How a Sleepy, Middle-aged Non-Athlete Became a Runner

It all started with National Geographic. Yes, the TV channel. They put up a race, my brother Sam joined, and I watched. Yup, that’s it. So simple but the experience turned around my life big time.

I’ll backtrack for a while: As a child, I was not athletic and my phys ed teacher always made me the left fielder in our softball games (somewhat similar to baseball). Of course he didn’t say it, but now I know why. It was because no one in my class could hit or throw the ball hard enough for it reach the left field. Most of the time, I just stood there watching the game. I didn’t mind. I didn’t want anything to do with sports anyway. Sleeping was more interesting to me.

That indifference stayed with me until that fateful day in April 2011, my 45th birthday.

It was before dawn when we arrived at the race venue. I was immediately caught up by the festive atmosphere – runners chattering, an emcee pumping everyone up, bright lights beaming and upbeat music blaring. Some runners looked serious while doing their warm-up exercises. Others looked as if they were just having fun at a family get together.

The run that changed my life, and I was just a spectator!
Photo credit: Pinoy Fitness

There were about five thousand runners and they came in different ages, shapes and sizes. In my not so humble opinion, many looked older and less fit than me!

Then the emcee announced that the race was about to start. “RUNNERS ARE YOU READY?!?  A video wall beamed the countdown. 10…9…8…7….3… 2…1…GO!   The gun went off and the sea of runners charged forward, amidst loud music, cheering and fireworks! It was merriness mixed with nervous excitement. I liked it!

I waited at the finish line, witnessing the joy of each runner as they crossed the line that signaled their success. Sam finished 21km in about 2-1/2 hours.

It was my first time to be in such an event and I was totally entertained…and inspired.

So inspired was I that the next day, I registered for the Manila International Marathon (MIM) 6 weeks away. Never mind that I haven’t run a single km yet.

Two weeks before the MIM, 3.3kms was all I could walk on the gym treadmill. Good thing, for me at least, the day before the marathon there was a typhoon and the MIM was cancelled.

That gave me four more weeks to prepare for next run, The Rexona Men.

So, on July 24, 2011, I had my first run, finishing 10kms in 1hour 22 minutes. Slow by most standards but I felt like Usain Bolt!  I wanted more. I couldn’t wait for the next run.

The smile was small and tired, but the feeling was “I just ran 10kms, what else can I not do?!”

Wanting to repeat the  high over and over again,  I registered to at least one race a month, propelling me to run several times a week to prepare for them.

This sleepy middle-aged non athlete has become a runner. What a makeover.  🙂

More reading:

Benefits of Running

Effects of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Is Running Bad for the Knees?

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