Into the Now

Thursday, 28 March 2013  |  Bullish Insights

Holy Week in Manila is the time when the city falls silent, life slows down, and people take the time out to commemorate the week in the manner in which they know best.

I love the silence.  The stillness.  The peacefulness.  It’s not just about being more spiritual this week.  It’s also about feeling more alive. It’s about slowing down enough to find the beauty in everything…and nothing.


Before dawn, I left the house for a run while the hubby and the kids lay asleep. The city may prefer a slower pace, but I didn’t. I ran fast.

It was the perfect run. The kind that invigorates, refreshes, and makes you smile. The kind of run that exhausts your body but makes you feel more energized. The kind of run you do alone, but leaves you feeling more connected to the world…and to life.

I needed that.

– Cosmo welcomes me home after the run, while the kids still lay fast asleep –


“Just as in running, in meditation we leave behind our daily concerns–the daydreaming, stress, and planning. We become very present. We enter into the now. By doing that, our mind builds strength. Our nervous system begins to relax. We develop appreciation and awareness. Our intelligence and memory becomes sharper. We are able to see the world from more than one perspective.”

Quote taken from Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham. It’s a book I picked up at Runnr months ago and I finally get to read this week.


Have a blessed Holy Week, everyone!


Thursday, 28 March 2013  |  Bullish Insights, Race Reports

As is the tradition of TBR Dream Marathon, after the race, I post anecdotes about the marathon that I receive in my Inbox from our new marathoners. My inbox gets inundated with stories of triumph, love, gratitude, passion, and empowerment that it’s too much of a waste if only I read it. Through this series of stories (one every week for the next couple of months), may you all be inspired to run a marathon or dream big in your own lives.

I’d like to share with you Fernando’s letter to me.  It teaches us that we can try our best to prepare for a marathon, but we never really know what will happen at any point before we cross that finish line.  A lot of things can go wrong and a lot of things can go right.  What matters most is how we choose to react to the situation and how we let it affect us.  Good thing Fernando decided to run even after he stumbled.

TBR DREAMERS 2013: Fernando Hernandez
Bib Nos. 334

Hi Jaymie,

You can’t imagine, how thankful I am to be a part of this great experience. I actually came very close to not showing up last Sunday.

About a week before the marathon, during my daughter’s sportsfest, I took a bad fall during one of the events. I joined a relay race and ended up with two very large wounds on my knees – as in kneecaps.


Looking back it might not have been very prudent of me to join the sportsfest in the first place, but I entered the marathon with the mindset that it would never interfere with family activities. Anyway, my daughter asked me to join the relay race and I didn’t want to disappoint.

So there I was, the day before the race with two very large wounds on my knees. I thought long and hard about how I was going to do the 42K with injuries to both legs.  The thought of even just the salt on the wounds was just as painful as the thought of the knees bending every time I’d take a step forward. Anyway, the defining moment was when I just accepted the fact that the pain was going to be there from the start and it would be a matter of me being able to grin and bear it. I kept “fooling myself” that my left leg was fine and that I could just drag my right leg towards the finish. The added incentive was the fact that I knew I would be miserable waiting for an entire year to have the chance to do The Bull Runner Dream Marathon again and all that training just being thrown out the window.


No doubt the pain was there, but the encouragement I had from my co-TBR Dreamers (alot of them I don’t know personally but they could tell I was in pain) and Dream Chasers really helped. I really wish I could thank each of them personally because, they really helped me carry on even when I was in a lot of pain and quite miserable during the whole ordeal.


Anyway, through sheer will, (I can’t even call it skill, I just grit my teeth) I managed (somehow) to cross the line at around 7:30, really far off from the sub six / sub 5:30 goal that I really wanted but it was an even sweeter win for me nonetheless, that I managed to even show up and finish this race.


Thanks again Jaymie for doing this. I’m sure you hear it alot but this event has really showed me how deep inside myself I can dig and just what I am capable of. When I first signed up for this race, I did it because I needed a win for my 40th birthday. I didn’t realize how big a win it was until I crossed that finish line last Sunday.


Saturday, 23 March 2013  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

This is a weekly post on my training for Virgin London Marathon on April 21, 2013. Like I always say: The marathon is the icing on the cake; it’s the journey leading up to the race that I absolutely love. Thank you to Unilab Active Health for the trip and to Timex Philippines and UK for the slot.


After I ran my required 32km LSD last Sunday during Run United 1, I woke up on Monday feeling all revved up for the week of training to come.  Raaawr!  Give me more, Coach.  Give me more!

Monday is a rest day (wherein I do Bikram Yoga because Coach says that doesn’t count heehee), but I always check my program online at Training Peaks to mentally prepare for the workouts and to plan my schedule for the rest of the week.  I looked through the week’s workload and, for the first time since January, it was empty.  Coach Andy didn’t fill it in.

