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Blog Race Info Training

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

Thanks to Omi Castanar for the suggestion to put this playlist together on Spotify. Again it’s heavy on the EDM stuff; I usually use the driving beats to help push me through my bike and run sessions, and I enjoy the Last Song Syndrome I get with these songs during swims, rides, and runs. “Payback” by Vangelis gets me revved up to train so that course will not kick my butt like it did last time!

If you listen to the lyrics they actually do speak about the emotional and physical experience of Challenge Philippines. I’d like to think of this song as my theme song for that race:

Chasing summer
All that we got is our heartbeats
And the air we breathe
And the air we breathe

Running reckless
Couldn’t care less
Just surrender
It would set you free
It would set you free

I can be a little stronger
And try a little harder
We could do better
If we love a little louder
– “Love Louder” by John Martin

Remember that you can follow this playlist on Spotify — I may add a few more songs I come across in the next few weeks. And if you’re on Spotify Premium (free for three months on Globe’s GoSURF data plan), you can save this playlist for offline use. Enjoy, and train hard for Challenge Philippines!

Blog FYI

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. read more »

Blog Race Report

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.  read more »

Blog FYI

A Merry Christmas with Spotify

While struggling through yet another traffic jam in Manila this afternoon I used the stalled time to try to put together a Spotify playlist for the Challenge Philippines races this year (as suggested by my reader Omi Castanar). There’s only so much tugz-tugz you can listen to in one sitting, though, so I started searching Spotify for other, more calming playlists.

“How about something in keeping with the Christmas season?” I thought to myself, especially since I remembered this is the final weekend Scrooge The Musical is showing at OnStage Greenbelt.

Spotify PlaylistsSpotify Holiday Playlists

Spotify has launched their holiday playlists, so it wasn’t hard to find something Christmas-y that I felt like listening to. I’ve always loved when popular artists release whole Christmas albums (Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas” is what I play every December), so a Christmas pop playlist? You got me.

Spotify Playlist - Christmas Pop

Featuring artists such as Mariah Carey, Michael Buble, Ariana Grande, Leona Lewis, Chris Brown (wait, he recorded a Christmas song?) and more, this playlist had me happily singing along in my car, and with Spotify Premium the audio was high-quality and my listening pleasure was uninterrupted by ads.

I also plan to use another playlist for my annual family Christmas Eve party. With people of all ages attending, the Classic Christmas playlist is sure to please everyone.

Classic Christmas

As I mentioned in my previous blog post about Spotify, you can enjoy Spotify Premium for free with Globe’s GoSURF plans. Once you’re registered with a GoSURF plan, just go to to activate your free Spotify Premium subscription.

If you’re not on a GoSURF plan, you can still upgrade to Spotify Premium. Globe has a Spotify data plan for P299/month which gives you 1GB data allowance for Spotify. Just text SPOTIFY299 to 8888.

As an alternative, if you don’t plan on accessing Spotify with data, you can charge the upgrade to Premium through your prepaid load or postpaid phone bill (for Android), or pay for an in-app upgrade through Globe GCash Amex (for iOS).

What do you like listening to at Christmas time? :)

Blog Reviews

Kikay Reviews: Speedo Aquapulse Goggles

Today I took to the pool not only for a great speed workout — Challenge Philippines IS only 11 weeks away — but also to test the Speedo Aquapulse Goggles that were sent to me by Speedo Philippines.

Speedo Aquapulse Goggles
Speedo Aquapulse Goggles

I’ve got probably about five or six sets of goggles at home (and only one pair of eyes! LOL), but I have my favorites and I am finicky when it comes to what I use for serious training. I have a love/hate relationship with swimming, so when I want to get training done, I need to have my equipment not fail on me or else I bail on the session. read more »

Online Triathlon Coaching - MaccaX
Online Triathlon Coaching - MaccaX

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