Race Report: Ironman 70.3 Cebu 2013

Saturday, 10 August 2013  |  Race Reports

It is with a deep sigh of relief that I can scream this at the top of my lungs: I did it! I finished my 2nd Ironman 70.3 Cebu!

The Ironman 70.3 Cebu 2013 medal was, by far, the toughest medal I had to earn. From day one of training until race day, I encountered several obstacles along the way—from my foot injury and bike crash during training to bad weather and a flat tire on race day. If I was cursed, I almost believed that there was only one thing to shoo all the bad vibes away: the medal that waited for me at the finish line.



Just the day before, Cebu’s sunny weather had turned to stormy in a blink of an eye. A portion of the Ironkids event on Saturday morning had to be drastically cancelled to ensure the children’s safety. We checked in our bikes with plastic bags to shield them from the rain, attended the race briefing with the Kuya Kim’s weather report as the most awaited portion, and had our last pre-race supper in Abaca underneath pouring rain.

– View from my balcony on Saturday morning scared me to death…-

– Good thing bumping into Piolo during breakfast calmed my nerves LOL –

– Checked in my bike in sunny weather, but by that evening it was pouring –


I woke up at 4:00 am and uttered only two words when I heard the pitter-patter of the rain outside: Holy Crap. We received a text from the organizers that the race was still on and rain would be expected throughout the entire day.

As we headed down to check our bikes in the transition area and have a light breakfast, it was still raining. Most athletes we passed would utter the words: “Stay safe.” with a sincere look of concern for the other. I must admit I was scared to death. But, miraculously, by the time we walked out to the shore for the swim start, the sky had cleared. It was a cool, cloudy day. Just perfect for racing!

This reflected pretty much the entire journey towards Ironman 70.3 Cebu for me. There were a number of storms that hit me hard. I got into my first major bike crash in June, but got myself back on the bike and pool within 10 days. I suffered from a 3-month foot injury that prevented me from any decent run training. Three weeks prior to race day, still unable to run, I planned on a DNF after the bike portion, but after a chance visit to Miguel del Prado who, with one magical click of my foot, corrected what he said were misaligned bones, I was healed! I found myself cramming my 21k training in two weeks. From barely any running, I ran injury-free 10ks and a max of one 15k run as my training for Cebu. As a runner, I worried that I was undertrained for the run, but, at the same time, I reminded myself that I was blessed to even have the chance to run at all.

So, I did my best given the circumstances. I chose to see the storms as just that, storms that eventually dissipate and allow the sun to shine through. And so, armed with that knowledge and a newfound strength from overcoming all these obstacles thrown my way, I expected a mediocre performance for this race, but I felt like a winner just showing up at the starting line.

The voice of Coach Andy Leuterio echoed in my head. This is what he told me when I was close to giving up due to the injury: You will finish that race like a warrior!

– with my tri coach, Andy Leuterio –

SWIM: 1.9k – 44:18

The atmosphere at the shoreline of Shangrila Mactan was buzzing with excitement and positive energy. Triathletes were busy with swim warm ups, last minute preparations, or saying prayers huddled in groups.

– Walking alone towards my demise…I mean, swim start (Photo: Rizzo Tangan) –

The swim start was a deep water wave start done in three waves. As part of Wave 3, with a 6:40 AM race start, we watched all other athletes from the Pros, Elites, CEOS, and other age-groupers, begin the race. The course was a counter-clockwise rectangular 1.9k swim. It was for left-breathers which I was!

– Polo Tri huddled in prayer with me as dakilang extra (Photo: Anthony Kierulf) –

When it was our turn, we swam towards the starting line buoys around 50 meters from the shore, treaded water for 5 minutes (which felt like forever!) like sardines in a can, and we were off.

The entire course was quite confusing as the buoys were difficult to view. I simply followed the general direction all athletes were taking. It was crowded and chaotic and, females like me, were competing against stronger, bigger men. I was hit twice in the face which dislodged my goggles and got kicked hard in the chest. I focused on my strokes and pretended to be swimming in the pool with Coach Anthony Lozada by my side.

In the last few meters, the crowd had reduced and we could swim freely towards the shore with the finish line in clear sight. This was my favorite portion of the entire race. I loved every minute of it. I found my rhythm and felt relaxed. I was probably smiling the entire time.

BIKE: 90K – 3:25

I hopped on my bike feeling on top of the world after a great swim. While I did have worries due to the slippery road, I just had that feeling that everything would go well.

