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 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 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?


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 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 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!

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.


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!