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Kraft Run: First Place, Baaaby!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010  |  Race Reports

Some friends and I are all currently deep in training for various marathons: JunB for Camsur in September, Lit for Portland in October, and the hubby, JunC, Mariel and I for New York in November. Almost every weekend we try to do our long runs together.  Plan for last Sunday was to run a total of 24km.

With the Kraft Run on the same day, we decided to cover a short distance before the race, 10k at Kraft Run, and run the balance after. Meeting time was 4:30 a.m. at the race’s assembly area in Fitness First Alabang.

Pre-Race: 4k Easy

Before dawn, we ran easy along the race route in Filinvest Corporate City and Palms Country Club. There was a lot of chatting and laughing amidst the dark and deserted road.  Thankfully, JunB brought his new gear along: a flashlight attached to the edge of his visor, which lit the path before us.  Without that piece of nifty equipment, I would’ve stomped over a bullfrog!

We covered 4k before we headed back to the assembly area all warmed up.  The race was to start at 5:30 a.m.

Kraft Run: 10k

The Kraft Run was a corporate event which was open to only Kraft employees and their guests. Fortunately, our names found their way into their guest list.

The race was so well organized that I thought it was a pity that it wasn’t open to the public.

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– Runners warm up -

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– Larry, Curly, and Moe OR Tito, Vic, and Joey? -

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– Off we go! -

The route was definitely one of the most thrilling 10k routes I’ve run. (I couldn’t believe we had those wonderful hills hidden behind Palms!) Water, marshals, lootbags (loaded with Oreos, Tiger biscuits, Eden Cheese, Cheezwhiz and Tang), and food were aplenty and the atmosphere was all fun, fun, fun.

My kids arrived with my in laws who were all signed up for the 3k run. Hubby and I were set to do 10k. When the 10k gun went off, I bid hubby goodbye and, in a split second, decided I was going to race this one.

First Place for the First Time

The nice thing about training hard and eating right is that, when race day comes, your body simply thanks you for it. I was pushing hard, but not completely exhausting myself. I’ve suffered more during tempo runs under harsher conditions. This time I had the chance to enjoy the experience.

I ran at a fast clip without paying much attention to competition. Perhaps the only thing I noticed was that there was no woman ahead of me. Oh, and that the guy beside me, despite his heavy and noisy breathing, mustered all his strength to never ever let me run past him.

Krft Run 2010 (116)

Krft Run 2010 (124)

I crossed the finish line at 48 mins and 11 seconds bagging first place for the female category in 10k.  According to my Garmin, my average pace was 5:09/km and race distance was actually short at 9.35km.

Woohooo!  First time I ever won first place. Don’t you just love small races where the elite are absent? heehee.

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– That medal was huge -

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- Wooohooo! -

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– This one is for you Harvs and the 4 lbs you helped me lose haha. Go Team Hammer!

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- with my medal and prize (free accommodations in a hotel in Tagaytay I have never heard of. Uhm, can we exchange it for CheezWhiz instead? Kidding!)

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– with Kraft employees and Sudip Mall, Kraft GM -

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– great race + family and friends = perfect event -

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– with Jun Bisnar of Nuvali, hubby, and Don Ubaldo of Filinvest/Pinoy Ultra Runners -

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– with the hubby -

Post-Race: 10k Slow

After the awarding and refueling, our group ran another 10km inside Ayala Alabang Village and then to Filinvest Corporate City to reach our goal distance.  There was a whole let less laughing but the same amount of talking—about injuries, exhaustion, and the heat (haha!)—but we managed to survive and reach our 24km goal.  The laughter ensued over a sumptuous meal at UCC in West Gate.

Congratulations to Kraft for a wonderfully organized event! I vote for another one next year!  Thanks too to Filinvest Corporate City, especially Ricky Suarez and Don Ubaldo, for sharing the route.

Photos courtesy of VimaVendo…I mean, Vima of KulitRunner and Carlo Capistrano.

Eating More to Lose Weight

Monday, 30 August 2010  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

I have a confession to make. For the past month, I’ve been in rehab: food rehab, that is.

I’m learning how to eat all over again. Or, let’s just say, I’m learning how to eat. Period. Almost like a child in preschool, I’m learning about proper food portions, choices, and timing…slowly but surely. Next to a marathon, it is one of the best things I’ve committed to working on for my own good.

