Road to IM 70.3: 9 Weeks to Go

Monday, 4 June 2012  |  Running + Triathlon

It’s June! Gasp. By tomorrow, I only have exactly two months of training left before Ironman 70.3 Cebu.  It’s crunch time, but, I’ll have to be honest with you, it’s also beginning to get a little more exciting.

Coach Andy tells me that, beginning this week, we start focusing on speed.  We built the mileage the past few weeks, but now it’s time to push harder and go faster.  It almost feels like I’m on a roller coaster ride, climbing steadily and slowly up toward the peak.  I’m not quite there yet, but just a few more weeks and I’ll be ready to free fall.  Weeeee!


I swam my longest last Tuesday: 2.7km, swam easy 1.5k Thursday, then swam 2.4k with friends on Friday. I could use a lot more speed, but hey, at least, I know I won’t drown in Cebu.  Unless, of course, a humongous jelly fish swallows me up.  Okay, okay. Delete the last line. Positive thoughts only.


My nemesis has returned: ITBS.  He’s bugged me ever since I started running.  Last Thursday, after a short but fast run, I suddenly felt knee pain (a sure sign that my tight ITBS was tugging at my knee cap already).  Grrrrr!

ITBS is a recurring injury for us runners.  Once you get it, it lays dormant when you rest or train less, but once mileage increases, he starts rearing his ugly head once again.  Double grrrrr.  This time, when ITBS showed up, I told myself that I wouldn’t let him win. Thankfully, after “bringing out the big guns” to get rid of him all week, he did go away!  (Full post on exactly what I did to fight ITBS in a few days)  By Tuesday, I ran a 12k and another 10k on Thursday.  No ITBS!  Wooohooo!

Come Sunday, I had the pleasure of running 22k under near perfect cool and cloudy weather with friends, Lit, Jun and Leana. We bumped into Peter Coyuito too who ran with us for a bit.  It was a relaxed run that capped my stress-filled week because of ITB.


> Tuesday, Coach Andy and I met in Daang Hari for my Power Meter test.  I was to bike for 1 minute and then 20 minutes as fast as I could.  All the while, we monitored the distance and my heart rate.  Aaaack, it was the l-o-n-g-e-s-t 20 minutes of my life.

After all the suffering, Coach Andy emailed me a file providing me with the recommended power and heart rate training zones for the various workouts I’ll be doing.  I’ll be trying them out this week!

> I dropped by Starting Line at West Gate Center, Filinvest Corporate City to finally get a Speedfill bottle for hydration.  I still have a hard time grabbing the bottle (As I said before, don’t laugh!) so I thought this would solve the problem.  I was right!  (Thanks to Raoul Floresca of Starting Line for the help!)

– Still a work in progress. I wanna pull this lower to make it look cleaner –

> Last Saturday, Jun, Ton, and Unilab ActiveHealth teammates, Mike, Jake, Backy, and Coaches Ani and Dan Brown, and myself set out to ride 100k in NUVALI.  (Is it obvious that I was pretty determined about making up for the missed long ride due to ITBS last week?!)

The weather was cool, even chilly at some points, and cloudy almost the entire ride.  I was a bit nervous, as I always am, at the start about all the things I have to consider—mounting, dismounting, aero position, drinking while riding, and more—but, as the hours passed, I got comfortable with the Shiv.  Maybe even too comfy because I didn’t pull as hard on the brakes anymore, stopped over analyzing my movements when I rode in aero, and—oh boy, I’m embarrassed to admit it—but, I really do think I’m falling in love with my Shiv!  If I start talking to him while I ride, then maybe I should have myself checked (although I do know a couple of triathletes who do that.)

I was so slow that I would’ve spent the entire day biking just to reach 100k!  So, we called it a day at 82k and I promised myself I’d reach 100k soon.  Um, to be exact, the next attempt is this Thursday.  As Coach Andy always tells me: You Will Do It!

Total training hours last week: 12 hours.


Touchdown Singapore!

Friday, 18 May 2012  |  Running + Triathlon

The hubby, kids, and I are in Singapore right now for a much needed, and may I say, well-deserved vacation. I’m looking forward to 4 full days of rest, relaxation, and shopping. (Honestly, the only item on my list are bike jerseys!) We arrived this morning and headed straight for Universal Studios.

