Eventful Saturday, Part 2: Nail It! Salon

With King of the Road coming up tomorrow, I needed to make time for one of my pre-race rituals. But I’ve been working so hard teaching exercise classes, attending events, and coming down with a vicious cold; a pedicure was the last priority.

Good thing my schedule opened up and I felt a little better today, so I attended today’s opening of Nail It! Salon’s branch at Alphaland Magallanes (the mall on the corner of EDSA and Pasong Tamo Extension). Aside from meeting up with my fashion blogger friend Tracy and seeing the salon’s facilities, we were also treated to one complimentary service each.

Nail It! Alphaland store opening:
Nail It! Salon at Alphaland

Continue reading “Eventful Saturday, Part 2: Nail It! Salon”

Eventful Saturday, Part 1: TRIpalooza

It’s officially my triathlon off-season so I’m supposed to take this time to focus on things I need work on, like my swim stroke. However, it’s also during the off-season when multisport shops put their merchandise on sale. But it’s a hassle driving up and down the metro trying to find the best deals. What’s a triathlete (with a payday check in hand) to do?

Well, what if I told you just for this weekend (September 29 to 30) all those great stores got together in one venue offering their most enticing deals? That’s what’s happening at TRIpalooza at Venice Piazza in McKinley Hill, Taguig. Despite it being a warm and humid day, I went over there to see what goodies I could snatch up.

TRIpalooza Sept 29-30: Venice Piazza
I’m here for the show!

I couldn’t stay for the afternoon’s activities, among them a talk on Running 101 by coach Ani de Leon-Brown. But I was able to do a lot of browsing. Continue reading “Eventful Saturday, Part 1: TRIpalooza”

Four Habits That Ruin Your Looks

I wouldn’t be the Kikay Runner if I didn’t at least acknowledge that being concerned about how I look is what led me toward a healthy lifestyle. Looks are skin-deep, but they’re an indicator of how healthy you are and how well you’re taking care of yourself. Unblemished skin, good teeth, thick shiny hair, and clear bright eyes are signs of youth and health. They’re also attractive to most people, regardless of what their subjective view of beauty is.

While some aspects of your appearance are determined by genetics, some favorite bad habits can affect how you look.


Aside from affecting your body on the inside with increased risk of lung cancer, smoking also affects your outsides: skin, hair, and teeth. Smoking constricts blood vessels, especially the small capillaries that bring nutrients to your skin cells. This affects your skin’s collagen, causing dryness and loss of elasticity and strength. This results in dull complexion and wrinkles, making smokers look 1.4 times older than non-smokers of the same age. The same lack of circulation in the skin causes wounds to heal slower, increasing the likelihood of scar formation. Smoking also increases the chance of hair loss: a 2007 study in Taiwan found that men who smoke are twice as likely to lose their hair as non-smokers.

Nicotine in the cigarettes stains your teeth, as well as your fingers and lips. The toxins in cigarette smoke also put you at risk for losing your teeth: A 2005 study in the U.K. found that smokers are six times as likely to develop gum disease than nonsmokers.

Drinking Alcohol

There’s a saying that goes, β€œThe more I drink, the better you look,” but drinking alcohol affects your appearance in a negative way. In the short term, drinking causes puffiness around the face and belly. Long term, drinking causes weight gain due to the additional calories you take in with that glass of wine or beer.

Alcohol is toxic, so the body tries to excrete it through the kidneys. Unfortunately this also excretes water and dehydrates the skin. Alcohol dilates blood vessels and may break the capillaries, causing redness in areas where the skin is thin, such as the nose. The dilated blood vessels also cause bloodshot eyes.

Not Hydrating Well

The human body is more than 50% water, so keeping well-hydrated is important not just for your appearance, but also for your health. Eight or more glasses a day will keep a person sufficiently well-watered, but drinking caffeinated drinks causes water loss, which means you need to drink more water to compensate.

Sleeping Too Little

With busy lifestyles working and commuting to and from work (not to mention social events), most people have a hard time getting seven to nine hours of sleep. Enough rest and recovery time are just as (if not more) important as good diet and exercise habits to help the body stay healthy. During sleep, your body repairs any damage; short-circuiting this process makes your body work less efficiently. Dark circles and puffiness show up almost overnight after a poor night’s sleep.

