IMMUVIT Fearless Challenge: I think, therefore, I AM fearless.


I haven’t done that many trail races (as of writing, I have only done five trail adventure races: the 2009 Men’s Health All-Terrain Race at Sta. Elena, the first Merrell Trail Adventure in 2010, Mt. Pinatubo 50k Trail Ultramarathon in 2010, 65k Frontrunner Valley Trail Challenge in which I DNF’d much to my chagrin, and the 3rd Merrell Adventure Run last June) but there is no denying that I love trail running more than I could ever love road races mainly because of the amount of air and noise pollution I get exposed to when running in the Metro. Besides that, I don’t think road races can and will ever be able to give me the peace and, at the same time, the exhilaration I feel out there in the woods. Make that a muddy, slippery trail and I have just gone way above the happiest mark in the happy-o-meter!

I like filth. No, not that kind of filth but the mud-caking-on-my-face-and-body-oh-my-god-I-look-like-a-homeless-person-with-my-lifeless-hair-plastered-all-over-my-face-like-that kind. Never mind if I get bruises and scrapes, too, as bonus. I like my scars. I think they give me some sort of character. I have accumulated tons of them over the years – from falling down mango trees; falling off bikes; getting scratched by cats or getting bitten by dogs (I was bitten twice when I was a kid) and all sorts of accidents I always seem to conveniently get into.

It’s no wonder then that I fell mighty in love with yesterday’s IMMUVIT Fearless Challenge where I got to do all sorts of stunts including but, of course, not limited to getting sticky and squishy mud on my person.

Before this, I was pretty convinced Merrell Trail Adventure held at Timberland last June would be tough to beat in my all-time favorite races category. But now, I am sorry to say that IMMUVIT Fearless Challenge has officially taken over the top spot.

Without Limits certainly pulled all the stops in bringing 500 runners (number of runners was only kept at a maximum of 500, by the way) all the obstacle fun their adventurous hearts can handle. If you ask me, they had me at the first obstacle – the fire wall.

Fight fire with fire…

Obstacle course no. 1: Check!

From there, it was soaring, muddy hills challenging my legs, until I reached the second obstacle – the mud pit, where I had to crawl real low before hitting the trail running, again. By this time, I was already on fire – totally unperturbed by my state of disarray (hair ugly, face muddy, etc)!

Then came the log walls where I had to leap over logs of varying height – some of them as high as my chest, making it almost impossible for my short legs to jump over! For this, I had to step on the proffered hand by the marshall, haul my body off the ground, hug the log like a friggin’ monkey and jump over to the other side. That, too, was a lot of fun!

After covering more ground – or mud – I finally reached the military wall where I caught up with a few more runners from Wave 5, of which I was part of. It was here that my gloves first found its purpose because I had to climb up the nylon rope to get to the platform on top before sliding on my backside down to the other side of the wall. I could not have been more G.I. Jane-ish than this!

Slip sliding away… Also, I don’t think G.I. Jane ever looked this ugly!

In which my flat backside got flattened on impact again, they might as well be called pancakes! LOL.

From there, it was all running again until I reached the next obstacle course which involved  running across tire set – supposed to be good in testing one’s balance and agility – and it scared me a little bit because I’m usually very clumsy and uncoordinated with these things! Thankfully, I didn’t misstep and fall flat on my face or that would have been extremely painful and embarrassing.

Trees and mud — what’s not to love?

And then came my most favorite part of the obstacle series, the mud wall! To get to the mud wall, I had to go down the stream and wade in knee-deep waters. But alas, I slipped on the rocks and I ended up getting submerged chest-deep! Have I mentioned I’m clumsy?! At the foot of the wall, there were already a few men standing in line, waiting for the helmets to be passed to them and for the nylon ropes to be lowered so they can start with their ascent. Finally it was my turn and surprisingly, I kind of just breezed through it!

There was one more log crossing – and again, I looked like a drenched monkey clinging on to the highest of the logs – and one more fire wall before I finally crossed the finish line with the broadest smile ever seen on my face!

