Sunday, December 26, 2010

Now I could Bike!

I just did breaking in my new bike an hour ago in my house attire! Two days ago, I've got my biggest surprise when my wife in connivance with my brother and Noy Jopson gave me a Scott road bike for Christmas! These are one of the few moments that I've wanted so much a bike and a Scott for that and my Santa wife gave it to me. It must have cause her an arm and a leg!

It is a fitting gift for me, now i could bike! Besides running, I've always wanted to go cycling for fitness, travel and aiming in the future the Cobra Ironman (IM) Philippines 70.3. Its just one reason that I could now pursue that dream.

I'll try giving it a spin in the next two weeks, hopefully. I still has to spend on those cycling accessories needed to make the sport safe and sounds I have t0 cut an arm and leg too!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Singapore Marathon 2010

There was a sense of relief when rain was pouring cats and dogs the day before race day, non stop. Singapore marathon known for its flat course and an Asian Boston qualifying race, is also more famous for its humid and hot weather, a bum for fast runners who could bonk down the stretch due to the heat. I'm no fast runner but the reported "heat" topics among those who ran it had generated much curiosity and arousal from my part that it did succeed in scaring me off a bit. Guessing from what I felt during the rain drenched trip to get the bib, I guess I was more concerned over my shoulder nerve pain which was little bothersome and painful.

It was supposed to be my 2nd marathon this year and my first run on an international race thanks to a year of happy, hip hip hooray running with runners alike and more thanks to God for ever giving me strong reliable knees, my family for the support in times when they would have needed me more in taking care of my new baby than seeing me running like crazy in the darkest of nights.

We arrived on midnight of December 4, a good full day before race day. Those cheap, no frills airlines has made running in international races more easier for our pockets. We were immediately whisked off on a Mercedez benz cab too tired from complaining but ended up cursing for paying a hefty amount that would have been good for a new Nike shirt. Felt better though when we arrived in Pan Pacific in Marina Bay with the spunky Mandarin and Ritz Carlton for our neighbors, a mere walking distance from the finish line and a door away from the shopping malls except that my wife was not with me (hahaha).

We woke up the next day on a rainy Singapore to pick up our bibs a block away from the hotel, elated to have been given the door to a rousing applause from the volunteers as overseas runners, brought some marathon souvenir shirts and returned back to the hotel drenched! Would this be the weather tomorrow? A Malaysian said it was unlikely that the sun would shine. Sweet!, maybe God has answered all the runner's prayers this time. We made our way to the shopping malls (bad idea) in the afternoon to do some sightseeing which only offered more walking to our already tired legs.

On race day, we woke up early from excitement with over 4 hours of sleep, hailed a cab at 3am for the starting line in Orchard Road which was in full Christmas lights display, just before some group of partying caucasians told us that since were running a marathon would we should be running instead of hiring a cab (hehe). We met some Manila runners during the starting line and had some few talks with them. As efficient as their government, so was the race as we were assigned into specific pens with the elites already flexing their muscles like cheetahs going for a kill and the rest of us mortals into sub 4, 5 to 8 categories. I was with my brother at the sub5 pen fully aware that I have to run a constant pace of 6:30-7 to get it. By 430am, Like the rest of the 20,000 full marathon runners and among the 60,000 running on the race on the 21k and 10k division, I was ready.

With a giant electronic billboard display and from the sound of Joey Tempest's melodic heavy metal song "The final countdown", we were off at 5am. I was actually running the Singapore Marathon, yipee! The adrenalin shot off almost immediately and didn't mind tripping off the timer mat and hurting back my shoulder nerve I have been experiencing lately.

I saw yellow balloons on a 4:45 pace group and decided to follow them. I started out just about my usual pace but felt unusually tired. Must have been the other days sightseeing and the lack of sleep for two straight days, crap! but soon regained form by the fifth kilometer. Drank every water stations as it was beginning to be very humid. Passed several of the tourist attraction of the city in between km0-km9 like the shopping mecca Orchard Road, Istana Park, Fort Canning Park, Chinatown and the Merlion. Here we passed the only tunnel of the race which was like an oven inside and ended up sweating more by the time we were out. The cool breeze of the bay was a relief as we passed by the popular Marina Bay, down to the F1 pitstops, under the Helix bridge, beneath the Singapore Flyer before we entered the East Coast Park. Its was just a few minutes inside the park when we met the elite Kenyans going back already.

Everything was well and under control under km21, a little bit tired than usual and slower. The water station a plenty with 100 plus drinks and the cheers a few and between. My time at cp21k was 2:19:33. The sun was up, not the rained that we all hoped for but certainly something we trained for. Its was just a bit humid than usual, something I didn't foresee.

We passed the only station with GU gels and took a scoop. Started to drink salt caps too at km25 and km30 to avoid the cramps. Both failed miserably. With the hope of making it at 4:30 fading, started to make adjustments but felt too tired to do so. By the time we were out, it was twilight zone already. Ended up at 3ok at 3:23:03. Fighting fatigue, I tried to enjoy the scenery while chatting along the way with a fellow Singaporean.

There were a lot of liniment stations which many find to be a relief. At km32 my paced has dipped at 7:00/km. At km33, I passed fellow Cebuano runners Dindz Bartolabac struggling with cramps with Kenneth Toledo helping him. With little shades, the heat and humidity has become a little bit unbearable. By this time, a cup for the thirst and another cup for the head was the rule. By km35, my body was bonking down too. I drank the last Hammer gel I had with me. I knew at this point that my dream time of 4:40 wasn't to be but still had a good chance to make it under 5 hours.

