Monday, November 28, 2011

My Runnersworld Dinner in Cebu

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Light that Cigarette

In my outpatient clinic, I often receive patients complaining of cough and difficulty breathing. After careful observation, I ask the patient “So, How many sticks of cigarette do you consume in a day?” They hesitate to answer.

“How long have you been smoking?” I usually don’t ask if the patient smokes when I see subtle clues that the patient is a smoker.

Patients sometimes pride themselves of smoking since their teen years. They started smoking because their friends or families smoke. “If you cant beat them, Join them.”

After a brief explanation that smoking is the cause of the patient’s complaints, I ask. “When do you plan to quit smoking?” This is where I am amused by different replies I get from my patients. Many would say “I quit already, Doc”.
“Since When?” I asked. “When my cough started”
“Do you have plans of going back to smoking after I relieve you of your complaints?” Then they humor me with their reply. 
“No Doc.”
I smile as I tell my patients “Istoryahe!”

Smokers deny the fact that to quit smoking is a difficult process. They often boast “I can quit anytime I want but I don’t want to do it just yet”. Many smokers have tried more than once to quit smoking. They remain smoke-free for a few weeks but relapse after a night out with friends. To quit smoking is not easy when your family or friends are smokers.

Cigarettes are addicting. Some of the constituents of cigarette smoke affect the emotion centers of the brain and stimulate your heart. After smoking, you feel more alert and focused. Many also claim that lighting a cigarette lightens up their mood.

So light that cigarette. They can help.

They help Doctors make a living when you get smoker’s cough or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cigarette smoke destroys our lungs and increases the incidence of lung infection. They also increase the likelihood of getting lung and oral cancer. Light that cigarette today and visit your Doctor tomorrow.

Smokers also help solve the problem of overpopulation. Smokers often have short life spans because smoking increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and sudden death. Cigarette smoke contain chemicals that are poisonous or dangerous like formaldehyde, arsenic, cyanide, naphtalene, cadmium, carbon monoxide, mercury, lead and cloroform. Smoking also causes erectile dysfunction. Forget birth control. Light that cigarette.

They also help kill insects because cigarette smoke contains DDT (a very potent insecticide). Smokers sacrifice their lungs and their health to help prevent dengue fever and malaria. Go ahead. Light that cigarette. Burn your lungs and kill those mosquitoes.

Cigarette smoking does have unique advantages. If you think about it, maybe smoking is not so bad after all. Go ahead. Light your next cigarette.

Occasionally, patients joke about their smoking addiction and ask me “Doc, what can help me permanently quit smoking?” My reply is brief and simple. “Lung Cancer. Its free and effective”.

Published: Sunstar Newspaper November 21, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cebu Century Challenge 100K Run Tips

Good luck to all participants of the Cebu Century Challenge 100K Run!!!

I have been cycling the northern route regularly for the past few weeks and noticed that it was more hot than usual. Here are some tips to make your century challenge a little more enjoyable.

1. Stay Cool. When you can, try to nibble on some ice chips or cubes when you are resting. Towels can be soaked in ice cold water then placed in between the groin and in the armpits to cool your core body temperature. A sponge bath at aid stations will also help avoid overheating.

2. Drink Water or hydrate. Always rehydrate with ice cold water or electrolye replacements during water breaks. Make sure to avoid dehydration during the race.

3. Sunblock. Do not forget to reapply your sunblock every 3-4 hours. I recommend using the Belo Essentials Sunblock with SPF60 for the body and SPF40 for the face.

4. Follow your nutrition plan.

5. Keep your eyes on the road. Unlike other Cebu Ultramarathon races, this race will cover the northern Highway and will have many traffic. Some of the PUV/PUJ drivers can be “a little” reckless so stay alert. Parts of the northern road are being repaired so expect a lot of debris, dirt and potholes. Don't forget to wear your reflector vests early in the race when its dark.

6. Don’t forget to smile at the locals.

Have a safe race and don’t forget to have fun! Godspeed. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My First Road Race

Photos courtesy of Maxi and Igi Maximo of

It was a different Saturday morning. I woke up before 6 am to prepare for my third race this year. It may not be a major race but it was definitely unforgettable.

