Run Safe 101 Seminar

In all the hustle surrounding Christmas week, I didn’t have a lot of time to sit down and post about all the great stuff I got to do and experience prior to Christmas Day. Stuff like the Run Safe 101 Seminar I was able to attend. This was organized mostly by members of The Starting Line triathlon team, namely Shy Sison-Vesagas who gave me the heads up on the seminar. Registration was free but it closed out in minutes, so thanks Shy for helping me secure a slot!

Run Safe 101
Run Safe 101 with Francis “Kiko” Diano

The back story here is that Shy’s husband Steve is an avid endurance athlete but was always running into injury problems. On recommendation from Iah Isip and Arland Macasieb, they visited a PT based out of New York when Steve went to run the New York City Marathon. Francis Diano, nicknamed Kiko, is a sports medicine physiotherapist, USA Triathlon-accredited coach, marathoner and triathlete — so he’s seen all kinds of endurance sport-related injuries and knows how to treat them and prevent them. When they found out Kiko was coming home to the Philippines over the holidays, they decided to harness his knowledge to enrich the local endurance community — runners and triathletes alike. Continue reading “Run Safe 101 Seminar”

Challenge Philippines 2015 Bike Recon

Based on the 2014 edition of the race, Challenge Philippines has been touted as one of the toughest races over the half distance. For the Challenge Philippines 2015 race, the organizers have decided to make a few changes to the route to make it safer for participants. Last Saturday was the first time a big group of participants were able to ride out on the course.

Challenge PH recon ride
The few. The proud. The “nagsusunog ng kinain noong Pasko”.

There are two major changes from the 2014 route. The first one is that instead of taking the right fork at a junction and riding up to Anvaya from the Morong Gate, we now take the left fork climbing up to the Bataan Technopark. Many participants suffered flats during the race due to the road surface at Anvaya, and it has not been improved since then. Meanwhile, the roads through the Technopark have been re-paved, and the stretch that was rather dusty and “trail-y” when I saw it last is now a beautiful wide stretch of asphalt with freshly painted lines. (More on this later.)

The other major change is that instead of the route extending all the way to the town of Bagac where the Friendship Tower was the sole U-turn, there is a small loop within the route. Participants take a U-turn at the SAF camp checkpoint (just prior to the climb leading to the Morong-Bagac boundary arch), then ride up past the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant heading back toward the town of Morong, take another U-turn just before the town limits, ride back down past the power plant, U-turn again at the checkpoint, then ride all the way back.

The reason that section from the Morong-Bagac boundary arch was removed is that it was where most of the accidents occurred during previous recons and race (and even during some recons for the Bataan International Triathlon). Those twisty descents have proven too risky time and again, and so I’m relieved they’re no longer part of the new route.

Challenge Philippines 2015 bike route recon

For this recon ride, we didn’t do the small loop, but at least saw the major highlights of the new route. What can I say about it? Ummm… it was easier but harder. Huhuhu. Let me explain so you can strategize how to ride this new course.
Continue reading “Challenge Philippines 2015 Bike Recon”

Podcast #6: Hot Primary at Beyond Yoga

Many of you know that yoga plays a big part in my athletic conditioning. So when Beyond Yoga partner and ambassador Bianca King invited me to try out their Hot Primary yoga class at the Rockwell branch, of course I said yes!

Beyond Yoga Hot Primary class
with Bianca King and Al Galang

2011 was the last time I took a Bikram hot yoga class (you can read about that experience here). Even further back in 2008, before I started running, I encountered yogi Al Galang when he had just set up a Bikram yoga studio in Greenhills.

Funny how some things come full circle. I dropped out of the hot yoga scene, Al sold his yoga studio, and we both went into different ventures for the next few years. Yet there I was last Friday at Beyond Yoga Rockwell taking a Hot Primary class under his direction.

Conducted in a heated studio, Hot Primary is a non-vinyasa (flow) yoga with a 40-posture set sequence. (Basically this means you get into the pose, then you get out of the pose and then get into another pose.) It comes from the 84-posture sequence taught by Bishnu Ghosh, who then passed them down to his students, namely Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga.

