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.