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XTerra Off-Road Duathlon Debut

Joining an off-road Duathlon is one of my target achievements since last year, but I can only select which events to join due to transportation and venue accessibility issues. Here in the Metro, the most feasible venue for me is La Mesa Forest Reserve because it is much accessible by taxi or buses in the wee hours. Timberland is also okay, if only cab drivers would easily agree to bring me and my bike to the topmost of Timberland Heights where the starting line mostly is.

For the Vaseline-Men XTerra Off-Road Duathlon last October 12, I was glad that the venue was at La Mesa Forest Reserve.

A week before the race, I and together with other members of Team Hunyango Multisport (THM) -- Cris, Dan, and Jonas were supposed to have a recon ride at the venue, but due to each other's bike problems which manifested the same morning of our reconaissance, we were not able to meet but just made our own way back home to fix our bikes. My bike got its rear derailleur replaced for having a "life" of its own while traversing San Mateo-Marikina road (J.P. Rizal St.). This paid-off though as my bike had better rear shifting during the race.

Come race day going to the venue, I hailed a cab which carried my bike at the back-seat from the house to SM Fairview, and from there I pedaled my way to the remaining distance of 2.5-km towards La Mesa Forest Reserve.

At the starting line with Cris, Dan, and Jonas (photo by Bave DC)

With more than an hour before the gun-start upon arrival, we were able to lighten-off our tightening nerves as we (with THM) were all first-timers for this race. Some Multisport teams who graced the race were members of Team Suunto Philippines, Alaska Tri-Aspire, Sante Barley, and other strong individuals known in the Running and Ultrarunning community, and celebrity Onemig Bondoc who represented his Power Pops Tri Team.

The muds of La Mesa Forest Reserve, when compared to the muds of Timberland Heights (which is orangey), has blackish color, an indication of high organic matter content due to the naturally decomposing plantations in the area. Being a Forest Reserve, the venue is also known to be a mixed of fire-roads, single-track trails, and varying distances and elevation with unpredictable hills and curves. The mud was an all throughout bonus challenge as it has been raining the week before race day.

Lake view at mid-point of the 6-km run

The first leg was a single-loop of 6-km run which took us to a beautiful lake view of the Reservoir at the midpoint of the route. This part was still relatively easy as my body is still fresh, finishing the 1st-leg course of 5.65-km at a little less than 38-minutes.

At the transition area, I munched my choice of energy source of 6-pieces of jelly candy (not the sports gel) before heading out to the bike course. I forgot to start my watch upon starting so my recorded bike distance is short of around 600-meters.

The bike route is a two-loop course, traversing the fire roads and single-track trails within the center area of the forest. This is where many of the participants bonked, fell, and even almost tapped-out due to the varying condition of the mud and trails -- slippery, sticky, slimey, or even rice field-like-mud! On the first loop, I also almost fell down from my bike when I lost my balance on a rough downhill, when I was about to ascend in one of the uphills and lost the momentum, and in another downhill where I thought that the break was not gripping.

Messy bike at the transition

During second-loop, the course became more challenging as the trail was already much beat up! There were some muddy single tracks when our wheels are rolling but the bike is no longer moving, while some areas of the trail have already formed crevices, most specially on downhill parts due to slipping of the tires. I even almost fell on a bridge leading to a stream in one portion of a downhill with a deep crevice. This made me wonder if this kind of damage is just fine for a Forest reserve. Well, I think that the people managing La Mesa is regularly reconstructing the damaged parts of the trails after an event like this (I hope!).

I finished the bike course at less than three (3) hours, or around 1-hour and 25-mins for each 12.5-km loop -- almost similar to my average speed of running the same trail by foot! By this time, most of the elite and stronger participants are already well-rested at the finish line while we are still struggling and with another 3-km run to complete.

While inside the bike course, I realized some thoughtful things that are applicable not just on off-road biking, but also to our daily lives:

it's okay to push;
learn to plow thru the mud;
getting dirty is fun;
keep your balance;
when you fall, just stand up and move on.

The final leg of 3-km run was already a struggle to survive. My quads are now stiff and about to cramps already. I still managed to jog about a kilometer but walked most parts of the route. I finished the final 3-km run in 32-minutes -- just less than 7-minutes difference from my first leg's 6-km run. :)

Overall, the experience was great! It gave us a new kind of high within the compound of nature -- the fresh air and the muddy but definitely cleaner than the unseen litters of the streets.

Going home, I just rode my newly carwashed bike-washed ride, and while pedaling the length of Commonwealth avenue, the rain poured really hard. Since I was already stinking, I decided to just ride through the rain. It seemed that the rain was also travelling from Fairview to Diliman as upon entering Kalayaan Ave., the road was still a bit dry until the hard rain poured again. It stopped at the same time as I arrived home.

Pressurized bike wash at only Php 40.00
The full route, elevation (white lines) and pace. Click image for details.

When we keep staying on the same course for a long time, the experience no longer becomes exciting or fruitful. We become bored, unchallenged, and stagnant. But when we endeavor for a new challenge in whatever aspect of our life, the new knowledge, wisdom, and experience that we gain gives us a greater kind of bliss.

