Another Year Almost Over


Here I sit, watching The Voice on AXN and thinking Adam Levine is really one very attractive specimen. Don’t you think so? In the bathroom, i’m running a hot bath in which i’m going to soak myself for an hour, to wash off the sweat I worked up with my back-to-back Insanity Core and Cardio sessions earlier. It’s Saturday, the beginning of a long weekend in Malaysia (and the Philippines, too) and I’m just keeping it nice and easy in the morning – before it gets roller coaster-crazy again in the afternoon.

Not to say that I am a fitness freak...

Twenty eleven, you are almost on your way out of the door. When did the years start speeding by so fast? Is this an age thing somebody forgot to send me a memo of? Has my life now turned into this: months moving on fast forward, days on a mad loop, minutes that swirl round and round and round me? Some years ago, I graduated from the Uni and now I’m sorta-kinda living the life I had wanted since I was little – simple but purpose-driven.

I remember last November vividly. I remember traveling to Jordan for the first time and being fascinated by Petra. It was and still is, one of THE MOST amazing moments of my life. One day, when I’m old, I will forget faces, birthdays, numbers, moments, but not Petra and how it opened my senses to the beautifully strange and mystifying. One other thing I remember last November was how excited I was for months to change already so Chris and I can finally go on our December Phuket holiday.
Phuket 2010
One year later, I’m here in Malaysia for work and feeling the same wave of excitement again for December for a whole range of reasons but most especially for our second Bali trip (this piece of wonderland we visited in August 2010). The feel of sand between my toes, the just-the-two-of-us-holiday that we planned for, to once more close the gap between us, and no longer hating geography for making us so far apart.
Bali 2010
Things are changing up so fast I sometimes have to will myself to stand still, shut people out for a moment, and take several deep breaths just to regain focus. Do you ever feel that way sometimes? Being so overwhelmed it stifles you? Not that there is any reason for me to complain because try as I might, there isn’t any. Knock on wood but I feel Life has really made up for the bad cards it dealt me earlier on.
Two days ago, I also heard one of the most beautiful love story involving my dear friends from college and I remember going to bed that night feeling genuinely happy that they have found love in each other. Ahhh, Love. How is it that you make butterflies flutter about in my stomach? I think it’s time to make concrete plans to visit NY and give my felicitations personally.:)
It’s not yet twenty twelve but the dregs of twenty eleven are now visible that I can’t wait to take them all in one gulp so I can finally get a refill. Let my new year be happy. Let new opportunities come barreling through the door. I am ready for change, 2012, and if you know me even just a little bit, you know darn well that I can handle it. Let travel happen, let long distance become together-all-the-time, let me finally figure out cash and jobs and adult relationships. Will you allow me to be greedy and ask for more, more, more, and please, will you give it to me? Let everyone I love be safe, healthy, and happy this coming 2012, too. Make it an exciting year, a good year, a year we will not want to say goodbye to. At least not too soon.
Advertisements

The Girl Who Straddled Halloween


…and liked it very much, yes.  So last Friday, as you know, we celebrated Halloween in advance at the office and I showed up as a French maid who must’ve forgotten to go on a serious diet a month before because I looked bloated in some of the photos. ‘Sup with those gargantuan arms anyway, huh? Still, it was so much fun – especially since I don’t have past Halloweens to benchmark last  Friday’s against. So yey, fun!

'Don't Worry, 'V' Happy' Halloween 2011
I'm a good maid, yes?

And then I hied-off to Malaysia for work and arrived in time for my second Halloween, this time, with my Malaysian colleagues. If I was impressed by the costumes of some of the staff in Manila, I was even more impressed by what some of our Malaysian counterparts wore to the party. Some of them were pretty scary, I tell you. Izzan and Vijiyar startled me when they walked into the room garbed in their vampire costumes – complete with vampire contact lenses! Tanyen looked sensational in her Goth bride outfit and Jamie was a knockout in her Japanese schoolgirl/sailor ensemble. That night, I was a fairy with turquoise wings and lavender wand which does absolutely no magic, except to look pretty when (being) waved about. It was quite a transformation from the naughty maid that I was back home.Our Boss joined us at the tail end of the  poolside party and we had a managers meeting right after – which lasted well until past 1 in the morning. That’s exactly how we roll in this side of town where fairies attend meetings of the human kind.;)

Halloween in Malaysia (Photo by Eugene)
Japanese schoolgirl/sailor and the Blue Fairy
Vampires and a Fairy
With (the) Goth Bride and (the) Queen of the Damned.

