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Surviving the Last Leg of the 2014 Splash 'n Dash Aquathlon

I remember way back in May or June of 2008 when I went to try my luck to audition for the first season of Survivor Philippines. Unluckily though, my survival instincts did not qualify to pass the expectations of the very first interviewer. The question was like: "If you and two other people are stuck in the island with nothing else except for a piece of food/bread that you still have, what are you going to do?"

I answered the question based on what I learned from the Values Education subject in High School and the GMRC that was already inculcated from what our parents taught since the childhood days: "to share what you have with other people". But that answer was the reason why I was prevented to proceed to the second stage of the interview. The interviewer was looking for an answer where your personal survival instinct will surface... and that means to keep your "ace card" until the very end when it is most needed -- the time to bribe one of the remaining members to keep you from getting evicted out.

I bet our Country's corrupt and cunning Politicians may be the best candidates for this kind of show as they are already well versed and experienced with that kind of "survival instincts", but that's a topic not fit for this article.

In all honesty, even if I passed the series of interviews, I know for sure that I will not be able to survive the swimming portions of the actual show, specially that I still fear deep waters and my dog- and frog- swimming styles would easily drown my lungs out! After that frustrating audition, I never did anything to somehow learn how to properly swim, and for those past years, I can no longer see myself joining any type of race or activity with swimming events on it.

These all changed, thanks to Cris Dela Cruz, for his patience and unwavering support and belief that I can still learn a new skill and adapt to our ever-changing trend and increasing challenge in sports.

It was just barely eight (8) months ago when I first dipped into Aquathlon. If you will read my experience during that debut, you will know how I struggled finishing even the first 200-meter swim loop, almost gave up at the final loop, and had side-stitch with heavy feet on the 3K run.

With Team Hunyango, L-R: Eric, Dan, Rommel, Cris, Ton, Me (photo by Photo-Ops)

Last December 14, I have once again survived my second Aquathlon event at the final leg of the Splash 'n Dash Aquathlon, still held at La Stanza in Marikina City. I cannot technically compare my lap-by-lap performance results between the first leg and this leg as I wasn't able to use my Suunto Ambit 2S because the strap is already broken.

However, I could say that overall, I was able to conserve my energy in this one compared to the first leg. This time, I was able to survive the four (4) swim loops of 200-meters each for a total of 800-meters swim leg with still enough oxygen in my tank for the final 5K run. Although unexpectedly, I have finished the swim leg with more than double my first leg's finish time of 13-mins 45-secs for a 400-meter swim, compared to 34-mins 55-secs for the 800-meter swim for this leg. If I was able to mimic my swimming pace time like the first leg, I would have finished slightly between 27-mins to 30-mins.

Thinking back, the transitions after each swim loop in which I just walked as well as the many rests that I did in between each lap contributed to the more than 5-minutes of additional swim time. It was also at my third (3rd) swim loop that I made a lot of rest when my right calf cramped from kicking the wall after each 25-meter lap. My legs are still not accustomed and trained for that one.

Stayed that way for more than 1-minute waiting for cramped calf to relax

There was also two instance when I have to stop in the middle of the pool to fix my goggles after diving, and give way to another swimmer (doing breast stroke) who won't let me pass him. He swam to my side, kept pushing me towards the buoy dividers, and when I stood up behind to let him pass, he kicked my chest to propel himself better. We caught each other at the end of the lap but he has no remorse or whatever to what he did. I just let him be!

Checking some of my swim videos, I still have a lot lot more to improve -- from the form, paddling, and most of all -- my breathing. A day after the event, my neck is aching like its having a delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), my body twist is driven by the neck instead of the hips!

Savoring the Gatorade as it flush out the Chlorine from my mouth

After transitioning towards the run leg which took me around 2-mins 15-secs, I just walked towards the starting line not rushing the moment like what I did before. This helped a lot to regain my composure from the swim leg. I caught up with Ton Malasig who is already running his last loop for the run. From his estimate, he was running third place for our age group but after a while, a participant in blue singlet passed us and Ton was challenged to chase back his place. I decided to pace him so we could still chase the coveted age-group 3rd place podium but man he was fast and was maintaining a better pace than us. A few meters away from the finish line and we just gave up from chasing the guy.