“Hot Primary is something we’ve introduced this year. It’s a culmination of my years of experience in Bikram yoga but also a culmination of years receiving feedback from myself and thousands of students in what they want, what could keep them going and challenge them and still work,” Al told me when I sat down with him in the studio after the class.

You can listen to my interview with him here or on iTunes:


Also available on iTunes. Continue reading “Podcast #6: Hot Primary at Beyond Yoga”

Training for Challenge Philippines

Last year while I was preparing for the inaugural Challenge Philippines, my sole goal was to finish it. This year things are a little different. After bagging the third spot on my age group podium, I now feel a little bit of pressure to stay on the podium, or at least do better than my time of 7:06:06. While last year before the race was held people had an inkling it would be hard, now everyone knows how brutal it is and are preparing accordingly. Add to this the bigger number of foreign participants, and you just know the competition will be much fiercer.

Challenge Philippines (photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images)
Challenge Philippines (photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images)

It’s now just a little more than 9 weeks to go until race day, and it’s a good time to start getting some heavy hill mileage on the bike. Challenge Philippines has 1,398 meters of climbing so you will definitely need leg strength.

However, the course is also technical with hairpin curves and switchbacks. For me the best preparation is definitely riding on the course itself. Some teams may organize their own recons, but the technical committee for Challenge Philippines will be holding guided recons open to all participants. I’ve been in touch with Jumbo Tayag of Hubble Multisport, and he tells me the first recon may be on December 27 with a support vehicle and mechanic. Most weekends of January will also have recons. Stay tuned for the official announcement soon!

I’ve also put together a new training playlist for Challenge Philippines. :D Continue reading “Training for Challenge Philippines”

Triathlon According to Belinda Granger

Yesterday I was chatting with a photographer friend, who asked me if I was thinking about moving on from triathlon. I’d already done an iconic full ironman race (Challenge Roth), so what else is left?

It got me thinking. While some people get into the sport just to tick things off their bucket list (“Do a triathlon? Check. Do Ironman? Check. OK I’m done!”), for others it’s about continually challenging ourselves in training and racing. It’s also a (relatively) healthy lifestyle, hobby, addiction, whatever you want to call it, for people who like setting tough goals and achieving them.

I’ve been privileged to get to know some truly world-class triathletes especially through my involvement with MaccaX. One of them is the legendary Belinda Granger who has had a long and successful professional career — over 20 years! She is not only a fierce competitor, but also a wonderful ambassador for the sport. While she announced her retirement early this year, she still has some races to do next year with Sunrise Events, and will always be involved in triathlon particularly since she’s taken on a bigger role as co-head of MaccaX with its founder Chris McCormack.

Challenge Laguna Tri Fest
I *heart* Belinda Granger!

I have to admit, the reason I wanted to work with Ceepo is that Belinda’s Ceepo bike always looked so flash at the races, and boy can she ride it! I had the chance to pick her brain earlier this year about what it takes to enjoy this sport in the long term. Continue reading “Triathlon According to Belinda Granger”

38th Milo Marathon Finals

I wasn’t originally supposed to run any distance at the Milo Marathon finals this year; I would have been content with just sitting on the sidelines following everyone’s races on Facebook and seeing news about the Marathon King and Queen being crowned. When I received a 5K race kit from Milo’s PR agency Strategic Edge, I decided I didn’t have anything to lose by running — especially since there were separate cash prizes for the media runners. Hmm!

38th Milo Marathon finals
This is not a finisher’s medal. ;)

The race was postponed due to Typhoon Hagupit/Ruby and since I was scheduled to participate in the Gran Fondo Bicolandia on the weekend the race was rescheduled to, I thought it was just not meant to be. Then the Gran Fondo was postponed to January 11, 2015 due to the damage from the typhoon. The opportunity had opened up again, and I was determined to take it.Β  Continue reading “38th Milo Marathon Finals”