And of course, after stuffing my face with sweets, Twisties, and mee hon, I felt so guilty I wanted to run around PJ, except that I forgot to pack my running kicks! I have Matilda (my EasyTone shoes) with me though, so at least I can do Insanity but with a bit of restraint because I have to constantly mind my form, which is a bit tough to hold with Matilda’s balance pods creating forced instability. Since I can’t do power jumps and other Insanity routines that could hurt my ankles when I land, I am concentrating on my core and thighs instead with lots of obliques and inner thigh pulses when on plie. At the risk of sounding utterly biased, I must say yet again that Reebok makes me look good. Don’t you think so?

Stretching is important in any workout.
Wearing Cirque du Soleil top and Reebok EasyTone shoes.

Total Fitness: Losing My Sanity


INSANITY came to me one day when a friend gave me a copy of the dvd workout, after I shared with her that my body seems to have already settled comfortably into my running routine that I am no longer feeling the pain I usually associate with a good workout.  Weirdly enough, I was also at that time getting bored of my frequent visits to the gym and lifting mild weights. Surely, there must be something out there more fun, less expensive, and most importantly, would give me the kind of pain my body craves for.

That something turned out to be INSANITY.

Losing my sanity.

INSANITY Workout is a 60-day cardio-based total-body conditioning program that is perhaps the most intense workout ever put on DVD. Fitness expert Shaun T drew on his collegiate track and field training plus his subsequent years of experience as an elite trainer to create a program that takes total-body conditioning to an extreme level.

Now what I like about this workout is that it’s very low maintenance. No gym memberships or heavy workout equipment are required. In fact, all you need is an ample space in the house, garage, the hotel room, or your backyard; towel; water for hydration; and your commitment to dig deep as you go from one level to another – every day for the next 60 days.

Work it!

Now I take great pride in my endurance and slightly high tolerance for physical pain. When I took a peek at some of the workout routines I thought they were pretty doable, even with my zero background in athletics – except maybe for running which I don’t get to do as often as I would have liked. Until I took the Fit Test – which is a prerequisite before you go head-on into the 60-day program. The fit test is a series of workout routines that you have to do as many repetitions of within one minute and it is advised that you do it every two weeks of INSANITY. Although my numbers weren’t as bad the first time, I did not expect to find myself sprawled on the floor, sweat-soaked and breathing heavily. Let’s not even talk about the expletives I let out a barrage of while going through the routines. That was just the beginning.

As I went deeper and deeper into the program, my body’s transformation is beginning to become more visible. First and foremost, I noticed that my core is gaining strength I never once achieved in my years of gymming. I also began sporting abs that was getting noticeably firmer.  The shape that my arms, thighs, and back were taking after merely two weeks of doing INSANITY also pleasantly surprised me.  Shaun T knew exactly what he was talking about and allow me this one line of false modesty, I may just be a walking proof of it!

One of the routines I struggled mightily with. Still not doing it perfectly.:(

Once I had crossed the first half of the 60-day program, the workouts became more intense. This is where nearly every workout routine is labeled Maximum – Maximum Cardio, Maximum Plyo, Maximum Sports Interval – and much to my amazement; my body continues to respond to the orgasmic torture. I was far from getting bored! I realized I was getting addicted to it when I refused to start my day without INSANITY – even while on vacation. I remember when my friends and I were on a holiday in Shanghai, bunking together in a tiny hotel room, I convinced them to move the beds and side tables around just so I could have my small space for INSANITY every morning at 6:30.

I love this workout so much that soon as I finished one cycle, I just took two days off and started the 60-day program all over again! Although unlike the first cycle where I tried not to allow myself to default for one day – and if I ever did, I made sure I did double-INSANITY to sort of punish myself for failing to stick to my workout plan – I was more lenient with myself on Cycle 2. Besides, around this time, my running has picked-up as well and I have become more visible in road and trail races.

