Tuesday, November 25, 2008

(Almost) Everything Went Wrong in my First Animo Run

After the VSO Run last Nov. 9, promised myself I won't dare face McKinley Hill unless I'm ready for it. And so, although I already registered for the UNICEF 5k Run, I opted to join the ANIMO Run in MOA (which Vener described as my balwarte).

Before the race:

1. Jenny (my friend who always accompany me as my official photographer) suddenly couldn't sleep in the house because of her choir practice at Don Bosco. She'll just meet me at MOA.

2. My parents wouldn't let me leave the house early in the morning alone (unica hija kasi noh?) so I had to wait for my mother's driver to wake up!

3. We were already near Zapote when I learned that my cellphone ran out of load! Oh, no! How am I supposed to get in touch with Que and Jenny? I told Romy we had to go back coz I left my prepaid card in my wallet (which I didn't bring anymore).

4. The original plan was to leave 5:00 AM and yet at 5:25 AM, we were only ascending the Zapote flyover! At this time, I could feel my bladder about to explode because of the unexpected turn of events.

5. My singlet was as usual, quite big in the upper portion but quite tight in the lower portion (size S and M won't fit my humongous hips so I was forced to swallow my pride and indignantly accepted size L). I left the house with a white shirt and placed my singlet beside me which I planned to wear over my shirt later.

6. I decided to put on my singlet but when I grabbed it I noticed that it was wet 'coz the water in my jug spilled! How could things go wrong when everything was neatly planned? I know most runners don't wear the race singlet but in my case, I want to wear it! It gives me a sense of belonging and pride (also, it's easy to tell what race I joined when I look at the different pictures because of the singlet I'm wearing).

7. Romy dropped me off in front of IMAX parking and proceeded to the registration booth where Que and Jinoe would be waiting to give me my order of 30 takbo.ph visors (they ran out of stock so 20 first, 10 to follow).

It's always refreshing to see the lovely couple Jinoe and Que. Seeing them sharing the same passion makes me believe that true love still exists in this age and time.

Then we went to the baggage area to leave our things. There we saw Eric (who left right away so didn't have a photo with him) and Jerry, as shown below:

8. Hearing that the race was about to begin, we walked towards the assembly area. I was shocked to see a very long queue of runners trying to get in! Jinoe explained it to me that it's because of the new bar coding system that the organizer was using. I literally squeezed myself into the pack, praying to God that I won't get crushed in the process. The gun was already fired for the 10k race but there were lots of runners who were still outside. Screams and yells rained that day.

9. I stayed beside the barricade rope, hoping that Jenny will see me there. There stood Vener and Christy!

Notice the similarity between Vener and Christy? They must love each other very much that they now look identical!

Jenny called that she's already in Fitness First when it was announced that the race was about to begin. See my blue bag in the picture? Vener volunteered to carry it for me during the race. Thank you, Vener! You're an angel.

During the Race:

1. There was no map given but I'm confident I won't get lost because as Vener said, 'balwarte' ko ang MOA.

2. When I was given the straw at the first turnaround,I was surprised that it was only 7:30 mins. in my watch. I couldn't believe that I ran 2.5k already. I learned too late that it wasn't the 2.5k mark. We were already back where we started but the marshals told us to continue. At this point, I thought the U-turn would be at the end of the road.

3. Again, I was frustrated that we still had to turn left and pass by the Church. There was a water station in front of the Church but I decided not to stop anymore. The 2nd (hopefully the last) turnaround came and I was given the 2nd straw.

I was in the middle of 2 male runners when Christy came flying past us. Thanks Vener for sending me these race photos in my e-mail. (Next time ulit ha).

4. Finally, I was back where we started. The marshals were instructing the 10k runners to continue running (they're gonna do it twice). I turned right and looked at the time and it read 36:45. I supposed it was the time for 10k runners who left 5 minutes ahead of us. I didn't break my PR. Next time, have to study the route and develop a plan.

After the Race:

1. I was feeling all sad for my race time but when I was handed my certificate together with a commemorative t-shirt, my face lighted (babaw lang talaga ng kaligayahan ko noh?)

2. Christy must have noticed my exhaustion that she helped me with a cup of water. Thanks, Christy! You and Vener were my guardian angels that day. Then came Jenny, my supposedly official photographer:

3. Immediately after drinking water I excused myself for I have been longing to go to the restroom (no portalet here) even before the race started. The security guarad pointed us to the nearest restroom but when we got there, the ladies' room was still closed! Jenny and I had to cross the street and use the one near the playground. When we got back, I was already wearing the new shirt that was handead to me at the finish line.

4. There was no runner blogger in sight. It seemed that the rest of us were at that time braving McKinley Hill. I lined up for biscuits and drinks while waiting for the program to begin.

Right after the exhibition of the DLSU Cheer Team, Vener reappeared and told me that our friends were gathered at the new takbo.ph tarpaulin (nice work, Jinoe!)