The 90k route was the same as last year. It took us through four cities of Cebu: Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay. We ascended Marcelo Fernan Bridge, heading toward a letter M route, then back up the bridge to end at Shangrila hotel.

– Bike route from my Garmin –

I felt more confident on the bike compared to last year. Now, I felt more comfortable in aero position despite the winds and the slippery roads. Every now and then, I would glance at my speed and I was thrilled to be going much faster than I did the previous year. My average speed was 29 kph for the first 30k and I thought I would finish at around 3:10 which, for me, was a huge feat!

– Bike time! (Photo: Tong Pascua of Photo Ops) –

– Photo: Michael Ocana –

Then, the flat tire happened. Shortly after Km 30, I slowed to a stop and discovered that my rear tire was flat. Thankfully, good friend and teammate Drew Arellano (I will forever be indebted to you Drew!) had given me his Pitstop the night before. With a marshal and a bunch of kids watching in amusement, I spent over 5 minutes fixing the problem. When I was done, I asked the marshal: Sa tingin mo, safe na ito? He shrugged his shoulders and replied: Di ko alam, Maam. I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry.

It was all pretty much downhill from there. My speed during the next 10k after the flat tire had slowed to 25 kph. I lost my momentum. I also worried if I was actually safe riding on a flat tire I fixed by myself (No way I trust myself with these things! LOL) so I rode with more caution.

– Photo: Renan Opada –

I rode the next 60k steady but at an average pace. I finished the bike portion simply thrilled to be safe and alive.

– Done with the bike! (Photo: LeStSky) –

RUN: 21k – 2:28

This was the portion that I always looked forward to in every triathlon. But, this year, I feared it the most. I know my body so well that, based on my limited training, I was sure it was going to be a slow, painful run.

– Running time (Photo: Catherine Bril Jordan) –

The run was the same as last year, a two-loop course via Punta Engano starting and ending at Shangri-la hotel.

Plan was to just run safe and conservative. I didn’t want to push hard because I could risk cramping (I only did one long brick during training!) or, worse, re-injury.

Well, turns out I couldn’t even run hard even if I wanted to! The first half for me was tough already. I tried to keep a positive outlook and followed the advice of my teammate Jake de Guzman right before I left for Cebu: “Take energy from the community.”

Friends who passed would utter words of encouragement or, even better, empowerment: “You can do it!” or “Go, go, go!” and all of these helped to keep me putting one foot in front of the other.

– Managing a smile as I ended the 1st loop heading for the 2nd (Photo: Anthony Kierulf) –

The second half was worse. I was trudging along with only my will pulling me forward. I replayed my last marathon in my mind and told myself over and over “I am a marathoner!” reminding myself that this was only half of what I’ve run before. That last 4k felt like forever.


I completed the race at 6:50, exactly the same as my time last year.  All that hard worked seemed wasted when one thinks there was no improvement based on the results of the race (although I suffered a flat this year and didn’t train for the run.)  I won’t lie to you, the competitive athlete in me felt disappointed and frustrated.  But, as I ran towards the finish line of my 2nd Ironman 70.3 completely spent and drained, I also had never felt more alive.  Sen. Pia Cayetano, who was once my boss and became my running inspiration and friend, put the special Kenneth Cobonpue medal around my neck and I swear: I felt I had left the negativity and bad luck on the race course and a feeling of strength, empowerment, and renewal had taken over.

– Hug of happiness and relief with Sen. Pia (Photo: Tong Pascua, Photo Ops) –

– Happy to finish! (Photo: James Go) –

– I did it! –

– The toughest medal I ever worked for designed by world reknowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue –

– with Apl.de.Ap and good friend Ton post race –

To all those who finished Ironman 70.3 Cebu, congratulations! To Sunrise Events, Events King, Race Mechanics, and to everyone who helped to make this event a success, thank you and well done!

Thank you to the following:

– My team Unilab Active Health. Love you guys!
– My triathlon coach, Coach Andy Leuterio. Raaawr! LOL
– My swim coach, Coach Anthony Lozada. Thanks for making me love the swim even more
– My sponsors: Enervon Activ, Sun Broadband, Gatorade, Specialized, Oakley, Otterbox, Rocktape, Peak Form, and Quaker Oats. Huge thanks for always being there!

