Ironkids, Here Comes TBR Jr.!

Monday, 23 September 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

We’ve made progress, baby! It’s only been a month since we first accepted the Quaker Challenge and it has definitely helped to get my kids moving and working for their goal.


Anton, my 12-year old, just signed up for his first triathlon: Ironkids on October 20, 2013 at Palms in Alabang. Woohoo! For Anton’s age category of 11 to 12 year old, the distance is 300m swim-10k bike-2k run.


Can I just tell you? I was more nervous registering him for this race than I was when I signed up for my first Ironman 70.3. Actually, I may even be more nervous than the participant himself! LOL

Anton also expressed worry over the 300m swim since he only took this up a couple of weeks ago, but I reminded him that all athletes feel anxiety before a race. You really just have to train hard, overcome your fear, and enjoy the entire experience. Thankfully, he seemed to have believed me, and it calmed his nerves somewhat. Sometimes, I’m just pleasantly surprised over how this not-so-little boy of mine is slowly gaining his confidence. Tissue please.

So far things are looking great. Anton’s swim has significantly improved with the guidance of Coach Norman and his assistant, Coach Jeff. We got him a new road bike 2 weeks ago so he can finally retire the P3,500 mountain bike from Cartimar I purchased last year when I scrimped on him. (Bad mom, I know!) He finally agreed to wear a trisuit, something this tween refused to do in the past. And, best of all, he is just genuinely excited about triathlon. In fact, he thanks God for it in his evening prayer! Seriously, it’s a triathlete mom’s dream come true!

– Fun drills for the kids –

– Hardcore trikids continued training despite the rain and they had a blast too!-


As for Nia aka Li’l Miss TBR, we just had to wait for her school exams to end (done last week!) and for her birthday to pass (she turns 9 on the 25th) before she takes up swimming with Coach Anthony Lozada, my swim coach. She loved swimming with Coach Ria Mackay in her Aqualogic Swim sessions last summer so this should be fun for her.

In the meantime, I’m allowing Nia to enjoy her birthday week. Secretly, I’ll be busy planning for her sports activities while she counts the days till she turns 9!

– Li’l Miss TBR can’t think of anything but her birthday wish list. Here she is taking photos of the Littlest Pet Shop toys she hopes to receive –


While I’m glad the kids are getting more active, I also had to remind them especially Anton, that this was still all for fun. The last thing I want is for them to feel pressured to perform and to dread or detest sports.

My goals as a Mom is clear to me from the onset: I want the kids to be more active so that they adopt a healthy, wholesome lifestyle as early as now. Aside from sports, I’ve also been serving them healthier meals at home—less dairy and red meat, more wholesome grains and veggies and fruits—to fuel them for their activities. (They actually don’t know that they’ve been eating healthier fare so let’s just keep this between you and me, okay?) This is really a holistic plan that I just hope they grow into naturally and eventually practice for the rest of their lives. Crossing my fingers!

This is part of a series of posts under the Quaker Challenge. It’s about the quest that my kids and I have to achieve our Quaker Goal to swim, bike, and run more. Read about it HERE.

Swimming Tips for Runners & Triathletes: Interview with Coach Anthony Lozada

Friday, 13 September 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

Swimming and I have a love/hate relationship.  I used to only swim in preparation for a triathlon.  Once the race was over, I would skip the pool for the road.  But, after Ironman 70.3 Cebu, I found myself swimming just for the sheer fun of it.

Good thing I’ve had great company.  Since May, while training for Cebu and even after the race, I’ve been swimming every Tuesday and Friday under the guidance of Coach Anthony Lozada and with fellow classmates Joey and Elaine.  I try to sneak in an additional swim during the week as homework.  (I hope the Coach read that last line…twice!)


 – with Elaine, Joey, and Coach Anthony –

Swimming has been good for me.  And, even better, it’s been good for my running.  I’ve found that, cardio-wise, I’m stronger.  It’s most noticeable when I’m climbing hills.  No more huffing and puffing.  Whoakay, maybe just a bit but with less whining.

Swimming has also been perfect for an injury prone runner like me.  It gives my weary running legs the opportunity to train without the pounding.  I’ve found that it actually loosens up my tired ankles after a run the previous day.

