Wednesday, November 26, 2014

For Women Who Want Abs...

Diet and CORE workout to be uploaded SOON!

Running Apparel (Product Review)


NEW BALANCE 660 (v1)  
My very first pair of running shoes. 
The very first time I wore "real" running shoes

When I had my gait analysis, I was advised to wear "stability running shoes."  
I bought my first pair of running shoes at Athlete’s Foot in Robinsons Galleria since they were on sale and I was not yet sure if I would be consistent with running, so I decided to look for the cheapest pair that had my size.
L-R: My New Balance 660 v1; Husband's New Balance 660 v1
My first runs as an “amateur runner” was with this pair of NB 660s. 
I would say they were comfortable although a bit heavy and stiff. I did not know about running shoes then because prior to the time I bought my NB 660, I just used a pair of sneakers for “running / jogging.”  I did not have any basis for comparison. Although after some time, I had to replace them since they were worn out already because I did not have any alternative for it.

WHERE TO BUY: We got ours at Athlete's Foot Robinsons Galleria
(Also available in New Balance concept stores, Athlete's Foot branches, Planet Sports branches, Sports Warehouse) 

L-R: Husband's Kayano19, My Kayano 19

When the ASICS Store in Bonifacio High Street, BGC opened in 2013,  I was so eager to buy a new pair of running shoes (I waited for sooo long and was just so happy to visit their branch in BHS). 
One of those days anticipating for the Asics BHS branch to open

I had my gait analysis by one of their staff, and was still advised that I should get “a pair of stability running shoes.” 
Gait anaysis - Asics BHS - The staff who guided me was very knowledgeable and patient;
The other staff there were all accommodating and they were "not pushy" that I should get my pair right away.

ASICS stability running shoes to choose from (at that time) were GT-2000 or Kayano19. I wanted to get a pair of GT-2000 because I wanted one of the color options they had (bright pink).  I did not want to try the Kayano19 because for me it was too much (in terms of price) since I was just a “beginner” runner. But the husband convinced me to try them on. I don’t know if it was a good thing or not that he made me try the Kayano, because when I laced up, they were just wrapped around my feet, I was just SOLD! When I tried running on the treadmill, I did not want to take them off. My feet never felt that "cushioned" ever in my entire life. So that's why the husband got me a pair of Kayano 19 and this was what I used when I trained for my first marathon, until I crossed the finishline of my first 42k.  I did not have any alternative to my Kayano 19 (I used it for all my training runs and races). Because of that, I just had to get myself a new pair since it was not as comfortable anymore, the edges of the soles were worn out. They did not provide much support to my feet after running with them for several hundred kilometers.  If only I could get myself several pairs of the Kayano19, I would. That’s how much I loved it. When the Kayano 20 was released, I knew I had to get myself a new pair.

WHERE TO BUY: I got mine at Asics Bonifacio High Street, BGC
(Also available at other Asics stores, Athlete's Foot, selected Planet Sports branches, Runnr stores)


I read some reviews regarding the Kayano 20 and was a little hesitant whether to get another pair of Kayano 19 because I was just very satisfied with them. Some reviews said that the Kayano 20 was heavier than the 19 – so I had second thoughts back then whether to get the 20 or still the 19.  After some time, I decided to get the Kayano 20 – and I made the right decision. I was so blessed to get an Asics Kayano 20 from my cousin, Jerrick, who went home from the US weeks after my full marathon (just in time to get me a new pair of running shoes). The very first time I tried them on, it did not disappoint. They were just snug and it felt like they were made for me. When I tried running with it, it felt like they were molded to my feet. It has a wide sole which makes my feet feel very stable and secured everytime I land it on the road. Up to this day, my pair of Kayano20s is my main running shoe, and it’s still as comfortable as how it was when I first used it. I still use it for my weekend long runs and most of my races. 