Then all hell broke loose at km36. The dam broke! We didn't expect that the expected times we had coincided when all the runners in the 42k, 21k and the 10k converging together on one side of the East Coast Freeway all the way to the finish line! Poor full marathoners, we were looking at a sea upon sea of runners cramped on one side on the road like were all going for a U2 concert. Not even the shouts of North Korean leader Kim Jung-il "walkers to the right, runners to the left, DNF's jump of the bridge" would have made them move! So much for the running! Haha

From here to km41 it was mostly walking with brief runs whenever the crowd eases a little bit. By this time the time was ticking. It was only on the last kilometer that I mustered all my strength to run, huffing and puffing and finally saw the Pedang finish line with the timer at 4:55:40 something. I sprinted and raised both my hands with the two sign signifying my second marathon. My chip time was 4:55:53. I made it under 5 hours! Wohooo!

The S$39 photo. The only finish photo I have.

We got our medals and finisher t-shirts, ate some Nature valley bar, rested for a while before heading to the hotel for more hydration, icing and ice bath. A quick nap after, we headed to Jack's steakhouse to celebrate the day and the accomplishments. The next two days, we literally walked our feet off, sort of recovery walk all over Singapore, Night Safari, Orchard Road shopping for pasalubongs, Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and Universal Studios.

Universal Studios!

Amazingly, I ended up as the 35th Filipino to finish, top 15% of the entire field for the full marathon and a 36 minute improvement from my previous marathon time. I couldn't be more prouder.

Photo credits: Flickr oeyvind and Sensibles

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1st Cebu Ultramarathon

This I wouldn't miss for several reasons. I was on taper mode for my Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (A day on zero running doesn't hurt.bad me) and the thought of seeing brave runners and friends taking on a grueling 50k ultramarathon is something I want to know first hand. Second, I haven't touch my camera for a while and I was afraid that whatever skills I've learned for the past years might be unlearned. Third, I wanted the fresh air in the mountain and see if I could train there. Lastly, I want to run an ultramarathon someday and having a first hand experience on the event would be advantageous.

Fisheye view on runners at km16. Ga-as, Balamban

So there like the 180+ hardcore runners and just like another day of training, Me and my brother woke up early, took breakfast along the way and was there at the Ga-as, Balamban some 37 kms. from the city by 630am. We were positioned within the highest elevation of the race, a ridge where the land meets the sky, a runner's heavenly route. The sights so breathtaking you wouldn't expect it would be a false pretense to the race that was on their way. It was km16 for them and it took them a while to get there with the leading runner (Mendel Lopez) passing us two hours into the race. I thought at first they were too slow to realize later on that the route was a difficult one.

Another running in motion. Ga-as, Balamban

One by one, these brave little souls passed by some smiling, other very focus. Saw my friends Boss Joel, Huarache runners Jacob and Edward and TTB Christian and Eric. Saw the famous Jove "Baldrunner" Narcise and ARC runner Michelle Estuar. By the time we left the ridge, I would have made photos of almost two thirds of them. It was already hot! By the time we left at 9:30am, it was beginning to be a scorcher already. Many were left to walking but knowing that the route was a killer was perfectly fine. Besides it was to be a long long day ahead. Thanks to the individual support crews and the Ungo support group, it made their burden a little bit lighter. Around 162 finished the race most arriving over the 8 hour cut-off which was later on revised by an hour.My hats off to all of you! That was a feat that not so many marathoners would dare.

Joven "BaldRunner" Narcise with another runner

On a personal note, while I was traveling back to my place it dawned to me that I can do it. That if Mommy Twinkle can, so can I. So I started to plot my schedule and lo and behold in the following days after, the Labor day coast to coast Cebu ultra was launched. May 1, 2011 is the day, yeah just in the middle of summer! and much longer (60-65k)! Waaah.

One of the early runners passing through the ridge

If all things comes in alignment, I will run this one. For now, there's Singapore Marathon 2 days from now and the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon in February 20.

Let the good times run!

Note: For more photos visit my facebook link:

Meeting Wayne

L-R: TTB Eric, Ken, Jack, Coleen, Katol, Christian, Richard, Wayne, Chill, Tata, Yendy, Boying, ME and Gerry

If there was a guy whose achievements in running is as big as his humility, that would be my Dailymile (DM) friend, Wayne Plymale A veteran marathoner and a Boston qualifier, I finally met someone whom you can look up to as an inspiration for all runners. In person! He might not be a Haile Gebrselassie of our time, but for who he is and what he has achieved represents more of the common runners that is us.

Dinner at Spice Fusion with TTB, SM City Northwing
Thanks to my friend Richard Ho for inviting him to come to Cebu for a quick visit. I hope that the Cebuano hospitality had made his trip memorable even how short it was. Well, eating balot and drinking Red Horse would have been one for his books!

Thanks for visiting us Wayne. We hope to see you again in 2012 for the Cebu Marathon!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

T -10 Days

I'm stoked.

Stoked that in the next ten days, I'll be running the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. It would be my 2nd marathon, my 1st international race in a year. It has been a roller coaster run for the last six months. Saddled with an injury and having to cope up with being a father to my 2nd child, it had meant that I have to adjust BIG time. And big time I did from adjusting my sleeping patterns to enrolling in a gym. I gave up running CAMSUR marathon. I gave up watching TV. I gave up eating my favorite ice cream. This meant too that I have to run like a ghost in the night. I wanted this so I must as well suck it up.

The results were startling but would have been pretty obvious for a veteran. I lost weight. For the first time since my college days, I breached psychological 150 lbs. weight. I am running injury free and stronger for months. I can now ran faster than ever before.

Training for a marathon is never an easy stuff. The sacrifices is inevitable, more like part of the deal. In this months I saw myself making friends with a lot of people who like me like to eat asphalt for breakfast. There's the Dailymile (DM) acquaintances of all sorts from beer loving Rolando who runs a quickie 3:30 for a marathon despite getting drunk the previous day to veterans like Wayne Plymale, a Boston marathoner and a great motivator who have run marathons and races where only stuff of dreams are made of.

