10 Reasons Why Runners Should Cross Train

Friday, 31 May 2013  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

When I started running, all I wanted to do was run. It was difficult enough to find an extra hour per day to workout, so if I managed to find time, I thought it might as well be used doing something I love: running. Phooey with mind-numbing squats at the gym, swimming laps at the pool, or yoga poses that I couldn’t do much less pronounce. Those were a waste of time for me.

Fast forward to 2012. I signed up for a triathlon and found myself compelled to swim, bike, and take yoga for flexibility if only to save myself from embarrassment at Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. In the months that passed, cross training became a lifestyle for me. And, quite surprisingly, as much as I loved running, I woke up to each day eager to work out different parts of my body. It gave my tired feet a respite from all the pounding too! I found myself stronger, fitter, and, hey, happier! (The six-pack abs—I believe in my heart—is yet to come!)

So, here, I’ve compiled for you, dear runners, ten reasons why I think you should cross train. If you were like me before, a true running addict who obstinately refused to do anything but run, open your mind and take a few minutes to take this all in.  After all, even if we cross train, it doesn’t mean we love running any less!

1) It works out other muscle groups not used in running, such as your upper body, quads, and inner thighs.

2) It improves your cardiovascular fitness.

– Swim squad way back in 2012. Miss these guys! –

3) It prevents injury and gives your feet and legs a break from all the pounding.

4) It allows you to maintain your fitness level if you are already injured from running.

5) It will increase your chances of engaging in small talk with celebrity triathletes. Example: Ask Matteo Guidicelli while in transition: “So, do you wear your helmet or shoes first?”

– In this case, my line with Matteo was: “Lovely trails. You come here often?”

6) It will prevent you from overeating or indulging in junk food. Who wants to have a protruding belly in a bathing or tri suit?

7) It gives you new topics to discuss among running friends aside from the usual “So, when’s your next run?”

8) It provides variety for your Facebook or Instagram album. All your friends see are shots of you running plus that sickening Speculoos bottle all the time. (Sorry, I’m a solid Peanut Butter fan!)  This time you can post shots of you biking, swimming, or doing a headstand.

– See, now I’ve got shots with my bike. I’m not smiling because I saw that hill before me, but hey that ride was fun in a masochist kind of way! –

9) It breaks the monotony from running and gives your mind and body something new to look forward to.

10) Best of all, it makes you a better runner. Swimming will make you more flexible and lengthen your running stride. Biking will strengthen your quads. Yoga will improve flexibility and stretch tight muscles from running.

Xavier Sports & Country Club Fun Run in CdO

Friday, 31 May 2013  |  Race Announcements

Cagayan de Oro is one of my favorite provinces.  It’s beautiful there.  Even better, I learned that it’s got a dynamic and fast-growing running community when I gave a running talk and toured the CdO-Dahilayan Ultramarathon route way back in 2011.

My husband has a lot of relatives based in CdO.  Last week, I learned that they’re actually organizing a Fun Run!  So, for those of you in Cdo, please do register early and enjoy this fun run at Xavier Estates!


“We Put The Fun Back To Fun Runs” is their tagline, and that’s exactly what they aim to do starting with the August 25, 2013 Xavier Sports & Country Club MUST Fun Run.


There will be three categories: 5K with a Php300/participant registration fee; 10K with a Php500/participant registration fee; and a 3K walking special.

The 3K and 5K registration fees include a jersey, a race bib, a certificate, the chance to win prizes in a raffle (including but not limited to free dinners for two with a gorgeous blind date), free admission to a post-race program with entertainment, and freebies generated by donations from partners. The 10K registration fee includes everything the 5K has plus a timing chip. Expensive medals will be given to the top 20 10K winners.


Register now. Avail of a 15% Early Bird special discount which is good till June 12, 2013 or until Early Bird slots last. Just enter the promo code: XSCCFR13.

