Golden

He chose the mountain
There are too many people
Hordes of them at the beach
So he woke up early
At an ungodly hour
Wore comfortable clothes
His best Merrell pair
Grabbed a bottle and
Then another one
Got his flashlight
Left a note
Kissed goodbye
At the base
He felt intimidated
The miles
The darkness
The elevation
He did not back down
The fresh air
Felt crisp
As it invigorates him
He ran at easy inclines
But mostly walked
He wanted to savour
The effort and the moment
When weariness came for him
He refocused on his breath
The rhythm kept fear at bay
As the sky lighten
The way reinforced him
The sense of adventure
Put some speed on his legs
He rein the excitement in
Adjusted his form
Perfectly for each situation
For the changing terrain
He kept going
For hours
One bottle empty
After more glorious trudging
After the sun had risen
He claimed his reward
The magic hour had arrived
A scenery of green awashed
In a shower of the brightest gold
He took it all in
Let the experience sink into him
Changing him in invisible ways
He was alive
And at that moment
He was golden

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How To Know If You Have Improved In A Race (Despite Not Getting A PR)

PRs are awesome. All runners love ’em. In a perfect world, we’d love to get a PR to go with our medals and finisher goodies. Sadly, it is unrealistic to expect one every race. Your body won’t always be in peak condition. Training won’t always yield significant improvement in race performance. The weather will get in your way at times.

I learned during my race last Sunday that you can still find satisfaction in your racing despite not getting a PR. My race is in its 5th year. I have run this race since the first one and my racing distance has been the 21k for the third year now. Let me just go ahead and inform you, dear reader, that I did not get a PR for this one. I did, however, see improvements that can help improve your own mindset when it comes to racing success.

  1. You slept soundly enough the night before the race. 6 hours is now your current pre-race sleep PR! When you wake up, you did not need to consume your morning coffee.
  2. The gun start is late! You are not as worried about the morning heat as you should be.
  3. The water problem just got worse this year. You already skipped three water stations but you ain’t worried.
  4. You spend more time lamenting the fact that you passed up the free chocolate than you do running.
  5. You finally get to the Gatorade station. It has the orange one. Your favorite! A moral battle ensues. Your conscience wins and you get only one cup of Gatorade. You’re a saint!
  6. At the last turning point, you think that the route seems shorter this year.
  7. You are sure you heard someone announced that you get watermelons during the race but you did not see any. This saddens you. You comfort yourself with a banana. You move on.
  8. You realize near the end of the race that you forgot to rub Vaseline on your, uh, fragile areas. No point worrying about that now.
  9. It’s the same route with the same weather but you ran it faster than last year. No, it’s neither a PR nor a race PR but you killed it out there and that’s a good enough story to tell your future grandkids.
  10. You’re tired. You’re hurt. You need someone to haul your butt back home. Who could it be? Wait! You have a girlfriend now! You promptly parade her around for all the lonely, tired, hurting finishers to see. This would make a great ending to that story that you will eventually keep telling your future grandkids.

 

SM2SM Run 5

February 22, 2015

2:52:20

Running Poetry XII

I am currently battling a host of ailments. The marathon last week really did a number on my immune system. Moreover, the Sinulog merriment did not help. I would never trade both experiences for a few weeks of health though. Maybe I am masochistic after all. My obsession with running is a very strong indicator of that. Here are a few more poems to prove my point.

I am without words
For these runs get me on the verge
Of the utmost high
Yet still hankering for the sky

I jog, he ran
I jog, she walked
Strayed from the plan
Numbed from the talk

Early rising moon
Staring at the unfolding
Failure of a run

I am on the mend
From my weakened legs and side
To my aching heart

The man called in awe
To which, he replied simply
“Just sweating it out.”

My life absent drive
Grudgingly paid a steep fine
Fiction was cheaper

A star’s fearless gleam
Fought biting wind and cruel clouds
Alone in the end

Concealed in layers
The agony found a way
Through hushed surrender

You expect its arrival
But bracing yourself will not matter
Neither fiery denial
Nor boldness will stand once the scenes blur

Slow and steadily
Building up speed until I
Slingshot through the crowd

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…

Skyward

Today at work in our little shop, my mother told me about a dream. It seemed melodic and prophetic like those dreams from the old days. The dream stuck when I got home so I wrote it down as a poem.

It was a clear urban night sky
Her feet shuffled effortlessly forward
An ungrudging husband in tow
She could not believe her own eyes
Her widening gaze mesmerized skyward
No stars only faces that glow

Countless and growing in number
Bright visages that set her heart ablaze
She noticed the gathering clouds
Obscuring all and turned the sky somber
The couple stopped their evening race
She twinkled, beamed, and laughed out loud

Hope may be hidden but not forgotten
She emerged from sleep submerged in cotton

65 ~ 27 ~ 876

2015 Running Goals

Reach my ideal weight of 53 – 65 kilograms

For the past 2 years, I have watched the critical finger of my weighing scale point from 62 kg to 65 kg then finally 71 kg. Right now, my cabinet is filled with clothes from a stranger who wears small slim fit shirts and size 29 jeans. I jiggle a lot and get hurt far to quickly. Sick days have become more frequent as well. Every cell in this chubby yet still quite handsome frame I call a body is yelling for me to lose weight. I hear you body.

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.

Surpass 876 kilometers

I am on fire right now. I feel like I could do 900 or maybe even 1000 this year. 1000 is a tad optimistic. 900 seems like a sure thing though. Good health and consistency seem to be the keys to executing this lofty goal.

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

Running Poetry X

Solo runs or group runs? I’m always on the fence with this question. Almost all of my profound running experiences have happened during my solo runs. However, group runs are undeniably more enjoyable. The poems below illustrate my point and frustration.

First group interval
First belly laugh while running
First barefooted sprint

One equals a hundred
Forgive my crazy math
But times are filled with dread
And ’tis the prudent path

Ignored filling the black hole
This yawning tear in my soul
Gaining mass yet never satisfied
Pain, past and present, is magnified

Caught in a quicksand
Each kilometer has me
Hastening my fall

Felt a tiny spark
My spirit became kindling
Then I’m set ablaze

Space folds before me
Time is absent then present
The sun skips ahead

Let your feet take you
Away from pain, doubt, and fear
Enjoy the moment

This bored fantasy
Has got me shooting myself
Every seventh lap

The crescent moon froze
This chill demanded layers
The count glaciates

His manliness stoked
Twin daggers dug at his side
The man kept running