Additionally, lack of sleep causes the body to secrete more of the stress hormone cortisol. Prolonged exposure to cortisol causes your body to store more fat in the abdominal area (goodbye, coke-bottle waistline!) and suppresses thyroid function which may cause your metabolism to slow down (hello, weight gain!). It also increases inflammation or swelling, which can result in a bloated midsection.

Kick these habits ASAP and be on your way to looking and feeling better!

(Contains parts of my article originally published in Total Fitness Magazine June 2011)

Search for the Sennheiser Sports Sound Hero

Have you registered for the Adidas King of the Road yet? If you have, you’re eligible to join the search for the Sennheiser Sports Sound Hero.

Sennheiser Consumer Philippines is looking for a Sports Sound Hero to represent the Philippines in the Pursuit of Perfect Sound Campaign, which coincides with Sennheiser Asia’s 20th anniversary. A Sports Sound Hero must have a strong passion for music and uses the beat of music to drive his or her performance in the gym, in a race, or other sports activities. The chosen Sound Hero will be featured in the Sports Sound Hero Video and will win a free trip to Singapore with 5-star hotel accommodation and a free pass to the closed-door celebration event at Souk Singapore, one of the world’s top dance venues.

The ten most inspiring entries will also receive Sennheiser PMX 680 Sports headphones. Interested? Here are the mechanics:

  1. Register for the Adidas King of the Road.
  2. Send an email with the subject line “Sennheiser Sports Sound Hero” to web.asia@sennasia.com.sg and tell them about the following:
  3. in less than 300 words, your passion for music and quality sound
  4. past races you’ve entered and the experiences you’ve gained
  5. your personal particulars including name, age, address, and contact details
  6. Contest deadline is September 20, 2012.

For more details, visit the Sennheiser Consumer Philippines Facebook page.

I’m intrigued and interested and thinking about sending in an entry. How about you?

Ask Kikay Runner: Multisport Clothing

This is a section on my blog where I answer questions people ask me. If you have any questions for future Ask Kikay Runner entries, contact me!

I just realized I haven’t done an Ask Kikay Runner in quite a while. So this is one question I was sent back in June by an aspiring aquathlete. Kira asks:

I’ve been running for 3 years already. When you joined the Ateneo Aquathlon or your first triathlons, did you wear a one-piece or 2-piece tri-suit, and what brand would you recommend? And to clarify, so you wore that same tri suit for the swim and do the run still wearing the same thing right?

This really depends on personal preference, comfort, and convenience. If you’re doing an aquathlon for fun and it’s a short distance, you can actually use just a swimsuit for the swim and pull on a singlet and shorts over it for the run. Jennifer Lopez did the Malibu Triathlon in 2008 wearing a wetsuit for the swim (their water is cold), then put on a cotton shirt with the sleeves cut off, shorts, and running shoes for the bike and run legs.

Jennifer Lopez does triathlon
photo from Stella Pictures via Posh24.com

Now of course if you want to look more polished, then a tri suit is the way to go. Continue reading “Ask Kikay Runner: Multisport Clothing”

Health Boosters

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much exercise is healthy. For health maintenance, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week (source: LiveStrong). Most runners getting serious about the sport run for far longer than that, thinking more is always better.

However, research suggests that the body’s immune system is depressed for hours up to days after long and strenuous physical efforts (check out this New York Times blog article about the amount of exercise that boosts immunity). A study conducted on Stockholm Marathon participants suggests that most runners who fell sick three weeks before the race were more prone to getting sick again in the three weeks after the race. This is what we refer to as a relapse, or binat.

But we can’t really avoid long training hours when we’re into endurance sports such as long-distance running or triathlons. Personally, it’s no longer the health benefits I’m after, although getting healthier is definitely a perk. I love the satisfaction of overcoming challenges. Still, I won’t exercise when I’m really sick, and when I recover after an illness I always make it a point to take it easy coming back to working out.

