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Race Ya Podcast: The Power of Stories to Awaken Your Inner Athlete

Posted at May 10, 2022

Its difficult to start new things. Just as its been difficult to navigate the ongoing health crisis–as well as the consequent restrictions imposed.

            In the heat though of pulling momentum out of nothing, there is plenty to learn–what truly motivates us, and what we value. Just as over the two-year pandemic, weve forced ourselves to give cooking a go, weve also had the importance of our health pushed into the center of our awareness. As our commutes and regular working conditions were briskly torn out of our lives, our bodies and minds demanded the care weve so long neglected to provide them.

            And so we arrive, the pandemic wearing away (hopefully) and our commutes and jobs regaining their regularity, at the question: how can I start improving my health? A frustrating question only because the answer is so clear: proper nutrition and exercise. But change is difficult, especially without social support. We can so easily while away, wanting to improve our health, taking empty grasps at momentum but to no effect.

Sometimes we need an extra push

Whether that be a coach or a wake-up call. But coaches dont walk into our lives and ask us to be better versions of ourselves. Nor are wake-up calls calm shoulder taps asking us to be better–theyre often alarming, sudden health concerns.

            Stories though, have power–as we probably appreciate distinctly this election season.

            We learn from the wake-up calls of others, from their trials, travails, and successes. Its the same power that glows brightly in movies and novels and the same sparkle that politicians wield deftly to win our favor. It goes without saying that we must then filter from the myriad stories the internet sprays us with those that glow with the most positive influence.


            The Race Ya Podcast is a source of this light–one available for free on the web, and at the Spotify, Google and Apple podcast platform and on its fifth episode.

We are all athletes

            In episode one, we meet host athletes Tin Ate Tin Ferrera, CEO of Race Ya, and Andro Tito Ands de Rivera who across the episodes remain our guides into the stories shared by fellow athletes–ultra-marathoners, marathoners, triathletes, and obstacle course racers. While Tito Ands sporting background is colored primarily by dance and what he calls the power of youth which allowed him to hit the party scene with his friends between disciplined dance-sport training, Tin found her own inner athlete after a childhood spent competing in the easiest sports fest events. Lampa ako.  Kung may jackstones, siguro yan yung event ko, she jokes, pero walang jackstones.         

            Nonetheless, following a realization in college that she can in fact run (and play basketball), she joined sporting events back then.  After years of a busy corporate job, Tin met up a chance to run again during the boom of  the sports in 2008 and took up a slot in a five-kilometer race and to her surprise placed third in her age group. Tito Ands gestures that this may have been a spark starting the fire of her confidence. Tin agrees. [Its that] feeling that you can accomplish something, that you can finish something. Tito Ands colleague helped light his fire. Siya yung original runsilog. Follow Andro on Instagram, and youll see that #runsilog survives to this day. Asked about the meaning, Andro replies wala lang, its just a funny word.

            Ate Tin continues to be a force in the multisport community with her hands deep in steering the wheel for Race Ya – the first one-stop digital platform for endurance sports, doing community work, and athlete development–all the while finding time to squeeze running into her packed schedule. Tito Ands, ever the booming, supportive voice at races and time trials, navigated a rough relationship with running that has grown into a strong and dear one after working with Brooks. Theyre both running geeks, knowledgeable about the shoes and gear needed to keep runners running and well-aware of the ongoing trends in the multisport word–in the Philippines and around the world.

            Over the next four episodes, as Tin explains, [the hosts] talk to individuals who through their sports and how they race, in their lives, are able to inspire others. Each week, we meet new athletes with new vitalizing stories. We hear from ultra-runner and last man standing Freddie Blanco, Guinness World Record holder and ninja princess Kaizen dela Cerna, the men from The Next Week Tri, and brain tumor survivor turned marathoner Attorney Star Elamparo.

            Though their stories span a spectrum of specialties within the multisport universe, they cluster around shared difficulties and the same grasps at motivation we now find ourselves making. We learn through their stories that theyre human just like us, but that theyve managed to pull momentum out of nothing, and pick up the daily jostle to protect their health–paying their dues, strengthening their bodies.

