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Friday, January 29, 2010

Real Leaf Paparazzi

There's a pagoda-like structure I would always pass on my way home. And every so often, you could hear gongs and chimes and sing-song whines.
What's happening in there???
Last night, my curiosity finally got the best of me. I tiptoed around the parked cars and took a peek inside those wide crimson gates. What I saw inside was a world that transported me to another place and time.
The Traveling Show
Who would've thought that tucked in the middle of mundane-ville was an actual caravan of living, breathing, nomadic thespians? Fascinating! Truth be told, I couldn't understand a word they were saying. I just liked looking at the costumes, make-up, and colors, colors, colors!!! (one of the reasons why I love theme parties and Halloween).

{Act I}

{Act II}

{Inching closer}

{and closer...}
Backstage Pass
After the show, I sneaked into the back in hopes of getting a decent shot of the gypsy actors from China. Getting in, especially with the language barrier and all, was quite the challenge. I had a short stint in China for a few months, so I knew a spattering of words. This time, though, I had to rely on my acting chops-slash-charades skills. I go in? Take picture? Click, click. Okay? Okay!
I have a lot of respect for actors. I don't think I can ever be one, mainly because I get a bad case of stage fright and I suck in memorizing BIG time (It's probably easier to run a marathon. Probably.). How they manage to remember hundreds and hundreds of lines without cuts or prompters is beyond me.
{Behind the Scenes}
{Aha! So that's their secret weapon...}
Real Leaf Green Tea has Theanine, usually found in tea leaves, which helps promote alpha brain waves. Meaning, you're in a relaxed (perfect for battling stage fright) yet alert state of mind (and body).
{Talk about bottling super powers!}

Thursday, January 28, 2010


For the 13 years that I've been joining my annual school fun runs, I think I only totalled around P2000 worth of registration fees.

Now, P2000 is merely a month's worth of races.

Or less.

Oops, age showing...

(I miss P250 races that can take you to 10K and beyond.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Do-Over

Cebu, I love you.

But you made me cheat on something important to me.

Then again, it's not you, it's me. I am only human. And apparently, a carnivorous one, at that.

Remember Project V (is for Veggie!)?

I was doing so well. I was feeling so healthy. And after 42 kilometers and 3 letters (C-n-T. Yes, that famous lechon place), I am now back to ZERO!

Ever since that fateful day when I ate that plateful of crispy, fatty lechon, I've been sneaking in a few bites of meat again after.

Last night, my friend asked me over dinner, "So, how's your vegetarian thing going?"

Um... I paused, sheepishly swallowing that sliver of grilled wagyu beef hanging out my mouth, "I kinda cheated..."

So, now I'm back to zero. And I have this heavy feeling in my gut. Yep, guilt, my friends, can also make you fat.

I took the Pledge to Be Veg for 30 Days. And since I said it out loud, now have to carry it through. No excuses. Universe, please help me.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bandit? Who Me?! (PSE Bull Run 2010)

A runner who participates in a race without registering or paying the entry fee (See runner glossary here)
I ran my first race as a "bandit" (AIR QUOTATIONS in ALL CAPS!). And I was wrongfully ashamed...
A week after completing my first full mary, I relaced my running shoes for a reunion run with my K2 buddies. One nice thing about finishing a marathon is that I get to go full circle, and go back to 5K races sans the guilt to invest mileage for a 42. Most of my friends were doing the 5K, so I thought it would be a great way to catch up with them.
The race kits would only be distributed on the day itself. To make a long story short, I wasn't able to get my PAID kit when the 5K race started. So, the competitive runner in me decided to just get in front of the racers and scour the crowd by the sidelines.
Tail end of the 5K runners, and still no friends and race kit in sight. I sprinted, weaving in and out, looking for a familiar face. Talk about multi-tasking! I was running, searching, covering my bib-less shirt, avoiding paparazzi (showing me bib-less), and hiding from the race marshalls. Not to mention the emotional stress and guilt of feeling like a running miscreant, when in fact, I was an official registrant.
At one point, I finally see a familiar blue shirt. Also running bib-less. So, now there were two running bandits. haha. We eventually saw the rest of the group along the route. Apparently, they held on to our race kits 'til the last minute and even started their own runs late (Sorry guys, we didn't think you'd wait). It was a case of technological glitches and last minute searching. But still not the root of all evil.
For the record, I didn't drink a drop of water, ran all the way to the outer lane to make the U-turn, and basically didn't make a hassle of myself in any portion of the course. I didn't want to be yanked out of the route (like Blue Shirted Bandit was), that would be embarassing. I only wanted to have a nice, easy LEGAL run with my friends, hopefully break my PR, and celebrate with a hearty breakfast afterwards.
So, to the race organizers, thank you for the late race kits. Thank you for the P250 fee on "The Wedding Crashers" marathon experience. Thank you for robbing me and my friends of a new 5K record. Thank you for making me sprint AFTER the starting line, pull a muscle, and NOT even cross the finish line with pride.
And now that I've finished, um, ranting,
Thank God for pancakes!
On a lighter note, a run is still a run. And at the end of the day, I still had a good time (but emotional stress is no fun. Ayayay!).
{From the camera of an Urbanathlon medalist. Thanks, Ui!}
{Run + Food + K2 = Good Times}
{Pancakes make the world a happier place!}

