Tags: interviews


Discovering life through sports - Hector Yuzon

Running - a big part of Hector's life

31 year old Hector Yuzon is an avid runner and triathlete who is currently living in The Philippines. He is a familiar face in the Manila Filipino running community as he owns two running specialty doors in The Philippines and is frequently seen at local running and triathlon races. The Secondwind Running Store is a result of his passion for running.

It is heartening to meet like-minded runners that share the same passion for running as me. And the passion that Hector has for running is evident. His running specialty door is what I would call, one of the few authentic running stores in Asia. They remind me of the running stores that you would see in the U.S. As Hector puts, he literally lives and breathes running now. No complaints. It is a dream that he has successfully pursued. Perhaps, his story might inspire or motivate some of you to follow your dreams and turn it into a reality.

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NB Aquathlon race to the end

Discovering life through sports - Annie Duong

Annie - Bouldering

30 year old Annie Duong was one of the first few to come to mind when I thought about this little project of mine. I would say, she has pretty much inspired those around her - me included, with her passion in running and sports. Whenever Annie posts something on Facebook about her recent win at a race or a new running pace that she has accomplished, she makes me want to lace up my runners and head out right away. She is in fact, one of the few girls that I know, who has qualified for Boston, for her age group!

An engineer by profession, Annie originated from Potomac, Maryland and currently resides in beautiful Portland, Oregon. I am constantly amazed with the amount of activities she manages to pack into her schedule on a weekly basis - running (5 times weekly), rock climbing, dragon boating, bike-commuting. She participates in each sport with much gusto and passion and admittedly, I was daunted when she invited me out for a run when I was in Portland. I had this mental image of me frantically trying my best to chase after her while she went at her slow and easy pace which would be a pace that would leave me huffing and panting.

The great thing about Annie is that despite her achievements, she remains extremely humble and down to earth. When D gifted me with a foam roller for my birthday, I spent my time searching YouTube videos for instructions on how to use it. Finally, I asked Annie for advice and she was sweet enough to do a demonstration for me and take a photo and posted it up. I admire and love her attitude towards sports which is always striving to be better and improving wherever possible and it has shown through her results at each race.

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P.S Have you participated in the iTunes card giveaway :)

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Discovering life through sports - Devon Wong

Devon at touch rugby

32 year old Devon Wong hails from New Zealand, Wellington and has been living in Singapore for almost a decade. He earns a living as an IT manager and spends the bulk of his free time engaging in sports. In fact, one might feel tired just listening to the activities that he engages in - Ultimate frisbee, Touch Rugby and his latest interest - muay thai. He also participates in adventure races and coaches on the side as well.

This cheeky fellow insisted that I throw over some controversial questions for him to answer. So I tried and I did.

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OSIM mini run keeping strong

Discovering life through sports - Wei Chen

Wei, at an unusual location for a marathon

Wei Chen, 35, is a New York born Physician who is currently residing in New York. Some might have the misconception that doctors lead a very stressful and otherwise boring life. For Wei, it is quite the contrary.

Being a runner myself, it is natural that part of my circle of friends are runners themselves. I know people that have ran marathons in major cities like New York, London, San Francisco, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manila and so on. For many, they not only participate in races in their country of residence, but do take the effort to make a trip overseas for races. It is quite common these days in fact. Wei ran the ING NYC Marathon with us last November. When I asked Wei where his next race was going to be, his reply took me by complete surprise.

The Antarctica Marathon.

That was his response. And it wasn't just to participate in a marathon. This interview is about one ordinary doctor who has taken his passion for running to a different level altogether and I believe, it will be quite an inspiring story for many.

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Pushing Celestia at BT

Discovering life through sports - John Sweetwood

On the bike leg in one of the many triathlons that John has participated in

John Sweetwood, 40, is a CIO in his day job. Outside of work, this Chicago born and currently based avid athlete, spends his free time cycling, swimming and running, in no particular order.

I first met John, when he was living in Singapore, a couple of years ago at a gym. We used to trade training tips, or rather, he would advise me on my swimming form or give me advice on nutrition and helped fixed my bike before a race. Shortly after, he re-located to Tokyo but we still kept in touch. Often, my emails to him is to either chide him for his lack of blog entries or updates or asking him for training advice.

Most non-competitive athletes would turn to professionals for training advice or use sophisticated gadgets to track progress. I do admit that I fall under that category. John on the other hand, has been engaging in triathlons for more than a decade and constantly experiments to improve his performance. I would say that he is pretty much a self-taught athlete, that has achieved commendable results through his own efforts.

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OSIM mini run finishing

Discovering life through sports - Jaymie Pizarro

The dynamic Jaymie

Jaymie Pizarro, 33, wears many hats daily. She is a mom to two young kids, a professional blogger, part-time instructor and graphic designer and editor of her own published running magazine. Jaymie was born in The Philippines and currently resides in Manila, Philippines with her family.

