Flach, Schnell Und Unvergesslich

Sunday, 23 September 2012  |  Bullish Insights

Say what?! Don’t ask me to verbalize that. It took me a while to just type it!

It’s how the organizers of the Berlin Marathon describe their race. It means: “flat, fast and unforgettable.”

– Map of Berlin Marathon on my bulletin board –

In seven days, I, along with four of my running buddies, will be running those flat and fast roads of Berlin, the fastest marathon course in the world.  WOW!  To say I am excited would be an understatement.

Earlier this morning, some of us in Team Berlin (yes, that’s what we’ve been calling ourselves for the past months.  I told you we were excited about this race!) ran our last weekend run together.  Looking back, I told a friend I felt like we breezed through those long runs together.  We ran consecutive Sundays hitting 21k, 24k, 28k, then 35k until we tapered off.  Today, we capped off our marathon training with a 12k run.

For me, it was bittersweet.  While I was glad to have ended training, I do have to admit that I’ll miss those long runs, the company of friends, and the sumptuous breakfast after.  I can’t help it.  I’m just one of those people who love both the journey and the destination when it comes to marathons.  I just live for long runs!  (Hey, I can make  t-shirts with that line!)

For the next few days, I plan to just do one more run, one Bikram yoga session, and one bike trainer session.  That’s on top of trying to finish work, tutoring the kids for exams, and packing.  Waah!  After all that, I fly out on the 26th for what I’m sure will be a flach, schnell und unvergesslich marathon on September 30!

* Wish us all Pinoy runners luck!  We’re around 40 from Manila.

** Piolo (yes, Papa P) was supposed to join us, but he had to back out because of work. Boo! (Funny side story: He personally told me this in the Shangrila Cebu elevator.  I entered.  He was inside and called me by name.  Me?!  My jaw dropped.  He spoke matter of factly about not making it to Berlin and I managed to listen without drooling or fainting.  Hay life is good!)

Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number

Friday, 21 September 2012  |  Bullish Insights

My daughter asked me: “Mama, how old are you again?”  I replied with my age.  Then, she gazed back at me with a half-amused, half-shocked expression and exclaimed “You’re even older than my school!” (which is celebrating their 35th year.)  Great. I am now older than concrete structures that seemed like they’ve been there before my Lolo was born.

Earlier this week, I was invited to an Olay Regenerist event at Tessa Valdes’ home. As soon as I arrived, a dashing young male model/usher (hence I couldn’t say no!) led me to the Visia computer which, upon placing my chin into a tiny little dome with an 18 megapixel camera, snapped close up images of my face, fed the info into a computer, and analyzed the condition of my skin.

I always thought my main problem was dryness and over exposure to the sun because of running, swimming, and biking.  The good news was that my skin had proper moisture, it was well protected by my sunblock (Neutrogena 100SPF), and pores were good too.  Now for the bad news.  And this was baaaaad.  I had wrinkles!  Huwat?  Me?  Wrinkles?!  Apparently, they’re all over my forehead and around my eyes.  My next thought: Thank God my camera only has 12mp!

Sigh. I’m getting old.  On top of those invisible wrinkles, I feel those flabs in the arms flapping away whenever I do a Ms. Universe wave (good thing I don’t try that stunt too often) and I need to have my white hair dyed every other month.  It would be easy for me to spend an entire day sulking about this while bingeing on comfort food (Cheetos and Mountain Dew Slurpee please!), but I’ll surely end up feeling bloated and even more depressed after.

The thing is, when I lace up my shoes, head out the door, and run my vanity issues away, there’s only one thing that happens: They disappear.  There’s something about feeling how strong or fast I can go that reminds me about the power I have as a woman with a rich history to draw motivation from.  With each foot stomping hard on the ground, I think more about how far I can go with my own two feet. It’s all me.  The older, wiser, stronger me—with all my wrinkles, age spots, and flab—that can choose to go longer, farther, faster than I did yesterday.

I started running at the late age of 30, ran my first marathon at 33, and I’ll run my 8th this coming September 30.  The long term plan is to run one or two marathons a year for the rest of my life.  Oh, I also have a not-so-secret dream of qualifying for Boston Marathon with a sub-4 when I hit 50 years old.

Aaah running, it’s a sport that I can definitely grow old with and I’m looking forward to our many more years of blissfulness together…with or without those wrinkles.

