Christophe, I promise to love and care for you and I will try in every way to be worthy of your love, trust, and respect. I will always be honest with you, kind, patient, supportive, understanding and forgiving. Yes, even when sometimes being all of that is in itself a challenge. But most of all, I promise to be a true and loyal friend to you. I will love you through good and the bad, through joy and the sorrow, the ugly and the beautiful. Maybe not so much the ugly…kidding! I want to face all of life’s experiences and share beautiful dreams and goals with you. I promise to be your equal partner in a loving, honest, and nurturing marriage, for as long as we both shall live. Je t’aime enormement, mon mari.
P.S.: I will even learn to speak your native language to save you the trouble of translating each time we are in the company of French people.:)
Unlike many other decisions I have made impulsively over the years (some I regret having made but let’s not get into that), joining the Bataan Death March (BDM) 102 was a deliberate one. Except for the timeline, which was rather hard to ascertain because of the nature of my job. Will it be in 2012? 2013? I really couldn’t tell for sure at that time. Late last year, however, I had made my intentions to run BDM 102 known to my runners friends, and of course, Mr. Baldrunner himself, and the feedback were all positive. So when KB Runner signed me up on the last day of BDM 102 application and I eventually got accepted (Note: There are certain criteria to be met for one to get accepted as a BDM race participant), I was 50 percent sure I’d do it – the other half is obviously dependent on my work schedule.
2011 ended and while nearly all of the 2012 BDM 102 runners were busy planning for the race and training properly by logging precious mileage and incorporating heat training into it as well, I was busy working. And working some more. In fact, since 2012 started, I think I was only able to log a total of 40k running mileage and by ultramarathon standards, that is far from ideal. And then I was supposed to be somewhere for a company event on BDM 102 race dates so it didn’t occur to me to make time for some strength training at least. I was prepared to just cut losses and perhaps go at it next year. Next thing I know, our event was moved at a later date which leaves my March 3-4 weekend wide open for some ultrarunning action. By then, I only had three weeks to put together a game plan; look for kindhearted friends willing to be my support crew (whom I have found, praise God!); and psyche myself into BDM mode. Just to make sure my legs are still in good running condition, I joined two 10k races and carbo-loaded. I must say that was the best part of my preparation – EATING. I ate more than my usual amount of food intake, constantly reminding myself each time I would feel guilty that ‘Yeah, i’m going to burn all of it anyway come BDM 102!’ And so I ate like the buffet cart was going to run out soon.
The only time that the enormity of my decision to run BDM this year dawned on me fully was when I attended the Briefing Ceremony and Carbo Loading party two nights before the actual race. Seeing nearly all of the BDM 102 runners there and making a mental note of how strong and capable they all looked, I began to doubt myself. Seriously, what was I thinking?! It’s one thing to do 50k or even 65k and perhaps finish sterlingly (I did so with my two 50k races but DNF’d with my 65k race in Nuvali) BUT 102k is clearly something else! Reylynne and I would find ourselves staring blankly at the projector screen while BR was doing the briefing and clearly not able to put a finger to what it was that we were both feeling at that time. Nervous, unsure, excited, confident are only some of the decipherable emotions at play that night.
Finally, it was the night before race day. I had been long done shopping maniacally for supplies (thanks, too, in large part to my brother who shared my BDM grocery expenses with me!) and I already have my Reebok gear, Lightwater and VitaminBoost, Smith Optics Pivlock shades, reflectorized vest with lamp from ARC Ph all locked-and-loaded. JJ of my running group Team UNGAS, also gave me some supplies for the race – all of which came in handy, especially the first aid kit. My amazing support crew which I’m sharing with Cris Dela Cruz, consisting of Eric Caramay, Running Atom, and Jennybave were likewise ready to rock and roll. I went to the salon for foot spa hoping it will relax my mind so that I would at least be able to clock-in some decent zzz time. Weirdly enough, I found myself tossing and turning until about 2:30am, playing scrabble on my iPad. It seemed my mind decided to race ahead of me because I would see snippets of various BDM scenarios being played out in my head! I woke up at 6:30am and even though gun start is not until 10:15pm, I couldn’t convince myself to sleep some more. Instead, I spent my time making cheese pimiento sandwiches, boiling eggs, and packing my running gear and accoutrements.
