On The Heels of a Dream: First Nuvali Week

Monday, 23 December 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

On The Heels of a Dream is a weekly column by guest writer Obbie Suguitan who is currently training for his first marathon, The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, on February 16, 2014.

I missed doing my maintenance and LSDs for a week and a half. I didn’t like it one bit. I felt lethargic, sleepy, hungry, and generally in a state of unfamiliarity. It also wouldn’t have been good if I forced myself – with recurrent fever, perennially stuffy nose, and an itchy, barking cough. I probably would have ran myself ragged and suffered the effects of a bad decision to train.

I’m back though. The Monday after a missed weekend, I couldn’t fight it anymore – I had to run. My 2:20 was calling to me. Seriously. I could almost see my shoes move on its own. It was going to be an evening run at my usual training grounds. So without further ado, I went and got dressed and went out.

After the first 30 minutes though, I felt really weak and struggling. Like every step was a big effort. That’s when the power came – it started to drizzle in a light mist. Yes! Rain! I felt energized so I proceeded to develop my rhythm as the mist turned into a downpour. For an hour or so it rained and everyone disappeared into shelter. The remainder of the run turned into a haze – just the sound of rain and my splashy footsteps. Thank God for the rain! I had done my 2:20 and wasn’t depleted. But there was the Saturday long run to look forward to…

Saturday morning of that same week, around 4:30 am at Nuvali – I had hitched a ride with batchmate Resty to Nuvali just for me to experience at least part of the actual race course. I had just 3 hrs of sleep due to commitments but wanted to see what I’ve gotten varying, opposing opinions on. Coach Lit gave a brief but insightful talk, split us into pace groups, then we were unceremoniously off!

As is my usual ‘habit’, I sought out the 1:1 group then as the run went underway, fell back into the slower group of said pace. Fortunately, Mike Janeo took it upon himself to sweep/pace the slower 1:1 group. He is a wonderful pacer! Talked incessantly about very useful and gloriously distracting information on running techniques, mental exercises, pace strategies, course descriptions, and whatnot. Ang galing!

– with pacer Mike Janeo –

Our merry band of few, with the exception of warrior Sandy momentarily leaving us to deal w a bout with asthma, had a grand time running together. I say warrior because Sandy didn’t really need to return – coulda just rested, but she did come back to our delight. Sama sama sa hirap at ginhawa! Though there wasn’t a lot of ginhawa. Flat, false flat, rolling, undulating, incline, and decline – the course was a veritable who’s who of surface levels. Richard, one of my new buds, was gracious enough to share a strangely delicious gel that he and mike gave me a lecture on. So that’s a gel! It’s good but I gotta see how a Snicker bar fares. The run was really long and when the sun came out, to me it felt like a blow torch was blazing onto my nape. I don’t like heat. Don’t like heat.

Yet, with the company I was in and the wisdom of our pacer, this run was very nice. Conversation was plentiful and it was great seeing the other pace groups pass us in different directions. As competitive as I can get, I sincerely wish this batch of runners a good time running, the best of health, and good performances.  This run is my longest so far and at the end of it I had enough energy to laugh and hold conversations with friends there. Interestingly, every time I run my longest, adding minutes seems so hard. But every time I do, I find that the trained body will respond by giving more. I hope this continues, even as I realize that I haven’t even ran half of what I’m supposed to in a couple of months. On the way home with Adel, a veteran runner, I was thinking about what lay ahead. It’s Christmas time so keeping the pounds off is a bigger challenge and training during vacay will take more discipline. Fortunately I have the same formula to fall back on: Pray, train, and stick to the plan. Very nice to meet you Nuvali – I’ll see you again sometime.

On the Heels of a Dream: Week 14

Thursday, 21 November 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

On The Heels of a Dream is a weekly column by guest writer Obbie Suguitan who is currently training for his first marathon, The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, on February 16, 2014.

With barely 3 months to go, training is slowly ramping up (often literally!) into serious road time. This week I noticed that my knee pain has all but gone, hopefully never to return. I’m a bit (more than a bit) disappointed though that I got shut out of what seems to me could be a good first public run scheduled for 2 weeks from now. I should have acted earlier. Unfortunately, the organizers closed it a week before schedule because it had hit the participant limit. No one knew about the limit nor was it announced that there was a limit and that it closed. Sigh. Anyway, my next recourse was to enter another run, purportedly a dominant one (hint, hint) a week earlier. In the interim, a person received my registration along with the payment but until I get my bib, singlet, and race kit items, I will not consider myself in.

As far as training went, the 2 maintenance runs went fine. I did not get any faster (just being honest) but it did get easier. The thing with me trying to run faster is that it creates higher impact hence harder on my knees. At my present weight, the dynamic of trying to run faster makes my feet pound the ground harder so I still gotta take it easy so my endurance doesn’t suffer consequently. At this point, I have become the personification of the rule: run at your own pace.

The weekend long run was a different matter altogether. In the span of a week, it evolved from just a long training run into something considerably more significant. It changed from me and my batch of Dreamers achieving improvement for ourselves into a unified and engaging effort to help others. By this I mean One Run – a run for the victims of Yolanda. No bibs, no singlets, no extensive hydration, no medals. The only victory for the runners and participants was that somewhere in the ravaged and typhoon-torn areas, somebody was going to be fed, clothed, or given shelter because we had come to run together, and did not run for ourselves. The turnout was impressive considering it was all on short notice and that it started at 4:30 in the morning of a Saturday. I myself brought a guest who had not done any significant running but was bent on donating and possibly (I hope!) getting a head start for joining Dream 2015. This whole event was the brainchild of The Bull Runner herself then everyone just piled on in support.

