Incoming: Flanax Dance Fitness Concert

Flanax (R) is on its 35th year of being a time-tested remedy against pains and aches.  They get to give you a different treat come April 8, 2017 at the PICC Forum 2 and 3 as they bring #Flanax #SubokKoNaYan Dance Fitness Concert to be led by no less than the country’s dance fitness diva Regine Tolentino and the chinito hearthrob Richard Yap. #winagainstpain #pixrepublikpr

Flanax

Flanax (R) is now on its 35th year in the market and  they’ve been time tested remedy against pain, fever, swelling and stiffness.  It complements those who take part in the active and the dynamic side of life like dance, sports and outdoor adventure.  Having an active lifestyle is not a walk in the park as you often get some bumps, aches, soreness, muscle pains and it’s normal.  Flanax (R) is right there to help you through all the pains and soreness.  Enjoy life to the fullest but let Flanax (R) help you as you recover in between adventures.

WitH Regine Tolentino and my friend Rochelle Romero at the Launch

WitH Regine Tolentino and my friend Rochelle Romero at the Launch

In celebration of Flanax(R) 35th year in the market the company initiated a huge dance- fitness-concert “Subok Ko Na Yan” to be attended with over 1500 participants on April 08, 2017 at the PICC Forum 2 and 3 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. This event is to be led by 2 of the famous personalities in the entertainment industry namely Richard Yap the Chinito hearthrob and Regine Tolentino the country’s dance fitness diva.

Regine Tolentino will take the lead on the Dance Concert.

Regine Tolentino will take the lead on the Dance Concert.

“Subok Ko na Yan” is a 2-hour high-energy dance fitness party. Regine Tolentino will kickstart the program along with Madelle Paltu-ob, a world-class performer and Zumba Education Specialist (ZES) plus dozens of instructors from all over the country. There will be special performances of Richard Yap, UPeepz, the winners and finalist of Bilbiling Mandaluyong. Not to mention, the highlight of the event is the launching of Regine Tolentino’s dance fitness album with instructional easy to follow video produced by Flanax.

Meet One of their endorsers in Richard Yap during the event.

Meet One of their endorsers in Richard Yap during the event.

A jam-pack PICC forum 2 and 3 is expected, members of the men in uniform are supporting namely the BFP, MMDA, PNP, NCRPO with the NCRPO Fitness team. Some attendees are flying all the way from Visayas and Mindanao to witness and to be a part of this. This is to promote and prove that dance-fitness is for everybody! Regardless of your age, gender and size.

Let’s make this event trend, please use the official hashtags #subokkonayan #winagainstpain #flanax in all your posts and future posts related to this event.

Free Access with Flanax 9+1 Promo Pack

To get access to the event, buy a Flanax 9+1 promo pack worth Php100 at all leading drugstores near you. (Mercury Drug, Watsons, South Star Drug and Rose Pharmacy)

Event Details

Date and Venue:

    • Date: April 8, 2017, 4-7 pm

Venue: PICC Forum 2 and 3

Fees

  • Free with every Flanax 9+1 promo pack worth Php 100 at all leading drugstores near you. (Mercury Drug, Watsons, South Star Drug and Rose Pharmacy)

Inclusions:

  • Event T-shirt, Regine Tolentino Dance Video CD, plus gift pack from participating brands.

Organized by:

Event management is powered by 4.0 Events Management + RT Studios, a powerhouse production and event management companies known for organizing health and fitness activities.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Start Your Wednesday Brooks Run Happy Habit

Wednesday is Run Happy Day as Brooks in cooperation with 2xU, Pace Prehab and Recovery, Planet Sports and Kerry Sports Manila, brings you the Run Happy Crew.  It’s a series of lecture and run sessions that focuses on individual aspects of the run.  Run Happy Crew is held every Wednesday from March 29 – May 3, 2017, 7 pm at Kerry Sports Manila.

Run Happy Crew

Brooks has been bringing the Run Happy feel with their shoes, which is made for runners by the runners themselves.  They bring Run Happy in a totally different way via their Run Happy Crew, which is a series of Running sessions focusing on individual aspects of the run.   The run is free and you just have to pre-register as follows:

  • Visit Kerry Sports Manila in BGC or 2xU Performance Center in Glorietta
  • Sign up the Registration form provided at the cashier
  • Those who sign up in-store automatically gets a 10% discount coupon to 2xU and P500 off on Brooks.
  • Confirmation message will be sent via email within 24 hours upon registration
  • Present any valid proof of registration to the run coaches on event day and go run happy.

The sessions started on March 29, 2017 with a talk on breathing as well as a 5 kilometer run around BGC.  There will be new focus topics on the succeeding sessions, which falls on Wednesday, 7 pm at Kerry Sports Manila.

The first session handled by Coach Francis Diano was all about breathing. Breathing is really important when you run as it helps regulate your system.  You can have side stitch, stiffness on the shoulder and lack of breathe when you don’t use the proper technique which is breathing from your diaphragm.  I’m a chest breather most of the time so I try to be more conscious with proper breathing on the run.  It can really help you sustain your surges on the run as well as prolong your endurance. The participants got to try out the tips on an actual run around BGC.

Run Happy Indeed.

Run Happy Indeed.

Well, this is just the start of the weekly Run Happy Crew sessions. Make it a Wednesday Habit.  Take note on the individual topics and then get to combined all the skill set on the May 3 session.  You’re definitely gonna be a better runner in 6 weeks and more importantly, you’re gonna Run Happy.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , | 12 Comments

Global Athletes and Celebrities took the Test of Will Challenge

AJ Matthews, Mark Streigl, Gretchen Ho and JC De Vera

AJ Matthews, Mark Streigl, Gretchen Ho and JC De Vera

The Philippines got their chance to have a Test of Will last March 25-26, 2017 at the Glorietta Activity Center.  Global Athletes like Fil-Am Bellator fighter AJ Matthews, MMA fighter Mark Streigl, TV Host Gretchen Ho, Actor JC De Vera, 3-Time Jiu-jitsu champion Meggie Ochoa among others also took part in the event.