At 4pm, we were on the road to Mariveles, Bataan.
We made a short pitstop at NLEX to have lunch. In my nervousness, I forgot to eat something during the day. Funny story: Just as we were leaving HenLin, we were sandwiched by this small crowd of people having their photos taken with this guy who turned out to be friggin’ Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and I didn’t get a chance to have my photo taken with him because he was quickly whisked away by his posse before I could even reach for my camera or BB! Nakakainis lang!
We reached KM0 in Mariveles, Bataan at around 8:30pm and as much as we wanted to cram sleep, we opted to prepare for the race. Jennybave took pains in taping my feet, especially my toes which are all blister-prone. I had wanted to use my Reebok Zigtech but after the layers of Leukoplast on both feet, the shoes were already a bit tight for me ( I must remember to get a bigger size next time!) and so I wore Claudia instead which was a good size bigger and has had an ultramarathon experience at last year’s 2nd PAU T2N 50k. It’s important that I give my feet some room to breathe given that it’s inevitable that feet will expand due to constant battering during the race. With my running gear all in place, I looked just about ready to head out to war.
At the KM0 marker, ultrarunners gathered and chatted away. Photos were being taken, as well. In just a few minutes, Baldrunner would call everyone to order and he appointed some runners to sing the US, Japan, and Philippine national anthems. And then we were told to move to the starting line for the prayer and gun start.
At 10:15pm, we were off like a marauding colony of worker ants. Destination: KM 102 marker at San Fernando, Pampanga. Cris, my BDM partner, and I started off strong. Even while taking it very easy in the first 6kms which was a steep uphill climb, we managed to clock-in sub-6 for the first 42km. And just as I was feeling somewhat invincible, I was brought down to earth when I heard my left knee give off a loud click followed by a very sharp pain I had to cry out. It reminded me so much of my trail run in Nuvali where my knees locked and I couldn’t move and I had to be carried back to the start/finish line on a stretcher, bereft of pride. Hello, deja vu. We immediately called on our suport crew to assist me. Bave put cold compress on injured knee and gave my legs a good rubdown. I put my knee support back on and continued running. Just a few kilometers after, my right knee gave a similar jolt. That’s when I got scared and slowly see my BDM 102 dreams fall apart piece by piece. Knee injury at any race is never a good thing. I decided to take Arcoxia to manage the pain. Cris, too, at around the same time, twisted his right ankle. And so it came to be that we were both limping even before we reached KM50.
At KM48, I was starting to feel very sleepy I felt like a somnambulist. I told Cris that I would need a 10-minute nap once we reach the pitstop if I am to perform well in the second half of the race. And so we both cat-napped and our support crew woke us up in time for us to see the sunlight slowly peeking out of the night skies. To feel better and refreshed, I brushed my teeth, washed my face with Physio Radiance (yes, plugging!), and brushed my hair. JJ also forced me to eat puto and drink coffee to send me on my way. My knees were feeling better but there was no telling when both will go bust again. We knew it was going to be a very sunny morning/afternoon going into Dinalupihan and all the way to San Fernando so I made sure to protect my eyes with Smith Optics Pivlock V90 Max.
Just when I thought my painful knees were all that I had to manage, my left shoulder also caved-in due to the pressure of swinging my arms for a long period of time. It got so painful I had to beg RA to administer makeshift arm sling just so I can keep it stable and not moving to and fro much which only aggravates the pain. So with my knees and left arm now all in pain, I couldn’t possibly suffer more, right? I mean, Murphy could not possibly be that cruel, surely? WRONG. Because when the sun finally came out, the heat emanating from that cosmically-gargantuan ball of fire nearly burned everything on terra firma, including my skin. I thought all those years of sunbathing in the beaches of Boracay, Phuket, Davao and Bali will give me some advantage but NOTHING could have prepared me for the kind of heat that confronted us from Dinalupihan all the way to KM83 where I nearly passed out – hungry, dehydrated, and burning up!
