Friday, September 21, 2012

My Milo Dream Run

I chanced upon a note at the back of my address book... 
Jan 2007... Wt: 60K, Goals: 50K and Run: 5Km by December

Wow, that was 5 years ago already... I don't think I achieved my goals then and my weight is still pegged at 60K now. But I remember that I started walking then, and that my dream was to join a Milo 5K Run, but I got distracted and my goals were pushed at the back of my mind. But I remember that I would walk or jog every now and then when I had the time or the motivation. Then in 2010, I was diagnosed with hypertension and my doctor advised me to exercise at least 150 minutes per week. I decided that walking is what I enjoy doing, so I started with that again, 30 minutes every weekday. I would walk from the house along the main road of our village, then after 15 minutes I'd turn and walk back home.

Much as I enjoy walking, I figured I would lose weight faster if I put in more effort, like jogging... so I started to walk/jog on my daily 30 minute-exercise.
Then my 30 mins increased to 40, and soon I wasn't minding the time... and I was able to run more than walk... thinking of my 5K goal. Soon after that, I had the chance of joining a couple of 5K fun runs. Goal achieved, next goal: 10K. I slowly increased my distance from 5K to 6, to 8, and then I decided to join a 10K run. And so for the 36th Milo Metro Manila Eliminations, I registered for 10K. 

July 29, 2012, 5:00AM was the gun start for the Milo 10K run. My brother and I arrived at MOA before that and saw the 21K runners already off as they had an earlier gun start. We made our way to the starting line and tried to get as up front as we could... there were hundreds of us waiting and watching the countdown on the large screen in front. I was excited... this was my dream.

I was a bit disappointed with my run though... I know I could have done better. 1 hour and 23 minutes. My legs were itching from the mosquito bites I got days before. I felt like I was just plodding on, trying to keep my pace regular. I knew I was a bit behind my goal time when I reached the 5K mark at 41 minutes. But I'm happy that I finished way ahead of the cutoff time of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Next time I know I'll do better... maybe even do a longer run, a half marathon or a full one... hmmmm.

My brother Benjie
Pictures courtesy of Photovendo.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

FILA & AIA: Schools Run for School Rooms 2012

Athletes in Action (AIA), a global sports ministry, together with FILA, hosted the running event "Schools Run for School Rooms" on July 7, 2012 at the Bonifacio Global City, Taquig, Philippines. This school-based fun run aims to raise funds to rehabilitate schools in Iligan City, which was devastated by typhoon Sendong in December 2011. I like what the poster reads "Your every step can bridge the gap between a child and his dreams. Run to help build schoolrooms for unfortunate school children in Iligan City who lost everything to Typhoon Sendong in 2011. Help our students stand tall once more. Unleash the power of your feet!"

Many schools, as well as private corporations and churches participated in this event. I arrived at the venue a little past four in the morning, and there already were huge groups of students and runners clustered in front of the well-lit stage and around the parking lot. I texted a PEx runner and he replied that he was with his Honda colleagues. Members of the Unida Church also came and participated. This was my first 10K road race.

The program onstage started at 5am with announcements and stretching exercises led by the Philippine Dragon Boat Team. Then the 10K runners were asked to take their places at the starting line. We had no timing chips, so I set my watch to timer mode and synchronized with the LED timer set high above the Start/Finish line... the gun fired and we were off~

It was so enticing to keep pace with faster runners, but I knew that if I did, I wouldn't last till the end of the race. So I counted rhythmically in my mind and did the 2/3 breathing pattern I've been practicing for quite some time. I also studied the race route beforehand so I could estimate how far I've run and glance at my watch to see whether I was up to my regular pace. I reached the first water station, which was located at about the 1.5K mark, and I knew that I was doing okay so far.

The water station didn't provide water! It was Pocari Sweat, a drink that is said to replenish the body's water and electrolytes lost thru perspiration... it tasted like sweet-salty water. I would have preferred plain water... but I guess this would have to do for now. I just hope that it wouldn't give me vertigo while running. I experienced vertigo several months ago when I drank electrolyte drinks like this one. The vertigo stopped when I stopped taking these drinks.