Read about my Ironman 70.3 Cebu 2012 by clicking HERE


Thursday, 30 May 2013  |  Race Reports

As is the tradition of TBR Dream Marathon, after the race, I post anecdotes about the marathon that I receive in my Inbox from our new marathoners. My inbox gets inundated with stories of triumph, love, gratitude, passion, and empowerment that it’s too much of a waste if only I read it. Through this series of stories (one every week for the next couple of months), may you all be inspired to run a marathon or dream big in your own lives.

Mark’s story struck me.  I had never read a race report with such raw emotions.  He spoke from the heart and held nothing back.  If you think of it, he probably wrote it the same way he ran the marathon.

His story is one of sadness, pain, strength, and triumph all rolled into one.  It shows the mix of emotions one undergoes not only during training, while running the marathon, but also after the race.  As for Mark, it was even more emotional as he ran the race for his dearly departed wife.


[CHAPTER 1: Marathon High]

I dedicate this run for Aubrey, my beloved wife who passed away last December 2012. She whispered words of encouragement and motivation. And, threw flying kisses from heaven. She teased me about all the crazy stuff I did while she was gone. She told me she supports me in everything I’ll do …and that she’d be there whenever I need her.

Last picture together at Themed Christmas Party
– Audrey and Mark’s last picture together at a themed Christmas Party –

Only the crazy run a marathon. Jim Lafferty, co-founder of The Bull Runner Dream Marathon said, “at 10:00 this moring, you will say something that 99.99% of the world population cannot say. You are going to be able to say, I am a marathoner!”

Now, I am even crazier than the 0.01%. I ran the marathon with fever, colds, and cough on a tough course – at Nuvali. There were 60 degrees long inclines and declines, as described by a friend and fellow marathoner. Pushing it beyond your limits is an understatement. Running this marathon was going to hell with all its demons pulling you deeper into its depths.

Bull Runner Dream Marathon 1
– Mark at the early portions of the race –

Sanity almost got the best of me. Even before reaching the 21K mark, I wanted to quit. I was sick. I felt really terrible. It’s a good thing I posted earlier that I would come home triumphant. I didn’t want to eat my own words. I made sure I was overflowing with nutrition. Also, Jim Lafferty said that you could never DNF.

I cried as I neared the finish line. But, wiped my tears before crossing it. I didn’t want tears in my pics.

Bull Runner Dream Marathon - Finish Line2
– Mark emotional as he nears the finish line –

I thank my personal pacer, Paolo Agbulos. Without him, I would have DNF’ed. And I would also like to thank Aubrey, who sent kisses and ran the marathon with me.

Now, I’m wasted. My whole body is sore, with elevated fever. Fortunately, the organizers and volunteers made the race fun. Seeing odd and funny stations like a Kikay Station (to make you look good for photo ops), a Breast Feeding Station (for marathoner/mothers), and a Beer Station (with a tiny “root” before the word beer), among many others, lifts you up.

Completing a marathon sick is still quite an accomplishment, even with a slow time. No, it is a big accomplishment. I AM A MARATHONER!!!

[CHAPTER II: Post Marathon Blues, What is the meaning of Life.]

I’m feeling a little low. I’ve learned I’m really tough.

My heart, mind, spirit and body has been through extreme challenges and survived. My whole being has reached its peak.

I know I can face anything. I have the capability to give it everything I’ve got. I did it. I’m a winner. I fell into a deep hole, climbed out, and ended up reaching the peak of the highest mountain. I was happy to see… the sunrise for awhile… But lost meaning.

So, what now?

Sure, I could set higher goals and achieve them. I could become stronger. But, why?

Right now, I rather be weak if that would mean being with the person who makes me happy.

[CHAPTER III: Pure Joy.]

Aubrey fought all the battles with me, even in the events before the marathon. She was there every step of the way, to help me during my darkest hours, and even consenting to all the craziness I did. All the trials ended with completing a marathon at my worst physical condition. She ran with me, too. But when I crossed the finishline, everyone else was there, and she was gone. The person whom I share challenges and victories with is gone.

Last night, I called out to her. She said with a smile, “Victory is all yours. Look at you. You don’t need me anymore…”

Bull Runner Dream Marathon - Finish Line
– Mark holds back tears as he crosses the finish of TBR Dream Marathon –

* Editor’s Note: We highly discourage runners from participating in races especially marathons when they are ill.  Please prioritize your health.

