Why Do You Race?

Thursday, 15 August 2013  |  Bullish Insights

I’ve always been a goal-oriented person. The promise of achieving something big and impossible in the future motivates me each day to get up and work, work, work.

Since I picked up running in 2006, I used races to drive me to train day in, day out.  It was also a good test of my progress, a great opportunity to keep in touch with fellow runners and, for races abroad, a fantastic way to experience the world.  Since 2006, there has never been a period of time wherein I didn’t have an A-race to aim for.  I found that targetting 2 marathons per year with a training period of 4 months could have me training almost the entire year with just a few months off to allow my body and mind to recover.  It was— and probably still is—the perfect recipe, at least for me, to stay fit, maintain focus, and, last but not the least, keep me happy.

Last month, I dusted off an old book from our shelves and started reading it again.  It’s The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, a book I highly recommend. It basically reminds you to live in the NOW.  To leave regrets of the past behind or not to worry about the future.  To make the present moment the primary focus of your life.


In one portion, Tolle writes: “Are you always trying to get somewhere other than where you are?  Is most of your doing just a means to an end?  Are you always focused on becoming, achieving, and attaining, or alternatively chasing some new thrill or pleasure?”

This got me thinking about all my past races. Is this why I race?  Have I been living my life in the future by always aiming for the next marathon?  And, I wondered:  Can I possibly just enjoy running without a goal to work for?

After training for Ironman 70.3 Cebu for 7 months and completing it a couple of weeks ago, for the first time in my life, I woke up the next day with absolutely no A-race to train for.  (Usually, I have the next goal in mind  even before I finish the previous race!)  For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been running, biking, and swimming at my own pace and distance without having to worry about a future event.  And, surprise surprise, I’m absolutely loving it!

Truth be told, I don’t think I can last long being goal-less though.  That’s just the way I’m built, I guess.  Knowing myself, I’ll be scouring the web for a marathon to get me all excited again.  Perhaps this has less to do with the need to “chase some new thrill” and more about being inspired and motivated.  I think training for a marathon in particular gives structure to my days and weeks leading up to the race and that kind of focus subsequently spills over to the rest of my life.  It’s just one of the many gifts of the marathon.

What I can say is that I did pick up some wonderful lessons from this book. I realized that sometimes it’s not bad to give yourself a break from goals and to just enjoy the present moment.  Enjoy every single run for what it is without focusing too much on how it should improve your performance for your race.  Take a deep breath, put one step in front of the other, and just savor the experience.  It’s not the destination, but the journey.  More importantly, I learned while it’s great to have a vision of a better, stronger you in the future, it’s far more important to remember that you are good, strong, and happy where you are right now.

How about you?  Why do you race?

The Road to Ironman 70.3 Cebu and 5 Lessons I Learned While Training

Sunday, 21 July 2013  |  Bullish Insights

Life is like a triathlon. You train hard, you prepare for all possible scenarios, then you hope for the best and go out there to race. Sometimes, every thing turns out as planned. Other times, you get a little surprise.

For the past months, the road to Ironman 70.3 Cebu has thrown in quite a number of surprises for me. I got injured in April, crashed on my bike in July, and, just last week, sprained my rib area while doing ab work.

The thing is, my wounds healed so I got to swim 10 days after the crash. I pushed myself to overcome my fear after the crash and rode 100k alone two weeks after. The ribs?  It’s just uncomfortable; I can swim and run through it.  And, as of today, I got to run 12k with friends, Joey, Nona, JR, and Joel, without a single niggle of pain. Yes, injuries do heal!

– As if the injury free run wasn’t enough to make my day, I bumped into these guys at the parking lot. ALL of them are TBR Dream Alumni from Batches 2, 3, and 4. So happy to see them training for Milo Marathon while the others have gone into triathlon –

After months of uncertainty, today, a mere 14 days before race day, I know for sure that I can—and will—race Ironman 70.3 Cebu. Sure, it won’t be my best performance and maybe I won’t be able to beat my own time last year. But, I will try my best.  As my Coach, Andy Leuterio said, “You will race it like a warrior!”  Hey, after the hell that I’ve been through, crossing that finish line will be a celebration in itself.

