The Hindered Training

Ash! That particle surprisingly has been hindering my half marathon training since last friday. For you who may not know just google with keywords “kelud” and “eruption” and you will get many information, breaking news about it and its latest update including in the affected city like Yogyakarta, place where I live now.

In the end of 2013, Ogi and I decided to sign up our second half marathon race in 2014. The choice falls in to 2XU Run in Singapore. It will be held on early March 2014. We thought 2 months preparation would be enough considering long run exercise that we already did regularly every weekend.  The peak of my training should have been on 16 February or two weeks before the race.  Unfortunately, two days before it….bump…the mount Kelud in East Java erupted and spewed tons of materials in to the air. And Yogya, situated more than 130 miles away from it, is heavily affected. The ash, carried away by wind to the west, reached Yogya and its surrounding on 2 A.M. The ash rain kept continuing until 4 hours later. Yogya became desert-like. White and gray everywhere. The thickness of ash reaches 2-5 cm. The sight distance averagely not exceeded 2 meters. It’s impossible to go our without mask and glasses.

And now, as I am writing this post, it has been six days of dessert-like situation in Yogya. The official information issued by authority says the quality of the air is still bad. It means that I can’t run outdoor and now clueless when I can start resuming my running exercise. Meanwhile, as a substitute and also for fitness-sake, I do strength training and circuit training at home.

Next week I will enter tapering week. I look forward to running outdoor again so let’s hope the situation will get better *finger-crossed* . Will get you updated again. Ciao

Running My First Half Marathon

As I promised to my self earlier this year, finally I ran half marathon in June 2013.  Series and weeks of training paid off. I finished strong and I had so many fun and fabulous experience as it was my first half marathon race and it was in Bali, Baby!!

Two weeks before the race, I was down with nasty flu. Thank God it was when I entered tapering mode. So, while in recovery, I only did some minor exercises. I slowed down the pace and shaved the distance. I felt mentally and physically prepared. What I was worried about were the heat because of the sun exposure and ascending track. Yet, I was very ecstatic about my first half marathon run.

On Saturday morning, one day before race, I went to Bali with my husband who also ran half marathon in Bali Marathon. Cena, our son, stayed in Jogja with my in-laws. Some fellow runners from Indo Runners Yogya also participated in this event. There were ten of all!! Arriving in Denpasar, we were picked up by Tito, my fellow runner who now resides in Bali. We’re bound to hotel and checked in. As the rooms were not ready yet, we couldn’t get in to the room immediately. We’re told the room would be ready at 2 P.M.  For killing the time until 2 PM, we went ahead to Bali Beach Walk, where by coincidence I met my colleague mate in Gadjah Mada. Fortunately, the race packs were already collected one day before by my friends who arrived at Bali earlier so we didn’t have to rush on that day.

As we had to wake very early in the race day, what we needed is hitting the sheet earlier. I tried to make my self exhausted in the afternoon. After beach walk, back to hotel for check in, we went to Warong Miyabi in Kuta area to attend carbo loading with fellow runners from other city. It was arranged by Bang Francis, who was very kind inviting all members of Indo Runners from Jakarta, Bandung, Yogya, Surabaya, and Makassar. In the event I could finally meet fellow runners whom previously I met virtually. Happy!!

Back to hotel, I prepared clothes, hats, shoes and some equipments for the race. On 9 PM I thought I was already asleep and woken up by alarm on 1:30 AM. I woke up my husband and arranged everything for me and him. Tito picked up all of us at hotel at 2:30 AM and we’re directly bound to the pick up point at Water Boom. We departed to the race venue by bus. I slept along the trip to the venue and arrived there at 4 AM. Having arrived there, we saw many participants were already gathering. From my first impression, the race was well organized. The committee provided toilets and prayer tent. The signs were clear. All was neat and organized.

On 5 AM sharp the full marathon category was started. There were about 500 participants ran full marathon. As for half marathon, we started running 30 minutes later. The sky was still dark, yet the atmosphere was very lively. I never ran in race as big as Bali Marathon where more than thousands runners joined. Five minutes before 5:30 AM, the MC urged us to be ready. All of us yelled with a very loud “YEAH” when the MC cried “Runners, are your ready?”. Fantastic! Then we ran on 5:30 sharp!!