WHERE TO BUY: I got mine as a gift - bought from Foot Locker
(Available at Asics stores, Athlete's Foot, selected Planet Sports branches, Runnr stores)

K-SWISS Kwicky Blade Light (KBL 2) STABLE

I got myself a pair of K-SWISS Kwicky-Blade Light (KBL 2) Stability because I needed to have an alternate running shoe. When I tried running with them around the store, they were comfortable. For me it provided a fair amount of cushioning but after running with them for several kilometers, they expanded and became too wide for me - I have very narrow feet so I don't need shoes with a wide forefoot area.  Since the toebox (forefoot area) is too wide for me,  they cause minimal slipping. The tongue of the left shoe also often go to the side of my left foot which make it uncomfortable especially during runs over 10k, that's why I use them now for my weekday short runs only. They provide good stability and are comfortable but slightly bulky, nonetheless, it’s a good alternate shoe... even better since I got them at 50% off!

WHERE TO BUY: I got mine at Planet Sports, Bonifacio High Street, BGC at 50% off
(Also available at other Planet Sports branches, Athlete's Foot)

To give you a brief idea, I like running shorts that are short in length and I like shorts that will give me enough breathing room around my thighs due to the lightweight feel.

Chix wearing purple Mizuno running shorts (post-workout at home)
Chix wearing pink Mizuno running shorts (Boracay Skyathon 2014 10k race)

They're lightweight, and very comfortable.  I got all the colors available since I love that its fabric is so "low maintenance" and they dry quickly, plus they're relatively cheap too.  I am comfortable running with short shorts – I feel like “I run faster” with them, but of course that’s just my personal preference. The material of this pair of shorts is soft, lightweight “breathes easy” and dries fast too. It doesn’t have a back pocket though, and its internal left pocket at the left hip area is just enough to store a key, and that’s it.
Overall, I would say, it is best for short runs, if you do not need to bring any “nutrition” (energy gels) otherwise you might need to have a belt where you can store your energy gels. What I love about this is I can use them as "casual shorts" when I want to leave the house wearing a pair of shorts, tank top and slippers.

WHERE TO BUY: Mizuno shops (SM Aura BGC, Bonifacio High Street BGC, Eastwood City, Robinsons Galleria, Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Laguna)

Photo grabbed from

My first "real" pair of running shorts were the Nike Tempo Track shorts.  They are very comfortable and lightweight, too.  It also dries quickly.The lining inside is not distracting during runs although not so much for me when I workout. It causes a bit of chafing when I use this for my workout at home. I also find the length a little "long" for me.  I now prefer the shorter running shorts that I find more breathable. It also does not have a back pocket (which is now one of my main considerations in choosing a pair of running shorts) so I only wear them for my short runs. But overall, this is recommended for runners who want versatile and lightweight running shorts.

WHERE TO BUY: Nike Park / Stadium, Planet Sports, Runnr

Photo grabbed from
Chix wearing the Nike 3.5" Epic Running Shorts during the Insurunce 2013 - 10K race
(Photo courtesy of Without Limits Philippines)
I tried this because I was curious how it felt running with tight shorts. Plus, it had a back pocket too which made it more interesting.  I also thought they were flattering, so I got my self a couple of pairs. I used this once during a 10k race and it was not so comfortable because I was too conscious, it felt like it was too short for me so I kept on pulling the shorts every so often while running during the race.  I also tried this during my workout at home, unfortunately, I didn't like it especially when I used it on my bench, it caused some chafing.  I now use my pairs only after run and not anymore during workout or even short runs. I realized I was not meant to wear "tight" shorts for running.

WHERE TO BUY: Nike Park, Planet Sports, Runnr

Photo grabbed from
Chix wearing printed Nike 2" Rival running shorts
NB Power Run 2014 - Photo Courtesy of iCloud Running Group
Chix wearing printed Nike 2" Rival running shorts
RU3 2014 - Photo Courtesy of TJ Taburico Photography

