Running in Sentosa, Singapore

Tuesday, 22 May 2012  |  Bullish Insights

The hubby, kids, and I spent four days at Sentosa the past weekend. We had a fantastic time riding the rides at Universal Studios, hopping on the Skyride and Luge, viewing the sea creatures and watching the pink dolphin show at Underwater Adventure, dining at Festival Walk, and shopping at Orchard Road.  Aaah, I almost wish I could go on vacation again!

– Little bulls at the hotel –

– On the shuttle along Sentosa beachfront –

– Walking by waterfront at Sentosa right in front of Universal Studios –

– All set for our nth luge ride –

My only homework during this trip was a 15k fast-paced run. Saturday, I got up at 5:30AM for a 6:00AM run. I was all dressed and laced up only to discover that it was dark outside. Why didn’t anyone tell me that the sun rises at 7:00AM in Singapore?!

After a brief nap (in my run clothes), I left the hotel room at 7:00AM and took a 10 minute leisurely walk to the beachfront, which as advised by the friendly Pinoy staff at the Festive Hotel’s Front Desk, would be a great place to run.

– From hotel lobby to Festive Walk –

– Window shopping before the run! –

– Inspiration for the run. Mwah mwah! –

– Walked from here up to the Merlion then down to Siloso Beach. Fine, if you wanna be all hardcore about this, then you could run up the steps of the escalator too ala Rocky –

By the beach front, I decided to start my run at the Luge ticket office. Nearby were McDonalds, restrooms, and entrance to the beach.

– Luge and Skyride entrance. My starting point. And the kids’ favorite ride –

– That’s the ifly building –


– With the open water, flat roads for biking and swimming, this is a triathlete’s paradise.  I saw a triathlete training here under the intense 12nn heat!  Actually, I saw more than what I had hoped for. He was wearing way too tight speedos during the run heehee –

– Look! They have a jogging path which I only saw at the end of the trip. Check this out if or when you get there! –

I ran around 1km towards the right passing Siloso Beach. The roads were flat and faaaast. Would’ve loved to go faster if I wasn’t suffering in the heat too much.

– Loved the roads…but I was suffering in the heat and humidity. Who’s dumb enough to run at 7AM?!  Okay. No comment –

– Bikes for rent! I was tempted to rent one, but the Shiv at home might have gotten jealous –

I made a u-turn at the rotunda at the end. You’ll find a 7-11 there so bring extra money for hydration if you wish.

If you go farther down, you’ll see Shangri La resort and you even have the option of running the other roads in that area.  I opted not to explore that area because, um, it looked like a long, steep climb.

– Here’s where I made u turn. If you go past this area, you’ll see Shangri La and more roads to run –

– Entrance to Shangri la right in front of Underwater Adventure –

After the u turn, I headed back towards the Luge and went farther down passing other beaches such as Palawan beach. This left side of the road offers a longer route, but the same fast and flat roads. I enjoyed running here.  There were squirrels and peacocks for some entertainment, too!

After 7k, I felt that I couldn’t take the humidity anymore and decided to cut my run short. Out of guilt (and perhaps way too much eating the day before), I ran again a couple of days after covering 10k worth of intervals on the hotel treadmill. (Warning: there’s no TV in front of the treadmill so make sure you bring an iPod.)

I’m now back at Manila exhausted from the trip (that’s what happens when you have two little bull kids) and I must admit I’m not quite back into full training mode. As if that matters, because, in an hour, I should hop on my bike trainer and, by this afternoon, I should jump into the pool for a swim. Back to reality for this bull!

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!

Go Kassy Go!

Thursday, 2 December 2010  |  News + Promos

Singapore Marathon is just around the corner and I am excited for all of the Pinoy runners who are taking a crack at running 42k (or even less) in the Lion City.  I ran the half marathon in 2008 and the full marathon in 2009. So, just two tips from me to you: 1) Carry salt caps, and 2) Plan your hydration well. We all know it’ll be humid so hydrate consistently throughout the race.

