Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Happy (Ex-Anniversary) Run

Jan. 25, 1997:
Dressed in my long, fully-beaded silver gown hugging my 35-25-35 figure, I happily walked down the aisle to tie the knot with the one person I thought I would be spending the rest of my life with. It was a joyous occasion witnessed by 250 guests, friends and relatives.

Jan. 25, 2009: Clad in my Happy Run singlet and bright yellow shorts, I happily walked (and ran) with my 2 kids whom I would definitely spend the rest of my life with. It was a joyous occasion participated by 2,500 guests, friends and runners.

Yes, it's supposedly our 12th wedding anniversary, had I remained the battered wife to my children's father. In order to regain my dignity as a human being, I chose to be single again. To run free and once more feel how it was to be fully alive.

Yes, I wanted to be truly happy. For my sake and for the sake of my two precious jewels.

And joining Drew Arellano's Happy Run was a fun way of celebrating my freedom.

We arrived at the Fort when the crowd was singing "Happy Birthday" to Drew. I wanted to wish the runner friends good luck, especially Johnny Sy who'll be running his first 15K ever so we proceeded to the entrance of the starting area. On our way there, we saw Bro J and Baby!

From where we're standing, I tried to look for familiar faces but just couldn't.

We tried to enter the barricade but the Marshall stopped us. According to him, only the 15K runners were allowed to enter. The next batch would be the 5K runners. The 3K runners will be the last.

Grr . . . I was upset. It's good that Drew and Bianca were on stage to entertain us.

We were right in front of the stage that Eia's name was mentioned by Drew. He also welcomed and thanked Jaymie, the Bullrunner for participating in the Happy Run. I didn't look for Jaymie anymore 'coz I was sure she would be inside the pen already. I knew that she'll be running 15K.

There was a short stretching workout led by a Fitness First instructress. It was actually my first time to stretch before a race. I always forget to stretch even after I run.

Then the countdown began. First, the 15K runners followed by the 5K participants then Drew announced that we had 3 minutes to converge inside. We positioned ourselves somewhere in the middle. I prayed that Eia won't throw a tantrum and Gio would beat his 36:50 time in Yakult.

And God didn't only answer my prayer but gave me more.

Eia enjoyed the race every step of the way! Of course once in a while she would complain of being tired but she never asked me to carry her.

And Gio seemed to be enjoying himself too! More so when he received free samba (thanks, Rico!), doughnut, and apple. (His finish time was 35:21, slightly lower than Yakult)

When Jenny saw Nanette Medved, she, too was extremely happy!

On the way back, I was prodding Eia to run because the finish line's already near. I was talking to her when somebody passed by and said "hi, golden girl". I'm very sorry but before I was able to acknowledge your greeting, you were gone!

Then I heard my name being called again. This time, it was Baby (Bro J's swthrt). She complained of pain and was struggling to go uphill. I left Eia with Jenny and accompanied her on her way up until the final right turn to the finish line.

Upon running back, I met Vimz. I ran ahead of her to catch her photo:

Then Jenny went ahead and ran with Gio. Eia and I just walked until we reached the dragon, whom Eia feared very much. I told her we should run so the dragon won't catch us. Besides, the finish line was already in sight. With that, Eia ran with all her might.

Romy (nanay's driver for 30 years), also brought his own camera but couldn't catch us so our shot was taken from behind.

The clock read 36:27 when we arrived at the finish line. Wow! That's almost 25 minutes off her first race at Yakult. This time, my daughter Eia wasn't the last to finish. Yehey!!

But there was no certificate given to us. I asked Coach Rio who was on stage with Drew where I could get the certificate and he just pointed his finger towards his right. Eia and I went to that direction and I was shocked to see different queues for different booths. When my head was about to spin, I heard somebody called my name again.

It was Baby, with Mae (blogger in my own views) and Manny (IceOne)!

After a while I saw Anna, my cousin Jun and son Gio:

Then Gio disappeared with Jenny while Paulo and Eia joined us in these photos:

I loved to stay longer but had to go home right away. My mother had to go to Tagaytay to settle some very important matters.

