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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Missed Runs And Breaking The Slack

I'm back to slacking again. A week has passed and nary a mile was logged.

A week after our marathon, I suffered a mild asthma attack and incidentally red read an article in Active Run that went like - when down with a cold do you risk it? or rest it? -- Believing I do deserve the rest, I opted to just do 2 milers twice that week. I felt temporary relief but in the afternoon, I was having back pains so I decided to just take the rest of the week off from running. I nailed the "I DESERVE TO REST after all that hard work" excuse in my head to somehow drive the guilt away.

What I hate though is when I slack off with my runs, I also tended to turn to unhealthier food choices. I've been feasting on junk food for the past few days and now I'm feeling sluggish all day. The lethargy drives me to take in more cups of coffee than my self-imposed quota. And of course, coffee goes very well with cookies or a slice of cake so before I can stop myself I grab the closest pack of cookies that I can get my hands on and devour it like crazy. It's a vicious cycle that started off with me skipping my runs. 

THIS HAS GOT TO STOP. I kept chanting that till I got home and last night I was finally able to break the laziness off despite the kid begging me to just do some indoor exercises and the husband demanding we eat dinner already. I waved that off and just headed out. I told myself I just needed 20 minutes and ran 2 miles. I didn't realize how I missed the smell of the cold night breeze and the feel of sweat dripping like crazy on my chin as I stop to take a deep breath amid the threat of a side stitch. I ran at 5.30/km on the first few minutes and it felt soooo good.

And since that felt really good, I'm doing it again tonight. I won't let anything stop me. Because yes, come to think of it, what is 20 minutes these days anyways? I spend even more time browsing through Facebook updates. And that one, I can just let go.

Sharing some inspirations and words of motivation that I came across on Pinterest today. Hope you're all having a great week!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Recipe: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

While I was preparing this recipe, I was immediately transported to some 6 or 7 years ago when I was still renting a house with college friends. We would take turns preparing our weekly dinner menu and cooking  it. This dish is one of our favorites from one of my housemate's menu. It was a very comforting saucy dish so fitting to serve during a cold, rainy night at home. Even the husband had fond memories of this dish (we were already together then) as well.

Unfortunately, my version didn't taste anywhere near my housemate's version (hello Girl! Ngayo ko recipe mo, please!) and it disappointed my husband a bit. His verdict: stuffing was bland (because I deliberately put just a mere pinch of salt in it. I thought the hint of paprika will save me because he likes spicy things but no, it didn't).

My husband is my #1 culinary fan. So his disappointment is my disappointment. But the good thing about cooking is you can just keep on trying till you get the perfect recipe. And as this is a very flexible recipe (you can play with the stuffing - if you want it healthier you can use tofu or ground chicken breast), I am sure my household will not get tired of this even if I include it in our weekly menu.

But moving on to the recipe:

What I used:

1 head of large cabbage, each leaf taken off the stalk

about 200g of lean ground pork
1 small carrot, diced
1 med onion, chopped finely
chopped spring onions
A sprig of flat parsley, chopped
olive oil for sauteeing

about a cup of Marinara Sauce, click here for recipe***

***(this can be substituted by 1 piece of tomato chopped and sauteed over garlic and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, dilute with 1/4 cup water)

How I did it:

1. Gently scrape off the hard part on each cabbage leaf.
2. Steam each of the leaf for about 1-2 mins (just so they can be easily rolled) and set aside.
3. Mix the carrots, onions, parsley, a pinch of pepper, paprika and salt with the ground meat.
4. Heat oil and dump in the meat mixture and saute till slight browned. Set aside to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
5. When the meat has cooled off, scoop about 1 tablespoon of it on each leaf and wrap (just like how you'd wrap spring rolls). Secure the center with a toothpick to prevent the leaf from breaking when you dump it unto the sauce.
6. Reheat the marinara sauce and gently place each of the cabbage rolls unto the sauce. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes depending on how you'd like your leaf to cook. You can also opt to steam the leaves instead and pour the reheated sauce unto it before serving. Whatever works best for you.
7. Serve with hot steaming rice and you're good to go!

This recipe was able to feed 6 hungry stomachs. The roll alone is very filling already so I ate mine with just a few spoonfuls of rice (I think maybe 3). The hubby and the little miss loved it with a lot of sauce so I had to reheat more. I think it would have been better if I added a few spoonfuls of tomato paste unto the meat when I sauteed it. I will try that next time. Even if my household complained of how bland the roll turned out to be, they were still able to clean their respective plates up. Still a happy ending for me, come to think of it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Condura Skyway Marathon 2013 Photos Now Up!

Bookmarking this and linking up for future reference. Here are some of our photos that I've downloaded. Sadly, there isn't much to download. And there's only one clear photo of me and Tibs together. Well, he did leave me right after the 5th kilometer but there was once instance he signalled to a photographer to take a pic of us together. But then an overzealous runner cut us (parang nasa traffic lang) and blocked the photographer's best angle of us. The photographer did manage to snap our pic but it turned out to be blurry. Bummer. Seriously, I like the running photos that photovendo churns out. I wish next year is going to be a lot better. Maybe get more photographers? A marathon after all is a milestone event in a runner's life. It's only apt that they're documented through numerous photos.

photobombed. big time. lol.
sweaty but thrilled to be in this race. i was told to have fun and i seriously took that to heart.