Test of Will 2017

MMA fighter Mark Streigl doing the Drills at the Test of Will

MMA fighter Mark Streigl doing the Drills at the Test of Will event

Now on its second year, Under Armour’s Test of Will was designed to be “the most advanced urban fitness challenge.” Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City played host to the Philippine leg of the Test of Will last March 25 & 26.   It offers athletes the chance to compete in a simple 4-minute circuit consisting of Burpees, One Arm Thruster, TRX Rows and Sandbag Throw.

Each competitor was scored based on the maximum number of repetitions they can achieve within 60 seconds. The highest scoring man and woman of the national Heats from each respective country will be sent to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 6, 2017, to face-off with other representatives from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei.  This year’s overall champion of the regional finals will walk away with S$2,500 cash prize, or around Php 88,000.00, winners will also get free head-to-toe gear and special discounts.

Bellator Fighter AJ Matthews also joined the event.

Bellator Fighter AJ Matthews also joined the event.

 Some of the athletes and celebrities who joined the event on UA Test of Will’s first were Filipino-American Bellator fighter AJ Matthews, Alliance Gym’s top coach George Castro, UAAP football player Kali Huff, volleyball player and TV Host Gretchen Ho, actor JC de Vera, MMA fighter Mark Streigl, fitness expert Elle Adda and three-time world Jiu-jitsu champion Meggie Ochoa.  Participants witnessed MMA fighters AJ Matthews and Mark Striegl slug it out in the 4-minute challenge ‘Test of Will’.  Striegl won over Matthews 119 to 101 in terms of total repetitions.

The side-events also included arm wrestling challenge and a fitness session with Elle Adda.

Elle Ada also held a fitness talk.

Elle Ada also held a fitness talk.

For more information regarding ‘Test of Will’ and other events, you may visit www.tripleready.com/events.  Make sure to follow Under Armour Philippines via @underarmourph on Instagram and Twitter for updates as well as Facebook at www.facebook.com/underarmoursea

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Running with the Windmills at Ilocos Norte

Run with the Windmills

Run with the Windmills

Ilocos Norte has always been a part of my bucket list. Thanks to North Luzon Renewables, I’m happy to tick that off as well as be able to have an intimate runs around their windmills at Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte.  It was a great eat and run weekend that had us awed by the beauty of Ilocos Norte.

Ilocos Norte

Touchdown Laoag! - Photo from Rene Villarta

Touchdown Laoag! – Photo from Rene Villarta

Ilocos Norte has been illusive for me even if I spent most of my lifetime in the Baguio City.  Well, I’ve got the chance to join some influence-rs to run and explore the potentials of eco-tourism and race-tourism in the facility of North Luzon Renewables Energy Corporation.  North Luzon Renewables operates 27 windmills with a maximum output of 81 MW to power the area and the rest of Ilocos Norte.  The place is just awesome, you have the view of the beaches of Pagudpod, the nearby mountains and the windmills.  I was really honored to be part of the group to test out the place.  There’s so much potential in the area in terms of eco and sports tourism with wide trails, an access to the beaches and magnificent views.

Java Hotel was our home for the first day of our stay.

Java Hotel was our home for the first day of our stay.

Upon arrival at the airport, our first stop was La Preciosa.  The place won me over with the ambiance and of course, my all-time favorites bagnet and dinuguan.  It was the start of our eat and run weekend.  It really does make sense having an eat and run event here with the cuisine and a lot of run-able locations in the region. We then headed to Java Hotel, which would be our home for the day.  It had a Bali and Morocco inspired interior complete with Cogon Roofs and also had a river at the side of the restaurant.

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes

The first part of the tourism part was checking out the Paoay Sand Dunes.  We just walked along our way to the sand dunes and it was impressive. The place had a dessert like feel like Tatooine and the artworks display added to the charm and mysticism of the Sand Dunes.  It felt great running in the sand dunes and just appreciating the art displays that established the dessert-feel of the place.  I’m glad we walked and ran this part just to burn all the bagnets in our bellies.

There were also people riding 4×4 vehicles screaming their hearts out every time they had to encounter a really steep slope.  We awaited for sunset and spent some time at the beach area.

Sunset!!!

Sunset!!!

We then headed home for dinner and some drinks at Java Hotel.  It was really nice spending time with these creative bunch as we had so many ideas to share over dinner.

Dinner Time - Photo from Rene Villarta

Dinner Time – Photo from Rene Villarta

The Road to Pagudpod

Coach Ige and Yana

Coach Ige and Yana

The next day, I was up early and so was Coach Ige and his daughter Yana. We took the time to explore Java Hotel.  We also had breakfast and when in Ilocos, go for Longanisa.  That’s what I had for breakfast before preparing my stuff on our way to Pagudpod to visit North Luzon Renewables.

Running at PIN Road

Running at PIN Road

We took the PIN Road heading to Ilocos, which was rough roads and trails.  The whole stretch of the PIN road was about 15 kilometers of rolling trails with some steep section, which made our ride extra exciting.  PIN Road was really scenic.  It’s forested and you get to see some birds and butterflies along the way.  The route was really scenic. We were really tempted to get off our car and just run the course.  This can really rival the Salomon and TNF courses in terms of beauty and challenges.  When we got out of PIN Road, we were off to lunch.

Bergblick Restaurant is a popular stopping point for those on the road.  After our group, several groups also came in to have lunch here. It’s a Dutch restaurants and we got some really tasty chicken, meat, sausages and a lot more.  I liked that it was a totally different meal experience from the previous day.

North Luzon Renewables

Windmills!!!

Windmills!!!

After meals, we were off to North Luzon Renewables facility in Pagudpod.  We were briefed on the regulations of the place and how windmills work.  I learned so much about the technology and also realized the importance of going for renewable energy.  We then had a tour of the facility, which would be our running ground the next day.

