Keeping Perspective by Jim Lafferty

Thursday, 24 November 2011  |  Bullish Insights

I received this email from Jim Lafferty, my co-founder for TBR Dream Marathon and one of my mentors in running and in life. As I’ve mentioned in the past, Jim is a huge believer in Youth Juice (no, he doesn’t own it nor is he a distributor of it and neither am I) and he shares this poignant story about a female runner named Uche, her challenges in life and how she faced them head on:

As you know, I moved from Manila to Lagos, Nigeria, in early 2010 to take a CEO role with Coca Cola.

Nigeria is also a developing market, and one of the “hot spots” of the global economy, yet FAR behind Philippines in many respects, including development of a running community. Despite some success in the Olympics in sprinting, typically the West Africans have not developed the kind of distance running pedigree of the east Africans. But the talent is there, like Philippines!

Soon after my arrival, I got into coaching and built a local team in Lagos, including key runners from the Women’s national team. These women, I can tell you, are real icons. They get zero support or funding–it all goes to sprinters. They are college educated, professional women—bankers, marketers, procurement officers. They work long hours, and train in what CNN Called “the worst city in the world to live in”. NO parks. No sidewalks. Dangerous roads. Extreme heat and humidity. Dodging cars, bikes, bodies (yes bodies!), rats, you name it. They are so inspiring.

One of the women runners, a 3:30 marathoner who also works for one of the top oil companies, was running with us one day in June this year. She is a quiet, but forceful personality. Keeps to herself a bit. Incredibly talented in so many things, and also a pillar of ethics in a tough environment for this. We stop for a road crossing about 7 miles into our Saturday long run, and she says to me: “Jim can we talk. I have some ‘female’ issues and it seems I have a fibroid tumour in my ovary and uterus. I want to go to the US to see a doctor there. What do you think I should do?”

Now realize this is a 32 year old, world class runner, top health, and takes good care of herself. She is single, beautiful, vivacious, about as special a person that exists. It was shocking, not only to hear her having such an issue, but I was humbled she would talk to me about it.

I told her it was probably a good idea to go to the US. I had seen some of the “best” Nigerian health care and it was concerning to say the least. So a few weeks later she went off to the US—AFTER finishing a strong second in an open women’s 5 kms race, narrowly losing to the national record holder by a few seconds!

She had her tests, and wrote me a note. Sure enough, she did have a fibroid tumour in her ovary. But when they opened her up, they also found COLON CANCER, stage 4, which had spread outside the Colon into surrounding tissues. So they had to extend the surgery to take the cancer out. And then lots of rehab time until the chemotherapy starts.

I cannot tell you all the things, all the questions that went through my head to get this news. But some big ones.

—How tough a human are we talking about? I think I am tough, I am nothing compared to her. She ran with stage 4 cancer and came in SECOND in a 500 woman open 5 kms race in the largest country in Africa! And she was hurting all the way. I struggle with pain being healthy in a 5 KMS race. She redefines mental toughness.

—Where is the fairness in life? She is single, 32, healthy, did everything right. She has her whole life in front of her. How fair is this? To have a cancer so advanced that the survival rate is quoted at 8-15% maximum.

—How long did she ignore those early symptoms? When it was “something funny” and before it became so advanced? Do we all sometimes ignore the little signs we should not?

We were able to get her into the MD ANDERSON Medical Center, one of the world’s top Cancer Centers. They gave her a “Pre Chemo” protocol and she sent it to me. It had a listing of vitamins to boost her immune system, like CQ-10, Vitamin C and E. But then the shocker of them all–THE DOCTOR WROE OUT THAT SHE SHOULD TAKE DOUBLE DOSES OF YOUTH JUICE EACH DAY! That’s right. Apparently MD ANDERSON has done several trials on Youth Juice and they now make it a part of all their cancer protocols. That’s right. The very product you talked about last year, the product that you can find in S+R, is a key part of a cancer treatment. Imagine how it can help healthy people stay healthy?

Uche (that’s her name) is still in Chemo now, and we will see. I am convinced she will be in the 8-15% who survive and thrive. Someone has to be in the 8% so why not her? I think she will be back, and running competitively again. And her role modeling will only be bigger for it. She will touch more lives.

Its a story with a learning for all of us. To count our blessings. To never take health for granted. Don’t ignore ANY warning signs. And to take good preventive measures like our vitamins and Youth Juice. Its a small price to pay to be healthy.

Jim Lafferty

21k Charity Run for Pasig River

Monday, 21 November 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Last year, on October 10, 2010 (10.10.10), the Run for the Pasig River, led by ABS-CBN Foundation managing director, Gina Lopez, broke the world record for the most number of participants in a foot race when over 116,000 participated in a fun run to raise funds to rehabilitate the Pasig River.