Here are five things I learned during the past 7 months of joy, frustration, and pain while training for Ironman 70.3 Cebu that can probably be applied to running, triathlon, and other aspects of life:

1) Clearly define your goals. Are you aiming to finish, to improve your time, or to have fun? Should trials arise, such as problems with time management or training, then go back to those goals and make a decision based on that. I’ve found that, as the race draws near, there’s a tendency to keep up with Joneses and you worry if you’re training long or hard enough. Thankfully, I have the kind of personality where I don’t really care what other people are doing or thinking as long as I’ve done my best and set out what I planned to accomplish. I’m such a Bull, I know.

2) You decide. In triathlon, you can be part of a team, you can have a great Coach by your side, and you can have friends to support you all the way. But, at the end of the day, it’s all you. You decide how hard you’re going to push yourself during training. You decide if you’re willing to commit X amount of time to your already full schedule and if a medal is all worth it. You decide how you want a bike accident to affect you. If you do make it to race day, there’s no one else to praise (or blame) but you.

3) It’s a mind game. You can train your body to swim, bike, and run any distance, but if the mind is weak, then you’ll have a problem. For marathons and triathlon where you have to dig deep during training and on race day, you need the will, commitment, and determination to overcome the pain because (if you don’t know yet then let me tell you now), it may hurt like hell during the last few meters to the finish, but it will be pure bliss when you hang that medal around your neck.

4) People don’t care. Now, I don’t mean that your friends don’t care for you. Triathletes, based on my little experience being in triathlon for just a year now, are a great bunch who sincerely help newbies out and support others who share a common passion for the sport. But, they are also too busy swimming, biking, and running and living their own lives to care about that protruding tummy of yours in your trisuit or how slow you are on the bike. In other words, just do your own thing and ask for help when needed. Most triathletes are willing to help and they don’t really care about the little things that you are insecure about. (Just make sure to inhale during photos.)

5) Balance everything. Triathlon is like life, but it is NOT your life. (Well, at least for most of us age-groupers it’s not.) So, while you’ve been bitten by the bug and you would love to swim, bike, and run as much as you can, don’t forget that there’s more to life out there. There’s fulfilling work, a loving family, and awesome non-athlete friends who can make you just as happy too (and, guess what, they don’t want to know how long you rode or ran today.) If you keep this in mind, then any misfortunes in triathlon—a bike crash, an injury, or a missed race—will be nothing more but bumps on the road. The journey goes on.

Of Crashes, Injuries, and Miracles

Monday, 1 July 2013  |  Bullish Insights

“A miracle is a shift in perspective” 

– quoted by Gabby Bernstein from A Course in Miracles

The Crash

I woke up on the sidewalk of Daang Hari Road with my friends and a crowd of bikers hovering over me. What happened? Where was I? In my mind, I had been pleasantly biking along. Last I remember was thinking we were definitely going to reach our 100k target because we all felt strong and fresh at around 57k.

My friends told me I had crashed. The look of worry on their faces was indescribable. They said they heard me scream and, within a few seconds, I keeled over to my right side, slammed my head, elbow, and legs on the ground, and skidded with my bike for a few meters on the rough concrete. They said I lay still on the middle of the road for a long 2 minutes. By then, a crowd of bikers stopped and blocked the road from oncoming vehicles for us. I was breathing, then I began to mumble words. I even managed to give my cellphone password so they could call my driver to fetch us. My friends knew I was alive, but they worried about the damage done on my body.

I woke up dazed, confused, and clueless. I could not remember anything from the accident. I tried to remember the names of my kids, Anton & Nia, and when I said their names I heaved a sigh of relief that I didn’t suffer from amnesia. I asked my friends what happened and they explained it in detail. At that time, I thought I had been conversing normally with them. Later that afternoon, they admitted that they feared for me because I had asked them the same question and they answered in full detail five times over.

I was rushed to the Emergency Room of Asian Hospital. I had a CT scan, xrays, and treatment of my wounds. I was cleared from any brain trauma and broken bones. I went home with five huge wounds on my right arm and legs (aka tocino as the bikers like to call it), a bump on the right side of my head, neckpain, a cracked helmet, and a scraped handlebar on the bike as souvenirs. Still, I felt blessed to be alive. It could have been a lot worse and I was lucky.