Sometimes I fancy myself a superhero.

I wonder how much fun I will have in the next leg of the IMMUVIT Fearless Challenge series? Can’t wait!

Thank you Benj Termulo for my compression sleeves! Finally got to wear them!

Here are more photos post-race. Enjoy!

Fearless Team REEBOK

With WITHOUT LIMITS PHILS. Race Director Ian Alacar

Team REEBOK With Jay Em of Pro Active Sports

Fearless, fierce, and all-female.

Race Event: IMMUVIT Fearless Challenge


Team Without Limits is certainly keen on showing us how limitless its ideas can be when it comes to running-related adventures. On 26 August, the much-awaited IMMUVIT Fearless Challenge will kick-off with NO SURRENDER, an obstacle run at the La Mesa Nature Reserve. This will be followed by Leg 2 dubbed  NO EXCUSES on 15 September, and finally, Leg 3 aptly dubbed NO TURNING BACK, which will feature extreme obstacle run.

Registration is ongoing and if I’m lucky to get registered for Leg 1, I just might see you there.

Good vibes, Loves, only good vibes.

Check out the crimson and black singlet and finisher’s medal, too! I heard, though, that they are limiting the slots to only 500 for Leg 1 so chances are, it may already be closed by now. Boo-hoo. Well, then, make sure you don’t miss Legs 2 and 3. Happy trail running dolls!

Fresh: REEBOK RealFlex Flight & World Vision Run 2012


Take flight with Reebok RealFlex Flight. Engineered with individual flex-friendly nodes (76 sensors) and a lightweight, minimalist foldover tongue and sole, the RealFlex Flight is designed to help your feet move and flex naturally with an ideal balance of support and flexibility. Now available at all Reebok stores nationwide for Php 4,295. I will be wearing these babies, which I have decided to call Fiona, this coming Sunday at the World Vision Run where I will be doing another 21k. See you guys there! xoxo

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Speaking of World Vision Run, this is going to be held on June 24, 2012 (Sunday) at the Bonifacio Global City. World Vision is inviting runners to share the same kind of love that can change lives—lives of children in need. With a very small act of kindness these children will be able to look ahead to better lives with better opportunities, all because runners like us and even non-runner kindhearted souls out there, have made the decision to willingly open our hearts and share love and care to kids who are in dire need of it!

This Run  is a way for us to make a real and lasting difference for ONE precious boy or girl in need. Proceeds from registration fees shall be pooled together with other World Vision resources so children, families and communities may be provided with the following:

  • Education
  • Skills training
  • Improved Nutrition
  • Livelihood assistance
  • Health care
  • Safe water
  • Values formation
Again, let’s support this run and help children gain access to a better future for themselves and their families. For more details, check poster below:

UNILAB Run United 2012


I haven’t been around road races lately but UNILAB Run United 2 has, more than anything, shown me just how huge the running community has grown since I became part of it in 2009. Until Sunday, five thousand half-marathon runners were unheard of in the Philippines. In a way, it’s nice to see more runners taking more risks when it comes to pushing their capabilities. That most of them don’t just look at 5k or 10 and stop there is, I think, a very good thing – not only for physical fitness but also for general wellbeing. There most certainly is a good deal of pleasure to be had in besting one’s personal record and moving on to longer distance categories.  Trust me, I know, because I haven’t been able to shake-off the urge to keep doing better in whatever race I join – even when the odds are stacked high against me.

Run United 2 Expo

Just like this Sunday. I woke up around 3am to aching joints and that all too-familiar abdominal cramps. Yep, it was day one and what do you know, it was raining too! I briefly contemplated ditching the race and continue with my dreamy slumber – bed weather and all.  But after consuming six heaping spoonfuls of Nutella the day before, along with a few other unhealthy nibbles, I was too guilt-stricken I couldn’t possibly pass up the chance to burn some calories – even when in period-related discomfort and pain.