Aside from the very obvious fast calorie-burning effect of this high-impact circuit training (minimum of 600 calories per workout), I am a huge fan of INSANITY because it strengthens my core; increases my agility (physical and mental); increases my flexibility (the stretching exercises include yoga poses and are highly effective in avoiding injuries); increases my speed in running; and this has to be said, it has given my body a whole new fierce look /shape – something I never had even when I was in my 20s; nor imagined I would achieve now that I’m in my 30s.

I could almost hear Olivia Newton John's song playing here 'Let's get physical...physical!'

And because I want to spread the fitness virus among friends, I have given some of mine their copies of INSANITY dvd in the hopes that they would get into the madness as well. Unfortunately, I have yet to hear about them completing the 60-day program. I am far from giving up though. One day, I know they will.

***Grab a copy of TOTAL FITNESS October issue for this a lot MORE!

2nd PAU 50k T2N: A lot like Love, Ultramarathon podium finish is always sweeter the second time around


What can I say about the UltraRunners except that they are a great bunch of people to run with?

At the starting line.
With KB Runner, who just promised to train me for BDM 102 next year.

People with good hearts, most of them. I lost my support somewhere after KM12 and for a while there I thought I was going to collapse due to dehydration (my Lightwater only had about a sip left) when I saw this other support crew up ahead and they graciously offered me water and a banana. The kind gesture would be repeated several times after that, by many other support teams.

Lightwater and no other.
With my pacer, Lao of Fairview Runners

Thinking about it now actually makes me smile and teary-eyed at the same time. Lovely people you guys are! I don’t know some of you but I hope you know how much you guys have helped me get through the race and all the way to a podium finish – and for that, I am truly, sincerely grateful. I survived all 50km with just 3 bananas + 2 slices of apple + 5 refills of water – all coming from various support teams, some of them stranger to me. That and a whole lot of heart, courage, and pride. I keep telling myself I will not DNF, never again.

Crossed the finish line in 5:45:50.

To Chaddy, who drove all the way to Nasugbu to trail me and have lunch and Mochiko with me post-race, you are one sweet angel! To the Fairview runners, especially the guy who paced me – Lao Ogerio (I’m so sorry I forgot your name! I’m really really really bad with names, I swear! Good thing you tagged yourself in one of the photos.) in the dying 12km stretch of the race, thank you! Your pananakot na may babae na runner sa likod ko who might be a threat to my bid for a 2nd place finish (kahit malayong-malayo naman pala!) actually made me forget about my tired feet and burned skin and soldier on with renewed spring in each stride. Ayoko kase ng nauunahan pa, especially when I know I have earned my spot and earned it well. That’s how wildly competitve I can be. Dennis Ravanzo knows that about me. Right, Dhenz?

Landing a podium finish at an ultra marathon is always lovelier the second time around...
Sir Jovie aka BaldRunner said I look so much different from the Vicky who DNF'd at the BDM Test Run last year.

Before the race, I was aiming for a sub-8 finish. I crossed the Finish Line in 5:45:50! And the best part about it is that I suffered nary an injury or discomfort – not even a dead toenail, which, by the way, I am known to collect after a long run. Alam na alam yan ng pedicurista ko who’d often tease me for having un-sexy feet because of the weird bone protruding on my right foot, and the mainstay dead toenail. Just tired legs which disappeared when I woke up after 12 hours of sleep – the tiredness on my legs, I mean. I still have my ultralegs intact, haha. ‘Claudia’ did a fantastic job of protecting me from running injuries while giving me that awesome spring in my stride. Having said that, thank you again to all of you.

I'mYourAverageEverydaySaintPsychoUltraRunnerSupergoddess.

Official results placed me 2nd among female runners and 39th out of 202 runners!

