Sunday, October 17, 2010

Choose To Be Happy NOW

Picture this:

You're an only child and a solo parent.

You take care of your 86-year-old father whose favorite pastimes are worrying and whining.  Stress is his time-tested form of therapy.  While it is true that stress kills, stress is what makes him fully alive hehehe . . .

You long for the tender, loving, care of your mother who has been an OFW (Out For Work) for as long as you can remember.  You have been missing her since your infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.  You desperately want to catch up with her through your golden years but at 76, she's still very much alive and active with her chosen career. You only get to feel her warmth and positive presence during Saturdays and Sundays 'coz she works and lives away from home during week days.

You battle it out with your 13-year-old son every single day.  They say God is so providential that He gave parents 12 years to develop the unconditional love for their children before they turn into monster aliens whom we call teenagers.  You may be the Judge of the Supreme Court but you won't stand a chance against my son. He's simply too smart and manipulative.

You gather all your reserved patience, strength and energy to tutor your special child everyday and bring her to therapy every Saturday.  Some parents swear that having 1 special child is equivalent to having 10 normal children.

You fantasize of having a supportive husband to share your sorrows, pain and suffering but you realize that he's only a figment of your wild imagination.

Yes, we did not choose to be born in this world.  Yes, we couldn't choose our father, mother, and children (but if we had the chance to choose, I'd still choose them, thank you).

BUT WE CAN CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY, NO MATTER WHAT LIFE BRINGS.

Hence, I will no longer wait for my father to have a change of heart before I make myself happy (but I won't stop hoping).  I choose to be happy NOW.  If I were to be a punching bag to prolong my father's life, I will be the happy punching bag.

I will no longer wait for my mother to retire in order to be happy. (There's no retirement in sales.  Contract with the company only expires in case of permanent disability or death.)   I will treasure every moment that she's with me.  I choose to be happy NOW, even if I'll never understand how she managed to survive a life away from her only daughter.

Yes, I know I will probably lose upcoming battles of wit with Gio but I will never lose my love for my only son.  I will say goodbye to hurt and misery and choose to be happy NOW.

My daughter with Down Syndrome may never finish school but that's alright with me.  I choose to be happy NOW, and not wait until she speaks clearly and know when it's New Year's Day.  (Eia can sing the whole soundtrack of HS Musical 1, 2, and 3 but couldn't remember that Jan. 1 is New Year's Day!)

Let's not wait for our dreams to come true before we can be truly happy. 

CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY NOW.  (but I'll be happier if I find a partner who'll run all the way with me through eternity hah hah . . . )

***********************************************************************************                                                                                                                                   

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Child's Prayer

Every night, my daughter Eia always say this prayer on top of our usual prayers:

"Jesus, heal Lolo.  Take care of Nanay in Pampanga.  Heal Mama's hand, knee and foot.  Bless Mama's work, business, tennis, marathon, fun run and Bull Run."

And last night, Eia surprised me by adding:  "Help Federer win"!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Let's Run to Read!

Last Friday, July 9, 2010, the angels took pity on me and made my impossible schedule available for the launching of the Run to Read at Max's Greenbelt 1, Makati.

It was a wonderful evening, a night that I thought could only happen in a dream. (Thank you, thank you Eric for inviting me!)

I always enjoy meeting fellow runner bloggers -- it's as if we've been friends forever! (you may find our pictures in Face Book).

Listening to Nikky (of BrandWorX), Patty (the friend-sidekick of Anne, who's the "brains and heart" of this cause), Bea (the National Book Store Foundation representative) and Eric Pasion (president of Run4Change) made me shed a bucket of tears. Here's why.

Below is one of the articles included in our kit.

Running to a better future through reading:

It's no big surprise that running marathons has become one of the most participated sports recreation events in the country. For one thing, running can easily be anybody's game, one that almost everyone is equipped to perform" no goals to kick the ball into, no rings to shoot at, no paddles to swing. One relies on his strength and power to achieve -- a common goal that everyone, runner or not shares. It's either a competitive or non-competitive sport depending on what the participant chooses to make out of the distance he runs. while running is generally a solo sport, here in the Philippines, it's become a healthy way of bonding among groups of friends, work colleagues, active families and young couples, making it an even more attractive sport to get into.

Hearts pounding, sweat dripping, soles bouncing on the pavement -- runners always get their rush when they're out on the road. There is also that fulfillment in seeing the finish line up ahead, in knowing that they've overcome themselves once more. The runners' high gets stronger though when a worthy cause is at a race's helm.

A child's ability to read and learn is by far the most important skill that will get him or her through life. Unfortunately, children all over the country suffer from having little access to books that can feed their minds and broaden their knowledge on various subjects. Public libraries supposed to be their means to learn more are ill equipped, under-funded, unmanned and simply in bad physical condition, thereby failing on their function.

