Three Ways I Could’ve Rocked SCMS 2014 But Didn’t


SCMS 2014_vickyras

 

I barely made it to the 6-hour cut-off time of the recent Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS 2014) and I had just as much to do with the disappointing result as the inconveniences experienced during the race. Rather, my absolute lack of motivation and indisputable passivity did a number on me. The fact that it was my third time doing SCMS should have already prepared me mentally and physically for the 42 kilometres’ worth of torture, on foot. I assumed it was going to rain as it had been raining wildly almost everyday for several weeks before the race, and therefore I was counting on a cooler and more comfortable run. But instead, the sun came out all guns blazing and the heat was almost incomprehensible! Runners were dropping like flies and the long march of runners started as soon as we entered the long stretch of the East Coast garden. Seeing a handful of very fit-looking runners collapsing on the ground, noticeably exhausted from the heat, and being attended to by first aid volunteers, also creates a sense of foreboding. A kind of mindfucking, pardon my French.

So I’ve had some time to think about my cataclysmic performance and played out some scenarios where I could’ve done better. And I’m putting out this list so aspiring marathoners would know better than to get complacent or lazy – or both.

1. I could’ve done what any sensible runner preparing for a marathon would do: Train. It was rather obtuse of me to think that my experiences of running long distance in the past will overcome the limitations of my ageing body.

2. I could’ve watched my diet and favoured more healthy foods instead of stuffing my face with high-calorie desserts and occasionally going overboard with le vin et les fromages. I have seen some of my marathon photos and boy, did I look like an overstuffed burrito! Delicious to eat but a fat burrito just the same. haha.

SCMS2014_vickyras

3. I could’ve prepared better by keeping myself hydrated days leading to the marathon. Although, this is one area that I have always struggled with. I just don’t drink enough water.

Seven marathons in the bag (and a few ultramarathons I don’t think I will ever have the chutzpah to do again, anyway) and here I am, contemplating if I still have enough drive in me to shoot for three, or maybe even more. Somewhere, somehow, may passion for running fizzled out dramatically and it’s somewhat disconcerting because I used to really love the sport. Perhaps it’s because I don’t join enough races here in Singapore, unlike when I was still living in the Philippines. And then I got lazy and became fat as a result. I know the love is still there – these things never go away permanently anyway – I just need to find ways to rekindle the fire. And running more frequently from here on in is just as good a place to start as updating my running outfit. (Oh boy, my husband is not going to like this bit. LOL.) Besides, there is Phuket to get toned for and I only have two weeks to transform my body. Bonne chance la Vicky!

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!

MERRELL Adventure Run 2012


Between a trail and a road race, I would go for trail – in a heartbeat. That I have always known since I had the opportunity to try out trail running at the first Merrell Adventure Run held at the Wawa Dam in Montalban, Rizal back in 2010. I only did 5k at that time and even though we got lost and ended up wandering aimlessly for a good hour before we would be able to find our way back, it did not diminish the exhilaration one bit. It sure was fun taking photos of the ducks, rocks, and the dam itself.

So when I was invited by Agatep Associates (Thank you Agatep!) to be part of the third Merrell Adventure Run last 2 June, this time at Timberland Heights in San Mateo, Rizal, not only did I say ‘hell, yeah!’, I also signed up for 21k for maximum mountainside adventure experience!

The night before the race, it started to rain and the downpour came cold and steady I struggled mightily to get out of bed at 3am – enough time to shower and get prepped-up for the 4am pick-up. In the car, Lai and I were speculating whether or not the race will happen given that it still hasn’t stopped drizzling. We passed by Philcoa to pick-up runner bloggers Running Atom and Allan of Run Free Manila, both of whom I know and have run several races with in the Metro.

It was still dark and chilly by the time we reached Timberland Heights, but there were already a lot of cars parked and runners milling around, some doing stretching exercises and others are happily playing catch-up with fellow runners.