Past the 3K mark (there were actually no kilometer marks on the route, just in my mind), the faster 3K and 5K runners started overtaking me. Again I was tempted to up my pace... but I remembered that they had a shorter route than ours, so naturally they would catch up with me along the way. I had to concentrate on regulating my breathing with my pace. When I was past 6K and still felt okay, I knew I would be able to finish the race within my target of 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Stopped and posed for a pic at the U-Turn near Kalayaan Ave.
I plodded on, trying to keep my pace, sometimes slowing down to catch my breath, especially on the slightly uphill portions of the road. At last, I could see the finish line on the other side of the road, just two more turns and I'd be there. I was surprised that the LED timer at the finish line showed 1 hour and 12 minutes when I crossed it... I was a bit confused, did I miss a turn or what? But my stopwatch also showed the same, so it must be correct. There were no more marshals or timers at the finish line... only groups of students and runners taking pictures... oh well~

I lined up for the free Pocari Sweat bottle and the free Gardenia slices. I didn't have time for the Potencee vitamins, as the line was too long. I also wasn't able to take pictures of Georgina Wilson or Fabio Ide, who were onstage while I was lining up for the freebies. I looked for my son Moji at the FILA tent where I told him to wait for me. One more picture before I change my sweaty clothes :)

I'm happy with my time... my first 10K road race ran in 1 hour and 12 minutes. This is in preparation for my dream race... to run in the National Milo Marathon... not the full marathon yet, just the 10K :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Survived 10K @ Merrell Adventure Run 2012

June 2, 2012 is a date I will never forget. It was my first 10K run, my first trail run and my first Merrell Adventure Run... and this run was beyond all my expectations!!!

I registered for the 2012 Merrell Adventure Run for several reasons... primary of all was because it was on a Saturday (I rarely run on Sundays because of my church commitments), and it was going to be held in San Mateo, which was fairly close to my residence. Plus factor was that several members of our PEx Running Club were joining. And, I wanted to experience a trail run.

I was thinking of doing just 5k, but a couple of my friends encouraged me to signup for the 10k... and so I did~ I started adding mileage to my runs... from 5k to 6.6k, 8k up to 10k... but I wasn't prepared for muddy trails, or hills, or streams.

There was a storm brewing a couple of days before our Merrell Adventure Run 2012. Tropical storm Ambo brought rains all over the eastern side of Luzon. It rained hard the night before our run and we were awaiting news whether Merrell would cancel the event. The rains stopped in the early morning, so I decided to gear up and prepare for my first trail run. Mel took me to the site, at Timberland Heights, San Mateo, Rizal. There I met up with other PEx runners. We posed for the cameras while we did some stretching :)

Gunstart for 10k runners was set at 6:10am. The 21k runners were off at 6:00am, 10 minutes ahead of us. There were around 400 of us who dared run the 10k route... countdown, and we were off running... over stones, grass and mud.

The trail was very muddy and slippery, I tried to be as careful as I can, fearing that a slip or fall would cause me injury. But I enjoyed crossing the streams, with caution though, and choosing steady rocks as footholds.

There were steep hills to climb, which were very tiring to the legs. I was glad I brought a pair of gloves, which protected my hands when I had to hang on to the ropes, or to bushes and limbs of trees. I was also thankful for the stick which my friends lent me, which kept me from slipping a million times... I just slipped and fell like a hundred times... exajjj ~

I hadn't brought any hydration so I just had to rely on the water stations Merrell provided along the way... which was used by runners not just to quench thirst but also to wash off the mud from our hands, arms and legs. :)

Halfway at the 5km mark, I looked at my watch and realized I've been on the trail for two hours already... something that I did not expect. I told Mel the I'd probably finish in about two hours or so... road running is so so different from trail running. I got held up by queues in crossing the streams and holding on to ropes to climb the steep hillside, and crawling through the drain tunnels and mudpits which Merrell put along the way for added adventure.

