Marathon Moms at The ING NYC Marathon

Tuesday, 6 November 2007  |  Bullish Insights


When I grow up, I want to be Paula Radcliffe.

Radcliffe of England won the ING NYC Marathon last Nov. 4, 2007 with a time of 2:23:09; that’s after taking a break from giving birth to her daughter, Isla.

Paula Radcliffe

– Radcliffe carries the flag of Great Britain in one hand and daughter Isla on the other. (Photo courtesy of –


– Video courtesy of Tsehainy


She runs?! That was my first reaction to news that Katie Holmes finished the NYC Marathon at 5:29:58. It turns out Katie had been secretly training for months both in Beverly Hills and Berlin (aw, the life of the rich and famous).

Now, I’m not a big Katie fan. But, anyone who can run a marathon—and do it just 18 months after giving birth—gets a lot of respect and admiration from me.

Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes2

– Katie was met by Tom and Suri at the finish line. (Photos courtesy of –

Marathon Mommies

Thursday, 25 October 2007  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

Two running working mothers. One marathon: 24 February 2008.

Training begins NOW.


Every Friday afternoon, Annie and I exchange the routinary SMS message: “Run tomorrow? Same time, same place?” And, almost always, the other will send a customary reply of “Yes. See ya!”

For the past six months, Annie and I have been enjoying our Saturday runs together. Saturday mornings is reserved exclusively for our long runs; it is the time where we can run without distractions from work or family. Children have no school nor homework. And, at least for me, the hubby is out longer than I am playing golf.

Alabang with Annie and Coach

– Training in Alabang with Annie and Coach B (June 2007) –

Ours is a friendship built on running. I met Annie after I invited an acquaintance to join Coach B’s running clinic; that friend took Annie along. When the running clinic ended, it was only Annie and I who found ourselves committed to continue training on our own.

Annie, a mother of two girls, is a Fitness First and stotts pilates instructor. Between the two of us, she is by far the stronger, faster, and more experienced runner. She has been running for over three years and has joined more races than I can count. During our runs, we can talk about a wide range of topics ranging from motherhood to shopping, but our discussion will always, always go back to running. It is what binds us together.

Adidas with Annie

– Adidas KOTR with Annie and her friend (July 2007) –

So, it came as no surprise that when I told Annie about my plans of joining the Pasig Marathon, she instantly decided to join too. When we got over our initial excitement (which lasted for over five minutes), we informally discussed our strategy. She suggested using Hal Higdon’s marathon program while I recommended Jeff Galloway’s (She won here. I’m now using Higdon’s Novice II program while she’s using Intermediate I). We also agreed, quite happily, that we would transform our 10 to 15k Saturday runs into our once-a-week long runs. “Annie,” I begged her, “we seriously have to slow down from now on” because, as I’ve experienced many a times, Annie does not know the meaning of slow or tired. “Yes,” she adds, “we also have to force ourselves to take walking breaks now” something we always fought against in the past.

As I write this, I am building a mental checklist of other things I must discuss with Annie as we try to add more science and strategy to our runs. These have something to do with 1) starting earlier so the sun doesn’t beat down on us, 2) stock piling on power gels since water won’t do for us anymore, and 3) planning the races we intend to join so that they can work seamlessly with our program.

Suddenly, my personal goal has turned into a dream I can share with a friend. While running a marathon is still an individual conquest, I take comfort in knowing that I can share the same hardships and triumphs, pains and joys, and hills and troughs with someone who doesn’t need to stop and ask me “Why must you put yourself through this?” She just gets it. And, should the time come during the marathon that my legs turn to lead and I want to give up at 30 km, I know that Annie will be there pushing and urging me to move forward…just as I will do for her.

Good luck to us Annie!

Marathon on My Mind

Wednesday, 17 October 2007  |  Bullish Insights

Ever since I posted about the Subic Marathon I’ve been toying with the idea of going for the full 42, but probably in the Pasig Marathon on Feb 2008. Am I ready? Is it feasible considering I’ve been running for less than a year? Can I really put myself through the rigors of a marathon training program? Am I disciplined enough to run through the chaos and mayhem of the Holiday season?

