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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Punching Bug

{Happy Yellow Handwraps Well-Spent}

I tried my hand at boxing, and I was hooked!

After a handful of good (long) runs gone bad, I finally admitted to myself that I really have to work more on my endurance, especially if I wanted to finish my first full marathon (early 2009?) in a decent time. So last week, I dropped by Megamall after work to buy my first boxing gear (P135 handwraps in Chris Sports). Then I headed to Elorde Boxing Gym in Tektite's Summit Wellness Center for a walk-in session (P300).

After stretching and a few jumping jacks (I haven't done that for years!), my trainer wrapped my hands for a round at the ring. I knew I was off to a good and (possibly) long term start as soon as I stepped into the ring. Just going through the rope and stepping on the padded floor gave me a thrill in itself.

We started off with the Punching Mitts and "1-2-3-Jab-Cross-Hooks". It was intense, it was tiring, it was exhilirating! Next drill was the Speed Bag (my waterloo), a hanging sac which required much skill in coordination and timing. Unfortunately, both skills I sorely lack. After a little snooping around, I found out that most people got the hang of it after 3-4 sessions anyway. The Double-End Ball was my favorite (and apparently, a natural at), probably because it's chest-height, and in the real world, like a big bully punching a kid. Not that I would, but if I had a choice, I wouldn't pick on the big one. haha.

The session ended with more floor exercises (crunches, rowing) and stretching by the trainer. I was feeling a bit pumped up, so I was still able to hit the treadmill for an easy 3K run. I was cross-training for my runs, after all.

Elorde Boxing Gym @ the Summit Wellness Center
4F West Tower Tektite Building, Ortigas, Pasig CIty
T 667.3065

Facilities and Features: Sauna, Free Parking, Locker Rooms, Hot/Cold Shower, Fully Airconditioned, Standard Sized Boxing Ring, Friendly Staff, Professional Trainers

Membership Fee: 750/year
Round 1- 200/session
Round 2- 1,500 (10 sessions/month)
Round 3- 2,500 (unlimited/month)

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Balance Power Race 2008

{Picture from official photographer/
delinquent running buddy, Kerv.}
I never really understood why some people would travel for hours just to run in the New Balance Power Race in Clark, Pampanga. Now I know why.
The mere fact that I was inhaling fresh, smog-free air was more than enough reasons for me. The postcard-worthy view of the lush greenery and mountains were just as delightful. It was fortunate that the sky was filled with clouds with a cool breeze to match. Perfect for that long 25-Km stretch ahead.
Day 1
A bunch of us arrived the day before the 10/25K races to cheer on our friends who would be running in the 5K run held Saturday afternoon. Most of them neophytes, some who have tried a run or two, and some seasoned athletes- who simply refuse to wake up at the crack of dawn! Reasons aside, we were all happy that the running bug took a nip at them- even for just one day.
Carbo-loading and reloading was a must after the race. We traversed to C' Italian Restaurant for their yummy pasta and Panizza (thinly sliced pizza rolled and eaten with alfalfa sprouts and arugula). Great food, I wish I could say the same for the service though. Dessert was healthy frozen yogurt in (surprise, surprise) Frozen Yogurt.
11 p.m. Lights out.
Running Fatboy: Isn't it nice that we're all bunking together (RFB, perper oven, janine+, jinides, kerv) before a run? It's more exciting. We all sleep at the same time, we all wake up at the same time. Walang lamangan (All is fair).
(Nice, Fatboy. And here I thought you wanted the sleepover for our indispensable wit and enjoyable humor. haha.)
Check out Running Fatboy's blog for more pictures on NB Power Race Day 1.
Day 2
This is it. Race day. 25 kilometer race day, at that. My longest and most ambitious run so far (I say ambitious since my last run/training was the 5Km Shake, Rattle and Run! 2 weeks back). I'm nervous- like the way an unprepared student entering an exam room would feel, yet excited- like a TV show contestant who is simply relying on stock knowledge and a whole lotta luck.
It was dark and drizzling when we assembled at the starting point. The excitement among runners was infectious. Everyone was buzzed and rarin' to go. When the starting shot rang out, I made sure I stomped extra hard on the mat for the benefit of the RFID timing chip attached to my ankle (although I'm not really sure that's how it worked). Whatever. Time to run.
I made sure I ran an easy pace. I have an unconscious habit of starting fast and burning out faster during long runs, so I wanted to make sure I'll last the whole shebang this time. I spot familiar red and white singlets in front of me. The Pinoy Ultra Runners. Do I dare leech one more time? I call out just for a quick Hi and keep pace.
Winding Roads and Pee-neries
The route was winding with subtle uphills. Once in a while you'd see people (yes, even the ladies!) emerging from the grasses and facing backwards doing what you thought they were doing. A novel sight for this city runner. Thank God, I didn't feel the need to pee throughout the race. I've had enough bites* for the week, and I'm not about to add SNAKE to the roster.
The route was picturesque and well-marked with catchy taglines to look forward to. I especially remembered the taglines Running is the original friend with benefits and Running knows when you've cheated on it from the LOVE/hate. This is the new balance campaign. It sure made me damn guilty. Sheesh.
Another point to the race organizers for ample water supply during the race. This is really one of the best and more organized races I've been to. The trip was well worth it. Keep up the great work!
Not so sweet 16K
A little after I passed the 15K mark, after a consistently good steady run (okay, with maybe a few seconds of walking), I instantly felt the pain spread through my body. First to go were my calves, which hardened like ice in a full-blast freezer. Then, as if in retaliation, the blisters on my insoles began to burn like cigarette butts stubbed over and over with every excruciating step. It's all in the mind... I kept repeating to myself. Soon enough, the pain subsided. But only to be replaced by a furious sting on my left shoulder and arms. (Can somebody please tell me why my arms and shoulders hurt? Is that even normal in running???) By that time, I finally give in to the shouts and just walk.
No sense in crying over spilled milk- or rather a good 10K time (Still... drat, drat, drat!!!). I decided to just recuperate for a while and enjoy the scenery- roadkill frogs not included. I take the remaining half of my breakfast peanut butter bar and refuel. Pretty trees, winding hills, white fluffy clouds that loomed closer and closer and closer, little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky... My wandering mind brought me back to suburban California, where I used to jog uphill and walk back home munching a newly purchased granola bar from the grocery. Except now, instead of the houses, my box was an invisible wall that seemed too high to overcome. I've hit The Wall, and I knew it.
It took a few pathetic attempts of running before I finally found my second wind at the 22nd mark (Tagal 'no? Argh). After that, it was somewhat smooth sailing from there. Only problem was that I've totally lost track of my time. It was almost 3 hours. My ideal sub-3 hour goal was moving out of reach. I picked up my pace and ran as fast as my body would let me. At the last water station, I spotted the familiar red and white singlet again. It was Hector, handing me a bottle of water. Thank God! Not so much for the sight of water, but for the realization that I was almost near the finish line.
Crossing the finish line was precisely that of a love/hate relationship for me. I loved the route, the scenery, the fresh air/I hated the roads that kept winding and turning into yet another road that never seemed to end. I loved meeting and greeting friends and fellow bloggers along the way/I hated seeing everyone pass me by. I loved the (leisurely) run despite not meeting my goal time/I hated leisurely running and not meeting my goal time.
But then, as all relationships go, it's a work in progress. And at the end of the day, I will always look back to this race with only happy thoughts and lessons learned.
More pictures of Day 2 at Running Fatboy's site.