Girl power: With Que, Anna, and Christy

Here's a close-up of Jinoe's "baby" (with matching takbo.ph visor pa yan ha).

5. Finally met Anna! She told me that only the first 50 finishers were given the commemorative shirt. And we both congratulated each other.

6. Then Taki arrived with the 2 OctobeRUN DVDs (for Ate Ella and me). Thank you so much Taki! Eric, Dennis and Jerry also joined the group (nice meeting you guys!).

7. Then Anna introduced me and Jenny to the whole runaholic family. What a pleasant sight to behold--a father, mother and 3 kids bond together for the love of running. (Sayang we were so engrossed talking that we forgot to pose for a picture)

8. When it started to drizzle, Jenny and I took cover at the Fit & Right tent right beside the stage. By this time, the awarding already began.

Then the emcee announced that there was no female runner aged 50 and above that joined the race. I saw Taki also inside the tent and he advised me to approach the race organizer. And I did.

The first person I talked to wasn't even aware that there was a 50-above age category! The lady beside him informed him that there was such category in the registration form. She asked me if I only registered that morning, because late registrants were not yet 'registered'. She was surprised when she found out that I registered at DLSU Sports Complex last Nov. 18,2008.

She then got my name, contact numbers and my foot size 'coz according to her, they're giving away Havaianas for the age category winners.

9. There were at least 10 runners who complained about their finishing time and I learned that the new bar coding system fouled up. According to Taki, the same problem occured last year. He was expecting that it would be better now. Taki was supposed to come in 3rd in the DLSU Alumni Category. I hope he already settled this issue with the race organizer.

The awarding stopped because of the commotion. First time to stay to witness an awarding and it ended this way!

The organizers decided to give all the complainants medal and gift pack. I wonder if I could still claim my Havaianas . . .

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Wonder of Sir Jovie, the Bald Runner

Every runner blogger knows Sir Jovie aka Bald Runner. Like Jaymie, this remarkable person is undeniably a celebrity in his own right. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to catch him in the four races that I ran this year.

Then came Wayne, the SFrunner.

Picked up Wayne at his hotel in Makati last Nov. 14, 2008 to attend the orientation of the Nike Running Clinic at Ultra. I did not register for this event knowing that it would be totally impossible for me to make it. Lucky for me though, my guardian angels found a way to make the impossible possible.

The chaotic traffic condition (caused by payday falling on a Friday) prevented us from reaching Ultra on the scheduled time of 7 PM. Thank God I brought one family size pizza with cheesy pops and a cooler filled with Diet Coke and mango juice which I hope Wayne enjoyed while we talked about running, races, and just about anything along the road. My son Gio also joined the conversation, throwing questions at Wayne from time to time which the SFrunner patiently answered with gentleness and all humility.

We arrived at the venue very very late, and as soon as we entered Brent gym, I suddenly felt uncomfortable because of the heat that greeted us at the entrance.

But my uneasiness disappeared when I saw Sir Jovie grinning at Wayne and me.

Contrary to my preconceived expectations (you know, BR must be stern and quiet kind of guy), he was warm, gracious and surprisingly funny. Why, he even dropped a hilarious joke which really caused my tummy to explode! But due to existing moral restrictions of our society, I dare not divulge it in this blog . . . sorry!

Sir Jovie, I enjoyed very much our lively chat, though very short. Thank you for helping me forget (temporarily) the pain of driving all the way from Las Pinas to Makati and then to Pasig. You are truly, truly a wonderful person. Your hair may be gone but your heart is overflowing with love and compassion for others.

Then Gio and I walked across the gym to say hi to Jaymie and her group: the ever-thoughtful Jay together with JunC, Marga and Annie. We talked and laughed for a while and then I went nearer the speaker to learn a few tips about running.

That's where I found Wilbert and Vimz who was so kind to accompany me to the ladies' room and showed me the beautiful oval track where they usually run. She also introduced me to the rest of the Happy Feet group whom I haven't met at the VSO (won't mention the names one by one anymore kasi baka masaktan yong nakalimutan kong pangalan . . . hirap talaga ng gurang!)

Thanks to Wayne for being instrumental in my attendance at the Nike Running Clinic Orientation. Because of him, I was able to finally meet the Bald Runner and all of you wonderful guys! (now I know how and why Mark & Tiffin came to be)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More VSO Photos From Bro. J and Vimz

Thank you soooh much, Bro. J and Vimz for these awesome pictures!

With Baby, Bro. J's sweetheart when we met before the race.

While waiting for the countdown to begin the 5k Race.

Right after we stepped out of the starting area.

Oh no! We are going up! Will I make it back???

Thank God I made it back!! Yehey!

The evidence is clear: I finshed ahead of at least 3 members of the Team Navy heh heh . . .

Thanks again, Bro. J!

One last photo: Thanks, Vimz for sending me my very first shot with the Happy Feet gang.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My First VSO Run (Part 4)

In the midst of the excitement in meeting the runner bloggers, I saw Philip from afar and we both called out our names, at the same time! Finally, the day that we've been expecting have finally come.