See you in future races!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Running My First 10K With The PSE Bulls

Every race is a whole new adventure. The PSE Bull Run last Jan. 18, 2009 is no exception.

Before the Race:

My alarm clock was set at 4:00 AM but to my dismay, Jenny (my official photographer friend) woke me up at 3:53 AM! How I longed to wring her neck for I wanted to maximize my sleep before the race. With my eyes still closed, I reluctantly proceeded to the bathroom and took a quick cold shower to awaken my lazy joints.

I was trembling when I was putting on my running outfit, not because of the morning chill but because I was nervous to the bone. I couldn't believe that the time has finally come for me to run my first 10K.

Back in May 2007 when I seriously decided to run, my only goal was to finish 5K on my 50th birthday. I didn't plan for anything beyond that. How could I? When, during the first few weeks of my training, I couldn't even walk for 500 m. without stopping to drink water and catch my breath!

It took me 14 months to be fully fit and ready to join a 5K race.

Yet here I am, about to challenge myself if I already have the gall to finish 10K--six months after I ran my first 5K.

Am I ready to face this challenge?

The jolly hot pandesal with heaps of cheese-- together with its life-long partner, the steaming hot chocolate topped with marshmallows--somehow eased my troubled nerves.

We arrived at the Fort @5:00 AM . We were searching for the parking space when I spotted Jay enjoying his morning run. There were already a number of runners claiming their race packets and singlets. I claimed MJ's singlet then went in front of the stage.

There's still no runner friend in sight. That's MJ's singlet I was holding.

A few minutes later, I crossed path with Johnny Sy.

I received the shocking news from Johnny that he'll be running 15K at the Happy Run this Sunday! Good luck, Johnny!

Then my dear friend MJ came, followed by my guardian angels Vener and Christy.

When the emcee announced that the 10K runners should now proceed to the starting area, we obediently obliged (I'm very sorry Anna for not waiting for you).

While waiting, I exchanged hugs and kisses with Sir Jovie, Jay, and Bro J. but I only had a photo shoot with Jay (my official photographer was outside the pen).

Race Proper:

Instead of the usual gun shot that signals the start of the race, the bell that signifies the opening of the stock market trading was used. I didn't hear the sound of the bell, though. Just the loud voice of the emcee shouting "Ready, Set, Go!" He instructed us to yell "toro!" and I was among those who did just that.

In an instant, the raging bulls rushed out to the open field. MJ and I started slow, simply enjoying our first run together. We were taking our sweet time, for both of us just wanted to finish the 10K race without any injury.

Gigi and Wilbert passed us by and we excitedly exchanged hellos and goodbyes.

Then MJ stopped at the first water station so I went ahead.

As expected, the route was uphill and downhill. Hah! I was trained for this, I said to myself.

Just when I was about to feel lonely for not having anyone to talk with, runner friends started to appear at the other side on their way back: Jay, Vener, Bards. It was my first time to see Bards.

Thank you, Bards, for calling out my name. You seemed "normal" when I saw you. Your running form was so perfect it didn't show that you were running without your socks! It's a pity, though, that we didn't see each other after the race.

Photo of Vener taken by Jenny. Inggit ako, kasi ako walang picture na ganito!

Then came a steeper hill. I was almost tempted to walk but I remembered that I should take fast, smaller steps. Besides, I saw from afar a lady in peach whose weight was probably twice as mine and she wasn't even walking! But she stopped at the next water station so I had the satisfaction of running past her.

For the first time, I formally introduced myself to Master Mon of Happy Feet. He told me he was taking it slow because of injury.

When I passed by Jesse, he asked me why I wasn't wearing my takbo.ph visor. I told him I was afraid to catch cold because it has no cover on top.

I had a pleasant run with Tanya. She asked me how's Wayne doing, and I told her Wayne is fine and is planning to stay for 3 weeks during his vacation this year. I told her I missed the Kapampangan feast that she served the Happy Feet runners before the New Balance Power Race. Hopefully next time, I could join the gang.

Then I saw a lady running with a bandaged leg. It was Vimz! She assured me that she's fit to run 10K and I believed her.