On the first five KM, the track was ascending slightly. I paced my speed on 7 minutes for every kilometer. I hold my impulse to run faster than my usual pace in order to finish strongly on the finish line. I had to keep my energy and use it effectively. Entering six kilometer, the path turned back to the north and as I anticipated the ascend was hard. The hill was quite steep and what made it hard actually the fact that it was just a start and we had to run on that hill! It turned out that the ascend was still there. The track kept up and up. That was really a battle for me! 45 minutes passed from the start, I needed to refuel my energy with the gel. However, I could not meet water station until 10 K. I passed the first water station before 5 K. Nearing the second water station, I slowed down and took the gel, tore it apart, slowly drank it and
rinsed it with the water I got from the station.

Passing half of the race, I was refueled not only by the gel and water but also with the cheer guards along the race. Children and people gathered on the side of track cheering and hand clapping for us. They yelled and supported us. Some children raised their hand and we tossed all of them. What an energy booster and I could keep my pace on 7 constantly until passing ten kilometers.

Unexpectedly but thankfully that the weather was very friendly. It was not hazy. The sun hid behind clouds, the wind breezed cool. And as we ran In Bali, the extra bonus was the beautiful scenery. I stopped and took some photos along the race. Then, I encountered water station again on 15 K and drank plain water instead of isotonic drink. Bad luck for me after taking water, the side stitch started to develop in my right stomach. I had to slow down otherwise it would hurt harder. To avoid worse side stitch, I didn’t stop and drink on the next water station. Besides, I still felt fit to run another kilos before finish.

Entering the last kilometers, the track was descending. The effort running on at least eight killing uphills paid off. We got reward on the last kilos. Yeayy!! I ran with a woman, whom I forgot her name and intended as a pacer for me. That was also her first half marathon. However, she could not keep the pace and ran behind me. Then, I met Yomy, my fellow runner from Indo Runners Jakarta. I pushed my self so hard so I could be as close as to him. I kept watching my wrist watch, expecting to fullfil my target finishing the race on two and half hours. After running 2 hours and 35 minutes, finally I could step on the finish line. On average, I ran with pace 7:24 per kilo. Satisfying!!

After completing the race was my legs felt like jell-o. I was exhausted but very happy. On the finish line, I met another fellow runners who finished earlier than me. I waited for my husband and brought him an isotonic drink. He was able to finish some minutes behind me. I was bloody proud of him. Although he was lacked of training, he could defeat the race.

After all of inevitable pains, do we want to run again? Another half marathon or even full marathon? We believe that we will not stop there and anticipate to participate another race. What we ran in Bali Marathon was a great lapse for both of us as it was unimaginable some years ago. And the medals we got are symbol of legacy to our children. We want them inherit sportiveness and competitiveness. And one thing that is ultimate is believing that nothing is impossible. Thing that imaginable is surely reachable. What we did is the proof and we want to run and push the limits!



Wake Up and Run

Wake up and run! Wake up and run!

That spell I always repeat at the dawn, when sun hasn’t risen, when body is still glued to bed hard. Running has become my routine since last year. I find it very easy to do, effective fat burner and excellent cardio exercise. This year, related to my running activity, I set a goal. Instead of just running and running as a routine, I like to achieve a goal. This year, I plan to run half-marathon.

Yeah…as much as people think that it sounds so ambitious for a casual runner like me, firstly I doubted myself doing this. Can I?? Last year I ran 5 miles in my first race. Afterwards, I continued running in long distance. As for this goal, as long as I imagine it, then I can reach it. I am very sure that it is doable. That is why I perceive that I will be able to run 21 KM in 2013.

To support my ‘ambition’, I discuss with runner colleagues from The Urban Mama My friend, Thalia, shared her 21K exercise plan in running thread at The Urban Mama forum. For you who are interested planning the exercise, you can learn in here. Even tough I haven’t made any exercise (I intended to but laziness failed me), I run regularly 3-4 times in a week. In the weekend, I do long run as race simulation. The simulation is important to make us accustomed to race situation.