I have not felt this excited to join a race since I joined the last Aviva Ironman 70.3 in Singapore last March. I arranged my uniform, prepared my shoes, filled up my hydration bottles and placed everything in a bag.

Before loading everything in the car, I checked the most important equipment I will use the next day. Lara.

She is a Scott Speedster S20 road bike which I acquired through a teammate at a very good price. Unlike riding a triathlon bike, a road bike maneuvers differently and needs a different set of skills. Sudden accelerations, sprinting and drafting are all new to a trained triathlete. Keeping up with the peloton is not as easy as it sounds. Road bikes so close to each other that your elbows almost touch. Your front wheel is less than a foot away from your competitors rear wheel. Setting or maintaining the pace when your turn comes to lead the peloton. These are not part of triathlon bike racing. In an Ironman Triathlon, drafting is illegal and violators will be given penalties. Also, sudden accelerations are seldom seen and sprinting almost never happens on the bike course.

I arrived at the race venue a little early than most cyclists. Unlike many participants, I arrived in a car while most riders started to warm-up by riding their bikes from home. Big mistake for me. While they were already preparing to start the race, I still had not warmed-up. I had to ride slowly at the rear end of the peloton to warm-up when the race started then rode with friends early in the race to familiarize myself with all the rules and techniques during a Criterium race.

I was wrong to think that the races held every Saturday morning in North Reclamation Area behind CDU University were free of traffic during the race. The races start after 7am and some of the CDU morning classes had already began. Cars were parked diagonally behind the main CDU campus and other buildings in the area. I prayed for a safe race. Actually, I always pray before and after every bike ride.

Despite my inconsistent training, I managed to keep up with the peloton and was lucky to have caught the break away group. After a few loops, I had the opportunity to ask a fellow cyclist how many loops we needed to complete before the race ends assuming that the course was 8 loops. The man gave no reply. Suddenly, a race marshal shouted “8 loops!” when I completed a lap. “Yes! I will survive” I said to myself thinking that I was on my last lap. But nobody began to attack. My legs were burning and I needed to push harder to finish the race strong.  I was looking for an opportunity to launch my final attack when a friend rode beside me. I asked him “How many laps?” A brief pause was followed by a quick reply. “Fifteen!”

In the last few loops, I rode with 2 other Category D cyclists to make the lead group. I struggled to keep up with the pace and was in agony when it was my turn to lead the 3-man group. The last lap went by so fast that all I can remember was drinking my water as I crossed the line. My legs felt really sore after the race but I was ecstatic.

An elite cyclist/ friend warned me when I told him my plans to try one of the Saturday races in Recla. He said “Criterium racing is addicting”. I agree. I can’t wait to join the next race.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Joy of Sunscreen

Triathletes love to train in the heat. We run at 12 noon to acclimatize our bodies in running in the heat. We bike from 6 am to 5 pm to increase our cycling endurance. We swim for hours in the pool or beach to train for the massive swim start.

Marathoners and Ultramarathoners also heat train. It takes about 2 weeks for the body to adjust to the high environmental temperature during exercise or running. We become more prone to electrolyte imbalance, heat stroke and dehydration when we exercise at extremely high temperatures.

To avoid these disastrous events, we take in more water and electrolytes and do simulation runs to adjust to the heat.

When exposed in the sun, we forget to take care of our skin. Endurance athletes are prone to sunburn during training. Frequent sun exposure may also cause premature aging and skin cancer.

I have used many brands of sunscreen since I started endurance training. It didn’t matter to me if they were Spf 15 or 60 as long as I was using sun screen to help protect my skin. I have to admit that I didn’t like wearing them but had to. They felt sticky and uncomfortable after application. Some even caused mild skin allergies.

During the last COBRA Ironman 70.3 Philippines, One of our team sponsors, Belo Medical group, provided us sunscreens to help prevent sunburn and protect our skin. The Belo Essentials Sun Expert Sunblock was given to team members and have been using them ever since.

This sunscreen lotion was unlike any other brand. They do not feel sticky at all. It was like water being applied to the skin. It comes in two preparations. The BODY lotion is spf 60 while the FACIAL lotion is Spf 40 and non-comedogenic (non-pimple causing). After one application, riding hard for 2 hours at 11am, my skin didn’t feel burned or irritated and all I got was a great-looking dark tan line.

Try it and experience the joy of sunscreen. 



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