A Li’l Surprise for TBR Dream Marathoners

Thursday, 14 April 2011  |  Bullish Insights

It’s been a little quiet here lately, don’t you think? Mainly because, while TBR Dream Marathon is over, we are still working round the clock to prepare your Certificates, Souvenir Program, and perhaps even a Get Together soon.  Cool eh? (Uhm, I’ve been quite busy training too and preparing for a Boracay trip tomorrow thanks to Women’s Health)

Some good friends have been working as well to prepare a special something for TBR Dream Marathoners Batch 2011.  I just saw it now and, oh boy, I got butterflies in my tummy, goosebumps on my arms, and a little teary eyed, too.

To my dearest TBR Dream Marathoners Batch 2011, we cannot wait to show it to you.  Visit this blog tomorrow starting 6:00 AM to check out our little surprise.  We hope you like it!

TBRDM Story: Weng Baltazar

Friday, 1 April 2011  |  Bullish Insights

This is a story of faith, hope and love in Weng Baltazar’s first marathon…


Running a marathon was never in my “bucket list”.  Running didn’t even appeal to me back then. At 35, I found my first love in tennis. But after finishing my first 5km in Baguio in 2009 (I was 40 then), I knew there’s something out there I needed to accomplish before my knees start wobbling with age.

And then I read about The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, a marathon event designed especially for 1st timers. This is what I have been waiting for, so my husband and I signed up at once.

I had no idea how grueling the training and preparation would be. It certainly wasn’t a walk in the park.  When I missed some of my training schedules, I knew I was gonna be in trouble. I started to doubt myself.  I finished my last 21k with a bit of a struggle. How much more would I endure for a run that’s double its length? Should I go for it? Undecided, I asked for God’s sign and prayed .The night before the big day I made a personal letter to God praying for strength and safety. Part of the letter says: “may  the realization of this dream brings forth a better person, not only on the road of an enthusiastic runner, but a better person on the road to righteousness, faith and love.”

Hours  before the run, I compelled (not asked  ) my best friend Ellen and little sister Kris to pray and  say the rosary for us. One hour before the marathon, I received a text from a friend (Ate Cheryl), must have been the sign I was asking for.  Without any doubt,”I will run my 1st marathon!”

Fast forward to the race day.  My husband gave me a kiss at gun start, during the 1st few meters I paced with him and some friends. Slowing them down I started spotting for runners who had the same run-walk interval as mine. I heard these two runners counting and I asked if I could join them . Let and Dittie gladly accepted me and I met my new running buddies. The 1st loop- we were doing fine, Dittie and Let were even singing Disney and Nickelodeon songs their kids love to sing (too bad I can’t join them, because my 4-year old Euan watches Mr. Bean).It was a joyride, until KM 27.

At Km 27 Dittie started feeling pain at the back of her knees (probably hams). We stopped at Medic station for some topical remedy. Then we started running again but the pain got worse.She took some pain killers but nothing seemed to work. We decided to shorten our run-walk interval, until she couldn’t run anymore . We started walking at Km 30. Dittie started crying and getting angry with herself. No amount of assurance could make her feel better. I guess the pain was so bad. She was so apologetic for holding us back and putting us through her ordeal.  She told us to go on ahead but we knew she needed us to stay .Let and I gave her all the motivations, prayed with her, and kept her going.  We walked for 5 kilometers more, and by God’s miracle Dittie got her second wind. We started running again at Km 35. The sun was up but that didn’t stop Dittie’s determination to finish. She was just awesome. Less than 1 km to finish, Dittie had an adrenaline rush. Let and I could hardly keep up . Together, we ran and finished strong. Seeing us together, the announcer even called us Charlie’s Angels, but I guess Dittie and Let were my angels: Dittie, for making me keep my prayer, and Let for making me keep  the faith.

Staying and running all throughout the course with an injured buddy made my first marathon experience even more fulfilling. Not only did I survive my 1st marathon but we helped a co-dreamer fulfill hers.