            Illigan-based Freddie Blanco, after starting running in 2017 as a way to stay fit, went on to win the Backyard Ultra event held in Mindanao. He explains, [it was based off a run in] Lazarus Lakes backyard sa Tennessee. The idea is: you run 6.66 kilometers, tapos dapat ma-tapos yan in one hour. The race has no finish line. There is simply a last man standing. Blanco spends at least four weeks building his aerobic base, running 160-kilometer weeks. Asked how he maintains this regimen, he replies, may times talaga when mahirip siya, pero dapat hanapin mo ang enjoyment sa ginagawa mo. After that, thats when youll be consistent. Blanco, who wants to be remembered as hardworking, points to zooming into your weaknesses, working on them as best you can to complement your strengths–even by using Youtube tutorials.

            Kaizen dela Cerna, a teenage college-student, SEA games gold medalist, and owner of active-wear label Fearless.The Label, joins the podcast in week three. When she was even younger, dela Cernas parents prodded her to join various activities in art, music, and sport to help gauge where her interests were. She shares, sports were the most enjoyable for me. I enjoy the challenge of it, of being physically fit. On being race-fit, dela Cerna says, take risks. If you take risks and get out of your comfort zone to try and do something new, I think it really helps and keeps you motivated.

            Episode four has four guests: Ironman finishers Luigi Robles, Dennis Borbolla, and Rafi Silerio of The Next Week Tri. On being race fit, Dennis says, Dalawa. Una, is being consistent. Kahit short workout, basta consistency over intensity. And siyempre, get a coach to guide you. Building off that, Luigi comments, It starts within you, [having] the right mindset to be better today than yesterday. Within the group, they have the saying: [be] at least 1% better every day. Lastly, Rafi chimes in, never settle, in life and in sports you never settle. It will prepare you for any adversity or challenge.

            Attorney Estrella Star Elamparo joins Ate Tin and Tito Ands for the latest Race Ya Podcast episode. Shes done with the Tokyo, New York, and Chicago marathons and seeks to tick all of the majors off her list. Never ignore pain, gestures Star early into her interview. Currently, shes nursing a knee injury–patellar maltracking–which has kept her from running comfortably. There comes a point where you should begin listening to your body, she continues, especially when its a constant pain. On her entry into running, she recalls a strongly career-focused life flowing with stress and being sedentary–were always hunched in front of out computers, she recalls.

            In 2014, I had a wake up call. Star was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She asked, what is it in my lifestyle that led me to this very unhealthy place? She resolved that upon recovery following the tumors removal, shed turn her life around health-wise. What I realized is, if you want to enjoy life with your family, with all the things that are important to you, you cannot make your health your least priority. It has to be your top priority. She started going to the gym, but enjoyed the post-30-minute-treadmill-session- runners-high most, eventually taking up a dare to run a marathon. Zooming in on being race fit, Star recommends following a programeven if that means finding one on the internet. But she comments that its more fun if youre part of a running group–where youre also prodded on by the feeling of accountability.

            Though in bite-sized chunks, you should have a mouthful of just how much these athletes have had to conquer and how much theyve managed to do. But whos to say we cant do the same?

We just need to put the work in

            Perhaps thats the brightly glowing message we can gather around, share stories across, and draw inspiration from. Though starting the daily jostle is a difficult task, the momentum we seek becomes easier to find when we take our first steps to get going. That might mean buying a piece of athletic gear to pep the idea of running up, or that may mean getting out the door and going for a jog around the block. Maybe its finding a running group.

            Or perhaps its navigating Spotify and listening to the stories of fellow athletes on the Race Ya podcast and realizing that there is indeed an athlete in you and always has been.

            There comes a point, while listening to the podcast, where an understanding dawns: the only difference between me and the athletes on the other end of the podcast is hours of sweat, effort, and discipline. It may well be the first hand you grasp in the many empty grasps for motivation youve thrown out.          

            It may be difficult to start new things, but frankly its pretty easy to listen to a podcast.