What is the colour of your thirst?

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Hydration is an important part of training. Every runner must have access to his liquids at every moment of his run, especially during race time or when he is doing intervals. Was there ever a time when you did not bring a bottle of fluids during a run? Forgot about it? Dropped it somewhere? Gave it to someone else? At any point in time, you will still need to retrieve it because you will get thirsty. Otherwise, you’ll be dead.

During my last race, I was conquered by a very challenging choice at the first aid station. Water or sports drink? Not that there was any other choice, like a cocktail perhaps, but I ended up drinking the sports drink and showering myself with water. At the last stop, though, when I was already out of breath and delirious, I must have reversed the selection because someone breathed, “hey sweetie!” past me. And…going back to the title of this article… I was never the type who took the ‘8-glasses-of-water-a-day’ rule seriously because I hate feeling ‘bloated’. I mean, who wants to look like a stuffed frog? If you ask me, I am content with one glass for every meal. However, I will never forget Mom’s advice to follow this simple rule to keep me on my toes the whole day. Water is a source of life. Period.

Especially when the high-energy activities started to bug me, water has become my staple food – so to speak. So when I run, I followed that simple rule and my coach’s: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. However, just when I thought that water was the only thing that will keep me smiling all the way to the finish line, a wide array of sports drinks came into the picture. The bunch has been trying to convince you and me that they are all designed to give the boosted energy we need, or the sodium replacement we lost, or the sugar requirement that we crave for – blah blah blah! These drinks generally contain – as each label shouts it out – carbohydrates, electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, herbs, metabolites, and other less-proven ingredients which might as well get lost under the ‘best before’ numbers or the price tag. For the purpose of educating myself on whether the contents of these hydration liquids will really help boost my performance (and to avoid encountering another challenging choice at the aid station), I head off to the nearest store and chose some of the sports drinks that have managed to send off the ‘marketing promises’ persistently. According to an article I read in the papers, the key to choosing a sports drink is to select the one that you find most palatable. In short, if you like how it tastes, you buy. For most of my climbs, I have been used to the taste of Gatorade orange. In fact, my friends and I brought along Gatorade powder on our hike up to Mt. Apo. And the taste buds had quite a party. Thus, I have been drinking this product ever since I started running. Ten races after though, the palates were having a mind of their own and took a fondness for Powerade – the blue one particularly. However, it became more of a ‘drink’ rather than a ‘hydration’. The palates had the same party with all the confetti afterwards and the blue color made me want to grab for some more. I guess it was somewhat addictive. Then, Vitwater cut in the dance. The sugary taste kept me coming back for more of the blue stuff. It’s either that or the billboard of Manny Pacquiao endorsing the product must have planted an allusion in me. Now I know! If you haven’t noticed, blue is my favorite color but when Vitwater ran out of booths in races, I gladly welcomed the carbonated, isotonic sports drink that is 100plus, which kept me company for a few months. Just when I thought I had enough of sports drinks, Pocari Sweat started giving away hundreds of bottles of their mild-tasting, non-carbonated sweet beverage that definitely hit the spot when you can’t read the kilometer markers anymore.

So, did these drinks ever played key roles to my performance at all? If they did boost my energy levels in any way, I didn’t notice but at least they supplemented me. The colors were just amazing at the aid stations – it somehow kept your mind away from the competition. Or was it hypnotism?

What can these hydration liquids – or sports drinks – give that your regular H2O cannot? As you may already be aware, a sports drink is a beverage that helps replenish fluids and nutrients in our body which we use up when we run, exercise or engage in any sport. As I have already been challenged with, sports drinks are available in an assortment of flavors and range of colors. Some are pre-made liquids and some come in powder form.

