27 April 2009

Microsoft IE8 Run on May 31

Finally! A new race to look forward to.

The original race date (as seen above) was May 24, 2009 but since there were already 4 races lined up that same day, Microsoft decided to move theirs to May 31.

Which is perfect, so that runners don’t have to go crazy deciding which race to join. =)

The Microsoft IE8 run marks the launch of the new Internet Explorer 8 and is held for the benefit of UNICEF’s child protection program on online child safety (Yay!! More funds for children!). The intriguing thing about this run is that the race distances are in miles: 8 miles (12.8km), 4 miles (6.4km) and 2 miles (3.2km).

Technically I’ve done a training run of 12.8km already, but I don’t think I’m ready to join this race category. Will do a 4-miler instead.

To check how I’d fare in a 6.4km race, I ran this distance yesterday evening at Legaspi Park at 11:20 pm. Because it was late, I had the whole park to myself. There’s nothing so peaceful as running inside a park, having some “alone” quality time. My only companion at that time was a park security guard who probably thought I was such a weirdo for running at a late hour.

Achieved 6.4km in 41:04 minutes (6:25 min/km pacing) which is regular but could be better (I was aiming for 39 minutes). Will see in this Tuesday’s run how I’d fare.


Microsoft has some really good policies/whitepapers on computer privacy and online safety for children. With so many kids on the net these days, it’s important for parents/guardians to know what kind of risks children may encounter online and protect them from inappropriate content, malicious software, potential “child predators”, and even fraud.

To read more about Microsoft’s efforts in the areas of computer security, privacy and online safety, click here.

26 April 2009


I love my friends, who seem to find the best videos online. Got this from These Curious Days.

"Onwards" is this pretty little video made by illustrator James Jarvis in collaboration with Nike, and it wonderfully summarizes the joy of running.

My favorite parts in the video?
- running up those Escher-like staircases
- getting attacked by a crow (hahaha!)
- running at night and into the sunrise (what a really beautiful part)

Read James Jarvis' bio and was surprised to see this:
Jarvis is a keen runner, with P.B.s of 32:20 for 10k, 1:13:27 for the half marathon and 2:35:34 for the marathon.
Wow!!! The guy's amazing. When am I ever, ever going to have personal bests like those?

25 April 2009

Saturday 'bakbakan'

Tried out my new boxing gym this afternoon. Got home this Saturday morning at 2:30 am after a videoke and drinking spree with officemates, so I needed to get a lot of sleep first and remove the vodka from my system before boxing.

When I entered the gym, I saw that I was the only girl inside. All the other people working out were guys. I felt somewhat mortified. But I had to force all anxious thoughts to the back of my mind as I went through my warm-ups. I wasn't a newbie at boxing anyway, so I knew I'd be able to hold my own in front of all these men.

The moment my new trainer, Ryan, finished doing my hand wraps and placed my gloves on, he said briskly in Filipino, "Okay, let's see your punch." Then he raised his boxing mitt and shouted: "Jab!"

I like jabs, and I happen to do really well in jabs, so I gave my personal best. Ryan's eyebrows shot up and I could tell he was re-assessing my seemingly frail frame. "Good. Very good," he said approvingly. Then we proceeded with the usual boxing routine.

I noticed that he liked making me do double jabs and several hook-straight-jabs in succession which are easy-peasy and basic. So I relaxed a bit and enjoyed myself in this first round with my new boxing trainer. He was grinning appreciatively as I threw punches as hard as I could, and I laughed at his facial expression (in between punches, of course).

I was worried about adjusting to a new trainer after Kuya Mong, and I was hoping that I'd get along well with the new guy. Otherwise, boxing would be poor fun, right? At least Ryan and I hit it off right away, which is important.

So that I could have a "breather", he made me work on the punching bag for awhile while he attended to another guy. And when he went back, he said, "Okay, magbakbakan na tayo! Punch your hardest. Easy round yung kanina!"


I knew it. I knew he'd give me a harder time once he had assessed my capabilities. I said, 'Um, wag masyadong 'bakbakan', ha. I'm running pa tomorrow." (I told him earlier that I run 5ks and 10ks to keep fit. And weird enough, he said he was surprised I could run those distances. Maybe I've been running long enough to consider 5km as standard and 10km an achievable distance, but others still think these are long distances, when they're actually not that long. I hope I reach the point when 15km is ordinary and attainable for me already.)

