Bull Cloud

Monday, 6 June 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Sighting: BULL CLOUD

Date: May 22, 2011

Time: 3:26 PM

Place: Buendia Ave. cor. Ayala Avenue

Frequency: rare Bull Cloud is said to appear once every 1,005,555 years

Discoverer: imaginative and observant non-runner named Jude aka TBR’s brother

bull cloud

Bohol: Beaches and Bummer Injuries

Sunday, 5 June 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Bohol was fantastic. We spent four full days completely immersed in the beauty of Bohol: its beaches, food, and people.

– We stayed at Amorita Resort. We had a pleasant stay but the absence of a nice beach front, lap pool, and a gym was an issue for this bull –

– with the in laws and kids. We were a huge group of 30 –

– kids playing around with the scenic view behind them –

Being our first time in Bohol, we toured the province…

1) We dropped by the blood compact monument,


2) huddled over those cute little tarsiers…


Little Miss Bull Runner brought home two of them and tucked them into bed. Meet Mitty and Nitty…


3) patiently waited for dolphins and spotted them!

4) hung out at Balicasag Island and swam with the fish and fed them at a nearby marine sanctuary…

5) ooohed and aaaahed over those amazing chocolate hills that weren’t all that chocolatey at that time…and,

Chocolate Hills

5) just spent a lot of time swimming and bonding at Amorita Resort.


I also had a wonderful dinner with Congressman Arthur Yap of the 3rd district of Bohol—a family friend who proudly declares that he carried me as a baby and even changed my diapers!—and his friends at a beautiful, homey resort called Ananyana…

– with Dato and Cacai Arroyo, Pael and Christine Romualdez, Cong. Arthur Yap, Emma (owner of Ananyana), and hubby and I –

After telling Arthur about my foot injury which kept me from running and my desperate need for a pool, he was kind enough to make arrangements for me to swim at Eskaya Resort. I dropped by the following evening to view an infinity pool surrounded by candles—get this—all to myself! My jaw dropped as I dropped my goggles and swim cap on the floor. It was beautiful! I lost myself in the stillness and silence of the serene waters that evening.  I swam the best 1.3km here.

Eskaya Pool
– I fell in love with this pool! I must return! (Photo courtesy of www.eskayaresort.com) –

Unfortunately, with all the fun activities, my foot injury went from bad to worse. By the last day, I could barely walk. I stayed in our room with my swollen foot elevated and countless orders for ice and room service. By the time I departed for Manila this morning, I was in major pain. This is me in the Bohol airport flashing the fakest smile ever ready to get an xray as soon as our plane landed in Manila…


If and when I return to Bohol, I made a mental note to do the following:

1) Come back uninjured
2) Run in the man-made forest
3) Run around Balicasag Island in Nike Frees or Evo Barefoot shoes
4) Stay at Ananyana or Eskaya

A Cruel Joke

Tuesday, 31 May 2011  |  Bullish Insights

I wish someone was pulling my leg.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  And, after coming from my doctor this morning, I’ve learned that something else was pulled—my muscles.  Two of them, to be exact.

Last Thursday was like any other day.  Jun, Lit and I met at the track for speedwork.  But, there was one particular thing I did different that morning: I wore new shoes. I had my brand new Men’s K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Light on.  I was thrilled—as I always am about new running gear—but, as I walked on the track in them, something just didn’t feel right.  It didn’t feel as comfortable as the Women’s shoe. One look at the toebox and I knew it was too spacious. It definitely felt wider, too.  In hindsight, I should’ve listened to my instincts (as well as the sound of my left foot impacting the ground which, as I voiced out to my friends, didn’t sound that good!)

We did 3 x 800s and we were going on our fourth.  Just after the curve, I felt a sudden stabbing pain beneath my toes.  I slowed to a stop and told them to go ahead.  I tried to walk, but felt pain even when walking.  Immediately, I had it massaged at the track.  Then, I plunged into the pool for a 1.5k swim—the longest in my entire lifetime!—which temporarily distracted me from worries over the injury.

I was optimistic.  I thought, like a bad nightmare, I could act like it never happened after a couple of days of rest and subsequently proceed with my scheduled long run, 35k on Sunday, the longest run before Phuket Marathon.  I was wrong. I didn’t cover my run.  And, by Monday (yesterday), it had swelled after just an hour or two walking in a mall.  In full panic mode, I saw my doctor this morning.