Friday, January 15, 2010

MMM, Good! (Cebu Marathon 2010)

When I said that I wanted my first 42K to be a destination marathon, I couldn't have picked a more perfect race than the 01-10-10 Cebu Marathon.

...4, 3, 2, 1 Fireworks!!!
By far, the most exciting and magical way to kick-off a race. The fireworks at the gun start alone made waking up at 3 a.m. worth it. Looking around, you can see faces glowing and hear the adrenaline pumping. The spirit of the marathon is indeed in high gear. As I counted down with the crowd, I could hardly contain my excitement. It took a lot of effort to check my pace, and start off nice and easy.

The First 10K
The first 10 kilometers was blissful. I was running alongside my friend, and we even managed to chat and sight-see. At the end of the town proper, just before the bridge to Talisay, it was time to take in those Salt Stick capsules. It was my first time to try it out. You can barely taste or feel anything . I was just excited to be injecting a new ritual to my running.

A Minute of Panic
On the 13th kilometer, my right instep started to ache. I felt a momentary jolt of panic, since it was the first time I've felt that kind of piercing pain. All I could think of was "Oh-no, I still have 29 kilometers to go". Thank God the pain subsided after a while. It helped that there were lots of pleasant distractions like the friendly locals and entertaining dance numbers. Their energy and enthusiasm was enough to reinvigorate any tired runner.

Dancing Distractions
Though not a novel sight in present Manila races, the dancers lent a nice touch. A prelude to the Sinulog Festival, the colorful characters did a great job entertaining the runners and distracting them from the long way ahead. A note to the organizers: This is a great way of infusing the Cebuano culture to visitors. Maybe they could also put labels/signs to each dance for an educational spin next time. You may not have broken a PR (personal record), but you’ll definitely end the race with a little more knowledge than when you started, right? (Okay, that was kind of a nerdy request. Haha)

20K Strong
Half a marathon covered already, and I was still feeling pretty strong. I was loving every minute of the run. No signs of cramping up at all. The Salt Sticks really helped. But more than that, I have to give my thumbs up to the organizers, who really delivered on their promise of drinking stations every 1.5 kilometers. I hydrated in every single stop.

30K and Beyond
By this time, the sun was already getting hot. A big, fat floating ball of orange staring down at the crazy marathoners. All I could think of was the cold, pulpy Minute Maid bottle sitting in my airconditioned hotel room. Even the dancers were tired and hiding from the heat. Seeing that my farthest run was a mere 28K, I was expecting to hit "The Wall" anytime soon. 31, 32, 33, 34… I was dreading it. But, surprise, surprise, the pain never came. I could actually feel myself smiling throughout the difficult route back. I’d save my “runs" and walk during uphills, but generally, I felt really good. I was running high.

That Darn 37K
Just as I thought I’d be coasting the last 5k home free… Wham! 37K hit me. And boy, did it hit me real bad. My right calf started cramping up all the way to my thighs. It was awful. I was limping in between attempts of running and evil thoughts of ripping my useless legs off. In one pit stop, a volunteer was slathering efficascent oil on the runners. I asked him to go higher and higher and higher. There is no shame in pain. Only the ticking clock prevented me from requesting for a full leg massage.

The People
Oh my God, the people. What can I say? I’m guessing I’m not the only one who fell completely head over heels with their friendly and carefree nature. It’s no exaggeration when I say that they were probably the biggest reason that I survived this race. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, from the race officials, volunteers (their homemade signs and impromptu ditties were adorable!), jeepney passengers, sari-sari store owners, and co-runners were naturally warm and supportive. On the last stretch of the run, as I wallowed in a pool of doubt and self-pity, a group of runners in a car even rolled down their window to cheer on me. Go, go, go, 42K!!! Now who can argue with that?

