One Wedding and a Marathon in London

Wednesday, 5 September 2012  |  Bullish Insights

Meet my cousin, Celine.  I lived with Celine in New York when I ran the New York City Marathon last year.  Since then, she’s moved to Singapore.

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– Cel and I outside her apartment in NYC. Don’t laugh. I had to wear my marathon shoes all over NYC during that trip because other shoes would leave me and my bunions in pain –

Cel’s mom and mine are sisters.  We were born a month apart.  We studied in the same school from Prep until Highschool.  We were in the same barkada all throughout.  Needless to say, she’s like a sister to me.

Several months ago, Celine shared some great news: She was engaged! She and her British boyfriend would get married in London. I was thrilled for her!

She told me: “You HAVE to be there.”  I said: “Of course!”  Then, within seconds I added jokingly: “Maybe you could set your wedding date close to the London Marathon.” (Hey, traveling ain’t cheap and I might as well hit two birds with one stone, right?!)

The London Marathon is on my must run marathon list. My dream is to finish the five World Marathon Majors–New York City Marathon (check twice!), Berlin Marathon (in less than a month!), Chicago Marathon (it’s our groups’ target next year), London Marathon, and Boston Marathon. (Okay, okay, I’m not sure if I’ll ever run fast enough for Boston so maybe I’ll be happy with 4 of 5)

I digress. Back to Cel’s story.  A couple of months back, Celine finally emailed the exact date of her wedding: April 19, 2013. I marked it on my calendar, then immediately googled the Virgin London Marathon. The date?  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It’s on April 22, 2013!!!

What were the chances that these two dates would be just days apart?!  It was fate! Then, I quickly checked registration.  Bummer. Application for lottery was closed. So much for destiny.

Luckily, bulls like me never take No for an answer.  I asked Timex, the timing partner of the Virgin London Marathon, if they could possibly help.  One of my favorite people in the running community, Ms. Gemma Pagsibigan of Timex Philippines, sent out emails to her contacts in the UK and told me to just sit still and pray, pray, pray.

Either I’m really lucky or the gods of running just love me to death. Ms. Gemma called yesterday to share the good news: She got me a slot to London Marathon 2013!!!  May I say it again?!  IT’S FATE!

Looking forward to two happy events in London: a wedding and a marathon all in one week!

 

Cosmo the Dog Who Hates Running

Tuesday, 21 August 2012  |  Bullish Insights

He seemed so innocent when he arrived at our home as a puppy…

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We took him in and treated him like family…

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We even took him with us to participate in races…

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I had the impression that he loved running too. But, as you see here, when he requested to be carried by Little Miss Bull Runner during the Southridge Run, it might have been his way of boycotting running…

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I believe we’ve got an anti-running hound in the house. Cosmo is cuddly and cute, he looks harmless, and, yes, we love him to pieces. But, two days ago, much to my horror, I discovered my Nike Free 7.0 all chewed up, its laces torn into three.

This was my Chosen Shoe: the shoe I used for Ironman 70.3 Cebu and the one I was planning to wear for Berlin Marathon among all my other running shoes.  They’re irreplaceable because they’re an old model that isn’t available locally anymore.  Double sigh.

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The culprit for such a heinous crime?

No other than Cosmo, the anti-running dog. This was how he looked when I confronted him. Looks guilty eh?!

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It Takes a Village to Raise a Triathlete – The Coaches Who Trained Me

Monday, 20 August 2012  |  Bullish Insights

Sure you can train for and finish a triathlon on your own, but, it definitely makes life easier when you learn basic techniques and skills from experts who are not only experienced in their field, but are also well-equipped to train athletes like you.

It took quite a number of supportive people in the running and triathlon community—yes, as huge as a village—to guide me through my Ironman 70.3 Cebu journey.

Here’s a list of the coaches I worked with, even if there were many more friends, acquaintances, and even strangers who gave their much appreciated advice on how to do well for my first Ironman 70.3:

1) COACH ANDY LEUTERIO

When I was choosing a coach for triathlon, Coach Andy came to mind. I asked a friend about him and here’s how the conversation went:

Me: How’s Andy as a coach?

