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November « 2012 « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


Archive for November, 2012

My Inversion Table 2 years on.

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Hey readers – a couple years back I hurt one of my thoracic vertebrae’s in Phuket and to fix it I used a mixed remedy of heat and hanging upside down on an inversion table, click here to see the blog I posted on my first hanging session!

Below is a new blog about my experiences/opinion on using this table as a regular ambitious triathlete who spends more time than he should sitting in front of a computer…I hope it finds well those who have shared these furious backs pain that I have experienced…

Lumbar compression, scoliosis, bulging disk, herniation, slipped disk, sciatica or simply put in layman’s terms ‘a-dodgy-back’ can all be helped by an inversion table!

As humans go about their day, their interverterbal disks lose blood and gradually get smaller, reducing the space between vertebrae’s. This makes your spine less flexible, slows down circulation and increases the susceptibility to trauma in the midst of brisk or un-expected lateral movement!!!

Even without the trauma, the degeneration of the disk’s, particularly of the Lumbar section of the spine over the years will also cause discomfort by accumulating tightness will most-likely be antagonized by OVER or UNDER use.

Too much lifting or too much sitting?

An inversion table will give instant relief by using gravity in the opposing direction.

This is far from a modern concept, Egyptian’s, Hippocrates and ancient yogis have been report to have use inversion methods to help during antiquity medicine.

A fly yoga session!

LA seems to know a lot about getting that 'edge' out of his body - judging from this picture, hes tense so probably doesn't hang often and his grey hair shows this is a recent picture.

Back problems will affect most humans at one point or another in their lifes – regardless the cause such as trauma, pregnancy, over use, under use, age, genetics, poor posture, ect.

The most common mainstream ’remedy’ for this predicament is core strength…LOL!

This^ will simply increase tension in the Multifidus mucles which runs up-wards along your spinal cord. During trauma, it has the tendency to lock-up as a default to protect the spinal cords aka the ‘highway’ of your system!.

A strong core is not always a pain free core because humans are prone to over reach – the tighter the Multifidus the less flexible the Vertabal Column will be, thus a hernia cause by a sudden motion and/or spinal degeneration maybe imminent.

My passive position against back pain.

Doing it first thing in the morning is a bad idea, by head gets heavy very quick! I put a towel around the ankle guard coz its quite un-comfortable as that the main point of pressure.

My ritual would be 3 X 5 min on the odd days alternating with 10 min strait on the even days. Its intimidating @ first to put all your trust in it, but once your back leaves the back of the table, all the tightness in your spine/hips/hamstrings/vertebrae have no-where to hide and gradually get pulled by gravity!

The default amount of force in the stretching is determined by my body weight and gravity as well to stretching very evenly down both sides of my body! I get a slight head rush, when I have some sinus inflammation, I ca really feel it when I am upside down.

The blood rush to the head can sometimes be un-comfortable, other times it helps with my thinking by allowing me to relax and ultimately, gives me a sensation of euphoria!

After a few minutes hanging, I will do a few twists, butt clenches, round/arch my back with the goal to get some cricks and cracks to come out! The feeling is like no other – the gratification is instant, especially after sitting for a while or after a long MTB ride. The more I get on the table, the higher up my spine the stretching goes!

I have experiment with some rubbing of my Sciatic Nerves while hanging – the tension mixed with the pressure of massaging causes some ‘electricity shots’ to run through my legs! Its always great to feel the Qi doing its thing in my lower body! This will help sciatic compression as its often instigated by sitting for long duration in a poor posture and/or the inflammation of a spinal disk in the Lumbar area!

Some believe that copious hanging will make them taller ;)

Anyway hope you have learned about passive and non-invasive back remedies! this inversion table cost around 200$ and it has paid for itself many times! Now, my low-back is getting tight from sitting and writing this…time to go hang!


X-Terra Putik Pare Report!

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Hey blog readers! This would be my 3rd off road duathlon and 4th ANY duathlon in the past 10 weeks – as always it was exhilarating and challenging in many different dimensions!  I ran through rivers, ran in thick sand for about 4k strait, scaled up a sandy wall, rode uphill for longer than I would have wanted too, ridden through local disney-land, rode withing a few meters of cows and goats, ran thought mud, feel down once, had to walk up a hill once with my bike and went down sketchy downhills!