This year, the Pasig River Run was held yesterday, November 20, 2011 at SM Mall of Asia with thousands of runners taking part in a 3k, 5k, or 10k fun run to save our historic river.

At the same time, a select group of runners were invited to join a 21k Charity Run for the Pasig River. This was not a race but an easy run meant to take the runners from the roads of Bonifacio High Street, along the Pasig River by Guadalupe, Paco estero, and ending at SM Mall of Asia for a special breakfast where the main event was held.

Map
– 21k Charity Run for Pasig route –

Along with a group of friends, Jun, Lit, and Miriam, I decided to join the charity run which started in front of Coach Rio dela Cruz’s new store, Riovana, in Bonifacio High Street at 4:30 am.

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– Have you dropped by Riovana, Coach Rio’s brand spankin’ new store at BHS? –

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– with Lit, Jun, Trixie and Miriam –

Spotted in the assembly were Polo Tri team member Fernando Zobel, Joey Torres, Cliff Eala and Levy Ang, Mitch Felipe-Mendoza, Malou Fores of Mamou, Michelline Suarez, Edwin Soriano of Runner’s Runner, Gem Padilla and more. It was nice to say hi to a friend and host for the race, Mia Bayuga of Magic 89.9. Too bad I didn’t even catch a glimpse of Piolo who I heard was in the crowd. Ernie Lopez gave a brief welcome speech then our little fun run began.

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– Ernie Lopez addresses the charity runners –

The run started like any other 21k race I’ve run before. We ran towards British School, circled the area, and climbed up University Ave. The pace was light and easy with a lot of time for chit chat, even with Ernie for a few minutes.

Then it got exciting. We exited Bonifacio Global City and headed for Guadalupe! Two things I loved: 1) It was the first time I ran in that area, and 2) there was a gentle downhill where we could run fast with ease, then the road flattened out as we ran by the Pasig River on our right.

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– Running by the Pasig River –

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– Jun, Lit, and Levy running in the dark by the river –

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– Shiny and sweaty with Edwin and his friend –

We ran straight through the back of Rockwell and through the little barangays of Makati. At first, the roads were familiar for me having lived in Bel Air half my life, but after a while, I had no clue where we were or where we were headed.  We just went straight ahead enjoying every minute of this new route we were taking.  This was definitely a welcome change from our usual weekend long runs.  This run felt like a thrilling yet safe adventure replete with support from organizers just like a real race: marshals, hydration stations, and bananas.

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– Fun run with Jun and Levy –

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– Levy, Jun, and Lit –

Since none of us had left our vehicles at the finish area, SM MOA, for a trip home (We actually planned on leaving one vehicle there for all of us to ride in, but ran into problems involving a minor car bump and 3 tipsy women before the race which is too long a story to tell here), we deviated from the route and decided to run our way back to Bonifacio High Street. The four of us waved goodbye to the marshals and made a right towards South Super Highway. Running on South Super was surreal. I couldn’t believe we were actually doing this.

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– End of South Super near Osmena Highway. Bumper to bumper traffic in the wee hours of the morning. Just the four of us by this time –

After a few hundred meters, we spotted a some runners and discovered that we had cut 3k through the route and were back on course! Good thing this wasn’t a race!

The runners below us passed a portion of the river that was polluted by foam and dirt. This was truly a disturbing sight, but it was also an eye-opener and it made this run even more meaningful.

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– This is what the Run for Pasig River hopes to change –

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– Angelo, GM of RunRio, greeted us from the middle of South Super Highway –

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– Hydration stations, sponges, and bananas along SSH –

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– Runner along SSH –

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– Photo op with Makati Police. (Gasp I need to lose 5 more lbs or learn how to angle myself haha) –

When we hit the intersection of Buendia, we left the group and made our way back to Bonifacio High Street. It was then that it was just the four of us on the road and I felt like we were on a great urban run adventure.  (Ooh, don’t we need these things every now and then?!) We purchased water and Gatorade at 7-11, then ran along Ayala Avenue going up and down the underpass, and climbing the overpass along EDSA until we reached McKinley Road.

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– Jun and Levy. Felt like we owned the roads of Makati! –

We hit the parking lot where our cars were parked at the exact distance of…guess what…21km. A perfect end to a perfectly wonderful and meaningful run.

Thank you to ABS-CBN Foundation and Ernie Lopez for inviting us to participate in this run. It was a pleasure to run with you and to contribute to saving our Pasig River.

Empire State of Mind and Legs

Friday, 18 November 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Since I arrived from New York, I’ve been stuck in brain (and leg) freeze mode.

More than a couple of times, I’ve had to peel myself out of bed in the morning.  That’s despite the hour long nap I’ve been having lately, which has gone mandatory to keep me from dozing off by 7 PM!  I go about my daily business at half the pace I used to, slowly sipping that cup of coffee, gingerly leafing through the morning papers, and dropping and fetching the kids as if I didn’t have a truckload of work waiting for me in my Inbox.

