Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The UP ICTUS 5K Run: A Deserving Victory For My Youngest Recruit

Unlike in my previous posts, I will start my story with the much-anticipated conclusion. I am just too excited and elated I can't wait to announce that (drums roll please . . . )

Junji Lidasan, the youngest son of my very dear friends Tho and Elsa, won 3rd place in the overall 5k category!

This 15-year old boy may be a newbie in running races but in football and taekwondo where he is a veteran, he runs for 90 minutes as part of his rigorous training. He runs fast that he plays as winger in Claret's football team. In taekwondo, he was a member of the NCR Team to the Palarong Pambansa. All these because Junji is under the strict but caring supervision of two of the best coaches in the Philippines:

1.) Mr. Igor Mella--Claret School Taekwondo instructor and Natl. Tournaments Director of the Phil. Taekwondo Assn.

2.) Mr. Bob Salvacion--Claret football coach, former Commissioner of the Phil. Football Assn., former National Team coach and former UP Varsity coach when UP grabbed the UAAP championship crown.

It is no wonder that Junji gives his mother a headache on how to take care of his 50 medals that he has won so far!

Ever since I started running, I have been convincing Elsa to join me and she promised that if I ever run in UP, she will be there to support me.

And that time has come.

When my cousin Jun registered me for the UP ICTUS Run, I immediately invited Elsa and her family to run with me and she responded that she and Tho will only walk but Junji will join the 5k race. Their eldest son Seiji won't be able to make it because of the pressing demands of the Engineering Week in UP.

My friend called me the day before the race, describing to me in detail the race map for she and Junji already studied the actual route. It's easy for them to do this because they live inside UP where Tho is a University Professor.

Unlike me who's literally stupid in reading maps, Junji knew the route by heart. I'm just thankful and glad that there were enough marshals stationed at all strategic corners giving directions to 5k and 10k runners that it was totally impossible for one runner to get lost. Good job, Coach Rio!

We arrived at the venue before 5 AM last Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008 to have a chance to talk with Elsa before the tace. Because of our hectic schedules, Elsa and I haven't seen each other for more than a year now. If not for the UP ICTUS Run, 2009 will probably knock at our doors without us meeting even for once in 2008!

There were still a few runners and looking for familiar faces was easy. Vener and Christy were the first I saw and surprise of all surprises, the formidable Helen Castillo was also there!

In my brief conversation with Helen, I learned that she's 53 and has been running for 5 years now. She told me that at the start, she was also slow but later on picked up the pace. She's at present a P.E. teacher in Taguig. Congratulations Helen for winning in our age category!

Then I saw Philip and we excitedly called each other's names!

With Christy, Philip, Vener and Helen. Congratulations Philip for placing 3rd in the 10k Overall Category!

Soon after that Elsa and Junji arrived at the scene. Tho was still sleeping because of the late christmas party that he attended the night before.

With Jenny (who's back as my official photographer for she's still not ready to run 5k), the mother & son Elsa and Junji. Notice that I wasn't wearing my race bib. It's with my cousin Jun who hasn't arrived yet.

Then Wilbert came wearing his Happy Feet shirt (inggit ako!)

Then Coach Rio announced that the 10k run would be starting in 3 minutes! I called up Jun and he told me they are already inside UP.

Right after the departure of the 10k runners, Coach Rio announced that 5k runners should now proceed to the starting area. Everybody proceeded as directed except me 'coz I was still waiting for Jun.

When the 5k participants started to run, Jenny and Elsa advised me to just go ahead without my race bib. I explained to the marshal that my race bib will just follow and he said it's okay.

Great! I was among the first to arrive and yet I was the last to run. There goes my sub 30 goal . . . where art thou Jun???

My legs were stiff as stone, dunno if it's because of the cold breeze or because I didn't warm up or because I was stressed (maybe all of the above?). Worse, I forgot to start my stopwatch.

I don't remember anymore where Jun catched up with me and handed me my race bib. We have been taught in running books how to drink water in a cup without stopping but I haven't read anywhere how to pin your race bib while running without hurting yourself.

Anyway, after a few trials I finally pinned my race bib. At least now, I'm no longer running as bandit.

Most of the time I found myself running alone. Then I encountered Jinoe and Quennie running in the opposite direction. When Wilbert passed me by, just the sound of my name was music to my ears, enough to refuel my lost energy.

Then I saw the Finish Line from afar. I pushed myself to sprint but just couldn't. And why is it that the more I try to push, the finish line seemed to move farther? Strange, I thought.

I wonder how Jay does it? Jay always appear as a celebrity in his finish look.

It was 33:23 in the clock when I arrived at the finish line. I didn't grieve anymore but I wasn't happy either.

But these running friends really made my day!

With Sir Jovie who won in the 50-above age bracket but I was surprised that Coach Rio didn't call anymore the names of the age category winners.

Nice of you, Bro. J and Baby to drop by and say Hi. We are joined by Jun and Junji in this shot.

With my youngest recruit. Congratulations Junji! You make us truly proud. Hope you continue joining races whenever you can.

My Team: Junji, Jun and Paolo (where's She' and Noel?

Enjoying my first bite of free Krispy Kreme.

A happy moment with Coach Rio and my cousin Jun.

With Christy and MJ (One Snap at a Time) who approached me and asked if I was Nora! She had a badminton tournament the day before and was really puffed out but still managed to run 10k. Great to finally meet you, MJ! Hope to run 10k with you at the PSE Bull Run come Jan. 18, 2009.

Then Vener came who introduced me to Rico (by Sheer Will). Nice meeting you with your new shorts Rico! Then Jay came and I introduced him to MJ and Rico.

When my cousin Bembet (Paolo's mother) came to say goodbye, I invited her to pose with us. Hope next time, you'll be posing as runner not only as supporter.

After the very brief awarding of winners, we headed to Chocolate Kiss. Thank you, Elsz for the very warm accommodation. Text me if you'll ever be in MOA--it's my turn!

Nope, I didn't win in my age category but it just feels good to be on stage.


  1. Nora, congratulations to you and your newest recruit JunJ. This is another great story of a lot of great stories in the running world this year. Don't worry about not winning the age category but in that photo I saw, you outkicked that guy!

    Please take care, say hello to the family and everyone for me and Happy Holidays!

  2. It was good to see you again. Glad you enjoyed the race and especially nice spending the day with friends.

  3. Merry christmas Nora, good to meet you again. Kudos on your UP run, ang saya di ba? First thing first, be sure to have your bib number, its quite difficult to pin it up during racing hehe.

    Well, had a good day with you guys, keep on running, and see you at the 10K chute of the bullrun.

  4. Wow! great recap and nice pix. Congrats to the recruit and the recruiter!

  5. Well, that was a good 2008 year-ender for you...and you've done a good job - pinning your race bib while running without hurting yourself!

    I hope I can join you in the 10K races next year... hopefully when I am ready and physically fit(sana wala nang shin splits and pains...)

  6. Congrats Nora and send my regards to everyone!

  7. congratulations Nora! it was nice seeing you again last Sunday.

  8. Ang lupet ng mga na recruit ni Nora. Podium finish agad. You might want to set up a "Team Nora" next time.


    Happy Holidays.

  9. Wow Nor, thanks for your write-up on Junji. Having experienced being a spectator and reading your blog, I can feel yung saya that you feel though not fully becoz I'm not yet running.

    I'm happy that you're in a healthy community that gets bigger and bigger. Hope to see more of your races.

    Seems like interesado si Junji to do more if his schedule will permit. The races become a good venue to meet friends and for family bonding.

    I just read the comments Nor. You've got great friends Nor who really appreciate your efforts. May your tribe increase a thousandfold!

  10. Hah hah yes Wayne you're right. At least, I came ahead of some good looking men probably half my age. Thanks!

    Take care of yourself okay?

  11. Philip, congratulations!!! Ang bilis mo.

    Sorry pala. I forgot that I should talk to you in Filipino when we meet. Anyway, next time!

    I forgot the name of the swimming school that you're recommending.

  12. Yes, Vener. Next time I'll make sure I already have my race bib before the race.

    Since we always meet during races, why don't we start a team of our own--Run Unlimited would be a nice name . . .

    See you and Christy Jan. 18! I'm gonna miss you guys.

  13. Thanks Anna! Basta, tuloy yong hill training natin ha. Regards to the whole family.

  14. Take it easy Baby. Don't rush the recovery. I'll pray that you'll be ready for 10k this January.

    Regards to Bro. J and the kids.

  15. Thanks Ador! How's Cristy, Roselle, Joby and Mark? Merry Christmas to all. When are you coming to visit us? Let's run together when you're here ha.

  16. Naku Wilbert buti na lang dumaan ka at the exact time when I was losing the drive to run faster. Thanks for calling my name. Bigla akong na-energize!

  17. Hah hah nice suggestion Jinoe. Why don't we have a Team Sounds more dignified di ba?

  18. Dapat kasama kayo ni Tho sa tribe na yon, Elsz!

    You're already walking twice the UP oval. Samahan nyo lang ng pakonte konting running in between. Maintain a 10 % increase in mileage every week until such time that you can run the oval 2 1/2X without walking.

    Hope to see the whole family joining races next year!

  19. Hey Nora, congrats! Looks you're getting stronger every race! 21k ka na next year!
    Hey, we missed you at the Italianni's dinner last Monday :-(

  20. Sorry I missed that Gene. Alam mo naman ang papel ko sa buhay: mother, father, unica hija and "mother" to my dear father!

    Will run 10k Jan. 18,2009 sa PSE Bull Run. Hope to see you there! Yes, Gene. 25k NB Power Race target ko next year. So help me God. . .

  21. Congrats nora and junji! Hindi ka ata bagay tumakbo as bandit, so I'm glad your race bib arrived in time. You looked like you had a great time from start to finish...especially with the krispy kreme in your mouth :)

  22. Wuhoo! NB Power Race is good! Pero dapat dagdag mo na rin yung runner sa mga roles mo, hindi lang pang-pamilya, pang-isports pa :-)

  23. Heh heh . . . you're absolutely right Jaymie. For a while there I was able to feel what it was like to be a running bandit. When I see a Photovendo staff, I try to display my close-up smile then realize that my shot won't be taken because I had no race bib! And when I had already my race bib, I forgot to wave and smile at Photovendo hah hah . . .

    Secret: After that first bite of Krispy Kreme, I gave it to my cousin Paolo who was really really delighted to have free doughnut after the race (besides, I found it too sweet for my taste. Sanay kasi ako sa plain bakery donut na binudburan lang ng asukal on top).

  24. Hah hah . . . ikaw talaga Gene. Lalo ko tuloy namiss ang christmas get together with our running friends. Join naman the PSE Bull Run para magkita tayo.

  25. My dear, MERRY CHRISTMAS! may your wishes be granted this christmas and may you have a fruitful and meaningful year to come.

  26. Thanks Mae. I wish for you an injury-free 2009! Hope to see you soon . . .

  27. happy christmas ate nors, thanks for introducing me to this world of running.

    heres wishing you a great year ahead and an injury-free 2009.

    see you on our reunion.

  28. Hi Nora! Congratulations for finishing another race. I hope you continue to have success in our chosen sport in the new running season of 2009. I love reading your blogs.

  29. The pleasure is mine, Jun. I'm very very happy that you have joined me and have been actively recruiting others to join our team. Maybe someday we could already start a team of our own. Thanks for the cute christmas gift. You're soooh thoughtful as ever!

  30. Thank you Bong. Your comment saved me from disappearing from the blogging world. I was seriously comtemplating to take a leave of absence from blogging because one runner blogger whom I greatly admire has hurt me tremendously and I need time to completely forget this righteous person's wrongdoing.

    Where was your picture taken? How long have you been running? Are you in Canada for good? Do you also visit the Phils.?

  31. Hi, Nora! Just want to pop in to wish you a Happy, Happy New Year!

    I hope to see you when you run your first 10k in January :-) Best of luck to you.

    May I say, keep on doing what you're doing, no matter what other people say or do. You're an inspiration.

  32. Thank you MJ for those kind words. I cried after reading your comment. I know I'm just a dot in the running community and my voice couldn't be heard though I speak the truth but it's the real friends like you who inspire me to hang on. I'm still grieving inside with "you know who" but I cannot let this person put me down.

    I'm looking forward to see you again this Jan. 18 MJ. A joyful 2009 to you and your family!

  33. Hi again, Nora! :-)

    Thank you for volunteering to register me for the PSE run. I will know for sure if I can make it on January 7, when we resume classes. Will let you know.

    Again, thanks. I do hope it isn't a bother for you.

    The New Year is almost here! Happy 2009! Mwuah!

    Be safe :-)

  34. Happy New Year Nora, Gio and Eia!

  35. Hi Nora. Yes, I'm here for good. I have been running since April of 2007 but have never run a race in RP.

    I graduated HS in UE too, just like you.

  36. Hi Nora. Yes, I'm here for good. I've never run a race in the Philippines but I intend to run one in January 2010, the Clark 10k or maybe half marathon. Happy new year.

    By the way I attended HS in UE too.

  37. Pareho pala tayong UE HS Bong! Anong year ka graduate? I was a transferee from Koronadal National Comprehensive HS kaya 3rd and 4th year lang ako sa UE.

    Do inform me when you intend to run a race here. It will be a joy running with you.

    A joyful, healthy and peaceful 2009 Bong!

  38. Happy new year nora! Hope to see you again in races for 2009!