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.

The Road to Ironman 70.3 Cebu and 5 Lessons I Learned While Training

Sunday, 21 July 2013  |  Bullish Insights

Life is like a triathlon. You train hard, you prepare for all possible scenarios, then you hope for the best and go out there to race. Sometimes, every thing turns out as planned. Other times, you get a little surprise.

For the past months, the road to Ironman 70.3 Cebu has thrown in quite a number of surprises for me. I got injured in April, crashed on my bike in July, and, just last week, sprained my rib area while doing ab work.

The thing is, my wounds healed so I got to swim 10 days after the crash. I pushed myself to overcome my fear after the crash and rode 100k alone two weeks after. The ribs?  It’s just uncomfortable; I can swim and run through it.  And, as of today, I got to run 12k with friends, Joey, Nona, JR, and Joel, without a single niggle of pain. Yes, injuries do heal!

– As if the injury free run wasn’t enough to make my day, I bumped into these guys at the parking lot. ALL of them are TBR Dream Alumni from Batches 2, 3, and 4. So happy to see them training for Milo Marathon while the others have gone into triathlon –

After months of uncertainty, today, a mere 14 days before race day, I know for sure that I can—and will—race Ironman 70.3 Cebu. Sure, it won’t be my best performance and maybe I won’t be able to beat my own time last year. But, I will try my best.  As my Coach, Andy Leuterio said, “You will race it like a warrior!”  Hey, after the hell that I’ve been through, crossing that finish line will be a celebration in itself.

Here are five things I learned during the past 7 months of joy, frustration, and pain while training for Ironman 70.3 Cebu that can probably be applied to running, triathlon, and other aspects of life:

1) Clearly define your goals. Are you aiming to finish, to improve your time, or to have fun? Should trials arise, such as problems with time management or training, then go back to those goals and make a decision based on that. I’ve found that, as the race draws near, there’s a tendency to keep up with Joneses and you worry if you’re training long or hard enough. Thankfully, I have the kind of personality where I don’t really care what other people are doing or thinking as long as I’ve done my best and set out what I planned to accomplish. I’m such a Bull, I know.

2) You decide. In triathlon, you can be part of a team, you can have a great Coach by your side, and you can have friends to support you all the way. But, at the end of the day, it’s all you. You decide how hard you’re going to push yourself during training. You decide if you’re willing to commit X amount of time to your already full schedule and if a medal is all worth it. You decide how you want a bike accident to affect you. If you do make it to race day, there’s no one else to praise (or blame) but you.

3) It’s a mind game. You can train your body to swim, bike, and run any distance, but if the mind is weak, then you’ll have a problem. For marathons and triathlon where you have to dig deep during training and on race day, you need the will, commitment, and determination to overcome the pain because (if you don’t know yet then let me tell you now), it may hurt like hell during the last few meters to the finish, but it will be pure bliss when you hang that medal around your neck.

4) People don’t care. Now, I don’t mean that your friends don’t care for you. Triathletes, based on my little experience being in triathlon for just a year now, are a great bunch who sincerely help newbies out and support others who share a common passion for the sport. But, they are also too busy swimming, biking, and running and living their own lives to care about that protruding tummy of yours in your trisuit or how slow you are on the bike. In other words, just do your own thing and ask for help when needed. Most triathletes are willing to help and they don’t really care about the little things that you are insecure about. (Just make sure to inhale during photos.)

5) Balance everything. Triathlon is like life, but it is NOT your life. (Well, at least for most of us age-groupers it’s not.) So, while you’ve been bitten by the bug and you would love to swim, bike, and run as much as you can, don’t forget that there’s more to life out there. There’s fulfilling work, a loving family, and awesome non-athlete friends who can make you just as happy too (and, guess what, they don’t want to know how long you rode or ran today.) If you keep this in mind, then any misfortunes in triathlon—a bike crash, an injury, or a missed race—will be nothing more but bumps on the road. The journey goes on.

