Back to Real Life

Tuesday, 5 March 2013  |  Bullish Insights

Hi there! I’m still alive!

My wifi at home, on the other hand, died eight days ago (yes, every single day counts!) and I’m currently waiting for it to resurrect.  That explains why I’ve been absent online the past week.  Save for a few days of successful blogging thanks to my Sun Broadband Pocket Wifi (which I endorse sincerely because, well, it just works!), I’ve spent most of the past week living more of my real than virtual life…and, I must say, it’s been damn good.

You must know that ever since this blog was born in May 2007, there hasn’t been more than two days when I haven’t logged in to it.  You must know that once registration opens each year for TBR Dream Marathon (which has been running for the past 4 years), the next six months of my life is dedicated to ensuring everything goes smoothly for each runner.  And, you must know, that for a mother with two school-aged children, any kind of work on top of the work we have as mothers, really stretches us to our limits; good thing we mommies are unbreakable. tsk tsk.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about the work. I love my work!  But, I did realize how important a break, no matter how short, is important for everyone.  Whether you’re an athlete, a blogger, or a mom (hey, I’m all of the above!), you’ve got to sometimes STOP and smell the flowers.  I did.  And I smelled home-baked cookies, popcorn from the microwave, and the fire burning from my son’s birthday candles.   Aaah, life!

Here’s bits and pieces of what happened the past week…

1) My boy turns 12! It’s his last year before he becomes a teenager.  Where did the time go?!  You don’t know how many times I hugged him this week feigning tears saying: “I don’t have a baby boy anymore! Please don’t turn into a moody teenager!”  Seriously though, I’m proud about how this little boy of mine has grown up to be such a smart, kind, and cheerful soon-to-be adult. I’m also excited about his plans to get into triathlon this summer.  This mommy’s subtle influencing has worked! Woot!

– He asked for three things on his 12th birthday: PS3, ice cream cake, and steak. Done, done, and done! –

2) Sisterhood of the Suffering Shivs is born.  There are serious rides, fun rides, and then there are rides with Tessa Prieto-Valdes.  Tessa is a fun, positive, and hilarious person who just knows how to celebrate life.  I think we all should learn a thing or two from her, especially when we’re taking life too seriously.  Our Saturday ride in Nuvali was peppered with pictorials, screams (especially during the ascents!), and laughter.

– Her bike is pretty. Mine is gwapo.  I love both Shivs! –

– with my teammates from Unilab Active Health Mike Vaca and Jake de Guzman, Jun Cruz, myself and Tessa –

Hey, it wasn’t too bad that we bumped into Erwan Heusaff at Starbucks before we called it a day.

– with Erwan Heusaff (The Fat Kid Inside) after his brick –

3) Passion becomes profitable.  In anything I’ve done, from graphic design to Baby Sign Language to, I jumped into it simply because I loved it.  I still look back and wonder how this tiny blog changed my life and affected others, but I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to do so.

My co-founder for TBR Dream Marathon, Jim Lafferty, wrote an article about me yesterday on Philstar.  (Thanks again Jim for the oh-so kind words!)

Click here to read the full article: WHEN PASSION TURNS PROFITABLE by James Michael Lafferty, The Philippine Star

I was also invited to be a forum speaker at the GoNegosyo 5th Filipina Entreprenurship Summit last Friday.

– with my sister, Janice of Mommy Mundo, and childhood friend, Krie Lopez of Messy Bessy, who were both speakers too –

This quote from Frederick Buechner is one that explains how I feel about what I’m doing today: “The place God chose for you is the intersection where your greatest joy and the world’s greatest need meet.”

Race Report: Condura Skyway Marathon 2013

Tuesday, 5 February 2013  |  Bullish Insights

Race: Condura Skyway Marathon 2013
Date: 3 February 2013
Venue: Filinvest Corporate City

One of the most anticipated races of the year drew thousands of runners to the south with the promise of running on the Skyway, a strip of elevated road so close to the heavens that runners spend the rest of the 364 days of the year dreaming of running it once again.  (Well, at least, I do!)  The 6th Condura Skyway Marathon had runners of all shapes and sizes wake up in the wee hours of the morning to run 3.8k, 6k, 10k, 21k, and 42k.

