Thursday, May 17, 2012


Mothers are ANYWAY friends. 
An anyway friend is the one person in your life who, no matter what they say or do, no matter what they’ve been through with you, they love you anyway”
My mother dabbles around watching over our family business, cooperative and spend so much time at the church.  So if you're wondering where I got my tendency to multi-task, it's from my mother.  If I had spent just half a lifetime with my father, it was my mother who was the consistent presence.  Whenever I have friends around in Baguio, she used to tell embarrassing trivial things about me until I did get used to it and just say, that's what mom's are for.  She's overly proud of me that you get to hear people mention how often I travel and various stuffs as said by my mother.  I guess that's how moms are, they love to talk about their kids non-stop and they'll always be there whether you're on the top or bottom of the world.
Super is just one word that we associate moms.  I have aunts, friends, colleagues that are moms and in whatever walk of life they are in, there's one thing constant, they are all proud of their kids. Each tiny steps and each new milestones are theirs to cherish.  I have so much respect to moms whether they work and dabble things at home or they go the full time mom routine because they choose to be a mother.  Motherhood is not only a choice but an instinct and even how messed up things are, they'll be there to clean things up because that's what they represent.  They are our north star.  Whenever we are lost, we just retreat back to them and somehow, they'll tell us, everything will be alright and it would be the thing that will matter.
My mom is in a pamper herself mode already and who can blame her.  She did have a full life of responsibility.  It's not an easy task being a mom and from the bottom of my heart, I am greeting my mom and all the moms out there (including my aunts, friends and colleagues) a happy mother's day.

Discovering Duathlon


When you slowly pile up the milestones in running, you get to ask yourself what's next?  Will I run longer or go the ultra route or will I try multisports?  I somehow ended up choosing multisports and I am at the start of doing duathlons having my first one last March.  It was a long drawn decision as it does take a bit of financial investment to start up with a good bike. Once you get used to your bike or cross your first finish line, it gets quite addictive.  Cycling is fun but it does take a deal of hard work as my 3 times a week run training has now become 6 times a week to incorporate the bike part.  To this date, I'm still trying to learn how to balance the increased training mileage but so far I've been finding ways.  I still have a long way to go in duathlon but I'm really enjoying the process and part of that is attending duathlon clinics.

Discovering Duathlons

Coach Andy Leuterio of Alpha Training Systems conducted a discovering duathlon clinic at Bonifacio High Street powered by Newton, Fitness First, Runr, Specialized and others.  Since Total Fitness was an event partner, Team Total Fitness came in full force for the event which also served as the team's group training session for the week.  The event was packed with all registration slots taken.   Toby Claudio of Toby's and Runnr opened the event and Coach Andy provided a brief introduction about duathlons as well as conducted the whole session. It also includes a talk about bike by Specialized, bike fitting and some words from Mark Ellis of Fitness First. Then it was time to bring in the Suffferfest.

The Sufferfest

Not to be a glutton for punishment but it's how far you push yourself in sport that makes you a better athlete.  Sufferfest is a series of cycling videos designed to simulate actual bike workout which is a better alternative than just spinning.  It brings you to sprints, to mountains and to actual race situations wherein you apply different approaches in your speed, resistance and cadence.  It does help you build up speed, power and endurance even when you are indoors.  Sufferfest was the video all throughout the workout.

Bike - Run - Bike - Run - Bike

The duathlon clinic had an approach of doing a bike simulation for the first 10 minutes and then run a full lap at high street then another 18 to 20 minutes bike simulations and run another lap at high street before going for a final sprint and cool down in the bike leg.  Above anything else, the workout helps you experiencing the transition phase wherein you shift from bike to run and run to bike.  I did learn some valuable lessons  in approaching the transition phase.  It was not easy to run from biking as you're legs are a bit wobbly but basically I used the run splits to find the right stride that can endure despite fatigue in the quads.  It was a series of hits and misses but I did learn a lot from the duathlon clinic.

