New adidas Energy Boost Colorways

Friday, 14 March 2014  |  Bullish Insights, Gear + Gadgets

Remember the limited black adidas Energy BOOST I wrote about last year? adidas has gone a long way since then with Energy Boost. Just last month, they unveiled new Energy BOOST colorways.

Just to tell you about how Energy BOOST started, adidas and partner BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, developed BOOST foam cushioning that returns more energy than any other foam cushioning in the running industry. 

BOOST technology basically combined the qualities of performance cushioning and responsiveness so runners don’t have to choose between the two; they get both.

Other features of Energy BOOST:

  • BOOST was developed to remain consistently cushioned and incredibly responsive through sub-zero cold to punishing heat, which we can expect this summer LOL.
  • The upper of Energy BOOST features adidas Techfit, highly durable elastic polyurethane that provides optimal comfort and support to the entire foot while in motion. The formfitting, breathable mesh material offers the fit of a sock, while engineered powerbands across the upper provide targeted support and stabilization.
  • Energy BOOST also includes an extended TORSION® system from heel to toe which helps minimize roll for stability. This feature works with an external heel counter which maximizes the heel fit and comfort during runs.

The new collection of miCoach compatible Energy BOOST colorways retails for PHP 7995. Available at leading adidas and sports stores nationwide.

You’re Not Invincible. Go Get a Check Up.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014  |  Therapy + Injury

One common mistake among people who live healthy lives is that they think they’re invincible.  “Hey, I workout 6x a week, I eat well, I don’t smoke nor drink, I get 8 hours of sleep, and I haven’t been sick the past year, I’m in the pink of health.”  Sound like you?  Well, that was me before I went for my check up at Hi-Precision Diagnostics Plus.

Little did I know that, despite my absurdly healthy lifestyle, genetics still plays a key role in one’s overall health and, as you’ll see in the results later on, I am my Father’s daughter when it comes to cholesterol. Gaaah!

To add, some of us don’t experience any symptoms of cardiovascular disease or any major ailments until it’s too late.  For athletes like us who constantly push our bodies to the limits while training or racing, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.  Get a check up and get cleared of any major issues before engaging in rigorous physical activity.

So, it was a blessing for me that Hi Precision contacted me a couple of months ago and offered to provide me with a few tests at the Hi Precision Diagnostics Plus, Powerplant Mall in Rockwell.

BLOOD TEST AND URINALYSIS

My first reaction upon entering the door of Hi Precision in Powerplant Mall (near True Value and Hi Lux) was:  Where was this before?!!  My family and I are in this mall almost every weekend, but I never saw it before.


– Information area at Hi Precision Diagnostics Plus –


– It was a pleasure to meet May Manahan of Hi Precision who took good care of me during my tests –


– The machines, equipment, and facilities were very impressive. I felt like I was in a world class hospital –

Inside Hi Precision, the receptionist greeted me, confirmed my appointment, and I was led inside the laboratory to wait for my bloodtest. There were various rooms for different tests just like in a hospital.  As I walked through the halls, I thought again: “How can this huge place exist without my knowing?!”  I was quite impressed with the cleanliness of their facilities, the high-tech equipment, the friendly staff, and the great location which made it so convenient to get tests done.

After less than 5 minutes wait, my blood pressure was taken as well as my weight.

They extracted blood for my bloodtest (I had 10 hours of fasting prior to this).  Then, I was given a bottle to collect urine for my urinalysis.  The entire process took no more than 15 minutes.

2D ECHO & ECG

Next, I was ushered into a room for my 2D Echo. This is essentially an ultrasound of the heart.


– Their staff is warm and friendly here –

The nurse attached sticky patches on me and connected these to the electrocardiogram machine.  She was kind enough to explain to me what we would be doing and asked me to lie down on the bed.  It was a simple non-invasive procedure, which took around 5 to 10 minutes only.

I also had the ECG or Electrocardiogram which tests the electrical activity in my heart done here too.