We reached BGC twenty-five minutes before gun start and I was pleasantly surprised to see the starting line crawling with runners; all of them oblivious to the steady drizzle drenching everything on sight. After dumping our bags at the luggage area, we made our way to the barricaded starting line, where the marshals were no longer allowing anyone to check-in until the first two waves of 21k runners have been released. We wound up on wave 3 – Bave, Cris, and I – and we snaked our way just a few layers behind the lead pack.  You see, I am not a fast runner but I kind of resent getting stuck behind runners much slower than I am. When this happens, first, I get exceedingly bored and then gradually, my temper starts to bubble up at the surface. I suppose it’s called aging, this ‘getting annoyed so fast’ syndrome.

Team Reebok with Eric Caramay and Sir Rene ‘Jazzrunner’ Villarta at the Unilab Media and Bloggers area (Thank you, Unilab!)

I have always enjoyed running in the rain so I started skipping happily past the starting line, momentarily forgetting about the painful spasms. Now I must say that Run United 2 has done very well with hydration. I’m not much of a hydrabelt-sporting runner but it was clearly unnecessary for me to worry about that in this case because hydration did not leave anything to be desired. There were piles of banana and sponge in some water stations, too, much to the runners’ delight. At least, I thought it was delightful! I had half a banana at one of the stations and chewing on it helped get my mind off the cramps I’ve been battling since I woke up.

Now the fun thing about starting at wave three is that you get to pass by so many runners from the first two waves who have slowed down. Not that I got any faster but I suppose they were more tired than I was, so I managed to squeak past a number of them.

Team Reebok

And then there was the finish line, with the digital timer blinking away beautifully. It was just the respite I needed. The pain in my abdomen did not recede one bit and in my drenched state, I was exceedingly uncomfortable too. One of those days when being a woman is not much fun.

After crossing the tape, I immediately went in search of my luggage so I can take my digicam and snap photos of the post-race revelry while waiting for my teammates to arrive. I visited the Reebok booth and was glad to see Ms. Yoya and Villy, both of whom have been very supportive of the team for a year now. We saw some of the latest designs in running shoes and apparel and they all look pretty ingenious! Too bad, most of them are for men.

Reebok Phils. family

Polecats Manila was also there and I stood there in awe of the grace and athleticism of the pole athletes led by Ms. CD. I really shouldn’t have stopped at just three lessons. I had been busy with work and travel that I wasn’t able to make time for it but now that I’m here and actually have a few days before I leave again and again, I’m definitely enrolling for some pole fun! My dream to become a pole athlete is still very much on.

Now that’s pure athleticism – with a sexy twist!

Now I have heard so much hype on the 3-piece RU2 medal, each piece of which you will have to collect for every RU2 race you join, and I can totally understand how so many runners have bought into it. The idea itself is nifty and it creates some form of loyalty from the audience. Since I wasn’t around when RU2 Leg 1 happened – at that time I was fighting for BDM 102 recognition with blood, sweat, and tears – I don’t have the first piece of the medal puzzle. So if there’s anyone out there who wants the second piece of the puzzle (I dunno. Maybe you were ill or incapacitated last Sunday and couldn’t run), I’m willing to donate mine. Kidding. Or not.

Thank you Mr. Photographer!

All in all, I thought UNILAB and Run Rio did an amazing job with Run United 2, which turned out to be a mega success despite the inclement weather the night before and on race day itself. The celebrity sightings and mini concert also added flavor to the show and even though I did not stay long enough to check out the booths and other activities at the Expo, the runners all seemed to have enjoyed themselves immensely that day.

By the way, here’s my 21k race results and analysis. I wasn’t fast enough, it seems. Oh well, let’s hope I do even better on my next full-mary: the 36th MILO Marathon.

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Race outfit: Reebok top, Reebok RealFlex shoes (since it was raining, I wanted to go lightweight with my kicks), pink Newton socks, Smith Optics Pivlock shades, and a bright smile.:)

Race Event: BROOKS’ Happy Run 2


I can’t remember where I was when the first Happy Run was staged but I missed it last year. I must have been gallivanting somewhere for sure because I normally do not pass up a chance to hit the road when I’m in town. After all, running is just right about the only proper workout I get to fit into my insane schedule. So when I heard that the second run is happening on the 3rd of June and good for me I’m around, I told myself I ain’t going to miss it this time. Even if it means doing (a) back-to-back race after Merrell Trail Adventure the day before. I hope my rusty knees are up for the challenge, given that I have been pretty sedentary these past weeks.

