Feel Better, Perform Better With Active Release Technique By Coach PJ Rivera


Feel Better, Perform Better with Active Release Technique by Coach PJ Rivera.

Feel Better, Perform Better with Active Release Technique by Coach PJ Rivera.

We aspire to create a better version of ourselves. That’s why we keep on training.

As endurance athletes, we train to withstand pain. And in the long run, we developed a high tolerance for it. Just when we thought that the physical pain we feel is nothing more than just having delayed onset of muscle soreness, we overlooked the fact that our body needs to rest and recover. This is because the mindset of most athletes is that daily training is paramount to better performance. Even if the pain becomes uncomfortable that could result to bad form or bad posture.

Pain is our body’s way of telling us to get that much needed rest; that there’s a need for a fix. Most often, we disregard this call and we end up injured squandering away months of training and preparations.

For quite sometime now, I felt that there’s been a decline in the quality of my training and even in my race performance due to recurring pains. I thought the pain has something to do with my tapered training due to my workload. Little did I know that I badly needed a treatment.

This prompted me to set an appointment with Coach PJ Rivera, who is no stranger to the world of sports and fitness, as he himself used to be a member of a track and field varsity team, and one of the founders of Trimac triathlon team. After his stint with the team, he went to the US to study and master the Active Release Technique (ART). Upon his return to the Philippines to practice ART, Coach PJ joined the Philippine Olympic team as the official healthcare provider, and is now into coaching runners and triathletes on top of his clinic hours.

Coach PJ Rivera is a triathlete, and now practices Active Release Technique, which is perfect for athletes.

Coach PJ Rivera is a triathlete, and now practices Active Release Technique, which is perfect for athletes.

Having a smorgasbord of pains, Coach PJ had to address my primary complaints. And guess what, for someone who’s physically active as I am, there were scarred tissues in my hamstrings, or commonly termed as tight muscles. Then there’s the uncomfortable pain in my ankles, shins, knees and lower back whenever I train or during races. Coach PJ went through each of the muscle groups and the connecting muscles with precision to loosen up them up. During the treatment, he suggested workout routines to help strengthen the muscles.

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active-release-techniqu-by-coach-pj-rivera-holistic-treatment

The treatment went on for about 45 minutes to an hour, as Coach PJ went an extra mile of doing a holistic assessment of my condition. That’s when I learned that the muscles surrounding my chest are a tad tighter which made breathing a bit difficult during any physical activity. And there’s more! I apparently had an onset of stiff neck, too! Had I not gone for the treatment that early, the pain could’ve been worse.

Thanks to Coach PJ Rivera, who did an excellent job in making sure that pain isn’t something too grand to think about. Now, I can train and race better!

With Active Release Technique, I can do more. Feel Better. Perform Better.

The Lessons Of The 7-Eleven Skyway Marathon


run-7-eleven-2017-race-kit-claimingSince the time I have come to understand and embrace running as a lifestyle, I have become relentless about my carefully chosen battles, which means training for the scheduled race, and properly gearing up on race day.

The Run 7-Eleven 2017 race village was all perked up when I arrived to claim my race kit. Roughly a quarter before the 11pm gun start for 42K, most runners including myself joined our respective wave groups. And being my first marathon for the year, I was excited to set the bar for this distance. I had a pretty good start running alongside my dear friend Rhina up until about the 5th kilometre.

Running through the Skyway was quite overwhelming I must say. But at some point, it has made me feel invincible. As I picked up on my pace, I realised I have missed my personal electrolytes solution (oresol). So I had to make sure I hydrate whenever necessary. Hydration marshals politely offered unli-water and unli-sports drinks along the way, and even went an extra mile of peeling off the bananas before handing them to us. It was actually a good idea to prevent banana peels from being scattered along the route, which when stepped on can cause someone to slip. A group of marshals were chanting giving life to the Skyway and giving the runners that extra push just when the legs started to feel heavy.

The Skyway became a rendezvous for me and my friends whom I haven’t seen for a long time, it was a good venue to simply catch up and say hello to, reciprocated each other when there’s no one to boost our waning energy.

At the 22nd kilometre, I could feel my calves locking in. I came up to the medics team and asked for a sachet of oresol to prevent further depletion of my electrolytes (although I already filled my personal hydration bottle with Lightwater, which is always available in 7-Eleven stores!). Lack of proper nutrition plan resulted to leg cramps. It prompted me to slow down and even walk to release the tension in the muscles, and started running again as soon as I could.