Part 4: London Marathon – The Race

Friday, 17 May 2013  |  Favorite Posts, Race Reports

RACE REPORT: Virgin London Marathon 2013

Date: Sunday, 21 April 2013
Gun start: 10:00 AM


“This is it.” I thought. After months of training under the excruciating heat in Manila, here I was with a laundry bag on top of my running clothes to keep me warm from the chilly start. I couldn’t help but smile.

All the runners around me were chatting with nervous excitement. I couldn’t hear the announcer anymore. But, when the announcer asked all 36,000 runners to pause for a minute of silence to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, everyone fell silent. The bombings at the Boston Marathon, just a week before London Marathon, had made an impact on the world, but it had struck a nerve even more with us runners.

The marathon is a celebration of the human spirit. People from all over the world train their minds and bodies for months to run 42km on a single day to prove that they can defeat pain, suffering, and fear, that they can achieve their dreams, and that they can be better than themselves.

The people who ran Boston Marathon left their homes on that day hoping to run and celebrate life. Little did they know that some of them would lose their lives or limbs due to a senseless terrorist act.

In that silence, I, perhaps along with thousands of other runners that day, pledged to run for the victims. With black ribbons on our shirts, we ran for those who wouldn’t be able to run again.


Within a few seconds, the race had begun. I didn’t hear a gun start. There was no booming sound to signify the beginning of the race. There was a gradual movement of the traffic as runners made their way out of the assembly and into the roads.

That slow start was probably the slowest I would ever go during the race. The roads through the little town of Greenwich, with its quaint restaurants around us, were narrow and kept all of us runners in close contact. It seemed that all the runners around me had planned on going at a quick pace. I wished I could’ve gone at a more conservative pace, but honestly there seemed to be no choice!

I ran at a 5:45 to 5:50 pace along with the rest of the crowd and just felt relieved that, based on how my body and legs felt, I knew I could sustain the pace.


Hydration was provided in bottle form both for water (Nestle Pure Life) and sports drinks (Lucozade). This was both a pro and a con for me. It was good because you could take the bottle along with you during the run and dispose as you please. But, with every station, I found myself staring down at the ground ensuring I don’t slip on any of these bottles. It was quite a treacherous situation for this accident prone runner (Think Berlin Marathon and Disneyland Los Angeles flying off the road accidents in the past! LOL.)

The large difference with the runners in London Marathon was this: they rarely stopped to drink! I kid you not. At each station, they would grab the bottle and drink as they ran. All of them. My plan of taking walk breaks at each station went out the window by the first station. I just couldn’t find a place to slow down or stop on the road. In my mind, I found it hilarious but I also panicked. Could I possibly survive a 42km without taking any walk breaks at all?! I’ve never done that before.

– What the?! Don’t ask me what I was doing here. Suffice it to say I looked crazy-happy –

The number of spectators that came out on the streets to cheer for runners was a pleasant surprise for me.  They lined the roads from start to finish!  There was never a moment of dullness or silence. They cheered loudly and whole-heartedly yelling the names of runners who had labelled their shirts. I didn’t write my name on my shirt, but luckily—not once, but twice on different portions of the race—I had run along with runners named Jaimie, so I heard “Go Jaimie!” or “You can do it, Jaimie!” often enough to egg me on! LOL

One of my favorite portions of this race was crossing the Tower Bridge at around Km 19.  There were a lot more spectators and cheerers in this area (not that the number of spectators who came out to cheer for us was lacking!) but this was definitely a high point of the race.

KM 21

I hit my 21k split at 2:07. I was happy with my split. Not too fast, not too slow. Body check: how did I feel? No pain anywhere in the body. Even better, I felt strong and focused. Stronger than I had ever been in the past.

The run from 21k to 32k went by quickly. I didn’t even notice passing St. Paul’s Cathedral at Km 24!  I do recall the fantastic cheering from the spectators and the beautiful sights and scenes around me.

By 32k, I was starting to slow. My legs were starting to tire and both my calves were threatening to cramp, but my mind kept me going. I repeated my mantra (stolen from Noy Jopson’s Facebook status): “Pain only hurts.” I said this to myself over and over again as I recalled the times I had been through worse in a race. It’s true you know. When you’re going through something difficult whether in a race or in life, you just remember a time in the past when you experienced worse and overcame it. And so, I remembered Ironman 70.3 Cebu, the heat, the pain, the exhaustion. With that, I knew I would get through this.