The race, led by running brothers Ton and Patrick Concepcion, who’ve run marathons all over the world has a reputation of being well-organized and well-thought out.  The practice of Wave Starts, similar to bigger races abroad such as the New York City Marathon and practiced last year, was impeccably executed again.  The 21k course was clean and simple (how much simpler can you get on the Skyway?!) and road marshals lined the roads to ensure everyone’s safety.  Water was sufficient and bananas were provided at some stations. Portalets were available all throughout the course.  Medical aid and ambulances were conspicuously present during the race.  The enthusiastic hosts at the start and the cheerers at the finish line made the race more entertaining and exciting.  The medals were definitely something to be proud of too!

It was a fantastic race!  And, I really wouldn’t complain about anything!  But, there’s always room for improvement and, if you were to ask me, here’s my very short wish list for Condura Skyway Marathon 2014:

  • 21k race start at 4:30am.  Our race start was 3:30am last Sunday.  While I don’t mind running a marathon at midnight, I really thought twice, thrice, and even a fourth time if waking up at 2am (yawn) for a half marathon was worth it.
  • Sports drinks at every station. While more 100Plus was provided this year compared to last year, there were still complaints about lack of sports drinks.  Hopefully, next year, they can provide more.  My secret ultimate wish: that they actually provide the non-carbonated sports drink that most of us runners prefer heehee.

Congratulations to Condura Skyway Marathon for yet another fantastic race!



I won’t lie to you. I was anxious about this race.  I was hoping to run a sub-2 hour 21k and while I had trained hard for it, I still had some doubts.  The last time I ran a sub-2 was in 2011.  My 21k PR was way back in 2010 and I’m not even sure if that still counts.  For all of 2012, I was focused on training for my first Ironman 70.3 and managing injuries that I had absolutely no speed in my legs.

Two nights before the race, I dreamed about it.  DON”T LAUGH.  Here it goes:

My friends and I were walking towards the starting line when someone told us there was a shortcut.  In the darkness, we climbed up a long ladder and suddenly found ourselves in the Condura office! (I told you not to laugh!)  We walked straight through the hallways passing cubicles and I happened to see Ton Concepcion busy preparing for the race.  I stopped to chat about the event while my friends went ahead.  We went on and on about races, running, my ITB, then suddenly I heard the gun start!  I ran towards the race start and found that I had been left behind!  I still ran the race in complete darkness (it looked like Ermita) then after a few kilometers, the sun was out and I was on Singapore roads!  I found the elite runners heading back and chased after them.  The end!

I can’t really tell if I managed to reach the elites at the end.  You figure that portion out!


I woke up at 2 am for the race feeling nothing like an elite runner.  I felt tired, sleepy, and, after I found out my driver who I asked to come in for this race only because I expected difficult parking didn’t wake up, I was grumpy too.

With friends Ton and Jun, we ran a quick warm up and met up with Lit who had already done his warm up.  These three guys are the ones I usually run races with.  And, for the entire 2012, we ran our races together.  Yes, we ran them together, easy and happily, chatting all throughout.  This race was different.  Walang kaibigan kaibigan.  We were all gunning for our best times.  We’d all meet up at the end.  (We were so serious I couldn’t help but laugh really!)


When the gun went off, we all made a run for it.  My plan was to run a 5:40 pace for the first 10k.  At the half way mark, if I felt great, I would aim to sustain or go faster.

I could only see Lit and Jun ahead of me.  For the first few kilometers, we were running at a 5:30 clip and I knew I would bonk if I continued this way.  I slowed to 5:40 and committed to run my own race.  Those long climbs were tough!  I tried to distract myself by looking at the marathoners on the other side of the road, cheering them on, waving hello to friends, and thanking God that I only signed up for half! LOL

By the turnaround, a little over 10k, my average pace was 5:41.  I felt like I could push some more…and I did!  It was at this point that I found my rhythm.  Everything went by in a blur.

All I remember next was seeing Jun ahead of me by the last 5km.  I ran right behind him.

In the last 3km, we made a run for it and sped off towards the finish line hitting Km 21 at 5:25.  It was oh-so painful.  I couldn’t feel my legs anymore.  I was praying the race would end soon.  I was reminding myself that I had been through worse, that I trained long and hard for this race, that we would soon be eating crepes (haha!)  When I crossed the finish and saw my time, 1:59, all the pain was well worth it.  Yes, yes, maybe even the way too early call time!

My official time was 1:58:55.

– My one and only photo after the race –

Pooped…And Loving It!