Run, Jog, or Walk. It’s not about “how” you finish, It’s about “why”.

To register online, click HERE.


Thursday, 30 May 2013  |  Race Reports

As is the tradition of TBR Dream Marathon, after the race, I post anecdotes about the marathon that I receive in my Inbox from our new marathoners. My inbox gets inundated with stories of triumph, love, gratitude, passion, and empowerment that it’s too much of a waste if only I read it. Through this series of stories (one every week for the next couple of months), may you all be inspired to run a marathon or dream big in your own lives.

Mark’s story struck me.  I had never read a race report with such raw emotions.  He spoke from the heart and held nothing back.  If you think of it, he probably wrote it the same way he ran the marathon.

His story is one of sadness, pain, strength, and triumph all rolled into one.  It shows the mix of emotions one undergoes not only during training, while running the marathon, but also after the race.  As for Mark, it was even more emotional as he ran the race for his dearly departed wife.


[CHAPTER 1: Marathon High]

I dedicate this run for Aubrey, my beloved wife who passed away last December 2012. She whispered words of encouragement and motivation. And, threw flying kisses from heaven. She teased me about all the crazy stuff I did while she was gone. She told me she supports me in everything I’ll do …and that she’d be there whenever I need her.

Last picture together at Themed Christmas Party
– Audrey and Mark’s last picture together at a themed Christmas Party –

Only the crazy run a marathon. Jim Lafferty, co-founder of The Bull Runner Dream Marathon said, “at 10:00 this moring, you will say something that 99.99% of the world population cannot say. You are going to be able to say, I am a marathoner!”

Now, I am even crazier than the 0.01%. I ran the marathon with fever, colds, and cough on a tough course – at Nuvali. There were 60 degrees long inclines and declines, as described by a friend and fellow marathoner. Pushing it beyond your limits is an understatement. Running this marathon was going to hell with all its demons pulling you deeper into its depths.

Bull Runner Dream Marathon 1
– Mark at the early portions of the race –

Sanity almost got the best of me. Even before reaching the 21K mark, I wanted to quit. I was sick. I felt really terrible. It’s a good thing I posted earlier that I would come home triumphant. I didn’t want to eat my own words. I made sure I was overflowing with nutrition. Also, Jim Lafferty said that you could never DNF.

I cried as I neared the finish line. But, wiped my tears before crossing it. I didn’t want tears in my pics.

Bull Runner Dream Marathon - Finish Line2
– Mark emotional as he nears the finish line –

I thank my personal pacer, Paolo Agbulos. Without him, I would have DNF’ed. And I would also like to thank Aubrey, who sent kisses and ran the marathon with me.

Now, I’m wasted. My whole body is sore, with elevated fever. Fortunately, the organizers and volunteers made the race fun. Seeing odd and funny stations like a Kikay Station (to make you look good for photo ops), a Breast Feeding Station (for marathoner/mothers), and a Beer Station (with a tiny “root” before the word beer), among many others, lifts you up.

Completing a marathon sick is still quite an accomplishment, even with a slow time. No, it is a big accomplishment. I AM A MARATHONER!!!

[CHAPTER II: Post Marathon Blues, What is the meaning of Life.]

I’m feeling a little low. I’ve learned I’m really tough.

My heart, mind, spirit and body has been through extreme challenges and survived. My whole being has reached its peak.

I know I can face anything. I have the capability to give it everything I’ve got. I did it. I’m a winner. I fell into a deep hole, climbed out, and ended up reaching the peak of the highest mountain. I was happy to see… the sunrise for awhile… But lost meaning.

So, what now?

Sure, I could set higher goals and achieve them. I could become stronger. But, why?

Right now, I rather be weak if that would mean being with the person who makes me happy.

[CHAPTER III: Pure Joy.]

