Second to the Last

It’s only 11 days before the Condura Skyway Marathon! Woohoo!

I have mixed emotions whenever I see this sign. I am nervous and at the same time excited about the race.  But one thing is for sure, I want it to be over… soon!


condura skyway marathon medal

CSM medal: I’ve got my eyes on you.

Last Saturday Jehan and I drove south to Sta. Rosa for our second to the last LSD before marathon day.

While running on Nuvali road, I looked up and saw the mountain we ran last week. I kept looking at it because I couldn’t believe we actually ran all the way to the top!


Can you see how steep it is? Shivers.

Anyway, we joined the runners training for TBR-ULAH Dream Marathon who ran in groups and we ran with the group paced by Noni and Gammy. We started at 5:30 in the morning.

with our pacers

with our pacers

At one point, we ran side by side with the group paced by Coach Lit and he was giving pointers on how to tackle the downhill.

  • Use your arms for balance
  • Engage your core.
  • Look down the hill, not at your feet.

After the downhill their group sped away from us.  Oh well.  I wanted to listen to his tips but he was too fast.  Anyway, I enjoyed running with our group.  Gammy shared to us his experiences inside the Manila Memorial Park where he regularly trains.  Aha! Maybe that’s why he runs fast…because he hears all kinds of creepy sounds there.

Never a dull moment. Two hours felt like 30 minutes.

Thanks guys! 🙂


My December

Ah December, my favorite month of the year. It’s my favorite because of Christmas, my wedding anniversary, and it’s cold. I love cold weather!  And today is the last day of December and the last day of the year!

Here’s a recap of my December weekends.

December 5. Jehan and I ran from Alfonso, Cavite to Nasugbu, Batangas for our 20-km LSD.



Sometimes we had to run on the side of the road because of the fast cars and buses.

December 14. We went to the Batangas Racing Circuit and I drove a mini. How cool is that?


My racing suit was signed by Bill Richards.


December 20. We joined the Bull Session of runners training for TBR-ULAH 2015 in Nuvali. JN paced us and we ran for 3 hours. It was great. Thanks JN!

bull session

That same day, Pinky invited us for Christmas dinner in her garden. Unfortunately it rained so that we were forced to transfer inside the house, which wasn’t a bad thing. We had a wonderful time.

There were only five of us, Pinky, Tita Rhoda, Jehan, Marz, and I. We ate, I mean ATE. Hey, we ran for three hours that morning, we have an excuse. Haha. Oh wow, Pinky knows her food. Everything was delicious.  After dinner we played the Bible version of Taboo. Oh fun, fun, fun! I teamed up with Marz and we lost…by one point! I need to brush up on my vocabulary especially on synonyms and antonyms.

Gorgeous table setting set up the mood.

Gorgeous table centerpiece set up the mood.

Here's Pinky with her strawberry santas.

Here’s Pinky with her cute strawberry Santas. I think I ate 4 of these.



December 27. LSD from Las Pinas to Paranaque and back. Got very hungry when we reached the 17th kilometer so we stopped by this fruit stand along Elizalde Ave. and bought three bananas for 15 Pesos. 🙂

elizalde fruit stand

So there you have it, my December weekends. Now I leave you with “December” from The Seasons, Tchaikovsky’s set of 12 short piano pieces, one written for each month.  Enjoy!

Alfonso to Nasugbu LSD

Get up early.  Follow your training plan.  Run.  Rest.  Cross train.  Get enough sleep.  Eat right.  Be faithful.  Be consistent. Sacrifice. Ah the marathon training, where tenacity is a muscle that needs to be worked and requires persistent determination from day one all the way to the finish line on race day.

Week 12, Sunday morning.

It was cold.  The weather was very conducive for sleeping and it was difficult to get up from bed.  But because I  remember exactly how it feels to sit around around wishing I was running, I got up, ate my breakfast and put on my high visibility shirt (a gift from my BFF in Canada, Gladys). I am deeply touched when somebody from across the globe is supportive of my training.  I should not disappoint her, right?