Literally hard-earned 42k medal. #Run711

Literally hard-earned 42k medal. #Run711

I was targeting a 4:30 finish time. Due to recurring leg cramps, I had to accept the fact that it was seemingly possible as I still had about five kilometres to go. Like what I would always advise to the runners I’m training with, “Always listen to your body.” I had to play it by ear, even if it means going beyond my target time.

Finally, as I was going off the skyway towards the finish line, a myriad of thoughts came into my mind. There were quite a few important things that I fell short on. Lessons were learned.

Back at the race village, I changed into my fresh clothes and had two bowls of the delicious rice porridge. Tucked my hydration with me and by 6 in the morning, I was back in the Skyway to fulfil my marshal duties to make sure that runners are off the Skyway before it opens for the motorists.

Marshal duties. #Run711

Marshal duties. #Run711

Capturing the sunrise as seen from the Skyway. #Run711

Capturing the sunrise as seen from the Skyway. #Run711

The race has brought me to a realisation that running is not all about the medal, the finisher shirt and the loot bags after crossing the finish line. Running a marathon has taught me how to value training, discipline, respect, integrity and self-worth.

Run For The Angels: Truly Worth It


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Took my Soleus running watch and Helo healthband at the Run for the Angels. Photo credit: Camp Big Falcon

It’s not very often that I get to join a race outside of Metro Manila, even if it’s just a hour’s drive or two away. And when I get the chance, I would certainly go for it. Just like the Run for the Angels at Vista Mall Sta. Rosa.

I arrived early for the 4am trip at the Buendia terminal for south-bound buses, which will drop me off at Sta. Rosa Exit to make in time for the 5:50am gun start. But it’s been half an hour since the 4am trip should’ve have left. Each minute ticked away and it felt like forever. A quarter before 5, the first bus loaded the passengers according to the number of seats available. Considering the 1 hour travel time from Manila to Sta. Rosa, I will definitely be late for the 5:50am gun start. So I boarded the bus even if it means I had to stand.

When I reached the venue after a 15-minute trike ride, the final category (3K) has just made its 10-second countdown. When Tita Margot Tipon of Active Pinas handed me my 5-mile bib, I hurriedly changed into my running clothes. I was literally the last runner to leave start line!

With so much adrenaline pumping through my system, I was at my top speed after the second kilometre, running past 2-mile and 5-mile runners, and some of the 10-mile runners even. I had to admit that the race route was unexplored inside an exclusive village. The streets were lined up with towering trees, greens and a lot of fresh cool air filling in my lungs with each breath, which helped me with a better VO2 max.

We 5-milers went through another iron-gated village, which was purposely opened just for this race and I was awed with amazement at the landscaping – more pine trees and even more towering old trees! It felt like I was running in the outskirts of the city. It was serene. It was peaceful. It was invigorating.

Whilst the race was a green race, Active Pinas with the support of some running groups, provided for the hydration of the participants in various spots along the course.

I was running relentlessly that I realised I was running a bit too fast, only to be caught up in the traffic less than 200 metres away from the finish line. I crossed the finish line at about 6:58am. And based on my calculation, since I was 18 minutes late, I completed my 5-mile race in about 40 minutes.

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The now grown up Josh (left) helping out the finish line marshals with hydration.

As most of my friends are in the corporate world just like me, races are a great way to catch up with them. And it’s also great to see how much Joshua Tipon has grown up! After finishing his 3.2 kilometre race, Josh was seen helping out the the hydration at the finish line. I learned that Dave Tipon was with his classmates so I didn’t see him at all. It was also an opportunity to see Tita Margot after a long time as I don’t get to see her as compared to Eric whom I get to meet in running events.

During the awarding, three members of the Ayala Triads – Criselda del Rosario (5-mi second place), Rhina Sison and Seanna Swift (10-mi third and first place, respectively) made it to the podium!

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Ayala Triads contingent at the Run for the Angels, together with podium finishers Criselda, Rhina and Seannah. #ProudToBeTriads

The race was nothing short of fun. I absolutely enjoyed every mile of it as I seldom get to see such refreshing race route. Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos as I don’t usually bring my phone with me.

The race venue was great as Vista Mall allowed the use of its spacious washrooms for us runners to change into our fresh clothes. Also, fastfood chains in the vicinity served our post-race meals. And nearby, there’s a van terminal bound for Manila, which was very convenient for commuters.

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With Active Pinas’s Eric and Tita Margot. Thank you for a great experience!

Even though I had to run late for the race, still it was all worth my time and effort. I was compensated by the new and unforgettable experience yet again. Something that may be not duplicated by other races. And the BEST thing about the race is that, the runners have extended more happiness to the beneficiaries of the event, an orphanage in Silang, Cavite.