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!

8 Ways to Manage Illiotibial Band Syndrome or ITBS for Runners

Friday, 22 June 2012  |  Therapy + Injury

Lucky is the runner that doesn’t have to deal with any injuries. At one time or another, most runners will be faced with an injury; it’s just part of life as a runner. One learns how to manage it and prevent any major problems to allow us to continue doing the sport we love.

One of the most common running injuries is Illiotibial Band Syndrome or ITBS. Here’s a definition from

Iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS, is due to inflammation of the iliotibial band, a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the leg. The iliotibial band begins at the hip and extends to the outer side of the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee joint. The band functions in coordination with several of the thigh muscles to provide stability to the outside of the knee joint.

I first felt the symptoms of ITBS in late 2008. Completely unaware of what I should’ve been doing to appease my angry, tight muscles, I proceeded to run as fast and often as I could. What happened? ITBS went on full attack during my half marathon in Standard Chartered Singapore Half Marathon. At Km 19—yes, just 2 km shy of the finish, my left knee locked and refused to bend. I wobbled like Erap to a slow and excruciating finish.

– Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2008. Pain pain pain –

It happened again in New York City Marathon 2010. Dormant for over a year, ITBS decided to unleash an all out war against me during the race that I spent 4 months preparing for. You really just wanna strangle this annoying injury if you could.

ITBS is nasty and evil. And, I must admit, it’s a lot more stubborn then I am. Left unmanaged, it will worsen until you reach the point when every step is so excruciating you won’t be able to run. BUT, if you learn how to manage ITBS as soon as you feel tightness in the ITB or soreness in the knee, then you can enjoy your runs with little worry.

Here’s what I do whenever I feel any symptoms of ITBS arising. It’s based on years of personal experience dealing with ITBS, but I’m no doctor so this should not replace a consultation with an expert.

1. Wear compression tights. This is the first thing I do when I feel even the slightest symptoms of ITBS returning. During every run, no matter how hot it is out there, I wear my compression tights. I use 2XU because it’s light, comfortable, and flexible (not as stiff as other brands). During cooler months, I use CW-X, which is a bit thicker than 2XU, but has a special model to address ITBS.  I believe there’s a newer model of CW-X tights that are lighter.  I  hope Runnr brings it in soon.

2. Change shoes. It used to be that once I found the perfect pair for my feet, I would use that shoe for every single run. I felt safe in them. But, Hector Yuzon of SecondWind advised me to regularly change shoes. When I feel the slightest soreness on my knee or tightness on the ITB, I modify something in my footwear, be it a change of shoes, replacing of insoles, or putting them back on or removing them.

3. Foam roll. To ease the tight ITB muscles, I foam roll three to four times a day for 10 minutes. Roll on those tight muscles gingerly. You’ll feel the nodules fighting it out and it can be quite painful, but you gotta do what you gotta do to run again. I got my foam roller at Chris Sports for around P1,000, but I think most sports stores will have them. I also once used a PVC pipe and wrapped a yoga mat around it. If you’re on a budget, this works well too.  Click HERE to read my old post on Foam Rollers.


4. Tiger Tail. On top of the foam roller (I know I can be quite obsessive about battling ITBS), I use the tiger tail right after I run or while I’m watching TV. Just roll over the tight areas of your leg. While you’re at it, roll over the calves, quads, and hamstrings too. Tiger Tail is available in Chris Sports for around P1000.  Click HERE to read my old post about Tiger Tail.


5. Deep tissue massage and therapy. Even if you foam roll and tiger tail, there’s nothing like a physical therapist’s expert strokes to remove those nodules. I visit Peak Form Sports Recovery Center (formerly Riovana Sports Recovery Center) at the 2nd floor of Riovana for a session of ultrasound, laser, deep tissue massage, stretching and finally cryo therapy at least once a week until the ITBS is gone. This center is owned by ortho-surgeon Dr. Gary Eufemio and Coach Jim Saret so you know you’re well taken care of.  Click HERE to read about it and for contact info.

