Barefoot Runner Michael Sandlers in a Near Death Accident

Wednesday, 4 September 2013  |  Bullish Insights

Last 2011, Michael Sandler and his wife Jessica, best-selling authors of Barefoot Running and Barefoot Walking, visited Manila to promote their books and barefoot running.  I met them that evening at R.O.X. and learned that they had only recently gotten married and that trip was actually their honeymoon.  That same year, Michael wrote an article for TBR Magazine – Jan/Feb 2011 on Barefoot Running.  Last year, Michael and Jessica produced their own DVD on Barefoot Running and were kind enough to send me a copy.


This week, I received this shocking note from Michael:

Dear Friends and Family,

Many of you know I recently had a very serious accident.

This year I went on tour for Barefoot Walking. While on tour, I had incredibly bad “luck” with a rental RV. First the heater went out leaving me freezing for 2 days straight and a fever for 6 days. The electrical system went out repeatedly. The serpentine belt cut the wiring harness as it shredded and broke too. Then there was a break-in with all of my electronics and cell-phone stolen, plus 2 car accidents later the same day. And last, after picking up Jessica to return the lemon back to the dealership early, the transmission died, leaving us stranded for nearly a week. These were strong signs we needed to do things differently.

Then while returning the RV to the dealership, we went for one last hike. And after swimming in a snow-melt waterfall, I put on my leather moccasins to stay warm on our return. I should have stayed barefoot. Unfortunately, the moccasins didn’t have any traction and I slipped in a stream crossing, landing on a pyramid-shaped rock, shattering my leg on impact. I thought I might die, and it was the scariest 2 hours of my life. But it was also life-changing. I was stuck in freezing snow-melt water, bleeding internally, but with Jessica by my side. At first I stopped breathing, then forced myself to breathe, half-here, and half-not for 2 hours until search and rescue stabilized me and helicoptered me away.

I’m expected to make a full recovery, but it’s been incredibly challenging. I can’t travel at the moment, and all of our savings went into our book tour and inventory for it. Plus we’re facing massive medical bills, and costs to help me recover. So we’re having to simplify our lives and downsize.

However, we’re incredibly thankful. We’ve learned so much from this and Jessica calls it “the best thing that ever happened to us”. So, as good writers, we’re writing a book about our healing adventure, and what we’ve learned which can help others overcome massive hurdles in their lives as well.

– Michael’s first time out of the hospital –

Thank you for your love and support.




Michael and Jessica didn’t let this accident get them down.  Instead, they took the lessons they could gain from it and wrote a book entitled Breathe Love.  They then created a crowdfunding site to raise funds to publish the book.  To know more about it and if you would like to help, click on the link below:

Breathe Love

To Michael, I wish for a speedy recovery for you.  May you and Jessica continue to be an inspiration to others in living life with optimism, courage, and love.

12 Tips on Getting Back into the Game after an Injury or Accident

Wednesday, 10 July 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

So I crashed on my bike 11 days ago.  (If you missed reading the drama of it all, you can hop on over to this post.)  And I’m currently dealing with a foot injury that is taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to heal.  And, to top it all off, I’m still uncertain if I can actually survive Ironman 70.3 Cebu on this delicate foot.

But, the past 11 days, despite the frustration and worry, I did have mini triumphs.  Okay, I take it back, they were huge achievements for little ol’ me!

First, I got back on the bike again.  Just the trainer since I was delayed in having my bike repaired. But, hey, that’s a start right?!  In fact, I think I got gigil.  I was on the trainer 4x last week, including a ride during our short family vacation in Tali.

– 60k in Tali to be one with those who joined Tri United 2, my missed race, wherein they covered 2k swim-60k ride-15k run –

Second, as soon as my wounds healed, I got back into the pool!

– I covered practically healed wound with Tergaderm and Gladwrap just to be sure! –

And, last but not the least, just this morning, I was able to run my longest since April!  A 10k without pain and with friends!

– Fun run with friends! Photo courtesy of Kaye Pascual –

As my way of giving back, I’d like to share with you some tips I learned during the past several days on getting back on the road after a crash or injury:


1) If you crashed on your bike, get back on the road as soon as you can to reduce your fear.  As long as you are well already, you must mentally overcome the trauma from the accident by hopping on your bike again.  Now, I was advised to ride the exact route of the accident, but that I may have to disagree with.  I don’t intend to ride that route ever again! LOL

2) Check your helmet and bike.  Before you bike, make sure your bike has been serviced and checked for any damage by a good mechanic.  Check your helmet as well for cracks.  I learned after the accident that bike helmets actually have an expiration date.  So, even if your old bike helmet looks intact, make sure that the foam inside can still absorb impact well.

