Category Archives: Mommy-hood

Run Anyway Marathon NY 2012


We all know by now the NY Marathon 2012 was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. The race cancellation was announced only 36hours before the starting time and it was a huge letdown for people like me, who traveled halfway around the world. My husband, baby and I were even stranded in Korea for 4 days as all the flights to JFK airport were put on hold when we were already enroute to the US.

Needless to say, I, along with thousands of other individuals had given a lot of physical, emotional, mental, and financial investment into this event. We were fully aware that the city was still trying to recover but we knew that the marathon offered a huge boost to New York’s economy, and I personally thought that we were doing our part to help out. We all still did, as the expo staged by the organization directed the proceeds towards the victims of the hurricane.

The most amazing thing for me though, was that the runners of New York organized an impromptu marathon on the original race date and dubbed it the “Run Anyway NY Marathon 2012.” Maricel Pangilinan and I and the other Filipinos, including my cousins Asa, Kris, Edel and my uncle Dr. Glen Mendoza, Melodee Arevalo Mendoza, Carlos de Guzman, Raeanna Cranbourne, Geraldine Santiago, Gem Padilla Thomas, Paul Loyz joined and showed solidarity. Pledges were made once again to help the relief efforts.

Big big crowds of marathoners participated. Supporters came out in droves at Central Park. I felt like tearing up when we passed the finish arch, which had already been set up. Maricel and I ran together and marveled at the collective spirit of the running community–it just cannot be broken, and this is what non-runners will never understand.

I would like to thank Timex Multisport Team and Timex Philippines, with special mention to Keith Meyer, Tristan Brown, Avi Uttamchadani, Gemma Pagsibigan and Jose Sarmenta. This trip has been very special, official race or not. You can never tell how things will turn out, and this is a perfect example. We were all given lemons, and we combined forces to make a giant lemonade.

My friends and I have vowed to return next year with a vengeance, and celebrate again with our fellow runners. We’re pretty sure they will all have a New York state of mind too.





















November 7, 2012 · 9:16 am

How I gained weight and found myself on the cover of Runner’s World Magazine….

Sometime late January this year, I got a call from Runner’s World Editor-In-Chief Marie Calica. She asked if I could drop by their office and studio for a feature. I said, “sure!” without thinking too much about it. So come early Feb I went to the Summit Studio with Dashy in tow, and lo and behold: I was informed then and there that I would be their Cover Feature.

Marie and Angel Constantino told me they did not want me to feel pressured which was why they didn’t tell me sooner. My baby was just two and a half months old then so I was still not back to my normal weight. Far from it. I took it in stride but deep down I was thinking, “Err….COVER? Right Now? Are you serious ???” Please don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have an issue with the extra weight I had, and I was on the way to getting back into shape, in my own time. But as a lifelong athlete, I loved this magazine, so forgive me for wanting to look good in it!

Thank goodness the camera and styling crew were real pros, and Adidas had supplied me recently with loose-fitting outfits! This is the one time I had hoped they would “photoshop” any unflattering bits. The actual cover shoot was quite funny, which found yours truly inhaling sharply and deeply on several (okay, maybe like 50) occasions just to get my tummy to look flat. Not only that, they did not tell me this but I think it took them some time to configure which top and bottom would have the most coverage. Haha 🙂

I had to wait a couple of months just like everybody else to see how the photos came out. I was resigned to the fact that I had just graced the cover of one of the most iconic sports magazines not looking my best.  When I finally saw it I had to send the Runner’s World crew a thank you message saying thanks for editing it so that I didn’t look that bad (read: fat)! According to them, I was mistaken because they didn’t even need to edit the photos that much. Well, I’ll never know if they were just saying that to be nice.  But here it is, plus the featured article inside.

In hindsight, I am impressed that they chose to go with a subject who was not necessarily skinny. Runners do come in all shapes and sizes, and I am happy to represent in whatever manner  (see blog:

 Thanks for entrusting me to be on the newsstands, Runner’s World Philippines 🙂 It’s a real honor!