– In the ER of Asian –

– My cracked Specialized helmet kept me safe. Thanks to Dan’s Warehouse for offering to replace it upon hearing of my accident –

The Injury

The accident put things into perspective for me. You see, for the past two months now, since the day after London Marathon last April 21, I’ve been suffering from Post-Tibial Tendonitis. Post-Tib is an injury on the inner ankle often caused by overuse. Flat footed runners, such as myself, are more susceptible to this.

For the past months, I’ve barely been able to run. With Tri United 2 and Ironman Cebu 70.3, I’ve been worried, frustrated, sad, and angry. Even if there weren’t any upcoming races, I still would’ve felt the same way because, well, you know me, I just need my running.

For the most part though, I’ve been trying to be optimistic about the injury. I got therapy done at Peak Form regularly. I had my foot taped with Rocktape.  I focused more on what I could do such as swim and bike rather than what I could not do. And, I even refused to rant about it on this blog thinking it would go away if I didn’t acknowledge it. (Yeah right, LOL!)

It’s NOT The End

So, I haven’t been running because of the injury. I can’t swim because of the accident. I’m skipping Tri United 2 this weekend. And, Ironman Cebu 70.3? Hmmm that’s up in the air right now.

It sucks. Yes, it really does.

Usually, I’ll throw a tantrum about how 6 months of training has gone down the drain, how unfair life is, and proceed to drown in my sorrows with a bottle of Nutella. But, for some reason, I don’t feel like doing that at all. I’m disappointed, but I’m not devastated.

Like I said, the accident put things into perspective for me. In the blink of an eye, without warning, my life could’ve ended, yet I came out with wounds that will heal in time. To complain about an accident, an injury, or a missed race at this point seems silly or, worse, ungrateful. It’s a miracle I’m alive.

I came home that morning of the accident and kissed my kids on their cheeks as they ate breakfast. I whispered my kids names to myself again, Anton and Nia, and scooped a spoonful of Nutella into my mouth. Life is good.


Make Your Own Healthy Desserts with Yonanas

One of the best gifts of running to me is that it taught me how to adopt a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. Through the years, I learned about the importance of exercise, but, beyond that, I also learned about eating well not just to improve my performance, but to take care of my body and the rest of the family’s.

So, when Dole invited me to the launch of a new product that could make healthy desserts, I was curious.  After all, isn’t “healthy dessert” an oxymoron?

As I entered the Dole kitchen, I spotted the sleek machine on their kitchen counter, but I had no clue what it was capable of. Was it a blender? A yogurt maker? Ice cream machine?  It was called Yonanas.  (I shall resist the urge to use the line “Yes Yes Yo!” Gawd, that is so 80s!)



Dole Yonanas is a first-of-its-kind kitchen appliance that can transform frozen fruit into a dessert that looks and tastes like soft-serve ice cream.

With no addition of milk, cream, sugar, soy, yogurt or artificial sweeteners, yonanas can create healthy treats with zero fat and zero cholesterol and with lots of fiber, and minerals. It’s a great option for those who are lactose intolerant, diabetic, or those who are trying to lose weight or trying to eat healthy.


Dole Yonanas is easy to use. All you need are frozen overripe fruits (frozen for over 24 hours), turn on the yonanas maker, drop it into the machine, and you get a healthy indulgent dessert.  Seriously, that’s it!

As for the machine, it is as big as blender. The upper portion is removable so it can be stored easily. The components are easy to wash. And, best of all, it’s safe for even kids to use.

– Demo of how easy it was to use Yonanas to make healthy desserts –

Dole taught us how to use the machine and I can’t count how many times I exclaimed “I want one!”  After the quick demo, we donned our own aprons and created our own Yonanas desserts! I made Yonanas Cookies & Cream, Yonanas Choco Chip Ice Cream Sandwich, and more.

Yonanas was so simple and easy to use. Best of all, we used nothing but bananas as our base and other fruits or treats (for the more indulgent recipes) for variety. The consistency of the dessert was a pleasant surprise; it truly was like a creamy ice cream with a healthy twist.