GOOD NEWS: He said I pulled two muscles: my middle toe and my muscle near my shins.  All I need is a week of rest.

BAD NEWS: Phuket is only 2 weeks away.  By the time I recover, it will be time to taper.

While I ponder on what to do for the next two weeks, allow me to share lessons learned from this sad experience (so you won’t need to bang your head against the wall saying: “What the hell were you thinking?!” as I want to do a million times over now):

  1. Never experiment with shoes 1 month prior to the race. I knew this! But, with my shoes worn out and dirty, vanity (and perhaps hygiene haha!) got the best of me. I was embarrassed to use those old shoes in public and rotated among Newton racers, Brooks Glycerin, and the Men’s Kwicky Blade Light just weeks before the marathon.  When you’ve found the right shoe, stick with it.  If you must replace it, buy the same exact model and the same size.  (Thanks to Planet Sports for sending my beloved Women’s Kwickly Blade Light over yesterday. I stick to this one for now.)
  2. Cross Train. If all you have is running and you get injured, workouts stop completely.  But, if you have other sports that will maintain your fitness level, then you will be less frustrated and angry while you’re waiting for full recovery.  Swim, bike, run in a pool, take a yoga class.  Do whatever it takes to keep you fit and happy.  Thank God I have swimming right now to keep me sane. You must know how I turn into a monster when I don’t get to workout!
  3. Trust your instincts. If you go for a workout and something just doesn’t feel right—whether it’s a tight hamstring or you’re feeling slightly under the weather—take it easy that day or stop altogether.  Your body is speaking to you and you better listen!
  4. Enjoy the break. I have to admit, there’s a small part of me that is enjoying the brief leave from the rigorous workouts the past months.  Every week, I’ve been running 4x, swimming 3 to 4x, and doing strength training at the gym 2x.  With the past few days break from the runs (not the swim which I absolutely love nowadays!), my pace has slowed, weight has slightly increased, but there’s more time to breathe and relax. A friend said a one week injury leave made him stronger when he got back into the game. I’m hoping it’ll be the same for me. Crossing my fingers…and injured toe, too!

DO YOU WANT A MEN’S KSWISS KWICKY BLADE LIGHT? I’m giving mine away.  Only used for 5km. Men’s US size 7.5.  Remember, this is for MEN!  The first one to comment expressing his interest below, gets the shoe.  BUT, when we meet, you must show me that the shoe will fit you and only you. (TBR reserves the right to award the prize to the winner she deems fit and deserving of the prize.)

Day Two: Misibis Bay Fitness Escape

Friday, 20 May 2011  |  Bullish Insights, Healthy Food + Recipes

Day 2: May 18, 2011 | Wednesday

The day started early at 4:45 am for our ATV ride right outside Misibis Bay. We had a clear view of Mayon Volcano and the ocean as we drove around the area feeling like we were literally on top of the world.

– All aboard our ATVs! –

– Check out the awesome view behind us! –

We stopped at a secluded yet secure area and then began a steep 30 minute trail walk towards a hilltop that offered us even a more scenic view. Wow, this was truly rejuvenating not just for the body but for the soul.

– Trail walking and, for the more adventurous, maybe trail running –

– Reaching the top! –

After a quick change, we all met at the beach for Mitch and Armand’s Beach Boot Camp. This was a series of short bursts of cardio activities like running, high-knees, etc. interspersed with strength and core training. It was a fun but need I say challenging workout.

– It was hot and tiring, but I’d do anything for a good workout –

– Push ups until our arms went numb. Well, at least mine did! –

– We survived…with hundreds of calories burned to boot! –

To cool down (but not exactly slow down), we jumped into the pool for an Aqua Aerobics session. Wow, I never knew how difficult seemingly simple arm and leg movements are when done under water. Definitely great for toning those arms and legs!

– Never thought aqua aero could be this fun! –

After a healthy lunch, we hopped onto the speedboat towards Pututan Island for some cave exploring!

– Ready for the boat ride –

– We saw Mayon from the boat. I was speechless –

We climbed 120 steps up towards the cave only to rapel down into it. Once inside, we submerged ourselves into the oh-so cold water and viewed the rocks and stalactites formed over the past hundred years.

