TBR Jr. Conquers His 1st Aquathlon

Tuesday, 27 May 2014  |  Race Reports



Last Sunday, May 25, our entire family woke up in the wee hours of the morning to drive out to Club Manila East on the opposite side of the world for Anton’s (or TBR Jr.’s haha) first Aquathlon.  (Read about his first triathlon here.)

There were three options for registration: Race category (medals would be awarded and kids were split into age categories), Play category (with short and long options), and Relay.  It was the first time the Play category was introduced and, after consulting with Coach Ani de Leon, I chose to register Anton in the Long distance Play category where I thought majority of the kids would be joining.  Boy was I wrong.  I guess the kids (or parents LOL) are pretty serious and competitive now.  When we showed up for the race, there were only 4 kids in Anton’s category.  Everyone else had signed up for Race!  Well, it didn’t bother Anton so it didn’t bother me!

My boy was cool and calm as always from claiming of race kit, body marking, to dropping his stuff at transition.  I believe it was his Mama (yet again) who was a nervous wreck.  I asked him more than a handful of times: How do you feel?  Excited? Nervous?  And, TBR Jr. would reply in jest: “I’m nexcited.  Just a bit nervous and more excited.”

At 8:00 AM, Coach Ani briefed the kids. 2 girls. 2 boys including Anton.  By 8:15 AM, they were off.

The swim was 300 meters.  Anton had trained under Lozada’s swim program all summer so I was pretty confident he would finish this.  But, as I watched from afar, I knew he was struggling.  Later on I learned that, since he didn’t have his glasses and the water was murky, he couldn’t see a thing.  (Woah boy, that’s what I get for refusing to spend on prescription goggles tsk tsk)


The 2 girls came out strong followed by the boy and Anton came out last.

I chased after Anton as he made his way into transition.  I watched him from the sidelines as he expertly slid his foot into his shoes (without socks like a real triathlete…so unlike me! LOL), wore his race belt and bib, gulped down his water and sped away for the 2k run.  (If only he wouldn’t be so embarrassed by me, I would’ve hugged and kissed him like he was 2 years old right there and then! Haha!)


I waited for him by the finish line and, before I knew it, the boy came flying in.  After a minute or two, Anton came 2nd.  Judging by his face, I knew he pushed hard and gave it his all.  And that, for me, was a winner!




Congratulations to my not so little big boy, Anton!  We’re so proud of you!  Congratulations also to all the kids who finished and to the awesome organizers of Ironkids!

Must Watch: TBR ULAH Dream Marathon 2014 Video

Wednesday, 2 April 2014  |  Race Reports

Finally posting our video of The Bull Runner – Unilab Active Health Dream Marathon 2014 held last February 16, 2014 at Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna! Enjoy!

Video by Tripleshot Media

Race Report: 2014 Run United 1

Monday, 17 March 2014  |  Race Reports

Event: Run United 1
Venue: SM Mall of Asia
Date: March 16, 2014

More than 12,000 runners showed up at SM Mall of Asia yesterday for one of the most anticipated races in the country, Run United 1. A whopping 5,000 21km runners joined the event, a testament to runners being more competitive and advanced in their sport.

Early on, during registration, it was news in the running community that slots, particularly for the 21km, had filled in a matter of days. These slots were in high demand as Run United 1 is the first of a trilogy of races where runners aim to complete their triple medal.

The runners who were lucky enough to bag slots all showed up on race day in their Run United sweat activated singlets and visors. After a few kilometers of sweating during the run, the word “Citius” which means “Faster” in Latin magically appeared at the back of the shirt.

Unilab Active Health truly lived up to its own mantra: “Exceed Yourself.” The race, organized by Run Rio, was once again another perfectly orchestrated event from start to finish. Perhaps the only element that I hope can be improved on is the high congestion on the road, particularly for the 10k distance, but, then again, due to its sheer size, I think the crowd is almost inevitable. Beyond that, the race was fantastic. They even had Parokya ni Edgar at the post race village to entertain the runners. According to Lester Castillo of ULAH, ULAH aims “to provide quality races for progressive athletes who wish to exceed themselves by establishing new PRs, doing higher distances, or having a strong finish.” Looks like they’re doing just that!

