What Are You Doing this Valentine’s?

Thursday, 12 February 2009  |  Bullish Insights

So, what are you doing this Valentine’s Day?  

Please don’t tell me about your candlelit dinner by the bay nor the meal you plan to whip up for your partner;  I don’t care for that (although you could tell the hubby so he’d get some ideas.)  I’m more curious to find out how active, adventurous couples plan to spend Valentine’s Day, which lands perfectly on a Saturday—the best day for a romantic long run before the sun rises…aaaah, if only I could run long!

Last week, I got an email about Valentine’s Yoga Classes at Yoga Manila.  I thought it would be fun, doing pretzel poses and head stands with the hubby, so I enthusiastically asked him “Hey, you wanna do this?”  He barked back “No way!”  Well, it was worth a try.

A long run together would’ve been ideal, but I can’t run over 5k just yet.  Swimming is not a good idea too as hubby doesn’t enjoy it as much as I do.  We’ll probably end up biking as scheduled in my program.

After that, I’m thinking we could go to Clark to watch the Philippine Hot Air Balloon fiesta.  (Thanks to my siblings for the idea.)  No workout for us and I’m sure I’ll be drooling when I see the roads of Clark, but it should be fun.  Anyway, those balloons may serve as a perfect distraction to the long runs I’m missing.

I’ll Miss You, Annie

Saturday, 31 January 2009  |  Bullish Insights, Favorite Posts

This evening, my bestest running buddy, Annie, will be on a flight to Singapore to start a new job there.  As much as I want to be happy for her, I can’t help but feel otherwise.  My running soulmate and partner-in-crime is leaving.  And, I am completely devastated.  

We met way back in the summer of 2007.  Two young mothers who had a deep interest in running.  We would run every other day, no fail, rain or shine.  More often than not, we would run side by side, but there were times when she would run ahead of me (as she was much stronger) while I slowly improved trying my best to keep up with her. We had great fun talking and laughing during runs, but during tough climbs or tempo runs, we would be serious training partners, pushing each other to perform better.  By the time summer ended and our Coach had deserted us, we had already forged a bond built around—what turned out to be—not just an interest, but an obsession for running.  


October came and we decided to train for our first marathon together: Pasig Marathon 2008.  We ran our Saturday long runs together, but they didn’t feel long at all;  two hours would fly by so fast.  We learned more about each other, how we were alike in so many ways: that our birthdays are only a day apart, that our husbands are so extraordinarily patient and supportive, that running is not just a hobby for us, but a huge part of our lives.  We talked about our marathon dream and we could completely relate with each other.  Unfortunately, I got injured while Annie went on to finish Pasig Marathon at 4:07 in February 2008. 

In the summer of 2008, we signed up with another coach, Coach Jo-Ar, and started training in Ultra together.  From the roads, we moved to the track and, together, we had even more fun climbing up those stairs, racing up the hills with kids half our age, or hanging out with the legendary Elma Muros.  Still, we continued our regular Saturday long runs on the road as if it was a sacred tradition, a special day that we both looked forward to at the end of each hectic week.

By mid-year, we both decided to embark on our craziest running adventure yet: Singapore Marathon in December 2008, just the two of us pursuing our dream to run abroad for the first time.  We prepared for this together, and we did it.  Annie ran a 3:59 marathon, while I finished 2:08 for my half.  It was an amazing, unforgettable event that we were only too glad to have experienced together.


Finding the perfect running buddy is like finding a needle in a haystack.  It’s finding that partner that you have a certain chemistry with: one you can talk to for hours to make you forget about the distance or the pain in your legs, one who will adjust his/her pace according to the needs of the day, one you can trust to be there for you when the going gets tough in a run…or in life.  That was Annie for me.  And, I’d like to think I was the same for her.