Index Card

My mind says Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. But, of course, being the wise runner that I am (ehem) I decided to consult with the more knowledgeable and experienced runners around. I decided to sign up for a one-on-one trial session with Ige Lopez. In the running/ triathlon/ adventure racing world, Ige is known by many as a passionate athlete and a credible coach. I met him for the first time during the Mizuno Run Club and I was very much impressed with his style of coaching: straight-forward, frank, and aggressive. This guy definitely knows his stuff when it comes to running, so I surmised he could determine my readiness for a marathon.

Ige and I met last Monday at The Fort for a 1-hour session. We started promptly at 4 p.m. with a 30-minute progressive run. It was during the run that he interviewed me about my running experience and goals. I particularly liked the fact that, in between chatting and running, he also observed my form and told me what I was doing wrong and how to correct them. (Boy, did I need a lot of correcting!) Oh, we also bumped into Pastor Emata, one of the members of the First Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition Team, who ran along with us for several minutes.

After the short run, Ige proceeded to torture—er, I mean, teach me how to go about training. He put me through speedwork (I have never been forced to run so fast) and a couple of drills that would help me run faster and make me more flexible. We then ran for another 10 minutes. God, I was out of breath and tired. I definitely felt my age at this point. I wanted to scream “I’m a 31 year old mother of two children for God’s sake! Please have pity on me!” But, the runner in me was enjoying every second of this tough kind of training. First of all, Ige was very generous with his tips. In fact, I wish I had taken a notebook with me to jot down every single word that escaped his mouth! Secondly, I knew this was what I needed to improve; someone to drag me out of my comfort zone and squeeze every ounce of energy in me to make me a more powerful, faster runner.

Before the session ended (time flies when you’re running fast), I asked Ige if he thought I was ready for a marathon. He answered that no one could determine this except me. Rules can be broken. Limits can be exceeded. It was all up to me if I was committed and willing.

So, yes, the marathon is still on my mind. I am, in fact, currently training for it using Jeff Galloway’s basic marathon training program. But, I haven’t fully made up my mind yet. The thought of running 42 km sends shivers up my spine—10% from fear but 90% excitement.

Tag: I am a Runner…

Sunday, 14 October 2007  |  Bullish Insights

Inspired by John Bingham’s RW column No Need for Speed, Hitme came up with this new tagging game which he entitled, “I am a Runner”.

Hitme wrote: To hear it from Bingham quote the late Dr. George Sheehan, beloved Runner’s World columnist, who once wrote that the difference between a runner and a jogger was a signature on a race application. As succinct as Dr. Sheehan’s definition was, it made the point. If you are motivated enough to train for and participate in an organized running event, then you are a runner. Anyone willing to risk public failure in order to be part of the running community – no matter what his or her pace per mile might be – was a runner. Period. (NNFS, 2007)

To Bingham, though, such definitions are meaningless, since those who call themselves runners already know why they call themselves runners.

So, as promised to Hitme, these are the reasons why “I am a runner”:

I AM A RUNNER because I give importance to my training schedule. There is so much more in my life aside from running—my husband, children, parents and siblings, friends, graphic design, baby sign language, art, household, blogging, etc.—each of which requires special attention from time to time, or in some cases, all the time. But, should some aspects demand more from me or if my load becomes overwhelming, running is never set aside; it has its own slot of time in my crazy, busy life.

I AM A RUNNER because I am in it for the long haul. I’ve enrolled in countless gyms during my lifetime—Shape, Clark Hatch, Slimmers World, Fitness First—and never thought, for once, that I could sustain the monotonous act of going in and out of those gyms for over a year.  I signed up for badminton and golf excited over the initial sessions, but my interest waned for these sports quicker than I could say the sentence “This is not for me.” Running is different. I fell into a whirlwind romance with running, was completely infatuated with it, still love it for all its flaws and challenges, and I’m fully committed to it in good times and in bad (my hubby comes first, of course). I can see myself running until I am old and gray.

I AM A RUNNER because, whenever we are on the road travelling around Metro Manila, all I ever look at is the ground: “Hey, it is asphalted here, this would be a good running route.”

I AM A RUNNER because I have blindly spent all my hard-earned money on anything and everything that can improve my running. When was the last time I purchased a good pair of shoes or a fancy handbag? Maybe the same day that asteroid killed off all the dinosaurs. I can tell you though that I have happily shelled out cash for my treadmill, running shoes, sports bras, tops and shorts, ipod, nike kit, thorlo socks, no-slip headbands, cases of Gatorade, and so many more.