TREADMILL STRESS TEST

If there was anything I was looking forward to, it was the treadmill stress test.  (I think all of us runners get excited to test our endurance wherever it may be. Yes, even a clinic!)  Unfortunately, there was a problem with their machine that day and I was asked to return.

Two days after, I returned ready to take on the challenge! I cracked my fingers and toes and prepared myself for the test.


– In full workout gear for my treadmill stress test! LOL –

The doctor who supervised the test advised me that there would be 8 stages with 3 minutes per stage.  (Aaah! A multistage event!)  My blood pressure would be taken every 2 minutes.  The elevation would increase from stage 1 to 3, while the speed would increase beginning stage 4.  (I love a challenge!)  She reminded me that I didn’t have to run and tire myself because the only goal was to reach 85% of my maximum heart rate.  (Whoakay. Fine.)

The test started and I walked first, then ran as it sped up.  When my HRM hit 87%, the doctor asked me if I wanted to continue the test because I could already stop.  Thinking about my interval run the following day, I asked them to stop.  I thought it best to save my energy for the real training run!


– That’s my heart rate! –

DOCTORS’ CONSULTATION

After the test, I was advised to wait for consultation with the doctor.  This took longer than expected as I was made to wait for over an hour.  Thankfully, the clinic is situated in Rockwell Mall so it was quite easy to pass the time.

The doctor went through my test results quickly.  She basically explained that everything was normal except for high cholesterol.

Say what?!!  High cholesterol?!!  The doctor advised me to watch my diet and cut back on fatty food.  I replied:  “Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to cut because I eat relatively healthy.”  I was shocked.  I exercise 6x a week and eat pretty well.  I asked: “Could it be genetics? My dad had high cholesterol and was diabetic.”  The doctor said it could be genetics, but advised me to watch my diet and have another test done a month after.

Despite the bad news, I know now that living an active and healthy lifestyle is even more important for someone like me who has high cholesterol and diabetes in her genes.  The series of tests was an eye-opener for me reminding me that no matter how healthy and strong I feel, I should get regularly check ups to really know what’s going on in my body and, more importantly, to determine if I’m fit and healthy enough to push my body to the limits when I participate in races.

Maybe you should consider getting a check up too, eh?

Website: Hi Precision Diagnostics

Save the Date: Filinvest City Endurance Weekend

Tuesday, 11 March 2014  |  Race Announcements

Save the date for Filinvest City’s Endurance Weekend on September 13 to 14, 2014!

Part 5: Tokyo Marathon – Pros & Cons and Travel Tips

Tuesday, 11 March 2014  |  Race Reports

Are you thinking of running Tokyo Marathon?  

Here are my thoughts on the race (it’s pros and cons) as well as some tips on travel:

PROS

  • Fast course.  Tokyo is a fast and relatively flat course.  The downhill in the first 10k of the course is a fantastic warm up.  There are short climbs in the end, but these aren’t too steep.  When it comes to the World Marathon Majors, I found that Berlin and London Marathon are faster courses than Tokyo (considering the course and the congestion), but Tokyo is definitely faster than New York.
  • Great cool weather.   Temperature during race start was around 5 to 7 degrees.  A bit too cold for those who live in tropical countries like us, but with the appropriate clothing it makes for faster running.  Just bring throwaway clothes (old jogging pants and sweater) or a couple of trash bags to keep you warm while waiting for race start.
  • Lots of runners in fun, colourful costumes
  • A lot of spectators generously handing out chocolates, fruits, candies, and drinks.  There was not much screaming or yelling as Japanese are quite polite and shy, but one still could feel the crowd support.
  • Clean race and city.  There were trash bins everywhere.  The Japanese love cleanliness and there were bins for cups and marshals holding out garbage bags from start to finish.
  • Friendly and courteous staff and organizers.  The marshals went out of their way to help runners.
  • Cool finishers’ towel and goodies such as food, fruits, and drinks handed out at the finish line.
  • Efficient baggage claim system.  Hardly any waiting time to deposit and claim your baggage.
  • Great time.  Most marathons abroad are scheduled for the latter part of the year.  Tokyo being in February is a great time for Filipinos because we don’t have to do our long runs in summer!
  • For us Filipinos, this is a great opportunity to run a World Marathon Major so close to home and in a beautiful city.  It’s also the most affordable World Marathon Major for us.

