Sign up now for the Summer Edition of Unilab Active Health Camp Alpha

Monday, 14 April 2014  |  Running + Triathlon

I wrote about Coach Andy Leuterio’s successful Camp Alpha last month.  Now, he’s opened up the summer edition for all triathletes who wish to suffer even more!  I’ve registered for the May camp on my birthday weekend!  Come and suffer with us!


The next two legs of Unilab Active Health Camp Alpha will be on May 3-4 “Orientation” at The Village Sports Club, BF Homes, Paranaque, and June 21-22 “Selection” at Sandari Batulao, Batangas.

Presented by SPECIALIZED, each leg consists of two days of Swim, Bike, and Run training as preparation for summer’s major races.

The first leg, “Orientation” will cover fundamental aspects of race-specific training, including familiarization with metrics like Heart Rate, Pace, Power, Training Stress Score, and Race File analysis, among others.

The second leg, “Selection”, will be much heavier in volume and intensity in anticipation of the long distance races slated for July and August.

Both legs can be joined as standalone training camps, but for those who wish to “tri out” for limited “Black” slots under the Alpha Training Systems online coaching program, they must join both legs. Invitation to a “Black” slot will be based on several tests from both legs.

Registration Fee is P2,000/leg, or P3,000 for both, inclusive of limited use of camp facilities (pool and lockers), lunch, bike mechanic on standby, SAG Wagon support, handouts, and event shirt. Gatorade is the Official Sports Drink of the Unilab Active Health Camp Alpha.


To register, download and fill up the Registration Form, indicating which Leg(s) you wish to join.  UPDATE: Slots are full.  Registration is closed.

Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis only.

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: One Run at a Time (Week 16)

Monday, 4 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.

Depleted. This is what I felt at the end of my 80 minute long weekend run. I never meant to be hard on myself but with so many of my batchmates joining 21K runs in a few weeks, I guess I’m entitled so some envy and a smidgen of doubt. I am, after all, human.

Even as I was busy deciding where to do my longest run yet, again my friend Joanne suddenly invited me to do the LSD with her in BGC. With no better plan, I said yes. A finisher of the previous Dream and a few 21Ks herself, she one of a handful of people I can expect realistic advise from and not doubt. If some time in the future, I am asked for advice, I would tell runners-to-be to have a running guardian angel.

By the way, earlier in the week, I did my two maintenance runs and one extra with a friend from work named Jino. Training is hard but I’ve developed a liking for it. Now I want my friend, who’s a Muay Thai fighter, to be in TBR Dream 2015. Online, I saw that numerous batchmates took advantage of the long holidays to go on vacays. Even away from home, quite a few still trained at the destination of choice. Among them was new friend Resty who still did his LSD up north, and Jah who ran from Lukban to Lucena. There’s also batchmate Catherine who ran in Nice, France! Im sure there were others in different places – Nothing stops a Dreamer!

– Batchmate Resty in Vigan! –

– Batchmate Jah ran from Lukban to Lucena –

Back to my weekender, I really wasn’t looking forward to finding out how hard an eighty minute run is – even partly walked. This is hard work. I know I was properly warned but still… Anyway, we were here for a reason and there wasn’t anything else to do but go run. So we did. I suppose it was a good thing we started a shade past 7 am because it would at least simulate the time of day of the real run. Again, the sun took its severely unwanted toll. For me, heat is a big enemy. But it was one to be conquered. We went left, right, straight – pretty much through most of the roads of BGC. My bud and I agreed to do 2:1 and at certain points she pushed, cajoled, clapped, and urged me on while I ran, jogged, walked, trudged, and zombied forward. She had the wisdom to set small destinations to push me, “Hanggang kanto, kaya mo yan”, “fast run hanggang kanto!” and various other methods.

Finally, after countless street corner turns, stretches of what seemed to me like a scorching sun, and thousands of heavy-legged steps, we were notified via watch that our 80 minutes was done. Taking a few cool down steps, to be perfectly honest, I was trying to recall WHY I WAS DOING THIS. What’s an out of shape, middle-aged Dad doing trying to run this? Right now, because my mind’s too tired to be rational, the answer seems simple: Because I still can. Quite frankly, I still can’t imagine being on my feet for 7 hours ( it’s not a sin to be optimistic). But, I’m willing to do it one run at a time. On to the next!

– I did it! –

On the Heels of a Dream: Bull Session 2…check!

Thursday, 31 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.

One month – this is how long the 2014 Batch of Dreamers have been ‘officially’ training marked by Bull Session 2. At this point, the training has been supposed to allow us to run-walk continuously for 70 minutes. After chatting with some of my batchmates and engaging them in some form, I found out that a lot of them have been running for years already. They’ve done 10Ks, 21Ks, and in-between distances. For a lot of them, this 70 minute run isn’t that much of a challenge. For me, it’s a big one. I’ve let my health degenerate over the years that being on my feet for 70 minutes under the sun is a feat. Those thirteen or so years of smoking 3 packs a day have taken their toll and I’m hard-pressed to reclaim what’s been taken away.