It was then that I seriously considered throwing in the towel and calling myself a loser. I was too weak and in so much pain to even consider going further. I wanted to quit and probably never show my face at races anymore. I prayed hard for God to give me one last boost and as a testament to just how faithful HE is to his promise of keeping us safe under his care, my boost came in the form of my support crew and running group friends JJ, Leya, and Ambo. They refused to hear my protestations and declaration of surrender and instead, pushed me to give it one more go. In between force-feeding me with fruits, making me drink Oresol, and wrapping my burning skin with very cold towels, they would encourage me to get up and run the remaining distance and lay claim on my BDM 102 trophy. My support crew realized that I have not exactly been eating all this while. I would have a slice of apple, orange, watermelon, and a piece of banana and nothing more. My hydration, also, left a lot to be desired. I would only take a few sips of Lightwater, VitaminBoost, and Pocari and feel as though I’m drowning in my own skin. So weird! At KM83, my apparel were soaked and the heavy fabric of my top and shorts were weighing down on me so I changed into fresh top and running bottoms. I also discarded my knee support and patella band because at that point, the contraptions were impeding blood circulation.
With barely 2 hours left ’til the 18-hour cut-off and still 12kms away, I regained some of my strength and my stride went from power walking to what my support crew surmised to be almost 6:30 pace all the way to the finish line. I took back the lead some of the guys snatched away from me when we were forced to just walk from KM70 because of our injuries and soon after, managed to squeak-in a strong finish with more than half and hour to spare.
Seeing the FINISH LINE tarpaulin and the runners who crossed way ahead of me, including all the support groups, standing just behind the arch waiting to welcome the finishers was INCREDIBLE! That 500-meter stretch to KM102 was for me the best 500 meters I would ever cross – except maybe when I get married and have to do the same ceremonial crossing, only this time, down the flower-decked aisle and preferably with the feel of powder-soft sand beneath my sandaled feet. *ahem. ahem.*
I FRIGGIN’ MADE IT TO THE FINISH LINE!!!
It was such an emotional moment for me that I couldn’t contain my tears. I cried and Bave cried with me. I have wanted that BDM 102 trophy and medal since the first time I tried ultrarunning at Mr. Pinatubo and now it’s mine! And I have a laundry list of friends and sponsors to thank for making my BDM 102 dream a reality. Thank you so, so, sooo much! You guys know who you are.:)
Oh, and one more thing. If you ask me what else would I write down as great BDM moment for me, I would have to say — and you gotta keep your mind open about this and your sense of humor ready just in case — those times where I would no longer care where and how I pee. Honest truth! Bear in mind that I was competing against a lot of runners and this is where being a lady is sometimes a disadvantage – but I learned to adjust, adopt, and accommodate. Grassy patch, behind the car, in between car doors, in a dried-out canal, inside a held-out malong — name it, I’ve done it all! But only during night time when it was dark and there were hardly any people around. During the day, I would knock at people’s homes and gasoline stations and beg them to allow me the use of their bathrooms. Those times, I was never without my wet wipes which I would now declare to be among the essentials a female ultrarunner must have when running an all-nighter.
Pains and killer heat aside, I would say my BDM 102 experience is something I will never EVER forget. On the 3rd of March 2012, I went berserk and made true my dreams of doing the ultimate ultra – not for cash or freebies BUT for pride, honor, glory, and that little kilometer marker trophy I have always wanted to have. I am no longer just a road warrior dreaming dreams of pushing myself the limits, I am a survivor – A BDM SURVIVOR!
Thank you REEBOK, ARC Ph, Lightwater and VitaminBoost by Suncoast, Smith Optics,Toby’s, CW-X, Chris Sports, FTW magazine, Team Reebok, Team UNGAS, my fellow BDM-initiate and partner Cris and my amazing support crew! To those who prayed for me and wished me well on my BDM journey, my deepest gratitude as well. We’re all made of WIN!
