Where Do I Go From Here?

It has been two weeks since I finished the Cebu Marathon. I still feel the ill effects of that race. My fatigued state has me intermittently experiencing cough, cold, fever, joint pains, headache, and sore throat. However, how bad I feel right now does not compare to how bad I felt during race day.

My girlfriend and I ate bad takeout dinner. It led to stomach flu. She was vomiting all night long yet I foolishly kept it in. I took frequent trips to the toilet because it was next to impossible to completely hold it. Needless to say, I toed the line sick and sleep deprived.

It was next to impossible to control my pace. My mental game was off. I relied on the state of my belly and the pace of other runners. I knew it was bad. When I got to the 12th kilometer, it got worse.

My erratic pacing earned me poor breath control. I had trouble breathing. My chest was tightening. I knew then that my pride was going to cost me. Maybe, not only during this race but somewhere down the line. I was starting to flashback to all my greatest hits. I took off my rosary bracelet then prayed.

I resolved at some point to ask for assistance from the medics. The race marshals and policemen seemed incapable of handling a medical emergency. I walked as fast as I can  hoping to find an ambulance but I was alone. It seems all my races in recent years had me walking alone at the back. When I finally caught sight of an ambulance, the chest pain was gone.

I wish I could firmly say that I did the right thing by not stopping. Somehow the thought of starting the year with a major loss did not sit well with me. I kept going even though I knew at the back of my mind that I was not going to make the cutoff. It was the worst time to find my courage really. I was at the longest most boring part of the race.

The halfway point until the finish line seems like a jumble of painful memories to me now. I walked most of it, ran only when I could. I knew I was going to finish the race no matter how long it took. The finisher’s medal did not even matter anymore. I could recall moments with the now 250-time marathoner named Mohan. His cheerfulness brightened up every runner’s face.

My finish was different from all my other race finishes. I had more cheerleaders for this one. They were more out of pity. Obviously, I could not kick but it still felt extraordinary crossing that finish line. However, I still felt a tinge of sadness. It felt like the end of an era. This year, I’ll be turning 30. What will this mean for my running career? I have not been competitive in over a year. Should I focus on shorter races? Should I quit? I don’t know. I guess for now, only God knows. 7:09:48

65 ~ 27 ~ 70

2016 Running Goals

Stay under 65 kilograms by the end of the year

I remember the struggle of running the Cebu Marathon last year. It was really hard on the knees since I was around 6 kilograms heavier than my ideal weight. I’m not going through that again. Losing weight is definitely tough so I’m going to strive to maintain my weight this year.

Crush my 5k pr

27:55.43 has become a formidable psychological version of the great wall of China. I know I can beat it. I just need to get into more 5k races. The wall goes down this year. Yes, good eye beloved reader. I just copy-pasted this paragraph from last year. This goal needs no rephrasing.

Minimum of 70 kilometer mileage per month

I eclipsed my 2014 mileage by 131 kilometers. That’s a lot for me and I’ve been patting myself at the back ever since. However, this was a hard feat to achieve because I had plenty of low mileage months. This new minimum mileage goal is going to make 1000 kilometers a year a cinch. I hope.

42 Thoughts From The Mind of A Marathon Survivor Part II

On the second half of the Cebu Marathon, I got more creative with finding ways to distract myself from the pain. My emotions were all over the place. I knew that the race would end sooner albeit on an ambulance if I gave in to either fear or anger. Thankfully, the route was abundant with bananas, lamp posts, and company. Here are 21 more thoughts from a marathon survivor.

22. Bananas are awesome! I wonder if I can get two.

23. I swore off lechon (roasted pig) during the holidays but the lechon shaped medal at the end is gonna best the tasting pig ever.

24. One lamp-post of running then one lamp-post walking.

25. My body is playing Pain Roulette. It’s a different body part every 2 kilometers!

26. Those kids are staring at my Gatorade cup but they can’t have it yet! I need my reason to keep walking!

27. Drizzle! Yes! Drizzle! Wait. Sunshine! Nooo!

28. Great! My friends saw me. I have to run now.

29. Half a banana! Where did the full bananas go?

30. Who needs Body Glide? Vaseline works just fine!

31. Four lamp posts of walking then one lamp-post of running.

32. Anyone with the strength or breath to help that guy cramping up at the sidewalk should go help.

33. I knew I should have taken more chocolate.

34. Is it possible that that overweight half marathoner in front of me is having more fun than I am?

35. Oh no! A water station! I better finish this caffeine flavored candy quick.

36. Only seven minutes left! Run! Damn it! Run!

37. Yes, I know the finish line is near! You don’t have to tell me! That big sign back there said so already!

38. That’s it. The quest for a PR is over. Bummer.

39. No! I’m not giving up! PRs be damn!

40. I know it hurts feet but I’m gonna keep ignoring both of you until this race ends.

41. Time to kick! Wait! Everyone is staring at me. I’ll just kick like I normally do. Damn. Performance anxiety.

42. Finally over! Now, where’s the food at?

Cebu Marathon 2015

January 11, 2015

6:08:48

 

42 Thoughts From The Mind Of A Marathon Survivor Part I

I feel more like a marathon survivor rather than a marathon finisher right now. Last Sunday’s marathon did not go as well as I had hoped. This time around, I was more desperate than ever to finish the race. The voices in my head were screaming full time. Most of them made me laugh while some were seriously messed up thoughts. All of these thoughts kept me going though. Here are just a few of these thoughts.