Then there are my friends in Tytsbogdo also known as TTB, a young group of runners who likes wearing tights during a run. These are one of the wackiest band of friends I've met. These guys take the bore out of the long run literally. And of course their are my staff in YYK which I did some pacer duties. Guys your as ready as ever. The road was tough but they made it all seems like were just having fun. To all, thanks guys!

Less I forget is my family, my inspiration. I know its hard for you all to see daddy going out in the darkest of the night just to run. Its a bit crazy but you have ever been supportive. I know you too had to adjust, that the road was tough too. I am thankful more than words can express.

This marathon would be a special one. God, you've thrown every obstacle you can less the kitchen sink and I'm still here standing. I am ready. I am hoping for a good, fun race. Let it be my success.

To all running the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, Godspeed everyone! Don't forget to enjoy the race!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spooked, The Citigym Halloween Half Marathon

Organizers are getting creative these days. The day of the dead is not even spared. Well, you've got a Halloween party all around so why not have a run? That's exactly what Citigym did. Aside from the usual costumes contest that is incorporated on the run, they get us to run around the Cempark. Yes, its the Cebu Memorial Park. Unless your too scared of the thought of the dead waking up and dancing Michael Jackson's thriller version, its a great place to run on daytime you guess. Quiet and flat, you'll can find runners here of all ages. That is you are happy running like a hamster going in circles and you don't mind running on hard cemented surfaces. The race was well organized and the Powerade drinks were a plenty, medals for 21k finishers but lacks the marshals for a safe race. Four stars for me on this race.

This was supposed to be my simulation race for Singapore marathon in December 5, meaning I was supposed to run my marathon pace of 6:30 minutes per kilometer all throughout. That pace plus some allowances for fatigue would give me around a marathon finishing time of 4:40, a decent time for a recreational runner. I was also supposed to test my ability to hold on to a slow pace and hold that pace until the 16k mark and push it a little more using my leg power. I guess I overdid everything. I did hold on to the marathon pace for about 12k but decided to push a little bit more. That little bit more was a fast one. It seems like I was spooked!

With TTB Runner Friends, most with PR times on this race.

I powered the rest of the 9k with a blistering pace of 5:15 and boy it felt good! We passed so many runners who were ahead of us that I was actually looking ahead for the next guy to pass. My staff was also there all the way, running toe to toe with me. They are almost ready for CCM. So fast was my pace for the last 9k that I almost broke my half marathon PR, just a minute more! No injuries, no cramps, no soreness. Not bad. Another hat trick? No I don't think so. Its still the training and its paying well. The next two weeks would be a play safe zone. No more racing, just building stamina and mileage. Oh I wish its taper time already!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Full Marathon Route - Singapore Marathon 2010

Barely a month remaining before Marathon Day in Singapore. Things so far are looking good. Just ran a 20 miler a couple of weeks ago and another 17 miler last Sunday. Its been a roller coaster six months and I'm beginning to feel the nerves already. A couple more 20 milers and I'm good to go. The video shows how good the organizers are when in comes to organizing international events, even showing in a tourist friendly video where the run will take you and in my case the full marathon, my 2nd full mary, 42.195 kms of running!

What can I say but to shout out loud, BRING IT ON!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Noah Gray at 3 Months

Times flies so fast. Noah Gray is already 3 months old! Here's the latest photo I took of him. He looks like my father in many ways. They say he looks like me. I beg to disagree except the balding hair! lol.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ay, Caramba!

Those were the words expressed by my friend Marc Viacrusis ( when I told him that the weather scheduled for our sunday long run was a run weather forecast with 26-27C, 74-93% cloud cover and 0% chance of precipitation. They got it wrong again! The only thing they got right was the 0% chance of precipitation. No rain, no clouds only the merciless sun happily shining on us! True to his words Ay, caramba was it!

I am in deep training for my first marathon outside the Philippines, the Singapore International Marathon on December 5. I would ran with my brother on this one with a modest goal of finishing below 5 hours. For many, it looks like a walk in the park. For me, it looks like a run in the unknown having enjoyed turtle running for some time now. Its tough but I'm getting there bit by bit.

I'm so serious with my training now that my weekly mileage has jump from a so-so 20-30k a week to 50-60k. I've lost weight. I've cross trained. I didn't neglect my core muscles. I now do speed work and hills training. Nothing is left to chance so to speak. I hope the gods will shine upon me now to give me stronger legs free from injuries. The last time I ran the marathon I ran with an ITBS ( problem reducing my chances of running a little bit faster. I ran past 5 hours but the victory was still sweet.

The baby duties is still there but is not as heavy as before. At the very least it gives a 5-6 hours of sleep each night. Although far from the normal human sleeping pattern, I'll take it. I've come to realize that being a full time Dad and my running may not be easy but it can be done. You'll just have to realize sometimes that some goals are not just possible (running super fast) and its the price to pay for a life that we have. Strategize, adapt and implement. So back to the training..

My staff and Marc was supposed to ran 26k and I was supposed to run 28K so what I did was to run ahead 2 more kilometers ahead of them before they even arrived. It was slow run, slower than my intended pace for my training but I have no complains. These guys somehow got inspired to run from my own runs and it may come a long way for them to give my support. Besides, with 7 more weeks before tapering, I could always squeeze in some faster pace on my medium long term runs.

Catarman Lighthouse (1904), 13km north east of Mandaue City.

