Watsons Sun Up to Sun Down

Tuesday, 25 March 2014  |  News + Promos

Women’s Health Philippines in partnership with Watsons is inviting women to join a full day of activities on April 9.

The schedule of the classes are as follows:

1. 11:30 – 12:30 Sunrise Flow (yoga)
2. 1:30 – 2:30 Zumba
3. 3:00 – 4:00 African Jam (upbeat dance class)
4. 4:00 – 5:00 Hot Hula (hula upbeat dance class)

Here’s the mechanics:

I’ve signed up for the Sunrise Flow. Woohoo! Hope to see you there!

Style Weekend’s Women Who Wow

Tuesday, 25 March 2014  |  Press

In celebration of Women’s Month, Manila Bulletin’s Style Weekend featured 7 Women Who Wow on its anniversary issue last March 14, 2014.  The Women Who Wow were Sarah Geronimo, Marina Benipayo, Bianca Gonzalez, Amina Aranaz, Kate Torralba, Gaita Fores, and yours truly!  It was definitely an honor to be recognized along with these accomplished women.

– The Cover –

– Photo shoot with Eddie Boy Escudero whose son, coincidentally, ran TBR ULAH Dream Marathon just a few days before our shoot –

Last March 19, I slipped out of my running shoes and stepped into heels (Yeoouch! This is tough when you’ve got sore feet) for the Women Who Wow party at 71 Gramercy.  It was great to meet and chat with all the other Women Who Wow.

– Invite to Style Weekend’s Women Who Wow –

– with Marina Benipayo, Liza Ilarde, Gaita Fores, and Bianca Gonzales –

The best part of the evening was when Liza Ilarde, editor of Style Weekend, presented each one of us with checks to be donated to our chosen beneficiaries!  How cool is that?  I chose Hero Foundation, our beneficiary for all our TBR events, as our beneficiary.

Thank you to Liza Ilarde, Style Weekend, and Manila Bulletin for the recognition and the support for Hero!

New Gear: Garmin Vivofit

Monday, 24 March 2014  |  Gear + Gadgets

Garmin recently announced the launch of Vívofit (veevo-fit) — a stylish, lightweight fitness band designed to turn good intentions into lifelong habits.  I haven’t seen one yet, but it seems to me that it’s very similar to Nike’s Fuel Band.  These products are geared more for the fitness enthusiast rather than the endurance athlete.  Methinks my sister will like this!


  • only fitness band that automatically greets users with a personalized daily goal, tracks their progress and reminds them when it’s time to move
  • shows steps, goal countdown, calories, distance, and time of day
  • has a unique, curved display
  • batteries last over one year and are replaceable
  • water-resistant (50m)
  • compatible with ANT+™ heart rate monitors1 for fitness activities


Vívofit learns users’ current activity level, then assigns an attainable daily goal. As milestones are met, vívofit will adjust the goal for the next day. Research shows prolonged periods of inactivity, such as sitting at a desk, decreases the body’s production of fat-burning enzymes. Taking frequent, short walk breaks throughout the day can reverse this. And while it is easy to lose track of time and forget to move, vívofit knows. A red move bar appears on the display after one hour of inactivity and builds when users have been sitting too long. Walking for a couple of minutes will reset the move bar, and get users out of the red.

Vívofit follows progress 24/7, and it can stay on for more than a year without a battery change. Setting the sleep mode when going to bed allows vívofit to monitor the quality of rest. With the touch of one button, users can wirelessly sync vívofit with Garmin Connect™, a free online fitness community with currently over four billion miles uploaded by users. At Garmin Connect, users can see a complete picture of their progress through easy to read reports and graphical representations, including their total sleep hours, as well as periods of movement and restful sleep. Also at Garmin Connect, users can join online challenges with other vívofit users or start their own competitions with friends to compete for virtual badges and bragging rights. Users can access this free online community from their computer or on their compatible mobile device2 with the Garmin Connect™ Mobile app.

Using a heart rate monitor with vívofit to record heart rate and zone data will achieve more accurate calorie burn information for any fitness activity, such as a run or a cardio class at the gym. The vívofit band is water-resistant, so it can be worn in the shower or get caught in the rain, worry-free.


Vívofit is available in black, purple, teal, blue and slate and both small and large sizes come in the box.

Vívofit retail price: Php8,450.00

For now, Vivofit is available at R.O.X. and selected bike shops.


Preventing Injury at Peak Form

Friday, 21 March 2014  |  Therapy + Injury

So I felt a minor discomfort on my left knee after Tokyo Marathon. Boo! It started rearing its ugly head as we shuffled from Omotesando to Takeshita to Ginza on our last day in Tokyo. When we arrived in Manila, it went on full throttle when I ran the next weekend and the weekend after. Still, after years of running, I knew my body well, especially my perennially injured legs, and I wasn’t too quick to call it an injury. It wasn’t…yet. I had to be careful and I did what I could to keep injury at bay.

