway towards the entrance holding areas.  The cold wind was biting into my face, lips  and legs.  BRRRRR  I wanted to start running to beat the cold.

As we turned the bend towards Fort Wadsworth  to the runners’ entrance, the temperature started to become bearable with the combined human heat of runners walking side by side.  I could now walk without my teeth chattering.  Before long, we had to part ways to go to our separate holding areas.  I was assigned to the Green Zone with gunstart  at 10:10am while jun to the orange wave starting also at the same time.  I am so used to Jun giving me instructions where to go when we run in local races that I leave it up to him to make sure we get to the starting line on time. 🙂  This time I had to do it on my own.  Darn, why did they have to assign us in separate areas when we submitted similar estimated finish times?  Anyway, I found my way to the Green Wave and successfully deposited my bag to my assigned trailer.  It was around 10am and plenty of time to spare,  I walked around got myself a cup of coffee to help warm me up a bit more.  Soon it was time for my last portalet break and soon after, an announcement was heard for runners in the  green zone to go to the starting line.

Where is that exactly?  Couldn’t hear, didn’t hear.  I just went with the flow of people moving out while keeping my eyes open for directional signs along the way.   Had a little scare there when I didn’t see my corral right away. After a little confusion due to a wrong direction given me, i found it.   I barely made it in as the corral was closed just a few minutes after i went in.  I was at the end pack, my back against the wire fence.  There was barely any room for stretching which I wanted very much to do.  I made some attempts  but couldn’t do the hamstring stretch i knew i needed to do.  There just wasn’t enough space for that anymore.

Finally, Gunstart…

Mile 1-10

Race start was announced and we saw and cheered the first wave of runners crossing the Verrazano-Narrows  Bridge.  It was awesome! The place was really charged with excited runners waiting for their turn to run that bridge.

What a sight! Marathoners crossing the awesome Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Then our wave’s final call was announced and everyone seemed to take off their jackets and sweat pants.  The idea never even occurred to me.  I was hell bent on keeping all my layers until I cross the bridge.

Then, i realized a misstep… All the excitement made me forget to set my watch and foot-pod!  Tried but it was too late.  My watch was scanning and picking up signals from multiple devices and it was  impossible to match my watch with my foot-pod.  I abandoned the task and just concentrated on willing my legs and body to warm-up.  That was the first and last time I  looked at my Garmin.

Crossing Windy Verrazano-Narrows Bridge…

A close-up of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridges two levels.

I was excited crossing this bridge.  It felt surreal!  I felt real heavy, too! HAHAHA

What I heard was right after all.  That this bridge is where we’d feel most cold running on so, I was really glad I stuck to my plan and didn’t discard my outer jackets yet.  All those stuff weighed and slowed me down definitely but I couldn’t care less.  My focus was to make sure I am warm enough.  Objective achieved!  Going down the bridge, I felt heated enough to shed my 2 outer jackets and my sweat pants one after the other. I still had my thin white jacket on which I would zip up and down as necessary.

Have Fun Girl!

As I left the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge running on the wide highway,  people on the bridgewalks would call out. ” Go Girl!  Have Fun Girl”  I intend to do JUST that!  The crowd was still sparse but very encouraging.  It was just a preview of the grand welcome awaiting us as we ran off the highway and onto the friendly streets of Fort Hamilton Parkway.  Offers of  water, tissue, candy with friendly cheers greeted us.  It  seemed like the whole community was out in the streets.   Even babies were out in the cold all swaddled on their strollers  participating in this amazingly friendly and festive race!  Well… this girl here was definitely having fun!

I was taking in all the wonderful sights and sounds of the race making sure i remember every happy detail  – the crowd’s clapping and cheerful greetings,  the runners’ chatter.  I was running at a comfortable pace, taking time to return greetings and acknowledging cheers.  I wanted to record everything on video, too.  So, i would turn on the flip from time to time.

The Fall…

Then the unthinkable happened at Mile 8… I was recording… The flip on my right hand raised high to capture a video of the stream of runners in front and behind me.  Then… video captures the surface of the road.  WAHAHA I fell on all fours!!!  Slightly landing on my left and slowly sliding on the rough surface.  A good samaritan black woman runner helped me up.  I was just glad i didn’t cause people to topple over me or I would have felt so guilty.  I quickly dusted myself off, checked if my compression tights had a hole that would indicate a wounded knee but there was none.  Relieved, I continued running  tucking the flip back into its case determined to keep my spirits up.  Afterall,  no real harm done — just a slightly bruised left knee and slightly bruised ego.  Honestly, it was more funny than embarrassing to me.  HAHAHA Couldn’t help but laugh at myself!