The facility was impressive and the views were just magnificent.  You had the beaches of Pagudpod, the mountains and of course, the windmill.  It’s an up and down route, which would really be a challenge the next day.

They’ve mapped out a 10K route for us though they also have a 21K loop available.  It’s gonna be an epic run tomorrow. We then headed to Kingfisher, which would be our home for the day.

Chillin' Like A Villain

Chillin’ Like A Villain

Duyan with a beach view is just the perfect place to chill.  The beach had fine white sands and we spent the rest of the afternoon just chillin’ in the water.  Come dinner time, we had a Pizza Party.  It was make your own pizza kind of a night.

Pizza!

Pizza!

Run With The Windmills

Elevation Profile Powered by Suunto

Elevation Profile Powered by Suunto

It wasn’t really a race but they made it feel like one.  We had a gun start, a formal warm up, route marshals, water station and route markers.  It was a run around the course on a rolling terrain that had a lot of climbs.

Running around the windmill was just Epic.

Running around the windmill was just Epic.

When the race started I sprinted over the first 100 meters and yehey, I’m first on the first 100 meters. Ok, time to walk. => Well, it was a long climb after the first 100 meters so I shifted to a more conservative approach.  I walked on the climbs and ran on the descents.   The race was pure climbing on the first 3 kilometers so I just went at a consistent pace without stopping.  After the first 3 kilometers, I went more aggressive with run on the descents and to the portion of the climb just to make the walking breaks much shorter.  The views were just amazing. I had to stop from time to time to have my photo taken.  The terrain was rolling so the route remains a challenge but I like how even on a test run, we tried our best to have a good time.  I finished the 10.35 kilometers in 1:42, which was a good time for me considering that this was a hilly course.  There were finisher snacks available on the finish line.

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

We also did some tree planting after the race. Funny how the one assisting me was already doing the planting while giving instructions.  It was a nice way to cap our day by contributing to the reforestation efforts.  We then headed to the Jetty area to see where materials are delivered.  It’s always an awesome view to see the blue of the waters.

We then headed to Kingfiisher to change before proceeding to the post race hilot, which was another holistic experience. Felt so much relieved after the hilot in all aspects. We spent the rest of the day at the resort before heading back to Laoag for Dinner at the White House. They probably have the most glamorous rest room ever. After dinner, it was finally time to head home.  That was an awesome weekend.

 

Categories: My Travels | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

Coach Roel Birthday Run Year 5

Coach Roel Birthday Run is now on its 5th Year. This year had a 50K and 100K as the main event and 16K, 8K and 1K as side events. I joined the 16K distance and I really enjoyed the views and also the experience.

Read About:

Coach Roel Birthday Run

Team Running Bloggers joining the 4 x 100 relay 2 years ago at Coach Roel's Birthday Run.

Team Running Bloggers joining the 4 x 100 relay 2 years ago at Coach Roel’s Birthday Run.

Coach Roel’s Birthday Run has been an annual tradition. It stands out in my memories as just for the fun of it, we joined the 4 x 100 relay with several running blogger friends and ended up third (out of 3 participants =>).  As people progressed over the years, so did the race distance.  This year, it was Sinai 100, which featured a 100K and 50K category.  I joined the 16K distance. This is my first race and first workout after my first 50 kilometers Cordillera Mountain Ultra a few weeks ago.  I’m just here to have fun. I even tinkered on the idea of downgrading to 8K distance but upon seeing so many elite athletes in the 8K distance, I think I’d be much safer in the 16K distance.  The venue was Camp Sinai, which had a really nice view of the mountain range and the early morning sea of clouds.

Camp Sinai

Camp Sinai

Race Map and Elevation

Map powered by Strave

Map powered by Strava

The race starts at Camp Sinai and proceeds to the Sinai trails for the next 2.5 kilometers. The race shifts to the roads before it descends to the river next 4.5 kilometers.  After a short River Stretch, the race goes up on the next 3 kilometers to reach the roads of Timberland where you ascend for the next 6 kilometers all the way to Camp Sinai.

The Race

Team Pinoy Trails and Team Active Pinas

Team Pinoy Trails and Team Active Pinas – Photo by Active Pinas

We arrived at the race venue at around 5 am to claim are kits.  It was nice to catch up with trail running friends at the start of the race. I was extra sleepy at the start of the race so I was quite excited for the run proper to finally start to let the adrenaline-rush awaken my senses.  The run for the 16K started at 6:40 am and with that I was expecting a really hot race.

Met Fellow SGVian Cheng before the race.

Met Fellow SGVian Cheng before the race.

After 2 weeks away from running, I just wanted to run and see if my legs could take the beating.  I haven’t really started fast because I’ve been dealing with shin splints issues the past few months but surprisingly after my first 50K, the leg felt stronger. I went to start fast since I’d also want to jump start my system from it’s sleepy state.  There were series of descents and then we missed our turn.  We saw some runners going back from the river but since I did the Soleus Cross Country Challenge, I was thinking we’d be using the same loop so I said to some runners that there’s away out of the trail. As we got even deeper into the trail, there were runners again who were coming back.  I just said let’s just find a way back into the trail and once we hit Pintong Bukawe, we’d find our way back.  Only me, Levi and his friend went on. (Yeah, leadpack!!!) though eventually some followed us on the route and we did find our way out. Come to think of it, I did see a sign on probably the 3rd or 4th descent to turn right instead of going down.  Most of us probably got the hang of the sweet descent, which resulted to a different route.

Back on Track

Back on Track! – Photo by Papa Photography

There was a steep road heading to the main road.  Took it easy at this point to recover on the climb part of the previous stretch before heading to the short Casile stretch. Funny, how the other runners were now asking me for direction after finding the way out of the previous trail route.  Well, that was the last familiar stretch for me in the race.  We then headed to a short descent to Casile but instead of going down we had to hit a rolling terrain towards the left at around 4 kilometers and it was back to descent.  We were starting to speed up when a runner told us not to run as there was a slippery stretch. It turned out one runner already had a bad fall at that part.

