St. Luke’s Run for Wellness on December 7

Last week I got a lot of messages from runners looking for a way they could run and at the same time help out Typhoon Yolanda victims. Say what you may about just donating the money you could have used to register at a race, but it’s always better when everyone gets what they want: money for aid, and a good race.

The St. Luke’s Run for Wellness on December 7 aims to pull in experienced and first-time runners to run for a cause. Not only can runners take a step towards their own wellness goals, but they also can unite to help bring relief and rehabilitation to areas stricken by the typhoon.

Run for Wellness on December 7
St. Luke’s Run for Wellness on December 7

The Run for Wellness to be held at Bonifacio Global City features 3K, 5K, and 10K distances at a flat registration fee of P750. All proceeds will be donated.

The fun doesn’t stop at running. Among the stations that runners will encounter during the race include a Water Gun Station where marshals will spray runners with water along 100 meters, a Color Me Blue Station where blue powder will be thrown as runners go through the course, and an Air Blower Station where runners will be dried off and blown away as they try to reach the finish line. Other activities await participants such as a giant slide, creative photo booth and a balloon wall.

I’ve also got two free kits to give away, so stand by for the contest mechanics. I will post them next week!

Run for Wellness contest
Win free kits to Run for Wellness!

Race: St. Luke’s Run for Wellness
Date: December 7, 2013
Gun Start: 6am (10K), 6:15am (5K), 6:20am (3K)
Venue: Bonifacio Global City
Reg Fee: P750 (3K/5K/10K)
Registration Sites: online at
Registration Dates: ongoing
More Information: St. Luke’s Run official website

Subic Invitational Triathlon

The Subic Invitational Triathlon promised to be a fun short day on the race course. A 1-kilometer swim? Easy. 30-kilometer bike? Piece of cake. 6-kilometer run? No problem.

It wasn’t until I was driving to the race venue, Adventure Beach, the day before the race that I remembered how demanding any course in Subic could be. It was going to be hot and hilly, but as pro triathlete Belinda Granger wrote to me after the race, “They are the best kind of races and the ones we remember the most… have to work for it!”

Subic Invitational Triathlon
gotta love the finish line

Despite Si3 being marketed as a triathlon for newbies with its short distance Continue reading “Subic Invitational Triathlon”

Fit, Strong, and Fast

With Hunger Games: Catching Fire coming soon to theaters, lead actress Jennifer Lawrence is in the limelight. I love her personality and I think she’s a great role model to the millions of adolescent girls who will be watching the movie. Why? She said of her training for the film, “I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner’… I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong — not thin and underfed.” (Watch the Good Morning America story.)

I’ve struggled with my weight since my teen years, and I’ve tried all sorts of fad diets and exercise gadgets. One wrong piece of food in my mouth, or missing an exercise session, and I felt like I’d fallen off the wagon! (Those were miserable years, in retrospect.) But even at my thinnest, I was never the stick figure I saw glamorized in fashion editorials. It bothered the teenage me to the point I even considered anorexia — but then, the food at my house was too good and I enjoyed the pleasures of eating too much to want to stop. And I hated throwing up so I never even considered bulimia.

As I matured, I realized everyone’s built differently and the main goal was to be healthy and fit, not skinny. And as I got more involved in sport, I understood that how one’s body looks is secondary to how one’s body performs.

What makes you unstoppable? #kikayrunner

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To be honest, I was skinnier in early 2009 before I started running, but that was because I was meticulously counting carbs. But could I have run a marathon then? Could I have done a triathlon then? The difference between appearance and performance can be illustrated by the difference between bodybuilders and Olympic weightlifters. A bodybuilder sculpts the visible muscles with his training, then diets and dehydrates himself so that these muscles can be seen more clearly beneath his skin as he poses. An Olympic weightlifter strengthens his muscles with his training, then attempts to lift as heavy a weight as he can during competition. The bodybuilder may be more ripped, but the weightlifter is actually stronger regardless of how pudgy he looks.