There were no markers but I presumed that it was 5K at the turn around point. I looked at my stopwatch and it registered 38 minutes. I remembered my first 5K race where I also finished at 38 minutes. But that was then, when I was still a newbie. I ran the KOTR at 31:45. Surely, I could duplicate that. With this in mind, I slowly increased my pace.

Then I saw a man holding a flag that said 7 minutes per km. I learned that he's Rudy, a pacer from Fort Striders. So that meant, my finish time would be 70 minutes if I didn't stray from him.
Rudy is 65 years old, started running at age 35. He told me that he never change his pace. He always run at 7 minutes/km at every race that he joins. He runs because of the health benefits that he gets from it.

When we were about 1.5 km away from the finish line, we passed by Johnny and called him name twice but he didn't hear me. Probably because of the earphones he was wearing.

I thanked Rudy for keeping me company and when he told me that we would already be turning right to the finish line, I prepared myself to sprint. I visualized myself raising my hands in jubilation when I cross the finish line as Bong (of bongpagong) suggested. (For the record, he is the only person I know who has read all my blog posts. Thank you, Bong!)

But I'm very sorry our plan didn't materialize. When Rudy and I made the final turn, a long queue of runners prevented us to proceed any further.

There was nothing left to do except drink my water, which Jenny gave me.

See the 7 minute pacer flag beside me? That was Rudy holding it but unfortunately, Jenny wasn't able to capture him.

Then Johnny arrived and introduced me to a fellow laSallite, Joaquin (if I remembered right).

Then at the other side of the chute, there was Roselle congratulating me. I was happy to see her once again!

While waiting, other runner friends came to congratulate me.

Thank you G. It was sweet of you to wait for me at the finish line.

With Vener, who didn't experience what we went through 'coz he arrived very much ahead of us. That is Rudy at the right side of Vener, holding the 7 minute pacer flag. And is that Bro J in the red shirt?

With Johnny and Joaquin following the line of runners. We saw Dindo outside the finish chute and said "hi" to each other.

After the Race:

Meeting runner friends after the race was enough to make me very happy. When I ran my first 5k during the Manila Half Marathon Challenge, not one runner blogger was there to cheer for me. I am so blessed that this time, the runner bloggers whom I now consider as friends were there to support me. Thank you, thank you to everyone who congratulated me and lifted my spirit!

With Gigi and Wilbert (pasalubong ko ha!)

With MJ (the lady behind the blog One Snap at a Time).

With Tanya and Cathy (of Cathletic) whom I met for the first time. I'm not that short. Cathy just happen to be 5'7" tall. It was great meeting you Cathy! Thanks for introducing me to your friends.

With Vener, Jinoe, Cathy, Chris and Anna. Jinoe told me that he didn't run. Dunno why. I finally met Anna after the race! Next time, please come early so we can run together. Thanks for helping me and MJ with the PSE registration.

This time, Jay, Wilbert and Christy joined us in the picture. Isn't that Rico behind Anna?

With Christy and Roselle while registering for the Happy Run. Thank you, Roselle for inviting me to Chowking. I hope next time I can join you and the Happy Feet runners.

With Vimz, the kulit but ever joyful runner. Good luck in your first 15k race this Sunday!

I might as well have a photo with the finish line as background.

One last photo with Jenny, my official photographer friend. She will be accompanying me and my 2 kids run/walk the 3K race at the Happy Run this Sunday. Hope to see you all there!

Take care, everyone! Thank you for making my first 10K run truly memorable.


After our last shot, we made a quick stop at my friend's condo in Boni. And boy, oh boy--she served us a hearty breakfast that filled my stomach until dinner!

Thank you Malou for the sumptuous longganisa from our native town Marbel, South Cotabato, your mom's original recipe ham, and the unlimited yummy garlic rice.

My friend did not only satisfy us with a 5-star meal, but we also left her place with her christmas gifts that are sooh cute!

Thanks, my friend . . . (next time ulit ha)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Hills Are Alive . . .

1:30:11. This was the time in my stopwatch when I completed my first 10k of gruelling, roller coaster run.

I almost gave up at 8k comtemplating that 8 kms. of hills would suffice to overpower McKinley Hill at the PSE Bull Run this coming Jan. 18 but an inner voice urged me to continue. Instead of going back to my previous route, I decided to change my scenery hoping that the new track would be flat.