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Takbo.Ph 20-Miler

It's seldom that we have road races that offers a few kilometer less than a Marathon but more than a half-Marathon, more specifically the 32-km or 20-mile distance. It was only at the RunRio Trilogy events that the 32-km (known as the "Afroman distance" monicker) was included from the more common 3K, 5K, 10K, and 21K race categories.

But this time, Takbo.Ph - the Country's pioneer in online community for Runners, will be staging their very first Takbo.Ph 20-Miler event come next year. Since the distance is only 10-km short from a Marathon distance, this will be a perfect venue for your final tune-up if you have a scheduled 26.2 a week or two after the event. And, just like with the yearly Takbo.Ph Runfest, early registrants for this race also have the option to have their race bib personalized with their name.

Read on the details below:

Takbo.Ph 20-Miler 2015
18 January 2015 Sunday
Bonifacio Global City

Assembly and Gun-Time:
  • 20-Miler (32K) - TBD
  • 10-Miler (16K) - TBD
  • 10K - TBD
  • 5K - TBD

Distance Category and Registration Fees:
  • 5K - Php 700.00
  • 10K - Php 800.00
  • 10-Miler (16K) - Php 950.00
  • 20-Miler (32K) - Php 1,100.00

Registration Sites and Schedule:
*Early Registration: 01 Oct. 2014 - 30 Nov. 2014
**Regular Registration: 01 Dec. 2014 - 14 Jan. 2015
  • Online Registration via Takbo.Ph
  • In-Store Registration (Mall hours):
    1. Chris Sports Market! Market!
    2. Chris Sports SM Megamall
    3. Chris Sports SM North EDSA
    4. Chris Sports SM Mall of Asia
    5. Chris Sports Glorietta
    6. Chris Sports Festival
    7. 100-Miles Cafe - 28th St., Fort, Bonifacio Global City

*Personalized Race Bibs are available during the early registration period only. Race kit are not given yet when you register. There will be a race kit claiming from January 14-16 at 100 Miles Cafe. Details here.
**Race kits will be available upon registration. No need to claim during the race kit claiming schedule. Race bibs will no longer be personalized.

Event Jersey/Singlet Design
Click here for the sizing chart

Finisher's Tokens/Memorabilia
All finishers will receive their medal upon crossing the Finish line
10-Miler and 20-Miler finishers will get this finisher shirt

Route Map will be available soon.

You may also visit Takbo.Net for further race updates and other details.
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The Feast is On at Maginhawa

Fat Dads, Pretty Daughters
Looking for a place to unwind, shop for some souvenirs, get a face paint, jump around on inflatable balloons, or just shoot some zombies, find your way through the wire maze, get a free ice cream while playing at the tumbang preso booth, or just simply have a feast of different meals that will satisfy your palate and cravings -- all in one stretch of closed road? Then head on today at Maginhawa Street in Teacher's Village. You will find a variety of activity and restaurants to choose to fill your gut with the buy-1-take-1, unlimited shawarma, cup cakes, pizza, burgers, and street foods -- kikiam, bar-b-que, fishballs, etc.

So hurry up as the feast will end at 12 midnight!

The entrance coming from V.Luna Ext.
Happy kids chasing each other
Great Burger
Pizza in a Cone
Free Oishi Samples
Face painting
Mini-obstacle course for the kids

More photos snapped a while ago

Car shows

The vehicles that stood up among the rest

The activity is part of Quezon City's Diamond Jubiliee year (75th anniversary) celebration.

Aside from the Maginhawa stretch, other Quezon City roads are also closed to give way for each district's own celebration, check out the list here. While on the 29th of November this year, still part of QC's Jubilee celebration is the Quezon City International Marathon's Night Run which will start at 7:30 PM.
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A Little Vigorous Exercise Yields Big Fitness Gains

by: Dr. Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

If you want to get in shape, you will become far more fit in far less time if you include some vigorous exercise. A new study showed that one intense exercise session plus four relaxed sessions per week improves fitness almost three times more than five relaxed exercise sessions per week (J Sports Sci Med, September 2014;13(3):702-7).

Twenty nine sedentary and out-of-shape men and women, average age 36 years, started a 12-week treadmill and stationary bicycle exercise program. They were put into one of three groups:
  1. Low Intensity: Five days a week of 30 minutes of exercise at 45-60 percent oxygen consumption reserve.
  2. High Plus Low Intensity: Four days a week of the above program plus one session of high-intensity intervals: 8 to 12 repeats of 60 second efforts at 100 percent of their maximum oxygen capacity (VO2max), with a 2.5 minute recovery between each interval.
  3. No Exercise at all.
In just twelve weeks the High Plus Low Intensity group increased their VO2max (the best measure of fitness) by more than 10 percent over the No Exercise group, and 3.9 percent more than the Low-Intensity group.

