Monday, July 31, 2006


The Ladies of Vineman
Janice, Serena, Amelia and Kristen. For more images click here.

Sunday started early - 3:30AM. Out the door by 4:20 and was at Serena's doorstep by 4:35. She decided against staying at a motel with her teammates. I can relate, if a race is within 2.5 hours of home I always opt to drive. I'm just more comfortable at home plus I don't sleep much the night before a race. Anyway my job for the day was crew. My duties included; driving (to and from the race), helping her with her gear, cheering and support, and pacing for the run. I also had to try and keep her positive and focused.

The start was crowded, when we got there the pros were already heading out on the bike, simply amazing/inspiring. She got her body marked, bike racked and transition area set up while I stood in line for her at one of the really long bathroom lines. Bathroom lines, the one thing you can count on in races - marathons are the worst. While hanging out in line however I got to say hello to several friends and acquaintances, didn't realize so many of them were doing the race.

Swim went as expected and soon she was on the bike. She left happy and I hoped she would stay that way throughout the ride. Since I expected her to be on the bike for 3-3.5 hours I went out and socialized some more, got some food, etc, etc. The strange thing about this race is that the bike finish and the run start is two different locations - 15 miles apart. I got to the bike finish an hour earlier that her expected bike finish time and got to preview part of the run course. When she finally came in I didn't even recognized her. She looked very good and most of all she smiled back - a very good sign. Sure enough when I met her on the run she was still having a great time, tired but positive and moving strong. Ran with her for 3.5 miles. Eventually I stopped because I felt funny running alongside her on the opposite side of the road. There were a couple of pacers out there but pacing is not a common practice in triathlons. I told her I would wait for her here on the return trip, the run is an out and back course. However I didn't bring any water with me and soon I got very thirsty, so I decided to head back to the mile 3 aid station. While heading back I remembered that my tri team were working at the aid station at mile 4. In this race there's an aid station at every mile on the run. So I quickly reversed course and made my way to mile 4. Sure enough there was Amelia and the gang, yelling and passing out water. Anyone wearing the team gear got special attention, friends too. The refreshments were badly needed, I downed at least 4 cups of Gatorade and 3 cups of water. Timing was good, it wasn't long before Serena came through. I then ran the last 4 miles back with her.

The finish was a lot of fun. Lot's of friends, catching up, etc. Met up with Annie and her parents at the finish line, used to ride and run with Annie. Got to see Rochelle, Malik and Cecilia, I run track with these guys. Ran into Amelia, Janice and Kristen again, they came down after finishing their duties at the mile 4 aid station. Saw Nancy who also completed her first Half-Ironman distance and a few more folks here and there. There was a lot of Golden Gate Tri uniforms out there but I didn't know all of them. It was warm though so I eventually kept the walking around to a minimum.

It was good for me to be there. It turned out to be a very good day. I needed the extra inspiration to get psyched for my triathlon which is in 6 weeks, part of me is still on vacation. On Saturday I had the most blah workout ever and I bonked on the run because I didn't eat or drink properly. Bonking was the most exciting part:) Tsk...tsk...what's wrong with me?

She Did Great!

Looking calm, in control and strong. Serena on the run at Vineman Half-Ironman Triathlon this past Sunday.

Click Here for pics and the race report.
Serena did an awesome job at Vineman yesterday. Everything went like clockwork for the most part, a couple of hiccups at the beginning but nothing major. Towards the end, at mile 8.5, she hit a rough spot but managed to get it back together and kept on hustling towards the finish! She finished in 6 hours and 28 minutes.

Congratulations Serena!

More pics and ramblings to come. It was a great, great day.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Looking Like a Cold Ride

What heat wave. Apparently I missed one while I was in the Philippines. I heard temperatures went up to the triple digits. Well it's been quite cool since I got back and the last two days somewhat cold and windy. It's looking cold out there now. I'm willing to bet money though that if I cross the Golden Gate there will be sun on the other side in Marin. Let's hope so. I hate riding in cold and foggy weather. Was supposed to ride with Spamsi and a couple of the Tri-club folks but the plans changed last minute. Cool, cool, ain't no thing but without a scheduled ride I tend to sleep in - like today. Now I have to go out and chase the day. Ah well I need the sleep anyway. Serena and I leave for Vineman early tomorrow morning, 5ish. She has to be at the start by 6:30AM and the drive will take a little over an hour. We might even have to leave earlier because the San Francisco Marathon is also on Sunday morning, pretty darn cool that's there's another big event happening. Since Runner's World took over management of the marathon things have gotten a little better with the race. Now all they have to do is offer prize money and the top pros will come. Anyway I'm looking forward to being at Vineman. Might be a race I'd like to do next year.