Continued my second run loop while Ton proceeded to the finish line with a heavy heart. Because of that chasing, I think my adrenaline was still full that I ended up having a negative split, finishing the second loop at more than 3-mins (est.) faster than the first loop for a total 5K finish time of 28-mins 41-secs.

During the awarding, Ton was called 3rd Placer for our age group. Turns out the guy we were chasing is from Wave 10 -- not the same age group as ours! Congratulations Ton! :)

Although I'm not contented with my overall finish time of 1-hr, 6-mins, and 21-secs, I am still happy for the strong finish with still ample energy to take post-race photos with our wave mates, other participants and teams. No dizzy and dark-sight moments after the finish line except for the already tightening and burning right calf. But then again, it's still a loooongg way for me to go, more pool water to be swallowed, more chlorine as my hydration, and much much more swim-run trainings to do (yeap, I am already embracing the aquathlon event).

With Dan while waiting for our wave
Wave 11 briefing, hosted by Ms. Abet Ocampo
James Rosca motivating me and watching my every move :p
Stretching at the transition
Dash to the finish line (photo by Photo-Ops)
with Ms. Donna and Company (they both podiumed in their respective age group)

Race Profile:
Distance: 800-m Swim, 5-km run.
Official Time: 00:34:55 (Swim), 00:31:26 (Run), 01:06:21 (Total)
Official Ranking: 56th out of 87 Overall Finishers

Race Info:
When: 14 Dec. 2014.
Where: La Stanza Events Place, SSS Village, Marikina City
Event: 2014 Splash 'n Dash Aquathlon Leg 3
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Reebok Z Fury Shoe Review

Last March 13, 2014, Reebok unveiled their latest in running footwear -- the Reebok Z Series collection. The shoe design was inspired by the high-performance Z-rated racing tires found on exotic high-end sports cars.

In the sports car industry, a Z-rating means that the tire can handle car speeds in excess of 240kph (149mph). Currently, Z-speed is the 3rd top-most rate given to sports car tire following W- and Y- rating that can handle up to 270kph (168mph) and 300kph (186mph) car speeds, respectively (

Reebok Z Fury

Obviously, no human could run even a quarter of those speeds, but how does it become useful to the Reebok Z series shoe? A look at the vehicle's side might help us understand it better. According to Michelin, "speed ratings make a difference not only in regards to speed, but also with the ride comfort, wear, and cornering ability of a vehicle. The higher the speed rating, the better the grip and stopping power..."

Taking that principle, Reebok designers got the idea of also applying the Z-rating to give the shoe a better traction support and handle strenuous demands like sudden movement changes -- quick turns, starts, and stops on our everyday exercises/workouts. And these are what I also tried to find out on my training bouts while using the Z Fury model.

A Dib on the Reebok Z Fury

At the Duaman (photo by Thumbie Remigio)

Since this year was my debut for Multisport events (aside from the Indoor duathlon last 2013) -- more specifically Duathlon and Aquathlons, the first time that I raced the Reebok Z Fury was during my first on-road Duathlon event at the's 2014 Duaman last June 8, 2014 for a 6K run, 20K bike, and a final 3K run leg. The most recent event where I treaded the shoe was on the recently held Splash 'n Dash Aquathlon Leg 3 last December 14, 2014 for a 5K run.

At the 2014 Splash 'n Dash Leg 3 (photo by KB)

In between those two events, I have used the shoe in my road run trainings and on-the-gym trainings (circuit, weight, and strength).

First impressions -- very lightweight, I think it has a weight similar or perhaps much lighter than my previous Adizero Boston.

The color and design is also outstanding, this is the first blue-neon green shoe color combination that I have but it doesn't make me feel awkward wearing them. I specially love the no stitch construction and bootie fit of the tongue. Unlike most of the shoes' tongue that slips out of alignment, the Z Fury's soft and cushy tongue is securely locked on the inner sole -- a great feature that will be appreciated by Aqua- or Tri- athletes as it will lessen the time spent on wearing and securely fitting the shoe.