I now prefer using the  Nike 2" rival shorts. I got myself several pairs of these ever since I used my first pair during my first full marathon (and had no problem with it, whatsoever). I now use them during my long runs and races.  For me they're very comfortable, lightweight and length is just right for me.  I find them flattering since it's as though they were customized for me because of its snug fit. The size plus the quality of its waistband are just perfect. I use them even for my workout at home because even if you're all sweaty, it doesn't look "damp."  These shorts are on the "shorter side" so it might take some getting used to when you wear them (especially of you prefer longer shorts). I love that they have several colors and printed versions that you can choose from.  The back key pocket is just enough for my energy gels too. Overall, I'd say, I would love to have all the colors (plain and printed) of the Nike 2" rival shorts, if only they're a little cheaper.
WHERE TO BUY: Nike Park, Planet Sports, Runnr


For me a running visor is a necessity since I always run in the morning and I get annoyed easily when the sun shines on my face and I don't want to exert extra effort running while squinting at the same time.

NB 25K Power Run 2013 Coach Mike and Chix (wearing her pink NB Run Visor)
Thanks Red Knight Runner for the photo

This was my first running visor. It took me a few short runs before I got used to it. I find the visor too wide for me.  It definitely does its job in protecting your face from the sun, but it blocks my vision at times since the visor is too wide.  I realized that it's not too lightweight and I feel abit uncomfortable with it when I use them during long runs. Although it keeps sweat away from my face, its fabric is not that breathable and I find myself adjusting it once in awhile when I perspire.

WHERE TO BUY: I got mine at Planet Sports BGC. Also available in other Planet Sports branches and New Balance Concept Stores (Glorietta 4, SM Aura BGC, Festival Mall Alabang, Robinsons Place Manila)


I love the 2XU run visor because it is highly breathable and lightweight.  I get bothered with sweat trickling down my forehead during long runs but this visor just does its job in providing sun protection, absorbing sweat (because of its sweatband) and allowing my head to be "cool" all throughout a long run.  I love its fit especially since it has an adjustable velcro strap. It's also easy to clean, dries fast and doesn't get distorted even after being in the washer several times. I've been using mine for over a year now and it still fits well.

WHERE TO BUY: I got mine in 2XU Glorietta 3. Also available in Planet Sports BGC


Chix wearing Salice 006 Sports Sunglasses Runfest 2014 - Photo courtesy of KB Runner (Photo-Ops)

I got myself a pair of Salice 006 sunglasses because they're lightweight and price is reasonable (when I tried researching online).  I am very much satisfied with my running sunglasses.  It took a while before I got used to the lenses, they're polarized so when you wear them for the first time, everything seems to be in "high definition", all the colors are vibrant and just alive.  I use it even when I drive or almost everytime I need to wear a pair of sunglasses.  When I wear it on my visor during races, you wouldn't realize you're bringing a pair of sunglasses with you - it's definitely lightweight.  When I wear it, they fit well and are comfortable and the lens quality is just excellent and really provides protection from the bright light rays of the sun without the glare. The nosepiece is detachable though, so be careful since you might lose it.  I lost mine once, but thanks to the excellent after sales customer service of the exclusive distributor of Salice here in the Philippines, I got a replacement right away.  Overall, I would recommend this for runners who need good quality, stylish and reasonably priced pair of sunglasses.  I definitely got my money's worth when I bought my pair of Salice 006.

WHERE TO BUY: I got mine at their sales office in A. Arnaiz Ave. Makati ("Like" Salice Philippines on Facebook for more details); Planet Sports BGC, Runnr, Secondwind

My Running Playground (Where to Run)

UP Acad Oval - late afternoon
The UP Acad Oval (as how most people refer to it) is a 2.2km oval (although its shape is more rectangular than oval).  A lot of runners go to UP early in the morning to run.  This is where we run on Sundays.  I have been running here since 2012.  It is closed to motorized vehicles every Sunday although there are special lanes for runners so you can still run here any day of the week.  Most people run “counterclockwise” and quite a few run “clockwise.”  I usually run with the flow like everybody else, although I sometimes run “clockwise” so I can see more people which puts a bit of encouragement for me.  Although personally, I feel that running “clockwise” is harder because it is more “uphill” which makes it more challenging.  The oval is mostly shaded (there are a lot of huge acacia trees around the oval) which means you can still run as late as 8/9am and the path will still be shaded.  