Well I gotta get moving. Thinking of bringing my camera just in case there really is sun on the other side of the bridge...been awhile since I posted some photos. Speaking of which I've got a 100 or so pictures from my trip that needs uploading. For those of you that have been waiting...they're still in a folder on my desktop.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rolling Along

Went to spin class with Serena tonight. My last spin class was 5 weeks ago and it was a recovery spin from WS100, the week before that it was a taper spin for WS100. Tonight I had no such restrictions. Once I got going on the bike I hammered as hard as I possible could. I put out of my mind the negatives; the fact that I'm not who I was 7 weeks ago, that I'm 3 pounds heavier, that my nutrition has been poor, that I'm still fighting jet lag, that I'm slightly out of shape, etc, etc, etc. I focused on what I had going; enthusiasm to get going again, a well rested body and the company of good friends. Not sure where I picked up that practice but the mental exercise has done wonders for me. I felt so good! I hit all the HRM goals. At the end of class while waiting for Serena I felt dizzy for a bit and my hands were trembling a little. That actually made me very happy:) And nothing a shot of GU and water didn't cure. Slowly but surely the body is waking up from vacation. Wakey Wakey. I've got a nice long run planned once everything's up and humming nicely.

Unfortunately this is the last Thursday night spin for awhile. Coach Michael McCormack is looking for a new space to hold his spin classes. I hope it won't be for long. Like Track, I've avoided spin thinking I would be totally bored, now it's become a staple of my training. Keeping my fingers crossed for Coach M2.

Tomorrow is a short bike and run with Serena, she's tapering for Vineman Half-Ironman this Sunday. Saturday will be a long ride and I might either run or swim aferwards. Swim, gotta fit it in somewhere. Time to unpack the wetsuit. Maybe there's a club ride I can join on Saturday morning, we'll see. I'm also eager for a long slow solo effort.

Links Updated

Links to past races now connect to the race reports, even the ones where I simply volunteered, crewed, paced and spectated.


One of my new t-shirts.

I love t-shirts. I always look for the nicely designed shirts and half the time I give away my race shirts because I get all critical with the design. One of the shirts I bought during my trip to the Philippines was this beauty. I choose it because I liked the green color, the cool white script type and the yellow of the lollipop combined with the white and green. I thought it was a pretty nice design for a shirt and a mere $4 so I bought it.

My 17yr. old sister was the first to raise her eyebrow but didn't say why. A couple of my cousins laughed at it but shrugged it off. Well tonight I wore it to my Bible Study group where a couple of my friends laughed. We had a visitor, a teacher of 13yr. olds, she gave me an amused quizzical look. Was I really the only one who didn't know these were lyrics to a rap song with sexual explicit lyrics? It would have been okay anywhere else but I wore it to a bible study group meeting, nice! A good thing I didn't wear it to church. And to think I choose this shirt over a red one with an image of a Buddha holding a beer - I didn't want to offend any Buddhists.

Check out the chorus:
[50 Cent]
I take you to the candy shop
I'll let you lick the lollypop
Go 'head girl, don't you stop
Keep going 'til you hit the spot (woah)
I'll take you to the candy shop
Boy one taste of what i got
I'll have you spending all you got
Keep going 'til you hit the spot (woah)

Nice huh. Just the kind of thing you want to wear to your bible study!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


The good times always go by so fast...but it's nice to be home, in the cooler weather, in my own setup. Got in yesterday after lunch running on nothing but fumes. I was determined however to stay up and hit the hay at a normal time so I was quite productive considering. I hit the grocery store, actually started unpacking and after some deliberation attended Tuesday track. Oooff! It was slow and hard but it went better than expected and I was able to get an accurate gauge on how much I lost. During the workout I was waiting for my higher "gears" to come on and they never came but managed a decent effort anyway. It was a bit like driving an under powered 4-cylinder compact up to Tahoe. It was good to get started. I'm back!

