Archive for December, 2011

Two Steps Back, 26.2 Miles Forward

Posted: December 31, 2011 in Personal, Random

Grand dreams are often tempered by reality. Things move slower than planned. We discover that the road is fraught with difficulties. Despite all efforts, progress can give way to regress. One step forward, two steps back.

There are times when everything I built seem to crumble in an instant. The operative word is “seem”. When I examine my life in a more holistic manner, I am astounded by how much it has improved. Just over a year ago, I was quite literally a picture of despair. Since then, I have evolved. My body may not be 100% but I’m still stronger than I’ve ever been in my entire existence. Mentally, I’m tougher when confronted challenges and eager to slay long-held fears. Emotionally, my heart is in a good place, happy with my friends and family, anticipating a brighter future. I take comfort in these small triumphs. Rome wasn’t built in a day, I tell myself. Perseverance will eventually be rewarded.

The year 2011 has been excellent because I worked extremely hard to make it so. For 2012, I’ll work even harder. Obstacles came my way and, yes, I stumbled, but not for long. I got back on my feet, gritted my teeth, and did better. Push me two steps back and I’ll run 26.2 miles forward.

2012, I’m ready! Have a happy new year, everyone!

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QCIM: Batang Kyusi Runs on Home Turf

Posted: December 18, 2011 in Events, Personal

The Quezon Monument at the heart of the city, photo by Secretkeeper101084

I was not supposed to run the Quezon City International Marathon. My careful recovery mileage progression called for 13K that weekend so I planned to merely support my running buddies. Then, race kits suddenly fell out of the sky. At least that was what it seemed like when several blogs offered hundreds of free kits combined a few days before the race. When the winners were announced, I found out that I was able to get three: one for myself (21K), another for my dad (5K), and lastly, one for my brother (10K). When it rains, it pours.

Test Run Blues and Temptations

Up until the eve of the race, I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to run or just keep the event shirt as souvenir. I tried to test my knees the other day and they felt so sore I had to stop at 2.5K. When I can’t even round out my kilometers, you know it’s bad. However, at the last minute, a blogger posted a pic of the medals. Now some girls may like diamonds, fancy bags, or shiny iGadgets, but I’m not into that right now. Medals? Now those I could be proud of. Someday when I’m older, my grandchildren will say, “Wow, Lola kicked ass!” Or something cool like that. I’m sure they’ll have a different term by then. Anyway, one look and I knew I had to get these. So help me Universe.

I could not resist these. 21K on the left, 42K on the right. Photo by Jazzrunner.

The Race Itself

This is it. I did all the stretches I could think of, fastened my knee strap, and got my homemade energy gel ready. At 4:30am, Joyce and I anxiously went to the starting line. We agreed to go easy as this is merely her preparation for the following week’s Milo Marathon finals and I’m not even sure I could finish with my knees. For this run, we’ll be happy with a time of 3hrs or even longer. I proposed using a 3:1 interval on an 8min/K pace. I was in-charge of controlling our tempo to make sure we stuck to the plan.

Early into the race, so many little kinks happened. My shoe laces got untied, twice. My knee strap felt too loose, then too tight that it hurt. My other knee began aching so I had to transfer my lone strap. Joyce and I kept bumping into each other because we were running too close that our armbands collided. It look a while before we got all that stuff sorted out and then, happily, everything went well from there.

It was lovely to be able to run around the La Mesa Dam just as the sun was starting to rise. Clear waters on our right, a verdant cliff on our left, and chilly morning breeze blowing our way. Fresh air in the middle of Metro Manila! Who knew? This is the first edition of the QCIM wherein the 21K route passed by the watershed and it was truly a welcome sight. The rest of the highway? Not so much.

Let me explain. Commonwealth Avenue is the widest road in the country which makes it suitable for this type of foot race. Traffic was contained well so we had the eastbound lane all to ourselves. The problem is that notable places are few and far in between (UP Diliman, QC Circle, La Mesa Dam, and the INC Church, if you’re into that sort of thing). Long stretches are occupied by slums and suspicious-looking individuals kept staring at the runners. One middle-aged lady runner even had her camera pouch stolen. It contained P1,000 which was her pamalengke for the day, which she planned to do after her the event. Now here’s the funny thing. The boy who swiped the pouch forgot to consider that we’re freakin’ marathon runners here. The lady chased the thief AND outran him. He must have been huffing and puffing because he threw the pouch to the ground just so the lady would stop chasing him. True story. So while we runners can generally take care of ourselves, more police visibility would be appreciated the next time around.