Let the fun continue…

Next:  Part 2


NYC Marathon 2010: Final Race Prep

Long overdue, I know!!!  But, it’s never too late to continue our journal of our most exciting race by far — The  ING NYC Marathon 2010.  It was way, way, over the top.  The entire experience was just amazing!

Race Night Prep

As planned, Jun’s brother Vic and his son (our nephew/godchild) Juan, drove us the entire marathon route the day before the race.  The streets were already peppered with orange marathon banners and the road already painted with a blue line.  The leisurely drive took more than two hours.  The route seemed really long riding the car.  Ooooh, bad for the psyche, ey? Then Juan, our nephew who seemed to be worried whispered, “Ang layo Tita (“It’s so far”) I momentarily wondered if I will really be running this route the next day…   “Of course, you are, silly!”  HAHAHA No room for doubts!!!

Queens' streets already lined with blue paint for the marathon route

Manhattan, already lined with orange marathon banners


After the route drive, we picked Rio from his hotel and had our very late but excellent lunch at a New Jersey Filipino Bistro.  Then, we headed home (home there was my sister Cris’ NJ house) to prepare our race paraphernalia as our family watched.  The night turned hilarious as we tried to internalize and posed for our mug shots.

As we prepare our gear, our family was preparing, too.

blackberry app allowed our family to track us


Everyone was in marathon mode now.  WOOHOO!  Now time for some sleep…


Next:  Marathon Day

NYC Marathon Week: At the Expo

Claiming Our Race Kits:

It was Nov. 4, Thursday, the first of three days for race pack redemption.  We set off to Javits Convention Center in the morning eager to lay claim to our race pack and our loot.  There was a fiesta atmosphere and the place was packed.  With the convention center full of eager runners, you’d think we’ll take some time to finish.  The redemption was so efficient we didn’t even have to queue.  We were done in 15 minutes tops from race kit claiming, to D-tag check to claiming of goodie bags. It was an organized chaos.  You can see excited faces and hear excited voices in different languages.  The world sure is converging and preparing to run in New York!

Runners of different cultures and nationalities aptly welcomed. Maybe someday, we'll see "Mabuhay!" there. 😉

A huge crowd gathered on the first day of race pack redemption. The runners were a happy bunch!

Happy I didn't have to line-up for my race bib. 🙂

Jun claiming his race bib.

Our entry passes to the marathon finally claimed!


Posed below the Marathon Store entrance while waiting for Jun only to find out later he was already inside! I guess you know who's more excited to shop here.

So many choices... so little funds! haha How I wish I could take them all home!

The one that first caught my eye won me over!


Would love to wear something like this someday. Maybe on our 25th, hon?


The Sole Mates with Dra. Lora, a TBR Dream mistah who's into her 3rd marathon.

Our NYC mara journal wouldn't be complete without good friend Jay Nacino who jump-started this dream.

me, JC Manas, Jun, J Cu Unjieng and Ting Joson

With training buddies, Miguel & Jaymie Pizarro (The Bull Runner) with their kids Nia & Anton and TBR Dream mistahs Deo & Mayda Custodio.

It was such a fun day.  Our eyes feasted on a lot of running gears and paraphernalia.  It was 2pm when we finally realized we were hungry.  So, it was time our lips feasted on some good ol’ American burgers!  On to our favorite NYC burger joint — Five Guys!

Next:  Our NYC Marathon experience.

NYC Marathon Week: Running with Ryan Hall and Bart Yasso

Our first few days in New York were packed with sight-seeing, shopping and spending happy moments with my family. I nearly forgot that we should have an easy run to get our muscles working and get the feel of running in a cold day. So the pink sole and I went out on cold 5ºc windy day and ran 6k around Northvale. It was exciting to run in a new route in very cold weather. But I know my day will get even more exciting.

Dressed in 2XU compression tights, 3 layers top (tank , long-sleeved dry-fit shirt and a jacket) with a cap over a thick beanie, gloves and my pink and gray lunar glides, we set out for a quick 6k run — a dress rehearsal.  The first kilometer was a BRRRRR (HAHAHA).  I was cold to death.  I wanted to run faster so I can already heat up but my legs felt cold and stiff.  We reached Northvale Park and ran rounds.  I tuned in to what I was feeling the whole run mindful of how I will adjust my gear at race day.  My face felt very cold and my eyes hurt and became watery because of the wind.  I never wore shades while running but noted I might have to this time.  After 3 kms, I felt hot enough to open my jacket wide and  removed my beanie.  The breeze would still make my ears very cold when I was just wearing my cap.   One thing that felt cold the whole time was my lower back and my thighs.  I don’t know why but I definite took note of that.  My coughs and colds seemed to be tamed at that point.  While my nose wanted to out-pace my running, my coughs didn’t give me any problems at all.  It was when we got home and stopped running that the coughs came and boy, how they did!  I swear I was coughing incessantly in the bathroom for around 15 minutes.  Jun and my sister got concerned and would knock to check if i was okay.  Even I got a little scared at one point as my eyes were already all watered and red and the coughs wouldn’t stop.  Huh, those 15minutes were a lot more tiring than our 50-minute run.

test run in Northvale 3 days before marathon day

The test run was a success!  It made me throw all my gear out the window EXCEPT of course my fave Nike Lunar Glides and jacket. HAHAHA  Gotta go back to Nike Town!  Yey!!!

