HCMC Run: The City Marathon

Racing for the first time in a while is always difficult, but the rough spots get smoothed over when you’re in the care of a great race organizer. The Ho Chi Minh City Run was a long way from home to go run a half-marathon, but I am so glad I was there to witness the burgeoning sports and fitness scene in Vietnam, which can only continue to grow.

In 1992, Ho Chi Minh City had its first ever full marathon, hosting just a little under 100 local runners out of the 250 total participants. Twenty-five years later, the HCMC Run organized by Pulse Active brought the full distance back, to the delight of 7,218 runners across the 5K, 10K, 21K, and 42K distances. Continue reading “HCMC Run: The City Marathon”

Kikay Reviews: Zenith Smart Scale

Today was the moment of truth: have I gained weight from the holiday season? The answer is YES. And now I know it down to the fraction of a pound, and then some.

Truth be told, back in December when Digital Frontier the official distributor of the Zenith Smart Scale offered to send me a unit to test and review, I had my reservations. Who really wants to confirm the damage done during the feasting? But everyone knows that knowing is half the battle. So I bit the bullet and told them to send it over.
Continue reading “Kikay Reviews: Zenith Smart Scale”

Road to HCMC: Race Week

I made a mistake with the numbering from last blog post, because the Ho Chi Minh City Run is happening THIS WEEKEND!


Thankfully, I had the good sense to have booked everything I needed to before the Christmas holidays made me forget everything for a while. Imagine if I’d forgotten to book my flights?! Now I just need to get a new supply of energy gels, print out tickets, hotel bookings, and race registration email, then get packed. And I need to get this all done before Thursday because my flight leaves that night, landing us in Saigon around midnight.

Like the Laguna Phuket Marathon, my parents are coming with me again. Unlike that race, though, I am quite unprepared for a fast 21-kilometer jaunt through the streets of Saigon.

I’ll settle for a leisurely pace that will get me from start to finish safely, so I’m treating this race as a long run. (I will surely finish before the 21K’s generous four-hour cutoff!) “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and all that. That’s something I am fit for and should help burn off lots of food calories, seeing that I’m putting together a trip itinerary that involves lots of eating.

Of course, we’re going to hit the tourist trail with a pre-booked tour. Normally I’d just walk around on my own, but having travel companions requires more planning so nobody gets exasperated by the group getting lost.

Other than that, I asked my friends for suggestions on things to do and places to see in Ho Chi Minh and got some pretty enthusiastic responses. My friend Marck unabashedly calls HCMC his favorite city, and for a self-confessed agoraphobic to love one of the region’s most densely-populated cities means Saigon is something special.

I really do think my afternoon and evening in Ho Chi Minh before the red-eye flight back to Manila after Challenge Vietnam was, as we Filipinos like to say, bitin (too short and unsatisfying). And yet it looks like three days might not be enough to explore what the city has to offer! Hopefully I can pack in plenty of good experiences in those three days so I can tell you a nice long story when I get back.

Road to HCMC, Week 4: Hitting Marks

It’s only two weeks until the Ho Chi Minh City Run and I’m going to have to cram and wing it, no thanks to being sick and weak for most of December.

Here’s the funny thing. Ever felt weak and then after you finish a training session feel on top of the world? I’ve been avoiding the tough sessions because I was afraid they’d make me feel awful, but since it’s the new year I decided just to go for it. Continue reading “Road to HCMC, Week 4: Hitting Marks”

Hello, 2017

Happy New Year!

After my unannounced blogging sabbatical, I’m happy to be back writing about running and triathlon and all things fitness. Things got pretty hectic on the work front as I began work on a new project, and after all that’s happened to me 2016 still had to add one more insult to injury when I contracted an awful cough and cold that kept me away from training for nearly two weeks.

It is crunch time on my Road to the Ho Chi Minh Run half-marathon and I am nowhere near where I should be at this point. But hey, I know for a fact it’s doable (I’m just gonna have to watch the post-race recovery better). I’m super excited to be starting the year with a trip to a new city and seeing it on foot.

You know, every start of the year I feel hopeful and upbeat. I just came back from my first speed run session in six months. I can’t tell you how happy I was to make it through those 10 rounds of 400 meters and not fall into a paroxysm of coughs. I’m starting to feel like my old self again…

That is, if my old self was sitting at 130 pounds! If this Zenith smart scale I’m currently reviewing is telling me the truth, I am rocking a 15-pound surplus from my racing weight.I had to try on a couple of old evening gowns last night for a wedding I’m attending this week and, well, I’m really filling them out. (They all still zipped up, though. Whew!)

So here’s to starting anew and making a proper go of it, whatever you put your hands to. Whether you exercise to lose weight and build muscle, or train to race faster or longer, don’t just go through the motions. Know you are doing these things for a purpose, and that’s what will make all the effort worthwhile.

This year, I resolve to:

  • Sleep earlier — no more staying up ’til 3am playing stupid iPad games!
  • Recover better — no scheduling back-to-back races!
  • Race more — I miss toeing the start line of our local fun runs!

These resolutions are small things, but I make them that way on purpose so that they’re consistently achievable. What about you? Tell me about your New Year resolutions in the comments. :)

Oh, The Places I’ve Run This Year!

In my part of the world, the year 2016 has been… well, let’s just call it interesting, like the Chinese curse that says “May you live in interesting times.”

This year has been unlike all the years previous to it. It’s been the rogue one (pun intended for this season, wink wink) that has involved the less spectacular side of being a recreational endurance athlete. Endless weeks of training only to miss a new personal record, illness and overtraining syndrome, work stress…

Yet it would be unfair to paint this year as entirely negative. I ran a destination marathon, did two out of three legs in a half-ironman, and traveled! I didn’t really set too many goals for this year, but I definitely got out of my groove and comfort zone and was amply rewarded with new memories, great friendships, and so much joy.

Here’s a look back at the year that was. Continue reading “Oh, The Places I’ve Run This Year!”

Kikay Reviews: Lemongrass House

As much as I love training and being outdoors, I also balance this out by relaxing and resting at home in a sanctuary I make for myself. I discovered Lemongrass House last year during one of my many trips to Phuket and have not gone a day without using one of its products since!

Lemongrass House recently opened its second branch here in the Philippines, which means I no longer have to fly to Phuket to get the essential oils, sprays, and creams I use to pamper and take care of myself. All of its spa products are handcrafted in small batches with natural plant-based ingredients, ensuring freshness and sustainability for the environment — at pocket-friendly prices. <3 Continue reading “Kikay Reviews: Lemongrass House”