Wide toe box, snug fit medial part

The medial part also snugs properly yet remains flexible that helps prevents the feet to easily tire out even when the lacing is a bit tight. It is also combined with a nearly seam-free upper that makes the fitting and wearing smooth which prevents irritation even when the skin is in direct contact.

As for the toe box, most runners will love its wide space as it gives much room for the foot. For my feet though with a narrow width, it's not much of an advantage. Its whole size is also a bit bigger than the usual US 7.5 sizes (which is my recommended fit). It has too much space for my foot, a US 7.0 size might better fit me.

Stucked small pebbles and stones on the underfoot groove design

What I don't find appealing about the shoe, is the underfoot groove design as pebbles and stones gets stuck in between. This design though was supposed to allow the midsole to flex and expand with the foot which allows rapid acceleration and easier control at high speed. True enough, this shoe is as flexible as the popular Nike Free. No break-in run needed actually, except when you're not yet used to race flats or other close to minimalist shoes.

One more thing I have noticed with the outer edges of the underfoot is its softness as compared to most running shoes' outer sole. That softness in turn helps increase the edge contact of the shoes with the ground. The inner edges though has ten (10) much sturdier grooves and blown rubber on the heel part.

Great shoe for indoor workouts (sorry, no action shots!)

Indoors, the shoe don't easily slip even on shiny floors. You could easily perform hop squats, jumping lunges, lateral hops, skips, and other speed or agility exercises that will require you to change directions quickly such as zig-zag drills, and back-and-forth short sprints.

In summary, this Reebok Z Fury is a keeper. In my opinion, this should only be used for shorter run distances, perhaps maximum of 10-kilometers due to its softer than usual underfoot/outsole. On the other hand, the Reebok Z Fury can be best utilized for speed workouts and agility trainings, be it indoors, concrete pavement, or on the track. The soft and bootie-fit of the tongue is also a great plus -- a feature that I hope more running shoes would follow suit.

The Z Fury sports the new Reebok logo design
Unique Nanoweb and seamless design

Z-Rated sole
Left-inner side
Right-inner side
Bootie-fit tongue design
No sew tongue upper
Tongue is sewn on the inner part of insole
Vents on the under forefoot
Radical geometry design of the underfoot grooves
Ten sturdier grooves on the inner edge
High-abrasion rubber on the outer heel

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What You've Missed at Run United's 1st Enervon HP Recovery Run

With the rise of new training frontiers that are now mostly based in science, from understanding the human kinetics up to how our body reacts from the different nutrition and meals that we take, it is no doubt that we still have a lot to learn and a lot more to improve as we understand the essential knowledge about proper training, nutrition, and as well as the importance of recovery.

Sure most of us train wholeheartedly in preparation for an upcoming big event or what we call our "A" race. We progress our training regimens, taking into account our nutrition and weekly mileage plan. Some would also take into account the recovery days, but the question is, are we really recovering to a more progressive and stronger state for the next activity?

This is what the advocacy of the RU HP Recovery Run 2014 which was held last Sunday, December 14, 2014 at Bonifacio Global City. Unlike most of the races, this event has no declared winners, but instead all runners were advised to treat this activity as their recovery run.

Pacers were deployed with varying target finish times for both the 10K and 5K recovery distances. For the 5K, I was assigned for the 0:40-minutes finish time or 8-minutes per kilometer target pace, together with Dennis Ravanzo (RunningPinoy), Allan Enriquez (RunningFreeManila), and our lead pacer and Unilab's Elite runner -- John Chicano and Raul Cuevas of Bike King.

2014 Run United HP Recovery Run Pacers

The event was not just designed where every participant has to follow a certain pace, cross the finish line, get their loots, and go home. The event was so planned to help educate the running community on how proper recovery regimens can be applied to help achieve future PRs (personal records).

That goal was achieved by the following village/booth activities and recovery zones, which you have missed, if you were not able to join or if you left early (like me).