  1. It finally started. Quickly! Take note of escape routes for my inevitable DNF exit.

  2. Damn it! I left my money in bag. I guess I’m gonna have to finish this race.

  3. Keep running and don’t look at your watch. Keep running and don’t look at your watch. Keep running and don’t look at your watch.

  4. Water or Gatorade? Gatorade!

  5. 4 dozen moms have passed me today. I am officially a marathon noob.

  6. She just went into that bakery for a quick bite. Can we do that? Man, I’m hungry.

  7. Oh! A water station. I guess I can walk now.

  8. Two hours and thirty minutes have passed. Orange or chocolate flavored gel? I can’t decide while running. Must walk.

  9. My goodness! All the costumed marathoners are fast this year!

  10. I’ve been running for hours. Where’s the next water station?

  11. Those salt packets contain really salty salt.

  12. Four lamp posts of running then one lamp post of walking.

  13. It’s been three hours. That’s longer than my last long run. Go me!

  14. Oh sponge! Where have you been all my life?

  15. Why is it called a water station when it provides Gatorade?

  16. Drunk hecklers running beside me. Run at a reasonable pace faster!

  17. I’m gonna make this cup of gatorade last. I don’t wanna start running yet.

  18. Oh no. He’s talking to me. I’m too tired to talk. Run faster! Aaand I’m walking.

  19. Two lamp posts of running then one lamp post of walking.

  20. It’s so dark. I hope I don’t step on something weird.

  21. Let those drivers wait! I’m running on empt…

A Good Year

2014 Running Review

RUN A MARATHON       PASS

I think I scored a home run with this goal. I entered not one but two marathons on the first quarter of the year. I even joined a triathlon relay team race last June. How am I ever going to top this achievement?

BEAT MY 5K PERSONAL RECORD      FAIL

I’m starting to think that I may never beat this record. Hah! I was too busy enjoying and dreading the one time I joined a 5k race. I did however beat my 10k personal record by a relatively wide berth. It was quite a feat considering my condition then.

IMPROVE TRAINING MILEAGE       PASS

I realized when I wrote this post that I forgot that I only needed to run 771 kilometers to secure this goal. I did not bike this year but I managed to cover 876 kilometers, which is 105 kilometers better than last year. That is a lot.

OVERALL

Despite the challenges brought about by my growing number of responsibilities, I managed to carry out 2 out of 3 of my goals. I even achieved a marked improvement in both speed and endurance. 2014 is indeed a good year for running. I hope and pray that 2015 would be even better. Carpe Annum!

BEST RACE: CEBU MARATHON 2014
BEST PERFORMANCE: AMAZON ELECTRO RUN 2014
WORST PERFORMANCE: SM2SM 4
MOST ENJOYABLE: COLOR MANILA RUN CEBU
MOST MEMORABLE: TABUELAN 111 TRIATHLON

Small Talk (Marathon Edition)

Cebu City Marathon 2014  42.2k  01/12/14

I’m not one for small talk. However, 42 kilometers is a very long distance. It takes a considerable amount of time and effort to cover a marathon. For mere mortals like me, six hours is the average. Truth be told, I was aiming for seven hours because I injured my left knee seven days prior. My recovery plan was to keep weight of said knee, get lots of rest, drink milk every chance I get, and hope for the best. I did not know if I’d have recovered enough on race day so I adopted the middle-aged marathon mom pace, which was so conservative that I clocked my first 5k at almost 46 minutes. Super slow but it was helpful. I had a thorough warm-up and I got to enjoy the rest of the marathon.

Interestingly enough, it was the small talk that highlighted my first marathon experience. Runners can appreciate the magnitude of the effort their fellows undergo. Marathoners take that appreciation up a notch. They can empathize and naturally cheer each other on. These are just a few of my interesting conversations with my fellow marathoners.

BPO Yuppy: S***! This ****ing hurts.

Me: *Nodded my head* Yes. It does. *Smiled*

——-

Me: (In Bisaya) Only 10 kilometers to go and 2 hours to do it. We can take it easy and walk the rest of the way.

Middle-aged Midpacker: *Laughed* You’re right! I came from Tacloban. I didn’t have enough training when Yolanda hit us but I did get to walk a lot now that oil prices have skyrocketed there. I had to buy all my stuff here in Cebu.

