Another ultramarathoner shares his life-changing story in this third edition of RunnersPH Interview. A social studies teacher, an adventurous traveler and blogger, and an animal lover – this passionate runner gives an emphasis on how running can be a perfect avenue not only to a healthy lifestyle, but also to develop a genuine sense of social responsibility and a deeper appreciation of a life well-lived. Interesting, right?
Michael Angelo Maleriado, welcome to The Finish Line! Tell us something about yourself that the world doesn’t know.
I am 33 years old and grew up in Cabuyao, Laguna but now residing in Imus, Cavite. I’ve been working as an educator in one of the private schools in Dasmariñas, Cavite where I teach Social Studies and Technology & Livelihood Education (TLE).
One interesting thing about me is my love for travelling. This passion made me set up my own travel blog which is www.AngeloTheExplorer.com. Though time is scarce, I always make sure that I have time to go somewhere and explore different places.
I grew up as a very sporty person. From volleyball, to swimming, and now addicted to running. I started from shorter distances and eventually challenged myself into doing ultramarathons.
When did you start to run and what motivated you?
I started running back in 2013. I initially joined aquathlons, but due to the scarcity of the events, I eventually decided to concentrate on running. I grew up as an asthmatic person and I heard that running is a great cardiovascular exercise. Now my asthma attacks were so much less compared before.
At first, what problems did you encounter or what physical complaints did you experience? How did you take care of those?
In the first year of running, I was really unfit. I felt heavy as well and always gasping for breath! Later on, I had a knee injury (ITBS) which was terrible. The key is not to give up! I slowly worked on my mileages and went to the gym to do some strengthening exercises for my knees.
Do you run individually or in groups? Tell us something about your running community if you have joined one.
I do both. On regular weekends, I run by myself since I am busy most of the time. But if there are holidays or long breaks, I choose to run in groups.
I enjoy the camaraderie from different runners in different running communities. I am currently a member of the Pinoy Aspiring Runners and Team Cavite- Endurance Sports Enthusiasts (ESE).
Please describe your typical training ground. Where do you usually run?
I normally run on roads along Daang Hari Road (Las Piñas-Muntinlupa-Cavite Highway) or I go to mountains in Nasugbu, Batangas for a day hike. It’s nice to train your feet both on the trails and on the road.
Which running shoes are you using? Please share some personal tips on how to choose the right shoes for optimum performance.
I use New Balance shoes for running. I like shoes with good cushioning and good style, and I think New Balance offers both of those. The price also fits perfectly my budget compared to other brands.
What other running-must-haves do you wear or carry with you, and which you cannot run without?
I normally wear almost anything. The most important is that I feel comfortable with it. If there is one thing I cannot run without – that is a hydration bottle. I think it is also a responsibility for runners to bring their own bottles to eliminate the use of paper cups that clutter most of the hydration stations in some runs.
How do you prepare for a major running event? Tell us about the details of your training plan.
Training for a certain event is very important! I normally give myself three weeks or more of training before the event. I go to the gym three times a week and do long runs on weekends. Aside from those, nutrition is very important too! I don’t want to over train as it can lead to some injuries later on. Proper rest is important!
Nutrition is also part of my training. I’ve been doing a low carbohydrates-high-fat diet for a year now and it makes me feel good when running. Natural fats give more energy than carbohydrates and ever since I’ve been doing that, I feel stronger and my recovery is so much faster.Mind focus is also part of my training. It worked for me a lot, especially when I’m in long distance runs.
How often do you participate in organized fun runs? What is your most favorite running event (in the Philippines) and distance. Why?
With so many running events, my body can only do some. They are also very expensive. That is why, I carefully choose runs that involve nature and out of town events.
I like ultramarathons more, and my most favorite event so far was the 85K Mayon 360 2015. Running around Mt. Mayon, which is the world’s most perfect cone-shaped volcano, was spectacular. The people were very supportive and the red carpet finish line was very memorable!
During the race, how do you keep yourself motivated and strong to reach the finish line?
I talk to myself! It may sound crazy, but for some reasons, there are times when mind is stronger than your body.
Can you think of an embarrassing moment you had while running? Do you mind sharing it with us?
Oh! That was during the Color Blast Run Philippines in Intramuros last year. I was looking for a toilet, but I couldn’t find any, so I decided to pee along the walls of Intramuros. Suddenly, a flash light was pointed at me by the guard and I got scolded. I felt so embarrassed because other runners saw what happened. I learned my lessons well!
What is the first thing that you do after finishing a race? Give us also some methods that you found effective for your post-race recovery.
The first thing that I always do is to congratulate other runners. I love pictures, so I make sure I take pictures at the finish line and with other runners as well. And then, eat what I crave after long runs like liempo, chicken, lechon paksiw, ice cream, and halo-halo. I think everyone is entitled to spoil themselves after finishing a race. After that, I get a lot of rest and give my body time to recover. My LowCarbHighFat diet really lessens the inflammation, so I don’t end up with achy legs after the race. Actually, it was amazing!
Share with us the benefits you have gained from running ever since you started.
I feel better and younger! For me, this is the most effective way of losing weight. From 155 lbs, I now lost 10 lbs, and became leaner! I feel sexy!
Inspire us with the greatest accomplishment you had so far achieved in running.
The greatest accomplishment in running was when I ran the IBTUR 120K Ultramarathon in La Union. This was held for the benefit of the Philippine Animal Rescue Team (PART), an organization very close to my heart, since I adopted from them a sheltered pet named “Oasis” after losing our first dog.
Since I got the race kit for free, I decided to give back the blessings to this non-profit organization, whose aim is to save the lives of the animals, most especially the abused ones. (Read the full story on Angelo The Explorer’s Runner’s Diary).
Looking back, how has running changed or impacted your life as a whole.
Running maybe a sport to others, but for me, it’s more than that. It’s not just a hobby now, but it’s more of a way of living. My asthma attacks are so much less after running. I lost so much weight from running. I feel stronger after running. I met good friends from running. And most important of all, running gives me the feeling of hope. If others could do it, why can’t I? This has given me so much motivation to face life’s challenges and to strive harder to reach my goals.
We’re interested to know your future goals as far as running is concerned. It can be something else that you want to do more.
My future goal in running is to help by joining long runs for the benefit of some non-profit organizations. What I did for the Philippine Animal Rescue Team (PART) was life-changing and just proved that through running, anyone, and every step can make a difference.
Finally, please give a personal message or advice to inspire and encourage those people who are about to start running.
Running has changed so many lives including myself. Each runner has his or her own success stories. Each of us started as beginners and later fell in love with the sport. Many fears were conquered because of running. Many lessons were learned because of running. And most important of all, many lives are being saved because of running. All you need to do is to try it!
RunnersPH Interview features inspiring stories of Filipino runners. It is a series of conversations where they share proven tips, personal advice, lessons learned, and gainful experiences that show the delightful ways that running can intersect with life.