Sizzlin' Pepper Steak

Sizzlin’ Pepper Steak opened their branch at Robinson’s Galleria a few weeks back. Since I was starting to run out of options on where to have my lunch, I decided to enter their resto and try the food.

Well, the rice is sprinkled with black pepper with a round of sliced beef on the side on top a sizzling plate.

Masarap naman.


Race Review: AutoReview 10k

All my official funruns, 3 5k and 1 10k, were staged at The Fort with Boni High Street as the Start/Finish mark. I've been accustomed to the route except for my 1st 10k which included traversing the Kalayaan flyover up to Gil Puyat Avenue and back.

The AutoReview 10k race route which was to begin and end at Mckinley Hill, was my first at the said venue. It was only me and DB this time, with DB running the 5k since he said he wasn't able to prepare for a 10k race.

The race route was very challenging as seen in my NSTB elevation/speed chart below. Yup, the NSTB worked beautifully, i.e. the map, charts, and other info were completely displayed on my profile which, btw, you can view through this link.

As I said, the route was very challenging with its constantly changing elevation. The race distance measured 10.27kms as per my NSTB. Officiating and water stations were very good as well although I wished for more freebies after the race. The only freebie I got was a 10% discount coupon at the Blade store.

The only major downside to this race were the hosts on stage. The booboo was that they let the 5k runners run first before the 10k participants. This shouldn't be, especially nowadays that we experience sunrise as early as 5:30 to 5:40am. To add to the irritation while we were waiting for the 5mins wait time before the start, this one host was really into it ---really! He was in love with the mic so much that kulang na lang eh kainin nya yung mic. I think the guy was a frustrated DJ (or announcer sa karnabal or something) since he kept on talking and talking. We were all scared that he might lose track of time and forget that the 10k runners still haven't started.

The best description of the host came from one of the foreigners who joined the race (which I think was an American based on his accent) who said to his friend after, "We went inside Heritage Park and it would've been great if we had all that cloud cover but the guy up there on the stage seemed to have diarrhea of the mouth so we all started late!"

Aside from that above mishap, generally I enjoyed the race. I clocked in at 70mins ---1min slower than my Botak 10k since I had the CR problem again at the starting line. I think I wasted 2mins hoping that the McDo and Starbucks CRs were open but unfortunately were not. At the end of the race when I went to relieve myself, di naman pala ganun karami. I think it's psychological. Next time next time....

I think I also need to improve on my pacing. Based on the NSTB chart, I was pacing well up to 5-6kms but started dropping after that until the 9th km. I think I need to reprogram my strategy since it's still meant for 5k. Hinahataw ko unconsciously after the 5th km. Dapat siguro pinace ko pa din until about the 8th km, tapos dun pa lang dapat humataw.

I believe what I did right on this race is that I warmed up by jogging about 100-150meters before the race. That woke up my forever wake-up-late-then-feels-painful left calf muscle kase hindi nagwarmup. I think I should do the same in every race from now on.

My next race? If our company sportsfest gets postponed on June 7th (8.8kms in UP), I'd probably join the Mizuno Run 10k, a revisit to the Kalayaan floyver route.

Btw, I weighed 168 lbs after the race. ;-) 16 more pounds to go before I reach normal BMI. Sana tuloy2x na!


Review: Nokia Sports Tracker Beta

Having used my sister’s ipod/nike+ for 3 weeks for my practice runs, I have to say that I was quite impressed of Apple’s nifty gadget. It was able to provide distance, pace, and time data simply by pressing the center button or by looking at the screen. It even had the audio announcements that indicate progress after each km, halfway-point, last 500 meters, and upon finishing your workout (“Great job!” or something like that was said by Tiger Woods at the end of one my 5km runs).

Too bad that I had to return it to her yesterday.

This morning I needed to do a practice run in preparation for Sunday’s Autoreview 10k. I was targeting to finish 10k, 2 rounds of my 5km route. Aside from my Nokia phone’s music player to accompany me, I thought it was a good time to test Nokia’s latest software: The Nokia Sports Tracker Beta (which I will call NSTB from hereon) which I was able to download previously from this website and install via Bluetooth to my phone.

So, at about 1km into my run, I selected “Running” from the NSTB app and pressed Start. If you’re able to setup your phone’s GPRS settings, the NSTB will automatically connect to the Internet which I assume was for searching the right map based on the GPS’ reported current location. You can avoid the GPRS data-charges by selecting “Phone” on Settings->Map Material within the NSTB.

