Total Fitness: Run Away From Common Running Injuries

Run to look good BUT don't forget to look good while running.

NOTE: Published in TOTAL FITNESS May issue. Grab a copy TODAY!

Running injuries are fairly common to both beginners and those who have been pounding endless stretches of the road for a long while.  Most common running injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), shinsplints, or runner’s knee are usually caused by trigger factors namely overtraining, improper shoes, or a biomechanical flaw in body structure and motion.

But don’t let these injuries discourage you because the good news is, they can actually be prevented! Here’s how you can keep yourself injury-free on the road:

  • Most runners become obsessed with gunning for PR or personal record for each race and to achieve this, they tend to over-train. Too much intensity, too many miles, too soon – these are sure-fire ways of getting yourself injured. Your running coach would tell you that it is very crucial to go easy when adding mileage or intensity to your training. You shouldn’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% each week. You can still push your limits, but you’ll have to take a gradual and patient approach. Build up slowly, save yourself pain and frustration, and you’ll be amazed at how beautifully you can reach your goals. Be smart in your training.
  • Choose the right pair of running shoes. Treat your feet right by first making sure that you have the right model and make for your feet and running style. Running on the wrong shoe will only aggravate existing problems and pain. Wearing shoes that have lost their cushioning may also lead to injury. Go to a specialty running shop for gait analysis and let the knowledgeable salespeople evaluate your running style and foot type. When they determine whether you’re an overpronator, underpronator, or neutral runner, they’ll make shoe recommendations for you. To ensure that you are not running on worn out shoes, make sure to replace them every 350-500 miles. If you have a biomechanical problem with your feet, you may also look into getting fitted for heel lifts or orthotics.

Because I’m Fit and Flexible Like That

These days, I am — wait, am I allowed to be crass and wee bit disgusting here? *lip biting* — shitting bricks and boulders, figuratively that is, because of work deadlines and our upcoming MAJOR MAJOR event in Malaysia, 15 days from now to be exact. Though we have everything pretty much under control (do we, really? *big grin*), it’s still somewhat stressful dealing with little irritants that crop up at the last minute. But hey, we’re one tough cookie and it’ll take a lot more than the small things to get us completely off-track. Yes naman.

Oh so, anyway, given the crazy-ass work schedule that we keep these days (and I don’t see the trend easing up a bit until after June, maybe) I have become more obsessed with getting fit. Almost to the point of running myself down to the ground. I officially wrapped-up INSANITY last Friday buuuuut instead of taking a week off to recover from the madness, I sprinted my way to a podium finish at the Fuego Sunset Run the day after (Saturday last week) and immediately embarked on INSANITY Round 2 just this Monday – posting incredible results in my Fit Test!

Insanity Round 1, Day 58

                                        Round 1         Round 2

Date                               5-Mar               9-May

Move                            Fit Test 1          Fit Test 1

Switch Kicks              70                      136

Power Jacks              25                      60

Power Knees             80                      95

Power Jumps            10                      60

Globe Jumps                9                      13

Suicide Jumps          10                     20

Push-Up Jacks          15                     40

Low Plank Oblique  30                    74

To say that I am mighty pleased with the results of my workout is putting it mildly. I AM STOKED!  But now, I’m starting to get bored again so the offer to take basic diving lessons could not have come at a better time. Yes, my sweethearts, I AM GOING DIVING!  Never mind that I don’t know how to swim. Which, by the way, is giving me the chills but I’m sure I will be just fine. The diving instructor is there, as well as, a handful of other students. And if something does happen – knock on wood! – I’m sure one of them would jump right in and save me. Right? Please say yes. YES!

So, diving it is.

But, running is still my thing and thanks to Reebok and its all-out support to the Team, I am kept right on track with the sport. I have been logging PRs and even managed to snag a podium finish here and there and these little achievements admittedly do incredible things to my health and general well-being.

Here are two photos taken by Estan Cabigas at the Fuego Sunset Run. I just look totally legit as a runner, don’t I?

I Run, therefore, I'm A Runner. Teehee.

Reaching high but keeping feet planted firmly on the ground.

Yes, I run on swimsuit too.

Run like the wind...

Now that's a HAPPY RUN!

But this one takes the cake out of any other happy runs. Ang saya lang, oh!

Total Fitness: Ultimate Wake Championships at CWC

The intrepid writer strikes again!

Note: Published in this month’s issue of TOTAL FITNESS magazine. For the full article and MORE, grab a copy and spread the word, loves!