The race dynamics where like so – my team-mate and mine would start the 10k off road run and 20k off road MTB @ simultaneously – each starting what-ever leg we had agreed upon – then we would meet in transition and could not start the 2nd leg NOR the mud-pit area (last 50m) so how-ever was in transition first could get a short rest before they head out =)

Random —> I actually got T-boned by a motor cycle about 36 hours before the race – my back wheel and rear derailleur had to be replaced – did not get hurt physically but I was shaken and temporarily lots trust in GREEN LIGHTS in the Philippines…But thats a whole blog that will never be posted – simply an adventure I will share over a few brew’s in many years to come about how there traffic accidents are ‘fixed’ in 3rd world country’s – ahahahahahahahaha!

This would be my 3rd X-Terra event this year!

I have been into lots of porta-johns in my life and I they always smell terrible!

Part of the race course in the backdrop?

This Gatorade aid station in the Lahar river was like an Oasis in middle of the desert!

In the first transition with my race-partner Joseph Miller.

Here I am over taking riders on my 2nd time in the Lahar river - cycling in this sand was very very difficult!

Flying dismount off road I prefer to do with bike bike shoes!

You never how deep a puddle is until you jump in feet first!

I did not hear the racce brefing very well but I assumed we had to cross the mud pit hand in hand - turns out we did not have to?



Starting an off road race is always intense because your rarely know the course well so @ the finish its always more relieve that you get to rest physically and mentally!

Bike and body wash - the body wash soap was sponsored ;)

These usually do a 69to stand up independently but NOT in MTB'ing?

My plate for my post race brunch.

A traditional experience is always a bonus when racing - Sunrise events made sure of that =)

Filipino's love their meat: Sisig aka PIGFACE - Tocino aka SWEETBREAKFASTPORK - Sausa aka SAUSAGE!!!

It aint breaky in Asia without egg with white rice ahahaha!

We won heaps of give away's like VASELINE MENS products - Alaska Milk products - Timex watch with 1 year warranty - Gatorade towel


Our finishers medals ( me and Joyettes) and my trophy where made from *Lahar Flow* which is laval flow - very original idea from the organizers I though as I never had any most race awards made out of rock! This comes from the 1991 MT Pinatubo eruption that shook millions of people's lifes!

Nuvali Dirt Weekend Double Race Report!

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Hey readers – last weekend I got adventurous and competed in an off road festival here in Nuvali! I was really looking forward to this event particularly because I had gotten a new MTB, a Scott Spark 940 which I got @ a great deal from The Brick Multisport store!

It was a refreshing event that was quite laid back (a bit to much at times) and had a different, more punk/rock crowd of cycling enthusiast which is a nice change from (insert humorous adjective) triathletes – ahahahahahaha!

Up first was the X-Country event where I would compete in the OPEN category which is in between ELITE and AGE GROUP.

It had been quite dry for the past weeks in the Sta. Rosa area. How-ever, the weather gods decided to give us some rain come race morning – followed by some bright sun immediately following the race start. As you can imagine, it was very muddy, sticky and humid!

Just like in a triathlon start EVERYBODY wants to be in good position because its easier to get passed than have to pass while on the trail.


I entered the trail in about 20th position and was happy to have not crashed – unlike others. The pace was stiff and I was breathing hard already. I gradually started to cut through the mess in front of me around the slippery up-hills where we had to dis-mount. My ‘high-hoe-silver’ abilities and run fitness allowed me to wiz by small clusters.

This was one of the most entertaining sections - going down a wooden ramp - Joyette told me it was more common to see somebody fall down than make it all the way down on 2 wheels!

@ around the half way point I found myself in no-mans-land and covered in mud. I diligently negotiated the most technical area called ‘the graveyard’ and once in the open field I caught a glimpse of a 5 man group just up ahead!

This is when the first dis-organisation problem arose – there was a section with a few trail options but NO sign, NO tape or NO volunteer to guide us! I followed the group off the trail onto the main road and here came the “putang ina” and “saan yung race course” ?

After a few minutes an official  aboard a motor cycle rolled up out of no-where and directed us back on track.

As we got back into race mode, I got aggressive and ATTACKED  where only 2 of the riders would match my pace over the ondulating terrain that overlooked the beauty of Laguna Bay home of the largest lake in The Philippines!

Now I could see for minutes ahead of me in the open field – I was now convinced I was in control of this race (my first MTB race) but it turned the eventually champion was waaaay ahead!