We ran to the Catarman lighthouse in Liloan on the edge of the cliff facing the Visayan Sea. The didn't feel good at the start for me. I had little sleep (insomnia attack) and my tummy began to sing in the middle of the run coupled by some little pain on the right knee. Eventually, running back, I did some fartleks and the pain just disappeared as well as the pain from the bum stomach. Thank God or I would have stop somewhere in the bushes to relieve myself!

The sun was hot but not as hot during the Milo half marathon. The boys persevered! Way to go! The road though was mostly cemented which was rather tough on the knees.

Marc Viacrusis saying something or just the heat? @ Total Station 2.5kms from the finish.

What I notice though is that I don't feel any soreness already after my long runs. Its like I didn't run long at all over the weekend. Is the heavier training, running form or something else? It started when I started drinking 2 250ml of Anlene low fat chocolate milk within 15mins after the long runs. I read from Jaymie aka the bullrunner that study shows that a combination of protein and carbo (milk and chocolate) really helps recover the muscles after a strenuous activity and elite runner athletes normally take them.The key here is low fat so that you won't get to grow like a blob!

Anlene Low Fat Choco Milk 250ml @ P30 on retail.

Next long run would be a 30K. Four times in six weeks. So help me God.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sofia, 5

Sofia before her dance number in her school.

I have not been editing photos lately. This photo is the first I tried for the longest time where heavy editing is required. It took me around 20 minutes to come up with the final image. Looks good? Thanks to editing tools like adobe photoshop and lightroom, it makes possible to make poster like images. This kind of editing is one of the hallmark of a Librodo.

Yes, I'm talking about Manuel Librodo Jr., one of the icons of philippine photography. And yes, I did attend one of his workshop two years ago. Its been a while and yet his style is still is one of the most sought after today. Its been a while too that I've edited photos like this and I'm seeking to rediscover my passion in photography.

Friday, September 10, 2010 - Travel Photography Daily Contest

This is my 4th win for Photoburst, a daily travel contest participated by different travel photographers around the globe. Ahem.

I really don't join this for anything but just having fun, a sort of a litmus test for my photos if it passes some of the better critics out there. I guess it does sometimes.:) Its been a while though that I have the motivation to take new photos and somehow this rekindles my passion to take photographs.

About the photo: This was taken during the Sinulog festivities particularly during the 6AM Mass of the Fiesta day. I woke up early for this one to get the best position possible and used a fisheye for this one to give the subject/event the wide feel of the ritual. The pilgrims are actually doing the ritual "Bato Balani sa Gugma" or Magnet of Love, a moving ceremony that moves most of the devotees into tears.

Specification: Nikon D300s, Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye

Here's the permalink of the site: - Travel Photography Daily Contest

Monday, September 6, 2010

34th Milo Marathon

With its good and sensible advocacy of providing new shoes to poor recipients, The Milo Marathon has become one of the most prestigious and the biggest running event in the country with over 210,000 runners taking to the streets this year. Yesterday, it was the Cebu leg and I together with my brother Harold, both avid Milo drinkers while we were still young wouldn't let it pass. We signed up for the 21k distance together with 30 more people from team YYK.

Runner 2330 Ready

I have never been a competitive runner since started to don my running shoes preferring to run recreationally but on rare occasion like Milo, I step up on the gas pedal and tries to test my limits. And so a few weeks before the race, I started spice up my runs with a little bit of tempo and fartlek sessions. I have to admit that lately I don't train as much as I use too due to newborn care, a nagging calf injury and a few new business ventures. My Camsur marathon schedule was first to fall on the side, knowing that although I was physically prepared, I was not mentally. What I do now became an unusual schedule of running on ovals on holidays and weekends, LSD on Sundays and treadmills during lunch although things has been improving lately well enough to keep me on the road as frequent as possible with great recovery. So with little training, I knew going for a sub2 hour target was nearly impossible with a slight chance of achieving it. I gave myself a self imposed target between 2:02-2:06 for this race.

"Kaya Mo Yan!" or "YOU CAN DO IT!" has been Milo's mantra for years for its yearly Milo Marathon. Never has the mantra been more well tested than that of yesterday. It was in one friend's comment the most difficult race he had raced. It was not the route. It was a better route this time, slightly inclined in some parts but mostly flat. Nor was the lack of hydration and marshals for there were a plenty (13,735 liters of water, 1,500 bottles of gatorade, 955 support crew, 18 medical stations). Hurray to Milo organizers!.

The gun started a bit late (5:37AM) but it didn't matter for we were entertained! Looking at the sky, I knew something eminent was about to happen. It has been raining days before but yesterday it was just blue, no clouds just clear blue sky. 555 of us from the 23,008 participants were first to be released for the 21k run. I check my Garmin, it read 5:59 for the 1st kilometer. Fine, fine I said and chat a bit with Jacob Ong who happened to just wear huarache sandals for the run! Off he went by the time we reached Capitol area. I didn't pursue seeing that with his thin physique I bet he's a fast runner. By the time we reached V.Rama area, it started to put on some speed. It was cruised control from kilometer 3-10 with an average pace of 5:30/km. By the time I reached the 10K mark my Garmin read at 57:23. Happy with the outcome, I smiled. That was the last smile of the run for me.

As we reached the coastal bridge approaching SRP, I saw the long stretch of beautifully asphalted road. Beautiful and deceiving, the real drama started here. The sun god Ra might have been cursing us that day that the heat was just excruciating, unforgiving. With no shade, no clouds, not even the slightest breeze, SRP look like a highway cutting across death valley! From a cruise control pace, I knew then and there that my ill fated dreams of achieving a sub2 finish has vanish. Crap, I won't make it I said but found strength to push on. My pace considerably dropped between 6:00-6:30/km. From km 9-17, the SRP was sort of a deathbed for most runners out there. The fast ones became slow runners, the slow ones became walkers. The water stations had become a sort of a bathing stations. Its a good thing that there were a plenty of them (water stations). Hurrah to the Ungo Runners for providing additional stations. You'r really heaven sent! Except for the water breaks, I promised myself at that point to never walk. The mantras in me became a turning point to encourage and push my body to overcome the heat. I trudge on and passed so many runners I lost count.