The Philippines only has about 688 public libraries, less than 40% of the required minimum 1,851 libraries to serve 220 congressional districts, 136 cities and 1,495 municipalities. This affects some 40% of the population or nearly 40 million Filipinos as it unacceptably deprives our children of a resource that could spell a difference for their future. Together with National Bookstore's Buklat Aklat program, the Run to Read fun run was created to raise funds to build Leave-Behind public libraries in rural and less fortunate urban areas to offer hope for our youth's future.

Run to Read Fun Run will be held on August 15, 2010 at Bonifacio Global City. (Eric announced that this will be a new race route!) The run will be composed of 4 major distance events: 3K, 5K, 10K, 15K and a 500 meter dash for kids with their moms or dads. An informative Sports Running Clinic for new runners will be held on July 28 on the basics of running, healthy living and the great cause behind the Run to Read Fun Run.

Run to Read is an effort in participation with National Bookstore (we were told by Bea that National Bookstore will equal the amount that will be donated from the proceeds of this Run), Bonifacio Global City, The Philippine Star, Sony Ericsson (5 phones will be given away in the raffle), Moms Today, Health Today, Pocari Sweat, Toby's Sports (duffle bags as raffle prizes), Delta Airlines (2pcs of 250USD Electronic Credit Voucher to the lucky raffle winners), Tapa King (available at the venue), Yellow Cab (would you believe P10,000 worth of Yellow Cab GC is included in the raffle?), Reebok and Drypers Wee Wee DRY diapers (2000 pcs loot bags).

 Runners and interested participants who'd like to take a step in contributing to this cause can register at:

Secondwind Store QC, 88 Maginhawa St. Teachers Village, Diliman Quezon City
Secondwind Store Ortigas, Ortigas Home Depot, 1 Dona Julia Vargas Ave, Ortigas
All Terra Cyclery, Club 650 Libis, Quezon City
BrandWorX Inc Head Office, Penthouse Eurovilla 2 Bldg., V.A. Rufino St. Makati City
Runnr Store B3 Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City, Philippines
Reebok Festival Supermall, SM Megamall and TriNoma
Royal Sporting House, AliMall, Glorietta 4 and Robinsons Place Ermita

Registration may also be done online thru runnersrunner.com. And if the early bird catches the worm, registrants from July 1 - 15, 2010 get P50 off the registration fee. Registration for Run to Read Fun Run is from July 1 to August 8. Fees to participate in the run are from P350 to P500 depending on the distance.

Be up to date with Run to Read, visit run4change.com/runtoread. Facebook.com/runtoread. For inquiries email read@run4change.com.

And if the above article doesn't convince you 100% to join this heroic event, feast your eyes on their multi-colored singlets!



A singlet of your color choice! (of course I'll pick red, my favorite color)
See you August 15!
Take care, everyone!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Living the Dream In Nuvali (TBR Dream Marathon in Pictures)

With my 2 kids and our very supportive coach, Coach Jim Lafferty before the start of the race. Until now, I still couldn't believe that Gio and Eia woke up at 12 AM to accompany me to Nuvali to fulfill my dream. Maraming maraming salamat, mga anak!


Girl Power: With Ate Ella, Eia, my good friend Anna who's very lucky to have her lovely daughter Faye as pacer.



"Oh Lord. With you, everything is possible. I trust that you will not abandon me at this time of trial. You only have to will it, and the pain in my left foot will be gone. Please Lord, I only wish to finish within the 8-hour cut-off time and finish without any injury. And if it is Your will and for Your greater glory, you will grant me this wish. Thank you Lord, thank you."



And off we went!



When crossing the starting line to make the first loop, I spotted Marga holding a wonderful poster with my name on it. It was a great feeling, I actually felt lighter.




Thank you, thank you Marga and the rest of the takbo.ph cheering team. I hope to know you all personally.



Then I was all alone in the dark.




Taken before sunrise.





With the ever joyful Tessa. She may have noticed that I was the eldest in the group she told me "Ang galing galing nyo po".





My special special child Eia. Because of her and the other children with Down Syndrome that "Quitting is NOT an Option" for me.




Carlo, my dedicated Dream Chaser who stood by me through thick and thin.




Thank you, Carlo! Hope we could get-together sometime for baked oysters and ice-cold beer.





Hello there! I'm still running . . .





That's my friend Agnes on my left. They rushed to accompany me to the finish line.





Thank you Ate Ella, for the "Super Mom" poster.
Thank you kids for running with me to the finish line.




C'mon. Almost there!




At long last! Thank you Lord!




With Boy and Agnes, Jaymie and my family.




With Coach Rio, who also cheered for me when I saw him after the Second Wind Station. Thanks!
(There are still shots taken by Atty. Raymund which I hope to see.)
To anyone who still dream to run the marathon: If I can do it, you can do it better!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

When Quitting is NOT an Option (My First Marathon For Children With Down Syndrome)

FLASHBACK:

It took me one solid year of training to run my first 5k race.

I was 49 when I fantasized to run 5k on my 50th birthday. Friends donated for DSAPI (Down Syndrome Assn. of the Phils. Inc.) in lieu of gifts to celebrate my golden year.

Back then, I never dreamed of running the marathon. In fact, I promised myself not to run beyond 5k because of my age and the demands of my multi-roles as an only child and solo parent.

