Sports and Good Governance (speech — FULLTEXT)

This speech was delivered on March 31, 2014 at the flag ceremony of the Governance Commission on Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG) under the Office of the President.

Speech at the Governance Commission on GOCC's

Thank you so much for inviting me to speak in front of all of you this morning. I may not be a beauty queen like your last speaker [Miss International Bea Rose Santiago], but I did dress up extra nicely for today. I’m usually in running shoes, shorts, a dri-fit shirt, with my hair in a ponytail, so thanks for giving me an excuse to put on some make-up.

Speech at the Governance Commission on GOCC's I should explain a bit about who I am and how I got here. I am known as Kikay Runner in the running community and on the internet, where my blog has been in existence for the last four years. I started running not as a track star in school, but as an overweight adult trying to lose the extra pounds on the treadmill. When I got a little fitter, I started working as an instructor for dance and yoga classes. That’s my day job. I love being able to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. There’s just something about seeing someone’s face light up when they’re able to master a move they never thought they could do, or achieve a pose they couldn’t do when they first started attending class months ago.

I joined my first 10-kilometer race in 2009 because I was bored with teaching inside the four walls of a gym and it felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere on a treadmill. I ran hard and fast and absolutely enjoyed the sensation of “flying” over the asphalt. I was so excited about it that I shared my thoughts and experiences on my blog. I never considered myself anything special; I was a recreational runner just like anyone else. It was a matter of being in the right place and time: running was starting to pick up steam in the country, new runners were hungry for information about the sport, and they gobbled up every bit of it they could find on my blog and the blogs of other local runners. I had a unique voice and personal perspective that people found inspiring and motivating; I was the unlikely athlete, someone just like them, who had discovered a talent and had begun to develop it by virtue of commitment, consistent training, and passion.

It’s now been five years since I started on that journey. I’m currently into doing triathlons, a sport that also still involves running, but only after tiring yourself out swimming and biking. I’m training for an ironman in July. It involves 4 kilometers of swimming, 180 kilometers of biking, and 42 kilometers of running and could take someone of my ability about 13 or 14 hours to finish. The best in the sport usually finish in 8 hours. Obviously this is not about getting skinny; I think Ms. International was very fit, and she probably doesn’t need more than an hour of exercise most days of the week.

Why do we do it even if we’re not on the pointy end, even if we’re not in the running to win the race? I do it because I love challenging myself; it makes me feel alive and like I’m doing something of significance. I do it because I’m passionate about being the best I can be. I believe God puts us in places and situations for a reason. There’s a reason I love running, there’s a reason I can absorb heavy mileage and not get bored with hours of doing the same thing over and over, there’s a reason I’m nuts about a sport that is brutal both on the body and the mind. I do it because if I can inspire just one person to get off the couch and take control of their wellbeing, if I can make a difference in that person’s life, then I would consider myself successful.

I’ve seen people come and go in this sport. Some people start running as a form of exercise. Others sign up for races for the freebies — which isn’t a bad way to start running. But once you start running we’d love if you found some personal motivation to do it. Running is an easy sport to pick up: just buy a pair of running shoes and head out the door for a jog. Those who stay in the sport, however, stay because they’ve found a place for the sport in their lives. Continue reading “Sports and Good Governance (speech — FULLTEXT)”

SuBIT 2014 Update (New Routes!)

I attended the press launch for the 2014 KSWISS Subic Bay International Triathlon (fondly referred to as “SuBIT”) — and boy, was that press launch full of big news.

Subic Bay International Triathlon 2014
Subic Bay International Triathlon 2014

KSWISS announced that this SuBIT is the last triathlon they are sponsoring in the Philippines. Due to a global realignment of strategy — they are focusing on lifestyle wear rather than performance gear — KSWISS is pulling out of athletics. So, that finisher shirt you get after completing this race? That’s the last ever KSWISS SuBIT finisher shirt. (Which also makes me wonder who the new shirt supplier will be at this year’s Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines…)

The other big news of the day concerned the race routes.

Continue reading “SuBIT 2014 Update (New Routes!)”

I’m Going to Challenge Roth!