I WAS STARVING

I am what you call a perennial dieter. Since college, I stopped eating rice in an attempt to keep the weight off.  Carbs came from whole wheat bread, oatmeal, cereals, and graham crackers.  Protein was egg and chicken.

I didn’t have normal meals but I was grazing all throughout the day. “Good days” meant that I ate less than a thousand calories for the day. Breakfast for the past 5 years—yes, even when I started running—were 3 graham crackers and coffee while dinner was usually cereals and low-fat milk.  Being low fat, I seriously thought I was eating well.

“Bad days” meant I munched on my favorite junk, which were Cheetoes, V-cut, and Poppycock (the list can go on and on). Needless to say, since I was always hungry, I would always “slip” by indulging in junk and I would try to make up for it some other day.

There were more bad days than good.  My weight would fluctuate by 4 pounds every week.  I maintained my weight by burning all the junk away with a long run over the weekend. It worked.

GAINING 6 POUNDS

All of this changed after my Hong Kong Marathon last February 2010. After running four 42ks in 5 months, I was aghast when I gained a whopping 6 pounds after the trip. For someone like me who takes my running seriously, this was huge. Remember that 1 pound is equal to 4 pounds impact on the knee. So, that’s an instant 24 pounds additional impact on my delicate knees! (Of course, the bulging belly and flabby arms didn’t look good in my Photovendo pics, too!)

From March to July, I significantly reduced my food intake and increased mileage, but still the numbers on the scale wouldn’t budge. If I starved myself even more, I was fearful of the consequences on my training. Worse, I was scared I’d collapse during a run.

How then could I lose weight considering the little that I ate while training for New York City Marathon this November? I was baffled. And, I felt helpless and frustrated.

HARVIE’S HELP

Last month, I bumped into my good friend Harvie, a triathlete who recently graduated from his sports nutrition studies, and I told him about my predicament. He talked vaguely about fixing my diet and gradually introduced his idea of a wholesome, healthy diet that I could live with.

Week by week, he worked with me to remove one bad habit at a time. In hindsight, I realize that the slow process was necessary to ensure that this diet became a part of my lifestyle—not just another fad diet I was taking on to “drop 10 lbs. in 2 months.”

WEEK ONE: EAT MORE. This was a struggle for someone who equated “good eating with eating less.” It was a nightmare when Harvie asked me to stop counting calories and eating more. I felt guilty about feeling full. It was the first time since highschool (except when I was pregnant) that I tasted rice again!

WEEK TWO: CUT THE JUNK. I cut all junkfood out of my diet. What was most difficult was saying goodbye to Cheetos Jalapeno and potato chips.  I was surprised when Harvie considered my daily breakfast of graham crackers as junk, too.  Harvie said anything with a lot of processed ingredients in its packaging we were to consider J-U-N-K.  So, I bid farewell to canned goods, cereals, and even whole wheat bread (Harvie switched me to brown rice.)

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– Harvie taught me how to read the labels. The more stuff in it, the more reason to stay away -

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– No more skipped meals. This is what dinner usually looks like now…and I am loving it -

WEEK THREE: EAT EVERY 2.5 HOURS. Harvie asked me to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I became more aware of what I eat and when I eat.   Harvie changed my mindset about food; it was no longer something to be feared or rejected, but nutrition and fuel that should be mindfully consumed.  I also started to feel hungry more often, which according to Harvie was a good thing; it meant my body was working like a machine, using my food as energy very efficiently.

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– Harvie checks on my food journal every week. Food police, I tell you -

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– Harvie asks me to take photos of my meals. He says this meal of brown rice and fish was too little and asked me to add eggs and veggies. You gotta love the guy for constantly reminding me to eat more -

To date, I’ve lost 4 of the 6 stubborn pounds I’ve been whining about for the past 6 months.  I’ve lost a couple of inches too and the jeans have finally loosened its grip on my thighs.  What’s amazing is that I lost this all while eating the most food I ever did in decades.  (I still can’t wrap my brain around it!)  Even better, I’m training hard for NYC Marathon and I feel stronger than I have ever been.

The reason why I posted about this a full month after I started working with Harvie was because I made myself a guinea pig before I told you all about it.  Not only did I want to make sure it worked, but I wanted to make sure I could commit—not just to the diet—but to the entire lifestyle. Harvie also wanted to make sure I truly believed in it.