Mara was such a trooper. After falling hard with all the bruises, she went back into the trail and went on to finish the race.

Mara was such a trooper. After falling hard with all the bruises, she went back into the trail and went on to finish the race.

Upon checking, it was Mara of Team Soleus. She passed me several hundred meters ago. She’s got bruises on the leg and arms and also had numbness in her shoulder.  We all had to stop to make sure she is ok.  Levi lent his arms sleeves to protect the wounds in the arms and also went on to tie some cloth to protect her knee.  We saw a motorcycle on the way and asked him, if she could take Mara back to Camp Sinai.  Once she was ok, we then proceeded with the race and since it was descents, we were all going at a fast pace.  I missed running fast on the descents.

Blitzing the descents - Photo by Paps Photography.

Blitzing the descents – Photo by Paps Photography.

The run-able descent lasted for about 2.5 kilometers before shifting to a more technical trail on the 7th kilometer.  We went on at a consistent pace but were also cautious on the slippery part.  The river part was a bit confusing so I went with the pace of the group just to be sure if I ever get lost, I would be with a pack.  Eventually a local guided us to the route and once we saw the ribbons, we knew we were on the right track. I already felt a bit exhausted already at this point.  I remember that the plan was go easy on the race so I didn’t even have energy gels with me. Oops, I’ve been going faster than planned. When the climb started, I struggled on the climb.  It was an odd situation for me as I’ve been focusing on my climbs lately but I must have overexerted on the descents and ended up tired on the climb.  I had a few breathing breaks on the steep parts of the climb before being back to a consistent pact on the 9th and 10th kilometer of the race.

It was a beautiful route.

It was a beautiful route.

I exited the trails at the 10th kilometer at Timberland and I was happy to see some stores. I immediately bought Mountain Dew for the sugar rush and replenish my energy reserves.  It was a long stretch of climbs but it was on the road and we also had a rich view of Pine Trees along the road with several bikes sharing the route with us.  At around kilometer 11, I heard Mara’s voice and she told me that she decided to go down the motorcycle and resumed the race.  Hats off to her really.  I was also starting to run again since I wanted to catch Levi’s group.  I caught up with their Group at around kilometer 12 and went at their pace for the Timberland stretch.  We went at an easy pace just enjoying the route.  It was a moderate climb for most part but we just went on at a brisk walking pace.

The Finish!

The Finish!

There was a steep climb heading to Camp Sinai and once I’m done with the climb, I started sprinting to the finish for a strong finish.  I did enjoy the race and I’m glad to finish strong for this one as I’ve always been racing conservatively lately.  Trail running is always an adventure. Sometimes, you get lost or get hurt but it always let’s you appreciate the beauty of nature. Happy Birthday Coach Roel!

Chillin' Like A Villain after the race.

Chillin’ Like A Villain after the race.

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

Welcome Back On Running Shoes

On Running Shoes gives you that soft cushy feel when you run with their Cloudtec Technology.  Running on clouds is now back in the Philippines and it’s available at Secondwind, Planet Sports, Dan’s, Total Sports in Bacolod, Podium Multisports in Davao, Sprint Multisport Shop in Cagayan De Oro.

Read About:

On Running Shoes

On Running Shoes was our official shoes of Team Total Fitness in 2011

On Running Shoes was our official shoes of Team Total Fitness in 2011

The return of On Running Shoes brought in some nostalgia as it’s been our official shoes when I was still a part of Team Total Fitness in 2011.  I got my first On Running Shoes in Singapore and as soon as I tried it on the treadmill, I got attracted to the soft cushy feel when I run.  In fact, I was wearing On Running Shoes when I set my 21K personal best.  At the time of hard soles and stiff shoes, On Running shoes was a breathe of fresh air.  On Running Shoes feels like running on clouds and it also has wide toe area to keep you comfortable even on the latter part of the long run.  It gives you a good bounce to push you on your next stride and it absorbs impact to reduce the wear and tear in your knees.  Unfortunately, the brand didn’t stay so long in the country though I was still on the lookout and saw a lot of improvement in the brand.  This time, they have more options for different needs of the runner.

On Running Shoes is Back!!!

On Running Shoes is officially back with the launch at Secondwind in Ayala Malls The 30th at Meralco Avenue in Ortigas last March 17, 2017.  It was a fun launch as we got to try the On Running Shoes.  I got to try the Cloud Surfer, which has the flashy color of neon yellow on the test run.  We had 3 loops at the Ultra Oval to Warm up, followed by 4 loops Speed Sets with Core Workouts in between.  If you’d been following me, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling with shin splints for months now. During the test run, I didn’t feel that familiar sting as I started to run, which just says so much with the superior cushioning of On Running Shoes.

With Christina of ON Sales Team in Switzerland, ON Brand Manager Nica and Dan's President Joey Ramirez

With Christina of ON Sales Team in Switzerland, ON Brand Manager Nica and Dan’s President Joey Ramirez

After the workout, we returned to Secondwind for the formal launch.  It was nice to hear the views from Dan’s and ON Team.  We also had a chance to win some stuff on some games.  I did win an On shirt.  They also do have really impressive apparel line.  I’m really excited that On Running Shoes is back.  I love the color scheme.  I love the different shoe type.

Running On Clouds

Cloud

Cloud

When the first few stock of On Running Shoes came to town earlier this year, I got myself On Cloud.  It’s the lightest in their line at just 7 oz.  It’s an excellent race shoes that gives you a lightweight feel and at the same time ample cushioning.  I’ve been running on cloud since January and tried it up until a 21 kilometer run.  So far so good but the thing I love about the shoe is the look.  If you check closely, it deviates from the usual sporty shoe look but goes on a more casual look.  It’s a running shoes that look like a topsider.

When your race shoes and casual shoes become one.

When your race shoes and casual shoes become one.

Of course, not everybody can go with a racing flat like Cloud, On also has different model with different level of cushioning and support depending on your need.