I AM A RUNNER because when I talk of travels abroad, all I ever think of is running. To a friend: “You went to Sydney, how did it feel to run there?” To my cousin: “You lived in a villa in Southern Italy? Wow, it would’ve been great to run there early in the morning!” To my Coach: “You’re back! How did it feel to run in Michigan?” To my husband: “Next time we go abroad, I’ll play golf with you and you can run a race with me. Wouldn’t that be romantic?”

I AM A RUNNER because my schedule revolves around races. When can we go up to Baguio? Am I free for dinner this Saturday evening? Wait…let me check if there’s a race on Sunday. I free up my entire week (or at least lighten my load) before a race because I know I have to train for this and be in tip-top shape.

I AM A RUNNER because I have my easy runs, fartlek, hill training, and LSD’s. I don’t churn out these technical terms for others to know I am aware of them. Hell, I don’t use them that often. I just run them.

I AM A RUNNER because I have to run. I must. If not, I feel awkward, incomplete, and unhappy. It is no longer about losing the last few pounds, burning excess calories from overindulging the night before, or keeping up with other runners. It is all about me and what I must do to feel alive.

Now I tag: Ben, Rick, E-rod and Crunchy ‘Nanas.

Slowing Down

Tuesday, 9 October 2007  |  Bullish Insights

Admit it. Most runners like us are masochists. We feel like winners when our calves are burning, our feet are sore, and we are too exhausted to run any further yet we still plod on for the sheer passion for running. Conversely, slowing down may feel like we’re giving in—or worse giving up.

For those who want to run for life, one must actually learn to slow down at times. In the runner’s world, that could mean: to decrease your pace, to lessen your number of runs, to shorten the length of time, or to allow your body to rest and recover for a certain period of time in order to avoid injury.

For me last week, I felt I needed to slow down in Life. I was going at breakneck speed and, if I did not reduce my pace anytime soon, I thought I’d find myself laying lifeless in the middle of the road.

So, after last Friday—the day I finalized work for one large design project and fortunately the same day that both kids were back in the pink of health—I confessed to my mac that I needed some space. (Yup, that’s why I hardly posted anything new here.)

It was during those days away from the laptop screen that I was able to focus on ME. I happily indulged in days of pampering and pleasure:

1) Treated myself to a massage. I got a home massage one evening last week much to the delight of my left ankle, which was a bit sore from my past two treadmill runs. Fortunately, I found the perfect masseuse for me, Jenny, who has a super strong but relaxing massage style… so different from my masseuse from hell.

2) Got a pedicure/foot massage. It wasn’t so much the foot massage that I desired but the pedicure. I could no longer look at my fourth toe nail staring back at me in all its blackness. My foot just looked hideous. I visited a nail spa last Friday and treated my toe nails to some beautiful red paint.(Uhm, I don’t usually wear red on my toes but this was the only color that effectively concealed the death of my 4th toenail. The lady there said I could return on the last week of October and she would gladly paint all my other 9 toenails black just in time for Halloween!)

3) Visited the parlor. I finally saw my hair stylist again for the first time in months. He chopped 2 inches off my hair. Not that it makes a significant difference since my hair is forever up anyway.

4) Met up with McDreamy. He’s back…my (and a million other women’s) McDreamy is back! If there is one thing that can stop me from running when I’m heading out the door with my shoes on, it would be Dr. McDreamy beckoning me to watch him on television. (Oh okay, maybe my husband begging me to spend the day with him would be another reason too.) So, after months of not watching anything at all, I spent more than an hour glued to the screen watching the first two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy’s Season 4.

5) Went shopping. Actually, I went shopping online a couple of days before I even submitted my work. No, I am not into the newest fashion trend. In fact, I’ve hardly spent a cent on anything but running accessories for the past couple of months. So, I am awaiting my new running partners that should arrive before the month ends. For now, I shall not disclose what these are for fear that, as they say in tagalog, “Baka maudlot!”

6) Ran alone. I needed to feel alive again. I ran in Ayala Alabang on Saturday with my playlist “Running Happy” playing on my nano throughout the hour’s run. I ran to my favorite songs of all time like “Next To You” by Elisabeth Withers, “Just for You” by M People, and “You Are the Universe” by Brand New Heavies and felt supremely happy and reenergized. Aaah, by far, this was the best treat of all.