Bull Circle 1: The Marathon Dream on 19 September 2012

Monday, 17 September 2012  |  Bullish Insights

Congratulations to all registered participants of TBR Dream Marathon 2013! See you all on Wednesday for our 1st Bull Circle in Fully Booked!


For a complete Calendar of Activities for TBR Dream Marathon 2013, please click HERE.

Run United 3: Missed!

Sunday, 16 September 2012  |  Bullish Insights

I went to bed last night all set to join Run United 3 this morning. Although the RU3 32k was tempting, I “behaved” and registered for 10k strictly abiding by my training program for Berlin Marathon. Plan was to run 6k before the race and 10k during the race to complete the 16k I was supposed to run.

I woke up at 3:00AM to hear rain pitter pattering on the rooftop (as I’m sure many of you did!), but I also had the sniffles.  Oooh boy, running a race under the rain was quite risky.  (Running in the rain isn’t the wisest thing to do when you’re two weeks away from a marathon abroad ya know?!) With a clogged nose and almost half asleep, I texted a friend that I made the difficult decision to skip the race.

While I was looking forward to Run United 3 and seeing my teammates from Unilab Active Health again, I was also proud of myself for making this “wise” decision. (If you read this blog, you know from my history that, when it comes to running, I tend to make a lot of foolish decisions!)  I pulled the blankets over my head and tried to get back to sleep.

After a long 30 minutes of tossing and turning in bed, I got up and made myself a cup of coffee. Then, I spotted my training program on the bulletin board. Crap. I was missing 16k because of rain. When did rain ever stop me?! Hastily, I asked friends Ton and Lit if they were pushing through with their run at our favorite running area. When they said yes, I got dressed, dusted off my Nike storm fit jacket from the cabinet, and rushed off for my 16k run.

We ran under the rain. It was wet and wild.  (As I’m sure many of you experienced in Run United 3 too!)  I was glad I pushed myself to run this morning!

After the run, we met up with friends who actually showed up for the 21k and 32k of Run United 3 despite the rain! At least I got to vicariously experience all the fun through them!

– with Lit, JaneJane, Coach Dan and Ani Brown, Nica, and Maricel. JaneJane and Nica flew in from Cebu just for RU3! –

Hope you all had fun at Run United 3 this morning!

Change Your Mind

Saturday, 15 September 2012  |  Bullish Insights

I peeled myself off of bed at 6AM to work. With the rains pouring since yesterday, swim and bike were definitely cancelled. Instead, I dragged myself to Bikram Yoga at 930AM. I felt mentally and physically exhausted. Just one of those gloomy days BOTH when you look out the window and into your weary soul.

I sluggishly laid my mat on the floor in a room full of half-naked women and a couple of men who curiously always look like they are at peace. I thought to myself: I bet all they ever answer to reckless bus drivers, rude clients, or selfish friends is: “Namaste” then they smile. It didn’t help that everyone in the room also looked 10 times more flexible than I am.

Even if I was seated beside a fellow runner, I felt out of place. How does a competitive, driven, stubborn, and forever on-the-go individual like me become more like them? How do I teach myself to slow down, sit still, and silence my mind? How do I find my peace…at least for the next hour and a half?

The instructor entered the room and began the class. I stared at myself in the mirror trying my best to inhale positive vibes and exhale the trash out of my body and mind. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

I went about the various positions much like a fish out of water. My tight hamstrings would shake uncontrollably every time I tried to stretch them. My quads were wobbly, still tired from all the running I did all week.

It was getting hotter inside the crowded room. Worse, my mind was getting bored. Every now and then, I would glance at the clock overhead. 45 more minutes…30 more minutes…it was like a countdown to freedom.

Then, as if the instructor was reading my mind, she said: “The room is hot and uncomfortable. You can’t change that. Focus on your breathing. Focus on what you can change. Change your MIND.”

Change your MIND.

Those three lines struck me to the core. I took it to heart and relented.

Suddenly, the room wasn’t hot at all. I felt like could go on focusing on my yoga rather than waiting for the session to end. In a snap, my worries diminished. Even if it was still gloomy outside, the dark cloud hanging over my head had disappeared.

The next time you think that you’ll never lose the last 5 lbs., that it’s impossible to do a marathon, that you’re going to die with all the work, or that you’re having the worst day compared to everyone else, all you really have to do is change your mind and plod on forward.