Courage, Encouragement, Health, running

Neophyte Runner

Newbie, too slow, not strong enough, blah blah blah. Name your excuses.

Hey, you’ve made big decision in your life and left your old, comfortable lifestyle behind to become a runner and be fit. You probably acquire gym membership, find running routes / place or purchase / download a training plan on how to lose extra inches. Whatever path you are on, rest assured that there are tons of people like you! Your commitment to run is only the first step.


You’ve laced up those shoes and started running, but now it’s time for you to start doing some social connection to ensure that running becomes more than just what you do, it becomes part of who you are (lifestyle).


So how are you going to enjoy / join a running community if excuses abound on why you might feel like you shouldn’t reach out to others (“I’m too slow”, “they’re strong, I’m not”, “I can’t keep up with their pace” etc. etc.)?

Let’s not forget that every runner was once a beginner and someone helped them out.


Here is my “incomplete” list on how to connect or join the running community to make your running effective, enjoyable and less intimidated.

  1. Find a training buddy / partner – This simplest option is the most daunting, but it’s also the most effective. You don’t need someone for every single run, but you might find a buddy who enjoys running trails with you, or tackling the long runs. Sometimes even one group session a week is enough to keep you motivated and on track.
  2. Join a local running group – Do a quick search online, or stop one of those friendly runners you see on the open road. Often, there will be a larger running club that has options for multiple speeds and ability levels such as my group 3f Striders. You can also ask a running store; almost every specialty running store has some form of weekly running ritual like ASICS Running Dxb.
  3. Hit the local race scene – A little more indirect, but this is still a very effective way to make some new friends and be motivated. Find the local race series in your area, and commit to running a few consecutive events. If you aren’t the super outgoing type who makes friends instantly (like me), running several races will help you identify a few familiar faces. You are only one post-race coffee comment away from making a new connection that could help you plug the local running community.
  4. Track and plan your running – These days there are plenty of gadgets, running application like Runkeeper and online sites that will let you upload and track your running data. These allow you to track your runs and compare your performance against other runners.
  5. Find runners on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – For the most diehard online folks, using Social Media is another option. On your account, you can update your personal profile to have a running-themed picture as well as a description about you being a runner. You can then search to find other runners or running group. You can start with using hashtag terms such as #running for example, or perhaps the name of your next race. You can follow the people you find there, and start building a relationship by putting comments, sharing their post, writing back and much more.


Finding running friends / buddies / group is critical because you are new and an experienced runner can do more than just run with you. He or she can help guide you through all of this, and help find the best path for you. You can tap into the lessons that person learned, and do a markedly better job of finding the right thing to do.


It’s a process of trial and error for everyone, but doing this with others will make the transition to becoming a consistent runner and a better runner that much easier.




Courage, Encouragement, God girl, Health, Love, running, Thank you


Almost 4 years ago when me and my friends decided to form a running group (3f Striders). At first it was composed of a handful of people (around 10 people).

Now this group has grown bigger and it’s getting bigger every week (unstoppable). Well that’s the goal, to inspire more people to be fit and healthy physically and spiritually.

But that’s not what I wanted to emphasized here. Well It’s me being a COACH (duh yeah!). It cringes me to be called one before. How did I ever got into this kind of tittle? I don’t have certification and not even the fastest in my league (but I’m very strong, is that counted?).

I can list all of my strengths and abilities but it all boils down to being passionate. There, that’s the root of it all. I felt I am called to do this. I am made to inspire and to encourage (one of my strengths).


3f Striders Sunday Training

So yes, I am hesitant to be called “Coach” until I have learned this story.

(here it goes)

Main road along the Danube River, between Vienna and Budapest there is a small Hungarian village called Kocs. These two great cities needed well-built, fast vehicles that could carry more than two people over the bumpy roads of the day in as much comfort as was then possible. During the 14th-century, the craftsmen of Kocs began to build the most superior wagons, carts and carriages in all the land.

One of the best of these multi-horse carts was called, in Hungarian, “Kocsi Szekér” or “A Wagon from Kocs”.  The design was so compact, elegant and sturdy that it’s spread throughout Europe. The German-speaking Viennese started to call this vehicle a “Kutsche”, which is how they heard Hungarians saying the name of their little carriage-making town. From Vienna these lively vehicles travelled to Paris, and the French adapting the Austrian word, called it a “Coche”. When it arrived in Rome in Italian, it was a “Cocchio”. Eventually, the English called it a “Coach”. When Anne of Bohemia married England’s Richard II in 1382, she brought carriages from Kocs, Hungary with her to England.

Eventually royalty throughout Europe were riding in the best horse-drawn carriages they had ever seen. Wealthy squires had their servants read to them as they drove in these coaches about the countryside or to pass the time on long trips into a nearby city. So, really, the first “Coaches” took very important people from where they were – to where they wanted to go. And many of them learned along the way (they lived happily ever after).