One runner who is flying off to Singapore for her first international race is TBR Dream Marathon alumni, Kassy Pajarillo.

– Kassy nearing the finish of her first marathon at TBR Dream –

Kassy is using her run to help raise funds for the Maple Tree Foundation. Click below if you’re interested in helping!

Good luck Kassy and to all Pinoys!  Make us proud.


2009 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon: My 2nd Marathon

Tuesday, 8 December 2009  |  Race Reports

A friend once gave me this advice:

Your first marathon is usually your best because you run with your heart and spirit. Your second marathon maybe worse because you usually expect to do better than the first. And lastly, your third marathon will determine who you are as a marathoner because you will apply all the lessons learned from previous marathons.

The Standard Chartered Singapore marathon was my second marathon. Coming from a relaxed and pleasant QC International Marathon pace, I set a serious goal time for my second marathon, which I meant to race.

My first marathon time: 4:55
My second marathon goal time: 4:30
My second marathon secret goal time: 4:15

Whoever said the words above hit the nail on the head, at least for my first couple of marathons. Put simply, my second marathon experience sucked. Lots of unfulfilled expectations, more walking than planned, heavy and humid air that took the life out of me plus a water-bloating kind of torture that I ironically put myself under. Read on…

5:25 a.m., Race start

Kim, Ivy, Tina, Francine and I—five full marathon women—stood calmly among a sea of eager, jittery, and energized runners along Esplanade Drive. We were far behind from the starting line, but the excitement was palpable and the music blasting from the front lines could still be heard: “I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night…”


– Francine, Michelle, Kim, myself, and Ivy (our photographer!) –


– Full marathoners await gun start –

It was deja vu for me; all the race elements were a replay of last year’s race—the dynamic hosts and loud music, the venue, the glaring lights amidst the dark Singapore sky—only my goal was different; I was gunning for the full this time. I no longer felt the sense of awe and wonder, like last year, over the immensity of this grandiose event (50,000 individuals running at one time!) but it felt more like a personal journey, almost like enrolling in a new course or going on sabbatical.


The gun was fired way up in front and slowly all of us runners in the back plodded forward to cross the starting line. I bid Kim good luck and lost the other girls in the crowd. I switched my ipod on knowing it would be my best buddy for the next several hours and began to run the first few steps of my second marathon.

For the first 21km, my plan was to run 6:30 min/km. For the first 15k, I ran at a comfortable 6:20 min/km pace, confident that I would even have buffer by the time I hit half. I felt strong and I thoroughly enjoyed the incident-free run; it allowed me to enjoy the city and its sights or to read some runners’ scribblings on their backs: one was sentimental “For Mommy,” another had illustrations of his son, and another just said “Meet me in Harry’s Bar at 3 p.m.” If I had done the same, it would’ve said: “42k for Dad and an angel baby”



At 13k, among 50,000 runners, Women’s Health editor Lara Parpan and I managed to bump into each other and wished each other good luck. Shortly after, the course took us into East Coast Park, a portion that only full marathoners get to run on. The park setting—man-made lake at the center, fresh, green grass, and a narrow trail for pedestrians all by the sea—was a welcome sight. Plus, the party atmosphere—a band playing “You Gotta Have Faith… Thaa.. Faith… Thaa… FAITHAAAAH”, loud music blaring, and tons of water stations in the area—energized me even more. I felt great in here!


– Inside East Coast Park. One of the few times we ran under shaded trees. It was hot and humid all throughout –


That strong feeling didn’t last long though. The run through the park felt long and dreary; my strength gradually began to wane due to the humidity. At certain times, my throat felt dry and I felt suffocated, so I would hydrate often with Gatorade. Thankfully, I had run fast enough to make me hit my target for the first 21km: 2:18. I thought I was doing fine!