But strange how one Jaymie Pizarro changed everything.

As Jaymie (the bull runner) metamorphosed from an ordinary newbie runner to what she is now (a world-renowned celebrity), my direction in life significantly changed as well since the time I've known her in May 2007.

So when I learned about the TBR Dream Marathon, it took me less than a second to decide not to miss this spectacular event.

Again, I sought donations for DSAPI (pls. refer to my post "My First Marathon For Children With Down Syndrome" on March 14, 2010). This time, not just for a 5k run but for a full marathon! This would be my pre-52nd birthday celebration.

I followed the training program by Coach Jim Lafferty that started Feb. 1, 2010. I attended all the Bull Circles and ran with my fellow TBR Dream Marathoners twice during the long run schedule: 2-hour run in ROX last March 27 and the 3 & 1/2-hour run in Nuvali Last May 2.

Read and reread the 5 issues of TBR mags to keep me well-informed and inspired.

To prepare myself physically and emotionally, I joined three 21k races before May 22:

1.) The Condura Race on Feb. 7, 2010
2.) The Globe Run for Home on March 21, 2010
3.) The Earth Run on April 18, 2010

When everything was running smoothly as planned, I met an accident 5 days before the Grand Event (details in my post "To Run Or Not To Run the TBR Dream Marathon" dated May 17, 2010)

I was almost tempted to quit but when the donation of blogger-runner-friend Bong (http://www.bongpagong.blogspot.com/) arrived from Canada 2 days before the Dream Marathon, I knew there was no turning back.

Pre-Race:

And so on May 21, 2010 I went to bed @ 5PM after eating a heaping plate of pansit sotanghon, 1 delicious stick of pork barbecue, 2 pieces of Goldilocks putong puti and 1 banana lakatan.

I tried to get some sleep but just couldn't. Then at 8PM and 10PM, my daughter complained of stomach ache. I gave her CARICA syrup and she dozed off to sleep.

At 11:30 PM, I decided to get up and get ready for the big challenge ahead of me.

I was not yet hungry but forced myself to eat 2 whole wheat pandesal with peanut butter, 1 mug of hot chocolate drink and 1 banana latundan.

Then I cleared my stomach and took a warm shower.

By 1:oo AM, we were already out of Philamlife Village. My mother's driver drove for me, Gio, Eia, and Ate Ella.

All this time, I was wondering if I could really make it.

1) For the past 10 days, I was only able to run for 37.5 minutes.
2) My left foot is still painful because of the accident.
3) I wasn't able to sleep even for just 1 hour!

Jaymie was happy to see me but I knew she was anxious about my condition and so after kissing and hugging each other, she told me that I could just stop whenever I feel the need to do it. I promised her I would.

I was deeply touched when a lot of runners approached me and wished me luck and advised me to just take it easy and I will surely finish it in 8 hours.

After Jim's short message was a short prayer and we were off.

Mark, my therapist-friend was supposed to run with me but couldn't make it due to a high-priority family obligation.

Anna was with her runaholic family.
Kassy was with the 5:1 group.
Baby was with her running buddy Bro J.
Mariel was too fast for me and she had her soulmate and solemate Jun C. pacing her.

I couldn't run with any of them because I wasn't even sure if I could run at all. And I didn't want to burden them with my condition.

As expected, I started very slow and easy, trying to minimize the pain on my left foot.


After crossing the main road, a runner named Liza greeted me. She told me "Di na po sana ako tatakbo ngayon kasi kulang ako sa training. Pero sinabi sa akin ni Angela, dapat makausap mo si Nora para ma-inspire ka. Na-injured siya last Monday pero tatakbo pa rin siya. 52 na siya, ikaw 42 lang."

I asked her if she's been following the training program, attending the bull circles and bull sessions. She told me "not really". Then I found out that her longest race was only 10K. I told her: "You've got lot of guts to join this marathon, Liza. Good luck. Just maintain this pace and you will arrive within 8 hours. Don't forget to apply the run-walk sequence."

Crossing the starting line twice was a celebrity-like feeling for me because of the warm cheers I received when I passed by. There was even a wonderful poster with my name on it, waved by Marga of takbo.ph. Thank you so much for the moral support. How I wished I had pictures with everybody who cheered for me.

But in a few moments, I was all alone in the dark.

Then ahead of me there was a guy in red whom I followed until we reached the dirt road going to the Bird Sanctuary. Since I couldn't see where I was going and what I was stepping on, I decided to walk very slowly, very carefully assessing where to put my left and right foot. That's where Joy (My feet feats) passed by and told me she was late for 30 minutes. I told her it's OK since she's a fast runner anyway.

While I was struggling to reach the turn-around point, I was happy to see my runner friends on their way back and they all cheered for me (thank you very much, guys!)

After the turn-around point, I took water and gatorade and headed back to the main road. That's when Carlo, a Piolo Pascual-look-alike Dream Chaser, started to run with me and kept me company for the rest of my long, winding journey.