Notice the blog? I haven’t had anything substantial pop into my mind except cool contests!  (Insert apology for the delay in my NYC Race Report. I’m working on it!)  I’m worse than a kid who gulped down a large Slurpee in one sitting; I’ve had brain freeze for over a week and that’s without even having a taste of Slurpee (Mountain Dew’s my fave by the way.) Yikes!

I’ve even turned into a freakin’ girly girl.  My friends will laugh.  My pre-NY self detested parlors and, if I had to step into one, I would tell the stylist at what time he had to be done; deadline was usually an hour.  But, since I’ve arrived, I’ve spent a combined total of four hours in the parlor, not including the one hour tomorrow when I plan to indulge in another mani/pedi.

Ack. I’ve fallen into full-on relaxation and recovery mode.  Something I believe I haven’t done in—uhm—five years, perhaps?  I must admit, I’m loving it for the moment (one deserves to relax every once in a while), but, at the same time, I’m freaking out!  This is not me and I’m dying to crawl out of this hole.  Yes, I call it a hole!

This new R&R body is so annoyingly uncooperative.  I swam with Bic and Adel last week and struggled to reach 1k when 2k was my norm.  I could barely hit a set of 20 crunches at the gym when I used to do 30 with ease.  And, during last Sunday’s Run United where I ran 15km, I mistakenly u-turned along with the 10k runners and when the marshall called my attention, I yelled to Jun “Aaaw man!” hoping I could’ve just headed back towards the finish line earlier.

Call this jetlag, withdrawal symptoms from New York, extended vacation mode, or pure laziness.  Whatever. I’m just hoping it ends and that it ends soon because California International Marathon is just around the corner on December 4.  My mind is racing with excitement and conjuring up visions of how strong I’ll be during the marathon after running 42k at New York.  But, as of now, the body is revolting.

So, for now, I’m giving in to my body and allowing it to rest if it really needs it. I put it through a 42km so I guess it deserves a little break and, okay, a little spoiling.  I’m observing every niggle of discomfort or twitch of a muscle, making sure it is well hydrated and nourished, and giving it everything it asks for in preparation for the next marathon.  What?  A 1.5 hour massage tonight?  Fine. What the body asks for, the body gets. Who am I to complain?

Win 2 Tickets to Rex Reloaded

Monday, 14 November 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Every once in a while, we runners should take a break from running, relax, and laugh until there’s nothing left to give (almost like running a race, huh?)

REX

I would’ve wanted to watch this myself: REX RELOADED on Wednesday, November 16, 2011, at NBC Tent in Bonifacio Global City because I’m a big believer in laughter being the best antidote to anything (except my Morton’s Neuroma. Grrr!)  But, I can’t make it since it’s our 2nd Bull Circle at ROX on the same night.  So, I’ve decided to spread the good cheer and hold my second contest for the day.

Would you like to win 2 tickets to REX RELOADED?  Complete the sentence below with your funniest, wittiest answer…

YOU KNOW IT’S TIME TO RESUME RUNNING WHEN….

It’s a tough contest, but hey, you gotta make me laugh before you run away with my tickets, right?  Here are some hilarious examples I found on runtheplanet.com.  Please don’t copy them! These are just examples to get the ball rolling:

YOU KNOW IT”S TIME TO RESUME RUNNING WHEN…

  • You try to do a few pushups and discover that certain body parts refuse to leave the floor.
  • You come to the conclusion that, if God really wanted you to touch your toes each morning, He would have put them somewhere around your knees.
  • You step on a talking scale and it says, “Come back when you are alone”.

Contest Rules:

  1. Post your answer in the comments section below.
  2. TBR will choose the winner based on humor and wit.  Bonus points if the rest of the family find it funny too.
  3. Runner may only submit 1 entry. Submitting more than 1 entry leads to automatic disqualification.
  4. Contest ends today, November 15, 2011 at 11:59 AM.
  5. All answers will NOT be published until after the contest period.
  6. One winner will be chosen. Winner will receive two (2) tickets to REX RELOADED.  Tickets are not convertible to cash.  Tickets are transferable.
  7. Winners will be notified via email and will be advised on how to claim the prize.
May the funniest runner win!

Congratulations to 4 Winners of McHappy Day Fun Run Race Kits!

Monday, 14 November 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Congratulations to the Four Winners of McHappy Day Fun Run Race Kits! Each of you win 1 race kit each to the 5k distance. Please wait for my email regarding claiming of your race kits.  Enjoy the race!

  1. mrkC Sigue
  2. pol
  3. allenstein co
  4. ria mirella zagala

If I had to answer what McDonald’s food item makes me happiest, hands down it would be the CARAMEL SUNDAE like mrkC. Imagine having that after a long run?! Haaay!