My Crazy, Robocop, Ironman Friend Needs Your Help

Saturday, 30 April 2011  |  News + Promos

I have this crazy friend. His name is Javy Olives. I first met him almost three years ago along with his wife, Hannah, while we were running loops around Bonifacio High Street for a Nike test run. He introduced himself as Rice Cooker.  A couple of years later, after learning about his bad knee and how he still manages to train and race while wearing his black brace, I called him Robocop.

– Javy Olives will do the IM China for ICanServe on May 29, 2011 –

– Javy and Hannah Olives on the cover of Runners World Jan 2011 issue –

Last year, he ran the first TBR Dream Marathon. He was among the front runners. He crossed the finish line below 4 hours. Then, he did a headstand…as he always does in his races. I told you he’s crazy.

– Javy after TBR Dream Marathon 2010 –

Soon after TBR Dream, he promised to pace me for Nature Valley 21k. We had such high hopes. But, since I was out of shape (yes, I blame myself for the mess up), we ended up walking midway. Needless to say, we ended the race far below expectations. Later on, he told me the entire experience was “like a bad date not worth repeating.”

– with Javy at the start of Nature Valley run. How optimistic we were! Hah! –

This year, my crazy friend and now Teammate at Hammer will join Ironman China on May 29. He’s doing all this for the benefit of ICanServe Foundation. I’ll let him share with you his story below. But, I do ask for your help on his behalf.  Helping him will help other women with breast cancer.  All the best in China, Javs!

Read Javy’s blog: Tri’n Hard


This will confirm what you probably already knew. I am crazy. Last year’s Ironman left me wanting more, so I’m doing it all over again in China come May 29. Those grueling thirteen hours stripped me down to my core. I learned about pain, patience, sacrifice, hope and the power of the human spirit. Best of all, I learned that nothing is IMpossible. This time around, I am psyched to swim 4 kilometers, cycle 180 kilometers and run 42.2 kilometers not just for myself, but for something much, much bigger.

Twelve years ago, my sister was diagnosed with an advanced stage of breast cancer. She helped start a breast cancer foundation and made one vow: that women diagnosed should not go through it alone, in the dark or in shame. Today, the ICanServe Foundation provides hope and help for women with breast cancer. It promotes early breast cancer detection through high impact information campaigns and early detection programs.

In the time it will take me to complete the Ironman, 240 women will be diagnosed with berast cancer, and 60 of them will die because of it.

I’d like to TRI and make a change in any little way I can, and I would love for you to help me. Here are some ways you can:

  1. 1. Donate a flat amount that feels comfortable for you and your wallet.
  2. 2. Pledge any peso amount for every kilometer I complete. (The Ironman is a 226 kilometer event)

If there are cancer survivors you would like to honor, let me know. I will gladly scribble their names on my jersey to remind me why I am out there that day.

Through your generous pledges and donations, every stroke, step and stride I take will help chemotherapy patients on treatment and help subsidize community-based screening programs. Like I said, no one should be helpless or clueless when it comes to cancer.

So there..maybe I’m no so crazy after all.

Click ICanTri for ICS PLEDGE FORM to download the pledge form or email javy.olives(at)

Nike Free Run+ 2

Tuesday, 26 April 2011  |  Gear + Gadgets

Nike Frees. Aaah. Just thinking of them makes my heart skip a beat. I’ve been in love with this shoe from day one. They can change its color and modify a few elements with every update, but I never ever tire of them.  My various pairs (and I have over five—teehee) have been with me everywhere from malls to marathons.

Nike Frees are meant for running, really.  But, I’ll tell you a little secret.  I’ve only used mine less than a handful of times for training. While I would love to practice minimalist running more often, I prefer to use my tried-and-tested training shoes and I have little time for any experimentation with my feet.  My training sched is pretty much consistent: mile repeats on Tuesday, hills or tempo on Thursday, 10k run on Saturday, long slow run on Sundays.  I can’t figure out how to squeeze a 3 to 5k barefoot/minimalist run in the mix.

I use my Nike Frees regularly though.  These are my walking/ shopping/ travel/ chase-after-the-kids shoe of choice.  If there was a Favorite Running Shoe Even When You’re Not Running Award, the Nike Free would win it for me hands down. They’re light, comfortable, soft, and super easy to wear. I wear barely seen socks (although good friend Drew Arellano said I shouldn’t ever wear any!), slip into them quickly, and leave the house in no time.

