On The Heels of a Dream: First Nuvali Week

Monday, 23 December 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

On The Heels of a Dream is a weekly column by guest writer Obbie Suguitan who is currently training for his first marathon, The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, on February 16, 2014.

I missed doing my maintenance and LSDs for a week and a half. I didn’t like it one bit. I felt lethargic, sleepy, hungry, and generally in a state of unfamiliarity. It also wouldn’t have been good if I forced myself – with recurrent fever, perennially stuffy nose, and an itchy, barking cough. I probably would have ran myself ragged and suffered the effects of a bad decision to train.

I’m back though. The Monday after a missed weekend, I couldn’t fight it anymore – I had to run. My 2:20 was calling to me. Seriously. I could almost see my shoes move on its own. It was going to be an evening run at my usual training grounds. So without further ado, I went and got dressed and went out.

After the first 30 minutes though, I felt really weak and struggling. Like every step was a big effort. That’s when the power came – it started to drizzle in a light mist. Yes! Rain! I felt energized so I proceeded to develop my rhythm as the mist turned into a downpour. For an hour or so it rained and everyone disappeared into shelter. The remainder of the run turned into a haze – just the sound of rain and my splashy footsteps. Thank God for the rain! I had done my 2:20 and wasn’t depleted. But there was the Saturday long run to look forward to…

Saturday morning of that same week, around 4:30 am at Nuvali – I had hitched a ride with batchmate Resty to Nuvali just for me to experience at least part of the actual race course. I had just 3 hrs of sleep due to commitments but wanted to see what I’ve gotten varying, opposing opinions on. Coach Lit gave a brief but insightful talk, split us into pace groups, then we were unceremoniously off!

As is my usual ‘habit’, I sought out the 1:1 group then as the run went underway, fell back into the slower group of said pace. Fortunately, Mike Janeo took it upon himself to sweep/pace the slower 1:1 group. He is a wonderful pacer! Talked incessantly about very useful and gloriously distracting information on running techniques, mental exercises, pace strategies, course descriptions, and whatnot. Ang galing!

– with pacer Mike Janeo –

Our merry band of few, with the exception of warrior Sandy momentarily leaving us to deal w a bout with asthma, had a grand time running together. I say warrior because Sandy didn’t really need to return – coulda just rested, but she did come back to our delight. Sama sama sa hirap at ginhawa! Though there wasn’t a lot of ginhawa. Flat, false flat, rolling, undulating, incline, and decline – the course was a veritable who’s who of surface levels. Richard, one of my new buds, was gracious enough to share a strangely delicious gel that he and mike gave me a lecture on. So that’s a gel! It’s good but I gotta see how a Snicker bar fares. The run was really long and when the sun came out, to me it felt like a blow torch was blazing onto my nape. I don’t like heat. Don’t like heat.

Yet, with the company I was in and the wisdom of our pacer, this run was very nice. Conversation was plentiful and it was great seeing the other pace groups pass us in different directions. As competitive as I can get, I sincerely wish this batch of runners a good time running, the best of health, and good performances.  This run is my longest so far and at the end of it I had enough energy to laugh and hold conversations with friends there. Interestingly, every time I run my longest, adding minutes seems so hard. But every time I do, I find that the trained body will respond by giving more. I hope this continues, even as I realize that I haven’t even ran half of what I’m supposed to in a couple of months. On the way home with Adel, a veteran runner, I was thinking about what lay ahead. It’s Christmas time so keeping the pounds off is a bigger challenge and training during vacay will take more discipline. Fortunately I have the same formula to fall back on: Pray, train, and stick to the plan. Very nice to meet you Nuvali – I’ll see you again sometime.

Tokyo Marathon Training: Back to Back Training with St. Luke’s Run for Wellness

Friday, 13 December 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

This begins a series of posts about my training for my 10th marathon, Tokyo Marathon on February 23, 2014.  My goal is to run the World Marathon Majors and, so far, I’ve run 3 of them (New York twice, Berlin, and London).  Tokyo should be the 4th Marathon Major.  