– Grin and bear it, baby! –

I put one step in front of the other. I didn’t stop. I ran. For the first time in all the eight marathons I’ve ran in the past, I ran all the way. It wasn’t something I had planned or even wanted desperately. After all, I fully believe in the value of taking walk breaks; walking isn’t a sign of weakness. But, during this race, I just felt the power in my body and mind to go, and go, and go. I believed in what my body and mind told me to do and I did it.

– Passing the London Eye –

I ran past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace.  Before I knew it, I could see the finish line.

– The London Eye in the background –

– Houses of Parliament. Is this a marathon or a tour? Maybe both! –

– Big Ben meant the finish line was near –

– Now that’s a monster runner! –

– Buckingham Palace behind me (I think!) –


I crossed the finish line at 4:24. It was the exact same time as my best marathon time at Condura 2010.

– Posedown at the finish line, of course! –

After crossing the finish, I received my medal, had my Ipico chip removed, had my photo taken with the medal, and claimed my baggage all within 10 minutes. That’s how well organized this race was.

All around me, people were congratulating each other. I did learn to say “Well done!” to all the runners around me and not the usual “Congratulations” we all say in Manila LOL.

As I walked at The Mall and onto the Meet & Greet area by Admiralty Arch, I was overwhelmed with the atmosphere. Runners hugging loved ones. Everyone in a celebratory mood. And, oh, what a view!

– Wow! –

I headed over to the Letter Z where hubby and kids agreed to meet me. I sat alone drinking my Enervon HP and eating the free apple that came with our goodie bag for a good 30 minutes until they came. By this time, I had already changed into warmer clothes.

It was nice to see my family greet me at the finish and to have the kiddos see first hand the magic that occurs in a marathon. I asked my son if he wanted to run this marathon in the future and he replied: Yes.

With that, the perfect marathon day came to an end.  This was undoubtedly the best marathon experience I’ve ever had. I have a rule that I should only run a marathon once, but, for London Marathon, let’s just say I can make an exception.

– with my kiddos! –

– Proudly showing off my 9th marathon medal. What’s next?! –

Previous: Part 3: London Marathon – The Race Start

Thank you so much to all the people who got me to London! Unilab Active Health for sponsoring the trip. Special thanks to my favorites Enervon Activ for keeping me energized during training and race day and Enervon HP for aiding in recovery. Thank you to Timex Philippines and Timex UK who snagged me a race slot.


Part 3: London Marathon – Race Start!

Thursday, 9 May 2013  |  Race Reports

Due to the large number of participants (36,000 running 42km, to be exact), the London Marathon had three different race starts: Blue or a “Fast Good for Age” competitor, Red, and Green. All starts were located within Greenwich Park and gun start was at 10:00 AM except for the Elites, Wheelchair category, and Paralympic participants who started earlier at 9:00 AM.

I was running alone and, like previous international races, most of my concerns over the race at this point revolved around one thing: getting to the race start in time. I was so worried about it (and it ended up to be such a fun, learning journey!) that I actually dedicated an entire post for it here in case you get the chance to run London Marathon in the future.

So, back to the story, for Green Start runners like me, I was told to exit Maze Hill Station.  This caused me a lot of stress because this station was not included in the Underground map of London!  Why oh why did it have to be so complicated for me?

The English concierge and the Indian bellboy at the hotel gave varying directions (waaah!) and, the morning before the race, I found even more advice on a thread in Runner’s World forum!  Just 30 minutes before I left, I decided to follow the tip on Runner’s World which advised me to exit Greenwich Station and walk a full 20 minutes to the Green Start to avoid the traffic at the tubes.

It was then that I worried even more:  20 minutes! Alone! In the cold! Before a 42km run! Ack! Ironic that after months of running hundreds of kilometers, I was freaking out over a 20 minute walk before the race.

– My marathon gear all laid out the night before the race.  Thanks to Unilab Active Health for the shirt and arm warmers (which I wasn’t able to use because it wasn’t too cold), Timex for the cap and the Timex Run Trainer which was being charged at the time I took the photo, Toby’s/Runnr for my CWX compression tights which I absolutely adored, KSwiss for my 3rd pair of Kwicky Blade Lights, Stride and Stroke for my Spibelt and armband which I’ve used the past 3 marathons –

– Sports drink at the race was not Gatorade so I bought Gatorade a few days before the race. Gatorade 01 for Pre Race fuel, Gatorade 02 for during the race, and Gatorade 03 for recovery. What can I say? I’m a loyal user! –

– Took this shot at the Underground days before the race. Planned closures of Tubes on Marathon day.  It added to my stress. Waaah! Confusion! –


At 8:00 AM, I bid the hubby and kids goodbye and stepped out of our hotel in South Kensington to near perfect weather. Correction:  PERFECT weather!  The temperature was around 10 degrees, just enough for one jacket without any throwaways on me. As I walked alone through the streets of Kensington, I couldn’t help but smile. I almost had to hold myself back from the excitement of running the London Marathon in these awesome conditions. Aaah, the London Marathon! This was one of my biggest dreams. Here I was on my way to fulfilling it!