I found this little piece in my Inbox today.  New models of Nike Free Run+2 are out this summer!  Turning cartwheels already.

Nike Free Run+ 2 (Men's B)
– Nike Free Run+ 2 for Men –

Nike Free Run+ 2 (Women's B)
– Nike Free Run+ 2 for Women. Love! –

Nike Free Run+ 2 is available in Nike stores now.

8.9 ounces in a men’s size 10
7.2 ounces in a women’s size 8

SRP: P4,795


Holy Week Training

Saturday, 23 April 2011  |  Running + Triathlon

As long as we fulfill our religious duties, we can use our free time this Holy Week to train, rest, and train. Well, that’s what I’ve done the past few days.

This morning, we got a good group together for a long 25k run that turned into a shorter 14k run. I felt ill at 12k and started walking. Despite my telling them to go ahead and run, they walked (and chatted) along with me for the last kilometer. That’s what running friends are for!

After the run, Adel—who asked me to bring my bike—adjusted it for me. With the bike seat much higher than I’m used to, they all proceeded to teach me how to mount and dismount properly without embarrassing myself. Now, that’s what triathlon friends are for!


– Adel, Bic, Jay, Jun, Mariel, and Jake all help to adjust my bike. Thank guys! –

– Adel and Jake teach me (with  much patience) how to mount and dismount –

Happy Easter to all. Shall I run or bike tomorrow? Hmm…

Women’s Health Beauty and the Beach

Thursday, 21 April 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Every woman—fine, a man too—needs a break from life every now and then.  Thanks to Women’s Health, I got the perfect weekend getaway right when I needed it the most.

Last April 16 & 17, 2011, Women’s Health sent me to Boracay to attend the Women’s Health Beauty and the Beach in celebration of its second anniversary.  It was a weekend of fun, fitness, and adventures shared among ladies who deserve to pamper their bodies and refuel their minds.

– with Lara Parpan, WH Editor in Chief, and Christine Ong, Summit Team Publisher –

– with Marie Calica, Runner’s World Editor in Chief –

We were encouraged to register for various fitness/dance activities over the weekend, which were all new and foreign to me:  Indian Bollywood, Chair Cabaret, Hapa Haole Hula, and fitness Hula Hoop.  Admittedly, my two left feet and I chickened out, so I ended up going for the competitive event: Havaianas Always Summer Race to Hawaii on Saturday followed by a relaxing Sunrise Hatha yoga session on Sunday.

– Mia Bayuga of Magic 89.9 hosted the event. It was a pleasure meeting you, Mia! –

For the Havaianas Always Summer Race to Hawaii, I was introduced to my teammate just a few minutes before the race: TV host/athlete Reema Chanco.  Of course, she was a familiar face, but it was the first time we had met.  We were enlisted for this race as “media” so weren’t qualified to win the big trip to Hawaii.  Shucks.  So, we took our time, walked—while everyone else ran—and chatted our way into the first challenge.

The first challenge: Guess the ingredients of two fruit shakes…

– with our shakes! Mission accomplished! –

The second challenge: Search for two items buried under the sand.  Our team had to find a rake and a lei.  By the time we arrived several teams had been digging endlessly. We dug, dug, and dug.


And, in less than 10 minutes, we found our items!  We were the only team that found our items before cut off! Oh boy, this “win” triggered our competitive sides and got us raring to win the entire race!


– Mission Accomplished! –


By the 3rd challenge, Reema and I were running across the shore, sweating it out under the sun, and were pretty darn serious about coming in first for this race.  (Uhm, this wasn’t really surprising given our backgrounds!)  We worked well as a team and covered each challenge smoothly and seamlessly.  Before we knew it, we accomplished all tasks and met the race director, good friend Neville Manaois, at the finish line.  We had reached first place as Media!

– with Reema and Neville at the finish –

– Feeling like real winners! –

Since we didn’t qualify to win the Hawaii trip, we were given Sony Cybershot DSC-3000 as prizes!  Woohoo!

– What a thrilling adventure! And what great prizes! We were happy campers! –

Dinner was at the Havaiana’s Cocktail Party followed by the Women’s Health Dinner Buffet.