Me: Really? Well. At least, you’re no stranger to walking now. We can take it easy from now on, enjoy our stroll, and collect our finisher’s medals and stuff at the finish line. *Smiled*

Middle-aged Midpacker Yolanda Survivor: You got that right!

——-

Fast Granny: Almost there! I was late for gun start. My running group have already left me! I had to catch up!

Me: Yeah! You’re fast. I saw you earlier at Banawa.

Fast Granny: *Went on before I could finish my reply*

I later saw her entering a MacDonalds.

——-

Me: (In Bisaya) *Adopted correct running form* Always run well when photographers are taking pictures. *Laughed*

Scarred Runner: (In English) What’s that? Can you say that in English? I’m Malaysian.

Me: *Repeated what I said in English*

Scarred Malaysian Runner: Precisely! *Laughed*

——-

Running Lolo: (In Filipino) This is the longest kilometer ever!

Me: *Laughed* Yeah but it should be close now. *Smiled*

——-

Me: That was a great race. See you next year?

Scarred Malaysian Runner: Yeah. See you next year. 6:17:05

2 Out Of 3 Is Good Enough For Me

2013 Running Review

Run 4 half-marathons   PASS

I ran only 4 races this year. All of them were half-marathons. These races were the Cebu Marathon 2013 (21k), SM2SM III, Hunat Sugbu 3: Dagan Para Ni Maning, & Leg 9 of the 37th Milo Marathon Eliminations. All four races were hard. A half-marathon is not half of anything. It’s a full challenge.

Beat my 5k personal record   FAIL

I did not beat my 27:55.43 simply because I did not race 5ks this year. My reasons were as varied and trivial as financial constraints to scheduling issues. I did beat my record during training though so I’ll retake this challenge on 2014.

Improve training mileage   PASS

Here are the statistics: I ran 771 km. I walked 59 km (recorded). I biked 24 km. Add them all up to get 854 km. The first stat alone got me way pass the goal. Great job me!

Overall

I got better in terms of endurance this year. 2013 was a challenging but a good year nonetheless. I’m certain that more challenging races will come my way next year. I believe 2014 will be an even better year not just for me but for runners everywhere. Carpe annum!

EPIC Is An Overused Word

Cebu Marathon 2013  21.1k  01/13/13

This race is epic! I had tons of great memories while running this race. Here are 5 of them:

  1. Running through the CSCR Tunnel felt electric. The booming music drum and bugle corps positioned along the tunnel lifted my spirit. I wanted to turn around and run that part of the race again when I got out of the tunnel. Several kilometers later, I did get to run the tunnel again. I thanked God there wasn’t any music anymore. Tunnel + 2 Drum & Bugle Corps = Tinnitus
  2. I passed by a street band that had just finished a song near the 21k turning point. Their enthusiasm was infectious so I applauded them. They answered with their own applause. Positivity is contagious.
  3. There was an aid station that supplied wet sponges to the runners. I grabbed a sponge, rubbed it across my face, and nonchalantly threw it away. Full disclosure: I had no idea what the sponges were for. Until now, I wonder if I pulled it off.
  4. At one point in the race, I heard someone call me. I did not notice him immediately because I was in the zone but his stature made him a hard man to miss. It was Joseph Cabrera, my training partner. I admit I was worried about him because I did not see him at gun start yet there he was doing great on his own. We gave each other an epic high-five as we passed each other.
  5. At 100m to go to the finish line, I did not go for my usual kick. I instead savored the moment. Crossing the finish line meant that this awesome race would end but it had to end. I wavered for only a millisecond then I made sure I finished the race in great form. I did and it was epic. 2:18:47.62

Back To Square One

Cebu City Marathon 2012  5k  01/08/12

Before the race:

  • Brrrr.
  • Burning question: Will I run like cheetah at a savannah or corgis on a treadmill?
  • Pretty fireworks.
  • Mud. Everywhere.
  • Is it just me or did my belly get bigger?
  • These shorts are too short for me.

During the race:

  • Slowest start ever.
  • Yep. There it is. Ouch.
  • Pain level: 7 out 10. Minute 13. This is going to be fun.
  • Could this stretch of road get any steeper?
  • Okay. I give. 10 minutes. No! 5 minute walking break.
  • 1 kilometer to go. Run. Run!
  • That woman sounds like she’s in labor.
  • Breathing hurts. Light bulb! I should do a breathless kick.

After the race:

  • Answer: Corgis on a treadmill.
  • I think I’m gonna puke.
  • Oh, great. A band.
  • MOVES LIKE JAGGER!
  • Don’t I have a singing audition tomorrow?
  • Eternal question: Which is hotter; a hot runner or a hot singer?
  • Those Globe & Castrol models need a sandwich and a nap.
  • Not in the mood for cool downs.
  • That guitarist is too old for that genre.
  • Should’ve joined the fun run version of this race.
  • I’m swearing off dairy during race week for good.
  • My belly did get bigger!
  • Maybe next time.

Days later:

  • I’m not in the finisher’s list. Is that good or bad? 33:07.75