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.


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?!

Start and Finish Area

My future triathlete

Body marking…check!

Kids’ bikes lined up at transition area

Kuya who assisted us at bike check in

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


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.

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

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

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.

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.

Anton loved the bike portion

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

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.

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

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

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.

– 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.


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.)

– 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.


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.

– 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.


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


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!


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!

Barefoot Runner Michael Sandlers in a Near Death Accident

Wednesday, 4 September 2013  |  Bullish Insights

Last 2011, Michael Sandler and his wife Jessica, best-selling authors of Barefoot Running and Barefoot Walking, visited Manila to promote their books and barefoot running.  I met them that evening at R.O.X. and learned that they had only recently gotten married and that trip was actually their honeymoon.  That same year, Michael wrote an article for TBR Magazine – Jan/Feb 2011 on Barefoot Running.  Last year, Michael and Jessica produced their own DVD on Barefoot Running and were kind enough to send me a copy.


This week, I received this shocking note from Michael:

Dear Friends and Family,

Many of you know I recently had a very serious accident.

This year I went on tour for Barefoot Walking. While on tour, I had incredibly bad “luck” with a rental RV. First the heater went out leaving me freezing for 2 days straight and a fever for 6 days. The electrical system went out repeatedly. The serpentine belt cut the wiring harness as it shredded and broke too. Then there was a break-in with all of my electronics and cell-phone stolen, plus 2 car accidents later the same day. And last, after picking up Jessica to return the lemon back to the dealership early, the transmission died, leaving us stranded for nearly a week. These were strong signs we needed to do things differently.

Then while returning the RV to the dealership, we went for one last hike. And after swimming in a snow-melt waterfall, I put on my leather moccasins to stay warm on our return. I should have stayed barefoot. Unfortunately, the moccasins didn’t have any traction and I slipped in a stream crossing, landing on a pyramid-shaped rock, shattering my leg on impact. I thought I might die, and it was the scariest 2 hours of my life. But it was also life-changing. I was stuck in freezing snow-melt water, bleeding internally, but with Jessica by my side. At first I stopped breathing, then forced myself to breathe, half-here, and half-not for 2 hours until search and rescue stabilized me and helicoptered me away.

I’m expected to make a full recovery, but it’s been incredibly challenging. I can’t travel at the moment, and all of our savings went into our book tour and inventory for it. Plus we’re facing massive medical bills, and costs to help me recover. So we’re having to simplify our lives and downsize.

However, we’re incredibly thankful. We’ve learned so much from this and Jessica calls it “the best thing that ever happened to us”. So, as good writers, we’re writing a book about our healing adventure, and what we’ve learned which can help others overcome massive hurdles in their lives as well.

– Michael’s first time out of the hospital –

Thank you for your love and support.




Michael and Jessica didn’t let this accident get them down.  Instead, they took the lessons they could gain from it and wrote a book entitled Breathe Love.  They then created a crowdfunding site to raise funds to publish the book.  To know more about it and if you would like to help, click on the link below:

Breathe Love

To Michael, I wish for a speedy recovery for you.  May you and Jessica continue to be an inspiration to others in living life with optimism, courage, and love.

Weather Weather Lang

Wednesday, 28 August 2013  |  Bullish Insights

Wow.  So much has happened the past two weeks and I don’t know where to begin!  Let me start by telling you why I was absent from the blog the past couple of weeks:

1) MARING.  Oh yes, this storm literally hit all of us hard last week.  Some much harder than others so I hope we’ve all done our part to help.  Thankfully, we were safe here at home and I hope you were too.  During the storm, I didn’t feel like posting anything about running on this blog in consideration of those who were severely affected.  Despite the bad weather though, I still continued to ride on my trainer and hit the treadmill for my run.  No excuses, right?  How about you?  Did you continue your work out or turn into a couch potato?  I hope not!

2) PORK BARREL.  Okay, okay, I can’t blame Napoles for my absence on the blog.  But, I did feel—again—that writing about running and triathlon at this point was so shallow compared to the country’s bigger issues.  I did make my stand though: NO to Pork Barrel!  And, while we’re at it, NO to chicharon, too!


2) SERVER DOWN.  For a while now, my blog has been unstable.  It shut down on the day we released the first list of reserved runner list for Dream Marathon.  It shut down again last Saturday and only went live again this morning.  This has all been due to server problems from my host.  All beyond my control. Gaaaah!  For a control freak blogger like me, it’s been a total nightmare.  I’m hoping that all issues will be resolved within the next couple of weeks.

3) HOMESCHOOLING.  Due to Maring, the kids classes were suspended all week.  One would think life would be easier without having to shuttle two kids back and forth from school.  Oh no.  The teachers emailed a weeks worth of workload for the children to work on.  I felt like a homeschooling Mom that week!

– Loads of work for both kids. I almost wanted to send them back to school! –

4) WORK.  Loads of work on my table, baby.  From TBR Magazine to graphic design to Dream Marathon to school (yes I enrolled in Nutrition School just because I want to! Hah!), I seriously have way too much work on my hands.  I think it takes me an hour to jot down my To Do list every morning.  I kid you not.  Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Uhm, okay, maybe I would hope to sneek in a daily massage and a monthly escape to the beach, but all in all, I’m thankful that I have work that doesn’t feel like work.

Just in case I depressed you a bit, let me end this post on a happy note.  Here are photos of my 21k run at Safeguard-2XU Sole Racing International Half Marathon last August 17, 2013.  I wasn’t able to share them because Maring arrived the day after.  Actually, this race was made fun by the strong rain that hit us midway through the run.  We were like little kids happily stomping on puddles and feeling the rain pour over us.   One of the more memorable and fun half marathons I’ve joined!

– with Ton and way too serious Coach Lit (LOL), my run buddies that day. We were smiling here but, soon after, we approached the portion of SM MOA near the bay and the headwind was insane. It was almost like running in place! (Photo: RARMartinez Fotorun) –

– Near the finish line of a wet and wild half marathon (Photo: Pinoy Fitness) –

– Instagram photo reposted from Kim Atienza. Posing with the Posedown Posse Gang –

Hope you’ve recovered from Maring and the craziness of last week!  Just like this post, there are good days and bad days and we can only wait for the storms in our lives to pass until the sun appears again.  Like my good ol’ triathlete friend Kuya Kim Atienza (who is coincidentally right below me in the photo) always says “Weather weather lang!”