This would be the second time I landed a podium finish in an ultramarathon. The first one was at the 1st PAU Mt. Pinatubo 50k Trail Challenge, my ultra debut incidentally, where I also finished second but got my cherry popped in a somewhat violent way. I remember coming down with fever when reached home after the race, sporting two dead toenails for weeks, and nursing a limp for the next two days. But what I like most about Bald Runner’s ultra marathons, is how they are all about courage and pride sans the glitter of cash prizes that seduce most runners these days. In this case, it’s just you and the long stretch of road ahead and how tough your gut is. This T2N  race for example was made even more exciting by the myriad of close calls I miraculously survived! I think this was the only race where I prayed the hardest, while pounding the road, from start to finish. I was nearly sideswiped by a bus and a truck  somewhere between Tagaytay and Nasugbu and got chased after by stray dogs, as well.

Running on Clouds

Unlike my Mt. Pinatubo debut, I sort of trained for T2N by running an average of 15k every morning, Monday to Friday, and at least 20k on Saturday for two weeks prior to the big race. Though my training got interrupted for a few days when I went on a business trip to Singapore, I made sure to pick up the slack soon as I got back. I was also able to slot-in two Insanity sessions for added core power.

With Chinggay Andrada

The week leading up to the race also found me getting actively involved in the Reebok EasyTone and FTW launch – both turned out to be a superlative success – and I also dropped by Skechers ProSpeed Bloggers’ event the night before the race, where I met Coach Chinggay Andrada of the Pinoy Biggest Loser fame. She’s so petite and lovely, I’m even more inspired to get fitter and stronger – looking hotter would just be an added bonus.:)

Thank you, too, Reebok, Bodivance, Lightwater, Chris Sports, and FTW magazine for your support. I am indebted and in awe.:)

And Lord God, you are awesome beyond words. Every single moment of the day.:)

Mabuhay tayong lahat na Ultra Runners! TAYO NA TALAGA!

 

***Photo credits to the following: Carlo Serrano, A Runner’s Circle, Mayor Alfaro, Bave dela Cruz, Sir Jovie, The Curious Runner, Team Boring, and Team CB

Favorite Item no. 5: LIGHTWATER


Did you know that our bodies are made of 50-60% water? Technically, that is more than half our body mass. And by keeping our body hydrated all day, we are able to enjoy peak performance in whatever we do and our skin is kept looking and feeling healthy. We need water even when sitting still and more so when active in sports or other equally strenuous activities.

When you run or engage in your preferred form of workout, your body loses electrolytes which water alone cannot fully replace. Now I’m sure you have your preferred beverage, just as I have mine – which truly is a necessity considering my active lifestyle – and I have recently favorited one: LIGHTWATER.

Water made better.

Lightwater contains the electrolytes Calcium chloride, Magnesium chloride and Potassium bicarbonate – all of which were specifically chosen for their hydrating benefits as well as their ability to help maintain the body’s nutrient balance. What Lightwater does not contain, however, is sodium because this particular element has been proven to have detrimental effects when taken in large measures.

Another thing that I like about Lightwater is that it does not have any sportdrink sweetness and salty taste. It’s as clear as and even more refreshing than pure water and there is no heaviness associated with spring water and no flat taste like distilled water.

Since I have discovered this drink, I’ve been stocking up bottles in my fridge for my daily runs and weekly Insanity workout and it’s been helping me loads in my body’s hydration needs.

 

What’s your preferred beverage?

Thoughts on (hopefully) Running on On-Running


When it comes to running and nearly everything fitness-related, I have to give loads of credit to a certain friend of mine for getting me started – and pretty much hooked – on it. Though the ‘hooked’ part is really more of a personal conviction, something I am determined to keep on the up and up for as long as my body can take the pain, he was the one who introduced running to me – right from my first pair of legit running shoes, Mizuno Wave Creation 10 in bright orange (around this time, I haven’t gotten into the habit of naming my shoes yet but for easy recall, let me now call my first pair, Wanda. She breathed her last in Phuket  where I have decided to leave her degraded body – but Wanda served me well. Very well, in fact.) which he gave me as birthday present two years ago; Phoenix, my NF trail running shoes who carried my weight and busted shins all the way to the finish line of my first trail run – the Men’s Health All-Terrain Race in Sta. Elena; my prized Zara the Zoot which I would wear to my first (and only) full marathon, the Condura Run for the Dolphins in 2010 in which I crossed the finish line in less than five hours. Far from a Kikayrunner finish, obviously, but not too shabby either. Zara the Zoot were given to me as Christmas present so I was actually one of the few who would be wearing the pair before it was formally brought into the country by the local distributor. Zara came in patriot pink, by the way, which happens to be one of my favorite colors. And I got another pair of Mizuno Wave Rider, which I named Blu, as my 2011 New Year’s present. All these serve as constant reminder for me to work hard in making my fitness resolutions stick because I have been known to run my mouth on this and that and end up not achieving the end-goal I desire because I would get bored halfway through it and move on to do something else. It’s like the early signs of ADHD, I tell you.