That morning Jehan and I ran on a new route, from Alfonso in Cavite to Nasugbu in Batangas.

alfonso, cavite


nasugbu run


Alfonso to Nasugbu is a nice running route.  It’s mostly downhill and the asphalt road is kinder to the knees. The scenery is also nice.  I enjoyed looking at the mountains and the crisp, cold air was refreshing.

I finished my 20-kilometer LSD and did not feel wasted after.  If there’s one thing I can say, I think I’m getting stronger.  I’m not sure if it’s because the route was mostly downhill and the weather was cool, nevertheless, that LSD was a great confidence booster.  I’m glad I did it.


Happy Monday!  How was your weekend?  Me, I had a great one.  On Saturday, Jehan and I started running at 4:15 am in BGC.  Even though it was still very early, there were already a lot of runners around.

At 5:30, we joined a group training for The Bull Runner Dream Marathon in 2015. It was fun to see some old friends we made in TBRDM last year. We shared running tips, corny jokes, and everything in between. Running with them made the LSD less tiring and I didn’t notice the distance as well as the time spent on our feet.

JN paced us using the 30:15 interval, that means 30 seconds run and 15 seconds walk. By the time we ended, we were not spent at all and felt like we could go on for another hour. We finished before seven o’clock. Whew!  That’s more than two hours!

bull session LSD

My Favorite Kind of Morning

Hi friends! Happy Tuesday to you! How was your long weekend?  Mine was quite lovely – tiring yet relaxing at the same time.

Last Friday, my siblings and I woke up early to go to Nuvali for our LSD.  Each one of us had a different distance goal in mind as we were all training for different races.


The last time I ran in Nuvali was in February for my 2nd marathon.  Now I was back and I had a completely different perspective.   One of the decisions I made going into the Condura marathon training was to be kind and less hard on myself. But that doesn’t mean I will be lax on my training. I know that discipline and self-control are crucial in completing the program.

We all started running at the same time and when we reached the first steep hill, ouch, it hurt.  Hills are definitely my weakness and my greatest challenge.


It was J-Cip’s and Joy’s wedding anniversary.  Of course we stopped to take a photo with this heart-shaped tree. ❤


Nuvali is not flat and it’s a challenging course but I absolutely love running there.  It’s one of my favorite places to run.



It’s getting really hot now.


The Abrio loop. I’m still convinced that this is the most difficult part of the course.  Why is it always so hot out there? Jehan told me I looked exhausted, and I was. I already ran out of water and was very thirsty at that point.  But still I finished my run. Whew!  I gave myself a pat on the back.  Good work, girl.

Each one of us achieved our goals that morning. And so before heading back, we decided to reward ourselves and bought boxes of the Original buko and pineapple pies. I thought you could only get them from Los Banos but I was pleasantly surprised that they have a newly opened branch in Sta Rosa.

0riginal buko pie

We also bought puto and kutsinta from a vendor on a motorcycle. He had this big basket full of yummies securely fastened to the back of his bike and we just couldn’t resist. Carbs galore! Haha please give us a break. 😛

When we got back, we hit the pool right away because it was just too hot that morning. My niece Jessica joined us.


Ahh, my kind of morning: a good sweat, delicious food, spending time with loved ones, and then a short nap afterwards.

Bull Session 5: Longest LSD

Last Saturday we finished our assigned long run of 3 hours and 30 minutes.  It was our longest run for this training cycle.

Nuvali sunrise

Thanked God for that beautiful morning.

I joined the pace group of Coach Jim.  I ran behind him but had to fall back a little because I could smell the strong cologne of the runner beside me.  Ughh! Haha!  Anyway, when we finished the first loop, (approx. 15Km), I went for a bathroom break and when I came out, the group was gone.