To say that I’m excited about Tokyo Marathon is an understatement.

For one thing, I’ve been wanting to visit Tokyo for years.  I’ve always been fascinated by Japan.  I took up Japanese as my foreign language in college and immensely loved learning it.  I most especially enjoyed our final exam held in Furusato along EDSA where my classmates and I dined over tempura, sukiyaki, and fried rice while toasting to sake with our Professor.  (Um, yup, that was pretty much the “final exam.”)  Speaking of Japanese cuisine, it’s my favorite.  I can feast on sushi, sashimi, and ramen for an entire year.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve just always been fascinated by Japan from Hello Kitty to cherry blossoms to Haruki Murakami.  I tell you, I was probably a Japanese in my past life.

As for the Tokyo Marathon, friends have told me that it’s one of the best marathons in the world.  I never doubted it as Japan is a running city.  They say that spectators even line the streets with chocolates in hand for the marathoners!  Last year, when the World Marathon Majors announced that Tokyo would be included as the 6th marathon major, I was even more convinced (on top of the free chocolate incentive) that I just had to do it.

So, I signed up for the lottery, got in, and here I am now, all set to start training for Tokyo, baby!


Training for Tokyo officially started this week.  By “official,” I mean that I went through my marathon program last week, assessed if it was the right one to help me achieve my goals, printed it out, then posted it on my home office bulletin board.  Yup, that’s as official as I can get!

Even if I’ve been “off-season” since Ironman 70.3 Cebu last August and I haven’t had a major race in the latter part of this year, I really haven’t stopped training.  In fact, I’ve been working out 6 days a week juggling run, swim, and bike along with the rest of my life.  It’s been awesome. Just really living an active lifestyle and enjoying every minute without the pressures of hitting a specific distance or speed.  This is THE life!

The best thing about this is that, now that marathon training begins, I’m not really starting from scratch.  Truth is, I’m starting at a level where I can run 21k comfortably.  Now, that’s a good thing.


So, last Saturday, I joined the St. Lukes Run for Wellness.  Plan was to run a total of 21k that day.  I ran 5k before the race, 10k during the race, and 6k after the race to reach the goal distance all within Bonifacio Global City.

– with good friends Jun, Lit, Gene (Thanks for the race kits, Gene!), Anthony of Otterbox, and Cliff –

It was great to see such a huge turnout, around 5,000 runners, show up for the 3k, 5k, and 10k distance of St. Lukes Run for Wellness.  I had absolutely no plans as to how I would run the race.  When the gun went off, I wanted to test my fitness level so, without glancing at my watch, I ran based all the way based on feel.  Goal was to maintain a comfortably hard pace.

For the first few kilometers, I ran along with good friends from Alabang, Atty. Joey and Elaine, my swim classmates.  I had a chance to say hi to friends Lara Parpan of Women’s Health and TBRDM Alum Jonathan from Ayala Land.  Near the end of the race, I heard someone from behind yelling: “Operation Bull Runner, achieved!” It was Ernie Lopez talking to his son who was by his side on a bike.  As he passed me saying hi, he told his son: “On to the next target!” and off they went disappearing ahead of me.

I finished the 10k with an average pace of 5:45 at around 57 minutes.  It wasn’t that great.  I know I have a long way to go in terms of training if I want to do well in Tokyo, but hey it’s still early so I still have a lot of time to work on my training.

– Happiness as I run toward the finish line –

– with Trixie and Anne after the run. Congrats to Trixie for her first 5k! –


At the very last minute, we decided to run a back to back in preparation for Tokyo.  Back to back training helps to train us to run on tired legs.  So, yes, with tired legs from the day before, we set off to run another 15k on Sunday morning.  I decided to change my shoes from New Balance 890 to Asics Gel Kayano 19 (doing so keeps injuries at bay by providing varied midsole height and cushioning for your feet) and this definitely helped to keep my feet comfy despite a little blister development.