6. Stretch. You should be doing this even if you don’t have any ITBS. Always stretch AFTER a run. For the ITBS, my favorite stretch is this: I stand with my left leg over the right leg.  I stretch my left arm over my head reaching over to the right side.  You’ll feel the stretch up to the hip.  Do it again on the other side.  I do this after every run.  And, I also do it at home as often as I can. Click HERE for a visual.

7. Strength training. ITBS is caused my a muscle imbalance. Your ITB is tight because your VMO (inner thigh muscles) aren’t strong enough. So, with every step during a run, there’s an imbalance. You must strengthen the VMO to correct this. You can head to the gym and do some hip abductor exercises. Or you can purchase therabands and do the work at home.

8. Dry needling. This is my last resort if, after 2 weeks doing nos. 1 to 6, the ITB is still not budging. This is still a pretty controversial form of therapy; some say it works, some say it doesn’t.  For me, it provided immediate relief from the tightness.  I go to Dr. George Canlas’ clinic at Moro Lorenzo Sports Center in Ateneo. You’ll have to get a consult with him and ask if he would recommend dry needling for your case. Aspi is my go-to dry needling guy here.  Click HERE to read my old article on Dry Needling.

With dry needling, the therapist pops a large needle directly into the tight muscles in your leg. You’ll feel like you’re being electrocuted; sometimes you’ll cringe and even cry because of the pain. It’s painful. (They say it makes PBA players cry!) Your muscles will be sore the following day. But, it can definitely rid all the tightness without the slow and painful strokes of a massage. The downside? The relief is temporary. Once you run again, the tightness will return.

So, guys and girls, that’s what I do to fight ITBS. Once you get ITBS, the battle doesn’t really end. Every time you up your mileage or train for a marathon, the symptoms reappear (well, at least for unlucky flatfooted me.) As a runner, you learn how to manage an injury wisely and keep it from preventing you to run. You gotta teach those injuries who’s boss!

Riovana Sports Recovery Center

Tuesday, 24 January 2012  |  Therapy + Injury

I’m a sucker for spas and deep tissue massages. I also know the value of therapy and treatments for muscle tightness or injuries performed by licensed physical therapists. So, when I dropped by the new Sports Recovery Center on the 2nd floor of Riovana in Bonifacio High Street, I thought I had died and gone to runner’s heaven.

The new Riovana Sports Recovery Center recently opened to service athletes, specifically runners. It’s a spa and clinic in one. While most of us visit a doctor’s clinic only when we’re already injured, the Riovana Sports Recovery Center hopes to change all that by espousing the value of preventive maintenance: getting treatments done even before injury. Simply put, it’s the place to go for pre-race conditioning or post-race recovery treatment, or just to give your body a treat after regular training.


Owned and operated by MultiSportMatrix, a company with big names in the Philippine sports medicine scene, such as Dr. Gar Eufemio, Dr. Jun Rafanan, and Coach Jim Saret, the center is like the physical therapy area of a sports center with high-tech medical equipment, namely one of three cryo machines in the country, laser and ultrasound. They also offer sports massage, acupuncture by Dr. Philip Tan-Gatue, platelet rich plasma (yes, just like what Kobe and Tiger do!), hydration therapy / oxygen supplementation, kinesio taping, and stretching.

For injured runners, they recommend that you be assessed first in a clinic since the center is manned by nurses and physical therapists.  Having said that, there will still be appearances by doctors as well as conditioning and running experts (need you ask who the running expert will be if it’s in RIOvana?!)

– Riovana Sports Recovery Center Staff (L to R): Tintin, Aileen, Nia, Tina, Dianne, Laura –

As for the staff, I must say that I was quite impressed. When I entered the center, they were very warm and accommodating; they welcomed me with smiles, explained each service, and answered all my questions. I heard the staff—most have a background in nursing or physical therapy and are athletes themselves— were hand picked by Dr. Eufemio himself. With such wonderful and professional personnel like that to spend a full hour or more of treatment with, I felt very comfortable and at ease.