At some point, I felt pain on my right foot which I thought was caused by the rubbing of the timing chip. A TBR volunteer transferred the chip farther so as not to cause any friction on my foot.

Passing the Second Wind station, I grabbed some apple slices and drank water.
Talking with Hector and his team somehow eased my aching nerves.


Then I saw Coach Rio who ran to me. We exchanged hugs and kisses and went our separate ways.

After the 22km mark, I drank gatorade from my own cooler in the car where my children were resting. Gio asked me how much longer and I told him 20km more.

Then we saw Tessa and said hi and we had our picture taken by photovendo. She then flew and disappeared from my sight.

It was 5:45 AM and the sun was already up. It's as if we were running at a different place because this time, we could see everything around us. We could even hear the sound of water down the brook.

We could now see the stones, mud holes and slippery part of the dirt road going to the Bird Sanctuary. When I asked for water before the turn-around point, the volunteer asked me if I was Nora the golden girl and I was proud to say that yes, I am her. She told me she read my blog and saw Jaymie's comment there. I asked for her name but just couldn't remember it now (hirap talaga ng gurang).


When we reached the main road, I told Carlo we had to find shade so I could transfer my ankle support from my left foot to my right foot which was already killing me. And so when we found one, I took the opportunity to fix my feet.

It was like watching a western movie seeing cows rushing to cross the street (tunay na bull runners hehe . . . )

I called Ate Ella and told her they could ride the dream mobile. I'm near the grassy hill where cows were having breakfast (buti pa sila, kumakain na. I also felt hungry and craved for bananas)


We met Kassy and I asked her if she had bananas. She offered me candies and chocolates and told me bananas will be at the next station. That gave me the boost to run faster.

After eating 1 whole banana and drinking gatorade, I again fixed my shoes to be more comfortable.

Going to the turn-around point was lighter because of the festive sounds that rhyme with the pounding of our feet.

But after that, with only 8 kms to go, I started to feel pain on my hips. Followed by the pain on my thighs. We asked for ice at the next water station but they didn't have any. Fortunately, the ambulance passed by and the attendant gave me an ice pack which I had to give back when we resumed running. That's when I remembered to take my Tramadol.

With 6 kms remaining, my friend Agnes called and told me they are already waiting at the finish line. I was ecstatic to know she was there with her beloved husband Boy.

The pain on my hips and thighs became intense that we had to stop and ask for ice in a plastic bag. I felt I could no longer move on if I didn't apply ice on the painful areas.

I told Carlo everything changes at the 37th km mark. Our legs begin to develop the nasty habit of disobedience. It's as if they have acquired minds of their own. They no longer follow what we want them to do. We still want to run but our legs refuse to do so.

At this point, the 5:1 sequence became 5 minutes walk and 1 minute run (Jim was right!)

The runner (forgot his name too!) with knee support inspired me to go on. He could no longer bend his left knee but left with determination in his heart, he still tried to finish the marathon. If he could do it, I could do it too! I told Carlo this runner ought to have a trophy, together with the medal because of his undying love for running. And when he told me that his greater problem was how to drive his car in going home, I couldn't help but admire this fellow.

Carlo and I noticed that every km that we ran seemed to be longer than the usual 1 km that we run. I told him that from our house to the guard house in our village is 1 km and it's just a short distance. But this time, 1 km seemed 3 kms already!

Then my phone rang. It was Ate Ella, cheering me to go on. Then it was Eia. That gave me the much-needed boost to push myself to the very end.

At the 41st km mark, Carlo blurted out -- "1 km na lang, Ma'am Nora, marathoner ka na. Congratulations!" I thanked him for staying with me all the way, that I couldn't have done it without him.

Then an unexplainable incident happened. When I pressed the latest caller in my cellphone to tell Ate Ella that there's only 1 km left, I heard my mother's voice! I didn't call her but she answered her cellphone because there was an incoming call from me. She asked me how things are and I told her there's only 1 km left to the finish line. She told my father about it and they were both relieved that I was still up and running. I glanced at my watch and it was 9:32AM.

At 9:36 AM, Ate Ella called again and I told her I was about to cross the bridge.

They all ran to the bridge and cheered for me, and I was just too happy that the pains in my body disappeared. Suddenly, I regained momentum and I couldn't believe that it only took me 7 minutes to run the last kilometer!

Eia and Ate Ella ran with me to cross the finish line, where the grand matador was waiting to give me my priceless TBR Dream Marathon medal.

Jaymie was there to congratulate me and told me to get my freebies. She whispered "Ang tigas din pala ng ulo mo, tinapos mo talaga!".

Picture taking followed. Then Brunch at Yellow Cab.


At Yellow Cab, Atty. Raymund introduced me to her better half, Ella who was all smiles in congratulating me. Raymund told me he passed by me. He was in charge of transporting runners who decide to go back. I told him how come I didn't see him and he answered: "Di na kita hinintuan. Alam ko namang tatapusin mo ang marathon." ( I wonder why he thought that way about me) Then he asked if my next target is the Milo Marathon and I immediately said NO! (but now that you mentioned it . . . hmm . . . )


Earlier that morning, Carlo and I were imagining to indulge in baked oysters, kilawin tanguige and ice-cold beer after the marathon.