Congratulations to Unilab Active Health and Run Rio for another successful event!



After a marathon, my body needs exactly 3 weeks to recover. It may not be the same for you, but, for me, it can’t be any less or more. It is always exactly 3 weeks when I feel like my body has gotten enough rest, my tight muscles have loosened up, and I can finally push my body again to run fast or long.

Last week, I decided to withdraw from Tri United 1 because I felt like I would do my body harm by pushing it to do a triathlon when it was asking for rest and lots of massage. My quads were so tight (as hard as plywood!) that it was causing some discomfort on my left knee.

Yesterday, on the third week after Tokyo Marathon and the day of Run United 1, I felt like I was fully recovered. Ton, Lit, and I signed up for 10k. I planned on running this very easy to test if, indeed, I was right.

– Ton, Lit and I a few seconds after gun start –


When the gun went off, Ton and I were with other triathlete friends, Kesha, Trina, Glenn and Yvonne. As we ran easy along with the crowd of 10k runners, we realized Lit had taken off way ahead of us. We laughed that he had decided to suddenly be competitive again. Before we knew it, Kesha had gone ahead as well and Glenn and Yvonne had disappeared in the crowd. So, it was Ton, Trina, and I who ran together for the rest of the race.

The course is not unfamiliar to us. We’ve run the 21k distance to Run United so often that we can almost run this with our eyes closed. (Okay, maybe just one eye closed!) I won’t lie to you. On this day, I was so glad that we were running only 10k. We ran it slow and easy.

At Km 2, it was quite a surprise for me to hear so many runners around me panting. I could hear the usual barking sound that male runners make when they’re dying midway through the run “Huh! Huh!” How does one tire at only 2 km? Only one answer: If you didn’t train for it! Silently, I made a mental note that we really must find a way to remind beginners to TRAIN for a race before they register for it. 10k, or even a 5k, is no joke for someone who hasn’t run a day in their life!

Soon enough, we hit the turnaround at around 4.5km. What?! So early in the race! We were so used to making a turnaround much farther out in the 21k course that when we turned around so early I almost wanted to scream out in joy.


The last 2k made me a bit nervous. During the past few weeks of running, I would feel the knee pain at the 8th kilometer. I was crossing my fingers and toes that, this time, with rest and some therapy at Peak Form, my knee was completely fine.

As we neared the finish, the crowd got bigger with other race distances merging as we re-entered SM Mall of Asia.  This was no problem for me as I enjoyed the easy pace.  Lit waved to Ton and I as he waited for us on the other side of the road having finished earlier.

Trina had gone ahead at the last kilometer, so Ton and I ran with ease, all smiles, and, for me, absolutely no pain, baby! It was a great way to run my last day of recovery and my first day of getting back into training mode.

– Ton and I with the birthday boy, Coach Rio, who celebrated his birthday yesterday –

– Lotsa finishers at the post race area! –

– with Trina, Kesha, Papoo, Gilbert, Mark, Eric, Lit, Ton, and Mark –

Part 5: Tokyo Marathon – Pros & Cons and Travel Tips

Tuesday, 11 March 2014  |  Race Reports

Are you thinking of running Tokyo Marathon?  

Here are my thoughts on the race (it’s pros and cons) as well as some tips on travel:


  • Fast course.  Tokyo is a fast and relatively flat course.  The downhill in the first 10k of the course is a fantastic warm up.  There are short climbs in the end, but these aren’t too steep.  When it comes to the World Marathon Majors, I found that Berlin and London Marathon are faster courses than Tokyo (considering the course and the congestion), but Tokyo is definitely faster than New York.
  • Great cool weather.   Temperature during race start was around 5 to 7 degrees.  A bit too cold for those who live in tropical countries like us, but with the appropriate clothing it makes for faster running.  Just bring throwaway clothes (old jogging pants and sweater) or a couple of trash bags to keep you warm while waiting for race start.
  • Lots of runners in fun, colourful costumes
  • A lot of spectators generously handing out chocolates, fruits, candies, and drinks.  There was not much screaming or yelling as Japanese are quite polite and shy, but one still could feel the crowd support.
  • Clean race and city.  There were trash bins everywhere.  The Japanese love cleanliness and there were bins for cups and marshals holding out garbage bags from start to finish.
  • Friendly and courteous staff and organizers.  The marshals went out of their way to help runners.
  • Cool finishers’ towel and goodies such as food, fruits, and drinks handed out at the finish line.
  • Efficient baggage claim system.  Hardly any waiting time to deposit and claim your baggage.
  • Great time.  Most marathons abroad are scheduled for the latter part of the year.  Tokyo being in February is a great time for Filipinos because we don’t have to do our long runs in summer!
  • For us Filipinos, this is a great opportunity to run a World Marathon Major so close to home and in a beautiful city.  It’s also the most affordable World Marathon Major for us.


  • Extremely long lines at the portalets before and during the race.  Expect to lose 5 to 15 minutes just standing in line.  They’re pretty strict about peeing in other areas too so don’t think you can get away with it.
  • High congestion in some areas.  The first 10km was pretty crowded for me.  It may have been due to our missed wave which had us start the race at the back of the pack though.
  • Local sports drink was “Amino Value.”  Ingredients include amino acids but no electrolytes like Gatorade.  Be ready to carry your own sports drink if water isn’t enough hydration for you.
  • Uneventful start.  Due to the wave start, runners are split into various groups according to their waves.  There is no special start per wave like what is normally done in New York or London, there was one gun start for the first wave and the rest of the later waves do not experience this.  There was a Japanese choir singing upon passing the starting line.
  • Anti climactic end at Tokyo Big Sight.  Once you cross the finish line, there’s not much fan fare.  You receive your medal, giveaways, then you claim your baggage in a warehouse, enter another warehouse as the dressing room, and exit the area passing the family meet & greet area.  There’s a Tokyo Marathon Festa with food trucks and music, but it was small and wasn’t well attended.
  • Medal is small and typical. Our local medals are actually a lot more impressive.


I’m sharing some of our travel details for those who plan on signing up for Tokyo Marathon in the future.

HOTEL: Keio Plaza Hotel.  Hotel is located across Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building where the race starts.  Do not book at the finish line because this is in the outskirts of the city.  We were quite happy with our rooms, service, location of the hotel (5 minute walk to Shinjuku station), and price.

– Keio Plaza hotel had a Tokyo Marathon booth at the lobby –

AIRLINE: ANA.  We booked ANA because at the time of booking, PAL did not have available afternoon flights.  But, other friends were able to book PAL later on.

FOOD: Great food almost everywhere in Japan.  You’ll find the best restaurants just by seeing the lines outside.  Make sure to have sushi at Tsukiji market.  Drool drool.

– Gabby, Mench, Ton, Angel and I fell in line for sushi at Tsukiji Market. It was so worth the wait! –

SHOPPING: Shop at Ginza (the biggest Uniqlo in the world is there!) and Ometesando for upscale shopping and Takeshita and Harajuku for trendy stuff.

– Shopping at Ometesando –

– Hidden Cat Street by Ometesando –

– Takeshita Street is a small street full of character and trendy items –

– Right by the entrance of Takeshita street are the best tasting Takoyaki balls I’ve ever had. Yummy! –

CITY:  Tokyo was a fantastic city!  To be honest with you, it’s what made the marathon a great one! There’s so many little pockets in the city to visit and so many things to do.  Japanese are generally quiet and keep to themselves, but they are kind and friendly should you need help or engage in small chitchat.  I love it so much that we’re currently planning a trip there with the family this summer.

Part 4: Tokyo Marathon – The Race

Monday, 10 March 2014  |  Race Reports

RACE REPORT: Tokyo Marathon 2014
Date: Sunday, 23 February 2014

Many runners say that Tokyo Marathon is a PR course. The first few kilometers of the race is a gentle downhill through the roads of Shinjuku, majority of the race is flat with only short climbs starting Km 36 so you can imagine the excitement and adrenaline from all 36,000 runners standing at the starting line of this great race in an amazing city. The weather was around 7 degrees, cold for us Pinoys and even colder when the wind would hit, but we all knew that, once we started running, our bodies would warm up and we would be able to run comfortably.