  • If you run fast on flats, there’s the cloud. It’s priced at P6,650.
  • If you go for lightweight and a more responsive shoes, there’s the Cloud Flow. It’s priced at P7,650.
  • If you want to have a more cushioned yet responsive shoes, there’s the Cloud Surfer.  It’s priced at P7,650.
  • If you want a light stability shoes for the long runs, there’s the Cloud Flyer. It’s Priced at P8,650.

The best way to check which shoe fits you best is to try it out.  On Running Shoes is now available at the following:

  • Secondwind, Ayala The 30th, Pasig
  • Planet Sports, Glorietta, Makati
  • Athleema (Dan’s), Makati and Bacolod
  • Total Sports, Bacolod
  • Podium Multisports in Davao
  • Sprint Multisport Shop in Cagayan De Oro

Check out On Running Shoes and get the soft cushy feel that cushions each foot stride and adds power on your next one.  So, let’s Get it ON!!!

 

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , | 35 Comments

Hoka One One is Now in Town

I’ve always been hearing about how Hoka One One is such a go-to brand when it comes to running shoes.  I got a taste of the effectiveness of the shoes when I finally got a Hoka Speed Instinct in Singapore 3 weeks ago.  It’s really soft on the feet, smooth on the ground and despite its bulky look, it’s just 8.4 oz.  Well, now we don’t have to buy our Hokas in other countries now as Runnr has brought in the brand last March 16, 2017 with a Launch at Runnr Bonifacio Global City.

Hoka One One

Toby Claudio of Quorum Group Talks About Hoka One One

Toby Claudio of Quorum Group Talks About Hoka One One

“We are excited to be the official distributor of HOKA ONE ONE in the Philippines. The arrival of this amazing shoe brand in the country has long been anticipated by our local roster of triathletes, ultra- distance runners and marathoners,” said Toby Claudio, President of Quorum International Inc. and Founder of RUNNR. “As the leader in the local sports retail industry, we continue to support the growing Filipino running community by bringing in the best global brands.”

I almost missed out on the launch but decided last minute to join the launch since I believe in the prospect of this brand and I’ve always been supporting the brands under the Quorum Group and SRI.  I’ve been to numerous launches of Quorum Group and I always look forward when Toby Claudio speaks about the brand, whether it’s a running shoes, a socks, an accessory or even just an insole.  Toby knows his product and you don’t even need a press kit to write about the product.  Hoka One One is an amazing shoes that makes a maximalist shoes feel like a speed shoes.

Friends!

Friends!

He also mentioned that he met the Hoka owners 5 years ago and the brand could have come in earlier.  That got me thinking, What if Hoka One One came 5 years ago?  At that time, running was at a boom and the long distance runs / triathlons were just starting to peak.  I think it would still be a great brand at that time but I think the impact is much felt now with trails and ultras being more prominent in the running scene.  The Hoka launch also came with a touch of nostalgia as I got to see a lot of running friends I haven’t seen in a while.  Incidentally, these were friends I’ve grown into the community over the last 5 years too.  Really a lot of long time no sees here and there and I’m glad to see them again.  I guess that’s how excited the running community is with the Hoka Brand.  There’s been an even long queue for those who bought their shoes at the launch.

Welcome Hoka One One

Welcome Hoka!

Welcome Hoka!

RUNNR has been the Philippines’ leading running specialty store and they are the perfect partner to bring in the HOKA ONE ONE®, the award-winning running shoe brand that is making significant global strides with its maximalist sole design in the country.  Last March 16, 2016, It was finally time to fly Manila for the world renowned brand.

HOKA ONE ONE started in 2009 when Ultra Marathon champion Nico Mermoud realized he needed shoes to help him run downhill fast while reducing the shock that took a toll on his legs. Mermoud then partnered with fellow athlete Jean-Luc Diard in engineering a shoe that had more cushion than traditional running shoes and a uniquely carved geometry that encouraged an efficient foot strike – thus the revolutionary, lightweight running shoe brand was born.

Over the years, HOKA has become one of the most acclaimed running shoe brands in the world, winning accolades from Competitor Magazine, Triathlete and Runners’ World. The continuous growth of HOKA can be attributed to runners of all types embracing the brand’s goal of delivering lightweight, well- cushioned shoes with an exceptional ride.

Recognizing the demand of the growing Philippine running community for quality and high-performing products, RUNNR, a member of the Quorum Group of Companies, will exclusively carry the HOKA shoe line in the Philippines, adding yet another premium item in its already impressive mix of running products.

Philippines, it’s about time we experience HOKA ONE ONE. Why run when you can fly? Visit RUNNR at Bonifacio High Street, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center and Cebu and grab a pair now!

My Hoka One One Experience

I’ve known that HOKA is coming to town since last year. I was too excited that when there was a sale in Singapore I got myself one and not being able to wait 3 weeks later.  I got a Hoka One One Speed Instinct, which is a trail shoes. When I wore it the first time, it was love at first stride.  It was really soft and comfortable for the feet.  Over the years, I’ve always been wearing minimalist shoes because maximalist shoes always meant that the shoe would be heavy.  The Hoka One One looks bulky right? Well, surprise surprise, it’s just 8.40 oz.  That’s the same weight as a minimalist shoes.  I’m sold immediately with getting both cushioned support and lightweight feel, which I probably need more now as my legs has also gone through years of wear and tear from running.

It’s one thing for a shoe to be comfortable but it’s another thing to be effective.  I took the shoe out on a run on the road. Surprisingly again, it felt smooth on the road.  It’s really rare for trail shoes to be smooth on the road. For trail shoes, you’ll need more traction and grip, which can slow you down on the road.  I was posting regular road pace with the speed instinct.  I’ll test it out more on the trail on do a more comprehensive review.  Based on the size of the lugs, it’s not an aggressive trail shoes but I guess this is good to go on regular trail conditions.  If you’re looking for a more aggressive shoes on technical trail, the Speed Goat and Challenge ATR is also now available.