What did I do? First, with a heavy heart, I decided to skip Tri United 1 which was two weeks after Tokyo Marathon.  Upon registering for this race months before, it seemed like a good idea (yeah, like my first boyfriend!) but, after the marathon, I thought: What the hell was I thinking?!  I knew that it always takes my body a full 3 weeks to recover from a marathon.  I should’ve known better and planned my race calendar well.  Lesson learned there.

Second, I went for therapy at Peak Form.  My guess was that my quads were tight and tugging at my knee caps, thus causing pain.  When Archie, the therapist, checked, he confirmed that my quads were indeed as hard as a rock.  (Told ya I know my body well!)  For the next two weeks, I paid Archie a visit twice a week.  By last Sunday, Run United 1, not only were Archie and I like best buds (LOL) I was also able to run 10k without any hint of pain!  Woot woot!

– with my therapist, Archie. He says he wants to join TBR Dream next year! –

So, last Wednesday, I pushed the door of Peak Form open squealing with delight that it was probably the last time (at least in a long time) that I’d be seeing them again!  I was fully recovered!  (Er, knock on wood for me please.)

– Entrance to Peak Form –

– Highway to injury-free heaven LOL –

– Ms. Nikki of Peak Form –

Just in case, you’re feeling some niggling discomfort, tightness in your legs, or heaviness after an easy run, or if you’re injured and you need physical therapy, perhaps you would like to get some therapy done.  There are quite a number of clinics that offer sports therapy nowadays, but I would recommend Peak Form for the following reasons:

1. They have a special Runners’ Deluxe Package.  Yup, they have a package especially for runners like you and me.  This consists of the following treatments: Laser or Ultrasound depending on the area, Myofascial release, Stretching, and Cryotherapy.

– Laser to crush those nodules! –

2.  They’re located at Bonifacio Global City.  Convenient and accessible.  Heck, you can drop by before or after a run.

3.  They’ve got this cool new machine called Shockwave Therapy.  It works like the oh-so painful myofascial release but without the pain!  You feel some pressure, but it’s definitely manageable.  It’s the new best friend of people who suffer from ITBS or Runner’s Knee.  Yup, that’s me.

– 2 sessions of Shockwave on my tight quads and I was back on the road, baby! –

– Shockwave on my foot. Just felt tightness from this area which needed releasing –

4. They have my favorite Cryo machine which blasts cold air onto your body instead of therapists using messy ice bags.

5.  Staff are friendly, knowledgeable and efficient.  You can chat about running and sports as they work their magic on you.

Peak Form is at Unit 807, The Infinity Building, 26th St., Bonifacio Global City.  Call 478-9408 or 0916-353-4485 to make an appointment.

Inside the Unilab Active Health Camp Alpha Triathlon Weekend

Tuesday, 18 March 2014  |  Running + Triathlon

I was so focused on training for Tokyo Marathon early this year that swimming and biking took a backseat. I used to hear from my tri coach, Andy Leuterio, every week. Now, I don’t even know who his new “victims” are LOL.

It was nice to hear about the success of Coach Andy’s Unilab Active Health Camp Alpha Triathlon Weekend went though. Methinks I’ll be joining the next one in preparation for Tri United 2.

Here’s the PRESS RELEASE and photos from the Coach himself…

Celma “Chang” Hitalia didn’t know what to expect coming into the Unilab Active Health Camp Alpha training weekend. Presented by SPECIALIZED and organized by Coach Andy Leuterio, who has a reputation for creating some of the most demanding training regimens for Age Group athletes, the camp was part science and part Old School work ethic.

– Day 1 of Orientation –

“We use modern tools like power meters, GPS, and Heart Rate Monitors, among others, and we track athlete’s progression through an online system, but at the end of the day it’s still about doing the work”, says Coach Andy. “You could have the nicest tri toys in your bag, but if you don’t know how to use them, much less have the commitment to do the training day in and day out, then that’s just what they are: toys.”, he explains.

– Coach Andy talks about the science of triathlon –

As for Celma, she had the objective of using the weekend to prepare for Challenge Philippines, a half-Iron distance race that was being touted as the toughest race in the country. “I had ridden the course several times and was very nervous about the descents”, says Chang. “When I first rode with Chang, I noticed she had exceptional strength and grit,” says Coach Andy. “I took her and Vanj Endaya, another client, down a steep hill to test their handling skills. Then I made them time trial back up to get a feel for proper pacing and to figure out their threshold. By the end of the 5-hour ride, both women were exhausted but still smiling. They’re fighters!”, he enthuses.