I am still a work in progress.  I still have my slip-ups.  There were more than a handful of days when I munched on those peanuts, indulged in way too much chips on my cheat days (I get to eat everything I want on Sundays), and lost my patience when the scale wouldn’t budge.  There’s a lot of commitment, self-discipline, and hard work involved on a daily basis.

But, I do know that I can do this…and I will.  I’m definitely committed to giving more respect to my body and giving it the chance to perform at the best level.  How can I even consider going back to feeling weak and hungry all the time when I’ve literally had a taste of the good life?

NOTE: Expect more blogposts about healthy food and nutrition now that I’m no longer in starvation mode. There’s a whole new world of healthy yummy meals and recipes to explore.

If you wish to contact Harvie de Baron for consultation, email him at harviedebaron(at)gmail.com

Settle the Score

Monday, 30 August 2010  |  Race Announcements

Teaser

Shoe Review: Brooks Glycerin 8

Thursday, 26 August 2010  |  Gear + Gadgets

A couple of weeks ago, I was witness to the unveiling of the new Brooks baby: Glycerin 8.  I occasionally drool over a nice looking shoe or pine over a new model, but it takes a good shoe to impress me.  And, this one definitely did.

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– Fresh out of the box. Two security guards unload the shoes. We wait with bated breath -

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– Tadaaah! Toby Claudio of Runnr/Toby’s and Hitler Dulay of SRI hold the precious cargo. Check out the Men’s silver/orange…I like! -

Toby Claudio of Runnr admitted that there were no plans to hold a mini press launch for the Glycerin 8.  But, after testing the shoe for himself—and being amazed with the cushioning, he felt compelled to tell the public about it.

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Hitley Dulay of SRI presented a background of Brooks as a company.  Did you know that Brooks is the No. 2 running shoe in the US?  (Asics No. 1, Nike No. 3).  Hitler went on to discuss the features that make Brooks Glycerin 8 unique, especially Brooks DNA Technology.

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– Coolness.  The Brooks Green Silence, a performance racing flat using earth-friendly materials (hence the name). Note: each side has a different color so it looks like you’re wearing different shoes. Eduardo Buenavista and Fr. Robert Reyes each have a pair of this -

ROAD TESTING THE BROOKS GLYCERIN 8

I was privileged to receive a pair of Brooks Glycerin 8 for road testing after the press launch. I took it for a spin first at an 8k run on concrete and then during Rexona Run’s 10k at SM Mall of Asia. I took a break from it for a week or so and found myself using it regularly for training runs this week.

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– Brooks Glycerin 8: Runner’s World Editor’s Choice Spring 2010 -

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PLUS

1. Brooks DNA Technology. In the shoe is a highly viscous, non-Newtonian polymer fluid which makes the Glycerin 8 highly adaptable.  Say what?  Bascially, the shoe automatically and physically adapts to your footstrike and gives you the kind of comfort and protection you need as your pace changes throughout a run. It’s like custom cushioning!  Hitler made it easier to understand for us visual folks.  He showed us exactly how Brooks DNA works:

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– Dipping your hand slowly into the polymer fluid will allow you to feel its mud-like, liquid consistency.  If you walk and jog slowly, the shoe will provide you ample cushioning -

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- Punch the polymer fluid and it suddenly feels as hard as a brick.  (I tried it myself!)  If you run or sprint at a fast pace, the shoe will respond by giving you protection and dispersing the impact away from your foot -

After using the shoe, I guarantee this was no marketing ploy.  It truly works.  The shoe was well-cushioned and comfortable, yet it was responsive to my every step.  When I run on concrete, I usually feel the tension and tightness on my ITB and the harsh impact on the foot.  This time, I was almost oblivious to the harshness of the road.

2. Stability. The Brooks Glycerin 8 is a neutral, cushioning shoe.  It’s not the perfect shoe for a flat-footed, overpronating runner like me, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover how stable it felt during runs.  No knee pain, baby!  (Note: I haven’t tested it for runs above 10k.)

3. Comfortable Fit. My feet sat snugly inside. Toe box or vamp was perfect for the width of my feet.  Heel counter cupped my heel well so that there was no annoying movement with each step.

4. Attractive. It’s a handsome shoe.  I loved the Men’s colors more, but I wouldn’t say I complained about mine.  The shoe does not have too many frills; it’s not ostentatious either.  It’s the kind of shoe that stands out in the crowd because of how simple and clean it looks.