I saw the GPS in green which meant that the phone was able to detect the GPS signal. I then played my running-playlist and inserted my phone inside my belt bag. Putting it inside the bag was a gamble since in previous tests of GPS inside my home showed that GPS-detection failed since the phone needed a clear airway for this. Will the GPS still work inside my belt bag?

After one 5km lap I proceeded for another round. I stopped the current workout and started another one. I was glimpsing at the NSTB app from time to time and could see that the distance/time/pace were still running with me. That meant that putting it inside my belt bag wasn’t an issue after all! I saw the time and calculated that if I try to finish the 2nd lap I’ll be late for work. So I cut short my 2nd lap and proceeded home. Total distance for two laps was approximately 9kms which I thought was a good practice run for Sunday.

Looking at the NSTB Training Diary, I was able to see a complete summary of my workout: Start Time, Duration, Distance, Avg pace (min/km), Max pace (min/km), number of steps, and calories burned. Pressing my phone's nav-key downward would reveal other stats such as speed vs time, speed vs distance, altitude vs distance, and the map route of my run. The latter looked very confusing since the map was not that detailed and phone-screen limitations made it difficult. All the stats and the map became clear when I uploaded the workouts to the NSTB website.

You need to sign-up on the NSTB website in order to upload the workouts. It’s very easy to sign-up and it’s free.

Below are screenshots of the NSTB website Dashboard after I’ve uploaded this morning’s workout:

Above is the upper-half of the Dashboard page. Ang galing ano? The first thing that caught my eye was the map. Nokia worked with Google Maps on this one so it was very detailed. Note that I didn't plot my route on the phone or on the website but the route that I went to this morning was shown accurately. This clearly proves that the GPS works ---even inside my belt bag. The map showed the Fast and Slow flags indicating where the NSTB recorded my fastest and slowest pace. It also showed the High and Low flags indicating the highest and lowest altitudes of my run. There is also the musical-note flags indicating where the songs in my playlist started. The details are displayed when you click on the flags.

At the right is a graph displaying Speed, Altitude, and Heart Beat stats. The latter can only be displayed if you bought the Nokia N79 that comes with a Polar heart-rate monitor. Hmmm, I wonder if the Polar monitor can be sold separately?

Above the map and the graph is a summary-header of the workout indicating type of workout (in this case, Running), Distance, Total Duration, Avg. Speed, Max Speed, Ave Pace, Step Count, and Calories burned. It also shows the number of other users who've viewed your workout (assuming that you've shared to the public your profile).

Above, the lower-part of the Dashboard shows the songs played during the workout and Lap information. Again, I didn't key this in manually. It was all the NSTB sending the info to the website. Disregard the laps recorded on my workout above since I was playing around with it after the run.

Other neat features I saw on the website was that the community of users who allow public views can be seen in the interactive map DURING their workout. That is, you could see them running their routes REAL TIME with all the stats/info as mentioned earlier.

In summary, I was skeptical at first of the NSTB since my earlier GPS tests with my Nokia phone at home were unsatisfactory. However, using the NSTB app during my practice run was excellent since it was able to record everything accurately. With the NSTB website, the stats/maps and other information are seen better for the (addicted) runner to see.

The NSTB is a great alternative to those who don't have the luxury of buying ipods/nike+ or polar/garmin(?) watches. All you need is a GPS-compatible phone and access to the internet. I only wished that the NSTB developers would include audio announcements similar to Nike+ so that I avoid having to pull-out the phone from my belt bag from time to time which causes me not to focus on the road ahead.

For the cost-conscious, you could be seeing your phone's GPRS-charges increase once you start using the NSTB app since once in a while you need to connect to the Internet to upload your workouts to the NSTB website or whenever there is a software update.

I think for Sunday's Autoreview 10k, I'll put the NSTB to the real test.

(Btw, if you found this article interesting/helpful, hope you can click on an ad below. Thanks!)


Scrap Wordpress.com Migration


I just found out that you can't use plug-ins with Wordpress.com. Arrrgghhhh! Andami ko pa namang plug-ins dito which I'd like to use with Wordpress.com. Ahhhgghhhh!!!!

Oh well, balik Blogger.com na muna. I'll see if there's a better 3-column layout out there.

Considering Wordpress

I'm finding it difficult lately to fix this blog's layout since I found the current setup to be messy. Looking for aides from other bloggers has been tiresome so I've been thinking of migrating all my posts to Wordpress. I've read many blogs/articles stating that Wordpress is better than Blogger. Most of the Worpdress blogs I've visited seem to be better looking.

I think the difficult part of this migration process is the understanding of the new setup/system. Like my work, in which I migrate services from old systems to new ones, there is always that apprehension to accept new things since we're so used to what we currently have. "It works fine, so why change it?" is what we'd often say.