This is finally my adult relationship and I would die a happy woman if it were my last. In a way, it changed me by challenging me to stray away from the helix I had woven for myself. Now, it may seem to be way too early to tell (2 years, 7 months into it and we’re still really getting to know each other) but so far, what we have is good. Oftentimes, pretty. And it does show a promise of even better things to come. Never mind that we carry different passports, or that his skin is so much paler than mine, and how our accents don’t match up – as do some of our interests, sometimes. There will always be reservations, I’m pretty sure, but I have always believed that when you both want something to work and you want it bad enough, there can’t be a divide too large to bridge.
With the incredible success of EasyTone in the United States, Canada, and other major markets, Reebok is finally bringing the EasyTone footwear and apparel to the Philippine shores.
On September 14, Reebok Philippines and FTW Magazine gave selected bloggers a sneak preview of what the EasyTone line is all about – at the famous Wicked Kitchen by Chef Kooch. It was an intimate gathering of friends with everyone bringing home a little something – tokens and GCs from partners, which were raffled off or given away as game prizes.
EasyTone was launched via a mega event at the Trinoma Activity Center last September 15 with Reebok Running Ambassadors Kassy Pajarillo and Vicky Ras (uhrmmm, that would be me – in case you’re wondering) as hosts. EasyTone features Reebok’s resistance technology. The unique placement and tightness of resistance technology hugs the back and thighs. EasyTone apparel makes you look and feel good as you get moving.
EasyTone footwear has built-in balance pods featuring Moving Air Technology that transfers air in response to your stride, creating micro-instability with each step.
“I have a confession to make: I fell in love with walking all the more when I started wearing my pair of Reebok Easytone which I also refer to as my silver bullet. When I was told to lessen my runs (mileage), walking has never felt this better. By the end of the day, you’ll feel how much it worked your leg muscles and I think it actually gave my thighs a workout, too! The balance pods boost you up, try standing on one leg, move with it, ah! That’s an instant balance (core) workout. “ – Kassy Pajarillo
“I started wearing Matilda, my EasyTone sneakers, a month ago and have worn her several times since, especially on weekends after my long runs (using Bruno my Reebok ZigNano) when I’m out to run errands or just walk around the mall. The first time I wore Matilda, there was the awkward slightly off-balance feel caused by the balance pods which I eventually got accustomed to. I learned that these balance pods are actually built into the sole of the shoes to create instability. The inside of the shoes are actually very comfortable, with the forefoot slightly wider, to accommodate the slight expansion of the feet after prolonged walking. I did notice though that at the end of my long walks, my hamstrings feel heavy and stretched like how they normally feel when I give them a good workout.” – Vicky Ras
Both EasyTone footwear and apparel combine function and style that’s fashionable enough for everyday wear, yet is signed to help provide toning benefits as you move.
To reinforce EasyTone’s message of fit and active lifestyle without compromising fashion and intelligent style, Reebok has tapped empowered Filipinas to represent the brand: Bow Valdez, Rowena Aquino, Pearl Managuelod, Kassy Pajarillo, Nikki Gil, Nina Terol-Zialcita, Betty Romero, Vicky Ras, Ana Santos, Nikka Sarthou, and Darlene Anderson.
Introducing, the WOMEN of REEBOK…
Bow. Bow is a certified Yogi and Co-owner of FLOW YOGA CENTER ALABANG. She believes that challenges build a person’s character, whether you are on or off the mat. So expect equal parts of challenge and ease as the usual recipe in her flow class together with Reebok.
Betty. An educator for the last 21 years, Betty embraces education, empowerment and enlightenment as her advocacy and passion. She is the Deputy Director of Lifeline Foundation Support Team Inc, as well as Principal of Lifeline Foundation South City Central School, a Kinder level to Secondary School in BF Paranaque.