The weekend ended with my legs as sore as ever, but me being completely happy that I have a goal to work for (and even be slightly anxious over) again.  Tokyo, here we come!

Piloxing Hits Manila. Join a Class for a Cause

Thursday, 21 November 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

My friend and fitness trainer, Mitch Felipe-Mendoza, has been inviting me to try out her new class: PILOXING, a combination of Pilates, boxing, and dancing for cardio, core, and strength training all in one session! That description alone was enough to pique my interest, but I haven’t been able to find the time due to my busy sched.


If you’re interested, you may wanna try out her FREE class on NOVEMBER 23, 2013, SATURDAY at 12:00NN, for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. It will be at B+B Studio, Infinity Bldg. in BGC. They require a minimum donation of P300.  More details in the poster below.

For inquiries or to reserve a slot, please text 09178653878.


To read more about Piloxing, click on the articles below:

– Piloxing: The New Thrilla in Manila, PhilStar
– Hilary Duff, Vanessa Hudgens, Why They’re All Into Piloxing, Phil Daily Inquirer

On the Heels of a Dream: Week 14

Thursday, 21 November 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

On The Heels of a Dream is a weekly column by guest writer Obbie Suguitan who is currently training for his first marathon, The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, on February 16, 2014.

With barely 3 months to go, training is slowly ramping up (often literally!) into serious road time. This week I noticed that my knee pain has all but gone, hopefully never to return. I’m a bit (more than a bit) disappointed though that I got shut out of what seems to me could be a good first public run scheduled for 2 weeks from now. I should have acted earlier. Unfortunately, the organizers closed it a week before schedule because it had hit the participant limit. No one knew about the limit nor was it announced that there was a limit and that it closed. Sigh. Anyway, my next recourse was to enter another run, purportedly a dominant one (hint, hint) a week earlier. In the interim, a person received my registration along with the payment but until I get my bib, singlet, and race kit items, I will not consider myself in.

As far as training went, the 2 maintenance runs went fine. I did not get any faster (just being honest) but it did get easier. The thing with me trying to run faster is that it creates higher impact hence harder on my knees. At my present weight, the dynamic of trying to run faster makes my feet pound the ground harder so I still gotta take it easy so my endurance doesn’t suffer consequently. At this point, I have become the personification of the rule: run at your own pace.

The weekend long run was a different matter altogether. In the span of a week, it evolved from just a long training run into something considerably more significant. It changed from me and my batch of Dreamers achieving improvement for ourselves into a unified and engaging effort to help others. By this I mean One Run – a run for the victims of Yolanda. No bibs, no singlets, no extensive hydration, no medals. The only victory for the runners and participants was that somewhere in the ravaged and typhoon-torn areas, somebody was going to be fed, clothed, or given shelter because we had come to run together, and did not run for ourselves. The turnout was impressive considering it was all on short notice and that it started at 4:30 in the morning of a Saturday. I myself brought a guest who had not done any significant running but was bent on donating and possibly (I hope!) getting a head start for joining Dream 2015. This whole event was the brainchild of The Bull Runner herself then everyone just piled on in support.

– Coach Lit address the Dream Marathoners for Bull Session 3 which was held during One Run –

– with my guest –

– with TBR –

For the run itself, those who were still there to get the long training run done, it took three rounds of a fairly large circuit around BGC. Starting earlier, I found that I could take early morning sun with not much of a problem. I was very thankful that there was a new group added – the 1:1 group. I started with the 1:1 group, fell behind with batchmate Alice, and then was picked up (no, not that kind of picked up!) by one of the 2:1 runners, Ms. Iris – causing me to finish with the tail end of that group. This is the kind of support I’ve been on the receiving end of from a lot of batchmates. Thank you! One of the important things I learned is that the proportion of the run to the walk breaks has nothing to do with the actual speed. I was still the last in the 1:1 but it was because my stride speed (cadence?) is slow/low. I have actually been training 2:1 but had I gone with 2:1 I still woulda been among the last. I think, logically, my best fit would be to do my slow 2:1 within a 1:1 group – which means it would do me well to run alone or rely on the patience of a sweeper.