But I guess I've already outgrown Blogger, and it's time for a change. I'll let you guys know of the new URL of Left-Handed Mouse (if that's still the name) once I've setup everything.

To the folks at Blogger.com, thank you very much!

It's time for me to move on.


Race Review: Botak 10k Paa-Tibayan

RACE DAY. I woke up 5am as usual. This being my fourth funrun, I've somehow gotten used to waking up this early (and excited!) whenever it's race day. This is going to be extra special since it's my first ever 10km race and what a way to start it off by entering the Botak Paa-Tibayan.

I arrived around 5:30am and started stretching off thanks to some warm-up exercises courtesy of Coach Rio's videos. The office running gang was there, all of us running the 10k event. When I reached the starting gate, the 42k runners have already started. The 10k and 21k runners were up next. BE got so excited that he had to pee just minutes (and I mean 2 minutes) before the race. Hmmm, I wonder how (and where) he got relieved so fast.

The starting gun went off a little past 6am. Nahawa ata ako kay BE coz I felt like wanting to pee as well even though I've already relieved myself when I left the car for the Boni High CR. Arrrgghhh. Nakakasira ng diskarte 'to ah, I thought. Looking for a CR during the race will surely slow down my aim for a respectable 1hr 20mins.

Upon reaching Rizal Avenue, I remembered there was a Chowking resto just before we take a left up to the flyover. So, kinalimutan na ang hiya, I swerved to the left and opened the Chowking entrance. I asked the two nice ladies manning the counter where was the CR. As I walked near it, I was glad to see 1 or 2 fellow runners who've made the trip as well.

Ahhhhh….relief! Too bad I wasn't able to order that spicy beef wanton soup and siopao I always order for breakfast. Hehe.

So I'm back in the race, and at the next left turn, voila! There was the flyover to Buendia. It was such a lovely site that I had to stop thrice to take pictures of the swarm of runners trudging up the path.

As the flyover started descending to Buendia, I remembered LA who taught me to take full advantage of such descents. I accelerated and I think I overtook about 15-20 runners. Now, the long run at Buendia awaits.

I passed by the first water station just after the flyover. Too many runners ganging up on this station plus, I wasn't thirsty yet. This was something I've learned from my last race, Step-Up, when I had too much to drink of the sealed Summit mineral water bottles they gave us. I think I felt bloated from drinking too much water at that race. Sinulit masyado eh. Hehe.

I stopped at the second water station and drank about two plastic cups of water. As I went along, I was amazed to see the first batch of runners who've already made the U-turn at Malugay, coupled with about two 10-12 year olds running like mad as if their life depended on it. I believed these two children have already made a lot of money winning these events since the opportunity to win at their age class is huge.

BE, DB, AQ, and MP have made the U-turn as well. I recon they were about 10 minutes ahead of me.

At last! I finally saw the U-turn. I was on my way back to the finish line. But it was still a long way. One thing that boosted me was that buti nga ako pabalik na, yung mga 21k runners wala pang kalahati. Plus, Born To Be Wild started playing on my earphones. I think that's my power song.

The traffic was well controlled by the organizers and by MAPSA. On the way back, I heard a long car horn which I believed came from a disgusted, irate driver waiting for the MAPSA to allow them to pass.

"Kita mo ba yan??!?!" the MAPSA shouted to the driver while pointing to the runners. I couldn't stop myself from grinning sheepishly at the driver and trying hard not to stick out my tongue in a BELAT KAMI MUNA! statement.

I passed by the first water station that I intentionally missed earlier. I think this'll be my last gulp. So I swerved left and took…

Ooooohhhh…GATORADE! Ayos ah! Kaya pala dami tao sa water station na 'to kanina.

Like Popeye after eating a can of spinach, I increased my pace towards the flyover. I threw caution to the wind on the incline and kept a fast pace. And then, like a Ferrari at 4th gear going up a mountain, I stalled. Pfffftttt!

I committed the cardinal sin: I stopped….and walked. I wasn't able to anticipate the long incline of the flyover going back. Killer incline, grabeh! I think I walked for about 100-150meters until I saw that the incline had stopped to a level path. On I went.

As I descended the flyover, a Manila water tank truck had greeted the runners with a water shower. Haaay, sarap! Passing Fifth Avenue, I looked at my stopwatch and saw 43 minutes. Hey hey hey! I think I'm on to something here! Baka better than 1:30 ito ah, I thought.