Below are the unique activities from the three (3) main zones of the village that the participants enjoyed and learned from after the recovery run. All these zones were manned in partnership with University of Santo Tomas' College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Sports Sciences and Physical Therapy Departments.

1. Physical Recovery Zone - involves the following recovery regimens: Cold treatment; Active isolated stretching; Self Myofascial release; and Periodization Counseling.

  • Cold treatment - helps to suppress inflammation, flush harmful metabolic debris from your muscles, produce greater and longer lasting change in deep tissues, reduce tissue breakdown and swelling, and increase the healing process.
  • Active isolated stretching - increases the neuromuscular re-education, great benefit in wound and injury healing as well as detoxification of the body; also increases flexibility that slows the process of fatigue, and elasticity that impacts the agility, speed, and endurance; prevents lactic acid build-up associated with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
  • Self Myofascial release - releases tension around the joints, IT band, tightness, and deep glute release. Also allows proper recovery and help stay away from several common injuries, and regain full and functional range of motion. Participants also used foam roller that provided a release similar to what you will get from massage or trigger point therapy.
  • Periodization counseling - three (3) series of talks where participants learned about how to improve performance by expanding the VO2max (maximal aerobic capacity) to the greatest possible extent; increase the strength of muscles and connective tissues to help train and progress without unplanned interruption; lift your lactate threshold (LT) to the highest possible level; optimizing your power/muscle force to learn how to exert that force more quickly than usual; be economic as possible, develop specific endurance, and restore yourself regularly and systematically.

2. Food and Nutrition Zone - here the participants learned the benefits of proper food and nutrition intake, which can help enhance adapation to training, prepare the body for the next run/exercise, maintain and boost the immune function, prevent injuries and muscle wasting.

3. Mental Recovery Zone - any sports must be prepared well not just physically, but also mentally. In this zone, the participants learned about how to increase their motivation, achieve their sense of well-being, reduction of training and/or life stress, and enhance an athlete's physiological recovery from running.

One of the active isolated stretching exercises
Allan, Dennis, Me, and Sir Raul Cuevas (photo by Unilab)

I was only able to participate at the Active isolated stretching after finishing our pacing for the 40-minutes 5K runners as me and Ms. Roselle Dadal (RunningDiva) still have to attend on our next event of the same day at Marikina. Missing these zone recovery activities was an opportunity lost to gain new knowledge. I hope Unilab and Run United will continue these kind of programs and I am looking forward for another concluding Recovery run next year.
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Alaska Milk Held the Country's Biggest Football Tournament

All roads lead to the Ayala Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa when Alaska Milk held the biggest and most eagerly awaited football tournament in the country the 2014 Alaska Football Cup last weekend of November 29 and 30. Football players of all ages, from as young as six years old, participated in this annual event organized by Alaska Milk.

The annual Alaska Football Cup is the one football tournament that young players from all over the country look forward to every year.

Teams representing schools and football clubs from all over the Philippines including Masbate, Baguio, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Davao, Palawan, Legaspi, Laguna, Batangas, Bukidnon, Zambales, Pampanga, Tarlac, Ilocos, Bicol, Romblon, Davao Sur, Compostela Valley, Quezon, Cavite, Albay, Pangasinan, Bacolod, Iloilo, Mindoro and Metro Manila participated.

The annual football event, which started in 1995, helds its 19th edition this year with over 300 teams of more than 4,500 players competing in the different categories. The two-day event was played over more than 750 seven-a-side games, in 30 football fields, and was officiated by over 120 game officials.

The Alaska Football Cup is one of the country's most successful grassroots development program in football.
Alaska believes that sports play an important role in instilling the value of determination, discipline, hard work, team work and sportsmanship among the youth. Sports help them achieve the “winning form” which is Alaska's goal for the children.

The National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) revealed issues on health that are best addressed by adopting an active healthy lifestyle and by regular consumption of nutritious food such as milk. Programs such as the Football Cup reinforces Alaska Milk's thrust in promoting a healthy lifestyle not just by drinking milk but also by engaging regularly in physical activities such as football. Alaska seeks to engage all Filipinos, especially the youth, in sports.