Monday, 21 January 2013  |  Bullish Insights

What a weekend! Here’s my training weekend in pics:

SATURDAY: 80k cool and windy (brrr!) ride in Nuvali

– with Jun aka Tatang, Lit, Tristan Choa, and Leanna Carmona. Missing in pic: Ge and Gem! –

SUNDAY: killer 21k run

– with Tatang, Rico, Bambi, Ton, and Edwin  –

The training was challenging and exhausting. But, for some reason, I felt more alive and invigorated after each workout. Is this a sign that I’m getting stronger? Or that I’m just really nuts now? Maybe both.

Last night, while the kids were out with the hubby, I had a massage to loosen up the muscles and allow my tired body to recover. I was definitely pooped!

When I heard them arrive, I snuck under our bed with the master plan of surprising both kids when they entered the room. (Yes, we’re crazy like that!) I waited for a full 10 minutes under there. Unfortunately, my kids are too smart. They entered the room and found me almost immediately. I was advised by Little Miss Bull Runner that, if I should ever attempt this again, I should hide in the far end of the bed so as not to get caught. (Smarty pants!)

Even before I could whine over my failed attempt, my clever kids pointed at the floor and said our dog Cosmo had pooped under the bed exactly where I was hiding. I checked it out and—gasp!—there it was, long brown poop!

– Poop! –

I wanted to scream. I checked my clothes if any poop had gone on it. I wanted to bathe. Honestly, I wanted to puke.

The kids were laughing hysterically. (This was NOT funny!)

Right before I jumped into the shower, my son grabs the poop and lifts it up on his palm. IT WAS FAKE!  I was freaking out over a wet, brown paper bag rolled up to look like poop!

Waaah. It was bad enough I was pooped over the weekend, then I had to get poop pranked too.

To my kids: I’ll get you next time!

10 Predictions for 2013 from Madame Au-Bull-ring

Tuesday, 8 January 2013  |  Bullish Insights

I dusted off my crystal ball and felt it was time to make my predictions for 2013.  Last time I did this was in 2011 and, hey, I must say I got most predictions right…except for Coach Rio starring in a teleserye.

Here goes my predictions for 2013:

1) Runners will be choosy with their races.  Well, it doesn’t take a genius to predict this since we saw it happen in 2012.  Most runners will register for mostly big, high-quality, must-run events that they feel are absolutely worth joining.  They will be discerning with the races they participate in for several reasons:

– Financial – budget will allow for only one or two races per month
– Preference – runners enjoy running with their friends at more convenient venues than wake up for a race
– Need for something new – runners yearn for something new, not the same ol’ typical race

– Runners at one of the bigger races, Run United 2 –

2) More creative races.  Having said that, organizers will be compelled to make their races stand out above the clutter.  Last year, I believe we had almost a handful of zombie runs (my gawd, more than enough I think!)  This year, we saw the Color Manila Run held last weekend. It’s exciting to think what organizers will come up with next!  I vote for Kapre Run!

3) Runners will run faster.  The community matured and progressed in 2012.  Most runners have built their mileage base and are making great strides (no pun intended) in running.  These runners are ready and eager for fartleks, intervals, and tempo runs.

4) Runners will be smarter.  With more experience, runners will be smarter about running from training (more will hire coaches or join run clinics) to nutrition (they’ll study proper pre- and post-run nutrition and supplements) to gear (they’ll read reviews and books before making a purchase!)

– with one of the smartest runners I know. Kuya Kim aka Matanglawin! –

5) More women in running.  Gone are the days when women were few and far between in a race.  Now, women are running 10ks, marathons, and ultra marathons and are doing it well!  Expect to see also more races, gear, and shoes catering to women’s needs.  Let’s go, girls!

6) Going minimalist.  We saw the rise in interest for minimalist shoes over a couple of years back, but the craze continues.  While less people wear Vibram Five Fingers nowadays, we see the more popular running shoe brands having their own minimalist lines, such as Nike Frees, New Balance Minimus, and Mizuno Be.

7) Growth of triathlon.  More runners are interested in triathlon because it allows for cross-training, it’s less prone to injury, or it’s a new challenge from the usual running event.  The rise may also be due to the Ironman and Xterra brands coming into the country.  Still, this won’t negatively affect the sport of running because, for runners who do get into triathlon, this author included, they will always be runners at heart.  (Aaw shucks, kleenex please!)

8) Shooowbiz!  More showbiz peeps will join races.  Late 2012, we saw Anne Curtis, Bianca King, Solenn Heusaff, Daniel Matsunaga, Aubrey Miles, and Troy Montero  in races.  That’s on top of more experienced showbiz runners Piolo and Karylle and triathletes Kuya Kim Atienza, Drew Arellano, and Matteo Guidicelli.  Ack, I’m sure I’ve missed some celeb.  But, who cares, there’ll be more of them this year running with us.  Yet another reason why we should never leave home without our cameras or smartphones.  Eek, I’m such a fan.