It gets a bit crowded late in the morning though, so I suggest you run as early as 5:30am so you’ll have less people running with you. I have tried running here in the evening also, but I still prefer morning runs here.  The lights are kind of “gloomy” for me.
One of our Sunday morning runs in UP (L-R: Coach Mike, Age and I)

I love running in UP.  Even if I live in the South, I don’t mind the 20+ km drive just to run here on Sundays.

PROS: Parking is free. There are a lot of trees so it’s mostly shaded.  Always fun to see groups of runners, bikers and families get together on weekends.  Closed to motorized vehicles every Sunday. If you get thirsty (or hungry) there are sidewalk vendors in designated areas around the oval. There are a lot of nearby  “post-run breakfast places.” If you get bored from running the 2.2km oval, there are a lot of other running routes within the UP complex that you can explore.

CONS: No clean restroom.   

Rodic's (UP Shopping Center)
Stacy's (Capitol Hills Golf &Country Club)
Pancake House (Katipunan Ave.)
Sweet Inspirations (Katipunan Ave.)
Mom and Tina's (Katipunan Ave.)
Sinangag Express (Katipunan Ave.)
Upside Down (White Plains)
Kanto (Intrepid Plaza outside Eastwood City - Libis)

There are other restaurants in and outside the UP Complex - these are just the ones I've tried post-run 

BGC (Bonifacio Global City) - Taguig City
One of those Saturday morning BGC runs with running friends (Rizal Drive, BGC)
Photo courtesy of Jema Ng
Bonifacio Global City (BGC) for me is very “runner friendly” especially to newbie runners.  You can run around Bonifacio High Street  (BHS) and that entire “rectangular area” is already a little over 1km.  If you need to get a little “boost” by people watching and you want some sight-seeing, this area will motivate you to run.  It’s also safe to run around the BHS area since there are a lot of security guards and traffic marshals. On weekdays, there are more runners in the evening (those who work in BGC run in this area after office hours), although there are quite a number of runners in the morning also.  I sometimes do my weekday runs here in the evening, but I often run here Saturday mornings.  I run with my friends around the BHS area and around the entire BGC. For me it is safer to run around the entire BGC early morning because some areas are not well-lit at night, and construction is everywhere.  Apart from the BHS area, we run around University Parkway, Burgos Circle, Rizal Drive, 5th Avenue all the way to up to Lawton Ave. If you get tired of running around BGC, you can also opt to run from 5th Avenue and turn right at McKinley Rd. all the way to Ayale Ave., Makati Central Business District (CBD).

Park your car in the open parking lots so parking fee is PhP10 less than the covered parking area. (Parking rates are PhP35 (open parking) PhP45 (covered parking) first 4 hours; flat rate every Sat/Sun and Holidays)

Most of the restrooms in BHS are still closed early in the morning, better to ask the guards on duty which ones are open.

For newbie runners, you can try the “Track at 30th Street" if you are not yet comfortable running on the road.

PROS: Relatively safe. BHS area is well-lit at night. A lot of 24-hour convenience stores where you can buy hydration and other stuff, if necessary. A lot of post-run breakfast places to choose from in BHS or even around BGC.

CONS: No trees / not shaded - it tends to be hot as early as 7am (depends on the time of the year); limited restrooms are open early in the morning.    

Wild Flour (Ground Floor, Net Lima Bldg. 5th Ave. cor 26th St.)
26th  Street Bistro - Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (Ground Floor Net Lima Bldg. 5th Ave. cor 26th St.)
Slice (BHS Central)
Pancake House (BHS / Ground Floor, Net Quad Bldg. 4th Ave. cor 30th St.)
Figaro (BHS)
Seattle's Best (BHS)
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (BHS)
Starbucks (BHS / Crossroads - 32nd St. and 7th Ave.)
Recovery Food (Crossroads - 32nd St. and 7th Ave.)
Army Navy (Crossroads - 32nd St. and 7th Ave.)
100 Miles Cafe (Fort Strip - but closed on Sundays)
Uncle Cheffy (Burgos Circle)
PAUL Patisserie and Boulangerie (Rizal Drive, BGC)