It is in line with Alaska Milk’s program and dream to be part of the lives of more children in the Philippines and encourage these young champions to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle through football.

The tournament develops the athletic skills of participants to the fullest because they compete against athletes of the same age as well as physical and mental development.

Alaska does not just sell milk products. It promotes community development and nation building by nurturing positive values of teamwork, cooperation and fair play through sports activities like the 2014 Alaska Football Cup. Alaska promotes a healthy lifestyle, especially among children, through regular sports activities and proper nutrition.

For more information on the Alaska Football Cup please visit Alaska PowerCamp's website or follow on twitter: @ALASKAsportshub.

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Gear Review: Spyder Alpha H Performance Shades

Spyder Alpha H 9S052 PCM

Spyder Philippines unveiled their latest in performance shades a few weeks ago -- the Spyder Alpha H. This model comes in three frame colors, all of which has two (2) extra pairs of interchangeable lenses. Mine came in yellow-sky-blue frame with blue, yellow, and black colored pair of spare lenses.

To be honest, I have only used this shades twice -- during the 2014 Duaman, and in one of our family's beach outing in La Union. The reason was not because of its functionality nor usability, but it just happens that I got the wrong frame color-combination. My skin's brown to dark-brown color cannot complement the yellow-sky-blue frame model. It was also unfortunate for me that there were no other color choices available when I asked it to be swapped with another color model.

The yellow-sky-blue frame actually complemented my blue-neon-green Reebok Z Fury shoes

In contrast, I still like its style and design, it would have been one of my favorite among the four pairs of Spyder shades I have, second from the Spyder Corsair. I actually saw other runners and bikers who have the same skin-tone as mine wearing other brand of sunglasses in yellow-colored frame, and it looks okay with them. Well, maybe it just comes in wearing it with confidence.

The frame is made from a durable and flexible plastic-like material like most of the other Spyder sportswear sunglasses. This material actually gives the shades its lightweight property, and despite its lightweightness, it still snugs comfortably and does not bounce during an activity (like running). Adding to its comfort is the frame's arm that does not cause any irritation to my ears even when worn with sweating head. It was also surprising that the frames did not get any "irritation from my sweat"! Kidding aside, what I meant is the frame is resistant to breakdowns caused by sweat or natural body acids.

Front of the frame without the lens

It is also claimed that the lenses are high-impact resistant, although I did not dare to challenge this claim as I don't know to what kind and extent of impact it was made to resist. Maybe one of these days I'll try it on the dark-colored lens (the lens that is my least favorite from the three). In one occasion though when the lens got accidentally dropped while interchanging it, it did not get any scratches from the floor contrary to my first Spyder Razor which has now obtained many battle marks.

My favorite lens that comes with the Alpha H is the yellow one. It has a night-vision effect, improving the contrast in the dark or in not so bright environment. I first noticed this when our bus was travelling along one of the tree-lined areas of Naguilian road from La Union to Baguio. The vision on my surroundings brightened when I wore it to supposedly just protect my eyes from the wind gust of the speeding bus.

Spyder Alpha H lenses
Alpha H in dark/black lens
Alpha H in yellow lens (w/night-vision effect)

The nose pad of Alpha H is also flexible. This becomes useful when you want to adjust the fit of the eyeglass. Just a word of advice, since the pads are made from rubber, do not store or leave your sunglass in hot temperature or exposed to sun, else it will soften or melt after continuous exposure to heat. I also recommend cleaning the nose pads specially when it has been exposed to your sweat or other chemicals like your energy drinks (if you accidentally poured it on you) because it will cause slow breakdown to the rubber compound.

Adjustable rubber nose bridge/pads

All in all, I am still satisfied with this sunglass despite the frame color. The dark gray-blue frame (4S052 PCM model) would have better suited my skin-tone.

Spyder Alpha H is already available at SM Department Stores and is retailed at Php 1,500.00. Also included upon purchase is a spare lens pouch, a hardcase, and soft pouch made from micro-fabric material that doubles as your cleaning cloth for the lenses.
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