Marathoner, Officially
I crossed the finish line with my friends cheering and a mango hanging proudly over my neck. I half expected to cry upon finishing, but there were no tears. I was simply happy. I was a few minutes over my marathon goal, but that's okay, my results were pretty decent. More importantly, I had a terrific and truly memorable time getting there.
{Thank you for waking up early and taking pics, Kerv!}

{All smiles as this marathoner crossed the finish line. Woo-hoo!}

{With the gang}
{Thanks for all that cheering action, guys!}
{This was probably the BEST, most refreshing drink I've had in my entire life.
Nevermind that it was lukewarm. I was sooo thirsty!!! Gulp, gulp, pulp!}
{TRIVIA: Oranges are a great "after run" treat. It alleviates muscle soreness (ugh!) and quickens the healing process. Perfect after a good, looooong run.}

{Marathon Buddies}
{Dennis, who still ran the 42K despite an injury.}
{Dave, who also conquered his first full mary. Yay!}

{Mmm, good!}
{Mangoes (slash-orange), marathons and memories that will last me a lifetime.}

Did life change after my full mary? Sure, I had to report back on Monday and resume that pile of paperwork. I had to act normal even if my legs felt like lead. Everything is the same, and yet, everything is different. It’s knowing that you conquered what you initially thought impossible. It's empowering to have made that extra step. It's liberating to have ticked something off your bucket list. It's refreshing to have woken up to a new you.

Life, after 42K, is exhilaratingly awesome.
Have you ever wanted something so bad you could actually taste it? Click here to check out other pulpy moments.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cebu Marathon 2010 Results Now Out!

Fireworks at the starting point, friendly cheering locals, supportive running and non-running buddies, ample supply of water, efficascent oil stations, quick race results... The Cebu Marathon experience was simply awesome!

Cramping up at 37K. Blech.

I was gunning for a time of 5:30 or under, but still a terrific 1st marathon experience for me. My blog on the 01-10-10 Race soon!

{Click image to enlarge}

Cebu Marathon 2010 Results for all categories here.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Wee Steps to Marathon-hood

A wise running guru once said, "It is better to be over prepared than under prepared".
I admit, I do feel a little bit under prepared for the upcoming Cebu Marathon this Sunday...
Brisk Walk Here, There and Everywhere
For most of November and December, I haven't been running as regularly as I should have been. A busy work schedule and social obligations made me squeeze in as much "training" in my everyday routine as I possibly could. I brisk walked everywhere! It's a far cry from running, but at least it was enough to make me work up tiny beads of sweat.

Project V (is for Veggie!)
A few months back, my friend Gabby and I watched the screening of Earthlings, a docu-movie about animal cruelty. Save for the day after Christmas, when our cook prepared lechon paksiw, and the day after New Year, when my brother made the yummiest, cheesiest beef lasagna, I'm proud to say that for 40+ days now, I've been 98% meat-free!

I've been protein-loading with tofu, eggs, and fish instead. At first I was worried that turning pesco-vegetarian (no birds or mammals) would not give me the needed energy and nutrients to run, but it turns out that Ultramarathoner Hector, had also started that diet. That's a good sign, I think.

I don't feel thinner, but I do feel a lot lighter and healthier- body and soul.

Operation Hydration
During my 21K (tapering) training run last weekend, I met Paolo, who conquered his first marathon with a triumphant finish, but with horror stories on the 30th kilometer. It was bloody scary. Apparently, if you don't have any more water to give out, blood would be the next obvious choice. Yikes!

His words of wisdom: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

So, goodbye to that extra cup of coffee everyday. I've been investing in buko juice, nature's version of Gatorade instead. I also bought a bunch of my marathon needs in Second Wind Running Store last week. Included, is a SaltStick capsule, that should replenish the lost electrolytes during the run (More on this after I road test it on D-day).

Practice Maximum Lung Capacity
My dog, Imp, has been misbehaving more than ever lately. I'd scream 'til my lungs hurt everytime he'd get into a fight with my brother's dog. Baaaad doggies.

So there you go. My wee steps in preparation for my first marathon. It will never take the place of actually getting off your ass and doing training runs, but do you think it makes sense? Do you think it would make an iota of a difference? Do you think it's stupid (I know it SOUNDS stupid, but maybe...)? Do you have any more tips I can cram in less than a week? Let me know what you think. We can compare notes on Monday. ;)


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