I did my first long run 24th November 2012. I ran for 10 KM non stop. The pace I made was 7.46″/KM. Every week I managed to increase either the pace or the distance. Once I ran similar distance like previous week, then I tried to increase my pace. The pace would be set slower when I accelerated my distance. A week after my first long run, I ran for another 10K in three  weekends consecutively. As planned, I successfully increased  my pace to 7.43″/KM,  7.21″/KM and 7.13″/KM. I could see the obvious progress every weekend and it made me satisfied. Yippiee…

After running 10 KM every weekend and achieved a quite satisfying pace, I added 2 km for my running distance. On 30 December 2012 and 6 January 2013, I ran 12 KM. The pace was 7.29″/KM and 7.16″/KM. The reasonable distance that we can increase every week is 30% of previous one. So after running 12 KM, I thought running 14 KM in the week after that was more than okay. Then, I ran 14 KM after the 12K session with pace 7.25″/KM. Not bad at all!! In the two weekends after running 14K, I went to 15K. My first 15K session was completed with pace of 7:30 and the second one (the last one before 3 weeks off) was achieved with 7.17″/KM.

The progress I achieved within 3 months was satisfying for me. I do believe with constant training, I can increase my pace and further my distance.  In June, I manage to attend Bali Marathon where I will run, firstly, half-marathon. And now, I should take a rest for three weeks for holiday. I wish and hope that I can resume my running smoothly and able to spell the “mantra Wake Up and Run, Wake Up and Run” .Wish me luck!!

What I Think about Running

I did my first running race! Yeayy…on 16th December, I participated in Alam Sutera Running Race. I joined the 5 miles race or 8 point something K race. Never in my life had I dreamed or imagined participating in running race. Once, I used to run in what I thought considerable distance which was more or less 5 KM. I did it when I joined Badminton Club at junior high school. Yeah and it was 18 years ago:)).

And now I am a mother of a child and I once assumed that I barely had enough time to do sport. I joined aerobic and yoga club when I was at my old office. After my resignation, the list of exercises were around going to club  for running on treadmill or static bicycle and swimming. Running in outdoor was something I rarely did. Usually I only ran on weekend, either saturday or sunday. That’s when the street was sane, no traffic, so we could go to city park to get some fresh air and supporting condition for running.

The thing changed when we moved to Jogja. The situation around our neighborhood is running-friendly.! Dont imagine of shady trees or large pavement or even city park. Here in Jogja, I run in street. Somehow, when I run early in the morning, the traffic is not crowded, I still get fresh air and not-so-large rice fields a bonus.

Then the question pops us. Why I run? The answer is brief and clear. I want to stay healthy. Okay to be honest, at the first time I wanted to shed some pound I gained once moving to Jogja. I guess because the life here in Jogja is so peaceful, I easily gain weight. But then, I realize that what I should aim at is healthy life style. I want to stay healthy, fit and powerful once I age. Then the choice fell to running. Why? because it is easy and I can do it anytime anywhere. What I really need is a pair of shoes.

I started running for only 2 KM in pace around 8 minutes. It was not easy yet I was satisfied that I could conquer my will to stop in my running. I commit that I have to reach my set goal. Every time I want to run, I always set the distance I am going to achieve. Slowly but sure, I improved the distance as well as my pace. In July 2012, I initiated indo runners community in Jogja. At least, I have my fellow runners in Jogja and we run together once in a week.

Two years ago, I read an article of celebrity who was used to run several times in a week and she did at least 5K. I wondered how could she did it. How could she have such endurance. And I thought it was such craziness as she considered running as me time. Now, I know how she felt. Running for me now is kinda habitual. It is something that I do because I need it. It’s just like food that I eat or sleep that I take. I find no reason why I stop running. And going to a race is my personal achievements despite a very slim chance of winning the race. As for me, the victory is when I could grip my determination for running and beating myself.

Just like what I had in my first running race. I was very satisfied with the result. Three weeks prior the race, I exercised long running every weekend. I ran 10K every Saturday as race preparation. My personal best time for 10 K was in pace 7.20 minutes. In my first race, I could achieve 7.03 minute pace. I ran happily and excited as well. I felt my heartbeat pumped fast within my first kilometer. I left behind some fellow runners from Urban Mama, with whom I shared same start.  I must have followed participants with pace of 6 because for the six kilometers I was constantly in pace of 6. My speed slowed in kilometer 7 and 8 to only 7 minutes. About 50 meters before finish line, I sprinted competing with two other runners. Finally I could accomplish my mission and finished strongly. And now I keep running and running. As Mbak Pipin, my fellow runner, says: run happily and you’ll want more.


New York Marathon

Another reason to go to New York is New York Marathon. May Universe hear the wish I whisper that someday I am going to make it. To visit the city that never sleeps (as Sinatra said) to enjoy the lights and run along 42 KM in New York.

Photo taken from here: