Monday, July 7, 2008


June 22, 2008: I was all set to run my first 5k but "Frank" crushed the country, leaving the organizers no choice but to reschedule the Manila Half Marathon Challenge to July 6, 2008.

I was devastated to say the least.

First, I missed the PIA (Pinay in Action) Race last March 9, 2008 because of my sick daughter.

Three weeks later, I missed the Mizuno Infinity Run because I was still recuperating from a one-week illness.

And now this??? I was beginning to question God whether He'd like me to run or not. Could it be that He's trying to send me a message that I shouldn't run? Morbid scenarios started to form in my deranged mind.

June 23- July 5, 2008: Thanks to the Wimbledon Open, the exciting tennis matches brought me back my sanity. Seeing my idol Roger Federer play again on grass took my mind off my interrupted 5k run.

The bad weather prevented me to run for one whole week. I only had the chance to run 3X before the race. But that wasn't a problem for me because my goal was only to finish, not to win over the other female runners who were probably more than half my age.

July 6, 2008 at 1:30 AM: I was awaken by the drizzling sound of rain showers outside our window. Eia got up, looked outside and asked "is it raining, Mama?" She knew that she had to be left behind if it's raining when it's time for me to go. I told her that yes, it's raining but not that hard. Then I silently prayed that the rain would stop so I could bring my children with me. I wanted my first 5k run to be really memorable, to be witnessed by my two darling children.

This time, God granted me my wish. At 4:00 AM, I got up at the first sound of my celfone's alarm. I rushed to the bathroom, took a shower and put on my running attire (I already pinned my #4437 race bib on my shirt 2 weeks ago). At 4:30 AM, me and my entourage (Gio, Eia, Ate Ella, T. Jenny, Romy, Wendel, Ronald and Chari) left Philamlife Village and headed for Manila.

At 5:15 AM, we were already parked beside Luneta Grandstand. Good! There's still time to take pictures.

We're supposed to be five but unfortunately, my cousin Jun Muego wasn't feeling so well. With me are Ronald, Chari and Wendel.

Then we noticed that only a few runners were around the area. We learned from a fellow runner that the starting point was not Luneta Grandstand but in front of Rizal monument along Roxas Blvd. Oh, no! We already missed the start of the Half Marathon. I was hoping to see Patrick Concepcion and pose with him. When we got there, it was being announced that the 3k, 5k and 10k runners should now position themselves inside the starting line. We went inside the crowd and listened to more announcements, while my son Gio started taking pictures.

We were informed that there will be a slight delay because Mayor Lim will be coming to address the runners. After his very short speech, we were off.

The four of us started side by side, happily talking to each other. Then the 3 of them stopped at the first water station and caught up with me. I got the shock of my life when I didn't see any U-turn sign at Quirino Ave. Since the time I got my race kit, I was already imagining myself turning at Quirino Ave. as indicated in the race map. I couldn't believe that we were almost in front of Central Bank before turning around! I said to myself "Ok lang Nora. Kaya mo yan."

After Pedro Gil, I passed by a group of young runners who were walking. One of them commented "bay, daig tayo ng babae. takbo pa siya, tayo lakad na lang." I said to myself--I didn't train for 14 months for nothing!

When we were nearing Luneta, I got another shock of my life. "I thought we'll turn left at Kalaw Ave. then right turn to Luneta Grandstand", I told my cousin Wendel. One runner who overheard our conversation informed me that we will go straight ahead then turn left around the block then left to Luneta Grandstand.

Oh, no! Hindi ko na kaya. But I kept on running, gathering the last strength in my aching body.

Yes!!! We're almost there . . . Later I found out that my cousin Ronald experienced stomach cramps so he and his girlfriend Chari had to walk back to Luneta Grandstand.

Suddenly, I was on top of the world when I finally got my first Race Certificate. I was sooh happy that I wasn't the last to finish. I did it! I actually did it!

After we got our free t-shirts and bottled water, I told them we'll have breakfast at Max's Restaurant Roxas Blvd. But before that, one last picture.

The whole entourage: Thank you Eia, Gio, Jenny, Ate Ella, Wendel, Ronald, Chari (and Romy who took this picture) for sacrificing your sleep to give me your much-needed support.

Lastly, thank you Jaymie. For without you, this exhilarating experience wouldn't have been possible.