Blame It on the Rain

Tuesday, 2 June 2009  |  Running + Triathlon

As I type this, I hear the birds chirping outside and realize that there is no sound of the rain’s pitter patter on our roof.  Finally, there’s hope of clear blue skies for today.

Normally, the rain doesn’t bother me much.  In fact, I love the occasional run that leaves me soaked not just in sweat but in rain water too.  But, lately, the unpredictable weather has been giving me much agony.

You see, I registered for Mizuno Infinity Run 15k (June 7) and Animo Tri Mini-Sprint (June 14).  I haven’t run over 10k since Condura in March and I haven’t entered a pool in days.  (I’ve been very consistent with gym work and running thrice a week each.  Oh, and thrice a week massage too, of course!)  The only saving grace in this worrisome scenario is that I registered only for a Mini-Sprint at Animo (same distance I did last year since I didn’t want to stress myself out over a 950m swim along with the kids’ start of school) so I only hope to improve my deplorable swim and bike times.

I had a lot of plans last weekend.  Not just any kind of training, but training with new tri teams and coaches:

PLAN: Short run around BHS
EXPERIENCE: cancelled due to rain, had breakfast at Pancake House instead

PLAN: First time bike-run training with Sunkist Tri-Hard Team (just a trial!)
EXPERIENCE: Skipped it due to rain, extended sleeping time instead.  Learned yesterday that they pushed through despite the rain.  

PLAN: First time swim training with tri friends and Ani de Leon
EXPERIENCE: Cancelled due to rain, 5k treadmill run instead

So many exciting plans, so much rain!  I know, I know, I shouldn’t blame my lack of training on the rain.  Still, I hope for brighter days ahead…at least for the next two weeks, please.

The Family That Swims Together

Wednesday, 13 May 2009  |  Running + Triathlon

Last year, I took Total Immersion (TI) lessons with good friend Nonoy Basa and since then I looked at swimming in a whole new light.

Since the start of this year, there have been only a couple of weeks when I missed a swim. I cover at least 1km 2-4 times a week depending on my availability.

I used to turn to swimming as my last resort when running aggravated an injury, spinning hurt the knees, or the elliptical was too boring. But, after one unforgettable swimming day, when I experienced the same inner peace that I used to get only during solo runs, I found myself seriously immersed into the sport. (No pun intended.)  

So, as with running, I have recruited the entire family into the sport.

The kids have started lessons with Aqualogic Swim Co., the same company operated by Ria Mackay and Nonoy Basa that taught me Total Immersion…

– Little Miss Bull Runner had a tearful 1st session but is all smiles by the 2nd class –

– Surprise, surprise!  One of my daughter’s instructors is Dess, one of the few female finishers of the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon

– TBR Jr. on break –

And, just this morning, I accompanied the hubby on his first day of TI lessons with Nonoy. I swam 1k while the boys took their swimming lessons seriously.  

– Fitness First team cyclist Joel, Nonoy, Jamike (Try-Athlete) and my hubby –

Next week, I hope to add runs after the swims. Now, that would be just perfect training for Animo Tri, right?  I wonder when I can get the whole family to join that with me?

For more info on kids/adult swimming classes, contact:

Ria Mackay – Head Instructor & Founder

Agnes Medel – Administrative Assisitant

Or call 0917.858.AQUA (2782)/ 703-6386

Click here to visit the website of Aqualogic Swim Co.

Giving in to the Gym

Thursday, 7 May 2009  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

Still reeling from the five consecutive games I rolled out this week, I managed to find my way to the gym yesterday.  I have said it many a times that I have an aversion for the gym.  There’s just nothing motivating about working out within four walls when you’re used to running freely outdoors; half the time I’m thinking, I wish I was on the road instead.

But, yesterday, I forced myself to take on a new mindset.  I decided to give importance to gym work in order to provide my muscles, especially those in the legs, the much needed strengthening exercises that they’ve been asking for.  I figured that if I don’t do it know then I’m setting myself up for more injuries in the future.  Gotta nip this in the bud before I get any fractures or major problems.

I met with a gym trainer yesterday for an initial assessment before we start on regular one-on-one sessions for the next 1.5 months.  I chose this trainer after a “comprehensive” interview the day before, which he passed with flying colors by the way.  This is how it went:

ME: Can I possibly get one-on-one training with an instructor?

Instructor: Yes, of course.

ME: Okay. I want an instructor who runs since I want a program geared towards improving my performance in running.  Do you run?

Instructor: Yes, I do.  But right now I can’t. I have ITBS…

ME: You do?!  Great!  (Should I have said that?!)  You’re my instructor!  When do we meet?

So, I did get an assessment yesterday, which was partly disturbing and partly encouraging.  Bad news: my perenially injured left leg—the thigh to be exact—is half an inch smaller than the right thigh, I still haven’t lost the excess Christmas weight (as if I didn’t know that hehe), and I looked so much chubbier as I did my step test in front of the mirror (haha!)  Good news: my body fat percentage is ideal for my height (but I still aim for a runner’s lean body…don’t we all?) and my heart rate recovers fast (perhaps a sign that I haven’t completely lost fitness.)

