Tuesday, October 18, 2011

100-year-old Runner Finishes Toronto Race!

When my son observed that I was having difficulty caring for my father, he remarked: "I'm glad I won't be taking care of you the way that you're taking care of Lolo, because I'm sure you'll still be running 'til you're age 100".

Then this morning, I read this article from a newspaper that an Indian national named Fauja Singh crossed the finish line at the Toronto marathon last Sunday.  Though he did it in over 8 hours, it was his accomplishment that elevated him to the Guinness Book of World Records.

I said to myself:  "Gio has a point after all.  If this runner can do it, then I can do it."

This thought brought me back to my first marathon, when I ran wearing an ankle support because of a tragic accident that happened 5 days prior to the first ever TBRDM (The Bull Runner Dream Marathon).

It took me 7 hrs. and 38 minutes to cross the finish line.

What if I ran without the injury?

Could my time be less then 7 hrs.?  Or less than 6 hrs.?

Well, wonder no more.

Because this March 18, 2012, I will attempt to break my time at the TBRDM in Sta. Rosa, Nuvali.

Wish me luck!

It's still a loooong way 'til I reach 100 but if by God's grace I'm still alive, I promise I will run (or walk or crawl if I may haha...) the marathon.

Then this blog will no longer be "Life Begins at 50" but "Life Begins at 100"! 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy to Run the OctobeRun!

Yup!  This is one run that I truly enjoyed.

Nope, I didn't break PR.

Nope, I didn't win in my age category.

But why am I grinning?

The night before the race, it was raining cats and dogs.  I told myself::  Hmmm.... maybe I'll just skip this race.  But in the darkness of my closed eyes, I could see clearly the finisher's shirt.  I couldn't get it out of my mind.  I know if I didn't run, I'm gonna regret it for the rest of my life.  So I promised myself -- rain or storm, I'll run and finish the race.  The shirt that awaits is simply irresistible.

I'm soooh happy I joined this race.  I just love this shirt!

When we arrived at the Fort, I looked for familiar faces but couldn't find one.  (Actually, I found 1 familiar face but unfortunately, he didn't recognize me). 

So it's just me and Ate Ella in the picture.

But not far from us, I saw a foreign-looking lady whom I thought was as young as me.  I introduced myself to her and I learned that she's Stephanie.

Tall and jolly Stephanie is Mexican-American and yes, she's gonna be 53 like me in 2 weeks (Happy Birthday in advance Steph!)

Steph and I doing the very short warm-up exercise and off we went.

Stephanie and I started together but in a blink of an eye, she disappeared from my sight.

I have run 3 half-marathons this year and none of these resulted in a sub-3-hr mark.  Maybe it's because of lack in training or excess in weight or ascending age or all of the above.  How in the world did I pull off  a 2:37:29 time last year?

As I proceeded with my snail race pace, I noticed that we passed by Concepcion Industries.  I thought of Patrick and felt a sudden longing for this wonderful guy.

Just as I turned right to Buendia Ave., there was Patrick right before my very eyes!  I called his name out loud and he called my name as well.  That was enough reason for me to be happy.  Never mind if I don't finish in less than 3 hrs.  Better luck next time hah hah . . .

When I turned around in Buendia, I started counting the runners who are yet to make the turn-around.  And I add or subtract whenever I pass a runner or a runner passed by me.  My goal was to be ahead of at least 40 runners (simple lang naman kaligayahan ko).

I was preoccupied with my counting when out of the blue, Rico appeared!  We exchanged greetings (she addressed me as Golden Girl -- a name I'm happy to hear in the race, aside from Tita, Ma'am, Mommy., Ms. Nora, Tweety.  But as usual, meron pa ding tumawag sa akin ng "Nanay".  Ouch!

When I reached the 11-km mark, I set my stopwatch back to 0, hoping that it would psychologically tell me that I will just run 10 km.  This way, I won't be overwhelmed with the 21km distance.

Then I saw a table with bananas and chocolates!  The marshals laughed at my shrieking voice.  I remembered in RU 2, there were no more bananas left for me.  I was happy I didn't bother anymore to bring a banana from home.  With this, I give the OctobeRun 5 stars!