– with my dearest sis, Janice of Creative Juice, the organizer of Havaianas Always Summer Race –

– with good friend Nevs who did all the brainwork for the race –

The following day, I ran 5k along the shores of Station 1 in Boracay. It was a fast run yet it felt easy with less impact landing the soft sand, the sea breeze hitting my face, and the wonderful view of Boracay.  I then joined the Sunrise Hatha Yoga along with other participants of Women’s Health Beauty and the Beach.

– Lara Parpan welcomes participants –



The rest of the day was spent sunbathing by the sea.  The perfect way to end a fit and fun vacation for this bull.  Thank you once again to Women’s Health for a great weekend.


The Next Step Triathlon Camp Review

Monday, 18 April 2011  |  Running + Triathlon

Last April 9 to 11, 2011, I was invited to join The Next Step Triathlon Camp of Coach Dan Brown and Ani de Leon in Subic.  Although I’ve done two mini sprints in the past few years, I still never considered myself a triathlete.  I’ve been a “wannabe triathlete” for God knows how long.

The Next Step Tri Camp was my chance to literally get my feet wet (or perhaps get tossed into the pool?) and immerse myself in this brand new world of triathlon.  I was anxious about the swim and bike, but very much excited about running in Subic.  Good thing my teammates from Hammer, Bic and Mike, and Bic’s friend, Adel, were there to quell my fears and keep the entire weekend light and fun.


The Next Step Triathlon Camp was focused on triathletes signed up for the upcoming KSwiss Subic International Triathlon on April 30 to May 1 hence it was entitled: SUBIT FOCUS. At the start of the year, I hoped I could join this, but with life getting in the way, I thought it best to pass until I could commit to serious training.

After a welcome briefing by the organizers headed by Doray Ellis of Team Fitness First and coaches Dan and Ani at Travelers Hotel where we were all booked, we headed out for a full day’s workout.

SWIM: We headed out for the pool where were grouped into two levels: Advanced to be led by Coach Dan and Intermediate led by Coach Ani.  This would be the same grouping for the entire weekend.

I had attended a basic swim session with Coach Ani a couple of years back, so most of my fears were laid to rest when she mentioned it was almost the same intro session.  She taught us proper technique, a few drills, and asked us to do a number of laps.  I hadn’t swam in over a year so this light workout was a lung-busting session for me.

– Coach Ani during our first swim workout –


– Team Togetherness looking fresh before the deadly tri camp workouts ahead: Adel, Bic, myself, and Mike –

RUN: Still dripping wet, we headed for the track.  Coach Dan discussed basic form and asked us to perform drills then we split into groups.  Our group did intervals: 6 x 800 meters. Need I say that this way my favorite portion. The four of us covered our laps together.   No anxieties, no worries in this area, just all smiles from my end.


– Coaches discuss warm ups and basic form at the track –


– Drills! Photo courtesy of James Dinsay –

– Fast track workouts with friends. Heaven for me! –

BRICK: After lunch with a lecture by Coach Dan and Ani and time for rest, we headed out for a bike workout on the roads of Subic.  I’m still such a newbie with the bike, so I believe I was the slowest of ’em all here.  Boy was it a struggle.

– Doc, Coach, and Musician Adel took on the role as handy man too –

Coach Ani analyzed our technique one-by-one and gave us a few pointers on the bike.  Bend my elbows.  Keep my knees closer together.  Move my seat up higher later on.

During the workout, I struggled with the gearing, maneuvering through the traffic, and I was exhausted midway, but man was I overwhelmed with the sights of Subic.  It was during that time on the bike that I realized I could seriously fall in love with this!  Before I knew it, I covered 30km—my longest distance on the bike ever!  I was ecstatic.

– Psyching myself up for the long uphill ahead. Crap! –

– When will I ever look as comfortable as they do on the bike? –

As soon as we returned to the hotel, Bic, Mike, Adel, Doray (one of the organizers of Next Step) and I ran for 10 minutes. We then had dinner and listened to another lecture by our Coaches.  By the evening of Day One, Bic, Mike, Adel and I had bonded over a mad hunt for petroleum jelly and wine (success with the former and complete losers with the latter) as well as the long day of training we endured together.  We even had a new team name just for the four of us!

– Lectures by the coaches –

– Coach Ani talks demos proper swim form… –

– …and running form —


SWIM: After coating our bodies with loads of petroleum jelly to protect us against jelly fish stings (despite Coach Dan’s assurance that they swept through the waters prior to our workout), we dove into the cold waters of Dungaree beach in Subic.  It was my first open water swim ever and boy did I love it.  Uhm, well, up until the 1st lap.  By the 2nd lap, I swallowed salt water and I was gasping for air.  This non-swimmer thought it best to rest before I…er…drowned.

