“Sometimes you have to get lost to find a better way.”
Running came to me at a time when everything was going on a downward spiral and my confidence was at an all time low. I’ve never been the athletic or sporty kind and never had the consistency to maintain a regular physical activity but I guess when you want to break a trend, you just have to do something different.
I was entered into my first two fun runs more as a favor to my friends rather than at my own will. It was literally a 3 kilometer walk. Running even just a hundred meter is such a chore. The third one was a charm as we run with the raindrops falling hard on us. I still tried to join runs at least once per month… no goals… no training… no pressure… This is getting to be fun!
After a while it became a habit. I now tried to train on my own and spent a few week nights just completing 5K distance and there was some improvement though I still have my habitual walks in between. With the small gains, I came to realize that I can do better and that was enough to have me pushing myself further into the next level.
I now shifted to a structured training and I was asked of a goal I want to achieve. At first since I was running 5K, I was thinking to just go for sub 30 or finish 5K in less than 30 minutes but I eventually decided to just copy my friend’s goal of sub 60 or finish 10K in less than 60 minutes. That would be a tough goal considering I’ve never run a distance outside 5K and I’m such an undisciplined runner to go on a structured training but maybe, I’ll just count this in as a leap of fate.
After just a few weeks of training, I entered my first 10K and finished a miserable 1 hour and 18 minutes and I now feel that my sub 60 goal were light years away and this considering that my second 10K run had me finishing just a minute faster. The third one was once again a charm as I managed to shave off a full 6 minutes of my 10K time and from then on I continued to progress towards sub 60 and was even able to complete a 10K uphill run that measured 12K at a decent pace. The training was working. By the end of the year, I was just 6 minutes shy of a sub 60 time.
2011 had me breathing down the neck of a sub 60 time with an hour and a minute mark at Subic. I also started to beat the sub 30 mark for 5K. I knew that sub 60 now was just a matter of time but it was then that I realized that something was wrong with my system. I had a nagging pain in my heel tendon. That had me worried with my goal so close and having the time of my life running my heart’s out, I may now have to stop running. I took additional precaution and had anklets and insoles as protection and I also started to pace myself better and somehow, I was able to manage the injury and continue running. I was able to complete a 15K run at a respectable time and each 10K race thereafter were all close to the sub 60 mark until the last week of February.
It was an improbable feat and something I wasn’t expecting as I’ve been sleep-deprived, stress-ridden and in-and-out of sickbay. As the gun start fired, I went at it at a very fast paced and was able to sustain the pace for a few more kilometers before I ran at a steadier pace in the middle kilometers but I was still on my way to a sub 60 time. At kilometer 8, I started feeling some tightness in my right lower calf muscle and despite that I still went at it at full level. In the last stretch towards the finish line, I saw that I still have time to catch up sub 60 and thus the child in me took over as I sprinted towards the finish line and the time was 59 minutes and 54 seconds. Sub 60, Finally!!!
Six seconds, that’s the fraction of time that I almost didn’t hit sub 60, and that’s probably just a few inhales and exhales away but I’ll take what I can as sub 60 is sub 60. Of course, I’ll aim for a more convincing sub 60s in the future and try to do this consistently. I have reached my goal, but I guess the story does not really end here as this is just a beginning of a new story and I’m calling the next chapter, Half-Mary. How I’ll do it? I don’t know as that is a story set to be told at another time.
The story of my run starts with a downward spiral and at the end of it, I not only found my confidence back, I did find or create a better person – fitter, trimmer, stronger, feistier, tougher and faster. I’ve had so many preconceived limits when I started and slowly, each of those limitations are becoming a thing of the past all owing to training hard and training smart.
Excess Inkblogs: Thanks to my running and training partners Mascy, Jeff & Gryf, Total Fitness for all of my sponsored runs, to Coach Andy and his Alpha Training System, to Eunice for entering me in my first fun run and running with me in the rain, to Mike for continuously pestering me to run at your level, to my Garmin for letting me run faster with your ever so stingy ways, to my trusty lunar glide for giving me speed and to the ever growing running phenomenon in the country that had so many of us hooked in you web of acceleration.