Monday, June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m not used to receiving too many birthday greetings, for the simple reason that not too many people know my birthday. So you can imagine how thrilling it is for me to receive lots of greetings on my recent birthday, albeit in the virtual world.
You know how it is on Facebook. Facebook announces to your friends it’s your birthday and encourages them all to say a greeting. Some of my Facebook friends—from my closest of friends to the people I’ve never heard from for a long time and to those who’ve never known my birthday—were such a sweetie and left short greetings on my wall. It’s a heartwarming act, I have to say. But what made my heart do a cartwheel were birthday messages that were punctuated with “I miss you” or its variation. Their number surprised me. Two to three people saying they miss you is sort of normal, especially since people nowadays have come to casually use that term of affection. But receiving “I miss you’s” from more than three people is something, a rare chance, not unless you (or your friends) are in a faraway place or in a situation where people have legitimate reasons to miss your presence.
I’m not in a faraway place. I’m very much accessible. So I was taken aback by these messages. But I guess there’s no reason for me to be surprised; the “I miss you’s” remind me of what I already know: I’ve been out of touch for a long time. Although I’m not expecting that all the “I miss you’s” are a call for a meet-up, I feel that they are telling me I’ve spent a significant time with these people and now we’re drifting apart. Oh, well. Life. But what these people don’t know is that the feeling is mutual: I miss them, too.
I work from home, and, in essence, this means isolation. No officemates. No after-office hangouts. No office parties. No everything. It’s just me and my laptop. It’s a sad setup, I know. But it’s a setup that I’ve embraced, for this is where I thrive. I’m not complaining, because although I’m locked up pretty much the whole day, I’m glad that I don’t have to go through what people have to when going to and from work.
Still, there’s the isolation issue I have to deal with. And these “I miss you” messages seem to nag me about this one thing that will make my social life breathing again: Visibility! Yes, it’s time I make myself visible. I have detached myself for too long, and if I continue with this, I’m afraid I’d be reduced to a hermit and eventually forget how to relate to people other than my family, which in the process might make my friends drift farther away. That would be a sad life.
So now here’s the plan: At least schedule one day of the week for meet-ups with certain people to catch up, dine together, see a movie, go somewhere, or do anything of my/my friends’ fancy. If going out four days a month seems quite expensive, then hang out with friends at least two days in a month. Or if this is also not possible, mark at least one day out of 30/31 days for a hangout. One day, for heaven’s sake! One day!
Initiating meet-ups, I know, is a little taxing. People are not always free on the same day after all, and it’s sometimes frustrating to find a date that all parties will agree on. I tell you, I’ve had scheduled meet-ups that were moved to later dates several times until they were forgotten. I understand whatever caused the delays and the eventual cancellation, but I had hoped the meet-ups materialized. So now that I have this Operation Visibility, I have to be persistent to push the hangouts through. And if there are other concerns that make them impossible, I shouldn’t give up too easily. I have to make Plan B or Plan C until I get to see my friends’ faces. I have to take this operation seriously. Seriously!
How successful I expect this to be? I have no idea. I even don’t know what my friends’ reception would be. But let’s not think of that. Now that the Operation Visibility is in place, my primary concern is, “Who should I meet first?”
Monday, June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
After Run for Japan, my first race, I knew I had to run again. That’s why the afternoon after that race, my sister and I found ourselves registering for I Run for Integrity. It was marketed as a running event calling out for a corruption-free Philippine society. The day I decided to join races I said I’d prioritize cause-oriented or campaign-focused races, so picking that race was easy. It didn’t matter if I had to wait for a full month and a few weeks. And boy, did I wait passively.
Passively means not running as frequently as I should, which resulted in an unconditioned body, which of course contributed to a slower pace and after-race muscle pain. And yes, I had all those. Joining a race without training is indeed a bad idea.
Before the race, I was naturally worried about my body getting injured. You see, it’s not anymore about performance, not about race time. It’s about safety. I knew how lack of training could take a toll on the body. You know, fainting in the middle of the race. Unbelievable cramps. Shortness of breath. But my lack of training was not my only concern. Have I mentioned I upgraded my distance from 3K to 5K?
My sister and I went on anyway, after having last-minute training the day before. Along with several others, we crashed into the starting line and sped our way through. The participants were almost running shoulder-to-shoulder at the beginning of the race, so I was zigzagging my way to squeeze myself into some available space.
The people began to thin as we went on. I ran past some runners, while some ran past me. At some point, I even ran alongside a 59-year-old Caucasian, who won second place in the 5K male category. Of course, he eventually ran ahead of me.
It was a pretty serene race. The sun didn’t come out intensely, and the temperature was tolerable. Midway through, though, my body heated up, so I pulled my singlet away from my skin to allow some air. Heating up and all, I ran through the race at a modest pace, only letting my feet to take some walk breaks when they revolted in exhaustion.
Despite my unconditioned body, everything went smoothly—I ran as much as I could, jogged if needed, and walked if called for—not until I reached the last meters and felt a burning sensation that started from my stomach and traveled to my chest. Heartburn. Uh-oh.
Afraid of what else my body could possibly feel, I resorted to walking. I couldn’t remember how far I was intending to walk, but I lost all awareness that I was inching closer to the finish line. Only when I saw my mother, who wanted to take pictures of me running, that I fully realized I had been walking for quite a while. She urged me to run again.
Not wanting to have a picture of me walking, I put on some speed and began running. And that’s when I heard the booming drum rolls and cheers from the finish line. Oh yes, almost there. So I burst into a speed I should have had earlier, ran past the other runners, and went straight to the coral. Finally.
My time? Forty-something minutes. (The official race results are yet to be released.) My time was almost twice longer than my last run. Still, not bad for a 5K run and an unconditioned body.
The race in one word: Success. The race was pretty organized, with lots of marshals directing the runners; plenty of kilometer markings; visible police, guards, and ambulance; well-functioning hydration stations; nice raffle items; and cool post-race program. I heard the pre-race program and warm-up exercises were pretty nice, too. Too bad we were late for them.
Next run: Not decided yet. But I hope to run at least once every month.
Anyway, kudos to the organizers and the runners! I hope this race really established some sense of integrity in us. But that I have to debate with myself. See the photos below.