Not to long after, we where pointed off the MTB trails and into a perimeter road used by Jeepney’s and Tricycles. This made no sense, why not do the MTB race on the MTB trail?

This is where the 2nd disorganization problem would arise – there was large clusters of volunteers @ obvious and self explanatory sections of the course! All of a sudden we got to a 4 way dirt road intersection again with NO sign, NO volunteer and NO tape.

I slowed down and my break way buddies went to the front and I followed. I knew we had to be heading towards the Republ1c Wakepark and ride their perimeter trail but now we where heading in a different direction – I second guessed myself and followed them…

After a few minutes we ended up on a previous section of the perimeter road – now I was pissed. I turned around and ripped it towards the right direction where I rode through a few athletes like they where standing still as i got back-on-track.


Now the finish line was close as we rolled onto the main road – suddenly there was a small group of guys I never seen before right on my wheel as I entered the final trail about 2KM from the finish.

Out of a tunnel and into a shallow river with my game face on!

A few guys right behind me looking to challenge in the final stages of the race!

Out of the river and up the steep hill we jockyed for position and in the final strait I locked out my suspension, but her in the BIG RING and bounced out of the saddle!

Fueled by anger and emotion I won the sprint – once across the line I asked several of the volunteers what was my position they all said the same thing “sorry sir I did not count” to me that meant there was quite a few guys ahead of me.

Dirty, pissed-off and tired.

As riders trickled into the finish chute you could hear all sorts of angry things in Tagalog…Turns out I got 4th OVERALL and was 2nd in the OPEN category (18 seconds behind 1st).

I spent the rest of the day loosening out my body, cleaning my gear for the next day and finishing off training programs for my athletes!

Here I am getting ready on the 2nd day - the race start is only about 15 min from my home so it was a fairly relaxed morning.

The Off Road Duathlon was organized by Thumbie ‘mister T’ Remingo of the Adrenaline Multisport Group so I knew I could expect a good event 8) and when we actually started on time, I knew I could simply go out and hammer!

I recognized a few familiar faces and noticed a few MTBer's where also racing back-to-back - ASTIG!!!

Take your marks!

Chasing while being chased!

I would be challenged by ‘bad boy’ and Robeno, arguably the 2 most talented local duathletes that went through the Philippines Duathlon National team.

I felt heavy from the start, not just because I raced the day before or the wedding I attended on Thursday by also by the fact that I had not trained all that much in the past few weeks since I was busy coaching my scholars during ‘sem-break’.

My goal was to limit the damage on the first run, stay relaxed and make a move on the bike!

I quickly caught and passed Robeno and now had ‘bad boy’ in my scope. I gradually ‘tighten-the-screws’  as we entered the most technical section of the bike. How-ever, suddenly around the half way point of the bike my lower back locked up…

I am no stranger to back pain so I focused to manage it and maintain my 2nd position. Once on the run, I focused on a short/compact stride on the UPS of the undulating terrain and a longer stride on the DOWNS. My body opened up in the final quarter of the run and it turned out to be the best I felt out of both runs!

Re-leaved to finish 2nd!

Top 3 OVERALL - I always wonder how quick I could run if I had a body like them?

Giving a short interview - I always get asked "Is this your first time in the Philippines?" questions during these. But this time I figured she assumed ALASKA refereed to where I was from - not who I represent ;)

The awards actually took a while to start and I still had lots of computer work to do so Joyette got my award on my behalf!

This was one of the highlights for me!


I was surprised they had a Four Cross event instead of the BMX Cross of which is now an Olympic Sport and in my opinion, an event that suites the Filipino body and mind which could possibly be a sport where a local could bring back an Olympic Medal!

The Dirt weekend also finished off with a big concert that I did not have time to attend…All-in-all it was a great weekend, I meet new people, got new experiences and won a total of 10 000 pesos (~250 US) for both my 2nd places!

If only the OVERALL organizers of this event would manage to ‘cross-the-T’s’ and ‘dot-the-I’s’ this event could have some serious potential for growth as its a beautiful venue with very generous sponsors!

My next event is this Sunday @ The Putik Pare off-road-team-duathlon in Clark Freeport Zone in The Province of Pampanga where ‘Apl.de.ap‘ of The Black Eyed Peas hails from!

For those wondering, putik means mud and pare means friend in Tagalog! So its a ‘muddy-buddy’ event – ahahahaha!

Here are some pics from last year where I teamed up with Joyette – this year I will team up with kuya Noy!