With Running Atom (in black) and Allan aka RFM (red)

Ten minutes before gun start, Running Atom and I made our way to the starting line to join the rest of the 21k runners. Looking around, everyone seems to me is in great trail running shape. Extreme adventure athlete Thumbie Remigio, the brains and brawn behind this year’s more physically and emotionally demanding Merrell Adventure Run course, gave a few reminders to the runners before sending us off to what awaits us at Timberland Heights — a dunk in a mud pit, a few kilometers of slick uneven rocky pathways, and was punctuated with an endless string of uphill climbs.

The downpour had turned the already rigorous uphill off-road course into a slippery path.  We found ourselves sliding down muddied inclines, groping for handholds at slippery slopes, and splashing across natural streams.  I slipped twice while trying to cross the boulders that dotted the stream. One particular ‘vertical split’ (imagine one foot slipping fast down the side of the rock while my other foot was still lodged above) gave my inner thighs/crotch a nasty stretch, I would feel the tingle for a few more hours after the race. I also collected a number of cuts and scratches on my thighs, legs, and arms, from coming into contact with blades of tall grass and tree branches.

I didn’t have my watch with me so I couldn’t tell how long I had been running out there for but I was having so much fun  I was practically oblivious to anything but. I passed Reebok teammate Beep Beep at some point and would not see him and our other friends after that. Most of the time I would be on my own, occasionally overtaking a few runners, but would also be overtaken by a good number of runners as well.

There was enough water and Pocari sweat in all the well-placed hydration stations (Pocari was, of course, limited) to keep me hydrated all throughout the race. Before the race, I had planned on bringing my hydration belt with me but decided against it when I learned about the mud pit. A wise decision as I would not have been able to save it from getting dunked into a pool of mud.

Thankfully, I did not suffer cramps or knee injuries that would have made running uphill and downhill such a painful task. Before I knew it, I was already approaching the finish line and Running Atom (boy was he fast in this one!) and Alan (RFM) were already there waiting to snap some photos of me crossing it. Chip time says I finished 21k of the challenging Merrell Adventure course in 4 hours, 19 minutes, and 27 seconds.

Merrell Adventure Run 2012 certainly ranks high on my list of all-time favorite races!  A fantastic upgrade from its maiden attempt in 2010. I enjoyed the race so much I am now on the lookout for more trail runs I could join. Thank you Merrell and Agatep!

Travel: A Whole Lotta Cherry Poppin’ in Davao


I love my recent trip to Davao City to bits for a lot of good reasons but having my cherry popped specifically on these three things: (a.) zipline (b.) having a photo taken with an albino python, and (c.) civet coffee – certainly takes the cake out of any fun activities I recall to have done in any of my past local travels. Except, perhaps, my intro to diving experience in Batangas and surfing in Zambales – as I don’t think these two will ever be taken out of my ‘awesome adventures’ file box.

Thank you WITHOUT LIMITS and OPERATION SMILE!

But first, thank you to our dear friend Ian Alacar of Without Limits and the people behind Operation Smile for sponsoring our trip to Davao! As you know, I was there along with Team Reebok, for The 500 Smile Fun Run (Davao Leg) – an initiative of Operation Smile in celebration of its 30th year in the Philippines. Through the race and other local and nationwide efforts, Operation Smile is hoping to create awareness and rally support from the private sector for its ongoing campaign of providing free reconstructive facial surgery to indigent Filipino children and young adults born with cleft lip and cleft palate deformity.

The race was held on the 27th of November so we had a bit of time to enjoy most of what Davao has to offer. If time and resources were on our side, we would have gunned for EVERYTHING, and not just some of the city’s offerings. The first thing I noticed when we landed at Davao International Airport was how beautiful the airport was! It’s clean and welcoming and, well, nothing like our old international airport in Manila. As we drove out of the airport and into the city proper, we also noticed that there is hardly garbage strewn out and scattered about in the streets and in plain sight of people – which is quite a common sight where we’re from. Later on, we would learn that they practice proper waste segregation and management in Davao and the Davaoenos really take it very seriously! Kinda makes me wonder why these things don’t work as well in Metro Manila.

So anyway, I don’t have much time so let me just quickly go through the three things Davao has successfully deflowered me on:

I am Super(wo)man!