Source: Fitness Empowered

Why Intense Exercise Makes You More Fit than Just Exercising

To strengthen a muscle, you have to exercise intensely enough to damage it and when it heals, it will be stronger. To have greater speed and endurance, you have to increase your ability to take in and use oxygen. You do this only with intense exercise. Whatever your level of fitness, short bouts of working at YOUR maximum will do more to make you stronger and faster than any amount of casual exercise. Athletes call these repeated short bouts of vigorous effort "Intervals".

Introducing Intervals in Your Exercise Program

Start out in your chosen activity by pedaling, walking or jogging at a slow pace for at least 10 minutes just to warm up. When you feel that your legs are ready, pick up the pace for 10 seconds and then slow down. It is irrelevant how long you take to recover for your next interval. Repeat these 10-second intervals until your legs start to feel heavy or hurt or you feel any discomfort whatever. Then quit for the day.

On the next day, you can go at a slow pace or take the day off if you are sore. The following day you can try intervals again provided that your legs feel fresh and are not sore. Repeat the 10 second intervals until your legs start to feel heavy or hurt. Continue this program of intervals and try to increase your intervals until you can sustain 30 seconds for each interval with any recovery time that feels comfortable to you. You will probably feel best with a 30-second interval followed by a one-to-two-minute recovery between each interval.

Source: NY Times

Doing intervals once a week will get you in great shape. You can do them more often but do not plan to do intervals more than every other day. Do not do intervals when your legs feel heavy or sore. Intense workouts when your muscles are sore markedly increase your chances of injuring yourself.

If You are Starting a New Exercise Program

If you have not exercised in a long time and are out-of-shape, or if you want to start a new sport, do what athletes call "Background before Peaking". Take it very easy on the first day; muscle soreness does not show up for several hours. Go out and pedal on your bike or walk or jog at a very slow and comfortable pace until your legs start to feel tired or hurt. Then stop, even if you have only done a few minutes. Do that every day until you can exercise at a slow relaxed pace for 30 minutes. Most people will take six weeks or more of this background work to be able to do 30 minutes consistently. Then you are ready to start your intervals.


If you are out of shape, or if you are a regular exerciser but have never tried to exercise intensely, check with your doctor to make sure that you do not have a medical condition that will be aggravated by vigorous exercise. Heart attacks during exercise often occur in people who are just starting to exercise, or are making a sudden increase in the intensity or duration of exercise.
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SunPiology Run 2014

Here's another exciting race coming on the Sunset of November 15, it will be celebrity- and adventure-filled event, an Indiana-jones themed with the four basic elements - earth, fire, wind, and water.

Just before the sunset, you will grace four (4) obstacles along the route hopefully elbow-to-elbow with your favorite stars such as Piolo Pascual and his co-Star Magic artists namely Jane Oineza, Ynna Asistio, Francis Magundayao, Trina Legaspi, CJ Novato, Jovit Baldivino, Markki stroemm, Igiboy Flores, former PBB all in housemates Aina Solano, Axel Torres, Fifth Solomon, Fourth Solomon, Joshua Garcia, Loisa Andalio, Manolo Pedrosa, Maris Racal, Nichole Barranda, Vickie Rushton, Rayver Cruz, Ejay Falcon, Joem Bascon, Jessy Mendiola, Matteo Guidicelli and many more surprise guests.

But don't worry about the obstacles as it will just be a mini-adventure even for small kids. The grass crawl within the 30th avenue signifies the earth element, flame-colored garter maze as the fire element, propeller fans for the wind, and finally the mist station near the finish line to cool you down will be for the water element.

Proceeds of the event will be for the funding of the scholars under Hebreo foundation of Piolo Pascual. Check out the race details below.

Event Name: SunPiology Run - An Adventure-Filled Run With The Stars
Date and Time: 15 November 2014 Saturday, 3:00 PM
Venue: 34th Street, Bonifacio Global City
Advocacy: Raise Funds for Hebreo Foundation and Star Magic Charities.

Assembly and Gun-time:
  1. 500m - 3:00 PM / 4:00 PM
  2. 10K - 4:00 PM / 5:00 PM
  3. 5K - 4:00 PM / 5:10 PM
  4. 3K - 4:00 PM / 5:20 PM
Distance Category and Registration Fees:
  • 500m - Php 350.00
  • 3K - Php 700.00
  • 5K - Php 800.00
  • 10K - Php 900.00
Registration Sites (Oct. 6 to Nov. 12, 2014):
  1. *Online via from Sep. 22 to Nov. 2, 2014 only.
  2. Runnr Store - B3, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City
  3. Toby's Sports - SM Mall of Asia; Robinson's Galleria; SM North EDSA The Block
*Additional Php 150.00 delivery/processing fee and Php 50.00 web admin fee will be for the registrant's account.

Event Jersey/Singlet Design:

Race Route Map:

Race Tokens/Memorabilia:

  • Singlet, Race Bib w/ B-tag, Raffle Stub
  • Registrants will receive Sun Life water bottle together with the race kits.
  • Loot bags with sponsors freebies, drinks, and Sun Life Towel.
  • All finishers will get a chance to win a "gem"/exciting raffle prizes.

For more information, you may or SunPiology Run's Facebook fanpage.
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