Well, that didn't happen. At night time I found myself eating saluyot and dulong for dinner (I guess not all dreams come true hah hah . . . )


I dreamed of telling these in public upon receiving my medal:


Thank you, Jaymie, and to the whole TBR Dream Marathon Team, volunteers and sponsors, most especially to Carlo who never left my side. Because of you, my dream has now become a reality.


To my support group: My favorite son Gio, my favorite daughter Eia, my favorite aunt-in-law Ate Ella, my favorite kumare Agnes and darling Boy, and my favorite kumpare/driver Romy. Thank you for waking up early and bearing the heat while waiting for me.


To all who prayed and cheered for me. Thank you very much!


To takbo.ph and fellow runners and bloggers who urged me to go on, thank you from the bottom of my heart.


To everybody who pledged to donate for DSAPI, thank you so much! (you can still donate up to December 2010)


And of course, I owe everything to God. Thank you Lord!


Impossible is nothing.

Defy your limits.

Never settle.

Just do it.


(pictures to follow)

Monday, May 17, 2010

To Run Or Not to Run the TBR Dream Marathon

After 3 months and 2 weeks of training for the TBR Dream Marathon, a tragic accident happened to me this morning.

I missed the 1-hour long run at the Fort last Saturday with my fellow TBR Dream Marathoners due to lack of sleep the night before.

Planned to run early Sunday but decided to run in the afternoon so I could invite Kassy to join me. Besides, had to be home to prepare my kids for the Sunday children's mass, especially Gio who was scheduled to be the first Lector.

Unfortunately, my sales personnel called-in sick so I had to rush to Starmall immediately after the mass and stayed there until 9PM.

Only 5 days to go before the much-awaited Big Day so I had to do the last long run this morning.

I was able to run for 37 minutes while Gio was playing tennis with Coach Sonny. He complained of being tired so I had to play instead of him in order to complete the 1-hour session.

After bringing Gio home, I proceeded to the village park to run the remaining 23 minutes that I lack.

I was running at the walker's pavement but saw a fast runner approaching in my direction so I shifted to the lower side of the road to give way. Right foot first then left foot.

Then the unthinkable happened.

My left foot stepped on a rock and down I went, wounding my right elbow and right knee and inflicting intense pain on my left foot.

The runner helped me get up and my first words were: "I couldn't be injured, not this time!"

He helped me sit on the bench and I called Mark, my therapist-friend but he couldn't be reached.

Then I called Jaymie, but couldn't be reached either.

Then my children's pediatrician walked by and saw me. He examined my foot and told me to go home right away and put ice. I didn't want to alarm my parents if I call home and ask the driver to pick me up.

So, very slowly I limped back to the car and headed home.

It was painful stepping on the clutch but I had to endure it.

I tried walking normally as I entered the house but Tatay and Nanay noticed that I was limping. I said matter-of-factly that I stepped on a stone and had to put ice on my left foot, giving them the idea that it was not THAT serious.

That's when Jaymie texted me. I related what happened but couldn't talk to her for my dear parents would hear what really transpired.

When I got the chance, I asked Ate Ella to go with me to Starmall then proceed to Perpetual Help Hospital.

Thank God my sales staff was back in shape and Ate Ella just had to give her the bag of money for change (the penalty is P2,000 if you don't open your store inside the mall).

After 9 months, I was back in E.R. , sitting on the same chair when I had my wrist fracture.

I couldn't believe I was hearing the same questions from the intern like "Are you allergic to any food and drugs? Are you diabetic, hypertensive, etc.?" Again, I answered "No to all the questions that you'll be asking me."

3 different physicians interviewed me until I finally went to the X-ray room. I told Ate Ella it would take a miracle for me to run this Saturday, but I believe in miracles so it is still possible.

While waiting for the X-ray results, Mark came and examined my foot and gave his advice. Ice for the day, warm pack the next day and thereafter, rest foot and stretch Friday, and put ankle support when I run this Saturday.

Then the X-ray plates came and I was relieved to hear that there was no sprain nor fracture but I would experience pain so they suggested that I take pain relievers and mefenamic drugs. They also bandaged my foot before we left E.R.

Both my parents were insinuating that maybe God is telling me something and its up to me to discern it.

I told them "We have a loving God. He's not the One who did this to me."

Then my father answered: "But He allowed it to happen to you. Maybe it's about time that you think of other means to keep you fit other than running."

I told them "Life is not perfect. As long as we live, we will encounter pain and obstacles along the way."

I wanted to add: "I will still run the marathon even if I have to be in crutches. I owe it to the people who pledged for DSAPI (Down Syndrome Assn. of the Phils. Inc.)"

But as I write this I couldn't help but wonder -- what if my parents are right?

What do you think?

(Jaymie, could you extend the cut-off time to 12 hours?)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Alone Again in Run For Home

Pre-Race: The Bloggers' Launch of Globe Run for Home!