Grab Your Hoka One One now

It’s time for you to experience Hoka One One and it’s time to fly Manila.  HOKA ONE ONE® shoes are available in Men’s and Women’s sizes (selected models) ranging from P6,295 to P7,295 at the following retail outlets:

  • RUNNR TRINOMA, LEVEL 2, SM TRINOMA EDSA cor. North Ave. Quezon City, 1105
  • RUNNR CEBU, LEVEL 2, SM CEBU Cebu Business Park Cebu City, 6000
  • RUNNR BHS, LEVEL 1, B3 Bonifacio High Street Fort Bonifacio,Taguig City, 1634
  • RUNNR ATC, LEVEL 2, Alabang Town Center The Garden, Muntinlupa City, 1799
Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 32 Comments

Vitalis Weekend Escapade

Vitalis Villas

Vitalis Villas

Weekend travel getaway that doesn’t involve trails or mountains has been as rare as it gets for me.  Since I just finished 50K worth of Cordillera trails, I guess I earned this one.  Vitalis Villas boast of Santorini like architecture and makes it really worth your time and money’s worth.

Read About:

Vitalis Villas

Vitalis White Sands

Vitalis White Sands

Last month, our cousin started organizing the tour to Vitalis. We got a two bedroom room and another one bedroom room to accommodate the 10 of us.  We stayed in the one bedroom room and the rate is surprisingly affordable, which is Php 11,450, which includes the room complete with kitchen, masters bedroom, enormous living room area and a porch overlooking the sea.  That’s also inclusive of 3 buffet meals for the whole stay.    The two bedroom unit (Php 19,000) is perched on a hill and has two floors with one room on each floor.   The cost of the accommodation is between Php 3,000-P3,500 per person inclusive of all buffet meals, rooms and the services.  You can have a golf cart bring you to your room to the other facilities. It includes use of facilities in Vitalis Villas and Vitalis White Sands though water sports facilities is priced separately.

My sister and I came from Manila while the rest of the family came from our hometown in Baguio.  We had the longer travel time but we arrived earlier in Vitalis Villas in time for the buffet lunch.  The buffet meal was overwhelming as you get to have a lot of choices plus Petra sits atop of the property so you have spots overlooking the sea and the whole property.

Touchdown Vitalis

Touchdown Vitalis

Check in time is between 2-3 pm so we had a few hours at Petra for lunch. The rest of the family came at around 1 pm.  We had our one bedroom Villa at around 2 pm while the 2 bedroom Villa was available at 3 pm.  We were surprised at how enormous the room was. There was 2 king size bed, several sofas, kitchen, comfort rooms and bath rooms and our villa was on the lower part and nearby the lower pool and the view of the Ocean. You can easily fit 10 people comfortably in the room though the room is only for four people.

Vitalis

Vitalis

The room felt really comfortable so the first order of business was to catch some sleep. We woke up between 4-5 pm and then we checked on the rest who also fell in love with their beds at first sight.  It was then that we regrouped so we can try the water sports at the nearby Vitalis White Sands.

The View from Our Room

The View from Our Room

There are shuttle services from Vitalis Villas to Vitalis White Sands, which is on the lower end of the resort.  There are several pools in Vitalis Villas but the beach and water sports is located at Vitalis White Sands.  We arrived past 5 pm and we discovered that the water sports area is until 5 pm only.  They have kayaks, pedal boats, jet ski and an area for inflatables.  Since the water sports is not available we just took our time to swim in the beach.

Vitalis White Sands

Vitalis White Sands

It felt good to swim.  After swimming, we went back to Vitalis Villas at around 7 pm for dinner.  One of the pool area is just beside Petra, the dining area. Instead of going to dinner immediately, we took another dip in the pool before dinner.  This was followed by another buffet feast for dinner.  We’d regroup later into the night to take a deep on the lower pool in our room and had drinks at the mini bar after.

The Chapel

The Chapel

It was really nice to bond with my cousins once again, which is something we haven’t done in a while with shifting priorities and a lot of events happening the past few years.  After that it was time to rest for the next day.

Day 2

Happy Sunday

Happy Sunday

I woke up just in time to catch the sun rise view above at around 6:30 am and had breakfast at 7 am.  Of all the buffet meals, I have to say, breakfast was my favorites with longanisa, dried fish, pancakes, palitaw and a whole lot more.  We’d love to reload on this meal too as the next one is in Vigan already after we check out. Vitalis is located in Santiago, Ilocos Sur, which is around 45 minutes before Vigan. Up next was going back to Vitalis White Sand to try the water sports.  My niece tried out the zipline too.

Chillin' like a Villain!

Chillin’ like a Villain!

There was the early morning sea breeze to make it really relaxing to chill for the beach.  I could do this for hours but we also did try the pedal boat and the kayak.  It was fun to add some activity to this relaxing weekend. I must have gain x number of pounds just on the buffet dinners.

Vitalis White Sand is the perfect place to see the Santorini like infrastructure of Vitalis.  Just an interesting piece of trivia, Vitalis White Sand has been there for decades though it gained prominence when Vitalis Villas was completed last December 2016.

View from Vitalis White Sands

View from Vitalis White Sands

So we spent the rest of the morning at the beach.  I did drop by the hilltop adventure area where there was a mini zoo and a zipline area before going back to check out.

Vigan

Lunch at Uno Grille in Vigan

We then spent the next 45 minutes heading to Vigan to have lunch and a stroll along Calle Crisologo.  I haven’t been to Vigan for almost 2 decades so its nice to be back to appreciate the heritage city of Vigan.

Calle Crisologo

Calle Crisologo

We left Vigan at around 4-5 pm and that was our long trip back to Manila. On hindsight, we should have done a a minimum of 2 days and 3 nights type of vacation since it’s a bit tiring to spend one day on the resort and one day on the road.  I guess that now proves my point that I recover faster from races than family vacations. Looking forward to the next one.

Vigan!

Vigan!