3) Take care of your wounds.  Tergaderm, a waterproof, breathable bandage sold at Mercury Drug, was my best buddy throughout this ordeal.  I also used Fucidin, a gauze with antibiotic that didn’t stick to the wound like regular gauze did.  Both allowed my wounds to heal rapidly while being protected.  It also allowed me to bike and run.  As for swimming, swim only when the open wounds have healed.  It can get infected in the pool.  You also don’t want to spread your germs in the water.

4) If you can, swim in the sea.  We all know that salt water can heal wounds.  I took a trip to the beach and soaked in the water despite how painful it was. (I’m wincing as I type this) But, by the second day, most of my wounds had miraculously dried up!  (So dry that I got to swim again with my Coach 10 days after the crash!)


5) Start slow.  Even if you feel fully recovered, get back into running slowly.  Build your base again before speeding up.  Do not get overly excited about getting back into running.  (Take it from me! I’ve made this mistake quite a number of times heehee)

6) Get therapy.  Don’t stop therapy, such as deep tissue massage or ultrasound, just because you’re feeling better.  Try to continue what you were doing that helped you to recover.  I go to Peak Form at the 2nd Floor of Riovana for my therapy.

7) Strengthen.  Most of our running injuries are due to muscle imbalances.  If you don’t want to reinjure yourself, you must find the long term solution to your problem.  Most of the time, common running injuries can be corrected with strengthening exercises you can easily do at home or in the gym.  Ask a running coach, ortho surgeon, or a gym trainer about the proper exercises.

8)  Stretch.  I’ve found that one of the best ways for me to prevent and recover from any kind of injury is to stretch often.  I stretch after each run (never before a run when the muscles are cold).  I also try to have a yoga session at least once a week.

9) Run on the treadmill first.  When you’re just testing your legs again after an injury, it’s best to go on a treadmill which is softer than the road.  This provides less impact on your body.  It also allows you to quit immediately should you feel pain as opposed to being stuck in the middle of nowhere outdoors and having to walk back and risk re-injury.

10) Run-Walk.  There’s no better way to slowly get back into running then to practice the run-walk technique.  Try running 5 mins and walk 1 minute or, like what I did, run 3 minutes then walk 30 seconds.  The walk breaks may seem like nothing but they do make a huge difference in giving your muscles a time to rest even briefly.

11) Think about time, not distance.  When you’re just getting back into running, you may feel disappointed over the short distance you’re covering, especially if you’re used to running longer distances.  Try not to get frustrated over this.  Watch the clock instead and target time, not distance.

12) Celebrate the little victories.  Always be thankful for having the opportunity to swim, bike, or run again. Every little achievement counts especially after you’ve been through a trial, such as an accident or injury.  Know that you’ve come out better, stronger, and ready to fight another day!

If you have any other tips to share, feel free to post!

Of Crashes, Injuries, and Miracles

Monday, 1 July 2013  |  Bullish Insights

“A miracle is a shift in perspective” 

– quoted by Gabby Bernstein from A Course in Miracles

The Crash

I woke up on the sidewalk of Daang Hari Road with my friends and a crowd of bikers hovering over me. What happened? Where was I? In my mind, I had been pleasantly biking along. Last I remember was thinking we were definitely going to reach our 100k target because we all felt strong and fresh at around 57k.

My friends told me I had crashed. The look of worry on their faces was indescribable. They said they heard me scream and, within a few seconds, I keeled over to my right side, slammed my head, elbow, and legs on the ground, and skidded with my bike for a few meters on the rough concrete. They said I lay still on the middle of the road for a long 2 minutes. By then, a crowd of bikers stopped and blocked the road from oncoming vehicles for us. I was breathing, then I began to mumble words. I even managed to give my cellphone password so they could call my driver to fetch us. My friends knew I was alive, but they worried about the damage done on my body.

I woke up dazed, confused, and clueless. I could not remember anything from the accident. I tried to remember the names of my kids, Anton & Nia, and when I said their names I heaved a sigh of relief that I didn’t suffer from amnesia. I asked my friends what happened and they explained it in detail. At that time, I thought I had been conversing normally with them. Later that afternoon, they admitted that they feared for me because I had asked them the same question and they answered in full detail five times over.

I was rushed to the Emergency Room of Asian Hospital. I had a CT scan, xrays, and treatment of my wounds. I was cleared from any brain trauma and broken bones. I went home with five huge wounds on my right arm and legs (aka tocino as the bikers like to call it), a bump on the right side of my head, neckpain, a cracked helmet, and a scraped handlebar on the bike as souvenirs. Still, I felt blessed to be alive. It could have been a lot worse and I was lucky.