– Shot outside my hotel. The amiable doorman who took it said that I had to come home for another pic with my marathon medal. I said: Of course! –

I befriended two Red Start runners from our hotel and walked along with them to the tube. We talked about New York City Marathon which one of the runners had run in 2010 just like I did and he said “Don’t worry about this race then. This is just as organized as NYCM.”  With that, I bid them goodbye and went my own way.

I presented my bib to the guard at the station and walked straight into the tube headed for Tower Hill. (On marathon morning, all runners just present their bib at the tube station and get free access to the tube until 5 PM on the same day.  Cool, noh?) There were not too many runners in the tube just yet, but I met Amy, another runner who just like me, was traveling alone from another city, and she too was worried if she was on the right train headed for the starting line.

At Tower Hill Station, we were appeased. Here, all around us, were marathon runners. As we boarded the tube, some of us to Cutty Sark or Greenwich Station depending on our colors, a voice over said “Welcome runners of the Virgin London Marathon.” Phew, I was safe. No way I’d lose my way now. I felt like half the battle was over.

We were packed like sardines in that tube, but it was thrilling. A whole train of runners with various backgrounds, different stories to tell, all looking forward to the same thing: 42km through the streets of London. Totally amazing.

– All aboard for the 42k! –

I exited Greenwich Station and walked out into the cold along with all the other runners around me. The atmosphere was alive and energetic. Runners were laughing and chatting as we all made our way into Greenwich Park.

– Short walk to the Park –

– All these people are runners! Wow! –

– Marshals and Security everywhere as promised by the organizers soon after the Boston Marathon bombings –

The gate to Greenwich Park was almost like entering Buckingham Palace. Wow. Thousands of runners were inside this area making their way to their race starts. It was exactly 9:00 AM, one hour to race start. I took my banana from my bag and ate it as I walked. All runners ascended towards the different race starts like ants marching up a hill. Everywhere you looked there were runners. It was surreal.

– First thing I see upon entering the park. WOW. –

– Climbing up the hill. Seriously, I got tired here and I worried that I was overexerting myself in my “warm up” LOL –

The red start was right ahead. After a 10 minute walk, the blue start was in front of me. It took me another 15 minutes to get to the Green Start. Total of 30 minutes walking alone in the cold.  I laughed at myself for worrying about this in the first place.  This was fun.  It was an adventure.  I would love to do something crazy, scary like this every year of my life.

– Followed this pacer heading to the Green Start. I actually saw him all throughout the race –

– Finally! I made it! –

– Spotted Fred and Wilma at the marathon! Yabadabadoo!-

When I reached the Green assembly area, feeling like a pro (naks!), I opened my bag to begin my pre-race ritual. I drank my Gatorade Pre-Race Fuel which I purchased at the race expo. I pulled out my plastic bag of gel and water to be consumed 10 minutes before race start. I drank four capsules of Optygen from First Endurance for that extra boost of energy.  I removed my fleece jacket, dumped it back into the bag (to be worn after the race) and pulled out my laundry bag with pre-cut holes for my head and arms and wore this to keep me warm before the race start. I checked in my baggage and lined up for the toilets.

– What’s a runner to do while lined up for the portalets? Selfie of course! Er, sorry for the “bagong gising” look –

By the time I was done with the toilet (which was the longest queue I’ve ever encountered!), I only had 10 minutes left for race start. I stood at the assembly along with all the other runners awaiting the race start. I turned on my Timex Run Trainer and connected to GPS.

What was going through my mind at this time? I thought about how the morning went. How everything went perfectly well from the weather to the journey I took towards the starting line. And, deep inside, I knew that the race was going to be awesome. I just knew it.

Previous: Part 3 – London Marathon – A Wedding, Shakespear, and a Run
Next: Part 4: London Marathon – The Race

Thank you so much to all the people who got me to London! Unilab Active Health for sponsoring the trip. Special thanks to my favorites Enervon Activ for keeping me energized during training and race day and Enervon HP for aiding in recovery. Thank you to Timex Philippines and Timex UK who snagged me a race slot.