I could still see Coach Jim’s apple green shirt so I wasn’t too far behind. It would have been fun to stay with the group, I mean, I enjoyed Coach Jim’s elephant jokes.  Really!  And I could feed off energy from the other dreamers.  But I just ran alone and it was tough.  Sometimes my mind would wander and I had to remind myself, “Hey, wake up, you’re training for a marathon!”

In a way I was glad that I was left behind.  It was an opportunity for me to hone my mental strength, which is a very important aspect in running a marathon. It was the time to learn how to quiet the voices inside my head.  I challenged my mind to stay focused and learn how to handle boredom.  It was said that the best way of improving your capacity to endure boredom is to endure boredom, to find enjoyment in the repetitive action of putting one foot in front of the other. Simply put, delight in the monotonous.

For the second loop, I used the 30 second run – 15 second walk interval.  At one point, two male dreamers, originally from the 3 minute run – 1 minute walk group, ran behind me.  I asked them, “Are you also doing 30:15? And they they answered, “We’re just following you.”  What!

I finally caught up with Coach Jim’s group at the end of Nuvali Boulevard. We headed back to Solenad and the sun beat down on us.  It was really HOT. Strange, because when we started, the temperature recorded a chilly16.9 degrees Celsius, the lowest temperature since year 2014 started.

We picked up the pace when we neared Solenad and finally after 28.5 Kms, we were done.  Whew!

I couldn’t be happier.

Coach Jim Lafferty

 Coach Jim

Now if you are going to win this battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body.  Never let the body tell the mind what to do.  The body will always give up.  It’s always tired in the morning, noon, and night.  But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.   – George S. Patton, US Army General, 1912 Olympian

A Change of Heart

I started training for this marathon with a very negative attitude.  I complained a lot.  We were robbed, our house and cars got flooded, my legs hurt, my chest hurt, I was tired, I was jet lagging…blah, blah, blah…

Then one LSD, my sister Jehan said, “Don’t be a NEGA-star.” I was convicted. If I were to finish this marathon, I’d better change my current state of mind.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.   – Charles R. Swindoll

Last Saturday, we did another LSD in Nuvali. This time around, my outlook was different. I have decided to enjoy the training, the journey towards marathon day.

When we started, it was still very dark and chilly but not as cold as last week. Around 3km, we met Eric and She, who were also training for TBRDM. They were using a different interval so they sped ahead of us. At 6km we met them again and they told us that if we needed to refill our Nathans, we were free to get from the two big bottles of water they left at the guard house. Why thank you! Thank you for your generosity.

When we were near Wakepark, we saw cadets all in identical black Adidas shirts, jogging and chanting. They said, “Good morning ma’am!” all at the same time to me. It was really cool.  They gladly posed for the camera when I asked them if I could have my photo taken with them.


Running up from Wakepark we were surprised when we saw Richard and Obbie, who were also training for TBRDM. I must admire these two men. They were really dedicated in training.

Free refill 🙂

When we reached the loop at the back of Miriam College, there was a roadblock.

The big question was: What now? We couldn’t decide whether to move forward or just go back.  We slowly inched our way toward them and they moved to the side of the road.  Ok, it was safe to go.


Then suddenly, this bull, the biggest of the herd, started walking towards us. He had angry eyes and he even snorted as if ready to attack us! I was scared to death. We did not look at him and very, very slowly moved away. To our relief, the bull walked away. Whew! If by chance he attacked us, Jehan and I would have run a PR! Hahaha!

A few kilometers away there was a dog with new born puppies.  Uh, oh.  Again we slowly walked on the other side of the road and did not run until we felt it safe. Whew!


Bulls and dogs won’t stop us.

The good thing about training in Nuvali was that we became more and more familiar with the race course. We tried to remember everything we saw, we heard, we smelled, and how we felt while running. These would come in handy for visualization.

Overall, I’d say that the morning was perfect. The weather was cool, but not too cold, we were able to finish 27 kilometers and did not feel wasted.  My legs were still fine until the end. And guess what? Jehan didn’t hear even one complaint from me. I think it was really because I had a different attitude. You could say I had a change of heart.