Enter Reebok…and suddenly, my fitness goals have taken a whole new dimension. Just before I joined a bunch of cool runners as brand ambassador for Reebok Running, I thought my running mojo had decided to go on an extended vacation – indefinitely. At that time, I have not been logging decent mileage per week, so much so that I have already placed my running shoes back in their boxes, which resulted to my pants getting a bit tight around the waist again. Uh-oh. Danger alert!

Now what I like most about Reebok is its versatility. So far, the shoes and apparel that I have worn to so many running events and also at home when I do my Insanity workout (which reminds me, I gotta start Insanity Asylum soon!) have all given me my main prerequisites: Comfort, Performance, and Style. It fits perfectly with the very active lifestyle I maintain. I have Bruno, Basia, Purple Pippa, and Terra of the ZigTech family, and all of which have seen some hardcore action on and off-road. As luck – combined with hard work, determination and a whole lot of prayers for safety and deliverance from major injuries, if I may say so – would have it, I have also bagged a few podium finish. Recently though, I swallowed my prescribed dosage of this bitter pill called DNF and it did not taste heavenly at all, but it taught me a lot of things which I really ought to apply in my next ultra run happening in August. It’s 60k, if I’m not mistaken. Oh but before that, there’s MILO marathon happening end of the month for which I am hoping to log a new PR. I will attempt to shave off at least half an hour from my first marathon record of 4:56:00. Reebok Teammate Titanium Runner is egging me to pick up the gauntlet and throw in my bid to go sub-4 just like him and Sam the Running Ninja but I don’t know yet. I think it would be too tall an order for me. But who knows? Barring unpleasantries, I think I have enough fire power in me to achieve my marathon goal.

So now I think it seems pretty clear that I am a fitness enthusiast who loves shoes! I don’t know with you guys but it just seems very logical to me to come armed to the teeth when I am about to embark on some fitness activity – especially running. And by that I mean, I have to make sure my feet, knees, shins, etc. are insulated from injuries – especially the lingering kind. Nothing hurts a runner more than not being able to run.

Speaking of shoes, I have recently come across this brand which I heard will soon be making an appearance in the local running scene (courtesy of CHRIS Sports) — On-Running. Have any of you guys seen this on the road? I read Titanium Runner and JazzRunner‘s blog posts and I must say my curiosity got piqued. In a colossal way! It’s supposed to be the fastest running shoes in the world and it’s got nearly all of the world’s elite athletes raving about it. I took a peek at On-Running’s official website to learn a wee bit more about their patented CloudTec™ 3D cushioning system and found myself daydreaming about it for quite a bit. I mean, it’s rather hard not to when shoe performance is talked about glowingly like that. I have no illusions of one day running neck-and-neck with the gazelle-like Kenyans but I am mighty curious to know just how much faster I can still run. I don’t think I have reached my maximum speed yet. I mean, I may be 32 but I think my body’s built to constantly morph and improve. I wonder how it feels like wearing them? How exactly does this CloudTec system work? Will it really make me more agile and run faster and longer?

I suppose there is only one way to find out.

What are you running ON?

Uhrmmm, by the way, my birthday is less than 24 hours away. I’m just saying.

Oh it’s a beautiful day, I’m looking for something dumb to do…


…and since there’s no one around at 6AM whom I can ask to marry me, I did 15k race pace and capped it with INSANITY Maximum Interval Plyo! Don’t tell anyone but while I was running, I actually toyed with the idea of dissing work and going on a solo full marathon of sorts. Or I don’t know how far my feet will take me but I was feeling so good about nearly everything this morning that I thought I could go on running for five hours.