Finally made it out, body tired but I was not willing to just give up yet. Not when there were only 4 km. left. I saw one runner collapse near the intersection of the Basilica del Sto Nino. Good thing there was an ambulance nearby. Poor guy, must have overheated. There it was back to more speed but not already exactly the way I performed before entering SRP. I looked on my watch and saw I was still dead on in my target for at least a 2:06 finish. I saw my brother at this point on his way back. I cheered him on to push as he can break sub2 with his pace. At last, as I entered the sports complex and saw the Milo timer, it dawned to me that despite the extreme condition that day, I broke my PR by six minutes! The smile came back, raising and clinching both my fist as I reached the finish line. The Milo timer indicated my time at 2:06:18 while my Garmin indicated a 2:06:32 finish. The chip time was way off by two minutes at 2:08:05. This was also noticed by most runners I know. I ranked 144 out of 504 finishers or top 28% of the field. Not bad for a recreational runner, not bad at all.

My brother timed at 1:58, a new PR and sub2 finish. Happy Me with my daughter.

It has been my sixth 21k competitive race of my running life. This one has to be the most memorable, most organized race I've joined. The heat made it more memorable. It was by far the most difficult 21k race I've joined. To be able to push oneself to the limit in extreme conditions just confirmed what most runners believe: That what the mind thinks, the body would just follow. Today I savor the moments of agony, knowing that it would help me a lot to overcome the trials in life. Singapore marathon here I come!

Keep on running!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

$200 Photo

I never thought stock photo can be worth that much. Recently, the art director for Utne Magazine U.S. bought the publication rights for this photo of mine. Its just a snapshot of watermelons for sale I saw beside the road one afternoon on my way home. It can be labeled as a fine art photo.

Simple as they may, somebody was looking for it and saw it probably in my flickr account. Lucky me! So the next time you take photos, published it (low resolution) online on your own website or any free photo publishing site like flickr or multiply. Who knows the next big photo might just be worth more than its perceived value.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Noah Gray Baptism 8.28.10

Invitation Card

Finally we were able to squeeze out a schedule for Noah's baptism after being caught in the flurry of newborn care duties. It was just a simple occasion among close relatives and friends, nothing really fancy. Indeed, it was a beautiful day to welcome Noah to the Christian world. The sun was bright, the clouds shimmering with its puffiness doting the horizon.

@ Sacred Heart Chapel after the Baptism Ritual

A Thousand Thank you to All who came.

To the Ninongs and Ninangs who came to celebrate the occasion with us bringing them their ever fulfilling duties to guide our child to the Christian values.

To our parents, relatives and friends who came by despite their schedules. Grateful is a understatement that we owe you.

To Father Mariano Cuarto for offering his service and bearing the noisiness of Noah who never stopped crying, we thank you.

Noah a day before baptism. Smile little baby!

To Sacred Heart Parish for giving us a venue to celebrate the happy occasion, may you continue to bring joy to countless baptism to come.

To Presents and Such for the wonderful giveaways, may these be treasured forever, memories of happy occasions.

To LMG Patries for the wonderful cake and cupcakes, beautiful and sweet it was!

LMG Cake

To Grand Majestic for the plentiful good food, it was such a blessing.

And to God Almighty, may you continue to bless and guide Noah to become Good Christians raised to glorify your name!

Dancing Pia @ Linggo ng Wika/MMIS

Pia dancing her heart out at Linggo ng Wika presentation at her school in Maria Montessori International School.

She loves to dance more than ever today. Do you know whom she adores? Lady Gaga! She follows her steps and moves like a wannabe. Its funny, its shocking at times to see her follow those sexy dance moves. I don't mind. Kids are kids and we just let her be herself. For us, we just sit back and be entertained.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Aboitiz Half Marathon

Before the start of the race, I already decided to run this race on a relax pace. The flat route would have tempted me, so was the cool weather due the the rain hours before the race. For many of my fellow runners and friends, this race was a test whether they would meet the Milo half marathon cut-off time of 2:30 two week later to receive their medals, a rare occasion that their giving one for a half marathon. That should be translated to around 7 min/kilometer of running. For me, its not something I should be worried about knowing that I usually run within that pace on my LSD runs without much difficulty. I should have been more worried that my calf injury and left shin splints might flare up again. Thankfully it has not since I've shifted for running in ovals and treadmills for the meantime.

Popoy de la Pena and Me @ 8k mark

Except for a late start, (5:30 instead of 5:15) everything went well with the race. My brother Harold, Gerry and Doc Marc were at the starting line talking to three runners on VFF and commenting how it is to run on them. I saw many familiar faces too. The weather was a runner's delight. No sun; just cold, cloudy weather. And so like hundreds of eager mules packed in a cordoned area, we were released without even hearing the gun pop. At one kilometer, i checked my Garmin, it says a speed around 6:20/kilometer. Without getting winded, I knew it was the relax pace I needed to maintain. By the 3rd kilometer, I bump into Popoy, a fellow daily miler trying his first 21k race. He was also following me and thinking that this was too a nice pace and so we paced each other. By the time we reached SM which was around 8k, we already saw the kenyan runner on his way back!

Richard Ho and Me @ 20.8k mark. Happy Runners!