‘Vicky, are you free to cover the Ultimate Wake Championships at CWC on the 20th until 23rd?’ Total Fitness dashing Executive Editor Manny Delos Reyes asked me on yahoo messenger one morning while I was in a meeting in Kuala Lumpur. Luckily, I was due to fly back to Manila on the 20th. Arrangements were made and soon after, I was on a flight to Camarines Sur – incidentally, my home region, being a true-blue Bicolana myself.

Up until I boarded that plane that would take me to where CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC) is, I must admit I was totally in the dark as to what wakeboarding is all about, given that I have not exactly been exposed to any form of watersports. But I also didn’t want to look completely lost so I made sure to print the media infosheet which was emailed beforehand for me to read during the flight and quickly browsed google for more information.

UWC 2011 at CWC

It was a beautiful day when I arrived and as I was checking myself in at the resort lobby, I immediately felt the electrifying vibe of the largest wake event of the year and it was being held right here in the Philippines!  The wake championship event – with over $80,000 in cash prizes and the ultimate bragging rights at stake – covers Boat, Winch and Cable categories and I was naturally curious to know how these three events would play out.

Photo by Melo Balingit

In which I got a front-seat ticket to the ultimate wake action and I liked it!

After dropping-off my luggage in the ultra-comfy wooden cabana that I was assigned to and quickly changing into what I had hoped was appropriate Wakeboarding coverage outfit, I walked over to the site where the cable event was already underway. A few times I caught myself gasping at some of the mid-air stunt moves flawlessly executed by the pros. One rider in particular, Daniel Grant, showed such flair and class working the cable you wouldn’t think he was just 13! His daring and consistency would later on lead him to victory over veteran Tom Fooshee in the cable category.

Daniel Grant by Melo Balingit

Now, being an intrepid writer I fancy myself as sometimes, I made sure I did my homework well by interviewing some of the wakeskate pros and I must say I was pretty impressed by nearly all of them. They weren’t all about perfectly-sculpted bodies and sunkissed skin as I would very soon find out. There definitely was a lot of activity upstairs that I found myself quickly purging whatever thoughts I have about the great dichotomy of beauty and intelligence.

Here are some of the interesting characters I have met that ultimate weekend:

With Overall Champ Tom Fooshee and Philippine Star's Carlo Velasco

Tom Fooshee, 26, USA

A BA Sports Science degree holder with minor course in History, Tommy is truly an impressive mix of brains and brawn.  He started wakeboarding when he was 12 and has been going at it professionally for six years and counting, with over 30 competitions and a handful of victories under his belt. When I asked him what he liked most about the sport, he mentioned traveling and the joy of visiting places he previously only read or heard about in History classes, for competition. Tom romped-off with the overall Wakeboard Championship title at the end of the 5-day competition. A much-deserved victory, as any one who has seen Tom compete in those five days, would agree.

With Nick Jones

Nick Jones, 23, USA

Don’t, not even for a second, get fooled by this guy’s washboard abs and lean but muscular physique for he holds a double major degree in Commercial Real Estate and Finance. Since turning pro at the age of 19, Nick balances his time between competing professionally and helping his family run their real estate business. He also admits to keeping an all-organic diet not only to help him in his wakeboarding but also to keep him healthy and fit for the rest of his active life. During the interview, it was announced that Nick made it to the finals in the boat category – his first in an international competition – and so he won’t forget this writer, he would later mention in his nice-to-meet-you email.

Hoon Ji of South Korea

Interviewing Gov. LRey Villafuerte

Interviewing Phillip Soven

With MJ Cordova. By Melo Balingit.

With KikayRunner. By Melo Balingit.

Profiled by Melo Balingit.

Hanging out with MJ, Z, and Carlo.

The Intrepid Writer with other Members of the Media.

MJ and I go all-out in the true animal fashion...rawrrr.

We highly recommend Bicolana (Laing) Pizza and Halo-halo at CWC!

Hanging out with the girls of PDI and MJ.


Vicky and MJ.

FUEGO Sunset Run 2011 and Estan Cabigas

It’s raining wildly outside as I type this blog entry; and there’s still the burning sensation on my tongue, courtesy of the hot soup I had nearly an hour ago at Nasi Lemak. I take full responsibility for the scalded tongue because, as usual, I did not think before taking a sip. For the bazillionth time, I had murdered my taste bud. But no, neither rain nor burnt tongue will dampen my edified spirits because yesterday – yesterday, was one darn fine day and let me tell you why.