Categories: My Travels | Tags: , , , , , | 30 Comments

Under Armour Test of Will Returns on March 25-26, 2017

Fitness enthusiasts gear up as Under Armour Test of Will Returns on March 25-26, 2017 for the Philippine Leg at the Glorietta Activity Center. 

Test of Will 2017

If you can spare 4 minutes of your time, why not try out the Test of Will?  It’s a combination of 4 functional training exercise for 1 minute each exercise.  Test of Will has been an annual fitness challenge brought to you by the leading high performance apparel provider, Under Armour. Participants will compete in a four-minute circuit consisting of Burpees, One Arm Thruster, TRX Rows and Sandbag Throw. Each competitor will be scored based on the maximum number of repetitions they can achieve within 60 seconds.

With the addition of Indonesia and Brunei this year, the regional fitness competition that also takes place in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines is expected to be more intense than the year before.  The highest scoring man and woman of the national heats from each respective country will win an all-expense paid trip to compete in the regional finals, happening in Kuala Lumpur on 6 May 2017.

This year’s overall champion of the regional finals will walk away with S$2,500 cash prize, or around Php 88,000.00.

The Test of will Winner Could Be You

The Test of Will is for everyone and anyone with the determination and discipline to train and compete. Last year, we witnessed champions crowned from the most unexpected individuals. The event epitomizes the might of the determined and the spirit of the underdogs, something which Under Armour stands for,” said Mr. Michael Binger, CEO of Triple Pte Ltd, exclusive distributor of Under Armour in Southeast Asia.

Wearing the threadbone top while running.

Wearing the threadborne top while running.

Under Armour has also recently launched its latest apparel and footwear collections engineered with the Threadborne™ technology leading up to the national heats; to equip participants with the gear to train and compete at the highest level. The Threadborne™ Siro and Seamless collections are made from fabric that is light, breathable, anti-cling, quick-drying and provides a high-level of stretch and recovery.

“Under Armour took the ultra-durable yarns within paracords, and rebuilt them into apparel material that can withstand the rigors of intensive use. The result is a next generation fabric that gives athletes an edge to perform better through enhanced comfort and durability,” said Binger

Our delegates last year in Singapore also made waves and placing high in the podium.   Here’s some tips from the overall male and female winners of the Test of Will 2016, Jet Ng and Zoe Pond-McPherson.

“When you feel good, you will perform better. So, train hard, eat well, get enough rest, and make sure you feel as comfortable as you can be on that day.” said Ng.

“You will be pitted against many other athletes who have trained hard for their goals. Your ability to focus on that day will be as important as your fitness level.” said Pond-McPherson.

Register now!

The Test of Will 2017 Philippines National Heats is now open for registration. Simply log on to testfofwill.com to indicate your preferred date and time, no registration fee is required. Participants must be 21 years old and above, and must be a Philippine Citizen or Permanent Resident to qualify for the regional finals.

Participants are encouraged to study the training guide for specific movement standards and tips to maximise their performance. They can also sign up for Armour@TheFort, a series of free training events organized by Under Armour to prepare for the challenges ahead. For more information and details on the Armour@TheFort series, visit www.tripleready.com/events.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cordillera Mountain Ultra 2017

Survived 50K of CMU 2017

Survived 50K of CMU 2017

I’ve been keeping it wild since Cordillera Conservation Trust started showcasing the beauty of the Cordillera for the past 3 years.  It’s definitely the toughest and most scenic 50 kilometer distance with a whopping 3,000 freaking meters worth of elevation from Dalupirip to the peak of Mount Ugo. 

Read About:

Cordillera Mountain Ultra

3 Years of Keeping It Wild

3 Years of Keeping It Wild

3 years ago, when the first Cordillera Mountain Marathon was being organized I got attracted with the idea of mountain runs.  In an instant, I joined the 11K distance at Mount Pulag and was able to finish it.  I heard the stories of the mountain marathoners and felt they had a really an awesome experience being able to go to several provinces before finishing back at the ranger station in Mount Pulag.  That’s my light bulb moment that I should do a mountain marathon, which then had a cut-off time of 13 hours.  The next year, it was reformatted to be a 50 kilometer ultra event from Dalupirip at Mount Ugo, with a cut off of 14 hours. If you knew me, Ultras where part of my “Never” list and the cut-off is a bit stiff compared to the marathon distance a year ago. I went on to finish the 21K distance last year. When registration opened for this year’s edition, I took a leap of fate and just signed up for the 50K distance and as things were, the cutoff was even shorter at 13 hours. Good luck to me.

Pre Race Anxiety

When you lack training, try to do the math.

When you lack training, try to do the math.

For the first time since my first marathon in 2014, I actually was scared of the race.  My training plan didn’t turn out as expected with bouts of ankle sprain, shin splints, coughs, colds, busy work schedule and lack of training mileage.  My longest distance for the past 3 months was 17 kilometers on the trails and 21 kilometers on the road. I did insert some gym time walking on inclined treadmill for hours.  You don’t have to be an expert to say that it’s not enough for a 50 kilometer race with 3,000 meters elevation gain.  When it comes to training, the longer you train, the less you suffer on race day so I started conditioning my mind to get ready to suffer.  I plotted the elevation profile and tried to plot some target times each segment.  This is my first ultra event, the goal was to finish and meeting the cut-off would just be bonus. I did hope that I did finish before it became dark.  I guess flawed as it was, that was the plan.

Race Route and Elevation Profile

Race Route and Elevation Profile

Race Route and Elevation Profile powered by Suunto Spartan Sport

The first 9 kilometers was a rolling  terrain with a mix of paved road, dirt road and river trails until the foot of the climb to Tenidi Hill.  This was followed by a 3-kilometer climb to Tenidi Hill covering about 750 meters of elevation gain.  The trail descends for the next kilometer to Oling before the climb resumes to Ugo for the next 12 kilometers with total elevation gain of 1,100 meters (including about 300 meters steep climb to the summit).  The race descents back to Tinongdan for the next 14 kilometers and goes on another rolling loop at Tinongdan for the next 5 kilometers before hitting Dalupirip for the last climb and descent to the finish line.