There are other restaurants around BGC - these are just the ones I've tried post-run / post-race (open for breakfast)

ULTRA (Phil. Sports Arena) TRACK OVAL – Pasig City
Photo courtesy of Jema Ng
(L-R: Chix, Age, Coach Mike, My husband Mike - during of of those speed trainings)

The Ultra Track Oval is a 400-meter oval track (redundant, huh?). Anyway, it re-opened June 2014 after being closed for renovation for a long time (for what runners say seemed like forever).  I have not tried running here before so I cannot compare if the track is better now than prior to the time it was renovated. I’ve been here a few times for our speed training.  I only tried running here on weeknights so I cannot say how the crowd is on weekends.  Based from my limited experience from running the Ultra Track Oval, I would say it’s best to do your speed training here since the surface is softer as compared to cemented / asphalt roads.  There are designated lanes for fast and slow runners so make sure to follow the rules.  Entrance to the track oval is only PhP35 and parking is free.  Although parking may be limited depending on the number of people who run (and swim, since there is a swimming pool near the track as well).

Entrance to the Ultra Track Oval is not in Ultra but in DepEd (along Meralco Avenue) 

The track is open from 5:30am – 9:00pm everyday (Mon-Sun but closed on public holidays)

PROS: Best for speed training.  There is a “locker room” / dressing area. There is a small convenience store near the track and swimming pool area if you need to by hydration / snacks. Aysee (a good / cheap sisig place) is just right around the corner so best to try it after your speed training.

CONS: The entrance leading to the Track Oval is not well-lit at night. The track tends to be a bit crowded on weeknights.

POST-RUN EATS (not sure if open for breakfast since I've only tried running at the Ultra Track Oval at night):
Aysee (St. Martin Street across Ultra)
Starbucks (Capitol Commons)

PHILIPPINE ARMY GRANSTAND - Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
During one of my "first runs" at the Phil Army Grandstand 

The Philippine Army Granstand Oval is 1km. I tried running here a number of times during Saturday / Sunday mornings.  There are parts of the oval that are shaded, although it is mostly not shaded so it tends to be hot as early as 7am. Most of the people who run in the oval are Philippine Army officers and their family members.  It’s a fun place to run here especially for “newbie runners” since there are also a lot of people who just walk around the oval.  It’s right beside the Army golf course though so be “cautious” of the golf balls (have not heard of any accident here, but it’s always best to be cautious).  

If you get a chance, it’s also fun to watch the Army in uniform doing their drills at the grandstand.

Use the Gate 6 Entrance along Bayani Road (near St. Michael’s Church) because the gate near the grandstand(along Lawton Ave) is open only for those with decal (car sticker). Civilians are advised to enter via Gate 6.

No entrance fee to use the oval – don’t expect much since the oval track’s surface is not designed for speed training.

Parking is free and spacious- you can even run around the parking lot since it doesn’t get cramped.

PROS: There is a restroom at the Grandstand where you can change.  There is a drinking fountain also near the grandstand (but it’s still best to bring your own hydration).

CONS: Mostly not shaded so it's best to run early morning.  It’s not lit at night so evening runs are not possible.