1. Zipline. I have the greatest fear of heights. Take me five floors up and make me look down and I’d be all green in the face. That’s why bungee jumping, skywalking, parasailing, hot air balloon ride, etc, are never going to make it into my list of Things To Do Very Soon. I am terrified of heights and I’m NOT even contemplating doing something about. Until Kassy and the guys egged me on to try ziplining and before I knew it, I was doing the superman on my first zipline and sitting next. It was exhilarating! Of course I was shaking like a leaf when the guys were strapping the harness on and would shake more violently when I was given the instruction to lower myself and get ready to be released on the cable. I thought I was going to keep my eyes painfully shut the whole 600 meters of the first zipline but I manned-up and even managed a split-second look-down into the trees and water down below. Boy, was I brave!

You guys ever tried touching a python? They're very strong and cold to the touch. Kaya pala 'coldhearted snake'...

Five against one.

2. Touching and having my photo taken with an albino python. As much as I harbor fear of heights, I am equal parts terrified of reptiles  as well – snakes, especially! And so imagine how I was shrieking and cringing each time I would attempt to get close to the python for photo op. Even though the zoo attendant reassured us over and over again that it is quite a nice snake and that it’s used to having humans give it a good petting, I was still terrified! But after doing ziplining even with my fear of heights, I figured, what’s one more act of ‘valor’? haha.

If only they needed sip and smile models outside the zoo in Davao...

3. Civet coffee. Now I am far from a coffee connoisseur or of anything, actually, but I have heard of civet coffee (who hasn’t anyway) and have always been curious about its taste and aroma. And since I was on some kind of a roll in Davao with items 1 and 2, in addition to a wild  time spent at the Bazaar, I simply could not break the awesome pattern by letting civet coffee pass. So, ayun, tumikim ako. (So there, I succumbed and had a sip.) I took it pure, no sugar and cream (I assume that’s how it’s supposed to be taken, ya?), and my initial reaction was: ‘Well, ya, it’s totally different from the instant coffees and commercial staple I pick up from Starbucks or Coffee Bean.’ Now I hope I don’t offend coffee lovers and especially those who think the world of civet coffee by my paltry review – if you could call it that – because like I said, I really am far from being a decent food blogger/critique. It’s been one of my greatest frustrations, trust me, and it breaks my heart every single time because I can’t seem to get any better at it! *sob*

Kariton kids

So there you have it, my lovely Davao adventure in three stages of deflowering. As for the primary reason for our being there – The 500 Smile Run – I am pretty pleased to report that I took podium again by placing 3rd in the 16k female category!  It feels good to be back on the road and (the) podium finish certainly became the sweet, lavish layer of icing on the cake.

Vicky wearing Reebok Easytone top, Zigtech shorts, and RealFlex Optima.

The 500 Smile Run(ners)

Total Fitness: Run Away From Common Running Injuries


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

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

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

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

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

Because I’m Fit and Flexible Like That


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

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

Insanity Round 1, Day 58

                                        Round 1         Round 2

Date                               5-Mar               9-May

Move                            Fit Test 1          Fit Test 1

Switch Kicks              70                      136

Power Jacks              25                      60

Power Knees             80                      95

Power Jumps            10                      60

Globe Jumps                9                      13

Suicide Jumps          10                     20

Push-Up Jacks          15                     40

Low Plank Oblique  30                    74

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

So, diving it is.

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

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

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

Reaching high but keeping feet planted firmly on the ground.

Yes, I run on swimsuit too.

Run like the wind...

Now that's a HAPPY RUN!

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

Vignettes from (the) Holy Week.


At KM0 with Team U Runners.

