Swimming For Runners

Monday, 4 February 2008  |  Running + Triathlon

Today, on the 22nd day of my forced leave from running, I finally took the plunge. I signed up for my very first swimming lesson with my batchmate from college, Nonoy Basa, who has been teaching Terry Laughlin’s Total Immersion swimming style to kids and adults in Makati and Alabang.


– Nonoy Basa, my swimming coach and friend – 

Truth to tell, I walked by the pool area like a fish out of water—all wiggly and nervous and almost out of breath—because this was definitely not my territory. I never took formal swimming lessons; I only learned how to swim from my eldest brother a hundred summers ago. The last time I swam freestyle was in gradeschool when my classmates and I would play “shark” at a friend’s house. And, since I am not Heidi Klum, I haven’t really been comfortable wearing a swimsuit after giving birth to my two kids.

Thankfully, Nonoy made it easy for me and Dondi, another student who is a beginner triathlete, to feel at home in the pool.

The first thing Nonoy did was to show us how he swims. It was simply amazing. I could hardly notice when he would take a breath as he seemed to be completely submerged, gliding through the water, truly swimming like a fish (cliche as it may sound.) Then, it was our turn as he took videos of us doing our own strokes—gulp. Nonoy then showed us our videos and discussed our mistakes and told us the techniques he would be teaching us.

Step by step, Nonoy slowly and patiently taught us 4 or 5 drills to practice so that we could gradually get used to the method of TI. He would teach us one at a time making sure each of us got the position correctly. Seemingly innocuous drill names like Sweet Spot were quite challenging for a newbie swimmer like me to do without having water creep up my nose. But, after a couple of practices and tips from Nonoy, I could do them comfortably.

I liked the fact that TI focuses on engaging the core to propel forward. I thought that it truly will complement my running wherein core workouts are very important for support during those long distance runs. Swimming will also help exercise my upper body, an area that desperately needs toning to keep me in good form when I run. And, it will also help my feet become more flexible, a common problem for runners who have stiff ankles.

What was supposed to be a 1-hour session turned out to be more than 2 hours of fun for me. It was great to be diving (literally) into something new, engaging muscles that were rarely ever used during my runs, and getting a bit of a cardio workout at the same time. It’s also nice to know that I just took a tiny step closer towards my goal of becoming a future triathlete.

I know I am going to enjoy swimming. Having said that, will I exchange my running shoes for goggles anytime soon? Certainly not. It is still running for me. Besides, “The Bull Swimmer” doesn’t sound too catchy.

* For child/adult swimming lessons, call Aqualogic Swim Co. at (0917) 858 AQUA or visit their website.

The Crawl

Friday, 7 December 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

Training for your next marathon or triathlon? Repeat after me:

“This will not happen to me. This will not happen to me. This will not happen to me.”


courtesy of Ironman Triathlon

Thanks to Gelo for telling me about this last night at the Mizuno Run Club. It made me want to laugh and cry at the same time!

Sore No More—Really!

Saturday, 24 November 2007  |  Running + Triathlon, Therapy + Injury

This time it’s for real… I am back! My 7-day forced abstinence from running is officially over. I am healed!

with Annie 112407

– Annie and I after our run. We look so poised! You wouldn’t believe that we were laughing like noisy high school girls before this shot. It was a happy happy day. –

I ran 7.7 km at Ayala Alabang today at a conservative 6.22 pace and there was absolutely no pain. None whatsoever! Not even a hint of a tiny popping sound from the smallest cartilage of my left knee.  Woohoo!

Good riddance knee injury! Don’t you dare come back!

Sore No More

Thursday, 22 November 2007  |  Running + Triathlon, Therapy + Injury

By the power vested in me by the Holy Spirit, I command you evil injury to depart from this poor woman’s knee!” Nope, my attempts at exorcising the soreness out of my knee proved to be futile. So, over the past few days—FOUR long non-running days to be exact—I resorted to more sane alternatives such as ice, ice, ice, more ice, and rest.

