Haiku #34

No memory of pain
Yet every fiber recalls
Each agonized step

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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

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 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

Running Poetry IX

The runner’s high and unrequited love conspired to light a fire at the end of my pen. How I envy the me from back then. Surely, the me from back then would envy me of now as well should two points in time meet. For now, I’ll just savor these sweet words from my bygone days.

This unending loop
Of relentless despondence
I will escape this

Clumsy and crooked
The driven newbie sprinted
An inspiring sight

Psychological
Pain fell away and I just
Felt ordinary

My focus swam in quicksand
Then I drown in waves of lethargy
But all these I will withstand
To achieve falling trajectory

The lure of controlled falling
Made overpowering in their presence
All my restraint collapsing
Falling without fear of consequence

The hard fought freedom from pride
Quickly retrogressed into boredom
Falling oversimplified
Stared at the sky to crush the doldrums

Weather turned ambivalent
Begot errors in judgement
To satisfy sentiments
The truth became evident
I am an unrepentant
Sucker for discontentment

Do I fall to exhaustion?
Do I break from starvation?
The miles carved away at the answers
And all that is left is crashing thunder

They started with sweet whispers
Then promised undisguised threats
Courage became mere slivers
Yet enough for an upset

Run
Mojo
Triathlon
Proper arm swing
Corporate douchebags
Elevation
Bicycles
The Plank
Stop

Remember

I remember it

Remember it all

 

The long sleepless night

The tense ride eight hours later

The painful pin prick

The failed attempt to warm up

The booming gun start

The jostling for position

The cold morning breeze

The long lonely stretch of road

The crazy fast kick

The proud victorious finish

The free awesome stuff

The failed attempt to cool down

The sweet post-race meal

The satisfying ride home

 

I remember it

Remember it still