Duathlon Discovered

This also serves as a training for the upcoming duathlon come May 27 and by the amount of participants it seems that more people have discovered duathlons.  It was also a good experience for those who have yet to own a bike as Fitness First lent some spin bikes to be used by the participants.  Event participants had a series of freebies which includes a Newton Singlet and Specialized water bottle among others.  There was also a raffle to cap the event.  Another good news from this event was that there will be more sessions like this in the future.  So be on the look out for another chance to discover duathlon.

More Photos Here

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A Behind the Scene Look at SuBIT

Even as I've triathlete teammates, this year's edition of Subic International Triathlon was the first tri-event I was able to watch.  Since most events are out of town, it does take much time and effort to go out of your training schedule and weekend activities to get a chance to watch it.  This year, I made it a point to watch SuBIT and take a glimpse on what it would feel like in an actual triathlon event.  Of course, a triathlon event does not begin at gun start.  It start on the first day of training or even when you start conditioning your mind on joining the event.
Dungaree Beach
Dungaree Beach
Dungaree Beach is the site of the swim leg wherein the triathletes would have to do two loops of 750 meters open water swim.  A day before the actual standard distance event, triathletes were here testing out the waters.  The waves are a bit strong by the time we were there at noon time.  It was also a chance to relax and spend time with family and friends before the big race the following day.
Bike Recon Mission
I joined Jeff late in the afternoon for an easy ride around Subic just to test the course and there's something about Subic that makes riding a bike more fun and relaxing.  It's the scenery and the not so crowded traffic in the area.  Since we were just squeezing the bike rides between activities at SuBIT, it was just a short one though I definitely would have wanted to bike some more.  I'm still drawn by the thought that it would have been fun to bike from Waterfront Road to Dungaree on race day as the roads were closed for cars. It's gonna be 40K for the participants on this course for the bike leg of SuBIT
A Carbo-loading event is a common pre-race ritual.  Part of the SuBIT registration was a buffet dinner after the briefing on the race course and the event.  We had our dinner at Jerry's Grill in Waterfront Road. Of course, it's early bed time for those joining the event the next day.
The Main Event
It was exciting to watch an actual triathlon event from the time the participant test the course, to the time they hit the water and the time they take in their dose of carbohydrates and do their final stretches. These are the things that happen even before an athlete steps into the starting line.  The swim had the athletes go in waves spaced 15 minutes apart wherein they have do two loops of 750 meter open water swim.  Then they transition to a very tough bike course wherein they have to undergo 40 kilometer Subic's rolling and at times hilly terrain before the go on the a 10 km run leg covering 4 loops around Waterfront Road and Dewey Avenue and an additional several hundred meters to the finish line.
The Swim leg was properly spaced wherein the 15 minute difference meant that each new wave would be about a lap apart thus not overcrowding the swim area.  Seeing familiar faces navigate the swim leg was a nice sight to watch and some would have different strategies.  Some would go all out in the swim leg while some would reserve their energy for the longer bike and run leg.  Some would rest in between laps while some would always be on the go.
The bike leg was a 40K challenge with a very tough bike route around Subic since there were hilly portions of the course.  I guess this is where the contenders broke away from the challengers.  Heat was also a factor at this part especially for the last wave to be launched at the swim leg which is the 30-39 age category.
The triathletes were slowly piling up in the run course with the earlier waves starting to go over the run course a 10K run with the Subic Bay ocean view in Waterfront Road and Dewey Avenue where supporters of the participants were packed cheering for them.   At each time during the four loops, there would be new faces who just completed their bike leg and using whatever is left for one final push to the finish line.
Behind the Scene

I was on photographer duties (photos here) this time around while watching the event.  It was great watching a triathlon event.  It was great to see Team Total Fitness and my triathlon friends had a great performance for the event and excellent debut race for Season 2.  It did remind me of my own journey into multisports that started from running to duathlon and maybe... just maybe triathlon.  For that part, I should be back to my race preparations for my own duathlon event.  I have a long way to go yet in duathlon but it's gonna be an enjoyable one.  I never was one to rush my milestone in multisport but I'm always there to enjoy the process and another lesson I did remember in this exercise... chasing PR makes running, duathlon and triathlon a lifestyle and not just a fad.
So I'm now back to chasing my own PRs.  Back to the training grounds.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Lazy Month of May