I heard that this year, Brooks, along with race organizers Without Limits and Pro Active, are cooking up a storm of fun and exciting activities at the race for the runners, guests, and families to enjoy. Aside from photo booths, inflatables, and games, there will also be a selling exhibit of top running brands such as Brooks, Moving Comfort, Polar, RUNNR and a few more. Not only that, runners can also purchase selected pair of Brooks running shoes at half the price!

Happy Run 2 has three race categories: 6k, 12k, and 21k with cash prizes up for grabs. Not only that, Brooks brand ambassador Jennylyn Mercado along with other GMA talents, will be there to grace the event. We heard Jennylyn – who’s also a triathlete  (how many of you know that? Amazing, isn’t she?) – will be running 6k. So guys, I would advice you not to run too close unless you’re prepared to get chicked. But for photo op purposes, why not?

And oh, just so you know, Happy Run 2 is an event in support of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), a non-government organization that helps to protect and conserve the environment. A noble cause, wouldn’t you say? After all, if our environment gets even more messed up than it already is, we may not have a dry place to run around in.

Register now at RUNNR outlets in BHS, Trinoma, and Alabang and selected Toby’s Sports outlets all over Metro, and get your race kit with the limited edition Brooks singlet and Gu gel. I saw the singlet and I totally love it! The color , fabric, and cut are sexy. And I kinda know sexy, so trust me on this. *wink*

So…are you ready to get happy with us?

Race Event: 3rd FUEGO Sunset Run


I remember last year’s Sunset Run vividly as though it only happened last weekend. It was the first out-of-town race event by Team Reebok Running and suffice it to say we had a lot more fun than we bargained for when we hied-off to Club Punta Fuego that day – thanks to Pep Squad, Reebok, and Titanium Runner who got us free race kits for the event.

This year, Club Punta Fuego and Pep Squad Events are at it again: Giving runners an exciting race event that does not involve running around the much-utilized BGC or MOA complex with the 3rd Fuego Sunset Run!

So if you don’t have anything special planned on the 12th of May, I suggest you register for the race. You can come in the morning and spend it gallivanting around Fuego; getting a bit of tan on the beach; and have tons of silly beach photos taken while there – just like we did last year. Only at that time, we were quite lucky to have Mr. Estan Cabigas with us, so our photos actually came out much nicer than we could ever hope for!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to join the race but the rest of Team Reebok will be there so I won’t be missed much. haha. Good luck on the race and I hope you guys have as much fun sunset-running as I had last year. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but in Fuego on the 12th.

Toodles!

Race Event: PDA Pilipinas Darating Ako Run, and a short quip on an almost-‘plane accident’ and Sunday’s Run For The Orphans


Hello Loves! It’s been a mad, mad several weeks of hectic work schedule occasionally punctuated by a little bit more work and one or two running event if I happen to be in town. I had been away for two weeks on business travel to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta and my tiny frame has barely recovered from exhaustion and the almost-plane crash on our flight back to Manila Saturday night – which I will share with you later on if I’m still feeling prolific, when I jumped right into a 10k race at Camp Crame yesterday and almost snatched a podium finish. On hindsight, you could say it had been a weekend of ‘almosts’. Oh but perhaps I exaggerate with the almost plane crash, but let me tell you the story and you be the judge as I don’t want to sound overly dramatic about it. After all, I’m still alive and fighting to die another day, right?