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Last Few Days

My body has finally acclimated to the weather, too bad it's almost time to leave. On my last run workout I ran around the track and incorporated some work on the bleachers. I didn't sweat much and I didn't need to drink beyond the 15 or so ounces I took in before the run. I also felt very good in the end, like I could keep going for a lot longer. The body's amazing. I have to say after 2 weeks of short workouts, eating and resting my body is pretty darn happy. Feet, left hamstring and ITB soreness issues are gone. When I get back to San Francisco I will have a well rested, albeit slightly heavier and out of shape body to work with. I'll have a little over a month to cram for the Big Kahuna Half-Ironman on Sept.10th in Santa Cruz. I'm fine on the bike. I'll be happy on the run, it's the re-integration of swim workouts that I'm not looking forward too. I swim like a dog, steady yet slow. I'd also like to get in on a few 50k races, get my trail legs back.

In San Francisco our summer weather is yet to come and I'm looking forward to it. I'll spend August and September getting back in tip top shape and run a few good races in the fall. I'm especially looking forward to running the Quad Dipsea again this year. Last year I blew up on the course, I entered knowing I was already over trained, finished a good 45 minutes behind my best time. That's my main goal for the rest of the year, a good Quad race to close the year out!

Si I'm back in Manila now, I always spend a few days here before heading back to the US. I have three cousins here who I think the world of and I can't leave without spending time with them. I also like Manila, lots of things to do and experience. Got in yesterday at 8AM and it's been non-stop until 5:30AM this morning. Nothing crazy just a full schedule. Bouncing back and forth between groups and events: got to spend some quality time with my dad (the biological one), went on a blind date (more on that later), got together with the gang who went to Boracay to look at pictures and re-live the fun moments from the trip and finally I celebrated with my cousin Bing who finished her final presentation for her Master's degree in business. The latter was what kept me up till the wee hours in the morning. Thank God for my involvement in endurance sports, at least I had the stamina to keep up with the young-uns. At 34 I'm not that old, but old enough to feel old in a club full of 20 somethings. But it wasn't about me, besides I thought to myself, if I could run through the night I could certainly suck it up and hangout.

Finally got some rest, more food and the use of a computer. Things are good.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Public Transportation

14 Kids
14 children and 1 motorcycle driver.

Maybe I mentioned this before, in my hometown there are all types of public transport. One of them are "tricycles" and there are two types, one is powered by motorcyle and the other by bike. They are fun to ride in, cheap and often overloaded. I always wonder how they keep these motorcyle engines running.

Ain't It Purty?!

My First
My first buckle. Photo courtesy of my sister Melissa "Purple Cookie" Kertel.

Ah my first buckle but it's from my second 100-miler. I only do one of these a year - they are such a big deal training and event wise. My first 100-mile race was Rio del Lago in Auburn, part of the course is on the Western States trail. However Race Director Norm Klein didn't give buckles. To paraphrase what he said, "I know that next to your Angeles Crest and Western States buckles you would never wear a Rio buckle so instead I thought up of other interesting awards for you to take home". You see, Rio is an easy 100-miler compared to the other big 100-milers. Why wear Rio when you can wear; Cascade Crest, Angeles Crest, Leadville, Hardrock, Western, Masanutten, I could go on. So he gave all the finisher's a slab of granite, the size and weight of which worried me a little - thought someone was going to drop it on their foot. I thought I was going to drop the dang thing on my foot. And he also gave us do I describe this?...a ceramic figure of a bear with a salmon in his mouth. I think there's an eagle in the mix too. It was nice and all but not something I would keep in the apartment. It now resides in my parent's home in Orlando, Florida, right next to a Budweiser Christmas special limited edition ceramic stein (which embarrasingly is also mine)

Anyway Cascade was an amazing race. A run I would do again. I wasn't blogging then so I never bothered to write a race report, I didn't have a running digital camera either. Too bad, I guess I'll have to go back. I never wear buckles. I walk around in shorts that require no belts most of my days but it's my first buckle so what the hey - those only come once in a lifetime right?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Boracay Pics

Cover Shot

The Gang: My sister, cousins and a girlfriend of one of the boys. Only one missing is my uncle.