– Soaked after Jurassic Park ride. Will this count for my swim today? –

– We’re having a great time. First time of the kids here. Last time the hubby and I were here was when we ran Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in 2009. I had not so fond memories of the marathon passing by East Coast Park earlier this morning! –


There’s a place for me here in Sentosa…


We’re having a great time, but training doesn’t stop while I’m here. I plan to run and swim tomorrow.

Coach Andy had me do extra workouts before leaving Manila. For example, he had me bike for three consecutive days: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Oooh, wait, gotta tell you about Thursday. Coach Andy called it the “CBW”. I innocently asked what the three initials meant thinking it was some technical term in biking. Ya know, like Yasso 800 or Tempo run. My knees buckled when I later learned that CBW stands for: “Character Building Workout.” YIKES.  After two hours on the bike trainer grunting and groveling staring down at a pool of sweat by my feet as if I had dunked myself with a bucket of water, I sure felt like, um, a woman of character.

Andy also had me swim twice and, not surprisingly, I ended both sessions feeling like I had walked a marathon using my arms and hands!  I only ran once the past week and that was after a bike ride. Andy must know me well because he saved the best (and my favorite workout) for last…and for this trip!

Like I always say, I love traveling. And, I love running even more. To combine both of my passions always makes me insanely happy. So, for tomorrow, my program requires me to run 15k around Sentosa. The pace? As commanded by the Coach, he says: “Run like you stole something.” He’s hilarious isn’t he?  He makes me want to laugh and cry every time he sends me his program for the week!

Anyway, robber pace or not, humid or cool, tired or well-rested, I’m looking forward to running around Sentosa tomorrow, then jumping into the pool for a swim.  Hey, a vacation just isn’t complete with some sort of training, right?

Enjoy the weekend guys. I surely will!

I Survived Crossfit!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012  |  Running + Triathlon

Friday the 13th. (Insert horror music here.) Of all days to choose for our trial session for CrossFit, who was the dumb fool who scheduled such a nerve-wracking, lung-busting, sweat-inducing workout on the most ominous day of the year?! Oh wait, that was me!

Good thing I dragged along 10 innocent TBR readers, plus a friend, Jun, to join me for what I expected to be 30 minutes of hellish pain.

– CrossFit trial session! Me with TBR readers and CrossFit MNL team –

Before I tell you what happened, allow me to share exactly what Crossfit is as explained by one of Crossfit MNL’s partners, Miggy Dy-Buncio:

TBR: What is CrossFit?

Miggy: CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.

CrossFit workouts are constantly varied movements executed at high intensity, thus every workout is different and you will rarely do the same thing twice.  The workouts themselves are completely scalable, which means that a new participant and an elite athlete can complete the same workout with changes in load and intensity. CrossFit workouts will deliver phenomenal fitness in and of themselves or as a compliment to your sport-specific training regime.

CrossFit workouts are a combination of Running, Kettlebell Training, Gymnastics, Track and Field, Plyometrics and Weightlifting.  You will be doing the workout together with other Crossfitters  of all ages and all fitness levels. The workouts are rarely more than 45 minutes long and so they can fit into even the busiest schedules.

Finally, CrossFit is FUN! Our coaches and participants are welcoming, supportive, and committed to creating an environment where everyone can succeed.

– One of CrossFit MNL’s owners and instructors, Miggy Dy-Buncio –

TBR: How can Crossfit benefit runners?

Miggy: Crossfit will help runners develop speed, strength and endurance.  It will also reduce injuries.

Taken from, they best summarize the benefits of Crossfit for runners.  Some things Crossfit emphasizes that will REALLY benefit runners:

1) HIPS, NOT KNEES.  You run with your hips.  You climb with your hips.  Your hips control your speed.  But runners, in the gym, squat with their quads, and do quad extensions on the machine.  While running, your quads act as shock absorbers; they don’t actively move you.  True, rectus femoris is largely responsible for the swing phase of your stride, but most runners don’t train hip flexors either!  Crossfit trains hip flexors with explosive stretch/contractile velocity – perfect for running.

2) SHORT, INTENSE WORKOUTS THAT EMPHASIZE RECRUITING MUSCLES TOGETHER.  To get faster, you need to get your hamstrings, gluteus, and gastrocs/soleus operating smoothly together, as an efficient unit.  Isolating them with leg curls, calf raises, and glute machines won’t do that.  Kettlebell swings and deadlifts with the correct form will.