5. Green shoe. And I’m not talking about the color. It’s an environmental shoe.  All materials used to make the shoe are completely recyclable.

MINUS

1. Heavy. For someone like me who favors Nike+ Lunar Glide and Newton Racers, you can imagine how heavy the Glycerin 8, a training shoe, felt when I first used it.  I was literally dragging my legs (especially during Rexona) and I felt like I had to double my efforts with each step.  But, after a few runs, my feet got used to the weight and I was able to enjoy its cushioning and stability.  Weight: Men’s – 12.6 oz; Women’s – 10.3 oz

2. Blisters!!! I wear low socks, which was never a problem with other shoes.  With the Glycerin 8, however, the achilles notch (the topmost portion of the back of the shoe that hits your heel) was hard and high for my taste.  I learned about this the hard way during my Rexona Run 10k (see photo below. Cringe!)  I wore ankle high socks during the next runs—problem solved!

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- Yeooowch! Back of my foot right after Rexona Run 10k -

SUMMARY

It took me quite some time to review this shoe thoroughly.  The Brooks Glycerin 8 and I were off to a rocky start with the blister and weight issues, but I was so impressed by its features—DNA technology, comfort, and stability—that I was motivated to give the shoe several chances to prove itself to me before I labelled it “For Gym Use Only”…and I’m glad I did.

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– Neighbor’s cat spotted my shoe after one Saturday run -

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– Looks like she loved it too -

As of this week, I’m happy to report that I’ve used the Glycerin 8 on most of my training runs on the road and treadmill.  I don’t see myself using it in any race (I have the Newton Universal Racers for that) nor for any long runs (It’s still the oh-so comfy Nike+ Lunar Glide), but it will definitely be one of my training buddies for NYC Marathon.

Website: Brooks

Brooks Glycerin 8 retails for Php 6,495.  It is available at Runnr and selected Toby’s outlets.

Camsur? Cam-sure!

Monday, 23 August 2010  |  Bullish Insights

The best thing about being bull headed is that I rarely ever give in to peer pressure. I try something new only because I want to, not because everyone else is doing it.

That explains why, early in my childhood, when my cousins would practice for weeks and finally dance to “Frosty the Snowman” in front of our entire clan during Christmas parties, I would sit back with my older siblings content to watch from the sidelines with a naughty grin. As early as 8, I thought to myself: “In no way will I make a fool of myself that way.” Stubborn. Unyielding. And yes, I was a little party pooper.

In college, even when more than half of my groupmates started smoking, I never picked up a cigarette. Never held one in my hand, never even puffed. If it didn’t make sense to me, then I wouldn’t even experiment on it. Yup, I was the boring, square one in the group.

The past couple of days, everyone was off to Camsur for the Ironman 70.3. And I thought: “Who cares if everyone is going?”  A number of runner friends who couldn’t bike nor swim like me registered for the relay event to be in on the action. My thrifty self rationalized that it wouldn’t be wise to spend so much money to run a half marathon when I could easily run a half in Manila for free.

So, over the weekend, hubby and I, along with friends JunC, Mariel and JunB, covered 22k along the empty roads of Manila, where one used to spot dozens of runners and triathletes training. On Sunday, hubby and I took the kids out for a bike and scooter ride in the South where, as expected, the roads were free of the hardcore teams training together.

Everyone was in Camsur!  And, it was one of those rare times when I wished I was doing what everyone else was doing (Tri-ing) where everyone else was (Camsur). I thought of friends who were probably as nervous as hell the night before and were having the time of their lives on race day. I thought about the boys of Team Hammer racing in their new trisuits for the first time together. I dreamed of one day doing the same.

Don’t get me wrong. This had little to do with peer pressure, and more of…uhm…E-N-V-Y. How I wished I could have the courage to swim 2k and bike 90k before the half marathon. How I wished I could’ve been there with a crop of average people—executives, parents, entrepreneurs, students—who were challenging their bodies (and minds) to accomplish extraordinary things.

Aaaah, the seed of the Ironman 70.3 dream has been planted in my mind. And, it’ll take a year or two for me to see if I can make it come true.  In the meantime, this regretful, stubborn, party pooper will enjoy viewing all the Camsur photos on Facebook.

Congratulations to all the finishers of Camsur Ironman 70.3, especially to Team Hammer!