The Coach, who is one of the most OC people I know, rarely ever fails to punch in my program for the week.  Either this crazy Coach of mine impulsively decided to bike for 48 hours and skipped all his work over the weekend OR he accidentally missed working on my program because of his rising clientele of athletes who wish to suffer under him (Naks!)   Immediately, I sent him an SMS reminding him to fill it in.

His reply: “Relax…”

What the?!!  What is that supposed to mean?!!  How does one relax when I have no clue what my body and I are up against for the rest of the week?!  There’s no time to relax!  London is a mere 5 weeks away!

Then, another text message came in: “This is a recovery week.  Eat your greens and get a lot of sleep.  Gradual build up by Friday  to Sunday. 21k hill repeats.”

Oh.  There’s the punchline.  Almost like an epiphany, everything made sense.  He was saving my legs for the tough workouts at the end of the week.

With that, I popped the cork off of a wine bottle I’d been saving for years, toasted to three long days of forced rest, and danced like there’s no tomorrow…NOT!  In truth, I spent the next three days meeting work deadlines, tutoring my daughter for exams, rushing off to meetings, squeezing in a secret swim on Tuesday (ssshhh!), and endlessly complaining why I felt even weaker than days when I kill myself during workouts.  (I know, I know, I’ve completely gone nuts just like all you other triathletes reading this!)

By Thursday, my calendar had been filled in with run and bike workouts.  I was back to training and, somewhere around my 3rd set of pushups and catching my breath, I wondered why I was even whining about rest days.  I may be screaming for more rest by next week when the Coach increases my mileage.  Gulp.

“You’ve got to have the mental toughness and confidence in yourself where you believe that you can take those days off and you can recover and you can run great. A lot of what we see in athletes that just train all the time and never give themselves adequate recovery is often portrayed as toughness. What I’ve realized over the years is it really is a weakness. It’s an insecurity that you’re not good enough to recover like other athletes: I’m not good enough to do that; I need to keep training; I can’t take time off; I can’t take easy days.”

-Alberto Salazar


Friday, 22 March 2013  |  Bullish Insights

As is the tradition of TBR Dream Marathon, after the race, I post anecdotes about the marathon that I receive in my Inbox from our new marathoners. My inbox gets inundated with stories of triumph, love, gratitude, passion, and empowerment that it’s too much of a waste if only I read it. Through this series of stories (one every week for the next couple of months), may you all be inspired to run a marathon or dream big in your own lives.

TBR DREAMERS 2013: Efren & Vangie Gregorio
Bib Nos. 322 & 323

By Efren Gregorio

I’m a MILO 42K finisher with traumatic experience and once said to myself “I will not repeat this insanity, ever.” And in my wife’s case, she cannot hide her fear to go the full distance. But when I heard from a colleague (a TBR alumni) about TBR and started visiting its blog, I said to myself “we will join this running family.” Unfortunately, we missed the 2012 batch and I started to lose hope. Luckily, during RU1 last July 2012, I chanced upon Jaymie (I don’t know if she can recall it) at a water station in front of PICC and I said: “Hi Jaymie, good morning! I and my wife wanted to join your Dream Marathon but we don’t know how.” She replied: “Yes sir we will be glad to welcome both of you” and she whispered “Just visit my blog and I will have an announcement, MAYBE in September. Okay sir, let’s run to the finish line.” True to her words, in September we were able to register but not without a hitch and I know everybody in batch 2013 knows what that hitch is all about. Ha ha ha!

Our preparation started like this, from all Bull Circles and Bull Sessions we attended, we eagerly and enthusiastically absorbed every pieces of advice from coaches Lit, Jun and the two Jims (Lafferty and Saret). From doctors who explained the relation of medicine during training and, to avoid injuries and life threatening illnesses that a marathoner can get. And from other TBR alums who shares their experiences and spares some tips to all next dreamers wannabe. So, when the penultimate D-Day came (February 24, 2013) we’re ready!

We could say that our TBR Dream Marathon is a once-in-a-life-time and unforgettable experience in our running career. Only in this foot race that we didn’t feel the atmosphere of competition and time pressure but rather feels like participating in a big family gathering wherein all participants are all familiar faces. During the race we are overwhelmed by the support of TBR organization, like the never-ending supplies of everything a runner could want and more. You name it, over-flowing water and Gatorade in 3 flavors, the expensive GU Power Gel, salt supplement in capsule that when you missed it a piece or two of Chippy will be offered for the pickings, chocolates, gummy bears, oranges, apples, bananas, massage, singing bands and many more. But the most “supply” we can say that you can’t buy is the unselfish and dedicated expression of TBR’s motto: “pay it forward” by the TBR Alumnae. A heart-felt thanks to Joseph Nebrida and Philip of Batch 2012 who paced my wife and her co-running pace during the last part of the second loop. Also thanks to Craig Logan (Batch 2010) for his gummy bears. Ha ha ha!