Ana. A merry mix of contradictions that would probably make a good cocktail. Part single girl and part mother. Ana was once a banker, and is now a journalist and sexual health advocate. Apart from being co-founder of Writer’s Block Philippines, she is Associate Editor of Illustrado Magazine and editorial director of Sex and Sensibilities.com which promotes positive sexuality and informed choice. She may wear many hats, but she only needs one pair of trainers–Reebok Easytone to make sure she stays on track.
Nina. Aside from being a co-founder of Writer’s Block Philippines, she is editor-in-chief of AsianTraveler Magazine and author of numerous blogs, opinion columns, and books. She is also a new media social entrepreneur who uses social media for social good. When she is not writing, blogging, or traveling, she is organizing projects and advocating causes. Thanks to Reebok’s EasyTone, Niña can stay on the go and keep up her tight balancing act.
Rowena. Zumba Fitness Instructor. The 50’s won’t stop her from surprising herself. She aims to make every woman dance, and dance some more or get back into the groove they once possessed. Together with Reebok Easytone, she feels younger and is able to move even better. 50, she says, is the new 30.
Nikka. When she’s not wearing her writer’s hat, Nikka Sarthou indulges in her passion for traveling. Sometimes, she gets to combine the two when she travels for writing assignments. Reebok’s EasyTone line helps her keep up with her hectic yet flexible lifestyle and manage her work as Co-founder of Writer’s Block Philippines, Contributing Editor for Smile, Content Manager for OfficiallyPhilippines.com, and a Manila correspondent for FilipinoStar News – Michigan edition.
Darlene. Not your ordinary Model/Actress, Darlene has a degree in Theater Arts from Central Saint Martins in London. She spends most of her time doing castings, helping street children by hosting charity events and whips vegan cakes for a living. At a young age 19, Darlene is poised to conquer the world with her own brand of style, talent and passion for kids and animals. She is kept right on track by the EasyTone apparel she loves to wear.
Nikki. Nikki Gil is beauty and brains combined. Actress, VJ, model, singer and host, she first captivated the hearts of the Filipino audience and showbiz followers when she appeared in a Coca Cola ad in 2005. Since then, she has recorded several albums, acted in movies and musical plays and appeared countless in print and tv commercials, as well as magazine covers. For Nikki, living healthy and being fit are non-negotiable. So even when juggling projects, she still finds time to do some workout – wearing her favorite Reebok EasyTone tops, pants, and shoes.
Kassy. More than just another Reebok face and a certified fitness enthusiast, Kassy’s love is beyond Reebok apparel, style and effective shoes. She juggles mindboggling opportunities from managing FTW Magazine and other business ventures, hence, her often-busy schedule. Losing weight is the bonus. Kassy Manages to keep up a healthy lifestyle by surrounding herself with positive people, getting into a lot of activities and always wearing her EasyTone apparel and shoes.
Vicky. Vicky Ras is a 30-something chronicler of life as experienced in supersized measures of beauty, pain, victories, failures and passions. She is a writer, PR and Communications practitioner, ultra runner, and a force of nature with a chronic case of the ‘elsewheres’. Her work takes her to a lot of places, strange some of them, and she balances life, work, athletic pursuits and the intricate web of events in between by following a disciplined fitness regimen where EasyTone proves to be a great ally.
Pearl. Yoga is the dance of her life. Running, swimming, and nature tripping are among the many things that keep her active, in addition to being a yogi and an entrepreneur. Pearl is also a full-time single mom who makes sure that her children have got everything they need. From teaching a yoga class, running a yoga studio, and taking care of her kids, she balances her lifestyle in comfort of Reebok flip-flops. That’s why, amidst all the sweat of joy from the yoga positions she teaches; keeping her yoga studio operating smoothly; carrying on with her life’s interests; and driving her kids to and from school, she still manages a graceful youth and an effervescent look.
Thank you for the lovely photos above Teacher Cheryl Golangco! Follow her blog here.
Aside from the EasyTone launch, that night was also the unveiling of sorts of the newest freebie magazine in the city — FTW! If you’re on Facebook, you may ‘like’ the page here and gain access to everything that’s MADE OF WIN!
For our maiden issue, we have Reebok EasyTone brand ambassador Nikki Gil on the cover, who was such a delight to work with at the video/photoshoot. In the cover story, he talks about her uber active lifestyle and how Reebok EasyTone footwear and apparel just synchs in perfectly with it.
Those who were at Trinoma during the launch were given copies of FTW magazine and they have all gotten back to us with great reviews! We can’t wait for the rest of you to check it out! Please keep visiting the FTW fanpage on Facebook for updates on WHERE you can get your own copy of FTW – which, as I have mentioned earlier, is ALL for FREE! Only because we love you that much!
Check out some more photos of the uber fun REEBOK Traintone Experience below:
This question was asked in the trivia game which our team, the Black Team, failed to get cookie points for as I remember the two other team representatives were a lot faster jumping into the pool and swimming to the other side to touch the letter of the correct answer. We played a few more group games after that, in some of which our team would consistently lose, but there was just so much fun and frivolity at X-FUSION, the Epson Media Adventure, that none of these losses even mattered.
X-FUSION, the second of Epson Philippines’ annual event aimed at showcasing the company’s sales and marketing efforts in first half of the fiscal year as well as providing a glimpse of Epson’s activities in the pipeline, was held last 12 to 13May at Acacia Diving Resort in Mabini, Batangas with over 20 media representatives coming from business, IT, and trade publications joining EPSON Philippines’ General Manager Donna Ferro, Business Systems Group Head Jay Lavarias, and MarComm and PR Department Head Roe Dillera.
Mr. Jay Lavarias summed up Epson Philippines’ 14 percent overall sales growth at the end of fiscal year 2010 versus 2009 in a short slide presentation. He attributed the growth for Inkjets and Laser printers to a bullish market for 2011. More importantly, corporate markets can expect lower total cost of ownership this year with the launch of 13 more new product offerings.
Meanwhile, Roe Dillera provided a sneak preview of the global corporate vision of the company dubbed “SE15 Vision” or Seiko Epson 2015 Vision after sharing some corporate and CSR highlights in 2010.
But for compulsive adventure seekers like me, the biggest highlight of the event was the Intro to Scuba Diving which Epson got all of us to try out. It my first time to do diving and the days building up to ‘Fusion’, I was teetering on the brink of combined excitement and anxiety. You see, I do not know how to swim and even though nearly all my friends assured me that swimming is not really a requirement – especially since we will have dive masters assigned to us – there were still some niggling doubts in my head until I went 25ft below sea level and found myself enthralled by the glorious sight of colorful fish and corals! We even saw a school of mangrove jacks (or talakitok says my angler friend); some clown fish occasionally peeping out of the corals; and for a while there I wished we had more time to explore. Or that I have the time and resources to actually get PADI certified soon. Now that’s a thought.
Before taking the plunge, I was pretty sure I would have panic attack just like I did the last time I went on a travel assignment in Pagbilao, Quezon. But surprisingly, I was very calm even from our descent and all the way through the 15 to 20 minutes diving time – which Vlad, the dive master assigned to me, made sure I made the most out of by swimming happily along and befriending sea creatures, even for a brief moment. Even breathing through the regulator came fairly easy to me I could have sworn I’m a natural!
A few times I heard the ticking sound in my ears and, at one point I had some challenges in neutralizing the pressure I had to signal for Vlad to take me back up to the surface so I can get my bearings right again. When we got down to the spot where we were supposed to take underwater group photos, I got a bit embarrassed when I realized that I was the last one to arrive!
While I am not exactly a stranger when it comes to media offsite as I have had my fair share when I used to do PR stuff for another IT company many years ago – this was my first time to come as part of the media group and I must say it is something else altogether. I could get used to this!
From my slipshod snorkeling experiment in Pagbilao last year, I went ten notches up (or down?) with scuba diving and taking into account the fact that I still dream about the sights and wonders I came across with while underwater, I think it is now just a matter of time before I sign up for a course. My boyfriend (now fiance) says we should get PADI certified soon as I get settled-in with him in Singapore and you know what? I just might take him up on his offer very soon.