Anyway. Ryan seemed to think my training run tomorrow was a poor excuse to keep me from overexerting myself in today's session. He put me in the ring and said, "If you can run 10k, you can give me 2 minutes of sparring. Now!"

Oh God.

It was light sparring (with me doing more of the punching and Ryan bobbing and weaving here and there), but because I don't box to compete, I was deathly afraid I'd be injuring my knuckles or other parts of my body. I think that Ryan was again checking out my boxing form and the quality of my punches to see the areas I should be improving on, so I tried my best even if I felt like dropping my fists down to my sides.

The agony should have been over after two minutes, but when the bell sounded, my trainer had more in store for me. He held up both boxing mitts and said, "Punch as many and as fast as you can. In 1 minute. Go!"

Wtf. Continuous jab-straight-jab-straights weren't my favorite because that particular exercise always made me feel a little silly, with me punching away frantically and looking like some demented nursery toy. But because my trainer said so...

Sweat was trickling down my face (esp. down the bridge of my nose) as I punched for, like, forever. And to get me all riled up and continue punching, Ryan was shouting, "C'mon, 10k girl, lakasan mo yung punch mo!" He looked completely possessed.

"I don't...do...10ks...all the time...!" I gasped in between punches. This guy was probably thinking kinakareer ko ang 10k, when in reality, I consider myself lucky to be standing after every 10km race.

Somewhere in the 40 to 45-second mark, I was plaintively yelling out, "Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrgghh! Ayoko na!" And Ryan, all energized and aglow with the rosy flush of his darned youth, was bellowing, "Anong 'ayoko na'?? Tapusin mo 'to!!"

He sounded so angry, I could have gone down on the floor and do 50 push-ups if he had ordered me to do so. So, obviously, I didn't want to cross him at that point. And like a true boxing trainer, Ryan had a self-satisfied smile on his face as I threw my last punch with a pained grunt when the one minute was up. I had followed his instructions to a T.

Yup, I can tell Ryan and I are going to get along. Seriously.

When the main boxing session was over and he told me to do 250 ab crunches, I didn't even blink an eye. What's it with trainers and their ability to hypnotize people into following each and every instruction?

My painful efforts were finally rewarded when I did my cool-downs and Ryan gave me a quick sports massage. Aaahh.

Will box again this Monday. So far, this new phase in my boxing is turning out well. I just hope I can keep up with my new trainer.


Good thing my new gym is just a walk away from my office. In the event I can't run because of the rain, I can always resort to an indoor boxing workout.

Talk about a real damper. The rain we've encountered these past few summer days is ludicrous. It's the kind of rainfall one encounters in June or July. We've screwed up Mother Earth so much that we're getting heavy rainfall in the summer.

I was able to run 5.5km last Tuesday but it was drizzling at that time. I was actually thankful that I could run in the light rain, because on the days before that, it was quite impossible to run outdoors. Thursday saw heavy rain (chubby rain!), so I had to shelve the idea of running again. I was dead tired anyway that night and slept early, so I didn't really mind skipping a run.

Tonight, I went out to get coffee and looked up despairingly. It was raining again. Here's hoping tomorrow's skies will be clear. Must run at least 6.4km.

19 April 2009

Week 2 Training: Long Run

The results of tonight's training run? Nada. Zero.


It started raining hard just as I was about to step out of the door for my run. Needless to say, I was pissed off. I had already mentally prepped myself to go for a long slow run tonight (7k? 8k?) after reading all those excitement-inducing articles on tomorrow's Boston Marathon.

So to amuse myself tonight, I settled for watching episodes 6 & 7 of Joss Whedon's latest TV project, Dollhouse (I'm kinda late in the game here; the others have already seen up to episode 9, I think, and I'm still on 7. And Chris was so kind to make a spoiler announcement while we were all playing poker in Neva's place on Good Friday, damnit.)

Glad things are picking up on this show, although now it seems that it's on shaky ground and might be cancelled (?) just like the beloved Firefly. Hopefully not.

18 April 2009

sports in the summer

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just being too hard on myself.

Last Thursday, Love Grace and I went running again in Legaspi Park. Love did her usual run-walk-run-walk regimen while I was psyching myself up to run somewhere between 5km to 8km. I didn't bother to follow what the SmartCoach program wanted me to do that night, which was speedwork. Forget that.

So just to sort of compensate for my flagrant disregard of intervals, I was trying to muster the energy to run over 5km. But the summer heat that night was stifling; I couldn't feel any breeze while I was running, and as such, I felt claustrophic and unable to breathe properly. Summer can suck at times, really. I ran only 5k that Thursday evening, clocking in at 30:28 (6.1 min/km).