I also like the fact that I get an upper body workout now.  My flabby arms (Argh, it runs in the family. Thanks Mom…I still love you!)  and my postpartum belly (Yes, I still call it that even if I gave birth almost 9 years ago) have tightened up a bit.  Hopefully, like in a year, I get one out of the six pandesals of Ani de Leon-Brown’s abs. Wishful thinking. LOL.

Anyway, you get the point.  Swimming has been great for a runner like me.  You should definitely give it a try as a cross training activity.  To convince you even more, I sat down with my Coach and asked him more about the benefits of swimming for runners and triathletes…

TBR: Tell us about your background as a swimming/ triathlon coach
Coach Anthony: I’ve been teaching swimming for the past 35 years and coaching swimming for the past 16 years. I started coaching triathlon in 2010.  My credentials include:

  • Member(Coach)-Philippine Swimming Inc.
  • National Coach – 2004 Athens Olympics
  • International Triathlon Union(ITU) certified Level-2 Coach
  • National Coach-2013 Jeju ASTC ITU Development Junior and U23 Women Continental Camp, Korea
  • International Triathlon Union(ITU) certified Coaches Education Facilitator

TBR: What type of swim technique do you use in teaching swimmers or triathletes?
Coach Anthony: The type of swimming technique that I teach my students, both for swimmers and triathlon, is to maximize their “distance per stroke”. The guiding principle behind maximizing distance per stroke (DPS) is economization and efficiency of movements. During a long distance endurance race like triathlon, it will be more efficient to find an ideal stroke rate which translates to a higher DPS than just thrashing and powering your way across the water. With an ideal stroke rate with a high DPS, we are able to delay fatigue and the onset of muscle soreness. But, before my students can achieve that, I have to teach them the proper fundamentals of the stroke.

TBR: Would you recommend swimming for runners? Why?
Coach Anthony: I have to say that Swimming is a MUST for runners because not only is it a refreshing way to train. But runners can continue to develop their cardiorespiratory fitness or endurance while giving their body, more particularly their joints, a break from the pounding of running. Runners have to learn to swim because it is a “Safety Skill” that no one can do without.

TBR: Swimming is the most common fear among the three disciplines in triathlon. What tips can you give triathletes who wish to improve in swimming?
Coach Anthony: First and foremost is that they have to make sure that they enroll at a reputable swim school with years of experience in the field of swimming and have produced top level athletes, as they say “the proof is in the pudding”. Their teachers and coaches must have the proper training in being able to transfer their knowledge effectively to their students or athletes. Swimming is not an easy sport to learn and develop, teachers and coaches must be able to motivate and encourage their clients to achieve their goals and fulfill commitments to themselves. I have heard of a lot of individuals who have given up learning how to swim because their teachers failed to create an environment which is conducive to learning.

TBR: Can you give us three tips for swimming in open water during a triathlon?
Coach Anthony:

  • Tip #1- Never start a race without doing an ocular of the conditions of the swim course and swimming in it as well. Find your markers so that you will target these as you do your “sighting” and swim in a straight line.
  • Tip #2- Be confident in your training and try to avoid swimming too close to the lane ropes and buoys. In any tri race, these are where athletes crowd and it will be too tiring to keep on stopping or changing directions just to avoid them.
  • Tip #3- Since most triathletes train in a swimming pool, it will be best to practice turning already 5-meters before the wall (do some sighting drills at the same time) and avoid doing the push-off from the wall as you continue your laps. This will more or less simulate open water conditions where you have to maneuver around buoys.

TBR: Where and when do you teach?
Coach Anthony: I teach or train athletes in Makati, Pasig, Alabang and Sta. Rosa Laguna.. Schedule will depend on the area so it will be best to call me.

  • Mobile 0917-7932691/0922-8932691
  • Email:
  • Facebook: Anthony Lozada
  • Website:

10 Tips on Running Safe

Tuesday, 10 September 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

By now you’ve heard of the disturbing and saddening murder of Kae Davantes, an account manager at McCann World Philippines who was allegedly kidnapped at Bonifacio Global City and whose body was later discovered in Cavite.  My heart goes out to her family and friends.

The news has shaken most of us who didn’t even know her personally because it hits close to home.  I heard that she studied in my alma mater for Highschool.  She works at an ad agency that many of us are familiar with.  And, scariest of all, she was abducted in an area that many of us frequently visit and run in.

This alerts us all, especially women, to be observant and cautious at all times.

