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.
Monday, April 18, 2011 § 2 Comments
I thought it wouldn’t happen. A week before Run for Japan, I felt a stabbing pain on my left leg every time I attempted to run. It was quite disturbing that I thought if I pushed through with the race, I would limp my way through the finish line, if at all I’d get there. Thankfully, I was forced to rest my legs for a few days to finish a writing assignment. When I resumed to my morning running routine, my left leg was not only OK, it was super OK and, like its twin leg, moved faster and more fluidly. In fact, I was able to run an entire distance, thrice, without a break. That was when I knew I was ready for a race.
My sister and I registered for 3K, the shortest distance, just to see how we would fare. After the gun start, I started to pace myself, aware that if I run too fast too soon, I would end up unnecessarily fatigued midway through the race. But despite the desire to slow down, I noticed myself running at a surprising speed. It was speedier than my morning runs, and I felt a lot stronger than usual. In fact, there was no moment of letup, except when I stopped to wait for my sister tie her shoelace and when we grabbed cups of an ion supply drink.
Perhaps my unusual energy was driven by the sight of people running together for a cause. Or the thought that I was running with a purpose. Running to help the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan, after all, is enough of a motivation.
But after rehydrating, I felt an unexplainable pain in my stomach. I also had what felt like a menstrual cramp. And when I began to run, my body felt heavy. I told my sister we stop running; she obliged and walked beside me. This was when I noticed some of the 3K runners had started walking. I looked ahead and I knew we still had a long way to run. Ugh, how much longer should we run?
On the other side of the road were some 10K runners, each one pouring cold water over the head. They ran gracefully, but their faces said they meant business. I don’t know if seeing them was what moved my legs to run. All I know is that, despite the pain, I decided to run again.
At this point, time seemed to pass by pretty fast. I ran faster. Slower. Faster. I jumped at the jump shot zone. Watched people watch us. Went ahead of other runners. Pain was gone, and all I was thinking about was to keep running. I told myself, “I started this running and I should end this running.” I was so in the moment that when I rounded the corner, I was surprised to see the sweetest thing of all sooner than expected. The finish line.
I clocked 21-point-something minutes (I wasn’t able to get my exact time, but when I looked back at the clock after passing the corral, it read 00.21.15.) Twenty. One. Point. Something. Minutes. Twenty-one-point-something minutes! Wohoo!
Let me tell you, this means a lot to me. Days before Run for Japan, I didn’t know how I would finish the race. Would I walk the entire race? Would it take me hours? I had no sense of distance, so any number suffixed with a K, be it 3K or 0.5K, seemed too long a distance for me. But I made it. And not only did I make it, I made it surpassing all my self-expectations. Sweating and all, I finished the race with my sister, who, by the way, crossed the finish line first.
To summarize the race in one word: BITIN! The 3K, at least. At any rate, I had fun. Super fun. The feeling of running and actually finishing a race is irreplaceable, especially if you’re doing it for a cause. And I’m glad that my first run was a bayanihan event. I’m certain this would not be my last race. You’ll see me in the upcoming races. And my sister and I will do the 5K. Level up! 🙂
Next run: I Run for Integrity.
Congrats to Greentennial Run, everyone behind Run for Japan, and all the bayanihan runners! All this is for you, our Japanese friends. 🙂
Thursday, April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m far from being athletic. I’ve never done any sport. In fact, the closest I got to sports was when I had swimming and basketball subjects for my college P.E. Had it not been for my curriculum, I would never have physically challenged myself.
But things have changed.
Now, I want to run.
This should come as a surprise, as I’ve been a weakling all my life. I could never run more than a kilometer. My ultra feminine cadence is unattractive when I’m running. I have a problem with endurance. And these reasons are the same reasons I avoided sports altogether.
But I want to run.
It all started around a month ago, when we, as a family, decided to run/jog at a nearby memorial park. We wake up at 5:30 in the morning everyday and arrive at the park at 6, when some of the runners/joggers are already bathing in their sweat from tirelessly running.
Ah, their evident enthusiasm and passion are enough to make me want to run.
After a round of warm-up, which to us means walking the running path, I will launch myself to a run, er, jog, slowly first and then a little faster. The other runners/joggers will whiz past me, some of them are running individually, while others are in a big group. I easily get tired, so I resort to walking after about two minutes. And then I jog, then walk, then jog again, then walk until it’s time to go home. You see, I still can’t run an entire distance. In fact, I have more walk breaks than runs. Pretty understandable since I’m just starting. But watch out for me! I’ll learn to run faster and longer with a fitter body. Yebah!
What makes me love this morning running routine is that aside from making me physically fit, it also gives me an opportunity to reflect. Back in the days, reflecting was my habit. That was when I didn’t have to worry about writing deadlines, budgeting, and career moves. That was when all I cared about were my grades, school projects, and shoes. When I run, it’s as if I have finally contained myself. Finally, I have time to think, analyze, and focus. Finally, I can talk to myself sensibly.
So I guess I will run as often as I can. Everyday. Every other day. Every chance I get.
Perhaps, I’ll be a runner runner in the end. And I’m taking baby steps.