During the first few kilometers, Ton, Lit, and I ran together and tried to stay close to each other as we weaved through the sea of runners. It was downhill alright, but we couldn’t really speed up due to congestion. It was a great warm up to the race.

The start of any marathon is always electrifying and filled with excitement and nerves.  At Tokyo Marathon, it’s made even more interesting by the runners who came in costume.  It’s hard enough to run 42km, but to do it in uncomfortable, bulky garb is something else. I spotted Bumblebee of Transformers, three cute tomatoes, a blind Batman, Jesus Christ running barefoot carrying a cross, and more during the course of the entire run.

There were also a lot of spectators from start to finish.  The crowd support isn’t as big as New York or London nor is it as loud and rowdy, but the Japanese definitely showered us with their hospitality.  They were extremely generous with spectators handing out anything from chocolates to strawberries and oranges to soda. They would often cheer politely: “Ganbare” meaning “Hang in there!” to motivate us runners.

Since we had started at the back of the pack (which was largely our fault because we didn’t arrive earlier), there was extremely high congestion until Km 10.  It was quite tiring to weave through runners.  All the portalets we passed had unbelievably long lines. You would be lucky to catch just 10 runners in line, more often there would be a lot more.  Unlike other races abroad where runners can take to the bushes to relieve themselves, Tokyo is very strict with using only portalets on the race course, not even restrooms at hotels and other establishments are allowed to be used by runners.

Hydration, water and their “sports drink” Amino Value, was overflowing and served about every 2.5km, but Amino Value was problematic for me even before the race started. Amino Value only had amino acids as its ingredient, no added eletrolytes or salt like Gatorade, which I always need to perform in a marathon.  To solve this, I carried 2 sachets of Gatorade Endurance formula on me plus a pack of Gatorade chews.


The first few kilometers went by quickly.  Ton, Lit, and I ran as close to each other as possible, but we all had our own plans for the race.  Even before we hit 5km, we all needed to go on potty break.  After seeing the long lines, I told myself I’d rather hold it in than waste over 15 minutes in line. Lit and Ton decided to go on potty and I simply ran ahead.

After making a right at Iidabashi, the course was mostly flat.  From Takebashi, I passed the Imperial Palace, another one of the famous landmarks of Tokyo, which was home to the Tokugawa family.  It was still a bit crowded in this area, but there was definitely a bit more room to move than in earlier kilometres.

Km 10 was marked by Hibiya Park. The course took us towards Shinagawa for up to Km 15 then made a turnaround and headed back to Hibiya Park.  I was feeling strong.  I was on pace.  I was pretty confident I could make my 4:15 target.

At Km 11, I finally saw Tokyo Tower for the first time.  Tokyo Tower is 333m tall and overlooks the entire city of Tokyo.  I was tempted to stop and take a photo as other runners were doing, but this was definitely no time for sightseeing.  I finally felt warm enough to discard my Uniqlo fleece jacket in a clothing bin, which served me well through NYC Marathon and Berlin Marathon.  I kept two gloves on all throughout the race.  Yes, that’s how cold it was.

Sometime during the race, it started to drizzle.  Wait, I looked again and it was snow!  It was my first time to experience snow fall.  I thought about my kids and how they would’ve loved to experience this.  I plodded on.

At around Km 19, I finally spotted a restroom that marshals allowed for us runners to use.  I felt like I had won the lottery when there was only 1 woman in line.  Unfortunately, she took her sweet time in the cubicle and I think I lost almost 5 minutes waiting for her, but still it was a blessing compared to the other lines I had seen earlier in the race.

Km 21 was close to the railway tracks at Yarakucho.  We passed Ginza, the upscale shopping and dining area of Tokyo, much like New York’s 5th Avenue.  The roads were wide and flat.  It was beautiful there!  I couldn’t help but smile even if I was a bit tired.  At this point, my Garmin had registered a full kilometer more than the kilometer markers on the route. This was frustrating, but I chose to focus on the goal.

