Saturday, 23 March 2013  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

This is a weekly post on my training for Virgin London Marathon on April 21, 2013. Like I always say: The marathon is the icing on the cake; it’s the journey leading up to the race that I absolutely love. Thank you to Unilab Active Health for the trip and to Timex Philippines and UK for the slot.


After I ran my required 32km LSD last Sunday during Run United 1, I woke up on Monday feeling all revved up for the week of training to come.  Raaawr!  Give me more, Coach.  Give me more!

Monday is a rest day (wherein I do Bikram Yoga because Coach says that doesn’t count heehee), but I always check my program online at Training Peaks to mentally prepare for the workouts and to plan my schedule for the rest of the week.  I looked through the week’s workload and, for the first time since January, it was empty.  Coach Andy didn’t fill it in.

The Coach, who is one of the most OC people I know, rarely ever fails to punch in my program for the week.  Either this crazy Coach of mine impulsively decided to bike for 48 hours and skipped all his work over the weekend OR he accidentally missed working on my program because of his rising clientele of athletes who wish to suffer under him (Naks!)   Immediately, I sent him an SMS reminding him to fill it in.

His reply: “Relax…”

What the?!!  What is that supposed to mean?!!  How does one relax when I have no clue what my body and I are up against for the rest of the week?!  There’s no time to relax!  London is a mere 5 weeks away!

Then, another text message came in: “This is a recovery week.  Eat your greens and get a lot of sleep.  Gradual build up by Friday  to Sunday. 21k hill repeats.”

Oh.  There’s the punchline.  Almost like an epiphany, everything made sense.  He was saving my legs for the tough workouts at the end of the week.

With that, I popped the cork off of a wine bottle I’d been saving for years, toasted to three long days of forced rest, and danced like there’s no tomorrow…NOT!  In truth, I spent the next three days meeting work deadlines, tutoring my daughter for exams, rushing off to meetings, squeezing in a secret swim on Tuesday (ssshhh!), and endlessly complaining why I felt even weaker than days when I kill myself during workouts.  (I know, I know, I’ve completely gone nuts just like all you other triathletes reading this!)

By Thursday, my calendar had been filled in with run and bike workouts.  I was back to training and, somewhere around my 3rd set of pushups and catching my breath, I wondered why I was even whining about rest days.  I may be screaming for more rest by next week when the Coach increases my mileage.  Gulp.

“You’ve got to have the mental toughness and confidence in yourself where you believe that you can take those days off and you can recover and you can run great. A lot of what we see in athletes that just train all the time and never give themselves adequate recovery is often portrayed as toughness. What I’ve realized over the years is it really is a weakness. It’s an insecurity that you’re not good enough to recover like other athletes: I’m not good enough to do that; I need to keep training; I can’t take time off; I can’t take easy days.”

-Alberto Salazar

Road to London Marathon: 6 Weeks to Go and Killing It

Tuesday, 12 March 2013  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

This begins a weekly post (or more if I’m giddy) on my training for London Marathon happening on April 21, 2013.  Like I always say: The marathon is the icing on the cake; it’s the journey leading up to the race that I absolutely love. Thank you to Unilab Active Health for the trip and to Timex for the registration.


Say what?! 6 weeks?

– London Marathon. Photo: –

It seems like only yesterday when I told you about how lucky I was to have my best cousin’s wedding and the London Marathon just two days apart.  Then, I told you how much luckier I was to have been given a slot in the marathon by Timex.  Then, the good ol’ peeps from Unilab Active Health committed to sponsor my trip.  And, the best news of all, the entire family will be coming with me!

I am blessed.  And, I am oh-so grateful, too.


With all these blessings that seem to have fallen from the sky and straight into my lap, I committed to giving it my best (read: killing myself in training). So, I started on my triathlon program with Coach Andy Leuterio as early as the 2nd week of the New Year and never looked back.

This is entirely new for me.  Training for a marathon as a triathlete.  The program will train me for two A races: London Marathon in April and Ironman 70.3 Cebu in August.  The Coach initially said it was a challenge for him to prepare this program as 42ks aren’t really recommended within a long-course tri season.  Marathon training will compromise my bike and swim training around 8 weeks before the marathon, and then there’s another month after before I fully recover. For a moment, I gasped in panic when I learned this.  Then, I raised one eyebrow, clenched my fists and pounded them hard on the table, and declared: “Pfffft. I can do both.  Let’s go London!”  Then, I fell back into the couch, popped a handful of Cheetos into my mouth, thinking:  “What the hell am I getting myself into? I am so dead.”

The good news? I’m still alive.  And, I’m actually enjoying the training!  I’m trying my best to maximize each workout and balance my workouts with the rest of my life without going insane.