Thank you, Active Pinas and Congratulations for a successful race!
Did I say I’m looking forward to more races with you?!

Malaysia Tourism Hunt: See Yah, Malacca!


If you’re planning an upcoming trip around Asia, make it Malacca! Here’s why.

Malacca is the centre of culture of Malaysia and was declared by UNESCO as the World Heritage City. Hence, there are parts of the city that were preserved and maintained to their original look and built.

After of almost an hour of driving from Port Dickson, we reached the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park. On our arrival, the ushers dressed in vibrant colours led us to an open auditorium. Once we were all settled, we were treated to a series of dances and performances reminiscent of the Malaysian multi-racial heritage.

The Mini Malaysia and ASEAN Cultural Park, Malacca

The Mini Malaysia and ASEAN Cultural Park, Malacca

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Malaysia’s multi-racial culture is reminiscent in different ways, even in the dances.

There are many exciting and challenging activities that you, your family and friends can get your hands on and enjoy at the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park. In our case, we did quite a few of those fun stuff and challenges – totally ethnic and local.

Malaysia is also known for its colourful batiks. So, our first task was the batik painting. Batik painting requires some amount of artistry and techniques for a more creative result. Colour combination counts a lot as it defines the overall look of your batik. One need not be a virtuoso to make a creative batik. Just think about your art class. And surely, you’ll have an amazing time putting those creative juices at work.

We were given a pre-drawn canvass ready for painting, a set of water colour and brushes. Batik painting is actually a fun and relaxing activity while you let your creative imagination take control. With a few painting techniques, controlled brush strokes, some colour mixing, we were done with our first batik masterpiece. Working on that task felt like I was in my Humanity class during my freshman year in college! Ahahah! 🙂 Task #1: Done.

Sarah and I completed this batik as part of the first activity at the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park.

Sarah and I completed this batik as part of the first activity at the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park.

Our second activity was Top Spinning. Locally, they call it "Gasing", sounds like "kasing" which is the Visayang word of the top.

Our second activity was Top Spinning. Locally, they call it “Gasing”, sounds like “kasing” which is the Visayan word of the top.

Having grown in the countryside, coconut grating by hand wasn't a difficult task for me. :)This is our final activity.

Having grown in the countryside, coconut grating by hand wasn’t a difficult task for me. :)This is our final activity.

Our second task was Top Spinning. In Malay, “top” is called “gasing”. When pronounced, it sounded like “kasing”, which is a Visayan word for top. Sounds familiar, eh? Like I have previously mentioned, there are similarities between the Philippines and Malaysia. Quite honestly, I felt intimidated because I wasn’t good at spinning the top. But I was able to pull it off, in just one try! Then the next challenge was coconut grating – the old fashioned way. Having done it so many times back home, I didn’t have any difficulty doing it. I recall one of the delegates asking me where did I learn to do it. After completing our activities, we had our cool treat of the local delicacies and the famous local favourite refreshment cendol (pronounced as chen-dol),which is similar to our sago’t gulaman.

Right outside the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park is a bazaar where local delicacies and souvenir/novelty items are sold.

Right outside the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park is a bazaar where local delicacies, souvenir and novelty items are sold.

We bid goodbye to the staff of the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park with new learnings and new experiences, and for me, I had the opportunity to re-learn and experience once more how it was to be a kid and how it was to be living a simple life in the countryside.

Our home for two days in Malacca - the elegant Swiss-Garden Hotel and Residences.

Our home for two days in Malacca – the elegant Swiss-Garden Hotel and Residences.

After a long day of activities and driving from Port Dickson to Malacca, it's time to get the much needed rest in this is very comfortable suite at the Swiss-Garden Hotel and Residences, Malacca.

After a long day of activities and driving from Port Dickson to Malacca, it’s time to get the much needed rest in this is very comfortable suite at the Swiss-Garden Hotel and Residences, Malacca. (Photo taken the glass panel in the bathroom)

We drove off to Malacca business district for the remainder of of the afternoon. Before we knew it, we’re right in front of the grand Swiss-Garden Hotel in the centre of Malacca business district. Our home for the next two days of the Malaysia Tourism Hunt.

For Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park tours and enquiries, please contact:

Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park Melaka
Lebuh Ayer Keroh, Melaka 75450
Phone Number: 06 234 9989

For Swiss Garden and Residences, please contact 06 288 3131, or visit http://www.swissgarden.com/hotels/sghrm

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Disclaimer: This tour was sponsored by the Malaysian government through the Malaysia Tourism Hunt program.

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