After going through the drain pipes, I even queued for the water hose to rinse the mud off my hands, arms and legs... took about 15 minutes to get my turn~ After rinsing the mud off, further down the trail, I slipped and fell again... and again, several times... so much for wasting my time at the queue just to rinse off :)

Finally, the trail became less muddy and more stony, but still hilly... and I could hear the music up ahead... the end was near! And finally, I crossed the finish line... at 4 hours and 4 minutes.
Photo courtesy of Michael P. Santos

Thanks to PEx Running Club members who were there to cheer and support us.

Thanks also to the six:30 barneys who cheered me near the end of the trail. And, of course, my husband Mel, who patiently waited for me at the finish line. I was tired, muddy and very hungry... I wasn't able to enjoy the water trucks that showered the muddy runners, ran out of hotdogs and chicken nuggets... but was able to drink lots of cool milk and had some hot coffee though. I got my finisher's kit, a Merrell sling backpack with a 10k finisher's shirt that was a bit too large for me, and some other small items in the bag.

That was some adventure... my first 10k trail run with Merrell... and I survived!

(Thanks to Cuteeh Cath, Jobert, Run Adobo King and others for the photos)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Wensha Spa Experience

Mel took the day off and we had no plans. I didn't want to see his day go to waste, so I thought of things that can be done or places that we can go to for just a day... not too far and something relaxing. A spa seemed like a good idea... and there was one nearby, Wensha Spa.

We decided to go for their P680 promo, 6-hour stay which included use of hot & cold jacuzzis, steam & dry saunas, an hour of full body massage, buffet lunch, shabu-shabu & dimsum, and unlimited juice & iced tea. 

After running some errands, we proceeded to Wensha Spa in Antipolo and arrived at 11:00am. The receptionist informed us that the buffet lunch hours are from 11am to 2pm, and that the steam sauna will be turned on at 12nn, while the dry sauna at 4pm. He gave us slippers to use inside the spa and magnetic locker keys to wear on the wrist so we could leave our stuff in the lockers. We had a 6-hour stay period so we planned first how to spend our time there. Buffet lunch was first on our agenda, then we planned to use their jacuzzis and saunas, then go for the massage, and for merienda we'd have shabu-shabu & dimsum. Sounds good~ 

Items on the buffet lunch menu were corn-egg drop soup, pork, fish fillet, pinakbet, pancit canton and steamed rice... no left-overs please. I just had the fish, pinakbet and pancit... didn't want to overfill myself. Going to the spa for me means trying to live healthy, so no overeating here :)  But we enjoyed the food and the scenery. For dessert, there was ube & vanilla soft ice cream... yummy~

Males are separated from the females... so Mel & I decided to meet up for merienda at around 3pm, after we had our fill of using the jacuzzi & sauna and have had our massages. It was my first time at Wensha Spa, so I had to ask the attendants to guide me in the use of the facilities. They gave me a towel and a robe to put on. In the jacuzzi area, there were shower stalls, a cold jacuzzi pool and a hot jacuzzi pool, a steam sauna room and a dry sauna room. You have to be bare naked to use the jacuzzi pools, and just a towel wrap in the sauna. Good thing there was only one other lady there and she was waiting for the steam sauna to be turned on, so I had the hot jacuzzi pool all to myself. The attendant cautioned me to use the hot pool and sauna for 15 minutes at a time only, then cool myself off before going in again. There was a cooler filled with ice and a water dispenser in the jacuzzi room. I took showers in between dipping in the pool and going into the sauna, and drank lots of cold water. I loved the steam sauna... just a few minutes and I was perspiring all over... felt like I lost some weight there :)

At around 1:30pm, I felt I had my fill of the hot pool and steam sauna, so I went for the body massage. The massage rooms for ladies were two flights of stairs down from the jacuzzi room. There was a receptionist there and an attendant who led me to a room where there were two beds, which led me to the thought that it would be nice to have a girl friend with me next time I come here to Wensha. I chose ginger oil for my full body massage, and I told the masseuse to go light on me. The massage was relaxing and I felt some hard knots on my shoulders and back soften. I also enjoyed how she massaged my legs and feet... I ran that morning and my legs felt rejuvenated and ready to run again.