On the heels of last weekend’s Ironman Melbourne, where the 80 Filipinos competing were the largest foreign contingent, I received some wonderful news. I have been dropping hints here and there that I was heading for a big Challenge this year. I’m going to the biggest Challenge race and the largest triathlon in the world: Challenge Roth.

Yes, Challenge Philippines held its raffle for the trip and race at Challenge Roth, and no, I didn’t win it. (Congratulations to Meinardo Opiana, who did!) But I’ve supported Challenge Philippines since its inception and was even one of the local ambassadors. So when Challenge Philippines president Dave Voth extended the Roth invitation to me, I gladly accepted.

What is Challenge Roth? It is the world’s largest triathlon with 5,000 participants and 200,000 (!!!) spectators. This is its 13th year, and it is the crown jewel of Challenge Family races. Read about its history on Slowtwitch and how it’s been able to grow and stand independent of the other triathlon corporation. :)

Registration for the race happening on July 20 sold out in minutes last year, owing to its tremendous popularity in Europe as well as worldwide. I found this interesting blog post by Carlton Bale that talks about why Challenge Roth is the essential bucket list iron-distance triathlon.

As fate would have it, no Filipino yet has entered Challenge Roth… until now. There are about four or five Filipinos now on the start list including myself. I think I’m the only rookie among them because I haven’t done an iron distance race yet! My goal will be to finish Challenge Roth under its 15-hour cutoff.

This is going to be my first full-distance triathlon: 4-kilometer swim, 180-kilometer bike, 42-kilometer run. It’s going to be longer and harder than anything I have done. And it’s going to happen in my birth month; it’s only fitting, since I did my first marathon on my birthday four years ago.

Here’s what the Roth course will be like:

Roth swim
out-and-back wetsuit swim in a river canal (photo from

Roth bike
two-loop rolling bike route (photo from Competitor Magazine)

Roth run
flat run inside the town of Roth and along the canal (photo from SlowTwitch)

Challenge Roth is known as a fast course, not because it’s flat, but because you can really build momentum on the relatively straight routes. Champions have raced here, and world records for iron-distance triathlon have been set and broken here. Andreas Raelert set the men’s world record in 2011 with a finish time of 7 hours, 41 minutes, 33 seconds. The legendary Chrissie Wellington set the women’s record that same year with an 8-hour, 18-minute, 13-second finish.

Chrissie celebrating
and guess what? the beer is alcohol-free!

To celebrate my plans and help kick off my preparations for Roth, Mizuno is giving away a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 17 shoes to one of my readers!

Here are the mechanics:

  1. Like the Mizuno Run Club Facebook page.
  2. Share this post on Facebook by clicking the Like or Share button below.
  3. Comment below, answering the question: “How will I challenge myself this year?”
  4. The prize will go to the author of the best answer, the one that is most inspirational and moving.
  5. Contest runs from today, March 27, to next Wednesday, April 2.

I’m really excited about the whole process of preparing for and racing in Roth. It’s such a huge blessing and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Like always, I will be taking you on the journey with me through my blog. Are you with me on the #roadtoRoth?

The 25th Yakult 10-Miler

Going into last Sunday’s Yakult 10-Miler, I knew I was in for another first. I had never done this classic race ever in my 5 years of joining races. Next to Milo Marathon, the Yakult 10-Miler is one of the oldest running events in the Philippines, and this year was its 25th staging.

25th Yakult 10-Miler
photo from Team aRUNkada

I got my race bib thanks to Mizuno, which was one of the sponsors of the event. I was also tasked to lead the pre-race warm-up, which I was glad to do because I was trying my hardest to get into the mental state I need to run, and going through the warm-up motions helps with that.

There are times I struggle to find the desire to run. It’s fine when this strikes before a long run, because I can just try to get through the distance at any pace I feel like doing, and I can even cut the run short if I really don’t feel up to it. I can’t do that at a race; it’s either I start the race and give it everything I have, or I don’t start at all. Call me competitive but I can’t stand having a slow race result when I know I could have done much better on the day. The Globe Run For Home 21K I ran very slowly in 2010 (I was pacing a friend and was experimenting with marathon pace) still haunts me to this day.