Some people would be okay with that, but I guess I'm just so hard on myself. Did my cool-downs wearing a somewhat dissatisfied expression on my face. Although when I was stretching, I was wincing at the usual soreness in my right shin. Even Love noticed I was limping a little. So, actually, I did right to stop at 5km.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I'm supposed to do a long run. Hmm. Will see how far I can go. The humidity is so terrible these days that the prospect of running on a treadmill inside an airconditioned gym sounds appealing. But then I think of that one-armed lolo elite runner (who looks like he's in his 60s and whom I see in some of the races) and then those Bataan Death March 102km ultramarathon runners--and I feel wimpy and idiotic for even considering running inside a gym with A/C. Silly me. Running outdoors is still the real thing.


I'm considering transferring to a new boxing gym starting this May. Checked one out in the Salcedo Village area this afternoon, and the best thing about it is that it's just a 10-minute walk away from the office. It's nearer to my place of work and residence, and thus, more convenient. While I'll certainly miss my old trainer, Mong, I need to check out other boxing gyms that are geographically more feasible for me, given my working hours. And if I'm not happy with the new one, I can always go back to Elorde.

The first thing I noticed when I stepped inside this new place was the "old school boxing" gym look and feel to it (similar to Elorde). No A/C, no fancy lounge and locker room areas with complimentary toiletries. Just the bare essentials: boxing ring, punching bags, speed ball, wooden floors, standard weights and a no-frills shower area. I love it. My idea of a real workout place.

The gym has the same training program as Elorde's (so I should feel at home, hopefully) and also offers boxing bag aero group exercise, which should be interesting. This one-hour workout combines traditional boxing strikes and punches with Muay Thai moves and cardio aerobics, and I'm actually kind of excited to try it. But until I actually sign up and finalize my boxing regimen this summer, I won't be posting updates on boxing in the meantime.


My two younger sisters, Karla and Steffi, are resuming their tennis lessons this summer. I'm happy for them but at the same time, I don't envy the sport they're in. I hate playing under the heat of the sun. It gives me migraine.

Anyway, I consider all three of us girls lucky because we've always been on the thin side--and hopefully will continue to be until we're geriatrics. Nothing scares me more than a sedentary lifestyle.

15 April 2009

more running buddies

Summer's getting to be a real bitch. Since I live 10-15 minutes away from work, I usually walk to the office. Those 10-15 minutes are becoming quite torturous, with the summer sun beating down on you. I go to work in my Havaianas now, and just put on my heels when I reach my workplace.

Today, I was wearing jeans and a thin white blouse and I was still sweating despite the office airconditioning. Lord.

Went running last Friday with Neva, Kline and their friend Sandy in Legaspi Park. I was supposed to do a 4.8k tempo run with a 1.6k warm-up and 1.6k cool down. But because it was just so effing hot and I hadn't fully digested my hungarian sausage w/ egg sandwich and coffee, my body felt heavy and so, so very hot (literally).

Ran a total of 4.36k only but at a 5.8 min/k pace, which was nice. However, I ran faster than I should have, and the entire training run left me very breathless. Not good actually. So not good. I should learn to pace myself better and be more patient. Neva did 10 rounds of 1-minute running & 2-minute walking, and was in good shape. Sandy, a karate instructor, served as Kline's pace runner. Poor Kline. For someone who hasn't joined a single 5k or 10k race, Sandy was in great shape and a natural in running.

Tonight, I had a laugh trip of a dinner with Love, Randy and Earl before my usual run. Love wanted to take up running and so we planned to run in Legaspi Park 8 or 9pm-ish. But with Randy as your dinner companion, it's impossible to end dinner early.

Love and I ended up running in the park at 10:30 pm. Mike joined us as well, so it was nice to have another running buddy.

Tonight's program stated that I should be doing a 3.2k easy run at a 7:31 min/k pace. Since I merely use the SmartCoach program as a rough guide, I decided to run longer than 3.2k tonight. So I ended up with 5k, clocking at 29:28. And at a 5.9 min/k pace. Sheht. Takbo na may konting yabang na. Although to tell you the truth, I really, really, REALLY still feel slow, because I average 132 steps per minute. The calibrations are all correct now, but I'm careful not to feel so elated over my improved pace. The true measurement anyway of improved running performance is always race day.

Randy's joining us on Thursday for the usual regular practice run in Legaspi Park. More sweat, more muscle soreness, and more running buddies!