– In the ER of Asian –

– My cracked Specialized helmet kept me safe. Thanks to Dan’s Warehouse for offering to replace it upon hearing of my accident –

The Injury

The accident put things into perspective for me. You see, for the past two months now, since the day after London Marathon last April 21, I’ve been suffering from Post-Tibial Tendonitis. Post-Tib is an injury on the inner ankle often caused by overuse. Flat footed runners, such as myself, are more susceptible to this.

For the past months, I’ve barely been able to run. With Tri United 2 and Ironman Cebu 70.3, I’ve been worried, frustrated, sad, and angry. Even if there weren’t any upcoming races, I still would’ve felt the same way because, well, you know me, I just need my running.

For the most part though, I’ve been trying to be optimistic about the injury. I got therapy done at Peak Form regularly. I had my foot taped with Rocktape.  I focused more on what I could do such as swim and bike rather than what I could not do. And, I even refused to rant about it on this blog thinking it would go away if I didn’t acknowledge it. (Yeah right, LOL!)

It’s NOT The End

So, I haven’t been running because of the injury. I can’t swim because of the accident. I’m skipping Tri United 2 this weekend. And, Ironman Cebu 70.3? Hmmm that’s up in the air right now.

It sucks. Yes, it really does.

Usually, I’ll throw a tantrum about how 6 months of training has gone down the drain, how unfair life is, and proceed to drown in my sorrows with a bottle of Nutella. But, for some reason, I don’t feel like doing that at all. I’m disappointed, but I’m not devastated.

Like I said, the accident put things into perspective for me. In the blink of an eye, without warning, my life could’ve ended, yet I came out with wounds that will heal in time. To complain about an accident, an injury, or a missed race at this point seems silly or, worse, ungrateful. It’s a miracle I’m alive.

I came home that morning of the accident and kissed my kids on their cheeks as they ate breakfast. I whispered my kids names to myself again, Anton and Nia, and scooped a spoonful of Nutella into my mouth. Life is good.


Close Call

Wednesday, 8 July 2009  |  Bullish Insights


On most days, we take everything for granted: the air we breathe, waking up beside a loved one, the safe trip to work, or an incident-free race.  We live our lives fulfilling our daily duties expecting all things to go our way—and usually they do.


But, there are those rare occasions when something happens to wake you up from your slumber and remind you of what you have—or worse, what you once had and suddenly lost in the blink of an eye.


Your father slips away after he is checked out of the hospital and nothing is the same anymore.  A child is crushed to death in a tragic school accident and, as a mother, you hug your children a little bit tighter that day.  Michael Jackson dies and an entire world is jolted.


This morning was one of those days, the ones that tap you on the shoulder to remind you that you are blessed and you should be thankful for what you have.


I drove the kids to school as I always do every weekday morning.  Parked the car and stepped out to unload my son’s bags in the trunk while my son got out and waited for me at the sidewalk.  My daughter was left seated in the backseat.  I gave my son his bag, put his nametag around his neck, told him I loved him, and kissed him goodbye.  As I headed back to the car, which was just a meter away, I watched in horror as the car behind mine slowly rolled down the road and bumped my car.  


I checked my daughter.  She was fine.  The little one murmured that she just felt butterflies in her stomach when she felt the nudge.


The owner of the car quickly apologized and said the damage was minor.  Just a quick paint job on the bumper should do the trick, he said.  I agreed.  When I asked how it happened, he said his preschooler was alone in the car playing with the breaks.  (Errr, please don’t ask me to comment about this because it would take up an entirely new post.)


The man apologized profusely and I, perhaps still unable to fully wrap my brains around the whole incident, told him gently and even with a smile “What if I was getting my son’s bags in the trunk when it happened?”  He didn’t answer.  And I didn’t want to think about it.


But that’s all I could think of today…all the What ifs…


What if I had been 30 seconds late in unloading my son’s bags that day? 


What if my son had followed me to the rear of the car?


What if another student had passed between the two cars right before the breaks were released?


What if the car was farther up on the road and it gained speed before it hit mine with my daughter inside?


What if I had been crushed in between the cars, got my knees broken, and was told that I could never ever run again?


Today, I’m going to pray a little longer with a special thank you to my guardian angels for watching over us.  Today, I’m going to hug my husband and kids a little bit tighter.  Today and everyday from hereon, I’ll try to be more grateful for all that I have: food, shelter, good health, little luxuries, and, of course, the opportunity to run.