Below are 10 tips on running safe around the metro:

1 – Choose a safe route.  This is common sense.  Choose a course that is secure and safe from bad elements.  You don’t want to be running in an area that is known to have pickpockets or even construction workers making catcalls at you.  You also don’t want to spend the entire time evading cars or buses that may sideswipe you.  I know you want to be adventurous, but there’s a fine line between adventure and suicide.

2 – Run against traffic.  Run on the side of the road against the traffic to ensure drivers see you coming.  This is a basic but I still see runners who run the wrong way.

3 – Be visible.  It’s always safer to run during broad daylight, but some of you have no choice but to run after work.  Make sure to wear bright colored tops.  Even better if you can wear tops with reflective portions to ensure you are visible to oncoming cars. I know New Balance and Nike have these.  You can also purchase reflective vests for even greater visibility.  Mine is from Nike.

– New Balance top. Bright color and has a reflective band on the shoulder –

– Nike reflective vest for night running –

4 – Bring an ID.  Always carry identification with you.  You can carry your ID with you or wear a road ID bracelet on your wrist or on your shoes.  I have two MJ46 iD bands. One conveniently sits on the laces of my shoe and another is a wrist band. These contain my name and husband’s cellphone should there be any emergency.

– MJ46 iD Band –

5 – Leave valuables at home.  Again, common sense.  You don’t need your diamond earrings and gold bracelets during a run unless you’re Lady Gaga.  But then again, if you do wear all your jewelry while running, we might as well call you “gaga.” Heehee.

6 – Run with friends.  It’s best to run with a buddy or a group.  This reduces your chances of being a target for any criminal.  Should you encounter any medical emergency from lightheadedness to  pain in the chest, you also have friends to help.  If this isn’t possible, then at least take your mobile phone with you.

7 – Use your MP3 wisely.  Many of us love our music during our run, but use your ipod and MP3 wisely.  Make sure you hear cars, cyclists, or even “askals” chasing after you.

8 – Carry emergency money with you.  You’ll never know when you may need cash during a run or a race.  I tuck P100 to P200 in a small plastic pouch under my insoles in my shoes whenever I run.  I’ve used this to purchase an emergency bottle of Gatorade when I was dying of thirst at BGC during a training run and also to pay for a taxi when I DNF’d at Rexona Run due to awful blisters.  Hey, don’t laugh, they were painful!  Point is, you’ll never know when you need the money so always bring!

9 – Bring pepper spray.  If you must run alone at night, consider carrying pepper spray in your pocket.  I got mine at R.O.X.

10 – Be smart.  Most of us runners think that we are invincible from injury or harm.  Guess what, we’re not.  Trust your instincts and know when you should quit a run or run in the opposite direction.  Be smart about your running and always take the safer, more conservative route when it comes to your safety.

Run safe, people!

12 Tips on Getting Back into the Game after an Injury or Accident

Wednesday, 10 July 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

So I crashed on my bike 11 days ago.  (If you missed reading the drama of it all, you can hop on over to this post.)  And I’m currently dealing with a foot injury that is taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to heal.  And, to top it all off, I’m still uncertain if I can actually survive Ironman 70.3 Cebu on this delicate foot.

But, the past 11 days, despite the frustration and worry, I did have mini triumphs.  Okay, I take it back, they were huge achievements for little ol’ me!

First, I got back on the bike again.  Just the trainer since I was delayed in having my bike repaired. But, hey, that’s a start right?!  In fact, I think I got gigil.  I was on the trainer 4x last week, including a ride during our short family vacation in Tali.

– 60k in Tali to be one with those who joined Tri United 2, my missed race, wherein they covered 2k swim-60k ride-15k run –

Second, as soon as my wounds healed, I got back into the pool!

– I covered practically healed wound with Tergaderm and Gladwrap just to be sure! –

And, last but not the least, just this morning, I was able to run my longest since April!  A 10k without pain and with friends!

– Fun run with friends! Photo courtesy of Kaye Pascual –

As my way of giving back, I’d like to share with you some tips I learned during the past several days on getting back on the road after a crash or injury:


1) If you crashed on your bike, get back on the road as soon as you can to reduce your fear.  As long as you are well already, you must mentally overcome the trauma from the accident by hopping on your bike again.  Now, I was advised to ride the exact route of the accident, but that I may have to disagree with.  I don’t intend to ride that route ever again! LOL

2) Check your helmet and bike.  Before you bike, make sure your bike has been serviced and checked for any damage by a good mechanic.  Check your helmet as well for cracks.  I learned after the accident that bike helmets actually have an expiration date.  So, even if your old bike helmet looks intact, make sure that the foam inside can still absorb impact well.