– Fan girl pic. I saw Matteo lined up to check in his bike at Ironman 70.3 Cebu and I had to have my pic taken with him –

9) More new junk to buy.  I think we have more than enough running stores in the country so while these may open more branches, there shouldn’t be any new ones setting up anymore. But, I do see more run-specific gear that will tempt us to shell out more money.  Make sure the items you purchase are useful and practical!  After all, runners really only need a good pair of shoes!

10) May mabubuntis na runner.  Unang letra ng pangalan nya ay nagsisimula sa S.  Okay, okay, I’m kidding.  I just had to throw that in there because all fortune tellers predict that at the start of the new year, right?  (I watched a couple of them on The Buzz this Sunday, heehee)  And, yes, of course, I had to say it in tagalog for a more dramatic effect!

Happy New Year, runners!


Part 2: Hey 2012, You Suck…Not!

Monday, 31 December 2012  |  Bullish Insights

Continuing from Part 1: Here’s even more highlights of 2012…

Runner’s World Features:  I and TBR Dream were fortunate enough to be featured on my favorite running magazine, Runner’s World Philippines, twice this year.

– One of the running bloggers featured on Runner’s World Phils Jan-March 2012 issue –

– TBR Dream Marathon makes it to Top Local Marathon list on RW Jan-March 2012 issue –

– On the cover of Runner’s World Philippines Oct-Dec 2012-

– with ex Editor in Chief and good friend Marie Calica during the shoot –

Falling in Love with Biking…and my Shiv: I fell in love with biking this year. It all started when I got my Specialized Shiv from Joey Ramirez of Dan’s Bike Shop. Running is still my first love, but man oh man, I can’t tell you how much I look forward to speeding down the hills of Nuvali.

– Fondo Manila ride out with Patrick Joson. Yes, that’s Richard Gutierrez smirking at the newbie! –

– Meeting my Shiv for the first time! That’s me with Joey. Aaah, what an unforgettable day –

Jaymie 3
– Power Meter test with Coach Andy at Alterra –

– Learned everything from changing a flat to drinking while riding. Thanks Coach Norman! –

– Bike skill training with Team Norman at MOA-

– 100k ride with Jun at NUVALI! Who would’ve thought I could ever do this?! –

Trail Runs: I love trail running but never have enough time to do it.  Thankfully, I ran trail twice this year.  First in Salomon Trail Run in Tagaytay Highlands then La Mesa Ecopark with friends.  Both were fun! Note to self: must do more trail runs for 2013.

– La Mesa Ecopark run with friends –

– Salomon Trail Run was exhilarating –

– Last few kilometers of the Salomon Trail Run. Crazy fun! –

Nike+ Innovation Space in Singapore:  Nike sent me to Singapore, along with friends Coach Rio dela Cruz, Drew Arellano, and LA Tenorio to learn about the new apparel and gear of Nike.

– with Nike ambassadors Rio and Drew –

– with friend Andrea Goh of Nike Singapore and the Nike Fly Knit –

Running and Biking with the Kiddos: We got more active with the kiddos this year!  Running and biking with the two people I love the most in the world. The best!

– Southridge Run with kids and Cosmo –

– Our new favorite past time –


Unilab Active Health as Partner and Team: I’m thankful and proud to have partnered with ULAH for 2012 to further promote running and living an active lifestyle.  I also joined Unilab Active Health triathlon team.

– with other partners of ULAH during our launch: Coach Rio de la Cruz, Dan and Ani Brown, and Raul Cuevas of Bike King –

– Team Unilab Active Health dinner –

– Team pic after Ironman 70.3 Cebu. Missing from pic: Me! I must’ve been catching my breathe on a picnic mat by the finish line –

YOU. Yes, you, my dear reader. Thank you for dropping by this little blog of mine every so often.  Some of you have become great friends, some familiar faces in the running scene.  Even if I don’t get to see you most of you in person, know that I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your life somehow.

It truly has been a fantastic year.  2012, you don’t suck at all!

Thank you to Unilab Active Health, Sun Broadband, Otterbox, Enervon HP, Enervon Activ, Gatorade, Oakley, Specialized and Dan’s Bike Shop, and Kitchen’s Best for all the loving! Thanks you also to Hero Foundation for allowing me to be involved in the great work that you do!

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