Please see BGC list since the Army Oval is relatively near BGC

Previous Races

EventDateVenueDistance (km)TimeRemarks
Adidas KOTR7-Jul-13BGC16.81:56:31
NB Power Run10-Nov-13BGC253:20:45
2nd Heroes Run1-Dec-13Taguig10no results
7-11 Run 100019-Jan-14CAVITEX162:02:00
TBR Dream Marathon16-Feb-14Nuvali42.1956:05:55
Pinoy Fitness Sub-1 10k30-Mar-14BGC100:57:39PR
Run United 21-Jun-14Luneta212:29:50 Runfest13-Jul-14BGC212:38:27
CarbTrim All Woman Race20-Jul-14Alabang212:26:21
Manila Half-Marathon 201417-Aug-14MOA212:24:21
Gold Rush 24k Run14-Sep-14CCP242:55:00
Candy Rush 2 201428-Sep-14Quirino Grandstand212:48:20
Run United Philippine Marathon5-Oct-14MOA212:27:20
NB PowerRun 20149-Nov-14BGC253:04:00PR
Pinoy Fitness 21k Challenge16-Nov-14BGC212:19:00PR
Condura Skyway Marathon1-Feb-15Alabang42.1955:26:00PR
World of DC Comics All Star Fun Run18-Apr-15MOA101:08:00
NatGeo Earth Day Run26-Apr-15MOA212:38:38
Yakult 10-miler24-May-15CCP162:55:37
Run United 2 Afroman 7-Jun-15MOA323:53:00
*PR (Personal Record) / Personal Best

Journey to My First 42.195km (My Marathon Story)

I ran my first 42.195km (full marathon) last February 16, 2014 –in Nuvali, Laguna during The Bull Runner-Unilab Active Health (TBR-ULAH) Dream Marathon Batch 5. The TBR-ULAH Dream Marathon is the only marathon in the world that caters to first / second-time marathoners.
(To know more about it, visit

Jaymie Pizarro (The Bull Runner) gave me the chance to share my marathon story during the TBR-ULAH Dream Marathon 2015 (Batch 6)’s First Bull Circle.
TBR-ULAH Batch 2015's First Bull Circle - Henry Sy Auditorium, St. Luke's Medical Cetner, BGC

Here’s what I shared during the Bull Circle:

Good evening everyone, dreamers, fellow TBR batchmates and friends. I just want to share with you my journey to my first 42km and how running has changed my life. To start off, I’d like to share some things about me before I started running.
Before I started running, I literally had zero exercise.  The mere thought of putting on closed shoes, sweating and exposing myself under the sun just annoyed me. I mean, why expose yourself under the sun? It’s just not right!  My husband, would convince me almost everytime he’d exercise to at least do some kind of stretching, because he knew I had to do something since we’re getting old. My answer to him everytime he’d motivate me to do any form of exercise would always be, “Prolly, next time.”  Until one day, while I was driving home, I saw my friend, Macel Janeo, also a TBR alumna, who was running around the village, literally under the sun, like 12nn.  I stopped the car beside her and asked, “What are you doing? Are you insane? Ang init, bakit ka tumatakbo?” Then Macel said, “I’m training for a marathon, I need to get used to running under the heat, I’ll run kasi in Singapore, for my 2nd marathon.”  After that incident, I was like, hmmm, why not try running? I mean there should be something to it.  So after some time, I gave it a try. When I woke up, I just put on my running shoes and just went to the covered basketball court across our house and tried running. In my head I thought, well, running, that’s easy so I just ran as fast I as I could and, believe me, after just one lap of running around the basketball court, I almost passed out, everything was just blurry. I called my husband (who was just shooting some hoops at that time) and said, “Take me home, nahihilo nako.” When I got home, I demanded him to give me water, to turn on the airconditioner and to check my blood pressure because I thought I was gonna die!  I guess that was my wake up call. I had to do something, since it dawned on me that I was not fit.  I then decided to become fit and do it not for me, but for our future kids.  So a few days after that incident, I tried again, my two laps around the court eventually became five, then ten laps, until I told my husband that I want to run around the village.  I became very consistent with running, until we signed up for our first 5k race,
InsuRUNce 2012, BGC - Our First 5K Race (pic on the lower right taken at the Phil. Army Oval, Fort Bonifacio)

 and after several months he just signed me up to run 16.8K because he said if I felt okay after that, then we’ll sign up for TBR.
Adidas King of the Road 2013 in BGC - Our first 16.8km race
  Back then, I couldn’t imagine running without music, because that was what motivated me. I just kept on running because I had my earphones on, and that was what mattered,  but running 16.8km was a good experience, so we asked my fellow TBR alumni friends (Mike and Macel) about the TBR Dream Marathon and before we knew it, there we were signing up for our first marathon. I remember the first time I watched the video of the Dream Marathon during our first bull circle– I felt sooo scared, it gave me butterflies in my stomach. But I thought, well I already signed up for it, might as well go for it.  It was a memorable experience, I remembered myself sitting there and thinking, 42km? That’s far! How could I do that?
TBR-ULAH Batch 2014's First Bull Circle - Henry Sy Auditorium, St. Luke's Medical Center, BGC