What have I loved so far about the marathon/triathlon training?

1) Keeps injuries at bay – You all know I’m injury prone because of my flat-feet.  But, since I can cross train with biking, swimming, and Bikram yoga, I can workout without stressing my knees, ITB, and feet too much from running.

2) Variety – I enjoy waking up to each day knowing you’ll do something different. Don’t get me wrong. I love running the most, but the variety of each day makes the week more colorful.

3) Weight loss – I dropped a full 10 lbs already.  I’m exactly at my goal weight.  And, I reached it while eating sensibly (e.g., no strict unreasonable diets, but everything in moderation.)

4) Allows for balance – I always said that while running and triathlon are important to me, I would never let it take over my life; after all, it isn’t my life.  I love how this program can fit seamlessly into my schedule with treadmill and trainer workouts that can be done in an hour or two.

5) Progress – Modesty aside, I seriously think the program is working for me.  I’ve never felt fitter and healthier in my entire life.  As one of my good friends would say while nudging my shoulder in disbelief: “Woooo choooz!” but, seriously, I do feel strong and steady and it’s an awesome feeling.  (I bet my Coach is in tears now.)


Yes, that is the question.  And, honestly, I don’t have an answer.

After eight marathons, majority of them abroad, I’ve learned that everything—from fitness level, weight, weather, sleep, diet, gear, traffic, race organization, hydration, shoes, down to how much petroleum jelly you put in between your toes—must all come together and work perfectly on that single day of the race.

All I know is that I’m working hard and I’ll give it my best.  Cliche I know, but that’s really what this running and tri business is all about, right?  Now, now, I better not hear anyone saying “Woooo chooooz.”

“It’s not records I chase, it’s self improvement.  And that cannot be done by taking it easy.”

– Chrissie Wellington

21 Tips for Running a Marathon Under the Rain

Friday, 22 February 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

With our erratic weather, it seems like every marathon now is under risk for rain. Last year alone, New York City Marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. California International Marathon pushed through despite rain and floods. And, how many times has it rained at Milo Marathon?!  Good thing we runners are always raring to run whether rain or shine! Right?! Right!


In two days, TBR Dream Marathon is set. As we’ve announced, it pushes through rain or shine unless we have a major storm that risks our runners safety.

Having said that, we hear that the weather is expected to improve (hey, even Kuya Kim tweeted it!), but we do know—even if they don’t tell us—that our dear runners are anxious over the possibility of rain.

So, we’ve prepared a few tips from our TBR Dream Team who, combined, have run almost 10 marathons in the rain! You may read a few duplications below, but I left them in there anyway to highlight their importance.

FROM JIM LAFFERTY: Ran 5 to 6 marathons in the rain, Co-Founder TBR Dream Marathon

Tip 1. : Have throwaway rain gear for start. Stay dry and warm as long as possible. Then discard as you warm up running.

Tip 2: Over lubricate. Wetness means more chafing and blisters! Lube up. Vaseline or bodyglide on EVERY part of skin. Watch between toes!

Tip 3. Keep moving. Rain causes rapid cool down. Convert all stop breaks into walk breaks. A 5 minute stoppage can leave you too stiff to restart!

Tip 4: WICKING GARMENTs. Be sure to wear wicking shirt and shorts that expel moisture. Cotton is WORST to wear in rain as it absorbs massively and adds a “drag” to your running! Who needs an extra 3 kilos?

FROM LIT ONRUBIA: Ran 2 marathons in the rain, Head coach TBR Dream Marathon

Tip 5: Think NO blisters. This is the biggest issue that you need to address and eliminate. Wet socks means greater chance of blisters. Back in 2010, while I knew that taping my toes would be uncomfortable, I also knew that it would reduce the chance of blisters. So I put band aids on every toe before I left my room and brought extra band aids with me to the race, just in case. (Also, know where to place the band aid pads on your toes. I typically blister between the toes, not at the bottom. So I adjusted the band aids accordingly.)

Tip 6: Don’t over-dress. You may be running in the rain but it doesn’t mean that it’ll be cold. At least not in Nuvali. So you really don’t need a lot of layers that will just be a hassle to carry around for 6 hours. So just try to stay as dry as possible prior to the race (maybe wear a jacket). But then pack away the jacket when it’s time to warm-up and just wear a large garbage bag (which you can buy at any grocery) when you take to the road. A garbage bag, with holes for your head and arms, is ridiculously effective in keeping you dry and warm. And it’s so easy to rip it off and ditch it after 3-7K, when you’ve warmed up.

Tip 7: Wear a hat or visor to keep the rain from constantly drizzling on your eyes and face. That can be irritating.

Tip 8: Take shorter but quicker strides until you get a better sense of your body and the wet roads. As you gain confidence in your stride, which will happen as you get more comfortable with the conditions, run your normal run.