Filed under Adidas, Mommy-hood, Pinay In Action, Running, Selected Features, Timex, Uncategorized

Thanks for the Women’s Month feature!!!

Link to article:

In[FOCUS] Women’s Month Special | Ani de Leon-Brown

SLS3 Butterfly Blue Sox is back in black and guess who’s back? No other Filipina triathlete symbolizes the epitome of Women’s Empowerment other than our next Women’s Month In[FOCUS] special feature.

She’s the first in a lot of things when it comes to our triathlon history. Not to mention, she’s also our first In[FOCUS] athlete too! Wrapping up our Women’s Month Special, let’s welcome back on, Ms. Ani de Leon-Brown!

Read on as talks with the newest mom on the block making her comeback to elite fitness. Find out what keeps mommy Ani busy, what keeps her ticking, and her game plan for the 2012 racing season. More importantly, in this interview, she showed us that just like the rest of us mere age-groupers, she can do a 6 hour Ironman 70.3 too! Welcome back to Ani! :)

Ani : Thanks am happy to be featured again, and congratulations on the continued success of your website!

Photobucket In[FOCUS] Numero Uno You were our first In[FOCUS] athlete. It’s been a year and 2 months since that interview! Seems like a lot of things happened to you since we featured you last January 1, 2011! From serious racing to mommy mode! (click here to read our 1st In[FOCUS] feature!)

Ani : Yes I am now doing the balancing act of getting back into good racing shape maybe towards the end of the year and taking care of our wonderful bundle of joy!


Mommy Ani and Dash How’s motherhood coming along?

Ani : I love it! I enjoy being with my baby and husband so much. It is an exciting time for us as a new family.


Bike Wins! You have three seconds to decide! Changing diapers or riding your bike? :)

Ani : Haha. Riding the bike wins hands down. You recently joined Aviva Singapore 70.3. Tell us about that race. Thanks also for making us know that the world is still round and that you’re human just like the rest us by not rocking a sub 5 just a couple of months after giving birth! :)

Ani : Yes I also really wanted to race soon after giving birth simply because that’s what I love to do. People think that just because I am used to racing at a certain level I am obsessive about it. I do not have any kind of ego that will prevent me from having a good time if I can’t go fast. Finishing a triathlon is a basic joy for me, just like any age grouper. Winning or placing well is only secondary.


Welcome Back Coach! What does your 2012 racing schedule look like? Are you 100% back in racing mode?

Ani : The year is looking like: Singapore 70.3/ Pico Tri/ Tri United 1/ Ironman Port Macquarie/ 5150/ Tri United 2/ Philippines 70.3/ New York Marathon.   It’s more of I’ll see how I go as the year goes by but this race schedule is intact either way. Whether I go hard for a particular event or not will depend on my progression. (No TIMEX 226??? – cdg)


The Brown Trio You’re married to pro athlete Coach Dan Brown. We’ve been wondering about this question for the longest time! Since you are both coaches, who coaches who??

Ani : Haha. Believe it or not we do our own thing. Sometimes we train together but right now I am not fast enough to keep up during rides so I can only really do track sessions and pool sessions with him. It does help to have someone bounce off ideas though! Aside from getting back into shape and mommy duties, what’s keeping you busy?

Ani : Right now I am Race Director of Alaska Ironkids Philippines, Sports and Recreation Consultant of Pico de Loro, Coach of Pinay in Action and various kids and age groups squads, Brand Ambassador of TIMEX, Unilab Active Health, and Adidas.


TIMEX Represent! You’re a member of the TIMEX international  triathlon team. Tell us about the team. What’s the biggest difference being part of an international team as compared to being a member of the national team or a local team? Is there a lot more pressure to win? Do they expect results from all their members?