As my training load has increased, I’ve shed pounds and never felt better. But too much weight loss can be bad for performance, too. I got to my thinnest this year right before Century Tuna 5150 — I was at 115 pounds, which is normal weight for my height and build. But I knew that going into Ironman 70.3 I’d need to carry just a bit more weight; otherwise I would feel powerless and hollow. I gained three pounds just by gently increasing the amount of (healthy) food I ate, and felt great on race day. I talked with Coach Ani de Leon-Brown (one of the fittest Filipina athletes I know), and she agreed that there was a certain weight range at which she could perform her best especially for endurance events.

These days the only reason I stress about weight gain is because I know I’ll have to lug all that extra junk in my trunk up a hill on a bike or all the way through a run, and I know how much that will hurt my times. What’s important to me is being fit, strong, and fast, and that’s changed my entire relationship with weight, food, and exercise. If I trained and ate right, my body weight would stabilize to where it would be healthy for me at that point, and I would be well-trained and well-nourished enough to have the best performance possible. It’s all about finding balance.

Focus. #kikayrunner

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Mizuno Pre-Holiday Sale from Nov. 15 – Dec. 1

It’s that time of the year again. I don’t mean the holidays; I mean it’s Mizuno sale time! Get up to 80% off on selected items from November 15 to December 1 at the Mizuno stores in Magallanes, Festival Mall, and Galleria!

Mizuno Pre-Holiday Sale from November 15 to December 1

Rebuild Bohol Benefit Ride

With Typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan sweeping through the country last Friday, I was concerned that the Rebuild Bohol benefit ride scheduled for the next day wouldn’t push through. Not that I needed the long ride (I had a backup indoor trainer session planned), but the purpose of the ride was to raise funds to help Boholanos rebuild after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol on October 15. Bohol has been the venue for the country’s ironman distance race 226 Bohol Triathlon for the past few years, and the quake occurred the day after another triathlon, Defy 123, was held. The quake rendered massive damage not only to roads and vital infrastructure, but also to homes and historical sites.

Bike King, the organizer of 226 (which has been canceled for the year), planned the ride as a tie-up with the Rebuild Bohol Foundation and collected pledges up to P184,050, most of which would be collected onsite. After waiting on the edge of our saddles until 4pm on Friday, it was announced the ride would proceed as planned.

Rebuild Bohol

The meetup point was at Westgate in Alabang and take-off time was 6:30am. There were three planned distances: Alabang-Naic (100km), Alabang-Puerto Azul (120km), and Alabang-Caylabne (150+km). I was signed up for the ride up to Puerto Azul, but decided to listen to my gut on the day as to how far I would go.

Of the 143 that had signed up, about 40 showed. It didn’t help that there were light showers in the wee hours, which had led some others to think the ride had been canceled. Still, I earnestly hope those who didn’t make it to the ride will still follow through on their pledge to donate.

The weather cooperated during those early morning hours: the sky was overcast, which made for a pleasant ride. I could see the clouds overhead swirling, though; even though Yolanda was moving out of the Philippine area of responsibility, it had caused some disturbance in local weather. I wondered how long the weather would hold out.

We made it to the first turnaround point in Naic, Cavite around 8am. After waiting for everyone to regroup, most of us decided to head back instead of going on to Puerto Azul. Puerto Azul would have some steep climbs, and even more were on the route to Caylabne. We’d save those rides for better conditions, as we’d already experienced some heavy wind on the rolling course to Naic.

Cyclists at turnaround point of 100K. #bangonbohol

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photo from Lara Parpan

About 10 riders went on to Puerto Azul, but I followed my gut and turned back. “Don’t be a hero,” my gut was telling me. I was here to support the Bohol relief efforts and to get a nice long ride in was just a bonus.

It was a wise decision, as a headwind made things hard going on the way back. Since this wasn’t a race, we rode in draft packs. Unfortunately on one of the bigger hills, I got dropped from the pack and had to tough out a section by myself in that crosswind. I finally managed to ride up behind Carlos of, who had also gotten dropped and was riding alone. Along with us was a guy named Poch, and riding in a group however small made the going a little easier.