At Km 22, we turned left at the Ginza 4-chome intersection and headed towards Nihonbashi then towards Asakusa.  A few kilometers later, I spotted a friend, Noey Lopez, who was over 10km ahead of me at Km 34!  The thought left me amazed (and also tired LOL) that I had such a long way to go compared to him.

The new Skytree, a new 634m tall broadcasting tower that provides a fantastic view of the city, marked at Km 27.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see it!  I hit the turnaround at Km 28 where the course took us back to beautiful Ginza where the crowds and cheerers were plentiful and we returned to Ginza 4-chome.

Just before we hit Km 37, the longest climb of the entire marathon and the only major obstacle for what runners say is a PR course, I was struck by cramps.  Cramps?!!  I’ve never gotten cramps in a marathon!  It came so suddenly and with such great strength that it felt like there was a guinea pig doing cartwheels in my inner thigh. I assumed this was due to the lack of sports drinks so I gobbled down the last 3 Gatorade chews I had on me.  Instantly, the cramps disappeared.  I ran only to have them return after a few meters.  I chugged down strawberries and oranges from the spectators and, again, the cramps disappeared!  That cycle repeated itself from Km 36 to 42k.  My pace had slowed to 7.  Gaaaah!  Those last 6 kilometers were the most painful kilometers I’ve ever run in all the past 9 marathons I’ve run.  They felt like forever.  I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry, but I was absolutely sure though that I was going to finish this race come hell or high water.

Soon, we were nearing Tokyo Big Sight, the finish line area.  I passed the arc marked “42km! 0.195km to go!”  I couldn’t feel both my thighs, but I ran through the numbness hoping that my legs wouldn’t betray me by collapsing.  I crossed the finish at 4:37:15 unofficial.

– Selfie as soon as I crossed the finish –


The finish line is quite solemn.  At Tokyo Marathon, there were no screaming spectators nor booming music playing in the background.  All I remember seeing and feeling was a certain calmness.

– Finishers after crossing the finish. –

– Smile naman diyan! –

– with Minnie Mouse at the finish line –

There were hundreds of Japanese spectators on both sides of the finish line, but they watched in silence probably waiting for family to arrive.  The marshals were very pleasant and kind, one even went out of his way to take my photo even if we could barely understand each other.

All finishers lined up to collect our medals, towels, loot bags, bananas, and oranges distributed by volunteers with cheery smiles who would politely congratulate us or gingerly clap their hands before us.  To be honest, I wasn’t quite used to this type of finish. I wanted to scream: “I did it! My 10th marathon!  F@#ck You, cramps!” but it almost felt like they’d pull you out of the line if you misbehaved.

– Got my towel! –

– Volunteers happily hand out fruits –

As I walked alone into the large warehouse holding my baggage, I couldn’t help but feel frustration and disappointment.  I missed my target by a whopping 22 minutes.  I had higher expectations for myself.  I should’ve arrived the race start earlier.  I should’ve known better and I should’ve carried more Gatorade formula on me to prevent cramps.  Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda.

– Wow, baggage claim was quick and organized. Here are the race staff awaiting runners at the baggage claiming. –

Then, I met friends Ton and Lit at the dressing area and we laughed and giggled as we shared our marathon stories.  I realized that it was awfully selfish and shallow of me to dwell on missed targets.  Lit reminded me that we were blessed to finish yet another marathon.

A marathon is a marathon.  From the day we start training until we cross that finish line, so many elements have to come together to run your perfect race.  We try our best and hope for the best, but if things don’t end up as planned, then we correct our mistakes, we lace up, and we train harder.  It’s as simple as that.

– Runners are treated to a foot bath at the finish area –

I have been fortunate enough to run 10 marathons in some of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Even more, I am simply blessed to be able to run.  Thank you, Tokyo, for reminding me about that.

– 10 fingers for 10 marathons! I was happy to have chosen Tokyo as my 10th marathon –

– with Ton and Lit –

– My post run meal at the Tokyo Marathon Festa by the finish line –

Next: Part 5: Tokyo Marathon – Pros & Cons