Joyce was tired but had a boost of energy the instant she saw a camera. Photo by Philippine TeamKaripas.

Post-race

Despite everything, it was still a pretty good event. We finished strong at a decent time of 2:50:32 which is much better than either of us expected. We didn’t feel as sore as we used to when doing half marathons and recovered very quickly, which is just awesome. My dad also had a great race, placing #300 out of 2000+ 5K participants with a time of 34mins. Not bad for a 62-year old, right? I’m so proud.

At the Pinoy Fitness tent, shielding ourselves from the rain. I love this pic. Chubby cheeks ako dito. ^_^

Still waiting for the rain to stop, the group's getting bigger as more people finish

Donna Cruz ran a fast 2hr 21K. Photo by Lestsky Lim.

Di po ba mainit sa costume nyo, Manong Zorro? Photo by Lestsky Lim.

I heard the guy with a flag is an OFW who just recently returned. Nice touch. Photo by Lestsky Lim.

The icing on my cake! (mmm... cake...)

I will be here soon…

Posted: December 10, 2011 in Personal, Random

Pico de Loro, photo credit to KZ

What You Risk Reveals What You Value

Posted: December 7, 2011 in Events, News
Tags:

Man dies after completing half-marathon in StanChart race
By Wayne Chan | Posted: 04 December 2011 1717 hrs

SINGAPORE: A 21-year-old Singaporean died after completing the half-marathon of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore on Sunday morning.

The Organising Committee said in a statement on Sunday afternoon that he collapsed at the finish line at about 8.30am.

He was immediately attended to and sent to the Singapore General Hospital.

He died at about 9.30am.

The Organising Committee will assist the Police in its investigation.

Link

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Just a week after the Philadelphia Marathon where two runners died, here comes another sad news. I would have ran this race for my second 42K if not for injuries. It’s distressing that events which celebrate life have resulted in deaths. What happened here?

Was it the weather? I’m told that it was cloudy that morning, with the sun bearing down only later in the day so it couldn’t have been heatstroke, though humidity might have been a problem. Lack of fluids? I’m pretty certain the organizers offered plenty of water and sports drinks so it couldn’t have been dehydration, though one can’t count out electrolyte imbalance. Pushing too hard? Perhaps. The 21K runners started at 6:30am and if he crossed the finish line at 8:30am, then he might have been aiming for a sub-2. A lot of runners dream of crossing this time barrier. His determination was strong but his body could not take it.

This is no doubt a tragedy, not only for the young man himself but also for his family and friends, some of whom may have been waiting for him at the finish line. If it’s any consolation, he died while doing something he loves. I bet he never felt more alive than those last few hours of his life. He achieved what he wanted. He truly gave it his all.

On a few half marathons, I’ve felt like blacking out near the end. During my first full marathon, I’ve accepted the possibility that I might collapse and so I asked my family to be there at the finish line, just in case. I was committed to complete it whatever happened. It wasn’t simply a run. It was a symbolic personal victory. Every runner has his reasons.

That said, I run to reclaim my life and not to die. I have become more careful about my training plan and race day habits so as not to push myself too far. I have learned how to listen to my body. I still refuse to quit but I choose my battles wisely. Despite these measures, there will always be dangers on the road and on the trails, more so because I plan on taking up ultra marathons, skyathlons, mountain climbing and triathlons in the near future. All of them can be considered extreme sports where even veteran competitors have lost their lives. It doesn’t matter. Being out there beats being cooped up in my room afraid of possibilities. I could die once or I could die a little everyday in self-defeat. It’s an easy choice.

I am a Marathon Runner

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Random
Tags: , ,

Sometimes I worry about being too stubborn for my own good, like this guy. Except I wake up earlier and prepare much longer. Hey, at least my plantar fasciitis and stress fracture have gotten better.

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I think it really would help if your spouse is also a runner (preferably an ultra marathoner). Otherwise, you’ll get a daily beat down. These are all so true.