Lazy May
My personal history dictates that May is my laziest month of the year.   Working my first few years in an audit firm, May is the start of the slack season wherein you can forget about your accounts (tentative or not) and look forward to your cluster or market circle outing.  The remaining years of my work life spent in a multinational company wherein AGM is done at end of April and May is slack season again.  May to me is an adventure month wherein I'm more of a jetsetter or a travel-a-holic more than anything else.  I can chronicle so much adventure at this time of the year.  There was a time wherein I spent barely a week working with me jetting off to Singapore, Australia and Cambodia and having an Anawangin Adventure, Palawan and Tagaytay trip in between.  Then there's those frequent travels to Hong Kong or ticking off most of the domestic destination at this time.  Nothing spells May to me like V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N.
Strictly Singapore
Ended April and Started May with a quick swing to Singapore for this year's AGM.  I always say that the development is so fast in Singapore that every year you end up visiting a new attraction but this time I just took time to be with friends.  First day was spent with Sharon and Yohannce.  It's just this time of the year that I get to see Sharon which was a change from our frequent dinners before when she was still in Philippines.  The next day was spent with Mascy's niece, Maki who's such a smart and cute kid.  I love playing with Maki as she's just so amusing to watch with all her talents and endless tales.  Next stop was AGM which was an animated one compared to the routine one we had in the previous years.  Last day was spent doing a run in Singapore's warm morning and meeting up with another friend Warna.  I guess when you come visit the place so ofter it's the people you get to meet again you look forward to more than the place.
Sporty Side
  • Subit - I'm off to Subic for the weekend to watch the Subic International Triathlon and support Team Total Fitness.  Of course, I'll also take time for a two hour bike ride around Subic's scenery while the rest of the team do their last minute race preparations.  It's gonna be fun watching a triathlon event for the first time.  It was late last year, when I watched a duathlon event and ended up competing in one on the next leg.  The tri event might take more time though as I've been raised in the mountains of Baguio and have no idea hot to swim but who knows, I never even saw myself running just a few years ago.
  • Caylabne - I'll be attending a multi-sport camp at Caylabne on the 19th. It's gonna be a solid brick training to prepare me for powerade duathlon.  It should be a nice change of environment and interesting test of strength and endurance.  This should be fun.
  • Powerade Duathlon - By the 27th, it's gonna be my second duathlon and a chance to improve my time in 6K run, 30K bike and a 3K finish at a different venue.  I hope to be able to build some steam coming into this event even though this month has a lot of side events and disruptions.   Time to cease my lazy ways and train and work harder.
Bakasyonista Side
  • Las Casas - It's gonna be a unique experience as I try to sneak in a day to visit Las Casas in Bataan.  I have seen pictures of this place and heard some great feedback so time to check it out.
  • Back to Bohol - I'm going back to Bohol with SGV friends from the 11th to the 13th.  There's been a lot of changes in Bohol since my last visit in 2009 and since I'm thinking of doing half marathon distance in Bohol Marathon then it should be a good way to assess the course.  Other than that, it's gonna be great hanging out with old friends and just having a vacation.
Packed Month of May
I guess I have a packed month of May to look forward to and given that with a heavy travel schedule I have to squeeze in more quality training time so even if I'm struggling a bit as of late, It's all systems go!

Team Total Fitness: New Beginnings

Changes is the Only Thing Constant
Six months ago, we started a journey together. 14 different individuals bonded by their love for fitness, for running and for multi sports.  We came, we saw and we conquered.  Even at how splendid the last six months, change has come.  New members are coming, new sponsors are coming in and new uniforms about to be unveiled.  Change is the only thing constant and we are welcoming change to shake things up a bit.  It's season 2, we are now bigger, we are now bolder and this is our new beginning.
Team Totall Fitness Version 2
When the Old meets the New
Pioneer Members
  • Ferdz Capco, Triathlete
  • PJ Cendana, Triathlete
  • Moby De Jesus, Traithlete
  • Charles Dino, Ultramarathoner, Duathlete
  • James Orlanda, Runner
  • Rojan Pajarin, Runner
  • Jeffrey Pineda, Triathlete
  • Franc Ramon, Duathlete
New Members
  • Mike Acebedo, Triathlete
  • Daisy Mae Castaneda, Aqualete
  • Joan Sebastian, Triathlete
  • JR Sebastian, Triathlete
The Events
Photoshoot & Video Shoot
As in season 1, the first encounter of the pioneer members and the new once was through a photoshoot for the redebut of the team for the May issue of Total Fitness.  We also had a video shoot at the Ultra for the video to introduce the team.
Contract Signing, Brooks Distribution and Courtesy Call to Nike Vision