So even when I finished the warm-up and joined my fellow participants at the starting line, I was still on the fence about running at all. My energy was low and I felt a little sore in my throat. Maybe I wasn’t recovered enough from the Run United 21K the previous weekend. Maybe my bike ride the day before was too intense. Maybe I just hadn’t gotten enough sleep the past week. And I still had to teach a running class after the race! All these thoughts were buzzing around in my head as the clock counted down to the gunstart.

25th Yakult 10-Miler
trying to get my head in the game (photo from Red Knight)

I fought these thoughts hard. If you’ll notice, I positioned myself right at the front of the pack to ensure there was no way out for me. No turning back now. In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Continue reading “The 25th Yakult 10-Miler”

Defy 123 Triathlon on May 25

I received some really disappointing news last week that derailed my planned race at Challenge Barcelona with MaccaX this May. At the same time, I realized we have so many great races here in the Philippines that I haven’t done yet! I’m still thinking about it, but I’m definitely interested in joining the Defy 123 Triathlon on May 25, 2014 in Panglao, Bohol.

Defy 123 Triathlon

Defy 123 Triathlon was the people’s choice for Triathlon of the Year at the 2014 Awards and has gained traction as a really fun and challenging race that’s different from everything else out there.

Here’s why: Continue reading “Defy 123 Triathlon on May 25”

A Test of Fitness at Run United 1

Last Friday, I received a tweet from @PaulThePRGuy:

I’d deliberated on registering for Run United 1 when registration was opened earlier this year, but kept putting it off. Unfortunately registration to the 21K filled up very quickly. But Paul, who works with race sponsor Adidas Body Care, had some complimentary kits to spare. Spur of the moment, I signed up!

Run United 1
photo from Redg Plopinio

Until last year I had been basing my 21K race pace on a previous average pace of 5:15 to 5:20 per kilometer. At the Aerotropolis Half-Marathon in January, I’d found I could do an average pace of 5:02 per km. For Run United, I decided I’d go out at a sub-5 minute pace and see how long I could sustain it — or if I couldn’t, how badly my pace would drop off so I would have some idea of at what point I could blow up in that distance.

On race morning, I missed the gun start for the first wave of 21K runners because I still had to pick up my kit from Paul, and he’d gotten delayed. It didn’t matter, really. There was a timing chip which would help log my race time, and I wasn’t aiming for a podium finish (the top places are chosen based on gun time, not chip time).

Despite my lack of run-specific mileage — my last “long run” was the 21K run leg at Challenge Philippines — I had been keeping my “engine” turning over with bike, swim, and short run sessions. I was curious about where that fitness base would take me. I just wanted to see how far I could push my body. Continue reading “A Test of Fitness at Run United 1”

Globe Samsung Galaxy S5: Smartphone for Fitness Geeks?

Ask anyone who’s hung around me long enough and they will tell you I constantly have a smartphone in my hand. Whether it was the BlackBerry I had for years, or the second-hand iPhone I’ve been toting around lately, I’m the kind of person who has everything on my phone, and I usually do everything on my phone as well, from taking photos to writing emails and blog entries and everything else that comes with a digital lifestyle.

At some point I will want to carry my phone with me during a run or a ride, but there’s always a fear that my excessive sweating can damage the delicate electronics inside.

Well, I just got a heads up on a smartphone that can probably keep up with my rough ‘n’ tumble active lifestyle.

Samsung Galaxy S5
The Samsung Galaxy S5. In white. *drool*

The Samsung Galaxy S5 was recently launched in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, and will be offered in the Philippines beginning April 11. (If you’re interested in getting all the updates leading up to the Philippine launch, log onto

Some of the key features of this phone can come in handy for me as an active lifestyle blogger:

  • 16-megapixel phone camera with auto-focus and selective focus features: for better selfies! I’m kidding.
  • S Health and heart rate sensor: S Health is a personal wellness app that allows its user to track and analyze health data both from the phone’s built in pedometer, heart rate sensor, ambient temperature and humidity sensor, as well as from third-party sensors for blood pressure, blood glucose, and body composition (synced to the app via Bluetooth).
  • IP67-certified Dust and Water Resistant. That’s a hardy little phone!
  • ANT+ connectivity: previously, phones could only collect data from sensors that sent signals via Bluetooth. With ANT+ connectivity, the S5 can now pick up data from all my equipment (Garmin, Suunto, etc.).

A girl can dream of a new phone, can’t she? :)