Tip 9: Rainy or colder weather doesn’t mean you hydrate less. Stick to your normal hydration plan which you’ve been practicing for months.

Tip 10: Stick to your race plan. Because your body won’t heat up as fast in the rain, you will find it easy to go faster than your usual pace, especially in the first 10K. Fight off this urge and stick to your planned pace. Whether you’re racing under the sun or in the rain, always remember that “1st half=conservative, last 10K=aggressive” is usually the best plan.

Tip 11: Embrace the conditions and just run your run. You’ve trained long and hard for this day so let nothing ruin it. Besides, we’d all rather run under the rain than in 90 degree heat, right? I thought so.

FROM NEVILLE MANAOIS: Ultramarathoner and triathlete, TBRDM Race Director

Tip 12: Wear a cap, not only does it shield your eyes and face from the rain but also, helps manage body heat.

Tip 13: Wear a disposable rain coat or garbage bag heading to the starting line, it helps manage heat.  Throw it away once your body gets warm.

Tip 14: It’s cold at the start of the run,  but it will get warmer quickly once you start running. Don’t overdress or put on too much clothing. Just wear your normal running clothes.

Tip 15: Eat food or drink fluids.  You’re losing energy since your body is burning fuel and managing your temperature.

Tip 16: Be careful with your steps. The ground is slippery.

Tip 17: After you cross the finish line drink warm beverages,  and change your wet clothes, and keep warm immediately. Drink and eat as much as you can.

Tip 18: Weather will be unpredictable, don’t bring any electronic items.

Tip 19: No point changing socks after the rain, your shoes and the ground is still wet.

Tip 20: Run in packs or with groups, rain makes road visibility poor. Running in groups allows motorists and marshals to monitor you better.

Tip 21: Don’t be afraid to get wet and have fun.

Visualization for Athletes

Thursday, 17 January 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

Experts say that visualization helps in achieving one’s goals. The individual simply imagines the desired outcome, every single detail in that ideal situation from his/her feelings to actual performance, and this puts him in a place of confidence and calmness increasing his chances of actually achieving what he intended to do.

Many elite athletes practice this. We’ve heard of olympians imagining themselves winning the gold medal even before the race started or runners visualizing themselves crossing the finish line first. The strategy works not just in competition, but also in training.

Now, just because we’re not elite athletes, it doesn’t mean we can’t employ the same technique in training and in races, right? Right! So, I thought of doing the same.

During the first week of 2013, Coach Andy Leuterio sent me my training program for the next eight months. The training program will prepare me for two A-races: London Marathon in April and Ironman 70.3 Cebu in August.

When I saw my program for the first time, I was left in complete shock. Okay, perhaps shock is an understatement. I basically stared at my mac for 30 mins., weeped over the suffering that was to come, hyperventilated, attempted to swallow a few leftover kwitis from New Years Day, then laughed extremely hard about how crazy I am for actually looking forward to all this.

The program is quite unique. Sure, I’ve got the required easy runs and long runs, the spinning, intervals, and long rides. No swims yet. And, Monday as rest day where I actually take Bikram Yoga. But, what stands out are the titles of my workouts. On Monday, I must do a “Chuck Norris,” a “300” on Thursday, and “Fight Club” on Fridays. (Now you understand why I laugh-cried when I first saw it?!) I won’t go into the details of what these workouts are (Er, you’ve got to sign up with Coach Andy if you want to find out. Hah!), but, suffice it to say, it scared the hell out of me!

Last week though, when Week One of my training started, I realized that, by employing visualization techniques, I had more confidence to accomplish the workouts and, more than that, finish them strong.

Here are the mental images that filled my innocent and wholesome mind for the past 2 weeks:
– Chuck Norris! Photo: –

– Sparta! –
– Brad! Photo: –

See!  Now you know why I was so inspired to work out so hard!  Nothing like images of burly men with six-pack abs smothered in sweat and grime to keep a girl like me pushing myself during each workout, right?  And, when the going got tough on the road or on the treadmill, I would tell myself:  “Fight!” or “For Sparta, for freedom, to the death!” or “Chuck, please save me!”  Okay, I’m kidding on the last one.  Seriously though, you ought to try visualization.  It may work for you to improve your performance and help you achieve your goals this 2013.

Now all together:  “Sparta!  For the glory!”

TBR’s Bike Skills 101 (or How to Reach Banana-Eating Biking God Status)

Friday, 7 December 2012  |  Running + Triathlon

If you ask competitive triathletes what their goals are in biking, they would probably answer: Win first place at a local road race or ride the Tour de France course.