– Briefing by Coach Dan –

– Advanced group heading into the water. Photo courtesy of Andy Leuterio –

– with Coaches Dan and Ani –

– Group shot! Photo courtesy of Andy Leuterio –

Coach Ani demonstrated how to quickly enter the water and exit out into transition and we were asked to do the same.  We also performed drills such as skulling.

RUN: I was relieved to have touched land again.  We headed for the track and ran 2 x 1600, 2 x 800, 2 x 400, and 2 x 200.  I loved every minute.

– Team Togetherness at the track –

BRICK: My tri camp friends swore they would help me through the bike ride that I so dreaded.  Adel, Bic, and Mike decided to pace me through the bike ride instead of joining the advanced group.  Such love from my tri camp friends!

Adel, an experienced cyclist from Team Suunto and Team Secondwind, stayed by my side from the start until we climbed those steep hills of Subic.  Our course was the route for SUBIT.

Adel guided me through every step: gear up, gear down, and my favorite “If you’re tired climbing, just stare at the pavement before you.”  I definitely enjoyed the start of this bike ride more than the previous day, it felt easier and lighter.  However, after breaking my record distance the day before and all the rigorous workouts we went through as well as the fact that it was all uphill (!!!), I started to feel exhausted.

When we reached the steep downhills, I thought the worst was over.  Boy was I wrong.  The downhills were so fast that I clung on to the brakes for dear life.  I must’ve gripped so hard that my right hand froze!  Holy crap, I wondered how I could stop the bike if my hand was numb?!  Shortly after, I felt some tightness on my hips too.  With all these signs, I pulled over and threw in the towel at 30k.  For me, 30k was a feat.  To cover the distance on two consecutive days was spectacular.  I skipped the run and headed straight to the next tough workout: a nap!

Over dinner, we had another lecture where Coach Dan and Ani shared race day tips especially for those who were registered for the upcoming SUBIT.  There was also a briefing for the next day’s race simulation.


This was race simulation day.  Most of the participants were serious triathletes or intermediate triathletes registered for SUBIT, I was neither.  Hence, I decided to get a head start on my drive home and bid my dearest tri camp buddies the best of luck and tons of fun. I left that morning feeling empowered with what my body and mind could achieve and thrilled about the prospect of a new challenge in triathlon.  Oooh boy, here we go!

– with only some of the Next Step Tri Camp participants –



  • qualified and experienced coaches.  Coach Dan Brown is currently the coach of the Philippine Triathlon Team while Coach Ani de Leon-Brown holds the record for Ironman Distance Triathlon and is the first Filipina to qualify for Ironman Triathlon World Championships in 2008
  • excellent organization from pre-race registration to workouts.  Schedules, checklists and maps were provided prior to the event. Briefings were clear and frequent. Organizers were experienced triathletes who knew the ins and outs of Subic.
  • hydration was provided at every workout. We were spoiled with free fluids
  • sponges and even water spray were provided during workouts. Sure sign that the organizers go the extra mile in providing support
  • support vehicles and staff assistance was excellent
  • well-planned schedule with proper briefing before each workout
  • good facilities: pool, beach, function room and accommodations at Travelers Hotel were clean and comfortable
  • participants’ items and equipment were kept safe and secure
  • lootbag and free product samples from sponsors were provided
  • lectures covered tri basics, nutrition, race tips, and more
  • atmosphere was conducive to learning and improving performance while having fun
  • reasonably priced considering hotel accommodations and meals are included for a 2-night, 3-day stay


  • improvement on lectures: more in-depth discussion of topics
  • more guidance and supervision in the bike portion especially on public roads. Maybe add an assistant coach for the beginners/intermediate level on the road
  • more guidance for the beginner or exclusive camp for beginners in the future
  • suggest to add one road run to the program…please?
  • food could’ve been better


The Next Step Triathlon Camp is a great way for triathletes—from intermediate to seasoned—to boost their knowledge on triathlon and gain practical tips and techniques from the best coaches in the country.  The triathlon camp is well-organized, well-staffed, and run by an experienced and professional team.  Expect to be challenged physically and mentally while having a grand time working out.

For those interested in The Next Step Triathlon Camp, click HERE to visit the website.

NEXT: Tips for those who are considering Triathlon Camp