That was a great trip. Nice to hang with family, meet new people, see new places, do new things.... At the end there I over did the celebrating a little bit but it was all good, safe and clean fun.

Here’s are a few more pics from the trip.

At the Beach
Island Hopping
White Sand Beaches
Live Music
Last Night

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Deny! Deny! Deny!

"Ummm...I don't know who that is but it ain't me". Damn their videos:) Apparently last night I drank hangover but I made an A@@ of myself. We were hanging out in the beach, there was outdoor sitting. We were sitting on cushions on the beach then everything went hazy. Actually I remember but I don't want to:) Video however doesn't lie. Well, when in Rome...

Time to go home though, I am not looking forward to the long trip back. My second cousin Bing was supposed to leave with her gang at 7AM, never made it:) Ahahahah just had breakfast with me at 9AM. Not sure how they are getting off the island. Oh well.

Anyway, I need water and lots of it. I'm no longer conditioned for this kind of thing. I'll stick to running and triathlon.

Another Day in the Beach

I can see how this can get old after after a week, seriously. It's definetly beautiful, amazing and all those wonderful things but you're constantly going, maximizing the time you have since you're only here for a few days. It's a lot like Vegas, by the third or fourth day you're ready to go home. Although I think I could stay in this resort for at least a week maybe two but that's it:) Besides it gets expensive after awhile,it's cheap but it all adds up.

I think I'll forego the evening massage tonight, I think I'm tenderized enough! Besides it always leaves me tired afterwards. Last night after having drinks and listening to live music, three of us headed out for a late masage session - same place as the one the night before. I was stumbling after that one and no it wasn't the alcohol. But I was starving not having had dinner so I rallied the same two with me for a midnight meal. There we met up with my my uncle Bambi, my second cousin Bing and her friends and it became an even longer night. My cousin Bing and her friends love to travel. My uncle has traveled extensively in his youth. All of them last night talking about their adventures made me want to sell everything I had and go see the world. Always the case when this group is together. My mom is the same way.

Today was island hopping and snorkeling. A new friend came with us, Steve from Australia. He was on the bus ride over with my cousin Bing and her gang, they came in yesterday. Every time I think of Australia, meet Aussie's, I think of Triathlon and Chris McCormack. Them Aussie's are good.

Go Serena and the rest of the Donner Triathletes! Go Brian and VT100 runners, those guys are starting in an hour or two. I lost another nail today. Damn that WS race:)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Happy Hour

So after a full do doing nothing important; eating,walking,swimming and running, I rallied the troops for an afternoon drink. It was 5:30PM,soon it became 6:30,then 7:30,then 8:30 and so on. When did the live band go on? Good times, good times. Still here, still doing nothing important amongst the coconut trees. Thought I'd drop by and say hello (the internet cafe is next to the bar). I've taken too long:)The cousins are restless, time to go. I miss my friends, but I wish they were all here:)

Pictures when I get back to the farm.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Boracay Island

So this is where I am.

It was quite a journey to get here. It started with an hour long ferry ride at 6:30AM, followed by a 5 hour drive, followed by a 10 minute boat ride (think wooden motorized outrigger canoes) then finally followed by a motorized tricycle ride (imagine motorcycles with covered sidecars). By the time we made it, it was 1:30PM. The gang was tired but happy to have finally made it. There's 8 of us. Myself and all my first cousins, my sister, an uncle and a girlfriend of one of my cousins - a good group.

The place is worth the trip; however if I had to do it again I would just fly straight from Manila - much faster! The side of the island that we landed on was calm and clear but the resort side was rough from the tail end of the storm beating up on Manila. So no open water swimming but some body surfing. Then it was beers on the beach after the swim with my cousin Ann. The rest of the gang were napping, tired from the journey - resting up for the evening. Ann is good company but next time I will have to ditch her, hard to talk to girls when they think you are with your girlfriend:) Afterward a couple of beers Ann and I got a massage on the beach. We happened on a great place, second floor patio of a restaurant. Got a good rubdown as the sun set, amid the ocean breezes and the sound of Reggae Dancehall from the bars below(think Shaggy). Sweet. The place is pretty nice. 4k of white sand beaches bordered by restaurants, bars, spas and hotels. Good during the day, pretty sweet at night.