Now, the sad reality.  She’s leaving tonight.  I am losing a running buddy, a sister, a dear friend.  I burst into tears just thinking about our laughable conversations about thongs, tampons, or men who waved at us on the road.  I worry who will be there to remind me to take it easy when I’m injured or to accompany me when I embark on a new cross training activity.  And, worst of all, I choke at the thought of Saturday long runs and Sunday races without her. With Annie’s departure, running for me will never ever be the same.

Sick Leave

Tuesday, 20 January 2009  |  Therapy + Injury

Just when I thought I could start training again, I was struck by a slight fever, achy bones, and a tummy ache yesterday.  I spent the entire day in bed consumed by an overall feeling of blahness, thinking about 1) the near perfect weather for swimming, 2) missed gym visit that day, 3) downgrading my 15k Happy Run registration to a 5k (arggh, I hate the idea, but I think a sick, recently-injured runner like me has got to bite the bullet and accept her sad fate), and last but not the least, 4) how Rustom (or Bebe Gandanghari) was able to gain his/her new waif-like figure in three months time through Pilates!

Yes, I know, I had too much idle time on my hands yesterday.  Thanks to Tylenol, I’m feeling much better now.  Today is still rest/ recovery day.  Hopefully, I’m strong enough for a short run and yoga tomorrow.

The Bull RAN

Monday, 19 January 2009  |  Bullish Insights

It was The Bull Run yesterday and this bull missed it.  

No whining nor complaining from me though.  This 2009, the brand new bull is choosing her races wisely.  And, this Bull Run, despite winning best race name in my book (heehee), was one that I knew I could skip with a smile.  

You see, by now, I already know that there are only two types of races in the country:

  1. Races you absolutely cannot miss such as Adidas King of the Road or New Balance
  2. Typical, garden variety road races that you can pass up because they’ll have the exact type of race next weekend, only in a different name  

For me, The Bull Run fell under Category 2.  With news of inconvenient registration procedures, I could barely muster up the energy to pick up a pen and fill in a reg form.  Besides, my knee and I decided to rest and strengthen instead in hopes that I can run an easy 15k at next week’s Happy Run.

So, while most runners were at the not-so-very-well-organized PSE Bull Run (little birdies told me), I was out in the polo field running easy on oooh-la-la soft, green grass.  My knees loved it so much that they didn’t complain at all, not a whimper.  It was the first time I ran completely pain-free since Singapore Half!  Woohoo!  Now, that’s what I call a great Bull Run!

Meeting Mike: Fastest Pinoy at NYC Marathon

Wednesday, 14 January 2009  |  Bullish Insights

Not too many people knew that, during the Nike Clinic at Ultra last night, the fastest Pinoy runner at the recently held NYC Marathon was in their midst. No surprise, because this guy silently arrived with just a couple of his friends, clad in the most unassuming attire one could choose: a white shirt and black shorts, and disappeared into the small crowd of runners.

His name is Mike Mesina and I interviewed him via email soon after he ran his 3:12 NYC Marathon, missing the Boston qualifications by just a minute and a half. (Click here for full interview.)  And, last night, I had the pleasure of finally meeting him as he chose to run in Ultra before leaving for NY the following day.


Funny that when first saw each other it was like seeing an old friend.  He’s a simple, friendly, down-to-earth, and painfully modest guy considering his speedy legs.  Upon meeting him, one would even think he’s a newbie runner.  He didn’t brag about his time nor his runs abroad, and  neither did I see him show off his talent for speed at the track. In fact, when Coach Jo-Ar told him he’d be in Group A (the fastest of the bunch), he even seemed embarrassed.

I hoped we could run together (with me probably crawling and panting meters behind him) but, with my knee pain, I thought I’d bore him death with my ultra slow pace.  I sure hope he enjoyed last night’s clinic and his brief time with the Pinoy runners.

Mike, keep in touch.  As I said, I hope we can run again in the future—whether it’s in New York or Manila—even for just a few minutes before you leave me eating your dust 🙂

Thanks to Wilbert for the photo!