Slowing Down

Thursday, 29 December 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.

– Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne

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– Lunch with running buddies Jun and Annie. We had banana-carrot cake in UCC for dessert. Aaah, yummy! Definitely not as good as Leona’s carrot cake from Cebu though! –

After two consecutive marathons and non-stop work, I gave myself the entire December to run easier, work less, eat more dessert, and just do nothing (which is something I hadn’t done for so long!)  Yes, sometimes, this Bull believes that she’s gotta slow down too.

The past two weeks have been incredibly refreshing.  I’ve spent more time lunching with friends (strictly following the dessert rule!), playing with the kids, cleaning up their rooms (which was a workout in itself!), redecorating my home office, and eating more dessert (have I said that already?) rather than facing my Mac which is usually right in front of my face all day, everyday.

It’s how I hoped to end this crazy, busy year and exactly how I wanted to start 2012.  *Note to self: pencil in more “do nothing” weeks for 2012.

What is a Christmas Run and Should You have One?

Saturday, 24 December 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Question: How do runners celebrate the holidays?

Answer: We have our own Christmas Run, of course!

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– After our Christmas Run this morning, me, Annie, Jun, Ton, Trixie, Angel, Miriam, Jun, Lit at Sentro –

What’s a Christmas Run?

A Christmas Run is defined as any activity done by an individual or group moving at a speed faster than a walk that is executed anytime during the period of December 20 to 30.

The run can be done at any location, at any time, and at any distance but early morning—4:30 AM to 6:30 AM—is highly recommended for participants to 1) feel the cool Christmas air and 2) possibly partake of Puto Bumbong from Simbang Gabi.

Pace must strictly be easy, non-competitive, and preferably one that allows the runner to laugh at senseless jokes the entire time.  Stupid jokes that are associated with Frosty the Snowman or Rudolp the Reindeer, although relevant for the season, are strictly prohibited.

Who Can Join a Christmas Run?

It is recommended but not required that all participants have been running together for over 6 months and have accumulated a total of 300 kilometers together.

It is a non-negotiable that all runners sincerely enjoy each others’ company.  If there’s one rotten egg in the bunch (e.g., no sense of humor, makes too frequent stops at the restroom, too pacute, the list goes on and on) then the runner may be expelled from the group after a consensus is reached (preferably before the Christmas Run invitation/SMS has been released).

Why Consider a Christmas Run?

TBR highly recommends a Christmas Run among your best running buddies.  It’s the one time of the year that you do exactly the same thing you’ve been doing with your running group: you wake up the same time, meet at the same place to see the usual faces, run more or less the same distance, and have breakfast at the same restaurant to order the same ol’ breakfast meals, but without cheesy words exchanged and just by showing up on this special weekend, you essentially tell each other that running together has been one of the greatest gifts you could’ve received this year.

Merry Christmas to everyone! Enjoy the Holidays!

TBR DM 2012: Bull Session 3 @ NUVALI

Saturday, 17 December 2011  |  Bullish Insights

It was the perfect setting for our 3rd Bull Session this morning. Our TBR Dream Marathoners ran long for 1 hour and 45 mins. in the cool and nippy holiday air at NUVALI. I won’t say much in this post since these photos will effectively show you how much fun we had this morning.

Congratulations to our TBR Dream Marathoners for running strong today!

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– Class pic: Runners during today’s 3rd Bull Session at NUVALI –

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– Pace group led by TBR DM alumni Mark Terrado before we started –

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– Pace group led by TBR DM alumni Miriam Valero, Angel Motomal, and “Kots Mike” Janeo –

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– Bull Session’s lead coach Lit Onrubia, NUVALI GM, Jun Bisnar, and Ripple 100 and TBR DM runner Andre Yap –

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– Off they go! Love these NUVALI roads! –

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– TBR DM alumni and current batch run together –

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– TBR DM alumni Craig Logan (far left) paces his group –

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– These Snail Runners sure know how to hop and jump too –

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– Here they go again. Jump! –

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– TBR DM is a beginner’s marathon, but our course is challenging enough for any serious runner. Our marathoners are toughies! –

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– Group led by TBR Dream Team Jun Cruz –

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– What comes up must come down –

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– We couldn’t help it. Here’s another class pic –

Huge thank you to our TBR DM alumni who paced our marathoners, NUVALI for the full support, GATORADE for hydration, and everyone else who always go out of their way to make each run or talk special for our TBR DM runners.

TBR DREAM MARATHON 2012 is co-presented by SUN BROADBAND and RUNRIO. EVENT PARTNER – NUVALI. MAJOR SPONSORS – Gatorade, New Balance, Oakley, and Otterbox. MINOR SPONSORS – Timex, Nutribar, Secondwind, Nathan, Chris Sports, ROX, BGC. DONORS: Neat Feat. MEDIA PARTNERS – Multisport, Ripple 100.  LOGISTICS PARTNER: Creative Juice.