Friend: Andy will work you to death. Then, he’ll spit on you. Then, he’ll work you to death even more.

Me thinking: Oooh, I like him already.

With that, I signed up with Coach Andy as my primary coach for triathlon, with more focus on cycling.  Andy also works with Specialized, the guys that set me up with the Shiv, so he basically played two roles: the guy who trained me to reach my target time and, umm, the guy who set that specific target time for me to win the Shiv!

Andy set my training program composed of 9 workouts for 6 days of training per week. He emailed this to me every Monday while I filled it in with what I had accomplished and sent it back to him every Sunday. With this info, he could adjust each week’s program according to my schedule (e.g., travel, heavy workload, or kids’ exam week) and my progress.

Particularly in cycling, Coach Andy monitored my improvement through a Power Meter test and provided me with a comprehensive assessment of how I could train and race efficiently using my heart rate. He also accompanied me to Edmund Mangaser’s bike shop, All Terra, for bike fitting.

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– 6 weeks before Ironman 70.3 Cebu. Power meter test at All Terra with Coach Andy. I remember asking Andy: “Coach, is it okay to do a Power Meter test after my swim training?” hoping he’d postpone it because I’d be tired. He replied: “Oh, that’s perfect. Bring running shoes too so you can run after.” Gasp. I didn’t call him the King of Suffering for nothing. –

Coach Andy is perfect for competitive athletes who want to improve their performance and constantly want to push their bodies to the limits. He regularly holds swim, bike, and run group sessions with his students, but, in my case, we were one-on-one or I’d do my homework on my own. He has an e-group to communicate with all students. He’s also a prolific writer so he occasionally sends out an inspiring letter or a technical article via this e-group.

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– with Coach Andy after finishing Ironman 70.3 Cebu. Photo: Andy Leuterio –

Andy practices “tough love;” he won’t pamper you nor will he mince words to tell you exactly how hard you have to train for race day. He will prepare you for a race by killing you in training so that when race day arrives, it will be a walk in the park…or at least one with less suffering.

Training: Triathlon
Area: Alabang, Pasig
Phone: 0917-864-1014
Email: alpha_tri@yahoo.com

2) PATRICK JOSON

Coach Patrick Joson trained me for a few weeks on my roadie when I started biking in February 2012. He taught me proper mounting and dismounting, how to spin properly, and—the greatest fear of most newbie cyclists including myself— how to ride with cleats!  He was incredibly patient with me and gave me the assurance that he wouldn’t let me crash. I pitied him when he had to chase me all around the parking lot as I attempted my first ride with cleats.

Coach Patrick is great for beginners and serious athletes, especially those who enjoy training in groups. He enjoys dishing out new learnings in the world of running, cycling, nutrition, and triathlon, especially from the Maffetone and Pose Methods which he espouses. He trains runners and cyclists in Alabang.

Training: Triathlon
Area: Alabang
Phone: 0917-527-7141
Email: patrickjoson@gmail.com

3) NORMAN PASCUAL

I joined Coach Norman Pascual for 3 to 4 sessions of bike skills at SM Mall of Asia when I got the Shiv. Shifting from a roadie to a TT bike in April, just 5 months before Ironman 70.3 Cebu, caused much anxiety as I felt like I had to learn how to ride again.

Coach Norman taught me specific bike skills: bike handling, balance, riding on aero, drinking while riding, and proper mounting and dismounting. He even taught me how to refill my Speedfill as I was biking!  These sessions were a key factor in building my confidence on the bike.

I was a witness also to how he helped other friends go from zero to finishing the Ironman 70.3 Cebu.  I heard how he helped cyclists atop the Marcelo Fernan bridge and witnessed him pace one student in the run with complete disregard for his own performance.  Coach Norman is one coach who will go all out to care for each of his students.

