Running Poetry XX

Here’s another batch of poems from my halcyon days of running. Back then, I had more time to stretch my legs. I had more time to nurture my competitive spirit. I had more time to giggle at the word ‘fartlek’. I had more time to dream. Those were great days.

Grown men giggling as
Sandals slapped against their heels
Mimicking my stride

Gave in to instinct
The hunger drove me, moved me
Towards a grand feast

Maintain the barest
Semblance of control and let
The fall take over

Fettered by questions
Answers from tricky pages
Stopped asking, just ran

Cheerless sky deities
Pelted cold wind and drizzle
Drew warmth from prayer

Focus
On my breathing
On my stride
On my path
Focus
Follow breathing
Extend stride
Mind my path
Focus

High beam headlights set
Eye sockets afire
Blind to serious threats
As horns join the choir

Staggered out of bed
Each stride lacked motivation
Changed course back to bed
And resumed hibernation

Heat is no excuse
For walking and water breaks
Walked home as penance

The tale has ended
And all that remains is the
Drawn out epilogue

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.

A Healthier Me

2015 Running Review

REACH MY IDEAL WEIGHT OF 53 – 65        PASS

I weighed as low as 62.9 kg this year because of swollen gums. As of this writing, I weigh around 64.7 kg. I credit most of my success to my even more rigorous marathon training this year. My brief preoccupation with calorie counting also helped.

BEAT MY 5K PERSONAL RECORD      FAIL

The insurmountable goal just keeps getting more menacing to my psyche. I really need to beat this monstrous goal in 2016.

SURPASS 876 KILOMETERS       PASS

1000 kilometers. Finally! Well, specifically 1007 kilometers. This will be a tough achievement to break but I ain’t backing down.

OVERALL

Honestly, 2015 was not that great a year for running. However, it is a great year for me health-wise. Did I mention I once did 1000 squats this year? I was definitely more well-rounded with my fitness this year with my addition of smaller goals involving nutrition and strength training. Seeing my weight go down on the scale and my mileage rack up to 1000 km always made my day. I would love to keep this healthy lifestyle going in 2016.

Best Race: Cebu Marathon 2015

Worst Race: SM2SM Run 5

Running Poetry XIX

My poetry is connected to my running. The more I run, the more write. If I do a thousand runs then I’m bound to produce a thousand poems. I do write for reasons beyond running and I do run with varying effort on different routes. One activity is not dependent on the other. My secret hope (not anymore) is that I acquire mastery on both skills. It would be interesting to see which skill I master first.

Twelve kilometers
Thirty laps on an oval
My friend’s birthday run

With firm resolve, I
Dealt a crushing blow to doubt
I know peace once more

Head not in the game
Dodging projectiles instead
Balls and bat guano

If this was easy
It won’t be worth the effort
And the sacrifice

I wanna eat some barbecue
And some baked potatoes too
A pitcher of your cold iced tea
Oh my gosh I need to pee

Coaxed sweat to flow
On a cold summer evening
Labored up-tempo
The mile seemed everlasting

Found the missing link
The panacea of all
Of my running ills

On a bright Sunday
Morning, I ran and dodged a
Lethal piece of…leaf

Fists trained for fighting
And eyes that gleamed with malice
I feared for my life

I run
For the one who celebrates
I run
With the one who will not yield
I run
To the one who leads the charge

Running Poetry XVIII

This is proof. The evidence dear readers! My penchant for the dramatic in full display. However, you must forgive me. I just ran a mile or 2 and I’m not quite myself.

Ancient and surly
Guardian of the rubber track
Get off the fast lanes!

Through fire and debris
Through crippling terror and pain
No force shall stop them

No carb diet killed
Even the barest attempt
Of all out running

Any second
The seams will tear
And I reckon
Feet will go bare

When I cross that line
These wet noodles I call legs
Better be running

Idealistic
Though unrealistic, I
Faltered at sixteen

Pacing forgotten
Yet I overcame target
Quite please with myself

Junk mile
Easy run
It took a while
But I did have fun

My hardest workout
Ever, which is also what
I complained last week

Something in my eye
A sharp speck that vexes me
And obscures vision

Running Poetry XVII

Running for a week seemed an insurmountable challenge two years ago but I conquered it despite my weak constitution. I am sure many elite runners will scoff at this minor achievement. It surely seems minor to me right now. However, it is a good thing to record and celebrate these small moments. How else will you know the worth of your present successes? I may have long since moved on to greater insurmountable challenges in and out of running but it always brings a smile to my face when I take in all I have done in my life.