Pre-Race: Sacramento and California Int’l Marathon Expo

Wednesday, 7 December 2011  |  Bullish Insights

I arrived in Sacramento two days before the race giving me enough time to get acquainted with the city. It was my first time here.

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– Hello Sacramento! –

The entire city of Sacramento—an easy 2-hour drive from San Francisco—is quaint, relaxed, and filled with character. The roads are flat and lined with beautiful autumn trees showing off their leaves in brown and orange hues. The architecture of the houses have an old-fashioned charm and some of the landmarks in the city are majestic and breath-taking, particularly the California State Capitol which was where the finish line of our race was strategically located.

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– Organizers set up the finish line at Capitol Park a day before the race –

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– CIM traditionally has two separate finish lines for Men and Women –

Before the race, the weather was much too cold for me. Temperature was in their low 40s with the wind—oh boy, the wind!—giving this poor little Pinay runner goosebumps every single time it swept past us. I was optimistic that the weather would improve during race day.

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– What a crazy, windy day –

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– Outside the convention center –

My hotel was conveniently located just a few blocks away from the Sacramento Convention Center where the race expo was held and, more importantly, near the finish line at Capitol Park. Braving the winds (and thinking this was a good way for me to acclimatize…brrr!), I walked to the convention center to claim my race pack.

The California International Marathon Expo was relatively modest compared to other large-scale international races such as the ING New York City Marathon or even Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. This expo had a small community feel to it, which was something I looked forward to even for the race itself.

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– CIM banner –

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– Lots of runners at the expo –

The expo was filled with runners that looked fast and nimble. This was no surprise because CIM is known as one of the fastest courses in the US (even Runner’s World says so in its December 2011 Issue). I couldn’t count how many runners proudly wore their Boston Marathon, New York Marathon, or other popular marathon jackets or shirts. There were quite a number of senior runners who were double my age, but could probably run twice as fast. Gulp. A friend and I joked that we could easily be the last to finish at this marathon even if we broke our personal records!

Good thing I met good friends and fellow Pinoy runners at the expo to make me feel more at ease.  It was Amale Jopson, wife of Ironman champ Noy Jopson, who convinced me to register for CIM.  Way back in February, Amale persuaded me to abandon plans to run Macau Marathon and go for Sacramento instead.  She said it was one of the fastest courses and we could come together, no husband, no kids, just a short trip for some serious racing.  I signed up that same week!  (Thank you Amale for recommending such a great race! Amale finished at an amazing 3:46. Congratulations!)

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– Jane-Jane, Veronica, Lit, Amale and Andrew of Team Philippines sponsored by New Balance –

Claiming of race packs was well-organized and informal. All I had to do was look up and find the balloons spelling out “Race Packs” and I found my way in no time (like I said, it was a community-type of expo.)

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– Got my CIM race pack! –

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– Shopping time –

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– Tons of samples to taste –

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– Kids create posters for their beloved runners –

I claimed my race bib and timing chip (ipico just like RunRio) then lined up to claim my race shirt and race pack. Then, I was off to shopping at the expo. I purchased an official marathon shirt, sampled a lot of bars, and perused through the booths of several other races in the US. I caught sight of the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge: back to back marathons of Boston and Big Sur for an exclusive group of 400 runners only. Of course, you gotta qualify for Boston first! Wow, I wonder if I’ll ever get to do this in my lifetime.

The expo also offered several talks for runners. We took advantage of this and attended the talk on “How to Run CIM” which provided us with practical and useful tips for the next day’s race.

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– How to Run CIM talk –

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– Carol, one of the speakers, has been battling cancer for 2 years and ran CIM as her…get this…257th marathon! –

When I got back to the hotel room, I laid out all the loot from my bag and couldn’t believe I was just a few days away from running my next marathon…

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– See the little blue pack on the upper right of the shirt? I was most ecstatic about that freebie: a serving of peanut butter! Aaah, life’s little joys –

Running in San Francisco

Saturday, 3 December 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Hello from San Francisco! I arrived a few days ago in preparation for California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento on Sunday, December 4, 2011.

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– Union Square is ready for Christmas –

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– Powell Street Station –

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– Cable car on Powell Street –

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– Hills of San Francisco. Thank God I’m not running 42k here…at least not yet –

Traveling alone, this trip of mine is slow and relaxed—probably the opposite of CIM, which is popular for being a fast, mostly downhill marathon.  There’s a lot of shopping, eating, and walking all over the place .  Of course, there’s some running too…

Last Thursday, at 8:30 am, I ran my last run before the big day. It was an easy 8k starting from my hotel near Market Street down to the Embarcadero and onto Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a beautiful morning with cool weather that made it easy to run without breaking a sweat, literally. It was a great way to cap training and to tour this wonderful city.

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– Start of 8k run. My last run before CIM –

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– Market Street. I ran down here towards Fisherman’s Wharf –

Later in the day, I dropped by Nike Town on Union Square and received timely words of wisdom from the legendary running coach and one of Nike’s founders, Bill Bowerman…

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Next: California International Marathon Expo and Sacramento