With Jaymie, Atty. Raymund, and Vimz (ang pinakaseksing buntis sa balat ng lupa!)


My first cheek-to-cheek meeting with Bards, together with Mariel (soul mate and sole mate of Jun C.)



Finally! I'm so happy I met Rene, the jazzrunner for the first time! Also Noelle, ang pinakaseksing runner in the Century Run (visit her blog http://www.kikayrunner.com/ and you'll surely agree with me). And of course, my dear friend Quennie and soon-to-be Biggest Loser Rico.



Coach Rio hasn't slept a wink because of his most attended "Run of the Century". With him on the table are the lovely couple Jun C. and Mariel, Bards, Kaye, and the takbo.ph founder, Jinoe.


Thank you, Coy Caballes for inviting me to the Bloggers' Launch of Globe Run Home. I had a wonderful time meeting new faces and chatting with old friends. The food was yummy and serving was really really generous. It was great knowing what to expect at the Globe Run for Home and the best part of all, we went home carrying our free race kits and more!


Before and After the Race:



Taken a few minutes before the race officially started.



Taken right after I crossed the finish line. Notice how the shape of my mouth and legs differ before and after the race?


MY STORY:


Confident that Makati is nearer to our place than the Fort, we left the house past 4:30 AM.

No hassle along the way. We arrived at Greenbelt at 5:00 AM.
But as soon as we parked the car, a civil war in my stomach suddenly erupted.
I went down to the ground level but the restroom was still closed.

I was getting desperate not knowing where to go. It's good that I asked the security guard and he directed me to the third floor level.
There, the war ended and my stomach achieved peace once again.

We ran to the starting line, wondering where it could be. We just followed the sounds and the direction of the other runners.

By the time I got inside the assembly area, it was announced that the race was about to start. I squeezed myself midway of the pack, and was greeted by Rene, the jazzrunner! And I thought I wouldn't be running alone this time.

I was wrong. After only a few meters, I lost sight of Rene.

And so, there I was, all alone again as in last year's Globe Run for Home.

So I just ran leisurely, just hoping that I don't finish last.

I was shocked that at the 3 km mark, my stopwatch showed 30 minutes! I couldn't believe that I've been running for 10 mins. per km. In my training runs, my slowest was 9 mins. I tried to run faster and at the 10 km mark, my time was 1 hr. 20 mins. So far, so good.

And so I thought.

It was a completely new route for me. When I passed by Lawton Avenue, Bayani Road, Philippine Navy, Heritage Park, the blogs that I read suddenly came into life! It was a nice feeling actually running these routes which I only imagined in the past.

I didn't know that running around the Heritage Park Circle could take forever.
I tried to console myself by looking at the graves, thanking the Lord that I was still fully alive and still running unlike those people buried underneath. I also said a short (which became long) prayer for them.
By the time I made my final exit from Heritage Park, I was so exhausted that I was forcing my legs to continue running.
When I passed by the Sunday Tiange, I wished I had money in my pocket to buy 1 pc. of banana to re energize me. I always bring money in my training runs -- how could I forget to bring now?
When I was about to give up, a young male runner asked me what time it was. I told him 7:35:37.
Then he asked me if we left 5:30 AM. I told him 5:20 AM.
Then in between heavy breaths, he blurted out: "hindi ko na ho kakayanin."
I walked with him and asked him if this was his first 21K. He said yes, though he already finished a lot of 10ks before.
I stayed with him for a while, urging him to just walk/run and he'll surely finish the race.
I told him that there's only 5 km left. It's only half of what he used to run.
Then I said good luck to him and left.
It was a weird feeling running from ROX towards the Kalayaan Flyover when our body's used to do it the other way around.
After descending the Kalayaan Flyover, I saw the "Last Kilometer" sign and like magic, my legs felt so much lighter.
I flew to the finish line and bargained (again!) with God that if I don't do a sub-3 hr, I'll never run again.


The cheering of friends (I was so fast I didn't even catch a glimpse of their faces) helped me to even run faster. Thank you, thank you all who cheered for me. If you're reading this, please tell me.


Masaya na ako. Dami naman akong nalampasan heh heh . . .




With the takbo.ph members, sent to me by Roselle, the Running Diva. If you have our photo at the Bloggers' Launch, please send me too.



With Quennie, whom I missed during the run.



While Coach Rio was being interviewed.



One last pose with Ate Ella before going home.
I will try my best to arrive early at the Earth Run this April 18 to meet more friends. It's gonna be 21k for me again. This is my last race before the TBR Dream Marathon in May 22.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

My First Marathon For Children With Down Syndrome

A spectacular event is about to happen this coming May 22, 2010 at 5:00 AM!

For the very first time in my life, I will attempt to run a full marathon in Nuvali, Sta. Rosa Laguna.

A full marathon = 42.195 km.

Yes, I know. I'm probably crazy to do this now, when I'm almost 52 years of age.

But I truly believe that Life Begins at 50 (or this blog won't even exist).