So it was now the long road along S&R and Home Depot. Along the way, there was this guy (imagine Balot, but about 50lbs lighter) using me as a pacer. He would ran past me and then, once he's about 20 meters ahead, would walk until I pass him. Note that I was at a steady pace the whole time. Ang kulit eh! I think he did it about 4-5 times until about 200 meters from the finish line when I took LA's last rule: FINISH STRONG. So, I sprinted all the way to the finish. Iniwan ko na si Balot.

I looked up to see the official time and pressed my stopwatch: 1 HOUR and……(drum roll please)……9 MINUTES!

Huuuuuuwoooow! 69 minutes!!!! Grabeh! Ba't kaya ganun ano? On my practice runs my 5km would finish about 34minutes. So, if I were to estimate my 10k (plus a slow down in pace in the last 5k) I would finish at about 74-80minutes.

69 minutes. Now THAT's good for a first time 10k run.

Generally, I enjoyed the BOTAK 10k. The way they kept the traffic on hold, the water stations, and singlet were all good. What I didn't like was when they published the official times. I'm very certain that my time was 69 minutes but, when I downloaded the official results, my time was 65 minutes. I think they need to improve on this. Further, I heard the 5k route was bad due to no water stations were available. Tsk tsk, if it were true, now that's really bad.

My next race? It's probably going to be the AutoReview 10k at Mckinley Hill on May24 since my company's UP funrun moved from May31 to June7 (sayang sumabay sa Mizuno Run, same route pa naman sa BOTAK 10k). Hmmm, di pa pala ako registered sa AutoReview run so I'd better schedule it next week.

Btw, seeing the race schedules/details at takbo.ph made me wonder: ba't ang mahal ng registration fees? The Slimmerun and Step-Up were at P150/head only. Now, the price range has been P200-P350/head. I hope the race organizers would encourage more runners to join by lowering the fees.


Excuse #2247 when stopped by MMDA

It was a smooth drive from Makati Shangrila to the office this afternoon with MP on the driver's seat. Such is the benefit of being a Senior Manager, having one of your engineers drive for you.

The end of our ride was to exit EDSA just before the Ortigas flyover so that we enter Galleria. We were about 20meters from the make-shift partition between the flyover and the underpass when we were signaled by 1 MMDA enforcer to pull over.

MMDA: "Swerving kayo."

MP has never been the one to back down in an argument.

MP: "Pano ako naging swerving ser? Eh 15meters to the exit ako lumiko! Yung bus na nag-cut sakin yun dapat hulihin nyo ng swerving!"

MMDA: "Hindi 15meters. 50 meters."

MP: "Eh nung hinuli ako dati dito ng mga kasamahan nyo sabi nila 15 meters dapat. Tinuro pa nga nya sakin"

MMDA: "Mali sila"

MP: "Sige ser (trying to remove his seatbelt). Ituro nyo nga sakin san yung 50 meters."

Of course I stopped MP from doing so since I believed it will worsen his case.

MMDA: (with hand stretched) "Patingin nga ng lisensya mo"

MP obliged but still grumbling. I signaled him to calm down.

MMDA: (seeing MP's license) "Pampanga ka pa pala nauwi"

As if a big light-bulb went off in my head. A-ha! It's time to use the skills of my youngest sister (who btw has been flagged by the MMDA/MAPSA/you-name-it but has NEVER been issued a ticket due to her craftiness in coming up with excuses).

ME: "Eh ser, ibababa lang naman muna kami dyan (pointing to Galleria) tapos didiretso pa sya ng Pampanga"

MMDA: "Ganun ba?"

I whispered to MP to just apologize and say sorry.

MP: "Sorry po ser."

MMDA: (giving back MP's license) "Basta sa susunod ha...blah blah..."

MP: "Ok po ser."

It was a good thing MP's license indicated Pampanga as his home address. Otherwise, I'll bet that a ticket would've been issued.

I searched the MMDA website for the list of traffic offenses and tried to look for SWERVING. Nothing found. Perhaps that email going around sometime back is true:

Swerving is NOT an offense.

Yes Man (2008)



Kating-kati na mag-10k!

Dalawang tulog na lang, May 10 na. It’s been like forever since I registered at ROX BHS last Apr25 for the BOTAK Paa-bilisan 10k. I was able to beat the deadline since it will be an additional P50.00 if I registered beyond that date. True enough, the BOTAK booth at the Step-Up-For-A-Cause FunRun said they’re already charging P300.00/head. Buti na lang! Since then, I've been eagerly waiting for May10.