There are other ways of taking care of ourselves to avoid getting sick and to keep our immune system up so we don’t get hit with the full severity of symptoms when we do.

Sleep. Some hormones the body uses to repair itself are only produced when we sleep. In fact, repeated lack of sleep can reduce immunity by up to 50%. So, sleep early if you need to get up early, and if you’ve had a string of late nights, take it easy on the workouts the next few days until you’ve had a chance to catch up. (Reference: Runner’s World)

Manage stress. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone because the body produces it during stressful situations. This can be beneficial short-term because it helps prepare the body for a “fight-or-flight” response if you’re in actual danger. Chronic stress however keeps the body in that mode, even if the situation isn’t life-or-death. Prolonged exposure to cortisol puts you at risk for health problems such as heart disease, sleep problems, digestive problems, depression, and obesity. Yikes! So learn how to reduce and manage stress. (Reference: Mayo Clinic)

Eat better. I try to eat lots of fruit and vegetables because they contain vitamins and minerals that my body needs to rebuild itself. They also contain antioxidants which reverse the cellular damage done by free radicals. This supports the immune system and keeps it strong.

I also take multivitamin and calcium supplements. Recently, Health Express sent me a bottle of spirulina, which is a kind of algae that is used both as a whole food and as a health supplement in pill form. It’s rich in Vitamin C, a known antioxidant, and also has 18 of the 22 amino acids the body uses in normal growth and development. It’s a great source of iron, which is used to produce hemoglobin (helps transport oxygen in the blood).

Health Express Spirulina

Spirulina is also claimed to be an immune booster, due to small-scale studies that showed increased presence of enzymes involved in immune response after dosing with spirulina. (Reference: Cellular and Molecular Immunology)

Spirulina, like a multivitamin, doesn’t claim to cure anything. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have health benefits, just like a multivitamin. Although this is just anecdotal evidence, I recovered overnight from a cold that came from my dad, who was down with it for a week. I can’t say it’s completely because of the spirulina because age and health is also a factor in recovery. But it’s quite possible that my spirulina intake helped.

You can get spirulina supplements from Health Express at P569 for 90 tablets, or about a month’s supply (one tablet 30 minutes before every meal). Health Express has 13 stores nationwide in Metro Manila (Alabang Town Center, Festival Mall, Robinsons Ermita, Eastwood City Walk, Gateway Mall, Shopwise Commonwealth, Shoppesville Greenhills, and Glorietta 3), Cebu (Ayala Cebu, SM Cebu), Bacolod (Robinsons Bacolod), Davao (Gaisano Mall), and CDO (Robinsons BigR Supercenter). You can also call the Health Express customer service hotlines: (02)892-7978 / (02)846-9364. Like Health Express on Facebook and follow Health Express on Twitter for more up-to-date information on their dietary supplements.

Health Express logo

And now it’s time for a little contest! Health Express is giving away FREE Platinum Cards to the first 25 readers who will share this entry on Twitter and comment on this post with their (a) name, (b) e-mail address, (c) contact number, and (d) the link to their shared tweet.

Health Express Platinum Card

This Platinum Card, normally worth PHP450, entitles you to a one-year membership at Health Express, giving you 20% discount on all regular Health Express products, 15% on Pascual products, and an additional 5% during mall or store-wide sale events.

Nuffnang will contact winners regarding how you can redeem your card. Tweet away!

This is a sponsored post for Health Express. View my disclosure policy.

Unilab Active Health Duathlon

Of all the running and multisport events I’ve ever done, I’ve never done a 3K run or a duathlon. Last Sunday’s Unilab Active Health Duathlon sprint category involved a 3K run-20K bike-2K run combo, giving me a chance to do both things at last.

It was a damp early morning, with clouds spitting a drizzle down on participants as we prepped our transition areas. The long distance duathlon event (6K run-60K bike-4K run) would start at 6am, an hour before ours. Due to the weather, the organizers Bike King and Unilab Active Health moved the start time to 6:20am. Good thing too, because the drizzling stopped and the sun came out.

Unilab Active Health Duathlon: Let's Dua This!
Let’s DUA this!

Continue reading “Unilab Active Health Duathlon”