I.  VISITA IGLESIA Run

I just had an incredibly good Holy Week. So good, in fact, I feel as though I’m still traipsing along the happy alley in my fuchsia pink flats. Growing up in our little hometown in Bicol, I have some vague recollection of how  we used to spend Holy Week there – usually with several trips to the parish church and endless stream of prayers. But it’s been nearly two decades since I left my hometown, so maybe things have changed a little, if not drastically. One thing I never got to do while still in Bicol is Visita Iglesia or church visits, which, apparently, is a Filipino Roman Catholic tradition (is it really exclusive to us Pinoys?) of visiting 14 churches in commemoration of the 14 stations of the cross. So when I saw in our running yahoogroup that some people are planning to do a Visita Iglesia run, I immediately signed up. You see, I have not really been making the trips to churches since I became a Christian sometime back.  I backslid a few times, I readily admit, but I always find my way back somehow.

In front of Manila Cathedral.

Malate Church.

Channeling my inner Kenyan by running Totoy's pace - for about 10ft, haha.

Mother or Perpetual Help Parish in Baclaran.

So anyway, we had set the run date for Maundy Thursday at KM0, fronting Luneta Park. But because I didn’t know how to make my way to Luneta, one of the runners picked me up. Thank you, JJ! Not to play damsel in distress or anything like that, but I am totally hopeless when it comes to directions! When we reached our meeting spot, the group was nearly complete. Apart from Totoy and Ronel, both of whom I would see in the few races I would join when not gallivanting elsewhere, the rest of the runners were strangers to me. But obviously, not anymore after the perfunctory introductions and running side by side with them for several hours. After snapping a few group photos, we slowly made our way to church no. 1, the majestic Manila Cathedral. From there, we went to San Agustin Church which is practically right next door to the cathedral, and on to 11 more churches before we capped our visita iglesia run at Santuario de San Antonio. We started at 6:30am and by the time we covered all 14 churches; distance totaled 30 kilometers according to Totoy’s garmin; and it was lunch time already and the sun’s rays were already a bit harsh on the skin. Too bad some of our runner friends did not finish the whole stretch with us, because when we ended, there were only five of us left – happily wolfing down unhealthy stuff at McDonalds! But hey, if you just ran 30kms under the heat of the sun, don’t you think you deserve that Oreo McFlurry? Thought so too.

Somewhere in EDSA.

Huli si Manong! Ang intense naman ng tingin sakin.:p

Don Bosco Parish.

I wore Bruno my ZigNano and once again, I was mightily pleased by his performance. Not even once in those 30kms we ran did I feel any pain or discomfort. Usually, even with my other running shoes the performance of which I can likewise swear by, I would already get blisters or feel as though my toes are being crushed. But Bruno cradled my feet, so I was nice and comfy all throughout.

Heat training for BDM102 next year?:)

Never sacrifice form according to Shaun T.:D

On Good Friday and Black Saturday, I pretty much kept to myself – eating very little and watching Season 2 of this new-ish series I’m completely wild about: Lie To Me. Tim Roth is such a character, don’t you think so? And that accent, my oh my.

***

Photowalling. After all, photos or it didn't happen, right?:)

II. KAOS the Musical

Then came Sunday and it was better than most of the good Sundays I can trace back to my youth! First, Ro and I attended the Easter Sunday service at The Fort and I could not have asked for a better way to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Though it was still early by the time Church service ended, I decided to go straight to Newport City so I can have a leisurely lunch and get us tickets to the 3pm showing of KAOS. I used some of my ResortsWorld credits to purchase 3 tickets and it’s nice to finally be able to put to good use the points ResortsWorldManila awarded me when I placed second at The Grand Fiesta run sometime in October. One of those races where I majorly lucked out because the elite runners decided to sleep in.

KAOS is a musical extravaganza showcasing some fine points of Broadway and marrying that with what one usually sees in Las Vegas. And no, I’m not talking about exotic performers here. I meant, the extravagance! The glittery lights! The breathtaking daredevil stunts! The fancy costumes!

While waiting for Cris to arrive...

With Princess Flora. My face is swollen because I dared to watch THE CURE the night before and shed copious tears!

Eric cozying up to one of the desperate sisters.

With some members of Kaos cast.

We were very impressed with the production and while sitting on the plush and ultra-comfortable seats at the upper balcony of the 1,500-seat theater – which also boast of the largest LED wall ever build in the Philippines, as well as state-of-the art lights and sounds technology – we couldn’t help but wonder how much was spent in bringing KAOS here. But whatever that is, we can collectively say that the show was worth every bit of the one thousand ++ you pay at the ticket counter.