By the time we reached half way, I saw many of the familiar faces again on the turning point and bid the usual waves and hi. This time, Tytsbogdo runner Richard Ho joined us. We talk and talk and talk while maintaining the relax pace. By the time we had almost finished our conversation, we were back at SRP already. Time flies so fast when your busy talking.hahaha I didn't bring my hydration belt and by the time we hit the 18k mark, I felt so thirsty after we passed a couple of water station than ran out of them. It was at this point that we lost Popoy to cramps. Luckily the last water station had still in them. And so happily both me and Richard ran towards the finish with fellow Tytsbogodo runner Richelieu Ho took the picture you see above. It was a disappointment though that they didn't install a timer at the finish line. My chip time was 2:16:31 good for rank 123 out of 246 runners or top 50% of the field.

Its was a nice race overall. It was the first time to to meet DM's and runners from Tytsbogdo. Congratulation to Popoy for his first 21k and Marc for his 21k under 2:30. The next two weeks I'll take it easy before the Milo half marathon. See you on the roads!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Meaning of Life

There are many videos out there that inspires me. This is one of them. Unknowingly while watching it, I realize that I have followed almost all of the things that it espouses. I hope it inspires you too and do the same.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Birthday Present

My natal day came like a blur. No fanfare, no celebration. Not even a chance to blow a cake. But don't get the stillness of it as a sign that I have grown old, when we don't fantasize as much as before that our birthdays are times that we hang to have fun. The lack of fun or the presence of it doesn't have any strong influence on me already. Maybe I'm really old already or have matured in some ways. Times have change and I have transcend in to another place. The material gifts have been replaced by the hugs and kisses which doesn't come on my birthday alone but everyday. My daughter presented me her birthday card which I have presumed she made herself with much effort.These are the gifts I prefer, gifts of love.

The thirty six years of living in this world has shown me that the best gifts doesn't come materially nor it is to be asked or received. They are to be given. Last year, I celebrated them with the orphans of Asilo. Today, with the blessing of my wife I have decided to give an education scholarship to a boy in World Vision. Scanning the many prospects, I somehow wish if only I could or someone would have everyone schooled, it would have been a much better world out there. Life might have been unfair for them and not for us but we could changed it. The stroke of luck can be change if we do our share of giving back to humanity what life and God has showered on us.

In the end, I have to choose one and I gave it to a boy named Arneil. It would be my birthday gift for him from another birthday celebrant. I hope and pray he does well in school. I hope and pray that someday when he grows old and become mature, he like many of us would give back the gift of love.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sleep Deprivation Kills the Run

For Now, I'm calling off my intention to run the Camsur Marathon on September 25. It would have been my second marathon in 1 1/2 years of running. It was a difficult but a fairly quick decision I have to make. The reason: Sleep deprivation. It has been a struggle lately, my body seems lethargic and I'm totally stressed out from the lack of sleep.

Since Noah, my 2nd child was born a month ago, newborn care has been a priority and comes with it the changing sleeping patterns that I was expecting but didn't expect it could have profound effect on my training. For one, the lack of sleep doesn't allow me to push hard as much as I want to. If you don't have sleep, you can't run. It is as easy as that. Recovery is not 100% and felt I have to drag myself to run. I tried but seems the more I try, the more the joy of running is taken away from the run itself.

I am not the typical conventional runner in the block. I run for recreation, not for competition. My only competitor is myself. I need that excitement, that joy that I usually feel when I run. Without it, any runs for me whether it would be a quick kilometer to the long runs just be short of a blah. I know I could run Camsur. I have had just enough training in me to run it. Looking forward too on two 21k races two weeks apart next week. These should be enough but I know my body is not conditioned anywhere at its peak. Then there's the thought of running Singapore two months after that. I rather be on the safe side rather push my luck and miss my chance in Singapore. I am not a big fan of the "Bahala na si Batman" stance. It just brings you closer to more complication, injuries et al. After Milo Marathon on Sept. 5, I'll assess again my chances.

As my friend runner JO had said: It takes a brave man to run a marathon but a braver man to know when to pull the plug.

I don't compete with others. Marathons and races won't go away. Take care of your body first, be prepared and run them another day.

Keep on Running!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Not So Boring Treadmill Running

With my lower legs rested for 10 days, and in between icing and massages, I'm back to running! I'm may not be particularly happy having to rest in the middle of my training for Camsur Marathon but injuries a year ago made me wiser not to be bull headed again when it comes to needed rest. Too much love for trail and hill running had injured my left calf which never healed because I never stop running and compensating for the pain by changing my running stance just led to more problems in the form of shin splints. Today for the 2nd day, I'm running pain free. Not on road, but on a treadmill.

Warning: Don't follow him, its the wrong way to run on the treadmill.

I haven't run in the treadmill for a long time. Its boring even when the TV is on. Its boring even when the girls do the aerobic dance in front of you. Tic tac, tic tac, the time goes and you go ballistic with boredom that you want to stop anytime. The longest I have run so far on a treadmill is 10K. Try beating my PR, its not easy.

But today as like yesterday, I have to embraced it, like it. Two words: NO CHOICE! Its part of my rehabilitation. I'm not taking chances this time in my training. I have to strategized like an engineer that I am. My plan: Run on treadmills on base runs of 5-9 kilometers on weekdays and run on the road for the long runs which is staring at me like an August monster. The long runs how dreadful many would like to think it is is not so. Its enjoyable. Fatigue might set in but its part of the deal.

But the treadmill, Oh this one boring machine test your mental strength which is good because running a marathon is more mental than physical. I have to admire people who run the whole 42k on it. I believe they could run any marathon there is in the list. Then it gets you to run on even pacing which gives me the needed consistency in my run and which you don't get on the road with all the potholes. One of the best things about it is its all weather, which is a heaven when the rains fall too hard or when you are pressed for time to hit the road. Right now it suits me well. I have difficulty running early mornings due to newborn care duties and can't run at night either because of it. Lastly, its forgiving on the knees and goes well with rehab when you want to have an injury in check like me.