Time for merienda. Mel was already in the dining room when I went up. I got a vegetable siopao, pork siomai, and couple of other dimsum offered on the trays. We decided to have some shabu-shabu, so the waiter put a large pot of soup on the stove in front of us and turned it on. Mel got some beef strips, meatballs, cabbage leaves, corn and sotanghon, and when the soup started boiling, he put all the stuff in. We enjoyed the shabu-shabu while watching TV, an HBO move which we couldn't quite understand and just laughed at the goings-on.

We dressed and returned our slippers and locker keys at the reception, and paid our masseuse tips. We didn't use up all the 6 hours, but we felt all done, filled and satisfied. It was worth the P680 we paid... "sulit" is the appropriate word. However, Wensha Spa Antipolo just announced on their facebook page that their price will go up to P780 starting July 1, but they will be having 24 hours unlimited beer (I don't know if this is included in the package).

I hope to return and avail of their package before the price increases... maybe bring a friend with me too :)

Wensha Spa Antipolo
G/F Comoda Ville, 267-269 Sumulong Highway, Antipolo, Philippines
Phone: 6557377

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wonder Island Resort

We heard about Wonder Island from a friend who went there a few weeks ago, and having a free Saturday because of a cancelled activity, we decided to go on a day trip. We browsed their website for details, and reading that it was strictly by reservation only, I called the very next day and booked for 2 only, since our kids had other activities for that day. Luckily, our daughter Sarah was free too and she wanted to come with us, so I called to inform them that there was another person coming with us.

The trip to Calamba took longer than usual, because of the slow traffic at the SLEX toll plaza. Then we took a couple of wrong turns before we finally reached the pier where the ferry driver from Wonder Island was patiently waiting for us. A welcome banner hung at the gate with my name on it... cool~

It was just a seven-minute boat ride to the island... so we sat ourselves in the front rows of the ferry and enjoyed the ride.

Wonder Island Resort is built on a two-hectare island in Laguna De Bay and can easily be reached by a 7-minute ferry ride from Palingon aplaya in Calamba, Laguna. Their day trip costs P840 per person and includes use of the resort's warm spring pools, set lunch, morning and afternoon snacks, and ferry to and from the pier to the island.

Arriving at the island, they welcomed us with a refreshing glass of iced tea and set us up at a table beside the covered pools. The waters of the pools were warm, clear and inviting... and there were only a few guests around so we had a couple of pools just to ourselves~

After a while, our morning snack was served... a huge saucer of bibingka topped with salted egg and butter with freshly grated coconut on the side.
Having had my fill of the heavy snack, which none of us were able to finish, I decided to stroll around and see the other areas on the island.

Wonder Island Resort reception/store
Recessed picnic table
More picnic tables by the dock
Benches to the promenade
This way to the other areas
The chapel at the top of the hill
One of the pavilions for huge gatherings
Spacious grounds for team building and camping
Lovely bougainvilleas line the pathway
A helipad at the end of the pathway

My daughter came looking for me... 

So we went back to enjoy the pools. Lunchtime came and we were served a sumptuous meal of fried chicken, sinigang na bangus, tortang talong, steamed rice and bananas. We rested after lunch, enjoying the cool breezes of the lake. For our afternoon snack, they served us turong saging with langka, so yummy~

Very soon, it was time to go... we decided to go to the promenade and take more pictures before we took the ferry back to the pier.
The promenade
Boat used for the breakfast cruise
View of the resort from the promenade
Admiring Mt. Makiling
Funky daughter
Happy at the end of the day
It was an overall wonderfully relaxing day trip to Wonder Island Resort... warm spring water pools, well-maintained facilities, good food and excellent service. I would love to come back here and bring all the kids with us.

Wonder Island Resort
Booking Office : 211 Rizal Street Calamba City, Laguna

Manila Line : (02) 520-8556
Mobile No : +63 923-674-3218
Email Address :
Telephone No : (049) 545-1766 / (049) 545-6491 / (049) 545-6492
Telefax : (049) 545-6491 / (02) 520-8556
* For inquiries and reservation, use the above information to contact us. The reservation office is open from MONDAY to SATURDAY at 8:00am till 5:00pm (Philippine Local Time).