3f Striders Finishers and Supporters

I asked myself, am I teaching those I am responsible for some other valuable life lessons during the ride? Definitely, it can’t be just about the race, trainings, wins and losses, championships or whatever I am coaching them in. There has to be something more than that. Finishing the race is one goal, but teaching Life Lessons is the more important goal.

Are they learning anything about themselves?

Are they developing some skills and lessons they can use after the race?

That is the true value of sports. They think they’re just playing, but what they are experiencing is a small-scale version of life that will lay foundation for their future.


3f Striders Wednesday Swim

I think the real role of a coach is to take those we are responsible for from where they are to where they want to go!

As a coach, I need to continually ask myself, “Am I taking them where THEY really want to go?”

See, a coach must take time to get to know those they are coaching and take time to find out their goals. There is no “plug and play” method of coaching, no one-size-fits-all plan. Each individual is different.

I now accept the fact that I am a Coach. I’m slowly getting over the cringe and shyness.

From a gently timid fat girl to gently fierce coach, yes that’s me!

Coach Eden #MaitimMagandaMalakas


3f Striders Friday Long Run

Devotion, Encouragement, Love


Back to the Garden.

Eve was the first woman, first wife, and first mother. We know her as the MOTHER OF ALL THE LIVING. And even though these are rather remarkable, little else is known about Eve. Like many noteworthy mothers, even though Eve’s accomplishments were significant, for the most part they were overlooked.

We associate her with the fall of mankind. We often think of her and then immediately of her sin. And while I believe we can learn from her sin, I also believe there is so much more the Lord wants us to take from her story.

In the book of Genesis chapter two (specifically Genesis 2:20-22)., God decided it would be good for Adam to have a companion and helper.

He then cause Adam to fall deeply asleep, took one of his ribs and used it to form Eve. God called the woman Ezer (Help). Adam named the woman Eve (Life), referring to her role in procreation of the human race.

So, Eve became Adam’s companion, his helper, the one who would share equally in his responsibility over creation. She, too, was made in God’s image, displaying a portion of the characteristics of God. Together, Adam and Eve alone would fulfill God’s purpose in the continuation of creation.

The book of Genesis goes on to tell us that Eve is tempted to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the one tree God had commanded Adam and Eve to not eat from.

A serpent causes Eve to question the truth God has spoken to her and she willfully sins. Then, she passes off the fruit of the tree to Adam so he may partake of it as well.

This leads to major consequences for Adam and Eve’s relationship with God and even all of human history. Their sin had separated them from the God they loved and led to all of future humanity’s inherent sin nature.

Their sin had tragic repercussions in the immediate and the long-term. And yet, we can learn so very much about womanhood and life in general from this exceptional woman.

  1. Completion of Creation – God had spoken the world into existence, even created every sort of animal. And still, He saw Adam needed a help meet. Eve was that help meet.

Eve was the grand finale to the most creative, artistic, masterpiece of all time.

2. Good isn’t Always Good – If we look at Eve’s temptation and her sin, we see she was not tempted by obvious evil.

“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate. – Genesis 3:6”  (emphasis mine)

She wasn’t tempted to sin by something that appeared outright dark, horrid, or evil. Eve was tempted by something that appeared good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and desired to make one wise.

And while it’s not necessarily wrong to appreciate or enjoy something good, we must take great care to exercise discernment so that we are not tempted by those things that appear to be good, but truly aren’t.

3. Genuine Repentance Involves Heartfelt Sorrow – Of course, God was aware of Adam and Eve’s sin. Still, He confronted them in the garden, leaving it up to them to be honest regarding the deed they had committed against Him.

God asks Eve what she has done. She responds that the serpent deceived her (see Genesis 3:13).

Earlier in the same passage, Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent. Everyone has blamed their actions on someone else in essence. And no one has repented.

While God obviously did not require her honesty, it was good to be forthright about her sin. At the same time, she did not take responsibility for her actions and so we don’t see her repent for her sin in a sincere manner.

Genuine repentance pleads with God to forgive and deliver from the burden of sin and fear of judgement.

4. God’s Heart is for Us – God knew from the beginning of creation that sin would enter the world. And He had a plan of salvation in place.

Similarly, when Adam and Eve sinned, He promised He would send a Savior. And we see a sweet indication that even before the Savior would be sent, His heart was for them. His heart was for these two precious people He had created, communed with, and loved. And this is reflected in His provision of coats of animal skin (see Genesis 3:21). 

He was covering their physical nakedness and emotional shame even after their sin against Him.

Even when we fall short, and we will fall short, He is for us!

5. God is the Restorer – Later in time, Adam and Eve have two sons. Sadly, Cain murders his brother Abel. God casts Cain out to the Land of Nod (see Genesis 4:16).