10 April 2009

2nd training program

For a month or so, this will be my running program according to SmartCoach (until I get a real, live coach like Rio Dela Cruz to make a custom program for me). It's hardly anything new; I just keyed in my last training run results so I could learn to run at a faster pace.
No particularly exciting races at this point, so this is just maintenance running for me. I seem to do okay for 5k, so I'll work harder to make my 10k runs not as painful, harhar.

So, basically, here's what the program means in Metric standards:

Easy Runs
2mi = 3.2km
12:06 pace/mi = 7:31 pace/km

Tempo Runs (Weeks 1, 3 & 5)
1.6km warm-up
1.6km cool-down
3mi = 4.83km
10:27 pace/mi = 6:30 pace/km

Long Runs (Weeks 1 & 2)
6mi = 9.7km
12:06 pace/mi = 7:31 pace/km

Tempo Run (Week 4)
1.6km warm-up
1.6km cool-down
4mi = 6.44km
10:33 pace/mi = 6:34 pace/km

Long Runs (Weeks 3 & 4)
7mi = 11.3km
12:06 pace/mi = 7:31 pace/km

Again, not too over the top. The long run pacing prescribed in this program is pretty realistic, considering that my 10k Condura Run pace was better.

BUT, I'm not a big fan of intervals. 4:41 per 800 meters is not something I'm looking forward to. I'd like to skip it altogether, if I may.

Since I wasn't able to run yesterday (Week 1 Thursday Tempo Run), I'll be running this evening. With Neva and Kline. Yay! And then poker at 8pm with the usual suspects. Double yay!

09 April 2009

quiet Thursday morning

I wasn't expecting Maundy Thursday to be this quiet. Went to Greenbelt, hoping to have breakfast at Flapjacks with A and do some last-minute shopping afterwards.

When we got there, lo and behold, Flapjacks was not yet open at 10 something in the morning, and all the stores were completely closed for the next few days. The hell. I thought this sort of thing only happened on Good Friday, considering how Filipinos are such mall rats.

It was a toss-up between Italianni's and Chili's (the only two restos open at that time), so we opted for the latter.

And being the devout coffee patron that I was, I made sure to get the Holy Week schedule of the Starbucks branches near my place. Starbucks The Columns is open today (Maundy Thursday) while the People Support branch will be open on Good Friday, 6 am onwards. We have come a long way from those it's-so-quiet-I'll-go-out-of-my-mind Good Fridays when everything was closed except 7-Eleven.

As you can see, coffee is not on my list of things to abstain from this Holy Week.


I am sitting inside Starbucks right now, typing this entry and trying not to wince at the sight of so many people entering the store to have their own coffee fix as well.

Currently reading Margaret Atwood's Booker Prize-winning The Blind Assassin, and I'm feeling slightly annoyed at myself for reading it only now. As I love novels that have a story-within-a-story structure, The Blind Assassin is my kind of book. It manages to be exciting and complex with a satisfying mix of world-weariness and irreverence without being sensational (whew, so many adjectives there, I realize). An easy read enough, and comes well recommended--so far (since I'm only halfway through the book). This is my first time to try Atwood, and I definitely plan to read her other books after Assassin.


In the spirit of Holy Week traditions, my friends and I will be having poker (and board games!) tonight. Which will involve the hefty sum of 20 pesos per buy-in. Gamblers! Pagans! Infidels! Cheapskates!

So far, it's turning out to be a most relaxing Holy Week.

06 April 2009

serious running this April

It's stories like this that inspire me to run a marathon someday. Someday!

Goes to show that one is never too old to run a 42K race. My elder sister resides in Boston, and I am so envious that she'll be able to watch THE Boston Marathon, which will be held on April 20, 2009. There will be qualified runners from the Philippines, like the Carpo sisters, joining this race, and it's definitely something to be proud about.

We also have our own version of the Boston Marathon right now: the 1st Bataan Death March Tribute 102K Ultramarathon Race, which started today at 1:00 am.

Oh my God. 102K is so unfathomable for me at this point. Talk about a real DEATH MARCH. Starting line is at Mariveles, Bataan and the Finish line will be at San Fernando, Pampanga. 82 runners in total. They will be running in the dark at the early part of the race (and as such, will have to wear reflectorized running gear and are encouraged to wear headlights or bring small flashlights. But the scary part here isn't the dark--it's the heat of the sun actually). What they're embarking on is beyond inspiring!