Just a few meters away from the finish line. 

This is when I told Tibs to go ahead because I've finally established my pace. Running at around 7:12/km here. I maintained that pace for almost 3 hrs. 
Here's the link to the complete photo files: Condura Skyway Marathon 2013 (by Active Moments)

Thursday, February 14, 2013


It wasn't really the box of chocolates that won me over but that small piece of note that came with it. He never ever did notes. So this one, even if was just a one-liner note that said: "For putting up with me" it meant a whole lot to me.

Getting him to write a note felt like he is finally owning up to his share of growing up in this relationship. I felt like he finally put our growing up contract in writing and signed it to make it officially binding. And we married folks know that making a marriage work requires a lot of maturing from both couples. I take this note as a sign of my husband finally realizing this as well.

Yes my marriage is a work-in-progress. And it will probably remain that way after we celebrate our silver anniversary and even gold or diamond if the Lord permits.

The box of Patchi made me happy. I wouldn't deny that (as I've been salivating over a mere photo of their chocolates for so long now). After biting on a small piece last night, I knew the price is justifiable. But the note that came with most definitely trumped that box of dark chocolates.

Thank you sweetie. I told you that next year, a love letter would be enough. And I will hold on to that. Just make sure you write the letter yourself ha. Don't make your daughter write it for you. Hehe. I love you to bits. From head to toe. From To the moon and back.

p.s. So you see sweetie, surprises aren't that hard to pull at all. Agree now?

Everyday is Love Day

photo grabbed from tumblr
First things first ------ Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I married a guy who will probably eternally abhor Valentine's day. Not because he does not how to love or express it, but mainly because he thinks the day has become so commercialized he just doesn't like being inconvenienced by it. He feels he is being trapped at the center of the chaos every time Valentine's day is celebrated. TRAFFIC JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE (But maybe it's worst in Pasay ano?). LONG LINES AT PASTRY SHOPS. CROWDED MALLS. (I will have to ask him what else are the specific things he hates during valentine's day. You know, for documentation purposes)

So when he was single, he avoided Valentine's day like it's a dreaded plaque. 

What's good though (well for him at least) is I am not a big fan of spending tons for flowers that will wilt after a day or two so that takes a LOT of weight off his shoulders. Yesterday, we decided to move our regular 'Thursdate' to a Wednesday in anticipation of the Valentine mob (see? I love the guy too. showed my concern by agreeing to go out a day earlier than schedule wehehe). We were supposed to catch a movie but nothing interesting is showing (Flight seems okay but he did not want to settle with okay. After all, a movie doesn't come cheap anymore. I wanted Die Hard but he just wouldn't budge. hahahaha). So we skipped the movie and ended up scouring the mall for a new pair of PE shoes for the kid instead. We ended up getting her not one but 2 new pairs of shoes. Lucky kid, eh? In the end, she owned the date night again. We then settled for a nice bowl of Ramen after walking around the mall for almost an hour. We're cheapos so Ramen X was just the right fit for us. We, however, on our way home passed by Kenji Tei Ramen House (near the Cinemas at Alabang Town Center) and thought the ambiance there was so much better. We agreed to try it the next time a Ramen craving hits us.

I will pay for all these indulging this weekend. I swear. Time to hit the road hard again. 
I don't know if I'll still get a treat tonight since we already claimed our date night yesterday. I'm hoping I would. But if I don't, well, at least I can still pull the puppy eye trick on another day and claim my treat then. In our household anyways, everyday is love day.

Alabang Town Center
Alabang Zapote Road, Muntinlupa City

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Recovering From A Full Marathon

A day after running my first marathon, I expected the worst. I was prepared to stay in bed because friends warned me it's highly possible I will NOT be able to walk because every single muscle would be aching like hell.

I ran for almost 6 hours and a half. I covered 42+ kilometers. I honestly would not expect my muscles to be that forgiving. So I readied myself.

Lucky for us commuting runners, we had friends who volunteered to drive us home. So before lunchtime we were already lying in bed and resting. The hubs wasn't very lucky because he vomited twice before we got home. It caused me and our friends to panic (we almost brought him to Asian Hospital) but luckily around 9am, there were still some medics left on the Condura Skyway Marathon Village so we had them take his blood pressure just to be sure. It was normal at 110/80. We were advised to get him home to rest as soon as possible. The day before, while I was able to get at least 3 hours of sleep, the husband did not. He just couldn't sleep. So I relented. Let him be. The following day, his body wasn't as forgiving as me. Exhaustion hit him hard.

Our recovery plan included a serving a chocolate milk right after the race, lots and lots of water, an ice bath, at least 8 hours of uninterrupted shut-eye and a full body massage. I was able to get everything except for the chocolate milk. I totally forgot I packed some. I guess, I was just too overwhelmed with finishing the race everything after that was just going by like a blur.

the water was really ice cold i had to take my feet off every so often.
but it did its magic with keeping the swelling muscles at bay.
earlier that day, I already iced my knees.
Did all that work? Yes, it did! While I was ready to embrace the worst impact the day after the race, I surprisingly was walking. Walking with a limp but compared to how I was last year after finishing my first half marathon, I was way better this time. I was even able to report to work and climb 4 flights of stairs as my office is located at the 3/F of our building and we had no service elevator to take us up. My knees also surprisingly were never painful this whole time. So I only had to deal with muscle pain and not the joints.