3) Take care of your wounds.  Tergaderm, a waterproof, breathable bandage sold at Mercury Drug, was my best buddy throughout this ordeal.  I also used Fucidin, a gauze with antibiotic that didn’t stick to the wound like regular gauze did.  Both allowed my wounds to heal rapidly while being protected.  It also allowed me to bike and run.  As for swimming, swim only when the open wounds have healed.  It can get infected in the pool.  You also don’t want to spread your germs in the water.

4) If you can, swim in the sea.  We all know that salt water can heal wounds.  I took a trip to the beach and soaked in the water despite how painful it was. (I’m wincing as I type this) But, by the second day, most of my wounds had miraculously dried up!  (So dry that I got to swim again with my Coach 10 days after the crash!)


5) Start slow.  Even if you feel fully recovered, get back into running slowly.  Build your base again before speeding up.  Do not get overly excited about getting back into running.  (Take it from me! I’ve made this mistake quite a number of times heehee)

6) Get therapy.  Don’t stop therapy, such as deep tissue massage or ultrasound, just because you’re feeling better.  Try to continue what you were doing that helped you to recover.  I go to Peak Form at the 2nd Floor of Riovana for my therapy.

7) Strengthen.  Most of our running injuries are due to muscle imbalances.  If you don’t want to reinjure yourself, you must find the long term solution to your problem.  Most of the time, common running injuries can be corrected with strengthening exercises you can easily do at home or in the gym.  Ask a running coach, ortho surgeon, or a gym trainer about the proper exercises.

8)  Stretch.  I’ve found that one of the best ways for me to prevent and recover from any kind of injury is to stretch often.  I stretch after each run (never before a run when the muscles are cold).  I also try to have a yoga session at least once a week.

9) Run on the treadmill first.  When you’re just testing your legs again after an injury, it’s best to go on a treadmill which is softer than the road.  This provides less impact on your body.  It also allows you to quit immediately should you feel pain as opposed to being stuck in the middle of nowhere outdoors and having to walk back and risk re-injury.

10) Run-Walk.  There’s no better way to slowly get back into running then to practice the run-walk technique.  Try running 5 mins and walk 1 minute or, like what I did, run 3 minutes then walk 30 seconds.  The walk breaks may seem like nothing but they do make a huge difference in giving your muscles a time to rest even briefly.

11) Think about time, not distance.  When you’re just getting back into running, you may feel disappointed over the short distance you’re covering, especially if you’re used to running longer distances.  Try not to get frustrated over this.  Watch the clock instead and target time, not distance.

12) Celebrate the little victories.  Always be thankful for having the opportunity to swim, bike, or run again. Every little achievement counts especially after you’ve been through a trial, such as an accident or injury.  Know that you’ve come out better, stronger, and ready to fight another day!

If you have any other tips to share, feel free to post!

Total Immersion Smart Speed and Open Water Skills Camp (Part 2)

Monday, 17 June 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

After a full day of swim camp on Friday (click HERE to read Part 1), I woke up the next day eager to learn more…


1) Classroom Session – 1 hour

After a light breakfast, we met Shinji for another classroom session. Here he showed us videos of his own swim and spoke in more detail about how to achieve speed with precision and proper technique rather than power. I remember him telling us: to be a better swimmer use your mind, not your muscles.

Here’s what Shinji mentioned are skills to increase speed:
1) balance and streamline to reduce drag
2) quick motion (hand spear and body roll)
3) focus on forward movement to save energy
4) use hybrid energy source

Shinji taught us how to increase speed without losing efficiency or stroke length. He said that the key to increasing tempo without losing propulsion is to use 1) Spear (upon entry), 2) Grip, and 3) Finish.

We were then given tempo trainers, a gadget like a metronome for runners which beeps to provide the rhythm of ones stroke. We were to use this for our next session. I decided to purchase one for P1800 so I could use it during training.