The girl who played the role of the heroine, Martha Joy, certainly has vocal prowess that on some scenes, her powerful voice would just drown out Gian Magdangal’s. Gian played the role of the Prince who was out to look for that ‘somebody to love’. Oh, incidentally, Martha Joy is half-Pinay and was the youngest to make it to Top 8 of Canadian Idol.

If you haven’t seen KAOS yet or are not planning to, then maybe these treats will make you reconsider:

  • Seasoned acrobats from China and the Power Duo, a world renowned act from Belarus test the limits of physical endurance with their riveting performances and complete muscle control.
  • 5 stunt motorcyclists from Spain defy gravity in the astounding Cycle of Life that later on SPLIT in the middle
  • Wheel of death from Columbia, where one of the guys suddenly decide to jumprope while balancing on the turning wheel!
  • Human Time Machine performers from South America showcase superb balance and synchronization
  • Hip Hop dance champions Philippine All Stars energize the show with their awesome moves
  • Versatile veteran performer Joel Trinidad plays the scheming adviser
  • Live music performed by the Manila Symphony Orchestra
  • Live animals namely Kaos, the white lion; Sito, the white tiger; and Betty, the yellow tiger along with Spanish master illusionist and trainer, Enrique Polo.
So what are you waiting for? Head down to Newport City and treat your family to KAOS! Trust me, it’s just the kind of chaos you will like.
Oh, but before I let you sweet munchkins off the hook, here are some more photos of our KAOS-tic Easter Sunday – which, by the way, ended somewhere in Baclaran. Teeehee.

Photo by Mark Montalban.

I'm too sexy...but only on days ending in Y.:p

I just love this photo by Mark!

Cris liked the menu book so much he was all smiles...until food arrived.

Waiting...waiting...waiting...Our orders took eternity and a day to arrive. And even then, they weren't anything to rave about. Epic fail.

Clearly, one of those wala lang moments.

At least si Eric, may ina-achieve dito sa photo.

One last shot before we go to our final stop.;)

***

Emperor Eric and the GAG-O cast are at it again!

It all started with this music video.

And then it became a gag show ushered in by a successful pilot run; followed by the second episode which was aired just seven days after.

Here’s the fun part. The day before Emperor Eric, Aldz, and I were to fly to Shanghai with Cris who has yet to grace the set with his presence, we showed up at the studio to shoot the exercise video, Galaw-Galaw. I had just arrived from Malaysia on that day and did what any professional youtube actor would do – dumped my luggage at home; grabbed my costume changes; and met up with the rest of the cast. Ganyan talaga pag pro! Good thing, what initially started as a no-budget production seems to have now come to a little bit of money. Why? Aba nung taping, may KFC bucket and soda na sa set! So kahit straight from the flight and no food in the stomach ang lola nyo, I made it through the very complicated exercise and dance moves – choreographed, of course, by the Emperor himself! So maybe one day Emperor Eric will just surprise us with our TFs and maybe a even a hefty bonus!  Oh how I love surprises! *ROTFL*

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…GALAW-GALAW!

On Reebok Zig Tech, Fun Runs, and Anniversaries


My Zig Tech has finally arrived! She’s pretty in pink and super comfortable, I was grinning from ear-to-ear while I was trying her on yesterday. And since she and Bruno (remember him, my black Zig Nano?) came just days apart – practically fraternal twins, ahem – I have decided to name her Basia.

Baby Basia

Since Bruno came into my life about two weeks ago, I have actually been ignoring Blu (my Mizuno) and Zara (my Zoot) and though I feel bad for behaving so unfaithfully, I must say Bruno is doing a very great job of hogging my attention. He knows exactly what I want and serves it up to me supersized! Even though the only running action Bruno had ever seen (as of writing) was the 5k break-in run I did the day after we met, I have been wearing him down on a daily basis – with INSANITY. And if you ask me, I think Bruno is having the time of his life being abused the way I do him.