I ran my first 5k race when I turned 50 (my sincerest gratitude to everybody who donated to DSAPI in lieu of birthday gifts), my first 10k race 6 months after, and my first 21k race at Condura's Skyway last Feb. 7, 2010.

My second 21k race will be at the Globe Run for Home this March 21 and will probably run my 3rd at the Earth Run this April 18.

I'm overly excited and extremely nervous at the same time.

Will I ever make it to the finish line? (Cut-off time is 8 hours)

Do I have what it takes to conquer a marathon? At my age?

How about you -- do you or don't you think I could make it?

I wish and hope and pray that I finish the 42 km because I am dedicating this birthday run to the Down Syndrome Assn. of the Phils. Inc. (DSAPI).

And you could help by pledging any amount for every km that I run.

Who knows? If I quit at 21 km and you pledged P20, then you'll only have to shell out P420 (but of course nobody's stopping you to donate more heh heh . . .)

DSAPI is constantly in need of financial assistance to support its various activities for the parent members and their children with Down Syndrome. Unlike abroad, our association solely relies on personal contributions of kind-hearted individuals to continue its Early Intervention Programs, Communication Seminars, Catechism Classes, Y2K Seminars, Summer Workshops, Free Clinics, Christmas Parties and many others.

I know I can count on you. Kindly confirm your pledges before May 22, 2010. You may either e-mail me at ndelr2003@yahoo.com or text me at 0928-5220565.

And oh, good news. You may contact me anytime through my wireless landline # 703-6118.

Thank you so much! God bless your generous hearts.

Luv yah!
Nora

P.S. According to Jaymie, one bus will travel along the route during the race. You can ride the bus to cheer for me when you spot me along the route. (I can almost hear your screams Go Nora Go!)

While waiting for me, you can dine at Solenad, a row of restaurants such as Italianni's, Conti's and Yellow Cab, that will be open for breakfast by 6:30 AM. If the weather is fine, you can have a picnic or rent bikes. Or be a kid again and enjoy feeding @800 koi fish or ride boats on the lake.

There will be entertainment for family and friends who wait at Solenad. I will pass by Solenad twice during the race , and we could hug each other or even dine together when I make the stop. What a perfect way to rehydrate and re energize!

See you all there!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why I Chose The Happy Walk Over The "Run of the Century"

Ten years ago, my heart was torn to pieces when I discovered that my daughter had Down Syndrome.

I almost died when the Chromosomal Test confirmed that Eia had Trisomy 21 (her 21st chromosome split into 3, giving her a total of 23 pairs of chromosomes plus 1 = 47, instead of only 46).

Worse, not only was my little angel born with Down Syndrome but was also born with serious heart ailments which required an open heart surgery before she turned 1 year old. She also had other physical disorders commonly associated with that one extra chromosome caused by a genetic accident that strikes in 1 out of 800 births.

Anger.
Pity.
Remorse.

I was sooh angry with God for choosing me to be the mother of a special child.

In my desolation and pity for Eia, I begged God to take away my daughter's life while she was still a baby to spare her of the "abnormal" life ahead of her.

Yes, I cried a river just like everybody else.

I cried and cried until there's no more tear left to shed for my daughter's fate.

After one whole month of grieving myself to death, I had no choice but to move on and face the challenge of raising a child with Down Syndrome.

Yes, I still cry my heart out to God until now, though no longer in desperation but in EXALTATION for giving me my daughter Eia.

I am still alive now because of my child with Down Syndrome.

Eia gave me the strength to rise above all the adversities that came into my life.

I've been through a tumultuous 5-year marriage and seemingly endless battles with my only son who had to undergo psychotherapy to correct his ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). Thank God those days are over. Gio is now an active servant of the church as lector and psalmist.

At a tender age of 2, Eia could already sense that I was deeply troubled, when I was struggling to keep my family together.

Eia would often hug me and pat me at the back saying "Are you sad, Mama?"

Although I would answer her that I was not sad, she would hold my face with her tiny hands, look into my eyes and ask again -- "Are you happy Mama, not sad?"

That would just melt my heart and cast out all my aches away.

Then Eia would give me her sweetest smile, embrace me, and pat me at the back with her "It's okay Mama, it's okay" expression.

Thanks to Eia, I managed to survive the storms.

Eia was a blessing not only to me but to the whole family.

Nothing and no one moved my father.

Not his wife . . . Not even his only daughter.

Only Eia.

It took a child with Down Syndrome to soften my father's hardened heart.

With my daughter's loving ways she patiently taught my unyielding father how to hug and kiss, how to say good morning and goodnight and most importantly, how to say "I LOVE YOU!"

And so every year, my family joins the Happy Walk to Stand Up For Down, together with the members and friends of the Down Syndrome Association of the Phils. Inc., therapists, medical practitioners, teachers and students who support our advocacy.

This year, it was held last February 21, 2010 at the Skydome, SM North EDSA.

So now you know why I had to miss the much-raved Run of the Century.


While waiting for the Happy Walk to start.




Taken before the Happy Walk proper.


Along the Skywalk's beautiful garden.


With EDSA as background.




Inside the Annex. The Happy Walk then passed by The Block then back to Skydome.