– Let, Dittie, and Weng –

I never thought my prayer would be intended on the journey itself and not only after crossing the finish line. God works in wondrous ways. My 1st marathon was a marathon of faith, hope and love.

Will I ever run a marathon again? Part of me says definitely. One marathon in my lifetime? I can live with that, but then I can always change my mind.


Congratulations to The Bull Runner Dream Marathon Team! You guys did an awesome job!

Date a Girl Who Runs

Tuesday, 29 March 2011  |  Bullish Insights, Favorite Posts

Date a girl who runs. Date a girl who chooses to move than to let the world pass her by. She will cover the roads with you while talking about the mundane to the profound without gasping for air. She will notice and appreciate the little things: the extra cushioning of her shoes, the softness of the pavement vs concrete, or how much cooler it is to run 30 minutes earlier in summer.

Take her to a race and be there with her 30 minutes before gun start. You will watch her fret over her gels, and her hydration, and the portalets. You will laugh because she gives so much importance to running as if it was her entire life. But, you will learn later on that it only shows how passionate she can be about what is important for her.

Hold her jittery hands before you enter the assembly area. She will hope to break her PR at the half marathon, but do not wish her luck; she won’t need it after all the speed work and tempo runs. Instead, show her a reassuring smile that she’ll be fine and that you’ll be proud of her whether she finishes first or 50th. Let her know that you’ll be waiting at the finish line—or at least you’ll show up there in case she finishes several minutes before you do.

If you find a girl who runs, never let her go; register for a marathon and train together. Be her best friend on the road. When she talks, listen to the joys of her first 5k, the pains of her recurring Plantar Fasciitis, and the 1,001 reasons why she loves to run while pretending that you can keep up with her “easy” pace. In between stories, allow her to take a sip from your water bottle or remind her when it’s time to take a gel. Watch her glow when she talks about running; she is in her element. She is running by your side.

She is happiest on Sundays, the day when she can run long with you. She loves to sweat, and the sore legs, and, of course, the hefty breakfast along with the good conversations that follow each run. Always have a cold, wet towel in the cooler waiting for her. Surprise her with her favorite post-recovery drink, low fat chocolate milk, and if she runs an extra 5km, spike it with her favorite coffee from Starbucks. In her simple joys, you will find an abundance of happiness.

Propose after your first marathon abroad. Or drop the ring in her hydration bottle. Or run the trails together and end with a proposal at sunset.

When you marry a girl who runs, the only time you will see her slow down is when she walks down the aisle towards you. She’ll be a picture of beauty and strength in a gown with her running shoes upon her feet and all you will be able to think of is the thousands of kilometers you will run together. You will find the best running partner in her. You will talk about the household, career, and finances during your long runs. You will fight during your hill training and make up during easy runs.

She will never force your children to run, but they will learn to love it when they see her passion for running. She will make living a healthy, active life easy, natural, and best of all, fun. Expect a lot of laughter, sweat, and sports beans. Running will not be a sport, but it will be a way of life for you and your children.  You will never run alone.

Love a girl who runs and she will love you back the same way she loves running. You will ask her why she loves running and she’ll answer: Because I can. You will ask her why she loves you and she’ll reply: Because I do.

NOTE: I wrote this after I chanced upon Jayvee Fernandez’ blogpost Date a Girl Who Blogs. Jayvee was inspired by Date a Girl Who Reads.

TBR DM Story: Ginell Montemayor, Bib No. 258

Monday, 28 March 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Like we always say: At TBR Dream Marathon, everyone who crosses the finish line is a winner.  Here’s the story of one of our winners, our last finisher, Ginell Montemayor:


I started running February 13 last year. My friend, Wil Chua (who is also a TBRDM 2011 Marathoner), was the one who convinced me to start. Her enthusiasm for running was contagious. And after just a few months of running (and not even regularly!) she was already trying to convince me to join a marathon!