– Efren running steady-

– Vangie all smiles! –

We knew from the beginning that our family will be there to support us. We also knew about the Dream Bus wherein our family will be carried to the running course. But we didn’t know the real effect of that encounter with our family during those times when you feel down and out of strength and suddenly seeing our son 10 feet away giving me a power bar, OMG! I want to cry! For both of us, it is like a second wind and that we wanted to finish strong. But the most memorable and incomparable one is when we crossed the finish line. Yes our two sons were there, but my brother? My two eldest sisters and my nephew with his wife in tow were there too? Inside of me it’s just a BIG BIG WOW! On my wife’s part she didn’t expected them too to be there, and to add more tearful feeling, she and my sisters had this indescribable friction that is very normal and standard to every Filipino family, that when she crossed the finish line she was hugged, kissed and congratulated by her long lost in-laws. Whew that is the most nerve wreaking feeling we savored on that D-Day! After all was said and done (the greetings, the picture takings and congratulatory words), it was known that our eldest son was the culprit to all these beautiful happenings. He said he used the FB and the text medium. Ang galing!

– Efren flashes his TBRDM medal –

Now as both alumnae (naks!), we learned also to respect not just other runners but also the course’s conditions and its landscape offerings. TBR, you really made us wiser as a runner and instill in our minds that nothing is impossible if you really do it the right way.

Again, to Jaymie and the TBR Dream Team THANK YOU for the journey!

Road to London Marathon: 6 Weeks to Go and Killing It

Tuesday, 12 March 2013  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

This begins a weekly post (or more if I’m giddy) on my training for London Marathon happening on April 21, 2013.  Like I always say: The marathon is the icing on the cake; it’s the journey leading up to the race that I absolutely love. Thank you to Unilab Active Health for the trip and to Timex for the registration.


Say what?! 6 weeks?

– London Marathon. Photo: –

It seems like only yesterday when I told you about how lucky I was to have my best cousin’s wedding and the London Marathon just two days apart.  Then, I told you how much luckier I was to have been given a slot in the marathon by Timex.  Then, the good ol’ peeps from Unilab Active Health committed to sponsor my trip.  And, the best news of all, the entire family will be coming with me!

I am blessed.  And, I am oh-so grateful, too.


With all these blessings that seem to have fallen from the sky and straight into my lap, I committed to giving it my best (read: killing myself in training). So, I started on my triathlon program with Coach Andy Leuterio as early as the 2nd week of the New Year and never looked back.

This is entirely new for me.  Training for a marathon as a triathlete.  The program will train me for two A races: London Marathon in April and Ironman 70.3 Cebu in August.  The Coach initially said it was a challenge for him to prepare this program as 42ks aren’t really recommended within a long-course tri season.  Marathon training will compromise my bike and swim training around 8 weeks before the marathon, and then there’s another month after before I fully recover. For a moment, I gasped in panic when I learned this.  Then, I raised one eyebrow, clenched my fists and pounded them hard on the table, and declared: “Pfffft. I can do both.  Let’s go London!”  Then, I fell back into the couch, popped a handful of Cheetos into my mouth, thinking:  “What the hell am I getting myself into? I am so dead.”

The good news? I’m still alive.  And, I’m actually enjoying the training!  I’m trying my best to maximize each workout and balance my workouts with the rest of my life without going insane.

What have I loved so far about the marathon/triathlon training?

1) Keeps injuries at bay – You all know I’m injury prone because of my flat-feet.  But, since I can cross train with biking, swimming, and Bikram yoga, I can workout without stressing my knees, ITB, and feet too much from running.

2) Variety – I enjoy waking up to each day knowing you’ll do something different. Don’t get me wrong. I love running the most, but the variety of each day makes the week more colorful.

3) Weight loss – I dropped a full 10 lbs already.  I’m exactly at my goal weight.  And, I reached it while eating sensibly (e.g., no strict unreasonable diets, but everything in moderation.)

4) Allows for balance – I always said that while running and triathlon are important to me, I would never let it take over my life; after all, it isn’t my life.  I love how this program can fit seamlessly into my schedule with treadmill and trainer workouts that can be done in an hour or two.

5) Progress – Modesty aside, I seriously think the program is working for me.  I’ve never felt fitter and healthier in my entire life.  As one of my good friends would say while nudging my shoulder in disbelief: “Woooo choooz!” but, seriously, I do feel strong and steady and it’s an awesome feeling.  (I bet my Coach is in tears now.)


Yes, that is the question.  And, honestly, I don’t have an answer.

After eight marathons, majority of them abroad, I’ve learned that everything—from fitness level, weight, weather, sleep, diet, gear, traffic, race organization, hydration, shoes, down to how much petroleum jelly you put in between your toes—must all come together and work perfectly on that single day of the race.

All I know is that I’m working hard and I’ll give it my best.  Cliche I know, but that’s really what this running and tri business is all about, right?  Now, now, I better not hear anyone saying “Woooo chooooz.”

“It’s not records I chase, it’s self improvement.  And that cannot be done by taking it easy.”

– Chrissie Wellington