Ani : The Timex international Multisport Team is a great bunch of people. Each member is there for a certain reason, not necessarily just because they are high performance athletes. The main thing is we all spread triathlon goodwill so to speak and help uplift the image of TIMEX wherever we may be. As you may have noticed, we turned the site pink last month in celebration of Women Empowerment and Breast Cancer awareness. How do you balance training, being a wife, and being a full time mom? What advice can you give to everyone who wants to start living the active and healthy lifestyle?

Ani : I am new to all of this so I am learning. Dan and I have had some challenges and have accepted that we will still have but the best part is we are quick to admit where we have made mistakes and can move forward from there quite well. I don’t think I am any different from any other working mom out there, it is a tough job but very very much worth it!

My advice to other women is find out what form of exercise inspires you and suits your needs. Mine just happens to be triathlon, that may not necessarily work for everyone. Having said that though, I really want more women to try it out so that they can see it’s not as extreme as they deem it to be.


Happy Family What’s the toughest change you had to deal with when you became a mom?

Ani : A lot of lifestyle changes had to be made including being disciplined about going to bed extra early because that is the only way I could have any kind of rest. Also I had to cut back on the social scene a little bit. It was really only hard in the first three months but Dash has just turned four months old on the 29th of March so we are settling into our routine nicely now. You’ve been in this crazy world of triathlon for the longest time. How lucky are the newbie triathletes now compared to when you guys were just starting?

Ani : Very lucky in the sense that they have access to all these information, equipment, good coaching, training venues, etc. But I am still very happy to have gone the path I did because I really appreciate having started from scratch and maybe learning the hard way sometimes but it has made me a more well-balanced athlete. I vividly remember Brett Sutton at the TeamTBB website saying there will be a Filipino triathlete at the 2012 London Olympics. Do you think that can still happen? What do you think needs to be done to make that dream a reality?

Ani : Maybe not this year but definitely that is in the works. Just between you and me (and maybe thousands of other readers), The Doc himself is making an appearance again here soon!!!


Next Step Tri Camp 2 Participants Talk to us about the Next Step tri camps! Seems like the number of participants is getting bigger and bigger each year! What differs the Next Step tri camps from the other tri camps being organized ?

Ani : I think we are very blessed in the sense that we partner with the right kind of organizations and brands. This year we continued our partnership with Unilab Active Health, Gatorade, Rudy Project, Timex, and a spectacular training venue in Pico de Loro. It’s very hard to not have a great camp when all of those things are put together! Name four things you can’t live without?

Ani : Apart from my family? Hmmm… my timex watches, my bike, my adidas shoes, and chocolate! Are you still open to one-on-one personal coaching? If so, how can they contact you?

Ani : Right now only if they can make it to my time slots. I have cut back tremendously in the past year as my priority is Dash. They can email me at Again, thanks for the time Ani. :)

Ani : Anytime!!!


Representing the Women Triathletes

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The Magic Hour

It’s 2:56 am, and I wake up like it’s the most natural thing to do. Baby Dash is stirring beside me and it’s time to feed again.  When we get up for the 3am feeding, one of two things will happen: we go back to sleep again, or we don’t, and stay up til it’s time for mommy and daddy to officially start the day between 5 to 6am.  So much for Sunday sleep-ins…

Slowly though, I have gotten used to our routine and can now schedule a training session of at least an hour into the day. It has been more than two months and not too long now til I race my first triathlon after giving birth (small panic attack)! Am excited about the fact that my baby is going really well and I am encouraged by my husband to fit triathlon training into my life again. Not that I went too far away, I just focused on training other people for a year!

As of today, my longest sessions have been: Swimming for 4ominutes, Biking for 3hours (with a feeding break somewhere in the middle), and a run of 1hour 10.  A year ago,this may have all fit into one training day for me, but right now I am happy to even have come up with that within a stretch of a week! Some days I only have 20minutes, but I’ll take it as every second counts for a working/ training/ breastfeeding mommy.