I continued to run at 6:30 pace and would occasionally walk and drink at water stations. Unfortunately, I ingested so much fluids that, at one point, my stomach felt heavy and bloated. I felt like a tadpole!  By Km28, I felt like my HRM strap was choking me so I stopped to remove my chest strap and loosen my hydration belt. What a relief! My pace had considerably slowed at that point though.


By Km30, evil thoughts started entering my mind: What’s taking so long? Can I endure 12kms more of this? Will I get cramps like everyone else around? If I’m struggling now, what’s the last 5 kms going to feel like?

Then, I forced myself to recall how pleasant QC International Marathon was. How, at Km 30, I didn’t even know I was going for the full 42km! And, for some moments, I got a break from the weariness and tried my best to plod on.


– The cool zone provided mist for runners. Unfortunately, it felt like a warm zone for me –


At QC International Marathon, my pacer Neville said “the last 5km will be the longest 5km of your life.” At that time, I quietly laughed about that line as I was on Cloud 9 running the last few kilometers towards QC Circle.

This time, however, his words didn’t only ring true, they were banging on my ear drums!  My last 5 kms were reduced to this simple question: Can you make it to the next water station?

I made a deal with myself: Walk briefly only at every OTHER water station. At every other station, I would then grab two cups: one to drink, another to pour over my overheating head. Then, I would walk briefly and compel myself to run again. It was slow and tough, but it was the only thing that kept me from sticking my thumb out to hitch a ride back to the hotel.  By that time, I didn’t even bother looking at my watch anymore.  Goal times were thrown out the window.


– Km 40: Singapore Flyer. More people were walking than running here –


– 2 more kms to go! I held on –


The harder you work for your goal, the more fulfilling it is when accomplished. And so, despite my weariness, I felt like the strongest woman alive when I crossed that finish line. (It also helped that there was a young Italian guy who made small talk with me right after!)

I was (and still am) disappointed with not reaching my target time. See the frustration in this face?…


…It definitely could’ve been better.  But, at the same time, I’m pretty proud of the fact that I plodded on despite the difficulties. I was blessed with the opportunity to join the race and test my endurance and will without any major glitches along the way (no cramps, no injury, not even a tiny blister!) For all that I am thankful.

Was it worse than the 1st marathon? Definitely. Will the 3rd marathon be the best? I certainly hope so.


Time: 4:49:04
Distance: 43.12 km
Average pace: 6:42 min/km
Calories: 1,755


Rank: 347
Official chip time: 4:49:18


* Thank you to Ivy for the race photos!

2009 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon: Pre-Race

Monday, 7 December 2009  |  Race Reports

I’m back…and I survived the heat and humidity during all 42.195km of the 2009 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon! Before I tell you all about my race experience (I’m getting tired just thinking of it again!) allow me to share with you a few tips I successfully practiced prior to the actual race: December 4 &5, 2009 in Singapore…

Tip 1: Prioritize Recovery over Comfort

Who cares if I could barely breathe underneath my jeans? During the 3-hour flight to Singapore and pretty much half the day in the Lion City, I surreptitiously wore my Skins compression tights beneath my jeans for knee support.

Lo and behold, they worked like magic! When I awoke from a brief nap at our hotel room, the minor knee pain that was stressing me out was gone! Hallelujah!

Tip 2: Business Before Pleasure

The morning we arrived, hubby and I wasted no time in going to the Singapore Expo & Convention Center to claim our race packets. After all this was no vacation; it was an official race trip!


– The classic Singapore Marathon pre-race pose that I’m sure all runners have –


– Got the bag…Ready to shop! –

Hubby got his 21k pack, while I got my 42k. As expected, redemption was quick, easy, and very well-organized. Chips were double-checked before leaving to verify that it was correctly encoded with our names.

The expo offered a wide variety of products for runners and other sports, some at huge discounts. With most brands, such as Newton, 2XU, and Ultimate Direction now available in Manila, I didn’t spot too many products that I wouldn’t be able to purchase locally.