But even after this great loss, God restores Eve.

“And Adam knew his wife again; and she bore a son, and called his name Seth. For she said: God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him. – Genesis 4:25.

God appointed Eve another offspring and restored her after such tremendous loss. And God’s restoring her allowed the ancestral line to continue that would eventually bear the offspring God had promised her, the Savior of the world.

And so in restoring her, God began to restore the entire world.

How beautiful that God has never left us or abandoned us but restores us and works through us to lead others to healing and restoration as well!

Eve teaches us that God wants us to freely choose to follow and obey him out of love. Nothing we do is hidden from God. Likewise, it does not benefit us to blame others for our own failings. We must accept personal responsibility for our actions and choices.

anything under the sun, Courage, determination, Encouragement, Health, Obesity, running, Self Help

Fat Girl Inside

Often a new diet drinks, food, pill and even various diet plan to lose weight emerges and commercial after commercial leaves us scrambling for that quick-fix solution. Our weight affects much more than our waistline. It affects our health, our self-esteem, and our spiritual life. So we try to do better, taping pictures and affirmations to the refrigerator, mirrors, cell phones and any other place we can think of. But it doesn’t help. If only we had more self-control, more energy, spent more time at the gym and outdoors

My battle with food started when I was very young, when food became my comfort zone and eventually became a habit. I thought I was in control, until my food issues started to control me. Before long, I became obese. As a teenager, I was binging and pigging to my heart’s content, even if I wasn’t hungry at all. Food ballooned into a fierce obsession. An isolating, shameful obsession!

When I was in college, I started to limit my food intake. I got into hiking and a little diet on the side. I involve myself in so many activities that led me to lose 26 pounds. I was able to maintain my ideal weight for few years after graduation and even when I started to work here in Dubai.

It was in 2012 when I started to have eating problem again. I’m stressed and depressed and food was the only thing to comfort. I didn’t realized I’m overweight and obese again. My self-esteem has gone low.

Well it happened. I’m fat (182.60 pounds!).

Actually in all seriousness, I have been thinking about how to lose weight again. I’m already nearing to my 30th that time and I was going to get older and things would not always be the same. More than anything, I feared losing my health and that my metabolism would begin to change from pretty fast to downright slow. I felt I was on the verge of never getting back into my old jeans.

I realized that no one else could work off that fat for me. I realized that no one else could exercise the cholesterol away from my heart. It was all up to ME.

So, last January 2014, again, I made the decision to change my routine. From coffee, books and tv series to coffee (coffeeholic here), exercise and running (books on the side).

I also started removing unhealthy food in my system. No pork (exactly 16 months ago since I last ate pork), No soft drinks (I’m not really a fan), maximum of 2-3 red meat consumption only per month. If I gobbled so much (in buffet as such) I make sure I train harder and longer. It was my choice. I had to be the one to choose better for myself.

Yes, diet is important, but exercise – get up, get moving – is just as important!

This time I have to make sure that I care enough about myself (making this lifestyle permanent), about my family (spend more time with them), about my future (work, husband and kids) and about my faith in God (the body is the temple of the holy spirit). Indeed health is wealth!


Broken Beloved Beautiful

There was a time when I felt like my world was shattered around me. The list of struggle as a human is endless. Experiencing loss, hardships, abuse, severed relationship, debts, betrayal, anxieties, hopelessness, fears in all shapes and magnitudes. I am broken.


Though heartaches and dreams may take a different shape, I was reminded of the gifts of joy in the midst of sadness. I heard Daddy God’s still small, “Hold on to hope. I will meet you there”. Yes I am broken, but I am also beloved and beautiful.


This lady Hope (my oeuvre above) reminds me of passion, comfort, joy and love in the hands of my Creator. When the world offers but a pile of brokenness, pick up the pieces carefully, surrender to Daddy God, He will create a new beautiful you.


I love this hook from the song “Broken” by Lecrae, it says..

All the pieces on the ground,
I shattered all the dreams I thought I found,
Can You put me back together?
I need Your grace for my flaws.
God I’m broken in this mess I’ve made,
I need You to restore me.


God is fully committed to fulfill His work, He restores, reveals and revives. He makes all things new.

Abundant Redemption, anything under the sun, Courage, determination, Devotion, Encouragement, God girl, God is Love, God's Best, Gratitude, Jesus, Love, Strength in Adversity, Words

The Man in the Well

Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee.

To get there, he had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.

A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)John 4:3-7


It was noon (hottest part of the day)! Why did the Samaritan woman had come to the well at this hour when most women would have been inside taking care of their homes?! Of course she needed water to drink. But aware that she was not liked by the other women in her community and didn’t want to be ridiculed (they all looked down upon her), she had to come at this hour (she felt shame).

Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever felt shame? Literally and figuratively. I do.

Well, for this Samaritan woman, it was a surprise when she found a Man sitting on the well. She had wanted to be alone. When He asked her for a drink, she was also surprised because He was a Jew and the Jewish people looked down upon the Samaritan people. I believe that Jesus was expecting her. He didn’t just “happen” to come upon the well. Jesus knew she would be there. And He was waiting for her!

Jesus was waiting for this woman to come to the well. And like the Samaritan woman, I am filled with shame and guilt and sin. But Jesus waited. He’s sitting by the well waiting for me to approach Him (patiently waiting).

Jesus was never concerned with what was socially acceptable. It did not matter to Him that she was considered “unclean.” To Him, she was a beautiful woman who had lost her way and He was going to bring her home. He had compassion on her. He wanted to give her something that she was longing for, but had yet to find.

Women, Jesus wants to give the desires of your heart (me too)! He wants to show, how you can have everlasting life through Him. Not only that, He is also offering something else. Jesus is offering a cup filled with living water, that when you drink of it, you will be filled with love, peace and joy.

Like the Samaritan woman, Jesus has compassion for you. He longs to talk and get to know you.

Even if you have sinned and are unclean, remember, Jesus is waiting.  He’s waiting for you to come to the well. He doesn’t care about how others look at you. He doesn’t care how you even look at yourself. He is not turned-off by your messed up life. He is not turned-off by your feelings of inadequacy, shortfall or confusion. He is not turned-off by the fact that you feel like you will never get it right! He is simply sitting at the well waiting for you to come. And when you do, your life is going to change forever (yes, there’s forever!).

Devotion, Encouragement, God girl, Gratitude, Jesus, Love, Self Help, Warmth, Words

Morning Manna

The best time to get to know God is in the morning. This norm was deeply impressed upon the Israelite’s by God’s daily gift of manna. The “Bread of Heaven” rained down from the sky early in the morning, six days a week, for 40 years. If one waited too long to gather it, the manna would disappear in the heat of the sun.

“And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.” Exodus 16:21.

Similarly, if we wait too long for our spiritual devotions, the cares and pressures of the day will get our attention before the Lord does. The busier we are and the more we have to do, the more we need to take time to pray. Let’s not allow the manna to melt!

Jesus akso practiced morning devotions. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and then prayed.” Mark 1:35.

Here is my incomplete list of Morning Devotion Benefits:

  1. Offering
    The first benefit of time spent quietly with the Lord each day, is that it allows us the opportunity to give to God, instead of getting from Him.  Some us may overemphasize our work for God and neglect to spend time simply worshipping Him. God deserves and desires our devotion. How long has it been since you sat quietly with Jesus and simply told Him, “I love you?” When was the last time you sing and worship Him.
  2. Direction
    Daily Devotions give us direction from Him for our day-to-day lives. When we sit quietly with the Lord it gives Him a great opportunity to speak to us and give us the wisdom we need to make the right choices. In our fast-paced world, we desperately need to slow down and hear from the One who knows the end from the beginning. Ask God to show you His will for the day and commit your schedule to Him.
  3. Strength
    Standing up to sin is no easy task. Just like athletes, our Daily Devotions keep us trained for any obstacle headed our way. We build strength every day so when we need it, we can run our race! By keeping our minds focused on God through our Daily Devotions, we can overcome anything with Him.
  4. Stillness
    In a world that’s faster than ever, we may find it’s hard to sit still even for a moment. But the Bible let us know how important that can be! Give yourself an excuse to stand still and reflect on God’s glory. It will help you find peace every day.
  5. Joy
    Spending personal time with the Lord means we will grow our love for Him and find time to bask in His presence. The secret of real joy comes from knowing God.
  6. Personal Relationship with Jesus
    Do you know Jesus personally, or do you merely know about Him? When we know a person intimately, we: Spend quality time together. Enjoy meaningful communication. Know what each other’s likes and dislikes are. When we expect to meet with Jesus during our Daily Devotions each morning we will never be disappointed. We will always find that He’s waiting to meet with us too.
  1. Change
    How do we become more like Jesus? We are made holy through the Word. Our sanctification comes directly through the time we spend in the Scriptures, getting to know God intimately and allowing His Word to correct our hearts.
  2. Healthy
    Not only by doing your Daily Devotions blesses your life, but study after study has shown the health benefits from reading every day: from daily stress reduction to the offset of Alzheimer’s. Just imagine if these studies had shown the benefits of reading the Bible! Daily devotions are good for your soul and your body. What could be more important?

“The morning is the gate of the day, and it should be well guarded with prayer. It is one end of the thread on which the day’s actions are strung, and should be well knotted with devotion. If we felt the majesty of life we should be more careful of its mornings”. – Charles Spurgeon