– Celma Hitalia climbing Punta Fuego –

– Vanj Endaya training for Challenge Philippines –

– Coach Andy and Coach Keshia –
“They had the work ethic already. All they needed was a little help to figure out the science behind everything, not to mention work on their descending skills. You can have all the fitness in the world, but if you can’t speed down a mountain safely, you can still lose. You can’t win if you’re dead”, says Coach Andy.

– Swimming at The Village –

– Running sessions –

– Bike skills course –

Each camp is broken down into two legs: “Orientation”, and “Selection”. The former is held at The Village Sports Club in BF Homes, Paranaque, and focuses more on technique improvement in swimming, biking, and running, as well as the staple workouts a triathlete must do throughout a season. “We spend the morning working out, then several hours after in a classroom-type lecture and Q&A. We discuss training with metrics like Heart Rate, power, Pace, planning the season, and even the mental aspects of being a successful triathlete”, shares Coach Andy. “My goal is to share with them what I’ve learned through the years. Yes, you have to work hard, but you don’t have to give up everything else. It’s about making effective use of your limited training time”, he adds.

Among Coach Andy’s client roster are regular podium finishers like Javy Olives and Andrew Arellano, both of whom also broke the 5-hour barrier at the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Philippines. He is particularly proud of one client from Bacolod, Medy Martinez. “She is a terrific athlete, in the 50-up Age Group category. She only started last year, but did very well at the Ironman 70.3 in Cebu, chopping around an hour and a half of her time from her first, un-coached half. After that race, she did Defy 123 in Bohol and won the 45-up category!”, says Coach Andy.

After the “Orientation” weekend, camp participants move onto “Selection” phase held at Sandari Batulao in Batangas. With spectacular views, hilly terrain, and an exclusive feel, Sandari provides the ideal venue for triathletes who want no distractions during the weekend. Its first big workout was a ride with no less than 8 steep hills over 90 kilometers followed by an hour run under the noontime sun. Afterwards was a hard swim session. The next day had more swimming, riding, and running. By the end of the weekend each participant had done more than enough miles to finish a half Iron-distance race and then some. For the long rides out, Specialized provided invaluable mechanical support. Aside from having a mechanic onboard, the Specialized SAG van adds to the safety of all participants. “Riding on public roads can be dangerous”, says Coach Andy. “Just having a big van trailing the group creates a deterrent for other motorists to be more careful when overtaking. And when they get a flat or have some sort of mechanical problem, the mechanic fixes everything quickly so you can concentrate on the workout. If you get hungry or need a drink, we have food and gallons of Gatorade in the van. That’s not something you can duplicate on a solo ride”, he adds.

“Selection” phase is also a final “big test” for participants who wish to avail of Coach Andy’s “Black” training program. “Apart from the camps, most of my training is done online. For that to work, I need the client to be responsible logging his or her training, and corresponding with me regularly”, he explains.

“All clients start out with a personalized ‘Red’ program, which I review on a monthly basis. But if they want me to review and adjust their programs more frequently, and if they want the most challenging program as well, then they have to apply for the ‘Black’ status”, says Coach Andy. To earn that limited slot, participants must not only attend both “Orientation” and “Selection”, but also post improvements in certain time trials as well as complete several grueling sessions.

“It’s also a reality check for them”, he explains. “If you say you want to break through this year, will you really do the work I say you have to do? Do you have the tenacity to keep going even when setbacks come your way? If you can prove that you do, then great! Let’s give you a ‘Black’ program. If you find that you want something more doable given your situation, but you still want to finish strong, then ‘Red’ will work best for you. It’s still quite challenging! You can always “tri out” for ‘Black’ in the next camp”, says Coach Andy.

Happily, Celma survived the camp and did very well at her first big race of the year. Against a very strong field, and on especially hilly terrain, she ran her way up to the podium for 2nd place in her Age Group.

“It took me almost 5 hours when I did my first Challenge recon ride in December. But come race day, I was able to do it in 4:08:36. I was able to attack those hills with the confidence and skills I learned from the camp! I’m one very happy Camp Alpha alumni here!”, she says. Vanj had a similar benefit from the camp. “Coming into the camp, I expected it would help me perform better, physically and mentally, for my upcoming races. True enough, I posted one of the fastest bike split among Filipina participants”, she says.

The next leg of the Unilab Active Health Camp Alpha will be on May 3-4 and June 20-21. Presented by SPECIALIZED and sponsored by Newton Running and RUNNR, the camp is open to all triathletes who would like to make 2014 their breakthrough year. Inquiries can be sent to Coach Andy at alpha_tri@yahoo.com .