Me carrying Joyette in the mud-pit!

This one needs a funny caption!

This is not a race per say but rather an event that solicitates lots of smiles!

Hope to see ya there!


Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Hey well its been a while since my last blog as I have been ‘flat-out’ busy with my scholars who where on their ‘sem-break’ from school some of them came to live with me! In short, we had a 2 week training camp with The White Rock Half Ironman in the middle =)

I spent the past 26 years looking out for me, myself and I. But since the start of Alaska Team TBB my outlook has had to change. Now, I am responsible for the athletic careers of teenagers and young adults – sometimes I  feel like a big brother and other times, like some bossy triathlon know it all!

While many believe that Filipino’s have some sort of physical/genetic disadvantage in sport – I beg the differ. Name me a sport, and I will probably find you a short, driven and successful athlete who’s spirit outlasted their physicality.

I like to use Muggsy Bogues as an example because Pinoy’s are Basketball crazy!

Filipinos are small, strong and stubborn – they are used to the heat and eating lots of banana’s! Sounds to me like the qualities needed for being successful @ the Ironman Distance.

Anyway, my home turned into a small training camp and I was a coach from 7am to 7pm – then I would get on my computer and coach my TeamTBB Online athletes!

I felt like an age grouper – trying to squeeze bits of training BEFORE and/or AFTER my day as I had to prioritize and put myself 2nd. While I coached their young bodies, I also make sure to coach their young minds. ATTITUDE often is the differ in performance or lack off  in work, life and sport. It can trump genetics, wealth, education and circumstance – sometimes all @ once!

And @ TeamTBB we have our very own outlook about triathlon ;)

Here are some pics:

Race day came, it was Banjo’s (19 years old) 2nd Half Ironman and Dhill’s (21 years old) 2nd triathlon and first Half Ironman. I knew the course quite well, I gave them a few pointers, they rode part of the run and that was it as theres not much else to do when you get to the race site less than 24 hours to the gun start.

The last thing I want is my athletes to depend on being familiar with the race course to feel ready or to have a good race – it will only make then weak once they race overseas. They must learn to take races as they come, improvise and visualize the un-known.

I took responsibility of educating them on nutrition, tactics and wise equipment choices.

They would be taking on a small but experienced field, many of which have done this race multiple times since its start in 2004, making it the longest running Long Distance Triathlon in the Philippines!

The swim was long, the bike course was technical and windy but flat and then run had some nasty hills with some moderate weather!

Dropping off their transition bags moments before the start.

As expected Dhill had a sizable gap out of the water!

The transition was weather proof - important factor when you leave your bike overnight!

Both Scholars stuck to the plan, ride steady, fuel-up and stay patient.

Banjo was 2nd out of the water, 1st off the bike where he would remain until the finish line!

Dhill learned to ride a bike from scratch earlier in June. He rode well on the technical course, was in the top 5 off the bike and ran well until the final 5km where we started to cramp up on the hills...

One of the interesting twist to this race was that their where NO CUPS out on the run course – the race organizer Eric Imperio loves his country and planet so much he gave every athlete a Hydra Pouch for the run!

Watching from the side lines this appeared to be a great idea – I have been to a few events where their where literally carpets of cups/sponges on the ground! While it can work for smaller and well organized races as its a  practical, economical and green concept. How-ever, in a bigger race with more participants, it might be a bit more tricky…


Dhill's races used last a few seconds in the pool - now they last for a few hours out in the open ocean/road. He handled it much better than 99% do in their 2nd triathlon.

They made me a very proud coach!

All in all winning a race or coaching an athlete to win a race are similar. Both need to trust, sacrifice and prepare. And one thing is for sure, supporting triathletes in a race is very tiring!

Both recovered from the race very quickly as they are fit, ate healthy and took the right measure to shake out the race!  I firmly believe that after a successful race, the body and mind are always stronger, given they come down properly with the right training MIX.

Now life is back to normal, the athletes have return to their homes and routine. Joyette is back from a 3 week trip in Hawaii where she competed @ the X-Terra World Championships.

This weekend I will be fulfilling a life long ambition and be competing in a X-Country MTB race! Its part of the Dirt Weekend held in Nuvali (my training grounds) which is composed of 7 cycling centric events! I will be doing the 40km X-Country race on Saturday and then the off road Duathlon on Sunday!

This will promote a tone of domestics sports tourism!