She texted me to check my email before going to the office. I opened it to see that it was an email with the details of the TBR Dream Marathon. Of course I thought she was insane! In the email she attached the 15 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN TBR MARATHON. As I read it, I actually dared to dream that I may be able to finish a marathon. I finally gave in and joined (along with Wil and our teammates, Matt Estrada and Cesar Santos).

While training for the marathon, we joined The Condura Skyway Marathon (my first 21k race!). The feel of such an accomplishment was amazing. I never knew I could go so far. I’d definitely become stronger than I was a year before that. As the day of the TBR Dream Marathon approached, I got to know more and more Dreamers. And that really helped build confidence knowing that there are many people supporting you in your dream.

On the day of the marathon, I was really nervous. I actually felt like throwing up. (It’s a normal feeling for me when I get really nervous. I normally felt like that before oral exams when I was in college hehe). But there I was, at the starting line. There was no turning back. I prayed to God to get me through. I already had a feeling I’d be the last person to finish. Actually, I had a feeling I’d go more than 8 hours. But I was determined to finish. It didn’t matter to me if they’d pack up and dismantle the finish line (it’s happened to me before). I just wanted to finish.

During the first 10k of the run I was feeling pretty good because I could still see many runners (I even saw Wil, and she gave me a hug to encourage me!). But my way back for the 21k mark was disheartening. I couldn’t see any runners in front of me, and I didn’t dare hope to see any behind me. At one point, I wasn’t sure if I was going in the right direction. I was so down I wanted to cry. All the runners I saw were making their way past me for their 2nd round. But I kept going because my legs and feet were still OK. I kept telling myself, “Just finish. Just finish”. When I saw Wil for the second round, she gave me another hug and told me to keep going. That meant so much to me.

After finishing 21k, I started to feel really tired and some pain in my knees. It didn’t help that my heart was getting sadder and sadder. But then a Dream Chaser named Mamita ran along beside until her station. She told me stories of when she joined the Dream Marathon last year, and the Milo Marathon months after. She was really cheerful too! She had to let me go after we past her station, but I was really thankful for the company. So I kept on running, music my only companion. As I saw more and more runners “heading for home”, my mind just started screaming at me to end it all and just give up. But having fellow Dreamers clap and cheer me on kept me going. The most used phrase of that day was definitely “thank you”.


But as the sun blazed hotter and hotter, and the kilometers just seemed longer and longer, giving up just seemed so inviting. On my way to the major turnaround, a Dream Chaser (who I think was named Rico?) accompanied me to their station. I got my knees iced and massaged. As I set off for my way back Dream Chasers Mai Mai and Bic stayed with me. They were so upbeat that I stopped thinking about giving up. The sun blazed on us with such intensity that I was a bit embarrassed that they were out there getting roasted with me. Heaven knows they didn’t have to. But they did. They even left all their stuff behind without a means of getting them if the van left them! They were so selfless! And I’m really thankful to the volunteers on motorcycles (and even an ambulance! haha) that followed behind me. They had ice and were cheering. After what seemed like several kilometers, Bic told Mai Mai to go and get their stuff from the van.

At a tent near a security block, I was so surprised to see so many people still there. And when they saw me, they started cheering and waving their balloons and banners. That was when I first started crying. For the first time throughout the whole marathon, that was the first time. I was so touched. I told Bic that, and she said they waited just for me. And as I approached them I just kept on crying. And then one gave me a hug, and then the rest joined in. They kept cheering as I walk on. As I passed more and more tents, more and more Dream Chasers joined in. Soon I had my own entourage. It’s a shame I didn’t get all their names since they didn’t have names on their bibs. I was barely talking at some point because I was just so tired. But their high energy kept me going.