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– Coach Norman teaches me how to change a flat –

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Coach Norman is a great coach for beginners, especially those who want to get into triathlon, as well as serious athletes who want to become more competitive. He coaches in groups and teaches you everything from swim, bike, run, and everything in between like transitions, drinking at stations, and other the little details that you don’t really find in books.

Training: Triathlon
Area: QC, Bonifacio Global City
Phone: 0917-862-6224

4) ANI DE LEON

Coach Ani is a friend and my teammate at Unilab Active Health. She offered to guide me in training for Cebu and would regularly email me a program as well. We didn’t get to train together regularly due to conflicts in schedule, but it was her training camp, The Next Step Tri Camp, last year that planted the seed in my mind that I could actually finish a medium distance triathlon.  Oh, this Iron mommy’s words of encouragement during smaller triathlons: “Go Jaymie!” as she gunned for first place certainly gave me that extra push to make it to the finish!

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– Next Step Tri Camp 2011: with Coaches Ani and Dan Brown in Subic. This was my first open water swim –

Training: Triathlon
Area: Alabang, NUVALI
Phone: 0915-444-0290
Blog: My Strength is My Strength
Website: The Next Step Tri

5) MARTIN CARANDANG

I started training with Coach Martin in the summer of 2011. When injuries prevented me from running, I got into swimming as an alternative means to maintain my fitness and provide me with another goal while waiting to recover. True enough, my progress in swimming kept me happily distracted. From panting and pausing at every lap, I could swim 1.5k with, um, a lot less breaks during the summer of 2011.

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– 2011 Swim squad photo. Just when I was just starting to get my feet wet…literally. L to R: Jake, Adel, Bic, Coach Martin, and myself –

When it was time to train seriously for Cebu this 2012, I had grasped the basic techniques and had a mileage base that Coach Martin said we could build on. Coach Martin started adding speed a month or two before Cebu. He got me swimming 2k at Tri United 2 with confidence and more speed, such a big improvement from my past triathlons. His practical tips before Tri United races and Ironman 70.3 Cebu also kept me calm and focused.

Training: Swimming
Area: Pasig
Phone: 0917-838-7967

6) NONOY BASA

Nonoy Basa didn’t train me for Ironman 70.3, but I had to include him in this list because it was my knowledge from my sessions 4 years ago that gave me the foundation for the swim. Nonoy is a Total Immersion swimming coach and I turned to him when I needed help for my mini-sprint triathlon way back in 2008. I highly recommend Total Immersion for anyone  who wishes to learn how to swim more efficiently.

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– 2008 Total Immersion Sessions with my only classmate Dondi Gaston and Nonoy Basa –

Training: Swimming
Area: Alabang
Phone: 0917-350-6383

7) LIT ONRUBIA

Lit is one of the friends that I run with regularly especially for long runs. Luckily, he is also the first certified Chi Running coach in the country.

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– 2009 Chi Running Session with my classmates and instructor, Lit Onrubia, on the far right –

While I can be stubborn when it comes to my running (no one can really tell me what I should do anymore or how slow or fast I should go!), I still get nuggets of running information from Lit every now and then.

During the run at Ironman 70.3 Cebu, the last and, undoubtedly the most critical portion of the race for me, I remembered to lean forward, keep my shoulders relaxed, tighten my core, and just let gravity do the work for me.

Training: Chi Running
Phone: For more info on the next Chi Running workshop, call or text 0915-638-5801
Website: Forward Lean Running

To the coaches mentioned above, thank you once again from the bottom of this Bull’s heart. I couldn’t have done it without you!  May you continue to spread the love for running and triathlon!

Road to IM 70.3: Off to Cebu!

Friday, 3 August 2012  |  Bullish Insights

Two more days until the big day!

I actually have an hour to go before I leave for the airport and fly off to Cebu. This may be the last time I’ll post before I race on Sunday as I expect to be caught in the whirl of activities that surrounds Ironman 70.3 Cebu.

I’m all set. I’ve packed my bags.