...and Other Theories to Rhetorical Running
A Rush of Wheatgrass in the Head
Natural live energy- Natural active enzymes- Natural anti-bacterial- Detoxification agent- Washes out drug deposits in the body- Neutralizes toxins- Purifies liver- Improves blood sugar levels- Naturally improves strength and endurance- Improves sense of well-being- Prevents and fights cancer- Dissolves scars in lungs- Cures chronic sinusitis- Prevents tooth decay- Eases sore throat- Cures psoriasis- High in enzymes- Reduces high blood- Reassembles red blood cell molecules- Helps reduce the absorption of carcinogens- Helps eliminate bad breath

Knowing that my days in training was numbered (a dizzying work week had me choosing sleep over training runs), I headed off to Zing! (in Bonifacio High Street) for a dose of super wheatgrass. A shot of wheatgrass juice = 1.5kg of vegetables. It also has 5x more iron than spinach. I should've gone crazy-drunk with this for that "Popeye" moment. My endurance lasted up until the 16K mark, before all the juice squeezed out of me.
*Weredog Running
A few days before the race, I was bitten by my brother's dog. Twice. Nothing serious, except for maybe a transfer of dog-like abilities. haha. Hmm, if that were true, then maybe it would've been better if I was bitten by a bigger, stronger, and FASTER dog... Oddly enough, I did seem to want to go off and chase the cars that whizzed by during the race- if only to catch a few Kms in it!

Cafe Scientifique: Pastarrifique

WHAT: Pasta Scientifique
WHEN: 22 November 2008 (3 pm)
3rd Level (Near Power Mac), Trinoma Mall Q.C.

Find out the science secrets behind food mysteries like the best way to handle garlic, make the best pesto sauce, why salt is added to pasta water, and many more!

This event is FREE and OPEN to the public. For inquiries/RSVP, please e-mail


I would love to go to this one. I'm a big fan of the whole Cibo concept. Unfortunately, I've a prior engagement eating crickets (Mmm, protein-loading!) on the same day. Shucks!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If Bags Could Talk...