Big brother Bruno

Enter Basia.

I picked up Basia at lunchtime yesterday with the intention of breaking her in at the Fun Run organised by the company for our very dear friend Abie who was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer late last year and had since been undergoing chemotherapy sessions to eradicate the cancel cells completely. The fun run, aptly named Abie There For You, was held last night at the Meralco oval. And since only a handful of us in the company are actually into sports and cardio training, we only did a maximum of 10 loops around the 200-meter oval – for a total of 2k.

I walked from my condo to the race venue but I got there a good hour before the event would actually start. I got bored just by thinking of the number of minutes I would have to wait for the others, so I decided to take Basia for a sprint around the compound. Want to know how she performed? Read on…

Well, for one, Reebok was totally not talking nonsense when it boldly declared that Zig Tech is the brand’s most technically-advanced running and training shoe. It’s like an energy drink for your feet – with the way the shoe is designed to conserve and return energy to the athlete for a soft and springy ride.  In its launch press release, Reebok was all about the one-of-a-kind ZigTech bottom unit which features innovative, lightweight foam that is engineered into a dramatic, geometric, zig-zag shape. This unique zig-shaped sole absorbs the impact of heel strike and sends a wave of energy along the length of the shoe to help propel the athlete forward with each step.

Far too techie an explanation for me, because as most of you know, I hardly ever concern myself with the engineering details and what-not. I just like to run fast, long, hard, and almost nonstop – if I can sustain it. And because of that, I put comfort – by way of good cushioning – above all else. And because I’m still a girly-girl (contrary to what my abs, biceps, and powerful shoulders might tell you – teehee!), looks and how it complements the rest of my running gear come second. Performance is, of course, a non-negotiable for me especially since I’m also into ultra running and cross-training.

Much to my surprise and utter delight, Basia the Zig Tech, actually satisfied all three of my basic requirements with a little extra added to my running performance! At first, I was afraid I’d experience pain and discomfort because it was so soft interior-wise, it couldn’t possibly hold its own against the pressure of the feet-hitting-the-groundhard impact, right? But it did and believe you me; it felt as though I was running on cotton clouds last night!

Speaking of cotton, I really like the pink zig-zag foam sole of my Zig Tech. It reminds me so much of pink sugar cotton candy which I couldn’t seem to get enough of when I was little. But that is, of course, my aesthetics view on the matter. Those zig-zags, in fact, have far more useful return than just looking cotton candy-ish. What they do, according to Reebok’s Head of Advanced Innovation Bill McInnis, is transfer energy horizontally along the zigs so the athlete gets that energy back in the forefoot.

So this is where the ‘energy drink for your feet’ analogy comes into play. And after my experience last night, I am actually inclined to agree. There definitely was less pressure on my legs and I was able to sustain my race pace for the duration of the 2kms fun run, even after running on the same pace for nearly 6kms while waiting for the event to start. I even paced Randy, one of our colleagues, for four loops around the oval after I had alre4ady completed my 10.

Having said that, I give Bruno and especially Basia, two thumbs up. Good job, Reebok!

***

Noel, Vicky, and Abie.

Now back to Abie There For You. Last night was a SUPER fun run, with nearly 60 employees showing up and participating in the activity. I led the group in the stretching exercise and thanks to Shaun T and his Insanity workout, it seemed as though I actually know what I was doing! Abie, who hours before the event was actually still feeling faint from the chemo session she had two days prior, came with her beautiful daughter Bianca – who was also very sweet giving her Tita Vicky a kiss on the cheek even when I was sweating like a piglet! Abie has only been working in the company for a year but she has definitely endeared herself to everyone because of her sweet and caring ways. And while it breaks our heart to see and know of her condition, we are hands-up in awe of her strength, courage, and positivism. She truly makes all the drama in my life seem inconsequential and unimportant.

So to you Abie, thank you for the gift of awareness of our own strengths and your beautiful smile that never leaves your face despite the pain of it all. Keep getting better and we’d love to have you back in the office again very soon!