The first thing you must remember when you buy a sports drink is research, research, research. Contrary to popular belief, some of them will never be able to quench your thirst. Personally, water is still the best beverage there is if the main purpose is for rehydrating. Although it is never really classified as a beverage, water provides your body enough fluids that it needs and satisfyingly quenches thirst. However, there are times when rigorous trainings or runs make your body lose electrolytes and drinking too much water can cause water intoxication. Eventually, your brain gets fried when you don’t replace the electrolytes in your body. You want a trade secret? I usually mix them. Water and sports drink in my ever-reliable Amphipod, or hydration bottle. It provides me the hydration I need and the ‘party’ I crave for. But don’t take my word for it because that is why we train. We don’t just train to perform better, we also train on how to hydrate – and rehydrate for that matter. It would also help if you ask your fitness trainer or doctor on your next visit. Otherwise, your next hydration crisis will just be another unsightly heap of confetti. (also published in frontRunner Magazine)

 

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My Two Scents

Body odor is an inevitable consequence of being an athlete. Runners are not an exception. Tell me, have you ever been to a race and noticed how much of the population have not really hit the showers before they showed up at the starting line?  Almost half! Why you ask? Well, let me ask you back. Is taking a shower your usual routine before hitting the asphalt in the morning? I’ll bet my Asics you’ll say no.

It is a great feeling to be running with hundreds of runners in the morning; it keeps you occupied by just observing what the other runners wear, how they stride, how they breathe and how much they sweat. It is unfortunate though that the daily aroma of freshly-cut grass, morning dew, and crisp daylight had to be often associated with a lot of sweating and bacteria rapidly mixing altogether to release a foul odor that can even scare a skunk away. Multiply that by a hundred and you still wonder why a lot of runners end up delirious at the finish line. It is truly embarrassing to be carrying that burden of being a skunk-killer and quite offensive to those who had to experience it. Before I upset someone or ruin this piece because of stink, let us refrain from using the word ‘odor’. Instead, I will be a lady and talk about scents. A runner, or an athlete for the benefit (or not) of our audience, releases a great deal of sweat (when running, of course).

However, doctors say that a lot of what really smells is not sweat but the waste products from the bacteria that are living and having a blast on one’s skin. These are the carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids that your body releases while sweating. When you run and the bacteria in your body meet up with your sweat and discuss the possibilities of putting up an olfactory business, chances are every living thing within 2 feet of you either sneezes or gets a very bad case of migraine. The smell is most likely to occur in your feet, groin, armpits, genitals, pubic hair and other hair (apologies to those having their post-run meal now), belly button, and even behind the ears.

While pacing up 5:30 per mile and raising your heart rate to 175, you should be sweating normally. This is your body’s healthy response and the amount of scent you emit from sweating it out varies from the runner beside you and the hundreds of runners in that race. In fact, each individual has his own specific scent and has been used by dogs especially to identify their master from other people. So, what gives out the smell? It could be the Adobong Manok you ate last night, or the supplements you took this morning or a chemical imbalance that you never thought your body had. As it turns out, avoiding the showers in the morning is only one major cause for the stink because your scent also has a lot to do with your diet and your lifestyle. Believe it or not, you can also blame it on your genes and your gender. You may have the looks and the head-turning ass to boot, but your genes could also have influenced the amount of sweat and the modicum of smell your body excretes. In addition to this, study says that men are more prone to smelly armpits (and all other parts of the body) than women.

In keeping it simple, personal hygiene is still the best advice. Your foul scent may be altered (or reduced) by taking a bath or shower regularly and by using deodorants or antiperspirants. As much as you want to keep your body from sweating, it is still necessary because it helps prevent the body from overheating when running. Hair under the armpits is also believed to slow down the evaporation of sweat which gives the bacteria enough time to party and turn into gremlins. Thus, shaving the armpits regularly can also help control the scent in that area. Besides, it is more fashionable to wear singlets without the hair peeking out. Cutting down on spicy food such as garlic, onions and curried meals may also help moderate the stench from your sweat. Maintaining a well-balanced diet which includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains do not only help reduce the smell but ensures a healthy eating habit. However, there are some medical conditions that your body may also be experiencing which poses a threat to your quest for being smell-free. These are heart and thyroid problems, kidney failures and diabetes. These can also cause excessive and abnormal body sweat. If you would like to find out more, visit your doctor and take the sweat test (I bet there’s one in this country already).

