Running Poetry XXVII

By the time these were written, I have become more OC with my planning and data gathering, which stressed me out on some days. I have long since moved on from this phase. Well, one can hope.

Cold, dark, and lonely
Then a car with rainbow eyes
Sleep-running, I say

Re-injured left knee
With just less than a week left
Staying positive

Macrocycle starts
I did not bother pushing
Will hit ‘gym’ later

Three kids on a bike
A kid extended his hand
Gave him a high-five

Effort based pacing
Not as practical when the
Body doesn’t sweat

Participated
In the breaking in of “new”
Minimalist shoes

Who was that strange man
Running with a carton of
Milk under one arm?

Slept only three hours
I ran and dreamt of long naps
Then Kenyans woke me

Fifty-two seconds
Did I fall off the plateau?
Short-lived despondence

A sigh of relief
A minute to catch my breath
An interval starts

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Running Poetry XXVI

I seem to be going through a lot of stuff when these were written. While I can’t say that I remember all of them, I do remember how I felt back then. Running was fun for me. It still is.

Preoccupation
Tangled mind-heart connection
Limitless playback

Death’s on hiatus
Danger came from all angles
Angels intervened

A hot potato
Burning core, legs, lungs, and heart
I should just drop it

A near game over
No right to indulge sorrows
Blest to be alive

Strength training made me
Considerably less strong
At slow paced running

Effortless could mean
Not trying at all so I’ll
Kill this guilt with sleep

Needed a moment
To vomit last night’s dinner
Restart yet again

A bit top heavy
Feet extended awkwardly
Ended abruptly

Tempo plus striders
Plus intervals plus fireworks
Plus milk equals FUN!

Twenty was the goal
Over-paced on first 5k
Ended with fifteen

Countless pairs of eyes
Stared through the evening rain at
The last bloke running

Running Poetry XXV

After scrolling to 3 years ago, it has become abundantly clear to me that writing was the sole purpose for these runs. I enjoy running more now. Perhaps, it is because I’m doing it for fun now and not for competition’s sake. The writing part is more of a trained reaction from me. It does not matter anymore if I’m having fun or not. Haha!

Enjoy Halloween everyone!

Distracted by thoughts
Of a lovely, incomplete
Song and a promise

Immune system crashed
A sybilline reminder
Of the road ahead

Tonight’s company
Boredom, my worst enemy
Striders, my best friends

Woke jogging buddy
Pursued a speedy grandpa
Saw a lioness

’tis comfortable
To be one with the shadows
To live the label
To let suns set them aglow

An epiphany
True strength is the power to
Protect one’s loved ones

Challenged by the hills
Challenged by a commuter
Challenged by a kid

The thought of you keeps
Me up more than the thought of
Altitude training

Offer relief not
Opinions ’cause those won’t feed
Any mouths tonight

My mind was elsewhere
But the purpose has been set
No turning back now

Running Poetry XXIV

I have been doing intervals and tempo runs lately. My unconscious push for organized running surprises me. I’m not sure about my general direction right now since I’ve already decided that I’m not running a marathon next year. Normally, I would be neck-deep in my marathon training cycle during this time of the year. It’s a little disconcerting. The lack of purpose definitely strikes a discordant chord inside of me. However, I’m going to keep going. I’m going to keep running. It feels too good to stop.

Breathing and footfalls
Almost sound harmonious
On a quiet road

Bugbears ran amok
In my head for the last time
Slay them in six weeks

Pray for lives lost
For the displaced and injured
And for thanksgiving

Those who cannot do
Spend more time shoving daggers
At those who can do

No breakfast and lunch
Life suddenly got busy
Had to cut this short

Oh shucks, aftershocks
Gatorade equals loose change
Eighteen percent rise

Premature fatigue
This snail’s pace recovery
Preludes a burnout

Practiced forbearance
Held a steady rhythm ’til
The very last lap

Allowed company
Control of tonight’s pacing
Gave my knees a break

Built a pyramid
Out of boredom and that last
Lap was quite a thrill

Running Poetry XXIII

Nowadays, my art has been reduced to a mechanical habit. However, the rising popularity of the spoken word and my chance meeting with a former tri-teammate has made me nostalgic tonight. The craving to create has resurfaced. Free time is still rarity though, which begets the realization that eventually kills my creative mood. Maybe, someday.

Vacation’s over
Recovered lost two kilos
Gained another one

Awkward ride last night
Taxi driver hit a dog
Guilt made fare cheaper

Donuts and running
The perfect combination
Don’t forget the tea

Oh so sleepy legs
Cumulative weariness
Hundred days to go

I could not break it
This prey mindset ain’t helping
Awfully slow now

Need to pump iron
Need to stop doing the dew
Need to hit the sack

Tongue-tied and stupid
Word, phrases, uh, sentences
I should stop staring

The breathless time warp
The scent of freshly baked bread
And the rising heat

Only ten percent
Of this pace was mine so draw
Your own conclusion

Ran ev’ry twelfth hour
Atop mountains of laundry
Rising ev’rywhere

Running Poetry XXII

I still remember the pain. It was a pain that won’t let me run anymore. Walking was ok. I somehow got by with plenty of rest. It rears its ugly head from time to time.

Exhaustion is equal to
An hour of injured running
Plus only five hours of sleep
Plus four more of singing

I thought I had missed
Seven minutes per KM
Had excuse ready

Near perfect pacing
Need to raise mileage next
Ignore injury

I have succumbed to
Pancakes and hot chocolate
Should have kept going

Had to walk again
Still within target pace though
So it is all good

Fourteen days to go
No time to sit on my hands
Must keep mileage up

Eliminated
The overpowering dread
Only pain remains

Stubborn as a rock
Running at boulder pace
Sleep like a stone…NOW!

Unusual route
Hills and runners aplenty
I forgot to walk

The water hates me
Graceless, I sank like a rock
Sad slow journey home

Running Poetry XXI

Even as life sent me further away from the track, I came hurling back. Perhaps my feet had grown fond of its rubbery surface.

Despair is salty
The crawl upwards is salty
Falling is salty
Triumphant kicks are salty

Chattering demons
Plagued me but, surprisingly,
I finished faster

Voice thrashed by illness
Ran to mend ability
To sing joyful praise

I rolled off the couch
Unto a gusty oval
Fire reignited

Sleep deprivation
And a week of stagnation
Or millennia
Ended inertia

Prophetic musings
Waylaid by reality
Eyes off the abyss

Run turned excursion
Beyond known territories
Updated my charts

Poorly run 4k
Plus a kinda fast 1k
Equals punishment

This was a test run
Should I bandit tomorrow?
Injury screamed NO!

A dull ache upsets
The core with every stride
Wait, forgot my shirt!

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