– Coach Lit address the Dream Marathoners for Bull Session 3 which was held during One Run –

– with my guest –

– with TBR –

For the run itself, those who were still there to get the long training run done, it took three rounds of a fairly large circuit around BGC. Starting earlier, I found that I could take early morning sun with not much of a problem. I was very thankful that there was a new group added – the 1:1 group. I started with the 1:1 group, fell behind with batchmate Alice, and then was picked up (no, not that kind of picked up!) by one of the 2:1 runners, Ms. Iris – causing me to finish with the tail end of that group. This is the kind of support I’ve been on the receiving end of from a lot of batchmates. Thank you! One of the important things I learned is that the proportion of the run to the walk breaks has nothing to do with the actual speed. I was still the last in the 1:1 but it was because my stride speed (cadence?) is slow/low. I have actually been training 2:1 but had I gone with 2:1 I still woulda been among the last. I think, logically, my best fit would be to do my slow 2:1 within a 1:1 group – which means it would do me well to run alone or rely on the patience of a sweeper.


Anyway, even if not in leaps and bounds, I can feel my endurance and confidence grow. Big thanks to those who have been taking this journey with me – my family and of course 2014 Dreamers. For this week, my parting shot  – we’re not done with the Dream nor are we done taking more steps for our brothers. Peace.

– with Smiley Evan –

On the Heels of a Dream: After the 1st Bull Session

Thursday, 24 October 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

On The Heels of a Dream is a weekly column by guest writer Obbie Suguitan who is currently training for his first marathon, The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, on February 16, 2014.  

October 6, 2013 – The First Bull Session

It’s the day after the first Bull Session – the first of several long, increasing runs that I, along with the other participants of The Dream Marathon batch 2014, need to run as part of training. After a few weeks of training from scratch (I have never trained for any running activity in my life), yesterday was my first experience of running in an organized group. With my tireless running patron Joanne, I got to the site with almost no expectations other than to learn even more things about training. What greeted me was a sea of blue as most everyone there had the official training shirt on. My own training shirt, even as I already got the 2XL size, did not fit as I had hoped, so my purple shirt had me standing out like a sore thumb. I see this as a good thing as it gave me an additional goal – to fit into the training shirt between now and Christmas.

Everyone and his brother were busy in various stages of stretching, meeting and greeting each other, and general merry making. My brain was failing. I couldn’t recognize anyone I had met online because my mind was processing so much information. As if it hadn’t sunk in that I was doing this – not just this one training run but the entire Marathon. As daunted as I occasionally am, the great thing was that everyone was as friendly in person as they are online. Could it be true that running united these people? Apparently so. Strangers greeted me with words of encouragement.





The run itself was thankfully uneventful – by uneventful I mean nothing untoward happened to me by way of cramps, breathlessness, or such. My 2:1 pack had all but left me behind but, aside from my run-bud, there were two guys who stayed back with me egging me on: “Power walk ha!”. Thank you. I had pre-decided to just do 1:1 on account of my weight and hypertension so hanging back was fine save for a few bouts of guilt that I might hold some back. Having been training mostly in the evenings, running in the sun was also somewhat new to me. Still hard for me but I welcomed the experience. Saying my prayers, training as I’m told, and eating as I should, are the things that carry me forward.

I came in ‘alive last’ (the complete opposite of dead last!) I believe but it was very good for me to go through it. ‘Complete don’t compete’, ‘As long as you finish’, ‘Run at your comfortable pace’, and similar words of encouragement in various friendly voices kept echoing in my mind. Just the same, I look forward to run-walking more pounds off and logging on more mileage. This time, I really am thankful for all the Bull.


On the Heels of a Dream: Obbie’s Journey Towards his First Marathon

Monday, 30 September 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

On this week, September 30 to October 6, 2013, our TBR-ULAH Dream Marathoners begin their formal marathon training based on our Dream Marathon Program. It’s the beginning of their journey towards their first marathon.

Week 20

This is the 5th time that we’ve staged the event, yet, every single time we begin training for the marathon with our runners, I’m taken back to my first time as well. I feel the same level of excitement and trepidation as if I was a first-timer myself.

I thought I wanted all of you readers to share in this experience. The best way for me to do this was not through my own words (because all my experiences are easily accessible already in the archives of this blog such as my first accidental marathon in QCIM, Oct 2009), but through a first timers own eyes.

I invited Chris Ibanez Suguitan or “Obbie”, a registered participant of TBR-ULAH Dream Marathon 2014 who I have yet to personally meet, to write about his own experiences as he goes on his journey towards his first marathon.  Expect Obbie’s weekly column called “On the Heels of a Dream” here at TBR starting next week.

For now, let’s meet Obbie.


TBR: Tell us about yourself.
Obbie: I’m 44 years old, over 200 pounds (how much over I’m not too proud of hehehe), I’m a writer by profession with a day job at a publishing company as the one who handles Client Relations and Special Sales.

TBR: Why did you join TBR-ULAH Dream Marathon?
Obbie: I decided to join because I heard about it from high school friends and my co-parents at my son’s school and decided that it’s about time for me to get thin(ner), more fit, and that this would be a great way to show my boys how their overweight Dad can be disciplined beyond the lack of time and money to accomplish something significant. I was a full scholar from high school to college but it was such a long time ago that they can’t relate to it to well. I thought a marathon right now can inspire them.

I’ll end with that short introduction and allow you to get to know Obbie in the weeks to come.  Welcome to TBR, Obbie!