3) TRUNK STABILIZATION.  Situps aren’t effective ‘core work’ for runners.  Runners need stabilization around the trunk, with some small degree of rotation at the same time.  In fact, in our culture, so rich with ‘seated’ jobs, tight hip flexors is a major problem contributing to low back pain.  Starting a run with tight ‘six-pack’ muscles (rectus abdominis) will lead to a shortened stride, as hip flexors are stretched to make up the difference.

4) BALANCE. As a runner, you’re teetering on the verge of overuse injuries all the time.  You’ve got to find balance: pulling as often as you push, sprinting as often as you jog, etc.

5) NEUROMUSCULAR EFFICIENCY. Frankly, your movements can become smoother and more powerful only by lifting faster or with more force.  Crossfit is great for increasing force.

6) INCREASED ANAEROBIC AND AEROBIC CAPACITY – research on the Canadian Armed Forcesshowed a great improvement on military personnel.  These were NOT marathoners, though.

Miggy briefly introduced us to CrossFit as well before we officially began our first trial session. Then, we started with some warm ups and stretches. I bet this was also a confidence-building period to prepare us for the humbling experience that was waiting for us…


Then, Miggy went off to teach us the 4 basic exercises we would do to complete 1 set. These were: 7 wall balls (using 10lbs balls for women and 14lbs for men), 7 push ups, 7 box jumps, and lastly 7 burpees. GULP! We were to complete as many sets as we could in 15 minutes. DOUBLE GULP!

Before we could complain or exit the fire escape, it was a go. And, as I threw that 10lb medicine ball up in the air (even hitting my face once), pushed my body off the floor barely feeling my arms, hopped up and down that box while seeing my sweat drop down onto my shoes, and cursed in my mind as I performed those awful burpees while dreaming of slurpees instead, I realized that, whoa boy, I actually enjoyed it!

– Wall balls –

– Push ups –

– Box jumps –

I loved being yelled at and being pushed further when I was completely exhausted. Loved trying to compete with the others in the room for the most sets. Loved the sweat dripping from my face and hair as if I had just run 10k. It was thrilling and, ironically, completely energizing!  Now this was a fun workout, I thought!

Before we knew it, the 30 minute session was over. It was a quick yet challenging and strenuous workout. Just the kind of workout for hectic days that leave me with little time for long gym workouts or long slow runs. A CrossFit session burns those calories, builds your strength, and does it all in 30 minutes.

Perhaps the only downside I see with CrossFit for us runners is that it’s a risky activity for those prone to injury or those who are currently managing an injury. There are explosive moves and jumping and one wrong move could hurt your running. If you really want to try it, then I would suggest you inform Miggy or the staff at CrossFit that you are a runner or that you’re training for a particular race (especially if it’s a marathon or ultra!), so that they can recommend what precautions to take or what sessions will best suit you.

As for me, I would love to do this every so often. I don’t think I can fit it into my crazy life and hectic training sched (swim, bike, run, and weights), but I’ll surely try to drop by once or twice a month to jolt my body out of its usual routine and have me some fun!

– All sticky and sweaty after CrossFit. I thought it would shrink me by 2 inches, but apparently not, that belly is still showing.  Bet I’ll lose that after my 3rd session.  Right Miggy? –

Here’s what our TBR readers said after the workout:

The techniques employed combined with hands on coaches on the actual 30 min. routine was just so superb.  Cross Fit Manila sealed my apprehension with their approach indeed.  They had me on an intense combination of exercises that’s a sure fire complement to a training regimen in preparation for an upcoming long distance run. Overall it was a rewarding experience.  TBR and Crossfit Manila you rock!

– Shayz

It was the most intensed & challenging 15 min workout of my life!  What’s so good about it is that it kept me going, even though i wanted to rest already. The high energy coaches, & music gave me all the boost that i need. Will definitely comeback one of these days. Crossfit rocks!

– Yas

A whole body training every runner should try. After the trial, I know where I am weak at and for my F12 fitness plans, I will consider CrossFit given that it is near the Fort, so after the circuit, a nice 10k jog will do.