– Those 120 steps was easier than we thought. Now onto the cave –

– After a muddy rapel down, we all made it to the bottom! –

– We climbed, and crawled… –

– …walked and laughed all for some cave fun –

With that busy sched, we had our share of relaxing downtime too. We had a healthy salmon sandwich snack by the beach served by the excellent staff of Misibis. If we had special orders, such as coffee or yogurt, they provided these with a smile. Fantastic!

Before dinner, Mitch led a lifestyle modification talk where she offered individualized advice to each of us based on our interviews and assessments. I will share with you what she said about me in a later post, but can I just say she was spot on?!

– Mitch discussed healthy lifestyle eating habits –

Dinner was a healthy Filipino dinner by the sea again. I had to run off and leave them though as my masseuse—along with her massage bed and lavender oil—was waiting at the villa.

Previous: Misibis Bay Fitness Escape – Day 1

Day One: Misibis Bay Fitness Escape

Wednesday, 18 May 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Day One: May 17, 2011 | Tuesday

Leaving hubby and the kids behind for a much needed break, I packed my bags for the Misibis Bay Fitness Package. With only 2 hours of sleep, I was thankful for a smooth one hour flight from Manila to Legazpi on board Cebu Pacific. It was my very first time to spot Mayon Volcano from the plane. I heard it more than once from the locals that we were lucky that the weather cooperated with us; they said it’s not very often that guests spot Mayon’s perfect cone.


– Misibis Bay is an hour’s drive by bus from Legazpi airport –


– View from my floor-to-ceiling glass windows –


– That’s my villa right there! Villa #31 –


– Some villas have this as their view –


– My home for the next two days –

Along with Armand and Mitch Mendoza, the trainers for the program, and the four other registered participants, we were welcomed warmly by the staff of Misibis Bay complete with fruit juices, dancers, and an escort to our individual rooms. After a quick change, our Misibis Bay Fitness Escape had begun!


– Welcome drinks –


– with my favorite fitness couple and coaching team Armand and Mitch Mendoza –

First, Armand and Mitch gave us a briefing on the itinerary. Oh boy, we had a packed sched! (Insert nervous laughter here). Then, we had a weigh in (more nervous laughter in that room!) followed by a medical check up with the Misibis Bay doctor. After a healthy fruit snack, we had a fitness assessment: VO2 Max, strength and flexibility tests, and a brief gym and fitness orientation.


– This was a reminder that we were here at Misibis to get fit, not fat –

We had a sumptuous Japanese lunch, but before digging in, Mitch took a photo of the food on our plates. (It was to be this way for all our other meals!) Well, I couldn’t complain much. After all, I had signed up for this to drop some weight, not to binge while on vacation!

– Lunch at The Spice Market in Misibis Bay –

Our lunch was followed by light exercsies called “Gentle Burn” led by Armand…


– We faced the sea during gentle burn. How invigorating! –

Then, we headed to the gym where Armand gave us a brief talk on fitness…


– Intro to Fitness Talk by Armand –

We had CIRCUIT TRAINING of 20 reps, 3 sets each for strengthening…


– Armand demonstrates the exercises –

After the gym, it was time for more exploration of the outdoors! This was the fun part!

We explored Misibis Bay on foot (or in the air) and we did this while burning calories! Isn’t that the best way to lose weight? Check out all the stuff we did—all on our first day here!


– Photo op at the Misibis ampitheater which was a pitstop at Amazing Race Asia –


– On our way to the zipline via golf cart. Fantastic view! –


– That’s me at the 450m zipline! It’s not obvious that I’m afraid of heights huh? –


– On a zipline high—literally! –

After ziplining, we hopped onto mountain bikes and further explored Misibis. Before the sun set, we ran by the sea with Mayon Volcano to our right and a full moon to our left. Now, that’s a sunset run for you!


– Mountain biking adventure –


– Biking by the sea –

We winded down early by having a Vietnamese dinner by the sea and under the full moon while being serenaded by a band.


– After a delicious healthy buffet dinner –

Then, as if they didn’t spoil us enough, Misibis gave us free foot massages; therapists came knocking on our room doors!


– The perfect way to end a tiring but fun day at Misibis –

Next: Day 2 – Misibis Bay Fitness Escape