– Looking like a real Yonanas expert! –

The machine comes with a recipe book. There’s so many desserts to try!  Here’s just some of them:

– L to R: Mixed Berries Martini, Yonanas Strawberry, and Yonanas Tiramisu –

Before we left, we were treated to a special surprise: our own Dole Yonanas!  Yes yes YO!  (Gaaah, sorry, I couldn’t help it. Too happy I guess)

– Thanks Dole! –

Nia and I spent almost every week of summer making desserts.  She was able to make her own desserts with little supervision.  That’s how safe it is for kids.  What I loved most about this? She got her dessert.  And, I got to give her healthy food that nourished her.  We both got to have our “cake” and eat it, too!



1. Use very ripe bananas.  I wait until they turn black, slice them into two, then store them in the freezer so the kids can just get them at their convenience.

2. Have other fruits like frozen strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, and mangoes on hand for variety.

3. Yes, Oreos and Chocolate Chip cookies come in handy too when the kids want some treats with their bananas.

4. Teach the kids once and allow them to do it on their own.  Get creative.

5.  Serve this for dessert or as a mid-day snack.  It’s very filling so it can spoil your or your kids’ appetite if you have it close to mealtime.


Retail price: P 2,950. There’s a 1-year limited warranty from date of purchase. Call 810-2601.


SM Supermarket
SM Hypermarket
Robinsons Supermarket
Robinsons Houseware
True Value
Cash & Carry
Makati Supermart
Foodah (Cebu)
SM & Robinsons (Davao)
Rustans/Truevalue/Handyman (CDO)


Website: www.yonanas..com.ph
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DoleFreshPhilippines

10 Reasons Why Runners Should Cross Train

Friday, 31 May 2013  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

When I started running, all I wanted to do was run. It was difficult enough to find an extra hour per day to workout, so if I managed to find time, I thought it might as well be used doing something I love: running. Phooey with mind-numbing squats at the gym, swimming laps at the pool, or yoga poses that I couldn’t do much less pronounce. Those were a waste of time for me.

Fast forward to 2012. I signed up for a triathlon and found myself compelled to swim, bike, and take yoga for flexibility if only to save myself from embarrassment at Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. In the months that passed, cross training became a lifestyle for me. And, quite surprisingly, as much as I loved running, I woke up to each day eager to work out different parts of my body. It gave my tired feet a respite from all the pounding too! I found myself stronger, fitter, and, hey, happier! (The six-pack abs—I believe in my heart—is yet to come!)

So, here, I’ve compiled for you, dear runners, ten reasons why I think you should cross train. If you were like me before, a true running addict who obstinately refused to do anything but run, open your mind and take a few minutes to take this all in.  After all, even if we cross train, it doesn’t mean we love running any less!

1) It works out other muscle groups not used in running, such as your upper body, quads, and inner thighs.

2) It improves your cardiovascular fitness.

– Swim squad way back in 2012. Miss these guys! –

3) It prevents injury and gives your feet and legs a break from all the pounding.

4) It allows you to maintain your fitness level if you are already injured from running.

5) It will increase your chances of engaging in small talk with celebrity triathletes. Example: Ask Matteo Guidicelli while in transition: “So, do you wear your helmet or shoes first?”

– In this case, my line with Matteo was: “Lovely trails. You come here often?”

6) It will prevent you from overeating or indulging in junk food. Who wants to have a protruding belly in a bathing or tri suit?

7) It gives you new topics to discuss among running friends aside from the usual “So, when’s your next run?”

8) It provides variety for your Facebook or Instagram album. All your friends see are shots of you running plus that sickening Speculoos bottle all the time. (Sorry, I’m a solid Peanut Butter fan!)  This time you can post shots of you biking, swimming, or doing a headstand.

– See, now I’ve got shots with my bike. I’m not smiling because I saw that hill before me, but hey that ride was fun in a masochist kind of way! –

9) It breaks the monotony from running and gives your mind and body something new to look forward to.

10) Best of all, it makes you a better runner. Swimming will make you more flexible and lengthen your running stride. Biking will strengthen your quads. Yoga will improve flexibility and stretch tight muscles from running.