CONS

  • Extremely long lines at the portalets before and during the race.  Expect to lose 5 to 15 minutes just standing in line.  They’re pretty strict about peeing in other areas too so don’t think you can get away with it.
  • High congestion in some areas.  The first 10km was pretty crowded for me.  It may have been due to our missed wave which had us start the race at the back of the pack though.
  • Local sports drink was “Amino Value.”  Ingredients include amino acids but no electrolytes like Gatorade.  Be ready to carry your own sports drink if water isn’t enough hydration for you.
  • Uneventful start.  Due to the wave start, runners are split into various groups according to their waves.  There is no special start per wave like what is normally done in New York or London, there was one gun start for the first wave and the rest of the later waves do not experience this.  There was a Japanese choir singing upon passing the starting line.
  • Anti climactic end at Tokyo Big Sight.  Once you cross the finish line, there’s not much fan fare.  You receive your medal, giveaways, then you claim your baggage in a warehouse, enter another warehouse as the dressing room, and exit the area passing the family meet & greet area.  There’s a Tokyo Marathon Festa with food trucks and music, but it was small and wasn’t well attended.
  • Medal is small and typical. Our local medals are actually a lot more impressive.

TRAVEL DETAILS

I’m sharing some of our travel details for those who plan on signing up for Tokyo Marathon in the future.

HOTEL: Keio Plaza Hotel.  Hotel is located across Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building where the race starts.  Do not book at the finish line because this is in the outskirts of the city.  We were quite happy with our rooms, service, location of the hotel (5 minute walk to Shinjuku station), and price.


– Keio Plaza hotel had a Tokyo Marathon booth at the lobby –

AIRLINE: ANA.  We booked ANA because at the time of booking, PAL did not have available afternoon flights.  But, other friends were able to book PAL later on.

FOOD: Great food almost everywhere in Japan.  You’ll find the best restaurants just by seeing the lines outside.  Make sure to have sushi at Tsukiji market.  Drool drool.


– Gabby, Mench, Ton, Angel and I fell in line for sushi at Tsukiji Market. It was so worth the wait! –

SHOPPING: Shop at Ginza (the biggest Uniqlo in the world is there!) and Ometesando for upscale shopping and Takeshita and Harajuku for trendy stuff.


– Shopping at Ometesando –


– Hidden Cat Street by Ometesando –


– Takeshita Street is a small street full of character and trendy items –


– Right by the entrance of Takeshita street are the best tasting Takoyaki balls I’ve ever had. Yummy! –

CITY:  Tokyo was a fantastic city!  To be honest with you, it’s what made the marathon a great one! There’s so many little pockets in the city to visit and so many things to do.  Japanese are generally quiet and keep to themselves, but they are kind and friendly should you need help or engage in small chitchat.  I love it so much that we’re currently planning a trip there with the family this summer.

Part 4: Tokyo Marathon – The Race

Monday, 10 March 2014  |  Race Reports

RACE REPORT: Tokyo Marathon 2014
Date: Sunday, 23 February 2014

Many runners say that Tokyo Marathon is a PR course. The first few kilometers of the race is a gentle downhill through the roads of Shinjuku, majority of the race is flat with only short climbs starting Km 36 so you can imagine the excitement and adrenaline from all 36,000 runners standing at the starting line of this great race in an amazing city. The weather was around 7 degrees, cold for us Pinoys and even colder when the wind would hit, but we all knew that, once we started running, our bodies would warm up and we would be able to run comfortably.

During the first few kilometers, Ton, Lit, and I ran together and tried to stay close to each other as we weaved through the sea of runners. It was downhill alright, but we couldn’t really speed up due to congestion. It was a great warm up to the race.