Today I got up with every intention of getting a beach run in before breakfast but I got up late:) That's very Rick. So we ended up getting breakfast instead. Now we are going to walk it off by exploring the rest of the island. I resheduled my run for the early afternoon. I'm thinking Speedos, running shoes and nothing else...ahahaha I kid, I kid, okay surfing shorts. Lots of foreigners here so there are a few of them Speedos around:)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wednesday Track

Nice, got to sneak in a workout between showers. Storm has definitely moved from our area. The bad part is that it's headed to the capitol. Classes and flights have been cancelled for tomorrow. I would hate to be there right now.

Anyway got tonight's team track workout while I was in the internet cafe.

3 x 800s
3 x 600s

Same RPE for all. Good even pace, feel like you could do 1-2 more reps. Short workout, ran 2 miles for my warmup but felt like quitting from the first rep. Stomach was feeling funky and the humidity was getting to me. Oh an update on my stomach issues, after 4 days of taking over the counter stuff I went to see the family doctor who prescribed some anti-biotics. Feeling much better now but today it felt funky when I ran. Workout felt better towards the end but I was glad to be done.

Going to a beach resort first thing tomorrow morning. Looking forward to getting some open water swimming done, maybe a few beach runs. All this while hanging out and having fun of course.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Got Away!

Finally some time to myself. By the time I was all showered and ready to go everyone had taken off. So I saw my chance to take off on my own. I have no idea how to get around my own hometown but there are cabs everywhere and they're cheap. I enjoy exploring by myself, I can go at my own pace and do my own thing. I haven't been alone since I left San Francisco.

At an internet cafe now, just checking emails and dropping a quick note. Nice to be back on DSL! Besides the storm knocked out power at the farmhouse. A storm has or is still passing through the archipelago. Dumped a lot of rain the last two days. Yesterday I rallied the troops to hit the track despite the downpour, unfortunately the track was closed by the time we got there. So we ended up back at the house snacking on boiled peanuts and Balut. I won't tell you what the later is, you can look it up if you're curious enough. I can tell you that it goes down better with a cold beer. Well, I'll try again today now that clear skies have returned. I hope for good since we are leaving for a beach resort for 4 days early tomorrow morning.

Just in case I don't manage to get back online before I leave I would like to wish those who are doing Donner Tri a good race. I know Serena's going to be there and probably several Golden Gater's - Go Red and Black! I'd also like to wish Brian Wyatt a good race, Vermont 100-Mile Ultra is this weekend. Go Brian Go!

Well it's off to a coffee shop for me. It's lunchtime and I need a good cup of joe.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Speaking of Coffee

Kuppa 1Kuppa 2
With my cousin Ann. My uncle, Ann and my sister.

Hanging out at a coffee shop called Kuppa. It's like Starbucks/West Elm Catalog/Citizen Cake.


Morning Coffee
My daily morning coffee.

I get up at about 8AM, shower and head over next door for my morning fix. Mmmm...instant. It's not that bad, well better than nothing and costs less than 20 cents. Gets me through the morning until I get a real cup. The coffee grown here is not bad at all. The dangerous thing is all the great desserts usually sold in these coffee shops, I have a big sweet tooth.

Sweat Heat


Sweat, Hydrate and Cool Off.

After a couple of days I've stopped being shy. Now I just walk around with my shirt off most of the time - just like my uncle Hadji. The other day my cousin Shyla brought some of her friends over after church and there I was, unapologetically walking around like a sweaty gorilla (is there such a thing?) - ahahaha just like her dad. Hello! Don't mind me, just passing through. My sweat band visor which I brought for running has now become an essential accessory. I'm loving this heat though, something nice about it. Sure I'm sticky most of the time but my skin is no longer dry. Goodness gracious! Is that the television?!(my 88yr. old grandmother is still going strong but going deaf). Anyway maybe for my next hot race I should come here for my heat training, I could do without the stomach issues though:)

About That Time

Panaad FieldPanaad Pool
The track and pool near our home. I'm stoked, probably the most modern facilities in this town. I should be so blessed.

After a week long break my body has finally sent the "get off your butt" signal. About time! Well I was just so busy preparing for the trip, traveling, getting over the jetlag and dealing with my stomach issues. Besides my feet really needed the break, they were tender for awhile.