I had a chance to talk with other runners and this was my favorite:
SHE:   Ilang taon na ho kayo?

ME:  53.  Ikaw?

SHE:  45 po.  Kayo ho yong may pangalan sa harap ng singlet sa Unilab?  Pinilit ko pong lampasan kayo pero nauna pa din kayo sa akin.

ME:  Okay lang yon.  Ang mahalaga, natapos mo ang race na walang injury.  At nag-enjoy ka.

SHE:  Oo nga po.  Ang importante, nakapag-exercise kahit mabagal.

When I was wondering how many kilometers left to the finish line, a foreigner was running towards me and cheering me that there were only 3 kms to go.

I looked at my watch and figured that if I run for 25 minutes, I could still make it to the sub-3-hr mark.

And so I did.  I did it!  I just found out a while ago that my official time is 2:57:36.

After claiming my finisher's kit, I looked for Stephanie and thank God, I found her and  had photos with her.


After giving Stephanie my calling card, we headed for the rest room to change.  But before that, one last picture.

As we were walking to Market, Market to meet my friend Majel, I was munching my free champorrado flavored pop rice bar.  I sooh love OctobeRun!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who (or What) Comes First?

Mother. Caregiver.  Breadwinner.  Homemaker.  Runner.  Who (or what) comes first?

First and foremost, I am the only daughter of my dear parents.

If and when my services are needed by my father and my children at the same time, my role as a hands-on mom takes the back seat.

My kids know that their grandfather is almost 87, and they understand my predicament. 

One time, Gio saw how I devoted my time in assisting his Lolo that he remarked:  "Lolo is becoming helpless every day.  I'm happy I won't be taking care of you, the way you're taking care of Lolo.  Because  I'm sure you'll still be running 'til you're 100." (Well, I just hope he's right!)

I'm a single parent.  Naturally, I should be earning enough to send my children to school and provide for their needs. 

When my husband and I separated, I asked my mother if she could resign from her job and take care of her grandchildren for me to work full-time.  She was 68 at that time.  Gio was almost 5, Eia was only 2 1/2.

Without even giving it a serious thought, my mother impulsively answered:  "Ako na lang ang magtrabaho.  Ikaw na lang ang mag-alaga sa mga anak mo, pati na sa tatay mo."

Yup.  That was the arrangement.  In theory, at least. 

I couldn't just let my mother carry all the financial burden in our family so I took the licensure examinations in Life and Non-Life insurance and thank God I passed.  I also put up a small business to augment the family income but had to close early this year because I simply couldn't be in 4 places at the same time.

Sometimes it drives me nuts to balance everything that I need to do.  I want to help more people plan their future. I want to keep the house clean and tidy,  I want to be always around to fulfill my father's needs,  I want to be there when my children need me.  I want to inspire more people to run.  I want to be a catechist and teach young children about Jesus, hopefully molding them to work for the common good.  I want to train and run the marathon again.  I want to be an active member of CFC's Handmaids of the Lord, providing comfort and solace to single mothers like me. 

How about you?  Are you torn between 2 or 3 or even 4 roles that you have to fulfill?  How do you cope with the dilemma?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


November is fast approaching.  Would you believe my father and my only daughter share the same birthday?

Tatay will be 87 this Nov. 11 while Eia will be turning 12.  Their difference in age is exactly 75 years!

And this year, they will celebrate their natal days on 11-11-11.  Last year, I was thinking of doing something really great for this once-in-a-lifetime event but up to this writing, I haven't finalized any plan yet.  I must be getting old.  I just refuse to admit it.

My original plan was to execute Eia's first major major concert.  I was even excited to announce it last year to some friends and relatives to mark their calendars.  I dunno what hit me (menopausal drama I guess) but I suddenly lost the passion to pursue Eia's dream for her.  Someday I definitely will.  But not this coming 11-11-11 (I'm so sorry Coach...)

I believe in my heart that my daughter's dream will be magically fulfilled but it simply has to wait.

In God's time, not mine.