I was wrong. It was still uphill and even longer.

I desperately needed someone to talk with. I could feel the pain on my knees and my legs and there was no one to encourage me to go on (where art thou Anna?).

Thank God I was wearing my takbo.ph visor. It reminded me that I shouldn't be caught walking or somebody might tease me that I should be sporting a lakad.ph visor instead (heh heh . . .).

I tried to focus on my surroundings to keep my mind off the pain that was starting to bother me.

I saw a very young woman clad in short shorts and spaghetti shirt pushing a stroller with a baby inside while carrying another baby in her arms. A toddler was right beside her, holding on to her hands. For a while there I forgot my suffering. I asked her if the three children were all hers and she said yes. My calculating mind estimated that she could only be 21, and her children could be 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years old!

(If only Eia didn't have a SPED class that morning, I may have interviewed the young mother for a few more minutes to verify if I was correct in my assumption.)

Have you experienced running uphill (and downhill) for 1.5 hours without taking one sip of water? I found this very strange 'coz I normally crave for water after only 3 kms. I also didn't feel hungry (well, THAT's even more strange). Now I know that 1 piece of pandesal with lots of cheese together with 1 cup of Swiss Miss chocolate topped with marshmallows will sustain me for the whole 10k hurdle.

Before I made my final turn, I passed by the buko store and I heard the grinning fresh bukos on top of the table talk to my stomach " come and get me. I am super delicious."

This was one temptation I couldn't resist. I didn't bother to stretch anymore . When I reached the car, I just drove right away and stopped in front of the buko store. After sipping the juice, I asked the vendor to cut my buko in half and asked for an improvised spoon out of its hard covering. This is my favorite way of eating buko. The country style, not the modern version. Eating the meat straight from the shell using its own husk as spoon.

As I was enjoying my sweet buko, I realized I had to go home quick for Eia's SPED class. I just ordered 1 more buko for my dearest Tatay and off I went.

What a fantastic way to end a straight 1:30:11 hill training run!

McKinley Hill, here I come!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

How To Gain 10 Lbs. in 10 Days

1. Eat as much as you can of that special kind of salty-sweet bone-in Chinese Ham before it disappears in the market.

2. Eat the whole queso de bola as fast as you can or you'll be sorry 'coz it will turn as hard as stone in a matter of days.

3. Be the first to peel off the crispy skin of the delicious lechon before the rest of the family and relatives rush to the feast table.

4. Don't hesitate to eat the orange fats soaked in the sauce of your Pork Adobo with Crabs (a Pampango delicacy).

5. Drink soft drinks instead of water (to some, drink beer instead of water/soft drinks). It's Christmas! Let's drink and be merry!

6. Don't measure your intake of peanuts and pistachios. Recent studies show that they don't cause arthritis.

7. Sleep 10-11 hours to combat the damaging effect of changes in weather and the demands of the holiday season.

8. Don't run very early in the morning or you might catch cold brought about by the December chill.

9. Don't run late afternoon or you might catch cold brought about by the evening breeze or sudden downpour of rain.

10. Don't feel guilty if you can't find time to exercise. Shopping for gifts for 10 days will suffice as exercise.

And I was wondering how I gained 10 lbs.???

Thank God I ran today . . . under the rain.

10 days to go before the PSE Bull Run.

Will I make it in time? (lose the 10 lbs. of lechon, queso de bola, crab fats, etc.)

Will I finish my first 10K race without the proper training and preparation?

There's only one way to find out.

See you all at the PSE Bull Run!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Let's Fly Light in 2009!

Last Dec. 25,2008 while the Christian world was celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, we were grieving the untimely demise of our family friend, Kuya Bert Caudal. We brought him to his final rest last Sunday, Dec. 28,2008.

Occasions like this remind us that life is short. We should spend it wisely.

Like birds, let's leave behind in 2008 what we don't need to carry:


Let's fly light in 2009 . . .

Enjoy the gift of life!

Have a blessed 2009 everyone!

A joyful and injury-free year for all of us!