So I live in a do I describe this...rural, semi-rural area? Is that the right word. I'll take pictures and post them. About 5 minutes from our home is a new athletic center complete with a track and soccer stadium, weight room, basketball courts and two pools - 50 and 25 meters. Pretty well maintained as far as I can tell. Yesterday a bunch of us went to "workout". The cousins wanted to jog, walk around, play b-ball and swim. I of course headed straight for the track. It was supposed to be an easy workout which turned into a "kick your butt to the ground" effort. I'm an idiot, don't mind me. Well okay this is what happened. There I was minding my own business, running and watching the soccer practice that was taking place when another runner started keeping pace with me. I was on the outermost ring and he was on the inside ring. I had passed him and his friend and he increased his pace to match mine's. I found this irritating, call me uptight, so after about a lap of this I threw in a hard sprint to put some distance between us. He took this as a challenge and sprinted after me, ran me down and proceeded past only to slow down after he got 5 yards past me. Now I'm really irritated. It's not like he was saying hello or anything like that. So I slowed down as well but only up to a notch past my previous pace and held it. Before the next lap was up I already dropped him, probably went all out on his sprint. So just to make sure I threw in another 50-meter acceleration, and another on the next lap, then another, and another, and several more. Ahahaha I was all fired up. Like I said I'm an idiot. Forget easy, harder was more enjoyable! Thank you mystery runner. Even then it took me 55 minutes to get a 10-11k done. It's just so much harder here. Everything felt heavier, the air feels thicker and I'm sweating buckets. Drank 20 ounces of water before the run and took in 4O more during, and another 10 ounces after. Some of my cousins acted as crew:), refilling my water bottle with safe bottled water. I was drenched with sweat, it ran freely down my legs. Afterwards I followed it up with 30 minutes of swimming in the 25-meter pool. I had some energy gel with me but I forgot my salt tablets. I felt a bit light headed and had a slight headache at the end of the swim. I'll remember to bring some salt for next time.

Today I woke up late, with sore legs and tight shoulders. My legs feel like someone gave me "charlie horses" while I was asleep. It was too hard a workout after an extended break. Need I say it again, I'm an idiot. I deserve it. Today would have been a great time to do a slow recovery workout but it's raining - for a couple of hours now actually. I'm back at the farm now and enjoying the sound of rain hitting the metal roof. Definitely something I don't get to do in San Francisco since I live in the second floor of an apartment building.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

What's With Your Feet?

Resize of Re-exposure of PI Trip 2006 023
Toes still messed up.

Well the problems from the blisters have finally subsided. For awhile there it came and went. One day it would fine then another day it wouldn't be. Surely had I stopped working out completely the week after WS it would have healed faster but I was all agro about the race and wanted to get it out. Besides I knew I was going to go on vacation anyway. Day after WS I squeezed them into a pair of cycling shoes and rode for 3 hours, went to track on Tuesday and was at Spin class on Thursday. Muscles were fine but the feet were very unhappy. Bottoms of the feet are good now and the old blisters are peeling but the toes, the toes are still so messed up!

Since the race my Keen sandals have been my favorite piece of footwear, the toe bumper effectively hides my toes. However I've decided to ditch them for some new flip flops - looks be damned. This weather is made for slippers. As one of my good friends would say, "stop worrying about what other people would think". My cousin Ann came with me and I think she was grossed out. "How did your feet get like that!?" she asked. "From long distance running Ann, you know for running a long,long time like a whole day", I answered. I don't think she got it. Who runs for a whole day?:)

Well I've never had such messed up feet. After this photo was taken I did some "cleaning up". I attended to the old peeling blisters and pulled out 4 more toe nails. Gross I know, not for you athletes though huh - you know how it goes. No pain involved, they were ready to go. As they say, kiss your toenails goodbye if you plan on doing ultras. Needless to say I'll have to rethink my foot protection strategy, maybe give my feet a little more respect while I'm at it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

First Vacation Pic

PI Trip 2006 004 Blog
Hanging out with the cousins in Manila.