But first, have you met Purple Pippa?

Purple Pippa

This gorgeous Zig Glam pair is the youngest of the Reebok brood I keep safe and nurtured right at home. She came just weeks after Bruno and Basia arrived separately and the three of them practically took over my athletic life, much to the consternation of my other running pairs. I just don’t have the heart to give up Zara my Zoot and Blu my Wave Rider because they were both given to me as a gift.  I could not have chosen a better way to break-in Purple Pippa than this weekend because she looked absolutely stunning out there!

Vicky FTW!

TEAM REEBOK Pilipinas at the Fuego Sunset Run

I won first place in yesterday’s FUEGO Sunset Run held at Club Punta Fuego in Batangas! This hot little munchkin has lorded over a handful of 5k female runner hopefuls and crossed the finish line in 30 minutes. But wait, before you all scoff at my little achievement, allow me to state for the record that it wasn’t just your regular flat surface run. It was an evil cardiac hills run at 4:30 in the afternoon with the Fuego heat beating down on us! And for someone who’s not quite used to running hills, I would be the first one to admit that it is not at all easy. Sure I have had my share of trail runs – MH All-Terrain Race in 2009 in Sta. Elena featuring Phoenix who is now back in the grave, never to resurrect again; Merell Adventure Trail Run 2010 at the La Mesa Dam where a bunch of us trail runners got lost and so we ended up just photowalk-ing; and my all-time favorite 50k PAU Mt. Pinatubo Trail Challenge where I trailed behind the sensational Camilla Brooks – but I certainly don’t do this type of run on a regular basis.

Post-race posterity shot

TEAM REEBOK Pilipinas with PEP SQUAD Events and Race Marshals

At gun start, I made a mad dash for it like everyone else but nearly met an accident when confronted by the sharp downhill which started just a few feet from the starting line. It was almost like that time  I first attempted to do mountain biking at San Mateo, Rizal, flew off from my bike, and landed hard on the pebbled dirt road, sustaining a number of injuries.


At the Starting Line

I still carry the scars from that accident to this day. Like that deep downhill slope of San Mateo, this one in Punta Fuego has got me foot-braking in an attempt to slow down (the) momentum which could potentially send me sprawling on the ground again, in a bloody heap. Thank God, this time, none of the sort happened. I was in full control of my legs and wobbly knees (hey, they’re almost 32 years old, so cut them some slack, will you?!) and though I slowed down considerably after that – which gave this other girl the opening to overtake me, at least for a few meters, before I would snatch back my lead and continue to keep the girls at bay all the way through the finish line.

The heat was pretty intense that, for a while there, I got worried Purple Pippa would sustain permanent injuries herself! I could feel the heat literally creeping up the soles of Pippa, all the way through my legs, and up my thighs and it was debilitating! But the second the FINISH LINE materialized before my eyes, the pain and heat seemed to have vanished and I was like Oh yeah, baby! Who’s your Mommy?Errr, that doesn’t exactly have a nice ring to it, ya? Nowhere near ‘Who’s your Daddy?!‘ so I guess I better quit it.

Nognog Runner on a rampage!

Great race performance by Team Reebok!

We stayed until the awarding ceremonies and got our fill of delicious buffet dinner. Beer was overflowing, too, much to the boys’ delight. Meanwhile, I got a medal and a gift check from Reebok (what are the odds of that happening, huh?!?) which I’m planning to use to get me another one of the Cirque de Soleil top I so adore! See that blue top I wore to the race? That’s the Cirque de Soleil apparel and it also comes in pink – which I’m claiming using the GC I won. I also won a GC worth Php1,000 from Milk & Co. during the raffle.

TEAM REEBOK at the Awarding Ceremonies

All in all, it was a great race and Pep Squad did a good job of organizing it! Thank you, too, Reebok Philippines and my team mates at Team Reebok Pilipinas for the wonderful opportunity and, yes, the warm friendship and solidarity. Here’s to greater success in future races and other events. WE JUST ROCK, don’t we?

Oh, by the way, prior to the sunset race, we spent some time at the Terrazas de Punta Fuego – mostly to enjoy the food, glorious sun, and the nice beach. And since we have TEAM REEBOK’s de facto photographer Estan Cabigas with us, expect some great photos of our pre-race beach-combing, the actual race, and the awarding ceremonies. Below are some of the photos we took by the beach. These are not by Estan, so you will have to excuse the poor quality. Estan’s are definitely waaaaaaaaaay better, so watch out for it!