Running with Ryan Hall and Bart Yasso

We went to the city after lunch and went around 5th avenue before proceeding to my next short run that day. I had the privilege of running with Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall and running legend Bart Yasso at the Run by Foot Locker Store. I submitted my entry a day after arriving in NY and got accepted the next day. Isn’t that amazing?

So by 5:30pm, I went to 34th E 14th street where RUN by footlocker shop is located. Mariel opted not to join me and do more shopping instead, hah! As soon as I arrive in the store, I registered and got a beautiful running tee from Footlocker, another long sleeve shirt from Nissan, a Runner’s World and Marathon Magazine. Few minutes after, Ryan Hall and Bart Yasso arrived, the organizer discussed the run and the route. And so, 30+ plus runners went off for an easy 5 mile run. Of course our easy is like walking for Ryan and Bart. Running while chatting with each runner and of course taking pictures with them. It was such an amazing experience. After the run, all of us got to have our magazines signed and of course the experience wouldn’t be complete without our pictures taken with Ryan Hall and Bart Yasso.

With the privileged few. I think I was the only Filipino there!

Hoping to get some energy for the marathon from the two if I stayed close. 🙂

Mr. Yasso, I only did 6x800 during my training. Do you think that will be enough for me to finish on Sunday? 🙂

With Olympic Marathoner Ryan Hall

With the legendary Bart Yasso

So much excitement for one day.  The next day brings more…

Next:  Claiming our Race Kits at the Expo

All Systems Go for NYC

Only a week before ING NYC Marathon 2010 and we’re about to go to get acclimatized.  What an exciting time for us… our first trip to  the US of A, running the biggest marathon in the world!

Long runs all done.  Taper mode for me pushed to the limit with very little mileage due to colds and coughs.

I know, i know, what a bad time to get sick.  I’m taking all the necessary steps to come out of this — 2 days off from work, mega dose of vitamin C, colds and cough medication, antibiotics, water, pineapple juice, chicken soup, etc.

Family in NYC say weather forecast for the next week, all throughout marathon week,  is very cold… BRRRRR….  I hope to be well enough to battle the cold on marathon day.  I am hoping the marathon spirit and the earlier training will pull me through this.  I am hoping to do better than 5:22 during my first mara at  TBR Dream Marathon but then again this is a tougher course.  I’ll be happy with just enjoying what might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.  Praying all systems will really be a GO come Nov 7th.  Lord, HELP!

One thing for sure though… can’t wait to have a fabulous time in New York, New York!!! 🙂

Can’t believe it’s almost here— my dream marathon, the ING NYC Marathon 2010.  Preparations have been quite rushed on booking flight schedules, coordinating with family, researching and preparing clothes and gears for cold-weather running and going around.

Our marathon will be sandwiched with lots of sight-seeing and not too much shopping for the pink sole, i hope,  We really got to make sure we   squeeze in a couple of short runs in between.

Truly praying for a great NYC marathon experience for us both.  What a great privilege… God be with us…

NYC Marathon: A Great Gift

After months of uncertainty, we can finally rejoice “We’re definitely in!”

Oh, the things we had to hurdle to get here…

I have Jun to thank for for giving in to good friend Jay’s (Prometheus Cometh) prodding to join the lottery for the ING NYC Marathon in first quarter of this year.  I thank him now but I was incredulous when I found out in April that he enlisted the both of us without my knowledge! Then amazement followed that not one but both of us were picked! I mean, I don’t think we’d even consider going if only one was awarded a slot.

I really didn’t take it seriously at first.  How can I when I was still in the thick of training for my first full marathon at The Bull Runner Dream Marathon scheduled barely one month after we received confirmation of our official entry.  We let the months pass with me not really taking this seriously.  It was months later when it became apparent that the blue sole was really getting serious about going.  However, I couldn’t see how I can go.  I was in a crossroad in my career and I was on a look-out for a new job.   How can I go on a vacation leave if I am starting a new job?