The hubby recovered just as fast as I did too. I guess, everything just worked well this time. Apart from us not finishing as we targeted I think I can say we did extremely well as first timers. No injuries was way better than a fast but unsustainable finish. 

By day 3 (post-marathon), I was able to do a 30-minute easy recovery run (at 7:14/km pace). My thigh muscles complained a bit, but as I am typing this, I can honestly say there was no trace of an ache. The foot that used to ache when we were training wasn't even painful at all. I guess, trading my favorite Adidas shoes to a new pair of New Balance 1090's also helped bring me to the finish line. 

I can't wait to start training again. Our friends and I are talking about running our next marathon at a bigger race event by the end of this year. I hope I can clock in a better time then. I have roughly about 11 months to make that happen. Hopefully, I now have better discipline. And more determination than ever before. Wish us luck!
i still had my cup of ice cold milo later that day. so good.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Dream Within My Reach

I was just a few meters away from the finish line when our friends took this photo. I love how they captured my emotions here. I was on the verge of letting out a happy cry here. You see, 3 kilometers from the finish line I was already feeling so low. Although I didn't pressure myself much on this race, I still made a mental goal of finishing it at 6 hours. And I thought that was more than feasible. At kilometer 35 though, I started feeling extremely weak (at this point, I ran for more than 5 hours already) so I chose to do a 2min run/1min walk which at some point would end up a 2min run/3min walk (I was actually walking more than running already) I knew I wasn't in any way going to make it at 6 hours. The thought of the finish line didn't excite me anymore. 

But on my way down I started hearing the drums beating and race marshals cheering the finishers, my mood made a 360-turn. I suddenly felt alive. So I made a dash to the finish line. I realized how BIG an experience this was. And how blessed I was to be healthy enough to finish a marathon. Add to that the sight of friends cheering on me just a few meters to the finish line, I just let out a shout -- "I MADE IT! NATAPOS KO! NATAPOS KOOOOOOOOOOO!"

And really, to experience crossing that line after running for more than 6 hours is extraordinary. This is just the start of it. I hope to cross more marathon finish lines in the future. But hopefully, in less than 6 hours next time :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Marathon Dream Came True

I'm still on 7th heaven. I finished a marathon yesterday and yes, I feel like I just won a bigtime lottery. I'm still overwhelmed with the thought and my emotions are still very high (as you can sense in this post probably. and if you are a Facebook contact, i know i'm nakakaumay already). BUT. I just can't help it!

They said it was life-changing. Finishing a marathon that is. And it indeed is. How life-changing? Well, in my case, I proved to myself that if I pushed harder nothing is impossible. So cliched. But that's just the best way I can summarize it.

Finishing a marathon is life-changing. YES. And also very addicting. I have yet to recover from all sorts of pain in my body but I'm starting to map out my training plan for my next marathon already. Define atat. Yes, that's me.

But going back to yesterday's experience. A few weeks back, I read an essay about a runner's thoughts at the 25th kilometer. All of the things he said there was true. Being a first-time marathoner, I experienced all that and more. My agony actually started just a few meters after the 21st kilometer. My husband and I trained till the 30th kilometer so despite my legs turning to lead, I knew I can still survive that far. But even if  the 30th kilometer was still almost 9 kilometers away, anxiety was creeping in fast. The mental battle/struggle ensued after that. And I was slowly giving in. I started thinking about plantar fascilitis and how my foot is starting to hurt everytime it touches the ground. About leg cramps and how my calves are starting to stiffen up each time I made an effort to land. About fatigue and how I can barely move my legs or raise my arms even if I've already gobbled up a banana and Gu.

I paused and asked myself, How bad do you want this? And the answer was clear and with conviction - THAT BAD. So I plodded on, firmly holding on to my resolve that even if it takes me 7 hours to finish. I will finish it. (But please Lord, with no injuries if possible).

Every second, a runner would get past me. I was on the first wave so I really expected a lot of runners to overtake me. But once in a while, I would get that competitive nudge and urge to speed up and overtake a runner or two. So when that happens, I pause and remind myself what my goal really is. FINISH WITH NO INJURIES. And I go back to running my pace.

Running slow enabled me to connect with fellow first time marathoners. And it was a very humbling experience. Madami pang mababait sa mundo. There wasn't a time that I would stop and be ignored by a runnner. There was always somebody who would ask how I was doing, offer a liniment, a power gel, water, a banana. The safety buddy did work! (and I honestly think, everyone just cared) We all took care of each and that made this experience even more worth it.

Congratulations Condura Skyway Marathon organizers! I made a goal to finish a full-marathon before I turned 35 and I DID IT. You helped me make that happen!

Till next year!

If you want to read more about my progress with running, please CLICK HERE.
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