If bags could talk, mine would have been sighing exhaustedly (the happy kind though) from all those out-of-town trips it has been and would be going off to for the rest of the year. I'm sorry I had to stuff guyabanos and spill salad dressing on you. But it was a great weekend anyway. Oh, and get ready for another load of pasalubong soon. I'll make sure the crickets are fried to a crisp and not jumping around, of course!

If bags could talk, mine would have been profusely complaining on how it has been underutilized as a gym bag. 'I miss the dark, humid lockers,' it would say. It's been months since I've diligently hit the gym. So, after 3++ years of an on/off relationship with the gym, me and Nike B. (as in Nike Brown Bag- from the same thought process where I christened my Mac, Macky) have finally signed the papers and is calling it quits. It's hard to let go... ~sigh~

If bags could talk, mine would have to be jabbering excitedly on the prospect of a new job description. I'm giving boxing another shot. So, Nike B., when you hear me say 'I'm hitting the bag today', don't worry, it's not going to be you.

{Nike B.- Gathering dust and dog...}
{Imp's such an angel when he's asleep.}

{Props to you! Me and Nike B. in one of our many "misadventures". Read post here.}

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rhetorical Running

As I sit here OC-ing on a project for tomorrow's deadline, I wonder:

How can you train for a 25K without actually running?


(I have 5 days to cram for the New Balance Power Race in Clark. Yikes.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Shake, Rattle and Run!

On Hallow's Eve, what came afoot?
A Shake. A Rattle. A Run to boot.
They came in droves, they came enrobed
They came like maniacs exposed.

A fight to be the first, you see
Is why they all succumb to be
Amidst all creatures big and small
A yearning to be one, that's all.

So to the dark they snarl and snivel
A thirst so deep, yet will not grovel;
To pass the sacred line and see
What time has come, did I break thee?


I love halloween. I love running. So when I first heard about Isuzu's Shake, Rattle and Run (The first night fun run in Manila), I could hardly wait for October 31st to arrive.

First things first, what's my costume going to be??!! (Okay, so my priorities for this race wasn't exactly a record breaking PR. Hey, I did say I loved halloween first! See opening sentence.) Obviously, it had to be fun, yet practical enough to run in on. So, short and not hot (There goes the Paris Hilton idea ;). And cheap! I meant the monetary kind, of course. So, found objects in the house it is! I decided to go as "Clean & Green". Clean because I just finished taking a bath, and green because I'm using a tabo, thus saving water. Also because, I'm literally garbed in the color green. Less complicated version. (Note: I was dubbed "Shower Girl" during the race, which was the exact opposite of my cause. I didn't even bother to explain, even when I had the chance to. Darn it.)

When we got to the R.O.X at the Fort, it was eye candy galore! A lot of runners were in full, kinareer, kick-ass costumes. How they managed to run in enormous wings and props were just amazing. There was even one runner dressed as a fairy who zipped in and out of the crowd, waving his magic wand chanting 'Get out of my way'. Funny guy. It was just too cool. Too freaky-cool. I love it. I'm saying it again. I love halloween!

The race was 5K-worth of runs around Bonifacio High Street. Probably the only downside to this event, as it was a little confusing (or maybe I just wasn't paying attention) and a little boring after a while. It even came to a point wherein I'd slow down and speed up at the exact same spot I did the lap before to pace myself. Bad, because I'd do that whether or not I felt like resting. Boo- and I don't mean the Halloween kind. Although, I was pretty pleased with myself when on the third round of the water station, I got to use my trusty tabo when the plastic cups ran out. haha. See, practical.

But the best TREAT of the night: Winning 3rd place!

Okay, fine... in the Best in Costume category. Pardon the misleading intro, I wanted to bask in there for a moment. It's probably the only time I'd get to step up the magic 3 podium in a legit running event. haha. But then again, who knows, maybe next time the trick's on me!

Happy Halloween!

{Super Sunburned Beach Bum}

{Cupid Rio and Pocahontas}

{Black Devil Woman, Running Fairy, Crimebuster Chick, 300 (A-woo!), Shower Girl, Mukhang Cheerleader, Doctor Hector}

{Paulie and Juno}

{With triathletes, Ting as the Flower Girl and Carolyn as a bandit runner. hehe}

{Super Sunburned Beach Bum turned Zombie after the run.}
{Shower Girl looking fresh and bagong ligo ang pakiramdam.}

{Shower Girl meets Shower Boy}

{Flower Girl, Black Devil Woman, Shower Girl, Cupid Rio, Auto Review's Ron- who reflected the camera's light away??}

{Host Dracula with Cow & Chicken- who ran and finished together. Aww.}

{Runaway Corpse Brides}

{Best in Costume- Or in their case, lack thereof.}

{Chicken & Cow, Varga! and Shower Girl}

{No tricks in the swag bag}
Kudos to Isuzu for a sure-fire running Halloween tradition! I can't wait for next year!


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