The start of any marathon is always electrifying and filled with excitement and nerves.  At Tokyo Marathon, it’s made even more interesting by the runners who came in costume.  It’s hard enough to run 42km, but to do it in uncomfortable, bulky garb is something else. I spotted Bumblebee of Transformers, three cute tomatoes, a blind Batman, Jesus Christ running barefoot carrying a cross, and more during the course of the entire run.

There were also a lot of spectators from start to finish.  The crowd support isn’t as big as New York or London nor is it as loud and rowdy, but the Japanese definitely showered us with their hospitality.  They were extremely generous with spectators handing out anything from chocolates to strawberries and oranges to soda. They would often cheer politely: “Ganbare” meaning “Hang in there!” to motivate us runners.

Since we had started at the back of the pack (which was largely our fault because we didn’t arrive earlier), there was extremely high congestion until Km 10.  It was quite tiring to weave through runners.  All the portalets we passed had unbelievably long lines. You would be lucky to catch just 10 runners in line, more often there would be a lot more.  Unlike other races abroad where runners can take to the bushes to relieve themselves, Tokyo is very strict with using only portalets on the race course, not even restrooms at hotels and other establishments are allowed to be used by runners.

Hydration, water and their “sports drink” Amino Value, was overflowing and served about every 2.5km, but Amino Value was problematic for me even before the race started. Amino Value only had amino acids as its ingredient, no added eletrolytes or salt like Gatorade, which I always need to perform in a marathon.  To solve this, I carried 2 sachets of Gatorade Endurance formula on me plus a pack of Gatorade chews.

ON MY OWN

The first few kilometers went by quickly.  Ton, Lit, and I ran as close to each other as possible, but we all had our own plans for the race.  Even before we hit 5km, we all needed to go on potty break.  After seeing the long lines, I told myself I’d rather hold it in than waste over 15 minutes in line. Lit and Ton decided to go on potty and I simply ran ahead.

After making a right at Iidabashi, the course was mostly flat.  From Takebashi, I passed the Imperial Palace, another one of the famous landmarks of Tokyo, which was home to the Tokugawa family.  It was still a bit crowded in this area, but there was definitely a bit more room to move than in earlier kilometres.

Km 10 was marked by Hibiya Park. The course took us towards Shinagawa for up to Km 15 then made a turnaround and headed back to Hibiya Park.  I was feeling strong.  I was on pace.  I was pretty confident I could make my 4:15 target.

At Km 11, I finally saw Tokyo Tower for the first time.  Tokyo Tower is 333m tall and overlooks the entire city of Tokyo.  I was tempted to stop and take a photo as other runners were doing, but this was definitely no time for sightseeing.  I finally felt warm enough to discard my Uniqlo fleece jacket in a clothing bin, which served me well through NYC Marathon and Berlin Marathon.  I kept two gloves on all throughout the race.  Yes, that’s how cold it was.

Sometime during the race, it started to drizzle.  Wait, I looked again and it was snow!  It was my first time to experience snow fall.  I thought about my kids and how they would’ve loved to experience this.  I plodded on.

At around Km 19, I finally spotted a restroom that marshals allowed for us runners to use.  I felt like I had won the lottery when there was only 1 woman in line.  Unfortunately, she took her sweet time in the cubicle and I think I lost almost 5 minutes waiting for her, but still it was a blessing compared to the other lines I had seen earlier in the race.

Km 21 was close to the railway tracks at Yarakucho.  We passed Ginza, the upscale shopping and dining area of Tokyo, much like New York’s 5th Avenue.  The roads were wide and flat.  It was beautiful there!  I couldn’t help but smile even if I was a bit tired.  At this point, my Garmin had registered a full kilometer more than the kilometer markers on the route. This was frustrating, but I chose to focus on the goal.