I finally figured out how to work with the PC and upload images. More images to come.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bigger and Badder Than Me

You know I have a very strong stomach, something I've come to realize after 5 or so years of doing Ultra. I can drink any sports nutrition drink, eat anything at the aid stations and keep on going. The worst experience I had was at the Cascade Crest Classic 100-miler in Washington state last year. As part of my caffeine strategy I had 2 Starbucks brand mocha frappucinos sent up on the course on two different aid stations. The first one at 30 miles went down nicely and it gave me the boost I needed; however the second one positioned on the 3/4 mark of the race had been sitting in the drop bag all day and for most of the night, by the time I got to it the milk had gone a bit sour. Drank it anyway and for the next two hours suffered for it:) Lots of bathroom stops but even then it didn't slow me down much. In between my emergency potty breaks I was cruising just fine and after two hours I was back normal. Secondly because I lived in the Philippines for almost 12 years before moving to the US, I have never had any problems drinking and eating in the local establishments, especially here in my province where sanitary conditions are not always ideal. I've gone to eat at questionable places and drank water out of the tap with no problems. Well I'm telling you all this because yesterday something laid me out, just knocked me on my butt.

Yesterday by 1:30PM I had about three meals, part of my strategy of keeping the meals healthy and light but eathing often. I was good too. I indulged but not too much and I managed to sneak in a couple of salads and some fruit to my diet. However by the time we made it back to our farmhouse at 2PM I was experiencing the most excruciating stomach pain. It's like someone punched me in the gut and left their fist there. Constant pain that only got worse and worse. I got sick, hit the bathroom many times and was having cold sweats. I was dehydrating fast but drinking water only made me feel worse. I can't even remember the last time my stomach hurt, this level of discomfort was new to me. I always hear about runners having race ending stomach issues in ultras and I've alwasy wondered what that might be like - well I wonder no more:)!!! Made me think of Olga and how tough that woman really is. It was just grueling. I kept telling myself that this should be nothing compared to a 100-miler and something in the back of my head would scream back "yeah this is worse!". Finally one of my cousins sprang into action. He bought some medicine and and Gatorade. Here in Philippines over the counter stuff are sold as individual pieces, you almost never buy a box's worth. It's like buying cigarettes individually instead of by the pack. Often times it will be a brand you won't recognize especially if you are from the US and there's no way of knowing if it's expired or not. Smart thing to do would be to bring your own remedies but like I said I have never had problems. I was wary of the strange looking tablets but I was desperate however so I took one, after an hour when it seemed okay I took another. Finally by 5PM or so, feeling better, I fell asleep for a couple of hours. By the time I got up I was much much better but dehydrated. They got me a couple of bottles of Gatorade and I bought I few more on the way to my grandmother's house. They also handed me more medicine, all different and looked nothing like the ones I took earlier:)More so no one could agree on how often I should be taking this stuff so I followed the 4 hour rule. By 9PM I was strong enough to rally everyone for a late movie and while I used the bathroom several times during the show, it was because I had drank too much Gatorade.

Today I'm still a little shaky but I think I'll be alright. We are trying to figure out what happened. My uncle thinks I had indigestion, eating to fast and all that. I don't know about that one, he's never seen me choke down grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches while running. One my cousins thinks it was the ice they used in my smoothie. According to her, sometimes the ice is made from water that's not too clean. Hmmm...never had a problem with the local ice/water. My best guess is that it was something I ate the night before. Whatever it is I'm treading lightly for awhile. I was going to hit the track today but I think I'll wait another day. Whatever it was, was bigger and badder than me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Made It!

It never ceases to amaze me how we can be in totally different part of the world in a matter of hours. Everything went smoothly for the most part and now I'm here sitting in small room filled with chicken feed and in front of a slow 4yr. old Pentium 3 on dial up. About the chicken feed; a small part of the house has been converted into a storefront that sells the stuff, most of it specifically for cock fighting.

Got into Manila at midnight, spent the night with one of my cousins. The next day I met up with more family - lots of eating and more eating. I love Manila, there are many fun places to go and my cousins are great hosts. My cousin Rose who put us up arranged for a masseuse to come in the morning - pretty thoughtful of her huh:)However my time in the capital was shortlived, soon my sister and I were on our way to the airport for our 4PM flight to my home province. No matter I will spend 4 days in Manila on my way back to San Francisco.

