The New Normal

Thursday, 21 November 2013  |  Bullish Insights

This is part of a series of posts under the Quaker Challenge. It’s about the quest that my kids and I have to achieve our Quaker Goal to swim, bike, and run more. Read about it HERE.

When we started our Quaker Challenge in August, I was completely uncertain over how far I could take the kids with it. Sure, they were willing, even excited, to swim, bike, and run once in a while, but I didn’t know if they were ready to commit to regular training sessions for sports.

In the past, one or both of them had signed up for soccer, baseball, tennis, swimming, ice skating and more, and almost all the time they would quit in less than a month. I could’ve put up a TBR Sports Store with all our barely used equipment at home.

But, the past weeks, things have definitely changed. I fetch both kids from school on Tuesdays and Fridays and they know that they take swimming sessions after. Most of the time, I swim along with them.

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– Before one of our swim sessions –

On Sundays, Anton looks forward to triathlon training sessions with Coach Norman and all the other tri kids that he’s made friends with. Last Saturday, Anton joined the BGC Cycle for kids too.  (Separate post on that in a bit!)  It’s almost normal for them to engage in some form of activity at least twice a week now. It’s a world of difference from the way they spent their time after school or on weekends. I’m not even sure if these are the same kids who used to have their eyes glued to Minecraft and Club Penguin all the time!

So, what helped to make my kids more active and healthier? This is what we did:

1) WE SET A CLEAR GOAL. Thanks to the Quaker Challenge I set a clear goal for the kids to swim, bike, and run more. It became even more measurable for Anton when we signed him up for Ironkids. Sit your kids down and agree on a target together. Discuss ways on how you will achieve it as a team. Gently remind them about this during the week since they tend to get distracted with school work and friends.

2) WE MADE NO EXCUSES. There were times, especially during exam week, when Anton would say that he had too much homework and he couldn’t train. I took it as an opportunity to teach him about proper time management. Together, we agreed on how much time he would spend on training and studying. Both had to be given their fair share of time and focus.

3) I LISTENED AND EXPLAINED. Not all days are good days. So, on days when the kids would complain, I would listen to them, yet I would explain. When Nia said she was having difficulty, I told her that all sports are hard in the start. One doesn’t learn the perfect swim stroke or running technique overnight. When she said it was a bit boring. I told her only after a few “slow” technical sessions can she join other kids and engage in the fun drills and races against each other.

4) WE CHOSE BETTER FOOD. With more activities, I needed to make sure that both kids were eating nutritiously. I have them eat a heavier breakfast to keep them fueled for the day, such as oatmeal and fruits. I give them fruit/veggie juice everyday.

5) WE HAVE FUN. My greatest fear is to have the kids engage in sports hating every single minute. I make sure that they’re having fun while they’re swimming, biking, or running. Thankfully, each and every time I’ve asked them: “Did you have fun?” They both answer “Yes!” even if it’s immediately followed by “Can we pass by McDo?” I know, I know. We still have to get rid of fastfood. That’s an entirely new goal altogether.

TBR as Finalist in Rappler Do More Awards

Wednesday, 30 October 2013  |  Bullish Insights

The Rappler DO MORE Awards “aims to recognize Filipino achievers who have the courage to challenge the status quo. The awards will be given to those who take the initiative to go beyond the call of duty.”

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A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from Rappler informing me that I was a finalist for the Challenger category of the Rappler DO MORE Awards. I was stunned. Then, I was overjoyed. Then, I was thankful. Cliche as it sounds, being chosen as a finalist already makes me feel like a winner. I am deeply honored.

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Now, here’s the thing.

The Rappler DO MORE Awards winners will be chosen via online voting. And, if you know me, I like winning. Heehee. BUT, I like winning fairly. So, I’m not twisting your arm to win your vote. I hope you can vote for me if and only if you think I deserve it.  (Spoiler alert: If you read until the end, I will give you an awesome thank you gift for believing in me!)

Now, here’s what I suggest you do:

1) Read my profile on Rappler. Click HERE.

2) Next, pretend you interviewed me one-on-one and asked me this:

YOU: TBR, why should I vote for you for the Rappler DO MORE Awards?

ME: Vote for me because you believe in my cause and what I’ve been trying to do. I don’t just DO MORE than is expected of me or what I expect from myself. I think a lot of athletes and non-athletes are capable of that.