One last photo before heading home.
See you all at the Globe Run for Home this March 21!





Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Condura Race 2010: An Unsurpassed Record of Firsts for Me

Pinch me. Slap me twice. Kick me at the butt.

I'm still in Cloud 9.

Until now, I still can't believe that after 1 & 1/2 years of running, I finally had the courage to squeeze myself into the elite pool of Half Marathoners who conquered the Skyway last Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010.

I finished no. 1,310 among the 1,500 21K runners but I'm not whining. In fact, I'm elated.

What used to be an unimaginable dream is now a fulfilled reality (let me pause for a while to dry my tears) . . .

Pardon me for being melodramatic. But for someone who ran her first 5K race at 50, this moment is simply overwhelming.

So, what's so memorable about the Condura Race 2010?

I have 21 reasons:

1. It's my first race after graduating from my 3-month stint at the PT-Rehab.


With Mark, my dedicated physical therapist during our last PT-rehab session. Free at last!


2. It's my first race for 2010.

3. It's my first 21K race.

4. I met Patrick Concepcion for the first time!

Patrick is everything I imagined him to be -- cool, warm, and very accommodating. He's so humble he was even the first to greet me, as I was engrossed in searching for the tent where I could claim my race packet.

Seeing Patrick 2 days before the great race was a dream come true for me.

Imagine me jumping up and down, hugging him and screaming like a 13-year old avid fan (I wonder what the people there were thinking during that time hah hah . . . )



With Patrick and Sis Mila who was so kind to accompany me to the Fort. Thanks, Patrick for sending me our picture.


5. My first time to wake up at 2:30AM for a race. My alarm was set at 3:00AM but Mark texted me at 2:30AM for a change in meeting place.


6. My first race in the Fort with my therapist Mark. Our first race together was in MOA, followed by the BF Pasko Run (which I still have to write about).



7. My first race that started at 5:00AM.

Taken barely 5 minutes before gun start.


8. My first time to run with Coach Rio. I normally see him as the organizer.


(Coach, thanks for the message which until now I'm still thinking whether it's true or just a joke -- but I truly appreciate it)
9. My first Condura Race
Last year, I remember Patrick C. inviting me in this blog to join the Condura. I don't remember anymore why I wasn't able to join but thank God I made it this time!

Awesome display of fireworks before the race.
10. My first time to run for the dolphins. I'm almost tempted to fly to Bohol and swim with them.
11. My first race in my new, short, highlighted hair.
12. My first race wearing my bold name at the back.


(Note: Please direct your eyes on the new, short hair and personalized name, not on the kilometric hips. Thank you for your cooperation.)

I'm glad I had my name at the back of my shirt. I was constantly cheered, urging me to go on.

13. My first race wearing my new Nike sports bra. Sorry, I can't show you pictures of my scarred breasts caused by my old sports bras. I had to suffer a number of blisters on my breasts before I compelled myself to buy 2 Nike sports bras which fit me perfectly.



14. My first time to pass the Skyway! I have never been to the Skyway by car and so I had no idea how long the Skyway is. At the turnaround point, I switched my watch back to zero, with the objective of finishing the remaining 10.5K in 1 hr. 10 mins (I can dream, can't I?)
15. My first race to be entertained by 3 sets of bands along the route. Though I pity the band members on my way back. They sounded more tired than the runners!
16. My first time to stop 7X along the race route.



Thanks to takbo.ph for this picture. ( I wonder what happened to my shot with Queenie taken by Jinoe?)
17. My first time to run in the middle of 2 long queues of bananas, courtesy of the takbo.ph and Amado's Reinier Pacific volunteers. Thank you, thank so much!
18. My first time to eat in between a race (yummy banana!)
19. My first time to run for 2 hours, 55 mins. and 42 secs.
At the end of the Kalayaan Flyover was the last 1 km mark. When I checked the time in my watch, it was already 7:50AM.
I was aiming for a sub 3hr finish.
Will I ever make it?
I whispered: "Lord, pag hindi ako dumating before 8AM, hinding-hinde na ako uli tatakbo."
That settled, I ran with renewed energy until I could almost see the finish line.
I passed by my cousin Jun Muego and company happily cheering for me and that gave me the needed boost to even run faster.



Taken right after I handed my bar code. Again, no picture of me approaching the finish line (sob).
20. My first 21K race with Anna (the Meekrunner).

Sayang di tayo nakapag-usap. Nagsabay sana tayo. I ran alone, sometimes I ran side by side with Jess of Happy Feet.

21. My first 21K finisher's medal.
True to the organizer's word, I received my medal this morning. I held it long in my heart and magically, all the aches in my body disappeared. Ah, the sweetness of victory.
Last Sunday, though, I borrowed Mark's medal for picture taking. He had no trouble claiming his medal for he was only the 246th finisher clocking at 2:07:21 (galing talaga ng coach heh heh . . . )






To my support team: Ate Ella, Jenny, and Mark -- thank you very much guys. It was a great sacrifice for you to be there for me. Luv yah!






Need I say more?