Feeling ko para akong si Pacquiao when I decided to “move up” from the 5k races to the 10k race, parang weight-class sa boxing ano? Hehe. What increased my excitement in running my first 10k is when I saw the BOTAK 10k race-route (courtesy of takbo.ph):

Man! It’s similar to the Condura 10k that my colleague, LA, ran last March 22 (it’s a memorable date since this was the first 5k funrun that I joined). We’re going up the Kalayaan Fly-over…and back!!!


I hope to make a respectable time on Sunday. Since lately my average pace in my 5-7.5km practice run is about 7mins/km, I’ll try to aim for a 1hr 10mins time. Pero kahit maka-1:30 lang ako, ok na. At least it’ll give me something to work on in the next 10k races I’ll be joining.

Btw, a weight-loss update: it was a great morning as well today when I stepped on the scale: 1-6-9 POUNDS! Yehehehes, you read that right: ONE…HUNDRED…SIXTY-NINE….POUNDS! I’ve lost 7lbs since I’ve started running regularly, coupled with the missus’ “enjoyable” oatmeal-only dinners (weekdays lang). Hehe.

BOTAK 10K, here I come!


Seven Pounds (2008)

A powerful dramatic film that will move the viewer into a rollercoaster of emotions: sadness, despair, guilt, hope, contentment, dying, and all the way back. The mood of the whole film is like listening to Jim Chappel's music which makes one reflect on how great it is to give someone's life for others.

Love IS the most powerful thing.

The House Bunny (2008)

This film didn't really score well for me (except for the sexy Anna Faris).I don't recommend it.


Fabulous Finds: Las Paellas Cafe

The missus and I visited the newly-opened Las Paellas CafĂ© Robinson’s Galleria branch for lunch last week. We just ordered the onion soup and the Paella Valenciana. The waiter had forewarned us that the Paella will take 30-40mins cooking time but we still wanted to try it. After 30 or so minutes, it finally came.

We found it to be very delicious. So delectable in fact that the whole serving was just enough for me and my missus’ hungry stomachs. We’d always pass by Las Paellas in Tomas Morato but never really go there regularly. After last week’s lunch, I think this resto will become part of our regular weekend eating rotations.


Race Review: Step Up For A Cause

Step Up For A Cause FunRun was going to be my last 5KM race before I move up to the 10K level. I woke up 5am as usual and drove off to The Fort, minus my officemate DB who failed to get up on time. MP, the reason why I joined this run (he asked me to register him and his friends so nahawa na din akong mag-register), was on the starting gates as usual ready for his 10k.
Si Paolo Obrera(?) lang nakita kong artista dun since he was the host of Chances Are, the Q-TV show that sponsored this event. Sayang, I was hoping to see Heart since she looked good the last time I saw her at Italianni's Glorietta 4 (in the arms of ex-bf Jericho).

The race started a little over past 6am both for the 5k and 10k participants. At the first turn before 5th avenue, I was amazed to see a large throng of runners on their way into this race. Parang mas marami pa sya sa Slimmerun.

The 5km race course is similar to the Condura Run 5K but with a U-turn. The way up to the 2.5K mark for this race is still competitive due to the incline. I felt that I've really improved from my past 2 races since here, from the starting line pa lang, I was able to control my pace and not get swayed by the adrenalin rush of the other racers that cause them to speed up unnecessarily and run out of gas in the end. Although my pace seemed slower, I felt better going into the halfway mark.

The racebib in itself should somehow give an expectation to how a race is organized. For this race, the barcode attached in the racebib proved what I thought. First, the water stations gave out sealed, off the shelf Summit mineral water which was quite a wonderful surprise to us runners who are used to regular water on plastic cups. Too bad the Summit water wasn't chilled though but still, a pleasant surprise.

The race officials did a better job here in controlling the vehicles from interfering the runners versus that of the Slimmerun.

As I was nearing the finish line, at about the last 100meters, I recalled what LA said about "finishing strong." So, I sprinted all the way up to the finish, overtaking about 5 runners. I stopped my watch and recorded a 30mins 21secs personal best. My official time would be 30minutes 29secs which is STILL a new personal best. YEAH!

The finisher's shirt has got to be THE BEST so far among the 3 races I've joined. It's sort of a dry-fit meshed (no hole) clothing that looks expensive. For a P150.00 joining fee, this shirt is more than worth it. The other giveaways were a tote-bag, some Champion detergent, candy, and a piece of Rebisco cracker, obviously given by the sponsors.

Well, as I said here in the beginning, this will probably be my last 5k race for now since I'm practicing for the 10k. Next up: BOTAK Paa-bilisan 10k on May10 at The Fort.

Here we goooo!