There are cons too. You Pay. Either you enroll your way in the gym or for the affluent one, buy one. Either way it hurts your wallet. Another is that you don't get the specificity of the run you want. It doesn't have wind resistance, which you have to adjust on road and lastly its BORING. Nothing still beats running outside. That is why I have to have that long runs on the road.

Tomorrow I'm running again on them and in the next coming month. I hope I can get off that hump and say I love treadmills. It might take a while.
Here's an interesting story you might want to hear. Can you imagine a series of photo negatives to be worth like a Picasso? Only few photographers would be near that, one of which and is certainly an uncontested right belongs to Ansel Adams, the father of American photography, probably of the globe's pre modern era photography.

Experts: Ansel Adams photos found at garage sale worth $200 million

Here's the full link.

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Rick Norsigian's hobby of picking through piles of unwanted items at garage sales in search of antiques has paid off for the Fresno, California, painter.

Two small boxes he bought 10 years ago for $45 -- negotiated down from $70 -- is now estimated to be worth at least $200 million dollars, according to a Beverly Hills art appraiser.

Those boxes contained 65 glass negatives created by famed nature photographer Ansel Adams in the early period of his career. Experts believed the negatives were destroyed in a 1937 darkroom fire that destroyed 5,000 plates.

"It truly is a missing link of Ansel Adams and history and his career," said David W. Streets, the appraiser and art dealer who is hosting an unveiling of the photographs at his Beverly Hills, California, gallery Tuesday.

The photographs apparently were taken between 1919 and the early 1930s, well before Adams -- who is known as the father of American photography -- became nationally recognized in the 1940s, Streets said.

Now, when will my photographs sell like Ansel's? He must be laughing right now.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

See You!
Camsur Marathon 2010
September 26, 2010
Naga City, Camarines Sur

Monday, July 12, 2010

Three Marathons and a Baby

I must be crazy for doing this one. I am currently drowning in drowsiness from the lack of sleep, and the need to hit the sack seems to be more and more urgent affair than following my training schedule for a marathon. My second child just got home last week from the hospital, a rather easy birthing than I've previously anticipated. If it was a race, it should have been up there as a PR! Now I'm hitting the wall and it has just started.

Rewind back 6 months ago, I've finish my first marathon in Cebu while my wife was still carrying my 2nd child. It was a tremendous effort for the team to achieve a goal. My adrenalin after the race must have been cranked up and stoked up that despite several injuries, I manage to pull it off that I've decided to embark on a tight rope adventure, that is to run another two marathons before the year end while maintaining my fatherhood duties to little Noah. A few months back, to keep myself from dilly dallying, I've booked myself and my brother in the Camsur Marathon in September and Singapore Marathon in December. From an investment point of view their is no turning back. All the hotel accommodation and air fares have been booked and there's no erasing the words which clearly says "No Refund Policy". It would seem that I'm regretting it. I'm not. It might have made my life more complicated that it usually is but life would not have been more colorful, more interesting and more challenging if it were not.

I'm currently in the middle of the long runs in my schedule, too long sometimes that it keeps you cursing yourself for taking the load nobody forces you. And then there's the sleep deprivation which magnifies the fatigue long enough that it lingers through your body after a day or two. I'm not going to say 'No Mas'. I have never been a quitter, bull strong traits my wife knows too well. I'm not going to quit on the running for diaper either, everyone knows that newborn care is just a phase and I just have to adjust. Besides, running can take a breather here and there, it not going anywhere while fatherhood is a special ritual for me that I truly appreciate.

At the end of the day, I'm not going to be measured on when I have done it, but how I did it. Like running, Its life's real beauty that when at the end of the race, you feel good not only because you have done something your proud of, but because your more prouder when you look back at the road you've run and say that every step was worth making.

Run my friend, as a way of life.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Coming Home

My body feels tired today. It feels like I have been bump by a moving train. Its has been a few days since we brought Noah home and it has been five years since I felt the need to doing newborn care again. Even how much you prepare yourself for the meaningful event, it still gives you the surprise that you were not expecting or perhaps I was expecting it and just wasn't prepared for it mentally. But unlike the other triumphs that comes with the pain and the physical stress, this one is something special. The life of a child, like any child would always be something special for parents. The stresses of parenting that I have come understand are beautiful reminders how I would have nurtured them to be good citizens someday. They come in numbers and they come hard sometimes, a challenge but nevertheless a challenge that is worth taking for.

Many say that any child is worth dying for, much so for your own. I can truly understand that but I believe in much more; that a child is worth living for, that providing them with unconditional love and guiding them each way to become phenomenal individuals on their own merits is what parent should do. I hope just as I hope before when Sofia came along that I can be a good parent and a father to my kids. To be blessed again with another child, a boy to compliment his sister is a wonderful gift. Whatever the circumstances may lead us as a family, I truly believe the future of my kids is secured comes high waters. As we welcome Noah into our home, may he bring as much joy as the first, inspire me more and bring beautiful chaos to our place. It has just began except its getting better.

Noah, welcome!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day One,P-Noy: Bright and Sunny

I woke early today to run on one of the usual routes I usually take. Between screeching of motorcycles, everything was unusually quiet that day. Would have it been because I just ran too early before most people even pop their hated alarm clocks or perhaps because it was a holiday. Your guess is as good as mine. Nevertheless the eerie quietness works well with me, having been used to loving it while huffing and puffing over the next hill to another. As the sun rose up a few minutes after engulfing the nearby mountains with its magnanimosity, green from all the rains that poured the previous last two days, it was the clear blue and the vibrant light that caught my attention. It was going to be a beautiful day I said to myself, bright and sunny.