But of course I did no such thing. I am such a freak that I feel extremely guilty when I would so much as clock in five minutes late for work. Worse, even when I’m sick and practically burning up with fever, I still feel guilty about not being there in my office, working like a maniac behind the desk. No, really.

So 15k race pace done and I still have a universe of energy to spare so I decided to take on Insanity. God knows what Day I am on now because it’s already Round 2 and my body- sucker for physical torture that it is – already feels somewhat desensitized from circuit-workout type of pain. In fact, yesterday, when I shared this with my resurrected friend, he said I need to try something new. I need to shock my body, he added. But what else is out there to shock me? Insanity ASYLUM is one, but I won’t get my hands on the workout dvd until gorgeous Abby burns me a copy – and hopefully soon. But really, what else is there to try? S&M? Absolutely NOT. *ROTFLMNSSAO*

Quite interesting that morning run. Like I said, my body refused to quit. Obviously, I have some serious issues and running has become, for me, the penultimate catharsis. Or escape. I think it goes so much deeper than just running from stuff but then again, what do I know? My college diploma says AB Journalism and not some fancy degree in advanced Psychology or Psychiatry. Now before we go psychoanalyzing  my convoluted mind (it’s a dark and dangerous place, i’m telling you) there’s one other interesting thing that happened during my morning run.  While running along Garnet Road, I saw this old couple suffering from osteoporosis so bad that they’re both bent over from the waist. I took one look at the old man assisting his old wife and trying very hard to put umbrella over both their heads and just like that, I cried. There’s something about old people that turns me into a puddle of tears and this coming from a girl who prides herself to be an emotional eunuch. Most of the time. I don’t do sentimental love. My boyfriend whom I love dearly would attest to my emotional frigidity. Not all the time, no. But I have always been like that. Too pragmatic and too much of a realist. To break me is very difficult. But show me old people and I am stripped away of the glacier covering that organ called the heart. In an instant. I had already passed the couple a few yards when I decided to turn back, still Weepy Weeperson, opened my belt bag and saw my breakfast money and some loose change. It was a choice between my 5-peso coin and my Egg McMuffin+brewed coffee+hashbrown+pancake money (hey, I was very hungry!). It was an easy choice. That was probably the best fully-loaded breakfast money I had ever spent and not for my own gastronomic satisfaction. I know I’ve said this before but I’m going to say it again, one day when I am disgustingly rich, I will blow all my cosmetic surgery money on helping old, poor, and abandoned elderly. Maybe all the attention and discipline I plow into health and fitness will actually allow me to live long and still look youthful and vibrant even when old and wrinkly and I won’t ever feel the need to waxify my gorgeous face with Botox and what-not. Kamusta naman daw at may gorgeous pang nalalaman si bruha. Now how do I translate that into English?

Running back to the house I kept thinking: that right there could be the elusive true love. You should see how the old man looked after his wife, letting her weak frame lean on his body, while clumsily trying to open the tattered umbrella to put over their heads. She was wearing a tattered shirt with ‘Ramones’ printed at the back which made me smile through the tears. But what really pained me was the damage osteoporosis wrought on their wrinkled frame. Every step they make seemed very painful to me. Perhaps if they had access to better nutrition in their youth, things would have been vastly different. But hey, they were holding each other up, taking each step together, no matter the pain. I think next time my boyfriend tells me he adores and loves me, I should ask him if he’d look after me like that when I’m old and traces of my youthful beauty are long gone. Equally, I should want to do the same for him (as well).

Okay, that’s it. Mushfest over. I told you I can’t do sentimental the way it’s supposed to be done. But trust me on this one: I have a good heart.

And a rockin’ body with INSANE abs. You knew that was coming, didn’t you? Oh you know me all too well! Seriously, I do. And the only reason why I’m such a braggadocio when it comes to my finer attributes is because I worked freakin’ hard to get this body. Ask Shaun T. He knows. And now, you would know, too, with these photos.

Let's give that flab the one-two punch.
Side Suicide Drills for that nasty obliques!
Stay strong, keep the abs tight!
Push-up Balance.