Me? My ultimate goal in biking—and I truly believe this ability separates newbies from pros—would be to do this: to pull out a banana from my back pocket, peel it with ease, gobble it down, and toss the peel right into a moving garbage truck while riding a bike. Once I achieve this without crashing, wobbling, or peeing in my pants due to nervousness, I can then finally have the guts to call myself a serious cyclist.

I’ve been riding seriously (by that, I mean minimum of twice a week) for almost a year now and finished Ironman 70.3 Cebu last August, yet I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to biking.  (Wait, is it biking or cycling?   And, what’s the diff anyway?!)  Unlike my first love, running, biking requires a lot more technical skills that you can gain from a coach or experienced cyclist and, as other cyclists will tell you, can also be acquired from saddle time, or in layman’s terms, just riding as much as you can.

During the past few months on the bike, I’ve come to note the technical skills required to succeed at biking and eventually achieve top-tier (read: banana-peeling and eating) status in biking. Based on my research and observation, below are the various levels each biker must undergo before progressing to the next level:


Level 1: Riding a bike. Bike with confidence and ease.  No more training wheels please. No daddy to hold your seat surreptitiously as you bike along…especially if you are male and above 30 years old.

Level 2: Wearing tight bike shorts.  This is especially challenging for men since, er, there’s quite a lot of exposure up front.  This skill becomes even more daunting when the top is short or tight as well.  Usually, this skill can be accomplished quickly by the following strategy: 1) Inhale. 2) Don’t exhale. 3) Say to yourself 10x: Bahala na. Gwapo naman bike ko.

Level 3: Riding a bike with cleats. Clip your shoe into the pedals and pray to the high heavens that you remember to unclip before you slow to a stop. Make sure to have your essentials for protection: helmet, super padded bike shorts, jeans or jogging pants, arm sleeves, gloves, and bandaid.  You may also opt to videotape this so that in case of a crash you may immediately upload to Facebook to show friends how tough you are. Rawr.

– Bike skill training at MOA with Coach Norman Pascual –

Level 4: Signaling for a turn and/or scratching your head while riding. Both skills are in Level 4 since they are quite similar in that they require one hand off the handle bar. Achieving this skill without swerving or shaking takes quite a lot of practice, but once accomplished it makes for a safer and, might I say, less itchy ride.

Level 5: Drinking while riding. Once you’ve got the one-hand riding down, you may attempt to reach lower for that water bottle to prevent dehydration. Many a biker (especially women) have been fooled into thinking this is an easy skill, but realize later on that the challenge lies in returning said bottle into its cage. Perfecting this skill is essential for proper hydration and will also lead to a reduced mortality rate for water bottles that have succumbed to road accidents.

Level 6: Riding in aero position. If you have a TT bike or, put simply, those bikes with two bars jutting out from the center to put the rider in aerodynamic (or, ironically, “breaking wind”) position thereby speeding him up (or scaring him to death), then you must take on the additional skill of riding in aero. Initial attempts will be awkward, uncomfortable, and downright frightening, but, oh baby, once you’ve mastered this skill, you will look like a pro…even if you don’t actually ride like one!

Jaymie 3
– Aero position is so much easier on the trainer dontcha think? Here I am with my tri coach, Andy Leuterio, during one his grueling Power Meter tests. The smile is fake –

Level 7: Riding while chatting…while looking at your chat mate! It’s one thing to share an anecdote while riding, but to share a funny story while occasionally gazing at your friend and expertly maneuvering your bike through roads takes skill. You’ve reached Level 7++ when you can actually make sense or give some useful advice while doing this.

Level 8: Riding with obstacles. The obstacles may be any of the following: a possessed chihuahua chasing you, a lose wire entering your front wheel, a guard blocking your path (even if he sees you coming at full speed!), or worst of them all, a higad falling on your arm sleeve with green blob spilling out of its guts. (Yes, all of these have happened to me during the past months. The higad incident being the most recent since it was just last week. Waaah!) Successfully surviving such obstacles without crashing makes one an accomplished rider. Much better if you can do it with poise without a curse word from your mouth.  (I believe I failed miserably at that.)

– After my first century ride with Jun in Nuvali last July. Incidentally, Jun was the one who bravely flicked off the higad from my arm last week while I yelped in fear –

Level 9: Riding while peeling a banana and eating it. This is the highest level of bike skills right along with other complex tasks such as 1) texting your cook to prepare tapsilog, 2) wearing a jacket, or 3) stretching both arms to yawn mainly because it requires the use of two hands. Once you can do this, you can tap yourself on the back and say you’re an accomplished biker.

Now, if you can tap yourself on the back WHILE effectively spreading Nutella on the banana WHILE riding your bike, then I may just elevate you to Level 10 status, a level no one in history has ever reached. Oh, you’d also have to hand over the bottle of Nutella first.