Aubrey fought all the battles with me, even in the events before the marathon. She was there every step of the way, to help me during my darkest hours, and even consenting to all the craziness I did. All the trials ended with completing a marathon at my worst physical condition. She ran with me, too. But when I crossed the finishline, everyone else was there, and she was gone. The person whom I share challenges and victories with is gone.

Last night, I called out to her. She said with a smile, “Victory is all yours. Look at you. You don’t need me anymore…”

Bull Runner Dream Marathon - Finish Line
– Mark holds back tears as he crosses the finish of TBR Dream Marathon –

* Editor’s Note: We highly discourage runners from participating in races especially marathons when they are ill.  Please prioritize your health.

Triathlon for Kids: Getting my Kids’ Feet Wet

Thursday, 30 May 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

When I started running in 2006, it was my secret dream that the rest of the family would pick up the sport, too.  The hubby eventually started running and he completed his first marathon at the first TBR Dream Marathon in 2010 (good choice for a first, eh?)  We ran NYC Marathon together later that year.

As for the kids, they would run shorter races with us.  Sometimes, I would take them out on weekends for short bike rides and runs.  But, I never ever wanted to push them into taking the sport more seriously.  I believed that if I wanted them to enjoy this sport as much as I did, they had to want to do it for themselves.  And so, through the years, I’ve been living a very active lifestyle allowing the kids to see me come home after a long run, pack my running gear for a marathon abroad, or simply listen to me wax poetic about an awesome run.  At the same time, I prayed, hoped, and waited that one day they would ask me for more serious training.

After years of waiting, that day finally came!  At least for my older son, Anton, who is now 12.  (12 already? How time flies. Sigh.)


Indulge me for a moment here and allow me to tell you about this not-so-little boy of mine.  He’s a good boy. He’s quiet, respectful, obedient, and humble.  (I won’t argue with you, he probably got this from his Dad haha!)  At the same time, underneath all this shyness, he’s also smart, a deep thinker (a trait he got from him Mom.  Er, that’s what people tell me.)  His teachers tell us that he’s an old soul who throws out questions like an adult sometimes.  Last March, he graduated from Elementary school.  He was one of only two kids who bagged ALL the awards given out that day.  I was floored…and, I was overjoyed.  It was truly one of the proudest moments of my life.  The feeling beat a marathon finish 10x over.

– That’s my boy! –

– with the proud Mama and sis! –

If that weren’t enough, a few weeks after graduation, with summer upon us, Anton gave me even better news: he wanted to run and bike with me.  My reaction?  First, I was ecstatic!  Okay, let’s do this!  I had images of me and my boy running and conquering hills together and riding past cars (and Vin Diesel in a jeep) all over the city!  Then, reality struck.  While I could easily take him running longer with me, I worried about biking out with him. Wasn’t it irresponsible of me to send my dearest child out to bike with a newbie biker like me? With visions of me struggling to uncleat and dismount as I try to save him from an oncoming truck, I thought it best to find a coach to get his feet wet into this world the right way.


Lucky for me, I’ve got a lot of great coach friends around.  I texted coach friends like Ani de Leon-Brown and Norman Pascual who I know train kids regularly.  After checking schedules (my daughter decided to take up swimming with Ria Mackay’s Aqualogic Swim Classes. More on that next time) and figuring out how I could possibly train for Ironman 70.3 in August while taking two kids to different sessions this summer (gaaah! the life of a tri mom!), I decided to go with Coach Norman’s Duathlon Sessions for kids in SM Mall of Asia every Wednesday and Friday. I thought if he wanted to get into triathlon later, then it would be easier for him already.

As for his gear, I chose NOT to spend to much on this just yet.  The only thing we really invested in were his shoes: Asics Gel Kayano, a few months ago. (I love run shoes and one should never compromise on this. So there!) I got Anton a very cheap mountain bike in Cartimar a few months ago and this was what we use for now.  For shorts, the hubby lent him.  For his tops, I gave him some of mine.  Hey, stop laughing about how frugal we are! I’ve got a couple of barely used football shoes, a tennis racket, and goggles gathering dust at home to remind me about spending too much too soon.  I just told Anton to prove to me first that he’s interested in doing this long term and we’ll support him all the way.

