Race Report: 2014 Run United 1

Monday, 17 March 2014  |  Race Reports

Event: Run United 1
Venue: SM Mall of Asia
Date: March 16, 2014

More than 12,000 runners showed up at SM Mall of Asia yesterday for one of the most anticipated races in the country, Run United 1. A whopping 5,000 21km runners joined the event, a testament to runners being more competitive and advanced in their sport.

Early on, during registration, it was news in the running community that slots, particularly for the 21km, had filled in a matter of days. These slots were in high demand as Run United 1 is the first of a trilogy of races where runners aim to complete their triple medal.

The runners who were lucky enough to bag slots all showed up on race day in their Run United sweat activated singlets and visors. After a few kilometers of sweating during the run, the word “Citius” which means “Faster” in Latin magically appeared at the back of the shirt.

Unilab Active Health truly lived up to its own mantra: “Exceed Yourself.” The race, organized by Run Rio, was once again another perfectly orchestrated event from start to finish. Perhaps the only element that I hope can be improved on is the high congestion on the road, particularly for the 10k distance, but, then again, due to its sheer size, I think the crowd is almost inevitable. Beyond that, the race was fantastic. They even had Parokya ni Edgar at the post race village to entertain the runners. According to Lester Castillo of ULAH, ULAH aims “to provide quality races for progressive athletes who wish to exceed themselves by establishing new PRs, doing higher distances, or having a strong finish.” Looks like they’re doing just that!

Congratulations to Unilab Active Health and Run Rio for another successful event!



After a marathon, my body needs exactly 3 weeks to recover. It may not be the same for you, but, for me, it can’t be any less or more. It is always exactly 3 weeks when I feel like my body has gotten enough rest, my tight muscles have loosened up, and I can finally push my body again to run fast or long.

Last week, I decided to withdraw from Tri United 1 because I felt like I would do my body harm by pushing it to do a triathlon when it was asking for rest and lots of massage. My quads were so tight (as hard as plywood!) that it was causing some discomfort on my left knee.

Yesterday, on the third week after Tokyo Marathon and the day of Run United 1, I felt like I was fully recovered. Ton, Lit, and I signed up for 10k. I planned on running this very easy to test if, indeed, I was right.

– Ton, Lit and I a few seconds after gun start –


When the gun went off, Ton and I were with other triathlete friends, Kesha, Trina, Glenn and Yvonne. As we ran easy along with the crowd of 10k runners, we realized Lit had taken off way ahead of us. We laughed that he had decided to suddenly be competitive again. Before we knew it, Kesha had gone ahead as well and Glenn and Yvonne had disappeared in the crowd. So, it was Ton, Trina, and I who ran together for the rest of the race.

The course is not unfamiliar to us. We’ve run the 21k distance to Run United so often that we can almost run this with our eyes closed. (Okay, maybe just one eye closed!) I won’t lie to you. On this day, I was so glad that we were running only 10k. We ran it slow and easy.

At Km 2, it was quite a surprise for me to hear so many runners around me panting. I could hear the usual barking sound that male runners make when they’re dying midway through the run “Huh! Huh!” How does one tire at only 2 km? Only one answer: If you didn’t train for it! Silently, I made a mental note that we really must find a way to remind beginners to TRAIN for a race before they register for it. 10k, or even a 5k, is no joke for someone who hasn’t run a day in their life!

Soon enough, we hit the turnaround at around 4.5km. What?! So early in the race! We were so used to making a turnaround much farther out in the 21k course that when we turned around so early I almost wanted to scream out in joy.


The last 2k made me a bit nervous. During the past few weeks of running, I would feel the knee pain at the 8th kilometer. I was crossing my fingers and toes that, this time, with rest and some therapy at Peak Form, my knee was completely fine.

As we neared the finish, the crowd got bigger with other race distances merging as we re-entered SM Mall of Asia.  This was no problem for me as I enjoyed the easy pace.  Lit waved to Ton and I as he waited for us on the other side of the road having finished earlier.

Trina had gone ahead at the last kilometer, so Ton and I ran with ease, all smiles, and, for me, absolutely no pain, baby! It was a great way to run my last day of recovery and my first day of getting back into training mode.

– Ton and I with the birthday boy, Coach Rio, who celebrated his birthday yesterday –

– Lotsa finishers at the post race area! –

– with Trina, Kesha, Papoo, Gilbert, Mark, Eric, Lit, Ton, and Mark –

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.


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.


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.


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! –


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:


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.