But, beyond that, I (and the rest of my wonderful Dream Team and generous supporters of TBR) have DONE MORE and we try to continue to DO MORE by changing lives through our passion, running. Through TBR Dream Marathon, we have helped over 2,000 individuals to DREAM BIG, to ACHIEVE what they once thought was impossible, to live as WINNERS who live healthier, better, fuller lives, and, last but not the least, to serve as INSPIRATION to everyone around them (ripple effect, baby!).

TBR is not just a blog, a magazine, nor an event. It’s not about me. It has gone beyond me and even beyond running. TBR is about transforming lives and helping others to do the same.

3) Now, read the profiles of the other finalists in the Challengers category. They are Coach Arnel Aba, the amazing one-legged national athlete, and Mimi Lucas, a 24-year-old triathlete. I am in good company and I’ve got great competition, noh? If I met these two, I think I’d be starstruck and inspired.

4) Decide on who to vote for. If you wish to vote for me, then please click on the link below, scroll down and click on my photo to vote for me…

<< Click here to VOTE for me at the RAPPLE DO MORE AWARDS >>

5) Lastly, if you did vote for me, please leave a comment below with the following:

– Your name
– Email
– Shoe size
Optional: Suggestion or idea on how can DO MORE for running/runners

As my token of gratitude, all those who comment below and voted for me (honor system please!) will be eligible to win one (1) pair of Brooks Running shoes.  Only comments entered by November 14, 2013, 11:59 PM will be considered for the raffle.  The raffle will be held on November 15, 2013.  Winner will be announced on the blog.  Only one comment per person please. This is my little thank you gift for your continued support through the years. Mwah!

Part 2: Ironkids Philippines – The Race

Thursday, 24 October 2013  |  Bullish Insights

This is part of a series of posts under the Quaker Challenge. It’s about the quest that my kids and I have to achieve our Quaker Goal to swim, bike, and run more. Read about it HERE.

The entire family–the hubby, both kids, and I–woke up early Sunday morning of October 20, 2013 to get ready for Anton’s first triathlon, Ironkids Philippines.  The future triathlete woke up as if it was a regular day, while his Mother (er that’s me) was a bundle of nerves.  Truth is, it was almost, if not more, nerve wracking than my first triathlon!  I taught our future triathlete how to pack his gear for transition, made sure he had a good breakfast of oats to fuel him for the morning’s race, and we were off.

RACE KIT CLAIM, CHECK IN, AND BODY MARKING

We arrived at the event area at Palm Country Club to find a lively and exciting atmosphere.  Since there were various wave starts, younger kids had already finished the race, others were about to start, and other older kids like Anton had just arrived like us to check in.  It was like any other triathlon for us adults except for them, to ensure the safety of the kids, they have assistants to check in the bike and their equipment at transition.  How cool is that?!

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Start and Finish Area

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My future triathlete

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Body marking…check!

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Kids’ bikes lined up at transition area

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Kuya who assisted us at bike check in

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The not so little boy with his super nervous Mama (who is incidentally shorter than him now)

RACE START

We headed for the pool for the 7:15 AM race briefing led by Coach Ani de Leon.  Before the race started, I reminded Anton that his goal was simply to finish the race.  If he crossed the finish line, he was already a winner.  With that, he went on his own and I watched from the sidelines with my heart exploding out of my chest.  Man, who knew that Ironkids could be so stressful?!

We watched from afar as the kids listened intently to directions explained by Coach Ani.  I noticed that Anton was the tallest in the group.  I also knew that he was probably one of the least experienced.

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Race briefing by Coach Ani de Leon for 11-12 year old boys

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Kids get ready to start. Always the scariest part of the race.

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And they’re off!

The race started at 7:30 AM.  The other kids swam with power and ease.  The leaders broke away by the first two laps.  My eyes were focused on Anton who was at the end of the pack.  He swam slowly and calmly, his stroke a reflection of his personality.  Earlier that morning, I told him to simply focus on his stroke and go at his own pace.  And, I was glad that he listened.

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Struggling through the swim

Anton was the last out of the pool, but when he came out, I couldn’t have been prouder.  With the little training he had and his disdain for swim training, I was glad that he pushed himself to finish the swim!

