The 40th National Milo Marathon

Can you imagine, it’s the 40th year of the National Milo Marathon already! Milo has been part of the national running psyche for so long, and I still count qualifying for the finals during its 34th edition one of my best sporting achievements.

Milo Marathon

This year, Milo has chosen to focus on key races around the country to find the top runners to compete at the finals set for Iloilo City on December 4.

40th National Milo Marathon race schedule:
July 17 – Dagupan
July 24 – Tarlac
July 31 – Metro Manila (this weekend!)
August 7 – Batangas
August 14 – Lucena
August 28 – Naga
September 18 – Tagbilaran
September 25- Cebu
October 2 – Dumaguete
October 9 – Davao
October 16 – General Santos
October 23 – Cagayan de Oro
October 30 – Butuan

Now working in conjunction with PATAFA, the Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Sports Commission, the Milo Marathon offers automatic qualification for the finals to national athletes, ensuring they do not over-race themselves en route to Iloilo.

Milo Marathon has established a legacy of excellence and grassroots development unmatched as yet by any other race in the country. The Milo Marathon has been the proving ground for many of the country’s top runners: defending queen Mary Joy Tabal is set to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio after a hard-fought qualifying campaign supported by Milo. This is also the 7th straight year the Milo Marathon will benefit the Help Give Shoes advocacy that donates shoes to underprivileged school children through the Department of Education.

This weekend promises to be another wet one in the usual Milo Marathon Manila tradition, with a tropical depression on its way. See you on the road!

Road to Vietnam, Week #6: Motivation Check

Hi folks! I’m still feeling useless as last week’s illness really did a number on me. What WAS that virus?! I had a very sore throat so I had difficulty eating and drinking anything, plus a low-grade fever that left my mind in a fog when not medicated. As a result, I did absolutely nothing for training and nearly ruined my mom’s birthday getaway in Tagaytay by being too weak to go. (I went, though, propped up by Berocca and Decolgen.)

I got to talking with one of my friends who’s just gotten back into triathlon training after about three years of burnout. I asked him what kicks him into gear these days. He said he just likes the feeling of needing to move and getting happy doing it. He flipped the question back at me, and I said I just like being good at stuff.

What Motivates You?

No wonder I haven’t been happy while training lately — I am always trying to hit targets and numbers and generally “trying to be good at stuff”. Even with last week’s realization that it’s all just exercise, my prime motivator for everything I do (whether work or exercise, haha) is a drive to excel. It’s great when you want to turn out quality work, but isn’t so smart when you’re trying to regain fitness. Ilang beses na yang “too much, too soon”.

As I ease back into workouts this week, I need to be extra-conscious of overdoing it and setting myself back even further. This Type-A-ness needs to go. What happened to the Noelle who just liked running for the heck of it, and didn’t even need a Garmin her first year of running? What happened to just enjoying the feeling of moving, rather than quantifying how fast that motion is? What happened to “I’m just thankful I can swim, bike, and run”?

I would like to start from that point of being happy to move. Can you help me, too?  I’ve cultivated this image of being a very fit person, always on the go, always fast and competitive… Almost like a fitness robot. But I’m only human. :)

Kikay Reviews: Nike LunarEpic Flyknit

Like I mentioned in my weekly wrap-up post on Monday, I’m going to tell you about the Nike Epic Run held last Saturday at Nuvali where we tested the Nike LunarEpic Flyknit running shoes.

Nike Epic Run
with a few of the 5:30min/km pace group

I mentioned the midcut LunarEpics a few months ago that were launched alongside the twice-weekly Nike Run Club sessions. Now Nike has introduced low-cut versions for women with the same sole and insole technology to make you feel like you can run forever. Continue reading “Kikay Reviews: Nike LunarEpic Flyknit”

Road to Vietnam, Week #5: Why, Body, Why?

Lying in bed sick can make you re-evaluate what you spend a lot of time working on and thinking about.

I’ve got a sore throat and splitting headache bedeviling me after last week’s training schedule. This is what happens when your mind gets ahead of your body and you think you should be doing more than you can actually handle.

With my disordered sleeping patterns lately, I probably did it to myself. This week was the last straw with not getting anywhere close to seven hours of sleep any night. Training proceeded as usual in between bouts of driving through horrendous traffic to get to a few events.

Friday I knew I had pushed too hard when I had trouble regulating my temperature and heart rate during a long run. It didn’t help that I’d forgotten my Flipbelt and had to carry phone and car keys in my hands. After 30 minutes I cut out, drove to the gym, and completed the remaining time and mileage there. And then went for a swim.

Road to Vietnam #5
Ticking off the sessions.

It was still too much. On Saturday I got on my bike and rode out in Nuvali. I suppose I was already feeling out of sorts, but three near misses from cars just compounded my foul mood. Thankfully I had a bit of company riding around with Gail the last few 20 kilometers before I was done.

Road to Vietnam #5
Was a brilliant day but I hated life.

After a quick shower at a gym in Alabang and a pizza lunch, I headed back to Nuvali for the Nike Epic Run event. I had no idea we would be running on trails on loaner Nike Epic Flyknits, which definitely spiked my heart rate and stress levels. I’ll tell you more about this later this week, especially how nice those shoes were. But I cut out midway through the run.

Road to Vietnam #5
with the awesome 5:30 pace group

The next day I had a race kit for the RunFest, but despite setting a really loud alarm I slept right through it and woke up 30 minutes before scheduled gunstart. Good thing I missed it, though; I went back to sleep and when I woke up I was nursing a sore throat and body pains.

It was Challenge Roth weekend and I was glued to Twitter and the official website for live results. I remember being crazy strong and never getting sick in the lead up to when I raced there in 2014, but since then my body has just been saying “Nope” to everything.

Road to Vietnam #5
Maybe sheer willpower drove me to do the things I did then.

I watched as Jan Frodeno set a new world record over the iron distance, as Daniela Ryf whipped the women’s field and came so close to breaking the world record for women, as the Filipinos who had signed up for this race crossed the finish line. And I really felt no urge to do another Roth. Maybe spectate, sure (it is EUROPE, after all!). Maybe do the marathon in a relay. But one finisher medal is just as good as another for my body, at this point.

As for half distance triathlons, I have been futilely chasing faster times for the last six years, but it’s not fun anymore. Especially when my body rebels like this — and when I look at my training and racing trends, it has been rebelling for quite a while. I just haven’t been listening.

I took a breath, and looked at my baby nephew who wasn’t around when I had raced in 2013 and 2014. He was wearing a Challenge Family t-shirt. The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) receded, and I felt very glad to be right where I am.

Road to Vietnam #5
It’s about the athlete and the family.

At the end of the day, it’s all just exercise. I am so thankful I don’t need to make a living from racing, because it is a tough gig! At this point, training should be about taking care of myself and ensuring I am healthy, regardless of how fast or slow I can go. When I do that, then I can get from start to finish happy. The times are just a bonus.

Daniela Ryf said after she won Challenge Roth: “I’m just a girl who likes to swim, bike and run and that’s what I did today!” I’ll take that to heart as I continue my preparations for Challenge Vietnam.

Shop Visit: Rapha’s Gear

I wanted to pick up a pair of the JBL Under Armour wireless headphones (my old Yurbuds Leap wireless gave up the ghost after getting absolutely drenched in last Friday’s rainstorm), so I dropped by Rapha’s Gear on the ground floor of the new Glorietta wing in Ayala Center Makati.

Rapha's Gear
Rapha’s Gear

A multi-brand kiosk carrying sports tech gear, Rapha’s Gear is the brainchild of Maiqui and Gianina Dayrit of Cascos, Inc.
Continue reading “Shop Visit: Rapha’s Gear”

Road to Vietnam, Week #4: Great Indoors

I finally feel I’m hitting my groove training for Challenge Vietnam. Last week I ran my first sub-30 minute 5K since marathon recovery, so I know I can now start pushing the intensity again. Some post-marathon chub has also dropped off, which is a good sign considering how much I’ve been eating.

I feel the struggle the most on the bike. My cardio fitness is great; it’s my legs that have a hard time coping. I did a long trainer session this weekend in lieu of riding outdoors in potential rain, and I literally could not push the pedals hard enough to spike my heart rate into the right zones. This was exactly how I felt in 2013 when I first started using these indoor bike sessions.

Road to Vietnam #4
getting a great session out of the rain

Pretty much I’m trying to duplicate the success I had in 2013 in Cebu, except I’m about four weeks behind everyone else currently preparing for that race.

Speakig of Cebu, Cobra and Sunrise Events held the press launch for the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship last week at Shangri-la The Fort. While feasting on Cebu delicacies like lechon and mango we went down memory lane with the history of the event. It’s amazing how the race and this sport has grown in the Philippines. Imagine: from a field of 500 athletes for the first edition of 70.3 Philippines in Camsur, this year there will be more than 3,000 in Cebu!

(The final frontier is in boosting women’s participation in triathlon in the country. I’m doing my part by covering the inspiring pro women in Cebu for

Road to Vietnam #4
Cobra Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship: sketch of the 2016 medal by Kenneth Cobonpue

Unlike 2013 though, this body has been through a few more battles and is just a little more reluctant to “go to the well”. That’s okay; it just means the will and mind have to be that much stronger.

I had two of those willpower exercises this week: locking myself down onto the bike trainer and treadmill indoors, and running in the pouring rain. My mentality was just to GET IT DONE. No more whining; suck it up, princess.

Road to Vietnam #4
rain or shine

Hopefully this attitude pays off. I got my new passport back last week and will be booking my flights to Nha Trang finally. After that, there’s no turning back.

A Visit to the OCBC Aquatic Centre

I was in Singapore last week, and during that short trip I found the opportunity to visit the OCBC Aquatic Centre!

Singapore has an abundance of public pools, and every child learns how to swim from an early age. However, the OCBC Aquatic Centre is part of that massive complex known as the Singapore Sports Hub which is comprised of the aquatic center, the National Stadium, an indoor stadium, the Water Sports Centre, a water park, an arena with a gym, a library, a sports museum, and a mall. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to see and experience as a visiting triathlete, especially when I ended up there in September last year while paying a visit to the H&M branch in Kallang Wave Mall.

Due to lack of time I only got to see the training pool as well as get something to eat from the mall food court. It was still a delightful and envy-inducing way to see Singapore sport culture as encouraged by their national government.

OCBC Aquatic Centre

OCBC Aquatic Centre
the competition pool, which was closed when I visited (both photos not mine, in Public Domain)

Thanks to JC Roldan, a Filipino based in Singapore, who offered to come with me to the aquatic centre on his day off. I hate being that ignorant tourist who doesn’t know what goes where, so I was relieved to have his local guidance there.  Continue reading “A Visit to the OCBC Aquatic Centre”