Since I was never an athlete and never considered myself to be one before, I knew I had to follow the program, up to its smallest detail, no ifs or buts.  My husband and I were determined to change our lifestyle. We promised ourselves that we had to lessen our night outs and drinking sessions with friends while we were training for the marathon. In the past, Friday and Saturday nights were always spent drinking with friends and we’d come home 3/4am.
And since as part of the program, we had to do our long runs during the weekend and needed to wake up early, it meant we had to sleep early too.  Until eventually, Friday and Saturday nights were spent at home, lights out at 9/10pm and  our alarm clocks were set to 3/4am.

Good thing, our friend, Mike Janeo, who became our coach,promised that he will pace us during the marathon, and he will train with us.  He attended all the bull circles, bull sessions and was ALWAYS with us during our long runs in the weekend.

I must say he was a strict coach, and he ensured we followed the training program.  I remembered we want to run a half-marathon (21k) for a certain race, but based on the program, we should only run a shorter distance, and so we followed the marathon training program and trusted our coach.

All the running talks or better known as “bull cirlces” were very beneficial to us - from the run-walk technique, running form, proper hydration, choosing the right running gear, just to name a few topics that helped me.

All our training runs especially the bull sessions also became very memorable.  Everything was well organized. There was sufficient hydration, there were enough pacers to guide us, the dreamers, to help us run at a pace comfortable for us.  I had the best months of my life while training for our first marathon.  My husband, other relatives, and my friends could attest to that.  They saw that I was different. In the past, the smallest amount of rain would give me a cold, and the slightest form of movement would make me sick. In short, I was not as fragile as how I considered myself to be. My husband said I was not as masungit and I had a positive outlook in life. I became more energetic, more productive in my daily tasks and found myself doing more household chores after a long run in the weekend, and the biggest change was, my appetite, it was just out of control.  I felt like eating everything I want after a long run. I was always happy gorging on food after running and elated at the sight of food. I just felt I was at my best! Because of the bull sessions with fellow batchmates, I learned that it’s fun to run with other people. Before our marathon training, I couldn’t imagine running with others.   I didn’t realize the big difference it could make if you run with friends.  Through the months of marathon training, I gained a lot of new friends.

Now, fast forward to the days leading to the big day, I made sure I followed the “time table” that was discussed during the last bull circle.

Packed all our stuff and checked in our hotel the day before the marathon.  We had dinner as scheduled, and turned the lights off the hotel room, also as scheduled.  I guess I was just too excited and nervous that I didn’t get to sleep at all, not even a cat nap for five minutes.  Until it was time for early breakfast, our Coach Mike picked us up from our hotel and gave us last minute instructions during our light breakfast. Before I knew it, it was 2am! It was time to run.