The first few sessions were one-on-one which was awesome for a beginner like Anton.  Coach Norman started with basic mounting and dismounting lessons, gearing, and even rode out with him around SM MOA a couple of times.

– with Coach Norman –

– Running seems natural for this kid. He actually leans forward and lands on his mid foot –

– After running, he gets on his bike –

By the next sessions, four other kids, all siblings, joined Anton for more fun sessions.  They raced with each other and even rode MOA in drafting positions.  During the last sessions, Anton even learned how to do a flying dismount, something I can only do in my dreams.

– They rush to wear their shoes, helmet, head off to bike, then run –

– The bigger kids biking –

– Little Sis comes out to watch Kuya. I’m hoping the bug rubs off on her too –

For now, Anton enjoys every single session and, for that alone, I am thankful.  I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll continue this even when school starts in June.  Just yesterday, he asked me: Mom, when can I get a nicer road bike?  Aaaah, it may burn a hole in our pockets, but, hey, it was music to my ears!


If you want to get your child started in triathlon or swim, bike, and run, here are some info that may help.


  • Coach Norman Pascual – 0917.862.6224, tricoach norman@yahoo.com
  • Coach Ani de Leon-Brown – 0915.444.0290, anikarina@gmail. com

RACES FOR KIDS (click on the links)


  • Junior Triathlete – published by Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan and Coach Ani Brown


Just for Moms: Breastfeeding Stations at a Marathon

Tuesday, 28 May 2013  |  Bullish Insights

This is my late post dedicated to mommies who run!  Hey, every day should be Mother’s Day after all!

Being a mom is a tough job.  For those who can successfully include “training for and running a marathon” in her to-do list along with the demands of career and family life, it’s even more challenging.  But, we’ve seen many women do it and we continue to see a lot more women aiming for it because it makes life more fulfilling, it makes us more complete, and—would you believe—it makes us better wives, mothers, co-workers, daughters, and friends.

So, it was truly heartwarming for me when, at TBR Dream Marathon, Philips Avent came up to us and offered something for our running nursing mommies that we had never heard of before: Philips Avent Breastfeeding Stations.  Yes, you got that right.  For the first time in the country, a marathon was offering a Breastfeeding Station, aside from the usual Water and Sports Drink Station.  How cool was that?!

We drew up the plans.  Found the location for it.  And quickly informed our nursing running mommies, Maricel and Debbie, about it.  They were thrilled.  When race day came, they dropped by and expressed their milk conveniently, discreetly, and comfortably at the special Philips Avent Breastfeeding stations.


– Philips Avent products neatly arranged –

– Philips Avent breastfeeding pumps –

The stations were clean and spacious.  Our two super nursing mommies were treated to free use of Philips Avent breast pumps, bottles and other products at the tent.

– Maricel Pangilinan and her pacer/husband Anthony pause to express milk for baby Solana –

– Young mommy Debbie giving a thumbs up.  She doesn’t even look tired midway through the run –

– Maricel and Anthony, along with friend Tina, continue the marathon with the Philips Avent tent behind them –

I hope this post inspires in many ways:

– For new mommies to realize that you too can aim to be fit and strong even while you’ve just given birth or are raising infants and young children (or like these moms, even while you’re breastfeeding. Just consult your doctor first);
– For moms of every age, shape, and size to know that you can live a healthier, happier lifestyle while caring for your family if you just decide to start NOW;
– For more companies, like Philips Avent, to support moms and women and lighten their load as they devote their lives to their families.
– For all of us to always remember our Mothers and the sacrifices they’ve made for us not just on Mother’s Day, but on the other 364 days of the year.

– Nursing mommy Maricel finishes her first marathon! –

– Maricel thanks Philips Avent for the support! –