So our flight was at 5:30pm via MH805. Boarding and time of departure were followed almost to the letter. I was sitting between Davoud and a nun. I watched a bit of Entourage on my laptop and I tried to move the screen away from the nun’s direct line of vision as I really didn’t want to offend her with the somewhat explicit scenes in the series. Somewhere in the middle of the episode, I started to feel sleepy so I folded the screen and drifted off to a deep slumber. I woke up to Davoud shaking my arm a little bit vigorously. Still half asleep, I asked him what it was and he said that an announcement came on the inflight speakers saying we will reverse our course and head back down to KLIA because ‘the plane is experiencing technical problems’. I only caught ‘technical problems’ and I immediately went on high alert mode, like how your dog’s or cat’s ears would perk when sensing trouble or danger. We had only been up in the air for about an hour or so. Imagine how the words ‘plane technical problems’ wrought every imaginable horror/disaster in my head!  I tried not to appear too scared but the involuntary shaking of my hands, the slight quiver in my lower lip, and the expression on my face I’m pretty sure showed otherwise.

I kept looking down and seeing only the jungles of Malaysia which only fueled my agitation. By this time, I was already conjuring fiery images of our plane crashing down and it bursting into wild flames – including us, the passengers. I mean, really, what do people usually think of in such situations? So uncool but I was too terrified to care about coolness. Anyway, we managed to land safely back in KLIA and we didn’t even have to wait for ages for the next plane to come and take us on a flight back to Manila, finally.

Whatever the technical problems were, I guess it’s rather wise of the MH pilot to make that decision to turn back instead of risking our lives. Of course, one can always argue that the plane should have been thoroughly inspected and should not have been cleared for take-off in the first place, but we’re safe now and that’s what matters. I don’t know if you guys have had the same experience but let me tell you just the same that it ain’t pretty. Nothing messes up your mind more radically than the thought of having to die in such a violent way and you’re just sitting there waiting for the inevitable to explode in your face. Literally.

***

I arrived in Manila at past midnight Sunday and reached home just after 1am. Didn’t bother sleeping anymore as I had to go to Camp Crame for a 10k run organized by RUNdezvous called Run For The Orphans, a benefit run for the children of deceased military men and women. Sir Rene aka Jazzrunner gave Team Reebok free race kits and my teammate Beep Beep picked me up around 4:30am. Still a bit shaken from the plane scare and obviously groggy from zero sleep, I manned-up nonetheless and ran as best as I could.

Thank you XtopherProject for this photo. I said on FB that I look like Flash here. Gabriel 'Flash' Elorde nga lang. hihihi.

I crossed the finish line at 57 minutes or so. No surprise there given what I had been through and of course the lack of running and workout whatsoever the past two weeks that I was traveling. I heard my name called and they told me I finished third – yey! – and then Mish, the pretty host and KB Runner’s commander, told me that I had been bumped-off from the podium because super fast Reylynne who was the consistent female leader at the race apparently got lost and ended up doing one more extra loop. Ayyy. hahaha. So ya, I was third for exactly 5 minutes which is still good – yey again!

Thank you Team USB for this photo.:)

I liked Run For The Orphans for a lot of sentimental reasons. The vibe was easy, fun, we were all like one big family there – just like old times. No bad vibes, just a bunch of running enthusiasts pledging support for a disenfranchised group of orphaned kids. I’m glad to be part of this cause and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more of my old-time runner friends and the ones that I’ve met for the first time that day.

Team Reebok and Team Diadora

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Now if you’re a runner who, like me, is quite passionate about social responsibility and getting actively involved in helping those in need of care and nurturing, there is a racing event you can check out this coming Sunday: PDA Pilipinas Darating Ako Run. PDA is a fun run in celebration of the 8th Dental Health Month happening on the 19th of February at the Cuneta Astrodome starting at 4:30am. Apart from promoting dental health, PDA also seeks to gain support for its BINHI (Bawat Isa Nangangako Habangbuhay Iingatan) Reforestation Program – for which they declare: One Runner, One Seedling. Now don’t you agree that our environment also needs a lot of care? And wouldn’t you want to be among those who are bravely taking steps to restore Mother Nature – with great vigilance? I hope you will answer YES to both.:)

This race has been organized by Without Limits, also one of my favorite organizers in today’s running industry.

For details, check below.