Before the clothes came off...:p

Team Reebok hours before the sunset race

No, that definitely isn't spray-tan. Au naturelle, baby.

The Succulent Runner with the Titanium Runner

Beep Beep, Vicky, and TR

Purple druhmuh. Bow.


Caution: VERY dangerous curves ahead.

In which we traded our running gear for sunscreen. Yay.


  • Congratulations to Pinoy Pride MANNY PACQUAIO for yet another momentous victory in the international boxing arena! Ikaw na!
  • Congratulations, too, FERNANDO ALONSO aka The Greatest Love of My Life for a strong P3 finish in yesterday’s F1 Turkish Grand Prix. Oh you should’ve seen the silly grin that refused to leave my face the whole time I was watching the post-race press conference! Kilig kung kilig ito! Round 4 done and over with – 15 more to go and things have started to look real good for my favorite Spaniard.
  • Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! Yes, that includes you, my dear absentee mother.
Finally, as promised,  here are four photos taken by ESTAN CABIGAS. Gorgeous, ‘innit?

Estan Cabigas Photography.

Estan Cabigas Photography

By Estan Cabigas

Vicky Ras by Estan Cabigas

Men’s Health: What She’s Hiding From You

Coco Martin for MH May 2011

NOTE: Published in this month’s issue of Men’s Health Philippines. Grab a copy NOW for full story. And why not a hundred more for the whole village while you’re at it?


Since time immemorial, men have been cast in the stereotype role of a cheating husband or boyfriend. We’ve seen them all, the many different ways they pull off their indiscretion: some do it so furtively they were never caught, while others seem to have no compunction at all in brandishing their extrarelational affairs. And society seems to have accepted this as norm that for a time, men appeared to have had a monopoly over this game called cheating. Not fully realizing that women – ahhh yes, women – are just as capable of  such depraved behavior in their relationships.  In fact, with the emergent cases of cheating wives and girlfriends leaving their partners, it can just as easily be inferred that women are more likely to have emotional affairs rather than one night stands or repeated casual encounters that never progressed beyond the hotel walls.

Grace, a 38-year-old Creative Director for an advertising agency and mother of four children, considered leaving her husband of 15 years for another man. In the end, it was her husband who made that decision for her. This is her story.


When I met my husband, *Lawrence, at a common friend’s birthday party, something stirred in me – instinct maybe? – and I just knew I had to be with him. He was charming, well-built, and what he lacked in the sharp intelligence department, he more than made up for with his sense of humor. And I had his undivided attention. So when I got pregnant with our first child barely a year into the relationship, we decided to get married. Just as *Lawrence was attentive to me as a boyfriend, he was an even more devoted husband and father to our first-born. There was so much love and passion in our marriage during these first few years that it never occured to me that things can go wrong. Until it did, and unfortunately, I caused it – the breakup of a seemingly unshakeable union.

It was in 2006 when things started to shake up a little at home. I was at the crossroads of my career, caught between staying in the small company I have worked for for so many years and moving on to a much bigger one with a lot more responsibilites. Many a night I have stayed up until very late, weighing the pros and cons of an imminent decision I was due to make, but my husband never seemed to notice any of it. I would curl up next to his body and he would no longer draw me closer to him as he instinctively used to, even when he’s in deep sleep.  I have always kept my hopeless romantic tendencies, but 11 years and four children after, it was only but natural for romance to wane a little.  I mean, we still have sex once or twice a week and though it seemed more and more perfunctory each time, I still consider it a pretty good batting average given that most of our married couple friends are no longer as sexually active – at least not with each other. I was 34 and lucky to have it all – a loving and responsible husband, beautiful kids, a good career, and loyal friends – until I made that one very foolish decision to stray.

Because YOU Need To Know...

Race Event: REEBOK ZigTech Run

Are you ready to ZIG?


Perhaps I am, just as I have suspected, a woman of insatiable caprices. My sensual stirrings, pointed in many directions, have freed me from the shackles of Hallmark-romance that I am now only capable of sensual love. And no more than that. I realised I have ceased to gravitate towards the whirlwind of romance and instead, abandon myself completely to the consuming frenzy – or is it cruelty – of passion. As the last fallen leaves of my childish love floated away in the afternoon wind, I came out of my chrysalis, transformed into a woman of instincts and unshakable emotional detachment.