Everything happened so fast. I remembered there was a live band, there were a lot of people cheering us, singing and dancing, holding banners, giving free hugs, offering different kinds of snacks to help make it an enjoyable experience. I couldn’t say no to what was being offered to me during the race. I remembered eating gummy bears, Chips Ahoy, hotdogs, jellyace, Choc nut, cloud 9, apples, oranges, pears, and yes Chippy (I’ve tasted the best tasting chippy during the marathon – and upto this day, I still buy my own stash of Chippy and everytime I snack on it, it reminds me of my marathon experience). There was also enough supply of bananas and Gu… and yes I ate them all  during the race.  There was also a "kikay tent" before the end of the race to make sure that you’ll look good and not haggard when you pose for pictures as you run to the finish line.  For me at that time, if all the marathons are like this, everyone should experience running one. I knew beforehand that there would be "dream chaser tents" or people that would cheer us, but being there, it was different.  I felt so pampered, it felt like, I was a VIP. The TBR Dream Marathon definitely lived up to its objective in providing the best marathon experience for first and second time marathoners. But of course there were still moments when I felt it was just neverending. I had a mental picture of the race map and was thinking, where’s the next u-turn? Malayo pa kaya?   I also asked myself, will it be really worth it when I cross the finish line?  But I cannot say that I hit the wall during my first marathon. I guess it was because of everyone who cheered us along the way, and from the start, we knew that our goal was to finish the marathon, enjoy it and be injury free, and not be bounded by a time target.  So my husband and I, along with our coach, trained us for it and he set a pace that was very comfortable for us. A few meters before the finish line, everything was just surreal, I felt teary eyed and had goose bumps. I grabbed my husband’s hand as we crossed the finish line.  Of course, the feeling I got when I crossed can never be expressed in words.
But I knew that I am a different person.  I am now more confident and more motivated to do things. It gave me a whole new reason to enjoy life.

The friends I gained from marathon training, are now close friends of mine, and up to this day, we still run every Sunday.  Before, I used to get that “Sunday Blues” negative feeling, but because of my running friends, they gave a whole new meaning to my Sunday Mornings. I now look forward to sleeping early on a Saturday night because my Sunday morning will be well spent running with friends and having the best breakfast after a good run.

I have joined a lot of races after my first marathon, I finished my SUB1 10k a month after my first full marathon, a few fun runs and quite a number of half marathons too. 
TOP (L-R): Pinoy Fitness Sub-1 10K March 2014; Sofitel Manila Half-Marathon August 2014; Carb Trim All Woman Race July 2014 (21k)
BOTTOM (L-R); PF Sub-1 10k Challenge March 2014; Gold Rush September 2014 (24k); Boracay SKYathon April 2014 (10k); Runfest July 2014 (21k); Run United 2 June 2014 (21k) 

I also became more into fitness that aside from running, I also do other forms of exercise. I joined this contest a few months ago and won and became the Fitness Diva of Planet Sports Women, which I have never imagined myself to win, not before I ran my first marathon.

I could just not imagine life without running, the mere thought of it excites me. Running gave me a new sense of purpose in life, that I am capable of doing things I never imagined I could do. I may not be a mom yet, as how I planned myself to be, but running gave a whole new meaning and direction to my life. 
TOP (L-R): 711 Run January 2014 (16k); Run United2 June 2014 (21k); New Balance Power Run November 2013(25k); Sofitel Manila Half-Marathon August 2014(21k)
BOTTOM (L-R); Runfest July 2014 (21k); 24K Gold Rush September 2014; CarbTrimAll Woman Race July 2014

Now, I am about to start training for my next marathon in February.  I will still run with my husband and our coach, and will follow the training program we used in TBR.

It was indeed a new beginning for me when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon.  I’m sure that you will feel that way too when you all finish the Dream Marathon on February 22, 2015.   
Photo taken Feb. 17, 2014 near the marathon starting line
(day after the TBR-ULAH Dream Marathon 2014)

Goodluck to all of you, Dreamers. 

Fitness Diva

Before I started running, I never imagined myself getting excited with the mere thought of wearing athletic apparel. But believe it or not, I now get very eager every time I visit sports shops.  I look forward to the time where I can just buy all the workout clothes I see. This is I think also partly the reason why I joined the Planet Sports Women Fitness Diva Contest last July 2014.  When I won the contest, I was overwhelmed because a lot of my friends (and others who I didn’t know personally) asked about my workout, like what other forms of exercises I did aside from running. 

I did not realize that joining that contest would make me an instrument to inspire people to “start their journey to fitness.” Now I want to share my story on how I strive to become fit because I want to continue inspiring people on how being fit can change their lives.
Photo grabbed from Planet Sports Women's Facebook Page

Thank you Planet Sports (Women) BGC for the gift certificates and the Clinique products. Shopping for workout clothes has never been this exciting. Many thanks to all the staff there too, for being very friendly and accommodating everytime I come and visit your store.