Where to spend the holiday was farthest from my mind. I was going to stay home for a good reason. My family is here and roasted pig (lechon) is in our lunch menu plus some ice cream on the side. Beside, I want to watch some of the highlights of the inauguration of the our new president, Benigno Aquino III. Yes, the yellow army have won giving him the biggest mandate in the country's political history. Many questions have been left unanswered and will be answered in the next six years. Was I right in voting for him? Did I make a mistake in campaigning for him? You and I is going to find out not sooner than everyone thinks whether the sick man of Asia would be given the miracle pill and easy as you say it, "Your discharged!".

Glued to the tube for an hour, I got bored with all the formalities that I took upon myself and my daughter to buy ourselves our lunch treat for the day in the next town. Needless to say, the roads were deserted, which only happens on good friday or if Manny Paquiao fights. When we got back, I was just in time for inaugural speech. When it was over, thoughts of "wang wang", "Kayo ang Boss ko" kept echoing in my mind. That speech was greatly written, more a rally speech more than anything else but it was perfect. It was simple yet so straightforward it stuns you sometimes.

More than with that speech, I truly hope genuine change have come. I have come to believe in it even before PNoy got elected. That decency that I have longed for years would finally come. Would he be able to solve corruption? He just might. Would he be able to move our country forward through leadership by example? He just might. Like the weather, the future in bright and sunny. Lets celebrate for now, lechon and ice cream on the house, for once we might have chosen well.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Noah Gray

I am as excited as my wife is (minus the birthing pain!) for our new baby. She's almost about to give birth, the last 2 minutes of a basketball game or the last mile to a marathon so to speak. In a week or two, There would be four of us now in the family and felt truly blessed when the doctor told us that were expecting a boy! Now thats more than enough for me to say that with already a pair, it might just be already it for us. (My wife thinks otherwise!).

The coming months would be a test for me how I could cope up with the schedule of being a new dad to baby Noah (think of all the sleepless nights again) and keeping up with a marathon schedule in another hand. I guess that's were I'm good at..Time Management. I'm sure it doesn't pose any problem for me.

If there was one thing I am truly grateful about, it is my family. They are my source of strength and my No. 1 fans. I just added another one and they, their no. 1 fan too. Looking up today, the sky is gray and its raining, a sign that life's blessing is ahead of us, one way or another.

Happy Father's Day Everyone!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Milo Marathon Season Begins!

A great Ad and advocacy through running. The 34th Milo Marathon season begins! The Milo Marathon 42K qualifying on July 4 in Manila. Cebu leg 21k would be on September 5! I always rememeber Milo Marathon for two things. One is I got to run my first 21K on last year's Cebu leg and second, their mantra "Kaya Mo Yan!" has always carried me through when in doubt.

So all the runners out there, prepare and run the Milo Marathon!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Voltaren Gel: A runners best friend.

Voltaren Gel is a promising rub-on anti-inflammatory medication. Think of Voltaren® Gel as ibuprofen in a gel. I was skeptical at first to use this having been use to drinking anti-inflammatory medicines like Arcoxia for a bum knee or a muscle strain or icing it for days if I get to be stingy. I am not really a big fan of NSAID on tablets as its just like carpet bombing your body. You got to be careful on this and I find it a little bit on the scarier side when overdoing it. Rest for me is still the best, but I guess you've got some other friends to help you speed up recovery which I'm sharing with you.

Lately I saw the gel in a local drugstore and decided to try it on a nagging left calf which probably is a muscle strain I got from too much hill training (I have little choice on this as I live in the hills literally), short warm-ups and a shift to pose method when running on them. Its been a month of icing and resting yet every time I push a little bit harder (frequently) it completely comes back. Its not that I could not run on it (pain goes away the longer the runs are), it just not safe to push forward with an injury how little it may be.

So back with the gel, Its basically a rub on, like an ointment, which you get to put on the area where the strain is. The verdict: IT WORKS! Weeks of icing never really got the pain out but with this gel, it just took a day to put it away! A

To all runners, Try it! Its a much safer and faster way towards running again!

PS.Manufactured by Novartis, I bought mine at Rose Pharmacy.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Our Sofia just turned five two weeks. She always wanted a party for her special day. The years of simple and quiet celebrations had finally taken toll on our little princess who got use to attending parties of other kids except her own. We gave in this time knowing that next year would be a party for her little brother Noah. After months on searching for a place that fitted our budget, from the expensive hotel ballrooms to a modest house party, we went in between and something which she actually like. Anyway, its her big day so it was better off for her to decide.

The venue was SM Storyland. Its the same place where her summer art camp was held. The good thing about the place is that it has free rides for kids after the party. The party was great, enjoyable as expected and fun overload. The kids were really having fun and no more seen than in the eyes of our daughter. The years have come by quickly as the day ends everyday. Our Pia has grown to be ever been beautiful, and so playful that sometimes we couldn't keep up with the pace. She learns to read simple books on her own already (Thanks to Kumon!) and speaks english with ease. She has also becoming to be a dutiful girl, misbehaving at times but mostly does what we expect her to do. We look forward to the years ahead of us as a family with another brother coming in a month.

Later on at night at our place, we thrashed the gift wrappings and marveled in her new things. Before she slept that night she blurted out "Daddy, this is the best day ever!".

SM Storyland!

With friends Margaret, Hans and Jewel

Balloon twisting! They ended up making balloon swords!

Games! Games! Games!

Puppet Show!

Ronald Mcdoanld Jr!

Pia with Eli the Elephant

Daddy helping Pia blow the candles on her cake!

Shoot and Run

Rumblings of a Cebuano on a pair of running shoes and a Nikon on one hand.

About Me

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Photography is my hobby, a long distance runner and an avid blogger, I consider traveling a dream and my family as my number one inspiration.