During the first couple of days, there was still slight soreness in my knee whenever I walked. By Wednesday morning (yesterday), the pain was gone so I cleared my schedule for the grandest event of the week: my first easy 5km on the treadmill that afternoon (pathetic, I know!) As luck would have it, clients emailed in a heapload of work that left me glued to my laptop saying “This is unfair!” in the same exact tone as my 6-year-old would say it when I ask him to finish his dinner before dessert.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my 2nd dying toenail decides to “go towards the light” which, in his case, is any place as long as he is no longer attached to my toe. So, now my right foot is a gruesome sight with two nail-less toes. (Excuse me while I vomit.) I look forward to the day when, just like Rick, I will look down at my calloused and bruised feet and love them unconditionally. For now, I continue to flinch my eyes in utter disgust. Hopefully, strangers don’t do the same when they see me in my havaianas.

Thankfully, today is the complete opposite of yesterday; it is an awesome day to run. No pain in my knee. Work has been finalized and delivered. And, it is a Mizuno Run Club night. So, tonight, I shall make my way to Bonifacio High Street with two prayer requests in mind: 1) Holy Spirit, please protect me from that devil of an injury and 2) Lord God, please don’t let it rain!

Marathon Mommies

Thursday, 25 October 2007  |  Bullish Insights, Running + Triathlon

Two running working mothers. One marathon: 24 February 2008.

Training begins NOW.


Every Friday afternoon, Annie and I exchange the routinary SMS message: “Run tomorrow? Same time, same place?” And, almost always, the other will send a customary reply of “Yes. See ya!”

For the past six months, Annie and I have been enjoying our Saturday runs together. Saturday mornings is reserved exclusively for our long runs; it is the time where we can run without distractions from work or family. Children have no school nor homework. And, at least for me, the hubby is out longer than I am playing golf.

Alabang with Annie and Coach

– Training in Alabang with Annie and Coach B (June 2007) –

Ours is a friendship built on running. I met Annie after I invited an acquaintance to join Coach B’s running clinic; that friend took Annie along. When the running clinic ended, it was only Annie and I who found ourselves committed to continue training on our own.

Annie, a mother of two girls, is a Fitness First and stotts pilates instructor. Between the two of us, she is by far the stronger, faster, and more experienced runner. She has been running for over three years and has joined more races than I can count. During our runs, we can talk about a wide range of topics ranging from motherhood to shopping, but our discussion will always, always go back to running. It is what binds us together.

Adidas with Annie

– Adidas KOTR with Annie and her friend (July 2007) –

So, it came as no surprise that when I told Annie about my plans of joining the Pasig Marathon, she instantly decided to join too. When we got over our initial excitement (which lasted for over five minutes), we informally discussed our strategy. She suggested using Hal Higdon’s marathon program while I recommended Jeff Galloway’s (She won here. I’m now using Higdon’s Novice II program while she’s using Intermediate I). We also agreed, quite happily, that we would transform our 10 to 15k Saturday runs into our once-a-week long runs. “Annie,” I begged her, “we seriously have to slow down from now on” because, as I’ve experienced many a times, Annie does not know the meaning of slow or tired. “Yes,” she adds, “we also have to force ourselves to take walking breaks now” something we always fought against in the past.

As I write this, I am building a mental checklist of other things I must discuss with Annie as we try to add more science and strategy to our runs. These have something to do with 1) starting earlier so the sun doesn’t beat down on us, 2) stock piling on power gels since water won’t do for us anymore, and 3) planning the races we intend to join so that they can work seamlessly with our program.

Suddenly, my personal goal has turned into a dream I can share with a friend. While running a marathon is still an individual conquest, I take comfort in knowing that I can share the same hardships and triumphs, pains and joys, and hills and troughs with someone who doesn’t need to stop and ask me “Why must you put yourself through this?” She just gets it. And, should the time come during the marathon that my legs turn to lead and I want to give up at 30 km, I know that Annie will be there pushing and urging me to move forward…just as I will do for her.

Good luck to us Annie!