– Finis Tempo Trainer –

2) Open Water Session – 1.5 hours

We boarded a speedboat which took us to Anselmo, a cove with the water even clearer than the beach we swam in the day before. Even better, this was private so we had it all to ourselves!

– All aboard! Swim camp classmate Mara, Mark, Raymond, Sid, myself, and SBR’s Carlos –

– Anselmo –

– Our wonderful instructors: Sandra Taylor, Ria Mackay, and Karen Robertson –

– with the master himself: Shinji! –

It was here that Shinji talked about proper sighting, swimming straight or turning, drafting, and overtaking by increasing stroke length and not tempo. After a brief demo, we swam in pairs practicing our new skills.

– Swim class begins! –

– Learning in the water! –

– with my swim buddy –

We were then divided into small groups of around 10 swimmers led by a TI instructor. I was in Karen’s group.

We started out by the shore. She would brief us then give us a short drill or a specific area we should concentrate on, then she’d announce: “Now, practice it. 50 strokes.” and, like obedient students, we would swim out into the sea. This went on for about four or five more times. One time she told us to swim with our eyes closed so we could note how far we would veer from the center and determine the frequency of our sighting. Another time she asked us to focus on our arms in front of us. We went further and further out into the deep sea. Before we knew it, we had been out for an hour, wading, swimming, like a full-hour classroom session except this was out in the sea and we had been floating the entire time.

To end the session, Karen asked us all to set our tempo trainers to 1:20 and swim back to shore easy, on our own. We all swam with our newfound Total Immersion skills and, even if I hadn’t swam over 1k in the past months, I was amazed to find myself reaching the shore without even feeling exhausted. OMG it does work!

– with Karen –

– Class Picture! –

We were treated to a wonderful buffet lunch by the shore and some of us took the speedboat back to the hotel. Unfortunately, I could only stay until this session due to family commitments. For the rest of the day, some students had booked one-on-one full hour sessions with Shinji (separate fee from the camp fee). Later that evening, they had a Pool Session where all students were videotaped again. The videos were then evaluated during the Classroom session.

– Bonding time with the family before we took off for Manila. We loved Pico de Loro! –


On Sunday morning, an open water race 1k & 2k was held. It was open to the public, but all participants of the camp also had entry into this race. It was a great way for them to practice all the new skills they learned during the two-day camp. By this time, I was already at home in Manila, but I did see all the fun they had through photos.

– My classmates after the race! Congratulations everyone! –

– Race participants: Erwan, Mark, Raymond, Sid, Raoul, and Nonoy (my first TI instructor way back in 2009) –


The Total Immersion Smart Speed and Open Water Skills Camp is an excellent way for you to learn the skills of the Total Immersion technique. While you can take classes from Aqualogic Swim Co. or read books and practice TI on your own, learning from the master himself, Shinji Takeuchi, and the other great instructors, in this two-day camp definitely speeds up the pace, gives you immediate feedback on your areas for improvement, and makes it a more fun experience for you.

The camp was very well-organized. Everything—from transportation, food, accommodations, including special requests—were attended to. Shinji Takeuchi, despite English being his second language next to Japanese, is an engaging and generous speaker.  It need not be mentioned that he is a master of Total Immersion and he is well-equipped to lead the TI camp.  The other TI instructors were very knowledgeable, amiable, and helpful to all participants.  Perhaps one of the best things about this swim camp was the fun, light, and supportive atmosphere which made the learning experience even more memorable.


I would highly recommend this camp for beginner swimmers who want to learn how to swim for recreation, fitness or competition. I would also recommend it for beginner triathletes who need basic skills in swimming for triathlon or those who need to overcome their fear and build confidence for open water competitions.

Is TI for advanced competitive triathletes?  Ria Mackay mentioned that there is much debate over this and TI never promotes itself as the best technique for triathletes.  However, TI can promise to teach you efficient swimming with speed that can make you competitive enough for triathlon.  At the end of the day, it is up to the athlete to decide if this is the best technique for him/her given his/her goals.

The next Total Immersion Smart Speed and Open Water Skills Camp led by Shinji Takeuchi will be in September 2013. To register, visit Aqualogic Swim Co.

Ria Mackay – Head Instructor & Founder
Phone: +632.703.6386 / +632.837.1716 / +632.794.3393 / +63.917.858.AQUA (2782)

* Some photos courtesy of Aqualogic Swim Co. Photographer VT Roman