The Race

Carboloading with Team Smart at home.

Carboloading with Team Smart at home.

Up until the claiming of the race kit, I was still thinking if it was possible to downgrade to 21K or just totally miss the race. Yes, that’s how anxious I was before the race.  So when I got my kit for the 50K distance and had my Raceyaya timing chip attached to me, I guess this is it.  I got some inspirational words from Carlo of Smart the day before the race and Jonel and Aldean before the race.  It’s time to put my heart and determination to test.

Here we go again.

Here we go again.

The race started at 4 am sharp and it was time to just execute the game plan or how much I could during the race.  I started of with a good pace and good thing that my shin splints didn’t bother me this time. I slowed down on the single track climb to the main road on the 2nd kilometer and I was just playing the elevation by speeding up on the descent and walking the ascents on the road stretch.  Upon crossing the finish line, I started to slow down just to make sure that my heart rate would be low before I climb Tenidi Hill.

Tenidi Hill

Let's Go!

Let’s Go!

Tenidi hill was the toughest part of the course with 750 meters elevation gain in just 3 kilometers of distance.  If I get past this then the race is more manageable.  This is my 3rd time at Tenidi Hill and I could do this for 10 more times and it would never feel easy.  I took it one effort at a time disregarding the distance and just watching the elevation on my Suunto Spartan Sport. It does help mentally when you see you’re moving up the elevation even with the distance is just trickling in.  Before 3 hours in the race, I was up Tenidi Hill and it was a short descent to the town of Oling.

The Long Climb to Mount Ugo

Running around the ridges of Mount Ugo - Photo by Jefferson Chua

Running around the ridges of Mount Ugo – Photo by Jefferson Chua

The Town of Oling was a timing point and had a cutoff of 4 hours.  It’s also the last bail-out points of the race and once you continue here, you have to finish the whole loop since there are no other exit points (unless you’d like to exit at another province and end up there for days.  I thought for a second and said to myself, it was a go. This was a really long climb with the first 10 kilometers about 750 meter ascent and the next two kilometers having about 300 meters ascent.  It started with a technical climb from Oling and I was surprised that the first 2-3 kilometers, I was already able to cover about 300 meters of elevation.  That means that there would be some lower inclines above.

Resting Midway the Climb - Photo by Kat Faustino

Resting Midway the Climb – Photo by Kat Faustino

The first few kilometers of the climb were technical pine forested trails.  After the trails went higher, it shifted to long rolling run-able ridges that was just mesmerizing.  We were moving on single track ridge with some portion hot because of the time of day and some portion foggy and cold because of the altitude.  It was scenic yet it was tough. I just kept checking on the altitude and once we got up by 100 meters in altitude there was a stretch where we’d go down 50 meters.  It felt exhausting and frustrating but I realized the best way to deal with tough times is to look forward to good times.  During the toughest parts, I’d always remind myself how many kilometers it was to the summit and I need to finish the race so I can celebrate my birthday this week.

Nearing the summit.

Nearing the summit.

The last 2 kilometers to the summit was really difficult as it’s already a direct assault plus fatigue is coming into play.  I made it one push after another and things would get easy going down for the second half of the race.  I eventually reached the summit in less than 8 hours, which meant I have 5 hours to chase the cut-off for the second half of the race.  It was foggy at the top so here’s my id picture with white background at the summit.

Mount Ugo Summit

Mount Ugo Summit

The Long Descent

After I had my time recorded at the summit, I went on the descent. The first part of the descent was a bit technical so I wasn’t able to speed up yet.  I’m such a klutz when it comes to technical trails and almost slipped several times.  It wasn’t fast but it helped me recover.  There were about 2 to 3 kilometer of technical descent before it shifted to run-able descending ridges.  The problem was I felt too banged up to run. I did the next best thing, I brisked walked for the next few kilometers going to the aid station in Domolpos at kilometer 33 in 10 hours.  I have about 3 hours to cover about 15 kilometers of distance.

Descents - Photo by Harry Tanoja for Cordillera Conservation Trust

Descents – Photo by Harry Tanoja for Cordillera Conservation Trust

There was a short a ascent after kilometer 33 but since I was up against time I just maintained the same pace for both uphill and downhill with faster brisk walks.  I managed to move past the next 2 kilometers at a good pace.  The next 2 kilometers were on a bit slippery and loose sand and rock surface so I slowed down.  It’s about 10-11 kilometers before the finish line and I have 2 hours to go.  The cut-off is still within reached though the window is closing a bit.

Chasing cutoffs

Chasing cutoffs

Entering Tinongdan Town at about kilometer 39, I felt my right quad cramping so I had to rest it a bit in one of the store while I took a soft drinks break.  I could barely move my right quad without pain so I slowed down again.  I tried to cushion each of my step with the pole so there would be less impact on my quads  It felt a bit better after walking though I would take occasional rest to massage the muscle a bit. Eventually, I went back to using to poles to reduce the impact on my legs.  With my window of chasing the cut-off becoming least probable, I started aiming just to finish before dark.  I just kept moving as the trails shifted to the rolling terrain in Tinongdan to the road back to Dalupirip and eventually the finish line.

With JP and Koi at the finish line.

With JP and Koi at the finish line.

It was beyond cut-off at about 14 hours but I’m glad I did finish the race before it went dark.  When I was in doubt whether to run or downgrade before the race, I always had this in mind.  It wasn’t about the time, it was always about the experience. It was just a few less muscle pains away from meeting the stiff cut-off but I’ll take that. I didn’t give up.   I have no regrets and no more looking back that I should have done the distance. There’s so many reasons to be proud of and to celebrate.  Of course, I’ll be back next year maybe to try the Vertical Kilometer or maybe another round to enjoy the tough Mount Ugo Terrain and just keep it wild.

Categories: My Runs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments