TOTAL FITNESS: Workout Wardrobe Essentials


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Check the online version here.

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Us girls fancy looking fierce and sexy whenever we have to make that trip to the gym or yoga and dance studio. Hence, our discriminating taste in workout wardrobe, which we invest heavily in. Lululemon, Moving Comfort, Nike, Adidas, or Reebok are some of the brand heavyweights we look for when out shopping for workout tops and capris or shorts.

While all these make us look good, there are other workout essentials we must never compromise on not only because of their value-added comfort, but most especially because they keep us away from embarrassing fashion disasters at the gym. Here are some of the essentials:

  • Underwear: In choosing underwear for your workout, it is important to take note of the fabric. Usually, we go for a soft, stretchy microfiber blend of nylon and spandex that helps wick away moisture to keep us cool and dry. As to the type of underwear, thongs or boyleg panties with seamless technology are more popular with the ladies because they don’t get VPLs (visible panty lines) even when wearing the tightest of leggings or capris.
  • Running socks: Wearing the wrong pair of socks can cause your feet to feel worn, blistered, sweaty and stinky. When going for a workout, choose a pair that’s padded but not too thick — so your feet don’t feel too tight in your shoes — and wicks away sweat while also offering breathability. For running, you may check out specialized running socks to avoid running-related injuries.
  • Sports bra: No matter what your cup size is, intense workout calls for the right sports bra. Ill-fitting sports bra can lead to discomfort, pain, and chafing. And did you know that neglecting to wear a snug sports bra can lead to stretch marks and in the long run, very saggy breasts? So let’s fix that, shall we?
  • Hair bands or sturdy clips: When working out, we wouldn’t want our hair to be all over our face, causing major distraction for us – especially when we’re doing the circuit or those complex yoga poses. Therefore, large hair bands or clips to keep your hair in place during a workout are a must.
  • Face towels and or wristbands: Very important in wiping sweat dripping from our hairline and keeping them away from our face and neck. Wristbands come in handy when wiping sweat off our brows, especially if we don’t really like the idea of carrying towels on our person at every workout routine or when moving from one equipment to another.

In choosing our workout wardrobe, we must keep in mind the following: Comfort, Protection, Safety, and Quality. Always try on the item to ensure that you are getting the right fit, size, and fabric material for your specific workout requirements. If you sweat a lot, for example, it would be good to invest in dri-fit clothing. All in all, don’t treat these essentials lightly because they could be the only thing standing between you and a fantastic workout!

TOTAL FITNESS: Trick Your Brain Into Loving Your Workout


TF September 2012

Truth is, not everyone loves (to) workout. Otherwise, we would all be looking very fit and healthy and the word obesity may not even be found in the dictionary.  For most of us, the problem is not the absence of desire to get fit. Secretly, we all want to fit into our sexy pants and tops and still breathe normally; or reach for that last piece of muffin not worrying about our clothes suddenly bursting at the seams. The problem is embracing the paradigm shift that it is within our capacity to reach new level of excellence each time we do our workout. And the key to taking this paradigm shift to heart and making it happen is to trick our mind into loving our workout.

How successful we are in making our exercise a big part of our routine has a lot to do with our mindset. Meaning, we have to change the way we see ourselves. If we keep thinking fat and resign ourselves to our overweight state, the more that it will become a reality.

Having a defeatist mindset is counterproductive and not just in keeping fit. So the first thing that you must do is to see yourself as a healthy person and affirm it! Instead of obsessing about how fat and sluggish you are, picture yourself fit and healthy. Same thing goes for your workout. Let your mind tell your body that workouts are a fun challenge that can give you that body you want and not a tedious chore that you can keep putting off.

Here are some more tricks you can employ to finally get you on the road to a passionate love affair with your workout:

  1. No more excuses! We all make excuses to try to justify our behavior – eating too much and working out less – but these kinds of excuses are not going to bring us any closer to our ideal weight and form. Break the cycle and work on improving our eating and exercising habits.
  2. Decide to be thinner, fitter, and healthier. Sometimes all it takes is a firm resolution to make a change in your life. If you want to lose weight, make the choice to do so and let your actions follow suit.
  3. Avoid being emotional when it comes to your weight and diet. For many people, food is a convenient coping mechanism for things that aren’t right in their lives, that’s why we have such a thing as emotional eating. When faced with such situations, the wise thing to do would be to think clearly. Try to separate your emotions and employ a logical approach as far as your diet is concerned.
  4. Be positive. There is no benefit to negative thinking when it comes to weight loss. Staying positive will help you feel better about yourself, keep you motivated and reduce stress — all of which will help you lose more weight.
  5. Think in your best interest. Direct your thoughts to gradually replacing your unhealthy thoughts and habits with healthy ones. Keep revisiting your health and fitness goals and you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

TOTAL FITNESS: Stand Out In A Crowd


When we were much younger, we were taught to cultivate and nurture our individuality. ‘Express yourself’ is an expression you have probably heard one too many times, and not just from Madonna. But as you go through different phases of growing up, you will find yourself trying to blend in with a certain crowd – morphing into a certain type of personality. For a moment, your sense of individuality takes a backseat – until such time when you begin to realize again just how important it is to be recognized and appreciated for who you are and what you are capable of doing.

When you can draw the attention of others positively because of your unique individuality, you can have windows of opportunities opening up to you. Whether you want to stand out from the crowd because you want others to know how special you are, you want a particular job, or you feel that doing so will help you become more confident, knowing what steps to take to achieve this goal is important.

How do you stand out in a crowd?

  1. Develop a healthy self-esteem. People who are confident about themselves and their status in life are more likely to stand out in a crowd. Keep yourself abreast with current events and feed your hunger for new discoveries – whether it be a new language, culinary skill, playing the guitar, etc – and do whatever it takes to remain confident and on top of your game.
  2. Speak your mind. Have your own opinion about things and make your opinions heard but in a polite and respectful manner. It is also important to have a solid basis for whatever opinion you voice out because nobody wants to listen to ineffectual ramblings during a discussion.
  3. Be passionate about something and be a powerful speaker. Is there a particular advocacy you support? Then make sure your community knows about it. It may also be a good idea to hone/enhance your communication skills so you are able to get your message across eloquently. But don’t let it be just lip service. Walk the talk and you are guaranteed to stand out.
  4. Show a genuine interest in those around you. Make eye contact when talking to people. Pay attention to details of conversations and mention them in later encounters. Say thank you when someone does something nice for you and make it a habit to send notes of appreciation when necessary. Making others feel special will ensure that you do not blend in with the crowd.
  5. Be your own fashion icon. While it’s tempting to copy whatever is touted by magazines and fashion gurus as trendy; it won’t help your case one bit if it’s not a reflection of your personality, character, and strengths. Don’t hold up a mirror to someone else’s personality by merely copying. Be your own fashion icon.

TOTAL FITNESS: Conquer Your Relationship Slump


July 2012 Cover

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Most, if not all, of us who have been in the dating scene for a while would know that there is no such thing as unbreakable, consistent winning streak when it comes to relationships. Often, it all starts out hunky dory until you get past the crux of the honeymoon stage, then things start spiraling down, and before you know it, it’s over.  And the process gets repeated in your succeeding relationships to a point that you feel you have officially struck out. This stage is what we call The Slump – the danger zone in which you begin to suspect that your unlucky streak might have already taken a permanent residence in your life.

Being in a slump is a terrible situation to get caught in. Not only does it give your dating resume an unpalatable feel, it also does some very weird things to your ego. Being unable to keep a relationship and make it last longer than the first season of Game of Thrones can make you feel insecure and incapacitated. Unless of curse, you don’t mind the label – which I highly doubt because at the end of the day, we all just want to love and be loved in return. Don’t we?

Your dating slump may feel like a terrible disease, but the prognosis is excellent. It is highly curable and with some work, you can just as easily get your groove back and maintain the upper hand. Here are some recommended courses of action:

Have a long hard look at yourself; do you still like what you see? In this case it could be you and not she or even the ones that came before. One failed relationship too many should alert you to something no longer caused by external variables you conveniently put the blame on the first few times. Evaluate yourself from your wardrobe, mannerisms, to where you typically go on dates. Analyze your attitude carefully and look out for glaring signs of self-fulfilling pessimism or intolerable self-indulgence as these could potentially ruin your chances of relationship success. How nicely do you carry out a conversation? Are you aglow with positivity or do you immediately launch on a barrage of complaints about the weather, traffic, and your evil boss and co-workers? Remember, the next time you have an opportunity to date someone new and actually start a relationship, be mindful of the ruts you keep falling into and make a conscious effort of avoiding them.

Don’t try too hard. Dating and going into a relationship is supposed to be fun, so let loose! Maybe you are simply trying too hard. Approaching each new date as though the long buffet cart is going to run out of food the first five minutes will freak anyone out so bad they’d be running towards the opposite direction – on a sprint pace. Don’t come off as uptight, overly serious, and emotionally fragile— too terrified of yet another strike out before the pitcher even takes the mound. I bet you’ve heard it said a bazillion times but ‘Relax. Take it slow.’ The journey to a relationship is not about winning or losing, it’s about having as much fun together as possible. Don’t obsess about your losing streak because it will show in the manner that you speak and conduct yourself.

Choose Carefully. It’s true that being in a slump longer than you’ve gotten accustomed to can really put your patience to the test. But you must also realize that willingness to wait for the right person to come along never stops being an essential element of your dating game. Do not swing wildly at anything or any relationship possibility that shows up in your orbit. Chances are, these may NOT at all be what you need in your life. Ultimately, your goal should be to have a good and fulfilling relationship and that usually takes time.

Listen Carefully. Everyone needs objective input now and then. We need to keep ourselves attuned to what our friends, co-workers, and family think about the state of affairs of our relationship. Even though, ultimately, the decision rests entirely on us, it helps to listen to our friends’ advice, opinions, and perspectives. If you’ve got someone whose insights you trust, listen carefully. There might be some things or behavioral structures that we tend to overlook which gets in the way of lasting and meaningful relationships. Most important, allies like this provide encouragement to press on and persevere until the slump is over. After all, it always pays to have friends as cheering squad when you’re feeling way down in the dumps.

One last tip: when you finally overcome your slump, invest a good amount of energy and commitment into making the relationship work and last. Best of luck!

SPEED Magazine: Wanna get FIT? There’s an app for that!


Like a lot of people who have crossed the 30-year mark and are beginning to experience increasingly slowing metabolism, I am under a lot of pressure to keep fit – both for aesthetics and health reasons. But when you have a job that requires you to work beyond 9 hours and travel frequently abroad, not to mention, one or two extra curricular activities you dabble in outside of work, it becomes a major challenge to slot-in a sustainable fitness regimen.

But thanks to great discoveries in fitness technology, people like me who barely have time to visit fitness clubs (I enrolled for a one-year program at 360 and have only visited the club less than 10 times in four months), now have access to games such as Xbox 360 Kinect add-on or Nintendo Wii Fit and do workout at home instead. I don’t own either of these two but what I do have and I must say I am quite hooked on these days are mobile apps that let me share my accomplishments with online friends and fellow fitness freaks.  The latest crop of fitness technology –pumped up with gaming and social networking features – certainly add a deeper level of fun to the usual sweat and burn.

Currently, there is an onslaught of apps that are downloadable for free or for a minimal download fee. When it comes to health and fitness, here are some of the ones that I have on my iPad, which I try to update as often as my schedule permits me.

1. MyFitnessPal. Before getting started with this program, make sure to key in basic information about your current weight, height, activity level, goal weight etc. MyFitnessPal app allows you to set goals for yourself make suggestions on how much calories you should be consuming everyday in order to reach your goal according to the timeline you have set. You can log in the food you eat and this app will tell you how many calories that food contains. Furthermore, it also helps you monitor and keep track of your exercise and the amount of calories you burn for each workout session. The app shows your weight loss over time in a graph format, which you can share with your friends anytime.

2. Fitness Pro. With Fitness pro you can easily create your own workout plan. It has 450+ exercise photos of real people that help you find the right exercise routines for you. Fitness Pro 2.0 contains an advanced logging system that can assist you in tracking your progress. Just start logging your exercises during training so you can track your progress in detail.

3. LoseIt. Get closer to success when it comes to weight loss with LoseIt! Set goals and establish a daily calorie budget that enables you to meet them. Stay on track each day by recording your food and exercise and being conscious of your allowable calorie consumption. This app has a track record of helping the average active Lose It! lose more than 12lbs .  Now who needs lipsosuction when you have this app to help you shed excess weight?

To ensure that you keep to your health and fitness goals as the year continues to get busier for you, here are simple ways you can follow:

1. Make your goals visible.

I’m sure you’re just as tired of making resolutions that don’t get fulfilled just like the next person but probably one of the reasons why you have a hard time seeing your goals through is because they are not visible. I recommend that you put “I WILL…” and your resolution on the homepage of your computer, your mobile device, and your monitor at work so that your goals are in your face every time you power up your machine, make a phone call, or check your email.

2. Go on social media.

Self-pandering or not, you gotta admit that social media is a great tool to help support your resolution. Start out by announcing a measurable, attainable goal with a deadline (ideally the first quarter of 2012) and invite your Facebook and Twitter friends who can help support your initiative by training with you, sharing healthy recipes, providing you with extra motivation at work, or simply not tempting you with treats along the way.

3. Keep track of your performance.

Use an online workout tracker like Dailymile or download mobile device apps such as MyFitnessPal to help you keep track of your performance and identify trends to help you better succeed. Core Performance tracking and reporting tools allow you to track your weight, energy levels, quality of sleep, pain and soreness, productivity, overall mood, impact on others, and willingness to train. Fill in your trackers daily and see your progress charted over time in your Reports section.

TOTAL FITNESS: Secrets to a healthy relationship (And why you should know them)


Total Fitness May 2012

Relationships are a tricky business. Even with a thick manual on Do’s and Don’ts, a lot can still go wrong and you’re left wondering why, when you were pretty confident you followed every single ‘How To’ down to the last punctuation mark. This happens usually because most of the thoughts and sentiments of both parties are not conveyed verbally and it can get so cryptic at times that you would think mindreading really ought to be put down as a qualification for a potential partner.

So, really, what is deal here? Are there any more juicy secrets that men and women ought to know about each other to settle the stalemate once and for all? There are, in fact, a few secrets women wish men knew about them and men, too, have a list of what they want women to know. So how about we go through them quickly now?

She said:

  1. There are no secrets among us girls. We talk about everything, including sizes and embarrassing gaffes.
  2. We love men with an outstanding sense of humor. So make me laugh and that will make me happy, but being able to laugh at yourself and not looking so constipated-serious all the time; that, my man, is what will make me love you.
  3. Please listen to me when I’m saying something. Not because my statement will change the course of the world but because listening is a sign of respect. And respect just happens to add great value to how our relationship can eventually change course from being casual to serious.
  4. Always tell me when I look hot and try to bite your tongue when I just barely tip the scale of hotness to my favor. I’m only human and I have bad hair days, too. But you must know that I always want to look pretty for you, hence, the spa, mani-pedi sessions, shopping, etc. These activities I know you consider as frivolous, but let me tell you that the time to worry is when I stop making an effort.
  5. I love sex and yes it applies to days when you’re not around and I have to take care of business all by myself. I may be a suit-wearing corporate hotshot by day, but my mind is filthier than you might think. So allow me to run the night show sometimes and I guarantee you will be blown out of your mind.

He said:

  1. Men are turned-on by a challenge, NOT a chore.  We don’t like getting anything too easily, too fast. We want to work a little bit to get the woman we want. Instant gratification is cool when we are simply out for a play, but when we are serious we really mean ‘meet-my-family’ kind of serious.
  2. Men are not mind readers and we really need women to give us a bit of a heads-up, a hint here and there, to know exactly how to handle certain situations. Giving us the cold treatment will only cause us to fumble some more. You don’t even need to spell it out; just a hint will do because we are quite smart too.
  3. Guy time is an absolute necessity for us. We NEED time to bond with our buddies over sports, drinks, etc. Not for anything, but because it is healthy for us to develop and maintain good friendships and support systems in a highly competitive society.  This is not to alienate or isolate you and in fact, we will love you even more if you would also show some streak of independence and not demanding to be constantly together 24/7.
  4. Men love being wanted just for being who they are. Learn to simply bask in my presence and not only will you make me feel special, I will ensure that you will not nothing more when you’re with me.
  5. Men DO like it when women initiate sex. As seemingly crazy as we are about sex, we are impressed and pleasantly surprised when women are just as exuberant and sometimes take the initiative when it comes to sex.

By taking into account these suggestions, any woman can greatly enhance the way they communicate with the men in their lives, and vice-versa. Men desire to be understood just as much as women do; women desire to be listened to just as much as men want to dominate the conversation sometimes. And guess what? Both have a healthy appetite for sex and intimacy which when stoked, will certainly add spice to the relationship. With this in mind, any woman can always do her best to better understand her man; and any man would adore the woman who could apply such suggestions towards building a healthy relationship with them.

TOTAL FITNESS: Fun Activities To Tick-off Your List Before Summer Ends


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In a tropical country like ours where you don’t exactly have a choice when it comes to seasons, it’s fairly easy to mark summer as your default favorite. And why not? Here, we have some of the best beaches in the world and a few other interesting travel destinations, if donning short shorts and bikinis aren’t exactly your thing. But for those of you who can ill-afford to travel so much because of family and work restrictions, there are a lot of other activities you can do before summer is chased away by torrential rains.

1. Check out new dining places once a week and make your recommendations to friends and social media followers. Summer shouldn’t be just a treat for your (bronzed) skin. You must find ways to lavish your taste buds as well – without having to spend your entire life savings away. To make your gastronomic adventure even more exciting, try incorporating a theme into it.

2. Do a weekend movie marathon with friends. Start with your common favorite romcom or art film and then work your way through other movie genres. Don’t forget to serve up reduced-fat popcorn and healthy snacks so you can store up energy for a lively discussion during and after the screening.

3. Check out bazaars, flea markets, and ukay-ukay. Fashion need not be expensive and you can certainly look like a million bucks with a unique piece from ukay-ukay if you pull it off.

4. Travel locally. Whether by plane, bus, train, or boat, traveling has always been a panacea for all ills – except maybe that of your wallet. While it’s always enriching to travel abroad and getting exposed to foreign cultures, it is also equally important to discover pockets of beauty in our own shores.

5. Enroll in a language class. French, Mandarin, and Spanish are among the favorites and by the time summer is over, you just might surprise yourself – and your friends – with your multilingual dexterity.

6. Launch a garage sale. Rid your closet of clothes and accessories you haven’t worn in ages and make a bit of money you can spend on updating your wardrobe after. Now that’s a smart fashionista!

7. Visit a museum or check out the local art scene. Museums are one of the best places to learn about so many different topics ranging from space, to art, to natural history, and everything in between.  What makes museums so special is their ability to transport us to different times and places – at minimal cost.

8. Go to a basketball game or the local boxing match. Or any sporting event you’re a fan of. There is some wicked pleasure to be had in being part of a live action/crowd, and if you’re up for it, sign yourself up for some pre-game or half time festivities.

9. Sign up for a self-defense class. These days, it’s becoming increasingly important to learn the ways of defending oneself against criminal-minded people and dangerous situations. Take your pick from taekwondo, muay thai, or jiu jitsu and avoid looking like an easy prey.

10. Let your hair breathe. Before you know it, the humidity will cease and you’ll no longer have an excuse to not heat-style your hair when going out. Save time (and sweat) by using some texturizing spray in your hair before heading out the door.

11. Watch the sunset and take photos. Always beautifully dramatic, the sunset evokes a cornucopia of wonderment and emotions so much so that even if you don’t take good photos, you can always count on one or two of your captures coming out real good.

12. Stock up on fresh fruits. Make sure to put peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe and mango at the top of your grocery list, and keep them there as long as possible.  Suring summer, our skin tends to gets so dry especially when not cared for by moisturizers, so make sure to indulge in Vitamin A and E-rich foods and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

13. Sign up for a summer-savvy mani/pedi and spa treatment. Treat tortured tootsies and whole body to an extravagant TLC with a spa treatment finished off with a quintessentially summer shade like mint green or tangerine nail polish.

14. Have a fling. Whether it’s a guy with great surf moves or the girl down the hall with a shared love of long island iced tea, invest in the type of connection that runs on sun and laughter, and make sure to remain Facebook friends when the day gets shorter – for who knows what the following summer might bring?

15. Visit an amusement park. Pay tribute to your twelve your old self by hitting up all of the roller coasters at the local theme park. If living far from one, you might want to consider paying Tom’s World or World of Fun a day visit.

Total Fitness: IMPROVE YOUR DATING LIFE


Be Dateable.

Note: As published in this month’s (April 2012) issue of Total Fitness Magazine. Grab a copy today!

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Dating is a tricky business. Yes, it can be fun – which can also translate into a lot of calories ingested in the process, so remember to keep the fork off that chocolate lava pie, dinner date after dinner date – but for some people, it can also be the single source of epic frustration that can potentially render the heart scarred for a long period of time.

There are those who are blessed with excellent gene pool and seem to have a natural knack with charming men and women off their socks with a mere smile or fluttering of the eyelids; there are those who evoke the same response with smart quips and perfectly-timed compliments and punch line; and then there are those whose dating life seems to be a never ending reel of horror and disaster films. Whichever category you fall under, remember that dating is an art and a skill and we will all have our share of bad eggs – but with a little work, our dating life can easily undergo an upgrade.

Try these tips and see how your dating life eventually takes on a more positive spin.

1. Give yourself a makeover. Dating is as much about you as it is about the other party. You cannot demand for good looks, social graces, witty repartee, and all that jazz if you yourself are not willing to make an effort. It doesn’t mean you have to alter yourself and become someone unrecognizable, but at least work on your flaws and don’t fall into this trap of ‘what you see is what you get’ claptrap because believe me, doll, if he sees a lot of bad things, the last thing you would see is his back as he runs away from you – fast.

2. Open yourself to possibilities, date outside your usual type. Did you ever stop to think that perhaps one of the reasons why your dating life always has the same bad ending is because you are stuck with the same type all the time? Monotony breeds dissatisfaction which, in turn, can open up to a whole tub of worms. So shake it up, invite the world to see your versatility, and claim exctement as your middle name.

3. Take your time, take it slow. Remember, it is ONLY dating for now so don’t go jumping the gun and planning your wedding just as they are serving dessert. The purpose of dating is to open yourself up to a great deal of wondrous possibilities of friendship, which can potebtially blossom into love, and perhaps later on, a lasting commitment. These things take time to grow, just as you, as an adult need time to grow up.

4. Get mentored. Let’s face it, we’re not all blessed with an active flirting gene and sometimes, we do tend to get signals all mixed up. In dating, body language is important. We may be saying something verbally but our body language is screaming something else altogether. Enlist the help of a friend or acquaintance whom you know has a berth of dating experience and knowledge under his/her belt. At the beginning, it will seem unnatural but after a few dates, you will find your own style and revel in it.

5. Be sincerely curious about people. Dating is an exercise in getting to know the other person, and for this reason it’s important that you’re able to communicate your interest. Sometimes two people are just right for each other, but they never get to realize it because both are holding back or too focused on themselves to show true interest in their mate. Try not to hog the limelight too much. Ask him/her questions; be curious about the person sitting in front of you. Disclose a little about yourself, something that can pique and intrigue your date. Sometimes even if a date doesn’t lead to romance, the good conversation can be worth the evening’s entertainment. At least this way, if you two don’t work out you could gain a friend for life.

And lastly, be the person you yourself would want to date. Show the world that you are worthy of being loved and cared for. Even if it’s casual for now, don’t make it a habit to casually sleep with every single man or woman you go out with. Think of the damage this can do to your self-esteem both in the short and long term. If your ultimate goal is to have a nurturing relationship, by all means have fun but don’t sacrifice your values for it.

I’M A SURVIVOR: My BDM 102 Story


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.

Registered!

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.

2012 BDM 102 Briefing and CLP at Camp Aguinaldo

BDM warriors with Sir Jovie aka Baldrunner, the brains and might behind Bataan Death March

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!

With my support crew and runner friends.

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.

‘Ultra Vicky’ says my ARC Ph shirt.:)

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.

Dear God, we pray for safety, strength, perseverance, and courage as we conquer Mariveles, Bataan all the way to San Fernando, Pampanga…

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.

Oh my knees! (Subtitled: Parang mag-gi-gym ka lang ah!)

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.

Good morning sunshine! With my Reebok cap, play-dri top and shorts, you can always tell I mean some serious running business!

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!

Check out my cool arm sling!

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.

Nearly there…

KM 102, come to Mama!

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!!!

And here she comes barreling through the odds stacked up against her…Vicky, FTW!!!

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.

BDM 102 now officially crossed-out of my bucket list! BDM 160 na ba?;)

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! 

My BDM 102 story.

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!