It's stinking hot here and to make matters worse I forgot all my shorts in SF. For a person that spends 99.9% of his time in shorts this is a pretty major bonehead move. It's the rainy season here now and it gets really humid and warm right before it pours. So top of the list yesterday was shopping for a new pair of shorts.

Anyway it's time to scrounge up some coffee, in these parts it's instant but it's better than none. It's great to see the family and it's cool to be speaking my native language once again. It's coming back to me slowly and now that I got some sleep in me I'm definitely much more fluent compared to yesterday:)

Monday, July 03, 2006


I was born in Manila, November 71. When I was about 3 I was sent to live with my grandmother by my mom who wanted to travel and work overseas. I was an accident:) my parents were not married. I lived with my grandmother and uncles till I was a month shy of my 12th birthday. Growing up all I could think about was my mom and my dad and how great it was to be living with either of them. I was very well taken care of by my grandmother and I never felt that I was lacking in anything but as a child I think you naturally think about wanting to be with your parents. Now that I'm older I do the reverse, I spend a lot of time thinking about my grandmother and all my family and friends back there. It's always where you're not isn't it:)

So today I leave for the Philippines, back to my home town, a small province in the southern part of the archipelago. There's not much to do there, progress has been slow and it's still mostly made up of farms and open fields. We have a tiny farm ourselves, a small piece of land really but a good place to soak in the breezes and watch the grass grow. It's the rainy season down there right now so maybe I'll get to enjoy a few downpours, maybe some thunder and lightning if I'm lucky - we don't get much of that here in San Francisco, not in Honolulu either. I get to practice speaking my native language (Ilonggo) and the national language (Tagalog) As long as I'm alert and awake I can keep up, the moment I get exhausted and tired I revert back to english, ahaha. So that's where I'll be for the next 3 weeks. I'm sure it will be fun. Everytime I go home I never want to leave. I go from living alone with no family to all of sudden being surrounded by a ton of them and having all my needs anticipated and met. Sometimes it's hard to come back from that:)

Well most of all I look forward to doing many things unimportant and spending time with my grandmother. I'm looking forward for time to slow down a bit, for the busy(ness) to go away. Looking forward to reading a couple of books, drawing a few pictures, bowling a few lanes, drinking a few local beers...well you get the picture. My body is not totally over the 100-mile race yet.

It's funny though how days before a major trip I get a little depressed. I get like this because I hate leaving my city. Kind of crazy I know but I usually get over it once I'm on my way. San Francisco is always hard to leave.

The trick will be to keep up with some of my training, it's only mid-season! There's a track I can run around in, boring but safe. It's right next to the cock fighting arena, seriously. And you want to avoid running in the afternoon because it's when the locals clean up their yards and streets and burn the trash - ahahaha it's bad enough that it's warm and humid. Running in the neighborhood is out of the question, too many stray dogs and too much traffic with people who are not used to runners. I was told there's a pool there and I'll bring my swim gear but....the water may be questionable:) We shall see. However we are going to hit a resort for a few days and I was told the water is great for open water swimming. I promise to try to keep the eating and drinking down to a minimum, but already my mouth is watering from all the native foods I plan on eating. Well it's a good thing I did a 100-mile race last week huh:) If I gain 4 pounds that will be an acceptable loss. When I get back I'll have a month to cram for the half-ironman in Santa Cruz, I'm sure I'll lose what I've gain then....surely.

Well hopefully next time we meet I will be blogging from Asia. Maybe I'll have something interesting to share by then.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happy Birthdays

Happy Birthday Serena!
Happy Birthday Lisa!
Happy Birthday Janet!
Happy Birthday Sydney!

Anyone else? Not all in the same day but close.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Lunch With Poo

Poo and Tyler
Lisa with Tyler.

Poo is Lisa and she was my running partner end of 03 through most of 04. 04 was my biggest year in Triathlon and Ultra and she was a big part of that. That was the year I finished my first 100k, my first 100-miler and my first Ironman, among other accomplishments. Man we had some really great runs - ran Big Sur marathon together. This is her son Tyler, now you know why we haven't been able to continue training together:) Also she and her husband Will now live in Point Richmond in the East Bay. Lisa was a cross country runner and trackstar. Husband Will was a cross country runner as well. Tyler has it in his genes to be a great and fast runner...if he decides to go that route. Already he's quite quick on his feet.