Good luck to all Bataan 102K Ultramarathon runners! Wish I could be there at the finish line to see them. It must be incredible, really.

05 April 2009

new training PR

After 2 weeks of not running, I decided my legs and ankles had a long enough break and I finally ran again tonight.

It really helps to rest one's body thoroughly. My muscles (or whatever was physically hurting) had time to heal, and I also had more time to do other stuff--like backing up my mac files, finishing a book, editing a short video for a colleague's retirement party, watching some DVDs, running errands, and, heck, even seeing the new Fast & Furious movie.

Of course, in terms of work, I also had to attend to two important direct mail campaigns that are going out this month, as well as help out in our team's latest fundraising event, the Beautiful Children Concert. (Hooray for this last one, because it was so well-attended, and Gary V. was great as usual, and hopefully we raised lots of money.)

So all in all, the 2 weeks were busy for me.

Although I was feeling a little blah tonight, I was thinking, what the heck, I'll run. Just 3K to re-condition my body. And to ensure that I would be able to correctly log my run tonight, I adjusted my watch's distance calibration to align it with that of Condura Run (which had a fairly accurate distance, according to Garmin-sporting runners who were in that event themselves). In a previous post, I had mentioned that my watch was incorrectly calibrated all this time; I've been running more than what was logged in my Timex Ironman. I should have ensured that I calibrated it properly before. My watch was logging, say for example, 5K in previous runs--and I was actually running 6.3K! Jesus.

So for tonight's training run in Legaspi Park, I made sure to compute and calibrate correctly. The first 2 kilometers were a breeze, and it felt really, really good to run again. I was running amazingly faster than usual, I wasn't feeling tired or sore, and because I was in such high spirits, I decided to go for 5K instead of 3K.

Somewhere in the 2.5K mark, I only noticed that there were two guys running behind me. In between songs playing on my iPod, I could hear them slightly huffing and puffing, keeping to a steady pace. Proud idiot that I was, I didn't want to give way and let them overtake me. So I kept to my pace, which I could feel was better than ever but left me slightly out of breath. Now I totally understand what my friend meant about not wanting to stop or go slower than the men in her running group because she didn't want to give them an excuse to think, "Ah, babae lang kasi." To hell with that, right? =) I didn't want to slow down and allow them to overtake me, and I'm sure the guys who were literally two steps behind me felt pressured to keep up.

So there they were, practically breathing down my neck, and it took all of my pride and sheer will power not to slow down. And then "Stealing Fat" by The Dust Brothers started playing on my iPod, and I knew at that moment I could outdistance them. There's a great part on this track with a very high BPM, and it has actually helped in making me speed up for a good 3 minutes. Not kidding.

Basically, I did speed up and left them behind somewhere. =)

And the best part is, I have a new training personal record (PR)! I finished 5K in 30:23 (or a pace of 6:08 min/km). Hooray!

This time, no incorrect calibration. This was the real thing. Of course, I could sense that I ran harder tonight than the usual because my "running muscles" were well-rested. So that helped a lot, in my opinion. And the fact that there were two men "pressuring" me from behind helped improve my run tonight. Hahaha!

Will see my progress in the next couple of training runs. I tend to get really sore in the ankle area; the soreness slows down my pace and makes my run suffer in general. So I'll have to take that into consideration. But for as long as I can keep to a 6 to 6.5-minute pacing without injuring myself, I have a lot to be grateful for.

Brangelina in Boracay!

This would be one of those times I'd wish I had my old PR job back--just so I could grab a free ticket to Boracay courtesy of SEAIR (my former client) and catch a glimpse of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Rumor has it that they're staying at the new Shangri-la resort in Boracay. I wonder if they will be staying the entire Holy Week (which is a nightmare, if you ask me. Boracay is so crowded during the Holy Week, the place is simply a sinking island waiting to happen.)

According to Ivan Henares, the couple chartered SEAIR's Dornier Do-24 ATT seaplane to get there. Hooray for SEAIR and the Do-24 ATT! I have a special love for that seaplane. It was my biggest SEAIR project ever, and it happened to be like my sort of entry point into landing a job in UNICEF.
This restored Do-24 ATT went on a world tour last 2004 to raise funds for UNICEF Philippines' programs on education, protection and awareness, and we were able to raise on the first leg alone USD 61,000 for UNICEF.

Now I'm on the other side of the fence--still raising funds. =)

Somebody please post photos of Brangelina in Bora!!! I will live vicariously through those photos.