Sometimes I have my apprehensions about diving back into racing again with a small child, but I am encouraged by great women athletes like Paula Radcliffe (won New York Marathon less than 10mos after giving birth) and Dara Torres (qualified for her 5th Olympic Games 15mos after giving birth). Not that I am eyeing feats such as theirs, but they are tremendous examples to look up to!

I will also not be pushed into feeling guilty about taking up my sport so soon after. I am sure that Dash will not like it if I use him as an excuse to slack off, and will in fact be proud to know that he is the reason why I feel like I can do so much better in all aspects of my life now. His presence has given me an extra bit of strength.

I love triathlon and will continue to do it everyday for the rest of my life God willing, but my favorite time of day does not occur while I am training or racing. My Magic Hour is that time, in the wee hours of the morning, when everything else is quiet and I hold my son close to me, his heart and mine beating to the sound of the purest love in the universe. He looks up at me with eyes which tell me how much he needs me to survive, and when I look back into his eyes, I feel like singing that song from Dreamgirls…”you’re the perfect man for me, I love you I do…”


Filed under Mommy-hood, Newbie Mommy, Random Thoughts, Sketches and Doodles

Dash’s First Week: Mommy and Daddy Made It Out Alive, Phew!

Dash is more than a week old now and am happy to report that Mom and Dad survived the maddening 1st week! To say that parenting is a serious job is a gross understatement… let’s start with my delivery, which I believe should be a separate blog entry in itself –but then a new mom only has so much time in her hands!

I had an epidural-free water birth at home, an option I felt most comfortable with. It was a decision that I had to stick with, even in my last hour of labour, which took a total of 25hours. Yes, that long, partly because Dash came out a whopping 9lbs!!! It was pain beyond my imagination, but believe me when I say I did not even entertain getting anesthesia, as I wanted to be really involved in the process, no matter how excruciatingly hard it turned out to be…no race on earth could ever compare to that. TRUST ME. If you don’t, ask my husband, who has done the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii, which consists of a 10k swim, 421k bike, and 84k run (he placed 8th). To this day he is still in shock about the whole birthing ordeal, haha. He was my rock till the very end though, even when he almost passed out after he saw Dash’s big head come out from underwater. When Deborah, our American midwife, asked if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord, he could not even move his mouth to form any words!

After that it is a big blur of waking up in the middle of the night a couple of times, breastfeeding (ouch. OUCH!!!), changing diapers, bathing, morning strolls, burping, rocking, singing, lots of crying and lots of smiles and laughter.  And here we are.

I write this blog in a hurry while Dash is having his afternoon nap, and it took me umm, 3 hours to make him fall asleep. Obviously we are still trying to get the hang of parenting, but we are fully committed. How can we not be? We are totally smitten with our boy, and am praying that we will be able to raise him well.

Here are pictures of Dash’s first week, and some of our visitors…. thank you for your love always!


Filed under Family, Mommy-hood, Newbie Mommy, Random Thoughts

Set of Photos by Stanley Ong for Shiphrah Birthing Center

As I mentioned a few posts before I had the wonderful opportunity to help the Shiphrah Birthing Center raise funds for the purchase of their home, and as a perk I get to have these photos taken by Photographer Stanley Ong. Our shoot actually took place two days before I gave birth, perfect timing! I posted two photos earlier, and here are the rest… 

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Another Stanley Ong Masterpiece!

So lucky I had the opportunity to work with Stanley and Deborah on behalf of Shiphrah Birthing Home… I get to have these photos 🙂

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Sneak Peek at Maternity Shots by Stanley Ong for Shiphrah Birthing Home…

Today I agreed to do some maternity photos for the benefit of Shiphrah Birthing Home, as they are trying to raise funds to buy the property where the birthing home stands.  Stanley Ong the photographer was really such a professional, and Deborah Gustafson my midwife was on hand to help with the shoot as well!  Here is one shot he took…

To Help the Birthing Home:

After renting for 17 years, we have an excellent opportunity to buy the facility for Shiprhah Birthing Home. A ministry of HELP International Ministries, Inc., Shiphrah Birthing Home is a public home place for birthing families. Shiphrah midwives care for women with dignity and love as we teach, do prenatal check-ups, attend births, check moms and babies after birth, and assist couples in their family planning choices.