Anyway, even if not in leaps and bounds, I can feel my endurance and confidence grow. Big thanks to those who have been taking this journey with me – my family and of course 2014 Dreamers. For this week, my parting shot  – we’re not done with the Dream nor are we done taking more steps for our brothers. Peace.

– with Smiley Evan –

On the Heels of a Dream: Week 15

Monday, 11 November 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

On The Heels of a Dream is a weekly column by guest writer Obbie Suguitan who is currently training for his first marathon, The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, on February 16, 2014.

The highlight of this week is me not being able to stand up from a sitting position. It wasn’t funny then (well. It was a little funny), it’s not funny now.

– Coach Jim Saret talks about strength conditioning, balance, and core for runners at Bull Circle 3 –



– TBR on TBR ULAH Dream Marathon –

At the Bull Circle last Wednesday, one of the things coach Jim Saret had us participants do was to do a move to show just how weak our bodies were – are still.  All I needed to do, with a certain body position, was to stand. My weak, non-marathon-ready knees did not perform. Good! It was a rude awakening to how much muscle balance and strengthening I need, along with dozens of other batchmates.




This on a night that I had a knee taped by a charmingly professional Rock doc named Ms. Carmela. At least I think they’re called Rock Docs because they’re experts at applying Rocktape, the best kenisiology tape around.

Rocktape (4)
– Getting taped with Rocktape at Bull Circle 3 –

This time around, Coach Jim shared a lot of tips and exercises on how to achieve a marathon ready body – precious information on my way to the Dream.

– with TBR and fellow Dreamers –

This talk by Coach Jim, was sandwiched by my two maintenance runs for the week – both 45 minuters – which I did on Tuesday and Thursday. For both, I had relatively little trouble completing them with a few bursts of faster-than-my-usual speed. Due to being obedient to the program, I found that what little progress I’ve made is starting to build up in terms of endurance. Even in tiny, almost imperceptible increments, improvement is still improvement. Just a couple of months ago, 45 minutes running was unthinkable for a morbidly obese Obbie. During this week, a lot of talk went around about who and how the upcoming Sunday marathon was going to go. In my ‘un-readiness’ for that, I had to stay the course of my own training.

My new experience for this week was the 2nd of my maintenance runs because it was the first time I tried running in compression shorts AND a Rocktaped right knee. As much of a newbie as I am, I felt the difference the right equipment makes. As a try-athlete (I know this is not my original coined term but I’ll use it anyway), any advantage afforded by something as simple as the right shorts is a big thing. I know I’d still hurl chunks at the sight of myself in a compression shirt and pants but, fortunately, I have a few months more to achieve a better shape (‘in better shape’ is different from ‘in a better shape’). Plus, serious runners (of which I think I can count myself as right now) prefer performance over aesthetics.

My weekend LSD was a different story. I had chosen to do it on a Saturday night in the vicinity of my wife and her friends having a night out. This week my marching order was to do 90 minutes and my chosen pace is my uniform slow 2:1. Running around a big circuit around the neighborhood, I went up and down on a relatively hilly course and completed it, surprisingly, fairly fatigue-free. I know it was the case because I didn’t have the sun bearing down on me. What made this run different though, was the aftermath. I cooled down, post-stretched properly, then rested. But, as I got up from my seat barely an hour after finishing my run, I felt pain in both knees which continued well into Sunday. Maybe not pain per se but a peek-a-boo kind of ache. After I had congratulated the participants of the Sunday morning marathon, I received tips, advice, and offers of treatment from doctor batchmates. Yes! The group is coming together in support of one another! So now, after a soothing Sunday night cold compress and hopes of it being nothing serious, the pain has virtually disappeared even as I have two new Doc friends waiting in the wings to help – everyone needs help, yes? Now as I prepare to retire for the night, me and my knees will go to bed safe in the knowledge that I will not go this alone. I’m with friends. I’ll say my prayers, follow my training program, then ask yet again: When’s the next run?