I did see this…Sundown Marathon, anyone?


I still managed to bring home new loot such as an Ultimate Direction race belt and 2XU cap that I had been pining over since last year. When it comes to shopping, all I really buy are running items so this was quite a treat for me. As seen in this photo, hubby had a blast too…


Tip 3: Meet Local Runners

The highlight of this trip (aside from the marathon, of course) was being reunited with my best running buddy Annie who, as much as I still hate to think about it, is now a Singapore local. (Boohoo!)

– with Annie and our dearest ultra running mommy, Kim –

Annie took hubby, Kim, and I to the carbo-loading party of the popular Singapore-based running group, Team FatBird, at Swensens, a pasta place with an eat-all-you-can ice cream bar (heaven!)

Team FatBird is composed of an awesome bunch of fun-loving, dynamic runners who are seriously committed to the sport. They meet regularly on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings for 10k runs and for long runs on weekends.


– with Anthony Sum of Team FatBird. Photo courtesy of Team FatBird –


– After our comedic interview by Team FatBird press for their blog –


– Annie dessert-loading BEFORE her actual carbo-loading –

Annie, now a Team FatBird member, introduced us to Anthony and David, the leaders of the team. Both were gracious hosts who answered our never-ending queries: Why FatBird?  Can you recommend another good destination race?  Where do we find the pacers on race day? (Team FatBird runners were the official pacers of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.)

After filling our bellies, we gathered together for a howling and seemingly never-ending toast to the marathon ahead!


– Check out David’s New Balance shoes! Cool! –

Thank you to Team Fat Bird for allowing us to crash your party!  It was nice to meet such a fantastic team of runners.

Click here to view Team FatBird’s website.

Tip 4: Say No to Spicy Food

My friend Alvin had reminded me thrice about staying away from spicy food before the race. Luckily, the carbo loading party was TWO nights before the race so when the Black Pepper pasta called out to me on the menu, I rationalized that Alvin didn’t mention exactly when I should avoid it. Plus, he was way back in Manila anyway.

The pasta was delicious…and it was awfully spicy, so spicy that my nose started running (at 4:30 pace!) after a few bites. By the next day, I was woken up by a tummy that could actually speak! It was in alien language though, something like “Mutu Buhu RAA!” Then, “Goo Gaba RAA!”  When translated, it means “Attention: You’ve now got tummy problems due to your stupidity! You better pray this will be gone by race day!” Fortunately, it did disappear! Close call there.

Tip 5: Nourish Your Body

It was easy to forget about our healthy diet during this trip with all the yummy food to taste and indulge in…


But, since we knew we needed adequate nutrients before the race, hubby and I swung by a wholesome grocery at Ion. The fresh, bright-colored fruits were a sight to see so we splurged on a bunch of grapes, cherries, blueberries and bananas that evening.


Tip 6: Think Before You Buy

Annie took us to Novena Velocity Mall where she bought us salt caps to combat the much dreaded cramps on race day. In the same store, we spotted another product that’s been on my wish list forever: Vibram Five Fingers.

I finally got my hands (or more like feet!) in them! The Sprint model looked good and it fit well. But, when I took them for a test run around the store and I felt the hard concrete beneath my foot, I wasn’t sure if I would actually have the nerve to use them back in Manila. For Php7,000+ a piece, it took me quite a while to decide. Final verdict: I chickened out and passed. Maybe next time.

Tip 7: Sleep Early

Hubby and I hit the sack on the eve of Marathon Day at 9 p.m. Good thing we did so because I woke up every single hour that night both eager and nervous about the race. I got out of bed at 3:30 a.m. and felt refreshed. I was all set to go…

NEXT POST: 2009 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon

Click here for 2008 Singapore Half-Marathon: Pre-RaceHalf-Marathon, and Post-Race