– Dexter

For inquiries, contact:
Twitter: CrossfitMNL
Facebook: Crossfit MNL

186 Magnitude Bldg
E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave, Q.C. Phils
Contact number: +63917.569.2399; 02.964.7251

Philippine Army Gymnasium
Lawton Ave. cor Bayani Road, Taguig, Philippines

*** CROSSFIT MNL HAS AN ONGOING PROMO WITH DEAL GROCER: Php 3,650 instead of Php 5,000 for 1 month unlimited sessions.  Click HERE.***


Olivier Bernhard Coaching Triathlon Camp

Thursday, 13 October 2011  |  News + Promos

If you’re serious about triathlon, then you’ll get excited about this upcoming event: Olivier Bernhard Coaching Triathlon Camp. I know I am!  I’m blocking my entire 1st half of 2012 for triathlon training, so this comes at the perfect time.


Olivier Bernhard is a professional triathlete from Switzerland, three-time duathlon World Champion, and six time Ironman Champion. He will be coming to Manila in January to provide the following camps for triathletes of various levels:

  • Basic Tri Camp: Jan 12 to 15, 2012 in Subic
  • Advanced Tri Camp: Jan 19 to 22, 2012 in Subic
  • Coach the Coach: Jan 18, 2012

For more info, click HERE or email

To register, click HERE to download the registration form.


Marathon Revelations

Monday, 24 January 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Do you want to know who a person really is?  What makes him tick?  Have him sign up for a marathon and his true self will be revealed.

After observing hundreds of runners toil away for months on end while training for their first marathon, I have enjoyed what marathon training offers: a glimpse into a person’s psychology and psyche.

If running is a metaphor for life, then marathon training is a window into the runner’s soul.

How a runner trains for a marathon uncovers vital information about her life beyond running.  It speaks volumes of who the person truly is: her character, beliefs, values, and even taste—in running and in the real world.

Note: The personalities detailed below are fictitious.  If you feel you are being described below, you are completely paranoid.

A leader will always find himself in front of the training group, perhaps set the pace or plan the course for each run.  He knows his stuff about running and shares this with the newbies. After a run, he rushes home to lead his business enterprise which he set up at the tender age of 20.

A follower will intentionally lag behind and ask questions: What distance do we run today? Where do we run? Are we joining the race next week?  Do you think I should wear the white or black underwear on race day?  A follower always has a coach, a leader, or anyone who can give him decent answers during a run.

The cheater signed up for TBR Dream Marathon knowing full well that it is only for first or second timers.  No worries, no one will ever know that she finished QC Int’l Marathon last year and is registered for Condura 42k on Feb.  She doesn’t care if she took the slot of a first-time marathoner who deserves the experience more than she does.  She HAS to run TBR Dream because her boyfriend will be there to cheer her on!  Just don’t tell her husband about it.

A planner will have her marathon training program printed out and displayed on every nook and cranny of the house. It is followed to a tee.  Marathon day is two months away but she knows her food, hydration, supplements, and outfit already.  She even has a post marathon training program ready.  All this has been neatly encoded into her ipad, a reward she bought for herself after her 3rd promotion this year.

The faker signed up for the marathon and posted about it on his blog.  He says he’s training seriously, but barely finds time to train since he’s too busy tending to his farm on facebook. He’s deeply worried about marathon day, but finds comfort in knowing that he can quit at 21k and simply tell his clueless friends that he finished the full.

This happy-go-lucky runner got lucky!  He heard about the race, impulsively registered, and found out he got the last slot.  Everyone is training heavily for the race, but he has no worries.  After all, he finished a 21k last year—note: half drunk and without any sleep—without collapsing.

A complainer always finds something wrong with herself and everything else: her yaya didn’t boil the eggs properly, her running shoe lacks cushioning, the pacer at the clinic ran too fast while her running buddies were too slow, the road had potholes, and the weather!  Oh boy, she asked God to make it cloudy that morning, but the sun appeared!  Arrgh!

The optimist is injured but knows that with some massage and cross training, the doctor will allow him to continue training next week.  He joins the running talks and observes at clinics eager to learn more about his newfound love for running.  He can’t believe he can run for 2 hours already, to think he only started running last year after he was declared cancer-free!

I could go on and on, but you get the point.  Each runner who signs up for a marathon will have his own tale to tell—not just after the marathon, but while training for it, not just through his words, but by his actions, and not just about his run, but his life and how he lives it. Make sure YOUR story is a GOOD one.