The center is clean, air-conditioned, and spacious enough for each of the beds in a cubicle. There are around six rooms in the center, two of which can be opened and converted into a couple’s room. There’s a room for stretching and another for acupuncture. There’s also a clean shower room for runners who wish to undergo treatments after a run. During the session, there’s relaxing music playing in the background, much like those in spas.


Riovana Sports Recovery Center offers the following treatments:

De Luxe Package……….P1000.00
I. For the lower back and both lower extremities
II. For the neck, upper back and both upper extremities

Includes the following:
– Ultrasound/Laser Therapy – Helps decrease inflammation and increase flexibility
– Sports Massage
– Full Body Stretch
– Cryo-therapy – This literally “freezes the pain away…”
° Additional P50 for every modality in excess

Elite Package……….P1800.00
De Luxe Packages I and II combined!

Couples Package……….10% discount
Come in with a partner and get 10% off

For Patients with a Physical Therapy Referral……….P500.00 (for the first body part)
Inclusive of all modalities and exercises
° Additional P50 for every modality in excess

Pre-Event Stretching……….P150.00
Full Body, Approximately 30 minutes

Acupuncture Treatment……….P1200.00

– Pre-pay for 6 sessions and get 10% off
– Pre-pay for 10 sessions and get 2 sessions free
– Combine any package with acupuncture and get 20% off


Thanks to Dr. Eufemio, I got to try a complimentary Elite Package last week.  Dianne, a license physical therapist and an athlete herself, took care of me for almost an hour and a half.  The Elite Package usually takes 2 hours, but due to my hectic schedule, Dianne and I focused on certain areas, particularly my shins, big toes, and Neuromas, instead.

– Dianne with the cryo, ultrasound, and laser machines –

We started with the Ultrasound, a non-invasive and no-pain treatment where Diane placed gel on my skin and used a contraption to decrease inflammation and improve flexibility.  This was actually very relaxing.  This was followed by the Laser therapy where I pointed out specific areas that were painful or tight. Dianne said this could reduce the nodules in muscles much like what a deep tissue massage would do but without the screaming and yelling.

I thought I escaped a deep tissue massage, but it was the third service in the package. Dianne massaged my shins, ITB, and foot, areas that I pointed out needed releasing.  If you’re not in a rush, you can have a full body deep tissue massage. It’s part of the package.

Next, we used the Cryo machine, one out of only 3 cryo machines in the Philippines.  This was my favorite!  It works like an ice pack on your body, but reduces the time from the usual 10 minutes to 3 minutes and without the mess.  It feels cold, but completely relaxing too.

Dianne would’ve ended the entire treatment with stretching, but I had to rush out to pick up the kiddos in school.  So, I passed on the treatment and yet, I felt like I had the works done. I felt completely rejuvenated and my muscles were relaxed and loose.  I felt so great I was tempted to do a tempo run that evening, but I decided against it.


Thumbs up to the Riovana Sports Recovery Center.  It’s a novel idea that promotes proper care and therapy for athlete’s bodies to prevent injury and allow us to perform at our best at all times.  The fact that it is backed by top sports and medical experts and manned by knowledgeable and accommodating staff who go out of their way to provide the best service in a comfortable, relaxing setting makes a visit well worth it.  The facilities are clean and well-equipped, price is reasonable, and the location is convenient and accessible.  Perhaps the only downside I foresee is that it will be hard to set an appointment when the rest of the world hears about this gem of a place for relaxation and recovery secretly hidden atop Riovana Running Store.

Riovana Sports Recovery Center
Mezzanine Level, Active Fun Bldg., 9th Ave. cor. 28th St. Bonifacio Global City
Open from 10am to 9pm daily
Phone: 478-9408
Mobile: 0916-353-4485
Twitter: msmxrecovery