Part 1: London Marathon 2013 – Race Expo

Thursday, 2 May 2013  |  Race Reports

With hubby and kids in tow, I arrived in London last April 17, Wednesday, just a few days before the London Marathon on April 21.  We stayed at The Regency in South Kensington.  The kids immediately loved everything about London—the weather, the food, the Underground tube, and especially our hotel room.

– The hubby and the kids with our hotel right behind them –

– Missing in the photo: Hugh Grant –

– If they could, they would’ve stayed in the room the entire trip! –

Since we were to leave for the countryside the following day for my cousin’s wedding, we headed straight for the Race Expo soon after we checked in.  Jetlag? Nah. Exhaustion? Nada. The expo of marathon majors is something I always look forward to.


The race expo was held at ExCel International Exhibition at Royal Victoria Dock. It was about 30 to 45 minutes away from South Kensington.


First things first, I claimed my race bib, then had my Ipico timing tag checked. Included in the kit was a black ribbon which we were encouraged to pin on our shirts to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing just a week before our marathon.

– BTW, check out the Skora shoes I’m wearing. They sent me this for the trip. They’re minimalist running shoes but, I must say, they were the best walking shoes for pre and post race. I wore it practically everyday –

– Contents of the kit. The red bag is the same bag we check in on race day –

I’ve said it many times before. My ultimate dream is to finish the Marathon Majors: Berlin (check), New York (check 2x), London, Tokyo, Chicago, and Boston. (Okay, we can skip Boston for now LOL.) So, when I saw this Marathon Majors exhibit, I just had to stop and pose. Too bad the photo is blurry! Boo!


Then came the most important part: SHOPPING!  Not just any kind of shopping, but shopping for official marathon merchandise! That’s what I live for!  (Yes, I’m super easy to please!)  The official apparel sponsor was adidas and they presented an impressive range of marathon merchandise. My head was in a whirl while the hubby and kids waited, and waited, and waited.

– Those are all official merchandise. Drool drool –

Happily, I took these two home with me. Aaah! Love. The. Jacket.

– There were various shirt designs, colors, and sizes. This was one of my favorites –

– Just one of the official London Marathon 2013 jackets –

Then, it was time for more shopping. I liked the fact that, since we were in Europe, there were quite a number of running products that were new to me since most products we see in Manila are the more popular brands in the US.


Test your strength during the expo? No thank you. I chose to reserve my strength and endurance for race day…


Cute course map by Nestle Pure Life, the official water sponsor for the race…


Of course, I dropped by the impressive booth of Timex. These guys were responsible for getting me a slot in one of the most difficult marathons to get into for us Pinoys! (Sigh. Don’t ask me why it’s so hard for us to get in via lottery system. I don’t know either.)  They had the Timex Run Trainer on display.  The same watch I was going to use for race day.



I dropped by Gatorade’s booth and bought my pre-race fuel, race drink, and post-race fuel conveniently labelled with 01, 02, and 03 respectively. I heard Gatorade is working on bringing these products to Manila. Crossing my fingers!


I chanced upon the Knotty Tiger (hilarious name!) from the same makers of Tiger Tail (which I personally use and we offer at TBR Dream Marathon during race day) and immediately bought one for myself.  I think it’s the perfect travel companion for destination marathons (because, yes, I wouldn’t want to lug my giant foam roller around which is probably bigger than my luggage.)


I passed by other booths of other races too…

– Left: Uso din pala Zombie races sa kanila? Right: Comrades Ultramarathon, one of the toughest ultra marathons in the world –

There was free massage for the runners. How cool is that?!…


Free photo that you could pin up on the board alongside other participants. Even cooler…


I left the expo that evening happy about my purchases and excited about the race.

The following day, we hopped on a train heading towards my cousin’s wedding in Warwickshire, just near Stratford-Upon-Avon where Shakespeare was born.

I saw this at the train station…Waaah, excited!

– Ssshhh. I wore the adidas jacket na di pa nalabhan. No one knows except for you guys! –


Thank you so much to all the people who got me to London! Unilab Active Health for sponsoring the trip. Special thanks to my favorites Enervon Activ for keeping me energized during training and race day and Enervon HP for aiding in recovery. Thank you to Timex Philippines and Timex UK who snagged me a race slot.