Bic told me to focus on certain landmarks just so that the course would be easier. She’d tell me things like to focus on every 3rd tree ahead. I got teary-eyed a lot while walking. I wasn’t sure if it was more because of the heat, the pain, or because my heart was just swelling with gratitude for these people. If anything, it was because of the latter. Then when the finish was finally in sight, they all started dispersing. Bic left me saying that it was my moment. I really wanted them to cross with me, because I was just so grateful to them. But they let me cross on my own.


Wil, Matt and Cesar were waiting for me at the finish line. Wil welcomed me with open arms, and I cried. I let everything out right then and there on her shoulder. I cried like my heart was broken. But it was the total opposite. My heart was full of love and gratefulness, and had never been stronger. Then I felt Matt and Cesar join the hug as well. After I gained some composure I finally let go of my friends. And then the Dream Chasers who walked under the sun with me gave me hugs as well and congratulated me for finishing. I thanked them profusely and they made it seem like it was really not a big deal. But to me, it meant everything. Their support was the difference between finishing and giving up. It still brings tears to my eyes when I remember that day. Not just that moment when I crossed the finish line, or when that sash of that medal first touched my neck. That whole day. The whole event.

So thank you, Jaymie. Thank you for your desire to share your marathon experience with us. Thank for bringing that dream closer to many runners. Thank you for giving someone like me an amazing dream. God bless you and all who were a part of the Dream Marathon.

The last finisher,


– hug from JunC (The Solemates) –

Test of Fitness

Sunday, 27 March 2011  |  Bullish Insights

It wasn’t about PRs, racing, or camaraderie at the Run for Home this morning.  I played a little experiment on myself today. Out of sheer curiosity (and perhaps boredom), I wanted to test my current level of fitness.  To be more specific, I wanted to know how fast I could run a half marathon at a strong yet comfortable and steady speed.

My rules:
1) Don’t watch your pace. (I can count with one hand how often I checked my Garmin this morning)
2) Don’t even aim for PR.
3) Don’t reach vomit mode.
4) Enjoy.

So that’s exactly what I did.


The start of the race brought us through narrows roads of Bonifacio Global City.  There was a lot of weaving through the traffic of other runners, but as soon as we reached the Buendia flyover, I found my rhythm.  From then on, I just ran steadily and savored the moment.  At Buendia, all I could see was red.  Oh, that was probably the Polo Tri Team scattered all over the front lines of the half marathon.  Man, were they fast.

Pretty soon, I found myself running alongside one Polo Tri member.  Who was this guy?! I glanced sideways to check if I knew him, but he turned the other way.  This guy was inadvertently yanking my lungs out as he challenged my pace.  Grrrrr. We ran side by side for a few kilometers until I thought it wise to let go before I broke one of my cardinal rules.  (See No. 3 above.)

After a few kilometers, anonymous Polo Tri guy revealed himself.  It was Noel dela Merced, an acquaintance who I often bump into on the road and even right before the start of NYC Marathon last year.  I blame him for making me go too fast this morning, but I think he knows that, deep inside, I’m actually thankful to him for being my accidental pacer.


I rarely ever check out the race course before I run it.  And, this experience only reminds me to do so next time to avoid any surprises.  After Buendia, I thought it would be smooth sailing running through Mercato Centrale (read: flat) and heading back towards the finish. But, little did I know that the course would take us through the ascents of University Avenue at the last few kilometers of the race (enter painful memories of the last kilometer of Condura 42km 2009!)  Aaack, I thought those last 2kms would never end!


Like I said, I rarely checked my time. So, as I headed towards the finish, I had the biggest surprise of my life: a sub-2 without aiming for one!  I crossed the finish line at 1:57 with an average pace of 5:32/km.  Miraculous. Magical.  And completely fulfilling.  It was doubly rewarding since I ran 16km the day before and thought that I would have to work with tired legs.

In running, it doesn’t matter who comes before you or after you.  As long as you try your darndest best and achieve your goals, then it’s all good.  Even better, when you have little surprises like this along the way.