With the results of the initial assessment, the gym instructor will now create a program and present it to me later this afternoon.  I’m pretty confident that the new program will provide good results, but I just have to remind myself to be patient.  I can’t count how many times Annie, my running buddy, told me that results from strength training don’t happen overnight; in fact, it usually takes over two months.  For now, I just hope this new program will motivate me to head for the gym even if my mind is on the road.

Happy One Month Zero Runniversary to Me

Thursday, 2 April 2009  |  Running + Triathlon, Therapy + Injury


It was time to flip the family calendar last night from one month to the next, an event that my kiddos look forward to every month as they get to choose which stickers to apply for upcoming activities. They have stickers for family trips, haircut, sleepovers, and more while I just pull out a thick, black pentel pen, search for the Sundays, and scribble the races I’m joining on that month.

Last night, as I was about to turn the page to April, I got the shock of my life. On March 1, exactly a month ago, I wrote down the two words every runner in the world dreads: STOP RUNNING. And, only then did I realize that it’s been a full month since I had completely stopped running due to my injuries.

I yelled in horror to the hubby, “Aaah, I’ve had zero runs for one full month!” He replied nonchalantly “What about Condura Half?” Oh yeah, forgot about that. Perhaps I should’ve said “I’ve had zero training runs for the entire month of March.”

Training runs are the runs I live for. While I have goal races, such as dream half or full marathons here and abroad, I believe it’s the regular runs—those solo 10k runs on the road or speedwork at Ultra—that keep me happy. I never could relate to runners who cringe at another long run or those who run to get the program over with so they can reach their marathon goal. I run because I just want to. If I don’t, I am incomplete.

Hopefully, I don’t reach my 2nd month Zero Runniversary. After all, I registered for Greenfield City Run this April 19.

Spinning For Runners

Saturday, 24 January 2009  |  Running + Triathlon

“People think running is just about getting out there, but it’s all of the other factors—sleep, proper nutrition, and cross training—that allow you to get the most out of the sport.”

– Deena Kastor

I have a confession to make, Deena. The only time I take cross-training seriously is when I am injured.  Do you think that’s why I am, uhm, always injured?

Injury has been a major curse in my running life, but I’ve realized—just as I was writing this—that it’s been a blessing as well.  The curse of the runner’s knee forced me to take up TI last year (which started a whole new love affair with swimming) and now, with the respite from running, I tried spinning. 

Yesterday morning, Jun and I joined Annie’s spinning class at Fitness First.  Jun, my running buddy, and I accepted Annie’s invitation as we our both currently suffering from knee injuries.  

Cycling is a great alternative to running as it develops lower body strength without the hard impact on the knee.  Experts say that cycling works out your leg muscles even more thoroughly than running since the quads and calves are strengthened with every pedal rotation.

Spinning is a great alternative for those who wish to bike, but don’t have bikes yet (ehem).  It’s also safer and easily accessible to the gym rats.  

For Jun and I, we also thought it would be fun to watch Annie transform from our crazy, barok friend into serious instructor in a snap. We thought we would get a good laugh out of it (although, by the end of the class, I think it was Annie who got the last laugh!)

By the time I arrived, the class was already warming up.  I stepped into the spinning room, all four walls in black with the milky way galaxy painted on them, as if to remind me that I was venturing into uncharted territory.  I hopped unto the bike beside Jun’s and—3…2…1—blast off!  I started pedalling away!

The first 5 minutes were easy.  Just a warm-up.  The rest of the 55 minutes were excruciating.  Whatever mountain it was we were climbing, it sure was high, and long, and not for newbie bikers like me!  

The first spinning instructor guided us through the first half of the workout.  There was never a dull moment as we increased and decreased tension and speed at varied intervals.  The music was loud and intense so it helped to keep me pedaling on despite the weary leg muscles.  More than once, I could feel my heart pumping and, had it not been for those recovery portions, it would have leapt out of my chest.  By 30 minutes, I was beat. I thought my poor ol’ running legs couldn’t take any more.

Then, as we continued spinning, Annie steps out for a couple of minutes and returns with a CD in hand.  She puts it on and takes over from the first instructor.  Suddenly, she’s not the Annie that I know.  This Annie raises her arms up and commands the class to step it up.  Drenched in sweat as we all are, she raises her arms up in a fury and pushes us to climb that steep hill, pedal faster, or go up to standing position.  Gawd, who is this alien Annie and what did she do with my friend?!

We ended the session with the first instructor taking us through the cool down and Annie leading the stretches.  Needless to say, I survived the whole out-of-this-world experience.  It was tough on the quads (something my patella needs for realignment), it was utterly exhausting (my type of workout), it was humbling (just because you’ve run long distances, it doesn’t mean your legs are strong) and it was fun (although not as enjoyable as a run).

I’ve decided to add spinning to my list of cross training activities.  Hopefully, I get to practice it not only when I’m injured, but even when I’ve fully recovered already.  This would make Deena and that alien Annie proud!