We stopped at a gas station for some refreshments, which allowed other people to regroup with us to make the final push back toward Alabang. On the last few kilometers, it was just Poch and me. Carlos had dropped back to clear some mud off his cleats because we’d had to walk our bikes over a bridge under construction, and it was muddy. I was thankful for Poch’s lead because I didn’t have the stomach or skill to weave through stalled traffic by myself. (It’s yet another angel story, because I’d never met Poch before the ride, and I wasn’t able to catch him to thank him afterward.)

fun times at the Rebuild Bohol benefit ride

We are very blessed to be able to swim, bike, run, and break a sweat for fun. If there is any way we can do these things for a good cause, then I’m all for it.

Typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan Relief (updated)

The destruction caused by Typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Typhoon Haiyan) has been on my mind the entire weekend. Metro Manila, where I live, was spared the brunt of the rains and strong wind that battered the Visayas region and leveled entire towns. I believe there’s a very good reason the nation’s capital was spared from Haiyan; we are in a position to help our fellow countrymen recover and rise again.

This week we’re seeing a lot of the endurance community here in the Philippines and abroad contribute to raising funds and donations for relief efforts. I’d like to recognize some of them as a way of saying thanks, and to show that there are lots of ways to get involved!


benefit runs for Yolanda

This weekend there are at least three runs happening for the benefit of Yolanda victims. I know these organizers; they are legit and the money and in-kind donations will get to where they should be sent. I will be at OneRun at BGC on Saturday to do my part.

Check out Filipino triathlete Arland Macasieb and Fil-Am Tri’s benefit run in the US. Thank you so much!


benefit ride for Yolanda

Nuvali and the ALVEO-Ayala Land triathlon team invite cyclists to come by Nuvali Fields Clubhouse next Saturday, November 23 to drop off donations and to ride to show support. I will be out of the country but will be at this ride in spirit.

It’s pretty awesome too that Ironman pro Chris Lieto is auctioning 6 places in a private bike ride he’s holding in Hong Kong, and the proceeds go to Convoy of Hope’s disaster response to Yolanda.

Auctions and Sales

Speaking of auctions, is holding a charity auction of premium triathlon items. 100% of these proceeds will be donated for Yolanda relief. Check out the auction page — can’t believe a built Cervelo P4 is going for as low as P90,000!

If your budget is not as sizeable, you can still shop for a cause. The run.PH limited edition white tech shirt will be sold at OneRun on Saturday and 100% of proceeds will be donated.

Fundraising and Donation Drives

Without my prompting, Chris “Macca” McCormack and the members of Team MaccaX pooled together more than $2,000 (and growing), which will be used to buy relief goods in Cebu by next Thursday. I’m so proud to know them as friends, and so thankful for their kind hearts!

Team Secondwind has a member who is a pastor in Cuyo in Palawan, which was also a hard-hit region. They held a donation drive and were able to send over these supplies by private plane to the islands of Agutaya and Cuyo, which have so far not been reached by government assistance. If you would like to send more relief goods to Palawan, you may drop them off at all Secondwind Running Store branches.

There is much to be done and it’s our duty to get involved. May God bless you as you extend a helping hand to those in need.

General Donations

If you would like to donate any financial aid toward Haiyan relief efforts, please check out the following links: Continue reading “Typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan Relief (updated)”

Online Triathlon Coaching: Training with MaccaX and MX Plus

I ran into the Posedown Posse yesterday after a solo run session, and had breakfast with them just like old times. Our conversation turned to how I’ve been training these days, so I had the opportunity to explain what Team MaccaX and MX Plus is about.

Team MaccaX
Team MaccaX

Team MaccaX is a global community of athletes brought together and mentored by Chris “Macca” McCormack. It started two years ago as an outgrowth of Macca’s Facebook page, where people asked him a lot of questions about training and racing. Who better to get great advice from than a four-time world champion in triathlon?

When I met Macca last June, I was looking for a bit more structure to my training but knew it had to be flexible. Macca is known for a “fluffy” training regimen, Continue reading “Online Triathlon Coaching: Training with MaccaX and MX Plus”