I first met Jaymie during the Nike Hood to Coast Relay in Oregon last year. She struck me as a bubbly, friendly chick with a huge passion for running. During one of our training runs, I started chit-chatting with her and found her incredibly inspiring. She speaks about running with genuine passion and is ever eager to share runnings tips. We shared a common concern - ITB issues and went into some detailed discussions around that! As an avid runner myself, I am always excited and happy to meet with like-minded running enthusiasts. Meeting Jaymie was indeed delightful and sometimes whenever I need a little motivation boost, I hop onto her site.

The other thing about Jaymie that struck me deeply, was the fact that she is a mom to two young kids. I have met many who share that they simply cannot find time to excercise, run or join a fitness class because they have family and work commitments. Jaymie proves that it can be done. It is quite possible if you set your mind and heart to it. Hence, this entry is specially dedicated to all the wonderful mommies out there! You can enjoy personal time outside family and work commitments if only you gave yourself some deserving personal time out of your hectic schedule.

I can't quite explain fully how much sports can benefit you but like I have mentioned before, from a personal viewpoint, it has done heaps for me. Whether you choose to take up running or aerobics or rock climbing etc, taking some time out of your schedule to engage in some form of excercise will provide you with renewed energy and benefits. I hope that Jaymie's sharing will provide that little nudge into doing something for yourself :)

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Pushing Celestia at BT

Discovering life through sports - Rob Lilwall

Cycling in Siberia

Rob Lilwall, 33, is an author, adventurer and speaker. He was born in London, United Kingdom and is currently based in London. He recently launched his first book, Cycling home from Siberia and was featured on National Geographic for his epic cycling adventures.

Coincidentally, I have just finished reading Rob's book and was left inspired by his sheer determination, tenacity and courageous efforts to embark and complete his 3.5 year, 30,000 mile journey back to England. Perhaps, you might think Rob is not like any of us. Okay. He did a pretty extreme cycling adventure but prior to it, he led an ordinary life, doing very ordinary things. The biggest lesson that I learnt from his experience, is that if you really put your mind to achieve something, you can do it. Many don't like sports because it's physical torture. You sweat, you hurt, you ache and you go through a lot of mental endurance. But at the end of it all, you feel refreshed, energized and good all over.

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OSIM mini swim 01

Discovering life through sports - Introduction

A few months ago, a random idea came into my mind. I have no idea how it popped in, but I was really excited about it. I wanted to establish why I wanted to do it so I decided to give it further thought. And I did so for a few more weeks.

This modest blog space of mine has been around since late 2004. I started running seriously shortly after and if you have been following my blog since then, you would have followed my progress as I started training for my first 10km run (Real Run Race where I also collapsed from heat exhaustion). Eventually, I progressed to completing my first half-marathon followed by the full 26.2 miles some 4 years later. In between, I dabbled a little in triathlons and learnt how to swim and bike. As I started writing and sharing about my experiences about running, swimming and cycling, I started receiving emails and comments from readers whom I have never met. Some were short notes telling me to keep it up, others told me how I had inspired them to start running or doing some sport of sorts.

Whilst watching a triathlon race, I remembered standing by the sidelines cheering on my friends at the last run leg. Then all of a sudden, I heard a friendly hullo and saw a stranger waving at me. He was in the race but he stepped out to stop and chat with me. He asked if I was 'am klutz' and I nodded. Then, I wasn't quite used to having people come up to me to say hi and I felt shy. But he was really nice and we started chatting briefly. He told me that his wife was a regular reader of my blog and she would follow my training regimes. I was both surprised and worried upon hearing it. I was worried that I would give the wrong advice to someone who might try it out and get injured or so and decided to be more careful about what I blog in future. I became friends with the guy and his wife. His wife went on to complete even greater distances than I did. A half Ironman and I believed a full marathon as well. I am not sure if she still follows and reads my blog, but I am glad that I might have possibly encouraged or motivated her to start on triathlons and running and achieving whatever she has.

Till this day, whenever I get emails or comments, I feel encouraged that I am passing on positive vibes and inspiration to people around me. It does motivate me to continue engaging in sports and sharing about my experiences. Just as sports have made a positive impact on my life, I hope that it will do so for others.

This is the main reason why I decided to start off this little project of mine.

"Discovering life through sports" is born out of a desire to share stories of real-life ordinary people having regular jobs, a social life, family and friends with sports playing an important part of their lives. They are not extraordinary professional athletes. They don't have professional training. They are ordinary people just like you and I. I have always embraced sports with the notion and belief that sports makes one a better person. I have learnt perseverance, dedication, commitment, courage and more just by running. I was never a sporty girl. I only started engaging in sports actively when I was in university. I did hiphop and street jazz dancing, wakeboarding and in-line skating. Then I found running. This blog is about me but I don't want it to always be about me. Hence, I have a group of individuals who will be sharing their stories over the next few months and spreading the love of sports. I hope that you will be able to relate to at least one of them and be motivated to pick up a sport, to keep to it and make sports a part of your life. It is not that difficult and it is fun and I believe that it will enrich your life the same way it has enriched mine.

The first individual is someone who went on an extreme project. He was hardly considered an athlete prior to it but he had one goal in mind. He persevered and accomplished it. Stay tuned for the full story.

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