The blue sole and I had a heart-to-heart talk and agreed that we would pray hard about it and let God work in our situation.  Meantime,  we agreed to do our part —  I’ll continue my job-hunting and  we will both train for the marathon anyway.  Hoping that when God says YES to our plans, we are both prepared to go and tackle the marathon of our lives!

So, train we did trying to keep our focus even when there are just a lot of things that need to be worked-out.  There were indeed low moments when Mariel would not be training consistently feeling she wouldn’t be able to go anyway.  Somehow, we are able to pick things up, trying our best to be positive amidst the uncertainty.  Then, things began to go our way.  Good things just began to happen one after the other.  I joined the Runrio team.   Mariel found a new job she’s really excited about.  Not only that.  She found a new employer so understanding and supportive of her NYC Marathon dream that she was even granted 2-week vacation leave short of a month after starting work as part of the negotiated package!  Also, we are almost at the peak now of our training with the Pink Sole  having completed her 30k  and me my 32k last Sunday.  It was a serious but enjoyable run with running friends  Miguel and Jaymie (TBR).  Mariel and I  rejoiced with a BIG question mark still in our minds though — Will we be granted a US visa?

Oct 7, Thursday,  came and we arrived at the US embassy an hour early for our 7:30am schedule.  We breezed through the process.  We didn’t expect it to be that fast.  By 8:30am, when our friends Jaymie and Aljo were just texting us their Goodluck wishes, we have already been granted our US visas and on our way to our breakfast celebrations! YAHOOOOO!

It was just amazing how everything fell into place.  I guess, it was meant to be.


What a great gift this is today, our 17th wedding anniversary! THANK YOU LORD!!!

Celebrating My First Marathon (Sweet Dreams are Made of These)

Yes, it’s just not the race route providing pleasant and challenging surprises.  My family sprang a couple of them as well!  First, their surprise presence at the finish line which really overwhelmed me…

Here’s a picture story chronicling the time my family arrived at the race scene to surprise me to tears and the ensuing celebration that made my first marathon all the more memorable.

In Solenad, Nuvali…


5:30am.. i've been at it for 3 1/2 hours...

the finish line awaits ...

the matador waiting for the charging bulls...

sofie waits for mommy, my sister jen looking out for my grand entrance ;)...

mom and dad can hardly wait...

while Winter, the family cat, wait it out in the car...

.. a tired doggie wonders what all the fuss was about…

then, first runner checks in (congrats benny!) ...

Mikka asks: "is mommy near"

here, here.. just around the bend...

hey there's mom and dad!!!

come on mom, run!!!

Go Mom Go!


bliss at the finish!!!

marathoner at last!

surprise, surprise!!!

hahaha truly surprised!!!

Can't contain the laughter, can't contain the smiles. Nice one mom & dad! 🙂

mikka, did mommy do a good job? 😉

precious pic with my family (thanks for this copy Ben & Jaymie!)

After letting go of emotions in seeing my family at the finish line, it was time for some happy celebrations with fellow dream marathoners, dream pacers, well-wishers and whoever… hahaha   I’d celebrate with anyone and everyone!!!

with Dr. Lora (2nd-time marathoner) who i briefly ran with in K15 ...

and Joy, a new friend made along the way... (thanks for this photo, joy & hubby)

yvette made sure i got a cup of water plus a cheer at K3 & K23

then there's team second wind, hector & mikey who provided amazing support at K39...

and Coach Rio who dished-out a big cheer for me at K34...

of course there was Iya and Drew who provided glam and fun...

and coach rio who provided... rhum? (haha couldn't find a rhyme)...

before he hammed it up with tessa and with drew on hand...

my prize --42k medal. Anyone interested gran per gram? haha

Well done, well done! Now it's time for some serious fun!

I thought that was it.  It was more than enough BUT the surprise is not over. In fact, it has just began..

Pink Sole:  Where are we having lunch?  Mom & Dad said they’ll go wherever we go.

Blue Sole :  Tagaytay.

Pink Sole : “Really? Nice!”

Blue Sole : “Overnight tayo.”

Pink Sole :  “Huh, talaga? But… I’ve no clothes.  You packed for me?”

Blue Sole :  “Siyempre, eh kami pa!”

Pink Sole :  ” Wow, saya! Galing-galing! Thanks! Mmmmwaaah!  Aloveet! Aloooveeeet!

So off to the mountains we went for some overnight family fun…

There was peace and  quiet moments …

… but  lots of clowning around, too!

These are the stuff that fill my heart with love and laughter …

Sweet dreams are made of these!

"the jump"

me and my solemate

What a weekend that has been.  Forever it will be… etched  in my heart…  colorfully painted in my mind.

This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will be glad and rejoice in it.

Dream BIG.  Run STRONG.

See you still  in the more exciting, much bigger and a lot longer marathon called LIFE.  🙂

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