Next in line was a three in one event where we had our contract signing, courtesy call to Nike Vision and distribution of Brooks shoes.  Brooks would be the official shoes and Nike Vision would be the Official Eyewear of the Team.
  • And the rest of our sponsors
We're proud to announce that aside from Brooks and Nike Vision, we'd be working with the following sponsors.  Immvit for our nutritional supplements, CEP for our compression support, Dermplus for sun protection, Magnolia Purewater for hydration, Polar for our timing needs, TYR for our swimming needs, The Brick Multi sport store for our bike maintenance needs, Moving comfort for fitness tops for female members, TRX / finix who would be providing bi-monthly TRX Training and Andy Leuterio of Alpha Training Systems who would be conducting our trainings for the rest of the season.
New Beginnings
It's a new beginning.  We are now better and bolder.  Join us as we create a new chapter in our story and watch up for the debut feature of the Team Total Fitness Season 2 at the May issue of Total Fitness Magazine.
Come follow us as our story unfolds again.
Feel free to share this post and the video.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Team Total Fitness: A Season After

New Kids No More
Time does move so fast when you are having a great time.  It just seem like yesterday that the team were just  a group of strangers bundled together in a photo shoot for the Team's feature launch in Total Fitness magazines.  The new kids in running and multisport block (read here) we were back then as we came in full force in our debut race in Adidas KOTR with most conquering new distances and the rest conquering new personal records.  Of course, that says the story from in the beginning and here's to look back at the first full season before we became new kids... no more.
Race... Race... and more Races
One of the basic tenets of a team is that you have to establish presence and with that the Team was active in the running and multi sport scene with a racing load of about 2-3 races in a month.
  • We've raced in the rain in the Anvaya Cove Triathlon, Energizer Night Run and New Balance Power Run on our first full weekend racing.
  • We've had a crampsfest in Powerade on a full duathlon distance.
  • We've conquered 400 meters of elevation of Tagaytay Highlands in Nathan ridge run.
  • We've raced in the country's largest highway in Quezon City International Marathon.
  • We've tested our limits against the uphill trails and terrains at Corregidor International Marathon.
  • We've welcomed 2012 in back to back races with Run for Pinoy Glory and PSE Bull Run.
  • We've took on the scenic yet challenging Subic International Marathon.
  • We've conquered the skyway and the country's first midnight marathon in Condura Skyway Marathon.
  • We've opened our triathlon season at Speedo National Age Group Triathlon.
  • We've run the extra mile with Rogin-E's last man running.
  • We've started 2012 duathlon season with Powerade duathlon in Filinvest.
  • We've conquered the Tagaytay Highlands trails at Salomon trail run.
  • We've survived a zombie infestation in Outbreak Manila.
  • We've coasted on the fine white Boracay Sands in Skaython.
  •  We've gone the long course in TNF100.
Training Time
Total Fitness is the brand we represent and most of all it's the lifestyle that we live.  We do take our training seriously as we have a day to run as a group in either an all-out effort interval session, a core and run combination workout or a long and tough hill run.  There's also our long runs and long rides on weekends wherein we at times workout as a group.  Every start of the week just means you have a new program to complete where you start logging the required swim, bike and run mileage.  At the start, it gets difficult to comply with but as the season went on you get to find ways in squeezing the needed workouts while trying to balance the other stuff in your life.  After all, Total Fitness does mean being fit mind, body and soul.
We also have triathlon camps conducted by Coach Andy Leuterio wherein we get to have an actual brick workout which usually combines a swim session, a long and tough hill ride and a run workout.  This aim to simulate actual triathlon and duathlon events improving the team's endurance and transitioning from one discipline to another.
And the Fun Times
Before you get the impression that Team Total Fitness is all work-out and no play, we do also meet socially just to have time to bond over a good meal or a round of drinks.  It also does take longer to leave our training grounds now as we do have a lot of stories and experiences to share as a group.  We also just don't swim, bike and run, we also write.  Total Fitness was kind enough to include us in their writing pool and some of us had the opportunity to see our actual by-lines and photos in the magazine.  The Team also enjoyed full coverage from the magazine during the whole duration of the season.  Of course, part of the fun is having supportive sponsors (Total Fitness, Oakley, ON Cloudrunners, Brooks Apparel, Polar, Cep, i-pure, Chris Sports, Honey Stinger, Dermplus,  Epic Triathlon and Cycling Wear, Moving Comfort and 100 plus) were all the way to support us and we are all grateful for all the support.
Better and Bolder
In just a few days, it's gonna be a whole new season.  New team mates, new sponsors and new challenges.  We're definitely better and bolder... Stay Tuned!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dear Papa