(L-R) Andy, Vicky, Alcy, Silyah. (Top) Mar. Yes, top. hihihi.

I Heart Reebok!

Bong, Gil, Peewee, and Vicky.

Runners gone wild!

The Balingkinitan Files: Noel, Andy, and Vicky

Ang (mga) babae sa loob ng kulungan made out of chicken wire.

Podium finish, kuno.:)

With Amar, hosting the event.

***

Today, 20th of March, marks the 730th day of a beautiful relationship with C. You have shown me love, respect, devotion, care, commitment and a great deal of understanding and tolerance (and not a lot of people can do that) all this time. For that and a few more good things I won’t mention anymore because I am limited by time and blog space, I,too, love you. Enormement.

HAML.

Total Fitness: ULTRA WOMAN


Total Fitness Magazine January - February 2011 cover

‘How did you prepare for your first Ultra run?’ My friends asked one night when we saw each other at at a bloggers’ event sometime in October. It was exactly six days after I fought my way to a well-deserved podium finish in my maiden foray into the crazy world of UltraRunning (to the uninitiated, Ultra Running is going beyond the 42km marathon) and yet apart from the unsightly tan line – which, at that time, was already starting to peel making it even more unappealing but I was not minding it much because I must admit that weird-looking tan line has become a blockbuster hit of a conversation starter – I was feeling great! Not to say I didn’t suffer the brunt of Mt. Pinatubo’s unforgiving heat, rocks, sand, and what-not because damn it I DID, but I bounced back from the unpleasant aftermath quite fast. Yes, I’m some kind of an android like that.

And no, I did not train for it. Not even for a day. Because up until two days prior to the race when Dennis the Running Pinoy told me that he signed me up for the race and got me my own first aid kit from Watson’s, I was not sure I would even do it. I was in Malaysia at that time and would only return to Manila at 6PM the day before the actual race. I did NOT even get to enjoy the luxury of sleep because I had to gear up and pack my race essentials very quickly soon as I arrived home from the airport in order to meet up with fellow runners at midnight. The race venue is roughly three hours away from Manila and gun start is at 5AM. I only had time for a shower and a heartfelt prayer for safety and survival. Before braving the 1st PAU Mt. Pinatubo 50k Trail Challenge, my running resume consisted mainly of two 5k, four 10k, three 21k races, one full marathon, and sporadic solo runs here and there to try and keep my waistline looking steady and narrow at 23 inches. So you see, there isn’t  much there for anyone to be able to ascertain that I’d even make it. But I am, first and foremost, a lioness. If there’s one thing I have in abundance of (apart from the very obvious charms), that would be my nerves of steel. The minute I got Dennis’ email confirmation on my Mt. Pinatubo registration, I knew I had to finish it. The how’s, why’s, and what ifs were all a-jumble in my head at that point but all that didn’t matter. I was going to finish the race – strong.

Before gun start, my fellow racers and I were happily trading playful banters and taking photos. Every now and then we would confer with the support crew to reassure ourselves that they would be right where we need them to be stationed at any point during the gruelling 10-hour cut-off race.  Apart from very few people, I did not know anyone else there as I have not really been visible at any of the competitive races because of my work and travel.  Surprisingly, I was not at all nervous. Perhaps because at that point, I was still in the dark as to how the whole race will unfold. Had I even the slightest hint, I’m sure I would quake in my feet a little.

At exactly 5:00 am, Sir Jovie aka Bald Runner officially opened the race and the 60+ runners including myself confidently took to the half-paved road of Sta. Juliana in Capas, Tarlac at the base of Mt. Pinatubo. It was very dark and neither I nor Dennis had headlamps on so we had to rely on gut feel and chance to keep our feet off potholes which could lead us to unwanted injuries and what-not. The paved road did not even cover a kilometer in my estimation because even before my feet could get used to the uneven path, we were running on sand (far cry from the powder-soft sand of Boracay, mind you), crossing rivulets, and getting our feet very wet in the process.

**For full stories, grab a copy of Total Fitness January to February 2011 issue in bookstores and newsstands near you.