Slow like a turtle
Fast like a hobbled rabbit
No dinner tonight?

Gloom broke the anvil
No fire to curb inner strife
Still the hammer falls

Discount brevity
Someone set the night on fire
Water, sweet water

Caring less and less
Downcast and slow to warm-up
Only at the start

No recovery
Loud dogs and mad motorists
Did I even sleep?

Colossal, golden
She holds court among the stars
Lighting wayward souls

Beasts, pedestrians
Motorists, and vehicles
Want a piece of me

Set myself to task
Ran every day for a week
‘Tis finally done

Summer afternoon
Relaxed and unhurried stride
A perfect primer

Long recoveries
Anaerobic laziness
Unmotivated

If I wallow in despair
I’d risked her righteous anger
I have no courage to spare
Though I wish she’d come sooner

Running Poetry XVI

My poetry from 2 years ago had so much drama and passion. A part of me laughs at the drama but I mostly envy the passion.

He held back
Felt the chill linger
Time and space governed the track
Til he became cold fire’s soft whisper

Slid on a puddle
On a lonely unlit road
Fear seemed almighty

Nowhere fast on lifeless wheels
The sky mocked with gentle rain
Only to cease and reveal
An old continual strain

Drawing faceless multitudes
The ash cross has its burden
But bear it with gratitude
To exit the black wolf’s den

Into the darkness
Conscience did not go unscathed
I must make amends

Black wolf’s mad howling
Inner inkwell overflows
Silence; inkwell dries

Sacrifice balance
Maximize range of motion
Laborious falling

Forced adaptation
Willpower breaks the threshold
Found yet another

Her laughter is gold
Every note puts me at ease
I need to wake up

Myriad glowing lights
Resplendent without the veil
Spark the light within

Running Poetry XV

How time flies.. These old poems from 27-year old me are amazing! It’s a wonder how I can keep describing pain and endurance after every single run. My fear is that I will eventually run out of words to say about these topics. Only time will tell.

Dusk before Christmas
Danger assailed the senses
I’m saved by His grace

This oblivion
A self-imposed food coma
No Elysium
Foreshadowing a trauma

I felt it tugging
Towards a dark eerie place
It’s chill beckoning

Started new year right
Went to church, updated blog
Met a girl and ran

I knew pain again
Never thought I’d forgotten
The mem’ry tastes..sweet

Need a miracle
Botched training and kept saying
Please don’t get injured

Running while I’m aching
Singing while I’m coughing
This ceaseless suffering
Needs an abrupt ending

Pain wracked the vacuum
As mettle filled its absence
Resolve is renewed

3rd since the thirteenth
COLD AND MALAISE WON’T QUELL ME!
Was I this headstrong?

There was dissonance
And I failed at remembrance
Shaky and craven
All my thoughts longed for haven
Until the embers
Sparked an undaunted temper

Running Poetry XIV

At this point of my life, I finally passed the 1,000th kilometer. I remember feeling unparalleled joy when I accomplished this milestone two years ago. Yet now, a voice in my head would say, “Took you long enough.” I admit that I did take my sweet time but it was worth it. It was a fun journey.

Abbreviated
Breathlessly flitted through cars
A parlous breakthrough

I am beholden
It’s gleam pried my eyes open
This is tyranny!
’twas a fleeting litany

Absent stars and moon
A dose of paranoia
Forfends disaster

Pampered by rubber
Spoiled by the cool evening breeze
Dawn road runs are hard

Against the rush home
Against maternal instinct
Against my schedule

Tuned out the jolly
Long slow distance minus long
No meteor showers

The stars seem nearer
I could reach out and pluck ’em
A breathless thought said

For a precarious minute
Explosions rattled the cage
My foot had crossed the limit
Cracked a smile and disengaged

Did not sleep a wink
Present and future at last
Agreed on something