It seems that everything you really need to know about keeping the smell at bay, you have learned from kindergarten. Take a bath, wash your hands and face, brush your teeth, eat regularly, sleep early, and check with the doctor when necessary. So, are you taking a shower before that run then? Keep it to yourself and be sure to heed my advices above, otherwise keep praying that we’ll never have skunks in this part of the country. My two ‘scents.’ (also published in frontRunner Magazine)

The 150 Word Article

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How does one promote oneself in one hundred fifty words?

If you’re stuck in a 6×8 room with only the sounds from the crickets outside, the Ikea clock on your wall and a 2-year old fan to keep you upbeat in this dog day afternoon, there doesn’t seem to be any worthwhile topic to work on.

Or are there?  Let us see some possibilities…

1. Drag the number word count into words to meet the target count due to lack of a topic in mind;

2. Surf the internet until you land in a number of sites that takes you to another site that requires you to come up with an article of 400 words;

3. Stare at an object in the room and come up with amazing tips on how to use it;

4. Log in to Facebook and start stalking…rather, talking;

5. Call a friend and tell her you’re working on this one hundred fifty (sorry, can’t help it) word article that needs to be submitted and maybe she can help.

Imagine that…just finished a write-up with a hundred and eighty word count! Damn, just when the ideas are starting to roll…

If I ever get a chance to travel through time

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There are more than one instance when I wish I could travel through time. Either back to when I was born or forward into the future. Thing is, as much as I try to invent the nearest time machine (as if I’m even trying), I always get goose bumps, anxious of what the other side could behold. Do you recall Michael J. Fox in the movie, Back to the Future? If you don’t know Michael J. Fox or even the movie Back to the Future, then poor you, you’re not in my age group…nah, just kidding! Anyway, the movie depicted Michael J. Fox who accidentally got a chance to travel through time to when his mother and father were still in high school. It was an amazing journey for him, it was one heck of a time travel for us all – it took 3 movies of travelling through time for the character that Michael portrayed to realize that he should not have changed anything in the past.

Another movie on time travel is The Terminator with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, don’t tell me you have not heard of that movie. Really?! Under what huge rock did you crawl out of?!?! This movie even introduced a new TV series, the Sarah Connor Chronicles (nope, I didn’t get my blog title from that series). The movie’s plot is set in the 21st century and the lead actor goes back through time with a mission and there, in the 80s, he met The Terminator.

Seriously, if I ever get a chance to travel through time, I wish I could see what it was like when I was born, or even during the time when my parents haven’t met yet. That would have been awkward but exciting (oops, there is that goose bump again). But at least, I could try to reason out with my Dad to quit smoking and focus on his future. Or I could have told him to invest in Microsoft before marrying Ma, then he still doesn’t have to work his butt out but he’ll still get rich!

The thing that the movie Back to the Future taught me is never to change the course of the past or the present as it will alter the future, yeah, I got all that from the trilogy. So, if I had that chance to travel through time, the most likely outcome if my Dad had invested in Microsoft, he would have married a different gal and I would not have been born…yikes!

Time travel has been depicted in a number of movies, even TV series, and each time there is a different story where the protagonist would go back to the past and find the best way to change the future. Below are just some of the memorable travel time movies so far (who knows what the future holds). I must admit I haven’t seen some of them.

10. Somewhere In Time

9. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

8. Looper

7. Groundhog Day

6. Primer

5. The Terminator

4. Star Trek IV

3. Mr. Peabody & Sherman

2. Back to the Future

1. 12 Monkeys

Change is good

Just recently, I got news that I will be permanently living in a different country with different cultures and different environment.  It is news that I have been waiting for so long and when I did get it, I kind of got some mixed feelings about it. Excitement and apprehension.  Perhaps it is normal, maybe it is just right to get that emotion, otherwise, I would not be human.

But change is good and I am embracing this new phase in my life.  Just what they say, “bring it on”!

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