Sequel to Half a Life Time Ago.
 April 15, 2012

Dear Papa,

Looking back at the fateful day of April 15, 1994... What if things would have ended differently???  Instead of the heart-breaking news that came. It was you that came home with your usual warm and funny personality.  What if to this day, you were there to guide us and see how we grew up and became successful professionals.
18 years could have made a world of difference.  Let me start with the last thing you taught me.  The last thing you taught me was how to shave my facial hairs.  My high school self has adopted your genetic structure in terms of facial hair and am starting to grow a beard and that is when I had my first shave.  I need to relearn that as I now tend to go most of the time with the bad-boy unshaven look.
I think one of the daddy duties that would have easily been taught back then was driving a car and it would have been illegal to have my 16 year old self hold the steering wheel and drive.  I learned to drive when I was 28 years old after finally getting enough funds to buy me a car.  Imagine if I learned to drive earlier, I would have aspired to get a car earlier in my career.
And speaking of careers, I would have needed your fatherly advise sometime during my career as we have similar business degrees and you have the entrepreneurial spirit in you.  For most of the time in my career, I was way ahead and carried too much load my early adulthood self could barely handle.  Of course, I somehow got some resilience from your DNA that had me endure the tough times.  I would have wanted someone to talk to when I was stressed or if I seem that it if I'm up against the impossible.  You could have said anything and I would feel energize with the work at hand.
I think the major difference is that Mama would have her contra-pelo, you tend to balance each other with your 'sutil' ways and Mama being able to absorb it in her funny bunso-type of way.  By the way, I did inherit some of your mischief along the way.  It would have been great to come home once in a while with the whole family intact or you could have visited us in Manila where we could drive you around. Oh wait, I am not sure if you'd let me hold the steering wheel in your presence or you'd just say, I'm driving.
You always was an independent minded person and even if things were difficult back then, you won't throw it back at us.  You'd silently find a way to make both ends meet.   You didn't force the idea of being content with what we had but seeing the concept in your lifestyle, it did leave a mark.  I somehow got your independent-mindedness.  I take ownership of my actions and my problems.  I don't take it out on anybody but I just find a way to solve them.
The list could go on but the longer the list goes, the more I realize that you never left.  You left as much of yourself in us all before that fateful day.  The way we react to things... the way we endure... the way we are content... the way we own up to our action... It was you.  It was how you would have done things.  You did pass on the baton, albeit earlier than usual.
Your presence is what I could have wanted but it was always there.  While it gets confusing to carry the name Francisco Ramon Jr. (as it's both a common first and last name), I wasn't just a Junior.  I was you.  Did I ever say thank you for all that. I probably wasn't able to as you left so fast without any goodbyes but  I'm thanking you by carrying out your legacy.  I really appreciate how you molded me even if it was just for the first 16 years of my existence.
Thank you!



P.S. I'm not a fan of writing letters but I did enjoy writing this one as it felt like really talking to you on your death anniversary.