With Philip, Wilbert and Wayne.

With Vimz and the wacky Happy Feet Group!

One last pose with Philip and the Happy Feet runners.

With the very "delicious" Doc Doray and Wayne.

Again, with Doc Doray and now, with Roselle!

With Jaymie--my mentor, idol and inspiration. Without her, this blog wouldn't even come to exist.

With that, I end this four-part series of My First VSO Run: A Dream Come True.

For the other runner bloggers that I haven't met last Nov. 9, 2008--hope to see you all in future races!

My First VSO Run (Part 3)

(I'm sorry this came quite late. It was my father's 84th and my daughter's 9th birthdays yesterday. Everything has to be put on hold)

I'd like to think that I was running too fast that Jenny had trouble putting my image in the middle of this picture (that's me in the orange cap) heh heh . . . Nauna pa nga ako sa macho gwapitong naka Team Navy sa likod!

Taken right after the race. First time to be given a sports drink after crossing the finish line. Parang trophy ang dating sa akin, after conquering that hilly route!

After drinking my precious Rush, I planned to go back to the area before the finish line to shoot pictures of runner bloggers and much to my surprise, my fairy godmother again whisked her magic wand and there appeared right in front of me, Gigi and her adorable son Sky! It was truly, a magical moment for me. She was with her friend Jaimie but unfortunately, my official photographer failed to capture a pose with her. Maybe next time.

When I arrived at the entrance of the finish line, Bro J and Baby were also there. Sir Jovie came dashing in and we called out his name which he acknowledged by waving his hand. I took a shot of his enigmatic "finish look" but sadly, it turned out blank (still have to practice more with this digital camera. I had no problem before with the conventional camera).

Accepting the painful reality that I couldn't get decent shots of bloggers while they were running, I decided to wait at the exit of the finish line instead. On the way back I met my cousin Jun, holding his finisher's certificate. He advised me to get mine and I did.

With Jun and our future recruits: Jenny and Bembet with her 2 sons Bikoy & Paulo.

Then I looked around and saw more runner bloggers!

Top and below: With Vener and his wife Cristy, Joe the loonyrunner with his famous backpack and Dennis.

With Jinoe, the brains behind TAKBO.ph.

The two love-birds of 11 solid years: Jinoe and Que!

With Jesse, Tanya and a friend.

Oh, my! Tanya and I look like mother and daughter . . . Could she be my long lost daughter?

To be continued . . .

Monday, November 10, 2008

My First VSO Run (Part 2)

(Part 2 of My First VSO Run: A Dream Come True)

Then I told them I still haven't seen Jaymie. I don't remember anymore who informed me that Jaymie was just standing right behind me!

Like a fairy godmother whisking her magic wand, I turned around and there was Jaymie, together with Jay, the Honorable Doc Doray and JunC!

Two weeks ago I was in a room filled with Kapuso stars and I must admit I was thrilled.

But the excitement in finally meeting the runner bloggers is beyond comparison.

I felt like a teenager again in close encounter with my first love!

We had a lively chat (thank you Jay for the very kind words) and though I still wanted to stay and share more stories, the emcee started to count, signalling the start of the 15k race. I said good luck to all of them and made my way out of the pack. I was almost tempted to run the 15k just to spend more time with you guys but I'm glad I didn't.

I tried to look for my cousin Jun but he was nowhere to be found (I found out later that he positioned himself at the front row). Thank God I again saw Baby, Bro. J's swthrt. I desperately needed someone I know to run with me for the first kilometer.

I wasn't prepared for a hilly route. The KOTR was almost flat from start to finish. No sweat. This time, I almost gave up, for I already felt the soreness in my legs. I told myself I will just try to finish the race, no matter what the time. The most important thing is, I'll finish it without any injury.

And by God's grace, I did it!

But when I woke up this morning, my whole body is in pain. I remember the Triathlon Ad on TV:

"The human body is not made for this kind of sport. But the SPIRIT is!"

Watch out for Part 3 . . .

My First VSO Run: A Dream Come True

When I registered for the VSO Run last Oct. 14, the singlet was not yet available. When I claimed it at ROX 5 days before the race, I was ecstatic to see Coach Rio there who gladly pose for this commemorative picture.

Jenny and I arrived at the Fort before 5AM. Unfortunately, no runner blogger in sight.

After almost losing hope to see any runner blogger, Bro J with his 'new' hair & darling Baby suddenly appeared! He told me that Wayne & the other runner bloggers were already inside the assembly area.

I dragged Jenny (my official photographer for this race) inside the 15k starting area to look for the runner bloggers. It wasn't difficult to see Wayne, standing tall amidst the pool of runners.
I approached him and he immediately recognized me! I couldn't believe I finally met the SFrunner! We exchanged kisses and then posed with the runner bloggers who were around him. It was almost a dream that I found myself surrounded with these gorgeous guys: Taki, Wilbert, Joe, Dindo and Glenn.

To be continued . . .