You can give easily online at Our Recipient Numbers are: R1613 for General Giving and R1674 for Shiphrah Birthing Home land.

Let’s change the world one birth at a time!


Filed under Art and Culture, Mommy-hood, Photos, Selected Features

Waiting To Exhale…

I am just about ready to pop, so to speak, but I have a feeling my baby boy will take his sweet time.  That’s okay…this early we want to give him the freedom to decide on the important things in his life.  He might as well start with choosing his birthday!

I have spent the past few years just rushing through things, but this year was different.  I met my husband, got married, and now we are starting a family. Hmm…alright, maybe that too sounds a bit rushed, but I promise it did not feel like that at all!  I guess my husband and I both live life at hyperspeed anyway.

Seriously though, I have been slowing down the past couple of weeks in anticipation of Dash’s arrival, as true to his name, we already know we will be chasing him around!  But we are happy to do so.  In time we hope he outruns us in every way and in the most positive sense of the word.

Still, I have to admit that I am a bit nervous for my most challenging endurance event yet, even though I know that in turn, it will also be a million times more rewarding.

Thankfully, I have a great support group of women who are there for me, and I hang on to every piece of advice (and maternity, and baby items) they voluntarily throw my way.  I just want to thank all of these women who have been so helpful in this special time before things start becoming hectic again:

1. I hardly needed to buy any clothes for my growing body since Mona, Belle, and Tonichi gave me their maternity wear.

2. I did not realize that the literature on mommy-hood would be so overwhelming and diverse.  Everything from the basic “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” to  “Bestfeeding” to “Baby Signing…” thanks to Maricel, Deborah, Candy, Maui, Tonichi, and Pia for pointing me to the right direction. Now let’s hope my brain internalizes most of the stuff!

3. My forever fabulous women friends, those whose names are already mentioned above, plus: Tessa, Doray, Rizzo, Leana, Lara, Leah, Mariela, Honey, Yvonne, Chesca, Vernice, Sandra, Tricia, Chris, Cris, Celda, Ginny, Waya, Oona, Lala, VP, Princess, Gemma, Tita Anthea, Tayo.  Thank you for giving me all kinds of support–like simple “how are you doing” messages, nursery items, and throwing me a lovely baby shower.

4. The women in my family– my mom, my mother-in-law, Amar, my sister Sinag, my sisters-in-law Mae, Anna, and Melissa. Lola Mama, who passed away around the time Dash was conceived this year, has made her presence felt in various forms. I am very blessed to have you all in my life.


Filed under Family, Friends, Mommy-hood, Random Thoughts

37 weeks and counting! You know your tummy is officially BIG when:

  1. You spill crumbs while eating and they don’t fall to the floor.
  2. It looks like you swallowed a giant watermelon.
  3. Your favorite piece of furniture is a Lazy Boy.
  4. You daydream about having a custom-made wagon for your tummy every so often.
  5. You feel like you have been eating the whole day yet find yourself waking up in the middle of the night to refill the bottomless pit that is your stomach (i.e. I WANT FOOD NOW).
  6. You can’t lie on your back because of the weight, only on your right or left side.
  7. You can’t sleep without a fortress of pillows to support various parts of your body.
  8. You can’t touch your toes without bending your knees.
  9. You can’t see your toes.
  10. You alternate the two pairs of stretchy pants left which fit you and wait in the wash for them so you will have something to wear.
  11. You and heartburn are constant companions.
  12. You climb up stairs and it feels like leg press repetitions in the gym.
  13. You climb up stairs using all fours (hands to pull you up on the rails as legs push up each step).
  14. All your short dresses have been magically transformed into tops.
  15. You know you can add more stuff to this list but are too hungry to concentrate… goodbye,  off to do my next lap in the kitchen!


Filed under Mommy-hood