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– Can you find my peanut butter and jelly, bagels, and gummy worms in there? –

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– Awesome bike bag lent by Joey of Dan’s Bike Shop to keep the boyfriend Shiv safe and comfy –

Along with the luggage, I’ll be bringing along a whole lot of mental toughness, focus, and some sense of humor for the race. (Hey, I can’t start crying now about jellyfish, waves, and crosswind right? So, um, I figured I might as well just laugh about it! Hah!)

It’s a little over an hour’s trip to Cebu.  But, the journey to get to Ironman 70.3 has taken months of sweat, sacrifices, crashes, and tears.  It’s also been the most fulfilling months for me when I learned about my own mental and physical strength and where I truly pushed myself to the limits despite my fears.  I’ve been fortunate enough to receive  guidance from the best coaches around (who I’ll thank in a post next week) and from family, teammates, friends, and even you readers who’ve always been supportive of me.  I couldn’t have done this alone!  But, at the end of the day, the Ironman 70.3 is a solo journey.  As with everything in life, you are truly on your own out there facing your own demons and winning your own battles.

It’s been a long, challenging road just to get here, and, I’ll see how it all ends—or shall I say how a whole chapter of my life begins—after Ironman 70.3 Cebu on Sunday. Until then!

Part 2: Nike+ Innovation Space in Singapore – Game On, World!

Monday, 30 July 2012  |  Bullish Insights

Aside from checking out the latest products from Nike, we also witnessed representatives from various countries take part in “Game On, World.”  (#gameonworld)

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“Game On, World” is Nike’s global activation where visitors can run to log the most miles for one’s city by running at the innovation space. Involving Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia, the challenge pit country against country in the total miles clocked via Nike+ Running apps (available on iPhone and Android).

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– On the NikePlus rankings, Philippines is SECOND to Singapore!  This can’t be!  We have to win this guys! –

For the Philippines, our athletes were Coach Rio de la Cruz, Drew Arellano, and L.A. Tenorio who teamed up with Ms. Indonesia. They were to run on a treadmill for 5 minutes against representatives from Thailand and Singapore. Highest total kilometers would be the winner.

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– Drew, L.A., and Coach Rio –

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– Our Pinoy athletes with actress/beauty queen/runner, Agni Pratistha –

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– Day of popular band Thaithanium, Freddy of South Side, competitive racing cyclist Loh Sea Keong, and competitive marathoner Vivian Tang –

Drew and I had run around the roads of Singapore earlier that morning. In fact, we ran loops around the start/finish area of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. So, um, I did my part to contribute to the kilometers on Nike Plus and I was glad to just be a witness to this treader event. See ’em sweat below…hah!

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The winning team was Thailand/Singapore, but we all still have a chance of winning. Like I said, right now, the Philippines is second to Singapore online. Seriously now, how many are we Pinoys compared to Singaporeans? By our sheer number we can win this by a landslide.  All you have to do is log in your kilometers after each run on nikeplus.com! C’mon, let’s do this!

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[CORTEZ 40/40]

In celebration of Nike Cortez 40th anniversary, 40 interpretations of the iconic Nike Cortez from 40 artists, designers and personalities from Southeast Asia are on display. The Cortez 40/40 is a showcase unique to the region.

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It was so cool to see designs from our very own Pinoy personalities!

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– Lovin’ the purple shoes by Laureen Uy of Break My Style

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– Work of art by AJ Dimacurot. Big fan of his googoogaga line for babies/kids –

Other Pinoy designs featured were shoes by Eunice Alera, JP Cuison, Miggy Chavez, and Anton Lopez.

The Nike+ innovation space ends on 12 August 2012, and is located at 180 Orchard Road, Peranakan Place Level 2. It is open daily from 11am – 10pm. Admission is free.

Previous Post: Part 1: Nike+ Innovation Space – Nike’s New Products

* Full Disclosure: TBR was sent to Singapore by Nike to cover the Nike+ Innovation space event. TBR did not receive cash compensation for this post.