Anton quickly went to transition and took off on his 3 loops around Filinvest City to cover 8km.  Each time he passed us on the loop, I was relieved to see him enjoying the race.  Other kids were entering T2 at this point and heading out to run. Anton came in from the bike and made up for some lost time from the swim.  Then, he was off to run 2k.

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Anton loved the bike portion

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Nervous dad and bored sis waiting for Kuya to pass on the bike

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First placer. This kid can leave me in the dust!

As we saw Anton running towards the finish line, it was one of the happiest and proudest moments ever.  He looked exhausted but fulfilled!  He could barely talk.  Um, he could barely breathe as we took the photo of him below.  But, I knew he had a great time!

After packing up and heading for breakfast, I asked Anton if he would do this again.  He replied: “Yes.”  And with that one word, I smiled dreaming of the world of possibilities for this little Ironkid of mine.

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Anton just a few minutes after he crossed the finish line of his first triathlon

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With good friend, course director of Ironkids and TBR Dream Marathon, Neville Manaois

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Couldn’t be any prouder of this Little Man

PREVIOUS: Part 1: Ironkids Philippines – Training for the Race

Living in the Now

Thursday, 10 October 2013  |  Bullish Insights

Since I started running in 2006, I always had a goal race to train for. I was the veritable rabbit chasing after the carrot at the end of a stick, which never really ran out of carrots. From my first 5k, the next marathon, or a 70.3, I always needed a specific, tangible target in the long term to get me to swim, bike, or run every morning.

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– Racing back in 2007 before the running boom of Manila hit. Check out my P100 shorts from SM! –

The past couple of months, things changed.

After Ironman 70.3 Cebu last August, I knew, without a doubt, that I needed a respite from racing. It wasn’t so much the physical aspect of training that I got tired of, but it was the mental part. After years of training for the next big race, I suddenly felt spent constantly chasing after a goal in the far future. I just wanted to live in the now.

LIVING AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t transformed into a couch potato. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I still train like a triathlete. I swim, bike, or run six days a week as if I was training for a triathlon. On two of those days, I have double workouts. I also join runs such as the recent Run United Philippine Marathon 21k. But no race or workout is taken too seriously. I really just want to run free. (No pun intended.)

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– Running with friends in the South –

Without a goal in mind, I get out there everyday eager to workout for no other reason but this: Because I love it. Gone are the days when I wake up in the morning dreading a 100km bike ride and wishing I were with my kids instead or running intervals on the track because I needed to break a PR for the next race.

Each day I train because I love pushing my body to perform and seeing my progress in a skill or in endurance. I train because it makes me feel fit, strong, and powerful and that spills out to all other aspects of my life. I train because, quite simply, I enjoy every freaking minute of it. No pressure, no negative thoughts. All passion. It’s really about living an active lifestyle, day in, day out.

MORE TIME FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE

This new frame of mind has given me more time to think, conceptualize, and create. While I let go of a racing goal, I set new goals for myself in other aspects of my life. It’s when I took a step back that I gained more focus on my entire life.

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– Relaxing at Pico de Loro –

I’ve gone back to school studying to be a Health Coach. I’m setting up a new project, which I hope to launch by the start of the year. I’ve had more time to improve on existing projects. And, I’ve gone back to illustrating again.

Perhaps the best effect of this off-season for me is this: It’s given me a time to breathe. The past months, I’ve been able to slow down a bit and enjoy the little things.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Within the next few weeks, my training for Tokyo Marathon on February 23, 2014 shall commence. Yes, I’ll have a new running goal to target, but I’m taking it on with a renewed spirit.

I always knew that the goal-less phase in my life would be temporary because, well, I was just born kinda competitive and driven. But, I tell you; the past 2 to 3 months’ break is just what I needed to get hungry and excited again. I’m looking forward to training and running those LSD’s for Tokyo.

For now, allow me to enjoy the last few weeks of goal-less workouts. It’s the most fun I’ve had in ages.

Tokyo Marathon, Here I Come!

Sunday, 29 September 2013  |  Bullish Insights

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There were 302,000 applications for 30,000 slots for Tokyo Marathon on February 23, 2014. The applicants were chosen via lottery system. As luck (or fate!) would have it, I was one of the runners selected!

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Words can’t express how happy I am about this. Just one step closer to my dream of finishing the World Marathon Majors. Oh, and I can’t wait to load up on sashimi and ramen too!  Tokyo, here I come!