At Km 22, we turned left at the Ginza 4-chome intersection and headed towards Nihonbashi then towards Asakusa.  A few kilometers later, I spotted a friend, Noey Lopez, who was over 10km ahead of me at Km 34!  The thought left me amazed (and also tired LOL) that I had such a long way to go compared to him.

The new Skytree, a new 634m tall broadcasting tower that provides a fantastic view of the city, marked at Km 27.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see it!  I hit the turnaround at Km 28 where the course took us back to beautiful Ginza where the crowds and cheerers were plentiful and we returned to Ginza 4-chome.

Just before we hit Km 37, the longest climb of the entire marathon and the only major obstacle for what runners say is a PR course, I was struck by cramps.  Cramps?!!  I’ve never gotten cramps in a marathon!  It came so suddenly and with such great strength that it felt like there was a guinea pig doing cartwheels in my inner thigh. I assumed this was due to the lack of sports drinks so I gobbled down the last 3 Gatorade chews I had on me.  Instantly, the cramps disappeared.  I ran only to have them return after a few meters.  I chugged down strawberries and oranges from the spectators and, again, the cramps disappeared!  That cycle repeated itself from Km 36 to 42k.  My pace had slowed to 7.  Gaaaah!  Those last 6 kilometers were the most painful kilometers I’ve ever run in all the past 9 marathons I’ve run.  They felt like forever.  I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry, but I was absolutely sure though that I was going to finish this race come hell or high water.

Soon, we were nearing Tokyo Big Sight, the finish line area.  I passed the arc marked “42km! 0.195km to go!”  I couldn’t feel both my thighs, but I ran through the numbness hoping that my legs wouldn’t betray me by collapsing.  I crossed the finish at 4:37:15 unofficial.


– Selfie as soon as I crossed the finish –

HURT BUT HAPPY

The finish line is quite solemn.  At Tokyo Marathon, there were no screaming spectators nor booming music playing in the background.  All I remember seeing and feeling was a certain calmness.


– Finishers after crossing the finish. –


– Smile naman diyan! –


– with Minnie Mouse at the finish line –

There were hundreds of Japanese spectators on both sides of the finish line, but they watched in silence probably waiting for family to arrive.  The marshals were very pleasant and kind, one even went out of his way to take my photo even if we could barely understand each other.

All finishers lined up to collect our medals, towels, loot bags, bananas, and oranges distributed by volunteers with cheery smiles who would politely congratulate us or gingerly clap their hands before us.  To be honest, I wasn’t quite used to this type of finish. I wanted to scream: “I did it! My 10th marathon!  F@#ck You, cramps!” but it almost felt like they’d pull you out of the line if you misbehaved.


– Got my towel! –


– Volunteers happily hand out fruits –

As I walked alone into the large warehouse holding my baggage, I couldn’t help but feel frustration and disappointment.  I missed my target by a whopping 22 minutes.  I had higher expectations for myself.  I should’ve arrived the race start earlier.  I should’ve known better and I should’ve carried more Gatorade formula on me to prevent cramps.  Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda.


– Wow, baggage claim was quick and organized. Here are the race staff awaiting runners at the baggage claiming. –

Then, I met friends Ton and Lit at the dressing area and we laughed and giggled as we shared our marathon stories.  I realized that it was awfully selfish and shallow of me to dwell on missed targets.  Lit reminded me that we were blessed to finish yet another marathon.

A marathon is a marathon.  From the day we start training until we cross that finish line, so many elements have to come together to run your perfect race.  We try our best and hope for the best, but if things don’t end up as planned, then we correct our mistakes, we lace up, and we train harder.  It’s as simple as that.


– Runners are treated to a foot bath at the finish area –

I have been fortunate enough to run 10 marathons in some of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Even more, I am simply blessed to be able to run.  Thank you, Tokyo, for reminding me about that.


– 10 fingers for 10 marathons! I was happy to have chosen Tokyo as my 10th marathon –


– with Ton and Lit –


– My post run meal at the Tokyo Marathon Festa by the finish line –

Next: Part 5: Tokyo Marathon – Pros & Cons