The two maintenance runs that preceded the Bull Session weren’t any different from the other maintenance runs but they were two more points on the board in scoring for consistency. It’s not that they were negligible but rather just doing them added a little bit of uniformity in the effort and keeping the calories burning and the muscles stretched and conditioned. A small variation was that I ran them on the road along a declined/inclined circuit in my neighborhood. My previous place – Capitol Commons – had become too short. Hah! Too short! I never thought I’d say that about any route I’d take! Even as the term maintenance sounds too perfunctory I’d like to think that each and every run adds confidence however small. When I coached basketball decades ago, I remember always telling my team that games are won in practice. This time I get to take my own advice.

At the Bull Session, this one was markedly different from the first one in that the air was lot warmer, friendlier, more festive. Batchmates who’ve kept in touch online got to chat face-to-face and establish an actual connection to the faces. Even with my bad eyesight, I got to respond to several greets. A lot of the batchmates I’d met only digitally even volunteered in person to pace me.

For this session, I was in Group 6 – the second 2:1 group. After the pack As I am wont to do, I fell back in the pack but didn’t stop at any point. I got to meet and chat during the run with several people – two of whom were a 6-ft tall Luis Manzano look-alike named Chal, and a fellow named Arvin. They were the sweepers of the group who provided a lot of cheerful encouragement. At some point I lost my running buddy Joanne but there were Ms. Jo and Jojo – lovely ladies who distracted me with chat – enough to keep my mind off the minutes that lay ahead. There was also Mr. Evan who people referred to as Smiley and Ms. Macel who kept pace with everyone on her trusty Segway so she could visit with virtually all the groups.

– Joanne and I –

– with Joanne, Chal, and Arvin –

After what seemed to me longer than 70 minutes, the pack was herded by our sweepers back towards where we started. Surprisingly, it was over. Ms. Jo chatted me into the home stretch and we found ourselves putting our 2nd Bull session behind us. Chalk one up for persistence. After post-run hydrating, the whole group went through a pictorial where everyone was in very high spirits. The mood was still in high energy – as if most still wanted to do another 70 minutes. Maybe next time. Bull Session no.2 – check. Two sessions down, three more to go.


Living in the Now

Thursday, 10 October 2013  |  Bullish Insights

Since I started running in 2006, I always had a goal race to train for. I was the veritable rabbit chasing after the carrot at the end of a stick, which never really ran out of carrots. From my first 5k, the next marathon, or a 70.3, I always needed a specific, tangible target in the long term to get me to swim, bike, or run every morning.

– Racing back in 2007 before the running boom of Manila hit. Check out my P100 shorts from SM! –

The past couple of months, things changed.

After Ironman 70.3 Cebu last August, I knew, without a doubt, that I needed a respite from racing. It wasn’t so much the physical aspect of training that I got tired of, but it was the mental part. After years of training for the next big race, I suddenly felt spent constantly chasing after a goal in the far future. I just wanted to live in the now.


Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t transformed into a couch potato. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I still train like a triathlete. I swim, bike, or run six days a week as if I was training for a triathlon. On two of those days, I have double workouts. I also join runs such as the recent Run United Philippine Marathon 21k. But no race or workout is taken too seriously. I really just want to run free. (No pun intended.)

– Running with friends in the South –

Without a goal in mind, I get out there everyday eager to workout for no other reason but this: Because I love it. Gone are the days when I wake up in the morning dreading a 100km bike ride and wishing I were with my kids instead or running intervals on the track because I needed to break a PR for the next race.

Each day I train because I love pushing my body to perform and seeing my progress in a skill or in endurance. I train because it makes me feel fit, strong, and powerful and that spills out to all other aspects of my life. I train because, quite simply, I enjoy every freaking minute of it. No pressure, no negative thoughts. All passion. It’s really about living an active lifestyle, day in, day out.


This new frame of mind has given me more time to think, conceptualize, and create. While I let go of a racing goal, I set new goals for myself in other aspects of my life. It’s when I took a step back that I gained more focus on my entire life.

– Relaxing at Pico de Loro –

I’ve gone back to school studying to be a Health Coach. I’m setting up a new project, which I hope to launch by the start of the year. I’ve had more time to improve on existing projects. And, I’ve gone back to illustrating again.

Perhaps the best effect of this off-season for me is this: It’s given me a time to breathe. The past months, I’ve been able to slow down a bit and enjoy the little things.


Within the next few weeks, my training for Tokyo Marathon on February 23, 2014 shall commence. Yes, I’ll have a new running goal to target, but I’m taking it on with a renewed spirit.

I always knew that the goal-less phase in my life would be temporary because, well, I was just born kinda competitive and driven. But, I tell you; the past 2 to 3 months’ break is just what I needed to get hungry and excited again. I’m looking forward to training and running those LSD’s for Tokyo.

For now, allow me to enjoy the last few weeks of goal-less workouts. It’s the most fun I’ve had in ages.